Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A Colonial Romance/Mystery - Dangerous Indenture - by Kelli A. Wilkins



Hi everyone,

Today I’m sharing a look at the making of my historical romance, Dangerous Indenture. I’ll discuss how the book came about, the research involved, and how I created these unique characters.
As most readers know, I write romances in nearly every genre: contemporary, historical, fantasy, gay, and paranormal. When I write historical romances I never know where (or when) my story will take me. Redemption from a Dark Past is set in the kingdom of Hungary, Loving a Wild Stranger is a pioneer romance set in 1823, and Dangerous Indenture is a sensual historical/mystery set in Pennsylvania Colony in the early 1700s.
Here’s the book summary and links:

Dangerous Indenture
Indentured for five years… how long can Shauna resist her master’s son?
Desperate to escape her past in Ireland, Shauna Farrow signs on to become an indentured servant to Joshua Stewart, a wealthy man in Pennsylvania Colony. But a life of servitude quickly turns to drudgery, and Shauna’s hopes for starting over and creating a better life for herself are waning—until she meets her master’s roguish son, Ashton.
Ashton needs to redeem himself in his father’s eyes and earn the respect he has always longed for. Meeting Shauna turns his life around, and he sets out to win her heart. Torn between propriety and passion, Shauna struggles against her growing attraction to Ashton as long as she can.
But amidst their flirting, something dark stirs. Shauna soon discovers why no other servants wanted to work for the strange Stewart family.
Stewart House has an unsavory reputation: a previous servant died there under mysterious circumstances. When another servant goes missing in the middle of the night, Shauna is convinced that a member of the family is responsible.
Shauna’s investigation leads her close to the truth, and yet, she’s not sure who she can trust. Events take a deadly turn when she confronts the murderer and discovers the mystery of the Stewart family. 

Will Shauna be rescued before time runs out, or will she meet with the same fate as the other servants? 
You can order Dangerous Indenture here:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PJVQ7XJ
All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/3JyROP

***
So, how did the novel come about? Dangerous Indenture is one of those books that just jumped into my head. (Yes, every so often that happens to writers.) One day, I overheard the name Shawna Farrell, but I thought I’d heard Shauna Farrow. The name stuck with me and I wrote it down.
A few minutes later, I knew all about her: she was an Irish indentured servant who came to Pennsylvania Colony and worked at a house where a previous servant was murdered. Once I knew that, I started outlining the book.
Before I wrote a word, I did a lot of research. I was starting from a good place with the book—I knew where I wanted to set the story and in approximately what timeframe it should take place.
From there, I spent time in the library going through history books, reading up on Colonial times (What life was like, what people wore, ate, etc.) and indentured servants (Where did they come from? Why did they leave their home country?).
As I wrote, I incorporated my research as background information. This gives the book a rich, historical feel without going overboard with details that slow down a scene or are of no interest to readers.
When I’m writing historical romances, I include details and descriptions that are integral to the story. I don’t bog down the plot with a step-by-step procedure for churning butter or how to saddle a horse, and I don’t go into an endless description of how to unfasten a corset (unless it’s befuddling a hero who is eager to remove it!)
And just because historical romances are set in time periods before cars, the Internet, and cell phones, that doesn’t (or shouldn’t) make them boring. My historicals include plenty of action, adventure, intrigue, danger, comedy, and sensual love scenes.
When I wrote Dangerous Indenture, I especially enjoyed creating the characters and setting the stage for the drama that’s about to unfold. Right from the start, we’re told that Stewart House is a place to be wary of, and then we (and Shauna) meet the master of the house, Joshua Stewart, and his strange family.
Our hero, Ashton Bailey, is flawed and has a lot of problems to overcome. For starters, he’s known as the black sheep of the family and has been sent home in disgrace. He has a reputation as a drunkard and a womanizer, and tends to get himself into troubling situations. By giving Ashton all this “baggage” I made him vulnerable and provided him with lofty goals to reach.
Shauna has come to the Colonies to start over and make a new life for herself. The last thing she wants is to fall in love with anyone—and then she meets Ashton. Shauna is headstrong and independent, and not your typical heroine. She’s brash and opinionated and falls in love with Ashton despite all of his socially unacceptable flaws. Ashton gives her the strength and encouragement she needs to keep going when things look bleak, and he stands up for her at a critical plot point in the story.
When I developed the secondary characters, I made sure to give them all interesting backstories and unusual quirks. Joshua comes off as a mean bear of a man, Minerva just might be crazy (and a murderer), Colin is… a villain in many senses of the word, and Lila thought she had everything going for her—for a while. Not everyone in Stewart House is as they seem, however, and this adds another level of mystery and intrigue to the book.
I love the characters and the fact that Dangerous Indenture is a romance blended with mystery. I had never written a romance set in Colonial times before, and combining all these elements into this Gothic-type story was a lot of fun.
I hope you enjoyed this inside look at the making of Dangerous Indenture. I welcome comments and questions from readers. Be sure to follow my blog for the latest updates and visit me on social media.
Happy Reading,
Kelli A. Wilkins

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, 5 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.
Her historical romance, Dangerous Indenture, was released in March 2019. This full-length novel is set in Pennsylvania Colony and blends a sensual romance with mystery and suspense.

She published the second half of her flash fiction series, Cupid’s Schemes, in early 2019. These two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.
Kelli released her latest Teachable mini-course, Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas in February 2019. She authored Fiction Writing for Beginners through Teachable in 2018. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. 
Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.
If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her latest novella, Nightmare in the North.
Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins 
Visit her website www.KelliWilkins.com 
and blog http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/ to learn more about all of her writings.

CATCH UP WITH KELLI


Facebook Historical Romances:
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb
Teachable Online Writing Courses: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

CASTING STONES by JAY BECK


Jay Beck has continued writing about the fascinating adventures of political consultant, Mark Young,  in his next book, "Casting Stones." Set in Greece during the 1985 elections, the historical novel pits the United States against the Soviet Union in a battle over Greece's future political economic soul. The novel is set in the turbulent times of airline hijackings, terror bombing and assassinations. The Soviet KGB, Greek secret police and terrorists all conspire against Mark Young as he tries to win a national election while simultaneously rescuing the most valuable ancient sculpture ever created. Mark is torn between the turmoil in Greece and a critical situation threatening to end his relationship with his girlfriend, Vicki back in Washington, D.C. All of these diverse threads come together in an unexpected and thrilling conclusion. Buy on







Amazon Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Website


 By writing fiction, I’ve try to expand on my history and the events I have observed. I still have a long way to go in tapping into all of that rich material, particularly since politics and entertainment so often go hand in hand, as I hope I have demonstrated in my work. These will be exciting areas for me
to investigate and discuss while I continue to write about them. As I mentioned earlier, the third book in the trilogy concerns the interactions between the campaigns and the time of history of Ross Perot, Bill Clinton, and George Bush, a vast political world for me to plumb. I have stories to tell. Enter to win a paperback



Follow the Book Tour 

 EXCERPT -

 Once again, this morning the goats were out of sorts. The rattling of the fence awoke Anatos and he saw in the dim light that they were agitated and gathered pressed to the far side of the little pen, anxious to leave the overhanging mountainside, and find the gentle, sunny hills up the valley from the stone hut. Likely, they were also anxious to move away from the unusual odor that sometimes came up from the cracks in the nearby rocks and the tremors which had been coming more frequently. He could not smell it today, but sometimes there was something different in the air, not unpleasant, but definitely an unusual odor, not unlike rotten eggs. After clearing the ash from last night’s fire and banking in a little new wood, he finished eating his bread and milk and put down his chipped bowl. When he looked out now, he saw in the brighter light that the goats had pushed open the gate by themselves and were wandering up into his small valley, chewing on the spring leaves starting to grow on the twigs of hillside bushes, and the weeds or grass … anything foolish enough to thrive in the presence of hungry goats. He then got his wife up, smoothed her hair, put a tattered robe about her shoulders and sat her in the wobbly chair, that he had been intending to fix, by the one window in the house. There she could watch the goats and feel the sun coming down the valley to warm her while he did his chores. The sky was clear and he could tell from the flies rising in the humidity that it would be another hot day. As he walked slowly toward the goats, out away from the shadow of the tall and menacing hillside behind him, he could see down the narrow valley to the tops of the stones from his first house that had been built near the olive grove. That was years ago though, when he had first brought his family from Macedonia to the area of Delphi at the time when there were more tourists and he had his store by the road with food and the trinkets his wife made. Down toward the foot of the small valley where he had lived before, there was more water from the thin mountain stream and his trees and garden had grown much better closer to the road than the patch he tended up here in this dry soil. He had lived below in the time before the king came and brought with him the son of Anatos who was a solder in the king’s army. He remembered the stories told to him about the monarch by his son who had gone to school with the future king in Macedonia years before. Alexander had rewarded his son by making him an officer in his army and part of his personal guard. When Alexander came to see the Oracle, his son had proudly led the personal guard, and they decided to make camp in this valley, which at that time was a great honor for Anatos. He had been disappointed that many of the soldiers in the camp guard did not behave well, and his garden and most of the trees were destroyed and burned in campfires by the time they left. Later, he grew tired of people coming to see where the king had made his tent and slept, so after his son returned from Athens and the secret mission to which Alexander had sent him, he moved his wife back up to this higher place along the side of the mountain and built this smaller, one-room house where they were no longer disturbed. Here he could do his duty by watching over what his son had brought back from the stone factory. He was glad their other children were back in Macedonia and were not in this place where life was becoming more difficult. After checking that his goats were safely grazing and giving his wife some fresh water, Anatos entered the nearby cave with the humility and awe he always felt when he was among such a powerful presence. His slid his hand along the dusty rock to guide his entrance, and he wondered why after so many years there was still no word from his son or the people who worked for King Alexander in Macedonia. He was worried. They had been too long in Persia and in other places he had never heard of where they had their battles. Rumors of great victories came back to him, and he knew they must be attributed to the gods he stood before now. He had the local scribe send message after message to his son and to friends he had known in Macedonia, and even to Alexander’s mother, Queen Olympias. When would his son return?

Monday, March 4, 2019

#SeuthFest2019 E. J. Wagner Crime Historian - Storyteller Author of The Science of Sherlock Holmes

 EJ pictureAbout E. J. Wagner  Crime-historian / storyteller E. J. Wagner is the author of a book of scientific entertainment entitled The Science of Sherlock Holmes which was published by John Wiley & Sons and won the 2007 Edgar® award for the Best Critical/Biographical Book published in 2006.

E. J.’s audiences will recognize her scientific and sardonic approach to the history of forensic science among its descriptions of true cases and famous figures.

E. J. has presented programs on the folklore and history of crime to riveted adult audiences for more years than she cares to admit.  She researches her material in such places as the Armed Forces Museum of Pathology in Maryland, the Suffolk County Office of the Medical Examiner, the crime laboratory of London’s Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard), the Phillips Library of the Peabody Essex Museum (in Salem, Massachusetts), delving into ancient trial transcripts and medical texts, and judiciously eavesdropping in public places.

Her programs examine such subjects as murder, witchcraft, werewolves, 17th century piracy, the history and techniques of mummification, and the development of forensic medicine and criminalistics.  E. J. does not present programs for young children.

E. J. has appeared in diverse settings, including Brookhaven National Laboratory, Long Island University, University of Nevada (where she was one of the few non-physicists to be awarded the annual Goudsmit Lectureship), Bayard Cutting Arboretum, meetings of various professional forensic science organizations (see Previous programs for scientists and educators), the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, Boston Museum of Science (in connection with their hosting of the “CSI: The Experience” exhibition), Holtsville Animal Preserve, and assorted historic houses and sailing ships including the Queen Elizabeth 2.  She served as consultant on Renaissance poisoning for A&E’s presentation of BBC’s “The Borgias,” and has performed on radio and international television.  She appears frequently at the Museum of Long Island Natural Sciences on the campus of Stony Brook University, and has served as Sy Ross Distinguished Lecturer at the University’s Roundtable.
Dr. Watson
Dr. Watson - registered as
Wagner’s The Game’s Afoot
(photo by W. R. Wagner)
E. J. studied acting at the Piscator Dramatic Workshop; and at Syracuse University and New York University, earning a degree in Theatre Arts from the latter.  She is an avid photographer and collector of old books pertaining to crime and medicine.  Her suspense fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, her nonfiction in Smithsonian magazine (article entitled “A Murder in Salem” (or “The Tell-Tale Murder”) in the November 2010 issue), The Lancet (article entitled “History, homicide, and the healing hand” in Volume 364, Supplement 1 December 2004 whose theme is “Medicine, Crime, and Punishment”) and The New York Times.  E. J. is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the Authors Guild, and an associate member of the Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists. She and her husband live on Long Island in the custody of a large Labrador Retriever named Dr. Watson.
For additional information, see Dust jacket - Author profile.  Also see E. J.’s Forensic Science Research.  For a list previous programs and venues, see Programs.  For information on availability and fees, contact E. J. via e-mail.


E. J.’s Forensic Science Research 
EJ pictureAs a freelance lecturer and consultant, E. J. Wagner has designed and presented programs on the history of forensic science since 1982 for the Museum of Long Island Natural Sciences, located on the campus of Stony Brook University, as well as at other venues.  The purpose of these programs is to:
  1. Awaken public interest in and understanding of natural and forensic sciences.
  2. Explore the use of communication arts in presenting scientific subjects.
  3. Examine the connections between natural and forensic sciences.
  4. Encourage the press and public to adopt a positive view of the forensic sciences.
In pursuit of these goals, E. J. engages in active independent research; observing autopsies, conducting extensive interviews, and photographing in varied locations.  These have included: The New York City Medical Examiner’s Office; The Suffolk County, New York Medical Examiner’s Office; the Armed Forces Museum of Pathology in Maryland; Harvard’s Countway Library; the Peabody Essex Museum’s Phillips Library (formerly known as the “Essex Institute”) in Salem, Massachusetts; the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia; the Forensic Laboratory of the London Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard) and the Hunterian Museum in the UK.



~ Book Blitz ~ Caro M, by Mari.Reiza Psychological / Romance / Contemporary


About the Book:





Portraits of unyielding love. A woman, mostly alone in her world but for her dog, shares memories through letters to her old 'tesoro'; a wife trusts her sweetheart psychiatrist blindly through her divorce; a young girl lands a fairy tale wedding soon to turn into a nightmare her cousin yearns to fix. Immersive, witty, tender,

Caro M, explores the hurricane-like devastation love is capable of.







Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon

Read a Snippet:

A week or two passed.
A sustained flow of insubstantial words continued to arrive at a steady pace, written or spoken, with plenty of accompanying emojis as if you had been forcefully commissioned to use your whole emoji library by our one-month anniversary.
Day and night.
And those early weeks I was only brave enough for my replies to mirror yours, until all our assurances blended into each other, becoming almost meaningless. We were confining ourselves to too narrow and stupid a dictionary. We were cautious, out of practice, or perhaps scared there were serious matters at stake and our weightless words helped us pretend otherwise. We should have been more frightened by the strength of the words we were purposefully leaving out. We both claimed feeling so free, so entitled, because we felt so lonely. Instead we were enslaved by terror that certain words could become too serious or too binding. I can see that now, that I should have read into things as early as then, that our relationship was one to run lighter than words. That should have told me something, something about its future, from the start.
It surprised me how soon the game wasn’t enough though.
Would it have been different had we been younger? Would we have been more patient? If we felt tormented to give free rein to our language, how else could we grow our story?
It took barely a month to move from words to pictures. A nice table set with beautiful candles as I was cooking some pasta and coq au vin for Charlotte; she loves it. You were buying wine and boiling spaghetti, alle vongole; you wished you could be having it with me. Another day a scene from my living room. You noticed my sofa. You told me the Boa was your favourite, from the same brand. You liked design. You told me all you would do to me on a Boa, as poetically as you possibly could, choosing from a new set of limited words. I felt as if I was granted a license to be rude, encouraged, as if you had opened a new door, even if it was still a door to an ulterior confined space. It felt like progress.
I responded, things I had only heard in songs, not my songs. And I sent you handcuffs, a nice set, or perhaps you did; I do not remember. We could have been two fifteen-year-olds, up a notch from our primary-school-like earlier exchanges. Although maybe adolescents do things differently nowadays; perhaps we were only middle-aged losers who had finally hooked up on selfies following their late arrival to the Instagram generation. It was suddenly like every minute of our day had to be snapped and shared so we didn’t have to tell each other anything.
And I know they say a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes it is worth none.


Quotes:

Your hand was trembling and you passed the note to me quickly like in a Soviet spy movie. I crunched it in my hand and walked away. I could tell you were staring at the back of my golden dress.

‘Stay where you fit in,’ my uncle had rightly advised me before the wedding, but I hadn’t taken his advice. Where exactly did I fit in, other than in the psych ward?

All his money seemed to light Laura up like a beauty pageant; not that she wasn’t beauty-pageant material even without it.

Was I a commodity for you at an acquisitive time? Were you a collector? Should I fret about the value placed on me perhaps as an exotic object? Because I was French? I didn’t think of French as exotic but then I was it, and you cannot be foreign to yourself, although perhaps I was exactly that.

We had known so little about this man yet had let Laura wed him. And at her own wedding she was crying.

‘My husband fucked the woman who delivered our baby!’ I clamour again, full of honesty. It’s good to peak twice, to extend the peak for as long as possible.

I will never forget the sweetness with which you dried their hair. It made me think the world of you; it made me think how life is to be based purely on emotion. After that, I was lost.

Was I guilty of puffing up a dream which could grow expectations larger than Albatross wings? Yes. But then I remembered how I was in violation mode, and that the only purpose of a dream was perhaps not to come true but to break all cages, breach all rules and run around fiercely free.

About the Author:


Mari.Reiza was born in Madrid in 1973. She studied at Oxford University and worked as an investment research writer and management consultant for twenty years in London, before becoming an indie fiction writer. Also by her, Inconceivable Tales, Death in Pisa, Sour Pricks, A Pack of Wolves, STUP, Mum, Watch Me Have Fun!, Marmotte’s Journey, West bEgg, PHYSICAL, Room 11, Triple Bagger, Opera and the Retreat, all available on Amazon.


Author Links:
Twitter * Instagram



Wednesday, February 27, 2019

#GUESTPOST Auras and other Metaphysical choices in writing by The Sound of Suffering author Darin C. Brown

**Though The Sound of Suffering is a sequel, it can be read as a standalone as the first chapter summarizes book one.**
Auras and other Metaphysical choices in writing.
I have friends who see auras, although I do not myself. I spent many hours researching the occult, listening to hypnotists, mediums, Reiki masters, and many others in preparation for my novels. The reason why this all works well with The Master of Perceptions is the basic premise that Hunter perceives things differently that everyone else.
There are only really three “senses” from a strict perspective. Electromagnetic, tactile (which includes vibration, the actual definition of temperature) and chemical.  All perceptions are the brain’s interpretation of these sensed inputs. We all say “five senses” because Aristotle did many years ago. He was just plain wrong.
An individual’s perceptions are much more numerous. Sight (light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum), sound (vibration of the tympanic membrane in the ear transduced), smell (chemical), taste (combines chemical and tactile) and feel (tactile) are simply the most common, thanks to a dead Greek thinker.
Consider others like proprioception (the location of your body in space), direction, equilibrium (balance), attraction, acceleration, moisture, agency (sense of having made a decision) familiarity (recognition) anticipation, or social awareness. These are all truly unique to the brain of the person doing to perceiving, and therefore cannot truly be understood by anyone else. After all, there is no actual “light” or “sound” in your brain, only your individual perception of these stimuli. Who knows for sure if what actually exists in the world matches what each of us perceives? My son is color blind and can’t tell red from green. My mother cannot smell much of anything (which is why she was such a terrible cook). There are hundreds of similar examples.
If all perceptions are unique, what about auras? Maybe they give the perceiver unique perspective that others simply do not have. Might there also be ability to speak with the dead, or manipulate conscious thoughts, or anything else you might be able to imagine? Why not?
Hunter, as The Master of Perceptions, will gain control over many of these areas. His unique ability will hopefully give readers insights into their own potential.

The Sound of Suffering (The Master of Perceptions #2)
by Darin C. Brown
Genre/Keywords: Young Adult Loners and Outcasts, Superheroes, genetic engineering, auras, autism spectrum disorders, bullying, healing energy
Release Date: February 21st 2019
Summary:
Hunter Miller has a secret.
He can read and manipulate the auras that surround everyone.
Having used his talent to dethrone the reigning school bully, thirteen-year old Hunter finds himself thrust into a new quest after hearing screams in the aura of a teacher.  Unable to resist this powerful siren song, he investigates—despite warnings from his family and friends. It nearly costs him everything.
Upon discovering the truth, Hunter seeks assistance in his mission to defeat his formidable adversary. As the situation escalates, the adolescent hero ultimately realizes that despite the risks, he must fight this battle alone.
In this second installment of The Master of Perceptions series, can Hunter use his extraordinary powers to rescue an innocent woman without losing himself in the process?
5.0 out of 5 stars Master of Perception Series ramps up!  February 5, 2019   Like Rowling's Harry Potter, young Hunter is gaining maturity and skill in each new book of the "Master of Perceptions" series. The reader shares his increasing grasp of the unique ability to see people's auras and manipulate them, and in Book 2 Hunter has a mission. He must deal with the very adult issue of domestic abuse. The perpetrator is a policeman, and his victim is a teacher at Hunter's school. He can hear her aura screaming for help, but what can a sixth grader do against an officer of the law? Dr. Darin Brown expertly builds the tension and leads us to understand this autistic young man's unique perspective. Imagine the power of seeing people's feelings and thoughts in their auras and also being able to manipulate the colors to affect their behavior. Hunter can already heal himself, but this skill comes at a price. It drains his energy, which can send him into the Void, if he is doesn't keep up his carbs and sugar. Believable - though fantastic - and engaging, I highly recommend the "Master of Perception" Series.
Book One:
The Sight of Demons (The Master of Perception #1)
Release Date: October 16th 2017 Summary:
Hunter Miller sees demons. The terrifying shadows engulf him and everyone he knows—yet nobody else notices their presence.
 
Hunter can’t escape them, so he sets out to understand them. Why do they follow him? What are they trying to tell him?
 
In this first installment of the Master of Perceptions series, pre-teen Hunter discovers that every sensation the demons produce—whether it be sight, sound, texture, flavor, or smell—has a different meaning. And that by breaking this code, he just might be able to harness their power.
 
 
 
 
About the Author
DARIN C. BROWN spent the last twenty years saving lives as an emergency medicine physician in New Hampshire and Maine. His master’s degree in biomedical engineering and PhD in biophysics helped him conceptualize Hunter’s astounding capabilities. When he’s not writing, he directs Murder Mystery Dinner Theater, including the biannual shows on the Conway Scenic Railroad. In addition to his varied academic interests, he competes at the national level in master’s track. He currently resides in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with his wife, Dr. Sandra Brown, and their many pets.
Author Links: