Thursday, April 7, 2016

Guest Post: D.J. Donaldson


ABOUT THE BOOK 
Cajun Nights by D.J. Donaldson is the first novel in the incredibly popular Andy/Kit mystery series. Readers are thrown into the bayou with criminal psychologist Kit Franklyn, newly hired to investigate a string of murder-suicides plaguing the city. Her boss, chief medical examiner Andy Broussard (a super lovable protagonist and self-proclaimed foodie—a man after my own heart) accompanies her to the newest crime scene of yet another gruesome act. Throughout the novel, Kit and Broussard form a really fun team to follow, uncovering eerie clues linking the historic past of Haitian Voodoo and Sorcerers to the present. (FULL BOOK RELEASE BELOW ARTICLE).

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1uL1Ftq



CAJUN NIGHTS AND THE CHARACTERS WITHIN:
THE MANY LIVES OF A TV SERIES THAT NEVER WAS
by D.J. Donaldson

LIFE #1

Cajun Nights was my first novel featuring New Orleans medical examiner, Andy Broussard, and his suicide/death investigator, Kit Franklyn.  A few weeks after the book was published, I got a call from my agent with the surprising news that, “There’s been a flurry of movie and TV interest in your book.”  I’d never considered that such a thing was possible. So that was one of the best phone calls I ever had.

Subsequently, a production company headed by the former director of programming at CBS took an option on the series, planning to shape it into a TV show.  As perhaps some of you know, this phase of things is known as “development hell”, because it takes a very long time to make anything happen. So a year went by with no news.  I figure, okay, the thing is dead.  But, the producers renewed their option for another year, which meant I got paid again.  It wasn’t a lot of money, but with that check, I’d made more money from the two option years than the advance I was given on the book by the publisher. 

So more time goes by with no news.  Now, I’m not even thinking about it anymore. Then, while I was attending a scientific meeting in Dallas, I got a call from the agent in Hollywood who was handling the dramatic rights.  CBS had agreed to pay for a pilot screenplay. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but if this guy had tracked me down in Dallas just to tell me that, it must be a big deal.  And guess what… I got another check as an advance on the screenplay even though I wasn’t gonna write it.  I was beginning to love the agent who created that contract.

They chose as a writer someone who’d had several movies produced.  That may seem like something not worth mentioning, but I’d read an article once that said it was possible to have a career as a screenwriter and never have anything produced.  (Yeah, I don’t quite get that either, but it sure seemed like the writer we had, was the better kind.) With her experience and success, I was sure we’d get a great screenplay.

A few months later, a package arrives in the mail.  IT’S THE SCREENPLAY.  I’m so excited, I quickly skim the enclosed letter from the producers: “Read this over and tell us three things you don’t like about it.”  That’s ridiculous, I’m gonna love it.  After all, it was written by a pro.

Well, I hated all of it.  The writer didn’t seem to “get” the relationship between Andy and Kit.  I couldn’t believe it.  The books show that non-romantic love is possible between an unrelated man and woman of greatly differing ages. Though he can’t admit it, Broussard loves Kit like the daughter he never had.  Kit loves Broussard like a father, even though she has a father.  How do I boil all the things I hate down to just three items? Somehow I manage and send my reply back.

As it turned out, the producers didn’t really care about any of my thoughts.  Was I upset?  Not really, because I figured they know TV, I don’t.  And… surprise, when they gave the script to CBS, I got another check.  Now I definitely love my agent.

The producers are sure the script will be approved and we’ll soon be shooting a pilot.  They invite me to watch them film in New Orleans.  They say they’ll even find a bit part for me.  They predict that the series will run for ten years. And they should know. Their show, Cagney and Lacey, ran for seven seasons. Now I’m excited. 

But… later, I get another call.  CBS didn’t like the script. And they didn’t want to see a rewrite with the same story. The producers asked me if I had any ideas.  The screenplay was based on the second book in the series. When I got this call I was sitting at my desk looking at the rough draft of book number three.  I pitched them the story and they said, “Send us a copy by overnight mail.”  This was back before manuscripts could be sent by e-mail. (I know, I can hardly remember those days myself.)

So another screenplay was written, which didn’t fare any better than the first. Thus life #1 of my hoped-for TV series went to a quiet demise.

LIFE #2

A few years later, while I was at the Kentucky book fair promoting book number five in the series, a young blonde fellow bought a book.  We spoke for a few minutes and he moved on.  Later, back in Memphis, I get a call from this guy.  He wants to option the series for TV.  I tell him about my earlier experience with the other producers, who failed, but he’s unfazed.  We strike a deal.  There’s talk about John Goodman playing Broussard.  John Goodman… he lives in New Orleans and he’d be a great fit.  I love it.

Within a few weeks the producer calls to say he’s on his way to Memphis and could I meet him and John Goodman’s “best friend,” at the Peabody Hotel.  (The Peabody lobby is where William Faulkner and his mistress used to have drinks.) The meeting takes place and I give the best friend a copy of the latest book, which he assures us, will be in John Goodman’s hands within twenty-four hours. That was the last time I ever heard from him or the producer.  So I guess the deal is off.

LIFE #3

In my primary occupation, I taught medical and dental students microscopic anatomy.  One day I get a call from a former dental student.  He’s now a part-time actor who’s been in a couple of notable films.  He says that he and a long-time Hollywood promoter have formed a production company and are looking for material. He remembers that I wrote a few novels and wonders what I’ve been doing since he last saw me. I talk about my work and send him some books.

Very soon thereafter he calls me again and says he and his partner “are on fire over these forensic books.”  They believe the series would make a great TV SERIES.  He asks me who I’d like to play Broussard.  I tell him I’ve always believed Wilford Brimley would be perfect.  Incredibly, my former student says that his partner had lunch with Wilford just last week.  He’s sure they can get him to sign on.  With an actor of Wilford’s stature attached to the project, we’ll surely get a deal.

Was all this talk about Brimley just smoke?  No.  Because they actually got him on board.  And what’s even better, my former student and his partner were working with another producer who had a development deal with the Sci-Fi network.  They planned to present my series to the network three weeks hence, focusing on the real and apparent paranormal aspects of the first two books.

On presentation day at the Sci-Fi Network my student calls me just before they go in.  I wait anxiously the rest of the day to hear how it went.  Years later, I’m still waiting.  The only contact I’ve had since presentation day is a big envelope from the producer who had the development deal.  In the envelope is a bunch of stuff I wrote for the presentation along with a note from the producer that says, “Sorry we couldn’t have worked longer on this together.”

LESSON LEARNED

Early in the machinations of the first development deal, I used to caution myself not to spend any time thinking about how great it would be if every week I could watch my characters living and breathing on a TV show.  My thinking was that if I kept a tight rein on my expectations, it’d be much easier on my psyche if things didn’t work out.

But then I realized I was missing out on the excitement of the possibility.  Why not let my mind run with it?  Then, even if none of the deals came to fruition I would still have the pleasure of being part of a great endeavor.  So that’s what I did.  And now, even though I never played that bit part in a pilot and I’ve never seen John Goodman or Wilford Brimley bring Broussard to life, I sure had a lot of fun along the way.

Nursery Rhymes and Murder-Suicides Haunt New Orleans
Black magic releases ancient curse in the Big Easy


"Action-packed, cleverly plotted topnotch thriller. Another fine entry in a consistently outstanding series.”
--Booklist

“D. J. Donaldson is superb at spinning medical fact into gripping suspense. With his in-depth knowledge of science and medicine, he is one of very few authors who can write with convincing authority.”
--Tess Gerritsen, NY Times bestselling author of the Rizzoli & Isles novels


Andy Broussard, the “Plump and Proud” New Orleans medical examiner, obviously loves food.  Less apparent to the casual observer is his hatred of murderers. Together with his gorgeous sidekick, psychologist Kit Franklyn, Broussard forms a powerful, although improbable, mystery solving duo.

Astor + Blue Editions is proud to release Cajun Nights (ISBN: 978-1941286-38-8; Fiction/Mystery & Suspense; $5.99 E-Book), the latest Broussard mystery by D.J. Donaldson.

Young and vibrant New Orleans criminal psychologist Kit Franklyn has just been assigned her most challenging case yet—a collection of victims with type O blood who drove an antiquated car, humming a nursery rhyme right before committing murder and then suicide. Welcoming the help of her jovial boss, chief medical examiner Andy Broussard, the two set out to solve the case devising strictly scientific possibilities. Not once do they consider the involvement of black magic until an ancient Cajun sorcerer’s curse surfaces—“Beware the songs you loved in youth.”

Written in his unique style, Donaldson’s Cajun Nights combines hard-hitting, action-packed prose with brilliant first-hand knowledge of forensics and the sultry flavor of New Orleans. The result is a gripping mystery involving murder and some occult flare in the creole heartland.
###

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
D.J. Donaldson is a retired professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology.  His entire academic career was spent at the University of Tennessee, Health Science Center, where he published dozens of papers on wound-healing and where he taught microscopic anatomy to thousands of medical and dental students.

He is also the author of seven published forensic mysteries and five medical thrillers. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee with his wife and two West Highland terriers. In the spring of most years he simply cannot stop buying new flowers and other plants for the couple’s prized backyard garden.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly


Publication date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 496

Summary: Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this powerful debut novel reveals an incredible story of love, redemption, and terrible secrets that were hidden for decades.

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

In Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly has crafted a remarkable novel of unsung women and their quest for love, freedom, and second chances. It is a story that will keep readers bonded with the characters, searching for the truth, until the final pages.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

2015

Here is a small list of books I read in 2015

1) More than this by Jay Mclean
2) Becoming Rain by K.A. Tucker
3) Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
4) South of Hell by P.J. Parrish
Not all the books are listed here.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Roses are Red by J. B. Kantt




Synopsis


After her foster mother’s unexplained death six months ago, fourteen-year-old Isla Timearth just wants things to go back to normal for her and her twin brother, Monty. But “normal” can only go so far for a closed-off girl with abandonment issues and an anxious boy that gets frequent nosebleeds. Still, the troubled redheads give it a shot by returning to the summer camp they’ve been going to for years.

Aside from her crush showing up unexpectedly, the summer starts out as Isla expected: she participates in multiple activities with her friends, while her brother shies away from doing anything with anyone. But camp traditions get rained on when their biological mother shows up unannounced and, as far as Isla’s concerned, unwelcome.

Knowing that Mother Nature is the mother of all mood swings, Isla isn’t all that surprised to find out that her temperamental biological mother is the terrestrial goddess. What does surprise her is that Monty, the favorite twin, already knew but never told her. Despite being annoyed that such a huge secret was kept from her, Isla has always questioned the loyalty of her own flesh and blood. But once more family secrets start to unravel around her fellow campers, Isla finds out whether blood really is thicker than water.


Teasers



"Look, just act normal for once," I said as Monty stood up. "Please."
"Normal? Normal? Earth to Isla: you and I are not normal. Me having anxiety issues is not normal, you having abandonment issues is not normal, us losing our foster mom just weeks before she was supposed to adopt us is not normal. We're not normal, Isla."
"I know we're not normal, Monty," I said. "That's why I said act normal, not be normal."
"And by 'act normal' you mean what? Act happy, act sad, act calm, cool, and collected?" he said. "I'm tired of acting. I've been acting since the day Cien was murdered."
"Let's get one thing straight, Monty," I said. "We don't know if Cien was murdered. For all we know she was struck by lightning or something."
"She was murdered, Isla. I know she was."
"I know you've convinced yourself of that, but the fact is her cause of death was undetermined." Monty and I had had this argument time and time again. I knew he was mad about Cien's death, and I knew he was even madder that I seemed to be so open-minded about the cause of it. "So don't just jump to conclusions."
"I can jump to whatever conclusions I want, Isla. Don't tell me how to feel about Cien's death."

*************

"That doesn't answer my question," I said. "But don't worry. I used to care, but I got over it." I'd grown sick of Mona playing favorites between Monty and me, and it was amazing how much better I felt once I stopped trying to compete for her time.
"It's not as straightforward as you think, Violetta."
"Oh I'd say it's pretty straightforward, Mona."
"Well maybe you'll change your mind after you see this," Mona said as she pressed together her middle finger and green-tinted thumb. As soon as she snapped those two fingers, the downpour stopped cold turkey. "You see? I'm not just your birth mother, Violetta, I'm Mother Earth as well. And there's nothing straightforward about being a child of Mother Earth." Well, that explained why Mona told us when we were younger that she didn't have a stable home or income that would support us full time. Not that it really made a difference anyway; the fact that Mona chose the weather over her biological children was inexcusable in my book. "Isn't that right, Montrose?"
"Wait, you knew about this?" I asked my brother.
"I thought we weren't gonna tell her," Monty said to Mona. He looked just as shocked as I was, but obviously not for the same reason.

About the Author


The first story J.B. Kantt ever wrote was for a creative writing class application during her college days. Little did she know that a step towards fulfilling her undergraduate language arts requirement would also be a step towards fulfilling a passion for writing she never knew she had. Now, despite her dreams of becoming a developmental pediatrician, not a day goes by that J.B. doesn’t think about becoming an author as well. When she’s not hitting the books, she’s working on her next book (in between volunteering and practicing taekwondo). Her debut novel, Roses Are Red, is the first of the Blood, Sweat, and Tears Series. J.B. hopes that her journey to publication helps other writers realize that through hard work and dedication, anything is possible, no matter how old you are or how long you’ve been writing.


Buy the book



Stalker Links


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Review: More than this by Jay Mclean

Title: More than this
Author: Jay Mclean
Publisher: Kindle Edition
Publication date: July 10, 2013
Stars: 5 stars

Summary: When Mikayla imagined her prom night, she envisioned a fairy-tale evening full of romance. So when betrayal and tragedy come in quick succession, Mikayla is completely destroyed. Suddenly, everything she loved and everyone she relied on are tragically, irrevocably gone. Jake, a handsome boy she just met, happens to witness her loss. With no one to turn to, Mikayla is forced to depend on this near stranger and his family, and he in turn is determined to take care of her. But Mikayla—thrust into adulthood with no one to guide her—is desperate to contain her grief and hide what she considers to be her weakness. Mikayla and Jake both want more, but despite their growing closeness and intense chemistry, she tries to keep her distance and protect her heart. As he does everything in his power to win her trust, Mikayla must choose between remaining alone and safe or letting love in.

Review: This book is amazing. I love the small shocking twists and turns. A little unrealistic with how fast they trust each other but amazing none the less! This book will definitely make you shed a tear or two. I love a good love story. I am so happy I choose to make this book the first book I finished this year. You must read this book.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review: Becoming Rain by K.A. Tucker

Title: Becoming Rain
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Atria
Publication date: March 3, 2015

Summary: Luke Boone doesn't know exactly what his uncle Rust is involved in but he wants in on it—the cars, the money, the women. And it looks like he's finally getting his wish. When Rust hands him the managerial keys to the garage, they come with a second set—one that opens up the door to tons of cash and opportunity. Though it's not exactly legal, Luke's never been one to worry about that sort of thing. Especially when it puts him behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 and onto the radar of a gorgeous socialite named Rain.

Clara Bertelli is at the top of her game—at only twenty-six years old, she's one of the most successful undercover officers in the Washington, DC, major crime unit, and she's just been handed a case that could catapult her career and expose one of the West coast's most notorious car theft rings. But, in order to do it, she'll need to go deep undercover as Rain Martines. Her target? The twenty-four-year-old nephew of a key player who appears ready to follow in his uncle's footsteps.

As Clara drifts deeper into the luxurious lifestyle of Rain, and further into the arms of her very attractive and charming target, the lines between right and wrong start to blur, making her wonder if she'll be able to leave it all behind. Or if she'll even want to. 

Review: I absolutely loved this book! It is the first book in a really long time I've been able to just jump into. At first I will admit I wasn't quite sure I would be able to read it. For me it started out kind of dull and slow. But soon enough I was hooked and hoping to not have to go to work so I could just keep reading. I fell in love with Rain and Luke quickly and always hoped for the best. Books like this always renew my belief in Love. The best part about this is that the whole focus is not romance. Yet it feels like that's all that matters. I absolutely will be looking for more books by this author. As always I wish the story would never end! 4 stars

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading, that allows us to share a teaser from our current reads each week. Anyone can join, and the rules are simple. Just:

Grab your current read
Open it to a random page
Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
Be careful not to include spoilers! (You don't want to ruin the book for anyone!)
And make sure to share the title and author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesdays can add those books to their TBR piles in case they want to.

Here's our teaser for this week:
"That's my favorite Vonnegut quote' she said, pointing at the line I urge you to please notice when you are happy Hudson felt himself blush, wondering whether to confess that he had been the one to write it on the chalkboard a week ago." - Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

What teasers do you guys have this week? Tell us in the comments!

Popular Posts