Kindle Countdown Deal – Behind the Mask & UNMASKED!

BookstogetherStarting Friday, November 16, 2018, Kindle versions of the novels Behind the Mask and the sequel, UNMASKED will be available for only $.99.  The sale will continue through Friday, November 23, 2018.  Both are available at Amazon.com.

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle App for free at Apple.com or for Android at Google Play.

Excerpt from Behind the Mask:

“Hold the elevator?” Remi shouted at the top of her lungs.  But no one did.  “Thanks a lot,” she yelled out.  She then impatiently waited, tapping her foot as the heavy-weighted bags numbed her aching arms.  After what seemed like hours, the doors eventually re-opened, but a barrage of passengers filed out, knocking into her causing the two larger bags to drop. “Dammit!”

An assortment of paper products and food items were strewn all over the lobby.  She immediately started picking them up while spouting obscenities.  “Aren’t there any nice people left in this world?” she bellowed.  Liam walked up, completely unaware of whom the agitated, young lady was. “Need some help?” he asked, setting aside his luggage and kneeling down.  She nodded, but her back was to him so that he couldn’t see her face.  He grabbed one of the bags and filled it back up while Remi scurried around, trying to retrieve bottles of soda.  Liam picked up a small block of Colby-jack cheese, and as he was about to hand it over, he finally caught a glimpse of her face.  He was instantly taken aback as if he had just seen a ghost. Her hair was much shorter than he remembered.  But what he could never forget were those dark blue eyes, as they still reminded him of sapphires.  “Are you okay?” she asked, flashing a warm smile.  That was something he wasn’t on the receiving end of when they were locked inside of the vault.  He recalled her smiling, but it was tainted with fear and uncertainty. 

“Yeah, I just remembered that I forgot something,” he lied.   

She studied him for a moment, causing him to squirm internally.  As their eyes locked on one another for a brief moment, he thought for sure she recognized him.  “Can I have the cheese?” she asked, holding out her hand.  “Yeah—sorry,” he said, somewhat flustered.  Her fingers had barely gripped hold of it before Liam pulled his hand back.  “Are you sure you’re okay?” she questioned, wrinkling her forehead. That was reminiscent of their time in the vault, with her constant perplexed expression, along with curious observations.  But regardless, she never saw his face.

The one thing he hadn’t thought of was his voice.  He thought she had to at least remember that, especially when there was an awkward pause.  He thought for sure he’d been caught, but then she just smiled and thanked him for his help, pretty much affirming she hadn’t a clue.

Excerpt from UNMASKED:

Luckily, Olivia’s cell phone rang, giving Remi the out she needed. “I’ll let you get that,” she said, quickly exiting and sprinting down the hall towards the ladies room.  After frantically barreling herself through the door, she instantly infiltrated the closet stall, where she dropped to her knees and hugged the toilet.  With vapid tears streaming down her cheeks, she tried to curb the vomit that had built up inside of her throat.  However, it was futile because soon she began to puke violently.  “Oh God,” she cried out, as her morning coffee and cinnamon bagel made a reappearance.  Just then one of her co-workers entered the restroom and asked if she was all right.  In an attempt to disguise the true nature of her meltdown, Remi suppressed the tears and yelled out, “Yeah, I think it’s just food poisoning.”

“Can I get you anything?” the concerned young woman asked.  “No, thanks, I’ll be fine,” she replied, hoping the woman would leave, which thankfully she did.  And once she was alone, Remi leaned against the stall wall and let the tears flow again.  She knew she had to tell Liam that he was right.  The police had the bag all along. Cradling her now bent knees, while sitting on the dirty, tiled lavatory floor, she had only two thoughts running through her head.  One, how hard it was going to be to tell Liam about the bag. And the second was purely selfish; it was the thought of losing him.  She took a few deep breaths, trying desperately to regroup.  However, it took close to ten minutes for her to finally climb up off the floor.  Then it took another five for her to make it to the sink.  After scrubbing her hands, she grabbed a handful of paper towels, wetted them with cold water and proceeded to dab them all over her face and neck. Glancing into the mirror, all she could see was her eyes, still moist and crimson from the barrage of tears. An indication of how horrible she felt at that moment.  She then popped a wintergreen mint into her mouth and pulled out her phone to call Liam, but stopped short of clicking his name.  Thinking that maybe doing it over the phone wasn’t the smartest of choices, she decided to go see him instead.

To avoid Olivia spotting her tear-swollen eyes, Remi purposely kept her face skewed by the doorframe when she peeked her head into Olivia’s office. “I’m not feeling well, think it might be food poisoning,” she fibbed.  “Is it okay if I go home?”

“Of course, go get some rest and feel better soon,” said Olivia.  Remi thanked her then hurriedly got out of there.  She had barely made it to the street when she began yelling for a taxi.  Fortunately, one pulled right up.  “Kitty Hawk Avenue at the Navy shipyard—I mean Braddock and Associates,” she snapped at the driver then apologized for her rudeness.  She started to search the address on her phone, but the driver stated he knew the location.  Remi slumped down into the backseat, and something unfamiliar happened, she dreaded seeing Liam.

Kindle Countdown Deal – UNMASKED

UnmaskedCoverWebsite1Kindle edition for my novel, UNMASKED will be available at Amazon.com for only $.99 starting Monday, July 16th, 2018.  The sale will continue through Saturday, July 21st, 2018.

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle App (for other devices) for free at Apple.com or for Android at Google Play.

Excerpt from UNMASKED:

Though he was doing a good job concentrating on the task at hand, his thoughts once again betrayed him, by sending him right back to the Bank of Philadelphia.  But this time, it wasn’t the meetings before or the actions afterward, it was right at the point when he and Tom retrieved the diamonds.  They each had one of the two keys required to open the safety deposit box, and Liam thought about how as they unlocked the box, he was oblivious to Remi being in the vault with them.  He was so focused on the diamonds that to him, she didn’t exist.  Of course, she soon became very real when right before they were about to exit, Tom asked what they should do with her. Those dark blue eyes, he thought. It was as if those eyes could see directly into his soul.  Liam remembered telling Tom just to leave her.  Never realizing that it was at that exact moment, he began protecting Remi. Even with his own empty threats against her, looking back, he had to laugh at the irony.  Other than knowing she was one of the tellers, she was a stranger to him and knew little about her but yet he was still compelled to risk it all for her.  “You identified with your hostage, that’s a big no-no.”  Remi’s own words certainly rang true, in more ways than one.

He gazed up at the full moon then started smiling.  “No regrets, no emotions, no involvement…blah blah blah,” he uttered.  Those words sounded so false now.  While inside the vault, Remi asked who he was trying to convince, after his cold declaration that hostages were just part of the job.  She didn’t believe him, and at the time, he thought she was dead wrong, but now knew she was right.  It took someone like her to make him face reality.  And face it, he did.  The longer he laid there, the more he realized that not only did he want to go back to Philly, but he needed to go back. – Chapter 5

 

Ugh…Reviews!

 

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I recently found out that Amazon has the power to remove whatever reviews they want.  Their reason…any reviews that can be considered biased, will be nixed.  So, this pretty much sucks, when friends and family support your work and want to help you out by reviewing your book, only to find out that because of their close relationship to you, the review is null and void.  I understand it, to a point, because apparently, it can skew a potential reader’s decision on whether to purchase a book or not.  This is a recent policy because the reviews on my debut novel, Behind the Mask (2014), haven’t been removed and one of them has the same last name as me.  Just saying!

Anyway, I’m glad I’m now aware of this little nugget because though positive reviews are great to receive, I also want them to appear genuine.  And certainly, don’t want them to come across as false.  Even though I know they are legit, some may not believe that.

This brings me to another area of reviews, an extremely ugly dark side.  One that I knew existed but honestly avoided.  Maybe I subconsciously chose not to read reviews for fear of what I’d see, but when I happened to notice the sudden removal of reviews for my latest book, Unmasked, that’s when I spotted a truly mean-spirited review (dated from April 2016 – Kindle Edition) of Behind the Mask   This particular review was beyond scathing and this person did not hold back.  And I’ve always said, can’t please everyone and I still stand by that.  Plus, I’m the first to admit, my debut novel was filled with typos, grammatical errors, and the writing wasn’t the best, not by a long shot.  But what it was…was something I was passionate about and put my heart and soul into for many years.  I know a good editor would have done wonders for it, I’m not naïve or stupid, but editors are costly, so I opted against it.  Probably not the wisest of choices.  And for me to put myself out there was HUGE, and for those that know me, I’ve never been one to seek the limelight or be center of attention, so just allowing others to read my work was a big accomplishment.  And I knew I had to grow a thick skin, that people were going to be critical and I had to learn to take it.  I’m open to constructive criticism.  Pointing out mistakes in a tactful way is fine and welcomed.  Being bitter and doing it in a harsh manner, comes across like a personal attack, especially when it’s someone’s debut novel, that he/she self-published.  It’s a learning process.  I’m sorry that person had such an awful experience reading my novel; I never thought I’d provoke that much negativity and be cut down to the core like that.  Hating a story is one thing, loathing the writing itself took it to a whole other level.

That said, it did make me go back and do the one thing I hadn’t done in a while—read through the entire book of Behind the Mask.  The mistakes are glaring, and stick out like a sore thumb.  It’s like reading the good, the bad, and the ugly all rolled up into one.  Not making excuses, well maybe I am, but this was my first attempt at writing a novel, so I guess it could have been worse.  Regardless, I’ve decided to clean it up, which is something I should have done sooner, but after I read it over so many times back in 2014, that I most likely began to skip over all the mistakes.  It’s easier to do than one might think, which is why an editor is definitely needed.

So, in closing.  For those, who have copies of the original Behind the Mask, whether paperback or Kindle edition, I thank you very much for reading through the mistake-plagued version and for all the positive feedback.  When I’m finished revising (no story changes, just a more polished version with fewer mistakes) I’m going to submit it on Amazon.  Kindle owners may or may not get an update that the book has been revised.  I’ll make an announcement when I’ve done it, just in case.

Lesson learned #5,789 – don’t read reviews  🙂

 

Kindle Countdown Sale – Behind the Mask

BehindtheMaskBookWebsiteBefore the sequel read about how a masked gunman became a reluctant hero to a young woman who would forever change his life.  My debut novel, Behind the Mask, Kindle edition will be available on Amazon.com for only $.99 starting this Friday, May 11th, 2018.  The sale will continue through Friday, May 18th, 2018.

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle App for free at Apple.com or for Android at Google Play

Excerpt from Behind the Mask:

He had never regretted his decisions; stealing was a means to an end. Guilt was something he kept at bay. An expert at being selfish, he made zero apologies for it, but he didn’t enjoy dealing with hostages. He preferred the jobs that were done overnight, where no one else was involved, or the smash and grab ones where everything was done in record time. On the other hand, Charles and Tom took great pleasure in watching innocent people suffer. Up until that point though, no hostage had ever been sexually violated or killed under Liam’s watch, and he had planned on keeping it that way. Even though he did threaten Remi, he never had any intention of harming her. He hated to admit it, but she was absolutely correct in her assessment of him. He was certainly no angel, but she was safe—at least with him. – Behind the Mask

Literary Agent Rejection Letters

Back in June of 2014, I began the difficult task of sending out query letters and a 10-page synopsis of Behind the Mask, to a list of literary agents I found at WritersMarkets.com.  Having absolutely NO clue what I was doing, I researched how to go about the process.  And I’m pretty sure I did it all wrong, but the longer I do this, the more I learn.

So, the query letter was awful, even when I read it now, I cringe.  And the 10-page synopsis, which needed to basically spoil the reader, was harder to write than one would imagine.  But I was undeterred in my quest to make a fool of myself.  I say that because though I felt I had a decent story to tell, I wasn’t fully confident I had succeeded in writing it.

After skimming through the names of hundreds of agents, I just picked out ones that I assumed handled fictional novels.  I typed up the required self-addressed stamped envelopes, stuck in the query letter, along with the synopsis and hoped for the best.

Since I self-published both of my books you can guess what happened.  However, I had heard horror stories about some of the rejections letters authors had received, even famous ones.  Therefore, I was prepared for the slaughter, but surprisingly the rejections weren’t as painful as I expected.  That being said, after the tenth one or so, can’t say they didn’t sting a little.

I sent out 24 in all and got back 20.  Some were just my query letter sent back to me with a few words written on them, stating how they weren’t interested.  Some were a standard stock robotic letter, saying they couldn’t represent me.  But a few were very kind and no one told me it all out sucked.  Or that I should give up writing.  There was one in particular who wrote the most amazing letter and told me how she saw it as a movie, but I didn’t submit a screenplay, I submitted a novel.  Two completely different things.  Not going to lie, can’t say I haven’t thought about the movie version, but I’m a realist.  Even though she didn’t represent me, I never forgot about her letter.  The following are just three of the rejection letters, to show the difference in responses.  The first one is my favorite:

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Welcome!

I’ll begin this ‘welcome’ post with a disclaimer…this website is a work in progress.  After blogging via Blogger (blogspot) for years, this is my first time working with WordPress.  And I’m learning as I go so this site may go through many changes and tweaks before I get it to where I’m happy with it.  For those who already know me, that won’t surprise them, because though I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a perfectionist, I’m my harshest critic.  However, I wanted to get this site up and running, instead of leaving it dormant.  And since I’m releasing my second novel, waiting to launch this website, didn’t make much sense.  So, here it is.

–  Heather Carnassale