Review of Elle Klass’ “Baby Girl 6: Return to the Bay”

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Cleo’s saga continues in another suspense-filled episode. If you’re a Cleo fan like I am, you won’t be disappointed in this latest segment of her ongoing story. This one picks up where Baby Girl 5: Caribbean Heat drops you off with a nail-biting cliffhanger. Cleo, her best friend, Kacy, and La Tige have been ambushed and left in dire straits in a warehouse. Upon surviving this ordeal, the set out to figure out who the culprit is and his possible motive. More of Cleo’s family secrets are revealed in the fast-moving sequel. As always, the characters are convincing and endearing and by the time you make it this far in this enjoyable series, they’re like your own family. Cleo’s story just gets better and better.

Pick up your copy on Amazon here.

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“The History of Things to Come”: A Thriller Packed with Suspense and Intrigue

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This contemporary thriller follows in the footsteps of “The DaVinci Code” but in this case the mystery and intrigue surround the works of Isaac Newton, particularly those that go beyond the scientific prowess with which most of us are most familiar. His interests also included alchemy, religion, and various sacred relics, which allegedly possessed mystical powers.

As a physicist myself, Newton is one of my favorite people, further enhanced by the fact we were both born on Christmas Day, albeit 305 years apart. Well, okay, that’s not entirely accurate since the calendars changed during that time, placing his birthday on January 4. That’s relevant to me, too, since I’m not only a physicist but also a professional astrologer, which Newton was as well, though of course the history books tend to leave out that little detail. Perhaps the author will include that particular angle in a future volume, which could introduce some interesting prophetic angles. There’s plenty of fodder to explore between science, religion and astrology, which I plan to pursue at some point myself. Thus, I was excited to find this book that promised to delve into areas in which I have a strong personal interest; I was not disappointed.

Of course anything that might wield considerable power is going to attract bad guys who want it for all the wrong reasons; think Indiana Jones and “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. In this case, however, rather than Hitler and the Nazis, it’s a single, powerful entity known only as the Drakon, who sends a variety of henchmen to obtain any and all of Newton’s writings and artifacts, which places anyone in possession of such items in mortal danger.

The main character, Vincent Blake, is an experienced detective whose specialty is tracking down stolen art and other antiquities, so he’s quickly pulled into the case as those who get close to anything Newtonian are dropping like flies. Many of Newton’s books and notebooks have already been acquired by The Vatican, which have been studied in detail by Brother Nathan Vittori, Chief Librarian at the Vatican Observatory, as well as his friend, Dr. Carla Sabatini, a former research student. Brother Nathan discovers a fascinating notebook of Newton’s in the archives that contains a considerable amount of new information and the plot thickens.

This story is richly detailed which brings it to life through various historical tidbits, well-developed characters and an intriguing plot that includes a plethora of interesting individuals including a mysterious homeless woman named Mary. In some respects it moves too fast since it’s so detailed that some can easily be missed as you plunge forward reading to find out who’ll survive and how it will end. Thus, it’s one that I would probably read again at some point to savor those elements I blew past initially. The ending was reasonably satisfying, yet left enough unanswered questions to carry over into future volumes.

The writing style is strong and engaging, my only criticism related to awkward viewpoint transitions. Nicely edited otherwise, I’m surprised that no one suggested section breaks to cue the reader when the point of view shifted, often abruptly and in the middle of a scene which was enough of a distraction to pull you out of the story action until you got oriented again. Nonetheless, it was a great read that I enjoyed tremendously and I definitely look forward to any sequels.

You can pick up a copy on Amazon here.

Baby Girl Series Box Set Now Available!

Babygirl bannerI’m excited to be one of the stops on the blog tour for the release of Elle Klass’ Baby Girl Series Box Set! I loved the stories the first time I read them as separate books, which tended to be several months apart, which meant that I often forgot who some of the characters were during the time gaps. Thus, I truly enjoyed being able to reread the entire story, start to finish, as one contiguous story. Some scenes were expanded or even added which further enhanced this amazing tale of an abandoned girl’s quest to not only find out who she really is but to survive.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Elle was born in Redwood City, California and spent her childhood growing up in the fabulous San Francisco Bay Area. She is an avid San Francisco Forty Niners fan. She has raised two beautiful daughters, and currently resides in Florida. For fun she reads, spends time at the beach, travels, and enjoys time with her favorite friends, and family. She is a night-owl known as most her creative energy and ideas strike after 9 p.m. I interviewed Elle here on my blog site a few months ago which you can find here.

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The box set includes the entire saga as told in the original four books entitled In the Beginning, Moonlighting is Paris, City by the Bay, and Bite the Big Apple. The story begins when abandoned at 12, Baby Girl is forced to face the harsh realities of life and struggles to find her path. She forages for sustenance, steals from the wealthy, and sleeps in any dark hole she can find. A ‘family’ of sorts forms between her and a band of other youngsters. Together they fight for survival, friendship, and love in the midst, but that is only the beginning. Life throws her one curve ball after another until secrets are revealed and the search for her true origins begins and ends with the powerful truth.

Here are excerpts from each of the individual stories that comprise the Baby Girl Box Set.

Book 1: In the Beginning

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Approaching Winter

We burned stray wood and paper in the trashcan for warmth, and stock-piled blankets, coats and extra clothes during the frigid winter months. Star and Peewee huddled together for warmth and Einstein held me close. The city was marvelous and bustling with life making it easy now to fit into a crowd and earn extra money. We tricked people out of hundreds of dollars in cash taking advantage of their generosity.

Einstein found an old small plastic Christmas tree in a dumpster and brought it to the warehouse. He insisted it wasn’t Christmas without presents so we found gifts for each other and placed them under the tree. It was the first Christmas in my life I celebrated. My mother never celebrated any holiday, nor did I ever receive gifts on special occasions such as my birthday. My mom’s gift every year was an expressionless ‘Happy birthday’. I found a working gold watch with engraving on the underside of the face plate, but that didn’t matter. I gave it to Einstein because of his preoccupation with keeping track of time. Star found and gave Peewee a new pair of shoes as his were falling apart at the seams and unsuitable for trudging through piles of snow. Star gave me a fiction book as I loved to read, and Einstein gave Star a tiara because she adored anything with sparkles and glitter. Instead of eating leftovers or cooking canned meats or hotdogs, we took our money and ate inside a nice restaurant. We splurged and partied creating an unforgettable Christmas.

Einstein survived on his own longer than the rest of us and wanted more than dumpster leftovers and abandoned warehouses. He grew eager to leave and developed a plan to heist jewelry and small valuable items from people’s homes while they were away on vacation. Later we’d sell everything for cash.

We became obsessed with staking out neighborhoods and houses. The four of us wanted the same thing, a “normal” life. We found homes spaced apart geographically, hoping to draw less attention than if we hit homes in the same areas. Einstein and I hit the first home and everything went smooth as melted caramel. We chose the house after observing the owner’s leaving the spare key hidden under a stone behind the house. The ordinary neighborhood and tract homes meant no alarms. For our first heist we made a wise choice.

Once inside the house we used our flashlights to find our way around, careful not to shine them towards the windows and take the chance of alerting the neighbors. In the master bedroom we found a solid gold chain, two gold rings with precious stones that Einstein said were amethyst, emeralds, and onyx but mostly costume stuff. How Einstein knew each stone stumped me. In the dining hutch we found crystal goblets. Einstein claimed they were real crystal because he wet his finger, swirled it around the top of one glass and made it sing. A cool trick I wouldn’t have known on my own. I took his knowledge of precious stones and crystal as clues to his upbringing and guessed he’d lived a more privileged life than myself.

“How did you know to do that?”

The corners of his lips turned upward in a smile. “I can’t tell you all my secrets.”

We wrapped the goblets in dish towels using great care and placed them into our backpacks.

After Einstein and I successfully hit a few homes, Star decided she wanted in on the scam. Einstein thought it was a bad idea because of Peewee, but Star insisted. She wanted a piece of the action. She and Einstein butted heads over it causing friction amongst us.

One night Star and Peewee followed us out and caught up to us as we finished hijacking items from the house. The second we stepped outside the house a familiar whisper, “Cleo” alerted me Star followed us. My body halted mid-stride as I caught sight of her and Peewee’s shadows standing against the wall of the house. Einstein motioned for them to edge their way to the back of the house where there were no light sensors. Star shuffled towards us, but Peewee stepped out too far and the lights went on brightening the entire side of the house. Oh crap! We fled in varying directions. I held the bag of loot in my hand and once I ran I didn’t turn my head to look behind me. I hastened my pace at the sounds of people. Several blocks away I cowered in an alley to catch my breath. Einstein was right behind me and ducked into the alley with me.

“Star and Peewee, are they with you?”

He shook his head as if to say ‘no’ and turned his eyes downward. “It’s time to leave” he said after a moment of silence.

“OK, yeah, we need to get back.”

He grasped my shoulders. “Leave – as in this city. There were too many lights, commotion, and sirens at the scene for Star and Peewee to slip away. They aren’t as savvy as we are. The police are gonna be looking for us next.”

My mind absorbed with escaping I missed the wailing sirens. He was right and my head reeled at the implications his words threw at me.

“You think they’ll tell on us?”

The nod of his head told me ‘yes’.

I couldn’t leave yet I needed my bag from its secret place.

“We gotta go back to the warehouse. I have something hidden there that I need.” His eyes grew soft, and he agreed.

Back at the warehouse, I went straight to my secret place. Within minutes the sound of voices tickled our eardrums and lights flashing beneath us.

“Squish in beside me.”

Without a moment to spare Einstein squeezed in the cubby hole. Radios blared on the other side of the cubby and police scoured the building but came up empty. I whispered in Einstein’s ear, “Star and Peewee squealed quick.”

“They did – or the police are here for something else.” ‘Something else’ was possible. Either way, neither of us wanted to get caught. Hours passed with Einstein and I scrunched on top of each other. Teenage hormones, close quarters, and our semi attraction to each other brought our relationship to a new level. Our hearts raced together from the excitement. Einstein held me flush against him.

“I love you Cleo.”

The sound of his words caused a wave of want to wash came over me and I kissed him. My first kiss ever. I drove my tongue deep inside his mouth. Einstein’s words and kiss melted my heart. My own mother never showed me any affection. As I kissed him, he kissed me back. We explored under each other’s clothes. Our fingers and hands discovering the joys of the opposite sex. I yearned for his love and firm embrace. The moment thrilled me, I didn’t want it to end.

The next day we waited for Star and Peewee, but we both knew the police found them. Under the cover of dusk we snuck out, taking great pains to not get caught.

Book 2:  Moonlighting in Paris

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Here and Gone

Our engagement party stood out as the soirée of all soirées: co-workers, friends, and I invited Kamisha. I unexpectedly grew used to the flamboyant lifestyle, but on the inside – it wasn’t me. The focus of the night centered on Didier and I and it overwhelmed me. People I barely knew, or never met congratulated me, and young ladies eyed me with envy. Whispers circulated the room: Who is she? Where did she come from? Then You don’t belong… You don’t belong in smudged lipstick echoed inside me. I snuck away finding a deserted room I closed the door behind me and took a deep breath then composed myself. The echoes in my head faded, and I emerged into the hallway.

The door closed behind me and a warm, sweaty hand slipped across my mouth. Heavy breathing followed by a crackling voice said, “You need to go back to wherever you came from, Justine.” Her voice reverberated inside me and Sam’s self-defense skills blossomed into action as I grabbed hold of the mystery woman’s arm and slung her over my shoulder. A puff of dark hair and a small frame came thundering forward, landing on the floor with a loud thud. I drove my shoe into her side for good measure and ran down the hall, rounding the corner I ran into Sam.

The expression on my face gave away my fear. “Wow! Where have you been? What happened?”

“I threw her in the hall, on the floor.” I squeaked. He burst down the hall.

Didier’s forehead creased with lines and his eyes grew dark as he walked towards me. He scrutinized our actions. “Where is Sam?”

“I used the skills he taught me. A woman caught me from behind, I flipped her, and left her in the hall crumpled on the floor.”

A look I didn’t expect came over his face as his lips curled into a smile of satisfaction. “I will remember not to get on your bad side. Was she the same woman from Aruba?”

“I don’t think so. Her hair was dark and short, although her size and frame are correct. With her hair covering her face, I can’t be sure.”

The woman disappeared by the time Sam arrived. He and security scoured every inch of the hotel, and scanned the video footage, though apparently she busted the camera in that hallway. My immediate thought was, how convenient you little bitch. They didn’t find her, although we didn’t come up empty handed. I threw her so hard she left a small blood stain behind, it got collected and sent in for analysis. In the cover of night she fled, but I would soon know who she was and I’d be ready. My devious mind schemed for her return.

Over the next few weeks, I assisted in planning my wedding and succumbed to being a public societal figure. In the past I worried about my transgressions slamming me in the face, but now I looked my fear in the eye and assisted in the hosting and planning of various charity events. I wanted this would-be assailant woman to find me. With my ears open and eyes peeled, I watched and waited.

Book 3:  City by the Bay

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The Tomato Shack

I worked up the courage over a weekend to visit the places my mom frequented, according to the letters, every three years with Slug. The Tomato Shack was a divey little sub sandwich shop outside Sacramento. The blue paint on the outside peeled and cracked from sun and lack of upkeep. Each window displayed the ad, Lunch Sandwich Special 12 inch Sub Plus Large Drink and Bag of Chips $5.00, along with multiple sets of fingerprints. Inside, dirt built up in the corners of the tile floor, and dark mucky splotches muddled the walls. The whole place reminded of an unclean public restroom. The counter and tables looked clean, although I doubted bleach had touched them for years.

A young girl, no more than sixteen, stood behind the counter. She twisted at her blond ringlets while smacking on what sounded like an entire package of bubble gum, her hands gliding over the screen of her phone. I grasped she wouldn’t be able to provide me any info, although I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask. She glanced my way with steely, battleship-gray eyes as I approached the counter, “Ready to order?” she asked, placing her phone on the counter with a sigh like I was intruding on her.

I flipped my P.I. card at her. “I’m looking for information. Is there a manager or owner whom I could speak with?”

“My dad owns the place. He’ll be in tomorrow.” Her words came out in spurts between chomps, followed up with a mega-sized bubble I expected to pop all over her face. She sucked it back in without a single strand sticking to her face. Her blank stare told me her synapses halted firing and her brain was a few walnuts shy of the tree.

“Thanks, about what time?”

Chomp, chomp, smack. Her eyes jolted to life alerting me that her synapses were back online. “‘Bout one in the afternoon.”

“I’ll be back then.”

My next stop was 1523 Tanwood Dr. Rows of duplexes lined the street on both sides circling around a cul-de-sac. The construction was ‘80s style with lackluster brown paint on each and every cloned home. 1523 sat on the outer edge of the cul-de-sac. I walked up the street, contemplating what to say. I considered this place had been something to Slug, not my mother, and many years passed since he’d sent the letter. Neighborhoods like these were transient, revolving doors for people trying to make a start or dealing drugs. Thoughts flopped around in my head something like a lizard’s tail missing its body. The front door coming ever closer with each step.

The door now stared me in the face, the doorbell a hands length away. Without warning heavy metal music blasted like an automatic rifle against my eardrums, and the sound of a sputtering engine halted me in my tracks. I turned to see a late model Camaro pulling into the driveway. A fortyish man stepped out of the vehicle, a mane of thick brown hair flowed in a bad mullet from his head, a denim jacket minus sleeves covered his torso. The sleeves handmade judging by the frazzled ends of the fabric around his arms, with a black rock T underneath, and jeans that boasted more holes than my worst pair during my homeless days, covered his legs. “I’m not buying, so go away,” sputtered off his lips with a vengeance.

Did I look like a saleswoman in my jeans and T-shirt? His obvious negativity towards me resonated inside my head, forcing me to make up a story and quick. “No, no, I’m not here selling anything. In fact, I’m hoping you can help me?”

“You’re a little young for me, but maybe we can work something out.” He murmured edging ever closer attempting to invade my space. I felt uncomfortable, and thoughts of planting my foot straight into his most prized bodily possession lingered at the edge of reality. Carefully, I chose my words, “Are you Frank Tomey?”

I knew Slug, Frank, or whoever, was sitting inside a jail cell; however, I meant business. He stopped a few feet from me; narrowed his eyes into tiny slits while rolling his fat sickly yellowish tongue across his lips. “Frank. What do you want with him?” Satisfaction overwhelmed me. He knew him. My fabrication formulated with every word that sprung from my mouth.

“I believe I’m his daughter. Many years ago he dated my mom.” At this point I pulled out the picture of Perdy I lifted from her mother’s and poised it in front of his face.

“I never seen her and haven’t talked to Frank in a decade.” His eyes prickled at me to go away, and with each ensuing second that passed the air thickened with tension. I stood my ground, an out of shape, ‘80s castaway was no match for me.

I drilled him with my cold hard stare until he relented. “Alright, Frank is my kid brother but we don’t talk. He got messed up in some bad shit I didn’t need rolling back on me.”

I continued my glare, attempting to boil information from his innards. “I didn’t know he had a kid, doubt he knew he had a kid. You gonna keep staring me down?” Since studying La Tige’s tactics this had been my first opportunity to use them and they worked far better than I expected. Sweat drops bubbled on his forehead. “He’s in jail, killed some kid a few years ago. He’s not a good guy. Not even when he was a young pup. Always played dirty.”

Now that he was talking I dared to reenter the conversation using the sympathy card. “I’m not looking for him to be a father figure. I just want to know about him.”

“It’s been a long night. Can this wait?”

“No, it took me days, and switching several busses to get here after finding a love letter he wrote to my mother asking her to meet him here, and to bring me.” I fudged the love letter thing, thinking that my continued appeal to his compassionate side would at least get me in the door.

He rolled his eyes. “A love letter? He’s a psychopath, an extreme narcissist.” He flopped his hands to his sides in surrender. “Come in. I’ll tell you what I got.” And whatever I asked he answered.

The tales he told were too far-fetched not to be true. “Frank left home at 17, went to Georgia, or Alabama. I forget. He hooked up with some chick, I’m guessing your mom. Then he got a big job in New York working as an enforcer for a rich, powerful family named Britt or Bridge, Bridd? I figured they were mafia, but the name sounded English. I’d figured it would be Scarletti or something Italian. After that he’d come visit every few years. Driving a truck, I’m on the road a lot, so I’d let him crash here. He talked big about his job, being the muscle for that family puffed up his self-centered ego. After a while I didn’t hear from him no more. He’s my brother, but he’s a bad egg, so I didn’t miss him. Then several years ago, he calls me from jail. Hadn’t heard from him in years and suddenly he wants money for a lawyer.” He clicked his tongue. “He’s not head smart, but I can’t remember him ever mentioning a kid.”

I pondered his words, swishing them around mentally. “I don’t think he wanted much to do with me. She raised me alone, never said a word about who my father was. When I grew old enough to ask she blew it off, changing the subject. I found the letters while snooping around her room.” It wasn’t a total embellishment; at least the snooping and single mom things were true. He gave me Slug’s (Frank’s) address in prison. One day I’d pay old Slug a visit, but not until I fit the puzzle pieces together.

The following day arrived with a chill in the air and fog so dense I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. By noon a carpet of blue sprawled across the sky, and the fog dissipated without leaving a trace. The sandwich shop looked just as dismal and murky as the previous day. A pimply faced young man replaced gum-smacking blondie at the counter. I went through the same routine without squandering a single second. “I was here yesterday and a young blond girl told me the owner would be in today?”

“Dad, a lady’s here to see you!” He hollered. His buzz cut moved as his mouth opened.

A family-run business, perhaps he didn’t sell enough sandwiches to hire real help. Within a few minutes a staunch, grossly overweight man shuffled towards me. His eyes were tiny beads set inside rolls of dough, and large wet stains filled the cloth beneath his armpits, I noticed as he offered me his hand, mumbling something that sounded like, “What can I help you with?”

I shook his pudgy, cold, clammy hand. “I work for a P.I. We’re looking for a woman. She used to frequent here about fifteen years ago.” I pulled out Perdy’s picture, which he took and examined, holding it an arm’s length from his face.

He rubbed his available hand across his mouth and nose as if deep in thought, his chest heaved in and out. “I remember her. She met a man in the parking lot once, called the police on him. He hit her right outside the door, and knocked her on the ground; her nose was flowing like a sieve. Scared my customers.”

I looked around at the vacant shop attempting to envision people eating here. He must have read my body language. “This place used to get business, high school kids, day time regulars, until crime moved in and everyone else moved out. Police cleaned it up, but it’s too late, everyone’s gone.” His voice laced with melancholy for the booming place his restaurant had been.

He talked in short sentences, followed by heavy breathing as if each word formed was a struggle. I felt no need to keep this man talking or reflecting on a time past. I had enough. I’d call the sheriff’s office tomorrow and get the police report faxed.

Book 4: Bite the Big Apple

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Catch Me if You Can

I searched the surrounding woods looking in all the nooks and crannies I would have hid inside of. My advantage, I played in the woods as a child and knew the best hiding places. I found them in a hollowed out tree trunk, one of my favorite childhood spots. I walked up to the tree keeping my voice calm. “Come on out. I’m not going to turn you in.”

One at a time they crawled out of the tree trunk. Both stood before me staring at the ground. “We’re sorry. We didn’t know you lived there.” Said the girl.

“I don’t anymore. What are your names?” Their eyes met then both sets locked onto my eyes.

“I’m Rosey and he’s Thorn.” Obviously made up names, same M.O. as Einstein and I.

“Rosey and Thorn, nice to meet you. Are you hungry?”

Thorn grabbed Rosey’s hand. “Yes, thank you. What’s your name?” I envisioned the many times Einstein held my hand in a similar way.

“Shanna, I don’t drive but town is a short walk.”

“Why don’t you own a car?”

Rosey poked Thorn in the side and whispered, “She invites us to eat and you complain she doesn’t have a car?”

I chuckled. “I don’t like to drive.”

We strolled into town and chatted most the way. Once we sat down for dinner they ate like little pigs, another sign confirming they ran away. When they filled their bellies I asked them questions.

“I won’t waste my time or yours. Rosey and Thorn are not your real names. I want to help you but you have to trust me.”

“We can leave, thanks for dinner,” said Thorn.

I put my palm out instructing them to stop then waved my hand towards the seat for them to sit. They were compliant and planted their butts back into the booth.

“Spill.”

Rosey opened her mouth first. “My mother is ill. She can’t work and my father is dead.”

I raised my eyebrow then turned to Thorn. “And you?”

He sat silent for a moment his head angled towards the table. He rose his head without looking at me. “OK, Rosey is a better liar than me. Her mother isn’t ill and her father isn’t dead. We go into your cabin sometimes and smoke pot.”

I nodded. “The made up names?”

“We didn’t want to get caught. It’s still illegal for us.”

“Unless you have a medicinal card which two minors wouldn’t have. Where do you get the pot?”

Thorn shrugged. “My dad’s stash.”

“Do you live close?”

“I do, Thorn is my cousin. He’s staying with me this weekend.” Rosey slid out of the booth.

“I’ll walk you both home.”

Relief washed over my body until I saw Rosey’s house. The siding missing in spots, junk cars littered the driveway, and the front window had a long crack in it. Poor didn’t mean her parents weren’t loving people. I sucked in my judgements until I met her parent’s.

“Thanks, you don’t need to follow us inside.”

“I’d like to say hi to your parents.”

An outside light lit up as we walked towards the house. And the front door opened. A bulky man stood in the doorway, blocking the inside light. “That you Jen?”

“Yes dad.”

“Who’s that with you?”

“Shanna, we met her in town today.”

Her father carried his large bulk towards me. “Shanna, nice to meet you and thank you for seeing they got home safe. Would you like to step inside for a minute?” I accepted his offer as I worried for the teens. After thirty minutes of discussion he passed my test, and I left. The shack stood on the other side of the patch of woods from their house.

Crickets chirped their night time song, and the gibbous moon lighted my way. I stayed one last night. The next morning I bought $346 worth of groceries and had them delivered to Rosey’s (Jen’s) house.

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Cleo is the main character in the Baby Girl series so let’s learn a little bit more about this feisty and resourceful girl.

MF: What is your name?

Cleo

MF: Do you have a nickname?

I’ve had more names than blades of grass on a lush lawn Justine and Shanna to name a couple.

MF: What is your hair color?

My natural color is dark brown but it’s been various shades depending on my persona.

MF: What is your eye color?

Green

MF: How old are you?

21

MF: Where were you born?

Brennan California. Not really, I grew up there but was born in a hospital in New York.

MF: Where have you lived since then?

Most everywhere in the U.S. – Alabama, California, New York, Seattle. I also lived in Paris for a couple years.

MF: Where do you currently call home?

Where ever my heart takes me.

MF: What is in your refrigerator right now?

I love to cook so a little of this a little of that. You won’t find any hot dogs or junk food.

MF: What is on your bedroom floor?

The carpet. OK, seriously my favorite pair of flip-flops. They’re black with beads adorning the toe piece.

MF: What is on your nightstand?

A picture of my fun in Santa Cruz. Fetch, Kacy, myself, and Javier took a group photo in the hot tub. The picture brings back fun memories I like to think about when I’m falling asleep. I have an alarm clock shaped like a shell that plays Wipeout.

MF: What is in your garbage can?

Trash, an empty bottle of Sauvignon blanc,

MF: Who are the people you are closest to?

La Tige, Kacy, James and Will. We talk and visit every chance we get. La Tige isn’t a big talker so I dominate our conversations but he’s like a father to me. Kacy is the best friend a girl could ever have.

MF: Who is your funniest friend?

Kacy! She is crazy and makes silly facial expressions while doing impressions.

MF: What is your most treasured possession?

My back pack memories – pictures of Einstein, memorabilia of our times together.

MF: What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Einstein was my first love. A huge part of my heart will always belong to him.

MF: What do you most value in your friends?

Their big hearts. I grew up without a “real” family. My best friends are my family. La Tige has done more to help me than any single person without prodding. Kacy and I have an inseparable bond and Will is Will. James was always there for me when I needed shady business done. It felt really great to do something for him.

MF: What is your motto?

Don’t give up!

Cleo’s Pinterest Pagehttps://www.pinterest.com/elleklass/cleos-favorites/

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Youtube Trailer- https://youtu.be/pVBnqyMGAY4

ELLE’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Bloghttp://thetroubledoyster.blogspot.com/
Websitehttp://elleklass.weebly.com/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/ElleKlass
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7216745.Elle_Klass

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ElleKlass

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Elle Klass’ Latest Hit: Baby Girl 4 – “Bite the Big Apple”

Baby Girl 4 cover

The 4th and concluding episode to Elle Klass’ popular “Baby Girl” series, “Bite the Big Apple,” is out at last and fans will undoubtedly eat it up as they have the preceding three. For those familiar with the series, a rundown and excerpt is directly below. If you’re new to Cleo’s story, skip to the end of this post where you’ll find my review which provides a bit more background for this suspenseful saga.

SYNOPSIS

Cleo was abandoned at 12 and left to fend for herself. Now grown and coming full circle in book 4, she finds answers to the questions that have haunted and plagued her existence.

Masquerading as Shanna, she is hot on the trail of finally learning her identity. After spending a lifetime living lies she now finds her biological family, and learns the truth about her birth including why she was kidnapped at the hands of Perdy and why Slug hunted her down; killing her one true love.

Excerpt:

“Did you know my son?” The voice startled me out of my thoughts of Einstein. I looked up from my solace to see who I assumed was his mother. Her hair was blond like Einstein’s only she had streaks of white. The skin around her gentle eyes bore webs in the creases. She too was tall and thin. He looked much like her.

“No, I didn’t know him, but have heard what happened. I think it… is heartbreaking… what happened. I had a friend who… I just wanted to visit and pay my respects.” I wanted to tell her ‘yes, I loved your son’ but couldn’t bring myself to. Instead, I made up yet another story.

“My son was a very special young man. He wanted to do incredible things.” He did do something incredible. He loved and took care of me, but I didn’t say that to her.

“Do you mind me asking…? Do you know why he ran?” The questions ran out of my mouth like water from a hose. I kicked myself mentally for being so insensitive.

“I don’t feel that is your business.” The pain in her eyes was evident, although she didn’t ask me to leave. Maybe she needed to talk about it, wanted to talk about it. I needed to talk about it and didn’t want her running off so I continued.

“I’m sorry. I had a friend who ran and I don’t know why. Why kids leave a good home. You seem like such a nice woman, a good mother. My friend also had a good family but still he ran.”

I breathed a silent sigh of relief when she continued. “It seems ridiculous now. I can’t seem to forgive myself. We didn’t always see eye to eye with Burke.” For a long time we just stood there, saying nothing, each of us deep in our own sorrow for this lost young man.

Buy Links:

Amazon

Amazon.co.uk

Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

iBooks

Google Play

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Elle’s Social Media Links:

Website- https://elleklass.weebly.com

Blog- https://thetroubledoyster.blogspot.com

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7216745.Elle_Klass

Cleo’s Pinterest Page- http://www.pinterest.com/elleklass/cleos-favorites/

Twitter- https://twitter.com/Elleklass

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/ElleKlass

My Review

Fans of the “Baby Girl” series can now enjoy the long-awaited conclusion of this suspenseful saga about Cleo, a girl virtually orphaned at the age of twelve who not only has to survive on her own but elude someone who is trying to kill her. Cleo’s travels have taken her near and far, partly to escape from whoever is pursuing her with evil intent, but also in search of her true identity since the woman she knew as her mother clearly wasn’t her biological parent. This missing piece leaves a gaping hole within herself which she’s desperate to fill with the truth.

As Cleo follows additional leads toward the answers she has sought for years, she finds herself in New York where she finally succeeds in finding her biological roots. I don’t want this review to be a spoiler so won’t go into it any more than to say it’s a surprising yet very satisfying ending which answers all the questions presented in previous episodes. I do suggest, however, that readers might want to refresh their memories of how Baby Girl 3: “City by the Bay” ended because this one picks up at that point without fanfare. In fact, if you haven’t followed Cleo throughout her quest you should read all previous episodes first to fully appreciate this great conclusion.

There is plenty of food for thought in this volume as Cleo synthesizes some important lessons. One is that a person’s biological family is often not the desired source of nurturing and love you might expect. Orphans and adopted children tend to fill this painful gap in their background with an idealized version of who their parents are, which is seldom accurate. At some point it becomes apparent that parental surrogates and role models who have been there when you needed them as well as friends who have accepted, helped and loved you for who you are, even when you didn’t know yourself, are your true family as opposed to blood relatives. Often when people think they’re bereft of anyone who loves them it’s simply because they have not yet learned to know and love themselves.

Throughout this series Cleo has assumed various personas such as Justine when she was in Paris and Shanna in San Francisco as she attempted to hide from her unknown enemies. These were never entirely comfortable for her because she knew they didn’t represent who she really was. When she eventually discovers the identity of her biological family and finally answers the question which has haunted her most of her life, she realizes that it doesn’t change as much as she expected. She’s still the same person she’s always been and is actually better for her experiences than she probably would have been if she’d been raised by her biological family. This knowledge frees her at last just to be Cleo, who she’s been all along.

4-Star Review of “The Wolf’s Moon” by Patrick Jones

First of all I was happy to discover that this was NOT a story about werewolves. Rather it’s about someone unleashing a genetically engineered wolf species that has been extinct for thousands of years upon the unsuspecting residents of a small Missouri town. The author did an excellent job of several things I look for in a good book. The imagery was vivid and made you feel as if you were there, the characters were convincing and easy to visualize plus I could even hear them in my head in some cases, dialog was smooth, there was an appropriate emotional element, plenty of action and lots of suspense. It was well-written including the use of an omniscient viewpoint with only a few errors typical of a full-length novel. I will admit that I’m quite picky about such things and most people probably wouldn’t even notice that the couch in the protagonist’s living room went from blue to green in the course of a few pages. It was a good read that I enjoyed. It kept me wondering what would happen next and I felt as if I knew the main characters.

The only reason I’m not giving this novel five stars is the ending. I found part of it somewhat contrived and there was a major loose end that I felt was glossed over and never resolved in a satisfying manner that I won’t go into because it would constitute a definite spoiler if I did. I will say that it was one of the reasons I kept turning the pages and was disappointed that my curiosity was not satisfied. Another thing of a strictly subjective nature for which I don’t fault the author is that with an underlying theme of genetic engineering, as a science fiction fan I would have enjoyed it a bit more if that angle had been further developed. The main character in this story, Mark Lansdowne, is not a scientist, however, but a badass “special ops” type so it follows that this didn’t occur. I’m only pointing this out in case you may be looking for a bit more on the science fiction side. So this is NOT about werewolves, is NOT science fiction but does constitute a good read regarding a horrific terror being unleashed on a small town.

http://www.amazon.com/Wolfs-Moon-Linden-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B0077F0DFI

Interview with Elle Klass, Author of the “Baby Girl” Series

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Elle Klass is the author of the popular “Baby Girl” series of short stories which chronicle the quest of Cleo, a girl abandoned at a young age, who’s in search of her true identity, literally and figuratively. Her adventures span the globe and take the reader along for a wild ride filled with increasing mystery and intrigue as the story progresses. Elle’s characters are believable and engaging with Cleo’s growing maturity and self-identity slowly emerging with each exciting episode. The third installment, “Baby Girl 3: City by the Bay” is being released for Kindle today, July 15, 2014, with its precursors also on sale so this is your chance to grab all three.

MF: Where did your idea for the Baby Girl series originate?

EK: I was on summer break from work and had an itch to write. The story formulated itself and the characters evolved as I wrote. I get all kinds of ideas in my head for absolutely no reason and write them down. I have tons of rough drafts awaiting revival so they can become full fledged novels.

MF: The Baby Girl series has grown in suspense and complexity with each episode and gathered considerable momentum through its many interesting twists and turns. Has the story evolved as you’ve written it or did you know from the beginning where it was going?

EK: When I first wrote it all I had was a very rough draft that I put on a shelf for several years. I dusted it off last fall and began reworking it. I decided to publish it in short stories form because it seemed more time efficient to break it down. Each segment has grown by 5,000 to 10,000 words from my original draft. Each short has taken on a life of its own as well as my characters. Reworking the draft I knew how the story ended. When I first began the story all I had mentally was a beginning and an end. It was how she got from point A to point B that surprised me.

MF: Besides Cleo/Justine/Shanna i.e., her various pseudonyms, who is your favorite character and why?

EK: Cleo, she is and always will be Cleo even though she hides out and disguises herself. I had the most fun with Cleo-Shanna. In book 3 she finally comes into her own on her own. She realizes she is an adult and her life is hers to direct. She does a lot of growing up and finally finds a place in her life that works for her. She wants the mystery of her birth resolved and plunges forward. In book 3 she also makes friends that she keeps. Until this book the only friend she ever kept was James. She has attachment issues but I guess most of us would if we had been abandoned at a young age and had someone stalking us .

MF: Will Baby Girl 3 complete the story with Cleo finally discovering who she really is or will it be an ongoing series?

EK: In Baby Girl 3 she doesn’t find all the answers. She does fit a lot of the pieces together. The rest of them come together in Baby Girl 4 when she discovers the secrets she’s been searching for. I don’t want to give away too much. The story is ongoing and this November I will be finishing Baby Girl 4 and the sequel to it. The sequel is about half done. What I can say is another mystery blasts her in the face and she has to rescue La Tige from a ghost of her past.

MF: As a teacher of junior high age youth and an author, what advice would you give parents who have a child with an interest or talent for writing?

EK: Let them write, read their work, encourage them. I have students who bring me their stories to read and ask about how to publish a book. I critique their work and have found some very talented youths that I hope pursue their creative writing talents. Junior high students aren’t as autonomous as they like to display. They seek encouragement and support from adults with their interests. I would also recommend checking out the public library. Sometimes they have workshops and writing groups that meet.

MF: What is your favorite part of the creative process?

EK: Free writing! That’s how all my stories start. I have a rough idea in my head that materializes. Once I start writing the words flow, creating more than I expect. Free writing allows the monsters, goblins and frightened little girls to rise to the surface. Equally as entertaining is taking the free write-rough draft and further developing the characters. I love each one even the lowdown- evil ones.

CONNECT WITH ELLE:

Amazon author page- http://www.amazon.com/Elle-Klass/e/B00F2Y48C0/
Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard
Blog- https://thetroubledoyster.blogspot.com
Website- https://elleklass.weebly.com
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/ElleKlass
Twitter handle- @elleklass
Tumblr- http://elleklass.tumblr.com

BOOK LINKS

Baby Girl 1: In the Beginning
http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Girl-Book-1-Beginning-ebook/dp/B00GYP1DXS/

Baby Girl 2: Moonlighting in Paris
http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Girl-Book-Moonlighting-Paris-ebook/dp/B00IX5SSZS/

Baby Girl 3: City by the Bay
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LT5VSQU

Interview with Author Extraordinaire and Literary Chameleon, John Reinhard Dizon

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Fellow author and good friend, John Reinhard Dizon, is a talented and diverse author whose work spans numerous genres. It’s no exaggeration to say that he has truly written something for everyone whether you’re a fan of steampunk, international intrigue, medical thrillers, murder mysteries, or historical fiction to name a few. Learn more about what’s behind his incredible talent and ability to create original plots populated with unforgettable characters you feel as if you know personally by the time the story ends.

 

While most authors who have written as extensively as you have would typically develop their own style, I have unofficially nicknamed you the Literary Chameleon due to your ability to adapt so well to so many genres. I have read Stxeamtown, Tiara, Transplant and most recently, Generations, and am amazed by your ability to completely change your writing style from one book to the next. How do you do that?

I think it’s more a question of adapting rather than changing. My four main ingredients are a dynamic plot, compelling characters, snappy dialogue and a powerful finish. You’ll find that common quality in all my novels. As far as genre goes, I made it a point to explore as many as possible in order to give a future fan base a wide variety of reading material. The way I saw it, there would be something for everybody. At this point in time I’ve been working on sequels, the logic being that it gives readers something to latch onto in following their favorite characters. You know how it goes, if at first you don’t succeed.

 

You have been writing books for much of your adult life. At what point did you realize you wanted to be an author?

I started writing dialogue for my stick-figure cartoons since I got out of diapers. I wrote my first novella, Enemy Ace, in sixth grade. I only wish I had more encouragement and guidance earlier in life. It wasn’t until my later years when I published my first novel. That should be something for parents out there to think about.

 

Of all your novels, was any one in particular your all-time favorite?

I’d have to go with Tiara and Nightcrawler. Berlin Mansfield and Sabrina Brooks are two of my favorite characters. The expository narrative in Tiara provides everything everyone wants to know about the Troubles in Northern Ireland, which can get extremely complicated with all the factions and politics involved. Nightcrawler discusses numerous women’s issues as well as LGBT concerns that give readers plenty of food for thought. I can name a few of my other novels that raise major social and political questions, but Berlin and Sabrina make these two special.

 

You grew up in Brooklyn, spent time living in San Antonio and now live in Kansas City. Have you been a chameleon adapting to the different cultures represented by those cities similar to how your writing adapts to the different genres or do you consider one “home” or more comfortable above the others?

I’ve always been a wrestler and a punk rocker first and foremost, that’s what defines me. Broadway Turk Superstar hasn’t changed much, though the response from the communities I’ve lived in have differed somewhat. Alternately, as a writer I’ve been able to absorb the lifestyles and cultures in each area and translate them in my novels. The big city glamor of NYC, the Southwestern flavor of San Antonio and the Midwestern flair of Kansas City provided me with a wide diversity of American culture that was worth the cost of the journey.

 

Tiara and Generations have extensive and convincing descriptions of Ireland as well as Irish culture, past and present and its rich history. How did you come by this understanding and obvious love for the Emerald Isle and its people?

My mother’s ancestry was Protestant Irish, though she celebrated St. Patty’s Day like every other good Irishman in NYC. I grew up with that solidarity, and it wasn’t until Bloody Sunday in 1972 that I realized something was amiss in the Old Country. I did vast amounts of research and wrote a couple of stories, but nothing came of it until I visited Northern Ireland in 2000. The experience gave me the push I needed to have Tiara published in 2003.

 

You have a definite talent for convincing dialog, even to the point of capturing foreign and local accents. This suggests that you are a master of observation. Do you do this naturally or was it acquired by necessity?

It’s a bit of everything. I’m somewhat of a historian, and did extensive research on 20th century Germany which led me to explore the development of European society and culture. I’ve also studied anthropology, which helped me trace the history of the human race from the Middle East to the diasporas which forced the Israelite tribes to migrate across the Caucasus Mountains into Europe. When you find the common denominator between people of all races and creeds, it makes it a lot easier to pick up on their distinguishing characteristics as well.

 

Which trait or characteristic do you believe is the most important for a new writer to develop? Any other advice for someone aspiring to be a novelist?

Imagination is the most important ingredient. If you’re just trying to mimic other people’s ideas, you’ll never be creating anything but cheap imitations. If your basic premise is something that hasn’t been explored before, then you’re onto something. Alternately, there’s the whole concept of paying tribute to a person, place or thing. I wrote Transplant with the idea of putting a new spin on the Frankenstein novel. Only I incorporated the idea of bionic limb research, which has proliferated as the number of disabled vets in our nation has multiplied. In other words, although there’s nothing new under the sun, you want to make your readers envision your storyline in a way it hasn’t been seen before.

 

You have a vast array of experience and education behind you that shows up in the authenticity inherent in your novels. How much of it is based on experience and how much on research?

I’d have to say it’s a fifty/fifty split. Most of my personal experience comes into play when it comes to character interaction. I’ve known people from all walks of life in my time – children, teens, the elderly, blue-collar workers, corporate administrators, politicians, clergymen, gangsters, you name it. I know how they walk, talk and think. As far as specific areas of interest or geographical locations, that normally requires a lot of research to get it right. If you’ve done a lot of traveling as I have, you have a plan of action as far as finding the main highways, places to stay, areas to visit, et cetera. That’s what I do when I decide on a locale for the novel to take place. I want people to think, `Hey, he’s been there, done that’. Sometimes I get into uncharted waters, which requires a little extra work. Sabrina Brooks, for example, owns a chemical research company. I didn’t get far in chemistry because I suck at math. I had to do a lot of homework on processing different chemicals, like methane and fentanyl. It’s hard to bullspit a bullspitter, but I think I did a good job.

 

You’ve pursued some rather unusual means for earning a paycheck over the years such as rock star and pro wrestler. Do you find writing as exciting or do you still like to go out and participate in something that gives you an adrenaline rush? If so, such as?  

At this age, you’re always looking for that last hurrah. I think I can have one more wrestling match, a few more hockey games, and a few more rock shows. Like they say, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Plus, I think I’ve fairly well worn out my warranty. I don’t have too many more bumps left on my bump card. I’d hate to go flying through the air someday and find out something’s not working right when I land.

 

Do you base your characters on people you’ve known or do they simply evolve with the story? Do you maintain control over their actions or do they sometimes get out of hand or surprise you? Any examples?

Most of my supporting characters are based on people I know. I think they’d be delighted if they ever read one of my books and saw themselves in a story. The major protagonists and antagonists are larger-than-life creations. What’s so great about Sabrina Brooks is the little girl inside her, that Shirley Temple who sees the world through rose-colored glasses. The Nightcrawler is her way of making sure it stays that way. Conversely, I’ve got Jack Gawain in The Standard series, who pushes the envelope right off the table. Sometimes it’s amusing to see just how far he will go. The basic premise was giving a serial killer a 007-type license to kill. The series poses the question as to just how far we will go to protect and defend our national interests and preserve our security. After Guantanamo Bay and drone strikes, Jack Gawain may be a natural progression.

 

Which part of the writing process is your favorite, i.e., coming up with the premise, developing the characters, perfecting the plot, writing the first draft, perfecting the final draft, or what?

I think the ending is the most important part of the process. I know everyone can name a great movie they saw that had an unbelievably crappy ending. As I mentioned, I usually have my ending before I even start writing. Only my plots have so many bizarre twists that sometimes the storyline doesn’t always connect with the climax. That will necessitate a rewrite, and most of the time it turns out even more controversial than I had planned.

 

Which book or books and character(s) will you present in the upcoming Facebook Mega-Event, Dreams, Fantasies, Nightmares & Visions?

Sabrina Brooks [Nightcrawler] will be featured at the two-hour event on Sunday. Princess Jennifer of Tiara will appear for one hour at the Wednesday night showcase. I had Adolf Hyatt (King of The Hoboes) at the last two Facebook parties, so this will be a welcome diversion for one and all.

 

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About Tiara:

Tiara is an action-packed, historical fiction, romantic thriller centering around the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland in 1998. The main female protagonist is Princess Jennifer of Edinburgh, a civil rights activist involved in the negotiations between the British government and the coalition groups in Ulster. She becomes an object of fascination to Berlin Mansfield, an international terrorist of Irish descent who is equally intent on attending the historic event as it transpires. The two eventually cross paths in a tale of intrigue and suspense with the future of a nation at stake.

http://www.amazon.com/Tiara-Anniversary-John-Reinhard-Dizon/dp/1494366878/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_tnr_9

 

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About Nightcrawler:

Nightcrawler is about the exploits of Sabrina Brooks, the heiress to the Brooks Chemical Company. Bree is trying to pick up the pieces after her father’s death, and is now in a position to live up to a personal commitment to use her resources to benefit the oppressed. She is intrigued by the notion of conducting a guerrilla campaign against drug gangs in New York City, and accesses top-secret archives detailing Government contracts for developmental research of chemical weapons. She uses her wizardry in chemistry to concoct weapons for her own use as a vigilante known as the Nightcrawler. NYPD undercover officer Hoyt Wexford becomes friends with Bree, and begins to suspect she knows the identity of the Nightcrawler. Her sudden interest in a series of terrorist attacks in the New York area makes him believe she may be investigating a group called the Octagon. He tries to follow her but is too late to prevent a showdown between the Nightcrawler and the mysterious Reaper. Hoyt rescues Bree and learns her secret identity, and together they plan to stop the Octagon once and for all in preventing a chemical attack in NYC on the Fourth of July. This is a pulse-pounding thriller straight out of world headlines, with an unforgettable heroine fighting impossible odds against fiendish arch-criminals. For suspense fans looking for some chick lit with international intrigue, Nightcrawler is one not to be forgotten. 

http://www.amazon.com/Nightcrawler-John-Reinhard-Dizon-ebook/dp/B00I0K9QEI/ref=la_B00DU9JNUQ_1_9_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402505429&sr=1-9

Connect with John Reinhard Dizon:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/johnreinharddizonUSA

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/John-Reinhard-Dizon/e/B00DU9JNUQ/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JohnRDizon

 

Interview with Susanne Leist, author of “The Dead Game”

ImageImageSusanne Leist is the author of “The Dead Game,” a thriller with a twist. Like so many authors she writes the kind of book she loves to read herself and her fans obviously agree considering all the 5-star reviews it’s generating on Amazon.com.

MF: Your book “The Dead Game” is a suspense-filled supernatural thriller. What inspired you to pursue writing in this particular genre? Has it always been your favorite?

SL:   I have been reading murder mysteries and thrillers since I was a teenager. I’ve read all types of mysteries, from Agatha Christie to Sherlock Holmes. In recent years, I’ve begun to read paranormal mysteries. These books bring fantasy and the surreal to the simple murder mystery.

It’s hard to find books that combine paranormal with mystery. That’s why I’ve decided to write a paranormal, murder mystery of my own. It’s the type of book that I search for and love to read.

My book, The Dead Game, has dead bodies and suspects like a traditional murder mystery. However, it also has humans, vampires, and vampire derivatives. And don’t forget the haunted house—we must have one of these.

 

MF: What was the inspiration for your story?

SL: I believe the true inspirations for this particular story are the T.V. shows, Supernatural and The Originals. Supernatural brings wit and humor to the paranormal genre while The Originals brings passion, loyalty, and betrayals.

I want my readers to care about my characters and to cheer for them as they fight the bad guys or in this case, The Dead. You can’t have supernatural creatures without a dose of humanity thrown into the frightful mix.

 

MF: Is your background in finance reflected in your fiction work or characters or is fiction writing an escape to get as far away as possible from your daily reality?

SL: My book takes me away as far as possible from the world of finance and the real world. It takes me to a world of my imagination, where anything can happen and usually does.

 

MF: Are you currently working on your next book? Can you tell us something about it?

SL: The Dead Game is the first of two books. The first book resolves the murder mystery, but at the same time, opens a Pandora’s Box of new mysteries. Its surprise ending will lead to more surprises.

I have just begun to work on the sequel. My outline and notes are ready. My writing often leads me in unknown directions, so I won’t know how the book will end until it does.

 

MF: Do you consider writing a hobby or your next career?

SL: Writing will continue to be a hobby to me until I become a best seller. So hobby it will be for now.

 

MF: Which part of writing do you find the most challenging? The most satisfying?

SL: The most enjoyable part was the writing. I began with a basic idea in mind. I wanted a murder to take place in a small town. This murder would involve a house that was rigged with supernatural or mechanical traps and moving rooms. But I had no idea how the story would evolve or end. The end turned out to be a surprise to even me.

The hardest part was the editing. I had it edited by Outskirts Press, but I still found mistakes. I listened to my reviewers and removed the extra adverbs that weren’t really needed. I also had a proof reader check the book for me. It was a long process.

 

MF: What advice would you give to someone aspiring to write their first novel?

SL: After my book was published, it sat on Amazon and Barnes & Noble without a description, bio, background, or anything for a few days. When the self-publisher had sent me an email—everything was done through email—saying that I was published, I hadn’t been told that my book was immediately available for sale. I had to quickly write up summaries and descriptions. Then I had to learn how to use Twitter, Facebook, and Google. I had to create blogs. I now have blogs on Tumblr, Blogspot, and WordPress.

My advice to a new author is to have everything prepared before the book is published. Blogs and online accounts should be open and already have your bio and details about the book. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone but an anticipated event.

 

Susanne’s Links

http://susanneleist.blogspot.com

http://susanneleist.wordpress.com

http://www.amazon.com/author/susanneleist

https://twitter.com/SusanneLeist

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Dead-Game/245820408898288

Book Links

http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Game-Susanne-Leist-ebook/dp/B00F3IWF70/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1402359634&sr=1-1&keywords=the+dead+game

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-dead-game-susanne-leist/1116825442?ean=2940148410881