Sometimes when you lose, you win.
Special guest author Jesse Giles Christiansen talks about why authors should sometimes embrace insanity
This week’s guest is T.J. Tate, the author of the JUSTICE series. I’ve read both of these books and I can assure you that they’re intense, beautifully written stories full of emotion and heart! Original, thought-provoking fiction. Put me in mind of The Twilight Zone!
Take it away, T.J.!
“Second chances just became real.
From September 9-11, THE CHOICE and THREE DOORS DOWN, the first two books in my JUSTICE series, will be free.
The idea for JUSTICE came about by reading the news. My heart went out to the individuals affected by tragedies. Sometimes the crimes would remain unsolved, but even when they were, some decisions reached in the courtroom give us pause as to what true justice means.
That’s where fiction comes in. I decided to write my own stories by giving those touched by heartache a second chance at righting a wrong. By using this premise, I let my characters decide what justice means to them. It ensures that each outcome is unique and what makes the stories so compelling. With no one right answer for everyone, each individual seeks what will bring them peace. That unique perspective is what lives out on the pages, and what I hope shines through.
Another component I infuse into these dramas is the power of the human spirit. While I’m always pulling for it to triumph over evil, the dramas play out how they will. Like a gopher in a buffalo stampede, I do my best to keep out of the way and not interject my feelings. It’s not my story; it’s theirs. And so I play the part of a silent witness to the struggle, penning the epic fight waged.
Whether the ending is your concept of what justice means is debatable. All I can promise is that it is for them. Like the slogan for my series says: “You can’t find JUSTICE. JUSTICE finds you.”
“Here’s a bit more about my series:
While some will tell you JUSTICE doesn’t exist, those traumatized by life-shattering events pin their hopes on finding it. The walking wounded of the world start and end their day in pain, haunted by tragedies too horrible to imagine. Even after their bodies are healed, the mental anguish goes on. They remain caught in a trap, never moving forward from the past. They pray that one day they’ll find the commodity in short supply that will allow them to become whole.
In book one of this series of short stories, Janice Carver is tormented by an event in her past. The brutal rape occurred five years ago, but the assault has stripped her of all hope. Lurching through her life, she’s engulfed by fear, regret and self-recrimination. Worse, her assailant was never caught, and lives his life freely with an untroubled soul.
But things have a way of spinning round, and suddenly second chances are all too real. Janice Carver’s life is about to change in unexpected ways. Always trying to find JUSTICE, she’s about to learn that you can’t find JUSTICE, JUSTICE finds you.
In book two, THREE DOORS DOWN, Sylvie Vaughn’s daughter is dead. Taking her own life at the tender age of sixteen, Sylvie is left to deal with the aftermath of Katie’s suicide.
The distraught mother needs closure, but in order to find it, Sylvie must discover the reason behind the desperate act. She relies on Katie’s final note to give her the clues, but the letter states that sexual molestation is the cause. While the word is ugly, the thought that it could have occurred is even worse. Sylvie would like to dismiss the claim, but in her gut, she knows it’s true. Even before the tragedy, Sylvie’s been obsessed with one incident that happened sixteen years ago. Unable to let it go, she blames herself for not doing enough, wishing for that second chance.”
About the Author
T.J. Tate has held a multitude of jobs. A professional wine taster, barista, ghostwriter for technical manuals and lead vocalist for an obscure rock band (his), he is also an inveterate traveler.
His debut novel JUSTICE is a Fantasy Thriller with just the right touch of a classic western mixed into its DNA. T.J. readily admits to his love of watching westerns. “The whole idea of someone standing alone and facing their fear is what makes heroes–and that’s what a showdown is all about. It never failed to get my heart pumping and my rooting section going for the person wearing the white hat to win.”
Uniquely compelling JUSTICE deals with heartfelt emotions and trauma in an inventive way. As it says in the blurb, “Second chances just became real.”
***T.J. will be giving away three $10.00 Starbucks cards to three lucky people who download either/both books in the JUSTICE series while they are free. When you order, just check in the “Order summary box” and find your confirmation number. Then make a comment on this blog post and a direct link back to you before October 1, 2013. T.J. will choose three winners on October 1’st. Good luck!***
This is a poem I wrote after my Dad passed away. I well remember walking in the winter and suddenly seeing the first crocus pressing up through the snow. I felt a sense of hope, and thought of the things we had loved in every season. Life does return. And when it’s no longer too painful, we can recall the best moments of it with joy.
This is for my sister, Charlene, and my friends Wendy, Chante, Toni and Maria who have suffered losses in the past few weeks. I hope it brings a little comfort.
I KNOW THE FIRST FLOWER
I know the first flower of spring
is creeping up between the clenched fingers
of winter and death and sodden decay;
that fireflies dance in summer hedges
delicate flickering lights that kindle
just for a moment, an ancient belief
in magic and fairies. Also I know that
trees will transform into sun-yellow, blood-red
breath-taking harbingers of fall
holding harvest moons within their branches
and bearing silent witness to the first soft snow
as it comes whispering down.
What I have to trust is that the time will come
when there will be no sorrow in remembering.
May madness must have struck me because I decided to hold a Fire And Shadow Giveaway with some great prizes! You can go on over to http://bit.ly/10mLox3 on my Writer’s Page, click the Rafflecopter icon, and enter! If you haven’t read Fire And Shadow, it’s on sale for only 99 cents throughout the event (May 31’st). You can get points for liking my page, following me on Twitter, or leaving a review on Amazon, among other things. If you already have, don’t worry, you’ll still get points!
First prize is a $100.00 Amazon gift card. Second is a $25.00 Barnes and Noble gift card. There are six third-place prizes, a $10.00 Starbucks card.
So come on down! Tell me if you think that Stephen or Kent is the right man for Lily. I’ll be waiting!
It’s a pleasure this week to welcome back Adriana Ryan. In December 2012 I participated in the cover reveal for her first novel, World of Shell and Bone. It quickly became an Amazon bestseller. Not content with that success, Adrianna has written another book that is sure to be just as brilliant. It’s called Secret For A Song, and doesn’t it sound intriguing?
Saylor Grayson makes herself sick. Literally.
She ate her first needle when she was seven. Now, at nineteen, she’s been kicked out of college for poisoning herself with laxatives. The shrinks call it Munchausen Syndrome. All Saylor knows is that when she’s ill, her normally distant mother pays attention and the doctors and nurses make her feel special.
Then she meets Drew Dean, the leader of a local support group for those with terminal diseases. When he mistakes her for a new member, Saylor knows she should correct him. But she can’t bring herself to, not after she’s welcomed into a new circle of friends. Friends who, like Drew, all have illnesses ready to claim their independence or their lives.
For the first time, Saylor finds out what it feels like to be in love, to have friends who genuinely care about her. But secrets have a way of revealing themselves. What will happen when Saylor’s is out?
I can’t wait for the answer to that question! And now, I give you, the cover of Secret For A Song!
Look for it in June of 2013!
Bio: A huge fan of spooky stuff and shoes, Adriana Ryan enjoys alternately hitting up the outlet malls and historic graveyards in Charleston, SC where she lives and imbibes coffee. Her husband and two small children seem not to mind when she hastily scribbles novel lines on stray limbs in the absence of notepads.
In my last blog I told you there would be a special surprise courtesy of my guest, Heather Graham. All those who write in with comments or questions are eligible. And the prize package is:
-A copy of LET THE DEAD SLEEP, Heather’s new hardcover novel;
-The complete Season 7 DVD’s of “Supernatural,” Heather’s favorite paranormal series;
-A copy of THE GHOST HUNTER’S FIELD GUIDE: OVER 1000 HAUNTED PLACES YOU CAN EXPERIENCE by Rich Newman, a five-star rated guide to haunted sites in all 50 states.
So go to the interview with Heather at http://wp.me/p294I9-68 and get a chance at this fabulous prize! All you have to do is comment. Of course “likes” are always appreciated as well 🙂
Thank you! Next week I’ll be participating in the cover reveal of Adriana Ryan’s new novel, Secret For A Song!
A CHAT WITH HEATHER GRAHAM
AUTHOR OF “LET THE DEAD SLEEP”
It’s a pleasure to welcome N.Y. Times bestseller Heather Graham to my blog. Heather is the maven of romantic suspense and paranormal mystery, and a love of her work is one of the reasons I chose to write in those genres.
In her newest novel, LET THE DEAD SLEEP (April 2013), Heather again takes her readers on a spine-tingling visit to the world of the paranormal. When a centuries-old carving of an evil man is stolen from a New Orleans grave, it sets off a race for possession of the object – and control of its malevolent powers. The current owner visits an antique and curio shop, desperate to rid herself of the vile sculpture. But before shop owner Danni Cafferty can make the purchase, it disappears and the owner is found dead, plunging Danni and P.I. Michael Quinn into the conflict to try to keep its evil energy contained.
Question and Answer with Heather
- In your new book, LET THE DEAD SLEEP, the theft of a centuries-old sculpture, the carved bust of a wicked man, sparks a struggle between good and evil. You introduce two compelling characters, Danni Cafferty, a young woman who inherits an unusual antiques and curio shop in New Orleans, and Michael Quinn, a private investigator with a mysterious past. Is this the first of a new series of Cafferty and Quinn books with the pair battling evil with the aid of an ancient text?
Yes, thank you! The team of Cafferty and Quinn will struggle through more ordeals—and how to manage their relationship, as well.
- Like many of your books, LET THE DEAD SLEEP involves elements of the paranormal and the ability of human beings to deal with the unknown. What intrigues you so much about the paranormal?
I love the possibilities out there. I can be the world’s worst skeptic, but I’m also curious and ever hopeful. Most of us have lost loved ones—I want to believe that I will see mine again. If such things are possible, then the world of what we don’t see all the time just might be possible, too. I love hearing stories and I’ve heard some really good ones that make you wonder about the power of the human mind—and soul.
- You’ve been on a number of ghost hunts, ghost tours and walks. Which ones are your favorites and where is your favorite haunted place?
I think I’ve loved them all. Last year (available on On Demand, I believe!) my daughter and I appeared on “Haunted Encounters” for the Biography Channel. It was for their half hour segment on the Lizzie Borden house. She played Lizzie and killed me as Abby and our friend, writer Dennis Cummins, as Andrew Borden. She was great! But they had me lying right where Abby had been found and Chynna had a real hatchet. It was pretty creepy!
I also love the cemeteries (and any place, really) in New Orleans, the Spanish Military Hospital, St. Augustine, a number of places in Key West, Salem, Massachusetts, and the Myrtles Plantation, in Louisiana. There’s a YouTube video up (Heather Graham’s Krewe of Hunters Ghost Series, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtC2fCOwV9A) from our Myrtles Plantations trip. We had the whole plantation to ourselves for a weekend to film and explore. My friends, the Peace River Ghost Trackers, were with us.
We had a séance once at the House of Seven Gables. That was amazing! Other places in the world would include the Tower of London, the Capuchin Monastery church in Rome, the underground in Edinburgh . . . my list could go on and on.
- What was your most recent ghost hunt?
As I write this, the Queen Mary. The Peace River Ghost Trackers arranged for us to have one alone with just a single guard to explore the ship. We spent a lot of time in the pool area and beneath the stairs, said to be among the most haunted places on the ship. It was the most convinced my daughter ever was that something or someone else might be there.
- A recent survey reports that six in ten U.S. voters believe in demonic possession, more than a third believe in ghosts, and 52% believe houses can be haunted but just 47% would be willing to stay in a haunted house overnight (Public Policy Polling). You’ve stayed in several haunted houses. What was the most interesting and do you believe the house was truly haunted?
Most probably the Lizzie Borden house. The owner, Lee-ann Wilbur, has done an amazing job refurbishing and refurnishing—areas of the house look exactly as they looked in pictures taken at the time of the crimes. She also has a number of headless mannequins dressed in period clothing throughout the house. Every year after a great conference in Rhode Island called NECON, I go up to Fall River with a group of writers. We take the entire house for a night. The only time I was the last one to go to bed, I was moving through the house walking normally, when I suddenly began running to get to my room. Lee-Ann is a wonderful hostess and the B and B is beautiful. Whether you’re a believer or not, it’s a great place to stay.
- You’ve written a number of books set in New Orleans. Why is it such a perfect location for paranormal stories?
There’s something extremely special about New Orleans. It’s where the documents for the Louisiana Purchase were signed and it’s been home to about every nationality in the world. The food is great and just walking down the streets in the French Quarter you can hear some of the best music in the world. Jackson Square is as filled with life as the cemeteries are with the essence of death. I think I especially love the city because you do see every one of every belief from everywhere in any flesh tone known to man. I love the history because it’s so rich, and I especially love it because it’s a living history. Lafitte’s old shop is a bar. Hotels where soldiers were cared for once still stand—and welcome guests. I love the art, the music, the architecture—you name it!
- The location always seems to come to life in your books, whether it be The Alamo, Salem, Massachusetts, South Florida and the Keys or New Orleans. The locale almost becomes a character in the story, just as it does in LET THE DEAD SLEEP. How does location help inspire your novels as you are developing the story line?
If I love a place, I try really hard to let a reader see it—and hopefully, love it as I do, or want to visit! Also, I know in life that where I grew up influenced me. What we see, feel, live, and touch every day definitely has a bearing on our view of the world. Some of us love snow and can’t see a Christmas without it. Some of us are accustomed to having water near by—warm water in my case!—and can’t imagine life without escaping to the sea. Growing up, I was lucky. My parents were readers. I read my dad’s war books and a lot of the histories and novels my mother brought from Ireland—they made we want to see the places I read about. I hope to do the same—bring a place to life.
- A blogger recently reported that there are over 70 first-run or syndicated television programs devoted to topics of ghosts, aliens, mediums and psychics airing in the U.S., England and Canada. Paranormal romances have become one of the dominant romance novel sub-genres. What do you believe is behind their popularity?
We’re mortal—and we don’t want to be! I think, as well, that most people feel the same way I do—that we must see our loved ones again. Also, curious but true, the concept of vampires remains sexy, superpowers, well, we all want them, and as for zombies . . . well, we’re always afraid that the apocalypse is coming, so you should be ready to fight off zombies, right?
- What are your favorite ghost/paranormal program on television? Favorite movie with a paranormal theme?
On television, “Supernatural” is my favorite. When it comes to movies, I have a few! “Ghost”—a beautiful story! “The Frighteners”—funny and creepy. And popping vampires in there, I’d say “The Lost Boys.”
- What is coming up in 2013 after LET THE DEAD SLEEP?
More of the Krewe of Hunters. They’ll travel to an old theater out west, in Arizona, to a haunted restaurant in Savannah, and then to Nashville, where a Civil War soldier still tries to warn others of impending danger! THE NIGHT IS WATCHING is out in June 2013.
11. You write both historical and contemporary romances. Which do you prefer?
I love them both! When you are writing an historical novel, you’re dealing with a different set of values, a different political situation, even a different moral code dictated by another time. To make the story work, you have to take all those things into consideration, as well as everyday things like appropriate dress, the running of a household or the raising of children, to make the story come alive for the reader.
12. You have five children. What’s the most important thing you have learned from them?
That your kids really raise you. Children open so many doors. As parents, you meet people you wouldn’t have met, learn about things you would have missed out on, have experiences you’d never have had without them. I’ve gotten the inspiration for books from my kids’ Little League days, a friend of one who is a U.S. Marshall, one son’s passion for dance—and the love of the mysterious and travel that we all share. But the most important thing I’ve learned from them is that there is nothing more important than the ones you love.
13. If you weren’t a writer, what do you think you’d be doing right now?
My major was theater, so if I hadn’t become a writer, I would probably be playing one of the witches from Macbeth somewhere in regional theater. Who knows, maybe I’d be on a top soap like Kelly!
14. What else would you like your readers to know about you?
That I feel so blessed to be able to do something I really love to make my living, and it’s the best career in the world with five kids.
We feel blessed to be your readers, Heather! Thank you for providing us with such wonderful entertainment.
Please write in with your comments because my next post will have news of a special surprise courtesy of Heather!
About HEATHER GRAHAM:
New York Times best-selling author Heather Graham, an acknowledged master of paranormal fiction, believes our fascination with the paranormal stems from our hope that there is an afterlife where we’ll meet our lost loved ones, leading us to believe that their spirits continue on after death. Heather’s fascination with the other-worldly has taken her on ghost walks in haunted locales across America and around the world, and on ghost hunts in New Orleans, on the Queen Mary and to Lizzie Borden House where she actually participated in a recreation of the infamous crime.
Heather has written more than a hundred novels, many of which have been featured by the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild. An avid scuba diver, ballroom dancer and mother of five, she still enjoys her south Florida home, but loves to travel as well, from Venice, Italy, Cairo, Egypt, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Boston to her own backyard, the Florida Keys.
Heather Graham has written more than a hundred novels, many of which have been featured by the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild. An avid scuba diver, ballroom dancer and mother of five, she still enjoys her south Florida home, but loves to travel as well, from Venice, Italy, Cairo, Egypt, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Boston to her own backyard, the Florida Keys.
Reading, however, is the pastime she still loves best, and she is a member of many writing groups. She’s a winner of the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Thriller Writers’ Silver Bullet. She is an active member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America, and also the founder of The Slush Pile Players, an author band and theatrical group.
Heather hosts the annual Writers for New Orleans conference to benefit both the city, which is near and dear to her heart, and various other causes, and she hosts a ball each year at the RT Booklovers Convention to benefit pediatric AIDS foundations. For more information, check out her website: eHeatherGraham.com. You can also find Heather on Facebook.
LET THE DEAD SLEEP
$24.95 US / $27.95 CAN.
Today’s guest is the author of many international bestsellers, Cheryl Kaye Tardif. Cheryl is visiting as part of her SUBMERGED Blog Tour, which runs March 15-24, 2013. And as part of the celebration for her new thriller, SUBMERGED, she’s got a 60-prize giveaway taking place on her blog. Welcome, Cheryl.
Thank you, Susan. It’s great to be visiting your blog. Have any questions for me?
What inspires you to write?
Novel plots are all around me. I “see” them when I’m watching TV, listening to the radio, out having dinner, watching people around me or just admiring the view. But all the voices in my head are mostly responsible for my writing. I know that makes me sound a bit schizophrenic, but I’m sure most writers can relate. When a character has something to say, they’ll only remain quiet for so long and then you HAVE to listen…and get writing.
Which writers have you been most compared to, and do you follow a formula?
According to reviewers, I am a mix of Dean Koontz, James Patterson, Margaret Atwood, Dan Brown, J.D. Robb, Luanne Rice, Stephen King, Michael Crichton…in other words, my works are very versatile, very unique and very different. I don’t write novels that are formulaic. I allow my characters to tell their stories, and there is always an element of suspense and sometimes a paranormal twist.
Tell us more about your books and the topics you’ve written about.
I write suspense mainly. I am drawn to mystery, so there’s an element of that in every book I’ve written, except maybe my marketing book.
My fiction titles: SUBMERGED, CHILDREN OF THE FOG, WHALE SONG, THE RIVER, DIVINE INTERVENTION, DIVINE JUSTICE, WHALE SONG: SCHOOL EDITION, LANCELOT’S LADY, SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET & OTHER CREEPY STORIES, REMOTE CONTROL. My nonfiction: HOW I MADE OVER $42,000 IN 1 MONTH SELLING MY KINDLE EBOOKS.
Most of my fiction titles are international bestsellers. I’ve explored topics of addiction, alcoholism, kidnapping, ghosts, assisted suicide, racism, bullying, native folklore, psychics, serial killers, abortion, conspiracy, time travel, brain stem research, nanotechnology, multiple sclerosis, abuse, murder, greed and more.
What advice would you give to a novice or aspiring writer?
If you want to write, write. Don’t just “talk” about doing it. The more you write, the better you’ll get—especially if you ask for feedback. Learn the business of writing and publishing. Too many writers think all they need to do is write a good story. That’s just not true in today’s market. If you want to be successful you need to have a firm grasp of the business, of what it takes to make your book shine and stand out amongst all others. So take writing/editing courses, join writers’ groups, join a critique group (if you can’t take criticism you’re in the wrong business), and be sure you have a website, blog, Twitter and Facebook account BEFORE you query a publisher or agent.
Please share the back cover description of SUBMERGED.
Two strangers submerged in guilt, brought together by fate…
After a tragic car accident claims the lives of his wife, Jane, and son, Ryan, Marcus Taylor is immersed in grief. But his family isn’t the only thing he has lost. An addiction to painkillers has taken away his career as a paramedic. Working as a 911 operator is now the closest he gets to redemption—until he gets a call from a woman trapped in a car.
Rebecca Kingston yearns for a quiet weekend getaway, so she can think about her impending divorce from her abusive husband. When a mysterious truck runs her off the road, she is pinned behind the steering wheel, unable to help her two children in the back seat. Her only lifeline is a cell phone with a quickly depleting battery and a stranger’s calm voice on the other end telling her everything will be all right.
Get SUBMERGED today.
Learn more about Cheryl Kaye Tardif at http://www.cherylktardif.com and follow her on Twitter.
Enter Cheryl’s March Giveaway – 60 Prizes! http://www.cherylktardif.blogspot.com