Safari is a Stanley Hastings Mystery, by Parnell Hall
Book nineteen available in Audible , Kindle, PaperBack or Hardbound.
I read the hardbound edition. 

Mr. Hall is a well established author who writes with skill and provides depth to his characters.

 My Review  

Stanley's Hastings character is spot on in every detail. You can imagine this guy in your mind, and be in his moments, such as when he spots a sexy young woman on a plane, or when he's on the case, but wryly seeming off the case.  The detective Mr. Hastings, is a very clever character. 
    Safari is just that, a middle aged couple seeking some adventure in their lives, takes a trip to Africa, Stanley's wife Alice is thrifty, so she books a cut rate adventure. Alice also tries to upgrade their status without paying extra, which provides some humorous thoughts and comments from Stanley. 
   Someone from the tour group or guides has a secret, and it is imperative that no-one finds out what that secret is. As you follow the tourists and have breakfast with them, dine with them, and share their concerns while you're immersed in the story through Stanley's point of view, you'll wonder who is the culprit of a crime. But you'll be wrong. That is where Mr. Hall's strength as an author comes in, he'll take you write up too the last pages, before you know who created the Safari where the animals were not the biggest concern of the tourists. 
   This book is  Five Full Sails  

Do you like to listen to your books, Checkout Safari on Audible

Interview H A Raynes , Book Nation of Enemies


Book Review
Nation of Enemies, By H A Raynes

Rating: Four and a Half Sails out of Five.             Explanation of My Review System
Some background first, Nation of Enemies is a thriller set primarily in the Boston area of the United States during the year 2032. It’s leading character is Cole Fitzgerald an emergency room physician who works at Massachusetts General Hospital. Tension starts almost immediately as Cole is trying to take his family out of United States and immigrate to the United Kingdom. 
The United States has become a nation in a second civil war, this war is not over race, but primarily over a tiny device that traps people in tragic lives. Almost everyone has been injected with a MedID chip. If their MedID chip indicates they have an insufficient score to participate in productive society, their lives become chaotic and difficult. Add in the religious views of citizens, national security, politicians, billionaires, and law enforcement all taking different sides and you have a setting for a great deal of tension.

 There were a couple of moments late in the book where I saw or felt the characters would have different responses: Reverend Mitchell is talking to his primary supporters and accomplices via deeply encrypted video chat. A billionaire is among them, and there is brief moment when I had re-read the exchange for clarity. Still later, I also saw Cole, the Ivy League trained doctor as having enough sense to understand a situation he enters where a person he knows and recognizes is working under cover. Neither of these brief moments weakened the story line.

The descriptions of the areas, the authors insight with regards to human behavior and emotion, is excellent. The use of the settings to create backdrops for scenes of rising tension is also on par with any well known authors—of thrillers—in our modern times.

As the book draws to a conclusion, several moments come together with a mix of desperation, strength, and nerve that keep a reader engaged in the story right to the end. This is a good vacation read or the perfect read for that rainy weekend.

This review is my own. I was not paid or compensated to review this book. I purchased my copy from Amazon and read it on my Kindle Fire HD .



 H.A. Raynes lives and works in the Boston Massachusetts area. She was inspired to write NATION OF ENEMIES by a family member who was a Titanic survivor and another who escaped Poland in World War II. Combining lessons from the past with a healthy fear of the modern landscape, created the inspiration for her current novel. A longtime member of Boston’s writing community. Raynes has a history of trying anything once (acting, diving out of a plane, white water rafting, and parenting). Writing and raising children seem to have stuck.

Interview with H A Raynes

       1) Did you conceive of BASIA or the plot of the book first?

      BASIA grew from the original concept. There needed to be a group of anti-government fanatics that would be at the front line against lost civil liberties and the lack of religion within U.S. government. I wanted Brothers And Sisters In Arms to feel homegrown, like military family.
       2)You’re very familiar with the Boston area. How did the historical influence of the area affect the development of the story.
           I’ve lived in Boston now for more than half my life and I’m very familiar with the city and the outlying areas. That certainly lent to my heartfelt angst at destroying it within the book. But that made it personal to me. I love that the Freedom Trail runs throughout the city and that just walking the streets of Beacon Hill or through the Boston Common, it could just as easily be during either past or future revolutions. In addition, the planes that departed Logan Airport on  9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing brought everything so much to the forefront for me as I wrote this. Those events helped shape the year in which I set the novel, 2032. I wanted it to be the near future.  
       3)What book is on your nightstand right now?
           The Martian . I’m enjoying it very much and am working hard not to see any previews to keep my experience and imagination “pure”!  
       4)How much time did you spend on medical research for the book?

           I have a few doctor friends I tapped into. But I definitely needed to do separate  research on DNA and genetics, the future of gene mapping, et cetera. It’s a guess, but I probably spent somewhere around 10 - 15 hours of research on anything medical related, including Lily’s complicated delivery of the baby.  
       5)What other works have you completed?  Short Stories?
          The first thing I wrote was a screenplay that was a finalist in the Massachusetts Screenwriting Competition. After that I published a flash fiction story in the online magazine Redivider. I have one full and one 2/3 finished novel on my harddrive (needed a break from both, may return one day…). And then came Nation of Enemies.  
      6) Can you tell us a little about your next book? What is in the planning stages? Mystery? Another Thriller?
          I’m about a third into the first draft of this one. I can’t say too much about it at this point, but I can tell you it’s told in multiple points of view. It takes place in New York City. And it revolves around the lives in an apartment building. It’s different from Nation of Enemies, but still has an air of mystery with a thriller component. 
         Thanks for being on Just a Writer or a Thought Producer. Best of luck with your book.  


Interview: John Mathews

Book: A Game of Greed and Deception


Bio: John Mathews is a tenured University Professor of English currently living in Rome, Italy. Immersed in a long and somewhat stressful career, he feels the desire to break out of the mold and delve into macabre thriller fiction novels which focus on the dark side of human nature. He writes captivating thriller and suspense fiction books with the goal of pulling the reader into the plot through the minds of unforgettable characters. Complete with great suspense, plot twists, and shocking scenes, his stories will keep you guessing until the very end.

  When the charming Tammy Worthington takes her wealthy husband and step-daughter on a holiday weekend in the Colorado Mountains, she has purely sinister intentions. Her husband is killed in a tragic auto accident, just as she had planned...and now her pending fortune awaits her. 
But things don’t go Tammy’s way and that is where the book gets interesting. With no body to be found in the wreckage, the dead husband- just becomes a missing person, and Tammy is seemingly trapped inside the cabin with someone stalking her from outside.
This is wear John Mathews takes you on a macabre mystery drama of a sick and psychotic woman driven by her soulless greed who quickly turns from the hunter to the prey. The scenes include deadly traps and medieval torture devices, hidden doors and rooms, and an underground labyrinth of torture chambers that are not for the faint of heart. 
Rating: Four and a half Full Sails out of five.

 Artemis: When did you decide to start writing?
      John: As a lover of mystery and suspense, I had put together several ideas for screen plays. I decided that it would be better to let these stories unfold as books and started on my first novel more than a year ago.

 Artemis: What author inspires you?
 John: Stephen King. He is the master of horror and I've been reading his books for more than 20 years.

 Artemis:  What are you working on now?
 John:  I have started my third book, and second full length novel. It will be a dark and chilling psychological suspense.
Artemis: What book is on your nightstand right now?
John: Gone Girl .
Artemis: Why Gone Girl , what is it about that book?
John: Gillian, created a unique compelling plot, realistic memorable characters and great twists that the reader doesn't see coming.

Which book had the most profound influence on you as teen?


Interview: Kathy Kale

Interview : Kathy Kale


Bio: Kathy T. Kale is a member of the Mystery Writers of America. Her first novel won a Royal Palm Literary Award in 2004. She has worked as a science editor and writer and lived in Africa for eleven years. She has a PhD in Toxicology and did postdoctoral research in Infectious Immunology. She is the author of Black Death in a New Age: A Novel; Gold Street; and Harm .

Book:  Research scientist and single mother Cory Montclair gets embroiled in a battle with a powerful pharmaceutical company when her infant daughter recovers from cancer after taking a drug that is banned in the United States. When Cory tries to describe the benefit of the cheap harmless drug in a medical journal, she incurs the wrath of the most profitable and powerful industry in America. A large pharmaceutical company, backed with the authority of the FDA and AMA,who will stop at nothing to silence her. Threatened with losing everything—her reputation, career, ancestral home and more, Cory wrestles with a difficult choice and its consequences.


Artemis: Kathy what book is on your nightstand right now?  
Kathy: The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith, a book The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (Book 1) .

Artemis:  What books did you read in your formative years?
Kathy: As a kid I read and reread all the Nancy Drew mysteries, The Bobbsey Twins, and the Adventure Books. One of my early favorite thrillers was Airport , which I read when I was about 12.

Artemis: Tell us a little about your writing process.
Kathy:  Writing is my job and I’m a professional. I like to get up early in the morning, which for me is 5:00, when the house and the world around me is pretty quiet. I write in my journal for 30 minutes about anything I please. Real ‘work’ starts around 7:30 and with a number of breaks, I go until about 3:00.  Then I read for 1-2 hours and call it a day. The next morning at 5:00 it starts all over again. I love my life.
Artemis: Will your characters change through the story?
Kathy: My characters always change in the story. I look at life as though we are all on a hero’s journey and staring in our own production. As in life, so in fiction, and my people simultaneously battle outside forces on their path to achieve a goal; but the bigger fight is always on the inside against the nearly invisible monsters of the unconscious and the past that drive behavior.

 Artemis: What other influences are part of your life?
Kathy:  I lived in Kenya for over a decade when my kids were young. Like Karen Blixon, I had a farm in Africa—well, not quite, but close. We spent a lot of our weekends in game parks, watching the wildlife, and observing nature up close. I saw newborn cheetah cubs in the Serengeti, and a giraffe give birth while nearby lions copulated. But then I also saw a herd of organized hyenas chase down a bush pig, and a fish eagle stomp a small plover to death. To me, the beauty and terror of life were on display, which is something I try to capture in each of my books. 

Kathy you have some page turning books! 
Thanks for doing the interview, best of luck. AJJ 

Interview: Ellie Midwood

Book: The New York Doll


 >Ellie Midwood came to the United States after graduating from the faculty of foreign languages in Moscow, Russia. Her impressions from the first years in New York were put at the base of her book "The New York Doll". Ellie is currently working on her upcoming book "The Brooklyn Boys Club" that depicts the lives of several powerful members of one of New York mob families. Ellie currently lives in New York with her boyfriend and their Chihuahua.

Book: The New York Doll
This is a story of a young girl of Russian-Jewish heritage Mila, who came to New York in search of true love and the American Dream. But after struggling to survive and keep a roof above her head, she turns to an option that she never even considered before: she becomes an exotic dancer. On her way she meets a lot of people, both good and bad, and she depicts every single one of them with incredible honesty. She falls in love with the owner of the club, the powerful Italian-American mobster R., and now they both have to fight for their bright future together.
This is the story of love and hatred, of friendship and betrayal, and everything else that takes place behind the closed doors of a gentleman's club.

Artemis: What books are on your nightstand right now?
Ellie: Right now I’m mainly reading biographies of Brooklyn mobsters from the 70-90 era.  The Butcher of Bensonhurst, "Underboss: Sammy the Bull Gravano's Story of Life in the Mafia ”.

Artemis: Peter Mass's book?
Ellie: Yes, and I'm also reading “Gotti: Rise and Fall ” – My life has intersected with that world and I need to learn all I can about it. A lot of people find it quite an interesting choice for a girl to read and to write about, but I guess my city – New York – inspires me.

Artemis:  Take me into a stripper’s dressing room?
Ellie: That’s an interesting request. A dressing room plays an important role just by itself: it’s a place where all those regular girls who you see on the street every day transform themselves into their alter egos; it’s like a dressing room in a theatre (looks absolutely the same, with chairs, mirrors and hangers), it’s just instead of a costume they put on lingerie and high heels but the amount of the make-up is probably the same as of the professional actresses. It’s like putting on the mask and act your part out in front of the viewers, that’s how these girls make their living. Go out there on stage- flirt,tease, play so you can make as much cash as possible. Then  go back to the dressing room, take their make-up off, change into their regular clothes and go back to their normal life: some go to their law school in the morning, some deposit more money on their account to open their spa salon next year, and the funniest part is that most of the customers have no idea that they might meet the same girl in the daylight wearing business suit and won’t even recognize her.

Why are certain types of men attracted to certain types of girls?

Artemis: If I'm the fly on the wall of the dressing room: what am I hearing?
Ellie: Probably the same girl talk that you would hear near any girls sitting together: dancers discuss the same issues as all the other girls - their relationship, school, fashion trends, movies they saw, books they read, resorts they recently went to… Maybe the only exception would be that at the end of the night they compare how much money each one made. And no, dancers don’t normally hate each other and you won’t hear too much of a cat fight in a dressing room, it’s more like a sorority, there’s always one “bitch” who everybody hates, but mostly girls are very supportive of each other and become good friends outside the club.

You’d be surprised how many couples actually meet and marry after their dancer-customer relationship is over.

Artemis: Why should I read -The New York Doll ?
     Ellie: The New York Doll is an adult audience oriented novel, and everyone who’s interested in stories revealing the truth about certain aspects of life or businesses will enjoy reading it. I like to compare my book to THE NANNY DIARIES by Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin or THE TWINS OF TRIBECA by Rachel Pine, but instead of revealing an ugly marriage and child raising problems of the Upper East Side moms or showing the real face of the movie-making business, The New York Doll exposes the inner world of a gentleman’s club business, it tells the story behind each character, both good and bad, it dwells on the question why the whole industry is so popular among men and why even the richest brokers of Wall Street who can afford everything, are complaining about their life and trying to find comfort in the arms of these beautiful dancers.
First of all, so many books were written on the related topic, but none of them were written by a non-resident of the United States, and that’s what makes it really stand out among the competing titles. I wanted to tell a story from an immigrant’s point of view and to show my readers how hard it is to make it here if you don’t have any papers. And second, for me the main reason for writing this book was to make the readers understand the real reasons why even well-educated girls from good families sometimes find themselves in a gentleman’s club. Because let’s face it, mostly all the people who I was talking to prior to writing this book, especially those who have never been introduced to the night club world, have this stereotype in their head: all exotic dancers are shameless, uneducated home-wreckers who don’t know any better than to dance almost naked for money. Well, all those people would be very surprised if I told them that I personally know so many girls who have to dance to pay tuition for their higher education. Those are the future doctors and lawyers, interior designers and fashion journalists for whom dancing is the only opportunity to pay for their dream career choice. For most of the dancers a gentleman’s club is only a phase and normally a very short one, then they move on, get their dream job, get married and have kids and nobody would even know what they used to do. I wanted to break that stereotype for everybody.

Artemis: Is there romance in your book, or just a romantic idea?
Ellie:  Yes, my protagonist Mila’s has a romantic relationship with her boss R. Some guys just come around and break a girl’s heart, some just use a girl for whatever reason and some girls find their Knight in the Shining Armor who marry them and they live happily ever after. You’d be surprised how many couples actually meet and marry after their dancer-customer relationship.
    There is even a separate chapter in the book that dwells on the idea why certain types of men are attracted to certain types of girls and it’s analyzed from both biological and psychological point of view. A lot of people found it quite fascinating and told me that they never thought of it from this point of view. So here’s another eye-opener for the readers.

Artemis: What book has influenced you the most?
Ellie: I’m an eager reader, and I always find the development of a character the most interesting, especially when he or she is taken from their normal environment and has to respond to new circumstances. So a book like The Alchemist by one of my favorite authors: Paulo Coelho, really gets my attention. The main character Santiago is his dream and finds himself in a completely different country, the language of which he doesn’t even speak. It has influenced me the most, while writing The New York Doll . Santiago gets all his money stolen and doesn’t have a place to go. And nevertheless he doesn’t give up and keeps following his path. And I think a lot of people find it very inspiring. That’s why I wanted to create a similar story, with a strong character development that would be appealing to the readers. The main character Mila wouldn’t survive in New York if she would remain the person she used to be. She has to evolve, transform herself in order to fight for her dream and I hope the readers will enjoy following her transformation.

Artemis: I agree The Alchemist: A Graphic Novel is a great book. 

Ellie: This has been fun, I enjoyed doing this. 
Artemis: Thanks for a being a guest on my blog, enjoy your stay in Miami for the next few days and good luck with your book.

You can contact Ellie on Twitter @EllieMidwood 
Check out the reviews for The New York Doll on Amazon.

Interview: Rick Gangraw

Interview with Rick Gangraw

Book: Deathly Silent 


Bio: Rick Gangraw is the award winning author of  Secrets in the Ice and Deathly Silent , two murder mysteries with a twist at the end.  His new novel— Escape from His Past —is tentatively planned for a spring 2015 release.  When he's not dabbling in fiction, he enjoys sports, hiking, kayaking, camping, and researching his family history.

Artemis: What book/s are you currently reading?
Rick:  Ted Dekker’s  BoneMan's Daughters and Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven both very well written, interesting styles, and excellent reads.

Artemis: Do you prefer paperbacks, hardcover or Kindle , Nook ? 
Rick: I prefer a paperback that I can carry around easily, usually an older copy that I may use for writing notes on certain pages.  I like the feel of a book and can’t picture myself ever going to a Kindle or Nook.

Artemis: What books have influenced you the most?
Rick:  Past and present.
Past?  - As a teenager, my favorites were Jack London (“Call of the Wild”, “White Fang”), Edgar Allen Poe (too many to list here), and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (many of the Sherlock Holmes stories).
Present?   - Recently, I’ve been studying the writing styles of Ted Dekker (“Obsession”) and Dean Koontz By the Light of the Moon .

Artemis: Can you tell us a little bit about the plot of your book?
Rick:  Erik Johnson was wronged fifteen years ago and it changed everything.  He’s now back in town and on a mission of vengeance against those who set him up.  He only remembers some of the details, but he knows enough to realize who ruined his career, his family, his life and that’s all that matters to him.
     Erik provides clues to Bill Ljunglof, a priest haunted by his own past, and Tami Anderson, a police officer whose greatest fears come alive in this case.  They work together to determine who is giving them information on prominent people in the community that have died recently, and how they could be linked together.  Meanwhile Erik finds that through intermittent memories, everything is not what it seems. As Erik pieces together what actually happened to him all those years ago, he can’t believe the revelations, nor can Bill or Tami.

Artemis: What qualities does your protagonist have? 
Rick: In  Deathly Silent , my protagonist put his enemies through a crematorium while they’re still alive and buries another alive.  However, he’s really not such a bad guy.  He’s personable and likeable, even leaving hints to a police officer and a priest to uncover the conspiracy involving those community leaders.  I want you to hate him at first, but then feel sorry for him by the end of the story.

Artemis: Why should we read your book ?  
Rick:  I tried to come up with some of the worst nightmares I could imagine, and put several characters through those experiences. I also gave the main character a type of amnesia, only revealing his past a little at a time over the course of the story, culminating in the climactic ending. From page one, you see how cruel the main character can be, but as you read, you wonder if he’s really the bad guy in the story.

Rick , thanks for being with us, You have a lot of great reviews on Amazon. I wish you continued success with your book.       Note: Readers you can sample Rick's book by clicking any link on this page.