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today 6/2/16 on aobibliosphere™ [aobibliospotlight™: A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart]

Thursday, April 28, 2011

02 Masters & Mistresses of the Genre: Darcia Helle - into the dark side

welcome to the Masters & Mistresses of the Genre Series featuring 
Darcia Helle: Mistress of Suspense

First, thanks to aobibliophile for having me here as the Mistress of Suspense. I love that title!
When I was five or six, my mother enrolled me in the Disney Book of the Month Club. Each month, our mailman would deliver a new book. I remember the excitement of seeing that package and the anticipation of which book would be inside. I know, Disney books are not exactly suspense. Yet, those books are likely responsible for planting those early seeds of suspense in my mind. Would Pinocchio continue to lie? Would Snow White ever wake up? That bit of the unknown always thrilled me.

As I grew older, and most of my friends went for the romance stories, I went for the suspense. I didn't want to read about princesses and fairy tale weddings. I wanted the edgy stuff. The books that let me glimpse the dark side. The ones that made me work for that happy ending. The first young adult book that I remember making a huge impact on me was The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. This book was written in the sixties and encompassed the turmoil of that period, as well as the general turmoil of growing up. I was instantly hooked.
I didn't fantasize about being swept away by the man on the cover of the most recent Harlequin romance.  Escaping to new planets and meeting aliens held no interest for me. I wanted to know what drove madness.
In high school and into college, psychology and English were my favorite classes. If I'd been exposed to sociology courses back then, no doubt I would have found where I belonged. I watched people, listened, tried to anticipate behavior. Various 'what if' scenarios would keep me up late into the night.
Suspense writing has never been a conscious choice. Human nature fascinates me. Why do people behave as they do? What makes one person commit murder, while another walks away? The characters and plot that became my first book haunted me relentlessly until I finally sat down and gave them life. None of my books have been planned and writing has never been about the genre. For me, writing is about the exploration into the dark side.

The Cutting Edge
My name is Skye Summers. I’m a hairstylist and I can’t stop fantasizing about killing my clients. Not all of them, of course. I only want to kill the ones who irritate me, which, if I’m being honest, is most of them. My occasional fantasies have turned into chronic daydreams. They’re bloody and vivid, like watching a slice-and-dice movie on IMAX.
I also want to kill my husband’s ex-girlfriend. She’s not a client but she tops my list. Eighteen years ago, she gave birth to his daughter and she has tormented him ever since. I should be troubled by this growing desire to use my surgically sharpened shears for more than a haircut. Instead, I wonder how I can get away with it.

Miami Snow
One day Nick Donovan has it all; a beautiful, pregnant wife, a nice house, a great job. The next day he is on his own, starting from scratch with nothing but a few suitcases and his old truck.
Nick flees to the opposite coast of Florida, trying to leave his ex-wife and the memories behind. But that couldn’t happen. Soon Nick finds that he is tied to Shelley in a way that he hadn’t expected. And, in her bitterness, she does everything she can to ensure his misery.
Brandy is Shelley’s opposite; wild, sensual, free-spirited. With Brandy, Nick is able to rebel against all that Shelley stands for. Brandy quickly leads Nick into a world of sex, drugs, and cash. And now Nick finds himself caught between the two worlds, desperate to stay afloat.

Hit List
Sanity is not something you lose, like your car keys or that elusive sock in the dryer. That's what Ian believed before his mother stepped over the edge from sane to crazy.
No one is able to give Ian a reasonable explanation. Corinne suffers from severe memory loss, odd behavior, and paranoid delusions. Or at least Ian had been told they were delusions. After all, who would be hiding outside watching his mother? And why?
Ian hires private investigator Lucianna Martel to retrace the events of his mother's last sane day. During Lucianna's investigation, she and Ian learn that Corinne may not be so crazy after all.

No Justice (A Michael Sykora Novel)
How far would you go to right a wrong?
For Michael Sykora, killing started as blind rage. Then it became something he's good at. To most of those who know him, Michael is a software designer, a smart but average guy with a workaholic nature. To a chosen few, Michael is a part-time hit man whose specialty is eliminating hard-core criminals.
Michael has managed to keep his two personas separate. Until now. When Nicki, a close friend, gets into trouble, Michael steps in to help. Having lost his fiance to a brutal crime, Michael will do whatever necessary to keep from losing another woman in his life.

Beyond Salvation (A Michael Sykora Novel)
A teenage runaway disappears from the streets. The only people that care, or even notice, are her two best friends who are also runaways. For reasons of their own, they can't go to the police for help.
They seek out Michael Sykora, a software designer by day and hit man by night. Known on the streets as The Ghost, Michael has a reputation for taking on the twisted criminals. Rapists. Child molesters. He has never been hired to find the lost. Until now.
Michael teams up with ex-prostitute Nicki and full-time hit man Sean. Together they bend the rules of the justice system in order to find a young girl few people care about. In the process, they uncover a world where salvation comes with a price tag and God's words are used to incite fear in a congregation of believers.

Enemies and Playmates
When the abused decide to fight back, the abuser's world might just shatter.
Lauren Covington's family maintains a grand facade that belies the life they live behind closed doors. Alex Covington, Lauren's father, keeps a tight rein on his family through dominance, abuse, and obsessive control. Consequently, Lauren doesn't believe she could ever trust a man, much less fall in love with one.
When Lauren meets Jesse Ryder, her carefully constructed protective wall shatters. She falls hopelessly and completely in love. It's only fitting that Jesse is a private detective who had once worked for her father, had defied him, and was now the subject of Alex Covington's wrath.
Amidst devastating loss, betrayal, and her father's destructive pursuit of Jesse, Lauren finds the trust and love she had always longed for.

The First Kill (Amazon will not let me list this free, so grab it from Smashwords!)
At what point does a man choose to become a hired killer? Sean Riley is a hit man. His first kill defined the man he became.
Short story based on characters from the two Michael Sykora novels - No Justice and Beyond Salvation.

I'm originally from Massachusetts but now spend my days writing in the sunshine of Florida. My two sons are legally adults, though I sometimes question that status, and my five four-legged babies are spoiled beyond repair. I'm a book addict and might one day suffocate beneath the weight of my to-read list. Books surround me and it's a great view.

follow Darcia on the web:

her books can be purchased through:
i would like to say thank you to Darcia Helle for guest posting today and to you as well for stopping by. watch out for my next master or mistress of the genre in May! 

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