Wednesday, April 7, 2021

NBtM Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Emergence by Ellie Beals

Welcome to my stop on the NBtM virtual book tour for Emergence by Ellie Beals. This tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book and a guest post from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to follow the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
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Title: Emergence
Author: Ellie Beals
Publisher: Tellwell Talent
Publication Date: January 14th 2021
Print Length: 232 pages
Genre: Psychological Thriller
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It starts with Just Watching. But danger emerges when Just Watching ends.

When the "wild child" Xavier ¬ first encounters Cass Hardwood and her dogs in the woods of West Quebec, he is enthralled. Unknown to them, he Just Watches them in a lengthy ongoing surveillance, before ¬ finally staging a meeting. His motives are uncertain—even to him.

The intersection of the lives of Cass, a competitive dog handler; her dogs; her cousin Lori; and the complex and enigmatic Xavier leads them all into a spiral of danger. It starts when Just Watching ends—when Cass and her crew encounter tragedy in the bush. Xavier's involvement in the tragedy, unknown to Cass, sets off a chain of potentially lethal events that begin in the dark woods of Lac Rouge, when hiking, skiing, hunting, trapping, marijuana grow-ops, and pedophilia collide. It matures in the suburbs of both Ottawa and Baltimore, and culminates back in Lac Rouge, when Lori's spurned and abusive lover arrives uninvited at Cass' isolated cabin in the woods. In the night. In the cold. In the heavily falling snow. His arrival is observed by Xavier, whose motives are again uncertain, but whose propensity for action is not.

Join Xavier, Lori, Cass, and the realistic and compelling dogs that are essential players in this dark drama as their fates converge in a deadly loop of revenge, fear, guilt, and hope.

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EXCERPT:
Xavier

My eyes did adjust, but I thought it would be a surer shot if he’d just stay still for a minute. He did. He was on alert, but not because of me. His back was to me. I settled the LeeEnfield firmly into my shoulder, took a deep breath, and pulled the trigger. The sound of the shot cut through the air. I suspect Jean-Luc didn’t hear it until he was already falling forward, like a tree felled by a pro like Stefan. I felt that rush that you always get when you’ve hit your living target.

And then, nothing. A stillness as thick as snow fell on us. No wind. No birds. No movement from Jean-Luc. And no awe. When I’ve shot a buck before with Stefan, there had always been that moment when you’re so full of life and joy, you think you’ll explode. But for Stefan and me, that is always quickly followed by a feeling that Stefan has told me is awe, where you feel small and grateful to and sorry for the beautiful animal that will feed you in the coming months, and where you hope he had had a good life and would be happy to die this way instead of getting old and sick and dying of starvation. This was different. At the moment I would have expected to feel awe, instead I just had a feeling of…. rightness. Stefan and I have been reading stories by Edgar Allen Poe, and I had been afraid that I’d feel the terrible guilt he wrote about. I didn’t. I felt peaceful.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ellie Beals grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and moved to Canada when she was 20. She spent the majority of her professional career as a management consultant in Ottawa, Ontario. Plain language writing was one of her specialties.

Dogs have been a constant in Ellie's life from the time she was a child. In the mid-1990s, she started to train and compete in Obedience with Golden Retrievers, with considerable success. In 2014, she had the highest-rated Canadian obedience dog (Fracas—upon whom Chuff is modelled), and her husband David Skinner had the second-rated dog. During a ten-year period, both Ellie and David were regularly ranked among Canada's top ten Obedience competitors. They have an active obedience coaching practice in Ottawa, having retired from their previous professional careers in order to spend more time playing with their dogs and their students.

Like Cass and Noah Harwood, Ellie and David have a log cabin in the wilds of West Quebec, where Ellie is an avid wilderness recreationist, constantly accompanied by her dogs. As COVID-19 spread in March of 2020, she and David temporarily shut down their coaching practice and retreated to their cabin, where Emergence was written. Lac Rouge is not the real name of the lake on which they live. Everything else about the locale for Emergence is faithful to the character of the gentle Laurentian mountains of West Quebec.

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GUEST POST:
Which true life mystery still leaves you baffled?"
Or: Me, OJ, & Psychological Suspense

by Ellie Beals


I have had a love-ignorance relationship with football all my life. Despite having a father and husband (a former player himself) who were not only fans, but were extremely knowledgeable about the arcana of this complex sport, I never took the time to master that. Lazy Ellie! The rules still elude me, and I have only the broadest general understanding of the game. But that’s all I need. Because I LOVE watching football for completely different reasons. The extraordinary beauty and power of these athletes transfixed me from the time I was first exposed to them as a child. My abiding memory of how little Ellie perceived her first view of Jim Brown playing, only a day after my dad had introduced me to a wildlife special on the big cats of Africa, was “OMG - some rare humans can also effect the grace and power of wild animals”. (Not in those words of course. But that was the idea.)

So it is not a surprise that in every season since then, I have had a favorite player. My husband, who understands what attracts me to a player, often has a long-list for me to consider as each season starts. It is in his best interest. He knows he is far more likely to have a fully engaged spectating companion, if I’m vested in my yearly hero. Generally, there is a new heart-throb for each new season. But sometimes, my enthrallment spans many seasons. And my longest and most intense enthrallment was with OJ Simpson.

Those of you who were not yet born or sentient in the late 1960s and 1970s when OJ was in his prime, may not be able to find, in the bloated husk of what’s left of him now, the extraordinarily beautiful young man OJ was. Whether he was running on the field, or through airports (one of his most famous ads), or pitching any of the innumerable products which helped make him rich, his beauty was augmented by his evident intelligence and charm.

Which of course, worked in his favor, when in 1994 he was charged with the murders of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. By then, I was a committed feminist, which has in no way intruded on my appreciation of beauty, male or otherwise. Despite my long-standing admiration for OJ as an athlete, the evidence of his narcissism and long-standing abuse of Nicole, was irrefutable. OJ was NOT a good guy.

But having accepted that did not mean I was ready to join the majority of white Americans in assuming that despite the not-guilty verdict, OJ did indeed, do it. To this day, I am confident that my reluctance to subscribe to that prevailing belief was not predicated on my previous long-established romance with him. It was based on the evidence available to the public during and just after the period in which his trial dominated the world media. And I had access to so much of it! In addition to racing home from work every day to watch the trial (The Trial of the Century! as it was so-often heralded), my husband and I accumulated a sizable OJ library. Our shelves are still stocked with the work of prosecutors (Marsha Clark and Christopher Darden), the defense team (Robert Shapiro and Johnnie Cochrane) and other credible lawyers/legal pundits like Vincent Bugliosi and Alan Dershowitz. To this day, I still don’t understand:

• How the timeline could possibly have worked

• How OJ could have killed the vigorous, younger Goldman, in what had to have been a lengthy struggle to the death, without incurring any injury more significant than a cut finger, which OJ claimed happened in a hotel when he broke a glass, and which a passenger on the plane he took before he checked in to that hotel, failed to see when he studied OJ’s hands hoping to see his Superbowl ring

• How the “blood evidence” against OJ could be only a few isolated drops in his car, on the gate to his driveway, and on a sock found under his bed, given the gruesome amount of blood spilled where Nicole and Ron died.

Now, almost thirty years later, I am still baffled by these logistical challenges. Over the years, affected by the weight of public opinion, I’ve come to accept that OJ MUST have done it. OJ’s own book (If I Did It) certainly didn’t make me any more confident of his innocence. But thinking about it again for this blog, has certainly re-ignited my curiosity. I will now turn to some of the more recent books on the subject, and see if I can gain any peace with these evidentiary challenges.

But I am much less-baffled in some respects than I was in the mid-1990s, when a major component of both my own response and that of much of the public, was how mind-blowing it was that someone we KNEW (because so many of us felt a personal connection to OJ), someone we’d found so charming….could have fooled us so completely. At that time, we already had a model for an appropriate serial killer. Charlie Manson, convicted in 1971, with his intense and openly malevolent mien, was the much more understandable face of evil. OJ took our innocence. We started to understand that evil is not necessarily detectable through some sort of physical imprint it makes on those who harbor it. In Charlie Manson and OJ Simpson, we saw two extremes on the spectrum of evil – one who projected villainy, and the other, charm. And sadly, in the years since then, we’ve filled in some of the space in-between these two extremes. Paul Bernardo in Canada and Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer in the states, created new stereotypes of the banality of evil.

Cognitively, I’ve realized for a long time now, that you never truly know anyone, and that evil can lurk behind a huge range of exteriors. But accepting that emotionally is much more difficult. Which I attempt to exploit in my writing, as does almost every other writer residing within the genre of psychological suspense.
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GIVEAWAY:
Ellie Beals will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. To increase your chance of winning, leave a comment at a different stop on the tour each day. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

26 comments:

  1. Looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the contest. 

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  2. Thanks for hosting and for the great topic. I really enjoyed thinking and writing about it.

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  3. This sounds like an interesting book and I also like the cover.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

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  4. This sounds like a book I would really enjoy reading.

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  5. How long was the writing process?

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  6. This is my absoulte favorite genre. This sounds like a fantastic read.

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  7. how do you deal with writers block?

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  8. nice book cover and the book sounds interesting.

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  9. Not the kind of book that turns me on, honestly- as a rural person, I feel the plot depicts us in a bad light.

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  10. I enjoyed the excerpt. Thank you for the giveaway!

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  11. I like the cover! The artwork and colors are amazing.

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  12. Nice cover. It sounds like a really interesting book. Thank you for sharing.

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  13. I like stories that have dogs as characters.

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  14. I think that the cover of your book is very attractive.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  15. Love the cover and sounds like a great read

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