Urban Fantasy Author
Book Bling Blog
(A Shelby Nichols Adventure Series #8)
by Colleen Helme
Itâs been almost a year since a near-fatal gunshot wound left Shelby Nichols with the ability to read minds. In that time sheâs faced one problem after another. Sheâs been shot at, framed for murder, and targeted by a serial killer, just to name a few. Now sheâs trying to help her lawyer husband win a murder trial that will enable him to become a partner in his law firm. Sounds easy, right? But nothing ever goes as planned when it comes to Shelby Nichols.
When special agent, Blake Beauchaine, shows up to collect a debt from Shelby, things get even more complicated, and Shelby is soon on her way to Paris. A routine meeting with a rogue agent reveals a sinister plot, putting Shelby into the cross-hairs of a known terrorist. Even worse, she doesnât speak French, so it seems her mind-reading abilities wonât help her this time.
Things go from bad to downright dangerous for Shelby, especially since her usual guardians, Uncle Joey, and his hit-man, Ramos, are back in the states. Lost and on her own in the streets of Paris, can Shelby escape the cold-blooded killer in time to stop his devious plans, or will this be the end of the line for Shelby Nichols?
The first day of spring arrived, filling me with an overwhelming sense of freedom. Even though the temperature wasnât real warm, it meant that winter was officially over. Even better, a ride on the motorcycle behind Ramos was now a possibility.
Iâd missed that and Iâd missed him. Heâd been gone for two weeks helping Uncle Joey take care of some out-of-town business. I wasnât exactly sure what that entailed and... believe me, I didnât want to know. Jackie, Uncle Joeyâs secretary and wife, told me they were both due back in the next few days, and deep down where I didnât want to admit it, I could hardly wait to see them again.
That probably made me a bad person, since I worked for Uncle Joey, and he was a mob-boss. Ramos was his hit-man and heâd saved my life a few times. I had to admit, it was a far cry from the first time Iâd met Ramos almost a year ago, when he was thinking he might have to kill me for the big boss.
Iâd had to tell Uncle Joey my secret that I could read minds to stop that from happening. Since then, my skills had come in handy for Uncle Joey, and gotten me into a lot of trouble. But heâd always been there to bail me out, both literally and figuratively.
So now I helped Uncle Joey, not because I was forced into it, but because I wanted to. That was just twisted on so many levels, and he wasnât even my real uncle. But I couldnât seem to stop, so I did my best to keep on the right side of things.
Ramos was another part of that story. He was one hot and swoon-worthy man any woman would fall for. I had to keep reminding myself that I was happily married every time I laid eyes on him. He was the quintessential bad boy and, like a decadent chocolate dessert with whipped cream and a cherry on top, something that I might want in the worst way, but would also be very bad for me.
If I wasnât married with kids... well, who knew what could happen, but I loved my husband and children, and Ramos respected that. Even so, there were still times when my heart seemed to have a mind of its own around him, and Iâd have to rein it in or lose control, which was not an option.
Only a handful of people knew I could read minds, and I liked it that way. I told everyone else I had premonitions, and that mostly worked. I also had my own consulting agency, which included helping the police along with my own clients. Because of that, I managed to get into even more trouble, and that wasnât counting the mob-boss part.
My husband, Chris, had asked for my help on a hard case. He was an associate partner in the prestigious law firm of Cohen, Larsen and Pratt. This case was the single most important event of Chrisâ career, mostly because the partners were looking to replace the Cohen part of the firm, and changing it to Larsen, Pratt and... Nichols.
This was a huge deal, and I wondered if the fact that Chris handled all of Uncle Joeyâs accounts had something to do with it. Probably, but I wasnât touching that with a ten foot pole. This put a lot of pressure on me. Not as much as Chris, but stillâ¦ I didnât want to screw it up for him.
That brought me to my problem. I wasnât sure I wanted to help Chris, mostly because he was defending a woman accused of killing her husband, and ten million dollars from the life insurance policy was in the balance. To complicate matters even more, the husbandâs company was one of Chrisâ biggest clients.
If they won, Chrisâ firm would get a nice, fat share, and also keep the company as a client. But from everything heâd told me, she sounded guilty as sin. If I listened to her thoughts, Iâd know for sure, and that would just ruin everything. It made me realize that sometimes my âgiftâ wasnât so great. Not when I had to use it to get someone off who actually deserved some jail time.
But... wasnât that what I did for Uncle Joey? So how was this any worse?
In fact, Iâd recently made a deal with a government agent to keep Uncle Joey out of prison. In exchange for my help on one of his cases, heâd agreed to make any charges against Uncle Joey disappear. When Uncle Joey found out what Iâd done, he wasnât too happy with me. Especially since he thought Iâd told Blake Beauchaine I could read minds.
Once he knew I hadnât, and Blake just wanted me for what he thought were my mad interrogation skills, heâd calmed down. Still, Uncle Joey told me he could have handled anything Blake might have thrown at him without my deal. To be honest, it kind of hurt my feelings. Then he made me promise to involve him if Blake ever came to collect.
So now on top of everything else, I had Blakeâs phone call to look forward to, and Uncle Joey to involve after that. It was enough to give me an ulcer.
âShelby? Weâre ready for you,â Chris said, poking his head out of the conference room.
The Shelby Nichols Adventure Series
About The Author
You can find Colleen at
Dead or alive. Good or evil. Hero or fugitive.
Valo needs a specific solution to a grave problem. The human Claimfold and prigon Torzsi draw apart. War is promised in the West. Worst of all, the magi of Nagyevo are meddling with the dead.
Perin is an apprentice Gravedigger: uneducated, unwanted, unsure. He may be the answer Valo needs, if he doesn't get killed before he works out what's going on. But of course there's the chance that fate hasn't called him after all. The gods are nameless and silent and the best laid plans have a way of going badly wrong.
Enter the spade and sorcery world of Valo.
Gravedigger subverts the expectations of that oldest of foes in fantasy, the dead that walk, in a fast-paced adventure through a world of culture, intrigue, magic and blood.
Michael-Israel Jarvis was born in Cambridge, brought up in Bishop's Stortford and moved to Great Yarmouth in his teens. He got his degree in Creative Writing at the University of Northampton and returned to Great Yarmouth with his wife, Katie.
Michael-Israel writes principally for Young Adults, which is what he intends to be until he's very, very old. Further explorations of the genres he prefers to write in throw up fantasy, adventure, coming of age stories and more. If possible, he prefers to write in a way that bends the distinction between different genres. Why shouldn't the superhero trope take place within a fantasy novel? And however serious a book is, shouldn't humour weave its way in?
Michael-Israel chose to go the route of Independent Publishing after observing the increase in sales of eBooks and a move towards indie expression in general culture. Creatives were achieving their goals and engaging their audiences through communities on Youtube, deviantArt and other online realms. While still having genuine respect for the traditional world of publishing, Michael-Israel made a calculated decision to join the revolution.
This freedom allows him to work with artists and other writers as and when he chooses. There is an open invitation for visual artists to depict images inspired by Gravedigger, in return for exposure of their own talents. Michael-Israel Jarvis does not believe in making it on his own.
I have a soft spot for fantasy stories, and this one was no exception. A believable world, engaging characters and a hero's journey complete with a mentoring guide, this book has them all. Jarvis also kept my attention with a fast pace, for the most part. I like the action to be fast and plentiful and this story is filled with heart-pumping fights. But this book also has depth and the main character, who though he may be a grave digger is certainly not inclined to create new business, given a choice, undertakes (pun intended, sorry) some soul-searching quests.
This is not high-fantasy with the hero tripping over dragons and elves. Javis has instead created a unique and fanciful world that seems the perfect setting for his unique protagonist, a grave digger apprentice turned hero who takes his master's wizened perceptions to heart and incorporates them into his life-altering, world-at-stake decisions. This is a keeper and the author's other and future works belong on your to-be-read pile. It didn't quite rate a full five stars because there were a few places the actions waned a bit too long for me, and there were a couple times I felt information was dumped in a pile that served to confuse and distract rather than inform.
Book Bling gives this 4 shining stars!
Weekend Writing Warriors #8Sunday
Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, the weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! Sign up below with your name, blog and email and share an 8 to 10 sentence snippet of your writing on Sunday. Your post needs to be live between 12:00 noon on Saturday 01/16/16 and 9:00 AM on Sunday 01/17/16. Visit other participants on the list and read, critique, and comment on their 8sunday posts.
The Tree of Life
Setup: Book 2 of the Illuminati series, had several completed chapters, but unforunately I lost the manuscript in a fluke computer charge cord electrical shock and consequent hard drive wipe. Not even the Geek squad could revive it. Needless to say I was pretty bummed out, but if you read my IWSG post you know my New Year's Resolution was to reignite my writing spirit. So I have begun with the below "mood" creating excerpt.
The night air undulated, drunken, soggy with tumbling vapors. Fog surged upward and then interspersed with heavier moisture it swirled around the base of crypts and crumbling statuary. Precipitation was slow but steady, forming rivulets on the bows of umbrellas held above stooped heads. It snaked down massive tree limbs, fed moss-covered stones and coaxed tears from guardian angels carved into marble walls that flanked the ancient family mausoleum.
Mourners disappeared into the dark interior, and two silhouettes separated themselves from the deeper shadows of an adjacent oak.
Refusing to be comforted, the small one pulled away from her brother's comforting arm and took a step toward the gravely pathway between the crowded sepulchers. Damp moss blocked her progress. Moved by increasing winds, tendrils swept the ground of the graveyard like a ghost trailing ragged skirts.
Ljluka Vargas, immortal prince and the cool-headed enforcer for the Vargas Dynasty, must go up against his most intriguing enemy, the mysterious Nalini. She intends to beat him to the secret archaeological site of The Book of Life which contains the genetic secrets of their ancient ancestors.
In order to escape the cruel domination of her family and gain freedom for her mother, Nalini assumes the role of assassin. In her rival, the sleek and deadly Luc, she finds a different kind of danger. She’s supposed to eliminate him, but that would foil destiny’s plan for them to be together.
It’s a race from power-hungry D.C. cabinet rooms through the secret realms of the Vatican, from cloud forests and desert sands to the caverns of the Underworld as mankind hangs in the balance. For whoever possesses the Book of Life has the potential to rule the world, offering or denying immortality to the human race.
Author Interview With Dane Cobain
Dane Cobain is a writer, poet and musician from a place you've probably never heard of, somewhere in England. When he's not writing books, he's reading and reviewing them on his book blog - SocialBookshelves.com - or working at his day job in social media marketing. Find him at:
When the Angels attack, there’s NO REST FOR THE WICKED.
Father Montgomery, an elderly priest with a secret past, begins to investigate after his parishioners come under attack, and with the help of Jones, a young businessman with an estranged child, Montgomery begins to track down the origin of the Angels.
The Angels are naked and androgynous. They speak in a dreadful harmony with no clear leader. These aren’t biblical cherubs tasked with the protection of the righteous – these are deadly creatures of light that have the power to completely eradicate.
When Jones himself is attacked, Father Montgomery knows he has to act fast. He speaks to the Angels and organises a final showdown where he’s asked to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Elizabeth: Hello. Thanks for being with us today.
Dane: Hey Elizabeth! Great to be here, and while we’re at it, thanks for stopping by my site as well! Let’s do this.
Elizabeth: The first thing I think your fans would like to know is what you’re currently working on.
Dane: Good question! I have three books coming out this year, and so I’m keeping pretty busy. All are written and in the editing stage, but it’s a question of prioritization. The first, a book of poetry called Eyes Like Lighthouses When the Boats Come Home, is currently in proofing and due out within the next couple of months, with the cover reveal scheduled for Friday 29th January. After that, Former.ly will be out – a sort of techno-thriller about a social networking start-up with a twist. Then, towards the end of the year, I’ll be releasing a non-fiction book called Social Paranoia, about how brands and consumers can stay safe in a connected world.
Elizabeth: I’m sure we’re all anxious to get our hands on that. How can we do that, and keep updated on your currently available musings or publications and future publications?
Dane: The best bet is probably to check out www.danecobain.com, or to follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Like most writers, I’m not exactly secretive when I have a new book out. If you follow me, you’ll know.
Elizabeth: Thank you. Now I would like to be more specific. Can you tell me your favorite character, and why they are your favorite?
Dane: It depends upon the book, but for No Rest for the Wicked it was Father Montgomery – he’s the father figure, quite literally, but he’s also human. In Former.ly, it’s probably Flick – again, because she has a hidden side to her personality.
Elizabeth: For those fans who are also writers, what advice can you give them for creating the most memorable stories?
Dane: Honestly, I’m still working on this – I think everyone is. I challenge you to read every Agatha Christie book and to remember each of the characters. I think getting a combination of quality and quantity is key – after that, you’re just hoping for a bit of luck, I guess.
Elizabeth: Since stories are about people, how can a writer create the most unforgettable characters, the ones you think about long after you put the book down?
Dane: I’m still working on this, too! I think that the very best characters just come alive, but sometimes it comes easier than others. Note my thoughts on Agatha Christie!
Elizabeth: Where do you get your story ideas? What inspires you?
Dane: They vary, really – that said, I’m usually inspired at a certain level by my own life, and the people that I know. The main idea behind No Rest for the Wicked came from a dream that I had, but Former.ly was more of a calculated effort to ‘write about what you know’. When I write poems, they just sort of fall out of my head.
Elizabeth: One final question. What is your writing process? What are the usual steps you go through when writing a new piece?
Dane: Tough one to answer, because it’s changing at the moment – to be honest, it depends upon what I’m writing. But right now, I’ve been making notes about new stories on my cigarette breaks at work, five minutes at a time here and there. The idea is to plan some out so that I have a bank of stories planned out and ready to go so that I can dip in and out of them as and when I finish projects, but it’ll take a good six months to get to that stage and I’m not even convinced that it’s going to work!
Elizabeth: Thank you so much. You have been very helpful to fellow writers and avid readers alike. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say it’s been a pleasure having you share your insights and work with us. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Dane: I think that’s about it, Elizabeth – thanks so much for having me! I run a book blog myself and so I really appreciate the support, as well as how much work you put into stuff like this – just formatting it takes forever! So thanks again for having me, and I hope you get a chance to check out No Rest for the Wicked!
She may be fifty, English, and a professional crone, but Sophronia Sheridan is not one to turn down a chance to help others, even when it goes against her better judgment. When she is faced with young witches and vampires who have fallen under a head vampire's power, she allows herself to become beholden to him in order to help the youth gain their freedom. Along the way, she realizes there is much more to the story--rival factions in the local undead community are growing restless with the current climate. Caught in a struggle for power and territory, she has to determine who to trust and what is worth fighting for.
This story had lots of fun elements for me. I liked the whole witch/vampire conflict. I also liked that at the oh-so-old age of 50 the main character is a professional "crone". That and a lot of other "British" elements, colloquialisms and language choices were especially amusing to me as an American. What I especially liked, however, was the no-nonsense, sometimes snarky but always amusing, attitude of the witty & feisty main character, Sophronia Sheridan.
Sophronia may be a powerful, confident crone, but the over-her-head plot line was believeable and entertaining. I like a fast-paced, multi-layered plot and this one story had one. I may have enjoyed a bit more spark and spank in the gender battle. After all, what story isn't better with a bit of romantic tension? Bones. Castle. Even Hollywood has figured that one out. Apparently they prefer Elementary across the pond... Still, a highly recommended read for those who like things that go bump in the night by the light of the moon.
Book Bling gives this Four Stars!
I live in Wallasey, Merseyside with my husband and two sons. I am a teacher of French and English and before this have had jobs nursing, working for Customs and Excise and various nannying/au pair jobs abroad. I have two novels published under the name Jacqueline Farrell as well as three published under the name Jacqueline Webb, one co-authored with Amanda Grange, all available on Kindle. I am not the Jacqueline Farrell who publishes books on embroidery, although I have got one and it is very good!
Back From the Dead
The writer in me loves this picture, so had to find a good home for it. My "Back From the Dead" blog seemed perfect!
And I am back, at least I am trying to be back. I was so "blown away" during October I didn't land on my feet until now. New year, new resolution, right? Yes. WRITE! that is.
My first publication has been undergoing "audio" translation, which means I've had to listen to and approve each chapter as it was completed by the voice actress. Personally, I love the soft Persian accent she uses for my novel, much of which takes place in Egypt, and whose immortal characters herald back to ancient Persian roots.
But even more importantly for me as a writer is the engagement that was renewed with my characters. Since this is a series, it really made my imagination fuel up. I even dreamed about the main character of book two, and got a great idea for a plot twist that is both timely and invigorating.
I actually can't wait to delve back into this novel. Here's to your New Year's writing resolutions!
Sample of audio follows. Let me know what you think!
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG
The awesome co-hosts for the January 6 posting of the IWSG will be L.G. Keltner, Denise Covey, Sheri Larsen,J.Q. Rose, Chemist Ken, and Michelle Wallace!
I blog there the 18th of each month!
Elizabeth Alsobrooks's books on Goodreads
Illuminati - The Book of Life
ratings: 12 (avg rating 4.33)
Illuminati: The Book of Life
ratings: 5 (avg rating 4.80)
The Keeper's Secret: Tell-Tale Publishing's Annual Horror Anthology
ratings: 2 (avg rating 5.00)
2016 NaNoWriMo Winner!
My Newest Release
An Amazon Bestseller!
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