Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sample Sunday - Prologue of THE LIE






Prologue
Twenty-three years ago

            The forest was pitch black and shrouded underneath the veil of night. The thick tangle of pine, maple and oak trees intertwined overhead, creating a living canopy that blocked the moon’s silvery rays. A small group of people made their way through the twisted path in silent unison. Heads bowed, they walked in single file. Their long, gray robes dragged across the damp ground as they navigated the dark, twisted path by senses alone.
            The nocturnal cadence of insects and creatures that normally serenaded the lush surroundings was quiet—as if nature itself sensed the power emanating from the invading group. Only the sound of light footfalls could be heard.
            Destination reached, the members spread out in a well-practiced move and took their places around the sacred stone altar. Bare feet stepped into well-worn indentations formed by other worshippers throughout the centuries that had beseeched the same powers for guidance. A low, rhythmic chanting began to fill the forest. Each robe-adorned body swayed in harmony, compelled by the intense energy exuding from the blood-stained slab that they encircled. Their vibrating timbre flowed into one collective rumble as the clouds parted and the full moon’s tendrils illuminated their faces hidden beneath their hoods.
            In a language spoken and heard only by those born into the legacy since the dawn of time, the elder broke the circle and glided to the front of the stone, his arms outstretched to the vibrant moon. His deep baritone voice unleashed the ancient incantations and prayers of supplication, causing the thick slab of hand-carved marble to illuminate from within. Soon, the entire open glen was awash in a sea of red and orange from the pulsating marble that began to resemble solid lava.
            When the elder lowered his arms, a man and a woman immediately left their positions in the circle and ceased chanting. They moved toward each other with grace and ease. They clasped hands and nearly floated to the glowing altar, eager to make their offering.
            Kneeling together at the elder's feet, brows rested upon the hem of his garment, and the smell of the dank earth filled their nostrils. An almost imperceptible shift of the elder's weight indicated it was time. A tingle of anticipation coursed through the couple. They rose and turned their eager faces to him, mesmerized by his presence and the ethereal pull of the throbbing stone that beckoned with a ferocious intensity.
            With a flick of his wrist, the elder produced a dagger from within the folds of his robe. Deftly slicing through the ancient fibers of cloth, the man and the woman soon stood naked before the altar. Their sweaty bodies shimmered in the reddish glow and the bulge of motherhood on the young woman no longer was hidden.
            The young man smiled at his wife, the amber red glow of the altar flickered in his dark brown eyes. He mounted the stone and stretched out his body, his torso covering the glowing rock. He reached his hand out and caressed the taut mound of his bride’s midsection and nearly groaned in delight.
            It was time.
            The elder stood next to the young woman and handed her the ancient dagger. Her delicate hand shook with trepidation as she clasped her fingers around the bone-encrusted handle. The elder smiled at her and asked, “Sister, do you make this offering of your own free will and enter into this blood pact with open eyes?”
            Her voice resounded throughout the circle. “Yes, Elios, I do.”
            The response triggered everyone to shed their robes in solidarity. Each of the twelve began to chant once again and the forest floor began to pulse. Naked, Elios resumed his position at the front of the altar and placed his hands atop the man’s head, his touch gentle and his voice low as he addressed the sacrifice by his name in their native tongue.
            “Yes, Elios, I am ready. Accept my gift of blood and bless my child.”
            “As you desire, so shall it be,” Elios said. He locked eyes with the man’s wife.
            In quiet obedience, she raised the knife high above the chest of her mate, her voice strong and steady. “So shall it be!” she exclaimed. Ecstasy filled her face as she plunged the knife into the heart of her husband, his crimson life force splashing across her pregnant belly. Pain and pleasure intermingled across his face, his mouth forming the words that only his wife could hear.
            “It has begun.”
****
           
“Daddy, how much longer before we get there? I’m hungry.”
            Jacob Abshire glanced in the rearview mirror at his young daughter, Sarah. Her mass of red curls framed her sweet but impatient face. Mussed from the long car ride, sections of it stood up in clumps, resembling the cloth hair of the Raggedy Ann doll she clutched in her hands. His wife of six years, Deborah, twisted her hand behind her seat and patted Sarah’s chubby leg and replied before Jacob had the chance.
            “Not much longer, sweetheart. Remember, patience is a virtue.”
            Jacob smiled at Deborah, silently thanking God for the gift He gave him by placing her in his life fifteen years ago. Deborah was the epitome of a pastor’s wife: friendly, loving, intelligent and beautiful. Of course, the most important quality she possessed was her love of the Lord. She never missed an opportunity to teach their daughter valuable life lessons that would serve her well into adulthood.
            “But Mommy, I’m hungry and have to use the bathroom!” Sarah whined. Her virtuous patience flew out the window, just like her stuffed bear that she let go by accident earlier when the sun was beating down on the car.
            Jacob couldn’t hold back his laughter and Deborah shot him a look of irritation. He couldn’t help it. Sarah had him wrapped around her stubby, little pinky. It seemed that every time Deborah tried to instill a somber life lesson he would find something humorous in the reactions of his only child and render the moment less important when his amusement erupted.
            They had been driving for over eight hours and even Jacob was tired of hearing the hum of the tires on the road and the feeling of numbness on his backside. They were asking a lot from a small child to remain content for such an extended period of time, no matter how angelic she normally was. He stole a peek at the dashboard clock. It was near midnight. Jacob decided they could spare fifteen minutes from the steep mountain roads to stretch their legs and find something for Sarah to eat.
            Deborah stared at him, her pert lips displaying irritation but her eyes showing a portion of sympathy, too. She sensed Jacob’s thoughts and nodded slightly in agreement.
            “Sarah, you help us watch for signs for a gas station and restaurant, okay? The first one we see, I promise we will stop and get you something to eat.”
            Sarah’s face lit up in anticipation and she scooted around in the seat to get a better view out of the window, her light blue eyes already searching for the next road sign. “Yeah!” she squealed, bouncing her doll in her lap, both sets of red curls flopping up and down.
            The mild skirmish over, Jacob focused his eyes back onto the road and his thoughts turned to their destination. He hoped his daughter would acclimate to their new surroundings as quickly as she changed moods. Uprooting his family and moving across the country was the major sticking point he had when offered the lead pastor position at Forest Hills Baptist Church. Not to mention it was located in the hills of Martin, Kentucky which he had never heard of before. But, as usual, Deborah was his sounding board and they bounced all the pros and cons of moving from their sunny, near the beach house in Pelican Point, Florida to the cold, coal mining town of Martin, Kentucky.
            It came down to the fact that this was his calling. Jacob and Deborah devoted their lives to serving God and neither had walked into their roles with blind eyes.
            The narrow two lanes of back roads were smothered in pitch blackness. Jacob hadn’t passed another vehicle in over two hours. Sharp, staggering mountain peaks engulfed both sides of the winding road that had been carved through the terrain in a haphazard pattern. The only road signs that Jacob had seen in the last several miles warned of falling rock.
            “Honey, would you check the map and see how far we are from the nearest town?”
            Deborah reached down and picked up the crinkled map from the floorboard and then fumbled around for the flashlight in her purse. Jacob almost laughed at her puzzled expression when she held the floppy paper in her lap and tried to decipher their location, his eyes leaving the road for a split second.
            “You know, Jacob, I am not much use in this area. It’s like looking at hieroglyphics…”
            “Oh, Daddy! Look at the pretty deer!” Sarah squealed.
But not fast enough.
            Jacob felt his entire body tense when his eyes averted back to the blacktop. He tried to miss the enormous buck in the middle of the road, frozen in place from the bright headlights of their car. He overcompensated and the small sedan began to spin violently. The back tires of the car slid off the road and hit the slick shale. Jacob jerked the wheel hard to the left, but it was no use. The thick, concrete blocks that served to keep the larger pieces of falling rock off the highway connected with the front passenger side of the car. The jarring impact slammed Jacob’s head into the steering wheel. Glass and metal shattered all around him as burning pain engulfed his body. The sounds of his wife and daughter screaming terrified him until he realized only silence hung in the air when the car finally came to a stop.
            Jacob was petrified.
            The engine sputtered then died. Jacob tried to regain his senses and opened his eyes so he could check on Deborah and Sarah. To his horror, he discovered why he couldn’t hear them anymore. His lonely scream of heartbreak reverberated off the twisted wreckage surrounding him.
            “Why God, why? Please! Oh please, dear Lord! Take me instead!” he yelled. His screams of anguish silenced as his mind slipped into unconsciousness.

****

May 2010
Three years ago

            Kiroly Adamik’s vibrant blond locks glistened like spun silk under the lights. He stood behind the podium with casual elegance. His attire was impeccable; not a hair out of place or a bead of sweat on his body. Confidence and maturity exuded from him. His mannerisms and stature were those of a seasoned politician, which the media found captivating. Kiroly was only twenty-seven, a mere pup in the political world compared to the grizzled warriors that came before him.
Today, Kiroly owned the stage as if he had been there before. His luminous eyes scanned the crowd in front of him, briefly stopping on each member’s face. A knowing smile graced his masculine features as he silently acknowledged all those present with an almost imperceptible nod of his head. Each member immediately felt a connection with the impeccably dressed man in his black, tailor-made suit. The members of the European Council were all on their feet and cheering wildly in anticipation for Kiroly’s speech.
His first speech as President of the European Council.
An electrical current spread throughout the crowd as Kiroly lifted up his hand to silence the commotion. The anticipation of what the charismatic leader would say left the members giddy with excitement.
When Kiroly spoke, the crowd hushed and hung onto every word, mesmerized by his electrifying presence.


The Lie will be available worldwide in trade paperback and ebook on October 15, 2013.



Monday, September 16, 2013

Q & A with author Andrew P. Weston

Andrew P. Weston

Question:
Let’s start with what’s next. Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called Guardians. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

 Answer:
Certainly. All being well, Guardians, book 2 of the Guardian series, is due mid October. There might be a small delay due to an unexpected and ongoing illness my regular editor has suffered, but the team is sure we should be on track for the October deadline.



As for a teaser:

Cradling her head, President Vivian Becknell, the first woman ever elected to that office, looked back on the way her day had started.
She had been enjoying a particularly restful dream. In it, she was just sixteen years old again and was reliving a day at the beach with her grandparents, sadly taken from her some fifteen years previously. Suddenly, the scene had vanished as she was forcibly snatched from the joyous reunion by a shaking, roughly administered to her by her personal Secret Service Agent, Christopher Joplin.
Trying desperately to hold onto the dream, she was momentarily bewildered as to her surroundings.
“Ma’am, you have to come with me.”
“Huh? What?” she replied, squinting from the glare of the light shining into her bedroom from the corridor. “Chris, what’s the damned time?”
He became more insistent, “Its six-thirty, Madam President, you have to come with me now. This is urgent.”
Sitting up slightly and moving away from her husband lying next to her, she replied, “Just give me a few minutes to make myself presentable and I’ll…”
 “I’m sorry, Madam President,” Christopher cut in, looking awkward, “There’s no time. She says if you don’t come now, she’ll drag you out herself.”
Suddenly, Vivian’s attention became much more focused and her fiery, no-nonsense African heritage asserted itself. Raising her hand to cut out the glare from the doorway, she looked the agent in the eye and demanded, “What did you say? Who said she’ll drag…”
“I did! And I mean what I said!” a woman’s voice rang, full of authority.
The President looked toward the corridor as her bodyguard straightened and stiffened, obviously uncomfortable about the situation.
A silhouette belonging to an imposing woman filled the entrance. Although she couldn’t see her features, the President was able to make out the eyes. Eyes that were shining brightly with some sort of inner luminosity!
A Guardian, she thought, what’s a Guardian doing here?
Hearing her thoughts, the Guardian replied, “Stop farting around in bed and you’ll find out. Now get out here, or I’ll start making the decisions for you. We’ll all be in the Green Room.”
The Guardian turned and strode away, but the bedclothes moved of their own volition and Vivian Becknell felt herself lifted into the air, only to be deposited unceremoniously onto her feet moments later.
Vivian had barely been in office for a year, having ridden to success on the back of the “Anti-Guardian” brigade, so she was in no mood to be told what to do by those she felt were a law unto themselves.
Gathering herself together, she grabbed a robe from behind the door and made her way to the Green Room, together with her ever-present Secret Service detail. Her anger rose with each step. Who the hell does she think she is, summoning me to the principal’s office like she owns the place?
Christopher Joplin was at her side and opened the door ahead of her. When she entered, she came up short, the wind taken out of her sails. Inside, she found several Chiefs of Staff and Jack Balotelli, her personal advisor. All of them had obviously been roused only minutes earlier and were in various states of undress.
In amongst them all were four Guardians who appeared to hold high rank.
Before Vivian could gather her thoughts, the woman who had summoned her turned from speaking with Jack Balotelli and came striding towards her, together with two men she didn’t recognize.
Seeing her clearly for the first time, Vivian felt instantly intimidated.
At close to six feet tall and with the lithe body of a panther in human form, the Guardian stalked towards the President with the bearing of someone clearly in charge. Her long, dark hair was swept to one side in a no-nonsense plait, and her expression was businesslike and serious. As she drew closer, the president felt her teeth begin to throb, and her eyes began to water.
Cursing any sign of weakness, she began to let rip, “Who the hell do you think you are telling me what to…?”
“Madam President,” Jack Balotelli interjected, raising his hand to deflect her ire, “You need to listen to what she has to say.”
The Guardian calmly waited for her to fight down her anger, clearly unimpressed by the posturing. Then she introducing the NASA specialists who were able to confirm the news she was delivering. Vivian Becknell listened in silence, took a deep breath and then began pinching herself on the arm, hard enough to cause bruising.
A raised eyebrow from the Guardian caused her to confess. “Just checking, I was hoping I was still dreaming and that I’d wake up!”

Question:
How important have your social media relationships been? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?

Answer:
I think social media is an extremely important aspect about being an author. It’s a medium through which you can interact with your fans, and build relationships. I’ve noticed a number of very well known authors who have very active ‘chat rooms’ that are well supported. When your readers see there’s a human face behind the print, and that you actually speak with them, well, it pays dividends. And yes, I do see that interaction spilling over into my success. A healthy number of my fans have gone on to buy all of my books, even from different series.

Question:
Do you do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

Answer:
Yes, I love to make personal appearances and take part in book signing events. Why? Because it brings me into direct contact with my readers, and lets them see how crazy I am. When they see I’m totally normal – if somewhat eccentric – it really warms them to what it is I’m trying to achieve, ie, creating stories that entertain people and keeps them coming back for more.
Additionally, living as I do in Kos, Greece, it allows me to establish a presence where I wouldn’t otherwise find it. Appearing in local bookshops and newspapers, etc, brings me to the attention of the holiday firms proliferating the island, and that, in turn opens doors of opportunity with the thousands of holidaymakers visiting the island each year. (Hoorah for me J ).

Question:
What inspires you to write in the genre that you currently write in? Do you see yourself venturing out into other genres?
Answer:
I naturally seem drawn to sci-fi/fantasy and paranormal adventures. Growing up as I did in the 60’s, the world was enthralled by the space race. It was on everyone’s lips year after year, especially as we came up to the first moon landing. I was also heavily influenced by the Gerry Anderson franchise, by the Marvel / DC comics, and programs like the Twilight Zone. Having read every single science fiction book in the library, I think it was only natural I ended up adopting what I love.
To be honest, I don’t think there’s a real need to step outside those genres to get a great story. Think of the scope you can achieve. Sci-fi/fantasy and paranormal themes can – and do – include romance. Action/adventure. Thrillers. Aspects of horror. And with the advent of steam punk, you can even involve characters from history…(As I’ll be doing in my next major novel). So, no! I think I’ll stay where I am. I seem to be making a name for myself now. I’m improving and attracting fans who like my style.

Question:
What has your experience in the publishing industry been like?

Answer:
Up and down. I was fortunate enough to attract the attention of a great publisher, (Pagan Writers Press). They’re a smaller publishing house out of Houston, Texas, who operate a great team. They’ve been very supportive of my work and have helped me improve an awful lot as a writer.
The one downside with smaller publishers is the fact that you don’t get the corporate clout associated with the major houses. I still work full time, so have to fit my writing and editing in around my shifts. I also have to try and fathom out how best to attract publicity, advertising, promotions, etc. And as I’ve found out, that’s really difficult, as it takes a great deal of time to target your limited resources in the right way.

Question:
What writer support groups do you belong to? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

Answer:
I’ve only recently started looking into publicity and marketing services. Working every day tends to limit my time to do things, so, I’m waiting to see how helpful they actually are. I’ll get back to you on this one J

Question:
Between your book writing, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?

Answer:
I have to be very strict with time. Fortunately, I come from an extremely disciplined background, and make sure I keep to a flexible schedule I devised that fits around my work shifts. Basically…I have no life. Ha!

Question:
What has been the most rewarding moment during your writing career? The worst?

Answer:
Most rewarding? Having a fan write to me to express how much one of the characters – Augustus Thorne, from the Cambion Journals – moved them. I was so delighted to hear that, as I’d spent months creating an individual who needs to get under the readers skin. To discover he’s doing that is extremely satisfying.
The worst? Not being able to go full time. I want to do this for a living. I want an office. (Sais me throwing teddy out of the pram). Then you’ll see a change.

Question:
Looking back on your career in writing, is there anything you would change or do different?

Answer:
I think I’d make more effort to get an agent. But it’s extremely difficult to get your foot in through the door, as thousands of other authors have discovered. It’s not until you start to find your feet that you realize just how much work goes on behind the scenes. Agents can start that process for you, finding the houses with the oomph to get all the publicity, advertising, promotions, etc, completed as part of the process. It would be wonderful – even now – just to come home and know all I need to concentrate on is being creative, and getting it down in writing.

Question:
What inspired you to write your first novel?

Answer:
Life experience. Thirty years in the military and as a police officer certainly brought the harsh reality of life home to me. All the suffering. All the tragedy. For years, I’d always wondered what it would be like to be able to respond to disasters more swiftly. What would it be like to have the technology to actually undo much of the suffering caused? Even anticipate and prevent it in the first place! Add that to the fact I grew up in the 60’s, as already mentioned, and it’s no wonder my thought process led me along a sci-fi/fantasy angle of devising a reply. That’s how the Guardian’s were born. Thirty years of life experience, fed on a diet of Thunderbirds, X-Men, and Star Wars etc.

Question:
When you are writing, what is that process like? Lots of noise or deathly quiet? Marathon sessions of typing or sporadic spurts of pages?

Answer:
For me, it has to be silence. I absolutely churn the work out then. I don’t mind good music when I’m doing my research, but for the actual creative/typing part…quiet please!

My sessions vary on the shift I’m working. Even when I’m busy, I’m always jotting ideas down to make the plot better.

Question:
What has the reaction from your friends and family been like since you became published?

Answer:
Strangely mixed. My wife is quietly proud, and never talks about it in front of me. (That’s great! It helps me keep my feet on the ground and spurs me on to keep working hard until my skill level catches up with my concept level). My children think it’s cool that their dad is an author…although they don’t go on about it either! (Crushing eh?) J
The biggest reaction has been from friends. Some wear Guardian or Cambion t-shirts and other paraphernalia all the time. Then I get embarrassed. Then I tell myself off, because after all, aren’t we in this business to become known?
One of most awkward moments was when a family from the UK, on holiday in Kos, stopped and stared at me. The father had read Guardian Angels, and the kids had too. They recognized me from the website, etc, and started pointing and nudging each other to come and talk to me. I didn’t know where to look. Aaaargh!

Me? I just make sure not to go on about what I do in front of friends. They know J

Question:
Please share all your contact information for social media and links to your books.

Answer:




 Buy links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Buy links: Amazon US



Buy links:

Buy links:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cover reveal and book trailer for THE LIE

I am so excited that waiting to unleash this astounding cover has been extremely difficult. The design team at Blue Harvest Creative outdid themselves with this cover. I think it looks like a movie poster! How about you?

Here is the book synopsis:

The mysterious Karmen always blamed debilitating panic attacks as the reason she avoided publicity and has become a recluse. Which is exactly what she wants the world to think. Only Karmen knows the truth behind her introverted nature. Terrified of being asked where her ideas come from, she fears being branded a raving lunatic.
Now just a week before her twenty-third birthday, Karmen’s world implodes. The madness that haunts her dreams spills over to her reality and she questions her sanity. Suddenly everything has changed and now the world will transform with her. Her last book will unleash the truth and alter mankind—forever.
Is Karmen's ability to write a gift or a curse? She's about to find out if her entire life is a lie. And why she was destined to write it.

And the book trailer:




The book will be available worldwide on October 15, 2013. Fans of all ages who like suspense/mystery/thrillers with heavy dose of Christianity will enjoy this story.