Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Clock Strikes Midnight by Joan C. Curtis | Blog Tour with Excerpt, Guest Post, and Giveaway

Click for Tour Stops

Jane Reads is part of a virtual book blog blast, organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. We encourage you to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.  The author will award a $50 Amazon or Barnes&Noble Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter following the tour. Click on the tour banner (and scroll down) to see the other stops on the tour.

The Blurb

The Clock Strikes Midnight is a race against time in a quest for revenge and atonement. This is a story about hate, love, betrayal and forgiveness.

If you found out you had only 3 months to live, what would you do? That’s the question Janie Knox faces in this fast-paced mystery full of uncertainty and tension that will surprise you until the very last page.

Hiding behind the fa├žade of a normal life, Janie keeps her family secrets tucked inside a broken heart. Everything changes on the day she learns she’s going to die. With the clock ticking and her time running out, she rushes to finish what she couldn’t do when she was 17 — destroy her mother’s killer. But she can’t do it alone.

Janie returns to her childhood home to elicit help from her sister. She faces more than she bargained for when she discovers her sister’s life in shambles. Meanwhile her mother’s convicted killer, her stepfather, recently released from prison, blackmails the sisters and plots to extract millions from the state in retribution. New revelations challenge Janie’s resolve, but she refuses to allow either time or her enemies to her stop her from uncovering the truth she’s held captive for over 20 years.

The Clock Strikes Midnight by Joan C. Curtis
Amazon Barnes&Noble  | iTunes | Goodreads
Genre: Mystery / Suspense
Publication Date: November 25, 2014
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
File Size: 3802 KB

The Excerpt

“Daddy, when I get my kitty, can I name him Davy?” she had asked, yanking Marlene’s Davy Crockett mug full of M&M’s from her grasp. 

The colorful candy spilled all over the backseat of the car.

“Mama, tell Janie to —”

“Janie, behave,” Daddy said, admonishing her for an instant with his eyes from the rearview mirror.

“Malcolm, look out —!” Mom screamed.

Janie slammed into Marlene. Pain. The world tumbled topsy-turvy. The mug flew across the interior of the car, colors of the rainbow falling all around her.

Then, everything went black.

When she opened her eyes, Mom’s blood-streaked face rose in front of her out of the darkness.

“Wrap your arms around my neck, honey.” Mom lifted her from the wreckage.

Janie clutched her doll by the dress while the rain beat her curly hair flat.

Marlene stood on the side of the road.

“Try to walk,” Mom said, toppling her from her arms.

Her head pounded and blood trickled down her leg. She leaned on her good leg and limped in the direction of her sister.

“Mama, where’s Daddy?” Marlene asked between sobs.

Mom took Marlene’s hand and yanked her forward with Janie in tow.

Marlene lurched back toward the smashed Oldsmobile with smoke billowing from its hood and a big tree lying across the roof. The Davy Crockett mug lay shattered by the back tire.

“Daddy! We can’t leave Daddy!” Marlene yelled, picking up pieces of the broken glass.

They had left Daddy that day and piled into an old Chevy pick-up truck with a bashed in headlamp, belonging to a man with carrot-red hair. Mom pushed them inside the truck and ordered the man to get help. But by then it was too late for Daddy.

It was too late for all of them.

Author Guest Post

5 Misconceptions about Writing Fiction 

It never ceases to amaze me when I tell someone I've written a novel, they say, "I've always wanted to write a novel." It seems everyone seems to believe they, too, can write a novel. All they have to do is put pen to paper.

That leads me to think about my 5 misconceptions about fiction writing.

Number 1: Everyone has a novel in them. This conception just isn't true. That's like saying everyone can paint a picture. Some of us have the skill and ability to write and others do not. Those of us who put the pen to paper or in this day and age, the words on a screen, know how hard it is  and often after many months of work, still struggle to find the right place for our work. Just like the visual artist, the literary artist is not something we can all do.

Number 2: Fiction writing is simply writing what you know. Again, if that were the case, most of us would run out of material very quickly. We know just so much. Furthermore, fiction writers will tell you that they may begin with an idea that came out of their experiences, but that idea turns into something very different. If fiction writing were simply writing what we know, where in the world does Stephen King get his ideas?

Number 3: Fiction writers tell "lies." I have heard this many times. Those of us who create fiction are nothing more that sophisticated liars.  Right? Gosh I hate this misconception! We do not lie, we create. The art of fiction is creating a world for the reader with people they can relate to. The world and the people do not exist. But, as fiction writers, we strive to make both as close to the truth as we can. Does that mean we "lie"? No, what we do is create.

Number 4: If you write fiction, you don't need to do any research. This is another misconception and it relates to number 3 above. How many times have you, as a reader, gotten upset with the novelist because you say, "That could never happen"? Indeed if you come out of the story, even briefly with that thought, we, fiction writers, have failed. We must not only research our place and the events that occur in our place, but we must also research our characters and their personalities. We must know them as real people. Furthermore, the dialogue must sound genuine. I eavesdrop on conversations around me, not to discover content, but to hear the rhythm of the talk so I can re-create the way people speak. The Clock Strikes Midnight was set in the South with Southern characters A redneck Southerner sounds very different from an educated Southerner. That is research.

Number 5: Writing fiction is easy because you can change events or kill off characters at whim. Nonfiction is harder because the writer must stay within the reality of the situation. Granted we can kill people off if we want to, but the story and the characters have more control than people realize. In The Clock Strikes Midnight I literally had a character tapping me on the shoulder wanting tell her side of things. Finally I relented. I wrote an entire section from her point of view. Had I ignored her or fought against her prodding, I would have gotten stuck. In reality, we cannot change the plot or kill off characters at will. Our fictitious worlds have more control on what we write than our readers realize.

The Author

About Joan C. Curtis

Joan Curtis authored four business books published by Praeger Press. She is also published numerous stories, including:

Butterflies in a Strawberry Jar, Sea Oats Review, Winter, 2004
A Memoir Of A Friend, Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul, 2003 and Flint River Review, 1996
Jacque’s Story in From Eulogy to Joy, 2002
The Roommate, Whispering Willow Mystery Magazine, April 1997
A Special Sort of Stubbornness, Reader’s Digest, March 1997,
My Father’s Final Gift, Reader Digest, November 1994

Her first place writing awards include : Best mystery manuscript in the Malice Domestic Grants competition, best proposal for a nonfiction piece in the Harriette Austin competition, and best story, Butterflies in a Strawberry Jar in the Cassell Network of Freelance Writer’s Association.

Other Books:

Hire Smart and Keep ‘Em: How to Interview Strategically Using POINT, Praeger Press, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA 2012.

The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media, Praeger Press, 2010, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA

Managing Sticky Situations at Work: Communication Secrets for Success in the Workplace, 2009, Praeger Press, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA.

Strategic Interviewing: Skills for Savvy Executives, 2000 published by Quorum Books, Greenwood Press.

I write about characters who remind me of myself at times and my sister at times, but never fully so. My stories are told from a woman’s point of view. Characters drive my writing and my reading.

Having grown up in the South with a mother from Westchester County New York, Joan has a unique take on blending the southern traditions with the eye of a northerner.  She spent most of her childhood in North Carolina and now resides in Georgia.

The Giveaway

Joan Curtis will award a $50 Amazon/BN Gift Card 

to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during this tour.

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