What is the legal definition of human? Is there something beyond a psychopath? Are humans still at the top of the food chain? These questions and their answers play a central role in Apex Predator.
The novel is inspired by true events and utilizes real evolutionary, forensic psychiatry and cognitive science, making it truly frightening and thought-provoking.
The story, however, begins with Steven Loomis, a man, a father looking for answers after his daughter's kidnapping and brutal murder. He wants to understand what drives monsters like the one that kidnapped and killed his daughter. What he discovers is that his daughter’s killer was just the tip of the iceberg; that there are far more sinister and powerful forces at play, forces that Steven was not expecting nor prepared for. He realizes that what he has found is the most significant and real threat that humanity has ever faced.
And while he wants to simply grieve like a father that lost his little girl, he realizes that he must play a role he is neither sure he is ready for nor willing to play. He ultimately understands that only he can warn the world about the threat, only he can do something about it. Steven Loomis finds himself in the fight of his life as he tries to warn the world of the threat, to protect his family and to keep himself out of prison.
“It was a cool night, not quite cold, but just at the point
where people were beginning to think about wearing their scarves. Christmas
season was just around the corner and the streets of New
York were packed with early Christmas
anyone would be able to tell the difference, New
York streets were always packed. People here
never needed a reason. Trinity was just beginning his stroll.
liked to start at Central Park.
He loved picking up the scents that so many people just took for granted. The
dewy grass, the perfume of any one of thousands of women walking by, the
mustard on the hot dog vendor’s cart, so many delights that it could be
overwhelming enough for the scent he truly craved, the one he actually allowed
his nose to hunt for. Children. Like everything else, children gave off a
distinct smell and Trinity could pick up that scent for miles.
Here at Central
Park, however, he never needed to wait too long to
pick up the scent. The smell of children’s shampoo, candy, ice cream smeared on
a sweater, he could smell each and every one almost immediately. During his
evenings of indulgence he did not like to stay around the park for long, lest
someone get a clear look at his face.
another of New York’s
gifts to his purpose, no one looked at anyone else past a cursory glance, and
if they did it was more out of annoyance than curiosity.
wouldn’t take the risk when it was so unnecessary. On nights like tonight, it
would not take him long to find what he was looking for. In fact, in the time
it took for him to form that thought, he found exactly what he was looking for.
walking along with two children and a stroller, was just rounding a corner. And
as if luck was truly smiling down on him tonight, they were headed for the ice
Psychopathy, forensic genomics, parapsychology, personality disorder, if it has something to do with the extreme edges of the human psyche, J.A. Faura is hooked. Trying to figure out why people do the things they do and what shapes someone’s personality has been a passion of his since childhood. As a young man J.A. got in trouble with the law and after spending some time in correctional facilities in California and Tijuana, decided to focus his interest in human behavior on extreme, aberrant and criminal behavior and why people engage in it.
After earning a law degree and clerking for the District Attorney’s and Public Defender’s office, he brought his two passions together: criminal defense law and behavioral science. For over two decades he has been researching and exploring the intersection of science and law. With the emergence of new research and technological tools, the fields of forensic science and genetics are poised to rewrite criminal law and forensic science and J.A. plans on having a front row seat. As an author J.A. Faura seeks to paint frightening scenarios driven by true science, legal theory and the extremes of human behavior.
His series Beyond a Psychopath presents one such scenario as it explores what comes after humans in the evolutionary chain. Apex Predator is the first book in the series. The second book, The Human Element, will be released in the spring of 2015. Juan lives in Dallas with his wife Irais Faura and has three children, Juan 25, Amanda 23 and Sebastian 21. He also has two other babies: Baron, a 130-pound dogue de Bordeaux and a Boxer named Lola.
Living, Learning, and Laughing With an Autistic Sibling
Why does he act that way?
Pages from the diary of an eight-year old girl who decides to make a list of all the things she likes and dislikes about dealing with her autistic brother, and in doing so realizes that she has created A Manual for Marco.
Is there a message in
your book that you want readers to grasp?
While there is a wealth of information that deals with the
various challenges faced by parents of autistic children, there is relatively
little information available on how a sibling can cope with an autistic brother
or sister. My latest children’s book A
Manual for Marco, is considered a game changer in that category. For
8-year-old Sofia—the main character in the book—living with her autistic
brother is not easy but she does so with wisdom, wit and loads of
Is there anything you
find particularly challenging in your writing?
The toughest challenge for me as a busy working mother is to
find adequate time to devote to writing, which often takes a back seat to my
other obligations. Unlike other writers who set aside time to regularly focus
on their talent, I write in bursts. When I am on an assignment or have an idea
in my head, I often stay up late or wake up early to write.
How many books have
you written and which is your favorite?
I have written five books so far. Two for adults: Saffron Dreams and Beyond the Cayenne Wall, and three for children: My Friend Suhana,
Rani in Search of a Rainbow, and A
Manual for Marco. It is hard to pick a favorite. Each one is special and
unique to me in its own way.
If you had the chance
to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why?
Meesha Shafi would be perfect to play the role
of Sofia’s mother in A Manual for Marco.
She is a popular Coke Studio singer who also starred in The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
When did you begin
Writing for me has always been as natural as doing art or
design. When I decided to make design a career, I promised my father that
writing would be a very serious hobby. With five books under my belt, I have
proven that I do take writing vey seriously.
How long did it take
to complete your first book?
The first book was never meant to be one. I was writing
short segments as a personal journaling exercise, which took a fictional bend.
From concept to publication, the collection probably took three years. It took me 9 months to write my second book Saffron Dreams, and 3 years to edit it.
In the end, my publisher had to yank it away from me to publish it. I have been
a bit better in my subsequent efforts, taking an average of 6-8 months from
writing to publication.
Did you have an
author who inspired you to become a writer?
When I was attending a community college in California, my
English teacher introduced me to the works of Indian author Chitra Banerjee
Divakaruni. I was fascinated by how much culture she brought forth in her
works. My teacher felt that I had what it takes to follow in her footsteps.
Chitra is now a very dear friend.
What is your favorite
part of the writing process?
Hands down, my favorite part is holding the final product in
my hands. Being a designer I have always negotiated full control over the
visuals, layout, and design of each book. So for me it has always been an added
excitement to see that final piece.
Describe your latest
book in 4 words.
Sibling Dealing With Autism
Can you share a
little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?
After releasing A
Manual for Marco in February, I am taking a much-needed break for a while.
Trying to do three books in a year has exhausted me.
Shaila Abdullah is an award-winning author and designer based in Austin, Texas. She has written five books: Saffron Dreams, Beyond the Cayenne Wall, My Friend Suhana, Rani in Search of a Rainbow, and A Manual for Marco. The author has received several awards for her work including the Golden Quill Award and Patras Bukhari Award for English Language. Several academic institutions have adopted her books as course study or recommended reading, including the University of California, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Indiana University, Boston University, California State University, and George Washington University. Learn more about the author at www.ShailaAbdullah.com
Hope only wants to find out if her ability to infuse euphoria or despair with her touch makes her the devil's spawn, or his exterminator. But when the woman who raised her is murdered by something not human, she loses the only family she knew and discovers one she might wish she hadn’t.
Drawn back to the hometown she vowed never to return to, her ability is seen as an asset to everyone but Hope, and she doesn't know who to trust. Her family wants her to help them overcome an enemy oppressing the human population, while the man of her dreams is courting her for the Underworld.
Time is running out, and Hope’s choice may be made for her, as she discovers she’s a pawn in a bigger game played by a merciless ruler who doesn't lose.
I liked the diversity of the novel. It pulls together Paranormal/Fantasy along with Mystery/Suspense and even some darker elements, all of which are executed well and come together seamlessly.
It did take a while for the action to begin and the story to unfold, but once it got going, I couldn't put it down. I really enjoyed the fact that Maureen L. Bonatch was able to surprise me a couple of times. I always like a novel that keeps me guessing.
Growing up with four siblings had Maureen familiar with escaping into a good book, or the recesses of her mind. She realized later in life everyone didn’t have characters telling stories in their heads, or weren’t envisioning magic and mayhem within the everyday. This, and long walks in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania spawned a love of writing.
Since her desire to become a Solid Gold Dancer was thwarted when the show was discontinued, Maureen opted to pursue other paths. Attempting to conquer new endeavors proved fruitful with her first novella, while other attempts, such as challenging a fear of heights with parasailing, were unsuccessful.
Therefore she’s chased other interests, though none-the-less-daring, but closer to the ground, such as belly-dancing, becoming a self-proclaimed tequila connoisseur, fulfilling her role as biker babe to her alpha hubby and surviving motherhood to twins (so far).
Penning stories boasting laughter, light suspense and something magical in the hope of sharing her love of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary world.
Element – Fire (Healer/Destroyer) Royal House – Purple
Milcah was born to rule along side an evil mother. Milcah's father was taken against his will and forced to give up his seed to produce a child with unimaginable powers. At a young age she was taken away from the only home she knows and forced to forget, again and again.
Raised by a detached stepmother, Milcah learned to depend on herself and her best friend, Mary for support. When Mary suggest a vacation, with a scenic route, to the Grand Canyon Milcah believes she is finally getting the chance to see outside her small town. Packing a few things and climbing into her old beat up car, she never imagined she would find a new side of herself.
Lost on a back road, Milcah meets her destiny in a small town named Beacon. When her mind is unlocked, she finds she has a past that will lead to the salvation or damnation of the world.
Believeable and Relatable characters really help to captivate the reader and get them invested in the happenings of this story. I loved Milcah from the very start.
A great Fantasy Novel that delves deeper than most.
Paulina is a small town girl with big dreams. She is the second oldest of three talented siblings.
As early as three she was directing her family around acting out whatever current story was in her head. At four between her older brother and her, a whole universe was created which the younger siblings were introduced into as they were born.
Her natural ability to tell a story took her down many paths. She wrote plays, poems, small children books and short stories all before she entered high school.
When picking a career her councilor told her writing was a dying art and so she went to school for veterinarian science. Three years later she dropped out of university and enrolled in the local community college with a major in journalism
In 2008 she graduated with her BA in Communication/Journalism from Cal State Fullerton.
Life happened and her dreams were put on hold until 2013 when she started a review blog. This year her first book in her Witches Amulet series will be released.
"Mark Cosman’s message speaks to mothers and fathers everywhere; this is a beautiful and sensitive book." Mrs. Nancy Reagan
My daughter. Berlyn, was asleep on a fold-out couch at her high school prom party when a former classmate and high school dropout shot her in the head for no apparent reason. Her murder prompted me to leave the rubble of my beliefs and assumptions to go in search of answers to the most profound questions we ask ourselves. “A Flower in the Snow” is the result of that odyssey.
This was not an easy read. As a parent it was very difficult to wrap my head around the situation. The word that comes to mind is profound. Would I have the same thoughts and questions if I was in the same position? And even though I'm not in the position, I will say this novel was eyeopening, breathtaking, and heartwrenching. Mark Cosman has created a novel I will not soon forget.
Mark Cosman’s writing began when his daughter, Berlyn, was murdered following her high school prom. It was when Mark left the rubble of his beliefs and assumptions to go in search of answers to the most profound questions we ask ourselves. “A Flower in the Snow” is a result of that odyssey.
In Book Two, Adventure-Romance author Lesley Meryn has her 'second date', a little bit of Time Travel, with the volatile yet seductive scientist Miles Sherwood. She wakes up to a spring day in 1765 Yorkshire. Miles should be there, waiting for her, but he's nowhere to be found. Circumstances spin rapidly out of control. Someone keeps trying to kill her new Eighteenth Century companion and self-appointed protector, Mick Kenning, a handsome and hunky stableman at the New Inn. Lesley helps him to foil these clumsy, but persistent and mysterious attempts on his life. As the days pass, Miles remains missing. The clock is literally ticking down the days. She has less than two weeks to find him or she may be trapped in the past. Has Miles fallen victim to the very real dangers of an earlier time? Complications multiply with the appearance of an elusive, badass, Highwayman. With a hefty price on his head, agents of the Crown have arrived at the New Inn to track him down. For Mick it's personal, he despises the Highwayman. The Highwayman, not satisfied with jewelry, and coins, stole away the woman Mick once loved. Will Lesley find Miles in time? What has happened to him? Will Mick ever find out who wants him dead? Will he ever find outwhy? Balancing between high adventure, sword fighting, fisticuffs, pistols, and daggers, Lesley must use her wits, imagination, and every trick from herown books to find Miles, survive the Eighteenth Century, and return to her own time.
I absolutely adored the first novel in the Time Frame series and this is no exception. Elle Brookes has brought another Witty and Fun suspense novel that will have readers laughing out loud while trying to guess what will happen next. Everything from the writing style to the pacing was spot on and led to an effortless read.
Elle Brookes grew up in Los Angeles, California, but lived in Jamaica for three years when she was a Peace Corps Volunteer. She moved to San Francisco and studied at the California Culinary Academy, and went on to become a private chef to a well-known L.A. based television production company.
From an early age Elle was a voracious reader of adventure stories and from elementary school through high school, she started writing her own stories of places foreign and exotic. She studied Art History and continued writing in college, focusing on short stories.
A dedicated and passionate traveler, Elle has explored river caves in Jamaica and Costa Rica, hiked glaciers in New Zealand and Iceland, and done dogsledding in Greenland and Iceland. She's danced a fa'a Samoan haka and slept in a fale on the island of Savai'i in Samoa, hiked in the northern mountains of Thailand along the border with Myanmar in the Golden Triangle, and in Haiti, she witnessed a white goat ceremonially sacrificed to Erzuli Freda by a powerful Houngan. For a time she did Performance Driving in Southern California, and has years of study and experience dedicated to fencing, theatrical combat, archery, and horsemanship.
Elle currently lives in the central highlands of Costa Rica with her dog Pixie, and her hedgehog, Quiller.Website: www.tymslyder.com
It began as a fever of unknown origin that its victims dubbed “the Heat,” but as it burned through most of the world’s population, it became known simply as “the Dying.” And for those left behind, the struggle has just begun….
In the aftermath of the Dying, survivor Jessica Monroe is protected and guided by the gentle voice of an invisible being she thinks of as her guardian angel. When she reaches the sanctuary he’s provided for her, however, she realizes that her unseen companion is no angel at all. The destruction of humanity was only the first step in a much larger plan, and now Jessica must struggle to discover her own role in a frightening new world where everything has changed.
Now was the time to say a few words, but nothing seemed to come to mind. I couldn’t even remember the Lord’s Prayer, or more than the first few words of the Twenty-third Psalm.
“The Lord is my shepherd,” I began, then shook my head. What came next? The lines were all jumbled together in my head, nonsense syllables that sounded like something straight out of “Jabberwocky.” And what did it matter, anyway? We weren’t a religious family; we went to Christmas Eve services some years and some years not, maybe Easter. I’d gone to Sunday school when I was really little, but my parents hadn’t even bothered with that when Devin came along.
For the longest time I stood there under the oak, the sun disappearing altogether, deep dusk falling upon the yard. Then I moved, and the motion-sensor light mounted to the side of the garage flashed on.
“I love you all,” I said finally, then set the Waterford vase and the football trophy on top of their grave.
After that, I went back inside and shut the door behind me. It seemed to echo in the unnatural stillness of the house, and I realized it was hardly ever this quiet — someone always had the TV on in the background, or there was music playing, or somebody talking on the phone. Now the quiet pounded against my eardrums, and I realized how big a three-bedroom, two-thousand-square-foot house could feel when you were the only one in it.
The only one in the world….
The thought whispered through my mind, and I did my best to ignore it. Surely if I were immune, and not just having extremely delayed onset for some reason, that meant other people had to be immune, too. How many? I couldn’t begin to guess. I didn’t know the mortality rate of the disease. Even if 99.9% of the population was dead, that would leave around a thousand people still alive in the greater Albuquerque area, if I was doing my mental math correctly.
I turned on the overhead lights in the kitchen, then went through the house, turning on all the lamps. Maybe that wasn’t the smartest thing to do — maybe advertising my presence would do more harm than good. But I couldn’t sit there in the dark, not after everything I’d been through that day. Besides, when I peeked out through the curtains, I saw mine wasn’t the only house on the street that was all lit up. Most likely the others just had their lights on because no one was around to turn them off, but it did make mine seem less conspicuous.
“Are you there?” I asked of the darkness. Even a voice that was only a product of my imagination was better than this deep, deep silence, the kind of quiet you should never hear if you lived in a big city.
No reply, of course. My gaze shifted to the remote control, still lying where I’d last dropped it on the coffee table. I didn’t quite dare to turn on the television, not after what I’d seen the last time around. I could only imagine how bad it must be by now.
But there was still the stereo, and all the CDs my parents wouldn’t get rid of, despite Devin and me telling them all that plastic just took up space and that they should just rip all their music off those CDs and then play it through Apple TV or something. And now I had to be grateful for their stubbornness, because that meant I could get up and choose something to blot out the silence. My father liked country, but old country, like Hank Williams and Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline, and my mother preferred classical. That sounded better to me right then, so I found her favorite, Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, and put that on.
It actually was better, with the sound of an orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy on the piano overriding that awful stillness. Or at least it was better until I realized that no one would ever play that piece live again, that there would be no more symphony orchestras or Arcade Fire concerts or anything, ever again.
“Oh, God,” I gasped, pushing myself up from the couch and running into the kitchen, where I turned on the faucet and splashed cold water in my face. As if that could begin to help. It was all too big to comprehend, so awful and enormous that I could literally feel the horror of it beginning to sink in, like some noxious chemical seeping into my skin.
And then it was as though strong, invisible arms wrapped around me, bringing with them a soothing warmth. Unseen lips brushed against my hair, and I heard the voice again.
Be strong, my love. Be strong for just a while longer.
Just as suddenly, the presence was gone. I held on to the tile of the kitchen counter, feeling the cool surface beneath my fingertips. In that moment, I truly wondered if I’d lost my mind.
What other explanation could there be?
About the Author
A native of Southern California, Christine Pope has been writing stories ever since she commandeered her family’s Smith-Corona typewriter back in the sixth grade. Her short fiction has appeared in Astonishing Adventures, Luna Station Quarterly, and the journal of dark fiction, Dark Valentine. Two of her short stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
Christine Pope writes as the mood takes her, and her work includes paranormal romance, fantasy romance, and science fiction/space opera romance. She blames this on being easily distracted by bright, shiny objects, which could also account for the size of her shoe collection. After spending many years in the magazine publishing industry, she now works as a freelance editor and graphic designer in addition to writing fiction. She fell in love with Sedona, Arizona, while researching the Sedona Files series and now makes her home there, surrounded by the red rocks. No alien sightings, though...not yet, anyway!