Tuesday, October 1, 2019

"The Shape of Night" by Tess Gerritsen


INTERVIEW and EXCERPT
The Shape of Night
by Tess Gerritsen

The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen

New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen stops by today for an interview and to share an excerpt from her latest novel, The Shape of Night.

Description
A woman trying to outrun her past is drawn to a coastal village in Maine - and to a string of unsolved murders - in this novel of romance and psychological suspense from New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen.
After an unspeakable tragedy in Boston, Ava Collette flees to a remote village in Maine, where she rents an old house named Brodie’s Watch.
In that isolated seaside mansion, Ava finally feels at peace ... until she glimpses the long-dead sea captain who still resides there.
Rumor has it that Captain Jeremiah Brodie has haunted the house for more than a century. One night, Ava confronts the apparition, who feels all too real, and who welcomes her into his world - and into his arms. Even as Ava questions her own sanity, she eagerly looks forward to the captain’s ghostly visits. But she soon learns that the house she loves comes with a terrible secret, a secret that those in the village don’t want to reveal: Every woman who has ever lived in Brodie’s Watch has also died there. Is the ghost of Captain Brodie responsible, or is a flesh-and-blood killer at work? A killer who is even now circling closer to Ava?


Excerpt
Even now I still dream about Brodie’s Watch, and the nightmare is always the same. I am standing in the gravel driveway and the house looms before me like a ghost ship adrift in the fog. Around my feet mist curls and slithers and it coats my skin in icy rime. I hear waves rolling in from the sea and crashing against the cliffs, and overhead, seagulls scream a warning to stay far, far away. I know that Death waits behind that front door, yet I do not retreat because the house is calling to me. Perhaps it will always call to me, its siren song compelling me to once again climb the steps to the porch, where the swing creaks back and forth.
I open the door.
Inside  everything is wrong, all wrong. This is no longer the magnificent house I once lived in and loved. The massive carved banister is strangled by vines that twist like green serpents around the railing. The floor is carpeted by dead leaves which have blown in through shattered windows. I hear the slow tap, tap of rainwater dripping relentlessly from the ceiling, and I look up to see one solitary crystal pendant dangling from the skeletal chandelier. The walls, once painted cream and adorned with handsome crown molding, are now streaked with tentacles of mold. Long before Brodie’s Watch was here, before the men who built it hauled up wood and stone, hammered beams to posts, this hill where it stands was a place of moss and forest. Now the forest is reclaiming its territory. Brodie’s Watch is in retreat and the smell of decay hangs in the air.
I hear the humming of flies somewhere above me, and as I start up the staircase the ominous sound grows louder. The once- sturdy steps I climbed every night sag and groan with my weight. The banister, once polished to satiny smoothness, bristles with thorns and vines. I reach the second- floor landing and a fly appears, buzzing as it circles and dive- bombs my head. Another fly moves in, and another, as I start down the hallway toward the master bedroom. Through the closed door I can hear the flies’ greedy hum in the room beyond, where something has drawn them to feast.
I open the door and the hum instantly becomes a roar. They attack me in a cloud so thick I am choking. I wave and flail at them but they swarm my hair, my eyes, my mouth. Only then do I realize what has drawn the flies to this room. To this house.
Me. They are feasting on me.

Praise for the Book
“Suspenseful, sexy, and soulful. This book reminds me why I love reading. I wish this were a series so I could spend more time in Tucker’s Cove. Tess Gerritsen is a writer I look up to!” ~ J. R. Ward, bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series
“Reminiscent of the best of du Maurier, this modern gothic is eerie, tantalizing, spine-tingling, and sensual. [...] An altogether delicious read.” ~ Sandra Brown, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“With a twisty mix of dangerous passion, obsession, and suspense, Tess Gerritsen reinvents the Gothic novel, giving it a razor-sharp, modern edge.” ~ Jayne Ann Krentz, New York Times bestselling author of Untouchable
“This supernatural thriller from bestseller Gerritsen ranks with the best of her crime fiction. [...] This magnetic haunted house story will keep readers riveted from the very first page.” ~ Publishers Weekly
“A spellbinding thriller [...] Gerritsen shifts a murder mystery into a Gothic thriller, replete with an unsteady widow’s walk, secret alcove, strange smells, ominous sensations, and the ghost. The prologue echoes the dream of Manderley from Du Maurier’s Rebecca. [...] This riveting Gothic thriller explores the limits of love, guilt, and punishment.” ~ Kirkus Reviews


My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.


By Lynda Dickson
Hoping to finish writing her long-overdue cookbook, Ava rents Brodie's Watch, a historic house on the coast of Maine, for the summer. She immediately feels an eerie presence in the house. She later catches sight of someone on the widow’s walk, hears a man’s voice, smells his briny scent, and even feels his touch. Could the house be haunted by Captain Jeremiah Brodie, the man who built the house in 1861 but went down with his ship over one hundred and fifty years ago? Or could it perhaps be something even more sinister?
When I started reading this book, I was taken back to the time when I used to read the gothic romances of Victoria Holt, so I was pleased to read in an interview that the author “devoured” Ms. Holt’s novels long before she herself became a writer. The premise reminds me of the television series The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, which the author credits as her inspiration in my interview with her. In addition, the title brings to mind The Shape of Water, as does the idea of an other-worldly lover. Nevertheless, the book remains wholly original. It's full of great descriptions of the Maine coastline, creating a real sense of atmosphere. We are also introduced to a host of locals, who all seem charming but become likely murder candidates when a body is discovered. The author does a great job of maintaining suspense throughout this erotic paranormal thriller.
This book was an enjoyable change of pace for me.
Warnings: sex scenes, erotica, violence, coarse language.

Some of My Favorite Lines
“In my car there is only me, carrying no luggage except for the emotional baggage that will weigh me down for the rest of my life.”
“How I long to be the safe harbor he seeks, but I am a century and a half too late.”
“It’s better to live with the guilt and die with the secret. Sometimes, silence is the one true way to prove your love.”


Interview with the Author
New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerristen joins me today to discuss her new novel, The Shape of Night.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
I recommend this book to readers aged sixteen and over.
What sparked the idea for this book?
One of my favorite TV shows as a child was The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, about a widow who rents a haunted house. I love haunted-house stories and wherever I travel, I’m likely to sign up for a haunted-house tour. I thought: what if a woman fell in love with the ghost haunting her house? What if she soon learns that every woman who’s ever lived in that house has also died there? Is the ghost killing them, or is the killer someone who’s very much alive? 
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
It depends on the story. Some of my books start off with the plot, others with the character. In The Shape of Night, the character (Ava) was the starting point, because she has a secret that has left her terribly ashamed, and she tries to flee her past. This is what makes her hide away in Brodie’s Watch, a house haunted by Captain Jeremiah Brodie.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
The love scenes where the hardest part to write. I rewrote them multiple times because I want them to be both enticing but also a bit shocking.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope they’re deeply immersed in the world of Tucker Cove and also anxious to find out what happens between Ava and the mysterious Captain Brodie.
Mission accomplished! How long did it take you to write this book?
It took me over a year, which is a bit longer than most of my books. It was such a different project for me, and I wanted to take my time to tell the story.
What is your writing routine?
I try to write about 1000 words a day. I write my first drafts in longhand on unlined typing paper because I think it keeps my internal editor from intruding too much into the creative process. I can finish a first draft in about six months, and I use the rest of the year to revise.
How did you get your book published?
This will be published by my long-term publisher Ballantine (which is part of Random House). I have a literary agent who has been with me for almost 25 years, and she negotiates my book contracts.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Choose a premise that is deeply emotional for you, so that you feel your way through the story. Create characters who have deep conflicts to resolve. Then write the best book you can write and revise it until it’s perfect. I think my literary agent is an important part of why I’ve become successful, and I still believe that new writers should seek an agent to represent them.
Great advice! What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love to garden, to cook, and to travel. I’m also an amateur violinist, and I enjoy getting together with friends who are musicians.
What does your family think of your writing?
At first, my husband wasn’t certain why I was so obsessed with telling stories. But, with time, he realized it really is part of who I am, and I’m lucky he supported me through the early years of my career, before I became successful.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I’m the daughter of an immigrant mother (from China) and a Chinese-American father. Books were a big part of our household, and reading was always encouraged. Thanks to my mother’s love of horror films, I watched some pretty frightening movies when I was young, and I think that gave me my sense of storytelling.
So, did you like reading when you were a child?
I loved it. I started reading the Nancy Drew mystery series for children, and that was my introduction to the mystery genre. 
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was seven years old, and I wrote my first book. I even bound the pages together with needle and thread.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
The Nancy Drew stories inspired me to be a bit of an amateur detective and to explore the world with an inquisitive eye. It taught me that curiosity is a gift, and I’ve always been interested in a wide range of subjects. All of this has influenced my writing.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I get emails and fan mail from a number of readers, and it’s always nice to hear that they’re enjoying my stories!
Fantastic! What can we look forward to from you in the future?
The Shape of Night comes out today, 1 October, and I’m in the planning stages for a spy novel starring an older female character.
Thanks so much for stopping by today, Tess. Congratulations on your new release!


About the Author
Tess Gerritsen
Internationally bestselling author Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A graduate of Stanford University, Tess went on to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was awarded her M.D.
While on maternity leave from her work as a physician, she began to write fiction. In 1987, her first novel was published. Call After Midnight, a romantic thriller, was followed by eight more romantic suspense novels. She also wrote a screenplay, Adrift, which aired as a 1993 CBS Movie of the Week starring Kate Jackson.
Tess's first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Her suspense novels since then have been: Life Support (1997), Bloodstream (1998), Gravity (1999), The Surgeon (2001), The Apprentice (2002), The Sinner (2003), Body Double (2004), Vanish (2005), The Mephisto Club (2006), The Bone Garden (2007), The Keepsake (2008; UK title: Keeping the Dead), Ice Cold (2010; UK title: The Killing Place), The Silent Girl (2011), Last To Die (2012), Die Again (2014), Playing With Fire (2015), and I Know A Secret (2017). Her books have been published in forty countries, and more than 30 million copies have been sold around the world.
Her books have been top-3 bestsellers in the United States and number one bestsellers abroad. She has won both the Nero Wolfe Award (for Vanish) and the Rita Award (for The Surgeon). Critics around the world have praised her novels as “pulse-pounding fun” (Philadelphia Inquirer), “scary and brilliant” (Toronto Globe and Mail), and “polished, riveting prose” (Chicago Tribune). Publisher Weekly has dubbed her the “medical suspense queen”.
Her series of novels featuring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the TNT television series Rizzoli & Isles starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.
Now retired from medicine, she writes full time. She lives in Maine.

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Monday, September 23, 2019

"15 Days With You" by Ara Grigorian


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
15 Days With You
(Pacific Coast Sunrise Book 3)
by Ara Grigorian

15 Days With You (Pacific Coast Sunrise Book 3)  by Ara Grigorian

15 Days With You is the third book in the Pacific Coast Sunrise series by Ara Grigorian. Also available: Game of Love and Ten Year Dance (both ON SALE for only $0.99 for a limited time).


15 Days With You is currently on tour with YA Bound Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
A mother’s dying wish. A son in search of answers. A fifteen-day surf odyssey with the California girl who will dare him to rethink everything.
Alone after his mother’s unexpected death, seventeen-year-old Shep leaves Texas to crash with his uncle’s family in Malibu. Before he can hang his cowboy hat, Shep learns something that blows his mind - in her youth, his hard-working single mom was a gifted surfer on her way to international fame. And her dying wish was for him to recreate the surf tour she completed when she was eighteen - the summer she got pregnant with him.
Along with his cousin Carmen (the red-blooded competitive surfer) and her best friend Samantha (the opinionated and mildly annoying beach goddess), Shep hits the road for a surf trip up and down Pacific Coast Highway. Armed with his mother’s ashes and fifteen sealed envelopes - each containing a page from her high school diary - Shep will discover a new side of the complex woman he’d only thought of as Mom, and might finally learn the identity of a man he’s never met - his father.
But each time he paddles out into the waves, a nagging question haunts him - the one he may not be ready to answer: Is he learning to surf because he wants to honor his mother’s dying wish, or running from the real reason he can’t go back to Texas - his own terrible mistake?


Excerpt from Chapter 14
From behind, the tap of the horn pulls my attention. “Down to spot nineteen,” Carmen says as they slowly pass me. “We got oceanside with hookup!”
“Score.”
By the time I reach them, the RV is parked and Carmen is already out looking over the bluff. Shep’s unloading the small grill.
“I’m gonna prepare breakfast,” he says as I walk by him to join Carmen.
“Overcast,” she says. “Small, textured surf.”
“Two footers, at best.” I track the direction of the winds. “Surfers in the water. Waiting.”
“Let’s get our boards,” she says and we immediately turn back to the RV.
“We’re going to hit the water,” Carmen tells Shep.
He freezes. “What about breakfast?”
“Priorities, Shep. Priorities,” she says then punches his shoulder.
I walk by and punch his shoulder, too. “You heard the woman.” I step inside, close the door, then pop it open again. “Don’t come in, we’re changing.”
His little ears turn red, but he still manages to tip his hat.
We quickly change. Like me, Carmen is wearing her bikini under her clothes. No point in wasting time. She’s wearing a hot green cross-back top. Very functional. Nothing worse that discovering a boob has popped out. Neither of us bothers with wetsuits. Down here, the water is outright warm.
“Ready?” she asks.
“You know it.”
We hop out and go to the rear of the RV. The board rack has been unlocked. Shep is leaning against the RV.
“Need help taking them down?” he asks.
“Do you need help milking a cow?” I reply.
He scoffs then says, “I’m gonna lock her up and join y’all on the beach.”
“Why don’t all y’all you change into your board shorts?”
He shrugs. “We’ll see.”
He disappears after we unfasten the shortboards which are ideal for the conditions. With them tucked under our arms, we march toward the walkway.
Carmen picks up her pace. Not me. The process is sometimes as wonderful as the surf. I love everything about getting ready, about studying the waves, and breathing in the scents of the ocean. Each beach has its own unique fingerprint. Also, I prefer to study the surfers that are already there and see what skill level I’m going up against. Not Carmen. The water could be bobbing with twenty pros and she’ll get right into the mix, without hesitation.
“The overcast is burning away,” she says. “The troops are sensing the shift.”
A handful of surfers, not too far from us, run into the water. “We better join them before we lose the next set of waves.”
We place our boards down. “Time for salad dressing,” she says.
Methodically we apply sunscreen. This is not suntan lotion. We’re not trying to get sexy. This is protection so we can do this for as long as we can stand upright.
“You look like a geisha.”
We both glare at Shep who saunters in. “You’d be wise to protect that pasty white skin of yours,” I say.
His face contorts and he looks down at his exposed arms. “Pasty?” he whispers.
“Yes, pasty,” I repeat.
He sets his beach chair down and drops his rucksack. “Go on then. Pass it over so I can apply some.”
Carmen throws it at him and he snatches it. The way his muscles ripple when he grabs the errant toss reminds me of the baseball game. That was awesome.
I toss a wax bar to Carmen and we kneel in front of our sea chariots. I rip it open and the sweet scent completes the sensory experience.
The sound of crashing waves pulls my focus toward the water. The ocean is awakening.


Praise for the Book
“Filled with tumultuous emotions of grief, romance, guilt, secrecy and anger, 15 Days With You is an accomplished work of drama sure to be enjoyed by audiences of all ages.” ~ K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite
“I wasn't sure what to expect but I was blown away and sucked into this book right away. […] Fabulous story, loved the characters, loved the book!” ~ Jennifer
“A beautiful, epic experience that is emotional, spiritual, motivational and so unforgettable. These characters will tattoo your heart. You will never forget this book and the journey you were lucky enough to take with them.” ~ J. Ockenhouse
“This was a book that was wonderfully written and it gave me the feels with the great character and storyline development! This was a book that stayed with me long after the last page was read! I look forward to reading more from this author!” ~ Pat
“This was my first time reading this author and it was amazing. I loved this story. It was very strong, very poignant. I liked it and I will definitely read more from this author.” ~ Maja

About the Author
Ara Grigorian
Ara Grigorian is the international award-winning author of Game of Love, his debut novel. He is a technology executive in the entertainment industry. He earned his Masters in Business Administration from University of Southern California where he specialized in marketing and entrepreneurship. True to the Hollywood life, Ara wrote for a children's television pilot that could have made him rich (but didn't) and nearly sold a video game to a major publisher (who closed shop days later). Fascinated by the human species, Ara writes about choices, relationships, and second chances. Always a sucker for a hopeful ending, he writes contemporary romance stories targeted to adult and new adult readers.
Ara is committed to helping writers tell better stories. He is the co-founder of the popular Novel Intensive seminar. Also, he is a workshop leader for the Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference, the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, and the Southern California Writers' Conference (both Irvine, CA and San Diego, CA). Ara is an active member of the Romance Writers of America and its Los Angeles chapter.
He is represented by Stacey Donaghy of the Donaghy Literary Group.

Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

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