Tuesday, July 31, 2012

(Review) The Brown House by Christy Sloat

Title: The Brown House
Author: Christy Sloat
Pages: 221
Format: ebook


Some secrets should never be revealed…

Brylee Branson begrudgingly made the excruciating move with her family from the warm sandy beaches of California to small town living in New Jersey. As if she wasn’t miserable enough, they’ve moved into a creepy old house that everyone in the area claims is haunted. Brylee dismisses the idea of ghosts and haunting, until she begins to see and hear things that can’t be explained…

Brylee has no choice but to seek the help of new friends to unlock the secrets of this place she now calls home. But some secrets should never be revealed. Can the teens find a way to release the spirits imprisoned within the walls? Or will the curse claim them, too?


 The Brown House by Christy Sloat is a good read. I enjoyed it. The plot was well thought out and the characters are believable. The book started out slow for me. After the first few chapters, I was pulled in and wasn't let go until the end. I did find some places hard to read due to the usage of wrong words or the sentence flow was a bit hard to read.

Brylee has the ability to talk to the ghosts within her home and they have the ability to manipulate the objects around the house causing it to scare Brylee and her family. In addition to figuring out what to do about the ghosts, Brylee has to deal with the death of a good friend and falling in love all at the same time.

Once I got into this book, I couldn't put it down. I stayed up until the early morning hours saying, "Oh one more chapter." Before I knew it, the adventure was over. I'm now waiting to see what happens once I get to read book two. I think Christy Sloat did a great job. I give this book four **** stars. 

*I received a copy of this book for free in return for an honest review*

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Slowing Down a Bit

I wanted to share the upcoming updates with all my followers out there. This part of the year is rather busy for me. I'll be doing interviews here and there. As well as reviews. I'm holding off on the weekly ones until after my wedding and school starts back up. I'll have a lot more time then. I'm also using some of this time for writing. I'm planning on releasing my first book, Silenced soon.

You can still come back every Sunday to read Six Sentence Sunday Posts. As well as stopping by to see if we have any authors stopping by on their blog tours. I have several of those coming up.

I'm looking for authors who have books that are soon to be released and they are wanting to do a cover reveal. I'll be more than happy to work with you. I'm looking for a few authors to do guest posts. So, if you're interested, please contact me.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

#SixSunday- Silenced: The Overtaking (WIP) #7

I know I haven't been keeping up on this project so if I don't get to sign up at the main site, Please check back each Sunday for a new snip from my upcoming books: Silenced.... &.... Sophie. I really enjoy the feedback. You are so kind for stopping by and much appreciated for those who leave comments.

Feel free to check out more Six Sentence Sundays on the main site by clicking the link.


They signed in and took a seat directly across from me. The kids continued to glare around the room yelling and carrying on. Seeming annoyed, the woman pulls out her cell phone and began playing with it. The boys took off towards the magazine rack, pulling them out of their little chubby, and throwing them on the floor. The third sits quietly beside her mother watching every move the younger ones make while yanking on her moms shirt. The woman doesn't glance up to settle her kids.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Moment of Silence

This morning I woke to a text message from my soon to be hubby who's in Denver, Co. He said there was a horrific incident in the area last night. Several people were killed in a movie theater and several more was hurt. My heart went into my throat. This incident was so close to him and I'm thankful he wasn't there.

So, I would like to take the moment to say to all those who did have family members in that theater last night. You're family is in my thoughts and prayers. I'm sorry for your loss.

If you haven't heard about this, you can take a look at a news article here: Shooting Article. It's been said that with the amount of casualties this incident is the largest mass shooting in U.S. history. That's so horrible.

So, I'm asking everyone to take a moment of silence and remember those who have been hurt by this horrific incident.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Author Interview with D.A. Adams

This week I would like to welcome another author, D. A. Adams to our blog. I've had some time to ask him a few questions so we can get to know more about him. 

1. Please tell the readers a bit more about you.

I’m a walking paradox.  I’m equal parts responsible father and mischievous rascal.  I’m equally happy sitting on a panel at a con as digging in the dirt on the farm.  I’m stubborn and prideful but compassionate and humble.  Life has toughened me up, but I’m still sensitive enough to cry.  I’ve faced a lot of adversity and been knocked down more times than I can count, but somehow I always get back on my feet and keep fighting for what I believe in.  I’m a simple man with simple tastes who loves to write stories.

In 1989, I had a traumatic head injury from a freak accident during track practice.  Until that point, most of my focus had been on athletics, and my goal was to become an officer in the United States Marine Corps.  The accident ended those dreams and forced me to focus more on my intellectual development.  Fortunately, I didn’t suffer any serious long-term effects from the injury, and through the process of working through my grief, I discovered writing as an outlet for my emotions.  I also realized that I had always enjoyed creating stories, so I made the decision to become a writer and have been working in this industry, on some level, for 22 years.

2. What types of books do you write?

I call it old-fashioned fantasy action-adventure that’s character driven.  I draw on elements of high fantasy, epic fantasy, and sword and sorcery, so the series doesn’t fit well into marketing pigeonholes.  I try to write books that are fun and entertaining.

3. Who's your main audience?

Because of my approach, I don’t have a tightly defined demographic.  The books have been well-received by such a diverse range of readers that I don’t want to say any one group because the story really transcends boundaries.  Many readers from all walks of life have told me that.  I try to reach people on a deeply personal level and tell them a story that will inspire them to face and overcome the own obstacles in their lives.

4. When it comes to writing- what are your strong points? What are your weaknesses?

Personally, I believe my strongest points are narrative voice, character development, plot pacing, and dramatic tension.  My weaknesses are dialogue, which I’m always striving to improve, physical descriptions because I try for minimalism, and exposition.

5. What do you think of this term- Writer's Block? How do you overcome it?

To me, writer’s block is simply a product of an undisciplined writer who doesn’t work on their craft and feed their creative energy.  I rarely deal with it because I follow my writing process rigorously and keep my creative juices at a fairly high level.

6. How many books have you written?

I’m currently finishing my fifth manuscript.

7. How many are published?

This will be the fourth one published.  The first was an awful book I wrote in my early 20’s that hopefully will never see the light of day.

8. Are you self published or traditionally published?

I began as self-published in 2005, but in 2011, Seventh Star Press out of Lexington, KY took over rights to the series.

9. What's the hardest part of the writing process for you?

The hardest part is hanging in there for the long-haul.  Novels are a marathon that require patience and commitment.  Maintaining the focus and mental stamina for the duration of the book is the biggest challenge I face.  Life throws so many obstacles in the way to hinder writing, and overcoming those obstacles is what separates the professional from the rest.  It’s not easy to complete an entire book, and that’s what makes it so fulfilling.

10. What type of books do you enjoy reading?

Today, when I have time to read, I mostly enjoy good nonfiction based on anthropology, psychology, sociology, or horticulture.

11. Who's your favorite Author?

In terms of fiction, probably Harry Crews.

12. What's your all time favorite book?

“A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole.

13. How long does it take you to write a book?

In terms of physical time, about 8 months of writing and 3-4 months of editing.  Unfortunately, it seems with each manuscript of this series, I’ve had some outside disruption that has interfered with the process and made the time from beginning to end a little longer.

14. Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite? Why?

Probably my main protagonist, Roskin, because he’s grown so much as a character.  He learns from his mistakes and matures as a person.  He’s also pretty bad ass, so that makes him appealing, too.

15. What is one of the most surprising things you've learned as a writer?

The act of discovery as the story unfolds.  When I first started writing, that part of it was foreign to me.  Realizing that the characters themselves would tell me the story as I went was one of my biggest breakthroughs as a writer.  The best thing I can do is get out of their way.

16. What does your family think of your writing?

My family has been incredibly supportive.  I couldn’t ask for more encouragement.

17. What does your writing schedule look like? 

I write at night.  My most creative time is from about 10:00 PM to about 4:00 AM, so I always try to write within that window, and I try to dedicate a minimum of two hours each day, more if I can.

18. Do you manage to write every day?

Yes, 5-6 days a week.  I give myself at least one day off a week to rest and recharge.

19. What's the latest news you'd like to share?

On July 18 and 19, my publisher is having an open house and offering at least one book from each author as a free download on Kindle.  Book one in my series, The Brotherhood of Dwarves, will be free on those days, so this is a great chance to check out the series at no cost.  You don’t have to own a Kindle to download any of the titles, either.  Just an Amazon account.  Amazon will store the book ad infinitum in their cloud.

20. Do you have any advice for new writers?

If you’re looking for quick riches, you’re in the wrong line of work.  If you’re seeking fame and accolades, keep searching.  However, if you have a burning desire to spend much of your life working very hard to practice your craft and refine your skills with very little promise of financial return, then go for it.  But don’t expect any shortcuts.  The road is hard, steep, and long.  Commit for the long-haul or don’t start the journey.

Want to find out more? Visit the sites below:

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Writing World was Nominated

One of the best things of being a blogger of any kind is when someone else takes the time to appreciate your hard work and efforts. Today has been that day for me. Pandragon Dan has nominated The Writing World for the Versatile Blogging Award.

This lofty-sounding award is basically a mutual admiration society where bloggers recognize their peers for writing quality blogs that touched them in some way. The VBAs honor the blogger rather than specific posts. It’s a chance for bloggers to pat themselves on the back like the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does with the Oscars. Until someone starts giving out Blogscars, the VBAs will have to suffice.

What are the criteria, or rather the inclusion in the touch-points of “speech” you’ll want to make upon receiving such an award? Here they are:

If you are nominated, then you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award! It’s simple! Take a few moments to FEEL the warmth of the bestowed “congratulations!” Then think of 7 things to tell/share/reveal about yourself.

Here are my 7 things I would like to share with you:

One of the most important things to me (besides family) is my writing. I haven't released any books yet but I do have several in different stages of the publishing process. When I write, I write from the heart. Just like the about me section of my website: I write for me. I don't write to impress. I write to express.

Second is I'm actually rather shy until one gets to know me. That's sort of weird seeing how I write everyday in some form for millions to see. Doesn't seem like someone who's shy would take on. I love it.

Third I would rather read books from self published authors. I think self published authors all deserve a medal for their time, dedication, and passion. Readers don't realize the time and money it takes self published authors to get their names noticed. Kudos to those who have chose the path of self publishing.

Fourth is that I'm super excited to see each member in my family (soon to be hubby, myself, and our daughter) as book worms. I love sitting at the computer and glancing around the living room to see my six year old daughter reading instead of playing video games. Sends a warm fuzzy feeling through me and a huge smile to my lips.

Fifth, I'm hoping that when my books do hit the public, the readers will see the messages behind each journey with each character. Just about every book I am writing has a piece of my life in it. I incorporate my life into my books.

Sixth, my mother is my best friend. I think everyone should love their mother and it's a bonus to have them as their best friends. I believe she's one of my biggest fans.

Seventh, I have a super supportive soon to be hubby. He is always encouraging me to be the best I can be. When I go through my spats of "I'm never gonna be good enough." he's there to knock me back in the right path. He is proud of me no matter what. That's one reason why I decided to marry this wonderful man.

Next, thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy. Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — after all, let other peeps know about a great stopping place on the web! 

Thank you so much Pandragon Dan. It's so nice to see some one take the moment to recognize me.  

Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.

1. Crystal Cattabriga

2. Lily Crussell - YA Author 

3. Cat Miller

4. Roxanne Kade

5. Mary Ting

6.Candy Smith

7.  Andrea Pearson

8. Madison Woods

9. Michael Cargill

10. Diane M. Haynes

11. Dianna Hardy

12. Ted Krever

13. Willow Cross

14. J. L Spelbring

15.Cait Lavender

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Have a wonderful day.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

[REVIEW] Midnight Hunter by Bonnie Bernard

Title: Midnight Hunter
Author: Bonnie Bernard
Pages: 255
Format: Ebook

Donna McCormick is a smart, pretty college student whose twenty-first birthday is a week away. Unfortunately, so is her murder - unless the mysterious man from the darkness can reach her first.

Donna is pursued in her dreams by a man who claims to be her Eternal Partner. During her waking hours, she’s cornered by another who claims to be the same. There’s only one problem: neither is entirely honest.

Or, for that matter, entirely human.

Eight years earlier, Donna’s life was dealt a terrible blow with the untimely death of a little brother who was left in her care. Ever since, Donna has yearned to get a normal life back – and despite her best friend Mo’s efforts to the contrary, Donna has almost managed it…at least until the Underworld cracks wide open, scattering chaos and spilling out every shifty force under the moon. Most of them want Donna dead, but some will stop at nothing to keep her alive.

Too bad she doesn’t know which is which.

With death following Donna like a shadow, she turns to her best friend for help. But instead of help, Mo offers only more mystery. And she knows more about the Underworld than she's willing to admit.

Now, Donna must choose: Cling to the mortal world where she feels safe, or embrace the Underworld where her dreams – and nightmares – come true.

One thing’s for sure - doing either one might get her killed in both.

Review: First I must start this review off by saying I'm glad I had a chance to read it. The plot was flawless and it flowed well. There's action throughout the book that leaves the reader sitting on the edge of their seat. The characters are well written and well thought out. I found myself caring very much so for Donna, the main character. I also found myself laughing at Donna's best friend Mo who seems a bit out there but adds some spunk into the story.

I very much so enjoyed this read. At first it seemed a bit hard to get into but as I read further, I was pulled right into the story. I was honestly up until the early hours reading until I found myself ready to fall asleep. I give this book 5 ***** stars and it totally deserves more.... but on the scale five is the most you can give. I recommend this book to those who enjoy reading about the paranormal world that has a bit of romance in it.

#SixSunday- Sophie (WIP) #6

I know I haven't been keeping up on this project so if I don't get to sign up at the main site, Please check back each Sunday for a new snip from my upcoming books: Silenced.... &.... Sophie. I really enjoy the feedback. You are so kind for stopping by and much appreciated for those who leave comments.

Feel free to check out more Six Sentence Sundays on the main site by clicking the link.


Sophie opened her eyes to witness the mythical creature which stood in the clearing of the field. It moved it’s head side to side and seemed to look directly at them. Once it had them in focus, it began to move towards them.
“How are you doing that?” Mason asked.
“It’s amazing the energy you find to make such a huge illusion and it seems so life like,” Donovan complimented.
“Uh, Don... I don’t think it’s an illusion,” Mason said moving his head out of the way of the dragon’s nose.

Wedding Celebration Giveaway (US ONLY)

Weddings are one of life’s moments where friends and family come together to witness the joining of two souls in love. My wedding is coming up in less than a month. In celebration with this event, I wanted to bring in my fellow authors & book worms to celebrate in our own way. What better way to do it then with a giveaway loaded with prizes?

I’ve teamed up with several authors to bring you my Wedding Celebration Giveaway. First I would like for you to take a moment and thank the authors for their generosity. In addition to the first step within the entry form, please include your thanks to the authors.
This giveaway is a variety of genre’s to bring the best to each reader. I’m proud to take the time to put this together for some amazing bookworms/authors like you guys. Who knows there may be more behind this then I'm telling.... such as a few surprises for the winners.

Here are the prizes:

First Place:

Bookmarks from the following authors: Stephanie Nelson, JH Glaze, Carrie Ann Ryan, C.G. Powell, Gabrielle Bisset, Lily Crussell, & Kallysten

Post Cards from Stephanie Nelson, Kallysten, V.S. Morgan, & JH Glaze

Author Cards from Carrie Ann Ryan and Lisa Shetfield

Magnets from Carrie Ann Ryan and V.S. Morgan

Soldier Hill by Phil Rossi
The Citizens by L.M Smith
Underneath by Michael Cargill
In Jen's Words by Jennifer Brown
Echoes from Home by Jim Carey
Surprise from Wanda's Amazing Amazon Reviewers Group

Second Place

Bookmarks from the following authors: Stephanie Nelson, JH Glaze, C.G. Powell, and Gabrielle Bisset

Soldier Hill by Phil Rossi
The Citizens by L.M Smith
Underneath by Michael Cargill

Third Place

Bookmarks from the following authors: Stephanie Nelson and JH Glaze
Soldier Hill by Phil Rossi
The Citizens by L.M Smith
Underneath by Michael Cargill

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Author Spotlight featuring Julie Rainey

Julie Rainey

List of Books by Author
Lost Princess : The Journey Home
Lost Princess : Olmosis Returns (Soon to be published)
Lost Princess : Fight for Stiros (Soon to be published)

Author Pages


Book Review (Coming Soon)


1. Please tell the readers a bit more about you.
This is me, a full time mom and part time novelist, lover of rock music, science, space and the vast unknown that awaits us in the universe. I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful children who support me immensely. I live in rural Missouri near a town no one has ever heard of, unless you're a studying to be an engineer and love to drink on St. Pats then you know where Rolla is. 

2. What types of books do you write?
A blend of science fiction and fantasy.

3. Who's your main audience?
My target audience is women ages 20 to 30, although there is quite a bit of action in the book as well so men might also like the book.

4. When it comes to writing- what are your strong points? What are your weaknesses?
I believe my strong points are coming up with ideas and creating the storyline. My weakness has got to be editing. It’s something that I would rather not do at all, but it’s an evil necessity.

5. What do you think of this term- Writer's Block? How do you overcome it?
The dreaded writer’s block, it hits when least expected. I think the easiest and most productive way to over come it is to just walk away for a few hours. Let you mind take a break and just when you think it will never cease, the block subsides and the information begins to flow once more.

Another technique I’ve recently deployed is to write down the plot points of the story helping to visualize which way the story is supposed to go. Ideas start popping into my brain then.

6. How many books have you written?
I’ve written one complete book and am currently writing the two follow up books in the Lost Princess series.

7. How many are published?
One currently.

8. Are you self published or traditionally published?
Self Published

9. What's the hardest part of the writing process for you?
By far the most difficult part of the writing process isn’t the writing down of the story but the going back and editing it part. That is my least favorite thing to do.

10. What type of books do you enjoy reading?
Science Fiction, Fantasy and Mystery

11. Who's your favorite Author?
Orson Scott Card, I love the way he tells a story.

12. What's your all time favorite book?
Ender’s Game, by far. I read the entire book in one day because I just couldn’t put it down.

13. How long does it take you to write a book?
Around six months for the first one, but the second might take a bit longer.

14. Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite? Why?
My favorite character is Fanora. She’s no nonsense, confident and reliable. Qualities I greatly admire.

15. What is one of the most surprising things you've learned as a writer?
How something that you wrote was meant to be interpreted one way can be taken so differently to each person who reads it.

16. What does your family think of your writing?
They are all extremely supportive but I am the lone science fiction lover in the family so it’s a bit difficult for them to get into the writing. However, almost all of them have read the book.

17. What does your writing schedule look like?
 I don’t really have a set schedule per say, mostly I write when inspiration strikes and sometimes I can go days without penning a single line and other days I can write a couple thousand words. It just depends.

18. Do you manage to write every day?
Unfortunately I am unable to write every day. I was trying to make a goal of writing so many words a day but it seemed like I was forcing it too much instead of letting the story flow.
19. What's the latest news you'd like to share?
Currently I am working on book two of the Lost Princess series, Olmosis Returns. It picks up right where book one left off. After the truth is revealed and Isabella embarks on her new journey of discovery, the great founder of the planet Vera returns. Will his presence in Lunaria remain purely civilian or will he fight to regain the power he once held? Will Fanora be able to keep the kingdom together against the insurmountable odds that she is now faced with in the Queen's absence?

20. Do you have any advice for new writers?
*Be brave. The hardest part is getting started. Take a deep breath and go for it.
*Don’t give up. If this is a passion for you, don’t let the speed bumps in life stop you.
*Have thick skin. Not everyone is going to love what you write and take their criticism in a constructive way.

Friday, July 13, 2012

(BLOG TOUR) Robert B. Lowe

Robert B. Lowe
Project Moses

Robert B. Lowe is a Pulitzer-prize winning author whose fiction is based in San Francisco, his adopted home. His past experiences – a 12-year career in investigative journalism and a Harvard Law School degree – enable him to write gripping mystery thrillers in both the legal and journalistic fields. Lowe draws his inspiration from John Grisham, Dick Francis and Lee Child and adds his own San Francisco twist. Readers will enjoy his references to the city’s landmarks such as Chinatown, North Beach and Pacific Heights and the Bay area’s foodie culture. When Lowe isn’t writing he enjoys a day at the golf course and spending time with his wife and daughters.

Genre: Mystery Thriller
Publisher: Enzo Publications
Release Date: January 23, 2012
Kindle Free Days: June 13 and 14
Purchase Link: http://www.amazon.com/Project-Moses-Thriller-Mystery-Thriller-ebook/dp/B0070XXXDG/
Main Site Tour Link: http://www.virtualbooktourcafe.com/3/post/2012/06/project-moses-by-robert-b-lowe.html
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/AuthorRobBLowe
Website: http://www.robertblowe.com/
Email: Robert@robertblowe.com

Giveaway – There will be a grand prize giveaway during the tour for 4 signed paperbacks.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

After several years of zealous investigative reporting on the East Coast, reporter Enzo Lee is enjoying his new, quiet life in San Francisco, churning out light, fluffy features for the local paper. Lee adores his North Beach apartment and days filled with running, tai chi, great food, and women. Life is good.

So when Lee’s boss orders him to cover the mysterious deaths of a local judge and prosecutor, he is flushed out of his comfort zone and thrust into a story that is both exhilarating and dangerous.

With help from the judge’s attractive niece Sarah Armstrong, Lee begins to uncover a bioterrorism scandal. The perpetrators will kill to conceal and Lee and Sarah soon become their prime targets. Will the pair evade their hunters and piece together the story before time runs out?

Or will the government agents and Silicon Valley titans who are the masterminds behind the scandal stop the pair and add them to the list of victims? From Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Robert B Lowe.

Kirkus Reviews describes Project Moses as “a thriller with an ideal fusion of wile and wit”.

Click on the link below to read the full review from Kirkus Reviews.

Excerpt One:

Exodus 11:1
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence…”

Chapter 1

TALL AND SLENDER with well-coiffed silver hair that touched her shoulders, Judge Miriam Gilbert was a handsome woman with sparkling blue eyes who still attracted admiring looks from men, even if the looks were somewhat less carnal than in the past.

At the age of 52, after a decade as a San Francisco Municipal Court Judge, Miriam Gilbert had long ago developed the most important quality required for a jurist charged with resolving the petty crimes and minor civil disputes that filled her courtroom – infinite patience.

But, she was struggling today to remain stoic behind the particle board and formica bench at the front of the courtroom. She watched the middle-aged juror twist her fat hands until the knuckles were red and swollen. The woman shifted uncomfortably in her seat as she scanned the people sitting around her in the jury box.

The juror was about Judge Gilbert’s age but the resemblance ended there. She wore a blue, vaguely nautical dress at least two sizes and 15 years too young for her. Her face was loose and malleable, shifting back and forth between fear and disdain as she looked at her fellow jurors.

Raising her hand like a child in class, the woman fought her sobs as she spoke through lips painted blood red.

“I am not crazy!” she said. She took two deep breaths. “They kept yelling and yelling at me. And I am not going to change my mind.”

“He is innocent! That one did not prove his case.” Her face trembling, the juror jabbed a lethal-looking fingernail at the prosecutor just beyond the jury box.

Orson Adams stared back at his accuser, removed his tortoise shell-rimmed glasses and frowned.

The muscles around Judge Gilbert’s left eye twitched slightly. She didn’t mind so much that the hung jury was going to waste four days of trial time devoted to a minor case. That was par for the course. What bothered her was a headache that had started about the time the bailiff knocked on the door to Judge Gilbert’s chambers and said: “They want to come out. I think they’ve run out of names to call each other.”

The judge cleared her throat, a signal that the histrionics and squabbling that had emanated from the jury box for the past ten minutes were over. She stared at the empty notepad in front of her for a few seconds before looking up.

“It is apparent to me that this jury will not reach a unanimous verdict,” she said. “They have deliberated for two days - as much time as it took for the state and the defense to present their cases. Therefore, I declare a mistrial.”

“The prosecution will inform the Court within one week whether the state intends to retry this case. I thank the jury for its efforts. I know it has taken much of your time to be here and that the last two days have not been easy.” Judge Gilbert made it a point to nod in the jury’s direction.

Then, she looked over at the defendant, an almost emaciated young man with dirty blond hair tied in a ponytail. He sat beside his attorney, a corpulent man wearing dark-blue pinstripes, pink tie and a forced smile that looked more like a snarl.

“Mr. Warrington will remain free on bond,” she said.

An hour later, the lawyers, jurors and courthouse staff had joined the evening traffic jam. With her black robe now hanging in the closet of her chambers, Judge Gilbert wore a long-sleeved white blouse and a pleated beige skirt as she settled behind her large desk stained yellow to bring out the wood grain through the heavily polished sheen. Behind her were volumes of California cases, bound in blue leather. A cup of Misty Mint tea sat on her right, hot and steaming. Next to it lay two capsules of Darvon painkiller. The headache was worse. It now seemed to fan outward from the center of her brain to her scalp.

Judge Gilbert looked over the assorted papers laying on her desk. She picked up a large envelope that she had opened in the morning. It was teal blue and embossed with a logo in darker blue along the left side that she had never seen before. It was a rising spiral with flowers and bunches of grapes hanging from it.

Judge Gilbert reached into the envelope and pulled out a yellow rose that had been pressed flat. She held it to her nose, inhaled and was rewarded with the aroma of cinnamon. She was reminded of hot apple cider and sweet potato pie.

She set the rose on the desk and grabbed her letter opener, a gift from a former law clerk. She inserted it under the flap of another envelope and tore it open with a satisfying rip. She skimmed the letter inside. Then, Judge Gilbert turned to the next envelope sitting in the tray on the corner of her desk.

The next morning the body of Judge Miriam Gilbert was still at her desk when her law clerk went into her chambers. Her head lay on the desktop, eyes staring at a blank wall. Her silver hair was stained brown where it lay in a puddle of cold tea.


ORSON ADAMS WAS more than a little miffed when he was assigned the Warrington case. After three years of prosecuting crime, he had enough seniority to avoid the dog shit cases. Here was a burglary with nothing actually taken, just forced entry with intent to steal. The fact that the case had ended in a hung jury that afternoon was the capper. What a colossal waste of his time.

Adams hadn’t handled a case in Municipal Court for a year. Being back there the past four days made him wonder if he was spinning his wheels as a prosecutor. He had progressed rapidly through the District Attorney’s office. Being one of a handful of black prosecutors in the office didn’t hurt. Still, maybe it was time to get out on his own. Spread his wings and go private. He could defend the scumbags he had been putting behind bars, pocket the big fees and buy a house in Tiburon.

Adams rounded the elevated indoor track at the Run N Racquet Club for the 33rd time. He was in excellent shape at 30 and, with his tailored suits, Adams cut a dashing figure in the DA’s office. He frowned again at the memory of the matronly juror who had blown the whole goddamn trial and blamed him…HIM for failing to prove the case.

“Bleeding heart hag,” he muttered to himself.

He should have guessed that the middle-aged juror might take a maternal, boys-will-be-boys attitude toward Warrington. The ages were right. During jury selection, Adams hadn’t even tried to inquire into whether the juror had any children. Adams had found that older women usually make great jurors for the prosecution. He wasn’t accustomed to worrying about them being on the jury unless they wore peace medallions or were former Berkeley radicals.

Adams finished his 44th and final lap and slowed to walk two more, just to warm down and keep the lactic acid from pooling in his legs. He stopped for a moment at the railing overlooking the racquetball courts.

Down below on Court One, surrounded by glass on two sides, a pair of attractive blonds wearing headbands and Spandex tights and tops in purples and pinks were grunting enthusiastically as they pounded a blue ball around the court.

The smaller woman was named Diana. She had a gorgeous body, buxom yet athletic. She was a fixture at the club and invariably attracted a crowd of male spectators as she and her playing partners sweated through their skintight outfits.

Adams made his way downstairs to the men’s locker room. He showered and stuffed his running clothes back into a Nike gym bag. He put his tie in his coat pocket and flung the jacket over his shoulder.

Adams walked in the breeze across the four lanes of Folsom Street. It was balmier than usual and the wind carried the faintest smell of the ocean. The scent made him hungry and his mind shifted to restaurants. Last night they had eaten Thai. Maybe Diana would like the new South of Market restaurant, the one that specialized in seafood cooked on a gigantic rotisserie imported from Naples or somewhere. How did they cook fish on that thing, anyway? Wire baskets?

When he heard the engine gunning behind him, Adams barely had time to turn his head before the black pickup slammed into him.

Excerpt Two:

Chapter 2

ENZO LEE STARED at the blank computer screen in front of him, focusing on the blinking cursor, a dash of amber that seemed to be whispering at him, “Come on…Come on…Come on…Come on…” He had been watching it for 20 minutes, through two tall cups of oily cafe au cafeteria, waiting for the words to flow into his fingertips, or at least materialize somewhere in his cerebral cortex where he could dredge them out. Nothing. A total blank.

He had lost it at some point in the past two days. It had been there when he covered the story about the unfortunate casket mix up involving the mayor’s deceased mother and a dead Saint Bernard: (“San Franciscans long convinced that the city is run by a son of a bitch got further confirmation yesterday…”) The words had been flowing for the article about the boxer who fought back from insect-borne Lyme disease: (“Welterweight Marvin Grossman took a tickin’ but kept on lickin’…”) And, Lee knew damn well he still had the touch when he wrote the piece about the mysterious sheep mutilations: (“Picture Lambchop costarring in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and you have some idea what’s been happening in Solano County…”)

In the two years since 1992 when he moved from New York to San Francisco and joined the News, Lee had successfully revived his journalism career, staking out his turf here as the undisputed King of Fluff. His specialty was the light feature - spitting out pithy one-liners, bad puns and witty opening paragraphs of dubious taste. Like most journalists, Lee had a love-hate relationship with his editors. But, his was a little more complicated. He knew the editors loved his light, well-read feature stories they often outlined in a box and featured on the front page. But, the “story lite” reputation came with a dollop of derision. They questioned whether he had the chops to tackle a tough news story. Lee had no misgivings about that. But, he was happy to skirt controversy and leave any worries behind after he filed his daily feature and exited the downtown News building.

So, Lee was worried. After all, he had spent the previous day interviewing the man who held the unofficial San Francisco record for pierced body parts (72 unnatural holes) and watching the winner of the Egg Producers’ Cool Hand Luke Contest consume 59 hard-boiled eggs. This was a bad time for the creative juices to run dry.

“Hey, Enzo!” yelled City Editor Ray Pilmann from across the room.

“Yeah. What?” replied Lee.

“Come here, willya?”

Lee traversed the newsroom, threading his way through the mismatched desks and the oddly placed aluminum poles carrying computer cables to the ceiling. He dodged the frayed seams in the ash-colored indoor-outdoor carpeting and the mounds of brittle, yellowed newspapers some of his coworkers kept stacked in the newsroom. He finally arrived at the small office with a window onto the newsroom from which Pilmann directed the News’ reporting staff.

“Look, Enzo,” said Pilmann. He was waving a square piece of newsprint in the air. “I need you to cover this.”

Lee was uncomfortable in Pilmann’s office. The city editor was a big man with a bad temper who flapped around the newsroom like a penguin in heat. The modest size of Pilmann’s office left little room to maneuver. When Pilmann jumped to his feet and started waving his arms around – which was his wont in meeting with Lee - the reporter found himself pinned against the flimsy office wall. The four-foot saguaro cactus in the corner – a keepsake from Pilmann’s early editing days in Arizona – just heightened his discomfort.

Lee snatched the paper from the editor’s fingers. It was a story that had appeared that morning in the rival Chronicle about the death the previous night of a prosecutor named Orson Adams in a hit-and-run incident.

It looked suspiciously like a breaking news story and that bothered Lee. He’d worked hard to develop his feature specialty. It had become a comfortable niche in the newsroom, a nest cushioned with daily fluff he could usually churn out at will. One hard news story tends to beget another. Before you know it you’re covering the courts, city hall or, worst of all, education. God, it was depressing just to think about it.

“Jesus, Ray,” said Lee, raising a dubious eyebrow in Pilmann’s direction. “This looks like news. I mean real hard news. I don’t know about this. Not my usual thing, you know.”

“You’re a reporter goddamit! Duffy’s out covering a brush fire in San Rafael! What else you got coming?”

Lee thought for a moment. At the rate he had been writing, he’d be lucky to finish the feature stories by the weekend, much less by the first deadline. What the hell.

“Okay, boss. You got it. Let me at ‘em. Where do I go? What do I do? Is there an undercover angle here?”

“Christ, Enzo,” said Pilmann. “All ya gotta do is call the fucking police department. Call McGuire and see if there’s anything new for Christ sake!”

“Oh.” As he walked back to his desk, Lee pulled off his wire-rimmed glasses and polished the clear lenses with a handkerchief. He was grinning. It was great pulling Pilmann’s chain once in a while, instead of the reverse.


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