Valerie’s world is turned upside down when she meets smooth-talking Lex Kendal. #readinglife #romcom @IndieWriterSupp #dryhumour

First up in the ‘middle line from the middle of your book’ promo is… Oh No, I’ve Fallen in Love! by Louise Wise. Continue reading

Hey, indie (and small press) authors, want your book plugged for free? Then check this out! #indieauthor #indie #author #IARTG #selfpublishing #IABE #readingcommunity #WritingCommunity #BookTwitter #booklovers #authorlife

Promo Opportunity Alert!! WWBB is looking for heart-warming or funny fiction to plug. We’re after something happy to take our minds off covid, the lockdown, Brexit, the elections or just 2020 in general. So, if you have a book that … Continue reading

Have a book to promote? Link it here! #authors #writers #paranormal #ghosts

If any one is interested in writing a short ‘n’ sharp paragraph of paranormal true events (could be while researching your book or a reason why you wrote the book in the first place!) send it to wiselouise(AT) for it to be placed on this blog. Continue reading

Returning to Eden’s prehistoric #scifi saga that stole the hearts of #readers everywhere.

‘I’m scared’, Fly had said. He was never scared. He was her hero. Her rugged hero made up from all the romance books she’d read. Big, bold and beautiful—in an alien kind of way. Jenny’s from Earth. Fly’s from Itor. … Continue reading

The worst thing you can say to someone with #depression is ‘pull yourself together’.

‘I’m not angry, moody or resentful. I just don’t like people.’ – Valerie Anthrope. ‘Oh no, I’ve Fallen in Love! comes a warm, tear-jerking story of strong women, bad-turned-good men and the power of friendship. Valerie’s life has been one of … Continue reading

‘Is it in?’ – A Proper Charlie #romcom #british #badsex #cheapbooks

 A Proper Charlie is a contemporary romance and sums up what the genre is all about: fun, ‘finding yourself’ and relationships.   Charlie Wallis is a ditzy redhead but her heart is in the right place. Without a family, she was … Continue reading a new community for writers is an open community for writers and readers of fiction. Harnessing the power of ebooks, the objective is to support writers – making what becomes a successful story or novel more democratic, more personal and more social. iWriteReadRate is also here to help readers discover great new writers and stories. is an open community for writers and readers of fiction.
Literature inspires, entertains and educates. The eBook Revolution is enabling people who love literature to come together in exciting ways. Both creators and consumers have a new freedom and opportunity to connect. If there ever was a time to be enthralled with and by literature, this is it.
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So you want an Author Platform? FREE eBook

social media and newbie writing guide

For a self-published/indie writer creating a platform is a must. The sooner this is made and maintained the better. But where do you start? So You Want an Author Platform is an easy to follow guide that will help you connect to bloggers and potential readers of your book.

This is a short eBook of approx 9500 words. 

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When Characters Take Over
Janine McCaw
If you write fiction, then this has probably happened to you. You’ve carefully plotted your chapters so you’ve got a clear idea of where you’re headed in this journey you’ve mapped out for yourself. You know that your antagonist is scheduled to meet his maker around two-thirds of the way into your story; his own conflict being resolved with three words—Monroe was dead. 

Then you pause. You wonder if you’ve done the right thing, unaware that what Monroe really was, was clever. About a third of the way into your story he began to seduce you. Sure he had shown you his bad side, but every once in a while he began to throw in some charm. He’s so charming in fact, that by the halfway point in your book, you’re starting to think that maybe Monroe doesn’t die. Maybe your protagonist gives him an epiphany so empowering that evil no longer lurks in good old Monroe.

It’s the curse of writing good characters. They come alive. They dance around in your brain like multiple personalities and prey on you like your kids. They start to talk back. You try not to listen to those voices in your head, but they just won’t shut-up. They take you to the left when you really want to go right.

Remind yourself about the book you initially set out to write. Go back to those initial notes and swear on Monroe’s grave that you’re going to take him down on page 175. Maybe he doesn’t go down in a hail of bullets, maybe he goes down in just one, but down he goes—Monroe is dead.

P.S. Here’s a tip I’ve learned from experience. Save the day of Monroe’s demise for when you’ve had a really bad day at work. That’s right. That scene will be so much easier to write when Monroe begins to sound like the person or situation that has driven you to the point where chocolate offers no comfort. It also saves you a trip to the therapist.

“The Gilmore Girls meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

Fifteen year old Goth-chic Ellie has a lot of explaining to do. She’s just moved to the small town of Troy, fought with her uptight mother Helen, met the boy of her dreams and found a dead body on her sexy “new-age” grandmother Helena’s porch. All on the first night!

But Ellie’s not alone. Helen is hiding something. Helen knows all about the kind of eerie dreams her daughter is having — the dreams that show the whereabouts of the missing children of Troy — because she’s had them herself. But she’ll never admit it. Not while Ellie’s sex-crazed friend Ryan is safely behind bars for the murders. Helen knows what it’s like to be attracted to dangerous men.

Then there’s the little matter between Helena and Gaspar Bonvillaine, the teenaged vampire who is learning to feed on young prey. Now that he’s caught Ellie, he doesn’t know whether he wants to kill her or turn her to the dark side and keep her forever. Helena should have finished him off when she had the chance.

To survive the vampire feeding frenzy surrounding them, mom Helen needs to come to terms with her own insecurities and deal with the gifts she has. Helena must learn to ground herself for the good of mankind and more importantly her own family. And Ellie has the toughest choice of all. Ellie must decide whether its time to let her own childhood go and become the woman she is destined to be, one of the ageless and timeless “Helens of Troy”.

HELENS-OF-TROY is the second novel completed by Janine
McCaw.  For the Vancouver-based novelist
it is the continuation of a dream, and the fruit of years of working in a
different creative realm.
McCaw’s deep
understanding of compelling plots, widely appealing characters, natural
dialogue and strong story arcs comes directly out of her early career in the
film and television industry. McCaw’s skills as an observer started early when
her family uprooted from the City to small town Ontario – and she became the
classic fish out of water.  Writing down
her thoughts became an outlet as she scribbled her way through childhood, while
she also developed her observational skills and visual eye with photography.  A die-hard hockey fan, McCaw studied
Cinematography at Humber College, and was headed for a career as a cameraperson
covering professional sports when she landed an internship in a broadcasting
services company. 
McCaw excelled
in the television distribution arena. 
She joined Thomas Howe & Associates and moved with that company to
Vancouver, where she distinguished herself with her talent for identifying the
right product for the right market, and her people-skills in negotiating
contracts. After furthering her professional development with several
high-profile Canadian entertainment companies, she parlayed her reputation as a
leading Cable Programming specialist into her own boutique firm.  Formed with a partner, Dark Horse Ent.
specialized in finding, and selling, niche Canadian television series –
entertainment, information and variety – around the Globe.  McCaw also acted as an independent executive
producer on award-winning television Classic Car series,  CHROME DREAMS, and as a distributor for
series including ENTRÉE TO ASIA, and AT HOME WITH HERBS.
In high demand
as an insightful, humorous and engaging guest speaker, juror and analyst for
festivals and trade forums around the country, McCaw also spent large amounts
of time traveling abroad to television markets. 
Writing relieved the stress of constantly being on the road.  Increasingly, she turned her main hobby into
outlines for novels, and finished fleshing out the characters, plot and
dialogue for OLIVIA’S MINE, a fictional account of a young bride’s struggle to
make a life for herself against the backdrop of the disasters that hit
Britannia Beach, British Columbia in the early 1900s.  The book was released in 2006 and continues
to be sold at the British Columbia Museum of Mining.
was released early in 2012.  McCaw is
also currently developing eight other stories for novel form.  All set on the Pacific North West and in
Canada’s North, they include the murder mystery A LITTLE FIRST DEGREE,  a feel-good trilogy THE INN AT HAZY WATERS
(Northern Exposure meets Fantasy Island), and PUMPER an action romance that has
already garnered interest as the basis for a feature film.


Website –
Twitter: @mc_janine
 “I don’t envy
him,” Helen said to Helena as she tightened a fuchsia-hued scarf around her
neck. It clashed with her coat, but it was the only one she could find while
scrounging through Helena’s hall closet. “Having to tell a parent you can’t
find their child,” she continued, “that would be a horrible thing to have to
do.” She thought about all the times Ellie had threatened to run away when she
was younger.

 “It makes finding the odd body on a
porch swing seem like a walk in the park, doesn’t it?” Helena said
sarcastically. “I’m sure our bad days don’t even compare to theirs. I have to
clean up snot all the time when I’m teaching someone how to use a neti pot.
They scrape brains off of windshields after a head on collision. Neither are
pleasant, but really…”

 “Okay. Don’t get so defensive. Or
descriptive. I take back what I said about the police and the cereal box,”
Helen said. “Neti pot?”

 “Think nose bidet. And thank you. But it
doesn’t get you off the hook. You still need to tell Ellie about Willie.”

 “Who’s that plump, curly-haired woman
who’s glaring at us?” Helen asked, in an attempt to distract her mother. “I’m
not getting a love vibe from her.”

“You mean the one dressed in the neon pink tracksuit?”

She’s got to be cold in that outfit. Not to mention embarrassed. Never wear
neon after Labor Day. Or ever, really.”

“That’s Betty Lachey, Ryan and Stan’s mom and our illustrious neighbor. With
any luck she’ll be hibernating soon and we won’t see her until spring.”

 “That’s not very nice.”
“Nor is she,” Helena laughed. “She hates us.”

 “Us? How can she hate me? She doesn’t
even know me.”

“Hate by association,” Helena said, forcing a smile and giving her neighbor a
wave. “There’s a small town attitude in Troy, I’m afraid. You’ll get used to
it. I did.”

“Is there a Mr. Lachey?” Helen asked, nodding politely to the woman.

 “That subject is strictly verboten if
you happen to want to keep the peace. Betty got sick of him constantly hanging
around the house and told him to get a hobby. Well he did. A five-foot-six
Texan named Traci. She was a brassy woman with guns from the double D ranch, if
you get my drift. He ran off with her two summers ago.”

“Well, that explains why she hates you.”

 Helena looked at her daughter. “For the
record, I never even looked at her husband.”

Hate by association,” Helen answered.


What are you wondering, Ellie?” he asked, as if
reading her mind. “Are you wondering whether it’s better for me to kill you now
or later?”

 “I was, yes.”

 “And what did you decide?”

 “I was thinking later would be good.”

 “Me too.”

“So, you’re going to let me go?” Ellie asked hopefully. “We can still be
friends. Maybe even go to a movie sometime.”

 “Go?” he laughed. “What ever gave you
that stupid idea? I’m still going to kill you. Someday. We’re just going to
take a little detour. I’m going to take you to hell and back, and then it’s off
to grandmother’s house we go.”

 He pulled a switchblade from his pocket.

 “What are
you doing?” she asked, terrified to hear the answer.
“You’re too perfect, Ellie.”

 “What’s that supposed to mean?”

 “They’d never believe it. The rest of
them. They’d never believe that girl like you would want a boy like me.”

“Then they’d be right.”

He grabbed her arm and pushed up her sleeve. The edge of the knife was cold as
he very lightly drew the blade across her wrist. No blood flowed, but it scared
the shit out of her, he could tell.
“There’s this thing that happens,” he began to explain, “when one of us wants
one of you. Forever. We make a nice little slice in an artery, like this vein
hidden so delicately under your skin. Then we suck the consciousness from you,
almost to the bitter end. But just before you take your last breath, we give
you back one.”

 He saw the the terror in her eyes.

 “Which means?” she asked, her voice
barely audible.

 “Which means I bring you back to life.
And then you are my slave.”

 He took the edge of the knife and gave
her skin a poke. Droplets of ruby red blood rose to the surface. He raised her
arm to his lips, his tongue darting to the blood in a slow, deliberate lick.

She felt a warm uneasiness run through her. The initial unpleasantness was
replaced by something she could only describe as anesthetic-like. She felt
euphoric. Her senses were going into hyperdrive.
She could see the miniscule pores on his skin. She could smell his
perspiration. She could hear his heartbeat. She found none of it unpleasant.

“Does that give you some idea, Ellie?” he asked. “Of how magical it could all

Just how *do* you begin to write a book?

How do you do it?
guest post 

Greg Kiser

Getting Started

Think of a high
concept.  For me, that’s the ability to
tap into the internet with your mind. So you can surf the internet the way you
peruse your own memory today. 

Try to remember
the lyrics to a song.  Might take a few
seconds, then you remember.  You find
that information in your brain, obviously. 
Sort of a local hard drive, to use computer terms.

Now imagine you’re
transparently tapped into the Global internet 24×7. Try to remember the lyrics
to a song.  They’re there instantly.  Feels like you found them in your brain, just
like before. But you didn’t.  You found
the words on a server in Germany.  Doesn’t
matter, all transparent to you.

Characters make a great story. 

For me, anyway,
it’s all about the characters.  I’ll give
a book 50 to 100 pages.  By then if I
haven’t connected with at least some of the characters then I generally won’t
finish the book.  Unless, maybe, the plot
is just a killer, like The Da Vinci Code, or something like that.  Preferably, I’m looking for the protagonist
to blow me away because most of the time you are reading from his/her point of

But occasionally
it’s enough if the antagonist is blowing me away, such as the Hannibal series
by Thomas Harris.

Now, you put
together a novel that has two or three characters that I can identify with?  Or more? 
That’s a novel I’m not going to put down.

Character driven plot – rare gems these days

They make the best
TV and movies too.  Think about Breaking
Bad – hell yes the story is outstanding.  But the cast, the cast!  Walter, Jessie – sure.  But also Hank, Skylar, the various
villains.  So you don’t mind when they
switch scenes because the cast is great so all of the subplots are intriguing.

Confidence is key

Just know that if
you get in front of the keyboard at the right time of day for you, then you’ll
write.  Think about your characters,
where the story is going to go.  You
don’t have to have it all planned out. 
It doesn’t have to be the next Da Vinci Code in terms of plot
development.  It just has to flow, to
take on a life of its own. 

Don’t start off
thinking about how the hell you’re going to write a 300 page novel.  Just start off and let the journey
occur.  Think about it and make your
characters come alive and write their thoughts and lives and then let the
interactions occur and you’ll be amazed and surprised and hopefully delighted
by the results.


OK – so you have
the high concept.  Now what? Well, you
have to have conflict.  For me, I created
a moral dilemma between the protagonist, the ‘monster’ Cheslov, and a local
politician who thinks he has a direct connect with God. 

Next – ratchet up
the tension at every opportunity.  I made
my protagonist an ex-Navy seal so he could pretty much deal with anything.  Made Cheslov part wolf, paranormal.  Then went into detail explaining how screwed
up the politician is, he’s hooked on drugs due to his wife’s death, etc.  Keep ratcheting up.

Then create an
outline – and write, write, write to fill in the outline.  Don’t worry about adjectives or effect or the
best dialogue or even grammar/punctuation.

First Draft

My initial draft
took 3 months to write.  Then finishing
the novel took another 3 years.
Oh – and don’t let
ANYBODY read that initial draft.  It will
suck, indeed.

I finished the
first draft and put it down and thought – hey, this has got to be one of the
best books EVER.  The agents will be
beating down my door when they get so much as a whiff of this manuscript!  So I set it aside and took a little
break.  Felt like I was on top of the

A month later I
opened the manuscript and started printing and reading (you must print and read
to get the full effect.  Not good enough
to read a word doc directly from the computer. 
Better yet, print and read out loud to understand how the dialogue
really sounds – helps avoid unrealistic speech. 
Example:  “What is up with that”
quickly becomes “What’s up with that” when you’re reading aloud).

Anyway, I started
reading and was horrified at how bad it was. 
Thus started the 3 year polishing cycle.

Creating the
initial draft is the hardest. The initial overall idea of what your book is
going to be about.  Who are the
characters, what’s the high concept, where will the conflict come from. 

Once you get past
that and start writing, it gets easier.

And once you get
that initial draft completed – then it’s fun. 
Truly.  From that point forward,
you only need to polish.  


Keep it Direct, descriptive, colorful, REAL

BAD:  Jim had worked hard his entire life.
GOOD:  Jim worked hard his entire life.

Avoid the word “suddenly”
Surprise and
startle the reader through your action, thru events, by an action occurring
unexpectedly. Don’t surprise and startle by using a time related adverb.

BAD:  She was suddenly hit in the knee by a ball.
GOOD:  The golf ball struck her knee at one hundred
and two miles an hour.
BETTER:  The golf ball
struck her knee doing over a hundred miles an hour with the force and
indifference of a mechanical bull.

NOTE:  There is
no ‘BEST’ in writing.

Pay attention to points of view (POV)
Put the reader
inside someone’s head and then leave them there.  Being inside someone’s head is VERY
INTERESTING because face it, we’re all voyeurs at heart.  Within a few sentences in every chapter, the
reader should know whose head they’re in. 
Whose POV.  And don’t switch
around within a chapter without a white space separating paragraphs. 

“Said” nearly always works.

Dialogue is your
best character development tool.  Keep it
simple, no need to state the obvious. 
Let your reader fill in the blanks.

“What time should
we leave,” Fran asked.  She wasn’t sure
about the color of his tie.  Funerals
required a certain degree of somberness. 
Jim glanced at his
watch.  He thought about five o’clock
traffic on the cross town.  He didn’t think
they should take a chance with that mess. 
“We should split in half an hour,” he finally replied.

“What time should
we leave,” Fran said.  Wow, was he really
wearing that tie to a funeral?  Staring
at his watch now. Come on, this isn’t a hard question.  We need to leave soon, that’s the point.
“We should split
in half an hour,” Jim said slowly.
Fran nodded.  “Fucken A we should.”

Pay attention to your words
Blond is a hair
color.  Blonde is a person who has blond
Passed refers to
distance.  Past refers to time.
BAD:  He ran past the barn.
GOOD:  Running at break-neck speed, he passed the
BETTER:  He ran at
stomach-cramp speed, passed the barn. 
Clutched his gut and ran some more.

Great Edit Searches with Microsoft Word

One of the great
challenges of writing a novel of any length is the fat fingering.  Misspelled words are easy to find.  But basic mechanical mistakes are harder.  My final draft had about 80,000 words and I
swear to God, every time I read it I found some small mechanical issue.

I finally got
smart and figured out some universal searches that helped.  A LOT.
The following
special characters should be entered into the ‘Find and Replace’ box, ie not
the search field.

NOTE:  in most cases you can use ^$ for “any letter”
or ^^ for “any character”.  The advantage
of ^^ is that you would also pick up numbers.

This is “any
letter” followed by a paragraph mark. 
Will find any sentence at the end of a paragraph you forgot to end with
a period.

^^ Z
This is “any character”
followed by a space then capital Z.  Do
this ^^ A thru ^^ Z.  This will find any
sentence within a paragraph you forgot to end with a period.

^$ .
This is “any
letter” followed by a space then a period. 
Finds any sentence you inadvertently inserted a space before the period.

.” ^$
Period, double
quote, space, “any letter”.  This will
occur normally but this can also help find where you used a period instead of a
comma for dialogue.

And finally…

Just pick your gem every few days and polish for a few minutes.  Hear someone say something funny at the mall,
consider a tree limb in a park and how you might describe it, smell a familiar
smell and let your mind run – all of these ‘experiences’ … feel them and bring
them back into your novel as you polish and make it shine and breathe life into

That’s the best part.  Oh, it’s so hard to get that gem established
at first.  But once you do, it’s your
gem.  And it may never sell, it may never
make millions of dollars – but it’s your gem and you can publish it and you can
get it in print and you can show your friends and one day your children and one
day, many years from now, you’ll read that work as a different person, as an
older person.  You’ll wonder who wrote

You’ll be amazed all over again.

inSyte is a paranormal-thriller that according to Perry Crowe of Kirkus Reviews, is equal parts Crichton, Clancy and King.

It’s Tampa Bay and the year is 2020. Ex-Navy SEAL Mitch “Double” Downing discovers how to tap into the internet with his mind. His new inSyte provides transparent access to the sum of all human knowledge recorded since hieroglyphics. More than mere information – Mitch can see into men’s hearts and be all places at all times (easy in an ‘always on’ surveillance society with fourth generation tweets). Sort of like God.

If knowledge is power, Mitch just became the strongest man in the world.
But inSyte has ideas of its own as the software exposes a politician’s “divine” plan that will unwittingly slaughter millions of people. Is killing the man the only way to prevent Armageddon? The politician’s daughter would probably disagree. And she happens to be the love of Mitch’s life. Losing Kate would be too damn much collateral damage.
At the center of the conflict is a wolf-like killer who will stop at nothing to murder the ex-Navy SEAL. And Mitch must come to grips with inSyte’s dark side – a dominating addiction that soon controls his thoughts and places him on a steep slide to self destruction.

Buy from Amazon:

Greg Kiser is happily
married to a wonderful and inspirational wife, Serena, and has two beautiful
children – Miller and Grace.

Greg graduated from Southern Polytechnic University
in Atlanta with a BS in Electrical Engineering. Greg also earned his MBA from
the University of South Florida. He is currently a Director at Cisco, a high
tech fortune 50 multinational corporation.

Greg has written extensively for fortune 50 high
tech firms in describing next generation networks and painting pictures of the
true evolution of technology for the consumer.

Email –
Blog –

Click below for excerpts
He watched a flock of seagulls move
across the sky. A dirty gull in the lead carried some morsel in its mouth that
the others wanted. They swooped and turned and pecked at his tail until he
dropped the scrap. It landed in the water and was devoured from below by a
school of pinfish.

He smiled at the silly selfish birds. They were like people in their behavior
and conviction that the entire group should starve before merely the strong
should eat. Responsibility therefore fell upon the truly bold to take what they
deserved. Any real mother and, indeed, true creator would be pleased to observe
the strongest of her children satisfying their appetites.

Predation, after all, is not violence. Merely the act of survival. To filter
sick, weak animals from the herd is a vital part of any healthy ecosystem.

Mitch felt an impact like a stick of dynamite
going off in his shirt pocket followed by somebody swinging a sledge hammer
into his back. He reeled sideways and dropped. Adrenaline flooded his body like
a heavy drug as his central nervous system fired out of control and the outside
world was transformed into a macabre slow motion picture show. A strobe light
flicked off and on like someone beating a drum in his brain.

Then the pain stopped and he lost his eyesight and his world went perfectly

The world didn’t go black, more like a white out on a winter mountain. He felt
like he was sliding down a soft hill, falling to whatever awaited him at the

He saw a shape and as he began to pick up speed he knew someone somehow shared
this odd journey. He was conscious of his heart the way you might be conscious
of your hand if someone held it. He knew who was with him.

“I’m coming to be with you,” he said.

“Son, I’m not ready for you to come home just yet,” his mother said with a
translucent smile.

“Not sure I have much choice, here,” he said.

“You always have a choice. About everything. It’s up to you if you’d rather
live or die.”

“How is it up—“

“And it’s not just you, now, is it? Goodness, no. You’ve got your friend out
there who can’t make it through this without you.”

It was important for him to get a point across. He knew this was fleeting and
he fought an overwhelming sense of urgency. “Mom, I still have so much to
learn. But I’ve learned a lot, haven’t I?”

His mother’s spirit smiled and her aged eyes looked weary. “Not enough, I’m
afraid. You don’t belong here. Go back and help your friend and you’ll see. God
has special plans for you, son. Special plans. You will learn so much.”
He thought about trying to slow his descent. But the temptation to close his
eyes and accept the fall was overwhelming.

Why am I
here?” Mitch asked again.

“You are a most impressive young man. Of course, they told me you have this
ability. Somehow you know things you are not supposed to know, yes?” Cheslov’s
eyes widened in reproach. He reached beneath his coat and removed a long cigar.
Snipped the tip using a guillotine cutter that looked like a worn, hungry
mouth. Lit it up with a battered, gunmetal Zippo. Leaned back in his chair,
took a deep drag. Exhaled a thick, hot, blue stream of smoke.

“Which is why you find yourself here. In my home.” Cheslov’s face saddened.
Then he continued, as if explaining to a child. “I am sorry, young friend, to
have to say this to you. That this is not a place a man wishes to find himself.
This is not a room from which people live to see a new day. No, my friend, this
is a room in which people take their last breath, see their last light. Hear
their last sound.”

Mitch remembered a long ago camping trip.

Cheslov smiled warmly down at him. “Why were you meeting the Deter bitch?”

Mitch said nothing.

Cheslov raised the cigar cutter to his face and a raven eye peered through the
opening. He smiled as he slid the blades together. “What was your intention?”

Mitch started the process of extracting himself mentally from his surroundings.
He ran number patterns through his head to take his mind beyond the pain and
the possibility of what the lunatic might do next. There was only one place
this was heading.

Of course he wouldn’t answer any of the lunatic’s questions. The best strategy
to resisting interrogation is to simply not provide any information at all.

“Where is the file?”

Once you start to give up information, even about minor unrelated topics, it’s
hard to stop and easier to give up important information. The answers to the
current questions didn’t matter in the least. The only thing that mattered was
to protect Kate. At any cost.

“With whom have you shared it?”

Mitch said nothing.

Cheslov walked to the head of the bed and slowly examined Mitch’s fingertips.

“You wear your micro on your index finger. Painted with green resin. Quite the
fashion statement. To whom have you sent the file?”

Mitch said nothing.

Cheslov grasped Mitch’s left hand and held it the way a man might hold the hand
of his son. Mitch felt a softness to the giant’s touch.

“Why do you not answer? Are you afraid?” Cheslov gazed down at him with a not
unkind expression. The giant’s thick, dark eyebrows rose as if trying to coax
Mitch to speak.

Mitch said nothing.

“I’ll ask you once more,” Cheslov said and a note of sadness crept into his
voice. The hesitant father who does not wish to punish but is left no choice.
“You have nothing to gain by continuing your silence. And quite a bit to lose.
Yes, quite a bit.”

Mitch stared at the overhead ceiling. Focused on the intricate wood carving.

Cheslov spread Mitch’s fingers.

Mitch said nothing.

“Tell me. With whom have you shared the file?”

Mitch said nothing.

“Enough of these games,” Cheslov said.