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REFLECTION ~ UP Authors Fiction Challenge Winner

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If you haven’t heard the fantastic news, REFLECTION, my debut romantic suspense won the UP Authors Fiction Challenge contest! I’m thrilled and was quite honestly surprised!

Click here and check out all the winning entries!

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“Cinematic writing, powerful visuals, sleek, fast, utterly sexy, notches above anything we have read before!” ~ UP Authors

BLURB

Florida investigative reporter, Whitney Steel, has lived in the shadow of her legendary father long enough. To prove herself she needs to find the “Big” story.

She found it.

Now it may kill her.

After Whitney receives a lead pointing to the world’s first cloned human, now a small child, she vows to unravel the truth. However, sifting through the facts proves to have dangerous results, including death threats and murder.

When Whitney is nearly killed, but is saved by undercover FBI Special Agent, Blake Neely, he refuses to let her get in the way of his own objective—at least not right away.

Caught in a lethal game between a billionaire obsessed with genetic perfection, his hit man’s thirst for retribution, and a Colombian drug lord fresh out of prison determined to make Blake pay for his twin brother’s death over a decade ago…

Can they save an innocent child before it’s too late?

Faced with tough choices, with deadly consequences for many—Whitney soon realizes that sometimes a story becomes more than just a story.

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Other Awards for REFLECTION

Silicon Valley RWA (Romance Writers of America) “Gotcha!” Romantic Suspense Winner! (2004)

Honourable Mention (Calgary’s Romance Writers of America) CARWA’s The Writer’s Voice Contest (2006) (Suspense Category)

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Where to Buy REFLECTION
MuseItUp Publishing | Amazon | AmazonUK | Bookstrand | Smashwords | CoffeeTime Romance | Omnilit | ARe | ibookstore | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Sony | iTunes

Available in paperback at Amazon & Createaspace

REFLECTION ~ Editorial Reviews from InD’Tale and BTSeMag

reflection333x500A reporter’s determination to expose an illegal human cloning project places an innocent child in the crosshairs of a master criminal.

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USA today

May 2013 – The book trailer for REFLECTION was featured in Robin Covington’s, Happy Ever After, Special for USA TODAY! Check it out here! A huge thank you to Robin!

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EMAG

June 2013 – REFLECTION received a 5 star review on page 71 of BTSeMag! Click here to read the magazine!

Review by Lori Zaleski (BTSeMag)

A pulse-pounding opening is just the beginning of the non-stop action in Reflection by Kim Cresswell. Whitney Steel is a headstrong investigative reporter who wants to expose the truth at all costs even while falling for Blake Neely, an undercover FBI Special Agent. As they work to take down an evil billionaire, the romantic tension builds until they give in to their desires. But, is a physical relationship enough for Whitney when she believes Blake is keeping something from her? Watching Whitney and Blake’s struggle to trust each other makes them an intriguing couple. Meanwhile, Cresswell works multiple storylines with stunning plot twists that keep the pages flying by.

Completely captivated with this romantic suspense, I could barely take a breath before reaching the high-octane climax. Cresswell masterfully ties up the major plot points while leaving the door open to revisiting these characters again. I, for one, hope she does.

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Indtale

June 2013 – REFLECTION reviewed a stellar 4 star review by InDTale Magazine!  Click here to read the full review!

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Where to Buy REFLECTION
MuseItUp Publishing | Amazon | AmazonUK | Bookstrand | Smashwords | CoffeeTime Romance | Omnilit | ARe | ibookstore | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Sony | iTunes

Available in paperback at Amazon & Createaspace

REFLECTION is UPAuthor Approved

UP Approved-1Thank you UPAuthors.com!

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Excerpt
Mason Bailey gulped down his third Glenlivet. “I didn’t kill her.”

How many times had Whitney Steel heard those words? Dozens. But never from the mouth of a United States senator. For all she cared, the man could drink himself to Mars, but not until she got what she’d come for. An exclusive.

Under the awning shading the Pink Flamingo Club’s patio, she took a sip of her lime daiquiri, and couldn’t help notice the way the mid-afternoon sunlight brutally magnified every line on Mason’s tanned face.

“Of all the reporters in Panama City, let alone Florida, why me? We cut our ties years ago.” And our losses, she wanted to say, but didn’t.

“I know I can trust you.” His gaze darted across the street then back to her. “Besides, we were married once. That should count for something.”

Whitney straightened. Anger coiled in the pit of her stomach. “Give me a break. For a year and a half, I thought we were married. Too bad your girlfriends didn’t know about our little legal arrangement.” Especially, your twenty something assistant.

“Damn it, Whitney. I didn’t ask you here to rehash our past.” He yanked a monogrammed handkerchief from his jacket pocket and dabbed the sweat from his forehead. “I need your help. I know why Carmen Lacey was murdered.”

Her eyes widened. Now they were getting somewhere. “You have my full attention. Are we on the record?”

Mason shoved his empty glass aside. “Yes.”

Her heart thumped with anticipation. This story would be the topic du jour for months. Her ratings at WBNN-TV would soar, and finally her colleagues would take notice and treat her with the professional respect she deserved.

For the past twelve years, her colleagues said she’d had a free ride because of her father, an award winning war correspondent, and her ex-husband’s political connections. This time she’d prove them wrong.

She rummaged through her leather bag, placed her digital voice recorder on the table and gave the record button a firm push. “For the record, Senator Bailey, did you kill Carmen Lacey?”

“No.” He leaned back in the chair and loosened his pinstriped tie. “It’s true. I was the last person to see her alive. But there’s more to this than you think.”

Brown eyes that once set her heart hammering now conveyed a chilling,hollow look. Was it guilt? Desperation?

No. Fear.

Uneasiness slid down her spine. She stopped the recorder. “Mason, you’re scaring me. What the hell is going on? It’s been over three years since we last spoke. Then, out of the blue, you beg me to meet with you today. I know the police don’t believe you killed that woman.”

“But do you, Whitney? Do you believe I killed her? I need to know. It’s important.”

Stunned by the urgency in his voice, she answered carefully. “Of course not. You’re many things, but you’re not a killer.”

“Thank you. That means a lot to me.” He reached for his empty glass and tapped his chunky gold ring against the side.

Whitney turned the recorder on again.

“Carmen was a scientist working for a biotech company in Nevada. ShawBioGen. Heard of it?”

“Who hasn’t? They were one of the first to clone animals in the eighties. Caused quite a stir. But I don’t understand. What does that have to do with
Carmen’s death?”

He opened his mouth to answer.

The large window behind them dividing the patio from the main restaurant exploded. A storm of glass rained down, showering the patio.

There was no warning. Everything moved so fast, yet in slow motion as if part of a horrid nightmare.

Screams. Rushed, heavy, thumping footsteps.

A few feet away, a male waiter dropped the two plates of food in his hands. He froze.

“Get down!” Mason yelled.

Whitney dropped. She huddled into a ball under the table and squashed the side of her face against the patio stones. Amid the chaos, a gunshot echoed and the waiter ran for cover.

A bullet ripped through the man’s shoulder and spun him around, the force slamming his body against the restaurant door. He folded to his knees and howled out in pain.

More shots rang out. Debris spewed through the air. Food, glasses, plates. The sickening smell of deep fried food and scorched cordite assaulted her nostrils. She gagged.

Crimson snaked toward her hand. The warm, sticky liquid met her fingertips.

Blood. Lots of blood. But it wasn’t hers.

Her gaze snapped to Mason, lying on his back. Dark red blood pumped from a gaping wound in his chest, soaking his white shirt. She held her breath to keep from screaming.

He raised his arm and reached for her. “I swear—I didn’t kill her. I swear.”

“I believe you.” Whitney kept her head down and inched her body closer. She grasped his hand. “I do. Oh, God.”

Please don’t die. Her pulse roared so loud in her ears she couldn’t hear her own words. “You’re bleeding so much. Someone help us!”

Another bullet whizzed through the air and slammed into the bottom of the wooden table leg.

Needle-like splinters from the wood slashed through her pants and drilled into her thigh like a hundred slivers. The pain knocked the breath from her. The world twisted and turned yellow. Darkness thickened and threatened to overpower her.

Can’t pass out…help Mason.

He gasped a ragged breath and shoved a key into her bloody palm and curled her fingers closed. “Don’t trust—anyone.”

She clutched the piece of metal. A knot wedged in her throat, one she couldn’t swallow. “I’m going to get help.”

“No—stay.” Blood bubbled at the corners of his mouth and trickled down his jaw. “They cloned…”

His eyelids slid shut.

“What Mason? They cloned what?”

Whitney lowered her head to his chest. “Oh, Mason, no.”

Reflection © 2013 by Kim Cresswell

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Praise

“Action packed from page one…an impressively laid out passionate thrill ride!” -InD’Tale Magazine

“I was looking forward to reading about Whitney and Blake. I anticipated a Booth and Bones relationship (from the Bones TV Series) and I wasn’t wrong…this book is definitely worth reading.” –Quality Reads UK Book Club

“A brilliant mixture of action, romance and mystery. Well worth a read…a very tough book to put down.” Jeep Diva

“Five-star page-turner! A truly edge-of-your-seat, never-a-dull-moment read! Reflection has a dramatic start and just never slows down.” Ellen Fritz at Books4Tomorrow

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Where to Buy
MuseItUp Publishing | Amazon | AmazonUK | Bookstrand | Smashwords | CoffeeTime Romance | Omnilit | ARe | ibookstore | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Sony

Available in paperback at Amazon & Createaspace

Book Talk Tuesdays: Guest Interview with J.D. Brown

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Please welcome J.D. Brown, urban fantasy author of Dark Heirloom and Dark Liaision

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What are your book about?

Dark Heirloom follows the misadventure of a young woman named Ema Marx as she stumbles fangs-first into the world of vampyrism. She has no idea how she became a vampyre, but she’s convinced the guy who kidnapped her is to blame. Yet, he keeps asking her how it happened, as if she has any clue. Just yesterday she was happily living life not knowing they even existed. Dark Liaison (which comes out next week!!!) is the sequel where Ema has to fight a major baddy that she accidently unleashed in the first book.

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What inspired you to write this particular story?
I really love vampires, ever since I read The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice, but more recent works (well, they’re not so recent any more. Think pre-Twilight) always seemed to focus on the clumsy fragile human and I was tired of it. I wanted to read a book there the vampire was the main character, and all the other characters where vampires too. Really, I just wanted to give my readers an “up close and personal” look at what I thought the vampire world might be like.

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Describe your writing in three words.
Sarcastic, exaggerated, dramatic.

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Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?
Oh God. You know, I used to preach about outlines and organization, but at this point in my creative career, I just hand the pen over to my main character without even putting up a fight. I just sit back and watch the chaos happen and then try to clean up the mess later. Haha. I don’t recommend it.

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Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know?
No. There may be a few bits and pieces of people I know mashed in there, but individually my characters are 100% their own.

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Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you?
No, but I did feel horrible for killing them only because I feel so emotionally close to my characters. I’ve spent so much time with them, it’s hard not to cry when they die.

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If your book was made into a TV series or movie, which actors would you choose to play your main characters?
Mila Kunis would play Ema Marx. I adore Mila and she has the right looks and personality to pull off Ema. As for the guys, I really have no clue. My sister and I talk about it sometimes just for fun and neither of us can ever come up with an actor right for the part. Some of my fans have suggested Ian Somerhalder, but I think it’s only because he’s so hot right now.Some of my fans have suggested Ian Somerhalder, but I think it’s only because he’s so hot right now.

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Who gets to read your drafts before they’re published?
My critique group is made up of different people who get to read it at different stages. My alpha readers are my two best friends and authors, Charlene Wilson, and Anastasia Pergakis. They’re the ones that keep me on task through the first draft and revisions. Then I send it off to my beta readers – my fans! Some of them are authors and editors, like Kay Dee Royal, but a couple others are just normal reader folks who I met online and have grown to love because they’ve been so supportive! I really love my readers and I really value their feedback.

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What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled?
Umm…I really rather not say….

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What projects are you working on now?
I’m working on writing the third book the Ema Marx series titled Dark Becoming. I’m also working on a prequel novella titled Athena’s Oracle that stars two of the side characters from Dark Heirloom and takes place in ancient Athens. I’m hoping to make it a web series, but at this early point everything is still up in the air. I’m also working on YA Paranormal Romance tentatively called Crescent Hill High School.

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Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?
Be kind, rewind. Follow your dreams, and all that good stuff.

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Where can readers find you and your books online?

Tag Line: She wasn’t bitten. She’s not undead. So how did Ema Marx become a vampire?

Blurb: “You’re a vampire” is so not what Ema Marx wants to hear when she wakes from a two-day coma in a cryptic yet exquisite castle in northern Finland. Unfortunately, it explains a lot. Like why she’s able to see in the dark and walk through solid objects. What she doesn’t understand is why the other vampires expect her to have all the answers. It’s their fault she turned into one of them…right?

Jalmari’s hatred for his old-man intensifies when he’s ordered to bring that troublesome girl to their castle. He has a clan to run, there’s no time for babysitting newborn vampires no matter how they were converted to their culture. But when a two-thousand-year-old premonition threatens to take the crown and his life, Jalmari sees no other choice than to take out the catalyst. Ema Marx. Fortunately for Ema, she could also be the clan’s only savior.

The race to figure out her vampiric origins is on. And maybe she’ll get the hang of the blood-drinking gig along the way…

Buy Links:

Chapter One

A scream tore from my throat. The rapid slap of my sneakers against asphalt echoed through the alley. Wind ripped my hair and coat back as if trying to halt my escape. A chain link fence rose in the distance as I neared the end of the alley. Shit. I could have sworn this one opened to Clark Street.

Thud.

I froze. My heart pounded in my ears. Tears fell as I closed my eyes. Please, please, God…

His heinous laugh drowned out my ragged breath. Caught at a dead end, I had no choice but to turn and face him. He stood in the shadows, the darkness of his attire blended in with the night. Only the glow of his emerald-colored eyes gave him away.

Think, I shouted to myself. What does he want? My purse? My money? With a shaky hand, I pulled my wallet from my bag and flung it at him. He shifted his weight, dodging the wallet in one simple move. I stared like an idiot as it landed in the gutter behind him. Why is he chasing me if he doesn’t want my money? What else could he want?

He grinned, bearing a set of abnormally sharp, fluorescent-white teeth. Who the hell is this freak? He stepped toward me. My fists clenched as I stepped back. He took another step forward. My back pressed against the cold metal of the fence. Tears blurred my vision and fell as ice melted through the back of my coat. Chills rolled down my spine, sending a quiver to my lip. I swallowed the lump of panic building in my throat. “Leave me alone!”

He kept advancing, his eyes locked on my face, his gait slow with one foot in front of the other, like a cat. I shoved a trembling hand in my purse in search of my pepper spray. He snatched my wrist and yanked me to my knees. The contents of my purse spilled and scattered.

“What makes you think I want anything from you?” he sneered.

My chest heaved as I pushed myself up. From the corner of my eye, I glanced at the mouth of the alley, now behind me.

He scoffed. “You think you can run? Go ahead, mouse. Run.”

I did.

I was almost to the street when a thick shadow dropped from the sky. Two rock-solid fists shoved my chest. I fell backward. My head hit the pavement. Stars danced in the periphery of my vision as I struggled to sit up, but my limbs moved in slow motion.

Two hands, each finger adorned by a silver ring, gripped my shoulders and lifted me. My back hit something solid and cold—a brick wall. My feet dangled above the ground. He held me at eye level; his sour breath churned my stomach as his face inched closer to mine.

“I know what you’re thinking.” His voice was deep, smooth, as he rolled his R’s. “You’ve done nothing wrong. Nevertheless, once you kill one rat, you have to kill them all. Even a little mouse like yourself.”

My blood drained at the utterance of the word kill. I squirmed in his grasp. “Please, don’t hurt me.”

He clenched my jaw with one hand as his fingernails dug into my skin. I cried not from the pain, but from fear.

“Would you like to know a secret?” His hot breath caused bile to rise in my throat. “Only you disgusting rats can see our eyes glow. I’m sure you knew that already. I’m sure your mother told you the stories. I’ll bet you didn’t listen to her. I bet you thought they were just fairy tales and bad dreams, hmm?”

I had no idea what he was talking about. I concentrated on finding a way out of his grip, hoping his guard would slip while he continued his monologue.

“You know, when you find one rat, there are a dozen more in the nest.” He tightened his grasp. “Where’s your rathole, eh little mouse?”

“Let me go!” Pain manifested in every inch of my face. My jaw throbbed and my head spun. A stiff ache cut through my spine. Fear and cold shook my core. Exhaustion weighed down my struggling limbs. I just wanted it to end.

He studied my face for a moment, a frown tugged at his lips. “Very well.”

He released my jaw then reached back under his jacket. The sound of sharp metal being unsheathed pierced the night as he drew out a long silver dagger. My eyes widened at the emblems engraved on every inch of the blade and handle. I recognized them as Norse in origin. I also recognized the precise way in which he held the dagger level with my left rib cage. He’s going to stab me in the heart.

Author Pic 2012

J.D. Brown writes Urban Fantasy for MuseItUp Publishing, as well as a monthly “how-to” newsletter column for PDMI Freelance Publishing. She graduated from The International Academy of Design and Technology with a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts and currently lives in Wisconsin with her two Pomeranians. J.D. loves paranormal characters; from vampires and werewolves, demons and angels, to witches and ghost. She is a self-proclaimed expert in vampire and Greek mythology. Her writings are often a combination of suspense and romance. J.D. enjoys helping her fellow writers and interacting with her fans and leads an active life on the web.

Author’s Social Network Links:

Video Trailers:

No Strings Attached Blog Hop

no strings MayThe No Strings Attached Giveaway Hop is here!

I’m giving away 3 eBook copies of my award-winning debut romantic suspense, REFLECTION, to three lucky winners!

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Silicon Valley’s Romance Writers of America (RWA) “Gotcha!” Romantic Suspense Winner! (2004)

WARNING: This book contains graphic language, sexual situations, and violence.

BLURB

Florida investigative reporter, Whitney Steel, has lived in the shadow of her legendary father long enough. To prove herself she needs to find the “Big” story.

She found it.

Now it may kill her.

After Whitney receives a lead pointing to the world’s first cloned human, now a small child, she vows to unravel the truth. However, sifting through the facts proves to have dangerous results, including death threats and murder.

When Whitney is nearly killed, but is saved by undercover FBI Special Agent, Blake Neely, he refuses to let her get in the way of his own objective—at least not right away.

Caught in a lethal game between a billionaire obsessed with genetic perfection, his hit man’s thirst for retribution, and a Colombian drug lord fresh out of prison determined to make Blake pay for his twin brother’s death over a decade ago…

Can they save an innocent child before it’s too late?

Faced with tough choices, with deadly consequences for many—Whitney soon realizes that sometimes a story becomes more than just a story.

~

The trailer for REFLECTION was recently featured in Robin Covington’s, Happy Ever After, Special for USA TODAY!  Click here to check out the book trailer!

USA today~

“I was looking forward to reading about Whitney and Blake. I anticipated a Booth and Bones relationship (from the Bones TV Series) and I wasn’t wrong…this book is definitely worth reading.” –Quality Reads UK Book Club

“A brilliant mixture of action, romance and mystery. Well worth a read…a very tough book to put down.” Jeep Diva

“Five-star page-turner! A truly edge-of-your-seat, never-a-dull-moment read! Reflection has a dramatic start and just never slows down.” Ellen Fritz at Books4Tomorrow

“Fast-paced…gripping…riveting!” -Bestselling True Crime Author, RJ Parker

Where to Buy
MuseItUp Publishing | Amazon | AmazonUK | Bookstrand | Smashwords | CoffeeTime Romance | Omnilit | ARe | ibookstore | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Sony

Available in paperback at Amazon & Createaspace

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****Enter the Giveaway!****

Don’t forget to visit all the wonderful bloggers and authors participating!

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Meet Maeryn and Deirdre from Quest of the Hart & Giveaway!

Hey readers! Please welcome Mary Waibel, author of Quest of the Hart, her newly released young adult novel! Today she’s interviewing Maeryn and Deirdre! Check it out!

Cover Quest of the Hart 300dpi

Me: Oh, look! I’ve managed to find Ladies Maeryn and Deirdre, Princess Arabella’s close friends, here in the library. Excuse me, ladies, but would you care to share a bit about the princess?

Maeryn: Princess Arabella? Certainly. She’s beautiful, talented.

Deirdre: Oh, y-yes. (She bobs her head.) Tell about the tournament.

Me: Oh, a tournament? Did she give her favor to the winning knight?

M: (Snorts) No, the princess faced off against the best of the realm, defeating knights with swords and bow. If only her father would have allowed her to do hand-to-hand combat, she would have been champion. Instead, Prince Devlin was.

D: Hmm. Pr-Prince D-Devlin. (Her face takes on a dreamy look.)

M: I tell you, King Gareth should reconsider his heir. Breniera would do much better with Arabella ruling.

D: I d-don’t know, M-Maeryn. She’s so bl-blood thirsty. We’d pr-probably be at w-war all the t-time.

M: True, she can be quite determined to get her way. Sometimes I wonder why I spend time with her. I mean, I know we’re the only noble girls close to her age, but she can be quite mean when she wants to. Of course, without her, we’d be quite lonely.

D: Y-Yes, we w-would. (She looks outside and gasps.) Oh, m-my! W-we’re l-late!

M: (Jumps to her feet and grabs hold of her sister.) Sorry, but we have to leave. The princess is expecting us to help with her latest plans to take the throne from her brother. This one’s a special spell.

Me: Wait! I don’t want you to be late, but what kind of spell are you talking about?

M: I can’t say, really. Don’t want to spoil it. I’m sure you’ll hear all about it soon! (They hurry from the room.)

Me: I guess we’ll just have to read Quest of the Hart to see what that was all about!

****Enter to win an eBook of Quest of the Hart!****

Author Photo- Mary Waibel

Mary lives with her husband, son and two cats. When she isn’t twisting fairytales, she enjoys reading, playing games, watching hockey, and camping. Her debut novel, Quest of the Hart, will be available from MuseItUp Publishing April 19, 2013. Charmed Memories, a companion novel, will be available from MuseItUp Publishing in August 2013

You can find Mary Waibel at:

http://marywaibel.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/authormarywaibel

@mewtweety14 (twitter)

*Buy Links

MuseItUp Publishing

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

*Book Trailers

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5SvEAbFQtE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3d-ohY2CEVo

Book Talk Tuesdays: Guest Interview with Philip Coleman & Giveaway!

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Please welcome Philip Coleman author of the young adult thriller, The Masters Book!


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What is your book about?

The Master’s Book” concerns Sean, an Irish teenager just arrived in Brussels with his family, only to discover that the previous owner of their house was murdered. He befriends a pretty classmate called Stephanie. Together they discover a very rare illuminated manuscript in Sean’s basement, which is then stolen, leading to a paper chase and several murders.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

I lived in Brussels for several years when my own children were growing up and it was a particularly happy time. Despite its reputation as a boring city, parts are very lively and there is much history associated with it and the surrounding region. I want to recapture these elements.

Describe your writing in three words.

Two words – character-driven!

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

No, I’m afraid. I try to sketch out a scenario but I rarely stick to it, letting the characters find their own way. So a good deal of rewriting is needed.

Are your characters in the book based on anyone you know?

Not the main ones, except that Stephanie’s physical appearance is based on some of the very pretty mixed race girls that were classmates of my children. And the crabby neighbour is completely real.

Have you ever had difficulty “killing off” a character because she or he was so intriguing and full of possibility for you?

Not in this story but yes in others.

If your book was made into a TV series or movie, which actors would you choose to play your main characters?

I really can’t think of anyone for Sean. Quvenzhané Wallis could play Stephanie when she is a little older!

Who gets to read your drafts before they’re published?

Mainly my partner, Magdalena, and writer friends whom I trust.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve Googled?

Myself! Not my pen-name but my real one – and there are quite a number of hits for it!

What projects are you working on now?

I’m working on a sequel to “The Master’s Book”, concerning a disappearance that is traced back to the Rwandan genocide.

Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?

I’d love feedback on this interview. I will offer a free copy of the book to the person who comments first on this interview.

Where can readers find you and your books online?

MuseItUp Publishing

Amazon

Sean moves to Brussels to a house that is a crime scene…

In 1482 Mary, the last Duchess of Burgundy, lies on her deathbed in a castle in Flanders. She is only 24. In her final moments she makes a wish that, 500 years later, will threaten the lives of a boy and a girl living in Brussels.

The Master’s Book is the story of Sean, an Irish teenager, just arrived in Brussels to a house that is also a crime scene. Together with Stephanie, his classmate, he finds an illuminated manuscript, only for it to be stolen almost at once.

Where did this manuscript come from? Who was it originally made for? Is there a connection with the beautiful tomb Sean has seen in Bruges? Above all, why does someone want this book so badly that they are prepared to kill for it?

Part thriller and part paper-chase, this book is aimed at boys and girls of twelve and over.

So tell me more about this murder.”

What am I to say? I’d love to tell her what I found this morning, but can I trust her?

“There’s not really much more to tell,” I said. “The house was ransacked, but we don’t know what they were looking for.”

“Hmm. So you don’t think there’s still something hidden somewhere in the house?”

She’s near the mark.

“No, I’m sure there isn’t,” I said, trying to hide my surprise.

“Oh, come on.” She poked my shoulder. “You realise you’ve missed a chance to make up a really good story.”

The laugh I gave mustn’t have been very convincing, maybe because I’d fixed my gaze on the floor. She stared hard at me and suddenly gave me a nudge.

“You’re not telling me everything, you sly thing,” she cried. “You did find something. You were trying to keep it a secret, weren’t you?”

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Philip Coleman has worked as a biologist for most of his lifein Ireland, Belgium and now in Switzerland. Having been an avid reader all his life, he took up writing only in 2006. This is his first published novel. He drew his inspiration for the story from the period he spent working for the EU in Brussels. He has a grown-up son and daughter (who were roughly the same ages as Sean and Maeve during the time in Brussels but otherwise aren’t a bit like them at all!). He now lives in France.