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Quotes From Twilight Breaking Dawn

Molly D. Campbell – The Soul Selects Her Own Society

The Soul Selects Her Own Society

by Molly D. Campbell

I am reading a book about Emily Dickinson.  I love her poems, but I am more fascinated with her life.  She became a recluse in her family mansion in early adulthood.  She loved to bake; evidently she walked about the house covered in flour.  She wrote beautiful and pithy poetry that speaks to all of us.

I have often thought that it would be very romantic to become a recluse myself.  Of course, in order to be a happy recluse, you must have a beautiful place to hide in.  I think I have finally achieved that.  My house is now, after we have lived here for twenty years, nicely decorated, and every room is beautiful. It also seems to me that there is an irony involved.  Recluses need nice surroundings, but the recluses I am familiar with were INDIFFERENT to those surroundings most of the time.

This is because a recluse must have a life’s work.  Otherwise, staying home twenty four seven would get very boring.  So I would need a beautiful room to work in.  I would require a desk placed in front of a window, so that I could watch the world go by and ruminate about the neighbors, the surroundings, and the outside world.  There would have to be inspiring art on the walls. Granted, as a successful recluse I would become inured to all the beauty of my study, but rules are rules!

This brings me to the life’s work.  Problematic, because I can’t think of a subject large enough to consume me every day.  Recluses are devoted single-mindedly to a life passion.  My only real passion is pets.  Could I spend every day in my workroom thinking about cats, writing about dogs, or researching animal diseases? Could I become a crusader for animal rights right there in my little room?  Not likely.  In the midst of a treatise on dog fighting, I would need a snack.  While researching Von Willenbrand’s Syndrome, I would look out the window and realize the bird feeder was empty.  Are recluses allowed out in the yard with sunflower seed?

Successful recluses have doting families who do their shopping, invite guests over in order to freshen the outlook of the shut-in, and accomplish all the tasks that the recluse simply can’t do, by virtue of the fact of being a recluse.  I don’t have that kind of family.  My husband is always gone.  He is the opposite of reclusive.  My kids aren’t around, either.  I don’t have any loyal retainers to do my bidding.  I think servants are a prerequisite for recluses.  HERMITS, on the other hand, live completely alone, don’t want any family ties, and shun the concept of servitude for anyone.  By that definition, being a hermit is totally out, as far as I am concerned.

Back to the reclusive life.  I think a successful recluse must also have a highly developed sense of the small. Spending all day at home, every day, would require an appreciation of life’s little details.  For instance, I am sure that Emily Dickinson reveled in the dust motes in the air around her, watching as they swirled and caught the sun.  She probably counted the pleats in her peplum.  I feel confident that looking out the window at the garden was tantamount to meditation for her.  I am not good at this.  I have no idea how many buttons are on my favorite cardigan.  I have noticed that there is dust on tops of all the picture frames, but that is about it.

Recluses often carry on long conversations with friends by exchanging letters.  Emily Dickinson maintained lifelong relationships with a number of people, some of whom published her letters to them.  Thus, she was able to make her friends somewhat famous, just because they knew her.  Today’s recluse would have access to Facebook and Twitter.  I can just imagine what dandy tweets Emily could churn out.

I did actually try out the reclusive lifestyle last winter, when I had a skin cancer on my face that required surgery of Frankensteinian proportions.  I was on a recliner in my TV room for two weeks.  It was hell.  Without Netflix, a cell phone, and Facebook as lifelines, I would have descended into sheer madness.  It is because of this experience that I have such admiration for Emily and her ilk.

If Emily were around today, would she restyle her life?  Would she at least talk with her friends using Skype?  Would she still bake gingerbread from scratch, or would she use a mix?  Would she have a cell phone and carry on conversations with fellow intellectuals from the safety of her room?  Is it possible to be a productive recluse in today’s world without the use of technology?  I couldn’t do it.  My hat is off to Emily.

“The Soul selects her own Society—

Then–shuts the Door—

To her divine Majority

Present no more

Unmoved—she notes the Chariots—pausing

At her low Gate—

Unmoved–an Emperor be kneeling

Upon her Mat

I’ve known her—from an ample Nation—

Choose one—

Then—close the Valves of her attention—

Like Stone—“

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Genre - Fiction / Short Stories

Rating – PG13

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Website http://mollydcampbell.com/

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Midnight Riders by Pete Clark

****

“You guys have a lab?” Marion asked.

“Yup. A super secret lab,” de Lavoir added.

Marion and Grant were being given a tour of the fort. Although the Indians kept giving them menacing looks, the French were awesome hosts. They fed them, gave them clean clothes, and were now giving them a tour.

“I don’t want to seem ungrateful,” Grant said. “But, if it is so secret, why are you showing it to us?”

Marchand responded. “Your main army is going to be here pretty soon and we are not equipped to defend against so large a force. So we’re going to have to blow the fort.”

“Again, you know, great, just great. But you’re going to show us your secret experiments?” Grant continued in another seemingly misguided attempt to suck at his job.

de Lavoir smiled. “We are planning to execute you. So we might as well show off first.”

“Ah. It all makes sense now. Lead on.” Grant actually seemed bolstered by this news. Marion didn’t get this guy. But what he did get was the idea that this secret experiment situation was clearly very important and, once he learned about it, he was going to have to find a way to get out of here and quickly. Maybe he’d take Grant. The guy was a knot-tying wizard after all.

They entered a large domed chamber. It was filled with a greenish light that cast a peculiar pall on everything in the room. There were a number of tables and cabinets and a huge assortment of strange devices that Marion did not recognize. There were odd smoke and strange sounds coming from various parts of the room. Oh yeah. There was also a huge white hairy monster, apparently asleep, strapped to a giant table. A few French scientists were lurking about and a rather larger number of Indians. One Indian in particular seemed to be running the show. They approached him with Marchand.

“This is Guyasuta,” Marchand introduced them. “He is our lead scientist in the field of uh-”

“Creepy shit,” offered the surprisingly articulate Guyasuta.

“Of course,” Marion said. “We have a similar division but it is not my area of expertise. I wonder, Guyasuta, if you would be kind enough to explain what it is you do.”

“Let me start you off, Francis,” Marchand said. Uh, Francis; he hated that name. “You, meaning the British, may have noticed as we did when we arrived in this new world that there were a few things different here than back in Europe.”

“I suppose,” said Grant. “But what do you mean specifically?”

“Specifically I guess you could say all of the fucking monsters,” said Marchand. “Werewolves, zombies, succubae, vampires-”

“Wait a minute; I’ve never seen any vampires,” said an incredulous Marion.

“Well, I haven’t either, but let’s be honest-”

“Now now, Frenchie,” said Grant. “Let’s not jump to conclusions. I’m pretty sure vampires are just made up.”

“Didn’t you think wyverns were made up?”

“Yeah but then one ate my horse so I know they’re real. But I’ve never seen a vampire and I don’t know anyone who has.”

“Fine,” Marchand conceded. “No vampires. But still plenty of weird things, that, let’s face it, we just don’t have across the pond.”

“So your point?”

“Well, since we didn’t want to just accept this as a regular thing, we decided to do some research. And, as it turns out, Guyasuta has been working on this for quite some time now. He has discovered a number of interesting facts. Guyasuta, if you don’t mind.”

“Gentlemen. As the good general made clear, these beasts seem exclusive to North America. Now being a native to North America-”

“See,” said Grant.

“Shhh,” Marion cut in.

“I can tell you with great confidence that these beasts have only been around for the last 200 years.”

“You have records that go back two hundred years,” asked Marion.

“Of course. We’re not savages.”

Marion had to admit this guy seemed to have it together. He also spoke flawless English and probably French as well. To top it off, he had remarkably good posture.

“Over the past two hundred years, the number of beasts and their levels of aggression have increased. In fact, they seem drawn to conflict. Wars bring them out in droves. That is why there are so many. We are still trying to figure out where they came from and how to get rid of them, but it seems as if this beast,” he indicated the huge white hairy monster on the table, “may somehow be a sort of leader. Or a catalyst. He may, in a way, spawn the creatures.”

“So he, like, gives birth to them?” Grant started to turn an unpleasant mauve.

“Not exactly. It’s more as if, when he wants creatures, they appear. It has to do with some kind of mystical energy that is within him. Or at least that is our best guess. It’s possible that he is just another random monster.”

“How did you capture it? And if you think he is producing monsters, no matter how he is doing it, why don’t you kill him?” Marion asked.

“He attacked a large war party all by himself. We were lucky enough to be equipped with a large amount of poisoned arrows. After three to four hundred hits, he went down. He killed about eighty of us first, though.”

“What now?”

“He’s a lot stronger than any of the other creatures we’ve encountered. I mean, a lot stronger. Like a kabillion times.”

Kabillion, wondered Marion. This guy’s speech patterns were out of whack.

“As to why we don’t kill him, we hope to study him. Learn from him. Uncover the mystery of these beasts.” Guyasuta paused. “Also we can’t. We have mangled the hell out of this guy and he just keeps healing himself. We burned him, poisoned him, and chopped him into dozens of small pieces. He just heals himself. It’s pretty annoying.”

“So how do you keep him sedated?” Marion was the only one paying attention now. Grant had become distracted by a tube that was producing bubbles and Marchand and de Lavoir had moved to the windows and seemed all twitter-pated about something.

“We’ve been pumping poison into him nonstop. The funny thing is, even if your army wasn’t coming, we were going to have to do something. Because we’re about out of poison. I guess we were just going to have to drop him off somewhere in the woods and run before he woke up. Now I think we’ll leave him here. Maybe when we blow up the fort, he’ll get trapped in the debris and won’t get out. But probably not.”

“Who exactly are these guys,” de Lavoir asked, pointing out the window.

“I’m not sure but it looks like they want to shoot somebody,” said Marchand.

“We should pack up our notes,” said Guyasuta.

“We need to give the order to retreat,” said Marchand.

“Grrrr,” said the big white hairy monster.

“Shit,” said everybody.

****

“You see, this kind of thing is not cool,” Boone said. He was referring to the number of Scottish heads that had been placed on spikes, which were lining the outside of the walls of Fort Duquesne.

“Oh no,” squealed Revere. “Do you think it’s vampires?”

“No,” sighed Boone. “It’s probably just the Indians who killed them and put them here as a warning.”

“I don’t know. I heard that Vlad Tepes guy did this sort of thing and he was a vampire.”

“He was not a vampire,” Fraser stepped in. “That is just part of the legend.” He nodded toward the heads on sticks.

“I’m not buying it. There are vampires around. What the hell, man? George Washington promised me there were no vampires! I thought he couldn’t lie.”

“You need to stop believing all these crazy fairy tales. Vampires aren’t real; Washington can lie. These stories you hear as a kid aren’t true. You should know that. Oops, heads up. Zombie.” Boone quickly dispatched it with a sword thrust. There did not appear to be any more.

The British force was in luck. Although here they sat, directly in the sights of Fort Duquesne’s cannons, it was clear that they were unmanned. In fact, the fort seemed pretty much deserted. It was quite possible that they had decided to abandon it, fearing that they could not defend it. It was odd, though, that they would leave it intact.

“I feel like this may be a trap,” said Washington. “I want the main force to move back from the fort. There is a good chance it is rigged to explode. Bouquet-”

“The Swiss guy,” asked soldier number 248.

“Yes, the Swiss guy,” continued Washington. “He wants a small team of six men to enter the fort and see if there is anything that can be salvaged, or if there is a giant pile of explosives about to go off, or perhaps a huge army waiting to kill us. So who volunteers?”

“I do, sir.” Fraser, of course.

“Kiss ass,” said Boone. Sadly, this was mistaken for him volunteering.

The rest of the party was rounded out by soldier number 248, some guy named Dave, and two others whom we care nothing about.

“Go with God, gentlemen, and remember that your sacrifice here today may mean that you saved the lives of hundreds. That you helped capture a key fort in our charge for victory and that you shall be remembered as heroes.” So spoke George Washington.

“He seems pretty convinced we’re going to die,” Boone said.

“Aren’t you?” Fraser asked.

“Yeah, but damn it; why do I have to die with you?”

****

MidnightRiders

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Genre – Alternate History

Rating – PG13

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Website http://punchmyselfintheface.wordpress.com/

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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

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Connect with  James Shipman on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://james-shipman.com

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Nobody Has to Know by Frank Nappi @FrankNappi

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image23713420

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

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Connect with Frank Nappi on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.franknappi.com

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Writing about religion – Richard Abbott @MilkHoneyedLand

Writing about religion

I enjoy writing about religion, or more exactly, I enjoy writing about people who have a religious faith. It is simply not possible to write about most ages of past human experience without including the religious life somewhere. Too often in books you come across a few very simple, and in my view quite unrealistic stereotypes. So there is the rabid fundamentalist, who reacts with violence to anything that seems to threaten his or her world view. Or there is the ruthless cynic, who knows it’s all make-believe and just wants to exploit others. Or there is the naïve villager, who is duped and never questions the wider system. Or there is the wise sage who holds to personal spirituality without the inconvenient trappings of any specific religion.

Now, I have at various times in my life mixed with and known people of faith who belong to various different religions, and I have to say that these simple pictures do not do justice to most of them. In terms of religious faith as well as other areas of life, people are more complex, and more interesting, than these stereotypes. They have doubt as well as faith, selfish as well as noble motives, mixed feelings about the religious institution they belong to, and, usually, commitment to a specific form of religion rather than a vague abstraction. They are often keenly interested in other forms of religion as well as their own, even if they think that those are ultimately incorrect.

How does this translate into writing fiction? Well, a person’s expressed religion is just one facet of their overall character, not an isolated pocket. So the fictional character should express their religion in a way that fits with everything else we know about them. This also depends on the age in which the story is set. The Late Bronze Age, which I write about, was notable for the way different cultures grappled with how the beliefs of other nations dovetailed with their own. We have discovered several comparative lists of deities, recording how priests and scribes tried to think through how someone else’s pantheon of gods matched with what they believed. By and large, it was a time of curiosity and exploration about faith. Other times in history have not been so accommodating, but even within those, there have been large numbers of individuals whose faith has been exploratory rather than rigid. There are always the noisy few extremists, but there are also a great many moderates.

Basically, fictional people whose characters are open to change and adaptation are, in my view, much more realistic than those who are closed and rigid. This applies to religious expression as much as anything else. When crisis strikes – whether in fiction or in reality – religious faith is only one of many personal dimensions which might be stretched and challenged. That process can lead to several different destinations, and usually these are more interesting when they’re not the handful of worn-out stereotypes.

Milk & Honeyed Land

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Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG13

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Connect with Richard Abbott on Facebook, Google+ & Twitter

Website http://www.kephrath.com/

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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

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Connect with Sheena Binkley on Twitter

Website http://sheenabinkley.wordpress.com/

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Why I Changed my Book’s Cover – Mary Maddox

Why I Changed my Book’s Cover
The pivotal moment came during the alumni book signing at my college reunion last fall.
I attended Knox College, a private liberal arts school in Galesburg, Illinois. Knox boasts one of the finest undergraduate creative writing programs in the country, a program just beginning while I was a student there. But Knox graduates go on to success in many fields. Biologists, historians, political scientists, and educators sat alongside the fiction writers and poets at the tables in the Ford Center for the Fine Arts. The book signing began after Homecoming Convocation as the crowd emerged from the auditorium and filed in front of our tables – so many tables they stretched the entire length of the lobby.
Quite a few people glanced at my paranormal thriller Talion, but few lingered more than a moment or picked up a book. I was selling several copies to old friends and one or two to strangers. Not as many as I’d hoped. Then a woman came over and scrutinized Talion for a few seconds. “I’m not buying your book,” she announced, “because I don’t like the cover. It tells me nothing. I have no idea what the book is about.”
I began my one-sentence pitch, but she was already walking away. Okay, I thought. That was rude.
Well, blunt anyway.
She wasn’t the first critic to pan the cover. Some reviewers disliked it. One even urged readers not to hold the cover against the novel, which was actually quite good. Poor novel, doomed like me during my unhappy teen years: “A pretty girl, really, too bad she has to wear glasses.”
A week or so later, a friend who had just finished Talion mentioned that the text contained a few typos and offered to point them out if I ever issued another edition. Reading his kind email, I realized the decision was in my mind, already made, waiting for me to notice. There had to be another edition of Talion with a better cover.
The First Cover


The image on Talion‘s first cover is a photograph taken by Joe Heumann, the love of my life. It has a brilliant abstract beauty that evokes the beauty my protagonist, Lu, sees in the apparition of Talion. I lacked the skills to make a book cover, so I contracted a graphic artist, who created a beautiful cover from the photograph I gave him. But as the blunt lady pointed out, it delivers no message. The image has zero connection to the story except in my mind.
I can’t believe I made such a dumb mistake, expecting readers to make a mental leap without sufficient information. Worse, I underestimated the importance of having a book cover that would intrigue potential readers and hold their attention for longer than a second. Sure, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but as readers scan books on a shelf or thumbnail images on a screen, they have no basis on which to choose EXCEPT the cover.
The New Cover
I decided to give Talion the cover it deserved, a cover that expressed the drama and atmosphere of the story. Exploring online, I found more than a dozen graphic artists who would create a professional cover for fees ranging from $300 to more than $1000. But I wasn’t shopping for the least expensive option. Not this time. I wanted an artist with a fantastic imagination and distinctive style, and I found him in Duncan Long.
Duncan is a professional who has created cover art for major commercial publishers. And he is prolific. His gallery displays numerous examples of his work in various genres. Looking through them, I was struck by how original his art is. It stands out from all the rest of the covers I viewed in my search. His style and imagery create a world that is distinctively his own. A world where Talion found a home.

The novel has sold far better with the new cover, but not enough to recoup its entire cost. Still, I consider the money well spent. When the sequel, Daemon Seer, is published at the beginning of next year, I want readers to remember Talion.
Talion
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Genre – Thriller / Horror
Rating – R
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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

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Website parkerpaige.wordpress.com

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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

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

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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

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

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Jim Musgrave – Spring Forward, Fall Back @OMalley_Mystery

Spring Forward, Fall Back
by Jim Musgrave
One of the professional writing books that helped me the most was a paperback by veteran mystery writer, Lawrence Block, called TELLING LIES FOR FUN & PROFIT:  A MANUAL FOR FICTION WRITERS.  What attracted me in this title was the word “manual.”  In my writing career, I had already earned my advanced degree in creative writing, and I was now “chomping at the bit” of the writing horse (I was as strung-out as any dope addict ever was), wanting to learn the techniques that the masters have used to improve “the craft.”   First of all, I respected the author who wrote this manual, as I devoured the Matthew Scudder Mysteries, and I really enjoyed Block’s collection of short stories (I bought them for my new Sony Ebook Reader).
Now I wanted to hear the techniques from the “horse’s mouth,” so to speak, so I could quickly use them in my own developing collection of short fiction, THE PRESIDENT’S PARASITE AND OTHER STORIES.   There were many ideas in this book that I soon incorporated into my own arsenal of techniques, but the one that I use the most, and the one that I suggest to any writer who wants to add a real touch of interest to his story, is a relatively simple, yet obvious, technique that will immediately produce results for writers who want to use it.   This suggestion is in Part Three of Block’s book, “Oh, What a Tangled Web:  Fiction as a Structure.”  It is called “Spring Forward, Fall Back.”
Block points out that this technique is often used in non-fiction article writing, as journalists need to get the reader’s interest right away.  However, as Block says, “The trick of starting in the middle, however, is extremely useful in fiction.  By beginning at a point where events are already in motion, you involve your reader in the flow of action and get him caught up in your fiction right away.  Then you can back off and let him know what it is he’s gone and gotten himself interested in.”
This little technique hit me like a ton of bricks.  To show you how important it was, let me use an example from my published collection of short stories.  I had a story about Capital Punishment in California, “Reprieve,” and the events in my story just did not seem dramatic when told in a conventional chronological order.  Thus, when I was able to simply move a scene from an extremely dramatic point in the story and place it at the beginning, I was also able to involve the reader much more than if I had told the story in the predictable, moment by moment, description of the action.   The crux of this particular story was the relationship between a condemned teenaged prisoner on death row and the teen daughter of the Governor of California.  Both characters had Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and it was important for me to let the reader know that my prisoner was OCD by showing him, in a descriptive way, right off.
Thus, when my paragraph was inserted at the beginning, the reader could immediately see the conflict and the obsessive personality in just two short paragraphs:   “April 24:  They brought him into the green room, and outside, all he could see was gray.  He wondered if having green in this inner room made him someone important.  The little bed was green, the walls were green, and the metal door that was opened onto the outside gray area was also green.  Why had he been brought here in the wee hours of the morning?  What did they expect him to do?   “A fly entered the room.  It landed on the green wall. Didn’t they know that flies brought disease with them?  It can fly around and land on you, dragging its filth onto your body, polluting you with its hairy legs and disgusting, crap-filled tongue!  His eyes were riveted on the fly on the wall, watching its every move, as if the entire future of the human race depended on it.”
As you can see, this introductory description allows enough doubt to make the reader question what and where this green room is, and detailed enough to show that the character obviously has a serious psychological problem (OCD).  I was then able to “fall back” and tell the chronological details necessary for the reader to put all the information together into the complete narrative.   It is interesting for me to note that this story is also about structure in one’s personal life, something that people with OCD have a hard time maintaining.  Thus, not only does my story show the healing relationship between a condemned man and a teenage girl, but it also suggests to the reader that people who can bring the gift of healing perhaps do not deserve to die, no matter what crime they may have committed in the past.  In other words, the theme of my little story was that each moment in our life is sacred in its own right, and that we should not be condemned because we lost control during an aberrant moment, because of mental confusion or fear, when our future life shows that we have become devoted to recovery and healing of the disorder that caused our evil act in the first place.  Spring forward, fall back.

Jim Musgrave
Here are all three suspenseful mysteries in one book!
Forevermore, the first mystery, was a #2 bestseller in Amazon’s Historical Mystery category. It has received outstanding reviews from readers, and it establishes Pat O’Malley as a detective sleuth par excellence. The second mystery, Disappearance at Mount Sinai, continues the development of the characters amidst an excellent caper. The third mystery, Jane the Grabber, plunges O’Malley into the middle of the Steampunk world, and it marks a turning point in the novels to come.
Forevermore Synopsis:
“Musgrave mixes accurate history with a spell-binding plot to create an amazing who-done-it! Watch for more Pat O’Malley Mysteries.”
In post Civil War New York City, Detective Pat O’Malley is living inside Poe’s Cottage in the Bronx. O’Malley is haunted by Poe one night, and the detective finds a strange note. As a result, O’Malley decides to prove that Edgar Allan Poe did not die in Baltimore from an alcoholic binge but was, instead, murdered. O’Malley quickly becomes embroiled in a “cold case” that thrusts him into the lair of one of the most sinister and ruthless killers in 1865 New York City.
Jim Musgrave’s “Forevermore” is a quick read in four acts that will keep your mind razor sharp trying to solve the mystery of Poe’s murder. Pat O’Malley must first find out how to become intimate with females before he can discover the final clue in this puzzle of wits, murder and romance.
Disappearance at Mount Sinai Synopsis:
What if the anti-Semites, racists, and terrorists wanted the final revenge following the Civil War? How do you stop them from committing the worst atrocity?
It’s 1866 in New York City. Civil War Vet and Detective Pat O’Malley’s biggest case returns him to the deep, dark South to search for the kidnapped wealthiest inventor and entrepreneur in America. But the widening gyre of anti-Semitism and racism pulls him down into the pit of hell itself. Disguised as an Oxford England Professor, O’Malley infiltrates the anti-Semites’ group and travels with his partners, Becky Charming and his father, Robert, down to a Collierville, Tennessee mansion.
At the crux of this case are a Jewish father and his five-year-old son, Seth. They have developed a unique bond that relies on Jewish folklore and a belief that they are Mazikeen, half-angel and half-human, born from the loins of Adam’s strange female cohorts during the 130 years he was banished from the Garden. Will O’Malley find Dr. Mergenthaler before it’s too late? What does this world-wide eugenics group have planned for the mongrel races? Read Jim Musgrave’s Disappearance at Mount Sinai, the second mystery in the series of Pat O’Malley Mini-Mysteries.
Jane the Grabber Synopsis:
What was it like before women were given rights to determine their own destinies? How was abortion and birth control used in the 1860s? What happens to a society when the last sexual taboo is permitted? Find out in the third mystery in the Pat O’Malley Historical Steampunk Mystery Series, Jane the Grabber.
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Genre – Historical Steampunk Mystery
Rating – PG13
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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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Website http://www.arthurjgonzalez.com/

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Author Interview – Lynn Osterkamp @LynnOst

Image of Lynn Osterkamp
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? It changes from day to day, because I’m always looking ahead, rather than behind. As soon as I accomplish something I’ve been working toward, I feel proud of getting there. But then, by the next day, I’m off down another path and yesterday’s accomplishment has faded into the background.
What is your favorite color? My favorite color is turquoise. Now that I think of that, I wonder why I didn’t choose that color for my book covers. Would they look better with a turquoise background?
What is your favorite food? Potato chips. I really shouldn’t admit that. It makes me sound like a junk food queen. But actually I eat a very healthy diet, with not nearly as many potato chips as I’d like. The tricky thing about potato chips was captured very well in an ad campaign years ago with the slogan, “Bet you can’t eat one.” It’s very hard to eat only one. Try it.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world? I love Boulder, Colorado. That’s why I live there and why I set my novels there. Boulder has gorgeous mountain scenery and hiking trails, a fun downtown with a pedestrian mall and great restaurants, and an active population focused on physical fitness. I went to college there years ago and lived there for a few years after, but then moved away for many years. My husband and I feel very lucky that we found a way to get back and live there.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing? My father continually challenged me to think outside the box. My mother loved poetry and read me poems when I was very young. Both of my parents were active in theater groups, and encouraged me to do the same. Their focus on creativity and self-expression gave me the courage to pursue my dream of creative writing.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I was the oldest of five children. My harried mother used to get me to entertain the younger ones by telling them stories. They wouldn’t accept the same story over and over, so I had to be creative, inventing new characters and plots that they would find entertaining.
When and why did you begin writing? I started writing in grade school. I still have a very short story I wrote in first grade. It went like this: “I like to roller skate. I can roller skate very fast. I can roller skate very good.” I illustrated it with a drawing of myself roller-skating. Okay, it’s a little lacking in imagination, but I was only six.
How long have you been writing? Too long. I should be way more famous by now.
When did you first know you could be a writer? It never occurred to me that I couldn’t be a writer. The question was whether I could be any good at it. Could I write anything readers would like? Now that I have written stuff readers said they liked, I still ask myself the question with every new piece of writing. Will they like it?
What was your journey as a writer? I was an academic for many years, so I wrote journal articles, grant proposals, training manuals, etc. at work. Outside work I wrote a couple of popular nonfiction self-help books, one on stress-management and the other on communication between adults and their parents. All that time I wanted to try writing fiction, but I worried that I’d never sell it. At one point I had an agent who told me that selling fiction is next to impossible. But over the years I learned a lot about the publishing industry, and I had my own business, so when digital printing and internet bookstores came along, I realized I could publish and sell a novel through my own business. So I wrote and published Too Near the Edge and its sequel Too Far Under, and now the third in the series, Too Many Secrets.
What genre are you most comfortable writing? I’m most comfortable writing nonfiction, especially research-based self-help. But I’m also tired of writing in that genre. For the past five years, I’ve been able to devote time to writing fiction, which I’m very much enjoying as a new challenge.
What inspired you to write your first book? My first book, Stress? Find Your Balance, came about because my husband and co-author, Allan Press, and I were teaching stress-management techniques in workshops for social services professionals. This was back in the early 1980s and we weren’t able to find an easily readable book for our participants to use. So we created handouts, which then became a booklet, and finally a book, pubished by a new small publisher.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? There’s so much to learn about writing fiction. No matter how good you get at it, you can always get better. Description, dialogue, plotting, pacing, conflict, character development, and more. It’s all challenging.
What contributes to making a writer successful? Success is tricky to define. We seem to have some agreed-upon criteria in our society, mostly involving the acquisition of power and material wealth. But not everyone accepts these definitions. Some people actively reject such worldly notions of success, preferring more personal benchmarks.
I believe it is far too simplistic to decide whether or not an author is successful by applying objective criteria like numbers of books sold, awards, numbers of positive reviews by prestigious reviewers, or whether their book has been published by a traditional publisher. If these benchmarks are the author’s goals, then achieving or not achieving them is a measure of that author’s success. But for authors who have other goals, and who are satisfied with their progress, it is presumptuous to tell them that they are not successful based on the number of books they’ve sold, and/or the profit they’ve made on their books.
My view is that it’s up to me as an author to decide whether or not I’m successful. Outside evaluators may judge me by their own criteria such as how many books I’ve sold. But I don’t have to accept their judgment.
What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out? I really recommend Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, by Donald Maass. It’s packed  with easy-to-use advice and examples to help writers make their fiction stronger. Also, WritersDigest.com has an excellent library of free articles covering a variety of genres and aspects of writing.
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Genre - Mystery
Rating – PG
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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.
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Genre - Science fiction
Rating – PG-13
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#Free - Night of the Purple Moon by Scott Cramer @cramer_scott

image

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

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Genre - Science fiction

Rating – PG-13

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James Fricton – Zombies versus Warriors

Zombies versus Warriors: Should a book have a social consciences? 

by James Fricton

The question of the hour is should a book have a social conscience or is it acceptable for books to promote risqué or dangerous behaviors by people who act like zombies– the walking dead who care only for their own pleasure and power regardless of the destruction it might cause to the people or world around them.  Take for example, “Fifty shades of Grey” books. Amy Bonomi, Professor at Michigan State University, believes these books perpetuate dangerous sexual abuse patterns including stalking, intimidation, threats, isolation and humiliation. These behaviors are all consistent with intimate partner abuse as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  On the other side, some books stand out by calling a spade a spade, labeling abusive and hateful behavior as screwed up and not be to emulated.  For example, James Fricton’s romantic thriller, The Last Scroll, labels zombies for what they are– low energy blood-suckers who are universally disliked and to be avoided. The protagonists help train regular Joes to becomes warriors bent on saving the world from the plagues that zombies create. Which approach sells the more books? Which one promotes a positive future for the people on our planet? You decide.

last-scroll-novel-james-fricton-hardcover-cover-art

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Genre - Romantic Thriller

Rating – PG13

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Meg Benjamin – Ghoulies and Ghosties

Ghoulies and Ghosties
by Meg Benjamin
The second book in my Ramos Family/Medium trilogy, Medium Rare, was released recently by Berkley InterMix (the first was Medium Well and the third, Happy Medium, comes out next January). All three novels are ghost stories because, well, I’ve always been sort of intrigued by ghosts. Haven’t you?
When I was a kid, I devoured every ghost story I could lay my hands on at the local library, and I still enjoy reading those “ghosts of Colorado” books meant for tourists. So when I started working on my ghost books, I realized that I already knew a lot about what ghosts were supposed to be like. I knew that a lot of ghosts were looking for closure, and if you could figure out what they wanted, they’d go away. I knew that twilight was ghost time, or at least you were more likely to see them then than at other times of day. And I knew that ghosts tended to stick around places where they’d had traumatic experiences, sometimes places where they’d died.
But that was all pretty standard stuff. As I started to work on my medium books, I found lots of questions I didn’t know the answers to. How do you protect yourself from ghosts, for example? Different cultures had different answers, but elements like iron and salt seemed to be pretty standard. Did ghosts ever threaten humans with anything besides just a good scare? Yes, as it turned out. Most cultures have stories of evil spirits that could really do a number on the living if you weren’t careful.
All of my research gave me ideas to play with. What if there were ancient ghosts who were a little like vampires, drawing strength and “staying power” from humans? What if you were a reluctant medium who really didn’t know how to go about using your power? And what if your “spirit guide” was a real pain in the posterior?
In the end, I came up with a mixture of traditional ghost lore and my own inventions, all of it set in a very real place—the King William District of San Antonio. And I had a lot of fun doing it. After all, who doesn’t like a good scare, assuming there’s a happy ending somewhere down the line?
Here’s the blurb for Medium Rare:
Medium Rare
There are no skeletons in her closet…only ghosts
Rose Ramos was a reference librarian, until she inherited her grandmother’s house—and the family talent for connecting with the other side…
Moving into the lovely Victorian in San Antonio’s King William District is a dream come true for Rose—and also a nightmare. That’s the only explanation she has for the man hovering above her bed. But Skag is a ghost who’s been part of Rose’s family for generations. And now he’s all hers.
When Evan Delwin, a reporter out to debunk the city’s newest celebrity, posts an ad looking for a research assistant to investigate a famous medium making his home in San Antonio, Skag suggests that Rose apply for the job. Delving into the dark side has its own dangers for Rose—including trying to resist Delwin’s manly charms. But as the investigation draws them closer together, the deadly currents surrounding the medium threaten to destroy them all…
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Medium Rare
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Genre – Paranormal
Rating – R
More details about the author and the book
Connect with  Meg Benjamin on Facebook & Twitter


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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

Buy Now @ Amazon @ Smashwords

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/

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Ten Things You Didn’t Know About P.T. Macias

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About P.T. Macias

My name is Patricia T. Macias. I was born in San Jose, California. I currently live in Sacramento, California with my family.

I have three children. My eldest is my daughter Erica Crystal. My middle child is Andres Arturo, and my youngest child is Ricardo Emanuel. I have four beautiful grandchildren. I have three grandsons and one granddaughter. My granddaughter is only a few months old. My family is my pride and joy.

I also enjoy spending quality time with family and friends. I love to read romance and paranormal. My favorite book is Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I also enjoy reading J.R. Ward, Lindsey Sands, and lots more.

I always dreamed of writing and I’m extremely happy to be achieving my dream. I want to write since I was in elementary. My characters are my best friends. They’re always talking and living in my mind and dreams. I would tell you that writing is my passion.

I graduated from the University of Phoenix with a dual Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management Administration.

I’ve been working for the same employer for 32 years. I started working with them when I was eighteen. I’ve been working in my current technical position for 28 years.

I’ve been writing for approximately three years. I realized one day that all of my dreams were stories and characters demanding to be told.

I write without an outline or plan. The stories flow out when I’m writing. Their personalities and their characteristics are developed. I see them clearly in my mine. Then direct the plot, the scenes, and the dialogue.
I wrote my first series, the De La Cruz Saga, in one year. The saga has a subtle influence of Spanish and the Spanish becomes more laced (as the story progresses).

I write in the present tense because I believe it puts the reader "IN" the action, rather than as part of an "after thought". I believe it brings the characters to life!

This is my voice, my style. Dare to read the awesome De La Cruz Saga that’s full of passion and suspense. Enjoy my latest and greatest series is Razer 8. The new Razer 8 series is all about action, adventure, passion, and romance.

My latest and greatest goal is to write a Mexican Cook book. I hope you enjoy the recipes.

Hot & Dangerous
Buy Now @ Amazon @ Smashwords
Genre – Romantic Suspense
Rating – PG13
More details about the author and the book
Connect with  P.T. Macias on Facebook & Twitter

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