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Didi Oviatt

Author of suspense novels Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians. As well as the short story collection Time Wasters and (co-author of) The Suspenseful Collection. Columnist for The Conscious Talk Magazine.

Category

suspense

NEW RELEASE: Farraway Mist, by Tani Hanes

I’m so excited to announce this new release!  I’m absolutely in love with Tani Hanes’ writing style as you can see in an article revolving around her Seven Book Adult Romance Series Worth Looking  Into in the Conscious Talk Magazine!

Farraway Mist is paranormal romance (one of my favorite genres!) It was released a couple days ago on Nov. 17th, and I’m already half way finished reading it, so hold your breath for my review. My reading time has been limited as of late, so it will be a few days, but I can tell already that it’s bound to be a good one!

Check out this read, you won’t be disappointed!

Author and book links:

DESCRIPTION:

Scout Lawson is fleeing an unhappy past, and thinks she’s run as far as she can from Yale University when she lands a job restoring a library in Cornwall, England for reclusive rock star George Wilder, who dropped out of sight after the death of his beautiful wife the year before. As soon as she arrives at his estate, Farraway Mist, however, strange things start to happen. As the couple’s feelings for each other grow, the events become more harrowing, until everything they hold dear is in peril.

 

 

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Review: Don’t Tell A Soul, by D.K Hood. 3 stars

MY REVIEW:

3 stars

Thank You NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

There is a lot going on with Don’t Tell A Soul… probably too much. I was really excited to read it based on the description, some awesome reviews, along with the first fifteen pages or so.  But, after that it was kind of rocky for me. It took me quite a while to get through this book, and it drove me nuts that I couldn’t just get attached enough to finish it faster. Some parts sucked me right in and were SO well written, but then some parts I really had to force myself to get through.

For the first half of the book I blamed it on a reading slump, but once I got over halfway through I realized it wasn’t me so much, as my dislike for the main characters and the chaos of too many angles contributing to the suspense. I would have been happy if it would have only been about the missing people with regular ol’ police force on the case, rather than both the Sheriff and Deputy Sheriff having such outrageous backstories. Their characters felt a little too convenient, and yet still rather irritatingly inconsistent.

There are two factors I loved about this book: 1. The opening was creative and sharp and it sucked me right in. 2. Each time it jumped into the disappeared victim’s stories, it was absolutely engaging. (if D.K. Hood ever wrote a horror story without the investigative aspect, I’d be the first in line to read it!!!)

Now, I really hate writing reviews that just list all the things I don’t like, so I’ll cut this short. Jenna’s character I struggled with. Sometimes she was a rock solid, brilliantly a don’t mess with me type, and I loved that… But then she would flip a switch and make weird rookie mistakes and turn into a helpless damsel. As for Kane, he drove me insane. All technical (paranoid over-thinker type), no personality.

At this point I’m about 70% sure I’ll read the next in the series. But, only because of the aspects I liked, I REALLY liked… Also out of curiosity in the potential that D.K. Hood’s writing truly has.. Not so much emotional or personal investment in the story.

DESCRIPTION:

When a body is found stuffed into a barrel at the local dump, covered in long red cuts, Detective Jenna Alton and her new deputy, David Kane, rush to the scene.

Nothing ever happens in the small town of Black Rock Falls, so Jenna believes the victim must be one of two recent missing persons, and she fears for the life of the other.

Both were strangers to the town, but there’s nothing else to link them. Jenna knows someone must have seen something, but no one’s talking; how well does she really know the people around her?

Then a disturbing clue makes Jenna suspect a connection with other disappearances in the town’s history. Just when she begins asking the right questions, she realises she’s being followed. Is she next on the killer’s list?

In a race against time, Jenna and David must unlock the dark secret at the heart of the town, before it’s too late…

Has It Really Been A Month?

I can’t even believe it’s been a full month since I released Search For Maylee! I just want to throw out here how grateful I am for everyone who has read my book so far. I’ve been completely washed over with positive comments and it means the world! Help me to celebrate Search For Maylee’s one month release-aversary by enjoying this short excerpt:

Threatening tears welled in her eyes, confirming the quiver of her voice to be genuine. Of course Jeremy noticed the hesitant display of emotion. He already knew that Autumn had a secret, one that she’d reveal when she was ready, and not a minute before. It didn’t matter that he wanted to push her for more information, because he didn’t actually dare too. Jeremy knew more than what he was letting on, and plus it was visible that Autumn might snap with violence, or even worse, cry. Soothing emotional women had never been Jeremy’s strong suit, so he left it be. She’d come around eventually, and patience was always on his side.

The thinking wheels in Jeremy’s head were practically visible on the curves of his face. A pulsing clench of his jaw read ‘piss off’ and the wrinkles on his forehead shouted ‘I can’t believe we’re doing this’.  With a mere flick of his hand, but no words, Jeremy pointed the way. It was in the exact opposite direction of the clearly visible freeway sign sitting comfortably at the stoplight to their left. Jeremy sunk himself into the seat, leaning far enough back that he could barely see out the window. Then he pulled the hood of his light jacket up over his head and crossed his arms over his chest. He was irritated, but compliant.

After a full hour’s test drive, Autumn learned two stiff facts. The first fact was that she had definitely chosen the right car. Not a single person so much as glanced in their direction. The second was a much more sickening fact, there were places in this city that were equally as disgusting as they were heart wrenching. In merely one morning, and without even exiting her vehicle, Autumn had witnessed a drunken mother slapping around her toddler, a hooker sleeping on her street corner after a long night’s work no doubt, and two groups of young men exchanging drugs and money in plain daylight. That’s not to mention the windowless apartment buildings, and heavily ‘caution’ taped sidewalks.

Description:

Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her Aunt Autumn has never lost hope in finding her. It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead. She moves across the country to find him. Will Autumn be able to pry Maylee’s case back open? More importantly, what will Autumn uncover in the process of searching for Maylee? It’s a cold dark world we live in, and she is about to find out just how cruel it can be. Strength and determination are on Autumn’s side and she will do what ever it takes.

One Hell Of A Bookish Month!

So much bookishness has happened with me in the month of October. I was sitting here staring blankly at my computer today, struggling to pull a little bit of write-spiration to the surface, when it hit me… You know, I could probably get away with taking the last two days of this month off because after all, it’s likely been the best bookish month I’ve had all year!!

First off, every single one of the books I’ve read and reviewed have been Fantastic!  So much so that I’ve given the last five books on my read-roster either a 4 or 5 star review, and the last three have all been FIVES!  I think this is some kind of record. Insanity! This never happens, it’s been an excellent reading month, if you want to check out the reviews here they all are:

The month of October also brought about so many milestones, celebrations, and collaborations!  Far more than any other month in 2017(yet).

I did my very first guest post. It was on the When Women Inspire Blog, and it turned out fantastic! I was able to talk about motherhood, which is my favorite subject there is, period. Change of Seasons: Coping as a Mother (Guest Post)

I was able to Interview my favorite author of all time Colleen Hoover!!  We addressed the Bookworm Box and her feeling about giving back to the public and charities. My Interview With Colleen Hoover!!

 

Also, as most of you may know I released my latest novel Search For Maylee!!  I’m so damn excited about this still!  The official release date was Oct. 6th. Since then I’ve had a Blog Tour with several stops hosted by Reads & Reels,(check out all of the reviews in the tour by clicking on the R&R link!) Along with a few interviews!!

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As far as milestones go, I’ve had a couple of BIG ones!!!  Not only did I reach the 1000 followers mark here on the blog, but I’ve also reached my one year Blogiversary!

Lastly, but most definitely not least(ly??) lol… I have marked one of my books down on price for most of the month. Because it’s the scariest month of the year here in the U.S. and we celebrate all things awful tomorrow on Halloween. The psychological thriller that I released last year, Aggravated Momentum, has been marked down to 99 cents!  If you haven’t grabbed your copy, then you may want to do so because tomorrow is the last day of the sale!

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WHEW!! I think that’s it, my October in a nutshell… For some reason I feel like I’m leaving something out. Of course. Hopefully I got it all though!  So here’s to an excellent month for everything bookish in my world. May there by many more, just as phenomenal!  Although, I have a feeling it’s going to be hard to top!

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New Age Lamians #teaser

26 Amazon reviewers have given New Age Lamians an average of 4.2 of 5 rating saying things like “Excellent Quick Read worthy of any nightstand.” and “More Than Your Average End-Time Novel!!” It’s  multi-genre steam-punk with a mythological twist.

Print Length: 152 pages  Publication Date: April 22, 2014

Read Free with Kindle Unlimited

***** Snippet*****

I studied the drifters face as I listened to his words. He was obviously aged by the sun and weather.  His  skin was like leather, with eyes covered in wrinkles, and a chin blanketed with hair.  His beard touched down to his mid neckline and moved as he spoke.  I listened to the scratch in his voice and watched the slight shake in his hands.  I wondered how old this man must be.  He spoke with a certain confidence and truth in his voice.  With his arms wrapped around the rolled up snakes skin, he left the crowd making his way to the tree line.  Bending at the waist, he unraveled the skin.  I watched as this towering man unrolled the ball.  He left one end at edge of the grass, and slowly rolled the rest through the waiting crowd, to the other end of the clearing.  The rolling ball grew smaller and smaller as the laid out portion was left behind in one long, thick, impossible skin stretching out across the entire length of the clearing.  Shock instilled into the voices of the men and women standing next to me. I on the other hand stood speechless along with my silent father.

The dead and detached skin of this snake stretched along the entire distance of the clearing that we had proclaimed as the marketplace.  Each scale was larger in diameter than the length of my wrist to forearm.   Fearful whispers lingered amongst the crowd.  “Where did you come across this snake skin?” ask my father.

“It has been passed through two other travelers before me, along with the story of its origins.  But I assure you sir, this is the skin of no snake.”

“It sure does look like a snake to me.”

“At first glance yes.” He replied, “But notice the shape.  It does not shrink down on both sides nor have the head of a snake.  It is triple the size on one end as the other.”

Again my father retorted “Well that doesn’t mean anything.  What if it is much larger and just broken in the middle?”

Rolling laughter escaped from the drifters lips. “I do like your style my good sir!…  come along with me to the end and I’ll show you something before I tell you all the tale of what this skin belongs to.”

My father walked next to the drifter and I followed close in tow.  The rest of the crowd slowly made their way behind us at a cautious distance.  I stared down at the skin laying at my feet as I made step after step to the edge of the clearing.  The skin grew wider and wider until it came to an abrupt stop. Pointing at the end of the shedding Johnson explained the way that scales shrunk back down around the edges and rounded out into a different shape along the final row.  In conclusion he noted the slight indents at the outer edges indicating the way the scales formed and attached to the creature.  Nodding his head my father seemed to agree with the drifters logic. I let my eyes wander down the length of the shedding.  I was overwhelmed by the size and mystery of it.  It was dark gray in color, unlike the average clear tan pigment held by most other reptile shedding.  Each scale had been diamond in shape.  An eerie beauty radiated from it, as its flow filled the grassy clearing and demanded the attention of every man and woman standing close to it.

“You do have my attention, Mr. Johnson.”

“Just Johnson please.”  He stated with a warm smile.  “They are calling these creatures Lamians.  Half serpent, half man… Well woman I should say.”  Already a head above the rest, he seemed to stand even taller.  His proud smile quickly faded into a menacing blank stare.  A cloud crossed over the wrinkles in his face and bags under his eyes.  “Upon much study, the story has been passed along with the skin. After seeing the terror in the eyes of a few men and women before I came across it, I believe every word.  It is said that snakes carrying the Lamian venom were stirred awake from an ancient sleep.   The shock of the lightning and the horrendous roll of the omnipotent thunder, unleashed its power.  Snakes containing the most potent of a magical line awoke from centuries of undisturbed slumber.

“The original beast was said to be transformed from a human into a serpent hundreds of thousands of years ago by an overwhelming loss in her life.  She cursed the Gods, and in turn was cursed herself to live out her life as a serpent.  Her name was Lamia. Upon being slaughtered, the unborn snakes inside of her was also put to rest by the gods.  Until the lightning began.  The storm awoke the decedent snakes of Lamia.  Her blood boiled in their veins.  Her sight peered through their eyes seeking out only the most beautiful woman alive.  Upon finding these women the snakes would sink their fangs deep into the flesh infecting them with their venom.  It is said that over time this venom changed the women bitten.  At first their beauty lasted for years not allowing them to age.  As time went on the serpent inside of them started to surface changing these women into an awful creature that feeds off of the pure blood and flesh of humans.  Once the serpent has completely taken over, the evil that is their new selves devour their old souls.  They can smell human life just waiting to be fed upon from miles away.  They move from house, to hut, and to cave consuming every human they come in contact with.  They travel and feed at night, amongst the lightning, when the rest of the world is in hiding.”

Glancing around at the faces in the crowd his expression remained the same as it had when he began his tale.  He explained that he had made it his mission to travel as far and as fast as he could to warn survivors of the storm, that the Lamians are coming.  He doesn’t know how far away this skin was picked up or how fast the creature moves.  He also stated that it has been at least a year since he has been to a place that had already heard of the beast.  I looked up and down the length of the clearing at the giant shed skin of the serpent as he spoke.  No mater how hard I imagined I just could not picture this horrendous being.  My stomach twisted and stirred at the thought.  I was only 22 years old at the time with no life experience other than that of our cave and the marketplace.  I am now 26, and my story is one of courage and heartbreak.

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PLEASE ALSO ENJOY AGGRAVATED MOMENTUM AS IT’S CURRENTLY ON SALE FOR $.99
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Only A Few Days Left

Every time I mark a book down for sale there’s a part of me that feels a little drug dealerish. Especially since the book I have on sale now is an adult book. Like I’m being naughty selling naughty things. Part of me wants to stand in a dark alley, like a nerdy 120 lb blonde girl hangin’ with the pimps, ready to pedal my raunchy product. I’d peek around the corner and watch for people in their early twenties to mid forties to stroll by, so I can creep half of my face around the edge of a building to get their attention. I’d say,

“Pssst… Hey you?”  Then I’d look over my shoulder to make sure no one is watching before I gave them a nod to my direction. “Comher’ I think I got somethin’ you might like.”

I can see it now. They’d be hesitant, because it’s weird. But ultimately, most of them would casually stroll over, trying to be all nonchalant so they don’t get caught falling for a trick in a dark alley. When actually, they’re a tiny bit frightened at the unknown and little swirl of excitement at being a rebel is filling their core. Curiosity is fuming. I mean, really, what could a girl like me possibly have to offer in a place like this. Then just when their senses are heightened and a lump is formed in the base of their throat from the dicey situation they find themselves in, Id ask,

“So…. You like to read? Want a thrill ride?”

I’m pretty sure I could run a fairly successful underground operation!  I’d call it covert book nerd, and the the sneaky deals.

Anyhow. My book will only be on sale until Tuesday. So here’s the link.

DESCRIPTION:

Not everything is as it seems in what appears to be an average family. When danger lurks so close to home, skeletons emerge, and the darkest of secrets surface, causing twisted desires to become reality. Aggravated Momentum offers the perspective of some very diverse and unique characters, including fun, witty personalities to fall in love with, along with an intellectual killer to die for. You may be surprised as to whom exactly you can relate. Is it the cold, calculated murderer, who’s name is yet to be revealed? Markie or Kam, the independent sisters, guilty of nothing more than getting tangled with the wrong people at the most inopportune times? Or, the cowardly snake curled in a hidden corner? Who are you, exactly? And, more importantly, who are they? The deeper you dig into the psyche of another, the more breath taking are the secrets you will find.

Review: The Secret Mother, by Shalini Boland 5 stars

My Review:

5 of 5 stars

The Secret Mother is the first of Shalini Boland’s books I’ve read, and I’m extremely pleased!  It’s the kind of book with the kind of characters that I just want to dissect every little part of. I’m one hundred percent satisfied with the character development, it’s perfect. Tessa’s character is brilliantly written. She’s layered perfectly. The plot of the entire book unravels itself at a very clever pace. Each imperative detail is strategically placed in the perfect spots. The writing style is admirably straight forward, the picture is drawn beautifully, the plot is unfolded very neatly before your eyes as a reader. It’s impeccable, I love that!

The book starts out with the main character Tessa coming home to a child in her home. He seems completely at ease there, is drawing a picture of her, and when she walks in he asks her if she’s his Mummy. What a powerful start, right? From here everything spirals. Tessa is forced through a long journey of sorting out her past as well as trying to make sense of the boy.

One odd thing about this boy is that his entire origin seems off. Something about him is a very intriguing mystery.

A few things that I really like about the book is that Tessa isn’t so sure about her sanity. She seems to recollect her past as well as detailed events as they play out, but then she questions herself. This quality about Tessa keeps you kind of guessing, and it really adds to her persona. I also really like the way her co-workers, neighbor, boss, and ex-husband’s characters are so in depth. Everyone who is woven in and out of Tessa’s life is perfectly developed. Even the way the news reporters, the hateful assumptive public, and all the media in general are portrayed in a way that really fits.

As Tessa’s psyche unravels, it becomes very clear that the pockets in her emotional baggage are extremely deep. Her maternal instincts are impeccable. This book has undeniably won itself a spot amongst my favorite psychological family dramas. I absolutely loved it! This is a must read!

Thank you NetGalley and the Publisher for a free copy of this book for my honest review.

DESCRIPTION:

Tessa Markham comes home to find a child in her kitchen. He thinks she’s his mother. But Tessa doesn’t have any children.

Not anymore.

She doesn’t know who the little boy is or how he got there.

After contacting the police, Tessa comes under suspicion for snatching the child. She must fight to prove her innocence. But how can she convince everyone she’s not guilty when even those closest to her are questioning the truth? And when Tessa doesn’t even trust herself…

A chilling, unputdownable thriller with a dark twist that will take your breath away and make you wonder if you can ever trust anyone again. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Sister.

Living In Your Killer’s Head

With the preference of first person writing comes a strange and sometimes overwhelming character absorption. In other words – you can’t just portray the image of your character, you actually have to become that person in thought. Not every personality written can be a bubbly little ball of joy whose words flow like rainbows and eyes dance magically in the light of  sunshine and happiness. The dark dreaded characters also have to be created (especially in thrillers, obviously).

I remember reading an article a few years back about actors who “become” the character they are playing in movies or shows.  They will live their lives exactly how that said character would do, sometimes for months at a time.  They will talk like them, walk like them, dress like them, and even react to life’s events with a certain dramatic flare – just as their characters would do.  As I was reading this article I thought to myself ‘wow, seems a bit extreme’.  Then I brushed the entire notion under a rug in the back of my mind. While writing the killer in Aggravated Momentum, I somehow lifted that memory rug and let the dust of it fly free. If you think about it, writing a personality isn’t too much different from acting one. Both require a very personal connection.

Now, I clearly didn’t re-route my psyche and run around with a gutting knife chopping people to bits. I did however, develop a horrible trait of minor self-loathing.  YES I do realize how completely depressing that sounds, and NO my point is not for any level of pity.  I don’t need a hug, or even a pat on the back. The intention of this post is merely to share my own writing experience with others who may be having the same unwelcome emotions while hashing out what could possibly be their next best seller.

Every great writer and actor alike have a switch. This on/off switch allows them to toggle back and forth between themselves and their characters. When creating the sickest, most twisted personalities, that switch isn’t so easily flipped.  Unfortunately, It’s common for it to get stuck somewhere in the middle. It took me months to write what should have been done in weeks.  During that process, or emotional slump I should call it, I’d often ask myself ridicules questions like: Am I actually an evil person to be able to think this sh*t up? Why am I able to relate with such narcissism? And… What is wrong with me, to enjoy a raunchy sex scene through a killers eyes?  I actually found myself wallowing in question of self-character and integrity. That is until I made a conscious decision to slap that silly toggle switch senseless, and knock it proper.

One morning upon waking it hit me. Before I was even able to stand to my feet I promised myself that ‘today is the damn day’. I had had it.  I knew that my killer’s personality was imperative and that moping around like a petty little slave to him was undeniably juvenile! So, I got rid of my kids for the day and went to work. I completely submerged myself into this character, stopping only to eat and shower. I did this every day for over a week.  I cried, I shook, I worked on my calm breathing techniques and I visited parts of my mind that until then was completely untapped. Then, the very instance I finished up his character, I put it way.  I set my writing on the back-burner and spent the next two weeks cleansing the palate.  I played with my children, went on dates with my husband, and watched countless hours of Disney movies.

The moral of my tale is this:  Figure out your switch! It is okay to “become” your characters to a certain point, but never ever linger in a place you’re uncomfortable with.  Write your story (even the darkest of them) in a way that is healthy and wholesome no mater the circumstance. If your book requires you to tap into a part of yourself that is better off left untouched, then maybe it is best to jump into the water completely, swim your laps, and then get the heck out of the pool!

This is Aggravated Momentum, the book I mentioned, and it’s actually on sale right now for 99 cents for a Scary month special!!

 

Writing Grief Stricken Characters

Writing a character that’s processing some sort of grief can be a very delicate situation. On one hand you don’t want your manuscript to be so completely depressing that it turns your readers off, yet on the other hand you want to do right by your character and portray their emotions properly.

The best way to execute this, is with balance.

Give your character plenty of personality and circumstance outside of a good wallowing. Build up your characters positive traits. Enough so that your readers will be rooting for them. They’ll understand and feel the character’s pain, yet rather than getting pulled down along side the character they’ll be cheering the character on to rise up.

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Remember the complexity of grief

There is a lot more to grief than sadness. There’s a sense of emptiness that comes along with grief, and depending on the person/character other traits and emotions come out of this emptiness. Anxiety, confusion, unexplainable anger, panic, guilt, sometimes even carelessness, and more.

Now, I’m not saying to pen your character into some crazed lunatic bouncing around to each of these (unless you want, cause wow that could be an interesting read. And, after all you’re the creator, right? lol) BUT, I am saying to incorporate a few scenes into the story line that will portray a sense of the complexity that best fits your character in particular.

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Give your character a purpose, and/or outlet in some way.

What works for some authors doesn’t necessarily work for all of them. Same can be said about the book in general. What works for some doesn’t work for all. Giving your character a purpose can be however big or small you want to make it. It can be a hobby that helps take their minds off of the grief (even if only for the moment). It can be another character helping them along as their outlet. No mater the case, it can help your character development immensely to give your grief stricken person something that offers balance in helping them work through the grief.

Just an example: In my book Search For Maylee the purpose I gave my protagonist, Autumn, was the main plot point of the entire story. Her mission motivated her, and forced her to find strength and determination amidst all of the negative emotions.

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Another good way to add balance is reminders

Tell your characters more than once about the trauma. They need to understand on a deeper level than a one time explanation.  When something happens worth grieving over, that something becomes a part of that person/character. They are reminded of their grief everywhere they go and with everything they do. Make your readers feel those reminders right alongside the character.

 

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