Friday, May 31, 2013

Orangeberry Free Alert - HORSES AND HEROIN by Bev Pettersen

Horses and Heroin - Bev Pettersen

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre - Romantic Suspense

Rating - PG

4.6 (153 reviews)

Free until 4th June 2013

JOCKEY SCHOOL IS NOT WHAT IT SEEMS.
A talented rider disappears without a trace.
His frantic sister poses as a student.
A private investigator's plans for quiet recuperation are shattered.

Megan is determined to find her missing brother even though no one else at the illustrious California Jockey School seems to care. Her only ally is a recuperating PI who unfortunately is the owner's best friend. Soon she is caught between a blossoming romance and a far-reaching conspiracy...where misplaced trust can be deadly.

Author Interview – Lee Fullbright

Who or what influenced your writing once you began? After my mother, it was Louisa Mae Alcott, Pearl Buck, Margaret Mitchell, and then a Mr. David Starr, English teacher and yearbook staff advisor—I wonder if Mr. Starr knows how much he made me believe?—after him, it was my husband, DDF, and Kurt Vonnegut and James Michener and Irving Wallace … and how much room do we have here?

Who or what influenced your writing over the years? Annie Lamott, Wally Lamb, Jonathan Franzen, and most recently, my San Diego writing group … I’m not sure any of them—all talented writers themselves—realize how much I took their insights, words, and encouragement to heart. I’d put off joining a critique group for years, believing it would take away from actual writing time—I was wrong! Well, it did take away from writing time, but it gave back ten-fold in direction … I heartily recommend writing groups. We writers get so familiar with our own stuff, we can’t see what the more objective newbies can.

What made you want to be a writer? Not any one thing. It seemed a natural progression.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? The most challenging thing about writing a novel: sitting down and writing it.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? Writing The Angry Woman Suite changed my life … it made me understand my own family better. The story made me softer, while the discipline (required to write it) made me tougher.

Do you intend to make writing a career? I intend for writing to remain a big part of my life.

Have you developed a specific writing style? Yes, it’s in the sentences, the rhythm of the words.

What is your greatest strength as a writer? Perception. I write about people, the different ways they can be perceived … I see colors, fronts and backs, and angles

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? Good god, yes. When I do, I work out or have a drink—sometimes both at the same time.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? Yes, currently untitled, my new work-in-progess is set in mid-century California, about a woman investigating the murder of her best friend twenty years prior.

How did you come up with the title? The title, The Angry Woman Suite, was suggested by my then-agent, Joanne Brownstein. It refers to the collection of portraits that figure predominately in the plot, and to the four female characters the story revolves around.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Historical / Psychological Mystery

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Lee Fullbright on Facebook

Website http://leefullbright.com/

Orangeberry Book of the Day – Trouble in Paradise by Deborah Brown

A Brand-New Madison Westin Novel, with More Craziness in Tarpon Cove…

Remember Madison? What she had to go through… inheriting her aunt’s cottages was peanuts compared to what awaits her in TROUBLE IN PARADISE, the latest addition to the Paradise Series.

What is big news in small town Tarpon Cove? An accidental drowning or maybe even a ruthless murder? When a dead fisherman rolls up on the shore of Tarpon Cove, Madison cannot resist but to jump into her new role as Private Investigator, with only one goal in mind: to solve this intriguing mystery of the dead guy. But things do not go as Madison wants as she discovers that people in small towns are usually tight lipped, and that is certainly the case for the residents of Tarpon Cove. Although a hot bed for gossip, in a town where everyone knows everyone’s business, what is safer than keeping your mouth shut?

But that is not all…

With Madison’s tenant assessment skills not shaping up, her cottages are still full of riffraff, and it has become Tarpon Cove’s hotbed for illegal affairs. Madison teams up with her best friend and Glock-carrying Fabiana… Together they take on cases no other investigators would ever dare to touch in Tarpon Cove or anywhere else. Sometimes a girl needs a bubble bath and a fun book. So draw your bath and dive into Madison’s adventures!

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Mystery

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with Deborah Brown on Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Orangeberry Book of the Day – Killer Work from Home Jobs: 460 Jobs SUPER BOOK by Lee Evans

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What’s in This Book?

Killer Work from Home Jobs: 460 Jobs SUPER BOOK, has 160 NEW jobs, 200 jobs from Killer Work from Home Jobs 1, and 100 jobs from Killer Work from Home Jobs 2. There’s no story. No lessons. Just jobs! Economical too – it’s three books in one. SUPER BOOK identifies Fortune 500 & Legitimate Work at Home Jobs from global, national, mid-sized and start-ups with wings.

Why You Need This Book!

Killer Work from Home Jobs: 460 Jobs SUPER BOOK will help you accomplish your dream.

  • Is it finally time to find a job so that you can work from home?
  • Do you really want to trudge hours to work every day?
  • Are you looking for an honest work from home opportunity?

The idea for the Killer Work from Home Jobs Series came from the fact that I trudged to my job, as manager of someone else’s business, wondering why I wasn’t happy. I was good at what I did, achieved the company’s goals, made good money, received accolades, but something wasn’t right, there was no sense of fulfillment.

I can’t convey the melancholy I felt, I worked hard to achieve success, earned every academic credential, had a resume to swoon over. But I wasn’t a happy camper. Was this all there was?

Once I decided to work at home, it was amazing, I jumped in the air and clicked my feet! Killer Work from Home Jobs: 460 Jobs SUPER BOOK is dedicated to all those who just can’t go back to work. In addition to the “I can’t take it any mores” of the world, this book will help many who have other compelling reasons, as well. The need to work from home runs deep. Taking the first step to working at home will make you jump for joy.

How is This Book Different?

How is Killer Work from Home Jobs: 460 Jobs SUPER BOOK different from other work from home books? It is the largest compilation of home-based jobs available on Amazon today.

  • Is the company financially healthy?
  • Has the company been around for awhile?
  • Does the company have a global footprint?
  • Does the company have “money in the bank?”

My months of research answered these questions, to provide you with key company data.

My Promise to You

I verified all links in Killer Work from Home Jobs: 460 Jobs SUPER BOOK at publication. Since companies change web pages, and job needs, if any of the links don’t work, simply contact me at Free-Job-Search-Websites.com, I’ll provide you with revised link info & you can get notice of new books, too.

You’re not just buying a book, you’re buying my promise that I’ll tirelessly provide you with the most up to date info at my disposal. I want to help you make your dream come true!

Learn how to find Killer Work from Home Jobs

Genre – NonFiction / Business / Job Hunting

Buy Now @ Amazon

Rating – G

More details about the author

Connect with Lee Evans on her

Website http://www.free-job-search-websites.com/

Orangeberry Free Alert - Still Fine at Forty - Dakota Madison

Still Fine at Forty - Dakota Madison

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre - Contemporary Romance

Rating - R

4.6 (7 reviews)

Free until 1st June 2013

It all started with a Girl's Getaway Weekend in Sedona, Arizona...
It's been a year since Jennifer Ellis's ex-husband left her for a much younger woman and Jennifer still hasn't dated. Now turning 40, Jennifer wonders if she'll ever find love again. So Jennifer's best-friend, Melanie Malone, books them on a Girl's Getaway in picturesque Sedona, Arizona in hopes of inspiring Jennifer to have a vacation fling.
Jennifer gets more than she bargained for when she meets the ruggedly handsome 29-year old tour Jeep guide, Cody Miller, and the two begin a passionate romance. What Jennifer doesn't know is that Cody has a secret past that not only threatens to destroy their new love but also expose a tragic event from Jennifer's past that she has tried desperately to forget.

Intoxicated by Alicia Renee Kline (Excerpt)

Chapter One

“Don’t worry, Lauren,” Gracie said, “he’ll come around.”

I twirled my straw in my Coke and stared blankly as the ice cubes hit the sides of my glass.  I hoped her words were true.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Gracie rise from the booth.  My gaze followed her as she stood.  Apparently, the pep talk was over.

“And for goodness sakes, enjoy your party.”

Or not.

She latched on to my shoulder as she brushed past, partly in support of my situation, mostly in support of her own body weight.  She teetered unsteadily on her platform boots and let out what could be best described as an intoxicated giggle.  I watched as she made her way to the restroom toward the back of the restaurant, stifling a laugh of my own as she attempted to open the ladies’ room door by pushing rather than pulling.

Ah, yes, this was my party.

I glanced around at the large booth our group occupied.  The familiar faces of coworkers surrounded me.  There had been a good turnout; by my count, twenty people had at least stopped in to say goodbye.  Ten of those twenty still remained, even now, two hours after the official meeting time.

Invariably when someone decided to leave the bank, another employee would take it upon themselves to organize a get-together, usually held at the Mexican restaurant a mile down the road from our branch.  For some, it was a good excuse to gorge on chips, salsa and margaritas.  For others, it was truly an opportunity to celebrate the guest of honor’s new job or retirement and to say farewell.  Whatever the case that brought all these people here, to think they were gathered because of me was surreal.

Neither one of the usual scenarios pertained to me.  At twenty-six, I wasn’t anywhere close to retirement, at least not without a winning lottery ticket in hand.  And I wasn’t quitting.  I had garnered a promotion.

I started at the bank right out of college.  Armed with my shiny new accounting degree, I had landed a position at the local branch underwriting mortgage loans.  My attention to detail – some would call it anal-retentiveness – got me noticed by our corporate office.  After five years of employment there, I had been offered the job.

Director of Underwriting, Mortgage Lending.

The title alone had a nice ring to it.  The thought of actually having a staff at my beck and call was enticing.  The increase in salary was definitely attractive.  The location, not so much.  Corporate was about two hours north of here, and I would have to relocate.  That was really the only thing that had given me pause.

Being considerate of the circumstances, my current boss had instructed me to take a couple days to think it over, pray about it, do whatever I needed to do.  In my heart of hearts, I had known what my answer would be, but I was still relieved that I had a moment to mull things over.  That night, I had made two phone calls.

My father had been ecstatic.

Eric, well, things had not gone so swimmingly with him.

Gracie staggered back to the table.  She fell onto the seat of the booth, the cushion protesting with a squeak beneath her.  This was apparently the funniest thing that had ever happened to her.  Her convulsive laughter brought all other conversation at the table to a halt.

“Maybe time for someone to go home?” Mary from Consumer Loans suggested.

“I’m on it.”  I set down my Coke and went to grab my purse.  “Come on, Gracie, let’s get you to bed.”

“Oh, Lauren,” Stacy, the receptionist, protested, “it’s not fair that you have to leave your own party early.  One of us can drive her home.”

“But it’s tradition,”  Mary chimed in, “Gracie always drinks too much, and Lauren is her designated driver.”

“Oh, no,” Stacy snorted,  “did they include that in the job description for your replacement?”

Gracie still had enough sobriety left in her to shoot both Mary and Stacy a dirty look.  “Shut up.”

I stood to go and Gracie followed suit.  She was pretty wobbly.  She leaned against the wall as I said my goodbyes, thanking each person for coming and accepting their well wishes.  As I made the rounds, my eyes welled up with tears.

This was really happening.  Come Monday morning, the rest of the people at this table would go back to work like they always did.  My desk would be sitting empty.  No manila file folders stacked up on the desktop, their contents spilling over onto my keyboard.

Pushing the melodramatic to the far recesses of my brain, I took Gracie’s arm and escorted her out of the restaurant.  Considering that she towered over me, especially in those shoes, this was no small feat.

The cool evening air greeted us as we spilled out onto the sidewalk.  We continued across the parking lot to my awaiting car.  I unlocked Gracie’s door first and helped her inside.  As I rounded the car and unlocked my own door, I realized that it was as if we were on some sort of a strange date.  I was being rather chivalrous.

“I’m not tired, Lauren,” Gracie whined as I assumed the driver’s seat.  “I don’t want to go to bed yet.  I want to help you with your problems.”

“Oh, Gracie,” I laughed, “I might be beyond help at this point.”

We drove in an easy silence back to her apartment.  I pulled my car into the carport beside her sedan and shut off the ignition.  She made no move to get out of my car. Upon closer inspection, I realized that her eyes were closed.

“Gracie?”

She jumped.  “I’m awake, I promise.  You want to come up?”

I checked my cell phone before answering.  It was only nine.  “Sure, why not?”

The short nap had done Gracie wonders.  That coupled with a fresh pot of coffee might actually transform her into a worthy confidant.  With renewed energy, she exited the car.  I followed behind her, realizing as I threw my purse over my shoulder that my cell phone remained in the center console.  Briefly, I considered running back to get it, but decided not to.  No one would be calling me at this hour.  I had just spoken with my dad prior to the party, I was with my best friend right now and Eric was on some sort of random business trip in some location I was sure he had mentioned at some point during chewing me out.

Gracie kicked off her boots as soon as she made it through the threshold.  She set her housekeys on the table beside the door with a loud clunk, then landed on the couch with a flourish.  I continued on to the kitchen to make said coffee.  Moving around the small space as if it was my own, I set to work opening cabinets and grabbing mugs.

As the coffee brewed, I leaned over the breakfast bar.  From here, I could view the entire apartment.   Gracie’s bedroom was at the end of the hall, right next to the bathroom.  The place itself was bland, walls covered in typical renter’s off white.  Even though the whole of the place was no more than five or six hundred square feet, it seemed cavernous in comparison with my studio apartment.  What made it feel like home were the small finishing touches Gracie had managed to add with her meager bank teller’s wage.

One of those finishing touches, a throw pillow in the shape of a question mark, whizzed past my head.

“Penny for your thoughts.”

I poured the now finished coffee into the mugs and carried them over to the sofa, where I sat down next to her.  She took the mug that I offered, closing her eyes as she tasted the first sip.

I sighed, not sure where to begin.

“He’s probably just upset because I am leaving town.”

For the majority of our relationship Eric and I had been, in one way or another, apart.  We began dating when we were both sixteen.  When it had been time to go to college, we had settled on different universities.  This led to lots of long distance phone calls, internet chatting and romantic reunions during breaks.  After graduation, instead of finally being in the same place at the same time, he had gotten scooped up by a life insurance carrier to be their sales rep.  Even though he was stationed out of their Indianapolis office, the majority of the time he wasn’t anywhere nearby.

It had been a complete shock when he expressed his distaste at my promotion.

“That’s bull and you know it.” Gracie set down her coffee cup on the table in front of us.  She tucked an errant strand of black hair behind her ear and stared at me.  “He feels threatened.”

Threatened?  Maybe, just maybe, he was.

 

When everything she ever wanted turns out not to be enough…

Lauren Jefferies is on the verge of having it all. Hard work and determination have culminated in a promotion that promises to put her on track with her upwardly mobile boyfriend Eric. High school sweethearts and together for ten years, they are young enough to have their whole lives ahead of them, but old enough to have established themselves as forces to be reckoned with.

The news should be cause for celebration.

But taking the job means moving two hours away.

Instead of planning their reign as an up and coming power couple, they find their already tenuous relationship further damaged by their conflicting opinions. Eric doesn’t want her to leave. Lauren refuses to back down. In the end, she packs her things and heads up north to her new life, the abstract promise of figuring this all out later hanging between them.

Lauren settles into her new routine quite easily, thanks largely in part to her fast friendship with her roommate Blake. Blake’s companionship comes in a package deal with that of her older brother Matthew. One night over dinner, an innocent conversation leads to the discovery that the three of them have more in common than they’d ever imagined.

Ashamed of his role in the thread that ties them together, Matthew begins to withdraw. As Lauren devises a game plan to ease his torment, Eric inadvertently pushes them together with his selfish actions.

Lauren’s relationship with Eric continues to flounder. The distance is an issue, but Eric’s indifference does nothing to help. Every bright spot in their courtship is countered by darkness and bitterness. More often than not, Matthew is there to pick up the pieces that Eric leaves behind.

Prior to meeting Matthew, Lauren thought she knew what she wanted. Now that she’s just about to obtain everything on her list, she’s left to question if she ever really knew what that was.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Romance / Chick Lit

Rating – PG13

Connect with Alicia Renee Kline on Twitter

Website http://aliciareneekline.com/

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Orangeberry Free Alert - How I Wrote 2 eBooks in 21 Days by Glen Stanford

 

How I Wrote 2 eBooks in 21 Days - Glen Stanford

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre - Non Fiction

Rating - PG

4.6 (55 reviews)

Free until 2 June 2013

Ride a hilarious roller coaster with Glen Stanford as he follows Steve
Scott's plan in "How to Write a Nonfiction e-Book in 21 Days!"
Not one to let the writing process cramp his style, this ukulele-playing,
bluegrass-singing YouTube sensation (32 views and counting) juggles his
new-found fame with astonishing persistence to produce not one, but two
works of genius. This is the true story.
FIVE CRITICAL Reasons you MUST read this book
1. America's Funniest Recipes want you to read this book
The (secret) recipe for success:
Writer's buzz - 1 oz
Sleepless nights - 2 oz
Tenacity (and beer) - 7 (units left deliberately vague)
Irreverence and political incorrectness - to taste
Espresso - administered intravenously - 55 gal
Pizza (1/2 pepperoni, 1/2 mushroom) - 37 slices
Humility - a whole bunch
Blend and enjoy.
2. Chuck Noris wants you to read this book
You gonna argue with Chuck? I'm not! He is a huge believer in the power of
laughter because it leads to the lowering of stress hormones. This is
the carrot AND the stick - lower your stress by laughing and you won't
have to worry about Chuck getting angry with you at the same time.
P.S.
Chuck Noris is from Dubuque, Iowa and is in no way related to Chuck
Norris, the consummate actor karate-guy who would probably kick my ass
if I used his name without permission.
3. The Bible wants you to read this book
The Good Book says "A joyful heart is good medicine" (Proverbs 17:22).
Then again, it also says "Judas hanged himself" (Matthew 27:5) and "Go
and do likewise" (Luke 10:37) so you gotta be kind of selective when you
pick your quotes from this 1700-year-old classic.
4. It's flipping funny and Rated PG, too
While I might dance around some edgy subjects, I never want my readers to squirm. I leave that to the Ben Stilers of the world.
P.S.
Ben Stiler is in no way related to the incredibly funny Ben Stiller,
whose masturbatory comedic genius (when he's not meeting some Fokker)
always leaves you with a chuckle.
All of my books are swear-word-free. I tire of today's "comics" who resort to f-bombing
their material as if dirty words are the main ingredient instead of an
occasional spice.
The worst word you'll ever hear from me is "crap." Feel free to substitute something stinkier if it makes you feel
better, but honest humor shouldn't have to rely on shock jock laziness.
Then again, Howard Stearn made $100 million with his lesbian obsession and I
sell my books for the price of a cup of coffee, so what do I know?
When you see the word "flipping," you are also free to substitute something
racier, like "freaking." It's your theater of the mind, and you are the
only one taking the tickets.
That is, unless you object to me using the word "Damn" in the subtitle. That's just too funny to pass up,
and I'm #%$#&! using it.
P.S. Howard Stearn is in no way related to the radio professional Howard Stern, for whom I have only the
greatest respect. Baba Booey. Oh, and "lesbian" isn't a dirty word
anyway, nana.
5. For Writers only
You will uncover nuggets of resources that will be incredibly helpful on your journey to write
and publish your own book. You'll just have to suffer through the fun
stuff to uncover them. Think of it as a treasure hunt.
IN SUMMARY
God,
Chuck, America's Funniest Recipes and the movie Rating Board all want
you to read this book (and probably Ben and Howard, too). I wouldn't
mess with any of them. So it's no coffee for you today -  you have a
hormone level to lower.

Alexandra Sokoloff – Why Choosing Your Setting is Important

Why Choosing Your Setting is Important

by Alexandra Sokoloff

I’m often told that my thrillers are extremely visual and cinematic; I’m pretty sure that the comment I get most often from readers is “I could see the whole story like a movie playing in my head.” Well, coming from screenwriting as I do, I absolutely feel that my job as an author is to put a movie into my readers’ heads, so I’m glad it’s working out that way!

Setting and location are hugely important to my books. My first thrillers are on the supernatural side, and the house in a haunted house story (or a haunted dorm story like my ghost story The Harrowing) is every bit as much a character as the living ones. I’ve gone so far as to go live for weeks in a haunted mansion to collect realistic detail for the haunted mansion I was depicting in my poltergeist thriller, The Unseen.

But primarily my use of vivid locations comes from the filmmaking concept of setpiece scenes – so named because before the advent of location shooting, elaborate sets were built as backdrops to key scenes.

There’s a saying in Hollywood that “If you have six great scenes, you have a movie.”

Filmmakers take that “six great scenes” concept very literally.  These setpiece scenes are also often called the “trailer scenes” or the “money scenes.” As incensed as I am personally about how trailers these days give every single bit of the movie away, I understand that this is essential movie advertising: those trailer scenes have to seduce the potential audience by giving a good sense of the experience the movie is promising to deliver.

A really great setpiece scene is a lot more than just visually dazzling. It’s thematic, too, such as the prison (dungeon for the criminally insane) in Silence of the Lambs. That is much more than your garden variety prison. It’s a labyrinth of twisty staircases and creepy corridors. And it’s hell: Clarice goes through – count ‘em – seven gates, down, down, down under the ground to get to Lecter. Because after all, she’s going to be dealing with the devil, isn’t she? And the labyrinth is a classic symbol of an inner psychological journey, just exactly what Clarice is about to go through. And Lecter is a monster, like the Minotaur, so putting him smack in the center of a labyrinth makes us unconsciously equate him with a mythical beast, something both more and less than human. The visuals of that setpiece express all of those themes perfectly (and others, too) so the scene is working on all kinds of visceral, emotional, subconscious levels. And all these visuals were on Thomas Harris’s page before they were translated to film.

If you watch or rewatch the erotic thriller Sea Of Love, which I did just recently, you’ll see how the storytellers work the sea images and the love images throughout the film. The film is often shot in blue tones and against backdrops of wide panes of glass, with moving shadows – all creating an undersea or aquarium effect, especially in the suspense scenes. The story explores themes of love, including obsessive love, and addiction – sex addiction and alcoholism. There are repeating visuals of bottles, glasses, drinking, nudity, erotic art, X-rated movie theaters, hookers.

The Harry Potter books are so crammed full of visual imagery it would take a book to go into it all (there probably is one, in fact…) The books play with all the classic symbols of witches, wizards and magic: owls, cats, gnome, newts, feathers, wands, crystals, ghosts, shapeshifters, snakes, frogs, rats, brooms (I don’t really have to keep going, do I?).  Look at The Wizard of Oz (just the brilliant contrast of the black and white world of Kansas and the Technicolor world of Oz says volumes). Look at what Barbara Kingsolver does in Prodigal Summer, where images of fecundity and the, well, prodigiousness of nature overflow off the pages, revealing characters and conflicts and themes. Look at what Robert Towne and Roman Polanski do with water in Chinatown and also, try watching that movie sometime with Oedipus in mind… the very specific parallels will blow you away. Take a look at Groundhog Day, which constantly provides groundhog images, images of stopped or handless clocks (and that malevolent clock radio), an ice image of the eye of God, anthropomorphic weather.

In film, every movie has a production designer: one artist (and these people are genius level, let me tell you) who is responsible, in consultation with the director and with the help of sometimes a whole army of production artists) for the entire look of the film – every color, costume, prop, set choice.

With a book, guess who’s the production designer?

I am.  The author is.

Now, as a screenwriter, I was used to having producers tell me a scene had to be set someplace else because it would be too expensive to shoot.  But as an author I have the incredible advantage of an unlimited production budget. Whatever settings, crowds, mechanical devices, alien attacks or natural disasters I choose to depict, my only budget constraint is in my imagination.  The most powerful directors in Hollywood would kill for a fraction of that power. Theoretically, they can’t even begin to compete.

So I approach setting as a production designer. My Thriller Award-nominated Huntress series (Huntress Moon, Blood Moon) follows a haunted FBI agent’s interstate manhunt for what he believes may be a female serial killer. I get to show off the staggering beauty of my home state of California, and I have a lot of fun with locations. I get a lot of raves about a key scene that takes place in a butterfly colony in a eucalyptus grove.  Now, growing up in California as I have, I couldn’t very well set a thriller on the central California coast and not use the monarch grove, and the visuals are breathtaking – but the monarchs also make a great metaphor for my killer.  In another scene the memorial gardens of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco add a ritual mysticism to the aftermath of a murder scene.  And using my beloved Haight Asbury as a continuing setting in Blood Moon gives the book the hint of magical forces that is a subtle part of the series.

I teach a popular Screenwriting Tricks for Authors writing workshop based on my Screenwriting Tricks for Authors blog and writing workbooks, and I always emphasize using locations thematically. I find authors really respond to the idea of setpieces, and I’m glad, because I don’t think there’s any better way to add visual excitement and thematic meaning to a story – in any medium.

So of course my question to the audience today is exactly the question I ask my classes: what are some great examples of memorable setpieces for you – in books or films?

—- Book II in the Thriller Award-nominated Huntress/FBI series —-

Twenty-five years have passed since a savage killer terrorized California, massacring three ordinary families before disappearing without a trace.

The haunted child who was the only surviving victim of his rampage is now wanted by the FBI for brutal crimes of her own, and Special Agent Matthew Roarke is on an interstate manhunt for her, despite his conflicted sympathies for her history and motives.

But when his search for her unearths evidence of new family slayings, the dangerous woman Roarke seeks – and wants – may be his only hope of preventing another bloodbath.

*****

It is highly recommended that you read Book I of the series, Huntress Moon, first.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Mystery / Thriller

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with Alexandra Sokoloff on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://alexandrasokoloff.com/

Orangeberry Book of the Day – Surrender by Melody Anne

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Raffaello (Rafe) Palazzo takes what he wants with no regrets. Arianna (Ari) Lynn Harlow has led a charmed life until tragedy strikes her family. He’s looking for a no-emotions attached mistress, she’s looking for redemption.

They are not a pair that should ever work, but undeniable attraction and devastating tragedies bring them together in the city by the bay where he fights to keep their relationship nothing more than an enjoyable way to meet his needs, and she battles to not lose herself in him. Spending time with Ari starts cracking the hard shell that Rafe has built around his heart, but he denies the affect she has on him until it’s too late to stop the inevitable conclusion that their relationship is headed for.

Rafe once believed in happily ever after, coming from a large Italian family. He’s got the Midas touch, since every endeavor he tries turns to gold. That all ends when his wife walks out the door and leaves him blindsided. His devastation quickly turns to steel when he decides no woman will fool him again. From that point on he treats relationships as nothing more than business transactions where both party’s come out mutually benefited.

Just when Ari has sunk to the lowest she’s ever been she finds an ad in the paper announcing a job that’s too good to be true. It turns out she’s right. She makes it through the intense rounds of interviews only to find out the job is for a mistress to the powerful Rafe Palazzo, owner of Palazzo Enterprises. Rafe gives her a day to think about whether she wants the position or not, and she’s sent on her way, only to find out her mother’s near-terminal position has taken a turn for the worse. Her mom’s only in the hospital because Ari messed up, and her mother’s the one who paid the price. Is Rafe her savior, or will he take her with him straight to the depths of hell?

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Contemporary Romance

Rating – 18+

More details about the author

Connect with Melody Anne on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.melodyanne.com/

Orangeberry Book of the Day - Too Many Secrets (Cleo Sims Mysteries) by Lynn Osterkamp

Chapter 1

December 11

Waves of nausea overwhelmed me as I rushed into Turley’s Restaurant at noon that icy December day. A blast of hot air smelling of fish, burgers, onions and such sent me careening to the ladies room to avoid puking on the dining room floor. Amazingly, once I was inside the safety of the stall, I managed to avert the worst, containing my sickness to dry heaves. I hurried out to the sinks to make myself presentable for my lunch meeting with Bruce, the local dot-com millionaire who funds an experimental project that is a major part of my grief-therapy practice. I was a wreck. I'd had a miserable morning, I was late to a meeting with Bruce who prizes promptness, and my shaky queasiness exacerbated my anxiety about why Bruce had summoned me.

As I calmed my breathing and dabbed at my face with a wet paper towel, the ladies room door flew open, letting in a tall blond woman wearing designer jeans and a red ribbed turtleneck, topped with a necklace of multicolored glass beads. My best friend Elisa, looking stunning as always. We both jumped in surprise, then she darted over and enveloped me in a welcome hug. “Cleo? Honey, you look under the weather. Is the morning sickness getting worse?”

“Shhh,” I said. “Let’s not spread the news all over Boulder.” I wasn't ready to tell the world about my pregnancy, since I was only three months along, and Pablo and I aren’t married. So far Elisa and Pablo are the only ones who know.

Elisa pulled back, looking up and down the room. “Sorry for the blabbing, but you know me. Sometimes my mouth works faster than my brain. The good news is it looks like we’re alone in here. Now let’s fix you up a little,” she said, straightening my sweater. She grabbed a comb out of her bag and worked some magic on my hair.

I felt better right away. Elisa is like a big sister to me. The kind of sister who knows how to do stuff you don't, but never makes fun of you. She just helps.

“You’re a lifesaver,” I said, “but I have to run. I’m already late for my lunch meeting with Bruce.” I headed for the door.

Elisa waved me on. “Oh—you’re meeting Bruce! Well hang in there, honey, and call me later with the scoop.”

Back in the dining area, I scanned the room a couple of times. Didn’t see Bruce. Deep breath. Maybe I’m not as late as I thought? But no, there he is sitting with a petite dark-haired woman in a booth next to a brick wall. Unexpected. Bruce is a brilliant guy who works all the time. Divorced. No social life. Who is this woman and why did he bring her?

I hustled over to their table and slid into the booth across from them, my mind on autopilot running through possible menu choices that my gut would be willing to tolerate. “Sorry to be late,” I muttered, hoping my winning smile would distract from my tardiness. “Good to see you, Bruce.”

“Hi, Cleo, I thought you forgot. This is my sister, Gayle. She needs your help.”

Whew! A relief on that score. Good to know he hadn’t summoned me to talk about problems with the funding for my Contact Project.

Gayle gave Bruce a poke. “Whoa, Bruce. This isn’t a computer-programming job. It’s personal. Let’s take a few minutes before we dive in.”

“Okay, let’s order first, then talk,” he said, burying his face in the menu.

As we perused our menus, Gayle’s cell phone rang. She answered, and jumped up. “No,” she said sharply into the phone. “That’s not acceptable.” She turned to us. “I have to take this,” she said. “Be right back.” She dashed toward the door, talking intently into the phone with her hand over her other ear to block the restaurant noise.

“Gayle’s a real estate agent,” Bruce explained. “Her phone is her life.”

We sat quietly looking at our menus. Bruce isn’t much of a talker. He’s a techie. Brainy, but basically shy. Even though he’s forty-five and a self-made multi-millionaire, his social skills aren’t well developed. He’s one of those guys who goes around looking at the floor or off into the distance so he doesn’t have to make eye contact. Small talk is definitely not his forte.

Gayle darted back across the room to our booth. “Sorry,” she said. “I’m ready to order if you two are.”

I took a last look at the menu. Turley’s trademark is its healthy food, and in addition to more traditional lunch and dinner entrees, they serve breakfast all day. Knowing I needed protein for the baby, I decided on a garden omelet with mushrooms, spinach, and tomato with toast on the side. Hoped I could get it down with the help of a ginger ale. Bruce ordered a buffalo burger with a side of fresh fruit, and Gayle ordered the sesame spinach salad with the dressing on the side.

“So like I was saying,” Bruce began as the waitress left to turn our orders in, “Gayle needs some help from you.”

I turned to her. “Would you like to tell me about it?”

She took a deep breath and launched in to her story. “You’ve probably heard about the woman who went missing from the Rainbow Lakes Campground in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area a few weeks ago.”

“I did,” I said. “Do you know her?”

Gayle looked down at the table silently for a couple of minutes, her shoulders slumped as if the weight of her problem was a burden too heavy to lift. When she finally looked up, tears streamed down her face. “She’s my best friend, Sabrina—or maybe I should say she was my best friend. She’s probably dead. But they can’t find her and we don’t know what happened to her and that’s even worse.” She wiped her face with a tissue, but her tears continued to flow.

Bruce put his arm around Gayle’s shoulders and hugged her. More empathy than I would have expected from him, but then again until today I didn’t even know he had a sister. All I know about Bruce is what he told me in his grief therapy sessions after his eighteen-year-old daughter died from a drug overdose. He’s such a private person, he would have never come for grief counseling except that his business partner—who saw how paralyzed Bruce was after his daughter’s death—insisted. Bruce’s relationship with his daughter had been stormy for several years before she died, and his deep regrets that they hadn’t made peace had intensified his grief.

Gayle continued wiping her face as she struggled to regain her composure. But I could see grief winning out. "Take your time," I said gently. "I know it's hard to talk about."

Her face crumpled. “I’ve cried so much in the past few weeks that I’ve made myself sick,” she sobbed. “I’m totally devastated about Sabrina.”

She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and collected herself. “Okay. I’m ready to tell you the story,” she said quietly. “I was part of the group at the campground—there were six of us who’ve been friends for years. We each went off separately on our personal journeys and Sabrina never came back. We searched, the rescue groups searched, the dogs searched, the helicopter searched. But no one has found her. And now they’re calling off the search.” She closed her eyes and leaned back in her seat.

The waitress showed up with our lunch. I took a quick bite, which actually tasted good. Bruce spread mustard on his burger and bit in.

Gayle picked at her salad. “I was blown away when Bruce told me about your Contact Project—that he actually talked to his daughter Charlene after she died and how he resolved things with her,” she said, her voice perking up a little. “At first I didn’t believe him when he said you put him in your apparition chamber. It’s so unlike Bruce to have anything to do with the paranormal. He debunks everything. When he told me he reached Charlene, and they forgave each other and said goodbye, I knew it was real for him.”

Bruce put his burger down. “I don’t debunk everything,” he said.

“Ha!” Gayle said. “Remember when I played the DVD of that movie, What the Bleep Do We Know? for you last year? You went on and on about how it misrepresented science, that it was pseudoscience, and quantum mysticism. You weren’t open to it at all, even though so many people liked it that it’s made over $16 million.”

Bruce scowled. “Gayle, the science was unsupported and incorrect. New Age hogwash. One of their so-called experts turned out to be a 35,000 year-old spirit from Atlantis.” Bruce gave her a self-satisfied grin as he speared a chunk of pineapple with his fork and returned to eating.

She laughed and gave him another poke. “Bruce, I’ve told you before, you totally missed the point. The movie is supposed to blow your mind, not engage it in an analysis. It’s about learning to become the creative force in your own life, instead of being a victim of circumstances. My friends and I have watched it over and over. We know group consciousness can change reality. If you looked up from your computer now and then, you’d see.”

They were off the track here, but I hesitated to break into habitual brother-sister banter. Also, I figured Gayle needed a few minutes to relax before we talked more about her missing friend. I focused on my lunch, thankful I could eat without gagging.

Bruce ignored Gayle’s jeers and turned to me. “Here’s the thing, Cleo,” he said. “Gayle needs to go into your apparition chamber and try to contact Sabrina to find out if she’s dead or alive. She needs to know and the sooner the better.”

Uh oh. As soon as Gayle said they didn't know whether or not Sabrina was dead, I should have guessed this was what Bruce wanted. But my apparition chamber is for grief-therapy clients who want to reach a loved one to resolve an issue, not for solving missing-person cases. I didn't want to refuse Bruce's request, but I had concerns about Gayle. “I understand that it’s hard not knowing what happened to your friend,” I said. “But the contact process may not make you feel any better.”

Gayle looked straight into my eyes. “It’s not about how I feel,” she said intensely. “It’s about how Sabrina’s sister Brandi has taken over Sabrina’s house and her son Ian. Sabrina would be furious. She expressly didn’t want that to ever happen. If she’s dead, everything is in trust for Ian, and I’m Ian’s guardian. But Brandi jumped in as soon as Sabrina went missing, and right now she has control. So I need to know if Sabrina is dead or alive.”

“I’m not sure the contact process can answer that question,” I said. “You could try to reach her, but if you do, it wouldn't constitute legal proof of her death, and if you don’t, that doesn’t mean she’s alive.”

Bruce broke in. “Actually I’d already thought of that,” he said. “I want you to do a thorough job. If Gayle can’t reach Sabrina, then the other women who were up there should try. In fact, why not start by meeting with all of them and telling them about the process. Get some of that group consciousness going. I’ll pay for your time—whatever it takes.”

Before I had a chance to think about how else to voice my reservations, Bruce slid out of the booth, stood up, and picked up his coat. “I have to go. You two can go on from here. Gayle can keep me updated.” He nodded at us and headed for the door.

“Oof!” Gayle said. “That’s my brother. Makes his point, and ducks out before the discussion gets complicated. But I suppose you’re used to his tactics.”

I shrugged. I'd have to go along, at least for a while. Not only had Bruce been very generous in funding my Contact Project, all he’d asked of me was that I operate professionally and that he remain anonymous as a funder. So even though the timing wasn’t ideal for me to get involved in a situation that smelled like trouble, I didn’t see any other options. “No problem,” I said. “Here’s my card. Call me and we can set up a time to talk more.”

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Genre - Mystery

Rating – PG

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Orangeberry Blast Off – Sam’s Top Secret Journal: We Spy (Book 1)

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Sam’s Top Secret Journal – Book 1: Sam Spies by Sean Adelman. Join Sam as she embarks on her first big adventure in this middle-grade mystery full of fun, suspense…and just the right amount of spying! Sam is a middle school girl living a normal life-except when she is occasionally bullied for the differences kids perceive in her. Sam has Down syndrome. See how she and her brother John work together to find some stolen money, help a new friend and escape real danger in this exciting adventure!

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Genre – Middle Grade Mystery

Rating – G

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Website http://www.raiseexpectations.com/

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Orangeberry Free Alert - Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy: The Templar Chronicles: Book 2 by Jeff Gunhus

Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy: The Templar chronicles: Book 2 - Jeff Gunhus

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre - YA, Fantasy

Rating - PG

4.6 (14 reviews)

Free until 30 May 2013

After barely surviving the onslaught of monsters that tried to kill him the day before his fourteenth birthday, Jack Templar leaves his hometown on a quest to rescue his father and discover the truth about his past. Joined by his friends Will and T-Rex, and led by Eva, the mysterious one-handed monster hunter, Jack sets out for the Monster Hunter Academy where he hopes to find answers to his questions. Little does he suspect that the Academy is filled with dangers of its own, many of them more terrifying than anything he’s faced so far.

Orangeberry Book of the Day - Intoxicated by Alicia Renee Kline (Excerpt)

Prologue

“So you are really going ahead with the roommate thing?”  Matthew’s voice crackled over the telephone.

Blake wasn’t sure if her brother’s words were garbled due to her faulty cell reception or if they were laced with emotion.  She had, of course, announced with a flourish approximately six months ago that it had been the appropriate time in her life to purchase her own place.  Up until then, they had been roommates themselves.  But her wildly independent streak as well as a buyer’s market had persuaded her to take the leap into homeownership.  That and the fact that Matthew was still best friends with her ex.

She just never expected to feel so alone.

“Yes, I guess I am,” she replied as she paced her floor.

“And you’re sure about this?” he pressed.

Blake sighed.  No, not really.  But posting a room for rent online and actually having someone sign a lease for it were two entirely different things.  So what if someone was coming to look at the place tomorrow morning?  If things didn’t feel right, she could always lie and say that she had been fielding a lot of calls and that, unfortunately, she had chosen someone else.

“You’re not having money problems, are you?” he continued.

“No,” she responded quickly.  Now that had upset her a little bit.

“Just be careful.” Matthew warned.

Despite herself, Blake chuckled.  If anyone should be giving that advice, it should be the other way around.  Matthew’s indiscretions had been the whole reason that they themselves had been roommates.  Although it had been a terrible, uncomfortable time in both their lives, it had been the beginning of their beautiful friendship.  There was no one else that she trusted as wholly and completely as her brother.  Their past had forced them to lean on each other in a way she never would have imagined when she was younger, and they had ended up on the other side as better people for it.

Matthew either chose to ignore the giggle or he found the irony in the situation.  There was silence on the other end of the line until Blake whispered her response.

“Always am.”

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Genre – Romance / Chick Lit

Rating – PG13

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Website http://aliciareneekline.com/

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Orangeberry Book of the Day – Killer Abs: A Body (Pump) Horror Comedy by DR O’Brien

Twenty-something accountant Matt Warner enrols at an exclusive weight loss resort with his career on the line should he fail to shed the pounds from his paunchy frame.

Before long the accountant realises that his girth is the least of his problems as there is something deeply wrong with the Phoenix Resort where it’s no gain and all pain.

It’s a serving of full fat fear for the guests who must fight for their lives to survive the week.

Matt Warner is going to lose weight, or die trying.

Killer Abs is an 11,403 word short body (pump) horror comedy, with content for mature audiences.

Previous praise for the Author’s work:

“I think that you will enjoy the way Mr. O’Brien ties everything together and pits some of, if not the most famous characters in literature against each other. The story is fast paced with lots of action and adventure: a very enjoyable read and I wholeheartedly recommend it”
FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND

“Luckily for is it seems that D R O’Brien is tainted with just enough craziness to pull this task off. O’Brien has breathed new life into these well known and well loved characters. Thrilling, horrific, and funny at the same time which is no mean feat… O’Brien is a talented writer.”
GINGERNUTS OF HORROR BLOG

“Shakespeare’s characters duking it out with Lovecraft’s creatures? Sign us up immediately!
DREAD CENTRAL

“All very inventive, clever and ghoulishly entertaining… Bizarre, baroque and amusing…”
CONTAINS MODERATE PERIL

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Genre – Horror

Rating – 18+

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Orangeberry Book of the Day - For the Future Generations (For a Generation) by Anastasia Faith (Excerpt)

For the Future Generations

[Book 1 of the "For a Generation" series]
3.4.2113

Alamogordo, New Mexico

The sun set over Alamogordo, New Mexico and night fell in the desert. Thick black clouds shifted over the horizon, contrasting the orange sky above, and casting shadows on the barren landscape.

In one mound of sand and rock sat an underground house with a tan roof protruding from the top of the hill. The residents had built a door in the side of the roof. This remained locked during daylight hours. Inside this house, the Channing family had just finished their evening meal. The women in the family cleaned the last of the dishes, the father worked in his office, and a ten-year-old boy grew restless. The boy had a head of strawberry curls, a round face, and deep blue eyes.

He scampered down the hall and pounded on his father’s office chamber door. His father, Kelvin Channing, a college professor, would be grading the day’s homework or preparing assignments for the next school day.

“It’s Declan,” he called.

“Yes, Declan?” Kelvin answered through the door. “What do you want?”

“Laken, Chaslyn, and I want to go outside.” Declan said. “Is it safe?”

“It’s 8:00,” Kelvin said. “I don’t see why not. Remember to wear your coat.”

Declan glanced at the clock on his touch screen music device. He and his two sisters had to stay indoors until after dark because his sisters, being conjoined twins, were frowned upon in the eyes of the culture.

In Declan’s day, “handicapped” individuals were those who could not contribute financially. They required government assistance and were considered a burden to society. These handicaps could be something as simple as inseparable conjoined twins, or as severe as major cerebral palsy or quadriplegia. Benevolent medical professionals would simply deny them healthcare, while the majority would euthanize them, with or without a caretaker’s permission. At their doctor’s warning seven years before, Kelvin and Ayla Channing had relocated with their three-year-old triplets—Declan, Laken, and Chaslyn—from Kansas City, Missouri to a desert in New Mexico, hoping it would be safer. Several families who were close friends with the Channings had also come to ease the adjustment. They had scheduled their days so the triplets would be able to spend time with their friends at night.

Removing his coat from a hook near the front door, Declan slipped into it. His sisters came into the living room after they had finished cleaning the kitchen. They too were becoming restless, and the Alamogordo evening beckoned them.

“Did Dad give us permission?” Chaslyn asked.

Declan nodded and assisted Laken and Chaslyn into a special joining coat tailored for them, since they joined at one of their forearms. They piled into an elevator that led to the roof. The elevator opened, and Declan unlocked the door. They stepped out onto the sand and raced down the side of the hill to their “fort”, a crude structure constructed of logs stacked so they overlapped each other. As the evening progressed, the children’s friends arrived and joined in the imagination games.

Over their playing and laughter, Declan could hear a transporter door slam shut and then footsteps approaching. As they grew louder and came closer, Declan became increasingly concerned. All of their friends were with them, and others rarely visited the deserted area.

“Wait here,” he cautioned his sisters. “I’m going to see where that noise is coming from. Guys, keep your guard over them for just a minute.”

Fearing the worst, he left them in the fort and stole away to track the source of the footsteps. He scampered a few feet down the path behind their house. He saw a silhouette several feet in front of him, standing in the glow of a transporter’s headlights. As it came closer, he perceived a middle-aged man holding a flat nylon case.

“Who are you?” Declan demanded. “Don’t come any closer.”

“Declan, I can’t tell you much,” the man replied hurriedly, as if in a rush. “You need to trust me. My name is Mr. Wilcox; I’m a time traveler.”

Mr. Wilcox handed Declan the case. He unzipped it and found an electronic notepad. Opening a side compartment, he pulled out an automatically recharging payment card or ARPC for short. Declan searched his face for an explanation, both of the contents and of the fact this stranger knew his name.

“Keep this book a secret.” Wilcox instructed. “When the time comes, you’ll know who it’s for.”

“What about the ARPC?” He questioned. “Dad opened an account for my sisters and me, but only because he has a job; they’re linked to his. This card’s number isn’t the one on mine.”

“It will be in about thirteen years.” Mr. Wilcox said, “Remember, I’m a time traveler.”

Declan powered up the book so he could read the content, only to find it blank. He flipped it over in his hands and toyed with it, trying to discern why it would not grant him access. He pressed the bottom of the device. It squawked and a negating red light flashed.

“What happened?” He asked the man.

“I set the privacy so only the future recipient can open it. Underneath the electronic device is a fingerprint reader. It’s programmed for only my fingerprints and the person who will receive it.” Mr. Wilcox explained. “There’s an unlocked note at the beginning that I addressed to you.”

With these words, Mr. Wilcox vanished into the night and Declan focused his attention on the unlocked message.

“Declan Channing,” it instructed, “return to the place where you met me at 7 in the morning on May 1st, 2130, when you are twenty-seven. Bring this book with you. On June 30th of 2130, leave the ARPC I gave you—and your FBI badge—at the Indianapolis, Indiana branch of the bank where your account is.”

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Genre - Christian YA Fiction

Rating – PG

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Orangeberry Book of the Day – Betty’s Child by Donald Dempsey

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“Heartrending and humorous.” Kirkus Reviews

“Highly recommended.” Dr. Alan Gettis, Ph.D., author of The Happiness Solution

“An unforgettable memoir.” San Francisco Book Review

In the tradition of Frank McCourt and Angela’s Ashes, Don Dempsey uses Betty’s Child to tell the story of life with his cruel and neglectful mother, his mother’s abusive boyfriends, and hypocritical church leaders who want to save twelve-year-old Donny’s soul but ignore threats to his physical well-being. Meanwhile, Donny’s best friend is trying to recruit Donny to do petty theft and deal drugs for a dangerous local thug.

Young Donny is a real-life cross between Huckleberry Finn and Holden Caulfield as he tells his story, with only his street smarts and sense of humor to guide him. Donny does everything he can to take care of himself and his younger brothers, but with each new development, the present becomes more fraught with peril–and the future more uncertain.

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Genre – Memoir

Rating – PG13

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Orangeberry Free Alert - Artful Dodger (Maggie Kean Mis-Adventures) by Nageeba Davis

Artful Dodger - Nageeba Davis

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre - Romantic Suspense

Rating - PG13

5 (4 reviews)

Free until 26 May 2013

Take one funny, wise-cracking artist, one gorgeous, sexy detective, throw in a grizzly murder, a little amateur sleuthing, and you have the makings of a wild, romantic, mis-adventure.
Art teacher and sculptor Maggie Kean thought she was having a rotten day, burning her toast, stubbing her toe, and all before eight in the morning. Things just couldn't get any worse. At least, until the dead body clogs up her toilet. To make matters worse, Maggie becomes the prime suspect. Now all she has to do is evade the police, clear her name, trap a killer...and deal with one mouth-watering, hunky detective who drives her crazy while making her hormones do the happy dance.

Tolomay’s World & The Pool of Light by ME Lorde (Excerpt 1)

Chapter One

“Peace of life,” said the Chideman as he poured the blue water from the glass urn into the pool.  It was surreal.

“Peace of life,” my response was automatic.

My heart pounded.  For thirteen years I’d trained for this.  Still I was not ready.  The machine’s copper pipes gave off a warm smell that drifted to my nostrils as if precious biscuits were baking in the eating room.  The calming scent only made it worse.  I was leaving.

On display before every citizen in the community, my bare feet stepped the few inches further to the edge of the pool.  Fear haunted my mind.  Shivering from head to toe caused my short golden dress to tickle at the tops of my thighs.  I brushed away the itch.  Goose bumps peppered my arms and legs.  I was freezing.  For a moment, the massive musics and sounds on the stage overwhelmed me.  I was small in comparison to everything here, all present and to this wondrous event.  Through dazed thoughts, my focus returned and I remembered to count to three before placing my foot into the shallow liquid.

With eyes watering, my every heartbeat echoed in my ears.  Never again would my father’s eyes look upon me.  Never again would I feel his warm embrace.  I would so miss his calm, loving voice.  How would I bear it?  I fought my great desire to turn and dart to him, or to even just steal a look as he sat in his chair upon the stage.  Instead, I kept my step.  There would not be another last goodbye.  We had already said it, and he wanted just the one.  It would be my greatest honor to him to leave with the dignity, respect, and position that he had bestowed upon me, to act older than my meager thirteen years.  I had to be brave and pave the way for the others, as he had instructed.

The tears nearly choked me as I quietly sniffed them back.  I could scarcely see, but chose not to rub the wet away.  Everyone would notice.  More would only follow and my eyes would be closed soon enough.  The time had arrived.  This was no longer wholly my choice.  I was being led by my duty and so had to keep control of my emotions for these last few seconds here.

The immaculate stage held static, causing the miniscule hairs on my head to stand on end.  They reached toward the beautiful colored glass of the cathedral roof in the Pod Community’s grandest room, as if they too wanted to stay.  The urge to run, to escape consumed me, yet I betrayed my heart, followed my learned directions, and kept my course.

No matter the logic and knowledge in my head, nothing had prepared me for this feeling of claws tearing me apart from the inside out.  I fought off the nausea.  I could not be ill, not here in front of the community while representing my father.

The crystal and copper pool of light lay before the five of us, with solar panels running from floor to ceiling, as the toner’s chorus continued to sing behind us.  The brilliant round majesty beneath my feet, only half a foot deep, held the key to all of our futures and to what would be the whole of humanity.  We were taking these steps for everyone.  Once we left, we could never return home.

Tarron had ordered that we space ourselves just two paces separated, one from the next.  The four older candidates followed closely behind me.  The taste of anticipation mingled with the hum of energy that filled the great room.  My mind whirled.

‘Keep walking forward… do not turn around’ father’s words echoed in my head.

I was horrified.  Chills took residence up and down my spine, causing me to shake further.  How would my days unfold without him by my side?  How could I leave him here?  My heart was dying.

‘The coming light can blind, if you lose protection of your eyelids,’ he had warned.

‘Think only of your training and the swim,’ I reprimanded myself against my inert weakness. ‘Focus.  You are leading the others.’

I closed my eyes tightly.

“Your eyes… don’t forget,” I choked out the words, reminding the four following me to keep their’s closed as well.

The desire to see where my feet landed was nearly more than I could endure as I took my next step.  Blindly, trembling as I’d never thought possible, I walked on until a humming of energy engulfed me.  Then a wall of water, warm and flowing, caressed my face and arms and legs until I was drenched in it.  It unnerved me.  I imagined my skin would feel this way if covered with a million tiny insects. The vision of it in my head sent more shivers.  I rubbed away the feeling.  Fear was controlling me.  I was holding my breath.

‘Do not forget to breathe, Tolomay,’ I remembered father’s training.  ‘Or you may lose consciousness.’

Barely able to manage my thoughts, I took back my air and continued forward.

A light penetrated the liquid as if it were one and the same.  Much too bright, even with closed eyes, it rained down upon my body as if it were the sun and had no limits.  The burning lasted only a moment and rid me of my chills.  Then I was struck hard in the back by a force that seemed more as power than matter.  It propelled me through the air so fast that I nearly opened to see, but instead fell into a rolling somersault, ending in a stand as I had been trained to do.  The grasses felt soft beneath my bare feet.  The air smelled completely different here.  It was fresh and clean.  Was it safe to look?  Sure that the diminished stage music meant safety, I slowly peeked to see what was tickling my toes.  My feet were resting in an unbelievable world of vegetation.  I turned my eyes forward.  Plant life flourished about me.  An insect landed on a bloom and dipped its head inside until all of it was hidden in the bright yellow flower.

With every cell overwhelmed, my delight leapt as I viewed the sky.  Miraculous science!  Holy green gravity, it was unbelievable.  We did it!  I had accomplished what I had trained my entire life to do!

Magnificent and abundant life surrounded me as far as I could see.  The sky was a magical light blue like the ancient’s paintings and pictures; the clouds were bright whites and grays.  It had all been true, or was I only dreaming?

As hard as it was for my mind to accept my surroundings, elation filled me and I could no longer hold my tears.  Crying like a joyous newborn, I breathed in the pure nature of the heaven of the clean world.  Its power bore into my soul.  The energy of a long sturdy tree line reached toward me in the wind, welcoming my spirit to share in this wondrous space.  I looked up to the trees highest branches.  They were much taller than I had imagined they’d be.

This was all real. Father’s machine had worked.  We had succeeded!  We were here!

The much too-loud screech of the hole and the noise of the water pouring itself into this world now drowned out the distant sound of the toner’s chorus.  My heart shook with uncontrolled excitement.

“We made it!” I shouted over the machines deafening pitch, then turned to view the light point from which I had come.

‘But… where were the others?’

The water fell from midair, waiting for them.  As if in warning the sound turned to something altogether different.  First there was silence, and then an angry hiss.  Elation left me as the air changed too.  The color around the running water shifted to a dingy gray.  Impending doom gripped my chest just as Candra’s face peered through the wall of water.  She smiled in disbelief at the world she now saw… but why had the pool not spit her out?  Why did it hold her in itself?  Dread filled my belly even before I heard her shrill scream.

With half of her body through, she was just ten feet away from where I stood, her arms reaching urgently toward me.  The look of astonishment fled from her face as she let out a sound more horrific than I’d ever heard.  I was too terrified to move.  We had no training of this otherworldly power.  A moment later, Teresa was at her side, and next Florentina, and finally Marva.  They had not cleared the entryway either and instead, floated helplessly as the glorious and glowing blue water turned a dirty brown.  It spit out an odor like the scent of a burned out candle.  Candra’s skin was pulling light from the water into itself.  Every blood vessel seeped its treasure from her skin.  The others were bleeding too.  Nearly instantly, they were painted in red.  No longer lit, the water turned as dark as an endless hole and the black backdrop taunted us all.  Panicked, I barked the order.

“HURRY! MOVE! MOVE!” I shouted, but none of us obeyed.

Unable to aide them the slightest bit, I stood shocked at their agony when a brilliant flash of light struck the portal.  Their shrieks filled me with horror as I watched them writhing frantically in midair, deep in the black watery grave.  Like the dark liquid that hung motionless in the air, the moment was frozen in time.  Candra stopped screaming.  Suddenly she was gone.

‘No! No! No!’

Mere seconds dragged like eternity as for a moment longer Teresa’s voice took on a high pitched squeal.  Her eyes nearly bulged from her head.  I viewed my team members disappearing, sucked back into nothingness as the pool of light made a sizzling sound.  Then it slammed shut with a loud and thunderous ‘clap’.  The water disappeared and I stood staring at the now empty space in the beautiful green world, my face full of tears.

What had just happened?  Nothing could be real.  I had lost them all, lost all who I’d known and all in my charge.  Finally, my feet led me running toward the closed light point.  I grasped frantically at the air before me.

“Come back!  Come back!” I screamed.  “Father, take me back!  I want to go home!” I sobbed.  “Bring me home!  I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”

Guilt annihilated my soul.  Why had I not reached out to my team when they had been in unfathomable pain?  I was the curer, the healer, and I had just stood idly by and watched them die.  I’d failed at my life’s purpose, to lead and keep safe and healthy all citizens in the new community.

“I’m so sorry,” I bawled as if they could hear a single word of it.

I gave way to gravity and fell as a lost spirit to the trembling earth.  Crumpled into a ball, I wailed to the enormous trees.  I was wholly and utterly alone in this strange green world.

Why had I lived?

~SO MUCH MORE THAN A ROMANCE FANTASY~

If you enjoyed Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, you will LOVE this book. There is no swearing or sex in this series. Due to adult theme, it is Not intended for young YA readers. Genre is NEW ADULT/FANTASY/ROMANCE FANTASY

Author M.E. Lorde creates a gripping story set in the earth’s future, where the youth of the world have the privilege and burden of saving humanity from extinction.

Years before an apocalyptic event, a new means of travel is discovered. The modern technology comes just in the nick of time. Though none can return to a past-time in order to fix what men have destroyed, some candidates can now move forward to begin anew.
Highly intelligent, Tolomay Ramey was trained since birth to do one thing… to lead others into the future of the ‘clean earth’ where both nature and mankind are given a fresh start. Leaving the pod community behind, she arrives as the only living ‘Original’ from the first team of candidates. The clean world, abundant with plant and animal life, is covered in green for the first time in hundreds of years.

Unfortunately for this young girl and despite the beauty of the replenished earth, nothing she experiences from the moment she arrives is as expected. Alone for three years, until others finally join her, she learns to survive off the land, but that will not be what she finds most challenging. What will happen when a strong-headed young man arrives with the mindset that he should have been the first in this paradise? Can independent Tolomay and fiercely confident Kenter meet in the middle? Can the clean world become what it was intended to be for the new community, or will all thoughts of peace be left a thousand years in the past?

The first of a series, the second novel (TOLOMAY’S WORLD and The Mountain of Tegi) will be released March 2013.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Fantasy / Romance

Rating – NC17

More details about the author & the book

Connect with ME Lorde on Facebook & Twitter

Blog http://michaelordeauthor.blogspot.com/

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Orangeberry Free Alert - American Ghoul by Walt Morton

American Ghoul - Walt Morton

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre - Horror

Rating - PG13

5 (12 reviews)

Free until 24 May 2013

AMERICAN GHOUL tells the story of seventeen-year-old Howard Pickman, a boy with odd problems. He just got dumped into the worst high school in the state of New Jersey, but that's nothing compared to his secret family history of digging up corpses for dinner. This is a novel filled with the creepy funkiness of the 1970s, a bygone age of punk rock, bad disco and muscle cars roaring through hot summer nights. AMERICAN GHOUL explores the good times of teenage friendships and the darkness at the heart of American youth. It's a fun, scary, and zany look at a time when being a teenager was so dangerous you just might have to be a monster in order to survive.

AMERICAN GHOUL is recommended for readers from age 13+ on up. If you lived through the 1970s, a few flashbacks are guaranteed, both pleasant and shocking.

Orangeberry Book Tours – Be Good by Dakota Madison

This NEW ADULT ROMANCE contains language and content indented for adult readers (18+).

The Bad-Girl and the Boy-Next-Door…
After getting completely wasted at a wedding reception, bridesmaid Anna Hart wakes up in a strange bed and can’t remember what she did or who she did it with. The stranger in bed with Anna is Brett Conner, a nerdy guy who she vaguely remembers from college, but only because everyone called him Clown Hair. Only Brett isn’t quite as nerdy as Anna remembers. His clown hair is long gone and Brett is almost cute–and kind of sexy.
Over the course of four weddings, in four cities, in one crazy summer, Brett and Anna start a mismatched relationship. But is there a future for the bad-girl and the boy-next-door?

THIS IS AN UPDATED AND EDITED VERSION OF THE NOVEL.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Contemporary Romance

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with Dakota Madison on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://12novels12months.tumblr.com/

Orangeberry Book of the Day - The Hunter’s Son by BE Jewell

Chapter 2

“You know who I am and you know what he is, so you better start talking. I saw him come in here earlier.” The stocky man slams his hand down on the table. He keeps his eyes locked forward and squeezes his hand, making the veins in his forearm pop.

This elicits the desired response, and James has to fight back a smile. The owner of the grungy little shop nearly jumped out of his skin at the sound of the hand slamming on the dirty laminate counter top. It’s the typical type of place a sympathizer might own. Funneling black market goods might pay the bills, but this guy certainly isn’t getting rich off this line of work.

“Look man, I don’t know what you’re talking about. So you better buy something or…” James’s hand shoots out and grabs the shop owner’s neck. A slight squeeze cuts off his voice with a gargle.

“Don’t you lie to me. The smell in here is enough to make me puke. One warlock doesn’t smell up a joint like this,” James says through gritted teeth. “I saw him leave here earlier and have been chasing him since. I lost him when he jumped off the fifth floor of the parking garage over on Beaubien Street and took off toward the river. Tell me where he stays and maybe I’ll let you live.”

He squeezes just a bit tighter and the shop owner’s eyes bulge just slightly from his now-purple face. A noise squeaks from his collapsing throat that sounds enough like agreement to allow James to release his grip. The shop owner rubs the red area where the incredibly strong hand was affixed and clears his throat loudly.

“He’s gonna kill me. Ya know it’s true, hunter,” the shop owner says in his new, gravelly voice.

“Either him or me.” James opens his jacket and taps the gun sticking out of his waist band. Surprisingly, this doesn’t get a rise out of the man behind the counter.

“That supposed to scare me? You know what that warlock can do. He’s not normal. The things he will do to me will hurt far worse than getting shot. Maybe I should just let you shoot me and get it over with.”

James looks at the mousey man and puts his hand on the butt of his gun. The man might be afraid of the warlock but he is clearly more afraid of dying. He can barely stop the words from spewing from his mouth.

“Alright, alright. Ya better get him though, or we’ll both be dead. He hangs out in Milliken Park down on the river. It’s off Atwater Street. Not that I care if you live, but you better be careful, hunter. Like I said, this warlock is different. Got some powers I haven’t seen in a long time.”

“Oh, dontcha worry about me. Believe it or not I know what I’m doing.” James walks to the door. “And if he isn’t there, I’ll be back. No need to worry.”

The air outside the shop is cool, even for September in Michigan. James regrets not dressing warmer. His body shivers, partly from the cold but mostly from frustration. He does not usually have this much trouble and rarely has to run like he has today. The air burns his lungs like he is breathing boiling coffee. The money he was paid isn’t worth all the trouble this warlock has given him and the thing doesn’t look much older than JC. Should have asked for hazard pay, he thinks to himself.

James heads down the street toward the area he believes is the park. His mind is preoccupied with thoughts of JC and his first day at yet another high school. He bumps into an older couple walking with bags of groceries. Cans and boxes scatter all over the sidewalk. He scrambles to help the folks clean up their food and moves on quickly. He can’t let anyone get a good look at him. If things get ugly with the warlock, he can’t have the local news putting his description on TV.

He generally prides himself on staying anonymous. No one will mistake him for a body builder, but James is sure that most people would not want to run into him hiding in an alley unless they have some sort of power. Despite his stocky frame, there is nothing particularly striking about James. Most would say he looks fairly ordinary. Not strikingly handsome but not ugly either. He could be an accountant when he isn’t wearing army cargos and a black hooded sweatshirt. Hopefully the old couple was so startled they forget everything about him.

It’s nearly dark when James reaches the park. The acidic stench of the warlock hangs on the air and almost ruins the beautiful park set inside the city. The park is completely out of place. Trails lead in every direction and trees line numerous lush green clearings. It would be easy to forget about being in the city altogether.

James heads toward a raised walkway at the edge of the river, letting his nose show him the way. This would be the perfect place for a warlock to hide out. Plenty of space to watch potential victims. It would be easy to snatch someone, drag them into the woods and perform a spell without anyone seeing. Wouldn’t matter how elaborate the ritual, the trees would provide ample cover. One day having a nice picnic in the park, the next kidnapped and waking up to a nightmare–a warlock having stolen their identity or, worse, having made them do terrible things all while they were completely unaware.

This sentiment makes James shudder. He shakes his head and moves further up the river walk. The cold has driven most people out of the park. Only a few people stroll down the walkway, fighting the strengthening breeze. About fifty yards ahead, James sees someone that sparks his interest.

Sitting alone on a bench is a young-looking man wearing an oversized coat. James stops and breathes deeply, but the wind at his back makes it hard to tell if the warlock is close. He takes a step forward and the man bolts off the bench. James rips the gun from his waist and levels it at the young man.

He begins to squeeze the trigger but feels a rumble under his feet. Before he knows it, his shoes are no longer touching the ground. The river walk crumbles into the water below. He hits the water with arms and legs still trying to find steady ground. He surfaces as quickly as possible, gasping for air.

Thankfully, the water is still warm from the summer. James looks up and sees a huge hole in the walkway twenty feet above him. He looks around, sees a ladder 100 yards down the river and lets the slight current drag him toward it.

The wind bites at him as he reaches the top rung and pulls himself onto the walkway. He strips off his soaked hooded sweatshirt and scans the area. He sees movement in the distance between some trees and reaches instinctually toward his waist for his gun but comes up empty. He stares into the river knowing his favorite piece is long gone.

He turns and walks away from the tree line, back toward the city. He doesn’t know what to do without his gun. Hunting has evolved in the last 200 years or so to the point that he has become reliant on shooting as an answer to his problems. It’s no longer necessary to burn a witch, and using a pail of water always had its problems, anyway. Fire does a fine job just like it would with any animal, but a bullet does the trick a lot easier. It takes a hunter a long time to realize they do not need to stock up on garlic and wolfsbane to ward off evil spirits. Silver bullets do work a bit better than the junk from the sporting goods store and nothing beats a wooden stake up close, but who really wants to get that close? Plus, there isn’t always time to drive a stake in the ground or spread a salt ring to protect yourself.

The problem is everyone thinks witches and warlocks are busy running around a castle in England fighting bad wizards with wands, but that just isn’t true. If people knew how heartless these creatures are, they wouldn’t let their kids dress up like them on Halloween or stand in line to see movies glorifying them.

James moves quickly away from the park, putting as much distance between himself and the warlock as possible. After ten blocks, he sees an alley and ducks in to rest and get his bearings. This wasn’t supposed to be so difficult. It’s just a young warlock, he thinks to himself as he crouches next to a dumpster.

A few smaller trashcans help hide his position but are too small to hide his broad shoulders. He sits down on the dirty ground and takes in his surroundings. He could not have picked a worse place. This is the kind of alley even a bum wouldn’t sleep in. Whoever is dumping trash here doesn’t care if it ends up in a dumpster or not. At least the smell of rotten fish is a welcome change from the warlock.

Something crashes off to his left and James shakes his head to clear the cobwebs. He glances down the alley but nothing appears out of the ordinary. Just a bunch of kids horsing around out on the street. A boy picks his grimy body up off the ground and starts after his friend. James’s heart beats way too fast and he takes a deep breath. It rolls out of his mouth like smoke and he pats the area where his gun should be again.

“Getting way too old for this. I guess this will have to do,” he whispers as he slowly pulls the six inch blade from his boot.

Suddenly, his nostrils fill with a depressingly familiar smell. Even the rotting fish in the dumpster can’t cover it up. He looks around but sees no one in the alley. His body tenses at the eerie lack of movement out on the street. People should be moving about at this time night, especially in a busy town like this. Maybe they are all down the street a bit. Daylight is gone now and he cannot see much beyond the edge of the buildings. That smell is strong. It seems to come from all around him. He inches slowly around the trashcan and into the alley. He turns toward the main street at the end of the buildings and takes one step forward, quickly glancing over his shoulder.

A blinding pain shoots through James’s throat as a thin, but incredibly strong, forearm slides around it. He lets out a terrified yelp for the first time in years as he loses the grip on his knife. It clanks on the concrete like a church bell ringing. James struggles to get out of the warlock’s grasp. He can feel its hot breath on the back of his head and the smell begins to burn his nostrils. If he could breathe, he would puke. James’s head whips back and he can see an old, broken fire escape above him. He did not notice it before. Such an obvious hiding spot, he can’t help but think.

“What do you want with me, hunter?” The warlock hisses in his ear.

Rancid breath fills his nose, and he can feel heat radiating off of the warlock’s body. He does not understand why the warlock would have a conversation at this point. He has been shooting at it all day. He did not hesitate to try to kill, why would this creature give him this type of courtesy? If he could get to his knife he would stab straight through the thing’s heart. Instead of killing him, the warlock is more concerned with James’s job description. Compassion is not their strong suit. No negotiating with a hunter or with a monster. The rules of war are being broken. The forearm begins to release a little pressure in anticipation of his answer and he gasps for air. His lungs are really on fire now.

“It’s nothing personal. Just a job,” he chokes before the blinding pressure returns to his throat.

James sees the witch’s mark on the creature’s forearm move as the muscles strain to block air from his lungs. Curious things, those marks. Often they look like any ordinary tattoo, with criss-crossing in varying patterns depending on the clan. This particular one is in the shape of the letter “Y” with two lines running through the curved stem. It is the only way to be certain that you have a witch or warlock on your hands and not just an extraordinarily smelly person. Every one of these creatures is born with the little symbol. It really would be fitting if this mark is the last thing he ever sees.

“JUST A JOB,” the warlock snarls. “IT’S NOT A JOB, THIS IS MY LIFE! You hunters seem to think you are the only things on the planet with a life. I did nothing to no one. Understand that? You need to learn that things bigger than you are going on all the time. Maybe in the future you won’t be so quick to shoot at someone who isn’t bothering you or your family. Next time the consequences might be far worse than today. Next time I will rip your heart from your chest. Believe me, I better not see you ever again.”

Everything goes black as something thuds against James’s head.

image

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – YA Supernatural Thriller

Rating – PG13

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Website http://www.jewellbe.com/

Blog http://jewellbe.blogspot.com/