Monday, May 21, 2018

Researching the White Witch by Larry D. Thompson @ldtauthor

Researching The White Witch

My son, Kel, who lives in South Florida, returned from a business trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica, talking about the legend of the WHITE WITCH. His story interested me enough that a few months later we both went to Jamaica to learn more about Annie Palmer, the White Witch,  and, also, about the Maroons. Kel had not stumbled across the Maroon story while he was there, but I did a little
research about the area and learned about them. That trip let me to combine the Maroons with the White Witch to create what is certainly my best thriller to date (bear in mind that I’ll probably say the same thing about my next thriller; such is the nature of a novelist.).

We stayed at the Ritz, which was built on what was once part of the Rose Hall Plantation. We golfed at the hotel course, aptly named “The White Witch.” We toured the Rose Hall Great House where Annie Palmer lived two hundred years before and where she tortured and murdered three husbands and many more slave lovers. We learned that even today the staff in the mansion insists on leaving before dark every evening; for they fear that the White Witch may be out roaming the grounds of her old plantation. However, let me hasten to add that Annie Palmer is only a supporting character in this drama. After all, she died two hundred years ago. Still her legend is strong enough that in my story when a series of murders occur in the Montego Bay area, some with snake knives said to have belonged to the White Witch, it’s only a small leap for the locals to believe, true or not, that the White Witch must be responsible. 

The real story and the conflict that created it is up in the mountains above Montego Bay, a small village called Accompong, the ancestral home of the Maroons (short for Cimarron, or “wild and untamed.). The original Maroons started escaping from their Spanish captors in the early fifteen hundreds, following game trails up into the mountains where they formed villages and lived off the land. When the Spaniards tried to re-capture them, they fought back and soon were going down from the mountains in the dead of night to attack the Spaniards as they slept. They fought for about a hundred years before the British drove the Spaniards to Cuba. The British could not understand how a band of ex-slaves could so consistently beat back the Spaniards until they tried to capture the Maroons. After another hundred or so years, they asked for a cease fire and signed a treaty with Cudjoe, the leader of the Maroons, giving them dominion over the rainforest up in the mountains, provided they would allow the British to raise sugar cane and bananas along the coast. That treaty exists to this day. Only, an American corporation was threatening  to mine bauxite in the Maroons’ rainforest when Kel and I were there. To get to the bottom of the conflict, we drove up a pothole filled road to Accompong and asked for an audience with the Colonel of the Maroons. Surprisingly, he talked to us. Only later did we learn that they did not like strangers in their village, particularly white men. Still, what we didn’t know didn’t hurt us. But it did give me the idea for the story which is really about the Maroons willingness to fight once again for their rain forest. Of course, the White Witch does make cameo appearances throughout the tale, but usually only in the imagination of some other character. 

It was fascinating research that led to a very good thriller. And if you want to see the Maroon/British treaty that Cudjoe signed (with his X because he could neither read nor write), just go on line. The treaty is still there and is validity is still being debated by scholars. 

About the Author

After graduating from the University of Texas School of Law, Larry spent the first half of his professional life as a trial lawyer. He tried well over 300 cases and won more than 95% of them. Although he had not taken a writing class since freshman English (back when they wrote on stone tablets), he figured that he had read enough novels and knew enough about trials, lawyers, judges, and courtrooms that he could do it. Besides, his late, older brother, Thomas Thompson, was one of the best true crime writers to ever set a pen to paper; so, just maybe, there was something in the Thompson gene pool that would be guide him into this new career.  He started writing his first novel about a dozen years ago and published it a couple of years thereafter. He has now written five highly acclaimed legal thrillers. White Witch is number six with many more to come.
Larry is married to his wife, Vicki. He has three children scattered from Colorado to Austin to Boca Raton, and four grandchildren. He has been trying to retire from the law practice to devote full time to writing. Hopefully, that will occur by the end of 2018. He still lives in Houston, but spends his summers in Vail CO, high on a mountain where he is inspired by the beauty of the Rocky Mountains.
His latest book is the captivating thriller, WHITE WITCH.



Thursday, May 17, 2018

Book feature: The Kingdom Queen by J.T. Page Jr. - Win a $25 Gift Card

Title: The Kingdom Queen
Author: J.T. Page
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Format: Ebook

Two young American tourists, Carmen and Cubby, arrive at a mysterious church in present-day Austria. They meet Otto, their tour guide, who leads them to the Silver Chapel. There he weaves an enchanting story involving knights, intrigue, and true love. Otto takes their imaginations on a journey to twelfth-century Europe during the High Middle Ages, a decade after the end of the First Crusade. Princess Margarethe and Theo first meet as children when her father, King Johann, grants knighthood to Sir Josef, Theo’s father. The children are immediately drawn to each other despite the difference in social class. When Theo’s parents are tragically killed, Margarethe swears to love him forever—but is that true? Can their love survive even though they are destined to never marry? Carmen and Cubby have countless questions as the story unfolds, but Otto is always happy to explain and instruct. He tells tales of war, marriage, birth, death, and chivalry as Margarethe and Theo are constantly kept apart. Assassins abound, cultures collide, and the Knights Templar make their presence felt in sometimes surprising ways. Margarethe and Theo vow eternal loyalty, no matter the sacrifice. But will they get their happy ending or remain resigned to the duties of differing stations? Welcome to the new and timeless story of The Kingdom Queen.

Joseph T. Page Jr. has a doctoral degree in business management from Nova Southeastern University. He served as an officer in the U.S. Army for over twenty years, commanded military units on three continents, and is a combat veteran. He also worked as a Department of Defense contractor in Europe. He and his wife live in Hawaii.



Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins May 14 and ends on May 26.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on May 27.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview with Dennis Quiles, author of Ordainment Betrayal

Title: Ordainment Betrayal
Author: Dennis Quiles
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Format: Ebook

Jack Steele is an ex–naval intelligence officer turned private investigator who has just proposed to his girlfriend, Martha, over dinner when he sees a bloodied and frightened boy running toward him outside the restaurant. After Martha steps in to protect the boy from the two men in hot pursuit, a gun battle ensues, leaving Jack’s beloved fiancĂ©e dead on the sidewalk. While Jack grapples with the ramifications of her tragic death, he is unwittingly pulled into the dark world of human trafficking at the hands of an Albanian mob doing business near Lake Michigan. Desperate for answers, Jack partners with a Chicago police detective to learn about the organized crime culture and develop a plan to stop the trafficking operation and free their victims before they are sold on the black market. As Jack puts his own life on the line, he must battle the powerful Catholic Church and stop the cunning exploits of a deranged pedophile priest who believes he is doing God’s work by turning children into little angels. But will Jack manage to accomplish his heroic mission before it is too late for more innocent victims? Ordainment Betrayal shares the thrilling tale of a former intelligence agent’s dangerous quest to stop an Albanian human trafficking operation in collusion with the Roman Catholic Church..


How did you come up with the idea?
I attended a seminar at the Chicago State University and learned about human trafficking and how this epidemic is corrupting our society.  The lack of knowledge and danger to victims inspire me to write something about this abusive behavior and to skillfully place my thoughts in writing in an entertaining and exciting read.F

What kind of research did you do before and during the writing of your book?
I researched everything. Even when I know the subject I want to make sure that I am providing the reader with a good credible fiction.  So I google everything, talk to people, etc. In this particular book, I spoke to the FBI, the human trafficking victims attorneys in Chicago, Chicago municipality social workers who handle HT-Victims, agencies that help victims, and the community.  I had to research a lot to make sure that I could produce a very credible story.

Can you give us a short excerpt?
The splash of freezing water stirred me from oblivion. One moment
I was unconscious, and the next moment I was back in the world,
with all its pain, agony, and despair. I heard screams coming from
somewhere. I opened my eyes and strained to see where I was. The
last thing I remembered was the gunfight in the Drake Hotel, the
bullets flying, and the deafening reports of automatic gunfire. And
then I remembered the explosion.
I gritted my teeth. I forced myself to be strong. I realized that I
was hanging like a piece of frozen meat. My situation was precarious.
I tried to break free, but both my hands were bound above my head.
I was naked and barely standing on a cold, wet stone floor.
A man standing next to me held a red plastic bucket. On the
floor, several pieces of ice floated away on the water toward a nearby
water drain. I quickly assessed the situation. A thousand thoughts
ran through my well-trained mind, calculating every possibility I
could imagine. Many questions remained unanswered, chief among
them how I had gotten here and, moreover, how I could get out of
this situation. Unfortunately, following every possible solution I could
come up with at this time to its conclusion confirmed that, at this very
moment, I was doomed, alone, and helpless.

In your own experience, is it hard to get a fiction book published today? How did you do it?
Not at all. With the many non-traditional self-publishing companies out there is quick easy to publish a book. Nevertheless, no self-publishing agency will give you the time of day unless they know that you have a good product and that you can write.  Is very easy to seek one self-publishing agency select the best service package that fit your need and submit your work. The self-publishing agency takes it from there and guides you along the way to publish your book.

Dennis Quiles earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in business administration. A US military veteran and an accomplished professional of the protection business, he is the director of global security for one of the world’s largest multinational corporations. Quiles and his wife have three children and currently live in Illinois. This is his third book.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Meet Christine Amsden, Author of FROZEN and the Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective Series

Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, which scars the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams.

Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. In addition to being a writer, she's a mom and freelance editor.

Social Media Links:
· Blog


Apparently, life doesn’t end when you get married.
When a couple freezes to death on a fifty degree day, Cassie is called in to investigate. The couple ran a daycare out of their home, making preschoolers the key witnesses and even the prime suspects.
Two of those preschoolers are Cassie’s youngest siblings, suggesting conditions at home are worse than she feared. As Cassie struggles to care for her family, she must face the truth about her mother’s slide into depression, which seems to be taking the entire town with it.
Then Cassie, too, is attacked by the supernatural cold. She has to think fast to survive, and her actions cause a rift between her and her husband.
No, life doesn’t end after marriage. All hell can break loose at any time.


Buy Links

Frozen (Cassie Scot Book Seven)

Print Release: July 15, 2018
Audiobook Release: TBA
Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective (Cassie Scot Book One)
Q: Congratulations on the release of your book, Frozen. What was your inspiration for it?
A: Cassie herself inspired me to write another story for her! Frozen is the seventh book in the Cassie Scot saga, which was originally supposed to end with book four. And to be clear, the first four books do tell a satisfying story, enough that I am now calling them “the original quartet.” But two of Cassie’s friends demanded spin-offs, giving me Madison’s Song (five) and Kaitlin’s Tale (six).

Yet Cassie herself still spoke to me sometimes, telling me what she was up to, and what she said most clearly became the tagline for this book and is even the first sentence of the novel: Life doesn’t end when you get married!

So true. :)

Q: Why was the writing of this book important for you?
A: Frozen was an affirmation of healing after years of dealing with depression and anxiety.

After I wrote Kaitlin’s Tale (book six), I suffered a long period of burnout. It was two years before I produced anything new, and what I learned during those two years drives my life now.

Writing is, first and foremost, supposed to be fun. I lost sight of that as I strove to reach unrealistic sales goals. And the truth is, I always did want to write more Cassie books, it just didn’t make a whole lot of business sense to do so. I needed a new series to draw in new readers.

When I finally let myself write Frozen, I was truly and completely living my new truth – that I’m writing for me. I publish for my loyal fans, but as long as at least some people are getting pleasure from my books, I no longer care how many copies I sell.

Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?
A: I dabbled with this idea during my period of burnout, but when I finally sat down to write it in the summer of 2017, it came to life very quickly. I started in mid-June, paused for two weeks while I went on vacation and another four while I revised something else, then finished in late September. Altogether, this didn’t even take three months to write.

The process was as the smoothest I’ve ever experienced. Part of it, I’m sure, is practice. I’m well into double digit books now (some of them are trunked), have been a freelance editor for almost seven years, and am very familiar with the process. But I was also in the right head space, which is something easily underestimated. The difference between pushing myself to write and letting myself write proved its worth for Frozen.

Q: What is the one thing you hope readers will take away from your book?
A: Enjoyment. And maybe a sleepless night because they stayed up all night to finish! (Insert evil laugh.)

Q: What discoveries or surprises did you experience while writing this book?
A: That Cassie actually still has quite a few issues to work out. Her character arc in the first four books was fairly complete, but as I say in the book, “I guess in real life, self-actualization is a never-ending process rather than the dramatic culmination of a series of events. It does make for a handy conclusion to a memoir, though.”

Q: How do you define success as an author?
A: I’m successful if I’m enjoying what I do, and making others happy.

Q: Could you talk a little bit about your publishing process?
A: I use a small press, Twilight Times Books, which has published all my books to date. They take care of cover art, editing, formatting, production, etc., making the process fairly easy for me. I still have to handle a lot of marketing.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring nonfiction writers? Could you offer some tips or resources that have been helpful to you?
A: Remember that, first and foremost, writing is supposed to e fun. If you’re not doing it because you love it, you’re in the wrong line of work!

Q:  Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
A: If you haven’t read the first Cassie books, start there. I think you could probably pick up Frozen and more or less understand what’s going on – it definitely begins a new arc – but you’re going to miss a lot of subtext. Series are really best read in order, which is why I decided to put “Book Seven” right on the cover!

If you have already read the earlier books, I hope you’ll give this new adventure a try. My best guess right now is that the new plot arc begun in Frozen will take three books to complete. But as with the other books, Frozen has its own mystery arc that is solved in this volume, giving you some resolution while (hopefully) making you want more!