A mental basis for The New Adult Fiction Genre

Is a person an adult at 18? Recently UK psychologists say No! So the questions is, is this the basis for The New Adult Fiction Genre.
With adolescence now ending at 25 to prevent young people getting an inferiority complex what should be included in a New Adult novel?

The BBC report claims that during adolescence, the way everyday situations and data is processed changes significantly from when a person is a child, to when they reach middle age.

Why does an author of Young Adult and New Adult fiction bring this up?  Simple. The elements of a New Adult novel fit certain criteria in the research and article by child psychologist Laverne Antrobus from London’s Tavistock Clinic who told the BBC “We are becoming much more aware and appreciating development beyond [the age of 18] and I think it’s a really good initiative.”

Adolescence no longer ends when people hit 18, according to updated guidelines being given to child psychologists.  The new directive is designed to extend the age range that child psychologists can work with from 18 years old up to 25.

It is hoped the initiative will stop children being ‘rushed’ through their childhood and feeling pressured to achieve key milestones quickly, reports the BBC.

There are now three stages of adolescence, according to the BBC report: early adolescence that ranges from 12 to 14 years, middle adolescence from 15 to 17 years and 18 and over is classed as late adolescence.

Authors have long held that give or take couple of years to allow for differences in upbringing mid-grade usually ends around 14 years old, young adult is in the 14 to 18 years and the new adult genre is in the 18 to 25 year old group.

It has been introduced because research now suggests the brain continues developing through and passed teenage years, well into a person’s mid-twenties and thirties.

The new guidance is also to ensure that over 18s don’t miss out on opportunities, or are forgotten about, in terms of health and education.  New scanning technology has made it possible for psychologists and other doctors to track how the brain changes and processes information.  It adds that as the brain ‘reorganizes itself’, people start to see and think about things differently and the brain becomes more like an adult brain.  Could this be one reason why in a well written new adult story  the character arcs tend to be more pronounced?

In our first New Adult Romance, Life’s What Happens the characters are forced to take bigger arc than you would see in people in their late twenties for example.  This background about being a passive adult will be built into our upcoming New Adult series Scandals, book #1, Baby Daddy.

Passive Adult?  Nice term for book club chatter but an author may need a more specific guide when writing a new adult book.  These criteria make a good list to follow and I explain them in terms of my first New Adult Romance, LIFE’S WHAT HAPPENS.  On Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/LIFES-WHAT-HAPPENS-ebook/dp/B00A14STPS/.

Life's What Happens is a New Adult Romance for ages 18 to 25 and beyond.

Life’s What Happens is a New Adult Romance for ages 18 to 25 and beyond.

  • College life – Life’s What Happens is told in flashback and the flashback is 100% the senior year for nine fraternity brothers and  their friends.  It’s all college all the time.
  • Moving out of your parents’ house and living alone for the first time – Most of  the characters in the Life’s What Happens story live on campus or in town and not at home and all for the first time.  What’s interesting is the character arc of those that maintain a weekend tie to their families and those that are immersed into the on-campus life.
  • First jobs – By senior year they have studied and majored in the classes necessary for their first real job as an adult.  This criteria is part of the angst that some of the characters go through. What happens if you’re not allowed to start your career?  What will you do about it?
  • Deciding who you want to be, career-wise, and in general. Identity issues. Existential issues. – By senior year they have made these decisions and are actively trying to make their decisions come true.
  • First serious relationships, finding love – Anyone who has gone through college knows that it was very rare that anyone retained any opposite sex relationships by the time they reached their senior year.  In Life’s What Happens one of the nine fraternity brothers set out in their senior year to accomplish this.
  • Sex – It’s less important that it be a “first time” as it is in YA. But the character should still be figuring stuff out. Since our readers can watch R rated movies, we can also be a little more explicit here without as much controversy. –  Because this is all about New Adults in 1969 and 1970 and despite the publicity or history of the sex in the sixties, sex then was different than sex in the 21st century especially compared to the beliefs and actions of the millennial generation, the target market to a degree of the New Adult genre.
  • Experimentation – Sex, drugs, alcohol. Of course, not all new adults engage in experimentation, but the phrase, “I experimented with “x” in college,” is a phrase for a reason. –  Drugs were relatively segregated to some of the class of 1970 but wine, beer and hard liquor were center stage.  Even states were confused back then with the application of blue laws and 3.2 beer.  Fake IDs were a cottage industry for one purpose and that wasn’t to outsmart and outwit the TSA.
  • Isolation – Living alone for the first time can be difficult –  Most of the characters in Life’s What Happens lived in the fraternity house where living there was more difficult to living alone.
  • Single life – New adults often do not have life partners and families yet, so their main relationships may be with friends and boyfriends/girlfriends. –  Many stories centered around the characters living their life with their brothers and girlfriends on campus and no longer at home with family.
  • A struggle to “find yourself” – This was the mantra of the 1960’s.  No further comment needed.  Yes there is actually.  The major plot point in the book is what happens when everyone finally is on the path to finding themselves when national circumstances totally blocks the path.
  • Change – Moving out, going to college, finding a job…it’s a lot of transition. –  Triple check and then add the draft road block thrown at them with a last minute Thanksgiving Eve congressional vote.   You never can say enough about Nixon.
  • Money challenges –  Goes without saying.  In some cases in the story a temporary shortage of money and the decisions made can lead to a life time change in goals.
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A Victim’s Advocate Story; Who save’s the hero?

My release this week of book #2 in my DENVER AFTER DARK Suspense Series, CRIES IN THE NIGHT, followed several years of plotting and character development in my mind.  This is my 29th book overall and was easily took longest in my thought process.  Literally a dozen books and several film screenplays came to mind and got written since I first experienced the situations described in this compelling and provocative novel.  Chapter one is at the end of this blog.  The entire book is now available on Amazon at  http://www.amazon.com/CRIES-NIGHT-DENVER-AFTER-ebook/dp/B00FDRYCIQ/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
In the 1990’s I volunteered to become a Victim’s Advocate for the Northglenn / Thornton Colorado Police Departments.  Victim advocates are professionals trained to support victims of crime or calamity in their greatest time of need.  Sometimes the perpetrator was still not captured or the traffic accident still blocking the road.  Advocates offer victims information, emotional support, and help finding resources.  Clothes, food and even a safe place to stay were all part of the routine.  When I did this vital task my time was on the front lines in your neighborhood where citizens learned of the death of a loved one, a spouse, usually a wife and even girlfriends who had received yet another beating by their lover and family members learn someone close to them had been shot, maybe even killed.  It was a gutsy raw and tough environment.  Victims learned they did have a place to turn.
That experience caused me to put some of these stories to paper in CRIES IN THE NIGHT.  The back story of the relationship between the heroine and hero is what happens when two people are thrust into high risk hard work situations.  I think the reason why the story took so long be written is that the characters took a long time to step up and unveil their feelings, aspirations and goals.  They have spoken.
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Julie Lawrence is a Victim’s Advocate for the Denver PD.  Her job is to respond to domestic violence incidents, fires, car accidents and other tragic events where people need help dealing with their darkest moments.   She has had her own share of tragedies in the past which gives her empathy and a unique insight into victims and what they need to heal and move on with their lives.  But she is better at giving advice than taking it and has closed herself off from sharing her life with anyone or anything except a stray tiger-striped gray cat.

Rusty Wilson is a firefighter with a reputation for working hard and playing harder.  He meets Julie while he is trying to save a burning house and she is protecting a battered wife and an unborn child.  He is attracted to her, but not ready to settle down.  To his surprise, she resists even his most platonic attempts at developing a relationship.  One day a typical call turns into a hostage situation, and Julie rushes to the scene, partly in her role of Victim’s Advocate and partly because Rusty is involved.
She finally accepts his offer of friendship, and as they get to know each other better, they realize they have a lot in common.  When a stalker starts playing a cat-and-mouse game with Julie, she and Rusty work together, trying to figure out which of her past domestic violence cases has created a psycho who wants revenge.  In her line of work, there are a lot of people who want her dead.
Julie has no idea who is trying to kill her.  The warnings had started out as just creepy, but gradually turn into genuine threats on her life.  Rusty provides the emotional and moral support she hadn’t realized she needed until the danger increases.  Their love affair starts in the heat of passion and ends when he finds out her secrets.
Someone is watching . . . and waiting.  Julie has dedicated herself to saving other people.  Who’s going to save her?  Find out on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/CRIES-NIGHT-DENVER-AFTER-ebook/dp/B00FDRYCIQ/
AFTER MIDNIGHT REVISED
CRIES IN THE NIGHT is Book #2 in the Denver After Dark series.  AFTER MIDNIGHT is Book #1 of the series and –
  • Won 1st place in The Best Indie Suspense Novel of 2013 and
  • 3rd place in the Readers’ Favorite Suspense Novel Award of 2013.

Kathy Clark also is writing a New Adult Romantic Suspense series (Scandals) and Young Adult Romantic Mystery series with the CUL8R series under the pen name of Bob Kat.

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Find out more about Kathy’s 29 books on her website at http://www.nightwriter93.com

CAUTION: Beta Reviewers have advised this chapter is hard to read but even harder to put down.

CRIES IN THE NIGHT

 CHAPTER ONE

 

The back door slammed with such force that the small house shuddered.  In the back bedroom the woman froze in front of the ironing board, the iron paused in mid-air.  Steam poured out of the holes with a hiss, but she didn’t notice.  Instead, her gaze raced across the room and met the wide eyes of her son who had been playing with a boxful of Matchbox cars.

He dropped the tiny red Ferrari he had been holding and scuttled backward, disappearing under the bed.  No words had been spoken, but he knew the drill.  This wasn’t his first rodeo.  He had learned early that out of sight also meant out of the line of fire.

The woman wasn’t so lucky.

Heavy, quick footsteps signaled the man’s approach down the hallway.  Her heart pounded in her chest, and she realized she hadn’t taken a breath since he had entered the house.  She exhaled slowly, trying to calm her nerves and steel herself for the battle ahead.  Even before she saw his face, she knew he was angry . . . at her, at his son, at his boss, at his life.  It didn’t really matter.  He always came home to share his dissatisfaction with her.

“Where the hell is he?”  The man wasn’t large, but when he was in one of his moods, he seemed to expand in size until his presence filled the doorway.

“Who?” she managed to ask, struggling to keep her expression under control.  For some reason, it made him angrier if she showed fear even though her legs were trembling.

He threw his car keys at her.  She tried to dodge, but the unexpected movement and her own swollen bulk slowed her.  The keys smashed into her left cheek, then fell to the floor with a clatter.

“You know who.  That piece of shit kid.  He left his goddamn sled in the driveway and I ran over it.  Twenty bucks.  Trashed.  I work hard and get paid shit.  And he just throws his toys around like they were nothing.”

“He’s usually really careful . . .”

He cut her off.   “Didn’t he go to school today?”

“They had a teacher’s workday.”

“Then he has no excuse for not bringing in the garbage cans.”

“It was snowing too hard.”

“Not too hard for him to play.”  He kicked the basket of laundry against the wall.  “You fuckin’ baby him too much.”

“He’s only six.”  She knew that arguing only made him angrier, but her motherly instinct was to defend her young.

The man’s dark gaze raked the room before focusing on the abandoned Matchbox cars.  His nostrils flared and he moved toward the bed, knowing it was the most likely hiding place.

“No!” the woman cried.  “Leave him alone.”  She reached out to grab him, but he swung his arm to fend her off as if he was swatting away an annoying insect.  She reacted by striking back.  Unfortunately, the iron was still clenched in her hand.  The hot surface landed flat against his forearm and the back of his hand.  Steam oozed out of the holes as the skin sizzled.

With a guttural roar, he jerked back as quickly as possible and looked down at the arced-shaped blisters that had already bubbled up.  Like an enraged bull in the ring distracted by the matador’s cape, he turned his attention back to her.

“What the fuck?”  He knocked the iron out of her hand, grabbed the front of her sweater in his meaty fist and pulled her forward, over the ironing board which clattered to the floor.  Her feet scrambled to keep upright as he dragged her over the metal legs.

“I . . . I’m . . . sorry, Carlos.  I didn’t mean to . . .”

He silenced her with a punch so hard that her teeth rattled.  Momentarily dazed, she didn’t struggle as he slammed her back against the door frame.  Her head cracked against the wood and she could feel the sharp edges biting into her shoulders.  She didn’t fight back as he hit her again and again.  She knew she deserved this.  If she hadn’t hit him with the iron, he wouldn’t have come at her like this.  The skin over her eye slit under his knuckles, and she could feel the warm flow of blood pour down her face.  But as bad as it hurt, she knew it was nothing like the pain he was feeling from the burn.  So she let him take it out on her.  She owed him that.

It wasn’t until his blows moved lower that her defense mechanism got its second wind.  His fist buried into her breast.  Swollen from the imminent birth of her baby, the pain shot through her like a lightning bolt.  He drew back and would have landed a blow in her expanded abdomen, but she collapsed, trying in the only way she knew how to defend her unborn baby.  He released his hold on her sweater, but instead of stepping away, he kicked her.

She curled her body in a protective shell, putting all the flesh and bone she could between his steel-toed boot and her stomach.  He kicked her again and again, cursing her with words that burned her soul as much as her ears.  Finally, she blacked out.

A child’s scream woke her.  She struggled to open her eyes, but one was swollen shut.

“Mama, mama!” the little boy cried.

Her hands slid in the puddles of blood on the floor as she struggled to push into a sitting position.  Her blood.  She could see it staining the white yarn of her sweater.  In the back of her mind came the random thought that that was her favorite sweater, and now it was probably ruined.  She had so few clothes that still fit.

Her son’s small hands wrapped around her wrist and she stifled a scream as he pulled.   Pains shot up and down her arm telling her it was probably either broken or badly bruised.  Her brain struggled through the fog as she tried to remember where she was and why she was bleeding and aching all over.

Carlos!  She straightened and tried to look around.  Was he hurting Danny?  Her son seemed to sense her fears and with a maturity well beyond his years, he comforted her.

“He’s gone.  But he hurt you,” Danny told her.

“I’m okay,” she lied, trying, as always, to protect him from the truth.  But this was worse than the last time which had been worse than the time before that which had been worse than the time before.  She could remember them all.  In a twisted measure of days, months and years, each marked a new ending and a new beginning of sorts.  She had never doubted that she had done something wrong to deserve his anger, and she had never doubted she would survive.  This time, she wasn’t so sure.

A searing pain, much deeper than all the others pierced through her, starting deep in her stomach and radiating out.  She heard another scream and was surprised that it had come from her mouth.

“Mama . . .?”  Danny’s voice was terrified.

The room began to swirl around her, and her vision blurred.  Another pain doubled her over and she slid back to the floor.

 

 

Julie’s cell phone began ringing as she juggled a bag of groceries in one arm and inserted the key into her backdoor lock.

“Hold on, hold on, hold on . . .,” she chanted as she hurried inside, dropped the bag on the table and pulled her phone out of her purse.

“This is Julie,” she spoke into the small receiver.

“We’ve got a domestic and fire at 238 W. Maple Ave.,” the voice recited crisply.

“I heard it on my scanner.”  As she spoke, Julie held the phone against her ear with her shoulder and jotted down the address on a piece of unopened mail.  “I’m on my way.”

“I’ll notify the officers on-scene.  What’s your ETA?” 

“I’m pretty close.  I’ll be there in ten.”

The line clicked off and Julie let the phone slide off her shoulder and into her hand.  She grabbed the perishable items out of the bag and tossed them into the freezer or onto a shelf in the refrigerator and left the rest of the items to be put away later.   She picked up her keys, checked to make sure her thin billfold was still in her pocket and left without bothering to take the address with her.  She knew it by heart.  She had been there before.

Less than ten minutes later, she found a parking space.  It had been snowing off and on all day, and it had picked up again just before she arrived.  Julie looped her scarf around her neck, buttoned her coat up, pulled on her gloves and got out of her car.  A white ladder truck and an engine with the familiar DPD logo painted on it were parked directly in front of the house, their hoses snaked across the snow.  The generators rumbled, spotlights focused their harsh beams on the action, radios crackled with sporadic chatter and firefighters shouted back and forth to each other as they focused a steady stream of water on the blaze that had gobbled up the left side of the house.

Julie quickened her pace as much as she dared on the icy sidewalk made worse by the steady flow of water that was draining from the house.   An ambulance was at the end of the driveway.  The backdoors were open and the stretcher was out.

“Hey Julie.  Sorry to get you out on a night like this,” one of the cops said as he approached her.  He flipped his little spiral notebook closed and tucked it into the breast pocket of his jacket.

“Is she alive?”  Julie held her breath, afraid of the answer.

“Barely.  He beat the shit out of her . . . again.”

“No surprise there.  Why can’t you guys put him away for good?”

The cop shrugged.  “She always bails him out.”

“I thought she had a restraining order against him.”

“She does.  But an RO is only paper.  It doesn’t stop fists.”

Two paramedics pushed the stretcher down the driveway from the house.  A thin blanket covered the woman’s prone body.  Her young son walked beside it, his hand on his mom’s arm, a gesture that was probably reassuring for both of them.  It wasn’t until she got closer that Julie noticed the rounded mound showing the woman was pregnant.

“Oh my God,” Julie cried and hurried over to the stretcher.

The woman looked up at her . . . or tried to.  Her swollen and battered eyes clearly hampered her vision, but she was able to recognize Julie.  An expression flashed across her face, one that was part embarrassment and part happiness to see someone she knew.  “Julie . . . I know what you’re thinking . . . don’t be mad at me,” she said in a voice that shook with pain.

“Gloria, you don’t have to apologize to me . . . or to him,” Julie rushed to calm her.  She gently took the woman’s hand and walked next to the stretcher as the two paramedics struggled pushing it through several inches of unshoveled snow and over the shattered remains of a sled.

“He didn’t mean to hurt me,” the woman told her.

Like hell he didn’t, Julie thought, but aloud she said, “How do you feel?”

Gloria lifted her other hand that already had an IV attached and rubbed her belly.  “Not so good, but I’m most worried about my baby.”

Julie looked up at one of the paramedics and he shrugged.  “They’re going to do everything they can to help you both,” she told the woman.

“I burned him with the iron.  That’s why he got so mad,” Gloria continued, anxious that Julie know why the event had happened.

“You need to focus on yourself and your baby,” Julie spoke soothingly.  “I’ll stay with Danny until someone comes.  Have you called your mother?”

Gloria turned her head as if afraid of being overheard.  “No, would you do that for me?  Her number is in my phone . . . you know, the one you gave me.  It’s hidden in the laundry room.  Danny will show you.”  She tried to give her son a smile, but she could manage only a stiff grimace.

The little boy looked at Julie and nodded shyly.

“We’ve got to go,” the female paramedic said as the stretcher reached the ambulance.  She and her partner prepared the stretcher for loading and Julie reached out for Danny’s hand.

“Only my mother,” Gloria pleaded, twisting around and leaning toward Julie.  “Don’t let him go with anyone else.  Promise me.”

“Don’t worry about him.  I promise I won’t leave him until your mother comes for him,” Julie assured her, and Gloria relaxed back against the cushion.  The two women weren’t long-time friends or even acquaintances.  Their relationship had started almost two years ago when Julie had responded to a domestic call.  That one hadn’t resulted in hospitalization.  But it had been the first in several similar events that had created a trust great enough that Gloria knew she could leave Danny in Julie’s care.

Danny trembled but didn’t pull his hand away as he watched his mother being loaded into the ambulance.  The red and blue lights bounced off the surrounding trees and houses, magnified by the stark whiteness of the snow and turning the still-falling snowflakes into confetti.  Julie looked down at the little boy whose gaze followed the twinkling lights as they disappeared down the street.  She realized he wasn’t wearing a coat.  She unbuttoned her own, took it off and knelt down in front of Danny.  Even though it was much too large and drug on the ground, he burrowed gratefully into the warmth of the wool.  Shivers of cold and lingering fear shook his tiny body.  “They’re going to take good care of your mama.  But right now we need to call your grandma.  Can you tell me your mom’s secret hiding place?”

“It’s in the house,” he told her, then lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper.  “In the smelly things.”

Smelly things?  Her mind scrambled for what that might mean.  “Dirty clothes?” she asked.

“No, the good smelly things.  You know, the ones with the little bear on the box,” he whispered back.

“Dryer sheets?”

He nodded.

Good choice.  Men like Carlos never did laundry, so it would be unlikely he would stumble on it there.  Julie looked around.  Apparently the fire was out.  Smoke no longer billowed from the roof, and the firefighters were straightening out the hoses in preparation of rolling them back up.  One of the firefighters walked out of the house with an axe swung over his shoulder.  She lifted her hand and waved at him.  She recognized him from several other fires she had been called out to.

He noticed and walked toward them.  He was tall, well over six feet.  Dressed in full firefighting uniform, he looked big and menacing, sort of like an urban alien.  Steam radiated from his long black coat with its yellow reflective stripe and the top of his red helmet.  He had an air canister strapped on his back, but he had unfastened his respirator and it hung off to one side.  His face was smudged with a layer of carbon, marked with paths where sweat and water had streaked down.  After giving Julie a crooked grin, he swung the axe to the ground and knelt in front of Danny, as if he knew what an imposing sight he must be.

“You must be Daniel,” he said to him.  “I saw some amazing drawings on the refrigerator.  I was hoping I would get to meet the artist.  Were those yours?”

Danny nodded solemnly, but Julie could see that he was flattered.

“And that must have been your room with the race car posters.”

Again Danny nodded.  “Did my room burn up?”

“No, we were able to stop the fire before it got to your room.  But I’m afraid some of your things got a little wet and are going to smell like smoke.”

“How about my baseball cap?  The doctor people made me and my mom leave so fast I didn’t get it.”

The firefighter said, “Oh yeah, I remember seeing a couple caps in there.  They’ll be fine.”  He took off his helmet and held it out to Danny.  “Maybe you’d like to wear my hat.”

Danny’s brown eyes stretched wide.  “Oh yes, sir.”

The man set the hat on the boy’s much smaller head and it settled down to cover his ears and his face all the way down to his nose.  Instead of taking it off, Danny lifted his chin and looked out from underneath it.  But most noticeable was the twitch of a smile that had softened his tense lips.

The firefighter stood and turned his attention to Julie.  He pushed the heavy cloth hood off his head, revealing rumpled dark brown hair.  As he looked at her, she was struck by the clarity of his bright blue eyes.

“You’re Julie, aren’t you?” he asked.

She was a little surprised that he knew her name because they had never actually spoken.  But she wasn’t exactly a stranger to any of the public responders because she or one of her volunteers showed up at all of the more serious crime, fire or accident scenes.  “Yes, I am.  And you’re . . .?”

“Rusty,” he answered and pointed toward his last name that was printed on his jacket as he added, “Wilson.  I’m sure you know my younger brothers.”

“Oh, so you’re that Wilson,” Julie teased.  She was very well acquainted with his brothers.  Sam was a Denver cop who she worked with often, and Chris, the youngest, was a paramedic out of Denver Health.  He wasn’t one of the ones on scene tonight, but their paths had crossed often in the course of their jobs.

Rusty held up his hands.  “Whoa, you can’t believe everything you hear about me.”

“Why do you assume it’s all bad?” she asked.

“Because some of it is true.  I’m the first to admit that I enjoy life.  But my brothers like to exaggerate my . . .,” he grinned, “. . . transgressions.”

Julie shrugged.  This was not a point she wanted to debate in the middle of a snowy night when she was without a coat.  “I was just wondering if someone could take me inside for a minute.  I need to get Danny’s things and . . . well, something else.”

“Sure, I’ll take you in, but he needs to stay out here.”  Rusty called over one of the other firefighters.  “Jackson, would you hang with my friend Daniel for a few minutes?”

Jackson, a middle-aged black firefighter who had just finished shutting off the hydrant and screwing the cap back on, nodded and knelt down next to Danny.  “Hey buddy.  My name is Jackson.  Do you mind keeping me company while they go get some of your clothes?”

Danny nodded, solemn again.  He stayed, but his gaze moved back to Julie.

“Don’t let anyone take him away, okay?” she asked Jackson.

“Got cha,” Jackson confirmed.

After giving Danny a reassuring pat on the head, she turned to follow Rusty.

“Don’t forget my cap,” Danny called after her.

“I won’t,” she called back.

“Watch your step,” Rusty cautioned.  He took a flashlight out of his utility belt and turned it on.

Apparently, the electricity was off and the spotlights didn’t penetrate past the front door.  The dark house took on a sinister spook-house sort of feeling as they stepped over the threshold and into the smoldering interior.

“The fire didn’t make it to this part of the house, but the back two bedrooms are pretty much gone,” he added as they made their way around pieces of furniture that had been knocked over or tossed out of the way.

“Any idea what caused it?” she asked as she followed directly behind him, keeping her hand on his back because she couldn’t see anything outside the beam of his light.

“Looks like an iron on the carpet.  But the investigators will find out for sure.”

They picked their way along the soggy carpet of the hallway.  Even though the flames hadn’t made it into the hallway, the sheetrock was damp and there was a heavy, acrid smell that burned her lungs.  When they arrived at Danny’s room, she hurried to collect his jacket and a few items of clothing, including his Little League baseball cap that was sitting on his chest of drawers.  She also scooped up the stuffed monkey that held an obvious position of importance on his pillow and stuffed it all into his Cars backpack.

“We need to get out of here,” Rusty reminded her.

“I have one more thing,” she told him.  “Did you happen to notice a laundry room?”

“Not in this part of the house.  Maybe off the kitchen?”  He led the way back down the hall and across the small living room to the kitchen.  Sure enough, in the mud room that led outside was a small stackable washer and dryer that had probably been one of Gloria’s prized possessions.  But Julie had eyes only for the box of Snuggle dryer sheets on the shelf next to it.

“Really?” Rusty asked when he saw her pick it up.

She didn’t answer, but pulled out the sheets until she reached the bottom of the box.  Nestled there, just as Danny had told her was the emergency cell phone she had given Gloria the last time Julie had been called out to this house.  It was something she often gave to victims of domestic abuse because their controlling spouse or partner often refused to let them have any contact with the outside world.  She was glad to see that Gloria had listened to her cautions to hide the phone in a safe place where Carlos wouldn’t find it because Gloria clearly hadn’t paid any attention to Julie’s other advice to not let him back in her life.  Julie held up the phone so Rusty could see it, then followed him out the backdoor and to the driveway.

Once back outside, she took deep, cleansing breathes of the crisp cold air.  “I don’t know how you guys do it,” she admitted to Rusty.

He flashed her a grin, his teeth looking incredibly white against his soot-blackened face.  “Are you kidding?  I’d do this even if they didn’t pay me.  But don’t tell anyone.”

Julie flipped open the phone, turned it on and watched as it booted up.  “Hey thanks,” she told him.

“No problem.”  His expression sobered.  “You do good work, you know.  They need someone like you to help them after all this.”  He motioned around them at the devastation.  Yes, they had saved most of the house, but the smoke and the water had ruined much of what the flames hadn’t consumed.  These people had lost a lot, if not everything, and they would need all the help they could get.

“Hey Wilson.  We’re ready to roll,” the captain called and gave Julie a wave of acknowledgement.

She and Rusty walked back to where Danny and Jackson waited.  Rusty reached down and lifted his heavy helmet off of the boy’s head.  “Thank you for taking care of my helmet for me.  It looks good on you, but I’m going to need it in case I have to go to another fire tonight.”

“Sure,” Danny said with pride at having accomplished something so apparently important.

“Maybe you can get your mom to bring you by the fire station sometime when she feels better,” Rusty suggested.  “I’ll give you a tour and let you sit in a fire truck.”

“Really?  Wow, okay,” Danny agreed.

Rusty looked back at Julie.  “And I’ll see you around.”

“Yeah, we seem to hang out at the same places.”  She smiled.  “Thanks again.”  She nodded her head toward Danny, indicating that his kindness toward the little boy hadn’t gone unnoticed.

Rusty dismissed it with a shrug, but he gave her another grin as he put his helmet back on and headed toward the waiting fire truck.

“Julie, we’re finished, too,” the police officer who had been standing nearby talking to the captain told her.

“We can sit in my car and wait for his grandmother,” she suggested, but the officer shook his head.

“I can’t leave you here.  It’s still a hot scene.”

Julie glanced around, suddenly nervous.  “You mean he’s not in custody?” she asked while being careful to keep the conversation as neutral as possible.

“He was gone when we arrived, but you can bet he’ll come back.”

She shivered, not just because of the cold that was penetrating her heavy sweater.  She had never actually met Carlos, but she had seen his handiwork on at least three occasions.  “Let me make a quick call to Danny’s grandmother so she can be on her way.”  She went to the Contacts’ list.  There were only two numbers in it.  Gloria’s mother and Julie’s cell phone.  Even though she had encouraged Gloria to call her if Carlos came back, it was now clear that that hadn’t happened.  She clicked on the word “Mom” and put the phone to her ear.

It rang five times before a sleepy voice answered, “Hello.”

Julie turned away so Danny couldn’t hear the conversation as she gave Gloria’s mother a quick summary of the evening’s events.  “I’m taking Danny to the police station.  We’ll wait for you there.”  She gave the woman the address, and after getting her confirmation, Julie hung up.

“Okay, Danny, we’re going to get to ride in a police car.  Have you ever done that before?”

He shook his head, but there was a spark of excitement in his eyes.

“But first, I’m going to trade you coats,” she told him.  She released his parka from his backpack where she had clipped it and handed it to him.  He took off her coat, and they exchanged outerwear.  She welcomed the warmth as she slipped her arms into the sleeves and buttoned it up.  Danny had a little trouble with his zipper, so she helped him get it started, then reached into the backpack and pulled out his cap.  The first genuine smile of the night spread across his face as he put it on and tugged it into position.  She didn’t even need a voiced “thanks” because his expression said it all.

The police officer unlocked the doors of his cruiser and opened the backdoor for them.  Julie glanced back at her white Kia that was parked down the street.  She knew it was city policy that she couldn’t carry civilians in her personal vehicle and she had promised not to leave Danny’s side until his grandmother arrived.  That left her no choice but to ride with him in the patrol car to the station.  She would worry about getting a ride back to pick it up later.  Since Danny’s grandmother lived in Fort Collins, it would take her several hours to get dressed and drive to the station.

The spotlights that had illuminated the scene switched off as the fire trucks prepared to leave.  With only the red and blue emergency lights still flashing, the night seemed darker and the shadows deeper.  Julie glanced around.  She had the uncomfortable feeling that Carlos was there, out of sight, but watching as she took his son away from him, hopefully forever.  She shivered again and silently urged Danny to hurry up.  She wanted to be inside the safety of the cruiser.

As soon as he was inside, she climbed in after him and tried not to notice the telltale smell of urine and vomit that usually clung in the air of the back seats of all the patrol cars.  It had been a long day and was turning out to be a long night.  But she, like Rusty, loved her job and would rather be here than any place she’d ever been.  Only she knew how desperate she was to never go back.

AMAZON Book Editor Selection for Book Of The Month {x 10!}

Yogi Berra once said “you can observe a lot by just looking”…or something like that.

So I started to look on Amazon and also found out that my many of my books were selected by the AMAZON BOOK EDITORS as a recommended BOOK OF THE MONTH.  In addition to STARTING OVER , here are NINE additional titles that the AMAZON BOOK EDITORS were kind enough to recommend.

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS at http://www.amazon.com/COUNT-YOUR-BLESSINGS-ebook/dp/B008C9KVT6/ on Amazon and was named a BOOK OF THE MONTH by the Amazon Editors! Too cool..

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Excuse me while I look at the rest of them!

OH Myyyy…  GOODBYE, DESPERADO is another one that was selected  by the AMAZON EDITORS as a recommended Book Of The Month.

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Don’t take my word go to http://www.amazon.com/GOODBYE-DESPERADO-ebook/dp/B008E6SRSY/

UNREAL!  I need to go down the bookstore asile where my books are located more often!  http://www.amazon.com/ANOTHER-SUNNY-DAY-ebook/dp/B007510BFQ was also chosen by the AMAZON EDITORS as a recommended Book Of The Month.

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ALL RIGHT STOP IT!  ANGEL OF MERCY also was picked y the Amazon Editors!  Find it at http://www.amazon.com/ANGEL-OF-MERCY-ebook/dp/B0085RZPC8

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http://www.amazon.com/STROKE-OF-MIDNIGHT-ebook/dp/B008F9JKP4 Was yet another one that was slected by the Amazon Book Editors as a recommended book of the month!

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If you go on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/TEACHERS-PET-ebook/dp/B00759NGFK you will also find TEACHER’S PET asa recommended book of the month!  This is crazy!

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COLD FEET, WARM HEART is anohter monthly AMAZON recommendation and an be found at http://www.amazon.com/COLD-FEET-WARM-HEART-ebook/dp/B008K9FHA6

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A PRIVATE AFFAIR is a monthly recommendation also and is at http://www.amazon.com/A-PRIVATE-AFFAIR-ebook/dp/B007O26WW2

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For Holloween look for SIGHT UNSEEN at http://www.amazon.com/COLLECTION-ROMANTIC-SUSPENSE-Collection-ebook/dp/B00D6IS4NI yet another monthly Amazon recommendation

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Fins out about all 23 of my published novels through Harlequin, Dell and others and my five newest books being published as an Indie Author at http://www.nightwriter.com

 

 

STARTING OVER {Can you give someone a second chance?}

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My best selling book while I was with Harlequin was STARTING OVER. It sold in about a dozen languages and was a really really BIG seller. After I got my rights back I made it available on Amazon because so many people wanted to read my back list. So STARTING OVER is one of the 21 books I have rights to and it is on Amazon at

http://www.amazon.com/STARTING-OVER-ebook/dp/B007EHUHSC/

I have five new books written and released in the last ten months but the recent AMAZON EDITOR’S award made me want tell everyone.

It just received Amazon’s BEST BOOK OF THE MONTH EDITORS CHOICE for which I am very grateful!

It lately has received several great reader reviews I wanted to share here.

4.0 out of 5 stars A REALLY GOOD READ., September 12, 2013
This ebook was such a joy to pick up and read. I’m glad I decided to get it. Sure makes you feel good about the human race. Won’t give the story away but read it for yourself. I found I couldn’t put it down. I think the main character was a little too trusting and naive but it all worked out for her. Everyone needs a Rusty in their life!

5.0 out of 5 stars Starting Over, September 12, 2013
A must read for those readers who enjoy a special story of joy after suffering loss and finding real love in unexpected ways. The characters showed their experiences with other people finding real love in the end..

5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, September 4, 2013
I really enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down. It was a different “take” on widow meets new man … I won’t give more away about the storyline than that but I will be chasing up other novels written by this author

5.0 out of 5 stars Starting Over by Kathy Clark, September 2, 2013
A very interesting story with great characters and situations that kept you wanting to read more. I enjoyed this novel.

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, September 1, 2013
Very well written and enjoyable novel. I loved it from beginning to end, although I kind of knew what the mystery was going to be, but it was great anyway 🙂
When Kate Cramer’s husband died in a helicopter crash, the timing couldn’t have been worse. Not only is she six months pregnant with her first child, but their transport company, C-Breeze is near bankruptcy and she has no one to fly the remaining helicopter.

Rusty Russell, temporarily visiting the small Texas town, offers to help her out, promising to stay long enough to get the business back off the ground. His skills as a pilot, a mechanic and a salesman save the day, and as he and Kate work together, they form a strong bond of friendship…a friendship that was tested when he was at her side as her baby arrived.

But what felt like a beautiful beginning was shattered by a fierce hurricane and a shocking discovery that threatened to take away everything Kate…and Rusty have grown to love.
THANK YOU friends and fan for ordering this book on Amazon. Have a great day!  All my books are on my website at http://www.nightwriter93.com
Kathy

Change The Past, Save The Future…now it cost less!

That sums up the first three books in the see you later CUL8R Time Travel Mystery Series.  The series continues to garner first place and finalists awards from many of the world’s book competitions and over 95% of the people who have left reviews gave the book a 5 STAR rating out of 5.

I have now combined all three books into a single eBook, unabridged of course.  The linkis on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/TRAVEL-MYSTERY-Collection-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00ECNTS1S/

Here’s the cover followed by each book’s blurb.

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Book #1, OMG [Oh My God]

WINNER OF BEST INDIE BOOK OF 2013! Finalist in the 2013 Beverly Hills Book Awards! This is book #1 of the series. Book #2, BRB published in April, 2013.

Kelly, a teenager from Texas has recently been orphaned and sent to live in Florida with her aunt Jane, a busy lawyer. Right away Kelly meets her tall, nerdy neighbor Scott, and they bond over a shared love of a video games and a mysterious gadget they find in Aunt Jane’s garage.

The gadget turns out to be a lost invention of Thomas Edison’s called the “Telephone to the Dead”. The mystery begins when Scott gets the Spirit Radio to work and a girl named Wendy comes through, pleading for help . . . from beyond the grave. Is Wendy a ghost? And if she didn’t kill herself, who did? Kelly, Scott and his best friend Austin must find a way to go back to 1966 to help her . . . without getting killed.

Book #2 BRB [Be Right Back]

One of three finalists in the 2013 Reader’s Favorite being awarded 9//13

“It’s difficult to investigate a crime that hasn’t happened yet.”

Kelly, Scott, Austin and Zoey have just returned from changing a girl’s life in 1966 and are a little battered and bruised from their adventure. But when a small voice pleads for their help to save her family from a murderer, they know they must respond.

They research the story, but there is very little information to be found. All they know is that it takes place on Crystal Key, a small private island off the Florida Keys. Since it appears to be deserted, they decide to pop in, gather clues, then pop back. It was a good excuse to spend a lazy day on a beautiful beach.
But from the first step, their journey back to 1980 goes horribly wrong. The area is crawling with drug traffickers and tens of thousands of refugees fleeing Cuba. They meet the young girl and her family, but their intervention puts them in the direct path of the killer.

Can they find out who he is in time to save the girl, her family . . . and themselves? Or are they destined to be a madman’s latest victims?

Book #3 BION [Believe It Or Not]

Can she give up everything she has in the present for true love in the past?

Believe it or Not . . . “Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls …welcome to the best entertainment money can buy, the Maxwell Brothers Circus!”

Four high school friends are able to do two things no one else on the planet can do . . . talk with dead people and time travel to that past.

As they slowly turn the dial of their Spirit Radio Kelly, Scott, Austin and Zoey hear hundreds of sad, lonely voices of souls that have passed but apparently never moved on, pleading for help.

A young woman asks them to find her twin brother Jesse who had run away to the circus in 1927, then disappeared and was never heard from again. Going back and living with a circus sounds like fun. Plus an old book provides a glimpse into the past . . . as well as a photo of Jesse.

They discover that circus life is not all glamour and fun; it’s a lot of hard work. As usual, they jump in and quickly find jobs, places to sleep and new friends. But most importantly, they find Jesse. Now all they have to do is keep him alive.

For Zoey, it’s love at first sight. If they are successful and save his life, will she be able to let him go?

A Writer Looks Back On July, What’s Up In August, What’s Free And What’s Coming

Actually not just “a” writer but me!  BIG difference.

The highlight this month was the release on the 25th of book #3 of the Time Travel Mystery series CUL8R [Please be cool and pronounce it see you later…not CUL8R].  Book #3 is title BION so call it Believe It Or Not and not BION…please.  Our time travelers slip back to 1927 where the challenges of solving a mystery are greatly expanded  when you’re only 16 years old.  Here’s the blurb for BION:

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Can she give up everything she has in the present for true love in the past?

Believe it or Not . . . “Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls …welcome to the best entertainment money can buy, the Maxwell Brothers Circus!”  

Four high school friends are able to do two things no one else on the planet can do . . . talk with dead people and time travel to that past. 

As they slowly turn the dial of their Spirit Radio Kelly, Scott, Austin and Zoey hear hundreds of sad, lonely voices of souls that have passed but apparently never moved on, pleading for help. 

A young woman asks them to find her twin brother Jesse who had run away to the circus in 1927, then disappeared and was never heard from again.  Going back and living with a circus sounds like fun.  Plus an old book provides a glimpse into the past . . . as well as a photo of Jesse.

They discover that circus life is not all glamour and fun; it’s a lot of hard work.  As usual, they jump in and quickly find jobs, places to sleep and new friends.  But most importantly, they find Jesse.  Now all they have to do is keep him alive.

For Zoey, it’s love at first sight.  If they are successful and save his life, will she be able to let him go?  

The major awards won by book #1, OMG [Oh My God] and #2, BRB [Be Right Back] really bolstered my to turn out a great time travel mystery with book #3.  Here’s a sample of some of the five star reviews [all 5 stars so far] on BION [Check them out on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Believe-Travel-Mystery-Romance-ebook/dp/B00E5141ZK/

REVIEW SAMPLE #1

Kelly, Scott, Austin and Zoey are back again, and the spirit radio is still connecting them with the past. This time it’s the 1920’s. The Golden Era. But not Gatsby’s Golden Era, the kids travel back to the site of a traveling circus and embroil themselves in the fun and danger of the Show folk’s scene. This book in the CUL8R series is as vibrant and interesting as the other I have read. The characters are regular kids, well fleshed out and realistic. I’m reminded of the Trixie Bell series of my childhood, but the kids in THIS series are fresh and updated for today’s generation. You will love reading this book to it’s exciting conclusion. All the kids came through their last adventure with bruises and scrapes and indeed, Kelly got shot!I wasn’t let down in the drama department with this installment either! These are no wimpy kids stories, but fast paced and well written adventure stories for everybody! I love them!

REVIEW SAMPLE #2

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Well, I liked it so much, I’m going to buy and read the first two books in the series! My 13 year old will also enjoy reading these as well.
The story was well written, with very likeable characters, and the whole theme of normal, everyday people using their heads to solve problems, and overcome danger was great! Its a good message to put out there for our young generation, and a good read.

REVIEW SAMPLE #3

I have read all three of the CUL8R Time Travel Mystery Series by Bob Kat and I absolutely love the latest book BION -Believe it or Not. Follow Kelly, Scott, Austin and Zoey on another adventure, 1927 Maxwell Brother’s Circus. Bob Kat delivers yet another great piece with fully developed characters, enchanting storyline and unsurpassed description. I read the entire book in one setting – I simply couldn’t put it down!

REVIEW SAMPLE #4
Even if you have not read the two previous titles in this series, you will love the storyline of BION. The author has a knack for writing captivating stories. Sci-fi fans and young adults will love the series. I was captivated from the first paragraph on. I can’t wait to read the next book in this fantastic series!

REVIEW SAMPLE #5

I love a good book with some heavy emphasis on time travel themes and this one definitely satisfied all my needs with it’s own unique twists. The writing is very high quality and stays at a consistent and entertaining approach from start to finish. The characters are very original and all have just the right amount of substance with a solid background, this combined with the great writing really ended up making this book of my favorites that I have read in the genre. There are some classical elements that can be compared to some other books but they all have their own unique style to them, the book is refreshingly new and the author has managed to successfully keep up a captivating pace from front to back.

…and there are more!

I also gave away in July copies of several books so I could introduce readers to my writing.  And I love how readers respond to a well written book.  AFter every giveaway comes orders to buy the book.

Here’s what I gave away in July…

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and the last one, Teacher’s Pet, is free through the end of the day today, 7/31/13!

Planned for August are 7 titles...6 back list hard to find romances that sold 100,000s of copies globally.  Thank you Harlequin for the opportunity to write for you and for my digital rights back!  And a New Adult Romance based on a true story. Millions were impacted by this story and that is probably an understatement. 

August is a vacation opportunity with our very best friends in the world and chance to see our five boys [actually young men].

Writing wise working on …

  • book #2 in the Denver After Dark suspense series with Cries In The Night and
  • Bob is writing the first draft of the first book in the New Adult Romantic Suspense series, Scandals.

We’ll chat later.  Catch book #1 in the CUL8R Time Travel Mystery Series, OMG, on sale on Amazon for 8/2 – 8/8 for $0.99 for the ebook and the paperback version will be dropped in price to $10.99 US.

Adios from Austin…where it’s cooling down to 100!  NOT.

Day #1 Of The Release Of Believe It Or Not {BION} #3 in the Time Travel Mystery Series! Book #1 Voted Best in 2013 & Book #2 Reader’s Favorite Top 3 in 2013!

The first day of the week long book release for BION [Believe It Or Not], book #3 in the CUL8R [See you later] Time TRavel Mystery Series went really well.

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I’ve just got some awesome favs and readers!.  Thanks to the emails, the Facebook lIkes and comments on Google + .

As a part of the BION launch I ran a free two days on a backlist book, Count Your Blessings and it hit the top 10 on Amazon earlier this week.

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For added attention to the release Friday and Saturday will see Angel Of Mercy.  This is one of Kathy’s best selling trilogies from her Romance era.

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Book #2, BRB, shot up to top 50 on Amazon today and OMG is picking up sales tonight.

BRB eBook Cover 2OMG eBook 3

Friday is a special pricing day for BION so check it out.  I’d love to hear your comment and reviews too.  Here’s the logline to ponder…

Can she give up everything she has in the present for true love in the past?

Believe it or Not . . . “Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls …welcome to the best entertainment money can buy, the Maxwell Brothers Circus!”  

 Four high school friends are able to do two things no one else on the planet can do . . . talk with dead people and time travel to that past. 

 As they slowly turn the dial of their Spirit Radio Kelly, Scott, Austin and Zoey hear hundreds of sad, lonely voices of souls that have passed but apparently never moved on, pleading for help. 

 A young woman asks them to find her twin brother Jesse who had run away to the circus in 1927, then disappeared and was never heard from again.  Going back and living with a circus sounds like fun.  Plus an old book provides a glimpse into the past . . . as well as a photo of Jesse.

 They discover that circus life is not all glamour and fun; it’s a lot of hard work.  As usual, they jump in and quickly find jobs, places to sleep and new friends.  But most importantly, they find Jesse.  Now all they have to do is keep him alive.

 For Zoey, it’s love at first sight.  If they are successful and save his life, will she be able to let him go?  

I’ll see you in the world’s largest Virtual eBook Fair this weekend I’m sure.  Many thanks for making this launch so great.

For those that don’t know me here’s a little about me.  I am Kathy Clark, a.k.a. Bob Kat has written romance, young adult, romantic suspense and new adult romance for 25 years.  She’s had 23 books traditionally published through Harlequin and others with sales over 3.25 million in total and has indie published her most recent 4 books.  She will release 3 more books in 2013, book #2 in the Romantic Suspense series Denver After Dark, book #3 in the Young Adult Time Travel Mystery Series and book #1 in the New Adult romantic suspense series.  She has been a NY Times Best Selling author, a USA Today recommended author, an RWA RITA award winner and her indie books have won two Best Indie Book of 2013 Awards, a finalist in that competition, a finalist in the Beverly Hills Book Awards and two books are in the finals of the Reader’s Choice 2013 book awards being issued on 9/1/13.

My website is at http://www.nightwriter93.com

The time travel mystery series website is http://www.cul8rseries.com

My blog site is at https://kathyclarkauthor.wordpress.com/

All of my books on Amazon including the Romance Collections is at http://astore.amazon.com/nightwriter93-20

TWITTER: @93nightwriter

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/kelly.welch.cul8r

Night all….