Today we welcome award winning writer Renée Pawlish to the blog

Renée Pawlish is the award-winning author of the bestselling Nephilim Genesis of Evil, the first in the Nephilim trilogy, the Reed Ferguson mystery series (This Doesn't Happen In The Movies, Reel Estate Rip-off, The Maltese Felon, and the short story Elvis And The Sports Card Cheat), The Noah Winters YA Adventure series (The Emerald Quest), Take Five, a short story collection, and The Sallie House: Exposing the Beast Within, a nonfiction account of a haunted house investigation.

Renée has been called “a promising new voice to the comic murder/mystery genre” and “a powerful storyteller”.  Nephilim Genesis of Evil has been compared to Stephen King and Frank Peretti.

Renée was born in California, but has lived most of her life in Colorado. When she's not hiking, cycling, or chasing ballplayers for autographs, she is writing mysteries, thrillers and horror. She loves to travel and has visited numerous countries around the world. She has also spent many summer days at her parents' cabin in the hills outside of Boulder, which was the inspiration for the setting of Taylor Crossing in her novel Nephilim: Genesis of Evil.


A long-lost emerald, a missing treasure map, and a wealthy villain combine for an action-packed adventure!

Thirteen-year-old Noah Winter, the son of sea-exploring treasure hunters, dives the San Isabel shipwreck with his parents in search of a mysterious treasure map lost in the murky depths off the Florida Keys over a century ago. The map reveals the hiding place of the priceless De La Rosa emerald. But before the Winters can find the map, a wealthy treasure-hunting rival kidnaps Noah’s parents. Now Noah must match wits with a dangerous adversary, not only to discover the treasure map first, but to rescue his mom and dad before it’s too late.

Excerpt: from The Emerald Quest

Noah Winter saw the twisted piece of metal jutting from the side of the Spanish steamship a second too late. One moment he was swimming effortlessly beside the San Isabel. A moment later, the claw-like piece hooked the oxygen hose of his scuba diving gear.
Noah was jerked to a standstill and his regulator popped out of his mouth. Bubbles rushed out the end of the mouthpiece, racing to the ocean’s surface. Suddenly without air, Noah had to act quickly. His dive training kicked in. He held his breath and calmly reached down to his right and grabbed the alternate air source. He cleared the apparatus by exhaling into it, forcing the water out of it. He then started breathing the air again.
Noah smiled. Accident averted. Then he looked up and saw his mother poke her head out of the side of the shipwreck. She had seen him using the alternate air source so she kicked hard with her feet and shot through the water toward him. As she drew close, Noah could see through her facemask. Her eyes were wide with alarm.
Funny, he thought. She seems really worried about me today.
Noah gave her an okay signal and nodded his head. Even though he was only thirteen, he had been diving for three years, so he knew what to do in an emergency. Noah puzzled over his mom’s reaction. She usually trusted him to take care of himself. Seeing that he was okay, she patted him on the shoulder and gestured that she was going back inside the wreck.
It was a beautiful Tuesday afternoon in August. Noah and his parents, Frank and Riley Winter, were diving the San Isabel. The San Isabel was a passenger liner built in 1907. She was almost 400 feet long, with a 48-foot beam.  When the San Isabel ferried the seas, she was solid and sleek, with a steel hull, towering masts, and room for over a thousand passengers. In 1922, during a fierce storm off the small island of Key West, Florida, the ship went down with 312 passengers, 88 crew members, and a cargo of olives and wine.
Noah swam after his mom. She slowed as she came to a doorway on the bridge. Then she gingerly glided through the opening, being careful that her scuba gear did not catch on the doorframe, and she disappeared from view. Noah edged closer, but halted before going inside the wreckage of the ship. Since he was not yet sixteen, he was not allowed to penetrate, or go into, a wreck.
Noah spied his mom as she moved into the bridge, past what was left of the ship’s wheel. Her underwater dive light illuminated her way, the beam bouncing off the inside walls like rays of sunlight. Noah glanced around what was left of the San Isabel. Over time, the hull had rusted. All the wood had deteriorated and crumbled. The ship was only a shell of what it used to be.
Noah noticed something on the floor inside the doorway. He swam close to the door, peering through his mask at a white object. His curiosity getting the best of him, he moved into the doorway and grabbed the object. As he did, his tank bumped the ship. Noah backed out, his heart racing.
I’d be in big trouble if Mom or Dad saw me do that, he thought.
He examined the piece he’d retrieved. It was a circular piece of white porcelain, like the rim of a cup. It had round edges and there was writing on it. Noah looked more closely. Thin wires stretched across the opening, hooked to tiny screws in each side of the porcelain. It reminded him of a flour sifter, but with most of the wire mesh removed. Noah ran his hand over the piece and wondered about the people on the ship. Did a cook use this? Who were the passengers? Noah pictured a woman, dressed in a pretty full-length dress, dining as she sat across from her husband. She would be dreaming about when the long journey over the ocean would be over. Noah gazed at the wreckage. Only she didn’t make it, he thought sadly.
Noah looked back inside the wreck. Both his mom and dad had vanished into the innards of the ship. Noah imagined them, with their flashlights illuminating the darkness, poking around the depths of the San Isabel. They were searching for a treasure map, although Noah couldn’t see how a map of any kind would have survived in the water.
Noah meandered away from the bridge toward the bow of the ship. Above him, through the clear, warm water, he could see the underside of the Explorer, the cabin cruiser his parents owned. Sunlight pierced down from the ocean’s surface. Noah was in his own little world, where all he heard was the sound of his breathing through the regulator. He had spent countless hours diving with his parents, and he loved being beneath the ocean’s surface.
As he wandered about the wreckage, Noah came to a jagged hole in the ship’s hull. This damage was what had sunk the ship. The water here was only twenty-five feet deep and the San Isabel had apparently run into a reef, sending the crew, passengers, and cargo to the ocean’s floor. Noah spotted yellowtail snapper and queen trigger fish darting around the wreckage.
He touched the edge of the hole and felt the rough metal. The ship’s steel hull proved no match against the dangers of the ocean. Noah shook his head. Sunken ships riddled the waters off the Florida coast, the victims of reefs, hurricanes, and other storms.
A huge fish suddenly slid from the hull, his sharp white teeth smiling at Noah. Noah jerked backwards, pressing himself against the side of the ship. He dropped the piece of porcelain he’d been carrying and it sank into the sand below. His heart pounded in his chest. He worked to keep his breathing even and slow. The fish, a black-tip shark, swam leisurely past him. Although that species rarely hurt human beings, Noah wasn’t taking any chances. He waited, moving as little as possible, until the shark faded into the murky distance.
Noah turned and gazed through the hole again. Did that shark have any companions?
Something grabbed Noah’s shoulder, startling him again. His arms tingled with fear for an instant as he whirled around. What kind of fish was attacking him? With relief, he stared into his father’s face mask. Frank Winter’s long arms and legs moved slowly. His short brown hair waved in the sea water as he stared at Noah.
Scared twice in just a few moments! Noah chuckled to himself.
Frank gestured at Noah to follow him. Noah could see the anger in his dad’s blue eyes. He had wandered too far from his parents. Frank pointed up. Noah nodded. It was time to surface.
He followed his dad, kicking with his feet as they swam back to the bridge where his mom was waiting. She tipped her head upward and they all slowly ascended toward the ocean’s surface. As Noah rose, the water grew clearer and rays of sunlight danced around him. The San Isabel was a dark hulking pile of metal below him. Then Noah’s head bobbed into the open air. He slid his mask onto his forehead and pulled the regulator from his mouth. He sucked in a few breaths and smiled. What an adventure!
Noah’s dad emerged beside him and Noah saw his frowning face.
“What were you doing so far away from us?” Frank scolded him.
“But Dad, you usually let me swim around the wreck without you,” Noah said.
“I told you this time not to,” Frank said.
“Why are you worrying about me?”
Frank took in a deep breath and let it out. “It’s nothing, okay? But in the future, you need to listen to me.”
“Yes, sir,” Noah said.
Then his mom surfaced. She had a huge grin on her face.
“We found it!” she said as she held up something from the shipwreck.

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