mercoledì 24 gennaio 2018

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway: Ghost Writer by Alison Bruce

She has to deal with two kinds of spooks: spies and ghosts. But which one is trying to kill her?

Jen Kirby has seen ghosts since she was a teen, but she can’t talk to them or help them cross over. And, after a violent death in the family, she doesn’t want to see them anymore.

In her role as ghostwriter, Jen joins a Canadian Arctic expedition to document and help solve a forty-year-old mystery involving an American submarine station lost during the Cold War. The trouble is, there are people—living and dead—who don't want the story told, and they’ll do anything to stop her.

Now Jen is haunted by ghosts she can’t avoid or handle alone. That means confiding in the one man she doesn’t want to dismiss her as crazy. But can he help? Or is he part of the problem?

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My name is Jen Kirby. I have several things going for me including great hair, nice eyes and an ability to turn experts' research into readable prose.

I have a few weaknesses. I enjoy chocolate too much. I hate enclosed spaces. And I prefer to experience open bodies of water from a distance. One sailing trip with my cousins made me swear off boats for life. So, you'll understand how much I wanted the job when I said I'd go to the Arctic Ocean to look for a sunken underwater base.

The offer came from Dr. Dora Leland, a forensic psychiatrist and my good friend. Dora is a professor at the University of Toronto, a consultant to various law enforcement agencies and author of seven books which I have ghostwritten with her. Her idea of a vacation is volunteering her skills to researchers who would never have thought they needed a forensic psychiatrist on their team, let alone afford one.

Her latest project was helping out a team who were bent on raising US Navy's Arctic Station Alpha and finding out what happened to its crew. AFFA, which stood for Answers For Families of Alpha not the Hell’s Angels motto Angels Forever, Forever Angels, included now grown children of the crew. Other family members contributed funds or in kind services. But it was Dora and her agents that made the expedition possible. 

As the only team member who wasn't paired off, Dora anticipated needing a buddy to play cards with of an evening. She sold the deal by offering me co-author credit on the book we were going to write.

It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Interview with the Author
Tell us a little about how you got started as an author and how you came up with the idea for this book?
Ghost Writer started with a dream, as did my storytelling vocation. I used to have recurring nightmares as a child. I discovered that if I told myself a story, starting with the terror-inducing events and continuing until I had a happily ever after conclusion, I could get back to sleep without returning to the nightmare. Eventually I learned to take control of my dreams while I was sleeping.

Ghost Writer started with a nightmare of being trapped in a sinking vessel with cold water rising, threatening to drown me. How I survived long enough to be rescued seemed like a story worth writing. Unlike most of my dreams that I think might make the seed of a good story, this one actually bore fruit. 

Where do you get your ideas for characters? In particular, did you steal some characteristics from yourself or people you know for the main characters?
Most of the time, I start by roleplaying my central characters in my head. There is a little of me in all my protagonists, but there’s also a little of other people, real and fictional. It’s a bit like creating a test-tube baby with multiple parents. Like my children, you can sometimes see a bit of me in them, but they are their own persons.

Which author/authors or particular books have inspired you?
There are three authors that have had a profound influence on me. My mother introduced me to Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances when I was about twelve. It might have been because she thought Alex Hailey’s Airport series was too dark for a girl my age. Heyer’s books transported me to the time and place that she set her stories. It took me a few years and a couple of history courses to appreciate that those place were real.

Around the same time I started reading her mystery novels. I never liked Hercule Poirot, but I loved Agatha Christie’s whodunits. Christie should be required reading for anyone wanting to learn how a mystery is structured.

My father introduced me to Louis L’Amour. In his collections of short stories, he’d introduce each tale with a bit of history or some personal commentary. To paraphrase him, he said he’d rather be known for being a beloved storyteller than an award winning author. That one sentiment got me serious about writing to be published.

What were some of your favorite reads of the past year?
The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett, published posthumously. Worst Date Ever by Melodie Campbell. I also discovered Ann Charles’ Deadwood series this year and caught up with the Ring of Fire books by Eric Flint.

For the aspiring writers out there, can you tell us something about how you develop your plot?
I start off by telling myself the story in my head. That gives me a few scenes and the bare bones of the plot. Then I start writing. I have dozens of stories that got that far and no farther.

If I can get far enough in to feel that I could write the book, I pause for outlining and basic research. Some story-lines get tossed at that point because they either don’t make sense or they don’t go anywhere interesting.

For the ones that make it, I seesaw between writing and writing related tasks like research, character development, outlining and making copious notes so I can keep everything straight. 

Tell us about your future? Next book?
I’m working on the next Men in Uniform book for Lachesis Publishing but I’ve also started the next Ghost Writer for Imajin Books. So, there’s just two books, my day job and family to worries.

Alison Bruce writes history, mystery and suspense. Her books combine clever mysteries, well-researched backgrounds and a touch of romance. Her protagonists are marked by their strength of character, sense of humor and the ability to adapt (sooner or later) to new situations. Four of her novels have been finalists for genre awards.

Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher and web designer. Currently she is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.

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Book Tour & Giveaway: SINthetic by J.T. Nicholas

The Artificial Evolution

They look like us. Act like us. But they are not human. Created to perform the menial tasks real humans detest, Synths were designed with only a basic intelligence and minimal emotional response. It stands to reason that they have no rights. Like any technology, they are designed for human convenience. Disposable.

In the city of New Lyons, Detective Jason Campbell is investigating a vicious crime: a female body found mutilated and left in the streets. Once the victim is identified as a Synth, the crime is designated no more than the destruction of property, and Campbell is pulled from the case.

But when a mysterious stranger approaches Campbell and asks him to continue his investigation in secret, Campbell is dragged into a dark world of unimaginable corruption. One that leaves him questioning the true nature of humanity.

And what he discovers is only the beginning...

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J.T. Nicholas was born in Lexington, Virginia, though within six months he moved (or was moved, rather) to Stuttgart, Germany. Thus began the long journey of the military brat, hopping from state to state and country to country until, at present, he has accumulated nearly thirty relocations. This experience taught him that, regardless of where one found oneself, people were largely the same.

When not writing, Nick spends his time practicing a variety of martial arts, playing games (video, tabletop, and otherwise), and reading everything he can get his hands on. Nick currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, a pair of indifferent cats, a neurotic Papillion, and an Australian Shepherd who (rightly) believes he is in charge of the day-to-day affairs.

Links: Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads - Amazon

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Book Tour & Giveaway: The Anglo-Zulu War by James Mace

It is December 1878, and war looms on the horizon in South Africa. British High Commissioner Sir Henry Bartle-Frere seeks to dismantle the powerful neighbouring kingdom of the Zulus and uses an incursion along the disputed border as his justification for war. He issues an impossible ultimatum to the Zulu king, Cetshwayo, demanding he disband his armies and pay massive reparations. With a heavy heart, the king prepares his nation for war against their former allies. 

Leading the invasion is Lieutenant General Sir Frederic Thesiger, Baron Chelmsford, a highly experienced officer fresh off a decisive triumph over the neighbouring Xhosa tribes. He and Frere are convinced that a quick victory over the Zulus will negate any repercussions from the home government for launching what is, in essence, an illegal war.

Recently arrived to South Africa are newly-recruited Privates Arthur Wilkinson and Richard Lowe; members of C Company, 1/24th Regiment of Foot under the venerable Captain Reginald Younghusband. Eager for adventure, they are prepared to do their duty both for the Empire and for their friends. As Frere’s ultimatum expires, the army of British redcoats and allied African auxiliaries crosses the uMzinyathi River at Rorke’s Drift into Zululand. Ten days later, the British and Zulus will meet their destiny at the base of a mountain called Isandlwana.

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It is January of 1879. While three columns of British soldiers and their African allies cross the uMzinyathi River to commence the invasion of the Zulu Kingdom, a handful of redcoats from B Company, 2/24th Regiment are left to guard the centre column’s supply depot at Rorke's Drift.

On the morning of 22 January, the main camp at Isandlwana, just ten miles to the east, comes under attack from the entire Zulu army and is utterly destroyed. Four thousand warriors from King Cetshwayo’s elite Undi Corps remained in reserve and were denied any chance to take part in the fighting. Led by Prince Dabulamanzi, they disobey the king’s orders and cross into British Natal, seeking their share in triumph and spoils. They soon converge on Rorke’s Drift; an easy prize, with its paltry force of 150 redcoats to be readily swept aside.

Upon hearing of the disaster at Isandlwana, and with retreat impossible, the tiny British garrison readies to receive the coming onslaught. Leading them is Lieutenant John Chard, a newly-arrived engineer officer with no actual combat experience. Aiding him is B Company’s previously undistinguished officer commanding, Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead, along with 24-year old Colour Sergeant Frank Bourne, and a retired soldier-turned civilian volunteer named James Dalton.

Unbeknownst to either the British or the Zulus, half of the centre column, under Lord Chelmsford’s direct command, was not even at Isandlwana, but fifteen miles further east, at Mangeni Falls. However, with a huge Zulu force of over twenty-thousand warriors between them and the drift, their ammunition and ration stores taken or destroyed, and an impossible distance to cover, Chelmsford’s battered column cannot possibly come to the depot’s aid, and must look to their own survival. The defenders of Rorke’s Drift stand alone.

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James Mace is a life-long historian and the author of twenty books, including seven Ancient History best-sellers, and two South African History best-sellers. He penned the initial draft of his first novel, Soldier of Rome: The Legionary, as a cathartic means of escapism while serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq from 2004 to 2005. His works span numerous eras, from Ancient Rome to the British Empire.

Links: Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads - Amazon

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