Featuring Christina Philippou-MTW Blog Tour

A warm welcome to my very first Mystery Thriller Week Blog Tour guest author, Christina Philippou.  I love her name!  Anyone who’s ever read my blog or my Undercover Romance Series knows that I’m a tad bit obsessed with spies, so I have to admit I was more than a little disappointed when she flat out states she’s not one…..or is she?  At least, she has deniability on my blog. 

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Author Bio

Christina Philippou’s writing career has been a varied one, from populating the short-story notebook that lived under her desk at school to penning reports on corruption and terrorist finance.  When not reading or writing, she can be found engaging in sport or undertaking some form of nature appreciation.  Christina has three passports to go with her three children, but is not a spy.   Lost in Static is her first novel.

Christina’s Advice-POV

Hello and thank you so much for having me on your site today as part of the Mystery Thriller Week blog tour!

I’ve decided to talk a little on point of view (POV) today, so here goes:

When I set out to write my debut novel, Lost in Static, I started with a single seed of what I wanted to do: write a multi-POV story. I’ve read a few over the years, including Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, and I devoured them. I hunted for multi-POV stories everywhere (which is how, incidentally, I started reading outside my crime and adventure comfort zone and even started reading – shock, horror! – romance and other genres).

I loved seeing things from differing points of view as, when done well, this gives an added layer to any story and an insight into more than one character’s thinking.  But it does have to be done well.  I have, unfortunately, read many multi-POV stories which alternate between different characters that sound exactly the same.  This, as you can well imagine, is not a good thing as, unless the characters are identical twins, them sounding alike is incredibly unrealistic and therefore detracts, rather than adds, to the narrative.

So how do you make them sound different?  I had (please don’t laugh) a spreadsheet with common words, phrases, and mannerisms that my four protagonists used and made sure that they were sufficiently alike to be believable (they came from similarish backgrounds, after all) but also sufficiently different to be real.  And, from the reviews I have read of Lost in Static to date, this seems to have worked.  Other people I know use character sheets or notes, but the main thing is to have somewhere where you can chart each character to help make them three-dimensional.

But that wasn’t all. I’m also fascinated by the idea of what are classed as unreliable narrators. Ask my husband and me (separately) to tell you the story of how we got together, and you’ll get two very different accounts of events.  Ask an entire team to tell you the story of one group event or night out, and you’ll get multiple versions of a single occurrence. I wanted to read books that made you question points of view and understanding of events but, the harder I hunted, the less I found.  Fine, I thought, if I can’t read it, I’ll write it.  And so I did.

I threw my characters into the deep end, put them in situations that could, potentially, appear completely different depending on which way you were looking at things or what knowledge you had of the events leading up to the crash. I dragged them through violence, manipulation, jealousy, stupidity, and everything in between, and scarred them as best I could.  Because only then did I feel that could I really show what it is I wanted to do from the start: that, no matter how much you think you know about a person, you can never know everything they are thinking, and therefore you can misinterpret their actions ever so easily.  And this can have some very dangerous consequences…

Lost in Static

Sometimes growing up is seeing someone else’s side of the story.

Four stories. One truth. Whom do you believe? 

Callum has a family secret.  Yasmine wants to know it.  Juliette thinks nobody knows hers. All Ruby wants is to reinvent herself. 

They are brought together by circumstance, torn apart by misunderstanding.  As new relationships are forged and confidences are broken, each person’s version of events is coloured by their background, beliefs and prejudices.  And so the ingredients are in place for a year shaped by lust, betrayal, and violence… 

Lost in Static is the gripping debut from author Christina Philippou.  Whom will you trust?

Links

Lost in Static is available from, amongst others, Amazon UK, Amazon US, and direct from the publisher, Urbane Publications.

You can connect with Christina on her websiteTwitterFacebookInstagram and Google+.

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MTW Guest Author-Graeme Rodaughan

I’ve been a life-long fan of vampires.  As previously mentioned in my blogs, Rick Springfield was my first crush.  He played  a homicide detective cursed to live as one of the undead in the 1989 movie Nick Knight.  In 1997, I fell in love with another vampire named Angel played by David Boreanaz on a television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  His successful spin-off, Angel, was a little more dark and serious.  I started the addiction to my favorite show, Bones, and still tune in every week after twelve seasons simply because of his acting skills. I’ve even watched a few more serious movies about the preternatural beings, including Dark Prince:  The True Story of Dracula about Vlad Dracula the Impaler.  

As a teen and young adult, I became absorbed in horror novels such as Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot.  I haven’t had much time to read lately, but I’m taking a couple of months off from writing, starting next month.  I’m intrigued about today’s topic of a present-day book about vampires for Mystery Thriller Week.  In the spotlight is author Graeme Rodaughan and his thriller with paranormal/supernatural elements, A Subtle Agency.    In a universe where reality can be re-programmed, any wish can be satisfied or any nightmare realized.  Set in a near future Boston & New York; in a world that looks a lot like ours, vampires rule from the shadows, but they are not unopposed.  Standing against them are two ancient secret societies. The Order of Thoth and the Red Empire, united in their opposition to the vampires and bitterly divided by their different values.

A young Anton Smith, a Boston university student in his freshman year, and star Hockey player comes to the attention of the 2nd most powerful vampire in the world, General Chloe Armitage.  She has a visionary plan for the future in which she needs Anton to play a critical part.  Anton’s world and everything that he thought he knew is shattered. He is thrown onto the streets of Boston and must quickly adapt to survive.  Will he learn what he needs to know quickly enough to make a difference or become a knight in an ambitious vampire’s chess game where the future of humanity is at stake.

I hope you enjoy the excerpt:

Gang’s sword crashed against the praetorian’s blades.

The praetorians fought with skill and power, they pressed hard against Gang and he had to give ground, shifting backward toward the melee along the dock. A dozen yards away, Chloe Armitage waited with glistening eyes, her attention focused on him; the Red Dragon was unsheathed, its point carried in perfect stillness an inch off the concrete surface of the dock.

First these two, and then the Demon.

Gang reassessed the battle, as the two vampires circled around him, probing his defenses without success.

I can’t allow her to get to Li and Anton – they are not ready to face her – I must protect them.

Plunging his mind deeply into silence he became one with space, flow, and time. He felt power surge through his body as the White Dragon arced through the air, shearing through the red-headed praetorian’s sword in a shower of brilliant sparks. The vampire’s eyes widened in terror as Gang’s blade continued past his shattered defenses, driving deep into his chest. Gang drew the White Dragon back, cutting the vampire’s heart in two.

The second praetorian’s blade whispered through an overhead arc toward Gang’s head like the hammer of a dark god.

Blurring with blinding speed, Gang continued the motion of drawing the White Dragon from the dying vampire, sweeping it through a horizontal arc, striking the second praetorian beneath the armpit, the White Dragon continued easily through ruptured armor, flesh and bone before exiting in a spray of bright red blood.

The vampire, his mouth gaping with shock, slid off the lower part of his body, crumpling into a writhing heap.

Graeme shares information about himself:

I have a driving ambition to be the best writer of suspenseful, thrilling, action orientated vampire novels that I can be.

I’m a stand for human dignity and I enjoy empowering those around me because I prefer the company of those who are awake to their own power over those who are blind to it.

I value courage, intelligence, compassion, independence, ingenuity, liberty, empowerment, and human dignity.

I base my own moral perspective on the pillars of informed consent, and compassion through empowerment.

I’m a pessimist about how much humans can know, and I don’t believe in much at all. I’m both curious and comfortable with mystery.

I don’t assume that I’m right.

There are things in this world that are of great, sublime, awesome beauty and there are things in this world that are of great, sublime, awesome horror.

I hope to reflect both polarities within my stories, and leave it up to whatever audience I attract to judge the value of what I do for themselves.

Sample the Prologue and Chapter One.  LINK (Amazon US): myBook.to/ASubtleAgency

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2nd in Series-The Seaside Slayer

I have a fascination with the number one, and this was well before my sons told me that the time 11:11 was good luck.  I remember reading when I was much younger that “one” was my lucky number.  Maybe that stuck with me.  When my newest book The Seaside Slayer was completed on 1/11, I was thrilled.

How did I come up with the serial killer’s obsession with the numbers nine?  Well, I did one of those add up all the digits of your date of birth.  Then add together the two numbers you get as the sum, and that is your lucky number.   I believe you can guess what I came up with.

A lot of people die in my Killer Attraction Series sequel.  Only one of them stays in the story for a little while longer as a ghost.  I don’t personally believe in ghosts, even though I enjoy a good ghost story.  The ultimate romantic gesture would be to love someone so much that you can’t leave them.  I write fiction, so anything goes as long as I can make my story believable.

https://channillo.com/series/killer-attractions-series-2-the-seaside-slayer

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MTW Guest Author-Armaan Dhillon

My oldest son has chosen quite a few movies about Nazi Germany in the past for his turn on Family Fun Night.  I’d say he has a few things in common with today’s Mystery Thriller Week author, Armaan Dhillon.  He’s also read numerous books on Hitler and the Nazi regime, so I’ll be sure to recommend A Nazi War Criminal in India to him.  The book is about a Nazi war criminal Alois Brunner, who was Adolf Eichmann’s henchman.  He fled from Syria and made his way to India where the main story starts.

Here’s an excerpt from Armaan’s Thriller to pique your interest:  I quickly went to his bedroom and found those so called gifts for me still inside the cupboard. I was scared by the fact that I have been gifted the pistol owned by a criminal.  This pistol was responsible for taking so many innocent lives. It took an enormous amount of strength to pick it up and throw it inside a plastic bag with its bullet’s.  I took the letter and cigarettes with me along with those half burned documents. They are going to back me up for the story I want to tell this world through our renowned film director, Ayush Mehra.  I closed the cupboard and locked his bedroom, just the way he always kept it. I cleaned all the small bits and pieces of the traces which could lead me into trouble for entering his apartment because it is now associated with a dark history and murder too.  So, I must not take any risk.  I left the window of his apartment open for just a small amount of air to pass. This I did thinking that there may be days of solitude in this home no one would be here.  Else, it would have started stinking after a few days. I looked around his apartment’s main door to see if anybody was roaming outside and within no time I managed to escape from here to my house leaving the door of his (this) house locked. 

Armaan will soon have a B.S. in Cinema, and plans to be a screenwriter when he’s finished with college.   His story in A Nazi War Criminal in India has a very tragic end to it.  His protagonist, Rohan, didn’t know who he was dealing with and later had to suffer the consequences.  “I want readers to know who they have been talking to lately.  Do they find him or her suspicious in anyways?  Do they feel they have started to change after meeting them?  Is their friendship with others being affected because of that one person they have been roaming around with for sometime now?  I want my readers to ask this question to themselves and check whether they have such type of suspicious person in their life or not and make sure from now on to whom to talk to and whom they should avoid.”

What inspired Armaan to write:

– Nazis have always fascinated me.  I strongly believe that whatever they did during their regime was wrong and I condemn it, but the way they controlled everyone–their uniforms, banners, salute, and their way of acting towards an issue was just unique and different which mesmerized me.  The movies that I have watched related to Nazis have always made me want to write something of my own.  Relating Nazis to India was a big task, but I worked on it for a very long time and came up with this story.  I do believe that i have done justice to the whole concept.

How he found his Co-Author:

– Finding a person who will write with me was the hardest part.  I could have written this book all by myself, but I knew i’ll miss out on something if i don’t take in another partner with me.  I had a good conversation about my idea with Akshay Gandharva, and now he is the co-author of this novel.  The idea of this book is different and something which has never been done, so doing the story justice was very important. 

Side Note:

–  This is my first novel.  I still am a college student, and I have year left to complete.  Eventually, I’m going to get into film direction.  Scripts are one of the most important aspects of film-making. Therefore, writing will always be a part of me.  I will be dealing with writing material from day to day, and also because i love it.  My other interests are socializing and keeping myself updated with my country’s politics. 

Readers can contact Armaan at:  armaan619hbk@gmail.com

You can sample the first two chapters of his book on Amazon:  www.amazon.com/Nazi-War-Criminal-India-ebook/dp/B01MXPTCKY

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MTW Guest Author-Kaye George

I hope everyone’s new year is starting out better than with me and my family.  My oldest son’s cold turned out to be upper respiratory infection.  My youngest son was diagnosed with bronchitis, even though he doesn’t have time for that.  I had a bout with the stomach virus on Thursday, but I was well by New Year’s Day.  Thank goodness!

My first blog for 2017 is spotlighting Kay George, and Death in the Time of Ice.  She describes her book as a thriller that contains a classic murder mystery.   The fate of the whole Neanderthal tribe depends on good enough hunting to get them through the winter, called the dark season by them.  Their leader knows in seed season, they will have to begin following the mammoth that have been disappearing as the Great Ice approaches from the direction of the Guiding Bear of Mother Sky.

Their leader, Hama, the Most High Female, is found stabbed to death. There are several suspects, as her decision to move the tribe was met with stiff opposition from quite a few. There are also, of course, other conflicts that are uncovered during the novel.

Enga Dancing Flower is the main female character. She has passed 17 summers, has flaming read hair, and is the tribe’s best dancer in the evening when they gather around the fire. She and her sister, Ung Strong Arm, one of the best hunters, were taken into the tribe when they were found abandoned as very small children. She was mostly raised by the now dead leader, so she wants to find out what happened to her.  She’s also a suspect in the murder, so expulsion and certain death looms.

The main male character is young Jeek, who has only 12 summers and is the birth son of the Healer, Zhoo of Still Waters. He’s a very clever boy and helps Enga figure out who the killer is. 

In Kaye’s own words,The novel was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel of 2013.  I’m very proud of that, since it’s not exactly historical, but prehistorical. It takes place in about 30,000 BCE, near the time of the end of the Neanderthals per se, in about 28,000 BCE. (They still live on in everyone of European extraction through interbreeding long, long ago.) I stay true to all the research and discoveries that have recently been made, except for a couple of artistic license matters. I have moved them to what is now North America to put them on land I’m more familiar with.  I will say that the land back then wasn’t all that familiar, though. For example, the Mississippi River didn’t exist until after the last Ice Age, when it was created.”

Doing the research was complicated and lots of fun. There are many alternate theories to go along with each discovery. Some thing that their brains and their throat formation would not allow high enough level thinking for them to have verbal language. Others think that their structure would allow them language abilities on the order of ours. In cases like that, with two opposing views, I’m free to go in the direction I choose. In this case, I chose, on the basis of their larger brains, to give them telepathic communication, plus speech. The speech is limited and used only in ceremonies and for important Pronouncements by the Elders.”

The book has been favorably reviewed on Amazon, Goodreads, Long and Short Reviews, Mysterical-E magazine, and many other places. Here’s the conclusion of the Long and Short Review: Death in the Time of Ice is a gripping mystery, and it’s the best example of prehistoric fiction I’ve ever read. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves either genre.

The book is available in digital, paperback, and hard cover formats. Audio is coming soon.  You can sample the prologue and first two chapters on Amazon.  Check it out for yourself:  https://www.amazon.com/Death-Time-People-Wind-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00D7YUBGO

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MTW Guest Author-cj petterson

The very reason I started writing my first book, Wants of the Heart, six years ago was because of my love for westerns.  My dad seemed to always have one on the television as I was growing up.  He still does as a matter of fact.  I had the opportunity to visit my relatives in Texas for the first time when I was eleven years old.  They’re from a town located right on the former Chisholm Trail very near where my story takes place.

“Bad Day at Round Rock” by cj petterson (no caps, no periods) is one of six short stories in THE POSSE, a Western anthology of human interest stories set and scheduled to launch February 15, 2017.  This is just in time for Mystery Thriller Week.

I’m so excited.  I love to read, but seem to have so little time these days.  Shorts stories are way of fitting my favorite pastime into my busy schedule.

The idea for this story came from cj’s family legend about her great-grandfather who immigrated from Sweden to Georgetown, Texas, in 1877. “The story goes that great-grandpa was in Round Rock on the day that the outlaw Sam Bass was shot down in 1878.”

Everything about Sam Bass in the story is as true as newspaper reports and lore have made it.  By the way, cj tells me that the myth about Sam Bass’s buried gold lives on. In 2015, a group organized a “scavenger hunt” to look for the gold they believed is buried somewhere around Denton, Texas.

In “Bad Day at Round Rock,” indentured Lilly Malmstrom dreams of finding a man who excites her while spurning Anders Olsson, until he’s accused of murder. When she commits to saving an innocent life, she discovers it is Anders who makes her heart race. Lilly’s story of servitude and freedom is entwined with the exploits of the outlaw Sam Bass and the legend of a fortune in gold from his great train robbery.

Cj gave me and my readers an excerpt from this soon-to-be-released short story.

CHAPTER TWO

Seventeen-year-old Lilly Malmstrom thought morning calm was the best time of any day—before the sun burned away the cool of the night, before hot winds drove the fine West Texas sand under the windowsills, before the town of Round Rock fully awakened. By seven a.m., when she stood on tiptoe to twist the key in the wall clock to wind it, she had the doctor’s instruments scalded and air-drying on the table and fresh-washed huck towels hanging on the line behind the building. To mark the end of the work week, she drew an “X” through the date on the calendar with the stub of a lead pencil and sighed.

“July 19, 1878,” she said, pronouncing the month as ‘yulie’. “One year. One whole year.”

It’d been exactly a year since she’d left Sweden, but her new life hadn’t turned out exactly as she’d planned. Now she had a new plan: Once she’d worked off the debt, she’d be free to start anew. She blinked back the tears that filled her blue eyes, grabbed the corn-straw broom, and attacked yesterday’s dirty floor with a flourish.  

Out on the boardwalk, Lilly twisted a strand of black hair around her finger and poked it into the bun at the back of her neck then draped her palms over the top of the broom handle and rested her chin on her hands. She watched the town begin to stir. A wire-haired dog, nose to the ground, made his way to the back door of the café. An old woman, her white hair mostly hidden by a black bonnet, flicked a whip at the rumps of two mules as her buckboard rattled up the dusty road. Two Texas Rangers walked down the hotel steps and crossed over toward the New Town Café.

Startled by a horse’s snort, she turned to see Shorty vanDyne slide off his roan. He wrapped the reins around the hitching rail and strutted toward her, chaps flapping and the silver rowels on his Mexican spurs jangling.

 Lilly felt her eyebrows knit together. “I say the same thing as before, Mr. vanDyne. Go away.”

“Whoa, now, Miz Lilly. You ain’t heard what I come all the way from Dallas to say.”

“If you come to say ‘goodbye,’ I hear you. Goodbye and good riddance to you. Now go.” She made no attempt to keep the contempt out of her voice.

Shorty chuckled. “Don’t go gettin’ all uppity on me, pretty lady. I told you I’d leave the Chisholm Trail and come for you when I got my fortune. Didn’t I tell you that? Well, I done it. I got my fortune, and I’m here to make you my wife.”

There’s going to be a Cover Reveal Party on February 15, 2017 with gifts and prizes.  If you’re like me and would love to know more about the book, be sure to “like” cj’s Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/thepossebook.1/

If you check out her blog, you’ll find an interview on yours truly: http://www.lyricalpens.com/

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MTW Guest Author-Edwin Herbert

After visiting with family all weekend and eating far too much, I’m continuing my interviews for Mystery Thriller Week.  I really need less time on the computer and more time in the gym.  I can feel those New Year’s resolutions forming in my brain as I type.  I wonder if they’ll even last until February 12 when the big event kicks off.

My next few guests are from the Historical Mystery Thriller genre.  I asked Edwin Herbert if he considered his book to be a mystery or thriller.  His reply, “Though Mythos Christos contains elements of mystery, it is more in line with suspense/thriller.  As half of the novel takes place around the year 400 CE, it definitely falls into the historical fiction category as well.”  Sounds intriguing.

His book is really two tales in one.  Lex Thomasson, the main character in current times, is an American Rhodes Scholar—a student of Paleography at Oxford University.  He’s young , bookish, and, it turns out, a genius when it comes to solving riddles in ancient languages. In the past, his main protagonist is Hypatia of Alexandria, the architect of the treasure hunt Lex must work through.

The modern villain in his story is Basilio Regulus—chief archivist at the Vatican, and Grand Paladin of the Knights of Saint George, a secret brotherhood of assassins.  He is keenly intelligent, a martial arts expert, and a master of disguise.  The early fifth century villain is Archbishop Cyril of Alexandria—destroyer pagan temples, exiler of Jewish leaders, and the man who ordered the death of Hypatia.  He’s now known as Saint Cyril.

Mythos Christos covers a broad sweep of fascinating topics, mostly emerging from the puzzles Hypatia sets up for her truth seeker. These include gematria (the ancient Greek number-letter system), astrotheology, geometry, mythology, and the intriguing mathematical relationships between certain Greek gods, and even the Bible.

You can sample the first nine chapters of his fascinating tale of the two time periods on Amazon.  https://www.amazon.com/Mythos-Christos-Edwin-Herbert-ebook/dp/B01BCWI2MM

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