Monthly Archives: August 2013

Vince Flynn, Best Selling Thriller Author Loses His Battle To Prostate Cancer at 47


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I’m a Vince Flynn fan. I love the way he engages my mind with his portrayal of the intricacies of CIA procedure. If an author’s knowledge of how agencies actually pull things off on the ground seems shoddy, my mind jerks right out of the story. I never have to worry about that with a Vince Flynn tale.

In fact former president George W. Bush is a Vince Flynn fan and the president once jokingly complained about his worries as to how Flynn got his inside CIA information, saying, “He’s a little too accurate.” Then there was that time when Flynn hitched a ride from Andrews Air Force Base in the president’s limo and Dubbya grilled him on what his sources were…all in good fun, of course.

Vince Flynn died this past June, but due to the crush of my last historical novel going into edits and facing my own deadlines, I just now heard of it from a fellow crime fiction writer who had been so engrossed in his life he’d also just heard. Isn’t that how life is today? We rush from one thing to another striving to accomplish something. And that cliche is all too true, there’s no time to smell the roses. At least not too many of them. However it goes without saying, the news of Flynn’s premature death rocked me. It’s a testimony to the author that he kept writing during his battle with cancer. It is not known how much he finished on his current work-in-progress.

Flynn can be held up as a positive role model to anyone seeking to overcome a challenge, but especially to writers. Twenty years ago he was making his living in sales and commercial real estate. He began a self-styled program of reading voraciously in an effort to overcome his childhood dyslexia. A side benefit was he fell in love with spy-novels and wrote one. After receiving sixteen rejections he self-published his first novel. When it sold extremely well, he soon found an agent and a publisher for his work. His novels are pro-military, CIA, and law enforcement themed.

It is extremely important that men get checked for prostate cancer. There is a simple blood test men should have taken when they go for their regular physical exam. Some of the signs of prostate cancer are urinary problems, erectile dysfunction, pain in the back and legs. These should not go without being checked out, but too often by the time the symptoms show, it’s too late.  So get that blood test, men! If not treated prostate cancer can become aggressive and spread to the bones and other organs. The good news is prostate cancer develops very slowly and when caught early is highly treatable.

Flynn is survived by his wife Lysa, two daughters, and his stepson.


DARKEST HOUR ~ a seaside mystery ~ on the Grace Awards 2013 Launch

Darkest Hour, Lg

Team Launching is a whole lot of fun…and summer is the time to do it. What a whirlwind and now DARKEST HOUR is showcased on the tour.

*****

I thought to myself, self, what can I say about DARKEST HOUR that’s new and different. Everyone knows it’s filled with suspense, intrigue, and treachery….not to mention romance. They know it’s set in the mid-1940s and that I’m crazy about the post World War II era.

Ah, but what they might not know is that I’m also in love with the sea…the ocean, particularly the Atlantic Ocean. I love it’s history and lore and love to visit cities and villages on the America’s eastern seaboard. I’m in love with Cape Cod, Key Largo and St. Augustine, Florida, and Montauk, NY (it’s the end.) Stories from the 1800s before the mast, of whaling, or of sea captains who went down with their ships thrill me.

That’s a big part of why I set the Sanctuary Point series on the south shore of Long Island. I created a tiny village first settled by missionaries. Then during prohibition day, a local shipping family made their fortune bootlegging illegal whiskey. This family employs a good many of the residents and thinks it can call the shots.  DARKEST HOUR is the fourth novel in the series and the ocean is so integral to the story, it’s almost a character.

*****

A petite widow, medical secretary and sole support of her young son and grandparents, is framed for the murder of her boss. Wealthy village residents conspire with the DA to indicte her and stop further investigation. The medical examiner thinks the shooter was a tall individual. When his report is shoved aside, he starts his own side-investigation trying to clear her and in the process he falls in love with her.

Lucinda Byrne lost her husband and parents at sea. When she discovers the body of her boss, his A-List society finacee, backed up by her powerful family and a corrupt DA, acuses Lucinda of murder.  She struggles on shielding her five-year-old son, her feisty grandfather and arthritic grandmother from the ugliness of her situation. She mistrusts the dapper ME, thinking he’s a ladies’ man, but soon realizes he may be the only one in her corner.

Hank Jansen, the county ME who’s had his share of pain and loss, doesn’t know if this little widow was in on the murder, but he knows by the trajectory of the bullet she’s too short to have pulled the trigger. His professional opinion ignored, he begins his own investigation and at least one cop accuses him of an ethics violation. He certainly can’t deny he’s fallen head over heals for the accused, and also is crazy about her son. A huge problem is there’s a leak inside the investigation and the murderer is always one step ahead of them.

Excerpt:

Lucinda leaned forward and took his hands in hers. “The ocean has taken so much from both of us. I used to love the beach, the sand, the waves. Now I hate it.”

Concern flashed across his eyes. “Maybe it was a mistake coming to Long Beach. Would you like to go?”

“No, I live in a waterside village. Sanctuary Point is on the bay. Long Beach is on the ocean. There’s not much difference. I’m used to having my enemy near.” She hadn’t meant to get so maudlin. Her mind raced for something uplifting to say, but failed. “Boy, I’m hungry now.” It was the best she could do.

The waitress brought two glasses of ice water and took their order. They both took huge gulps.

“Say, you didn’t tell me how your appointment went with your attorney.”

Lucinda placed her half empty glass on the table. “It went well. He’s going to use your report as the basis for my defense. I told him about your new lead, and he said that sounds promising indeed.” She giggled. “Those were his words, ‘promising indeed’.”

“I’m glad my report is useful to somebody. The angle of trajectory points to a much taller shooter. But do they take that into consideration? No.”

“Maybe when it’s presented to the jury…”

Purchase Links:

Amazon/Kindle.  amzn.to/154FCnq

Barnes and Noble/Nook.  bit.ly/17Kh6mg

*****

Nike. Pix

Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (penciled might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.

She is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chairman, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011 and 2012 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. BURNING HEARTS, the first book in the crime wave that is sweeping the south shore of Long Island in The Sanctuary Point series, finaled in the Grace Awards 2011 in the Romance/Historical Romance category. GOODBYE NOEL, the second book in the series released in December, 2011 won the Grace Award 2011 in the Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller category. PERILOUS SHADOWS, third in the series released July, 2012, and DARKEST HOUR, the fourth in the series released in February, 2013.  She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning). https://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/


OUT FOR BLOOD by Marcy G. Dyer ~ Good For a Chilling Summer Read

Out For Blood

 

 

If there’s one thing author Marcy G. Dyer knows how to write it’s suspense. First she gets you sitting on the edge of your chair, then she sends shivers up your spine.

And I love suspense. That’s why I’m thrilled to showcase OUT FOR BLOOD.

 

Let’s take a look at what the story’s all about…

Dialysis nurse, Danielle Battershawn’s, life is turned upside down when her identical twin is murdered. As she strives to deal with yet another death, the killer sets his sights on eliminating her. Can handsome security consultant, Tyler Covington, keep her alive?

 

Excerpt:

Under the cloak of darkness, the man donned latex gloves. He picked the lock on the back door to Janine’s house and tiptoed over the threshold. The soft fragrance of her perfume permeated the air. Such a shame. Inquisitive mongrel. They could’ve shared an exciting time together, but she had to play buttinski and stick her beak into his business, cutting short their love affair. Anger threatened to engulf him, but he shook it off and turned his attention to his search.

In the living room, he pulled books off the shelves, thumbed through them, and overturned the bookcases. He slashed furniture cushions and dug through the foam, then ripped up the corners of the carpeting. As small as the drive was, the witch could’ve hidden it anywhere. He pulled her antique glassware off the fireplace and broke them open. Empty.

After he pulled pictures off the walls and slashed open the backs, he moved on to the air vents. He unscrewed each one, stuck his hand inside the duct, and felt around.

Cursing, the man moved from room to room, dumping out contents of cabinets, drawers, the dresser, and desk. He turned over the furniture and checked the backsides and underneath.

In the bathroom, he checked under the cabinets and behind the mirror. Where did the conniving broad hide the flash drive? He slashed her bed to ribbons, dug through the stuffing, and pulled out handfuls of the cotton batting, but found nothing.

He slammed his fist through the drywall. “Stupid witch.” He composed himself and explored the entire house once again.

Slipping out the front door, he removed his latex gloves and stuffed them in his pocket. As he wove through the sprawling subdivision, he hummed the tune to “Death’s Head.”

Knowing Janine, she gave it to her sister for preservation. He would search Dani’s house and, after he had the drive, he’d dispose of her. Doing away with both of the meddlesome twins would solve two problems for him. He allowed himself a smile at the thought of carousing with Dani before he got rid of her.

 

***

After reading that, I had to ask Marcy a few questions about herself and her writing.

Nike: Do you belong to a critique group?

Marcy:  actually belong to three critique groups. A crit group is one of the most important tools in an author’s arsenal of tools. The Bible talks about iron sharpening iron – a good crit group will help an author hone her craft and sharpen her writing skills

Nike:  What is your favorite genre to write?

Marcy: I love to write suspense. It’s my favorite genre to read and to write. I also read other genres, but so I haven’t ventured into writing in any other genre.

Nike: Were you ever told to give it up that you would never make it as a writer? If someone did, I’m glad you didn’t listen.

Marcy:  When I was first starting out, I had no experience writing and didn’t understand the craft of writing, I had a critique partner tell me that I would never make it as writer, and I just needed to give up. She was part of a huge writing critique group and most of the others had been very encouraging. Her assessment of my writing skills, hurt, then made me a little angry, and I decided to prove that I could become a writer. I learned everything I could for the next several years, and honed my craft. The reviews to my first book, Down & Out, have been quite good, so I hope that means I’ve been successful at learning the craft. Of course I think, as writers, we must keep learning and honing our craft.

Purchase Links for OUT FOR BLOOD:

Amazon: http://ow.ly/nP1f7

Barnes and Noble: http://ow.ly/nP2Ej

Desert Breeze: http://ow.ly/nP1h5

Marcy Dyer

Marcy G. Dyer is a Registered Nurse and suspense author. Like so many other writers, she began writing at a very young age, but never took herself seriously as a “real” writer until about ten years ago when she began taking courses and learning the craft of writing.

She currently has two books available: OUT FOR BLOOD, and DOWN & OU.

In addition to writing, Marcy is a freelance editor. She does editing for individuals, Desert Breeze Publishing, and Prism Book Group.

Marcy is an alumnus of the Christian Writer’s Guild and long-time member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She hosts a small critique group for ACFW and is involved in two other critique groups. For anyone seriously interested in becoming an author, she recommends a strong, diverse critique group to help authors hone crafts.


How I Connect Creating a Character From Someone I Know in Life and the NYPD’s Safe Surrender Program

8.2013 Safe Surrender

The sign on the church building behind the NYC Courts’ vehicle says:  Safe Surrender Program

***

I’ve had my eye on a particular kid for a while. She can be rather charming at times, especially if it might get her something. She has been known to be helpful, even sensitive to others. But that’s not what grabs my attention. What pulls my character locator toward her is that most of the time she’s totally self-centered and has a dangerously myopic view of life and the world. That’s true of most teens, but she’s perfected the art form.

Of course, when crafting a character based upon someone from real life, I change quite a few details. Hair color, age, height, gender. So, while observing a rebellious female minor child, I might be creating a male nineteen year old with the same psychological profile. Or I might be creating an 18 year old female character who bears no physical resemblance.

So, when this young lady’s father mentioned he had received a letter from St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church which had “avoid arrest” stamped on the outside, I became intrigued. Dad explained the letter outlined the NYPD’s Safe Surrender Program, which while not an amnesty program, still does provide those who show up and face the misdemeanor charges against them some due consideration in sentencing. His daughter denied getting a summons. She became belligerent, claiming the letter was bogus. She contended the church had no authority over her anyway. Her dad explained to her the program was run by the New York City Police Department. At that point she left the table. The dad felt legally and ethically he had to go answer the summons whether his daughter went or not. Naturally, I made myself available to go as moral support.

I wanted to find out what this was all about. And frankly, I wanted to see if I could ever use something like this in a prospective story.

The Safe Surrender Program was held at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church at 4301 Avenue D, Brooklyn, NY. The Rev. Cn Dr. Howard K. Williams is the pastor. The church motto is, “To restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.” It was held in collaboration with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, the Office of Court Administration, the New York City Police Department, and the Legal Aid Society. Residents of Brooklyn who had outstanding summonses and/or warrants had the opportunity to come to the church and peacefully resolve those legal issues on Friday, August 16 and Saturday, August 17, 2013. Those who participated were given legal representation by attorneys from the Legal Aid Society or the Metropolitan Black Bar. Volunteers from the Brooklyn clergy community were on site to offer support and to offer resources that previously might not have been available. Police were on the street outside the church, but there wasn’t much of a police presence inside the sanctuary itself.

As soon as I arrived at the church with the “Dad”, he produced the letter and was asked for identification and he was given a purple wristband. I was told that once inside only he could represent his daughter and that I’d have to sit on one side of the sanctuary reserved for family and friends. We walked in and he was ushered into a closed off area at the back of the church to complete paperwork. I was ushered by an elderly church gentleman to a seat in the pews to the right side of the center aisle. A woman standing in the front with a microphone sang gospel songs.

After completing the necessary paperwork, he was ushered to the other side of the sanctuary where those with outstanding summonses or warrants sat. I estimated there were about one hundred and fifty individuals, the vast majority men, mostly black or Hispanic. These were not hardened criminals, but were individuals who had received misdemeanor tickets.  Everything was calm and going along in an orderly fashion. Except there was a fifty-something gentleman who was obviously inebriated. I could only wonder if his summons had been for consumption of alcohol in public.  With nothing much to do, I picked up a flier that said: No More Worry, No More Waiting. It listed some of the offenses that would be handled that day.

  • Unlawful Possession of Marijuana
  • Unlawful Possession of Alcohol under the age of 21
  • Consumption of Alcohol in Public
  • Unlawful Possession of Handcuffs
  • Littering
  • Riding a Bicycle on the Sidewalk
  • Making Unreasonable Noise
  • Animal Nuisance
  • Failure to have a Dog License
  • Spitting
  • Trespass
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • In the Park After Closing
  • Failure to Comply with a Posted Sign in Park
  • Transit Adjudication Summons (or for those who don’t live in Gotham, jumping the turn-style without paying the fare)

We sat there over five hours. The singer who was actually more of a mistress of ceremonies tried to keep everyone’s spirits up. She mentioned she also sang rhythm and blues in a club in Downtown Brooklyn and launched into a couple of tunes by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. After that we were given a pep-talk and a short, and extremely sweet moral lesson by a rabbit hand puppet named Natasha. Quite an accomplished teenage girls’ liturgical dance team performed two numbers to contemporary Christian music.

This seemed to me to be a very worthwhile community based program. The mistress of ceremonies told us it would be repeated in the fall at another church, that one in downtown Brooklyn. I was only sad that the young lady in question had not taken the opportunity to settle her outstanding legal issues. The woman judge the dad stood before was not pleased that the girl had not shown up. The judge would have dismissed all charges, but instead gave the girl another court date in September. Naturally, I indulged in a bittersweet moment of self-interest. I can do quite a lot with an irresponsible character like this in one of my upcoming novels…only the consequences for the young lady or young man (whatever gender I chose to make the character), might not have such a peaceful end result. I write murder mysteries after all.

For more information call: 718-250-3888

http://www.projectsafesurrender.org

8.2013 Safe Surrender 3

http://www.staugustinesbrooklyn.org/Pages/ministries.html


ENTANGLED by Barbara Ellen Brink ~ a review

Entangled

 

Author Barbara Ellen Brink has been connected to the Grace Awards for a couple of years. Her supernatural thriller SPLIT SENSE won the Grace Award 2011 in the Speculative Fiction category. She was also a judge in the Young Adult category in 2011. So, it’s an honor and a pleasure to let everyone know how much I enjoyed the first book in her California winery mystery series.

 

*****

Sometimes long past memories are like ghosts coming back to haunt us.

Minneapolis divorce attorney, Wilhelmina “Billie” Fredrickson, inherits her adventurer uncle’s Californian winery. She’s determined not to leave her present life by moving to the left coast. She’s merely going to attend to all the legal details and then put the winery on the market. She soon begins having the reoccurring nightmares she used to have as a girl after a boy in her high school attempted to rape her at a drunken party. He didn’t get too far, as she broke his nose with a wine bottle, giving him a concussion. This is no helpless heroine, yet she is plagued by buried and conflicting emotions from her past she’s rather duck than deal with.

Arriving in California, Billie is immediately attracted to attorney Handle Parker, who was her Uncle Jack’s legal eagle. However, she can’t shake the feeling that he seems to resent her inheriting the Fredrickson Winery. One of the lines I most enjoyed in the novel is…I knew he questioned the validity of my receiving my uncle’s holdings, as though I’d conspired to put a voodoo curse on Jack before he died, which was preposterous since I was raised Lutheran.

Author Barbara Ellen Brink has crafted complex characters. Billie has many secrets, most of them hidden from herself. She’s got a complex relationship with Sabrina, her protective mother. And Billie has a tendency to run away from her problems. She’s definitely pushing down disturbing memories of a long lost summer at the winery twenty-years ago when as a girl she first met Handle as well as the many not so subtle hints that her mother has quite a few secrets of her own.

A break-in at the winery and the discovery of troubling photographs forces Billie to face her past. Then there’s vandalism which is a serious setback to her plan for putting the winery on a local winery tour. And let’s not forget the attempt upon her life. All these add up to one enticing mystery read. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself yearning for an aromatic glass of California wine and perhaps a slice or two of good cheddar.

wine grapes

Amazon/Kindle: http://amzn.to/14iCFIC

Barnes and Noble/Nook. http://bit.ly/14y0NuT

 


Grace Awards Winner: WALKS ALONE by Sandi Rog, a review

Walks AloneWALKS ALONE captivated and mesmerized me at times. No wonder it won in the Grace Award 2012 Action-Adventure/Western/Epic Fiction category.

This is a well-written epic novel beginning in Holland and ending in the old west. Loved the way it opened with the tenderness of Anna’s widowed father aboard ship. It was hard not to get involved in the father’s dream of traveling to Denver City with seven-year-old Anna to start a new life. Unfortunately, Anna’s father falls ill in New York City and passes away and she is left in the care her father’s brother for six terrible years. The scenes with Anna’s abusive uncle were brutal and fully engaging. After Anna escapes her uncle, she travels westward by train, and finally joins a wagon train where she’s not well treated. There is a fascinating, though not explicit, bathing scene in a river, where an exhausted Anna allows herself to relax and find relief from the intense and life threatening heat of the prairie. When half-breed Jean-Marc comes upon her with a small band of angry-braves, the reader is caught between instant knowledge of the hero’s strong attraction to her and the extreme danger she’s in and is hooked. Anna is taken by this brave’s strange blue-green eyes and can’t help wondering how it is that he speaks English better than she does. Ms. Rog understands Native American life in that era quite well. I appreciated her attention to the details of Cheyenne tribal life. She did an excellent job of showing the anger and murderous rage of the braves as well as the prejudice of the settlers and their inability to see Native Americans as people, which led to Indian massacres.

Both Anna/Walks Alone and Jean Marc/White Eagle are flawed and well written. White Eagle’s poetic declaration of how his love is so large and encompassing that he sees and hears Walks Alone everywhere, even in the wind, was superb. He tells her of his pain at having caught her engaging in conversation with his sworn enemy, the man who led the deadly raid against his tribe. Through this, the author conveys how painful it is for Father God to witness His children engaging with idols. Beautifully done. Touches the reader at a deep spiritual level.

My only problem was with Anna’s continued insistence on finding herself and her pulling away from White Eagle after their Native American marriage is consummated and then again after his poetic declaration of love. I’m not sure such personal enlightenment was high on the list in those days. However, the author did manage to sweep me back into the story. Then the story would move on and carry me through thrilling bandit attacks, chilling raids on White Eagle’s tribe by a rogue Cheyenne warrior and his band of braves. A fantastic read, which I highly recommend.

GA Winner 2012

Amazon/Kindle. http://amzn.to/16s2OYu

Barnes & Noble/Nook. http://bit.ly/16xnGzf

 


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