SHOWCASE: Gooseberry Island by Steven Manchester


Posted by Ryder Islington, Author of Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery, and coming soon, Ultimate Game, A Trey Fontaine Mystery

41maANhw9TL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Synopsis:

They met at the worst possible moment…or maybe it was just in time. David McClain was about to go to war and Lindsey Wood was there at his going-away party, capturing his heart when falling for a woman was the last thing on his mind. While David was serving his country, he stayed in close contact with Lindsey. But war changes a person, and when he came home very little had the same meaning that it had before – including the romance that had sustained him. Was love truly unconquerable, or would it prove to be just another battlefield casualty?

Gooseberry Island is the most nuanced, dramatic, and romantic novel yet from a writer whose ability to plumb the depths of human emotion knows few peers.

Gooseberry Island excerpt

David had been home for six weeks when he pulled into the market, preparing to locate everything on his mother’s grocery list. As he approached the store, he spotted a young teenage boy walking out; he was holding a brown bag. An older man approached the boy and reached out his hand. David gasped and his dizzy mind immediately raced back to Afghanistan and the horrific beating of the young Afghani boy:

 

There was movement three hundred yards out on the street below. Unusual, David thought. It was a teenage boy, maybe fourteen, carrying a burlap bag and hurrying home before dark. Never seen him before, David thought.

In a flash, a man—a Taliban fighter—jumped out of the shadows and grabbed the boy’s arm, pulling him to the street and spilling the contents of his sack. As the teenager yelled for help, another Taliban soldier emerged from the darkness. The boy screamed louder, but not a single soul came to his aid…

 

It only took a few seconds, but the whole scene played out in sequence in his mind—both men yelling and slapping the boy as he screamed for help; the slaps turning to a vicious beating until finally the boy was dead. He could almost hear Command say “Negative” again after he asked if he could intervene. He felt the anguish in his soul threatening to overwhelm him, but it was quickly replaced by a burning rage.

His eyes filled with tears, David returned to the present and started for the man in a mad rush. He was three steps from the shocked stranger when reality clicked in. It’s the boy’s father, he realized. He’s…he’s okay.

David’s body convulsed. He’d forgotten he was home, and the reality of it slapped him hard in the face.

The man pulled the teenage boy close to him; both of them were frightened by David’s sudden charge toward them.

“Sorry,” David said, though it sounded more like “Sigh.” Trying unsuccessfully to smile at them, he turned on his heels and hurried back to the Mustang.

 

For the next hour, David sat alone in his car, trying to calm the physical effects of his anxiety. Once he’d reined that in, he spent another two hours beating back the depression that always followed in anxiety’s wake.

His wasn’t sure whether the abyss existed within his heart or mind, but he knew that he was now filled with a great void—nothingness. There was no light there, only darkness. There was no hope, only despair. In time, he’d learned to embrace the silence, as the screams and whimpers of faceless victims became echoes that returned again and again, pushing the line of madness. Yet, the solitude was relentless, enveloping, merciless. It would have been better had I never existed, he thought, fearing another moment more than cashing in and leaving it all behind. No love, he thought, no peace. His memories were slanted in such thick negativity that his entire past would have been better off erased. And no one knows I’m dying inside, he thought, inviting another wave of panic attacks to crash onto the shore of his weary mind.

He closed his eyes tightly and tried to calm the short labored gasps. Just ride the wave, he told himself. Just ride the wave.

But in another room in his mind, he knew that even if he rode that wave—and didn’t crack his skull on all the rocks beneath him—he’d have to take the ride again and again. It didn’t take long before the jagged rocks seemed like the more merciful option.

 

~~~

 

Enough time had passed for Lindsey to realize David was not coming after her. He’s obviously in a lot of pain, she thought, and doesn’t want to burden anyone with it. She shook her head. But I care way too much about him to let him go through this alone.

With Craig’s permission, she slammed David’s front door behind her and marched through the living room into the kitchen. “Don’t you dare play the coward with me, David McClain,” she shouted before even reaching the room.

As she expected, David had been staring out the kitchen window into nothingness. With tear-filled eyes, his head snapped up. “Don’t you ever call me that word…ever!”

She stared at him for a few long moments before her heart softened. “Then go ahead, tell me that you don’t want to see me anymore and I’ll leave you alone forever.”

He looked at her with tormented eyes but didn’t say a word.

“But you can’t, can you?” she said, her entire insides starting to tremble.

“It’s not you,” he vowed. “It’s me. I’m just not…”

“Don’t you dare feed me that tired line! I spent a year praying for you…writing letters and wishing for us to…” She stopped, trying in vain to contain her emotions.

His face looked panicked, as his mind obviously spiraled out of control to gather the right words. “I don’t have the words,” he said in less than a whisper.

“After the first time I came here, I thought for sure you’d chase after me,” she said. “I’m not stupid, David. I realize something happened over there that has you all twisted up. But I also thought that once you saw my face, you’d…” She stopped again and began to cry.

David placed his hand on hers. She started to pull away, but he stopped her, intertwining their fingers. “Lindsey, please…please don’t say anything until I finish. Just hear me out. Okay?”

“Okay,” she said, her tears threatening to flood her face.

He took a few deep breaths. “I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I want you to know that I’ve never lied to you…and I don’t plan to now.” He shook his head. “I’m so messed up right now, Lindsey, I can’t even explain it.” He could barely hold eye contact with her. “I really hope we can be together someday…more than you can ever imagine. But I’m just not ready yet. I…I need to heal,” he stuttered.

She took a deep breath and held it.

“Torn isn’t even the word for what I’m feeling over this,” he babbled on. “The last thing I want to do is hurt either of us.”

“I don’t think we have to say goodbye, though,” she said, feeling the panic of desperation creep into her soul. “Don’t you remember the night we shared on that bench?”

His eyes grew even more distant. “I really wish things were different,” he said, “that life didn’t have to be so difficult.” He shrugged. “Time will tell, I guess.”

“You guess?” She returned his shrug to him, perturbed.

“Lindsey, I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that I don’t want to destroy any chance we might have at it …just because I might not be ready for it yet.” He grimaced. “I need time to find myself, okay?”

Lindsey, the child of a PTSD victim, shook her head. “You don’t have to find yourself, David. You just have to remember who you are…who you’ve always been.”

He nodded, tears streaming down his face.

Lindsey took a deep breath and surrendered. “David, I’ve told you the way that I feel for you and what I want for us. That’s all I can do. The rest is in your hands.” She peered into his dull eyes. “I can only hope that you’ll think of me every day, as I will you. I hope a lot of things, David.” She paused to collect herself. “Most of all, I hope the day will come when Afghanistan is behind you and we can fall in love all over again and catch up on all the things we’ve missed.” Mimicking him, she shrugged. “Maybe you’re right. I guess time will tell.” She pulled her hand away from his and felt her heart rip clean out of her chest. “Until then, you’ll be in my thoughts,” she whispered.

“I’m so sorry, Lindsey,” he sobbed, his shoulders rocking.

“I love you, David,” she said and, with one final attempt, grabbed his chin and forced eye contact between them. “Now tell me you don’t want to see me and I’ll leave you alone,” she whispered.

As he looked at her, Lindsey could clearly see the anguish in his eyes.

“You can’t, can you?” she said, hopefully.

His tears continued to leak down his cheeks. “I don’t want to see you…for now,” he said, and turned his eyes away from hers.

It felt as though someone had just slugged her in the gut. “Okay,” she gasped and ran out of the house crying harder than she’d ever cried before.

 

Long after Lindsey had run out of the kitchen, David remained catatonic—until he grabbed a drinking glass off the counter and threw it onto the floor where it broke into a hundred pieces. Enraged, he began smashing everything he could get his hands on in the kitchen. At the end of the violent outburst, he collapsed to the floor and began to weep. With his head in both hands, he screamed, “I love you, too, Lindsey.”

Day turned into dusk and, like most nights, just beyond the sobs and sniffles the world turned quiet and black.

 

Gooseberry Island excerpt

David had been home for six weeks when he pulled into the market, preparing to locate everything on his mother’s grocery list. As he approached the store, he spotted a young teenage boy walking out; he was holding a brown bag. An older man approached the boy and reached out his hand. David gasped and his dizzy mind immediately raced back to Afghanistan and the horrific beating of the young Afghani boy:

There was movement three hundred yards out on the street below. Unusual, David thought. It was a teenage boy, maybe fourteen, carrying a burlap bag and hurrying home before dark. Never seen him before, David thought.

In a flash, a man—a Taliban fighter—jumped out of the shadows and grabbed the boy’s arm, pulling him to the street and spilling the contents of his sack. As the teenager yelled for help, another Taliban soldier emerged from the darkness. The boy screamed louder, but not a single soul came to his aid…

It only took a few seconds, but the whole scene played out in sequence in his mind—both men yelling and slapping the boy as he screamed for help; the slaps turning to a vicious beating until finally the boy was dead. He could almost hear Command say “Negative” again after he asked if he could intervene. He felt the anguish in his soul threatening to overwhelm him, but it was quickly replaced by a burning rage.

His eyes filled with tears, David returned to the present and started for the man in a mad rush. He was three steps from the shocked stranger when reality clicked in. It’s the boy’s father, he realized. He’s…he’s okay.

David’s body convulsed. He’d forgotten he was home, and the reality of it slapped him hard in the face.

The man pulled the teenage boy close to him; both of them were frightened by David’s sudden charge toward them.

“Sorry,” David said, though it sounded more like “Sigh.” Trying unsuccessfully to smile at them, he turned on his heels and hurried back to the Mustang.

For the next hour, David sat alone in his car, trying to calm the physical effects of his anxiety. Once he’d reined that in, he spent another two hours beating back the depression that always followed in anxiety’s wake.

His wasn’t sure whether the abyss existed within his heart or mind, but he knew that he was now filled with a great void—nothingness. There was no light there, only darkness. There was no hope, only despair. In time, he’d learned to embrace the silence, as the screams and whimpers of faceless victims became echoes that returned again and again, pushing the line of madness. Yet, the solitude was relentless, enveloping, merciless. It would have been better had I never existed, he thought, fearing another moment more than cashing in and leaving it all behind. No love, he thought, no peace. His memories were slanted in such thick negativity that his entire past would have been better off erased. And no one knows I’m dying inside, he thought, inviting another wave of panic attacks to crash onto the shore of his weary mind.

He closed his eyes tightly and tried to calm the short labored gasps. Just ride the wave, he told himself. Just ride the wave.

But in another room in his mind, he knew that even if he rode that wave—and didn’t crack his skull on all the rocks beneath him—he’d have to take the ride again and again. It didn’t take long before the jagged rocks seemed like the more merciful option.

~~~

Enough time had passed for Lindsey to realize David was not coming after her. He’s obviously in a lot of pain, she thought, and doesn’t want to burden anyone with it. She shook her head. But I care way too much about him to let him go through this alone.

With Craig’s permission, she slammed David’s front door behind her and marched through the living room into the kitchen. “Don’t you dare play the coward with me, David McClain,” she shouted before even reaching the room.

As she expected, David had been staring out the kitchen window into nothingness. With tear-filled eyes, his head snapped up. “Don’t you ever call me that word…ever!”

She stared at him for a few long moments before her heart softened. “Then go ahead, tell me that you don’t want to see me anymore and I’ll leave you alone forever.”

He looked at her with tormented eyes but didn’t say a word.

“But you can’t, can you?” she said, her entire insides starting to tremble.

“It’s not you,” he vowed. “It’s me. I’m just not…”

“Don’t you dare feed me that tired line! I spent a year praying for you…writing letters and wishing for us to…” She stopped, trying in vain to contain her emotions.

His face looked panicked, as his mind obviously spiraled out of control to gather the right words. “I don’t have the words,” he said in less than a whisper.

“After the first time I came here, I thought for sure you’d chase after me,” she said. “I’m not stupid, David. I realize something happened over there that has you all twisted up. But I also thought that once you saw my face, you’d…” She stopped again and began to cry.

David placed his hand on hers. She started to pull away, but he stopped her, intertwining their fingers. “Lindsey, please…please don’t say anything until I finish. Just hear me out. Okay?”

“Okay,” she said, her tears threatening to flood her face.

He took a few deep breaths. “I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I want you to know that I’ve never lied to you…and I don’t plan to now.” He shook his head. “I’m so messed up right now, Lindsey, I can’t even explain it.” He could barely hold eye contact with her. “I really hope we can be together someday…more than you can ever imagine. But I’m just not ready yet. I…I need to heal,” he stuttered.

She took a deep breath and held it.

“Torn isn’t even the word for what I’m feeling over this,” he babbled on. “The last thing I want to do is hurt either of us.”

“I don’t think we have to say goodbye, though,” she said, feeling the panic of desperation creep into her soul. “Don’t you remember the night we shared on that bench?”

His eyes grew even more distant. “I really wish things were different,” he said, “that life didn’t have to be so difficult.” He shrugged. “Time will tell, I guess.”

“You guess?” She returned his shrug to him, perturbed.

“Lindsey, I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that I don’t want to destroy any chance we might have at it …just because I might not be ready for it yet.” He grimaced. “I need time to find myself, okay?”

Lindsey, the child of a PTSD victim, shook her head. “You don’t have to find yourself, David. You just have to remember who you are…who you’ve always been.”

He nodded, tears streaming down his face.

Lindsey took a deep breath and surrendered. “David, I’ve told you the way that I feel for you and what I want for us. That’s all I can do. The rest is in your hands.” She peered into his dull eyes. “I can only hope that you’ll think of me every day, as I will you. I hope a lot of things, David.” She paused to collect herself. “Most of all, I hope the day will come when Afghanistan is behind you and we can fall in love all over again and catch up on all the things we’ve missed.” Mimicking him, she shrugged. “Maybe you’re right. I guess time will tell.” She pulled her hand away from his and felt her heart rip clean out of her chest. “Until then, you’ll be in my thoughts,” she whispered.

“I’m so sorry, Lindsey,” he sobbed, his shoulders rocking.

“I love you, David,” she said and, with one final attempt, grabbed his chin and forced eye contact between them. “Now tell me you don’t want to see me and I’ll leave you alone,” she whispered.

As he looked at her, Lindsey could clearly see the anguish in his eyes.

“You can’t, can you?” she said, hopefully.

His tears continued to leak down his cheeks. “I don’t want to see you…for now,” he said, and turned his eyes away from hers.

It felt as though someone had just slugged her in the gut. “Okay,” she gasped and ran out of the house crying harder than she’d ever cried before.

 

Long after Lindsey had run out of the kitchen, David remained catatonic—until he grabbed a drinking glass off the counter and threw it onto the floor where it broke into a hundred pieces. Enraged, he began smashing everything he could get his hands on in the kitchen. At the end of the violent outburst, he collapsed to the floor and began to weep. With his head in both hands, he screamed, “I love you, too, Lindsey.”

Day turned into dusk and, like most nights, just beyond the sobs and sniffles the world turned quiet and black.

~~~

After four or five weeks of self-imposed solitary confinement—a punishment filled with death-defying panic attacks and long, treacherous tunnels of depression—David decided to reach out to the men he had served with. They’re the only ones who can relate, he thought. And I wonder how they’re doing…really doing?

61000drVSCL._UX250_

Author Bio: 

Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestsellers, Twelve Months and The Rockin’ Chair. He is also the author of the award-winning novel, Goodnight, Brian, as well as the critically-acclaimed novel, Pressed Pennies, A Christmas Wish (Kindle exclusive), Wilbur Avenue (novelette), Just in Time (novelette), The Thursday Night Club (novella) and Gooseberry Island. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Three of Steven’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When not spending time with his beautiful wife, Paula, or their four children, this Massachusetts author is promoting his works or writing. Visit: www.StevenManchester.com

http://www.StevenManchester.com
http://www.facebook.com/#!/AuthorStevenManchester

 

Paperback & Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Gooseberry-Island-Steven-Manchester-ebook/dp/B00OPAFIDK/ref=asap_B001K8Y14C_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418059544&sr=1-6

Nook & Paperback: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gooseberry-island-steven-manchester/1118939772?ean=9781611881813&itm=1&usri=steven+manchester

My Favorite Things Blog Tour!


Posted by Ryder Islington, Author of Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery, and coming soon: Ultimate Game, A Trey Fontaine Mystery

I’m so pleased to have met Kylie Betzner, and to be included in is fun blog tour. Our goal is to introduce you to our writing by telling you our favorite things about something we’ve written. To see more Favorite Things Tour participants, check out Kylie Betzner’s blog at: http://litchicblog.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/my-favorite-things-blog-tour

and also:

Jennifer Conway at http://trueloveseries.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/my-favorite-things/

And now, here’s some of My Favorite Things

Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery was my first published book. It came out in June of 2011 and book two, Ultimate Game, A Trey Fontaine Mystery, is in the final stages of preparation for release. Though the main character of these books is Special Agent Trey Fontaine, they are told in several points of view, including those of the antagonists.

Cover

Ultimate Justice lg

Blurb

It seems that some evil force had moves into the small town of Raven Bayou, Louisiana. It is brimming with dead bodies. FBI special agent Trey Fontaine realizes that a lot of the bodies turn out to be men who were child molesters, rapists, wife beaters and murderers. Someone seems to think it’s okay to take the law into their own hands. But is it evil to put a stop to molestation, rape, beatings and murder?

Can Trey Fontaine bring a halt to the violence? He has always followed the rules, worked within the system. He’s a straight shooter, a stickler for working within the parameters of the law. When the truth is revealed, will he be able to maintain his professional integrity? Or will doing the right thing be more important?

Intro

This seems like a strange exercise, sharing my feelings about my book. It’s so much easier to let the work speak. As I contemplated this post, it was hard to decide on a favorite scene, character and quote. Then I opened the book and read the prologue and the answer was obvious.

Character

One of my favorite characters is Wile, a seven year old boy who has been abused. He hates school, loves cheeseburgers, and has two siblings who are his best friends, fifteen year old Drew, and twelve year old Rocky. The three are inseparable, and Wile is the leader of this little pack.

Wile grew up in a small town in southwest Louisiana. His daddy had a quick temper and didn’t bother using his hands for discipline if there was a hose or a board around. Wile knows what ‘mean’ is and what it feels like to be in its path. Now he takes great pleasure in redirecting the path of ‘mean.’

Quote

One of my favorite Wile quotes reflects his sense of humor as well as the depth of his pain, though until you see it in context, you won’t understand it. Here it is:

“He ain’t lying. Daddy taught Rocky how to hunt ’em, skin ’em and dress ’em, and he’s real good at it. He can even tan the hides,” I said.

Now that you know a little about Wile and have heard his voice, check out the scene below.

Scene

“You know what to do,” I whispered.

Drew moved toward him slow and slinky-like, and unbuttoned the top of her sleeveless shirt and smiled. “Hey, handsome.”

He turned and looked over his shoulder. His lips smiled but the rest of his face didn’t. He didn’t have time to bat an eye before I stepped out in front of Drew. My foot hit his ribs and knocked him over. That kind of kick would make me a super star, if I was playing soccer.

“Surprise,” I said. I whupped up on him. He rolled onto his back and a grunt whooshed outta his mouth. His evil eyes stared right at me and I saw fear skip through ’em before the mad started to show.

He looked bumfuzzled clear through.

The man was big. I’d end up sorry if I didn’t do something fast. I landed on him and shoved the knife in deep. He bled like a stuck hog. His arms fell away, and his eyes scrunched up with pain and a look I didn’t know. Maybe he was confused, or scared. Ever what it was, it served him right. And ever what plans he had weren’t gonna happen.

Blood covered my left hand. “Warm. Velvety.”

Drew got on her knees next to the girl, but she didn’t move. She was all still and asleep. She looked sorta dead. The girl’s skin looked too white and her long hair tangled into a halo around her head. Drew cuddled the girl up into her lap and talked real soft like. She’s pretty good with kids. She’s sorta like a little kid inside and she kinda knows how it feels to be scared. She ran her fingers over the girl’s forehead.

We seen good mamas do that when their babies got sick.

I picked up a rag and sniffed it. “Smells of a dentist office.” I looked at Drew. “We can’t leave things like this. If she wakes up and finds him bleeding and looking kinda dead, she’ll feel more scared than ever.” Besides, I had a special surprise in the truck for him.

A dog barked.

“Grab a leg,” I told Rocky, and we pulled the man deeper into the woods. For three scrawny kids, we did okay. Noises stopped us. We stood still, trying to be super quiet, but we huffed and puffed so hard we scared our own selves. We decided faster was better, even if somebody might hear us.

Sweat ran down my back as we dragged the man over old leaves and tree roots until we found a place to rest a minute. “Go bring the truck down the ole’ dirt road off the highway,” I told Drew. She’s the oldest and she’s got another year till she gets her license, but she always takes us places.

Another yap from the dog and I knew it was near where we left the little girl. A sissy scream blasted through the trees. I stopped, breathing hard, listening.

A man’s voice.

And a woman’s.

She kinda cried.

The dog whined.

More crunching leaves. They found her.

Rocky smiled and I reckoned we thought the same thing. He squatted by the man’s head. “Daddy was a hunter. He taught me how to handle animals,” he whispered, his first finger layin’ against the dull side of the blade, just short of the gut hook.

“He ain’t lying. Daddy taught Rocky how to hunt ’em, skin ’em and dress ’em, and he’s real good at it. He can even tan the hides,” I said.

The man didn’t respond. He weren’t gonna. He was sleeping, peaceful like. We dragged him up close to the dirt road on the other side of the woods. When Rocky finished with him, people would know the man was bad. Rocky had a way of making wickedness spill right out in plain sight.

As you can see, Wile is damaged. But he has a good heart. He’s just a little boy who has decided there are a lot of bad men in the world who mistreat women and children, and it’s time to do something about it. Maybe the next time you feel anger or a need for revenge, you should remember Wile. Sometimes those feelings can lead to unexpected results.

Ultimate Justice, A Trey Fontaine Mystery is available in paperback and as an ebook and is available through online resources as well as brick-and-mortar stores. Below is a buy link for Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Justice-Trey-Fontaine-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B0057Z2OI4/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1418058551&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=Ultimate+Justice%2

BOOK COVER LAUNCH: The Bridges of Death by M.C.V. Egan


TBOD-frontcover

“M.C.V. Egan twists truth and fiction until you question your perceptions…it is a story of real love, triumph and search for self.” – Beckah Boyd @ The Truthful Tarot

On August 15th, 1939, an English passenger plane from British Airways Ltd. crashed in Danish waters between the towns of Nykøbing Falster and Vordingborg. There were five casualties reported and one survivor. Just two weeks before, Hitler invaded Poland. With the world at the brink of war, the manner in which this incident was investigated left much open to doubt. The jurisdiction battle between the two towns and the newly formed Danish secret police created an atmosphere of intrigue and distrust.

The Bridge of Deaths is a love story and a mystery. Fictional characters travel through the world of past life regressions and information acquired from psychics as well as archives and historical sources to solve “one of those mysteries that never get solved.”

Based on true events and real people, The Bridge of Deaths is the culmination of 18 years of sifting through conventional and unconventional sources in Denmark, England, Mexico and the United States. The story finds a way to help the reader feel that s/he is also sifting through data and forming their own conclusions.

Cross The Bridge of Deaths into 1939, and dive into cold Danish waters to uncover the secrets of the G-AESY.

Learn more about this book and the special 75th anniversary re-release at www.thebridgeofdeaths.com.

TBOD-comingsoon

Join us as we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the crash of the G-AESY and the start of World War II with a month-long history-laden event that will entertain, educate, and enlighten you! As part of this event, a revised version of The Bridge of Deaths, this award-winning and highly-acclaimed account of the events of that fateful day in 1939, will be re-released.

If you would like to be a part of the month-long anniversary event from September 1 to September 30, please go here: http://bit.ly/TBOD75Event.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MCVEganM.C.V. Egan is the pen name chosen by Maria Catalina Vergara Egan. Catalina was born in Mexico City, Mexico in 1959, the sixth of eight children, in a traditional Catholic family. From a very young age, she became obsessed with the story of her maternal grandfather, Cesar Agustin Castillo–mostly the story of how he died. She spent her childhood in Mexico. When her father became an employee of The World Bank in Washington D.C. in the early 1970s, she moved with her entire family to the United States.

Catalina was already fluent in English, as she had spent one school year in the town of Pineville, Louisiana with her grandparents. There she won the English award, despite being the only one who had English as a second language in her class. In the D.C. suburbs she attended various private Catholic schools and graduated from Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland in 1977.

She attended Montgomery Community College, where she changed majors every semester. She also studied in Lyons, France, at the Catholic University for two years. In 1981, due to an impulsive young marriage to a Viking (the Swedish kind, not the football player kind), Catalina moved to Sweden where she resided for five years and taught at a language school for Swedish, Danish, and Finnish businesspeople. She then returned to the USA, where she has lived ever since. She is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Swedish.

Maria Catalina Vergara Egan is married and has one son who, together with their five-pound Chihuahua, makes her feel like a full-time mother. Although she would not call herself an astrologer she has taken many classes and taught a few beginner classes in the subject.

She celebrated her 52nd birthday on July 2nd, 2011, and gave herself self-publishing The Bridge of Deaths as a gift.

Find M.C.V. Egan and The Bridge of Deaths at www.thebridgeofdeaths.com.

BOOK REVIEW: STOLEN by Allison Brennan


Review by Ryder Islington, Author of ULTIMATE JUSTICE A Trey Fontaine Mystery

I don’t think I’ve read much Allison Brennan before. That’s going to change after reading this book. What a great suspense!

I love the characters. Lucy Kincaid, an FBI trainee who is crazy in love with Sean Rogan. But this is more than just a romance. In fact, the romance takes a back seat to the story of Sean and a new job, a temporary job,with an old friend. An old friend who does things that are illegal. A job that might get Sean killed. Throw in the dispute between Sean and his brother Duke, and you have three plots twined together like a thick rope, coiled like a snake.

Ms. Brennan knows how to draw the reader in. Her characters are real people, with real struggles. I’d recommend this book for every lover of mystery, suspense, or romance. Some readers of thrillers may enjoy it. I read all of those genres, and I loved it.

See a synopsis of STOLEN below, followed by Allison Brennan’s bio. You can find more info on this author and her books at: http://www.allisonbrennan.com

 

16034221(2)

Nothing is more important to private investigator Sean Rogan than his relationship with FBI trainee Lucy Kincaid. But when his past catches up with him, Sean faces an ultimatum: clear his name and help the FBI take down a rogue agent, or go to prison and lose everything he holds dear. With only Agent Noah Armstrong as his back-up and forced to keep Lucy in the dark, Sean steps back into his old world. But the longer he’s undercover, the more dangerous the game becomes. More than Sean’s future with Lucy is at stake—so is his life.

Lucy can’t imagine Sean would keep secrets from her—until an FBI agent casts doubt about who he really is…and who he used to be. Why did Sean quit his job with his brother and move to New York? Why hasn’t he told her anything about his new job? With more questions than answers, Lucy doesn’t know who to believe or who she can trust. All she knows is that Sean is in grave danger, and this time, it’s personal.

 

 

 

allison brennan

New York Times and USA Today bestseller Allison Brennan is the author of twenty-three novels and several short stories. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, she lives in Northern California with her husband Dan and their five children.

Crime fiction, mysteries, and romantic suspense have always been Allison’s favorites, so it’s no surprise that her romantic thrillers have a dark suspense edge. Reviewers have called her books “terrifying,” “mesmerizing,” “fast-paced,” “pulse-pounding,” “wonderfully complex,” “layered,” and “a master of suspense – tops in the genre.” As Lisa Gardner says, “Brennan knows how to deliver.”

Writing three books a year is more than a full-time job, and so is raising five kids, but Allison believes life is too short to be bored. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, playing video games, watching old movies or new television shows, driving to or attending volleyball / basketball / football / soccer / baseball / softball games, and on occasion even makes it to the gym where she enjoys people-watching more than exercise.

Allison is currently writing the Lucy Kincaid series about an FBI recruit. The seventh book, COLD SNAP, is on sale now. DEAD HEAT will be out on June 3, 2014. Also, she’s thrilled to announce a new hardcover mystery/thriller series starring investigative reporter Maxine Revere that launches March 25, 2014 with NOTORIOUS.

BOOK REVIEW: Deep In My Heart by Patricia W. Fischer


 

Review by Ryder Islington, author of ULTIMATE JUSTICE, A Trey Fontaine Mystery

Oh my! This book begins with the heroine, a child, and a rattlesnake bite. What a hook!

This is one of those un-put-down-able romances. The heroine is a veterinarian, gone back to the town who supported her education to ‘do her time’, and the hero is a cowboy widower, and her high school sweetheart.

Ms. Fischer is great at characterization. These are real people, in a real small town. The gossip. The politics. The jealousies. Loved it. The romance fit right in with the lives of the characters, causing emotions to run in every direction as the histories of different characters ran into each other. The colliding histories were as important to the romance, as the romance was to those histories.

A wonderful read for lovers of romance. Set in Texas, for those who love reading Southern authors. I’d recommend it for the suspense, the romance, and the skillful way the author handles real life issues.

 

cropped-2014-2-20-header-for-website

Back Cover:   Dr. Jocelyn Promise had no long-term plans to stay in Tuscany, Texas, but she saved the daughter of Caleb Davis, her high school crush, and became a hero. Will she allow herself to fall for him again?
Widower and Air Force Veteran, Caleb Davis, never wanted to fall in love again… until he saw Jocelyn. Now someone from his past has arrived to even a score.  Can he protect his family, Jocelyn, and his heart? Things are about to get interesting in Tuscany, Texas

 

About this author

My strong desire to tell stories hit me early in life. At the young age of nine, I penned a play about Nessie from the monster’s point of view. Since then, I’ve written constantly, whether it was in a journal, diary, in my notebooks at school, or on my computer.
But I also came by story-telling naturally. My great-grandmothers and grand-parents, all had traveled extensively through the US and the world and told us all of their parents and grandparents immigrating to America and ending up in Texas.
Now factor in the numerous aunts and uncles, who were always amazing sources of information and incredible stories about everything from where exactly the tooth fairy puts all those teeth to Santa’s elf who hides in the air conditioning vents and watches us all year, to the mythological creatures that hang out under our beds, and I had a very well rounded education in how to spin a yarn.
In my adult years, I learned to be a waitress, bartender, bill collector, bank teller, Blockbuster Video clerk, and dishwasher all before I earned my degree in nursing. Then I spent the next ten years in the adult ICU’s and adult and pediatric trauma units. As if I didn’t have anything else to do, I went to massage therapy school to learn to better care for my ICU patients, many of whom suffered bed sores and back pain due to their extensive times in bed. (Yes, I’m coming up with a hero who’s a massage therapist.)
After that certification, I still didn’t think I had enough knowledge and in an attempt to educate myself right out of the general dating pool, I returned to school to earn my journalism degree. It was while I worked as a Level 1 pediatric trauma nurse, I met my husband while I worked at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.
Now I hope to share my fiction and non-fiction story telling techniques with our children and with anyone who wants to read or hear it.

 

BOOK REVIEW: Dragonfly In Amber by Diana Gabaldon


Review by Ryder Islington

With the intrigue of the modern political thriller and battles to the death between kings and #Scottish clans, #Dragonfly In Amber is book two of the Outlander series. In 1968 Claire Randall Fraser returns to #, the place of the standing stones that transported her to 1743, and back again.

Determined to somehow tell her daughter the truth about who she really is, and what happened to Claire back in 1945, she finds herself in the company of Roger Wakefield, a man whose adoptive father was an historian obsessed with the clans of Scotland in the #1700’s. As Claire, her daughter Brianna, and Roger Wakefield travel through the hills and crags of Scotland, the story of Claire’s travel through time unfolds, revealing unbelievable, yet real scenes of history.

The characters are well drawn, evoking emotions in the reader as we get involved in their lives, desires, and painful histories. The description takes the reader on a journey through a land filled with beauty and into the lives of a people stubborn and superstitious. Dragonfly in Amber is a wonderful read for #history buffs, travelers, and those in love with romance. I would highly recommend it as a summer read, or during those times in the winter when the weather has stranded you next to a roaring fire.

A New Paranormal Romance To Look For


My upcoming blog tour will include a stop at Liv Raincourt’s blog. I stopped by there today and saw the cover of her upcoming novel, A Vampire’s Deadly Delight, due out the 14th of this month, and thought I just might have to read that one. The cover is just too cute!

So I thought I’d give the links to her blog, http://liv-rancourt.blogspot.com, and to the publisher’s site, Black Opal Books: http://bit.ly/zBSr4y. If you get a chance, stop by and take a look at the cover and read the blurb. It’s listed as having ‘humorous elements’ but if that cover is any indication, it’s funny.