Book Review: Elderhaus by Anne Carmichael

elderhaus

 

 

 

Gertrude spent the better part of her adult life scouring Europe for Helmut Klingenfelter, the father who vanished not only from her life and that of her mother but had forsaken everyone in his past.
With midlife looming on the horizon, Gertie made the decision to stop chasing the ghosts of the past and return to her childhood home of Pitch Pine, where she purchased a century-old house at 1211 Castle Lane sight unseen.
Elderhaus, as it came to be known, had a mysterious past of its own, one that would threaten more than Gertrude’s desire for finding happiness.

 

 

 

My Thoughts

 

 

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There is something about this book that draws you into it’s story. Who is Gertie Klingenfelter? And what happened to her father Helmut? It takes you down a path discovering her roots and mysterious family history. Finally she decides to return to her home town, Pitch Pine.

I found the setting of Pitch Pine with it’s characters to be very endearing ! There’s something about them that sticks out begging you to find out more. Gertie’s family history is heart wrenching but makes the story that much more resonant.

Quality writing with good characters. What else can you ask for? Recommended!

 

 

 

 

recommended vintage orange seal isolated on white

 

 

 

 

 

 

anne-carmichael

 

 

Anne Carmichael

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Amazon

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

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Book Review: Little Black Lies

little-black-lies

 

 

 

 

In the halls of the psychiatric ward, Dr. Zoe Goldman is a resident in training, dedicated to helping troubled patients. However, she has plenty of baggage of her own. When her newest patient arrives – a beautiful sociopath who murdered her mother – Zoe becomes obsessed with questions about her own mother’s death. But the truth remains tauntingly out of reach, locked away within her nightmares of an uncontrollable fire. And as her adoptive mother loses her memory to dementia, the time to find the answers is running out.

As Zoe digs deeper, she realizes that the danger is not just in her dreams but is now close at hand. And she has no choice but to face what terrifies her the most. Because what she can’t remember just might kill her.

Little Black Lies is about madness and memory – and the dangerous, little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

thoughts

 

 

 

A stellar read by Sandra Block! Psychiatrist Dr. Zoe Goldman is a memorable character with a hidden mystery. She’s wrapped up in a dire search for her birth mother, whom she never knew, but in the end discovers a lot more than expected. This is a wonderfully written intriguing mystery that’ll keep you turning pages into the night.

Setting. I loved the setting of this book for many reasons. I used to work in different medical settings with the same type of patients seen in this book. So this gave me a familiar feeling.

Plot. The plot was smooth, evenly paced and interwoven with the skill of a seamstress. That’s about all I can say without spoilers!!

I’m really looking forward to the next two books. The Girl without a name, and The Secret Room

 

 

 

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the-secret-room

 

 

 

 

Thanks!!!

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

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Audiobook Review: Fallen by Leslie Tentler

Hear the sound wave

 

 

 

 

AUDIO FORENSICS EDITION

 

Fallen by Leslie Tentler

 

 

 

fallen-audiobook

 

 

Written by: Leslie Tentler

Narrated by: Marguerite Gavin

Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date: 04-08-15

Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.

 

 

 

Goodreads Description

 

“If it wasn’t an armed robbery, it was a hit. An execution.”

Amid a sultry Atlanta summer, someone is targeting police…

The investigation becomes personal for APD Detective Ryan Winter when a colleague and friend is shot dead, the second victim in just weeks. But even as he finds himself being drawn into the tense hunt for a serial cop killer, he is forced to re-examine his own shattering personal tragedy.

An ER physician at Atlanta’s busy Mercy Hospital, Dr. Lydia Costa is no stranger to suffering. Still, the recent police slayings reopen barely healed wounds — and bring her face-to-face with her ex-husband, Ryan Winter.

As the body count rises and paranoia tightens its grip on the police force, Lydia and Ryan are pulled together by circumstances and fate… causing old passions to reignite despite their painful shared past. But as Ryan moves closer to discovering the killer’s identity, someone is watching, placing both him and Lydia in mortal danger.

 

 

 

HEAR ME OUT….

 

 

 

 

Oreille

 

 

 

 

Leslie Tentler is a excellent suspense writer! Fallen is not only well written but also captivating on many levels. I listened to the audiobook version of this and loved it. Narrator Marguerite Gavin does a superb job bringing the story and characters to life.

Seeing an embattled ER physician, Lydia, having to confront her ex-husband through a series of murders is the center of the story. There is an unmistakable bond between them despite the circumstances.

I can’t say enough about this story. It has all you can ask for from beginning to end. Love, romance, suspense, mystery, crime drama, hope. It’s all there.

 

 

 

AUDIO FORENSICS

 

 

listen to music (+clipping path, xxl)

 

 

Narrator Performance: 8/10

Narrator Marguerite Gavin is skilled in the use of accents. She does a decent job portraying  a male voices in this one. Actually her male voices were flawless. One of the male police officers spoke English with a latin american accent and she nailed it. Fresh, believable, and entertaining. High five Marguerite!

 

Story Connection: 10/10

Marguerite had all cylinders firing in this one. I really didn’t notice her that much. Which is code for excellence. No impedance through voice, skill, or lack of connection. The investment in the story was evident and conveyed with professionalism.

 

Voice Switch Over: 9/10

This is probably one of the hardest things to do as a narrator. Not to mention doing it consistently over the course of the story. Switching of male <-> female characters was very precise without distraction. Hats off to the narrator.

 

Sound quality: 10/10

No problems here. The entire performance upheld professional standards. Nice.

 

Emotional Resonance: 9/10

Very entertaining! All aspects of the story were very touching. The mystery embedded at the core is full of suspense and will keep you guessing until the very end.

 

Overall: 8/10

A great book! I’ll definitely be listening to the next one in the series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

recommended vintage orange seal isolated on white

 

 

 

 

 

Leslie Tentler

Goodreads | Website | Amazon | Facebook

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

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Book Review: Davenport House Book 1

davenport-house-1

 

 

 

Goodreads Description

Davenport House is the first book in a family saga following the wealthy Davenports and their servants in 1915 America.

Mary Davenport is a 22-year-old idealist who worries that the world in the Progressive Era is leaving her behind. She lives isolated in the Pennsylvania countryside with her affluent and secretive family. When her father dies suddenly, Mary becomes pained with grief and increasingly suspicious of those around her.

A humble servant girl has the chance of a lifetime to become a lady’s companion. Costly dresses, exquisite rooms, and fine dinners are pleasant distractions from what is really happening in the house.

 

 

 

My thoughts

 

 

thoughts

 

 

 

 

Page Turner!

This book was a delight to read! It quickly became a page turner as I got used to the characters and sought for answers.

 

Mystery

I really loved that this was a historical mystery set in the progressive era.  Mary’s father died, or was he murdered? The Family saga begins at this point sending poor Mary on a wild goose chase. Very entertaining!

 

Characters

Loved every character. Family drama and secrets made it even more intriguing. I found myself sucked into the story through Mary’s experience, her servant girl and the household. Marie Silk does a great job this. This was a strong point throughout the book. Character interaction and dialogue was superb.

 

 

Can’t wait to finish the second book!

 

 

 

 

 

 

premium-quality-100

 

 

 

 

Marie Silk

Goodreads | Website | Amazon

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

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Audiobook Review: Cryptic Lines

 

 

 

listen to music (+clipping path, xxl)

 

 

 

I’m happy to announce a brand new series deemed Audio Forensics! It will exclusively be about audiobooks and everything related to them. News, reviews, interviews from the latest and the greatest. Some will go here and others will go to my other site at Mystery Thriller Week. I’ll mix it up and try to keep things interesting. It should be epic fun! There’s more interesting things I’d love to say about Audio Forensics but I’m much too pooped to say more. Another day I promise!

If you would like to do a guest post in relation to this drop me a line in the comment section. The more the merrier.

The growth of audiobooks has been steadily booming the last several years and bound to only get better. Time to give them some lovin’.  I listen to about two per week so this will be a nice outlet for what I’ve experienced.

So, on that note let us introduce my favorite audiobook of 2016. And the winner is….

Drumroll….

 

 

 

drumroll

 

CRYPTIC LINES

 

 

cryptic-lines-audiobook

 

 

 

Written by Richard Storry

Narrated by Jake Urry

Length: 4 hrs and 13 mins

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date: 03-16-16

Publisher: Richard Alan Storry

 

 

 

Goodreads

Set in a sprawling gothic mansion in a remote coastal location, somewhere in the British Isles, the elderly recluse Lord Alfred Willoughby is deciding what is to become of his vast fortune after his death. Whilst his head is telling him to leave nothing at all to his wastrel son, Matthew, his heart is speaking differently. After much deliberation, in a last-ditch attempt to try and show to his son the importance of applying himself to a task and staying with it to the end, he devises a series of enigmatic puzzles cunningly concealed within the lines of a poem – the cryptic lines. If he completes the task successfully and solves the puzzles he will inherit the entire estate; but if he fails he will receive nothing. However, from Lord Alfred’s Will it emerges that Matthew is not the only interested party. The mysterious old house holds many secrets, and nothing is as it first appears

 

 

 

My rating

Five golden stars isolated on white background

 

Performance: Narrated by Jake Urry

Jake had the perfect voice to go along with this story. Absolutely perfect. He has that creepy, eerie, mysteriousness to his voice that brings out the story to the fullest degree. His performance was off the charts in my estimation.

 

 

Story: by Richard Storry

This story was amazing! I honestly didn’t expect it to be as good as it was, but was pleasantly surprised. It kept me on the edge of my seat the entire book. That’s probably what I enjoy most about it. The SUSPENSE was brilliant. The plot twists toward the end are even better. This one had it all. Out of all the audiobooks I’ve listened to this year, this one resonated with me the most.

 

 

 

Listen to an audio sample: Cryptic Lines

Have fun! Thanks for ridin’ the train folks!

 

 

 

 

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Up for a challenge? Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Reading Challenge  (Join the Goodreads group here)

 

 

A Challenge for Book Hoarders Like Me at SallyAllenBooks.com

 

 

Don’t miss the inaugural powerhouse event of 2017!! Check out Mystery Thriller Week on my other site: Mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

waving-by

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.thewritingtrain.com

 

 

Crime Division: Jack of All Trades—The Life of a Patrol Officer by Laurel Heidtman

Crime Division article from Mystery Thriller Week 

By Author Laurel Heidtman

 

 

From 1977 to 1988, I was a police officer in an Ohio city with a population of approximately 60,000. Our department had a hundred or so sworn officers when I started, but by the time I left, that n…

Source: Crime Division: Jack of All Trades—The Life of a Patrol Officer by Laurel Heidtman

Forensic Lenses Series with Author Sherrie W. Frontz

 

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Welcome back to the Forensic Lenses Series!

An investigative and exploratory approach into the minds of voracious readers everywhere.

 

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Today we have an author of Romance, suspense and mystery novels, Sherrie W. Frontz. She’s the author of When the Morning Comes, and Don’t Look Back from the Land’s End series.  Sherrie is also one our many talented authors in this year’s Mystery Thriller Week event, beginning Feb.12-22nd! Don’t miss it!!

 

 

when-the-morning-comes

 

Goodreads

 

 

 

 

dont-look-back

 

Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

What were your first memories of reading as a child?

My first memories of reading were my mom reading to me as a toddler.  She worked with me and I was reading by the age of four. I read Gone with the Wind when I was twelve.

Thank God for Moms! 

 

 

 

 

 

moms

 

 

 

 

What were your favorite sleuths as a youth?

My favorite sleuth as a child was Trixie Belden.  I had all the books in the series that were available in the 70’s.

Good ol’ Trixie Belden. I hear her name quite a bit. 

 

 

 

 

 

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What else do you enjoy in a story besides solving the crime?

Besides figuring out the “who did it” part of a story, I enjoy the interacting of the main characters.

YES. I love this too. The dynamics amongst characters brings out more depth, dialogue and conflict!

 

 

 

 

 

 

dialogue

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name your favorite classical and modern sleuths.

I have no classical favorite sleuths; as far as modern sleuths, Lucas Davenport from John Sanford’s prey series.

Eh, I don’t have a favorite classical sleuth either. I’ll have to check out this Lucas Davenport character and see what he’s about. 

 

 

 

How do they solve crimes and what makes them different from one another?

Both classical and modern solve cases by talking to witnesses and listening to their hunches.  Modern sleuths have the advantages of modern technology, dna bases, fbi profiles, gps tracking, cell phone records, etc.

I love seeing how things have progressed over the years. Of course, the main staples don’t change!

 

 

 

 

 

dna

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name some recent suspense books you’ve read. 

I recently read Triple Six by Erica Spindler and I re-read all of Tess Gerritson’s Rizzoli and Isle series of books over the past couple of months.

Thanks for the recommendations! Gotta love em’.

 

 

 

 

 

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Who are some of the best suspense writers?

Some of my favorite suspense authors are Erica Spindler, John Sanford, Lee Child, Tami Hoag

Lovely.  I’ve never heard of Spindler or Tami Hoag, but that’s never stopped me from finding great authors!

 

 

 

 

 

“The world belongs to those who read.”-Rick Holland

 

 

 

 

 

If you could pick a character as the director of the FBI, who would it be?

I think the best choice for director of the FBI would be Benton Wesley, Dr. Kay Scarpetta’s husband, written by Patricia Cornwell.

Awesome! Great choice. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you could marry a fictional character who would it be? 

If I could marry a fictional character it would be Lucas Davenport from the prey series.

Hmm. This Davenport character must’ve really scored some points. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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At the scene of the crime…

 

Name 3-5 pet peeves as a reader.

If the print isn’t right I won’t read it. I hate when a story drags too.

I can’t stand dragging stories either. Since I normally finish every book, I end up dragging right along with them. *Sigh*

 

 

 

 

 

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Connect with Sherrie W. Frontz!

 

Amazon | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by!!

 

 

 

 

“To a great mind, nothing is little.”-Sherlock Holmes.

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Forensic Lenses: History with Suzanne Adair

Contact lenses

 

 

 

It’s time for another edition of Forensic Lenses

 

An investigative and exploratory approach into the minds of voracious readers everywhere.

 

Today we’ll be spending time with award-winning novelist Suzanne Adair.

 

 

 

 

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WELCOME SUZANNE!

 

Suzanne is an award-winning author of historical crime fiction set during the American Revolution. She is also one of our talented participating authors in this years Mystery Thriller Week  event Feb. 12-22. Don’t miss it!

 

 

Suzanne currently has two series:

Mysteries of the American Revolution series

Paper Woman

The Blacksmith’s Daughter

Camp Follower

 

Michael Stoddard American Revolution Mysteries

Deadly Occupation

Regulated for Murder

A Hostage to Heritage

 

 

 

 

 

forensic-eye-1

 

 

 

 

 

When you read a book, what is your perception? What do you really see?

 

 

We all perceive things a bit differently. The subtle shifts in perception makes all the difference from person to person. The faculty of sight may be the same, however the interpretation and reflection is quite different. Different indeed.

Now come, let us see through the eyes of yet another talented author…

 

 

*Who shaped your reading experience as a child?

Preschool, my reading experience was shaped by my mother, a schoolteacher. After that it was shaped by peers, popular television shows like Star Trek, and the Space Program. (I’m a native of Florida.)

I really appreciate how important early reading experiences are. They help sow the seeds that develop much later in life. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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*Which books had the most impact on you in the early years?

In elementary school I devoured books in the Nancy Drew series. I also enjoyed biographies of women like Sacajawea and Abigail Adams. Later I shifted to reading classic science fiction, horror, historical fiction, and mysteries.

I’ve heard many authors begin with the Nancy Drew series! Sounds like you have a wide ranging interest in books.

 

 

 

 

 

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*How did you develop a love for history?

That didn’t happen until I’d graduated from high school—where I had to memorize dates and details of long-ago battles without much context—and had the room to appreciate Florida’s fascinating history. When I studied history on my own, I discovered how horribly biased high-school history had been. History became fascinating because it was no longer sanitized.

Oh wow. You had quite an eye opening experience. I wonder why history books are biased? I’m sure that would open up a few can of worms!!

 

 

 

 

 

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*Did you read historical fiction or texts in high school?

Yes, I read biographies of people who’d lived centuries earlier. I tried reading historical romances, but although the historical periods often inspired me to research them on my own, the characters did not appeal to me.

Wow. Not too many teenagers read historical biographies. This is rather impressive. If I were to start with biographies it’d be deathly boring. Reading historical fiction would have the reverse effect however. 

 

 

 

 

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*Which books developed your love for science fiction?

Most fiction written by H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Ray Bradbury, Ursula LeGuin, Robert Silverberg, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, H.P. Lovecraft, and Poul Anderson. Andre Norton’s “Witchworld.” Anne McCaffrey’s “Pern.” Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Darkover.”

Great group of authors!!

 

 

 

*What sources do you read for American history?

In the last twenty years, there’s been a surge of research published by scholars and historians on the Southern theater of the American Revolution. That’s the setting for my series, and in the back of each of my novels, I include a one-page bibliography of those works that were helpful.

Oh good. I hope to get a copy of a few of your books soon. 

 

 

 

 

american-history

 

 

 

 

 

*Name 3 of your favorite historical people.

Enheduanna, Hannibal Barca, Dag Hammarskjöld

Yikes. Never heard of these guys. 

 

 

*Name 3 things you hate about American history education.

Only three? Gee. It downplays or omits the successes of the “enemy” while downplaying or omitting American mistakes. It offers almost no hands-on interaction with historical elements, so it’s boring. And you don’t learn specific examples of how history repeats itself.

Now I can smell the bias there. It’s amazing what we willingly omit from the truth. 

 

 

 

 

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*What draws you to the American Revolution?

Religion was losing its stranglehold over people’s thinking as well as the running of governments during that time. Scientific thinking and processes were emerging as acceptable. Women also had more freedoms during the Revolution than they did prior to the war or for more than a century afterward. And with industry gaining momentum, the average person was no longer totally dependent upon handmade items.

Rather intriguing! 

 

 

 

 

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*Besides the revolution what are your favorite parts of history?

I’m fascinated with early civilizations, such as the people of the Indus Valley, Anatolia, and Sumer. However some periods of history I avoid because they’ve been done to death: Tudor, Elizabethan, Regency, Victorian, and recently WW1.

I have interest in the early civilizations as well. Most recently, the early native Americans. 

 

 

 

“History is formed by the people, those who have power and those without power. Each one of us makes history.”-Anselm Kiefer

 

 

 

 

*Name historical fiction authors or books you enjoy.

Ellis Peters, Mary Stewart, Robert Louis Stevenson, Ashley Gardner, Daphne du Maurier.

Thanks! I always love good recommendations. 

 

 

 

*Who are your favorite science fiction characters?

I have a soft spot for many of the characters (guests and regulars) of Star Trek: the Original Series as well as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Also Lois McMaster Bujold’s protagonist Cordelia Naismith in Shards of Honor and Barrayar; and Maggie Black, protagonist in Terri Windling’s The Wood Wife. And, of course, Princess Leia.

Hard not to like the old Star Trek classics. I love what they’ve done with the new series too. I’m a big fan of the Fringe, Star Wars, 100 etc. The list go on and on…

 

 

 

 

At the Scene of the Crime…

 

 

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*Name 3-5 pet peeves as a reader.

o Breaking a promise to the reader or otherwise not playing fair

o Creating a stupid villain or antagonist

o Dumping in pages of description or backstory that can easily be skipped

o Giving a protagonist unmerited rewards

*If you were a time traveler where would you go?

The future.

One that would bother me the most would be a stupid villain. I personally believe that ruins the entire story.

 

 

 

 

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*Which historical customs would you bring into our society?

o Courtesy and politeness. In my lifetime, I’ve seen people become outrageously rude.

Instead of finding it appalling, society now considers rudeness entertainment.

o A thirst for knowledge. Where have all the critical thinkers gone?

I always enjoy seeing the different responses to this question. Your last response is rather intriguing. 

 

 

 

 

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*If you had to marry someone in the American Revolution who would it be?

It would be someone with many of John Adams’s qualities, but he needn’t necessarily be a patriot. In addition to being intelligent, Adams recognized and appreciated the intelligence of women. He didn’t chase petticoats like Ben Franklin did. He wasn’t a party animal like his cousin Sam, or Paul Revere, or John Hancock. (Wow, get those three together, and they’d drink all your booze.) He wasn’t weird, like Thomas Jefferson was. He also didn’t allow sentiment to derail his logic, demonstrated by his ability to successfully represent the British soldiers involved in the Boston “Massacre.”

Wonderful. I need to learn more about John Adams. I have a  book about him buried deep in my TBR list. 

 

 

 

 

wedding

 

 

 

 

 

THANKS SUZANNE!!!

 

 

 

*****

 

 

Bio:

Award-winning novelist Suzanne Adair is a Florida native who lives in North Carolina. Her mysteries transport readers to the Southern theater of the American Revolution, where she brings historic towns, battles, and people to life. She fuels her creativity with Revolutionary War reenacting and visits to historic sites. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking, dancing, and hiking.

 

 

Social media links:

Website and Blog | Quarterly Electronic Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

deadly-occupation

 

 

 

Universal buy link for Deadly Occupation: Click here

 

 

Description for Deadly Occupation:

A wayward wife, a weapons trafficker, and a woman with “second sight”—it’s a puzzle that would have daunted any investigator. But Michael Stoddard wasn’t just any investigator. Late January 1781, in coastal North Carolina, patriots flee before the approach of the Eighty-Second Regiment, leaving behind defenseless civilians to surrender the town of Wilmington to the Crown. The regiment’s commander assigns Lieutenant Michael Stoddard the tasks of tracking down a missing woman and probing into the suspicious activities of an unusual church. But as soon as Michael starts sniffing around, he discovers that some of those not-so- defenseless civilians are desperately hiding a history of evil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

The Story of Entrepreneur & Author Gavin Mills

 

Welcome to another edition of…

The Story of the Writer Series

with Author Gavin Mills

 

 

 

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Gavin Mills is the author of Dup Departs: A Time to Go and Seed of Reason. He’s an entrepreneur of two companies, a former world dancer, and all around awesome dude. Gavin is also one of our participating authors of this years inaugural Mystery Thriller Week Event taking place this February 12-22. Don’t miss it!!

 

 

 

So, who is Gavin Mills? And what is his story?

 

 

 

 

 

story matters

 

 

 

 

 

*Where are you originally from?

I am South African born and bred, hailing from Springs, a small mining town on the apron of Johannesburg, the city of Gold.

Awesome!! I know a few peeps in S. Africa. In Cape Town and Johannesburg.

 

 

 

 

africa

 

 

 

*What kind of band were you in?

LOL! I was never in a band. I was a dancer. I started in engineering then computers and then did a flip flop and became a dancer. I must have been pretty good at it – I did my first professional show before taking a class! I went on to perform as principal dancer at the Moulin Rouge in Paris – a show with the hottest women on Earth. What a life!

Wow! I’m trying to picture you dancing in my head. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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*Introduce us to your main character.

Arnold Dup Preez makes movies – and everyone calls him Dup. He was a dancer when he was younger (funny that), and followed a natural progression into movie production. He has an ex beauty queen wife and two young kids, but his life is a shambles. His business is going to the dogs and he is less than impressed with life in the new South Africa. He is not overly ambitious and his business is floundering. He has reached a cross-roads in his life. He knows the journey ahead will not have a happy ending the way things are going, but does not know how to change. He is pretty desperate and open to suggestions – that could have bad outcomes. But deep down he has character and strength even he never knew he had. And being forced into corners will reveal his true mettle.

Nice. Our true colors shine when we’re under pressure. Way to go Dup!

 

 

 

 

“Character is the real foundation of all worthwhile success.”-John Hays Hammond

 

 

 

 

 

 

*You’re a writer; so whats your story, or what inspired you?

Frustration in a world going bonkers? My first book was Seed of Reason – a fantasy. It is about a New Order that was going to right all wrongs – which then goes pear-shaped when the darker attributes of puppet-masters reveal themselves. It is a book that takes a look at people and society and questions a lot of things about life. It took me 7 years to complete and I am very proud of it. After that I decided to have some fun, and Dup was written with a very different intent –basically to press buttons and get pulses racing.

Interesting. At least your persistence paid off after 7 years. At this rate, my first book will be done after 7 years. 

 

 

 

 

 

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*What’s your GOAL in becoming a writer?

I s’pose to be read – and hope some people like my stuff. Writing is a very frightening prospect at times. It is human nature to want people to like you when you are bearing your soul and placing your talents up for scrutiny. But the Goal? Hey: Fame and fortune! Lol!

Hahahhaha!! That’s great. I understand and agree about bearing your soul to the page wondering how it’ll turn out. I”m there right now. I love the simplicity of wanting to be read. That says it all. 

 

 

 

 

 

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*What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)

Three things that hinder? Me, me and me. We can all do what we set our minds to, but sometimes life gets in the way …Or that’s what we tell ourselves. I believe I can write, but sometimes when writing, question this conviction. But always, we have it within us to do. But that doing is sometimes really difficult.

I totally relate to this. Why is it so hard get past our fears? It’s a very subtle feeling. 

 

 

 

 

“Conflict cannot survive without your participation.”-Wayne Dyer

 

 

 

 

*What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE)

Ask that to the worker bee. It is in my nature. I chizel away in my little playground and believe that one day, some of the things I do will be great.

That’s right! If we believe it, it will happen. Plain and simple.

 

 

 

 

 

Motivation - Wooden 3d rendered letters/message

 

 

 

 

 

*What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?

Family and professional obligations. I once heard that if a guy hasn’t made it by forty, he never will. I don’t think it’s as much an age thing as a family thing. When still single, I could do with my time what I wanted. Now my first responsibility is my family – and that’s not only financial. It’s love, my company, my time. This is a blessing, but with regard to dedication to creation, certainly a challenge – But one well appreciated!

Those are all wonderful things! I’m in the same boat. 

 

 

 

 

 

Belief Button with Glowing Blue Lights.

 

 

 

 

*If you have given up your dream, why?

I believe dreams change. What I dreamt for in my twenties are not the same things I dream about now. And it is this fact that brings the dynamics which forge our characters. When you get stuck in a dream, you miss out on the world of opportunities that pass you every day.

I like the spin on this. Very true. 

 

 

 

 

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*Why do writers give up, quit or never complete their projects?

I don’t think it’s only writers that give up. People give up in all careers and situations – the same as there are success stories everywhere in life. Giving up is not a milestone, it is a state of mind. We can achieve whatever we want so long as we believe it can be done, we believe we personally can do it; we start and then keep going, and resolve never to give up until it’s done. This is the mindset of success.

I love that statement!! Lovely. The mindset means a lot. Our state of mind throughout the process has a lot to do with it. Thanks for sharing. 

 

 

 

 

Change your mindset!

 

 

 

 

 

*What would you say to a struggling writer who’s given up?

Don’t be so dumb. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and looking to blame someone or something. And stop being so precious about whether it is a success or not. Set a date, stick to the date and get down to it. Keep going ‘til the end, and whether it is a best seller or spaghetti, pat yourself on the back for writing a book – because not everyone can do that…

Amen to that brother! I love the bluntness to this one. In other words, get ‘er done! Totally needed to hear that one. 

 

 

 

 

success

 

 

 

 

 

BONUS: What else do you have coming down the pike? 

I’ve got three other stories swimming around in my head. I have started on two of them. One is a prequel to Dup. A somewhat darkly humorous love story. Should be interesting…Beside that, life, life and more life – warm in the love of my family.

 

 

 

 

Thanks Gavin!

 

 

 

ME – GAVIN MILLS

 

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Gavin Mills started out studying Chemical Engineering before two year’s military service, becoming a 2nd lieutenant and serving as transport officer for 52 Battalion out of Ogongo in Namibia in the late ‘70s. Then into computers before giving up corporate life to become a professional dancer, performing first in South Africa and later in London, Paris, Spain and Portugal -some of the highlights being principal dancer in Moulin Rouge Paris France, Scala in Spain and Canary Islands, and Estoril Casino in Lisbon, Portugal. On returning to South Africa, he got into choreography, stage production and industrial theatre playing a significant role in voter education leading up to the historic SA 1994 elections. Then back to the corporate world focusing on event marketing and production. Today apart from his passion for storytelling, he also runs two successful

 

 

 

 

 

 

How can readers find out more about you and your work? Anyone wishing to find out more about me and my books can find me on Goodreads, my FB author’s page and Pinterest:

Goodreads | Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t be a stranger!

 

 

 

 

 

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Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

Discussing Plays, Novels, and Reading With Elena Hartwell

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Welcome to another edition of Forensic Lenses

 

An investigative and exploratory approach into the minds of voracious readers everywhere.

Please welcome novelist, playwright and teacher Elena Hartwell!

 

 

 

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Elena is the author of One Dead, Two to Go and Two Heads Are Deader Than One Both a part of the Eddie Shoes Mystery Series. She is also one of our wonderful participating authors in this year’s Mystery Thriller Week  event. Beginning Feb. 12-22. Don’t miss it!

 

 

 

 

 

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*Who influenced your reading habits the most as a child?

My parents taught me to love reading. I was read to extensively by both parents. My father would put his rocking chair in front of my and my older sister’s bedroom doors, and we would go to sleep to the sound of his voice and the shushing of the rocker on the hardwood floor. We read the Narnia series, the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Watership Down, all the great books. The other big influence I had as a child was my paternal grandmother. Granny read mysteries and westerns, she got me into those genres.


I love that they taught you a *love* of reading. That says much more than just reading itself. 

 

 

 

 

 

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*Who were your childhood heroes?

Nancy Drew. Misty of Chicoteague and the two kids who own her. Lucy in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Outside the literary world, probably Carl Jung. My parents had a Jungian library for a while. It was the 70s.


Oh wow. Carl Jung. I’ve been enjoying his work too, among others. ENFP’s rock!! Everyone’s heroes are unique.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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*What sort of books did you read as a teenager?

Mysteries – Tony Hillerman, Sue Grafton, I loved the Jean Auel Clan of the Cave Bear series. I read a lot of Sci-Fi – Robert Heinlein, Asimov,  Anne McCaffrey.


Lovely. I like Sci-fi too. Haven’t read Sue Grafton yet, unfortunately. 

 

 


*Any particular books that shaped you in this time period?

Watership Down was a big one. And The Hobbit. I use The Hobbit all the time when I teach story structure. Little House on the Prairie series, I wanted to be Laura Ingalls. Any book about horses, I’m still in love with them.


YES. I just listened to the Hobbit audiobook and it was wonderful. I got a better realization of the story this time around. 

 

 

 

 

“Reading changes us.”-T.Michael Martin

 

 

 

 

 

*How did you get into theater?

I dropped out of high school, so when I decided I was going back to school I had to start at a community college, because I didn’t qualify for a four-year. I started back, while working full-time as a bartender, and started with Spanish and Acting. Spanish because I’d need a language requirement and I’d been very good at it in high school. I grew up in San Diego, so there was a lot of Spanish spoken around me. I took Acting because I’d always thought it would be fun to try and I was easing into going back to school. I loved the acting class and went on to take every theater course Grossmont College offered, as well as working on a number of productions. I went on to get a theater minor at the University of San Diego, a M.Ed with an emphasis in teaching theater from UW-Tacoma, and a Ph.D. in dramatic theory and criticism from the University of Georgia. Throughout my educational years and beyond I continued to work professionally in theater and teach on the university level.


Very academic!  I’d love to hear one of your classes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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*Name the core elements of a play, and what is its purpose?

This could be answered a number of ways. I’m going to go with dialogue, conflict, and universality. Dialogue, because despite the fact there is action in plays and we go to watch them, not just hear them, the basis of a play is the text written by the playwright, primarily in dialogue. Conflict, because without conflict there’s nothing to overcome, and if there’s nothing to overcome, there’s no tension or rising action or character development, and universality because it is through the specificity of a character or event that makes the experience of going to see theater universal. We have the opportunity to realize we often struggle through the same issues, regardless of race, ethnicity, politics, or religion. I can watch a play about a black family and feel it resonate with my own experiences, even though I’m white. I can watch a play about gay issues or struggles of faith, and while I’m straight and agnostic, I can still find common ground with the characters. It also creates the opportunity to recognize our own prejudices and hopefully become more accepting and compassionate.


Very interesting. I’ve actually only been to one play so I don’t anything about the subject. Thanks for sharing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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*How does the structure differ from a novel?

I would argue it really doesn’t, except there are no intermissions in a novel. I often hear people talk about “Three-act structure” – but as a playwright and novelist, I think novels are like One-Act plays, not Three-Act plays.


Interesting. I wish I could pick your brain more about this subject! 

 

 

 

*Have you written any plays?

Several. I’ve been published and produced around the US, and parts of the UK and Canada.

 

Awesome. I wonder what happens next? Do you submit it to someone for casting?


 

 

 

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*Name your top 5 favorite characters.

Bilbo Baggins from JRR Tolkien. Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Pryor from Angels in America. Bosch from Michael Connolly. Kinsey Millhone from Sue Grafton.


YES. Bilbo Baggins is a wonderful reluctant hero. LOVE Bosch.

 


*Did your taste in books change while in college?

Nope.

 

Simplicity is bliss.



 

 

 

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*If all the books were going to be burned, yet you had your choice of three, which would you select?

The Oxford English Dictionary, Stephen King’s On Writing, and Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. Then we could write new ones.


Oh wow. This is s fascinating choice indeed. Then writing new ones! You have the right kind of spirit!!

 

 

 


*If you could pick any fictional character for a sibling who would it be? Brother or sister.

Merlin the Magician. He would be an awesome brother. Though Gandalf would be a close second.


I can see you love magic! Personally I’d take Gandalf.

 

 

 

 

 

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*Name your favorite modern authors and what you appreciate about them.

Dennis Lehane, he writes stand alones, a contemporary series, and historical, I love his breadth.  Gillian Flynn for her strong, unique voice and proof women can write terrible people too. Blake Crouch, I can’t put it into words why his books enthrall me so, but I can’t put them down once I start them. Sue Grafton for her sheer tenacity and so many years of wonderful books.


Historical fiction is now one of my favorites. Not so familiar with the others. At least I haven’t read them yet. (Don’t hate me).



 

*What books would you like to recommend to us?

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger, The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens, Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger, Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny, Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.


Awesome. I’ve come across William Kent Kreuger. Thanks for the recommendations!

 


 

 

 

 

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THANKS ELENA!

 

 

 

Don’t be a stranger…

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

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