Excerpt from IMAGES OF BETRAYAL by Claire Collins

Abandoned by her family, Tysan works as a waitress in a cheap diner. One cold evening, a beguiling, rugged young man barges into her life. He possesses the remarkable ability to take photographs of events that have not yet happened. Ty narrowly avoids a harrowing death in a disastrous explosion, only to be drawn into a dizzying cascade of conflicts involving a new family that takes her in, Walker-her apparent savior, David-her new admirer and her own family. Kidnapping, betrayal, obsessive love and courageous lovers co-mingle in this romantic thriller.

Excerpt:

His eyes darted to the envelope on the table. He took a drink of coffee, swallowing too hard. When he turned back to me, his eyes were haunted. He reached out, grasped the envelope, and pulled out another picture. As he handed it to me, his words registered.

“You’re supposed to keep yourself safe.”

The photo I held was taken in the restaurant. I was standing behind the front counter, the picture taken from across the room. A man sat in front of me, only the back of his head visible in the picture. He was covered in soot and ashes. Pieces of his clothing were burned away and blackened. My skin was blistered and the remnants of my hair were singed. My uniform had burned to my body, sticking to me as I stood there, coffee pot in hand. The ceiling of the restaurant was behind me, or at least part of it. Grey, cloudy skies formed a backdrop where some of the ceiling and the wall to the kitchen used to be. The pieces of the restaurant in the picture were burnt; smoke still rising from the embers surrounding me.

The picture was dated two days from today.I dropped the picture like the paper itself was on fire. I didn’t want to touch it. In the photo, I stood there with a coffee pot in my hand, while everything around me and my clothes were in utter destruction. Walker snatched the picture from the table, dropping it back into the envelope.

“I’m sorry,” he said, taking my hand in his again. “Short of kidnapping you that day, I didn’t know any other way to tell you about this.”

***

Claire Collins resides in North Carolina and writes across many genres. She loves reading when she gets the time around her family and her work schedule. She currently has two novels available through Second Wind Publishing and is working on her third, Seeds of September. 

 

Click here to buy: Images of Betrayal

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Images of Betrayal by Claire Collins

Abandoned by her family, Tysan works as a waitress in a cheap diner. One cold evening, a beguiling, rugged young man barges into her life. He possesses the remarkable ability to take photographs of events that have not yet happened. Ty narrowly avoids a harrowing death in a disastrous explosion, only to be drawn into a dizzying cascade of conflicts involving a new family that takes her in, Walker-her apparent savior, David-her new admirer and her own family. Kidnapping, betrayal, obsessive love and courageous lovers co-mingle in this romantic thriller.

Excerpt:

His eyes darted to the envelope on the table. He took a drink of coffee, swallowing too hard. When he turned back to me, his eyes were haunted. He reached out, grasped the envelope, and pulled out another picture. As he handed it to me, his words registered.

“You’re supposed to keep yourself safe.”

The photo I held was taken in the restaurant. I was standing behind the front counter, the picture taken from across the room. A man sat in front of me, only the back of his head visible in the picture. He was covered in soot and ashes. Pieces of his clothing were burned away and blackened. My skin was blistered and the remnants of my hair were singed. My uniform had burned to my body, sticking to me as I stood there, coffee pot in hand. The ceiling of the restaurant was behind me, or at least part of it. Grey, cloudy skies formed a backdrop where some of the ceiling and the wall to the kitchen used to be. The pieces of the restaurant in the picture were burnt; smoke still rising from the embers surrounding me.

The picture was dated two days from today.I dropped the picture like the paper itself was on fire. I didn’t want to touch it. In the photo, I stood there with a coffee pot in my hand, while everything around me and my clothes were in utter destruction. Walker snatched the picture from the table, dropping it back into the envelope.

“I’m sorry,” he said, taking my hand in his again. “Short of kidnapping you that day, I didn’t know any other way to tell you about this.”

***

Claire Collins resides in North Carolina and writes across many genres. She loves reading when she gets the time around her family and her work schedule. She currently has two novels available through Second Wind Publishing and is working on her third, Seeds of September. 

 

Click here to buy: Images of Betrayal

Fate and Destiny by Claire Collins

Discovering Destiny was the last thing Andrew Greer expected.

 Alone in a desolate cabin, Andrew Greer was perfectly content to wait out the blizzard with his adventurous dog, Shadow, as his only companion. Fate decided differently. When Shadow discovers the unconscious and injured woman, Andrew has no choice but to take her to the safety and warmth of his retreat.

 Destiny weaves a tale of kidnapping and murder. Is she the witness and victim to the crimes? Or is she really a conspirator getting away with murder? Andrew is determined to protect Destiny and find out the truth. Can he find the real killer before it’s too late? Or has he already found her? Only Fate knows for sure.

Excerpt:

A body lay crumpled against the boulder. Tennis shoes, a pair of jeans, a leather jacket, and a pale face. None of which belonged a few hundred yards from his cabin.

Andrew did not know this woman.

He reached out to pull the dog’s collar, trying to avoid looking at the face of the unfortunate soul before him. Morbid curiosity won. Feminine features and deathly white skin framed by hair pulled into a ponytail. Long lashes graced high cheekbones over the closed eyelids. A bright red slash trickled down from a gash just below the hairline and flowed into a darker, drying patch that was pooling near her ear.  A furrow marked the snow where the body rolled down the embankment.  The barks became loud whines as the dog sniffed around the body and began licking the face. Before he could jump up, back away, or even breathe, there was a slight movement over the woman’s face.

He focused his eyes just above the slightly open lips.

“Oh my God.” Andrew let out his own breath.

“She’s alive.”

***

Claire Collins resides in North Carolina and writes across many genres. She loves reading when she gets the time around her family and her work schedule. She currently has two novels available through Second Wind Publishing and is working on her third, Seeds of September. 

 

Click here to buy: Fate and Destiny

 

Dead Darling From Daughter Am I

Faulkner advised us to kill our darlings, those bits of our novels we love that don’t advance the story. I had way too many darlings in Daughter Am I, but I did steel myself to remove some of them. Today, for your edification, I am posting one dead darling that made it through all the edits except the very last one. You won’t find it in the book (well, except for the last paragraph or two. I wanted to make sure what you read here made sense so I added a bit that was included in the novel). 

“The Cleveland Syndicate was dominated by four Jews,” Teach said, “Moe Dalitz, Samuel Tucker, Morris Kleinman, and Louis Rothkopf. An Italian, Chuck Polizzi, and an Irishman, Tommy McGinty, achieved near equality.”

“Chuck Polizzi wasn’t Italian,” Spaghetti said. “His parents were Jews from Russia. When they died, he was adopted by the Polizzi family.”

Teach arched his eyebrows. “I didn’t know that.” Pointedly ignoring Kid Rags’ chuckle, he stroked his chin. “I often wondered how a non-Jew got so high up in that organization. I did know the Polizzis belonged to the Mayfield Road Mob, which became part of the Cleveland Syndicate. While the Mayfield Road Mob, composed of both Jews and Italians, had a reputation for utter ruthlessness, the Syndicate believed the bribe, as a general rule, was more effective than the bullet. Families like the Polizzis, who accepted the new way, lived to become old as well as rich.”

“So how did an Irishman get so high-ranking?” Mary asked.

“Tommy McGinty—Thomas Jefferson McGinty—was the circulation manager for one of the Cleveland newspapers. Contrary to the legend that gangs and gangsters were a product of prohibition, many of the principals of the Syndicate-to-be were assembled and trained in violence years before by the newspapers in their fight for local monopolies. Tommy McGinty and his counterparts on the other newspapers would recruit thugs to beat up their rivals’ employees, particularly the newspaper boys, especially those on lucrative corners.

“In the early prohibition years, McGinty became one of Cleveland’s most powerful bootleggers.

“The Cleveland Syndicate was truly formidable. Moe Dalitz, probably the smartest guy in the business next to Meyer Lansky—”

“You said Johnny Torrio was the smartest,” Mary objected.

“So I did.” Teach smiled at her. “It’s nice to know I haven’t been talking to myself. In point of fact, all three men were smart. Always looking to expand. Always looking for new venues.”

“You sound like you admire those people,” Mary said.

In the silence that greeted her remark, she could hear Spaghetti and Lila Lorraine murmuring softly to each other. Looking around to check on the rest of the group, she noticed that Iron Sam, Crunchy, and Journey all appeared to be sleeping. Kid Rags and Happy were passing the hip flask back and forth. Tim had his head cocked while he drove, as if he were listening for Teach’s response.

“Not at all,” Teach said finally, his voice harsh. “People tend to romanticize prohibition, to romanticize the so-called Mafia, but they don’t get it. It’s about the unholy trinity—criminals, politicians, and businesspersons—all working together to sell out the little people. And make no mistake about it—no matter how rich and successful we might be, the vast majority of us are the little people.”

DAIClick here to buy Daughter Am I from Second Wind Publishing, LLC. 

Click here to buy Daughter Am I from Amazon.

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Interview with Pierre Dominique Roustan

As part of my weeklong book launch party, Pierre Dominique Roustan and I are interviewing each other. (You can find me at http://writingandreading.today.com) Pierre is the author of the soon-to-be-released novel The Cain Letters.

Bertram: How and when did you know you were a writer?

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Pierre: That’s a difficult question to answer, because it was most definitely a process over time. I was always interested in writing but never knew I had a gift (desire) for it. It was when I hit my freshman year in college did I realize that there was something to this whole writing ‘thing’. I had a professor at the community college, one of my first classes there, English 101, I believe, tell me flat out that I “had a gift”. Now it wasn’t what he said that convinced me of that, though. It was what I wrote for him in class. Either he went easy on me, or he saw something in my writing that had been developing for so long ever since I was little. I would most definitely say that that final subtle pivotal point in the journey of discovery was at the age of 18 when I became so enamored with writing essays for my classes. I can safely say, at that point, I became a writer.

Bertram: What are some of your favorite authors to read?

Pierre: I had such a variety of authors I loved as a kid and as an adult, and I can safely say that it contributed to me being a writer: I liked all sorts of books growing up. I was into Isaac Asimov, J.R.R. Tolkien (of course!), even those classics by Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway. Leading to more contemporary ‘today’ authors, I’m a BIG fan of Terry Goodkind. I’ve read Terry Brooks as well. J.K. Rowling, of course! I was just getting into some other favorites of mine like Jordan Dane and Robert Liparulo. On a literary level, I was enthralled with such works by Sandra Cisneros, Tim O’Brien and Joseph Conrad. Those were some of the best in literary fiction I had ever read. Oh, and Toni Morrison! She was a remarkably intense writer.

Bertram: Which do you prefer: e-books or print?

Pierre: That’s quite the relevant question in today’s publishing market, now isn’t it? And you’re asking me that question at a very interesting time. Maybe two years ago, if you had asked me that, I would easily, hands down, say print. There’s nothing better than the smell of paper on a good book and being able to flip those pages really fast and hearing that buzzing sound when you do. Plus the cover art’s always cool.

HOWEVER…I’ve noticed quite easily how difficult it is to read on the computer. The reason I bring that up is that I do have a lot of friends/colleagues who write as well and always love to have me as a beta reader. They send me their work via e-mail and I read it right on my computer while my rump goes to sleep. It’s not fun. Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I had an eReader or a Kindle. It would make reading other people’s work so much easier. That, and the concept of buying any book on one of those electronic devices does have a certain appeal to me. For those authors I have a particular affection for, I’d definitely still always prefer print. But other authors that I would just like to read, just to expand my literary field, owning a Kindle or eReader seems priceless (even though it’ll always feel like I’m shelling out an arm and a leg for such a thing).

Bertram: What’s your favorite food?

Pierre: I love it when people ask me that question! It always feels like I’m on a date. I have the perfect answer. My favorite food is…. YES. Meaning, put in front of me monkey brains, and if it simply looks good, I’ll eat it. Simple as that. I’m a human trash can.

But I can go specific (I’ll limit it to a top ten, no particular order): pizza, shrimp scampi, chicken salad, chilli, soups, breakfast food, ice cream cake, Chinese food, sub sandwiches, Mexican food.

Bertram: If you could choose any wild animal, what would it be?

Pierre: That’s definitely an easy one. I love wild animals, and I’ve always had a thing for wolves. They’re so beautiful. Majestic. And I identify with them so well, in that they always seem shy, even timid when it comes to ‘man’. I’m much the same way to a certain degree; I can be guarded. But you see, the thing is-people, to me, particularly my friends and loved ones, are the other wolves in my pack. And I’m generally a nice wolf. So when I see other wolves from other packs, I don’t usually get defensive or violent or unusual. I’m generally very friendly. I’m an easy person to get to know.

Bertram: If you were going to die in the next three days and you could do the next ten things without worrying about cost, what would you do?

Pierre: I would go bungee jumping (never done it), get a tattoo (don’t have one), visit Europe (never been there), visit all the States except for Nevada, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Florida and Rhode Island (been to all those States already), donate $1 million to one of those Children’s Funds, get married (again. Yes, I was married before. And let’s just say it didn’t ‘pan out’), anonymously donate money to an engaged couple looking to get married, buy a Playstation 3 and all the Final Fantasy’s and play all of them all night until I’ve beaten them all (except for Final Fantasy 7 and 8, already beat those), visit the grave of my grandfather in Nicaragua (his name was Pierre Dominique Roustan, too, so it holds a lot of meaning for me), SLEEP and do NOTHING for one whole day.

Bertram: What advice would you give other aspiring writers out there?

Pierre: It’s simple. Just enjoy your craft for yourself. Let it delight you. In the end, you’re the only audience. That’s how it originally starts. The bonus, the gift, comes around when others get to witness what you’ve created and how much you delight in it. There’s no better high than that, having someone else read your stuff and watch them be fascinated by the fact that you actually wrote something. Forget about the stress of whether or not you’ll land an agent or publishing contract or start that dream career as an author. What truly gives you joy should be that you wrote something that represents the deepest part of you and that you have a friend or family member you can share it with. It keeps you writing. It also keeps you believing in the goal itself. Because don’t get me wrong-goals are good. Having the goal of publication is good. But don’t let it consume you. Your writing comes first. Your desire comes first. Your love for words defines the spirit in you, and don’t ever forget that.

Also see: The Cain Letters
                Blog Exhange with Pierre Dominique Roustan