Spotlight: The Serpent’s Tail by Martin Dillon

the serpents tail

They were recruited as police informers but they found themselves caught up in a shadowy counter terrorist war.

From the bestselling author of The Shankill Butchers and the Dirty War, The Serpent’s Tail is a novel based on a true life sting involving the IRA, the SAS and MI5. It is a gripping thriller based on a true sequence of events in which two young Belfast Catholics are recruited as informers and find themselves at the heart of a ‘sting’ involving the IRA, the SAS and MI5. The Serpent’s Tail is the first work of fiction by the man Conor Cruise O’Brien has described as ‘The greatest living authority on Irish terrorism.’

The true story of an SAS inspired sting against the Provisional IRA which almost destroyed the organization. The IRA later admitted that the operation was a brilliant piece of planning by the SAS and the British Intelligence Agency, MI5. Its success was, however, short-lived leading to the sacrifice of many agents and the emergence of a more determined and ruthless IRA leadership.

About the Author:

Martin Dillon has won international acclaim for his unique reporting and is considered one of the foremost experts on global terrorism and organized crime. His bestselling trilogy, The Shankill Butchers, The Dirty War and God and the Gun, from his twelve non-fiction works, is regarded as the definitive account of the Ireland conflict. He began his distinguished career as a newspaper reporter and later became a program editor with the BBC. He has written plays for television, as well as documentaries, and has been featured on television networks in Europe and across North America. Martin Dillon lives with his family in San Francisco.

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Book Trailer Launch: Cayleth Warding and The Scarlet One by Jessica Hernandez

Who doesn’t love a good book trailer?

I’m pumped to share the trailer to Jessica Hernandez’s newest novel, Cayleth Warding and The Scarlet One. Click HERE to check it out!

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Fifty-three families looking for a new beginning board a ship and sail to an uninhabited island. Happily they live for well over two decades. Homes are built and the past is forgotten. Paradise, however, is no more after the adults suddenly vanish one night. For three years, the teens and children rule the island of Oridd. For three years, they survive. When an old woman unexpectedly appears on Oridd, all is cast into disarray as the strange and awful threaten to become commonplace. The old woman wants something, and she won’t leave until she gets it.

 

Spotlight: Shu Wei’s Revenge by Jackson Fahnestock

shuwei

 

SYNOPSIS

This is a story about strength of family and friendships, heartbreak, perseverance, and personal trauma. The setting is 1898. In his role as Town Scribe in the sleepy village of Sanhou, China, seventeen-year-old Shu Wei is caught up in an incident in the town square, which ultimately causes the family to be banished from the town.

The ensuing journey to San Francisco’s Chinatown gives rise to the intrigue, mystery, and tension that only escalates the deeper the story goes. Shu Wei ultimately finds himself working for a local newspaper while he juggles the scurrilous demands and threats of Tong members as he attempts to restore his family’s honor.

It is his growing experience as a cub reporter and writer that brings him the confidence to confront not only his own mortality but the brutal world around him.    

About the Author

Jackson Fahnestock traveled as an architect, working on large-scale projects, in China, Taiwan, Vietnam and other parts of the world. His experiences formed the basis for Shu Wei’s Revenge. He earned a Bachelor Degree in Architecture from the University of Illinois and two Masters Degrees – one in Architecture and the other in Urban Planning at Columbia University in New York.  His first book, To Preserve a Heritage, was about landmarks in Lower Manhattan. He lives in San Francisco.

SHU WEI’S REVENGE

A Young Man’s Journey into the Depths of the Underworld

Available now on Amazon!

By Jackson Fahnestock

  • Price:  $12.95
  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Bayside Press (September 6, 2017)
  • ISBN-10: 0998803413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0998803418

Cover Reveal – Like Broken China

It’s here! The moment we’ve all (but mostly I’ve) been waiting for! My third novel, Like Broken China, is being launched on November 21st and I’m pumped to be able to reveal the cover art today. A huge thanks to Alyssa at Uplifting Designs for the mountain of patience she had with me and for creating a cover that I absolutely love. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

LikeBrokenChinaWEBcover

Interview with Kenneth Kelly

Kenneth Kelly, co-author of the novel Virtue Inverted, joins us today to discuss his writing inspirations.

What genre do you write and why?

I dabble in Science Fiction, but I primarily write fantasy. Science Fiction is all about high tech gadgets, science, space travel…things that could possibly be in our own world or worlds very similar.  You have to have a good idea of scientific theories, astrology, and modern advances in space travel.  You have to follow certain ‘rules’ if you expect the reader to take you seriously, and while I’m up for a challenge, I prefer my writing to have a bit more freedom for creativity.  That’s what I like about fantasy: having more freedom.  That doesn’t mean I can write whatever story I darn well please.  Fantasy writing still has to have a certain verisimilitude, but it’s not as confined by research and ‘correctness’ of what constitutes good science fiction.  You can experiment a bit more with fantasy.  The rustic, woodland settings, sword and sorcery, outrageous monsters, things that aren’t possible and defy laws of physics and have no explanation and don’t need one; I can create the rules of the worlds my stories take place in.  With fantasy I can let my imagination go crazy in a way other genres wouldn’t permit.

Tell us about your latest book.

Virtue Inverted started off as a story I began in high school. I was very proud of it, showing it off to all my friends and English teachers.  But it wasn’t anywhere close to the work it is now.  Benny Clout’s character was essentially the same, but almost everything else (setting, plot, characters, etc.) was unrecognizable to how it is now.  After I graduated and began college, I quickly realized it wasn’t the masterpiece I’d hoped it would be and sat on it for a few years until I contacted Piers Anthony in 2015 in regards to another book I’d written.  We began to discuss this old story of mine, collaborated and before I knew it we’d completed Virtue Inverted and the following installments.  I don’t want to discuss too much of the story, but I’ll describe it as a hard hitting vampire fantasy.  However, it’s not your typical vampire story.

Who are your favorite authors?

This is a hard question because there are so many writers I admire. I’m obviously a big Piers Anthony fan, and I love the big names of sci-fi/fantasy like J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Stephen King.  I love the more modern, popular writers like Robert Jordan, Isaac Asimov, David Farland, etc.  But there are a lot of lesser known writers I don’t feel received the recognition they deserved: John Bellairs,  H. Beam Piper, Niel Hancock, Brad Munson, and John Ruskin.  If I typed the names of every writer I consider a favorite this interview would go on forever.  An easier question would probably be “which writers aren’t your favorite?”

What advice do you have for other writers?

Keep writing and never give up. It’s hard to become well established as a published writer; I’m still working on that.  If one project doesn’t take off, set it aside and move on to the next.  You’re first big idea won’t always take off like a jet plane, so don’t become discouraged if your ‘magnum opus’ doesn’t get the reception you think it should.  Look at my example: it took over half a decade and the aid of a bestselling writer before Virtue Inverted was picked up by a publisher.  Also remember that I got lucky, and not everyone will get the chance to write with a man like Piers Anthony like I did. So I’ll go back a hundred times to the same advice: don’t give up and keep writing no matter what!  It’s easy to let everyday life and limited success steal your motivation.  Don’t let it happen.  The only way to be a writer is to write.

What’s your favorite quote about writing/for writers?

A now deceased English teacher, poet and father figure of mine, Kurt Van Wilt, once told me “write what you know.” I’ll remember this advice after everything else is forgotten.  You have to know what you’re writing about, even in a genre like fantasy.  I’ve never served in the military let alone gone to war, and I’ve never devoted much research to the idea, so for me to write a novel from the point of view of a soldier as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, or something similar, would be ludicrous and any readers who have experienced this would pick up on it.  It’s sort of like that.  Writing what you know is what makes your work believable and gives it credibility.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

I’d have to say Dale Beranger. He’s a tortured soul with a complicated past, who was a well seasoned adventurer who could handle any situation imaginable at any given time.  You never know what to expect with him.  Having him as a main antagonist and villain is what I feel makes Virtue Inverted the story it is.  I’ve always thought that the villain of a story is what made it compelling, and my own work is no exception.

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?

Virtue Inverted is a compelling, fast paced and action packed story. I know how much I hate a boring book, and I don’t want readers to find my work dull. The narrative is complex, with many twists and turns that will keep the reader on the edge of their seats until the very end.

Who Designed the Cover?

The cover for Virtue Inverted was done by Mitchell Bentley from Atomic Fly Studios.  I stumbled across his website a while back and loved his work.  So, Piers and I agreed to let him to the cover for our works.  I came up with the general idea for the cover, which Mr. Bentley used to design the finished art.

Who inspires you?

A short, simple answer would be God, family and friends. So many people have aided and supported me throughout my writing and life. My parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins, and friends, living and dead, have always pushed me to give nothing less than my 110% at any task I set before me.  I feel compelled to make them proud, and to help others in the way they’ve helped me.

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

It may seem like a childish inspiration, but an old VHS tape is what inspired me to become a writer. When I was a toddler, a neighbor gave me some old video tapes full of old cartoons that I would watch on a daily basis.  As a child, I was mesmerized by the colors, characters, places and things I saw, and I would become lost in these amazing worlds I witnessed.  This inspired me as a child to create and tell stories to my parents, who would write my tales down before I knew how to write.  There were few things that stirred my soul more than a compelling story.  Each movie or book I watched or read became a real place, with real friends where I escape the boredom of everyday life.  They kept me motivated and gave me something to live for.  Every story I watch or read inspires me to this day, but it was those old VHS tapes, which I still have, that set me on the path to become a writer, so that I could help inspire and motivate others with my own work.

Kenneth Kelly

 

 

 

Top Ten Book Dedications

Hi Everyone!

Although I realize that I’ve been MIA over the last little while, I’d like to assure you that I’m still very much alive and well. Life got in the way as it so easily does and I had to shelf the blog for a little bit. That being said, I will do my best to post more regularly (pinkie promise, as my children would say).

Since I’m currently trying to word the dedication for my third novel (easier said than done), I’ve decided to feature my top ten book dedications.

 

  1. Austenland, by Shannon Hale

 

For Colin Firth

You’re a really great guy, but I’m married, so I think we should just be friends.

 

  1. Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman

You know how it is. You pick up a book, flip to the dedication, and find that, once again, the author has dedicated a book to someone else and not to you. Not this time. Because we haven’t yet met/have only a glancing acquaintance/are just crazy about each other/haven’t seen each other in much too long/are in some way related/will never meet, but will, I trust, despite that, always think fondly of each other! This one’s for you. With you know what, and you probably know why.

 

  1. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck

Dear Pat, You came upon me carving some kind of little figure out of wood and you said, “Why don’t you make something for me?” I asked you what you wanted, and you said, “A box.” “What for?” “To put things in.” “What kind of things?” “Whatever you have,” you said. Well, here’s your box. Nearly everything I have is in it, and it is not full. Pain and excitement are in it, and feeling good or bad and evil thoughts and good thoughts- the pleasure of design and some despair and the indescribable joy of creation. And on top of these are all the gratitude and love I have for you. And still the box is not full. JOHN

 

  1. The Little Prince, by Antoine De Saint Exupery

To Leon Werth I ask the indulgence of the children who may read this book for dedicating it to a grown-up. I have a serious reason: he is the best friend I have in the world. I have another reason: this grown-up understands everything, even books about children. I have a third reason: he lives in France where he is hungry and cold. He needs cheering up. If all these reasons are not enough, I will dedicate the book to the child from whom this grown-up grew. All grown-ups were once children—although few of them remember it. And so I correct my dedication:

To Leon Werth, When he was a little boy

 

6. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson

 

I want to thank everyone who helped me create this book, except for that guy who yelled at me in Kmart when I was eight because he thought I was being “too rowdy.”

You’re an asshole, sir.

 

5. The House of Hades, by Rick Riordan

 

To my wonderful readers: Sorry about that last cliff-hanger. Well, no, not really. HAHAHAHA. But seriously, I love you guys.

 

4. Don’t Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchhicker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Neil Gaiman

 

Because she’s threatened me with consequences too dreadful to consider if I don’t dedicate a book to her…

And because she’s taken to starting every transatlantic conversation with “Have you dedicated a book to me yet?”…

I would like to dedicate this book to intelligent life forms everywhere.

And to my sister, Claire.

 

3. The Land of Stories, by Chris Colfer

 

To Grandma,

For being my first editor and giving me the best writing advice I’ve ever received: “Christopher, I think you should wait until you’re done with elementary school before worrying about being a failed writer.”

 

2. The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis
To Lucy Barfield

My Dear Lucy,

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand, a word you say, but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather,

C.S. Lewis

 

1. A Series of Unfortunate Events(books 1–13), by Lemony Snicket
To Beatrice– darling, dearest, dead. (The Bad Beginning: Book The First)

 

For Beatrice– My love for you shall live forever. You, however, did not. (The Reptile Room: Book The Second)

 

For Beatrice– I would much prefer it if you were alive and well. (The Wide Window: Book The Third)

 

To Beatrice– My love flew like a butterfly Until death swooped down like a bat As the poet Emma Montana McElroy said: “That’s the end of that.” (The Miserable Mill: Book The Fourth) 

 

For Beatrice– You will always be in my heart, In my mind, And in your grave. (The Austere Academy: Book The Fifth)

 

For Beatrice– When we met my life began, Soon afterward, yours ended. (The Ersatz Elevator: Book The Sixth)

 

For Beatrice– When we were together I felt breathless. Now you are. (The Vile Village: Book The Seventh)

 

For Beatrice– Summer without you is as cold as winter. Winter without you is even colder. (The Hostile Hospital: Book The Eighth)

 

For Beatrice– Our love broke my heart, and stopped yours. (The Carnivorous Carnival: Book The Ninth)

 

For Beatrice– When we first met, you were pretty, and I was lonely. Now I am pretty lonely. (The Slippery Slope: Book The Tenth)

 

For Beatrice– Dead women tell no tales. Sad men write them down. (The Grim Grotto: Book The Eleventh)

 

For Beatrice— No one could extinguish my love, or your house. (The Penultimate Peril: Book The Twelfth)

 

For Beatrice— I cherished, you perished. The world’s been nightmarished. (The End: Book The Thirteenth)

Guest Post – Author Andrew Joyce

GUESTPOST

My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. J.D. has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new novel RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure. I think it’s a good book, but what do I know? Anyway, I’m kinda shy about tooting my own horn. So I think I’ll turn things over to my dog, Danny. He always has an attitude and usually does not speak highly of me. But please understand that we co-exist as the old Soviet Union and the United States once co-existed. We tolerate each other. So without further ado, here’s Danny the Dog.

Andrew took me away from one of my favorite pastimes—barking at dogs that have the temerity to walk down my street—to help him out here. For a person that works with words for a living, he has very little to say in real life. He wants me to tout his book for him, but I don’t think I will. Instead, I think I’ll tell you about my latest adventure. I’m always having adventures, and I like to write about them. And what I write about is usually 100% true. For those of you who are for the first time being graced by my literary genius, I am Danny, dog extraordinaire. My fans know me as Danny the Dog and I live on a boat with my human, Andrew. Now it’s time for another one of my fur-raising adventures and in this one I shine. I am the hero.

It was a dark and stormy night (not really). Andrew was fast asleep in our boat. I was on the dock patrolling the perimeter. When I’m on guard duty, I am always vigilant and on my toes.

They came out of the darkness. There were at least thirty of ’em, and they were all armed to the teeth. But they didn’t scare me, no sir! I stood up to them, and for every blow I took, I bit three. And when the fur stopped flying, there were bodies strewn everywhere. And those not lying on the dock were in full retreat.

Okay . . . okay already! Andrew is giving me the evil eye. He’s always telling me that I can’t tell lies when relating one of my adventures. Well, he said barefaced lies. Whatever!

I reckon I’ll listen to him this one time and tell you what really happened. But I’m still the hero.

It was around midnight, I was asleep and dreaming of hotdogs. (It was a good dream. In it, I was running through a field of hotdogs and eating every one of them.) Then I heard a noise and sat up. There was some guy walking right up to our boat just as fancy as you please. Well, I wasn’t going to take that, so I barked at him. He did a U-turn and made a hasty departure. And that was the end of it.

You know . . . I wish Andrew would stick to his own story-telling and let me do mine. It sounded a whole lot better when I defeated thirty killers.

That’s about it for now. If I hurry home, I might just be able to make it in time to catch the neighborhood dogs taking their humans for their evening walk. That’s always good for some first-rate barking.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot—go out and buy Andrew’s new book. It’ll make the old guy happy.

This is Andrew again. On behalf of Danny and myself, I would like to thank J.D. for having us over. It’s been a real pleasure.

Andrew

Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written four books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and forty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, RESOLUTION. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, YELLOW HAIR.

 

Book Review: Salsa With the Pope by Samantha Wren Anderson

salsa with the pope

Salsa With the Pope by Samantha Wren Anderson is a quirky, women’s fiction novel about a struggling actress going through the ups and downs of finding love – and in the end, herself.

I’ll say this; Salsa With the Pope is funny. The situations that Samantha finds herself in and her inner thought process throughout it all are downright hilarious at times. And although it isn’t necessarily the deepest novel that I’ve ever read, you know what? It doesn’t have to be. A fluff read is fun once in a while.

My only issue here is that I wonder how closely this novel walks the line between fiction and creative non-fiction. I couldn’t help but notice that the author and main character share many similarities and I have a sneaking suspicion that we have a “Mary-Sue” situation going on here (if you aren’t familiar with the term, click here).

Overall, I liked Salsa With the Pope and would recommend it for fans of the pop fiction / women’s lit genre.

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Author Interview with Shannon Condon

finding magdalena

Author Shannon Condon is joining us today to discuss  her experiences as an author and her debut novel, Finding Magdalena.

Q. When did you realise you wanted to become an author?

A. I realized I wanted to be a writer when I was in high school and went to college with that goal in mind. Of course, life happens and it wasn’t until recently that I have had the opportunity to realize my dream.

Q. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

A. The message I want readers to take away from this book is abuse in teenage relationships and at the teenage level, whether in a relationship or not, is a very real thing. I think girls are particularly susceptible at college when they are away from home and looking for security which is often equated with a boyfriend. Abuse can come in many forms and I knew many girls who experienced it, myself included.

Q. What genre do you consider your book(s)?

A. My book has been labeled by the publisher as coming of age/ young adult. Due to the nature of the content, I would recommend it for 15+.

Q. What was the hardest part of writing this book?  

A. I think the hardest part of writing this book was keeping the length to a reasonable length. I had a lot more I wanted to add to the book but had been advised not to go over a certain word count. Fortunately, that is what sequels are for.

Q. Do you have any advice for other writers?

A. My advice to other writers is not to get discouraged. I received lots of rejection letters before I decided to self publish. I am still sending query letters to publishers. Just because what you write doesn’t strike a chord with one agent doesn’t mean another won’t love it. The most important thing is to believe in yourself and make sure you EDIT your manuscript before you send any part of it to an agent.

Q. How long does it take you to write a book?

A. It’s hard to put a timeline on how long it takes me to write a book. I can spend a couple of months developing a book and the characters before I actually put a single word on my computer.  Once I begin writing, however, I would say it takes about six to eight months.  I am constantly rewriting in my head even as I am writing on my computer and this leads to deleted chapters and backtracking. It’s important to me that when I am done, the characters are strong and the story fluid.

Q. What books have most influenced your life most?

A. I think the books that have had the greatest influence on me are the ones that I don’t want to end. They draw me in so much that I am immersed in another world. Some examples would be my all time favorite, ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding and the Hunger Games series.

Q. What are you working on at the minute?

A. Right now I am working on the sequel to Finding Magdalena. I am very excited about it because I feel that Maggie is growing as a woman and in strength. There will be a lot of surprises and I hope everyone who has been asking for a sequel will be asking for more!

Q. Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead characters from your book?

A. To be honest, I cannot think of any current actress who could play Maggie. She is such a unique character. I would envision a new face playing her if a movie was made of Finding Magdalena.

Q. What’s is your book about?

A. My book is about a girl named who suffers a terrible tragedy at fifteen. As she begins to recover with the help of her best friend, Graham, she meet’s her roommate’s older brother, Eric. He becomes obsessed with Maggie. His obsession becomes violent and he abuses and sexually tortures her. She flees to Spain to attend college and try to find her mother’s estranged family. Just as she settles into what she believes is a safe life, Eric finds her and she begins a journey across Europe to escape him that draws upon all her strength and shows her the woman she is meant to be.