When My Dad Came Home From Korea by @paulinebjones #FridayReads #scifirom #guestpost


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When my dad came home from the war in Korea, my mom says words spilled out of him, stories she—a young wife of barely 20—had a hard time processing. She says she listened to him talk for days and then it was over. When I was young, my dad never talked about the horrors of war to us.

 

A natural storyteller, he made it sound like they spent the time playing jokes on each other and exploring the countryside and just every now and again getting shot at.

 

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While helping my dad to prepare to participate in the dedication of a Korean War Memorial in his hometown, my brother found this in his papers:

 

“Distinguished Unit Citation…

 

As authorized by Executive Order 9396, the following units are cited… in the name of the President of the United States as public evidence of deserved honor and distinction. The citation reads as follows:

 

“The Second Infantry Division and the following attached units ******* 300th ARMORED FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION (less Battery “B”) ******* are cited for extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty in action against the armed enemy in the vicinity of Hongchon, Korea, during the period of 16 to 22 May 1951.

 

Defending the critical sector of the Eighth Army battle front, the Second Division and attached units faced a hostile force of 12 Chinese Communist divisions with an estimated strength of 120,000 troops. The Third Chinese Army Group drove the full force of its savage assault against the Second Division with the specific mission of annihilation of the units.

 

The right flank of the Unit was completely exposed when enemy pressure broke through adjacent United Nations elements. Pressure increased and each night enemy forces bypassed staunch defenders and occupied positions to their rear. Tactical units of the Second Division launched fierce counterattacks which destroyed enemy penetrations, successfully extricating themselves, and through readjustment of positions, stopped the onslaught of the Chinese Communist forces.

 

Executing planned withdrawals and extending their flank eastward over extremely rugged, mountainous terrain, the Second Division and attached units provided critically required time for other Eighth Army units to regroup and block the attempted enemy envelopment.

 

Without thought of defeat, this heroic Unit demonstrated superb battlefield courage, knowledge, and discipline and esprit de corps in accomplishing this extremely difficult and hazardous mission as to set it apart and above other units participating in similar operations.

 

Its sustained brilliance in battle, resolution, and extraordinary heroism reflect unsurpassed credit on those courageous soldiers who participated and are in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Army, the United Nations Forces, and their own homelands.”

 

History records this about the 300th:

 

“In all, the 300th fired 514,036 105mm howitzer rounds in 805 days of combat. The soldiers of the 300th earned 12 Silver Stars, 63 Bronze Stars, and numerous other medals. In addition to two Presidential Unit Citations, the battalion also earned a Meritorious Unit Citation and two Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citations. Eight soldiers from the 300th were killed-in-action and another 175 wounded.”

 

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And yes, I cry each time I read it.

 

Back then, people knew about PTSD, though they I believe they called it shell shock. My dad was one of the lucky ones. He was able to get it all out and move forward with his life—though looking back I suspect he hid more than we realized.

 

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He passed away last year and his buddies from his unit showed up to honor him one last time—just as he had for the buddies that went before.

 

For my dad—for all who have been in harm’s way, for those who came home and for those who didn’t—Veronica Scott and I wanted to find a charity that was about pets and veterans.

 

This is why we are honored to donate 10% of all preorders and the first month’s sales to Hero Dogs (hero-dogs.org). We hope you’ll join us in supporting a wonderful organization. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence. And while you’re supporting Hero-Dogs.org, you’ll get to read some amazing stories.

 

Pets in Space 2

 

Title Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2

Author Pauline Baird Jones + 11 other bestselling/award-winning authors

Genre Science Fiction Romance

Publisher Cats, Dogs and Other Worldly Creatures

 

Book Blurb

The pets are back! Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, featuring twelve of today’s leading Science Fiction Romance authors brings you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard award-winning author, Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King, for stories that will take you out of this world! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner as they share stories and help out Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans!

 

10% of the first month’s profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

 

Twelve Original Never Released Stories in Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2

 

PEARL’S DRAGON

 

A Novella in the Dragon Lords of Valdier Series

 

By S.E. Smith (New York Times/USA TODAY Bestselling Author)

 

Asim Kemark has lived a long, lonely life. It is only his pledge to his former king and to Mandra Reykill that keeps him, his dragon, and his symbiot from going crazy. He has given up on ever finding his true mate and devotes himself to caring for the wide assortment of creatures on Mandra and Ariel’s mountain retreat. The last thing he expects when he visits the palace is to lose control of his dragon and his symbiot when they sense their true mate. Before he knows it, he has kidnapped her!

 

Pearl St. Claire is enjoying a new adventure – learning to live on an alien planet. As a mature woman in her sixties, she thought she had experienced just about everything life could throw at her – only to discover she really hasn’t experienced anything yet! She is both amused and exasperated when one of the dragon-shifting aliens kidnaps her, believing she is his true mate.

 

Life is no longer boring or lonely as Asim courts the spirited human woman who has enchanted him, but he isn’t the only one who has noticed Pearl or the unusual animals under his care. When poachers attack, determined to steal the exotic creatures under his protection – including Pearl and a new clutch of alien eggs from Earth – he will do everything he can to protect them. Can one dragon keep the most precious creatures under his care safe, or will he lose the biggest battle of his life?

 

A GRIM PET

 

A Novella in the Tornian Series

 

By M.K. Eidem (USA TODAY Bestselling Author)

 

The Great Raptor is a fearsome and deadly creature; and while the raptor is no one’s pet, he is fiercely protective and loving of his family…

 

Carly and Miki have never forgotten the story that Grim told them of the Great Raptor, the symbol of their new home world Luda. Yet, it is the comparison their mother once told them of the Great Raptor to Grim that gives them the courage to help the injured bird they find in the garden.

 

Find out what happens when their single act of love, faith, and kindness creates far-reaching consequences that no one, including their mother and Grim, could ever have predicted.

 

The Prince, the Pilot, and the Puppy

 

A Novella in The Star Series

 

By Susan Grant (New York Times/USA TODAY Bestselling, and RITA Award Winning Author)

 

Trysh joined the Space Forces with the secret hope that her absentee father might notice her accomplishments and acknowledge her. At the top of her game as a starfighter pilot, the last thing she needs is a way too charming prince to get in her way. Trysh had learned at a young age what happened when a person lost their heart to someone above their social class – it led to heartache.

 

Prince Rornn feels fortunate he can pursue his passion both in the air and on the ground. He decides being third in line for the throne definitely has its advantages – it allowed him to join the Space Forces as a top-gun starfighter pilot. What he doesn’t expect is to find a woman there who not only competes with him – she completes him!

 

Everything Rornn tries appears to push Trysh further away – that is until they rescue a tiny, starving yipwag pup on the surface of an alien world. It turns out that “Puppy” is as good at sniffing out terrorists as she is at helping her two clueless humans figure out that they need each other as much as they do her.

 

Can Rornn convince Trysh that he is nothing like her father and that she is just the right woman for him before the terrorists discover their furry little companion?

 

Wired for Love

 

By Michelle Howard

 

Hunter Gils has put his past in the military behind him. Now his focus is on his bar and the less than savory clientele. Life is perfect – except for a gray-eyed beauty who refuses his advances.

 

Narelle Bindu wasn’t immune to the tall, dark stranger working at The Zone. He wanted her – and she wanted him. The only drawback was she didn’t have room in her life for a man, not even one as tempting as Hunter.

 

When a deadly attack creates the perfect opening for an old enemy, the two lovers must work together to survive. What they never expect is to find an ally willing to help them – even if that help has four legs. Can their four-legged friend keep Hunter and Narelle alive long enough to find out that one night would never be enough?

 

Rescued by the Cyborg

 

A Novella in the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance Series

 

By Cara Bristol (USA TODAY Bestselling Author)

 

A cyborg’s haunted past and a Faria’s clouded future entwine…

 

Hostage and sole survivor Solia waits for death at the hands of vicious predatory aliens when Cy-Ops agent Guy Roarke disobeys orders and charges in. A former medic, he initiates emergency medical procedures before rushing her to Cybermed.

 

Guy is taken with Solia, but the guilt of a past mistake won’t allow him to plan for a future with the delicate, brave beauty. Life is so uncertain, he can’t even keep Mittzi, the kitten his niece gave him. What he can do is see to it Solia gets the help she needs for a full recovery. But when best intentions place her in greater danger, it’s up to a little kitten to make everything all right again.

 

Star Cruise: Songbird

 

A Novella in The Sectors SF Romance Series

 

By Veronica Scott

 

Grant Barton, a Security Officer on the Nebula Zephyr, is less than thrilled with his current assignment to guard an Interstellar singing sensation while she’s on board the ship. It doesn’t help that he is also dealing with a recent inheritance – of the feathered kind! The alien bird that his great-grandfather so kindly left him was now sharing his quarters and making his life miserable. It wasn’t helping that his assignment wasn’t making his job any easier either – at least until he had to save her life.

 

Karissa is on her way up the charts and seemingly has it all – talent, fame, fortune and devoted fans, but behind her brave smile and upbeat lyrics she hides an aching heart. When a publicity stunt goes wrong, Karissa finds herself in the arms of the security officer assigned to protect her – and discovers a mutual attraction she can’t ignore.

 

Trouble continues to plague the pair, driving a wedge between them and leaving Grant certain that Karissa is in more danger than she realizes. When a deranged fan issues a death threat, Grant is determined to protect Karissa whether she wants his help or not. Can he discover the truth behind what is going on before he loses Karissa, or is there someone else plotting to keep them apart – permanently?

 

Time Trap

 

A Novella in the Project Enterprise Series

 

By Pauline Baird Jones

 

Hiding in time is not as easy as you’d think…

 

Madison lives by the rules of a time travel rebel – never tell anyone your real name, not if you want to remain alive. On the track of a traitor, Madison and her parrot partner, Sir Rupert, time travel into a trap. Their only way out sends them back in time and into the arms of a man that ignites a fire inside her.

 

USAF Master Sergeant Briggs is in trouble – not the kind he’d like to be, but still in trouble. He is bored out of his mind! Ordered to recuperate on a quiet bay away from the Garradian outpost, he’s ready to mutiny and go back to his beloved engines. When his friends send him a gift from Area 51, he figures it will relieve his boredom for an hour or so – until he turns it on and he gets his second present of the day.

 

Madison would love to get to know Briggs better, but it is just too dangerous. Unfortunately, she might not have much choice. With a Time Service Interdiction Force on their heels, can the three craft a plan that will save a base full of geniuses and technology and discover a happy-ever-after forged through time?

 

Courting Disaster: StarDog 2

 

A Novella in the Inherited Stars Universe Series

 

By Laurie A. Green

 

From monk to married…

 

Captain Navene Jagger’s certainty he will be promoted to command a new battleship is doused when the admiral instead assigns him on what appears to be a suicide mission. If that wasn’t bad enough, he finds his self-imposed decision to be a military monk is thrown to the far reaches of the galaxy when he is ordered to escort Ketsia Tayah and her StarDog through the treacherous, rogue-infested Bradley’s Rift in a battered derelict of a vessel – a task that also makes him have to confront his painful past.

 

Ketsia’s past had taught her a lot. The universe was not only a very dangerous place, it turns out that it is also a lot smaller than she would have liked! Ketsia is rattled when she discovers that she and her StarDog are to be escorted by the man she formerly had a crush on. She swears life couldn’t get any more complicated until they are thrown into jeopardy and have to pretend they are married!

 

Jag soon realizes there is more at stake than his pride when dangerous rogues threaten their spaceship. After he learns the ship, the mission, and the StarDog are all much more than they seem will he be able to save Ketsia, his career, and the day? Or will self-sacrifice be the only way to save those under his protection?

 

Sensate

 

A Novella in the Alien Attachments Series

 

By Sabine Priestley

 

Marco Dar’s position as an Earth Protector means he spends an incredible amount of time alone in space. His only company is with the talkative com unit. It isn’t until he stops at the Galaxy Spinner restaurant that he discovers his com has become sentient – and it wants a physical form!

 

Dr. Zara Mancini hasn’t seen Marco Dar in over eleven years. As far as she is concerned, that still isn’t long enough. When Marco approaches her with an unusual request, she is torn between her fascination with the project, and wanting to leave him eating her space dust.

 

Marco is quickly falling all over again for Zara’s beautiful smile and gorgeous lips. Young and foolish, he sabotaged their relationship years ago. Now he has a second chance. Can he convince Zara to help his AI, and prove to her that he is a different man?

 

Gib and the Tibbar

 

A Novella in the Galactic Defenders Series

 

By Jessica E. Subject

 

A dedicated Defender to the core, Gib is willing to go to any planet the Galactic Alliance sends him. That is, until he’s sent with his squad to Hemera for their Alorama ceremony, far from any threat of Erebus invasion and with no chance for promotion.

 

Vilarra has lived on Hemera all her life, working hard in the kitchens of the royal palace until she achieved lead hand. But learning of the universe beyond her world reveals her insignificance and shreds her sense of accomplishment and purpose.

 

With the help of a furry, little tibbar, Gib is determined to win the affection of Vilarra, prove to her how significant she is to him and the people who depend on her. But will his personal mission be cut short before he has the chance to win her heart?

 

Pet Trade

 

A Novella in the Central Galactic Concordance Series

 

By Carol Van Natta

 

The vast Central Galactic Concordance strictly prohibits genetic experimentation and alteration of humans on any of its 500 member planets. Unfortunately, animals are not included in those regulations…

 

Veterinarian Bethnee Bakonin has made a home for herself on a frontier planet in the frozen north. Her minder talent for healing all kinds of animals would ordinarily assure her success, but her unwilling stint in the shady pet trade industry left her damaged and scared.

 

“Volunteered” for a black-box research project, elite forces Jumper Axur Tragon now has dangerous experimental tech in his cybernetic limbs. He escapes the project and steals a freighter, but ship damage forces him to crash-land in the northern mountains of a frontier planet. He’s surprised to discover the freighter’s cargo contains a secret shipment of designer pets. Determined to do right by them, he enlists reluctant Bethnee’s aid in caring for them—a definite challenge, considering Bethnee is terrified of him.

 

They will need all the help they can get from their unusual pets to save the day when ruthless mercenaries pose a threat. Can Axur and Bethnee work together to overcome their limitations, or will they lose everything they have vowed to protect – including each other?

 

Mascot

 

A Novella in the Aeon’s Legacy Series

 

By Alexis Glynn Latner

 

Daya Tattujayan is the manager of a remote and nearly derelict space mining station. She has plenty of problems to deal with even before the interstellar syndicate that owns the station sends an auditor to check up on her work.

 

Rik Gole is a nomadic interstellar auditor with no roots to tie him down. He is ruthless when he has to be and very good at what he does, but Rik would be the first to admit that a woman like Daya and a place like this station are way outside of his previous experience.

 

Before Daya and Rik can decide whether they are antagonists, allies, or something more, an unexpected enemy attacks the station. To save their lives, they must dare to trust each other. And they need help from a very unconventional defender—Daya’s mysterious alien pet, the mascot of Star Corner Station.

 

 

Excerpt from Time Trap by Pauline Baird Jones

This time something happened.

 

There was a low hum that slowly built to just shy of annoying. He heard the moveable parts inside start to move. First one of the dots turned faintly red, then red flowed across the top of the disc. More humming and moving parts sounds, and the circles turned from red to green all at the same time, sending beams of green light toward the sky at least six feet in the air.

 

Interesting. Still not sure what it did.

 

He was tempted to stick a finger into one of the beams, but he knew better. Funny how knowing didn’t stop the wanting.

 

Oh, the human condition.

 

He looked around, found a stick, and carried it back to the beams. He poked it into one of the green lights. The stick glowed green, but nothing happened for a count of three, maybe four, then the end of the stick vanished.

 

Okay. Birthday present number three. Got to keep all his fingers. And he now knew this thing did something. Wasn’t sure what, but something. He went and shut off the video, then turned back to do the same to the disc, but right then the hum increased in intensity and the green lights began to pulse.

 

Watch the author read from her very own story:

 

 

 

Buy Links

Universal Link for All Stores: books2read.com/u/3L9aYM

 

Amazon Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Embrace-Romance-Pets-Space-2/dp/1942583575/

 

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073W5WQBH/

 

Amazon CA https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B073W5WQBH/

 

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B073W5WQBH/

 

Amazon AU https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B073W5WQBH/

 

Amazon FR https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B073W5WQBH/

 

Amazon DE https://www.amazon.de/dp/B073W5WQBH/

 

Amazon JP https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B073W5WQBH/

 

iBooks http://bit.ly/EmbraceTheRomanceiBooks

 

B&N https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/embrace-the-romance-se-smith/1126723852?

 

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/embrace-the-romance-pets-in-space-2

 

Google Play https://play.google.com/store/books/details/S_E_Smith_Embrace_the_Romance_Pets_in_Space_2?id=Jp8rDwAAQBAJ

 

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35658092-embrace-the-romance

 

Instafreebie Samplerhttps://www.instafreebie.com/free/EZz5p

 

 

 pauline-baird-jones

 

Author Biography

Pauline doesn’t love reality so she writes books. She tends to wander among the genres, rampaging like Godzilla (they were born the same year) through her characters lives, mixing peril and humor into her romance, but she always delivers a happy ending.

 

Social Media Links

Website: http://www.paulinebjones.com

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPaulineBairdJones

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/paulinebjones

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/247227.Pauline_Baird_Jones

 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/perilouspauline/

 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/paulinebjones/

 

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Pauline-Baird-Jones/e/B000APFS0M/

 

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/pauline-baird-jones

 

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC246_a-liiXa_Y_uRlSQZgQ

 

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/paulinebairdjones

 

 

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Amy J Hamilton @WriteNaughty Introduces @radish_fiction #books #RadishFiction #App #writing


Radish

 

Greetings, I’m here to introduce you to Radish Fiction. Radish what now? I’d never heard of it either. What, you have? Well, go and read my books then.

 

For the rest of you, here’s the background:

 

Radish Fiction is a free app available for iOS and Android. The app contains serialised fiction in bite-sized chunks or episodes. (Like radishes, get it? Bite-sized.) It’s aimed at those who like to read a bit at a time. Which, to be fair is me. We’re all busy, but we can generally manage ten minutes of reading here and there.

 

But how will I know if I like a book?

 

The first three episodes of any book will always be free.

 

This gives the reader plenty of time to determine if that book is something they might want to continue reading. If you don’t like it after three episodes, or after the first episode, don’t read it. It won’t have cost you anything other than your time. It’s a superb way of getting to know different authors without having any initial outlay.

 

From episode four there are three ways books are priced:

 

Some books are totally free. That’s it, free. Boom, no cost involved. (My free one is the Erotic Sci-Fi Modified.)

 

The next level unlocks episodes for free at a rate set by the author, for instance, one new episode every week. But, the reader can unlock an episode early by paying 3 Radish coins per episode. Those who don’t want to pay for episodes, just need to wait until the next one is released for free. (I’ve got one of those too-Nate and Day the sequel to Modified.)

 

The third option allows authors to be paid for their work. For this option, all episodes after the first three cost 3 Radish coins each. (I’ve got two of those. The Sci-Fi Murder Mystery Missing Remnants and a Paranormal Sci-Fi called Iridessian Haunts.)

 

Yes, but about those coins, they’ll cost a packet, won’t they?

 

Radish coins are like any other game coins. They work in the same way. You buy Radish coins via the app. How much each payable episode costs depends on how many coins you buy. It’s as little as 30-42 pence/cents per episode. That’s not much money for thousands of words which would have taken hours for the author to write, edit and upload. As an author, I can confirm we are very grateful for all the coins we receive.

 

How do we know we’re getting quality stories?

 

What one person thinks is a brilliant book will have someone else questioning that person’s sanity. That will never change. However, authors are invited to write for Radish, you can’t just create an account and start writing like other platforms. We have, therefore, had our work read by a content editor and been deemed fit for publication. What? How? No, seriously, I have! I don’t think they have particularly low standards either! Or maybe they had an off day when they took me on…

 

My latest two books are available exclusively on the Radish Fiction app. They have been written specifically for the Radish serial style.

 

Missing Remnants is a Sci-Fi murder mystery following a detective who is forced to take three months off just as a woman dies at his front door. Alone, except for his robot dog Banyon, he’s been followed, kidnapped, attacked and has strange messages relayed to him via the screens and the service bots around the station.

 

If that wasn’t enough I started writing a second serial recently. I am currently questioning my sanity; I haven’t finished Missing Remnants yet.

 

Iridessian Haunts is a Paranormal Sci-Fi story following two planetary scouts as they discover if the planet Iridessia is suitable for long-term habitation. The planet has all the usual stuff, solid ground, breathable atmosphere, water source, ghosts.

 

I hope I have convinced some of you to download the free Radish Fiction app and read some bite-sized serialised fiction. Preferably mine… they are some of the best stories ever written, said no-one ever.

 

https://radish.app.link/rN4eTruQCG

 

ajh

 

Author Biography

Amy J Hamilton is about 300 years old and was spawned on an alien planet. She exists mainly on coffee and chocolate, but mainly coffee.

She has been writing since she could hold a pencil in her left nostril. Amy’s books fall into various genres:

Erotic/Sci-Fi: Lunar Medical series (Modified, Nate and Day), Sci-Fi Murder Mystery: Missing Remnants. Paranormal Sci-Fi: Iridessian Haunts

She has a husband, two teenagers, tropical fish, a tortoise, a degu and a bearded dragon who can fly and breathe fire (lie). In her spare time, she bakes things, sews things and play things on the piano.

 

Social Media Links

Radish https://radishfiction.com/users/AmyJHamilton

Twitter https://twitter.com/WriteNaughty

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15275986.Amy_J_Hamilton

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/ajhworld/

Blog http://barkingmaddj.blogspot.co.uk/

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/djcooper

Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amy-J-Hamilton/e/B01N0ZHDEC/

 

 

Gabriel Bacopa Talks About Why He Wrote The Hypocracy Foundation #guestpost #books #satire


The Hypocrisy Foundation

 

The Hypocrisy Foundation is a collection of stories I wrote while in a state of psychosis.  The first story “The Hypocrisy Foundation” revolves around a man, who I serendipitously name “Dr. Harris”, who is working on a theory that will change the world. The theory is made to explain why some people are rich, some people are poor and some people are in the midst of war. He comes to a realization after watching t.v. that famous people are fake and then develops a chart explaining that the more famous a person is, the more hypocritical they are, while the less famous they are, the less hypocritical.

 

I came up with the idea for this story when I was in the worst of the throes of my psychosis. Before I became an author, my suffering was tremendous, and I was maltreated by many. I eventually saw all famous people to be hypocritical, partly because others saw them as not. The scene in which the scientist (Dr. Harris) turns on the television and sees Sensitive White Man’s new single, “I’m so sensitive, be mine” and “Tough White Rapper.” “Deep Philosophical Rock Star” as a play on their portrayed characters as opposed to their real artist names, I either saw in a dream, or I saw it in a movie. I can’t remember which movie, but I think I saw it in one. Otherwise it was in a dream I had.

 

The theme behind the story, is not necessarily to say that famous people are hypocritical, nor is it to say they are not. But rather the theme is an expression of my loathing of the famous while I was in an immense amount of suffering (in mental illness).

 

In the story, Dr. Harris approaches his team of sociologists with his new theory and they agree that they will convey this theory with the world with hope of creating empathy for the poor. “By developing this theory, people will empathize with the poor”.  Yet they have another plan: making money and winning the Nobel prize and becoming famous while being worshipped by everyone.

 

The sociologists ask, “Wait a minute, don’t people realize that we are being contradictory here, that we are ourselves are famous and are saying that famous people are hypocritical?” By which they respond, “Haven’t you heard of the double deception? We will just admit we’ve been hypocritical without believing for a second (after which they all laugh).”

 

Believe it or not, this part of the story was derived painfully from my psychosis. For many years, I believed I was a hypocrite and obsessed about it day and night to the point I couldn’t do anything at all. When my family would tell me I’m not a hypocrite: “Hypocrites don’t say they are.” I’d respond, “I’m deceiving you to think I’m not.” Thus, the double deception (or illogical thinking, you could say).

 

The Drummers, the second story in the book, is about a village of drummers that play music 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I got the idea of the story from the Islamic tradition. There is an early saying in Islamic history that states: “Singing makes hypocrisy to grow in the heart as water makes plants to grow.” I grew with an Islamic upbringing, and studied Islamic texts, jurisprudence, the Qur’an, history, hadith (events about the Prophet’s life) literature, attended mosque quite regularly. There is an opinion in the Islamic tradition which states that music is forbidden, which I have often been questioned by Americans interested in Islam as to why that is so, although the opinion that music is not forbidden is there as well.

 

The theme of the story is about how the suffering are ignored, while society plays and listens to music.  Now, others have interpreted the story also to mean that it is a commentary on society at large: the industrial revolution, capitalism, consumerism, etc.

 

I got the idea for the story, not simply from Islamic tradition but from personal experience. Photography and music interplayed with my own suffering in mental illness, gave me a feeling of neglect, misunderstanding and insensitivity.

 

The third story, Catching Johns, I wrote someone as a joke. The line first reads, “The first man that tried to come and take advantage of woman today, his name was John. “ it’s about  a Police Officer that boasts to his lover(assumingly his wife)  about his successes in catching men who go to prostitutes. All the men are revealed to be disabled.  The police officer returns to his lover with a surprise ending.

 

These three stories are present in the paperback edition. Another story is present in the kindle edition:

 

The Island of Hypocrisy has mired some controversy. I wrote this story after hearing the religious being defamed as hypocritical often, mainly due to sexual issues.  Yet, I felt that this was often an attack to justify extra-marital relations. The story makes a comparison between homosexuality and post-pubescent marriages (between a man and girl, or cousin marriages). The idea for the story is that such marriages were deemed completely normal for most of human history and till this day in many parts of the world.  Homosexuality, on the other hand, is completely against religion, reason and nature.  My point is not to argue that such marriages should occur today, but rather my point is to say that homosexual marriage is not right and that what are known as “child marriages” (marriages between adults and post-pubescent individuals) in many parts of the world are actually more normal.

 

Title: The Hypocrisy Foundation

Author: Gabriel Bacopa

Genre: Short Stories, Satire, Social Commentary

 

Book Blurb:

5 stories centered around the theme of hypocrisy.

 

 

Buy it now:

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/Hypocrisy-Foundation-Gabriel-Bacopa-ebook/dp/B06XQ94SSQ

 

Amazon CA https://www.amazon.ca/Hypocrisy-Foundation-Gabriel-Bacopa-ebook/dp/B06XQ94SSQ

 

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hypocrisy-Foundation-Gabriel-Bacopa-ebook/dp/B06XQ94SSQ

 

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35049341-the-hypocrisy-foundation

 

Author Biography:

Modern Shakespearean/Wise Fool. Gabriel Bacopa has been called one of the best authors of the 21st century. “This Generation’s John Steinbeck.” “The most prescient author of the 21st century.” He was born to a Palestinian Muslim father and an Israeli Jewish mother in the Suburbs of Orange County, CA. His book topics and genres range from mental illness/health, philosophy, politics, Dark Comedy, social commentary, dystopia, sci-fi, romance and suspense.

 

Social Media Links:

Website/Blog: https://gabrielbacopa.wordpress.com/

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gabrielbacopa/

 

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Gabriel-Bacopa/e/B01M1N7L45

 

 

 

Angels: Who Are They Anyway? A Guest Post by @LNightingale #angels #FridayReads #giveaway


Wings

In my research for Gylded Wings, I discovered a book simply called Angels written by Malcolm Godwin. This book is a wealth of information about the subject, presented in an interesting and witty writing style. Even the character and seals of some of the more famous angels are given, and he goes into detail about questions you didn’t know you had, for instance, the identity of the Watchers or Shining Ones.

Who the hell are they? Choirboys of the Ninth House, aka the Grigori mentioned in the Book of Enoch (another interesting find!), they were angels sent to Earth to teach Man. Unfortunately, they were a little too zealous in the performance of their jobs and taught the use and design of weapons.  There is one mention of them in the Bible, King James Version, in Genesis 6:2: That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

Have you ever wondered where your guardian angel stands in the heavenly scheme of things? Well, Mr. Godwin can tell you!

According to the Hebrews, the universe is a hierarchy. The Christians adopted this model of the Cosmos in which God is both at the center of the Cosmos and the highest point of the hierarchy. Entities radiate outward from His Presence, some being close to the center while others move further and further away from the Divine Source of Light and Love.

Let’s look at the Nine Choirs of angels:

Highest Triad

  1. Seraphim
  2. Cherubim
  3. Thrones

 

Middle Triad

  1. Dominations
  2. Virtues
  3. Powers

 

Lowest Triad

  1. Principalities
  2. Archangels
  3. Angels

 

Guardian angels would be of the Lowest Triad, therefore, further from the center of the Cosmos and closer to Man himself.

In Gylded Wings, Gyldan opens the story as an angel. When Brit rescues from his own dimension and takes him to Earth, amazing powers manifest. This as well as his appearance lead the angels on Earth, called Guardians, to believe he is of a much higher Order.

Guardians are of the Tenth Order, created after Armageddon to protect Man from the Fallen Angels who’d tried to seize Heaven in the Second War in Heaven.

This is the angel mythos I used in Gylded Wings. There are a lot of angel books, and each author has his/her own take on the lore.

There are three books I recommend to anyone interested in angelic lore or in writing an angel book:  Angels by Malcolm Godwin; Dictionary of Angels; and the thrilling Book of Enoch (an early John Grisham-type novel that is part of the Apocrypha not the Bible) in which the Prophet Enoch goes to a heavenly court to defend the Grigori.

Thanks for having me as your guest today. I’m giving away a free pair of angel earrings (US only) plus an e-book (International). To enter, click here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Gylded Wings is available in print and eBook format at Amazon:  http://a.co/eIE0R9n and on the publisher’s website, The Wild Rose Press:  https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/paperback-books/5285-gylded-wings-paperback.html

 

Blurb

Angels in slavery? Brit Montgomery cannot believe it, until she is sent on a rescue mission to another dimension and witnesses the cruel practice first hand. The angel, Gyldan, is the most beautiful being she’s ever seen. She is drawn to him but sometimes beauty disguises wicked secrets. This man who rocks her world seems more demon than angel.

Gyldan, born into slavery, has one desire—fly free. When he escapes to Earth, he faces an alternate self-realization full of dark glory…and disbelief. Gyldan is bent on experiencing his newfound powers unmindful of the harm to Brit or others.

Confused and hurt by Gyldan’s erratic evil actions, Brit turns away. While Gyldan’s journey of self-discovery pulls him further distant, Brit finds acceptance in a solitary, comfortable life of her own until she realizes the day of reckoning has come. Will Gyldan be her final ruin or has he come back to her with a gift more precious than life itself?

 

Excerpt

The sound I’d anticipated snapped me to attention, a slow, uneven click of high heels halting me in the shadows.

“There you are,” I whispered.

A lone woman staggered into my path. The doomed creature reeked of sex and whiskey.  Whoring and boozing weren’t reasons for a fiery execution, but I saw into her black soul.  Two years ago, she’d tossed her illegitimate child into a garbage dumpster and walked away from the screaming infant without a backward glance.

She’d make an excellent demon.

I stepped free of the darkness.  My hapless quarry glanced up and stumbled to a breathless halt, watching me.  Fearing me.  I laughed at her doe-in-the-headlights expression, lifted my hands, and loosed the power.  Lightning shot from my fingertips.  The white bolts struck, engulfing her.  She twitched and flopped on her feet for a split second.  In a fall of gray snow, she disintegrated.  Humans and angels die differently.  Daniel had perished in a shower of sparks and trail of colored smoke.  Ashes to ashes, the woman had returned to dust.

“See you in Hell.”  I saluted the powder drifting away on an ocean breeze.

Whistling The Devil Went Down To Georgia, I hooked my thumbs in my pockets and continued my journey of self-discovery.  Tonight, I’d already had sex in a bathroom with a married woman, hurt a sweet girl’s feelings, and French-fried a woman.  What else could a devil do on a Friday night?

The Maxwell Fought to Hold Caerlaverock – Their Enemies Had to Destroy It @RuthACasie #books


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“It pulls at my heart with its beauty and purpose. It represents all I hold dear in a person, if that’s possible, heart, soul and strength.”    Laura Reynolds, The Maxwell Ghost

 

I knew I found the right setting for my medieval ghost story when I saw a picture of Caerlaverock Castle.

Reading Caerlaverock’s history I understood why the Maxwell family fought to hold it and why their enemies had to destroy it.

Caerlaverock Castle is a moated castle on the southern coast of Scotland in the Dumfries.  The unique equilateral triangular design and beauty of the castle, from the way it’s sited to its rich history, made Caerlaverock the perfect setting for my stories, The Maxwell Ghost and The Highlander’s English Woman.

There were several original fortifications that preceded the current castle, a Roman fort on Ward Law Hill and a British hill fort that was used until 950.

The earliest mention of Caerlaverock is the 1160s, when the lands were granted to the monks of Holm Cultram Abbey. Sixty years later, in 1220 the lands were granted to Sir John Maxwell by Alexander II of Scotland.

The Maxwell family has owned the Caerlaverock Castle ever since, but not without some intrigue and adventure. The clan leader changed allegiances from Scotland to England several times which resulted in sieges, destruction and rebuilding.

John Maxwell began construction of the first castle at Caerlaverock. A traditional square design with a moat and a north facing bridge, the building was one of the earliest stone castles built in Scotland. Archeologists believe that this castle was never completed when it was abandoned. This castle was built close to the Solway Firth. Built on clay the wood pilings were not able to bear the weight of the structure. In addition, the structure couldn’t be kept dry or comfortable.  Today, the foundations and part of a wooden enclosure around it is all that remains.

Work began on the new castle, six hundred feet south of the abandoned structure in 1260.

Construction on the new (present) castle, on a solid rock outcropping and was completed in the 1270s. The castle’s first occupant was Herbert Maxwell, nephew of Sir John Maxwell.

 

castle sunset

 

Caerlaverock was the Maxwell family’s stronghold from the 13th to the 17th centuries. It underwent several sieges over the centuries and was finally abandoned in 1640. The castle has been destroyed and rebuilt several times, but retained its triangular plan.

In 1299, Maxwell forces from Caerlaverock Castle attached the English-held Lochmaben Castle. Edward I retaliated in July 1300 and attacked Caerlaverock with 87 knights and 3,000 men. Eustace Maxwell, the clan chief repelled the English several times. In the end, the garrison surrendered. King Edward was astounded that only sixty men held his army off.

Caerlaverock Castle remained in English hands until 1312 when the castle was returned to Sir Eustace Maxwell who pledged allegiance to the English king, Edward II. Later, Eustace switched his support to Robert the Bruce and the castle was unsuccessfully attacked by the English.

Because of Caerlaverock’s prime position on the England-Scottish border and the fear it could fall into the hands of the English who would have a strong command of the district, Sir Eustace dismantled the fortress, a sacrifice rewarded by Robert the Bruce.

In 1337 the castle was once again inhabited and once again the Eustace changed sides. About 1355 the castle was captured by the Scots.

The Maxwells regained Caerlaverock after the Wars of Independence in the mid-14th century. Between 1373 and 1410, Robert Maxwell rebuilt much of the castle. His efforts were continued by Robert II in the mid-15th century.

In 1567, the Maxwells supported Mary, Queen of Scots and Caerlaverock was once again under siege by the English in 1570. The Earl of Sussex led the English forces and demolished part of the castle.

In 1593, Lord John Maxwell repaired the castle for defense against the Johnstones of Annandale with whom he was feuding.

The Wars for Independence were replaced by wars of religion. In 1634, religious turmoil turned against the Catholic Maxwells. In 1640 the Protestant Covenanter army attacked Caerlaverock for thirteen weeks forcing the castle to surrender. The south wall and tower were demolished and the castle was never repaired or reoccupied.

The castle passed by inheritance to the Herries family and to the Duke of Norforlk. While currently owned by Lady Mary Mumford’s sister Baroness Herries, since 1946 the castle has been operated and managed by Historic Scotland. The castle remains the ancestral home of the Maxwell family.

 

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The Highlander’s English Woman by USA Today Bestseller Ruth A. Casie

 

Caerlaverock Castle, on the Scottish border is in an uproar. Traitors, deception, murder and ghosts run riot. The food stores have been tainted and the granaries set ablaze. Rumors fly when servants Evan and his bride-to-be, Angel are found murdered. They believe that in the heat of an argument Evan killed Angel when she threatened to expose him. Distraught over his impulsive actions, he took his own life. Now his ghost haunts the castle. A young cook, Sonia is sure everyone has it wrong and the ghost haunts the castle to seek justice. She will move heaven and earth to get to the truth, but she is helpless.

Laura Reynolds travels from England to her cousin, The Maxwell’s castle to put Evan’s ghost to rest. They have one week to complete the task or Evan’s ghost is doomed to haunt the castle forever. The Maxwell, while he loves his cousin, doesn’t believe in her sorceress ways. With the unsettled times, he cannot send her back to England right away, rather he lets her pursue her investigation.

Jamie Maxwell Collins has finished his service to The Maxwell and eager for his promised farm. While longtime friends with Laura, he has little patience for her hocus pocus, but in order to get his farm The Maxwell requires Jamie protect and help her. Will Sonia’s information tip the scales and help them find justice for Evan and Angel? With Sonia’s insight, will Laura and Jamie see that the depths of their relationship goes way beyond friendship or are they doomed to deny it forever?

 

Buy e-Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

 

Book Trailer: http://video214.com/play/Hj4BOw8DQ3lsU0URWqeeqA/s/dark

 

Ruth A Casie close

 

Author Biography:

RUTH A. CASIE is a USA Today bestselling author of swashbuckling action-adventure time-travel romance about strong empowered women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. Her Druid Knight novels have both finaled in the NJRW Golden Leaf contest. The Guardian’s Witch, part of the Stelton Legacy series was a Reader’s Crown Finalist. Ruth also writes contemporary romance in the Havenport series with enough action to keep you turning pages. Ruth lives in New Jersey with her husband, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she started writing time travel romance, she was a speech therapist, international bank product and marketing manager, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing time travel romance. For more information, please visit www.RuthACasie.com or visit her on Facebook, @RuthACasie, Twitter, @RuthACasie, or Pinterest RuthACasie.

 

Social Media Links:

Website: http:// www.ruthacasie.com

 

Personal Blog:  http://www.ruthacasie.blogspot.com

 

Google+ https://plus.google.com/+RuthSeitelman

 

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/RuthACasie

 

FB Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/RuthACasie

 

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/ruth-seitelman/6/6b7/964

 

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ruthacasie/

 

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4792909.Ruth_A_Casie

 

 

 

How #Writing The Great American Novel Turned Into Adrian Wheeler by @Steveshearbooks #books


The Trials of Adrian Wheeler

 

How Writing The Great American Novel Turned Into The Trials of Adrian Wheeler by Steve Shear

 

I’m too old to remember whether I did much if any writing in high school. I do remember spending four years in engineering school and three years in law school and never learning how to write … really write. For the next forty years as a patent attorney I did write … technical garbly-gook like the inner workings of an internal combustion engine, a computer interface, and the like. It paid the bills but wasn’t particularly creative. Then one day, more than fifteen years ago, I decided to move out of my comfort zone and write fiction, something that wasn’t going to pay the bills. I chose poetry thinking that would be easy, just stringing together a bunch of words on a bunch of lines. How hard could that be?

 

Needless to say I picked probably the most difficult type of fiction to master or should I say attempt to master. Few actually master the art of poetry and I’m certainly not one of them. Believe it or not, I’m still revising some of the poems I wrote as long ago as 1997. At the same time I learned something extremely valuable. If you want to write novels and short stories and other types of fictional prose, it is enormously helpful to put yourself in the mine fields of poetic discourse. Studying the old dead English poets and writing poetry including sonnets and other rhyming stuff force you to recognize the right words and phrases for a particular situation and it gives you the tools to create the appropriate images to illuminate those words and phrases. Imagery, imagery, imagery is the name of the game; metaphors, similes, sight, sound, taste, etc. And all those difficult sessions trying to make your sonnet work, ab-ab-cd-cd-ef-ef-gg, become wonderful foreplay for your first short story or novel; at least they were for mine. And by the way you may find that great short stories are more difficult to produce than great novels, so choose your poison wisely!

 

The Trials of Adrian Wheeler was actually my second attempt at writing the Great American Novel. My first attempt, Ira Neebest and The First Coming, took me two years to write. By the third draft I had pounded out nearly two hundred and fifty thousand words. At the time I didn’t know how dumb that was. Only the great ones like Dostoevsky have the right to do that.  When I gave Ira to my wife and a friend who taught creative writing at a local college they had some nice things to say like ‘it has potential’ but in truth they told me I was a bit full of myself. And so I was! Six months later I had it down to one hundred thousand words. And now, after ten years of revisions, I’ve made two novels out of it, The First Coming and An Eye for an Eye. After hundreds of agent-queries and rejections, two published novels, and two published stage plays later, they are both still my favorites and both remain unpublished thus far. Such is life.

 

 

When I started writing Adrian, the only thing I had in mind was a friend from my poetry critique group, a gentle soul with natural artistic creativity, who was ‘forced’ to join the Marines and fight in Vietnam for his country by his bombastic father. My friend had MS and other bad things after being exposed to Agent Orange. He died last year but not before he published several books of his poetry.

 

Actually I had two other things in mind when I began thinking about Adrian. I had been against America invading Iraq and I blamed it on W, our president who made the decision to invade. I had just finished reading Vincent Bugliosi’s book The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, and I wondered how many soldiers regretted their decisions to join up in the first place, like my friend. I’m not talking about those soldiers who died in battle (that’s bad enough), but those young men and women who came back (and are continuing to come back) from Iraq and Afghanistan—only to discover a battlefield far more relentless and infinitely more lonely. I am speaking about all those warriors who do battle every day in their mind’s eye, seeing, hearing, smelling, and feeling the loss of a limb, their own or a buddy’s—or who experience the last five minutes of their buddy’s life. There’s no special day just for them. There is no Veterans with PTSD day.

 

Its full name is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; at least that’s what we call it now. In the past it was battle fatigue and shell shock, but a rose by any other name is just as devastating I learned when I started the research on The Trials of Adrian Wheeler. When George W. Bush dropped his first bomb on Baghdad in March, 2003, I was so upset I produced what I still consider my best work of art, a painting I entitled The Sisters of Baghdad which can be seen on my website, www.steveshear.net. Shortly thereafter I wrote a poem, The Bombing of Baghdad which appears at the beginning of Adrian. Around that time, I remember getting a haircut and ranting to my barber, Harold, about how terrible President Bush was. My barber was ultraconservative, although I didn’t know it at the time. His bald head (wouldn’t you know it) turned red, his eyes bulged and his lips quivered. My only thought at the time was to blurt out: “HAROLD, PUT DOWN THE SCISSORS!” Fortunately, I am still alive and Harold is still cutting hair, I assume.

 

By the time I finished writing Adrian and living in the skins of the characters, George Bush became a bit more than a footnote. The characters and the family dynamics took over, Adrian, Pa, Daisy, Esme, Rachael, Rabinowitz, Benedetti, and the others. Actually, characters like these along with what they do and say tend to get under your skin and go where you go whether it’s at the computer, on a long walk, brushing your teeth, or in my case playing Pickleball. That’s what happens during nineteen drafts and before you ever think about sending out your first query.

 

 

I will end this post with one more observation which might make you think I’m smoking something even stronger than California-grown marijuana (which I don’t smoke, incidentally). I’ve discovered that by being a writer of fiction, especially novels and short stories, you are about as close to being a god as one can possibly be. Think about it. You create your own version of heaven and hell and earth (even the cosmos in some cases). Well maybe not in seven days. You create your characters, their looks, their personalities, their likes and dislikes. You give them health and wealth … or not; you even read their minds; and you kill them off … or not based on your plan, your god-given plot. If that’s not a description of the Almighty I don’t know what is.

 

So, if you’re reading this and wanting to write the great American novel … and be God, just remember you won’t be alone when you brush your teeth!

 

Title: The Trials of Adrian Wheeler

Author: Steve Shear

Genre: Fiction, Military, PTSD

 

Book Blurb:

Marine Private Adrian Wheeler, accused of murdering Iraqi women and children, arrived home to face nothing less than: An unrelenting father who cajoled him into enlisting, PTSD, sexual Inadequacy, a sensational court-martial trial, a sister with HIV. He returned from Baghdad and the Iraq war disabled and disillusioned an amputee with a bad knee. His brother, John Mike, didn’t return at all. Both participated in a reconnaissance mission seeking proof Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, WMDs, a mission that tragically failed, a mission in which innocent women and children died along with John Mike and other combatants. As the sole survivor, Adrian carried the details of that trauma deep within his subconscious, and often drank himself unconscious in hopes of hiding from the visitors who came in his sleep; his domineering father, a retired Vietnam veteran, and Rachael, the girl he left behind. In his mental state and physical condition, he did everything he could to avoid her—and the couch they first made love on before he lost his arm. Just when he began taking control of his life, Adrian was charged with the murder of all those women and children. But did he do it? Could it have been John Mike? Or possibly an insurgent? Adrian’s only hope was to get beyond his trauma and recall the terrible secret buried deep within the cellar of his psyche. That required Rabinowitz (a psychotherapist specializing in PTSD) and Angelo Benedetti (a renowned court-martial defense lawyer) to help him remember—and to convince the court he was innocent—whether he was or not.

 

The Trials of Adrian Wheeler has been optioned as a movie by a production studio in Los Angeles, Filmed Imagination and Daniel Dreifuss (producer of the Academy Award nominated movie, NO), and the screenplay has been completed.

 

Excerpt:

Private Adrian Wheeler, accused of murdering Iraqi women and children, arrived home to face nothing less than:
 
An unrelenting father who cajoled him into enlisting
PTSD
Sexual Inadequacy
A sensational Court-Martial Trial
A sister with HIV
 
            Adrian returned from Baghdad disabled and disillusioned. His brother, John Mike, didn’t return at all. Both participated in a reconnaissance mission seeking proof Saddam had WMDs, a mission that tragically failed, a mission in which innocent women and children died along with John Mike and other combatants. As the sole survivor (or so he thought), Adrian carried the details of that trauma deep within his subconscious, and often drank himself unconscious in hopes of hiding from the visitors who came in his sleep; his domineering father, a retired Vietnam veteran, and Rachael, the girl he left behind. In his mental state and physical condition, he did everything he could to avoid her—and the couch they first made love on before he lost his arm.
 
            Just when he began taking control of his life, Adrian was charged with the murder of all those women and children. But did he do it? Could it have been John Mike? Or possibly an insurgent? Adrian’s only hope was to get beyond his trauma and recall the terrible secret buried deep within the cellar of his psyche. That required Rabinowitz (a psychotherapist specializing in PTSD) and Angelo Benedetti (a renowned court-martial defense lawyer) to help him remember—and to convince the court he was innocent.
 
Throughout much of his young life, Adrian looked after John Mike—a promise he made to Ma on her deathbed even though Adrian was only twelve years old at the time. Years later, that promise compelled him to protect his brother’s good name, consciously and subconsciously, throughout most of the trial. But his devotion to Daisy, his sister, and her fight with HIV finally drove Adrian to face up to Pa and break his promise to Ma.

 

Buy it now:

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/Trials-Adrian-Wheeler-Steve-Shear-ebook/dp/B00HTP5LY4

 

Amazon CA https://www.amazon.ca/Trials-Adrian-Wheeler-Steve-Shear-ebook/dp/B00HTP5LY4

 

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Trials-Adrian-Wheeler-Steve-Shear-ebook/dp/B00HTP5LY4

 

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21125822-the-trials-of-adrian-wheeler

 

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Author Biography:

The Trials of Adrian Wheeler was my first published novel (L&L Dreamspell, 2011). It was awarded runner-up in the San Francisco Book Festival 2015.

 

Filmed Imagination of Los Angeles and Daniel Dreifuss (producer of the Academy Award nominated film NO) took a film option on The Trials of Adrian Wheeler. FI hired Erik Wolter, an established screenwriter, to write the screenplay and FI is now looking for partners to produce the movie. Erik and I have collaborated on a sequel to the screenplay, Justice for All.

 

My wife, Susan, and I also collaborated on The State vs. Max Cooper and The Steele Deal (published by ArtAge Publications), courtroom plays in which the audience serves as the jury. Both are being produced around the country. I have found one review of Max Cooper based on its performance at the James Downing Theatre in Chicago (http://www.chicagonow.com/count-gregulas-crypt/2013/05/theater-review-youre-the-jury-the-state-vs-max-cooper-the-james-downing-theatre/).

 

In addition to the Fountain of Youth, I have three novels that have recently been completed: The First Coming, An Eye for an Eye, and The Click. I am presently collaborating with Erik Wolter on a screenplay based on The Click.

 

I have been writing poetry for over fifteen years and am also a portrait and figure artist and sculptor, having been represented by a number of galleries in Denver and Boulder, Colorado. I am presently represented on line by Vango Art.

 

 

Social Media Links:

Website http://www.steveshear.net/

 

Twitter @Steveshearbooks

 

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/steve.shear.967

 

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/steve-shear-80a03727/

Is It Serendipity…or Magic? @LiviaQuinn Visits A Haunted Jail #paranormal #MoonlightMagic #IARTG


BloodMoon_Medium

 

Is it serendipity…or magic?

 

You’ve heard that saying “when the lesson is needed the teacher will appear” or something like that. Well, one of the things I find fascinating about writing is the way things just fall into place with characters, plots — even settings. It really seems like magic, like the universe is one big creative mind that delivers when you ask, and even when you don’t.

 

When I was nearly finished with my current release, Blood Moon, which is up for preorder in the Moonlight Magic Collection, one of the main characters in my series, Jack Lang, former fighter pilot and newly turned Phoenix dragon was about to be captured.

 

I needed someplace close to my fictional town of Destiny near my fictional Louisiana lake that would be strong, inescapable. I thought — something like an old rusted, heavily barred French prison. My critique partner said, “Google it. Louisiana has a lot of old jails and prisons from their Spanish and French history.” So I did.

 

LQ LA

 

And Oh. My! What I found. If you see where Storm Lake is in the southern central part of the state, see the red star northwest of Destiny? That’s Beauregard Parish.

 

Now I have to digress for a second. I had Jack in this obscure prison/barred cell – I hadn’t really gotten the plot together for this scene yet, and I’d been thinking what if I could have some kind of cool paranormal element to it?

 

After all, the book takes place near the Blood Moon on Halloween, a “Spirit night” when the veil is thin between the worlds and it’s easier to…cross.

 

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Well! Imagine my joy when just northwest of Destiny I found an old jail called the Gothic or Hanging Jail, abandoned for the last thirty years with a rich haunted history. It’s called the Gothic Jail because the architect wanted it to be one of a kind with it gothic architecture, inside and out. Is it creepy looking or what!

 

The bars have a unique ridged edge, the cells are heavily built with not only a heavy barred door but a massive vault like second door. There were no recess areas or yards in which to exercise. The women were housed in cells down the hall from the men but they were only able to hear each other, not touch. The cells were unique in the industry with their own window, lavatory, toilet and shower.  Each prisoner was given a blanket and a thin mattress to cover the metal bed slats.  And get this, if you’re in Beauregard Parish around Halloween you can pay $10 (per victim) and be a part of their Halloween Night. But expect to stand in line. Last year they pulled in 10,000 people!

 

Adjacent to the courthouse, the prisoners were sometimes led straight from their sentencing through an underground tunnel and straight up the spiral stair case of the jail, another of its signature features.

 

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Each floor of cells splits off from the center spiral stairs and you can see from the main stairwell, the thickness of the concrete walls, the heaviness of the cell bars and at the top a beam from which the “hanging sheriff” served up the sentence on two of his prisoners back in 1928. You can see the bar at the top of the spiral stairs in this photo. Imagine having the only way into the cells (or out) being those uneven spiral stairs…

 

The gothic style window (below) is in the upper floor where the trustees were kept.

 

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Now here’s the best part! It’s called the Hanging Jail and is so interesting to ghosters because the ghost of the sheriff or his prisoners have been seen and heard on many occasions at the jail.

 

The picture below was akin to death row, as if any of the cells were easy to escape, this one was meant to be absolutely escape proof with the heavy vault doors. The death cell. The perfect place for my villain to keep Jack.

 

 

I wanted to see this place for myself but it wasn’t open for viewing. Then a month before I finished the book I heard they’d opened it for touring and four of us went down to see it. One of my friends recorded a sound in one of the rooms when she was alone. She has a history with ghosts so I don’t doubt her but I didn’t want to go back and listen for myself. She and her sister want to go back for the sleep-in night. Right!

 

As you can see, It was like magic, the way it all fell together. The proximity to Destiny, the cool features of the jail, its history and the paranormal aspect as well as our timely visit.

 

And that’s where Jack met the Hanging Sheriff…

 

Excerpt:

The figure that materialized in front of Jack was dressed in unrelieved black, from his hat to his boots, a Pinkerton style suit coat over a black button up shirt. He leaned against the heavy metal bars near the chain that supported the metal bed slats and pulled on his scruffy beard. “You ain’t never heard of the Hangin’ Sheriff?”

Jack frowned, No, but perhaps he shouldn’t admit it to this…what was he? “Are you… real?”

The man, who appeared to be in his 50s, though Jack couldn’t be sure, bent over at the waist and slapped his knees with a guffaw. “Real, he asks.” He laughed until tears should have been streaming down his wrinkled cheeks, but weren’t, then he wiped his eyes of the nonexistent tears and shook his head. “What kind of sheriff are you, Lang? Why, I’m dead, son, a ghost. A specter. I like that term better ma’self.”

If Jack had encountered this man¾ghost¾earlier in the year he would’ve called it a hallucination, a mirage, or possibly he might have suspected a reaction to some over-the-counter meds, but these days… hell, a ghost, as surprises went, registered only a one on his Destiny shock-o- meter.

“No, sir. I have to say this is a first. I’m glad to meet you unless you’re here to carry out your specialty.” Jack looked over at the dumbwaiter, the rope that might have been used for hanging his inmates still tied to the bars and draping down into the shaft.

“Whatcha lookin’ at? Cripes, boy. I ain’t gonna hang ya. I’m here to help you escape.”

Jack’s heart thumped hard. “You have a key? I can’t touch –”

“Yeah, yeah. I been watching.” The sheriff scratched his cheek.

Jack’s eyebrows rose. He hadn’t sensed him even a little.

His companion laughed again, this time, it was kind of a crazy laugh. “You can’t see me unless I wantcha to. Understand?” He squinted up at Jack, his chin jutting forward. “You’re one of them dragons, aren’t you?”

“Yes, sir.” The sir probably wasn’t necessary but Jack figured he’d get further with respect, even well…under these circumstances.

“Then you probably know about Halloween, about the open door and all? Normally, I wait until the 31st to make an appearance, but see, I figured, if I was to wait, you’d be a hung sheriff.” He slapped his thighs again. “He-he-he. Get it?” He pointed to himself, “Hanging sheriff?” then at Jack and winked, “Hung sheriff.”

“So, you can just pop in whenever you want?” Jack asked, ignoring the ghost’s gallows humor.

“Nah, it’s because of that danged moon¾all about the Blood Moon over here, ya know? Makes it easier, lengthens…” His eyebrows crashed down and he rubbed his chin, squinted one eye closed then looked up at the ceiling. Jack followed his gaze but saw only… more concrete. “Lengthens the t…tie¾what do they call it on Facebook?”

“Timeline.” Jack frowned. “You’re on Facebook?”

“No, are you crazy? I’m a ghost, see?” He pushed his hand into Jack’s torso startling him, but he didn’t feel anything. “Weren’t have no way to peck on a phone. It’s handy though. I can read over somebody’s shoulder and stay…uhh…”

“Current?” Jack offered.

“Right, but that moon makes everything amp… stronger and stretches out that timeline, so we can cross early.” He held out his hands by his sides as if to say, ‘And Voila. Here I be.’

Jack shook his head. Why was he conversing with someone who was admittedly… dead? Still, he asked, “How long have you been here?” Maybe if he showed a little interest in the sheriff’s history, which he seemed proud of, it would lock in his inclination to help.

He studied the ghost in black. On the left lapel of his coat hung a six-pointed star. It read Sheriff – Beauregard Parish. Now he remembered. He’d read about the jailor when researching his move from Memphis to Louisiana.

This hellhole was what people called the Gothic jail because of its unique architecture. The designer wanted it to be one of a kind with full lavatory facilities, a window in each cell. Prisoners had been marched straight from the courthouse through the tunnel, given a blanket and a mattress and locked up, there to stay until their time was served. No courtyards or recess here.

He’d seen pictures but none of them captured the depression being locked within the thick walls of the place would engender. Advanced bathroom facilities notwithstanding, the ‘bed’ was mere metal slats and the heavy bars spoke loudly, “Escape is impossible.”

The article mentioned its signature feature, the spiral stairs that started at the tunnel entrance. Jack hadn’t noticed the uniqueness of the cell at first, with its toilet, sink and shower, mostly because they were old and filthy and not plumbed. And at the time, he’d been struggling to breathe.

“Them transients were takin’ up parish resources. Weren’t no reason not to go ahead and hang ’em from that there rafter.” The ‘sheriff’ leaned against the sink, picking at his teeth with a piece of metal and pointed to the iron beam outside Jack’s cell.

Jack knew it probably wasn’t wise, but he was curious. “Why help me escape?” The ghost shook his head as if Jack was stupid. “Why, son, you the same as me — a parish sheriff.”

 

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Blood Moon is available for preorder now at only 99cents in the Moonlight Magic box set. So not only do you get Blood Moon but nineteen other great paranormal stories, over 200,000 words.

 

Buy Links: https://www.romancecollections.com/moonlight-magic

 

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Livia Quinn is a DC native who has been transplanted to Louisiana. She lives, writes and is inspired in her Storm Lake series by the culture and weather in the state. She’s published eleven books, six paranormal and five contemporary. A former mail lady, professional singer, plant manager and current business owner, she has stored up many quirky stories to share with her readers. Sign up for her newsletter to receive the first two books in the Destiny Paramortals series free.

 

Connect with Livia here:

Website: http://liviaquinn.com

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You Might Be a #Regency Redneck If… (Christmas Edition) A Guest Post by @LouisaCornell #books


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You Might Be a Regency Redneck If…

Christmas Edition

A Guest Post by Louisa Cornell 

 

I write Regency historical romance because I fell in love with the era at the age of nine, and my love has only grown stronger since. I love the manners, the rules of proper conduct, the elegant clothes (especially men in breeches and boots,) travel in carriages and on horseback, the stately homes, and every aspect of life in this unique period.

 

Be that as it may, I have come to realize there are some aspects of Regency life, even in the most elite portions of society, that would not be amiss in the red plastic cup, mud-bogging, tobacco spitting locale in which I live today. Directions to my house do include the words “Turn off the paved road.”

 

Lest you think I use the term “redneck” as a pejorative, I spent a large portion of my childhood living in mobile homes in the South. My mother’s family were Native American sharecroppers. My father’s family were Pennsylvania coal miners. I know who and what I am. Jeff Foxworthy, the leading expert on the redneck lifestyle, defines it as “a glorious lack of sophistication.” For the purposes of this essay, and in my semi-expert opinion, that is the definition we will use.

 

There are examples of redneck behavior to be found in every race, religion, socio-economic group, and country in the world. I now realize the same is true of every historical era. Rednecks have been with us forever. Even during that most gracious and elegant of times—The Regency.

 

Prove it, you say? I give you a series of Regency Christmas traditions any self-respecting redneck would be happy to call his or her own.

 

Snapdragon

 

Under the heading of a Regency version of “Hey y’all, watch this!” comes the Christmas game of Snapdragon. Raisins and nuts were soaked in brandy in a large shallow bowl. The lights were put out, and the brandy lit. People had to try and grasp a raisin or nut and eat it without burning themselves. The winner was the person who managed to capture and eat the most. I think you’d have to soak me in brandy to get me to try it!

 

Bullet Pudding

 

Another Regency era Christmas game with a redneck flair is bullet pudding. One must have a large pewter dish piled high with flour pushed to a peak at the top. A single bullet is placed at the crest of the “pudding.” Players take turns cutting a slice of the “pudding” with a knife. The person who is slicing the “pudding” when the bullet falls must then put their hands behind their back and poke about in the pile of flour with their nose and chin to find the bullet. Once they find it, they must retrieve it with their mouth. All the while trying desperately not to join their companions in laughter as this will result in flour being inhaled into the mouth and nose. Regardless, the bullet retriever ends up with flour all over his face. Any game played with live ammunition and the promise of someone ending up covered in a mess would be as welcome at a Redneck Christmas as it was at Regency Christmases.

 

There were no Christmas carolers in Regency England. However, wassail groups would go from house to house singing begging songs in the hope of receiving food, drink, and money. Wassail was a mixture of beer, wine, and brandy and was usually served to the singers at each house. Every house. A great many houses before the night was done. I think I’ve seen groups like this around my neighborhood at Christmas-time.

 

Very few houses had our idea of Christmas trees during the Regency. Such decorated Christmas trees were made popular in England by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in the middle of the 19th century. However, trees were not left out of the Regency holidays. On Epiphany Eve, men would gather round a fruit tree, usually in an orchard, with cider and guns. In an ancient ceremony, they would drink to the tree and fire the guns to drive away evil spirits and promote the vigor of the trees. Horn-blowing was an alternative to firing guns. (Sounds like a Regency tail-gating party to me!)

 

Speaking of trees, what could be more fun than a large group of men sent out into the woods to find the largest log possible to burn in the Christmas fireplace? The yule log had to be large enough to burn through the entire twelve days of Christmas. In fact, it had to be large enough to burn through to Twelfth Night and leave enough to be used to light next year’s log. Between the mine is bigger than yours aspects of the hunt for the yule log and the opportunity to show off one’s strength in helping to drag the log home, this Regency Christmas tradition is rife with redneck possibilities.

 

Round out your Regency Christmas outdoor adventures with shooting mistletoe out of the trees (a method used by many Regency bucks) and hanging it about the house in every doorway and dark corner, a Regency version of spin-the-bottle if ever I’ve heard one.

 

Oh, and don’t forget a Christmas dessert for which many families put the ingredients on layaway. K-Mart did not invent the concept. The original Christmas clubs were for families who could not afford to pay for the ingredients for their Christmas pudding all at once. Wives in less affluent households deposited their pennies with their local shopkeepers in order to have the money to purchase those luxury food items necessary for a proper Christmas pudding. And after all of that, said dessert was brought to the table amidst great pomp and ceremony and… set on fire. Anyone who doesn’t believe your average redneck would shout “Hell, yeah!” at the idea of a flaming Christmas dessert has never been to a Christmas barbecue in the South.

 

At the end of Christmas Day, men and women of every age, no matter how strict the rules of society, tend to celebrate this joyous holiday with a bit more exuberance than decorum prescribes. Even Regency ladies and gentlemen, at least during Christmastide, might show “a glorious lack of sophistication.” So should we all!

 

Title: Christmas Revels II: Four Regency Novellas

 

Author: Louisa Cornell

 

Genre: Historical Romance

 

Publisher: Singing Spring Press

 

 

Book Blurb:

 

Let the Revels begin-again! Four new stories with four distinctive voices:

The Vicar’s Christmas – Margaret Trent never needs anything or anyone, but when two London solicitors show up on her doorstep, she needs a hero. Enter Henry Ogden, mild-mannered village vicar. Hardly the stuff of heroes… until adversity brings out unexpected talents.

A Christmas Equation – A chance meeting between a reluctant viscount and a self-effacing companion revives memories of their shared past-a time when they were very different people. With secrets to keep, Sarah Clendenin wishes Benjamin Radcliff gone… but he’s making calculations of his own.

Crimson Snow – A trail of blood drops leads Jane Merrywether to a wounded stranger-the only person standing in the way of her wicked guardian becoming an earl. John Rexford, long-thought dead, has returned to claim his inheritance and his promised bride… if he can survive a murderous Christmas.

A Perfectly Unregimented Christmas – After years at war, Viscount Pennyworth returns to his ancestral home to find some peace and quiet and to avoid the holiday he loathes. But four naughty boys, a bonnet-wearing goat, a one-eyed cat, a family secret, and one Annabelle Winters, governess, make this a Christmas he’ll never forget.

 

Christmas in July Fete Sackful of Giveaways:

 

Grand Prize: $75 USD Amazon Gift Card

$5 Amazon gift card and a 1940’s style hair wrap

(plus more prizes…)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/92db77506/?

Open Internationally

Starts July 1, 2017 12:01 am EST and ends August 1, 2017 12:00 am EST

 

Buy Links:

Amazon – http://a.co/4ogrKbC

 

Apple iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/christmas-revels-ii-four-regency/id1047951334?mt=11

 

Barns and Nobles – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/christmas-revels-ii-hannah-meredith/1122771468?ean=9781942470007

 

Kobo – https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/christmas-revels-ii-four-regency-novellas

 

Print – https://www.createspace.com/5739761

 

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Author Biography:

 

Louisa Cornell read her first historical romance novel, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, at the age of nine. This inspired her to spend the next three years of her young life writing the most horrible historical romance novel ever written. Fortunately, it has yet to see the light of day. As Louisa spent those three years living in a little English village in Suffolk (Thanks to her father’s Air Force career.) it is no surprise she developed a lifelong love of all things British, especially British history and Regency-set romance novels. (And Earl Grey tea!)

During those same three years, Louisa’s vocal talent was discovered. Her study of music began at the London College of Music and continued once she returned to the States. After four music degrees and a year of study at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, Louisa was fortunate enough to embark on a singing career in opera houses in Germany, Austria, and most of Eastern Europe.

Now retired from an active career in opera, Louisa has returned to her first love – writing Regency-set historical romance. Two of her novellas have appeared in CHRISTMAS REVELS anthologies, A PERFECTLY DREADFUL CHRISTMAS and A PERFECTLY UNREGIMENTED CHRISTMAS .  A PERFECTLY DREADFUL CHRISTMAS was the 2015 Winner of the Holt Medallion Award for outstanding literary fiction in a romance novella. Her first full-length novel, LOST IN LOVE, has recently been published and is available widely.

Two-time Golden Heart finalist, three time Daphne du Maurier winner, and three time Royal Ascot winner, Louisa is a member of RWA, SMRWA and the Beau Monde Chapter of RWA. She lives in LA (Lower Alabama) with a Chihuahua so grouchy he has been banned from six veterinary clinics, several perfectly amiable small dogs, and a cat who terminates vermin with extreme prejudice.

 

Social Media Links:

http://onelondonone.blogspot.com/ http://www.louisacornell.com/
https://twitter.com/LouisaCornell
https://www.facebook.com/RegencyWriterLouisaCornell
https://www.facebook.com/louisa.cornell
https://www.pinterest.com/louisacornell/

           

 

 

 

Writing Medical Mysteries: The Rules by @LinWilder #amwriting #writing #WriterWednesday


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Photo credit: Big Stock Photos

 

 

When we start writing fiction, whether writing medical mysteries, romance, erotica or any of the rapidly increasing list of fictional genres, we expect a set of rules. After all, we’ve been taught to follow the rules ever since we were preschoolers.  That’s a good thing. Because all writers need to adhere to the basics of grammar, coherence, clarity. And for writers of medical mysteries, intrigue, surprise and suspense are paramount.

 

But in the now ten years that I have been writing fiction, the way I conceive of rules has changed. I think there are a set of rules which work for beginning novelists. But not too long afterward those rules must be unlearned. And last, there is a regimen, a critical routine which must be followed, even for the very experienced. Hence, we can approach the of writing medical mysteries in three phases.

 

Rules for the Novice Writer

 

By far, the primary maxim for someone who has decided she wants to write a medical mystery is to be clear about why. “I’ve always been told I write well.” Or, “Writing a novel is on my bucket list.” Or, “I think I’d like to be a writer,” won’t cut it.

 

  • Consider what your real goal is. Money? Fame? Recognition? Become another Gillian Flynn (author of Gone Girl, the book and the movie, Paula Hawkins, author of Girl on the Train, the book and movie) or Andy Weir (self-published author of The Martian, the book and the movie?) Be brutally honest here. And if these are the reasons, think again about why you want to engage in what one publisher has called The 10 Awful Truths About Book Publishing.

 

  • Lest you think that the former is meant to deter you from your dream, quite the contrary. My reasons for suggesting that you journey deep inside before you begin are from personal experience and are said to mitigate disappointment once you are finished. When the book is done and the awards do or do not trickle in, our feelings are generally a mixture of relief, pride in the accomplishment mixed with a bit of sorrow: “What do I do now?” “What’s the next act?” Simply said, the best part of any huge undertaking is the journey: the process, the challenge, learning, the highs and yes, the lows. It’s never the kudos, awards or the recognition, no matter how trivial or huge.

 

  • Make sure you like your story and your characters. You’ll be living with them in your head and on your computer for a long time. Although it is possible to get a book written and published in thirty days or less, I would not recommend following the directions of someone who promises this. The chaos in the formerly bounded book publishing business has attracted all kinds of people, some of whom you would not want to have dinner -or even a drink with. If the claim sounds impossible, it most likely is.

 

  • Write about what you know. I spent more than the first half of my life in academic medicine. I grew up with interns, residents, and all the associated paraphernalia of the teaching hospital. For me, then, writing a medical mystery was a natural. Although expertise in your chosen subject matter is not essential- it is fiction, after all, our readers can tell when we write from our own experience. It makes itself evident and therefore far more believable.

 

  • This is your story. Although your editor may be excellent in the technique of writing, you are the artist. You see the characters, hear their voices and know them…they become part of you. Of course, you would not consider publishing your book without hiring an editor, the boundaries between him and you must be distinct. If not, you risk losing essential components of your story.

 

There are far more tips than there is room here so if you will forgive the self-promotion, here are five more tips that may be useful to those of you considering writing your first novel.

 

Now That You Have Learned Them, Dump All the Rules

 

“John, I know you were a Marine, therefore you love rules. The rule you need to remember here is that there are no rules.”

My husband is a psychologist and told me about this simple piece of advice from the head nurse of an inpatient psychiatric unit where he was working as an intern. That nurse’s statement informed the more than twenty-five years that John worked as a psychologist with combat veterans. With many of his clients, particularly the suicidal ones, breaking the established rules was axiomatic in helping these men get their lives back.

Writing is exactly like that. The most important rule for a writer is to know-and believe- that there are no rules. One of my favorite quotes on this subject is attributed to Somerset Maugham. “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

 

However, there are a few myths or rules about writing which live on despite their falsity. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Excellent novelists are miserable, unhappy neurotics, on a good day.  One of the numerous reasons that I stuck with writing non-fiction for so much of my life is that I bought into this myth completely. The writers I loved as a young English major were either alcoholics, suicidal or psychotic. Think F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Ezra Pound. The cost of writing my novel would be too great. And then the dream slid to the back burner as the responsibilities of life accelerated.

 

My first book was arduous. Mainly because I believed that it would only be good if writing it was, an endurance test. Therefore, I made it so. Like any work worth doing, writing a first novel is worth doing poorly. My first novel was replete with problems which were corrected in the second edition.

 

But the subsequent four books have been a totally different experience. Certainly, hard work but not arduous. At times, fun. True because of the joy of getting—really describing a new character is such a high. Like an extremely challenging character so because he is totally out of your frame of reference. Like an assassin who became my favorite character in my third and fourth books.

 

  • To complete a book, you must schedule times and a place for writing it. And consistently adhere to that schedule. I don’t have a writing schedule. Nor do I have a specific place to write. Certainly, when I am approaching a deadline, like now, my writing schedule might be most of my waking hours or as much of them as I can devote to it. But other things interrupt-husbands, kids, holidays, life. As they should.

 

Perhaps because I’ve worked for myself for over fifteen years, the challenge of working from home is a norm for me. And grabbing a few hours here and there to write doesn’t drive me crazy. Anymore.

 

  • Beware of writer’s block. There is no such thing as writer’s block. Rather I think it’s fear. The assassin I mentioned earlier is a great example. Because I found this brand-new character intimidating, I was afraid of him. And knew I needed to take time, a lot more time than I normally do. And wrote him differently. I kept going back to read and re-read sentences and paragraphs sometimes taking days or a couple of weeks off before returning. Until finally, he had flesh and muscle. I could see him, even understand, how he got there: A killer for hire.

                   

                       Essential Regimen for All Writers, Novice or Experienced

 

  • When Not Writing, Read. Assuming we want each book to be better than the last, then we must read other writers interpretation of characters and story lines. Read better writers than you are. Why? Because that is how we learn- it is how they learned.

 

  • When not writing your novel, write anyway. I do a weekly blog and have for years because I enjoy writing non-fiction. If you don’t want the tedium of writing a blog, then use a journal or diary. Writing is no different from any other discipline. The more we do it, the better we get.

 

  • Exercise. There is no better antidote to a character who has you in a corner than going for a run. Or to the gym. Or a hike in the mountains. We writers are a sedentary lot, the body part we work the hardest is our brain. Once the sweat begins to pour down your face, it is remarkable how easily we can solve a plot problem or dismiss a poor review. Or decide to walk away for a day or a week.

 

  • Eat Reasonably Healthy Meals. Although junk food is tempting and yes, okay at times, if all we are feeding those remarkably efficient brain cells are carbs and sugar, our stories will suffer. None of us can create excellence without respecting and caring for our bodies.

 

  • Get 8 hours Sleep at Minimum. Insomnia is one of the most common health problems in the US. Costing billions annually in illness, accidents and accidents, good writers cannot afford to be sleep deprived.

 

 

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Title: A Price for Genius

Author: Lin Wilder

Genre: Medical Thriller

 

Book Blurb:

Dr. Lindsey McCall’s worst fears are realized. Not only have both drugs been stolen but two women have been kidnapped- one maybe dead. Lindsey had known Liisa Reardon’s new drug was alchemy, only this time, the end product actually more precious than gold.

 

The desperate call from Hank Reardon in Switzerland came late at night causing too many questions. And no answers. Could Lindsey and Rich Jansen uncover who was behind the crimes? It was an inside job-could they figure out who had sold out the Reardons? All in time to save Reardon’s daughter and her chief tech Ariana? Were they risking their lives as well?

 

The evil words smolder in her mind, the contents of the letter delivered to Hank Reardon

 

Hello Mr. Reardon,

By the time you get this letter, it will be too late. We’ll already have her.

Here are the steps you must not take:

  • Do not call the cops.
  • Do not contact the FBI
  • Tell no one.
  • We’ll know if you or the FBI. We’ll and we’ll kill her instantly.

You must know Sir, there is a price for genius. We trust you will pay it if you want to see your daughter alive.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/Price-Genius-Lin-Wilder-ebook/dp/B01MG5JLBI

Amazon CA https://www.amazon.ca/Price-Genius-Lin-Wilder-ebook/dp/B01MG5JLBI

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Price-Genius-Lin-Wilder-ebook/dp/B01MG5JLBI

 

Lin Wilder

 

Author Biography:

Lin Weeks Wilder has published dozens of articles, wrote a textbook, and has written four self-help books. Lin has written three medical thrillers situated in Houston, Texas where Lin worked for over 23 years.

 

The Fragrance Shed by a Violet, the sequel Do You Solemnly Swear? and the third in her series, A Price for Genius. The story of the return to faith, Finding the Narrow Road was an unplanned surprise. In her free time, Lin Wilder enjoys hiking, listening to beautiful music, gardening and last but certainly not least, reading. Lin is married to a former Marine and psychologist with 25 years of experience counseling ex- combat veterans. They reside in Nevada with their two dogs.

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lincwilder?ref=hl

Twitter https://twitter.com/LinWilder

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/linwilder

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/linwilder

About Me https://about.me/lin.wilder

Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Dr.-Lin-Wilder/e/B007L380OM

 

There’s Magic in a Kiss: Guest Post by USA Today Bestseller @RuthACasie #kiss #romance #MFRWAuthor


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Close your eyes and imagine the perfect kiss. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Got the picture set in your mind? Good.

 

Believe it or not a kiss requires 34 facial muscles and 112 postural muscles. The facial muscles are a given but postural? I’m serious. 112 muscles that relate to your posture are also involved. Of all these 11 muscles the most important is the orbicularis oris muscle, which is used to pucker your very sensitive lips. It’s your kissing muscle. We’re not talking about French kissing where your tongue, also a muscle, is the primary player. I’ll save that for another guest post.

 

kiss 2

 

Kissing has many health benefits. Affection in general has stress-reducing effects. Kissing in particular reduces stress which increases relationship satisfaction and lowers cholesterol. And it doesn’t stop there. Kissing can also encourage the release epinephrine and norepinephrine (adrenaline and noradrenaline) into the blood which will cause an adrenaline rush and increased cardiovascular activity. That’s why when you kiss that certain someone your heart races off. See, it’s magic.

 

There are also a lot of different types of kisses:

  • Romantic Kisses are an important expression of love and erotic emotions. This kiss is not only about lips touching lips. This kiss requires some intimacy.
  • Affectionate Kisses express feelings closeness without the erotic element and symbolize loyalty, gratitude, compassion, sympathy, intense joy, and profound sorrow.
  • Ritual Kisses are formal, symbolic or indicate devotion, and respect. We see this type of kiss in the wedding ceremony when the bride and groom kiss. We also see this type of kiss when national leaders meet.
  • Kiss of Peace demonstrates deep spiritual devotion. It was used in the early Catholic Church and also in secular festivities. In the Middle Ages the kiss of peace sealed the agreement with enemies. Even knights kissed each other before they went into combat-a way of forgiving each other all their wrongs.
  • Kiss of Respect was reverent and has an ancient origin. This kiss represents a mark of fealty, humility and reverence. The kiss on the forehead considered a ‘kiss of homage’ showed utmost respect.
  • Kiss of Friendship is used in America and Europe as a greeting between friends. Once only between women, today it is not uncommon to see a man kiss in greeting.

 

 

Ancient cultures threw kisses to the sun and to the moon, as well as to the images of the gods. Persians were the first to kiss the hand. Here are some different kinds of kisses from various cultures:

 

  • In Ancient Rome and some modern Pagan beliefs, worshipers, when passing the statue or image of a god or goddess, will kiss their hand and wave it towards the deity.
  • The holy kiss or kiss of peace is a traditional part of most Christian liturgies, though often replaced with an embrace or handshake today in Western cultures.
  • In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, not Luke or John, Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. This is the basis of the term “the kiss of Judas”.
  • Catholics will kiss rosary beads as a part of prayer, or kiss their hand after making the sign of the cross. It is also common to kiss the wounds on a crucifix, or any other image of Christ’s Passion.
  • Pope John Paul II would kiss the ground on arrival in a new country.
  • Visitors to the Pope traditionally kiss his foot.
  • Catholics traditionally kiss the ring of a cardinal or bishop.
  • Catholics traditionally kiss the hand of a priest.
  • Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Christians often kiss the icons around the church on entering; they will also kiss the cross and/or the priest’s hand in certain other customs in the Church, such as confession or receiving a blessing.
  • Hindus sometimes kiss the floor of a temple.
  • Local lore in Ireland suggests that kissing the Blarney Stone will bring the gift of the gab.
  • Jews will kiss the Western wall of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and other religious articles during prayer such as the Torah, usually by touching their hand, prayer shawl, or prayer book to the Torah and then kissing it. Jewish law prohibits kissing members of the opposite sex, except for spouses and certain close relatives.
  • Muslims may kiss the Black Stone during Hajj-their pilgrimage to Mecca.

 

 

This is all very nice but dare you tell me what type of kiss you really like best?

 

 Escapes

 

Title Second Chance by the Sea (Timeless Escapes Box Set)

Author Ruth A. Casie

Genre Contemporary Romance

Publisher Timeless Scribes Publishing

 

Book Blurb

Married for ten years, a couple at odds find their marriage was never registered. Will an impending disaster be the final straw that breaks them up or will it rekindle their love and send them back to the altar for a second chance?

 

Teaser  

 

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Buy Links

Buy e-Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Buy Print: Amazon

 

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RUTH A. CASIE is a USA Today bestselling author of swashbuckling action-adventure time-travel romance about strong empowered women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. Her Druid Knight novels have both finaled in the NJRW Golden Leaf contest. The Guardian’s Witch, part of the Stelton Legacy series was a Reader’s Crown Finalist. Ruth also writes contemporary romance in the Havenport series with enough action to keep you turning pages. Ruth lives in New Jersey with her husband, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she started writing time travel romance, she was a speech therapist, international bank product and marketing manager, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing time travel romance. For more information, please visit www.RuthACasie.com or visit her on Facebook, @RuthACasie, Twitter, @RuthACasie, or Pinterest RuthACasie.

 

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Shattering Truths by @KyrianLyndon Blog Tour: #GuestPost + #Giveaway! #books




 

Shattering Truths
Kyrian Lyndon
(Deadly Veils, #1)
Publication date: January 30th 2017
Genres: Suspense, Young Adult

 

She was left fighting her demons alone . . .

 

For sixteen-year-old Danielle DeCorso, the old house in Glastonbury was an eerie place to grow up. Coping with mental health challenges exacerbated by a traumatic family dynamic, Danielle watches from the window for two men in a dusty black sedan who keep circling the house and harassing her with phone calls. The two predators drugged her and her cousin, Angie, and then lured them from Pleasure Beach in Bridgeport to a secluded cottage on Long Beach West. She remembers feeling dizzy, the room spinning. She recalls screaming, crying, fighting, and then slipping in and out of consciousness. Angie, however, has no recollection of the incident.

 

When Danielle attempts to jog Angie’s memory and convince their best friend, Farran, that the two strangers had victimized them, no one seems to believe her. Alone in her pain, Danielle remains guarded, obsessed, and withdrawn. Soon she is sinking deeper into a tumultuous world of adolescent isolation and change. Grief, guilt, and anger send her spiraling into an even darker place.

 

Tormented by terrifying nightmares, she fears she will lose her sanity, or possibly her soul. Is she having post-traumatic stress hallucinations, as one of her friends suggest, or are her recurring nightmares as real as they seem? Trapped in an unyielding emotional bondage, Danielle continues the fight to reclaim her power. Startling revelations awaken her newfound spirit, inspiring a once naïve girl to grow into a woman of defiance and courage.

 

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IN THE DIMMEST LIGHT: A Guest Post

I wake up at four a.m. every day, including weekends and holidays, and write for hours. It starts with nothing more than a 40-watt amber-shade lamp lit in the darkest hours, where I can see the moon outside my window. The focus is intense. It is light before long.

 

Creating characters and the worlds they live in began as a childhood obsession. I wrote down names then added descriptions, developing their stories by continuing to add details. I had no idea why I did this at the time. My parents worried for a while. They relaxed a bit as I went on to write fairy tales and poems. When I wrote my first novel at 16, I used parts of those descriptions.

 

I held many jobs since then – secretary, assistant book manufacturing representative, assistant to the casting director, computer system administrator, and paralegal/legal assistant. One summer, I was shooting photos for a model’s portfolio. Another day I’d be chatting with musicians about putting a band together. My ego was insatiable, so I was all over the place, wanting to do everything. I told myself, all I want to do is write while being sidetracked at every turn.

 

Life went on, rife with challenges, full of adventures. I roamed the darkest corners to learn about the world and myself. Setbacks knocked me down. I would get up eventually and find my way again.

 

More and more so, I began telling my story in the novels I wrote. I became so immersed in the reality of it, I would not steer off its course long enough to let my imagination truly come alive. I started over several times until I realized I didn’t sign on for this to tell my story. A storyteller can tell any story she wants, and so I was back on track.

 

To be fair, I learned about the book publishing process working in publishing. I chased down literary agents, got a press kit, and formed a writer’s club. I continued to educate myself about writing. I subscribed to the relevant publications. I contributed to an anthology, had letters published. There were assignments and proposals I turned down wanting to be true to myself and the integrity of my work. I was devoted to mastering my craft.

 

I realize, too, I’d been busy healing. It was necessary for me to find the courage to free myself of belief systems that kept me in bondage. Until we fully heal, we remain in bondage to something or another and prone to all kinds of obsession. Disentangling from all that is a painful process and a lot of work but well worth it. Past turmoil is the baggage we can carry forever or make lighter and less cumbersome by checking it.

 

Perhaps it’s different for everyone, but the process is the same. It is discovering what you do not want nor want to be; who or what impedes you; who and what strengthens you. Learning to trust your instincts is essential. If I couldn’t do that as a human being, I surely could not do it as a writer.

 

In the healing process, I got a much-needed downsizing of ego. I went from “needing” attention to shying away from it with a reluctance to put myself out there. I am a firm believer that when it comes to extremes, neither extreme is right. It had to be somewhere in the middle. It’s been all about balance for me.

 

Becoming a parent along the way helped. It is a rare and unconditional love, and love of that magnitude motivates you to be the best person you can ever hope to be. It lifts you out of victimhood and allows you to live as the empowered hero in your own heart and to set the example.

 

Today I feel the greatest gift I have to give anyone is a true and genuine heart. That means questioning my intentions and, if necessary, correcting my steps.

 

Now, with a clear view of the story I want to tell, I’ve been busy incorporating my past novels into a series that could be six to eight books and possibly more. I have outlined and drafted the series and am in the process of finalizing.

 

I’m grateful to have a passion, something I love to do, and get to spend time doing every day – a joy that saves me, always.

 

© Copyright July 14, 2014 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

 

 

Author Bio:

 

Kyrian Lyndon is the author of Shattering Truths, the first book in her Deadly Veils series. She has also published two poetry collections, A Dark Rose Blooms, and Remnants of Severed Chains. Kyrian began writing short stories and fairy tales when she was just eight years old. In her adolescence, she moved on to poetry. At sixteen, while working as an editor for her high school newspaper, she wrote her first novel, and then completed two more novels at the ages of nineteen and twenty-five.

 

Born and raised in Woodside, Queens, New York, Kyrian was the middle of three daughters born to immigrants —her father from Campochiaro, Italy; her mother from Havana, Cuba. She has worked primarily in executive-level administrative positions with major New York publishing companies. She resides on Long Island in New York.

 

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What’s Love Got to Do With It? @LiviaQuinn Says Everything! #romance #FridayReads #books


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Oh oh oh, what’s love got to do with it, got to do with it? In the case of romance, everything!

 

 

One of the reasons romance is the most popular genre in the world is the emotional connection we feel with the hero and heroine as they overcome obstacles to be together. And there’s something for everyone – small town, sweet, contemporary, historical, suspense, thriller, military, erotic, steampunk, paranormal…the list goes on.

 

 

When I read men’s or women’s fiction, while I enjoy the story, I’m not nearly as invested unless there’s a building relationship between the hero and his significant other. With romance, I can enjoy the ride knowing there will be a happily-ever-after, or, in these days of series, at least a happy for now. One of my favorites is a Sandra Brown romance thriller. While I’m not likely to encounter a sexy undercover FBI agent on my doorstep, imagining a happy-ever-after that comes out of the blue is thrilling and makes for a great escape.

 

 

In my book Blame it On the Moon, Sheriff Jack Lang is preparing to fight the supernatural bad guys he hadn’t even known existed a couple weeks before, while his girlfriend, Tempest Pomeroy and others lie fading from the effects of the Para-moon. Everything – their lives, their relationship and the safety of the world beyond Destiny is in the balance. He can’t lose this fight.

 

 

What is your favorite genre of romance and why?

 

 

BlameIOTM web copy

 

Blame it on the Moon Blurb:

It’s the height of the Para-moon and Sheriff Jack Lang is up to his ‘6’ in alligators. Defending those weaker than himself is in his DNA which is what drove him to become a Navy pilot. Who is he kidding? Alligators he could handle! But supernatural bad guys…

 

Ragtag doesn’t begin to describe his band of temporary ’heroes’. If he has to go to war with the group that showed up at dawn, he might as well start cutting up white sheets and attaching them to garden stakes.

 

With Tempe and the other Paramortals ill or incapacitated and the sudden appearance of beings he’s never heard of, will Jack be able to keep Destiny out of the hands of their enemies for the rest of the power down and—very important—keep the humans in the dark?

 

It’s only twenty-four hours. If worse comes to worse, he has a dragon on his side and a few surprises up his sleeve. “Yippe, ki, yi…” But a lot can happen in twenty-four hours and things don’t always go as planned.

 

 

Excerpt:

(Conor and Montana visit the Faerie King)

 

“Oomph!” I sprang to my feet, ready to fight if it was a trick and to give Conor a talking-to but the three were already nearing the porch, leaving me to bring up the rear.

 

I heard the chorus of excited fairies before I made it to the front door.

 

“It’s a dwagon. A weel dwagon,” two seemingly young voices screamed.

 

“He’s beautiful.” That was a low pitched sultry sounding faerie that sent my hackles up.

 

“Mr. Dwagon, can I touch your scales…”

 

“Can you bwiev fire?” Finally, a male voice.

 

The excitement went on until finally, stranded outside the monstrous entrance until I could get someone’s attention I yelled, “Can I get a word in with Petre and Arabella please? We’re on time clock here.”

 

Every face in the Inn— all shapes, sizes, and colors of fairie turned to me and I realized I’d underestimated the race, understanding now, too late, the size of a fairy was of no consequence. Having a twenty-foot tall king was like a colossal diversion. It gave one a feeling of superiority as if there were only two fae who could be a threat when in actuality it was a house full of deadly assassins, who could kill a hundred different ways—each.

 

Even the tiniest pixie seated on Petre’s long narrow leg could probably kill me. This was an entirely magical world and I was out of my depth. The minuscule little fairy on Petre’s knee shivered with the desire to take me on. It was written all over his face from his angry glowing eyes to his posture which was leaning forward from his desire to attack, only Petre’s thumb on his backside keeping him from leaping the distance to my throat.

 

I cleared my throat and tried to scrape up a modicum of humility. I knew what the word meant but like my thoughts earlier on arrogance, I hadn’t had much call for this trait either, and quite frankly hadn’t ever seen a use for it.

 

Conor waited for me to dig myself out of the hole I’d dug. His brow lifted, waiting. Petre looked like he wanted to let the little fairie have his way. Only Arabella looked as if she understood my outburst. She was Tempe’s friend so she knew me by extension of that friendship.

 

I kept my eyes on Bella’s. Was she trying to send me a message? Try a little humble pie.

 

“I… apologize, King, to you and all of your…er…subjects…er, family. I am a warrior and…” The truth will do. I heard the voice in my head and looked back at Arabella who smiled. The truth, right. I started over. “I do apologize. My urgency and warrior nature leaves me little regard for diplomacy. That is something I must learn obviously. May I enter and speak with you about our current crisis? Time really is of the essence.”

 

Conor’s shoulders relaxed and I felt a squeeze of my heart when I saw his swords, which had been lifted a half a foot out of the sheath behind his shoulders, settle back into place at the ready should we need to fight our way out. He smiled at me. It made me feel all gooey inside. Sheesh, these emotions were new, totally new, like never in four hundred years new.

 

Petre’s friendly facade went dark, his face and the musculature in his body changed, the bones nearly protruding through the skin, giving him the appearance of a deadly predator with a long menacing mouthful of razor like teeth. A glance at the other formally cheerful fae revealed similar changes. And the glowing green eyes and household now all looked at me like I was the next course.

 

For the first time in my life I felt a strong compunction to run, not out of fear— Okay, I could admit to a bit of healthy fear—just this once I would have run, though I doubted it would have done any good without my Dinnshencha power. The vamp gave me speed and strength but I was badly outnumbered by a species that were actually superior to vamps in many ways. Good thing I had Conor. I noticed even Petre cut his eyes toward Conor. The desire to eat me must be pretty strong. Better deliver the message before they lost control.

 

“Um, I know you’d prefer to eat me more than listen to me, or divide me up with the clan…”

 

Petre growled, “I don’t share…”

 

I heard Conor swords slip out of their sheaths. Petre’s posture relaxed slightly. “I was asked to inform you of the Chaos and beg your assistance.” Petre’s eyes flared and the view of his teeth became more prominent as he gave what I assumed – that comment seemed to give him particular pleasure.

 

And if birds could be said to roll their eyes, I would swear that’s what Petre’s Queen had aimed in his direction. Then Petre said, “Kneel, vampire.”

 

 

Buy Links:

 Click here books2read Available at all retailers.

 

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About the Author:

Livia Quinn is a DC native who lives by the bayou in Louisiana. She believes in the power of love. To see excerpts from all her books visit https://liviaquinn.com

 

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Blog: https://liviaquinnwrites.com/livias-ramblings

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If I Were… Beautiful by @DevonHartford Blog Tour + Guest Post #NA #Romance #FridayReads


If I Were Beautiful
Devon Hartford
(If I Were…, #1)
Publication date: January 23rd 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Is life better when you’re beautiful?

 

Jane Johnson has tried every beauty tip and trick known to woman, but none of them have ever made men notice her.

 

Until now.

 

Finally, something is working. She barely recognizes herself in the mirror. Is it her new haircut? Two years of yoga class? Her new eyebrow tweeze? Or is it all that nasty wheat grass juice her sister insisted she drink finally working some kind of magic? Whatever it is, something is transforming Jane from plain to downright beautiful.

 

For the first time in her life, men are noticing her.

 

Constantly.

 

Jane is getting so much attention from men she doesn’t know what to do with it.

 

Before her inexplicable transformation, she couldn’t get a date to save her life. Now she has a date every night of the week. Gorgeous eligible men are throwing themselves at her. They’re even fighting over her. Actual fist fights to win her affection.

 

It all seems too good to be true.

 

The only question on Jane’s mind is whether or not her newfound beauty is going to last or if it’s some cruel trick of fate that will fade away as quickly as it appeared.

 

Because everybody knows, when something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

 

***If I Were Beautiful is a saucy romance with a mystical twist that will leave you breathless to find out what happens next. This is book one of a three book series. Book two will release April 2017, Book three, July 2017 (or sooner).

 

 

Mrs. N Asks Devon: Talk about the struggles of writing in a female-dominant industry as a man. (and/or) How do you get into the head of your female main character so well? I’m fascinated by men writing female characters.

 

When I started writing women’s romance eleven books ago, I figured it would be no different from any other kind of fiction writing. It didn’t help that my first series, The Story of Samantha Smith, was set in college, and was as much of a “first year in college” story as it was a romance novel. Obviously, going to college for the first time is something men and women both can relate to for similar reasons. You’re generally on your own for the first time, you’re struggling with balancing your school/work life with having fun (emphasis on the fun part), and most of your peers are single and looking for love (or a hookup). Also, the series heroine Samantha Smith is only 19, and like many people her age, she’s very insecure. Everyone can relate to being insecure at one time or another.

 

It wasn’t until I started writing books set outside of a college environment that I discovered I didn’t know shizz about being a woman.

 

Whoa! Shocker!

 

Sure, men and women both face similar issues like finding love, finding a job, worrying about money, worrying about our loved ones, etc. But we all know men and women also face uniquely different issues. I had no problem writing convincingly about men’s issues. I’ve faced them my entire life. My buddies have faced them too. We talk about them, bitch and moan about them, compare notes, offer suggestions, make observations, and make jokes from an inside perspective.

 

But when it comes to women’s issues, I am absolutely an outsider looking in. I can’t draw from personal experience. I can only draw from other people’s personal experiences. I guess you could say I’ve learned to be like a journalist of sorts. I have to observe women. I have to ask women questions. Lots of questions. Yeah, I’m a good listener. I have to be. I’ll never ever know what it’s like to be a woman in the 21st century unless I pay attention.

 

But that’s just the research part.

 

The hard part is the writing part.

 

You could also compare what I do to being an anthropologist studying and living with another culture, one that is wildly different from your own. At first, the actions, behaviors, mannerisms, all seem completely foreign. Heck, even the language is different. At first, you have no idea what anyone is saying. Eventually, you learn the language, learn the social customs. If you spend enough time living inside a foreign culture, you can probably do a passing good job of behaving like one of them.

 

But they all know, “You’re not from around here.”

 

Sadly, no matter how much studying and observing I do, I’ll always be an outsider when it comes to the ways of women.

 

As for the books, when I’m writing a male character, it’s easy. I can come up with male dialogue and male behavior all day long. I know when it rings true and when it doesn’t. I’ve lived it. I know.

 

But when I’m writing female characters? Forget it. It’s not based on intuition. It’s not based on experience. It’s purely an intellectual exercise. And that’s why I’m constantly second guessing myself.

 

Would a woman do this?

 

Would a woman say that?

 

Would a woman FEEL this or that?

 

I can only guess.

 

I haven’t lived it first hand. I don’t have that internal measuring stick, that automatic sense of what works and what doesn’t. You know that feeling you get when you’re taking a math test and you’re not really sure if you got the answer right? You did all the work, and at the bottom of the page you wrote down an answer. But you don’t know if it’s right or wrong. You have to wait until the teacher grades your paper for you.

 

Thankfully, my beta readers (who are all women) grade my books before I publish them. They’ll point out things that don’t ring true. After eleven books, I tend to get it right most of the time. I’ve done my research and my homework.

 

But the fact remains, what I’ve learned about women through outside observation in my lifetime is a tiny fraction of what every woman learns from living her life day after day after day. Whenever I pick up a romance from a skilled female romance author, especially good romantic comedies written by women, I inevitably read lines that make me laugh out loud, and I end up shaking my head and thinking “That is comedy genius, and I would NEVER have thought of that line. Respect.”

 

I know I’ll always be a student of women.

 

I’ll always be learning.

 

And my readers will always be grading.

 

I’m okay with that.

 

As long as I don’t get a report card, what do I care?

 

Oh wait.

 

I forgot about those pesky book reviews…

 

Too bad they don’t grade on a curve.

 

LOL.

Buy it today:

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Author Bio:

Devon Hartford is a dude who writes romantic comedies because he likes to laugh as much as he likes to love.

 

Join Devon’s newsletter and you’ll receive teasers of his upcoming books before anyone else, exclusive freebie short stories and novellas, and no spam. Copy and paste this link into your web browser to sign up: http://www.devonhartford.com/newsletter/

 

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Author @denaehaggerty Takes on the Difficult Subject of Sexual Assault in Her New Release #books


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Why in the world would I take on the difficult subject of sexual assault?

 

My book plots are often the result of a great (I hope!) opening idea, which my muse forces into my consciousness – usually at 4 a.m. She’s a kickass muse, but she can also be a bit bitchy. For example, with Life Discarded I had a very vague idea of a book about a woman who threw her life away. And then I had a vision of a woman walking away from an explosion erupting behind her (because cool heroes never look back at explosions). I worked the entire book out from that premise. Why an explosion? What could be so terrible that someone would not only walk away from her life but literally burn all her bridges in the process?

 

Self-Serve Murder started the same way. My muse sent me a vision – no doubt at 3 a.m. – of a woman waking up naked with a dead man in her bed having absolutely no clue how she got there and who in the world the man was. But where to go from there?

 

Due to a bizarre set of circumstances, I found myself wandering around the US for a few weeks in June 2016. I was supposed to be living in Istanbul with my husband at the time. Instead I was a vagabond being bombarded with news stories concerning the sentencing for a brutal rape case (People v. Turner). A man was convicted of three felony counts of sexual assault but received a mere six-month jail sentence. He only served three months. Even now, several months after the case first hit the news, I can barely read the news accounts without going into a fit of rage.

 

I don’t even remember making the conscious decision that the murder in Self-Serve Murder would somehow be related to rapes on college campuses. Between the opening scene implanted in my head and the continuous news coverage of the Turner case, ideas just poured out of me. But now I had a big – no, huge – problem. How do I balance the sensitivity involved with sexual assault while maintaining the light humor of my Death by Cupcake series?

 

Self-Serve Murder remains, despite the background theme of college rapes, a murder mystery and I’ve never had a problem with humor and death before. In fact, I was shocked when I was asked how I could combine humor with murder after writing my first murder mystery, Murder, Mystery & Dating Mayhem. I’m a big believer that jokes and smiles can be seamlessly combined with death. Death is, after all, just a part of life. This is perhaps the result of my (dare I say weird?) family who finds it normal to drink unseemly amounts of beer after a funeral and sometimes during the visitation itself while telling inappropriate jokes about the deceased until late in the night (or the hotel tells us to shut it down, whichever occurs first).

 

So, yeah, I think murder can be funny. Just ask anyone who is addicted to BBC crime series that are filled with dry humor and situations so bizarre you’ll start to wonder about those English people. But rape? There’s absolutely, positively nothing funny about this crime of extreme violence. How in the world do I handle this sensitive topic without demeaning the victims of this crime? Maybe I shouldn’t write this novel after all, I thought. I had always planned to make the Death by Cupcake series three books with the final book centered around the bakery worker, Kristie. She doesn’t need to wake up naked with a blank in her memory. I can think of something else.

 

Except I refused. That’s right. I refused. Between living in a country where women are considered second class citizens (trust me, when men universally refuse to shake your hand or even touch you, you feel like there is something wrong with you for having a uterus), watching news reports of the Turner case, and the extremely volatile US presidential election in which sexism became a central theme, I was convinced that rape – now more than ever – is a topic of extreme importance. It needs to be discussed – no matter how uncomfortable that is.

 

And so I trudged on. I researched rape on colleges and the use of the date rape drug. I tried to intersperse facts and figures throughout the novel. Luckily, Callie, one of my heroines and owner of Callie’s Cakes, is a complete nerd who likes to drop trivia whenever she’s nervous or stressed. Therefore, I was able to ‘educate’ my readers without boring them to tears. At least, I hope that’s what happened. Because knowledge is power and, although Self-Serve Murder is a fictional story, the ability to provide even a few readers with important information regarding sexual assault is all I can hope for. And that’s why I decided that I could take on the difficult subject of rape.

 

 self-serve-murder_cover

 

Book title: Self-Serve Murder

Book Series: Death by Cupcake, Book 3 – can standalone

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Humor

Published: December, 2016

 

Synopsis:

Book 3 in the Death by Cupcake series. Can be read as a standalone.

 

Kristie is kind with a capital K, so it’s quite the surprise when she wakes up next to a dead man with no recollection of the previous night. Even worse? She’s naked. Kristie may be a sweetheart out to save the world, but sticking her nose into an investigation of rapes across campus makes her the target of a murderer. Before she knows it, Kristie is smack dab in the middle of a murder investigation with her colleagues Callie and Anna. If that’s not enough to drive a sane person up the wall, a friend has decided he’s going to keep her safe whether she wants him to or not. And, oh yeah, he’s her man and that’s that.

 

Come join us at Callie’s Cakes, where murder investigations are on the menu. You are most welcome, but you may need to serve yourself as our barista Kristie is busy trying to save the world.

 

Warning: Although there are plenty of moments that will make you shake your head and laugh at the antics of the ladies of Callie’s Cakes, the subject matter – rape on college campuses – is very real and somewhat darker than your usual cozy mystery.

 

Excerpt:

I’m wiping down the counters when I get ambushed by Callie and Anna. Callie grabs my arm and together with Anna she pushes me into the corner furthest from the students. “What in the world of coffee beans are you guys up to now?” I cross my arms over my chest to make it perfectly clear that I’m not okay with whatever cockamamie scheme they’ve cooked up now.

 

Anna looks at me and smiles in an obvious but unsuccessful attempt to look innocent. “It’s just that we think it’s time we see the Youth Center where you spend all your time.”

 

Yeah, right. I roll my eyes at her. “You don’t really expect me to believe that you want to see the Youth Center to check out my life’s work.”

 

Callie bobs her head. “We’ve been meaning to go down there for ages.”

 

“Yeah,” Anna jumps in. “Logan always makes it sound like the first circle of hell.”

 

I raise an eyebrow at the troublemaking pixie. Of course, she would want to jump into the first circle of hell. “Most people try to avoid Dante’s Inferno.” I don’t know why I bother trying to dissuade her. She obviously has no fear of things ‘normal’ people avoid like gangs and violence and such. She even admits to starting to fall for Logan before she realized he was an undercover cop.

 

“We just need to make sure we can eliminate anyone from the Youth Center as possible suspects. You know – up close and personally – then we need to find this rapist before he strikes again. The dead guy in your bed was some kind of warning. It’s time to get to the bottom of this.” Callie makes an impassioned speech. I look down but, to my surprise, no soap box has magically appeared under her feet.

 

Unfortunately, Callie is right – as usual. The rapist needs to be found. And this whole thing just got personal. I might have backed off before Friday night since I wasn’t making any progress anyway and my whole knowledge of the rapes was based on rumors. But now that I’ve been roofied and found out about the ten other girls who weren’t as lucky as me? No way I’m bowing out of this investigation now.

 

“I thought you guys promised not to go to the Youth Center.” I make one last ditch effort to keep Callie and Anna safely away from this investigation.

 

“I promised to not go running around. I will definitely not be doing any running.” Anna shakes her head and points at her feet. As if those high-heeled boots would ever stop her from running head-on into turmoil.

 

Callie shrugs. “I never actually said the words ‘I promise’. There’s definitely some kind of loophole there.”

 

“Fine!” I throw my hands in the air in defeat. “We’ll head over in my car after the bakery closes this afternoon.”

 

The dynamic duo immediately jumps up and down before rushing back into the kitchen giggling. And I’m the young one?

 

 

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Self-Serve-Murder-Death-Cupcake-Book-ebook/dp/B01M8K0RYR/

 

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/673189

 

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/self-serve-murder-de-haggerty/1124934721?ean=2940153788715

 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/self-serve-murder

 

 

Author Biography:

I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on from my mom’s Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although I did manage, every once in a while, to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I decided to follow the husband to Istanbul for a few years where I managed to churn out book after book. But ten years was too many to stay away from ‘home’. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.

 

 

Author links:

Website: http://dehaggerty.wordpress.com

 

Blog: https://dehaggerty.wordpress.com/category/mymusings/

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dehaggerty

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/denaehaggerty

 

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DEHaggerty/posts

 

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/denahaggerty/

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7210211.D_E_Haggerty

 

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/D.E.-Haggerty/e/B00ECQBURU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_5?qid=1438239628&sr=8-5

 

Email: dena@dehaggerty.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rewriting #CivilWar History to Fit Ideology? Not on @CurtLock’s Watch! #books #FridayReads


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The Russians invented the light bulb? Really? They also invented the airplane. OF COURSE, THAT’S NOT TRUE, but Americans laughed during the 1960’s at the preposterous Soviets who were re-writing history to fit their ideology.

 

The Soviets re-named St. Petersburg to Leningrad, and Tsaritsyn became Stalingrad, honoring their dictator. The Soviets tore down religious statues, turned churches into warehouses. They wanted only their distorted history, their ideology. A history of lies.

 

What about enlightened America? Are groups removing statues and renaming buildings to match their ideology? There are.

 

The groups removing Confederate statues want everyone to believe that all Southerners hated African-Americans.

 

Not true. In the South, a few elite plantation owners enslaved Negroes.

 

The key words – “elite few.” The vast majority of Southerners had no slaves. However, many Northerners grew rich from slavery.

 

Northern “slaves” were the impoverished, white-skinned Irish.

 

The Irish received a pitiful wage. But nothing else. The slaves in the South had their own houses, often shabby ones, but a house with a garden and chickens. Some earned pay.

 

The Irish lived in slums. Often, several families lived in a three-room flat or in shanties.

 

Several Southern laws, enacted by the elite, forbade teaching Negroes to read. In the North, no law was needed. The smallest children worked in sweat shops.

 

In the South, the plantation owner sent for a doctor for a sick slave. No such luxury for the Irish.

 

Now, for the incredibly well-documented reasons for men fighting in the almost entirely volunteer armies, north and south.  Primarily two reasons.

 

First, in that era, a man could never be considered a “coward” by not enlisting. If a man’s neighbors were signing up, he must also. It was a major societal expectation. Just because we don’t have that societal pressure in America today doesn’t mean it was not prevalent then.

 

Second, everyone thought the war would be over in three months. Most men wanted to get into a “scrap,” a sort of fisticuffs with a neighbor. Society romanticized war in the “Romantic Era.”

 

Today, we have a new version of the “Elite” who believe they have the right to belittle and destroy people’s pride in their state, remove statues, refuse to sell certain flags, even destroy tombstones of an honored ancestor.

 

General Johnston, for whom several schools are named, has been dishonored by an “elite few” in changing a school named in honor of the general. Johnston fought honorably for the US in the Mexican War. He died in battle because he had sent his doctors to save Yankee wounded.

 

Here are some facts. Long before the war, Lee released his slaves. Grant didn’t release his until he was forced to after the war.

 

Just so you know, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of my heroes. I honor him and so many more African-Americans. God did not make us to divide ourselves, but to love everyone. Nor should we allow a few elite to re-write our shared history to fit their ideology.

 

asunder-cover-from-outskirts

 

Title:  Asunder, A Novel of the Civil War

Author: Curt Locklear

Genre:  Historical Fiction/ Romance

Publisher: Outskirts Press

Book Cover Credit:  Karen Phillips

Author Picture Credit:  Sandra Timm

 

Book Blurb:

Thrust into the middle of Civil War battle, with both Union and Rebel protagonists and antagonists, Asunder, the first in the Trilogy, is a story of love and loss and of families torn apart.

 

Thoroughly researched, the novel presents numerous complex, memorable characters struggling against incredible odds in an epic spanning from Texas to New York.

 

he story begins in frigid February, long after the battle. Cyntha Favor, an abolitionist and ardent believer in Spiritualism, searches the battlefield in hopes of finding her husband’s grave. Having received erroneous reports of his death, she hopes to free his tormented soul. During the Civil War, it is estimated that at least one-fifth of the population wholeheartedly believed in Spiritualism. Mary Lincoln held séances in the White House with President Lincoln in attendance. Sara Reeder, initially naïve and an ardent supporter of the Southern cause, is thrust into the battle maelstrom. An excellent horse-woman, she rides to warn the army of a surprise attack, but is too late. With battle all around, she aids wounded Union soldiers, and her zeal for the war changes forever.

 

In early 1861, both armies wore an assortment of uniforms. The Union had not adopted the standard blue uniform. Cyntha’s husband, a Union soldier, Iowa Grays volunteer, Joseph Favor, is found unconscious by Sara. Nursed to health by Sara and her father, Lucas, he awakens with no memory, unable to recall even the battle. The Reeders perceive him, since he is dressed in gray, to be a Confederate. Dred Workman, a conniving Iowan comrade and deserter to the Rebels, falsely identifies Joseph as a Cavalryman in the Third Texas.

 

The Reeder home is turned into a hospital. Soon, they are left to care for numerous wounded with no help from the army. Lucas blames Lincoln for the war. Based on an actual event, he holds a grudge against the president for something that happened before the war when Lincoln was a lawyer. Lucas and his slave have become friends, no longer slave and master. Sara and Joseph are romantically drawn to each other, but Joseph is haunted by fleeting images of his past. Joseph is called to join the cavalry. Will this parting keep them from being together? Joined by her freeman employee and confidant, Josiah Reynolds, Cyntha’s headstrong manner lands her in confinement by the Union army. She meets a dubious Spiritualist who convinces her that Joseph’s soul is indeed tormented.

 

Learning her brother is accused of robbery, and aided by a quirky Rebel supporter, Constance Carver, she plans escape. Her brother has problems of his own when the steamboat he is a passenger on sinks in a storm. The survivors are attacked by River Pirates. With Missouri marauder gangs closing in on the Reeder farm, the Spiritualist Fox sisters holding séances, and devastating battles, Asunder drives towards a devastating climax.

 

 

Excerpt:

“Am I going to die?” he said. He seemed less anxious and more curious.

Sara dried her hands on her skirt. I really do not know what to say, she thought. She had seen death before when a cow or calf had died. She had helped with the slaughtering of pigs, goats and chickens. She had attended funerals of friends and of her brothers when she was young and seen the bodies lying in coffins, but she had not seen this. She felt she could only dissuade him from the truth. She stroked his brow, “Of course not.  You’re just a little hurt. You’ll get better.”

“How come I can’t feel my legs?” he said. “I think I’m pretty hurt.”

Sara sat back in a kneeling position and saw the blood spilling from the soldier’s back and spreading, turning the grass russet. The blood had spread to stain her skirt as well. She struggled to hide her horror. Without thinking, and more to just be doing something, she set about rubbing his legs very hard.

“I’m kind of cold, miss,” he whispered, “Is there a blanket?”

Sara bit her lip to hold back her tears. To her, he had a face similar to her oldest brother.

Then his pupils fixed.

She stopped rubbing his legs and set her hands in her lap. Her mind refused to believe the young man had died. Time froze for her. Once again, she felt the pinch of nausea, but it was mixed with a deep sadness. Trying not to look at the startled expression on the lifeless face, she lightly shut his eyes.

With a deep breath, Sara rose and walked to the next wounded soldier lying on his back. She tore cloth from her skirt hem and bound his bloody shoulder. Three Rebel soldiers bent over the remaining wounded, staunching one soldier’s bleeding foot and binding the head-wound of another. The sergeant and a private gathered the remaining weapons from the dead and wounded soldiers and stacked them against a sweet gum tree.

In their little shaded forest hospital ward, the battle seemed far away. The deep forest muffled the sounds of battle which, once more, momentarily drifted away to almost nothing.

A slight-built Confederate said, “I wonder if we won this battle, or if the Yanks did.”

No one answered him. The battle no longer mattered, only caring for the wounded.

Sara continued to give directions, though she did not need to, for the soldiers bound the wounds with torn shirts taken from the dead and offered liquor from an earthenware jug that a Confederate had carried with him all through the battle. They labored in general silence. The slight-built one said to her, “I was wondering. Are you the general’s daughter?”

“No,” Sara, taken aback, laughed nervously. “I’m just here to help you to fight these Yanks and make them go home.”

A private, dressed in a smart gray uniform with his jacket open at the top, revealing a shirt with dainty flowered stripes, approached Sara and offered a weak smile. “Miss, would it be okay if you take a look at me, too.” He unbuttoned his jacket, revealing a red blossoming stain, then he slumped down.

Sara rushed to him, caught his arm and slowed his fall. This soldier, with long, tangled, blond locks spilling over his eyes, looked familiar, and a thought leapt to her mind that perhaps he was the one who had sung to her. She held her hand behind his head and helped him lie on the ground. “Give me some help here. One of ours is hurt badly.”

Sara brushed the hair from over his eyes and beheld a face she was sure was indeed too familiar.  Her mind raced, and her heart felt like it would burst from her chest. Breathing came hard for her, but she forced herself to ask the young, fair-skinned man lying cradled in her arms, “Did you two days ago sing a song for me in camp?”

The soldier looked puzzled, then stared off in the distance as if gathering a memory. He coughed a rattling cough. Looking back at her, he whispered, “I do like to sing.” Then he said something else, too soft for Sara to hear. His breathing became labored.

She bent closer to his lips, tears pooling in her eyes. “Please, say that again. I couldn’t understand you.” She looked into his eyes that seemed to hold no fear, but a sort of quiet resignation.  His clean-shaven face was pale though his cheeks were sunburnt, his thin lips chapped.

In a whisper she could barely hear, he breathed out, “Yes, I sang to you, and you gave me a tin of milk.” He smiled, the lids of his eyes fluttering to closed. “It was good milk. Reminded me of home.”

The other Confederates gathered around Sara and their fallen comrade. The sergeant unbuttoned the boy’s jacket and revealed the shirt, coated in blood. A jagged wound oozed dark maroon. The sergeant looked up at Sara. His eyes said it all. The young soldier, just like the Yankee cavalryman, had no hope.

Sara’s eyes flooded with tears, and she began shaking uncontrollably and wailing. “No!” she screamed between heaving gasps. “This is not what war is supposed to be!”

The old, gray sergeant gently took her arms and lifted her to her feet. She stumbled away with him supporting her. She sobbed and had trouble catching her breath and collapsed to the ground.

Somewhere in the caverns of her ears she heard one of the Confederates say, “Sergeant, he’s passed on.”

 

Buy Links:

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Asunder-Novel-Civil-Curt-Locklear/dp/1478770546/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1476898448&sr=1-1

 

 

Barnes and Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/asunder-curt-locklear/1123745873?ean=9781478769545

 

 

Outskirts Press

http://outskirtspress.net/bookstore/details/9781478769545

 

http://outskirtspress.com/webpage?isbn=9781478769545

 

Wordery Online books

https://wordery.com/asunder-curt-locklear-9781478769545

 

curt-playing-guitar

 

Author Biography:

CURT LOCKLEAR – award-winning author, history teacher, musician, composer, and positive education consultant.  In my career, I have delivered presentations to thousands, small and large groups. My talks are always sprinkled with jokes and intriguing stories. If asked, I can play a few Civil War era tunes on my banjo and/or guitar.

My father trained a race-horse in the Kentucky Derby. My mother was a librarian. I’m related to the first wing-walker. My heritage is Southern and Northern. My Rebel forbearer once cleverly hid from a Yankee squad in corn crib. My Yankee forbearer was a bugler.

 

Social Media Links:

Website https://curtlocklearauthor.com

Email curt@curtlocklearauthor.com

Twitter @CurtLock

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/curtlocklearauthor/

Stage Left by @AliParkerAuthor + Why She Loves Being Indie! #romance #giveaway


Stage Left
Ali Parker
(Bright Lights Billionaire #1)
Publication date: March 20th 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance

From Best Selling Author, Ali Parker comes a new Billionaire Series filled with sexiness, humor and intense attraction…

 

Ethan Lewis has been in the bright lights for as long as he can remember. He’s just turned the cusp of celebrating his twenty-fourth birthday, and yet he feels more like eighty. Living the life of a celebrity isn’t all it is chalked up to be, and dealing with the unruly number of women who are more interested in his billions than who he is as a person is getting old. He has resigned himself to giving up on love and focusing on the only thing that truly gives back – his career.

 

Riley Phillips has always dreamed of being on a big stage with the warmth of the spotlight baring down on her, but she just couldn’t seem to catch the right agent’s attention. After giving a quick commencement speech as Valedictorian of her graduating class at Billmore High, she’s offered something she can’t refuse… The chance to work in Hollywood. It’s not all it’s chalked up to be, but she works hard and finally gets her big break four years down the line. There is a new movie that her agent wants her to audition for, and her co-star? The dreamy Ethan Lewis.

 

She scores the part, but soon regrets it due to his callous, overbearing persona. He’s nothing like the public touts, and she for one isn’t impressed.

 

Funny enough, he is – immensely.

 

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / GooglePlay

Grab yours today for FREE!

Ali Parker talks about being an indie author and loving it!

I think from a young age I’ve always been independent, always looking for a way to forge a new path and climb a steep hill and do it mainly on my own. I think like most Indies, I started by trying the traditional route and after loads of rejection, it was just easier to forget it. A few friends of mine are making it big in the indie world and have reluctantly pulled me into it as well. I will tell you that it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

I’m not a superstar, but a story teller – which is all I ever wanted to be. I set my schedule, write what I want, love on you guys by giving away whatever the hell I want to and life FEELS right/good.

Let me tell you why else I love being Indie.

  1. No one will ever love my book as much as me. It’s my creation and having the freedom to choose what it looks like and where the plot goes is all mine to decide. I don’t have someone standing over my shoulder making it “better” by their definition of “better.”

  2. I can spend as little or as much time, energy and money as I want. Obviously the more I put into it, the more I’m going to get out of it, but that’s with anything in life. The cool part is that if I’m a good editor or if I can design my own cover, then those are costs to be saved and skills to be used.

  3. I belong. In a world of independent authors I find myself fitting in just perfectly. We all work hard and dream big and the encouragement is beyond belief. I don’t have to write a certain genre or stick to a certain structure in the plot. I simply write, promote and support and honestly feel great about myself at the end of the day.

Being an Indie author, to me, doesn’t really have anything to do with being Independent though. It’s a statement that says I’m capable of making every step along this book writing/producing platform to take a dream from start to finish. The truth of what Indie authors are doing is showing the world that there still exists hope. Hope to dream big and work hard to make that dream a reality.

That’s why I love being Indie!

 

Author Bio:

Ali Parker is a full-time contemporary romance writer who left a life in Corporate America to try out living a dream. She loves coffee, watching a great movie and hanging out with her hubs. By hanging out, she means making out. Hanging out is for those little creepy elves at Christmas. No tight green stockings for her.

 

Thanks for picking up a book!!

 

Ali also writes Sci-Fi Romance under Liza Probz – http://amzn.to/1KvnczE, and Western Romance under Jessica Mills – http://amzn.to/1P37NDz

 

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Street Team / Twitter / Google+ / Instagram / Pinterest / Newsletter

 

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He’s a What?! Writing Your Characters Into a Corner by @LiviaQuinn #amwriting #guestpost #IARTG


hes-a-what-livia-quinn-gues-post-header

But I thought the problem was… 

I listened to an author speak a couple years ago at a workshop. She said, “Write yourself into a corner.” My first thought was, “I couldn’t do that. What if I couldn’t get my characters out of the hole I’d put them in.” Recently I realized that I’ve been doing just that unconsciously, or my characters have, for several books now. For a writer, it’s a very scary place to be but if I want my readers to be surprised I must be surprised as well.

In Eve of Chaos I brought the heroine and several characters to the brink of death, not knowing what was going to happen. Blame it on the Moon was the most terrified I’ve been since I’ve been writing. And yet, I’ve had readers tell me it was their favorite book.

When Destiny was overrun by creatures leaving our hero, a mere-mortal, to fight them, save the town and the woman he loves I had no friggin’ idea how a human was supposed to win over enemy zombies, flying heads, and other variants much less how to save the lives of my main characters who were suffering from the effects of the Para-moon. I usually let the characters lead me to solutions but at the end of Blame it on the Moon, Jack was blindsided with a change that no one saw coming—except me. Unfortunately, even that didn’t go as planned.

As book 5, Take These Broken Wings began I thought I knew what Jack’s problem was. But as the story progressed Jack was no closer to a solution until we got to the climax and suddenly events unfolded. I remember emailing my writer friends wide-eyed with wonder, “You’ll never guess what happened to Jack!” In Jack’s words, “To say I was surprised about the latest revelations would be like saying Wolverine’s fingernails were long enough for a manicure.”

 

The Destiny series could be likened to a Paranormal soap opera, similar to Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series or the world of Darynda Jones. Jack and Tempe’s Paramortal arc—their coming of age—is finally complete with book 5 but their story and Destiny’s continues. So here I am again after the events that happened at the end of Take These Broken Wings, thinking, “Zeus’ Rechargeable Bolts! now what?” A mysterious stranger has shown up in Destiny and his presence is certain to bring turmoil. Life is much more interesting when you don’t know what’s coming down the pike don’t you think? Its always nerve-wracking not knowing where my characters will lead me but I’m confident we’ll work through the challenges. What a ride!

 

Broken Wings EBOOK 06252016 copy

 

Title: Take These Broken Wings (Destiny Paramortals #5)

Author: Livia Quinn

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Southern Urban Fantasy

 

Book Blurb:

Welcome to Mayberry, or should I say Middle Earth?

 

I’m Jack Lang, the Sheriff of Destiny, Louisiana. After my sexy redheaded mail lady zapped me, this seemingly normal small town turned into a never-ending stream of supernaturals – fae, dragons, vampires, djinn—not to mention some plain ol’ kooks. Ironically, I was all set to accept the dark side when I discovered the secret in my own DNA and, well, to say I was in shock would be like saying Wolverine’s fingernails were long enough for a manicure.

 

There’s one thing that can get me back on the job – a murder investigation. But I’ll also have to deal with supernatural hitmen, dragon hunters and being in the doghouse with my girlfriend. If I don’t get a handle on “My new life” before long, I’m going to lose the respect of the Paramortals, not to mention the woman I love.  Maybe I should just holler uncle now. Things can always get worse.

 

After all, this is Destiny, and ludicrous is its middle name.

 

Book 5 is the completion of Jack and Tempe’s Paramortal arc, an epiphany of sorts, but the story continues. If you enjoy the Paranormal Urban Fantasy Cozy worlds of Kristen Painter, Darynda Jones or Molly Harper, try the Destiny Paramortals series.

 

 

Excerpt:

Tempe’s father, Dutch finds his son, River, in the supernatural watering hole…

 

Dutch

My eyes narrowed and I rose at the mention of my ancient family name.

 

River’s eyes flared red, a warning, and he grated, “Who are you?”

 

The being in front of him was taller and wider than River, closer to my size and was covered in a flimsy grey cloak that swirled in a non-existent breeze. Ah, a weather fae, I determined at once. A hooked beak poked out from under the gray cowl and talons where the fingers should have been held the hood in place. The pungent foul odor identified it as a harpy, a vengeful lot that often traveled in groups though no one stood with this one.

 

The hole in the center of his “face” sounded like a washing machine as it pushed air in and out. At his hip a blue sword stuck out from under the layers. Not good. Weapons were supposed to be surrendered at the door except under certain extenuating circumstances. I stayed where I was, for the moment.

 

Thick cottony lips opened, the words came through its hole of a mouth, like it had been dredged up from the depths of the Isle. “I am Lord of the Wind. I’m here to reclaim my power from your family.”

 

Well, that’s a new twist. Millenia ago, harpies had been stripped of their power over hurricanes and strong storms, but it had nothing to do with my family, I thought as he drew the sword from the sheath with a clang and pointed it at one of the entrances. A stout gust entered the room. He’d used the sword to command his magic, like a wand.

 

River stood with one arm on the counter, not even jostled by the stiff wind, though others were struggling to stand. I stepped toward River. The creature’s head turned in my direction and a voice like a grating debris-filled torrent rasped, “You need your daddyyy to fight your battlllesss?” Tables rolled to the floor around us, and I sensed the harpy was frustrated that he’d been unable to budge us. River was steady as a granite mountain and… he was growing.

 

River crossed his arms over his chest and said, “Listen, Lord Blowhard. Not only don’t I need my father, but it’ll take a more than one of your impotent wind farts to take down a member of our family. My sister could take you in her sleep.”

 

The being bristled and the wind increased at River’s words. I stepped forward, addressing him. “Who told you we have your power?”

 

The harpy’s sparring partner approached and whispered into his ear, sending a glance toward the corner where another hooded figure sat at a table against the wall. His boss? Or just an interested party trying to prevent the fae from experiencing the fate of Morpheus?

 

The wind picked up under the blowhard’s gray rags and his mouth closed in a disgruntled line, but he lowered his sword and backed away, not releasing my gaze until he reached the table. Then pointing the sword one last time at River, he said, “We will finisshhh this later at a time of myyy choosssing.”

 

With a scraping of chairs, the so called Lord and his sparring partner cautiously backed out of the Moat, trying to save face, though Gods truth, it made them look like cowards.

 

River’s reaction was even worse. “What’s wrong with now?” he roared. Yes, he was itching for a fight, his voice shaking with rage, the first emotion I’d heard from him in weeks. Any other time I might think that was good but though he appeared to be in control, I felt the building energy he held under tight rein. What would it take for him to snap? I put my hand on his arm to bring him back to himself. He shrugged it off and stomped back to the bar.

 

My spine tingled a warning and I scanned the room to see where the threat was coming from. There in the corner, lounging against the wall near the fighters’ table was a black hooded figure. I felt his gaze though the shadow from his cowl disguised his features. His black-gloved hand moved across his chest and I caught the glimmer of something between the folds.

 

His mouth turned up in an evil grin and he drew the material closed but not before I got a brief look at the necklace hanging against his chest with a dragon’s eye in the center. I steeled myself not to react as he rose and sauntered out.

 

What was a dragon hunter doing in the Moat of Morpheus.

 

Buy Here:

Amazon https://www.amazon.com//dp/B01GK2MOB4

Amazon UK  https://kdp.amazon.com/amazon-dp-action/uk/bookshelf.marketplacelink/B01GK2MOB4

Amazon CA https://kdp.amazon.com/amazon-dp-action/ca/bookshelf.marketplacelink/B01GK2MOB4

All Romance https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-takethesebrokenwings-2140770-140.html

Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/take-these-broken-wings-2

Itunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/take-these-broken-wings/id1118777289?mt=11

Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940153209159

Page Foundry  http://www.inktera.com/store/title/d4e2e093-1630-4de2-a54c-62861bf58f41

Scribd  http://www.scribd.com/book/313905436

 

Livia Quinn Head Shot_M9A0603 square sml copy

 

Author Biography:

Love happens…when you least expect it. So does the weather. So magic in one form or another, and storms, are at the heart of most Livia Quinn books. A DC native who lives on the bayou in Louisiana, Livia has stored up a wealth of quirky stories from her jobs as a mail lady, sales person, plant manager and small business owner that she’s anxious to share with her readers. Visit her soon on her new website https://www.liviaquinn.com

 

Social Media Links:

Blog: https://liviaquinnwrites.blogspot.com

Email liviaquinnwrites@gmail.com

Website: http://liviaquinn.com

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/liviaquinnwrites

Twitter    http://twitter.com/liviaquinn

Pinterest http://pinterest.com/liviaquinn

Goodreads http://bit.ly/22VXuev

Livia’s Author Central page http://amzn.to/1T5qmhN

Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LiviaQuinn

Linkedin http://bit.ly/2dbYAP2

Instagram http://instagram.com/liviaquinnauthor

Independent Author Network http://bit.ly/2dlAr8L

Author Central http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00KPDXXE2

 

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Shazam! Magick is in the Air and @RuthACasie Offers Guidance #magic #POTLReads #Halloween


crystal-2

 

Shazam!

Spells and spellcasting. The very first spell I clearly remember is salagadoola mechicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo. Put them together and what do you get? Cinderella! A magic coach, horses, a footman, glass slippers and a beautiful ball gown and let’s not forget the handsome prince.

What makes the fairy-godmother’s words a spell? A spell is much like a prayer said with a great deal of intent, focus, and will that gives words (or nonsense ones) new meanings. Deborah Blake, an authority on Wiccans, explains that taking a shower can be a magical event. Your intent or goal is to wash away the stress of the day. You focus on the water pouring down on you and visualize your stress being washed away. Your will is to apply energy to the task. Along with the words she uses to increase the impact of the magick “Water, water, wash away all the stress of the day,” your shower becomes magickal.

So, is Cinderella’s fairy-godmother invoking magick? Her fairy-godmother cast her spell speaking an incantation to create a specific outcome. She clearly imagined what she wanted. She intended the magic coach, horse, etc. to all appear. She was keening focused on the results. And through sheer will she used all the energy at her disposal to make it happen.

magic

 

What is a spell? Spells are written or spoken words together with set actions sometimes using objects, all with the intent to bring about specific results. The words are the important thing. The actions and objects are used to help the spellcaster concentrate and amplify their request. They use what they feel works well for them candles, herbs, oils, gems and other things. Color, phases of the moon and the day of the week may also play an important part of the spell.

Are there any rules for using magick? Deborah Blake, in her book, The Goddess is in the Details by Llewellyn Publications, July 2009, lays out the seven beliefs at the heart of being a witch.

 

  1. Harm none. The Wiccan Rede says, “An it harm none, do as ye will.” While this sounds simple, whatever you do make certain you harm no one. That includes yourself and anyone else. She pointed out quite clearly that downstream affects are really unknown. This rule is a guideline and a reminder that the intent should always be to do good.
  2. Do not interfere with free will. Everyone is responsible for their own actions and should not interfere with the actions of others. Not every witch (other regular person for that matter) seems to believe in this.
  3. What you put out (into the universe) is what you get back. The Law of Return. I believe very strongly in this rule and I’m not a witch. I call it paying it forward. I truly believe that if you give of yourself will come back to you threefold.
  4. As above, so below: Words have power. Witches believe that words have power. It is the reason why spells are said out loud—to announce your intention to the universe. They also believe symbols can be used to heighten the effects of words and can stand for objects or ideas. Sometimes they use candles, stones, water, wine, or anything that will help connect them to the object or idea. As above, so below means they not only have the power to effect change through symbolism and their connection with the universe, but they must also be careful with their words and thoughts. Ms. Blake gave a great example. If words have power, and you get back what you put out, think what would happen when you say, “I hate you.”
  5. Magick is real and witches can use it to bring about positive change. With combination of their belief that they can bring about positive change and the power of words and symbols, they use intent and focus to alter their world.
  6. We are part of nature. All Pagans have one thing in common—they respect nature and believe they are a part of it, not above it. While traditional religions view humans as superior, Pagans see themselves as guardians. Witches worship the mother earth, the nature goddess. They follow the cycle of the seasons and strive to connect to nature and stay close to their primordial gods.
  7. The divine is in everything, including us. Pagans believe in the old gods and goddesses and that there is an element of the divine in everything. This is at the heart of what it means to be a witch. This connection to the universe and to the divine gives witches both power and responsibility. It connects them to every other living being.

 

So, let me leave you with this. Find a comfortable place to sit where you won’t be disturbed. Light a white candle, take a sip of red wine, hold the book you’re reading, and say:

 

The winds are still,

as the words unfold.

Strong is the will,

as the story is told.

Peace fills the room,

and carries you away.

Imagination in bloom,

the rest of the day.

 

Now sit back, open your book and enjoy the adventure. Happy Reading!

 

Ruth A Casie close

Author Biography:

RUTH A. CASIE is a USA Today best-selling author of swashbuckling action-adventure time-travel romance about strong empowered women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. Her Druid Knight novels have both finaled in the NJRW Golden Leaf contest. Ruth also writes contemporary romance with enough action to keep you turning pages. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she found her voice, she was a speech therapist (pun intended), client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and international bank product and marketing manager, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing romance.

 

Social Media Links:

Website: http:// www.ruthacasie.com

 

Email:  mailto:ruth@ruthacasie.com

 

Personal Blog:  http://www.ruthacasie.blogspot.com

 

Google+ https://plus.google.com/+RuthSeitelman

 

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/RuthACasie

 

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/RuthACasie

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/13GwuQ1

 

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/ruth-seitelman/6/6b7/964

 

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ruthacasie/

 

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4792909.Ruth_A_Casie

 

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THE TWO SINBADS: A Guest Post by Clive Johnson @AuthorClive #books #POTLReads #amreading


THE TWO SINBADS: A Guest Post by Clive Johnson

Clive Johnson, author of the newly-published ‘Arabian Nights & Arabian Nights’, reflects on the common nature of Sinbad the Sailor and his patient companion, Sinbad the Porter.

 sinbada

 

The adventures of Sinbad the Sailor occupy most of the column inches in the seven tales that feature him in the canon of the Arabian Nights. His voyages, discoveries in strange lands, and many near-death experiences are described in wonderful detail, enchanting anyone who hears them. In many ways, these tales embody much of what is enthralling in The Nights – they are filled with color, intrigue, magic, and surprise, to mention just a few of their many virtues.

However, there’s another Sinbad who features in each of these tales – Sinbad the Porter. This poor street-dweller doesn’t have a shekel to his name–at least before he meets Sinbad the Sailor he doesn’t–and spends much of his time bewailing the injustice of his lot. How can it be, he ponders, that some people such as the sailor can have so much, while so many lack even a daily meal or clothes to protect their bodies?

This is a question that we may well ask today, but that’s a topic for another time. What interests me is how the two Sinbads interact. Their first encounter is cordial, but the porter wonders what the motive of the sailor is. The poor man is invited each night to join the sailor in his house, to enjoy a lavish meal, and be entertained with another of the great adventurer’s stories. He even is offered a monetary gift each time the meal ends, leaving him in no doubt that his host is genuine in his wish to show hospitality.

As the seven tales unfold, it becomes clear that the sailor uses his storytelling as a way of expunging his guilt for some of the bad things he has done during his voyages (like killing). With the ever-more fantastical adventures that he describes testing credulity, we might begin to wonder whether he doesn’t occasionally embellish what really happened. He seems desperate to impress, and possibly lost in something of a fantasy himself.

The porter, meanwhile, becomes more comfortable in himself, increasingly feeling satisfied when he leaves the sailor’s house each evening. The two begin to act out a dance, indulging each other’s company, and possibly even becoming slightly dependent on each other. One projects aspects of himself onto the other; even if they don’t see it, there’s a person they recognize in the character of the other.

Some commentators on The Nights suggest that the two Sinbads are really meant to represent one person. Both may have faults, seen in their shadow selves. It’s by coming together and seeing how they can complement and teach other that both men are able to move on from their current states of mind.

We all have shadow selves, the part of us that is unseen and gets projected onto others. Often it’s those closest to us who are best able to reflect back something of this hidden character. That’s one reason why we are attracted to some people – they are perfect partners for helping us grow. I think that there’s something of the porter and the sailor in all us.

 

anan_cvr_v01

 

Title: ARABIAN NIGHTS & ARABIAN NIGHTS. TRADITIONAL TALES FROM A THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS, CONTEMPORARY TALES FOR ADULTS

Author: CLIVE JOHNSON

Genre: FICTION / SHORT STORIES (CLASSIC AND CONTEMPORARY)

Publisher: LABYRINTHE PRESS

 

Audible version available soon.

 

Book Blurb:

Magic carpets and flying horses, caverns glittering with gold, unexpected plotlines following the fortunes of heroes and villains–who cannot fail to be enchanted by the magic and wonder of the tales of the One Thousand and One Nights?

This most celebrated collections of tales feature shape-shifting and miraculous transportation across continents, powerful jinn who rise like smoke from simple vessels, dreams that delve into the secrets of the subconscious, and gigantic, man-carrying birds.

The backdrop for the tales moves from barren deserts to spectacular cities, from the edge of the world to the inner sanctuaries of mighty rulers. Kings and paupers, benevolent sages and devious magicians, worthy princesses and unscrupulous harlots–all play their part in teaching important truths and providing lively entertainment.

This innovative book offers retellings of a selection of tales that have captured the imaginations of countless people over many centuries. Accompanying each is a short story set in a contemporary context, which reframes the messages and teachings of the original, specifically written for an adult audience.

Here are stories of betrayal and murder, exploitation and sibling rivalry, soul-searching and discovery. The modern parallel tales swap the busy alleyways of old Baghdad for the horror of Saddam’s prisons, move from following caravans sweeping across the Sahara to modern day pilgrims trekking along the Caminos of northern Spain, and lift Aladdin out of his cave to unwittingly face Triad gangsters and antiques smugglers.

Wayward Baptist ministers, adulterous accountants, and eco-warrior backpackers follow in the footsteps of the no-less colourful characters than those that feature in the original tales.

Each pair of stories is accompanied by a commentary on how they might be interpreted. The result is a gripping collection of tales that may continue to bring the mystery and magic of the Nights to life, as well as provoking fresh thought and feeling for adult readers. Prepare to be surprised, uplifted and–in the spirit of the original Arabian Nights Entertainments–enthralled.

 

Excerpt:

A journalist had picked up on the news of Todd’s arrest, and by some means had been able to identify him as a Baptist pastor. Soon, the news of my husband’s escapade with the prostitute had made not only the front page of the Louisville Courier-Journal, but had carried across the state to Lexington too. I dreaded to think what the decent people of our church would say when they saw the photograph of their pastor being paraded in front of a police identification plate.

 

When we returned to Lexington, most people seemed to want to avoid mentioning the topic. It was obvious to me that they had been deeply unsettled by Todd’s indiscretion, but to our faces at least, they promised their love, assuring us that ours is a God of love, able to forgive every sinner–even a wayward minister.

 

Todd was not afraid to show his contrition before his flock. Were Oscars awarded for emotional outpouring by those in church ministry, Todd would surely be nominated for an award. Whether or not his tears were genuine I do not know, but he certainly gave a powerful example of how to show repentance when he took his place on the dais.

 

“O my Father, how I have failed you! How I have let these, my beloved brothers and sisters, down! Forgive me, for I am the worse among sinners!”

 

His cries and wailing knew no limit. Kneeling before the congregation, Todd accepted the prayers and blessings of the people. Two of the deacons laid hands on him, commanding the demons that were in him to depart.

 

Perhaps this display was good for our community. Other men in the congregation came forward to confess their infidelity, and to receive the forgiveness of the Lord Jesus and those of us who serve Him. In fact, I don’t think that our church had for a long time felt so overcome by the love and warmth of The Holy Spirit.

 

The experience had certainly been a shock for Todd. He knew that his position as a pastor would be under threat were he to backslide again. More than anything, I think that he was genuinely aware that he’d been unfaithful to his Lord.

 

He had been unfaithful to me too, and privately I went through a period of hurt and suffering. But the fast pace of events, and Todd’s apparent regret for his actions, kept me focused on supporting my husband.

 

 

Buy Links:

Amazon.com: http://goo.gl/ks4rLB

Amazon.co.uk: http://goo.gl/24yhro

Amazon.ca: http://goo.gl/Y2FWlh

Barnes & Noble: http://goo.gl/mIP8kB

 

clive-johnson

 

Author Biography:

Arabian Nights & Arabian Nights is Clive Johnson’s seventh book, and the second in the series that takes old and often familiar tales and retells them alongside modern-day versions. Taking this approach, Clive says that he aims to recapture some of the magic and important messages that can be found in traditional fairytales, stories from mythology, etc, while inspiring fresh wonder among adult readers.

His earlier books were aimed at business readers, and he’s also edited an anthology of interfaith wisdom. Recently, Clive has also started narrating and producing audible audiobooks for other authors, which is an activity that he says he particularly enjoys.

Clive spends most of his time in the UK, where he was born, although he has no fixed home. This allows him to follow his heart from place to place, often house and pet sitting for friends and others who are taking a break away. He also often takes in or hosts retreats and workshops on various themes. Many house sits introduce him to some wonderful furry friends, and provide the perfect opportunity for settling into some serious writing!

Having an autistic condition and with a strong interest in mysticism, Clive likes to approach his work with a keen curiosity. He says that he enjoys researching and imagining a story almost as much as he does writing it.

Clive is an avid reader, and an ordained interfaith minister.

 

Social Media Links:

Goodreads: http://goo.gl/VLfGVL

Clive’s Author Facebook page: http://goo.gl/hVrz3e

Clive’s blog (‘The autistic mystic’): http://goo.gl/ZcBNnD

Clive’s Twitter profile: https://twitter.com/AuthorClive

 

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Hold Onto Your Dream: Advice from Author @LiviaQuinn #amwriting #giveaway #BatonRouge


Broken Wings EBOOK 06252016 copy

 

My little seasonal restaurant kept me hopping this year. I wouldn’t complain except it left me so little time and energy to work on my new book, Take These Broken Wings. But with summer winding down, I finally made it out to the Quinn den to work on Wings.

 

Getting things back in order, I noticed my calendar was stuck on July. For a reason…

 

Original dream

 

“HOLD ON to your original dream!”

The two key parts of this quote were why I stood transfixed in front of that calendar for several long seconds. First, holding on to the dream takes perseverance and dedication, as you learn the skills needed. And second, it’s easy to forget as we confront the challenges on the journey how passionate we were about making that goal a reality. It’s good to remind ourselves of that desire.

 

In June 2005 I was laid off. It was a real bummer especially since I’d just bought a new car but I decided to take the summer to try to get my head straight and wind down from six years of working eighty-hour weeks. I sat by the bayou handwriting stories that had been in my head for years. What an escape…

 

Then came Katrina. I left Louisiana to work in D.C. and Atlanta (more eighty-hour weeks) so I could pay the bills and six months later I was back home writing. The first time I decided to enter a contest was 2007 and I got 2nd place for Only the Heart Remembers in romantic suspense. I read later on the agent/judge’s website, “Send me your manuscript, but please no ‘amnesia in the storm’ stories”. Good thing I didn’t read that before I entered the contest. J Fear can be a huge de-motivator. It can annihilate your dreams.

 

From that contest, I received an “I almost bought this but it’s not quite right for us” letter from Harlequin and was asked to send two versions of it to another editor at a conference. After being pulled in so many different directions I began to doubt myself, put the manuscript aside and moved on. But after publishing my Destiny Paramortals and Storm Lake East series, I decided to take a chance, revisit this book, retitle it and bring it to my readers.

 

Storm Warning is the fulfillment of that the original dream, published ten years after it was written. There’s so much of me in it, my fascination with storms, the premonitions (Brenna’s “curse”), the community of characters I’ve loved for so long. My hero and his lady have a magical connection but I don’t want to give it away so I’ll just say, there are plenty of surprises.

 

In chronological order, Storm Warning is third in the Storm Lake East Series, after Her First Knight, and before Merry Christmas, Baby where you meet characters from all three books and upcoming characters from my next book, coming this winter. I sure hope you love the characters in Storm Warning as much as I do.

 

For this week only, Storm Warning is $1.99 to celebrate its ten-year anniversary.

 

Want a chance to win the full ebook set of Storm Lake East books in epub or mobi? Simply retweet this link to your followers and come back here to post your tweet in the comment box. (Books will be delivered via email.)

 

Did you have an original dream? Have you given up on it or are you still pursuing it? Why not clip this little calendar pic to your computer or frig to remind you to never give up?

SW ad button

 

Blurb:

You’ve killed him, Bad Brenna taunted. Brenna looked down the steps at the man lying motionless in the tropical downpour. I told you that silly phobia would get you in trouble if you didn’t get a grip.

 

Brenna knew she was right, knew it was exactly why Bad Brenna existed, to help her cope with the trauma that had turned her into a scared rabbit whenever lightning was in the forecast. But her anxiety over the approaching storm had been magnified by yet another premonition. Typically, it meant someone was about to die. Had she been the means, this time, of fulfilling her own prophecy? As usual, there were no clear answers. She needed to start trusting her sixth sense if she was ever going to get rid of Bad Brenna.

 

But for now, she had an unconscious burglar on her hands…

 

 

Excerpt:

“Who are you?” he demanded, looked down at her with suspicious eyes.

Her eyes widened with consternation. “Oh, my God. You have amnesia. You don’t know who you are.”

“No, damn it. I know exactly who I am.” His words were slurred. “What I don’t know is who you are and why my head feels like it’s about to implode.”

He swayed, staggered backward. It didn’t take precognitive abilities to see it coming. She grabbed for him, wedging herself behind him to prevent yet another concussion. Now, hadn’t she known what would happen next?

Suddenly, he was toppling backward, but at the last minute he flipped her over to take the brunt of the contact with the hard floor himself. She felt the air leave him followed by a startled oomph as she landed on top of him—hard.

Brenna blew the hair out of her eyes. “Well. I guess chivalry isn’t dead. I’ll bet that hurt.” She rubbed her knee as he threw an arm over his face and groaned. She was going to succeed in killing him if she didn’t get him into the bedroom.

He swore again, lavishly, and this time her grandfather who’d spent thirty years in the Navy saluted from his grave. For a couple long seconds, he floundered like a beached octopus legs kicking and arms moving until he finally righted himself. Brenna knelt next to him and placed her hand on his shoulder.

He flinched. “Leave me alone. Are you trying to kill me?” His left hand cradled his temple.

“I’ll have you know I was trying to break your fall. You were going down like a Redwood in the Sequoia National Forest.”

He shook his head, “Silly woman, if I’d landed on you, you’d have been hurt.”

Another sharp crack of thunder made Brenna flinch. When the light flickered on those amber eyes amidst a mask of blood and bruises, she shivered. Bad Brenna was thinking, He’d make a nice Christmas present. Her eyes traveled down the contours of his body. Rational, sane, levelheaded Brenna knew this might turn into her worst nightmare.

How could she even think of sex at a time like this? Her house was a wreck. The power was out. Handsome stranger or naked burglar or hunky naked burglar—however she chose to think of him, the bottom line was she didn’t know who he was or how she was going to get him on his feet.

It couldn’t get any worse.

“Shit. My head hurts, and I have to piss,” he said.

She rolled her eyes. What a gentleman.

He put his hands on the floor, gathering the strength to rise. He swayed like a rickety saw horse on all fours, his bicep muscles quivering, face turning a sickly green as his features contorted.

“Oh, no.” She recognized that look.

“No, no, wait.” She darted for the trashcan.

Too late. He threw up, and her freshly waxed hardwood floor was covered with a stinking, steaming, slippery pile of vomit.

Ick.”

She glimpsed of his eyes rolling up, and just as she got a hand on one a powerful forearm, he passed out. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to keep his shoulder from grazing the oozing pile of muck when he landed.

A loud boom shook the cabin.

Brenna looked up at the ceiling. “Oh, quit, will you?”

 

Click the retailer for link to Storm Warning:

Ibooks

Amazon

Kobo

Nook

ARe 

Paperback

Goodreads

Inkterra

Page Foundry

 

 

Note: Book 5 in the Destiny Paramortals, Take These Broken Wings is available for preorder now on all retailers for October 2nd release.

 

Social Media Links:

Website http://liviaquinn.com

Facebook www.facebook.com/liviaquinnwrites

Twitter www.twitter.com/liviaquinn

Pinterest www.pinterest.com/liviaquinn

 

Sign up for my newsletter  http://eepurl.com/W94bb

 

Goodreads  http://bit.ly/1TfBMe9

All book links http://liviaquinn.com/books.html

 

Livia Quinn Head Shot_M9A0603 square sml copy

 

Author Biography:

Livia Quinn is a DC native who lives and writes on the Louisiana bayou. She’s stored up plenty of quirky tales from her jobs as mail lady, plant manager, entertainer and business owner to share with her readers. Visit Storm Lake, where anything can happen!

 

She’s including some links you can go to if you’d like to help South Louisiana residents who were hit hard in the recent 500-year flood. 80,000 families were affected!

 

Volunteer Louisiana (state website)

Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank

United Way — Baton Rouge

Salvation Army — Baton Rouge

Society of St. Vincent de Paul — Council of Baton Rouge

Capital Area Animal Welfare Society

Louisiana Association of Educators (Flood Relief Fund)

 

Think You Know Alaska? Author @maaarmstrang Reveals 10 Interesting Facts #books #scifi


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Top 10 Things People Don’t Know about Alaska:

  • They are two kinds of people in Alaska, RATs, or rational thinking straights, and GETs, the genuinely, truly strange. It’s not as easy to tell the difference as you think.
  • Alaska is really one big institution — not a prison, and more like a university — that draws people who are the toxic scum of normalcy, a great clot of pressure that has been allowed to escape.
  • If you want to be anonymous in Alaska, drive a Subaru.
  • Everything weird and unusual and strange that happens in Alaska has a rational, logical explanation. And an irrational one.
  • As Ellis Paul said, “Sometimes you gotta go to the end of the earth just to turn yourself around.” Alaska is the end of the earth — or, at least, one end of the earth, like Key West — and there are a lot of cul de sacs.
  • If you see windows covered in aluminum foil in Alaska, that’s not some tinfoil hat trick to keep out mind altering radio waves. It’s because in the summer it stays light for a long time and that’s how some people keep their bedrooms dark.
  • A third of the population of Alaska has been here less than five years.
  • Alaska is really, really big. If you laid a map to scale of Alaska over the Lower 48 states, Alaska would span a distance from Jacksonville, Fla., to San Francisco, Calif. The distance in air miles from Juneau to Barrow is the same as from Orlando to New York City, or 1,100 miles. The area of Alaska is about the same as the Eastern Seaboard from Maine to Florida and West to Tennessee.
  • Another quote, from a bumper sticker by Ginger VanWagoner: “We’re here because we’re not all there.”
  • In Alaska, if you’ve bathed in the past week and wear a clean pair of jeans, you’re considered to be dressed up.

 

truckstop_EBOOK

 

Title: Truck Stop Earth

Author:  Michael A. Armstrong

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Aliens, UFO

Publisher: Perseid Press

 

Book Blurb:

The mother of all alien bases. The big one, the megabase, the center of the Alien Occupation Government, the headquarters, the brain, the nerve center, the absolute pinpoint big base, right there, right in the hills above Della. Forget Roswell. Forget Machu Picchu. Forget Stonehenge and Tikal and all those alleged alien bases, abandoned every one of them. This was the big one, right now, the source of all my troubles, the world’s troubles, the whole solar system’s troubles. Right there.

 

Out there across the valley, shining across it like a beacon, was a big flat mountain. “Oly’s Mountain” I later heard it called, or Table Top, some said. I could feel it, feel the humming and the disruption of the ether right down to my bones. I didn’t even have to take out my little pocket detector that’s disguised as a Swiss Army knife. I knew, I just knew. And my butt chip burned like an exploded capsule of sulfuric acid. God damn, right there in the mountain — not on it, in it.

 

Book Trailer:

 

Excerpt:

The guys in the black jumpsuits wanted to give me a ride.

I was walking along the side of the road six miles out of Beaver Creek, real peaceful like, digging the wildflowers and the beer cans and the little shreds of filter fabric sticking out of the edges, when I turned at the sound of a car coming from down the road. Not even thinking, I stuck my thumb out, but before I had a chance to pull it back in, the white Jeep Cherokee stopped. At first I thought they were camo dudes, like the ones who patrol around Area 51 at Groom Lake. Man, I hate those rent-a-grunts, but I guess they made it personal after that little incident when I blew their cover and listed their names and home addresses on the Web. ’Nother story.

I didn’t even have to look at their plates — Alaska blue ’n’ gold NRG lettered plates, and in Alaska they only go up to the J’s — to know who they were: AOGs, Agents of the Grays , Alien Occupation Government. They looked like batfags, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms goons, right down to the thin   Kevlar vests. Two of ’em, though, in the slick black jumpsuits.

“Need a ride, son?” asked the guy in the passenger’s side as he rolled down the window. Tinted windows, thick windows: armored, I knew.

“Just hiking, sir,” I said. Old habit from when I was in Delta Force. Any guy calls you “son,” you call them “sir.” I’d of saluted, but when Delta kicked me upstairs on special assignment as a deep cover agent in the Foreign Service, I swore off saluting. With my dreadlocks tucked up into my baseball cap, and the hair buzzed on the side of my head, that guy might of thought I was military with a high and tight, in civvies.

“We can give you a ride up to the border, son,” the guy went on.

“Only a couple of miles. I’ll walk the rest of the way.”

Then they got out. Right then I knew they were Grays because they had the mirrored sunglasses and the jerky legs. The Grays on bottom duty get face surgery so they look normal — real noses, mouths, and ears — but the big triangular eyes are hard to fake. Takes a lot of bone surgery, so most of them just wear big sunglasses. And the Grays have long torsos but stumpy legs, kind of like that Frog painter Hangin’ Too Loose Lowtrec, so to look human, they walk on these like stilts. Our high gravity really messes them up, though, so they never get good at it. You learn these things when you become an enemy of the bigheads like me.

The driver was a wymmin, I mean, I knew the type, feminazis: big broad shoulders and almost no boobs, and fat hips. She had short hair just over her ear flaps and long bangs. Female Grays don’t like to alter their ear flaps. They’re really weird that way: they think those vestigial flaps are the sexiest thing. For all I know, that’s how they screw. Go figure. Aliens are really strange.

So the wymmin Gray got out, same klutzy walk, and they both gimped over to me, looking real tall, but I knew I could kick their legs out from under them. ’Course, iffen I did that, they’d blast me to cinders, but it’s nice to know I had the option to damage them before I died. They leaned up against that white Jeep Cherokee with the funny windows, hooking their thumbs in their belts. Those Grays watch too many of our Western movies, if you ask me. Someone ought to tell them, or at least turn ‘em on to some Mel Gibson thrillers so they can learn a new attitude . . .

“You’re kind of out here in the middle of nowhere,” the wymmin says. She had one of those squeaky high voices their females have. It always flips me out. You see a big momma like that, and then she has this high voice.

“Yes ma’am,” I said. “I’m used to walking.”

“So we’ll give you a ride to the border,” she said. “Across the border, make it easy on you. Into Tok. You must be going that way.”

“Might take a right at Tositna and go up to Chicken,” I said. “Do some gold mining.”

“Yeah.” The guy scratched his balls, in that sympathetic gesture guys make to each other, sort of like saying, Balls, what a pain, huh? Only I knew he was re-adjusting the servos on his stilts.

“So you sure you don’t want a lift?” The wymmin Gray glared at me through her glasses. I knew she was scanning me. Hell, I knew they had me pegged already. They’d put a chip in my butt after my first abduction near Cedar Key (see Chapter 16), so they could track me like that, you bet.

“Don’t wanna trouble you,” I said.

“No trouble,” the guy said.

“Still . . . “ I stared off into the distance, thinking of Hannah. I figured if they were scanning me, they’d pick up the increase in blood pressure and the little woody I was working up. “I’m sort of hoping for a ride with this babe I met in Beaver Creek.” I grinned, and the guy Gray grinned back, showing me his stumpy little tongue.

“Gotcha,” he said, winking and making a little gun with his fingers and shooting it at me. Really. They ought to watch some old Bond movies if they wanted some better clichés.

“Dude,” I said.

The wymmin nodded and the guy nodded and they got back in the white Cherokee and drove over the hill and probably to one of their shuttle crafts. A few minutes later, the Coasties who had given me a ride 500 miles down the road picked me up again.

When the Coasties dropped me off just before the border, I saw the black helicopters.

Welcome to Alaska, I thought. Now go home.

 

Buy Links:

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30650517-truck-stop-earth

 

Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HN3JAJS

 

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/truck-stop-earth-michael-a-armstrong/1123961595?ean=9780997531008

 

Michael and Leia bw

 

Author Biography:

Michael Armstrong was born in Virginia in 1956, grew up in Tampa, Florida, and moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1979. He has lived in Homer, Alaska, since 1994. He attended the Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop and received a bachelor of arts from New College of Florida and a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage. His first novel is After the Zap. Michael’s short fiction has been published in Asimov’s, The Magazine of Science Fiction, Fiction Quarterly, and various anthologies, including Not of Woman Born, a Philip K. Dick award nominee, and several Heroes In Hell anthologies. His other novels include Agviq, The Hidden War, and Bridge Over Hell, part of the Perseid Press Heroes in Hell universe.

 

Michael has taught creative writing composition, and dog mushing. He is a reporter and photographer for the Homer News. He and his wife, Jenny Stroyeck, live in small house they built themselves on Diamond Ridge above Homer, which they share with an incredibly adorable labradoodle.

 

Social Media Links:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/michael.a.armstrong.writer/

Twitter https://twitter.com/maaarmstrang

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4100550.Michael_A_Armstrong

Publisher http://www.theperseidpress.com/

 

Best-Selling Author @WestonAndrew Reveals His Top 10 Memories #scifi #PerseidPress


Hi, my name is Andrew Weston. I’m an author living in a cupboard under the stairs…? Sorry, the darn medication must be off again.  Truthfully? I like to spend my time fishing for dreams among the stars. I haven’t caught anything yet, so perhaps it’s time to change my bait?

Anyhow, as some of my readers will be aware, before turning my hand to writing, I experienced life’s rich tapestry as a specialist in the military, and later, as a police officer in a number of varied roles. Looking back over the years, I thought it might be fun to reveal my “Top Ten Memories” (Or, at least, those recollections I’m willing to share – hee hee).
They’re not necessarily in order, as I tried to group them together into little themes, but such experiences made me the person I am now, and in a strange way, have influenced my writing. See what you think…

 

  1. The birth of my first child: (Or indeed, all of my children, come to that). A tremendous experience that no father should miss…especially when you’re allowed to assist. A privilege I enjoyed for each of my little gems.
  2. Delivering a child: And it wasn’t one of my own! I’d only been in the police for several years and after serving in a city environment, moved to a rural station covering hundreds of square miles of forest. That’s when I came across a young couple who had broken down while driving to hospital for their first baby. Back seat of a car – no problem! (To be honest, mother did all the work – father did most of the sweating and pacing up and down, and I merely pretended it was just another day at work). And do you know what; they didn’t name the baby after me?
    (Just as well, it was a teeny-tiny girl). All together now, aaaaaah!
  3. Getting arrested: Seriously. As I progressed through my career, I worked undercover on a number of occasions. During a sting where I’d been placed among a gang of druggie thieves, a number of officers from out of area were brought in to assist in rounding up the dregs of society. They took one look at me and decided I was one of the most unsavory individuals they’d ever seen, and I was the first one they jumped on. Those fur-lined cuffs really pinched. Ah – happy times.
  4. Throwing myself out of a perfectly good airplane: Not too much to say here as so many other guys in the military have done a similar thing. But the sense of freedom you get on the hill…ah, there’s nothing like it.
  5. Getting shot: Staying on a military theme. Top tip: not recommended. And while I appreciate the fact you have to expect it when you join the military – and especially in the kind of role in which I served – it’s a bit of a bummer when it actually happens to you for the first time. (A true “protruding bottom lip moment” if ever there was one).
  6. Discovering I am immune/resistant to the euphoria opiates are supposed to instill: What can I say? I’m one of those quirks of nature. Following a serious injury – mentioned above – and later episodes in my life, I have been hospitalized on a number of occasions. Try what they might…morphine, codeine, tramadol, fentanyl, doctors could find a lot to help. I didn’t get high; it barely reduced the pain; and really, all I took away from the experience was constipation, itchy rashes and bathmat tongue. (No wonder I ended up working undercover on certain departments, eh?)
  7. My mom, the drug cultivator: See how this continues a pharmaceutical theme? While I was serving in the police, I’d pop home to Birmingham, in the UK, to see how my parents were from time to time. On one occasion, my wife and I arrived late on a Friday evening, and after a meal, went to bed.
    So you better understand the setting, you should know my mom owned an antique restoration business and used to live above the premises itself. While this meant she had no front garden – as that was given over to customer parking – she had a rear courtyard, in which she used to grow plants and cuttings she’d collect while out on countryside walks.
    So, there I am, Saturday morning, bright and early. I take a cup of tea out into the rear courtyard, sit down, and as I’m raising the cup to my lips, come face to face with one of the healthiest cannabis plants I’ve ever seen.
    What the flip-flop?
    Managing to swallow a mouthful of tea without choking, I put my mug on the floor, lean forward and actually pinch myself. It can’t be? Yes it is. NO! It can’t be?
    I examine it for the umpteenth time, and eventually accept the inevitable truth.
    ..you little par-tay minx!
    So, then I’m thinking…how they hell do I slip this into the conversation naturally?
    Anyway, about half an hour later, mom gets up; makes her own tea; dawdles out into the yard, whereupon I join her on the bench and compliment her on her green fingers and say how nice the makeshift garden is looking. I point at one or two shrubs and bushes, and ask her a little bit about them, and gradually work my way toward exhibit ‘A’.
    “So, when did you get that particular plant over there?”

“Oh that?” she says, “I was out walking Ben – the dog – up Haldon Woods. He ran off into the undergrowth, and when I went to find him, I spotted a whole load of them in a glade. I liked the shape of the leaves so took a cutting to bring home.”

“You liked the look of the leaves, eh?” I say, wondering where this will go.

“Yes,” mom replies, “I was hoping they’d have flowered by now so I could see what color the petals are.”

I start laughing. She asks me what’s so funny, so I explain, “Well, you’re gonna be out of luck. By now, the leaves would normally be drying and ready for rolling.”

“Eh?” And I’m glad to see she appears genuinely puzzled.
“Mom…how can I put this? People don’t normally grow these for their pretty flowers. They’re more interested in smoking the leaves?”

“Eh?” she mumbles again.

“That’s a cannabis bush.”

“A what?”

“Cannabis. Weed. Ganja. An honest-to-God, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred pounds and go directly to jail, cannabis bush.”

“Don’t be so ****ing stupid,” she spluttered, “It can’t be drugs. They were growing wild in the middle of the forest.”

(I know…sigh)

“In a glade, off the beaten track, right?”

“Yes,” she replies indignantly, “so there’s nothing suspicious about them.”

….How I wish you could have listened in on the conversation….
Long story short? I quickly put her right about the tricks of the trade many drug dealers employ to grow their wares, and ensured the drugs were properly disposed of. (And no sitting round in circles and inhaling deeply was involved)

  1. Climbing my first mountain: See? I’m still talking about getting high…the connections abound in this top ten 🙂

monte-rosa-02
1983 – Monta Rosa, Switzerland

A truly exhilarating experience and something that gave me the climbing bug.

  1. Getting naked when I shouldn’t: Intrigued? Well, I had to attend hospital for a follow-up surgery for one of my injuries – this one, to my left shoulder.
    Those of you who have also been in a similar position know the score. You go into a little waiting cubicle. You’re told to take off your clothes, place them in a locker, and put on the items laid out for you on a chair. (In this case, hospital slippers and robe) Somewhat Spartan, but what can I say. The NHS is struggling.
    When the operating team was ready, a nurse came to get me, and escorted me through to the preparation room.
    I walk in there – everyone’s busy preparing for the op – and as they go about their business, one of the surgical staff says, over their shoulder, “Just take off you robe and wait over there.”

I thought…hello? But then I reasoned, well, they obviously know what they’re doing, and they’ve seen it all before.
So I took off my robe and stood there like a peacock, proud and defiant…until one of the nurses turns round, spots I’m naked, and let’s out a yelp of surprise… “Oh my God, where’s your gown?” (You know – the paper-thin tie-up pinafores that shows your butt to the world)

Bemused, I replied, “What gown?”

“The gown in the changing cubicle.”
“There wasn’t any gown in the changing cubicle,” I tried to explain, by now, strategically gesticulating so as to hide my morning glory, “I was told to take off my clothes and put on the stuff placed out on the chair.” Pointing desperately, I made sure to emphasize, “That’s the slippers on my feet and that robe draped over the counter…” Then I added the punchline…”I thought it a bit strange you’d want me to be naked for a shoulder operation?” Ta-dah!

We laughed.
They got me a gown.
We laughed again.
Then they put me out, and I’m sure, talked about it and laughed even more while I was unconscious. Sigh – good times.

  1. Getting set up on a blind date: Some of you might know the score. Friends phone you up out of the blue and invite you out. You turn up. Several other couples are also “mysteriously” in attendance, along with a cunningly arrange single lady whose been fooled by the lies they’ve told about you. Ha!
    Well, I’m actually very glad that happened, as that’s how I met my wife.

And here we are on our wedding day…

DSCF0681
See, all you romantics out there…Blind dates can work 😉

 

(Apologies for the state of the photo – but it’s reproduced from an actual picture)

 

So, there you go. A Top Ten that’s a little bit different. But, when you think about it, it’s still “author related” as it’s often said – Write What You Know.
Having experienced quite a few things most people never get to see and do – and having had a great deal of fun along the way – I can dip into those various episodes and “relive them” through the pages of my work. When you’re able to add those little details of what a certain episode feels like, sounds like, tastes like, the transformation it creates to your interpretation of the fictional environment adds that depth of perspective that plucks your scene from the page and places it where it belongs: alive and kicking, within the imagination of your reader.

 

IXExordiumLARGE

 

Perhaps you’ve spotted that as you read The IX Series or Heroes in Hell? I do hope so, as it makes the effort I put into my work all the more worthwhile.

 

Anyway, that’s it for now. Next time? My top ten tips regarding personal grooming and the washing of shaved heads. See you then.

Andrew Weston

 

Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

An astronomy and law graduate, he is the creator of the international number one bestsellers, The IX, and Hell Bound, (A novel forming part of Janet Morris’ critically acclaimed Heroes in Hell shared universe). Andrew also has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with two of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for http://Astronaut.com  and Amazing Stories.

 

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.andrewpweston.com/

 

Publisher: Perseid Press

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WestonAndrew

 

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/andrewweston/

 

Andrew P. Weston Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

The IX Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

Rising Tides by @katyhaye Blog Tour + #EntertoWin a Cool Prize Pack #YA @YABoundToursPR


Rising Tides tour banner

 

Rising Tides

by Katy Haye

Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic

Release Date: June 20th 2016

 

Rising Tides Cover LARGE EBOOK

 

Summary from Goodreads:

 

The truth won’t stay submerged forever.

City is the last civilised place left on a drowned Earth, a floating town built from metal and plastic from the Time Before. It’s the only home doctor’s daughter Libby Marchmont has ever known or wanted – until her father helps the wrong patient and she’s forced to flee.

Cosimo came to City for one reason. Then he should have vanished back to his people on the Wastes. But what about his promise to Libby’s father?

Stranded in the middle of the sea, can the two enemies learn to trust each other? And can they survive long enough to uncover the truth: City isn’t the safe haven Libby always believed it to be …

 

Add to Goodreads

 

Rising Tides Building the Wastes rubbish

 

Let’s Eat a 100-year-old Parsnip: Inspiration for the World of Rising Tides

 

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2004/dec/02/1

 

The original idea for Rising Tides was triggered a piece about Scott’s Hut in the Antarctic, which has been left for a century as he and his fellow explorers last used it. The link above tells you about Alan Gibbs who visited the hut and spotted a dried parsnip which had fallen out of a rusted tin, reconstituted itself in a puddle of chilly water and transpired to be perfectly edible – nearly 100 years after it had first been grown. There was another piece (I’ve lost the reference, unfortunately) about another explorer who brought back a tin of rhubarb left in Scott’s Hut and baked a perfectly edible pie from it.

 

The idea that food grown and prepared now could still be edible a century or more into the future set my imaginative cogs whirring – how would humans manage after a total collapse of the eco-system when this food was the only thing left: how might they agree to share (or not?).

 

I freely admit I’ve taken liberties – a large part of the durability of these foods must be due to the sub-zero temperatures they were also kept in. In the flooded world of City, however, nautilus men need to dive in order to salvage these tinned foods, which frigid water would make difficult to impossible. So I’ve used artistic licence to allow the tinned food to remain in tact, whether or not that would actually be the scientific case. Some foods would undoubtedly last better than others (acidic food such as tomatoes probably wouldn’t be a good choice after 100 years since they’d have reacted with the metal tins), so I have allowed that to be reflected in the choices my characters make – when they have a choice of what to eat.

 

 

Here’s a scene from the book where Cosimo dives in order to find food for himself and Libby:

 

The lurch of the boat was my only warning before Cosimo clambered back on board. There was a clatter as he tipped his finds onto the deck. Half a dozen tins covered in grey slime. “Breakfast, your Highness.” My hunger vanished. He leaned back over the side of the boat, washing the tins in the sea.

 

*

 

My stomach rumbled and I ventured to the cabin to see what delicacies he’d found.

 

Cosimo had chosen sweetcorn. The other open tins held pineapple, mashed peas and minced meat. I wished, as I did most times I set to cook a meal, that it was possible to know what was within the tins before we opened them. I guessed the Old Ones hadn’t imagined their labels might need to be waterproof.

 

The pineapple would taste of nothing more than the tin it had been encased in, so I took the minced meat from the ledge inside the cabin, found a fork and returned to the deck. I sat at the back of the boat, close enough to him to watch what he did with the boat’s controls without being so close he might get presumptuous ideas.

 

 

 

You can get a copy of Rising Tides in paperback or for your Kindle (to buy, or with Kindle Unlimited) using this link: http://authl.it/B01FHXD8HG?d

 

About the Author

Katy Haye spends most of her time in imaginary worlds – her own or someone else’s. She has a fearsome green tea habit, a partiality for dark chocolate brazils and a fascination with the science of storytelling.

 

 

Author Links:

WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreads

 

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GIVEAWAY:

Win a book-lover’s survival kit.

Your survival kit is as follows:
1. An Amazon voucher for £10/$15US/$20CAN, AUS, NZ. Load up your Kindle with books to read, while shops remain.
2. A solar charger so when the national grid fails you can still read your books.
3. A mirror. When you are stranded in the open sea you can signal for help by reflecting the sun’s light. Alternatively, if you have no wish to be rescued because you still have reading to do, flip the mirror over to depict the slogan, “Go away I’m reading.”
4. Ribbon bookmark. If all your books have been washed away by the rising seas, this can be rolled up and packed into the neck of a cut-open bottle and will double-up as a water filter. Note: this will not desalinate salt water, sorry.
5. A bag to put the last of your belongings into. DO NOT LEAVE THIS BEHIND.

Check out the ways to win with Rafflecopter.

 

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Blog Tour Organized by:

YA Bound Book Tours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Behind the History of The Du Lac Chronicles by @maryanneyarde #history #Arthurian #books


 

Britain is a place of myths and legends. There are many stories of men and women who were exceptionally heroic. But none has captured the imagination quite like Arthur Pendragon.

 

I was blessed to grow up near Glastonbury ~ or if you prefer, The Ancient Isle of Avalon. I knew the story of Arthur from an early age, and I have been enchanted ever since.

 

However, I always felt slightly deflated by the ending of Arthur’s story. There is a terrible battle at Camlann where Arthur is mortally wounded. He is whisked away to Avalon, and that is the last that we hear of him. Likewise, his knights, if they have not already died, give up the sword enter the church and/or become hermits. I love the stories of Arthur and his knights, but I’m sorry, the ending sucks! Why would the Knights become hermits?

 

This motivated me to write The Du Lac Chronicles. I was determined to carry on the story and write about what happens next.

 

I wanted to keep the story as historically accurate as I could, but at the same time, I didn’t want to take away the legend that we love. So I studied the work of Monmouth and Malory as well as all those brilliant French poets. I wanted to know the legend inside out, and then I would bring the history of the period into the tale.

 

You cannot ignore the Saxons when you look at this era. This is their time. I needed to know about them to make this book authentic in the telling. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles was a good starting point. I spent hours cross-referencing this book with other sources and trying to figure out what was real and what was fictitious.

 

I became fascinated with Cerdic of Wessex, the first Saxon King of Britain, and I was staggered by how much he achieved. He came over and conquered the south of Britain and by AD 519 he declared himself King. He was the perfect antagonist for my knights. I had to include him in the story.

 

The Du Lac Chronicles is also set in Brittany and in fact, The Du Lac Devil, which is book 2 of the Chronicles (and will be out later on this year), is set primarily in Brittany. I needed to get a handle on Dark Age Brittany as well as Dark Age Britain. I have to admit there was a moment where I wavered. I started to think that maybe I could work around Brittany and not include it in the story. I was reading the most fantastic myths about Brittany, but not so many facts. However, in the legend, Lancelot comes from Brittany. So it made sense for his sons to come from there as well.  I waded through the myths as best as I could, and I came across a fascinating king called Budic and as I read about him, I realised he was exactly what I had been looking for. Budic is often associated with the legendary King Ban of Benwick. I wanted Budic and his castle in my story. So he is!

 

I also discovered that the trade links that the Romans had initiated, for the most part, remained in place. Brittany continued to have strong ties to Britain. The Breton language has striking similarities to the Celtic and Gaelic language of the mainland. One can assume that not only did the British trade with Brittany, but they also moved there and in some instances took control of parts of the country. Cornouaille, which was the kingdom that Budic ruled, seemed to have had direct trade links with Cornwall, maybe he had family there as well?

 

I talk a great deal about Cornwall – or Cerniw as it was known then – in The Du Lac Chronicles. Cornwall has a long association with Arthurian Legend and with the apparent links to Brittany I felt it needed to be included, which is why Budic’s brother Alden, ruled this beautiful kingdom.

 

The Du Lac Chronicles is set a generation after the fall of King Arthur, and I wanted to create a story where the knights did not end up in monasteries and then disappeared into the shadows of history. I wanted to write about what happened after Arthur died. In particular, I wanted to write about the changing ‘Saxon’ world that these knights now found themselves in.

 

The Du Lac Chronicles follows – through the eyes of Lancelot du Lac’s sons – Cerdic of Wessex’s campaign to become High King. The world the du Lac’s had known was to be changed forever by this one man’s determination to enslave the kingdoms under the Saxon yolk. In my story, these men, these knights, do not die easily, and they certainly do not become hermits!

 

The Du Lac Chronicles 10 Feb 2016 KINDLE

 

Title: The Du Lac Chronicles

Author: Mary Anne Yarde

Genre: Young Adult Medieval Fiction

 

Book Blurb:

“It is dangerous to become attached to a du Lac. He will break your heart, and you will not recover.”

So prophesies a wizened healer to Annis, daughter of King Cerdic of Wessex. If there is truth in the old crone’s words, they come far too late for Annis, who defies father, king, and country to save the man she loves.

Alden du Lac, once king of Cerniw, has nothing. Betrayed by Cerdic, Alden’s kingdom lies in rubble, his fort razed to the ground and his brother Merton missing, presumably dead. He has only one possession left worth saving: his heart. And to the horror of his few remaining allies, he gives that to the daughter of his enemy. They see Annis, at best, as a bargaining chip to avoid war with her powerful father. At worst, they see a Saxon whore with her claws in a broken, wounded king.

Alden has one hope: When you war with one du Lac, you war with them all. His brother Budic, King of Brittany, could offer the deposed young king sanctuary—but whether he will offer the same courtesy to Annis is far less certain.

 

Excerpt:

It was a poor meal, Alden thought as he broke off the meat and handed some to Annis. They would need something more filling than a small bird if they were to survive. He wondered if they dared try and find a village to stock up on supplies, not that they had any coins to buy anything with. It was a bad idea, really, for nobody liked beggars, and they would probably be hounded out of the village by pitchforks. Still, he had to think of something. He frowned as he chewed. Kent was an option. It was close and he was on good terms with the king. They would be safe in Kent and it wasn’t that far away. Yes, Kent. He had wanted to reach Cerniw, but Kent was a better option, especially if Cerdic’s men were raping the place, as Bors had suggested.

 

“We are heading for Kent,” Alden announced, his mind made up. It was a logical plan.

 

Annis lowered the meat she was about to put in her mouth and looked at him.

 

Alden popped some more meat into his mouth and chewed slowly.

 

“Kent?” Annis asked. To her, Kent was as far away as the moon. She had never stepped foot out of the lands that surrounded her father’s castle.

 

“I need to know what is going on. King Oeric has always been an ally and he has a good fleet of boats.”

 

“But you could be caught. My father will have placed men at the border. Surely he will guess you will head that way,” Annis argued.

 

“I was caught last time because I surrendered. I can promise you, I will not be caught again. And as for your father, he knows as well as I that there are several places I could go. I do not doubt that Kent has crossed his mind. But this time, I am looking for him, so the way I see it, I have the advantage.” He frowned. “Eat,” he ordered, popping some more of the meat into his mouth. “I will not have it said that I starved you.”

 

She brought the meat halfway to her mouth again and stopped. “How long will it take to get to Kent?”

 

“A day, maybe less, depending on the weather.”

 

“And if the weather isn’t kind?”

 

Alden laughed. “Forever the pessimist,” he mocked gently. “If the weather isn’t kind then I am guessing it will take longer.”

 

Annis blushed. “I know that,” she mumbled. “I’m sorry for being…” Her words faded into nothing as she sat and stared at the flames.

 

“For being what?” Alden queried.

 

“Oh nothing, forget I said anything. It was a stupid question and…”

 

“And?” he encouraged, noting her change of tone and the way she would not look at him.

 

“And I know I am not very good company and I slow you down, and if it wasn’t for me you would probably be in Kent by now.” He tried to interrupt, but she would not let him for she had too much to say. “I cannot cook to save my life. I have no idea how to look after myself. If anything happened to you, I would die within days. My father is a monster. My body feels like it has been trampled on by a herd of raging horses. I am dirty. I smell. And I hate my knees,” she huffed.

 

“Your knees?” Alden asked, bemused, for he had not expected such a torrent of words from her and being a mere man, he did not really understand her point.

 

“Never mind my knees. You are right. I am a pessimist. I learned very early on not to look forward to things, because then, I would not be disappointed if they did not happen. And I have had a great many disappointments. I hate my hair. I hate curls. I hate the fact that I am a Saxon. Sometimes I hate myself. And now I am rambling, and no doubt making a fool of myself. I am completely useless, am I not?”

 

“You lost me with the knee thing. Can you repeat the rest again?”

 

 

Buy Links:

Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Du-Lac-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01CDK2MK0

Amazon.co.uk http://www.amazon.co.uk/Du-Lac-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01CDK2MK0

 

Mary Anne Yarde Head Shot

 

Author Biography:

Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury–the fabled Isle of Avalon–was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.

At nineteen, Yarde married her childhood sweetheart and began a bachelor of arts in history at Cardiff University, only to have her studies interrupted by the arrival of her first child. She would later return to higher education, studying equine science at Warwickshire College. Horses and history remain two of her major passions.

Yarde keeps busy raising four children and helping run a successful family business. She has many skills but has never mastered cooking–so if you ever drop by, she (and her family) would appreciate some tasty treats or a meal out!

 

Social Media Links:

author@maryanneyarde.com

 

https://www.maryanneyarde.com/

 

Twitter @maryanneyarde

 

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/maryanneyarde/

 

Blogspot http://maryanneyarde.blogspot.co.uk/

 

Amazon Author’s page http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Anne-Yarde/e/B01C1WFATA/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

Writing for Shared Universes: Guest Post by @WestonAndrew #amwriting #books #SFF


hellboundLARGE

 

As some of my readers will be aware, as well as being the creator of the IX Series (The IXExordium of TearsPrelude to Sorrow – TBR) I also devised the rather dark and devilishly intense character of Daemon Grim.

 

Now, this guy is none other than the Grim Reaper himself, Satan’s chief bounty hunter and go-to guy in times of trouble, and you get to read about his trials and tribulations in the #1 international bestseller, Hell Bound, and the sequel due toward the end of this year through Perseid Press, Hell Hounds.

 

The thing is, there’s more to the Reaper than first meets the eye, as his exploits form part of Janet Morris’ critically acclaimed Heroes in Hell shared universe.

HIH

 

Don’t know what Heroes in Hell is all about?
Heroes in Hell is a series of shared world fantasy books, within the genre Bangsian fantasy, created and edited by Janet Morris and written by her, Chris Morris, C. J. Cherryh and others. The first 12 books in the series were published by Baen Books between 1986 and 1989. The series was resurrected in 2011 by Janet Morris with the thirteenth book and eighth anthology in the series, Lawyers in Hell, followed by four more anthologies and two novels between 2012 and 2015.
Of note is the fact the stories from the series include one Hugo Award winner and two Nebula nominees.

 

The shared world premise of Heroes in Hell (also called The Damned Saga) is that all the dead wind up together in Hell, a devilishly wicked arena where anything and everything can go wrong in the relentless pursuit of their various ends.

 

Here’s the list of recent releases since 2011:

Lawyers in Hell
Rogues in Hell
Bridge over Hell
Dreamers in Hell
Poets in Hell
Doctors in Hell
Hell Bound

 

So, why would I want to contribute to a shared universe? The answer is simple– For the challenge.

 

Think about it. With the IX Series, I can basically do whatever I want. I can have as many protagonists and antagonists as I see fit. Run them through hoops. Put them here, there, everywhere and make them fit just about any situation I care to conjure up. On the other hand, when it comes to writing for Heroes in Hell, I can’t do that.

 

A shared universe is governed by its own fundamental forces. It has its own rules, as to where and when its sets. Principles govern it subjects regarding their interaction with each other and the realms they live in. Simply put, there are limitations on what you can and cannot do, especially if your story includes characters ‘owned’ by another contributor.

 

Daemon Grim, for example, is leader of the Hell Hounds, (a select cadre of damned hunters) and the Inquisitors (Satan’s special interrogators). Because these individuals are of ‘my’ devising, I have a pretty long leash on what I am allowed to do with them – as long as I stay within the guidelines governing the Rules of Hell.

 

However, Grim and his cabal regularly interact with other notables, such as the Undertaker, the Kigali, and the Sibitti. These particular creatures ‘belong’ to other authors so I have to follow an adopted procedure.

 

First, I need permission to use them in my own stories. Second, I have to agree not to involve them in anything that can change their nature or cause permanent repercussions. And finally, I have to ensure they ‘stay in character’ when they interrelate with others.

 

For example, in Hell Hounds, there’s a scene where Grim faces off against the Sibitti. As personified weapons of the plague god Erra, the Sibitti have a distinct way of fighting. So I need to ensure I stay true to their modus operandi.

 

Do you see the challenge in this? I can’t simply think up a fight scene – my specialty – and go with my natural flow. I have to adopt the specific current those characters I’m borrowing adopt when in battle, and ensure I reflect that appropriately.

 

This is particularly apparent in the yearly themed compilations Heroes in Hell is famous for. Look at the list of recent releases from 2011, and you’ll see topics as diverse as lawyers and dreamers to poets and rogues. Grim, for example, was introduced in the 2015 Doctors in Hell anthology. The next selected theme – due for release in Fall 2016, is Pirates in Hell, a calling completely at odds to that of a doctor, as I’m sure you’ll agree. Do you see the variety this affords?

 

But you might think…hang on, doesn’t that make the larger books you write a little disjointed? Well, it could, if I didn’t keep a careful balance. Let me explain:

 

When Janet invited me to write for Heroes in Hell, we came up with the idea of leapfrogging the novels with the anthologies to keep things tight and integrate Grim more fully into the universe. So, Hell Bound follows on immediately after the action in Doctors. The forthcoming Pirates short story – Pieces of Hate – carries on Grim’s adventures three months after the events in Hell Bound. In turn, Pirates will lead into Hell Hounds, and so on and so forth. Do you see the forethought and planning this involves?
You might wonder, why on earth do I put myself through it?

 

That’s easy. I want to improve.

 

As writers, we owe it to ourselves and our readers to become the best we can be. Now, I’m a disciplined and focused person. I work hard to develop and nurture my own distinct “voice” which I hope is apparent in my work. The trouble is, when we rely solely on our own preferences, we can sometimes limit the extent to which we can mature.

 

I like contributing to the shared universe because the various themes touch on topics I wouldn’t normally consider. Doing so accelerates my learning curve and broadens my skills and experience. In the end, it’s you – the reader – that benefits.

 

Intrigued?

 

Well, if you want to find out more about the diversity of writing for a shared universe, check out some of the latest releases in Heroes in Hell. Some great writers contribute to every edition, and their various styles ensure there’s always something in the anthologies for everyone.

 

Website: http://www.andrewpweston.com/

Perseid Press: http://www.theperseidpress.com/

 

Andrew Weston

 

Author Biography:

Andrew P. Weston is Royal Marine and Police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

An astronomy and law graduate, he is the creator of the international number one bestsellers, The IX, and Hell Bound, (A novel forming part of Janet Morris’ critically acclaimed Heroes in Hell shared universe). Andrew also has the privilege of being a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

When not writing, Andrew devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with two of their remote research projects, and writes educational articles for http://Astronaut.com  and Amazing Stories.

 

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.andrewpweston.com/

 

Publisher: Perseid Press

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WestonAndrew

 

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrew-P-Weston-Author/102335216581151?ref=hl

 

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/andrewweston/

 

Andrew P. Weston Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/

 

The IX Blog: http://theix.blogspot.gr/