Monday, August 25, 2014

Early Review: "Funeral with a View"

When Ricky Franchitti, father and husband, finds himself on the receiving end of a beer truck, life takes a turn for the … afterlife.

Tethered to his body, Ricky is forced to relive the years up to his death, from first love with his wife, Cat, to the birth of their daughter. Told in retrospect, this modern take on It’s a Wonderful Life is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining. Many pop culture references will have fans of 80’s and 90’s comedies smiling. The banter between the main characters immediately endears them. Funeral with a View is a poignant look at Ricky’s journey to discover what “unfinished business” is keeping him from moving on.

To say more about the story would give away too much.

In the tradition of Matt Schiariti’s debut novel Ghosts of Demons Past, Funeral with a View has the wit and charm his readers have come to expect with newfound heart. Unconventionally romantic with its fair share of twists, this funeral will inspire more than tears. It’ll restore your faith in true love.

FOUR enthusiastic stars!

While this is an early review, Funeral with a View will be coming soon. Add it to your Goodreads TBR by clicking HERE.

"Better Left Buried" Excerpt (YA/NA Mystery)




Harmony rolled onto her side and draped her leg over Adam’s. Sweat plastered her long brown hair to her face as she turned her head back and forth against her pillow, trying to block out the heavy footfall she heard in her sleep. Work boots. She couldn’t see them, but the clip-clop sound was unmistakable. A porch swing creaked. A door slammed. The smell of smoke filled her nose, transporting her to the dark place that, a year earlier, had pushed her over the line toward suicide. Had her mother not found her, she would’ve been dead. Drifting further into the dream, the irony of the situation wasn’t lost on her.

“There’s my girl.” A gruff voice breaks through the haze and Harmony turns on her heel. A smiling man crushes out his cigarette in an ashtray on the arm of the porch swing and reaches for her. He has a gentle way about him, but he is blurry. Her memory does its best to recreate something long-forgotten, but she is seeing him as if looking through someone else’s much-too-strong prescription glasses.
She runs toward him, her pigtails catching the wind and flapping behind her. He feels like safety and she rushes up the few porch steps to fling herself at him. He catches her. He always catches her, and this time is no different. He pulls her close and blows raspberries on her cheek, the stale beer on his breath familiar and strangely comforting. She throws back her head and laughs, but her giggling is cut short by the storm clouds gathering in the sky above them. Before she can ask what’s happening, she is ripped from his arms and dragged through time to a ruined version of the same scene where the house is dark and the porch swing sways empty.
A raging bonfire dies to a shower of dancing embers that rains down on her like volcanic ash. The cold night air burns her throat and she coughs as the tendrils of smoke work their way into her lungs. She walks toward the boarded-up house wearing only a band tee and a pair of black underwear. She’s no longer a little girl. Dread tightens every muscle.
An icy breeze cuts through the thin cotton, making her shiver.
No one answers.
The front door is locked.
She wiggles the handle and pounds the heel of her hand against the jamb. The cold makes it hurt but she keeps at it, listening to the scuffle of feet inside.  There’s a struggle. Someone she loves is in trouble.  She runs around the side of the house, past the tire swing in the tree and the fire pit, to the back screen door and screams to be let in. She beats her fist against the wooden crossbeam, noticing red droplets leeching through the tiny gray squares.
A crimson slick coats her hand, bringing her back to the night she tried to end her life.
Panic sets in, the fear of being back on the bathroom floor of her mother’s shitty trailer, bleeding and in pain.
 “Help. Someone, please help me.”
She claws at the screen, her fingertips searching for a weak spot or tear, but it’s impenetrable. There is no help. Only when she works up the courage to wipe her forearms clean does she realize the blood isn’t hers.

“Harmony, wake up!” Adam’s voice drew her back. She inhaled like a drowning victim breaking water, grappling to get a hold on him. “It’s all right. I’ve got you.” He rocked her against his tattooed chest, stroking her hair. She could scarcely catch her breath. “It’s only a bad dream,” he whispered.
But even three-quarters asleep, she knew it was more than that.

-Copyright 2014 Belinda Frisch All Rights Reserved

Friday, August 22, 2014

"Fatal Reaction" Giveaway

For those of you who haven't heard the news, Fatal Reaction is on its way. My voice actress is the very talented Julia Farmer, who, among other things, provides the voice for "Sarita" in The Walking Dead video game. Check out her website (via the link). I was very fortunate that Cerny/American Creative took an interest in Fatal Reaction. Listening to it now, Julia nailed it!

In honor of a job well done, I offer up five signed copies of Fatal Reaction for U.S. residents only (sorry folks, international shipping is killer). Enter the rafflecopter below to win!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

In the Home Stretch with ACX

The audiobook version of "Fatal Reaction" is IN THE BAG! I have one task to complete tomorrow before I embark on the 8.5 hour "proof-listening" of said book, but I can't wait. Cerny has been impressive so far and I'm confident they've put together a top-notch recording. Once I approve the final files, ACX will review and Fatal Reaction will be available for purchase.

What this also means (and I'm being prophetic here) is that listening to Fatal Reaction is going to push me to start writing Fatal Intention, which I plan to release in spring 2015. There may be some serious outlining going on while I listen to this book come to life.

The Missing Year is on the road to recovery. I'm not hopeful that the intended October release date is going to hold up, but I am still shooting for it. Once I get through the tough revising, the editing/proofing should be relatively easy. We'll see what I can pull off. In the meantime, back at it. I have a lot on my plate this week between Matt Schiariti's Funeral with a View, the audiobook of Fatal Reaction,  and trying to work on The Missing Year.

I had better get back to it.

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

"Fatal Reaction" Fans Rejoice! Medical Thriller News

A while back I reported some difficulty with the ACX narrator working on the audiobook version of Fatal Reaction. I'm pleased to report that the project is back underway and that the talented folks at Cerny/American Creative in Chicago are taking over, on-track for an October release date.

I'm in love with the narrator's voice and think she captures the atmosphere of the novel perfectly. This was one of those happy accidents.


Amazon UK:

Those trained to save lives might be the most skilled at taking them.

Paramedic Anneliese Ashmore's routine shift takes a startling turn when she answers the call she was never meant to hear--a call to a crime scene where her sister, Sydney, is the victim of an overdose suicide.

The evidence says otherwise.

In the midst of a heated divorce, motive implicates Sydney's soon-to-be ex-husband. While the police focus on the single lead, Ana makes her own discovery.

A chain of e-mails between Sydney and her surgeon's office sets Ana on a search for answers about her sister's recent diagnosis and the life-altering treatment that saved her. The body count rises as Ana closes in on the truth and on the man of her dreams.

With the help of Dr. Jared Monroe, an unhappily married physician with a bit of a crush, Ana uncovers a ring of greed and corruption and exposes the fact that Sydney's medical treatment may have been the catalyst for her murder.

Unfortunately for Ana, she may be next.

October is slated to be a big news kind of month. I'm wrapping up the rough draft of The Missing Year, my novel with a mind of its own, and will be starting on my next new release, Fatal Intention.

Yes, folks, I've decided Fatal Reaction needs a companion, and that the self-absorbed, unethical Dr. Dorian Carmichael has not suffered enough. With as many people as he's done wrong, there's going to be a long suspect list when his body turns up.

How's that for a teaser?

Stay tuned for more from Ana, Jared, Ethan, Mike, and the rest of the Fatal Reaction cast. This case has a rising body count and no one's safe.

Until next time, I have some characters to torture.


A Little Too Far "Outside the Box": A Book Review

3-stars for the end of the Dr. Box Series (for now).

Outside the Box had John Locke taking a turn for the incredible (and not in a good way). In a series full of crazy characters and wild coincidences, I've had no trouble hitting the "I believe" button, until now. Outside the Box picks up the story that started at the end of "Bad Doctor" (my favorite in the series, by far). Dr. Box is being tasked with what is said to be the case of his career, saving a baby with "special powers".

The biological mother, one of Gideon's former favorite hookers, is about to give birth, and she and the woman who is adopting the baby, Gideon's nurse, show up out of the blue at his apartment, demanding his compliance.

There's a woman on a ledge, a mob boss demanding Gideon's "services" (not just his surgical skills), Dani Ripper and Donovan Creed, a socialite with a mysterious serial killer branding above her--eh hem--lady parts that reads "ManChild", and the young and beautiful Trudy Lake, with whom Gideon claims to have fallen in love, and with whom NYC seems to take major issue.

In short, there's a lot going on. Maybe too much. Definitely too much of it far-fetched.

Don't look for redemption because there isn't any. Gideon is a bad doctor, and a crappy human being. Don't look for this story to make much sense, either. This baby thing really didn't work for me. The writing, as always, was top notch,but even the best execution is only as good as the concept.

Maybe I'm burnt out. Maybe three back-to-back Gideon Box books has ruined the magic. Maybe the author took a sharp turn into Wrongsville. Who knows? I have the first two Dani Ripper books to decide. My husband's reading them ahead of me and agreed on this book. He also says for as much as he liked "Bad Doctor", the Dani Ripper books are better. That's the light at the end of the tunnel. I really wish this series had ended better. Given what is said about the baby at the end of the book, I'm afraid this is going to go further.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Purge:Anarchy (A Film Review)

"In this indirect sequel to the first Purge film, set in Los Angeles on March 21, 2023.... just less than 2.5 hours before the Annual Purge commences where all crime will be legal for 12 hours..."

IMDB rating: 7.2
My rating: 9

The Purge: Anarchy tops this summer's list of thrilling films! 

My husband and I checked in with relatively low expectations (being that this was a sequel), but tension was established from the outset in this instant attention-grabber. Anarchy introduces a cast of likable characters in a variety of new situations and doesn't, at any point, feel like a recycled Purge 1. 

This film wastes no time getting into the action. While not a continuation of the first Purge film, this one is a great take on the question, "What happens when all crime is legal for twelve hours?"

There's a man on a mysterious mission, a couple debating separation, and a mother-daughter duo who have recently lost their ailing father/grandfather to the purge. In an act of desperation, the man, who has cost his waitress, single mother daughter more money than she has, sells himself to a wealthy family as a martyr to be killed for $100,000. If we didn't feel bad enough for the mother/daughter duo, their building is one of many in a low income area being targeted by the government. Enter Sarge, the tactically trained hero of the film, who, despite his intention not to help anyone, leads the team of four through the dangerous streets, protecting the innocent couple and mother/daughter at all costs. As a rogue group of terrifying marauders follow the troubled couple, Sarge and the others end up in the cross-hairs of a deadly game of cat and mouse.

The Purge, fundamentally, pits the wealthy against the poor. In Anarchy, the poor fight back. 

Who will survive the night? Sadly, you know not everyone can live. The characters are so well written you don't want to see harm befall any of them. That's just one of the things the movie does right. 

Fast-paced, laced with fear, and tense to nth degree, Anarchy hits every mark. From the moment the sirens go off, accompanying the dreaded announcement, the depravity was on. Don't blink. Not even for a second. This is too thrilling a ride to miss.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

On Writing a Story that Insists on Writing Itself

Thirty-four-year-old Blake Wheeler was everything Lila had ever wanted. 

A rising-star surgeon with his whole life ahead of him, Blake gave Lila ten perfect years of marriage before plunging her into the hardest year of their life.

When a late night shooting leaves Blake in a coma, Lila is faced with a difficult decision: continue life support or let him go. Ending his life without explanation takes its toll.

One year later, Lila remains clinically depressed, unwilling to speak or eat, in a private mental health facility where she refuses to move on.

Dr. Ross Reeves knows firsthand about loss, having spent the better part of five years burying himself in his work. Called to assist his mentor, Dr. Guy Oliver, Ross is faced with the challenge of breaking Lila's silence. 

Determined to uncover the root of Lila's grief, Ross investigates her past, uncovering a series of mysterious circumstances leading up to her husband's death. Treating a patient consumed with guilt is never easy, but this one hits too close to home.


In a word, The Missing Year is uncooperative.

"You're supposed to be a romance," I say.
"No, I'm a mystery," the book answers back.
"I want it to be from dual points of view, but it's her story."
"No, it isn't. It's his. And I won't stand for her stealing his spotlight. His POV, author."
"What if I alternate between past and present?"
"Then I'll stick bamboo under your nails so you can't type."
"Fine, his POV, and only his, but these two characters fall in love."
"No, they don't. These two do."
"This one's getting a fresh start."
"Nope, he's cleaning up his mess."
"He can do this alone."
"No, he can't. He needs a blonde bombshell community-theater actress sidekick. She'll be a wise ass and she'll challenge him ... and hot as she is, he'll have no interest."
"I don't think so."

... and it goes on. Everything I had planned is gone. Vanished into some bizarro ether where books write themselves.

The Missing Year is part contemporary romance, part mystery.

The weight of a serious situation (which was supposed to set the tone of the book) is counter-balanced by a sharp tongued character I hadn't even planned. In all this mess, she's actually pretty fun. The doctor, who was supposed to fall in love with his patient, is doing nothing of the sort. She turned out to be a liar and he has to dig to find out what she isn't telling him.

Good thing he has an unplanned sidekick.

None of this is what I expected when I sat down in April to start this book.

Tomorrow was my initial rough draft deadline. I can't make it. I tore the book to pieces back in May and cut over 20,000 words, only some of which will come back.

But I'm interested in the twist the story has taken. Invigorated by the path that was not in my outline. Writing books can be like that. You think you have a plan, but subconsciously, there's a conflicting one that you don't even know about. Enjoy the ride, I say. Even if doing so puts you off your deadline. The real deadline is October 6, 2014, The Missing Year's official release date.

That, I think, is still doable.

Ever have a story turn out to be something totally different than planned? Tell me about it in comments.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Box: A Book Review

4/5 stars for another in the hilarious Dr. Gideon Box series.

What happens when the worlds biggest narcissist goes hunting horny women in the south? Everything you'd come to expect from Dr. Gideon Box and MORE!

It's hard to review a book like "Box" without ruining some of the fun, so I'm going to be intentionally vague. As per usual, Dr. Box has gotten himself in a heap of trouble. When you think things have hit rock bottom for him, they get worse.

Imagine, the homecoming queen (young and beautiful, the belle of south) dares you to steal a policeman's handcuffs, then lets you handcuff her to the fence behind the diner, and kiss her. This is the kind of thing Dr. Box lives for ... though he wants more than a kiss ... and the cop turns out to be the girl's father!

This is the start of Dr. Box's trip, landing him in hot water before he makes it to even one of the three women he's supposed to hook up with. When things go bad does he stop? Nope. But by the end of the book it's clear he should have.

What John Locke does well with Box is what he did even better in "Bad Doctor" (my hands down favorite of the Box books), he keeps you turning the page with outlandish scenarios and engaging dialogue. The books feel short, but if you look at the page count, you'll see they aren't. They're just so fun that they read at lightning speed.

These aren't "thinking" books, they're suspend disbelief and have fun books.

In "Box", every southern trope was done, every stereotype explored, and still, it was a good read. I miss the medical aspect that was present in "Bad Doctor" and am disappointed that the book didn't pick up where "Bad Doctor" left off, but those are the breaks I guess.

Oddly, an excerpt from "Bad Doctor" appears at the end of "Box", which is out of order since "Bad Doctor" (I believe) came first. "Box" ends at 87%. Always a bummer.

But the book was a good time. I like the characters, the off-the-wall plot, and John Locke has an undeniable knack for pulling a reader in and dragging them along for a speedy ride. His pacing is fantastic, his dialogue perfect, and he's original. Seriously, kudos for making this stuff up.

A recommended read if you're looking for a good time.

There's this lady ... and she's waiting to show you her horses.

2,000 Miles and it's Time to Get Back Into the Groove (Again)

Another week lost.

This is not good for my deadlines.

But I had the most excellent reason for taking yet another break (after finally getting over the hump from the May hiatus). My son graduated boot camp! You'd have to know that my son hasn't always finished things he started, and that he hasn't historically been self-motivated to know what an accomplishment this is. To say I'm proud is the understatement of the year. I'm over the moon!

2,000 miles from New York to Ohio to Illinois to Wisconsin to Ohio and finally back to New York  in under a week. 

I'm beat. We had storms, hail, tornadoes, and more road construction than I'd have thought possible. I'm tired of my car, fast food, hotel rooms, and continental breakfasts. 

I've lost my story line and am going to have to dig deep to find that momentum I had just gotten back. 

I spent some time thinking about my characters, but with all that was going on, my mind wandered. The Missing Year faded into the background and was overtaken by the Fatal Reaction follow-up I intend to start at least the opening chapter of this week. I've also been thinking about some Strandville shorts for the blog just because. 

Miranda, Amelie, Reid, and Michael are telling me what's been going on since the apocalyptic decline that had them all on the wrong side of the virus. There's been a mutation and Amelie's developed a handful of new abilities, putting Scott, Miranda, and the other survivors directly in harm's way. 

There are never enough hours in a day, especially when you get off-schedule. 

My goal has been to release The Missing Year by October, and I intend to meet that. I'll be doing double-duty with these two books and will be less forgiving with myself when it comes to procrastination. I might write at night, too, sometimes, during time normally reserved for my husband. Fortunately, he's supportive. I'm almost out of episodes of United States of Tara, which should help.

More than anything, it's a matter of breaking out my notes, re-reading what I wrote, and moving forward. I had done some major reconstruction in May, but the inclination is always to edit before it's time. I'll save that for second draft and get this rough one knocked out. 

July has Better Left Buried releasing on ACX. Today is the "deadline", so that's something else for me to work on. I need to listen to the book and make sure all is well. Honestly, I like the story so much, I don't mind hearing it again.

Fatal Reaction's audiobook has hit a snag. I had thought I won the narrator lottery twice, but it turns out one has issues keeping her from honoring her timeline (stretching it by another four months). I'm in the process of talking to ACX about how to deal with this and hope it won't put the project off too far. I'm bummed about that last bit of news because I really had hoped to have two audiobooks out in July. 

There are always ups and downs, right? That's life.

Speaking of, I have a few things left to do to get my homestead back in order. A week away has me wondering how I can afford a gardener if I go away again. I've gone overboard with planting this year, not realizing the amount of time I must normally put in to keep it all looking amazing. The same with my dogs. I've been brushing them like crazy to get them back in order, but it's hot and they shed. It's a Herculean feat to keep Sheltie fur on the dog. I'm pretty sure my vacuum hates me.

Writing and life, it's a juggling act. Time to get dirty.

Until next time,