Friday, January 16, 2015

Anna's Secret, A Turnip Hoe & A #Crime of Passion by Margaret Westlie @MargaretWestlie #HistFic #MustRead

I have been steeped in the stories about my ancestors since my birth.  They may have even seeped into me through the walls of the womb.  Anna’s Secret is a story I’ve heard many times from various people.  The latest version was from my Uncle Harold.  He said that one of our own people was suspected of the crime of murdering Anne Beaton with a turnip hoe.  It was said that she was no better than she should be and was doing a little marital wandering with someone in the community.  For a long time the smithy was suspected.  He was in custody for a period but was finally exonerated and left Prince Edward Island for good.  Ultimately the authorities decided that the crime was perpetrated by a woman and was in fact, a crime of passion.  This last was pronounced with great relish.  They never found the person responsible.  It seems that Anne had greatly riled a wronged wife, and probably several.
The story caught my imagination and I began to wonder: what if she wasn’t who they thought she was? What if the reason for her murder was entirely different?  What if the murderer was discovered?  Who would it be?  Her husband?  The wronged woman?  The man she was said to be involved with?  There was a lot to play with here.  In a technical sense, how close to reality could I be without offending descendents?  Not too close, I decided.  Anyway, it’s more fun to write what pops into my mind and see how it plays out.
As I wrote, the narrative opened like a flower as I examined the individuals who I decided were involved.  Who were they?  What relationship did they hold to Anna and to her family and to each other? How did Old Annie figure into it?  After all she was a daft old woman who had to be transported to gatherings in a wheelbarrow because she couldn’t be left alone.  Most of the time she didn’t know anyone and lived in her mind very far in the past with people she knew in her youth.  What did she have to do with Anna’s murder?  After all, she and Anna had been life-long friends.
And what did it do to the community?  Their sense of safety was shattered and people took to locking their doors, some even in the daytime.  This was in a community that never locked its doors even in my grandmother’s time.  I remember this from my childhood.  The only time the door was locked was if they were going to be away for an extended period because, what if someone needed something and they weren’t home to give it to them?  I remember my own mother telling me a story about an old man who peddled goods and trinkets door-to-door.  He was a little simple as they say here. They woke up one morning and discovered him asleep on the lounge with a blazing fire in the stove.  After the murder, people were afraid to walk out alone at night.
As the story progressed it took awhile for me to realize who the real perpetrator was and the denouement was almost as much a surprise to me as it will be to you.

Anna Gillis, the midwife and neighbour in Mattie’s Story, has been found killed. The close-knit community is deeply shaken by this eruption of violence, and neighbours come together to help one another and to discover the perpetrator. But the answer lies Anna’s secret, long guarded by Old Annie, the last of the original Selkirk Settlers, and the protagonist of An Irregular Marriage. Join the community! Read Anna’s Secret and other novels by Margaret A. Westlie.
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Fiction, mystery, historical
Rating – G
More details about the author
 Connect with Margaret Westlie on Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, January 15, 2015

#Excerpt from SAGA OF THE NINE : AREA 38 by Mikey D. B. @mikeydbii #SagaoftheNine #Dystopian #Thriller

The rusty metal box is as tempting as it is frightening and the taunting dilemma puts Joe and Jackson on the edge of their seats.  Tentatively, Jackson flips the latches and carefully unpicks the lock.  Rust particles tumble to the table top to yield a euphoric mystery.  It was buried for a reason--a reason good enough to kill for.  Books will at the very least put them on stage with Christopher; it’s conspiracy against The Government.  Audio is labeled as disturbing the peace, therefore you’ll be on stage.  Pictures disturb the mind, and ideas the heart.  The two friends are all too aware that the box most likely contains something that will eventually lead to their demise.

“Should we?”  Jackson’s hands rest on either side of the lid hoping Joe says “no” but secretly wanting him to say “hell yeah!”.

Hesitantly Joe masks his anticipation.  “Yeah.  Why not?”

That’s not confirmation filled with enthusiasm, but Jackson pries the rusty box open without delving into the endless reasons as to why or why not.

“A book!”  Joe instantly shouts, the memories flooding back to him.

All fear is gone.  Joe yanks it out and begins flapping dust in every direction as he flips through the delicate paper pages.  Jackson counts it and every artifact carefully to create a mental inventory: a black fat book, three dark blue books, an ancient audio device, a series of discs and a chain necklace.
Immediately Jackson reaches for the only object that won’t get him killed and begins to examine the tiny metal links of the necklace.  He slips it over his head and dangles the relic from his neck, watching the ancient key swing from left to right until his jacket stops the momentum.  Next he reaches for the audio device, surprised technology like this can still be found.

“Holy Bible?  Odd word, bible.”  Wonder why it’s holy, he thinks before slamming the black book down, creating a wave of dust in the process.  Frantically, he then reaches for one of the discs and asks, “What’s a CD?”

“And what’s an iPod?”  Jackson mumbles to himself, reading the metallic lettering.  He flips the device over and notices a small red button.  Pressing it, the screen illuminates.  A small white apple appears for a short while until a bright menu takes its place.

“Wow!”  Joe proclaims.  “It still works!”

“Yeah, I think it has one of those solar, nuclear, forever lasting batteries.”

“Where the hell did yuh hear that?”

“A friend.”  Jackson thinks of Conner and the tidbits of random knowledge he’s accumulated from him.

Joe is about to delve in and interrogate Jackson as to which friend he is talking about, but becomes distracted by the shimmering of the CD object.  “What do you make of these?”  Joe hands him a small stack of plastic square casings.  Inside each casing sits a shiny, compact disc.  Joe picks up one labeled John Mayer and is quick to discover the glare that can be created when angling them just right.  Without hesitating he blinds Jackson.

“These things are awesome!”  He giggles with joy.  He can’t believe he found it, and in all places Grandma Lisa’s old yard.

“Yeah, super cool.”  Jackson places the small stack down and goes back to the iPod device.  He scrolls through the various menus until finding a series of foreign words.  “American Backstory, The USA: a founding?”

“Hey Jackson!  This one has yer name on it.  Well kind of.”  Joe hands him one of the shiny encased discs labeled: The Rouge Family: DIA BBQ USA HQ Oct 14, 2037.  Jackson shivers at reading the words, and as Joe continues to reflect light throughout the room, Jackson makes one more discovery Picking up a petite tan envelope found in between one of the blue books labeled Journal, he compresses the contents to feel a number of different pieces of papers.  He spins it around to reveal one last spooky sight.

“To Jackson from Mom and Dad.”  He reads it reverently and in seconds, a rush of adrenalin floods through his veins.  “Joe.  Put everything back in the box.  Now!”

Saga of the Nine

Change affects everyone and it is no different for Jackson. Living in Area 38 for as long as he can remember, he knows of no better way to exist than under the tyrannical rule of Christopher Stone, son of Stewart Stone from The Nine of The United Governmental Areas, aka The UGA. This all takes a dramatic turn when Jackson finds a red, metal box buried in his yard, filled with illegal artifacts—journals, a Bible, CDs, etc.—that are from a man of whom he has no recollection of: Mica Rouge.

 The year is 2036 and Mica, unlike Jackson, does know of a better way of life but is torn apart as he sees his country, The United States of America, crumbling from within by group known as The Political Mafia. The Mafia has infiltrated levels upon levels of governmental resources and it is up to Mica and a vigilante group known as The USA Division to stop them and their dark Utopian vision. To their demise, and at the country's expense, The Division fails and has no choice but to watch The Constitution dissolve and transform into The UGA.

In a final stand, having not given up hope, Mica and what is left of The Division, give one final fight in Colorado, or better known as Area 38. However, all is lost as The Division is betrayed by one of their own, Stewart Stone. Mica is left with no choice but to hide in exile, leaving what little history he can of himself and the great United States of America, with his wife, long time friends, and newly born son in hopes that they will one day finish what he could not.

Jackson, having found this legacy twenty-seven years later, decides to start the war that will end The Nine, and he with an outcast group known as The Raiders, begins his fight with Christopher Stone in Area 38. Filled with betrayal, unity, despair, hope, hate and love Area 38 follows both Mica and Jackson in their attempts to restore what they believe to be true freedom, and where one fails, the other rises to the seemingly impossible challenge.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Dystopian Thriller
Rating – PG13
More details about the author
Connect with Mikey D. B. on Facebook & Twitter
Website www.mikeydb.com

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A LIFE LESS ORDINARY #Excerpt by Victoria Bernadine @VicBernadine #Goodreads #ChickLit #Women

Manny laid in bed, staring up at the ceiling and waiting for sleep. She plucked restlessly at the blanket and wished she could relax. Tomorrow was Steph’s first staff meeting. Today she’d reacquainted herself with everyone in the office then spent the rest of the day with Manny being briefed on the details of the work of the branch and any current issues she’d need to resolve within the next few days. That meant Manny’s own work had been delayed, and tomorrow it would be delayed again–and Manny would have to leave early in order to meet Rebecca and Daisy at the lounge for drinks before heading to the club.
Manny took a deep breath and slowly let it out. It wouldn’t be too bad, she staunchly told herself. Steph was young, energetic, and had a shrewd intelligence almost obscured by the cleavage-revealing shirts, short skirts and a figure that could stop traffic–and probably did. Manny wondered if Craig truly understood what he’d gotten himself in for by promoting Steph rather than Manny.
Cleavage and legs.
She mentally rolled her eyes at Harvey’s dry, cynical tones.
Maybe–but that’s not really fair to him, is it? He’s not a bad guy.
But he is just a guy.
She does bring a new perspective–a new way of thinking about things. She’s not a bad choice–and I can’t argue with Craig’s idea that shaking things up could make things better.
And where does that leave you?
No worse off than I was before.
And no better.
If you’re not going to be helpful…
Harvey glanced down at his suddenly ruffled shirt opened to the middle of his muscled chest and skin-tight breeches. He glanced back at her with a ruefully amused smile.
Watched the Ice Pirates again, did you?
Oh, shut up–it’s a classic no matter what anybody else thinks!
I’m just sayin’–if I was real and regularly wore pants this tight, I’m not sure I’d be of any use to you. If you know what I mean.
Manny groaned and shook her head, and Harvey blinked out of existence. She wondered when she’d managed to lose control of a figment of her imagination–one she’d eventually felt compelled to name after an invisible rabbit.
She groaned again, rolled over and pulled the covers over her head. It was going to be another long day tomorrow.
Complete with dancing.

For the last fifteen years, Rose “Manny” Mankowski has been a very good girl. She turned her back on her youthful fancies and focused on her career. But now, at the age of 45, she’s questioning her choices and feeling more and more disconnected from her own life. When she’s passed over for promotion and her much younger new boss implies Manny’s life will never change, something snaps. In the blink of an eye, she’s quit her job, sold her house and cashed in her pension, and she’s leaving town on a six month road trip.
After placing a personal ad for a travelling companion, she’s joined in her mid-life crisis by Zeke Powell, the cynical, satirical, most-read – and most controversial – blogger for the e-magazine, What Women Want. Zeke’s true goal is to expose Manny’s journey as a pitiful and desperate attempt to reclaim her lost youth – and increase his readership at the same time. Leaving it all behind for six months is just an added bonus.
Now, armed with a bagful of destinations, a fistful of maps, and an out-spoken imaginary friend named Harvey, Manny’s on a quest to rediscover herself – and taking Zeke along for the ride.
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – ChickLit, Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
 Connect with Victoria Bernadine on Twitter

Thursday, January 1, 2015

John E. Wade II Shares Topics & Inspiration for "Glimpses of Heaven on Earth" #AmReading #Motivation #SelfHelp

I very much enjoyed writing Glimpses of Heaven on Earth, as an inspirational read that I hope gives its readers some interesting thoughts to contemplate. The book includes quotations and essays on the following topics: peace and security, freedom, democracies, prosperity, gender harmony, racial harmony, spiritual harmony, ecological harmony, health, and moral purpose and meaning. This is a follow-up to my prior book, How to Achieve a Heaven on Earth, which is a collection of approximately one hundred essays on these same topics.

In this newest book, Glimpses of Heaven on Earth, I invited four essay contributors to my prior book to join me in collecting inspiriting quotations. Each of the five co-authors—Charlotte L. Piotrowski, Daniel Agatino, Michael Nagler, Martin Rutte, and I—wrote brief commentary to follow the quotations in each chapter. I think the group did a good job of finding quotations on all of these topics from leaders and thinkers throughout time and across the globe, which was an exhaustive by interesting project. You will find some familiar favorites, such as quotes from Mother Theresa and Mahatma Gandhi, and also some that may be unfamiliar. I can imagine starting off each day by reading a sampling of quotes from each chapter. After all, we are all seeking to make some kind of order in the chaos of life, and I find this book very helpful in that quest.

Because of the range of topics, there truly is something of interest for everyone. I enjoyed reading about net-zero buildings in Martin’s commentary on ecological harmony. And I think readers will be intrigued by my predictions of everlasting life in the chapter on health. I want to note that we did not shy away from today’s hot topics, such as racial and gender issues, making for a very timely read.
All in all, our writing styles are easy to read and the content is easy to follow, although I had to read Michael’s commentary about peace and security twice before it really sank in. As the founder for the Metta Center for Nonviolence, Michael is an expert in this field, and I found myself wanting to know more about his beliefs and practices. In addition to other books on the topic of nonviolence, Michael provides all sorts of other helpful material on his website:  http://mettacenter.org/.  I also has several comprehensive websites, one that specifically focuses on the topic of heaven on earth: www.heavenonearth.org

This book would make an excellent gift for someone experiencing change in their life, going through difficult times, changing jobs or schools, or for someone who enjoys being inspired to create a better life for herself and others. I can imagine giving this book as a graduation or retirement gift as well. Truly, anyone would benefit from reading this short, but impactful, book.

Glimpses of Heaven on Earth

Editor and author John E. Wade II has compiled a spiritual guide of invaluable insight for finding peace and meaning in life while making the world a better place for all. Along with co-authors Charlotte Livingston Piotrowski, Daniel Agatino, Michael Nagler, and Martin Rutte, this collection of enlightening essays and inspirational quotes from renowned thinkers and leaders throughout history provides the intellectual tools needed to live a more harmonious life.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Inspirational
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with John E. Wade II on Facebook

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Mike Hartner on Writing as a Chance to Envelop Himself in a Different World @MHartnerAuthor #AmWriting

Why Writing is a Form of Personal Therapy

Every day has stresses. The kid’s not feeling well, the bills need paid, the doctor’s appointments need taken, yada, yada, yada,… Every life has its stressors.

For me, sitting in my office, or on my bed, and pouring out my innermost thoughts onto a Word document is Therapy.

I get to concentrate on things that are not my normal life. In the case of The Eternity Series, I was able to start by concentrating on Walter Crofter and his life. Walter was the inspiration for I,Walter and would pour out his life a little at a time so that I could write it down.

Toward the end, James Crofter jumped up and started to instruct me on his life adventure.

Both of these books have been written during late evenings, early mornings, and quiet times during the day. As a parent, many people know that quiet times are few and far between. These are the times when the house is quiet, and when the to-do list can be put off for a few more hours. These are the quiet times when sitting in the hot tub, or the recreation room, or the meeting room with the lights off and nobody else around, can lead to new cha[ters and more research on the life of the next main character.

Writing is resting. It’s the chance to envelop myself in a world where my role is transcription, and I’m listening to the life and death decisions, rather than making them. Writing is the therapy that lowers the blood pressure that stimulates the mind, and brings a smile to the face.

IJames

James Crofter was ripped from his family at age 11. 
Within a year the prince was a pauper in a foreign land. 
Is nature stronger than nurture? And even if it is, can James find the happiness he so richly desires? 

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Historical Fiction, Romance
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Mike Hartner on Facebook & Twitter

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Kirsten Mortensen's #WriteTip on Getting Under Your Characters Skin @KirstenWriter #Romance #Suspense

Under Their Skin. When Characters Become Real
By Kirsten Mortensen

I became a novelist so, so slowly!

It’s not that I didn’t want to devote myself to fiction. I did. I’ve wanted to spin stories for peoples’ enjoyment ever since I was about five years old.

But when I became an adult, I was deeply confused about how to go about it. Throughout my 20s and 30s, I started novels many times. But the process always felt forced. I understand, now, what I was doing wrong. I was working from my head, not my heart—not my imagination. But at the time, all I knew was that I felt lost, writing fiction. And when I read other authors saying things about how their characters would “come alive” or “take on lives of their own” I thought they were either telling white lies, or speaking figuratively.

That changed when someone I respected very much said something to me that, on the surface, was very hard. Cruel, even.

I was talking about how much I wished I could make a living as a novelist, and he looked at me and said: “I don’t believe you. I don’t believe really want to write a novel.”

It sounds mean, doesn’t it? It sounds like he was snatching my most precious dream, throwing it down onto the pavement and crushing it with his foot.

But that’s not what he was doing—and I knew it, even as he spoke.

He was challenging me to follow through on my so-called dream. He was challenging me to do more than just start a novel—he was challenging me to finish one.

So I did.

I’ve long since thrown that manuscript away—it was a typical first novel, so full of mistakes that newbie writers make!

But even though it wasn’t publishable, it served its purpose. It gave me the experience of practicing writing novels.

And the more I practice, the better I get.

And then, during novel #3, it happened.

My characters came alive.

Because it’s true. It really happens.

They begin to assert themselves. They do things you don’t expect. They stop you from forcing them into decisions that don’t suit them.

When I wrote that first novel, my characters were like puppets. I fashioned them, using words. I gave them physical characteristics. I picked out their clothes. I came up with plot twists and wrote how my characters reacted to them.

Today, when I write, my characters are no longer puppets. They’re more like entities you meet in dreams—demigods of my imagination. They awe me, they surprise me. I’m no longer their master—I’m more an observer, doing my best to transcribe what they see, think, feel, and do.

I’d be the last person to call myself a “great” writer. Ha. In my dreams.

But I do think that in my latest novel, Dark Chemistry, is the best I’ve written so far—and one major reason for that is that as I wrote it, my characters came alive. And judging on how readers are reacting to the novel, the characters seem alive to them!

If you’re a writer, have you noticed this happening while you write?

As a reader, do you notice when characters in novels seem real to you?


darkChemistry

A woman's worst nightmare

Drugged by something...that makes her think she's fallen in love.

All Haley Dubose has ever known is beaches and malls, clubs and cocktail dresses.

But now her father is dead.

And if she wants to inherit her father's fortune, she has to leave sunny Southern California
for a backwater little town near Syracuse, New York. She has to run RMB, the multimillion dollar
chemical company her father founded. And she has to run it well.


Keep RMB on track, and she'll be rich. Grow it, and she'll be even richer. But mess it up, and her inheritance will shrink away before she gets a chance to spend a dime.

Donavon Todde is her true love. But is it too late?

He's RMB's head of sales – and the more Donavon sees of Haley, the more he's smitten.
Sure, she comes across at first as naïve and superficial. But Donavon knew Haley's father. He can see the man's better qualities stirring to life in her eyes. And Donavon senses something else: Haley's father left her a legacy more important than money. He left her the chance to discover her true self.

Donavon has demons of his own.
 
He's reeling from a heartbreak that's taking far too long to heal. But he's captivated by this blond Californian, and not only because of her beauty. It's chemistry. They're right for each other. But has Donavon waited too long to woo this woman of his dreams? Because to his horror, his beautiful Haley falls under another spell. Gerad's spell.

A web of evil.

Gerad Picket was second-in-command at RMB when Haley's father was alive. And with Haley on the scene, he's in charge of her training. But there are things about RMB that Gerad doesn't want Haley to know.

And he must control her. Any way he can.

Romantic suspense for your Kindle

Will Haley realize that her feelings are not her TRUE feelings?
Does Donavon have the strength left to fight for the woman he loves?
Will the two of them uncover Gerad's plot to use RMB pheromones to enslave the world?
And even if they do – can they stop it?

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Romantic suspense
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Kirsten Mortensen through Facebook Twitter

Thursday, October 16, 2014

What Freedom Smells Like : A #Memoir by Amy Lewis @AmyLewisAuthor #AmReading #Memoir #Relationships

Why did I stay? I used to yell to the women on Oprah, Why would you stay? I had options. I had a family who loved me, who would take care of me if I left. I wasn’t married to him nor did we have children together. The only tie we had was the business, and on paper we owned it fifty/fifty. Why put up with this? What is wrong with you?

I don’t have a good answer. Not a logical one, only emotional answers. When I fell in love with him, I fell too far to get out on my own. Maybe this was the “has difficulty functioning in a way society accepts as normal” part of my borderline personality. I saw the abusive Truth as an imposter, and the real Truth, the one I loved, was locked somewhere inside. If I tried hard enough, loved deeply enough, I could find him. I might even say – rescue him. 

As my self-esteem began to shatter, it became impossible to put me back together, and shattered young women do not make the best rescuers. When Truth exploded, along with the hitting, he threatened me with much worse actions if I didn’t stay in line. “I’ll kill you; I’ll kill your entire family.” The threats felt even more painful than when he laid hands on me; eventually the physical abuse came only in spurts – maybe once or twice one month then no flair ups for a few months. He had learned how to control me without it – just a look would be enough.

During the abuse, I split myself into many different parts. Time stretched and molded to fit my needs. The tiniest expression of love or moment of joy – a good night – expanded like a rubber band into a whole month. The moments of greatest fear and terror collapsed into a blink of the eye. I became author of my own fictional tale. I used my imagination to create a portrait of a livable life. If you keep your eyes closed and your mouth shut, you can exist forever in that state. If you saw me on the street and asked how I was doing. I would smile and say fine. I’m doing just fine. If you weren’t really paying attention, you would believe me.

Sometimes during our worst fights, everything seemed to happen in slow motion, and an orchestral score played in the background. The strings increased in intensity as I retreated away from him, the beating of the percussions as he followed me, the flutes as I tried to calm him, as his hands met my body, the crescendo hit with symbols clapping together at the finale of a symphony. 

I heard the music we listened to in my dreams as two cultured, mature adults in love and enjoying the arts. As I reached up to my face or back or stomach or chest to feel the damage, I heard the audience applauding, jumping to their feet with a standing ovation. Bravo! Bravo! Tears started to pour out of me, and the rest of the audience, inspired by the music. The show had ended, and as the sophisticated, art-appreciating couples walked to their cars to begin talking about how the music reminded them of this or that, Truth came to me and apologized. He didn’t mean for it to go this far. His most vulnerable expressions to me came directly after his explosions. How everything felt wrong. How he shouldn’t let stress do this to him. How it would never happen again.

whatFreedomSmellsLike
Diagnosed with Borderline Personality disorder, Amy struggled with depression and an addiction to sharp objects. Even hospitalization didn't help to heal her destructive tendencies. It took a tumultuous relationship with a man named Truth to bring her back from the depths of her own self-made hell.Amy's marriage to dark, intriguing Truth was both passionate and stormy. She was a fair-skinned southern girl from New Orleans. He was a charming black man with tribal tattoos, piercings, and a mysterious past. They made an unlikely pair, but something clicked. During their early marriage, they pulled themselves out of abject poverty into wealth and financial security practically overnight. Then things began to fall apart.
 Passionate and protective, Truth also proved violent and abusive. Amy’s own self-destructive tendencies created a powerful symmetry. His sudden death left Amy with an intense and warring set of emotions: grief for the loss of the man she loved, relief she was no longer a target for his aggression.

Conflicted and grieving, Amy found herself at a spiritual and emotional crossroads, only to receive help from an unlikely source: Truth himself. Feeling his otherworldly presence in her dreams, Amy seeks help from a famous medium.

Her spiritual encounters change Amy forever. Through Truth, she learns her soul is eternal and indestructible, a knowledge that gives Amy the courage to pursue her own dreams and transform herself both physically and emotionally. Her supernatural encounters help Amy resolve the internal anger and self-destructive tendencies standing between her and happiness, culminating in a sense of spiritual fulfillment she never dreamed possible.

An amazing true story, What Freedom Smells Like is told with courage, honesty, and a devilishly dark sense of humor.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Amy Lewis through Twitter