Letters from Elsewhere: Marc

A great post from Miriam Drori’s blog introducing author Catriona King’s main character, Marc Craig.

An' de walls came tumblin' down

Letters from Elsewhere

I’m delighted to be joined today by Maximus Decimus Meridius, a.k.a. Marc, the lead character in Catriona King’s Craig Crime Series. He’s here to tell you who he is and what he does.

Hello.

My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions…and if you’ve ever watched the movie Gladiator then you’ll know the rest. That’s not really my name, obviously; it’s Marc Craig. But I am Roman, on my mother’s side, and we are both fighting a war, in my case a war against crime.

The other half of my blood is Irish, from the north, but borders are irrelevant to me when I’m hunting for a murderer, and the only blood I’m interested in is the blood left at a crime scene, and the details of its DNA.

I’m a murder detective, a Superintendent now, a promotion I only accepted because…

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Red Gold ~ A Gabe McKenna Mystery Review

Red Gold (A Gabe McKenna Mystery Book 1) 

Red GoldGabriel McKenna is grieving the loss of his wife and marinating in a sea of liquid gold, but nothing can prepare him for the surprise that awaits him in New Mexico. It’s easy to appreciate the history, the setting and the characters, especially for Albuquerque residents. As we follow Gabriel through a helter-skelter of incidents, a threatening white envelope on the windshield of his car and a Pueblo Revival style house he can now call his own, there is always that inescapable feeling of tension that kept me riveted.

Kidera’s writing is first rate and keeps at a consistent pace. From the development of Gabriel’s character and to his dry sense of humor, I enjoyed everything about him. He’s human, likeable, and will resonate with a multitude of readers. If you like a book that will keep you turning the pages and makes you shiver with anticipation, then this is just the ticket.

A five star Amazon review by Claire Stibbe.

Book Description:

Shaken by the death of his beloved wife and wrestling with powerful personal demons, Professor Gabriel McKenna leaves New York City for New Mexico to claim an inheritance from mysterious distant relatives. He finds something other than a Land of Enchantment.
Unseen enemies threaten his life. Old friends turn up and rally to his side. Together they plunge into a lethal struggle for a 19th Century treasure, the fabled Lost Adams gold. McKenna enters a world of violence, passion, sexual abuse, deceit, and death that cause him to question his core beliefs and values, and even his sense of self.
Desperate to find a way home, McKenna must first unearth the secret of an old family manuscript and risk his life against overpowering odds. He must rekindle his long-dead fighting spirit and discover new reasons to live and love.

“If you enjoy first-class suspense and an author with a unique voice and style, then you will love ‘Red Gold.’ This novel is a masterful blend of mystery, action, and love story, all wrapped up in a wonderful cast of characters and beautifully-described scenes of New Mexico. Robert Kidera’s first novel is a real treat that will have readers demanding more.”
—Joseph Badal, award-winning author of the Danforth Saga and “Ultimate Betrayal”

“Red Gold” earned the Tony Hillerman Award as Best Fiction of 2015 at the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards. It was also named as Best Mystery of 2015 and the best eBook of the year.

Endorsements:

“Author Robert D. Kidera owes me big time. His debut novel in the promised McKenna Mystery series, ‘Red Gold,’ kept me up all night. Who can resist a good old-fashioned treasure hunt? ‘Red Gold’ is a thriller packed with deceit and danger but also compassion. McKenna is a damaged hero, but also one to root for.” —Vincent Zandri, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of “Everything Burns,” “The Remains,” and “The Shroud Key”

Author Bio:

Robert KideraAward-winning author Robert D Kidera’s debut novel “Red Gold” earned the Tony Hillerman Award as Best Fiction of 2015 at the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards. It was also named as Best Mystery of 2015 and the best eBook of the year.

“Red Gold” is the first volume in the Gabe McKenna Mystery Series from Suspense Books. A sequel, “Get Lost”, will be available on March 8, 2016. “Cut.Print.Kill.”, a third Gabe McKenna mystery, is targeted for release in 2017.

After an early fling in the motion picture industry and a long and successful career in academia, Kidera retired in 2010. With his desire to play major league baseball no longer a realistic dream, he chose to fulfill his other lifelong ambition and became a writer. He is a member of Southwest Writers, Sisters in Crime, and the International Thriller Writers organizations.

The author lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife Annette and two cats, Otis and Woody. He has two daughters, a grandson and granddaughter. You can reach the author through his website: http://www.robertkiderabooks.com

Why not visit Robert Kidera at his website here

Take a look at Robert’s profile and books on Amazon

 

 

 

Review of In The Shadows

Book Review:

DI Denis Hamilton is called to investigate the death of a young woman found in the river Thames. The pathologist latterly confirms the cause of death to be a single stab wound to the chest. But as more victims appear with similar features and cause of death, it becomes clear there may be a serial killer on the loose. When Hamilton begins to see some commonalities in these deaths and not a shred of evidence left behind, the stakes are raised.

41KOkRVBJRL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_We meet Grace, Assistant director at The London who is mourning her grandfather’s death. Struggling with her attraction to Eric, a stage actor, she realizes that at least two of the victims in the newspaper are known to her. This heightens her connection to them, bringing nightmares and questions. Is it safe for any woman to be out on her own now?

The action moves at a lightning clip, pages seem to turn themselves, and I was locked in the story for the greater part of the day. The writing style is clear and crisp, frenetic at times, but don’t gallop too fast otherwise you’ll miss the details. With the police interviewing several suspects, including a Mr. Charlie Fenton who found one of the bodies, we are never quite sure who the killer is until the end. A twist that made me admire Tara Lyons’ storytelling.

What I like about this book is how early on I invested in these characters, making them memorable and instantly likeable. This is the mark of an excellent writer and will likely populate many of Tara Lyons’ novels in the future.

Needless to say, I have this five stars.

Brief Description:

Detective Inspector Denis Hamilton is tasked with apprehending a brutal murderer stalking the streets of London – and leaving not a shred of DNA evidence. As the suspect list mounts, his frustration and pressure from his superiors intensify.

Grace Murphy, who is dealing with the recent loss of her beloved grandfather, falls deeper into despair when her friends’ bodies are discovered. Fearing she may be the killer’s next target, she begins to question if her horrifying nightmares are the key to unravelling the murderer’s identity.

How far would you go to uncover the truth? Would you venture into the shadows to unmask a killer?

Book Details:

Author Biography

Tara LyonsAt the age of 30, I decided to fulfill my life long dream of becoming a writer. Thanks to some amazing people in my life, I’ve had the chance to make that a reality.

I’m looking forward to releasing my first novel, In The Shadows in February/March 2016.

When I’m not writing you’ll find me in a near-by Wacky Warehouse stuck in the ball-pit with my son.

I have a deep love for reading and chocolate peanuts (preferably at the same time with a cuppa).

 

Why not visit Tara Lyons here for her latest blog tour and books.

What a Journey

What a journey this has been! I started research almost two years ago for a new contemporary crime series set in New Mexico, finished the first draft of The 9th Hour last spring, had a fabulous handful of authors who carefully proofread and edited it, and the book is now available online at all major bookstores (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes etc).

the-9th-hourThe 9th Hour and Night Eyes will also be available from next week in the local Albuquerque Barnes & Noble Bookstore, 3701-A Ellison Rd NW, Albuquerque, NM 87114 – Phone (505) 792-4234. You will find paperbacks under the Local Author Section.

The 9th Hour is occasionally discounted online for a short time only (eBook 99c and $13 for a paperback). So keep your eyes peeled for special prices. Feel free to sign up here for my occasional newsletter for first hand news and updates.

We also had a very successful Goodreads Giveaway this month. Thank you to all those who entered. Out of over 1,000 entrants, three winners received a personally signed first edition paperback.

A Gift for the Launch of Night Eyes

As a thank you for all your help with the launch of Night Eyes, I have just finished signing bookmarks and three paperbacks of the second in the Detective Temeke Series published in March 2016. For those who would like to enter to receive a copy, feel free to sign up for our occasional newsletter. CLICK HERE. The winners will be picked at random and notified by email.

nighteyesingramSigned Books

I’ve had several requests for signed books. For those of you who purchased a book online or at any local bookstore, I will be sending out invitations for my next book signing/bookseller’s event and I will be happy to sign it for you there. The best way to keep updated with author events is to visit the following websites:

www.cmtstibbe.com 

Blog Twitter

Facebook Google

Newsletter

Don’t have your copy yet? CLICK HERE to start reading now!

Book Updates

67,000 words into the third book in the series. Still throwing around titles but we think we’ve settled on Past Rites.  Just turning the corner and sliding slowly on the downward slope. Tying up the plot and closing arguments before the finale. Still a little behind schedule since the passing of my wonderful Mum last weekend. I am so grateful for the safe and loving home she gave us, and a father who gave me his love of language and books.

Reviews (Please!)

After you read The 9th Hour, Night Eyes and Past Rites (coming soon!) please take a moment to post your honest review on Amazon and Goodreads. One or two sentences would be wonderful and a star rating. Your review is a great gift and means so much. Thank you for coming on this newest adventure with me.

These stories are for you.

Claire Stibbe

Review Puppy

Derailed & Disappointed? Maybe not.

amazon boxI briefly mentioned overcoming the one star bandit reviews in my last post. But having noticed a few anxious, confused and disgruntled Facebook posts from authors recently, I thought a little cheering up was in order. It’s not all bad news.

Reviews such as ‘Difficult reading made no sence!’ (note the spelling) and other gut-wrenchers like ‘Don’t waste your money’ ‘Absolutely hated it,’ might seem a little extreme in contrast to the many five star reviews present on every author’s book page. So my question is this. While some of these critical reviewers don’t like your book, others might just not get your book.

Most of us may think we have skin like a rhino, but when faced with criticism we become derailed and disappointed ― a temporary interruption from writing the next 1000 words. We research the reviewer, study the books they read, wonder what on earth possessed them to buy something they hated when the first 15% is available in the Look Inside feature on Amazon – if only to determine the writing style.

My motto is: If the first page doesn’t hook, then don’t buy the book.

RevivalFor some authors it may come as a surprise and a comfort to learn that there are a few bestsellers out there who also have one star reviews. Depending on format and edition, here are some of their stats on Amazon:

Stephen King: Revival: A novel

Number of 1 star ratings: 325 out of 1,737 critical reviews

Most gut-wrenching Quote: In the trash can as I write

Ann Rice: Prince Lestat: The Vampire Chronicles

Number of 1 star ratings: 148 out of 502 critical reviews

Most gut-wrenching Quote: Flat, Uninspired, Completely Devoid of Plot

Dean Koontz: Ashely Bell: A Novel

Number of 1 star ratings: 102 out of 392 critical reviews

Most gut-wrenching Quote: Worst. Koontz. Ever. (sorry…)

the-other-boleyn-girl-by-philippa-gregoryPhilippa Gregory: The Other Boleyn Girl

Number of 1 star ratings: 90 out of 234 critical reviews

Most gut-wrenching Quote: This book should be burnt

E L James: Fifty Shades of Grey

Number of 1 star ratings: 9,028 out of 17,014 critical reviews

Most gut-wrenching Quote: Fifty shades of dysfunction.

George R. R. Martin: Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice And Fire Book 1

Number of 1 star ratings: 326 out of 953 critical reviews

Most gut-wrenching Quote: A Game of Yawns

 

You can see for yourself (just click on the hyperlink) and take a look at a few more while you’re at it.

Author Anne Rice told the Guardian: “They’ve worked their way into the Amazon system as parasites, posting largely under pseudonyms, lecturing, bullying, seeking to discipline authors whom they see as their special prey . . .  They’re all about power. They clearly organise, use multiple identities and brag about their ability to down vote an author’s works if the author doesn’t ‘behave’ as they dictate.”

Award-winning author P.D. James has had a few herself.

Amazon bad reviewsIf authors feel they have truly received a malicious one star review, or been down voted (as Rice puts it) the rule of thumb is not to engage. For anyone wanting to buy that book a 20-comment bashing thread might be a turn-off. Leave it alone and that one star review becomes an outlier compared to dozens of good ones.

The presence of the bad lends validity to the good.

Now… does anyone feel a little better?

I think I do.

Amazon happy box

The Challenges of Writing

Author Margaret K. Johnson invited me to her blog this week and asked these great questions. I wanted to share them with those of you who have expressed an interest in writing books for the first time.  Writing isn’t easy and the challenges of being criticized, blown to the curb or worse, are very real.

What challenges have you had to overcome or deal with in order to write?

claire's deskWorking full time has always been a challenge since there are so few hours left in the day to sit down in a dedicated space and write. Now that I’m a full time writer, my main challenge is social media, updating webpages, editing, blogs, proofreading, reviews, formatting and Facebook. Each tiny distraction takes away precious minutes and hours from getting back into my writing zone. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told myself not to be sidetracked by the onslaught of bestselling workshops that promise essential writing tips, marketing and promotion. All are excellent by the way, but there’s only so many you can take.

How do you think this challenge has impact on your writing?

I love doing it all. That’s the problem. But these commitments need to be managed. Having succumbed to an egg-timer and doing only one hour a day for twitter and Facebook, I have found a large chunk of time to write. My contemporary crime books don’t really fit the blueprint of thriller & suspense. They tend to fall somewhere between literary and mystery rather than being branded to one or the other. So I call them Myst-Lit (or Mis-Fit). I love doing pottery (a first-time potter, you understand) and gardening, and during these times a tape recorder is handy to record inspired chapters and plots.

What was your greatest fear when you first started to write?

Criticism. There are so many writers out there who have folded under that big giant, lost all their drive, passion and nerve. It’s awful to watch. I fell victim to the thought that making a book public would attract a queue of literary critics and I’d be buried under a morass of one star reviews. I remember going to a dinner party in London several years ago and sitting next to a man who kept referring to my writing as ‘a little project’ and ‘did I understand that writers must have a PhD to be considered for publication.’ I decided to load my sling and be a David to that Goliath. Any advice and/or reviews can be harsh, but we need them all the same.

Here’s my review puppy. I trot him out when reviews are scarce. Who can resist those little boot-button eyes…Doggone 9th

 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to write but is feeling held back by circumstances and/or challenges?

All books are subjective and reviewers are only doing what comes naturally― evaluating the story. Take constructive criticism on the chin and learn from it and take no notice of the one star bandits. All the best authors have them so why shouldn’t we? Trust your gut, change what you feel you need to change and leave the rest. Write until you croak.

Tell us about something you’ve written that you’re really proud of, and something you’re writing now.

The 9th Hour, is a contemporary mystery/thriller set in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The first book in a seven-part series introduces Temeke as the MC, an English detective who couldn’t be further from his native stamping ground. He is not much liked by his peers and due to a barrage of poorly chosen words finds himself ousted from Homicide and sent to Northwest Area Command. The conflicts in his own background means he will never fit in any more than his partner, Malin Santiago, will. She must deal with her own insecurities in a hostile working atmosphere, especially where gallows humor and tough talk is prevalent.

billboard subway

When the ninth young girl falls into the clutches of a serial killer, maverick detective, David Temeke, faces a race against time to save her life.

The Duke City Police Department in Albuquerque, New Mexico is no stranger to gruesome murders, but this new serial killer on their block keeps the body parts of his eight young victims as trophies and has a worrying obsession with the number 9. The suspect is incarcerated in the state’s high security penitentiary but Unit Commander Hackett is faced with a dilemma when another teenage girl goes missing.

Detective Temeke and his new partner, Malin Santiago, are sent to solve a baffling crime in the dense forests of New Mexico’s Cimarron State Park. But time is running out. Can they unravel the mysteries of Norse legends and thwart the 9th Hour killer before he dismembers his next victim? This is the first in the Detective Temeke Crime series.

Night Eyes is the second in the series and was released on March 25, 2016 –  last week. I think this is my favorite book so far.

Night Eyes bus stop

When the young son of Albuquerque’s Mayor is kidnapped, Detective David Temeke and his partner Malin Santiago are called to investigate.

Meanwhile, a ten year enquiry into the murders of several young boys has gone cold. No witnesses, no suspect. Or so the police believe. But a mysterious phone call leads Temeke and Santiago to the remains of a young boy found near the ancient ruins of an Anasazi settlement. Is this a random act or the work of the serial killer?

Drawn deeper into the wilderness by a man waging a war with his past, twelve year old boy-scout, Adam, must use everything he has learned to stay alive. Temeke and Santiago are pushed to the limit in the second book of this thrilling, fast-paced series set in New Mexico.

As author Jean Gill says:

…We are equally drawn into the limited understanding of a boy scout; limited because he’s too young to comprehend the adult scenes he’s witnessed and limited because he has no idea why he’s been kidnapped. Neither has the reader although we pick up on little clues and wonder… as do the detctives when they find the paper trail this ingenious youngster is laying for them.

An electrifying new edition to the Stibbe arsenal, Night Eyes confronts the relationship between husband and wife, father and son, detective and villain. Temeke comes to understand that he is dealing with a perpetrator who will put him to the test, both professionally and personally and, at the same time, battle the darkest demons in himself. Not since Marklund’s Annika Bengtzon series, has there been a novel with as much insight into spiritual warfare. Fast-moving, riveting reading which ranks with the best thrillers out there. ~ Noble Lizard Publishing.

All eBooks and Kindle formats are now priced at only $2.99. Regular price $3.99.

To find out more about Claire’s books, visit her website here

Also by Claire Stibbe

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Claire is also a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, New Mexico Book Co-op and the Southwest Writers Association.

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