Stretching the Character by Sam Berretti & Giveaway

Stretching the Character
When I began writing Double Mayhem I wanted a main character that was going to offer more than the usual in mystery romance types, as well as a comment on us all in our struggles with life. Something people could relate to on a personal basis. Doris Watson is a person very comfortable in her routines, hiding in a life she’s created for herself; a safe job as an engineer designing kitchen appliances, and a safe life of solitude with her cat. Then the unthinkable happens and her whole existence is shattered and she is forced to change. And with that change came growth and a new life. Like all of us, we resist change and prefer to live in our routines. It’s when we stretch ourselves that we grow and find new interests and horizons. Doris, unlike so many heroines, is not the typical character. She is not a person with unbelievable strengths or abilities. She is not a super spy with unerring judgment. She is not always right, and she has some emotional issues. She is a real woman who is very smart and capable when pinned in a corner. She is unpredictable, quirky and explosive. And that is what makes her so dangerous. I surrounded her with a cast of characters to contrast her against. Real super spies and underworld villains for example who are trying to use her to their own ends but find themselves confused and outfoxed because of who she is, the unpredictable element. I think the book works on a number of levels because of her humanity, her dry sense of humor and outlook on life, along with the multiple subplots that interweave throughout its telling. The addition of the psychic child to her life makes this more than a simple thriller, and the way it is presented makes it a subtle backdrop to conflict with her training as an engineer. Again, her character must come to grips with a life changing fact that reality is not what she perceived it to be, or wanted it to be. It is what it is, and she has to stretch to fit it. In the end, Doris Watson succeeds because of her resolute adaptability, and that is the core of all of humanity.

About the Author:
Sam Berretti was born and raised in the High Plains city of Lubbock, Texas. After finishing college at Texas Tech University he moved to Florida to attend graduate school at the University of Florida and holds two Masters Degrees. He is an avid naturalist and photographer as well as a writer. Although writing started at an early age and took many forms, the first published book was Double Mayhem.
You can find Sam at

They say for every person in the world there is a twin. For Doris Watson, that simple wisdom becomes a nightmare reality that threatens her and the ones she’s come to love. An ex-military engineer who leads a quiet life as an appliance designer, she is recruited to perform one uncomplicated task: take a handoff of secret plans from a Chinese agent who believes she is someone else. Her lonely existence is shattered as headstrong men cross her path, dangerous men with dangerous needs and desires. Suddenly embroiled in mob killings, espionage, and police investigations, she has become a billion-dollar target of sadistic crooks, bioterrorists, the FBI, the NSA, and her psychotic look-alike. It is up to her to protect herself and the mysterious girl who has been thrust into her life. No one is who they appear to be, and no one is telling the truth. A reluctant female MacGyver, she must use her ingenuity to escape certain death. Forced to uncover the secrets of her childhood, she must face a reality that has been buried and locked away in her mind.

A frail shadow of a woman sat huddled and trembling in a worn leather chair in Chicago. Tracked-in snow melted on the dull carpet from the heavy shoes of two intruders. Dressed in dark overcoats they loomed over her like dark mountains. There would be no good ending to this. She knew that. She wasn’t going to tell them what they wanted. She wouldn’t.
        “Where is she? Just tell us and we’re outta here,” the shorter mountain lied. “We ain’t gonna hurt nobody. We just want to talk to her, sweetheart.” This loser is not going to cooperate. She’s dead. She just doesn’t know it yet. But she’ll talk before she dies. He liked it when they didn’t cooperate. He was good at getting people to talk. That’s why they’d sent him. He enjoyed his job.
        Outside a freezing wind dumped snow on grey buildings and people went about their own lives unaware. But no action goes without consequence, and no consequence goes without causing yet more actions. Some are seen and felt, some are invisible, and some reach thousands of miles and touch the lives of the unsuspecting.


        Tick, tock. Doris Watson stared into the mirror on the bathroom wall of her Maryland apartment and smiled ruefully. A blind date. She shook her head. She was twenty-seven years old this week, and going on a blind date. Was there something wrong with this picture? She was a strong willed woman and a successful professional engineer, but her only significant other was Bucky the cat. A woman approaching thirty was expected to be seriously searching for that special someone to spend her life with. So the office chatter said, so her dear pushy aunt said. Time to get on the stick. Clock’s ticking.  She leaned forward over the sink and scanned the face before her with critical hazel eyes. She hated all of this. Her philosophy was, if it was meant to be, by God, it would happen. Mr. Right would kick her door down and demand her hand. She smiled at herself. What a joke. She felt ill at ease dating. That was the truth. The rituals, the expectations, the disappointments, all gave her a headache and drove her nuts.  She was a person who liked the comfort of her simple life. Go to work, design some amazing device, come home, feed the cat and read a book. Good enough. Simple. Not good enough for co-worker Betty though. She could kill Betty for setting her up with this guy, a professor at the university who was probably a 10 on the nerd scale. Trapped, obligated and coerced into a blind date. Happy birthday Doris!  The doorbell rang.
        Doris was a complex woman with a distrust of men. Her personal experiences had not always been on the sunny side. In fact, some had been on the “Satan’s got you by the throat” side. She capped her lipstick and slipped it into her purse, right next to her 32 caliber Guardian. Mace just wasn’t good enough for her anymore. She looked in the mirror one last time and tried pasting an expansive smile on her face before answering the door. Tick, tock.

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