Monday, November 16, 2015

Dead Letter File by George Chronis excerpt, Giveaway & Interview

Dead Letter File

George Chronis

on Tour November1-30, 2015


The second novel from Sudetenland author George T. Chronis is a fast-paced detective thriller. The place is Los Angeles, the time is just after World War II during the early days of the Cold War, and people are turning up dead on the streets of Hollywood. A smuggled Nazi ceremonial weapon is hidden somewhere in the city and several factions have no compulsion against killing to possess this objet d’art that conceals a valuable secret. Suspicion falls upon Tom Jarrett, a man with many secrets of his own from the war, who is forced to put his new life on hold so that he can unravel the mystery… if only he can stay alive long enough.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Thriller
Published by: Indie
Publication Date: September 15th 2015
Number of Pages: 162
ISBN: 978-1517488321
Purchase Links: Amazon Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

from Chapter 4

The fog was lifting... not all at once but in small, scattered sections. Jarrett tried opening his eyes but was rewarded with pulsating colors in various shapes and dimensions. He closed his eyelids tightly and breathed in. The air tasted old and dusty like a moribund attic. The possibility crossed Jarrett's mind that he might be hallucinating. There was only one way to find out for sure. Jarrett forced his eyes open a second time and waited for the pulsations to even out and his vision to focus. A light bulb was hanging on a wire from the ceiling above him. The Monarch was too new to sport one of these original electrical installations. That and the stale air told Jarrett he was someplace else, the question was where? As soon as he attempted to prop his arms behind him, Jarrett regretted the effort.
"Don't move," Lydia hurried over holding a bowl of water with a small cloth draped over the lip. "You are going to--"
A bolt of pain coursed along the back of Jarrett's neck, stopping his upward progress cold. "--Ouch."
"You should learn to listen," Lydia crouched close to him, dampened the cloth and applied it to the sore area.
"Yeah, I will work on that," Jarrett looked up slowly but did not dare attempt turning his neck to look at her. "Did you see the truck that ran me down?"
"Big, ugly and not too friendly," Lydia continued dabbing his neck. When she worked the cloth under shirt collar the back of her fingers rubbed up against something bulky hidden inside the jacket. "What do you have back here?"
"A little insurance policy," Jarrett felt steady enough to reach back with one arm to pat her hand and gently pull it away from the hidden knife.
"Like I said, I appreciate a man who comes prepared," Lydia leaned back to gauge his progress.
"Didn't stop me from sticking my neck out," Jarrett looked around the dark room. His sense of smell had been reliable. The windows were frosted with age, dust and grime – blocking out much of the afternoon daylight. Of more interest, he could make out bars over the windows. There were three more bulbs hanging from electrical wires running in a line down the center of the ceiling. By the scuffs etched onto the old wood planks of the floor, it looked like they were what must have been a storeroom. "Any idea where we are?"
"Someplace none too prosperous east of downtown. They made so many turns it was hard to keep track where we ended up," Lydia was glad nothing was busted permanently on the guy and he had his wits about him.
"How long have I been out?" Jarrett felt good enough to sit up straight.
"All day," Lydia put the bowl down on the floor.
"Thought so," Jarrett massaged the back of his neck. "Our hosts provide the water there?"
"Yep... after we were thrown in here the mugs got extra concerned about your well being." Under different circumstances, Lydia would be a little peeved she was not the primary object of attention.
"How considerate of them. That probably means they have a little conversation planned for me," Tom shifted his body so he could see the one door leading into the room. "I imagine the door is locked."
"Nice and tight. The windows back there are nailed shut too," Lydia had even tested the window glass with her shoe but it was thick enough not to break.
"Looks like we are not going anywhere," Jarrett did not see many options available to them.
"How are you feeling?" Lydia reached out grip his upper arm.
"Good enough to wonder why I take risks saving pretty little numbers like you," Jarrett attempted getting his feet under him to stand up.
"You must be feeling better if you are throwing out compliments," Lydia took her hand back.
A wave of dizziness overcame Jarrett as he stood. Losing his equilibrium, he teetered precariously a few moments before toppling forward.
"Ah hell," Lydia rushed forward to catch the big lug. Wrapping her arms around him, she held Jarrett upright while trying to figure out what to do with him.
Jarrett regained his composure sufficiently to realize his predicament and put his arms around her waist to help steady himself.
"Thanks," Jarrett became aware their chests were pressed together. "Do you make house calls?"
"Only for special clients," Lydia considered letting the clown drop to the floor when she heard the bolt lock unlatch behind them followed by the door flying open. The man that Jarrett had knocked unconscious back at the Monarch stepped into the room, a bandage applied around his wounded temple. Following behind him was a taller compatriot with a deep scar cut along his cheek.
"Well, ain't we cozy," the assailant from the hotel room appraised his catch.

Author Bio:

authorAfter years as a journalist and magazine editor, George T. Chronis decided to return to his lifelong passion, storytelling. A lover of both 1930s cinema and world history, Chronis is now devoted to bringing life to the mid-20th Century fictional narratives that have been in his thoughts for years. Dead Letter File is his second novel. Chronis has also written Sudetenland, a historical fiction thriller set against the international crisis between Germany and Czechoslovakia during 1938. The author is already hard at work on a sequel. Chronis is married with two daughters, and lives with his wife in a Southern California mountain community.


DSA: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

George: For fiction it was way back in grad school. It was my first semester in film school at a private university and I was adding up the costs necessary to produce a thesis film and realized the investment necessary was out of my league without resorting to serious borrowing. My roommate was in the screenwriting side of the program and suggested I give it a look. The grizzled old gentlemen running the writing program was a colorful Hollywood veteran and we took to each other straight away. As I already had a typewriter and paper, and no further investment was required, I made the jump. As the stories I wanted to tell were all period pieces and he had not seen that often in his other students, I was something of a welcome oddity. He got a kick out of me wanting to write material based in the 1930s and encouraged the hell out of me. I owe that man a lot because he helped me see I could succeed as a storyteller.

DSA: How long does it take you to write a book?

George: The jury is still out on that average. Sudetenland took way too long to finish. But I met my wife right in the middle of the process and my scheduling habits had to be adjusted over time as our relationship grew. Dead Letter File is a much more compact endeavor that benefitted from plotting and dialogue I had already written years before, so I was able to publish it within a year. Since I've been drawn to mid-century stories I can't get away from devoting time to research in order to get the context and atmosphere correct. I'd like to get to a point where research takes one year and the writing takes another year. More than likely it will end up closer to three years.

DSA: What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

George: My goal is to devote three to four afternoons a week to plotting or writing. Research reading I fit in whenever I can in the evenings.

DSA: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

George: I really love dialogue – how the words sound in my head and how they contribute to characterization. Sometimes I get carried away and have to double back to make sure there is enough descriptive character setup because not everyone enjoys dialogue as much as I do.

DSA: How do your books get published?

George: For now I am self-published. I ignore too many current trends in the publishing industry to get much traction going the traditional route. People seem to enjoy that they are getting something a little different when they read my books, so I am happy.

DSA: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

George: Often times an idea comes from an involved discussion, or someone makes a suggestion that a particular topic I am rambling on about is very interesting. The rest of the time they are stories I know I want to explore down the road. Much of my childhood was spent reading history and the daily newspaper, so a lot of topics have presented themselves over the years.

DSA: When did you write your first book and how old were you?

George: Sudetenland got started in 2000, so fairly recently. My thesis screenplay was completed in 1983. Everything in-between was magazine reporting.

DSA: What do you like to do when you're not writing?

George: That is pretty much time I owe my dear wife, so whatever schemes she has been plotting for us.

DSA: What does your family think of your writing?

George: Fairly positive so far. My wife is Chinese-American, and in Asian cultures writers are very well regarded. So she has been very supportive and is very proud that her husband is a writer. The kids are supportive, but I don't think they will be truly excited unless something sells a million copies. Their peers just don't read books so there is not the interest. Now, that I covered the video game industry for years as an editor is much more intriguing to them.

DSA: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

George: Two so far, and working on a third. Novels are like your children... you don't have favorites. You just appreciate each of them for who they.

DSA: Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

George: Don't forget about the plot. Complex characters are all the rage but if you don't have a decent story to hook them on, too often you will write yourself into a corner where the only escape is something rash that will leave the reader rather incredulous.

DSA: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

George: When I do it is usually that I approached an era or genre differently than they are used to and they really enjoyed experiencing something new. The men and women in my novels tend to banter with each other quite a bit for both tension and comic relief, and readers say they enjoy that too.

DSA: Do you like to create books for adults?

George: My sense of storytelling is pretty inclusive, so anyone from teen on should have a good read.

DSA: What do you think makes a good story?

George: I am old fashioned and like it when circumstances challenge characters and they are forced to sink or swim. One of the nice things about a novel is that you have the format length to be able to explore how character virtues, quirks and vices develop over time and under pressure. But in general a good story takes you someplace you have not been before and makes you feel something poignant.

DSA: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

George: To work on a car magazine. I thought it would be marvelous to have people bring you brand new cars every month to test drive and write about. As it turned out, I ended up fulfilling my wish but it was computer games not automobiles.

DSA: What would you like my readers to know?

George: That I really appreciate their taking the time to learn a little more about me, and my latest novel.  All the best.

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This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for George Chronis. There will be 2 winners of 1 $20 gift card. The giveaway begins on November 1st, 2015 and runs through November 31st, 2015.
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  1. Great interview! It's always interesting to get to know more about the authors whose books we read.

  2. Excellent post! I really enjoyed reading the interview! I shared the Tumbler page and post (reblog) about Dead Letter File on Tumbler and Facebook. Thanks!

    1. That's wonderful, Ally. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview.