Saturday, August 5, 2017

Visit with Romance Author A.D. Ellis....

      Hello one and all! How are you today? I'm back and hope everyone is doing well and happy! It’s so great to be with all of you again. Welcome back to my writing blog page where I try to share whatever I think may interest you. Of course, by now you all know how very much I love promoting other authors. Today I interview a fellow writer. With me this time is multi-published author, A.D. Ellis, as she discusses writing and her current book, Kade & Cameron, which was released in June 2017.

      A.D. Ellis spends the majority of her days loving and wrangling two school-aged children and a husband before heading to the inner city of Indianapolis to teach a challenging group of alternative education students in grades third through sixth. Most days she hits the gym after school in hopes of running and lifting away the stress and headaches of the day before picking up her children and squeezing a whole day's worth of loving and living into the too-short hours before bed. It's no wonder Ms. Ellis lives for the slower, easier days she gets to enjoy on breaks from school.

     Growing up in a small farming town in southern Indiana, A.D. is grateful to her mother for passing along the love of reading. With her nose constantly stuck in a book, Ms. Ellis became accustomed to friends and acquaintances snickering and shaking their heads at her love of reading.

     A.D. never dreamed of being anything but a teacher, although there are certain times of the year when she laments her career choice. Ms. Ellis had a story idea floating in her head for about a year. After persistent prodding from a friend, A.D. put pen to paper and began writing her first story in October 2013. From that moment on, she was hooked. Taking the people and stories from her head and sharing them with readers is a scary, exhausting, rewarding, and fulfilling experience which A.D. plans to continue until there are no more stories banging around in her mind.
                                                    
Author A.D. Ellis

     Welcome A.D! Thanks so much for joining us here. Shall we begin to learn more about you and your writing? Thanks for having me, SJ! Let’s get started!

     SJ: First, this question must be asked. If you don’t want to answer, A.D., that’s fine.  You’ve written straight contemporary romance. Now gay fiction. How did the two genres evolve for you? How does a heterosexual farm girl from Indiana write about relationships between gay men?  Do you prefer writing one genre over another?

     A.D: If someone had told me twenty years ago that I’d be writing books, I wouldn’t have believed them. However, many of my friends have stated that they knew I’d be authoring books since I loved to read so much. Twenty years ago, I was reading the mainstream type romance titles. I didn’t know there were so many subgenres (and, let’s be honest, the subgenres were fairly hidden and hard to get your hands on.)

Fast forward to 2014 when I published my first romance novel. I finished the first four books with an epilogue that introduced four male children in the family. I knew from the moment I wrote his name on the page that Sawyer was gay. I hadn’t plotted out any stories for these children in my head.  But, readers loved the first Torey Hope series so much, I was excited to extend the series into Torey Hope: The Later Years.

In doing this, I knew I’d be writing the four boys’ stories (Decker, Sawyer, Zach, Kendrick.) Many people told me to just write Sawyer as a straight man, but I couldn’t do that. It wasn’t who he was. People shouldn’t have to hide who they are. I wanted to write Sawyer’s story true to him. So, I did what authors do. I asked questions, I read in the male/male genre, and I asked more questions.
Writing Sawyer’s story was fun, emotional, and a learning experience for me. I wanted to write a short story for a friend. In this story, I took his real-life experiences with a friend and wrote the ending differently than how his real-life story worked out.

When the friend read the story, he encouraged me to publish it. With his permission, I published The Beginning (Bryan & Jase’s story) and started the Something About Him series.
As a farm girl from southern Indiana, I can’t say that I would have loved the male/male genre twenty or thirty years ago. I know I wouldn’t have appreciated it the way I do now. But, we can all admit that a couple decades of experience and maturing can change us in many ways. I’m a huge fan of the male/male genre these days. It’s pretty much all I read and write at this point. I’m in a genre I adore and I plan to write in it until the stories stop coming.
                                                

     SJ: Fascinating, A.D. and so very true, too. Now, please tell us about your newest release….

     A.D: Kade & Cameron is based on several real-life characters, experiences, and situations (as are most of my male/male stories.) There were some things happening in my life and I was thinking about them one day on a drive home from work. The story played out in my head and I spent the next week writing notes and planning it. It’s about two men who have had life-changing events take place in their lives. They’ve been friends for several years and turn to each other for support. But, they find that they need each other for more than just friendship. But, as in real-life, things don’t go smoothly.


     SJ: How extensive was your research for each one of your books? How much fact and fiction do you roll into each one?

     A.D: I’d say my books contain about 75%-95% real-life situations/characters/experiences. However, I definitely stir and mix and add to the real-life with plenty of fiction. My research varies based on each book. If I’m doing something with military, I’ll be talking to my friend in the Army to make sure I get it right. If I’m writing about a local bar, I’m in contact with the bar owner to be sure I’m getting facts and setting right.

When I wrote Kendrick, I had to be in constant contact with a reader and her husband to make sure I was getting the experiences right for an addict and his family.
But, a lot of what I write about is based on the experiences I’ve had or friends/family have had, so I know about it first-hand.


      SJ: If you could turn one of your books into a film, which one would you choose and why?

      A.D: Oh, wow. I think the whole Torey Hope series would make a great television series. People love real-life, small towns, romance, and family/friends mixed in with drama and humor and Torey Hope has all of that.
Every single one of my Something About Him books would make great movies or mini-series. I mean, hot men, romance, real-life drama, acceptance of self and others, emotions…what’s not to love?
So, in other words, I can’t choose just one. That’s like asking me to pick a favorite child. I just can’t.
                                             

       SJ: What do you love most about being a writer? Least?

      A.D: I love watching a story play out on the page. I love to see my well-laid plans get waylaid by what the characters want to happen. I love that ah-ha moment when a plot twist or resolution pops into my head.

I do not love trying to be a mom of two, a full-time alternative education teacher in the inner city, and an author all in one. There aren’t enough hours in the day! A lot of times, my writing time gets pushed to the back burner.

I also do not like writer’s block. But, I’m learning to respect the block. Toni Morrison said, “I tell my students there is such a thing as ‘writer’s block,’ and they should respect it. You shouldn’t write through it. It’s blocked because it ought to be blocked, because you haven’t got it right now.” And I think Toni Morrison is a very smart woman.


       SJ:  What writer inspired you most and how?

       A.D: Honestly, it was a combination of all the authors I’ve read from the time my mom was reading to me as a child up through my reading in high school. Then, after I fell away from reading in college and as a new mother, I came back to reading thanks to the Twilight series. Authors like Beverly Cleary, Ann M. Martin, Lois Lowry, Judy Blume and books like Sweet Valley High, Trixie Belden, and even Little Golden Books shaped me as a reader and writer.

But, writing didn’t come to me until much later. I have always been a reader, but I never thought of writing as something I wanted to do. I didn’t want to spend time writing stories only to have them added to the rejected piles over and over. Self-publishing changed my outlook on that.
I’m inspired by writers the world over. Those who tell real stories, those who craft fantastical worlds and characters, those who delve deep into mysteries, I’m inspired by them all.


      SJ: If you could give just one piece of important writing advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?

      A.D: Keep writing. Ray Bradbury said, “You fail only if you stop writing.” I believe this to be true.

If you’re only writing to make it big and be famous, you’re writing for the wrong reasons. If you’re writing because you can’t get the stories out of your head and you want to share them with the world, keep at it.

Also, it’s scary to let your babies out in the world, but you’ll never get better and grow as a writer if you don’t take chances and accept constructive criticism from trusted critique partners and peers.


      SJ: What is a favorite book you enjoyed reading and would recommend without hesitation? Why?

      A.D: Ohhhh, you can’t ask me questions like this! We’d be here for days if I listed all the books I’ve enjoyed. Haha!

But, I’ll pick two that always stick with me. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. This was an assigned reading in college, but I loved it. Reading about that time in history and what life was like, it was fascinating. Also, The Giver by Lois Lowry. I *loved* the world she created and I still wonder what it would be like if our society lived that way.


      SJ: In closing, and without giving too much away, do you have any more projects in the immediate future? We’d love to hear about it.

      A.D: I do. I’m working on a new male/male series. It’s planned to be a trio of books, each a standalone title, but set in the same town with three main families.

     Wonderful and thanks so much, A.D for allowing us to take some time out of your busy schedule and interview you. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you and learning about you and your books. Readers, as always, thank you for dropping by. Take note you may purchase a copy of A.D’s books through Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/A.D.-Ellis/e/B00K0YJ8CW

      A.D.: Thank you so very much for having me! I’ve enjoyed my time with you and your readers.
                                                   

     But, as usual, before we go, we can’t say goodbye without posting an excerpt from one of A.D’s books and here we go.  Here’s an excerpt from Loving Josie, A Torey Hope novel. Enjoy!

I wanted more with Kyle. I knew he couldn’t or wouldn’t give me more at this point. So, my plan was two-fold. The first part was to get some real-life dating experience with a safe, attractive, friend. The second part was getting to spend time with him without it being awkward. If he thought he was just playing a part in helping me, maybe he wouldn’t over-analyze things between us and would just let us enjoy our time together. This was a great plan in theory. However, my heart knew that it could backfire terribly.
All of this ran through my head as I headed to the door. Why were my three best girlfriends standing on my front porch? I opened the door with a questioning look? “Hey ladies. Can I help you?” Audrey rolled her eyes and pushed past me.
Libby and Carly looked sort of apologetic, but they walked past me as well. I got the distinct feeling they were here to witness an ass chewing. We sat down in the living room, and I waited, not knowing what was going to happen.
“What the hell are you thinking, Josie Decker?” This from Audrey. She continued, “I just left my house after calling in my reinforcements here. Did you know Kyle’s over at my house talking to Jeremiah? He’s all dressed up, pierced up, tatted up, bleached up, and styled up. Do you know why? He’s got a date. Oh, but that’s right, you already knew he had a date, didn’t you?!”
When I didn’t respond, because I wasn’t sure if this was a rhetorical question or not, she powered on. “It was bad enough when you bought a house with the man. But now you’re going to ‘pretend date’ him?! This isn’t a good thing, Josie. If he weren’t so fucked up, I would be cheering you on. And, honestly, I think dating you would be truly good for him. But, he’s so damn stubborn, I worry he’ll never let go of the notion that he can’t love you the way you deserve and, in the end, you’re going to end up being hurt.”

SJ: Quite an excerpt there, huh, folks? It certainly has me intrigued. What about you?     
Readers, don’t forget you may find all of A.D’s books at Amazon. She has been on other platforms before and will likely be there again in the future.

Feel free to connect with author A.D. Ellis at her website: www.adellisauthor.com

FOR a FREE book-- Sign up at http://www.subscribepage.com/ADEllisNewsMMRomance  for a FREE male/male romance book.

Or at one of her social media links below:






Thank you all for visiting with us. It’s always a pleasure to meet readers and authors. Until next month, every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey. One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book and pass it on. Leave a review. Reviews are important for authors. Believe me. I know. Thank you!

Regards,
S. J. Francis, Writing is my passion, but animals are my world.
Advocate for the underdog, and cat, and supporting writers, et al.

In Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family." Available now from Black Opal Books and for sale at all on-line retailers and independent booksellers. 
                                                         “Some secrets should remain that way.”

                      Shattered Lies has placed in many book contests. For more information, check out Black Opal Books or see the list at S.J’s website.

                                  My Black Opal Books Author Page:
                                  http://www.blackopalbooks.com/author-bios/bio-sj-francis

                                                     
                                            Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/sjfrancis419
                 Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SJ-Francis/480058115420325
                                            
       A Book Review 4 U: http://abookreview4u.blogspot.com
      A Consumer's View: http://aconsumersview.blogspot.com

                                                    
                  One for the Animals: http://onefortheanimals.blogspot.com 
                                               Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sjfrancis419/
                               
                           Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/33550975-s-j

                                             

And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2017 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and the guest author and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one. It’s all for fun.

Remember: Animals don't have voices. We must be their voice. Always. Forever. Wherever. whenever. I'm one for the animals. Are you?

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Should An Author Ever Pay for a Book Review? It All Depends....

Ah-book reviews! Where would an author be without them? Or readers, for that matter. But should you, as an author ever pay for one? I pondered paying for one, then decided against it. Then, a fellow author friend mentioned about the OnlineBookClub. She had good success with hers so I figured, why not? Why not indeed? I should have listened to my gut. I signed up to get a Professional Book Review. A fair and honest one, or so I thought. Unfortunately, that isn’t what I received.                                   
     First, I had to sign up for the website, post my book cover image and book description. Then I had to choose an option for my book review. A free one took the longest. I opted for the one that took “about” four weeks. After waiting the designated time, I received a note from the reviewer ahead of her book review, which said, simply, “I wish I had known about the lesbian storyline before I read the book.” That should have been a red flag, but it wasn’t. Perhaps, if I had complained to the website owner when I had received that note, perhaps, Scott the owner would have cared about my dissatisfaction with the resulting review. The review I received was a two star review out of 4 possible stars. I guess two stars on that site isn’t good or bad, but the red flag was what concerned me. Of course, I complained to Scott, the website owner, who lauds that he is “committed to client satisfaction”. If you’re on his mailing list, you’ll receive periodic emails that remind you of that. However, in our email exchange that followed, he more or less blamed me for my book description. He also reminded me that a two star review wasn’t bad. It was in itself a form of criticism. ARRGH! What? Of course a review, any review is a form of criticism. He couldn’t see that his professional reviewer was biased. As a result, I didn’t get a fair and honest review. Of course, the complaint went in one ear and out the other, as far as Scott was concerned.

     Lesson learned. I shall never, ever again pay for a book review, or any other review. It just isn’t worth the headache. Any author can get bad reviews without even trying. Forget about having to pay for the privilege. When you’re a writer, a published one seeking reviews or promotion for your book, lots of predators come out of the woodwork. Some are in the guise of writing groups (that is the subject of another post) while others come in the guise of helping you promote. Perhaps, for readers and authors or books free of homosexuality, etc., OnlineBookClub may be a good thing, but for me, for my book where two of my characters just happened to be Lesbians, this site wasn’t worth the visit or the $149.00 fee I paid for a “Professional Book Reviewer”. Just a quick addition, while we’re talking about book reviews: With the age of technology, computers and free books galore, anyone out there can call themselves a “Professional Book Reviewer”. I know. OnlineBookClub offered me a chance to become one for them. For $10.00 a book, I could become a reviewer for them. Despite the fact that I am a long-time published writer and write book reviews for several review sites, I’ve never considered myself a “Professional Book Reviewer”. But when I do review a book, I review the book, the writing, the cover, the theme et al. I don’t let my personal beliefs cloud the review because quite simply, that isn’t fair. Not to the author. Not to the reader. 

     Should you ever pay for a book review? Truthfully, that is really up to you. Based on my experience and those I’ve heard from others, I don’t advise it. Oh, and the demand for OnlineBookClub reviews has been growing so much, according to emails from Scott that the price for book reviews has now doubled. Interesting, huh?

     That's it for now. Thank you all for visiting. It’s always a pleasure to meet readers and authors. Until next month, every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey. One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book and pass it on. Leave a review. Reviews are important for authors. Believe me. I know. Thank you!

Regards,
S. J. Francis, Writing is my passion, but animals are my world. 
Advocate for the underdog, and cat, and supporting writers, et al.


In Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family." Available now from Black Opal Books and for sale at all on-line retailers and independent booksellers. "Some secrets should remain that way."


                     Shattered Lies is a Finalist in the 2016 Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards.

                     Shattered Lies is a winner in the Fall 2016 NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Book Awards for Women's Fiction. 


                     Shattered Lies is a runner-up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Best Book Award Competition.
                                        
                     Shattered Lies is a 2016 Reader's Favorite Honorable Mention in the Fiction - Women’s category.  

                     Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 10th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards.

                     Shattered Lies was chosen as General Fiction Official Selection in the 2015 New Apple Book Awards.


                     The 2nd, new book cover design for Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 2016 Authors dB Best Cover Contest. 


                     The first, original book cover design for Shattered Lies was a semi-finalist in the 2015 Authors dB Best Cover Contest. 

My Black Opal Books Author Page:
                                            Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/sjfrancis419
                                                
       A Book Review 4 U: http://abookreview4u.blogspot.com
      A Consumer's View: http://aconsumersview.blogspot.com
                  One for the Animals: http://onefortheanimals.blogspot.com


                          Pinterest:http://www.pinterest.com/sjfrancis419


             Good Reads:https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/33550975-s-j

And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2017 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and the guest author and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Should You Update Your Book In Response To Negative Reviews?

A note from S.J. Francis: This is a post I found interesting and thought you would, too. Personally, after getting my book edited and then published, I would certainly not want to go back and update my book in response to negative reviews. Every one is a critic. Should you begin making changes you could find yourself in a never ending circle. One can not please all the people all the time, and in my opinion, one shouldn't try. It's a good way for a writer to make oneself crazy in an effort to please those negative review writers. Write the best possible book you can. Get it edited. Put it out there. Leave it alone. That's my feelings anyway. What do you think?

Should You Update Your Book In Response To Negative Reviews? | From BookDaily #AuthorTips

"Recently, I joined a “local” science fiction book club—a 100-mile round trip from my house—because I wanted to take the pulse of my audience for my self-published novel, Mindclone. The first meeting I attended, we discussed the novel, The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin. I greatly enjoyed this book, which uses the concept of two worlds with opposing political and economic systems: an idealized Communism and an extreme form of Capitalism. I’ve always believed that one of the best uses of science fiction is to parody or otherwise explore our own world and human nature. That meeting revealed how far apart readers can be when assessing a given novel. Several of the members disliked the book as either too talky or too doctrinaire, with not enough “real” science fiction to satisfy their tastes. One member in particular opened the discussion by declaring, “This is not science fiction. It’s sociology set on two planets.” The discussion was thoughtful, lively and entertaining and, for me, the beginning of a real education on sci-fi readership. At the end of the session, it was time to choose a book for the next meeting, three weeks later. I proposed my own novel. There was some hesitancy, as once before, an author had offered his book for their discussion, and the results were not good. I suggested they go to the Amazon site and read the first three chapters for free and decide if they wanted to review it. We chose another book for the next session, and were to discuss my book as a possible candidate for the following one.


"Three weeks later, we discussed Seed, by Rob Ziegler, his first novel, a story set in a dystopian world ruled by a living bio-city that creates seeds needed to sustain the remaining humans. I thought this was an excellent read, with some flaws, but it had some wonderful concepts and writing. Once again, the club was less enthused. After another lively discussion, it was time to decide if my book would be the selection for the following meeting. At this point, the member who had criticized the LeGuin novel and had also disliked Seed, reached into his bag and pulled out the paperback copy of Mindclone and strongly recommended we choose it for our next meeting. Several other members had also looked at the opening chapters and agreed, some with real enthusiasm. So as I drove my fifty miles home, I was flying. However, when I took a look at my Amazon page that night, I discovered that someone had just posted a terrible review. Only two stars, with some comments that bruised me in places where I was particularly vulnerable! Quite a bringdown. Almost all my previous reviews were five stars, with only a handful of four stars. But what troubled me the most was this reviewer’s accusation that I had somehow cheated, gaming the system for those glowing reviews.

"I worried about this for several days. My only hope for gaining sales was those positive reviews, and this reader was undermining their legitimacy. I had to decide if I should post a comment to his review. Well, I pondered that question for an entire day. First I checked his other reviews to see if he was a troll or curmudgeon. If so, I knew it would extremely unwise to tangle with him. But his other reviews all looked quite fair and thoughtful. At this point, I knew I would have to post something that challenged his cheating claim. I worked on my response all the next day. I first thanked him for buying and reading my book, and for posting his comments. I assured him I take all criticism seriously, and if I did a revision, I would certainly take a look at the issues he raised. Then I made my case for refuting his charge. I divided my reviewers into three categories: close friends, unbiased acquaintances and complete strangers. The number of reviews my book has received remains small enough that I was easily able to do this. As it turned out, these glowing reviews divided almost exactly equally among the three groups. I then pointed out how hard it is to get ANY readership, let alone reviews when you’re a first-time author whose book is self-published. I crossed my fingers and posted my response. Within minutes, I received his reply. He actually apologized for the accusation and changed his review, removing that part but leaving the rest. And that’s fine. Negative criticism is a normal part of the writing process. That’s why I participate in a writing group. For me, at least, it’s very hard to see the flaws in my own writing, so getting the perspective of other writers is an enormous help, and quite indispensable.


"I was very glad I responded to my critic the way I had. And as it turned out, when the three weeks elapsed and it was time to face the members of the science fiction club to get their responses, my critic showed up! Turns out he’s a nice guy, who actually spoke up in defense of my book against some of the other negative comments some members made. Though his opinion of its flaws remained unchanged. The verdict from the other members? I would say about two-thirds were enthusiastically positive, and one third of the members found fault with various aspects of the book. What did I do? Did I argue with them? I did not. Instead, I took my notes, went home and revised the book to correct the flaws I felt needed correcting. The new, improved edition is now live in both ebook and paperback."


Would you update your book because of bad reviews? Why or why not? Leave a comment below!


About the Author:David T Wolfe
Mindclone is my first published novel. It draws on my lifelong interests in cognitive science, cyber technology, and especially those things that both separate and unite human beings and the animal kingdom. One way or another, that has been the overall subject of much of my writing and thinking. I’ve been a writer my whole life. Besides novels and short stories, I have committed that special class of fiction called advertising. I’ve written and produced hundreds of TV and radio commercials and print ads. To atone for those sins, I’ve dedicated myself to writing the kind of fiction that enlightens and entertains without trying to sell stuff.


Thank you all for visiting with us. It’s always a pleasure to meet readers and authors. Until next month, every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey. One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book and pass it on. Leave a review. Reviews are important for authors. Believe me. I know. Thank you!

Regards,
S. J. Francis, Writing is my passion, but animals are my world.
Advocate for the underdog, and cat, and supporting writers, et al.
                              

In Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family." Available now from Black Opal Books and for sale at all on-line retailers and independent booksellers.

                   Shattered Lies is a Finalist in the 2016 Writer's Shelf Book Awards.

                   Shattered Lies is a winner in the Fall 2016 NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards for Women's Fiction. 

                   Shattered Lies is a runner-up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Best Book Award Competition.

                     Shattered Lies is a 2016 Reader's Favorite Honorable Mention in the Fiction - Women’s category. 


                   Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 10th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards.


                   Shattered Lies was chosen as General Fiction Official Selection in the 2015 New Apple Book Awards.


                   The first, original book cover design for Shattered Lies was a semi-finalist in the 2015 Authors dB Best Cover Contest.

                   The 2nd new book cover design for Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 2016 Authors dB Best Cover Contest.


 My Black Opal Books Author Page:

                                            Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/sjfrancis419

                 Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SJ-Francis/480058115420325

       My Writing Blog: http://www.sjfranciswriter.blogspot.com


      A Consumer's View: http://aconsumersview.blogspot.com

                  One for the Animals: http://onefortheanimals.blogspot.com



                           Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/33550975-s-j

 And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2017 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and the guest author and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.
 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

"Come for the adventure. Stay for the romance" with author Pepper O'Neal....

Hello one and all! How are you today? I'm back and hope everyone is doing well and happy! It’s so great to be with all of you again. Welcome back to my writing blog page where I try to share whatever I think may interest you. Of course, by now you all know how very much I love promoting other authors. Today I interview a fellow writer. With me this time is multi-published romantic thriller author, Pepper O’Neal, as she discusses writing
                                         

     Pepper O’Neal is an award-winning author, researcher, a writer, and an adrenalin junkie. She has a doctorate in education and spent several years in Mexico and the Caribbean working as researcher for an educational resource firm based out of Mexico City. During that time, she met and befriended many adventurers like herself, including former CIA officers and members of organized crime. Her fiction is heavily influenced by the stories they shared with her, as well her own experiences abroad.

     O’Neal attributes both her love of adventure and her compulsion to write fiction to her Irish and Cherokee ancestors. When she’s not at her computer, she spends her time taking long walks in the forests near her home or playing with her three cats. And of course, planning the next adventure.

     Welcome Pepper! Thanks so much for joining us here. You’ve lead such an interesting and well-traveled life. Shall we begin to learn more about you and your writing?

     SJ: I couldn’t help noticing that you have written a number of suspense novels, “Come for the adventure. Stay for the romance,” is your slogan.  Can you tell us a little bit of how the idea evolved for each book?
     Pepper: When I was working in Mexico and the Caribbean, I was surprised by the number of people that I met who were running from something. Now, they don’t always admit it, of course, but you can usually tell that something isn’t right—they don’t tell you much about themselves, they refuse to have their picture taken (ever), and they won’t give you any contact information for future communication. But a lot of the time, once you get to know them, they will open up. So many of these people were women, most of whom were running from abusive exes (sometimes spouses and sometimes boyfriends) and had given up everything they had, including their country, in an effort to feel safe. It really opened my eyes to the plight of a large percentage of women and children who cannot, or will not, protect themselves from abuse. It’s a sad fact that there are a lot of bullies in our world, both men and women, who pick on those weaker than themselves, for whatever reason, and a lot of helpless victims suffer. As a result of my experiences with these people, my goal as a fiction writer became three-fold: 1) to shed a light on this problem of abuse and expose its ugly side; 2, to provide information to victims of abuse, or anyone who fears for his or her safety, on how to defend themselves; and 3, to send a message to abusers that, as all tyrants know and fear, eventually your victims may decide to fight back, so beware.

Pepper's 1st Black Ops Book; Still a Bestseller!

     SJ: You’re a researcher and I must ask, how extensive was your research for each one of your books? How much fact and fiction do you roll into each one?
     Pepper: Each of my books (with the exception of Love Potion No. 2-14, which was written just for fun) is based on a true story. I have, of course, changed names and disguised characters, but my characters are based on real people with real stories. So most of my research was done face to face with the person as they told me their story. Then depending on where I set the fiction and any other elements that I might have added, such as technology, I have had to research those elements if I wasn’t familiar with them. In my Black Ops Chronicles series, for example, my characters use a lot of technology that I, of course, have never used. So I have to do a lot of research to make sure that my information is correct and that the story rings true. I am fortunate in that I still have contact with a lot of the former CIA officers those characters are based on, and they do a lot of the research for me. They also vet my stories to make sure I don’t have any blatant errors. For example, when I finished my first book in the Black Ops Chronicle series, Dead Run, I had a scene in the book where there is an ambush at the Mexico City Airport. And I had the bad guys hiding in parked cars. However, when I sent it to my friend (on whom Levi, one of the main characters, is based) who is ex-CIA, he told me that under no circumstances could that really happen, as the first thing the CIA officer on the scene would do would be to check all the parked cars and anywhere else a bad guy might hide before the CIA officer would even begin to set up the ambush. So that scene had to be rewritten to reflect that fact.


      SJ: If you could turn one of your books into a film, which one would you choose and why?
      Pepper: Black Ops Chronicles: Dead Run, the first book in the Black Ops Chronicles series. That book has won or placed in six national contests, so I am fairly confident about that one.


       SJ: For those of us just discovering books, which book of yours should we read first and why?
       Pepper: I don’t think it really matters. I wrote each book to be a standalone, even though all of my books, except Love Potion No. 2-14, are part of series. Each book has a separate plot that is not really a continuation of book before it, so even though there are references in the second book as to what happened in the first book, you don’t need to read the first book to understand the second one. However, if you ask me which book is my favorite, I would have to say that it is Blood Fest: Cursing Fate. Both because I felt much more confident about my writing when I wrote that book, and also because the characters are based on people who mean a lot to me and whose stories mean a lot to me. That book is about shifters and vampires, and one of the characters, Drake, is a combination of a male friend of mine whom I worked with in Mexico, as well as a tiger on a game refuge, with whom I was privileged to spend quite a bit of time and who was quite a character on his own. Animals have their own personalities, and his was quite unique.
      SJ: What do you love most about being a writer? Least?
      Pepper: I suppose what I like best is what any writer likes best and that is when the story really flows and you can just type the words, almost without thinking about it. And what I like least is just the reverse, when the words won’t come, no matter how long you sit and stare at your monitor.


      SJ:  What writer inspired you most and how?
      Pepper: I am not sure that I can answer that. I am a voracious reader with a wide range of interests, and I like a lot of authors: Tom Clancy, Robert Asprin, Dean Koontz, Sidney Sheldon, Ken Follett, and Michael Crichton, all of whom have inspired me by their ability to tell a compelling story that you can’t put down.


      SJ: If you could give just one piece of important writing advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?  
      Pepper: Keep reading and writing. You learn to write by writing and by reading other authors to see how they handle the issues that all writers face such as plot points, characterization, POV.  While you should never copy another author’s words without written permission, copying a favorite author’s style in creating characters and developing plots can help you to find what out works for you as you develop your own style.


      SJ: What is a favorite book you enjoyed reading and would recommend without hesitation? Why?
      Pepper: Another Fine Myth by Robert Asprin. It is my go to book whenever I’m feeling down. A lighthearted romp that can’t fail to lift your spirits. Or if you aren’t into comedy, Without Remorse by Tom Clancy, a fast-paced, hard-hitting adventure that will keep you turning pages into the night.


     SJ: In closing, and without giving too much away, do you have any more projects in the immediate future? We’d love to hear about it.
     Pepper: When my health allows, I am working on the third book in the Blood Fest series, Running Scared. Unfortunately, since I am limited by the time I can spend at the computer, the book is taking much longer than I had hoped. 

     Thanks so much, Pepper for participating. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you. Thank you so much for allowing us to take some time out of your busy schedule and interview you. Readers, as always, thank you for dropping by. Take note you may purchase a copy of Pepper’s books through her publisher or at online retailers and independent booksellers.

          Black Opal Books, Publishers:

          Amazon.com

          Barnes and Noble.com


*****But before we go, we can’t depart without sharing a bit of one book with you. From Black Ops Chronicles: Dead Men Don’t



CHAPTER 1
Wednesday, March 27th, 5:21 p.m., the estate of Darren Merritt, St. George, Utah:
No! This can’t be happening!
The last thing Andi expected to encounter on the grounds of her father’s estate was an ambush. Headed to the stables for her rendezvous with Donald, she’d had her mind on romance and her fingers toying with the beautiful opal pendant he’d given her last night. Can I trust him? she wondered. Or was he just another gold digger after her father’s money? Lost in her thoughts, she paid little attention to the stranger approaching her.
Until he spoke.
“Excuse me, Miss.”
His rough voice grated on her ears. Nerves tingling, she backed away. He followed. Big, muscular, and hulking.
God, he looks like a thug. Incongruous in his three-piece, navy-blue suit with its tiny white pinstripes, he made the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. She stuffed the opal necklace under the neck of her T-shirt and continued backing away.
“Who are you?” Chills skittered up her spine. The man oozed violence and malicious intent. “You’re t–trespassing,” she stammered. “This is private property!”
Focused on the guy in front of her, she didn’t notice the other two come up behind her until she felt a hand on her shoulder–and the prick of a needle in her arm.
Vomit rose in her throat. Hot and bitter, it choked off her breath. She swallowed hard, forcing the vile mess back down so she could scream.
She fought them. Rage and panic poured strength into her muscles as she twisted, scratched, and kicked. But it did her no good. The men overpowered her and stuffed her into a cloth bag reeking of dirty socks and stale cigarettes. The thick, heavy material muffled her cries for help, echoing them back on her. Screams turned into sobs then into hysterical giggling as the drug took effect.
The world dimmed. Faded to gray. And went black.
***
8:10 p.m., the Sydarian Embassy, Washington, DC:
“Did you get the package?” The words, calm and quiet, displayed none of the seething tension Ambassador Jamar Farahani held inside. He hated working with scum like this–dirty, violent. Uneducated. But that was the only kind of man who would undertake this type of job.
“Yeah, we got her,” replied the rough voice on the other end of the line. “When are you coming to pick her up?”
“Tomorrow. Maybe. It depends on the weather. Right now, they will not let any planes take off from the airport. Not even private jets.” Jamar’s hand tightened on the phone as he watched the snowstorm outside his windows. “There is supposed to be a break in the morning. So hopefully, I can get out then.”
“If that’s the best you can do, I’ll just have to sit on her for a while. But get here as soon as you can. My guys are getting restless.”
“Just make sure nothing happens to her, Johnson.” Jamar’s voice turned cold and hard. “If she is raped, beaten, or even scratched, you and your men will not get paid. Understand?”
“Yeah, yeah. I’ll make sure nothing happens. But the sooner she’s out of here, the better. She’s such a looker, it’s hard to control my men.”
“If she was not ‘such a looker,’ she would not be worth as much money, and you would not be getting paid your over-inflated fee.” Jamar turned away from the windows. And the storm. Damn it! The goal had been within his reach, then this happened. “Tell your men I will examine the package thoroughly when I get there. If there is a mark on her, they will not only lose the money, they will not live long enough to regret it.” He paused to let that sink in. “I hope I have made myself clear.”
“Yeah, I got it.” Johnson’s voice had risen nearly an octave. “Nobody’ll touch her.”
“See that they do not.” Jamar disconnected, fighting the urge to throw the phone against the wall. If Johnson’s men did what kidnappers of young women normally did, the buyer would not pay full price. A knock at the door jerked him out of his dark thoughts. “Come in.”
Basaam brought in a tray of coffee and pastries. “Did they get the package, sir?”
Jamar scowled at his assistant. “Yes, they got her. But I do not know what kind of shape she will be in when I finally pick her up.” Still frowning, he took the coffee Bas handed him. “If Johnson cannot control his men, she may not be worth very much to the buyer.”
“Surely, for what you are paying them, they should be able to control their…urges.” Bas put a chocolate ├ęclair on a small plate and handed it over. “Shall I call Ahasama and give him the good news?”
“Not yet. I do not want to report success until the package is safe in our hands. Ahasama tends to deal harshly with disappointment. Very harshly.”
Jamar looked at his watch then out the window at the storm. He hoped it did not last much longer. Both he and the package were running out of time.
***
Thursday, March 28th, 4:04 a.m., the apartment of Levi Komakov, Salt Lake City, Utah:
“Bloody hell, what now?” Still more than half asleep, Levi fumbled for the ringing phone. “This had better be good.”
“Levi?”
“Jonas?” Levi bolted up into a sitting position. His friend and employer, Jonas McKenzie, never called him at home unless there was trouble. “How bad?”
“Bad enough. Son, I need you here.” Jonas sounded tired. “Will you come?”
“Of course, I’ll come, old man. You should know that by now.”
A weak chuckle came down the line. “Actually, I do. But it’s still more polite to ask.”
“Nothing’s polite at four in the morning,” Levi argued, glancing at the clock. “I’m on my way.”
“How soon can you get here?”
“If you want me awake and functioning, it’ll take me an hour. Otherwise, thirty minutes.” Levi could hear Jonas conferring with someone else but couldn’t tell who.
“An hour will do.”
“I’ll be there.”
Levi hung up the phone. So it was urgent, but not life or death. Still, whatever it was, it was bad.
He reached across the bed for the hand that wasn’t there and groaned. His wife Leanne had been dead for over two years, but he still reached for her every morning, after dreaming of her each night.
Murdered–when she was six months pregnant–by a drunk driving the wrong way on the freeway, her death had left a hole in Levi’s soul that he couldn’t seem to fill.
A former sergeant in the British SAS, he was a man who would have killed, if necessary, to protect his wife and unborn child. But he couldn’t even go after the bastard who’d murdered her. The bugger had died in the crash, along with Leanne.
Levi had always known that life wasn’t fair–he’d just never realized how bloody unfair it could be.
He threw off the covers, rolled out of bed, and stretched. He’d have to forego his morning run, he realized, then he closed his eyes, disappointed at the flash of relief he felt. He was getting older, slowing down.
Losing his edge.
At thirty-four, he could still do most of the things he’d done at twenty-four, but running a six-minute mile now took seven and a half.
He went into the kitchen, flipped the switch on the coffee pot, and headed for the shower. Maybe the trouble waiting for him at Jonas’s estate would be big enough to get his mind off his own problems.
Yeah, and maybe I should be careful what I wish for.
***
4:11 a.m., a cabin in the Cascade Mountains on the Yakima Indian Reservation in southern Washington:
Fear and rage. They seemed to be the only emotions Andi had left. The only ones she remembered, anyway. As if she had never known anything else, they filled and consumed her.
When she’d awakened from her drugged sleep, the sack she’d been shoved into was gone. Now she lay, bound and gagged, on a lumpy double bed. Her mouth tasted like muddy cotton. The ropes around her wrists and ankles bit into her skin.
For hours she’d lain here, watching the sky outside the barred windows grow lighter–as day one of her abduction passed into day two. She’d stopped struggling, defeated by the emotional and physical pain. The ropes were too tight, freedom impossible.
What did they want with her? She shuddered as thoughts of what men usually wanted from women flashed through her mind. No. Oh, God, no. Panic flared up again, and she fought the ropes until she lay curled into a ball, sobbing and exhausted.
Would anyone come to help her? No one had seen her being abducted. Had Donald reported her missing when she hadn’t shown up for their date? Or was he in on it?
From what she’d overheard the men in the next room say, someone close to her had arranged her kidnapping. Her father? Donald? Could it really be true? But who else could have given the kidnappers her picture, her schedule, and the best time to ambush her? Not many people had known exactly where she’d be and when.
Jonas McKenzie, head of the crime family her father belonged to, might send someone to help. The rumors in the Family said he didn’t allow innocent people to be hurt. Then again, he might not even know she’d been abducted. If her father had tipped off the kidnappers, he wouldn’t have called Jonas for help.
Damn, if only she could get to a computer! She was an expert hacker and had broken into the FBI’s database more than once for her father, checking for arrest warrants on his men. Only this time, she’d put out an abduction alert on herself. But she doubted the kidnappers would loan her a laptop, even if she asked.
Exhausted from the effects of the drug, her ordeal, and the questions she couldn’t answer, Andi drifted back to sleep, praying that someone out there–somewhere–would come to her aid.
***
4:53 a.m., the country estate of Jonas McKenzie, outside Salt Lake City, Utah:
Levi walked into Jonas’s study and found a surprise waiting for him. “Special Agent Wilson,” he said warmly, shaking the FBI agent’s hand. “What brings you here?”
“Mr. Komakov.” Wilson looked relieved to see him. “We need your expertise,” he said, picking up a manila file folder from a stack of papers on Jonas’s Desk and handing it over.
With a twinge of unease, Levi sat down, opened the folder, and scanned it. “Anderson Merritt,” he read out loud. “Goes by Andi.”
But he saw nothing in the file that would explain why he’d been called in. There was a brief dossier and a color photo, showing an exquisite young woman–probably mid-twenties–with auburn hair to her mid-back; ivory skin; and striking, almond-shaped, honey-colored eyes. According to the file, she was five feet, eight inches tall, one-hundred-thirty pounds. Just about perfect.
He whistled. “Nice. Very nice. She’s a bloody beautiful girl. And if your informant’s correct, she’s also intelligent, stubborn, very sheltered, and a bit of a handful.” He looked from Wilson to Jonas. “But other than wondering who I’d have to kill to have her, I don’t see what the problem is. Is the FBI after her for something?”
Jonas cleared his throat. “Andi is Darren Merritt’s daughter, Levi. She’s been kidnapped.”
“Oh, Christ! Sorry.” Levi winced, appalled by his thoughtless comment. “By Darren Merritt, I assume you mean your guy in St. George.” He remembered meeting the underboss once but hadn’t been impressed with him. “Did he ask for your help?”
“No. I knew nothing about this until Wilson called me early this morning.”
Levi rubbed a hand over his face. “You’ve lost me, guys,” he confessed, handing the file folder back. “You said you needed my expertise, which I assume means my particular brand of skills.” Jonas and Wilson both nodded, so Levi continued. “The FBI has a whole team of professionals who handle this kind of stuff–all younger and in better shape than me. If the young lady’s been kidnapped and you guys are involved, what can I do?”
Wilson didn’t answer directly. Instead, he said, “I’ve checked out your background, the part that’s not classified, anyway. You’re experienced in covert operations–or should I say ‘black ops’–and you’ve had paramilitary training with the British SAS. After you emigrated to the U.S. from England, you worked in some capacity with the CIA for a while, but nobody there will say what you did.” When Levi said nothing, Wilson smiled. “Mr. McKenzie tells me you’re a dangerous man to your enemies but a savior to your friends. He also says you could out-stalk a leopard.”
“What does my background have to do with anything?”
“Are you willing to work in an unofficial capacity?”
Levi couldn’t stop his snort. “You mean more unofficially than I usually do?” He looked from Wilson to Jonas and back again. “Look, just tell me what the situation is and what you want me to do. Then I’ll tell you if I can do it. Fair enough?”
“The girl’s being held in a cabin on the Yakima Indian Reservation in southern Washington,” Wilson told him. “We know exactly which cabin, even which room.”
“Exactly? How the bloody hell did you manage that?”
“Technology,” Wilson said with a tight smile. “The problem is there’s a conflict between the tribal authorities and the FBI. We won’t reveal the source of the information on the girl’s whereabouts, so the tribal authorities won’t accept that the girl’s there. Unless we can show them some concrete proof that she is, other than claiming we have a confidential informant, the tribal authorities won’t allow our hostage rescue team to come in and retrieve her. And we can’t just go up and knock on the door to get the necessary proof, or the girl will likely become collateral damage.”
He sighed and shook his head. “The bottom line is the bosses are all sitting around playing with their dicks while the victim suffers.”
“So what you’re telling me,” Levi said, remembering why he’d left the CIA, “is that politics is interfering with the rescue of a kidnap victim?” He studied the man. “That doesn’t sound like the Special Agent Wilson I know.”
“That’s why I’m here,” Wilson admitted without apology. “The Powers That Be have decided to negotiate with the tribal authorities rather than take any direct action. So my hands are tied.”
“And you remembered that I don’t like innocents getting hurt any more than you do, right?”
“That’s right. I also remembered how effective you were in rescuing Tess Horton in Mexico a few years ago. So when I got the word that the victim wasn’t the Higher Ups’ first priority, I–” When Levi raised his eyebrows, Wilson shrugged. “That’s not what they said, but it’s what they meant. Anyway, I thought of you, so I called Mr. McKenzie and–”
A knock on the door interrupted them. Jeff, one of Jonas’s attorney advisors, came into the room, followed closely by Garry, his assistant, carrying a tray loaded with coffee cups and pastries. “We were passing, saw the light under the door, and heard voices, so we assumed there was a meeting going on.” He gestured for Garry to set the tray on the coffee table in front of the couch. “We thought you could use an eye opener.”
“Thank you, Jeff,” Jonas said. “And you, too, Garry. That was very considerate of you.”
Jeff looked at the three men, the file in Wilson’s hand, and the stack of papers on the desk. “Is there anything I need to know, Jonas?”
“Not at the moment, Jeff,” Jonas said dryly. “You normally don’t need an attorney until after the crime’s been committed.”
“Right.” Jeff eyed all three men again then beckoned to Garry and left, closing the door behind them.
Levi passed around the coffee before grabbing a cup for himself. “So let me see if I understand what you’re saying. You can’t do jack shit to get this girl out of there, so you want me to go onto federal property, by myself, armed and unauthorized, and unofficially rescue her. Correct?”
“Yes.”
“That’s what I thought.”
“Can you do it?” Jonas asked. “I’ll get you whatever gear you want and anything else you need.”
“You’re just a sucker for a pretty girl, aren’t you, old man?”
“Absolutely.”
But Levi knew it was more than that. Jonas hated to see innocents suffer as much as Levi and Wilson did. The fact that Jonas focused on “victimless crimes” and didn’t allow his organization to hurt non-combatants was the only reason Levi had agreed to work for him in the first place.
“To answer your question, yes, I can probably do it,” he confirmed. “I’ll know more when I see the layout of where she’s being held.” He turned to Wilson. “My question is, how unofficial is this operation going to be?” When the man gave him a blank look, Levi clarified. “If I get in and get out with the girl, am I going to be in trouble with your troops for breaking the law?”
“If you get in and out without getting caught, then no–I don’t know you and have no idea that you’re even involved.”
“Gee, that sounds just like what I used to hear from the SAS and the CIA. And if I get caught?”
“If you get caught, you were not acting with any official authorization, but I will do whatever I can for you,” Wilson assured him. “I strongly recommend, however, that you not get caught.”
“That sounds familiar, too.” Levi thought for a moment, wondering how to broach his next question. Hell, might as well be blunt. “To do this as covertly as you seem to want, I’m going to have to kill any hostiles, whether they pose a direct threat or not.” He paused, sipped his coffee. “I don’t normally like to do that. But in my book, kidnappers rate right up there with terrorists and don’t deserve any mercy. So I’m okay with it this time. But are you?”
“As far as I’m concerned, you can kill every one of the bastards.”
“Good. That’s settled.” How could he not go? A woman or child in danger was a call to action no honorable man could ignore. And Wilson had known he’d go even before he asked. So what hasn’t he told me? “I’ll do it, but I have one more question,” he told the FBI agent. “What don’t you want to tell me?”
Wilson averted his eyes. “As of yet, there hasn’t been any ransom demand.”
“Bloody hell!”
***
7:23 a.m., the Sudarian Embassy, Washington, DC:
Jamar stood at the window, cursing the snow. From the looks of it, there wouldn’t be a break anytime soon. He’d thought about taking the train south, out of the storm, then chartering a plane once he’d left the bad weather behind, but that would leave witnesses as well as a paper trail.
Bas poked his head through the doorway. “Salt Lake City on line one for you, sir.”
Jamar nodded then stomped over to the phone on his desk. “Why the hell did you not call me on my cell phone?”
“Because the feds can eavesdrop on cell phones, you idiot,” said a familiar voice. “I’ve worked for a crime family long enough to know not to give out sensitive information on anything but a land line. As a matter of fact, I’m calling from a payphone in town, since I don’t know if the phones on the estate are bugged.”
“I see. So why did you call?”
“We have a problem. McKenzie may be sending someone to rescue the package.”
“How do you know?”
“An FBI agent showed up at the estate very early this morning. About an hour after he got there, McKenzie’s trouble shooter, Levi Komakov, came in. Almost three hours earlier than normal. They were still holed up in the study when I left to call you. What else could they be planning?”
“I have six guards on her, and it is in a very remote location,” Jamar said. “Do you think we really need to worry?”
“If they send Komakov, we do. The guy’s a freaking ghost. Trained by the British SAS and the CIA–if you believe even half of the rumors about him. He’s no joke.”
“How much do they know?”
“I won’t know for sure until I check the tapes. But someone must have called the FBI. It wasn’t her father, so we’ve probably got a mole, which means they must have some idea of where she is, or they wouldn’t have called in Komakov.”
“Great. That is just what we do not need.” Jamar sighed. “I will call Johnson and warn him. I will also send him some more men. Though, depending on the roads, they probably won’t get there before late tonight or early tomorrow. Meanwhile, you try to find out how much they know and what they intend to do about it.” Jamar considered the man at the other end of the line for a moment. “Is there any way you can take out this Komakov?”
“Not a chance.” A dark chuckle traveled down the line from Utah. “Even with my training, he’d gut me like a fish. Unless I managed to shoot him in the back. But I’m not sure he doesn’t have eyes in the back of his head. What do you think about moving the package?”
“I do not trust Johnson to do it safely and I am stuck here. I could not get my plane out of the airport last night as I had planned. I probably will not be able to leave until tomorrow from the look of things.” Jamar scowled at the snowflakes whipping past his window. “I cannot drive. The snow has closed too many roads. So I was considering taking the train south out of the storm first thing in the morning and chartering a plane.”
“Why can’t you do it now?”
“I have a meeting this afternoon that I cannot afford to miss. If I could have gotten out last night, I would have been back in time for the meeting, but it is too late now. It will have to be tomorrow.” Jamar massaged the back of his neck to ease the tension. “If I leave first thing in the morning, I could be there by tomorrow afternoon. But I do not like the idea of witnesses and an untrusted flight crew. Or a paper trail, for that matter.”
“Dope the package and put her in a box, for Christ’s sake. Then she’s just cargo to any witness or flight crew. All any paperwork will say is whatever you write on it.”
“Yes, good. An excellent idea.” Jamar played the scenario in his head but saw no downside. “I will be on the first train south in the morning. You see what else you can come up with and let me know. If this Komakov is going to attempt a rescue, he will have to be good.”
“He is. So just make sure Johnson’s expecting him. And get him some help.”
© 2014 by Pepper O’Neal

Wow! Awesome beginning here! It certainly wants me to read this book. How about you? Don’t forget: The purchase links for this book are just before this excerpt.

Feel free to connect with Pepper at one of her social media links:


  




Thank you all for visiting with us. It’s always a pleasure to meet readers and authors. Until next month, every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey. One person, one voice can make a difference. Read a book and pass it on. Leave a review. Reviews are important for authors. Believe me. I know. Thank you!

Regards,
S. J. Francis, Writing is my passion, but animals are my world. 
Advocate for the underdog, and cat, and supporting writers, et al.

In Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family." Available now from Black Opal Books and for sale at all on-line retailers and independent booksellers. "Some secrets should remain that way."

                     
Shattered Lies is a Honorable Mention in the 2017 San Francisco Book Festival.  

     Shattered Lies has earned the 2017 Literary Classics Seal of Approval.  

          Shattered Lies is a Finalist in the 2016 Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards.

     Shattered Lies is a winner in the Fall 2016 NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Book Awards for Women's Fiction. 


       Shattered Lies is a runner-up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Indie Best Book Award Competition.
                                        
 Shattered Lies is a 2016 Reader's Favorite Honorable Mention in the Fiction - Women’s category.  

           Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 10th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards.


 Shattered Lies was chosen as General Fiction Official Selection in the 2015 New Apple Book Awards.


                     The 2nd, new book cover design for Shattered Lies was a Finalist in the 2016 Authors dB Best Cover Contest. 


                     The first, original book cover design for Shattered Lies was a semi-finalist in the 2015 Authors dB Best Cover Contest. 

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And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2017 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and the guest author and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.