VBT ~ Building Your Author Platform


About the Book

Title: Building Your Author Platform
Author: Tiffany Shand
Genre: Nonfiction

Becoming an author in today’s world has never been easier with the self-publishing revolution. But how does an author stand out in a crowded market?

Setting up and building your author platform before you even publish your first book is the best way for building a solid platform that will last and help you grow your tribe of fans. This book contains all the fundamentals from creating your author website, to choosing your route of publishing and much more!

Building Your Author Platform Cover

Author Bio

Photo of Tiffany Shand

Tiffany Shand started writing short stories when she was a child. After doing a creative writing course in her teens, she discovered her love of nonfiction writing and is now a freelance writer and professional editor.

She writes both non-fiction and fiction, and is the author of the urban fantasy Excalibar Investigations Series. When she’s not writing, you’ll usually find her reading.

Tiffany lives in Essex with her family, two very spoiled cats and a hamster.

Amazon buy link
Tiffany’s Blog
Tiffany’s Author Website

Book Excerpts

Excerpt 1

When I first started my publishing journey back in early 2014, I had no idea what an author platform was or how to build one.

So what is an author platform? An author platform, as the name suggests, is a launch site from where all your book marketing takes place. A platform encompasses everything from a website, social media to readership. A platform is basically the number of people you can broadcast your message to.

Publishers don’t usually gamble on new authors who don’t already have a platform and an audience ready and waiting. If you already have an established platform and a readership, they are much more likely to take an interest in you.

Essentially, a platform is built out of a website and/or a blog, social media channels, and an email newsletter. It’s a direct link to your readers.

It’s the amount of influence you have over your readership, the level of visibility and authority you have in your particular genre, and your connection to your readers.

Authors can easily reach their fans on a global scale, thanks to the Internet. Gone are the old days of having to write letters or press releases. Now you can reach readers with a click of a mouse.

Excerpt 2

Do you need an author platform?

My answer would be: yes. In my opinion, every author needs a platform, whether they are writing sword-fighting fantasy, historical romance, children’s books or business guides. Every platform is different for each author, depending on their genre.

New authors need to have a strategy to launch their book and create a hype for it. Without any kind of strategy, it will make it harder for you to sell books or gain any real readers and long-time fans.

Some authors may say that they don’t need an author platform to sell books, and this may have been the argument for authors 50+ years ago. Writers aren’t just authors nowadays, especially if you are an indie author. Now authors have to be marketers and entrepreneurs. Having a solid author platform can help you market your book and leave you able to write more in the meantime.

When should you start building your author platform?

Ideally, it’s best to start building your author platform as soon as you start writing your book or at least before you publish your first book. Many authors don’t do this. I didn’t start building my own author platform until after I had published my first novel and this definitely made things harder for me to start growing my audience and building a readership. So the time to start building your platform is right now!

It’s common for non-fiction authors to establish their reputation based on speaking events, articles, guest posts or having their own niche website. They grow their audience by building interest in their books and selling them to their target audience.

If you write fiction, it can be easier to gain interest in your book by posting teasers and snippets of your book before publication on your website and social media channels.

An author platform is something that is forever growing and changing and something you will never stop building. It’s part of your long-term strategy and almost everything you do related to your book business.

What steps do you need to take?

One of the most common things I have heard is: how do I start building my author platform? Which is why I’m writing this book in the hope it will help other new authors to avoid some of the mistakes I made, and build their platforms much quicker. Your platform is the bridge between your books and your readers. So take the time to build a strong one.

Excerpt 3

Your author brand is your promise to your audience. Branding is how authors market themselves. Many writers don’t do this, but it is an important step before you build your platform and market your book. If you can’t show what you have to offer by making your work and writing unique, you won’t be able to connect with your audience.

Identify your target audience

This is a very important step in building your platform.

Who is your ideal reader? What are their wants, needs, interests and desires?

A lot of authors say that everyone is their ideal reader, but this definitely is not the case.

You need to target your audience.

  • Male or female?
  • What age are they?
  • What age group do they fit into?
  • What are their interests?
  • What are their beliefs? This is important when it comes to political or religious works
  • Where do your ideal readers hang out online?

I found that a lot of my fiction readers spend time on Facebook and Twitter. But younger readers usually spend more time on Instagram.

What do your ideal readers want?

With fiction, they want to be entertained and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Reading a book takes them away from everything.

With non-fiction books, readers want to learn something new. What do they want to know? What kind of problem do they need fixing and how could you solve it?

Understanding what your readers like and need is an important step, and is something that most authors often miss when they are first starting out. Taking the time to get to know your readers and their needs can be very challenging, but it’s worth the effort in the long run.

You must recognise the fact that not everyone is going to like your book. It’s not a “must-read” for everyone and won’t appeal to every single person on the planet.

How to determine your author brand

Some good ways of doing this are asking yourself:

  • Why do you write what you write?
  • What message are you trying to share?
  • How do you want to be perceived and why is that important to you?

Identifying your target audience requires an understanding of the characteristics of a particular group of people and the relevance they have to your work before you do anything to promote yourself or your book. You must be able to know why you write what you write and who cares about what you write.

The key is to identify and research what the target audience cares about and recognise what you have to offer in order to benefit your ideal reader.



The Grass Sweeper God
by Doug Howery


GENRE: Historical Fiction



Sixteen-year-old Smiley Hanlon is a young woman tethered to a young man’s body.  In the 1950’s Appalachia coal fields of Solitude, Virginia, Smiley is placed in the “Mentally Retarded Class” because he is effeminate and wears a blouse and saddle shoes to school.

Smiley is backed by his best friend, Lee Moore who protects Smiley from a father and many townspeople who hate him.  Smiley has dreams of becoming an entertainer.  Raised by his aunt in a juke joint, as a child Smiley sings and dances on the Formica bar top into the wee hours.  Chosen as the female lead, Dorothy, in a new town production called Dorothy of Oz Coal Camp, his dream is being realized.  The triumph of the play and his dream is sabotaged by his father and classmate bullies culminating in a tragic and horrific moment that changes both Smiley and Lee, forever.

Smiley and Lee flee to NYC.  They learn that prejudice is prejudice whether in the coal fields of Virginia or on the streets of NYC. Smiley suffers at the hands of his real mother who is a religious zealot.  She tries to change who Smiley is because he is a boil on the body of Christ. Lee suffers at the hands of psychologists who practice Aversion Therapy-electric shock treatment to cure his homosexuality.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  Both Smiley and Lee become forces of change as do countless others.  In 1969, Smiley Hanlon and his friend, Lee emerge as leaders of a gay revolution, the historical Stonewall Riots.  The riots are vicious but the real battle will be won or lost on another continent: Solitude, Virginia.

The Grass Sweeper God is a force of nature that flows through all things…straightens out that which is bent…which is sick…



This godforsaken place was the backwoods of Appalachia coal mining country.  And being sixteen meant a cultured age of about ten or twelve, really.   Especially if you were retarded and rode the short bus.  This meant riding a school bus designated specifically as the retarded kids’ bus, but it also meant boarding normal kids alongside retards at each bus stop.  The only real specificity:  If you were trapped inside the wrong body—if you were a young man who wanted to be a young woman—you were the bull’s eye in the kids’ cross-hairs because you were the biggest, retarded mongoloid excrement of ‘em all, really.   Excrement being too proper of a word:  Specifically you got the ‘cultured’ and ‘godforsaken’ shit kicked outtaya every school day by retards and rednecks.   Proper language left this place along with any civility once branded as a retarded freak, really.  Indifference to proper language and civility ruled the day, and brutality beat the night.



AUTHOR Bio and Links


DOUG HOWERY has been writing both fiction and essays since 1990. His essays and familial stories have appeared in The Blue Ridge Lambda Press.

In many of his stories, as in “The Grass Sweeper God,” Mr. Howery’s true lode, his font of inspiration is in the passion and suffering he has experienced.

Author, Doug Howery penned the novel with insight into his own struggle for sexual identity and personal tragedy. His mother committed suicide in 1982, blaming her two sons’ sexual identity in a letter and declaring herself a martyr for intolerance and social bigotry. She referred to her own sons as “Gutter Rats that Could Rot in Hell” and represents the hate and mistrust that have plagued society.

Suspense author, Maggie Grace, with the North Carolina Writers’ Network writes about her cohort Mr. Howery: “What I like is the riskiness, the cutting edge of the narrative voice we hear. The moments when he lapses into descriptions of the moon, of the horse, etc. are true poetry that offers some relief from the coarseness of the story, and he places them well. He has an ear for the rhythm of the story, a natural sense of when to end–hangs fire with a new way of looking at someone or something, turning the entire chapter on its ear. I like the way he makes it impossible for the reader to stop reading at the end of the chapter.”

Mr. Howery lives in Virginia with his partner of 34 years where he is at work on his next novel.


Buy @ Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Grass-Sweeper-God-Doug-Howery-ebook/dp/B00JMVE036?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0




Book Website:

Book Video Trailer:




Doug Howery will be awarding a $25.00 Amazon GC and an autographed copy of the book to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please note geographical restrictions apply. United States only for the physical prize.

Enter to win a $25 GC and an autographed book – a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:



Doug, thanks for being my guest. Tell us about you. 
What makes me who I am?: Being true to myself. I draw on past experiences, negative and positive. One must learn from one’s mistakes and grow. My day job is a biological farmer. I grow microorganisms to treat waste.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
I would hang out with Truman Capote. Because, I would love to have him as a writing mentor.

What’s the story behind your latest book?
The storyline follows an Appalachian coal mining family who must come to terms with two sons’ sexual identity (gay). While the nation must come to terms with societal sexual identity change on a historic paradigm—The NYC Gay Stonewall Riots of 1969.

What is your writing process?
I have no process. When I feel creative, I write. I work full time and schedule my writing around that schedule. I like solitude when writing.

Tell us about your main character: 
My main character is transgender while struggling in the coal camp town of Solitude, Virginia in the 1950s. He is brutalized on a daily basis because he is effeminate. He will not bow to the “normalcy” that surrounds him. Through all the trials and tribulations, she (Permelia Corn alas Smiley Hanlon) becomes a leader of the NYC Stonewall Gay Riots of 1969.

If your book was to be turned into a movie, who would play the lead role and why.
Jessica Lange because she could bring a main character (Lettie) to real life.

What are you working on next?
I am in the process of adapting my novel into screenplay.

What advice do you have for other writers who want to get the word out about their book?
Learn social media. You have to spend money to market the work. But learn to spend wisely. Unless you’re a media expert, there will be gains and losses. It is hard to get to #1 on Amazon. You have to learn the arithmetic as to how Amazon rates books in the que. I suggest hiring a specialist at first. It was complicated for me. And then getting it to stay @ #1 is impossible for me. I’m still learning.

What is your favorite book on your shelf right now?
The Color Purple

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?

You are given the choice of one super power. What super power would you have and why?
Reading peoples’ minds because then I would understand “motive.” Writing is a lot to do with ‘motive.’

List 5 things on your bucket list:

  • To be more positive
  • Not to fear
  • Pay it forward
  • Write my screenplay
  • Learn something new everyday

Any final thoughts?
Just write.

VBT ~ Throne of Lies


About the Book
Title: Throne of Lies
Author: Sara Secora
Genre: Fantasy

As a seventeen-year-old ruler chafing under the obligations of her bloodline, Princess Amethysta Serelle finds the royal life anything but enchanting.

Betrothed to a nefarious highborn, Amethysta’s heart mourns her lost chance at love—that is, until she becomes mesmerized by someone other than her suitor, and her heart begins to beat anew.

Desperate to keep her daughter on the path toward duty and the throne, the queen keeps a deadly secret. But as Amethysta balances the burden of expectations and freedom, the glowing, blue truth will not stay hidden for much longer.

Desire and duty battle on, further complicated by strange occurrences happening to Amethysta’s body. She struggles for control as her once unquestioned reality is obliterated.

Will she discover the truth, in her heart and hands, before it’s too late?

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Author Bio

Sara Secora has a passion for all things gamer and nerdy, as evidenced on her YouTube channel, AviGaming. She is also a well-branded voice over artist.

Secora has always been in love with writing, and in 2007 she turned her talents to the arduous endeavor of authoring an exciting fantasy trilogy. Her whimsical stories are full of enchantment, mystique, and insight—destined to intrigue readers of any age.

Secora lives in Detroit, Michigan, where she continues to explore old and new avenues for her talent and hard work.

To learn more, please visit:

author photo


Book Excerpt

I, Amethysta Serelle, was the final member of the royal family and the sole heir of Northwind. I attempted to defy my destiny at each turn, desperate to break free from my royal bonds. Although I knew it to be futile, I thrashed against them; I believed that doing so was the one thing that kept my sanity intact. All I’d ever wanted was to choose my own path in life instead of just fulfilling a role that had been planned for me since before my birth. Couldn’t my father see I was unfit for the burden of the crown? I couldn’t be the only one to see it—after this morning, I was sure that everyone I’d passed on my way to breakfast agreed with me.

Picking up my spoon, I scooped up some melons and berries and took a bite. But the sweetness of the fruit was nullified by my sour mood. Each day felt more daunting and more overshadowed by thoughts of the future. Being conditioned to become what I’d never wanted to be, while being obligated to leave behind my dreams and bequeathed the crown—that was all that awaited me.

The life of a princess wasn’t what fairytales make it out to be: it was far less glamourous. The reality was that I spent my days locked away inside my cramped tower, under guard wherever I might go. I was not allowed basic things such as friendship. I truly felt more like a prisoner than a royal. The salt in the wound was that each day was painfully similar to the last; the repetition was enough to drive anyone to brink of insanity. See, being royal required one to cast aside all of their pesky dreams, along with their freedom—to dedicate their lives to their duty and to the people without a second thought. For some reason or another, I just couldn’t find my footing within this life. I’d always felt out of place, like I simply didn’t belong.

Release Blitz ~ Acadia’s Revenge


About the Book


Title: Acadia’s Revenge (Undying Love, Book Two)

Author: Tracy Ellen

Genre: Scifi/ Apocalypse Romance

Acadia’s Revenge: Book Two, Undying Love Series by Tracy Ellen

Heart pumping action and toe-curling love, Acadia’s Revenge: Book Two, Undying Love Series is a science fiction/apocalypse-romance guaranteed to keep you up late into the night reading!

Acadia King hadn’t once thought the catastrophe she’d predicted and diligently spent years preparing for would be a zombie apocalypse, nor had she ever imagined surviving a global pandemic would be easy. But, incredible or not, that time had come and over one hundred people had fled their homes to seek protection from the infected at King Farm, along with one impossibly gorgeous, insanely sexy, much too young, pro football player.

Acadia is damn sure defending against those homicidal crazies is her number one priority, and not her Jerry Springer-esque personal issues of Rod “Ram” Ramaldi inexplicably proclaiming his forever love. The hot football player might be driving her crazy with desire, but Acadia steadfastly ignores her personal relationship with him to focus entirely on the defense of their safe haven. Her grim determination to ignore Rod works only all too well. Then tragedy strikes. At an unbearably brutal cost, Acadia discovers Tryg Johnson, the psychopathic leader of the Iron Fists biker gang, escaped the infected and wants Acadia back in the worst way. Now Acadia is all about getting personal, and about getting revenge!

You don’t want to miss out on Acadia’s Revenge: Book Two, Undying Love Series, available wherever eBooks are sold. Acadia’s Apocalypse, Book Three in the series is coming your way October 2016!

(Tracy Ellen recommends reading Acadia’s Law, Book One in the Undying Love Series first, so you’ve experienced all the heart-stopping, sexy action leading up to Acadia’s Revenge!)

Preorder your copy today at select bookseller sites.

Author Bio


Tracy Ellen was born in Indiana to middle-class parents, the third out of five hellions. She often used her supernatural powers to compel her family members to listen to her talk and tell stories. When that tough crowd laughed of their own free will, Tracy knew the world would someday, somehow be her stage. Now she’s a full-time writer living her dream. Tracy’s resided in the Midwest her whole life–in a small town, on a farm, and in the big city. Currently, she lives in the suburbs of St Paul, Minnesota with her husband and family. Stay in touch by checking out Tracy’s website, and then signing up for her monthly newsletter to be notified of new books coming your way, giveaways, and exclusive content. She also has a fetish about giving fun surprise gifts to her lovely newsletter members every edition. (Hint: She hopes that entices you to her website.) http://www.tracyellenink.com/getthenews




Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TracyEllenauthor/?ref=hl

Newsletter: http://www.tracyellenink.com/getthenews

Buy the Book



a Rafflecopter giveaway

VBT ~ Clementina


by Simon Cann


GENRE: Crime Thriller



Leathan Wilkey has been hired to babysit Clementina, a seventeen-year-old whose rich daddy is going through a messy divorce and is over-compensating.

Leathan soon tires of her spending habits, her selfie obsession, and her social media preoccupation as his ward drags him from shop to boutique to jeweler, approaching each with the self-possession that comes from a lifetime of getting her own way and never once having to worry about money.

But when Clementina snaps her fingers and her boyfriend doesn’t come running, something is up. He doesn’t appear because he’s been murdered.

When Leathan investigates, he finds that the boyfriend has no background and met Clementina through a connection made by daddy’s business partner.

Daddy’s business partner who has been slowly and progressively putting daddy in a vice, grabbing more of the business, and who is now menacing Clementina directly to manipulate daddy.




Clementina was clearly offended.

Offended by my apparently uncouth utterance. Offended that I was not paying due reverence. Offended that I was thinking money, when I should be appreciating the art. Offended in the way that only a seventeen-year-old can be offended.

She was able simultaneously to be both a child and a world-weary adult. Neither of whom was accepting of my situation; both of whom were deeply saddened by my obvious circumstances.

She was saddened that I could live in a world like this.

Some people are saddened about famine in Africa. Some are saddened about wars or religious fundamentalists imposing their unyielding doctrines on populations, killing and mutilating children and innocent adults. Clementina was saddened and offended—on my behalf—that the world of jewelry and the exquisite pleasure of fine gems set in delicate pieces of lovingly shaped precious metal had been withheld from me.

She knew—as only one who had been indoctrinated into the secret society knew—that if I had been exposed to the world of bijouterie, then I would appreciate the treat that was waiting for me.

What she didn’t know was that I hated being patronized by seventeen-year-olds. Even if their father was paying me. Not that her father and I had actually done anything as tedious as agreeing a fee.

Or meeting.

Or talking. Even on the phone.



AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Simon Cann is the author of the Boniface, Montbretia Armstrong, and Leathan Wilkey series of books.
In addition to his fiction, Simon has written a range of music-related and business-related books, and has also worked as a ghostwriter.
Before turning full-time to writing, Simon spent nearly two decades as a management consultant, where his clients included aeronautical, pharmaceutical, defense, financial services, chemical, entertainment, and broadcasting companies.
He lives in London.

Website: http://simoncann.com

The book will be free on Amazon from Monday 25 July to Friday 29 July (inclusive).

B/N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/clementina-simon-cann/1123925440

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Clementina-Leathan-Wilkey-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01FZJEDW6/ref=sr_1_6

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/simoncannauthor

Twitter: http://twitter.com/simonpcann



One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.

Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway


Simon Cann: interview 13

If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be?
The ability to influence people to buy my books.

What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?
My shaky understanding of the rules of grammar.

When writing descriptions of your hero/ine, what feature do you start with?
I don’t start with a feature—I start with what the person wants. I look to what drives the individual. Looks, relationships, jobs, social station are all secondary to whatever drives a character.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Without hesitation: a plotter. And quite a detailed plotter…

Did you learn anything from writing this book? If so, what?
Paris is always colder than I expect.

Creatives On The Couch with author Max Davine

A new episode of Creatives On The Couch is now online. This week our guest is Max Davine.



BBT_FriendOfTheDevil_Banner copy

Friend of the Devil
by Mark Spivak


GENRE: Thriller




In 1990 some critics believe that America’s most celebrated chef, Joseph Soderini di Avenzano, sold his soul to the Devil to achieve culinary greatness. Whether he is actually Bocuse or Beelzebub, Avenzano is approaching the 25th anniversary of his glittering Palm Beach restaurant, Chateau de la Mer, patterned after the Michelin-starred palaces of Europe.

Journalist David Fox arrives in Palm Beach to interview the chef for a story on the restaurant’s silver jubilee. He quickly becomes involved with Chateau de la Mer’s hostess, unwittingly transforming himself into a romantic rival of Avenzano. The chef invites Fox to winter in Florida and write his authorized biography. David gradually becomes sucked into the restaurant’s vortex: shipments of cocaine coming up from the Caribbean; the Mafia connections and unexplained murder of the chef’s original partner; the chef’s ravenous ex-wives, swirling in the background like a hidden coven. As his lover plots the demise of the chef, Fox tries to sort out hallucination and reality while Avenzano treats him like a feline’s catnip-stuffed toy.



He stepped down from the womb of the 727 onto the stubby metal stairway and descended slowly onto the asphalt of the old Palm Beach Airport, like a child sticking a toe into a hot bath.

The first thing he noticed was the light. By the time he reached the tarmac, it hurt his eyes. It was opaque and shining, milky white and brilliant.

As his feet touched the bottom, a coffee-colored hand plucked the bag from his grasp.

“Mr. Fox?” The teeth were almost as bright as the light reflecting against the pavement.


“Welcome to Palm Beach. West Palm, to be precise.” The voice was cool and melodious, with a Jamaican lilt. “We gladly cross the river to welcome our distinguished guests and ferry them to the other shore.” He extended his hand toward the terminal, smiling broadly. “Come, sir. Your chariot awaits.”

The woman stood next to the limousine, sticking out of the asphalt like an exotic tree. She wore a black leather jacket, and a short, black leather skirt, cut on the bias to give her a schoolgirl look. She was smirking.

She has gorgeous skin, was his first thought, smooth enough to lick. Then there was her hair: jet black, cropped short, spiked liberally with mousse, standing straight up as if from an electrical charge. I am so beautiful that I can mutilate my hair and you will still crave me, she seemed to say. I can masquerade as Elvis Costello and you will still crawl across the runway to worship me.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Mark Spivak is an award-winning writer specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel. He was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, and was honored by the Academy of Wine Communications for excellence in wine coverage “in a graceful and approachable style.” Since 2001 has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group; his running commentary on the world of food, wine and spirits is available at the Global Gourmet blog on http://www.palmbeachillustrated.com. He is the holder of the Certificate and Advanced diplomas from the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Mark’s work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Men’s Journal, Art & Antiques, the Continental and Ritz-Carlton magazines, Arizona Highways and Newsmax. He is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History (Lyons Press, 2012) and Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle (Lyons Press, 2014). His first novel, Friend of the Devil, is published by Black Opal Books.
Website: http://www.markspivakbooks.com





Mark will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $20 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway


Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:




We’re happy to be hosting Jeff Gunhus’ KILLER PURSUIT Virtual Book Tour today! Jeff is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon Gift Card and one autographed paperback plus four runners up will receive an autographed paperback copy of his book!  Enter below and leave a comment at this blog for five extra points!
Author: Jeff Gunhus
Publisher: Seven Guns Press
Pages: 352
Genre: Thriller
When a high-society call girl is
murdered in her
Georgetown home, investigators find two cameras hidden in the walls
of her bedroom. One has its memory erased, presumably by the murderer. The
second is connected to the Internet through an encrypted connection…and
no-one knows who’s on the other end.
Special Agent Allison McNeil is
asked by beleaguered FBI Director Clarence Mason to run an off-the-record
investigation of the murder because of the murder’s similarity to a case she
worked a year earlier. Allison knows the most direct path to apprehending the
killer is to find the videos, but the rumors that the victim’s client list may
have included Mason’s political enemies has her worried about the director’s
motives. As she starts her investigation, she quickly discovers that she’s not
the only one pursuing the videos. In fact, the most aggressive person racing
against her might be the murderer himself.

For More

Pursuit is available at Amazon.
this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt:

McNeil tensed when she spotted the first shadow dart through the mist and take
cover behind a tree. In the early-morning light it took her a while to pick out
all six members of the Hostage Rescue Team approaching the cabin, but within a
minute she could clearly see the tactical team converging on their target.
 The small building stood on a rise, up from the swampy,
flood-prone land around it. Wood-slated walls tilted precariously inward,
twisting the windows into deformed rectangles. Moss and dead leaves covered the
roof. The place smelled and looked like decay, well on its way to inevitable
reclamation by the weeds and vines choking the cabin to a miserable death.
And, if
Allison was right, the place deserved what it got. Hell, if she was right, she
had half a mind to take a match to the place after everything was done.
She hunkered
down behind a fallen tree, her head barely clearing the top to see the building
and the team closing in. A trickle of sweat started at the base of her neck and
went the length of her spine. She adjusted the Kevlar vest, under her light
windbreaker emblazoned with large yellow letters. FBI. It felt ridiculous to
wear the windbreaker when it was in the ’80s before daybreak with the Louisiana humidity
hovering at about a thousand percent, but if it meant that the hotheads with
assault rifles could more easily identify her as a friendly, then she was happy
to have it.
Garret Morrison shifted his weight next to
her, stretching out a leg and rubbing his knee. She gave him a sideways look.
“You all right?” she whispered.
He scowled at her. They both knew she didn’t
give a damn about him. The comment was intended as a dig at the
fifty-three-year-old Garret who prided himself on being in better shape than
the agents beneath him. Even though he ran the Behavioral Analysis Unit, home
of the FBI’s fabled profilers who spent more time in the heads of the criminals
they chased than in the field, he required an aggressive physical program for
his people. Everything about Morrison is a throwback to the old male-dominated
Bureau. A slicked-back head of hair with just the right amount of grey to lend
him gravitas without making him look old, a square jaw out of a mountaineering
magazine, cold steel-blue eyes that seemed to look through people instead of at
them. Unless they were trained on an attractive female, in which case his eyes
gave their full attention to the area below the chin and above the
“Worry about yourself,” Garret grumbled. He
turned to Doug Browning, a junior agent who followed Garret around like a
little puppy. “Jesus, Doug. Not so close.”
Allison turned back to the cabin and raised
her binoculars, not bothering to hide the smile on her lips. Garret was a
legend in the Bureau for his work hunting America’s worst
criminals, but Allison’s own legend had grown since her work on the Arnie
Milhouse case a year earlier. While that case had given her credibility, she
knew she was just as likely to be referred to as the woman who’d broken Garret
Morrison’s nose when he’d made one too many unwanted advances while she was a
trainee. And, while she wanted to be known for her work, she didn’t mind that
piece of fame following her around.
“Alpha team in position,” said a voice
through the small speaker in her ear. She noticed Garret put a finger to the
side of his head and nod. He looked over at her.
“You better be right about this,” he
Allison shook her head. For all his
brilliance—and, regardless of how she felt personally about him, she recognized
that he was brilliant—Garret’s
transparency could border on the inane. What he was really saying was that if
the lunatic Allison’s research had tracked to this location wasn’t holed up in
this backwoods cabin, if the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team had been activated and
deployed for no reason, then the blame would drop on her like a bag of bricks.
If Sam Kraw was in there, Allison knew it would be Garret standing in front of
the cameras taking credit for the HRT mission and the capture of America’s most
wanted fugitive.
She pushed the thought away. As long as they
caught the bastard and ended his multi-year killing spree in the Southeast, she
didn’t give a damn who got the credit.
Allison moved her binoculars. The tactical
team was in place around the cabin, peering through scopes with infrared
capabilities. If there was someone hiding in the shadows of a window or
doorway, they wouldn’t be hiding for long.
On some signal unseen by Allison, the men
began a steady, crouched advance to the building. She realized she was holding
her breath so she blew out her air slowly between pinched lips.
“Relax, McNeil,” Garret muttered. “You’re
making me nervous.”
The two members of the tactical squad
approaching from the front reached the deck that wrapped around the front of
the building. As they strode across it, the old wood floorboards groaned. The
men froze. The seconds stretched out. Allison became suddenly aware of the hum
of insects in the air around her. The dampness of her own skin. The sound of a
bird calling in the distance. All of her senses were wired tight. An entire
year of her life was wrapped up in the next few seconds. And if she’d got it
wrong, Garret would have the ammo he’d been looking for to get her out of his
unit once and for all. But she wasn’t worried about herself. What really
bothered her was the chance that she had it right, that this was Kraw’s hideout,
but that somehow they’d spooked him and he’d already slipped away. If that had
happened, he’d be hundreds of miles away by tomorrow, scouting for his next
victim as he traveled.
Movement in the cabin. Just a flutter. Like
a bird trapped in a cage. Only her intuition told her it was more than a bird.
It had been an arm. A human arm. Sam Kraw.
Based on the lack of movement from the
tactical team, she realized no one else had seen it.
“I’ve got movement,” she whispered into her
mic. “Window to the right of the front door. An arm.”
“I didn’t see anything,” Garret
Allison ignored him. The men around the
cabin responded immediately, reorienting to the front door. Guns pointed at the
One of the men produced a miniram, a high
impact, brute force breaching tool. Coordinating with his partner, he crouched
next to the door while the other man readied a flash-bang grenade.
There was a pause, as if someone had pressed
a button on a TV remote. Everyone was in place. The air seemed to still as if the
world knew something was about to happen. Allison had her binoculars trained on
the window where she’d seen the movement. If Kraw was inside, then the
nightmare was almost over. She’d know in a few seconds whether that was the
case or not.
But in that second, she saw the movement
Only this time, she knew something was
It was a man’s arm, she saw it clearly this
time. But it was too stiff. The color was off. And, attached at the shoulder,
she saw a coil of wire.
A mannequin arm on a spring.
Meant to make them think someone was inside.
It was a trap.



About the Author


Jeff Gunhus is the USA TODAY bestselling author of thriller and horror novels
for adults and the middle grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first
book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his
reluctant reader eleven-year-old son excited about reading. It worked and a new
series was born. His books for adults have reached the Top 30 on Amazon, have
been recognized as Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalists and reached the
USA TODAY bestseller list.
After his experience with his
son, he is passionate about helping parents reach young reluctant readers and
is active in child literacy issues. As a father of five, he leads an active
life in
Maryland with his wife Nicole by trying to constantly keep up
with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the
City Dock Cafe in
Annapolis working on his next novel or on JeffGunhus.com.
His latest book is the thriller,
For More Information



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