Don’t say I didn’t warn you…
When a kindly stranger does Chloe a good deed, she decides she must repay him. But in tracing him, she meets a sympathetic woman named Nadine, who warns Chloe to stay away from the man at all costs. “Give him nothing, tell him nothing, don’t trust him,” she says. “Avoid him like the plague.”
Chloe knows the sensible thing to do: walk away. But her curiosity gets the best of her. What is the truth about the good Samaritan? How dangerous could he be? And can Chloe find the answers without putting herself and her daughter in harm’s way?
A twisting, razor-sharp suspense story that will keep you guessing to the very end, The Warning features an appearance from Simon Waterhouse, next seen in the full-length thriller Woman With a Secret – already hailed as “mesmerizing” (Lisa Gardner) and “unputdownable” (Liane Moriarty).
She’s standing three steps above me on the staircase. It makes me feel trapped and small. I wish we could talk on the same level, but we can hardly stand side by side on one step—they’re too narrow.
I can’t decide if she’s attractive or not. Her hair is nice—dark blond, thick and subtly highlighted. Her face is heart shaped and her features big and doll-like, but with a slightly hardened look to them. She’s around my age: early thirties.
“Something tells me you haven’t known Tom Rigbey long,” she says. “You don’t know him well—am I right?”
“This is none of my business, but I’ll say it anyway. You seem like a lovely person, so go and get your gift bag back off Rukia and give it to someone else, anyone else. Have nothing to do with Tom Rigbey. Give him nothing, tell him nothing, trust him not at all.’
Sophie Hannah is the New York Times bestselling author of nine psychological thrillers as well as The Monogram Murders, the first novel to be authorized by the estate of Agatha Christie. Her books have received numerous awards, including the UK National Book Award, and are published in twenty-seven countries. She lives in Cambridge, England.
A mobster learns he’s becoming a god, only to discover they die too.
The right hand of the dominant mob family, Raine Morgan is tasked with hunting down two miscreants messing with the bottom line. He finds them on the docks, but, in the confusion of the fight, accidentally kills their victim and lets them escape. Horrified at what he’s done, Raine seeks redemption as well as revenge.
Things spiral out of control when a greedy middleman overthrows Raine’s mob organization. It’s only with the help of a friend inside the crumbling mob as well as a streetwise artist that Raine remains undetected as he searches for the men who started this all. Raine doesn’t realize, however, he has caught the attention of a disparate conclave of gods in the process.
As the pantheon returns to the city they’d abandoned, old conflicts re-emerge, causing divine civil war. Both sides try to pull Raine to their side, expecting to find a naive god for them to manipulate. Instead, they find a man stripped of everything, intent on playing both sides as they learn an awful reality – even gods can die.
How to Identify Your Writing Problems
I’ve been in the trenches so long that the only way I really look at this now is through editing. Identifying your failings as a writer while you’re in the thick of it can only be a distraction. However, I do have some useful shortcuts to take when editing that can help.
Now, I use Microsoft Word most of the time. I’m old school in that manner. I have Scrivener, but I’ve only really used it after the fact to set everything out for a bird’s eye view. However, I still edit and write in Microsoft Word, but I assume most text editors have this functionality. This goes hand in hand with using Track Changes.
Favorite Tool: Find and Replace (Ctrl + H). Make it work for you.
There is a lot you can do with this. For me, I use it to highlight “trouble” words, passive voice, and repetitive phrases. In the past, I’ve had a compulsion to find every repeated phrase and eliminate them. Unfortunately, with long form fiction, you are going to repeat yourself, but it’s more of a question of frequency rather than eliminating the phrases altogether. All the things I’m about to list are an aspect of this tool. Just pull up the Replace tool (once again, Ctrl + H) and be sure to click the More >> button.
Highlight: Make sure you click in the Replace with: field. Now, at the bottom, there’s a button that says Format. Now, Click Highlight. It should now put Highlight under the Replace with field. The secret of using Highlight is that you just need to search for (and replace) a term, with nothing listed in the Replace field, and it will simply highlight all the words. It’s also a good idea to tick Find whole words only so that it doesn’t highlight every word that has your search word contained within.
One thing I recommend as well is to change the highlight color, depending on what you’re doing. For me, this is the type of stuff I look for:
Linking verbs (in yellow): am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been
Repeated words/phrases (in green): to the side, looked, appeared
Adverbs or Words Ending in Ly (blue)
Everyone will have a different list of stuff that plagues their writing, but it’s worth highlighting those so that you can read the context and see if they absolutely need to be in there. There are times when they do. I spent an entire draft eliminating all passive voice, and yes, I mean I was at 0% passive voice in my entire novel. Then, over the next three drafts, slowly added it back in because, in certain circumstances, it is still needed. Be mindful of what you’re eliminating and how it might change your work, but, for me, Find and Replace (plus Highlight) is my most useful tool
Justin D. Herd is a Fantasy Noir author who has been writing novels for ten years. He absolutely loves dark, twisted stories that take readers into unexpected places. Horror movies are his passion and he often takes stories to task for not logically thinking out their concepts. His home has been invaded by two eccentric children as well as a cat which is obsessed with all things digital.
Vigilante detective Emily Stone has covertly hunted down killers and closed more serial cases than most seasoned homicide cops combined. Her exceptional profiling skills and forensic techniques, along with deductive crime scene investigations, have made her a compelling force that cannot be beat.
She has reached her ultimate breaking point and now must face her toughest opponent yet – her biggest fears.
With preciseness, the Tick-Tock Killer has taken his next child victim and promised to dump the body precisely four days later, mocking police and the community. Stone struggles to balance her inner demons and ghosts from the past, against the wits of a brutal and cunning serial killer in an all-out battle of psychological warfare.
Can Stone save the next child in time? Dark Pursuit is an action-packed cat and mouse game that will take you to dark places rarely explored.
Writing in the Moment
A few years ago, I discovered the term mindfulness and incorporated it into my everyday life. It has helped me to combat my anxiety issues. It simply means what it implies. On one level, it means paying attention to details of what is going on around you at any given time, but on a much deeper level, it brings your conscious awareness to a moment-by-moment basis. It is where you pay attention to what is happening right now, but in a non-judgmental way.
Writing is a demanding, but a rewarding profession. I have found myself taking part in standard Yoga stretches to ground myself before beginning my day. I have recently taken it a step further by using the meditation technique to mindfulness to de-stress and balance my mind and body. It works wonders on writing.
I wanted to take the “in the moment” or “mindfulness” into my writing. I have finished my fifth Emily Stone Novel, Dark Pursuit, where my protagonist, Emily Stone, pushes new levels of suspense as she chases after serial killers. It is the feeling of being caught up in the moment where you can almost feel the killer’s breath or feel their touch.
As I briefly outlined the chapters and scenes for this book, I have found myself creating the suspense and tension of the storyline by using some simple techniques. I take a moment to view things from Emily Stone’s perspective of “in the moment” methods. It definitely gets the writing juices flowing.
For example, if Emily Stone finds a new clue that can help track down the killer, I ask myself several questions. What does she do? How will she move forward in a moment-by-moment way? What are some of the observations, emotions, and details that she can accomplish in this particular task? I break down the scene into action/reaction from beginning to end. The beginning is when she finds the clue and the end is the result I want her to accomplish. It sounds simple, but breaking it down moment by moment is challenging.
You can take this writing task a step further into your own day. Write the “in the moment” observations of a typical day. Create a scene when you run errands, watch your favorite movie, or take a lunch break with a friend. Write everything down that you observe. What are the moment-by-moment actions that happen? Decipher them. Study them. It opens up a new perspective into a storyline and you begin to see things differently.
Personally, I have found that by writing in the moment, you discover not only things about yourself, but also about your characters. The next time you feel that little procrastination writing bug nipping at you, pull back, and write in the moment.
Jennifer Chase is an award-winning author and consulting criminologist. She has authored six crime fiction novels, including the award-winning Emily Stone thriller series along with a screenwriting workbook.
Jennifer holds a Bachelor degree in police forensics and a Master’s degree in criminology. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling. She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.
Date Published: April 27, 2015
Shelby Nichols isn’t your average soccer-mom turned private investigator. She’s more on the quirky side with a little wild thrown in. That’s because a near-fatal gunshot wound to the head left her with the ability to read minds. This lands her in all kinds of trouble, and this time is no exception. Helping a reporter, Billie Jo, get the low-down on a case is just the tip of the iceberg. When her best friend’s niece goes missing, Shelby is pulled into a conspiracy that involves the police and the leader of a violent drug ring. Add to that a stranger in town with ties to the mob-boss she works for, along with a known assassin out to kill him, and Shelby is crossing danger at every turn. Will she find the answers in time? Or will this be her last adventure?
I stood inside the small women’s locker room dressed in white drawstring pants that ended several inches above my ankles, and a robe-like top that crisscrossed to close in front. Luckily, I wore a black tank top underneath, since there wasn’t anything besides a white belt to hold it together.
I tied the belt in a knot and let out a breath, hoping I’d done it right. The white training uniform was a bit stiff, and worse, felt like a poufy marshmallow around me. I let out a disgusted huff, knowing that I looked like the womanly version of the Pillsbury dough-boy.
Billie Jo waited just outside the door, but it was hard to step out there dressed like this. Did I really need to do this? Especially since I’d know what everyone was thinking about me? Reading minds often came in handy, but not in situations like this.
Of course, the fact that a serial killer had recently taken me hostage and nearly killed me certainly helped. It was time to learn some self-defense, so nothing like that could ever happen to me again.
So what if I looked silly, and that with my ‘superpower’ of reading minds I’d know what everyone thought of me. I could take it. Besides, I had to start somewhere, right?
I took a calming breath and opened the door.
Billie smiled encouragingly before glancing down at the way I’d tied my belt. Her brows drew sharply together, and she was thinking it looked like a disaster. No way did she want me out on the mat looking like that. “Here…let me help you with that. Tie it this way…” She demonstrated how to do it, then pulled it tight. “Okay. Now you’re good to go.”
“Um…thanks,” I said.
She didn’t miss the embarrassed flush creeping up my neck and was thinking I should just suck it up and be grateful she was there to keep me from looking like a dork. With an indulgent smile that contradicted her thoughts, she turned and led the way to the mat.
Swallowing my pride, I followed behind, noting that her black skirt-like pants with the waist-high belt looked ten times better than my outfit. Compared to her, I looked like I was still in my underwear and had forgotten to put my pants on.
A vision of getting out there and everyone laughing at me crossed my mind but, given how Billie made sure my belt was right, I didn’t think she’d let me embarrass her like that. Still, once we got to the mat, I let out a relieved breath to find I wasn’t the only one wearing white training pants.
Billie did a quick bow before stepping onto the mat, so I bowed as well. I followed her to stand in a line before the teacher, or Sensei, as everyone called him. He wore the same black pants as Billie but, on him, they seemed more dignified and masterful. He was also a big, tall and brawny kind of guy. With his long, gray-black hair pulled back into a ponytail, he intimidated the crap out of me.
He caught my gaze and nodded a cool greeting while I tried to hide my jittering nerves. After he introduced me to the rest of the class, we began with a few stretches and warm-ups. Then he taught us that the most important part of Aikido was learning how to fall safely and then roll around to get back up.
Besides Billie, there was only one other woman in the class. Her name was Melissa, and she was a second-degree black belt like Billie. With the two of them paying special attention to me, I began to relax and actually started to enjoy myself. Even the rolling-around part didn’t seem so bad. They showed me some basic techniques, and my confidence grew.
Near the end of class, Sensei asked if I had any questions, so I blurted out the one thing I’d been thinking about all night. “Yeah. I was just wondering…if someone was to get me in a choke hold with his elbow around my neck and started dragging me backwards, would I be able to get away?”
His gaze caught mine, and his eyes narrowed. He was thinking that, from the fear in my eyes and the tone of my voice, it probably wasn’t a rhetorical question. No. I had the look of someone who’d been there, and a spike of anger rushed over him. He’d seen it more times than he liked, and it always made him furious.
“Yes you can. I’ll show you how.” He turned his gaze to Melissa and asked her to help him demonstrate the technique. Since she was about my size, and he was huge, I was interested to see how she could possibly take him on and come out on top.
He stood behind her and clamped his elbow around her neck beneath her chin. “The first thing you do is tuck your chin down so they can’t choke you.” She did this, and Sensei proceeded to explain how she needed to pull down on his elbow and step back, then grab his wrist and forcefully push outward with his elbow still bent. “At this point, you will break his arm.”
Whoa! That sounded pretty awesome, and I couldn’t help smiling with wicked delight. He demonstrated the technique a few more times, adding different variations to the attack, and then asked me to practice with him. Him! The biggest guy in the class!
I nervously licked my lips and, as he put his arm around my neck, that feeling of helplessness washed over me. But he patiently talked me through the moves and, after breaking his hold a few times, confidence replaced my fear. I even forced him to the mat once. Who would have thought? By the end of class, I was pumped. This was the right place for me, and I could hardly wait to come back and learn more.
About the Author
As the author of the Shelby Nichols Adventure Series, Colleen is often asked if Shelby Nichols is her alter-ego. “Definitely,” she says. “Shelby is the epitome of everything I wish I dared to be.” Known for her laugh since she was a kid, Colleen has always tried to find the humor in every situation and continues to enjoy writing about Shelby’s adventures. “I love getting Shelby into trouble…I just don’t always know how to get her out of it!” Colleen lives in the Rocky Mountains with her family. Besides writing, she loves a good book, biking, hiking, and playing board and card games with family and friends. She loves to connect with readers and admits that fans of the series keep her writing.