Unemployed with no prospects, Dorian Wells is a young man trying desperately to stay afloat and be a good father to his toddler son. While already struggling to pay the bills and earn proper visitation with his child, Dorian’s tumultuous life is thrown into further upheaval when his mother is suddenly hospitalized.
On the verge of losing everything, it seems Dorian finally has a stroke of luck when he inadvertently learns of a potential opportunity with Jakkaru, a decadent, cut-throat organization that pays handsomely by the body count. Dorian’s lifelong friend, Rafe Ibadiah, is his ticket into Jakkaru and soon Dorian is training to be a professional hitman. But learning how to properly kill for a living is not as easy as it seems, and he quickly discovers the short arms of theory are a far reach from reality as the harrowing journey makes him question everything he believes.
The final test before full acceptance into Jakkaru is a contract Dorian must complete alone. Delivered to him via a small red envelope, the name inside propels the stakes of this dangerous game higher than ever before. Dorian will sacrifice anything for his son, but it’s not until he is ordered to do the unthinkable that he grasps the horrific depth of his commitment.
Award-winning author, K. Baskett, expertly weaves a chilling tale of suspense in Envelope: Red that culminates in a shocking look at the prickly nuances of loyalty. Gritty and authentic, Dorian’s story is ultimately a poignant examination of the human condition - what lies within the heart of us all.
The butler goes to the corner of the room where a small stand holds a glass carafe of water and crystal goblets. He pours some and hands the glass to me, then exits the room, clicking the door quietly closed behind him.
I take a shaky sip, and my parched lips scream with relief. The cool water helps to alleviate my perspiration as well, which has already thoroughly embarrassed me.
“Welcome, Dorian,” says the man seated behind the desk. He is large and stocky, with a bald head and bad skin. He observes me through black, beady eyes that don't seem to blink. “I am Mr Black, and this is my colleague, Mr Red.” He indicates the man flanking his ornate leather chair. Mr Red nods at me slightly. He is reedy with delicate wireframe glasses perched on his beaky nose.
“H-hello,” I stutter, biting down nervous laughter at the absurdity of their names. My hands tremble so badly I am very nearly spilling my glass of water. I set it down gingerly on the small table beside my chair.
“We understand you are here because you're interested in becoming a member of our prestigious organization,” Mr Black begins.
“I see,” Mr Black says thoughtfully. “Well, as I'm sure you might imagine, we have to know a few things about anyone seeking to join our ranks. Therefore, we have taken the liberty to peek into your background.”
My saliva dries up, making my tongue swell like a blowfish and stick to the roof of my mouth.
Mr Red lifts an iPad from the desk and begins to read from it. “Dorian Wells, age twenty-five. No siblings. Both parents deceased; most recently the mother, Verona Marshall, from an advanced case of septicemia. One son, Josiah Wells, just turned two. Josiah's mother, Milan Carter, age twenty-three. No significant work history, just a few minimum wage jobs here and there. Once matriculated at the local community college but no degree. Currently unemployed. Recently granted a full visitation schedule for son, Josiah, by the family court. Girlfriend, Sekoya Williams, age twenty-nine; dating for about a year.” Mr Red stops reading from the iPad and looks directly at me. “Congratulations.”
My stomach is turning somersaults hearing all this detailed intimate information; it's so surreal. The main thing that sticks out in my mind is that he said, 'both parents deceased.' I don't even know who my father is, and they apparently have not only identified him, but also discovered he is dead. I'm not sure what to say after this recitation, but I can tell they are waiting for me to speak, so I murmur, “Yes, sir. That's me.”
Mr Black laces his pudgy fingers together on top of the desk. “You should know, Dorian: that was the summarized version.”
Jack of all trades, master of none - save for the art of procrastination - K. Baskett lives by the motto, "Never do today what can be put off until tomorrow." K. firmly believes that you aren't really interested in the author's hometown, spouse, children or pets, and has therefore decided to spare you the details. No Greater Illusion is the author's award-winning debut novel. Envelope: Red, the second offering, is a gritty suspense-thriller releasing November 2013.
1. For people who haven’t heard of Envelope Red , make a brief description.
Envelope: Red is the new suspense/thriller from award-winning author, K. Baskett.
Young and unemployed, Dorian Wells is striving to pay the bills and care for his toddler son when his mother is suddenly hospitalized. On the verge of losing everything, he inadvertently learns of Jakkaru, a vicious and murderous organization that pays its associates well. Dorian’s lifelong friend, Rafe Ibadiah, is his ticket into Jakkaru and soon he is training to be a professional hitman. But killing people for a living is not as easy as it seems, and Dorian soon discovers the short arms of theory are a far reach from reality as the harrowing journey makes Dorian question everything he believes. The final test before full acceptance into Jakkaru is a contract Dorian must complete alone. Delivered to him via a small red envelope, the name inside propels the stakes of this dangerous game higher than ever before. Dorian will sacrifice anything for his son, but it’s not until he is ordered to do the unthinkable that he grasps the horrific depth of his commitment.
2. When did you decided to become a writer?
It wasn’t anything I decided to do, it’s just something I have always done. I have been writing for as long as I can remember, and apparently I’ve been reading even longer than that!
3. What does your family think of your works?
My family loves the work that I do, and is extremely supportive of me. They are my first readers and my biggest advocates. They help spread the word about my books and tell me that I have talent. But I think they are a little bit biased. ;-)
4. Do you have specific habits when you write?
My schedule is extremely busy and my calendar is packed to the brim with appointments and obligations. The only time I can make to write is very early in the morning during summers, before my typical work day starts. So my writing process begins with a jangling alarm clock and a question to myself that pretty much assesses my sanity (i.e., Are you crazy?! Hit the snooze....). I do not have any quirks, but at the ungodly hour I rise to begin my writing, I am required to have a steaming cup of coffee nearby.
5. Are you an early bird or night owl?
I am a night owl by nature, but an early bird by circumstance. My schedule forces me to rise before the sun anyway, and my desire to write dictates that I often times wake up even earlier.
6. Where do you get your inspiration?
In the most unexpected places! Sometimes the seed of an idea may be planted by someone else, other times I might get a nugget of inspiration out of seemingly nowhere as I am going about my everyday mundane tasks. You never know when or where inspiration is going to strike, but I always embrace it when it does. I have a little notebook used expressly for that purpose, and in it I keep track of all my various topics and ideas for potential future projects.
7. Which of your characters is your favorite and why? Rafe Ibadiah, one of the central characters in Envelope:Red. He is just so genuine and loyal - a real friend who is trustworthy, dependable and honest. That kind of strong, pure disposition is so rare these days and Rafe is definitely a gem. And not only that, he is charming and funny - a great joy to be around. I think everyone probably wants a friend like Rafe.
8. If you could have coffee with any character of any book, who would it be and why?
Probably from my answer above, you can figure out that I would be having coffee with Rafe. ;-) His calm spirit and easy-going nature would guarantee an enjoyable, relaxing visit.
9. Would you like your book turned into a movie? Do you have any actors in mind?
Indeed! What author doesn’t dream of seeing their vision come to life on the big screen? I don’t even care who the actors would be - just the idea of needing actors is satisfying enough. ;-)
10. What do you do, besides writing?
Wait - there are other things to do besides writing?
11. Do you have any hobbies?
I love to read, I’ve always got at least 3 or 4 books I am reading at any given time. I also really enjoy spending time with my family and my new obsession is watching independent movies on YouTube. I also volunteer with an organization called Junior Achievement; it makes me feel like I am really making a difference in the lives of young people.
12. Guilty pleasures?
Red wine, milk chocolate, and late nights; but more often than anything else, curling up on the couch to read a good book when I really should be tackling any of the 78 things on my to-do list.
13. What are you reading right now?
It took me a while to get around to it, but I am finally reading The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier and I am thoroughly enjoying it!
14. Name your favorite books.
A Prayer For Owen Meany, by John Irving. Native Son, by Richard Wright. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. The Power Of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. The Art of War by Sun Tzu.
15. Name your favorite authors.
Thomas H Cook and John Irving
16. Tell us about something crazy you’ve done.
I actually went skydiving once. It’s a tremendous rush - there’s nothing in the world that even comes close to it.
17. Best reward as a writer?
The best thing about being a writer is having the opportunity to connect with others intellectually. It feels so wonderful to have a conversation with a reader who truly connects with my work and has feedback they want to share with me after reading one of my novels. That’s why I do what I do.
Other books from K. Baskett:
No Greater Illusion
Finalist in the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
Genre: historical western (set in 1876 Deadwood, Dakota Territory.)
Formats to buy: Kindle and Paperback
Jake Anderson killed a man defending his fiancée from a brutal attack, but lost her and his freedom in the process. Now he's on the run, hunted by one of her murderers and tormented by the need for vengeance.
Becky Finnegan will do anything to escape her drunken father's fists, including slave away at their mine. Her only hope is to strike gold and make a new life for herself somewhere far, far away from Deadwood. But then Jake arrives and does the unthinkable...forces her to feel, to hope...and to love.
Jake would give his life to protect Becky, but all he can offer her is a broken heart, a criminal's life, and a past haunted by failure. How can he save her when he's already lost himself? When the devil catches up to him, will he destroy everything, or can the beautiful rebel redeem Jake's lost soul?
The iron pressed against Jake Anderson’s back was almost as cold as the rain pouring out of the night sky.
“Knock on the door,” demanded his brother Zach, his voice angry and on edge.
Jake did as he was told and pounded on the front door, hard enough to be heard over the din of the rain.
“What the hell?” said his eldest brother, Liam, when he opened the door. “Jake? Zach? What are you two doing here? It’s the middle of the night.”
Zach growled from behind Jake. “Are you going to let us in or make us stand in this rain all night?”
“Come in. Zach, put that gun away.”
“Can’t until the kid here,” he poked Jake in the back with the gun, “is inside and we’ve talked to you.”
Jake walked into the foyer of the house his oldest brother owned in St. Louis. Steamer trunks and carpet bags lined the hallway down to the parlor.
“Sorry to do this to you, Liam. I know you’re leaving tomorrow,” said Zach, laying his hat on one of the trunks.
Jake threw his hat on the trunk next to Zach’s.
“Yes. At first light. Now, tell me what’s going on and why you brought Jake here at gun point,” said Liam.
“Only way I could get him to come.”
“And?” Liam said, exasperated. “Don’t make me beat the story out of you word by word, little brother. Just tell me the problem.”
Liam pointed at the two chairs in front of the fire, then went to the fireplace and stoked the banked coals to life. He added a piece of wood to the tiny flames before he turned once again to face them. “Jake. You first,” he said in a tone that brooked no argument.
“I killed an army captain,” Jake said, refusing to sit. He couldn’t sit. Couldn’t be still. He wanted to scream at the injustice, shout at God for his betrayal.
“Why’d you do a damn fool thing like that?”
Jake shrugged. “I didn’t have a choice.”
“There’s always a choice,” countered Liam.
Zach put away his gun. “No, there’s not,” said Zach. “There was reason for it, but he did kill the man. I use the word ‘man’ loosely.”
“Damn it, Jake. They’ll hunt you down and hang you for this.” Liam had been a colonel with seventeen years service, Jake knew he was familiar with military justice.
“The son of a bitch deserved to die. And as soon as I can, I’m going to kill the other bastard, too.”
“He’s mine,” snarled Zach.
“Who?” asked Liam.
“Jesus! You two had better tell me what’s going on. Start at the beginning.”
Cynthia Woolf was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in the mountains west of Golden. She spent her early years running wild around the mountain side with her friends.
Their closest neighbor was one quarter of a mile away, so her little brother was her playmate and her best friend. That fierce friendship lasted until his death in 2006. Cynthia was and is an avid reader. Her mother was a librarian and brought new books home each week. This is where young Cynthia first got the storytelling bug. She wrote her first story at the age of ten. A romance about a little boy she liked at the time.
She worked her way through college and went to work full time straight after graduation and there was little time to write. Then in 1990 she and two friends started a round robin writing a story about pirates. She found that she missed the writing and kept on with other stories. In 1992 she joined Colorado Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America. Unfortunately, the loss of her job demanded she not renew her memberships and her writing stagnated for many years.
In 2001, she saw an ad in the paper for a writers conference being put on by CRW and decided she'd attend. One of her favorite authors, Catherine Coulter, was the keynote speaker. Cynthia was lucky enough to have a seat at Ms. Coulter's table at the luncheon and after talking with her, decided she needed to get back to her writing. She rejoined both CRW and RWA that day and hasn't looked back. Cynthia credits her wonderfully supportive husband Jim and the great friends she's made at CRW for saving her sanity and allowing her to explore her creativity.
My Ten Favorite Cowboys John Wayne in every western he ever did but especially from McClintock with Maureen O’Hara
Dean Martin from The Sons of Katie Elder
Colt Thunder from Savage Thunder by Johanna Lindsey Angel from Angel by Johanna Lindsey Lucas Ross from Prince Charming by Julie Garwood Caleb Black from Only His by Elizabeth Lowell James Drury from The Virginian
Wolfe Lonetree from Only Mine by Elizabeth Lowell Tom Selleck in Quigley Down Under
Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall
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