By: Lada Ray
Jade Snow is the protagonist of the Jade Snow International Adventure Series and of GOLD TRAIN, a gripping mystery thriller set in Russia and based on true historic events.
At 30, Jade is a seasoned international journalist, who sacrificed her career for marriage and to raise her thirteen-month old daughter Lara. But this is all about to change as her life takes an unexpectedly dramatic turn.
When Jade learns about the old mystery surrounding the missing Gold Reserve of the Russian Empire, she jumps at the chance to restart her journalistic career which ground to a screeching halt after she got pregnant. She also hopes to reconnect with the country of her ancestors. Barely 24 hours after her arrival to Moscow, Jade’s only Russian friend gets brutally murdered, while Jade finds herself embroiled in a web of lies, intrigue, glamour and alien ideals. As she lands in the midst of a conspiracy threatening to overthrow the Russian government, she must stay ahead of her adversaries, knowing that one mistake may cause a civil war and upset the delicate balance of power in the world. And along the way, she meets a mysterious stranger who will change her own world forever.
Several years back, when I was flying to Asia via Dubai, I met some international journalists returning from Afghanistan, who told me stories of their adventures. As I was boarding my plane, the image of Jade Snow, complete with her flaming hair and unusual blue-green eyes, appeared before me. It occurred to me that this young, smart, fearless and beautiful journalist, who had mastered to perfection the art of being in the wrong place at the right time, would make an amazing heroine for the international adventure series.
I soon started writing my first novel, STEPFORD, USA, prequel to the Jade Snow International Adventure Series. In it, Jade, 28, gets stuck in an idyllic town in the Berkshires, MA, where she is supposed to take it easy before the birth of her child. But this little sheltered paradise is hiding a terrible secret which Jade must uncover, risking her own and her unborn baby’s lives.
Next, I wrote a short novella, GREEN DESERT, describing Jade’s riveting experience in Iraq before the start of the series. And when I stumbled upon the story of the lost Russian Imperial gold, I knew – this was to be Jade’s next adventure!
Jade Snow could have any man for the asking. But she is not content with easy happiness she could have as wife and mom. The role of a little woman is not for her, and she must find adventure wherever she goes.
In each book of the series, Jade will encounter a mystery to solve, a devastating conspiracy to uncover and someone to save, be it a wrongfully convicted man, a small Asian village, or the world entire. And in each story, she is faced with excruciatingly dramatic choices about her own love and happiness.
I’d like to give a few examples of what various reviewers say about Jade in order to illustrate a certain controversial subject. And before you decide that it’s boring… Trust me, I am trying to make a point here, so just bear with me!
“Jade… is the real treat. She does not have super powers, nor even any formal training in the spy business, but she is daring, and clever, and her heart is always in the right place.”
“Jade Snow is to journalism, what Jason Bourne is to action and espionage. The author has managed to develop a character with a fascinating thoughtful purpose… [she] goes beyond the obvious and whisks us along into the heart-stopping world of Jade Snow with breath-taking appeal for the next paragraph and page.”
“I was love struck with the interaction between the characters, how well they work together, complimenting one another to solve the mystery. Jade Snow is a very intuitive, resourceful, quick thinking, witty heroine…”
“The protagonist, Jade Snow is a strong, independent journalist with international appeal. Her intuition, ability to reason and deductive prowess rivals the great Sherlock Holmes.”
The above are all examples of five star reviews, two from male and two from female reviewers. I’ve been blessed with a number of five star reviews, which all bring up excellent points and for which I am immensely grateful.
Another reviewer, who gives GOLD TRAIN four stars, says this:
“Jade is a bright likeable character. She is educated and good at connecting the dots. While she has no training as a detective, her inquisitive mind and investigative reporting skills find her entwined in the mystery. I loved Jade the detective, but struggled to like Jade the person. While on this adventure she strays and breaks her marriage vows. [!] Call me old fashioned, but this doesn’t sit well with me; even though the romance was passionate and Jade felt he was her soul mate. I realize this won’t affect everyone, so do not let this deter you from a great adventure.”
I thank this reviewer for her frank opinion and for a thorough, generally positive review. About Jade “straying, while in Russia.” I am old fashioned too, at least on this count, but my character doesn’t have to be. And I have just one question. What if she were a male? Do we still have double standards when it comes to these issues? If you read the book, dear reader, you’ll know exactly why I ask this question.
And then, there is this:
“I however, did not like the fact that Jade jumps into bed with Alexei immediately, without a second thought to the loving husband and her daughter waiting for her back home.” [?] This is from a three star review by a male reviewer from Mumbai, India.
Ha? Jade jumps into bed immediately? Of course, all her hesitations and feelings of guilt throughout the whole book don’t count, right? And I don’t know about you, but I don’t know too many people who would think about their children right before making passionate love. In fact, this is usually the last thing on someone’s mind in such circumstances.
“If Jade was a real person, I wouldn’t like her. I wouldn’t care what happened to her.” [!] This is from a three star review by Mark Lee, Masquerade Crew (Alabama, USA). This reviewer also confesses in his review that he’s never been outside of North America.
Hmmm… I don’t even know what to say here except this.
Imagine… Jade is freezing to death on a cold, wind swept night street in St. Petersburg, Russia with nowhere to go. Her only Russian friend has just been murdered. She also just found out that the only other two people she knows in Russia are not at all what they seem. She’s been betrayed by the very people she used to trust, people who want to use her as a pawn in their twisted high stakes games. And that’s when she gets rescued by a handsome stranger. She is offered lots of wine and vodka, which she gladly accepts, both to warm up and to numb her mind after the terrible shocks she’d experienced. And the stranger she is with is handsome and sexy beyond imagination. What follows is not a one-night stand, but a relationship literally made in heaven – the kind both men and women dream about their entire lives! Yet, it is a relationship that’s not meant to be, or at least the one that is not going to be easy.
I realize, it is very hard to imagine the freezing cold, drama and betrayal, all the loneliness and confusion of a woman alone in the unfamiliar country, if you are a male leisurely reading this book on a warm couch in Alabama, or in the tropical heat of Mumbai – but try! Make an effort! And maybe, just maybe, you’ll see what I see.
So, who is Jade Snow? Is she a savior or seductress?
Jade is not your usual female character. She is strong, smart, quick thinking and witty, with broad international appeal. Fully at home in the brave, new globalized world, she is also human and there is a certain vulnerability about her, as she searches for her personal happiness. Blessed with exceptional good looks and plenty of sex appeal, she can sweep any man off his feet. But she is absolutely and brutally honest. “Crystally honest,” as they would say in Russia. Not just with the others, but also with herself, which is a much more difficult thing to do.
She would only be with the man who is her soul mate, even if it means breaking her marriage vows. She will never lie to herself, but she can sacrifice her own happiness, if to achieve it, she has to break other people’s hearts.
As they would say in the old country, “The girl likes her happiness the hard way.”
I have to confess: I adore Jade, not only as one of my characters – my creation – but also as a person. And I am very proud of how she acts in the most crucial moments of her life. Sometimes she even manages to surprise me – very pleasantly so. Her dramatic life has thrown her more than her share of loss and curveballs, and she’s been known to pass her heart-wrenching tests with flying colors, while at the same time managing to preserve her witty sense of humor. And because of her attitudes and lessons learned, somewhere along the way, she finds the rainbow… when she least expects it.
I can’t emphasize enough how much our contemporary literature needs the smart and strong female characters and role models who are also real, genuine people. And how much we need more people with intelligence, courage and heart in our everyday lives! In the new world of the 21 century, we have to learn to live and work together, regardless of prejudices and borders, to understand each other and help those in need, whether it is by saving a stranger’s life, averting global disaster, or by a simple act of random kindness.
The next Jade Snow adventure will take place in Asia. There are many more mysteries to solve, conspiracies to uncover, and yes, happiness to find!
Dear readers, see you on pages of my books, where Jade and I promise you a non-stop thrilling ride with heart.
Genre: Spy thriller, historic mystery, action, adventure, suspense with an element of otherworldly romance.
Pages: 232 – print version. Size: 9×6 in.
Release: eBook – 12/18/11. Paperback – 4/21/12
For a limited time on Amazon (starting on 4/21):
Buy GOLD TRAIN paperback for $9.99 (reg. $14.95)
Buy Gold Train ebook for only $0.99 (reg. $3.99)
Own all three Jade Snow ebooks for only $1.98. Gold Train and Stepford USA – $0.99 each, Green Desert – FREE!
More information about these Promotions, as well as Giveaways and the Gold Train Blog Tour: http://ladaray.wordpress.com/blog-tours/
Check out other cool stops along the Gold Train Paperback Launch Blog Tour – not your usual tour! It includes lots of interesting interviews, reviews, and special features, including: Fact and Fiction in Gold Train, as well as a rare, candid conversation with Jason Sullivan of Different Outcomes Blog about the Russian royalty and 1918 Civil War, my childhood memories riding Russian trains, and what it was like growing up in the Soviet Union. There will also be some rare and exclusive pictures. Don’t miss these very special events!
Blog Tour and Giveaway info: http://ladaray.wordpress.com/blog-tours/
All about Gold Train and other books: http://www.ladaray.com/
GOLD TRAIN Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkTek8E23rg
YouTube: Lada Ray Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/LadaRay/videos
I am inviting you to check out the entertaining posts with lots of great pics about Jade Snow and Gold Train on Lada Ray Blog:
GOLD TRAIN Magical Setting: Moscow, Russia
I’ve loved all the varied and exotic things I’ve done in life, but writing is by far my biggest love affair and most exciting adventure. Can’t wait to share it… See you on pages of my books!
Lada Ray is a writer, internationally certified feng shui master practitioner, world traveler, linguist, financial consultant & investor, nature/animal lover and spirituality & metaphysics researcher.
Born in Russia, Lada always wanted to write cool stories, which she’d been imagining in her head ever since she can remember. Instead, she listened to her well-meaning parents and started her life in a more traditional way (for her, that is.)
Lada holds a Master’s Degree in comparative linguistics (graduated summa cum laude,) is fluent in several languages and has traveled to over twenty six countries (she stopped counting after 26) in Europe, Asia, North and South America, as well as Africa. She had worked in Havana, Cuba as an interpreter for the Russian educational exchange delegations, including a couple of interviews with the man himself – Fidel Castro.
In the USA, she published articles in the Hartford Courant & taught Russian on cable TV. Then, something inexplicable possessed her to work as a financial consultant for AIG and Smith Barney/Citigroup.
But later, she came back to her senses and quit the corporate world to pursue her dreams. She traveled to Asia to study with the revered Hong Kong Masters of Feng Shui and obtained her International Master’s Certification (graduated first in class) with Lillian Too, world-renowned feng shui author and teacher. For years, Lada operated an extensive feng shui website and blog – a hit with both local and worldwide fans – and authored over thirty articles on feng shui and spirituality for her own website, as well as for the World of Feng Shui and other international publications. At the same time, she taught her proprietary feng shui courses and did public speaking.
Lada imagines her stories in bustling New York City and beautifully serene Catskill Mountains, where she lives with her family and gorgeous calico cat Lily.
Lada Ray is the author of:
~GOLD TRAIN, gripping mystery/thriller set in Russia and based on true historic events (Jade Snow Russia Adventure)
~STEPFORD USA, a small town psychological mystery/thriller (Jade Snow Prequel)
~Green Desert, a riveting story set in Iraq (A Jade Snow Novella)
Coming in 2012:
~The Earth Shifter, new YA fantasy/thriller, set in Russia (Moscow & Siberia,) US, China and other mythical locales of this surreal Blue Planet
~Dragon Gate, next Jade Snow Adventure, set in Asia