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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Author Starr Gardinier Reina Spotlight

 With the release of her new book, The Other Side: Melinda's Story, Fiction tips weekly is pleasse to spotlight author Starr Gardinier Reina.


I tried to tell them it was going to happen, but nobody would listen. They all said I was just having bad dreams, or that I was crazy.
It started at my father’s funeral. It’s been so long since it first began, about eight years ago. Sometimes though, it seems like yesterday. My father was there. No, I don’t mean just in the casket. He was there. He talked to me, begged me to tell Mom that we all needed to run and hide. He said we were all in danger.
I asked him why he didn’t tell Mom himself. He said he tried, but she wasn’t listening. I heard him fine. But I didn’t believe him. Why would we be in danger? We can’t just up and leave. My friends are all here in Beaumont. When I told him this, he said it was important, that it was a matter of life and death. He seemed so worried, but I was so confused, I blew him off.
I guess when it first happened I didn’t pay any heed to his warning. We went on with our lives. Mom was grief stricken, my brother Kyle was in his own world playing videos and I was trying to shut my father out of my mind. Was I going crazy? What was wrong with me? Dad was dead, but I could still see and hear him.

If I tell you the story, will you believe me?


Melinda James has a problem. She’s in Skyview Haven because her entire family and best friend are dead. Did she kill them? Does she belong in the asylum keeping her from harming herself and others?
Her father Paul James is killed in a car accident. She attends his funeral and she does see him lying in the casket. Or does she? It turns out her best friend Beth is the one who is dead and her father is there to console her. What is going on?
She thinks she’s going crazy, especially when she discovers both are actually gone from this earth and they talk to her from…‘the other side.’ Are her father and Beth actually speaking to her from beyond? Why? What do they want?
Soon, Melinda finds the answers and they aren’t what she wants to hear. Paul insists he was killed and his whole family is in danger.
This is part of Melinda’s story that she shares with Dr. Alex Leever, the psychiatrist who is assigned her case. All she wants is someone to hear her story—and believe. Melinda slowly begins to trust Dr. Leever and steadily reveals her long, complicated, intricate tale.
While at Skyview, Melinda meets Trent and they become friends, until she learns something about him that rocks her world. Is he there to hurt her? Does he want what her father was killed over?
Problems mount quickly and she discovers that there are people who want something only she can give them. Is Trent one of those people?
Her family tries to help from beyond, but Melinda is running out of time. She needs to give them what they want or die. Can the dead protect the living? Will they be enough to protect her?


A paralegal by day, she’s an author by night. Apart from being an award winning author for her short story “Cut,” Reina has appeared in a blaze and made her mark on the literary world with her Ivanovich Series. The first is “In the Name of Revenge”, the second, “Deadly Decisions” and the third, “One Major Mistake.” Having studied and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Literature/Creative Writing, she has found her unique style and is known for her works' distinctive voice, making every character stand out.

Reina is the artistic creator of the Ivanovich series featuring Pavel Ivanovich. Flanking Ivanovich's side in “Deadly Decisions” is Teresa Mancini, who vies with Ivanovich for readers' attention. According to J.M. LeDuc, who was “raised in an Italian family”, Teresa “is all your characters.”

Reina is an executive editor for Suspense Magazine. She has been interviewed in the newspaper and on the radio with relation to her fiction work. She has been a co-host on Suspense Radio.

Reina is a member of International Thriller Writers (ITW) and of Sisters in Crime, Los Angeles Chapter and nationally. She has won three Best Speaker awards as well as Best Evaluator at the Voice Ambassadors chapter of Toastmasters. She has always been active in events. As co-chair and main coordinator for the West Coast Author Premiere, she arranged the weekend-long event to help authors from all over network, learn and share their work with the public. Reina has also been instrumental in compiling authors and planning a local author event at Barnes and Noble in Ventura, California along with the store’s event manager.

Please read more about Starr at or visit her blog at


The Other Side: Melinda’s Story” is one of those rare paranormal thrillers that challenges as it entertains. Starr Reina's wondrous, chilling tale is the best exploration of paranoia and insular terror since Ira Levin's classic “Rosemary’s Baby.” Supremely crafted, masterfully crafted, and elegantly written, “The Other Side: Melinda’s Story” is a white-knuckled journey on the ride to hell.”
~ Jon Land, bestselling author of “Pandora's Temple”

Sometimes, the dead aren’t dead at all and The Other Side holds all the answers we seek.
Melinda has the perfect life: a great dad, wonderful mother, and her brother Kyle who she actually likes. Factor in the best of all best friends in the world and life could not get much better for Melinda. Sadly, it can and will get a whole lot worse and does in this unique, engulfing young adult novel.
After a horrible tragedy takes the life of her father, Melinda feels her world crumbling around her until another person close to her dies and takes the place of her dad…or do they?
Sometimes, when people cross over, they aren’t always gone and soon Melinda begins to see her dead friend and hear the voice of her father who actually DID die; impossible, she knows, but so real she cannot help but tell others. Her trusting way would be her downfall and soon Melinda is seen as an unstable, confused girl and remanded to an insane asylum where she stays for many years; the voices and faces of the dead her only friends. After years of struggling to understand and make others believe her tales, Melinda is given one last chance to earn her freedom from the asylum and from the dead who haunt her every move. The man who can give her this chance is new doctor, Alex Leever, but can he be trusted? Will he believe her story? Will you?
An absolutely engrossing tale of paranormal unlike any ever told. Melinda’s Story is one that will tug and pull at the very fabric of who you are, before weaving and winding its way into your psyche. A brilliantly written, seamlessly woven plot that screams ORIGINALITY and begs to be read again and again!!! Young adult and paranormal fans the world over rejoice…a new voice has arrived and she is not leaving anytime soon! Starr Gardinier Reina has penned a tale so believable, enthralling, and wonderfully special, it deserves its place amongst the very best in its genre…distinctive and vivid, “The Other Side: Melinda’s Story” is a MUST READ FOR 2013!
~ CK Webb, Co-Author of “Collecting Innocents”

“Where Starr Reina is a master with murder and mystery, she is both surprising and fantastic with the supernatural! “The Other Side: Melinda’s Story” was a page-turner I could not put down. It starts off with a frightening twist at a funeral and will not let you go. When you read this book DO NOT read it alone!”
~ Donald Allen Kirch, author of “Reich” and co-author of “Green Lake”

“Starr Gardinier Reina has created a gripping tale where nothing is as it seems. Reina gives us a brand new twist to consider on how the dead interact with the living... What resides on The Other Side is not to be taken lightly.”
~ Aiden James, bestselling author of The Judas Chronicles” and Cades Cove”

Reina captured me from the second I started reading this novel. “The Other Side: Melinda’s Story” a YA paranormal is her first in this genre. I have always been a fan of this thriller author, but she has flexed her YA paranormal muscles and has become a force to be reckoned with. Five bright, shining stars for Reina.
~ Terri Ann Armstrong, author of “How to Plant a Body”

“Will you believe my story?”
 Melinda’s question is an easy one, but this book is so filled-to-the-brim with the ‘incredible,’ that it is not an easy question to answer. As readers walk beside Melinda, watching her sit in Skyview Haven—a mental hospital that she was placed in when she was just a child—her story becomes one of complete disbelief!
When Melinda’s father passed away when she was just 13 years of age, she had no idea that what was about to transpire was far more frightening and unbelievable than the actual accident that claimed her father’s life. When Dad begins to speak with Melinda from the ‘Other Side,’ he warns her to leave…to run…to find a way to convince her mother and older brother Kyle that they must hide out ASAP because her father’s death was no accident. A murderer is still on the loose and he wants something that only Melinda may have. Soon, Melinda’s family members and friends begin to disappear, and all she’s left with is a ‘crazy’ story that none of the psychiatrists will believe. In fact, there are some who think that Melinda may just be responsible for the murder and mayhem as she continues to stand by a story that is too odd to be true.
Does the ‘Other Side’ exist? Will Melinda get her new doctor, Alex Leever, to finally believe her so she can be freed from the asylum? As portals open and close and a new friend arrives on the scene to perhaps protect or destroy Melinda’s well-being, she must find a way to understand that the voices speaking are sending a dire warning to her ears—the killers from the past still exist and are beginning to get far too close for comfort.
Readers of the paranormal, supernatural, as well as suspense/mystery lovers everywhere, will be thrilled with this story! But hang on tight, because just when you think you have it all figured out…you don’t! Action-packed with a side of horror, “The Other Side: Melinda’s Story” is JUST what the doctor ordered!
~ Amy Lignor, author of “Sapphire Storm: Book 2”

Feeling isolated and misunderstood, teenaged Melinda has a greater problem – she has been institutionalized for telling crazy stories. It all started when she told her family that her father, who was deceased, had communicated a dire message to her about their safety. However, her mother said it was not her father but her best friend who had died.
Reality shifts in and out for Melinda as she doubts her family’s sanity as well as her own. Melinda needs to untangle the truth quickly if she is to confront the danger to her family. This intriguing and captivating mystery ensues as Melinda’s side of the story takes you to the other side.
~ Lynn Purvis-Yund, freelance artist;
owner of Deerpath Studio, M.Ed. (Masters in education)

“The Other Side: Melinda’s Story” is a superbly crafted tale of a girl’s traumatic journey from the past to the present in order to discover the truth about her family’s murder. Starr Gardinier Reina takes us deep into Melinda’s troubled mind, sending the reader headlong into a world fraught with danger, secrets, and paranormal activity. With the help of a new psychiatrist, for the first time, Melinda may have discovered a way to unlock the mysteries that have haunted her. Yet the past can be cruel. Shadows cloud her mind as she wanders a dark and lonely path to the truth. But are we ever really alone? Masterfully written, this book will leave you asking that question long after you finish the story.
~ Gary Williams, co-author of “Indisputable Proof” and “Death in the Beginning”

“If I tell you the story, will you believe me?”
So begins “The Other Side: Melinda’s Story,” a haunting tale of family love, life, death, and what lies beyond by Starr Gardinier Reina.
Twenty-two-year-old Melinda James has been in a mental institution for more than eight years, accused of an unspeakable crime: the deaths of her parents and her brother. Since no one she has confided in believes her, Melinda completely shuts herself off from the world, refusing to share her story with anyone, including her psychiatrists. She believes that her family, particularly her father, communicates with her from beyond the grave. And shares secrets with her that are dangerous.
A new psychiatrist, Dr. Alex Leever, is assigned to the troubled girl. He achieves what no other doctor has been able to do—he gains Melinda’s trust. Bit by painful bit, she begins to confide in him, telling more of her story than she has ever shared with anyone else.
But Dr. Leever has a few secrets of his own, which sets him on a collision course with the spirits of Melinda’s dead family. Can the spirits save Melinda from the black cloud of evil hovering over her? And who is the mysterious Trent, sent to protect her?
Yes, Melinda, I definitely believe your story. Starr Gardinier Reina has penned a riveting paranormal which immediately captures readers and gives them a peek into a parallel universe—life on The Other Side.
~ Susan Santangelo, author of “Marriage Can Be Murder”

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Starr Gardinier Reina. I loved her Ivanovich series, but as good as those books were, she has found her niche with “The Other Side,” a paranormal YA thriller written in first person.
When Melinda’s father dies in a tragic car accident, he comes back from the dead to tell her he was murdered and that she, her mother, and her brother need to run because they are in danger.
They can’t run fast enough and soon both her mother and brother are killed by the same people. When she tries to tell the authorities the truth, they think she is crazy and lock her up in an insane asylum.
We rejoin her story eight years later. She is now twenty-two-years-old with no hope of ever leaving Skyview Haven. The story unfolds as she is telling her story to the one person, Dr. Alex Leever, a psychiatrist, who holds the key to her future. If he believes her story, she will be allowed to leave. If he doesn’t, she will spend the rest of her life at Skyview.
Everything and everyone are not what they seem. The only truth is the one in your head. We follow Melinda as she tells her story and as her family tries to help her from the ‘other side.’
Starr Gardinier Reina has woven a tapestry of emotion and suspense while making the reader believe that our loved ones, although they may be gone, are still trying to protect us. “The Other Side” may be listed as a YA novel, but it is a story that will have readers of all ages wanting more.
~ J.M. LeDuc, Author of “Cursed Days”

“The Other Side” is a creative, intriguing story about a young woman who connects with the afterlife and learns that her life is in danger. But those who she goes to for help, including family and the police, believe she has lost her mind. This is a novel that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat.
~Joseph Badal, author of “Shell Game”

Reina brings Melinda’s terrible tale to life with vivid, raw, and powerful emotions. She expertly keeps the reader clinging to the edge of the chair with only clenched fingernails, while the lifelike character hijacks the reader, dragging you into her tense, bitter, fearful, and longing world. As the suspense mounts, and you come to care for each character and layer your own suspicions and ideas one upon the other, until Reina brings the story to a triumphant confrontation with the supernatural. “The Other Side: Melinda’s Story” is either a disturbing standalone masterpiece or the start of an engaging new series delving into the thin barrier between our world and the land of the dead.
~Kane Gilmour, bestselling author of “Ragnarok” and “Resurrect”

Starr has outdone herself with her new paranormal novel. You will discover in reading this page turner that it's okay not to be okay. Melinda's ability to talk to and see her dead family and best friend is what keeps her sane, but it's also what keeps her in Skyview Haven, a mental institution.
Melinda's heroic struggle to find the answer as to why her family and best friend are dead will keep the novel in your hands until the very last page.
Every page had me routing for Melinda to find ”The Other Side.” This novel will entertain readers of all ages.
~ Sherri Nemick, reader

Starr Reina’s new novel, “THE OTHER SIDE” is AWESOME!
I always love books with a spiritual paranormal twist to them. However, Starr’s book is much more than that. It was also an intense murder mystery, or was it? Starr’s new book reminded me of when I used to play the game CLUE, many years ago, back when I was in my teens. But reading Starr’s book, “THE OTHER SIDE,” was a much more intense and enjoyable experience than just playing CLUE.
“THE OTHER SIDE” somewhat emulates a consolidation of journal entries, as a young woman named Melinda tells her personal story while she was residing at an insane asylum.
Melinda claimed that she was sent there by her aunt and uncle because everyone around Melinda was either disappearing and/or dying. Melinda further stated that the police believed that she had killed them all, but they had no evidence to prove it.
The poor girl also claimed that she was diagnosed with a multiple personality disorder from the psychologists at the asylum.
Starr implemented some unique strategies that could be perceived as playing with the reader’s mind. One tactic she skillfully used was the continual insertion of many subtle conflicting clues within her ingenious work. For example, Starr wrote the entire book in the first person. So when Melinda’s supposedly “murdered” father’s ghost also spoke in the first person, one could believe that her father’s ghost was really Melinda. Was he?
Were all of these missing people she referred to really missing or dead or murdered? Or was it all in her imagination? If they were murdered, did Melinda murder them? Or was it someone else, or maybe it was the doctors who were diagnosing her insane, or maybe the “murderers” were her aunt and uncle, so they could get access to the family estate? Or maybe …???
Are the ghosts that Melinda speaks to real?
One can certainly empathize with Melinda (even if she could be a mass murderer). My curiosity was “killing” me. I really wanted to cheat and jump to the end of the book and find out the answers to all of the aforementioned questions. However, I could not break loose from the mesmerizing trance that was induced upon me by each captivating consecutive sentence. Hence, I had to wait until I had read “THE OTHER SIDE” all the way through to the end of the last chapter to finally satisfy my curiosity. Just like you will have to. I strongly recommend Starr’s entertaining and intriguing new novel to anyone and everyone everywhere.
~ Mark Alan, author of “Mother Nature’s Angel”

FORMAT: readers will be able to purchase it as an ebook or paperback. There are approximately 212 pages. The publisher is: Suspense Publishing, an ITW approved publishing company. The release date was April 9, 2013.

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