- A man hears a shot from a gun then sees the victim fall. The author should have known most modern day ammunition travels twice the speed of sound so the action would have happened in reverse. The man would have fallen and then the witness would have heard the gunshot.
- If you’re writing about the military or soldiers, do not confuse military ranks. The US Army has no rank called “Admiral” and the Navy does not have “Generals.” It’s a five minute Google search to figure this one out.
- If you’re writing any type of historical fiction, you better do some serious research. Don’t say George Washington pulled out his iPhone to Google Map the road to Trenton if cell phones didn’t exist in the 1700’s!
- If you’re doing any type of setting or environment work. Don’t tell me about the earthquakes in Florida because Florida doesn’t have earthquakes, they have hurricanes. You should know the weather patterns of your environment, the produce, the politics, the immigration, you should know everything.
- Don’t write a book about robots and androids without researching cybernetics! Readers are smart, we’ll know.
- If you’re writing suspense/murder mystery then you should know a lot about police procedures and the legal system. Don’t tell me the CSI guys do the interviews like on one show I know but they don’t in real life.
- Don’t tell me your horse galloped 200 miles in a day. Your horse would be dead.
- If you’re writing a sci-fi novel about time travel, you better damn well research quantum physics and current time travel theories because it can get very confusing.
- When Brian was born his parents were dirt poor and when he was 1 the family moved into a tiny cottage at the bottom of his mother’s aunt’s garden. On good weather days his mother would put the +- 15 month old Brian on a blanket out in the fresh air, where he would play for hours. His only toy was a makeshift rattle made out of an old glass Vaseline jar that had an empty wooden cotton reel inside. He would make music, chanting “digga, digga , digga” in time to the rattle and, having not yet learned to walk, he would sway his little body rhythmically as if in mesmerised prayer. He was comfortable in his own company and in natural surroundings.
- At age 2, his mother taught him to say “many happy returns” in anticipation the arrival of his 8 year-old girl cousin who was to visit with a friend on her birthday. Brian flubbed the words, saying “many happily turns” and was mortified with shame when the two girls guffawed in merriment. The positive side was it taught him empathy, and he has looked at the world from the other guy’s perspective ever since.
- At around 4, the family moved to their own home in a much poorer suburb than his great aunt’s. With curiosity and no sense of intimidation, he experimented with fire. The Fire Brigade had to be called out twice to douse the voracious blazes. He learned to fear consequences.
- When Brian was 5, his great aunt’s son – about 9 months older – came to play but went home much earlier than was expected. Angry and frustrated, Brian decided to walk to their home 20 kilometers away. He walked down the main thoroughfare in peak hour traffic, got lost towards the end, but was offered help by a kindly gentleman who gave him a lift. Brian arrived well after dark at his destination; tearless, unrepentant but anxious. He was severely punished by his relieved, but even more anxious, parents. He learned to look ahead and differentiate between “smart” and “stupid” behaviour.
- At 8 he was effectively a latch-key kid. Both parents worked and the maid was preoccupied with daily chores. He roamed the immediate vicinity, largely unsupervised, and made friends with a couple of kid neighbours. One of these kids lived in a violent home where the mother was routinely beaten by her husband. Brian learned that observation and inoffensive participation were more important than ego and a competitive spirit in a no-win situation.
- Also to keep himself occupied, he would travel by tram to a local pool hall, paying the fare with school-bus coupons. He had been attracted by the raucous antics of a group of leather jacketed bikies who adopted him as a mascot because they took a shine to him. It transpired that Brian had a good eye for angles and distances and was able to pot the snooker balls even though he could barely reach over the table top.
- At around 10 or 11, he discovered that he also had great ball sense. He was chosen to represent his junior school at both soccer and cricket, and he played first team cricket and hockey at high school. This boosted his inner sense of self confidence and enabled him to socialise unselfconsciously with both peers and those in higher stations of life. But he was always a quiet child, partly because his parents had drummed good manners into him and partly because he had learned not to draw attention to himself when in any situation that might become unmanageably combative.
- Another reason he was quiet child was that he was a year younger than the average of his classmates. His parents wanted him to start school at the same time as his three boy cousins, all of whom were around 9 months older. When kids are 20% older than you they are typically much bigger than you. Brian learned that brains trumps muscles under those circumstances.
- He finished high school at 16 and had a B.Com Degree when he was 19, at which age he spent 3 months in the South African Air Force under conscription. The barracks had about 40 beds in it, with most occupied by the 99%. Brian blended in just fine and no one resented the fact that he was allowed/encouraged to play golf on week-ends by the CO.
- When he was still at school, the family moved to a small holding and was supplied fresh, unpasteurised milk from the cow next door. Brian was shocked when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. By a stroke of good fortune, his uncle (a doctor) had detected it in its very early stages. TB is usually a disease of the working classes or the unemployed, and there was no “private” treatment available. At 21, Brian was admitted to a public ward in a public TB hospital where the patients were at various terminal stages of wheezing, coughing blood and/or drowning in their own mucus. Even though the other patients regarded the middle class young man as “Richie Rich”, they spoke to him with quiet dignity. Brian expected no preferential treatment from the nurses and the dying men with calloused hands respected him for that.
Reviewed by Brenda C. For Readers Favorite
Laura watched the clock on the microwave and willed the phone to ring. Patrick would be home within the hour. If “John Smith” didn’t call soon, she’d… Well, she didn’t know what she’d do. If he called after six o’clock, she’d have to try to convince Patrick it was a wrong number.
He wouldn’t fall for that. Even genuine wrong numbers had gotten her into trouble before.
“Please,” she whispered aloud to the phone. “Just ring, please.”
The numbers on the microwave stared back at her, blank and unfeeling. Twelve minutes past five. The clock apparently didn’t care that time was running out, that she was cutting this much too close.
Forty-eight minutes left. Laura’s heart felt like it would jump out of her chest as she cradled her head in her hands. The phone rang causing Laura to jump a foot in the air at the sound. How was it that a sound she was waiting for—hoping for—sent her into a panic?
“Hello,” she said breathlessly into the phone.
“Mrs. Kensington?” came Smith’s voice on the other end. She had talked to him before, but hadn’t met with him in person. He sounded kind, even though she knew he was a man who spent a lot of time with unsavory people. But, that was to be expected given his profession. Despite that, she’d been told he often worked with women who needed to leave a spouse and who wished not to be found again. Maybe there was an empathetic side to him.
“Can you talk now?” he asked and she knew right away what he meant. He had never asked why she was leaving and she certainly hadn’t volunteered the information, but it seemed as if he knew without having to ask. Just the thought that he knew her secret made her uncomfortable.
“Yes, my husband is still at work, but I don’t have long.”
“Did you get the first package?” he asked. He had mailed it to a post office box she’d set up two towns over from her and Patrick’s home in Windsor, Connecticut.
“Yes, the temporary license and birth certificate.”
“Good. You’ll be able to use that for a little while, but I need to get you a real birth certificate and social security card if you want to be able to find a job that doesn’t pay under the table. That’s going to take time.”
“How much time?” Laura asked, wanting the answer to be days, not weeks or months, but she knew that was unlikely.
“Not for another few weeks. It takes time to get a real birth certificate and once that’s in place, it takes a little longer for your social security number to come through,” he said with the tone of a man who had explained this to her all before. He had. She was partly just nervous and partly hoping for a different answer this time. This just had to work. There wasn’t any other option.
Before Laura could answer, he continued with instructions. “Save this phone number. I’ll need you to call me in three weeks and let me know where you are. I’ll need a mailing address.” There was no talk of payment. She’d already paid in full just to get him started on the new identity for her. He also didn’t ask her when she was leaving and she didn’t tell him. He seemed to assume she wouldn’t be in town in three weeks’ time and he was right. Laura would be running next week, as soon as Patrick left on his business trip.
The sound of car tires crunching up the drive sent panic churning through Laura’s stomach. So much so that she thought she’d be sick, but that wasn’t unusual nowadays. She was nauseated for several hours every day and often had to run to the bathroom to be sick.
“I have to go,” Laura whispered and didn’t wait for a response. She tucked the phone in her pocket and turned to the stove, focusing on making her breathing normal, making sure nothing seemed out of place.
His crafty plan results in a deadly threat. Her hopes keep her locked in a vicious circle. They parted ways, supposedly forever. But will they be able to live apart?
Elizaveta, an attractive Muscovite, experiences a series of odd events: she is followed; she receives anonymous calls, flowers, and gifts. The culprit is her former lover, Timofey. He now lives far from Moscow and has a flourishing business, but a serious threat emerges when the daughter of a local mafia boss wants to marry him. Timofey knows his life is at risk if he says no. He creates a cunning scheme to save himself by staging a sham marriage with Elizaveta playing a primary role. Masterfully manipulating her feelings, Timofey persuades her to come visit him in his small town, but things soon take a dramatic turn.
A seemingly romantic journey becomes a struggle for survival. Timofey and Elizaveta confront real danger when they least expect it. Love and deception reveal their essence when the best of intentions come into conflict with each other. The protagonists try hard to achieve their goals, but, in the end, each of them finds something much different instead. Illusion, ultimately, proves stronger than reality. And coincidences are often not so random after all.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Literary Fiction
Rating – PG13
Jez let his mind dwell on the ceiling’s dull paint rather than think about his recent nightmares. But those thoughts wouldn’t stay down: whatever happened, he would achieve justice for Viktor.
Anna came out of the bathroom, hair wrapped in a towel, turban style. “We still have time to travel south,” she said. He sighed. She looked desperate again. “Please think about it. I promise this isn’t a test. No tricks. I’m telling you what’s in my heart, and I think we should run.”
Vertical tracks forged between his eyebrows. “We’ve already been through this, Anna. I do trust you, but I’ve made my decision.”
“But I don’t think you’ve thought it out properly. From what I can see, Mitrokhin has high-ranking contacts everywhere and I don’t think even Petrichova can save you. The captain has the guile of a fox and his cunning outwits us all. Please, Jez,” she implored, “go with me now.”
He got off the bed and embraced her. “I don’t know why you’ve become so worried. I’d never imagined you like this, but whether what you say is true or not, I won’t run. I must win justice for Viktor – and for me, come to that. Viktor has been murdered and I’ve been set up to look like his killer.”
Anna wept against his chest, and he couldn’t figure why. Of what he knew about her, it was totally out of character.
“I want you to remember this,” she sobbed. “And I’m speaking from the heart. No matter what happens, this is what is real and this is the memory I want you to hold onto. I love you, Jez, I love you.”
Baffled, he realized that having a real relationship with a woman was an enigma. Her declaration seemed distressed rather than tender. The only way he could think of handling this was to let it go straight over his head.
“And I love you, Anna, but I must go back.”
Outside the hotel the snow lay thick, and despite the best efforts of a heavy blanket of cloud, the cold had worked its way through.
“I’m glad I packed the ski jacket. Cold or not, this suitcase has me overheating. I know you’ve put my stuff in with yours, but what a weight.”
“Just girl things,” she smiled, and stepped out ahead.
“That’s right, don’t wait for me. Oh…” he said, almost stopping, “I forgot to pay for my lodgings at the hotel.”
She turned and raised an eyebrow. He grinned.
“You’re right, all the troubles I’ve got and I should worry about paying for a room. I’ll let the state sort it out.”
They trudged through the snow until they came to Railway Station Square – part of Stalin’s rebuild of the city. Anna wore the same azure coat with fur trimmings and fur hat as on the second day of their reunion, and he wondered how such a beautiful woman could really be interested in him.
“You look like a film star dressed like that, but aren’t you worried someone might be following?”
She tutted. “You seem to be worrying enough for both of us.”
She was so avant-garde, maybe she hadn’t carried out as many missions as she’d suggested. “Oh well, nearly there,” he said.
She smiled sadly.
He stopped to cross an avenue near a trolley rank. Six or seven people queued closely together, ankle-deep in snow, exhaling frosted breath as they waited for their ride. At last, a lull in the traffic. Anna went ahead. Jez kept a half metre behind, but something jarred his senses. Above the din of the city an explosion rang out. He turned to the direction of the noise and then looked at Anna. A hole had opened and blossomed in the back of her coat. His heart seemed to stop beating. She’d been shot and he couldn’t move. The force of the bullet had arched her back. She spun to face him, stumbled, eyes widened in shock.
The crowd at the trolley rank scattered in panic and shrill screams pierced his ears. But still, he couldn’t move – Anna.
Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense
Rating – R
Detective Eric Brennan sat at his usual table and sipped the night’s beverage of choice—a cola. In Chunkers Bar and Grill loud pointless chatter overpowered the ‘80s rock and roll band on stage.
The last week was a blur. Every waking hour he pounded the streets in search of his father’s killer.
Eric knew every detail of the shooters face, but not the kid’s name. He’d heard from one of his informant’s, the kid was a young tough-guy looking to be made—a “cugine” ready to make his mark into New York’s most influential crime network, the Valdina family. As part of his induction into the mob family, the asshole had already killed a low-life rival family member and Eric and his father were working the homicide case when they got a tip.
That steamy June evening had started like any typical bust. Within minutes after Eric and his father arrived at the warehouse, dozens of DEA agents secured the perimeter. Eric entered the warehouse first, his father followed. Amid the stench of mildew and dust, the first pop of an automatic echoed within the barren walls.
They were ambushed.
His father, a veteran with twenty-three years on the force never saw the shots coming. Eric threw his body against his father in hopes of shielding him. It was too late. Instead Eric witnessed his father’s face, the sickening whitish blue tint that came with death...
While Pete checked in with the precinct, Eric shifted in the chair. His left knee still burned where the bullet had grazed his leg. He rubbed the scar, a permanent reminder of a drug bust gone bad. Very bad.
“Hey, Brennan.” Pete threw a twenty-dollar bill on the table and downed the last swallow of his beer. “Come on. I think we got a lead.”
Outside on West 35th Street, a full moon peeked through the clouds. Jagged streaks of lightning ignited the sky as rain sprinkled against Eric’s leather jacket. He lit a cigarette and leaned against his white pick-up truck parked in front of Chunkers.
Pete smirked. “Man, I thought you quit.”
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-18
More details about the author
Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.