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Love, Greed, or to Cover up a Crime

Cliff Protzman Author Interview

Cliff Protzman Author Interview

Dead Air follows Glenn, a security guard investigating the murder of his friend who was shot while on the air at a radio station. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

Like Beck, my high school best friend owned a radio station. He sold out before being shot, however. The only constant we have is change. Commercial radio exemplifies that change.

Radio was born to play the music that record companies were trying to sell. It soon become the primary form of entertainment for Americans broadcasting the early soap operas. Then came rock and roll. Talk radio attracts a wide range of demographics. Interestingly, I graduated from the same school as Alan Freed, who coined the iconic term Rock and Roll.

Beck struggles to put the past behind him and move forward. The murder at the station was a perfect analogy of transformation as Beck seeks the killer.

Beck is investigating the murder of his friend Zito, who we slowly learn is not who Beck thought. Did you plan this slow reveal of Zito’s backstory or did it happen organically while writing?

Beck and Zito’s friendship started as teenagers. In the decades since school, they have drifted apart. Life leads people down many paths. We become more guarded, reluctant to share the many secrets with those we depended on in youth.

The victim is an important character in a story. Murderers rarely plan to kill without a motive. There must be a reason to want that person dead. All mystery plots boil down to one of three motives, love, greed, or to cover up a crime.

The investigation of any murder, real or fiction, is a slow process. Investigators don’t know the full story immediately. People conceal secrets, they lie. The search is a painstaking pursuit to reveal the skeletons in the closet.

I think of this novel as a whodunit story that puts fascinating characters in interesting situations. Are there any scenes in your story that you had fun writing?

Beck and Irene, his romantic interest/partner, track his missing client to a hunting cabin where she is being held. Nothing in his white-collar career has prepared him for this confrontation. They are fighting through thick woods and underbrush to reach the cabin while carrying guns.

In order to survive, he must physically subdue a hired enforcer and be prepared to kill if necessary. Beck has become a hard ass with a chip on his shoulder. He comes to the epiphany that Irene is the love of his life and he must protect her at all costs.

This is the scene where he recognizes the past is behind him. What the future holds he doesn’t know.

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

I am writing the second in the Glenn Beckert series, Dead Secrets. In this tale, Beck mistakenly dismisses a missing person case until the body is found on the river bank. Beck endeavors to track the missing time of the deceased’s final hours and find the killer. He is quickly immersed onto the dark web where the secrets of artificial intelligent are a commodity. As a further distraction, Beck’s perplexed by a startling revelation by Irene, creating further conflict for him. He’s searching for a killer in a world where secrets stay secret or you die. Dead Secrets will be available in late 2018.
I have just completed a short story, Who Swiped Bobby Bucco Bear, a Christmas mystery featuring Glenn Beckert. I plan to have this available next year.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads | Website

DEAD AIR: A Glenn Beckert Mystery by [Protzman, Cliff]Dead Air signals trouble at the radio station. Glenn Beckert discovers his high school best friend is shot in the head while on the air. Beck, the owner of Blue Water Security, is employed to provide security for the station.

He becomes willingly embroiled in the investigation by the not-so-innocent widow. The list of potential suspects is long, gleaned from the numerous extramarital affairs of the victim and widow. The pending sale of the radio station has created friction between his now dead friend, Richie Zito and the major stockholders. Motives for murder becomes increasingly murky after the search reveals an encrypted file on Zito’s laptop. 

Beck enlists the help of an old flame, Irene Schade, to break the code, revealing a money laundering network leading to the financial and political powers of his beloved city of Pittsburgh. Their collaboration ignites the flames of passion each had considered extinguished.

A former college teammate, police Lieutenant Paglironi delivers a message to back off. Arrogantly, he ignores his friend’s advice. The threats from less friendly sources are more ominous, forcing Beck to move in an unfamiliar world. A startling revelation from his client forces Beck to deal with his inner conviction of right and wrong, challenging the gray areas of his ethical principles. Betraying his client’s confidence could expose the killer. The alternative is to confront the suspect and take matters into his own hands. Either way his life is in jeopardy. 

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Like Peaches and Pickles

Like Peaches and Pickles

Like Peaches and Pickles follows Georgia Davis as she fights to maintain her position in a work place that is quickly changing. Georgia has worked her whole life for her success. But just as her career goals are about to come to fruition the new University President hires an old friend of his. New Vice President Carl Overstreet quickly sets himself up to be the sour pickle in this story. Easily unlikable, but somehow, Georgia has a romantic connection with the man that the rest of the staff is plotting to overthrow. With her job on the line, and soon her reputation, Georgia is faced with the adage; when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

While Georgia Davis fights to maintain the success she has we get to see office politics play out in a entertaining yet believable way that leaves Georgia endearing. If you’ve ever worked in an office then you can easily place these characters into your own workplace. Far too often have I seen people like Carl Overstreet walk over people like Georgia Davis in my career. It’s nice that this book looks at those relationships and expands them in a story that moves along quickly with smart writing and easy prose.

While Carl sets out to, seemingly, directly offend everyone, somehow, Georgia has romantic feelings for him. I don’t want to ruin things here so I won’t say more, but I will say that things don’t end up the way you think they might, which was a nice plot twist for me and one of those small examples that kept me turning pages just to see what happens next.

Georgia is doing all that she can to remain a great team player and save the public face of the University. Unfortunately, members of her team have concocted a way to get the Vice President fired at the cost of their most valuable team member, Georgia. I enjoyed the soft of internal office war that breaks out as people begin to realize that others are plotting and scheming; that could end up giving the University a bad name.

I liked that this book felt familiar to me. It allowed me to easily empathize with the characters. It’s so hard not to give away so many juicy details here, but rest assured, you will want to read this book for yourself. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great drama in a professional setting with a hint of romance.

Pages: 256 | ISBN: 1612969798

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Mademoiselle Alice: A Novel

Mademoiselle Alice: A Novel (The Life and Work of Alice Guy Blaché Book 1)

Alice Guy Blaché was a pioneer of her trade with so many accomplishments, feats you could look up and applaud through history. Written fictitiously from the point of view of Alice herself, Mademoiselle Alice tells an intimate and redolent tale, painting Alice in the most relatable way. The reader has a chance to experience through Alice the era she lived in beautiful detail, alongside the relationships that added such color to her life. One, the romance between herself and the renowned Gustave Eiffel himself. Eiffel has no interest in love and yet develops a strong romantic tie with Alice. Their relationship is a cornerstone of Alice’s life and even as she moves on, it reflects throughout her work and pursuits to follow.

Mademoiselle Alice was a powerful and moving story. I applaud Janelle Dietrick and her dedication to bringing Alice Guy Blaché off the dusty pages of history and into present mind. The amount of research alone is worth its own accolade, and Dietrick chose to deliver beyond just that, combining the scholar and the storyteller to create a wonderful recollection of the life of Alice.

One factor that truly stood out to me as a reader, was Dietrick’s innate skill of drawing one in to the many emotions of Alice’s tale. From the budding and fleshed out romance between Eiffel and Alice, her apprehension and excitement when building her own studio, to her joys throughout her journey of motherhood. I found myself feeling the same as Alice and I continued further through her recollection and telling of her own life. Dietrick used the first-person narrative in a masterful and gripping manner, allowing readers to fully immerse themselves in the personality of Alice and her intriguing mind.

Usually, I find myself caught up in some novelists writing style; their sentence structure and syntax. I can honestly say that Dietrick writes such an enriching and powerful story. The writing style flows well. I can’t recall any particular moment while reading where I found myself jarred out of the story as I often have with other writers. There was a well weighted balance of descriptive setting, dialogue, interaction, and historical detail that kept me immersed and entertained.

I have a strong affinity for historical fiction but such does not negate that Mademoiselle Alice: A Novel stands up for itself as a wonderfully well written and fun review of the life of Alice Guy Blaché. You can tell that Janelle Dietrick takes pride in not only her work, but in the dedication to presenting the important role Alice has played in history. Her writing compels the reader to appreciate such without the dryness or brevity of a history book. She breathes life in to Alice, allowing the reader to really appreciate her as a relatable person.

Pages: 369 | ASIN: B074MB6QTH

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Mountain Green Corporate Blue – The Story Behind the Story

LJ Saunders - Author

LJ Saunders – Author

I do not have a degree in literature but what I do possess is an intense appreciation for books that have the ability to place me on a trajectory towards factual and emotional knowledge and growth .Throughout my formal education, while others groaned about a lengthy summer reading list and opted for Cliff Notes, I looked forward to immersing myself in the lives of the imaginary people in fictional works who took me all over the world in my mind. Authors of every background provided valuable blueprints for my imagination. The feeling that I get when I walk into a library is one of comfort and fascination in knowing that I can look back and instantly connect with the thought and heart of someone who existed hundreds of years ago. The author’s thought remains vibrant through the centuries and I am awed by the commonality of the human spirit through time. Several weeks ago in a small antique shop in North Georgia, I found a treasure called” Ruth’s Sacrifice or Life on the Rappahannock“ by Emily Clemens Pearson; I blew layers of dust from the book’s spine. It was an original publication from 1864 with the previous owner’s signature flourishes in the meticulous penmanship of years gone by. In another , I found ‘A Virgin Heart by Remy De Gourmont published in 1925. As I read it and he talked about his location at different Parisian landmarks, I searched for photos on the Internet and could more fully share and connect with the experience. I was able to see exactly where those characters were supposed to be almost 100 years ago. These are among my most treasured possessions. What a feeling!

In retrospect, I think I felt overwhelmed by so many former great works and wondered about my own ability to produce a work worthy of literary respect. And perhaps this was the reason why it took me so long to decide upon a topic for my first book of fiction. Over the years I had considered numerous topics and discarded them swiftly without a second thought. The desire to write a book, however, never ceased. It was encouraged by a desire to never die in obscurity. A book, whether a bestseller or not, lives on. And finally after many years, a very UNLIKELY TOPIC CHOSE ME. An unexpected offer to work in the mountains of northeast Georgia presented itself. I immediately recognized the area as a potentially gorgeous setting for a novel. Among my many patients were little girls whose western boots announced their arrival over tile floors with a recognizable heel click strike before I ever saw them. Over time the thought came to me that they deserved their own “Cinderella story”. Hence, the inspiration for Mountain Green Corporate Blue. It just “felt right”.

I have never written a long work or even short essays before. Multiple times I tried to construct an outline for this novel unsuccessfully. What you are reading, I have written extemporaneously or “freestyle “ introducing characters along the way to make a point or to infuse drama and interest. Again, these characters were written without forethought. I did not think about names or character backgrounds. I interface with about 25-30 people a day as an Emergency Medicine Physician. If there was an interesting name( e.g. Quest or Mercy) ,I would jot it down in a notebook for future reference. If someone had an interesting physical characteristic ( ie., Matthew’s mismatched eyes or Michael’s tattoos ) I would make note of those as well.As I wrote the novel, I arbitrarily chose one of the names on the list or any other that came to mind in that moment. And in that instant the character came into being.

I am a very spiritual but not religious Christian in the American Bible Belt. I trusted in the divine nature of the creative process and just “let the words come”. In rereading the manuscript multiple times, I found encrypted messages for myself. I set out to write a Cinderella story with “real people”. The end product is actually an emotionally layered work with a very clear, powerful message that was revealed to me in the rereading period. The predominant message is simple and the key is in the name of the characters. Yes, I think of this novel as a gift from God. Because He is in EVERY human being, He uses us to convey HIS message.

In referencing Mountain Green Corporate Blue, Matthew asks Quest, the daughter of Delilah, the meaning of the word bastard. At that moment, Matthew’s life changes and his own life quest begins. A link is established between the circumstance of Jesus’ birth and his own. We are then introduced to Grace Collier (P.19) in the innocence of her youth and we see her effect on the other characters as the novel progresses. She represents the spiritual Grace and graciousness that we either accept or reject throughout life. Her spirit infuses all of the other characters and points them towards introspection, change and goodness. Grace meets Matthew as a young woman and he is immediately engaged by her charm , innocence and dedication to family and wants her in his life immediately and forever(P.74). This represents our open acknowledgment of the need and power of grace in our lives and once we see the warmth and power of its presence we want to possess it immediately and forever. Their marriage ceremony revolves around obtaining a bible that is important to Grace. It has been in her family for centuries. This intimates that with the acceptance of Grace comes the Quest for the Word (of God). It is a life journey that has been travelled by many over time. Randy Duncan is the only true Prince in the story. His goodness and kindness shine through irregardless of socioeconomic status and he has been a helper since his youth ( we see his interaction with Caroline when they were teenagers in flashback). Because of his abundant warmth he is the only male character associated with the white stallion most commonly associated with kings and princes in literary fairy tales.

Note that several of the main male characters have the names or name derivatives of the Apostles – John, Matthew, Marcus, Lucas, and James. Michael, the mechanic , represents the evilness of Michael the Archangel who fell from Grace. A young James Fleming approaches an antebellum home (P.225) and within he is delivered the Mercy he requests in a spiritual as well as a worldly form. Note that the maids watchful over Mercy are Mary and Maggy as she heals James’ feet. This is a subtle reminder of the power of Mary Magdalene’s humility. To reiterate, this was without prior planning.

Matthew’s sister’s name is Angela. She has the innocence of an Angel and Grace reassures her that love comes to angels. Rose, the secretary, has the enviable physical attributes of life but ultimately we see that this is irrelevant in the face of the absence of true spiritual Grace. Thus we see the radiant Rose wither as the story progresses.

After interesting conversation over dinner, a troubled Marcus ultimately ends up in Delmonico’s Restaurant and meets Trinity, an African American female physician. She is in a sector that is usually “not on ( his ) radar). Her name is important. This signifies that the Holy Trinity is ever present but not always apparent and comes to us through unexpected encounters and unlikely individuals. Note that Trinity Fleming is a physician like the Great Physician. The music in the Operating room is “Coming Out of the Dark” that nods to spiritual awakening. Jerome, the medical student , reminds us of the love in infatuation. The blessing bestowed on Trinity actually happened to me and was quite moving and emotionally overwhelming. In this context, this encounter reinforces the power of prayer. Marcus becomes closer to the Holy Trinity through Trinity the physician. After all, God is in ALL human beings and her positivity is what is cultivated by the Holy Spirit and Marcus is in dire need of that.

Kenny Lowery’s suicide is representative of the lonely futility many black males may experience in a world that does not support or reaffirm their inherent worth irregardless of education, talent or ability causing his backward spiral away from Grace. He commits suicide in the presence of Trinity. Her name may make him think in his final hours of a God he may think has forsaken him.

James Fleming, Trinity’s adoptive father, demonstrates the inherent goodness and sense of decency we should all cultivate irregardless of an individual’s color or race. He exemplifies the power of sharing wealth on all levels so that the next generation will profit.

And lastly, Justice and Sloan. Trinity’s work as a surgeon is respected by Sloan and he saves her by enlisting the help of a member of the established Church. This signifies that even though one has fallen (Sloan was a drug dealer), there is the potential for goodness and grace in all of us. It is possible to obtain inner peace and justice in life simply by being of help to another and the established Church has been promised to us as a source of comfort and support throughout each of our individual journeys.

My thanks to all of you who have read Mountain Green Corporate Blue. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. And of course, I look forward to entertaining you with the sequel VERITAS.


L.J Saunders

Author Website:

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Dear Emma

Dear Emma

Dear Emma, written by Kwen Griffeth, is a touching novel that revolves around the life of a family in the hospital waiting for a crucial moment that will equate to life or death. Their story is discovered by a caring man, Roger, who is the chaplain at the Price Hospital.

Lost in his own thoughts about his own personal life, Roger stumbles across Ben Talbet, an architect about to become a grandfather. But instead of it being a joyous occasion, Ben is convinced that he is about to lose everything he cares about- all because of a mysterious letter found on a hospital bedside table. What could this letter say that has Ben convinced he is about to lose it all?

Dear Emma is a heartfelt novel based on the significance of letters written to a woman by the name of Emma. The beginning of the novel walks you through the hospital in the eyes of a chaplain. It is here you meet nurses, doctors, patients and families all experiencing the ins and outs of hospital life. One family, in particular, has several lives on the line, and this is where you meet Ben- a loving father about to become a grandfather.

The story ventures into the past where we learn about Ben and Emma and what lead them to this important moment of their lives. Their past tragedies and losses will be shared and you will find yourself feeling a connection to the characters and their story. As the story progresses, the doubt and questions that are posed by Roger, all assist in creating a strong belief and understanding of things we may not understand.

There is a religious sentiment throughout the story and you feel as though you are involved in a special moment with Ben as he shares a personal story between the Father in Heaven and the chaplain. This interaction provoked thought between life after death and how our lives change after we lose a loved one. Dear Emma respectfully shows how love can be everlasting, and how a love between a mother and daughter is an irreplaceable bond.

The descriptive language used throughout the novel easily paints a picture of the hospital setting, with images such as the chapel, cafeteria and maternity ward easily envisioned. Kwen Griffeth’s language, however, does not take away from the importance of the story and instead compliments the plot line and the characters as they progress through the story. This novel tugged at the heart strings and will feel the reader’s heart with warmth and love. The storyline is always fast paced, and even though it isn’t a typical action novel, it kept me on my toes, eager to learn what happens to the family and the letters.

I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a beautiful, feel good story with a little twist at the end! Dear Emma is a journey of love, life and grief and how love surpasses time, death and life.

Pages: 115 | ASIN: B00770I2HO

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Like the Hero in the Myth

Charles C. McCormack Author Interview

Charles C. McCormack Author Interview

Hatching Charlie: A Psychotherapist’s Tale is a frank autobiography centered around the theme of the pursuit of happiness and a meaningful life. What was the inspiration that made you want to write a memoir?

I was inspired by two of my children and some of my patients. My oldest daughter, Keeley, once presented me with a book that asked questions about me. The idea of the book was to have it for the grandchildren in posterity. I liked the idea of leaving something for the grandkids but didn’t like the venue. I didn’t think that telling them my favorite color was particularly pertinent to letting them know who I was. Then my son Chandler, several years later, prospering greatly in both his business and personal life in his mid-thirties asked me, in somewhat of a despondent tone, “Is this it?” He was kind of like the hero in the Myth of Percival who after garnering great fame as a killer of Dragons asked a similar question. I translated my adult children’ questions into “Who am I?” and “What is it [life] about?” My patients also played a role in that I often use stories from my life to illustrate points I am trying to make and also to normalize rather than pathologize the struggles they are having. In turn, they have found these stories very helpful and even entertaining and often suggested “You should write a book of these stories.” These three factors percolated in my mind for several years until one day they bubbled up and I just started writing.

There is a lot of reflection on life events in this book. Is there anything that was hard for you to write about?

My relationship with my first wife, Jane, and my own struggles in relationship. My first wife came to fight mightily with mental illness and I was extremely concerned with writing anything that might upset her. However, when my editor received the manuscript she noted immediately the presence of the absence of much to do about that relationship. I explained the problem and she respected the restraint feeling that many people make the book the all of everything without concern for its impact on others. At the same time, she pointed out that the readership would have a difficult time in empathizing with either Jane or myself with such sparse information. I was thus pushed to confront this issue and did so after several sleepless nights by writing the chapter on Jane and then sending it to her with complete and total veto power. To my surprise she responded with praise for the chapter, thought it was beautifully written and wouldn’t change a word. That felt so healing.

Other chapters that were difficult to write were the ones several reviewers have picked up on including yourself. Those are the chapters on the kids. They were indeed somewhat of an afterthought in that they were written later after my kids asked me why there wasn’t much on them or the grandkids in the book. On thinking about this, I did think it was an oversight driven by the difficulty in deciding what to write and the impact this could have on them. At the same time, even though somewhat an appendage to the book, I decided to go forward with it in that I thought, particularly as a family therapist, that there were valuable lessons to be learned within them for both adult children and parents. So, though I agree the book may seem to lose focus in these three family related chapters, I still thought they added to the lessons I wanted to share with readers and pertained to my ongoing hatching and self-discovery, as well as sensitizing me to the shadow my history cast on the lives of my offspring. In addition, with these chapters I was able to discuss the challenges of the life cycle and I older readers, those from my generation, have expressed particular appreciation for them.

Finally, just writing about my romantic relationships and failures in them were difficult to write because I find them embarrassing and felt some shame about them, particularly in that I’m a marriage and couples’ therapist. Yet, I didn’t feel I could tell my story with integrity and walk the walk of my talk if I avoided them. As I note in the book, you can’t lead a self-examined life if you cheery pick what you look at.

In this book we get to witness many peoples lives, loves, and tragedies. What do you hope readers take away from this book?

First, that we are all human and imperfect and to be okay with this. In saying this I don’t mean to imply we should shrug them off as “typically human,” but recognize the losses, or mistakes and/or harm we have done and to learn about ourselves and grow from them. I believe it is incredibly important for people to keep learning and growing till death do us part and that if we stop doing so we are more likely to become despairing as we’re caught in the smothering quicksand of stagnation. Second, that we have to live our lives, there are no short-cuts and that the attempt to not deal with our lives through avoidance and denial only leads to bringing about that which we fear. Finally, I wanted to posit a belief I’ve come to as a therapist and as a human being in the last several years. It was a realization that struck me as as an epiphany. That is, “Each of us is as happy as we can stand.” Isn’t that a concept worth thinking about? Here I’m not talking about people with psychotic illness or intense mental illness of any kind, but more so what I call the normal/neurotics who have been primarily affected by issues of nurture rather than nature that comprise the majority of the human race. The ultimate limiter of our happiness is we ourselves. We are each encompassed in habituated mental/emotional states that resist change, even when or perhaps even especially when, those changes are for the good. I won’t rewrite the book here but the how and why of this alone, in my view, is worth the read.

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

I don’t know the answer to this although it is a question I have been asking myself. Writing is hard for me. I don’t do it for fun unless I feel inspired, then it is one of the most fun and rewarding experiences of my life. So, I’ve been looking inward, trying to discern what is moving out of sight within the fathoms below. It has not yet come into view but I do feel its stirrings.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

If you’ve ever wanted to read someone’s diary, be a fly on the wall during a private exchange, or wondered what someone, possibly your therapist, really, really thinks, then Hatching Charlie will roundly satisfy that curiosity. It’s a fascinating read if you just leave it at that, but, in doing so you’d miss a rare invitation to be guided through elements of your own personal story on a parallel plane. An emotionally charged, inspirational, thoughtful and humorous book filled with wisdom, psychological insight and relationship truth Hatching Charlie: A Psychotherapist’s Tale is both an autobiography and a quest story. In spellbinding fashion, it interweaves the incredibly interesting life journey of Charles McCormack with his becoming a counselor and psychotherapist. Born into an abusive home and spending early years in the racist Jim Crow South where he witnessed segregation first hand, Charlie at age eleven is then involuntarily exiled to a Catholic boarding school in France even though he doesn’t speak the language. There he is again abused. Cut off from family and friends, isolated from those around him and under the rule of sadistic authorities Charlie spirals downward in the grip of anxiety and depression. Disoriented and confused he feels a determination to make sense of his life, his world, his relationships, and his place in them, core questions that will shape the rest of his life. But the going is not easy. Charlie acts out, flounders, is a mediocre student, fails high school, is expelled from college, and goes on an odyssey to Mexico where he meets a psychologist turned auto-mechanic who plants an idea in his mind. After this encounter, Charlie pursues a career as a counselor and psychotherapist. He returns to school, finds he’s a natural, and eventually earns a master’s degree in psychology and then another in clinical social work. Subsequently, working on a long-term psychiatric locked door inpatient unit he suffers PTSD following the suicide of a patient, begins writing, becomes published, and encounters career success. He is invited to join the faculty of the Washington School of Psychiatry, promoted to Senior Social Worker of Long-Term Adult Inpatient Services at a psychiatric hospital in Baltimore, is named the Clinical Social Worker of the Year in Maryland, and writes a book on how to treat “difficult to treat” couples entitled Treating Borderline States in Marriage: Dealing with Oppositionalism, Ruthless Aggression and Severe Resistance that is well received. Yet, as his career is evolving his personal life is disintegrating. He is forced to confront mental illness in his own family, divorces twice, suffers a return of anxiety and depression, and leads him to question the impact of his early relationships on his own capacity for love and loving, and of being a father and grandfather. Throughout his journey Charlie repeatedly travels to his own interior, his internal world, where he continues to grapple with those early questions, “What is life about? What’s the point? How can one be happy? How can one be secure in relationship? What is love? What is loving?” In so doing Charlie “truly covers the full gamut of human experience – warmth, love, friendship, loneliness, unhappiness, violence, despair: life and death.” (Literary Titan) His insights and answers will surprise you. “Hatching Charlie: A Psychotherapist’s Tale” is an inherently fascinating, thoughtful, and thought-provoking read from beginning to end.” (Midwest Book Review)

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Gaming and Death

Karen Glista Author Interview

Karen Glista Author Interview

Embellished is a relentlessly entertaining fantasy novel following a trio of teens as they are catapulted into a video game. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting novel?

I truly love online gaming and at one point I was thinking how awesome it would be to visit those antiquated worlds. I am also an R.N. and in my career, I have come face to face with death, more times than I care to admit. I love to write…its who I am, and on one particular day, for no credible reason, my mind which often times reverts to fantasy in lieu of reality, merged gaming and death and thus…Chronicles of Orian was born.

Bekka’s body is crippled by a disease, but in the game, she is whole again, but still has to find her voice and strength. How did you set about creating Bekka’s character?

Bekka created herself. I simply pictured a young patient in my mind and as amazing as it may be, she took a deep breath and exhaled. I saw her, but it was not just a vision…I felt her sorrow. She was commanding of attention and as strange as it may sound, I simply scribbled what was happening, her responses to the environment, her heart, her needs, her pain and above all else, her intense desire to love and be loved. She’s an incredible young woman and unto the end (book 3 in the trilogy) with only faith as her weapon she faces evilness even death, not only to forge her own destiny, but to protect those she loves. I so admire her.

What I enjoyed more than the deeply complex characters is the intricately woven plot with twists that I rarely saw coming. Did you plan the novel ahead of time or did the twists develop organically?

I do not use outlines. I simply sit at my computer…locked away from the world while the scenes play in my mind.

It seems like you had a lot of fun writing this book; did you?

I laughed and I cried but it was an incredible journey. I loved it and to be honest, I fell in love.

This is book one in the Chronicles of Orian series. Where does book 2 take readers?

Extolled, book two in the Chronicles of Orian trilogy is the continuing saga of Randar and Bekka who find themselves front and center as worlds collide, earth is ravaged by war and Orian is beleaguered by a humanoid race intent on world domination. Besieged by hated, lies, betrayal and grotesque horrors, battle lines are drawn and unexpectedly Bekka finds herself once more visited by her past…only this time her antiquated disease has an ugly twist, one that will affect not only her, but the daughter she lost so many years ago.

From the depths of blood and gore in a now seemingly doomed society, a forbidden love takes root. Audra, Bekka’s long lost daughter, now sixteen and incredibly naive, falls prey to a grotesque monster lurking behind the outrageously handsome face of a shape-shifting beast called Mardrid. Ordered to seduce her…or die, Mardrid finds himself helter-skelter for the very nearness of her warm, curvaceous body ignites such a dire and primal need to feed that maintaining his human persona is all but impossible. He quickly realizes he is playing a deadly game…one he may not win.

As secrets are revealed and truths are realized the drums of war echo throughout the land. Family turns against family, friends against friends and as the Scaff invasions and their insatiable lust for flesh intensifies, every faction in Orian is pushed to the brink of extinction. Few, if any, will survive and against all odds there will be blood…there will be sorrow…there will be gnashing of teeth.

Randar, who refuses to capitulate, gathers what’s left of the living outside of Uldrame for one last stand. With defeat, imminent and their backs to the wall, Randar gambles his life as well as those he loves on one last hope.

Can the heart of a naive young girl sway the face of death? Can Orian be saved…or is it already too late?

Author Links: Website | GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

Embellished (Chronicles of Orian Book 1)When hunky, eighteen-year-old Travis Kurth lures his sister Bekka to assist him and his friends in an online game, he has no idea that all their lives are about to change… forever. Ripped from reality by an elemental force of nature, the party of five soon wake in a beautiful, but dangerous, new world called Orian.

Bekka, who is suffering from a genetic disease, the same malady that killed their mother, finds herself in complete remission, but there’s little time to celebrate as one, then another of their party falls prey to this unforgiving land.

Rescued from death by a battalion of human soldiers under the leadership of Vallas Onisquase, Crown Prince of Adosarath, Bekka discovers that in Orian refuge comes at a steep price. The arrogant, dangerously handsome Vallas, beguiled by Bekka’s beauty, sets in motion a plan to make her his own, but the royal entourage falls under attack by a blood-thirsty humanoid faction called Vadarcs.

Abducted, Bekka finds herself deep in Vadarc territory with no chance of rescue. Leashed like an animal, abused, humiliated and placed on an auction block, she is purchased by blood and gold to become the property of Randar Ataurik, a humanoid, tusked, barbarian, Vadarc prince.

Vallas who is obsessed with his newly betrothed, demands her return but Randar, in the long held tradition of Vadarcs, has bound her by blood.

As the winds of war sweep the land, Bekka finds herself in a deadly triangle.

Embellished is the first book in an epic, paranormal romance.

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Controlling Charlotte

Controlling Charlotte (The Charlotte Series Book 2) by [Hains, Charlotte]Picking up right where we left off we’re brought back into the world of BDSM with our favorite swearing protagonist, Charlotte, of Controlling Charlotte. Our heroine is being pulled deeper and deeper into the world of BDSM that she is exploring with her boyfriend, Dom Lloyd. Charlotte Hains has her characters undergo a series of emotional developments as the relationship between Lloyd and his new sub, our Charlotte, begins to grow. There is a lot of spanking to be seen as Lloyd attempts to carefully train our protagonist in the ways of proper behavior for a sub. Still quite educational for the newcomer to the BDSM world Controlling Charlotte delves deeper into this alternative lifestyle with in depth descriptions of what Charlotte is experiencing during her stay with Lloyd in The Room. Not only does she come closer to Lloyd both sexually and emotionally, Charlotte begins to identify her own hang ups and limits.

Charlotte and Lloyd decide to take the Sub/Dom relationship to the next level by developing a 6-month contract where Charlotte is to submit to Lloyd and abide by his rules. If we think back to the first book and the fact that Charlotte was getting out of a domestic-violence relationship with a past boyfriend who controlled so many aspects of her life that she even had to give up her job as a nurse, it can be difficult to keep Lloyd’s tactics on a separate level. While both men certainly controlled Charlotte’s every waking moment, it is imperative to remember that with the relationship with Lloyd, Charlotte is calling the shots. She has a hard time realizing and maintaining control of her emotions, but Lloyd makes a serious effort to constantly confirm with Charlotte that she is partaking in his lifestyle because she wants to. While Charlotte battles with her foul-mouth and her insecurities, she begins to open up and accept more about the lifestyle she actively indicates she wants to be a part of.

There are a few precarious situations that Charlotte finds herself in throughout the story. She once again finds herself in a situation with an aggressive male who not only threatens her safety, but actively works towards hurting her. Charlotte stands firm and is able to safely navigate the situation where not only she gets away from this man, but she also saves another sub who is her friend in the process. This is a big step for Charlotte because for much of the series she has been intimidated by men she does not know because of what she has gone through.

While the dialogue is good, there are moments where it’s dry and Charlotte’s smart-aleck comebacks seem contrived and forced. This is balanced out by the elegantly erotic scenes as Charlotte and Lloyd attempt to reach the ultimate level of closeness. Hains does a great job in these scenes because even though they are told from the first-person perspective they aren’t overly done or unrealistic. Controlling Charlotte is a good installment in what is undoubtedly at least a trilogy. Charlotte Hains once again leaves us with a bang and curious minds can only speculate where she’ll take the story next.

Pages: 266 | ASIN: B01KTZ0E3S

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Introducing Charlotte

Introducing CharlotteThere is something to be said about a person who suffers unspeakable horrors and then does her best to overcome them. Introducing Charlotte by Charlotte Hains begins its tale with our protagonist, Charlotte, leaving the hospital after suffering at the hand of her soon to be ex-boyfriend. Domestic violence is something that no woman, or man for that matter, should ever have to endure. It destroys the soul, confidence and a person’s self-worth. Charlotte is not immune to this as she’s wandering around after her release she runs into an old friend, Anthony, who is about to whisk her away from her troubles and bring her into a world she never imagined existed. There will be a lot of testing for our heroine as she tries to figure out who she is as a person and what she wants out of the life she has rediscovered she can control.

Introducing Charlotte is fascinating, stimulating, and provocative. Hains takes her readers on an emotional journey as Charlotte begins to discover the world of BDSM and the part her friends play in it. Anthony, Lloyd and new-friend Nats are owners/operators of an exclusive club for BDSM enthusiasts. Hains uses the vehicle of BDSM to get Charlotte to open up, to learn about trust and to essentially make herself into a new person.

Introducing Charlotte is about a girl fleeing a boy and is rescued by a prince-like character, however I felt that the delivery could’ve been adjusted to be more aware of Charlotte’s pain and recovery before the story swiftly moves on. The first part to consider is the portrayal of domestic violence and how Charlotte is treated right afterwards. After being horrifically abused by her ex-boyfriend she is then immediately caught up with another man. While Anthony doesn’t desire to control Charlotte and appears to be coming from a position of concern for her, the fact remains that he essentially takes control of her life. He moves her in with him, buys her clothing, essentially forces her into therapy and then rages about how her ex treated her. Charlotte doesn’t get a chance to be free of male presence in her life and is almost bullied into recovery. Breaking free of a relationship of violence is difficult and can take time and I felt that that compelling emotional turmoil was sometimes lost.

While the delivery could use some work I found the story to be entertaining, Introducing Charlotte is a beginner’s guide to the erotic world of BDSM. Not only is the heroine learning about this pleasurable pastime, but readers get a chance for an introductory course on what BDSM is and which facets of a person’s life it can impact. The careful romance and pleasurable outcomes are detailed quite nicely without feeling overdone or excessive. Indeed, Charlotte Hains knows what will get her readers interested and isn’t afraid to show them more.

Pages: 252 | ISBN: 1781323178

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