Monday, January 20, 2020

A new multi author series, coming soon!!!



Here is a first glimpse into what I've been up to lately: heading a new multi-author series where each author contributes a thriller, and—get this!—weaves in scenes with guest characters penned by the other authors in the team. 
The principal characters in the series are all high-tech crime fighters, even if they are amateur sleuths. They are connected to several plots in this series, lending their state-of-the-art skills to solve several of the mysteries.
The authors are a team, and so are their characters!
With this in mind, I wrote several brand new dialogs for my thriller, Virtually Lace. This book will be taken out of the Ash Suspense Thrillers series and become volume 1 of the new series, High Tech Crime Fighters. I will also redesign the cover and create covers for all the new volumes in the multi-author series. The image below gives you a hint of the new design, it is on the drafting board as we speak!
My guest character is Michael Foreman, penned by Richard I. Katz in his upcoming new thriller, Virtually Undead
Michael Foreman is 6'2" tall and thin, with long ‘surgeon's fingers.’ He's an excellent pianist, particularly classical, though he has a secret passion for boogie-woogie. He never played sports in school and doesn't appear physically formidable, aside from his height, but he has excellent eye/hand coordination and is more athletic than he looks. His parents are archaeologists, and often, when he was a child, dumped him either with his aunt's family or his grandparents as they went off on digs. He is somewhat emotionally repressed.
Here is one of his dialogs with my character Michael Morse(narrated by my wonderful voice artist, Don Warrick):

A sense of loneliness swept through him, perhaps because of the chill. When his cellphone started buzzing, he jumped at the opportunity to talk to someone, anyone, even if it was some wrong number. It wasn’t. It was Dr. Michael Forman, whose call the other day had been left unanswered. Why on earth would this successful man, who had such an illustrious education, be looking for a high school dropout like him?
“Michael Morse?” said the doctor. His voice was raspy. Tired, too, perhaps because of spending long hours at the ER, or because of the mixed blessing of saving some of his patients, losing others. 
“Yes, that’s me.”
“I’ve been trying to get in touch with you for some time now. Let me introduce myself—”
“I know who you are,” Michael blurted out.
At the other end, the man gasped. “You do?”
Michael recalled seeing his picture somewhere: a handsome fellow, older than him by five years or so, but already weighed down, perhaps by the gravity of his profession, his face pasty as if he rarely saw the light of day. In his eyes was an unmistakable look, the look of being tired, even bored with life, as if he would rather escape the all-too-bright glare of professional success and do something entirely different. Play the drums, maybe.
“Doctor Forman,” said Michael, “a few months ago I read scores of your abstracts, which I found online. Fascinating research. Of course, I’m unqualified to fully understand it.”
“Oh, I’m flattered,” the man said, in a somewhat uneasy manner. There was a repetitive sound at the other end. Perhaps he was drumming over his cellphone with those long surgeon fingers of his.
The conversation came to a halt, so finally, Michael was moved to explain, “At the time, I wanted my girlfriend to get a second opinion from the best brain surgeon out there, but since then—”
“She’s stopped dating you?”
“She’s recovered.”
In return Dr. Foreman gave a chuckle, or that’s how it sounded to Michael Morse. So, he felt compelled to clarify. “She’s awakened from her coma—but what caused it in the first place remains a constant source of pain. You see, Ash was raped and severely beaten. Even worse: to this day, she doesn’t know the identity of the attacker.”
“Sorry to hear it,” said Dr. Foreman. “Of course, at this point I can’t do much to help—but I know someone who can.”
“Really? Who?”
“My cousin, Rachel Foreman. She’s in Chicago. A few years back, she worked at a series of jobs at non-profit organizations, devoting herself to helping abused women or women otherwise down on their luck. Let me text you her number.”
“Thank you, but I don’t think Ash will want to talk with her.”
“Why not?”
Feeling suddenly choked, Michael uttered a sigh. “Because. Ash seems to think that no one can possibly understand what she’s gone through.”
Well then.” Dr. Foreman cleared his throat, which seemed to remove his cool, professional tone. This was personal. “Tell her that Rachel, too, suffered an ordeal of a horrific nature.”  
“Even so,” said Michael, shaking his head.
“To make a long story short, my cousin was kidnapped on the highway, then fitted with a suicide vest loaded with TNT, part of a blackmail scheme against her family, you see. Moments after the bad guys got what they wanted, the vest exploded.”
“Oh no!”
“So, Rachel was scarred for life, in more ways than one. She’s still healing, which allows her to understand pain like no one else can.”
“You say she’s in Chicago?”
“She is, but nowadays, distance is immaterial. I know she can do wonders for Ash, even over the phone.”
“I’ll give Ash her number,” said Michael Morse. “Who knows, maybe she’ll call.”
He took a breath and hope filled him. Could his sweetheart emerge from that dark, tight place where she seems to have been trapped?  

Meanwhile, Dr. Foreman said, “So, I’m glad to hear you don’t need my professional advice anymore. At this point, I need yours.”
Michael was flabbergasted, but managed, somehow, to mutter, “Mine? About what?”
“Virtual Reality,” said Dr. Foreman. “I’ve heard you’re unmatched in designing VR systems. Games, in particular.”
Michael Morse couldn’t help but beam with pride. “I’ve done my own Dungeons & Dragons game, back in high school, and it was good enough to fool the senses, if I say so myself.”
“So I’ve heard! A friend of mine—you may know him, Ralph Guthrey—told me it was the most brilliant, the most immersive version he’d ever played.”
“Oh, Ralph likes to exaggerate,” said Michael, waving a hand as if to dismiss the compliment and at the same time knowing this is a failed attempt at humility. “I admit, there’s nothing I enjoy better than riding upon the scaly backs of dinosaurs, surveying some prehistoric landscape. You should try that yourself, sometime!” 
“Can we meet?”
“Where?”
Dr. Foreman sounded surprisingly ready for this question. “I’m attending a neurosurgical conference in San Diego and would appreciate it if you came to hear my talk.”
Michael hesitated, so Doctor Forman pressed on, weaving in his technical jargon with great ease. “It’s about the interpretation of functional MRI in association with electroencephalography to map brain activity. Don’t worry, it’s more straightforward than it sounds. Afterwards, we can discuss Virtual Reality, perhaps over a glass of scotch at the bar.”
In a blink, Michael found himself overcome by curiosity. Still, he had trouble picturing himself mingling with doctors and investors dressed in suits and ties at some elegant conference hall. “I don’t think I’ll fit in with your kind of crowd.”
“Never mind that,” said Dr. Foreman. “I have a lot to discuss with you. I’m trying to develop systems to diagnose brain damage and compensate for it. Funds I can get, but need someone with your skills to make this dream a reality.”
“You mean, virtually.”
“That’s just what I mean. So, will you come, Michael?”
“Let me think it over.”



(Volume II of Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance)
Audible: US UK FR DE
Audiobook: Amazon US Amazon UK iTunes
Paperback: Amazon


Haunted by discovering the body of a beautiful dancer, Michael sets out to create a virtual reality simulation of her murder. Can he bring the mystery to life? Can he solve its clues in time, before the killer turns on the woman he loves, Ash?

Saturday, January 11, 2020

The writing is exquisite!

David F. Berens is an independent publisher and author of multiple tropical thrillers. He has traveled up and down the East Coast and has been a tourist at every beach from Key West to Pawleys Island. Today he calls Knoxville, Tennessee home, but constantly dreams of sun and sand and ocean breezes. He has a beautiful wife, a rambunctious little girl and a happy little boy who remind him daily of why he is alive. I'm thrilled to find his review for my WWII Thriller, Marriage before Death:

Reviewed in the United States on January 10, 2020
So, I'll be honest and tell you I have not read the first 4 books in this series, but I will soon. I was absolutely enthralled with the beautiful writing in this book. It is so vividly worded that I found myself thinking this would make an excellent movie!
This is a love story wrapped in a thriller and I was turning pages long into the night to see what happened next. I won't spoil the plot for you, but I will tell you this story takes place through flashbacks that are hindered by Alzheimer's—a disease that has touched my own family. One of the major characters, Natasha, struggles with the disease as the story unfolds and the author makes it so real that I often found myself nodding and fighting back tears.

Do yourself a favor and get this book. I feel like maybe the story would be EVEN RICHER with a reading of the other 4, so ... I'll be downloading those as well.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Ash is once again getting into tight spots

A short & sweet review for my medical thriller, Overdose:

Reviewed in the United States on December 28, 2019
I love medical myteries and this novel has it all! Ash is once again getting into tight spots trying to get the needed answers. She gets awoke needed help from her best "bud" and from from he trusty four legged companion.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

I can barely guess the border between reality and hallucination

From this point on, I can barely guess the border between reality and hallucination.
Here I am, wandering down long, endless hospital corridors, trying desperately to get out. Somehow I know these are the corridors of my mind, but knowing is of no help to me, because I’m freaked out by all the locked doors. And even more than that, I’m intimidated by the crowd.
I struggle past unfamiliar people, all of whom have empty stares. They, too, are searching for a way out of this labyrinth. In a flash, one of the doors creaks open. I slip through it, then go up a narrow staircase that opens onto the roof, where I find myself clinging to the edge of a starless night, with no way to jump off. 
Behind me, more and more people climb the stairs. Together, they force me to lay on the cold cement floor, which gives me chills. Among the multitude of blank faces, I recognize Dr. Patel. He says, “After the surgery, several places need to be stitched.”
He turns me around, suspends me in the air from hooks on my skin, and scores my back in a crisscross pattern, using what feels like a needle. The pain is not what maddens me—rather, it’s being on public display, being exposed for everyone to see as he starts weaving a thread through me. 
All the while, he keeps telling everyone, “Healing takes time.”
“Healing takes time,” they echo. “Healing takes time.”

Excerpt from Coma Confidential


(Volume I of Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance)
Audible: US UK FR DE
Audiobook: Amazon US Amazon UK iTunes
Paperback: Amazon

Ash finds herself in the ER diagnosed with coma. She has no memory of what has happened to her, but what she can do--despite what everyone around her might think--is listen to the conversations of her visitors. Will she survive the power outage in the hospital and then, being kidnapped out of it? 


"This fast-paced thriller has a huge surprise ending that I didn't see coming and it's absolutely priceless."  
~ Jan Romes, Author

Monday, January 6, 2020

The last thing I need is his alarm over a missed hit

I bet Michael is biting his nails as he awaits my arrival. 
On my way to him, I call 911 to report the shooting. I ask them, while trying to overcome the slight tremble in my voice, to send paramedics. I hope the victim can still be revived. I wonder about her, wonder if she has any rivals, any enemies, anyone with ill wishes, because to me she seemed like a meek, ordinary woman, with little drama in her life—but then again, who knows? 
I feel dizzy. My head is spinning because of what has just happened—but despite the late hour and the chill in my bones, I get out of the Uber car at the corner of Cliff Drive and walk home the rest of the way. Why? Because I don’t want my boyfriend to spot the spill of blood outside the passenger window, or the glass fractures in the rear one, all around that bullet hole. 
You may tell me to get my head examined—which I already did—but the last thing I need is his alarm over a missed hit. The important word here is missed, right? So, no need to lose sleep over it. After all, I’m safe and sound. 
Well, safe. Not quite sure about the sound part.

Excerpt from Overdose


(Volume III of Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance)
Audible: US UK FR DE
Audiobook: Amazon US Amazon UK iTunes
Paperback: Amazon

Months after recovering from coma, Ash discovers that the man who performed her brain surgery has a questionable medical experience and a dark past. Should she expose him, at the risk of becoming vulnerable to his revenge? 


"Danger lurked around every corner when she came close to figuring things out. I tried to guess the ending, thank goodness I was wrong." 
- Jan Romes, Author

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

There—to my surprise—lays a bottle of Rosé Champagne

So half nude I rush to the kitchen, and bring a kitchen knife and cut through the flap of the box, and there—to my surprise—lays a bottle of Rosé Champagne, flanked by two stemmed glasses, the kind you can stack in layers to build them champagne towers, like the one we had at our wedding.
At first, my bet is that this is a gift from my husband—who else—which takes my breath away, it’s so cool, so awesome, especially because I haven’t gotten nothing from him lately. 
So I twist my hips walking up to him, and snatch one of them glasses and put it in place, right over my left breast. Before I got pregnant, and become so full of curves, it would have been a perfect fit—but now, not so much. 
Then, just before opening my mouth to ask him to uncork the bottle, I realize my mistake. 
“Take it off, take that thing off right now, right this minute,” he stammers, and his forehead curves down over him even heavier and more wrinkled than before. I can’t even blame him, or no one, ‘cause really, I reckon it’s too late for us. 
So without saying a word I obey him, and remove the glass from my heart, and watch him, again in silence, as he rummages through the box in search of a note, or something. Which he finds, finally, down there at the bottom. In square, printed letters the note reads simply, “To Anita.” 
No return address, no signature, no date, nothing. 
The old man looks long and hard into my eyes, like he’s searching for answers, not exactly sure if to punish me, like I was a naughty school girl, or to send me back home to my ma. After a while he figures he can’t do neither, so he just turns his back on me, and punches the box so it can collapse on itself, and stuffs it in the garbage can, along with the uncorked bottle and them two glasses. Then he goes to the bathroom, and the water starts running for his shower. 

Excerpt from My Own Voice


★ Love Women's Fiction? Treat yourself to a gift ★
The complete series: 

Volume I: 
Audible: USUKFRDE
AudiobookAmazon US ★ Amazon UKiTunes 
PaperbackAmazon ★ Barnes&Noble


"Written in a clever and unique style which drew me in from the start. I recommend this book for those who like compelling characters you want to cheer on." 
Susan Wilson, Author

Sunday, December 29, 2019

A date with iguanas, giant tortoises and sea turtles

Did you miss me?

Just came back from Ecuador, where we had a date with iguanas, giant tortoises and sea turtles in the galapagos.





Straddling the equator


We visited the Andes and the amazingly lush Amazon basin, where we saw more rain in one day than in California the entire year. Oh, and yes, monkeys!




 And now, it's feels so good to come back home!