This week’s Author Spotlight shines on P.J. Mann
P.J. Mann is first of all a traveler who cannot live without having a flight ticket to the next destination. Her wanderings brought her to meet new people, cultures, and places from where she gets the inspiration for her novels. She doesn’t like to restrict her stories to a particular genre, although she prefers crime stories to which she adds her personal twists of introspection, proposing an alternative point of view to the many issues of life.
Her Latest Release – The Ghosts of Morgan Street
In the city of New York, the homeless problem has reached breaking point – but the Governor’s new enrichment program promises to change everything…
When he took shelter in the abandoned house of Morgan Street, Jake entered a close-knit community of the downtrodden and dispossessed, surviving only by selling himself on the street.
Yet now, as winter approaches, the swearing of a new state governor sparks hope, and soon the house’s residents find themselves leaving, one by one, for better lives. As Jake moves into a new home, his friend Patrick, an addict, enters rehab at one of the Governor’s new rehab centers.
But all is not well within the facility walls.
Unexplained disappearances and a terrified message from his friend force Jake and his erstwhile ‘customer’, Chief Detective Ayden of the NYPD, to peer beneath the surface of the Governor’s plans for the homeless people in the rehab facility. It’s only when they find a strange list of crossed-off names that the former residents of Morgan Streets realize they might have been safer out on the streets.
He walked for some time alone trying to get some order in the chaos he had in his mind. He looked around and called a taxi.
“Where do I have to bring you, Sir?” The taxi driver asked.
“I know I should go back home, but I am not sure I am ready for that,” he replied amused.
“Troubles with your lady?” The driver dared to ask, glancing at Darren from the rear-view mirror.
Darren smiled, “No, trouble with my own thoughts.”
“Are you worried about the interview you will have tomorrow, Sir?” he asked, recognizing him.
“Somehow, yes. I tell you what, give me a tour of the places where the people who will benefit the most from my campaign are,” Darren said.
“I know a place where you can have a good idea of what you will have to deal with, and it won’t be pleasant,” he warned, whilst he started to drive.
“I know what you are talking about. This afternoon, I went to one of these centers, where people volunteer to offer a safe place for drug addicts to get their fix. They are doing a great job, in my opinion, but they will need more funds to be able to help more people. They do not have any way to treat them; those are not rehab hospitals. However, they offer an invaluable tool to avoid at least that they will get infected with life-threatening diseases, by sharing the syringes.”
“You saw just the clean part of the problem. People living in poverty, who cannot afford a house, a decent health care or even collect three meals a day, are too many. Their lifestyle is something nobody dares even to think about or figure out,” he replied.
Darren nodded, “it seems like you know a lot about it,” he noticed.
“I was once like them, but I am just an exception to the rule. I was lucky to be found by a far relative of mine, who helped me; many of those people do not have the same luck. Most of the people on the streets do not have a family or friends or anyone who cares about them,” he explained.
“It seems like I will have to deal with ghosts,” Darren considered almost within himself.
“The ghosts of the society’s dirty consciousness; It is easy for the government to forget about them, virtually they do not exist. They are not paying taxes or contribute in any way to the economy of the country. Therefore, if they suddenly disappear, no one will ever notice it. There won’t be anyone to miss them, besides the people who share the same situation,” he said. “You can already start to look now; these are the ghosts you are promising to bring back to life. They are drug addicts, alcoholics, indigent people, prostitutes; people of almost all ages and walks of life. The largest homeless community is living here, on Morgan St.”
A Tale of a Rough Diamond
Not all that glitters is diamond; sometimes it is only glass. But even its sharp edges will never hurt you like family.
Stephan is living a life every teenager would envy. Son of a wealthy businessman, he lives carefree and carelessly. However, nothing is as it seems, and his perfect life is doomed; it has been since before he was even born. Days thrill-seeking, nights lock-picking; it’s all just about to fall apart.
His older brother has uncovered a secret. For all their years together, Roger has envied Stephan’s life, his success, the attention he has from their father, but now Roger can wait no longer; this is the moment, the moment he can hurt Stephan the most, when he can turn Stephan’s choices against him, tear apart everything he cherishes, and steal away his future.
With secrecy and the resources of the Russian Mafia on his side, the older Mills brother effortlessly brings Stephan’s world down around him, a single tip-off to the police burying him under the ruins of his former life.
After a year behind bars, Stephan seems to have no hope, no future. Cut off even from the rest of his family, can he reclaim his life and freedom, or will he sink still lower? Will his years of petty crime damn him, or will they be enough to help him fight back?
And will he have to do it alone?
Here’s an excerpt:
Roger looked at his hands. They were shaking – that nervous shake he’d learned to recognize and deal with a long time ago. His head felt as if it were going to explode, so strong was the pain he felt.
He reached for the cabinet, where he kept the first-aid kit and took a couple of analgesic pills. He knew they wouldn’t really help, but he took them anyway.
He was expecting two guests, both very important. The first one didn’t worry him at all, as he knew he could easily be dealt with.
The second one, however, was on a totally different level. The success or failure of all he had built so far was at stake – his firm, his career, his wealth, and his own life. That was the reason for the restless state of his mind, that made his hands shake and his head ache.
He looked anxiously at the clock. There was still time, but it seemed as his heart had a different perception of time, and it started to race in his chest. He took a couple of deep breaths and went to sit in the armchair behind his desk.
He made himself comfortable, sinking into the soft leather, and closed his eyes to regain some calm. He thought about what the deal of the game was, and how the success of both the meetings was to be achieved. Success was not an option.
As soon as he felt his heart calm down, he opened his eyes. The internal phone rang.
“Yes,” he answered calmly.
“Mr. Mills, there is a certain Mr. Raven here,” replied Stacey, his secretary, in her crystalline voice. “He has asked to talk to you. He said he had an appointment, but his name isn’t in the diary.”
“Let him in,” said Roger. “I called him today. I’m sorry I hadn’t told you about him.”
The heavy door opened, and a strange-looking person walked in, carefully closing the door behind him. Roger examined him from head to foot, trying to decipher what kind of person he would have to deal with, and smiled. Far too easy, he thought.
The young man was a miserable punk, the kind you’d expect to see ending up in jail, but not for serious crimes. No, this one would never have had the guts or be smart enough to plan anything more elaborate than robbing apartments.
“Thanks for coming, Mr. Raven,” said Roger. “I’m sorry for inviting you here at such short notice, without explaining my reasons.” He stood up from his chair.
The man looked suspiciously at Roger. He had no idea why he had been asked to see him.
“Please take a seat,” continued Roger charmingly. “Make yourself comfortable.”
Raven sat, his face expressionless. “Thank you,” he said in a low tone of voice.
Deadly Deception -Book I
Ethan is a liar.
He can’t help it, he doesn’t even realize he’s doing it, but he lies to everyone he meets, and he doesn’t know how to stop.
Cut off from those around him, Ethan finds himself at the door of Dr. Wright, agreeing to a radical treatment. Ethan will leave his home of Boston behind to tour the world, and, given a plane ticket and a course of experimental medication, change his life forever.
But when, mid-treatment and a thousand miles from home, Ethan is accused of murder, how can he, or the embassy, or even his closest friends defend him? After all, Ethan can’t remember where he was the night the murder happened – all he knows for sure is he was with the woman just before she died.
With his freedom and sanity at stake, the truth seems to be further from Ethan’s grasp than ever. But then, if he wants to keep his freedom, perhaps lies are all he can depend on.
Here’s a sample:
From the moment that I was forced to take a break from Karen, the time seemed to fly away.
The day after, I left South Africa and I arrived in the evening at the Livingstone airport. That was a small one, as I noticed from the beginning as we could walk from our airplane to the arrival gate.
I looked around, and the gate itself looked quite small. In fact, it was just a small hall at the end of which was the passport control.
Quite minimalist, I thought, but at least not disperse, and hopefully quite efficient.
I positioned myself in a queue together with the other passengers of the flight and waited for my turn to get my entry visa. I was making a fast visual tour of the surroundings when I spotted something interesting. It was an information poster where it was stated that now it was possible to get the visa for both Zambia and Zimbabwe straight away from the Livingstone airport, and it cost fifty U.S. dollars.
That’s a bargain, I thought, and immediately decided for that option, rather than paying the same amount for having the visa only for one country.
Somewhere, I read that the Victoria Falls were more beautiful and spectacular from the Zimbabwe side, and I didn’t want to miss that occasion.
I waited and waited. The queue wasn’t long, but the border officers were a bit slow in issuing the visas, and I wondered whether I was supposed to spend the night in that hall.
Eventually, after a long wait, I got the double visa, and then I rushed to the baggage claim, hoping that, at least there, the wait wasn’t too long.
Luckily, due maybe to the fact that there weren’t many passengers with me on the plane, and that the air traffic was reduced, I got my luggage in a matter of seconds. Thankful for that good news, I walked to the exit, hoping to find a taxi.
“Do you need a taxi, sir?” a man asked promptly as he saw me coming out.
“I guess so. I need to go to this hotel,” I said, showing the reservation.
“Sure. No problem,” he said, handing the reservation back to me.
“How much that would be?” I asked routinely.
He thought about it for a while, “It is going to be ten dollars,” he replied as we walked to the parking lot.
I didn’t know whether this was a fair price or not. I didn’t ask to make a bargain; I wanted to be sure that the price was settled beforehand so that there wouldn’t be any bad surprises as I arrived at the hotel.
The price seemed to me quite fair as we drove a long distance to reach the city. Though, when the taxi driver took a secondary and unpaved road, I started to be a little afraid that he didn’t understand at all the place where I needed to be.
It was already dark, and I didn’t have any idea of where we were, or where he was driving me. Moreover, I didn’t have the courage to ask anything.