Tag Archives: #amwriting

New Book Trailer and Excerpt for The Body Market

After the rousing discussion yesterday about tough women characters in thrillers, I was inspired to finish the book trailer for The Body Market. Using the pre-order capability actually got me to prepare ahead of time for the launch–usually I publish as soon as the book’s ready and then end up playing catchup with everything else. Which works in its own way, I guess.

And no, I’m not the most organized (or patient) individual. Thanks for asking 😀

Anyway, here’s the trailer (an excerpt from the book is below):

EXCERPT:

CHAPTER 1

LEINE BASSO CROUCHED in the shadows next to the hulking metal shipping container. The odor of oil mixed with hydraulic fluid and diesel clashed with the briny sea air. Bright spotlights pierced the darkness casting a harsh yellow hue over the container yard. Leine checked her watch: eleven o’clock. Only three hours before the China Blue Star was scheduled to leave port for Hong Kong.

Three hours to find one shipping container in a massive sea of identical containers.

Lou paid off the security guard, which gave Leine only a short window to find the container before he released the dogs.

She adjusted the fit of the pack, tightening the straps so it molded to her body. She’d pared down the equipment as much as she could, but it was never enough.

C’mon, Lou. Give me some good news.

She closed her eyes and imagined the young face in the photograph. A lead from the trafficker’s hard drive had led her to a seaport currently run by cartel thugs on the west coast of Mexico. She hoped she wasn’t too late.

Three hours.

“Leine.” Lou’s voice came over the wireless earpiece.

“I’m here,” she replied.

“Left, three aisles, number fourteen-thirty-four-twelve.”

“Got it.” Gun drawn and keeping to the shadows, Leine moved along first one aisle, then another, searching for shipping container 143412.

There it is.

Stacked three high, the 40 foot-long steel boxes loomed above her. The one she was looking for was stacked 40 feet in the air on top of two other boxes. She moved to the end of the bottom container and reached for a handhold. Before she could grab the next one, someone seized her pack and yanked her off, slamming her back-first into the pavement. Her nine millimeter skittered across the asphalt, disappearing in the darkness between two containers. The impact took her breath away, the pain from a recent rib injury spiking through her like a spear.

Leine rolled, narrowly missing a kick to the face. She grabbed her attacker’s foot and gave it a vicious twist. The assailant corkscrewed and landed on his side with a grunt.

Ignoring the deep ache in her side and with adrenaline fueling her, she sprang to her feet and kicked the gun from his hand.

The weapon pinged off the side of the container and bounced into the shadows, out of sight. Before she could get clear, he scissored his legs and caught her at the knees. She sprawled forward.

This time she couldn’t ignore the pain.

Winded, she slid a knife free from the sheath attached to her leg. She pushed off the ground, rolling to a crouch as her opponent climbed to his feet, a knife in his hand. He lunged forward. Leine parried with a thrust to his throat. At the last second, he ducked.

They circled each other like roosters in a cockfight, both acutely aware of the weapon in their opponent’s grip. Leine feinted left and rushed forward, scoring a direct hit on the man’s shoulder, slicing through the black fabric of his shirt and drawing blood. He pivoted and came at her from the side but she rotated her torso, narrowly missing a slash to her kidney. She turned to face him as he came at her again. At the last second she stepped wide, allowing him to slip past her. Using his own momentum, she shoved him forward. He stumbled a few steps, recovered, and spun to face her.

Leine swept her arm forward in an arc and released the knife. The blade buried itself in his eye socket, a scream dying in his throat as his hand flew reflexively to his face. He collapsed to the ground as he exhaled his last breath.

“Leine. What’s going on? Are you okay?” Usually unflappable, the sharpness in Lou’s voice betrayed his concern, even over the radio.

“I’m fine.” Her hand supporting her now-throbbing rib, she leaned over the body with a grimace and extracted the knife, wiping the blade on the dead man’s shirt. The tattoos on his forearm suggested cartel affiliation. Leine doubted he was working alone. “Just some unexpected company.”

“Did you find the container?”

Leine scanned the metal boxes above her.

“Got it.”

“I don’t have to tell you to be careful, right?”

“No, but it’s nice to know you care.”

Leine grabbed the man’s legs and gritted her teeth as she dragged the body into the dark gap between containers. She removed his transmitter, turned off the voice activation, and slid on the earpiece. She didn’t want the next gunman to come along and sound the alarm before she had a chance to subdue him. After she retrieved the weapons she checked to see that the body couldn’t be observed from the aisle. Satisfied, she walked back to container 143412.

With a quick glance to be sure the fight hadn’t attracted company, she latched onto a vertical handle at the end of the first container, wedged her toe onto a hinge, and began to climb.

As she was preparing to hoist herself up and over the top of the container, she heard movement below her and froze.

“Where are you?” the voice muttered in Spanish, clear enough for Leine to hear through the transmitter.

She craned her neck, trying to catch a glimpse of the man below her. Compact in bearing and dressed in black like the man she’d just killed, instead of a knife he carried a modified sub machine gun.

“Answer me,” he snapped into his earpiece. When he received no reply, the man stepped over the smear of blood left by his compatriot. It looked like he might continue on when he abruptly stopped. Leine held her breath. If he glanced down, he’d notice the blood. With her left foot wedged onto the barest of toeholds and gripping the top of the container with her left hand, Leine slid her gun out of its holster, ready to fire—something she was loath to do since the sound would bring others.

The man pivoted 180 degrees, scanning the area, his gun in front of him. Leine ignored the muscles screaming in her left hand as the metal cut into her flesh.

He stood still for another moment, observing his surroundings. After a few seconds, he touched his earpiece.

“He’s not here.” The person at the other end acknowledged the transmission. “I’ll keep looking,” the gunman said as he moved out of Leine’s line of sight.

She released her breath in a quiet sigh and slid the gun back into her shoulder holster. With her right hand now free, she grabbed onto the top of the container, relieving her left hand. She waited a couple of beats to make sure the gunman was clear and then pulled herself up and over.

The higher vantage point worked well to monitor the yard. When the other gunman had traveled far enough that he wouldn’t hear her, Leine shrugged out of her pack and set it aside. She stretched flat onto her belly and put her ear to the container. There was no discernible movement inside.

That didn’t mean much.

“I’m on the roof,” she said in a low voice.

“Hear anything?” Lou asked.

“No.”

Leine unzipped the main compartment of the bag and pulled out a battery pack and a mini plasma cutter and placed them on the roof beside her. Next, she reached into another compartment for a fiber optic night vision camera and a collapsible light hood.

She deployed the hood and marked the area to be cut, then flipped the plasma cutter’s switch to on and adjusted the amps. Angling the tip as she cut, the small hole took only a few minutes. Turning off the cutter, she stowed it back inside the pack along with the hood.

Alert for movement on the ground below her, she activated the camera and fed the probe through the hole, watching the video feed on the small LCD monitor as she did. At first, all she could make out were the metal ribs of the container. She fed the line further into the dark interior and a moment later the camera swept past an object. Leine pulled up on the scope to get a better look. The object moved. Two tiny light circles appeared and blinked off and on.

As she angled the camera for a better view, she realized she was looking at a dark-haired girl huddled in the corner, her eyes glowing dots in the camera’s lens. Leine pulled back for a wider shot. Dozens of bodies came into focus, placed side by side on the floor of the container with no room between them. Most were lying prone—except for the young girl.

“I’ve got something,” Leine said into the mic.

Lou let out a sigh as though he’d been holding his breath.

Another girl, this one with light-colored hair, sat up and looked first at the girl in the corner and then at the camera.
Leine’s heart beat faster. From what she could tell, she matched the picture.

Amy.

“Is she there?” Lou’s clipped tone gave away his anxiety.

“Yeah. I think so. And she’s not alone.”

Leine relaxed her shoulders, relief flooding through her.

“Let’s get them out of here, Lou.”


Awesome Authors– Polly Iyer

picture of the authorToday on Awesome Authors I get to interview the lovely and talented Polly Iyer.  As fellow suspense authors, Polly and I have crossed paths through the years and tend to be members of many of the same groups/forums. In that time if there’s one thing I’ve learned about Polly, you definitely know where you stand with her–and believe me, in this biz that’s tres refreshing 😀

Here’s her bio (from the author): Polly Iyer is the author of six suspense novels: Hooked, InSight, Murder Déjà Vu, Threads, and two books–soon to be a third–in the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series, Mind Games and Goddess of the Moon. Her books contain adult language and situations with characters who sometimes tread ethical lines. She grew up on the Massachusetts coast and studied at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. After living in Rome, Italy, Boston, and Atlanta, she now makes her home in the beautiful Piedmont region of South Carolina. She spends her time thinking of ways to make life difficult for her characters. Learn more about her at PollyIyer.com and feel free to email her at PollyIyer at gmail dot com. She loves to hear from her readers.

“The best way for me to develop a character is to become her/him. Really.”

D: Hi Polly! It’s great to have you here. Please tell us something about yourself.

P: Thanks for having me, D.V. I started out as fashion illustrator when department stores actually employed people to draw their ads. I worked for Fairchild Publications out of New England, which included Women’s Wear Daily and W. Then I switched to commercial art when I moved to Atlanta and drew storyboards for television commercials. When my husband and I started an import/design business, I stopped drawing. I’m really not sure artists do what I did back then anymore. Computers have taken over that field. The import business led to a home furnishings store, along with a custom frame shop. So I still worked in the arts. Then the writing bug hit, and goodbye store. I promise this is my last career.

D: Sounds familiar 🙂 Tell us about your latest release in two sentences.cover for threads

P: Threads took 13 years for me to write and publish. It’s about a woman’s worst nightmare.

D: You write in a few different genres, including mystery/suspense and erotica. How difficult is it to switch gears between the different genres? How do you handle writing under a pseudonym as well as your own name (e.g., marketing, fans, etc.)?

P: This is a tough one, because my erotic author persona is the forgotten stepchild. I started out paying attention to her, but after three books I really haven’t promoted her as much as I should. Actually, I kind of let her go. I do have another book half-finished, and I may start bringing her back. She doesn’t feel like me, so that’s a problem. Besides, she’s cuter and younger and makes me jealous.

D: LOL. Why did you decide to “go indie”? What was your road to publication like?

P: I wrote my first erotic romance because I thought it might be a way to break into publishing, though I’d never read the genre. I was right and found two great epublishers for my books while my agent tried to find publishers for a couple of my suspense novels. When that didn’t happen, I decided to publish them myself. It was a good decision, and I’ve never looked back. I now have six books on Amazon with a couple of others on the way.

“Last year, I pulled all my books off Amazon KDP Select and put them with a distributor.”

D: What kind of marketing has worked best for you?

P: I’m really not sure I can pinpoint what works and what doesn’t. I love Facebook for the camaraderie, but I try not to pimp my books unless I have a reason. I don’t like Twitter. I do it, but I don’t like it. Does it work? I have friends who swear by it. Of course, they have 40K followers. That would take too much time for me. Last year, I pulled all my books off Amazon KDP Select and put them with a distributor. That meant my books would be on all the platforms—B&N, Apple, Kobo, etc.—libraries, and foreign wholesalers. I wish I could say that worked, but it didn’t. I gave it a year and feel now that I lost a good bit of revenue by doing that. I went back on Select. I made more on borrows in the first month than I made in any month with the distributor. I offered a couple of free books, and my sales have definitely increased. So that has worked for me better than all the social media, and I didn’t have to do much pushing my books or me down anyone’s throat.

D: I totally get not wanting to force books down people’s throat. Readers don’t like it.

What’s your process like? Do you sit down with an idea and just go with it, or do you plot the story, do character sketches, etc., or something in between?

P: I get an idea and just go with it. I don’t plot, but I know where I want to end up. The best way for me to develop a character is to become her/him. Really. I get into their heads as if I were them. I had wanted to be an actress when I was young, so maybe that’s my way of acting. All I know is it works. I edit as I go because as the story develops, earlier plot points have to be changed, and I’m afraid I’ll forget to do that. I don’t trust myself to do it later. Things come up in my stories that I know I never would have thought of if I’d plotted. I’ve written ten books that way and a few I haven’t finished, so it works for me.

D: As indies, we need to know about every facet of publishing from self-editing to marketing to formatting to cover design to accounting. Which of these do you tackle and which do you hire out, if any?

P: I mentioned self-editing, but when I’m finished, I turn it over to an editor who’s a writer and a grammarian, Ellis Vidler. She’s a critique partner and friend, so we keep in touch on a daily basis anyway, and we’re there for each other when needed. I also have another excellent critique partner, Maggie Toussaint. I don’t know what I’d do without them. I do my own formatting for ebooks and for paperback. I also do all my own covers. After a career in the arts, it’s one way of keeping my tired old hands in the visually creative part of writing. Besides, it’s what I did, and I doubt I’d be happy with anyone else’s vision of my books.

“Most writers starting out, unless they’ve gone through a master’s program, don’t know what they don’t know.”

D: What are you currently working on?

cover for BacklashP: I’m working on the third book of the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series, Backlash. This one has been especially difficult because I’m a stand-alone writer and love to develop the characters. That’s harder to do as a series progresses, which is why series get tired unless we can find something new to write about the characters. I’m almost finished. It’s also hard to keep the quality up to what readers of the first two books expect. I would hate to disappoint them.

D: Which writers have inspired you?

P: I’ve always been a reader of dark novels. I love Dennis Lehane, James Lee Burke, John Sandford, Karin Slaughter, Mo Hayder, early Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy, John Grisham, and Robert Crais. For lighter fare, I love some of the writers of the 70s like Sidney Sheldon, Harold Robbins, Leon Uris, and Judith Kranz. They wrote good stories I loved reading.

D: What was the worst advice you ever received about writing? Best?

P: Worst? Write what you know. Why would I? Part of the fun for me is writing what I don’t know. Now if I were an ex-secret agent or an adventurer, maybe I would. But I’m not. I have a good imagination, and I use it. Best advice? Write what I want to write the way I want to write it. I can’t write to the market just to sell books. I don’t play safe, and that’s the way I like it.

“Part of the fun for me is writing what I don’t know.”

D: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

P: Get readers who will tell you the truth to read your manuscripts. And get an editor. Join groups. Keep up with what’s going on in the publishing business. Most writers starting out, unless they’ve gone through a master’s program, don’t know what they don’t know. I sure didn’t, not that I know everything now.

D: Where do you see yourself in five years?

P: Doing what I’m doing now. This is my most fun career because I can become so many other people.

D: Where do you think publishing is headed?

P: If publishers and Amazon can stop their silly power plays, the future of publishing should embrace both electronic and paper books. I’d like to see new respect to indie authors instead of the distinctions being made that separate us into two camps. I just went to a big conference and was barred from being on a panel because I wasn’t traditionally published. I saw first-time authors on the panels who had no portfolio of reviews and rankings. That should stop, and I hope it does.

D: My sentiments, exactly. Thanks so much for stopping by today, Polly–good luck with Backlash!

P: Again, D.V., thanks for having me. Your questions were fun and made me think.

D: Here’s an excerpt from Polly’s book, Threads:

(Begin EXCERPT:)

The artsy crowd packed the gallery’s opening night. Once inside, Alan grabbed two champagne flutes off the tray of a roaming waiter, giving him the eye and getting one back.

“Half the city’s here. Hey, check out that couple,” he whispered in Miranda’s ear. “I’ll tell you all about those two tomorrow. Scandalous. Clue―that’s not his wife. In fact,” Alan cupped his hand around her ear, “she’s not a she.”

“Huh? You’re kidding.”

“Nope. Oh, there’s Jeffrey. Mind if I go over and thank him for cluing us in on this?”

Miranda waved him on. “I’m a big girl, Alan. I can take care of myself.”

“Be right back.”

She stole another peek at the object of Alan’s gossip―sheesh, who’d’ve thought? After stopping to chat with a few acquaintances, she continued her stroll around the gallery, listening to varying reviews of the art.

The paintings, displayed on white walls with halogen spots, hung in three different abstract groups―figuratives, landscapes, and paintings the art world might describe as “what the fuck.” The artist had wielded his brush with thick, vibrant color, creating an impression of movement and energy. Miranda stood back, sipped her champagne, and squinted at each one. The portraits were easy to distinguish as were the landscapes, but she couldn’t for the life of her define the subject matter of the third category, and their titles didn’t help. Dream #1 was anything but dreamy. More like a nightmare.

“Well, what do you think?” a deep, slightly accented voice from behind her asked. “Do you like them?”

She turned to the tall, exotically handsome man who asked her opinion. He wore his dark brown hair long enough to partially cover a small diamond stud, and his smile revealed unnaturally white teeth. But his most riveting feature was his eyes―black and piercing and intensely focused on her. Heat rose on her face as those same eyes flashed with amusement at the obvious impact he had on her. She couldn’t help herself. The man could have been a movie-star idol.

“I haven’t had a chance to study them all,” she said, “but I like a few.”

“And the others?”

She stood back, deliberating, then faced him square on. “Suck.”

Gorgeous burst out laughing. People turned to see what happened. “I love it. A breath of fresh air.”

“Well, I mean, take that one.” She pointed to a large canvas with a black figure embracing a red figure. “Who are they supposed to be? Fred and Ginger?”

“The black figure is Medea.”

“What’s she doing? Is she―” Miranda stopped when she figured out the action in the painting. She shuddered. “Now I know I don’t like it. The artist―what’s his name, I forgot―must be a whack job.”

“Hmm, could be.”

“Where is he anyway? Point him out.”

A subtle bow accompanied his offered hand. “Stephen Baltraine, at your service,” he said with a playful smile. His gaze remained on her face, exactly where it had been throughout their conversation.

Miranda’s cheeks flamed. “My father always said anyone asking my opinion better be ready for it.” She forced a smile. “I should learn to keep my mouth shut until I know who I’m talking to.”

“I’m just glad you spoke softly.”

“I don’t suppose I could start over and say it’s fabulously frenetic and original, could I?”

He leaned into her. “Not a chance.

(End EXCERPT)

You can find out more about Polly Iyer at her website, on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Audible.

 


Awesome Authors–Susan Russo Anderson

Today on Awesome Authors I’m pleased to introduce Susan Russo Anderson, author of the Serafina Florio historical mysteries. I firstgagasue_3 became aware of Susan on Twitter and through the fabulous writer’s group, Sisters in Crime, then went on to work with her on an anthology with several other talented indie authors. The first book in her intriguing mystery series, DEATH OF A SERPENT, is set in nineteenth-century Italy and features Serafina Florio, an amateur sleuth who happens to be a midwife. Kindle Book Review says DEATH OF A SERPENT is “… for readers who love mystery/suspense and drama that will propel you into another world and hold you spellbound until the end.”

D: Hi Susan! It’s great to have you here. Please tell us something about yourself.

 S: Thanks, DV, it’s a thrill to be here. Wow, great question, where do I start? I’m just a simple mom and gran doing the best she can to write great stuff. And I love the act of writing.

 But I did read this quote from Jean Paul Sartre, “We are our choices.” And if I could choose the perfect activity it would be eating ice cream and sipping the perfect coffee while writing in the morning. And the next best thing is reading an unputdownable book.

 And although I love my kindle and the ability to carry lots of books wherever I go to say nothing of the ability to sneak read a book instead of listening to a boring sermon, I still love bookstores and rambling through them. There’s one in a resort town in Michigan that I love going to. It’s right next to an ice cream store and they play opera and it’s crowded with families on vacation and it’s just fun to be there.

 D: Bookstores and libraries—gotta love any place with books. 🙂 You write the Serafina Florio mysteries set in nineteenth-century Italy. What inspired you to write an historical mystery series? What did you find particularly interesting when doing research?

S: I’ve always found European history from 1848 onward to be fascinating, the yearning for freedom that everyone had. It started, I guess, with the American Revolution. And then of course there was the French Revolution. And all of a sudden people all over Europe showed an Covers_600unbelievable thirst for freedom and fought to overthrow their oppressors.

“I’ve always found European history from 1848 onward to be fascinating, the yearning for freedom that everyone had…”

 Well, it’s a long story, but the Italian Revolution in the 1860s was a devastation for Sicily. There were riots and epidemics and famine and ruin all over the place. It’s in this setting that Serafina does her sleuthing. And yet in this setting, life managed to go on. For me, someone who’s always had a cushy life, I just can’t imagine how people can go all normal, continuing on with their life in the face of hunger and catastrophe.

 I read this story of a mother who around dinner time would lock the windows and doors and have her children bang on pans while she rattled the plates so that the neighbors would think they were preparing the meal and wouldn’t know they couldn’t afford to eat. That story really got to me. It told me about the resilience of the human spirit.

 D: No kidding. People are amazing, especially in times of distress. Describe your newest release, DEATH IN BAGHERIA, in two sentences.

 S: When a headstrong aristocrat commissions Serafina to find her mother’s poisoner, the midwife turned sleuth travels to a windswept villa on Sicily’s gold coast where she begins her investigation of the baroness’s death. With the help of her friend, Rosa, two daring servants, and an unexpected visitor, she uncovers ugly entanglements that portend dire misfortune for the baroness’s heirs.

 D: What’s your favorite line from the book?

 S: In my Serafina books it’s Rosa who always gets the best lines. She is totally unfettered by convention, having been a madam. At the time of the story, she is retired and very rich and of a certain age so she takes lots of pleasure in food. It so happens that the cuisine at Villa Caterina where the mystery takes place is uninspired to say the least so Rosa is disgruntled for most of their stay. There’s an incident with the cook where we don’t know if she’ll recover but when Rosa hears that the cook survives, she says, “It figures. She can’t cook so she’ll live forever.”

 D: Rosa was definitely one of my favorite characters in Death of a Serpent. Who is your favorite character and why?

 S: My favorite character would have to be Serafina. She has faults; she is exuberant and colorful; she does most of the writing; she has a sixth sense, something I’d love to have; most important, she never gives up.

“…She has a sixth sense, something I’d love to have…”

 D: What are you currently working on?

 S: I’m working on two books at the same time, something I’ve never done before, two different series. I’m writing the fourth book in the Serafina Florio mystery series. She’s commissioned to go to Paris to investigate the death of Loffredo’s estranged wife. The plot is exciting and different and complex for many different reasons. The working title is Murder on the Rue Cassette and since I love Paris, even the Paris of the 1870s, I’m loving the writing experience.

 And I’m writing the first book of the Fina Fitzgibbons mystery series. She’s the great-great granddaughter of Serafina, named after her and inherits her notebooks and a brownstone Serafina bought when she arrived in this country. Fina is much younger, early twenties, and lives in Brooklyn with her boyfriend, Clancy, a cop assigned to the 84th Precinct. The working title is Dead In Brooklyn.

 D: What a great idea! Working an ancestral thread into your mysteries makes sense—it becomes a continuation of the original series. What advice would you give aspiring writers?

 S: Immerse yourself in the world you create and don’t fear what others might think.

 D: Sage advice, Susan. What’s the worst advice you received from someone about writing?

 S: Hmmm, let me think. That would have to be all those prejudicial rules against adverbs and adjectives. They’re a prison.

 D: LOL. They certainly can be. What do you like to read?DeathInBagheria_600

 S: Mysteries, thrillers, literary fiction.

“Immerse yourself in the world you create and don’t fear what others might think.”

 D: What do you do when you’re not writing?

 S: Social networking, working out, walking, hanging out with my grandkids.

 D: Tell us about the most exciting place you have ever visited.

 S: I’ve been to lots of exciting places—Iraq, most countries in Europe—but the most exciting of all is the world of the imagination. John Milton said it much better, though: “The mind is its own place and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

 D: Love that quote. So true. What jobs other than writer have you held?

 S: I taught creative writing, worked for an airline, for an opera company, for lots of advertising agencies, and for a publisher.

 D: If you could time-travel, where would you go and why?

 S: Paris, August 1944. I’d love to experience firsthand the excitement of the liberation

 D: I think Paris is a good bet in just about any timeline. Liberation day would be an amazing experience.

I’d love it if you’d provide an excerpt of DEATH IN BAGHERIA for us to read…

S: In this excerpt from Death In Bagheria, Serafina and Rosa talk to the baron, husband of the deceased whose death Serafina has been commissioned to investigate:

Bagheria, Sicily. March 1870

“The baron was showing me his new steamer. You can see it through the telescope if you like.”

Rosa shook her head, dismissing the offer with a wave of her hand.

He smiled at the madam. “In the harbor now, being loaded with supplies.”

“It sails when?” Rosa asked.

“Late today.” He paced before them. “We hope to make North America in ten days, not a record, but respectable, especially for this time of year—early for steaming into northern waters.”

“Do you carry passengers?”

He nodded. “A few. There’s room for over two hundred men, women, and children, most of them in steerage, but these days, our profit is from carrying cargo, not people; now we ship citrus to New York and Boston, perhaps New Orleans or San Francisco in the future.” He rubbed his hands together. “Next year, my son tells me, when families who can afford better accommodation begin to leave, we plan on refitting part of the upper deck with first-class cabins, but for now, our need is for space below deck.”

“When who begins to leave?” Rosa asked.

“Our bankers bet on hard times, a mass exodus from Sicily within the next five years, growing stronger in the next decades.”

Serafina and Rosa were silent.

“There’s unrest all over the Europe. I’m afraid for France, that idiot Emperor trying to slap around the Kaiser—doesn’t know what he’s in for. And Italy struggles while Garibaldi fights Austria and the papal states. If more banks fail, the future of the merchant class in the south will be grim. The new world calls, and that’s where we come in.” The baron smiled.

Serafina swallowed. She imagined her son, Vicenzu, looking out at her from behind the windows of their empty apothecary shop, saw in her mind the streets of Oltramari which, lately, seemed rustier, dustier. But no, she rejected his words: after all, what did he know? She turned to Rosa, who caught her mood, reached over, and patted her hand.

“The ship’s named after the baroness,” Serafina said, looking at Rosa.

The baron nodded.

“A shame she’s missing this day,” Serafina said.

He furrowed his brows. “Afraid you’re wrong there. She wanted nothing to do with our business. She hated it. How did she think …” His question hung in the air.

To break the mood, Rosa said, “Such an honor, having a ship named after—”

“Hated all talk of business.” Red faced, the baron heaved himself over to the hearth, grabbed an iron, and poked at smoldering embers. “Drat those servants! Don’t know how to tend a fire?”

Recovering somewhat, he sat across from them and crossed his legs. “What is it you wish to discuss—my married life? How my wife loathed me, couldn’t bear the sight of me? How we slept in separate rooms, seldom spoke? How she never cared a fig for my business, didn’t want to hear my thoughts on European history or its future? I disgusted her! I suppose she assumed aristocrats cultivated coins from the soil or grew them in huge pots and stored them in the larder. Unspeakably stubborn, Caterina, just like her father and his father before him. Blind to the change, killing themselves out, that’s what they’re doing. But …” He looked up at her portrait, then at a spot in the room as if he could see her shade. “She was so beautiful, like an angel when she walked into a room, and a poet with words, so charming, they flowed from her lips.” He stopped, as if reluctant to leave the memory. “And I loved her.”

The two women were silent until Serafina asked, “Your business, is that what killed her?”

*****

D: Thank you so much for being here today, Susan. I look forward to reading the rest of the Serafina Florio series. I’m also eagerly anticipating her great-great granddaughter’s own books. 🙂

Links to find out more about Susan are below:

 Susan’s Bio:

Susan Russo Anderson is a writer, a mother, a grandmother, a widow, a member of Sisters In Crime, a graduate of Marquette University. She has taught language arts and creative writing, worked for a publisher, an airline, an opera company. Like Faulkner’s Dilsey, she’s seen the best and the worst, the first and the last. Through it all, and to understand it somewhat, she writes.

DEATH OF A SERPENT, the first in the Serafina Florio series, published January 2012. It began as a painting of the Lower East Side and wound up as a mystery story. NO MORE BROTHERS, a novella, published May 2012, the second in the Serafina Florio series. The third book, DEATH IN BAGHERIA, published in December. You can read excerpts on Amazon and on her websites, http://www.susanrussoanderson.com  and http://www.writingsleuth.com

In between writing, revising and editing, she writes for several blogs and reviews books.

Website: http://susanrussoanderson.com

Twitter: @susanrussoander

FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Russo-Anderson/349374975075796

Amazon author’s page: http://www.amazon.com/Susan-Russo-Anderson/e/B006VCJ0ZC


Virtual Book Tour

Orangeberry Book ToursWell, I’ve decided to bite the bullet and go on a 30-day virtual book tour for Bad Traffick. After much consideration (and other writer’s recommendations), I chose Orangeberry Book Tours to set it up (who has time to do their own these days?). So far, they’ve been pretty good at finding interesting places to post info about the book. A huge shout out to Dora, who has responded quickly and professionally to all my inane questions. The tour itself will be a combination of interviews, book features, blog posts and reviews, along with a variety of Twitter-blasting shenanigans that I can’t even begin to explain 🙂  It’s all good.

I’ll do a post after everything is over, once I’ve figured out the pros and cons of this particular type of tour. I’m interested in other people’s experiences with virtual tours–please leave a post in the comment section if you have any advice or ideas. Or, just leave a comment. I love hearing from you folks!

Below are links to the stops during the first couple of weeks, in case you want to mosey on over and show your support. I’ll be doing a giveaway (books and other schwag) on this blog at the end of the tour to three random commenters, so enter early and often by leaving a comment at these venues:

2nd April – Book Review & Author Interview at Mommy Adventures

3rd April – Guest Post at The Bunny’s Review

4th April – Twitter Blast with OB Book Tours

5th April – Book Review & Author Interview at The Reading Cat

6th April – Guest Post at Blog-A-Licious Authors

7th April – Author Interview at Working for Books

8th April – Book Review & Author Interview at Author’s Friend

9th April – Guest Post at High Class Books

10th April – Book Review & Author Interview at The Next Big Thing

11th April – Book Review & Guest Post at Books & More Books

12th April – Book Review at Brainy Book Reads

13th April – Guest Post at Life Altering Reads

14th April – Book Review at Aspiring Book Reviews

15th April –  Author Interview at City of Book Reviews

Thanks and happy SPRING, everybody!


%d bloggers like this: