Category Archives: Character Facts
1. It takes place in Guatemala, in the 80’s, during the Civil War there
2. It tells the story of a mute Mayan girl kept in captivity in the jungle by her parents
3. I travelled to Guatemala in the eighties with a girlfriend, and kept notes
4. It took ten years to write
5. The journalist in it, Caitlin Shaughnessy, used to sing in a bar band
6. Dr. Jeremy Simpson, Caitlin’s partner, is a psychoanalyst of a type called a Self-Psychologist
7. They met in Panajachel, Guatemala
8. Inez, the Mayan girl, likes to paint and draw
9. She also can mimic the voices of others, but not speak in a normal way
10. Almost everyone in the book has secrets
About Sheila Dalton
Sheila Dalton was born in England and came to Canada with her family at the age of six. She studied English Language and Literature at the University of Toronto. She has worked as a barmaid, an art gallery assistant, and an independent craftsperson and artist.
Sheila was a freelance writer and editor for many years before becoming an Adult Services Librarian for the Toronto Public Library. She lives in Newmarket, Ontario with her husband and two cats. She has written over ten books, including a collection of adult poetry, three children’s picture books, a literary novel, and a YA mystery which was shortlisted for a major Canadian crime writer’s award, the Arthur Ellis.
Marc Wilson is the troubled businessman in “The Illusion of Certainty.” Marc seems on the surface to be very successful. However, he is frustrated and even seething underneath.
Here are five things you may not know about Marc Wilson upon the first reading of the book.
- Marc loves his wife and is still very physically attracted to her. However, she seems disinterested in him. When he makes physical advances towards her, she acts annoyed and rejects him. This tension is building through the summer of 2007. He has always been loyal to his wife Aimee. However, he is physically very frustrated with her as the story begins.
- Marc’s life eventually intersects Alexander Mattson however, there was an earlier encounter that he doesn’t remember. He spots Alex in a coffee shop on New Year’s Eve. Marc is very troubled that day. His marriage has just blown apart and he had an uncomfortable Christmas visit with his parents. Now he plans to spend New Year’s Eve alone, pondering all of the blows he has endured in the past year. Marc sees Alex and finds her very attractive. But the encounter is fleeting and he doesn’t remember it later when he formally meets her.
- Marc becomes a victim of 21st Century technology. After Marc leaves his wife and his home, his relationship with his children becomes electronic. It redefines his relationship with his children which now becomes electronic not personal. He texts them and develops a superficial relationship to them. Marc does this to hide the pain he feels over the breakup of his marriage. However, when he visits his son in Los Angeles Marc discovers that he has trouble getting one on one attention from his son, Josh, who is texting instead of talking with his father.
- Marc gets a wake up call from his friend and former colleague at work. She notices that Marc has lost his fight and determination since the loss of his wife and job. The co-worker tells Marc he needs to “fix himself” now. That is the main motivation for his trip to Europe in Part 3 of The Illusion of Certainty.
- Marc is lured by a lucrative offer for a new job which involves extensive travel. However, he finds after over a year, that he has plenty of money. Marc can buy anything he wants–except happiness. He finds himself in the beautiful city of Seattle in an upscale condo and plenty of money. But there is no one to share it with.
Greg Messel has written three novels and three unpublished memoirs. He published his premiere novel “Sunbreaks” in 2009, followed by “Expiation” in 2010 and “The Illusion of Certainty” in 2011. Greg has had a newspaper career as a columnist, sportswriter and news editor. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist. Greg also spent many years in the corporate world as a Financial Manager. He now devotes his energies to writing at his home in Edmonds, Washington on the Puget Sound just north of Seattle, where he lives with his wife, Carol.
In the first person voice of my character Grace Johnson.
I was not named Grace just because it matches the theme in the book. My author mom, Ms. Simpson, knows I was not named lightly. Family lore has it that along with everything else my parents fiercely argued about what I was to be named. If it had been left up to my mother’s gaudy, soapoperish taste, I would have been christened Diva Rose. A name only a stripper could love or use. My father saved me. He told my mother that he had read that people’s lives proceed from their names the way rivers proceed from their sources. The name Diva Rose was like a creek, while the name Grace was like the Nile. My daddy wanted great things for his first-born. He wanted his girl child to be able to handle responsibility. So he gave me the name of his grandmother because she was the strongest and most spiritually powerful woman he knew.
I am not fat. People, I tell you my size in the first chapter of the novel so all you folks who think I’m tipping the scales at three hundred pounds, please. My author mom should have listened to her friend Sherlonya who told her to make me a size 14 instead of 16, Sherlonya knew that just like appearing on TV, appearing in a novel makes you look heavier than you are. I’m full figured but healthy. I’m not as beautiful as my sister, Jamila but then who else is? I guess I’m ranting about this to get to what’s important because what I look like had nothing to do with the reasons why I took bullets to save the life of that racist, Mr. Gilmore.
Being able to talk to the dead isn’t all cake and candy. The ancestors remind me that I have been given the power to talk to and for them so that I might help others live better lives. This explanation is supposed to be my balm from Gilead. I would be lying though if I said this knowledge completely soothes my soul or makes me feel more whole and less wounded as I try to help other with their problems.
I’m learning to cook. My aunt Peaches is teaching me how to make my favourite dessert, Better Than Sex Cake. It’s this flourless chocolate cake slathered with caramel, topped with cumulus mounds of whipped cream, flakes of toasted coconut, and huge twigs of chocolate shavings. It’s great. Now, I don’t know if it’s better than sex… um at least not yet. Anyway, if you ask my author mom she’ll hook you up with the recipe for the cake.
I am all about my music. If you want to know about me, and why I do things, marinate on some Coltrane because for me it is as he said, “No matter what … it is with God. He is gracious and merciful. His way is through love in which we all are. It is truly – A Love Supreme.”
Karen Simpson is passionate about the craft of writing fiction, the art of quilting, and the discipline of historical research. She received her bachelor’s degree in Animal Husbandry, M.A. in Foreign and International Trade and a M.S. in Historic Preservation. A historic preservationist trained in heritage interpretation and administration, the subjects and themes of her fiction are often taken from the stories she discovers while doing research for museum exhibits. In 2009 Simpson was awarded the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Older Writers Grant. She is lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Act of Grace is her first novel.
1 – Despite earning good grades in high school, Bill Ferguson enlisted in the Army immediately after graduation. The same sense of duty and of right and wrong that led to his military service plays a large role in his decision to take on Martin Krall, the I-90 Killer, when the sociopath attempts to kidnap a young girl in the highway rest area at the beginning of THE LONELY MILE.
2 – Bill’s father founded Ferguson Hardware, the two-store chain Bill now owns and is struggling to keep out of bankruptcy. Small, independently-owned stores around the country are falling by the wayside as gigantic chains force them out of business, and in his fight to save his business, Bill finds himself working sixty to eighty hours a week, at the cost of time at home. Eventually, this single-minded dedication costs him his marriage.
3 – Carli Ferguson is Bill’s only child, his pride and joy and a three-sport athlete in high school. No matter how hectic his schedule or how busy he was with his stores, Bill never missed a single one of her games or competitions prior to her kidnapping. His daughter is his reason for living, and as long as he is breathing he will never rest until he gets her back after she disappears.
4 – After Carli is kidnapped by the I-90 Killer, Bill is wracked with guilt. He knows it is his actions in saving an innocent victim from Martin Krall at the highway rest area that have led directly to the vengeful sociopath kidnapping his daughter. But despite his crushing feelings of guilt, he knows deep down that he would take the same actions again if confronted with the victimization of an innocent young girl. How could he place one child’s welfare above another’s?
5 – Bill’s military experience leads him to question the ability of the FBI to protect Carli after she receives a threatening note from the I-90 Killer. He reluctantly agrees to allow her to finish out the last few days of the school year under the FBI’s protection, adding to his sense of guilt when she is then kidnapped. This mistrust of the FBI leads to him taking action on his own when he learns where Carli is being held, a decision which may cost him his life.
Allan Leverone is a three-time Derringer Award finalist as well as a 2011 Pushcart Prize nominee for his short fiction. The Lonely Mile, released by StoneHouse Ink in July, is Allan’s second thriller, following Final Vector from Medallion Books in February. He has been hailed as “the successor to Michael Crichton” by bestselling author Vincent Zandri, and bestselling author Scott Nicholson calls The Lonely Mile “a taut crime drama full of twists and conspiracy.”
Learn more about Allan at his website at www.allanleverone.com.
Visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/allan.leverone.
Here are a few fun and interesting facts never before told about the handsome lead vampire, Joseph Markus of LOVE BLEEDS. Please enjoy!!
- Joseph Markus is the only son of the late Martin and Lillian Markus. One of the saddest experiences for Joe was outliving his beloved parents, they were very close. Being the sole heir to their fortune, he inherited their lucrative estate which included both their vast family properties in Dublin, Ireland and Whitby, England as well as their extensive stocks and bonds portfolio. Over the years, Joe has invested wisely, not only in real estate but business properties and has become an increasingly successful entrepeneur.
- He is not only an extrememly gifted vocalist but also a talented musician. Aside from being able to play both rhythym and bass guitars, Joe is also an accomplished pianist, drummer, keyboardist and violinist.
- Though it is not widely know, Joseph was a close personal friend of John Lennon until his untimely death in 1980. He has also been seen rubbing elbows with such amazing artists as Jimi Hendrix, John Morrison, Richie Valens, Janis Joplin, Kirk Cobain, Robert Plant, Eddie VanHalen and Stevie RayVaughn (just to name a few) as well as had the honor of jamming and/or recording with them over the decades in his musical career.
- Joseph didn’t attend college; he actually barely finished High School before avidly persuing a career in music, Joe is extremely well-educated (self taught) and has always possesed a great thirst for knowledge. His personal libraries, at both his family estates, are filled ceiling to floor with hundreds of books on Philosophy, Mythology, European and American history, Art, as well as the finest collection of literary novels and poetry.
- Though he is vampire and does not eat mortal food, Joseph is remarkably quite the chef. For reasons unknown, he has dabbled in the Culinary Arts for years. Only a choice few people in his immediate circle have sampled his delectable culinary creations but have never left the dinner table without totally satisfied palates and full bellies.
Joseph himself has not yet seen this post (to my knowledge) and I’m curious to see his reaction. Although I did not ask his permission to write and post the above personal facts, I’m sure he won’t mind. As a matter of fact, given his love of being in the spotlight, he’ll most likely be flattered. I would like to thank THE PLOT for inviting me here today and hosting my Guest Post; its been a pleasure.
I would also like to thank all of you who stopped by here today, as well as my friends and bloggers who have been following my tour on a daily basis and leaving their comments. I greatly appreciate your friendship and support! Have an awesome summer 😀
*Karen and Leslie became friends when Karen’s long hair got caught in Leslie’s braces as Karen tried to get off the school bus. Leslie followed Karen only to disentangle herself, but the bus driver – not realizing what was going on – left before she could get on again. So Leslie had to spend the afternoon with Karen . . . .
*Karen doesn’t sneeze often, but when she does, she never stops before having sneezed at least five times in a row. It used to drive Rob, her ex-husband, crazy.
*When Karen had her very first skiing lesson, she fell onto her face, hurt her nose, and declared that she would never ski again. The teacher had a hard time to convince her to try again.
*Her biggest credit card bill ever came after a visit to the lingerie store Temptation in Florence, but even though she had to reorganize her budget, she knew it had been worth it.
*Karen’s favorite t-shirt is ten years old, fraying at the edges and has green, blue, and yellow stripes. She only wears it at night but loves it because it is made of super soft, fluffy cotton.
Five Things You Didn’t Know About Lucrezia Borgia
2 – Like many noblewomen, she knew the power of maintaining a dazzling appearance. For example, one of her capes was made from crimson satin, lined with ermine, and embroidered with 61 rubies, 55 diamonds, 5 large pearls, 412 medium-sized pearls, and 114 small pearls.
3 – She was well educated and spoke Italian, Catalan, French, Latin, and Greek. She also loved music, poetry, and dancing.
4 – She came from a notorious family accused of many crimes. Her father, Pope Alexander VI, kept a herd of courtesans at the Vatican Palace, and is rumoured to have created his own special poison to dispatch political rivals. Her eldest brother, Cesare Borgia, was a very shrewd and cruel leader of the Papal army, and served as the inspiration for Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’.
5 – Lucrezia and her family were known for their extravagant banquets. For instance, at Lucrezia’s second marriage to Alfonso of Aragon, over 800 barrels of wine and 30,000 pounds of meat were consumed in just one night!
M. G. Scarsbrook is a prize-winning screenwriter and novelist. He is the author of two historical novels, The Marlowe Conspiracy and Poison In The Blood: The Memoirs Of Lucrezia Borgia. He now lives in Southern California and is currently at work on a new detective series. To learn more, please visit his website at www.mgscarsbrook.com
Five Things You Didn’t Know About FBI Special Agent Kristin Cunningham from Final Vector by Allan Leverone
1 – Not a single soul was aware of Kristin’s intention to enter law enforcement upon graduating high school until she made the announcement during her celebration dinner. That list includes her parents, her best friend and all of her high school boyfriends. To say it came as a shock to those who knew the petite, quiet young woman would be a massive understatement.
2 – Kristin’s interest in law enforcement stemmed from an attempted date-rape incident during her junior year of high school. The reluctance of the school’s guidance department and police resource officer to pursue the initiator of the assault—a star on the varsity football team—made a tremendous impact on the young woman and left her determined to work in a career where she could positively affect people’s lives.
3 – Despite her small size and reserved nature, Kristin Cunningham is a crack shot, consistently earning high marks on the practice range. She is also an expert in self-defense, having enrolled in karate classes after nearly being raped in high school and pursuing martial arts vigorously. She has never told her parents of the attempted assault but was determined never again to be a victim.
4 – As a young woman in her late-twenties, Kristin dates often but rarely seriously. She finds many men to be intimidated by a pretty woman who carries a gun for a living but is instantly attracted to air traffic controller Nick Jensen despite the circumstances of their meeting, perhaps because she sees in him personality traits similar to her own.
5 – She is used to being overlooked and knows how to use that to her advantage. Never the most beautiful or the smartest or the most popular in school, Kristin has developed a sense of resolve, a determination to do what she believes is right, that she will need to fall back on before the end of one critical day in Final Vector. The only question is, will it be enough?
Five Things You Didn’t Know About Lucky Stryker
- International Wine Sales Rep Lucky Stryker believes she can tell what kind of man he is by the kind of wine he drinks. And she’s had plenty of experience, traveling the globe in search of the perfect wine and the perfect man. But, for some reason, she ends up alone. Still, it doesn’t stop her from analyzing the wine or drink and how it relates to men.
- Lucky seems to be a popular name for a character in a Las Vegas story. That was Elvis’ name in Viva Las Vegas, and, of course, Lucky by Jackie Collins. Because of that, some authors steer clear of that name, but Lucky insisted that was her name – and it suits her. As for Stryker, I have no idea how that came to me, and I wondered if anybody even had that name. But when we were at Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch, we discovered there is a winery called Stryker Sonoma. How ironic is that?
- The Desert Sands where Lucky performs is not a real casino. But it is a composite of several properties, replacing an older property made new, much like what happens in Vegas.
- Lucky seems to have it together on the outside, but on the inside, she’s insecure, lonely, and afraid to make herself vulnerable enough to commit to a man or even a friendship with another woman.
- Lucky has many rules for herself and for others: no cowboys, no musicians, no men without money… but that isn’t really working for her so she has to search inside herself to turn her life around.
Have a question about Lucky? Leave a comment and you could win an e-ARC of Tom Jones Club by Kathy Holmes!
*Giveaway runs until Wednesday 11.59pm. Be sure to use a valid email address with your comment
Everybody knows Toto from the Wizard of Oz, right? We thought we knew him pretty well, too, until we started writing his version of the famous story. Here are just a few examples of the things we didn’t know:
1) Just how many hours in the day Toto spends thinking about pork chops. We have two dogs and they definitely show more interest in the kitchen when there is cooking going on, but until we started putting ourselves in the mind of a dog, we had no idea just how much focus there is on food. Everything is a reminder of food – sounds, smells, shapes, even language. When the cowardly lion says he needs courage, Toto thinks he’s going to the wizard to ask for “porridge.”
2) That he could get tired of trees. Toto has spent all of his life on the Kansas prairie where trees are a rare treat. There aren’t many sticks for chewing or tree trunks for marking. So when he arrives in Oz and finds lots of trees, at first he thinks he’s in heaven. He wants to mark every tree and the only thing that holds him back is the fear of getting left behind. But after a while of traveling down the brick road through dangerous forest, he starts to get tired of seeing so many trees. And then he even starts to hate trees and wishes he could go back to Kansas. It just proves the old adage, be careful what you wish for…
3) Why he hates baths so much. We know our dogs hate baths. Our older dog in particular. If she even suspects that a bath might be on the agenda, she runs and hides. And when we were writing this story, Toto constantly reminded us how much he hates the idea of a bath. At the very end of the story, he revealed that he’s really afraid, not only of drowning but also that the awful sensation of being wet will never go away. Since he hates being washed, he assumes the others do, too. So when they’re on a raft surrounded by an evil bath on all sides, he needs to bark constantly to keep the water from washing them against their will. Of course, Dorothy and the others don’t understand. And this leads to the fourth thing we didn’t know…
4) That he can understand humans better than they can understand him. Experts now say that the average dog understands human language about as well as the average human two-year-old. And how much dog language do I understand? About as much as the average human two-day-old. When my dogs are barking, I can’t tell if they’re trying to scare the UPS guy on the front porch or warning a passing dog that she’s too close to their turf. They howl when a fire truck goes by but I don’t know if that’s because the noise hurts their ears or because they like the music and want to join in. So as we were learning to appreciate Toto’s view of the events in Oz, we realized just how frustrated he was that Dorothy and the others so often misinterpreted what he was trying to tell them. And kids who read the story should understand that sensation, since their parents and other adults so often don’t seem to understand them, either.
5) That he’s sensitive about his size. If you’re shorter than 90% of the creatures in your life, you develop a certain sensitivity about your size. When chickens call him a “little rodent,” he pretends it doesn’t bother him, but really it does. And that fact that he can’t ever reach the table (where the pork chops are) is a constant source of aggravation. He has to resort of devious means to get to food. (See what we mean about the pork chop fixation? He’s even got us thinking about it now!)
About K.D. Hays and Meg Weidman
K.D. Hays and Meg Weidman are a mother-daughter team who aspire to be professional roller coaster riders and who can tell you exactly what not to put in your pockets when you ride El Toro at Six Flags. Meg is studying art in a middle school magnet program. For fun, she jumps on a precision jump rope team and reads anything not associated with school work.
K.D. Hays, who writes historical fiction under the name Kate Dolan, has been writing professionally since 1992. She holds a law degree from the University of Richmond and consequently hopes that her children will pursue studies in more prestigious fields such as plumbing or waste management. They live in a suburb of Baltimore where the weather is ideally suited for the four major seasons: riding roller coasters in the spring and fall, waterslides in the summer and snow tubes in the winter. Although Meg resents the fact that her mother has dragged her to every historical site within a 200-mile radius, she will consent to dress in colonial garb and participate in living history demonstrations if she is allowed to be a laundry thief.
Their latest collaboration is a wonderful book titled Toto’s Tale.
You can visit their website at www.totostale.com.