Sharing Work In Progress: A Romantic Thriller #NaNoWriMo #amwriting #thriller

 

I am soooooooooooooooo making progress this National Novel Writing Month! Three- four years after I originally started this romantic thriller, I’ve gone back to my old manuscript while I wait to hear news back on last romance novel completed last month  ‘Sacrifices’  I’ve sent out to an agent. I have my fingers crossed that I hear good news about representation!  I am happy with where  this  current story ‘In the Name of Love’ is going, I  may even have it done this this April if I stay focused. Here’s a lil’ snippet for you, as always, I have lined up a  cast of characters from all corners of the world,  and different walks of life, with diversity, romance, murder and of course suspense and thrill!

Christina’s body is found, one brutal murder, two suspects, a conviction then a re-trial six years’ later, due to advances in DNA.  Charlotte- Price-Smith  has overturned her conviction and detainment in a London based mental institution following Christina’s murder six years’ later, and a new suspect is found,  but have the police convicted the right person the second time around…even after a re-trial?

This is a romantic thriller with a killer twist! Our leading lady Charlotte,  her love interest Joseph, Detectives and Christina’s best friend Sophie Ngo will take readers on a ride…..

 

Dear Diary,

Something strange is going on. I’ve not heard from Joseph for a couple of days, last saw of  him  was a week ago. It’s now Friday night, normally we’d have plans for the weekend or at least some kind of contact. He’s not answering my texts. If I don’t hear anything I’ll drive past the house and see if his car is there over the weekend, keep an eye on what’s going on. Christina is probably up to something.

CHAPTER THREE: MURDER, MURDER

 

18.00 hours Wandsworth Police Station, south west London.

“It’s  the 10th July 2012. This interview is being carried out in interview room one, the interview will be recorded via tape. I’m Detective David Black, present is Detective Stephen Jones, for the purposes of the tape, please confirm your full name?”

“Joseph Andrews.”

“And your date of birth please?”

“6th March 1980.”

“And your name please sir? For the purposes of the tape.” Detective Black gestures to the short bald man in a grey suit to the right of Joseph.

“I’m John Davies, legal representative from Davies and Smith Solicitors, here to protect the rights and interests of Mr. Andrews today.”

“Thank you.”

Detective Black wastes no time starting his full-blown interrogation, for years Joseph has been on his hit list of local criminals to nail. Joseph is smart, and a shrewd business man he managed to keep his ass clean–until now.

“Joseph you’ve been detained, on suspicion of the murder of  Christina Andrews- Campbell. You don’t have to say anything but anything you do say maybe used as evidence against you in a court of law do you understand?”

“Yeah I understand.”

“Joseph please look at this photo can you confirm who this is?”

Detective Black slides a photo across the table of mixed-race female, with her throat slashed from ear to ear, and  multiple stab wounds to her chest, upper arm and stomach. Joseph screws up his face as he looks down at the bloody photo. Detective Black studies his reaction to the photo closely, did he flinch? Show any kind of shock? Or seem as though he’s seen it before– maybe in person if he is her murderer.

“It’s my wife, Christina.”

“How long have you been married to the late Mrs. Andrews- Campbell?’’

“Three years last February.”

“For the three years have you been faithful to Mrs. Andrews- Campbell?’’

“No comment.”

“Can you confirm when the last time you saw her alive was?”

“I told you, when you arrested me, I don’t fuckin’ know what happened to her!”

“Mr. Andrews, please just answer the question.”

I take a deep breath, and rest my elbows on the table. I look Detective Black dead in the eye.

“I’ve been away for a few days, I needed time out, the last time I saw her was last Wednesday night just before I left.”

“Why did you need to leave your wife for time out?”

“We were arguing as usual, she pissed me off, I needed some head space.”

“And where did you go?”

“I stayed over at my mum’s.”

“While at your mum’s did you have any contact with your wife?’’

“Yeah, she kept texting me, asking me when I’ll come home.’’

“Did you respond?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Why do you think? I wanted time out I was in no rush to go back.’’

“What were the two of you arguing about?”

“Just stuff, usual things couples argue about.”

“And when you arrived home last night, what happened?”

“I walked into the house, dumped my stuff down then walked into the living room and there

she was on the floor.”

“Roughly what time did you arrive home?”

“Around 8:00 p.m.”

“And what did you do?”

“What do you think I did? I called you lot!”

“Mr. Andrews, who is Charlotte?”

“Just a friend.”

“Did you have more than just a friendship with her?”

 

I think about my response carefully the police have a way of trying to trip you up. I said no comment when asked how faithful I had been to that sorry excuse of a wife of mine. They have my phone and probably worked out exactly what went on between Charlotte and me. Fuck! I should have been more careful, I can’t get out of this one.

“Yeah, yeah okay she…she’s someone I was seeing.”

Detective Black grins at me, he knows he’s onto something now. I eye him from the other side of the scuffed wooden table and await this cocky response.

“Mr. Andrews could you please confirm what you mean?’’

“My bit on the side, we were seeing each other.”

“Did the two of you have a sexual relationship?’’

He knows we’ve had a sexual relationship, the evidence on my phone is enough to confirm we’ve had a sexual relationship. “What do you think?”

“Mr. Andrews if you can please confirm your response to the question.”

I place my head in both  of my hands and run my now sweaty palms over my face.

“Yes, we did.”

“For how long did you have a sexual relationship?”

“A month or so.”

“How did you meet?”

“We know each other from college, we ran into each other on a night out.”

“Does she know you’re married?’’

“Yes, she knows and knew nothing serious could happen. Plus, she’s a crazy fuckin’ bitch it’s her you should be talking to.”

“Mr. Andrews, what gives you the impression she is crazy?”

“She is obsessed, you’ve got my phone read the messages.”

“Did your wife know about your affair Mr. Andrews?”

“No comment.”

 

Shit, my mind races as these pigs place me under the spotlight for almost an hour. For years I’ve conducted all my illegal dealings behind the London’s Metropolitan Police’s back. I’ve rarely found myself on the wrong side of the law, I’ve been too clever for that.

“Did you try to break things off with Charlotte?”

“Yes a few times”

“What was her response?”

“She would cry, bitch and bombard me with texts and calls that kinda thing.”

“Why did you want to break it off with Charlotte? Assuming you had no plans to leave your wife for her, sounds like an ideal situation having them both?”

Staring up at the yellow ceiling I compose myself before I respond. I can hardly be truthful, tell the old bill I had no plans to leave my wife for Charlotte, as I planned to leave them both and start a new life once I pulled off the narcotics deal in Amsterdam. That bitch Christina caught wind of my operation, she blackmailed me with exposure to the pigs if she didn’t get a cut, and join me in my new life in the Caribbean. That was the last thing I wanted. This was part of my attraction to Charlotte. She is the complete opposite to Christina in every way from her looks, to her attitude and motivation in life. She’s the independent type earned her own money, good job, going places…. But she’s strange, her behaviour caught me off guard at times, and she’s a walking chemist with all the pills she popped. Whatever happens I’m not going down for this shit, no way, now she’s dead that’s my ticket into a new life. I rest my gaze on the pigs, ramp up my bravado and pray they don’t smell a rat.

“No, I had no plans to leave Christina for Charlotte.” I lie through my teeth and steel myself for more lies.

“I loved her, she was my wife.”

“Really? So why the affair then Mr. Andrews?”

“Just fun.”

A pang of guilt runs through me at my reference to Charlotte being just fun, truth be known I’d fallen for her and enjoyed her company, but how can one woman be so possessive? I’d ask myself when she was pissed off that I couldn’t meet up with her, or go for dinner as planned. Then there were the mood swings one moment she’d be up, then she’d be in  low level  depression and self- pity.

“So, Mr. Andrews, if you’re not responsible for the murder of Christina Andrews- Campbell then do you know who is?’’

Detective Black stares deeply into Joseph’s large light brown eyes, willing him to answer the question.

“No, I don’t.”

Bullshit, is all that runs through Detective Black’s mind.  He presses on with his interrogation wasting no time or allowing Joseph time to think. Detective Black changes tact, to the direct approach to see what Joseph knows– will he grass anyone up? And at the same time put out a lead for him and his team to follow up.

“When was the last time you saw Charlotte?’’

“About a week ago, I’ve been trying to cool things off a bit, lie low, I had other things on my mind work was busy. All I know is, it wasn’t me, and if you have no hard evidence against me you need to let me go and stop wasting your time and mine Detective.”

“Was Charlotte jealous of Christina? She was after all your wife and the woman you went home to?

         My heart skips a beat, do the old bill have her as a suspect? Is this some kind of trick?  I sit back confidently in my chair and look from one Detective to the other. I hate the poe-poe and I’ve never been one to take sides with them, but I’ve got to get myself out of the spotlight somehow. I think quickly and see this as my chance to get out of the hot seat.

 “Yeah, course she was she’d send threats all the time to me that she’d tell Chris about us.”

“Do you think she’s capable of murder?”

“Like I said she’s one crazy bitch.”

Detective Black smirks. “This interview is terminated at 21.00 hours exactly, Mr. Andrews you will be held pending further investigation here at Wandsworth Police Station.”

“What? Are you lot mad? I’ve got nothing to do with this, that crazy bitch is who you need to talk to not me.’’

“Please stay calm Mr. Andrews, let me handle this” John Davies cuts in.

“Detective, exactly how long do you intend on remanding Mr. Andrews?”  Joseph’s  legal representative shuffles in his seat, and fixes Detective Black with a firm stare over the top of his glasses.  Detective Black does not even bother to meet John’s eye, instead he focuses in on Joseph, and holds his gaze as he responds to John.

“As you know, we can in serious crimes hold a suspect for up to ninety six hours, due to the seriousness of this case I intend to remand Mr. Andrews for the maximum time.’’

 

I’m seething, there is no way I’m going down without a fight. I stay quiet, I sit there staring from one detective to another thinking, planning and plotting my next move to throw these pigs off my scent.

***

 

21:30 hours: Wandsworth Police Station, London.

 

“Today is the 10th July 2012, this interview is conducted in interview room two at Wandsworth Police Station the interview will be recorded via tape. I’m Detective David Black present is Detective Stephen Jones, for the purposes of the tape please confirm your full name?’’

“Charlotte Price- Smith”

“And your date of birth please?”

“2nd February 1982.”

“And your name please sir? For the purposes of the tape.”

“Ron Peters from Peters and Field solicitors, representing the rights and interests of Ms. Price-Smith today.’’

“Charlotte you’re detained on suspicion of the murder of Christina Andrews-Campbell, you don’t have to saying anything, but anything you do say maybe used in a court of law as evidence against you do you understand?’’

“Yes”

As Detective Black kicks off his questioning, he eyes the young beauty in front of him tall, blonde hair, piercing green eyes framed by dark lashes and eyebrows, the only sign that she is not a natural blonde. He can’t help but wonder why a decent looking girl like this would get herself mixed up with a hood rat like Joseph Andrews.

“Charlotte, how do you know Joseph Andrews?’’

“We met back in college years ago, ran into each other again at a party.”

“And what was your relationship like with him, back in college?’’

“Just mates.”

“Nothing more?’’

“Not then, no.”

“And now? What kind of relationship have the two of you got?’’

Detective Black watches Charlotte throw back her head and flick her blonde hair from her shoulder, she takes on a confident stance and looks him dead in the eye. She then leans forward over the old wooden table and gets up close to Detective Black. He can feel the sarcasm dripping from her body language and voice.

“He’s my boyfriend of course.”

“He is, you talk in the present tense Charlotte, for how long has he been your boyfriend as you say?”

“A month or so now.”

“Are you aware that he’s married?’’

“Yes, but he always told me he’d leave her when the time is right.”

“Did the two of you ever break up?”

“Never.”

“So, Mr. Andrews, never once tried to break things off with you for any reason?”

“You heard, no, never he loves me. We love each other, no he has never broken up with me or tried to.”

   Gotta ya!  Detective Black smiles, he knows one of the two is lying, he has a feeling it’s Ms. Over Confident sitting in front of him. The evidence he has seen on Joseph’s phone clearly shows heated debates between the pair as Joseph tried to step away from her, and the relationship. He changes pace, he places some evidence in front of her.

“Charlotte could you confirm the mobile phone number that Joseph contracts you on out loud for me please?’’

Charlotte rolls her eyes and pouts at Detective Black.

“07958 654 250.’’

“Perfect, and this is the only number he’d ever contact you on?”

“Yes.’’

“Charlotte take a look at this print out of text messages sent between your number and Joseph Andrew’s, it would appear that Joseph had in fact tried to break things off with you.” Detective Black slides four A4 sheets of paper with text messages printed out, from both suspect’s phones. Charlotte snatches up the paper and flushes.

“You were saying Charlotte? The two of you never broke up. Joseph Andrews never once tried to break things off with you?”

“He never meant it, he was just messing around.”

Detective Black resists the urge to push her further on this point, the evidence contradicts what she’s already said, he is satisfied–for now.

“Did it not bother you at any point being involved with a married man?  Did his wife ever suspect anything?’’

“No, like I said he loves me.’’

“Do you know what she looks like?’’

“Yes.”

“Charlotte do you know who this is in the photo?”

Detective Black slides the same photo he showed to Joseph across the table.

 “Yeah it’s her.”

Detective Black sits up in his chair he registers the bitter response to his question, the way Charlotte dismissed her, there was no emotion from the disturbing sight shown in the picture the forensic team took of Christina the night she was killed.

“Where were you on July 8th, what did you do that day?’’

 

I think back to two days ago, where was I? I don’t know exactly how much the police know.

“I went to work, then the gym and came home.’’

“What gym did you go to?’’

“Fit Bods in Bromley.”

“Around what time did you arrive and leave?’’

“Probably about 4:30 pm I arrived, and left around 6:30 pm.” Detective Black makes a mental note to check out the gym for an alibi.

“When was the last time you saw Joseph?”

“Last week, Wednesday night.”

“What did the two of you do?”

“We went to dinner and then made love… all night, he stayed at mine.”  Charlotte responds in a sarcastic tone, with a full blown smirk.

“Where did you go for dinner?’’

“He took me to a posh restaurant on Fulham Road, the Tiger’s Head nice Thai place you should try it, Detective.”  I lean forward and fix Detective Black with a lustful look, I’m just messing with him for fun. I watch him shuffle in his seat across the table.

“Charlotte who paid for dinner? And how did they pay?’’

“He paid, credit card.”

 Bingo, Ms. Over Confident has given me enough information for one day to cross check, already she looks suspicious her story contradicts Joseph’s in places, her body language shows no remorse for her role she played in the affair with Joseph.

“Did everything seem normal with him, last Wednesday over dinner?”

“Yes, he told me he loves me, and wants a divorce so we can get married.”

Detective Black looks Charlotte up and down crossing and uncrossing her legs under the table, twirling her hair around her finger and smiling at him. Suspect #1 for sure. Detective Black’s deep clipped voice abruptly cuts in. “This interview is terminated at 22.30 hours.”

“If you’ve not charged me you need to let me go, I know my rights.”

“Correct Charlotte we’ve not charged you, however we have the right to remand suspects in serious crimes, in your case I’d say make yourself comfortable you’ll be here pending further investigation.”

Detective Black stops the tape recording and stands up, eager to deposit Ms. Over Confident in the reception area for the paperwork to be done, and crack on with this investigation.  He smells a rat– a big one.

                                                                      ***

Three hours later I’m hunched over my desk pouring over the dozens of text messages exchanged between my two suspects. I have no doubt in my mind one of them is guilty if they hadn’t worked together to conspire, and carry out the murder of Christina. I’ve already directed my team on what leads to follow up, a drop-in call on Joseph’s mother to verify the young man’s whereabouts following his departure from the Andrews- Campbell home, further analysis of both suspect’s mobile phone usages, especially around the date and time of Christina’s murder. Tomorrow morning Fit Bods Gym will be the first point of call, to verify Charlotte’s whereabouts, and the Thai restaurant she claimed she and Joseph dined at would take a hit also.

I’ve got ninety three hours left in counting to nail someone with Christina’s murder. I consider myself a fair man, I like to check everything out in detail, it matters when it comes to presenting a case to the Crown Prosecution Service, hit ‘em with the evidence they can’t turn away is my saying.

Following the initial interview with both Joseph and Charlotte there are holes in both suspect’s stories, contradiction over the type of relationship that they have or had depending on who you believe. Not to mention a big question mark over why Ms. Over Confident decided to state that the pair had never broken up.

***

I’m a good girl the kind of girl you’d be friends with, take home to your mum for Sunday dinner– I don’t belong here. The confinement of these four walls and brown stained toilet pan is not something I can to get used to.

I sit, chain smoke, and contemplate my story for Detective Black. Sure, I may have exaggerated the truth over the kind of relationship Joseph and I have, yes, he’s tried to break up with me… I know he never meant it. We are made for each other, he just could not see it, she got in the way forever on his back about money, what time he’d be home. She never understood him like I do, and there was no way I was going to let him go. Not now we’ve come so far. I’ve invested in him–in us, waiting patiently for him to leave her I wasn’t then, and I’m not now prepared to lose out. Back in the day, she was always his fall back no matter how many other girls he dated or messed around with,  he’d go running back to her, she was the magic pussy back then and it pissed me off that she still  is or  was.

Christina and I were not exactly friends, we tolerated each other, to her I was the token middle class white girl that the boys would pay attention to. Before I revamped my looks an went blonder, my naturally dark raven coloured hair, striking green eyes and curves were what drew them in. She herself was a looker. We spoke in passing only. She was naturally Ms. Popular and decided when, where and how often we spoke back then. I was no real competition for her, but she always paid attention to me, I could tell.

Whenever Joseph and I spoke she’d look me up and down a silent warning to look but don’t touch. When Joseph and I started seeing each other all these years later I’d remember those days, when I was an outsider and how she’d look me up and down and laugh. Who’s looking and not touching now bitch?  I’d think to myself with Joseph laid up in my bed, eating my breakfast I’d prepared for him, as she was unable to manage anything but a sandwich when it came to cooking, according to Joseph. Now she’s dead, and I’m in the spotlight, but at least I still have Joseph.

***

I stay off the radar when it comes to the law, police in my view are the lowest of the low, they profile and stereotype men like me every day. People think it’s just African – American men who are prey to police. They are dead wrong, here in London, it’s no better just because they don’t carry guns and can’t bear arms against us, don’t mean the situation isn’t as bad. Now they wanna suspect me of murder, and probably dig up God knows what else as well, start asking questions over my “legitimate business dealings.”

Christina, was the biggest mistake of my life, I should never have married her.

Three hours in this cell has already shown me that the thug and prison life are not for me, there’s no way I’m going down for this no way. I’ll do whatever it takes.

***

 

12 hours later:

Gentlemen, on the 8th July 2012 Christina Andrews-Campbell was murdered, she was stabbed, strangled and had her throat slit, it was a pretty violent murder. She was married to Joseph Andrews who was also having an affair with Charlotte Price- Smith.”

I pause and look around at the team eagerly taking notes, as I point to the picture of Christina on the whiteboard.

“Here we have Joseph Andrews thirty-one years old, raised in one of south London’s roughest districts.  He has a history of dabbling in narcotics, but we’ve never been able to pin anything on him, the lucky shit, he knows how to run his businesses well.”

“Here we have Charlotte Price- Smith thirty years old born and raised in the leafy suburbs just outside of south London- Bromley by ‘mummy and daddy’, she’s a paediatric Nurse at Lewisham Hospital and is the other woman Joseph’s involved with romantically, and sexually.”

Both suspects could have possible motives for murder. Andrews wanted to leave his marriage for the other suspect possibly, Price- Smith may have been the jealous other woman, this of course needs to be proven for both suspects. So, what have you got for me?”

I take a seat around the large conference table and look around at the team for answers, I want them and fast. PC Browne speaks up first.

“Sir Joseph’s alibi can be confirmed he called round to see his mother, her statement confirms he did arrive at her home a few days before Christina’s murder, and remained with her up until his arrest.”

“Okay, could she confirm his time of arrival and his behaviour?’’

PC Browne pulls out and flips open his black note book, and reads out Ms. Andrew’s statement.

“He arrived a few days ago in the late evening distressed, he stayed with me, during the time he was here he seemed calm but withdrawn over his constant arguments with Christina. This is her statement sir.”

“Okay so, he’s telling the truth so far, what else?”

“Sir, we searched the flat Charlotte currently rents and found a handful of diaries she’d kept over the last year, we also found a collage that she’d put together with dozens of pictures of Joseph hidden away, antidepressants and various other mood stabilising medication.”

I look up and a smile breaks out across my face.

“Now we’re talking, what’s in the diaries?”

“A quick glance showed us a lot of personal thoughts and feelings around her relationship with Joseph, how she disliked his wife, talk of the kind of future she wants with Joseph that kind of –a thing’’

“They’ve been seized for evidence?’’

“Yes sir, of course.”

“And the meds? You need to find out what they are for, contact her GP get her medical records up and find out what she’s so depressed about.”

“Yes sir”

“All right, good job Browne.” PC Seller cuts in.

“Sir, we went to the gym to verify Charlotte’s alibi, the manager on shift was not around so we have the CCTV tape, and a record of her usage at the gym for this month.”

“Excellent, I want you to watch the tape let me know what you find.” “Yes sir.”

“Sir, we checked out the restaurant in Fulham Charlotte said she and Joseph went to when they last saw each other, there was no reservation so it was hard to tell if the story is true. We have the restaurant’s CCTV tape for the full week of the date Charlotte gave.”

“Excellent, with no reservation for dinner the CCTV will show if they did or did not enter the restaurant at all that week, watch it and report back.’’

My team have done good so far, we have more evidence to cross check. I stand up and walk over to the whiteboard and face them.

“Okay, fifteen hours have passed us, team A. find out what you can about the relationship with Joseph from the diaries and get a profile on her, contact the GP, we’re looking for evidence that would support a motive for murder, got it?’’

“Team B. interview Joseph again, find out how the affair started, double check the date in Fulham he and Charlotte had, when they last saw each other and when he last saw Christina alive. Check out the story on the credit card payment at the restaurant in Fulham, and watch the CCTV tape from the restaurant and let me know what you find. Everyone got that?”

“Detective Jones, you’re with me, we’re gonna pay a visit to Charlotte’s parents and interview her. Gentlemen, we’ve had a total of fifteen hours including the three hours the suspects have been in custody on this already, we have twenty- one left to nail one or both of them with something, let’s get to work.”

As his team disappear and set off to work on their allocated areas, Detectives Black and Jones huddle around the whiteboard looking at their suspects, their ties are loosened and they sip cool water deep in thought.

“What’s your gut tell you about these two?’’ Detective Black turns to Jones for his opinion. “Something’s definitely off with them, she clearly thinks they are a couple and have more than he thinks they do. Then there’s her diaries.”

Jones shakes his head and takes a long sip of his water, not taking his eyes away from Charlotte’s photo he continues.

“Shows you just how much she’s into this guy, she wants him for herself.”

“Hmm, you think she done it?’’

Detective Jones, pauses before he responds, his eyes fix on both suspect’s mug shots.

“Could be either of them they both have strong motives, we see what the diaries have to say if it puts her more in the frame than him.  If she’s twisted the story about her whereabouts and the dinner date with Joseph then she’s toast, unless something crops up on our guy.”

“Maybe they worked together?”

“Strong possibility there needs to be a link made.’’

“Well, we’ve got twenty one hours let’s head over to Bromley drop the bad news on mummy and daddy that their little girl’s a prime suspect in a murder investigation.”

Detective Black pats Jones on the back and glances at his watch, it’s 10:15 a.m. the two men leave the meeting room and head over to south east London’s pretty suburbs.

 

Thank you for reading! I am hard at work completing this project. Sometimes, it’s good to go back to your old work with a fresh mid-set, and thirst for writing. I hope all those writers who have taken part in National Novel Writing Month #NaNoWriMo are making great progress. Let’s get a project completed all of us!

 

 

 

 

 

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Release Day Interview: With CS Johnson @C_S_Johnson13 #RRBookTours1

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Should I go to College? What About Student Loan Debt?

Genre: Non-Fiction

Publication Date: March 14th, 2019

If you’re a high school student, chances are you’ve been thinking about where you will go to college. Or if you will go to college at all.
I’ve been there. And as a former teacher, I’ve seen thousands of students there, too. So I wrote this book to help you.
This book offers sound advice about deciding whether or not you want to go to college, and, if you decide to go, how you can save time and money along the way.

“This is the book about college I wish I had read when I was younger.” – My 30-year-old self

SHOULD I GO TO COLLEGE? WHAT ABOUT STUDENT LOAN DEBT?
•Describes what college is
•Promotes thoughtful self-reflection
•Outlines your options post-high school
•Offers tragically hilarious truths about teaching
•Reaffirms the code of personal responsibility
•Likens student loans to dragons that need to be slain

ALL PROCEEDS OF THIS BOOK GO TOWARD 
HELPING STUDENTS PAY OFF THEIR 
STUDENT LOAN DEBT.

Hello nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?

Hi there! Thank you for having me! I always appreciate the time people take in getting to know me.

I am C. S. Johnson, and I write in a variety of genres, mostly fantasy or science fiction. I started writing largely as a way to cope with reality, and I found out that it really helped and I enjoyed it a lot. Since then, I’ve been working to keep at it. There are a lot of other benefits to writing I’ve noticed, and meeting new people and getting to talk about interesting ideas are just some of them.

For my own favorite types of books to read, I enjoy a variety, just as I enjoy writing. I think in a lot of my own books that there are several other books that lend their influence. I do have to laugh, because my favorite books are usually memoirs or biographies, but I write fantasy and speculative fiction.

Who is your favourite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you?

I have a large variety of favorite authors, and I am sure I haven’t read some of them yet. If I had one go-to author, I would pick C. S. Lewis; I have never read anything of his I haven’t loved, needed, or deeply appreciated in some way. As for inspiration, my mother is my first spark among the fires of my heart. She was the one who taught me to read, and she is the one who is still out-reading me every week. I love writing books I know she will enjoy, even if she is not as much of a fantasy reader.

So you’ve published a series, what is the series about?

I’ve published a couple of series now, and I’m working through the last book of one more. The first series I wrote was the Starlight Chronicles; it is my epic superhero fantasy adventure, about an egotistical teenager who, after finding out he is a fallen star with supernatural power, is reluctant to save his city from evil. It’s a very dry, sarcastic sort of series, alternatively cynical and poignant, as my protagonist faces off the trials and tribulations of high school life and growing up. So far, my other series are a little softer in tone and subtler at the satire.

What was it like creating back to back stories that link?

For me, it’s like watching a heartbeat on an EKG; book one sputters some, and then shoots up, fast and hard; book two dips down lower, almost in a needed recovery, before striking back; and then the rest of the series books’ start the entire process over again, offering a persistent rhythm that becomes the heart song of a story.

Kim: 🙂 I love that !! Haha, very good way to describe it.

What has been your most proud moment as an author?

My author career has been marked with a lot of proud moments—I’ve had a Hollywood producer tell me my series is wonderful and she’s rooting for it to be picked up by a studio (Please, Dear God, please, haha!), I’ve had a very famous movie star compare it to Harry Potter and Tolkien, and I’ve had a lot of great readers turn into friends as we’ve gotten to know each other. I have a whole list of people in that group that I’ve designated my “Almost Famous Readers,” since I jokingly say that as an author, I’ll be famous for being almost famous one day. I even had one of them make me an award plaque and send it to me, and I cherish it.

If I had to pick one moment, I’d say it has to be the day when my young son, who does not like to read that much, told me he wanted to write a book. I actually opened a document for him to work on my computer, and he wrote out a small book’s worth of a story. I was absolutely amazed and profoundly proud of him.

Kim: Ohhhhhh my  heart just melted, that is so sweet. I hope he continues. I love it when children get involved, especially boys who are less likely to read. My son thankful has learned to love to read, whether he’ll write is another story as he hates it, then again he’s only five. He would rather do colouring-in.

Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration?

Yes. It happens almost every week, like swirly, sporadic clockwork.

Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing?

I think every author has a punctuation thing they either love or hate. I am a huge semicolon lover; give me a long sentence where it will list detailed, specific things, offering up new insights while solidifying the foundational logic as it rambles on. It is glorious to watch such beauty grow and unfold.

If I have a thing to hate about commas, it is when people use them wrongfully. Uncoincidentally, this usually happens when the comma is actually supposed to be a semicolon.

What three tips would you give any aspiring writer?

Since I have written a lot of books, I do get asked a lot of questions about how to write a better story. I actually wrote a book for them, and it just came out this year. The book is “Good Writing is Like Good Sex: Sort of Sexy Thoughts on Writing” and it’s a quick, provocative overview of what makes a “sexy” book. So to answer this question honestly, I’d say, “Buy my book, read my book, and then try to use what I say in the book.” But I feel like that might be a little too pushy, haha.

Kim: Girl… you just said it 🙂

What are you working on now? What will you release next?

Right now, I am juggling a few projects. I have two books I am working on this month. I mentioned it before, but I am finishing up The Order of the Crystal Daggers, my Cinderella meets Mission: Impossible historical fiction set in 1870s Prague. In this final book of the series, Eleanora, my protagonist, has to rescue a kidnapped prince and save the Emperor from assassination, all while working to repair her relationship with her brother and uncover the hidden truth about her mother’s past. Luckily, she’s got quite a few people to help her, although plenty of them are juggling their own problems and facing the consequences of their own secrets. The series has been so fun and wonderfully received, so I am sad to see it end, but I am also nervous about sending it off with the seriousness and the level of diligence it’s due.

The second novel I am working on my science fantasy story, Till Human Voices Wake Us. It’s toeing the literary fiction line, but it’s about a college student who finds out the hard way that his uncle’s stories about being held hostage by mermaids who don’t believe in humans are all true. It’s a book about questions of reality, insanity, hope, and meaning, and what it means to be human. I am hoping to have it out for summer.

I also have a few short stories I’m working on for publication later this year and early next year.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

I think pride is rightfully the most deadly of sins, and partially because it is something that must be closely monitored. Confidence as a writer will help; arrogance will only lead to harm.

If you have a lot of confidence as a writer, I think you also have to have a lot of humility to make it work. I think I am more likely to err on the side of hesitation as a writer just because I know my limitations as a writer very well. My husband works in healthcare and it is my apparently favorite joke ever to tell people he goes into work to save real lives, and I stay home and ruin fake ones.

My stories are icing on a cake, but in order to have the cake, we need people who know how to bake and people who can build things in which those things are baked. I offer stories to entertain, to get people to think, to reframe a perspective. They are part of my heart, but my heart was not made for everyone. Sometimes, it was not made for a particular person right now, either. I was utterly appalled the first time I read 1984 in high school. The second time I read it, after a few more years passed, I loved it. There is very little point in offering someone icing if they are looking for someone to give them bread.

I have had a few people recognize me off the street, and I am more dumbfounded than anything else when they do. I honestly never expect that reaction to change.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

 

I am tremendously thankful to my readers for the time they spend inside one of my books. I know, as a writer, and as a mother, there is so little time in the world when one is attempting to read. When I get a book review, I am always grateful; but I am considerably, and understandably much more happy when I find that the reviewer has either enjoyed my books, or they found my books to be good despite the unmet expectations in my characters, plot, or presentation.

I know there are plenty of talented writers who write books that are more fun, more fantastical, or just more of what is expected than I do. While I do try to make it fun, and keep it fun, I write books that make you smile, make you think, make you laugh. I tell people that I don’t write “Candy bar books,” but I don’t write “full-course meal books,” either. Maybe a good meal replacement bar would be a good analogy for my work, or we can get the icing analogy back out and put it on some carrots (which, thanks to some of my pregnancy moments, I know is better than it sounds.)

Either way, I rejoice with the good reviews, and I call my mom over the bad ones. She knows I have a soft heart, even if I have to hide it from the rest of the world.

What was your hardest scene to write?

I feel bad for admitting this one, but when you’ve had a lot of “last battles,” sometimes it’s hard to just write out the fight scenes and the “save-the-world” moments without feeling repetitive or a case of oncoming “writer-ex-machina,” where convivence and coincidence just collide too much for the writing to be good. As I was finishing up my steampunk book, One Flew Through the Dragon Heart, I told some of my readers I was ready just to nuke everything and be done with it.

I had one of my snarky reader friends tell me that nukes aren’t steampunk-approved, and we had a good laugh about that, and that made it easier to go back and try again.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

It always depends on the book, but six to eight weeks is my average lately. I have some novellas which are shorter, and seriously, those don’t take nearly as long. I have some longer books which don’t ever seem to take that long at all, but it depends on the size more than anything else. Life interrupts me a lot along the way, too. I am a wife and a stay at home mom with two young kids; I like making my house more of a home, and there are other things I love that require my attentions, and I have been trying to be better about making sure social media especially is more of a back-burner thing of late.

What’s your favourite book and why?

My most consistently favorite book is Till We Have Faces, by C. S. Lewis. I try to read it every year and every time I do, I get something different out of it. It was a book I first read during a tumultuous time in my life, and I have never forgotten the magic of the first readthrough. This past year I read it and felt more drawn than ever to Revidal, the main character Orual’s other sister, and I like books that make great use of their secondary characters like that. The sudden loss of her sister’s favouritism and their unity must have been devastating to her, and her growing loneliness and desperation as Orual took the throne seemed much more relatable to me as an adult.

 

Thank you for joining is this month, I wish the author well with her release, and you can connect with her below!

Goodreads

About the Author

C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me

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New Release: Maiden’s Peak by Kirsty E. Carter+ Giveaway!! (Murder Mystery) @KirstyEcarter @RRBookTours1

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Maiden'sPeak

If you are looking for a good mystery with a hint of the paranormal, you will want to read on! I have an excerpt for you, and a chance to win a copy of the book!

Maiden’s Peak

Expected Publication Date: May 7th, 2019

Genre: Murder Mystery/ Paranormal

Publisher: Between the Lines Publishing

Victor Shelton ran from his family’s legacy of prophetic dreams at seventeen but finds at twenty-eight that he is unable to run from the nightmares that plague him. Haunted by images of his own death each night he follows the fleeting memory of the town limit’s sign in his nightmare to a quaint Colorado town.

Beckoned to a forbidding mountain peak with a past riddled by ghost stories and legends, Victor must figure out who is friend or foe. Can he unravel the secrets of the enigmatic citizens of Carver’s Corner and solve his own murder before it happens?

Perhaps the answers are in the siren song of whatever is calling him to the caves under Maiden’s Peak. The song in the darkness urges him on, but whether it is to his death or to his salvation, Victor can’t say. All he knows is that once before he had not heeded the call of his dreams and someone had died. He can’t let that happen again.

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Excerpt

A solitary scrap of paper was swept from the cold pavement by the updraft. The gust of wind lifted my hair and ghosted a frigid breath across my neck, causing the hairs there to stand on end. I’d come to this small town chasing a dream, but not the kind that beckons a person to great things. No, the dream that had brought me here is the kind that leaves you huddled in a corner, quietly sobbing.

Two months had passed since the nightmares began, and I hadn’t had a decent night’s sleep since. Even as I thought about it, flashes of the nightmare came to the front of my mind, and I quickly veered my thoughts away to keep the images at bay.

Somehow, I thought coming here to Carver’s Corner would make it better. This place was featured in the nightly horror show that my dreams had become. Being here didn’t make the dream come into clarity or logically fall into place. I had never been to this town and probably would not have missed its presence in my life if I hadn’t been beckoned here by the insistent dreams.

My grandmother insisted that we had some cunning folk in our family tree. Cunning folk, in case you’ve been blessed with ignorance, is another name for wise men and women who heal and help others through both natural and magical means.

That might not seem so bad, but at seventeen, I rebelled with every fiber of my being. I wanted so much to be like everyone else. I tried so hard to pretend that I wasn’t plagued most nights by dreams that were seemingly not my own.

Sometimes the dreams came true; sometimes they merely taunted me. The embarrassment of misinterpreting a dream was something one truly had to experience before you could appreciate it. The looks on people’s faces when they had deemed you unbalanced was something you never got used to. The straw that finally broke the proverbial camel’s back came at a party in my junior year of high school. For weeks, I had dreamed of a fire at that party. It was the only reason—other than my then-crush, of course—that I had gone. As it turned out, I’d read the signs wrong, and the dream was more my anxiety than anything else. Needless to say, Betsy Stevens didn’t appreciate me ruining her party by screaming about a fire that never came to be.

A couple weeks after the incident, I left and went to live with my dad, who was on the East Coast—far away from talks of cunning folk and prophetic dreams. The move had worked in many ways. My dreams even stopped for a time, but as with all good things, it did not last.

Pre-Order Now!

 

 

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About the Author

Kristy E Carter

Kristy has been making up her own stories for entertainment for most of her life. Eleven years back she decided that perhaps others would want to walk through the worlds she has created. With over 10+ books in both urban fantasy and cozy mystery, Kristy has allowed readers to venture into realms where magic lives and murder mingles with humor. She currently lives with her family in the Southeastern United States where she helps other authors when she is not writing her own novels as a freelance writer and editor with eleven years of experience. With many projects in the works, there are sure to be more worlds for courageous adventurers to delve into.

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Why women should be celebrated

Word!!

My Worth

samantha-qeja-551289-unsplash

The most admirable characteristic of a woman is her strength. We usually recognise and praise a woman for her beauty, be it her flawless skin, her thick mane or her perfect curves. All these are worth celebrating, but what tops it all, is her “dung beetle” strength.

The dung beetle metaphor is related to the common fact that it is the strongest animal on the planet….in relation to size. This is how I view women, a hidden strong force that many do not see. The things that females experience have been riddled with injustice, inequality and enormous abuse. Who they are and what they are capable of doing has been eroded by “normality”.

My mother is my first candidate of choice when it comes to choosing an ambassador of a woman’s strength. I watched her raise 4 children on her own from the ripe age of 38 after my father…

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New Release A Mother’s Love: The HEART of the Matter (Anthology/Short Stories), by Award Winning & Best-Selling Authors

 From one mother to another, I wish every author the best of luck with this new release! 

 

Thank You

Book Cover.jpgA Mother’s Love: The HEART of the Matter

 

Genre: Anthology/ Short Stories

 

Expected Publication Date: May 14th (Mother’s Day)

 

Where would we be without the LOVE of a Mother? That’s what’s so special about this anthology, it’s all about a Mother’s Love!

An endearing novel about the strength and resiliency of a mother’s love. . . . By loving their children more than themselves, the women in this anthology go to the extreme to protect and safe-guard their children. Oftentimes, at the cost of their own happiness.

These nine authors provide readers with heartening tales of inspiration, forgiveness and sacrifices, all coming from a place of love…A mother’s heart!

St The Scent of a Man: Dr. Julia E. Antoine

Holding On to Love: Solange St. Brice

A Mother’s Miracle: P. A. Smith

A Very British Mother: Lucinda E. Clarke

Dead Witch Talking: T. A. Moorman

The Blue Box: Jan Raymond

One Night of Love: Izzibella Beau

Welcome Home: Erin Eldridge

No Greater Love: Mariyam Hasnainories & Authors:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45459747-the-heart-of-the-matter?ac=1&from_search=true

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/4xJPTKVlHdA

About the Author

 

JULIA E. ANTOINE, aka Ju Ephraime, is the author of numerous bestsellers and award-winning novels, including, I Will Follow: to Eternity and Beyond and her highlander historical series, The Campbell Brothers. Dr. Antoine always knew she would be a writer. She started writing short stories for the local radio station in her hometown before she had even graduated high school. These days her time is spent plotting and creating new stories. When she’s not plotting out her next book, she travels extensively researching new locations to color her stories. She lives in the New England area with her wonderful life companion and her favorite pet, her dog, Gus.

Visit her at  www.juliaeantoine.com or www.too-clever.com

Pre-Order in Time for Mother’s Day!

Pre-order links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/HEART-Matter-Mothers-Love-ebook/dp/B07Q47D3HX/

Barnes & Nobel: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-heart-of-the-matter-dr-julia-e-antoine/1131306780?ean=2940161510162

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-heart-of-the-matter-a-mother-s-love

iBook: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-heart-of-the-matter-a-mothers-love/id1458162045?ls=1

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#suicideawareness The Affair (my real introduction)

I can’t believe this, I stumbled on this blog as I was reading through my ‘reader’ page. The poetry struck me as rather deep so I kept reading, I am far from a poet and love to see the work of others who have that talent. The author has just shared a little about how her words came about she is due to release her work soon. I just want to show a little support as from reading the ‘reasons’ behind her work, her journey really does need to be shared for the benefit of others. I guess it pays to be nosy and click on things you would not ordinarily on WordPress.

I Am Jann Doe

NzOhY1556811933It’s been one week since I started this little poetry blog, and it dawned on me this morning that I’m yet to properly introduce myself. Let’s start with a confession… Jann Doe isn’t my ‘real’ name (clearly). Let’s move forward to another confession… I’m hiding behind this pen name because my poetry reveals a side of me that I’d rather my friends and family didn’t see. Okay, okay, let’s just keep the honesty a rollin’… I had a troublesome childhood and youth in many ways, and yes, I AM considering my early twenties to be a part of my youth. If that’s not youth, then I don’t know what is! Last confession (for today)… An affair that I had over a decade ago recently came back to bite me on the ass.

Let me explain: This man and I were close for many years before we ever…

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#poetry Blocks and Broken

I love stumbling across great blogs, a very uplifting poet here. Lots of interesting things to read, and feel the emotion of.

I Am Jann Doe

Blocks and Broken,

It’s the name of a song.

It’s played by young kids,

And, it’s not very long.

It has a great purpose,

Interval notes it does teach.

You can put together three,

Only when you’ve mastered each.

The same goes for life,

We have three key things.

Our mind, body, and emotions,

Make a harmonious ring.

But first let’s detach,

Clear the clutter from their paths.

Focus on one at a time,

Take a deep breath, make it last.

Only when we’re ready,

Can we play them together.

If we slow, take our time,

A perfected song can play forever.

-Jann Doe

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I’m Not Going Down Easy

Beautiful, she ain’t goin’ down! No way!!

Untangled

You can swarm my dreams
You can mimic those long ago days
by the sound of the wind.

The calendar can read the same date
making me look over my shoulder
in shades of black and white.

Year after Year
you can remind me that I never
received the memo that it’s over.
That I was released from twenty years of tyranny.

Go ahead and remind me that I’m still waiting.
That all the IQ points don’t matter
when it comes to stored fear in the body.

You hold me in a grip of fear for Now? Then? When?
You make me want to crawl out of
this anxiety-ridden body and mind
and watch it crumple on the floor.

Fighting the messages, programming designed
to keep the illness safely tucked in the cells
of my body and mind.
Alert, ready for the next time.

You’ll have your way with me.

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