Friday, April 29, 2016

Special excerpt from new adult romance novel Psychic Readings Done Here by Tanille Edwards

To wrap up the week, I have a special excerpt from the new adult romance, Psychic Readings Done Here by Tanille Edwards.

During her virtual book tour, Tanille will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

You can find an interview I had with Tanille last year, here.

A bit about the author:
Tanille is the co-author and creator of the children's green book series "Jordan & Justine's Weekend Adventures." She is also the author of the new media young adult novels with music "Cameo by Tanille," and "Broken by Tanille."

The Undercover Starlet Journal is a title Tanille created to inspire young women and has extended Undercover Starlet into brand extensions that appear throughout her novels. Tanille has been writing music and books since age 16. She earned an MBA at 21 and graduated magna cum laude.

Readers of her latest young adult romance novel "Broken by Tanille" get free music downloads of her new Pop R&B hits "All of Me," "Feel It," "Baby Comeback to Me," "It's Not Okay," and "What's a Girl to Do" all written, performed and co-produced by Tanille.

The Undercover Starlet Reading Project is a new project we've launched, tasked with inspiring young teens in urban communities to reads and express themselves. We are committed to going above and beyond to reach youth with inspiring messages.

A little bit about Psychic Readings Done Here:
Three young girls go to a psychic after pooling their allowance money together. It’s been thirteen years and none of the prediction have come true until today. They face turbulent times in their lives that will make them stronger and bring them back together. The power of true, unceasing friendship and love conquers all. And the help of a psychic along the way doesn’t hurt. 

The predictions a psychic made thirteen years ago bring three young women at the height of the most critical moments in their lives back together. Through their friendship, these young women learn about love, life, and cherishing what matters most.

Excerpt from Psychic Readings Done Here:
Vanessa is sitting in a restaurant with Melanie, a woman in her early twenties with curly, dark hair.

“So anyway,” Melanie says. She is wearing chic business attire and diamond-studded hoop earrings. “He stopped by my cubicle this morning and asked me if I wanted to go with him to a party on Thursday. I told him, calmly, that I have to check my schedule.”

“Oh yeah,” Vanessa says. “That was a good response.”

“So what’s going on in married land?”

“Nothing much.”

“Are you sure? You’re kind of quiet,” Melanie says.

“Well, something strange happened last night,” Vanessa says.

“Like what?”

“When I was putting away the clothes, I saw a note on Peter's tablet. There was a woman's name and phone number on it. And today's date was in tiny print in the corner.”

“Did you ask him about it?” Melanie asks.

“No, I mean, I figured it could belong to a classmate or something.”

“Girl, you should’ve asked about it,” Melanie says.

“Then I woke up in the middle of the night and he was gone. And so was his cell phone.”

“And you didn't ask him about that either?”

Vanessa clasps her wedding rings. “Well, we're married, and I trust him.”

“Who are you trying to convince? Me or yourself? I think...”

“What really bothered me was that we had plans for dinner tonight. And when I reminded him this morning, he said he had a study group meeting tonight.”

“What?” Melanie says. “Did he just pull a study group out of his pocket? Since when does he have a ‘study group’?”

“That's what I said. Sort of. I asked what the study group was for.”


“He said it was for some big legal case study for one of his classes,” Vanessa says.

“Did he mention this case before?”

“No! I know you don't really care for Peter, but I need some advice. I'm starting to get suspicious. I mean, I do trust him. But something isn't adding up.”

“All right,” Melanie says. “I have a suggestion. Please just listen to it. I think that you should follow him tonight. See...”

Vanessa yells. “Whaaat! Are you serious? I need real advice, not advice on how to spy on my husband.”

Several restaurant patrons turn around to look at them.

Melanie whispers under her breath. “If he’s cheating, then?”

“He’s not cheating,” Vanessa whispers back.

“Then what are you suspicious of?”

“I don’t know.”

“Girl, if you want the truth you have to find it out firsthand.”

“What do you mean?” She stops for a moment. “You know what, this is absurd,” Vanessa says.

“Peter is not going to tell you the real deal. If he's at a study group, fine. But if he's not, you need to know.”

“I feel so wrong. How dare I follow my husband?”

“I hope we are wrong. I’ll tell you this: You better start wondering how he dare hold a phone conversation in the middle of the night, in your apartment, running up your cell phone bill.”

“I don’t know.”

The waiter comes over.

“You don’t share the bills, Vanessa.”

“How is everything, ladies?”

“Fine. Can we get the check, please?” Melanie asks.

“Yes,” the waiter responds.


Buy Psychic Readings Done Here on Amazon

Psychic Readings Done Here will be free April 27 – May 1. All other dates it will be 99¢.

Buy Cameo by Tanille on Amazon

Buy Broken on Amazon

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Interview with debut mystery novelist Peter Rowlands

My special guest today is Peter Rowlands. He’s chatting with me about his debut novel, Alternative Outcome. It’s a mystery drama with a romantic thread.

Peter Rowlands was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, but has lived nearly all his adult life in London. He spent many years editing and contributing to UK business magazines covering logistics, transport and home delivery, but novel writing was always where he wanted to be, and he finally published his first novel, the mystery drama Alternative Outcome, in 2016.

Peter is an avid reader of mystery dramas and thrillers, and always planned to write books that distilled what he considers the most appealing aspects of such works: vivid characters, naturalistic dialogue, plenty of pace, and intricate but coherent plots.

Welcome, Peter. Please tell us about Alternative Outcome.
What if you self-published a novel based on real events and people, and some of those people and events started to intrude into your life? Alternative Outcome starts with that premise, partly turning the mirror on itself.

Mike Stanhope, unfulfilled by his job as a freelance journalist working in London and depressed following his divorce, hopes that publishing a book will help him re-focus his life, but when friends urge him to track down one of the real-life characters he has hijacked for it, a girl he knew long ago as a teenager, disturbing events follow: a website hack, a theft, a kidnap attempt.

Mike’s search takes him to Cornwall, where a new relationship beckons, but fact and fiction become increasingly entangled as he struggles to work out what really happened in the story behind his book. The pressure mounts as he deals with increasingly aggressive confrontations with people who seem convinced he has information they need.

What inspired you to write this book?
Getting a book published is a big challenge (that’s an understatement if ever there was one), so in Alternative Outcome I decided to work some of my own experience of this into the plot line. I was also fascinated by the power of the internet to track down people who previously might have found it much easier to stay hidden; and I was intrigued by the parallels and contrasts between remembered experience and the hard evidence that is now so often preserved online. Combining these ingredients offered a rich mix, presenting opportunities for a multi-layered drama.

Beyond all this, I also wanted to celebrate the joys and setbacks of an emerging relationship played out in difficult circumstances. I wanted to create a convincing world populated by vivid, three-dimensional characters – everyday people facing unexpected challenges.

Excerpt from Alternative Outcome:
We progressed to a restaurant down the street. I ended up sitting diagonally opposite Ashley, facing a Londoner called Joe who proceeded to spend an inordinately long time telling me about the delights of surfing. “That’s why I moved to Cornwall,” he told me. “Fantastic to have it all there on tap. Lovely lifestyle, too. I’d never come back here to London now.”

The meal ran its course. I couldn’t easily converse with Ashley on her own, but I was strongly aware of her voice and personality, and this evening she seemed more animated than I remembered. I was aware of her colleagues teasing her from time to time, but I could tell it  was teasing borne out of respect, and she parried it with self-deprecating grace.

Eventually Joe disappeared to the men’s room, and Ashley shuffled into his place opposite me and leaned forward. Though we’d had so little direct conversation, in a strange way it felt as if we’d spent the entire evening in unspoken dialogue.



She grinned at me. “Is that what people call you? Michael?”

“Not really. When I’m good I’m just Mike.”

She nodded to herself several times.

“Michael, I have intelligence for you. Brought to you courtesy of Patrick.” Unthinking, she took a sip of Joe’s beer. “Aarrggh! What’s this stuff?” She thrust it down, reached over for her own glass and took a sip from that. “Patrick is my older brother.”

“Thing is, I was telling him about you.” She broke off. “Not that I want you to get the impression that I was thinking about you. No way.”


“But somehow you came up in conversation. And he remembered Trina Markham quite well. I think he probably fancied her, stupid prat. He always fancied all the girls at the Fairmile.”


“Yes, and he says she was from Altrincham. Her father was an accountant or something, and they had a posh house up there.” She looked at me in triumph. “What do you think of that?”

“Is that it?”

She smiled at me with her eyes. “That’s gold-plated information there! Normally I charge for this kind of thing.”

“It’s greatly valued, I assure you.”

“Yes, I believe you.”

We continued to smile at each other for a moment, perhaps unsure where to take the conversation next.

“How’s Jack?” I asked finally. I hated myself for bringing him into the conversation, but somehow couldn’t help myself.

“Jack is fine, thank you.” She looked away from me for a moment, then back. “We’ve known each other forever.” She took another sip of beer.

“When are you planning on getting married?”

“Oh, no date yet. Probably next year.” An airy shake of the head. “It’s a moveable feast.” She pondered this for a moment. “It’s a virtual engagement – that’s what it is. Virtual.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
Prior to writing my first published mystery drama, I wrote an earlier one, Escape Sequence, in which memory loss was one of the main themes. This a well-trodden path, but for good reasons in my view; it opens up so many dramatic possibilities. That book also drew on my own long experience of working with people in the world of public relations.

I felt that the earlier book wasn’t quite ready for publication, but now I’m revising and paring it down, and I think it will make a convincing follow-up to Alternative Outcome. I also have ideas for my third novel, which again will have a logistics / business publishing background, and will include photo editing as one of its themes. I aim to write this during 2016.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I was already inventing story extracts and typing them out on my father’s pre-war Remington portable typewriter when I was about ten. Did I think I was a writer? Well, I wanted to be! Then I spent a career in business journalism, which of course involved writing of a kind, but all along I knew I could write compelling fiction too. So I guess I’ve always considered myself a writer – but I’ve taken a very long time to demonstrate it to the world.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I still have to pay bills, so I can’t afford to write fiction full-time, though I spend as much time on it as I can. The rest of the time I write journalistic stuff about logistics and computing, including some promotional material; I write about and photograph buses (yes, including London’s red double-deckers); and I build web sites. But increasingly I’m forcing these day jobs to the side to ensure that the fiction doesn’t get neglected.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I wouldn’t say it’s a quirk exactly, but I’m fanatical about the way presentation can influence the way readers take in the rhythm and flow of prose, especially when direct speech is involved. For instance, a new line for a new speaker might be enough to indicate the pace of a conversation, but sometimes you might have to be more explicit by breaking a quote mid-way with “He hesitated” or some such device. But not too often! I’m also pretty fanatical about getting the punctuation right – and the grammar, of course. When you’ve been a journalist, a sub-editor and an editor yourself, you realize that when it comes to the fine detail, the buck stops somewhere. I feel strongly that I need to take that responsibility on myself.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was about seven, I told my parents I wanted to be a BBC producer. They were amazed that I even knew what this meant. For the record, a BBC producer was then the equivalent of a director in the film world, and that’s what I had in mind. I loved the idea of managing a cast of characters and developing a story. In a way, that’s what I’ve finally been able to do with my fiction – but I don’t have to rely on actors, set-builders, sound staff and a lighting crew. I can do it on my own!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
For every writer you hear about and consider reading, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, who are toiling in isolation, struggling to make their voices heard. The internet revolution has opened the door for anyone to jump on the publishing ladder, but it’s a steep ascent, and from the bottom it can appear that most of the rungs are missing. So when you do find a writer you like, share your good fortune – tell your friends and the world! It might seem a small thing, but it can give an enormous boost to the author. Self-published writers are especially reliant readers to celebrate their successes; they have no promotional machine to keep them in the public eye.


Thanks, Peter. Happy writing!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

New interview with thriller author J.T. Patten

Today I have a new interview with thriller author J.T. Patten about his latest book, Safe Havens: Primed Charge

You can check out my first interview with him from last year, here.

"J.T. Patten" has worked with the intelligence and special operations community in support of national defense and policy. He has a degree in foreign language, a master's in strategic intelligence, graduate studies in counter terrorism from the University of St. Andrews, and numerous expertise certifications in forensics, fraud, and financial crime investigations. Patten shares these unique experiences with readers to give them a taste of "the black."

His novel is written in a multi-layered thriller plot style that provides a compelling inside view of larger than life covert activities in addition to the gripping turmoil that warriors suffer while battling foes and internal demons.

Welcome back to Reviews and Interviews.
Thanks, Lisa. I appreciate you having me back.

My pleasure! Please tell us about your newest release.
Well, I’m really excited about this one. I’ve evolved as a writer, the story has evolved to be less brutal on a physical level (and descriptors), and the plot has been enhanced with more conspiracy and emotion. I also have a new strong female character, Tanya Crowe. She’s awesome. The main premise is based on my widower protagonist, an intelligence specialist who has a young daughter, who really needs her dad. The main character, Sean Havens, struggles to fulfil his duty as a father while also doing his job for the discrete corners of government. The twists are based on the black operations that he is involved with and the invisible hands that are involved as guiding puppet masters. In Primed Charge, the behind-the-scenes conflict is a factional intelligence war of power players within the CIA who hail from Freemasonary and the secret society, Skull and Bones. Ultimately, it casts into question how world order is actually maintained and how much of what citizens’ view on the world stage is really just a ruse and cover up.  

What inspired you to write this book?
Having worked in a world where one just accepts secrets and doesn’t question orders, there is an element of doubt that lurks. True to the nature of my books, I take these fantastic “What ifs” and twist them into a realistic conspiracy based on today’s contemporary issues. As an avid reader, I am tired of the same old protagonist, the stereotypical antagonist, and the [yawn] Extremist Islamic terrorists—or the Russian and Chinese spin. I prefer to twist it up so the reader never knows what’s going to hit them next, and take them to issues that they likely haven’t thought about. I just like to have fun and see it as my mission to take readers for a ride.

What’s the next writing project?
I plan on moving to the next, Safe Havens: Presidential Retreat. I’m challenging myself with taking the tired presidential assassination plot and creating something really innovative and fresh.

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
I still have to abide by rules associated with having a security clearance. There are so many nuances that are open to the public that I have been exposed to in classified settings that I still can’t write on. Even with fiction. So my problem isn’t what to write, it’s what not to write. 

If your novels require research – please talk about the process. Do you do the research first and then write, while you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
That’s a great question, Lisa. Primed Charge required a lot more research than I anticipated. In Shadow Masters, I pretty much free wrote the whole book based on things I knew. Primed Charge took me a bit out of my comfort zone into some areas (or countries) that I don’t have direct experience. Since I free-write, I painted myself in the corner a few times based on where the story took me. I had to research my way out of the Burmese jungle, an elevator, a female’s mind… I’m exhausted.

What’s your writing space like? Do you have a particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us about it.
I travel extensively. So my writing space is usually an airplane, hotel, bar, restaurant… wherever I have time and space for my laptop. I used to have a writing desk at my home and now I use a comfortable leather chair at home.  

What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
I do stay with my genre. I am a huge fan of Mark Greaney. I also enjoy John Gilstrap and Nelson DeMille. My all-time favorite is John le CarrĂ©, but I think those spy novels need a fresh voice, now. I’d like to think I’m helping nudge the espionage sub-genre into more modern times.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
I don’t want to say I’m everything for everyone, by all means, but if readers like complex dark thrillers with elements of conspiracy, military action, emotional drama, and spies, this could be a good change from the status quo. And if a reader likes the status quo, this may scratch some of those itches and widen the aperture a bit.

The book is available through Amazon.

Thank you for coming back to Reviews and Interviews! All the best with your writing.