Thursday, May 23, 2019

Captive Truth by Karen Stary

Captive Truth

Karen Stary

Genre: contemporary fiction

Publisher: Can’t Put it Down Books

Date of Publication: May 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9994623-4-8

Number of pages: 278
Word Count: 127,455

Cover Artist: Eric Labacz

Book Description:

A mercenary, a gambler, and a warlord are drawn together for a high stakes poker game. The trophy: a woman, Christine. They are men of unquestionable wealth, indomitable power, and overwhelming guilt; each is enchanted by Christine’s alluring beauty and each relentlessly desires to have her for himself.

Life has left Christine unable to form meaningful emotional relationships. However, without the ability to appeal emotionally to her male captors she is not only jeopardizing her own fate, but also the fate of other women as well. Alone, with only the three men who have come to mean so much to her, Christine must use not only her wits but her compassion to extricate herself.  Will she become one man’s prized possession, or can she regain her sense of self?

Stary’s complex plot keeps the reader guessing as she explores some of today’s most controversial issues for women.


He clears his
throat again. I look up. His head gives a slight tilt as if to suggest, “Why
not?” His eyes squint, inviting me to have faith in the unknown. Charmed by the
smile in those eyes, I relax and take a sip of coffee. He speaks. “So…let me,
at least, introduce myself…my name is Cameron Dawson…and your name is…?” His
pause leaves the question dangling over a precipice of foreboding. I retrieve
the answer before I plummet.
“Now, that
wasn’t so difficult, was it?”
He seems to know
me too well. I cannot release the shadow of familiarity about this Mr. Dawson.
I had this same sensation the moment I first pressed against his arm at the
concert. I had ignored that feeling because I had thought that I probably would
never see him again. But like a relentless itch, it is a thought that aches to
be scratched. So, I take a breath and scratch.
“Have we met
“Last night at
the concert and then later in the hall!” a bit too quick and a bit too tidy. I
am not satisfied.
“No, before last
night. I feel that we had met before last night.”
No response. He
sips his coffee. I sip my coffee and allow its warmth to appease his
evasiveness. Obviously, I had just trespassed over some line. Because there is
no need to ruin this moment, I allow his hesitancy to pass. After a moment he
stirs in his seat.
“Did you enjoy
the concert?” It is obvious that he wants to change the subject. But, I am a
female. And his abrupt shifting is troubling. I disconnect from my unfounded
“Oh, the
concert…well…yes…of course, I enjoyed the concert.”
Last night’s
images block any coherent reply. Fractured conversations interfere…caressing
words serenaded by the music opened wounds as I recall pressing up against him.
And so, I stare at him now and think about how it would be to lie naked next to
this man, to physically be touched by him. I harangue myself over my intimate
urges. I flip my head back trying to shake off the irrational desire. However,
I cannot let go of last night’s encounter between this Mr. Dawson and some young
man in a questionable financial exchange to obtain the seat next to mine.
Suddenly, I am wary of how much I should trust this man seated across from me.
 Watching me carefully, he tilts his head as if
to pardon any past indiscretions. He seems able to read my misgivings. This
veil of deception must dissipate to have more clarity. And for that to happen,
I must be more forthright, too.
“No, Mr. Dawson,
to be quite frank, I did not enjoy the concert last night. I really struggled
to sit through it.” Then to continue this openness, “Was that obvious?”
“I did sense you
were a bit uncomfortable.” His polite delivery seems sincere enough.
Trying to inject
some humor to lift the heavy tone: “You mean since each time I banged into your
arm, you got a new ‘black and blue’?”
“Actually, I
rather liked the banging in spite of all those black and blues.”
“You did, did
you?” There is a pause; I am more comfortable with this exchange. “I’m really
sorry; I didn’t mean to be so abusive.”
“No, no…no
apology needed. What I meant by the banging was not because of that… but, yes,
because of that, too…More because I found you quite intriguing as you squirmed
about like you had hemorrhoids or some serious itch in the seat of your pants.”
His humor releases any lingering veiled suppositions.
“Oh, I hope it
wasn’t that annoying…I should have gotten up and left so that you would have
enjoyed the show better.”
“No, no, really
don’t feel put off…because…to tell the truth… I rather enjoyed watching you
watching the singer.”

About the Author:

Author Karen Stary is a resident of San Diego, California, and a native of New Jersey who spent her summers on the Jersey Shore. She writes about the fragile relationships between women and men in today’s world. Stary asserts that women have yet to realize their true potential: to achieve something greater than any woman who came before them.

Interview with Karen Stary
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reins of the story?
As a people watcher, I am intrigued with appearances. I use particulars about how people move through their world in order to develop a composite of a character. For example, I may observe not just the clothes worn, but how those clothes fall, or what their posture may convey. Lines embedded in faces come with age where expressions easily, or not so easily, change. I listen to the selection of words spoken and how they may embrace courage or alter intentions to accommodate insecurities; I observe when a wordless language dare not be spoken. In my writing, I attempt to refine such external factors. However, none of this works without the internal life of my characters. So, as my characters struggle throughout exterior conflicts, controlled by me,  they evolve through inner conflicts, controlled through the “…/the agony and sweat of the human heart/…(what is really)/worth writing about.” But character motivation is a complex affair, often hidden under the skin, even from the creator, (me) of the characters. Therefore, capturing our humanity or inhumanity sometimes needs to unfold subconsciously in order to ring true. I try to allow my characters to find their own breath. And when that happens, it is the characters who drive the plot. For instance, when I am stuck in a brain freeze moment, I often would address my character with perhaps a pat question (just a figment of imagination)….”So, Christine,” (maybe, the heroine in my latest novel), “What are you going to do now to get out of this mess you made?” And then I wait ( still pretending, of course). Whatever follows, even incredulous, I would just ride it out as if instructed, embellishing the plotline. Certainly, a writer must have faith in her characters! Besides, I have found that they are often smarter than me.   
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
“Must” is a dangerous word. My novel may be unsettling to some who adhere to social or cultural precepts, and I would not want to offend anyone devoted to their own beliefs. Therefore, perhaps this novel cannot be a “Must” read for everyone. My intention for writing this novel was not to become another drum beater of offenses against females, but to compose scenarios from the reoccurring, disquieting sounds I have witnessed throughout my life as a female. Certainly, the undercurrents of feminine unrest have permeated human history. Yet, why bring up this familiar theme, again? Recently, the shrill of a woman’s voice has become less vulnerable. The voices are more commanding, more resolved for change. And this conversion seems not only to be prevalent in societies which have given women the liberty of words, but also have become widespread in places which never had allowed a woman to speak.  Captive Truth was sincerely written from one female’s perspective of where she resides in today’s world. Can what had been improbable so long, now become possible? Or is it only a gambler’s delusion. What if our past was no longer subjugated under society’s terms, but defined by a different truth? Are men and women ready to embrace that thought? Or is it only in poker where the cards have no memory?
Have you written any other books that are not published?
No. Not yet. I must confess that I am mulling over another passion…wine.
Pen or typewriter or computer?
This is a rather interesting question for me. As long as I can remember putting words on paper, my scrawling of meaning, were done in pencil, not because I was told that they could be easily erased, but because I could draw a line through what I wanted to discard, yet easily retrieve by just holding the paper up to the light. Whiteout used with my uncle’s old typewriter became more indelible correctors especially during the interminable college papers, functional, but rather messy. In a simplistic and fortuitous event later on in my life, I want to believe that I became a guru at editing in Word. Of course, don’t inform my editor. When I seriously began to believe that I could write a novel, I started on long legal spirals writing in pencil, still a Stone Age adherent at heart.  After five notebooks, I saw the futility of pencil application, and joined the modern world. I purchased my very own laptop! Well since that discerning decision, I have gone through about five of those thingamajigs, too. Seriously, I’m not about to return to the caves; computers have opened up a wealth of possibilities for me, not for just saving and reworking my words, but also for sharing and making new relationships with the human family. And where I go from here…
Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I am grateful to have an opportunity to share my thoughts. There have been many talented and inspirational people who have contributed to making this novel possible. I have loved how words have weaved throughout my life, fostering my curiosity in order to understand better, allowing me to impact others to order to communicate better, and reminding me to protect what never should be forgotten. I do hope that you will enjoy reading Captive Truth.  

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