Tuesday, January 15, 2019

BLOG TOUR & INTERVIEW: Rob Kaufman author of A Broken Reality

As a child, Rob Kaufman was always fascinated by the stories recited by those around him and the words used to tell them. As he got older, his need to tell his own stories grew, as did his ability to share them in exciting and captivating ways.

However, he wanted to share more than just stories. His primary desire was to create characters with whom people could relate, while at the same time bringing them through a journey from which most would crumble.

His degree in Psychology was the first step toward getting beneath the surface of the people in his life. What followed was a lifelong search for what makes people tick – what forces them to become evil when deep down in their heart of hearts, they are yearning for love. Rob’s characters walk this search with him, deep into the human psyche, creating psychological thrillers from every day events.

Rob’s second book “One Last Lie" continues to receive great praise and is selling well in both electronic and paperback formats. His current book, “A Broken Reality” is much darker than his first, with characters who hold bits and pieces of strangers he’s known, friends he’s had and personal tragedy he’s lived through.

“This book hits home for me,” says Rob. “There were a few pages that made me laugh out loud as I wrote them... and many that made me cry. And the great thing is, I’m finding that many readers of this book are experiencing the same emotions.”

Through social and other media, Rob hopes to get “A Broken Reality” into the hands of millions, so that they, too, can experience the ups, downs, twists, turns and final tragedy that has helped make this book a Five-Star contender.
Website Address: www.AuthorRobKaufman.com
Twitter Address: @RobKaufmanCT

On a fateful night in the dead of winter, an unimaginable tragedy changes the lives of two families forever. How will they manage to deal with reality while stopping the sociopath who is pushing them toward the edge of sanity?

Ten-year-old, Danny Madsen, has been missing for four days when Jesse Carlton begins his own search for his godson on a frigid, snowy night. Driving along a deserted rural road, Jesse hits a stretch
of black ice at the same time Danny appears from the thicket. Unable to control the car, Jesse slams into the boy and watches helplessly as Danny's body flies back into the dark brush.

When Jesse regains consciousness, he has no recollection of how he and his car wound up in a ditch. However, there's a witness: Charles Hastings, the sociopathic kidnapper who chased Danny through the brush and into the path of Jesse's car.

Hastings takes this chance to set up Jesse so he'll take the fall for both Danny's disappearance and death. And so the mind games begin--an onslaught of psychological manipulation that devastates Jesse, his wife, Danny's parents and the cops' investigation. Inexplicably, the torment continues even after the primary suspect is killed and the rollercoaster of emotions and confusion seems never-ending until the final and devastating truth is revealed.

If you like gripping, suspenseful page-turners that keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end, this is a must read!

Congratulations on your new book! Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?  Can you tell us about your journey?

Actually, the writing and publishing was difficult but honestly, the marketing and selling is a whole world unto itself. Think about it, with millions of books on Amazon alone, how do you I make myself stand out and show the world MY books are the ones to read? (And they are!) It’s a learning process – it’s a taking a bit longer than expected and also more expensive than anticipated.
If you were to pen your own autobiography, what might the title be?
Stop thinking and start writing. It works.

When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?
I like to drink wine and play Candy Crush – no thought involved so it relaxes me. I like trying new restaurants, watching good movies, meditating and talking with friend about what a sequel to “Breaking Bad” would be like. (Yeah, I know, that last one is a bit strange. True, but strange.)

What makes your book stand out from the rest?
A Broken Reality reveals emotion and psychological processes from different sides of the spectrum – all in a way that keeps the reader wanting more. One of the most common comments I get from readers is that they know what happens at the very beginning of the book, but there are clues that lead them to understand there’s a lot more about to take place than meets they eye. They can’t put it down… and that means I’ve done my job.

Can you give us the very first page of your book so that we can get a glimpse inside? 

 Madsen had been missing for four days, and hope was fading faster than the weak sunlight giving in to the cold night ahead. Worse, there’d been intermittent periods of snow and sleet throughout the day, creating slick surfaces on unlit county roads and leaving behind asphalt without traction or boundaries.
Like every other evening since the boy’s disappearance, the approaching dusk put a damper on the search effort. Each was another day past the critical “48-hour window,” another night for Jesse Carlton to fight back tears of frustration as he crawled the icy streets of Hingham, Massachusetts in his silver BMW, looking for the ten-year-old boy the Amber Alert described over and over as white with blond hair and blue eyes, weighing fifty-six pounds and standing about four feet six inches. When last seen, they’d always add, he was wearing a bright blue North Face coat, blue corduroy pants, Nike sneakers and a backpack with the name “Danny” stitched into the left shoulder strap.
Danny’s description echoed in Jesse’s head as he made the right off of Main Avenue onto Forest, which passed the hundred or so square acres of conservation land. He didn’t need the Amber Alert to picture Danny. He’d recognize him the instant he saw him since he’d known the boy from the day he was born. Jesse had long been best friends with his parents, Becky and Don, and Danny had become the son Jesse and Melissa tried and tried for but could never have. They’d become so close to the Madsens, in fact, that they’d purchased a home up the block from them, sight unseen, when Becky and Don told them it had come on the market. It was apparent to all of them that the less distance between the families, the more fulfilled their lives would be.
It was this honorary parenting of Becky and Don’s only child that had Jesse driving the streets and highways in and outside of every neighboring town for the past four nights—pursuing leads he’d overheard cops discussing at the Madsen home, following up on hunches he’d get after scouring the Internet for clues from past abductions. Each evening as he began his search, Jesse prayed he’d be the one to bring Danny home safe, sound and emotionally intact.

If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?
Halloween. I’d have it placed there because the weather is just starting to get cold (climate in which the book takes place) and the holiday itself has an “eerie” feeling – the same kind of feeling A Broken Reality creates for everyone who’s read it so far.

Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?
My books are pretty much “stand alone”. They tend to have endings that are final – meaning, there really aren’t characters remaining who can go on to other stories or experiences. My books aren’t like the typical movie where everyone lives happily ever. Unfortunately, that means I have to start each book (and idea) from scratch. It can be painful at time. Perhaps I’ll consider a series for the next book I write.

When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?
Yes, I always thought I’d be a writer. I loved writing for as long as I can remember and have wanted to do nothing else. It enables me to give people the tool to escape their “reality” for a while and get lost in someone else’s world. Doing that makes me feel good.

Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?
Many traditional publishers didn’t think the concept behind my book was right “for them”. In the end, that doesn’t matter. It’s what readers think and what they’re attracted to. From the response I’ve received so far from A Broken Reality, readers love what the publishers don’t. I’ve succeeded in my goal of keeping the readers happy and in the end, that’s all that matters.

What’s next for you?
My mind is filled with ideas for my next book. I know where it starts, ends and I know most of the “in between”. However, I first want to get A Broken Reality into the hands of hundreds of thousands, even millions, before starting my next project. That gives me a little time to figure out the intricate details of my next book.

Monday, January 14, 2019

First Chapter Review: Curse of the Sea by Joni Parker

Title: Curse of the Sea, Book One of the Admiralty Archives
Author: Joni Parker
Publisher: Village Green Press LLC
Pages: 287
Genre: Urban Fantasy



I wanted to review this but because of time restraints I am going to post a first chapter review.


A NATO training exercise goes terribly wrong when five warships from different countries are mysteriously transported to Eledon, the Realm of the Elves. The warrior Lady Alexin is charged to escort the troops back home to London in the year 2031 with the aid of the Wizard Ecstasy and a magic shrinking potion. Yet, when the authorities question her story, Alex is detained and imprisoned under suspicion of terrorism. Caught in a web of politics, betrayal and bungling bureaucracy, the confusing world of the future will push her magical gifts to their limit, and her own future will hang in the balance, caught between “justice” and the place she calls home.                                                   


"Tendrils of fog wrapped around her head, enveloping her in a shroud."


Love the picture of the woman coming out of the sea; nice backdrop to the ship.


Elf ship 'Kite' appears to be in rough water. We are introduced to Alex along with the rest of the crew making its way through the perilous waters. Alex is a young water Elf and is female. We are also introduced to Cresten, the ship's captain, who it appears has a crush on Alex only the others were forbidden to talk about the relationship which right there makes me wonder there's more going on here. And not because it's supposed to be a secret but the fact that she could be dangerous and no one wants to see something bad happen. We are then taken to the USS Gerald R. Ford CVN-78, back on mortal Earth where the captain discovers five ships are missing like they had vanished into thin air.  The Elf ship sees another Elf ship in the fog, or so they think. Only this ship wasn't made of wood like other Elf ships; it is made out of metal. They begin to rescue passengers who had fallen off the ship. Then they see other ships who had become shipwrecked who were part of the same outfit as the first one. Non-Elf ships. People from mortal Earth who had somehow wandered off and into the world of elves. The mortals asks them how to get back to earth. The elves tell them they will ask their mentors for help and meanwhile they will take of them. And the chapter ends.

What a neat premise for a story! Imagine you are transported to a different land altogether; possibly not even on Earth anymore? The imagery is amazing and the author uses descriptive verbiage that helps you to visualize the story happening. Parker is a great wordsmith! Something tells me that Alex is going to become an important character but we'll have to see!


I will definitely keep reading!

I give this first chapter 5 book trees!

About the Author

Joni was born in Chicago, moved to Japan, and returned to live in Phoenix, Arizona. After joining the Navy, she lived in Lakehurst, New Jersey where she met her husband, a career sailor. They moved to Jacksonville, Florida, from there to Pensacola, Florida where Joni attended the university. Upon graduation, she returned to the Navy and was stationed in Naples, Italy. From there, the Navy sent her to live in a number of U.S. cities and even spent a year with the U.S. Army at their Command and General Staff College obtaining a Master of Military Arts and Sciences. Upon her retirement, she traveled the country in an RV with her husband until he passed away. She returned to the workforce living in Dallas until she discovered a passion for writing fantasy novels. She retired for a second time and now lives in Tucson, Arizona.
Website Address: http://www.joni-parker.com
Twitter Address: @ParkerJoni
Facebook Address: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJoniParker

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Book Feature: Helping Hands by Ken Saik

Title: Helping Hands
Author: Ken Saik
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Fiction/Romance
Format: Ebook

Jill Kreshky is recently divorced. She is doing her best to reclaim her life. After an accident causes her to spend six weeks alone in a hospital, she is haunted by the awareness that she must find a way to once again become part of her children’s lives. Unfortunately, Jill doesn’t have a car, her job is temporarily on hold, her bank account is empty. There is no question that Jill needs encouragement from someone she can trust. After she learns that a church friend, Bill Wynchuk, has been more loyal to her than she ever realized, Jill decides to invite him for supper. As he relies on his faith and skills as a psychologist to lovingly lead Jill to appreciate her inner strength and need for the Lord, she gains insights that propel her down a path of reconciliation that helps her mend relations with her son and return to Ontario to face her greatest fears about her family and unveil a deeply buried secret. In this inspirational story, a woman attempting to reclaim her life is led on an emotional journey, with help from a devoted friend, that ultimately reveals the truth and prompts her to seek forgiveness.


Ken Saik is a committed Christian who retired after thirty-one years of teaching social studies to pursue writing fiction and poetry. To date, he has published three novellas and a novel, Baggage Burdens. Saik currently resides in Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada.

Ken Saik is a committed Christian who retired after thirty-one years of teaching social studies to pursue writing fiction and poetry. To date, he has published three novellas and a novel, Baggage Burdens. Saik currently resides in Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada.

Monday, December 3
Book featured at A Title Wave

Tuesday, December 4
Book featured at Medium

Wednesday, December 5
Book featured at Straight From the Authors Mouth

Thursday, Decemer 6
Book featured at Carpe Librum

Monday, December 10
Book featured at Harmonious Publicity

Tuesday, December 11
Book featured at The Revolving Bookshelf

Thursday, December 13
Book reviewed at My Bookish Pleasures

Monday, December 17
Book featured at The Writer's Life

Tuesday, December 18
Book featured at From Paperback to Leatherbound

Thursday, December 20
Book reviewed at The Hype and the Hoopla

Friday, December 21
Book reviewed at A Taste of My Mind

Monday, December 24
Book featured at Write and Take Flight

Tuesday, December 25
Book featured ate The Book Refuge

Wednesday, December 26
Book featured at Read Between the Ink

Thursday, December 27
Book featured at Voodoo Princess

Friday, December 28
Book reviewed at Read Between the Ink

Monday, January 7
Book featured at My Bookish Pleasures

Tuesday, January 8
Book featured at Review From Here

Wednesday, January 9
Book featured at The Literary nook

Thursday, January 10
Book featured at She Writes

Friday, January 11
Book reviewed at A Book Lover

Tuesday, January 15
Book featured at I'm Shelf-ish

Thursday, January 17
Book featured at Literal Exposure

Tuesday, January 22
Book reviewed at C'est La T

Friday, January 25
Book fatured at As the Pages Turn

Monday, January 28
Book featured at The Book Czar

Tuesday, January 29
Book featured at Lover of Literature

Wednesday, January 30
Book featured at Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic

Thursday, January 31
Book featured at Fiction to Fruition

#BlogTour #Interview with Fantasy Thriller Author Richard Hacker

Richard Hacker is a longtime resident of Austin, Texas who now writes and lives in Seattle.

His writing has been recognized by the Writer’s League of Texas and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. In addition to his writing, he provides editing services to other writers and is the editor of an online science fiction and fantasy journal, Del Sol Review. His three published humorous crime novels ride the sometimes thin line between fact and fiction in Texas. DIE BACK, his first fantasy thriller novel, has been published by Del Sol Press.

When not writing he’s singing in a vocal jazz ensemble, cooking with a sous vide and a blow torch, or exploring the Pacific Northwest with his wife and his springer spaniel, Jazz.

Twitter Link: @Richard_Hacker

Facebook Link: http://www.facebook.com/RWHacker 

About the Book:

In 272 AD Egypt, an enemy thwarts an attempt by League Inkers, Thomas Shaw and Nikki Babineaux, to obtain the Alchįmeia, a document holding alchemical secrets. Sensing his impending death, Thomas secures Nikki’s promise to keep his son, Addison, from the League, an organization
defending the time continuum. After his father’s death, Addison inherits a mysterious pen, accidentally inking himself into the consciousness of a man who dies on a muddy WWI battlefield in France. Hoping to make sense of his experience, he confides in Nikki, his best friend and unknown to Addison, an Inker. Keeping her promise to Thomas, she discounts Addison’s experience. 
Fixated on the pen, Addison inks into a B-17 bombardier in 1943. The pilot, whose consciousness has been taken over by someone calling himself Kairos, gloats over killing Addison’s father and boasts of plans to destroy the League. As Kairos attempts to wrest Addison’s consciousness, Nikki shocks Addison out of the Inking. She confesses her knowledge of  the League. When Kairos threatens to steal aviation technology, she she sends Addison and his partner, Jules, to an Army test of the Wright Flyer in 1908. Believing they have succeeded, they return to find the continuum shifted and Nikki knowing nothing about the League.
Inking back to his father’s mission in Alexandria, Addison and Jules hope to get his help in returning the time continuum to its original state. Instead, Addison’s father gives him the Alchįmeia to hide in a crypt at the Great Lighthouse on Phalos. On their return to the present a Kairos agent murders Jules, her consciousness Inked into the past. Addison follows the clues, Inking into Pizarro in 16th century Peru. He finds Jules in the child bride of the Inca emperor. His plan to find the technology and save Jules without destroying the Inca civilization is thwarted by a fleet of Inca airships. Captured, he is taken to Machu Picchu. With Jules help, they find the stolen schematics, but are confronted by Kairos. He stabs Addison, forcing Addison’s consciousness back to the present and traps Jules in the 16th Century. Addison returns to another altered world. Nikki no longer exists, the world is at war with the Inca, and Manhattan lay in ruins.
Addison Inks his father, learning the origins of the League. Thomas urges Addison to uncover their enemy with the help of his colleague, Maya. Putting suspicion on another inker,  Cameron, she insists he must be killing Inkers and acquiring Pens. In a final attempt to stop him, they entrap Cameron, only for Addison to discover Maya is Kairos, his enemy.  She kills Cameron, also wounding Addison.  He chases Maya, who intimates that she holds his mother’s, Rebecca’s, consciousness. Confused he delays, giving her time to scrawl a name with her pen before shooting her dead.

Inked away when Maya died, Kairos finds himself, not in his intended host, Hitler, but in a German infantry soldier POW in the Ardenne during the Battle of the Bulge, WWII. Hoping to repair the shift in the time continuum, Addison brings the League Pens together with the fate of the world and everyone he loves at stake. He awakens to a dissimilar world, but Jules and Nikki exist. And with life there is always hope.



Thanks for this interview, Richard.  Congratulations on your new book! Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?  Can you tell us about your journey?

This one’s been a bit of a sojourn. The novel has some complexity to it—multiple time frames, multiple locations, so I had to keep track of the storyline. If I stepped away for a few days and then came back, I had to spend quite a bit of time just getting myself oriented again to begin writing. So, for this book I worked more closely with an outline and kept everything together in a program called Scrivener. After the first draft it went through three or four edits. The initial edits usually involved adding and deleting scenes, honing dialogue and description. Further down the line editing became more finely focused. So after about a year and a half, the manuscript was ready to shop around to agents and that process took almost another year. The agent had the book for another year, and while he was very positive about the novel, he wasn’t finding a publisher. The market wants what it wants. So, I took the manuscript back and started a search for a small press. After another six months I was about to self-publish when Del Sol Press expressed interest in the book. I had attended a workshop led by the publisher, Michael Neff, a few years ago. In fact, he heard an early pitch for Dieback. He liked the story idea, but wasn’t enamored with the title at the time--The Geneologist. He was right, by the way. Dieback is a much better title. When I approached him about the book, now two and half years later, he was enthusiastic about it. Del Sol Press is committed to putting out top notch fantasy novels, so I’m very pleased to be working with them.

If you were to pen your own autobiography, what might the title be?

What’s Next?

I have many interests and love to try new things. Right now I’m learning French. Or I suppose I should say J’apprends le français.

When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?

I love to cook. I’m now the proud owner of a sous vide and a blow torch. My wife’s not too keen on the blow torch (and I’m talking about a real guy blow torch—not one of those little kitchen torches), but it’s great for searing. I sing in a jazz vocal ensemble and occasionally do some solo work. Seattle is a great town for jazz, by the way. And in the last year I’ve taking up drawing. I’m hoping to hone my drawing skills enough to do sketches when I travel.

What makes your book stand out from the rest?

In the fantasy world many of the books lean, as you would expect, to the fantastical in a unique fantasy world. Dieback is has its feet on the ground, anchored in actual history and locations. There’s a sense that even though the story is fantasy, the speculative and historical elements feel very possible. I once heard someone (Ken Burns?) say the attraction of professional baseball is that, as a fan, you think you can actually play the game. But of course, it takes tremendous skill to hit a 95 mph fastball. In Dieback, readers can imagine actually doing the things these characters are doing. It seems possible. Of course, using alchemy to project your consciousness into the mind of someone living hundreds of years in the past takes tremendous skill!

Can you give us the very first page of your book so that we can get a glimpse inside?

Sure. Here you go:

Jersey Legionnaire

I am an Inker. Without death my job goes undone. Like other Inkers, I plan for it, yearn for it while never loving it, but this time, death might well prove to be my doom. Alchemic algorithms placed my partner Nikki and I at the historic burning of the Great Library of Alexandria, Egypt, in 272 AD. We had inked ourselves into the consciousness of the right people—an arthritic librarian and his slave boy—and stole the Alchi̱meía papyrus scrolls for their rare alchemical formulas.
Our plan should have worked without a hitch. Instead, we are now faced with a severe obstacle: a massive Roman centurion in heavy scale armor, a member of Aurelian's legions currently sacking the city in an effort to defeat and demoralize Queen Zenobia. The centurion stands at least six foot three, his armor smeared with Egyptian blood, his mouth open and yelling at me, not in Latin, but with a voice oddly reminiscent of twentieth century New York:
"Stop, Inkahs!"
He blocks a narrow passageway of the library, holding an infantry gladius, a short-sword with a golden hilt, sunlight from the open courtyard glinting off his blade. There is no way forward or around him. White limestone walls on my left, stonework railing and black marble pillars on my right, and a long drop over those rails into the quadrangle. We are so screwed. I speak in the librarian's Coptic dialect.
"You must be mistaken, brave centurion." I nod to my partner, Nikki Babineaux, an athletic twenty-something woman present-side, but a small, twelve-year-old boy in this passageway. In our robes and sandals, an old man and a boy, we define defenseless. "I am a librarian and this boy is my slave."
American English with a New Jersey accent. Who is this guy? I feign confusion, continuing in Coptic, hoping to buy some time. "What is this word you use? Are you a foreigner?"
"Enough, Inkahs. Gimme the satchel!"
Nikki drops the pretense, shifting to twenty-first century English, "You know killing us won't do you any good."
"The satchel, ya little prick!"

If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?

I think Dieback is a great Winter holiday read. Maybe you’re traveling, getting together with family, dealing with the weather. All of those things can be pretty stressful. So, having a complete diversion is a great way to get away from it all.

Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?

I’ve got a first draft of the second installment. No title yet, but I’m hoping to publish in about six months.

When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?

I have always loved writing and I’ve used writing in the service of my work from speeches to manuals to business articles to technical writing. I did do some business ghost writing – a book on sales and another on real estate. But at the time, with a young family, didn’t see a path to making it a full-time profession.

Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?
All of them! I’ve got three crime novels that were published 2011-13. I shopped the first around for months and then pitched it at a conference to a publisher and they picked it up. And Dieback, as I mentioned above got rejected by a number of publishers.

What is your view on co-authoring books; have you done any?

I’d be open to co-authoring, but it would be a very close partnership, so I’d need to take care who I partnered with. However, I can see lots of creative energy coming out of that kind of writing relationship.

What’s next for you?

I’ve got a completed draft of the follow-on to Dieback—no title yet—and am hoping to publish in the Spring of 2019. I’m currently writing the third installment to the series as well, and that would hopefully come out either late 2019 or early 2020.  I also have a completed science fiction novel I’m probably going to self-publish just for fun. It’s called The Bifurcation of Dungsten Crease. There’s no publication date set yet for that one. And I’ve got a couple of other story ideas I dabble with, waiting to see if one of them grabs my attention.

Thanks so much for allowing me to spend some time with you and your readers. For fun, go check out the trailer for the book. https://youtu.be/qesyHscyzNM And I’d love to hear from you. Visit my website, www.richardhacker.com and drop me a line.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Character Interview with Martha McGary from Michael & Kathleen McMenamin's The Liebold Protocol

Our guest character today is Martha McGary, a character out of Michael & Kathleen McMenamin's THE LIEBOLD PROTOCOL. Enjoy the interview!
What is your name?

Martha McGary, but I’ve always been called ‘Mattie’ by my friends and family.

And your enemies?

It varies, but the one I hear most often is ‘that red-haired bitch’.

What do you look like?

Well, red hair, obviously.  People say I look a lot like the aviatrix Amelia Earhart, only better. My husband thinks I’m drop-dead gorgeous, but he may be biased…or jealous…or both. All I know is I’m 34 years old and heads still turn when I enter a room.

Where are you today and what are you doing?

I’m at our Irish home on the cliffs of Slieve League in County Donegal. I’m preparing for an interview tomorrow in Galway of General Eoin O’Duffy, the head of the Army Comrades Association, a fascist political party otherwise known as the Blue Shirts, an obvious homage to Hitler’s Brown Shirts and Mussolini’s Black Shirts. The interview is the last I’m doing for my story for the Hearst papers—where I work—on fascist political movements in Europe other than Germany and Italy. Democracy is on the decline in Europe and the bloody fascists think they’re the wave of the future. I hope they’re wrong, but my biggest fear is that they’re not.

Describe the outside of your home.

Which one? After I married last summer, I have four. One is my husband’s brick and granite townhouse on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art; another is his 300 acre estate at Sands Point on Long Island Sound; a third is my parents’ large home in the Scottish Highlands on the shores of Loch Ness near Inverness; and the fourth is where I am right now, a restored Martello Tower on the highest cliffs in Europe—1,500 feet—that my husband gave me as a wedding present.

What’s a ‘Martello Tower’?

      Martello Towers were built during the early 19th century throughout the British Isles, mostly as a defense against an invasion by Napoleon. Ours is an early one for it’s square whereas most of the Martellos are round. It’s two stories high with a flat battlement on top. Typically, a Martello Tower has eight-foot thick granite walls and one gun that could fire in all directions. One officer and 24 soldiers manned them. They are patterned after a similar fort on the island of Corsica that the Royal Navy had thought impressive. Over a hundred were built in England and over fifty in Ireland. The fort was located at Mortella Point, but somehow the English managed to misspell it as ‘Martello’. As a Scot, I’m not  surprised. In my experience, the English aren’t really that bright.
      At the back of our tower, there are no windows, only a small, polished wooden door. Above, there are four windows on each side of the tower, two to a floor. Inside on the ground floor is a long, whitewashed hallway that leads to stairs at the front of the tower.  There are electric sconces as well as framed pictures along the wall on both sides of the hallway. Halfway down the hallway are two doors that originally held gunpowder and supplies, but now are bedrooms, each with a full bath and shower. The Tower has its own gasoline-powered generator for electricity that lights the place and runs a water pump that takes water from the tower’s original cistern and sends it to the baths and up to the kitchen, which is on the roof level. There is an internal drainage system on the roof that captures rainwater and refills the cistern every time it rains which, being Ireland, means every day.
Two-third’s the length of the flat top floor of the tower—the battlements—has been enclosed to form a combination kitchen and dining room complete with sink, stove, refrigerator, fully-stocked bar and a long refectory table seating eight. It’s covered by a traditional Irish-thatched roof that soars up from the back wall. There is a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean in three directions as the sidewalls have large windows extending above the stone battlements; and the front wall is entirely glass in the middle of which is a wood-framed door that leads to the terrace beyond. All in all, it is a perfect little house and a perfect wedding present.

You come face to face with your worse enemy. How do you react?

I already have. His name is Reinhard Heydrich, the # 2 man in Hitler’s personal bodyguard, the SS. Hitler calls him ‘The Man With the Iron Heart’; others call him ‘The Blond Beast’. What I call him isn’t printable. The first time I came face-to-face with him, I kneed him in the groin. On another occasion, I jammed an automatic pistol into that same groin and declared a Highlands Blood Feud between us. That’s because, to keep me silent about his role in an attempt to assassinate Hitler in early 1933, the bloody bastard killed someone close to me and threatened the lives of my closest relatives and their young families if I ever disclosed his role or if he died prematurely. I told him that if I or anyone close to me such as my then-fiancé and now my husband were killed, I would have three of his relatives killed in response.   I don’t think he believed me at first, but when the severed head of his adjutant was left on his doorstep by close friends of mine, he changed his mind. Now, he more or less looks after my safety when I’m in Germany on assignment. If you want more details, check out The Berghof Betrayal where I had excusive interviews with both FDR and Hitler and was sitting in a motorcar beside both of them during attempts on their lives. That earned me my first Pulitzer.

You keep a photo album of memories from your lifetime. If you could only keep one photo, which one would that be?

Unfair question. I’m a photojournalist for Hearst and I have tons of favorites. But if pressed, the one I would pick I took on top of the Graf Zeppelin 500 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. There was a tear in the airship’s fabric skin and three men were standing on top of the ship lowering a fourth man with a rope over the side of the ship to repair the tear. There are two reasons I would pick this photo. First, it’s a fantastic photo and perfectly illustrates what one of my mentors, Alfred Eisenstadt, taught me: ‘If your photos aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough’. I was damn well close enough that day. The second reason is that the photo reminds me not to be stupid about my own safety. Instead of staying safely in a hatch on top of the airship and taking my photos from there, I stupidly crawled out onto the top of the zeppelin to get a better shot and I almost fell off into the Atlantic Ocean where the fall alone would have killed me. You can read all about it in The Parsifal Pursuit.

How do you feel about mortality?

If you mean death, I would prefer it happen later than sooner.

What scares you?

Adolf Hitler and the Nazi government are pretty scary.

How would your parents describe you?

They’re gone now, but I think they’d say I was a headstrong, stubborn little tomboy always trying to keep up with her older brothers.

Who is your best friend?

My husband and the love of my life, Bourke Cockran, Jr.

Are you faith-oriented?

Well…more than my husband, but that’s a low bar.

Inside the Book

Author: Michael & Kathleen McMenamin
Publisher: First Edition Design Publishing
Pages: 389
Genre: Historical Thriller
Winston Churchill’s Scottish goddaughter, Mattie McGary, the adventure-seeking Hearst photojournalist, reluctantly returns to Nazi Germany in the summer of 1934 and once again finds herself in deadly peril in a gangster state where widespread kidnappings and ransoms are sanctioned by the new government.
Mattie turns down an early request by her boss Hearst to go to Germany to report on how Hitler will deal with the SA Brown Shirts of Ernst Rohm who want a true socialist ‘second revolution’ to follow Hitler’s stunning first revolution in 1933. Having been away from Germany for over a year, her reputation as “Hitler’s favorite foreign journalist” is fading and she wants to keep it that way.
Instead, at Churchill’s suggestion, she persuades Hearst to let her investigate one of the best-kept secrets of the Great War—that in 1915, facilitated by a sinister German-American working for Henry Ford, British and Imperial German officials essentially committed treason by agreeing Britain would sell raw rubber to Germany in exchange for it selling precision optical equipment to Britain.  Why? To keep the war going and the profits flowing.  After Mattie interviews Ford’s German-American go-between, however, agents of Scotland Yard’s Special Branch are sent by Churchill’s political opponents in the British government to rough her up and warn her she will be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act unless she backs off the story.
Left no choice, Mattie sets out for Germany to investigate the story from the German side and interview the German nobleman who negotiated the optics for rubber deal. There, Mattie lands right in the middle of what Hearst originally wanted her to investigate—Adolf Hitler believes one revolution is enough—and she learns that Hitler has ordered the SS to assassinate all the senior leadership of Ernst Rohm’s SA Brown Shirts as well as other political enemies on Saturday 30 June, an event soon known to History as ‘The Night of the Long Knives’.
Mattie must flee Germany to save her life. Not only does the German-American working for Henry Ford want her story on the optics for rubber treason killed, he wants her dead along with it. Worse, Mattie’s nemesis, the ‘Blond Beast’ of the SS, Reinhard Heydrich, is in charge of Hitler’s purge and he’s secretly put her name on his list…




Meet the Authors

Michael McMenamin
Michael McMenamin is the co-author with his son Patrick of the award winning 1930s era historical novels featuring Winston Churchill and his fictional Scottish goddaughter, the adventure-seeking Hearst photojournalist Mattie McGary. The first five novels in the series—The DeValera Deception, The Parsifal Pursuit, The Gemini Agenda, The Berghof Betrayal and The Silver Mosaic—received a total of 15 literary awards. He is currently at work with his daughter Kathleen McMenamin on the sixth Winston and Mattie historical adventure, The Liebold Protocol.
Michael is the author of the critically acclaimed Becoming Winston Churchill, The Untold Story of Young Winston and His American Mentor [Hardcover, Greenwood 2007; Paperback, Enigma 2009] and the co-author of Milking the Public, Political Scandals of the Dairy Lobby from LBJ to Jimmy Carter [Nelson Hall, 1980]. He is an editorial board member of Finest Hour, the quarterly journal of the International Churchill Society and a contributing editor for the libertarian magazine Reason. His work also has appeared in The Churchills in Ireland, 1660-1965, Corrections and Controversies [Irish Academic Press, 2012] as well as two Reason anthologies, Free Minds & Free Markets, Twenty Five Years of Reason [Pacific Research Institute, 1993] and Choice, the Best of Reason [BenBella Books, 2004]. A full-time writer, he was formerly a first amendment and media defense lawyer and a U.S. Army Counterintelligence Agent.   
Kathleen McMenamin
Kathleen, the other half of the father-daughter writing team, has been editing her father’s writing for longer than she cares to remember. She is the co-author with her sister Kelly of the critically acclaimed Organize Your Way: Simple Strategies for Every Personality [Sterling, 2017]. The two sisters are professional organizers, personality-type experts and the founders of PixiesDidIt, a home and life organization business. Kathleen is an honors graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and has an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University. The novella Appointment in Prague is her second joint writing project with her father. Their first was “Bringing Home the First Amendment”, a review in the August 1984 Reason magazine of Nat Hentoff’s The Day They Came to Arrest the Book.  While a teen-ager, she and her father would often take runs together, creating plots for adventure stories as they ran.



Monday, December 24, 2018

Book Blast: Place of Crying by Judy Witt


Inside the Book:

Title: Place of Crying
Author: Judy Witt
Publisher: XLibrisAU
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Ebook

INKABA YAKHO IPHI? (WHERE IS YOUR NAVEL?) Three stories—those of the Xhosa and the Khoikhoi tribes, the British soldiers and the settlers, and the burghers and the Boers—are told in parallel. Her Khoikhoi mother, had named her Coti after the wife of Cagn, the supreme god of the San people. Her skin shone like gold, the skin of the San. He had been watching as she bathed in the lagoon, blinded by her sleek beauty as she stepped out. The fading sunlight on the water drops covered her golden skin like jewels. Coti gasped when she saw him. He was Tshane, great-great-grandson of a Xhosa chief and named after one of the first Rharhabe Xhosa kings or paramount (supreme) chiefs. His mother was from the Gcaleka Xhosa clan. Tshane represented the amaXhosa, the fierce people of Xhosa. He was magnificent as he stood still and tall—a warrior, black as ebony; his toned muscles rippled. He was nervous. She was not afraid of him. She prayed now to the wise and powerful Tsui-Goab, the Khoi supreme god, to protect her from Guanab, the cunning god of evil. Her grandmother had warned that this was an evil love, brought about by the trickster god, Haitsa-Aibib. Haitsa-Aibib could change his form at will. Was he the fish eagle that had thrown the cloud over her? Lt. Ian Bentley sat his horse on a hill overlooking the coastal foothills of the Amatola Mountains. From his position, he had a good view of the sea and also the Xhosa village below him. It was baking hot under the African sun, and he looked forward to the cool evening. He sweated in his thick red tunic, made for cooler climates, and his horse fidgeted from the flies. Taking his eyeglass from his tunic, he focused on the village below. Conraad du Randt, the burghers’ leader, raised his arm for silence. ‘Yes, my people. First, they free the slaves and tell us to pay them. Now they have equality before the law? These heathens are our subordinates, damned in the eyes of God! Given to us to teach them Christian ways! Our land! Our lifestyle! Is God-given and earned by conquest!’

Purchase Here

Meet the Author:
Judy Witt was born in Natal in South Africa on January 1944. She was raised by Zulu women and then Xhosa women when the family moved to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. The family later moved to Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia during the years those countries were fighting for freedom and independence. Caught up in the violence and terror that evolved and the Congo Revolution spillover, they returned to South Africa the day before Zambia’s independence. Judy now lives in Sydney Australia with her husband, four married children, nine grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.


Judy is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins December 17  and ends on December 28.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on December 29.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

Friday, December 21, 2018

Book Blast: Mike Honeycutt's World of Hunting and Fishing


Inside the Book:

Title: Mike Honeycutt's World of Hunting and Fishing
Author: Mike Honeycutt
Publisher: Trafford
Genre: Travel
Format: Ebook

For author Mike Honeycutt, there’s nothing more exciting than a remote trip with great scenery. In Mike Honeycutt’s World of Hunting and Fishing, he shares a travelogue that speaks to his passion for traveling the world to exotic locales to hunt and fish for unusual animal species. Based on his extensive travel experiences, Honeycutt narrates stories from all over the world on all continents. From the savannas of northern Cameroon to the jungles of southern Cameroon, and from the mountains of the Rocky Mountains in the United States, to a Himalayan tahr hunt in the mountains of New Zealand, he describes an array of real-life experiences and excursions. He tells about bird hunting in Argentina, turkey hunting in Old Mexico, and looking for the Gobi Argali Sheep in Mongolia. From airplanes to snowmobiles, to boats, horses, jeeps, four-wheelers, and pickups, Honeycutt has traversed the world experiencing an array of terrain, cultures, religions, food, and personalities. He offers insights into his travel in Mike Honeycutt’s World of Hunting and Fishing.

Purchase Here

Meet the Author:
Mike Honeycutt enjoys traveling around the world looking for exotic trophies and spectacular scenery. He lives in remote South-Central Missouri near a national forest with his dog and a cat.


Mike is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins December 17  and ends on December 28.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on December 29.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule