Friday, November 27, 2015

Author Thomas Brooke: Turning a Negative into a Positive

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Roman Mask by Thomas M.D. Brooke - Thoughts in ProgressI’m delighted to welcome author Thomas M.D. Brooke to Thoughts in Progress today to talk about ‘turning a negative into a positive - the inspiration behind ROMAN MASK.

First, here’s a short synopsis of ROMAN MASK:

Rome AD 9
      Augustus Caesar rules Imperial Rome at the height of its power, as the Roman Empire stretches across the known world. Cassius, son of one of her most powerful families, is the personification of Rome's imperial strength: wealthy, popular, a war hero with a decorated military career - none of Rome's fashionable parties are complete without him - except, he hides a secret.
      After his nerve is broken in Germany, the thought of genuine armed combat is enough to send him into a cold sweat of fear and shame. But this doesn't dissuade him from living off a false reputation so he can continue a life of casual affairs, wine, and parties, as he is seduced by the many vices of Rome.
      However his scandalous life is soon upset by a summons from the Emperor's wife. It ends his happy decadent life and returns him to Germany to assist the Roman legions in their greatest ever trial, and the events that will resound down in history, in the dark forests of the Teutoburg...
Here’s what others are saying about this fascinating story:

      "The classical world is brought vividly to life" Daily Mail - UK National Newspaper
      "I loved this book. There's no other way to say it. Filled with action and adventure, Roman Mask will keep you on the edge of your seat." 5 Stars -

Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Thomas as he talks about turning a negative into a positive. Welcome, Thomas.

It was an October night, and I was returning home from a night out with a few friends in my local pub in London, when something happened that changed my life dramatically. The nights were closing in, so it was already dark by the time I left the pub, but I was in a good mood. I’d recently returned from a trip to Pompeii , so I’d been telling everyone of my excitement at walking through the Roman streets, marveling at the murals and depictions on the well preserved houses, and laughing about the seedier aspects of the ancient city – the brothels and street graffiti that had also survived the great volcanic eruption of AD 79.

It was probably because I was so preoccupied with these thoughts, that I didn’t see the guy who came out of an alcove and wrapped an arm around my neck. My first thought was, ‘Am I being mugged? Who’s going to mug me??’ – I’m a big guy, over six feet tall and I keep myself in pretty good shape, so I’d always thought the chance of this happening in London were pretty remote. But I was wrong.
When the second guy came out from behind a car, then the third from behind a bush I knew I was in trouble. This was no ordinary street robbery; these guys were out for blood, and the three of them surrounded me and between them punched, kicked, and smashed me to the ground, beating me to an inch of my life.

Afterwards, as I tried to hobble home – one of them had crushed my foot, to prevent me from getting up – another passer-by saw me covered in blood and called an ambulance. I was lucky, I got to live another day. And within a few weeks, my bruises healed, and I began to walk without a limp, all physical signs of my encounter disappeared. But that was just the start of my nightmare.

I was completely unprepared for the mental-trauma that such an incident inflicts on you. That winter was torture for me. After any night out, I was terrified to go home; I found I was scared of the dark, constantly thinking that people would jump out of the shadows at me. I’d never previously been a heavy drinker, but over that winter I found I needed to drink a lot just to give me the courage to walk home. I could have called a taxi, but then people would wonder why I was taking a cab for such a small journey – this became another all-encompassing fear: that others would find out about my terror. This might seem irrational, but at the time, that fear was almost as great as being mugged again.

Those first six months were very difficult, but then as the nights started getting lighter, an idea came to me. After visiting Pompeii I’d been searching for a character to be a lead in a novel set in ancient Rome – someone who fully embraced the entirety of Rome, its seedier aspects as much as its magnificence. Why not put my experiences to good use, rather than having it a weight bearing me down, let it be something that produces something positive. At the time, the news on the television was full of stories of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress and it made me think how soldiers dealt with such issues in the ancient world. My experiences had shown me the power that traumatic events can play on the mind, and I quite simply didn’t believe anyone who claimed that in the ancient world such a thing was not a concern because life was different back then. The human mind was biologically exactly the same then as it is now, and just as fallible to conditions we now diagnose and understand the importance of.

So I came up with the character Cassius, a great soldier, but someone who’d been affected by a terrible battle a few years before in the forests of Germany. I knew from my own experiences how easy it was to fall into a trap of blaming yourself for your own perceived weakness, and I knew how living a lie to hide that same weakness can become a part of life. I then started my novel in Rome so I could show Cassius being seduced by the many vices of that ancient city – something that is all too easy under such circumstances. I then returned Cassius to Germany where he learns to understand and come to terms with his fears, just as I did whilst writing my novel. The novel culminates in the Teutoburg forest and one of the most dramatic and historically significant battles of the ancient world. Cassius needs to draw on all his courage and strength in the midst of that terrible event.

I’m now pleased that I encountered those three men, that fateful night in October. It was a terrible experience, but it gave me something so much more – I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Thomas, thank you for joining us today and sharing this look at how ROMAN MASK came to be. It sounds like a frightening experience, but you turned it into something very good.

For those not familiar with Thomas, here’s a bit of background on him.

Author Thomas M.D. Brooke - Thoughts in Progress
Author Thomas M.D. Brooke
Thomas Brooke lives in London where he works in the exciting, and sometimes crazy, fashion world. He is also a committed writer and he spends as much time as he can in his beloved Northumbrian hills, where up until recently could be seen walking with his black Labrador Fergus, who sadly passed in January 2015. Fergus was a constant companion to the writing of the novel and prevented many writers’ tantrums. 

As well as writing novels, Thomas also writes a blog on both historical and fantasy genre novels. 

For more information on Thomas and his writing, visit his website.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Do you enjoy books that revisit history? What are your thoughts on turning a negative into a positive?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy ThanksgivingMillions of people today will be celebrating Thanksgiving with food, family, friends and their own special traditions.

I want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to each and every one of you my blogging family and friends. Whether you are observing the holiday or not, I hope for you a wonderful and safe day that gives you much pleasure.

This is a day for giving thanks. I am so grateful for your friendship and support. While I’ve been away visiting friends, y’all have continued to visit and comment. I so appreciate that. The support and friendship among bloggers is an amazing thing.

While there are terrible things going on in the world, there is still hope and love. Today (and every day) we have much to be thankful for.

Whether you are celebrating by sharing a meal, watching a football game, shopping or some other activity, may you have a joyous day. Wishing everyone a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING. Be safe, be happy!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Testing the Boss Blitz {+ Giveaway}

6 TestingI’m delighted to be participating in the Rock Star PR and Literary Consulting Series Cover Reveal and Sneak Peek for author Mallory Crowe’s TESTING THE BOSS, the sixth installment in her Billionaires in the City series.

As part of the reveal and sneak peek, Mallory is sharing an excerpt from her new release as well as the new covers of her series. In addition, she has an awesome tour-wide giveaway for a Kindle Fire and a bundle of books. Please see the end of the post for additional information on the giveaway.

Here’s a blurb for TESTING THE BOSS (Billionaires in the City #6):

      Billionaire Luke Devereaux gets what he wants and what he wants right now is to bring down the shady organization threatening his family. Teaming up with the FBI is his only option--even if that option comes in the sultry Evelyn Price, the ice-princess who's all business.
      Refusing to be distracted by the sexy, rich playboy, Evelyn forces herself to stay focused on the case, gearing up for the criminal takedown of her entire career. As the enemy closes in with Evelyn as its next target, it's up to Luke to keep them out of danger. The more they work to protect each other, and fight for control, the harder it is to resist their undeniable attraction.
      And the one thing Evelyn has learned from working with him is that Luke Devereaux gets what he wants. 

Rock Star logoTESTING THE BOSS can be found at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Goodreads.

Here’s an excerpt …….

      “You don’t want to work out with me,” she warned.
      He leaned forward and she realized that she’d made a horrible mistake. “Oh really? Think I can’t handle it?”
      Great. Now she’d activated his competitive side. “Oh, I think you can handle it. Far away from me, though.”
      “So I’m free for the night?”
      “No! I’m going to be there for the damn phone call, Luke.”
      “So we are working out together?” She opened her mouth to say no again, but he cut her off. “Because you normally work out right now and we’ve got nothing better to do. Unless you have any bright ideas?”
      She had at least fifty reasons why she didn’t want to work out with Luke, and every single one had to do with not wanting him in her space. But she wasn’t about to admit it. “You don’t even have workout clothes with you,” she settled on.
      He held up his duffel. “I always have workout clothes with me. I have a treadmill in my office.”
      “We’re not working out,” she repeated.
      He cocked his head and considered her for a moment. “Do I make you uncomfortable, Agent Price?”
      Those blue eyes were on her like a spotlight and she racked her brain for a good lie. Because he did make her uncomfortable. Incredibly, intensely uncomfortable in the worst way. “Of course not.”
      “Then give me the address and we’ll go.”
      “You’re not a member of my gym.”
      “I’m a member of whatever gym I want to be. You just give me three minutes alone with the manager and I’ll be in.”
      She snorted. “I doubt that. I’m the manager. I have a home gym.”
      “The exclusive club Evelyn? Well, now I really want to go.”

Testing the Boss Release Tour Banner

Here’s an interview with Mallory.

Tell us three behind the scenes facts about TESTING THE BOSS.

1 - Evelyn is named after the author Evelyn Adams. Without her help and support, I probably would not be a published author now.
2 - The cover model on TESTING is the same guy who's on TOUCHING. I just loved him so much and, since the characters are brothers who look alike, I made it work.
3 - I was recently in New York City for a few days (previously I'd only been in the city for a few hours at a time). So this is the first book where I could use real life experience to describe the city.

What’s the last book you read and loved?

One of my author friends, Cali MacKay, just published the first part of this really cool project called FORBIDDEN about a woman who turns to a mysterious artist on a private island to keep her safe from her deranged ex. Except the mysterious man is actually a set of twins and she starts falling for both without realizing it. Cali's been telling me all about the story as she was writing it and I couldn't WAIT to get it and read for myself.

Out of all your heroes, who do you want to keep for yourself?

I think Simon from TEASING THE BOSS might be my favorite. Something about a sexy, redhead nerd alpha. Who also likes dogs…

Your next book TAMING THE BOSS will be the final book in the Billionaires in the City series. What are some of the things going through your mind at seeing this series end?

I'm really more excited than anything. Partially because I don't feel like the series is ending, I feel like I'm opening a new chapter. I can't give too many details yet, but the next series will be a little different in tone, but will still have the strong characters and bite of humor and suspense that the BITC series had. So I'm 100% thrilled to bring this new world to my readers. 

What’s next for Mallory Crowe?

The last book in the Billionaire's in the City series, TAMING THE BOSS, is coming out January and that shows the Devereaux's dedicated assistant, Cali, going to northern Maine to drag back the black sheep of the family. Needless to say, he doesn't make things easy for her in the best way possible.


Author Mallory Crowe - Thoughts in ProgressMallory Crowe has lived in Michigan her whole life and has been in love with romance ever since she’d skip to the end of every novel, just to make sure the hero and heroine survived and ended up together. 

She lives with her husband and three dogs. When she’s not writing, she’s spending too much time in front of the TV, hiking, or working with various animal rescues.

For more on Mallory and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.


1 TeachingTeaching the Boss (Billionaires in the City #1):

      Business-school student April Morgan is ready to graduate--from school, from the secretary pool, and from never-gonna-happen fantasies involving Sam Hunt, her hunky billionaire boss. But when Sam’s girlfriend of the week pushes her too far, April finds herself quitting on the spot with only a mountain of student loan debt to keep her company. In steps Sam’s worst enemy, his father, with a job offer she can't refuse.
      Sam was born into privilege, but refused to live life with a silver spoon in his mouth. After a decade of hard work, he’s on the verge of taking his business public and proving to his tyrannical family that he can make it without their help. When he finds out that April is working for his father, he knows she’s been turned into a pawn in his father’s twisted games.
      Despite Sam’s warnings, April is determined to prove she doesn’t need him to make in New York City. But when she finds documents that could lead to Sam losing everything he’s worked for, April realizes that she and Sam have to work together to save the empire they’ve both worked to build.

Teaching the Boss can be found at Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

2 TeasingTeasing the Boss (Billionaires in the City #2):

      Premier business consultant Simon West can turn around any struggling billion dollar corporation in New York City, but he can’t get what he wants most: revenge against Mark DuFord. The slick investment banker's shady dealing led to Simon’s best friend’s suicide. Wealthy, and well-protected by the political influence he’s been able to purchase, DuFord has become untouchable—or so he thinks. But when DuFord’s former girlfriend asks Simon for help, he knows that Grace Bell is the weapon he needs to finally destroy his enemy completely. All Simon has to do is pretend to love her.
      Grace Bell knows that approaching hot-shot Simon West to save her business is a long shot, but she’s desperate. After growing up with a family that expected her to be a happy housewife, she’d proved them all wrong when she became the go-to event-coordinator in New York City. But after the tabloids took a completely innocent picture of her with a married senator and misinterpreted the situation, she’s losing clients left and right. When she approaches Simon and begs for his help to resuscitate the business she put her heart and soul into, she never expects him to agree. Or that the payment would be posing as his lover as an excuse to get close to her ex.
      Simon knows if he goes forward with his plan, it's only a matter of time before Mark realizes what they're up to and Mark’s enemies have a way ending up broke, in jail or six feet under. As Simon and Grace grow closer, Simon must decide if putting her in the line of fire is worth avenging the past.

Teasing the Boss can be found at Goodreads and Amazon

3 TemptingTempting the Boss (Billionaires in the City #3):

      As the CEO of a multi-billion dollar retail chain, Victoria Green isn’t used to asking for help, especially not from too attractive for their own good repairmen like Dean Carey. After Victoria is attacked at her own party and Dean fights off the culprit, she’s forced to tell him her secret: Victoria’s father is on his deathbed, and her brother, who nearly ran the company into the ground, might be willing to do anything to make sure controlling interest goes to him.
      Dean wants nothing to do with the ice princess CEO, even if he can’t keep his eyes off certain… assets of hers. He’s got enough on his plate between trying to get enough work to pay the bills and raising his little sister who’s growing up much too fast for his liking. Despite his misgivings, when Victoria offers him a blank check if he will keep his mouth shut about what he saw and shadow her until she can hire a more qualified bodyguard, he can’t bring himself to turn down that kind of cash.
      Over the next few days, Dean learns Victoria isn’t as cold as he first thought and Victoria realizes that Dean is so much more than a handyman. But someone wants her dead and if they don’t figure out who and stop them, they might never get their happily ever after.

Tempting the Boss can be found at Goodreads and Amazon.

4 TrustingTrusting the Boss (Billionaires in the City, #4): 

      Billionaire heiress Emma Devaroux has been living a safe-yet-mundane existence in Georgia for too long, but when she learns her sister, Joslyn, has been arrested, she heads to New York City to find out what really happened. Unfortunately, as an unemployed debutante, she’s not exactly qualified to be leading an investigation. But help is at hand in the form of the handsome, former military man Jace Lance who happens to be the one who got her sister arrested in the first place.
      Jace thinks Emma is crazy for even considering working with him since he’s the one who stopped Joslyn from killing his former client. However, he can’t deny that the sexy southerner is in over her head when her tycoon cousins try to hire him to make sure Emma doesn’t find out the truth about what really caused her sister’s murderous actions.
      As they begin to uncover the truth together –and get to know each other intimately – it becomes clear that the more answers they get, the more danger Emma is in. Jace is determined to protect her, but how can he keep her safe when her whole family is in on the conspiracy?

Trusting the Boss can be found at Goodreads and Amazon.

5 TouchingTouching the Boss (Billionaires in the City, #5): 

He's tall.
He's sexy.
He's a criminal.
And he's her boss.
      Lacking enough evidence to go the police and not enough money in her bank account to quit on a moral basis, Lori Briggs is stuck, and it's quite clear that her boss, the criminal mastermind, intends to start mixing business with pleasure.
      Michael Devereaux will do anything to protect his family's interests--even if it means posing as a criminal for an undercover FBI operation. He's got to keep Lori close, and his enemies closer. But when the intimacy with Lori deepens, Michael must decide what's more important: his family or his heart?

Touching the Boss can be found at Goodreads and Amazon.



This tour-wide giveaway is for a Kindle Fire and a bundle of books. To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient.

Thanks so much for stopping by today for this reveal and sneak peek. Do you enjoy finding a new series from time to time?

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Angels Sing to Rest {+ Giveaway}

*This post contains affiliate links.

I’m happy to be participating in the Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tour for ANGELS SING TO REST by Chrinda Jones.

This is the second installment in the Olivia Gates and Will Green Crime Series by Jones. As part of the tour, Partners in Crime is hosting a tour wide giveaway with six winners. Please see the end of the post for more giveaway details.

Here’s a brief synopsis of ANGELS SING TO REST: 

          "Angels Sing to Rest" begins where "Darkness Knows Me" left off: after the investigation into the death of the Deep Ellum Killer, Levi Devereux.

          Detective Sergeant Olivia Gates returns from a two-month suspension, to find her team has gained a new member, her ex-husband is being released from prison, and a 10-year-old street kid has been murdered on her patch of South Dallas.

          Her ex she can deal with, even when he drags their young son into the mix or so she thinks. The murdered boy with the crushed chest, isn't so easily handled and weighs heavily on her as more street kids are killed with an unimaginable sadistic flare and no discernible motive.

          If the continuing body count wasn't stressful enough, Olivia's falling out with longtime friend and colleague, Doctor Will Green, threatens any hope Olivia had for more than a friendship with the good doctor.

          Drugs, gaming, prostitution and sadistic murders lead Gates and her team on a trek through the seamy underbelly of living rough on the streets of downtown Dallas. 

Genre: Crime
Published by: Wing and a Prayer Publishing
Publication Date: Sept 4, 2015
Number of Pages: 206
ISBN: 978-0-9898442-1-5
Series: Olivia Gates and Will Green Crime Series, Book 2
Purchase Links:
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

My Thoughts ……… 

Author Chrinda Jones has crafted another gritty crime novel in ANGELS SING TO REST.

Bringing back her protagonists Detective Sergeant Olivia Gates and Dr. Will Green, Jones pulls readers in quickly with a youth’s death and its aftermath. Jones blends the search for a heinous killer with the personal problems of Gates and Green for a well-balanced story. The twists and turns keep readers guessing and on the edge of their seats with suspense.

The characters are likable and well-developed. Their emotions and faults will have readers wanting to know more about them. The author’s eye for detail brings the setting to live through her vivid descriptions.

While this is the second installment in the series, it can be read on its own. However to have a better understanding of the problems Gates is dealing with, readers may want to read the first installment before ANGELS SING TO REST.

This is a fascinating thriller that will capture your attention from beginning to end. It will leave you looking forward to more exploits from this series.

Angels Sing to Rest by Chrinda Jones, Olivia Gates and Will Green Crime Series (Book #2), Wing and a Prayer Publishing, @2015, ISBN: 978-0989844215, 206 Pages
FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me as part of the author’s virtual book tour in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

ANGELS SING TO REST is nominated for Dan Poynter’s Global eBook Awards!


Chrinda Jones is a crime writing and reading fiend, which she believes is genetic and began with her great-grandmother, who hoarded crime novels. 

DARKNESS KNOWS ME is her crime novel debut and ANGELS SING TO REST is next in her series. When she’s not putting her time in with the writing gods, you can find her playing music or enjoying a good meal with friends and family.

Chrinda currently resides in Murphy, Texas, with her husband, children, grandchildren and her Jugg, Abby.

For more on Chrinda and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. 


This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Chrinda Jones. There will be 6 winners for this tour.

The first 2 winners will each receive one $15 US gift card. The 3rd and 4th Place winners will each receive 1 autographed copy of DARKNESS KNOWS ME by Chrinda Jones, this prize will be for US winners only. The 5th and 6th Place winners will each receive 1 eBook copy of DARKNESS KNOWS ME by Chrinda Jones.

The giveaway began on November 1st and runs through December 2nd.

  • 2 e-copies of first book of series Darkness Knows Me
  • 2 paper copies of Darkness Knows Me (signed)
  • 2 $15 amazon gift cards
To enter this giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient.

Thanks so much for stopping by today during Chrinda’s tour. Are you a crime fiction fan? If so, what do you like most about it?

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