6 Months Of Tearing Honor: Let’s Celebrate With A Sneak Peek!

Today is Tearing Honor’s 6 month anniversary. Perhaps anniversary isn’t the correct word since it hasn’t been a year, but regardless, 6 months prior to this day, Tearing Honor was published. In celebration of this milestone in my career as an author, I would like to do something for my readers.  The date snuck up on me, so I didn’t have anything elaborate planned – working full time keeps me pretty busy.  But, I am finally going to share an excerpt from my upcoming novel (which has yet to be named).

I’ll start you off right where it all begins, should I decide to change latter parts. This part of my book will remain the same, for the most part. I may elaborate further on some points here, but this should give you an idea of the action-packed novel I have in store for you.

I appreciate all of the support you’ve offered with Tearing Honor and my writing career in general. I hope this is a special treat for you all!

Without further ado, I bring you Novel #2, a selection from Chapter 1:

Chapter  1

The pilot’s voice boomed over the intercom of the airplane, “We’ll be landing in Burlington, Vermont in approximately 20 more minutes! The current temperature is a brisk 42 degrees, with winds up to 10 mph. Please remain in your seats until your flight attendant turns off the fasten seat belt sign. Thank you for flying with us today!”

Gary awoke abruptly, glancing over at his wife Nancy. She was still fast asleep, her lips pursed together. He noticed how tense her face was. He couldn’t help but wonder when she had become so stressed. She was always the bubbly, happy type without a care in the world. He started to think that maybe he had brought this stress into her life. After all, he came home complaining to her about his clients on a regular basis. He couldn’t help it; being a lawyer was a curse. All the troubles in the world became much more evident with each client he had. He felt a little relieved when he could share the troubles of others with her. It was almost like he became removed from them when he said them out loud. Both him and Nancy needed this vacation more than anything.

Gary realized he was staring at Nancy this entire time. He shook his head, trying to snap himself out of it. He gently shook Nancy’s arm to wake her up to inform her that they were almost at the airport.

“Hmm,” she murmured as she slowly rose back into consciousness.

“Honey, we should be at the airport in just under 20 minutes or so,” Gary reiterated.

“Oh, Ok,” she mumbled as she wiped the sleep out of her eyes.

They went over details of the trip with one another while waiting for the plane to land. It was the first time in five years since they had left Chicago.  Gary had been too consumed in his work to take care of himself and take a vacation to recuperate. Nancy had suggested it a few times, but he was too stubborn to listen to her. He felt it wasn’t a necessity since Nancy had the whole summer off, being an elementary school teacher and all. He wouldn’t admit he needed to take time off, since he was a workaholic. Therefore, they opted out of going anywhere for years and years. Gary caved this year because he wasn’t getting as many clients as he used to. People couldn’t afford to pay lawyers to fight their battles in such tough economic times. Since business was slow, Gary figured he wouldn’t miss out on very many clients while away.

The pilot came back on the speakerphone with an update, “We will begin our descent onto the landing strip now. Please make sure that your seat belts are fastened until further notice.” Everyone in the plane was antsy to get out of their seats. Children awoke, crying and chattering amongst themselves. People began to pack up their belongings that were directly within reach.

Gary reached for his laptop bag, sliding his laptop inside. He figured he could use his computer on this trip, should any important e-mail come in while he was away. He couldn’t quite bring himself to separate from work completely. Nancy hated this about him. She always saw vacation as separating from everything back at home. She glanced over at Gary as he put his computer away, sneering as he did so. She wished she could convince him to spend some time to himself or even with her.

The plane descended, shaking and whirring as the wheels approached the landing strip. Everyone quieted down, anticipating the events ahead. Nancy grabbed the romance novel she had been reading before she fell asleep, stashing it into her small tote bag. Her and Gary placed their bags on their laps, anxiously waiting to exit their seats.

The plane finally reached a stop, the fasten seat belt signs flashing off. Nancy quickly got into the aisle of the plane so that her and Gary could escape the crowd of people sooner rather than later. Like a rabbit, she grabbed their bags and grabbed Gary’s hand to help him into the aisle more rapidly. They pushed through the aisles, making their way off of the plane. Nancy tended to get anxiety in chaotic crowds, so she was fast about avoiding them in movie theaters and planes alike.

Gary headed to the rental car section of the airport to get their paperwork all settled, while Nancy gathered up their suitcases at baggage claim. Unfortunately, Nancy couldn’t carry all of their bags and pull their suitcases along, so she called Gary on his cell phone to let him know that she would need some assistance. He grumbled to himself, hating interruptions. He was trying to upgrade their car, thinking they had been assigned a nice luxury sedan instead of a station wagon. He began arguing with the salesman, with the nametag “My Name Is: Shawn” pasted on his chest. Shawn was not at fault, but was the messenger stuck between someone else’s assignments and the man in front of him arguing angrily.

Gary earned himself a discounted upgrade to the luxury sedan he had been hoping for, smoothly arguing his way up. He was a bit peeved that the online website had misled him, but felt his settlement was fair enough. He walked away with the keys, feeling accomplished, but still irked that he didn’t fully win his battle.

Meanwhile, Nancy was waiting impatiently at the baggage claim for Gary. He didn’t typically pay attention to how long he spent on activities. Knowing this himself, he simply told her that he would be down as soon as the car was taken care of. Nancy sighed to herself, fondling her hands while she waited. Suddenly some man pushed her hard, away from the baggage claim, rushing for a bag just in front of her. It was bright red with a black, sparkly ribbon tied to the handle. He was not fazed by Nancy, who had fallen to the floor by his force. She began rubbing her arm to appease the pain she felt. She realized that security was heading right for the man that pushed her. She crawled out of the way, not sure how to react to the situation. The man started running away with the bag while the security man chased after him.

Nancy reached for her cell phone to call her husband to make sure he was ok, and if he was on his way. He didn’t answer his phone, failing to notice the buzzing it emitted in his bag. She feared that the forceful man was a terrorist or something, naturally assuming the worst of the situation. She crawled into a corner by baggage claim in fear.

A minute later, someone announced over the loud speaker, “We apologize for any inconvenience this may bring, but we need to momentarily close the airport to incoming and outgoing passengers. We have a situation on hand, but there isn’t anything to worry about. Please remain calm and stay where you are for the time being. We will let you know when it’s safe to carry on with your business.”

Nancy’s heart was racing, and those around her were clinging to one another in fear. She wished Gary was there to help her calm down. He wasn’t far from her by this point, making it to a nearby baggage claim. When he heard the intercom announcement, he mumbled to himself about trouble following him everywhere. He sat down nearby a plant, just then noticing that Nancy had recently called his phone. Instantly, he called her back, coaching her to relax, letting her know he was just fine. She was glad to hear that, but a bit angry that he had taken so long at the car rental place. When he told her about the upgrade to the car, she rolled her eyes to herself. He always had to make a big deal out of everything.

Two seconds later, a loud Bang! Bang! echoed through the airport. Nancy slouched there on the ground, flinching at the sound of a gun going off. She glanced over toward the man running away to see that he had just shot a man in the shoulder, awfully close to his chest. The man had managed to grab a handgun out of the red suitcase before running off with it. It had been in one of the front zipper pockets of the suitcase, easily accessible. The innocent man, standing there with a bullet in his shoulder, had tried to grab the man running away. Not the smartest of moves, but he was seriously hoping he could help the security guard. The security guard was still lagging behind, reaching for his walkie-talkie to call for backup.

Around the corner came two other security guards, bailing in from the sides to avoid direct line of sight with the man. They didn’t need any more people getting shot. The two sprinted towards the man, who was slowing down with exhaustion. One reached for his ankles and the other went for his arms. The man fell flat on his face, giving the other security guard enough time to grab the man’s arms and handcuff him. No way were they going to let this man run around any longer!

Ten minutes later, a voice came over the speakers telling everyone that it was safe to move about the airport again. Paramedics rushed in to get the man who was shot in the arm. They moved rapidly to get him to the hospital and clear the scene. Reporters started to arrive and policemen were gathering around the scene of the shot. People heard snippets of information here and there about the incident. The man had apparently smuggled in some guns from Europe and had left a note by Gate C saying that he was going to punish the United States for the war in Iraq. He was there with two other friends, who were held up by security as soon as they arrived. The two friends hadn’t hidden their weapons well enough, and the man who made it in pretended they weren’t there together. They were all planning on going on a rampage within the airport.

Everyone in the airport was frightened, jabbering amongst themselves about the things they want to do in life before dying. They couldn’t understand how these men had brought these weapons so far into the airport without getting stopped. Security was on edge, trying to prove that they were doing their job.

Nancy and Gary made their way to one another. Nancy was shaking with fear. Gary embraced her strongly, telling her that everything was fine, they could go enjoy their vacation now. She nodded her head as they made their way outside to their rental car. She started tearing up, knowing that she could let down her guard now that she was away from the crime scene. She wished she could be as strong as Gary in situations like this. He was used to being around troublesome people, though. She was used to being around innocent children who sang all day and simply enjoyed life. This dangerous reality was terrifying her, and she just wanted to go home.

The two made their way to the rental car. If there hadn’t been such a commotion in the airport, Gary would have given Nancy a nice tour of the car, pointing out all of its fancy gadgets. Instead, he opened the passenger door to let her climb in and gathered their bags into the trunk. He realized she needed some space to gather herself. What he didn’t know was that she had seen the attack happen right in front of her eyes. He had been too far over, with plants and baggage claims in his way to see the incident.

That’s it for now folks! Plans are to release this novel this September, though I think October is more realistic. I can guarantee I’ll have my proofs ready in September, which is a huge step toward release! 😉

Love,
Renee

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Interview With The Amazing Author Of Meant To Be: Tiffany King

Today I have the honor of interviewing the talented author of Meant to Be, Tiffany King. This is one indie author you don’t want to miss out on! Tiffany knows what a reader wants and proves it from the very first page of her book. In addition, she’s a sweet and caring individual in real life. I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with her via Twitter and learning more about her success over on her blog.

Before we begin, let’s take a look at Meant to Be’s book description so that we’re all on the same page:

Krista Miller feels like she has lived her entire life in a glass box with her every emotion on display. She can’t help feeling like a defect as her sensitivities have made her socially inept and without any real friends; the one exception being the boy that visits her each night in her dreams.

Krista’s emotions are put to the test when a move to California triggers a devastating change to her fantasy world. The nightly comfort that the boy provides has now become a recurring nightmare as he is taken from her by an unseen force.

Struggling to appear normal, Krista enrolls in a new school and finds it to be nothing like she thought. Her new life is sent spiraling out of control from a strange connection with a boy, Mark, who claims to know all her secrets.

As Krista begins to explore the emotions that Mark evokes in her, secrets about their mysterious past and their predestined purpose threatens to separate them just when they have found each other.

Let’s take a look deeper into where this fabulous story came from.

Hi Tiffany! It’s so great to have you here today. Let’s get started.

What motivates you to write?

The desire to get a story out the way I want is what motivates me the most. I love writing, I love seeing the characters come alive and I love the fact that they all belong to me. That’s the beauty of writing, it’s your story that you created.

Which authors inspire you and/or influence your writing?

I am a huge J.K Rowling’s fan. I love that she created a complete world that a reader could lose themselves in. For me, a book is good when you can almost taste the food, feel the love and feel the pain of the characters that are written on the pages. When you can accomplish this you have truly created a work of art.

Which character is your favorite from Meant to Be and why?

Mark is my favorite character. He’s kind, romantic and loves Krista a great deal. (Plus he reminds me of my hubby LOL)

Do you, personally, believe in soul mates?

I completely believe in soul mates, after all I married my soul mate. He is my best friend, the one who makes me smile everyday and the light of my life. (Yep I’m a huge sap)

How much of you would you say crept into Meant to Be?

Krista is a huge part of me; I’m shy at times and get embarrassed at the drop of a hat, while Sam has my sense of humor and mischievous behavior. I guess you could say all of me is in Meant to Be.

How long did it take you to write Meant to Be?

Meant to Be flowed out of me in record time. Once it was completed though, we sat on it for two years while I finished my Bachelor’s degree. It had a brief overhaul before I released it but for the most part it took less than a month to actually write.

How do you feel about the debate over traditional publishing versus self-publishing? Would you opt for traditional publishing down the line or stick with self-publishing?

Self-publishing has worked very well for me and I feel truly blessed that Meant to Be has been received so well. It is tough work to self-publish; you are responsible for all the marketing and all the loopholes of getting your book out there for readers. If a publisher offered me a chance to get it in the hands of more readers, I would definitely consider it.

Do you have any side projects planned aside from the sequel to Meant To Be (Forgotten Souls)?

I just finished up a short story for an anthology, I was asked to participate in called The Glassheart Chronicles. I also have a book that is not paranormal that I would like to write as soon as my schedule clears up.

Did you ever taking any writing courses? Were you ever or are you now part of a writing group?

I took the typical computer classes and I also took a business writing class. I’m actually signed up to take creative writing classes this fall for my Master’s Degree. I’ve never been part of a writing group but I do have fabulous beta readers. I have also read several WIP by friends of mine. I love the sneak peeks but I could never be a critique partner.

What does a typical day in the life of Tiffany King entail?

Every day is so different and so busy lately, that I live for the days when I can finally be on some kind of routine. Every second seems to be earmarked right now with something to do, which drives me batty.

And just for fun, what is your guilty pleasure?

My guilty pleasure is being able to read while I’m eating. It drives hubby nuts but for me it’s my favorite way to eat. I never do it when we go out to eat though but I’ve been tempted to sneak it under the table. I live for the times he has to go potty so I can read a quick page hehehe.

What is your favorite romance movie?

Ooh tough question, I’ve always loved the dramatic romance movies like the Titanic, Regarding Henry, The Notebook, Time Travelers Wife and Terms of Endearment but I’m also a huge romantic comedy fan. I love all those sappy eighties movies like Breakfast Club, Somekind of Wonderful  and Sixteen Candles. Other movies that top my list are How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, 50 First Dates, Letters to Juliet, While you Were Sleeping and my new favorite Knight and Day.

What are you reading, right now? What are you looking forward to reading next?

As of this moment, I just started The Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent and I’m excited to dig into them. Books I’m looking forward to reading are: Ashfall by Mike Mullin, Chaos by Megan S. Duncan, Wildefire by Karsten Knight, A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford, Soul Thief by Jana Oliver, Breathe by Abbi Glines and of course Tearing Honor by Renee Masson :o)

If you could be king or queen for a day in any time period, who would you be?

I don’t know if she would count but I would pick Cleopatra hands down. I recently read a story by a friend of mine Courtney Cole called Every Last Kiss and I loved how she made Cleopatra come alive.

Thanks, Tiffany! It was fascinating learning about the various facets behind your characters. I look forward to the sequel to Meant to Be, Forgotten Souls. As always, it was a pleasure!

You can pick up Meant to Be in paperback or ebook form right on Amazon.
Get your ebook for just 99 cents
Or your paperback edition for $8.99

You won’t want to put this one down. Beware! You’ll be sucked in at the first sentence. Don’t believe me? Check out my review of Meant to Be, a 5-star book. One of my favorite reads this year 🙂

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Out With The Old Obsession, In With Moderation!

Not much has been happening on the publishing front the past few months for me. Business has been slow, very slow.  Initially, I’ll admit, I was checking my sales at least twice a day. It was a bit of an obsession. I wouldn’t recommend any authors do the same. You’ll get so much more accomplished by focusing on writing, research, relaxing and what have you.  I’m glad I’ve outgrown that, because I would be heartbroken right now. Don’t get me wrong, my sales have out-shined any expectations I held before taking the plunge into self-publishing, but you also reach a point where you actually want to reach out to more readers. I hope to do just that with my next novel, which is nearly wrapping up at least content-wise. This novel wouldn’t be where it is now if I was still hopping on Amazon to see how Tearing Honor was selling. It’s more exciting to get an email saying a royalty check is on the way to your bank account. Trust me, the surprise is far more exciting than knowing all along how things are going. Of course, you need to be aware at some level how you’re doing and step it up with marketing. Just remember: moderation is the key. I think this is a great motto to follow in all aspects of life, including how much of a food you eat, how much exercise you put in, how much partying you do, etc. etc. Too much of something tends to fall into the category of “unhealthy.”

Enough lecturing for the day! Here’s my shameless plug for the day. If you haven’t obtained your copy of Tearing Honor, there is a sale going on until July 31st on Smashwords where you can get an ebook copy for just $1 (that’s 50% off!). Click here to get your copy while this Smashwords summer sale is going on!

To update you all in regards to my “Donating In Honor Of My Grandfathers” post, I donated $15 to Relay for Life. My base was $10 and additional donations were based on how many sales I made. So thanks to all who purchased a copy during this period of time. $5 additional dollars can go a long way sometimes! My sister’s team reached their goal too!

I have a special interview lined up for my blog in the near future. I’m sure you can guess who (comment away with your guesses, but I’m not going to tell you who until the interview is prepped.. I like to try and surprise you all). In the meantime, I thought it’d be nice of me to share a little sneak peek of my yet-to-be-named novel #2. Here’s a brief synopsis of this upcoming novel:

An overworked couple takes a vacation from Chicago in Vermont, where the husband is hit with a mid-life crisis. Gary, a lawyer in Chicago turned farmer in Vermont, encounters endless surprises as he begins a new life. His wife, Nancy, struggles to decide if she should stay in Vermont or return to her old life alone.  Along the way, two strangers enter the couple’s life sealing their fate in the small Vermont town. Join Gary and Nancy as they learn to farm and fight to help the next generation, while a villainous farmer attempts to destroy their dreams.

I will be sharing an excerpt with you as soon as I pick out my favorite part of the book and complete some serious edits.  I’ve been struggling with “telling” versus “showing.” I came across a lovely blog post educating on the difference between these two. Basically, you want to show your readers what characters are doing, not tell them. So instead of saying “he screamed” you would say “his body tensed up, a shriek erupting from his throat” or something like that. I’m still working at it and hope that this will give you an even more exciting reading experience with the above mentioned novel.  I’ve had a lot of fun writing this one and can’t wait to share it.

I pick this book up every time I go to the bookstore simply because of the cover. It's so odd to me and captures my attention.

I’ve also been contemplating cover design for this coming novel. I didn’t put nearly enough thought into Tearing Honor’s cover, though I am happy with the way it came out.  But my creative juices are bubbling and I am dying to throw myself into a cover design project.  I’ve always been a fan of collaging, and would love to test it out on a book cover.  The cover is a HUGE selling point in your novel. I know I judge books by their covers every day.  I’ve spent a while scouring the shelves of Barnes & Noble and checking out indie authors’ book covers online.  It’s time for me to dive in and “Ohh Ahh” you all into loving my next book cover.

I’m curious, how many of you judge books by their covers? What book cover elements tend to draw your attention?

Love,
Renee

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Book Review: Meant To Be By Tiffany King

Tiffany King intertwines romance and paranormal beautifully in her debut novel Meant to Be. It’s not your typical romance novel, in a good way. You won’t want to put this one down!

Krista is a smart teenager with high sensitivity to feelings, to the point where her emotions occasionally get the best of and make her sick. She has one place she feels the most relaxed and happy: her dreams. You’ve probably had a dream guy or girl at some point in your life. But Krista dreams about her dream man every night! How’s that for a twist?

She’s always been an outcast in school, that is, up until her and her mom take the plunge into Santa Cruz.  Krista instantly feels strangely amazing connections to a solid group of friends. Relationships ensue in the group, love screaming out to the world that they are couples. But their immense connections to one another pose great danger to them. Paranormal forces appear to be working against them. They need to gain control over these forces if they’re to live in peace. Do they have it in them to do so?

Tiffany King sets up Meant to Be nicely for a sequel, but it’s so amazing that I would even be content if this were the only novel in this series (though I would love a sequel). I was drawn in from the first paragraph. The scene is set throughout, giving you the full picture of where the characters are and who is involved.  The characters are well thought out, each with their unique personalities and reactions to situations.

Krista, the main character, shares quite a bit in common with me which made the novel that much more enjoyable. I could relate to her heightened emotions, being an empathetic person myself, and a great deal more. My parents wouldn’t allow me to watch the news when I was a kid for a while there, much like Krista’s parents wouldn’t let her watch sad movies. It was great having someone to relate with on such a random matter.

If you’re looking for a relatively quick read that you won’t want to put down, Meant to Be is calling your name. Bring it to the beach and you’ll really feel connected to it (I wish I had). A 5 out of 5 star novel, Meant to Be is the bees knees.

Meant to Be is available in ebook and paperback right on Amazon. You can get this great read for a bargain price of 99 cents in ebook form and just $8.99 in paperback (trust me, that’s an amazing deal!).

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The Polar Caves Is Where It’s At

Where what’s at, you may ask? All the fun of course! The Polar Caves in NH were a lot cooler (pun intended!) than I’d expected. I know, I’ve been talking about a whole lot of rocks lately and a whole lot less about writing. My reasoning: It’s summer. People are taking more trips on the weekends, including myself. Why not review them?

After my disappointment visiting America’s Stonehenge, I went into my trip to the Polar Caves with a bit hesitation. I was convinced that I’d walk out saying, “Man, that was a waste of a day. That was just a pile of more rocks.”

Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Even if you aren’t interested in caves, they have a fantastic gift shop filled with goodies for everyone. If that’s not enough, there is even a small zoo area. This may have been my favorite part, not to pull attention away from the caves, but I just adore animals.

The first exhibit you walk past (at least I walked past since I’m a bit old for it) is a mining exhibition, which is designed moreso for children. You can pick up clumps of rocks at the gift shop and take them to this exhibition to sift through and find gems and nifty rocks. Cute idea for the kids, but not so much us adults.

Then comes my favorite part! A small area is devoted to cages filled with goofy pheasants of various breeds. A variety of deer are caged up in a large pen with bars wide enough for tourists like myself to stick there hands in and feed them corn kernels. Here’s my buddy:

The fawn of the bunch! He was too skittish to eat from anyone’s hands though, but I couldn’t resist his adorable face. If you like nothing else, you’ll have fun feeding the deer, their tongues slobbering all over your hands. Their enthusiasm is enough to make you laugh.

Ducks waddle all around the ground area around the deer pen, even endangering themselves in the process. I found this unfortunate, coming across this funky duck pheasant type animal stepped on by a little boy. Granted, the boy didn’t do it intentionally, but I wanted to take the little guy into a safer area. He was hopping around the ground, which just seemed odd.

Pull yourself away from the animals for a moment and actually proceed along your path to the Kissing Bridge. Bring a loved one to get a photo of the two of you kissing on this cute covered bridge. If Valentine’s Day wasn’t in the middle of February, when the Polar Caves aren’t even open to the public, this would be perfect for a date. If you are going to stop on the Kissing Bridge and want a picture of you and your significant other kissing, I recommend asking someone else to take the photo. Trust me, we failed to get a good photo.

If you can tear yourself away from the Kissing Bridge, the next portion leads to the caves. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a fan of this section of the park. You walk through what I would call Rock Gardens.  If I was into geology, it’d be a bit more entertaining. But looking at Granite upon Granite *yawn*. I only recommend checking out the largest glacial rock, which is something ridiculous like 50,000 tons or something. I stood beneath this rock thinking “If this fell down right now, I’d dissipate into dust.”

Proceed to the caves! There are 8 caves at the park, each with their unique shapes and sizes. I wouldn’t recommend making a trip to them in the rain though. It was a bright and clear day and I was slipping in the first cave. Of course, this could be due to the fact that there was ICE at the bottom of it.

I suppose that’s where they got the name “Polar Caves.” Temperatures vary greatly walking from cave to cave, and then inside of the caves. You’ll feel bursts of cold air, which are refreshing on a hot day like the day I went. The caves are all relatively short in length from entrance to exit. You never know if you’ll be ducking or squeezing into caves. They’re all of differing shapes. If Ice isn’t cool enough to entertain you, see if you can squeeze through Fat Man’s Misery.

I dare you to take the hard way as you make your way up and through the caves. What does this entail? 80 steps to the top of the park to a cave where Satan lives.

Ok, Satan doesn’t live there, but it’s one of the steepest caves out of the eight. I appreciate that the park is set up to lead you through the smaller caves to start, working your way up to larger and more intense caves. It keeps you moving forward with anticipation and excitement.

Needless to say, the caves were a blast to go through. I wouldn’t recommend them if you’re claustrophobic. If your claustrophobia is minor, the first few caves are fine, but the later ones may be a bit too intense for your phobia. The caves aren’t too intense for people who aren’t used to extreme circumstances, like myself. It’s an average-joe type adventure with just enough edge to make it exciting.

Once you’ve gone through the caves, the rest isn’t all that entertaining. You can stop by the Sugar House and catch up on Maple Syrup history at the end of your trip. Or you can just stop in to shop. There aren’t as many gifts in the Sugar House compared to the gift shop, but it’s still a cute place.

Overall, I’d give the Polar Caves a 4.5 out of 5. I deducted a half simply for the disappointing lead up to the caves (i.e. the Rock Garden). If you’re looking for a cheap ($15 admission), active and different trip for the weekend, make a trip to Rumney, NH to visit the Polar Caves. Got kids? There are additional activities for them aside from what I mentioned.

Happy Summer!

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Interview With A Horror Expert: Thomas Amo, Author Of An Apple For Zoë

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing author of An Apple For Zoë (The Forsaken), Thomas Amo. An Apple for Zoë is Tom’s first published paranormal fiction novel. A very well rounded author, Tom has been a great supporter of indie authors since I first met him a few months ago. Henceforth, let’s learn more about him!

But first, An Apple For Zoë (The Forsaken)’s book description, for those of you who haven’t read it yet:

The City of San Francisco is locked in a grip of fear. A series of occult murders has lead, Inspector Thomas James to a crime scene similar to a murder committed 90 years ago in the once grand Aleris Hotel. A place where power barons of the early 20th Century engaged in witchcraft. And silent film stars indulged in the most wicked of sins. A place where no one questions the black smoke that rises from the hotel’s incinerators in the middle of the night.

Welcome Tom! I’m so glad to be interviewing you today. Let’s get started.

What motivates you to write?

Wow great question from the start! The idea that I’m going to take a new journey and go on a new adventure, because I know that part of the process of writing a new book means learning about the subject I’m going to write about. Some of it will mean hours surfing on the net. Some will mean taking a trip to a location. While writing “An Apple For Zoe” I traveled to Hollywood and spent 3 hours in The Hollywood Forever Cemetery. This is a place I always wanted to see, because not only was it the final resting place of such heavy hitters like, John Huston, Victor Fleming (director of Gone With The Wind/Wizard of Oz). Rudolph Valentino. But it is the final resting place of two people I have always been fascinated by, silent film director, William Desmond Taylor, and silent film actress Virginia Rappe. So taking the journey there, and touching their graves, standing there, being photographed with them, made it real for me.

When telling a fictional tale, even though 95% of it is all made up in my mind, I still want to experience as much of it as I can. The other thing that motivates me to write, is that if I discover something I become interested in, I can write a book about that subject and in a small way, the thing I have obsessed on, now I am a part of it, instead if it just being a part of me.

Which authors inspire you and/or influence your writing?

Richard Matheson, “Hell House.” Sidney Kirkpatrick, “A Cast Of Killers.” Robert Graysmith, “Zodiac.” Of course Stephen King is an influence as others were his when it came to writing horror. I’ve never been a fan of Straub, Koontz or Clive Barker. I don’t care to read, gore, but love a twist or something that makes me stop reading and check the doors. I felt that way recently with a short story from A.M. Harte from her book, “Hungry For You” a story called, “Dead Man’s Rose.” That story really gave me creeps and actual nervousness.

What led you to write An Apple for Zoe, a horror/crime novel, after spending a lot of your time on writing plays and theater productions?

I always wanted to write a really scary book. I always wanted to write about the killers who captured my attention with their terrible deeds. An Apple For Zoe was finally a way for me to do it all. I’m so glad I wrote plays for the theatre like I did. That really helped me learn a great deal about keeping a story moving, keeping the audience entertained. I’ve tried to approach AAFZ in the same respect as I would a comedy play…I believe a comedy should begin with a laugh, the first act should end with an OMG! The second act should be a bigger laugh and the end should leave their stomachs hurting from laughing so hard but satisfied with their evening. So a scare or at least a twist…an OMG…a possible.WTH?  and a….I so did not see that coming!

Did you do a lot of research in the process of writing An Apple for Zoe?

An Apple for Zoe Back Cover

I did a lot of research with Zoe. From casual Internet surfing to as I mentioned before the journey to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I researched buildings, actual addresses, looked up locations on maps. This all started originally from my days working with the San Joaquin Country Coroner’s Office. The book was inspired by an actual murder scene I worked on and wasn’t allowed to discuss for two years. The crime scene was for lack of a better term..felt evil.

You just felt this cold presence that kept you doing that involuntary chill thing, your body does every now and again when someone walks past you. In fact I did so much research, it’s landed me with 3 books out of this story.

Which character is your favorite from An Apple for Zoe and why?

I’m really drawn to Paige Collins. I think because there is so much more going on, than we know or understand. I like her strength and I see her as a puzzler. Someone, who is always working something out in her mind, she doesn’t speak a lot but when she does, I always feel she has something important to say.

Do you have any side projects planned aside for the sequel to An Apple for Zoe (which I’m so pumped for!)?

I have a screenplay for a film company. It is YA. No paranormal just good old everyday, teen angst. It’s a teen drama with some light comedy with it.

How do you feel about the debate over traditional publishing versus self-publishing? Would you opt for traditional publishing down the line or stick with self-publishing?

I find it’s a bit odd to debate over it. I see the publishing world is changing and for the good. The old trads don’t like it, because now the writer’s don’t have to get their permission to be published. I like anyone would like to be a household name in my genre. I simply want to do this as a living, and if traditional can provide me a living, then naturally I would go that route. But if I can manage it myself without an agent or publisher…I’d be very content with that as well. In fact, quite honestly I’d prefer to remain independent. Then I get to have final say on everything to do with my book. I only need 1 million people to buy a copy, and I’d even like that with a $0.35 royalty. That’s still 350K.

What does a typical day in the life of Thomas Amo entail?

I’ve come to the place in life, where I’m no longer dependant on my radio alarm to wake me. Most days I’m up at 7. Coffee brewed, depends on who gets up first, my wife or me. Have my wife to work by 8am. Then back to do the first volley of emails, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and usually by 10am, start looking at my book and where I am at. Try to write or at least research till noon. Lunch.. Write/research until I get really stuck…go for a walk, drive, take a shower, do some laundry or vacuum, anything to get my mind cleared. Pick up the Mrs. @ 5 and chill with her or maybe write some more between 7 and 9pm. Watch news at 10…crash on sofa wake up middle of the night stagger to bed…(not always).

Do you ever regret giving up your previous job to focus on writing?

NEVER!

Have you ever taken any writing courses? Were you ever or are you now part of a writing group?

I never have taken any classes. Never been part of a writing group either.

For fun, what is your guilty pleasure?

Play Rock Band on PS3

What is your favorite crime TV show?

It used to be the original CSI. Now I don’t watch them. LOST was the last show I was connected to.

What are you reading, right now? What are you looking forward to reading next?

I have 11 books I’m trying to read. Mostly for friends who have asked me to. But I’m looking forward to reading “Amaretto Flame” by Sammie Spencer.

If you could be king for a day in any time period, who would you be?

Possibly King of England around 1900. England is less hostile than Henry the VIII’s time.

There is pain medication and dentists. It’s the gilded age and I could travel in a balloon. I’d like to have lived long enough to ride in the airship Hindenburg; I think that would have been amazing. Pre-1937 of course.

Excellent. Thank you, Tom, for joining us today. It was so much fun learning more about you!

You can pick up An Apple for Zoë (The Forsaken) in paperback or ebook form right on Amazon.

Get your ebook for just 99 cents (Sale!)

Or your paperback edition for $9.99

You’ll be consumed with each page you read. Enjoy! This comes from someone who has read it and gave it a 5-star review

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Book Review: Thomas Amo – An Apple For Zoë ~ The Forsaken

An Apple for Zoë by Thomas Amo engages its reader from the very beginning. It’s a true crime novel with some terrifying concepts developing the more you delve into the text.  You’re thrown directly into a crime scene to start, and it only grows from there. Thomas Amo does wonders building connections upon connections between a wide variety of inspectors and serial killers. You won’t want to put this one down. You’ll face the depths of hell and the cruelest murders a serial killer can think up.  Just when you think you’re about to figure out how these crimes are connected, Thomas will leave you reaching for more answers.  Looking forward to the next book in this series! Dare I say, Thomas Amo may just be the next Stephen King.

An Apple for Zoe is available in ebook and paperback form. I do wish I had read it in paperback form, but that’s just a preference. Get your copy today for only 99 cents in ebook or $9.99 in paperback form. It’s definitely worth it!

Thanks, Thomas, for the great read!

-Renee

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