News

So, the second book is done. It’s called Tell It To My Dark Side. It’s been sent to the proofreader. After this, it will need to be formatted and the cover needs a couple of adjustments to get ready for uploading to Amazon. But the writing is done!

As fun as writing can be, it’s also a pain. I don’t like when projects are hanging over my head. There were moments when I wasn’t sure if I would bother with the second book at all, but some people have asked about it and seem to be looking forward to it. I finished the book for those people. I’m an all or nothing person most of the time: I either work hard on something to get it finished and off my mind or I don’t do it at all. The people asking about the book pushed me to choose the former. Why? Because I can relate. As nerdy as it is, I used to read fanfiction back in the day and hated when an author would abandon a story I was following.

Unfortunately, I still can’t give you a definitive release date. I wanted to release it on Halloween, but I’m not sure it will be ready. Perhaps the first week of November. I’ll let you know!

In other news, Her Eyes Underwater is getting an audiobook, so if you prefer to listen to books rather than reading them, you’ll have that option. I believe the audiobook is released tomorrow.

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Preview of Book 2

Yes, I’ve been slacking a bit with my writing. I intended to release this much sooner, but got distracted with other projects. It’s finally happening, though. This is the preview for the sequel to Her Eyes Underwater.

Since people who haven’t read the first book might come across this post, I’ll explain what this series is about. The series is called The Bowman Case Files. It’s a series about a Ted-Bundy-esque serial killer and the case that surrounds him. I wanted this series to be sort of like an insider view of things most of us only see on the news or in history books. Of course, this isn’t meant to be a documentary. It was inspired by real killers and cases, but I will be making up my own characters and scenarios. The first book introduced some characters and a scenario. We met a woman who fell for a dangerous man and got a peek inside the man’s mind. Book 2 will be expanding the scenario. You’ll get to see what other characters think of a certain killer and his impact on the people in Missoula, Montana. You’ll also see that some ‘alternative lifestyles’ have their drawbacks.

Below is a portion of the first chapter of book 2 in the series. The book will be titled Tell It To My Dark Side. The characters from the first book will be back, but there’s also some new folks for you to meet. Just a little disclaimer: This preview hasn’t been through a final proofread, so it’s still a little raw. I apologize for any errors. This preview is all copyrighted material. Enjoy.

Chapter 1 – Little Tree of Misery

Early Spring, 1975

Officer Darryl Barry knew there was something inherently despicable about viewing a cache of bodies as a means to expedite his career. He tried to rid his mind of such thoughts, but they crept back each time. Eventually, he settled with himself, as he knew this wasn’t his only thought. He did mourn for the dead and their families, but there was no denying that participating in a case of that magnitude would look good on a resume.

He looked over at Detective Hart and wondered if he felt the same disorienting mix of concern and morbid anticipation. He doubted it. The man was painfully practical. Regardless, Barry was grateful for Hart’s endless patience and the impromptu lessons he wasn’t required to entertain. His only wish was that he could come up with a helpful anecdote to impress his colleague at least once before they parted ways. Hart seemed to be forever on an even keel and gave no indication either way as to Barry’s competence.

“I wish I had been on shift when those first calls came in for this place. I like to think I would have noticed something wasn’t right,” he said to make conversation. The officers had been riding together for over an hour with only a few words spoken between them. Hart just nodded at this latest attempt.

Hart was clearly stressed out and Barry assumed it had something to do with the dismissive attitudes of the rest of the police force. It was only recently that Hart’s theories had garnered any attention at all. Barry, of course, had been one of the first to pay attention. The idea of a single predator stalking the area had excited him more than he cared to admit.

Oh, to be the cop that defeats a criminal like that.

“Who did you say found the remains? I forgot the name.”

“I believe his name was Stein. He worked the night shift. He’s meeting us there, so you’ll get to see him.”

“He must be new.”

“I think so.”

How unfortunate, Barry thought. He had been so close to being the patrolman sent on that call. Hart made no further comments, so he watched the trees rush past the vehicle. It was the early morning and a mist snuck through the trees before settling near the sporadic melt waters left by winter. He hoped they wouldn’t be hiking any great distances since there was still ice clinging to the air despite a wave of unseasonable warmth.

“Here we are,” said Hart.

They met a red mailbox and turned down a dirt road. He could see a patrol car and a gathering of five officers. His budding anticipation met its end when he saw their faces.

They were all so sombre that he felt an immediate need to check his expression. Between the mist, the dreary browns and greys of the scene and their penchant for a grim countenance, he felt guilty once again for his earlier thoughts. The mood of everything past the mailbox was oppressive. What had happened here?

As they exited the vehicle, a short and gentle-looking young man came forward to greet them.

“Detective Hart, I’m Rick Stein.” He shook Hart’s hand.

“Hello. Sorry we had to meet under these circumstances. This is Darryl Barry,” he said as he pointed to Barry. Stein shook his hand as well.

“Thanks for coming so quickly. What do you want to see first? I’m not sure what your preferred process is.”

“You can show me the pond first,” Hart replied. Stein nodded.

As they walked through the yard past one weathered cabin, Barry heard someone yelling. He tried to hear what was being shouted as they trudged through spongy, moist ground in the midst of a premature thaw. A couple of crows flew overhead and he watched them until they disappeared. He had begun to feel affected by the same emotional bankruptcy as the others. This was not a good place.

They reached the lowest point of the pond. The bulk of the water had dried up, leaving only a small and murky pool in the center of a dark, greenish-brown slick of algal debris. At one point, Barry lost his footing and slid toward the water. When he righted himself, he found the source of the yelling. Another officer was fending off crows that were attracted to the leftovers of a life nature was eager to reclaim. Near the river mouth that had abandoned the pond, thanks in part to beavers and the impending summer, there was a spindly, young tree. Beneath it, the dead clustered in decay.

One could never be prepared for the smell. That much was true. He gagged a little and covered his nose. Hart patted him on the back, but said nothing. The crows continued circling above and he wished he, too, could fly away.

Someone’s children had come to rest under a tiny, pathetic tree. They were adults, of course, but looked much smaller now and he was sure their mothers would still fuss over them like his mother fussed over him even now. They lay on their sides, as if settled in for the longest sleep of their lives. Overall, they were the same greenish-brown color as the surrounding debris that had blanketed them, but scattered sections of rotting flesh hung off the bones in sheltered places. The skin on their ribs was leathery and clung to the bones like tissue paper. They had no eyes left and their black voids were fixed in the direction of the cabin. Despite the foul odor, he moved closer. He had to look into the voids. He didn’t know why. Maybe he thought he would see something of their former glory in the black, but he wasn’t sure. He walked through the muck and stared. Miles and miles of black.

“Barry, don’t muddle the crime scene,” said Hart. He jumped back. He had forgotten their purpose entirely. He mumbled his apologies and became lost again almost instantaneously.

“Do you think anyone was waiting for them on the other side?” he said without thought.

“People are still waiting for them here, Barry, and we’re the ones who get to tell them they’ve been waiting for a corpse.”

The whole scene was unexpectedly fractured by a jaunty sixties tune blaring from an approaching vehicle. The group of policemen turned in tandem as the vehicle thundered to a stop on the high point of land before the dip towards the pond. Their chief of police exited, leaving his music playing and his door ajar as he did do. The crows squawked and flapped around him as his officers looked on with pale, grave faces. He focused on Detective Hart.

“So, let me guess: you think these deaths are somehow related to your monster?” he called down to the men at the pond.

“I’m not sure yet, Sir.”

“Well, I’ll be waiting with bated breath.” With that, he climbed back inside his vehicle.

Barry opened his mouth to give Hart some reassuring words, but he held up his hand to thwart him. “Don’t worry about it, Barry. I don’t let anything distract me from my crime scenes. I’ll deal with him later.”

Barry looked back to the miserable trio beneath the impish tree. It made him question the phrase ‘rest in peace.’ Maybe some people looked peaceful in death, such as those who were fortunate enough to be made presentable at a funeral parlor, but these three did not. They looked distraught. They were twisted and warped and he knew they did not go quietly. He kept waiting for them to howl in anguish and interrupt the misplaced radio beats that still sounded into the mist. He noted two things that made his skin crawl: None of them had been found with any clothing and all of them had holes in their skulls too large for a bullet. Someone’s daughter, sister, mother or friend had floated in an ice pond with no clothes and a deformed skull. This was the end of their story. Hopes, dreams and parents beware for this is where your daughters lie. He shuddered and struggled to remember why he’d insisted on being part of this.  

Scandalous Serial killer

Author Interview on Literary Titan

LITERARY TITAN

Romona Simon
Romona Simon Author Interview

Her Eyes Underwater follows a university student who starts a relationship with a stranger with a dark and dangerous secret. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

The inspiration for this story came from true-crime murder stories, especially those featuring serial killers like Ted Bundy. I wanted to write a fictionalized version of a big, scandalous serial killer case with different perspectives of the events included. I also wanted to start the story off in an unexpected place, so I chose Julia’s infatuation with a mysterious man as this gateway to a larger, fictionalized crime universe.

Julia is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?

She was designed to be someone who is realistically frustrating. She does some unadvisable things in the novel, but some people do act pretty strangely when they’re infatuated with another…

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Introductory Quotes for Novels

For Her Eyes Underwater, I included a quote by Isaac Newton at the start of the book. Unfortunately, this wasn’t in the very early copies of the book because I chose to add it later. Originally, I thought using another author’s quote at the start of my writing was cheap and basically using someone else’s words to tell my story. However, I began thinking about this and ended up changing my mind. Some quotes are timeless. They can be used in a way that doesn’t tell my story, but instead teases it. It sets a mood before my words take center stage.

So, I’ve decided to pick a quote (an old quote that is public domain) for each book in The Bowman Case Files series. Since the second book is in production and coming along faster than I thought it would, I have decided to release some teasers. I’m going to start small and will be sharing the quote that will appear at the start of book 2:

“Hope not ever to see Heaven. I have come to lead you to the other shore; into eternal darkness; into fire and into ice.”

Inferno (Dante Alighieri)

More teasers to follow…

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Literary Titan Book Awards August 2020

Literary Titan Book Awards
I’m honored! Thank you!

LITERARY TITAN

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

Gold Award Winners

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

Those Who Watch From Afar by Zack Hacker
The Art of Losing by Nooshin Mohajerin

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information and see all award winners.

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New Review from BookTrib

A new, in-depth review from BookTrib for Her Eyes Underwater can be found here: https://booktrib.com/2020/08/03/seduction-of-a-serial-killer-in-her-eyes-underwater/

I particularly like the title used to introduce the review: Seduction of a Serial Killer

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