Saturday, August 4, 2012

On Hiatus until further notice

Thrillers Rock Twitter will not be reviewing or working actively until further notice. Summer takes precedent and the authors and bloggers and support staff need to get a tan!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Our Friday Review - July 20th - A Mind Man


THE MIND MAN 
by PD Richmond

The Mind Man by PD Richmond catches hold of you from the start. Immediately you are introduced to the main character and his unfortunate way of school and home life and you instantly sympathize with him.

Although the characters throughout the book have an inkling of what the main character is doing the book leaves you hanging wondering whether there is more to it and if the other characters are reading into it more than they should. Its only further into the book where you realise that this type of situation could be destructive and could actually cause major disruption to mankind. The story line keeps you guessing right the way through.

To start it’s a major ‘the baddy gets his comeuppance’ but it quickly moves onto something else with fast-paced developments in the story line.
When you get to the ending, the whole story unravels and you start to question your own intentions. You start with sympathising with the main character, then you begin to resent him and then back to feeling for him and maybe feel sorry that you changed your own opinion of him.

There are many aspects aside of the main story line throughout this book that you can relate to in your own life and enables you to think how you would feel should you be in the situation.

From start to finish I couldn't put the book down and found that it was very easy to pick up from where I left off. 

I did find that there maybe a few unnecessary characters that were brought into the story line and I started to feel that I may lose track of the plot, however these characters, although they play a big part in the story line only have a small appearance in the book. I also found that the plot would go from A-Z very quickly but as quick as this would happen, the story would make sense and fit together well.

Overall 4.5 stars and definitely worth a read.


Sarah Springate @Spring_meister

Friday, July 13, 2012

Our Friday Review - July 13th - CIty of Broken Glass


The fourth book in a series of historical thrillers, A City of Broken Glass by Rebecca Cantrell is a blend of the mystery/intrigue and noir genres. It is a well written story that takes place in what many (myself included) consider the darkest period in the modern western world.

Set in Nazi Germany in 1938, the story follows Hannah Vogel, a journalist sent by the Swiss newspaper she works for to cover a fluff piece about pastries during a festival in Poland. But soon after she and her son Anton arrive in Poland, Hannah discovers a real story to cover: the deportation of Jews from Germany. The Jewish refugees Hannah finds are housed in a stable under deplorable conditions and guarded by Polish soldiers as if they are prisoners. When Hannah recognizes one of the refugees as the wife of a former lover, Hannah goes to her and sees that the woman is about to give birth. The woman begs Hannah to ensure the safety of her two year old daughter who has been hidden in a cupboard in the woman's home in Berlin. As Hannah agrees to help, she faces not just the mystery of why the toddler was left alone or where she is but also Hannah's very own mystery - how she herself becomes trapped in Berlin with her son and how it all ties together with her past. The suspense is built carefully through both the fictional events created and the actual historical events leading to the Holocaust and World War II.

The story is told in first person from Hannah's point of view and in that respect it's very well done. The writing is a little on the colder side but almost exactly what the reader would imagine to be written by a journalist. It also fits well with the bleakness of the time period. Although there is a lot of internal dialogue and self criticism (for not doing enough to fight the Nazis) within Hannah and surrounding the other characters, the characters themselves still struck me as a little cold. Most of the emotion I felt arose from the events rather than the characters - even though the author does a good job of making the main characters a little more likeable towards the end (and they are probably realistic for the time). 

As I mentioned earlier, this is the fourth book in the Hannah Vogel mystery series but it can easily be read as a stand alone thriller. There is a lot of historical information behind it and the author even provides additional information from her research at the end.

For a suspense thriller, it's a very good story. It also has an interesting but very disturbing setting. So it's probably just me, but I did feel a little discomfort when I read the novel. Yes, I know there were German citizens who did stand up against the Nazi Regime and their inhuman laws. The author even points this out at the end with real examples. However, as history tells us there were so many who didn't. It gives the reader a lot to think about. I think if the storyline was in a different setting and the characters just a little different, it would have been an easier novel to like.

More about the author:

Find Rebecca Cantrell books here:

On Amazon

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New Fiction Engine Network


Hello Thriller fans and book lovers in general. Shannon Mayer of TRT has graciously offered this guest spot for me to tell you about a new book blog called New Fiction Engine, and most importantly about a new Network of book reviewers we’re building and hoping some of you might like to join.

First, the idea behind New Fiction Engine is simple and written at the very top of our home page: “We Find Great Fiction from Under Six Bucks to Free.”

Books need readers like stuffed animals need kids to love them. The absolute best way to help match a book to a reader who will love it is Word-of-Mouth from other readers who love it already.

We do feature posts on one book a day, something we’ve vetted and know is really good, and we tell people about it. We do other fun stuff too, but that’s the heart of it.

Many under 6 dollar books are Indie books. We love Indie books, but as you know many of those are unknown quantities. No way we can read them all. What we need then, is vetted content. Indie or Traditional, we just need to know when there’s a really good book out there. Obviously no one knows and loves books more than book bloggers, and there are really no opinions we’d rather cite.

With that in mind, then, we came up with a pretty cool idea we think is a win/win for everybody.

It’s the NFE Network - Reviews We Trust With Our Very Lives.

The idea is simple:

Our goal is to create a Network of book blogs with trusted reviews we can link to, sending new traffic their way in exchange for giving our readers a heads-up on great books. When you find and review a good book under six bucks, we’ll send readers to you so you can tell them all about it.

The relationship is very simple and you wouldn’t have to do much of anything besides read and blog as usual. When we see a 4 Star or better review of an under 6 dollar book on a Network blog, we just want to link to it. We’ll post the book cover, your logo (if applicable) a teaser of your review's opening lines, and LINK it directly to your blog.  

All of your content will be fully credited to you (in fact we’re very proud to have you and

will make a big deal out of it) and only a snippet of the review will be posted here as a teaser. We will link you and only you in that post.

Then we’ll tweet and promote as hard as we can (we are small because we literally started last week - but so far people really like the site and we are growing fast!) Our readers continue getting a great service, and the result should be extra readers for you.

We also would like to make the relationship official, make some noise about it, and get people curious.

Join us and we’ll announce the relationship, proudly display your logo in our side bar as part of our Network of Reviews We Trust With Our Very lives, and whenever you review an Under Six Buck book for your blog with a recommendation of 4 Stars or more, we’ll do our best to send people your way.

Thrillers Rock Twitter was the first to join, an their logo looks terrific on our site. But they look lonely at the moment and we’d love to see a few more there!

Thanks for this opportunity Shannon, thanks TRT, and thanks everybody,

Stephen T. Harper

Check us out and see at www.newfictionengine.blogspot.com

Or contact us directly at newfictionengine@gmail.com

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Our Friday Review - June 22nd CIty Under the Moon

"Bioweapon catastrophes, government conspiracies, military sieges, historical revelations, psychological warfare and werewolves. You want more thrill from a thriller?" – Seth Green

City Under the Moon by Hugh Sterbakov

Assisted by a horror blogger and a squad of elite commandos, Tildascow must hunt Valenkov across the globe and uncover the sinister secret of the curse threatening mankind. Tens of thousands are infected. Time is running out.

I really never imagined I'd be writing this in a review: It's the werewolf apocalypse! This story is a very unique thriller that returns the werewolf firmly to the role of monster. For me, this was a welcome change from the recent trend in popular fiction where the werewolf is cast as more of a tortured romantic hero, doomed or otherwise. I also enjoyed the shake up from the hordes of undead leading us to our peril thing - although humanity meeting its end at the shredding hands (claws) of a hairy wolf-like human might not be much of a step up.

From start to finish, the werewolf infection in this story is terrifying. The creatures are nothing but driven killers, cannibals really, controlled by a single leader. They live to eat, kill and spread the infection. To become a werewolf is a fate worse than death.

And of course, that is the fate facing New York city.

As the potential doom of mankind - the werewolf plague - descends on the city; it soon becomes clear that options are limited.The madman behind the plague is demanding a cure from the U.S. government. But is a cure even possible? Will the government attempt to find a cure or will it take far more drastic measures? The author does a remarkable job of creating suspense throughout the novel, particularly at the end. There are a number of possible outcomes for the reader to guess at that pop up along the way.

For many thriller fans, this will be a great read. There are plenty of heart racing action sequences to keep the reader glued to the pages. There is a variety of character types - from a geeky young werewolf expert to an atypical FBI anti-terrorism specialist that is something of a science experiment herself. The novel even takes on different sub genres: at times it can be anything from medical to political thriller, science fiction and horror suspense to historical fiction.

I think this thriller will be a five star book for many action horror fans. For me however, there were some very significant things holding me back. I did find myself having to go over a couple of passages to re-read some of the action, and I did get a little lost in the middle. It could just be me and other readers might not experience this. My other, more subjective stumbling block was the writing style. Course language can be used effectively and in the case of this novel it's used well with humor. But for me, less is often more and it did take away from my overall enjoyment of the book. Although, I think it would work well as a movie.

Available for purchase on Amazon.

Reviewed by: E. Bard
@itsyournovel






Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Today Thrillers ROCK Twitter presents an interview with author, Rick Chesler, author of the thrillers, Tara Shores, novels full of action, adventure, intrigue, and suspense intermingled with cutting edge science and technology!

TRT - Where are you from? Tell us a little bit about yourself!

RC = I currently live in Los Angeles, where I grew up, but have also lived in different places around the country including Hawaii and the Florida Keys. I have a degree in marine biology and have always been fascinated by the natural world, the ocean in particular.

TRT - Do you have a day job as well?

RC = Yes, right now I work as a research project manager at a major university.

TRT - As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

RC = Be a marine biologist and explorer.

TRT - What do you do when you are not writing?

RC = Spend time with my family. I also enjoy boating, scuba diving, going to the beach and, of course, reading.

TRT - Tell us your latest news.

RC = My newest novel, BLOOD HARBOR, about a small seaside town thrust into terror, has just been crowd-funded on Kickstarter, and will be published in February 2013.

TRT - When and why did you begin writing?

RC = I first started in my late 20s, influenced and inspired by the works of Michael Crichton and Clive Cussler, as well as my own studies of and experiences with nature.


TRT - How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?

RC = I’ve lived in some different parts of the country, done a bit of travelling, so that exposure to different cultures and areas I’m sure has shaped my views on things. My degree in marine biology, scuba diving and boating experiences also play a role.

TRT - How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?

RC = The Tara Shores series books tend to be pretty high concept, where the title is usually known to me before I start writing. The forthcoming SOLAR ISLAND, for example, is about events that take place on a floating solar energy installation. Wired Kingdom is a play on the classic television nature show, about a whale tagged with a webcam that broadcasts a murder at sea. So the titles, so far at least, have naturally followed the underlying premises.

TRT - Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

RC = I can’t say there’s an intended message, other than there are a lot of remarkable topics out there to explore, many involving science, technology and nature, and the ways humans interact with their world. First and foremost, though, the novels are meant to be thought provoking entertainment, hopefully the kind of books that are perfect for the beach or a long plane ride, but that also get the reader thinking.

TRT - Are your works based on someone you know or events in your life?

RC =No, the novels are purely fiction, but people I’ve known or have come across throughout my life may influence my characters in the little personality traits and quirks they have, or things they say.

RC =Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?

TRT - Not really, no. I only have a set amount of time to write each night, and I know that whatever I’m going to write, it has to get done during that time, so I can’t afford to waste it. Outlining helps in that regard. If all else fails, skipping ahead to write the next scene I am sure of will eventually “unlock” the previous section I was uncertain about. The key is to keep moving forward somehow, putting words on paper and pausing occasionally to evaluate them critically.

TRT - Who is your favorite author and why?

RC = Michael Crichton, for astonishing premises crisply executed.

TRT - How long does it take you to write a book?

RC = The first one took longer, but now I can comfortably write one novel per year working part time on it, outside of a full-time day job.

TRT - What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

RC = I don’t know how interesting it is, but I write usually late night by dim light—one of those blue or green colored party bulbs in a desk lamp and that’s it, and lots of times with headphones on playing music.

TRT - If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?

RC = Only very minor details that don’t affect the overall tone and spirit of the story experience. I’m happy with the novels I’ve released so far. I think any book length work can always be improved at least a little bit, but at some point you have to say enough is enough, and for me that point is reached once they’re published. I look forward rather than back.

TRT - Hypothetical question #1: You’re going to be stranded on a desert island but are allowed to bring one book. What book do you bring?

RC = Desert Island Survival and Rescue Tactics

TRT -Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you


RC = I’m a certified PADI (SCUBA) Divemaster. I’m a drummer. I lived in Hawaii for 5 years.

TRT - Do you have cops or others in a field of expertise who read your stories before you publish them?

RC = On occasion I have consulted directly with scientists who are experts in a field I’m writing about, such as whales or genetic engineering. Also, for insights into the life of a female FBI agent, I have read a couple of biographies by real-life agents.

TRT - Is there anything additional you would like to share with your readers?

RC = The third Tara Shores thriller, SOLAR ISLAND, will be published this December (2012) from Seven Realms Publishing. Then, in February 2013, my first standalone suspense novel, BLOOD HARBOR will be released.


--Thanks very much for having me as a guest on the always awesome Thrillers Rock!

Happy reading,

Rick Chesler

Rick Chesler holds a Bachelor of Science in marine biology and has had a life-long interest in the ocean and its creatures. When not at work as a research project manager, he can be found scuba diving or traveling to research his next thriller idea. Author of kiDNApped and Wired Kingdom, he currently lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife, son, and some fish.






A priceless biotechnology, an FBI agent, and an unspeakable act of familial betrayal collide in a tropical kidnapping more twisted than a DNA double helix. When a renowned scientist with a solution for global warming is kidnapped at sea, FBI Special Agent Tara Shores must unravel a high-tech trail of S.O.S. messages encoded into the DNA of living cells. As each decoded message brings Tara nearer to the missing genius, it also takes her farther from help than she ever thought possible.

_________________________________

When a blue whale tagged with a web-cam designed with stolen defense technology broadcasts a brutal murder at sea as part of a television nature program, Special Agent Tara Shores finds herself navigating an ocean of manipulation and deceit in a deadly race to reach the 100-ton creature roaming the Pacific before an unknown killer can destroy the digital evidence it carries.

As Shores dives deeper into the case, what she initially dismisses as a publicity stunt for the glitzy reality series soon sweeps her out to sea in a riptide of greed, intrigue, and high-tech crime.



_________________________________

Carmen Caine is the member of Thrillers Rock Twitter where she is happy to coordinate author interviews in between writing Scottish Medieval Romances such as "The Bedeviled Heart". For more on Carmen Caine, please visit: www.CarmenCaine.com

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Our Friday Review for June 15th - Sundered

Sundered by Shannon Mayer 

A miracle drug, Nevermore, spreads like wildfire throughout the world allowing people to eat what they want, no matter how unhealthy it is and yet still lose weight. It is everything the human population has ever dreamed of and Mara is no different. Only a simple twist of fate stops her from taking the drug.
As the weeks roll by, it becomes apparent that Nevermore is not the miracle it claimed. A true to life nightmare, the drug steals the very essence that makes up humanity and unleashes a new and deadly species on the world, a species bent on filling its belly. Locked down within their small farm home, Mara and her husband Sebastian struggle against increasingly bad odds, fighting off marauders and monsters alike.
But Sebastian carries a dark secret, one that more than threatens to tear them apart, it threatens to destroy them both and the love they have for each other. 
The secret forces Mara to make the ultimate choice. Will she live for love, or will she live to survive?
THE REVIEW:
This is going to be a fun series to read! I ended up starting and finishing book one in an evening. I did not read any reviews on this so had no clue just what kind of zombies I would be dealing with. I was pleased with Shannon's take on what caused the people to turn. I also like how they are not all mindless drones screaming for brains. This is a love story, a story of survival and a story of new beginnings. Pretty hard to surprise me when it comes to zombie stories, but Shannon did. It is well written and the characters well fleshed out for as short of a read it is.

Though not a social commentary outright on the desperation behind today's easy fix it thinking, it definitely was loud and clear that people, when desperate and lazy enough will do anything even blindly going along with the masses, to fix the flaws they perceive themselves having. Need to lose a little weight? Oh pop a pill, or in this case get a shot! If the doctor gives it to us it MUST be OK right? Tell that to our protagonist Mara who was lucky she was allergic to this quick fix. Remember everyone, if nothing is ever as easy as it looks and if it looks to good to be true, it most likely is!

This zombie apocalypse is just starting to get rolling in the first of this series. I am moving on to the next on "Bound" to find out! Edgar Allen Poe had it right... Nevermore!
______________
Interview by Kriss, the Cabin Goddess

Friday, June 8, 2012

Our Friday Review - June 9th, 2012

Full Body Contact
by Carolyn McCray and Elena Gray
Review: 5 Stars

Full Body Contact by Carolyn McCray and Elena Gray is action rich romance with plenty of grit and suspense. Although it's touted as a thriller by many reviewers, I'm reluctant to throw that label around without the romance firmly affixed. Why? After finishing the novel, I felt the characters' relationships and psychology played a much larger part than the criminal investigation plot. Much of the suspense and most of the thrills arise from the dangerous relationship between the main characters Detective Alexis Reed and prime suspect Travis Dekker. This is in no way a negative. I just feel that simply calling it a thriller might not leave it open enough for other audiences.

Travis Dekker is a prize winning Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) champion and the prime suspect in the violent death of his girlfriend as well as others. Damaged by his reputation for losing control in the ring (and possibly during other violent activities), he no longer competes. Instead, he operates a gym to train future hopefuls. 

As the only detective with some MMA training, Alexis Reed is the best choice in her unit to investigate Dekker. While her coworkers Nick and Grace are both seasoned detectives, Alexis has the right look and experience to go undercover as Dekker's student. Neither of her colleagues are happy with the choice, Nick in particular. Having dated her, he's become protective which makes Alexis uncomfortable. But the girl detective is driven. She's had to work hard to get where she is and won't miss out on the opportunity. 

Almost immediately Alexis ('Lexie') gets caught up in Dekker's dangerous nature. She discovers she's attracted to his danger and begins to take extraordinary risks and rationalize Dekker's behavior. As her desire for the suspect escalates so does her own risk taking. Will her naïveté and inexperience jeopardize her investigation or lead her into something much worse?

Shorter than most novels but longer than a 'single', this is a good quick read. It's the perfect length for those times you crave a read but can't invest a lot of time - like during a road trip or air travel. Although the sex does get very steamy, so if you're a blusher, maybe not. Save it for the hotel room. 

For the romance part of the story, I would have preferred the ending to be a little longer. It also might have been nice to see a little more tension between the Alexis and Nick characters. I felt that relationship could have been fleshed out more (no pun intended) and it could have added a little more depth to the story depending on how it was tackled. However, as a quick light read it doesn't really need anything else, so I've reviewed it that way.

As a thriller, the action is tough and the fight scenes brutal. There's enough going on to keep the reader engaged and scrolling through pages right up until the end. All in all, it's a tidy little romantic thriller or thrilling romance - your choice - worth the cover price. So if you like your romances with kick or your thrillers with heat, this could be the novel for you.

Reviewed by: E. Bard
@itsyournovel
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Friday, June 1, 2012

Our Friday Review!


Review: 5 Stars


If you're ready for a good scare but it's not quite hot enough where you live to seek out the cool dank atmosphere of a movie theater, here's a great place to start: Widowmaker: A Thriller for Horror Buffs by Carolyn McCray and Elena Gray. This was a great fun read that starts with an idea that's been around before - a movie that can kill - but then twists itself into something altogether original and entertaining. Here's the story blurb from Amazon:
Terror in the Trees, the latest uber-low budget slasher flick is slaying people... literally. But is it all hype or is there an evil force behind the supposed deaths? Special Agent Bolder had best find out before the President attends the Hollywood premiere...
The blurb really doesn't do the story justice. There's just so much more to it. It has all the elements of a campy horror movie mixed with well developed believable characters, humor, nail biting suspense, conspiracy and a completely unpredictable ending. The story wasn't the only part of the novel with such a surprise ending either; the endings for several characters were highly creative (and of course, sometimes rather gory). But getting back to the ending - wow. I really couldn't have predicted that one.

When it comes to horror suspense novels, there's very little to complain about in this one. I recommend it. Particularly if you're a horror movie fan looking for something a little unexpected. The pace is fast. The characters are fun (Mitchell was my favorite). A lot of characters die, including some of the more appealing ones. But yes, I will admit that the Baxter brothers are kind of two dimensional as far as characters go - it just makes them fit the story better.

I first read this novel back in January and the copy I had was an earlier version that had formatting issues on my reader. In places it was difficult to read. I am happy to say that this updated linked version doesn't share those issues. It's a very good deal at its current price of $0.99 on Amazon, but I would pay more and feel it was money well spent. Five stars.

Reviewed by: E. Bard


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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

NOVEL SENIORS!


We invite you to join the Indie Book Collective's amazing new program

We are excited to offer free ebooks to you, our most cherished readers.

At least once a month we will donate free, yes we said FREE ebooks through
Amazon.com to seniors. Just go to www.novelseniors.com and sign up for our
newsletter! Once you’re on the list we’ll send you free books!

And not just one book!! Heck no! For every book you claim we will send you
another.


Every book you claim within the first hour of the giveaway will give you 5!
chances to win a $25 gift card AND 5! chances to win our grand prize a KINDLE.
(Example: Claim five books and you get 25 chances to win a gift card and 25
chances to win the KINDLE)

Don't have a Kindle? No worries. There is a Kindle app for just about any electronic device (click here to get one). If you own a computer, smart phone, or iPod touch, then you are able to download the free ebooks.

Our next Free Give Away is Friday June 1. Go to www.novelseniors.com and
sign up for the newsletter. (You just enter your email address in the box to the right, look for the confirmation email and approve.)

Voila! You are on your way to receiving your free ebooks. Who says you can't
get something for free? Not us. There are no gimmicks, fees, or hidden costs. We
promise. So get in on the fun and sign up for our newsletter now! We look forward to sharing some great books with you. Go to www.novelseniors.com.

Novel Seniors!

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Interview with Author Natasha Troop

Introducing Natasha Troop - Author of the Lakebridge Series



Natasha grew up in Southern California and received her Bachelor’s degree from UCLA in Comparative Literature. She also holds Masters’ Degrees in both Secondary Education and Creative Writing. Natasha currently lives in the Phoenix area with her spouse, son, daughter and menagerie of pets, including one very overprotective collie dog. Aside from writing and teaching high school students to love theatre, she is attempting to become a professional baker.

 

  1. Where are you from? Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I was born in Anaheim, CA, not to far from Disneyland and spent the majority of my youth living the sweet life out in Southern California's beautiful San Fernando Valley. I did spend a few years living in New Jersey or, as I prefer to call it, New York adjacent, which is a way in Los Angeles of trying to imply that you live someplace nicer than you actually live…such as calling West L.A. “Beverly Hills adjacent”…sorry, it’s not Beverly Hills. You don’t get money from the oil wells…people actually in Beverly Hills actually are paid profits from the city’s oil wells.

Okay, so after growing up, I went to UCLA for a while, and studied Theatre Arts there. I transferred to Loyola Marymount University and studied Theatre Arts there. Then I dropped out and worked professionally for a good long while as a stage manager and sometime designer. All the while, I was trying to find a way to make a living as a screenwriter. I actually made a decent living ghost writing scripts that never got made which supported my life in the theatre. I wrote a vampire script for Lions Gate that was really quite good and different, but they felt it was too pricey. Years later, I went back to UCLA and earned my B.A. in Comparative Literature because I thought it would be a much more effete degree than one in English. I was right! But it exposed me to a lot of different writers from a lot of different places, which has really influenced my writing a great deal. I got married, had a couple of kids. Moved to Phoenix for the free day care and supposedly cheaper cost of living and discovered why when the rest of the country is orange or yellow on the weather map, southern AZ is white with a purple tinge. It’s pretty on the map at least.


  1. Do you have a day job as well?

I do! I’m a public high school Theatre Arts teacher. They make me teach a section of English to Seniors because I have a lit degree and a writing degree and they had a shortage of English teachers. But mostly I teach kids to love the stage…or at least tolerate standing up in front of an audience without throwing up – an important life skill. And I get to direct and design plays. It’s a different artistic outlet and they pay me for it. I always wonder at that and worry that at some point, they’ll decide to stop.



  1. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I wanted to be a forensic pathologist. There was this TV show with Jack Klugman called “Quincy” about a forensic pathologist who lived on a boat and I really liked the idea of living on a boat and solving crimes. Now I would never live on a boat or handle dead bodies. I was in A.P. Bio in high school and we went to the Gross Anatomy lab at UCLA and worked with cadavers for a day. It made me sad, really. Cadavers are very melancholy things. But by that time my dreams of detective work and boats were a thing of the past. I wanted to direct plays and write science fiction and or horror novels. Apparently, after a time, I seem to get what I want. I hope this trend continues. I also want to win the Powerball.


  1. What do you do when you are not writing?

I teach. I read. I watch the occasional trashy show on TV and the even more occasional not trashy show. I play with my kids and spend time with my spouse. Oh! I also have a cookie company called Woobie’s Cookies. People seem to like them, which is why we sell them. One thing seems to follow the other.


  1. Tell us your latest news.

On May 29th I’m undergoing genital reconstruction surgery to complete my physical transition from male to female. I’m very excited about this as I can finally put this stage of my life behind me and get on with things.


  1. When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing seriously in high school. I was a part of the literary magazine for a few years and, having been a great consumer of words for many years, I felt that I could do a good job of producing words in new and exciting combinations. Then people started telling me I was good at it, which was good for my ego, so I continued because I am never one to deny my ego sustenance. There are periods of time where it is so hungry, I often think it will die. Writing things does wonders for its health and well-being. Although I will say my superego has concerns about this writing thing and thinks I should focus more on the teaching, but my id really wants me to give up this whole teaching thing and just drink coffee and write. Balance is what is important.


  1. How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?

I’ve lived in a lot of places and lived a somewhat less than boring life. I tend to draw from my life quite a bit as I build characters. Mostly, I think having come from a family that emphasized the importance of reading, I was exposed to a lot of books from a very young age and, as such, writers were “important people” because they made all those books. Also, my brothers liked to scare me when I was a child. I was the youngest and, as such, the innocent victim of their evil ministrations. As a result, I developed a penchant for things that were really scary, I think, to deflect some of the mundane horror of my experiences. It’s why I found Stephen King when I was 9 and then Lovecraft after him. I was looking for ways to escape into other people’s bad dreams.  


  1. How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?

The cycle of books I’m writing at the moment all center around a small covered bridge that traverses a lake that the people of the town call the Lakebridge. Each book is a day and a little bit after in each of the four seasons and each season flavors the story in its own way. I used to sweat titles for my works, trying to be clever or literary. In college, I wrote a play called “Storming the Wall of Dis,” which is ridiculous and extremely pretentious. Eventually that play was retitled, “Pretty Blue Gun,” which sounds like something a hipster would carry. I think I’m getting too old to try all that hard. My next books after I’m done with the Lakebridge cycle will be called “Pyramid” and “The Amazing Robot”. I’ve come a long way.  


  1. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes. But if I say what it is, then I remove the mystery and I take away the ability of literary critics to completely misinterpret me and then chide others that what I meant when I wrote the books is irrelevant to how they interpret them. If I tell you what my intended message is, then I flavor your response to the text. If you discover what I meant and don’t feel I beat you over the head with it, then I have done my job well.


  1. Are your works based on someone you know or events in your life?

In part. My books happen in the present and, as such, it makes it easier for me to directly scavenge my life for interesting people and experiences to adapt.


  1. Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?

When I was a young teenager, I read a lot of Piers Anthony. He would always have these Afterwords where he would go on about how he never got writer’s block and how there was no such thing and it was all in the heads of those who said they had it – as if there was an actual, physical block. And I remember reading this when I get blocked from time to time and I say, “Fuck you, Piers Anthony!” And then I write something…just a word or two and try to find my way back into a groove. Because if Piers Anthony can spin his pun-filled fluff out in his little writer shack in Florida, I can break down some pesky minor block.


  1. Who is your favorite author and why?

Not Piers Anthony. Grrr.  Okay, it’s a toss up between a lot of folks because I’m not so single minded that I can land on one writer and say that writer is my favorite. I’m far too moody a reader and while I have an undying love for Virginia Woolf and Gabriel Garcia Marquez because they both taught me that writers can do things that I didn’t know they could do, were allowed to do in the case of Marquez, I’m not always in the mood for them. I love Dan Simmons because he’s smart and he’s unafraid to write books for people who know things. He’s like the James Joyce of genre fiction. I love Chuck Palahniuk because when I read him, I learn stuff…stuff I can use. I’m a longtime Larry Niven fan and H.P. Lovecraft is amazing and SO influential on my work.

How could I pick just one?
 

  1. How long does it take you to write a book?

It took me seven years to write my first book. It took me seven months to write my second. I’m hoping I can crank out the third in seven weeks. If I had the available time, I could, actually. Seven days is not achievable for me, though.

  1. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Someone criticized me for writing long sentences without punctuation and paragraphs that go on for pages. I took it as a compliment. Sentences are as long as they need to be and punctuation is for rhythm. So if it is a long sentence without punctuation, I want it to be that way because I think sometimes prose should be breathless. I also love repetition. Again, it’s a rhythm thing. I feel prose should be musical.

  1. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?

Nah. If I wanted to change something, one of the glories of being an independent author is that I can sneak a revision in when no one is looking. The fact is, my first book was pushed quickly to print and as a result, the editing was not…good. So I spent the time to fix it and now, even though some reviews of it complain about the mistakes, those mistakes are no longer there. I don’t even know what they are talking about. What mistakes?


  1. Do you have any fun Halloween experiences you can tell us?

My spouse and I honeymooned in Salem, MA on Halloween. We actually started our trip in Vermont and it was the first time I had ever been there and certainly a big part of my experience in how I see Vermont in my head…how I created the town. But Salem was a blast. We didn’t have costumes so we went into a little store there. I bought a burglar mask and she bought a cheap cat costume. I was a cat burglar. It was an awesome party. We went to haunted houses, grave yards, impromptu performances and took a haunted tour of Salem at night. It was my favorite Halloween ever. 


  1. What scares you?

The thought of something happening to my spouse or my kids. More than anything. I’m also petrified of being buried alive. Ever since I was a kid and read Poe’s story. Seriously, I can’t think of anything worse...aside from family tragedy. I think I would allow myself to be buried alive to protect them. I’m pretty sure I would…I think.


  1. Do you ever come up with anything so wild that you scare yourself, that leaves you wondering where that came from?

Yes. And I rush to write it down before I lose it. It takes a lot to scare me and sometimes I laugh to myself when I come up with something and I say, “Holy shit!” and laugh some more. Laughter often defeats fear.

  1. Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas?

I do. Not necessarily ideas, but sometimes I want historical events or mythologies to work with in my stories. In Summer I do this a number of times because of the nature of that book. My next book will explore a number of mythologies more directly, so I’ll have to brush up on some things. But I’m a knowledge junkie anyway, so if I know more things, it makes me happy. More ego food.

Is there anything additional you would like to share with your readers?

One of the most important things about my work is that I am interested in the ways people think and access knowledge and memory. I think we all do this a little differently, but there is a process to it. A lot of how my work is structured reflects what I believe is the essential randomness of the human mind. Given then, everything is meaningful and helps to create a full picture of how we experience the world.

And when all else fails, there is always cheese.

Vermont, picturesque and lovely, attracts visitors from across the country in search for the perfect picture, the perfect fall foliage or perhaps a taste of maple syrup. Stansbury is best known for the odd covered bridge that spans Stansbury Lake and goes nowhere, connecting no roads and serving no known purpose. The locals call it the Lakebridge. Very few know of its mysterious origins and fewer care to know more. 

Those visiting the town perhaps take a few snapshots and leave, their curiosity quelled by an uneasy feeling that they shouldn’t think on it anymore. The tourists will eventually leave Stansbury, but its residents strangely linger, seemingly held captive by a force they barely recognize. They also do not think about the town’s mysterious artifact much except in passing, all but Gil, his father, Ben, and a few others. They know of the bridge’s dark history and understand that it is responsible for every horror that ever befell the people of Stansbury: the people who fear the bridge but will not speak of it. 

The bridge makes people do things – bad things – so that it can continue to love and care for them all. Some have tried to destroy the bridge, but as long as the bridge is fed with the lives of the innocents of Stansbury it will go on – loving the people of Stansbury. Lakebridge: Spring is the first of a four book cycle revolving around Stansbury and the Lakebridge.

Lakebridge: Spring available at Amazon in ebook & paperback


In the aftermath of a tragic spring day, the people of Stansbury, Vermont, are unable to forget what happened, as they have all the tragedies of their past. After the media exploited their pain, they have become uneasy with the world beyond their town and with any outsiders. In the aftermath of the media deluge, latecomers straggle into Stansbury looking to pick up the scraps of stories left behind. What they find, however, is that the powerful forces that have guided the destinies of the people of the town for hundreds of years are now at war with one another and in need of pawns. In the aftermath of Spring, there is Summer. Lakebridge: Summer is the second of a four book cycle revolving around Stansbury and the Lakebridge


Lakebridge: Summer available at Amazon in ebook & paperback


Natasha can be found
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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Motor City Shakedown
by Jonathan Watkins

When a Detroit man is arrested during a deadly police siege, rookie defense lawyer Issabella Bright rushes off to take the case. Unbeknownst to her, so does Darren Fletcher-- a reckless, hard-drinking lawyer who runs his office out of the city's strangest bar. Forming an unlikely partnership, Issabella and Darren are soon confronted by a murderous police conspiracy bent on destroying their client. Issabella must stay alive long enough to clear her client's name. To do that, she’ll have to keep Darren’s erratic schemes from getting her disbarred, all while staying out of the path of Detroit’s deadliest killer— the reclusive death-dealer, Malcolm Mohommad.

REVIEW (by Michelle Scott):
If you’re looking to read a fast-paced thriller with a touch of humor, look no farther than Jonathan Watkin’s novel, Motor City Shakedown.

Newly minted attorney, Issabella Bright, finds that clients aren’t exactly beating a path to her door. So after reading a shocking headline about a man accused of threatening the President of the United States, Bella is determined to represent the controversial client and gain some notoriety. Unfortunately, rogue attorney Darren Fletcher has the same idea. At first Bright and Fletcher are ready to duel to the death for the right to represent the client, but when the man dies under mysterious circumstances, they discover a mystery that implicates the of the Detroit Police Department, the two attorneys 

Motor City Shakedown is a fast-paced, humorous thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end. The main characters, buttoned-down Issabella and rash, unpredictable Darren Fletcher have wonderful chemistry. Bella doesn’t take Fletcher’s crap, but Fletcher gets Bella to loosen up. Both characters are likeable, despite their flaws.

Because the book takes place in my hometown, Detroit, I read with special interest. It was nice to see an author who had a real sense of the city. Despite the fact that Detroit isn’t quite the urban jungle that the author made it out to be, the setting overall made for a nice backdrop to this story.

One thing that didn’t work well for me, however, was the way that Bella and Darren’s physical relationship went from zero to sixty in under two paragraphs. That struck me as very out of character for both of them, especially when it was hinted that Bella had another romance brewing in the wings. I would have rather seen their emotional connection build rather than be introduced to a physical one so early in the series

Certainly, this will appeal to those who love their thrillers and mysteries with a lighter touch. I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment in this series. I give this book four out of five stars.

Michelle Scott received her MFA from Wayne State University. Her stories have appeared in such places as Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, All Possible Worlds and Realms. Her fantasy novel, The Dragons of Hazlett was nominated for a 2009 EPPIE Award. Michelle’s YA novels include the vampire romance, Blood Sisters, and the fantasy Uncommon Magic. Her latest fantasy novel, An Anthem for the Battle Lands, was recently released from Mundania Press, LLC. Michelle lives in southeast Michigan with her husband and three children.

She can be found on FaceBook and Twitter,  at her blog: Holy Terrors - conversations about grace and genre and more at her website  www.mscottfiction.com