Thursday, February 28, 2013

Where it All Begins, Excerpt by @Carolyn_Arnold #AODTour

March is here ~ time to kick off Carolyn Arnold's Assassination Blog Tour in honor of her new book, Assassination of a Dignitary.  Read on for an excerpt and details of how to win a copy of the book!

Book Overview:
Raymond Hunter's dark past has returned and demands one final favor.  Now fifteen years later, settled as an accountant and family man, he assumed life would be calm.  He thought wrong. The Italian Mafia wants him back.
The directions were simple:  Kill Governor Behler and be out for good.
Despite the odd request since the Mafia typically respects dignitaries, in order to protect his family, Raymond has no choice but to accept the job.  He picks the date and location—Niagara Falls, New York—two hundred and forty miles away.  But by the time he returns home, he finds out the assassination attempt failed, his family has been kidnapped, and he has twenty-four hours to set things right if he wants to see them again.
With time running out, Raymond discovers the real reason they wanted Behler dead and finds out he’s placed himself and his family right in the middle of a mafia power struggle.  What he doesn’t realize is that law enforcement is also closing in. 

Assassination of a Dignitary by Carolyn Arnold
Excerpt of Chapter 1

THEY SAY THE PAST HAS A way of catching up with you.  Mine was in my living room when I came home. 
Christian Russo, son of the Italian Mafia Don, Pietro Russo, sat on my sofa making himself comfortable.  The side table had a glass of amber liquid sitting on it.  He raised it for a sip.
The clock read three fifty.  Brenda would be home with the kids soon.  I hadn’t seen the man in fifteen years. 
“What are you doing here?”
“Now is that any way to greet an old friend?”  His Italian accent laced each word.
I couldn’t show the man fear.  This is what he wanted.  He craved a reaction.  He always had.  “If I saw one before me, I may greet him differently.”
“Oh.” A fake pout had his lips pinched together only a second.  He put the drink down and placed a hand over his heart.  He laughed when it touched the silk of his silver jacket.  “If only I had feelings, Hunter.  Maybe you’d hurt mine.”  Silence fell between us like a cloak.  I stood in front of him.  He studied my face.  “Sit.”
“Get out of my house, Christian.”
“Sit!” His voice rose, and he straightened his posture as he barked the command. 
I sat.  I wanted to stretch my leg, one over the other, but didn’t want to appear too comfortable either.  I kept myself leaning slightly forward, apprehensive this would give the impression I was eager to hear what he would say. 
“We have a job for you,” he continued.
“I don’t do this anymore.”
“Tsk. Tsk.”  He raised a finger to his lips.  “You don’t interrupt me.”
“But, I don’t…”  I let my words trail off into non-existence based on the reflection in his eyes.  I wasn’t the type who could take a life for a wad of cash anymore.  I had too much to lose, too much to live for.
“Pays one hundred k.  Half up front.”
“I’m doing fine.  I have been—”
He dropped a wad of cash on the table between us.  I knew from the banding it was ten thousand.
“How can you be fine?  After you turn your back on The Family?  Surely you must miss us.”
I missed the pay check, the one that padded my bank account with thousands at regular intervals, but not the control they held over me.
“Seriously, there must still be fire in you.”  Christian’s mouth lifted, slightly to the left as it always did when he schemed manipulation.
His eyes contained more evil than had been there the better part of two decades ago.  In all honesty, I was shocked to see that he was the one the Don sent to me.  Christian was more hurt than Pietro when I turned my back on The Family. 
My eyes scanned my living room, settling only briefly on the family photographs, on the children’s school portraits.  My eyes came back to Christian.  “Like I said, I don’t do that anymore.  I wouldn’t even know how to—”
“Fire a gun.”  Christian finished my sentence and cocked his head to the side.  “You should know better than to lie to me.  Want to try again?”
When I was offered a permanent role in The Family’s business, I had declined.  I saw my way out and took it.  There were times the nightmares of what I had done would slither back into the darkness of night, but I worked to shutter them out.  I justified my actions as responding to directions.  It was nothing personal.  A kill never was.  I reminded myself they were marks, not individuals.  But over the years I had never lost the love for firing a gun.  The clicking sound of the hammer as it cocked into place, the rush as the firing pin made connection with the percussion cap, and the slight kickback as the bullet exited the chamber.
“I know you go to the gun range.”  Christian took another sip of what looked to be my scotch.
I pointed a finger at him.  Many men would not dare to.  “Don’t follow me.”
“You tell me what to do now?  Things changed, yes?”  Christian laughed.  “I believe every Thursday afternoon.  I trust that’s why you’re home now and not at the office.”
How closely had he been watching me?  In fact in such an economy, I was fortunate not only to have a job but to own a modest accounting practice.  I chose the career hoping the rumors were true; accountants lead uneventful lives.  I looked at the clock.  Within fifteen minutes, my family would be walking through the door.  My eyes went back to the cash on the table.
“How does it pay you Hunter?”
“I’m not that person anymore.”  My last name improvised as my nickname among the Russos.  They viewed it as evidence of a life calling.  I was predestined to be their hit man.
“You always will be to me.”  Christian reached into a jacket pocket and pulled out a cell phone.  His eyes were on me.  “Disappointing.”
“Why me?”  I didn’t know the details yet, but wasn’t sure I wanted to.
Christian leaned forward and appeared more comfortable than I was, at this moment, in my own home.  “You’re close to her.  You can make this happen.”
Christian smirked.  “The Governor of Michigan, of course.  Marian Behler.”  He leaned back into the sofa.
My heart beat as a piston in a chamber.  It felt ready to explode. 
Governor Behler was a client of mine at the firm.  Christian obviously knew this just as he knew my whereabouts on Thursday afternoons and my active fascination with guns.  “I didn’t think you killed dignitaries.”
“An exception has been made.”
My last kill was over fifteen years ago; it may as well have been a lifetime.  But when I had been at my finest, I excelled both at close range and sniper hits.  The versatility made me a valuable asset.   “Pietro Russo ordered this hit?”  I knew I was being arrogant, and even courageously stupid, questioning Christian’s authority but the directive was hard to believe.
“You used to call him Pops.”  Christian didn’t react the way I had expected, but that was partially what was frightening about the man.  He had always been unpredictable.
“My life is different now.” I had to stop staring at the clock, but my eyes kept drifting there. 
“Different, good?  Different, bad?”
I owed him no explanation for the direction my life took or an assessment on its fulfillment.
“We used to be close, you and I.  We can be again.”
“Did Pietro Russo order this hit?”  I repeated my question.
“Why else would I be here?”  He held out his cell phone.  “Want to speak to him yourself?”
My stomach tossed.  One normally didn’t leave the Italians without there being recompense.  I seemed to have been an exception to the rule.  Now I wondered if the smooth transition had been afforded me because of the service I had offered and could possibly again.

The official release date of Assassination of a Dignitary is March 14th to Amazon for Kindle and in April for print.

Be sure to check out the full Assassination Blog Tour schedule here and enter for your chance to win! 

CAROLYN ARNOLD is the author of the best-selling Madison Knight Series, and the Brandon Fisher FBI Series.  You can find out more about Carolyn and her novels online in the following places:

The above-noted excerpt is protected by Copyright.  Written permission was provided by the author to share this on their site.

 Thanks for being here, Carolyn.  Best of luck with the tour and with the book!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Michael Lorde - Author of Tolomay's World and The Pool of Light

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Thanks for being here, Michael.  Please tell us all about your latest book!

I've just released TOLOMAY'S WORLD and The Pool of Light, which is the first book of a romance fantasy series.  It is a NEW ADULT book.  It has no cursing and no sex, but it is not a YA book. Reading the first chapter this novel reads like a sci-fi, but it really isn't a true sci-fi- though I hope sci-fi fans will also enjoy reading it (available for viewing on amazon  There is modern technology in several places, but the main focus are the characters and the clean world.  I'm also readying the third series of Tolomay’s World and The Splitting of The Trunk' to be sent to the editor over the next couple of weeks.  The second book 'Tolomay's World and The Mountain of Tegi', is due back from editing soon and will be released in March.  Blind Veil II is slotted for a late release later this year but it is coming soon, and I’m halfway through another Psychological Thriller as well.  The forth of the Tolomay series books is about a third of the way completed.  The Tolomay series has have been in the process for two years, so it's great to see them being released, and so closely together so that readers will not have to wait a year for the next.  I outlined two new books this past week.  It will be a very busy year. 
Treat us to a day in your life …

I wake up, get my daughter off to school on school days and get to work pretty much immediately.  I’m a night owl as well, sometimes writing well into the early morning hours, so at times it makes for a crazy, tiring schedule.  The rewards are wonderful though.  I’ve wanted to be able to do this nearly my entire life... to write and publish, so I couldn’t be happier.   In between time with my daughter and my work, my dogs demand much of my attention.  We have two, and they are really small.  Until we got them, I’d only had dogs the size of horses, so it was quite an adjustment to have a dog hop up in your lap.  They’re great, though and despite the yapping, we love them.

What has been the most exciting day of your life so far?

The most exciting day(s) of my life, were the days that each of my four children were born.  Nothing will ever compare to watching someone you’ve given life to take their first breath of air.  No matter what faith a person practices, it’s hard to deny that those moments are a miracle.  There are no words to describe it. 

I’d have to say that the next item on the 'exciting day' list would be every time I release a book.  Those days, it feels like I am giving life to my work... hoping readers will read through the teaser pages... that it will intrigue them enough that they’ll make the decision to give it a try... that they’ll enjoy the story the way I intended to share it with them.  Ah, the life of an artist.  We always want to share our creations with the world. 

Scariest thing you’ve ever done?

The scariest thing I’ve ever done would have been to give up most everything in my life in order to be able to pursue my dream of writing and publishing my books.  Yeah, that was pretty scary, but was so worth it, looking back.  I’m not one to be afraid of change, but the changes and sacrifices I made in order to do it, were huge.  I am happier now than I’ve ever been, no matter the things I've given there it is.  Sometimes less is more indeed.

Favorite book, movie, or quote (or all three).

My favorite movie is Terminator - the original one. 
My favorite book would have to be Webster’s Dictionary... seriously.  I’m not as great a wordsmith as some authors I know, but I do love the dictionary, and I’m not talking about the online version.  I have many editions of different dictionaries, but Webster’s is my favorite.

My favorite quote would have to be almost any of Goethe’s.  Here’s one I like in particular, but he has others that strike a chord too.

‘If you treat an individual as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.’

What sort of music do you like?

I’m a big fan of Jazz and classical, but I listen to most everything else too.  I enjoy Celtic music, vocals, classic rock.  I love drums and guitar.  Van Morrison, Santana... stuff like that is probably closest to my favorite.  Then there’s the Cure, and that era... I love the original songs from Talking Heads, and also Psychedelic Furs.  I guess I like everything except for head bashing and rap, and I’m not much into country, unless it’s modern country, and if that comes on the radio I won’t switch channels.  I don’t listen to country channels unless my daughter insists she can't ride in the car without it  (she's an avid country music fan)... but I do know a few very talented country music artists. 

What makes your heart race?

Worrying about my kids always makes my heart race.  Thankfully, I don’t have to worry very often.  They’re pretty solid individuals. 

What food or drink must you have in order to function?

Coffee... and lots of it.

Any words of advice about writing or getting published?

I am by no means an expert in this field, however, I will share my opinion about writing.  If anyone wants to write and publish, don’t hesitate.  Just do it.  Don’t listen to anyone who tells you not to.  Talk to authors who’ve been published.  Most will answer any questions you have. Don't ever pay someone to answer your publishing questions.  Find support in author groups on fb, or locally.  If you need to improve, then learn more.  We are all improving daily... that’s part of the art of writing.  No author has ever ‘arrived’, and now they know it all and their writing is perfect.  That’s just not reality.  If you want to find an excuse not to write, there are plenty of them out there... you can grab a hundred of them every day.  Don’t do that to yourself.  If you don’t have the funds to pay others to do your book covers and marketing, then learn how to do it yourself until you do have the money, or find another way... bartering.... ebaying... whatever you need to do to follow your dream.  In today’s world of modern technology and Indie authors, nothing can stop you, except you.  If your kids love to read and write, encourage them.  Authors breathe books, and have since we’ve first learned how to read.  There’s a reason for that.  As a kid, I used to think everyone loved books as much as I do and could write and enjoyed that as much as I do.  I've found that isn't true at all.  The passion for writing is a gift.  If you have it and don’t use it, to me that’s a shame because not only will you keep yourself from feeling what it’s like to share your work with the world, you are also doing the world a disservice by not sharing something extraordinary, because even if two authors write the same story... two authors can never write the same book.  Your writing will be like no one elses.   If you want to write, you should just do it.  Important- ALWAYS back up your work on memory stick or on another computer, hard drive, something.  Without a doubt your computer will never go down until you fail to back up something important.  Still, if you somehow lose it forever, don’t fret.  You’ve written it once. You can write it again.  Who knows, it may be even better the second time around.  There are editors out there.  Your the writer.  There's a difference (as can be seen in any of my articles... I have many typos). 

If you could have written any novel, which one would it be, and why?

I would never have wanted to write any other novels than my own.  Writing is like talking, or painting on a canvas.  Everyone’s voice and color choices are different and I like it that way.  I am not one to want to replicate a great work of art, and I wouldn’t understand someone who would.  Hopefully they would want to paint their own picture to share with others.  All works of art are great just standing on their own.  That’s why it’s art.  Some folks might believe that authors are in this business for money and fame.  No authors I know think that way, and most have neither of those things.  We just want to share our creations with the world.  If the rest follows, so be it.  None of us would turn that down, but it’s the journey that counts for me... the journey of writing the book and the feeling when I hit that last keystroke.  That’s what I love.  It’s the best high in the world. 

There are two types of writers... there are those who are great authors... ones who will win academic awards for excellence for works they have written on for years and years...and then there are authors who are great storytellers.  While it would be wonderful to be both, most authors are never going to be both.  If I had to choose between one and the other, I’d choose being a great storyteller.  To me, that’s what an author needs to be, in order for people to thoroughly enjoy the story.  That’s what I hope for... that readers will love my stories.       

What would you say to your childhood self, today?

I'd say

"That stubborn head of yours?... feed it more, because there’s a reason you will go through life’s trials the way you will.  Don’t doubt yourself. Stubbornness is a gift.  It’ll keep you strong and you’ll be rewarded by being able to help others who may need to lean on it... because once you’ve found your own strengths, you’ll be able to help others find their’s too.  You're stronger than you know."

"You will have the opportunity to help people if you choose to... always choose to.   Be a teacher every time the chance arises, but don’t forget about yourself when you are busy doing for others." 

"Learn as much as is possible, every day, about all kinds of things." 

"Always be your greatest advocate.  No one else knows you better."

"Share your smile often."

TOLOMAY'S WORLD and The Pool of Light:

Excerpt #1-
“Fireflies or lightening bugs, not sun flies,” Tolomay corrected Kenter. 
He threw his hand up and turned to face her.
“Like it makes a grand difference!  If you remember your trainings so well, why did you not log these things down?” he barked.  “Three years seems plenty of time to write a guide book, Tolomay.  Just think it.  You would have had full journal notes by now!”  He yelled.
He was annoyed; very annoyed.  The female thought it that just because she was the first, she knew everything about everything in this place.  She felt the need to correct his every mistake.  It was as if Professor Maxy himself had followed him here.  He thought she could have put better teaching methods to use.  But rather than help him find the precious juper, or give him something to read, she chose to lead him from place to place explaining things to him as if he were a two year old child.  She thought he was stupid.  He was not.  He was brilliant, well trained and at the top of his class. 
And what of it that he hadn’t remembered the word window?  Did it really matter?  Who here cared?  After all, he’d not seen one before entering the clean world, and he seemed to survive through life just fine without that one stupid word.  Learning of buildings and their parts was Lethia’s expertise, not his.  He did not care of it.  The environment back home had deteriorated so quickly since Tolomay’s swim that the windows and doors at the pod communities had been permanently sealed shut with metal walls to help keep the solar flares out. It happened before he was even born.  No one was allowed outside.  Tolomay was ridiculous.  Outside did not exist in his world and hadn’t since solar radiation had begun to pierce through the holes in the ozone.  Still, solar flares had penetrated two other pod communities killing most of the citizens inside, including a candidate that he and Lethia knew.  There had been no such thing as windows when Kenter and Lethia were there.  The only window he’d seen, had been the cathedral ceiling glass that had been uncovered for their swim.  That was called a skylight, not a window.  How could he know of such things?  And now he had to hear the same criticism from her about misspeaking the term sunbug?

Excerpt #2 

Tolomay was furious.  How dare this male, who could not last a day on his own in the clean world shout at her again!  Without her assistance, the scarring on his hands could have possibly maimed him for life.  Just because he was the only male here didn’t give him the privilege to treat her as if he were the parent.  And worst; Tarron had never once raised his voice to her.  She was growing tired of it.  Males should not speak to females in such a manner and she for one would not keep mum about it.  Kenter acted like he didn’t even want to learn things.  He seemed contented to sit on the bedding that she had pieced together for him before he had even arrived, while his sister catered to his every whim. 
‘The two of them are well suited as siblings’ Tolomay thought.  ‘He’s the king and she his sklavo.’  Lethia did too much for him.  The only time he’d shown an inkling of effort himself, had been the incident with the bear, and that had merely been adrenalin ruling his arms. Even at that, his healing afterward had to begin anew. 
Well, Tolomay was not Lethia and he had better learn that fact if they were to get along at all.  She could not help it that she had a photographic memory and wasn’t in the habit of writing.  It’s not that she couldn’t write, but she’d never needed to take notes on the things she was taught.  She learned something once, and simply remembered it.  
“A book would help,” Lethia interjected in almost an apology. 
Tolomay ignored her, but scooped Carmela up from the female’s lap before turning to Kenter. 
“You’re not even trying,” she said under her breath and then stormed off toward the hillhouse.  A few steps away, she could no longer hold her tongue.  The grass beneath her feet squealed their burn, as she spun around for one last jab at him. 
“If you want pen and paper and notes, then put yourself to task and get them made,” she said.  “You take the writings.  I am not your sklavo!”
Then she stopped abruptly, set down the lantern, and disappeared into the dark.  Sister and brother exchanged a stare.  Kenter was baffled.
“What’s a sklavo?” he asked Lethia.
“I think it’s something to do with wait staff; depending too much on another.  Or it’s work as another’s servant, without choice or reward, something in that arena.  As if a captive,” she replied.  “Don’t worry, brother.  She won’t stay mad.”
That’s what Tolomay thought of him?  She was his captive?  How could she think that when he and Lethia were captive to her commands?  He raised his chin and turned to Lethia. What did his sister mean, she won’t stay mad?  He was the one who was mad.  He couldn’t help but be angry with Tolomay when she knew so much more than he did about this world.  He tried to exercise patience, but his emotions seemed to be getting the better of him lately.  Whenever he was around her, all he could think to was those shining blue eyes.  He could barely take in her words at all.  It wasn’t his fault that her striking eyes and the movement of her body captivated more of his thoughts than her words did lately.
“Sklavo… humph,” he said.  
He did not depend too much on others.  He was capable.  He knew a great many things.  He was the best trained and the first male.  Everyone knew this.


twitter: @BlindVeil

Thank you for this great interview, Ann.  I really enjoyed it! 

Thanks for sharing your time with us, Michael ~ good luck with the book.  =)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Stutter Creek - Weekend Writing Warriors

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Here are the next 8 sentences in my upcoming romantic thriller, Stutter Creek.  It is slated for release on June 1, 2013 from 5 Prince Publishing.

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Following her father’s death and the collapse of her marriage, Beth retreats to the family cabin at Stutter Creek where she stumbles across the path of a serial 

In last week's entry, a girl named Mandy saw a small boy beside the road.  When she stopped her car and rolled down the window to check on him, a man yanked open the car door, leapt across the seat, and slapped a strip of duct tape across her mouth.  Here's what happened next:

     He buried his free hand knuckle deep in the thick blonde braid at the base of her skull even as his other hand slid down to her windpipe and began to squeeze.

Mandy’s fight instinct kicked in then, and she whipped her head back and forth in an effort to dislodge his hands. His stench, and the oily filth of his unkempt hair, was sickening. She clawed at his eyes, ripped at his skin, but it was no use.  The psycho laughed and simply leaned his head back out of her reach.
That’s when Mandy began to claw at her own face, attempting to scratch the silver tape off her mouth. It didn’t matter. There was no one around to hear her scream even if she could have gotten it off.


I hope you enjoyed today's snippet.  I will continue to post the next 8 until the book is released on June 1st.  Be sure to check out the other authors at the main Website:

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Unsurrendered ~ Historical Fiction by Joyce Shaughnessy

Hi Joyce,

I'm so glad you agreed to be interviewed on my blog.  I loved your latest book, The Unsurrendered, and what's more, I feel as if I learned so much about WWII that I never knew before.  I will definitely be going back to read your other two books!

Please give us a short introduction to your trilogy, and highlight The Unsurrendered. 
“The Pearl of the Orient” is a romantic historical fiction trilogy. My first book, A Healing Place, was published in 2010, the second, Blessed Are the Merciful in 2011, and The Unsurrendered in February 2013.  All three books are set against the backdrop of WWII in the Philippines.  In The Unsurrendered, an American intelligence agent and his Filipina wife join the partisan group called “The Unsurrendered” to fight behind Japanese lines. The Filipino people fought back by forming guerrilla groups.  When American soldiers either escaped or were ordered to become “unsurrendered” before and after the fall of the Philippines, they joined the guerrillas, often leading them in their fight.  It is estimated that between 260,000 American men and women banded together to fight for the freedom of the Philippines from its Japanese conquerers and the return of the Americans to the country.

About how many hours did you spend researching your nonfiction topics?
I have no idea, but I researched about three months for each of the first two books before I ever started writing.  I wanted the love stories in each book to be central to the theme. 
In A Healing Place, my characters are caught in the Dustbowl of the Great Depression and must struggle to stay together.  I watched a special about the Dustbowl on the history channel.  Then I researched every newspaper and book I could find on the subject.  The actual camp where the Millers finally settle is a camp where I lived until I was ten.  My family ran the grocery store there, and although there were mostly horrible oil camps at the time, it was certainly a model one.  I found instances of the other kind, however, and used them in the book.  When the family’s son-in-law, Jed, finds himself in the Philippines during the war, he is forced to walk The Death March, and that gave me a small taste of the history of that region during WWII.  It was then that I became obsessed with learning more about what happened in the Philippines.  It was almost like peeling an onion.  Every time I discovered something, there was more to learn.  It wasn’t until after I had finished the third book that I felt satisfied with the job I had done, although there is a topic I would love to explore but probably never will.  I’ve read three books written about the American POWs who were shipped to Japan during the war and what happened to them.  It’s a fascinating subject, but one that is difficult to write about and would require a tremendous effort.
In Blessed Are the Merciful, the two main characters fall in love just prior to the Japanese attack of the Philippines.  Elton was an American soldier, and Susan, was a American nurse.  I wanted to show what a vital role the women played on Bataan and Corregidor.  They literally set up hospitals close to the front lines.  I read diaries and letters from actual nurses to their families in the States, and was inspired by their courageous spirit.  After the fall of Corregidor, the women were interred in a camp for the duration of the war and were starved almost as badly as the men in their POW camps. Some became involved with the Filipino underground, as Susan does.  In my research, I also found letters and poems written by a 19 year-old soldier.  These literally made me cry when I first read them and again as I included them in my book. This young soldier wrote of the bravery of his fellow soldiers rather than his own perilous situation.  I wrote a parallel plot of the lovers, Elton and Susan, as they struggle to survive and find their way back to each other.  It was challenging but worth it because I felt through my research that I had discovered the true nature of many of these men and women caught the grips of such horrible times.
Before I even began writing The Unsurrendered, I spent about five months reading nonfiction books about the war, including biographies of many historical figures that I include in the book.  My fictional characters meet and interact with all of them. I felt compelled to give an honest accounting of their personalities and how much they contributed to the war effort.  In order to relate the war realistically, I needed to include these Filipino and American individuals who contributed to the Allied effort, risking their own lives in the process. Of course, they were not all protagonists.
For instance, before writing this book, I was under the impression that Emperor Hirohito was simply a figurehead.  After I wrote the first four chapters of my book, my husband who is a WWII history buff and owns many WWII books, came into my office with an enormously thick two volume set,Japan’s Imperial Conspiracy, and asked me if I had read it.  After reading just a portion of it, I deleted all of my previously written work.  I knew that I had to start over.  Hirohito had a mind that was as devious and evil as Hitler’s.  He was personally responsible for what has been termed as The Asian Democide, or massacre of 3 to 10 million innocent civilians from 1934 through 1945.  The Japanese never kept accurate records, but they regularly went into every country they conquered, raping the women and burning their villages.  That happened in the Philippines.  They took many young girls from their homes and made them “comfort women” for the soldiers in the front lines.  Of course, the villages where they had lived were burned to the ground.  Japan’s Imperial Conspiracy gave me an authentic look into the Japanese culture during that time.
In preparation for the latest book, I bought and read about ten WWII books, adding to my husband’s already large collection.  His books were an enormous part of my research.
I wanted the love story of the two main fictional characters, Carla and Jacob, to be central to the plot and what is more dramatic than love in the midst of war?  But first I had to find a way to relate the events of the time in which Carla and Jacob found themselves, and that is where all of my research came in.
What made you choose these particular subjects?
When writing about the Miller’s story through the American Depression, I knew that I wanted to send their son-in-law overseas to WWII, and my husband made the casual suggestion of having him walk The Death March in the Philippines, in which over 10,000 men were slaughtered by the Japanese.  It was then that my fascination with the Philippines began.
What do you like to read?
My favorite writer is Nelson DeMille, who writes contemporary mysteries with a humorous slant.  I love his characters and find myself actually laughing aloud when I read his books.  I buy every new one when it comes out.  I am a mystery lover.
What made you want to become an author?
I was an English literature major in college and picked up the writing bug from there.  I just never had enough self-confidence to actually write an entire book until I was 58.  I credit my husband, Dennis, with encouraging me.  After publishing my first book, I joined a small writing group, Writing Well, and the writers in it have also given me the courage to keep writing.
What is your writing day like?  Do you have a routine?
Yes.  As soon as we have eaten breakfast, I sit down at the computer.  While writing my trilogy, I spent all morning and most of the afternoon writing.  I did some research as I went along, where I felt it was needed.  I love to write and if I weren’t so busy marketing my trilogy, I would be writing more.  I have written some short stories.
Do you write anything other than historical novels? 
My trilogy is historical fiction, and I have started writing short stories.
Where would you reside if you could choose any place in the world?  Why?
On a beach someplace where I could listen to the waves and feel the breezes.  I would love to write in that atmosphere, but I’m afraid at this point in my life, it’s just a pipe dream.
What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done, or the most thrilling?
I think the scariest thing I’ve ever done is publishing my first novel.  I had no idea how it would be received.  I have been pleasantly surprised with my reviews and reactions from readers.
Would you care to brag about your family?
My husband is an M.D. and board certified in Addiction Medicine.  I am really proud of the work he does.  We have two wonderful daughters, both great mothers with busy careers.  Our four beautiful granddaughters are ages 4 to 16.   They all have enormously kind hearts and are an absolute joy to be around.
If you could choose one thing to do over or do differently in your life, what would it be?
I wish I had started writing at an earlier age.  At 62, I seem to experience more frequent “senior moments” and tire more easily.
What makes you get up on your soapbox?
Violence.  After writing about what war does to us as individuals, it enrages and saddens me to hear and read about Syria.  Their losses are tremendous, beyond comprehension.  I am also an advocate of gun control legislation.  I can’t imagine how any person could not be a supporter of tougher background checks and the elimination of future sales of assault rifles and large magazine rounds.  There is no logical reason for anyone to own these instruments of destruction unless he or she is in law enforcement.  If we save is only one life with tougher gun control laws, isn’t it worth it?
Joyce's books are available at these sites:

A Healing Place:;;  

Blessed Are the Merciful:

The Unsurrendered:  
Author's website: