Fedelta Book 2: An Unofficial Investigation

Fedelta Unofficial Investigation

Parking at the Kia right in front of the building, Jimmy and Amato got out of the car trying their best to not look awkward.  Being an undercover agent for over a decade, they knew that any odd or misplaced gesture could raise suspicion.  Confidently, they walked into the building and going straight up to the apartment, they cut the tape that sealed the door and without a word, breached the crime scene.  What they were doing was dangerous, not to mention, illegal.  If they got caught they could be charged with obstructing an investigation so they had to be quick.  Looking around the living room, Amato saw things overturned and ransacked.  Then he and Jimmy smelled the smoke, “Jesus, what happened here?”  Shrugging his shoulders Jimmy couldn’t answer, since he too was completely stumped.

Seeing the window was open, he thought it was odd but figured the investigators did it to clear the smoke out of the room.  Then he saw what appeared to be a high heel shoe which piqued his interest and since he didn’t have gloves, he searched for a bathroom.  Grabbing a roll of toilet paper he tore a piece off, with his hand covered he picked up the shoe.  It was scuffed up pretty badly and the bottom was worn out.  “Well this got a lot of mileage,” he observed.

“I can’t see the mate anywhere around here,” Jimmy said as he carefully looked around the room.

“Yeah that is weird,” Amato remarked, as he slowly stood up from the crouching position.  Dropping the shoe back onto the floor, he also began looking about for the missing shoe.  Their search turned up nothing, so they moved on to the dinning room where in the center of the room stood a table that was completely charred.  “Looks like we got a point of origin,” Jimmy said as he leaned over the table and inhaled, “Smells like kerosene.”

“None of this makes any sense, why were they burning this place down?  With all people and security cameras in this building, it’s not very smart,” Amato said.

“Maybe it was personal?” Jimmy answered.

“Might be.”

Since there nothing more to see in the dinning room they moved on to the bedroom, and once inside they saw yet another failed attempt at a fire.  “Who the hell is this?” Jimmy exclaimed at the botched arson.

“This can’t be a job,” Amato deduced, “This is broad with mental issues.”

“You think this was Fenetti?” Jimmy asked rather shocked.

“Not sure, but look,” Amato said while pulling out a belt from the charred pile of clothing, “What Mafioso wastes time burning his enemy’s clothes?”

“Maybe there was trouble in paradise and Fenetti, had Stephano iced?”

“Could be,” Amato said examining the rest of the room which was ransacked as well.  He had to keep an open mind in this investigation but so far, it wasn’t looking good for Cassandra.  As they moved on to the home office, they noticed things missing, like a computer which was hastily disconnected from the modem under the desk.  Seeing the safe on the ground, Jimmy peeked inside but saw it had been cleaned out.  “Okay, so the money’s gone and whatever else he had in here,” he announced.  This showed that their arsonist was very well acquainted with the victim.  “It’s starting to look like it was definitely Fenetti,” Jimmy said rather of fact.

As Jimmy was already wrapping up their investigation, Amato noticed something out of place.  Staring at a cabinet that was obviously pushed away from the wall, he walked up to it and noticed, drag marks on the carpet which indicated it had been moved, but why and by who?  “Come over here,” Amato said, “Help me move this thing.”  Not sure why he was fixated on this cabinet, Jimmy went over to assist Amato move the thing and discovered a door.  “Bingo,” Amato said feeling like he just won the lottery.

Searching inside, they found a small footprint in the carpet, pointing at it, Amato said, “Definitely female.”  Standing there staring at the evidence he felt a sense of disappointment in Cassandra.  He never thought she would stoop this low.  Conceding to Jimmy’s theory, Amato sighed then said, “Guess you were right, it was Fenetti.”

Not feeling euphoric over the matter, Jimmy asked, “So now what?”

“We find her and throw her ass to the lions.” Amato said without any hesitation.

“Glad to see that you’re back on the team,” Jimmy said.

However Amato did not feel like celebrating, because they still had no clue where Cassandra could be.  And if they found her, then what, it was unlikely that she would surrender even if confronted with a show of force.  In fact, it would make things that more dangerous because he knew from the surveillance video, she was well armed and not backing down from anyone.  In that instance, the thought that maybe he should turn these findings over to Cohen crossed Amato’s mind.  He didn’t mind if Cassandra shot Cohen, in fact, it would relieve him of all his problems professionally speaking.  His two least favorite people in the world taking each other out, now that was a thought that brought a smile to his face.  Giving in to the idea, Amato looked up at Jimmy and said, “We’re done here, I’ll call this in and call it a day.”

Fedelta Book 2: The Search For Cassandra Fenetti

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Warning: Language

In the meantime, Cassandra Fenetti was awaking refreshed in a soft memory foam mattress.  Not wanting to get out of bed, she commanded her Echo system to turn on the television to the morning news.  As the picture turned on and as it became brighter and more clear, she saw her own image reflected back at her in the form of a composite sketch.  “Ugh!  Shit!” she sighed, as she sat straight up in her bad.  Rubbing her eyes with her hands, she squinted to see the image again, just to be sure she wasn’t dreaming.  Unfortunately for her, it was no dream, her face really was on the morning news.  Running her hands through her hair she knew she had to act fast.  Sliding out of bed, she stumbled to her closet, where she found her trusty box of wigs, inside she found a dark, but short brunette wig.  It was a far cry from her usual look, but nonetheless, she began pinning up her hair, to at least attempt to make the lace front look as natural as possible.  As she applied her makeup, she thought to herself, this was happening too soon.  She knew how the cops operated, and this wasn’t their style.  To share their investigation with the public showed they were desperate or considered her a real threat to society.  Maybe this wasn’t the cops?  Maybe the Feds were on this already?  Otherwise, how could they have ID’ed her so quickly?  Despite all of the questions, Cassandra knew she had to act quickly, if she was going to succeed at escaping.  Luckily, her only trip out of her safe house would be to the bank but there, they had many security cameras.  So she had to look and act as normal as possible.

Blocking out the “what do I do?” voice in her head, she focused on the mission at hand.  Cassandra had to keep telling herself that everything was still okay.  As she carefully finished putting on her makeup, she said to herself, “This is only a glitch, nothing’s changed,” and she meant it.  Her determination was no less shaken nor was her courage diminished.  She would get out of this town and not only that, she would return to exact revenge.  Whoever was trying to ruin her life, was going to be made an example of.  This thought was the only thing that kept her going.  As she searched the room for clothes, Cassandra looked around and thanked her neurosis for prepping this safe house.  When she decided to go back into this life, she made sure that she did not make the same mistakes that her father made.  He was so stuck in the old ways that he never saw the new threats on the horizon.  He treated La Cosa Nostra like a religion, while others only saw it as a business opportunity.  Cassandra would make this life give her back everything it had stolen but in the meantime, she had a date at her local bank.  Giving herself the once over in the mirror, she made sure the wig was straight, the clothes were mute and her appearance didn’t raise any eyebrows.  Once she was satisfied with her appearance, Cassandra grabbed her gun, and her favorite purse then headed straight out the door and right into the path of danger.

Fedelta Book 2: Making The Next Move

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As Amato and Jimmy made their plans, Cassandra was making hers.  Desperate for cash, she knew she had to start liquidating her assets if she wanted to escape.  Doing her best to stay one step ahead of the cops, she grabbed her spare phone, and started looking up the number to her local bank branch manager.  With her fingers crossed, she called and explained that she needed to withdraw all of her money.  “In cash?” the manager asked rather surprised.

“No, in puka shells,” she retorted, “Of course in cash!”

“Well Ms. Fenetti, we’ll need at least 24 hours.”

“Why?”

“We’re low in cash,” the manager explained.

“You’re a bank, how is that even possible?”

“Just bear with us Ms. Fenetti. We’ll have all of the funds tomorrow.”

“Urgh!  Okay, I’ll be there at opening.”

“Alright, see you then.” He said in a sickening sweet tone.

Hanging up the phone the manager place a call to his supervisor, the Vice president of the branch, “Steve, it’s Marty, sorry to bother you but Fenetti called.  She’s coming by tomorrow morning at opening.”

“Thanks Marty, I handle this one myself.” He said.

He wasn’t quite sure why the President of the bank would want to personally handle the closing of an account, but Marty, simply agreed to have his admin send the files to his boss’s computer.  That was one less account he had to deal with, and since it was the end of the day, he grabbed his jacket along with his brief case and left for home.

In the meantime, Cassandra had to figure out where she was going once she had the cash.  Placing a call to her favorite airline, she chartered a plane to the Cayman Islands.  Once she got off the phone with them, she booked a hotel room at the Hilton.  Nonetheless she still wasn’t done, Cassandra had to make sure no one would be able to track her, not the cops, and certainly not the killers.  She already knew that the cops were checking phone records and looking at security footage.  As if that weren’t enough, Cassandra would have to change her appearance as well as get a new identity.  Placing a few calls to some of the best forgers in New York, she put in an order for a new driver’s license as well as a passport.  The ones she had were old, and looked outdated.  Sending him a recent photo of herself, she got the okay from the forger and they worked out a deal.  She regretted not staying on top of these things, she knew better, being the daughter of a mobster and the fiancé of another.  This life was unpredictable and deadly, Inpatient she mumbled to herself, “When will you ever learn?”.

This was only phase one of her plan, she still had to keep herself alive and evade police for the next 16 hours.  Cassandra had to lay low, if she was going to survive the night.  Starting the engine, she made a journey to her old hideout, a safe house of sorts.  Making her way through Little Italy, she made it to an old pizzeria.  Parking down the street, she took out a key and went to the back and climbed a set of rickety stairs to a tiny apartment.  Cassandra figured she would be safe here since she and Stephano rented it under the table.  There was no paper trail and they were careful to not tell anyone about it.  Despite all that, she was still paranoid and took out her glock.  Quietly she went from room to room to be absolutely sure she was alone.  When she was able to let her guard down, Cassandra put the gun away and went straight to the closet to find the clothes she had purchased for a time like this.  There was an array of outfits, some of them were shabby chic, while the others were high end luxury brands.  There was no way she could dress as she always had.  Too many people knew her style, and if her instincts were right, the cops were already creating a profile of her, if they hadn’t already.  It was a hot day and she still wasn’t feeling well, so Cassandra decided to take a shower and call it a day.

Collapsing on the bed, she made herself comfortable and clutched a pillow.  Fighting the urge to cry, she refused to think about what happened and focused instead on what needed to be done.  Going over the plan in her head, she went over  every possible scenario again and again like a mantra of sorts.  After all, Cassandra needed something to believe in and her plan was that thing.  She would succeed, she would pull herself out of this mess.  Confident, she slowly drifted to sleep, safe for now.

Fedelta Book 2: Cooking Up Plans

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Warning: Language

While Nicholson was trying to warn Amato, he was sitting in front of his television watching the Mets take on the Toronto Blue Jays.  In his black leather recliner, Amato ate his dinner and began to decompress from his encounter with Special Agent Cohen.  In the middle of the stretch he heard a knock at his door.  Cautiously, he opened the door just a crack and to his surprise, it was his old buddy Jimmy Schiavone. Opening the door all the way, he saw the look on Jimmy’s face, “Uh, oh!” Amato exclaimed, knowing something was up.  “Lemme guess, Cohen sent you?”

“What, no hello or how ya doin’?” Jimmy exclaimed.

Rolling his eyes Amato played along, “Okay, hello, how ya dooin’?” he said poking fun at Jimmy’s Long Island accent.

“Prick!  You mockin’ the one guy that single handedly saved your ass?”

“Single handed, eh?” Amato caught him exaggerating.

“Okay, I had a little help,” Jimmy confessed as he walked into Amato’s apartment.

Closing the door behind him, Amato muttered, “This is gonna be a long day.”

Seeing he was watching the game, Jimmy sat down on the couch and asked, “What’s the score, yo?”

“Mets, 6-2”

“Just in time,” Jimmy said making himself at home.

Returning to his chair, Amato sat back and waited for it.  Looking over at his plate, Jimmy asked, “Hey what you eatin’ over there?”

“Vegan eggplant parmesan.”

“What the fuck is that?”

“What, eggplant parmesan?”

“No that other shit you said.”

“What, vegan parmesan?”

“Yeah, what’s this vegan shit I keep hearing about?” Jimmy asked curiously.

“It’s means no animal or animal by-products.” Amato answered.

“So what the fuck is on the eggplant if it ain’t cheese?”

“You know, soy or cashew.”

“Brotha, ever since you and Irene broke up, things haven’t been the same for you.  I ain’t neva seen an Italian put fake cheese on his food,” he said snickering.

Throwing his towel at Jimmy, he asked the big question, “Okay, Jimbo what’s up?”

Looking visibly uncomfortable, Jimmy clasped his hands as if he was trying to come up with the right words.  As he looked about the room, he finally returned his gaze to Amato, then confessed, “It’s Cohen, he’s requesting your personnel file.”

“So what?” Amato responded, unimpressed.

“You don’t know this guy Amato, he’s a total dick.  He’s sacked more than one guy in his day and it looks like he’s got his sights set on you.”

“Thanks for the warning Jimmy, but I’m a big boy and can handle myself.”

Putting his hands up Jimmy said, “I’m just the messenger, Nicholson wanted me to warn you.”

Just as he said that, the crowd on television erupted in cheers as the Mets shut down the Blue Jays.  The ending was anticlimactic but Jimmy seemed to be thrilled that the game ended in a win.  Getting up he announced, “I’ll see myself out, just remember to watch your back from now on.”

“It’s the only way I know how to roll.” Amato reassured him.

When Jimmy left, Amato was alone to contemplate whether or not he would bother participating in this case.  After all, Cassandra Fenetti wasn’t necessarily in need of his help.  She was probably on the other side of the planet, if she were smart.  However something told him, that this wasn’t the case.  Feeling it in his gut, he knew she was nearby and if Cohen approached her, she might blow his head off.  So all in all, if he kept his hands off the wheel, Cassandra would take care of his Cohen problem.  Smiling, the idea did appeal to him.  Nonetheless, there was piece of him that needed to see her again.  Amato wasn’t sure if it schadenfreude, or if he actually had feelings for her.  No matter the case, it was stupid of him to come running when she was in trouble, not after she two-timed him.  So what was he going to do when he saw her again, say I told you so?  Having dragged his feet for nearly half the day, he rose to his feet and declared, “Okay Amato, it’s time to get that damsel.”  Slipping his feet into a pair of rubber soled Oxfords, he grabbed his badge and gun then went out the front door.  Standing outside in the hall was none other than Jimmy, “Jesus Christ, Amato, you take foreva to do right,” he complained.

“Sorry, I forgot we were in this together.”

“Damn straight,” Jimmy said popping his collar.

Seeing him getting psyched up, Amato chuckled and asked, “Whose car are we taking General?” referring to his old street name.

Without batting an eyelash, Jimmy answered, “Whatcha working with?”

“I got a 2017 Chevy Camaro,”

“When they bring that back?”

“Oh about 2010, you probably didn’t notice since you were busy gerneraling and all.” Amato said in jest.

“Yeesh!  It’s like the 80’s all over again.”

Pushing the button on the elevator, Amato said, “Before my time, brotha,” as the door opened, as they both stepped inside.  Jimmy pushed the button to the ground floor and like that, they were on to their next adventure, just like old times.

Fedelta Book 2: Hardball

Fedelta 2 Second Excerpt

Meanwhile across town, Detective Amato was back in his cubicle with the other detectives in the financial crimes unit.  It was his own personal nightmare, a desk job  he had to do from a shoe box but at least he had a job.  In the last year, he went from fugitive, to being welcomed back into the fold and it was all a complete mystery to him.  Well not really, he knew that someone called in a favor and he was let back into the force through the cat flap.  Amato managed to keep his nose to the grind and keep out of trouble but it was secretly killing him.  He wanted more and Amato wasn’t even sure if this is how he wanted to live his life.  Looking at spreadsheets and nitpicking over ledgers was not what he dedicated himself to at the academy.  It was pathetic, he didn’t even have a gun anymore.  The last time he discharged his firearm was when he was taking the marksmanship test.  He felt like a dog that had been neutered, a ball-less wonder.  Okay, maybe it wasn’t the gun that was bothering him so much.  Maybe it was the fact that he knew that the only reason why he was back on the force was because of Cassandra Fenetti.  The woman who he owed his newly resurrected career to and the woman he wanted dead for betraying him.

With blurry eyes, he did his best to read the rows and columns of financial data that graced the screen.  His job was to flag any inconsistencies and send the documents off to his supervisor.  Rinse and repeat, all the day long.  It was soul crushing for a man who was used of being out in the field taking risks and chasing bad guys.  He didn’t know how long he could take this, in fact, he had already started looking for another job in another town.  There had to be someone, somewhere, who needed a cop?  As his mind wondered off, his boss, Agent Nicholson, yelled from his office, “Amato, get in here.”  Startled, he nearly tripped over his own feet trying to exit his work station, God he couldn’t wait until this day was over.

Once in the office, he noticed Supervisory Special Agent Cohen from the Organized Crime Unit was sitting across from his boss’ desk.  “Shut the door,” Nicholson ordered.  Doing as he was told, Amato shut the door and approached the desk.  Pointing to a folding chair, his boss commanded, “Take a seat.” Once seated, Cohen addressed Amato, “There was a hit this morning on Columbus Avenue and 96th Street.  Double homicide, both males.”  On the desk was a folder which he reached into and pulled out several photos of two men in a vehicle, shot multiple times.  Handing them over to Amato, he asked, “Recognize, the vics?”

Stunned, Amato answered, “Yes, the male behind the wheel is Lucus Hobbs, driver for Stephano Rimaldi, the very dead gentleman in the backseat.”

“Right,”  Cohen said as he pulled out a tablet and handed it to Amato, “Press play.” Doing as instructed, a grainy surveillance video played the final moments of the unlucky occupants in the car.  “This is overkill” Amato remarked as he saw four men shooting at the vehicle.  He watched as the assassins fled the scene and the patrolman approached the vehicle.  Pressing stop, Cohen corrected him saying, “No, keep going.”  Not certain as to what he meant, Amato pressed play again and watched as Cassie appeared in camera range.  “Recognize the female?”  Cohen asked.

Hesitantly, Amato answered, “Yes, it’s Fenetti, Cassandra Fenetti.  She’s the fiancé of Rimaldi.”

“Interesting,” Cohen said staring at Amato.  “Those of us in homicide would appreciate any assistance you can offer in our little investigation.”

“Of course,” Amato replied.

“We’re looking for the female suspect,”

“Suspect?”

“She couldn’t have done this.”

“No, we don’t believe she’s the mastermind of the hit, but she did threaten an officer with a weapon and we would like to talk to her.”

Chuckling, Amato answered, “Good luck finding her, let alone getting her to talk.”

“Yeah about that,” Cohen said sitting back in his chair, “We want you to lead the fugitive task force.”

“Wait, what?” Amato exclaimed, “This is the wrong way to approach the case.”

Smirking, Cohen looked at Amato, “It’s not your call.”

“I’ll provide intel but I’m not leading any task force.  It’s a waste of time.”

“Why?”  Cohen asked.

“Because she’s probably halfway to Timbuktu already.”

“Are you saying you can’t do it?”

“I’m saying she’s one of the richest women in this town and it will be a million times harder to trace her than she was before.”

Questioning his loyalty Cohen asked, “Why should we believe you?  Word is you had a relationship with Fenetti during your excursion away from the force.”

A rush of heat hit Amato’s face from the insinuation that he was protecting some girlfriend.  Nonetheless, he took a deep breath and as calmly as he could, Amato responded, “I stepped in to protect a witness when our agency was unable.  There was never any inappropriate relationship between myself and Miss. Fenetti.”  He kept referring to her by her last name to keep his distance emotionally but also to show that he was not on friendly terms with her which, at that point, he wasn’t.

“If you don’t trust me, then find another agent to do the job.  Problem solved,” Amato said, calling Cohen’s bluff.

“I don’t like your attitude, no wonder they put you in the shitter.”

“Hey!” Nicholson interrupted, “I run this shitter and right now I’m flushing you right back to OC (Organized Crime).”

Without a word, Cohen stood up and gathered his tablet as well as his folder and walked out of the office.

“God, I hate those guys.” Nicholson said with disgust.

‘Yeah, me too.”

“You’re dying to get back in OC ain’t ya?”

“Yep,” Amato said as he stood up.

“So what was all that, I’m not the guy for the job shtick?”

“I’m gonna make them beg.”

Rolling his eyes, Agent Nicholson said, “Get the hell out my office.”

Author Interview with Crimson M. Kildare and Kat Marlow

The Fantastic Blog Hop Tour

Moving along in the Fantastic Blog Hop Tour, the bus makes a stop in the midwest the home of Crimson Kildare and Kat Marlow two amazing and talented writers, not to mention, two fabulous ladies!  Today we learn what makes them tick and why writer’s block freakin’ sucks! 🙂

What is your story about?Wyveria Cover 1

CMK: The story is about three men in the far future and the challenges they face as each must deal with the very fabric of his life unraveling like an old tapestry. Both Jamie and Val will have to cope with culture shock and some severe loss issues. Idris is dealing with the murder of a father figure and the growing realization that it may be up to him to fill the man’s shoes. Now, if he can just survive both the discovery of the murderer’s identity and the duel to the death, he’ll have to win to fill them, it might just all work out in the end. So in a way our story is about magical shape shifters, the future and being displaced, but really it’s about life, about knowing yourself and embracing the challenges of being alive.

KM: It’s a romantic adventure that takes place in our future that focuses on three characters, Jamie, Val, and Idris. Jamie and Val are from our time, and due to a twist of fate they are separated and flung into this future world of magic and shape-shifters. Idris is from a clan descended from the Welsh and Celtic peoples, and when the story begins he’s dealing with the death of someone very dear to him. It falls to him to solve this mystery, while his life becomes more entwined with Jamie and Val. All three men go through a journey of adjustment and self-discovery; Jamie and Val are dealing with the loss of their world while trying to acclimate to the one they’ve woken up to. Idris is dealing with losing a mentor while facing various challenges on the way to his true destiny. It’s really about life like Crimson said, and I hope this story will inspire as well as entertain.

Where does your story take place?

CMK: It takes place on Earth in the far future in what was once Antarctica.

KM: You heard Crimson say that its future Antarctica, and you’re probably thinking, ‘Why are there Celts there?’ I’ll only say that circumstances warranted their having to leave the UK and settle elsewhere.

Is writing a natural talent, or did you take classes to hone your craft?

CMK: Writing is something I just do from my gut. I would like to take some courses to improve my understanding of classic writing techniques and textbook language skills. This way I would have more to work with when making choices about story shaping and character development.

KM: I mainly go from the gut like Crimson does, but I did hone my skills in high school. I was fortunate to have a very encouraging English teacher there, and if this novel succeeds its due in no small part to the confidence she instilled in me.

Do you have a ritual when you write? 

CMK: I write most days from 11 a.m. to about 4:30 p.m. with my partner Kat Marlow. I often listen to music as I do this and the music can definitely influence the work and vise versa. I sometimes notice that as I’ve been writing my musical choices will unconsciously change with the theme of what I’m working on.

KM: I write whenever I have spare time, but I usually work better from morning to afternoon. During those hours on weekdays I’m usually working with Crimson. I listen to music sometimes, but usually I have a DVD playing in the background. I’m often playing the movies that have inspired me, such as Star Wars, certain superhero movies, or the James Bond films. I’ll also play episodes from my favorite shows, such as Law & Order: UK or Mad Men.

Do you write in multiple genres?

CMK: Yes and sometimes at the same time.

KM: I see this novel as a combination of fantasy, sci-fi, and romance, so I would say ‘yes’. I mainly write sci-fi with a dash of romance, and my ultimate dream is to write for Torchwood, Doctor Who, or a Star Wars project.

Most people want to know, is writing really all that hard?

CMK: Is it hard? Yes and no. Sometimes it’s so amazingly easy and you wonder how you ever thought it would be tough. Those are the moments all writer’s live for, those golden moments where it all just flows effortlessly. The rest of the time it’s a cross between reasonably easy and pulling teeth. It just depends on your muse really.

KM: It can be when you’re blocked, or you’re having a hard time figuring out which direction to take the story next. There are merits to free-form writing, but I find it easier to map out the storyline beforehand. It’s like a seed being planted, and from there the story should grow to its full richness.

Do your family and friends read your work?

CMK: Yes they do.

KM: I’m more private about my work than Crimson, as the stories I’ve written before tend toward the explicit side. My mom does know about this novel, and she’s already expressed an interest in reading it. She’s thrilled that I’m finally stretching my muscles, and that we’re working towards publication.

Have you ever had writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?

CMK: I find that there are three things I can do for writer’s block. Call on a piece of music that always inspires to get my creative juices flowing, work on something else to get the juices flowing or if those fail just leave it and go do something else all together. Doing something else gives my brain and my muse a rest so that when I sit down next time; the juice is flowing free, improved by the break.

KM: Yes I have, and it SUCKS! I mentioned mapping out the story beforehand, which is a useful tool. Still, even with an outline you can find yourself blocked. I always find it best to just step away from the work for a time and just clear your mind, as constantly focusing on solving the problem might only frustrate you. Relaxing with music or TV can help.  If I’m writing fan-fiction, I might watch the show or movie that it’s based on. It’s a good reminder of the character voices, and helps to re-awaken the muse.

Do you have an illustrator, or co-author, if so, who?

CMK: Yes, Kat Marlow is my partner as you can see and she’s just tops! Also on occasion my mother who is a fine artist will do drawings for me if I ask her.

KM: The illustrious Ms. Kildare, who has Photoshop skills in addition to her literary mind! She’s been a great co-author, and I’m so grateful that’s she’s encouraged me to take my writing to the next level.

Do you write according to the trends or from the heart?

CMK:  Always from my heart.

KM: Always from the heart; on the surface this novel might seem to follow the fantasy/romance trend, but we’re intending for it to be much deeper than that. We’re hoping to offer something that will stand out, something unique to the genre.

Who is your favorite author of all time?

CMK: This is such a hard question to answer! There are so many I love and adore and for such vastly different things, but if the criteria are the content of what was written, the author’s intelligence and cleverness and their ability to inspire by the way they chose to live their own life as well? Then the clear winner across all of those categories would have to be the 19th century authoress Madame George Sand!

KM: That’s like trying to pick a favorite child! I think Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye is one of the best novels ever written, and I adore Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. There are a few authors of the Star Wars novels that I love, such as Timothy Zahn, Troy Denning, and Aaron Allston. I’ve really enjoyed the books that John and Carole Barrowman have written so far, and they’re a great example of a successful writing partnership.

What’s best: Pen and paper or laptop?

CMK: Both have their merits and I truly love pen and paper for journaling and personal letters, but for writing a book? The laptop wins hands down!

KM: I usually prefer pen and paper, but I enjoy the benefits of writing on a laptop. No ink to waste and edits can be done with the push of a button!

What are you reading now?

CMK: I am currently reading George R.R. Martins Game of Thrones books, The Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series, both of Laurel K. Hamilton’s ongoing Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series and the John and Carole Barrowman Hollow Earth series! All of them exceptional books!

KM: I’m currently reading Hollow Earth by John and Carole Barrowman and next on my list is the second book of the Star Wars: Dark Nest trilogy by Troy Denning.

If your house was on fire; what would you save: your computer or your book collection?

CMK: If my house were on fire the first thing I would save would be my 11 year old daughter. The next thing would be my laptop case in which I keep both the computer and my copy of George Sand’s Letters D’un Voyageur! That’s Letter of a Traveler for those who are interested.

KM: Oh God, another ‘pick your favorite child’ question! I consider books to be precious, so I would want to save my book collection after I save my mom. There would be a lot to carry though, and it also depends on whether I’ve transferred my computer files to a flash drive! I admittedly can’t live without my computer, but if I lose it I can always get another one. I guess I could always get new books, but some of them might be out-of-print and hard to find. I appreciate modern technology, but there’s nothing like having an actual book in your hands and turning the pages. I hope books don’t fade out completely.

Have you gotten in trouble for your work?

CMK: Kat and I both got our start writing fan fiction. Thankfully no one has ever complained about our playful musings.

KM: Thankfully no. I’m lucky to have not gotten in trouble for my publicly posted fan-fic, and as I mentioned before I keep my other work private. Whatever results from this novel remains to be seen!

Do you consider yourself a tech wiz?

CMK: Good Heavens no. I get along and that’s all I can say about that. My husband is the tech wizard in our house.

KM: Ha, barely! I’m only now getting the hang of Microsoft Word!

What’s the strangest length you ever went to research your book?

CMK: Not sure this is strange per se, but I’ve called complete strangers to ask them about their towns, professions and so on.

KM: I wouldn’t call this strange, but I did find it fascinating to research Welsh names. My love for the show Torchwood has led to a love and admiration for the Welsh people, and I find their language and ancient culture very interesting. I suppose that comes from my own Celtic blood, as I’m part English and Irish.

CMK: Oh me too, Irish, Scottish, English and the list goes on, lots of Celts in me.

Do you read online reviews?  If so, how do you deal with the negativity?

CMK: Yes, I want to know the reaction people have to my work and the work of other authors I admire. Sure it’s difficult when someone hates your stuff, but oddly I find I dislike it more when people knock the work of other writers I admire. I think to myself, ‘Really? But they’re so talented!’ I can find it baffling when others aren’t inspired by what seems so immediately and obviously inspiring to me. Still the finest authors who ever lived got bad reviews from time to time. No two people have exactly the same taste and that’s what makes it so exciting, because there’s room for everyone’s work.

KM: I like to know what people think of my work, and I know I’m going to have to develop a thick skin if this is going to be my career. No one likes negative things being said about their baby, but you have to remember it’s not always personal and try to take your emotions out of the equation. Ideally, critical reviews will also be constructive, and hopefully I can use such reviews to fix any flaws in my writing.

What would you like aspiring authors to know about the realities of a writing career?

CMK: It’s a real career. It’s real work; it’s not a ‘bird course’ way to make a living. Like anything worth doing it requires three things: a modicum of talent, the ability to learn, grow and improve and the willingness to work hard and even then it’s no certain guarantee that you’ll be wildly successful. It will however guarantee that you’re worth reading, that you’re a good writer. You have to do it, because you love it, for its own sake. As Rainer Maria Rilke said, “Don’t ask me how to be a writer, just do it. If you wake up in the morning and all you can think about is writing? Then you’re a writer! Go do it!” That may be a bit paraphrased, but you get the idea. My mother is a phenomenal singer, truly talented, beautiful voice. She’s been singing professionally for 40 years now. She’s well known and well respected in the music industry in certain circles, but she’s not famous or wealthy. When I was a teenager I asked her, ‘After all this time, you should be famous, why do you keep doing it?” she told me, “I don’t do it to be famous. I do it because I love it. I do it because I need to, it’s who I am.”

That’s what you have to know about being a writer, a singer, an actor or anything creative; do it because it’s who you are, because it lives in you, do the best you can, learn, grow, get better and pray for the best.

KM: As I said before, you’re going to need a thick skin.  You’re also going to need determination and a willingness to work hard. Your work will not be accepted for publication right away, and you might have to submit it countless times, which can be frustrating. Most publishers will point out what they think your work is lacking, and it wouldn’t hurt to take their advice. Your work will hopefully come out better in the end. Publishers are mainly out to sell books, and sadly the quest for profits overrides good writing sometimes. The balance between good writing and sellable writing is hard to find, but it can be done.

What’s your next project?

CMK: The next book in this series which we anticipate being at least three books long. Also before any of the books will be published in complete form and offered via Amazon and possibly other publishers as well; they will be available to read chapter by chapter at our website starting April 4rth, 2013. We will put up a new chapter every month. The site is called The Looking Glass Writer’s Cooperative. Our aim is to promote both our work and the work of other writers each month, while also providing some good excerpts, reviews and articles on writers, books, television and films. We want to create a warm, welcoming space that engenders a sense of community for authors and avid readers alike.

The web address is thrutheglass.net

KM: Yes, Crimson and I will be working on the next book, and my fan-fiction is always a work-in-progress. I also write reviews for our website.