Author Archives: Jen Talty
Please welcome Cool Gus Team Author Mark Chisnell to Write on the River.
Homeland – Season Finale
It’s been a couple of weeks since Season Four of Homeland finished, and I posted on Facebook at the time that I thought this Guardian review was generous.
I thought that final episode was botched together after they learned that they had got the money for Season 5… perhaps I should explain that a little more with some wild and completely unsubstantiated speculation.
So let’s imagine it’s early in the first US transmission, and the writing team are meeting to agree the trajectory of the final episodes of Season 4 which still have to be shot. The ratings aren’t going particularly well, and it looks like they won’t get the money for Season 5. So they say to hell with it, let’s finish it with a bang…
Let’s kill Saul off before he can get out of Pakistan. Then Quinn kills Haqqani with a pipe bomb attack, and goes down in a hail of bullets. Carrie watches him die helplessly, goes home to mourn him and her father both, but takes on the role of mother to her child after leaving the CIA.
Brilliant! Action packed to the finale, all tied up in a tragic-but-happy ending that makes complete sense with what’s gone before, with Carrie finally out of the self-destructive job. The End.
Then they start showing the episodes with the attack on the embassy, and suddenly there’s a huge surge in ratings. The cash tills ring and the studio execs demand more… suddenly the money is on the table for season five. Uh-oh, but everybody dies, or retires. Quick! Rewrite! Reshoot!
So they fudge the last episode and the final couple of minutes of the one before with completely new material. Saul doesn’t die. Quinn is persuaded by Carrie not to blow up Haqqani (really?), and lo and behold – deux ex machine grinding audibly in the background – it’s all ok, the US have it covered after all, Dar Adal is in the car with Haqqani!
Implausible. Unlikely. Improbable… and lots of other synonyms.
Then they have to shoot a new final episode, back in the US with none of the locations they have used for the rest of the season. So they come up with the ridiculous mechanic of the mother turning up.
“Good drama tends to let characterisation guide the plot, so to have such a significant figure turn up merely to help Carrie learn a couple of life lessons was very weak indeed,” said the Guardian.
I rest my case.
Please welcome guest blogger Colin Falconer to Write on the River!
THE BLACK WITCH OF MEXICO
(note this title is FREE to those who have a subscription to Kindle Unlimited)
I was in Mexico researching a book and a writer friend told me about the black witches. I decided to go looking for one. It was in the south, in a town called Catemoco, that I finally tracked one down.
He was a snappy dresser, even down there in the middle of nowhere; a silk guayabera shirt, chunky gold rings on every finger, one of them a skull with small rubies set into the eyes.
In a candle-lit room filled with statues of Santa Muerte, he got straight down to business.
‘Is this for business or for love?’ he asked me.
I decided to play along. ‘Love,’ I said.
‘Who is this woman? Do you want her back – or do you want her dead?’
That took me off balance. ‘I don’t want anyone to die,’ I told him.
‘Give me a photograph,’ he said, putting out his hand. ‘She will come back to you.’
He smiled as if he could read my mind.
“There exists good and evil in the world,’ he said. ‘There is the devil and there is God.’
He regarded him with his magician’s nasty eye. ‘I can call forth the maldad negra and cause great harm, even death.
‘Is that what you want? Is it? All I need is a name, and a piece of their clothing or even a photograph. I can take away your bad luck and give it to someone else.
‘Or I can make a woman love you. Is that your secret desire? Come, tell me. What is it you want? I can give you anything, anything. Todo que quieres.’
I walked out.
But the idea lingered; what would have happened if I had gone along with him?
And so The Black Witch of Mexico was born.
Would you sell your soul to have anything you wanted?
From the witch markets of Mexico City to the ancient valleys along the Guatemalan border, places still haunted by the statues and ruins of the Olmecs, a man is drawn deeper into a world he doesn’t understand. He soon comes to question everything he once believed.
Are witches just superstitious nonsense? Or is there such a thing as real evil in the world?
The Black Witch of Mexico is a chilling psychological thriller where nothing is quite what it seems.
Be careful what you wish for – you might just get it.
Please welcome Cool Gus Team Member Deborah Coonts to Write on the River to talk about her latest release!
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This whole story started with a smoking gun.
You see, I’m not much of a foodie. And, I’m not much of a cook either. In fact, I have a love/hate relationship with food—I love it, but I hate it when my jeans don’t fit. And it doesn’t help that I’m more of a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives kind of gal rather than one who favors an exorbitantly-priced, twenty-item tasting menu that stills leaves you lusting after a Whataburger. So, when it comes to fancy food prep, I’m a bit clueless.
Which leads me back to the smoking gun thing.
I was eating dinner at one of my favorite local restaurants in Vegas, Due Forni, with two of my best buds, one of them a chef. As a first course, we ordered some of the homemade mozzarella and their famous bread (totally to die for). I ordered the smoked cheese and, through mouthfuls I expressed my pleasure and my wonder at how they imparted the smoky flavor. I’m originally from Texas and the whole smoked thing is a religion there—but it requires a huge smoker and tons of hickory and I didn’t see that sort of set up at Due Forni. So, I wondered out loud how someone might give fresh mozzarella a smoked flavor.
My bud, the chef, looked at me as if I’d been living under a rock and announced, “With a smoking gun, of course.”
But, of course! A smoking gun. Who knew?
That little tidbit stopped me mid-bite and totally derailed his dinner as I peppered him with questions.
I mean, there’s just something so prosaic about killing someone with a smoking gun, don’t you think?
So, off the story ran, as stories are wont to do. Before long I found myself mired hip-deep in the world of gourmet cookery. And I became interested in the conundrum of serving incredibly fresh food in a place that is as hospitable to the nurture of delicate plants and exotic fish as the surface of the moon. And that led to research into the pipeline for gourmet foodstuffs, the need for temperature control, for impeccable and consistent quality and lightning fast shipments. All of this is incredibly competitive, with the top-tier chefs locked in a fierce battle for the freshest, most unique items on the planet.
The perfect recipe for murder.
Or several, as the case may be… kitchens are dangerous places, you know.
And, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect for this sort of culinary chaos.
In LUCKY CATCH, Lucky has been promoted. She is now the Vice President of Customer Relations for the Babylon, Vegas’s primo Strip property, which really doesn’t change anything, it just sounds more important. She’s still charged with keeping the lid on guests, entertainers, chefs and staff who decide to turn up the heat while at the Babylon. Normally, this isn’t a problem, but with the dishy, world-renowned chef, Jean-Charles Bouclet in hot pursuit and the return of her former lover, Teddie, setting her emotions on sizzle, Lucky’s is a bit distracted.
And then, with Thanksgiving approaching, a young woman gets smoked in Jean-Charles’s food truck on the Babylon’s back lot and he becomes the prime suspect. Of course, he goes on the lam leaving Lucky to deal with his sister and his niece who stick to Lucky like a good roux, leaving her to wonder what game he is really playing. To make matters worse, Mona, Lucky’s mother, is up to her normal shenanigans, throwing fat in the fire just when Lucky seems to be taming it to a manageable flame.
Of course, all of this would be easy as pie for Lucky…except the Babylon is hosting a nationally-televised celebrity chef cooking competition and the prized white truffle, one of the main ingredients, goes missing. Not even the truffle pig that Miss P has ensconced in Bungalow 7 in the rarified air of the Kasbah, can find it.
Would someone really kill for a truffle?
As usual, in a bit of shameless product placement, I insert many of my favorite local restaurants in the book, which is one of my favorite things to do. And, of course, I had to sample them anew before doing so… quality control and all of that. Not to mention the tax-deductible thing.
I wonder if the resulting gym membership is deductible as well?
Anyway, please join Lucky on her wild ride through the kitchens of Vegas and find out whether Lucky can clear her chef before his goose is cooked, whether she decides it’s possible to love again without being parboiled in the process, and who her LUCKY CATCH might be.
And whether I might be shot for working a metaphor so hard it rolled over and died.
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Thanks for stopping by Deborah! Nothing but good times.
Exciting times here at Cool Gus Command Central. Today we have two awesome releases by two of our very talented team members. Dante’s Fire by Jennifer Probst and Lucky Catch by Deborah Coonts. We’ll be spending the next two days hearing from these fabulous writers! Nothing but good times.
Please welcome NY Times Bestselling Author Jennifer Probst to Write on the River with her latest release, Dante’s Fire, which is being released today in Print, eBook and Audio!
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By Jennifer Probst:
A New Kind of Hero….
Ah, how I adore my alpha billionaires.
The Marriage to a Billionaire series was created on this brand of delicious men that never left me alone – who haunted my dreams and my heart and helped me write with passion.
And then I fell madly in love with Nate from Searching for Perfect – my first beta nerd-geek extraordinaire. Readers filled my inbox with their love for this nerd and his transformation, and I was overjoyed taking the risk had been worth it.
And then…a new type of hero haunted my muse. I saw him so clearly, a human trapped in this world with a dark secret and power that tortured him. Kept him isolated. A sexy, broody, secret billionaire hero that was different from all others I had ever written.
Dante was born in all superhero glory. But not a regular superhero. A human with a special gift that helped the world but destined him to live in the shadows. Enter the woman of his dreams, secrets, passion galore, and I had the series of a lifetime.
Dante’s struggle is universal, and I identified with him immediately. I may not have special powers, but hasn’t everyone felt alone and isolated in this world? Not worthy of love? Trying to do the right thing but pressured to bend and be selfish with our own pleasure?
This is the human struggle I wanted to explore. Of course, he needed to be super hot, an amazing lover, and bigger than life.
And he is.
He also needed the right woman who would not only be strong enough to accept his gift, but love him even more for it, though it’s a sacrifice for both of them.
Selina Rogers is that woman. Their story and struggle to be together will hopefully be the perfect ending to your scorching summer!
Here’s a teaser of what you will find in Dante’s Fire and my new hot hero.
Darkness stole over his face. His features seemed carved from stone. “Someone I loved was killed. For a long time, I didn’t know how to handle it. I lashed out, angry at the world, angry at my weakness. I finally realized in order to be strong; we have to allow ourselves to feel the grief first. The rage. The helplessness. Then we can heal.”
As if they shared the same soul, pain shuddered through her body, imagining him as a boy watching someone get hurt. Someone he couldn’t help. “Is that how you got your scar?”
Dan touched his face. A lifetime of memories flickered in his eyes. “Yes. I had nights I didn’t think I could handle because of the nightmares.”
The words drove deep. Him too. Maybe she wasn’t so alone after all, but like most bad things, people kept them locked inside and refused to share. Suddenly, he reached over to her. His finger trailed down her bruised cheek with so much tenderness tears stung her eyes. “But I learned something important. Scars aren’t a weakness, Selina. They’re signs of strength because we survived.”
The truth struck her full force. Her hands gripped her coffee mug as she struggled to process this new energy between them, this intimacy that made her suddenly ache to have his arms wrap around her and hold tight. To feel his hands stroking while his lips took hers.
She froze, waiting for him to do something, waiting for him to do nothing. Last week she might have made the move. Might have. But now?
His hand dropped.
“I better go.” His gruff words broke the spell. He dumped the paper cup in the garbage and headed toward the door. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Yes. See you tomorrow.”
She watched him walk away and wondered if she’d ever be the same person again.
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Thanks Jen! Absolutely LOVE this book.
Tomorrow we have National Bestselling Author Deborah Coonts with the 5th book in her Lucky Series, Lucky Catch.