Thursday, October 31, 2013

Author Interview – Harriet Hodgson

What are your goals as a writer? The answer to this question comes from a local reporter, who said in an article about me, “Harriet Hodgson writes books to help people.”

Whether I’m writing about aging, dementia, grief recovery, or fitness, this continues to be my goal. To educate people you have to entertain them, so I write in a conversational style and include funny stories about myself.

When you wish to end your career, stop writing, and look back on your life, what thoughts would you like to have? I would like to think I had helped people, continued to improve my work, and share some of the things  have learned.

Tell us a bit about your family. I have been married to my husband, a retired physician, for close to 56 years. He has made me a far better person and always encourages and supports my career.

What is your favorite quality about yourself? Persistence. A freelancer has to accept rejection, learn from it, and keep writing. After writing for more than 35 years I think persistence counts as much as talent.

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? Years ago I came across a quote by James Michener in a magazine. He said he wasn’t a very good writer, but was very good at revising. Every time I revise something I think of him.

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Genre – Health / Wellness

Rating – G

Connect with Harriet W Hodgson on Twitter

Website http://harriethodgson.com/

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

10 Random Things You Don’t Know About Michael J. Webb @mjwebbbooks

10 Random Things You Don’t Know About Michael J. Webb

  1. When I was growing up …I wanted to be a clown and make people laugh.  I also loved to create fanciful stories and tell them to others. Several of the kids on the block I grew up on banded together and produced plays, mostly about kings and queens and dragons.  I wrote the stories as well as acting in them. It was really quite fun, and we were very good at it.  So much so, that we were able to charge a quarter to anyone who cared to attend. (Yep, I’m really dating myself with this one!)
  2. I once … climbed on the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps. Almost made it to the top, but bad weather pushed us back! It was an awesome experience, one I’d like to repeat. This time, I’d like to summit.
  3. I used to work as … a paramedic and nearly delivered a baby in the back of a speeding ambulance on the way to the hospital.  The woman was 20 and it was her fourth child. We were about ten minutes away with the baby started crowning. I’d never delivered a baby before and I prayed hard that this would not ruin my record.
  4. Every day I … give thanks for my precious, beautiful wife.  She’s the one who keeps me laughing and grounded in reality, and is my biggest supporter.  Whenever my dream of becoming a full-time author dies in my heart, she keeps it alive in hers.
  5. I like to … teach and encourage and exhort people to think about the world they live in in different ways than they are accustomed to thinking, especially as it relates to the realm of the spirit.
  6. I am most grateful for … God’s patience with me and the wonderful gifts He has so lovingly bestowed upon me.
  7. In my free time … Don’t have a lot of that! But, I’m a voracious and eclectic reader.  I also love to travel and have several places on my bucket list, including Antarctica, Iceland, Chile, and New Zealand.
  8. I write best … sequestered in my home office for hours at a time.  When I sit down at the computer and immerse myself in whatever story I’m currently working on, time stands still for me. I can work for hours, non-stop, and it only seems like minutes have passed.  It’s nothing short of magical.
  9. I am working on … finishing thriller #6, titled Devil’s Cauldron, a sequel to my recently released Infernal Gates , and starting thriller #7. Also, I’m researching two non-fiction works that complete a trilogy I started in 2007 with the first book, In the Cleft of the Rock.
  10. I have always wanted to …travel in time, fly deep into outer space and see the cosmos from outside of Earth’s atmosphere, and climb both Mt. Kilimanjaro and the base camp of Everest.

Infernal Gates

Ethan Freeman, ex-Special Forces Ranger, wakes up to discover he is the sole survivor of a fiery commercial airline crash that killed his entire family. His nightmare is only beginning when he becomes the FBI’s prime suspect. Only Ethan knows he’s not a cold-hearted murderer, but he has no idea what happened to him–and why he alone survived.

He finds an unlikely ally in Sam Weaver, the NTSB Chief Investigator. An ex-military pilot, Sam senses Ethan is innocent. She tries to remain dispassionate in her investigation of the crash even as she finds herself attracted to the man who may be America=s worst homegrown mass-murderer.

Neither Ethan nor Sam realize that shadowy spiritual forces are at work which will alter their lives forever.

A monstrous evil, imprisoned since the time of the Pharaohs, has been released by The Nine, a sinister group of powerful men and women who believe they are the direct descendants of the Anunnaki, ancient Sumerian gods. The demon they have unleashed intends to free The Destroyer from The Abyss, the angelic prison referred to in the Book of Revelation, and unleash a worldwide reign of terror and annihilation.

Facing impossible odds, time is running out for Ethan and all of humanity as he is drawn into an ever-deeper conspiracy–millennia in the making–and learns that he is the key to stopping The Nine. Will he overcome his deepest fears and find reserves of strength he never knew he had as he confronts pure evil in order to save himself and an unsuspecting world?

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Genre – Christian Thriller, Fantasy, Adventure

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Michael J. Webb  on Facebook & G+ & Twitter

Website http://www.michaeljwebbfiction.com/

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Constantinopolis by James Shipman @jshipman_author

His father! Mehmet stewed when he thought of him. His father had never shown him any real affection or spent significant time with him. He was not, after all, originally the heir to the Sultanate. He was a second son and only became heir when his older brother died. Mehmet had been forced from then on to endure a frantic and often harsh tutoring process. He was just beginning to grasp his responsibilities when at the age of 12 his father had retired and named him Sultan. He had done the best he could to govern, but in short order Grand Vizier Halil had called his father back to take over the throne. The Sultan felt Halil should have helped him, should have supported him. Instead he had watched and reported Mehmet’s shortcomings to his father, betraying him and leading to his humiliation.

From then on Mehmet had bided his time. He had learned to keep his thoughts and emotions to himself, to trust no one. He had studied everything: military art, languages, administration, and the arts. He had worked tirelessly so that when he next ruled he would not only equal his father but also exceed him. He would be the greatest Sultan in the history of his people, Allah willing.

His chance came when Murad finally died only two years before, as Mehmet turned 19. Mehmet quickly took power, ordering his baby half brother strangled to assure there would be no succession disputes, and set to organizing his empire. He had learned to be cautious and measured, leaving his father’s counselors and even Halil in power to assist him. From there he had slowly built up a group of supporters. They were young and exclusively Christian converts to Islam. These followers, many of whom now held council positions, were not nearly as powerful as the old guard, but they were gaining ground. They were the future, if Halil did not interfere.

Halil. His father’s Grand Vizier and now his own. He had always treated Mehmet with condescending politeness. He was powerful, so powerful that Mehmet could not easily remove him. So powerful it was possible he could remove Mehmet in favor of a cousin or other relative. Mehmet hated him above all people in the world, but he could not simply replace him. He needed Halil, at least for now, and Halil knew it.

This dilemma was the primary reason for Mehmet’s nighttime wanderings. He needed time away from the palace. Time to think and work out a solution to the problem. How could he free himself from Halil without losing power in the process? He could simply order Halil executed, but would the order be followed or would it be his own head sitting on a pole? The elders and religious leaders all respected and listened to Halil. Only the young renegades, the Christian converts who owed their positions to Mehmet were loyal to him. If Halil was able to rally the old guard to him, Mehmet had no doubt that the result would be a life or death dispute.

Mehmet needed to find a cause that could rally the people to him. The conversations he had heard night after night told him this same thing. The people felt that his father was a great leader, and that he was not. If he could gain the people’s confidence, then he would not need Halil, and the other elders would follow his lead.

Mehmet knew the solution. He knew exactly what would bring the people to his side, and what would indeed make him the greatest Sultan in the history of the Ottoman people.

The solution however was a great gamble. His father and father’s fathers had conquered huge tracts of territory in Anatolia and then in Europe, primarily at the expense of the Greeks. Mehmet intended to propose something even more audacious, to conquer the one place that his ancestors had failed to take. If he succeeded he would win the adoration of his people and would be able to deal with Halil and any others who might oppose him. If he failed . . .

The Sultan eventually made his way back near the palace, to the home of his closest friend, Zaganos Pasha. Zaganos, the youngest brother of Mehmet’s father in law, had converted to Islam at age 13, and was Mehmet’s trusted general and friend. He was the most prominent member of the upstart Christian converts that made up the Sultan’s support base.

Zaganos was up, even at this late hour, and embraced his friend, showing him in and ordering apple tea from his servants. Zaganos was shorter and stockier than Mehmet, a powerful middle-aged man in the prime of his life. He had receding dark brown hair. A long scar cut across his forehead and down over his left eye. He looked on Mehmet with smiling eyes extending in to crow’s feet. He smiled like a proud uncle or father.

Constantinopolis

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Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG

More details about the author and the book

Connect with  James Shipman on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://james-shipman.com

Nobody Has to Know by Frank Nappi @FrankNappi

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Nobody Has To Know, Frank Nappi’s dark and daring new thriller, tells the story of Cameron Baldridge, a popular high school teacher whose relationship with one of his students leads him down an unfortunate and self-destructive path. Stalked through text-messages, Baldridge fights for his life against a terrifying extortion plot and the forces that threaten to expose him. NHTK is a sobering look into a world of secrets, lies, and shocking revelations, and will leave the reader wondering many things, including whether or not you can ever really know the person you love.

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Genre - Thriller

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with Frank Nappi on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.franknappi.com

Author Interview – Hudson Owen

Will you write others in this same genre?

Yes.  I intend to publish more essays.

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot?

I’d have to say there is quite a bit of me in these essays.

How important do you think villains are in a story?

I love making up villains, especially in screenplays.  I introduce the villain early on, and follow his evil deeds to the bloody end.

What are your goals as a writer?

To live well and prosper.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Mostly I have traveled in imagination.  My novel A KNOCK AT THE DOOR, about the Velvet Revolution in the former Czechoslovakia, is based on extensive reading and research.  Also, my musical PARIS – A Musical of the 1920s.  I’ve only been to Paris in imagination.  , Of course, in science fiction, I travel to realms of imaginary space.

Have you ever considered anyone as a mentor?”

I had a number of mentors when I was younger.  Most were poets: Wilfred Owen, who taught me that the center could hold even in dire circumstances, for him, the trenches of the First World War.  Auden, Yeats, Eliot, Richard Wilbur, the last of the WWII generation, with whom I have corresponded and who is still alive as I write.  In fiction, I will mention Ernest Hemingway and Robert Penn Warren.

What contributes to making a writer successful?

Talent, good contacts, good fortune, tenacity, courage and grace.

Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers?

Yes, my last thoughts, as they blindfold me and the firing squad readies its weapons, are: Don’t panic.  Keep on reading and writing.

hudsonOwen

The author of the 1996 essay “Yearning in the Age of the Nightmare” digs deeper into the American psyche and provides commentary on immigration, extreme behavior, our obsession with guns and heroes, ugly art, empty phrases, poor handwriting, war, and the rise of absolute thought in America in the post-Orwell era.

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Genre – Essay

Rating – G

More details about the author and the book

Website https://hudowen.wordpress.com/

Monday, October 28, 2013

In Love With My Best Friend by Sheena Binkley

1

Camille

How did my life get so complicated? One minute, I, Camille Anderson, was living a pretty normal life in which nothing ever happened to me, and the next I'm practically being hauled away from the premier wedding venue in Houston, The Corinthian, by security because of my sudden outburst to the groom.

I should have known I was setting myself up for disaster, but I had to do it. I had to tell my best friend that I'd been in love with him since I was thirteen.

I really didn't expect the scene to unfold the way it did, especially while Trevor was getting married, but I couldn't hold my feelings in much longer. I felt he was making a terrible mistake, because he was marrying the wrong woman. He should have been marrying me.

I guess I should backtrack to when Trevor and I first met. It was seventeen years ago, when the Williams family first moved into the house next to ours. I was outside waiting for my friend Tia Simmons to come by when I first noticed Trevor. He was absolutely gorgeous as he stepped out of his family's SUV. He had that "boy next door" look, with wavy black hair and smooth ivory skin. He looked over at me and gave me a huge grin, which I greatly returned.

After that day, not only did we become friends, but our parents became great friends as well. We always went by each other's homes for dinner or for game night (until we were too old to appreciate hanging out with our parents on a Friday night).

We were practically inseparable during our high school years, and many of our friends thought we would eventually get married and have lots of kids. When anyone mentioned that to Trevor, he would shrug it off and say, "We're just friends, and it will stay that way until the day we die." Usually those words would tug at my heartstrings, but being the shy person I am, I never let my feelings show.

As we went to college, Trevor and I went into the same major, public relations. That was when he met Chelsea Parker, who was also my roommate. At first I liked Chelsea because she was basically a sweet person, but when she set her sights on Trevor, I quickly disliked her. Not because she took Trevor away from me, but because she became a different person.

If only I could go back to four weeks ago, or even seventeen years ago, I would be with the man I loved...

~

Four weeks ago....

"I don't know why you dragged me to this," I said as I looked at my friend Tia. The two of us were inside the Aventine Ballroom of Hotel Icon waiting for our friend Trevor and his fiancée, Chelsea, to arrive for their engagement and welcome home party. The two had announced their engagement to everyone a while back when Trevor was visiting his parents before going back to Dallas. Not only did he announce his engagement, but he also said that he had accepted a new position at a prestigious PR firm and was moving back to Houston. Although I was happy that my best friend was moving back, I was not thrilled that he was getting married.

"For once, why can't you be happy for Tre? He and Chelsea are finally getting married."

I gave Tia an evil stare as I looked toward the revolving door to the ballroom.

"You know how I feel about Trevor and Chelsea getting married."

"Oh please, Cam, when are you going to get past the fact that Trevor found someone? I told you to admit your feelings to him, but being the person you are, you decided not to."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"You felt you would have been rejected if you told Trevor your true feelings."

"If I remember correctly, in high school when Charles asked him why we never hooked up, he said, and I quote, 'We're just friends.'"

Tia rolled her eyes at me and started to stare at the door as well. This was not the first time we'd had this conversation about my feelings for Trevor, so I'm pretty sure Tia was tired of hearing it.

Tia was my other best friend and the complete opposite of me. While I was quiet and reserved, Tia was wild and carefree. She always did what she wanted and didn't care about the consequences. People always thought we were sisters, with our caramel-colored complexion and long, dark-brown hair. But that was where the similarities ended. I looked down at my black sequin dress that went above my knees, wondering if I was dressed appropriately for the occasion; but as I looked at the hot-pink dress Tia was sporting, I figured my outfit was perfect.

"So how are things between you and Eric?"

"Finished; I broke up with him a couple of days ago."

"I'm assuming because he's not Trevor? Cam, you have got to move on."

I sighed as I noticed two figures coming through the door. I started to breathe slowly as I watched my friend walk in with his fiancée. Trevor always was attractive, but tonight he looked really handsome in a dark blue suit, white shirt, and blue and white striped tie. His black, wavy hair was cut short, bringing out his beautiful brown eyes. He walked hand in hand with Chelsea, the woman I wish I'd never met, who was positively glowing in an ivory-colored empire dress. Her reddish brown hair was pulled into a tight ponytail and her makeup was flaw- less. Although I was completely jealous of Chelsea, I had to admit the two made a stunning couple.

Tia gave me a frown.

"You OK?"

"I'm cool. Let's just get this over with."

While the crowd of family and friends were clapping and whistling for the happy couple, all I could do was just stand in my place, looking at Trevor as if he was the only person in the room. He gave me a smile that showed the deep dimples on each of his cheeks. As he went to greet a couple of his family members, I took a deep breath to control any tears from flowing.

I shouldn't have come tonight.

~

Trevor

"Why did we plan a huge engagement party? Everyone knows we're engaged," I asked my fiancée, Chelsea, as we were walking hand in hand down the corridor inside Hotel Icon.

"Sweetie, I just wanted everyone to celebrate in our happiness and what better way than a huge party?"

I sighed as I continued to walk, not realizing how frustrated I was becoming.

Chelsea was the love of my life. I instantly knew I wanted to marry her when I first laid eyes on her in Camille's dorm room. The two were roommates their junior year at University of Houston, which was great for me, considering I was able to see my best friend and my girlfriend at the same time. Although Camille and I were really good friends, I got the sense that something had been bothering her since I'd been dating Chelsea. Call me crazy, but it seemed as if Camille was jealous of our relationship. I hope not, because Chelsea loves Camille and considers her a good friend.

As we walked into the ballroom, everyone from our family and our friends were clapping and cheering for our arrival. We started to wave at everyone as we entered. Once I turned my head toward the center of the room, I had to stop and admire the person staring straight at me. My heart jolted several beats at the beauty who was giving me a dazzling smile. Camille Anderson had always been a beautiful woman, from her caramel-colored skin to her deep chocolate eyes; she definitely stood out in a crowd.

Just looking at her long hair flowing around her face and the black dress that hugged her curves in all the right places made me feel sort of embarrassed, because I shouldn't have been looking at her in that way. I always considered her my best friend and nothing more, so why was I looking at her differently now?

Chelsea turned her attention to me, wondering what was wrong.

"Is everything OK?"

I suddenly realized I was staring a little too long as I turned to Chelsea.

"I'm fine," I said as I squeezed her hand.

I gave Camille a huge grin as I walked over to talk to a nearby guest. I snuck another peek at her; she was talking to our friend Tia near the bar. I don't know what was going on with me, but hopefully this feeling I was having about my best friend would go away soon.

That's if I want it to.

In Love With My Best Friend

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Genre - Contemporary Fiction

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with Sheena Binkley on Twitter

Website http://sheenabinkley.wordpress.com/

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik

Adrik waited in the guard’s room a couple of corridors along from Kornfeld’s cell. There was only one way out, so the Jew had to pass this room. He spun a Makarov on his finger, aimed at imaginary targets and thrilled at the thought of using it. The gun was standard issue, but he would’ve chosen it anyway. Totally reliable, pull the trigger and out pop the bullets. The blowback design expels the spent case to the right and loads the next cartridge into the chamber – easy. And fully armed with eight rounds, he would use them all.

This wouldn’t be his first killing and sure as hell wouldn’t be his last. Kornfeld was a pain, and it was Otto who mattered. He would do anything for him. Why should he care about some Jew who got in the way?

But time dragged, and Kornfeld hadn’t yet made a show. For one horrible minute he thought there might be another way out – but no, that isn’t even possible. Calm down, be patient... Try as he might, he couldn’t, and the idea ran around his head, irritating him beyond measure.

He left the guardroom and paced the corridor outside. At first a short distance and then a bit further into the next passageway. No good – he had to find out what had happened. With gun in hand and footsteps stealthy he reached the cell door – it was slightly open. Oh shit, did that mean there was another way out? Or maybe Kornfeld had gone deeper into the prison block. Or maybe he was in the cell hoping the element of surprise would be with him.

Possibilities ganged up. Kornfeld knew Lubyanka well. What if there was another way out and that little bastard knew it? If so, Otto would kill him, never mind the Jew. He kicked the door fully open, slammed it against the cell wall, stood back and then moved in, pointing the gun around to make sure Kornfeld wasn’t hidden on either side of the opening. The cell was dimly lit and he found it difficult to see. He would stay put until his eyes got accustomed to the light. A body, he saw a body. It was covered with a greatcoat, on the bunk facing the wall.

He was clearly supposed to think it was Kornfeld. In that case he’d be under the bunk waiting... But then that’s obvious too, so he might be on top with the guard pushed underneath. That made more sense – it would be easier for him to make an attack from on top – but, shit, wouldn’t that be what he wanted him to think?

To be sure of the kill, Adrik wanted to shoot above and below – but he couldn’t. How would he explain the soldier’s death? Oh, Otto, if only Otto was there to tell him what to do. But he wasn’t, he had to make up his own mind. The Jew was on top – yes, definitely on top.

Cautiously, he edged forward, pointed the pistol to the back of the person’s head and pulled the body towards him with gun steady and ready to fire. As quickly as his huge form allowed, he pulled the greatcoat away.

Fuck! The guard! No time to react. A leg came from under the bunk with incredible speed and wrapped around the back of his. At the same time, the Jew’s other foot came against his knees and pushed. Adrik had brought his legs together when he tore the coat away and Kornfeld used the imbalance to his advantage. Adrik’s arms went out. He hovered awkwardly, then almost regained control, but Kornfeld pushed harder and Adrik went flying backwards with his legs in the air. A sense of suspension ended and he fell heavily, striking the hard stone floor. His head bounced, shudders chased through his brain and he found himself staring at the ceiling, wavering between conscious and unconscious.

The pain pierced his skull and he noticed his head had rested in a pool of warm liquid. He hadn’t seen that when he came in. Numbness consumed his body; he couldn’t move. But then his blurred vision saw the bleary outline of the Jew. Awareness came that his body was being rolled over. He was paralyzed, but it didn’t stop the surge of fear that ran through every fibre of his being.

Birth of an Assassin

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Genre – Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://rik-stone.simdif.com

The Color Pink by Parker Paige

The_Color_Pink_Cover_for_Kindle

Can wearing the color pink attract true love?

That is the question Summer Jones intends to answer.

In her early thirties, Summer Jones thought that she had found the perfect man, the man she planned to marry until she learned that he still had feelings for his first love. Now, at age thirty-five, Summer is ready to fall in love again. After she hears that wearing the color pink can attract true love, she sets out to do just that–and finds more than just true love.

Follow Summer as she journeys into the world of color magic and find out how she uses that magic to help her choose between one man from her past and another man who is destined to become her future.

This romantic drama serves up something fun and sexy, proving that the road to love can be paved with many painful lessons and memorable moments. It’s a story about paying attention to your past so that you don’t always have to repeat it.

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Genre - Romance

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with Parker Paige on Twitter

Website parkerpaige.wordpress.com

A Widow Redefined by Kim Cano

•••••

Monday morning I woke up on time, showered, and then dropped Tyler off at school.

“I’ll give that art teacher a call tonight. See when you can start,” I said, winking at my son.

He smiled. “Thanks Mom,” then gave me a peck goodbye.

After punching in at the office and sitting at my desk, Fatima approached me. I could tell she was upset about something.

“What’s up?” I asked. “You look angry.”

Her almond-shaped eyes narrowed and her wavy, jet-black hair swished as she shook her head. “Angry is an understatement. You wouldn’t believe what I had to deal with this weekend.”

Usually, when young people ramble, I zone out, but with Fatima it was different. Her exotic beauty captivated me, and her slight accent made me pay closer attention when she spoke. I listened for a full ten minutes without interrupting to the story of how her supposed best friend was trying to destroy the relationship between Fatima and her boyfriend of two months.

I had just planned to respond when Dave opened the office door. Fatima and I nodded to each other. This would have to wait until later.

As I began working, I noticed Barb wasn’t in yet. I worried about her sometimes. She was a senior citizen without any retirement savings. She came back every Monday because she was broke and had no choice; a fate I feared would be my own someday.

At 9:15 a.m., Barb finally walked in. After she sat down and opened her computer, Dave walked past.

“Everything all right?” he asked her.

Noticeably embarrassed, she responded, “Yes, thank you. I just got stuck in traffic.”

“I know how that feels,” he said, letting it go.

We were lucky to have a boss like Dave. He was easygoing. All that mattered to him was efficiency.

During our lunch hour, the three of us sat in the cafeteria, chatting and eating. Fatima recapped her whole story while Barb and I listened.

“I’m sure you’ll get it all straightened out,” Barb told her.

If I had made that generic comment it wouldn’t have been helpful. But when Barb said it, with that soothing tone she used, the simple words took on real meaning. When she told you something would be fine, you believed it.

“I hope so,” Fatima sighed. Then she turned to me. “So what about you? What did you do this weekend?”

They both stared at me, waiting for an answer. I felt like a game show contestant, clueless and wondering what to say. I had to respond, so I told them about my rediscovered love of swimming. I don’t know if this lie was white or pathological, but I was thankful they both agreed exercise was a good thing to do in our spare time.

After lunch, I kept busy at work, trying to stop my mind from wandering. Detail-oriented and precise, it wasn’t like me to make a lot of punching errors. Today, though, it seemed nothing wanted to balance to zero. I had to pay closer attention. I was losing it. My mind wanted to use its capacity not for work, but for putting pieces together in a puzzle. The only problem being I had too few pieces to work with. I’d have to get more.

In the evening, I called the art teacher. I liked the sound of her voice right away; it had a musical quality to it. She said Tyler could begin this Wednesday. All we needed to do was bring some current drawings so she could assess his education level. Then she’d put together a teaching plan.

Later on, when night fell, I couldn’t sleep. I ruminated over the past with Justin, wondering if I had missed anything, maybe not paid attention to some important detail. I thought I had gotten things right. We were happy. I know we were.

Could there have been another woman?

I didn’t think Justin would ever disappoint me like that.

I remember him talking about my dad’s affair. “He’s just a dick,” he’d said, while shaking his head in disgust. “Only a fool would leave his beautiful wife and family.”

He’d made his opinions on the matter quite clear: I’d never relive my mother’s life.

The phrase “history repeats itself” echoed in my mind. And I worried if I didn’t find out what was going on soon I’d go mad. I didn’t like secrets. I recognized the irony of that truth–considering the little lies I’d started to tell. But I was in control of my world at all times. At least until God took my husband from me.

I prayed He wouldn’t take my perfect memories too.

•••••

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Genre – Women’s Fiction

Rating – PG

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Kim Cano on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.kimcano.com/

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik

Birth of an Assassin

Set against the backdrop of Soviet, post-war Russia, Birth of an Assassin follows the transformation of Jez Kornfeld from wide-eyed recruit to avenging outlaw. Amidst a murky underworld of flesh-trafficking, prostitution and institutionalized corruption, the elite Jewish soldier is thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems, nobody can be trusted, and everything can be violently torn from him.

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Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://rik-stone.simdif.com

Author Interview – Amanda O’Dell

What’s your greatest character strength?

Confidence. I have an irrational amount of confidence (when I’m not wallowing in self-doubt. It’s a cyclical thing.) As in, if I was on a plane spiraling out of control, I am utterly confident that I could dash into the cockpit, take hold of the throttle, and level us out. Not because I know anything about flying aircraft, but simply because I am that confident in my ability to maintain a level head and think critically under pressure. Delusional, I know, but that same confidence is partly responsible for just about everything that is good in my life and is ultimately snaps me out of those periods of self-doubt. You can’t worry about being a failure for very long when you are hardwired to believe that you can do anything.

What’s your weakest character trait?

My ability to trust. All the confidence I have, I reserve for myself and a handful of other people in my life. Everyone else, I hold at a distance, which can sometimes make social interactions awkward.

Why do you write?

I write fiction for the same reason people keep diaries and dream journals. I write because there’s a story in my head and I want to put it down on a page to preserve it. The beauty of writing fiction is that all the details that begin as rough, vague impressions grow more vivid with time, whereas dreams and memories have the unfortunate tendency to fade.

Have you always enjoyed writing?

Always. As a little girl, one of the things I loved doing the most was writing and drawing a comic strip about a fox and a wolf I called The Daring Duo. Every one I completed, I would breathlessly present to my dad, who would chuckle over them and encourage me to make another.

What motivates you to write?

I don’t really need a whole lot of motivation to write. It’s something I do for enjoyment. I’m almost always writing and if I’m not writing, then I’m usually daydreaming about what I’m going to write next.

What writing are you most proud of?

My book, Fall of the Forgotten. I have been writing various iterations of these characters and this story since I was a teenager, but this is the first time I ever really committed to putting it all into a comprehensive novel suitable for public consumption.

Fall of the Forgotten

For as long as Aod or anyone else could remember, the people of White Creek have lived in fear of fiends—spirits of wild places and volatile forces, servants of the dread god Sokar. For as long as history had been written, mankind had been at war with them. From the humblest village odijya to the holiest priest of the Order of Tergel, they all strove to thwart the legions of Sokar.

That was all Aod cared to know of fiends, until the day one appeared in White Creek and blame is laid at her feet. Forced to flee the only home she’s ever known, Aod finds refuge in the most unlikely company: a duplicitous changeling named Rakas, his shapeshifting cohort Ka-Rina, and a tempestuous spirit called Imago. Her understanding of the world is forever altered.

Aod and her new companions embark on a journey west to the Order’s stronghold, the citadel of Tergel, each of them seeking something different—one for revenge, one for the past, one for freedom, and one for redemption.

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Genre – Fantasy

Rating – PG13

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Friday, October 25, 2013

The Photo Traveler (The Photo Traveler Series) by Arthur J. Gonzalez

CHAPTER ONE

I can’t ask for a better day to be out shooting. Man, what a view. Something about how the sun’s rays press against the faint distant outline of the mountains. Sick! If it can seem so dominating from all the way over here, I can only imagine what it must feel like up close. I don’t know. It just always kind of does something to me.

I know, I know. Lame, right? But trust me, if you lived in the hellhole I live in, anytime alone is sacred. You start to appreciate all these little not-so-particular things. Yeah—even the outline of the mountains.

Carefully, I focus the lens on my Canon 7D to capture the effect of the clouds drifting across the peaks of Mt. Rose and get my shot. A few seconds later, the sunlight dims. I hadn’t realized it was so late. I glance at my watch, wondering what’s taking Melinda so long. She promised to pick me up by five, even though I knew that would mean five-thirty. It’s five-forty-five.

I call her on my cell. It rings four times, then goes to voicemail. “Come on, Mel!” I mutter. “It’s getting late!”

I’ve had a good day so far, probably because I’ve been alone for most of it, and I really don’t want another confrontation with Jet. I can still taste the faint copper tinge of blood at the corner of my mouth where he split my lip the last time around. Two days ago.

I hit redial. Straight to voicemail. “Dammit, Mel!”

I tell myself to breathe, but my anxiety is really starting to kick in. Sweat is beading on my forehead and my heart is jolting in my chest. Why does she always have to be so impossible? I don’t get it.

The moment I hear the loud thrum of an engine roaring up the dirt road, I jump up from the boulder I’ve been perched on. It’s about damn time!

She screeches up to me in her new, cherry-red Mini Cooper and slams on the brakes. I dodge around to the passenger side. Grab the door handle. It’s locked.

“Mel!” I shout. “Open up!”

But she’s sitting behind the wheel pretending not to hear me. Eyes glued to her phone, purple nails tapping out a text message. With a tiny smirk on her glossed-up lips.

I hit the window with my fist. “Stop messing around! Jet’s gonna be pissed!”

She finishes her text, sends it … and adjusts the rearview mirror so she can check out the jet-black curls at her temples. She still hasn’t given me one look. Is she really serious right now?

I pound at the window again, as hard as I can. “Open up, dammit!” My anxiety is turning into rage. And rage is something Jet’s modeled for me only too well over the years, ever since he and his first wife, Leyla, took me in as a foster kid. Mel was just six at the time, but “my sister,” which she became after they finally adopted me, was a full-fledged brat from Day One, and she’s only gotten worse.

My fist hurts. I’m afraid of what Jet will do when we get back, since he ordered me to be home by six so I can start dinner.

But as far as Mel’s concerned, I might as well not be there. I can’t control it any longer. I take a step back, lift my knee, and kick the passenger door with all my strength. The hollow metal frame vibrates against the sole of my shoe. Mel’s prized car now has a six-inch dent right in the middle of the passenger door.

I guess that got her attention. Her mouth is hanging open. For a moment, she’s so astonished that she can’t speak. She swings her door open and charges around to the passenger side.

“MY CAR!” she screams, staring at the dent. “Are you crazy?!”

“Why couldn’t you just open up?” I yell back.

“Gavin, you’re an asshole! I was just messing with you! You’re never gonna learn to use your head, are you?”

“Go to hell!”

She goes still, then raises her eyebrows with an “Oh, really?” expression. Then she hauls off and slams her fist into the right side of my face. All I can feel is the large stone of her ring jabbing into my cheek. She stalks back to the driver’s side with a wicked smirk creasing her lips and snaps, “You can walk home!”

She slides behind the wheel, slams the door, and peels off so hard and fast that the car kicks up a stinging cloud of gravel and asphalt dust all over me.

She can’t be serious. But as the Mini disappears around the first bend in the road, I realize that she is.

* * *

Photo Traveler

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Genre - Young Adult Science Fiction

Rating – PG

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Connect with Arthur J. Gonzalez on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.arthurjgonzalez.com/

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Author Interview – Garry Rogers @garry_rogers

What is your favorite color? Blue.  The deep blue at the top of a clear July sky filled only with darting molecules.

What is your favorite food? Sweet cheese or maybe whipped cream.  Ah, it could be doughnuts.

What’s your favorite place in the entire world? There are three.  One is the creek that runs through the farm where I lived for eight years a long time ago.  Awakening from a nap in the shade of a clump of sycamore growing on the creek bank, my thoughts and feelings were only about my surroundings.  Another is the ruined tower of the abandoned Meteor Crater Trading Post on old Highway 66.  From there the wind whispers quiet mysteries as it travels sixty miles across the Painted Desert, over the Rincon Plateau, and around the old volcanos until it reaches Second Mesa.  The third is the community center in Wycliff District.  Standing guard on White Cliff, spending evenings in the tavern, I would live there forever.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? I have deep sympathy for wild animals.  They live with uncertain futures for food and family and have no guarantees.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? Girls inspired me to write.  I wrote about them, and I wrote to them.  I was very sentimental.  Occasionally they wrote back, but they all broke my heart.

What do you consider most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? The hardest thing is to relax and let the ideas fall on the page.  Too often, concerns for grammar, precision, and originality get in the way.  Then everything is stiff and dull.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? Being a first novel, it taught me a great deal.  I began by creating the backstory and a few bits of dialog.  Then I started reading about writing.  I read the advice of hundreds of writers.  For the first year, I tried to keep track of all their names, but there were too many.  I studied several textbooks.  I tried and retried different techniques.  Now I need lots more practice.  I hope my readers forgive me for my fumbling beginning.  I will improve.

Do you intend to make writing a career? Writing is my career.  After achieving my childhood goals to become a scientist and a business entrepreneur, I believed I was finished.  Then the idea for the world of the Tsaeb came along.  My boyhood enthusiasm returned and I became eager for new discoveries.  I realize now that writing was always part of my activities.  It didn’t take center stage because I had other goals:  solving research puzzles and expanding a business.  Now my main goal is to write well.

Have you developed a specific writing style? No.  There are glimmers, but nothing yet.

http://garryrogers.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/corr-syl-the-warrior-100-x-160.jpg 

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Genre –  Science Fiction

Rating – PG

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Website http://garryrogers.com/

Author Interview – Debbie Heaton

What book should everybody read at least once? Wuthering Heights—the characters are strong and courageous and the atmosphere is inspiring.  This is the book that probably had the most influence on me becoming an author.

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you live now? I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  In fact, I graduated from El Dorado High School there.  I’ve lived in Southeastern Arizona for more than twenty years.

Where do you get your inspiration from? I’m inspired by the people around me.  People are incredible and I pick up something from everyone I encounter.

What is hardest—getting published, writing or marketing? Definitely marketing!  I spend more time marketing my work than I do writing it!

Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you? My mother was my biggest fan and supporter!  She always found a way to say the things I needed to hear that let me know my family was in my corner.  My friends are supportive and understand that I am not always available to attend some gatherings and if I don’t answer my phone or door, it’s because I’m writing and they come back later!

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Genre – Romance (Gothic)

Rating – R for graphic sex and language

Connect with Debbie A Heaton on FacebookTwitter

Website http://debbieaheaton.com/

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

#Free - Night of the Purple Moon by Scott Cramer @cramer_scott

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Abby, 13, is looking forward to watching the moon turn purple, unaware that deadly bacteria from a passing comet will soon kill off older teens and adults. She must help her brother and baby sister survive in this new world, but all the while she has a ticking time bomb inside of her--adolescence.

"Cramer creates a picture of our world that's both frightening and inspiring in this heartfelt story that both young adults and adults can enjoy.A heartwarming but not overly sentimental story of survival." KIRKUS REVIEWS

"Outrageous and completely 'out of the box'."
MY HOME AWAY FROM HOME review blog
"Three words: Gripping. Palpable. Well-developed." WORD SPELUNKING review blog

Buy Now @ Amazon & B&N & iBooks & Kobo

Genre - Science fiction

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

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Colony East (The Toucan Trilogy #2) by Scott Cramer @cramer_scott

Colony East
When the bacteria that killed most of world’s adults undergo a deadly mutation, 15-year-old Abby must make the dangerous journey to Colony East, an enclave of scientists and Navy personnel who are caring for a small group of children. Abby fears that time is running short for the victims, but she’s soon to learn that time is running out for everyone outside Colony East. (Parental discretion advised for readers 13 and under)
Colony East will be specially priced at $2.99, 60 percent off the regular price.
Night of the Purple Moon (Book 1 of the Toucan Trilogy) is free.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Science fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
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Author Interview – Ted Tayler @ted_tayler

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What other jobs have you had in your life? When I left school in 1964 I was a bank clerk for two years. I joined a tyre company two years later and stayed there until I was awarded the DCM in 2000. (DCM standing for Don’t Come Monday!)

While I was there I was a Cost Accountant, a Cost Investigation Manager and an Industrial Engineer.

If you could study any subject at university –what subject would you pick? History. I had planned to do that after school, but joined the bank instead so I remained local; this enabled me to follow my other passion, singing in groups all over England and Wales for a decade or so. Those stories are in my first book ‘We’d Like to do A Number Now’.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Santa Eulalia Del Rio, Ibiza, Spain. We visited it first in 1999 and have returned for a week’s holiday every year since.

Tell us about your new book. What’s it about and why did you write it? ‘The Final Straw’ explores the dilemma – could YOU love a stone-cold killer? An only child, unloved and unwanted by his parents, Colin Bailey is a bitter, emotionally damaged young man, hell bent on exacting revenge on anyone who has stopped him becoming the person he believes he was destined to be. What sets Colin apart is his intellect and meticulous planning. Detective Phil Hounsell pursues his man relentlessly, while trying to prevent the small town in which he works sliding further and further into the grip of two rival gangs.

A devastating event in Colin’s life provides the final straw that herald’s a bloodbath. Can Phil stop it happening or will he too be a victim?

Actually, I never set out to write this particular book! Without spoiling it for those who haven’t read it yet, one of the victims was due to be the one and only casualty of Colin Bailey’s act of revenge. I had an idea about eighteen months before for a story about a middle-aged guy who stalked a teenage girl on Facebook after she had blocked him. I did a lot of research on how this might be achieved, then wondered whether I should fill in the ‘back-story’ of his life first. As soon as I wrote the first line ‘Colin Bailey was invisible’ then ‘The Final Straw’ wrote itself! Spooky!

If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone alive or dead – who would you ask and why? Rory Gallagher, Jimi Hendrix, John Bonham and John Entwistle to discuss the forming of a supergroup

‘Last Throw of the Dice’ and try to convince them they needed another vocalist.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Amazon UK & Smashwords

Genre – Crime / Thriller

Rating – 18+

More details about the book

Connect with Ted Tayler on Twitter

Website http://www.tedtayler.co.uk/

Monday, October 21, 2013

Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend by Cheryl Carpinello

Chapter 1

The Hunt

Guinevere stared into the shadows along the edge of the forest. She could hear Cedwyn shifting from foot to foot beside her, unable to stand still. She sighed, the bow made of sturdy pine in her hand growing heavier like her heart. Her thirteenth Birth Day was in a few days, but she wasn’t excited. Birth Days were supposed to be fun, but not this year. Not for her, not for a princess.

She frowned as Cedwyn adjusted the leather quiver of arrows on his back again. Sometimes, like today, her patience with the seven-year-old was short.

“Guin’ver?”

“Hush!”

“But ...”

“Hush!”

She stamped her boot on the ground, her displeasure clearly showing.

“Cedwyn,” she snapped. “What is so important that you can’t be quiet?”

“I’m hungry, and the bottoms of my trousers are wet. Can’t we go back to the castle?” His face showed his confusion at her tone.

Guinevere realized that she shouldn’t have directed her anger at Cedwyn. It wasn’t his fault. Glancing down at her own clothes, she saw the bottom of her green ankle-length tunic wet with the morning dew. Her stomach chose that moment to begin grumbling. It started as a low vibration but grew louder as if it hadn’t been fed in days. Cedwyn heard it and started giggling. He tried to smother the sound by covering his mouth with his small hand, but he was too late.

Trying to keep from laughing also, Guinevere shook her head. “How are we ever going to shoot a rabbit with all this noise?” She reached down and tousled his blond hair to let him know that she was not serious and to apologize for her crossness. “Let’s try for just ten minutes longer. Then if we find nothing, we’ll go back. Is that all right?”

Cedwyn shook his head, not wanting to make any further noise. She let her eyes move across the blue sky. The English summer sun had barely reached above the far hills when they had first arrived at the forest. Now, it was well on its way in its climb toward the dinner hour, and they hadn’t even had a proper breakfast yet. Cedwyn’s mum was sure to be upset that they had been gone so long.

“Come on,” he whispered. “The only creatures we’ve seen moving have been badgers and Cornish hens. We could of had five bloody hens by now.”

“I told you, it’s good luck to bag a rabbit on the eve of your thirteenth Birth Day,” Guinevere informed him.

Cedwyn studied her face, unsure if she was telling the truth or not. Then his blue eyes widened, and he grabbed her arm as she turned to continue hunting. “Wait a minute! You promised to help me bag a rabbit on the eve of my tenth Birth Day. You said that was lucky!”

She turned to him, her balled fists on her slim hips. “You need to listen closer when I talk to you. I explained the difference be- tween boys and girls. Boys have to seek luck on the eve of their tenth and fifteenth Birth Days. Since girls are naturally luckier than boys, they only have to seek luck once, on the eve of their thirteenth Birth Day.”

Cedwyn eyed her suspiciously, and then his eyes lit up.

“But I thought that the eve was the night before. Your Birth Day isn’t until the day after tomorrow.”

“That’s true, but the eve of something can also be anytime close to the day.”

“Are you sure?”

Guinevere

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Genre - Arthurian Legend

Rating – G

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Cheryl Carpinello on Facebook & Twitter & Goodreads

Website http://www.beyondtodayeducator.com/

My Advice For Beginning Writers - Bradley Convissar @bconvisdmd

My Advice For Beginning Writers

by Bradley Convissar

This blog post is going to be geared towards authors like me, those who have a full time job and write on the side.  I know there are many people who have the luxury to write as a full-time job, but I am talking mainly to the people who are trying to juggle their love of writing with a day job.  Juggle their love of writing with a family and the responsibilities a spouse and children bring.  Like a wise man once said… if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.  If you can find time to write despite the maximum amount of distractions out there, then you can succeed.  A lot of this information will be the same as you have read other places, but that’s okay.  If you can pick out a nugget or two, then it was worth it.

My first piece of advice, the most important piece of advice, is this: even if writing is nothing more than a hobby in your mind, a side project, you need to treat it like a job.  You can’t just say “I don’t feel like doing it today”.  It’s like the gym.  Or flossing. One day off spirals to a week off.  And then weeks.  You cannot write sporadically or haphazardly.  You need a schedule and you need to keep to it. Of course things come up: emergencies, busy days, vacation, etc where there is simply not time to write, but you need to do your best to drag yourself to your chair every night, sit down, and do it.  And once you start, a lot of times it’s hard to stop.

If you are married or live with a significant other, you must make that person understand how important writing is.  That you view it as a second job.  If he or she doesn’t understand, it can lead to friction.  So make sure you have that discussion before they think that you are ignoring them.

If possible, and this may seem silly, but find an old computer without an internet connection.  The internet is the devil.  I’m serious.  It is so hard to sit down, especially when suffering from some writers block or lack of inspiration, and get to writing when there is a whole World Wide Web out there to explore.  Facebook and Tumbler and Twitter and Youtube and game sites… they all offer so much more in the way of instant gratification, and the urge to play around is hard to ignore.  Half of the posts on my Facebook feed are from other authors: Get off of Facebook and get writing.  I know, it’s impractical to find or buy another device just to avoid the internet, but you need to find some discipline because procrastination is your enemy.  I could write a whole post on this, but I’ll leave that to someone else.  When you sit down, you must resist the call to play games or play around on the internet, because once you open Firefox or Chrome or IE, you can pretty much count your writing session, or most of it, goodbye.

Keep a drink at hand to keep you from eating.  And I don’t necessarily mean something alcoholic

If you plan on publishing yourself, plan on spending some money.  If you want to be treated like a pro, you need to put out a professional piece of art.  Get a cover done by an artist.  Pay an editor to read your manuscript, not only for grammar and spelling, but for content.  Beta readers and friends are great, but someone who is an actual editor is better.  You need to view this as a business.  You think to think long term.  Cover art and editing is an investment that will help you grab and keep readers.

Don’t want to give away your masterpiece for free, even for a few days?  Write some short stories and sell them for free through KND select.  The samples that Amazon offers are good, but a lot of readers want to see your ability to craft a whole story, not just the first twenty pages.  Remember, selling books is a lot less about the monetary    investment for readers.  $.99-$2.99 is reasonable.  Potential readers are much more concerned about wasting TIME.  They are much more likely to pick up your novel if you convince them of your ability to write short works.  Some of my most devoted fans discovered me by reading free short stories first.

Pricing.  Yes, on a $2.99 book, you make 70% for every sale while on a $.99 book you only make 35%.  But remember, 70% of nothing is nothing.  At the beginning, if you are unknown and need people to take a chance and write reviews, you need to sell at $.99.  At least for a while.

Keep on writing.  Even if your first book doesn’t sell thousands of copies, don’t let it depress you.  The more books you have to sell, the larger the library, the bigger the chance of developing new fans.  It is a rare author that hits it big with his or her first book.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Thriller / Horror

Rating – PG13 bordering on R

(Horror with some violence / Some sex, not overly graphic)

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Bradley Convissar on Facebook & Twitter

Blog http://bradleyconvissar.blogspot.com/

Friday, October 18, 2013

Brian Cormack Carr – Five Steps To Writing Your First Self-Help Book

Five Steps To Writing Your First Self-Help Book

by Brian Cormack Carr

I self-published my first self-help book How To Find Your Vital Vocation: A Practical Guide To Discovering Your Career Purpose And Getting A Job You Love last month.  In the first week after its launch, it made the Amazon UK Kindle careers bestseller chart.

If you’re considering writing a nonfiction self-help book, it’s probably because you have some experience you’d like to share with the world, or a service you’d like to showcase in book form. Writing a self-help book is a fun and rewarding way of getting your expert knowledge out there, and the process has never been easier. Here’s how to get started:

1. Pick Your Niche and Your Book Topic

To make sure your audience can find your book, you have to target it to the people who really need it – your niche market.  Are you writing for men or women, young people or older people, folks who are employed or unemployed?  Perhaps your niche is really specific and you’re going to write a book to help female police officers to develop their management skills so that they can move up the career ladder – if so, your niche is women police officers who want to develop their management skills so that they can move up the career ladder.

A niche can be broad or narrow, but it must be defined up front – writing a book for “everybody” is likely to create a rambling, untargeted book that generates few sales.  The key to finding your niche is that it’s not “out there” it’s “in here” – you are your niche.  If you’ve walked the path, you’re writing for others who are on the path behind you, or who haven’t even started onto it yet.  So – who were you before you learned about what you’re going to write about? There’s your niche!

2. Solve Your Ideal Reader’s Problem

Don’t be daunted by the thought of writing to a large audience. Write for one single person – the person who most needs your book.  Following on from the example above, imagine one female police officer who loves her work but wants more; who knows she needs to get some management experience so she can move on, but just doesn’t know where to start.  See her in your mind’s eye?  Good.  Write for her.

3. Choose Your Keyword-Rich Title and Subtitle

Increasingly, new self-help books are first found online – so it’s important to make your title easy to find.  Make sure the title and subtitle include plenty of keywords that are important to your niche market – the kind of keywords they’ll be searching for.

How To Find Your Vital Vocation: A Practical Guide To Discovering Your Career Purpose And Getting A Job You Love  may not be the snappiest title in the world – but it’s keyword-rich, instead. Hidden in that title are the keywords and phrases “purpose”, “career”, “job”, “vocation”, “job you love”, “career you love”, “finding a job”, “getting a job”, “discovering your purpose”, “find your purpose”, “how to find a job” – and quite a few more.

4. Include Some Interactive Elements

Readers of self-help books are looking for practical solutions to their problems, and many of them will want to feel that they’re able to make progress soon after starting the book.  Don’t make them wade through lots of reading as passive recipients; involve them in the book as soon as you can.  In How To Find Your Vital Vocation, I introduce interactive written exercises in the book’s introduction, and clusters of self-coaching questions starting in chapter one.

5. Don’t Wait for Permission to Get Published!

I chose the self-publishing route because I wanted to get my work out into the world as soon as possible.  I got professional help with editing and cover design and have published the eBook through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords (with the paperback to follow shortly, courtesy of Amazon’s Createspace).

I didn’t have to wait for an agent or publisher to “approve of” my book or to give me permission to become a published author.  I took that leap myself, and now How To Find Your Vital Vocation is available worldwide.  The tools available to prospective authors today are amazing, and the opportunities endless.  Make the most of them.

So – what will your first self-help book be about?

~

BIOGRAPHY:

Brian Cormack Carr is a writer, certified career coach and chief executive of BVSC The Centre for Voluntary Action, one of the UK’s leading local charities.  He trained in personnel management with Marks & Spencer plc and gained an MA (Hons) in English Literature and Language from the University of Aberdeen.  Brian has nearly 20 years of experience in the fields of personal development and leadership, and has helped hundreds of clients, readers and workshop participants to find fulfilling work and a renewed sense of purpose.

Website: www.cormackcarr.com

Twitter: @cormackcarr

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Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre –  NonFiction / Careers

Rating – G

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Brian Cormack Carr on Facebook  & Twitter

Website http://vitalvocation.com/

How You Leave Texas by Alana Cash (Excerpt)

Fifteen minutes later, she started the car and drove on autopilot to her home in Hyde Park. Walker’s car was in the driveway, and she felt annoyed. She didn’t feel like conversation. She wanted a nap. And she didn’t want to go to Pedro’s later on either.

As she passed the windows of the kitchen that ran along the driveway, she heard Walker’s voice. When she entered the kitchen, Walker’s back was to her, and he spun around in surprise. Past him, sitting at the kitchen table, was a woman with a coffee mug in her hand. The woman had blond streaks in her hair, Camille would remember later, that were beautifully done in several colors, and she wore a pale pink silk blouse and an ivory colored skirt and spiky, ivory-colored heels. The fingernails on her delicate hand which held the mug were painted the same shade of pink as her blouse.

“Camille!” 

Camille looked away from the woman toward Walker’s face.

“What are you doing home?” she asked.

In her peripheral vision, Camille noticed the woman put down the mug, one of a set that Camille and Walker had purchased five years before at the Pecan Street Festival, and stand up.

She stepped toward Camille with an outstretched right hand and said, “Hello, I’m Dusty Hamilton.”

Automatically trained in years of Southern manners, Camille shook the woman’s hand, getting a whiff of perfume. Camille hated perfume.

“Pleased to meet you.”

As Camille had not stated her name, Walker mumbled, “This is my wife, Camille.”

“How do you do,” Dusty Hamilton said, with the smile of a homecoming queen. “I’m a real estate broker. I’m working with your husband on an auction that’s coming up on Monday. We’re picking the best properties to bid on.”

Camille stared at her, thinking that all this sounded reasonable. Wondering if Fastbinder’s Mortgage Company had ever done business with Dusty Hamilton.

“I was going to surprise you with my extensive knowledge on Monday,” Walker said with a little boy’s grin. “And buy you a warehouse for your birthday.”

Camille had been with Walker long enough to know that he would pass a lie detector test with that statement, but for some reason that Camille would always ascribe to a heightened perceptiveness and brain chatter silence due to the shocks she had already received that day, Camille asked Dusty Hamilton, “What time is it?”

Dusty Hamilton instinctively turned her right arm and pushed at her sleeve to find that her watch was missing.

“Oh,” Dusty Hamilton said. “I’ve lost my watch.”

Walker pushed at his right sleeve and said, “It’s almost three o’clock.”

Camille said, “Miss Hamilton, your watch is on the floor by your feet.”

Dusty Hamilton leaned over to pick up her watch, exposing to Camille a bit of her cleavage and pink lace bra.

When Dusty had righted herself again, Camille said to her, “Please leave my house.”

Dusty Hamilton flinched just a bit, taking her smile down a notch from homecoming queen to runner-up, then she looked at Walker.

“Now!” Camille said, raising her voice.

Dusty Hamilton was out of the room in a millisecond, gliding quickly into the dining room where her purse lay next to Walker’s briefcase on the cherry wood dining table, the one that Camille and Walker had purchased at an estate sale.

Walker rushed past Camille saying, “What’s the matter with you?”

With her watch in one hand and purse in the other, Dusty Hamilton walked through the dining room into the living room, approaching the front door of the house, where she waited for Walker to unlock the door and let her out. She never once looked at him.

“I’m sorry about this,” he mumbled as Dusty Hamilton slid out the front door.

Camille stood in the doorframe between the kitchen and dining room.

Walker closed the front door and turned to Camille, yelling, “What the hell was that!”

Camille ignored him and headed for the bedroom, whether to lie down as she had originally planned or to smell the sheets, she was never sure, but it was automatic. Walker chased after her, grabbing her arm, which she yanked away from him.

“What’s the matter with you?” he said to her back.

She kept walking until she reached the bedroom, where she saw that the bed was neatly made and wondered if she’d misunderstood why Dusty Hamilton’s watch had come loose. Walker came up behind her. She turned and quickly slapped him across the face.

He’d never looked so stunned.

“Take as much time as you need today to pack up and move whatever you want out of this house and then never come back here,” she said evenly.

“What? Are you insane?”

“I’m not going to spend much time repeating myself. I want you to remove whatever you want to keep from this house. You can store your stuff in a rental truck if you need to until you find a new home, but you will be gone from here by midnight and never return.”

“You can’t do that!”

“If you are not gone by midnight, I will set fire to the house.”

“You’ve lost your mind!  I’ll have you arrested!  I’ll have you committed!”

“Whatever you choose to do, you can know that when I am released, if you are still in this house or ever return to it, I will burn it to the ground.”

He just stared at her. She was talking about the two-story Victorian house with the gingerbread trim on the porch, circa 1902, that she had loved from the minute the realtor had showed it to them.

“We will get divorced and you will lose this house to me because of your affair.”

“Do you honestly think I’m having an affair?”

“Burn it to the ground.”

She was talking about the house with the stained glass panels at the top of the bay windows in the living room and the porch swing on the front porch and the picket fence and the detached one-car garage.

“Do you honestly want to live here now?” he asked with a sarcastic smile. “Sleep in that bed?”

“Take the bed with you or I will put it on the curb. Take the dining table, the kitchen table, and the mugs as well or I will put them on the curb. Take all your clothes, all of your office furniture and anything else that you want. You will sign away your rights to this house to me or I will burn it down. Call anyone, a friend, a family member, the police, and make an issue of this and I will burn this house to the ground.”

She was willing to destroy her house with the twelve-foot ceilings and five-inch oak plank flooring and original wainscoting, and Walker knew it.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre –  Women’s Fiction

Rating – PG13

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Blog http://howyoulovetexas.blogspot.com/

Thursday, October 17, 2013

#Bargain – Without by E.E. Borton @EEBorton

Without by E.E. Borton

Amazon

The apocalypse came as a whisper.

Mother Nature had been sending signs for three years, but most didn't pay attention until she pulled the plug on everything. Nobody will forget where they were and what they were doing at 8:13 on that morning. They're all still waiting for 8:14. Well, at least the ones that have made it so far.

He was stuck in Atlanta traffic, making his way to work, when the world fell silent. His car, his radio, his phone, his watch, anything that needed a spark, a battery, or an outlet died. The silence didn't last long and neither did she. He didn't know if the yellow sundress was the first to die, but he does know that she wasn't the last. Not even close.

As aircraft fell out of the sky, panicked drivers lost control in the fast lane, and pace makers stopped keeping their rhythms, he got out of his car and popped the trunk. Most didn't pay attention, but he did. And he knew what was coming.
Three years earlier during the first city-wide blackout in Atlanta, he lost his Samantha to cowards who were never caught. Those looking to take advantage didn't hesitate, wreaking havoc at every opportunity. It took less than an hour after the event for society to start its disintegration.

He made a promise to himself never to feel that helpless again. He wasn't a soldier or a cop, but he was one of the few that did have a plan. Get out of the city, get away from people, and don't hesitate.

May God have mercy on their souls, because he won't.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Author Interview – Greg Sandora @gregsandora


Why did you feel you had to tell this story? I always wanted to tell this story. Jack Canon is the everyman in us that dreams of setting things right. The story has tender moments of deep intimacy and romance, woven throughout a real thriller. The characters are true friends, working for the common goal of winning the Presidency. The story is basically set in Washington and on the campaign trail and has plenty of corruption, billionaires, and beautiful woman to keep the reader entertained. All the following components are featured: Washington Politics, Corruption, Romance, Love, Tenderness, Murder, Love, Suspense, Presidential Politics, Power, Passion, and Thrills. Jack and his friends stop at nothing to make a better America for all citizens.
How do your family and friends feel about the book? My family and friends have been supportive. Funny story – I sat down in the living room in our most comfortable chair and wrote the first paragraph. I liked it even though it didn’t end up making it into the book. Finishing that paragraph I announced to my wife and 22-year-old son that I was writing a book. We still laugh about the eye rolling. The idea came to me all at once – the entire story. I wanted to tell a story of great characters that are the best of friends. There’s tenderness, romance, political corruption at the highest levels, not to leave out murder and revenge.
Do you ever experience writer’s block and how do you overcome it? I don’t get writers block because I wait until the story literally explodes onto the page.
If your book was made into a movie, who do you picture playing each part? My sister-in-law has already chosen Ben Affleck to play Jack Canon. Funny – I took the first draft to Disney. At first she didn’t have any interest, but my mother-in-law was reading and commenting – enjoying the story. So, my sister-in-law, Terri, picks up the pages mom had finished and turned them quickly – long story short – she ended up loving Jack! She bought a kindle just to read the final version. I figured Katherine Heigl could play Sandy. Sandy is blonde and beautiful and fixes herself up to look like Marilyn Monroe for Jack. Daphne Cole is going to be tough to cast being the most beautiful woman perhaps on the planet.
What is your favorite quality about yourself? I’m able to stay with something until it’s completed.
What is your main character Jack Canon’s favorite color? Blonde
What is your favorite food? My wife makes the best Meatballs this side of heaven.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world? Believe it or not – my backyard patio. I love it out there.
When and why did you begin writing? I became truly motivated to write it after my mother’s passing. Partially to help me cope with the loss.
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Political Thriller
Rating – PG
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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tripped Up Love by Julie Farley

Peter grabbed Heather’s hand and listened.

“My husband had a heart attack and died a year and a half ago. I have three kids, a dog and no job. I cannot stand being pitied, and I just fell in the middle of the road and broke my ankle. The thought of heading back to the pity place is killing me. The thought that everyone at the bus stop is going to bring me a casserole or pasta dish again for the next week makes me want to throw up. I want to be normal. I want to be what I was…what we were. I don’t want my kids to be the ones with the dead dad. I want them just to be Henry, Gracie and Hayes.”

Peter was holding her hand, rubbing her palm with his thumb.

“And now I am sure you are so sorry you pulled over. If you had left thirty seconds earlier this morning your day would have been so much different.”

He was drawn to her. Drawn to her in a way he could never have imagined. He wanted to cuddle in next to her on the chair and run his fingers through her hair to make all her troubles go away.

“Stop. I am here. I want to be right here helping you. I wasn’t doing anything important today.”

Hell, he hardly ever did anything important, Peter thought to himself.

“Why?”

“Because maybe you fell into my life for a reason. And you did literally just fall into my path. Who cares why? Let’s call your mom and let her know what’s going on. At least it’s a holiday, and you don’t have to face the bus stop. But that does mean you need to figure out what’s for dinner.”

“No, my mom will bring dinner I’m sure. She’s not one to miss an opportunity to roast a chicken.”

“Ok. Call her now while I run out and pick up some lunch. Tell her not to hurry back. I’ll stay with you until she gets here.” All of the sudden Peter was rushing out to buy this stranger lunch. His sister would tease him, as she had been trying to get him to settle down and be serious for the last twenty years. And now he was buying lunch for a widow with three children.

Heather was too tired to argue. She had a feeling she hadn’t had in a while. It felt relaxing to have someone else take charge of her life for a moment. And someone had finally hugged her. Even better, someone who looked like Peter. Heather had always had a thing for arm tattoos. Hank was a guy without a tattoo. It hadn’t mattered to her. Hank was about so much more than a tattoo. He was her home, her childhood, her life all packed into a 200 lb man. He was her everything. Hank had been part of her life for thirty-two years. He knew everything about her. When he died, he took so much of her with him. Things weren’t always perfect with them, but things were familiar. They had known each other since Mrs. Zarchy’s kindergarten class. He asked her to sleep over at his house when he was in first grade. He was her first love. She was his. There had been others in high school and college for both of them but just enough others to know they were all the other wanted. When he proposed to her in the lifeguard chair on the beach in September, a year and a half after they graduated from college, they both knew this was it. It was a relationship sealed in the bark of the old oak tree in front of the house her mom still lived in. A house and tree that were painful reminders of the current state of things.

But right now, this guy in a white t-shirt, well-worn skinny jeans and Doc Marten’s was going to buy her lunch and had rescued her from the turkey vultures and tennis moms who would have started swarming had he not stopped his car. He looked like the bad boy every girl dreamed of when her usually doting husband did something wrong. Like forgetting to put a Pull Up on your toddler before bedtime or leaving the half-gallon of organic milk in the car on a hot summer night. This guy, Peter, looked bad but seemed like he may have some shining armor in his closet.

Peter left before she could say anything. Heather called her mom, who was frantic and decided she would leave the boys at home and take Gracie to the store to buy dinner. She said they would come over later that afternoon.

Peter hopped in his car and ran over to his brother-in-law’s restaurant. He grabbed some iced tea, salad and sandwiches. Thankfully, Chris wasn’t there. Peter knew he was at a travel baseball tournament in Newport News with Peter’s nephew. Janie was at home with his niece.

He got back to Heather’s pretty quickly. Peter opened the food on the island. He carried a tea over to her.

“I have a chicken curry sandwich, garden salad and grilled cheese with tomato. What would you like?”

“Hmmmm… that’s easy. Obviously you went to Cafe Nouveau. I’ll have half of the chicken curry. It’s my favorite.” She decided not to mention she was a vegan. Or a fegan (fake vegan) as her best friend from high school not so lovingly called her. Heather happened to be a vegan who enjoyed a cheeseburger every once in a while and a good chicken curry.

Peter brought it over to her in the brown cardboard box it came in. Peter seated himself on the couch opposite Heather and ate the grilled cheese.

“Does your Mom take the kids often?”

“At least once a month. I like to have them here though. I’m not good about sharing them anymore. Hank’s mom likes to take them out when she can. But it gets too quiet without them. They have their friends here and usually don’t like to leave.”

“Do you run often?”

“As often as I can get away. I usually write better after I run - assuming I don’t fall in a pothole. But I guess that’s done for awhile.”

“You’ll be back at it before you know it. We’ll have to find other ways for you to workout.” We? What the hell was he doing? he thought to himself. He never said things like that.

We? Who the hell was this guy? thought Heather. After I ruined his day, he was brave enough to mention seeing me again.

“I can only imagine what I would do on another workout. Accidents and misfortune seem to follow me.”

“Yeah, I’ve only known you for a few hours, and I’ve picked up on that.”

“I have a stationary bike upstairs I can probably use to ensure my ass doesn’t get any fatter.”

“Don’t think you are in danger of that happening anytime soon.” Conversation was easy with Heather. He felt like he had known her all his life.

Heather hadn’t fallen into an easy conversation with anyone in the last year and a half much less a stranger of the male persuasion. It felt oddly familiar, and she was hoping she didn’t ruin it or over analyze it too much. She could hardly take her eyes off of him. She was having a hard time figuring him out. He was casually elegant, had at least two tattoos (she could only imagine what was covered), wore Doc Martens and drove a navy blue Lexus. He did not look like any of the men she knew in the area.

“Do you live nearby?” Heather asked.

“I actually have a loft downtown, but my sister lives out here. I dropped something off this morning and was on my way home.”

“Stuck in the 2-3-1-1-3. Lucky you.”

“It’s not so bad. Who knew I would get to experience so much of it today? I divide my time in a few different places. I have a place in Manhattan, and my family has a house in Maine.”

“Some of my favorite places.”

He said family, thought Heather. Did he mean his immediate family or his parents? He wasn’t wearing a ring, and she kind of doubted that a wife would love for him to be spending so much time with another woman.

“This is my home base though. The place where they send my mail.”

“I can’t thank you enough for getting me this sandwich. And for taking me to the doctor. Oh, and for picking me up off the pavement. Great first impression.”

“It was a first impression I am not likely to forget. I get the sense that life with you is always this memorable.”

Peter didn’t know the half of it. Heather had a knack for making waxing your eyebrows interesting. He hadn’t even met the kids yet.

“What are you writing?” asked Peter.

“A memoir. A love story of sorts. I just don’t get a lot of time to write lately.”

“Well, I would love to read it sometime. I guess I can wait till it’s published.”

“Ha! You’ll be waiting awhile then! Mom and the kids should be here soon. Why don’t you get on with your day? I’ve kept you long enough.”

“Only if you are sure you’ll be ok. I’ll be out here again to check in on you.”

Peter picked up all their lunch, made sure Heather had what she needed and left her with a quick tap on the shoulder. And for the first time in ages, Heather had a tiny smile in her heart.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with Julie Farley on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.juliefarley.com/