Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Moonbow by Sheila Hollinghead

Published: December 2013


A widow, a doctor, an unborn child. Three lives are at risk in this high stakes suspense. Die Auserwahlten, the Chosen Ones, have impregnated Gisa with an embryonic clone. Is it evil or just a child? It's up to Dr. Rayden Brooks to untangle the web that keeps them captive and save their lives. But will Gisa trust him?

The mandatory characteristics of a good Inspirational Suspense Romance (and maybe the differences between related genres) 

In today's market of independent authors and small publishers, the list of mandatory characteristics is shrinking. As fewer rules by mainstream publishers fade away, writers are left to give their imaginations full reign. 

In elementary school, my class read a story about an art teacher. She demonstrated to her students the "correct" way to mold a cow from a lump of clay. One brave little boy steadfastly refused to follow the teacher's instructions. Instead, he added his own embellishments. At the end of class, the students presented their clay cows to the teacher–identical clay cows except for one. The students oohed and ahhed over this cow, so different from the rest. And the teacher realized she should not impose her rules but allow the students freedom to explore. 

However, that being said, there are features needed for us to recognize the clay figure as a cow. Genres, in the same way, must have a few basic elements. For example, all books, not just thrillers, must have elements of suspense or tension. Suspense comes from not knowing what will happen next–a difficult task in our world filled with stories–movies, TV shows, video games, and, of course, books. The different and unexpected, as difficult as it is to achieve, will keep readers engaged. 

In the suspense or thriller genre, the ante is upped, creating tension by violence or, at least, the threat of it. The characters are put in grave danger and must use their wits to escape. 

Mandatory in romance, of course, are two people falling in love. Obstacles, physical or emotional, keep the characters apart. Readers keep reading to discover if these obstacles can be overcome and if true love will prevail. 

Also, most good stories (if not all) are inspirational. Think of Rocky, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, etc. In all of these stories, average people (or hobbits) overcome great obstacles. They persevere through tremendous struggles, inspiring us to do the same. 

So, a book in the inspirational romantic suspense genre (as is Moonbow) has characters attracted to each other and in danger. They attempt to escape the clutches of evil and find true love while inspiring us with their bravery and strength of character. 

Hopefully, the "cow" (Moonbow) has its own unique embellishments along with the mandatory characteristics.



THE MAN REFUSED to allow the crowd in the hospital cafeteria to thwart his efforts. He maneuvered to a seat, cutting in front of a young couple, to obtain full view of his prey. His cap was crammed down over his eyes, but he still saw the way Dr. Rayden Brooks smiled at the young woman, Adalgisa Ostheim. She bent her head closer to the doctor and allowed him to touch her arm. Surely, the doctor's conduct was unethical? The woman may not be the patient of Brooks, but she was the patient of his colleague, Dr. Cochran.

The man pulled the brim of his cap lower. He knew this woman—she had been his third and there was also a fourth. The other three he had forgotten as soon as he had finished the assignment. But not Adalgisa, or Gisa as she called herself. The other three had made no more an impression on him than a fly buzzing around his head. They had all been annoyances, really. All but Adalgisa.

He had reached his objective with her long ago and moved on. Yet, now he had returned to her, like a hound-pursued deer searching for water. And Oberste had learned of his obsession.

The man was not cognizant of the ways Oberste received information. Regardless, Oberste knew and had warned him away from the woman. The dangers of disobedience were great, but here he was, to understand why something within him would not, could not, allow this.

The man made a plan. First, he would approach Dr. Cochran, discuss the behavior of Brooks. If Cochran refused to put a stop to it, he would be eliminated—regardless of Oberste's orders.

Oberste need not know. The threat of defection among those recruited was always a concern. Oberste would accept his story—that Cochran threatened the integrity of the program. And, of course, Dr. Rayden Brooks would simply be collateral damage. Oberste would be none the wiser.

He had to wrench his eyes away from Adalgisa's laughing face to glance at his cell phone. The meeting was in an hour. Tardiness would not be tolerated. Reluctantly, he left the hospital cafeteria.

He convinced himself he had time for a quick stop before the meeting. He drove to the store. He paused before he entered and smoothed back his blond hair. Placing a practiced smile on his lips, he approached the counter. "Pack of cigarettes," he said to the woman.

She tilted her head at him, and one eyebrow rose. "Brand?"

"Lucky Strikes, unfiltered." Nasty habit, but if he was to continue his surveillance of Adalgisa and Brooks, he needed something to keep his hands busy. It had nothing to do with quelling his fear of Oberste.

About the author:
Sheila Hollinghead, an army brat, was born in Nuremberg, Germany. When she was ten, her father was stationed in Toul, France where she discovered a treasure trove of books hiding in the furnace room. The house was rumored to be the former headquarters of the Nazi Party with bullet holes decorating the foyer as evidence. The books, sci-fi, mysteries, fantasy, and the classics, opened her mind to the power of story. Today, she is married and lives on a farm in south Alabama with dogs, cats, and chickens. She agrees with Emily Dickinson who said, "I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it until it begins to shine."


Catalina Mihaela said...

Suna promitator subiectul.Si imi place ca nu se dau foarte multe detalii

Sheila Hollinghead said...

Thanks so much for letting me share my thoughts today!

melissa cushing said...

LOve the synopsis of this book... as wellas the cover! Thank for bringing this author to my attention! I love a new author to follow!!

Kai said...

I love the conflict of good vs evil and the choices that come with it. Thanks for the book description and excerpt.