Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Phoenix by Kelly Marshall - Interview, excerpt, give@way | Featured Author

Over four centuries ago, a prophetic physician named Nostradamus predicted the third and most terrible Anti-Christ. He wrote:

Out of the country of Greater Arabia
Shall be born a strong master of Mohammed...
He will enter Europe wearing a blue turban.
He will be the terror of mankind.
Never more horror.

June 6th was a picture-perfect day in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Lynette Frichette went to work at THE GAZETTE. Her daughter Dawn caught the bus to Billy Mitchell High School, and her husband Jim drove nails into the walls of the home he was building on Silent Rain Drive. From the Middle East, Ayatollah Amad al-Din Kajar unleashes a nuclear nightmare that will change their lives forever. Beneath the Arizona desert, an American scientist conducts a grisly experiment that may mean the survival of the human race.


GIVEAWAY

Enter for a chance to win a PRINT copy of Phoenix.
Comment on this post for a bonus entry.
This Giveaway is open for US ONLY. 
Giveaway ends February 25th 11:59 PM Central Time.

EXCERPT

The ten strategic nuclear bombs that leveled New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Omaha, Colorado Springs, Deer Park and Linden, New Jersey, and oil-rich cities in Texas including Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Beaumont, were followed by ten more nuclear devices. National Emergency Search Teams were dispatched across the country to seek out additional bombs, but the twenty nukes that mushroomed over the United States of America left little work for the NEST response teams. The damage had been done.
  Sharon and Janette McVey, wife and daughter of the President of the United States, never made it to Mt.Weather. The females of the First Family were witness to a brilliant ball of light and for a moment they were suspended in time, enraptured by the brilliant light and the mushrooming cloud. Seconds later their bodies were blown miles away from their Presidential helicopter.
 The President was airborne headed towards Mt.Weather when the first ten nuclear devices detonated. The Secret Service was frantic that McVey had insisted on Mt.Weather to sit out a nuclear war, but no one dared question the Commander-in-Chief. When his wife and daughter did not arrive at the city in the mountain, he went into isolation. Frantic aides sought his counsel only to be met by a stony stare and silence.
 In the National Airborne Emergency Command Post, above the exploding earth, Vice President Malone, Secretary Arnold, and Chairman Haney and their assistants rode out the nuclear storm waiting to hear from their Commander-in-Chief. The special Boeing VC-25 was equipped with aluminum windows to protect the passengers eyes from the bomb’s blinding light.
***
 The United States settled into a nightmare of nuclear winter. Smoke from the many nuclear bombs obliterated the sun and a deep, intense cold wrapped its bony fingers around the country. An eerie twilight was the only indication that night had passed into day. Snow fell in places like Miami and New Orleans, and the homeless died of exposure to the cold as well as to radiation.
 Death was constant. Human corpses littered city streets, animal carcasses poisoned the soil, and the smell of rot was omnipresent. Fires blazed against the horizon and there was no one to put them out. Black rain oiled the landscape, produced when moisture condensed around rising hot ash particles. When the moisture came in contact with cold air, it fell back to earth in oily globs that were highly radioactive. Survivors huddled underground waiting for the winds to carry the poisonous air away.
 Lynette woke to darkness and whispered moans. A groan escaped her own lips as consciousness registered a searing pain in her left leg. She tried to move but found herself wedged underneath what was left of one of the lobby walls.
 “Hello?” she croaked.“ Anybody here?”
 A faint whisper answered on her left.
 Lynette asked, “Who’s there?”
 “Michaels.”
 “Mr. Michaels? Are you hurt?”
 “I can’t move.” His breath came in jagged spurts .“Something’s laying on me and I taste blood. Gotta be something busted inside.”
 “I can’t move either or I’d help. I think my leg’s broken.”
 “Jesus, what the hell hit us?”
 Lynette swallowed hard, a lump lodged in mid-throat. “It’s war. I read it on the computer just before...before the floor caved in.”
 “Nuclear?”
 Lynette whispered, “Yes.”
 “Dear God,” Michaels gurgled.
 Harold Michaels died sometime on what Lynette thought was the third day. His whispered moans for help had ebbed. In and out of consciousness Lynette woke to darkness and silence, her own pleas for help unanswered.
 She lay in her own filth and misery, wondering where Dawn was. Had she escaped? She prayed the school had the foresight to cram all four hundred students in the basement away from the deadly air. And Jim, lover of sunshine and fresh air, builder of new houses, where had he been when the gray mushrooming cloud had engulfed Colorado Springs? Dread bore a hole into her. The answer pounded in rhythm with her heart. She tried to remember how much radiation it took to kill someone outright. Oh God, why couldn’t she remember? She did know that radiation was accumulative. Small exposure over several days would prove just as fatal as an initial massive dose. Oh Jim, hide, please, just be alive.
 Hunger and thirst consumed Lynette. She remembered misty dreams of bathing naked in pristine waters, floating effortlessly across a sun-dappled lake. She swallowed great gulps of cool liquid that quenched the fire in her throat. She awoke with vague images of wallowing in pasta and tomato sauce, cramming handfuls of noodles and blood-red sauce into her mouth and rubbing it on her naked body. Jim had been there. Oh God, yes, Jim had been there too, swimming in the sauce, feeding her ravenous mouth and holding her. Lynette wept, remembering her odd dream, not knowing which part of her body hungered more, her heart or her stomach.
 Then she awoke to sound.“ Anybody in there?” A flash of light and again a male, throaty voice.“ Anybody down there?”
 “Jim, is that you? I’m here, Jim.”
 Another voice. “You hear anything?”
 “No, did you?”
 “I thought I did.”
 Lynette cried out, her body trembling with the effort, her throat scratchy and raw. Her lips broke into a thousand tiny fissures as she screamed, “Jim, I’m here! Help!” Blood from her cracked lips moistened her dry, swollen, tongue.
 “I heard that! Someone is down there. Here, give me the light and watch where you step. This stuff is pretty shaky.”
 A moon man in a silver jumpsuit and helmet loomed above her. “How ya’ doin’, lady?”
 “Jim, I knew you would come.”
 “I ain’t Jim, lady, but I am here to help. Hang tight, we’ll have you out of here within an hour.”


INTERVIEW

Who is your favorite author?

Hmm, favorite author. That’s not an easy question to answer. Sandra Brown is one I will always read. She writes awesome sex scenes and I learn something new from every book of hers I read. I was happy when she started venturing into mystery writing. It’s the genre that I enjoy writing. I’ve tried, and I can’t write traditional romance. I need the excitement of a good whodunit to keep me stimulated and writing.

What was your first sale as an author?

I originally self-published Phoenix through Iuniverse.com. That was back when self-published was a dirty word. The book was available through Amazon, Barnes and Nobel and Iuniverse. So the first books I sold were through those venues. I recently updated Phoenix and e-published it through Amazon, Barnes and Nobel. Paperbacks are also available on those websites and through Create space.com. Phoenix is even more topical now than when I originally wrote it. It’s an apocalyptic story about the nuclear destruction of the United States by Iran.

What do you think makes a good story?

I like my books fast, furious, and sexy. I think it’s a sign of the times that most people won’t plow through War and Peace or even one of Stephen King’s thousand page tomes. It’s what I call the USA Today mentality. We want the facts, ma’am just the facts. Get ‘er done. I like that. I want my books concluded right around three hundred pages.

How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?

I don’t use a set formula to write my stories, but I do map out where the story is going to go. I’ve tried outlining, but I find that too tedious.  Often my stories will go in a different direction from my original plan. That’s okay.  It’s a magical part of the creative process.

If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?

It would be a crime series about cops. I love my two characters Nick Winston and Pat Strom from The Love Songs Murders.  These two have a great rapport.

Do you use a pen name?

Yes. Years ago, when I was in radio, a consultant told me he loved my voice, hated my name. “Change it,” he said.  I did. My sister and I sat down and came up with Kelly Marshall. Interestingly enough, I have a niece with that name, but it was only years after I had chosen the air name that I discovered I had a relative with the same moniker.

What are your favorite TV shows?

I seldom get a chance to watch TV. I catch the national news shows often, but the only thing I watch regularly is The Amazing Race. I don’t know why. Maybe I’m secretly in love with Phil. I would give anything if they’d bring Jack back. 24 was my all-time favorite television show.

What are you passionate about these days?

I am passionate about my grandson Dawson. Most of my daily energy is consumed with raising him. He is my only grandchild and I have the wonderful opportunity to impact his life.  I am very pleased he is involved with Boy Scouts. I am going to plug this great organization. It guides young men towards a life of service, responsibility, and good citizenship. Along the way, these young boys develop valuable relationships and a respect for others.  We have a lot of fun with the campouts and projects.

What one word best describes you?

I am kind. When they bury me, that’s how I want people to remember me.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelly Marshall spent thirty years as a radio announcer. One of her jobs was a love songs radio show called Lights Out. She now is devoting herself to her two great passions, raising her grandson, Dawson and writing. Kelly Marshall lives in the Pacific Northwest and is working on her next novel about Seattle Homicide Detectives Pat Strom and Nick Winston.





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