Monday, April 7, 2014

Guest Blogger: Alex Hughes

Character Interview with Isabella Cherabino (the sequel)
By Alex Hughes

For a lark, I thought I’d run through CareerBuilder’s list of top job interview questions with my character Isabella Cherabino, to see how she would answer. Unfortunately, before I was quite halfway through the list, she was called away to an emergency task force meeting, and I was forced to reschedule. Here’s our second interview, a few days later.

A: Thanks for letting me reschedule the rest of the questions, Detective Cherabino.

C: I’m not certain what you’re getting out of the answers, but I’m always happy to help someone who gives me case-solving clues.

A: I’m doing a psychological study.

C: As long as you change my name and identifying information, that’s fine.

A: (makes non-committal noise) Ready for the questions?

C: Go ahead. I only have a few minutes for this meeting anyway.

A: What is your typical way of dealing with conflict?

C: There’s a certain amount of conflict that’s normal for a police department of our size. We deal with criminals, after all, and with the recent budget cuts, there’s a lot of pressure on everyone. I try to figure out what somebody really wants, and if they’re a peer, figure out how to get that to them in exchange for what I need. Most of the time that works. I take blocks in my way as challenges most of the time.

A: Most of the time?

C: I have a temper when you push me too far, especially when it’s a situation I’m not used to or that disappoints me. I’m working with my sensei, and have been for the last several years, on controlling that temper. He’s happy with my progress so far.

A: What tools or habits do you use to get organized?

C: I keep a pristine murder book. Everything—and I mean everything, from scene impressions to attempted phone calls—goes in that book. I’ve had people be able to take over my cases halfway through with no loss of efficiency. I also keep detailed files on pretty much every criminal I come in contact with. You’d be surprised at how often their worlds overlap, and information on one comes into use with another. I admit, though, that with all my files I can get a little behind on official reports and forms. Adam and now Michael are helpful in that respect.

A: Tell me about a time where you had to go above and beyond to get a job done.

C: There was a time last year where I was volunteering for Electronic Crimes because they were short staffed. Some nasty stuff, that. I won’t even talk about what the sickos were doing when we lifted up rocks and shone lights on them. But I still had a full case load, and this was before Michael. I was working pretty much all the time, between Electronic Crimes and Homicide. I was exhausted. But then I noticed a connection between one of my murder cases and a screen name in one of the chat rooms. It seemed like a coincidence, but the physical location trace came up in the same city block as one of my suspects. He’d been planning a crime against an unnamed woman, and then a woman fitting that description is one of my victims. It took me a week of favors and traces, but we finally proved they were the same guy.  The jury deliberated twenty minutes on that case. He’ll never get parole. It was worth the extra effort, even if I did sleep at the department for a few days.

A: What was a major obstacle you were able to overcome in the last year?

C: Budget cuts have been really hard on the whole department, and everyone has less resources. Even with all my work, I’ve had to wait weeks or longer for basic results. It’s been very frustrating. But I did manage to get Michael Hwang promoted to junior detective after a particularly significant case assist, and he’s been phenomenal. A lot of the time, he can find a clue on his own, or while working with me, that will serve the same purpose as the test I needed, and we can close the case even without the test results. It’s more stress and work, but it gets the job done.

A: In what ways—

Alex is cut off as a knock on the door comes.

A: Really? Another interruption?

C: This is how my life goes, Ms. Hughes. Please feel free to reschedule with Michael.

Adam Ward opens the door and tells Cherabino there’s a murder case that needs urgent attention. They’ve found another body.

Cherabino nods at Alex and leaves. She, cursing, picks up her notes and sees her own way out.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mindspace Novellas

Rabbit Trick

New short story in the Mindspace Investigations universe (with two bonus short stories in other worlds from author Alex Hughes).

Open Mind

When the cops call me in the middle of the night, I know it’s bad. One of their own is dead, strangled in her car by a professional killer, and it’s up to me, telepath consultant extraordinaire, to pull the rabbit out of my hat and solve the case. Only this time I’m not so sure I can.

Homicide Detective Isabella Cherabino is breathing down my neck. The dead cop’s partner is too. And now, the worst—there was a five-year-old kid in the car, a kid no one can find.

Note from the author: “Rabbit Trick” takes place before the events of Clean, so the hero intentionally remains nameless.

And the one I missed between Clean and Sharp.

Being a telepath, I should have seen the hell I was getting myself into…

I used to be one of the most powerful telepaths in the guild. That was before my drug addiction and before they kicked me out. But I'm not a bad guy. Now I help the Atlanta PD solve murders. And even though there are only a few people I call friends, I'd do most anything to keep their trust.

So when a judge asks me to help investigate a missing college kid, I'm down for it. No questions asked. No problem. But in this dark world, things are never easy and a favor is never just a favor. Turns out, politicians don’t like being murder suspects. And it's bad to anger someone with more power than you. I thought I had nothing to lose... I was wrong.

Includes a preview of Alex Hughes’s Sharp 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Guest Blogger: James R Tuck


The Deacon Chalk series is no longer being published by Kensington. I have decided to take the series over and independently publish it beginning with book four titled SILK AND SCALE (November 2013).

This is a move I am excited to make because I have many, many plans for Deacon Chalk and his wonderful crew of misfit monster hunters. Now I can carry on and remain 100% true to my vision for the characters and the storyline. It's going to be a wild ride!

Also in Deacon Chalk news BLOOD AND BULLETS (book 1) is now available in audio from Audible read by the illustrious Jim Beaver (Bobby Singer from Supernatural and Sheriff Shelby from Justified). All of the series so far has been optioned for audio.

I edited a double anthology of Sword and Sorcery from Seventh Star Press that is available now. If you would like a review copy please contact Seventh Star at:

In 2014 I will have a NEW series coming from Pro Se Press called CHAMPIONS OF HOLLOW EARTH. It will be four short pulp style novels released quarterly and with a companion anthology set in the same world. It's going to be a complete riot and I am very excited about it.

A LOT of short fiction will be available throughout 2014 in various and sundry anthologies from various and sundry publishers.

Author Website:

Author Twitter:!/JamesTuckwriter

Author Facebook:

Author Blog:

Author Bio: James R. Tuck is a Professional Tattoo Artist, Photographer, and a multi-published author. He lives outside Atlanta with his lovely wife and cool kids.

The DEACON CHALK series (Kensington Books), The CHAMPIONS OF HOLLOW EARTH series (Pro Se Press forthcoming 2014), the editor of the double anthology THUNDER ON THE BATTLEFIELD Volumes 1 and 2 (Seventh Star Press), and his short fiction has appeared and will appear in several anthologies such as: ONE BUCK ZOMBIES (One Buck Horror), THE BIG BAD (Dark Oak Press), HOOKERPUNK (Dark Oak Press forthcoming), ROBOTS UNLEASHED! (Mechanoid Press forthcoming), and BADLANDS:TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND (Zelmer Pulp forthcoming).

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Alex Hughes


Freelancing for the Atlanta PD isn’t exactly a secure career; my job’s been on the line almost as much as my life. But it’s a paycheck, and it keeps me from falling back into the drug habit. Plus, things are looking up with my sometimes-partner, Cherabino, even if she is still simmering over the telepathic Link I created by accident.

When my ex, Kara, shows up begging for my help, I find myself heading to the last place I ever expected to set foot in again—Guild headquarters—to investigate the death of her uncle. Joining that group was a bad idea the first time. Going back when I’m unwanted is downright dangerous.

Luckily, the Guild needs me more than they’re willing to admit. Kara’s uncle was acting strange before he died—crazy strange. In fact, his madness seems to be slowly spreading through the Guild. And when an army of powerful telepaths loses their marbles, suddenly it’s a game of life or death.…

Oooh, I was not disappointed in this third Mindspace book. In fact, it may have become my new favorite of the three. 

The story just flowed really well and held me captive until the end.  I was rather anxious during this one, poor Adam and his terrible luck. Once again at odds with the police department, and the Guild, and of course the ongoing anticipation of Adam and Cherabino's tenuous relationship. 

I am looking forward to the next installment. 

And coming next week, a guest spot with Alex Hughes. Anxious to see what goodies she is sending my way for that!