What they are saying about WEEP

What they are saying about 

BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WEEP (April 7, 2015),

“I was convinced the author had only two books in her and the third was a return to literary mediocrity. Fortunately, I finished the book. Ms. Belcamino has written a stunning book … She is on the cusp of being included in the same breath of America’s best mystery writers. For my money, she has hit the big time.” — Dick Barbuto, Mystery Book Reviews and Discussion

“The story is gripping.” — Liz on Goodreads

“A thumping good read. I enjoyed the story as well as the characters, and tore through this book in under 24 hours. It has a tremendous need-to-know-what-happens factor …” — Girl Detective

“Belcamino continues to up the ante, creating even more tension and more page-turning suspense than ever.” —David Pennington, author of PEER THROUGH TIME.

“But this book!” — Douglas Cronk on Goodreads

“BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WEEP demonstrates the importance of family and how the willingness to forgive others and oneself is important.” — John Kurtze, Authors on the Air

 

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Doing the Happy Dance!

Reviews are starting to come in for Blessed are Those Who Weep and I”m thrilled about them!

And the love for Blessed are the Dead is still coming in! Thank you so much!

This ran on BOLO Books today!

Blessed Are The Dead –
The BOLO Books Review

There are countless examples of fictional journalists who end up deeply embroiled in crime solving within the crime fiction genre. One may immediately think of Laura Lippman’s Tess Monaghan or Lindsay Gordon from Val McDermid’s first excellent series. More recently, we have seen Gus Carpenter from Bryan Gruely’s Starvation Lake series and Rebecca Cantrell’s Hannah Vogel. It is time to add another name to that ever-growing list – newspaper reporter, Gabriella Giovanni. Gabriella is the heroine in a new series created by Kristi Belcamino. Gabriella’s first appearance is in Blessed are the Dead and it is one that readers won’t soon forget.

Gabriella Giovanni lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. Like many contemporary journalists, she is constantly struggling to be the first reporter on the scene.  Doing so can only help to make her career more secure, especially now that a certain younger reporter is using nepotism to gain a foot-hold on her beat. So, when Gabriella first hears about the disappearance of Jasmine Baker, her instincts tell her that there is more to this story than a standard missing child case.

Blessed are the Dead by Kristi Belcamino

Gabriella’s desire to find Jasmine is as much influenced by her need to prove her worth at the newspaper as it is by a tragic secret from her own past. When Gabriella was a child, her younger sister Caterina was kidnapped and killed. This unsolved case still haunts Gabriella every day. When Jack Dean Johnson is arrested and accused of Jasmine’s abduction, these two cases suddenly seem more connected than anyone, including Gabriella, could have ever believed.

Fans of serial killer novels will see echoes of the classic Silence of the Lambs as they watch the interaction between Gabriella Giovanni and Jack Dean Johnson. Even though Gabriella feels like she is in control of their conversations, astute readers will suspect that Johnson is manipulating the situation to his own benefit. The dynamic between these two polar opposites fuels the narrative flow ofBlessed are the Dead. There is no doubt that a violent confrontation between Gabriella and Jack is the only way resolution can be found.

Meanwhile, Gabriella’s love life is also in flux. She is attracted to detective Sean Donovan, but as so often happens in these novels, their conflicting career paths make it even more difficult to grow a relationship. Still, readers will find much to enjoy about both these characters and witnessing their efforts at communication is truly delightful.

In the end, however, the success of Blessed are the Dead rests squarely on Gabriella’s shoulders. Kristi Belcamino has created a complex heroine with strong ties to her Italian heritage. Gabriella has a good heart, but also features enough realistic flaws to encourage readers to return to the series again and again. Fans of series fiction will want to know more about Gabriella and the rest of the Giovanni family and will happily read Kristi Belcamino’s future novels in order to do so.

Unfortunately, the cover design for Blessed are the Dead does not match the quality of the writing held within and I fear that this will keep readers for giving the series a chance.  Hopefully reviews like this one will encourage readers to sample Belcamino’s writing – because once they do, they will be fans for life.

_____________________________________________________________________

Disclaimer:  A print galley of this title was distributed at Bouchercon in Long Beach. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.

 

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Writer Interviews: David Pennington

davidpenningtonPeerThroughTime - Splinters 2

I’m thrilled to have an interview with my high school friend, David. Over the past few years, I’ve watched as David eagerly learned more about the craft of writing and finished his first novel. Here is more about David and his new book in his own words:

1. Describe your writing routine and/or schedule?

The bulk of my writing happens on weekends. I start early, writing on and off throughout the day. On weekdays, I write for an hour before leaving for my day job. Occasionally, I’ll squeeze in a little thumb-writing on my phone while on the train.

2. What do you do if you get writer’s block?

If I’m blocked about how to continue a scene I’m writing, I’ll set it aside and write something else. It might be a later scene, or a draft blog entry, or just ideas about what’s going to happen in the story I’m writing. Sometimes this brainstorming turns into actual writing, and then I can just copy and paste it into my manuscript.

3. Who do you read, or recommend other writer’s read, in regards to craft?

James Scott Bell has several great books on the craft of writing, my favorite being “Plot and Structure.” David Corbett’s “The Art of Character” is one I refer back to often. “The Kick-Ass Writer” by Chuck Wendig is in a somewhat unusual format: it’s a series of lists, so rather than reading the pages consecutively, I keep it nearby and randomly flip it open to read one of the entries, which are often inspiring and always funny.

4. Who do you read for fun?

So many! I’m reading a different author every week or two, usually in the thriller/mystery/suspense genres, or science fiction. A few favorites that come to mind—authors who I return to over and over—are Robert J. Sawyer, Dean Koontz, and Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child.

5. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Tell us about it.

Unlike many authors, I didn’t always dream of becoming a published writer. I’ve always written stories, for as far back as I can remember, but it wasn’t until about five years ago that I began seriously working toward this goal. At that point, I decided I must finish the novel I’d been writing since the early 1990s. Until then, I honestly thought I only had one book in me—so, my thinking went, I might as well take my time. Things are much different now. The first draft of that book, which will see eventual release, was completed mid-2012, at which point I began the story that would become Peer Through Time.

6. What advice would you give an aspiring writer?

I learned this during my fourth decade of life, and would like for others to learn it sooner: don’t wait for the muse to arrive. Hunt that sucker down, lasso it, tackle it, make it your—well, you get the idea. “The muse” isn’t something external, doling out inspiration as it sees fit. It’s inside you, and you must make it work for you. Force it if you have to. I’m still learning this myself, but a common notion of writer wisdom goes something like this: a page of bad writing can be revised, but a blank page is just a blank page. So allow yourself to write badly during your first draft. Later, you’ll mine for the gems hidden among all that rubbish, pluck them out, and polish them. But you’ll never find them on a blank page, and you won’t likely find them if you expect every sentence you write to be a gem.

7. What do you think is the most important skill to have to succeed as a writer?

Perseverance, because succeeding as a writer usually entails writing several books. And built into that perseverance, there must be patience.

8. What is your favorite food and/or drink?

Macaroni and cheese is my favorite food—but not from a box. I’m talking flour, butter, milk, and cheese melted together, then poured over seasoned sautéed veggies, bacon and pasta; baked, topped with more cheese, and baked some more. As for drink, first thing in the morning it’s coffee. Throughout most of the day, it’s water.

9. Do you have a favorite book or movie?

I like the way this question is worded. Asking “what’s your favorite (book/movie)” assumes one has a favorite, and after much pondering, I don’t think I have one. But that’s a boring answer, so I’m just going to pick one anyway. The novel “Lightning” by Dean Koontz (1988) heavily influenced my fascination with time travel stories, which ultimately contributed to my writing.

10. Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you’d like to share?

I won’t always write time travel tales, but my books will always involve some sort of mystery, and will most likely touch on advancing technologies. My blog (http://davidtpennington.com/blog/) has recently been repurposed to feature technology breakthroughs as its theme. That’s not to say I won’t post the occasional writing-life entry, because, as Chuck Wendig says, “Do you think the Blog Police are going to come down to your house and crack you over the head with their Batons of Content Adjustment?”

About David:

I grew up in a small northern California town called Paradise, but my home is in San Francisco. While my degree in computer programming has helped pay the bills, my studies in psychology have informed my writing. My love of fiction is balanced by my fascination with books on futurism and theoretical physics. Peer Through Time, my debut novel, was released in January 2015. You can buy it here:

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Writer Interviews: Anthony Schiavino

ShotglassMemories schiavino-bw

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
  
 

Please welcome Anthony Schiavino to my blog this week talking about his new novel, SHOTGLASS MEMORIES. Here is what one reviewer said about it:

“If you like writing that isn’t formula and lets the reader discover the story, then this is for you. If you’ve ever read authors like James Lee Burke, Chuck Palahnuik or Dennis Lehane, you’ll appreciate evocative writing that is a good story, well told, that is out of the box. If you “got” True Detective and appreciated the ending then check out Shotglass Memories!” – GERMAINE JAMES, Professional Writer and Consultant

Here is more about Anthony in his own words:

Describe your writing routine and/or schedule?

It varies depending on what’s happening at home. Most of my writing is done at night. But I’m always running plot threads through my head, taking down notes physically or mentally, until I can sit down and write. We’re a second-screen society now. We watch one while we focus on our mobiles. Except I’m also running my story on a third wavelength in my head.

What do you do if you get writer’s block?

I stopped getting writer’s block when I listened to a podcast where Warren Ellis said there’s no such thing. That if you’re stuck on a scene you had planned for that day, just go on to something else. So when writer’s block happens, I just write another scene I have ideas for and continue on. Eventually the wall will come down and I’ll go back to whatever it was.

Who do you read, or recommend other writer’s read, in regards to craft?

If you’re asking about how-to or the like, then you’re asking about the skeleton of your book. There’s so much out there that it all becomes static.

For me, where the meat is, I absorb everything from books, to comic books, screenplays, and movies. Especially the behind the scenes features. You can study work ethic as well as how to break down a scene, where to move your camera, and how to guide a reader through a story. We’re a visual society because of movies and television. We’re writers but we’re also screenwriters, directors, grips, cinematographers, camera operators, and we hold up the boom mikes.

When writing my book I absorbed a ton of David Fincher and Hitchcock. I walked outside and watched how dried leaves skittered across the concrete. It’s your fusion of influences that make up your voice and attention to meaningful detail that doesn’t pad a story for the sake of.

You can build onto the skeleton, forming the musculature, and then the polish, which, following suit, is the skin.

Take from everything.

Who do you read for fun?

Dennis Lehane. Elmore Leonard. Stephen King when the mood hits me right. But my shelves and kindle run the gamete of genres.

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Tell us about it.

It goes back years but I don’t remember that moment. I work in the creative industry by trade so I’ve always been a storyteller. I’ve written screenplays (shorts), comic books, but I got to the point where the novel took form.

We’re compelled to tell our stories. Some have more than others. Some take more time to write them. But I think it’s just in our DNA on some level. It’s our trade.

What advice would you give an aspiring writer?

Start from a place of emotion.

You know your characters, and your story. You’ve lived with them for years. Others haven’t. They have zero attachment or reason to care about any of them. Make them care. By the end they should be excited to finish your story but also upset for what you put them through, and sad when they have to leave wanting more.

What do you think is the most important skill to have to succeed as a writer?

Self-confidence. Without that, and with that perseverance, you can’t make it happen. If you take out all of the quirks of any industry, take out all of the trends, and what others deem marketable, nothing will happen until you finish your story.

It’s all on you.

For some that could be a massive ball of anxiety. But having that self-confidence is a release. Everything locks into place and the doors are blown wide open for you to do nothing else but write your story.

The pressure and anxiety are gone.

What is your favorite food and/or drink?

A good cup of coffee.

A glass of Kentucky Bourbon.

Or Maple Syrup Whiskey from Canada.

A Dark and Stormy. (Bermuda Rum with Ginger Ale)

A Manhattan.

A good pint of Guinness.

I’m easy in terms of food. Just give me some pork roll. It’s a Jersey thing.

I’m Italian so my taste buds tend to go in that direction. You wouldn’t know anything about Italian food would you Kristi?

Do you have a favorite book or movie?

People love Casablanca, but I prefer To Have and Have Not. Bogie and Bacall. It’s palpable. Now that, the first time I saw it, was a life changing moment.

Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you’d like to share?

Coincidentally, my first novel was just released. Take all of the above and mix it up in a blender and you’ve got a Cold War Romance Noir that focuses on a soldier living with combat fatigue, what we now call PTSD.

It’s 1956, and the dead are cropping up on the coast of New Jersey. Joe Sinclair, is on the short list of suspects. But the wounds on his hands don’t match the ones in his head.

I’ve described it as if Fincher directed Bogie and Bacall in a Hitchcock romance, you’d have Shotglass Memories. I wanted to write a sort of spy novel that wouldn’t put the reader to sleep, focusing on character, and keeping it plausible within the confines of history.

Everyone talks about how good it was back “then” but the “then” they think of never existed. It’s blurred somewhere between the atomic family and lurid paperbacks under REDACTED text.

—-

Anthony Schiavino (Ska-vee-no) writes and designs, living in New Jersey. From the hallowed halls of Marvel Comics as an X-Mutant Editorial intern, to the heights of the Flatiron designing book covers, before moving on to newspapers as an Art Director, Anthony has seen action and then some.

His greatest achievement, however, is and will always be his daughter.

Visit his Amazon Author Page at amazon.com/author/anthonyschiavino

SHOTGLASS MEMORIES:

During the early days of the Cold War, a man battles combat fatigue haunted by a past of murder and romance he doesn’t remember.

In 1956, the dead are cropping up on the Jersey coast and military veteran Joe Sinclair is on the short-list of suspects. It could all just be a heightened sense of paranoia, but the wounds on his hands don’t match the ones in his head.

Newsprint aspirations run deep. So does the red ink on redacted files. Joe is targeted on multiple fronts for his connection to the murdered soldiers.

His true love, the one he remembers, tries to help him through the combat fatigue as he pushes her further away. Gold star wife Kelsey Halliday faced hell once. She doesn’t need protection against his fractured demons.

Coming out of two wars and an economic downturn, cigarettes light in the cold and switchblade bodies fall. Spinning tires and swaying hips collide, leaving Joe to battle his Shotglass Memories, learning how to keep the wolves at bay.

 

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Thank you for the amazing blurb, Alex Marwood!

I am so excited that one of my favorite writers not only agreed to read my book, but then said this:
“Tense, disturbing and smart … Belcamino is a writer to watch.” —Alex Marwood, Edgar-award winning author of The Wicked Girls and The Killer Next Door.

I’m so grateful to the super cool and awesomely talented Alex Marwood. If you haven’t read her books, do yourself a favor and pick one up! Stephen King named WICKED GIRLS one of his top 10 books of 2013 and here is what he said about it: “The suspense keeps the pages flying, but what sets this one apart is the palpable sense of onrushing doom.” – Stephen King, “The Best Books I Read This Year”, Entertainment Weekly

Her blurb made the cover of my third book! Woohoo!

weepalexquotefinal

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