Thursday, July 17, 2014

A kiss in Harajuku

A girl is walking on the street in Harajuku, Japan.
She's disappointed that her boyfriend had other plans for the evening.
Without warning a stranger, a boy, rushes up to her and kisses her.
He disappears into the crowd.
Intrigued, she attempts to find him and in the bat of an eye, becomes entangled in a dangerous game.
A biologist has been murdered and a deadly virus is on the loose.

What a great premise for a novel. We're pleased to have Linda Hamonu join us as our guest blogger this week to introduce her latest book, Harajuku Kiss. Linda and I became acquainted due to our participation in the Weekend Writing Warriors project. Regular readers of these columns will be familiar with my photography, which is another interest in which Linda and I have in common. You can see some of her images HERE.

First, a bit about Linda and then an excerpt from Harajuku Kiss.
Welcome Linda!

Author bio:

Born in November 1983 in Brittany, France, Linda Hamonou spent a lot of time lost in Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novels. She entered university to study physics and obtained her PhD at Queen's University Belfast in 2009. Her studies allowed her to travel to Europe and America. She then moved to Japan and after three years doing research in Tokyo, she is currently doing a new postdoc in Sendai, Japan.

Excerpt:

As I walked, I had the bizarre sensation someone was observing me. I could have run like Seiji, but it seemed impossible with my backpack.
On one hand, I always carried heavy stuff. Even when I wanted to travel light, I ended up with something unnecessary, like books I wouldn’t read or in this case my computer. I had been too lazy to bring it back home before coming here.
On the other hand, I was a terrible runner. Running made my jaws ache. Running in this street, I would for sure never reach the station, let alone escape someone. I decided to pretend I didn’t notice. It could be that old man again or just my imagination. I didn’t look back. I just dug my hands further in my pockets, if that was at all possible, and held tight on the memory stick. I needed to be more careful with it for sure. The old man knew I had it and other people surely did as well. I was afraid. I heard the steps of a man coming closer. I turned right, I was far from the station. The streets here were not so crowded anymore. I wanted to get somewhere with a lot of people. It felt safer, in the middle of people nobody would try anything.
It came from my left side. Someone pulled on my shoulder and quickly put his hand on my mouth, dragging me in the dark. I panicked using very disorganized movements to try and free myself from the grasp, not really knowing how to do it.
Would you stay quiet? I’ll free you if you promise to stay quiet?” It was the voice of the old man from earlier.
I tried to calm down and nodded. No matter, who he was, this time I was no longer afraid of running. He pushed me against the wall, still keeping his sweaty old hand on my mouth. It was salty and disgusting. I would never have imagined this old man could have such strength.
They are not people to take lightly,” he said as he took his hand away slowly.
I took few steps toward the exit. I didn’t want to stay in this dark alley with him. He was freaking me out even more than the feeling of being followed, but he pulled me back holding on my bag.
What do you think you’re doing?” I wanted to yell, but the fear made my voice sound like an inaudible whisper.
I had always wondered why some people wouldn’t yell while in danger, here was my answer: their voice was frozen. And unfortunately or fortunately, tonight, I was one of them.
Two men are following you,” he said.
I know that, thanks,” I answered.
You know it and you still walked in this empty street, are you insane?” he said shaking his head in disbelief.

Catch up with Linda here:

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I'll have a glass of chianti, please.


The Eight Sentences: 

Louella said, “Bye bye, now,” and lowered the receiver of her vintage 1963 telephone onto its cradle. She went into the kitchen and selected her favorite glass from the cabinet over the sink. One of these days, I’ll splurge and get a wine stem. This glass the Welch’s grape jelly came in is fine for now. She poured it half full of Bell’Agio Chianti, held it to her nose and looked back at the bottle. Hmm...vintage 2012. Oh well, two tears in a bucket.
By the time she was settled into her recliner, the glass was almost empty.

The Back Story: 
In this scene from my third novel (a WIP, A Year Without Killing) Mrs. Johnson is back at home after a mugging and purse snatching. She's safe but upset. She was the recipient of the good deed from Claudia Barry, mentioned in THIS BLOG a few weeks ago.


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Saturday, July 5, 2014

"Too much of anything ain't good for you."


The Eight Sentences:

When I hear the term, “infodump,” the first name that comes to mind is that of the late author, Tom Clancy. Others who fit into that category include James Michener and Michael Crichton. No doubt readers can rattle off the names of other authors whom some feel provide “more information than I want to know.”
On the other end of the technology spectrum for a writer, simply saying, “The woman shot her gun,” is not sufficient to stand alone. Readers deserve more.
How much more?
It depends.
Just a ounce of details can produce a ton of credibility.

The Set  Up:
An excerpt from my third novel, a work in progress titled, A Year Without Killing, appeared in this BLOG and introduced a technical topic. It was unnecessary to go into great detail, just give the reader the basics so they would understand that my main character applied a learned skill out of habit.
I was inspired by a comment to write a blog about "infodump."
These eight sentences come from that blog.
The title is a quote from my late father, my most frequent source of inspiration.

Dad and me.


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Saturday, June 21, 2014

The world thinks he had a heart attack.

The Eight Sentences:
She touched a remote switch and heavy drapes concealed the windows and muted the sound of the thunderstorm, “I’m going to the States for a meeting with Julian Thibaut.”
“You’ve spent a noteworthy amount of time with him since Brian’s death.”
She ignored the suggestion and took the conversation in another direction, “You mean, since Brian’s murder.”
“The world thinks he had a heart attack,” answered Byrd.
“We know different -- and I know who pulled the trigger and who put up the money.”
Byrd was staggered by the revelation. He hesitated for a moment, looked at the floor, took a deep breath and changed the subject, “Do you think Thibaut will have an interest in a sizeable portion of our stock?”
Star made eye contact, smiled, and replied, “Probably, but before I find out, I’m having an old friend for dinner.”

The Setup:
     Star Braun plans a trip to the States. It's just the tip of the ice berg and the first in a series of dominoes about to fall. She's discussing it with a business associate and friend.

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

The eyes have it.


The Eight Sentences: 
Claudia did not answer right away.
Star continued to watch the crown molding where the wall met the ceiling, “I’m going to sit up now and take my feet off the ottoman.”
As before, Claudia did not respond while Star did as she had said.
Their eyes met again.
Claudia watched her left-handed guest's eye movement to see how they responded to a question, “What can I do for you?”
Star’s eyes moved up and to her right in a subconscious and uncontrollable response — visual remembrance — she was about to tell the truth, “I need your help.”
Claudia’s shoulders dropped but she kept a firm grip on her tactical knife, “In what way?”

The Back Story:  
 Claudia's guest is a character from each of my first two books, Star Braun.
Star is left handed so Claudia applies what she learned from the NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) accessing cues to determine if it is a lie or not.
Knowing and being able to apply this information was an important part of Claudia's studies to earn a masters degree in group dynamics at LSU. Group dynamics was the subject of this blog: "What the assassin already knows."

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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Manhattan Skyline

The Eight Sentences:
The Manhattan skyline glowed like bullion thanks to the sun’s rays just before dusk. Claudia Barry appreciated the spectacle from her table in the Vu Lounge of the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City. She held her martini glass up so she could observe the Freedom Tower through her drink. She liked the distorted view. It gave her ideas for a watercolor painting she planned to complete while in the northeast.
She turned to a fresh sheet of paper in her leather portfolio and wrote with her antique fountain pen.
She moved the pen with a deliberate pace. The painter’s hand moved the premium writing instrument with an assassin’s precision.
Claudia's view of the Freedom Tower from Jersey City.
Image credit: Etier Photography/Royal Flamingo Works, LLC
The Back Story:
     Readers first met Claudia Barry in The Tourist Killer. As that book ended, she had decided to take a year off from work. The sequel, A Year Without Killing, tells what she did during that twelve month sabbatical. She did not leave her weapons at home.

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Saturday, May 31, 2014

I did a good deed today.


The Eight Sentences
His smile brought her a sense of calm and a reassurance of safety as it always had.
She leaned forward to push her chair back and stand to greet him.
He waved it off, “Keep your seat. You look so comfortable, Claudia, the epitome of self confidence and bliss. Your smile is radiant.”
“Am I smiling? It must be because I did a good deed today.”
Debert nodded understanding, and returned the smile.

The Back Story
When in Manhattan, visit this great pub. It's right across the
street from Penn Station. 
Mr. Debert (DAY'-bear) is Claudia's muse and confidant. They often meet at her favorite Irish pub when she's in NYC, the tir na nOg. This conversation occurs about a half hour after her altercation with the mugger (from last week's excerpt.)
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