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Fearless Lovers

Alessa Kelly Author Interview

Longing For You follows a wealthy and determined woman who goes to Montana to visit a friend and ends up finding romance while getting mixed up in his drama. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I always love writing about stubborn heroines. I guess this stems from my admiration for real career women who have the courage to enter the industries dominated by men, two names came to mind: Hilary Devey (logistics) and Sheryl Sandberg (tech). My aim for Longing For You, and in fact the whole Fearless Lovers series, is to showcase powerful women who have more than just deep pockets (move away, billionaire bad boys 😉).

Arianne is a strong character that knows what she wants in life. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Longing For You is the third book in the series, but I actually created Arianne Whiteley in the second book as a supporting character. There are three sides to Arianne—Arianne the businesswoman, the best friend, and the lover. The ideal behind Arianne the businesswoman is answered in the previous question. The second side of her is about being a sister to her best friend. I’m the only daughter, and so many times I wish I had a sister! Lastly, as a lover, Arianne is the epitome of loyalty and fierce love. It’s about being there for your partner through thick and thin. In the world full of temptations and scandals, I think these qualities are often overlooked.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I love complex, multi-layered characters who don’t always get it right. One of the important themes in Longing For You is that life is never black and white, and neither are people. Even a monster has a softer side. The story also highlights how adversity shapes and strengthens family bond.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The two bodyguards featured in the Fearless Lovers series will have their own series! I’m working on an opening novella called Montana’s Bravest—showcasing how the two men start the company, Red Mark Rescue & Protect, while dealing with their own heartbreaks. It will be available August 23rd 2022. I’m also working on another romantic suspense novel which will be out later this year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

His world is steeped in violence. Her job keeps her tough. When their passion ignites, can they battle the coming storm?

Montana man Lucas Grayson loves his son. So after his wife files for divorce and threatens to take his child, the notorious mercenary hopes to get the law on his side. And when a stunning and well-connected businesswoman helps him gain joint custody, he opens up his heart to new possibilities.

Nothing intimidates Arianne Whiteley. Heading west to care for her best friend, the New York oil tycoon doesn’t shy away from helping a handsome guy with legal troubles… and showing him she’s definitely attracted. And despite his dangerous past, she’s determined to claim him for her own.

Hungry to have a life with the strong-willed beauty, Lucas fears a public relationship will bring his enemies in for the kill. And Arianne dreads her formidable father will do anything to keep her from a man who lives and dies by the gun.

Can they escape bloody threats to get their chance at forever?

Longing for You is the steamy third book in the Fearless Lovers romantic suspense series. If you like fierce heroes with a soft center, tenacious heroines, and darkly savage conflict, then you’ll adore Alessa Kelly’s seductive tale.

This book can be enjoyed as a standalone, with no cliff-hangers.

The Next Challenge Is Right Now

Author Interview Chris K. Jones

Headcase Book 1: Shock & Denial follows an elite sports psychologist whose gambling addiction entangles him with a dangerous crime boss. What was the inspiration for your story?

I’ve always been an avid sports fan and was once a competitive athlete. I competed in Judo for twenty years until my 40s and played and coached soccer. I am in my 50s now, so I mainly compete against myself by setting endurance goals to keep up my fitness. What I always loved about athletics wasn’t just the physical part but the psychological side.

I wasn’t the fastest, the strongest, or the biggest Judoka, but years of meditation and mindfulness practices from my Buddist teachers helped me stay calm when I stepped on the mat. I got really good at seeing tells in my opponents when they were nervous. I also used my meditation practice to put myself into a “flow” state. This heightened awareness helped me capitalize on my opponent’s mistakes and find my “perfect throw.” I  was so focused and acting rather than thinking that I didn’t realize what technique I was using. I had to look at the video to see what throw I used to win the match. On the other hand, it was often a mental mistake rather than a physical one when I lost. I wasn’t mentally ready, or I got distracted, or I was thinking rather than acting.

I’ve always had a fascination with failure in athletics. How do elite athletes recover from an epic failure when their fame, fortune, and complete sense of being are on the line? They seek a sports phycologist to help them work through their issues and get back to performing. But as a writer, my favorite question is “what if?” So…what if the sports phycologist had more emotional issues than the athletes he treats? From that thought, Dr. Andrew Beck was conceived.

Dr. Beck appears to have it all together, but readers soon find out about his traumatic past. What inspired your character’s development?

It was interesting that Dr. Andrew Beck could diagnose and treat athletes with significant emotional issues yet be blind to or compartmentalize his issues. As Andrew’s issues emerge, we see the wreckage he creates in his life every time he tries to cover up his mistakes or fails to deal with the issues from his traumatic childhood. He always thinks he is the smartest guy in the room, until he meets Fergus. His hubris gets him in big trouble.

What were some important themes for you to explore in this book?

The overall theme of Headcase is if you don’t discover your demons, they will destroy you. And it doesn’t matter if you are a rich and famous athlete; your demons will emerge and wreck your life.

I’m constantly appalled at the lack of empathy for pro athletes who are courageous enough to go public about their mental health issues. During my research, I came across a study that showed that pro basketball players experience the same anxiety levels as men and women on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. The lack of care for their well-being from some fans and teams really disturbs me. Many athletes had horrific childhoods and came from low-income families, and now that they have resources, the pressure to keep “earning” so they can take care of their families is extreme. The average pro athlete’s career is four years or less. So you need to earn a lifetime of income in just a few years. So part of my objective with Headcase, besides writing an entertaining novel, was to expose the dark side of sports and show readers that athletes have real issues too, just like you and me. Wealth can solve some problems, but deep emotional scars and traumas need therapy and support, not the “rub some dirt on it and toughen up” approach of people who have never competed at an elite level.

What is the next book about, and when will it be available?

I’m working on the second book in the Headcase series as we speak. I’ve finished the outline, and I’m ready to write scenes. I learned a lot of valuable lessons about my writing process while writing my first book in Barbados. That was a wonderful experience. It was inspiring to peer over my laptop to look at the turquoise sea 50 feet away from my desk. Every once in a while, a turtle would pop its head up to breathe the salty, cool breeze. Now, I’m back in Tarrytown, New York, and my view from my window is the mighty Hudson River which is also inspiring. Being around water centers me and helps me find my creative flow state.

I’ve received such wonderful and supportive notes from my readers asking me when Book 2 will be ready. I’ve also received a 5-star review and Golden Book Award from Literary Titan, so I’m feeling a little pressure to finish my next book and make it better. But I like the challenge! I’ve developed good habits from a lifetime of athletics and a career as a serial entrepreneur. I love to set goals and push myself to achieve them. I kept myself accountable by keeping a timesheet. It took me 714.5 hours to write Book 1. For Book 2, I hope to learn from my mistakes and finish Book 2 by the fall of this year. Winning the Golden Book Award from Literary Titan has been a wonderful experience and boosted my confidence. However, even when you win the big game, you still have to go to practice tomorrow. Celebrate and enjoy your victory, and then get back to work. The next challenge is right now.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Dr. Andrew Beck is the go-to sports psychologist for troubled pro athletes. There isn’t a head he can’t fix—except his own.

Whether it’s a violent hockey pro, reckless power forward, or drug-addicted major league pitcher, Andrew’s therapeutic strategies get players out of their heads and back to their winning ways. His status, wealth, and privilege afford him box seats for every game, flying private, an office overlooking Central Park, sports cars, country clubs and a Greenwich mansion. Andrew and his brilliant PR executive wife, Sandra, enjoy a life most would envy.

But Andrew has demons of his own.

A former golf prodigy and the son of a Masters Golf Champion, he knows firsthand the stress of topflight competition. Ted Beck taught Andrew everything he knows about being the best, but his father’s emotional and physical abuse pushed him past a breaking point. At 18, as the country’s top amateur, he walked away from golf to pursue psychology. The father and son bond was destroyed.

But while Beck quit the game long ago, the game won’t quit him.

Years later, the drive to win at all costs still burns deep in his soul. He gets entangled in the world of illegal high-stakes gambling—and a dangerous relationship with Fergus Mackenzie, a ruthless operator of an underground club that caters to the vices of the ultra-wealthy.

Andrew uses his insider access to athletes in a wager which leads down a path of blackmail, a mysterious murder, and life-or-death bluffing.

With his livelihood, marriage, and life on the line, Andrew finds himself playing the ultimate mind game and risks losing everything.

And now the only way out is ALL-IN.

There Is No Perfect Way To Exist Or Heal

Author Interview H. Noah

Bluebird At My Window follows two lawyers as they work through the traumatic facts surrounding the case while dealing with their own. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

It’s funny, the start of Bluebird actually started in a creative writing class back in college around 2011. A writing prompt had us draw a color and an animal, then create a story from that pairing. I drew blue and bird and started writing the letter from Ann (the letter that shows up during the trial in the book). From there the idea for Arthur sprung up and for a while the story was just his. But overtime I added more perspectives until I had four of the five (Arthur, Richard, Marie, and Maddie).

It wasn’t until I read The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath that the real focus of the book came to me (mental health and processing trauma) as well as the importance of Diane’s story. As soon as I finished reading The Bell Jar I wrote the majority of Diane’s perspective and revisioned the story to better reflect the new direction of the book. I had already been building to the main focus of the story without realizing it but still needed to fine tune certain aspects.

This book is chilling and emotional. What drew you to the genre of dark contemporary and psychological fiction?

I think it drew itself to me to be honest. I’ve always been fascinated by the human mind, why people decide to do the best and worst things and what drives those decisions. For me the human experience is rarely black and white or just good or bad, so it was important to me to show the greys within my characters. To bring understanding to each without glorifying their more hurtful actions or decisions. When the focus of Bluebird became clear I let myself drift into the worst and best within each of them and when I finished writing I realized these two genres was where I ended up.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

It was important to me to highlight the individuality in responses to both mental health and trauma as well as unique lived experiences For each character. I gave my full attention to each with research, even if it covered topics that I had some background in. I also had several sensitivity readings done on the overall content with more focus on characters with lived experiences I did not have personal insight into in order to make the characters as realistic as possible.

In the end I was hoping readers would be able to find a character they connected with or have a part of the story speak to them. Something that could make them feel less alone and see that there is no perfect way to exist or heal.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The main project I’m working on is a Queer Historical Fiction which focuses on found family, finding comfort in your own skin, and the idea that soulmates aren’t always the people you fall in love with but the people who help you fall in love with yourself. Unfortunately the research for the project is proving to be more intensive than I first thought and will likely take more time to complete.

I am working on a second project in the meantime which I believe I can get out sooner. It is an Urban Fantasy with Horror elements. In short it will be Sapphic and about defying destiny, though as I have just started working on the first draft exact details are hard to pin down since they may still change. I’m hoping to publish it sometime in the fall of next year.

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When faced with trauma, how would you react?

Would you survive, succumb, or lose yourself to your own meaning of justice?

Ann was only seventeen when she died. She tried to be a dutiful daughter, to pray, to repent. But it wasn’t enough. Her mother, Diane, didn’t mean to kill her but when she found Ann consorting with devils, she had no choice. She believed the angels—that in the end, the water would save them both.

But every choice holds weight.

One death, and Arthur is thrown back into the work he wanted to leave. One death, and Richard must face the reality of his choices. One death, and Maddie and Marie are confronted with the hardest parts of love.

If only good intentions were enough to keep them from the carnage of their own decisions . . .

A dark contemporary fiction drenched in blood, this debut novel from H. Noah has an intricate true crime feeling with psychological depth.


Content WarningThe following book centers around processing trauma. Please be aware that it will touch upon such topics as violence, sexual assault (not overly descriptive), racism, microaggressions, misogyny, incest, and homophobia. This book also focuses on mental health and will cover depression, anxiety, PTSD, suicidal ideation, hearing voices, religious fixations, delusions, self-harm, and drug abuse.
This book is dark due to the topics covered. This is not a horror or thriller meant to scare you. Please be kind to yourself and put the book back if you are not in a good place to read any of the things mentioned above.

The Direction Was Never In Question

Linda Stewart Henley Author Interview

Waterbury Winter celebrates the restorative value of art and the joy to be found in keeping promises. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My husband and I were visiting family for the holidays one snowy December. The day after Christmas, we stopped by a drug store. No one was there except for my husband and me, and the middle-aged attendant at the checkout counter asked us how our Christmas was. “Fine,” we said, “and how was yours?” His reply: “I was here, and my car broke down.” Holidays are not easy for everyone, we thought. And so Barnaby Brown came to life, as a lonely middle-aged man who didn’t celebrate Christmas and whose old car broke down.

Did you plan the tone and direction of the novel before writing or did it come out organically as you were writing?

The tone of the novel evolved naturally once I had established Barnaby as a likeable character who had lost his way. I knew I needed to write about how he would overcome his longstanding bad habits and restart his failed artistic career. He had many obstacles to overcome: debts, drinking, depression, along with anti-social behavior, so the story progressed slowly. The direction was never in question because I wanted him to succeed.

Was there anything from your own life that you put into the characters in your novel?

Really only my interest in art and the creative process and my belief in their healing powers.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m working on a novel set in England in World War II, scheduled for publication in spring 2024.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Barnaby Brown has had enough of freezing winters, insurmountable debt, a dead-end job, and his solitary life as a young widower with no one but his beloved parrot Popsicle. He yearns to move to California and reawaken his long-lost early life as an artist. But new troubles come in threes. His ancient car crashes into a snowbank. Popsicle escapes through a window carelessly left open. A New York gallery owner offers to represent Barnaby’s paintings—but is he on the up-and-up? All of it serves to shock Barnaby into confronting how low he has sunk, and he vows—again and again—to change. He has a few obstacles, starting with his heavy drinking and long-term neglect of his ancestral home. As he takes steps toward a better life, he re-discovers the value of old friendships and latent talents seen in new light, and finds the courage to consider a second chance at love. Rejoining the mainstream of life presents several startling mysteries he must unravel, with a few mortifying but enlightening stumbles. 

 A heart-warming novel about ordinary people reclaiming their dormant potential, Waterbury Winter celebrates the restorative value of art and the joy to be found in keeping promises.

Headcase

Headcase Book 1: Shock & Denial by author Chris Jones begins by introducing the ‘World of Headcase’ in combination with a prologue. An alternative reality of the New York metro area in a year before COVID-19 and a play on the professional sporting leagues, its associates, and players. It explores and unveils what occurs in the minds of professional athletes both on and off the field – one often not picturesque. 

Undertaking the novel’s format in this way has erected the perfect platform to truly understand the deep psychological elements of this novel; the impact of childhood, trauma, societal pressure, career, and expectations in the world of the elite.

The intricate mind of the main protagonist, Dr. Andrew Beck – a psychologist being paid six figures to restore and repair the minds of star athletes – was foreshadowed with such precision that it made for a brilliant page-turner. Each of his patients brings a set of issues that add to the complex, high-profile sporting world and stroke the shadows of his upbringing with his sporting-legend father.

Dr. Beck’s character truly captures the reader’s attention and brings them into the know-how of the’ Headcase’ world. The shake of the shoulders, rub of a lip, and Dr. Beck’s attention to detail spells out the narrative so ideally that it is almost as if he’s undertaking live brain surgery amongst the pages. This is all while achieving a suspenseful plot as the reader uncovers the dubious choices of a well-educated, well-respected doctor as he finds himself in the spiderweb of the world’s most infamous.

Headcase Book 1: Shock & Denial makes for the perfect powerplay dynamic, integrated with the highest caliber of writing and captivating characters. It is a must-read. A stellar beginning for the first book in what will undoubtedly be a sell-out series.

Pages: 388 | ASIN : B09R83K776

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Ashes in Venice

Detective Sergeant Frank Savic is getting ready to retire from the Las Vegas Metro Police, so he can help out his wife Maria and settle some debt. Until Captain Paul Monaghan asks him to stay on for at least another 30 days. A murderer was murdered. A man named Carlo Cavilleri. This leads to an investigation that uncovers more murderers being murdered. They are all somehow connected, but Detective Savic isn’t sure how. Finally, detective Sergeant Savic finds clues to see how they are all related and who this mysterious serial killer is. Follow along as Detective Savic tries to uncover this enigmatic serial killer.

Author Gojan Nikolich’s Ashes in Venice is an unforgettable book. The descriptive language used for the murder scenes is reminiscent of Dan Brown’s books. The details of the murders are plentiful and leave readers with no doubts as to what happened to the victim. What was amazing was how seamlessly the author fit these detailed scenes into the whole novel. Everything about the novel’s setting is told with the same quality of detail, allowing the reader to feel like they are on the streets of Las Vegas. Readers will feel like a detective following along with Frank as he investigates each new case.

Detective Sergeant Frank Savic is a well-rounded and dynamic character. He comes across as a genuine person despite his troubles with money. The only thing I didn’t like about his character was when he would calculate what percentage of clothing a woman was wearing. It seemed like an odd thing to do. But, that aside, his dedication to his work and his wife Maria makes him a likable character.

When it comes to the killer, he is well-developed. Readers will question why he’s doing what he’s doing and, as the book unfolds, will get clues about his reasons. There is one scene where the killer uses spiders in his devious plans, those with arachnophobia may find this part disturbing, but the killer gets extra points for creativity.

Ashes in Venice is an unpredictable psychological thriller with multiple murders. Readers will find this crime thriller has been well researched for police procedures, and the details really give the novel an authentic feel while adding the suspense they are looking for.

Pages: 339 | ASIN : B09KV7WXVV

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Bluebird At My Window

Bluebird At My Window by H. Noah is not the story of a single person, but multiple characters who found their voice in this book. All of those characters played a relevant part in the story and readers are able to understand their pains and purposes clearly.

It begins with a criminal case, the case of Ann, and the events turn more violent as time passes. Arthur and Marie are two lawyers involved in this case, and readers see the psychological impact this case has upon Arthur. Marie faces physical and sexual assault, and Arthur is also hurt while trying to help her. The trauma that follows is told in shocking detail as the author takes readers into the minds of the victims as they experience their emotions.

This complex book is a mixture of genres. It is filled with Biblical references, mystical elements, and mysteries. The author points out the racism faced by the characters, the crime, and the trauma they face, and readers will experience it firsthand. The case of Ann explores one part of the horrific event, whereas a parallel plot runs by in Arthur’s mind who wants to leave this world a better place but is unable to help much. The psychological peek into the mind of the characters provide a compelling study of human nature.

Marie and Maddie provide some instances of mental relief from the dark themes through their wholesome relationship. When Marie gets assaulted, and the trauma plagues her, it was realistic to read about the mental struggles she endured as well as the struggles of the people who love her. The acceptance of the events and the acceptance struggles surrounding entering therapy by the characters has been masterfully portrayed by the author.

Bluebird At My Window is a dark contemporary novel filled with vivid imagery and situations. Readers that enjoy psychological fiction, diving into the dark emotions of the characters, will find this a worthwhile read. Due to the graphic nature of content in this book, including emotional and physical trauma, I think this novel is intended for a mature audience.

Pages: 298 | ASIN : B09LD387NL

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Random Summer Storms: Book Three – Family – Book Trailer

Life can sometimes be a collection of random storms that we must weather, like ships at sea. Families maneuver these storms throughout their lives.

Ian and Dee Conner share the storms their family members experience in this third book of a series. The Conners are a close-knit family of five who live in a beach community, enjoying surfing, biking, and doing what most families do. Together they weather some tumultuous storms.

The couple tried to run from a big storm they created in California, moving to the east coast of Florida to start over and raise their family. They shut away the skeletons of their past, never telling anyone their secrets.

Other skeletons appear on both sides of Ian and Dee’s family trees, but often these skeletons (storms) are what bring families together.

Eventually, Ian and Dee realize that nothing can stop a raging storm: They must face the past to have a future. Their family and children must chart their own course in life. It may not always be what they hoped, but one day the storm will end, and the waters will calm. That is, until the next Random Summer Storms.

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