Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Book Review of Watching You by Shannon Greenland

Viola’s always been that girl from that family, so a scholarship to a prestigious private school in Florida was supposed to be her ticket out of poverty and into a brand-new life. But Viola’s secrets have followed her. Her relationship with the intelligent and gorgeous Riel should have been the salvation she needed—he understands her troubled past better than anyone. But then weird things start to happen.

Frightening messages.

Missing personal items.

The unsettling feeling that she’s being watched.

Viola’s never been one to give her trust easily, but she’ll need to trust in Riel if she’s going to survive her stalker. Because she’s not fighting for a new life anymore—she’s fighting to stay alive.

*We were given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

This story made me both laugh and cry. Viola is someone who really goes after her goals and will do anything to make them happen. She easily becomes a well-liked main character you find yourself wanting to succeed. In a lot of ways Viola seemed wiser than the average 17-year-old, but given her background and personality, it makes sense. 

The stalker element to this story kept me on edge and wondering who her stalker could be. When the truth finally comes out it was someone I wasn't expecting but added another element to the story as a whole. 

I really enjoyed the writing style of Greenland and would love to read more novels by her. This book does have elements that could be triggers for people who have had traumatic experiences so be mindful of that. Anyone who enjoys reading YA, mysteries, and romance would enjoy this book!

Amazon   Goodreads 

Shannon Greenland is an award willing, bestselling author who writes action packed stories like her teen spy series, The Specialists, and contemporary teen novels of romance and suspense like Shadow of a Girl and Watching You. She also writes dark thrillers under the pen, S. E. Green.

Shannon lives in a small Florida beach town, has one very grouchy dog, and loves to travel. She’s also up for any adventure you might throw her way.

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Monday, August 27, 2018

What's in a Word? Part 2

Image source
"Omit needless words." —William Strunk Jr.

If we want our readers to hang on every word, we must remove unnecessary ones so they don't tire and drop along the way. Particularly when writing a thriller, every word must motivate our readers to progress to the next, otherwise why would they? Unless and until your work becomes an academic text, no one is required to read it. That’s reality, but it needn’t be discouraging. You can use this truth as a challenge to sharpen your hooks and add to your (hopefully) ever-growing toolbox.

Good writing does not automatically equal sales (sorry, more harsh reality), but it means that when someone picks up your work, they’ll have a harder time putting it down. If the quality is consistent throughout the piece, there’s every chance they’ll finish it. Conclude it effectively and you’ll leave readers not only wanting more, but sharing your story with a friend. That’s called organic growth. I imagine that few things are sweeter than setting your creation free and watching it soar.

Last month, in What’s in a Word? Part 1, we discussed how choosing the right word at the right time creates a powerful charge that will impact your readers. We also touched on leaving the wrong words out. For this, I shared an exercise on trimming redundancies for the sake of clarity, efficiency, and story immersion. I asked that you comment with your answers. No one did, and that’s OK, but I hope you at least gave it a go. As promised, I will share what I came up with.

We were to rewrite the following 62-word passage (provided by Jennie Ruby at editorialtraining.net) using as few words as possible, without losing the meaning:

You walk up to an ATM machine and enter your PIN number. While you are there, you print out a hard copy of your statement so you can check on the past history of your account. The reason you need a printout is because your total balance seems too high, and you want to make absolutely certain your rent check has cleared.

There are multiple ways to reduce this (some are glaring), but I got creative and was able to go from 62 words down to 8:

You audit your account. Did my rent clear?

Image source
It can be reduced to one sentence as well, but this achieves the objective. What’s the action? It’s you auditing your account. Why, and what account? To verify that your rent cleared, and the implication is that the account you’d check for this is your bank account. How you go about checking your balance isn’t important to the story, in this case. If I were telling a story about someone getting mugged while at the ATM, then I would need to include that detail. In this instance, that detail does not enhance the story. (Also, “ATM machine” is a common redundancy. ATM is an abbreviation of Automated Teller Machine. Since machine is already included, it doesn’t make sense to use it again. It’s not an Automated Teller Machine machine, it’s simply an ATM.) In the second sentence, I switch to italic to designate a character’s (your) thought. I have the option of including a thought tag, such as:

Did the rent clear? you wonder.

The tag (you wonder) does add clarity, but it isn’t necessary. It might even pull readers out of the narrative and remind them they’re reading a story rather than losing themselves in one. It’s a judgement call. Including the tag isn’t wrong, but it adds two words when I’m trying to use as few as possible.

According to my former professor (Stefan Petrucha), 8 words is about as low as it gets for this assignment. Can you think of other ways to get down around that word count?

Feel free to comment with your answer, and any questions or feedback. Stay tuned for next month’s post. Till then:

Stay inspired, be thrilled, and write on.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Cover Reveal for Bane of the Dragon King by J. Keller Ford with GIVEAWAY!

Hello Readers! Welcome to the Cover Reveal for
Bane of the Dragon King
(Chronicles of Fallhollow #3)
by J. Keller Ford
presented by Month9Books!
Celebrate this reveal by entering the giveaway found at the end of the post!
Fallhollow is at war. The sudden deaths of the only two heirs that could have saved it has plunged the entire land into chaos. Despite all the magic thrown at him, the Dragon King still lives. Hope for any sort of victory seems faint until Charlotte discovers a secret that could change the course of history.

Armed with the power to set things right, Charlotte embarks on a perilous journey with the sly and cunning Prince Izmayel Ascatar Venniver IV, Lord of the peaceful Edryd dragons. But her journey of peace is thwarted, and Hirth's most fearsome enemy plans to use Charlotte to destroy the kingdom and claim the universe as his own.

As Fallhollow and the Kingdom of Hirth descend into a battlefield of bloodshed and death, David, Trog, and the warriors of Hirth march toward war with an impossible plan to bring down the Dragon King, destroy his armies, and return the kingdom to its former glory. All they need is a little faith, a few extraordinary surprises, and a lot of magic of the most unexpected, generous kind.

This book is the final dramatic and magnificent conclusion to the Chronicles of Fallhollow trilogy.

Bane of the Dragon King
(Chronicles of Fallhollow #3)
by J. Keller Ford
Release Date: November 13, 2018
Publisher: Month9Books
Available for Pre-order:

J. (Jenny) Keller Ford is a scribbler of speculative fiction and YA tales. As an Army brat, she traveled the world and wandered the halls of some of Germany's most extraordinary castles in hopes of finding snarky dragons, chivalrous knights, and wondrous magic to permeate her imagination. What she found remains etched in her topsy-turvy mind and oozes out in sweeping tales of courage, sacrifice, honor and everlasting love.

When not torturing her keyboard or trying to silence the voices in her head, Jenny spends time collecting seashells, bowling, screaming on roller coasters and traveling. She is a mom to four magnificent and noble offspring, and currently lives in paradise on the west coast of Florida with a menagerie of royal pets, and her own quirky knight who was brave enough to marry her.

Jenny is the author of The Chronicles of Fallhollow series. The first two books, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING, and RAGE OF THE DRAGON KING, are currently available. The third and final book, BANE OF THE DRAGON KING, is due to release in the Fall 2018.
Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Book Review of The Alien Diaries by Glenn J. Devlin

While appraising old and rare books at a restored colonial plantation, a book collector stumbles across a series of diaries that chronicle an alien visitation in 1781.

A mysterious elderly stranger offers Colin Brayton, a bookstore owner, the job of appraising old books at a desolate colonial plantation. While working on the books, Colin stumbles across a series of diaries written in the late 1770s by fourteen-year-old Kate Dibble that chronicle an alien visitation.
Colin attempts to navigate a delicate balance between solving the mystery of the diary and simmering tensions with the beautiful, but aloof caretaker, Madeline Prentice. The strained relationship reaches a boiling point as a thunderstorm descends over the desolate property and prevents them from leaving. A malicious winged being emerges from the storm and demands the presence of The Ancient One in three days. When the diary hints of a buried spaceship, Colin and Maddy must put aside their differences to find the ship for their safety, and solve the mystery of the diary that hints at who The Ancient One is before the being seals their fate.

*We were given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

The Alien Diaries takes an interesting look at the alien invasion genre. Weaving between modern times and the late 1770’s, and birthing a mystery around visitors from another world. Asher, a very wealthy man, is able to set the story in motion by offering struggling characters (who seem like they need a win) enough money to set some of their troubles at ease. He hires Colin to appraise books, supervised by Maddy, who has worked for Asher in the past. But everything is not as it seems, and there are some rules that they must follow while their working, and that includes living as though it was the 1770’s at all times while on the plantation. 

The narrative does a good job creating questions and it manages to answer most of them. Devlin does a good job of building a backstory for both Colin and Maddy, and you can guess why they may have been chosen by Asher to go to this old colonial plantation. It made me wish he had delved a little deeper into their personality quirks and interactions between the two, as there is a romance aspect that seems a bit forced, but it still gives a good picture of who they are. The text is a bit clunky at times, and in need of a little editing, but still found the story intriguing - what was happening, what was going to happen next, and why. The growing mystery builds at a slow pace, not giving too much away too early, so you’re not left bored. There are some parts that are a little too slow, too descriptive and give a myriad of unneeded information, but they are written well, so it’s easy to get through. All in all, an enjoyable read that will have you guessing throughout! 

Amazon    Goodreads 

This review was done by MJ! You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram 

Ever since he began writing at the age of 10 in the basement of his parent's home, Glenn has been winning awards. Glenn wrote a short story in high school about talking houses that earned him first place where he won a pocket dictionary. Later he wrote a conspiracy novel about a secret formula hidden inside of Rubik's cube. The novel went nowhere but only whetted Glenn's appetite to write more. At Gallaudet, Glenn churned out countless short stories of horror and science fiction for the University newspaper, "The Buff and Blue." He went on to win the Mac Dougall Creative writing competition and the Lillian Gourley Rakon Creative Writing Awards. Taking a stab at screenwriting while in college, his first script, "Wrath of the Dragon," was a finalist at the 1988 Nissan Focus Screenplay competition sponsored by Columbia Pictures. His screenplay, "The Alien Diaries" was a finalist during Amazon's monthly screenwriting competition.

Glenn currently lives in Arizona with his wife, three children. He is currently working on his next novel.

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Book Review of The Artasin Heart by Dean Mayes

Hayden Luschcombe is a brilliant pediatrician living in Adelaide with his wife Bernadette, an ambitious event planner. His life consists of soul-wrenching days at the hospital and tedious evenings attending the lavish parties organized by Bernadette.

When an act of betrayal coincides with a traumatic confrontation, Hayden flees Adelaide, his life in ruins. His destination is Walhalla, nestled in Australia’s southern mountains, where he finds his childhood home falling apart. With nothing to return to, he stays, and begins to pick up the pieces of his life by fixing up the house his parents left behind.

A chance encounter with a precocious and deaf young girl introduces Hayden to Isabelle Sampi, a struggling artisan baker. While single-handedly raising her daughter, and trying to resurrect a bakery, Isabelle has no time for matters of the heart. Yet the presence of the handsome doctor challenges her resolve. Likewise, Hayden, protective of his own fractured heart, finds something in Isabelle that awakens dormant feelings of his own.

As their attraction grows, and the past threatens their chance at happiness, both Hayden and Isabelle will have to confront long-buried truths if they are ever to embrace a future.

*We were given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

This is such a heartwarming story. While Hayden is not perfect, he makes a great male lead in this romance novel. I really felt for him at the beginning of the story and cringed at the way his wife would treat him. Hayden was doing his best to show love and respect for his wife's work and demands but never received the same. 

When he leaves and goes back to his boyhood home we get to learn more about Hayden and his past. We also get to see him finally be treated and respected by those around him. This part made me wish I had a lonely cottage in the mountains to fix up and live a simple life in. Having been through something similar as Hayden his actions made sense to me and I found myself rooting for him the whole way through. 

If you enjoy a heartwarming romance with relatable characters you will love The Artasin Heart. Mayes does a masterful job of creating the heartache and pain caused by a ruined marriage and the hope that accompanies it. 

Amazon   Goodreads

When he emerged in 2010, Adelaide based Intensive Care Nurse and author Dean Mayes, had almost given up on the prospect of ever being published. by then in his 30's with several abortive writing attempts under his belt, Dean believed he had missed his opportunity. But Dean had an idea for one last story he wanted to tell and, rather than allow it to wither and die in his imagination, he decided to blog it instead.

Quite unexpectedly, Dean's blog took off and after a chance encounter with Canadian based publisher Central Avenue in mid 2009, Dean's dream like tale about a young man who discovers he has taken on the memories and dreams of a complete stranger, became his first novel. Dean was signed to an initial two year contract and in 2010 "The Hambledown Dream" was published. The novel has since gone on to receive global attention and critical acclaim.

Dean set about penning a follow up novel that was not merely a repeat performance and in 2012 "Gifts of the Peramangk" a powerful Australian family saga. Chronicling a dysfunctional Aboriginal family in the struggle streets of Adelaide's suburban fringe, "Gifts of the Peramangk" has been described as significant literary achievement. In October 2013, it was nominated as a finalist in the prestigious EPIC Awards for contemporary fiction.

Dean's third feature length novel, a psychological thriller set in Melbourne called "The Recipient", showcased his ability to cross genres and deliver a taut and gripping tome about a heart transplant patient who discovers her organ donor was a murder victim - and that the murder remains unsolved. 

Dean is currently editing his fourth novel, a return to his romantic roots, called "The Artisan Heart", which is scheduled for a September, 2018 release. 

He lives in Adelaide, Australia with his partner Emily, their two children Xavier and Lucy. An Intensive Care Nurse with over 15 years of clinical experience in adult, paediatric and neonatal medicine, he can often be found lying on a hospital gurney at 3 in the morning with a notebook in hand, madly scribbling ideas while on his break. 

Dean is represented by Michelle Halket and is published by Central Avenue Publishing of Vancouver, Canada.

Website   Twitter 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Summer Spotlight: The Clementine Toledano Mysteries

“With rocker chick Clementine Toledano, DeVore offers a flawed, fabulous and deeply human protagonist with the kind of baggage many women will recognize, so deeply connected to the bayou that the reader can smell the blue gum trees.”
— Deborah Grabien, author of The J.P. Kinkaid Chronicles

The Clementine Toledano Mysteries by W.E. DeVore

Trouble likes to follow New Orleans musician Clementine “Q” Toledano around – at least, that’s what her best friend, NOPD Homicide Detective Aaron Sanger likes to say. Q’s penchant for finding dead bodies and solving murders has gotten her into more than a few scrapes, but when you’re a natural-born investigator, it’s hard to keep your mind on music where it belongs.
Imbued with the frenetic liveliness and jovial madness that is the city of New Orleans, the Clementine Toledano Mysteries take the reader on a romp through the streets and rhythms of the Big Easy. The recurring cast of characters will charm the reader with their sarcastic wit, quick smiles, and good-natured humor – and at the heart of it all is Q.
Q is a talented musician from a family of justice warriors. A good Jewish girl who loves a good time. And a good friend who will always have your back… even if you’re charged with murder now and again.
Book I: That Old Devil Sin. Clementine “Q” Toledano is the seasoned front-woman of New Orleans jazz band QT and the Beasts. When her bass player is accused of murder, Q delves into the seedy underbelly of the Crescent City to prove his innocence and uncovers a secret that lands her on the hit list... and not the Top 40 kind.

Book II: Devil Take Me Down. New Orleans musician Clementine “Q” Toledano is on a roll: new home, new tunes, a newly minted fiancĂ©. But in a city where everyone knows someone who has died of unnatural causes, the good times don’t roll for long; and no one knows that better than Q. When a serial killer sets their sights on you, there’s only one thing to do: catch them first.

Book III: Chasing Those Devil Bones. New Orleans musician Clementine “Q” Toledano has more to worry about than a little rain canceling her performance at Jazz Fest. Her best friend has stumbled into an adulterous affair. Her mentor has six months to live. And someone may have tried to murder her college sweetheart - because nothing goes better with crawfish than an accidental cocaine overdose.

Book IV: The Devil’s Luck. New Orleans musician Clementine “Q” Toledano is having a hell of a day. After discovering she’s unexpectedly expecting her first child, she finds yet another dead body and manages to aggravate an unhinged fan. When both your career and your amateur sleuthing could get you killed, becoming a housewife doesn’t look so bad.

Book V: Until the Devil Weeps (Coming late 2018). New Orleans musician Clementine “Q” Toledano is no stranger to death, but when tragedy strikes, the piece of her that knew how to fight is paralyzed with grief. But when a ghost from her past turns up to burn what’s left of her world to the ground, she’s not going down without a fight.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Importance of the Red Herring


In every good murder mystery, it is important to choose your antagonist wisely. With a little careful planning, you can develop a smorgasbord of possible suspects from which your reader can choose their favorite candidate; dropping clues and motives and suspicious behavior; and the best part is: you can use your fellow mystery authors’ devices to your advantage.

In this Mystery Monday post, I’m going to take you through three common cons that I’ve found useful to deceive readers into thinking the plot was going to go sideways, zigging one way, when it was actually zagging another.

To avoid spoilers, I will not be referencing any of my books in this post to use as examples. You’re just going to have to trust me that these work well. Very well.

The Lifetime Movie Gambit

This one is easy because it plays on a plot structure that is used in so many predictable Made-For-Television movies that we all grew up watching, back before Hulu and Netflix ruined the genre by making them so damned good.

And you know this plot better than you think you do:
  • Act 1: Our lovely heroine is struck by a tragic event. The death of a loved one. A stalker making her life difficult. A vicious attack from which she must recover.
  • Act 2: Said lovely heroine meets a man. A wonderful man. A kind man. But she can’t see what the camera shows us and the clever film composer alludes to - there’s something off.
  • Act 3: The wonderful man isn’t wonderful at all. He’s the reason for her tragedy and she must fight him to save her life.

There are many variations on this plot. And the reason it became so popular is probably because Mary Higgins Clark did it so fucking well and so successfully in more than a few of her best sellers.

But we know this one. We’ve grown immune to its deception. We roll our eyes and say, “The dude did it. What is wrong with her? Nobody is that nice.”

Out of the Past

This makes it a great one to throw in as a distraction. Because most readers will gravitate towards you being trite. Don’t feel bad. Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane teed up Mary Higgins Clark with that whole Femme Fatale nonsense. MHC just changed up the play and the Lifetime Movie Network took the ball and ran with it.

All you have to do is not be trite. 

Sure, it’s fun to make the nice guy/gal really be the bad guy/gal and fuck with your main character’s emotions. But it’s predictable. A generation of authors has beat us all to the punch.

That doesn’t mean you can’t use it. It just means you’re going to have to be super cunning to pull it off.

For the rest of us, it does make a fabulous red herring to manipulate our reader into assuming the most obvious solution is the correct one. While we hide clues in plain sight pointing to the real killer.

The Stereotype Ploy

We all have biases. Gender bias. Sexual Orientation bias. And they’re not all bad. Hear me out on this. I am not advocating for you to cater to a reader's racist, sexist, or homophobic impulses. I’m talking about that other kind of bias.

I write what I like to call Feminist Noir™. My heroine is tough. Her husband is egalitarian as fuck. My readers, by and large, share my viewpoint. So, I know, for example, they’re not going to take issue with a drag queen. In fact, they’re going to have a natural impulse to defend her.

Let’s add fuel to that fiery impulse and make this drag queen incredibly charming. She’s talented and intelligent and witty and kind and the last person about whom any of my readers would ever think a nasty thought. Because they believe, as I do, that we’re all created equal and we all have the right to self-determination.

In the same novel, let’s add an ignorant white dude with anger issues. He pops off too easy. He says cruel and hurtful things. Maybe he drinks too much or has a drug problem. 

Who, I ask you, are they going to suspect more? The charming drag queen with the fabulous shoe collection?  Or the dick with the drug habit?

You following me, now?

The Stereotype Ploy allows you to play with society’s norms while leading your readers down the primrose path of distraction.

This is a James Patterson technique that’s brilliant. It’s the sweet and thoughtful cop who turns out to be a serial killer. It’s the caregiver who bakes the best chocolate chip cookies that happen to be slowly poisoning everyone around them. In other words, it’s the person you want to love. Usually, they’re also the underdog in some way. Maybe they’ve just gone through a divorce. Maybe they have a stutter. Some minor disadvantage that makes you root for them all the more.

But this works best when you throw in a character that is designed and developed to rouse the reader’s animosity. That’s when you really get them.

Which leads us directly to our next red herring technique…

The Douchebag Maneuver

The characters we love to hate are so much fun to write, making this technique a hell of a good time to create. For this to work, you have to develop a character has done something despicable that the reader will have a difficult time forgiving.

A mother who abandoned her children. A lawyer who defrauded their clients. 

They’re not a nice person. But, someone we do care about, usually our main character, cares for them. This horrible person who really annoys you and gives you a great big case of the blechs is important to the character who was designed for you to only love.

This is a tricky one, and super fun, because it can actually play out either way. It works whether the douchecanoe in question is the killer or not.

And here’s why: Gone Girl.

Gone Girl (Movie)
That’s right. Love it or hate it, you can thank the viral success of Gone Girl and the books that followed for this technique working so well. 

Your reader will not want to believe that you are being so derivative as to make this despicable person the killer while simultaneously making them hope that they are.

If you really want to cook their noodle, you can provide some acceptable motivation for this character’s douchebaggery. Maybe the mother didn’t leave her children at all; their father actually stole them from her. Maybe the lawyer defrauded clients who were horrible people themselves.

Now your readers are going to want the douchebag to be redeemed. And a desire for redemption is a powerfully manipulative emotion. Just ask anyone who’s ever been in a co-dependent relationship.

The trick here is the motivation revelation. If they are the killer, you’re going to have to draw this out a lot longer. Drop weird clues pointing to another viable suspect. Shift blame around. 

In this game, you are not drawing a straight line or even a squiggly one, you are drawing a perfect figure eight that leads the reader right back to their initial assumption.

Like I said, it’s a fun one.

And the cool thing about this technique is that if your characters are like mine and have a mind of their own? You can always pin the crime on another character and use your Douchebag Maneuver as a distraction.

Think about the movie Clue and its three endings. The movie was shot in such a way that two members of the cast of despicable idiots could have committed any of the crimes.

Actually, that movie uses all three of these schemes really well. And that’s because they work well when used in conjunction with one another. 

So, be creative. Be original. Break a rule or two. Crafting an interesting journey to the solution is the best way to ensure your novel is fresh and new. And even if a few of your readers see right through you? Make them glad they’re on that path with you. Because that’s part of the fun, isn’t it?

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Author Interview with Allan Lewis

Yesterday we posted a book review of Allan Lewis' novel Serial Killer Incorporated. After learning of Allan's inspiring story of how he became an author I wanted to ask him some questions to help inspire and encourage aspiring authors of any age. 

1. Have you always wanted to be an author/writer?

From my teenage days back in the 1950’s I wanted to write adventure stories that kept popping into my head, I would buy a copybook and start writing what I thought would be a good story and before I finished the first chapter I would give in because of my poor English and grammar would let me down. And when I started work and going out with the wife I kind of gave up on the idea of being an author, but the stories were still popping into my head.

2. What did you find to be the hardest part of the writing process? 

Writing a book is the easy part, the hardest part for me is the book marketing side of the business, and it does my head in. Hours of work every day and very little too show for it.

3. How did the story ideas for your series come about?

I wanted to write a crime series something like “Castle” and “Lie To Me” where someone from the public helps the police solve crimes, and I thought if my character could have a gift of reading the criminal’s mind, and passing on that information to the police then it would be something new. So I came up with the idea of Joe the Magic Man Series, in book one you find out how Joe gets his gift after a freak near-death accident.

This is a review one reader gave me and it explains a little more about my book.  

By ROBERT L PENCE on June 14, 2015

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Genre: Mystery, paranormal, erotic, gritty detective film noir.
Plot: A hypnotist bonds with Alice Timberlake and they form an alliance to use his talents to solve major crime mysteries, while eluding powerful government agencies that see his gift as a threat to national security and want him dead.
Review: A fascinating and very imaginative book about someone that can get in your dreams and guide them the way he wants. A hypnotist with telekinetic powers.
The author will keep you guessing up until the very end as to whether this person has good intentions or bad. The powerful hypnotist can be compared to Sherlock Holmes, not as a super deductive sleuth, but as someone solving mysteries with an addiction, sort of like kryptonite is to Superman. The hypnotist can be viewed as a perverted sex addict or as someone that provides erotic dream escapades. The women that receive the benefit of his dream therapy, or are victimized by his dream invasion, seem to fall under his spell and end up bonding with him. This goes contrary from the title as I felt that most of the women in the book didn't really want him out of their dreams.

Summary: This book will keep your interest all the way through. Good character development. Good plot development. Smooth writing. Maybe one grammatical error. Some British word references seem out of place for California, but do not deter from a good read. I could see this book easily made into a TV series.

4. What prompted you to start writing after you retired? 

I have been a coal miner all my working life and when I was busy filling drams of coal, those stories kept popping into my head day after day I would think about the story until thought it through to the end, and a week later I would come up with another story. The trouble was they were all in my head and not down in writing, and just after I retired my son asked me what am I going to do in my spare time, I told him that if my spelling and grammar wasn’t so poor I would try and write the stories that were in my mind. The very next day my son fetches me his old computer, and fixed it up and showed me how to use it, and said. Dad, there is a spellchecker that will correct your spelling, now write us those stories you have been telling us about. I wrote an adventure story first and then a crime story about a government assassin before I came up with the idea of Joe the Magic Man Series.

5. Has there been one character that is easier/ more fun to write than the others? 

One of the main charters in the series is Alice Timberlake a freelance journalist who ends up as Joe’s go-between with the FBI, and she finds out that part of Joe’s gift is to contact her telepathically at any time, and he frightens Alice every time he just speaks to her in her mind and no one near her can hear him. It freaks her out in the beginning but it is a big part of the story and it was enjoyable writing those scenes.

6. What plans do you have for the future? 

Book five in the series is still in the first draft and needs more work on it and hopefully will be out sometime next year. And I am working on book two in the series of “Joe’s Forbidden Dreams” and I am hoping to have that one out before Christmas.  Book one is out on Amazon and it is called “TALE OF THE INN KEEPER’S NIECE” it is an adult romance that has six, five stars review so far. ( myBoook.to/Jean1 ) This series is a spin-off from the first series where Joe uses his gift of getting into women’s minds, to take them on an erotic adventure. And I am thinking of doing a box set of the first three books of “GET OUT OF MY DREAMS”.

7. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

If I can hang up my shovel and pick, and start writing late in life then anyone can. So my advice is to follow your dream like I did. If you want to know more about me and my books, have a quick look at my website, allanjlewis.com     

Allan J Lewis was born in South Wales UK, a son of a coal miner, in August 1939, just before the outbreak of World War 2. 
He started work underground for the National Coal Board on his fifteenth birthday. He married in March 1961 and has two children, a daughter and a son, and two grandchildren.
Deep down he always wanted to be a writer but he felt thwarted by his lack of education. He would write a few pages and give up, frustrated by spelling and grammar. (This was before the days of personal computers.) As a young man he didn’t have much time to read or write. He was working two shifts on the coalface, and when his daughter came along he got himself another job as a part-time fireman.
By the time he was in his late forties and his two children had married, he found time to start reading again. He enjoyed the adventure novels of Wilbur Smith and the works of James Patterson and Lee Child. He loves a good crime thriller.
The pleasure he found in reading rekindled his desire to write.
He would create stories in his head, but did not put pen to paper in earnest until he retired. Allan has written two books a Mystery/Thriller and an Erotic/Romance. 

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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Book Review of Serial Killers Incorporated by Allan J. Lewis

Somewhere in the north-east of America, there is a serial killer on the loose, he abducts young women and keeps them as his sex slaves for a few months, before he shares them with his associate. They then kill the girls and leave them wrapped tidily in a blanket to be found the next day. 

The FBI believes the killer has murdered over forty women going back some twenty years because of the same MO, and they call him the Blanket Killer. 

When an eighteen-year-old girl, Natalie Lowe is abducted the FBI thinks it might be the killer’s latest victim, and they are eager to catch him before he tires of the girl and kills her and then moves on to his next victim. 

Frank Brubaker the Deputy Director of the FBI decides to use his new weapon to try and catch the killer. He has formed a secret task force of just two FBI Special Agents to work with two civilians, who are, the elusive crime fighter also known as Joe the Magic Man, who keeps his true identity a secret, even from his close associate Alice Timberlake, a free-lance journalist. Joe has a special gift; he can get into people’s minds and then into their dreams at night, where he can hypnotize them and once they are under his spell he can get them to tell him their innermost secrets, and they can’t lie to him. That’s exactly what the FBI wants Joe to do for them, get into criminals minds and have them spill the beans. 
Can Joe and his team catch the killers before they kill Natalie? 

*We were given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

I was excited to read more of this series after reading and reviewing Get Out of My Dreams, book one in this series. I jumped from book one to book four but the transition was seamless as each of these can be read as a standalone. 

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Joe the Magic Man in a new light. Joe was still the same, as he had not given up invading dreams for his own amusement, but this novel showed a new side of him for me when I learned he was working with the FBI this time. I also enjoyed the fact that Alice from book one is still around and working with Joe and the FBI as well. 

While this story has a dark premise, (please keep in mind if you have triggers) the hope and determination to find the Master kept me reading. This story is fast paced with new clues around each turn. 

I also appreciated the fact the moral side of what Joe does was brought up. While the FBI still used his gift, they still had some among them questioning if it was moral to do so. This added a realism and human element to the story.

If you enjoy reading mysteries, paranormal, or crime novels then you need to add Allen's Serial Killers Incorporated to your reading list-you will not be disappointed! 

Amazon   Goodreads 

Allan J Lewis was born in South Wales UK, a son of a coal miner, in August 1939, just before the outbreak of World War 2. 
He started work underground for the National Coal Board on his fifteenth birthday. He married in March 1961 and has two children, a daughter and a son, and two grandchildren.
Deep down he always wanted to be a writer but he felt thwarted by his lack of education. He would write a few pages and give up, frustrated by spelling and grammar. (This was before the days of personal computers.) As a young man he didn’t have much time to read or write. He was working two shifts on the coalface, and when his daughter came along he got himself another job as a part-time fireman.
By the time he was in his late forties and his two children had married, he found time to start reading again. He enjoyed the adventure novels of Wilbur Smith and the works of James Patterson and Lee Child. He loves a good crime thriller.
The pleasure he found in reading rekindled his desire to write.

He would create stories in his head, but did not put pen to paper in earnest until he retired. Allan has written two books a Mystery/Thriller and an Erotic/Romance.

Website   Twitter   Facebook   Pinterest  

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Too many fantasy elements

I'm sure everyone has read multiple different books about multiple different types of characters, right?
One has wizards, dwarfs, elves, and dragons. Others have vampires and werewolves, but it begs the question is there such a thing as too many races in one novel?

Speaking from experience my opinion is yes. However, most people I asked said that it depends on how it's weaved together and to makes sure they're all relevant.

Now I'm not saying it can't be done, because I'm sure there have been people who have intertwined all of them, I'm just saying for me it would be a bit much. From what I have noticed, most different races of fantasy creatures follow a big-time theme. Dungeons and dragons goes back to middle ages as well as elves or dwarfs.

But where would a mermaid fit in?

Now if the story tends to be a time traveling theme, that would help a lot!

When I first began writing Kaneji  I was guilty of putting too many races of creatures. It made me feel like I didn't think it out well enough as well as was just being lazy and throwing things out there, so I made some adjustments and made it work for me.

So I guess this post is mostly for writers instead of readers. Which is totally fine for us to remind ourselves that we need to do our due diligence and make sure our story correctly flows.