Time To Lose The NEW ADULT Training Wheels

1 training wheels

I got started in writing due to Janet Dailey.  She was my hero and, to a large degree, my mentor.

But this isn’t about her but rather what she did to romance and what part of history applies to New Adult!  Read on…

I can only dream of having the longevity and talent needed to drive my 3 million romance and women’s fiction book sales to even remotely come close to her 100 million plus in sales.  I don’t think she is given enough credit for all she did to completely change the publishing industry.  Janet was known for adhering to the conventions of romance fiction — one man, one woman, happy ending.  But her books broke the mold because they featured independent women who weren’t simpering virgins waiting for their rich prince to sweep them off their feet, plus they were set in America rather than in the old-world Europe of traditional romances.  Janet was the first American writer published by the Toronto-based Harlequin publishing empire and her new bold changes became the foundation of the industry to this day.

Why do I bring this up?  All genres go through an evolution not unlike the romance genre did starting in the 1980s.  Romance was still always the major plot, but suddenly the characters had real lives with a back story and careers.   The romance (i.e. the man) wasn’t all that defined them.

My husband and I just attended the #TexasWriter’sLeague annual Editors and Agent’s Conference where we paid super close attention to the speakers, discussions and meetings that surrounded the New Adult genre.  I noticed that there is still a lot of confusion about exactly what the NA market is and what the audience wants.  The one thing that is clear is that it is evolving, just as romance did, into something more substantial than just bad boy meets good girl, which has been the norm up to now.

After the Saturday sessions ended and before we got back to working on book #2 in the SCANDALS New Adult Series, KILLER DATE, we set out to see where the evolution in the genre is today. Surprisingly, we found numerous blogs, surveys and discussions about new adult literature and how it is finally moving from books focused on New Adult angst to solid stories where the protagonists are in their new adult sweet spot, age 19 to 25 who have more than just boy troubles.  Why deal with just that one element of the complications of transition that most new adults are going through?

Now we’re talking…don’t just saddle the poor new adult characters with relationship baggage.  Let them actually deal with college, family, jobs, roommates, housing and finances.  Let them struggle, but ultimately survive and succeed in the story.  How “new adults”, born between 1989 and 1996, will propel a story set in 2014 forward is what makes a story great and if told and written well, will deliver a best seller.

Of considerable note I came across the blogging of Lauren Sarner at the #Huffington Post and her 2013 blog on new adult books.  I loved it and it summarized very well all the blogs and reviews and face-to-face discussions I’ve had for long time.  She wrote that “New Adult is a new genre whose target audience is people like me–young twenty-something’s, overwhelmingly of the female variety.  A New Adult book is basically a Young Adult book with sex and cursing thrown in.  A typical plot line features two brooding, damaged souls with damaged pasts (typical examples include characters whose entire families have tragically died, characters who have grown up in abusive homes, characters suffering from manic depression or panic attacks) who meet, sparks fly, and drama ensues. The books are often titled something like “Damaged” or “Broken” or “Smashed with a Sledgehammer”

She notes she may have made that last one up, but she was sure it exists somewhere.

Lauren continued.  “New Adult is a label that is condescending to readers and authors alike.  It implies that the books act as training wheels between Young Adult and Adult.  For the New Adult books that are particularly childish, the label implies that they are a step above Young Adult–which is insulting to the Young Adult books that are far superior.  For the New Adult books that are particularly sophisticated, the label implies that they are not worthy of being considered “adult.”  It’s a lose-lose situation for everyone.”

She closed with a challenge for me, as a writer of three series currently…a YA Time Travel Mystery, New Adult Suspense and Romantic Suspense, and it should be for all writers of the NA genre. Lauren explained, “Books are supposed to expand your world; expose you to people, places, emotions, and ideas you might not otherwise experience.  Suggesting that you need training wheels for such a thing is like suggesting that a child needs training wheels to walk.  You’ve just got to do it.  Good fiction is supposed to hold the mirror up to reality, regardless of the genre–and reality does not have training wheels.”

 

So my challenge is not how to write a NA novel that is actually an entertaining book where the characters can be brooding or damaged, but there is more going on in their lives than wondering the if boy is going to call.  That was my goal when I created the New Adult SCANDALS series.  Book #1, DUES DATES, has the usual female and male relationship issue, but her life didn’t start and end with him.  They both have baggage, but there’s a real world going on around them that they also have to deal with that adds complications, drama and humor.  A new adult’s life is not just about male/female relationships, but about their relationships with everyone around them.

Now my challenge is crafting the blurb and discussions about DUE DATES to attract the New Adult reader with the typical relationship of brooding, damaged souls, but then capture them with the complications of being a new adult in a complicated world.

That’s why the title of the blog is  …and yes it is a total rip off of the intellectual capital of Lauren #Sarner at the #Huffington Post.  It’s time for the NA genre to move to the next level that deals with young people that are not just defined by romantic relationships, but have dreams and problems and friends and lots of other things impacting their lives.

So I’m proud to be ahead of the curve with of our two training wheel-free NA novels.

Our current New Adult series, SCANDALS, book #1 DUE DATES was released a few months ago.  Find DUE DATES at http://www.amazon.com/DUE-DATES-SCANDALS-Kathy-Clark-ebook/dp/B00GQC1S3O/

DUE DATES AMAZON

An inheritance brought her more than she ever could have imagined…

Killeen Ames has it all…beauty, brains, a college softball scholarship and a rich and handsome boyfriend who has helped to stretch her college funds and fill her social calendar. He is the only boy she ever allowed past second base and now he’s her baby daddy. However, being a father was not in his short-range plans. He graduates, then he splits, leaving Killeen to decide what she wants to do about the pregnancy…and to worry about how she’s going to keep her scholarship. With no marketable skills, no job, no home and medical bills for her and the baby on the horizon, she knows she must move forward. A knock at the door of her boyfriend’s apartment changes the game forever when an attorney gives her the news of an inheritance from an unknown dead relative and another due date looming.

After traveling to Austin, Killeen walks into the meeting and is surprised to find out that the relative was actually her birth father, and he had been a popular music star who recently died of an overdose. Even more shocking are the four strangers who share the same absentee dad. He has left them a highly successful private investigation agency, Scandals. The catch is…they have to make the commitment to work there.

Their introduction to the P.I. business almost gets them killed when a bomb goes off in the warehouse that sends Killeen to the hospital. She has kept the secret of her pregnancy from everyone, including Christopher, the totally irresistible manager of Scandals. Their hot night of wild sex in the office was a one-time thing…right? She chalks up her attraction to him as just raging hormones. They have no chance of a future together. He’s gorgeous, intelligent and successful. He would never want anyone with so much baggage.

Christopher has a secret of his own. He’s been investigation the possibility that, despite popular opinion, their father’s death hadn’t been an accidental overdose. He thinks it was murder.

Even though the five siblings still haven’t accepted the fact that they have a father who made no attempt to be a part of their lives, they join together to discover the truth about his death. The search throws Killeen and Christopher together and their passion grows hotter. As her feelings for him slowly become more serious, she knows she must tell him about the baby.

After a fun day in the sun, an event happens that outs Killeen’s secret. Christopher, as expected, doesn’t take the news well. But they must continue to work together to track down a killer, especially since the killer has now focused on them.

Someone doesn’t want them to stay and take over the business. In fact, someone wants them all dead and now the decision on whether or not to be a part of the agency seems very unimportant compared to the job of trying to stop from being killed.

They set up a trap that goes terribly wrong. Suddenly, Killeen must make a big decision. Who should she save? Her baby? Christopher? Her new brothers and sisters? Their lives are in her hands.

Due Dates is the first book in the Scandals New Adult series of romantic suspense. Each book of the series will focus on one of the offspring of Roger Elliott, a famous musician who left them with a legacy they weren’t expecting. Killer Date, the second book in this series will be released in Summer, 2014 and will tell Reno’s story.

 

Life’s What Happens is a 1969-1970 story told in flashback, where the super bowl of angst plays out and life in college when failing a course could land you in a war on the other side of the planet, brooding, sparks and romance flew in between classes, relationships, graduation, career planning and finding draft loopholes that would soon be shut.  Find Life’s What Happens on all the usual book seller sites including Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/LIFES-WHAT-HAPPENS-Kathy-Clark-ebook/dp/B00A14STPS/

Life's What Happens Amazon

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Getting Ready For March 20th.

So what happens on March 20th?

After one month of building reviews and releasing book #4, RIP in the Teen Time Travel Mystery Series, CUL8R, I am finally ready to launch formal advertising of the book to the world.

To date it has received 17 reviews, almost all 5 stars and there are another dozen or so free copies floating around the planet still to weight in.  This blog is about the press release planned for that date.  I want to also thank the Stanley Hotel for their  support. It is a must see whenever you’re in Colorado.

WEB TILE CUL8R SERIES     THUMBNAIL RIP 021614

Already a top 100 on Amazon Teen & YA time travel…and here’s the Press Release for the formal announcement of RIP’s release on March 20TH.  Here’s the press release as planned today.

Colorado’s Stanley Hotel hosts a new ghost story by Bob Kat titled RIP (Rest in Peace) to be released on February 25, 2014. “While The Stanley Hotel has been featured in TV, movies & books in the past, it is refreshing to see a new twist on the use of the hotel,” Jesse Freitas, Manager of The Stanley Hotel stated.

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado was founded by F.O. Stanley, a wealthy businessman forced to move west for health reasons. The expansive property boasts amazing architecture, a magnificent setting and spectacular views, but it may forever be best known as the inspiration for Stephen King’s spine-tingling novel “The Shining” and the subject of Ghost Hunters, the American paranormal reality television series on several occasions.

“But now The Stanley Hotel is in the news again,” says Kathy Clark, a.k.a. Bob Kat, an American fiction author,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathy_Clark_(American_author).

Jesse Feitas said, “We are excited that the CUL8R book series has chosen The Stanley Hotel as a destination for RIP, not only to tie in a connection with the paranormal stories but traveling back in time to the first couple of years in The Stanley Hotel’s history brings in a whole new fun element to the story.”

“My co-writer in this series, husband Bob Wernly of Austin, Texas and I chose to set the 4th book in the CUL8R Time Travel Mystery Series at the infamous hotel after several trips and many weeks of guest time over the years. We worked hard to describe the hotel as accurately as possible because it’s such a wonderful place and we wanted to do it justice. Several years ago I was lucky enough to go on a private ghost hunt with Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson of Ghost Hunters, crawling through the basement tunnels not open to the public in total darkness which really added to the authenticity of the story,” Kathy said.

RIP (Rest in Peace) is Kathy’s 31st novel and will be released formally on all the major on-line bookstores on February 25th and is available in both e-book and paperback. Kathy has sold over 3 million books globally and has appeared on the NY Times and USA Today bestsellers’ list for her romance novels where she cut her author teeth on her first 23 books.

“In 2012 we joined the crowd of authors who moved from the traditionally published to the self-published e-book marketplace. This is our eighth novel as Indie-Authors,” said Bob, “including four young adult novels in the CUL8R series, two romantic suspense novels in the DENVER AFTER DARK series and the first book BABY DADDY in the SCANDALS new adult series. All but the CUL8R series are written under Kathy Clark’s pen name.”

“Self-publishing allows writers the freedom to include content that traditional publishers would shy away from. And the publishing process is more than a year quicker, so we can continue to focus on the next book in the series instead of waiting for executive approval,” Kathy explained.

The CUL8R series is about four teens from Fort Myers Beach, Florida. “We had to make the time travel trips to the past in the novels really matter…life and death situations that force the teenagers to depend on their intelligence, ingenuity and friendship so they can change the past to save the future.” Bob explained. “I discovered an October 1920 issue of American Magazine with an article that Thomas Edison was developing an electrical device to speak with the dead. This later became known as his Telephone to the Dead. Since Edison spent much of his life in the Fort Myers area, what if our teenagers found that invention, tucked away in the garage of a distant relative who had worked for Edison? What if our personality survives our passing as Edison believed?”

“In RIP [Rest In Peace] you don’t have to believe in ghosts…until you meet one,” Kathy added.

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most haunted places in the U.S. So, when Kelly, Scott, Austin and Zoey travel back to 1911 to try to save a young child who went missing from the busy lobby, they aren’t surprised when ghost children run up and down the halls.

There’s romance in the Rockies as they take jobs with the hotel so they can keep an eye on 4 year old Emma and her family. Kelly struggles with her attraction to Austin while Zoey tries to get over her broken heart. Along the way, they meet some colorful historical characters and experience life among the rich and famous just after the turn of the twentieth century. After three other successful time travel adventures, they assume it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time. That almost proves to be a fatal mistake.

Kathy concluded, “But can they save Emma? Or will they join her as permanent guests in the ghostly halls of The Stanley Hotel?”

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Peace-CUL8R-Travel-Mystery-Romance-ebook/dp/B00IKIML6U/
iBookstore – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id826260582
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/410880
Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rip-kathy-clark-aka-bob-kat/1118721095?ean=2940148194996&itm=1&usri=2940148194996
Kobo – SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 17, 2014
Sony Reader Store – SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 24, 2014
GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20879728-rip-rest-in-peace?bf=1000&from_search=true
All Romance – https://www.omnilit.com/product-riprestinpeaceacul8rtimetravelmysteryromance-1428505-152.html
GOOGLE Play / Books –https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Bob_Kat_RIP_Rest_In_Peace_a_CUL8R_Time_Travel_Myst?id=is7kAgAAQBAJ&hl=en
Diesel – SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 24, 2014

FOR PAPER BACK CREATE SPACE – http://www.amazon.com/RIP-Rest-Peace-CUL8R-4/dp/1496145968/

WIKIPEDIA: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathy_Clark_(American_author)

AUTHOR SITE:   http://www.nightwriter93.com

BLOGhttps://kathyclarkauthor.wordpress.com/

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

TWITTER:   @93nightwriter

PINTEREST:   http://www.pinterest.com/BobKat1993/

JOIN KATHY’S EMAIL LIST FOR ANNOUNCEMENTS, PRE-RELEASE BOOKS AND BARGAIN / FREE BOOKS: http://eepurl.com/N4osT   via MAIL CHIMP

Greater Austin, Texas Area Inside Track To Indie Publishing and Book Camp

Greetings fellow writers and authors in the Greater Austin, Texas area,
GET YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED IN 2014!!!
SPEAKER LOGOIs getting your book e-published your #1 New Year’s Resolution?  Have you given up because you’ve received a pile of rejection letters?  Do you have a completed manuscript (or two) or even previously published books just lying around gathering dust?  Do you know the pros and cons of traditional vs. indie publishing?  Then join us on January 25, 2014 at the LaQuinta in Round Rock for a one-day workshop (Course #1) on The Inside Track to Indie Publishing.
Since early 2012 my husband and I have been e-publishing original novels as well as the 21 traditionally published novels for which I had regained the rights.  Because of my 20 years of experience in traditional publishing combined with 2 years of indie publishing, the workshop attendees will have the advantage of our experience in both worlds.
And we’re willing to share all the tricks of the trade and a lot of shortcuts!
Long story short, we currently have 38 books listed on Amazon. Our 7 newest books are also available as paperbacks (Print On Demand) and as e-books on Google, iBooks/itunes. Barnes & Noble and many others.  This has led to thousands more sold and top rankings.  We’ve also won several prestigious awards during 2013 in three major book award contests.
We are offering an introductory course that will tell you what you need to know to move forward with publishing your own manuscript.  We have broken the course into two sessions.
The first session that is 6 hours long explains, educates and demonstrates what indie publishing is all about, what must be done and how to do it.  The second session, also 6 hours long, is a hands-on, step-by-step live computer session that will result in your book being published on Amazon (if you have completed all the required preparation).  In addition, with the second session, we are offering phone and email support to assure your success.
Course #1, will cover the following topics:
• The indie publishing business vs. traditional. [What is it, does it meet your needs for time and income, what’s involved and how it compares to traditional publishing, and how it relates to agents, editors, publishers and bookstores.]
• What’s between the covers? [What do you have to do to your manuscript and how do you make it blend in and still keep your story unique]
• You can tell a book by its cover. [You’re now the publisher, so how do you create a captivating cover even if you’re not creative or artistic]
• How to indie publish on Amazon [Publishing and the marketing decisions involved in the process and step-by-step requirements]
• Beyond Amazon. [How to turn you book into a paperbacks and post to the dozen-plus other book distributors / channels; from McDonalds to Google]
Course #2, Indie Boot Camp, will be a smaller class size so that everyone will have an opportunity to actually get their books uploaded and published during the workshop.  This is a hands-on workshop requiring your book, blurb, author profile and cover[s] to be ready to go.  By the end of the day, your book should be available on Amazon as an e-book and a paperback.  We will be offering as part of the workshop package limited email and phone support to assure you hit the time deadlines.  Course #2 will be priced at between $50 and $70, depending on the number of participants.
We are planning on holding the Course #1 workshop Saturday January 25th with the timing of the second workshop to be scheduled according to interest. The price for Course #1 is $45.  Snacks and drinks will be provided.  Lunch will be the responsibility of the attendee.
Space is limited, so make your reservations early at kathywernly@gmail.com or call Kathy at 720-841-2525.  This is a chance to start 2014 off great and fulfill one of your New Year’s resolution!
Kindest regards,
Kathy Wernly, a.k.a Bob Kat, (a.k.a Kathy Clark)
nightwriter93

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.

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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OMG eBook 3BRB eBook Cover 2BION 071613 Amazon final
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

 

 

What’s in a blurb?

ANSWER?  Everything.

It’s the reader’s second look into your book after the cover.  It is as important as the first sentence of the book.

At the consul of several successful authors we became more blurb friendly as Amazon would view it by rewriting our blurbs for the CUL8R Time Travel Mystery/Romance Series .  The new and improved blurbs have:

  • A minimum of 500 words
  • Contain keywords that match the tags and categories for the book itself
  • Reflect the contents of the book itself
  • Interests the reader enough to want to know more without giving away the book itself

I also added a collection to the first three books so that readers can acquire the first three books at a much lower price.

OMG eBook 3

OMG [Oh My God], Book #1 of the CUL8R Time Travel Mystery/Romance series.  Change the past, Save the future.

Three 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 the past. 

For Kelly, it’s a major adjustment to move from the only life she has ever known in Texas to live with her aunt in Ft. Myers Beach, Florida.  She quickly makes friends with her quirky next door neighbor, Scott and his best friend, Austin.  In her aunt’s garage, they find a long-lost invention of Thomas Edison called “The Telephone to the Dead”.  Edison had abandoned the project and given it to Kelly’s great-great-grandfather. 

Scott tinkers with it until they can hear sounds coming from it.  But instead of broadcasting music . . . it picks up conversations from the dead.  As they slowly turn the dial they hear hundreds of sad, lonely voices of souls that have passed but apparently never moved on, pleading for help.

A teenager’s voice separates from the rest and begs for their help to clear her reputation.  They are shocked to find out that she had gone to their own high school . . . 47 years ago.  They research the girl’s story and discover that her name was Wendy and she had been a popular cheerleader who had apparently committed suicide. 

The teens are touched by Wendy’s cries and pleas, but they have no way to go back in time to help her.  That is, until Scott reveals an invention of his own . . . a time travel app.  Kelly and Austin are very skeptical.  Even Scott isn’t sure it will work, so they try it out on his sister’s pet turtle.  Amazingly, the turtle disappears.  But did it travel to the past or just wander off? 

Finally, they decide to humor Scott and go along with his claims of time travel.  They meet on the beach after everyone else has gone home.  They stand in the formation Scott insists will create the perfect vortex for time travel.  At the last moment, a fourth person runs forward and is pulled into their adventure back to 1966. 

They figure out a way to get close to Wendy without her asking too many questions that they can’t answer.  But as they discover the secret to her death, they find it’s not as clear-cut as it would seem.  A romance gone wrong, an over-attentive teacher and a young girl’s dreams for the future are all twisted into a mystery that causes the teens to take greater risks than they could have imagined.  It all becomes very real when their own lives are in danger and they realize they may never make it back to the present.

OMG – Winner of the Best Indie Book of 2013 for Young Adults and Finalist in the 2013 Beverly Hills Book Awards.

Well plotted and fast paced.  Martha Bryce

The best time travel novel I’ve read yet, and I hope there’s more to come. A big thumbs up!  C

WOW! I’ve been thinking about that book for a week now since I finished reading it. It kept me engrossed with intelligent writing, depth of characters and a fast pace. Overall, a very satisfying novel. Jasmine

BRB eBook Cover 2

BRB [Be Right Back], Book #2 of the CUL8R Time Travel Mystery/Romance series.  Change the past, Save the future.

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 the past.  It’s early summer and boredom is setting in.  They have just returned from an adventure where they travelled through time back to 1966 to solve a mystery and save a popular high school girl’s life.

Kelly, Scott, Austin and Zoey gather in Scott’s lab, listening to the old radio that Thomas Edison had invented and called “The Telephone to the Dead”.  As they slowly turn the dial they hear hundreds of sad, lonely voices of souls that have passed but apparently never moved on, pleading for help.  When they first discovered the radio in Kelly’s aunt’s garage, they had been touched by the cries and pleas coming from its speakers, but they had no way to go back in time to help them.  That is, until Scott reveals an invention of his own . . . a time travel app.  They’ve tested it only once, but that first trip had been successful . . . if you ignore the fact that Zoey and Kelly had almost gotten killed by a serial killer.  Even though they returned with a few scrapes and bruises, they are eager to go on a new adventure and help solve another mystery.

A very young girl speaking in Spanish cries out to them, saying her whole family has been murdered on an island just off the east coast of Florida.  Kelly understands a little Spanish, so she is able to communicate with the girl, but not able to get some very important details.  It’s difficult to investigate a crime that hasn’t happened yet.

The teens look the island up on Google Maps and see that it is completely deserted which contradicts the story they’re getting from the Spirit Radio.  But it’s a beautiful island called Crystal Key with a stretch of beach that, unlike Ft. Myers Beach, is not crowded with tourists and kids.  The teens decide to pop in, spend a nice day on the beach, check out the island to see if there is any truth to the girl’s story, then pop right back.  It sounds like a great plan.

From the very beginning, things go wrong when Scott miscalculates their landing and they end up splashing into the Atlantic Ocean.  After swimming for their lives, they collapse on the beach that is, indeed, beautiful.  But it isn’t deserted.  They find the little girl, her family and a half dozen more people living in a sprawling Florida-style home owned by a menacing man named Manuel.  He gives them no opportunity to escape and insists that they stay in the house.  What they discover during their visit is enough to almost get them all killed.

As they struggle to survive, Kelly tries to ignore her attraction to Austin, who clearly isn’t interested in a romance.  Besides, just days before she went on her very first date . . . with Scott.  How could she have such strong feelings for two boys?  And then there is Zoey who is hot for Austin, but flirting shamelessly with Scott.  Then people start dying and all they can think about is saving the families and themselves.  Are they destined to be a madman’s latest victims?  Their time travel adventure to a tropical paradise may turn out to be their last.

BRB – Finalist in the 2013 Reader’s Favorite Awards.

BION 071613 Amazon final

BION [Believe It Or Not], Book #3 of the CUL8R Time Travel Mystery/Romance series.  Change the past, Save the future.

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 the past.  However, Kelly, who lost her phone during their last adventure, is temporarily grounded.  She worries that her new friends will time travel without her, leaving her all alone in her new home in Ft. Myers Beach, Florida.

But they surprise her on her birthday and soon they are back in Scott’s lab, listening to the old radio that Thomas Edison had invented and called “The Telephone to the Dead”.  As they slowly turn the dial Kelly, Scott, Austin and Zoey hear hundreds of sad, lonely voices of souls that have passed but apparently never moved on, pleading for help.  When they first discovered the radio in Kelly’s aunt’s garage, they had been touched by the cries and pleas coming from its speakers, but they had no way to go back in time to help them.  That is, until Scott reveals an invention of his own . . . a time travel app.  They’ve already tested it twice, with both trips being very successful, but not without danger.  Even though they returned with a few scrapes and bruises, and even a gunshot wound, they are eager to go on a new adventure and help solve a mystery.

A young woman’s voice comes through and 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 written by his sister provides a glimpse into the past . . . as well as a photo of Jesse.

They land in a cornfield in Wichita Falls, Texas as the circus is setting up.  It doesn’t take them long to 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 and Jesse, it’s love at first sight.  It’s a first romance for both of them and their love blossoms as they travel from city to city.  Zoey knows she’s too young to settle down and that Jesse is from a different time and culture, but her feelings for him are strong.  Her and her friends’ time travel mission has taken on a new dimension.  Should they be successful and save his life, will Zoey be able to let him go?  Is it possible for him to come to 2013 with her?  Is it possible for her to stay in 1927 with him?  Ultimately, can she give up everything she has in the present for true love in the past?

Jesse’s talent working with the big cats catches the attention of the Martin Maxwell, the owner of the circus.  Maxwell promotes him to the center ring as a replacement for their current lion tamer who is planning on moving up to the Ringling and Barnum & Bailey Circus.  Unfortunately, not everyone shares Zoey’s love for Jesse and wants him to disappear forever.  Kelly, Scott, Austin and Zoey must figure out who wants Jesse dead and stop him or her before Jesse’s fate is sealed.

And here is how the revised blurb on the first collection came out.

COLLECTION CUL8R 080513 amazon

CUL8R [See You Later] Time Travel Mystery/Romance Series Collection #1     Change the past, Save the future.

3 complete, unabridged novels are included in this collection about four high school friends who are able to do two things no one else on the planet can do…talk with dead people and time travel to the past.

OMG [Oh My God], Book #1 of the CUL8R Time Travel Mystery/Romance series. Winner of the Best Indie Book of 2013 for Young Adults and Finalist in the 2013 Beverly Hills Book Awards.

Kelly has just moved in with her aunt in Ft. Myers Beach, Florida. She quickly makes friends with her next door neighbors Scott and Austin. They find a long-lost invention of Thomas Edison called “The Telephone to the Dead” through which they can hear hundreds of sad, lonely voices of souls that have passed but apparently never moved on.

A teenage girl named Wendy begs for their help. They find out that she had gone to their own high school…47 years ago. She had been a popular cheerleader who had apparently committed suicide. They want to help, but they have no way to travel back in time. That is, until Scott reveals an invention of his own…a time travel app. Although they are skeptical, they meet on the beach. At the last moment, a fourth person runs forward and is pulled into their time travel adventure back to 1966 where they discover the secret to Wendy’s death is not as clear-cut as it would seem. A romance gone wrong, an overly-attentive teacher and a young girl’s dreams for the future are all twisted into a mystery that causes the teens to take greater risks than they could have imagined. Suddenly, their own lives are in danger and they realize they may never make it back to the present.

BRB [Be Right Back], Book #2 of the CUL8R Time Travel Mystery/Romance series. Finalist in the Reader’s Favorite Awards of 2013.

A very young girl speaking in Spanish cries out to them, saying her whole family has been murdered on an island just off the east coast of Florida. They look the island up on Google Maps and see that it is completely deserted. The teens decide to pop in, spend a nice day on the beach, check out the island to see if there is any truth to the girl’s story, then pop right back. It sounds like a great plan.

From the very beginning, things go wrong. After swimming for their lives, they collapse on the beach that is, indeed, beautiful. But it isn’t deserted. They find the little girl, her family and a half dozen more people living in a sprawling Florida-style home owned by a menacing man named Manuel. He gives them no opportunity to escape and insists that they stay in the house. What they discover during their visit is enough to almost get them all killed.

As they struggle to survive, Kelly tries to ignore her attraction to Austin, who clearly isn’t interested in a romance. How could she have such strong feelings for two boys? Then people start dying and all they can think about is saving the families and themselves. Are they destined to be a madman’s latest victims? Their time travel adventure to a tropical paradise may turn out to be their last.

BION [Believe It Or Not], Book #3 of the CUL8R Time Travel Mystery/Romance series.

A young woman’s voice comes through and 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.

It doesn’t take them long to discover that circus life is not all glamour and fun; it’s a lot of hard work. They jump in and quickly find jobs. But most importantly, they find Jesse. Now all they have to do is keep him alive.

For Zoey and Jesse, it’s love at first sight. Should they be successful and save his life, will Zoey be able to let him go? Is it possible for him to come to 2013 with her? Is it possible for her to stay in 1927 with him? Ultimately, can she give up everything she has in the present for true love in the past?

So check out my website at http://www.nightwriter93.com and the time travel / romance site at http://www.cul8rseries.com