Day: March 22, 2014

Review of ‘Murder Takes Time’

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Men are being murdered – shot in the chest and head, and some are brutally tortured. Because of their backgrounds, police think they are gangland murders. But, police detective Frankie ‘Bugs’ Donovan is convinced that it’s something more sinister, and personal.

In Murder Takes Time, Giacomo Giammatteo takes us into the depth of the human mind and heart, and onto the mean streets of our cities in a chillingly realistic tale of murder, revenge, friendship, and honor.

I received a free review copy of Murder Takes Time, and once I started reading, I missed a meal to finish it. Giammatteo is a master of suspense and mystery, with compelling dialogue and credible description of people, places, and events – all tied together in a tale that begins on a high note, and then soars to even higher altitudes as we follow Donovan and his friend Nicky ‘the Rat’ Fusco from their childhoods in Philadelphia to the New York underworld in a confrontation that will catch you looking the other way. The life and death struggle as these two childhood friends play cat and mouse with each other gains momentum with each new corpse, and Giammatteo knows how to tease – and keep the reader guessing. A breathtaking read. My easiest five-star review of the year so far.

Author Interview: Fantasy Author Yvonne Hertzberger

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authorphoto2-1Introducing fantasy author Yvonne Hertzberger. Yvonne came to writing late in life, but with her Pendulum Earth series she’s  making up for lost time. She currently resides in Canada where she uses her skills in observing human nature to create a fantasy world that will amaze fans of the genre. In addition, she shares her take on writing on her blog. In this post, she gives us an insight into her writing process.

1. Tell us about yourself and what you write.

I like to call myself a late bloomer. It seems I did everything positive in my life later than most. Writing is a good example of that. I didn’t begin to write until I was 56 and retired from ‘paid’ employment. So far I have written three novels, a fantasy trilogy titled Earth’s Pendulum. It was really difficult to find a category or sub-genre because it doesn’t fit neatly into any existing ones. Some readers suggested it ought to be historical fiction but as the setting is not real I can’t do that. Others have called it magic realism because the way I use the paranormal would be considered real in many societies. There are no mythical creatures and no big spells, only a seer who gets messages from the goddess Earth and who can occasionally converse with animals and can tell if someone is telling the truth. There are many societies that would not think this strange in the least.

I chose to write fantasy because it allows me to explore human nature free from the restrictions of ‘real’ mores, stereotypes and customs. Yet, I still try to make my ‘world’ plausible and somewhat familiar so that readers can easily immerse themselves in it.

2. What in your life most influences your writing?

My life has not been an easy one. In order to survive I became keenly observant of human behavior and interaction. As a result my writing is very character based. I believe my studies in psychology and sociology have added to my understanding of human nature and have influenced how my characters think and act as well. I have also always been interested in the beliefs and customs of other cultures and religions and how these contribute to both conflict and peace. Those tend to creep into my writing as well, but only as they might affect my imaginary world.

3. What do you enjoy most about writing? What is your biggest challenge?

I have already alluded to the importance of character development in my writing. When I began I thought I was crazy when my characters told me who they were and how they wanted to grow. Since then I have learned that this is quite common. Meeting, introducing and developing my characters has been the easiest and most rewarding aspect of writing for me. I love it when a character does something unexpected. So often it is the characters that help me develop the plot. They know where they need to go. My job is to help them get there in a logical, believable way.

The biggest challenge for me is description. My grade eleven English teacher told me my prose was ‘too terse’. I’ve been told to add more descriptions. The other challenge is fight scenes. They don’t come up often, but when they do I tend to keep the action to the minimum so I don’t show how little I know. Hey, I’m a non-violent person.  Fighting’s not my thing. lol


4. Do you outline, or do you just let it flow?

I am mostly a ‘pantser’. I have a beginning, and end point and one or two key events in my head to guide me. Aside from that it’s all by the seat of my pants. If I were to try to plan things out more formally I’d get stuck and my writing would become stiff and artificial.

5. Where do the ideas for your stories come from?

I wish I could answer that. The short answer is “I have no idea”. For the trilogy I thought I would write a short story. Look what happened. It grew – a lot. I have done a lot of reading in the fantasy genre so I suppose that helps, but I like to think my stories are unique.

The new novel I am working on now came to me in a dream. Go figure. ???BFC cover



6. How do you market your work?

Marketing is the biggest challenge for me. I have a website/blog, a Facebook author page, a Facebook profile, a twitter account and a Linkedin account. I try to keep some presence on all of them. While they have helped me make some wonderful contacts I can’t say they have resulted in many sales. My biggest success has been locally with the actual launch parties. I sell far more paper books than ebooks. Maybe I just haven’t reached critical mass yet. Here’s hoping that happens soon. I also participate in a half dozen closed Facebook groups that deal with writing, publishing, and promoting. Again, these have resulted in a great network of contacts where we all pay it forward for each other.  I have not paid for advertising. From what others tell me their success is largely a crap shoot and I have no money to spend unless it gets results.

7. What are you currently working on?

Yes, the idea for my current work in progress came to me in a dream. I rarely remember my dreams so this is really surprising to me.  The new book will also be Fantasy with even larger elements of magic realism. Where the trilogy was set in an early medieval society, this new one will be in a much more primitive setting. It begins in a Kalahari type desert, moves into a huge cave and then into another agrarian society that is more imaginary. It will be a little grittier than the trilogy but have many of the same character elements. I am not a fan of stories where the characters have few if any redemptive traits. Dystopia does not appeal to me. So, while the characters will go through some rough times, I like them to show what I call some ‘humanity’, i.e. some goodness.

TKE cover

8. Where do you see yourself, in terms of your writing, five years from now?

Why, rich and famous, of course. No, seriously, I hope to keep writing. My sincere hope is that if I do, eventually I will gain some recognition and respect as a writer. I plan to continue to self-publish, as from what I see the trad publishing industry no longer serves either authors or readers well. The entire industry is in a state of major transition. These times are always chaotic but I believe that, in the long run, it will be good for Indies. There are so many great writers that never get a trad contract. OK, so that means I won’t be rich and famous. I guess I’ll settle for respect.

TDC cover





9. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I want to thank you, Charlie, for having me here and sharing my story with your followers. I truly appreciate it.  I enjoyed writing this. It seems that every time I am asked to reflect on writing I learn something new about myself. This was fun.




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