Back to Top

  • First Slide

  • Second Slide

  • Third Slide

Monthly Archives: March 2013

Byzantine Gold
Chris Karlsen, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. We’re excited
to interview your character, Charlotte
Dashiell from the book, Byzantine Gold.
Genre: Romantic Thriller
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Cover artist: Elaina Lee at For the Muse Design
Length: 72K words
Heat rating: 4
Tagline: A Turkish agent and an American archaeologist find themselves
in the crosshairs of dangerous enemies in this undersea thriller.
A sunken warship from the Byzantine Era carrying an unusual cargo
of gold has been found off the coast of Northern Cyprus. News of the valuable
cache has attracted the attention of a terrorist cell. They plan to attack the recovery
team’s campsite and steal the artifacts. On the Black Market, the sale of the relics
will buy them additional weapons.
Charlotte Dashiell, an American archaeologist, and her lover,
Atakan Vadim, a Turkish government agent, are scheduled to be part of the recovery
team that brings up the artifacts. While en route to Cyprus, they find themselves caught
in the crosshairs of Maksym Tischenko, a Ukrainian contract killer bent on revenge.
Charlotte, Atakan and Tischenko share a grim history. As a result, Tischenko is
a man who will stop at nothing to achieve his goal–seeing them both dead.
Buy links:
What are your main characters’ names, ages, and occupations?
Charlotte Dashiell, 30,
nautical archaeologist
Atakan Vadim, 38, Agent
for the Turkish Ministry of Culture
Maksym Tischenko, 40,
contract killer
Darav Binici, 27, PKK terrorist

Interview with Charlotte Dashiell

Tell us about yourself.
I’m a nautical archaeologist
who recently received my PHD in the subject. While working on my doctorate, I met
Atakan. We were dive partners last year on the recovery team of a Bronze Age ship
wrecked off the coast of Turkey.
I had a controversial theory regarding the Trojan War and hoped the ship carried
the proof of that theory.
I come from a family
of police officers. My father was a Chicago policeman,
my step mother was a policewoman in Chicago
and my brother is a SWAT team member for Chicago P.D. My mother is a housewife and
remarried to a wealthy businessman.
I currently live in Istanbul with Atakan. Our next
project is a Byzantine shipwreck off the coast of Cyprus.
When the dive season
ends, I’m employed at a lab in Istanbul
where I work on the preservation of artifacts, which includes cleaning, identifying,
tagging and cataloging.
Atakan and I share a
love of history, like to travel and enjoy skiing and water sports.
Tell us about Atakan Vadim.
He’s also an archaeologist
and is an agent for the government. He works in the Ministry of Culture. His job
is to oversee the legitimate archaeological sites and make sure the artifacts are
processed safely and correctly. Site preservation and safety is part of the job
in addition to proper handling of relics. When not in the field, he monitors smuggling
operations and persons or groups involved in the illegal sale of artifacts to the
Black Market.
He is 38, the consummate
professional in his job and very reserved. People tend to see him as always serious
and perhaps a bit cold, but to those who know him, we see his humorous side and
he does have a wicked sense of humor.
Although we live in Istanbul now, he grew up in the southwestern part of Turkey, in the Izmir area. His mother tends to orchards on their
land. His father is retired military. Like me, he’s close to his family but doesn’t
get to see them often due to his job and the fact they live several hours away as
does his married sister and her family.
He is one of the most
honorable men I’ve ever met with an unshakeable code of ethics.
He’s also a pretty darn
good cook.
What do you think is your strongest point?
My intelligence.
What would Atakan say is your strongest point?
I imagine he’s likely
to say my love for him. I’d agree with that, but I suspect, knowing how reserved
he is, he’ll say my determination.
What would Atakan say is your biggest weakness?
I’m too secretive at
What was it like where you grew up?
I grew up in Chicago on the northwest side.
I love that city. It has everything: great restaurants, theatre, fabulous museums,
fun to watch sports teams, friendly people, and the best skyline anywhere.
When my parents were
still married, we lived in a brick bungalow typical for Chicago in a lovely neighborhood with nice lawns
and good sidewalks for riding our bikes. We had a smallish fenced backyard with
a fancy BBQ because my dad liked to grill and a colorful flower bed for my mom.
We always had dogs adopted from the shelter. The smaller ones slept with me, the
bigger ones slept with my brother, Nick.
My parents divorced when
I was a teenager. Then, I split time between my dad’s house in the city and my mom
and step father’s in the suburbs.
What do you wish was different about your life?
I’m pretty happy but
if I had to change one thing, it would be for Atakan’s mother to like me.
If you were given your fondest wish, what would it be?
I think this is where
I should say world peace but I’m going to wish for an end to the extinction of animals
everywhere and an end to the slaughter of elephants and rhinos etc. for their ivory
and horns.
Describe a place of perfect refuge.
Home–our place in Istanbul. We have a covered,
half-moon shaped patio with a view of the Bosphorus. When the weather is warm, we
like to sit there with a glass of wine and watch the ferries cross the Strait. Some
of the private boats coming and going are stunning to see. They’re sleek and elegant
as they skim along the water. You’d think working wrecks I’d get my fill of looking
out over water but I don’t. I love the sea.

About the Author

Chris Karlsen

I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and
my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and

My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me.
I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time
periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout
Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.
I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in
law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early
teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream.
I currently live in the Pacific Northwest
with my husband, four rescue dogs and a rescue horse.
I’m close to
finishing the first draft of book 3 in my Knights in Time series. After that, I
hope to start book 3 in my Dangerous Waters series, which the series Golden
Chariot and Byzantine Gold are from.


The history of what place intrigues you as a reader?

Answer this question for Chris, and win a download of Golden Chariot, the prequel to Byzantine Gold. You can email Chris directly at chriskarlsenwriterATgmailDOTcom or leave a comment and your email on the blog. She will contact the winner personally.

Previous Books

Heroes Live Forever (book 1 in Knights in Time series)
Journey in Time (book 2 in Knights in Time series)
Golden Chariot (book 1 in Dangerous Waters series)

Books Coming Soon

Knight Blindness (Knights in Time series)

Find Me Here

Together in Starlight

In a departure from our usual interview today, author Susan
Mac Nicol is sharing a written “newspaper” article with her character, Bennett Saville.

News Article from The Cambridge Chat:
Interview: Bennett Saville, star of Gabriel, bares it all!
I’m waiting for my guest for the evening,
Bennett Saville, to get ready for his interview. He arrived a few minutes ago and
is now busy being fitted for the mike and dusted with the powder that takes the
sweaty shine off our faces under the glaring lights. His curly auburn hair is being
styled and I see him grimacing as they try to tame it. It’s fairly long, apparently
in preparation for his latest appearance as the sexy, cavalier, and slightly sinful
professor turned wizard in his TV series Gabriel. He smiles at me as I watch him,
appreciating the figure he cuts in his tailored grey suit, looking for the entire
world as if he’s just stepped out of a fashion magazine. He certainly wears clothes
well, and it—dare I say—looks effortless. I suppose his stylist put it all together.
Very, “Darling, what? This old thing?”
God, I envy his tailor at being able
to have their hands all over that well-developed and what looks like a pretty muscular
body. I chide myself for sounding like some sort of middle-aged groupie, feeling
my face flush as he grins at me. He has the greenest eyes I’ve ever seen on a man,
like emerald chips—
Leslie MacIntyre, for God’s sake,
contain yourself, woman!
That is easier said than done. I’m
about to interview an up-and-coming film star, a young man who’s handsome, sexy,
rich, successful, has seen his fair share of trouble and trauma, and is engaged
to a woman ten years older than he is and seven years older than me. His fiancée,
Cassie Wallace, is a beautiful woman. I’ve seen pictures of her on his arm in the
tabloid magazines and the glossies, and she looks nowhere near her reputed age;
classy, refined, and always has a rather mischievous smile on her face, as if she’s
saying, “Ladies, he’s mine. Eat your heart out.”
I want to ask him about his relationship
with her, but this man has a definite no-fly policy on discussions about his personal
life and his fiancée in particular. I once saw him walk out of an interview when
the interviewer wouldn’t stop prying. He’d been extremely polite about it, but his
resolve was unwavering.
He’s finally sorted to the satisfaction
of Mona, the makeup artist. She grins and gives me the thumbs up. Bennett Saville
walks over to the stage, settles himself down very elegantly into the rather uncomfortable
tub chair. I notice his plain black socks leading down into a rather recently shined
pair of what look like Armani shoes. Nice. The man has big feet, and that sends
me wandering along a path I really shouldn’t travel at this precise moment.
He looks at me enquiringly.
“You have a fascination with my socks?”
he drawls in amusement, in that voice like melted chocolate. I shiver.
“Better than your underwear,” I say
without thinking. Then I blush crimson.
He laughs loudly, his eyes crinkling
at the corners as he leans back and settles comfortably into the chair. “Touché.
At least I’m wearing some tonight,” he murmurs. When my jaw drops open, he chuckles
and then adjusts the mike on his lapel. His eyes gaze at me in challenge, and for
the life of me I can think of no smart-mouthed rejoinder.

I see Henry wave at me from behind
the camera, and I know we’re ready to rock and roll. The lights in the small studio
dim, the chattering ceases and there’s an air of expectancy. I’m ready. The intro
music cues to introduce the programme, and a minute later I’m sitting with my notepad
on my lap, leaning in to address the camera that’s beaming my face and Bennett’s
out into the world beyond. I’m also trying not to think about the man in front of
me with no underwear on….

To see the rest of the Cambridge
interview, check out either:

Buy links

Together in Starlight – book two in the Starlight Trilogy

Previous Books

Cassandra by Starlight – book one in the Starlight Trilogy
Confounding Cupid
The Magick of Christmas

About the Author

Susan Mac Nicol
Susan Mac Nicol (Sue to most people) was born in Headingly, Leeds
in the United Kingdom.
When she was eight years old, her family emigrated to Johannesburg
in South Africa, where she remained
until her and her family¹s return, with husband and two children, to the UK in December 2000.
Sue¹s career as a professional business woman was mainly in the
operational side of the Financial Services and Vehicle Leasing markets. Currently
her responsibilities have evolved to being the Regulatory Compliance Officer at
a financial services company in Cambridge.
Having written all her life, since her first short story was
published in a local youth competition when she was just eleven, in between the
day job and daily life, the inspiration for the Starlight series of romance novels
was born. Her characters, Cassie and Bennett, finally made their debut on the flickering
screen of a laptop. The character of Bennett was inspired by someone very special
and perhaps one day, if you get the chance to ask her or meet her, over a cup of
good coffee, Sue might just explain who this was. She will probably smile wryly
and say, “Hopefully without sounding like a teenage groupie.”
Her first novel was submitted to various publishers and Boroughs
Publishing Group liked what they saw. Sue was offered a contract for her novels
and that, as they say in the classics, was that.
Sue is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Romantic
Novelists Association here in the UK. She lives in a town house in the
rural village of Bocking,
in Essex, with her husband, two children and a
mixed collie mongrel called Blu, so named because of his two different colour eyes
­blue and brown. Sue is a voracious e book reader and a self confessed geek and
Android phone fan. Her office is in her bag most days and without all her gadgets,
she confesses she could barely function.

Find Me Here

Lorna Peel, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let’s talk
about your book, Only You.

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Entranced Publishing
Cover artist: Suzannah Safi
Length: 52,000 words
Heat rating: Sweet Romance
Tagline: Only You follows divorced thirty-something, Jane
Hollinger, as she is shoved back into the dating world by family and friends,
and discovers that her fantasy love is more attainable than she ever imagined.
Blurb: Jane Hollinger is single, divorced, and the wrong
side of thirty – as she puts it. Her friends are pressuring her to dive back
into London’s
dating pool, but she’s content with her quiet life as a genealogy teacher.
Robert Armstrong is every woman’s fantasy: handsome,
charming, rich and famous. When he asks her to meet him, she convinces herself
it’s because he needs her help with a mystery in his family tree. Soon she
realizes he’s interested in more than her genealogical expertise. Now the
paparazzi want a piece of Jane too.
Can Jane handle living — and loving — in the spotlight?
Buy links:
What are your main characters’ names, ages, and occupations?
Jane Hollinger, aged 31, genealogy teacher
Robert Armstrong, aged 38, actor


How did you get your start in the industry?
I’ve always had quite an lively imagination. When I was
little I made up stories in my head for my dolls to act out. I’ve been writing
those stories down since I was nineteen.I had a contemporary short story
published in Woman’s Way (an Irish women’s magazine) back in 1996. A scan of it
is now up on my Facebook Page and blog. I was doing a writing course at the
time and had to submit a number of short stories to magazines and I was lucky
enough to get one published. The course was interesting but it made me realize
that I prefer to write longer prose and I decided to try and see if I could get
a novel published.
What websites do you visit daily?
My website and blog, Facebook, Twitter, and various news
websites as I’m a bit of a news junkie!
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Being able to create new characters and the worlds they
inhabit. And then being able to play God with them! *evil laugh*
What is your work ethic when it comes to writing?
Try and write something every day, even if it’s only random
notes or bits of dialogue in a notebook.
How do you cope with stress as an author?
As a new author, I haven’t really encountered author stress
yet, but I’d try and cope by taking regular breaks.
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your
own writing?
Historical novels, crime novels, and historical crime
novels, like the Matthew Shardlake series by C.J. Sansom.
Imagine you get to go on a dream vacation, but you have only
one hour to pack and leave, and it starts as soon as you finish this interview.
What will you take with you and where will you go?
Either Canada
or Australia.
I have relatives in both countries and I’d love to visit some day, so I’d have
to buy summer clothes for Australia
(I live in Ireland and we
don’t get summers anymore!) and summer/winter clothes for Canada, depending on the time of
What good book have you read recently?
Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman and The Secrets of Pain by
Phil Rickman.
What do you like to do when you’re bored?
If I’m not writing or surfing the internet, and if it
happens to be dry outside, then go for a long walk.
If you were a color, what color would you be?
Purple – I love it, it is such a vibrant colour.
Please underline which statement is more like you:
“I am a vacation spa because I am laid back and
“I am a ten-countries in ten-days tour vacation,
because I do things as fast as possible.”

Please complete the sentences

Lorna Peel
I love pizza with vegan cheese. Well, I don’t actually
love it, and I’m not a vegan either, but I can’t eat ordinary cheese so I make
do with the vegan stuff. It’s a bit like old window putty as it doesn’t melt
properly so it just looks like an orange blob but I can’t imagine pizza without
some kind of cheese on it!
I’m always ready for another mug of coffee!
When I’m alone, I either write, or plot, or both!
You’d never be able to tell, but I have a torn medial
ligament in my right knee. It flares up from time to time if I do too much
If I had a halo it would be a bit wonky! I played an angel
in a Nativity Play when I was small, but that was the end of my association
with angels!
If I could find the time I’d buy a camper van and
explore more of Ireland and
the UK.
I can never have too many books because I’m a bit
of a book hoarder!

Find Me Here

The Wizard’s Shield

The Wizard’s Shield by Karen McCullough
Originally Published
As: Magic, Murder, and Microcircuits
Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Mystery/Romantic Suspense
Length: Novel (90,000 words; 234 pages)
Tagline: To solve a murder and retrieve a stolen magical shield,
a pair of wizards journey into a dangerous, magical underworld, where the weapons
of choice might be guns… or lightning bolts.
A powerful wizard with a physics degree and a checkered past
invents a shield to ensure he’ll never again be tortured almost to death.
The wizarding powers-that-be fear the repercussions of such a
device and send his former girlfriend, an accomplished wizard herself, to retrieve
the device or destroy it.
When the shield is stolen by the magical mafia, Ilene McConnell
and Michael Morgan have to set aside their differences and work together to recover
it. Michael claims he needs the device as insurance against the kind of injury and
injustice he suffered once before. Ilene maintains its potential to upset the delicate
balance of power makes it too dangerous and that it needs to be destroyed. But none
of that will matter if they can’t retrieve it before a ruthless, powerful wizard
learns how to use it for his own ends.
Buy links:
Trade Paperback:
The rush of a sudden, fierce wind
outside drew her to a window to watch the shrubs and palm trees flapping wildly.
Sand blew over the pavement and splattered against walls and trees. Dead leaves,
loose papers, and other debris danced in the air. A livid, purple-tinged darkness
turned the day grotesque. Tendrils of indigo-shaded power floated along with the
dark storm clouds.
A flash of lightning seared its way
from sky to ground just beyond a row of houses across the street, followed closely
by a crack of thunder that rattled the windows.
A man and woman hurried three small
children along the boardwalk that led over the dune from the beach to the street.
They toted coolers, bags, boogie boards, and buckets. The youngest trailed a towel
flapping behind him in the wind. More lightning zig-zagged from sky to ground, not
far away. Ilene sucked in a sharp breath.
The father looked up and flinched.
Fear tightened his muscles as he dropped a cooler and turned around to snatch up
the straggling toddler. His voice carried over the rushing wind. “Get to the
van. Quick!”
He nodded toward a vehicle parked
down the street. His wife and two older children raced on ahead.
Ilene’s hands clenched into fists.
Too much energy crackled in the air. It wasn’t directed at the family, but that
didn’t guarantee they wouldn’t get hurt by it. Collateral damage. Some of the more
ruthless mages cared little for who else was affected by their activities.
Two flashes hit nearby, one right
after the other. The child let out a frightened wail as his father, bent low over
him, dashed off the wooden walkway and down the street. Even they could sense the
danger building.
Ilene couldn’t trust their fate to
chance. She roused her own power, feeling for charged particles in the area. Gathering
them in, she rolled and pushed them into position, building a lattice of force around
the family. It wouldn’t keep out the wind or the rain–she could have done that
with air, too, if she’d had time–but it should keep the lightning from reaching
them. For the moment, that mattered most.
Even at a distance, the rush of oppositely
charged particles prickled in her brain. The growing polarization signaled an impending
What formed out there made her gut
clench in fear. It was so close to the father and child the hair on their bodies
must have been standing on end. The man looked around wildly, searching for shelter.
The panic in his eyes radiated across the fifty feet or so that separated them.
Would her barrier be enough to protect
them? The ground charge was forming so close it could jump right through it if she’d
left even a small opening. Ilene reached out toward the building charge differential.
Playing with lightning was tricky business. Choosing her positions carefully, she
pushed in various weak spots to move the polarizing field.
It sucked a lot of energy out of her
to divert its course. Her ribs and head ached as she herded protons in a subatomic
cattle drive to get the charge well away from the family. Those minuscule bits of
potential energy were every bit as ornery and uncooperative as cows were reputed
to be.
Even as the bolt formed, she didn’t
know if she’d succeeded. Her breath stopped in her throat for a long, long moment
as she waited.
The streak of lightning followed the
diverted path to the beach, a safe distance away.
The man ran to the van, getting there
just moments behind his wife and older children. He pushed the toddler into the
back seat and ran around to the other side, while his wife slammed the rear door
and got into the front. Ilene didn’t let out the breath she held until they were
all safely inside the vehicle. She released the protective field. The van’s headlights
flicked on and moments later it chugged off down the street.
More lightning singed the sky. An
inflatable ring rolled down the street like a runaway tire. Ilene shuddered, though
it wasn’t entirely the weather that set it off. The storm was a natural thing, but
someone–a powerful wizard–was using it.
Using it to attack. The island or
the house or its occupants. Brilliant, livid streaks of orange and red mixed with
violet and deep blue swirls riding with the clouds. The smells of ammonia and ozone
and peppers burned her nostrils.
Lightning flashed brighter and closer.
Dangerously closer.
The grumble of thunder grew almost
constant. The rushing downpour of rain added to the chaos and noise. Driven by the
wind to blow almost horizontally, it splattered against the window in big drops
that spread out, then slid down the glass like groping hands trying to claw their
way in.
Something was out there. The swirls
of lividly hued power grew deeper and more intense. It rode on the storm in frightening
concentrations. Why here, though?
Additional Excerpt:

About the Author

Karen McCullough is the author of more than a dozen published
novels in the mystery, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres and has won numerous
awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy. She’s also been a four-time Eppie
finalist, and a finalist in the Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett
Letter, and Vixen Awards contests. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies
and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance
genres. She has three children, three grandchildren, and lives in Greensboro, NC,
with her husband of many years.

Find Me Here

Coinage of Commitment

Cover Love at
Romance Lives Forever is a short intro to a book and includes only a cover, blurb,
buy links, and social media contacts for the author. Today’s featured book is
Coinage of Commitment by Robert Costelloe.
Tagline: Each must have love stronger, higher, longer lasting
than others will settle for.
Wayne and Nancy grow up on opposite sides of the country, each
certain they must have love better than what others will settle for. Something stronger,
something richer, something worth searching for. During the turbulent nineteen-sixties,
they meet while he is attending blue-collar Drexel, and she is at neighboring, Ivy
League Penn. Although
irresistibly drawn to each other, they must overcome obstacles posed by the class
and social differences that separate them, as well as opposition from both families,
and later, a twist of fate that will be the cruelest test of all. Can they reach
the emotional heights they seek? Can they overcome time’s downward pulling inertia?
Coinage of Commitment is dedicated to all who ever wondered about the altitude love
might soar to.
Buy links:

Find Me Here

Bad Traffick

DV Berkom, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let’s talk about
your book, Bad Traffick.
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: DV Berkom
Cover artist: DV Berkom
Length: 242 pages
Heat rating: R
Tagline: Dangerous obsessions abound when an ex-assassin and
a homicide detective race against the clock to find a missing girl before she’s
lost forever.
Bad Traffick was named a 2012 Top 5 Indie Pick by BloodWrites
and a Top Pick by Night Owl Reviews.
Although Bad Traffick is part of a series, it is a standalone
novel and can be read by itself. That being said, if you like the characters, then
be sure to pick up Serial Date, the critically-acclaimed first novel in the Leine
Basso series.
Identified as a person of interest in three cold case murders
she didn’t commit and required to stay in L.A.,
ex-assassin Leine Basso accepts a temporary position as a security specialist for
A-list actor Miles Fournier, who believes he is the target of kidnappers. Leine
finds she has her hands full trying to protect the head-strong celebrity, while
at the same time fighting her desire for Detective Santiago Jensen; a game she knows
she won’t win.
Soon, a woman contacts Miles, claiming to be his long-lost sister.
She confesses her twelve-year-old daughter, Mara, has been abducted by sex-traffickers
and she’s desperate to get her back, hoping that Miles will use his considerable
resources to find her.
Leine learns from a contact at a rescue organization that Mara
escaped and is alone on the streets in the sprawling city of Los Angeles. The traffickers are determined to
track her down and deliver her to the powerful client who purchased her for his
twisted ends. Running out of time, Leine must find Mara before they do, or she will
be lost forever.
Buy links:
What are your main characters’ names, ages, and occupations?
Madeleine (Leine) Basso
– Occupation: ex-assassin and security specialist – Age: 37
Santiago Jensen – Occupation: Detective, LAPD Robbery
Homicide Division – Age: 42
Mara Quigg – Age: 12
Occupation: Running from traffickers intent on selling her to the highest bidder.
The gentleman in the impeccable Armani
suit watched the images flash by on the screen, a glass of Macallan single malt
on the gold inlay table beside him. Two additional men, shrouded in darkness and
unknown to each other, were also taking part in the video conference from different
areas of the world, watching the same images. Several times one or the other would
raise his hand, platinum or gold watch flashing in the darkened rooms, signaling
for the Seller to pause the presentation so they could look more closely at the
The Seller was visibly sweating in
the air conditioned comfort of the massive hotel suite. If he didn’t make the sale
this time, these clients would look elsewhere for their pleasures. His reputation
as the go-to guy in the business was balancing on a knife’s edge. Ever since the
fiasco with the televangelist two months prior, he’d kept a sharp eye on the operational
side of things.
One of the executives was fidgeting,
apparently bored, and the Seller’s anxiety level skyrocketed. He didn’t have to
find a mirror to know his appearance was giving his discomfort away. He could feel
the cold sweat flowing down his back and armpits, running between his buttocks.
What the hell do these guys want? Am I losing
my touch?
Usually it wasn’t this hard to match the client to the product.
The Seller was down to his last two
photographs when all three men simultaneously motioned for him to stop. The client
in Saudi Arabia
rose from his chair and walked to the screen, gazing at the delicate visage.
The Seller’s shoulders relaxed. He
shouldn’t have been worried, should’ve known the eyes would close the deal: jade
green flecked with gold surrounding deep black pupils. Everyone who saw her stopped
in their tracks. She’d reminded the Seller of a famous photo he’d seen years before
in an issue of National Geographic. She
wore the same enigmatic expression. The silence of the buyers signaled it was time
for the hard sell.
“Gentleman. I see you have exquisite
taste. Mara is newly acquired and in pristine condition. I guarantee she will delight
you with her generous charms. As I’m sure you’ll agree, she has no equal. I always
save the best for last. Mustn’t trot out the most sublime too quickly, eh?”
There were murmurs of agreement between
the men. The Seller’s anxiety morphed to excitement as he prepared to set the hook.
My God, look at them. They’re practically
. A bidding war would be a welcome relief.
The client in the room waved him to
his side. His unusual gold pinkie ring flashed, catching the Seller’s eye. He’d
seen the symbol before, but was unaware of its significance.
“Her age?” he asked.
The Seller turned and glanced at the
picture of the girl. Her expression still held a trace of innocence, although churning
through the American foster care system for two years had taken its toll. The photographer
had captured the picture before Mara realized she wasn’t going home.
“Twelve years, sir.”
“Most assuredly.”
The man nodded his approval. He glanced
back at the screen and steepled his fingers, bringing them to his lips to mask his
“Make sure she’s mine,”
he whispered.
The quiet statement held the promise
of a lucrative payday tinged with strong warning. The Seller’s mouth ran dry. He
nodded as he straightened and walked to the front of the room. The cameraman panned
with him, framing his head and shoulders with Mara’s photograph in the background.
The other two clients would see only the Seller with the girl’s face behind him
on screen. Taking a sip of water from a glass nearby, he cleared his throat.
“Shall we start the bidding at
Download an extended excerpt here.


What inspired you to write this book?
Bad Traffick deals
with the pervasive issue of child sex-trafficking in the United States. I
was inspired to write this book after watching a documentary shown at a local community
college regarding the trafficking of children in the U.S. It’s not something that only happens
“somewhere else” – children are forced into the sex trade every day, from
California to Iowa
to Alaska.
The deeper I went into the research, the more I realized I needed
to tell Mara’s story. Most people are aware human trafficking exists, but a large
majority don’t realize it’s so prevalent in this country.
Which character in your current book do you think readers
will like the most? Why?
I’ve gotten emails from
readers telling me they love Leine and Santiago’s
love story and want to see more. Mara, the twelve year old who is the subject of
the search, is a close second.
Why do you write?
I’ve written since I
was seven. Along with photography, it’s been my favorite way of making sense of
the world.
When you’re not writing, what would we find you doing?
Other than reading, I
love the outdoors, so hiking, camping, kayaking, gardening, traveling, etc. I am
also an avid photographer and cook.
Are you a plotter, or do you prefer to make it up on the spur
of the moment?
I started out as a ‘pantser’,
or someone who makes up stories on the fly, but after I took a fabulous workshop
on plotting, I now use a hybrid style that incorporates both when I write.
Looking back at your first book, what do you wish you had
done differently?
Put it away and gone
on to the next book sooner.
What’s your writing schedule like?
I like to get administrative
stuff done in the morning, such as interviews, answering emails, blog posts, etc.,
then sit down and write in the afternoon. If I’m really in the zone, I’ll continue
into the evening.
Serial Date
Any advice for new authors?
Show your writing to
other people than your family and friends to get a more balanced sense of how well
you write and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Your mother or best friend
will not want to hurt your feelings (usually), so won’t be a lot of help. Join a
critique group with writers of varying abilities. Learn, learn, learn and write,
write, write. Until you learn to look forward to criticism, you won’t be detached
enough from your writing to really excel at it.
When an idea hits you, what do you do to capture it?
Write it down on anything
handy. If there’s nothing available, I repeat it to myself several times until I’m
sure I won’t forget it, or tell it to whomever I’m with.
What other jobs have you held besides writing?
I’ve worked as a massage therapist, a certified Feng Shui consultant,
managed the tasting room at a winery in California, fileted fish at a fish market
on the coast, sold hot air balloon rides in Napa Valley (and worked as crew), and
worked in the mud baths of Calistoga. All that, along with several 9-5 jobs in higher
education, shipping and the banking industry. Obviously, I tend to get bored easily
What are you currently reading for fun? Anything for research?
For fun: Harbor Nocturne by Joseph Wambaugh. For research:
I just got back from a trip to the Yucatan
and am currently deep into writing the next Kate Jones thriller (#6). I’ve been
researching Mayan culture and jaguars.
If you could time travel what era would be your first stop?
Paris in the 1920s. I would love to be a part of the
ex-pat crowd of artists who spent time there.
Do you believe in luck?
As a writer, you have
What kind of music do you listen to while driving? Same question
when writing?
I’m partial to jazz and
the Blues, but like alternative stuff, too.
What’s your favorite movie?
Out of Africa. It’s one of the
best, heart-breaking love stories, and the cinematography is stunning.
Are you the eldest, middle, baby, or only child?
I’m the baby. I have
an older sister.
DV Berkom

Please complete the sentence

I love pizza with goat cheese.
I’m always ready for new things.
When I’m alone, I love to sing at the top of my lungs and
totally off key while dancing to the radio
You’d never be able to tell, but I was once super shy.
If I had a halo it would be in
my back pocket. I hate hats
If I could fly under my own power I’d travel a LOT more.
I can never go back to wearing big shoulder pads because
they’re really ugly.

Previous Books              

The Kate Jones Thriller series:
Bad Spirits Books 1-5
Dead of Winter
Death Rites
Touring for Death
Cruising for Death
The Leine Basso Series:
Serial Date
Bad Traffick

Books Coming Soon

Untitled Kate Jones #6
Untitled Leine Basso #3


I’m giving away one print copy (US only) and 3 ebook copies of Serial Date, the first in the Leine Basso
series. Leave a comment to be entered. Please write out your email.

Find Me Here

%d bloggers like this: