Thursday, June 27, 2013

Luke Murphy - Author Interview


Luke Murphy lives in Shawville, Quebec with his wife, three daughters and pug.

He played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. Since then, he’s held a number of jobs, from sports columnist to radio journalist, before earning his Bachelor of Education degree (Magna Cum Laude).

Murphy`s debut novel, Dead Man`s Hand, was released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012.


Tell us about your book and how it relates to your life.

Dead Man`s Hand is a crime-thriller set in the seedy underbelly of Las Vegas. It takes readers inside the head of Calvin Watters, a sadistic African-American, Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.

As for my connection… No, I have never been involved in a homicide investigation, LOL. The plot is completely fictional.

Although I am not a 6’5”, 220 pound African-American, I’ve used much of my athletic background when creating my protagonist Calvin Watters. Watters past as an athlete, and his emotional roller-coaster brought on by injuries were drawn from my experiences. His mother died of cancer when he was young, as mine did. There are certainly elements of myself in Calvin, but overall, this is a work of fiction. I did not base the characters or plot on any real people or events. Any familiarities are strictly coincidence.

There is not a single moment in time when this idea came to be, but circumstances over the years that led to this story: my hockey injuries, frequent visits to Las Vegas, my love of football, crime books and movies.

Dead Man`s Hand became real from mixing these events, taking advantage of experts in their field, and adding my wild imagination. The internet also provides a wealth of information, available at our fingertips with a click of the mouse.

How has your sports career influenced marketing your book?

I’ve been fortunate to travel across North America and meet many wonderful people through my professional hockey career. This has been very beneficial in the marketing of my book. Through hockey I’ve made media contacts through interviews I’ve done (radio, TV, print). in the cities where I played hockey, or have contacts. I have played hockey for teams and leagues all over North America, creating a fan base in a variety of cities, and have also worked in hockey camps. Many of these fans have stayed in contact over the years via Facebook and Twitter. My sports column, Overtime, which was a main feature in The Pontiac Equity, not only had a following but helped in writing concise and exciting prose.

Do you have a favourite fan story to share?

I have many favorite fan stories from my hockey career, but one that certainly stands involved a young girl in a wheel chair who never missed a game. She often wore my jersey and sat in the handicapped area, down on floor level behind the glass. During warm-up one game, I smiled and winked at her. After the game, her mother was waiting for me outside the team dressing room in the fan section, and she told me that I had absolutely made her day with that wink. So from that moment on, I always looked out for her during warm-up, and my routine would include that smile and wink to that same little girl. Unfortunately once I moved on to another team, I lost track of that girl. I still often think about her and what she’s doing now.

What’s next?

Actually, Dead Man’s Hand will be FREE to download on Amazon from June 26-28. If you haven’t yet read my International best-selling crime-thriller, now is the time.

I’m currently working on a new crime novel, but my wife and I just had our third child, so the process has been stalled and is going quite slowly. Eventually I would love to write more books, including a sequel to Dead Man’s Hand.



Dead Man`s Hand

From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.

When the brutal slaying of a casino owner is followed by the murder of a bookie, Detective Dale Dayton leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.

To redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer, while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to silence them.

For more information on Luke and his books, visit: www.authorlukemurphy.com, ‘like’ his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLukeMurphy  and follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/AuthorLMurphy


Monday, June 24, 2013

Happy Birthday Dad

Dad - 1974 - with coffee and crossword

We used to say that all Quebec celebrated my father's birthday because he was born on June 24, Jean Baptiste Day.

My mother shared her birthday, August 4, with the Queen Mother - but that wasn't such a big deal in Canada.

I have many happy memories of my dad. He had a quietly wicked sense of humour. You'd think he wasn't paying attention and then zing you.

He also didn't pay attention a lot of the time. His nose could often be found in a book or the paper. He particularly enjoyed doing the daily crossword puzzle. It drove my mother around the bend sometimes. I really appreciated how hard it must have been for her, raising two children and not getting much feedback. I felt the same sometimes, as a single mother of two living with Dad after Mum died.

Being half deaf, I think I also understood Dad more. He didn't admit it for years, but he was hearing impaired from the time he was in the Navy. Where I retreated into a world of storytelling, Dad retreated into the paper. Instead of being annoyed, I started taking a perverse delight in capturing him in the act.

On vacation.

At family gatherings.

And while entertaining his grandson.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Guest Blogger - Chris Redding



Chris Redding lives in New Jersey with her family and pets. She teaches CPR for her local hospital and graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. (She also knows how to cook up a great marinade. -AB)

Cooking on a Deadline: Marinades

How to cook on a deadline. This is geared towards writers and others who have no time to make gourmet meals, but want to eat healthy.

This was born of my posting meals I’ve cooked on Facebook and people saying I should write a cookbook. The first one was Kitchen Must Haves.

This blog post will focus on marinades. They are an easy way to flavor your meat. When you’ve marinated something you can then grill it, broil it or sauté it. Your choice.

The marinades I use have several basic components.

Usually an oil, but I don’t use too much and if you have to watch your fat this is the part you can skip. The next is an acid. Most of the time I use vinegar which was on my list of kitchen must haves. I like to keep a variety of vinegars in the house. They don’t go bad and can be used for many things. Lemons and limes work also. They help break down the meat making it tender.

Next there are herbs and/or spices.

For an extra kick, Tabasco sauce, which I think I need to add to my kitchen must haves. Or Dijon mustard works also.

Using this formula, you can make any kind of marinade. I usually make these a day ahead or that morning. Beef and pork can be marinated for awhile. Chicken or fish don’t need as much time.

Let’s try one:
  • Oil, olive oil is best and extra virgin has the most flavor.
  • Acid, we’ll use balsamic vinegar this time.
  • Herbs/spices, this time of year I have fresh basil, so that gets cut up and put in along with salt and pepper and maybe even some fresh chives.
  • If you want it a little spicy, put some Chipotle Tabasco sauce in it.
Easy, peasy. Now put your meat in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Pour the marinade over it. Zip it, then rub the marinade into the meat. Put it in your fridge and it will be ready to go that evening. Voila!


Which Exit Angel

She's an angel who hasn't earned her wings. He's a preacher questioning his faith. How are these two supposed to stop the impending apocalypse?

Excerpt:

He shifted in the booth to sit sideways, his legs on the seat. A casual posture for someone who’d seen a dead body recently. Then he tapped his fingers on the table. His foot patted the back of the seat to the same rhythm.

“I need to ask you a few questions, Mr. Beach.”

“Reverend, actually, but everyone calls me Sandy.”

His smile made his eyes twinkle. A charmer, she was sure but that hadn’t worked on her in a few hundred years. Still it wasn’t hard to look at him. “Reverend then. What brought you down to a not-so-nice part of town late on Saturday?’

He turned to face her, his feet plopping onto the floor. “I work with the homeless.”

“I didn’t see any around.”

He shook his head. “You don’t when there are cops are nearby.”

“Is there a large homeless population in Sea Witch?” She choked on the town’s name.

He pulled two napkins out of the dispenser. “Not huge, but enough. They are more likely to get handouts from people on vacation so they gravitate down the Shore in the summer.”

She tapped keys on her phone to take down what he was saying. “What exactly do you do for the homeless?”

“I give them food. When it’s cold I give them blankets and try to convince them to go to the shelter in the next town,” Sandy explained.

His gaze had never wavered from hers as if he could see straight into her soul. She broke the connection by looking down at her notes. His gaze lasered through her making her squirm in her seat. She’d bet that stare had converted many a sinner.

Which Exit Angel is available on Amazon.

Find Chris Redding here:
 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Guest Blogger - Kat Flannery




Midwives thought to be witches.

In my new Historical Paranormal Romance, Lakota Honor, Bounty Hunter, Otakatay is killing the Witkowin—crazy women believed to be witches. For my research I delved into where these women came from and why they were killed.

During the middle ages, a midwife/healer/witch was often the person called for a mother in labour, a broken limb, an amputation, an illness or pandemic, and as a counselor. They were unlicensed doctors of western history. These women were educated in the way of nursing, learning from hands on experience that was passed down from mothers to daughters. Their herbal remedies are still used today in modern pharmacology.

But what some may not know is that these women were hunted. They were called witches and sadly most burned at the stake.

Why were they crucified on a burning cross when they helped so many? Most witches were lay healers and therefore professed that some of their other remedies were purely ‘magical’ this in turn lead to their own demise.

In my research it is said that the witch-hunts were conceived from two notions, one being that the new male medical profession, under the protection and patronage of the ruling classes. This new medical profession played a key role in the witch-hunts, and maintaining that they were of medical reasoning.
.... Because the Medieval Church, with the support of kings, princes and secular authorities, controlled medical education and practice, the Inquisition [witch-hunts ] constitutes, among other things, an early instance of the "professional" repudiating the skills and interfering with the rights of the "nonprofessional" to minister to the poor. (Thomas Szasz, The Manufacture of Madness)
The second reason was religion. The witches were generally not of faith and practiced based on the knowledge they had acquired over the years as well as trial and error. The Catholics along with the Protestants professed that these women were born of devious nature and sexual conduct. They were spawns of the devil.

Their crimes became a multitude of transgressions from political subversion to blasphemy. A list of the three most prominent crimes mentioned periodically throughout history were:
  1. Every sexual crime against men. Infecting them during intercourse, lust in men was blamed upon the women, accused of making men impotent, of giving contraceptives, and performing abortions.
  2. Being organized.
  3. Having magical powers affecting health, harming but also of healing.
According to the church all witches powers were derived from their sexuality, which was a sin.
Now there are, as it is said in the Papal Bull, seven methods by which they infect with witchcraft the venereal act and the conception of the womb: First, by inclining the minds of men to inordinate passion; second, by obstructing their generative force; third, by removing the members accommodated to that act; fourth, by changing men into beasts by their magic act; fifth, by destroying the generative force in women; sixth, by procuring abortion; seventh, by offering children to the devils, besides other animals and fruits of the earth with which they work much charm... (Malleus Maleficarum)
Witch-healers/midwives were the only practitioners available to small villages and towns without medical doctors or hospitals. However, according to witch-hunters Kramer and Springer, “No one does more harm to the Catholic church than the mid-wife.” So whether you are a witch or midwife you were doomed.

Witch-hunts lasted for hundreds of years being the most prominent during the 14th-17th centuries. Witches represented a political, religious, and sexual threat toward the church and government alike. Thousands and thousands of women were burned at the stake in one account it states that there were two burnings a day for certain German cities. In the Bishopric of Trier, in 1585, two villages were left with only one female inhabitant each. Old women, young women and children were hunted and killed. Anyone harboring a witch or failing to report one faced excommunication and other punishments.

There are many accounts of how these women were crazy, how they were a part of the peasant’s rebellions of that time. But why wouldn’t they be? Their own government and church were prosecuting them. Some may have been crazy, thought to possess magical powers but it didn’t mean they deserved death punishable by horrid torture of imaginable means. They were unjustly hung, burned, and drowned because they were women taking from men a means of survival. They were a threat to society because they were different.


Kat Flannery has loved writing ever since she was a girl. She is often seen jotting her ideas down in a little black book. When not writing, or researching, Kat enjoys snuggling on her couch with a hot chocolate and a great book.

Her first novel, Chasing Clovers became an Amazon’s bestseller in Historical and Western romance. This is Kat’s second book, and she is currently hard at work on the third. 

When not focusing on her creative passions, Kat is busy with her three boys and doting husband.