Monday, June 12, 2017

Author Spotlight on Mystery Author James Moushon


It’s my pleasure to introduce James Moushon, author of mystery, murder, intrigue and politics. Today, James is sharing his new release, Operation No Sanctuary, A Jonathan Stone Mystery Short StoryHe's provided us with a fabulous excerpt for this title, which is now available at Amazon for only 99 cents!



Title: Operation No Sancturary

Author: James Moushon

Genre: Mystery

Published: June 2017


Available: Amazon



A Short Note about James: Author James Moushon is the self-published Mystery Author of the Jonathon Stone Mysteries. Also, he is a Short Story writer and an Author Advocate. James is the creator of the industry blogs: The eBook Author's Corner, the HBS Author's Spotlight and the HBS Mystery Reader's Circle.



Synopsis: 

A gang war erupts in East LA between neighborhood gangs and the notorious MS-13 gang from San Salvador and a Mexican cartel from Tijuana is right in the middle of the conflict. Drug trafficking, gang shootings and politics all play a role as Jonathon Stone battles the sanctuary city LA which seems to protect the innocent and the guilty.



Excerpt from Operation No Sanctuary:


Twenty-One. My favorite words unless the dealer is looking at her hole card. I was on a great run which doesn’t come too often. The dealer kept busting and I kept raising my bet and the Jack and Cokes kept appearing at my elbow. The Ocean Queen Casino was my sanctuary. 


Being an at-large agent for the CIA had its perks. Of course, tomorrow I could be anywhere in the world. Actually, tomorrow was the day for our weekly phone conference so I was safe until 0900. My boss, Russ Evans, would be prompt. 

I liked the freedom but I liked the action more. I am a part of the DOT division which is the domestic unit of the CIA. We handle terrorism matters that originate outside the country. 

And you are asking me if that is legal? It’s not. And it’s not a well-kept secret either. Yet here I am in the Long Beach area living in the shadows. 

I motioned to the cocktail waitress for one more. This would have to be my nightcap. Jill was back in a flash. “Here you go, Jon,” she said, taking a long look at the stash of chips in front of me. I put a five dollar chip on her tray as she brushed against me. 

I had about two thousand in black and green chips so she had higher expectations. “Not tonight, Jill,” I said to myself. I was going to cut and run shortly. 

The next morning came quickly. I made it to the back patio with my coffee just in time to catch the first ring of my cell phone. Wiley was controlling the calls, taking roll and passing along the weekly code word. Sometimes I got confused with this process but Wiley had my back. The regular agents used the code regularly. Me, not so much. 

“Good morning, gentlemen,” Russ said in an authoritarian voice. “Before I get too far into the briefing, I want to talk directly to Agent Stone.” 

That comment got my immediate attention. I could hear him asking Wiley if I was there in the background. 

Russ continued. “Last night we had two murders in East LA. I know that’s not very unusual but the LAPD and now the FBI are trying to identify the deceased. The victims had false ID’s on them and the documents were excellent forgeries. In fact, they were so good that the FBI got called in and they traced them back to one of our old ops. The ID’s were made by the Romero Cartel in Tijuana. They are a merciless group of thugs and they are right in the middle of a drug war with a gang in LA.” 

He paused for a second. “Agent Stone, this is the group you were chasing several years ago in Mexico. The Feds have a meeting to setup a task force at the FBI office downtown LA at two this afternoon. I want you to get involved. We have to stay to the sidelines on this one. Oh, and Agent Jodi Shannon is in charge of the FBI portion.” 

I could hear someone on the other end chuckling. That damn Wiley. He knew about Jodi and my history. 

“I would love to snag Raul Romero,” I said. 

I remember Romero, I thought to myself. In 2006, I was involved in a gun sting. We were selling guns through straw purchases, trying to trap Romero’s Cartel into using the guns for their illegal activities. Unfortunately, the op went sideways and the guns wound up back in the states. We concluded that Romero got tipped off someway about the sting and resold the weapons to gangs in Southern California. This deal in LA could give us another shot at Romero. 

That afternoon I checked through security at the LA Federal Building and was directed to a conference room on the second floor. I slowly opened the door to find at least a dozen people already seated. I saw Jodi in the front with a man dressed in a LAPD uniform and another guy in a suit. Probably FBI. 

It sounded like Jodi was taking roll. She saw me and smiled. I halfway raised my hand in acknowledgment and took a seat in the back of the room. Except for Jodi, I didn’t recognize anyone. 

On the side wall was a map of LA with a big red ‘X’ and a bigger map of Southern California next to it. After studying the LA map a little, I noticed an area painted in blue and another area with a green ‘X’ that I recognized as the City of Whittier. 

Also there were two rows of pictures next to the maps. The first row had only two pictures which I assumed where our two victims from the murder yesterday. The second row had four pictures. The last one caught my eye. It was Raul Romero, the cartel kingpin. I turned in my seat to face the front as one by one people introduced themselves. We had the whole alphabet here. We had people from the ATF, a guy from ICE, a DEA guy and, of course, the LAPD and the FBI. I sat there trying not to make eye contact with anyone. I was there for observation but that didn’t last long. 

Jodi had the floor. “I want to thank everyone for attending on such a quick notice. The quicker we get on these murders the better chance we have to resolve this case.” 

Then she turned and looked straight at me. “We have a new member of the task force I would like to introduce.” 

I shook my head slowly no. 

“Agent Jonathon Stone from the CIA will be joining us. We think his involvement with the Romero Cartel can be invaluable especially south of the border. Everything we know now points to the Romero Cartel from Tijuana.” 

A man at the front table raised his hand. 

“Yes, Agent Lopez,” Jodi said, acknowledging the man. 

“Are we sure that we want the CIA involved in this? I know from the DEA’s point of view, we can handle the Mexicans. Besides we already have people in place there that can give us live intel. We are all setup to handle both sides of the border. Besides, the CIA can’t work domestically.” 

Agent Lopez had a good point in a perfect world. With my division involved, that changes the game but Lopez didn’t know that. I wish Jodi had let me sit by myself in the back. 

Jodi got a big frown on her face but didn’t say a word. I had to jump in on this and try to keep my cover. 

“I need to say something about my role. I am here to just add information if it’s needed. I will not be a part of the active task force. I was involved several years ago with the Romero Cartel in a gun sting so I know the players in the cartel, that’s all.” 

Now it was Lopez’s time to frown. He wasn’t going to give up. 

“Mr. Stone, I think that the DEA can handle this. We don’t need someone coming in and blowing everything that we have going against the cartel.” “I understanding what you’re saying, Agent Lopez,” Jodi said. “We will be careful not to expose the DEA’s position on this. I would like to introduce LAPD officer, Jerry Martin. He will explain our working theory on what we’re faced with. Officer Martin.” 

A tall officer with a large brown hat stood up from the table and took Jodi’s place at the podium. “Thanks Agent Shannon. I am in charge of the LAPD gang unit. We believe we are in the middle of a gang turf war. The Romero Cartel has become real aggressive in the last six months. There MO for years has been to supply drugs and guns to the small, individual gangs in Southern California. The gangs, in turn, distribute their drugs in their own neighborhoods.” 

I surveyed the audience. Lopez was staring directly at me. Something was up with this guy. He must feel I’m going to intrude on his turf. 

“We believe two things happened. The MS-13, the Salvadorian gang, has started taking over various areas in LA and eliminating the gang members. We understand from informants that they want the drug trade all to themselves,” The LAPD officer continued. 

That sounds like a regular gang war to me. 

“The other thing that happened was the establishing of the sanctuary areas in the state. That’s where Romero comes in. He is taking advantage of it by crossing people from Mexico with forged documents and getting them into safe zones. These guys are setting up businesses and using those as fronts to distribute drugs, guns and false documents. Also, because of the sanctuary status, we have a problem getting warrants for wire-taps to try to pin them down. As long as these guys stay squeaky-clean, they are home free.” 



About James:


James Moushon is a Mystery writer and an Author Advocate. 

Starting over 15 years ago, he helped lead the startup of the electronic forms industry in the creation, conversion and usage of electronic forms by supplying that industry with a continuing source of published literature, software products and training seminars. 

In 2003, Moushon changed his focus to ebooks and their development. 

He is the author of the Jonathon Stone Mystery Novels. He has published three books: 'Black Mountain Secrets', 'Game of Fire', ‘The Cajun Ghost’ and 'Operation Alpha Dog', a collection of short stories all featuring Jonathon Stone, CIA undercover agent. 

He is currently wearing two Hats. He is a mystery writer and a book publishing blogger. You can find his blogs at: 

HBS Author's Spotlight
The blog's purpose is to help authors get exposure in the book publishing industry. He has interviewed and showcased over 450 authors to date. 

HBS Mystery Reader's Circle
The HBS Mystery Reader's Circle provides information about the latest novels and what is coming next from a collection of Bestselling and Outstanding Authors in the Mystery, Thrillers, Historical Fiction and Crime genre. 

eBook Author's Corner
The Corner is a collection of Author advice and studies including Marketing, Social Media and other major topics created to help writers in today's ever changing world of book publishing. 

He has spent the majority of his adult life developing computer systems and thinking about writing mysteries.



How To Contact James:

Website: James Moushon - Mystery Writer
Author's Blog: eBook Author’s Corner
HBS Author's Spotlight
Twitter: @jimhbs
E-Mail: james.moushon@gmail.com
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Post with Profile + Interview: HBS Author's Spotlight

Amazon Author Profile




I’d like to extend a big thank you to James for joining us today and sharing his exciting new story. And, of course, thank you to everyone who stopped by! Come back and visit us again soon, James!

Happy Reading and Beautiful Fantasies,


Jessica Lauryn 




Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Summertime Reads

When you think back on your childhood, what are some of your favorite memories of summertime?  If you’re anything like me, some of those memories include reading stories, which you may have done on the beach, by the pool, or under the shade of your favorite tree.  Summertime brings with it a certain enchantment, an enchantment that stirs the imagination and spurs the beauty around us to life.  Indeed, stories and summertime are a powerful combination.  Not only can they cure the winter doldrums, but they can take you inside a world of fantasy you never dreamed was possible!


As a child, I enjoyed going to the library during the summer, and choosing stories to borrow, not because my teacher had assigned them but because they were the ones that I liked, the ones that I considered the be the most fun.  I enjoyed the mysteries solved by the Boxcar Children, the crazy life of Ramona and Beezus and the excited adventures had by Nancy Drew and her friends.  I graduated into my teen years with the drama at Sweet Valley High.  Then, life got in the way.  Schoolwork and SAT prep, college courses and school activities all took away from the time that I’d spent reading, even during summertime.  Like many people, I became too caught up in the daily routine of life to make time for this sort of leisure and if asked what I was reading, or what I enjoyed reading, I’d answer that I was too busy to “read for pleasure.”  Though I did enjoy the occasional magazine article, (pictures optional, of course!)

When college graduation neared and I was considering a career in writing, I realized that it had been some time since I had picked up a novel to simply read for my own enjoyment.  Though I’d done plenty of reading in college virtually none of it had centered around my favorite subject and true genre of choice—romance.  With the burden of school work now behind me, I set out to make up for the lost summers past and as I rode the train to my summer internship I cracked open my very first romance novel and fell head-over-heels in love.  Romance had always been my genre of choice but now I knew it, and that changed everything.


Once I understood my preference as a reader, the imaginative world opened up for me.  I quickly made up for lost time, reading every romance novel that I could get my hands on in every sort of sub-genre, contemporary romance, historical, romantic suspense, paranormal.  It was the lost world that had always been there but that I’d never taken the time to really notice.  I changed all that and what better time to do it than best time of year for reading, summertime.  There had always been something magical about reading during this most relaxing time of year but the experience of reading a romance novel beside a lake, under a tree, near the ocean seemed to get even better.  Perhaps that is because I’m a reader who chooses to immerse myself completely in my romantic fantasies, and I appreciate that the setting in which I read can only enhance the experience.  Whatever genre you’re reading this summer I hope that you experience total escape while you’re doing it!  Books are the ultimate escapism, and summer is the best time to read them of all!




Would you like to spend an exciting night at the theater this summer?  How about several exciting nights?  I’m thrilled to share that A Passionate Play [The Rabourn Theater Series #1] is now available in paperback!  This suspenseful story is set in summertime and is certain to make this year’s vacation even more fun!








Happy Anniversary, Dangerous Proposal!!!  To celebrate, Siren BookStrand has discounted it and ALL titles in the Pinnacles of Power Series to $2.99!  Did you miss a story? You can enjoy it now for a fantastic low price!






      

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Softer Side of Romantic Suspense

I enjoy reading romances of all sub genres.  Those of you who've read a number of my interviews know that, before I started writing, I'd read very few romance novels at all, but my shelves are now lined with them, and I enjoy reading as many books as I can get my hands on.  Often times I receive books as gifts and I refuse not to finish a book that I've begun, even if the writing makes my head spin.  I tend to wind up with more historical romance than anything else--perhaps because so many authors enjoy writing in this genre, perhaps because the covers just pull you right in.  But I like to mix things up when I read, so when I've finished a historic romance novel I'll look for something different to read the next time around, namely paranormal, contemporary or suspense.  Funny thing about romantic suspense.  Though I am the author of seven romantic suspense novels, I tend to grit my teeth when I read these stories, as I'll often get a feeling right off the bat that the villain is going to be one hell of an evil seed.  Someone is trapped, being held captive and I'm biting my nails, swallowing the same bile that is described as being choked back in the victim's throat, a victim I know doesn't have long to live.  The "romance" might be only a few pages away.  But by that time, I'm so terrified it's a bit hard for me to get into a romantic mood at all...and even the sexiest of heroes would probably have a difficult time getting me there.

When I started writing, I considered where my own books might be classified.  I love writing suspenseful stories, but not exactly the kind I was finding that many other authors did.  Fights, kidnapping and the occasional murder fueled my creative fire but villains with very obscene thoughts and totally depraved fetishes never had.  Was I breaking the unsaid rules?  Or had I discovered that suspense has a softer side?

In articles and at workshops and conferences, we as writers are constantly told that we must find our voice, learn what makes us similar to other writers but also what makes us stand out, why we're different from the rest of the pack.  This can be a difficult thing to do with only a few stories under your belt, but when I'd gotten several down on paper I began to see several patterns in my own brand, one being that I love reforming former villains in subsequent stories.  Many ingredients are needed to make such a recipe possible but one thing that is key is that the villain cannot be such a degenerate that a reader could never see him as anything more than the scum of the earth.  Rather, in order to reform and even become the hero in a future story I personally feel that villains must be some version of a troubled soul, plagued by demons yet to be uncovered, demons that will humanize his character when brought to light and make the reader sympathetic towards his circumstances.  The result may be a slightly softer villain than some.  His story also makes for a softer version of romantic suspense.

Villains-to-reform are hardly the only potential element that might differentiate such a story from the grittier version of romantic suspense so many of us are used to.  Each writer brings her own unique flare to the table in this respect but I tend to appreciate more and strive to write stories in which the suspense makes the heart race, but rarely produces a queasy stomach.  A villain who likes to cut up his victims with an x-acto knife makes my skin break out in goosebumps but a cleverly plotted scheme orchestrated by a villain who keeps up a steady chase, perhaps abducts the heroine in a critical moment in which only the hero can save her is right up my alley.  Such danger fuels the romance between the hero and heroine as their fear for the other's life comes with it, and in the turn, the deepest secrets of their hearts are brought to light.

I have the greatest respect for authors who can write the scariest of the scary--your writing takes talent, guts and tremendous creativity to pull off!  But to those of you who dislike the sight of blood as much as I do, (or the description of it!) suspense has a softer side, too.  It just might take you on your most exciting adventure yet!  

















Saturday, February 11, 2017

Romance in the Theater

Hi everyone! Today I’m sharing a bit about the first two releases in my new romantic suspense series, The Rabourn Theater Series. I’ve loved romance all my life but I fell in love with music and theater the first time that I visited Broadway to see the Phantom of the Opera. Knowing little about the story prior to seeing the play, I had a strong feeling that I’d like it and I asked my college boyfriend if he could get us tickets. What an amazing night! I fell head-over-heels in love with the romantic story of Christine Daae and her Angel of Music, the man who inspires Christine’s voice from the shadows while harboring a love so strong he’d kill for it—and does! For months, I was singing songs from the play aloud, secretly dreaming of having a career as an opera singer if only to experience the intense drama and passion that the characters in the story do. Of course, nothing like that was in the cards but the play stuck with me, inspiring me, years later, to write a series about five couples, all of whom share a strong connection to and passion for a theater. Throw in five sexy alpha-heroes, including two villains-to-reform and we’re set for an adventure my 20-year-old self could never have even dreamed about!
 
Villains-to-reform? What’s that all about? In short, I LOVE reforming villains! I find it extremely gratifying to watch a character everyone thought was a lost cause learn from his mistakes and get his happily ever after. I greatly enjoy working with these characters (male, generally) who are innately complex and who often start out as bad-boys which gives them a tendency towards dialogue you can’t help but blush when you read. In several of my stories, villains start out as such, only to become the hero a few books down the road…it all depends on the character, and the story.
 
A little about me. I was born and raised in New Jersey, where I live to this day. There are a lot of people living in the area where I reside and I love being part of a very active community – coming back from a vacation, NJ always feels like home. I’m a big antique collector and on weekends, when I’m not writing I love hitting up the local (and sometimes not so local!) antique stores in search of pretty, Victorian treasures. I’ve worked in a variety of jobs, where I’ve met a number of interesting people, several of whom have found their way into my stories. I am obsessed with 80’s music but I try to stick with classical while I’m reading and writing. I find it less distracting, and also, greatly inspiring!

Happy Reading and Beautiful Fantasies!

Jessica Lauryn

A PASSIONATE PLAY:

On the heels of a major performance, theater actress Alicia Coleman is attacked in an alleyway. She is struck over the head with a pistol and the blow causes her to lose her memory. Injured and afraid, Alicia struggles to remember the details of her life. The only person who appears to know who she is, is the man she fears may also be her attacker.
In the midst of several failed attempts to escape, Alicia comes to know the man whose home she awoke in and realizes that the two of them share a complicated past. Though Nick refuses to tell her much beyond her first name, a series of dreams, in which she and he are sharing a lot more than the second story of a secluded mansion, cause Alicia to suspect the most outrageous of possibilities—that the man holding her prisoner may actually be her lover. Surrounding threats, including that of a midnight intruder, cause Alicia to realize that proving her theory true (or not) may be her only chance of keeping her attacker from coming after her a second time.

AN AMOROUS DANCE:

When Hannah Rabourn, daughter of Rabourn Theater’s late owner, is attacked, a surge of flashes prompts her to consider that her father may have been murdered. Hannah’s antagonistic stage director insists her subconscious is merely seeking closure. But as she and Evan become close once again, Hannah’s suspicions about the past deepen, and she wonders whether the man she’s falling in love with for the second time knows more than he’s letting on.
Evan Masters’s dreams were shattered when theater-owner Baron Rabourn destroyed his budding acting career. Having forged an alliance with Rabourn’s former partner, Evan assumed a mission to transform Rabourn Theater into what it always should have been. Fellow conspirators believe Rabourn’s daughter is the key to power, and Evan is the means by which to achieve their ends.
But Evan’s feelings for Hannah are stronger than he believed. And when he realizes Hannah’s life is in danger, he must decide between his passion and his heart.

EXCERPT FROM A PASSIONATE PLAY:

“I mentioned to you that we’re in Mohegan Lake,” Nick said some time later, “in Westchester County, New York. Does the name of the town, the county, or the state sound at all familiar to you?”
“Not really.” Alicia racked her brain. “Should they?”
Nick shrugged. “Only if you think they should. So, you really don’t remember anything about your life, your friends, or your career before waking up in this house?”
“My career?” Alicia dropped her empty glass onto the table. Having felt a sensation comparable to an electric shock when he’d said the word career, she asked, “What is it that I do, exactly? Am I a lawyer? Do I perform surgeries alongside of a team of brain surgeons?”
“Something like that,” Nick answered with a secretive smile.
Furious that he refused to tell her whatever he knew about her life, Alicia said, “You must be holding out on me because you’re familiar with my work and the knowledge of my success makes you feel completely emasculated.”
“I never said—”
“Understandable. Considering that you appear to spend the majority of your time hiding out in the woods, collecting the latest additions from Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn.”
Failing to offer anything in the way of a response, Nick grunted.
“I may not remember what I do for a living but there’s no doubt in my mind that I’m capable of doing a lot of interesting things.”
“Are you now?” Her companion gave her a thoughtful glance. Coming to his feet, he extended his hand and said, “How about sharing a dance with me?”
Alicia’s face became as hot as the candle flames. Looking from Nick’s open palm to the empty room around them, she swallowed and said, “There’s no music.”
“Well, I think we can do something about that.” Nick wandered across the floor to the area behind the curio cabinet. There was a stereo there that Alicia hadn’t noticed before. He pressed a button, causing the room to fill with soft, romantic music.
Nick extended his hand once more as he came toward her. His smile was cool but also insistent and it contained a hint of danger. Dark brown eyes looked into hers, willing her to trust, to comply with her very mysterious and yet compelling desires.
Allowing herself to operate on pure instinct, Alicia slipped her hand into Nick’s. His warmth surrounded her and she felt a hint of anticipation as he urged her gently forward. Nick led her into the middle of the floor. Placing one large hand against her waist, he brought her beside his powerful, broad frame.
They began to move and Alicia swayed in unison with her partner as though they had danced together a thousand times before. In her mind, she was in the arms of a stranger, but her body reacted as though he was anything but, as though he were someone whom she knew intimately. Nick’s eyes, his scent, the very feel of him seemed familiar to her, and as his hand slid from her hip to the small of her back she realized that she ought to be telling him he was getting too close. Except she didn’t want him to back away—it felt good, being close to him like this.
As her partner drew her closer still, Alicia felt chills, yet at the same time she began to let go of the tension she was holding. She was encased in a blanket of heat, and as that blanket spun her around and brought her back against its softness she was taken into a realm of comfort and dreams. Dancing with her captor felt right to her and in a strange way, safe. Nick had gone out of his way to make her happy tonight and she got the feeling that wasn’t something he did every day. Letting her eyes fall closed, she inched beside him and when he didn’t resist she rested her head against the cushion of his shoulder.
Nick’s arms enveloped her, and Alicia became aware that he didn’t only smell of pinewood but of something darker, something she couldn’t quite define. She sensed a degree of rebelliousness in this man and for some strange reason the idea of that intrigued her. Strength seemed to emanate from every part of him and she wondered what it would be like to taste that strength. Filled with the strongest desire to do just that, she settled her hand against the back of his neck and tilted his head so that she could just about feel what she wanted to so desperately.
“Kiss me,” she insisted, lifting her chin.
Nick stilled but didn’t comply. She opened her eyes to find his lips were looming above hers.
“Alicia, I….”
The music stopped playing as if on cue. Nick held her, not quite letting go but not doing what she’d asked him to, either. After a long moment, he released her. He cleared his throat and shifted his eyes, making sure that she was steady on her feet before backing away. He paced the length of the room.
“I’m glad you’re feeling better.” Stopping in front of the table, Nick said, “I’ll get this cleaned up. You ought to get back to bed. You’ve had a hell of a day, and even though you slept a good bit of it you still need your rest. I’ll be up to check on you in a few hours. Good night, Alicia.”
Turning to hide a face that was surely as red as it felt, Alicia walked to the door. She offered a cool smile along with a wave before slipping soundlessly from the room.
Alone in the foyer, Alicia placed one hand over her trembling mouth. She released it a moment later, body braced against the wall as she said to herself quietly, “Good night, Nickolas.”

Purchase your copy of A Passionate Play here:


Purchase An Amorous Dance, which is available exclusively at Siren BookStrand for a limited time, here:
http://www.bookstrand.com/book/an-amorous-dance

Dangerous Magic, from Jessica’s debut series, The Pinnacles of Power, is 99 cents at Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VF1FLYS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Romantic Suspense Author Jessica Lauryn has been writing since before she could hold a pen! A true romantic at heart, she is most intrigued by dark heroes, who have many demons to conquer…but little trouble enticing female companions into their beds! She feels that the best romances are those where the hero is seducing the heroine from the first point of contact, and she believes that EVERYONE deserves their happily ever after!
Jessica is a proud member of Romance Writers of America and her local chapter, New Jersey Romance Writers. When she’s not writing, she enjoys shopping for the prettiest of antiques and taking long walks in nature where she can daydream about anything romantic. Though she resides in New Jersey, her heart belongs to the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.

Here are a few links to find Jessica and her writings on the web: