Tag Archives: new york

CAPTURED will capture your hearts

 

Title: Captured

Author: Michelle Areaux

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Adventure

Pages: 158

Release Date: 24 June 17

Blog Tour Date: 24  –  30 June 17
After their whirlwind time spent on the run, Hallie and Jackson return home. Though they must keep their relationship secret, they are finally together until Samuel enters the scene. Determined to become New York’s next big kingpin, Samuel plans to do whatever it takes to acquire his power, including holding Jackson ransom for a chunk of his father’s territory. Hallie and Jackson’s fathers try to rescue Jackson, but they move too slowly for Hallie’s liking. Will Hallie be successful when she decides to take matters into her own hands, or will she need rescuing herself?

CAPTURED is the exciting sequel to RUNAWAY.

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Buy CAPTURED by Michelle Areaux at AmazonGoogle PlayiBookstoreKobo, and Barnes & Noble Nook.

Also by Michelle Areaux

RUNAWAY– Book 1 of the RUNAWAY Series

Do you trust me?

Those four, simple words would transform seventeen-year-old Hallie Romano’s life.

After Hallie and gorgeous, lifelong friend, Jackson, witness a brutal murder, she has to make a decision—should she trust Jackson and run away, or stay behind and deal with the fallout of what she has witnessed?

Haunted by the crime, Hallie flees in search of safety and freedom. On the run, she attempts to seek some kind of normalcy while keeping one step ahead in a twisted game of chase where she and Jackson are the hunted.

Besides the fact that her father is a mob boss who ordered the hit, the most difficult obstacle for Hallie to overcome is her growing attraction to Jackson. Will they ever make a new life for themselves and move forward despite the dangerous world they left behind?

About Michelle Areaux

Michelle Areaux is the author of the Wicked Cries series. Her love for literature began at an early age and flourished over the years into a passion. Currently, she resides in Nicholasville, KY with her husband Anthony, and sons Connor and Cooper. Social Media Links:

Learn more about Michelle and her books at

Goodreads | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Blog |

 Guest Post by Michelle Areaux

Hi, fantastic readers,

My name is Michelle Areaux and I write young adult fiction novels. I am so excited to have this opportunity today to share my love of writing, young adult literature, and coffee!

So, if you are reading this today, it is easy to say that you love books. As a writer, my true passion, above all in this industry, is a common love and passion for great books. From the time I read the Babysitters’ Club books to Judy Blume and then on to Sharon Dessen, I have always been a fan of a compelling story. From a gripping plotline, characters that make me scream and cry, to a scene that makes me hold my breath; it was that obsession that pushed and motivated my desire to become a writer.

My mom has said that I began writing stories from the moment I could pick up a pencil. I guess that is true, but I didn’t begin developing those stories into books until high school. From there, I began creating novels. My first novel, Wicked Cries combined my love of the Salem Witch Trials, paranormal romances, and humor. Now, as I write Wicked Endings: Book 4 of the Wicked Cries Series and prepare to release my fifth novel, Captured, I find my desire to continue writing these types of novels keeps increasing.

I have been asked many times why I write young adult novels and not adult romance. My answer has always been and will be that I write what I love to read. I think all adults are still teens at heart. We all still remember our first best friend. The first person we had a “‘real” crush on, and the first time we dreamed and imagined a wonderfully unique world far different from our own. That inner child is why I write books from a sixteen to seventeen year old’s perspective. I write worlds where my readers can relate to a fear, desire, or love a character feels. While I have dabbled in adult romance novels under a pen name (you can e-mail me to learn that name), my true love remains young adult literature.

Many people have asked me how I am able to keep producing so many novels, teach middle school English, and be a parent and a wife. The only answer I can give is that I drink TONS of coffee. I find that the night is the only time I can find solitude to write. My coffee addiction, as my husband loves to call it, keeps me awake as I journey through the night to write the crazy and sometimes wild images that float through my mind.

Now, I can sit here and lie to you all and tell you that writing is easy and publishing is a piece of cake, but, I won’t do that. First, writing is difficult—there is no cookie-cutter format to use or a strategy that everyone can work with. The way I write may sound crazy to another writer, however, my best advice if you want to become a writer is this: just write. If you have an idea or see a scene unfold in your mind, write it down. I don’t start on page 1 and end on the last page. No, I may begin my book with a big conflict scene, then, move a few chapters over to a big revealing scene or romantic moment between two characters. As I write the “meat” of my story, I always go back and fill in the gaps later. Again, that works for me, but it may not work for you. Find your own voice and tool that helps you grow as a writer. Next, publishing is not as simple as it sounds. You have self-publishing, vanity publishing, traditional publishing, and the big 5 publishers.

Since we are all friends here, I’ll tell you that I was once scammed by a vanity publisher. I fell into the trap of a catchy pick-up line and the dream of becoming the next J. K. Rowling. It wasn’t until I saw that I wasn’t receiving my truthful royalties and that my novels were not being edited as I was told they would be that I decided to get out of that mess. I was left scared, alone, and feeling like I had somehow failed and wasn’t a good writer. I could have stopped my dream of becoming a writer, but I didn’t. Quitting just isn’t my style—I guess I’m  just too stubborn.

So, as a once published author, I soon discovered EMSA Publishing. Elise Abram scooped in and saved me. She has now published my Wicked Cries series, Runaway, Captured and will continue to publish my novels until she gets sick of me. Ha, I hope not— just trying to throw a little joke in there!

I wish this wasn’t a common occurrence, but unfortunately, it is. There are so many deceiving people out there, ready and willing to take your money with the hope you’ll believe their lies. Please, don’t fall for their schemes. Do your research when finding a publisher. Ask other authors in Facebook author groups about that publisher. Search for their books online. Or, if you decide self-publishing is more your scene, try that, too. There are fabulous cover design artists, promotional marketing companies, and editors out there. Again, do your research before committing to anything. Regardless of which path you choose, please follow your dreams. I did, and I hope you do, too.

With love,

Michelle Areaux

Meet Wayne Zurl, Author of “A New Prospect”

Britbear’s Book Reviews is pleased to welcome fellow Black Rose Writer Wayne Zurl to this week’s author spotlight. Wayne is the author of A New Prospect. His guest blog post, Real Cops vs. Hollywood was featured in a 25 Jan 15 post.

New Prospect cover..2 badgesA New Prospect synopsis From Amazon:

Sam Jenkins never thought about being a fish out of water during the twenty years he spent solving crimes in New York. But things change, and after retiring to Tennessee, he gets that feeling. Jenkins becomes a cop again and is thrown headlong into a murder investigation and a steaming kettle of fish, down-home style. The victim, Cecil Lovejoy, couldn’t have deserved it more. His death was the inexorable result of years misspent and appears to be no great loss, except the prime suspect is Sam’s personal friend. Jenkins’ abilities are attacked when Lovejoy’s influential widow urges politicians to reassign the case to state investigators. Feeling like “a pork chop at a bar mitzvah” in his new workplace, Sam suspects something isn’t kosher when the family tries to force him out of the picture. In true Jenkins style, Sam turns common police practice on its ear to insure an innocent man doesn’t fall prey to an imperfect system and the guilty party receives appropriate justice. A NEW PROSPECT takes the reader through a New South resolutely clinging to its past and traditional way of keeping family business strictly within the family.

In putting together the questions for this interview, I noticed that your Amazon page shows you’re quite prolific. How long does it take for you to write each of your novels?

A full-length novel can take about me three to four months to make it ready for presentation to an editor. Of course that requires a fair diligence on my part: no major interruptions, holidays, travel plans, and no one inviting me to go on a fishing expedition. The novelettes (which had an 11,000 word ceiling) took from 2 to 4 weeks under the same conditions.

That’s quite impressive. The key must in your writing process?  Is there anything about it that makes your process particularly efficient?

For a guy who spent much of his adult life in military and paramilitary organizations, I’m not terribly structured or disciplined as a writer. And I’ll admit my writing process isn’t, by modern standards, very efficient. If I had my choice, I’d start early in the morning and continue until I experienced that old burned-out feeling, but with other commitments, that’s not always possible. My inefficiency comes from doing things the old-fashioned way—writing everything longhand on a legal pad. My wife is rather good on a keyboard, but since my handwriting isn’t the most legible, and I would prefer that we remain friends and stay married, I transpose everything to a Word document myself.

I hate to outline, so after roughing out a story, I’ll go back and “flesh out” the details, descriptions or anything which lacks the necessary lustre. Sometimes it takes two or three times to satisfy me. Then I’ll read it again and look for the nits and typos I haven’t seen before.

With all that completed, I’ll follow the advice I give others and attempt to get an even better product. I learned this from Robert B. Parker and from my experience with writing novelettes which were all destined to be produced as audio books. An interviewer once asked Parker why his books were so popular. He said because they sounded good. That might seem overly simple, but I knew what he meant and try to make mine sound good, too. When I think I’m finished, I isolate myself and read the book aloud with the same slow pace a professional reader/actor would use for an audio book. If something “bumps,” I smooth it out. I make sure all the sentences have the correct number of syllables; the paragraphs flow from one to the next. Basically, I want this thing to sing to me. For a guy who can’t dance very well, I pay a lot of attention to rhythm. Of course, after reading anything I write so many times, I hate the sight of it and can’t wait to pass it off to a proof-reader or editor.

Still impressed at your stamina.

Your bio says you were a police officer, soldier, and data processor. How does your work experience influence your writing subject?

Let’s toss out data processing first. When I worked on computers, they were seven feet tall. Discs were eighteen inches across and were accessed with a swinging arm like a record player. We programmed them by writing out commands on a worksheet which were turned into punch cards. Today I’m only a step above clueless when it comes to the modern PC. My experience is absolutely no help unless I wrote about an IBM museum.

My police career in New York provides all the basic storylines for what I write. I use cases I investigated, supervised or just knew a lot about. Sometimes I composite two or more incidents to make things more interesting. My imagination comes into play by figuring out a way to transplant them to Tennessee where I have my retired New York detective working a second career as a police chief.

My main character, Sam Jenkins, shares a few similarities with me—we’re former cops and Vietnam War veterans. Twenty years of seeing the best and more often the worst side of humanity through the eyes of a policeman changes anyone’s personality. And no one goes to war and comes home unaffected. All the little things that affected me often manifest themselves in Sam’s life.

Now I’m impressed at your creativity.

Out of all of your books, which are you most proud of and why?

A New Prospect was my first and the one I struggled with most as a novice fiction writer. When I held what I thought was a completed mystery novel, I hired a book doctor to evaluate the manuscript. He gave me good news and bad news. The good: he liked the Sam Jenkins character, the basic premise of the story and thoughts of a series, and my writing voice. His bomb: “This would have been a hit in 1985, but it doesn’t fit the formula publishers want in 2006.” My reaction: “Ugh!”

With that information and several suggestions from him, I jumped through hoops to restructure the entire novel—minimize the setup, bury the back-story, change the passive verbiage, and get the murder closer to the opening. That accomplished and with the doctors blessing, I took my now completed manuscript and began peddling it to agents. I received so many rejections, most of which came from people who hadn’t read one page of my story, I considered changing my deodorant. Then one of the few rejections that contained more than a terse form letter said, “A sixty-year-old retired New York cop who becomes a Tennessee police chief just isn’t trendy. Consider changing him to a young vampire private investigator from Orange County who fights crime in a vigilante, Batman-like way and we might have something.”

I revised my thinking, abandoned my thoughts of finding an agent, and looked for royalty-paying publishers who would accept submissions directly from a writer.

My pride comes from A New Prospect winning Eric Hoffer and Indy book awards and being named as a finalist in two others. A year after publication I wanted to send “Oh yeah?” letters to all the agents I queried. But that would have been unprofessional.

Most of what you experienced is par for the course, I’m afraid. That’s why so many of us turn to self-publishing.

A New Prospect, the novel you’ve asked me to review, introduces your Sam Jenkins character. How much of you went into creating Sam?

Nothing I’ve written is an autobiographical sketch or true crime story. As I mentioned in question 3, I use my old cases to formulate stories which end up fictionalized and embellished. And I write with a lot of dialogue, so to make my life easier, I gave Sam lots of my personality. If I would say or do something in a given police situation, so would he. Police work involves lots of thinking, lots of instinct—that with which some people are born and that which you develop with experience. My protagonist needed that instinct and I could cash in on the old author’s maxim of write what you know. That’s one reason I write in the first person. The emotions I remember can be transferred and come out in Sam’s speech.

My wife says the other reason is that at my age my short term memory can’t keep track of whose point of view I’m dealing with. But what does she know?

What is it about Sam Jenkins that keeps you writing about him? What about him keeps your readers reading his story?

Sam and I are in it for the long haul. Anyone who worked in a busy police department retires with oodles of war stories, so I’ll keep writing until I run out of ideas for new adventures. And I believe that it’s more than just Sam Jenkins’ character that makes people like these stories. Sure, he does things that many law-abiding civilians would love to do and they can feel a vicarious thrill when he pulls off some unconventional piece of magic, but it goes a bit beyond that. He’s fairly obsessed with his public image and that of his police department. Professionalism is all important. And his Sir Galahad complex requires him to always do the right thing. He’s by no means perfect, that would be boring. But when the chips are down, he pursues the bad guy, cuts corners, knows how to keep himself and the city of Prospect out of trouble, and feels absolutely no obligation to pander to the local politicians. Readers like his irreverent attitude toward the system. Every once in a while he just has to arrest a politicians son, or even a member of the county commission. Things like that keep life at Prospect PD interesting.

Some readers find him likable, even personable. But he could never do the job alone. He needs a good support system within the ranks, and even from several people with whom he has a good professional relationship, specifically, an FBI agent who’s also from New York, and a beautiful TV reporter who holds a special place in her life for him.

Cops are in the people business. It was always the oddballs, colorful miscreants, and otherwise quirky characters I met that made the job worthwhile. I try to litter the pages with people my readers will remember. They may love them or hate them, but I hope they see them as unique and never forget them. Sam is basically a conduit connecting the heroes and weirdoes to the reader. And unlike many of the current crop of police procedural writers I’m compelled to interject some humor into every story no matter how horrendous or serious. That’s authentic to a cop’s life. Without humor (often black humor) a detective would be swapping his Harris tweeds for a straight jacket.

Can you recall how your interest in writing first originated?

Police officers are always writing something. Narrative repots make a department go around, so I always had practice in a technical sense. Although a few defense attorneys called my prosecution worksheets sheer fantasy. When I retired, I volunteered at a Tennessee State Park and wrote publicity for their living history program. That led me to having twenty-six non-fiction magazine articles published. I thought it was cool to get paid for writing. After ten years of non-fiction and being unable to dream up anything new and exciting to say about the 18th century French & Indian War in Tennessee, I handed the torch to someone else and decided to attempt writing fiction.

I toyed with the idea of a Vietnam War novel or something in historical fiction, but settled on cop stories. But someday I still may do a western.

You have so much practical experience. Do you ever have to do any research for a story? If so, how much? What topics did you find most interesting?

I do very little research. Sam Jenkins is what we in the police business call a dinosaur. He does his thing the old way, with methods learned in the 1970s, and to him, proven in the field. When I need up-to-date information about forensic or scientific practices, I call a friend who’s a crime scene investigator for the local county sheriff. Occasionally, I need historical background on a venue mentioned in a story and I use the internet. Last year I had a novelette published called The Sawn Tattoo, which dealt with Malaysian organized crime in the southeast United States. Learning about the ethnic Chinese who immigrated to Sarawak in the early 20th century and reading the history of the crime families or triads who operated in Malaysia and now have satellite organizations in the U.S. was extremely interesting. You never know who you might be dealing with when you eat at one of those Asian buffets.

Do you ever experience writer’s block and if so, what’s your cure for it?

My version of writer’s block often comes when I need a clever way to embellish a real case. Not all police work is a thrill a minute or contains the conflict and tension publishers demand. If I can’t formulate a plausible chunk of fiction to integrate with my reality, I uncork a better than average bottle of wine, grab two glasses, and ask my wife. She’s a big help at times.

What’s the one question you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How might you answer that question?

That’s the toughest question so far. But how about this: Do you believe your portrayal of the operations of a small police department and more importantly the interaction and relationships of the police personnel is realistic?

Remember those hoops I mentioned previously? I jumped through those to please a publisher and get my foot in the door. Getting the details and technicalities correct is for me and all the cops and ex-cops who might read something I write. I’d be embarrassed and feel terrible if another retired cop said, “That’s BS. You couldn’t do that.”

Everyone who writes asks for a reader’s suspension of disbelief at some point. And sometimes those in the mystery business have his or her protagonist take risks no good cop should take. Sometimes they do procedural things that might make a reader grit their teeth and say, “Sam (or Philip Marlow, or Jim Rockford) is a good detective. He should know better.” Occasionally, Sam allows his big mouth to cause seemingly irreparable conflict with the politicos and a reader might observe, “Jeez, doesn’t he know how much trouble he could get into?” Those things are done to create the tension both readers and publishers enjoy.

But let’s deal with what gives the sub-genre its name: police procedure. If you get the details right, you make your bones and can skate through a few requests for a suspension of disbelief. I try hard to not only show the correct way to do it, but in a roundabout way, explain why cops do things in a certain manner.

The second part of the question delves into a philosophy of management, supervision, and interpersonal relationships. As in the military, police line organizations tend to be more formal within the chain of command. But Prospect PD doesn’t have 3000 sworn members like the place where I used to work. And Sam Jenkins spent most of his career working in small units where the rank structure and relationships were more relaxed. Prospect PD has a chief, two sergeants, ten patrolmen, and in recent books, a civilian operations aide. So, Sam operates his department on a first name basis. Everyone seems to like that and the troops still call him boss most of the time.

He believes in the premise that management pays his salary and assigns him certain tasks, but he owes his troops more than he owes the mayor. Without them, no mission could ever be accomplished. If a cop gets called on the carpet from outside the PD, Sam has their back and fights for their preservation. A boss who worries more about promotion and where he wants to go next will probably never gain the respect of his workers nor will he see the above average productivity from his cops which creates a truly superior unit. Sam believes that everyone should strive to be the best (fill in a job title of your choice) possible so they can look in the mirror and be pleased with who’s looking back at them.

Police work is not always, but can be a dangerous business. If you don’t look out for your brothers and sisters, you’re not looking out for yourself. This is true to life.

Elise,

That seems to be the end of the line. Thanks for inviting me to your blog to answer these questions,provide your fans and followers with a short essay on real police work versus Hollywood’s version, and for offering to review my book, A New Prospect.

The pleasure was all mine, Wayne. I learned so much from your post and now your interview, and I can’t wait to read A New Prospect.

Here’s how you can learn more about Wayne and his work:How can readers discover more about you and you work?

| Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Google Plus | Amazon Author Page |

| Barnes and Noble Author Page | Mind Wings Audio Author Page |

| Independent Author Network Page |

WZ  photo Deadwood, SDAbout the Author:

Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara.

Twenty (20) of his Sam Jenkins mysteries have been published as eBooks and many produced as audio books. Ten (10) of these novelettes are available in print under the titles: A Murder in Knoxville and Other Smoky Mountain Mysteries andReenacting a Murder and Other Smoky Mountain Mysteries. Zurl has won Eric Hoffer and Indie Book Awards, and was named a finalist for a Montaigne Medal and First Horizon Book Award. His full-length novels are: A new Prospect, A Leprechaun’s Lament, Heroes & Lovers and Pigeon River Blues. They are available in print and various eBook formats.

Look for the all New from New York to the Smokies, an anthology of 5 never before published Sam Jenkins mysteries. Coming in April 2015.