Tag Archives: Psychological Thriller

Author Interview with Nancy Brashear ~ New Release: Gunnysack Hell

Please help me welcome Nancy Brashear. Her new release with The Wild Rose Press, for which I was the editor, is a fantastic read. You’ll definitely want to grab a copy.

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

I’m a California girl, born in Santa Monica. However, I lived most of my childhood in the desert, my teens in a ski resort in the mountains, the majority of my adulthood in the San Gabriel Valley. And now I’ve cycled back to the beach where I have a lovely view of Catalina Island from my office (the gazebo in the breezy corner of the yard!) where I spend a lot of time writing. I live there with my husband (my high school sweetheart) and our rescue dog, Goldie Licks. Our three grown children and their families, which include seven busy grandgirls ranging in age from five to twelve, visit often.

Tell us a little about how the book came together

“The Challenges of Writing Gunnysack Hell, a Book with Rotating POVs”

Gunnysack Hell, my first psychological thriller, was inspired by my childhood stint in the desert and something that happened to my family. I began writing it in third person and got about halfway through, but the story didn’t feel right. I began over, this time switching to first person, and things began to come together, but it wasn’t until I let the other family members tell their own stories that the novel was born.  Writing in first-person, rotating POVs, presented me with many technical challenges such as keeping individual voices for each character (and what each person knew and wasn’t telling others), making sure there was minimal overlap, and always moving the action forward. With the help of an excellent editor Ally Robertson (aka Alicia Dean), I was able to make sure that all the moving pieces worked. I’m gratified that the book has received well by readers.

What book have you read that you wish you had written?

From a technical writing viewpoint, I loved the complete cleverness of the suspense book, Gone Girl, with Amy as the ultimate believable and, as we find out, unreliable narrator. I loved how the author manipulated the points of view (along with the reader) through the forward/backwards chronology of the story. I loved the planted clues. Most of all I loved the wild ride that the reader was taken on, and I’d love to write a book like that.

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and do you like it?

I was a junior high and elementary school teacher before I moved into teaching at the university level. I have a Ph.D. in Education with concentrations in literacy development and children’s literature. I served as the Chair of Teacher Education working with new teachers at my university for twelve years before moving to the English Department where I taught Literature for Children and Adolescents and mentored students planning to become high school and college teachers for another decade. I love teaching. As Professor Emeritus, I still occasionally teach an online course I developed in the M.A. in English program and also serve on students’ portfolio committees.

What was your first paid job (other than babysitting or ironing shirts)?

My neighbor hired me to work as a soda jerk in her penny arcade in Big Bear Lake, California, when I was thirteen. I learned to make a mean cherry coke, root beer float, and malt from scratch! I’m also a whiz at making cotton candy!

What actors would you like in the main roles if your book were made into a movie?

I made a Pinterest page (https://www.pinterest.com/nancybrashear/writing-ideas-gunnysack-hell/) while I was writing Gunnysack Hell so that I kept a visual in my mind as I described the characters (Sean Connery, father; Loretta Young, mother; Barbara Stanwyck, grandmother; Jodie Foster, older sister; and Georgie Henly, younger sister).

What do you want your tombstone to say?

“Life is all about choices.”

Have you written any other books that are not published?

I’ve written two adolescent novels (sci-fi and historical fiction) and two adult novels (realistic fiction). They all need a lot of editing, but I’m hoping to bust some of them out into the world!

How did you come up with the title Gunnysack Hell?

The perpetrator (in his off-screen crimes) has been attacking women around the periphery of the Mojave Desert and leaving them in gunnysacks. Gunnysack Hell began as a working title and stuck.

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

That no matter how painful it is to do so, recognizing and speaking the truth will set you free. This is something one of the main characters has to do in order to free herself from the psychological bondage of silence.

Other bits about me …

  • I have eclectic tastes in music including rock and roll, jazz, classical, and musicals. For the last two years, our family has been caught up in the songs from Hamilton, and some of our grandgirls know all of the lyrics.
  • My favorite (well, most interesting!) place I’ve visited is Zimbabwe during a revolution during an election year there when I was teaching a course and had my family with me. We were almost hijacked on the way back to the airport.
  • In all my international travels, I haven’t visited Ireland (and I’m part Irish!). I’d like to visit there and track down some obscure relatives.
  • My favorite sports to watch are ALL of the Winter Olympics games!
  • I love assembling jigsaw puzzles.
  • My love language is making soup and sharing it.
  • I lived in a UFO Space Commune at Giant Rock with my family when I was in the second grade.

I enjoyed getting to know you better, Nancy. And thanks for the kind words!  

Enter Nancy’s Free eCopy Giveaway Drawing of Gunnysack Hell at her blog (ends February 26) by leaving your name and choice of the version you’d like: Mobi (Kindle), ePub (Nook), or [scrolling] PDF! Winners will also be mailed a postcard of Gunnysack Hell.

(https://www.nancybrashear.com/february-drawing-for-free-e-copy-of-brashears-gunnysack-hell-ends-feb-26/)

Blurb: “There’s more to fear in the desert than scorpions and rattlesnakes.” It’s the summer of 1962, middle of the Cold War, and the O’Brien family has moved off-grid to the Mojave Desert in Southern California. After all, the desert has to be a safer place to raise a family than the crime-ridden city, and there they can build a new future. But evil also stalks dusty desert roads, and eight-year-old Nonni finds herself harboring a terrible secret: Only she can identify the predator who has been terrorizing the community. And he knows where she lives.

Excerpt from Gunnysack Hell: Nonni – The Serpent

I read this morning that Donald Fricker was granted parole after serving twenty years in prison. Once I saw his name in print, the decades disappeared in the flick of a newspaper page. My childhood flooded back to eight-year-old me, too scared to identify him and save my family.

It was May of 1962. My family had recently moved to our new home, our grandparents’ one-room homestead cabin in the California high desert with tarpaper and chicken-wire lining the walls. It never occurred to me to ask my father why we had moved from our three-bedroom suburban home by the beach to “off the grid.”

All I knew was that we used kerosene lanterns, the chemical outhouse under the tall water tank, a wood- burning stove, and an old-fashioned ice-box that our father replenished with a big block of ice from Jolly’s Corner on his way home each day.

Tessa, my six-year-old sister, and I walked home alone, every school day, from the bus stop, a mile and a half down an isolated dirt road.

That’s when it happened, the thing that changed our family. I’ll never forget that day. I protected Tessa even though I broke all of my promises to Mama I’d made just the night before. To walk directly home from the bus stop, not to talk to strangers, and to stay away from open wells.

That afternoon, when the bus’s hissing air brakes signaled our stop, we leapt from the bottom step onto the dirt shoulder of the road.

I picked the perfect stone from the side of the road. It had to be small and round, with no sharp edges, and light enough to kick all the way home.

Tessa followed on my heels, talking my ear off, and stepping on the heel of one of my tennies. “Gave you a flat!”

“Back off!” I glared at her. Mama said those shoes were like gold, and we were to protect them. I gave the rock a punt and forged ahead.

Oblivious to things going on out there in the desert, we were lulled into a sense of safety and routine. Like Eve, we didn’t feel the danger around us until it was too late to escape. Instead, I should have been paying attention to the truck following us slowly.

Down the deserted road.

Yes, this is our story.

My story.

*****************************************************************

Check out Nancy’s short story… ONLY 99 cents!

Bio: Nancy Brashear lives in Orange County, California, with her husband, Patrick, and their rescue dog, Goldie, where her grown children and seven grandgirls have supported her writing adventures. A professor emeritus in English, she has published short stories, poems, academic articles, textbook chapters as well as website content and writing projects with educational publishers. Gunnysack Hell is her debut fiction novel and was inspired by a true-crime event. And, yes, she did live off-grid with her family in a homestead cabin in the Mojave Desert when she was a child. Visit www.nancybrashear.com to learn more about Nancy’s interests and writing projects (and to get a free prequel story, “Dare to Wish Upon a Star,” with Claire, the mother in Gunnysack Hell as a child).

Contacts:

Author website: www.nancybrashear.com

Author FB: www.facebook.com/nancybrashearauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nancybrashearauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/drnancybrashear

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/nancy-brashear

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nancy-Brashear/e/B083JNZGPR%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/nancybrashear/

 

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Till Death by Maureen Bonatch… A ‘Friday the 13th Story’

Hello and welcome to the sixth of my posts about a brand new series of 13 suspenseful “Friday the 13th” short stories, each by a different author.

Today, I am happy to share Maureen Bonatch’s “Till Death” – Now available for pre-order…releasing Nov 13.

 

Fun Fact:

  • My character Gina was inspired by the character Annie Wilkes from Misery and Castle Rock.
  • Are you superstitious? I had fun researching superstitions and taking Gina’s superstitions to the extreme.

Honor, obey…or slay  

 Blurb:

Gina believes that mirrors hold bits of the soul, a rabbit’s foot brings good luck, and that marriage vows are until death. But most of all, she’s blindly followed her husband Rick’s philosophy. Nasty men get one chance to convert from their abusive ways —or suffer the consequences they bring upon themselves.  

But when she meets George, Gina begins to question everything Rick has led her to believe about men. Now Rick has George lined up to be the next man to be redeemed. Will black widow Gina honor and obey and weave her web around George, or will she become the next victim?  

Excerpt:

Honor and obey.  This was the life I knew. The one I’d created as Rick’s wife. I had to see it through. I lowered my gaze to the ground. “I meant, don’t give the neighborhood more to talk about than it already has.”

“Neighborhood? Do you mean that old man who’s been sniffing around here?” Rick smoothed his face back into the mask he shared with the world and glanced toward George’s house.

“No.” I didn’t dare look to see if George was lingering. It was a mistake to remind Rick that I might’ve made a friend. A male friend who didn’t fit into the mold Rick insisted most men did. But Rick made a lot of ruckus that could’ve attracted other attention, so when two ladies walked down the street, not giving us a second glance, I inclined my head their way.

Rick’s gaze followed mine and then returned to me. “I thought you didn’t worry about those things? About what people might think? Most people don’t see what’s justified in the world, they don’t understand the road to redemption and how we are paving it with the blood of those who don’t appreciate a woman.”

“I don’t care what they think, but this time it’s different.” I was different. But I couldn’t tell Rick that I’d begun to question the truths of performing this justice with him. All it had taken was one old man who’d experienced a loving marriage. A man who saw me as more than a cook, cleaner, and punching bag.

“It’s not really different when the end result is the same.” Rick pushed past me. He entered my house as if he owned the place, and as my husband, technically he did.

 

Bio:

Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. Find Maureen on her websiteFacebookTwitter

Be the first to know about Maureen’s book sales and new releases by following her on BookBub, Amazon and/or signing up for her newsletter

Social Media Info:

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Maureen-L.-Bonatch/e/B00KHY1KK8/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mbonatch

Website: http://www.maureenbonatch.com

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/1AV4L

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

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

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/maureen-l-bonatch

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3103486.Maureen_L_Bonatch

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/mbonatch/

Contact:    maureen@maureenbonatch.com

 

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Author Interview with Barbara Brett ~ SECRET AGENDA: Who’s Castrating the Wolves of Wall Street?

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Barbara Brett…

 

Thank you for joining me today, Barbara. Please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? Where do you live now? Family?

I’m one of those rare birds—a native New Yorker. I was born here, and have spent almost my entire life here. In fact, I’ve lived in every borough of the city except Staten Island, but I visit family there, so maybe that counts too. I was born in Queens, but grew up in Manhattan and the Bronx. Early in our marriage, my husband and I settled down in Brooklyn, the borough that will never forgive the Dodgers for leaving, but that now has the great Brooklyn Cyclones (Yea!). We have a lot more, too: the gorgeous Brooklyn Botanical Gardens; the great Brooklyn Museum; the terrific Brooklyn library system; and probably the best pizza in the world. Our kids are now grown and live out of state, but the first thing they want to do when they come home to visit is have Brooklyn pizza. Thanks for having me over, Alicia. If you’re ever in Brooklyn, the pizza is on me!

Where did you get the idea for SECRET AGENDA: Who’s Castrating the Wolves of Wall Street?

Ideas are all around us—in newspapers, in overheard conversations, in life in general. For me, there were two sparks that started SECRET AGENDA on its way. First came the headlines. Like most of us, I was really disturbed about the underhanded Wall Street maneuvers that brought disaster into the lives of so many of us hardworking, everyday Americans. Writing a mystery in which some of these millionaire-marauders, at least fictional ones, got their come-uppance was very appealing. And so I began my research, fully intending to kill off my villains in particularly fitting ways. Then one day in a restaurant I overheard a conversation in the booth behind me (people should watch what they say—one never knows if an author is eavesdropping!). Three or four men talking about a friend who had been in a terrible accident that left him emasculated. They all agreed that the poor man would have been better off dead. They even referred to what had happened as, “A fate worse than death.” I found that appalling, and for days, I couldn’t get it out of my head. And then I realized that those men had given me the perfect punishment for my scoundrels.

How much of your book is realistic?

The book, of course is fiction, and all of the characters are products of my imagination, but it’s my job as an author to do the necessary research so that I can make everything as convincing as if the characters actually exist and all the twists and turns really happened. That’s the fun of writing, and my delightful reward is that readers and reviewers are enthusiastically reporting that my characters spring to life and the plot is compelling and riveting. What author could ask for more?

What is your favorite quote?

Actually, I have two favorite quotes, and they are in frames on my desk. Each inspires me in a different way. I’ll give you the shorter one first. It is from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, which is one of my favorite books: “I need to put up with two or three caterpillars if I want to get to know the butterflies.” It reminds me to be patient, that life’s struggles often lead to better things, and, hopefully to a better me.

The second was said by Eleanor Roosevelt, a woman whose life and work I greatly admire: “Surely, in the light of history, it is more intelligent to hope rather than to fear, to try rather than not to try. For one thing we know beyond all doubt: Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says, ‘It can’t be done.'” This gives me hope in a world where things are so often chaotic, and the determination to achieve my own personal goals despite the roadblocks we all meet along the way.

What do you dislike that most people wouldn’t understand?

Believe it or not, it’s most people’s favorite drink—coffee! I like the fragrance, but I cannot abide the taste. I know many people drink it to get rid of a headache, but it actually gives me a headache. There are people who will say, “But surely you like coffee ice cream!” No, I don’t. And I don’t like mocha cake or icing, either. The irony of it is that I have a reputation for making an excellent cup of coffee. My family and friends all rave about it. Maybe the secret is that, not being a coffee-aholic, I’m not into experimenting with new blends and ways of preparing them. I still use my mother’s old percolator and whatever is on sale at the supermarket. Go figure!

If you could spend time with a character from your book, who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Well, it certainly wouldn’t be one of the Wall Street villains! I suppose the obvious answer would be the hero, Tom Berenson, the retired police detective who now runs a bookstore in Brooklyn. Tom is handsome, intelligent, and witty, and our love of books and Brooklyn would certainly keep the conversation going, and we could visit some of his favorite spots and mine in our beloved borough, just as he does in the book. But if I could have a second day, I think I’d spend it with the Reverend Arnold Simon. Like his fraternity brothers, the Wall Streeters who are being attacked in the book, he was born to a life of wealth and privilege, but eventually he gave it all up to work with the poor and society’s outcasts. I’d like him to take me on a tour of his soup kitchens, his shelter for abused women, his clinic for addicts. I’d like to find out what makes him tick, and if he’s really as good as he seems to be. Is there something dark lurking beneath his altruistic façade?

What’s the main thing that you could get rid of in your life that would give you more writing time?

That’s easy—e-mail! I have a love-hate relationship with it. I love the way it keeps me in touch with family and friends. I need it to connect to colleagues and associations and organizations that are so helpful to authors. It’s essential for keeping up with what’s going on in our ever-changing world. But it eats up so much of my time! I remember back to when I was a little girl and what a thrill it was if the mailman actually had a letter for me. Now, I go on line and my eyes roll back when I see the long list of e-mails waiting for me. Sometimes I long for the days when messages were written in pictures on the walls of caves. But I suppose if we could interview someone who drew those pictures, he or she would tell us that it took up too much time, time much better spent hunting and gathering!

What celebrity would you most like to be stranded on a desert island with?

The easy answer is a comedian who could keep me laughing or a magician who could conjure up a sturdy ship. Actually, the only person I’d choose to be stranded on a desert island with is my husband, Hy Brett. He has kept me laughing all these years, he has a sense of direction, which I certainly don’t have, and he’s brilliant and well read enough to figure out how to make a raft out of palm leaves and float it on coconuts. And Hy fills the celebrity category too: He’s the author of six critically acclaimed books and has a new one coming out later this year, THE HITMAN OF AVENUE U. What more could a woman stranded on a desert island ask for?

What do you want your tombstone to say?

For years it has been a family joke that I want my tombstone to say: “There’s always something!” That’s because it so often seems that whatever my plans are something always seems to pop up to interfere, delay, or change them. The bonus, of course, is that, despite that, I’m still around and  can keep trying. (See Eleanor Roosevelt above.) In the end (both literally and figuratively), if there could be a phrase that could cover my life as a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a citizen, and an author, I’d hope it could be: “She tried her best.”

Thanks again for having me over, Alicia! It’s been fun. I’d love to know what some of your readers would like to have on their tombstones too.

 

Blurb:  They are the most powerful men in America: billionaires born to privilege and linked by their membership in the nation’s most elite fraternity. They have always snatched what they want. From the halls of their ivy-league college to the counting houses of Wall Street, nothing has ever stopped them from reaching their nefarious goals. But as they gear up for their biggest takeover of all—the presidency of the United States—they discover to their horror that someone else has a secret agenda too. One by one, they are being castrated by an unknown attacker….

SECRET AGENDA—a riveting mystery of political ambition set in the glittering heights of New York society and darkest depths of Wall Street depravity!

Buy links:

Amazon paperback:

https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Agenda-Castrating-Wolves-Street/dp/0997971002/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1516233751&sr=8-1-fkmr0

Amazon Kindle:

https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Agenda-Castrating-Wolves-Street-ebook/dp/B078MWY9WD/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1516233751&sr=8-1-fkmr0

Barnes & Noble paperback:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/secret-agenda-barbara-brett/1127742158?ean=9780997971002

Nook:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/secret-agenda-barbara-brett/1127742158?ean=2940155065456

Apple iBooks

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/secret-agenda-whos-castrating-the-wolves-of-wall-street/id1330041599?mt=11

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/secret-agenda-who-s-castrating-the-wolves-of-wall-street

Smashwords

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/772808

Bio: Until she left to pursue her own writing, Barbara Brett was both a magazine editor and book editor and publisher. Besides Secret Agenda, she is the author of Sizzle, Between Two Eternities, Love After Hours, and, with her husband, Hy Brett, the critically acclaimed mystery, Promises to Keep.

Contact links: You can find out more about Barbara and her books on her website: www.brettbooks.com And you can  keep up with her news and her views on writing, reading, and life by following her on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraBrettAuthor

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