Third Eye means a lot to me not only because it's the kind of book that's scary, suspenseful, and hard-to-put-down (I don't write otherwise...boring is one of the worst sins a book can commit), but also because at its heart, it's a book about the unique bond parents have with their children. It's dedicated to the memory of my own mom and I like to think my main, character, Cayce, has the same parental qualities and capacity for love that my mother did.
Who knew that a summer thunderstorm and his lost little boy would conspire to change single dad Cayce D’Amico’s life in an instant? With Luke missing, Cayce ventures into the woods near their house to find his son, only to have lightning strike a tree near him, sending a branch down on his head. When he awakens the next day in the hospital, he discovers he has been blessed or cursed—he isn't sure which—with psychic ability. Along with unfathomable glimpses into the lives of those around him, he’s getting visions of a missing teenage girl.
When a second girl disappears soon after the first, Cayce realizes his visions are leading him to their grisly fates. Cayce wants to help, but no one believes him. The police are suspicious. The press wants to exploit him. And the girls' parents have mixed feelings about the young man with the "third eye."
Cayce turns to local reporter Dave Newton and, while searching for clues to the string of disappearances and possible murders, a spark ignites between the two. Little do they know that nearby, another couple—dark and murderous—are plotting more crimes and wondering how to silence the man who knows too much about them.
--Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Reviews, December 2014
Friday, September 16, 2016
Friday, September 9, 2016
What Drove Me to Write my Serial Killer Thriller, IM
If you get an instant message from me, would you wonder why? Probably not, unless you knew that one of my most infamous thrillers was called IM, and that IM in the title stands for instant message, but that it could also stand for instant murder. And maybe you’d pause if you knew that IM is a book about a serial killer who uses the Internet to lure his victims.
But then again, maybe you wouldn’t. After all, what are the odds that someone who writes a book about a murderer who uses instant messages to charm his way into the homes of his victims, where he will ruthlessly stab them and perpetrate all sorts of horrors on their bodies would actually do something so heinous?
IM comes from that comfort zone we probably all have: that place that tells us, “It couldn’t happen to me.” People, in general, don’t expect to be murdered. That’s why scores of young men on gay internet hook up sites often brazenly invite strangers into their homes. They believe it “couldn’t happen to them.”
This belief is the impetus for IM. The internet has made it so easy for us to meet other people, especially for sex. Who needs a bar, a social club, or even a bathhouse to meet a sex partner? Today, we can order up a roll in the hay almost as easily as we can order a pizza. And have it delivered fast, hot, and fresh… The temptation is so great that many of us cast caution to the wind and never do the things common sense might tell us when contemplating an online hook-up, things like meeting in public first, getting the details on your potential suitor like name, address, phone number and conveying those details to a good friend, just in case.
Instead, many men, every day, open their homes up to complete strangers. Strangers who have no connection to them. Who, if they’re careful, would leave no pesky traces like motivation or other associations investigators might look for. The internet has made it easy to perpetrate the perfect crime.
Enter my killer, Timothy Bright, who looks mild mannered but who’s twisted and broken on the inside. He knows how easy it is to chat someone up online and gain admittance to their homes. It almost never fails.
And that’s just how it works in real life. I thought that was scary…and so I began writing.
The Internet is the new meat market for gay men. Now a killer is turning the meat market into a meat wagon.
One by one, he’s killing them. Lurking in the digital underworld of Men4HookUpNow.com, he lures, seduces, and charms, reaching out through instant messages to the unwary. When the first body surfaces, openly gay Chicago Police Department detective Ed Comparetto is called in to investigate. At the scene, the young man who discovered the body tells him the story of how he found his friend. But did this witness play a bigger role in the murder than he’s letting on?
For Comparetto, this encounter is the beginning of a nightmare—because this witness did more than just show up at the scene of the crime; he set the scene. Comparetto is on a journey to discover the truth—before he loses his career, his boyfriend, his sanity… his life. Because in this killer's world, IM doesn't stand for instant message… it stands for instant murder.
Dreamspinner Press Publications
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Note: The following post originally appeared on MM Good Book Reviews.
I’m excited to reveal the cover for my next novel, Dinner at Jack’s, with you today. Isn’t it gorgeous? I can say that because all the credit goes to amazing artist and cover designer, Reese Dante. I work with her on most of my books and I think she’s one of the best in the business. It’s like she can read my mind as far as knowing what will be perfect for each book.
Reese continued the look and feel of my other “dinner” books that combine food and romance for this one. If you look at each cover, you’ll see that our main love interests are positioned at the top, with some kind of artful food shot at the bottom. In case you’re wondering what the food is on the cover of Dinner at Jack’s, it’s gnocchi, little Italian dumplings that play a very important role in the story.
What I love about this one is the cool of the colors (most of the book takes place in winter) and the way the characters appear. Not only do they fit their general appearance, you get an idea of how they care for one another.
Personal chef Beau St. Clair, recently divorced from his cheating husband, has returned to the small Ohio River town where he grew up to lick his wounds. Jack Rogers lives with his mother Maisie in that same small town, angry at and frightened of the world. Jack has a gap in his memory that hides something he dares not face, and he’s probably suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Maisie, seeking relief from her housebound and often surly son, hires Beau to cook for Jack, hoping the change might help bring Jack, once a handsome and vibrant attorney, back to his former self. But can a new face and comfort food compensate for the terror lurking in Jack’s past?
Slowly, the two men begin a dance of revelation and healing. Food and compassion build a bridge between Beau and Jack, a bridge that might lead to love.
But will Jack’s demons allow it? Jack’s history harbors secrets that could just as easily rip them apart as bring them together.
Release date: 3rd October 2016
Dreamspinner Press ebook | Dreamspinner Press paperback
This gives you a small idea of how well that first meeting between our two love interests goes… And yes, I’m being sarcastic. But there’s definitely something there.
But it was his eyes which drew me, which rang the bell of familiarity. They were icy blue, so pale the irises appeared nearly translucent. Although most of Jack looked very weak, bedridden, as though a strong wind could lift him and carry him to Oz, his gaze on me was strong. There was something in those eyes I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but it made me nervous. Was it amusement? Disdain? A wish that I would simply go away?
Whatever it was, I had the odd sensation that Jack had the upper hand here, despite his wraithlike and weak appearance. I have to admit, I felt a little intimidated by him.
In spite of this, I forced myself to move toward the bed, my hand extended. “Hi, Jack!” My voice was full of goodwill, and I hope it didn’t sound too fake. “I’m Beau. Beau St. Clair. Pleased to meet you.”
Jack glanced at my hand as though I were holding out a piece of rancid meat and kept his hands under the quilt. I was so taken aback, I glanced down at the outstretched hand to see if it was dirty or if there was something unsanitary clinging beneath my nails. But my hands were clean.
Maisie stood near the doorway, fidgeting. “Jack,” she warned. “Don’t be rude.”
Jack glanced over at her and then rolled his eyes. “Yes, Mother.” He smiled big, kind of like a death rictus, and drew one hand out from beneath the covers. We shook, and I refrained from commenting that the handshake was akin to grasping a dead fish.
Awkward silence reigned. Finally Maisie—God bless her—spoke up. “Beau’s here to talk about maybe cooking for you a couple, three nights a week while I’m at work.”
“Got any experience?” Beau eyed me from the bed.
I nodded. “Graduated near the top of my class from culinary school, worked in several restaurants, going from sous chef to executive chef, before I started my own business as a personal chef.”
Jack sat up a little straighter, and as he did, I had that pang of recognition again, but I couldn’t for the life of me think how I might have crossed paths with this man.
“Wow.” He moved his gaze from me over to Maisie. “You win the lottery, Toots?” he asked.
She snickered. “Yes. Beau here is the first of many changes I’m making. Soon we’ll be moving into one of the mansions on Park Boulevard. I have BMWs ordered for both of us, silver for me and cherry red for you—if you can ever manage to get your sorry ass out of bed. The yacht is being custom-built.”
I looked at her, and she grinned at me. “But seriously, folks, Beau here is just looking for a little side job while he gets settled in his old hometown. Isn’t that right, Beau?”
Jack said, “So you work cheap?”
“I guess I do. Or would.” I shifted my gaze over to Maisie. “That is, if I get hired.”
Maisie laughed. “Oh well, you definitely have an edge over all your competition.”
“And who might that be?” Jack scoffed.
As much as I wanted to just disappear into the colorless bedroom walls and listen to the mother-son banter, I thought it was up to me to get things on track. “So Jack, tell me what you like to eat.”
He sighed and blew a strand of his pale hair off his forehead. “Brown sugar Pop-Tarts, Cheetos, beef jerky, and beer.”
I clapped my hands together. “Those are my favorites too!” I took some initiative and sat down at the very edge of the foot of the bed. “But I think we can save those for special occasions, like birthdays, House Hunters marathons, and the like.”
Jack asked, “What are you, some kind of smartass?”
“You got me. I’m also a great cook… and I specialize in good old-fashioned comfort food. I make a turkey meatloaf with chipotle ketchup that’ll knock your socks off. Ever had Italian wedding soup with escarole and little tiny meatballs?” I didn’t wait for him to answer. “If you haven’t, you’ll be begging me for it after one taste.” I rubbed my hand along the surface of the quilt, caught myself, and cut it out. “Fried chicken, spaghetti and meatballs, a killer mac and cheese—I use creamed corn in the recipe—weird, but you won’t believe how good it is. I do a wicked beer and beef stew, which I serve up with thyme beer bread I make myself.” I shrugged. “That’s just the start. You think you wanna try something out?” I glanced over at Maisie, who was smiling. “I could bring a little sample over tomorrow, and you see if you like it. If you do, maybe we can set up a more permanent arrangement.”
Ever have a feeling about someone you just can’t put your finger on? A bond your heart makes that your mind is saying “What the fuck?” to? That’s how I felt with Jack, even though he’d done nothing but glare at me the entire time I was speaking. Maybe I knew him in another life or something.
Dreamspinner Press ebook | Dreamspinner Press paperback