Showing posts with label adult. Show all posts
Showing posts with label adult. Show all posts

Monday, December 3, 2018

"Queen of Black Sails" by P. J. Daniels

Queen of Black Sails
by P. J. Daniels

Queen of Black Sails by P. J. Daniels

Author P. J. Daniels stops by today to share an excerpt from his new novel, Queen of Black Sails.

Sarah Chartimands is a captain in a magic world. Her ship: The Lady Flotsam. Her crew: pirates. After rescuing an old friend and mentor, Sarah sets out for the haul of a lifetime: the King's gold. However, when not all goes according to plan, she finds herself on the run, outnumbered, and questioning her reality; all in a city trying to kill her. This adventure is loaded to the brim with guns, swords and spells. Can Sarah salvage a botched plan? More importantly, will she find a way out, alive?

Chapter One
Visibility was low. It wasn’t just the darkness of night that impeded sight, it was also the fog. A thick blanket wrapped the Hawesford, a large privateer ship with unmarked, white, sails. It was a ship built to intimidate, with a dozen cannons on the sides alone. The crew was well organized and usually reacted well to surprises, considering their line of work. The wind was low, so forward motion was minimal. The waves moved enough to lap loudly against the wood that separated the crew from the sea. They hadn’t been to sea for long before the winds died down and the fog set in. They spent the daylight hours moving slow; trying not to get turned around so close to land, lest they run ashore.
The captain stood behind the helmsman, overseeing the deck below. He was a tall man, with broad shoulders and thick arms. He wore a long black coat that hung over a white shirt that looked too tight for his massive chest muscles. He had pants that matched his coat in colour and in style. His long grey hair was tied in a single strand at the back of his head, which was topped with a black captain's cap. His eyes traveled over the ship, and back out to the fog. He had many eyes watching for danger, but he was not the sort to leave everything to his crew. He preferred to be more involved.
A multitude of oil lamps moved about the ship, guiding the crew at least a little in the low light. The fog was so thick that parts of the ship were not visible to the captain, so he was relying on steady messages passed along from crew further down.
Motion caught the captain’s eye, and he followed it to the sails. Something small and bright had moved near the large central sail, and it only took a moment for him to realize what it was: a flaming arrow. The sail lit up like a bonfire; much to the surprise, and horror, of the crew.
‘The sails were wet!’ Was the first thought the captain had upon seeing his sails catch fire. His second thought was spoken, loudly.
“Detach that sail before the others catch!” He bellowed.
White shirts surged in unison, cutting ropes as fast as they could while others fetched buckets of water to douse the flames.
A third thought spoke inside the captain’s head. ‘Where had the arrow come from?’
He turned to the sea as the fog parted, revealing another ship at spitting distance. It was a small vessel, from what he could see, about half the size of the Hawesford. That wouldn’t make a difference at this range. He’d been taken by surprise. He didn’t have time to load his many cannons. This wasn’t going to be a navel battle. He looked up at the smaller ship's black sails; he was being boarded. He didn’t have time for any complex orders, He needed to defend his ship.
“Pirates!” He shouted.
The crew stopped what they were doing, but any that were close to the side had little time to react to the wave of blades and bodies that made their way onto the ship. Clad in black they flowed over his men below him, not even letting them draw their swords to defend themselves.
The captain and helmsman drew their swords and entered the fray, as the initial surprise wore off. The crew that were below deck rushed up wooden steps toward the attackers. They battled below burning sails. The privateers had the advantage of numbers, regardless of the initial surprise.
The captain’s confidence in his advantage began to wane when the pirates pushed forward, hard. He couldn’t believe it. Despite being outnumbered ten to one, they were pushing forward steadily. The deck was large, so if they kept pushing toward the center, they would end up being surrounded.
‘This tactic is foolish.’ He thought. ‘Or am I missing something?’
The battle slowed to a stop once they were surrounded, about a dozen pirates formed a circle in the center, back to back. The captain had to admit, these were skilled combatants. Only a few of their own had fallen by this point, but many white shirts lay bleeding and motionless. Taking a closer look at them, the captain could see steel and fire in their eyes; not literally, but he imagined it. These were hardened men. These were killers, plain and simple. They had fought for survival at sea for all their lives, doing what was necessary. They had each reached the pivotal point of killing for their own survival, and had become harder because of it. They didn’t enjoy the death they brought, but they saw the necessity. These were men that were broken, but rebuilt as iron statues, with swords in hand; automatons, built for war and death.
‘But who commanded them?’ He thought. ‘Where was their captain?’
From both sides of the ship came gunfire. While they had concentrated on the dozen or so pirates on the deck, the remainder of their crew had climbed along the edge of the ship to take up shooting positions. At the perfect moment, they all rose, and cut the white shirts to pieces with fire and lead from their pistols. They died so fast, they may as well have been lined up for execution. The few moments they had, to decide which target to attack, was wasted. They were too far away to strike at the attackers on the sides of the ship, but they were not currently coordinated enough to strike at the dozen in the center circle. So, they died in their confusion, leaving piles of white and red on the dark wood of the deck. The captain didn’t fair any better than his crew. He took a shot to the chest before he could draw his own pistol. He fell to his knees, shock taking all control of his muscles. Before he closed his eyes for the last time, he noted two things: first, a woman stood on the edge of the ship, pistol in hand, with hair as green as seaweed; second, his sails had burned completely black.

About the Author
P. J. Daniels
Born in Pembroke Ontario, raised in neighbouring city Cobden. I've enjoyed creating written worlds since I could read. My favourite project in school was when we got to write a story. I can spend hours talking about new ideas with like-minded writers.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

"Ginger Snapped" by Chloe Sunstone

Ginger Snapped
(Ginger Gibson Book 1)
by Chloe Sunstone

Ginger Snapped (Ginger Gibson Book 1) by Chloe Sunstone

Author Chloe Sunstone stops by today for an interview and to share a guest post and an excerpt from her latest thriller, Ginger Snapped. You can also enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to win a signed paperback copy of the book.

How does an amazing professional opportunity descend into a living nightmare?
Carefree Ginger's motto of “Work Hard, Play Harder” shapes her life. So, when her husband, Jake, gets a job offer on the other side of the country, she is up for the adventure.
But after Jake accepts the promotion, nothing is as expected. While Ginger remains in Cleveland to sell their house, she is plagued by strange prank calls, premonition-like nightmares, and the feeling that she is being watched. Is Jake's new job putting her in danger?
Unfortunately, she ignores her intuition and soon finds herself face to face with a ruthless killer. Trapped in a deadly world of corporate corruption and murderous greed, she must overcome her own fears and rely on her wits if she plans to survive.
Although the first in the Ginger Gibson series, this is a standalone book.

Oh No! I’m back. I am surrounded by inky black nothingness. The air is musty…damp, my nostrils fill with the smell of dank basement. Like in a haunted house, filled with saws and chains and bloody hooks, this is the perfect place for any psycho to hide his tools of the crazy trade. I’m trembling, from the all-encompassing fear, eating at every cell in my body.
Where am I? My fingers search out for clues. Beneath me is a thin mattress on a hard surface. My head rests on a concrete-like pillow. My breathing escalates as the panic rises in my chest. I open my mouth to scream, but only a muted croak escapes. Over the thunder of my pounding heart, I hear a booming crack, a gunshot. I recognize the sound from a trip to the range with Jake years earlier.
I swing my legs over the side of my perch, thinking in my blind panic to run even though I cannot see. I can’t ignore this intense urge to flee. But my impulse is thwarted by an unknown restraint trapping my left arm, a rope? Panic has me in its grip. I gasp for air to fill my lungs but produce only whimpers and muted pleas.
A loud screech reverberates through the darkness. Rats? Oh, please, no rats! Could this get any worse? Hysterical, I yank relentlessly on the rope tethering me. With each tug, the line cuts deeper into my skin. My arm warms as blood seeps from the gouges, coating my hand and fingers.
Behind me, the sound of footsteps startles me. Before I can turn to confront my visitor, I feel the rush of air preceding the impact to the back of my head. A blaze of bright stars then, a different blackness envelopes me.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Interview With the Author
Chloe Sunstone joins me today to discuss her new book, Ginger Snapped.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
My books are murder mysteries, so all readers must be over eighteen years of age.
What sparked the idea for this book?
My latest thriller, Ginger Snapped, was inspired by a family trip to Northern California. While my husband and I walked hand in hand along the Golden Gate Bridge and visited Sonoma Valley like typical camera-carrying, Chardonnay-slugging tourists, we fell in love with the area and had a brief discussion about relocating from Cleveland to San Francisco to start a new adventure. But instead, we returned home to our normal life.
Remembering that seemingly, mundane discussion, I imagined a fictional world, where that relocation would threaten everything … our beliefs, our relationship and ultimately, our lives. A simple conversation inspired a potentially best-selling novel. Fun, huh?
Sure thing. So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
The character’s story, for sure! Years ago, while considering leaving my corporate career to become a full-time writer, I read a book where a best-selling author claimed that “Plot Kills a Story”.
Although I don’t agree 100% with that thought process, I understand the intent, which is to encourage the author to focus on the most important part of the book, character development.
So, combining character development with plot, I develop my characters by writing down the answers to these five questions:
·         Who are my main characters (i.e., hero, antagonist, etc.)?
·         What motivates those individuals (what is this person’s backstory, how does the character’s history drive their behavior)?
·         What will be the key problems to overcome (i.e., what are the stakes, why should the reader care/the hook to keep reading)?
·         How will the book end (i.e., who will die/survive, how do these deaths/survivals change the story, how will the main characters end up)?
·         What will be the unexpected twist(s)/red herring(s)?
Answering these questions allows me to understand my characters … to get into their heads … that is my favorite part of developing the character’s story.
Once I have answered the five questions, I create a chapter by chapter outline of the following:
·         Which character will be highlighted in this chapter and in what setting?
·         What are their key emotions/feelings?
·         How are those feelings tied to the underlying conflict/the climax and the ending?
Then I write as though I am the character within that chapter. At times, the experience is downright visceral, e.g., I cry when my characters cry, I laugh when they laugh ... you get the idea.
Wow, that’s the best answer I’ve ever had to that question. Moving on, what was the hardest part to write in this book?
I struggle writing the villain because it’s difficult for me to get in the head of a murderer. I want to see the good in everyone. Additionally, one of my pet peeves in books and movies are these omnipotent villains who somehow know all and act on it. It’s unrealistic to me.
Combining my desire for realism and need to find the good in everyone, I write multi-faceted antagonists with complex backgrounds to “explain/somewhat absolve” their devious behavior.
In my novels, it’s not always clear who is “good” and who is “evil” … or is it?
Hmm. How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I write to entertain, pure and simple. I want my readers to escape to a new world, a different world without their problems or stresses. Hopefully, my books allow the reader to propel themselves into a world of corporate intrigue. Additionally, I’m hopeful that the reader takes on the invigorating challenge of figuring out “Whodunit”.
How long did it take you to write this book?
This book took about ten months in total, including the post-editing process.
What is your writing routine?
Routine is probably the wrong word because I write at odd times. Sometimes plot ideas, phrasing, actions, etc., pop into my head in the middle of the night. When this occurs, I get up, go into my office, and start writing.
The other night, at about 4:00am, I heard my husband calling my name because he woke up and I wasn’t in bed. I had gotten up to put some ideas on paper, kept writing, and lost track of time. My motto: Follow the inspiration!
My preferred writing environment is at my home. During the warmer months, I love to sit out on my back deck, overlooking our pond, and write. The tranquil wooded setting and the company of local wildlife (e.g., ducks, swans, hawks) offer the perfect inspiration. Once the weather gets cold, I move into my great room, sit on my sectional, and gather inspiration from the same setting by looking out the floor to ceiling windows overlapping our property.
When I write in the evenings, I will usually put some sort of true crime or Investigation Discovery on the television at a low volume to help drag me into the dark place needed to write a thriller.
Your home sounds amazing. How did you get your book published?
I self-published. Originally, I considered the traditional publishing route. In order to learn more, I interviewed several traditional and self-published authors.
Additionally, I networked with a couple of small press publishers to better understand my options.
Based on my research, in most cases, the author is responsible for doing the bulk of their own marketing. As a result, the publisher’s main role (in my opinion) focuses on the other pieces of the process (cover design, blurb, editing, etc.).
So, I hired my own editor and cover designer, offering me more creative license in the process.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
My main advice is DO YOUR RESEARCH! Join author groups, get references, check those author’s rankings online, and expand your network so you can tell the real deal from the scam artist.
Additionally, find an experienced editor, invest in a cover designer and learn, learn, and when you’re done, learn more. Did I mention learning?
I believe you did. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
A self-proclaimed foodie, my husband and I enjoy wine, fine dining, and travel, particularly to the Caribbean. Additionally, we are avid boaters, certified scuba divers, and general “water” people.
When we’re not on the water, we love watching football and spoiling our nieces and nephews.
What does your family think of your writing?
My husband, Mike, is extremely supportive. As a matter of fact, he was the catalyst for my job change. One typical Monday morning I dragged myself to my tedious Human Resources (HR) job. Tired legs, a bored mind and my drooping eyes watched the seconds tick by on the clock. I wondered when this hell would end. When will I be able to escape the suffocating structure of corporate America?
That evening, I trudged into my home, laptop in tow, prepared to make a quick, unhealthy dinner and hop on my Dell for another three to four hours of work. I made eye contact with my loving husband, Mike, and he knew.
“Babe, it’s time for you to quit for good. Do something else. How about writing? You’re so talented, you’ll figure it out. Check authoring a bestseller off your bucket list.”
So, the journey began. After over 25 years in HR, I took the leap and returned to my first love, writing. One hundred percent energized by creativity, I’ve written and released two cybercrime thrillers in the last year.
Fantastic! Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I’m the oldest of five daughters and grew up in a typical middle-class household with my parents and my little sisters. I spent most of my childhood taking care of my younger sisters, being a good student, and reading a ton of mysteries in my spare time.
So, you like reading when you were a child?
Yes, I loved reading. At five years old, I was introduced to my first mystery, Encyclopedia Brown Takes the Case, and I was hooked. That first book turned me into a voracious reader, enjoying all of the Encyclopedia Brown novels, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and The Chronicles of Narnia, to name a few series.
I loved all of those, too! When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I love sharing my unique writing journey, because it proves anyone can fulfill their dreams. Growing up, I was an avid reader and exceptional writer who won some local writing contests, worked as the “Editor-in-Chief” of my high school newspaper, and pursued Journalism in college. But things changed. While in college, I became disillusioned with the media field and the constant demands to provide spin and slant to every story versus communicating actual events. So, I switched to business, a more finite profession, but I missed writing. Due to my long corporate hours, carving out time for writing was virtually impossible.
So, as I mentioned before, after over twenty-five years in Human Resources, I took the leap and returned to my first love, writing. Within the last year, I have released two cybercrime thrillers.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Yes, as far as genre, I stayed within the mystery/thriller world. From a book theme perspective, absolutely not. My books are corporate cyber-thrillers which are heavily influenced by my professional corporate Human Resources experience.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
Patricia Cornwell, hands down. I find the forensic aspect of her books fascinating. I have tried to emulate her style with the cybercrime piece of my books, offering authenticity, intrigue and expertise
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
After over twenty-five years in Human Resources, I believe all feedback is a gift. I think most people struggle to give feedback on books, which is why it is such a challenge for authors to get reviews. With that said, I have received some reviews on my books. Here are some highlights:
“A modern take on a love story sprinkled with technological insight that ends not just with a bang but with an explosion!”
“The ending is reminiscent of a Stephen King storyline where, just when you thought you had it figured out, changes completely.”
“The book is entertaining and kept me on the edge of my seat page after page. The characters are very relatable, especially for anyone that has spent time at the mercy of a corporate environment trapped in an office.”
“Great book - the story flows and is quite a cybercrime thriller. The characters are believable and the ending is amazing!”
“The interesting mix of office politics, combined with cyber technology, and interpersonal relationships, make for an engaging read.”
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I’ve written about 10,000 words of my next book, tentatively titled Spicy Ginger. The second in a series featuring Ginger Gibson, the main character from Ginger Snapped. Although a series, each book will be a standalone novel.
Here is an unedited excerpt from my next book:
When I departed into the warm night, I looked up and saw nothing, black nothingness, not a star in the ominous sky. Exhausted, I trudged across the empty parking lot to my car twirling my key chain in my hands. A light smell of the stale rain which had fallen hours earlier hung in the air. In the distance, birds chirped and frogs croaked from a nearby pond on the business park property. 
A crackling sound trumpeted behind me breaking me out of my reverie. I turned and an object moved toward my eye rapidly. It happened so fast. Instinct kicked in. I raised my arm to defend myself but I was carrying my laptop bag. The satchel swung violently slamming into the head of my assailant.
Before I could celebrate my dumb luck and sprint for my car, the loudest popping sound rang out. What was that? A gun shot? My gaze darted about trying to focus in the blackness. Fortunately, I saw it, a semi-automatic gun sliding across the asphalt. I dashed toward the firearm. My attacker grabbed my leg and I fell on my elbows.  Holy crap that hurt! Ignore the pain. I need that pistol now.
I kicked frantically like a wild horse as my attacker tried to corral me. No! I’m getting to that gun first. I belly skulked toward the pistol using my hands for leverage. The weight of my body caused my keys to penetrate deep into my palm, drawing drips of warm blood. As he bounded on top of me, I hit the panic button on my key fob. The blaring distress signal boomed through the air. The goon rose up and turned toward the deafening noise giving me space to maneuver. I used my feet as propellers and dove for the gun. Outstretching my fingers to maximum length, I felt the cold metal under my skin. Yes! I’ve got it.
I grasped the icy Glock in my trembling hand and turned towards the savage werewolf of a man. Brian’s face flashed into my mind. But it’s not Brian, focus Ginger!
Time stood still while I placed my index finger on the trigger, ready but petrified. Then my aggressor lunged at me. He’s too close. I aimed at the man’s thigh and pulled the trigger. The earsplitting boom rocked my body knocking me flat onto the asphalt below. I heard him hit the ground, wounded.
Lucky shot! I did it. I don’t know how but I hit him. I watched in horror as this hoodlum’s eyes widened.
He grabbed for his bleeding leg and screamed, “Why lady? You paid me good money to do this … I don’t understand.”
Sounds great! Thanks so much for stopping by today, Chloe. Best of luck with your future projects.

Guest Post by the Author
Finding Happiness through the Written Word
One typical Monday morning I dragged myself to my tedious Human Resources (HR) job. Tired legs, a bored mind and my drooping eyes watched the seconds tick by on the clock. I wondered when this hell would end. When will I be able to escape the suffocating structure of corporate America? That evening, I trudged into my home, laptop in tow, prepared to make a quick, unhealthy dinner and hop on my Dell for another three to four hours of work. I made eye contact with my loving husband, Mike, and he knew.
“Babe, it’s time for you to quit for good. Do something else. How about writing? You are so talented, you’ll figure it out. Check authoring a bestseller off your bucket list.”
So, the journey began. After over 25 years in HR, I took the leap and returned to my first love, writing. One hundred percent energized by the creativity encouraged when writing a masterpiece, I’ve written and released two cybercrime thrillers in the last year.
Why cybercrime? Well, most of my HR experience was in project management, implementing new systems and processes. Plus, I’m married to a Software Engineer and fascinated by today’s technology. Therefore, my books focus on a fictional world where cybercrime bleeds into the real world leading to mayhem and murder.
My latest thriller, Ginger Snapped, was inspired by a family trip to Northern California. While Mike and I walked hand in hand along the Golden Gate Bridge and visited Sonoma Valley like typical camera-carrying, Chardonnay-slugging tourists, we fell in love with the area and had a brief discussion about relocating from Cleveland to San Francisco to start a new adventure. But instead, we returned home to our normal life.
Years later, I recalled that seemingly mundane conversation and my overactive imagination created a situation, where that cross-country move would threaten everything … our beliefs, our relationship and, ultimately, our lives. A simple conversation inspired a potentially best-selling novel. Awesome, huh?

About the Author
Chloe Sunstone
After over twenty years in a wide variety of Human Resources roles, Chloe was compelled to return to her first love of writing. Combining her HR expertise, a fascination with cybercrime, her MBA education and a love for the written word, Chloe’s novels are entertaining, clever and engaging. Her first book, The Mentor, is a thrill ride with a twist that you will never see coming. Her latest novel, Ginger Snapped, was released October 2018.

Enter our exclusive giveaway for a chance to win a signed paperback copy of Ginger Snapped by Chloe Sunstone (US only).


Monday, November 12, 2018

"A Light in the Desert" by Anne Montgomery

A Light in the Desert
by Anne Montgomery

A Light in the Desert by Anne Montgomery

Author Anne Montgomery stops by for an interview and to share an excerpt from her latest novel, A Light in the Desert. You can also read my review.
For another book by this author, please check out my blog post on The Scent of Rain.

As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots - the Children of Light - who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon. When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil as local and state police, FBI investigators, and a horde of reporters arrive on the scene. As the search for the saboteurs heats up and the authorities question members of the cult, they uncover more questions than answers. And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born deep in the wilderness.

Kelly Garcia sat cross-legged before the dusty grave, a cluster of blood-red bougainvillea in her lap. She finished the last orange wedge and, remembering the compost heap, stuffed the peel inside the front pocket of her faded sundress, the fabric of which strained to cover her bulging belly.
It wasn’t the first time Kelly had visited the graves of the tiny ones. The metal crosses, which had finally replaced the crumbling wooden ones, marked the graves of Maria and Gregorita Amabisca, infants born in the Gila River Valley not long after the turn of the century, neither of whom had survived even one month in the living world. Where were the infants’ little spirits now? Had they gone? Or did they spend their days here, hiding behind the old gravestones and scattered creosote bushes? Were they tiny, elf-like creatures, darting about like butterflies but always just out of sight? Or had they, as the Children explained, been lifted off to Paradise?
She felt the baby move. Would her child live long enough to grow up or would God take the baby to heaven instead? If the child was born with a face like hers, perhaps floating in the clouds with the angels would be better. Angels, she knew, must certainly be kinder than people.
She reached over and touched the polished pink granite stone covering her father’s grave. Money was scarce, but when the uniformed men showed up, they said her father had been a war hero. They handed her mother a folded American flag and made sure Bryan Kelly received a proper burial and a proper grave marker. Now his tarnished Silver Star, attached to its red, white and blue ribbon, rested in a velvet box under her bed.
She traced the letters spelling out her father’s surname. Her last name was no longer Kelly. His quirky sense of humor had rendered her Kelly Kelly, but after he stuck the gun in his mouth, her mother had insisted that Kelly Kelly was not a proper name, blaming the appellation on her father’s Irishness, and demanding she take the name of her stepfather.
A hot breeze from the flat, sparsely cultivated land south of the cemetery lifted dust and grit, blowing Kelly’s ink-black hair away from her damaged face. Her father always smiled when saying her name. Kelly Kelly made a happy sound, he said, like bird song or a cricket’s chirp. All she had left of him now were the medal, the grave, and the odd blue eyes that struggled against her dark features. The long straight hair, which she wore in a thick braid, was a gift from her mother’s Maricopa ancestors. Her face? No one was sure where that had come from.
Kelly looked up. The sun was sinking down behind the mountains, shooting streaks of color across the Sonoran Desert sky and dying the clouds pink and purple like Easter eggs.
Suddenly, she realized she was late for dinner. The Children of the Light did everything on schedule, so she had to hurry. She picked up the bougainvillea branches that would grace the communal dining table and pushed herself off the ground. Momentarily losing her balance, she clutched the branches tightly and felt a thorn prick her finger. She wished the baby would come soon. She was tired of feeling awkward. So as not to stain her dress, she quickly sucked on the blood that oozed from the wound, then turned and walked up the dirt road that wound back to the compound.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“There is a lot going on throughout the book; never a dull moment. As a result, when I picked up this book the pages just flew by and before I knew it, I was turning the last page. The characters in the book present a wide variety to its reader. They are mostly well developed, though I would have liked to see a little more depth to Billy & Kelly.” ~ Bookish Indulgenges with b00k r3vi3ws
“This is a very emotional tale that explores a variety of social issues ranging from mental illness to child abuse. It is very well done, well developed characters and scenery as well as a fast moving plot.” ~ Margaret Millmore
“... each character is well developed and the story eventually will find a point where all the plot lines seem to join and converge on the right track. I have one final note and that is be sure to read the Dedication as the struggles Ramm has may be more real for the reader.” ~ Shawn
A Light in the Desert is a fictional story based on the true event of the derailing of the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a train that travels between New Orleans, Louisiana and Los Angles, California, on October 9, 1995 in Hyder, Arizona. [It is] a character driven novel imbued with social commentary. A Light in the Desert is a great read. If you’re looking for a great story about human nature, pick A Light in the Desert up today.” ~ Rabid Readers Reviews
“Overall I enjoyed the novel and would recommend people interested in emotionally driven tales that doesn't require romantic undertones to read it!” ~ Dylan Hiler

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
We follow the stories of three people running away from their lives: Kelly suffers from Moebius syndrome, is pregnant with her stepfather’s child, and is taken in by the Children of Light, a cult headed by Elect Sun; Jason is haunted by demons from his past as is fast heading for a breakdown; Billy is running from his abusive father Buck and plans to derail a train to gain notoriety. This action will set in motion a series of events no one could have foreseen. And we will be introduced to two new characters, the sheriff and a reporter, both out to seek the truth.
The book on partially based on real events and is told from the points of view of numerous characters. As all of their stories are slowly revealed, we come to learn more about them and how their lives intertwine. By the end, all of the plotlines are cleverly tied together. The author is adept at bringing the sights, sounds, and smells of the Arizona desert to life with her words. There are a number of religious references in the book. I especially enjoyed the chapter in which an old drifter comes across the Madonna in the desert. This ties in nicely with the title of the book, with Jesus also making an appearance.
An engaging and thought-provoking read.
Warnings: coarse language, sexual references, rape, violence, mental illness.

Interview With the Author
Author Anne Montgomery stops by today to discuss her latest novel, A Light in the Desert.
What inspired you to write a crime novel?
I write about subjects in the news that interest me. (I’m a news junkie.) In the case of A Light in the Desert, the cold-case sabotage of the Amtrak Sunset Limited in the Arizona desert was big news nationwide. But it’s the people impacted by crimes and unusual circumstances that interest me most. For example, Jason Ramm, the protagonist, is suffering from a rare form of mental illness called the Jerusalem Syndrome. The Children of Light live off the land and were waiting for the end times, when the crime occurred in their backyard. In both cases, I read about these subjects in the news and was inspired to tell their stories.
Were any of the characters or events inspired by your own life?
Jason Ramm’s character is modeled on a dear deceased friend of mine who did two tours in Vietnam as a Green Beret. While he was not a sniper, many of Ramm’s memories are taken from stories he told me about his time in the service. Also, my friend struggled mightily with Post Traumatic Stress and guilt from events that occurred during the war. Like Ramm, he desperately searched for peace and forgiveness. The character of Kate Butler is clearly me. I was a TV sports reporter and anchor for five stations at both the local and national levels, until, one day, when I was pushing 40, I suddenly became unemployable in that field. Like Kate, I had a shelf-life stamped on my forehead. I was no longer pretty enough to be in front of a camera. It was a difficult transition.
What would you like readers to take away from reading your book?
While my books are fiction, they are based in fact. I work very hard to make sure I get the factual parts right. For example, my most recent book, The Scent of Rain, details the life of a teenage girl fleeing the horrors of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a cult of polygamists who believe it’s OK for old men to marry young girls. I interviewed a woman who twice escaped from the FLDS, and a doctor who worked with the cultists, and I went to Colorado City, Arizona to observe them. So, I’d like my readers to know that, even though they are reading a fictional story, they will learn things along the way.
Thanks so much for stopping by today and giving us a further insight into you book.

About the Author
Anne Montgomery
Anne Butler Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. Her first TV job came at WRBL-TV in Columbus, Georgia, and led to positions at WROC-TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP-TV in Phoenix, Arizona, and ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award winning SportsCenter. She finished her on camera broadcasting career with a two-year stint as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery was a freelance and/or staff reporter for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces. Her novels include: The Scent of Rain, Nothing But Echoes, and A Light in the Desert. Montgomery teaches journalism at South Mountain High School in Phoenix, is a foster mom to three sons, and is an Arizona Interscholastic Association football referee and crew chief. When she can, she indulges in her passions: rock collecting, football officiating, scuba diving, and playing her guitar.