Monday, April 12, 2021

Q&A with Richard Robbins Author of The Tormenting Beauty of Empathy #Q&A

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Today's guest is Richard Robbins, author of the literary / spiritual fiction novel, THE TORMENTING BEAUTY OF EMPATHY. Richard is here with us today to tell us more about the man behind the book.

 
 

What do you look like? Progressively more like my father each year.

Where are you today and what are you doing? I had the joy of fulfilling a dream I’ve had since college and moving back to New Orleans. This city has a wonderful coffee culture, beginning with its French Settlers, and continuing to the present day as one of the world’s leading ports for coffee imports. The city is full of charming independent coffee shops, and you’ll find me most days sitting in one, tapping on my laptop, and sipping coffee and chicory.

You come face to face with your worse enemy. How do you react? Fortunately, I do not believe I have enemies, and have tried, mostly successfully, to live a life with minimal conflict. I believe in, and have studied, win/win relationships and compassionate business, and generally attempt to defuse conflict. I mean, the word empathy is in my book title!

How would your parents describe you? I am the youngest of four boys, and blessed to have had wonderful parents, both of which are now deceased. The differences between siblings have always been a source of fascination to me, and is a recurring theme in my work. I believe the most interesting drama results from family dynamics. But back to your question, they would describe my oldest as the best athlete and most emotional, the second as the most ambitious, the third as the kindest, and me as the second most of each of those qualities. Simplistic, but I don’t think I’d get pushback from any of my brothers from this characterization.

Who is your best friend? I am lucky enough to have many close friends, but there is a group of five of us who have been friends since grade school who I feel are my second brothers. But I’ve never told anybody this, one of my login security questions asks, “Who is your best friend?”, and the answer is always Kevin.

Are you faith-oriented? I am more spiritual than religious. My current release, The Tormenting Beauty of Empathy, addresses spirituality and my views on having a personal relationship with a higher power. I do not believe you must follow ritual to be spiritual, but it is hard for me to see the complexity and diversity of life and imagine that it occurred entirely by chance.

Are you married or in a relationship? I have been married for thirty-two years to my soul mate and life’s love.

Do you have children? We have three adult children. I have worked hard for many things in life, but have never had a more challenging and rewarding experience than raising my three children. They are what I am most proud of in my life. 

 




Richard Robbins’ novels explore the complexities of family dynamics to address important moral questions, while imparting a strong sense of location. His first novel, Love, Loss, and Lagniappe takes to the streets of New Orleans and New York City to explore the journey of self-discovery after heartbreaking loss, while revealing the scientific basis for the meaning of life. His second novel, Panicles, covers the lives of two intertwined families in and around Washington DC, while addressing the price of fame and fortune.

His new release, The Tormenting Beauty of Empathy, follows Hana, a young Guatemalan immigrant mute from childhood tragedy, as her quiet life is upended by the birth of a daughter who turns out to be different. And special. The kind of special that soon draws worldwide attention, for the better, and worse…

Richard was named Louisiana Independent Author of the Year for 2020, and his works have won numerous awards, including the Feathered Quill Book Awards and the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. He lives in New Orleans and New York City with his wife Lisa, near their beloved grown children.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: www.Robbinsbooks.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/richard.robbins.7737




Hana, a young Guatemalan woman who fell mute from a childhood tragedy, flees the brutal Civil War ravaging her country in search of a better life in the United States. Soon after arriving, she discovers she’s pregnant, and is banished from her new home and sent to live in a Mayan community in Indiantown, Florida.

There, she settles into a peaceful life of embroidery and raising her child, a daughter who turns out to be… different… and special—the kind of special that soon draws worldwide attention, for the better and worse.

PRAISE

“…a heart-warming, somewhat traumatic journey into the world of spirituality and the human condition. I was deeply touched by The Tormenting Beauty of Empathy. This is a beautiful, touching, and redeeming tale that I can highly recommend to everyone. When as a reader you feel better inside for having read a book, you know the author has achieved his or her goal. This is such a book.” ~ Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews, Grant Leishman (5 STARS)

“Like the simple faith aspired to in The Tormenting Beauty of Empathy by Richard Robbins, the story moves with basic grace…. This tale is told with heartfelt belief, but also with an unswerving directness that feels preordained… appealing to the contemporary Christian message of love and kindness.” ~ Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews, Joel R. Dennstedt (5 STARS)

“…a thoughtful take on an age-old theme.” ~ Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews, Lucinda E. Clarke (5 STARS)

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://amzn.to/2OOFbup

Sunday, April 11, 2021

New Release! The Fragile Ones by Jennifer Chase #crime #thriller @jchasenovelist

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An absolutely gripping mystery and suspense novel



By Jennifer Chase

Title: THE FRAGILE ONES
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 300
Genre: Crime Thriller

BOOK BLURB:

“Please Mommy, can Tessa and I go play on the swing by the creek?” the little girl begs, pushing a blonde curl from her eyes. “We’ll stay together, and we promise to be safe.” Hours later, their mother waits anxiously for her darling girls to arrive home with a list of reasons why they are late. But the front door never opens…

When the bodies of eleven and twelve-year-old sisters, Tessa and Megan, are found at the bottom of a ravine—dressed in matching pastel summer outfits, their small bodies broken from the fall—Detective Katie Scott is called to one of the most shocking and heartbreaking crime scenes of her career.

Carefully picking through the fragile remains, Katie makes the first of many disturbing discoveries: the girls were not biological sisters. The youngest, Megan, is a DNA match to a kidnapping case years before. The tiny number burnt into her skin the mark of a terrifying killer intent on keeping count of his collection.

Her PTSD from the army triggered, Katie is left reeling as she maps other missing children in the local area. Has this twisted soul found a way to stay nearby his victims? Could he be watching now as Katie hits one dead end after another?

A wild storm building, matching a fiber found during the autopsy to a nearby boatyard is the break Katie needs. But when another girl goes missing, just as lightning strikes and the power goes out, Katie only has her instincts, her team and her service dog to rely on. As time runs out for Katie to finds the stolen child alive, who will become the next number on this monster’s deadly list?

Fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh, you better buckle-up for the ride of your life! BEWARE – this gripping crime thriller is guaranteed to keep you up all night!



Wow!!!… a page-turningnail-biting crime thriller!!… absolutely fantastic… had me completely hooked… filled with nail-biting suspense… keeps you on edge.’ Bookworm86, 5 stars

Excellent… nail-biting… had me enthralled from page one gripped through each twist and turn… jaw-dropping and totally unexpected… brilliant.’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars

My heart was in my throat… kept me tapping my e-reader screen.’ Robin Loves Reading, 5 stars

Oh, my goodness!… non-stop!’ Diane is Reading, 5 stars

THERE WAS NO WAY I WAS PUTTING THIS BOOK DOWN!!!!!… I was literally holding my breath… I HAD TO KNOW!!!!! As for the explosive ending? WOW definitely not what or who I was expecting.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars

 


PROLOGUE

“Please can we go?” whined Tessa as she followed her mother through the living room and into the kitchen. “Please,” she said again, pushing her blonde curls away from her eyes. “I really want to go to the swing by the creek.”

“Not by yourself,” countered Mrs. Mayfield, ignoring her daughter’s angry stare. “We’ve talked about this before.”

“Yes, and you said I couldn’t go alone, and I’m not. Megan will be with me.” Tessa’s older sister was barely a year older and her best friend. Her mother began emptying the dishwasher, putting plates and glasses away in the cabinet. It was unclear if she was thinking about what Tessa had said or not, so she tried again. “I’m almost eleven and Megan is almost twelve. We’re practically teenagers,” she said. “Besides, Janey and her brother will probably be there.”

Mrs. Mayfield laughed. “You know, you would be a good lawyer the way you make your case.”

“I don’t want to be a lawyer. I’m going to be a vet,” Tessa said, grinning.

“Well, I know you are going to be whatever you want to be.” Mrs. Mayfield laughed to herself as she slipped the last piece of silverware into the drawer and turned to face her daughter. At the sound of her name, Megan had joined Tessa in the doorway and they both stood quietly waiting for an answer. Glancing at the wall clock with a sigh, she said, “You both have to be back by four thirty, not a second later. Understand?”

“Thank you! Thank you!” Tessa said, grabbing her sister’s hand in glee. Both girls were in denim shorts and pastel T-shirts with their favorite matching blue sneakers.

“Be home on time,” their mom called after them.

“We will,” chimed the girls.

Mrs. Mayfield heard the front door shut, followed by the sound of running footsteps.

She smiled and went back to her chores as the afternoon ticked by.

 

At 4:45 p.m. Mrs. Mayfield was waiting impatiently to hear the girls enter the house with a list of a dozen reasons why they were late—but the front door never opened. An hour after that, unable to wait any longer, she looked outside, thinking that the girls might be in the yard.

Debris from a croquet set littered the lawn; the wooden mallets abandoned and colored balls scattered as if the girls had been playing only moments ago. The trampoline in the corner had one of the girls’ bright blue sweatshirts hanging on the edge. It swayed slightly in the breeze.

There was no sign of them.

She ran through the house to the backyard, but it, too, was deserted. No whispers. No giggles. No shrieks of laughter. The wind was picking up and whistling through the branches and leaves of the surrounding trees—almost whispering a warning.

Mrs. Mayfield pulled off her apron and reached for her coat, deciding to walk to the creek and bring the girls back herself. At this point, she was more angry than concerned, knowing how they could be forgetful when they were having fun, and often lost track of time.

But surely they would be on their way home by now? she thought to herself as her pace quickened from a fast walk to a jog. Against her better judgment, and knowing that she couldn’t shelter them forever, she had crumbled and let them go down to the creek where one of the neighboring boys had constructed a swing that they loved to play on.

And now fear ripped through her body. “Tessa!” she yelled. “Megan!” Terrible scenarios shuffled through her thoughts as she tried desperately to keep her emotions on an even keel.

“Tessa! Megan!”

She yelled their names over and over until her voice went hoarse. Her chest felt strangely heavy and her vision blurred as she ran, but her strength and mother’s instinct pushed her forward, down the trail leading to the creek. The trail was well-worn by local kids looking for adventure and fun. Stumbling as she ran, she frantically turned left and then right. There wasn’t a soul around… She was alone. She kept moving.

Looking up at the tall pine trees, everything spun in a dizzying blur of forest and darkening sky. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut and open again, then stopped for a moment to listen.

The swing was only visible at the bottom of the path just above the creek and she could hear the water rushing below. Peering over the edge, there was no sign of them—or anyone. She kept turning, expecting to see her girls everywhere she looked. They weren’t there. All around her were discarded candy wrappers and remnants of fast food containers. Proof that children played here often.

There was no sound apart from the whisper of the trees. No children laughing nearby.

“Megan! Tessa!” she yelled again, but there was only silence. She ran all the way up the trail to the street, still calling their names in a full-blown panic.

Mrs. Mayfield turned her attention up the road, her mother’s instinct in high gear. Something blue lying beneath a bush caught her eye and she ran towards it.

She leaned down and her hand trembled over the light blue canvas before she forced herself to grab the abandoned blue sneaker.

“No,” she said, barely breathing.

Written on the side tread of the shoe with a thick black pen was one word: Tessa.










Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and USA Today BestSelling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.



Website: https://authorjenniferchase.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jchasenovelist

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferChase

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2780337.Jennifer_Chase



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Thursday, April 8, 2021

One Writer's Oath: Inspiration is Truly Where You Find It by Kathleen Jae @kathleenjae2 #Guest

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Kathleen Jae has been writing in one form or another for almost twenty-five years. Her greatest success story is her daughter, Katie, whom she refers to as “my hero,” and their journey is chronicled in Kathleen’s first book, From Prompting to Shaping to Letting Go: My Love Affair With ABA and How Being a “Bad Mom” Helped My Daughter With Autism Succeed. In past lives the author has been a proofreader, editor, newspaper reporter and columnist, newsletter writer for a wildlife organization and writer of stage plays and screenplays. She considers her six-year stint as a home-based behavioral program director in the ’90s her most difficult, albeit important, job and is counting the days until all autism-related ABA therapy positions go the way of the dodo. Two of Kathleen’s short stories made it to the finals of the 2017 Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Literary Award competition.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: http://www.kathleenjae.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kathleenjae2

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorkathleenjae

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kathleenjaeauthor

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Kathleen-Jae/e/B07YQ7JNF9%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

One Writer's Oath: Inspiration is Truly Where You Find It


By Kathleen Jae

 

My family and I had made Sanibel Island our vacation destination for 20 years when it hit me. 

The “it” in this situation was an idea, a concept so clear I couldn’t stop mentally plotting the details. I was amazed, as I still am today, that a true story told by a kayaking guide would inspire me to write my first novel.   

Until that time, the thought of writing more than a few pages terrified me. I had written short stories years before—two works to be precise—along with two stage plays and two screenplays. I have never been able to interpret the significance of that! 

I was eager to start writing, so a few days after we returned home, I produced a few typed pages of notes. I had already decided on the critter for the principal character, a choice I made that day listening to the kayaking guide. My notes comprised a few characters, the problem or dilemma and a vague idea on how the protagonist would solve it. Then I began what was to be several days of research. A week in, I realized that one of the two settings of the story, the red mangroves along the coast of southwest Florida, would not make a realistic backdrop for the characters I had envisioned in my book. In fact, only a handful of my characters would naturally be found there.  

Now had a dilemma. Thankfully, the problem was short-lived, for during my investigation I learned salt marshes exist as a transitional community between mangroves and freshwater marshes. I was back in business! 

Once I moved the setting of the second part of the story and adjusted the criteria for my research, my characters felt at home (well, all except one), and I was free to outline the rest of the book. 

The manuscript I first created five years ago was naïve, clumsy and disjointed. Several drafts later, Elanora and the Salt Marsh Mystery has become a fictional work that fills me with pride.  

I still remember sitting in the kayak, staring at the red mangroves while listening to the guide. I will never forget my feeling of excitement at the prospect of writing a novel, and the experience confirms my belief that inspiration can be found wherever you happen to be. 


About the Book:

ELANORA AND THE SALT MARSH MYSTERY
Kathleen Jae
Twenty Paws Publishing
213 pp.
Middle Grade Fiction

BOOK BLURB:

After a series of terrifying events, Elanora is transported to a strange neighborhood where the only way to get about is by water and the only food to eat is the grasses of the marsh. When she discovers that the water level in her new home is falling, she suspects humans are the cause and puts together a plan to save the creatures who live there.

Will Elanora persuade the colony and swimmers to overcome their fear of the unknown and embark on a dangerous journey to their new home?

PRAISE

Elanora and the Salt Marsh Mystery features interesting animal characters with distinctive character traits and personalities who can absorb the middle-grade reader. The salt marsh environment is sufficiently detailed to become a character on its own, with its ebbs and flows. The self-contained world created stands on its own with a microcosm of both conflict and friendship… A child or even an adult reader of this book can identify with and applaud the book’s characters… all in all a very good read. 

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3lIQUY6 

GIVEAWAY!

Kathleen Jae is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card

&

One Printed Canvas Bag



Included in the canvas bag printed with the Elanora and the Salt Marsh Mystery book cover by Etsy shop owner BAGANDTOTE1: One plushie muskrat (Beathas, Lachi and the rest of the colony); one plushie chipmunk (Elanora); one plushie gray squirrel (Nara); one roseate spoonbill (Moira and Muireall) photo transfer hanging by Etsy shop owner FeelinGroovyPhotos; one framed manatee (sea cow) art print by Etsy shop owner SammWehmanArt; one cormorant (Pelles) printed tea towel by Etsy shop owner HearthandHarrow; one yellow-crowned night heron (Morven) signed printed note card by Etsy shop owner BlueHenCraft; one set of 5 vintage bobcat (bullycat) postage stamps by Etsy shop owner AxmxZ; one red-tailed hawk (defyer) applique iron-on patch by Etsy shop owner PatchParlor; one diamondback terrapin (Ùna) vintage, upcycled and hand-soldered glass pendant with ball-chain necklace by Etsy shop owner ObjectFound; one reusable shopping bag adorned with assorted forest animals including red fox (oppect), white tailed deer (Damhan), rabbit (quidge) and owl (marauder); one bird-watching notebook with blue jay (Jae) on front; two signed copies of Elanora and the Salt Marsh Mystery and two Elanora bookmarks.

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive $50 Amazon Gift Card & one winner will be chosen to win tote bag with goodies.
  • This giveaway ends midnight April 30.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on May 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!





New Christian Fiction / Suspense / Futuristic Release! OPERATION: JADE HELMET by Ashley Fontainne #newrelease

9:00 PM 0 Comments

 


When the game begins, everything changes…


By Ashley Fontainne

Title: OPERATION: JADE HELMET
Author: Ashley Fontainne
Publisher: RMSW PRESS
Pages: #314
Genre: Christian Fiction/Suspense/Futuristic

BOOK BLURB:

Eager fans around the world played Operation Red Helmet for years, making it the highest-grossing virtual reality game ever sold, and the designers, The Talladav Group, are the richest company on earth.

After an oppressive, unrelenting worldwide heatwave hits, daily life grinds to a halt around the globe. People retreat to their homes, afraid to go out as violence and chaos erupt in the streets. The game temporarily shuts down as the world grapples with the fallout of civil unrest and critical infrastructure breakdowns, forever altering society.

When governments take over control and infrastructures are replaced and back online, the top players of the previous version receive a mysterious box marked, Operation Jade Helmet. The new version is the first-ever total immersion VR experience and inside each box is a free headset and personal code to play a week before release to the general public. The lucky winners don their newest obsession and impatiently wait for the game to begin. Unfortunately, they are about to discover Operation Jade Helmet is unlike any other game, and when the game begins, everything changes.


“Ashley Fontainne takes the genre of Christian Paranormal Thriller to the next level in Operation Jade Helmet. Signs of the end-times are upon us in a not-so-distant future as the world is experiencing a cataclysmic heatwave and society as a whole is addicted to social media and gaming like never before. Bringing in some of her well-known characters from her Legion Novella Series,  Fontainne weaves together multiple and terrifying plot-lines as this story comes to a nail-biting head in a vivid spiritual and physical battle that will hit close to home for many readers.

Fans of Fontainne’s Legion Novella Series will recall the boy, Tyler Tidwell, and his battle demons. Well, those demons are at it again, and Tidwell, while he doesn’t take center stage in this story, does play a crucial role as a retired and faithful pastor who stands against the darkness that even resides in his church, while threatening his family. Less I give the impression that’s all there is, there are many other memorable characters whose storylines weave and arc together in this complex and intricate story.

From page one, Fontainne immediately thrusts the reader into the action of this story, adding dark intrigue with a mysterious figure that even the supposed “bad guys” seem to fear. Truly, I remained on the edge of my seat to the very end of this story, even enjoying the didactic aspects of this story. Much like Frank Perretti’s This Present Darkness, Piercing the Darkness and Prophet, Fontainne’s Operation Jade Helmet is a cautionary tale that feels far too real to be read as mere allegory. Indeed, it is written as a prophetic glimpse of a future five years hence – one that is far too vividly captured to be passed up as mere speculation. “

– Readers’ Favorite, 5 stars

 







Check out my book at Goodreads!








Award-winning and International bestselling author, Ashley Fontainne, is an avid reader, becoming a fan of the written word in her youth, starting with the Nancy Drew mystery series. Stories that immerse the reader deep into the human psyche and the monsters lurking within us are her favorite reads.

Her muse for penning the Eviscerating the Snake series was The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Ashley’s love for this book is what sparked her desire to write her debut novel, Accountable to None, the first book in the trilogy. With a modern setting to the tale, Ashley delves into just what lengths a person is willing to go to when seeking personal justice for heinous acts perpetrated against them. The second novel in the series, Zero Balance, focuses on the cost and reciprocal cycle that obtaining revenge has on the seeker. Once the cycle starts, where does it end? How far will the tendrils of revenge expand? Adjusting Journal Entries answers that question—far and wide.

The short thriller entitled Number Seventy-Five touches upon the dangerous world of online dating. Number Seventy-Five took home the BRONZE medal in fiction/suspense at the 2013 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards.

The paranormal thriller entitled The Lie won the GOLD medal in the 2013 Illumination Book Awards for fiction/suspense. A movie based on this book, entitled Foreseen, is currently a feature film available on video-on-demand from Amazon.

Ashley delved into the paranormal with a Southern Gothic horror/suspense novel, Growl, which released in January of 2015. The suspenseful mystery Empty Shell released in September of 2014. Ashley teamed up with Lillian Hansen (Ashley calls her Mom!) and penned a three-part murder mystery/suspense series entitled The Magnolia Series. The first book, Blood Ties, released in 2015 and was voted one of the Top 50 Self-Published Books You Should Be Reading in 2015 at www.readfree.ly.

Whispered Pain released in October of 2015, and Night Court released December 13, 2015.

Tainted Cure, Tainted Reality, Tainted Future, and Tainted World are the four books in the post-apocalyptic/zombie genre, The Rememdium Series, all released to rave reviews for a fresh take on the zombie genre.

Ruined Wings is about a young woman’s descent into drug addiction and is currently a short film. The movie is free to watch and share with others in hopes of starting a positive dialogue regarding addiction. https://ruinedwings.com/

Fatal Agreements won the 2019 Independent Audio Awards for best female narrator, Andrea Emmes.

The Legion Series ~ Many ~ Madness ~ Mayhem released in 2019-2020 and delves with the struggles people face with demonic entities.

Sign up below for Ashley’s newsletter and receive a free ebook!

https://ashleyfontainne.net

Website: http://www.ashleyfontainne.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ashley.fontainne

Movie site: http://www.foreseenmovie.com

 








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