Review of ENCOUNTER by Douglas Wickard

918tVA2iXSL._SL1500_ENCOUNTER by Douglas Wickard is masterfully-written suspense. Much like a good shiatsu massage, it’s deep, penetrating and hits all the right spots.

What’s making men in San Francisco disappear? That’s what more than a few people would like to know. When a well-known son of a publishing magnate is one of those that go buh-bye, the investigation gets kicked into high gear. We go right along on the frenzied ride as federal agents Harry Wright and Dan Hammer get pulled into the mix. Who knew getting a massage could be so dangerous? Bikini waxings, sure, but not good ole working out kinks.

The chase is on to solve the mystery of where those naked, oiled, randy men have gone, and Wickard does an excellent job of juggling all the elements. We get glimpses into the passions going on behind the scenes as well as being immersed by the grunt work it takes to track down a sociopath. I think expounding on emotions is one area where Wickard excels. He’s particularly good at getting into his character’s heads so we get intimate glimpses of what the killer is thinking and the effect his actions have on the families left behind. And then there’s Dan Hammer. The interplay between Hammer and his ex-wife Gina is exquisite in relating their story and it rings very, very true.

If you like taut thrillers that keep you guessing, this has your name all over it— but be prepared to take a bungee cord dive not knowing if the cord will hold. ENCOUNTER will keep you on edge and leave you breathless for more.”

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LOVE ANIMALS? Give Your Favorite Animal Rescue a Shout Out

Love animals? You know I do!

While I have a eighteen-year-old kitty name Persephone that I try to keep happy (impossible!), I also do my best to help other four-legged furballs. I actively promote posts/tweets that tell of animals in need and sometimes donate to a few rescue organizations that have made it onto my radar screen.

One of the best groups I’ve come across is Golden Paw Society of NY. They help shelter animals find homes. To do this, they organize “shelter runs”. After raising about $100 per kitty/dog (the amount is to cover needed veterinary care expenses), they descend upon shelters, rescuing animals out of a life behind bars and sometimes a life about to end. When done, they post the pics and bios of the rescued animals. It’s the highlight of my month! Seeing these frightened animals and knowing they’re now safe always brings tears to my eyes! Then comes the”other” photos. These are the after shots taken a few weeks later and, man, what a difference? All the animals have their self-confidence and swagger back! Of course, the ultimate photo is the one after they’re adopted into they’re furever home! It’s too wonderful!

Another organization I love is Big Dog Ranch Rescue. They also are very proactive in taking dogs in and getting them adopted into “good” homes. It makes no sense not to screen the applicants. I notice some agencies are constantly retracting statements about animals being safely adopted. One day they’re “in a great home” and the next it’s “Oh, they’ve been returned because the puppy wanted to play and the adoptee found it annoying!” There doesn’t seem to be that kind of occurrence with the adoptions going on with either of the agencies named. They seem to have their Spidey sense developed and know the questions to ask. The follow-up with the adoptions is also key. Intervening with just the right amount of concern is welcome and helps create a happy home.

I also love The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s animals. Why? Because they want to turn NYC into a no-kill zone! Yeah! No, double yeah! I’m all for that.

Because I’m a weenie and could never do the work that these agencies do (I’d veer between crying hysterically and throttling people dumping pets with my pink ballet ribbons), I decided to create a tribute to these wonderful, compassionate workers/volunteers who devote themselves to bettering the lives of those who can’t speak for themselves. These people are the animal’s voice, and for that, I commend them!

So here’s my tribute. I hope you’ll view and give a shout out to your favorite rescue group on the youtube page! Oh, and please share! Help get the word out about the fantastic work being done!

Thanks and hope you enjoy the compilation of pics. They include some real life friends who stand by their pet(s)!

 

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My Writing Process Blog Tour

Hey Everyone!

I’ve been asked to participate in the Writing Process Blog Tour. It’ll give you a little insight into how we authors think. Not too much though … wouldn’t want your eyes to roll back in your head and have you fall over or anything!

Latashia Figueroa, a fellow writer of horror and scary stuff, passed me the baton. She could have removed the nails sticking out from it, but that’s me. If you’d like to check out what Latashia is up to these days, as well as what stories she’s busy crafting (stand back from the chain saw and no one will get hurt!), go here:

http://writeofmind.wordpress.com/

I double dare you, but only after you read what I have to say. Without further ado *drum roll* *mariachi band strolls by* *The London Symphony plays Prokofiev with conductor animating puppets to Romeo & Juliet* here’s the methodology I use:

1)     What am I working on?

I’m working on two projects. One is a standalone novel called TRILLINGHAM, and the other is a series. The name of the series is under wraps, but a short description for TRILLINGHAM is:

“Born in the deepest recesses of imagination, the legend of TRILLINGHAM is told in hushed whispers. Most dismiss what they’ve heard about the town as a fairy tale, but all doubt is removed when a monster proves it true.

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Since I predominantly write in the genre of horror, I would say my characters are more fully developed. Most tales of horror rely on strong plotlines and violence to advance the plot, but for me, the action needs to make sense and progress organically. It’s always an outgrowth of my character’s flaws, or in some cases, destiny.

3)     Why do I write what I do?

I chose horror because of its range of possibilities. For instance, if I wrote a suspense thriller about a woman who was jealous, she could act out and do a number of things, but the jealousy would remain an emotion housed within her. However, in horror, I could make jealousy its own character. It could be a demon that lives in the woods. Perhaps it attacks the townsfolk on their way home, driving them to do horrible things to their loved ones.

It’s that leeway that I love. I can let my imagination soar without worrying that it’s not possible.

4)     How does your writing process work?

I’m one of those writers who insist they have a muse. My wonderful muse is the one that creates the stories that I pen. When I’m firing on all pistons, I’m a glorified court reporter, recording what my characters say and do. I listen and type, trying to capture everything that is going on.

It’s a grand feeling to be the fly on the wall and I enjoy getting to know my characters so personally. I do feel they’re separate and apart from me and I try not to interject my opinions, thoughts and beliefs into the story. It works much better that way!

 * * * * *

Next Monday, catch what new author Art Gulley Jr. has to say about how he writes. Hopefully, he’ll say something about his favorite place being on a yacht. Why? Because I’ll join him! Why else? Here’s a bit more about my good friend and fellow author:

Art Gulley Jr. Author of the Scifi epic: The Hyperactive Trilogy http://is.gd/qRfQap and composer of the jazz/new age themed CD: No Limits. http://is.gd/Ybfp3Y

Troitregion.blogspot.com

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DANSE MACABRE PRIZE GIVEAWAY! Win $50 Creating FanArt!

BA_FB_DANSE MACABRE copy

Join the Danse Macabre. In celebration of my supernatural thriller BLACK ADAGIO and in celebration of Walpurgisnacht, I will be giving away prizes and holding contests from now until May 1st! Here’s the official blog that lists and gives info on books already given away:

http://dansemacabreblog.blogspot.com/

And here’s pics of author swag that will be given away!

icm_fullxfull.37933427_dyj37x9jy60w4oggg8wk icm_fullxfull.37922864_cl9uylcbg68kgoo8g0oc icm_fullxfull.37812278_eev05q3finco4kks4wgcWe have some great authors participating and there’s lots of chances to win! There is also a $50 contest for the best promotional item. Here are the details:

You could win a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate by creating the best BLACK ADAGIO promotional item! Yes, use your original Fanart to design the promotional item you’d like to win! If chosen, you’ll be sent a copy of the finished product and the $50 gift certificate.

The promotional item can be anything you can imagine: a t-shirt, a jewelry item, a poster, or anything else your imagination dreams up! The contest starts now. I will select the winner on April 30th so you have plenty of time to get those creative juices flowing! And, yes, you may enter more than once. Just post all pics of artwork depicting a representation of the finished product in the corresponding post on the Danse Macabre Event Page!

Good luck to all that enter! Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Here’s a bit about BLACK ADAGIO and the Danse Macabre to help you:

1. It’s about a young ballet dancer named Meliissa Solange
2. The story revolves around the legend of the Danse Macabre. Legend has it that at the stroke of midnight on Halloween, Death appears as a skeleton Spirits rise up from the graves and Death leads them in a dance until dawn. For a more complete version, go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danse_macabre_%28Saint-Sa%C3%ABns%29S

 

 

 

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Shell and Shadow Release and Dream Giveaway

WPotocki:

Here’s a fantastic combo! A new romantic fantasy by Susan J. McLeod AND a free chance to win 2 days/1 night at The Betsy Hotel in South Beach! The Betsy is a one of a kind boutique hotel. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Please check it out!

Originally posted on shellandshadowthebook:

welcomered copyWelcome to the Shell and Shadow Release and Giveaway. We are pleased to announce the publication of this novella and the fantastic prizes that are christening its arrival into the world!

romanticfantasyShell and Shadow is a romantic fantasy. It’s part of the Lily Evans series, but is a stand- alone story where Lily and Kent go on a vacation and get to let their hair down, so to speak. It’s a novella of around 23,000 words.

shellandshadowshellandshadowcover2 copyWhen psychic Lily Evans goes away on a romantic vacation, she doesn’t expect to encounter anything but sun and sand. A strange vision and a mysterious little girl soon find her, however, and she discovers that the sea holds many secrets. It’s up to Lily to solve the Raven’s Riddle and find a priceless pearl in order to help a different kind of spirit return home.

meetlilyNew to the Lily Evans Mysteries? Please get…

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HELL’S BELLS: THE TRAILER FOR THRILL IS HERE!

2FINALThrill_2 CROPPEDYes, full, live, and smokin’ hot, the trailer for my new chiller-diller THRILL is here and ready to singe your nose hair with its audacity!

I went all out on this one. Since THRILL is no ordinary book, I was determined that it be no ordinary trailer. Therefore, I pinched pennies and wished on one of those coins before tossing it into a fountain. A magic benefactor helped me fund the project so I could hire a videographer. The result? A sumptuous treat for the eyes and ears. It’s got a wham-tam tingle and kick-to-your-booty sort of feel. CAUTION: This video will cause your fist to pump in the air and for some serious headbanging to occur.

I should also say a bit about THRILL. While its project publication date is February 14th (and I’m going to hit it! Yeah!), I did hand out some ARC copies. Two reviews have already barreled in and were very enthusiastic about the new entry in my stable of horror. From Goodreads:

“Thrill by Wendy Potocki, a treat for lovers of horror fiction, follows teenager Kyle Evans through his involvement with Hell’s Bells, a gang of troubled youths. In their pursuit of adrenaline rushes, the gang takes increasingly greater risks to find the thrills they crave. … The story unfolds with a sense of creeping dread that escalates into horror. It’s only a matter of time before the gang messes with the wrong person. In doing so, they unleash a dark evil bent on revenge.”

Sounds good, yes? Here’s another:

“This is one of those ‘Be careful what you wish for, because you’re so going to get it’ stories, and it doesn’t get much better than this. Ms. Potocki is a talented genius when it comes to the Horror genre (I’ve been a fan ever since reading her Black Adagio), so while I was expecting a wild ride when I began reading Thrill, nothing prepared me for the catastrophic events that lead the story where it must go, to be a thrill for the reader.

And thrilled I was. I also couldn’t sleep or put down the book. The story grabbed me in such a way it was difficult to leave the book alone, nor was it possible to turn off the light in my hallway.”

Stoked yet? No? You sure you have a pulse? Er, what I meant to say is that there’s one more review — perhaps the one that gave me the greatest satisfaction. Why? Well, because it came from a beta reader. If you’re an author, you know how hard it is to pull anything out of a beta reader. Yes, it’s their whole job to give feedback, but try getting it from them! The conversation will go something like this:

Author: So did you finish the book I sent you?
Beta: WellIsortofyesandnocuzdogwalkingandhadtoworkovertimebutmanagedsome
Author: I take it that’s a yes?
Beta: *mumbles incoherently*
Author: Well, good! Tell me what you think!
Beta: Itstartedoutandthebabywasfussyandthebarbequewasfab
Author: Barbeque? BARBEQUE? There’s no barbeque in the book, nor is there a baby!
Beta: Noneighborsbutinvitedsothestorywasismellsmokehoneyareyouburningthetoast
againitwasalrightandigottagowillgetbacktoyouitssortofokay

As you hear the dial tone in your ear, you pat yourself on the back for another ringing endorsement and for making the brilliant decision to become a writer! What a perfect choice of a profession and, obviously, everyone else is equally enthused!

This time around I was expecting the same kind of reaction, BUT did I say that life does hold pleasant surprises? One of the most enjoyable was reading a wholly unsolicited and heartwarming comment on my Thrill the Book blog. It was from a, a, a *dare I say* yes, a BETA READER! She wrote and I quote *I’m a poet and don’t I know it*:

“As a Facebook friend of Wendy’s, whom she allowed to let test read Thrill for her, let me just say it will get your adrenaline pumping and you won’t be able to put it down. It was unlike any horror book I’ve ever read and I am a huge horror fan. I found myself staying up way past my bedtime and going to work suffering from lack of sleep because I didn’t want to put it down. Great job Wendy.”

Pretty cool, huh? And in case you’re wondering what the heck the book is about, I’ll tell you!

SOME RIDES SHOULD NEVER BE TAKEN ….

Kyle Evans is a teenager who wants to be somebody. To achieve his goal, he joins a gang called Hell’s Bells. While he thinks he’s arrived, he only finds danger.

The club is obsessed with finding thrills and taking chances, but Kyle’s unaware that there’s a price to pay. Up for a dare, he accepts a challenge that lands him on the wrong side of the supernatural.

Ta da! Now for that trailer! I’m embedding it here, but please, please open the link to Youtube so you can see it full screen and in your face! It’ll be sensory overload, but well worth the experience!

THE OFFICIAL THRILL BOOK TRAILER

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HALLOWEENPALOOZA: IN FULL GEAR!

halloweemfbHave you joined HALLOWEENPALOOZA: My 31 Days of Halloween yet?

I asked 31 brilliantly insane authors to write about their scariest brush with the supernatural and got some amazing answers.

There’ll be one posted every day during the month of October. There will also be a daily giveaway. The books span horror and include zombies, suspense, thrillers, serial killers, shrunken heads, little girls that won’t stay dead, witches and ancient evils with an attitude.

There’s also a place for you to share your ghost stories.

Please join in the fun!

https://www.facebook.com/Halloweenpalooza

 

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