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.

Buy Now @ AmazonB&NKobo & Waterstones

Genre – Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://rik-stone.simdif.com

The Power Of Book Covers – Regan Black @ReganBlack

The Power Of Book Covers

Thanks so much for having me here today. It is with a great deal of pleasure that I am gallavanting about the internet with the Bulletproof book tour, all because of the tremendous talents of the staff at Orangeberry Book Tours!

Early in my writing career I was taught that the first sentence of your story makes a promise to the reader and the rest of the book needs to fulfill that promise. The same is true for book covers in that they need to let the reader know what grand adventure, mystery, or romance (or all of the above) is waiting for them behind that breathtaking cover.

With so many books coming available to readers every day, the book cover is the first impression. It has to capture attention, reflect author branding, and accurately convey the mood of the story. In short, it has to rock.

The Bulletproof and Unknown Identities series came about as a collaborative brainstorm with my mentor Debra Webb, author of the acclaimed Faces of Evil series. Talk about book covers that accomplish the goals. Her covers convey the danger and suspense waiting inside, the film strip and colorful backgrounds have become synonymous with the Faces of Evil series and the fonts and titles reinforce her overall author branding.

So when it came time for making decisions about the Bulletproof cover art, I was a step ahead of the game with a romantic suspense marketing guru like Deb in my corner.

The Unknown Identities series focuses on the mysterious heroes who come from dark and dangerous pasts to tackle current missions that could set them free, if they don’t die first. A market study of my target audience and looking at comparable titles in the genre, and we made the final choices for overall look for Bulletproof, Double Vision, and the upcoming titles.

Cover art, like anything is subjective, but only to a point. Market trends within genres have an impact on what a reader expects to see when they are shopping for books. The cover art is the first impression and it needs to meet those current expectations.

While I wouldn’t recommend changing up a cover willy-nilly, it’s necessary to learn what readers will respond to. Keeping tabs on how comparative titles are presenting themselves can be essential to knowing when it’s time to try something new.

I remember Sherrilyn Kenyon’s first Dark Hunter novel, Fantasy Lover. The cover featured a stunningly hot painting of a Greek god. But on the following reprints the publisher changed up the cover art to coordinate with the subsequent covers in the series. I loved that original cover (and I’m glad I still have my autographed copy) but it was a smart move as it let readers know the books were connected.

Book covers are a little like the fashion industry as the trends come and go and leaders in each genre set the pace. These days changes crop up even faster with myriad new options available to readers on any given day. I’m grateful for the experts and the tools that guide me and help me respond quickly and positively to reader expectations.

Do you have a favorite ‘cover style’ from the past or present?

Live the adventure!

Regan

Bulletproof

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Romantic Suspense

Rating – R

More details about the author and the book

Connect with  Regan Black on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.reganblack.com

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

Ten of my favorite things
by PT Macias
My husband and family
Writing
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
Music
Perfume – Ralph, Pleasures, Romance
Laptop
Travel

LocoRazer

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.

Buy Now @ Amazon

GhostRazer

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!

Buy Now @ Amazon

BulldogRazer

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?

Buy Now @ Amazon

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

More details about the author

Connect with P.T. Macias on Facebook and Twitter

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.

E-mail:Dora@doramachado.com

Website: www.doramachado.com

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

Newsletter: http://doramachado.com/newsletter.php

 

 

Why Book Covers are So Important – Regan Black

Why Book Covers are So Important

Thanks so much for having me here today. It is with a great deal of pleasure that I get to reveal a new look for the Shadows of Justice series with the help of Orangeberry Book Tours!

Early in my writing career I was taught that the first sentence of your story makes a promise to the reader and the rest of the book needs to fulfill that promise. The same is true for book covers in that they need to create the mood and let the reader know what grand adventure, mystery, or romance (or all of the above) is waiting for them behind that cover.

The new look for the five Shadows of Justice novels: Justice Incarnate, Invasion of Justice, Veil of Justice, Tracking Shadows, and Shadows to Light is all about honoring where I’ve come from as an author as well as celebrating where I’m headed.

Cover art, like anything is subjective, but only to a point. Market trends within genres have an impact on what a reader expects when they are shopping for books. The cover art is the first impression and it needs to be the best it can be.

While I wouldn’t recommend changing up a cover willy-nilly, it’s necessary to learn what readers respond to. Keeping tabs on how comparative titles are presenting themselves can be essential to knowing when it’s time to try something new.

This dynamic redesign has been months in the planning and I couldn’t have done it without a supportive team of friends, artists, and tech experts. And I can safely say all of us are thrilled to share it with the rest of the world.

I remember Sherrilyn Kenyon’s first Dark Hunter novel, Fantasy Lover. The cover featured a painting of a Greek god and was beyond hot and sexy. But on the following reprints the publisher changed up the cover art to better match the covers in the rest of the series. I loved that original cover (and I’m glad I still have my autographed copy) but it was a smart move as it let readers know the books were connected.

While I adored the previous design of the Shadows of Justice novels and those covers stood out among similar books at the time of publication, things have changed a great deal in a few short years. Romance readers are the biggest book buyers – they always have been – and the previous covers didn’t accurately convey the romance at the heart of each of the novels.

If I’ve learned anything about my writing during my journey, it’s that I have been and always will be a “happily ever after” kind of author. Romantic love is an essential part of real life and that treasured joyful relationship will continue to be an essential part of the stories I tell.

Book covers are a little like the fashion industry as the marketing trends come and go and leaders in each genre set the pace. But it happens on an even faster scale with so many options available to readers these days. I’m grateful for those options and the tools that help me respond positively to reader expectations.

Do you have a favorite ‘cover style’ from the past or present?

Live the adventure!

Regan

Justice Incarnate

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author and the book

Connect with  Regan Black on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.reganblack.com

The Making of a Sensational Best Seller – London Tracy

The Making of a Sensational Best Seller

It should warm every writer’s heart knowing that even if he or she does not obtain an agent, or find a publisher to publish their work, that they can self-publish for FREE and set the world on fire with their sensational work of fiction.

Since “50 Shades of Grey,” there have been other authors trying to copy the style and flavor, by attempting to write even more intriguing porn, but the boom has yet to happen, and the reason is simple. No one really knows what the secret is to sensational success. Even if there was such a formula, every book published would be a sensation, and we know that is not going to happen.

Even if there was a formula, it would probably only work the first time because if it were duplicated, it would no longer translate into a sensation. Case in point: Several years ago, a founder of a nonprofit organization wanted to get the attention of Oprah Winfrey so he paid for a billboard sign a block from where Oprah worked, thinking that she might see it. He was right. She did see it, and he was invited on the show. A month later, another person tried it, paid for a billboard sign and absolutely nothing came of it. You have one time to make your mark.

Back to the subject at hand, based on a book such as “50 Shades of Grey,” I theorize that there are three characteristics of a sensation.

(1) Dynamic lead character. When I say, dynamic, I mean original and eccentric. This is a character like no one we have met before. Think Christian Grey. How many men do you know who requires that his female partner sign a contract before they engage in the sexual act. Like I said, original.

(2) Intriguing story that resonates with millions. Think “Eat, Pray, Love.” How many women identified with the premise of a woman taking a year off to find herself.

(3) Memorable scenes that demand to be shared with the world. Think “The Help.” How could you not tell people what Minnie did to her ex-employer’s pie.

A sensational story is like interviewing for a job by millions of people and having at least one-half of them love and adore you. How hard is that? How do you get that many people to love and adore you? Two words: New and different.

I think about books that come out every day. Most books are seldom read by millions of readers and have a very limited audience, even some best sellers. It takes a very special kind of book to attract millions of readers. And the reason is simple.

Most books are similar to all the others on the market. The stories and characters are basically the same. However, “50 Shades of Grey” gave us something new and different, a character we never met before and water-cooler scenes galore.

If a book cannot deliver new and different, then there is no sensation.

London Tracy is an author, screenwriter and freelance writer. She is the author of “Your Life Story Could Be a Best Seller” and “The Curse.”

The Curse

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Comedy

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with  London Tracy on Twitter

Website http://londontracy.wordpress.com

Lori Ryan – Character building for writers @loriryanauthor

Character building for writers

One of the hardest parts about writing fiction is being able to step out of yourself and create characters that feel authentic to your readers. Here are five ways to help get your characters right.

  1. Know every detail of your character’s life. What is your character’s birthday? Where did he or she go to school? Does your character have siblings? What, if any, traumatic experiences have they had in life? How many times has your character moved in life? Favorite color? Favorite food? Favorite flavor of milk shake? Favorite book? Favorite music? Favorite restaurant? Favorite television show? Favorite movie?
  2. Know how your character speaks. Accent? Swearing? Short, clipped sentences or overly verbose? Favorite sayings? Do they joke around or are they serious?
  3. Know what your character does with their time and who they spend time with. Who are your character’s best friends? Who do they work with? What do they like to do for fun on weekends? What things do they feel obligated to do in life but don’t truly enjoy? What does a typical workday look like? What does a typical weekend include?
  4. Know how your character dresses. How does your character dress? Do they spend time making sure their clothes are not wrinkled and look presentable or do they grab the cleanest thing from the laundry pile and call it good? Does your character have a sense of fashion? Can they afford to buy anything they want to wear or do they shop at big box stores or thrift shops?
  5. Know what they drive and where they live. What kind of car does your character drive? Is this their first car or have they had others? Did they buy it new or used? Where does your character live? Do they own or rent? Is this the first home they have owned? Can they pay the mortgage easily or is it a struggle?

Another key to good character building is to be sure there is a different “feel” and “sound” to each of your characters in your book. If all of your characters sound the same and think the same, your book won’t seem authentic.

Good characters can sweep you into a story and make you get lost in the book. Keep working on your character building!

Lori Ryan writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She is frequently ranked in the top 100 romantic suspense authors on Amazon.com. To find her work, visit http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00CFUKD1E.

NegotiationTactics

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre –  Romantic Suspense

Rating – R

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Lori Ryan on Facebook & Twitter

Bio:

Lori Ryan is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author who writes contemporary romance with a twist of suspense. She lives with an extremely understanding husband, two wonderful children, two mostly-behaved dogs, and a lone little cat in Austin, Texas. It’s a bit of a zoo, but she wouldn’t change a thing.

Lori published her first novel in April of 2013 and has written three more books since then. Each of Lori’s books have made their way to the Amazon bestseller list and she quickly climbed the Amazon bestselling author list, as well. In November, 2013, Lori and a group of romantic suspense authors landed on the USA Today and NY Times bestseller lists with an anthology only eight months after the release of Lori’s first book. Lori loves to connect with her readers. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter or subscribe to her blog. Oh, and if you’ve read Lori’s books and loved them, please consider leaving a review on Amazon.com. Writers live and die by their reviews and Lori promises to do a happy dance around her office every time you write one!