Posted in #Book, #Giveaway, Action, Author, blog, Book, Crime, Mystery, Silver Dagger Scriptorium Tours, Thriller, Tour, Writer

The Kramer and Shadow by Greg Smith – Book Tour+ #Giveaway

09/02/17

The Pits
Kramer and Shadow Book 1
by Greg Smith
Genre: Crime Mystery, Action, Thriller
THE PITS, a contemporary crime novel, tells the story of Captain Kramer,
USMC, a compassionate, intelligent man, who rescues a pup from the
scene of a car bombing while on deployment to Afghanistan. The pup is
named Shadow, and accompanies Kramer back to Oceanside, California.
They commit themselves to a campaign which has them fighting for
their lives during an FBI operation to bring down a crime boss based
in Florida.
 mt-excerpt

The Humvees sped past people milling about, pointing at the smoke still towering over the town of Gereshk and jabbering loudly among themselves. Women and children huddled together here and there away from the road, and the elderly gaped at the armored convoy racing into hell.

The town itself was quite built up but very poor and the sewage trails ran down the streets in open channels. Leathernecks would be covered in it when they finished their patrols. Kids ran around in it barefooted.

The Humvees arrived at the town’s central marketplace and instantly found themselves mobbed by hysterical townsfolk. The Marines dismounted and immediately secured the area as the corpsman pushed his way through the tumult towards the blast site. Captain Kramer, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, Regimental Combat Team 6 held his ground against the terrified and angry locals wailing in his face, some even tugging at his uniform for attention.

He needed to assess the situation. Apart from his Humvees, no other vehicles occupied the square. His troops had rapidly secured the perimeter and a couple now assisted the corpsman. A gritty cloud of smoke and dust shrouded the entire area but drifted away over the rooftops, aided by a breeze that had mercifully sprung up.

Sure enough, a car bomb. A huge scorched crater marked where the car had been parked outside a building. The remains of the vehicle lay in a smoldering, mangled heap halfway across the square with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians sifting through it. Rubble, pieces of metal, the dead, dying, and the injured lay strewn about the whole marketplace. Kramer’s boot bumped something as he stepped forward, and his eyes snapped to his feet. A bloody hand lay palm up. An innocent child’s hand.

His demeanor hardened, and the mob fell back as if it sensed the deadliness building up inside the warrior. Reports flooded in to him as his troops called in with updates. Without hesitation, the radio tech who kept close by Captain Kramer as he prowled the devastated marketplace flashed the news to base headquarters. Among the townsfolk still milling about, a few local officials, including the police chief, worked with the Marines to clear the area of unnecessary personnel.

Close by, a handful of weeping men loaded a civilian pickup truck with bodies, each wrapped in blood-soaked cloth. A group of distraught women mixed with them, wailing and grasping at each bundle being handled. Overwrought by their gruesome task, they were totally oblivious of the poor bewildered individual sitting quietly among their shuffling feet.

A runty tan pup sat sorrowfully beside one particular body. Occasionally it raised a paw and tentatively touched the bloody cloth, or prodded it with its nose. Kramer observed transfixed as the pup peered at the people, then at the small bundle of cloth, then at the people again. Then the pup nuzzled the bundle as if trying to awaken the person wrapped inside.

A grief-stricken man knelt and reverently lifted the tiny body. Judging by his age, he’s likely the father. As he stood, the pup whimpered as if to say, hey, wait a moment. The wailing increased as hands passed the body up to a blood-streaked villager standing in the back of the pickup. Just as he turned to place the bundle with the others, a gust of wind flipped up a corner of the cloth, revealing a tiny hand. Instinctively, Kramer felt that it belonged to a very young girl.

With the last victim onboard, the pickup started up and pulled away. The men and women mourners followed close behind trying to comfort each other as best as they could. The procession gradually left the square, disappearing from view as a waiting throng swarmed after it as it passed into a nearby street.

A strange silence fell over the square. It seemed as if the few remaining locals and all the Marines had their attention riveted on the lonely pup still sitting in the road. It hadn’t left that spot in all this time. Now it sat there staring after the pickup and those following it.

Captain Kramer crossed the street and gently lifted the pup. An expression of pure unadulterated love met his eyes. A light sparkled behind those dark brown eyes that he couldn’t describe. He just felt it.

“Well, hello there, little guy. Looks like everyone’s gone and left you all alone. Ain’t fair, is it? What say I do something about that.”

The pup didn’t squirm or attempt to get away. It merely fixed its eyes on him as if it knew that this person would care for it, keep it safe, and maybe even feed it occasionally. As the six-foot-six Kramer cradled the puny creature in his arms, he was oblivious to the gazes directed his way from all around the square.

 

You Can Run
Kramer and Shadow Book 2
Captain Kramer, USMC, and his faithful four-footer partner, Sgt. Shadow,
USMC, both survive their first operation assisting the FBI in
bringing down the empire of a major crime boss in America. But more
is in store for the two Marines in yet another FBI operation to tie
up loose ends from the previous op. This time the action is more
intense and proves too costly for the Marines.
 mt-excerpt

She scrambled on her hands and knees, worming her way deep into the thick underbrush. Her lungs and throat burned from frantic breathing. The pain of branches and rocks tearing and bruising her skin went unfelt. Terror coursing through her young body immunized her senses to any injuries.

She bumped into the base of a tree, its rough bark scraping her face. Her arms wrapped around the trunk welcoming the sense of security offered. The girl shuffled around and leaned her back against the tree and drew her knees up to her chest.

She squeezed her eyes tight and listened.

Blood pounded in her ears. She struggled to dampen the infernal noise and gradually her hearing cleared. At first there was nothing then suddenly she heard it—a distant crackling and popping. Her brow wrinkled in concentration as she worked to put a name to the sound. Her eyes flew open. Fire.

Despite the dense underbrush and the distance she had placed between herself and the house, she spotted the flickering light. Night lay thick and heavy all around her and there was no mistaking the flames reaching out through her bedroom window. Tears ran down her face and sobs racked her as images of her parents flashed before her mind’s eye.

“Sarah, time for bed, dear.” Her mother had sent her off to bed early tonight because her father wanted to leave at first light tomorrow morning. It was to be the family’s first vacation to Disney World and the young twelve year old was ecstatic, to say the least. She argued she didn’t think she could sleep a wink but her mother still insisted she try.

Sleep must have snuck up on her because the house was totally dark when the crash of splintering wood jerked her wide-awake. At first she thought she dreamt the noise, but as she sat up in bed wondering, sound of glass shattering came from somewhere downstairs, toward the front of the house. Then she heard the back door burst open.

She leapt out of bed and dashed to the bedroom door. Sarah remembered watching her mother ease it close and blowing her a goodnight kiss. Now she stood at the top of the stairs staring fearfully down into the darkness. Her parents’ room lay at the bottom of the staircase. Suddenly her father threw the door open, startling her. A shaft of light spilled from the bedroom throwing his shadow starkly against the opposite wall. He stared up at her wild-eyed for a second, and swiveled his head back and forth as chaotic sounds came from both ends of the house.

“Get back in your room and close the door, Sarah,” he hissed.

But before she could do as ordered something caught her father’s attention and he turned from her. He was a large man, strongly built, and his frame blocked the passage to the kitchen at the back of the house. Sarah took a tentative step down the stairs when her father must have noticed someone coming from the living room up front.

“What the dickens is going on?” her father shouted. “Who are you? What the hell do you want? You have no right—”

Everything seemed to happen at once.

Sarah’s mother appeared. Her face contorted with fear, her eyes snapping up at her young daughter. Sarah’s father braced himself as a figure charged at him out of the dark. As the two collided in a melee of swinging fists, another man joined the fray. He must have come from the kitchen.

Her mother screamed. Sarah screamed even louder. Her ear-piercing screech resounded in the house, now a scene of an ugly brawl.

“Get out. Now!” Father’s muffled command came from inside the tangle of bodies on the floor.

Sarah’s mother attempted to move to the stairs but a hand lashed out from the scuffle, seized her ankle, and brought her crashing down hard. The woman’s head struck the bottom hardwood stair with a dull crack. A trickle of blood seeped down her face as she stared up at Sarah in horror.

“Grab the kid.” The voice belonged to one of the house invaders.

A sudden thunderous roar rose out of the fighting and with herculean effort, father heaved himself up sending one of the strangers hurtling down the passage. The other pulled something dark and ugly from his belt.

An explosion filled the hallway. Sarah’s hands flew to her ears as she let out a long, high-pitch shriek. Her father toppled to the floor, but not before his shocked and sorrowful expression seared itself into the young girl’s mind.

She turned and bolted.

Toys and clothes littered her room but these she simply ran around or jumped over. She focused on her bedroom window—her only avenue of escape.

Her hands grabbed the wooden frame and, using all her youthful strength, she hefted the window up. Fear clutched her throat. She could barely make out the ground some twelve feet below. Footsteps pounded up the stairs. Sarah held her breath, said a very short prayer, and flung herself into the night.

Judo and gymnastic lessons at school came into play and she tucked and rolled as she hit the ground. She sprang to her feet and ran straight for the forest bordering the family property.

Now, hunkered down and shivering from shock and fear, the girl was mesmerized by the sight of her home burning. Regarded as inquisitive by everyone who knew her, Sarah always had a question to pose. Even as her tears glistened in the glow of the fire her mind raced.

If the strangers were after her why hadn’t they simply come through her bedroom window? Why did they break into the house so savagely? And why, oh why, did they have to hurt her parents like they did?

A man emerged from the house. Instinctively Sarah froze; every muscle taut. Only her eyes moved. They followed the man as he walked the edge of the flames, his figure silhouetted against the fiery glare. He reached the area where Sarah’s bedroom used to be and stared at the conflagration. He glanced up as his partner came from around the rear of the house and joined him.

The two men stood for a long moment, gesturing at the fire and each other. Sarah guessed from their body language they were angry, probably at how the night’s events had turned out. One of the men looked down, fingers scratching his chin as if he were in deep thought. Suddenly his whole body stiffened and he dropped to one knee. He touched the ground with his fingertips and his head turned slowly as his eyes tracked a line of some sort.

His arm rose and pointed straight at the tree. Right where Sarah hid.

Fear seized her. She could not breathe. Cold sweat appeared along her hairline and trickled down her chest. Her stomach lurched and the sudden urge to vomit swept over her as bile boiled up her throat. She shot to her feet. She had to run, had to—.

A man blocked her escape. Someone she hadn’t seen before. He grabbed a handful of her hair.

“Gotcha, ya little minx,” he hissed close to her ear, and louder, “Over here, guys. I have the kid. She ain’t going nowhere.”

 

Lex Talionis
(An Eye For an Eye)
Kramer and Shadow Book 3
A woman out for revenge. America took her husband. America will pay
10,000 fold!

Only Kramer and his Anatolian Shepherd, Shadow, stand in her way. But
will they be enough to stop her?

mt-excerpt

It is rare for most people to experience the real meaning of ‘dead weight.’

It was equally strange for the thought to come to mind as Kramer muscled the man into a sitting position against a garishly painted door. It wasn’t the first time he’d needed to handle the dead. He studied his handiwork. For all intents and purposes, the figure appeared to be asleep.

Kramer surveyed the alley and the ancient balconies overhead checking for witnesses. No one. A last glance at his handiwork, then he slipped away from the scene.

He had to catch up with his target. The man he was following had entered the medina, or old walled city, of Tangier from the port and headed directly into the warren of alleyways. He was wearing white cotton slacks and a bluish grey lightweight jacket and a white fedora all of which made him somewhat of an easy figure for Kramer to tail.

Although his Global Security Corporation partners, Darci Tucker and his wife, Maria, hadn’t said as much when they pressured him gently into this assignment, Kramer was well aware that it was done out of their concern for him.

The flight from Los Angeles to London to Amsterdam had provided the retired United States Marine major more than enough time for circumspection and for the ugly truth to reveal itself. Losing his parents and his fiancée, FBI Special Agent Sarah Hunter, thirty months ago, had decimated Kramer’s life and left him intolerable company for anyone, especially his close friends. Darci and Maria needed a break from him as much as he needed a new focus and a chance to reprioritize his life.

So here he was in Tangier, Morocco, three weeks after leaving LA, tailing a man they suspected had ties with Shelley Harper—a woman at the top of INTERPOL’s ‘most wanted’ list as well as those of most governments worldwide. For Kramer though, the reasons for hunting down the elusive Harper were by far more personal than anyone else’s.

Ahead a shaft of sunlight snapped off a bluish grey jacket and white fedora. Kramer quickened his pace. A minute later he stood at the junction of four alleyways.

As he scanned the crowds strolling the centuries old terraced alleys, Kramer was oblivious of the many things the Moroccan port of Tangier offered travellers—the sense of exotic mystery, interesting history, beautiful vistas and unspoiled beaches.

One of his favorite movies, The Bourne Ultimatum, had used the medina for one of its glamorous backdrops but it hadn’t prepared Kramer for the spice-filled air with its intriguing aromas that permeated the ancient city.

He overheard a tourist enquire after Bab Haha from a street stall owner who waved a dark olive skinned arm at one of the intersecting alleys. Kramer instinctively glanced in that direction and happened to catch sight of his target. He lit out after Fedora.

Kramer’s situational awareness was as keen as ever but he couldn’t be certain that his unfortunate assailant had merely been a street thug or someone protecting Fedora. The assignment was supposed to be a simple task of arriving at an address in Cairo where GSC had been informed they would locate the fedora-wearing courier. From there all Kramer need do was to shadow the man to his next meeting and capture everything on video, upload the file to Maria at GSC headquarters in California and await further orders.

It all sounded simple enough. Right up to the point that joker jumped Kramer in the medina alley flashing a dagger. That part wasn’t in the script.

A gap in the buildings afforded him a glimpse of the ancient fortifications of the Tangier Kasbah that loomed over the medina. Moments later Kramer found himself standing before Bab Haha. It proved to be one of the several doors or gates that lead into the Kasbah.

Kramer glanced at the map to the left of Bab Haha that highlighted the walk tourists could take around the Kasbah. Overall, the ancient fortified area looked surprising small.

He spotted Fedora weaving through the populace and followed it. Houses lavishly decorated with sculptures of cherubs, colorful shutters and balconies flanked the alley that took him into the Place du Méchouar. He fended off the hordes that descended upon him begging for money or trying to sell something, dodged past the snake charmers and dancers, and skipped around gawking groups of tourists.

At first he Fedora intended to enter the Kasbah Museum but then he ducked through an unassuming door off to its side. The sign over the entrance welcomed Kramer in several languages to enter Les Fils du Detroit, helpfully translated underneath as The Sons of the Strait. He stepped in and found himself transported back in time.

The ten by sixteen feet room proved to be a tiny café. Several people, mainly locals, occupied the two narrow rug-covered bench seats that ran the length of the room. The walls were covered in Moroccan tapestries and numerous old framed photographs hung precariously above the patrons’ heads. A couple of circular, hand beaten bronze tables took some valuable space from the narrow floor and carried several small glasses of mint tea.

The customers paid scant attention to Kramer as he joined them. They continued sipping their hot drinks while a group of four elderly Arab-Andalusian musicians held a jam session at the far end of the room. The authentic melodies and ambiance recreated Morocco’s rich, cultural past.

Kramer accepted a glass of tea and whipped out a tourist guide from his back pocket. He pretended to read it, glancing occasionally at the musicians when, in fact, his focus was really on his target seated opposite.

The man was in his mid-30s, olive skin, lanky, sported a pencil-thin moustache, and wire-rimmed glasses that framed deep-set dark brown eyes. Thick black, wavy hair flowed from under the fedora and skimmed the collar of his jacket.

He leaned close to an older gentleman dressed in the traditional neutrally colored Moroccan djellaba; a long, loose, hooded garment with long sleeves. The craggy weather-beaten face was topped by a black bernousse, or Fez, and a silvery white beard completed the classical Arabic countenance. Both men were deep in conversation.

Kramer shifted slightly to align himself with his target. Once back in his hotel room he would upload the image and audio file from the second button on his shirt.

Darci Tucker, CEO of Global Security Corporation, had designed the ultra high-tech surveillance device. His wife, Maria, would work her digital wizardry to garner every bit of intelligence from it in order to create the next link in the chain that would hopefully lead them closer to Shelley Harper.

All three had a score to settle with the woman.

 

The advent of retirement opened a whole new world to me and now that it
has come to pass, I am turning my artistic bent from graphic design
and illustration to that of writing.
To date I have published three books, KILLING SOFTLY (an erotic mystery
thriller), and begun an action crime series centered on two
characters, Captain Kramer, USMC and his Anatolian Shepherd dog, Sgt.
Shadow, USMC. Book One of the series is THE PITS, Book Two is YOU CAN
RUN, and at the time of this bibliography rewrite, I am working on
Book Three, LEX TALIONIS.
The Kramer and Shadow series is an action, adventure, crime thriller
series that encompasses the world and has our two Marines fighting
hard against organized crime at many levels – but always involving
do-or-die confrontations.
My hope is to establish a fan base for my writing so that my readers can
have an active role in helping me grow and develop as an author in
the years to come. I invite you to join me in this adventure.

 

 
Posted in #Giveaway, Author, blog, Book, Fantasy, Silver Dagger Scriptorium Tours, Syfi, Tour, Writer

Chaos Worlds Beyond by C. W. Holcomb – Book Tour + #Giveaway

09/02/17

Chaos: Worlds Beyond
Reflections of Infinity Book 1
by CW Holcomb
Genre: SciFi Fantasy
As young gods fall to the Worlds from the stars they are born in,
appearing as comets streaking across the sky; sentient magical
artifacts call to the minds of men: calling with images and promises
of power from Wild Worlds. Massive and strange they hold gigantic
monsters and wonders that are beyond the scope of the imaginations of
the fearless Tribe of warriors that dare to magically travel to them!
cww-excerpt

Pillus tried his best not to drop the heavy buckets of water, the wooden rod holding them digging into his shoulders, his back burning painfully as he trudged up the steep hill towards his master’s estate dominating the skyline on the hill top above. “I’ll be WHIPPED if I don’t get back on time!” He thought to himself in anxiety, stumbling distractedly, both buckets sliding to the right tipping his slight form over to plop down on his backside.

He sat there beginning to cry, watching helplessly as the water from the buckets ran down the hill, thinking: “great, now I’m gonna get the worst lashing by my master that I’ve gotten in all fourteen sunstrokes of my life!” He wiped his running nose with the back of his thin bony arm as he hugged his knees to himself sitting where he had fallen in the dirt feeling like giving up completely.

Then, suddenly he saw beautiful blue light reflecting in the tiny pools of water left in the buckets, frozen in mid sniffle in shock as he stared at it; his eyes widening as he spun around to stare at the late afternoon sky. There, plummeting through the cloudy sky was a streaking ball of liquid sapphire blue fire, lighting up the clouds sporadically as it blazed toward the ground. Pillus rose to his feet, absently dusting off the burlap rags the noble kids made him wear as he started running down the hill; his dark violet eyes locked on it; the water he was supposed to be fetching for his master completely forgotten.

There was a small plume of blue fire as the fireball slammed into the ground, half a league a way, near where he remembered the ice rapids to be. Taking a deep gulping breath of air in preparation, he broke into a loping run; his growing excitement giving him an intense adrenaline rush as his short brown hair whipped around wildly in the wind. He concentrated on nothing but the rhythmic sound of his gasping breaths as he forced his burning legs to keep churning, feeling exhilaration for the first time in his meek and dreary life.

The hundred span high Kalemian vines streaked by, looming overhead in a thick interwoven canopy, leaving glaringly bright shafts of yellowish white sunlight streaming down through sporadic gaps as he pressed on; beginning to feel his heart pounding in his temples as his body screamed at him to stop and regain his breath. He checked his position, using the towering glacial mountains to his left as a landmark, all locked in ice even in the height of summer. Suddenly he stumbled over a rock as out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of an orb of pulsating white light off to his right.

Slamming into the ground with a high pitched shriek, he sat up moaning spitting out a mouthful of dirt, his dark purple colored eyes locking on the orb immediately. He jumped to his feet his wounds forgotten in growing excitement as he ran over, stumbling up to stand over it; the light beginning to fade: revealing a beautiful pearly white locket.

It lit up the ground around, giving off its own soft white glow, just barely visible in the diminishing daylight within the thorn patch that it lay in. He reached in excitedly cursing in pain and anger as one of the thorny vines whipped out and wrapped around his arm, tightening viciously.

He screamed in pain as he tried to rip his arm back, the thorns sinking deeper into his arm, staring at the locket, appearing blurred through his tears; his brow furrowing in determination. Shrieking in growing agony he reached down as quickly as he could and snatched up the locket with his other hand, jerking it back in fear as more thorns reached for it. He gasped in surprise as the vines surrounding the arm holding the locket pulled away as if injured; the locket suddenly beginning to glow more intensely in his clutched fist: turning his hand a warm red color.

He stared wide eyed down at the luminescent piece of jewelry, holding it up to his other arm and watching in amazement as the thorns uncoiled, slithering away leaving him staring down at it, completely oblivious as blood pumped from his arm through the gaping holes covering it. He reached up and placed the locket around his neck, swaying dizzily from loss of blood; leaving bloody hand marks on the pristine chain as he ran his fingers over the casing for a moment before carefully opening it. His gaze became glassy as if only half awake as the swirling bluish white light within reflected in his eyes. Completely forgotten was the streaking ball of blue fire which had brought him to the vine forest in the first place as he stared down mesmerized, the soft white light coming from the locket growing stronger as unnoticed to him; the wounds covering his arm slowly healed closed.

C.W. Holcomb’s writing style and major influences include a wide variety
of well known novelists that came before him including, J.R.R
Tolkien, Mary Stewart, Raymond E. Feist, C.S. Lewis, Robert Jordan,
Elizabeth Hayden and Frank Herbert. The biggest influences on his
style were Terry Brooks and Terry Goodkind. He has drawn inspiration
for his novels from other areas as well including, animated shows and
video games.
His debut novel, Dark Moon Book one of the Brotherhood of the Moon, is
inspired by ancient Celtic legends about Werebeasts that stalked the
forests of the Scottish Highlands on the full moon. His newly
released novel, Chaos:Worlds Beyond Book one of the Reflections of
Infinity Saga is deeply inspired by Ancient Greek Mythology and Lore.
His works contain endearing characters that always have something
special and unique that helps them survive in the brutal and
unrelenting Worlds that he creates.
 

 

Posted in #Book, Author, blog, Book, Mystery, Silver Dagger Scriptorium Tours, Writer

A Reference to Murder by Kym Roberts – Cover Reveal

09/02/17

A REFERENCE TO MURDER
by Kym Roberts
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Pub Date: 5/16/2017

SOMETIMES YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED .. .
Charli Rae Warren is back home in Hazel
Rock, Texas, spending her time reading, collecting, and selling
books—at least, the ones that don’t get eaten first by her
father’s pet armadillo. Running the family bookstore is a demanding
job, but solving murders on the side can be flat out dangerous…
The Book Barn is more than just a shop,
it’s a part of the community—and Charli is keeping busy with a
fundraising auction and the big rodeo event that’s come to town.
That includes dealing with the Texas-sized egos of some celebrity
cowboys, including Dalton Hibbs, a blond, blue-eyed bull rider who
gets overly rowdy one night with the local hairdresser . . . and soon
afterward, disappears into thin air.
Dalton’sbrother also vanished seven years ago—and Charli is thrown about
whether Dalton is a villain or a victim. After a close call with an
assailant wielding a branding iron (that plays havoc with her hair),
and some strange vandalism on her property, she’s going to have to
team up with the sheriff to untangle this mystery, before she gets
gored . . .
Three career paths resonated for Kym
Roberts during her early childhood: detective, investigative
reporter, and . . .nun. Being a nun, however, dropped by the wayside
when she became aware of boys—they were the spice of life she
couldn’t deny. In high school her path was forged when she took her
first job at a dry cleaners and met every cop in town, especially the
lone female police officer in patrol. From that point on there was no
stopping Kym’s pursuit of a career in law enforcement. Kym followed
her dream and became a detective who fulfilled her desire to be an
investigative reporter, with one extra perk—a badge. Promoted to
sergeant, Kym spent the majority of her career in SVU. She retired
from the job reluctantly when her husband dragged her kicking and
screaming to another state, but writing continued to call her name,
at least in her head. Visit her on the web at kymroberts.com.