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Altar of Resistance by Samuel Marquis.

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Altar of Resistance

by Samuel Marquis

Fiction: Historical Thriller/Suspense/Espionage. 368 Pages Print. Mount Sopris Publishing (January 24, 2017)

Author Biography

Samuel Marquis is a bestselling, award-winning suspense author. His books include “The Slush Pile Brigade,” “Blind Thrust,” “The Coalition,” and “Bodyguard of Deception.” He works by day as a VP-Hydrogeologist with an environmental firm in Boulder, Colorado, and by night as an iconoclastic spinner of historical and modern suspense yarns. He also has a deep and abiding interest in military history and intelligence, specifically related to the Golden Age of Piracy, Plains Indian Wars, World War II, and the current War on Terror.

Former Colorado Governor Roy Romer said, “Blind Thrust kept me up until 1 a.m. two nights in a row. I could not put it down. An intriguing mystery that intertwined geology, fracking, and places in Colorado that I know well. Great fun.” Kirkus Reviews proclaimed The Coalition an “entertaining thriller” and declared that “Marquis has written a tight plot with genuine suspense.” James Patterson compared The Coalition to The Day After Tomorrow, the classic thriller by Allan Folsom; and Donald Maas, author of Writing 21st Century Fiction and two novels, compared The Coalition to the classic political assassination thriller The Day of the Jackal.

Book Review

Espionage, intrigue, romance, battle, and more. Altar of Resistance has a difficult time finding one genre to fall into.

To start off with I see myself reading this one again. And I don’t read books more than once very often these days. This is the second of Sam Marquis’ WWII Trilogy, all standalone books, and it’s going to be hard to beat. That third one is going to have to be something else to surpass this one.

Altar of Resistance by Sam Marquis is about the Occupation and Liberation of Rome in 1943-44 Italy. The story is told through the viewpoints of four main characters: Pope Pius XII (sometimes called Hitler’s Pope), SS Colonel Wilhelm Hollman (a character based on fact), US Army Special Services member John Bridger, and Roman Resistance fighter Teresa Di Domenico. The last two are fictional characters, but in the book share a secret with the SS Colonel.

Having been a World History teacher and taken a semester of Nazi/Fascism class I know a little bit about WWII and what happened in Italy. Marquis uses factual events to give his story life or maybe he adds fiction to the facts to make it easier to handle. You read and decide which. Either way you look at it, he brings the subject to life.

We don’t get just a superficial story from Marquis to create a thrilling read. He gives us layers to add dimensions to each character, even the minor ones. He even has you like the Nazi torturer/interrogator at one point. I think Marquis’s fiction elements actually make sense in context of history. We see the Pope silent against atrocities not only throughout Europe but in his own city. Marquis gives us reasons why. SS Colonel Hollmann is based on fact as far as his existence but how he is used and his complexity is believable. He is perhaps my favorite character in the book. John Bridger is a tough Army commando who kills without hesitation but tries to keep his humanity. And Teresa is her father’s daughter, but which father does this good Catholic girl take after?

We see the war and the battle for Rome from every possible level and realize not one could achieve success without the other. We see how a girl leads to the success of the Allies in Italy, not a farfetched idea. We see how love exists and even sprouts during great turmoil, and how it doesn’t die regardless of tragedy.

There are no bogged down moments during this read. I didn’t find myself having a difficult time making my way through a passage to get to the next. The only parts that even remotely slowed me down were later chapters involving the Pope, but that is in part due to the success of the author in the character’s portrayal. Got to love a Pope but man can he be frustrating at times.

The only bad thing about the book is not knowing the future of all the characters. Sam Marquis does give us details of the factual characters and what happens to them, but the fictitious ones perhaps are left unknown because we may seem them some other time?

I’ve read all but one of Sam Marquis’ books. This is his best one yet. If you’ve never read historical fiction, this is a way to start. So far this is my book of the year and I’ve read four so far. It’s going to be difficult to top this one. It had all the elements to keep me engaged.

 

Review by: Ronovan Hester

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Taken by Her Unforgiving Billionaire Boss by @NadiaLee. #BookReview

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Taken by Her Unforgiving Billionaire Boss

by Nadia Lee

Fiction: Contemporary Romance/Sagas. 256 Pages Print. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 12, 2016)

Author Biography

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nadia Lee writes sexy, emotional contemporary romance. Born with a love for excellent food, travel and adventure, she has lived in four different countries, kissed stingrays, been bitten by a shark, ridden an elephant and petted tigers.

Bilingual and formerly a management consultant Nadia Lee currently shares a condo overlooking a small river and sakura trees in Japan with her husband and son. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading books by her favorite authors or planning another trip.

Stay in touch with her via her website nadialee.net or her blog nadialee.net/blog.

Book Description

Alex Damon is the self-made billionaire who has been possessed in recovering his father’s reputation and attaining not only the wealth his father lost but surpassing it beyond imagining, all while exacting revenge on the woman he lays the blame for his father’s ruin and death.

Natalie Hall is an intelligent executive, the loyal adopted daughter of a powerful political father, and hated by her father’s wife and sister. She’s the object of more plots and secrets than she could know possible and caught in the middle of a fight she has nothing to do with. Where will his loyalties end up?

Why I Picked Up the Book

I first picked up this book for three reasons: 1) It was written by a New York Times bestselling author, 2) It was free (and still is as of this review), and 3) I wanted to see how romance and seduction was written by a woman. You see, I write romance and wanted to see if I were getting it right on a certain level. I wanted to see how the seduction parts were written.

What I ended up finding was a good story that could have been taken to a whole new level if the author had that intention. I mean new level as in this could easily have been a political thriller. However, a full blown political thriller was not her intent. I honestly could see this being a movie.

Book Review

Natalie Hall is a strong character who is not only intelligent but independent as well. Her life does not depend on her family ties. Her career has been built on her own merits. Alex Damon is more complex than one first thinks. He has some typical aspects I’ve seen in other books of this genre, but I think Ms. Lee has taken steps to give him a touch more depth than I expected. I was very pleased. I could see the truth in a lot of his motivations, thoughts, and actions from a male perspective. Nicely done.

The supporting characters are well done, for the most part. Alex’s best friend is just what a powerful corporate raider needs. Natalie’s family is dysfunctional at best, except for her father who loves her, but holds a secret that may just tear the entire family apart. Her godmother is very proud of Natalie but holds secrets of her own that end up causing problems in Natalie’s life.

Alex never suspects that his plans to ruin a family name and business would end up with his own agony and need for something he never knew he wanted. Something he never knew he needed before.

I would recommend this book for a quick escape and lovers of the alpha male with an independent woman thrown in the mix.

DID IT DELIVER

Did the book give me what I wanted when I chose it? I have to say the romance and the “scenes” as I call them are well done, descriptive without being over the top. Except for some word choices for things, I would say she nailed it. (Pun unintentional, sort of.) And I don’t mean the use of profanity, which there was very little of, almost to the point I can’t even say specifically where some may have occurred.

RATING: 4 out of 5

When determining a rating I look at the book itself and not my expectations. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. The writing was strong, as was the plot and main characters. A couple of the supporting cast were a little weak, but I saw why things were done from a writer’s view point. The ending was good and no real loose ends were left to wonder about. But I could see where another book could come about with these two as main characters. (The rating was very close to a 4.5, which surprised me since this is not my usual sub-genre to delve into.)

Review by: Ronovan Hester

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#Interview with @SamMarquisBooks of Bodyguard of Deception.

I recently had the pleasure of connecting with a great writer named Samuel Marquis, a #1 Bestselling Denver Post author, multi-award Samuel Marquis photowinning author, and hydrogeologist. Yes, you read that last one correctly. I think the strength of detail that last one brings to Sam’s personality is what makes his Historical Fiction so great to read. Okay, it’s ONE of the reasons. The other part is the fact he is just that good a writer. Ask James Patterson if you don’t want to believe me. Yes, THAT James Patterson.Bodyguard of Deception by Samuel Marquis image

After reading and reviewing his book Bodyguard of Deception, I just had to ask some questions. I restrained my total historian geek self and didn’t send a book of probing his way. The following are what made it through and back.

One of the things I always find interesting is where the inspiration for a book comes from. What sparked Bodyguard of Deception?

As a history aficionado who has always loved stories of the American West and World War Two, I have long wanted to write a novel that incorporated both of my research passions. That became possible when, several years ago, I read Ben Mcintyre’s Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies (2012) and Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal (2007) along with Arnold Krammer’s eye-opening Nazi Prisoners of War in America (1996). Between these three well-crafted books, I learned about Double Cross and its cast of memorable British-controlled spies, while simultaneously discovering that, between 1943 and 1945, nearly a half million German prisoners were held in 511 POW camps across the United States, many of them in the American West.

Bodyguard of Deception grabbed my attention right from the beginning and never let go. The character development is excellent. Samuel Marquis has a knack for using historic details and events to create captivating and fun to read tales.”
—Roy R. Romer, 39th Governor of Colorado

It wasn’t long after digesting these three great historical reads that I envisioned a WWII spy novel that would be uniquely set in both the European theatre and my home state of Colorado. What came to me in my overactive filmographer’s head was a kind of Das Boot (The Boat) meets Eye of the Needle meets The Great Escape with a hint of Arthur Penn’s classic The Chase as well as The Fugitive thrown in for good measure. But I wanted another important twist that deviated from most WWII books and movies: I wanted my lead German to be a sympathetic character even though he was fighting for Hitler’s Nazi Germany.

I love to research. The amount of research you had to do for this book is staggering. You had to read at least 20x the amount of information just to write the least important real life character. I know you have a very intensive degree, one not related to World History at all, so what you’ve done amazes me, a historian. Do you have an affinity for research, and why history?

I’ve always loved history, especially the underdogs and iconoclasts of American history, and I voraciously read books about military history and intelligence, specifically related to the Golden Age of Piracy, Plains Indian Wars, World War II, espionage, and the War on Terror WWII. But what started it all is I grew up watching classic World War Two movies and Westerns with my dad like The Great Escape, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Bunch, Where Eagles Dare, and Patton. These movies had a profound impact on me and the stories I have come to tell. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that my books have been compared to The Great Escape, Public Enemies, The Day of the Jackal, and old-time Westerns. One reviewer said of my WWII thriller, Bodyguard of Deception: “Marquis throws in everything but the kitchen sink.” I consider that not a criticism, but a badge of honor and tribute to me and my late father and the movies we watched together growing up. Bodyguard of Deception is currently a Top 10 Best World War II Spy Book and Top 10 Fiction Book Set During WWII on Goodreads along with such WWII thrillers as Follett’s Eye of the Needle and The Key to Rebecca, Daniel Silva’s The Unlikely Spy, and Ben Mcintyre’s Agent Zigzag and Double Cross.

“A promising thriller writer with a fine hero, great research, and a high level of authenticity.”
—Donald Maass, Author of Writing 21st Century Fiction

You’ve delved into an area of WWII history many Americans don’t even know existed. Some know about the Japanese-American internment camps, but some have no idea the US had German POWs here. Where did you get your research for that?

I read Arnold Krammer’s eye-opening Nazi Prisoners of War in America (1996), and from there, I read around thirty books and articles dealing with German POWS in America.  As stated in my response to Question #1 above, it is interesting that, between 1943 and 1945, nearly a half million German prisoners were held in 511 POW camps across the United States, many of them in the American West. POW internment camps like Camp Trinidad in Southern Colorado and Camp Papago Park in Phoenix, Arizona, were the scenes of exciting mass German escapes and FBI manhunts, forced POW labor to alleviate the drain of able-bodied workers fighting overseas, and internal battles and political murders between Nazi and anti-Nazi German prisoners.

Which character are you most like or identify the most with in Bodyguard of Deception?

Believe it or not, I like Katherine Templeton (the Countess von Walburg) the best. I like strong female characters. But because I am male, I am most like her son Erik, the German spy and escaped POW, and Colonel Morrison, the commandant of the fictional Camp Pershing. In my books, I make sure to care about, and even love, all of my characters, even the villains. You have to love your villains and show their good side, to make your readers uncomfortable and create dramatic tension.

You do a great job with descriptive writing. I can feel the cold of the nights and the heat of the days, as well as see the fanatical moments of some of the characters. I can see the craziness in the eyes of one certain character toward the end. What type of background do you have in writing? What kind of training to give you that touch?

I have written extensively since I was in high school, took several English classes in college at Denison University, and published over twenty articles on oil exploration, hydrogeology, and environmental contamination (I have an M.S. in geology) before I wrote my first novel. But it took me several years and three novels before I could pen professional-caliber thrillers. I have been at this for a few years and have had two New York literary agents. Now my first two thrillers, The Slush Pile Brigade and Blind Thrust, were #1 Denver Post bestsellers, and my first three books received multiple national book awards (USA Best Book Awards, Beverly Hills Book Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and Foreword Reviews’ Book of the Year).  In addition, my first four books garnered positive reviews from #1 bestseller James Patterson, Kirkus Reviews, and Foreword Reviews (5 Stars). But it took a hell of a lot of hard work and persistence to become a “bestselling, award-winning author.”

A woman plays a big part in the book. Sometimes we men don’t pull off writing women well. We forget to put in the nuances that make her a woman and not just a female name attached to our male dialogue and narrative. Did you take a lot of care to get that just right? Did you have help with beta-readers, editors, or anyone to tell you that you nailed it?

My wife is a professional book editor, and she is hard on me and makes sure I get my female characters right. The key is to have empathy for your characters and to constantly put yourself in their shoes. If you do that, I think the dialogue and character relationships will come out all right.

What is your novel writing process? By this, I mean from idea to book shelf, do you research, write, put it away, then rinse and repeat. Every author has a different way.

You just described it very well. My problem is that I have too many, not too few, book ideas and not enough time to turn them all into novels.

I love the book cover for Bodyguard of Deception. It is not overdone but gets everything needed across. Once into the story you get the meaning of it even more. How involved were you in its design? Who came up with it? Who did it?

My book cover designer is award-winning book designer George Foster (www.fostercovers.com), and I love what he does for my covers. He is a true professional and one of the best in the business. I give him a book synopsis, we talk about ideas for a half hour, and then I turn him loose and he does the rest.

With your job by day, writing by night, what hobbies does such a busy man indulge in? What shows do you binge watch? What’s the last good book you read?

I am an avid lacrosse player, downhill skier, and movie watcher. I played in the 2014 Lacrosse World Games and play lacrosse every weekend with most of the players half my age. I have a gift for “finishing”, which is another way of saying I can put the ball in the net. So I am a 54-year-old “Laxbro.”

Who would you like to see play your main characters in a movie or even a TV series?

Erik von Walburg – German Spy and Escaped German POW: Armie Hammer

Katherine von Walburg – German-born American ranch owner and owner of Broadmoor Hotel, mother of Erik: Cate Blanchett or Kristin Scott Thomas

Colonel Jack Morrison – American Colonel, Commandant of Camp Pershing: Jeff Bridges

Tam MacGregor – Scottish Colonel, Chief of the B1A counterintelligence section of British Military Intelligence Section 5 (MI5): Michael Fassbender

What was it like writing Hoover, considering all of the history we know about him?

During the war, Hoover actually played a large role in hunting down German spies and POWs. As director of the FBI and as a human being, Hoover was absolutely over-the-top, so I had to write him like that. At his heart, he was an overzealous law-and-order type guy, glory-seeker, and turf-protector, who was driven by an almost religious-like fervor to promote the FBI in any way possible, at the expense of other law enforcement agencies. But he was also crucial to the modernization and technical optimization of law enforcement that we see today on all the CSI shows.

Have you had any feedback from people that experienced the POWs in America?

Yes, Roy Romer, the former Governor of Colorado and DNC Co-Chairman, remembered the old German POWS in eastern Colorado from when he was a boy and said he enjoyed that aspect of the book. He was nice enough to give me the review for my front cover, too. It reads:

Bodyguard of Deception grabbed my attention right from the beginning and never let go. The character development is excellent. Samuel Marquis has a knack for using historic details and events to create captivating and fun to read tales.”

—Roy R. Romer, 39th Governor of Colorado

What is the project you are working on now?

I am beginning to do my final month-long edits on the second book in my Joe Higheagle Environmental Sleuth Series, The Cluster, a childhood cancer cluster mystery set in Colorado. The novel is based on my hydrogeological experience with the Rosamond cancer cluster in California. Think Erin Brokovich, Michael Clayton, and A Civil Action. In other words, my day job as an expert witness in groundwater cases, but with more diabolically-clever corporate bad guys and dangerous gunplay.

What inspires you to write?

I’ve always wanted to write and simply have to do it. I like to create memorable characters and tell wildly implausible stories that actually seem quite real.

 “The Coalition has a lot of good action and suspense, an unusual female assassin, and the potential to be another The Day After Tomorrow [the runaway best-seller by Allan Folsom].”
—James Patterson, #1 New York Times Best-Selling Author

You are on a deserted island and you can take only one book to read, what book would that be and why?

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. Because it’s my favorite book of all time, the best story ever told about the American West, and it’s nice and long.


Now you know a little more about Samuel Marquis. Go get his books. Now. Seriously. I can’t wait for Roman Moon, the next installment of the WWII Trilogy, to come out in January 2017.-Ronovan Hester, Interviewer

Get the next #1 Bestselling book at:

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Visit #1 Bestselling Author Samuel Marquis at http://samuelmarquisbooks.com/.

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Bodyguard of Deception by Samuel Marquis.

Bodyguard of Deception by Samuel Marquis imagefive gold stars image

 

Bodyguard of Deception

by Samuel Marquis

Fiction: Historical Thriller/Suspense/Espionage. 336 Pages Print. Mount Sopris Publishing (March 20, 2016)

Author Biography

Samuel Marquis is a bestselling, award-winning suspense author. His books include “The Slush Pile Brigade,” “Blind Thrust,” “The Coalition,” and “Bodyguard of Deception.” He works by day as a VP-Hydrogeologist with an environmental firm in Boulder, Colorado, and by night as an iconoclastic spinner of historical and modern suspense yarns. He also has a deep and abiding interest in military history and intelligence, specifically related to the Golden Age of Piracy, Plains Indian Wars, World War II, and the current War on Terror.

Former Colorado Governor Roy Romer said, “Blind Thrust kept me up until 1 a.m. two nights in a row. I could not put it down. An intriguing mystery that intertwined geology, fracking, and places in Colorado that I know well. Great fun.” Kirkus Reviews proclaimed The Coalition an “entertaining thriller” and declared that “Marquis has written a tight plot with genuine suspense.” James Patterson compared The Coalition to The Day After Tomorrow, the classic thriller by Allan Folsom; and Donald Maas, author of Writing 21st Century Fiction and two novels, compared The Coalition to the classic political assassination thriller The Day of the Jackal.

Book Review

Bodyguard of Deception is a suspenseful historical thriller by Samuel Marquis, author of two #1 selling books: The Slush Pile Brigade, which any author should read, and Blind Thrust, both of which I may just be buying shortly, when I have the cash, in order to see how to do it the right way. In Bodyguard of Deception we have the closing months of WWII in Europe and two brothers who are fighting for the same goal, but in different ways. German spy Erik von Walburg has a mission given by ‘The Desert Fox’ himself Erwin Rommel. If successful, the war will end in a way unexpected but beneficial to those involved. Erik ends up with allies in his assignment. One is his brother, U-boat Captain Wolfgang von Walburn, the prototypical Nazi ideal, the “scourge of the North Seas” and the other ally, a woman thousands of miles away without knowledge of any of the goings on of the two at odds brothers.

Samuel Marquis’ historical thriller, Bodyguard of Deception, the fourth thriller from the #1 Bestselling author, is a well-researched, intricately plotted tale of suspense, intrigue and surprises you never see coming, all beginning in May of 1944, days before D-Day. Reading about the German spy Erik von Walburg I could not help but hope for his success. With each chapter the characters become more complex with events making their former routine lives anything but ordinary, and their decisions less reflex than before. Ideals and mantras no longer rule the day. As a former history teacher and now historian/author, I was thrilled at the nods to historical figures throughout the novel. Fans of master spy teller of tales, John le Carré, and John Gardner’s Herbie Krueger series and the Secret Generations series will enjoy this first episode in what is touted as book one in a WWII Trilogy, with the next installment with a release date of January 2017.

I don’t take much time off from my own writing of novels these days, but this was well worth it. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Review by: Ronovan Hester

Get the next #1 Bestselling book at:

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Authenticity and Honesty as an Indie Author by @JoRobinson176

A couple of things we shouldn’t be doing. Sometimes you’ll see an author comparing their writing to a famous writer in the actual blurb of their book, or worse still on the cover. Doing this in a blurb is actually against Amazon policy, so it’s not a good idea to begin with. Some Indies seem to think that by the mere presence of a bestselling author’s name, readers will be more inclined to buy their own book. Speaking as a reader all I can say about that is that if I want to read a book by J K Rowling I’ll buy one of her books. If a reader or reviewer on the other hand compares a book to the work of a famous author I’m a fan of, I might be tempted to buy it – that to me is a genuine compliment, but if it’s the author making the comparison it always comes across as a little desperate to me.

Desperation doesn’t sell well, and readers aren’t stupid. We prefer authenticity in the books we read. Why on Earth would any writer want to hang on to another writer’s coattails? I’ve heard that copying famous writer’s styles can be a good writing exercise, although I’ve never tried it myself. I’d much rather stick to my own style, whatever that may be, than to try and sell anything on the back of someone else’s success. Every time a book makes it big there are suddenly thousands of copycat versions dumped onto the market, and none of them will ever have the impact of the original. Every writer has their own unique writing voice, and we should always be true to that – even when we’re selling our wares.

Another thing I’ve seen is #1 BESTSELLER plastered on the cover of a book. Then I’ve looked at the book’s ranking, and it’s at two million and odd. That’s not a bestseller and I don’t appreciate the attempt to con me. I’ve read several comments from Indie authors saying that it’s the truth because at some point their books have been number one on a free list. That’s just way beyond wrong so don’t do this. We’ve all been in the paid bestseller lists at some point or another, but if you honestly want to put that on your book it must have been number one on the main list, and if it reaches that beautiful spot everyone will already know what it is.

I always use the Look Inside feature on Amazon before I buy any book. A huge mistake some Indies make is to put pages and pages of reviews in their front matter. Often you haven’t got to the end of them before the preview ends. No book purchase from me in that case. I don’t have a problem with a few lines from good reviews on a single page, but more than that – yes – again seems desperate to me. Readers will read the book reviews anyway, both the good and the bad, so the reviews in the front matter aren’t going to mean anything except that they’re taking up too much space. The last thing about using reviews in your book is actually using them on your book. Fine for if the book has reviews from Kirkus or something like that, but putting one of the three reviews that the book has on your actual cover is not a good idea at all. The last time I saw this I cringed in shame on behalf of that author.

As self-published authors we have to act professionally, respect our readers, and credit them with the savvy to spot things like this. We should trust in our own authenticity and have the patience for it to be seen for what it is, and hopefully enjoyed for its own sake. Image1000