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Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Girl Before

I've just finished reading The Girl Before.

It's an engrossing read. Here's my review.

If you had to choose one personal item to take with you and leave the rest behind, what would it be? This is the vein of this physiological thriller.

Jane, to secure One Folgate Street with an unbelievably low rental, has to agree to a long list of rules and complete a long questionnaire, which will be submitted to Edward Monkford for his decision. Then on a regular basis, there are more questions that must be completed before this ultra modern house will allow her to have a hot shower or cook.

A concrete staircase without a handrail is dangerous isn't it... but Monkford insists that a handrail would spoil perfection.

At first, she's happy to leave behind all the extraneous stuff of her life.

Jane does her utmost to keep Edward happy in their developing relationship that from the onset is unusual and controlling.

Who is Edward Monkford? Oh yes, we are told he's an eminent architect and a perfectionist, but what dark secrets does he hide? Does every woman who crosses his path want to bed him? Why did he pick Jane to be the one to move into One Folgate Street, the most austere house she'd ever seen. There's no where to hide clutter and dirty plates. She will have to change her ways.

When she discovers that her features are very similar to Edward's dead wife and his last girlfriend Emma, her curiosity is aroused and she sets out to find out more about Emma, and why his dead wife and son are buried at One Folgate Street. What other secrets does this house keep?

Who is leaving flowers on the front doorstep all the time?

This book echoes Daphne du Maurier's, Rebecca.

At each turn, Jane is confronted with more of Emma's secrets. 

This story is told by an unreliable narrator with an ending that is so unexpected that you'll be thinking about the story for days.

Be warned... graphic sex.

Once I started reading this story, I couldn't stop.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book for an honest review through NetGalley.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Featured Author


I'm excited. 

I've just been notified that Sleep then my Princess is a featured book on Book Hippo. Thanks Book Hippo for this. It's $0.99 for a short time only.

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Deadly Caress is free this month.


I've made the Deadly Caress free for this month as a thank you to all of my fans who have purchased Sleep then my Princess or want to have a taste of one of my thrillers before they purchase Sleep then.

Happy reading. Please let me know what you think?

I always take note of my readers comments.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Guns and Roses or The Father


I've been working slower than normal on my latest thriller. But it's going to worth it. I think it will be the best thriller I've written so far. 

In the mornings I go for a long walk and think about what I'm going to write that day. But I don't get to it till I've dealt with emails, any phone calls and anything else that crops up.

My latest thriller, which I had been plotting for a while, was inspired by a recent article in a newspaper about Michael Franzese's life. An interesting man. What do you think?

Monday, December 5, 2016


I've been researching guns for the latest thriller I'm writing -'Guns and Roses'

It's quite challenging to find the right gun for a character.

Here are some Glocks I though would be a good fit for some of my characters. the way, Amanda, who knows very little about guns, has to use one in this book.

Will tell you more when I get closer to publication. 

Could this man play the role of Amanda's Father in the movie? He has the dark brooding looks that spell danger and intrigue. This is an early picture of him as he's much older now.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Update to Guns and Roses

Hi All

Still working on my sequel to The Deadly Caress. I've had a few stumbling blocks. However, I'm getting to the end finally. 

I hope to have it edited in the next few months. Then, published in the new year.

Keep well. 

My fav. title is still Guns and Roses, then Guns, Roses and Coffins. We'll see when it's ready for publication which title wins.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Sequel to the Amanda Blake books - The Deadly Caress


I'm well into the second book in the series. It was slow going at first as I normally have solid ideas how the story will develop before I start writing. However, this time, I knew what I needed to incorporate but no solid ideas how this book would develop. This is a road to discovery. I don't usually write this way but I'm enjoying the wild ride. I hope to have it completed later this year. 

Anyone for a camel ride? Soo much fun? Not. I went for a ride and had quite a time trying to stay on. This one's from the NT Australia.

My working titles are either Guns and Roses or Wild Card. Not sure which I'll decide on yet.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

New review for Sleep then my Princess

Hi All
Just wanted to share my newest review for Sleep then.

Sleep then My Princess is an emotional thriller set in Arizona. While mourning the death of her husband, Senior Tissue Engineer, Stephani Robbins, is plagued by recurring visions of a child being locked up in a chicken coop. Meanwhile, someone is sending her creepy love poems, roses, and photos that have been taken without Stephani's knowledge.

As more photos appear, the police suspect that Stephani has hired someone to take these photos. Before she can convince the police to take her seriously, she is kidnapped. While imprisoned she discovers why she has been having these visions and it is more chilling than she ever imagined. Can she make it out alive?

Our Review......
A dark edgy thriller, author O N Stefan takes us on an electrifying journey in new release Sleep Then My Princess. A gratifying and often graphic page turner Stefan demonstrates a fine eye for nuance and there’s no doubt the thinking part of her narrative works well to deliver a real sense of authenticity. In the main this comes from Stefan’s acerbic rendering of Stephani Robbins. There's a well-worn familiarity to her character’s vulnerabilities and yet she remains unburdened by the usual genre tropes. The plot is intelligent, thoughtful and piercing with an emotional clarity that makes it hard to dismiss and yet it’s a long way off the trite excesses of far too many thrillers where shock value is favoured over the mechanics of good writing. Stephan knows how to strike a nerve and handles gradations of momentum well as readers are swept towards a cracking denouement.

A thriller deserving of your undivided attention, Sleep Then My Princess certainly bodes well for future release from O N Stefan and is strongly recommended.

LINK TO THIS BOOK ON: Sleep then my Princess
Amazon UK Sleep then my Princess

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Sleep then my Princess (Chapter 1)

Stephani Robbins looked up from the slides of tissue cultures she was checking for signs of necrosis. Her back ached. She leaned forward and rubbed it.
Nina Mumszuk, her friend and co-worker, set down the cultures she’d seeded on the white bench top and pulled down her face mask. “I spent the weekend looking at houses in Mesa. Vassily thinks we should wait 'till we have more savings, but I want my own place.”
Stephani saved the results of the latest round of tests. “I should be buying, as there are still some bargains buys, but I’m not exactly sure where I want to live.”
Three capped and masked heads turned towards them.
“People used to say that you couldn’t lose with real estate.” Richard Dixon, her colleague and head tissue engineer, said. “Coffee anyone?”
“Just what I need. I’ll sort through the mail.” Stephani said.
Fred Lincoln returned to calibrating the injection robot.
“I’ll go,” Nina said. She glared at Fred’s back. “The usual, Richard?” When he nodded, Nina asked Stephani.
“Same here.” Stephani bypassed bench tops and let herself into the glass corridor that led to three offices. They always reminded her of linked rows of goldfish tanks, like the ones she’d longingly pressed her face against as a small child at the local mall. She tugged at the face mask ties that had caught in her black hair as she strode to her office.
Her forgotten morning cup of coffee was on her desk. She started to sort the mail into two piles, one for Richard and the other for herself, until she came upon a pink envelope without a return address or company logo, addressed to her:

Doctor Stephani Robbins, Senior Tissue Engineer
Rigby Research Inc.
55-78 Desert Sun Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

The envelope had an embossed edge like an invitation.
Richard strolled in with two coffees and paused when he spotted her abandoned cup. “You already have a take-out.”
“That’s from this morning. Thanks. Just put mine on the desk.”
He took a sip and leaned over her shoulder. “Any of that for me, Doc?”
“Stop it. Just because I’ve got a few letters after my name.”
“Just teasing.” He grinned. “You’re always so serious. I’d do anything for a smile.”
If he could call her “doc” because she had a doctorate, then she could do the same for him. “Sure, Professor Dixon.” That didn't come out the way she'd intended. It sounded like she was being sarcastic. God, she wished she could be glib like Iantha, her half-sister from her mother’s second marriage, and get away with it.
“Now…now. I see you’re still getting loads of stuff forwarded from our L.A. branch.”
She took a sip of her coffee. The aroma reminded her of when her mom used to have one on the go as she got ready for work. Stephani had to be up and have her nose in her books.
“I’m not working two jobs for nothing. You’d better study hard and get a degree,” her mother had always said.
Stephani looked up to see Richard rake his fingers though his unruly black hair. He was always trying to tame it. A Harvard graduate, Richard had been headhunted by Rigby.
His hands were large with prominent veins on the back and his fingers were almost squared off. And she remembered from when they’d first met, he had a handshake with a sure grip.
“I’m beginning to wonder if our suppliers bother to update their records. I emailed them two months ago when I transferred,” she said.
 “Obviously, none of them are as organized as you.”
“It doesn’t feel like that. After five years of research into healthy endothelial cells in stromal breast tissue, I should have made a breakthrough, not be agonizing that if I’d taken a different approach I’d be registering a patent for us now.”
“Shoulda, coulda. You’re too hard on yourself. We knew that finding a biological alternative to silicone wasn’t going to be easy.”
“Maybe I’m not committed enough.” Her phone rang. The girl at reception told her that Jack Theed, the representative from West Labs Equipment, had arrived for their meeting. “He’s early. Tell him I’ll be down in ten.”
“So after the fire at the lab in L.A. and having to move here and set up again, you still think you’re not committed enough?” he said.
‘Mm,” she shrugged. She should be grateful that the project still had funding.
“How are the RT241 trials looking so far?”
“It’ll be another thirty-six hours before we know anything.” She opened the pink envelope and found a letter on matching embossed paper.
“What have you got there?” Richard asked.
“An invitation, I think.” She unfolded the letter.

Dear Stephani,
You are my Princess,
My only Princess,
I’ll make you happy,
When you are sad,
I’ll always love you
And treasure you forever
Though others won’t understand,

No one loves you more than I do,
So my Princess be true to me,
In your heart, you know I love you,
Soon, we’ll be together,
And you’ll be mine eternally.
No one loves you more than I do
No one!
Yours forever.

Who the hell’s this from? She slumped into the hydraulic chair and edged backwards from her desk. Why would anyone send this corny poem to her? It wasn’t even Valentine’s Day.
“What’s wrong?” Richard asked.
She shoved the letter back into the envelope. “Nothing.”
“You sure?” Richard raised an eyebrow.
“How’s the new iPhone?” She needed time to think this through.
“Still working out all those Apps. I tell myself it can’t be that hard if a five-year-old can manage it.” Richard glanced down at her quizzically.
She fumbled with the jumble of envelopes trying to cover the one with the poem inside, but everything cascaded to the vinyl floor. Jesus, I’m a klutz.
He gathered them up.
“I can do that.” Dismayed, she watched him pile them onto her desk and swallowed as the letter fell out.
It was in his hands before she could reach for it. “Mind if I take a look?”
“Tell me is it okay for someone to send this to me?”
Richard glanced down at her. She found she had nowhere to hide from his searching gaze.
He read the poem. “Is this from someone you know?”
She shook her head. “I’m too old for star-struck teenagers to be writing me a love poem.”
“This is disturbing. Especially, since this guy thinks that you’ll be his forever.”
“Oh. Let me look again.” This time, she took in each word.
“I can’t think of anyone who would write this stuff.”
“My conclusion is some weirdo’s got a fixation on you.” Richard frowned.
“No one’s been following me. At least I don’t think so. Maybe we’re overreacting.”
“Call security.”
“But what if it’s just a prank?” She’d had a couple of strange calls recently on her home phone even though her number was unlisted. Stephani picked up the phone but put it down when she saw, through the glass wall, Nina leave Laboratory 1 and come along the corridor towards them.
Nina knocked on the door and entered. Strands of her blonde hair had worked their way out of the disposable cap and fell across her face.
“I’ve almost finished loading the incubator, and wanted to check you still want me set the timer for thirty-eight hours.”
“Yes,” Stephani said. “Let’s see if the enriched mixture will improve the cell growth.”
Nina glanced at the letter Stephani held. “Wedding invitation?”
“Someone’s sent me this poem. It’s not like the sort you’d get from an admirer but from….” She let Nina read it.
Nina stared open-mouthed. “Oie Boczi. Sorry. That’s 'Oh God' in Ukrainian. What is in their head? What are you going to do?”
“We’re going to inform security,” Richard said.
“Let’s go talk to the staff and see if anyone’s got any clues,” Richard said. “You could have yourself a stalker.”
Stephani, capped and gowned again, scarcely noticed the familiar smell of growth media and disinfectant as a moment of panic gripped her when two capped heads turned her way. She took a deep breath before she spoke. “Hey, guys.”
She swallowed the hesitation welling in her throat. “Can I ask you something?” Why did she have to deteriorate into a nervous wreck when it came to something personal?
She turned to go when Richard gave her a look that said ‘if you don’t, then I will’, so she pressed on, “I received a poem in the mail today. I don’t know if this is meant to be a joke. If it is, it’s not funny.”
“What’s the problem?” Melissa Toomey, the tissue-engineering graduate, closed the glass fume hood, peeled off her disposable gloves, stepped from behind the bench, and slipped down her mask to reveal a heavily made-up face.
“Have a read.” She slipped the poem from the envelope.
“Do you think he’s stalking you?”
“I hope not. Now I’ll be looking over my shoulder every time I go out.” She should secure the front door of her apartment at night. However, the thought of being in a locked space scared her more.
“Have you seen anyone suspicious, Fred?”
Fred added incubation media into an injection robot. A soft whizzing sound punctuated the air as a measured amount of medium squirted into test tubes.
Finally, he lifted his head and eased down the mask that covered his bulbous nose. “What?”
She repeated her question.
He raised his eyebrows. “As if I'd send you that! I’m here ‘till eight o’clock most nights. When would I have time?”
A typical answer from someone who still lived with his mother and wore pants up to his waist with two pleats that were perfectly formed on each side.
“Can you glance at this and see if it sounds like anyone you might know?”
“Oh, why did I even ask?” She turned from him. Fred, the resident guru in cancer cell research, had an IQ that was probably off the scale, but possessed no people skills.
“Give it to me,” Fred snapped.
“See the way he talks to me,” she said.
“Fred, that was out of line,” Richard said.
Fred flung the poem at her. “Let me get on with my work.”
“I hope someone will-”
“Stop your babbling,” Fred said. “I can’t concentrate.”
“Richard, are you going to let him get away with that?”
“Quit it, Fred. We’re adults and should behave as such.”
“I apologize. Happy?”
Did he even realize that he’d upset her and pretended to be contrite?
“No,” she said, knowing that it would have little impact on Fred. “Richard, how are the RT251 tissue cultures coming?”
“Promising. Still, it’s too early to say for sure.” He glanced at her with a questioning look.
“I’m fine.”
Fred adjusted his mask and picked up the tray of test tubes partly filled with media and ambled, with a loaded tray, to the incubator. “Maybe, this guy’s obsessed with you.”
Her Mary Janes encased in disposable shoe covers made a shh shh sound on the floor as she followed him. “My God, Fred! What makes you think that?”
“The choice of words,” Fred opened the incubator door and began to put the trays inside.
“Are you okay?” Richard asked. “You’ve gone very pale.”
Clutching the poem, she rushed to her office, picked up the phone and realized she couldn’t remember the number. She looked it up on the computer and dialed security. When someone answered, she told them about the poem.
After she hung up, she gulped some cold coffee, called the police and was told someone would be over that morning.
“I’m glad you did that. If you hadn’t, I would have,” Richard said.
“How long have you been standing there?”
“Long enough to see you make that call.”
“I should be doing something.” She left her seat and paced to the window, which gave a view of cacti and succulent gardens with a backdrop of cloudless blue autumn sky against a scattering of eucalyptus trees, and back to where Richard was standing beside her desk.
“Easy now. Just calm down,” he said. “What did you plan to do this morning?”
She drew her palms up. “I don’t know. I can’t think.”
Richard hugged her. “Let me get some photocopies of that poem so I can ask a few people.”
“Thanks,” she said. His aftershave smelled of musk, and his shirt had the scent of freshly washed laundry that made her think of her mother, who spent her nights doing washing and ironing for the extra cash. It was comforting. “I should get back to work.”
Back in Laboratory 1, she picked up the slides and put them down then picked them up again. Maybe, she was making too much of this, and it was just a joke. If that was so, then why did this poem make her feel uncomfortable?
After a few moments, Stephani tried to view the slides and discovered that the microscope wasn’t working. She turned it off and on, to reset it. The images on the screen showed some minor bacterial growth. That was good. Two done and another twenty-two left.
God, the gloves felt wet on the inside from her clammy palms. Usually, she had no trouble concentrating. She forced herself to scan all of the slides and save them to the computer. She’d go back to them when she could focus.
Stephani deposited the slides into the refrigeration unit, binned the rubber gloves and face mask, and retreated to her office.
When her phone rang, she wrenched it from its cradle, dropped it and then finally uttered a flustered, “Good morning!”
She was told Jack was still downstairs at the reception waiting to see her.
“Shoot, I’d completely forgotten. Tell Jack I’ll be down in five.”
After a quick inventory check to see if the lab needed any more test tubes or other equipment that West Labs carried, she shrugged out of the lab coat and hurried into Richard’s office. “Can you call me when security or the police arrive?”
“Where are you going?”
“Jack’s waiting for me downstairs. Just call me when they arrive, and I’ll terminate my meeting with him.” She hurried out the door and was at the elevator when she remembered the order sheet and rushed back to retrieve it off her desk.
As she stepped back into the elevator, a chill ran through her. How long had this anonymous poem writer been stalking her?

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