Midnight and the wolves have it

Title: Midnight Burning
Author: Karissa Laurel
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Publication Date: July 2015
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Solina Mundy lives a quiet life, running the family bakery in her small North Carolina hometown. But one night, she suffers a vivid nightmare in which a wolfish beast is devouring her twin brother, who lives in Alaska. The next morning, police notify her that Mani is dead. Driven to learn the truth, Solina heads for the Land of the Midnight Sun. Once there, she begins to suspect Mani’s friends know more about his death than they’ve let on. Skyla, an ex-Marine, is the only one willing to help her.

As Solina and Skyla delve into the mystery surrounding Mani’s death, Solina is stunned to learn that her own life is tied to Mani’s friends, his death, and the fate of the entire world. If she can’t learn to control her newfound gifts and keep her friends safe, a long-lost dominion over mortals will rise again, and everything she knows will fall into darkness.

 Karissa and Bonnie Midnight Burning - Hi Res

Author Bio:

Karissa Laurel always dabbled in writing, but she also wanted to be a chef when she grew up. So she did. After years of working nights, weekends, and holidays, she burnt out and said, “Now what do I do?” She tried a bunch of other things, the most steady of those being a paralegal for state government, but nothing makes her as happy as writing. She has published several short stories and reads “slush” for a couple of short-story markets.

Karissa lives in North Carolina with her kid, her husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky. She loves to read and has a sweet tooth for speculative fiction. Sometimes her husband convinces her to put down the books and take the motorcycles out for a spin. When it snows, you’ll find her on the slopes.

Karissa also paints and draws and harbors a grand delusion that she might finish a graphic novel someday.



Author Links:

Goodreads| Facebook | Website


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Kill? Who me?

Fixed in Blood by TE Woods

A Netgalley Review

This is part of the Justice Series. The 4th book.

Justice is being dispensed by an assassin. In the manner of a vigilante. Unofficially she is a law enforcer that dispenses death for a perceived injustice that the ‘real’ legal system is unable to deal with. The sentence never changes. And to carry out these sentences she is skilled in disguise, deception and dealing out death in unusual manners – all without incriminating herself.

However, the assassin has a day job. She is also a Psychologist and as such she realises that perhaps her manner of behaviour is perhaps not quite what it should be. She is also trying to develop a long term relationship without her partner knowing about her little sideline.

A long-service policeman has discovered her secret but he has also helped her in her work or has asked for her help in his work and thus they are joined together. He cannot turn her in now as if he did, he would also lose his job. Yet his son doesn’t know his secret and writes about the assassin through the stories in the newspapers.

What you start to question is your own morality.

When is it Justice and when is it murder?

Are vigilantes above the law?

Is it right to be the accountant for a crime family even if you can’t get another job?

Should you keep secrets from your partner? Even if it could send you to prison to tell?

And if you are a lawman, should you overlook criminal acts committed by a person that sometimes helps you solve other crimes or manages to punish those you can’t?

An interesting article (set of photos) in the Washington Times details the top ten vigilantes in US history – some fictional: http://www.washingtontimes.com/multimedia/collection/top-10-vigilantes/

Listverse says:  “in real life, the issue of vigilantism is a lot more complex. While some vigilantes are sympathetic figures, others go too far in their desire for revenge. In some cases, completely innocent people wind up losing their lives.” http://listverse.com/2014/01/30/10-controversial-cases-of-vigilantism/

For instance in a number of U.S. cities, individuals have created real-life superhero personas, donning masks and costumes to patrol their neighborhoods, sometimes maintaining an uneasy relationship with local police departments who believe what they are doing could be dangerous to the costumed crusaders caped crusadersthemselves, or could devolve into vigilantism.

Look on the web and you will find many such stories as these. When, is ever, is it right to put yourself above the law is a decision we can only make for ourselves and perhaps also, it depends on the situation?

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I have a new baby – can you help?

Can Anybody Help Me?

By Sinead Crowley

A NetGalley Review

Pregnancy, new babies, police and murder. A Dark Angel nurse ‘helping’ – what a potent combination!

This is a fairly straight forward police procedural set in Ireland with a female detective – who is pregnant.

An interesting take here on the phenomenon that is ‘NetMums’ and how people trust the advice given on the Internet – by people they have never met – people that they feel are good friends despite the only contact being virtual and the reality being that they do not know who is at the other end of the computer line.

little child baby smiling lying under thr towel
little child baby smiling under their towel

The forums such as ‘NetMums’ are all based on trust. Mums trust the forum and those who post. The more you post the more you are trusted. The more people say you are to be trusted and that your advice is sound, the more you are trusted. A virtuous circle. Just in the same way that we use the reviews on books posted on Amazon. If you post more reviews then your name becomes known and then people start to vote that your review was good, and then Amazon will trust you to review books before they are published. In fact NetGalley itself works on a similar process. If you return enough reviews and publishers think they are good, then you will be offered more books to review and so it goes. The more we are validated, the more we are trusted.

The origin of the word ‘trust’ is ‘trustig’. It is old Norse for a contract. I give you something and in return you give me something. Between us we agree on what is exchanged.

In the virtual world what is exchanged is data – made into information by its particular context. That information is what is used to trust. But what if the data is a lie? What if what is offered is not truthful but biased or intended to harm? What if the validation of the data is done deliberately to cause distress and confusion? – sites such as TripAdvisor try to catch the hotels that post their own reviews – but few sites can do this – does Wahanda (I use this to find beauty treatments) check who validates and reviews their salons I wonder – having just booked a facial…

This book uses the trust principle and the virtual world to show how harm can be done by those who trust and those who provide false data. We should all look at the moral of the story and take care.

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Death and Blood and Money: companions all.

Title: Blood Money
Author: Ali Parker
Publication Date: June 2015
Genre: Romance Thriller

Kate Jarrett has been around the block a few times, her life nothing more than a trail of failures. After her father dies she inherits the family bar, a place where she’s accepted for who she is and loved for who she’s not. Due to the location of her new establishment, a few friends from her past make themselves welcomed and death shows up at her door.

Jon Peterson is a seasoned officer for the NYPD, his record clean and eyes set on being the youngest captain in the history of the force. When his little brother Adam turns up dead at a bar in the seedy side of town, Jon’s focus shifts. Is Kate involved in what happened to Adam or a pawn in a much larger game? Not interested in drama and hell-bent on justice mixed with revenge, Jon finds the one thing he never wanted – love.Blood Money AMAZON LARGE

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Pitching the campaign: Juggle and struggle

Belinda Williams, The Pitch (3rd June)

Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

In The Pitch, my lead character, Madeleine, is faced with juggling her career and a potential relationship with her mentor, Paul. This topic appealed to me because, like Maddy, I’ve worked in marketing and understand the demands and challenges of the industry. My approach is unique in that I like to use humour to explore my themes. Even when dealing with some very serious challenges in Maddy’s life and career, I believe humour is a great tool to work through issues.

How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

I find I need to let story ideas take form in my mind before I put pen to paper, but it’s hard to put a time frame on it. Often I’ll start writing and all the while I’ll be working through the themes in my mind as I go. Sometimes I won’t really be able to get to the heart of the topic until I’m actually writing it. My process is very fluid. I’m not really a massive note taker, I’m more of a daydreamer. When I come up with a story idea I’ll write it down and file it, and then I wait to see which story is calling me in terms of which one I’m thinking about the most. That’s how I know what I’ve got to write next.

 How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

I usually research as I go. If there’s something I come across as I write, then I’ll research it then and there, or make a note that I need to go back and flesh it out later. There wasn’t a huge amount of research required for The Pitch due to it being set in a world I was very familiar with. I had to check the terminology of Maddy’s medical condition and do some research around that, but again, I did this as I went.

What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?

Did I mention I love the internet? World’s best research tool for writers! Failing that, I’ll usually seek out people who know more about the topic than I do, and corner them!

How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?

So far I haven’t had to contact any authority figures in relation to my writing. I’ve just finished writing Scarlett’s story (the third book in the City Love series) and I needed to get a medical perspective on a scene that occurs in her book, so I spoke to a few nurses I know. Generally I find people are pretty open to talking to you as soon as they find out you’re writing a book!

 How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?

For this series, I was rejected a handful of times before it found a home with Momentum. I realise I’m very lucky, but I think there’s also a lot to be said for researching who you’re going to submit to. I’d always felt this series would sit well with a publisher like Momentum and to my delight, they thought so too!

Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?

I self-published a paranormal romantic suspense called Radiant before writing this series and being traditionally published. It was listed as a top ten finalist in the Romance Writers of Australia Emerald award, which gave me the confidence to put it out there. I didn’t really submit it to many publishers because I was keen to try self-publishing due to my marketing background. I do think it made a difference when pitching my current series to publishers. They could see that not only was I committed and professional about my writing, but I also had a website and blog set up, a social media profile, and Radiant had received good reviews.

Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?

I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to do things in this industry. Self-publishing can certainly help prove to a publisher that you’re a good investment, but I don’t see it as a requirement. Some writers loathe the concept of self-publishing and I get that, I really do. Self-publishing takes a lot of work and it can be a lonely journey when you’re starting out. There’s a lot to be said for having a publisher behind you, and having a professional who believes in your work enough to put it out there on your behalf. I love the support I receive from my publisher and the relationship I have with them. All I’d say is that if you do choose to self-publish you better make sure the quality is up to scratch. Write the best book you can write, pay an editor and get a professionally produced cover. If you can’t make it look as professional as a traditionally published book, then I wouldn’t do it.

Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?

Sadly, no, not yet, but I’m working towards this as a longer-term goal. I don’t think you can expect to achieve this with only one or two books out there (unless you are extremely lucky!)



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