Character Interview: Zara Itani, star of the Double Helix series

Double Helix series 4

Today, on our character interview, we’re pleased to welcome Zara Itani, from the seven-time award-winning Double Helix series. Her author, Jade Kerrion, has insisted on sitting in on the interview. It’s not quite the norm, but we’ve agreed to Jade’s request. Let’s start with some easy questions, Zara. How did you first meet Jade Kerrion? Want to dish about her?

Zara: I think Jade was having a midlife crisis when we met. She was growing older, and realized that she was going to live out her life in the frantic corporate rat race of America, while being a mom with husband, two kids, and a mini van. She probably felt that she needed to live vicariously through someone else, namely me.

Jade: I am not having a midlife crisis!

Did you ever think that your life would end up being in a book?

Zara: I’m a mercenary, and I own an agency of mercenaries. No, I do not crave the spotlight or expect to make headlines, at least not with my name in print next to my unfortunate victims. Jade, however, appears to be a strong proponent of full disclosure—it’s amazing, though how her novels are full of people who never disclose anything to anyone else—and she decided to get my name out there.

Tell us about your favorite scene in the Double Helix series.

Zara: My favorite scene from the first three books takes place in the second book, Perfect Betrayal. It’s an intimate moment with Danyael Sabre. It’s especially memorable because, if you know Danyael, then you know that Danyael doesn’t do “intimate” often. Danyael, of course, swears the encounter never took place. He’s lying, of course. We have a daughter and five genetic tests to prove it. (smiles) Of course, I have many favorite scenes in Jade’s upcoming novel, Perfection Challenged. The closing scene is particularly memorable.

It sounds like you have a complicated relationship with Danyael. Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?

Zara (arching a perfectly tweezed eyebrow): They’re…charming, like black mambas are charming. Still, we’ve gone through a great deal together, and on a good day, I’d trust them, but not too much.

What do you like best about Danyael Sabre? What do you like least?

Zara: Do we have to talk about Danyael?

Well, your name is frequently mentioned in conjunction with his name and Galahad’s. How do you choose between two men who look alike?

Zara: Danyael is Galahad’s physical template, but in every other way that matters, they are nothing like each other. Galahad, the lab-created perfect human being, is eager and impatient to seize the world. On the other hand, Danyael, after a traumatic childhood as an undiagnosed alpha empath, wants nothing more than to be left alone to do his job as a doctor in a charity clinic. I used to think Danyael was evasive and a coward, unwilling to face his past or embrace his mutant powers. He isn’t really. He’s both courageous and compassionate, but most people don’t see him for what he is.

And what about you? What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? How about after they’ve known you for a while?

Zara: Ideally, they’d know me as a practical, levelheaded person who isn’t afraid of doing what it takes to get things done. After they’ve known me for a while, I hope they’ll continue to say the same thing.

Jade (in a stage whisper): Ask her about that compassionate streak…

Zara (shrugs an elegant shoulder): Not there. It doesn’t exist, and you can’t prove it.

Ladies, please. Zara, what would Danyael say about you?

Zara (flashes an amused smile): Ah, he’s much too polite to say anything, but if he did, I imagine he would say that I’m more abrasive than steel wool, and that I have a cruel and ruthless streak several miles wide. He wouldn’t say anything about compassion.

Jade (scowling): He wouldn’t have fallen in love with you otherwise…

Jade, if you don’t mind, I’m interviewing Zara here. Zara, if your story were a movie, who would play you?

Zara: Kate Beckinsale would do a great job. She’s beautiful, and she knows how to kick ass. She’s not Lebanese-Venezuelan, but nobody’s perfect.

Will you encourage your author to write a sequel?

Zara: She’s already written four Double Helix novels, five, if you include the Young Adult spinoff, When the Silence Ends. She insists that Perfection Challenged is the end of the Double Helix series, but that’s not to say that there aren’t other stories to be told about the world of the Double Helix. Knowing her, she’ll be back with another fascinating story about my world and the people who live in it.

What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?

Zara: You already know what I do for a living; I find ways to keep busy to pay the bills. I also have a two-year-old daughter, Laura. She’s learning her alphabet by reading Dr. Seuss and gun catalogs.

Jade (pulls Zara to her feet and drags her away): I am so sorry. This is why I don’t let my characters out unsupervised. I think they say stuff like that just to embarrass me.

Ah, okay, and that brings to an abrupt end our interview with Zara Itani today. Thank you for joining us for this character interview, and we hope you’ll take the opportunity to get to know Zara better in the DOUBLE HELIX series.

“The best of the four books…the perfect ending to an amazing series.”

Perfection Challenged, the thrilling conclusion to the multiple award-winning, bestselling DOUBLE HELIX series, is finally here. Grab your copy today.

If you’ve never picked up the DOUBLE HELIX series, keep reading for a special offer on the six-time award-winning novel, Perfection Unleashed.

perfection-challenged-600x800PERFECTION CHALLENGED

An alpha empath, Danyael Sabre has survived abominations and super soldiers, terrorists and assassins, but he cannot survive his failing body. He wants only to live out his final days in peace, but life and the woman he loves, the assassin Zara Itani, have other plans for him.

Galahad, the perfect human being created by Pioneer Labs, is branded an international threat, and Danyael is appointed his jury, judge, and executioner. Danyael alone believes that Galahad can be the salvation that the world needs, but is the empath blinded by the fact that Galahad shares his genes, and the hope that there is something of him in Galahad?

In a desperate race against time and his own dying body, Danyael struggles to find fragments of good in the perfect human being, and comes to the wrenching realization that his greatest battle will be a battle for the heart of the man who hates him.

E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple iTunes / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords

Paperbacks available at Amazon / Amazon UK

PERFECTION UNLEASHED Perfection Unleashed

“Higher octane than Heroes. More heart than X-Men.”

Recipient of six literary awards, including First place in Science Fiction, Reader Views Literary Awards 2012 and Gold medal winner, Science Fiction, Readers Favorites 2013.

FOR A LIMITED TIME, E-BOOKS AVAILABLE FOR JUST $0.99 (Discounted from $2.99)

E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords

Paperbacks available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

Connect with Jade Kerrion: Website / Facebook / Twitter

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Guest Post by Aoife Marie Sheridan – Where Saskia Came From

edenForest-bigI have always written but mostly poetry, it’s always been my way to deal with my emotions, no matter how big or small. Two years ago I lost two people I was close too. I had never lost anyone before, so I didn’t deal very well with it. One night I had a dream of a man and women on a horse, passing through a wall of fire. The dream lingered with me, as did my grief. So instead of writing poetry I started my story. My starting point was my dream and I worked my way from there. Eden Forest helped me once again deal with death, and all that comes with it. So in a way I am very grateful for this story.

I always wondered why God created us and what was our purpose, but those questions are unanswered. So in my story I give you the answers for this world called Saskia. In the story God creates a world parallel to ours, for four fallen angels.

Death is something that I also question now, like why do we die, is 60 to 90yrs of life enough, imagine having immortality what would one do to gain it? And that’s where a lot of my plot lies. The greed for immortality, for power’s that only God should wield, drives Saskia into war.

God decides to give one person all the powers that anyone could possess to banish evil, before it destroys Saskia and Earth. This one person happens to be a young lady called Sarajane Anderson who lives in the mortal world (Earth) but is actually from Saskia.

Click here for Aoife Marie Sheridan’s Book Blogger Fair – Summer 2013 page.

Ten Best Sidekicks Ever with Author A.E. Howard #bbf

I asked A.E. Howard who were the best ten sidekicks ever. Here’s what she said:
  • Samwise Gamgee (Lord of the Rings)
  • Mike Wazowski (Monsters Inc)
  • Gabby (Roy Rogers westerns)
  • Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story)
  • Pinky (Pinky and the Brain)
  • Donkey (from Shrek)
  • George and Bess (Nancy Drew)
  • Barney Rubble (Flintstones)
  • Doc Holliday (Tombstone)
  • Rachel Brooks (Justified)

I’m partial to Doc Holliday, myself. Be sure to check out her book “Flight of Blue” by clicking the link below.

Click here for A.E. Howard’s Book Blogger Fair – Summer 2013 page.

Excerpt: Earth-Sim, by Jade Kerrion

Author’s note: The world’s a crazy place, isn’t it? Massive floods, deadly plagues, world wars…it makes you wonder, who’s in charge of this place anyway? Let me introduce you to Jem Moran, Kir Davos, and SimOne—the two students and android assigned to manage Earth.

Earth-Sim seamlessly blends popular culture with history, science, and religion. This whimsical and irreverent romp through the history of Earth will charm and entertain as you attempt to decipher just how much is fact and what else is fiction. Either way, you finally have someone to blame for the shape our world is in.

This particular scene, which includes Kir’s younger brother, Kav, showcases the source of the kamikaze, the “divine wind” that saved Japan from two Mongol invasions, and the origin of the Black Death.

~*~

Earth-Sim-big

“Did we ever hear back from the Shixar or the Atlante teams?” Jem asked as they walked into the simulation laboratory together.

“No, it’s been quiet. It helps to be a little backwater planet. The Shixar and Atlante are so busy fighting each other on the other side of the universe that we’ve been able to escape their notice. It also helps that we’re technologically primitive. No one wants the hassle of raising toddlers if they can help it. All right, Kav. Remember, hands behind your back. Don’t touch anything.”

“Got it.” Kav laced his fingers behind his back. His eyes were wide, and his head swiveled from side to side as he tried to take in everything.

“It looks like lots of teams are back,” Jem murmured, nodding to another student who passed by them on his way to his own planet.

“I think many teams didn’t even take the week off,” Kir said.

Jem snorted. “Now I feel like a slacker.”

“On the other hand, I feel like I’m giving up two weeks of my vacation, and I’m moderately resentful about it.” Their planet came into view. “Good morning, SimOne.”

“Good morning, Kir. Good morning, Jem. Good morning, Kav.”

“How are things going?” Kir asked.

“Well,” was the android’s succinct reply.

“Let me see. Let me see.” Kav stood over the planet, his fingers interlocked behind his back, and stared down at the blue-white world spinning serenely in space. “Is that the moon?” he asked, as something brushed by his head.

Kir nodded. “Yes, and step back. You’re in its orbital path.”

“What’s that stuff down there?” Kav asked.

Jem leaned in over his shoulder. Her eyes narrowed. “It looks like a fleet of ships.”

Kir leaned in too. “That you can see from up here? That’s got to be a lot of ships.” He whistled low. “I’ve never seen these many ships. It will probably go down in history as the largest naval assault to date.”

“It isn’t going to bode well for that island,” Jem said.

“You’re not intervening?” Kir asked, sounding surprised.

“No. Both countries are somewhat peripheral to my plans. Contrary to what you may think about me, I don’t make every single decision for them. I step in only where it matters.”

Kav suddenly sneezed.

The fleet of ships vanished beneath the violent exhalation of air that tore up the waves. “Oh, no…” Jem choked back a giggle.

“Kav!” Kir shouted.

“What?”

“Cover your nose!”

Fascinated, Jem watched in silence as more ships sailed forth from the mainland; the armada reformed. They were going at it again.

Kav wailed. “I can’t cover my nose. See! My hands are behind my back. I can’t cover my nose with my hands behind my back.”

“Use your hands, damn it,” Kir said.

“You told me not to use my hands in here. I’m gonna sneeze again…I’m gonna…AH CHOO!”

The fleet dissipated. It never reformed.

Jem covered her mouth, the muffled sound trapped between a chortle and a sob. “Oh, God, I can’t watch.”

“Stand all the way back here.” Kir physically picked up his brother and moved him out beyond the asteroid field. “Jem, are you okay?”

She swallowed the chuckle. “It’s so bad. I thought that we’d figured out the art of planetary management, but no, we’re still careening from crisis to crisis.”

“You don’t sound or look mad,” Kir said carefully.

“I’m not. I’m resigned.” She giggled again. “Just imagine how the events must have seemed to that country. A massive armada shows up on your shores, and suddenly, bad weather takes it down. A few years later, another armada shows up, but once again, it’s consumed by bad weather. If that’s not a divine wind, nothing else is.”

“You’re taking this better than I thought you would.”

“Practice,” Jem said with a straight face.

SimOne cut into their easy banter. “Alert. An alien vector was inserted at 35°N, 103°E”

“What?” Jem turned sharply back to SimOne.

“Where did it come from? Who inserted it?” Kir asked.

SimOne stood very straight; she stared at something apparently only she could see. “It came from Kav Davos.”

“Get it out,” Kir ordered.

“Negative. The alien vector cannot be removed.”

“Track it, then. I want to know where it goes. What is it? A humanoid?” Kir asked.

“Negative. It is an enterobacteriaceae.”

“Damn it.” Jem paled. “Give me a population map, SimOne.”

The world map unfurled across the astral screen. The disease spread, flowing out of the heart of Jem’s empire, toward the west and south. Dark patches faded, thinning out, sometimes disappearing completely.

“Oh, my God…” Jem whispered. “They’re dying. They’re dying all over.”


Check out Jade Kerrion’s Book Blogger Fair – Summer 2013 page for more information.

Cover Reveal: Entangled, A Novel, by Annie Brewer


Entangled, A Novel by Annie Brewer CoverMaddy Walker has lived a difficult life in a small town in Colorado. After losing her mother in a horrific car accident as a child, her father becomes nonexistent due to the aftermath. She has to pick up the pieces of her crumbled life and move on. For all intents and purposes she’s an orphan. But thanks to her best friend Andi and her family, she’s not completely alone; spending most of her childhood and adolescence with them. After turning 18, she and Andi move in together and she makes a decision to move forward with her life, working and putting her past behind her. Only, another tragedy hits her world and she must relive everything she has tried to forget.

Noah Parker is ready to move away from the busy New York City life…and his dark past where he is harboring a lot of guilt and pain. He just wants a fresh start and being the destructive bad boy in town is not a way to do that. He doesn’t ever date girls; it’s all about sex for him. He figures if he could block his pain and bury it, it will go away. Little does he know, it never just goes away. Moving to a small town close to his aunt, he’s hoping for a good change.

What he doesn’t expect, is to meet Maddy. She turns his world upside down. He finds himself wanting to get to know her, not on a sexual level but a deep, emotional one. It seems they have more in common than they ever imagined. And they are both having a hard time denying their attraction to one another. But the more time they spend together, the more they learn about themselves and that in order to move on, you have to learn to let go. Can Noah and Maddy make their growing relationship work together in the midst of more heartbreak and tragedy, or are their lives already too complicated as it is? In both Maddy and Noah’s POV, this is their story of loss, pain and learning to overcome it all-through love.

Recommended for mature audience 17+ due to language and sexual content.

Add it to your TBR list: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17375089-entangled-a-novel

About the Author

Annie Brewer

Annie Brewer(29) leads several lives. At home she’s a caring mother of two with a heart of gold. Online, she’s a best friend to several and puts a smile on her many fans every time she utters a word. In her own world, she’s a dreamer. But the biggest part of her is made of books, books, and more books. It’s not a surprise she’s turned out to be such a talented young author. Some of her many hobbies include reading, drooling over Ian Somerhalder, Channing Tatum,and Christian Grey (etc.), reading, reviewing, reading, watching Vampire Diaries, reading, and last but not least WRITING like a maniac. She currently resides in Texas, where she dies of heat-strokes every few seconds, with her many books and book-boyfriends, and her two adorable little girls.

Connect with Annie online here…

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anniebrewer82?ref=hl

Blog: http://www.anniebrewerwrites.com/

GR Author Link: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2739138.Annie_Brewer

Twitter: https://twitter.com/goddess793

Cover Reveal: The Neumarian Chronicles – Weighted, by Ciara Knight

Weighted
Prequel to The Neumarian Chronicles (coming 2013)
by Ciara Knight

The Great War of 2185 is over, but my nightmare has just begun. I am being held captive in the Queen’s ship awaiting interrogation. My only possible ally is the princess, but I’m unsure if she is really my friend or a trap set by the Queen to fool me into sharing the secret of my gift. A gift I keep hidden even from myself. It swirls inside my body begging for release, but it is the one thing the Queen can never discover. Will I have the strength to keep the secret? I’ll know the answer soon. If the stories are true about the interrogators, I’ll either be dead or a traitor to my people by morning.

Available in August 2012.
Add Weighted to Goodreads shelf!

Book Review: Season of the Harvest, by Michael R. Hicks

Season of the Harvest, by Michael R. Hicks
February 6, 2011

At a genetics lab where a revolutionary strain of wonder food crops is being developed, FBI Special Agent Jack Dawson’s best friend and fellow agent, Sheldon Crane, is brutally murdered. The killer was looking for very special seeds that Jack’s friend had taken from the lab, and tore his body apart trying to find them…

Jack is convinced that Naomi Perrault, the beautiful geneticist who leads a group of suspected eco-terrorists, is behind the murder. But when FBI agents who aren’t quite who they claim to be show up on Jack’s doorstep after a bomb devastates the FBI lab in Quantico, destroying the evidence from his friend’s murder, Naomi becomes Jack’s only hope of survival.

Framed for murder and confronted by the terrifying truth of what the genetically engineered seeds stolen by his friend are truly for, Jack joins Naomi in a desperate battle across half the globe to save humanity from extermination…


There is a hell of a mess in Special Agent Sheldon Crane’s kitchen. Every single box, jar, bottle, and takeout container has been emptied, sifted on the counter, and wiped carelessly onto the floor. The intruder even hacked up a frozen roast looking for something very small. SA Jack Dawson is a veteran analyst with the FBI, and the question of what the perpetrator was looking for (and therefore, what has gotten his friend killed) is on his mind. But, who tossed the home weighs heavier on the agent in the moment than why, because what he sees is impossible. There are no voids in the pile of food in the kitchen, nor footprints marking how the intruder left after he was done with his search. And, this is the second crime scene he’s seen in 24 hours apparently left behind by a ghost.

Season of the Harvest begins with a prologue introducing the reader to the genetically modified food industry. For those who’ve never looked further into agriculture than the produce section of their grocery store, the seed business is a multi-billion dollar per year industry and its secrets are fiercely guarded. This fact is borne out in Season’s first chapter, which shows SA Sheldon Crane in a dire situation. Succumbing to a paralyzing neurotoxin, Crane takes measures to protect four kernels of corn he has stolen from a genetics lab, dropping them onto the repeater of his Glock’s magazine before reloading the .40 caliber rounds. He then swallows the rest of the seeds, hoping that when his pursuer find them, those in the gun will go unnoticed until the lab in Quantico, Virginia finds them in evidence.

Crane’s break-in to the lab sets off a chain reaction. The race to protect the world’s last untouched-by-science seed vault pits a small group of geniuses branded eco-terrorists against paramilitary troops employed by a genetics lab, which is in turn subsidized by the U.S. government. Led by Jack Dawson, now a rogue agent on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, and Naomi Perrault, a long missing genetics researcher, the “terrorists” take risks to discover what danger lurks in Crane’s precious kernels and stop the manufacturer before they can unleash it on an unsuspecting world.

Michael R. Hicks has an engaging style marked by tight prose and smooth verbiage well suited to the Sci-Fi Thriller genre. He builds his scenes with as few words as necessary, and while I’m not a fan of using dialog to communicate plot details, Mr. Hick’s scenes rarely seem to be forced for the reader’s benefit. The scenes transition cleanly between each other and the hand offs between Points of View (POVs) are clear. In regards to the voice, he gives each POV a distinctive voice. (The scene told by Alexander, Dawson’s cat impressed me.) Mr. Hicks is also very good about keeping his characters in character. I kept waiting for something to happen between Jack and Naomi, two people who deserve, and would benefit from, a few minutes of naughtiness, but they remain true to the genes Hicks gave them in the beginning. Jack and Naomi have pressing problems and personal issues…like exhaustion, personal baggage, and something unpleasant lurking in their underground bunker just to start.

As a sci-fi thriller, there’s a lot of action, cut into nice bite-size chunks by witty banter and scenes of key players executing their part of the storyline, from the federal officials all the way down to an amorphous mass in Naomi’s lab. Season of the Harvest, which the author says was born out of a joke made by his wife, is an entertaining, thought-provoking blend of motifs from popular commercial works, most notably the X-Files. The story reminded me of several as I progressed through it…Dan Brown’s Deception Point and the film Long Kiss Goodnight, to name just two. And I would bet a Snickers bar that Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s novel Relic is on Mr. Hick’s bookshelf. In addition to sharing several plot factors, Season’s first scene takes place in Lincoln, Nebraska, and has a character named “Preston.”

I enjoyed this book, and I would recommend it to any fan of made-for-Syfy disaster/creature films. And if you’re a fan of grandiose battle scenes, there’s one in this book that might impress Michael Bay.

Rating: ★★★★