Sunday, March 31, 2019

Book Tour and Giveaway: Storm & Fury (A Storm and Fury Adventures Collection) by Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin

Storm & Fury
A Storm and Fury Adventures Collection
Gail Z. Martin & Larry N. Martin

Paranormal Historical Adventure, Steampunk
New Pittsburgh, 1898 – a crucible of invention and intrigue. Born from the ashes of devastating fire, flood and earthquake, the city is ruled by the shadow government of The Oligarchy. In the swarming streets, people of a hundred nations drudge to feed the engines of progress. The Department of Supernatural Investigation was set up to take care of those things that live below, that go bump in the night… those odd cases that go beyond ‘standard’ investigation. Nicknamed ‘Storm and Fury’, Mitch Storm and Jacob Drangosavich are two of the more creative agents, working in New Pittsburgh and obeying the rules – when they have to.

A collection of short stories and novellas set in the world of the Iron & Blood novels and the related Storm and Fury Adventures.

Includes: Airship Down, Ruin Creek, Resurrection Day, The Hunt, Grave Voices, and Rogue. Plus two bonus stories: Ghost Wolf and a Steampunk fairy tale: The Patented Troll


“WATCH OUT!” MITCH Storm yelled as he swung around, coming in to a firing position and leveling his rifle. The shot flashed past Jacob, catching a large gray wolf in its shoulder just as the wolf lunged for the kill. The animal yelped in pain and drew back, bleeding but not defeated.

“Behind you!” Jacob Drangosavich blasted his shotgun, aiming at the wolf running toward Mitch. He missed, cursed, and reloaded, but the wolf changed course, escaping the shot.

The wolves were huge and fast—and more aggressive than Mitch or Jacob had ever seen before. They worked as a pack, keeping their would-be prey corralled, striking in teams with uncanny precision. And despite what Jacob had heard about wolves preferring not to engage with humans, these animals seemed to be looking for a fight.

Four government agents. Four man-sized wolves. Jacob liked better odds.

It was supposed to be a routine mission—as much as any assignment was “routine” for the Department of Supernatural Investigation. Reports of strange sightings and unusual kills of deer and farm animals had the locals worried. Theories abounded, ranging from packs of rabid wild dogs to crazed bears. A few old-timers muttered about dark magic and a witch in the forest. DSI sent two agents to investigate. Those agents disappeared.

A man’s scream made Jacob wheel around, in time to see a wolf lunge for Keller, one of their fellow agents. Keller wasn’t fast enough to get out of the way, and the creature knocked him to the ground, raking him with its claws. A second wolf closed quickly, biting deep into Keller’s arm and knocking his rifle out of reach. Keller shouted and struggled to get loose, pinned by wolves that were each as big as he was.

Mitch gave a war cry and ran toward Keller, rifle at the ready. He shot the wolf that had the agent pinned, catching the animal in the chest and knocking it off Keller and onto its side. The second wolf snarled and sprang at Mitch, who barely dodged out of the way of its sharp claws.

A rifle shot cracked. “Got it!” Agent Anna Corbett muttered as the wolf fell over.

“There’s another one coming!” Jacob yelled, blasting the third wolf with his shotgun.
Gail Z. Martin discovered her passion for science fiction, fantasy and ghost stories in elementary school. The first story she wrote at age five was about a vampire. Her favorite TV show as a preschooler was Dark Shadows. At age 14, she decided to become a writer. She enjoys attending science fiction/fantasy conventions, Renaissance fairs and living history sites.

Larry N. Martin is the author of the new sci-fi adventure novel Salvage Rat. He is the co-author (with Gail Z. Martin) of the Spells, Salt, and Steel/New Templars series; the Steampunk series Iron & Blood; and a collection of short stories and novellas: The Storm & Fury Adventures set in the Iron & Blood universe. He is also the co-author of the upcoming Wasteland Marshals series and the Joe Mack Cauldron/Secret Council series.

The Martins have three children, a Maltese, and a Golden Retriever.

Ghosts, Airships and Explosions
By Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin

Storm and Fury is set in 1898, in a Pittsburgh that’s slightly different from the historical version, full of mad scientists, genius inventors, clockwork monsters and lighter-than-air zeppelins. It’s a melting pot of new immigrants who have come to the mines, and more established residents who’ve built an empire in coal and steel. There’s also the tension between old and new—the Old World and the New World, habits and customs, and magic vs technology.

That’s a heady brew, a mixture that’s ripe for combustion. Plenty of tension, conflicting agendas, mutually-exclusive goals, and the promise of fortune and glory to the victor. It’s also a time when anything seemed possible. Scientists and inventors dreamed up and built amazing contraptions from clockworks and the new-tangled electricity. Yet beneath it all lurk ancient superstitions, supernatural creatures, and dark magic, vying for control.

Mitch Storm and Jacob Drangosavich are agents from the Department of Supernatural Investigation. It’s their job to check into weird happenings, stop paranormal predators, and keep magic in the shadows so regular people can sleep peacefully at night. Storm and Fury shares their adventures!
Two winners will receive a $25 Amazon gift card each, and four winners will receive a swag bag of goodies each.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Book Review: The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Title: The Lying Game
Author: Ruth Ware
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense
On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister...

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill that will keep you wrong-footed—which has now become Ruth Ware’s signature style—The Lying Game is sure to be her next big bestseller. Another unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

My Review:
There was something about the synopsis for The Lying Game by Ruth Ware that caught my attention. I guess I wanted to see how this lying game the girls played would turn out. While The Lying Game was a good read, it didn't really focus on the actual lying game too much.

The plot for The Lying Game was interesting enough. Thea, Isa, Fatima, and Kate all met at Salten, a boarding school for girls, when they were all 15 years old. Thea and Kate tell Fatima and Isa about they lying game as well as the rules. However, that's about as much as the plot focuses on the the actual game which was disappointing. When a body is found near Salten many years after the girls were expelled from their boarding school, they must all come together to get their story straight. Isa isn't taking what happened at face value and begins to become suspicious of Kate's tell of events. She will do whatever it takes to discover the truth about what happened that fateful night that changed all four of the girls' lives. I will admit that there were some great plot twists in The Lying Game that I never figured out.

The world building in The Lying Game was mostly believable. I do feel like the townspeople of Salten would have been a bit more suspicious of the women coming back to Salten when a body is found. The women say it's because of Salten school's reunion dinner (which happens during the middle of the week, strangely), but this is the first time they've ever been to one of the dinners. I also had a hard time with Isa's baby, Freya. Freya seemed to be the most well behaved six month old baby! Isa brought Freya with her to Kate's house, but during much of the story, Freya never cries. Yes, there are a few times where it's mentioned she cries, but for the most part, Freya is happy wherever she is. Isa seems to be more obsessed with Freya more than any mother I've ever known, yet she puts that baby in a lot of danger during the course of the story.

The characters in The Lying Game were just okay. I did like Fatima the most. She seemed to be the most mature and reasonable out of the lot of them. Thea was alright. I did like how blunt she could be. Kate came across as being a bit whiny and manipulative. Isa was just very selfish. She seemed to only think of herself instead of her baby and husband. She blamed her husband for so much when it was clearly her fault their relationship was falling apart. I felt so sorry for Owen, her husband. Luc was an interesting character. I did feel sorry for him for how he was treated during his childhood. The major thing that annoyed me was all the profanity. The four main characters, Thea, Fatima, Kate, and Isa, swore so much. I'm okay with swearing, but a lot of the swearing seemed misplaced and like it was written in just to be there. It served no purpose. I would understand it more if they swore a lot in their teens, but these were women in their thirties sounding like they were swearing to sound cool or because they normally weren't allowed to. I just think the swearing was a bit over the top.

The pacing is very good in The Lying Game. Events flowed well, and I found myself not wanting to put the book down. I had to know what would happen next. Not one part of this story became too boring.

Trigger warnings in The Lying Game include lots of profanity, drinking (both underage and of age), cigarette smoking (underage and of age), animal violence (the death of a sheep), no sex but things leading up to it although not graphic, some drug references, overdosing, the drawings of naked underage girls, and murder.

All in all, The Lying Game is a good read. Yes, it does have some problems like the characters being immature and selfish and the overuse of profanity, but it's still a fast paced thriller with a fantastic plot twist. I would recommend The Lying Game by Ruth Ware to those aged 18+ who are fans of thrillers.

2018 Lone Star Book Bloggers' Choice Awards


The Lone Star Book Blog Tours (LSBBT) Blogger Team has announced its 2018 winners, runners-up, honorable mentions, and short-listed titles in their second annual Bloggers' Choice Awards.

To be eligible for a 2018 LSBBT Bloggers' Choice Award, a book must have been featured on an interactive book blog tour in 2018. Over sixty books were considered for the twelve categories included in the 2018 awards. The LSBBT Blogger Team wrote nearly three hundred book reviews of the 2018 titles, and the winners were determined by a combination of the reviewers' average book ratings and team member votes.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦  

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Book Tour and Giveaway: The Child of Happiness by S.V. Cobets

The Child of Happiness
(Edited Version)
S.V. Cobets

This collection of poetry is a summary of my selected poems that I wrote for many years. I hope that you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. In this collection of poetry are collected all of my feelings that I want to share with you through verse.

"The Child of Happiness, by S.V. Cobets, is a beautiful poetry collection that reaches deep into the soul. Though the author’s native language is Croatian and not English, the emotional depth of each poem comes across clearly and will be relatable across cultures. Sensual and light with themes of nature & love, yet also tinged with feelings of sadness and darker themes of heartache, pain, loss, & the casualties of war - there were many poems that spoke to my heart.-Amazon Reviewer


My shoes have worn out from long travels,
I’ve walked for years, months, and days.
Mainly here and there I’ve found what I’m interested in,
Some river or sea, clean and blue,
Green mountains, grey and white.
Sometimes the people always suffer,
Some who talk for talk’s sake,
Wise men, ninnies, smart ones, and those in love
—They have all passed me.
I don’t know where to follow my feet
For now, they are barefoot.
Sometimes I sit and look into the distance;
I’m scared of all those tracks,
But when I get up and set off,
Each fence falls down.
Maybe I bring silence in me;
Words leave me slowly,
But I’m in love with the wild
Stjepan Varesevac-Cobets was born on 12 September 1965 in Split, Croatia. He lives and works in Kastel Sucurac, where he finished his elementary and secondary schooling.

At a very young age, he started reading and loved it because, through books, he traveled to places he could never visit in person. As a child, he loved fairy tales and adventure but later discovered other genres. When he found a Jules Verne book in the library, he became fascinated by science fiction. He has been writing poetry for fifteen years and has started writing science fiction. Lately, he has also written children's fairy tales and fables.

He has published, in Croatia, "An Opened Heart" in 2002, "The Sleepy Way" in 2005, and "Love" in 2006. On Amazon he has published the poetry collections "The Child of Happiness" in 2015, science fiction novel "Godeena" in 2015, the science fiction short story "Butterfly" in 2016, the poetry collection "When the moon takes over the dream: Love Poetry" in 2016, and in 2017 the poetry collection "The Flaming Horses: Collection of poetry". He also translated his new Sci-Fi novel "The Dream of the Forest".

Win a $25 Amazon gift card or an eBook of The Child of Happiness by S.V. Cobets.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!

Book Tour and Giveaway: The Redemption Duet by Sheritta Bitikofer

The Rose
The Redemption Duet Book 1
Sheritta Bitikofer

Sweet Paranormal Romance
Belle lives her life from day to day, nearly crippled by her social anxiety. But if you ask anyone in Levi about it, they'd say she's a sweet, quiet girl who works hard to keep up her family's small ranch while holding down a job at the bookstore. No one knows that beneath her smiles lay a shy introvert who wants nothing more than to stay at home. It was easier to stay alone, stay isolated. That's when she was the happiest. But during one thunderstorm, all of that changed and she met the first man she ever actually wanted to spend time with.

Leo made a habit of avoiding people when at all possible. Getting tied down, making friends, having a life only meant suffering. The darkness that followed him since his adolescent years never left, not really. It'd show up and ruin any hint of happiness that came his way. Running from his past and the brother that cursed him with this demon, Leo never expected to find something like home in the little country town of Levi. And he didn't expect one storm to bring him to the barn of a girl with fire in her eyes and a face as beautiful as a sunrise. A sunrise that could chase away all the shadows.

The Lion
The Redemption Duet Book 2
Belle Clearwater’s prayers had been answered, but there was still so much left to discover. Now determined to reject her mental illness, she’s decided to be brave and not let her anxiety disorder take her away from what matters. With the help of her friends and her faith, she’s sure that she can finally have her life back. Something greater is stirring in her heart and the man that had served as her solid ground might just send her world off kilter again. All it takes is one moment of honesty.

Against every bit of common sense, Leo Thompsons has chosen to stay in Levi. The Darkness and his murderous brother are closing in, but he believed that as long as he has Belle, he can find a way to break the curse upon his soul. With the power of love and prayer, he’s finally fighting for his life and the chance to share that life with the beautiful farm girl. Fate brought them together, but is he strong enough to rebel against the forces of evil that have hounded him for so long? Can he, once and for all, defeat his demons?

An author of paranormal and urban fantasy fiction, Sheritta Bitikofer lives for the deep, engaging stories that enthrall readers from cover to cover. As a wife and fur-mama of eclectic tastes, she can be found roaming Civil War battlefields, perusing the romance section of the bookstore, or relaxing with a plate of chili cheese fries.

Take a look at the books she has available and stay tuned for new releases.

Win a $20 Amazon gift card and an ARC of The Lion by Sheritta Bitikofer or an audiobook promo code for the Decimus Trilogy by Sheritta Bitikofer.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!

Book Blitz and Giveaway: What We Do For Love by Anne Pfeffer

Title: What We Do For Love
Author: Anne Pfeffer
Publication Date: May 21st 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Thirty-eight year old Nicole Adams has given up on finding love. Instead, the single mother focuses on the things she cherishes most—her sixteen-year old son Justin, her friends, and her art.

When she convinces a prominent Los Angeles museum to feature a piece of her work, a large-scale installation, she thinks her life has finally turned a corner.

Then Justin brings a girl, Daniela, home to live with them. Daniela’s angry parents have thrown her out of the house, because she’s pregnant with Justin’s child. Shattered, Nicole takes Daniela in and, in so doing, is drawn into the inner circle of Daniela’s family—a frightening world of deceit and violence.

Nicole struggles to keep life going as normal. Forced to deal with people she doesn’t trust or like, fearful for the future of both her son and the grandchild they’re expecting, Nicole wonders if she can do what she tells Justin to do: always have faith in yourself and do the right thing.

Funny how one’s life can make a U-turn.

My life made two. In a single day.

I started that day as a mere potter—yes, a person who hand-makes vases and dinner plates for a living—wearing borrowed clothes and driving to the most important interview of my life. A few hours later came U-turn number one: the board of directors of CCMLA, the Contemporary Crafts Museum of Los Angeles, offered me a place in their upcoming show!

In an instant, I had become an artist. I pondered this fact wonderingly as I drove home that afternoon. I was to provide them with a brand-new, never-before-seen mural in ceramics, an installation piece. My wall would be located at the entrance to the exhibit, the first thing you saw as you walked in. This was my chance, an incredible opportunity.

I was an artist!

It didn’t bother me that desperation clearly underlay the board’s decision. All the better when I saved the day with a great contribution to their show!

I hoped.

Flushed with success, I revved my ancient Toyota, Bernice, up to twenty-two miles per hour. We practically skipped over the potholes as we barreled our way up the Trail of Terror. This was the name my son Justin had given the rutted, one-lane road that wound its way up the side of Laurel Canyon to our house.

Of course, I was a fill-in, hired at the last minute. I’d gotten this job when Miriam Fletcher, a customer of mine who happened to be on the museum board, moaned to me that an artist had dropped out of a show scheduled to open in six weeks. “We’re in such a pickle! We don’t know what to do!” Though her crepey neck revealed a senior citizen, Miriam otherwise projected youth, running long acrylic nails through her cropped, bleached and spiked hair, her copper earrings swinging.

My cue to pipe up. “I’m sure I could help you!”

Miriam trained her eyes upon me. She had recently ordered customized hand-made pieces from me to give to her granddaughters—a miniature tea set for the youngest and a statuette of a mermaid for her older sister.
“You do such beautiful ceramics work, Nicole!”

“What you’ve seen is my commercial work, which I do through my business Clayworks. I create as an artist under my own name.” That is, I hoped to create as an artist under my own name, if I could ever get the proper start.

And now I had. I could hardly wait to tell my son the news. After sixteen years of single motherhood and hard work, struggling to support myself and Justin, I couldn’t blow this chance. And yet, I’d never done anything like this before.

A twelve-by-nine foot mural. In just six weeks.

You can do this, I told myself. I had to. Letting the museum—and myself—down was unthinkable.

I could practically hear the snap-crackle-pop of my nerves.

I pulled into what we called the car park, an open space situated beside the house at the top of the Trail of Terror, big enough to park a half dozen cars. Justin’s Ford Focus wasn’t there.

When he got home from school, which should be any minute, we would raise a toast, our champagne glasses filled with sparkling apple cider.

The day was unseasonably hot, and I was boiling in Bernice, her air conditioner long dead. Thank heavens my hair had stayed up all day in the deliberately loose knot that I’d coaxed it into this morning, with pretty little bits of hair hanging down around my face. A chignon, according to the YouTube tutorial. One more degree of humidity and my whole head would have coiled itself into a giant Brillo pad right there before the entire board of directors.

And thank goodness I’d been able to borrow my sister’s striking red-and-orange color-blocked linen dress, which had given me just the boost of artist/business woman confidence that I’d needed. Now though, its linen skirt was hopelessly creased and hiking up around my hips. I bounded out of the car and proceeded along the circuitous route that we all used to enter the house, going through the rickety side gate, and past what was technically our front door, which no one ever opened. Instead, I followed the path that ran along the side of the house toward the yard and pool, giving a glance to my irises and roses, which grew under our bedroom windows.

The white, yellow, and purple irises stood tall and elegant, but it was the roses I really loved—the fluttery, home-grown variety that came in every color of the sunrise. I would have to harvest some for tonight’s dinner table.

As I reached the yard, I stepped from the cool shade of the side path into direct, hot sunshine. The sliver of Los Angeles ahead of me that appeared on clear days like this one, the perfume of herbs and blooming plants, the swimming pool that shimmered invitingly—except for my college years, this had been home all my life. Along with my sister Caroline, I’d inherited the small, dilapidated house on its magnificent parcel of land in the Hollywood Hills. At today’s prices, neither of us could have ever afforded to buy it.

Entering the house as always through the French doors off the living room, I waltzed into my bedroom. It was the beginning of a new era. Soon there would be no more making pottery on consignment! No more sets of dinnerware for twelve!

I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. Of course, I would continue to operate Clayworks. Those dinner sets paid the bills after all. Still though, there was now a chance I could taper off the business over time, if I could sell some of my more creative pieces. Imagine me, finally, at age thirty-eight, beginning to show in museums and galleries!

I changed into my regular daywear—a sleeveless cotton blouse, long flowy skirt in the coolest feather-light cotton, and Teva sandals.

My old friend Mike Sawyer would be over to eat with me and Justin, as he did most weeks, once or twice. Maybe I’d give them both my wonderful news at the same time.

No, I couldn’t wait that long to spill the news. I knew I would tell Justin the minute he walked in.

Hearing the muffled noise of a door opening, I sprinted to the kitchen, where my son, home at last, would for sure want to hear all about it.

I stopped short when I saw that Justin was not alone.

Hi! I grew up in the desert around Phoenix, Arizona, where I had a bay quarter horse named Dolly. If I wasn't riding, I was holed up somewhere reading Laura Ingalls Wilder or the Oz books or, later on, Jane Eyre and The Grapes of Wrath. Horses eventually faded as an interest, but I ended up with a lifelong love of books and reading.

After college and eight years of living in cold places like Chicago and New York, I escaped back to the land of sunshine. I now live in California, one mile from the Pacific Ocean, with my dachshund Taco. I have worked in banking and as a pro bono attorney, doing adoptions and guardianships for abandoned children.

As a writer, I'd always been interested in children's books, since they had meant so much to me as a kid. I've found I especially like writing books about teens and twenty-somethings, an age where you make so many decisions about who you are and how you want to spend your life.

I love hearing from readers, so please write to me any time at my website.

Win a $25 Amazon gift card!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, March 29, 2019

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Evil Embers (Vale Investigation #2) by Cristelle Comby

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Evil Embers (Vale Investigation #2) by Cristelle Comby. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt for you as well as an author interview. There's also a tour wide giveaway! Be sure to visit the others stops on the tour for more excerpts, interviews, guest posts, reviews, and more. Enjoy!
Title: Evil Embers
Series: Vale Investigation #2
Author: Cristelle Comby
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: March 15th, 2019
After narrowly preventing the destruction of Cold City, PI Bellamy Vale needs a rest. Or rather, he needs a plain and simple vanilla case—no monsters or otherworldly creatures involved!

When foreign businessman Eli Smith shows up at his doorstep with a thick wallet and a request to find his missing sister, Vale doesn’t think twice before agreeing.

If he’d known body-hopping demons and smoke monsters came attached to this job, however, he might have.

So what if it was mid-February? The way I was feeling that morning, I planned to sleep until New Year came around again. Hells, as far as I was concerned, I earned it ten times over. I put an end to a string of gruesome killings, prevented the apocalypse our former mayor intended for us, and I’d stuck around long enough to clean up the mess she and her minions left behind. All that thinking took out the last bit of energy I had. I closed my eyes, found a way to lie down that didn’t hurt too much, and let sleep throw its soothing blanket over me.

And then someone knocked at the door.

I groaned at the wrong timing but kept my eyes shut. There was no way in Tartarus that I was getting back up again so soon. Whoever it was could get lost.

The knocking came again.

It was more insistent this time. I could hear a sense of urgency to the motion. I forced one eye open and frowned. The sunlight streaming in from the window was too bright for it to be morning and the angle it bounced off the floorboards was all wrong. I opened my second eye and glanced at the clock on the bedside table…Three in the afternoon.

“The hells?” I muttered, wondering where the day went while I shook my head to clear out the cobwebs.

The knock came a third time and I got up, grumbling all the way to the door. I didn’t bother to put clothes on or to tidy myself up before opening it. I was clad only in an old pair of sweatpants with a variety of cuts, bruises, and bandages on full display throughout my upper body. I hadn’t shaved in a week, and I was sure my hair was a sweaty mess of brown locks and dried blood.

Who knows, I thought, maybe the sight of me will convince my uninvited guest to let me get back to my coma.

If the man in the hallway took notice of my state, he didn’t let it show. He was tall and sickly thin under his rumbled three-piece suit. His pale skin provided some severe contrast with the purple bags under his brown eyes. He was somewhere between forty and forty-five. His angular face wasn’t familiar, and my frown deepened.

He looked like a potential client, the I-want-to-know-who-my-wife-is-banging type, but they rarely showed up to my private address unannounced. I made a lot of enemies in my professional career, not all of them on this side of the border, so my business card only listed my cell number.

The suit he wore appeared brand new, but I frowned more as I realized something didn’t add up. I was no fashion expert, but the matching of colors between the vest and shirt was off, brownish orange shirt covered by a purple jacket. Oh, and he wore a tie that matched his jacket…ugh. The light brown shoes were also at odds with the indigo blue pants. And there was the smell on the guy. It wasn’t a garbage smell—I’d been around enough of that over the last month to know it at first whiff—but there was a smoky quality about it that stood out.

I filed the information away for later and looked the man squarely in the eye. “What?” I croaked, my tongue feeling too thick and my mouth too dry.

“Bellamy Vale?” he asked, with an accent that wasn’t from around here…Middle Eastern, maybe?

I jerked my thumb at the bell next to the door. It had my name on it.

The man peered down at it perplexed, then pressed the round button. A shrill ringing shot out of the tiny plastic box above the door, and the sound sent sharp needles dancing through my brain. I winced in pain.

“Yeah—yeah, that’s me.” I rushed the words out, eager to make the noise stop. Damn, but my head was killing me. My odd gentleman caller took his finger off the button to look at me again.

“I need your help,” he said, “to find my sister.”

I needed help too, preferably in the form of another round of painkillers. But that was going to have to wait. I waved my potential new client inside.
Cristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Geneva, where she still resides.

She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.

She is the author of the Neve & Egan Cases series, which features an unlikely duo of private detectives in London: Ashford Egan, a blind History professor, and Alexandra Neve, one of his students.

Currently, she is hard at work on her Urban Fantasy series Vale Investigation which chronicles the exploits of Death’s only envoy on Earth, PI Bellamy Vale, in the fictitious town of Cold City, USA.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
I’m Swiss so chocolate runs in my veins, so that’d be it. A really creamy one, with chocolate chips inside.

Which mythological creature are you most like?
Oh, that’s a good question. I love mythologies and studying them is a hobby of mine. Not really sure what you mean by “creature” though, so I’m going with the wide meaning of the term… as in any living being and not just monsters. In that case, I think I’m Scheherazade from the 1,001 Nights.

Scheherazade was a clever storyteller, and she used her talent to save her life. She told the king a gripping story, but stopped in the middle as dawn was breaking. So, the king spared her life for one day to finish the story the next night. The following night, Scheherazade finished the story and then began a second, even more exciting tale, which she again stopped halfway through at dawn. Again, the king spared her life for one more day so she could finish the second story and so-forth for 1,001 nights.

First book you remember making an indelible impression on you.
Stephen King’s IT—but that’s because I was way too young to read it. It’s a great story, and I re-read it a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. But it’s also very twisted and I was too young for that the first time around. That did teach me something about the power of words, and how they can leave a mark.

How do you develop your plot and characters?
I’m a character-oriented writer so I start there. I flesh out my characters, who they are, where they’re going. Stories, to me, are an emotional journey to take your characters from emotional point A, to emotional point B. They need to grow and mature throughout the story, for it to be interesting.

So that’s where I start. When I know what I want them to do, I craft a story that allows them to achieve that emotional growth. And then I outline everything, before the actual writing begins.

Describe your writing space.
It’s just me and my laptop, really. And the many folders I have on my hard drive with all the stuff I need. There are folders focused on the characters, some with reference pictures or extracts from research books I read, some have the story arcs and plot twists and stuff.
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