Monday, November 18, 2013

Joanna Penn - Desecration is featured on the HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

The Showcase is a special feature of the Author's Spotlight. It is designed to highlight Spotlight author's NEW releases and their soon to be released novels.


Author: Joanna Penn


Death isn’t always the end. LONDON. When the body of a young heiress is found within the Royal College of Surgeons, Detective Sergeant Jamie Brooke is assigned to the case. An antique ivory figurine found beside the body is the only lead and she enlists Blake Daniel, a reluctant clairvoyant, to help her discover the message it holds. When personal tragedy strikes, Jamie finds her own life entwining with the morbid fascinations of the anatomists, and she must race against time to stop them claiming another victim. As Jamie and Blake delve into a macabre world of grave robbery, body modification, and the genetic engineering of monsters, they must fight to keep their sanity, and their lives.


The body of the young woman lies on her back, blonde hair neatly arrayed in a sunburst around her head. She looks like an angel and I bend to adjust a lock of her hair, carefully disguising the deep wound in her skull. At least I can leave her face looking as beautiful as it did in life. Her lips are still painted with wine red lipstick, slightly smudged from where she drank with me. But that mouth whispered words of disturbing truth not so long ago, and I couldn’t let her unleash that reality into the world. There is too much at stake and even she was not enough to make me give that up.

I pull on a pair of sterile gloves and breathe a sigh of relief as I slip into my second skin. They make me feel safe, a barrier against the world and yet somehow heightening the sensation in my hands. I always carry a pair, and tonight they serve a noble purpose. I brush her lips with gentle fingertips, some part of me wanting to feel a last breath. But I know she is dead, for I feel the lack of her. What made her alive is now gone and I wonder if she is already on another plane of reality, wondering how she got there, questioning why this life flew by so fast. This is but a body, just another corpse, and I know how to deal with corpses.

In a medical institution, it isn’t hard to find a scalpel and I pull open the drawers in the training lab until I find an appropriate one. Returning to the body I use the 22 blade to cut a line through the crimson satin dress that clings to the curves near her hips. The material bunches slightly so I have to hold it down for the scalpel to slice through, but I manage to cut away a square of material, like operating drapes revealing the area for treatment.

The blade is so sharp that I can sense the layer of material separate from the firmness of her skin and I feel a rush of pleasure at the sensation.

Beginning the incision, I slice across the soft lower belly. Her flesh is still warm, skin smooth and untainted, and I envy the beauty she carried so unconsciously. The scalpel slices down, a precision instrument in my hand and a line of blood rises to the surface. Even though her heart has stopped, it is as if this body still clings to life.

I feel something, a breath of air on my cheek and I freeze, scalpel in place on her skin. I know it must be nothing, but a shiver passes over me regardless. Perhaps it is the soul of the newly deceased taking one last look around this cabinet of curiosities, trying to understand her place amongst the many dead. For her body lies surrounded by tall glass display cases, packed full of the anatomical preparations for which the Hunterian Museum is famous. Body parts line up here in a macabre apothecary’s shop, strange and bizarre with colors of pus, bone and decay. It is hard to tell what lies inside the conical jars of varying sizes until you lean closer to look inside or read the brief text that refers to each specimen. Stoppered and sealed with black tape, beads of condensation have formed on the lids as if what is inside still breathes. I can almost hear the dead cry out, drowned again each night in liquid preservation, and it makes me want to emulate the master anatomist in my own work. I stop for a moment to gaze at my inspiration.

Some of the organs are flower like, petals opening and fronds almost waving in the liquid, like sea creatures of delicate, strange beauty. Ruffles like tissue paper conceal a parcel of flesh that was once part of a living human. In one container sits a gigantic foot, cut off at the ankle, swollen with elephantiasis to four times life-size. Black toenails erupt from the end of grotesque toes, skin swollen to bursting, puckered and discolored.

Every time I look into these cabinets I see something new, even though I have been coming here for many years, a pilgrimage to that which gives meaning to my own work. I glimpse the trunk of a baby crocodile, decapitated with its legs and tail brutally sawn off. Next to it, the trunk of a human fetus, barely as big as my hand, limbs and head removed, the tiny chest opened up to reveal the internal organs.

There are lizards, cut open, limbs posed as if they are running away, scuttling across this landscape of trapped souls. The body of a crayfish, tail curled under, protecting thousands of tiny eggs, and next to it, fat grubs and caterpillars, the larvae of hybrid insects. Quintuple fetuses are displayed in one case, tiny bodies with mouths open in horror, like corporeal dolls the color of ghosts. For the early anatomists were allowed to use the bodies of those that died within the mother, considering them specimen before human. Nowadays I have to work in secret, wary of judgment from those who don’t understand the mysteries I can solve with flesh. This body is so precious that I cannot waste the opportunity to take what might further my research.

The sounds of the party filter upwards, laughter made louder by alcohol. Returning to my work, I cut into the young woman’s flesh, digging down through the layers to reveal her inner organs. I use a self-retaining retractor to hold open the flap of skin and tissue to give me better access, blood slipping over my hands as I work faster now.

My gloved fingers probe her gently, making sure that nothing is damaged. The fetus is barely nine weeks old. Dead, like the mother, or soon will be. But its existence won’t be wasted. Indeed, the knowledge it may reveal could be a greater achievement than most people could even dream of. I must get it back to the lab quickly.

Noises come from the hallway at the bottom of the stairs to the museum. I freeze, listening intently as my heart pounds in my chest. I can’t be caught here, not like this. The work is too important and this specimen in particular must be studied. With the final cuts, I remove the uterus, placing it in her handbag that will have to do in place of an organ case My work completed, I move to the doorway, hidden in the shadows. It sounds as if the people on the stairs are flirting and kissing, the party lubricated by enough alcohol to release the usual inhibitions. The noises grow fainter and I slip down the stairs as the unknown couple head off into a darker corner to fulfill their desires with each other. I pity them, for they can only find what they seek with living flesh. They know not of the darker pleasures of the anatomist.

Author Genre: Action-Adventure Thriller

Website: J. F. Penn, Ancient Mystery, Modern Thrill
Author's Blog: The Creative Penn
Twitter: @thecreativepenn
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description: Joanna Penn is the author of the ARKANE thrillers, Pentecost and Prophecy. Read more at

Joanna is also an entrepreneur and professional speaker. Her site for writers has been voted one of the Top 10 sites for writers 2 years running and offers articles, audio and video on writing, publishing and book marketing. Connect with Joanna on twitter @thecreativepenn

Author's Book List
How To Market A Book
The first job of an author is, of course, to write great books, but these days, their second job is to market them.

Marketing isn't a skill that most authors have naturally, and there is little formal training. But when your book hits the shelves, and the sales don't start rolling in, there's only two things an author can do. Keep writing more books and ... Get to grips with marketing.

This book is for authors who want to sell more books, but it's also for those writers who want to think more like an entrepreneur. It's for traditionally published authors who want to take control of their future, and for self-published authors who want to jump-start a career.

There are some short-term tactics for those who want to kick up immediate sales, but the focus of the book is more about instilling values and marketing principles that will help your long-term career as a writer.

It's also about going beyond just the book, because the methods in this guide can take you from being an author into professional speaking, making money from other products and creating opportunities that you can't even imagine yet.

There are no rules in this game, but learning this kind of authentic marketing has certainly changed my life, so read on and I'll share everything I know with you.

How To Market A Book covers an extensive range of marketing principles, strategies and tactics:

•Part 1: Marketing Principles - including myths, how to balance your time, co-opetition and generosity
•Part 2: Prerequisites for Success - including an understanding of yourself and your target market, professional editing and cover design, your book page on the retailer websites, pricing and the use of free
•Part 3: No Platform Needed - Short-term Marketing - including how to get book reviews, paid advertising, using traditional media and tips for TV, radio and press releases
•Part 4: The Author Platform - Long-term Marketing - including the reasons why a platform is a good thing, author branding, your author website, list-building and email marketing, content marketing and blogging, audio and podcasting, video and book trailers, social networking, professional speaking, and becoming an author-entrepreneur.
•Part 5: Launching Your Book - including how launching has changed, soft launch, launch spikes, post launch and relaunches as well as lessons learned from some major book launches.

Plus/ tips for when you get overwhelmed and plenty more links to further resources.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Exodus - An ARKANE Thriller (Book 3)
A desperate race to find the Ark of the Covenant - and save the world from a devastating Holy War. ?

Cairo, Egypt. When the curator of the Museum of Antiquities is slaughtered in a horrific ritual by a group wearing the masks of Ancient Egyptian deities, local authorities ask for help from ARKANE, the agency tasked with investigating religious and paranormal events.

Then, in Washington DC, a decapitated Arab body is discovered. The head is placed on the replica Ark of the Covenant along with a chilling message that warns of a terrifying escalation of violence in the Middle East.

ARKANE agent, British-Israeli psychologist Dr Morgan Sierra, must race against time to uncover the real Ark - aware that her nemesis, the vicious mercenary Natasha, is also in the hunt and out for bloody revenge.

Morgan travels across Egypt and Jordan, retracing the steps of the Biblical Exodus and following a trail of clues that takes her into the mists of history - and mortal danger...

The third novel in the bestselling ARKANE series, EXODUS is a pulse-pounding thriller for fans of Dan Brown and James Rollins. Filled with puzzles, adventure and excitement, it also asks serious questions about the nature of religion…and the beliefs that lie at the very heart of humankind.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Pentecost. An ARKANE Thriller
Kindle bestseller in Action/Adventure and Religious Fiction. Pentecost is a fast-paced, action-adventure thriller with high body count and graphic scenes of violence.

A power kept secret for 2000 years. ?A brotherhood broken by murder. ?A woman who stands to lose everything.

Forged in the fire and blood of martyrs, the Pentecost stones have been handed down through generations of Keepers who kept their power and locations secret. Until now.

If you love a fast-paced, rollicking read, download a sample or buy Pentecost now.

Book Trailer: Pentecost. An ARKANE Thriller
Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Prophecy. An ARKANE thriller
A Kindle bestseller in Action/Adventure and Religious Fiction. Prophecy is a fast-paced, action-adventure thriller with high body count and graphic scenes of violence.

The prophecy in Revelation declares that a quarter of the world must die and now a shadowy organization has the ability to fulfill these words. Can one woman stop the abomination before it's too late?

From the catacombs of Paris to the skeletal ossuaries of Sicily and the Czech Republic, Morgan Sierra and Jake Timber must find the Devil's Bible and stop the curse being released into the world before one in four are destroyed in the coming holocaust. Because in just seven days, the final curse will be spoken and the prophecy will be fulfilled.

My passions for religion, psychology and travel fuel the ARKANE thrillers, and my love of action movies determines the fast pace of the writing.

The Prophecy of the book is from Revelation where the pale horse of Death is given power over a quarter of the earth. In creating a realistic villain in Milan Noble, I wove eugenics and genetics into the mix, because if you're going to kill so many, you'd better be sure who you want left at the end. Milan's obsession with the Devil's Bible also became my own, and the ten pages really are missing…

The theme of bones and ossuaries stems from a trip to the Paris catacombs, where millions of dead lie piled up with intricate designs made from skulls and femurs. I had also researched Kutna Hora, the bone church of the Czech Republic and knew I had to set scenes there. Settings mean a great deal to me and I often know the location before I know what is going to happen in the story.

Prophecy was brilliant fun to write. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
One Day In Budapest
An echo of nationalist violence not seen since the dark days of the Second World War.

Budapest, Hungary. When a priest is murdered at the Basilica of St Stephen and the Holy Right relic is stolen, the ultra-nationalist Eröszak party calls for retribution and anti-Semitic violence erupts in the city.

Dr Morgan Sierra, psychologist and ARKANE agent, finds herself trapped inside the synagogue with Zoltan Fischer, a Hungarian Jewish security advisor. As the terrorism escalates, Morgan and Zoltan must race against time to find the Holy Right and expose the conspiracy, before blood is spilled again on the streets of Budapest.

One Day In Budapest is a chilling view of a possible future as Eastern Europe embraces right-wing nationalism. A conspiracy thriller for fans of Daniel Silva, where religion and politics intersect.

If you love a fast-paced thriller, download a sample or buy One Day In Budapest now.

Order the Book From: Amazon
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
eBook Author’s Corner
Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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