Guest Authors

Vengeance is Mine by Harry James Krebs Book Tour, Interview, & Giveaway

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Title: Vengeance is Mine

 

Author:  Harry James Krebs
Published:  January 30th, 2014
Publisher:  Peak City Publishing
Word Count:  96,000
Genre:  Mystery
Content Warning:  Profanity, Aftermath Violence
Recommended Age:  16+
Synopsis:
Driven by a traumatic, violent event in his teenage years, Benjamin Tucker, bestselling true crime author, is obsessed with helping authorities solve savage crimes near his home turf of Holly Springs, North Carolina. When a series of decapitated female victims is found in neighboring communities, he is helplessly drawn in to the investigation to help bring the killer to justice. But in a bizarre twist of events, the psychopathic murderer becomes fascinated with Tucker and stalks him, presenting him with unimaginable, grotesque gifts. The hunt for the killer turns personal and Tucker is not sure if he’s become the killer’s idol or his next victim. Vengeance is Mine, a gripping thriller with a healthy dose of droll humor, is a tale of sadistic revenge guaranteed to keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very last page.
 

Excerpt:
Another ten minutes passed before I answered the call that would change the entire investigation–for me.
“Crime tip hotline,” I said.
“Is this Benjamin Tucker?” It was a male voice.
“Yes, it is. I need to tell you that this call is being recorded.”
“I was expecting it would be. May I call you Ben?” 
“Yes, how can I help you?” 
“I’m the man you’re looking for. I’m Jack Plum.” 
I rolled my eyes. “I’m sorry if I sound skeptical, but you’re the third person today to make that claim. Can you give me information or some detail that will confirm you are, in fact, whom you claim to be?” 
His next words made my blood run cold. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” 
I jumped out of my chair, snapped my fingers twice, and pointed to the phone. The dispatcher understood, nodded, and immediately dialed someone to begin a trace of the call.
I took a deep breath. “You have my attention,” I said.
“Is this call being traced?”

“No. All calls are anonymous unless requested otherwise.”

“You’re lying to me, Ben. But it doesn’t matter. I saw you on TV the other night, and I knew when I saw you that the two of us have a destiny.”

The dispatcher had patched into the call and was now listening. She gestured for me to keep Plum talking.

“How do you figure that?” I asked.

“You are the one to write my story. I read your book and it was … inspirational. I knew you were the one. I researched you, and now I know everything about you…and that rich wife of yours. She’s very beautiful … so is Sally Briggum.” The statement scared the hell out of me.

 “Let’s leave them out of this,” I said. “Why is it you’ve taken the lives of two women?”

“In due time, Ben. In due time.”

“Will you surrender to authorities? I can make arrangements so you’ll be safe.”
The caller laughed softly. “Please. Don’t insult my intelligence. Besides, I’m not through yet. I’ve only just begun. I can’t tell you how much I’ve been invigorated since finding you.”
“Please don’t hurt anyone else. Maybe we can meet–just the two of us. We can talk–figure things out.”
The dispatcher was violently shaking her head, as if saying, “No! Are you freaking crazy?”
“We will meet, Ben … someday.” He paused. “I have a gift for you … a very special gift. I’m looking at it right now.”
I became nauseous. “What is it?” I asked. There was no reply. The dispatcher motioned for me to keep him talking.
“Jack?” I asked. “Talk to me. Hello? Jack? Are you there?” I put the system on mute, and turned to the dispatcher.
 “I don’t think he’s there anymore,” I said.
She looked at her control console. “The line’s still connected so try and get him to talk.”
“Jack? Let me know what you want. I can get you some help. Jack? Are you there? Hello?”
The dispatcher jumped up and I muted the system again. “We have it!” she said. “237 West Bradford–about three miles from here!”
Ice ran through my veins, and I tore the headset off as I instantly recognized my former address. I collapsed in my seat with my face in my hands.
“Oh good Christ!” I cried. “Amanda Jane!”

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About the Author:

Harry James Krebs was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. After receiving his BA in applied physics from Aurora University in Illinois, Harry spent thirty-seven years with United States Department of Energy Contractors as a senior mechanical engineer. He designed, built, maintained, and operated large experimental detectors for high-energy physics experiments at national laboratories such as the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the Superconducting Super Collider, and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University. Krebs always wanted to write mystery novels, but his engineering career left him little time to write until now. The author and his wife currently live in Raleigh, North Carolina with their Chihuahua, Lucille.
Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • 1 Print copy of Vengeance is Mine
  • 1 Print copy of Fractured Persona
Giveaway is International.

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Harry, Keep Calm and Answer These Twenty-Five Questions

  1. Do you consider yourself a logophile? If so, have you always been? I must not be a logophile—I had to look up the definition. Instead, I consider myself a lover of stories that entertain and give the reader a means of escape from the pressures of daily life. I’ve always been like that but my engineering career left me little time to write. I do like to use interesting and dynamic words though, and to write snappy believable dialog.
  2. What is your favorite color? I think this depends on what is being referred to. To me, luxury cars look best a very dark gray or black. But sports cars look best in red. I prefer green plants with interesting foliage over flowery plants. I like red brick over any other color of brick, and a roof should be black. I prefer red hair on ladies, followed by brunettes and then blondes. I also like silver hair on ladies—a lot. Most important, men’s underwear should be white, and there should never be blue food.
  3. Where were you born? Where did you grow up? I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. When I was seven years old, my family moved to the western suburbs of Chicago where I lived for thirty-two years. I still miss some of the local foods like Chicago pizza, Italian beef, and Chicago hot dogs. But I don’t care if I ever see snow or cold again. Like most young men of the time, when I was in my late teens, I had very long hair which I washed every day. No real man used a hair dryer back then and, if it was a bitter cold day, my hair would be frozen to the vinyl headrest in my Dodge. That kind of totally sucked.
  4. What is your favorite football team? I’m not a fanatical football fan. I always loved playing football when I was younger, but I just don’t get much enjoyment out of watching the pros play. If I had to pick a team, it would be the Chicago Bears. I spent much of my life in the Chicago area during the Mike Ditka era. Go Bears!
  5. Who is your favorite author? If I was being a smart ass, I’d say my favorite author is Benjamin Tucker, the main character of my latest novel, Vengeance is Mine. But I’m assuming we’re referring to real authors. There are so many that I like, but three come to mind. Robert B. Parker, Michael Connelly and John Sandford. I find their books fast-paced, and well-developed with interesting characters.
  6. What is your favorite book? On a business trip in 1996, I read a newly released novel titled Guilt by Association by Susan R. Sloane. The ending of that book blew me away. It was this book that gave me the drive to make my dream of writing mystery novels a reality.
  7. What do you do when you are not writing? My interests include dogs, classic and sporty automobiles, landscape gardening, guns, and playing golf. I also enjoy classic movies. I like to make my own version of Chicago deep dish pizza from scratch, which makes a huge mess in the kitchen and drives my OCD wife nuts.
  8. Do you have a day job as well? I spent forty years working full time for United States Department of Energy contractors as a senior mechanical engineer. As part of a large scientific collaboration, I helped design, build, maintain, and operate large experimental detectors for high energy physics experiments at national laboratories including the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory just outside of Chicago, the Superconducting Super Collider in Texas, and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University in California. I am semi-retired, but I still work part time as an engineer for the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. I’m classified as a “Casual Worker” so I always dress casual.
  9. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? First, make certain that you’re writing because you enjoy writing. Do not expect fame and fortune because this is a tough business to break into. Aspiring authors should realize that it’s going to be a difficult and complicated road to gain any form of acceptance in the industry. It is nearly impossible to make a decent living from being a novelist. I would bet that there are more large-jackpot lottery winners than there are highly successful writers—businesswise. Make certain that, initially, you have a means of financial support. This will eliminate the stress of needing to be profitable within a specific time frame. Writing is difficult enough without that extra burden.
  10. Is being a writer a curse or a gift? The answer to this question depends on what day it is. When I’m looking at a dismal royalty report, or I’ve received a critical review, or I’m looking at my credit card statement showing how much money I’m spending promoting myself, it seems like a curse. But when a reader tells me that he or she stayed up all night because they couldn’t put my book down, that makes all the effort and expense worthwhile. There is nothing more gratifying than knowing that a reader has truly enjoyed reading one of my stories.
  11. Where do you write? I have an office on the second floor of my home. My desk is facing a double-mullion window looking out into a large wooded area filled with loblolly pine trees. I have everything I need in my office—computer, phone, desk, reference books, printer, shredder, and a large comfortable overstuffed teal blue armchair with a matching ottoman. I have an orange wooden Dachshund pull toy on my desk that reminds me of Oscar in my stories. But I believe a man’s office needs a real dog—like a Basset Hound or rescued Greyhound.
  12. Do you prefer silence or some noise while you write? Any promotion or editing work I can do during the day, but I need total silence when I write—no TV or music. I do most of my creative writing between the hours of 7 p.m. and 2 a.m. when the rest of the house is pretty much asleep.
  13. What do you typically drink while writing? Most of the time, I drink Coca Cola (called Co Cola here in the south) when I write. But there is the occasion when I enjoy a glass of Cabernet. No hard stuff for me though. It gives me a headache and who knows what Tucker would end up doing.
  14. What challenges have you had in regards to your writing life? The biggest challenge for me is keeping my morale up. As I mentioned earlier, this is a very tough business to break into. When I hit roadblocks in my pursuit of professional acceptance, I sometimes feel like I’m staring a dead hog in the butt. And sometimes it looks like a really big hog.
  15. When did you first start and when did you finish your book? I started Vengeance is Mine in January of 2012 and finished my first edited version in November of the same year. I showed it to a literary agent who told me it was way too long, and that I should cut out a minimum of 25,000 words. At first, I was totally demoralized, but I removed a major portion of the story and added some depth to the main character, Benjamin Tucker. Then I queried two hundred literary agents, but in the end, it resulted in total rejection. Finally, my first novel, Fractured Persona, caught the interest of Shiloh Burnam with Peak City Publishing in Apex, North Carolina. We worked out a deal and hopefully there will be many Benjamin Tucker novels coming out of the pipeline.
  16. If your book is made into a movie, which actors/actresses do you envision playing the parts? I could see Dylan McDermott playing Benjamin Tucker. He has that look where he could be a smart ass one minute and play it serious the next. Ben’s wife, Maggie, I have always figured to be the beautiful actress, Morena Baccarin. Roberta, the housekeeper, would be played by Jeff Lewis’ feisty housekeeper, Zoila Chavez. I had envisioned Dennis Farina as Lieutenant John Netter. Tragically, Mr. Farina passed away last year. He was a great actor, and he is sadly missed. It was most annoying of him to make me choose another actor to play Netter. I’m still searching.
  17. What does your protagonist think of you? Would he/she want to hang out with you? Tucker and I would share a number of interests including animals, great food, killer sports cars and wild mysteries. I’m not a scotch drinker like Tucker, so I would stick to a nice glass of California Cabernet.
  18. How do you market your book? What avenues work best? I can be lazy here so I need my wife to push me in the right direction. She’s pretty clever when it comes to marketing. I, on the other hand, couldn’t sell free money. So she’s the genius that keeps this part of the ball rolling. We use a combination of social media including Facebook and Twitter, my author website, professional reviews, writing competitions, guest blogging, and book tours. I also attend as many live author events as will accept me. However, it’s still too early in my writing career to give an intelligent assessment as to what marketing strategy works best. Like most authors, we’re flying by the seat of our pants still working out the details.
  19. What has been the toughest criticism so far? My stories contain “colorful language” used by a crusty old character, so I have heard about that a few times. Tucker, although faithful to his wife, has an eye for the ladies, and I have received mixed reactions about that. I also received a review for Fractured Persona that said, “… there was no emotion in the writing. It was like reading a statement this guy made to the police.” I wouldn’t know if this is true because I’ve never given a statement to the police. I believe this is a good thing. But if a reviewer is unusually cruel, I make him or her a character in my next book. Then I can have them tortured mercilessly.
  20. What has been the best compliment? I recently received a raving review from highly successful author Michael Phelps. Here is an excerpt:

“FORGET “CASTLE” . . . BEN TUCKER is MUCH BETTER

VENGEANCE IS MINE is not a book you want to start reading before bedtime. I guarantee you will NOT sleep. You will be late for work, if you are able to go to work at all. You won’t concentrate on your job, and for some, like butchers, that could be dangerous.

VENGEANCE IS MINE is packed full of suspense. When I thought I had put almost all the pieces of the puzzle together and I knew the killer, it was like a tornado swept through and all the pieces scattered. In spite of BEN TUCKER’S faults (wine + women), his huge ego, and a few more, you just gotta like the guy, because he is darn good at what he does.

In my humble opinion, AUTHOR HARRY JAMES KREBS has created a character that will live a long life and promises every reader many hours of reading entertainment. With a strong cast of supporting characters, richly and vividly brought to life, BEN TUCKER will be in great demand. BEN TUCKER has what it takes to be a great television series; THINK: “MR. & MRS. NORTH” (circa 1952.)

FIVE GOLD STARS FOR VENGEANCE IS MINE!”

– Michael Phelps, Co-Author, along with Ellie Janssen, of David Janssen – My Fugitive

This review made my day, week, month, and year!

21. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? Many of the personal interactions between the main characters are based on real life experiences. Also, the behavior of the family pets I took from memories of my own beloved pets over the years. I’ve had a number of dogs, and each one had its own distinctive personality. The actions of the killer are strictly based on my warped imagination. Thank god.

22. How did you come up with the title? The title “Vengeance is Mine” is a natural extraction from the story where the murders are revenge killings with sexual and religious overtones. The fact that the great Mickey Spillane used this title had nothing to do with it.

23. Will there be a sequel? The next installment of the Benjamin Tucker mystery series will be Fatal Seduction. This story begins almost immediately after the end of Vengeance is Mine and deals partially with a community recoiling from the events in the first story. Added to that is the assassination of a local mayor, a second unrelated murder (or is it?), and other unexpected twists and turns with Tucker smack dab in the middle. Fatal Seduction is in its initial stage of editing. It will be released in the fall of 2014.

24. What project are you working on now? I am presently writing the third installment in the Benjamin Tucker mystery series titled, Lethal Retribution. In this story, while serving jury duty, Tucker discovers new clues to two cold cases from his past—a three-year-old case of a missing colleague, and the unsolved murder of Tucker’s girlfriend from eighteen years earlier. This book should be released in early 2015.

25. Do you talk to your characters? All the time – when I’m alone. And they talk back to me. I’ve made slight changes in some of my characters based on requests from others (editors, publishers, agents, family, etc.). Sometimes the characters tell me, “That’s not me. I’m not like that.” Also, the characters are very real to me. There has been more than one occasion when I’ve headed to the kitchen to ask Roberta, the housekeeper a question. I don’t have a housekeeper—Benjamin Tucker does.

Please fill in the blank: Keep Calm and just clean up the mess. The dog really didn’t mean anything by it.

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  1. Pingback: LIVE Book Tour - Vengeance is Mine by Harry James Krebs

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