Author Archives: thedarkphantom

The Story behind ‘Blood on the Chesapeake’ by Randy Overbeck

The Story Behind the Book

You could say Blood on the Chesapeakehad two parents. First—for let’s say, the mother—my extensive experience in education, at all levels, has given birth to my fiction. I’ve found with the diversity of individuals I’ve encountered—parents, kids, teachers, principals, board members, administrators—I can draw on a vast reservoir of characters BloodontheChesapeake_w12700_750to populate my novels. Besides, I discovered that everything happens in a school. Most of the time wonderful things happen like opening kids’ minds and helping children succeed and giving students a chance at a better life. But you’ll also find everything from political sniping to saving children’s lives (both literally and figuratively), from victimizing kids to greed and even theft. Add to that, the public school is such a common experience for millions of readers and I’ve found it a good place to start.

If the mother of the tale is my experience as an educator, the father…

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5 Questions with Victoria Landis, Author of ‘Jordan’

VickiSF15HeadshotVictoria Landis is a professional writer, editor, and artist. A 16-yr member, and former board member, of Mystery Writers of America, she Co-Chaired the SleuthFest Writers Conference from 2015-2018.

She’s taught at SleuthFest, the Authors Academy at Murder on the Beach, and the Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern University.

Her newest novel, JORDAN, is a thriller with a magical realism/paranormal element and a cautionary tale of human nature and how it hasn’t changed in thousands of years.

Q: What’s inside the mind of a thriller/magical realism author?

A: A million story plots I’ll never get to. I keep a list of titles and ideas in a little notebook and sigh every time I add another. I’m always imagining what if? Even standing in line at the grocery store, I’ll observe what people are wearing, their body language, how they speak to each other, and make up stories about them on the spot. Sometimes, they’re amazing and talented people we want to be friends with, and, other times, they’re murderers.

Q: Tell us why readers should buy JORDAN.

A: It’s so relevant to our world today. Imagine. Really imagine for a minute—what would happen if someone appeared who could heal people just by touching them? How long before videos go viral and the world comes stampeding in? How long before absolute chaos erupts? People mean well, but they can’t help themselves.

JordanFrontCoverFeb12019Q: What makes a good thriller?

A: Well, JORDAN is kind of a mash-up, genre-wise. It’s part thriller, part magical realism, and probably, the best way to describe it is as general fiction. But the thriller element can speak to this question. A classic thriller is fast-paced. It has great consequences at stake. So, the world demanding to see Jordan and stampeding into South Florida creates both of those.

Q: Where can readers find out more about you and your work?

A: My website,, is chock full of information about my books and design work. I also have ‘character interviews’ for Blinke It Away and Alias: Mitzi & Mack—but be sure you’ve read those books before reading the interviews. There are some spoilers otherwise.

Q: What has writing taught you?

A: So very much, but patience is the most important one. Writing novels is a slow process to begin with. Rewriting and editing them happens at least once, but with most of the really good ones, they get rewritten/tweaked multiple times. The second most valuable thing I’ve learned is to get my ego out of the way and listen to those who know writing and the business of writing.

Thank you so much for having me here!

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Talking Craft with Literary Author Dwaine Rieves

The Dark Phantom Review

RievesImageDwaine Rieves was born and raised in Monroe County, Mississippi.  During a career as a research pharmaceutical scientist and critical care physician, he began writing poetry and creative prose.  His poetry has won the Tupelo Press Prize for Poetry and the River Styx International Poetry Prize.  His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Georgia Review and other publications.  He can be reached at


Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Shirtless Men Drink Free. To begin with, can you give us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?

A: The book is a work of literary fiction, which I began as a form of a really long poem, one that played out on the stage belonging to a success-driven Atlanta family in 2004.  I…

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Review: It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! My Journey to Self Discovery, by Jean Paul Paulynice

3D-bigTitle: It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! My Journey to Self Discovery

Author: Jean Paul Paulynice, MBA


Publisher’s contact info: INFO@PAULYNICECONSULTING.COM


Genre: Self-help/Inspirational

Publication Date: February 28, 2019

Price: (print, ebook, audio)

ISBN: 978-1-7335601-0-8 (Paperback) $12.99

ISBN: 978-1-7335601-1-5 (eBook) $6.99  

ISBN: 978-1-7335601-2-2 (Audiobook) $9.99

Do you feel as though you’re on autopilot, going through the motions every day—wake up, go to work, come back home, have dinner, sleep, repeat—without real meaning, depth, and purpose in your life?

Even if you have a fulfilling job and earn a good salary, that doesn’t mean you’ve found your passion in life. The problem is, finding your passion can be elusive, especially in our present society where we are constantly seeking external validation from others and are being judged in public platforms more than ever (i.e. social media). Perhaps the wisest statement in this book is that “the moment you start to listen to yourself, you can start shutting out all the noise.” This little book is all about soul-searching, self-analysis, and reflection. Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and seek out your passions. Sometimes you have to change your mindset and shift your perspective about things in order for transformation and growth to take place. Likewise, it’s also about the choices you make, not so much the major ones but the little ones you make on a daily basis.

In his light, honest, and engaging prose, Jean Paul Paulynice encourages you to do some introspection so you can begin your path toward finding your passion and bliss in life. For those who journal, the reflection questions he asks make very good journaling prompts. A very quick read, under fifty pages, It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! is a little morsel of goodness and wisdom that will help on your journey to self-discovery.

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The Inspiration behind ‘One Taste Too Many’ by Debra H. Goldstein

“Write something new” is what agents and editors told me after my second would-be series became my second stand alone when its publisher folded. Great advice to an author who had been orphaned twice, but what should I write?

one taste too manyI knew I wanted to write something in the cozy genre, but I’d already exhausted the two traditional/cozy mystery themes that I was most familiar with. The main ones that were left – handicraft and culinary topics – were things I was neither interested nor skilled in. The reality is, unlike my sister who does everything from scratch, I buy already made arts and crafts things and I either eat out, bring take out in, or make dishes using prepared ingredients.

It’s not that I wouldn’t like to be more like my sister, but I never had an interest in pursuing these things. There were always other things for me to do. For example, while my sister shadowed my mother in the kitchen and learned to be a gourmet cook, I timed emptying the dishwasher, setting the table, saying “hello” to my father, and coming to dinner for when the commercials came on in the Perry Mason reruns I watched every afternoon. The more I thought about the contrast between my sister and myself, the more I realized there had to be other cooks of convenience out there.

And that is where I came up with the idea behind One Taste Too Many, the first book of my new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series from Kensington. Sarah is a cook of convenience like me. Some of her recipes include spinach pie made with Stouffers spinach souffle and Jell-O in a Can. Her twin, Emily, is a gourmet chef who has worked in many fine dining establishments. One Taste Too Many is the first of at least three Sarah Blair mysteries. Besides Sarah and Emily, they feature another major character – RahRah, Sarah’s Siamese cat. RahRah doesn’t have any magical powers, spoken thoughts, or secrets – he is simply a cat that Sarah and readers will love because he’s the real thing.


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Debra H. Goldstein is the author of the Sarah Blair Mysteries as well as Should Have Played Poker, a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery and the 2012 IPPY Award-winning Maze in Blue, a mystery set on the University of Michigan’s campus. Her short stories, including Anthony and Agatha nominated “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,” have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and Mystery Weekly. A Judge, author, litigator, wife, step-mom and mother of twins, Debra is an involved community volunteer, MWA member, and serves as a national board member of Sisters in Crime, as well as being the SinC Guppy Chapter’s President.

Connect with Debra on the web:

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“Are You Being Manipulated?” The Story behind ‘Manipulated’ by John Ford Clayton

The Story Behind the Book

For several years the question was stubbornly clinging to my subconscious psyche. It was far enough below the surface that I didn’t obsess over it, but close enough that I couldn’t forget. “I wonder if I could write a novel?” For 20 years I worked on creative teams in churches helping to write full-length dramas as well as 5-minute sketches. But could I translate this to a full-length novel? I was anxious to give it a try. All I lacked was a story idea.

Manipulated - Cover artFor me to be committed to writing, the story had come from a place of passion. A subject I feel great passion about is our country, the United States of America. Unfortunately, I see our country in difficult times as our political culture has become so toxic that it is tearing us apart. A major source of that toxicity is the degree of manipulation we all…

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The Story behind ‘Secret Agent Angel’ by Ray Sutherland

The Story Behind the Book

I began to write stories when I was in grade school, just for my own entertainment. The earliest I remember was in the sixth grade. I wrote that one on a stenographer’s pad-one chapter per page. I remember being disappointed that when I typed it, it didn’t fill a whole page.

front cover finalI continued writing, off and on, until I began teaching. Nearly all of those stories are gone now. I have a couple left and while they aren’t embarrassing, they aren’t very good. But I had fun writing them.

I have always been a reader of fiction with wide ranging tastes: science fiction, mystery, thrillers, historical fiction, whatever caught my fancy. Once as I was reading a Matt Helm secret agent novel by Donald Hamilton, it occurred to me that if angels are God’s secret agents, as Billy Graham said, there must be some really good stories that could be…

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