Friday, January 31, 2014

Tales from the Dark Side...of Love Giveaway - Prizes

Check out the prizes being offered in the
Tales from Dark Side...of Love Giveaway:
Kindle Fire HD
Amazon Gift Cards
Signed paperback copy
Signed paperback copy
Winner's Choice - eBook or signed paperback
Winner's Choice - 1 signed paperback copy 

Winner's Choice - 1 eBook
Signed paperback copy
Signed paperback copy
Signed paperback copy 

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Why I Write About The Dark Side of Love

A few years ago, I took an intro to fiction writing course and during one of the evening breaks, I was chatting with the instructor about the various manuscripts I had on ice.  He asked me what they were about and without even thinking about it, I said, “Well, mostly about the dark side of love.”

That was the first time I had articulated not only out loud, and internally for that matter, a theme for the types of things I wrote about.  Frankly, it wasn’t something I’d ever even thought about.   At that time, I had three full-length manuscripts (in content anyway.  They were all far from pretty – “Live and Let Die,” “Sweet Little Lies” and the forthcoming, “Every Breath You Take”) under my belt.  Without even realizing it, I had drawn a pretty distinct thread through all of them—each story featured love gone wrong, with deception and murder figuring quite prominently into the action.  I went home that night and looked over my sheet of story ideas for future books and noticed they ALL had this same premise.

Just a sample of some of my "light" reading.
While I’ve spent my fair share of time on the dark side of love (though I’ve never killed anyone…in real life that is ;-) ), I think what really fascinates me the most about this topic is that we never really know what goes on between two people, which is what makes these stories all the more shocking and frankly, heartbreaking.  Whether it be the seemingly happily married couple or the girl next door, it’s always appalling to hear about a husband murdering his wife instead of divorcing her (Scott Peterson) or tales of “if I can’t have you, nobody can,” (Jodi Arias) or the wife seducing her lover into killing her husband (Pam Smart).  Most of us just can’t fathom the darkness and depravity that drives people to such heinous acts.

We'll always be fascinated by the Jodi Arias' of the world
Right now, I’m enjoying exploring this darker side of life as it were.  Yes, I spend far too much time watching Investigation Discovery and the suspense/mystery novels on my bookshelf far outnumber all other genres combined.  What can I say – you like what you like.
As part of this month’s “Tales From the Dark Side…of Love” promotion on my blog, I’m offering a signed paperback copy of my book, “Sweet Little Lies.” Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win the book, along with a lot of other fabulous prizes!
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Tales from the Dark Side...of Love Multi-Author Giveaway - Kindle Fire HD, Gift Cards, eBooks and Paperbacks!

Well, it’s that time of year again… February…which as you know, means Valentine’s Day. 

For some, Valentine’s Day is glorious.  Hearts, flowers, candy and candlelight.  And then there’s the rest of us; Ben and Jerry (preferably of the Cherry Garcia variety), a horror movie and copious amounts of wine.
As someone who writes suspense novels about the dark side of love, I tend to take a bit more of a cynical view of good old Valentine’s Day.  This February, in the spirit of sharing, I decided to open up my blog to some of my fellow Indie authors and invite them to share their own Tales from the Dark Side of Love.  Whether it be remembering a bad date, famous tales about love gone wrong, short stories, book excerpts or TV shows about the dark side of love, it promises to be an entertaining month.

Even better, we’re giving away stuff! 
All month long, stop by and read the blog posts and be sure and enter the contest for your chance to win some fabulous prizes:

A Kindle Fire HD:

Amazon Gift Cards:
Copies of signed paperbacks and eBooks from a wide variety of authors -- click here to learn more.
You can enter the contest three different ways:

-       Tweet about the giveaway/promotion using the hashtag #DARKSIDEOFLOVE with a link back to the blog (MUST use this hashtag to qualify).

-         Leave a comment on blog posts with your email address.  No email address means no entry.

-         Email me at with the subject line “Dark Side of Love.”
Use the Rafflecopter below to enter.  Easy.

Winners will be announced here on March 2, 2014.

So, stop by all month, revel in the darkness and enter to win some stuff!  It’s one way to take away the sting of love gone wrong J.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Five Great Suspense Movies Set in Chicago

When I'm not hunched over a manuscript or my nose isn't in a book, I'm watching movies (over the holidays, I saw “American Hustle” and downloaded “Prisoner” on iTunes.  Both good, though “Prisoners” really stayed with me.).  I'm a huge movie buff.  Huge – check out my movie board over at Pinterest.  I'm prone to chick flicks/rom-coms, thought-provoking dramas, suspense/mysteries (duh) and foreign and independent films.

When I began to write my suspense novels, I decided I wanted them to have some tie to Chicago, the city I've called home off and on for well... let's just say a while.  I've read so many books set in New York, it almost became a cliché to me.
So along those lines, I thought I'd share Five of My Favorite Suspense Movies set in Chicago.  Mind you, not my five favorite Chicago movies (flicks like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “High Fidelity” share that distinction.  Hmm.  Sounds like a future blog post.).

And the winners are:

The Fugitive
I can (and do) watch this movie over and over again.  It's exactly what a thriller should be; brimming with crackling suspense, intelligence and pulse-pounding action.  Harrision Ford's wrongly accused murderer, Dr. Richard Kimble, is exactly the kind of protagonist I like; smart, ingenious and dogged.  Tommy Lee Jones is the perfect foil and well-deserving of that Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.  While movies like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” showcase Chicago as a bright and sunny playground, its urban grit is on full display in "The Fugitive."  Several our city's most notable news reporters have cameos, the El (our subway) is prominently featured and the Loop (our financial district) is the backdrop for most of the action.  Gold standard in action thrillers.

I have yet to read the James Siegel book this is based on, but I loved the twists and turns this movie offered, so the book will make it onto my TBR pile one of these days.  Clive Owen is just terrific as Charles, a would-be adulterer who's menaced by the creepy Vincent Cassel, who knows all about the former's almost slip, and is using it to his full advantage.  Jennifer Aniston is great as Lucinda, Charles's almost-lover and a victim of Cassel's blackmail scheme.  Like I said, lots of twists and turns or "derailments" in this one, right up to the end.  I also liked that the North Shore (an affluent cluster of suburbs along Lake Michigan) was showcased.

A creepy and unusual thriller about a blind violinist (Madeline Stowe) who has an operation to restore her sight and during her recovery, witnesses (she thinks, as she’s suffering from “retroactive hallucinations” as a result of her operation) a suspicious man leaving her neighbor’s apartment, leading her to believe her neighbor’s been murdered.  What follows is a tense cat-and-mouse game that plays out among the edgy cum trendy North Side Chicago neighborhoods of Bucktown/Wicker Park and Lakeview/Wrigleyville as opposed to the now standard shots of the Oak Street Beach, the downtown skyline or Magnificent Mile we’ve come to expect of movies filmed in Chicago.

Primal Fear
“Primal Fear” delves into the politics around the Archbishop of Chicago (subbing for the Archdiocese), which plays a prominent role in the fabric of the city.  Richard Gere is an arrogant defense attorney who takes on the case of Edward Norton, who’s been accused of murdering the Archbishop, who it turns out was far from a choir boy.  Trying to untangle the psychological, sexual and ethical motives behind the crime is enthralling and Edward Norton gives a powerhouse performance as the accused murderer.  John Barleycorn, a local Wrigleyville bar (which I’ve seen in the daylight and nighttime) has a cameo as do the industrial yards of the city’s South Side.  Like “The Fugitive,” many of our city’s most prominent newscasters are featured, along with the city corruption and political players we’re known for.  Richard Gere and Laura Linney are outstanding and I love that another facet of this city’s complicated make-up is examined.
North by Northwest
Okay, I'm cheating here a little bit, as North by Northwest isn't based in Chicago, but rather only makes a pit stop here.  Still, Chicago plays a prominent role in Cary Grant's flight from the bad guys (it’s on a train bound for Chicago from New York that Cary Grant meets Eva Marie Saint, who aids his escape) and Hitchcock is an undisputed master of the suspense genre, so of course, I can’t have any type of post about suspense movies without including the maestro.





Sunday, January 12, 2014

Congratulations - It’s a Book!

On Christmas night (which is when my family and I open presents) I had two extra gifts under the tree for everyone.

Paperback copies of my two books.

I realize this in and of itself doesn’t sound all that special (probably even seems a little self-serving).  However, considering that I had only told two people in my family about my career as an Indie author, I thought this was a quick and easy way to spill the beans.  Needless to say, those who weren’t in the know were pretty shocked (in a good way).

So, why did I choose to keep the lid on my Indie career for a year?  Well, for a few reasons.  For one, it’s always been important to me that my work stand on its own merit.  If I was going to be one of those authors who only sold ten books, I wanted those purchases to be from ten strangers.  Second, I didn’t want people to constantly ask me when my book was coming out.  It’s kind of like when you’re in a serious relationship.  After a while, people want to know when you’re getting engaged.  Then, when you get engaged, the first thing people ask is when you’re getting married.  Then you get married and people immediately want to know, “when are you having kids?”  Well, I wanted to skip all of that and go straight to, “here’s my baby (book), signed, sealed and delivered.”  Done and done.

Admittedly, it felt a little strange to have my “secret” out.  Everyone wanted to know the who, what, when, where and how.  My uncle thought maybe I’d told him and he hadn’t been paying attention.  My father took to sidling up to strangers in the grocery store and telling them to check out my website (okay, not quite that extreme, but let’s just say if I ever decide I need a PR person, I know who to call). 

Obviously, everyone announces the arrival of their “baby” in a variety of ways (book launch parties probably being the most popular).  I’m sure there are other authors out there like me who chose a more covert route, for reasons completely different from mine or maybe even the same.   As I always say, whatever works for you.

Mostly, I just want to keep on having babies.