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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Firestorm by Solange Ritchie / @author_solange | #GuestPost & Spreading the Word

Today I'm showing off Solange Ritchie's "Firestorm" and sharing a guest post where Solange discusses her writing process.



My Writing Process

First, a lot of research. My second novel "FIRESTORM" involves a serial arsonist who works as a paid firefighter. I did a lot of research into that kind of mind set. Those who have read the book say "I nailed it."

As for the process, I always know my beginning scene and my ending scene. In the middle, is when the characters give me their words and actions for the page. And yes, my writing is very visual in the way that I envision what a character is seeing, feeling, touching, hearing, tasting and most important, what is there response to it. While my scenes are visual, they are not overly descriptive, as I hate books that waste time with overly descriptive bribble that does nothing to move the story forward. Because I write in this way, I do not write about places I have never been. If I cannot envision them in my head like a movie screen, I can't write about them.

I do not outline my novels, but I believe the the rule of threes. Opening with big impact incident in the first 10 pages, minor conflict at 100 pages in, middle should resolve conflict but add something new, build to final conflict with chapter or 2 at the end showing some form of character reflection, i.e. What has the character learned from what has gone on, what are their feelings now that things have resolved.

I think from being a lawyer for so many years, I am gifted at knowing the pacing necessary to make this approach work without doing an outline. Outlining kills the creative process for me. That being said, many authors do outline extensively. For instance, Jeffrey Deaver outlines for 8 months before he ever puts pen to paper.

My work has been compared to Patricia Cornwell and Catherine Coulter (both huge compliments) so I hope you (and your readers) find my process useful.



"Firestorm"
by Solange Ritchie

Author's Book Description :
    A year after the death of her ex-husband, FBI forensic pathologist Dr. Catherine “Cat” Powers and her young son, Joey, are trying to cope with the emotional aftermath of life without him. Joey is especially vulnerable after being kidnapped by the “Burning Man” and witnessing his father’s brutal murder.

    On a peaceful Saturday afternoon in Quantico, a mysterious manila envelope arrives in Cat’s mailbox. Inside, she finds a lock of Joey’s hair and a photograph of him taken during his abduction, his face twisted in fear. The photograph could have been taken by only one person. Cat immediately knows that the Burning Man is back—and she and Joey may never be safe again.

    When the Burning Man resurfaces in Southern California, a trail of the brutally mutilated bodies of young women left in his wake, Cat teams up once again with police detective Jim McGregor to hunt down the madman once and for all. But while Cat and McGregor methodically pursue one serial killer, Southern California’s beautiful neighborhoods begin to burn one by one. The investigators realize they must catch another killer: a serial arsonist who is happy not only to burn buildings but to watch his infernos consume people’s lives—a man obsessed with fire above all things, a man with a deep sense of hatred toward society. Cat and McGregor find themselves growing closer as they become enmeshed in a deadly game with two deranged killers who leave few clues and always seem to be one step ahead.

    As the death toll mounts and powerful Santa Ana winds whip the flames, the evidence reveals that the two killers are connected to each other—and that one of them seeks revenge for the sins of Cat’s past. In the fire-ravaged hills of Southern California, Cat wages an epic battle against an arsonist and a sadistic murderer. She promises herself that this time, she will not let the killers get away. This time, she will see justice done—for the victims, for their families, for Joey. But will Cat have to pay the ultimate price?


Preorder this book NOW :

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** Be sure to add it to your TBR pile on Goodreads & LibraryThing! **




Book Excerpt(s) :

CHAPTER ONE


My strength is as the strength of ten,
Because my heart is pure.

—Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Sir Galahad

A year is a long time, but not long enough.
He needs Catherine. He knows she needs him.
FBI Special Investigator Dr. Catherine Powers is all he has ever needed.
It is as good a day as any for an epiphany.
He watches her red hair shimmer in the sun, adjusting the binoculars’ focus as she opens the front door on the gray Cape Cod clapboard cottage she calls home. She has on exercise wear, having just returned from the gym. He wants to smell her, to taste her just like that. Even at this distance, he picks up her slight smell—lavender and sweat.
Pulling out the mail from its box, she is holding the envelope now.
He feels an adrenaline spark rush through him. His pulse quickens ever so slightly. She turns on her heels, envelope in hand. She has no idea he is back.
She will know soon enough.

When Cat touches the large yellow manila envelope, she shivers. She doesn’t know why. It is eighty-five degrees. Maybe information on a new case, but why have they sent it here? To her home? She takes the strange envelope inside into the kitchen. She turns it over with her left hand, opens it, and slides the contents out onto the white and gray marble kitchen counter. Again, a shiver.
Every time she looks at the scar that runs from her index finger to her thumb, she thinks of him. It angers her. He almost ended her career. She will not let him consume her thoughts today.
She sees a golden lock of hair fall out first. The same color as Joey’s hair.
Cat gasps. The air around her feels like quicksand. She can feel her heart pounding in her chest. A strange buzzing in her ears. It is as if time is standing still, taunting her as she looks at the hair. She knows it is Joey’s hair. She knows what this means.
Who would be sending this?
She already knows the answer in her gut.
She looks inside the envelope; there is a large 8-by-11 black-and-white photograph. Pulling it out, she looks at it. It is Joey restrained in the back of an SUV, his eyes wide with fear. Cat gasps again. Around her, the air feels heavy. She cannot get enough of it in her lungs. The buzzing in her head gets louder. She steadies herself with one hand on the countertop.
“Oh my God.” Her right hand comes up to cover her mouth.
She is shaking harder now. A sound in her head like a hornet’s nest. Buzzing. Loud. Getting louder.
Seeing another envelope inside, she dares not touch it with her bare hands. Hurrying, she grabs yellow plastic gloves from behind her kitchen sink and puts them on. Her breathing is ragged now. She feels her blood surging. When she pulls out the second envelope, she hears Joey laughing outside with Max, his chocolate Labrador. The dog that has become his closest friend. The two are inseparable. They are playing in the pool.
“Don’t come in here now, baby” is all she can think to yell.
“Okay, Mom,” he shouts back over the dog’s playful barks.
She takes a kitchen knife and holds it under hot running water until the blade is hot. Careful not to cut it, she runs the knife’s hot blade under the envelope’s seam, opening it. Inside, she sees a folded white single 8-by-11 sheet of paper—and on it, the following in red block letters:

I AM THE LUCKIEST MAN ALIVE.
I WILL SEE YOU SOON, MY DEAR.
YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN FAR FROM MY THOUGHTS.
THROUGH THIS LAST YEAR, YOU HAVE BEEN WITH ME.
ENCLOSED IS A MEMENTO FROM MY TIME WITH JOEY.
ERIC

“What kind of joke is this?” Cat says.
But she knows it is no joke.
He is back.
Eric is back.

Click here to read more of this excerpt from Solange Ritchie's "FIRESTORM"



About the Author :

Born on the beautiful tropical island of Jamaica of a Jamaican father and a French mother, Solange Ritchie immigrated to the United States at age eleven. Since then, she has been a dynamic force for change. Fed up with thrillers that start with a fizzle and longing to see more powerful women as lead characters, Solange decided to create her own characters. Despite the demands of a busy legal career, she accomplished her ambitious goal by rising each morning to write before work, dedicating her weekends to writing, and even spending her vacation time writing.

Words have always been Solange’s passion—now so more than ever.

Solange achieved a successful writing career while doing “last minute trials,” mostly in Southern California. Dubbed “the Case Saver,” Solange did the heavy lifting, handling intense legal motions that either make or break a case, especially in business, labor, and employment law areas. Once cases get beyond that point, they either settle or they go to trial.

Solange received the State Bar of California’s Solo and Small Firm Section’s highest award, the Myer J. Sankary Attorney of the Year Award for 2014. Only one attorney is selected for this honor each year. The award is given to an individual who has exercised notable leadership or contributed to the development of greater justice in a field of law. The award is presented annually to an individual who is a sole practitioner or a member of a small firm and who has devoted years of faithful service and leadership to the community or his or her fellow attorneys.

One of more than eleven thousand graduates of Western State University College of Law, Solange was recently inducted into the Western State University College of Law Alumni Hall of Fame. While in law school, Solange rose through the law review ranks to become editor in chief while working full time as a paralegal. When people told her it couldn’t be done, she did it anyway. Solange has always been tenacious. Her personal motto is “Don’t quit and never surrender.”

When Solange was just thirty-seven years old, her first husband, John, died due to gross medical negligence at a Southern California hospital. That life-altering experience helped shape her into the person she is today. She began writing creatively as a way to deal with the stress of his hospitalization and his death.

With a passion for philanthropic work (stemming from growing up with an older brother with Down’s syndrome and John’s death), Solange served on numerous charitable and legal boards, including the California Women Lawyers Association, the Orange County Bar Association, the Orange County Women Lawyers Association, the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association, the Community Court’s Foundation, and El Viento.

Solange’s first psychological thriller, "The Burning Man," featuring FBI forensic pathologist Dr. Catherine “Cat” Powers was published in 2015. Her second novel, "Firestorm," is due for release in May 2018.

She regularly publishes articles on a variety of legal and nonlegal issues and speaks to both attorneys and law students on topics such as punitive damages, civil procedure, and diversity and gender equality and how to find fulfillment and balance in the busy practice of law. Solange lives in South Florida. She enjoys traveling, writing, Pilates, and yoga, as well as good food and great conversation.




Find Solange Ritchie :



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