Rik Stone on His Inspiration for “Birth of an Assassin” #Thriller #GoodReads

What inspired me to write my book?

Lots of people feel the need to write almost as soon as they learn to put words together. I went to school with girls who kept diaries and diligently made entries on a daily basis. Not me, I was like the other boys. If there was a ball to play with, we’d play football. If there was no ball, we’d find an old tin, maybe in a dustbin, and play kick the tin. In the late 50’s, early 60’s, where I came from that was what life was for a young lad – and I loved it.

I don’t remember the exact age, let’s say fifteen for the sake of argument, but I picked up a book I think was my uncle’s and began reading it. The novel was called The Carpetbaggers and was written by Harold Robbins. The first chapters, when the protagonist’s parents were murdered, absolutely enthralled me. I couldn’t put it down. Unfortunately, not enjoying the greatest of concentration at that time, I found the book too long, too slow, and soon got bored. However, when another novel by the same author showed up in the house, The Adventurers, I thought I’d give it a go. Once again the first chapters had me living the pages, but, yet again, as I delved further into the book my interest waned.

So, you might think, no signs of a budding writer here. But no, those first chapters in The Adventurers were about an author who’d made it to the top of his trade. He lay next to his private swimming pool in the garden of his grand house musing over what the point of his life was now he’d done it all. Without realising it at the time, that man by the pool had been so believably drawn by Robbins that he weaved himself through my skin. Over the years he held on to a compartment of my mind. I wanted what he’d had. You might think I mean his wealth and position. That would be nice, but no, my reasoning was that the stories of that fictitious writer were adored by all who read them. He had a worldwide following and his works were renowned. I think what I felt was that age old sin… envy.

This figment of some writer’s imagination grabbed a space in my mind from where he occasionally popped up to make sure I hadn’t forgotten him. I was fifty when I retired and I had no intention of donning a new harness belonging to someone else. At the same time I’m not one to sit around contemplating life and I’d been an avid reader for many years. The little man in my head chose that moment to highlight an opportunity. I did creative writing courses, bought and read a multitude of ‘how to write anything’ type books and started writing… and there I was, proudly presenting my debut novel Birth of an Assassin. An interesting offshoot to this tale; you can carry ambition around for many years without even knowing it.

Birth of an Assassin

Set against the backdrop of Soviet, post-war Russia, Birth of an Assassin follows the transformation of Jez Kornfeld from wide-eyed recruit to avenging outlaw. Amidst a murky underworld of flesh-trafficking, prostitution and institutionalized corruption, the elite Jewish soldier is thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems, nobody can be trusted, and everything can be violently torn from him.

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Genre – Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

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Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://rik-stone.simdif.com


Julia (The Good Life #Romance #Series) by Sarah Krisch


A failed actress, twenty-something Julia McCarthy begins writing a fictionalized blog as a form of self-therapy. Based on her carefree summers at her grandparents’ farm, she never expects her little experiment to garner a viral following, but it does. Boy, does it ever.

Now, with thousands of loyal blog followers, and a syndication deal with the Chicago Herald, Julia is approached by GreenTV to adapt her blog into a TV show. The producers see her as a “Rachel Ray on the Prairie-type”. She sees herself as a fraud.

In Julia’s fictional world, she’s successful. She can pay her bills on time. Heck, she even has a fictional gorgeous husband and charming little boy. Ready to realize her dreams, Julia returns to her grandparents’ farm to shoot the TV pilot.

Brad Taylor is definitely not her type: he’s rugged, sensible, and oh-so smug about learning that Julia’s blog is a farce. As the manager of her grandparent’s farm, Brad doesn’t have time to deal with whimsical women who don’t even know how to cook.

Julia can’t allow her attraction to Brad to distract her, not when her dreams are about to come true. But are these truly her dreams, her good life?

A fun, fast (150 pages) contemporary romance

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Genre – Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG-13

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P.T. Macias’ Top Ten Favourites @pt_macias #romance #suspense #mustread

Ten of my favorite things
by PT Macias
My husband and family
Reading romance and paranormal books
Red, hot pink and white roses
Jewelry-keys and hearts with precious stones – diamonds, pearls, blue topaz, alexandrite, and aquamarine
Sexy High Heels Shoes, Cowboy boots
Perfume – Ralph, Pleasures, Romance


The hard driven, ambitious delta force operative is immune to women. His heart has been destroyed by a treacherous woman and the unexpected loss of his family. These events have driven him nearly into insanity. The hard knocks in life propel him into grasping his emotions, his thoughts, and his physical condition. He focused on his goal. Loco doesn’t allow any type of distractions or obstacles to stop him. His actions and recklessness have earned him his nickname, Loco.

The Infinite power, Razer 8 operatives, are united and linked for infinity. His team mates recognize his pain, anger, and strength is derived from the intense impotency he feels from his loss.

The unexpected mission and unexpected encounter with his soul mate, tests his strength. His mind, heart, and soul recognize his love even before the actual encounter. The ruthless criminals threaten to harm his soul mate, pushing and transforming him into a fearless warrior.

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Ghost is an old-fashioned Southern boy fighting hard to forget his pain. He’s forced to protect his Mama and sister from their abusive Pa. Ghost is strong, silent, and soft spoken. He works hard against all obstacles and hurt.

Ghost grows up to become a Delta Force. He meets and falls for a hot Latina who sets him on fire! She captures his soul and brightens his world. He would do anything to protect her.

Duty calls and he’s forced to leave her unprotected. The unspeakable happens! Ghost calls on Infinity. Infinity aids to extract his woman from the clutches of a soulless prostitution mob. Time is running out!

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Bulldog is the youngest of the Razer 8 Delta Force Operatives. He enjoys life. He’s called upon to help out one of his team operative. Infinity is there.

He runs into Katherine Morgan, a sweet young victim. In the the process of extraction he gets caught by the prostitution gang. They mistake him with being her boyfriend.

Bulldog grabs onto that line and poses as her boyfriend. In the process of rescuing Katherine from the mob he becomes entangled in her web. Will Bulldog’s skills and training save him from falling under her spell? Will he be able to outrun the mob and his soul?

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Redfox, Razer 8 10-13-13

Redfox, Razer 8 operative mission is to infiltrate the Police Commissioner’s office and home. He has 72 hours to gather the intel on the Commissioner’s dirty business.

Redfox charms his way into the Commissioner’s home, throwing him into the arms of his soul mate. The unexpected love rocks his world and the success his mission.

The Commissioner’s daughter, Marsha Diane Bryant is a lovely sweet young girl. She falls under Redfox spell and unconditionally bestows her soul.

Redfox fears losing his soul mate in the process of completing his mission. Can their love survive the storm?

Buy @ Amazon

Genre – Romantic Suspense

Rating – PG 13

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Website http://ptmacias.com/

Dora Machado & the Story Behind “The Curse Giver” @DoraMachado #Fantasy

The Story Behind The Curse Giver

By Dora Machado

The Curse Giver was an accident, a professional indiscretion, if you will, conceived during one of my little escapades, and born out of unchecked passion. Yep, I might as well come clean. Even the most disciplined writer can be unfaithful to her projects, and no matter how thoroughly taken one is with one’s current novel, the danger for a tangent is always there when venturing into the world of research.

So there I was, researching one book, working hard to finalize the Stonewiser series, when I came across this insidious little idea that kept disrupting my train of thought.

Now, to understand the story behind The Curse Giver, you must understand my writing habits. I’m not easily distracted. When I’m writing a novel, my brain goes into hyper mode. I’m disciplined, motivated and focused to the point of obsession, which is why The Curse Giver was such a surprise to me.

The subject of curses has always fascinated me, not only because curses are such a vital part of magic and fantasy, but also because they are so prevalent to the human experience. To be honest, I had always been intrigued by the subject. Then I found them, one night, very late—or was it very early morning?—when the wind rattled my window as a coastal storm blew in from the sea.

The clay tablets that popped up on my screen dated from 600 BC and were part of the library of Nineveh, the oldest surviving library of cuneiform tablets. This is the same collection that gave us the famous Gilgamesh epic. Visually, the tablets weren’t much to look at, chicken scratches on clay. But the translated words had an impact on me.

May all these [gods] curse him with a curse that cannot be relieved, terrible and merciless, as long as he lives, may they let his name, his seed, be carried off from the land, may they put his flesh in a dog’s mouth.”

I know, hardly an inspiration for most. Me? I immediately thought of the man who had been thus cursed, of the pain and hardship such curse would bring upon him and his people, of the character that eventually became Bren, Lord of Laonia in The Curse Giver.

From there on, the curses flowed before my eyes, mysterious ones from ancient civilizations in Egypt, India and the Far East; thin lead tablets dating from the Greco-Roman world, judicial prayers, secret invocations, warnings and love spells that streamed into my consciousness. I knew I should get back to my original research, and yet I was smitten with the subject.

There were curses quoted from the Bible, medieval curses, real and forgeries, Viking, Celtic, Germanic, Visigoth, Mayan, Incan, Hopi, you name it. There were ancient curses but also modern curses, some associated with Santeria, voodoo and the 21 Divisions, religions that are common in the Dominican Republic where I grew up.

Who would cast these curses and why? What kind of creature could be capable of such powers? What would motivate a person to curse another one? As I explored these questions, a character profile began to emerge in my mind, someone whose understanding of good and evil was very different from my own.

Sorting through the research, I could see that some curses had practical applications to make sure people did what they were told. They served as alternate forms of law enforcement in lawless societies. Some were obviously malicious. They were meant to frighten and intimidate. Some were more like venting or wishful thinking. It turns out that mankind has been casting curses since the beginning of time and will probably continue for as long as we have the imagination and faith to do so.

A new question formed in my mind. Once cursed, what could a person do to defend himself? A third character emerged from this question, Lusielle, a common remedy mixer, a healer of hearts and bodies, someone who didn’t realize the scope of her own power until it began to transform her life.

Eventually, I wrestled myself out of the trance. I had a book to write and a series to complete. I had deadlines. But my little detour had made an impact. The concepts were at work in my subconscious, coalescing into a new novel, fashioning these powerful characters who demanded their own story. My encounter with curses had been but a slight detour from my research plan, a tiny deviation, an indiscretion to my schedule, but the seed had been planted and The Curse Giver thrived, even if I didn’t know it yet.


Dora Machado is the award-winning author of the epic fantasy Stonewiser series and her newest novel, The Curse Giver, available from Twilight Times Books. She grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a fascination for writing and a taste for Merengue. After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories. She lives in Florida with her husband and three very opinionated cats.

To learn more about Dora Machado and her novels, visit her website at www.doramachado.com or contact her at Dora@doramachado.com.

For a free excerpt of The Curse Giver, visit:  http://twilighttimesbooks.comthingsTheCurseGiver_ch1.html.


Website: www.doramachado.com

Blog: http://www.doramachado.com/blog/

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Peter Simmons & the Vessel of Time by Ramz Artso @RamzArtso #Excerpt #YA

Michael – New York City

October 22nd – Nighttime Hours

The gutters of the megalopolis gurgled softly. Pounding sheets of rain washed down the darkened, sewage-stinking pavement as I scrambled silently for cover. Finding none, I rolled over on my back, doing the very best to steady the constant rhythm of my burning lungs.

‘Well, well, well,’taunted my assailant. The sound of his glistening Italian shoes breached my ears. My bleeding nose detected the stench of his cigarette’s burning tobacco. There was no need to use my special abilities to know that he carried a loaded gun in his gloved hand. ‘What am I to do with you, Michael?’

It was a rhetorical question. Both of us knew perfectly well what it was that he planned to do. What Victor had been sent to do.

He kicked aside a heap of malodorous refuse matter.

‘It’s a pity that you and I have to end our friendship on such an ugly note, Mikey. Really is. I wish you would make this easier on yourself and disclose the location of those flipping documents. But you’re one of those die-hard types. You always have been. I can ply you with questions all night long, but I won’t get to hear a single word out of your mouth, will I?’

Concentrating hard, I tuned out his voice, summing up the last reserves of my strength as I did so. Although it was immensely difficult, considering my horrid physical condition, I managed to glance into the future for a few short seconds.

Nothing there.

Nothing to help me trick death or buy time, Only Victor leveling the gun to my head and squeezing the trigger. Nothing could be done to ameliorate the situation.

My heart accelerated with his every nearing step. Every cell in my body was fraught with rising alarm.


His golden lighter made a faint sound as he flicked away a cigarette and lit another. A crooked grin spread below his pencil thin moustache. He chuckled to himself, euphorically inhaling the poisonous fumes. He was going to enjoy this.

‘Ah, what a pity,’he said dramatically. Victor had always been an artist. Since the moment we’d met, I had always opined that he would have been better off freelancing as a dramaturge. ‘This is my last one. I guess I’ll just have to get some more on the way back.’He crumpled up the empty pack of smokes and chucked it away carelessly.

I knew that I was running out of time. Before Victor was done having his last cancer stick I would most definitely be dead. He took a long drag, carefully and patiently attaching a custom-made silencer to his deadly revolver. He made sure to take his time, savoring every moment.


This time it was him unlocking the safety catch on his handgun.

That damned revolver had always been his only weapon of choice, the reason probably being that it left no shell casings at the crime scene.

Pure panic washed over me, my mind began to race, injecting fresh waves of adrenaline into my veins. I commanded my exhausted brain to foresee the future. But again, all I managed to extract was a gloved finger pulling at a smooth, vicious trigger.

‘Not trying to play your little tricks on me, are you, Mikey-boy?’Victor asked. He sounded like he had just caught a small child red-handed in the process of stealing candy. I still didn’t answer, trying to look past the barrel of his gun in order to grasp something, anything which would help me escape the dratted lunatic.

In my mind’s eye, I foresaw a black feral cat scamper across the dirty, empty alley where I lay and Victor sneered. It appeared to be headed our way, looking to scavenge the nearby scuffed garbage cans for food residue. Somewhere in the immediate vicinity, an angry, severely inebriated derelict mishandled his one and only bottle of wine. It slipped from his hands and exploded all over the cold pavement just like a child’s water balloon. Then police sirens undulated in the night, but they were too far off to safely see me out of the quagmire that I found myself in.

My heart sank like a stone at that realization.

All of those readings were useless. With an aching head and unsteady hands, I was about to withdraw and accept defeat, when it suddenly dawned on me exactly how I had to act in order to turn the tables on Victor. Working under pressure, my mind quickly concocted a course of action that couldn’t even be called a plan, for its multiple flaws and drawbacks. All I needed was a touch of good fortune, which was a gamble, really, as I seemed to be out of luck for the day. Victor’s deadly revolver was a testimony to that.

Pulling it off would be a long shot, but despair galvanized me into action. I hesitated a tenth of a second, then filled my chest with air and yelled as loud and cheerily as possible. ‘Money! Money falling from the sky! I can’t believe this! Hundred dollar bills! Lots of them! They are everywhere!’

Victor’s bushy, raven-black eyebrows knitted together in confusion. ‘What? What the heck are you saying? Have you gone mad with fright?’

‘Money! Lots and lots of cash!’ I kept shouting zealously, perhaps sounding like a complete moron, which I dearly hoped only added realism to the note of exuberance in my voice.

‘Good God, man, pull yourself together and summon enough courage to die with dignity!’

My trick had worked.

The homeless drunk I had previsioned came careening into the alley, with a hopeful, out-of-this world expression on his smeared, bulldog-ish face.

‘Wha?’ he demanded.

‘Hundred dolla bills?’ He looked around quizzically, tucking away tufts of disheveled hair behind a pair of begrimed ears, and expecting a heavy shower of promised cash.

‘Where? Where’s the money?’ His eyes glinted with recognition and reason at the unexpected sight of Victor’s gun. Victor, without thinking twice, pulled the trigger before the man had even managed to fully lift his hands in a defensive gesture.

The silencer flashed, whistled and disembogued a trail of white smoke into the dank air. The wino stumbled forward, legs all rickety, one hand clutching at the expanding stain on his grungy old jacket, and the other greedily wrapped around the half-empty bottle of alcohol. With a bloody cough, he fell face forward, shattering the long-neck into glittering slivers and several larger fragments of sharp glass, in close proximity to where I lay sprawled on my back. Victor sneered, the police sirens came into life, probably chasing down some juvenile delinquent – the city never slept. It was an improbable stroke of luck, but the black tramp cat from my recent vision produced a loud yowl, and acted in exact accordance with my calculations. It was scared off a large, silver trashcan by the sound of the breaking bottle, and during its blind flight, had managed to get itself tangled up in between Victor’s feet. Caught by complete surprise, Victor lowered his gun to execute the unexpected guest, not a dreg of pity in his dark eyes.

Using the distraction to my advantage, I snatched the biggest shard of dark, shattered glass glinting close-at-hand and jumped to my feet. With my arm stretched out before me, I accelerated right into Victor like greased lightning. Overcome by a blinding surge of energy as well as the natural instinct of survival, I slashed at his stomach, instantly splitting it open. His neck cords strained and his face became a mottle of red and white shreds as he tried to raise his armed hand for protection, but I grabbed it with my own, and drove the sharp glass into his shoulder.

He misfired a couple of rounds and cried out in pain. The formal black fedora, which had been nestled on his head at a rakish angle, seesawed to the ground in a manner analogous to a falling feather. He himself sagged to his knees, shivering spasmodically as if from ague. For one brief moment, I stared down at him, my bloody hands and the defunct vagrant’s face, which was frozen in a horrible rictus of stunned horror. Being caught up in the moment, I seriously contemplated administering the coup de grace. But then my anger simmered down, and I reevaluated my thoughts, deciding that Michael Fleming wasn’t a murderer. At least, not yet.

My heart thumped with shock, every muscle in my body trembled, every nerve in my system burned. I dropped my makeshift weapon, then doubled back and turned around before floundering over to a concrete wall. I felt sick and waited for the nausea to pass. Once that was out of the way, I broke into a sudden and purposeful sprint. I left the dark alley running like a madman through the driving rain, never daring to look back.

I was worn out, but there was still some urgent business I needed to attend to. And time was of the essence. A person’s life was at stake. All that stood between them and eternal rest was me, and on the dot punctuality.

However, the person in question had no idea of the impending threat to their life.


Peter Simmons thinks he is an ordinary boy, before he is abducted by a man with certain special abilities, learns of his inescapable destiny, befriends immortals and becomes famous worldwide. Why? Because Peter Simmons is mankind’s last hope for survival.

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Genre – Young Adult, Action and Adventure, Coming of Age, Sci-fi

Rating – PG-13

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Website http://ramzartso.blogspot.com/