Monthly Archives: January 2016

Author Showcase/Interview and Review of “Birth of an Assassin” – Rik Stone

1. For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?
RS: The area where I grew up was mainly made up of slums and it would be reasonable to define it as having been a tough one. Because the teachers at my school told us we were only there to save us going into remand centres, it didn’t inspire enthusiasm to do well – or offer such opportunity. I left at fifteen years of age without any qualifications other than being able to handle myself in the schoolyard. I worked in a local shipyard in the North East of England until going into the Merchant Navy.  After my stint at sea, I took a job in a chalk quarry in Essex, and it was while working there I decided there had to be more to life. I decided to study and worked through to getting a BSc. degree in mathematics and computing; this got me a career in the IT department with Ford Motor Company where I worked until I was released from harness. With my background it might seem odd, but my imagination had been my biggest friend in life and I’d always been a keen reader. It wasn’t until I took an early retirement at fifty years of age that I began writing fiction – and I immediately took the work seriously. That was when I found out what I was about.
2. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.
RS: I don’t get writer’s block in the regular sense; there is always so much going on in my head I don’t suppose I’ll last long enough to get it all out. But I do occasionally get rewrite block. Sometimes I’ll be in the middle of a  redraft and while I know what I want to add or change, I struggle with the words, they never sound quite right. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen often and when it does, I jot down rough notes in capital letters at the impasse point and go on with the rest of the draft. When I come back to it I usually wonder why I had a problem in the first place.
3. Contrary to what some people envision about a thriller writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
RS: When I’m not writing I spend a lot of time researching the world of marketing, it’s a real mountain to climb. When I free myself from that, I read or watch some drama or other on the TV. I love walking and our commitment to Wilson, my dog, wears about six miles from the soles of my shoes on a daily basis. A workout in my small gym takes a half hour each morning and in the summer the garden steals more of my time. The good thing about these pastimes is I can think about my schedule; reshaping a story I’m working on or what I should be doing next in a marketing campaign or, is there anything else I should be doing to get my work under the nose of a prospective reader. Also, getting away from the PC allows me to get things into perspective. This said, I do enjoy freedom when on holiday. It is my time for closing down. Multitudes of holidaymakers lie around reading while soaking up the sun, me, I do nothing, and I do it big time. To contradict those words, I often come up with new story lines and see the opportunity for character development. I jot down notes of these revelations, so I suppose I never escape completely.
4. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?
RS: Writing is my main interest in life, in fact it totally envelops it, so it seems natural that I want to talk about it. Having said that, there are people; friends, relations or even neighbors I know, where writing holds no significance to them. I have learned not to discuss the topic with them, as their lack of enthusiasm dampens mine. There are a lot of readers out there and I find it uplifting when total strangers can become quite eager to respond when they find out about my writing. Not because they think I’m anything special, they just get excited to talk to someone at the front end of one of their hobbies.
5. Will you share with us your all-time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.
RS: Harold Robins, David Morrell, John Connolly, Terry Pratchett, Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbo, Vince Flynn, Hakan Nesser, Steig Larsson, Jussi Adler-Olsen. The list is as it came to me, but there are as many indie and trade authors I’ve enjoyed equally; I  just happen to have read many of the books from the above authors, so
they were quick to come to mind.
6. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love to see cast in the parts?

RS: I feel bound to say, it would have to be one of mine. And as Birth of an Assassin is first in the series, this would be my choice. George Clooney would make a great General Petrichova. Sean Faris looks the part of the main protagonist, Jez Kornfeld, and a blond Michelle Dockery as Anna would be the perfect love interest for him. Otto Mitrokhin, the antagonist, would have to be a Dolph Lundgren look-alike, but I’m not sure if such an actor in the right age bracket is currently out there.

7. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.
RS: The third novel in the Birth of an Assassin series is in for its final proofread. But I’ve also been working on a modern day thriller set in Recife, Brazil. The scene for this one is an imaginary favela occupying a range of non-existent hills.
8. Where can we find your stories, and is there a particular reading order?
RS: The most convenient place to get an overview of my work would be on my website, The site has several excerpts from each book and if you like what you see, you
can use the links there to get through to an Amazon site. The order of the series is; Birth of an Assassin, The Turkish Connection, and The Man in the Blue Fez. Although the same characters turn up in each of the books, the stories are primarily stand-alone.
9. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?
RS: I am on Twitter using the handle @stone_rik or I can be contacted on my website either via the contact form or the comment box on my Newsroom page.
10. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.
RS: Thank you, yes. To be a writer you should love writing. To clarify; when first starting out it isn’t, shouldn’t be, about money or success. My guess is there are less writers out there who have made it to overnight glory than there are people who have won first prize on the lottery – and that makes for pretty long odds. I believe the realistic route to success is to just keep plugging away until one of your efforts hits the bright lights. If, when, that happens, and providing your first works are quality, then your successful book will drag the others into the limelight with it. It is at that point you can concentrate on money and success. Loving what you do makes the journey that much easier.
Rik, those are great words of inspiration. Thank you for them and for gracing us with an interview today. Folks, I hope you enjoyed learning more about Rik Stone. If you have any questions or comments for him, please leave him (us) a note below. But before you do, let’s take a in-depth look at “Birth of an Assassin. 

Set against the backdrop of Soviet, post-war Russia, Birth of an Assassin follows the transformation of Jez Kornfeld from wide-eyed recruit to avenging outlaw. Amidst a murky underworld of flesh-trafficking, prostitution and institutionalized corruption, the elite Jewish soldier is thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems, nobody can be trusted, and everything can be violently torn from him.

BUY NOW AT AMAZON —–> Kindle – Paperback – Audible – Unabridged

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 
When I began reading this suspenseful story and was introduced to the characters, I found similarities to a few famous action stars. Jez reminded me of Steve Rogers. Both him and Steve were small in stature but had hearts twice their size. Also both wanted to join the military and had difficulty in achieving their wish until someone saw “something” in them. 
As for Anna, she reminded me of Agent Carter and Viktor resembled Bucky. 
I wonder if Rik is a fan of those Marvel characters and if his love of them crossed over into their character development.
Much like the Captain, drama, secrets, mystery, and danger surround him and life rarely has any quiet moments. 
All this means, you’ll find more action here than in a Jason Bourne movie.  
Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5
Score: ❤❤❤
BUY NOW AT AMAZON —–> Kindle – Paperback – Audible – Unabridged


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Desire Unexpected by S.J. Maylee (Book Review)

Contemporary Erotic Romance
Released April 9th!
Be Warned: spanking, light BDSM, public exhibition
Sparks fly when two art lovers find common ground. When his ruthless life threatens to tear them apart, he must choose between all that he desires and keeping her safe.
Life is passing Nadia Duskin by from her position in the mailroom. It only fulfills two necessities, keeping the repo man away and keeping her up to date on her sexy CEO.

Ethan Wright is prepared to frighten and fire the nosey girl who sorts his company’s mail. After engaging with her at one of his favorite places in the world, he digs deeper.

Together, they find the kind of pleasure that could keep them satisfied for a lifetime. Her love may be the key to putting both of their lives back on track, but to what end? When a man he’s been contracted to kill threatens Nadia’s life, he forces her to face reality. Either they’ll delve deeper into the desires neither expected or they may die trying.




(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 


When I picture Ethan, James Bond comes to mind. He is mysterious, handsome, and has an aura that demands attention.

What a man!!

He also has a sweet side which can’t be resisted. Plus, the man likes Mexican food (my favorite cuisine) so I can see why Nadia fell for him. He is rather delicious, like the food he eats. 🙂

Nadia, she is also sweet in a naive sort of way.

She also wants to please him which makes her the perfect sub.

All in all, nice short story!!


Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤❤


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Unshattered by Elena Kincaid (Book Review)

UNSHATTERED (Silver Cliff #1) 
Siren Bookstrand, Inc.
April 21, 2015 

After Anna James loses nearly everyone she loves and is betrayed by those she trusted, she sets out in search of a place that would bring her peace.  She knew she had found it when she arrived in a sleepy little town called Silver Cliff and she vows to never trust anyone with her heart again, especially a man she fears would not only break her heart, he’d incinerate it.

Nathan Kent has dealt with his own heartache and demons from getting off the path he was meant to be on. He decides to return to his home town to rebuild his life and the last thing he needs is to fall in love with a snarky girl who keeps her past under lock and key. He realizes quickly, though, that she is girl worth risking it all for and vows to make her his.

Their pull was undeniable, like fireworks on top of flaming bonfires. But Anna can’t help wonder if she and Nathan are strong enough to survive a past that keeps resurfacing or if fate will keep shattering the world around her.




What the hell was she thinking agreeing to this? She hadn’t seen Nathan since she went to his house to apologize and they shared not only a moment but an almost kiss, and now…now she was going out to dinner with him and the girls and freakin’ Joshua Dale. She liked Josh, and she actually felt bad about turning him down when he asked her out on a date. He was a good guy, sweet, funny, definitely cute, especially in his deputy uniform, but there hadn’t been a spark. Even if there had been, she still would have said no. Men like that were too easy to fall for and trust. Men like that would inevitably hurt her. The biggest difference between men like Josh and Trevor was that Josh would feel bad about it.

With Nathan, though, there wasn’t just a spark. There were fireworks…fireworks on top of flaming bonfires added to all the burners on the stove going at once and mixed with all the chemicals overreacting to each other in a lab. She was sure she could come up with even more metaphors, but she’d already made her brain hurt from overthinking things. Nathan did not just have the potential to break her heart, he could incinerate it.

This wasn’t a date, she told herself again. It was a group outing. That would be her mantra tonight.

She changed her clothes several times, made sure her makeup—though she didn’t wear much—looked flawless, and she wondered if Nathan preferred her hair up or down. Not a date. Not a date. Not. A. Date.

Okay, so maybe it really wasn’t a date, but a huge part of her wished that it was. She liked him…much more than she wanted to. How could I let this happen? She removed the clip from her hair, letting her silken locks fall straight past her shoulders. She sat on her bed with her head in her hands, berating herself for allowing these feelings. As if I had a choice. He somehow barreled into her life out of nowhere, demanding she reveal all of herself to him, and the worst part was that she wanted to. If she wasn’t running into him, she was thinking about him or thinking about ways to avoid thinking about him. And here she was just minutes ago, wondering which way she thought he would prefer her hair to be styled.

Distance. I need some distance. She would not be able to avoid him entirely, but she could try to limit the time she spent around him. That seemed like the best course of action, only the thought of not seeing him suddenly hurt her heart.

“Fuck!” She flung herself backward onto the bed, slamming her palms down on the mattress.

The doorbell rang. “Down it is,” she said, referring to her hair. When she opened the door, Nathan stood there wearing a cocky grin.


“Um…hello.” Anna barely recognized her own voice. It came out as a sort of breathy squeak. She tried to peer past Nathan, into his car, but there was no one else with him.

Nathan turned his head to look behind him. When he turned back to face her, confusion marred his features. “Are you looking for something?”

“Where’s Ruby?” Ruby was supposed to be picking her up, Carla was meeting them at the restaurant right after her shift, and she wasn’t sure how Josh was getting to the restaurant.

“Ruby had a few last-minute errands, so I offered to pick you up.”

Anna finally realized she was being rude by not inviting him in, so she gestured him inside. “I’ll just go grab my bag.”

“My bag,” he mimicked in an exaggerated New York accent, making Anna laugh.

“Right, you guys say purse.” For the most part, Anna’s accent was nondescript, but certain choices of words and the pronunciations of them were definitely very Brooklyn. “You lived in the city. You should be used to it by now.”

“Mostly everyone I knew were transplants just like me, but I did get my daily dose of New Yawk City speak.”

“Oh shut it,” she said playfully. “We know there’s an r in there. I’ll just go grab my little ole purse.”

“No rush,” she heard him say on the way to her bedroom. There was still a trace of humor in his voice.

Something had just occurred to her. Bag forgotten, she walked back out into the living room.

“Wait, are we being set up again?” She was going to kill Carla. This was surely her doing. “Are they all going to come up with some excuse and not show up, leaving just the two of us at dinner?”

Nathan looked confused, or annoyed, at the possibility. She couldn’t tell which. “No. As far as I know, both Carla and Ruby are still coming, and you and I are going to go grab Josh from the station.”

Well that won’t be awkward at all, she thought. She went back into her room to grab her purse, and after locking up, they walked back to his car in silence.


Purchase Links
Barnes and Noble


(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 
As a humungous fan of Superman/Clark Kent, I gave a loud “whoop” when Elena referenced the man of steel and even gave the lead man the last name of Kent. It was a perfect fit for him too. He did come to Anna’s rescue when she needed him after her nightmares and dealing with PTSD. That poor woman had more than her share of troubling times and heartache. She lost both her parents, grandmother, and was the victim of physical and psychological abuse. 
It takes a strong woman to bounce back from all that. Yes, she is one WONDERful WOMAN. 
Oh yeah, I went there. HA!! 
Oh and Elena, you are 100% correct — “Superman is way cooler than Batman.” 
OK on a more serious note, these two were truly a memorable couple. They laughed together, cried together, and even managed to kick a little ass together. Well, maybe one more than the other BUT I won’t go into too much more detail. Buy the book and see who’s fanny took a beating and why. 
Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤❤


Elena Kincaid was born in Ukraine and raised in New York where she currently lives with her daughter. She graduated college with a BFA in creative writing and started a graphic design business a few years later. She developed a passion for reading and writing at an early age and loves to write what she loves to read and that is romance with a paranormal twist. Her desk is constantly cluttered with journals, sticky notes, and torn out pieces of paper full of ideas.

When not working, Elena loves to spend time with her family, travel the globe, curl up with a good book, and catch up on her soaps.


Q: When did you first start writing?

A: I started writing when I learned how to write, but even before I learned how to write my stories down, I would share them with others or just enjoy and develop them for myself.

Q: What inspires you to write?

A: Anything and everything inspires me to write. I could either be watching television, listening to music, reading or I could be in the middle of a conversation with someone when an idea strikes. I particularly feel creative when it rains or when I am in the shower. The sound of the running water is very soothing and my imagination tends to take right over.

Q: What is your writing process like?

A: The general idea has to hit me first and then I work out several scenarios until I feel the story come to life. I’m a romantic at heart, so it’s usually, as they say in Hollywood, the “meet-cute” or what leads up to it that I think of first. I then work on really developing the characters and bringing them to life. I am usually writing paranormal romance, so the mythology would come next and then the conflict and resolution.

Q: Do you do any research?

A: Absolutely. I do some of it beforehand and the rest along the way as needed. I especially love to research existing mythology and then put my own spin on it. I think that the best advice for a writer would be to write about what you know and research the heck out of something you don’t.

Q: What time of the day do you get most inspired?

A: I am a night owl, so I definitely am most inspired at night. The house is quiet, I am wide awake, the phone has stopped ringing, and everything that had to be done for the day has been done, leaving my brain less cluttered.

Q: How do you handle writers block?

A: I get writers block if there is too much going on in my life or if I am stressed about 

something. I can’t force myself to write. So if it’s just not happening, I need to leave it alone for a while. When I am ready to write again, I go back and re-read the last couple of chapters to get myself back in the right frame of mind.

Q: What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

A: I am an avid reader myself and do lot’s of fangirling, squeeing on many occasions, so I feel you need to have a very strong passion for reading if you are going to make it as a successful writer. Practice your craft because it’s not just about having a good imagination and coming up with great ideas. It’s also about execution and developing your characters well. Let’s not forget good grammar. Edit! Edit a lot. No one is infallible to the occasional typo, but how embarrassing is it to have your readers mentally giving you grammar lessons as they read your book.



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Mr. Blackwell by A.B. Novak (Book Review)

In the deep, bice, swampy waters of Louisiana, novice journalist Vivienne Gray falls head over heels in love with a man she supposed to be interviewing, Jase Blackwell. When Vivienne saves Jase’s life they are pulled into an ancient curse that has plagued the Blackwell family for years. There is a reason behind superstition. It’s because it’s all true. Not believing does not make it go away.
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 
Jase and Vivienne have known each other less than 24 hours, barely spoke to one another, yet they are madly in love. I’m sorry but I don’t buy it. 
I didn’t feel any connection to them — together or separately. For the plot of the she-devil, it was something you’d see on an episode of Supernatural. For that, I give the idea a thumbs up. As for the rest of the book, I’m sorry but this book is a miss for me. 
Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤1/2


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In the Blind & Far From Blind by S.J. Maylee (2 Book Reviews)

Club Blind, Book 1
Contemporary Erotic Romance
Released October 15, 2014
Be Warned: light BDSM, anal play, spanking
When a head hunter finds her dream lover in a night of pitch black unrestrained passion, she fears she’ll never find him again.



Jane thinks she’s ready to take the risks her business and love life desperately need. Rob’s still punishing himself for a broken relationship that wasn’t meant to last. When the pair let an opportunity pass them by, fate steps in and throws them back together.

An evening of pitch black unrestrained passion at Club Blind opens her eyes to life’s possibilities. Now, if they don’t fight past their personal demons, they might never truly discover what they need most. If they can open their hearts, it might lead them directly to each other where they can discover their truth. If not, they may forever stay in the blind.



Contemporary Erotic Romance
Released October 15, 2015
Be Warned: spanking and light BDSM

When a woman is blind to the love of the man she desires, he must find a way to make her see.



Candy Wilson has worked hard to build a life for herself from nothing to something she can be proud of but she can’t catch the eye of the one man who drives her wild with desire.

Brad Chambers has everything, always has, except the woman he loves. When a pitch black blind date at the exclusive Club Blind matches the pair together, Candy refuses to believe what she sees and throws up her protective barrier. It’s up to Brad to tear down her walls and get her to see the man who wants only her.

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

In the Blind – Two strangers meeting in the dark at a club might sound raunchy. In normal circumstances, it might be but in this story Candy and Brad’s sex scene was rather sweet — cute even. Even though they had no idea who they were paired with on their “date”, I truly think (deep down) they knew. Or, I could be some romantic fool who sees more into a moment than what’s really there.

Hmm, nah, I’m right. Call it fate, serendipity or cupid striking them with an arrow, these two practically had “meant to be” tattooed on their pretty, little asses. 

Far From Blind With tax season quickly approaching, I am not going to be able to look at my accountant the same way again. Seriously, all I will be able to think about is how many people had been bent over his desk while gifted a handful of booty slaps. 

Damn…..ass spanking is HOT!! This story is a must read!! 


Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 



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