Book Review—Interference

Interference Cover

Put the words “quantum” and “thriller” together, and in the right hands, you’re bound to get action, science, and danger in a tale that will make your head spin. That’s what Interference is. Author Brad Parks weaves in just enough physics and biology to make the story believable. And to keep you guessing, he tosses in a fascinating gaggle of characters who may or may not be all they appear to be.

Thrillers are fun. What kept me going, though, was the abiding love between Brigid and her husband, Matt. Simply put, they adore each other.

Everyone, it seems, wants in on Matt’s research at Dartmouth—including the government and a sketchy billionaire. Then, he goes missing. Interestingly, Brigid is losing her hearing. But that doesn’t stop her in her pursuit to find her husband. The woman is relentless.

Surprises abound in this story of how we push our limits of understanding to create something new while attracting those who would take it away. If you’re in the mood for a fun ride, check out Interference.

You can find this review at Goodreads.

Book Description

From international bestselling author Brad Parks comes an emotional, heart-pounding thriller that explores the scientific unknown—and one woman’s efforts to save her husband from its consequences.

Quantum physicist Matt Bronik is suffering from strange, violent seizures that medical science seems powerless to explain—much to the consternation of his wife, Brigid.

Matt doesn’t think these fits could be related to his research, which he has always described as benign and esoteric. That, it turns out, is not quite true: Matt has been prodding the mysteries of the quantum universe, with terrible repercussions for his health. And perhaps even for humanity as a whole.

Then, in the midst of another seizure, Matt disappears. When foul play is feared, there is no shortage of suspects. Matt’s research had gained the attention of Chinese competitors, an unscrupulous billionaire, and the Department of Defense, among others.

With Matt’s life in clear danger, Brigid sets out to find him. Will Matt be killed before she reaches him, or could the physics that endangered him actually be used to save his life?

Where to Buy

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

More Reviews

Did you enjoy this review? Check out my other reviews here.

September 2020 Highlights and Jane Doe

Japanese School Kids

Greetings! Well, we made it through summer. A friend suggested that if anything bad happens the rest of the year, go ahead and blame it on 2020. “You totaled your car?” “Hey, it’s 2020, man.” That kind of thinking makes me feel better.

Book News

As a reminder, The Blood She Wore, Book 3 in the Sarah Greene Mysteries series, is due to be published on November 2, 2020. You can learn more here.

I’m taking a break from the supernatural and turning my attention to a new thriller series, Jane Doe Cycle. Check this out for a sneak peek at the newest entry in the Tell Me When I’m Dead universe.

Speaking of Tell Me When I’m Dead, Book 1 is now free in the US, UK, and Canada. Use this link to grab a copy.

Recommended Reading

Don’t Tell Teacher Cover

If you’re into psychological thrillers, take a look at Don’t Tell Teacher by Suzy K Quinn. How far will a mother go to shield her child from an abusive ex-husband? You can read my review here.

Recommended Viewing

Hey, remember Jeffrey Dean Morgan from Supernatural and The Walking Dead? Well, now you can catch him in The Possession, now showing on Amazon Prime. A young girl acquires an antique box at a yard sale, unaware that inside lives a demonic spirit known as a dybbuk. Creepy stuff.

See you next month, when I go on the hunt for a Luigi costume with extra-wide pants for Halloween. Peace and love.

Cover Reveal and Book Excerpt—The Blood She Wore

The Blood She Wore (T)

Exciting news! The Blood She Wore, Book Three in the Sarah Greene Mysteries series is scheduled for publication on November 2, 2020. In the meantime, check out the cover. I’ve also included a book excerpt.

If you’ve been reading the series, you know that Dos Santos hasn’t been faring too well lately. Sarah and Carter are doing their best to combat the insidious evil that’s consuming the town. But as soon as they put one bad thing to rest, more pop up. Don’t worry. The good guys still have some tricks up their sleeves.

You can find the book description and excerpt below. Peace and love.

Book Description

The discovery of a cursed object drives Sarah Greene to uncover the secret of why the town’s founder, John Dos Santos, turned to the demonic. Meanwhile, the streets are plagued by a wave of senseless violence at the hands of strangers. And these ritualistic killings point to The Darkness. After everything that’s happened, Sarah finally knows her destiny. She must use her psychic ability to stop the evil from spreading. As she gets closer to the truth, she discovers a connection to John that centers around 1925, the year the founder died. More unnerving is the vision of his housekeeper’s ghost, covered in blood.

Book Excerpt

Sarah Greene’s eyes fluttered open, and she realized she was dressed, lying on top of the duvet. The dream had been a bad one. With a heaviness in her chest, she turned, hoping to find Joe. But all she saw was Gary, curled up in a ball next to her. What time was it? She reached over and picked up her Apple watch from the nightstand. Seven-thirty.

“Alyssa,” she said, groaning. “I need you.”

Clumsily pressing the wrinkles from her clothes, she wandered into the kitchen, where she found her ex-husband. He was sitting at the counter, drinking coffee and looking at his phone. When he heard her come in, Joe looked up.

“Hey,” he said.

“Morning.”

Sarah grabbed a cup and poured coffee for herself. She took a seat next to him, unsure what to do or say. After he had told her about the accident with the girl all those years ago, he seemed to shut down. It was as if everything in his life had come undone, and he was finished. She remembered trying to kiss him. He’d withdrawn so much into himself, she was unable to get through. And so, feeling lonesome, she fell asleep next to him.

She reached out her hands and took his. “Do you want to talk about it?”

“No.” He stood and rinsed out his cup in the sink. “I have to meet Manny. I’ll see you tonight.”

“Joe?” He was about to leave the room, then stopped. “You’re a good man—a good human being. And I love you.”

“I’ll see you,” he said.

Sarah listened as the front door opened and closed. Gary trotted in and sat in front of her, his eyes squishy. She picked him up and set him on her lap. He began to purr. She wished she could see her therapist, but the woman was out of the country on vacation.

Drinking coffee, Sarah thought about their weekend away. It had been wonderful. Or had it? She tried recalling how Joe had acted in Half Moon Bay. Honestly, she’d had no inkling that something this bad was bothering him. Was he acting? Had their trip been his way of telling her goodbye? Stop being dramatic. He’s hurting, that’s all. Her thoughts drifted back to the nightmare.

 

Sarah stood before a huge, rambling mansion surrounded by pine trees. A terrible place filled with rage, it glowed a ghastly yellow in the moonlight. She had never seen this house before and wondered if it really existed.

As she stood there in the darkness, a girl screamed. Time sped up.

An invisible force pulled Sarah through the walls and into the house. She found herself at the base of a staircase.

An imposing woman stood on the landing. She wore a black beaded flapper gown. And in her hair, there was a silver filigree comb. Dismissively, she looked past Sarah at someone else and laughed.

“You know better than to come up here,” she said.

Somewhere, the girl screamed again. Bored, the woman glanced over her shoulder.

She began descending the stairs. As she did, she kicked something. It was a wooden spool of bright red thread. Tumbling down, it unraveled and eventually stopped at Sarah’s feet.

When she had reached the bottom of the stairs, the woman stood still, looking at Sarah this time. Sarah felt her neck, searching for her St. Michael medal. But it was gone.

“God won’t help you,” the woman said.

Her voice cut through Sarah’s brain like a hacksaw. Then, the woman’s eyes turned a liquid black.

 

Though disturbing, the nightmare hadn’t turned Sarah into a gibbering mess. She had almost died at Devil’s Bluff, and so much had happened since. But she had survived. What she felt now wasn’t fear—it was anger. Fury at the rampant evil that had put so many people in danger and had led to an innocent young woman’s death.

“God won’t help me?” she said, her tone mocking and defiant. “Just watch.”

As if in response, something outside made a loud thud, alerting the cat. He maowed nervously as Sarah set him on the floor. She went to the front door and listened. Then, she squinted through the peephole. The street was empty except for her dark green trash cans on the sidewalk.

Across the way, her neighbor, a heavyset old woman wearing a faded housecoat, kicked a plastic recycling box toward the curb. Sarah opened the door. The first thing she saw was the bright red smear across the door. She covered her mouth.

A dead, gray animal, mutilated beyond recognition, lay on her mat. A cat? The eyes and tongue had been cut out, and it was gutted. The blood covering its fur looked fresh. She gazed toward the street. The old woman was nowhere in sight.

She felt something brush up against her leg. Gary. Shooing him back, she closed the door. She stood there with her arms crossed and thought of calling Joe. No, this was something she needed to deal with.

“So, this is how we’re playing?” she said.

Gathering cleaning supplies, a garbage bag, and a hose, Sarah made a mental note to replace the ruined welcome mat.

* * *

Carter Wittgenstein was late. She pulled her white MINI Cooper into the lot behind The Cracked Pot and parked next to the catering van. One of the other servers—Sherrie—had texted her last minute, asking if Carter could cover her breakfast shift; her kid was sick.

After the dream she’d had the previous night, the last thing the girl wanted was to serve food to a bunch of chatty customers. But Sherrie had always been nice to her. The single mother was the one who had trained Carter when she first started. So, she agreed.

Hurrying in through the back, she realized she wouldn’t have time to fix her makeup. The line cooks grinned when they saw her pass by. One of them said something to the others.

“Escapó de Isla de las Muñecas.”

Ignoring their laughter, she continued into the bathroom to wash her hands. Taking a quick look in the mirror, she brushed back her short black hair, pasted on a plastic smile, and returned to the kitchen. She marched up to the wise-cracking line cook and pointed a finger at him.

“If you’re not careful, Hector, I’ll send you to the Island of the Dolls. And by the way, they hate short men.”

Satisfied, she walked away. The line cook looked sheepishly at the others while they jeered him.

Carter entered the restaurant area. Another server, loaded down with plates, nodded toward the counter where Tim Whatley sat, brooding. The last time she had seen him, he had a moustache. Now, he was clean shaven.

Poor Tim. Carter knew how he felt, having witnessed something unexplainable. All of it, in fact, had made no sense. Not to a cop who had been trained to look at facts and evidence. Though he hadn’t told her what he’d seen that night at the women’s shelter, she was certain it was bad.

“Have you decided?” she said.

“No. I still don’t know if what I saw was real.”

Carter stifled a laugh. “I mean, about breakfast.”

“Oh. Um, bacon and eggs over easy.”

“Toast?”

“I guess.”

She felt sorry for him. Tim was around her age. When she had first met him, he seemed confident. And happy. Now, he was sullen and resistant to making eye contact. She hoped he wasn’t suffering from depression—a condition she was all too familiar with.

“I’ll make sure you get extra bacon,” she said, and walked away to put in his order.

He thought again about that awful night. Looking up at the ceiling and finding Ana Robles on her hands and knees, naked, her head twisted all the way around so she could see him better. And her tongue, impossibly long and snake-like. Take me now, cop, she had said.

In a few minutes, Carter returned with Tim’s food, warning him about the hot plate.

“Can I ask you a question?” He leaned forward and spoke softly. “These things I saw. Is this what it’s like for you and Sarah?”

Carter didn’t know what to say. For most of her life, she had been keenly aware of the paranormal. At some point, she’d accepted that this was how she and others like her—and Sarah—saw the world. It was hard for her to imagine what it felt like not seeing the things that were always lurking in the shadows and in dark dreams.

The leering face of the demoniac she had killed materialized in front of her eyes, reminding her of her nightmare. To dispel it, she looked toward the windows and focused on the normal traffic outside. When her eyes met Tim’s again, she saw that he was desperate for an answer.

“It’s different for us,” she said. “We see things all the time. What’s weird is, now other people are starting to see them.”

“Is something bad happening in Dos Santos?”

She wanted to tell him everything. About The Darkness and the Guardian sworn to defeat it. Something was coming—something final. And she was scared. But she couldn’t risk it. In his current state, the truth could send the young cop over the edge.

“I don’t know,” she said. “I wish Harlan was around.” Shit, did I say that out loud?

“What do you mean?”

“It’s just that he’s been really nice to me and… Forget it. I’m being stupid.”

Behind her, the call bell rang. “Sorry, I need to get back to work.”

He grabbed her hand. “Is it true you were the one who killed that creepy dude? It was self-defense, right?”

“I…” Her chest ached. “I didn’t do anything.”

She left him and, hurrying through the kitchen, ran out the back door and stood in the parking lot. It was hard to catch her breath. So many times, she’d found herself out here, smoking.

Desperate for a cigarette, she remembered when Sarah had followed her, a stranger asking about The Darkness. And Carter pretending she didn’t know what the loopy lady was talking about. The dream came back to her full on.

 

Carter stood in the street again at night. The demoniac with the yellow-spiked hair laughed in that irritating high voice.

She grabbed the back of his neck and pulled him close. His skin felt damp and greasy.

Filled with a rage she had no idea was in her, she pressed the St. Benedict medal to his forehead until his head burst into a cold blue fire. She watched as he fell to his knees on the wet asphalt.

At that moment, she told herself she destroyed him only because she knew he would’ve killed Sarah and her.

 

Taking a calming breath, Carter knew what she would do now. Like the other horrible thing that happened when she was thirteen, she would push the events of that night way down deep. And she would lock them up there forever—where they could scream all they wanted. She was in control. And she would get on with her life.

Book Review—Don’t Tell Teacher

Don’t Tell Teacher Cover

There’s an unbreakable connection between mothers and their children, a special bond that compels them to protect their offspring at all costs. And when someone threatens the child, Mother provides a powerful response. For Lizzie Riley, the solution is to move her son, Tom, away from London to a sleepy suburb where the two of them can start over.

As in all good psychological thrillers, running away from something—in this case, an abusive husband—introduces an even worse situation. The private school Tom attends is oppressive, and the headmaster oddly secretive. And with each new, disturbing revelation, Lizzie begins to unravel. It seems the bad luck she’s experienced has followed her.

Others try to help. Kate, the social worker assigned to Tom, is young and hopeful. She and her supervisor have seen it all before. Violent husband. Injured wife. Terrified child. But, somehow, the case isn’t textbook. And that’s what drives the reader mad, asking—pleading, really—why? For all that is good and holy, WHY?

For those who enjoy the twists and turns of a disturbing tale told by an unhinged narrator, Don’t Tell Teacher is for you. For those with children, hug them. And thank you stars, it’s only a story.

You can find this review at Goodreads.

Book Description

School should have been the safest place…

For Lizzie Riley, switching her eight-year-old son Tom to the local academy school marks a fresh start, post-divorce. With its excellent reputation and outstanding results, Lizzie knows it’ll be a safe space away from home.

But there’s something strange happening at school. Parents are forbidden from entering the grounds and inside, there are bars across the classroom windows.

Why is Tom coming home exhausted, unable to remember anything about his day? What are the strange marks on his arm? And when Lizzie tries to question the other children, why do they seem afraid to talk?

Tom’s new school might seem picture-perfect. But sometimes appearances can be deceiving…

Where to Buy

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

More Reviews

Did you enjoy this review? Check out my other reviews here.

August 2020 Highlights and Sneak Peek

Dog Days [Explored]
Courtesy of Matthew

Greetings! Is it hot or what? Don’t you wish you were this dog right about now? No? Just me, then, I guess.

Book News

The Blood She Wore, Book 3 in the Sarah Greene Mysteries series, has a publication date—November 2, 2020.

For now, I’m making the ebook exclusive to Amazon, which means Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read it for free. As always, the paperback edition will be available everywhere. I plan to put the book up for preorder three weeks prior at 99 cents. On launch day, the price is $4.99.

With this novel, I’ve completed a trilogy that takes our intrepid hero Sarah Greene from stumbling onto a haunted mirror to a terrifying confrontation with the insidious evil that is plaguing Dos Santos. If you love the supernatural, you won’t want to miss this riveting conclusion.

In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek of the book cover. Let me know what you think in the comments.

The Blood She Wore Sneak (S)

Recommended Reading

Mexican Gothic Cover

Speaking of ghost stories, check out this new release, Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This is a bone-chilling story of horror and madness set in the countryside of 1950s Mexico. You can read my review here.

Recommended Viewing

If you are an Amazon Prime member, check out the new My Spy, starring Dave Bautista. It’s cute and funny, and there’s plenty of action. Pure escapism, my friends.

See you next month, when I attempt to set up an outdoor grill station for Labor Day. Don’t worry, I already purchased a fire extinguisher. Peace and love.

Book Review—Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic Cover

If you’re looking for classic gothic horror that doesn’t shy away from the macabre, you can’t do better than Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. For me, the best ghost stories are those that place the unwitting protagonist in a situation she has no desire to be a part of. In this case, the unlucky girl is Noemí Taboada. She is rich and spoiled, and her chief concern seems to be which party she will attend next. Like the best heroes, though, Noemí is layered. She’s whip-smart, headstrong, and caring. And a little calculating. Her cousin is in trouble somewhere in the countryside, and Noemí’s father wants her to investigate. She agrees, but not before obtaining a quid pro quo. And so, with enough dresses and shoes to weather a trip abroad, she embarks on a lonely journey to High Place.

Sometimes, stories of horror and madness escalate too quickly, subjecting the reader to a dizzying intensity that’s difficult to sustain without resulting in boredom. That’s not the case with this novel. What I loved best about the book is the author’s carefully crafted ascent that, like the town situated below High Place, takes its time. But there’s a dark side to this kind of storytelling; Noemí is on an inexorable path that must deliver her to her final destination. The question, of course, is whether she and her ailing cousin will survive the journey.

When you read Mexican Gothic, fix yourself a nice cup of hot chocolate. Wrap yourself in your favorite blanket and prepare to experience a deliciously original tale—a deathless dream of family gloom.

You can find this review at Goodreads.

Book Description

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.  
 
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
 
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. 
 
And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

Where to Buy

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

More Reviews

Did you enjoy this review? Check out my other reviews here.

July 2020 Highlights and Book News

Sparklers
Courtesy of Kovis Lo

Greetings! Well, summer is in full swing, and most of us are still sheltering; still wondering if face masks are going to be a permanent thing. I sincerely hope you and your loved ones are well and that you have found ways to be happy in these extraordinary times. Me, I’m still writing. Speaking of which…

Writing

As I mentioned last time, I have finished Book 3 in the Sarah Greene Mysteries series. I sent it off to be copyedited, and I have commissioned the cover. In the meantime, take a look at the title and blurb.

The Blood She Wore

After finding a cursed object in her house, Sarah is driven to solve the mystery of why the town’s founder, John Dos Santos, turned to the demonic. Meanwhile, the streets are plagued by a terrifying wave of violence that includes the ritualistic killing of strangers. As Sarah gets closer to unearthing the truth, she discovers a connection to John that centers around the year 1925. But what is more frightening is the recurring vision of his housekeeper’s ghost covered in blood.

With this book, I have created a trilogy that takes Sarah from discovering a dead girl in a mirror to full-on evil erupting in the town of Dos Santos. It’s a journey that will test Sarah’s faith and take her to the brink. The book is scheduled for publication on November 2, 2020.

As a reminder, for those of you who are Kindle Unlimited subscribers, you can read Book 1 and Book 2 now for free.

Recommended Reading

What Has Mother Done Cover

What Has Mother Done is a first-rate mystery thriller that features lots of twists and turns and wicked humor. You can read my review here.

Tea Anyone Cover

If you’re in the mood for a cozy mystery with time travel, check out Tea, Anyone? by my friend and USA Today bestselling author S. R. Mallery.

Recommended Viewing

For those of you with a Netflix account, take a look at this scary movie, It Comes at Night. I thought the actors were convincing and the writing and directing tight. This film shows you what happens when the line between survival and paranoia is erased.

Stay well. See you next month, when I continue my search for face masks featuring members of The Monkees.

Book Review—What Has Mother Done

What Has Mother Done Cover

I’m just going to come out and say it. Barbara Petty is a little sneaky. When I began reading What Has Mother Done, the author introduced a story that could easily have been a cozy mystery. Sure, right off the bat, there’s a body. But we’ve got a main character who is wicked-funny with her internal thoughts and asides pitted against the proverbial small town where everyone—and I mean everyone—has a secret.

Petty’s Thea Browne is no ingenue, either. She’s a hard-bitten investigative reporter who has been around the block a few times. When we meet her, she faces the bleak prospect of looking after her recently widowed mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. During the investigation, Thea is forced to put up with her best friend, Annie, who has gone a little wonky of late. And she must also deal with her sister, Beryl. Yeah, they don’t get along. As if all that wasn’t enough, let’s throw in some hot flashes.

Yes, the story could have been a perfectly respectable cozy mystery. That is until the body count goes up. What Has Mother Done is a first-rate mystery thriller. The characters are engaging—and often frustrating. As Thea goes about trying to solve the mystery of her stepfather’s untimely death, I found my pulse quickening. If you enjoy smartly written scenes of small-town intrigue, violence, and questionable loyalties, then I suggest you check out this excellent novel.

You can find this review at Goodreads.

Book Description

In a small Midwestern town, on a cold, blustery March day, a man plunges to his death off a high, rocky cliff, setting in motion a string of events that lead to murders and rips open the long-hidden secrets of the town’s most prominent family…

The man is George Prentice, and the woman the police suspect of murdering him is his wife, Daphne. But Daphne has Alzheimer’s and, as she is likely to be incompetent to stand trial, has not been arrested.

Daphne’s daughter, Thea Browne, is a trained investigative reporter, who is furious that the police haven’t bothered to look any further for a culprit other than her mother. She suspects her stepfather made enemies when meddling in local politics and, according to one of his cronies, George wrote a memoir threatening to “blow the lid off this town.”

As Thea follows her own investigation, she discovers a widening circle of suspects, some much closer to home than she expected. Even her best friend from childhood, Annie Biggs, seems to be keeping a deep dark secret that she refuses to share with Thea.

More murders push Thea to the point where protecting her mother forces her to put her own life on the line to track down a diabolical killer.

Where to Buy

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

More Reviews

Did you enjoy this review? Check out my other reviews here.

Pantsing through the Pandemic

Seaside Statue Sitting Man
Courtesy of eltpics

Today, I had the pleasure of being a guest over at The Kill Zone. These guys are first-rate authors. Take a look at my post and decide whether I measure up.

If, as Stephen King likes to say, the road to hell is paved with adverbs, then finishing a novel is paved with mouse traps; and here you are trying to get across that minefield in your bare feet. As writers, we tend to get distracted—a lot. Thanks, Netflix. And then, there’s life. How many of you have said, “If only I could focus exclusively on my writing, I’d finish this damn book, by cracky.” I know I have. Repeatedly over the years, much to the irritation of my long-suffering wife.

Then, a little thing called COVID-19 happened. We were told we had to shelter in place. Sure, there was still Netflix and Amazon Prime to distract us, but we couldn’t go anywhere. What’s a writer to do? Well, like the wily poker player whose bluff was called, I decided to shut up and write. And guess what, I finished the damn book.

Pantsers Are People, Too

I’m a pantser by trade. That means I don’t have a clue where I’m heading when I begin a new book. That’s not entirely true. I do know where I would like to end up, but I haven’t worked out the details. I have a main character in mind, of course. And I’m pretty clear on the conflict arising between the mc’s goal and the thing standing in the way. Other than that, I’m free as a bird when it comes to the plot. I suspect that some plotters look at pantsers as undisciplined children with uncombed hair and sticky fingers. My image of a plotter is a person who dresses impeccably and has an English accent. Borrowing from the wonderfully insane film Galaxy Quest, plotters are Alexander Dane, while pantsers are Jason Nesmith.

The book in question is the third in my supernatural suspense series, Sarah Greene Mysteries. My main character sees ghosts, which tends to get her into serious trouble. Over the course of the three novels, Sarah goes from discovering a mirror that holds the spirit of a dead girl to the entire town pretty much erupting into flames. Now, as a card-carrying pantser, I had no idea how I was going to go from a murder mystery to Armageddon. I had to trust that the characters would get me to my destination. Spoiler alert—going about crafting a novel this way requires you to rewrite. Often. That’s the downside. The upside is, there are lots of opportunities for discovery. And then, there is what I like to call the happy accident, which in my opinion, is a gift from heaven and makes for a better story.

You can read the rest of the post here.

2020 Indie Book Awards Press Release

NextGenerationIndieBookAwards2
Next Generation Indie Book Awards is the world’s largest book awards program for independent publishers and self-published authors

The Girl in the Mirror: A Sarah Greene Supernatural Mystery by Steven Ramirez has been named by the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group as one of the best indie books of 2020.

Steven Ramirez’s book is the winner of the Horror category in the 2020 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the world’s largest book awards program for independent publishers and self-published authors. The winners and finalists will be honored June 26 in an online event which will stream live on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NextGenerationIndieBookAwards at 8:00 pm (Eastern Time) and 5:00 pm (Pacific Time).

2020 is the 13th year of the not-for-profit book awards program. Outskirts Press, an independent book publisher which provides services for self-publishing authors, was a Silver Sponsor of this year’s awards.

The Next Generation Indie Book Awards are judged by leaders of the indie book publishing industry, including many with long careers at major publishing houses. Their love of a great read and experience in the publishing arena identify books deserving a wider audience.

In an article at CNN.com titled If it’s cool, creative, and different, it’s indie, journalist Catherine Andrews wrote: “The term ‘indie’ traditionally refers to independent art – music, film, literature or anything that fits under the broad banner of culture – created outside of the mainstream and without corporate financing.” That definition remains true for book publishing.

Independent book publishing companies are independent of the major conglomerates dominating the book publishing industry. Indies include small presses, larger independent publishers, university presses, e-book publishers, and self-published authors.

According to Catherine Goulet, Founder and Co-Chair of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, “Like other independent artists, many indie book publishers face challenges that the industry giants don’t experience. The indies have to work much harder to get their best books into readers’ hands.”

“Authors and publishers who compete in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards are serious about promoting their books,” adds Goulet. “They aim to stand out from the crowd of millions of books in print.”

According to an October 2019 report by Bowker, publisher of the Books in Print database, the number of titles self-published in the United States grew to over 1.6 million in 2018, an increase of 40% over the previous year. “This trend is likely to continue as the quality of many self-published works now rivals that of traditionally published titles,” according to the report.

Worldwide, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) estimates more than 2.6 million books are now being published in a single year.

To help indie authors and publishers reach a wider audience, the top 70 books in the 2020 Next Generation Indie Book Awards will be reviewed by New York literary agent Marilyn Allen of Allen O’Shea Literary Agency, or one of Ms. Allen’s co-agents, for possible representation in areas such as: distribution, foreign rights, film rights, and other rights.

The awards will be presented on June 26 in an online event which will stream live on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NextGenerationIndieBookAwards at 8:00 pm (Eastern Time) and 5:00 pm (Pacific Time).

This year’s awards event was originally planned to take place at Chicago’s Newberry Library, to coincide with the American Library Association Annual Conference, but was moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other prize-winning books in the 2020 Next Generation Indie Book Awards include:

Top Non-Fiction Books

First Place Winner ($1,500 Prize)

Treasured Lands: A Photographic Odyssey Through America’s National Parks, by QT Luong (Terra Galleria Press)

Second Place Winner ($750 Prize)

The Chimpanzee Chronicles: Stories of Heartbreak and Hope from Behind the Bars, by Debra Rosenman (Wild Soul Press)

Third Place Winner ($500 Prize)

Feast of the Seven Fishes: A Brooklyn Italian’s Recipes Celebrating Food and Family, by Daniel Paterna (powerHouse Books)

Top Fiction Books

First Place Winner ($1,500 Prize)

Lucky-Child: The Secret, by Dr. Chelinay Gates aka Malardy (Tellwell Publications)

Second Place Winner ($750 Prize)

Eve of Snows, by L. James Rice (Twelfth Star Publishing)

Third Place Winner ($500 Prize)

Marlon MacDoogle’s Magical Night, by Sean Covel and Diego Velasquez (Baby Buddha Publishing)

Other Winners

Top books were named as winners and finalists in over 70 publishing categories ranging from Action/Adventure to Young Author.

A complete list of 2020 winners and finalists is available at the Next Generation Indie Book Awards website at indiebookawards.com.

Where to Watch the 2020 Book Awards Event

This year’s event will be streamed live online and the public is welcome to watch. To see the 2020 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Presentation, visit https://www.facebook.com/NextGenerationIndieBookAwards at 8:00 pm (Eastern Time) and 5:00 pm (Pacific Time) on Friday, June 26.