Monday, December 18, 2017

Take Five and Meet Author M.S. Spencer & The Penhallow Train Incident

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, M. S.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book The Penhallow Train Incident?

Hi, L.A., thanks for hosting me on your blog.

The first year my family vacationed in the town on which Penhallow is modeled, we took a ride on the Belfast & Moosehead Lake train, which had been built to connect to the Maine Central Railroad. Now reduced to excursions, it traveled alongside the Passagassawaukeag River, ending at the tiny Brooks station. There we were treated to a mock train robbery, complete with cowboys and a sheriff. The kids loved it.  I took it as the starting point of my novel but thoughtfully added a dead body. Were the fake cowboys the culprits? You’d have to read the book to find out.

How do you use setting to further your story?

Actually, the setting is usually the catalyst for my stories. I have books set in Old Town Alexandria, Sarasota, Maine and the Middle East. I’ll want to set a story in a place, then wait for something—an event or fact—to trigger the plot.

Penhallow is based on a town where my family spent its summers. Due to its being off the tourist routes, it has maintained an old Maine feel, mixed rather ingeniously with a large contingent of recovering hippies. The term “laid-back” fits it perfectly. We like it.

A small town can be a microcosm of life. So it is with Penhallow. Most people have lived there for generations, and refer to anyone who moves to Maine from elsewhere as “from away.” Our heroine Rachel Tinker and her hero Griffin Tate are both “from away,” and are unprepared for the complexities of village gossip and scandal.

How do you construct your characters?

Most of the time they don’t let me. As I said, I start with a setting, and the characters tend to arise naturally from that setting. After the first few drafts, they settle down and start to define themselves and their relationships. They don’t even let me name them, preferring to choose their own and then forcing my unwilling fingers to tap out the keys.

In my current WIP Flotsam & Jetsam: the Amelia Island Affair, for the first time the hero took over as protagonist. Despite my best efforts, he stuck to his guns and I had to learn to write romance and mystery from a male POV.

How is your main character completely different than you?

She isn’t really. Perhaps a little softer around the edges, but she is an academic like me, a no-nonsense romantic like me, a listener like me. Of course, she has a completely different name.

Tell us something about yourself we might not expect!

I have horrible stage fright. I was asked to do a radio show (I have the face for it) and was too terrified even to let my voice be public. In my undergraduate and even graduate career I deftly managed to choose courses that didn’t require an oral presentation, which is a pretty remarkable achievement if I may say so. Others may disagree.

Also, I have studied but not mastered eight languages, including English.

Give us a brief summary of the Penhallow Train Incident:
The Wild Rose Press
Murder Mystery/Romantic Suspense
334 pp.

In the sleepy coastal Maine town of Penhallow, a stranger dies on a train, drawing Historical Society Director, Rachel Tinker, and curmudgeonly retired professor, Griffin Tate, into a spider’s web of archaeological obsession and greed. 

With the help of the victim’s rival, they set out to locate the Queen of Sheba’s tomb. Their plans are stymied when a war erupts between the sheriff and a state police detective who want to arrest the same man for different crimes. It’s up to Rachel to solve a mystery that includes two more murders before she can unlock the soft heart that beats under Griffin’s hard crust.

To Buy:

Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents, the last thirty years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, U. S. Senate committee staff member, speechwriter, Dept. of the Interior staff, copy editor, birdwatcher, non-profit director, and parent. She holds a BA from Vassar College, a diploma in Arabic Studies from the American University in Cairo, and Masters in Anthropology and in Library Science from the University of Chicago.  

All of this tends to insinuate itself into her works.
Ms. Spencer has published eleven romantic suspense or murder mystery novels. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

Find M.S.:

Friday, December 15, 2017

Five Secrets from Joss Avaton, A Character in Kayelle Allen's Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire

Hi Guys, This post is a bit different, today we learn Five Secrets from a character.  
Sounds fun, can't wait to read on.  

I'm Joss Avaton, and among my people, I'm known as a Master Telepath. They have no idea how truly powerful I am. I could walk around inside anyone's mind as if it were my own house, slamming doors, clomping about opening every cupboard and drawer without them being the wiser.

I also have a finely honed sense of honor which prevents me from doing such a thing. I've never forced my thoughts onto another, although the ability is tempting. I'm not tall by my people's standards, but at 6'10", I tower over humans. I'm two inches shorter than Pietas, whom Kayelle calls the hero of this book. The word fits him. What else... Oh, yes. I have blond hair like Pietas, but mine is yellow-gold and his is platinum white. I have blue eyes. His are turquoise. I love those little button-size candies coated in different colors, and being on a planet without chocolate is one of the worst parts of my exile. Our exile! 

Oh, I should tell you about that. How much space do I have? Let's see. We've been marooned on a planet called Sempervia, which means ever-living and we have no means of leaving. It's a beautiful world, but I miss the comforts of home. There are half a million of us on this planet, but there will never be anymore. We cannot bear children. Although there were two born like human children, Pietas and his twin sister. I'm back to talking about Pietas again. Let's do the secrets part, all right?

Hi, Joss, please tell us Five Secrets we may not know about Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire or you, but will after today!

1) I'm the same age as the mother of my hero in Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire, which makes me 390 years older than Pietas, my hero. We met when he was only sixteen, but we didn't become lovers until many years later. I'm a master telepath, meaning I can hear anyone's thoughts, including those of humans.

2) The moment I met Pietas, I knew he was destined for greatness. Although I was immediately drawn to him, I maintained a strict distance. He was young and impressionable. There was no way I would ever take advantage of that.

3) His mother, Helia, and I were best friends. When I met Pietas, I hadn't seen her in years and didn't know she'd had children. She'd disappeared, which worried me, since I knew she'd fallen in love with a scientist who had a reputation for conducting experiments on people. Having heard nothing from her for almost twenty years, it was a shock to finally hear her voice. Imagine my surprise at discovering she'd given birth to twins, a boy and a girl. Our kind, Ultras, are unable to conceive. Her husband had discovered a way to circumvent the inability. As far as I know, it only worked once.

4) Though Pietas would later become known as the greatest warrior among Ultras, when I met him, he was a teenager who had never fought on any type of team and he could not find work as a warrior. The Ultra squads wanted people with specialized backgrounds. Pietas had an eidetic memory--he could forget nothing--but that counted for little without experience. Since I designed weapons, I hired him to test them. Over the next few years, I imparted as much of my own skill as I could. His ability with weapons soon made him legendary. By the time he was twenty, warriors were fighting to be hired into his squad.

5) At the beginning of our story, our people had been betrayed and captured, then shipped across the galaxy to the planet Sempervia. During the landing, Pietas was separated from the rest of us. While we were all in cryo-sleep, frozen and un-dreaming, he was being killed by slow degrees, trapped in an unpowered lifepod with no means of escape. Six, the human who had helped capture him, had also been tasked with guarding him during the voyage. 

When he realized Pietas had not been put into cryosleep and was being cruelly confined, he did everything he could to free him. Unfortunately, he was unable to effect a rescue, but he remained at the side of Pietas's pod night and day, singing, whistling, and talking to him. According to Pietas, Six was all that kept him sane. Ironically, Six had been genetically enhanced to enable him to kill Ultras, yet he is probably Pietas's mosted trusted companion. I think that's enough secrets for today, but I'd love to come back some time and tell you more.

Tell us a bit about: Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire

What if you were marooned on an undeveloped world?
What if you had no food and few survival tools? What if you'd been genetically engineered and no matter how agonizing the wound, you'd survive. No matter how you died, you'd come back.

It could be worse. You could be here alone. But that's the problem. You're not.

On one hand, there's a tribe of sentient panthers who protect you. Although you hate humans, the one who was dumped on this planet with you has become a trusted friend. The beautiful telepathic warrior you've loved since forever is at your side.

On the other hand, half a million people who depend on you are trapped inside stasis pods, waiting for you to save them. It wouldn't be so bad if you could wake up a few at a time. But the traitors who abandoned you and your followers set the timers to release all half million.
At the same time.

You're facing an ecological disaster and over five hundred thousand hungry, thirsty, homeless immortals.

Worse still, before you can build shelter, figure out how to grow food, or set up a government, you must take back command from a ruthless enemy you've fought for centuries.

Your brutal, merciless father.

Talk about being forged in fire...
Immortals may heal, but a wound of the heart lasts forever.

Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire has no profanity or explicit content, but lots of angst, a little humor, some sweet romance, and a ton of betrayal with plenty of vengeance. Oh, and let's not forget--one ginormous black "kitty".


Find Kayelle: