Sunday, August 26, 2012

Guest Blogger Carol Marvell, author of Slave Trader

Carol Marvell, author of Slave Trader – In the Name of Freedom

Bio: Carol lives on a small property in Queensland, Australia. She works in a local primary school as a School Officer / Librarian / Community Development Officer. Married with three children, she has travelled extensively throughout the world, visiting the US, UK, Europe, China, Japan, New Zealand and of course, Australia. Her other passion is music. She plays bass guitar in a country rock band with her husband and two other guys. She is also a member of a symphony orchestra. With over fifty members, the orchestra is voluntary and visits retirement villages and small towns.

Slave Trader – In the Name of Freedom is Carol’s first novel. The action/adventure story follows Detective Billie McCoy in her fight for freedom after she is caught up in a modern day slavery trade run by a corrupt cop.

Blurb for Slave Trader – In the Name of Freedom:
For the past three years, young prostitutes and destitute women have been vanishing without trace. Their fates unknown, the only common links to their disappearances are their good looks and prison records.
Never before has a cop been taken.
Detective Billie McCoy, a member of an elite undercover squad, is on assignment when she stumbles onto a slavery racket that goes deeper than she could ever have imagined. Plunged into a web of corruption and evil, not only does she have to contend with the slave traders, but her fellow prisoners – all who hate cops.
Stretching from the streets of Sydney to the rainforests in far north Queensland, it’s a race against time. Filled with determination, disappointment and twists, the story follows Billie’s fight for freedom and her greatest ever challenge. She will need all her cunning and skill to get out alive and see justice done.
Blood will be spilt, hopes will be destroyed – all to uncover a plot so unpredictable that only fate can decide . . . .

Facts on slavery today:

Today, modern slavery is as real and brutal as any history book. There are more people in slavery now than at any other time. It's estimated twenty-seven million people across the world could be considered slaves, and the industry of slavery and people trafficking makes $32 billion a year.
During the 1800’s, slaves were bought and sold at a high price. Modern day slaves are worth far less than their weight in gold. At such cheap prices, slaves are disposable and can easily be replaced. And while the price of slaves has dropped dramatically, the return on the slaveholder's investment has skyrocketed to hundreds of percent.

Excerpt from Slave Trader – In the Name of Freedom
Billie turned away. She leaned on the wall and stared up at the ceiling, torn apart. She was here undercover about to set up a big gun dealer and bring him to justice. If she helped this girl, it could blow everything. All the work she'd put into getting this close to the gunrunners could be in jeopardy. Her nature compelled her to aid someone in trouble.
Damn it! Why did this have to happen now? She should just walk away and pretend she'd never seen it. After all, it had nothing to do with her. Yeah right. No way could she turn a blind eye to this. Turning back, she peered through the crack again.
The redhead in the suit coat had pulled a small syringe from his pocket. The sight of it upset the distressed girl even more. She stared at it over the big hand clamped across her mouth, her eyes widened in horror. In a desperate bid to deter his intentions, she kicked out. Only by chance her knee knocked the redhead's hand. The needle rolled across the floor. He cursed.
The ponytail man snarled. His large, gangly hand dropped from the girl's mouth, and he slugged her hard. The trapped girl grunted and sank in his grasp.
The blow sent Billie into action. She couldn't leave the girl to these thugs. With a little luck, she could pull off both operations.
Sneaking in, the detective picked up an old, wooden chair just inside the room. Although tempted to use her gun, silence was of the utmost importance. She couldn't afford to alert the men upstairs. They would be edgy enough, and the sound of a gunshot would certainly send them on a runner.
Both thugs had their backs to Billie, their attention on their captive. Mumbling curses, the redhead's rising temper dampened his cautiousness. The chase brought him into the closest position to her. With the chair gripped in her hands, Billie jumped at the punk and cracked it over his head. The chair shattered into pieces. He moaned and collapsed to the floor with a heavy thud.
His partner spun at the noise. He stared at her with a startled expression before turning a stunned look at his downed partner. Overcoming his surprise, he looked back up at her. The thug's lips twisted in a snarl. He dumped the girl to the floor. She fell in a heap. He lunged forward.
Billie turned and faced him full on. She kicked up. Her heel smashed into his nose well before he could touch her.
The guy's head rocked backwards. He recoiled with a couple of staggered steps. Billie followed, giving him no time to recover. Using the same foot, she buried it into his stomach. The impact doubled him over, driving the breath from his burning lungs. She stepped forward and brought up her knee, slamming it into the side of his jaw. He reeled sideways with a groan and collapsed, motionless.
Billie looked at him, and then glanced at the other guy. Neither looked like they'd be moving for a while. She blew out a sigh and tossed the busted chair to the side.
The detective crossed to the dazed girl and knelt beside her. She studied her face. A bruise already showed through on her cheek, marring her good looks. She lay relaxed in her enforced sleep, her features free from the strain they'd carried only a few moments before. Brown, shoulder-length hair bordered the girl's dainty face. A clean, fresh complexion enhanced her attractiveness. Long eyelashes guarded her closed eyes. She carried a 'girl next door' image, a guileless look that bathed her in a simplistic innocence yet held a disguised beauty to catch any man's eye. Her slender figure did her proud. Billie couldn't help wonder why she would be in a dive like this, or why these men were after her. She was a pretty girl and had a lot going for her, but something had definitely gone wrong for her to end up here and in this kind of trouble.
The girl stirred, bringing the detective out of her thoughts. Her head rolled towards Billie. Her eyes flickered open. They looked glazed and confused.
"Take it easy. You're safe now," Billie said, brushing a strand of the long, brown hair back off her face.
The girl's confused gaze focused on her rescuer, and she tensed. She sat upright. Her gaze darted around the room in search of her would-be attackers.
'Hey, it's okay!" Billie took hold of her by the shoulders in a comforting gesture.
Shooting her no more than a brief glance, the frightened girl stared at the unconscious men. They were no longer a threat. She turned back to the blonde kneeling beside her and relaxed in Billie's grip.
"Are you okay?" Billie dropped her hands from her shoulders yet maintained a wary eye on her.
The dishevelled girl nodded. "Yeah, I think so." She turned away from her and studied the men. After a lingering moment, she looked back at Billie. "Thank you very much," she said in a whisper. "Who-who are you?"
Before the detective could answer, a voice from the doorway interrupted them.
"So this is why they're taking so long."
Billie's head snapped around in surprise. Three men stood in the doorway. Billie gave them a quick, assessing look. The guy in the middle, a short, plump, half-bald man in his late fifties stood with a thin smile on his lips. His gaze was fixed on her. His bright Hawaiian shirt boldly expressed his personality, loud and dominant. Short tufts of curly grey hair overflowed from the vee of the collared shirt. His round, beach-ball face was clean-shaven, like the top of his head. Only a strip of grey-flecked hair ran from one ear around the back of his head to the other.
The other two flanked him, their bulky frames towering above him. Dressed like the two on the floor, they fell comfortably into their category: hired 'heavies'. These paid henchmen eyed her with guarded looks.
The guy on the left of the fat man carried a scar down his right cheek. His hair was slicked back out of his face, leaving the dark, distrusting eyes in clear view. The third guy, a curly-haired blond, was shorter yet bulkier than his comrade. He stared with a blank expression set on his bristled face, clearly expressing his dislike. They stood protectively by their boss's side, like dogs on a leash waiting for a command to please their master.
The little, fat man's gaze remained locked on the blonde girl in front of him. "My God."
His astonished tone snapped Billie's attention back to him. She looked more closely, sensing something familiar about him. Her nerves stiffened. Suddenly, she knew.
"Bates?" The name slipped through her lips before she could stop it. She'd failed to identify him in that first brief glimpse. The bright clothes and menacing conditions engulfing the tense situation had thrown her. He looked so different, and so out of place. She'd met this guy a couple of times, and both times he'd been dressed in a full suit, tie and all-back in police headquarters. So why would Captain Bates, head of Missing Persons, be here? Why would he be interested in this girl, especially in a place like this? And what was this well-respected police officer doing with these henchmen? Slowly, she stood, not taking her eyes off him.
"What's going on here?" The young cop took a step towards him.
"Ahh, what a pity, a sure pity." He sighed. His hand reached in through the open neck of his shirt and pulled a pistol out from under it. He dropped it to waist level, aiming at her chest. His tone may have held some remorse, but his actions didn't.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Guest Blogger Jenn Nixon

Please welcome today's guest blogger, Jenn Nixon. Her novel, Lucky's Charm released 7/31 from Wild Child Publishing. Here's a peek at her new release!

Lucky’s Charm

By: Jenn Nixon

To protect her family and find a killer, Felicia “Lucky” Fascino assumed her adoptive father’s identity and joined the network, an organization of moral assassins to finish the job he began. Eliminating the man responsible for murdering her mother has consumed her for the last five years. While keeping her Uncle Stephen and cousin Elizabeth at arm’s length, Lucky begins to feel the weight of her career choice and reclusive lifestyle. Then a chance encounter with an enigmatic hit man, during one of her jobs, turns into a provocative and dangerous affair. Distracted by the secret trysts with Kenji Zinn and mounting tension within her family, Lucky makes reckless mistakes that threaten her livelihood and almost claim her life.


Two days after her last job…

Lucky Fascino sat at the back of the plane, flipping through the complimentary magazine. She smiled up at the male flight attendant when he stopped the beverage cart.

“Drinks?” he asked.
“Gin and tonic, thanks,” she said.
“Make it two,” her neighbor added.
Her row mate, a pink-skinned, gray-haired man, had curiosity etched on his face. Next to Lucky, any Caucasian looked pale so she understood their interest. Being naturally bronzed, due in part to an unknown, mixed heredity, gave her an all-year color most women would kill to have. As part of her normally disguised travels, she hid her curly, honey-brown hair and slight almond-shaped, amber eyes—now considered exotic instead of strange—behind a jet-black wig and brown contacts.

Talking to a stranger was the last thing she wanted to do. Getting far away from the job was the only thing on her mind. She’d been in Vegas for nine days, watching the target, learning his habits, hangouts, and daily rituals. During the last five, she’d seen him with three women in two different motels.

Gotta love Vegas.

Afterward, she had worked off the adrenaline high from the job in the hotel gym, while waiting for news of the target’s death. It came in the form of a small article in the local newspaper. The city had well over a hundred murders so far this year. One more, under seedy circumstances, didn’t get much attention.
The man beside her tried to make conversation while she nursed her drink. Mundane chitchat mostly. I really don’t care where you live. It was natural for normal people to want some type of contact to ease the boring flight. Thanks to her second cocktail, she felt more social. Besides, she didn’t have a choice. He wouldn’t shut up.

“So, what do you do for a living?”Frank asked after the exchange of names and destinations.

Kill people like you. Well, she didn’t really kill people like him, unless he had some sordid history of crime. Unlike Andersen, who used his corporate success to embezzle, commit fraud, and murder, Frank seemed like a regular guy.

“I’m the Comptroller for an international furniture company.” Lucky watched the man’s eyes glaze over when she described what she did for “work.” Accountant types never impressed anyone. During long jobs, she made up a personal history and itinerary to go along with whichever fake ID she used for cases like this. Today she played Lucille Summers from Baltimore, Maryland. It was one part of the job she still enjoyed.

“Sounds lucrative.” He rubbed the side of his gin-reddened face and covertly tried to ogle her legs. “In Vegas for business or pleasure?” The way he enunciated the latter made her skin crawl. She wouldn’t give him the time of day if he were the last man on the planet able to donate sperm to keep the species alive.

“Business meetings, you know how it goes, have to get those fiscal reports in order for the CFO,” she said, smiling, mostly to suppress the gag reflex.

He laughed, continually eyeballing her and gabbing about his trip. The trite, one-sided conversation continued until the plane began its descent.

Bio: Jenn’s love of writing started the year she received her first diary and Nancy Drew novel. Throughout her teenage years, she kept a diary of her personal thoughts and feelings but graduated from Nancy Drew to other mystery suspense novels.

Jenn often adds a thriller and suspense element to anything she writes be it Romance, Science Fiction, or Fantasy. When not writing, she spends her time reading, observing pop culture, playing with her two dogs, and working on various charitable projects in her home state of New Jersey.

Twitter: @jennnixon