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A True Sociopath

Eli Pope Author Interview

Snapshot Into A Killer’s Mind tells the true story of Billy Jay Cader through the eyes of an investigative reporter. What motivated you to write this companion to your thriller series?

I was wanting a new character that would be likeable to the reader in comparison to Billy Jay. A character the reader could make a connection with who was compassionate to Billy Jay because of background misgivings. While Billy Jay does inexcusable things that are horrible and violent, I wanted Amy Jo to coax a small dose of understanding to induce an inner battle of how to deal with and feel the possible why’s and how’s of what makes Billy Jay who he is.

I also liked the stark differences between Amy Jo and Billy Jay, yet they find an intriguing common ground between each other. Amy Jo missing her grandfather so much that she seeks to see similarities in the two.
I thought it would be a unique way to create the setting of reading Amy Jo’s published work as a different twist to the normal way of introducing the next in series. I tried not to repeat too much by having Amy Jo re-write or introduce what had already been hashed out in book 4-The Reclamation-Amy Jo’s introduction into the series. I knew there would be some rehashing since she was writing about the interviews from the previous book. It was a risk I decided to take because I really liked the concept of making this series feel like “real time” by appearing as if Amy Jo wrote book 5.

What excited you about revisiting Billy Jay Cader’s character from this unique perspective?

I liked the idea of it being a fresh and new perspective of telling a story. It also gave me a chance to write in scenes Like Amy Jo seeking out and visiting Billy Jay’s father. That particular chapter was one of my favorites to write. Billy John Cader was such a despicable character when Billy Jay was young. I wanted to show by having Amy Jo visit, that he was the type to never let himself be redeemed. He would be who he was until the day he died, seeing no reason to sorry for any of his actions. A true sociopath.

If Hollywood came knocking, who would you cast as the lead characters?

Wow! This is a very hard question and one that I’m certain every writer plays with in their mind after working on a project so long. I can tell you who I see in my head when I’m writing, but the chance of ever actually getting them is almost laughable.

Here are a few though.

Billy Jay Cader- I see Don Johnson. He played a barn burner once in a tv special that I can’t remember the title. The way he played that part and the constant five o’clock stuble, jeans, and t-shirt fit the image of Billy Jay to me. His voice is kind of gravely too, much like my narrator of the Audible version of the books. Mr. Paul J McSorley, a master at voicing stories. A quick shout out to him as I am also fortunate enough to be a major writing contributor to his YouTube based podcast named Fear From The Heartland, where short macabre horror stories are produced and aired every Wednesday evening around 5 p.m. Central. It’s a sub-channel of Chilling Tales For Dark Nights.

Amy Jo Whitenhour- I would love to see Sandra Bullock play her part. She is who I see when I write Amy Jo’s parts. She is capable of having the right amount of innocence and sex appeal wrapped up in someone I could see living on her grandparents orange tree farm, yet spunky enough to be an investigative reporter with a hard past.

When and where will this book be available?

It is heading into production for Audible in June, and I hope to have it in ebook and print released by Amazon-Kindle and Audible by the end of July or early August. It will be able to be purchased online at these two places and other online sites where books can be ordered.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Website | Facebook

After Billy Jay Cader is arrested, charged, and convicted for two cold-blooded murders of law enforcement officers, Amy Jo Whitenhour decides to interview the killer in order to tell his story of how he became Florida’s most notorious criminal. This is the true story through Billy Jay’s words from accounts from childhood and up. They are told from his perspective through the looking glass of Amy Jo’s eyes. Harsh realities from his abusive past.
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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 Land, The Land

The Land, The Land by Robin Hawdon is about Roger Oldfield, a farmer that enjoys being one and doesn’t see himself doing anything else. He loves every inch of his land and would do anything to protect it. Things have been going decently for Roger, his lovely wife Annie, can’t-be-tamed daughter, Lily, and autistic son, Danny.

It’s not long before Roger finds two strangers on his land. He questions who they are and why are they there. He finds out soon enough they were sent there by a Mr. Collins. It turns out this businessman is interested in talking to Roger about his land. These discussions set the stage for the drama that unfolds in this story, the fight for Roger’s precious land.

As you read the story, it becomes apparent how much Roger loves his beautiful, majestic land. Roger is someone you don’t meet every day. He’s old school because he’s not interested in worldly things. He enjoys spending time with his family and days working on the farm. Those are the things that matter to him most. He also possesses a dark streak that comes out as the story progresses. His willingness to do whatever it takes to keep his families land knows no bounds. Passion for family, traditions and his land are what drive Roger.

Roger loves his wife, and he never forgets what she gave up for him. Readers will find his children lovable and relatable. Tough Lily and sweet Danny are given strong characteristics that make them stand out and become memorable. Danny especially, you come to know more about through his diary entries which can be read at the entrance of each chapter.

The fight for Roger’s land attracts the media’s attention and a group of activists. This adds additional drama to the story as it becomes a public interest, family farms vs. big corporations. As the battle continues to play out, readers will be left wondering what will happen next.

The Land, The Land is an emotionally charged psychological thriller that combines family and political drama. The characters are fresh and original, the setting lush and the story is wonderfully written. The story is beautiful, heart-warming, and shows if you are strong and determined enough, you can achieve great things.

Pages: 229 | ASIN : B09WKTC7RC

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Powerless

Powerless is a well-written and gritty take on small town life after a major disaster. Kevin Barton and his family live on the outskirts of Harpursville, a hamlet in rural New York. When a major blackout wipes out communication and modern electrical conveniences, the townsfolk must come together to survive. Most of the story takes place in the Barton’s household, where Kevin must transition from administrator to farmer. His wife, Monica, takes on the role of hunter and quartermaster as she minds their ever-dwindling supplies. Their daughter Kelly, and her stranded friend, Dina, try to cope with being teenagers while living through a minor apocalypse.

Powerless is a very realistic take on a prolonged state of emergency. While it is not nearly as dire or hard to digest as Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” (which gets a brief mention), and there are no post-apocalyptic monsters or zombies, the author covers actual threats, like lack of food, water, medicine, and the mixed intentions of other people, which makes this story feel much more grounded.

I find it refreshing that Kevin is an ill-equipped modern day everyman, more suited for desk work than living off the land. He’s not a man “with a certain set of skills” or a former special forces soldier. He’s just an average forty-year-old man who is lucky enough to live next door to a working farm in a time of crisis.

The theme of “power,” who has it, and who does not, is explored throughout the novel. Characters who find themselves powerless in the new world develop new skills to survive, some for the better, some worse. As supplies run out the idea of “neighbors helping neighbors” becomes more of a veiled menace than cheery mantra. Coming on the heels of a global pandemic, what once would seem like a survival fantasy story feels very real and very possible at this time in history.

Powerless is a riveting post-apocalyptic novel that plays with being a psychological thriller as well as a compelling character study.

Pages: 370 | ASIN: B09TX9P62R

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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.

Is It Simple Revenge?

Gojan Nikolich Author Interview

Ashes in Venice follows a detective in Las Vegas who must find a murderer that is killing murderers in gruesome ways. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I wanted to explore the psychological similarities of good and evil and how the line between the two can often become blurred, depending on the circumstance. In this case, one of the book’s main characters decides to take the law into his own hands when traditional police work falls short of delivering justice. But is this true justice or is it simple revenge? When is violence justified? Is “an eye for an eye” still a valid answer to an unpunished crime? If a good person does something bad long enough, does he or she ultimately also become bad?

Did you create an outline for the characters in the story before you started writing or did the character’s personalities grow organically as you were writing?

I first sketch out the general direction of a novel so that I have a feel for its beginning, middle and end. I then draft key scenes and dialogue by hand in a notebook until things fall into a natural chronology so that I get a sense of how the story should be paced and plotted. By habit, I speak out the dialogue as I write it. The more I flesh out characters, the more attached I become to their personalities, and this helps determine if they become primary or secondary players in the story.

Once I have about 30k words of a first draft completed I’m usually confident of expanding what I have into a full novel of at least twice that length. I actually enjoy editing and revising a book more than I do assembling the first draft. It’s an agony for me to get the first draft to the point where I think it can grow into a completed book that somebody might actually want to read.

I’ve abandoned more books than I’ve finished and this is probably a good thing. My background is newspaper reporting, a job where you throw away more writing than you keep, which is a good rule of thumb for any writer.

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

The blurring of the line between good and evil. The difference between justice and revenge. How all acts have answerable consequences: we are accountable for what we do and what we say and this determines the paths we take in life.

How life is never black and white, but rather a general scale of varying shades of gray that are constantly changing and adapting based on how we act toward each other.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

A heartless psychopath with size 16 shoes, nursing home hookers and an irreverent Las Vegas homicide detective with a gambling habit set the tone for this off-beat tale of revenge and retribution.
Blackjack addict Frank Savic is deeply in debt and facing family problems when he’s asked to delay his retirement to catch a vigilante killer who murders other murderers in a manner the veteran cop has never seen.
While dead bodies stack up in quick succession, the motorcycle-riding policeman also finds himself reluctantly involved with a desperate mother who will do anything to get justice for her dead son.
Savic, his investigation complicated by a suspected FBI coverup and a prison bribery scandal, is unaware that the murderer might be the solution to his own financial and domestic dilemma.
Add a vengeful killer who seeks justice for his own unbearable loss and you have a teasing psychological thriller that blurs the line between good and evil and where surgical bone saws and spiders are just tools of the trade.
Yes, there are spiders.

Snapshot Into a Killer’s Mind

Eli Pope is back with Snapshot Into A Killer’s Mind: The true story of Billy Jay Cader, giving readers a new perspective into our main character’s life through the eyes of Amy Jo. The investigative reporter shows how Billy Jay became who he is today through her various interviews/snapshots. She humanizes our villain and demonstrates how a loving childhood could have changed the course of his life. We also get to know about Amy Jo’s childhood and her present-day life following her interviews with Billy Jay. If you love The Mason Jar Series, you have to pick up Snapshot Into A Killer’s Mind!

As always, Pope delivers a stunning take on tragic events. The author dives right into the gritty details of Billy Jay’s story with a unique twist. We are essentially reading Amy Jo’s now published book as if we are living in the universe where The Mason Jar Series takes place.

I enjoyed the duality approach Pope took to demonstrate how love can make all the difference after living through a traumatic childhood. He always does a fantastic job discussing the plights of this world in a way anyone can understand, but so few people talk about.

The scene where Amy Jo goes to visit Billy Jay’s father felt so realistic and made my skin crawl. He captured his essence perfectly through his impeccable word choices. It was easy to visualize the aging abuser and the pathetic state he was in. I could feel Amy Jo’s disgust and fear the entire time.

While I enjoyed this novel just as much as the entire Mason Jar Series, I felt that some of the information we were given was repeated. We hear Amy Jo speak about many of the same sentiments and phrases throughout the story. Despite that, I still feel that this is a compelling psychological drama that explores humanity in the unique way that only Eli Pope can.

If you loved the previous books in The Mason Jar Series then you are sure to enjoy this one as well! It works as a short companion novel to the rest of the books. I look forward to the sixth installment and can’t wait to see what twist and turns Pope gives readers next. Snapshot Into A Killer’s Mind: The true story of Billy Jay Cader is a must-read for lovers of dark psychological thrillers.

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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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