Monday, December 30, 2013

Book Review: Spirit Shapes by Marilyn Meredith

Spirit Shapes is a superb addition to Marilyn Meredith's Tempe Crabtree Mystery Series.

When ghost hunters discover the body of a murdered teen inside an abandoned haunted house, Deputy Tempe Crabtree is sent in to investigate. Tempe finds herself drawn into a whirlwind of restless spirits, good and evil, intertwined with the past and the present, and demons and angels at war.

Wow! This may be the best Tempe Crabtree mystery yet.

Lorna Collins brings a group of ghost hunters into the abandoned Wilkinson House and stumbles upon the body of a murdered teen. The body is finally identified as Tucker Philips, a boy whose family recently moved to the area and who was estranged from his best friend, Roland Garcia.

Detective Morrison asks Tempe to investigate Tucker's death, but she is soon caught up in the history of the Wilkinson House, and what role, if any, that may have played in the boy's death. Tempe's mystical connection to the spirit world has always concerned her husband, Pastor Hutch; and now, more than ever before, he finds himself concerned for Tempe's soul.

The Native American elements of this story combined with the restless spirits of the Wilkinson house, and the blending of past and present, make Spirit Shapes an engaging read. While in many ways this is a typical Tempe Crabtree novel, Meredith manages to keep this book fresh and exciting because this story is told in a slightly different way. Usually Tempe is called in to investigate and her focus is on finding the murderer. In Spirit Shapes, the focus is also on the history of the Wilkinson House, so while Tempe is actively talking to Tucker's friends and family, she's also trying to get to the bottom of what might have occurred at the house and whether or not that played a role in Tucker's death. Tempe meets a local historian and she talks to Nick Two John (still one of my favorites) about the house, as she's also spending time at the high school to see how Tucker was getting along before his untimely death.

While the clues led me to believe what was at play here, the book has a phenomenal ending I didn't see coming.

If you enjoy murder mysteries and books with spiritual elements, you'll want to pick up a copy of Spirit Shapes by Marilyn Meredith. Highly recommended.

Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Mundania Press LLC (September 24, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 160659396X
ISBN-13: 978-1606593967

The author sent me a PDF version of this book. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Short Story: Blood Brothers by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell

From New York Times bestselling authors James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell comes a dark story of murder, mystery, and a brotherhood steeped in a bloody past.

As a young reporter, Arthur Crane exposed the secrets behind the Orchid Killer, a cult murderer from the late ‘60s whose crimes blackened the end of the Summer of Love. Half a century later, Arthur wakes to find an orchid resting on his pillow, a symbol of death from a killer connected to his estranged younger brother, Christian. To discover the horrifying truth, Arthur will risk all—even his very soul—for Christian may not be the brother that Arthur remembers...

Included with this chilling story is a sneak peek at Innocent Blood, the second book in the Order of the Sanguines Series.

James Rollins is the New York Times bestselling author of international thrillers that have been translated into more than forty languages. Known for unveiling unseen worlds, scientific breakthroughs, and historical secrets, Rollins has a knack for breakneck pacing and stunning originality that has been hailed by critics and embraced by millions of readers around the world. Visit James online at

Rebecca Cantrell’s Hannah Vogel mystery/thriller novels have won the Bruce Alexander and Macavity awards and been nominated for the Barry and RT Reviewers Choice awards; her critically-acclaimed cell phone novel, iDrakula, was nominated for the APPY award and listed on Booklist’s Top 10 Horror Fiction for Youth. She and her husband and son just left Hawaii’s sunny shores for adventures in Berlin. Find Rebecca Cantrell on Facebook, Twitter, and at

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Book Spotlight: Murder Once Removed by Roz Russell

The truth can set you free...or get you killed.

Investigative reporter Jessica Curtis's life is about to turn upside down. Joe Taylor, her mentor for the past six years, is killed while investigating the murder of a high-profile Santa Fe art dealer and construction entrepreneur. Sensing the two are connected and determined to find her friend's killer, Jessica picks up the investigation where Joe left off and is quickly ensnared in the complex Santa Fe art world full of treachery, greed, and power--and deep connections to the world of politics. When the number of possible killers increases the number of people Jessica can trust quickly dwindles--including the enigmatic artist she has begun an affair with. As the tension mounts and body count rises, Jessica must answer the ultimate question: can she solve the case before the killer adds her to the list of victims?

A taut, suspenseful mystery that explores the nature of fate, the inevitability of certain life events, and the cascading consequences of one act as it influences everything that happens after, Murder Once Removed dives deep into the inner dimensions of the artistic mind to ask whether murder itself can be a form of art.

Publish Date: September 9th, 2013
Format: Softcover/E-book
Price: $12.00
ISBN: 978-1484820650
Published by: CreateSpace

Roz Russell was born and raised in El Paso, TX, and earned a degree in fine arts from the University of Texas, El Paso. She has spent most of her life in the Southwest, and in the past she has been a private investigator, travel agent, realtor, and an artist working in pottery and stained glass. She is a certified ESL teacher and a licensed dog groomer. Russell currently lives in Albuquerque, NM, with her dogs, Minnie and Coco.

Visit the author online at

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Book Review: Murder by Syllabub by Kathleen Delaney

When a ghost in Colonial dress creates trouble for Elizabeth Smithwood in her old Virginia plantation house, she calls her good friend, Mary, for help. Mary is determined to come to the rescue, so Ellen McKenzie is forced to go along to make sure her aunt stays out of trouble.

What Mary and Ellen find when they arrive is a sprawling estate comprised of three buildings with secret passageways, the old slave cabins, and some confusion over who exactly owns what. After Monty--the so-called ghost and the stepson of Elizabeth's deceased husband--is found dead in her home, Elizabeth finds herself under suspicion for murder; the cause of death being a poisoned glass of syllabub from the batch sitting in Elizabeth's refrigerator. Though Monty's enemies are many, Ellen and Aunt Mary will have to expose two hundred years of grudges and vendettas to catch a killer.

I absolutely loved this book! Cozies have been one of my favorite genres since I was a kid, and this one was superb. Even though this is the fifth book in the Ellen McKenzie Mystery series, I didn't feel a bit lost because this is a perfect stand alone novel.

Aunt Mary receives words from Elizabeth that she needs help with a ghost who seems to be trying to kill her, so Mary decides she must go. That means Ellen is going, too. Then Monty is found murdered in the house and all hell breaks loose. A community of quirky characters--many of whom had a reason to want Monty dead--fill the pages of this book.

As a person who is fascinated with history and the Civil War, Murder By Syllabub was the perfect kind of cozy because it explored the history of families,  and the history of the house and its belongings played a role in the plot. Several twists and turns keep the reader guessing who might have murdered Monty and why. While the ending didn't come as a complete surprise to me, I still found it completely satisfying. I would love to read the previous four books in this series, and I'll be eager to see what Ellen gets involved in next.

Highly recommended.

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Camel Press
Publication Date: July 1, 2013
Number of Pages: 298

ISBN: 978-1-60381-957-2



Kathleen Delaney has written four previous Ellen McKenzie Real Estate mysteries, but has never before transported her characters out of California. A number of years ago she visited Colonial Williamsburg and fell in love. Long fascinated with our country’s history, especially the formation years, she knew she wanted to set a story there. Another trip with her brother and sister-in-law solidified the idea that had been rolling around in her head but she needed more information. A phone call to the nice people at Colonial Williamsburg provided her with appointments to visit the kitchen at the Payton Randolph house, where she got her first lesson in hearth cooking and a meeting with the people who manage the almost extinct animal breeds the foundation is working to preserve. A number of books purchased at the wonderful bookstore at the visitor’s center gave her the additional information she needed and the story that was to become Murder by Syllabub came into being. Kathleen lived most of her life in California but now resides in Georgia. She is close to many historical sites, which she has eagerly visited, not only as research for this book but because the east is rich in monuments to the history of our country. Luckily, her grandchildren are more than willing to accompany her on their tours of exploration. You can find Kathleen on the Web at

I received a digital version of this book from the author through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Book Spotlight: Outside Eden by Merry Jones

“Evil can dig in its roots anywhere and can take on many forms. Smart people know that. Kenahara.”

July. Israel. Iraq War vet and graduate archeologist Harper Jennings doesn’t believe in the Evil Eye. So when Hagit—the woman assigned to show her and her fourteen-month-old baby around Jerusalem—drags the pair of them into a market to buy charms to ward off evil, it isn’t the bad luck Harper fears but the market itself. Close, dark and crowded, the place worries Harper, and when an American mand seems to be in trouble, it is only the presence of the baby that stops Harper from wading in to help.

Later, to Harper’s dismay, she leans that the man she’d seen has been murdered. So when she’s invited to take part in a dig fifty miles away, while her geologist husband Hank takes part in the international symposium on water shortages that has brought them to Israel, she accepts. It will be safer away from the city and the market, she thinks. But Hagit, who’s coming along to look after the baby, disagrees. She is convinced that the Evil Eye has caught sight of Harper, and that it will follow her wherever she goes…

Read an excerpt:

All around her, women prayed, their heads bowed and covered. Some stuffed pieces of paper into small cracks and crevices between rocks. Harper Jennings stood at the Western Wall of the Old City in Jerusalem, holding her hand flat against a stone block in the structure. It felt rough, sturdy, solid. Ancient. It had kept its place for over two thousand years, outlasting invaders, empires, cultures, gods. Harper pressed her fingers against it, less interested in the bustling women around her than in the inanimate wall, its past. Who had cut the stone, hauled it, placed it there? And what had it seen—worshipers, warriors, centuries of change? How many other hands had touched it? Millions? Her hand on the stone, Harper felt connected to all of them, a chain of hands and shadows of hands, linked by a rock through ages.

But Harper couldn’t linger; Hagit had the baby, and she didn’t know Hagit very well. Following the practice of the other women, she moved away from the wall without turning her back to it, a sign of respect. When she was sufficiently distant, she looked around and saw Hagit and Chloe, holding hands, waiting for her.

Harper went to them, swept Chloe up, got a joyous squeal.

“Did you put in a prayer?” Hagit nodded at the wall.

“A prayer?”

“In the cracks. Didn’t you see? People put prayers on paper and leave them in the wall.”

“I saw them,” Harper tussled Chloe’s curls. Kissed her warm round cheek.

“I’ll wait.” Hagit held out a pen and scrap of paper. “Go—Put it between the stones. Write down a prayer and leave it there. It’s supposed to be like a—a what do you call it? A mailbox? No--Like Fedex for God.”

Harper laughed.

“Even if you’re not religious, it wouldn’t hurt--”

Book Details
Genre: Suspense
Published by: Severn House
Publication Date: July 1, 2013
Number of Pages: 216
ISBN: 9780727882646


Merry Jones is the author of the Harper Jennings thrillers (SUMMER SESSION, WINTER BREAK, BEHIND THE WALLS, OUTSIDE EDEN), the Elle Harrison suspense novel THE TROUBLE WITH CHARLIE, the Zoe Hayes mysteries (THE NANNY MURDER, THE RIVER KILLINGS, DEADLY NEIGHBORS, THE BORROWED AND BLUE MURDERS). She has also written humor (including I LOVE HIM, BUT…) and non-fiction (including BIRTHMOTHERS: Women who relinquished babies for adoption tell their stories.) Jones’ work has been translated into eight languages and she has been published in GLAMOUR, LADIES HOME JOURNAL, CHILD, NEW WOMAN and PHILADELPHIA MAGAZINE. A teacher of writing at Temple University for twelve years, Jones has promoted her work on local and national radio and television. She is a member of The Authors Guild, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and The Philadelphia Liars Club. An avid sculler, Jones lives with her family outside Philadelphia.

Visit the author online at Follow her on Twitter at and friend her on Facebook at

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Book Review: Anasazi Intrigue by Linda Weaver Clarke

While reporting on devastating floods in her home town, journalist Julia Evans stumbles upon a possible poison spill that kills dozens of fish and neighbors' pets. She soon discovers the story is much bigger and more dangerous than she realized. Along with the help of her husband, John, Julia is determined to get to the bottom of things.

Linda Weaver Clarke fans will be thrilled to see her combine her sweet romantic stories, historical tidbits, and intrigue in her John and Julia Evans Mystery Series. Why I feel Anasazi Intrigue (Book 1) and the rest of this series will be a hit with Clarke's fans is because she stays true to her sweet romance and history loving readers by blending these elements into an intriguing mystery.

John and Julia Evans are a married couple with grown children. It's nice to see a romantic element to a story that involves mature adults and a marriage that is not perfect, but one in which both people are committed to making it work. Add to that their grown children, a friend of the family, and a group of interesting bad guys, and you have a recipe for a great read.

I look forward to reading the other books in this series.

File Size: 1024 KB
Print Length: 273 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 158982587X
Publisher: Red Mountain Shadows Publishing; 2nd Edition edition (December 6, 2012)
ISBN-10 1481266861
ISBN-13 978-1481266864

I received a free electronic copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Interview with D.A. Bale, Author of Running into the Darkness

Sometimes life emulates fiction.

Life is filled with tragedy and Ms. Bale's writing reflects this reality. However, there is always a silver lining...even if one must spend their entire life searching for it.

In her previous career, Ms. Bale traveled the United States as a Government Relations Liaison, working closely with Congressional offices and various government agencies. This experience afforded her a glimpse into the sometimes "not so pretty" reality of the political sphere. Much of this reality and various locations throughout her travels make it into her writing.

She dreams of the day she can return to visit Alaska.

Where did you grow up?

DAB: I had the luxury of growing up in a small, Midwestern town. There’s something so nice about being a child and free to roam about without the concern of the boogeyman – or even being aware of his presence. Plus, when you live close to middle-America, you can get to either end of the country in a matter of hours. My parents were both teachers and we would spend the summers traveling hither and yon. I can barely remember the summers we spent in Arizona while my dad worked on his Masters, but those excursions created wanderlust in me – the travel bug bit quite early.

When did you begin writing?

DAB: When I was a little girl, my mom bought me an assortment of hand puppets, and I’d write these little “plays”, made a stage box out of big cardboard boxes (complete with a drawback curtain), and commandeered my middle sister for extra hands and voice to put on these silly little skirmishes. It kept us – and our friends and neighbors – entertained for hours during the summers.

But the desire to be an author hit me big-time during sixth grade, when a teacher read us Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians (also known as And Then There Were None). I’d always been a voracious reader, but that story was so unique at the time. From then on, I’ve been a big lover of the suspense/mystery/thriller genres. I attempted a novel then, but quickly got lost in how complex my story got and couldn’t keep all of the threads together in my mind. Now I don’t seem to have that problem – the more complex it is, the better I enjoy it!

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

DAB: Whenever I can sneak it in – though it’s got to be more than a few moments usually. When I get going, sometimes the entire day just washes away and suddenly it’s midnight or one o’clock in the morning – and I’ve perhaps forgotten to eat throughout the day. Those moments are so great for getting really deep writing done. It means I’ve immersed so readily into the characters that I’m actually “in” the story. Some of my best writing occurs during this time. Other times, I’ll pop down an idea or a scene real quick in one of the notebooks I have scattered around the house and in my car. But that’s generally bare bones kinda stuff or just an idea that came to me. I’ll more fully flesh it out when I have time to sit down at my computer.

What is this book about?

DAB: Running into the Darkness explores the question, “How far would you go to seek revenge?” Dr. Samantha Bartlett has seen the ugly side of reality first-hand when at the tender age of five she witnessed her parents die. Later in her profession, she sees the abuse of the Hippocratic Oath – lives considered less than worthy are allowed to extinguish with little to no concern. The death of her grandmother leads her to the breaking point – and she discovers a long-standing plot involving her family. One critical decision places Samantha on a path she never would have chosen if the desire for vengeance hadn’t overwhelmed every rational thought. However, she soon discovers the plot involves more than her own family and could have critical consequences for those she still cares about – and even for America itself.

What inspired you to write it?

DAB: Several things actually. A love of history had me digging into the World War II era pretty much all of my adult life. These studies made me wonder how a man like Adolf Hitler could rise to power and become pretty much untouchable no matter the atrocities he committed against his people and the World. It blew my mind that people would even follow such a person, but such is the nature of evil – much of the time there is no RATIONAL explanation. Others just bury their heads in the sand and won’t believe what’s right in front of their face, because to acknowledge it means they should stand against it. Hard to do when your life and more so the lives of your loved ones are on the line.

Then I’ve also wondered, when bad things happen, why one person will fall over the cliff into an abyss while others rise above their circumstances. In my search, it many times boils down to having someone walk beside you during the tough times or to reach a hand to help you up. We see in Running into the Darkness that Samantha is devoid of that helping hand – or maybe it’s more the wall of protection she’s built over the years that keeps potential help from getting through to her. Read the book to decide for yourself.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

DAB: I know many times she’s not very likable because of her chip of anger and her eventual despicable actions, but Samantha is so much more than who she appears in this first book. She’s a richly layered individual, carrying so much hurt, fear, and a sense of justice for the downtrodden of humanity, while also making choices that make you want to slap some sense into her. Eventually she comes to realize, much to her horror, the person she’s become – and she’s disgusted with herself and makes an important decision near the end of the story, though it may cost her life. There’s so much growth to her throughout this storyline, and I’ve enjoyed the journey of change alongside her.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

DAB: Oh very bumpy indeed! I spent years attempting to find an agent through the traditional publishing route. Traditional publishing has been in such a chaotic flux for so many years now, few (if any) of the established publishing houses are willing to take a chance on an unknown. Therefore, I and my fellow critique group members began studying the self-publishing/independent publishing route. Ebook publishing is so easy and readily available now that it made a good deal of sense for me. I thought about going through a small, independent publisher, but a good friend from my critique group has had a really bad experience through that venue and is considering self-publishing all of the remainder of his work that doesn’t relate to the other particular characters they hold the rights to. Once you learn the in’s and out’s of self-publishing through the electronic mediums, it’s the best opportunity out there to an unknown like me. But it takes a lot of time for self-promotion, something I’m still not very good with – but I’m getting there. :)

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

DAB: Any eBook format: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Sony, Kobo, Diesel – you name it. Once the series is completed, I also plan to make it available in paperback form, but that’s going to require more work and a learning curve. Right now I’d rather be writing!

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

DAB: Time – you’ve got to find time to promote your work in order to have any chance of success. Then also keep your expectations realistic – you aren’t going to make a living right out of the starting gate. I know a lot of people have bought the “How To’s” of other self-published success stories, but the one thing every single one of them leave out is that they’ve paid hundreds and thousands of dollars BUYING reviews. Nothing wrong with it in theory, but trying to sell your method without actually telling the whole of your method is deceitful – and that’s something that still gives many of my fellow writer’s cause for grief.

My preference is to make friends – connect with other fellow writers, readers, and bloggers. Eventually the trust is there that we exchange each other’s work, actually read it, and post an honest review. Or we host each other on our blogs. It’s scratching each other’s backs and in the process, making a friend at the same time. I keep in touch with many fellow writers/bloggers on a regular basis – most of whom I’ve never met in person. My hope is that as my work becomes more known, I can introduce my readers to other good writers and help everyone in turn.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

DAB: Work hard – do everything in your power to write the best you possibly can. That means to go back to the basics, learn the proper structure of a sentence, maybe take a continuing ed class, research, research, research, know the rules (and when to break them) – and also read as much as possible in your selected genre(s). It’s amazing how many times I pick up a book and find either a completely disjointed mess or a lack of even rudimentary writing structure. If you aren’t involved in a GOOD critique group, find one! It doesn’t even have to be an in-person group, what with the huge number of online groups out there. Just make sure you put your big boy and girl pants on, ‘cause you’re gonna need them. If you’re thin-skinned and can’t stand a little heat (balanced with some encouragement) then don’t bother trying to go the way of becoming a published author. The more open you are to solid, constructive criticism, the more opportunity you will have to grow as a writer. Then dig in and just get busy writing!

What is up next for you?

DAB: The second book in the Deepest Darkness series is already out – Piercing the Darkness. Now I’m busy working on the third and final book in the series – Rising from the Darkness. Somewhere in there I’m also hoping to finish the fan requested sequel to my short story, "The Study," but it still needs a bit more work. I’ve never written for fan requests before, and though it is such an honor to be asked to do so, it’s also quite a bit more difficult.

Thanks so much to The Book Connection for being so gracious in hosting this stop on my Tribute Books blog tour. This has truly been an honor.

Price/Format: $1.99 ebook
Pages: 236
Publisher: self-published
Release: November 3, 2011

Kindle buy link ($1.99):

Nook buy link ($1.99):

Smashwords ($1.99):
D A Bale's Web Site/Blog:

D A Bale's Facebook:

D A Bale's Twitter:

D A Bale's Goodreads:

Running into the Darkness' Goodreads:

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:

Running into the Darkness's
blog tour site:

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Interview with Kevin Flanders, Author of Escape from Fear Village

It's not often I get a chance to feature a local author at my blog. Since I work in the online world, many of my contacts are from outside of Western Mass. I was introduced to Kevin's work through my son. I've been blessed with the opportunity to see some of Kevin's writing in pre-published stage. It's outstanding. I highly recommend his novels to lovers of the horror and paranormal thriller genres.

A resident of Monson, MA, Kevin Flanders has written several short stories and is currently focusing on novels. He graduated from Franklin Pierce University in 2010 with a degree in communications, and he has spent the last three years working for various newspapers in western and central Massachusetts. He also serves as an instructor at many ice hockey goaltending clinics and still plays hockey on winter men’s league teams.

For more information about his short stories and novels, visit

When did you begin writing?

I began writing fiction in college. I’d always loved reading and vocabulary, but it wasn’t until my first fiction workshop course in 2006 that I actually sat down and wrote a fictional story for an assignment. I wasn’t overly excited about it at the time (it just seemed like another homework assignment to complete), but I found myself fascinated by the characters and the plot I was creating. I started writing that night around seven o’clock, and by the time I looked up from my laptop, it was well after nine. And there was still so much writing to do, so many characters to introduce – I didn’t want to stop. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I usually edit and do a little writing early in the afternoon, but my best writing always comes very late at night and in the early hours of the next morning (between ten p.m. and two a.m.). My scariest ideas come even later, around three or four while I’m trying to sleep. I’m not sure why that is – maybe it has something to do with the fact that most of my books are horror/paranormal thrillers and that everything seems so much scarier after dark. I never write in the morning after I get up – it seems to take my fiction mind a fairly long time to get revved into motion.

What is this book about?

Escape from Fear Village brings readers to Black Harbor, Maine, a community known for its annual Halloween festival in the center of town. Brothers A.J. and Mackenzie Gray attend the festival every year, and they’re starting to find it a little boring. But a new attraction awaits them this year, a camper trailer that none of the other guests seem to notice. Once they step foot inside that trailer, things will never be the same again.

Escape from Fear Village is the story of family and friendship, adversity and persistence, faith and freedom, and most importantly, good and evil. A.J. and Mackenzie have never known evil before this fateful Halloween weekend, but they are soon challenged by malevolence of the purest form – a fiend who turns I’ve Been Working on the Railroad into a song of horror and madness.

An extremely fast-paced novel, Escape from Fear Village has already received excellent reviews from early readers.

What inspired you to write it?

I was inspired to write Escape from Fear Village after my sister Kimmy asked a single question: What would happen if someone became trapped on a model railroad layout? The plot seemed to magically unfold from there, reminding me of the Nabokov quote about invisible words already written and clamoring to become visible. It took me only four months to write the entire novel.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

My favorite character in the book is Clara Reed, a thirteen-year-old girl who finds herself entangled in A.J.’s haunting adventure through Fear Village. There’s an element of mystery about her character that captivates readers right to the end, and she’s a very spiritual, uplifting character with instant likeability. She’s polite yet sometimes stingingly blunt, remarkably courageous yet not incapable of tears, and so humorous and charming that she brought a smile to my face during all five revision phases.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

The book can be ordered in print version and electronically on all major bookselling websites, including Barnes and Noble,, and For links to these sites and more information, visit My marketing team is in the process of improving the site, which will soon include information about giveaways, author events, and monthly trivia questions. To contact me directly, send an email to My days as a reporter made me very diligent about answering every correspondence I receive, so it may take a little while but I’ll definitely get back to you.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

I would encourage all writers to just keep writing. No matter how much rejection you get or how many agents decline your manuscript, keep writing. I actually wrote Escape from Fear Village very soon after my previous manuscript, a book called Don’t Wave Back, received hundreds of rejection letters from agents and publishing companies. On the heels of such tremendous rejection, I became determined to write an even better, stronger, more inspiring and thought-provoking book than ever before (hockey has made me very competitive, and I love to succeed). Luckily, one of the very first publishers to read the proposal for Escape from Fear Village was interested. Now I’m in the process of revising Don’t Wave Back (which has a different name now) and other previously written manuscripts. Soon all of my characters will be in print, their trials and tribulations visible to readers around the world. If you work hard enough and keep writing, your characters will be out there as well. Who cares about the hundreds of rejections – all it takes is that one person who says yes.

What is up next for you?

I expect my next novel, a ghost story called The Inhabitants, to be published by the end of the year. This novel features my favorite character of all my books, Montreal native Jocelyne Leclaire, and I’m really looking forward to its release. Then, at the beginning of 2014, my third novel, a chillingly timely work called Inside the Orange Glow, will be available, followed by The Inhabitants II, Anathema, Laser Tag, and others. Thankfully, I never suffer from writer’s block – the ideas are endless, each book seeming more frightening than the previous one.

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Interview with Timothy Ashby, Author of Time Fall

Timothy Ashby was born in the USA, but moved at the age of 13 to the small Caribbean island of Grenada, which his veterinarian father and occupational therapist mother had chosen for charitable volunteer service. Mr. Ashby lived a “Huck Finn” existence, rarely attending school,and spending his teenage years surfing, sailing, diving and indulging his lifelong passion for history and archaeology. 

His interest in creative writing was mentored by the late Martin Woodhouse and Dudley Pope, historian and author of nautical fiction who was inspired by C.S. Forester. Mr. Pope even named one of the characters in his Lord Ramage series of historical novels “Captain Ashby,” in honor of the teenage Tim Ashby. Mr. Ashby subsequently lived in Spain and the UK, returning to Grenada in his early 20s where he was a director of various businesses until the Communist Revolution of 1979. He moved to California to attend the University of Southern California, receiving his PhD in International Relations in 1986. His doctoral dissertation was published by Lexington Books in 1987 as The Bear in Back Yard: Moscow’s Caribbean Strategy. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich included long passages from the book in a floor speech to the U.S. Congress.

Tim Ashby was in Washington DC from 1984 to 1990, working first as a counter-terrorism consultant to the U.S. State Department, and then as a senior official – the youngest political appointee of his rank – at the U.S. Commerce Department, responsible for commercial relations with Latin America and the Caribbean. He held two Top Secret security clearances and worked with a number of colorful characters, including members of the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). 

During the 1990s, Mr. Ashby resided in the UK, earning an MBA degree at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and working in Central and Eastern Europe on a variety of privatization and economic development projects. He also has a law degree from what he calls “a fine Jesuit university,” and is a licensed attorney in Florida and Washington, DC. He is the author of Time Fall, Devil’s Den, The Bear in the Back Yard, Missed Opportunities, numerous articles, and the prize-winning ghost story, “Warrior’s Return.”

Tim Ashby’ website/blog can be found at FaceBook page address is Twitter:

When did you begin writing?

I began writing at the age of 13, starting with short stories and poems. Even at that age I was passionate about history and adventure. As noted in my bio, I was very fortunate to have been mentored by two eminent writers during my teenage years.

What is this book about?

TIME FALL follows six U.S. Army Rangers who jump from an aircraft in 1945 and travel nearly 70 years by the time they hit the ground.

Near the end of World War II, Lt. Arthur Sutton leads his troop on a covert mission in Germany, but the soldiers are unaware that they’ve landed in 2011. One of their raids inadvertently thwarts a planned terrorist attack, but also gets a German counter-terrorism outfit on their trail. In the future, the men must work with a sergeant whose thirst for vengeance—his Jewish family suffered Nazi atrocities—causes him to become unhinged while they’re being pursued by retired Gen. Hanno Kasper, a loyal Nazi who’d rather see them dead than taken alive. Despite the time traveling, the novel isn’t so much sci-fi as historical fiction with a modern-day setting: The soldiers believe it’s 1945 for much of the story; Kasper wallows in archaic Nazi principles, always carrying the Iron Cross given to him by Hitler when he was a young boy; and American investigator and Vietnam vet Eddie Cassera delves into the past after finding a recently killed solider who’s been MIA for decades. Time traveling, in fact, is a minor plot device —characters concentrate less on how they arrived in the future than what action to take while there. Sutton, who loses the others after an injury, is a man out of time. Scenes of the lieutenant slowly grasping his circumstances are handled deftly; his fascination with such contemporary things as an iPad or YouTube aren’t tongue-in-cheek but endearing, as when he’s shown a video of his favorite musician, Benny Goodman. In the same vein, Sutton’s relationship with Paula, a German woman who sympathizes with his plight, is endurably unassertive.

What inspired you to write it?

When I was a university student a Vietnam veteran classmate told me about an incident that he witnessed that inspired me to write TIME FALL. During the Vietnam War a “dustoff” (US Army unarmed medical evacuation helicopter) mysteriously disappeared after flying into a strange cloud during the monsoon season. Hundreds of military personnel witnessed the phenomenon, a high-level investigation took place, but no trace of the aircraft or its crew was found. Perhaps one day that helicopter will land in a very different Vietnam with its unsuspecting crew of young American soldiers

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

TIME FALL is available in both print and eBook editions from:


Print -
Kindle -

What is up next for you?

I’m working on the sequel to my first novel, DEVIL’S DEN, another historical mystery thriller set in the 1920s titled IN SHADOWLAND. The new book’s plot is about an investigation into the actual death of fighter pilot Quentin Roosevelt, son of former President Teddy Roosevelt. Quentin crashed behind German lines in 1918 … but what REALLY happened to him?

Special Forces Operations—
Yesterday and Today
By Timothy Ashby

In TIME FALL, Lt. Art Sutton and his six-man “Fox” team are members of the US 2nd Ranger Battalion. Sutton was a survivor of the assault on Pointe du Hoc during the Normandy invasion on D-Day, June 6, 1944. I based “Fox” team on the “Alamo Scouts,” which were small teams of highly trained volunteers, operating deep behind enemy lines.

Sutton’s team was trained for “Operation Bandstand” - their sabotage mission behind German lines in Bavaria - by British Commandos. The Commandos were formed following Winston Churchill's call for "specially trained troops of the hunter class, who can develop a reign of terror.” Sutton and his men were tasked with carrying out just such a “reign of terror” in Germany, including sabotage, assassinations, and attacks on Nazi party and military targets. The British were responsible for instructing many American soldiers who became the leaders of US Special Forces in the postwar years.

Some World War II era US Special Forces (such as the Office of Strategic Services Jedburgh teams which provided leadership to French Resistance units) were involved in guerrilla and insurgency support operations. As noted in TIME FALL, a secondary mission of “Operation Bandstand” was to instigate an uprising by an underground anti-Nazi group called “Freedom Action Bavaria,” which actually existed.

During the Vietnam War, the US Special Forces’ mission and tactics changed from a unit which had initially been used like its WWII predecessors as an internal strike force into a training cadre which focused on unconventional warfare and counterinsurgency tactics. Modern Special Forces, such as the Navy Seals unit that killed Bin Laden, continue to operate with similar tactics.

Today, the USA has many military and intelligence organizations popularly known as Special Operations Forces (SOF). Many but not all of the military units are components of the Department of Defense's United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). The Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) commands and controls the Special Mission Units (SMU) of USSOCOM. These units perform highly classified activities such as the operation to capture or execute Bin Laden.
In the 1980s, I worked with JSOC teams on embassy security and counter-terrorism missions in Latin America and the Caribbean. I got to know many of the JSOC men, and they were colorful characters. At that time, most of the personnel were Vietnam veterans, and they told me about missions behind enemy lines not unlike the fictional “Bandstand” operation that forms the plot of TIME FALL.

Lt. Art Sutton’s 2nd Ranger Battalion still exists as part of the US Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment. The Rangers and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment are controlled by JSOC when deployed as part of JSOC Task Forces such as Task Force 121 and Task Force 145. Rangers – some of whom are the grandsons of World War II soldiers like Art Sutton and his “Fox team” comrades – are still performing dangerous, highly classified, missions behind enemy lines in Afghanistan, Yemen, and other countries.

Filled with historically accurate details, Time Fall is a complex military tale that keeps readers riveted through every surprising twist. Read an excerpt of Time Fall at For your copy, visit You can also get your copy at all major book retailers.

Publisher – Author Planet Press
ISBN-10 1481026674
ISBN-13 978-1481026673