And here we are… Talking about great authors with great books! Lada Ray is certainly a talented writer and a generous soul who decided to pick my blog as part of her blog tour to promote the paperback release of her bestseller Gold Train!

Time to make room for an author interview and more links featuring some awesome events during the Gold Train blog tour. Don’t hesitate to hop from blog to blog in order to discover new sites and have fun!!

Ladies and Gentlement, Lada Ray for Gold Train!

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and your current projects.

I was born in Moscow, Russia, but my parents moved around a lot for work and I spent part of my childhood in the beautiful city of Odessa on the Black Sea. Throughout my life, I traveled to over 26 countries and finally settled down in the USA. I worked as a linguist and translator, and later as a financial consultant on Wall Street. I also obtained my Master’s certification in feng shui directly from the revered Asian Masters of this ancient art.

I like imagining my stories in bustling New York City and beautifully serene Catskill Mountains, where I live with my family and gorgeous calico cat Lily.

So far, I’ve published two Jade Snow adventure novels and one novella:

~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)

I am currently working on two other books, both to be released in 2012:

~Dragon Gate, next Jade Snow Adventure, set in Asia;
~The Earth Shifter, new YA fantasy/thriller, set in Russia (Moscow & Siberia,) US, China and other mythical locales of this surreal Blue Planet.

All up-to-date news about my books and current projects may be found at my author site: http://www.LadaRay.com


Q: When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you to write your first story?

I always wanted to write cool stories, which I’d been imagining in my head ever since I can remember. Instead, I listened to my well meaning parents and started my life in a more traditional way.

But a few years ago, I was flying to Asia via Dubai. After a very interesting meeting with several international journalists returning from Afghanistan, I imagined a smart, beautiful, and witty journalist, Jade Snow, who mastered to perfection the art of being in the wrong place at the right time.

I decided that it was now or never and started writing my debut novel, STEPFORD USA, a Jade Snow Prequel. I also wrote GREEN DESERT, a Jade Snow Novella.

GOLD TRAIN was a natural progression for the series. The story of the lost Russian Imperial treasure, the conspiracy to overthrow the Russian government and to upset the global balance of power fit the world of Jade Snow perfectly.


Q: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

As far as non-fiction goes, I had written a number of various articles at different points of my life. Some had been published with major publications throughout the world.

But nothing prepares you for the scope and complexity of writing fiction… until you actually sit down to do it.

I think the point at which I really started feeling like a writer was when I finished my debut novel, STEPFORD USA, a Jade Snow Prequel. And by the time I finished GOLD TRAIN, I knew I was in the right profession, so to speak. 😉


Q: How did you come up with the title of your work?

That was easy. A couple of years ago, during one of my Internet expeditions, I stumbled upon an informative documentary on Russia Today, the Russian TV network, much like what happens to Jade Snow in the book. The documentary was about the disappearance of the Gold Reserve of the Russian Empire in August 1918, during the Russian Civil War.

I avidly watched the documentary, absorbing every single detail, and immediately imagined what would happen if… I pictured the train in which the treasure was transported, the tension between the crew and the Commissar, culminating in a disaster, and the White Army ambush, resulting in the looting of the country’s entire Gold Reserve. This is the scene described in Gold Train’s dramatic prologue.

Trains and travels are in my blood, as both of my parents worked for Russian Railways. And the story is all about Russian trains – their past, present and future. In Gold Train, Jade rides the magnificent Russian Metro; boards the Saint Petersburg express; prevents the bombing of the high-speed train Sapsan. But most importantly, she is destined to uncover a conspiracy intrinsically connected to the lost Imperial treasure – the Gold Train mystery.


Q: What’s your writing style? Is there a message in your story that you want readers to grasp?

I think, I am a combination of different writing styles, or, you could say, my style is my own. First, I come up with the idea. I find that the better my idea is defined and the stronger the hook, the easier it is to write the book. Then, I meditate and polish up the idea in my head for a while. Simultaneously, the title just simply appears in my mind. Sometimes, I hesitate between two pretty cool titles and it’s difficult to choose the best one. That’s what happened with Stepford USA (alt. title: Virtual Paradise.)

Then, I write a solid synopsis, sometimes, both short and long versions.

I am very visual, so the events in the book would often play out before my eyes, as if in a movie. At that point, I would write the beginning (prologue, first few chapters.) And normally, that beginning stays pretty much unaltered. Then, I write some pivotal scenes, occurring throughout the book and usually the ending, which I also visualize early on.

I call these parts “the skeleton of the story.”

The hardest part for me is the middle, and I usually write it last, closing in, so to speak, from both ends – beginning and ending. However, with Gold Train, the middle flowed unusually well. Perhaps, because I was inspired.

I resort to outlining only if I feel absolutely stuck, and just writing out the sequence of events helps me get back on track. But I don’t do it often and find that I abandon the effort as soon as creative juices start flowing again.

As my writing career progresses, I find that my writing style is evolving into something completely new and exciting. All I can say, it’s a fascinating journey and I am in it for a long and thrilling ride!

As to the message in my stories… My books are very international and I am a big believer in capturing life in all its complexity and facets. Jade Snow is a very strong, independent, smart and sexy heroine. She is also the citizen of the world and her heart is always in the right place, as one reviewer pointed out. She has to go through a lot and get tested to the limit during her adventures.

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.


Q: What books have influenced your life most? Who is your favorite author?

There were lots of books during various periods that fascinated me and influenced my life for different reasons. Or the ones I simply loved to get lost in.

Some of them, in no particular order: Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace; Many of Agatha Christie’s books, especially the Poirot series; Sherlock Holmes; I loved Harry Potter series; The Da Vinci Code; The Idiot and other works by Dostoyevsky; Alexander Dumas; Victor Hugo; Shakespeare; Rumi’s Sufi poetry; Oscar Wilde; Master and Margarita and other works by Mikhail Bulgakov, and many, many more.


Q: Do you have any advice for other writers?

My best advice for aspiring writers is to write. Write through thick and thin, master your craft, and if the first book doesn’t pan out, go on to the next, then the next, and so on. There are plenty of writers out there, who only saw success after a long and what seemed like fruitless effort. But no effort is in vain and success comes to those who don’t give up.

And most importantly, if your soul craves self-expression, don’t stifle it – release it. Let your soul sing, let it fly, let everyone see its beauty.

As Leo Tolstoy once said, “Don’t die with your song inside you.”


Q: Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

Dear readers, GOLD TRAIN Paperback is now out. It will be on sale on Amazon for $9.99 (reg. $14.95) till May 6. Gold Train ebook is now only $0.99 for a limited time. Also, don’t miss other awesome blog stops and great giveaways! All relevant links and information are listed below.

More information about these Promotions, as well as Giveaways and the Gold Train Blog Tour schedule: http://ladaray.wordpress.com/blog-tours/

The next Jade Snow adventure, DRAGON GATE, will take place amongst the mystical lands of Asia. There are many more mysteries to solve, conspiracies to uncover, and yes, happiness to find!

See you on pages of my books, where Jade and I promise you a non-stop thrilling ride with heart!

Thank you, Johanna, for this terrific opportunity to share my writing and Jade Snow with the readers of your blog. I enjoyed our conversation!


GOLD TRAIN – A Thriller

Jade Snow Russia Adventure

This story is based on true historic events

1918, Russian Civil War. The entire Gold Reserve of the Russian Empire vanishes without a trace. But what if it’s about to resurface? And what if it’s about to be used to shift the global balance of power?

Today: the world’s largest treasure; dangerous adventure; forbidden passion, defying time and space; conspiracy that threatens to plunge the country into darkness.

International journalist, wife and mom, Jade Snow, travels to Russia to reconnect with the country of her ancestors and investigate tantalizing mystery of the Gold Train. What she doesn’t know is that she is about to land in the midst of a deadly conspiracy threatening to change the fate of one of the world’s most powerful nations, and that she is destined to meet a mysterious stranger who will change her life forever.

As her only Russian friend gets murdered, Jade finds herself embroiled in a net of intrigue, glamour and alien ideals on these strange and unfamiliar shores. On top of that, she becomes more popular than she’d ever bargained for. So popular, in fact, that it could be hazardous to her health. And she deals with this dangerous and unwanted popularity in a way that is guaranteed to surprise even the most seasoned reader.

Refusing to be a pawn in a struggle of forces beyond her control, Jade must choose between her worst friends and best enemies… and the future of the world just might depend on her choice!

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 – 4/25/12



For a limited time on Amazon (starting on 4/24):

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 $2.97. Gold Train, Stepford USA, Green Desert – $0.99 each!


More information about these Promotions, as well as Giveaways and the Gold Train Blog Tour schedule: 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, as well as special features, including: JADE SNOW: Savior or Seductress; Fact and Fiction in Gold Train; Russia and I; and 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!



Amazon US  (Paperback and eBook)

Amazon UK   DE   FR   ES   IT  (Paperback and eBook)

Barnes & Noble  (eBook)

Smashwords   (eBook)

Kobo  (eBook)

Sony  (eBook)



Blog Tour and Giveaway info: http://ladaray.wordpress.com/blog-tours

Visit Lada Ray Author Website – all about GOLD TRAIN and other books: http://www.LadaRay.com

GOLD TRAIN Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkTek8E23rg

Blog: http://ladaray.wordpress.com

Twitter: @LadaTweets

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/LadaRay

YouTube: Lada Ray Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/LadaRay/videos

Facebook @ Lada Ray

I am inviting you to check out the entertaining posts on Lada Ray Blog with lots of beautiful and rare photos. It’s Russia, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Russian trains and gorgeous, one-of-a-kind Russian Metro, like you’ve never seen them before! It’s also about Jade Snow and Gold Train:

GOLD TRAIN Magical Setting: Moscow, Russia

Amazing Russian Metro

The World of Russian Trains and My Childhood Memories

Gold Train: Meet Jade Snow, heroine of the Jade Snow International Adventure Series

Gold Train: Who is this mysterious Alexei?

Tsars, Oligarchs and Imperial Treasure: St. Petersburg, Russia


Last but not least, about Lada Ray…


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 fans, both locally and worldwide – 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




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