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Steps Into Darkness (A Shakertown Adventure) by Ben Woodard @benswoodard #YA #Mystery

The unknown figure’s back was to them as he connected the wires to the detonator. Will shoved Tom. Only minutes remained.

They located the last connection point where the blasting caps were wired to two sticks of dynamite. The wires to the plunger snaked up the hill. The connecting strands were twisted, tightly, as with pliers. Tom snatched a rock, but Will grabbed his hand and pointed up the hill. Tom understood. The man would hear the pounding. They each took a twisted connection and tried to pry it apart with their fingers. They would need to break only one.

The wires resisted. Tom gritted his teeth, then remembered his pocket knife. He pulled it out, flipped the blade open, and wedged the tip between two strands. He twisted and the blade snapped. The sound startled the man. He whirled around and stared directly at the boys. Tom forced the broken blade into the gap in the wires. Will put his finger on top of one and pulled as Tom twisted. Blood ran down Will’s hand as the metal bit into his finger. They strained, and watched the man. His eyes darted in all directions. Then he made his decision. He pulled the plunger up, hesitated a moment, and slammed it down.

StepIntoDarkness
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Genre - YA/Mystery
Rating – PG – 13
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Eternal Night by Jade Kerrion @JadeKerrion #Paranormal #Fantasy #AmReading


Ashra pushed past the blackness at the start of his memories, expecting deeper darkness. Instead, the colors shifted into shades of ochre and gray. Memories, older than his body, resided in his soul; memories of an Earth long since lost to them—a planet surrounded and nourished by water; images of tall buildings glistening beneath a benevolent sun, and of thriving cities filled with the bustle of humans; memories of quiet and intimate conversations beneath a silver moon, the same silver moon that now graced Malum Turris with its light, though a thousand years older and viewed only from beneath the protection of the dome.

She saw herself as he must have seen her, a much-younger icrathari, still hopeful for the future, never realizing that the Earth they had all known and loved was irretrievably lost. Had she ever looked that vulnerable? Had her smile ever been so beautiful, so filled with love as she looked upon—

“Rohkeus?” Oh, blessed Creator, was that stricken whisper her voice?

Ashra pulled back and stared at the human. Her mouth dropped open. Her heart pounded in her chest, its beat erratic. It couldn’t be. It simply couldn’t be—

She looked up at Tera. The other icrathari nodded.

Rohkeus’s soul reborn…in a human.

Ashra threw her head back and laughed, a despairing sound.

Elsker stepped forward. The sole male icrathari was slightly taller than the female icrathari, and dressed in a black silk shirt and linen pants. His silver hair was cropped short, and his light blue eyes were wide. “Rohkeus reborn? That’s impossible.”

Siri shrugged, her red gown shifting around her curvaceous frame. Her silver hair, cut short, framed her face. “Stranger things have happened.” Her pale violet gaze raked over the human. “At least he had the good sense to choose a pretty body.”

Ashra shook her head, the movement jolting her out of her daze. Her prince, her love, reduced to a human? Her slender fingers coiled into fists. Her golden eyes glittering, she pushed away from him, though her body trembled from the loss of his warmth. No, the human was not Rohkeus; he could never be Rohkeus.

Steeling herself against the gasp of pain that escaped from his lips as the anesthetizing effect of her kiss faded, Ashra rose to her feet with sinuous grace. “He is not one of us. Not anymore.” Nothing had been more devastating than losing Rohkeus to a human assassin. To see his soul reborn in that contemptible and weak race was an insult to the person Rohkeus had been.

“Should we turn him into a vampire?” Tera asked.

“Kill him. Set Rohkeus’s soul free.”

Siri seized Ashra’s hand before she could turn away. Siri’s lips, painted the same provocative color as her dress, shaped an O. “You’re not serious. How many people are offered a second chance at the love of a lifetime?”

A second chance? Her traitorous pulse raced even as her lips curled with disgust. “He’s human.”

“We can make him immortal—a vampire.”

Ashra swallowed hard. “But not an icrathari.”

Siri’s gaze fell. “No, of course not.”

“Kill him.”

“You can’t.” Siri stepped forward, placing herself between Ashra and the barely conscious human.

“This is amazing. It’s never happened before—a soul reborn.”

“Rohkeus is dead, and I rule Aeternae Noctis.” She turned to Tera. “I told you to kill him.”

Tera hesitated for a fraction of a second, and then she shook her head. “I won’t do it, and neither will Siri or Elsker. If you want him dead, you’ll have to do it yourself.”

E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords
Paperbacks available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jade Kerrion developed a loyal reader base with her fan fiction series based on the MMORPG Guild Wars. She was accused of keeping her readers up at night, distracting them from work, housework, homework, and (far worse), from actually playing Guild Wars. And then she wondered why just screw up the time management skills of gamers? Why not aspire to screw everyone else up too?
So here she is, writing books that aspire to keep you from doing anything else useful with your time.

Her debut novel, Perfection Unleashed, spawned the Double Helix series which has won a total of seven science fiction awards, including first place in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2012 and the gold medal in Readers Favorites Awards 2013. She is also the author of Earth-Sim and When the Silence Ends, which placed first and second respectively in the 2013 Royal Palm Literary Awards, Young Adults category.

She lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with her wonderfully supportive husband and her two young sons, Saint and Angel, (no, those aren’t their real names, but they are like saints and angels, except when they’re not.)

Connect with Jade: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Eternal Night ebook

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Genre - Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating – PG-13
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Devolution by Peter Clenott @PeterClenott #YA #MustRead #BookClub

Chiku couldn’t help stare at the large bulge that was Rebecca’s baby-to-be. It made her reflect upon the gynecological exam Dr. Kessel had just given her. At sixteen, she couldn’t imagine being anyone’s mother, except maybe a chimpanzee’s. Rebecca was only fourteen, an eighth grader back home, a middle schooler. How could she be a mother? Yet even in wealthy well-educated America girls in their mid-teens were getting knocked up all the time, having their babies, and changing their lives in ways unpredictable and permanent. Not Chiku. Boys could go to hell.

“When was the last time you saw him?” Chiku asked.

“Two week. Three week. He ask me how my baby doing. I tell him, fine. He give me twenty francs. He always give me money.”

“And that was it?” Chiku gazed at Tim who was still holding all of the things she had given him from her buried stash. “What about Dr. Fisher? Do you know why he’d be in my dad’s house?”

Rebecca dipped her head in thought then gave out with a startled grunt as the baby inside her gave a hefty kick. “Soon,” she said, “Any day my Abasi.” Then she staggered against Chiku.

“You okay? Maybe she’s coming out now.” Chiku was aghast.

“No. No. He. Not yet. No water.”

“Well, you can’t stand here. You have to sit, Rebecca. In the shade.”

Chiku pulled the pregnant girl into the cooler cover of the banana tree. “You want water? Something to drink?”

Rebecca leaned against the tree rather than risk getting herself into a position from which she couldn’t rise. She panted, holding a hand against her belly, Chiku watching that hand move not of its own volition but due to the child inside raring to get going with life.

Not for me, Chiku thought.

Rebecca said, “I okay.”

“You’re sure?”

“When the water break, then we know.”

“Know what?” Chiku asked.

“That the baby is coming,” Tim said. He placed his hands on his friend’s shoulders. They were trembling as if she were the one about to go into labor. “Honestly, Chiku, what do they teach you in Brookline, Massachusetts?”

“How to avoid reality.”

Chiku took Rebecca’s hand. It was cool and sweaty and on her ring finger she was wearing something that looked awfully familiar to Chiku. “Nice,” she said. “Amethyst. My color. My ring, actually. How’d you get it?”

“Your father give me.”

“Cool. It matches your dress.”

Chiku didn’t care that it was an old ring, one that she had either lost or forgotten some distant time in the past and that probably couldn’t even fit her fingers anymore. She just wondered why her father would have given this particular girl this particular ring.

“I think they kill him,” she said.

“What?” Chiku’s eyes darted from the purple colored ring to the black face of the Hutu teenager.

“They were mad mad.”

“Who?”

“Fisher. Your father. Dr. Kessel. They all mad. And the others.”

“What others?” Chiku asked. “Does Colonel Fundanga know?”

“Colonel Fundanga one of them,” Rebecca said. “I keep quiet. Bad enough in the camp. I don’t want to die.”

Rebecca let out a long breath, took in a deep mouthful of air, and let out her discomfort once again. Then she smiled at Chiku before saying, “They come for you next. You his daughter.”

Devolution

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Genre - Young Adult
Rating – PG
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Beyond Neanderthal by Brian Bloom @BrianB_Aust #AmReading #Thriller #GoodReads

Visit to a Blue Amber Mine

As Tara alighted from the vehicle, she found herself facing a ghostly white haze of wispy, low-lying clouds that hung as if suspended in time above the undulating hilltops. The peaks rose from the variegated emerald and olive valley below and stretched into the distance amid a virginal mixture of lush equatorial undergrowth. She drew a deep, involuntary breath.

‘Wow!’ There were no other words to describe the feeling of awe-inspired privilege that washed over her. The vista was about as far removed from Central Park as a New York city skyscraper was from the little pastel coloured huts lining the Carretera Turística.

Aurelio smiled. Intuitively, he seemed to understand that the most appropriate response to this magnificent sight was silence. It was a full two minutes before Tara gathered her thoughts.

‘Let’s get going,’ she said.

They made their way carefully—gingerly climbing over dead logs, negotiating their way around rocky outcrops, and grabbing onto available plant life to steady themselves as they walked and stumbled their way towards the valley below. On either side of the track, a mixture of tall, fronded plants grew in an array of shapes and sizes beside stunted and gnarled old trees with deep green foliage. Tara thought of the trees like friendly bystanders, their leafy branches protectively shading Aurelio and her from much of the glaring sunshine above. They came across a trickling stream, which they followed for a while; Tara ever mindful and vigilant, watching for any sign of wildlife in the undergrowth. Except for the background humming of insects, the occasional noisy squawking of a flock of parrots flying past overhead and, once, the silent imprint of a shoe sole on the muddy banks of the stream, they seemed to be alone.

Then, in a clearing, they came across a group of young men standing seemingly relaxed and chatting. A few feet away, under a lean-to made of branches and palm fronds, one of them squatted while cooking something on a small paraffin or gas stove. Aurelio and Tara had arrived at the mine.
Again, there was a short conversation in Spanish. Again, there was a wrinkling of noses followed by broad smiles of understanding and agreement. There were also some side comments and laughter amongst the men. The word ‘gringa’—foreigner from America—came up a couple of times. Tara thought she also heard the words ‘bonita’, and ‘sexual’, but she couldn’t be sure. She decided to keep a slight distance for the time being. They were in the middle of nowhere, miles from the nearest civilization.

Aurelio walked back towards her. ‘They will be happy to show you around, but we should remember our time limitations. We cannot spend more that half an hour here if we are to return to Santo Domingo before dark.’

‘Are you trying to protect me from these guys?’ she asked with a smile. Aurelio looked embarrassed.
‘What’s he cooking?’ she asked to change the subject. ‘It smells great.’

‘That is called arroz con abichuelas, a mixture of rice and beans. He is probably cooking some small pieces of beef with it, but it could be any meat.’

‘Can one buy that in a restaurant in Santo Domingo?’

‘Of course, but not exactly the same. This is a local dish for locals. To sell food like this to tourists would be like offering leftovers to your guests. It would not be right. In the restaurants it is much more carefully presented and is usually served with salads.’

The word ‘dignity’ popped into Tara’s mind. Aurelio seemed to have it, and that was what she had seen on the faces of the fruit vendor and the amber polisher and, now, even the miners as she approached them. Other than their initial jocularity, they seemed to consider her as their guest and themselves as hosts who happily welcomed visitors into their world. The men were just being men.

As they approached the entrance to the mine, a happy looking miner wearing a backward facing baseball cap sat with a short-handled pick in one hand, a lump of soft rock in the other.

Hola, señorita,’ he said, grinning broadly.

She smiled back at him, lifted her hand in greeting, but continued to follow Aurelio to the mine entrance. It was like standing at the entrance to the burrow of a large animal.

Beyond Neanderthal
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Genre – Thriller
Rating – MA (15+)
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Order of Earth (Elements of Ink) by Jennifer Cornet @J_Cornet #Fantasy #GoodReads #BYNR

The brass doors opened behind her bringing with it an unexpected guest.

“I knew you’d come home.”

Onyx’ heart sank hearing him speak in that gentle voice. He always used that voice when he knew he was wrong; when he was trying to make her forgive him. It felt repulsively sweet now.

“She was just leaving,” Jade said in a firm tone as she turned to face him.

“Nicky, you brought a bodyguard with you? That hurts,” he sounded genuinely insulted.

“Goodbye, Philip.” Onyx said softly, suddenly lacking the confidence she just had.

Philip reached out for her arm, but Jade intercepted the action, grabbing him by the wrist and twisting it until he let out an almost inaudible yelp.

“You will not lay a hand on her. Not now, not ever again. If you so much as brush against her in a way I don’t like, I will break every bone in your body, starting with your pinky toe and ending with your skull.” She twisted just a little further.

But he didn’t lose his composure. He looked Onyx dead in the eye, “Quite a lot of bark for your little Chihuahua of a friend here, huh? Nicky, we don’t need all of this. This running away, the muscle, the hiding out, we are better than this. You know I love you more than anything in the world. Just come home, baby. I need you. It’ll be different, I promise. I’ll start going to therapy like you always wanted. You can even hang out with that crayon haired one. No questions asked. Just come home. What do you say? Come on, I need you.”

“Onyx, don’t you listen to him. Put the bags in the elevator, we’re leaving.”

Onyx hesitated, switching her gaze back and forth between the two. He looked so hurt, so broken up, she just wanted to leap into his arms and console him. For a moment, she could feel her heart ripping in her chest; she believed him. She believed he meant he would change and things would be different. She believed it and she hated herself for it.

Onyx rolled her bags into the elevator before she lost her nerve.

“Goodbye, Philip.” She said again.

“If you love her even half as much as you say, you’ll let us leave here. You’ll leave her alone and move on with your life. But keep the therapy bit, you need it.” Jade winked at him before joining Onyx.

As Jade released his wrist, he noticed a small green marking on her arm; a very familiar mark that he knew all too well.

The girls disappeared down to the ground floor, leaving Philip alone in his flower filled living room. He pulled out his phone and hit speed dial.

“She’s with the Order of Earth. Find out what family, find out who their Protector is, and find out now.”

OrderOfEarth
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Genre - Urban Fantasy
Rating – PG – 13
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@Stone_Rik on Self-Publishing & Selling Your Book #AmWriting #Thriller #SelfPub

Every writer needs an author platform and that starts with social networking… it’s important because readers need to know you exist before they can buy your book. Don’t wait, start now. Use Twitter; weave into your tweets without labouring the point that you’re working on a novel. Tell them its title and what it’s about. Make the Tweets interesting and you have a number of potential customers who might also tell their friends to look out for your work. I mention Twitter, but there are plenty of other networks out there.
Okay, you’ve built a social group and your book is written. Do you aim at the traditional publishers or go indie? Well, the traditional hill is a difficult one to climb and I feel agents and publishing editors might sit back to see which products appeal to the audience, EL James is a good example. If I’m right a successful indie campaign will give you every chance of getting that elusive traditional publisher, if that’s what will make you happy.
But is the indie option an easy one? Far from it, going down this route means you have to do the promotion and marketing yourself, so if you’re not willing to sign over your life completely, think again… Okay, you’re happy to do it, good, but you’ll soon learn that when you wrote ‘The End’ it was the biggest piece of fiction in the book; it’s actually the beginning. First base, you need a publicist. First question, can you afford one? No, go to second base. Yes, then research the prospective business partners thoroughly, there’s a lot of snake oil out there. Oh, if you do use a publicist you’ll need to publish in paperback as well as eBook. Second base, virtual tours, you’re reading this so you’re seeing part of one of them, I hope you’re impressed. Other than paying out for TV adverts, these tours seem to attract the most eyes.
I won’t go on too much, as I don’t want to take advantage of my kind host, but there is one statement I must make before you get your book out there: The presentation of text, the cover, and the quality of the work is of paramount importance to sales. The indie path is a medium that allows anyone to publish anything, don’t subscribe to ‘that will do’ if you want to gain public respect and retain their interest, you’d only be letting yourself down. Even if it nips at your budget give your work every chance by having professionals improve the quality and presentation. Editing, format of text, creation of cover picture and uploading the work onto your chosen medium is not overly expensive and you want a book to be proud of.
One final comment, Monty Hall wasn’t a writer, he was a TV celebrity, but his words are relevant: “Actually, I’m an overnight success, but it took 20 years.” So whatever you learn and whatever strategies you might want to use, the real secret is to keep at it, and never give up!

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.
Buy Now @ AmazonB&NKobo & Waterstones
Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense
Rating – R
More details about the author
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Host Chronicles #Excerpt : The Devil’s Offspring (Volume 1) by D L Cox #GoodReads #Fantasy #Fiction

Simon sat behind his desk and fingered the summoning blade. He knew his sister well enough to know that Asraf’s narration of events was a little off.  Saleena didn’t need anyone to convince her to come after him. She genuinely resented him to the point of hatred, and he knew it. But that hadn’t always been the case. For over six centuries the brother and sister had been inseparable in hell, and then Simon ran off to earth to fulfill his destiny. He had kept in touch at first, but it had been over sixty years since he last visited her. He had gotten so focused on his task on earth that he totally neglected his baby sister. His brotherly nature understood that it was probably his absence that paved the way for her relationship with Izzy. 
He imagined she stumbled into Izzy’s arms in an attempt to fill the void created by the overwhelming sense of estrangement their separation had ignited in her being. Had he been around more, she would have never fallen into an alliance with a reaper. He had literally pushed her into Izzy’s arms and cultivated her contempt for him. If only he had made an effort to stay in touch with her. Oh well, he thought, now she was a demon scorned. She and Izzy had joined forces against him, and he would make them regret it. She was no longer the little sister he had trained to punish and torment in hell. She was now his enemy, and he would treat her like he treated all of his enemies—with a stealthy violence.
He remembered how stubborn and haughty Saleena could be when she had her mind set on something. “Finally, a war worth fighting,” he muttered.
HostChronicles
In this Urban Fantasy, the devil’s daughter, SALEENA, and her reaper boyfriend, IZZY, elope to earth and seek to overthrow her estranged brother, SIMON CLASH, as the devil’s heir apparent on earth, but Simon is head of a powerful conglomerate, and he’s not going out without a fight. As the rivalry turns bloody, the warring siblings discover the devil has been manipulating their feud to advance his secret agenda and is using them as decoys to draw out a sword-wielding champion of humanity called the HOST, whom must be slain before the devil can unleash a reign of terror on earth.
Legend says the Host will emerge when humanity plunges into hopelessness and despair, and NATHANIEL BRENNER, the young man responsible for delivering a magic sword to the Host, hopes that is soon. Nathaniel has spent the last six years searching for the Host to no avail and has recently seen a drastic rise in demon activity on earth, which he knows could only mean one thing: humanity is running out of time. Saleena and Simon unite to save their own hides, but it may be too late—not only for the devil’s offspring, but for humanity too! The future of humanity hangs in the balance, and Nathaniel is determined to thwart the devil’s plans and find the Host.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Urban Fantasy
Rating - PG-13
More details about the author
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Cast in Blood (Morgan Blackstone) by Michelle Rabe @michrabe #Paranormal #UrbanFantasy

NEW ORLEANS SEP 4, 2009

The Assassin’s voice boomed through the closed double doors to the study for the fifth time since he’d entered the room with Morgan’s Blood Sons, almost five hours before.  Marcus cringed as the doors were flung open, and Nicholas strode out, rage radiating from every inch of his six–foot, four–inch frame. Storm–gray eyes landed on Marcus, narrowed to slits, and he stalked past, commanding him to follow with an imperious wave of his right hand. Not wanting to piss the Assassin off more, Marcus bit back a snide comment, and followed him up the sweeping staircase to the mansion’s upper floors.

“Damn it all to hell, Old Man!” Nicholas roared as he began pacing the landing at the top of the stairs. He wanted Marcus to throw himself against his temper to take the edge off.

Ye Gods, Marcus thought, we’ve done this more times than I’d care to count in the centuries we’ve known one another, but this is different. Well, something other than the fact that we’ve barely spoken a civil word to one another in almost two hundred years.

“I take it the boys couldn’t add anything to what we already knew. In spite of the almost five hour interrogation?” Marcus asked, fighting to rein in his own temper, leaning against the banister at the top of the stairs.

“Five hours?” Nicholas stopped moving. He turned to Marcus, meeting his eyes. The other vampire nodded.  “It was really that long?”

“Yes. What’s next, Assassin?” Marcus asked, letting some of the frustration he felt give his voice a hard edge. The last thing they needed right now was for Nicholas to go soft.

“We can’t do anything before the sun sets,” he said, after giving Marcus a long, appraising look.
He’s assessed my well–being and decided I’m not fit for the field. I’ve seen that look too many times before and know better than to argue with him, Marcus thought, trying to work out a logical counter argument.

“I haven’t slept.” Nicholas sighed. “You look like death warmed over and those two are rattled.” He nodded toward the room where he’d left the younger vampires.

“Fine.” Marcus nodded. “I took the liberty of having my staff get us some SUVs. If Morgan’s alive, she’s going to need fresh blood. We’re going to need the extra room.” Marcus was almost certain that he didn’t have to mention that, but the desperate look in Nicholas’s eyes led him to believe that there was no such thing as being too careful in this situation.

“She has to be alive, Marcus.”

“We’ll find her.” Marcus answered, feeling like an ass for lying. We both know that the odds suck. This could be nothing more than trying to find her body. Gods, whoever did this is going to pay.

“I have a very bad feeling about this,” the Assassin muttered, looking through Marcus. Nicholas’s mind was turning over what he knew, making connections and searching for others.

“How so?” Marcus asked, prompting Nicholas to think aloud, knowing it helped him make connections he otherwise missed, and it gave Marcus the opportunity to make a few as well.

“The security footage Danny sent over from the club’s parking lot shows Morgan and her attackers, but never their faces.”

“The club has cameras outside?”

“Apparently one of the human staff had some trouble right after the club opened. Morgan had them installed after that.”

“They could have scoped out the cameras. Not too difficult when you know what to look for,” Marcus muttered, his brows drawn together. “Why didn’t anyone see her being attacked, if it was caught on camera? Why are we just learning about this now? Just because she somehow jacked my mind and knocked me flat on my ever–loving ass.” Marcus’s words sped up as he continued, agitation given voice.

“The footage is stored on massive hard drives but not reviewed unless an incident is reported. Since no one reported her disappearance…” Nicholas’s voice trailed off.

“I have a feeling Morgan will be revising that policy when she returns.”

“If she returns.”
Michelle Rabe

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Genre - Paranormal Urban Fantasy
Rating – PG-13
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Author Spotlight on Brian Bloom @BrianB_Aust #TheLastFinesse #Thriller #AmReading

Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
There were several influences. My father was an English teacher. When he was retired and had nothing to do, I would ask him to “edit” my weekly newspaper columns. The man was superhuman. He never once commented on the content; kept his opinions to himself. He would read the article and hand it back to me with spelling mistakes corrected and with suggestions as to grammar.
For most of my business career I have been involved in drafting Business Plans. It soon became clear to me that the human mind works well if it is presented information in context and as part of an unfolding story that has reference benchmarks.
In drafting advertisements as part of my business activities it soon became clear that less is more. If one has something to say then say it. It’s rather like having an itchy left ear: You can scratch the itch with your left hand or you can extend your right hand all the way over the top of your head and scratch it that way. I discovered that readers typically don’t appreciate that kind of meandering writing.
Denise often criticises me for being too basic. “Readers aren’t stupid” she often tells me. “You don’t have to explain at that level of detail.” But then again, I often don’t know what the hell she’s talking about, so it boils down to a balanced approach.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I tend to break my life down into “projects”. Right now my project is to market my two novels. Creative writing is on the back burner. However, if I’m successful and the books start to sell in reasonably large numbers, I might attempt a third book that looks at an imaginary day-to-day adventure/thriller story of life in the future – on the assumption that life on planet earth evolves as my two novels envision. I might call it “The Next Frontier” and the “thrills” might come from conquering the unknown rather than engaging with an enemy.
On the other hand, if my marketing efforts do not give rise to significant sales then I will not try to argue with the market. “Success” is often about timing. My books may be too far ahead of their time. If that turns out to be the case then I may turn my attention to children’s stories. I’ve had this idea about an alternative life form that inhabits the planet and lives in parallel with humans, but only innocent children can see them and consciously interact with them. The stories might involve the human children’s adventures with citizens of the community/ies within the alternative life form.
My fallback position is to devote myself to getting my golf handicap down. I’ll be 67 years old in January and whilst my health is okay, I consider myself to be on the home stretch to death. I don’t want to engage in anything that I’m not enjoying. Last week I managed to score a net 70 in a local golf competition, so I have various options.
Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Often. Most times I walk away just to allow my mental batteries to recharge and my unconscious mind to open. Sometimes, I “pretend” that I’m travelling downhill on a bicycle and even though I know it’s a waste of time, I start pedalling furiously in anticipation of reaching the next hill. I “dump” words onto a page even though I know they won’t have traction. But then, after a few pages, an idea starts to emerge. At that point I go back to where I starting pedalling and I start to edit by cutting and pasting relevant ideas, deleting irrelevant ideas. Eventually, I recognise that I’ve started pedalling up the slope again and I continue the momentum of my writing.
Tell us a bit about your family. You’ve mentioned Denise and Jenna. It sounds like you have an interesting family
Well, here’s an example of how things just happen to me. When I was still single, I had met an old flame who had emigrated to Austria and had gotten married. She came back home to visit her family and she invited me to spend a week-end with her at some remote resort. I kinda liked the fantasy of such a tryst until common sense took over and I thought: “What the hell are you thinking? You must be out of your mind! That’s bound to lead to trouble with a capital T.” So, instead, I went with a male friend and my sister and one of her female friends to another holiday resort, which is where I met Denise. 48 hours later I was telling my mother that I had met my future wife. Three weeks later Denise and I were engaged. Three months later we were married. That was in January 1971 and we’re still married.
I guess the shortest description I can give about my family is that we all seem to be healers. Denise has been a Tai Chi instructor for over 20 years, and she is a Master of both Usui and Karuna Reiki. She also leads group meditation sessions. Our eldest daughter, Andrea, studied glass blowing as an undergrad degree and then gained an MA in Art Therapy. She uses art as a medium of communication that bypasses the need for words. She works with people like the elderly who have Alzheimers, or kids with autism, or with dysfunctional mothers who are sitting in jail but who have young kids with whom they need to form or maintain relationships. Our son, Terence, has become exceptionally religious. I happen to be descended from a long line of Chassidic Jews going back a couple of hundred years. I turned away from that but Terence decided to embrace it again. He studies the Torah as often as he can – he’s actually a qualified Electrical Engineer (B.Eng. (Hons) ) and he’s employed in the software industry as a business analyst and back-of-house website designer – and he has roped me in to studying the Gemarah (rabbinical commentaries on the Torah) with him once a week for an hour. To preserve our relationship, we’ve agreed to stay away from religious dogma and concentrate solely on the wisdom that the Jewish religion has to offer. He believes that the more people who can be trained to sublimate their egos, the closer we will come to healing the world because we stand on the threshold of a Messianic era. And he practices what he preaches. I’ve watched him sublimating his own ego and its remarkable how he’s matured. Our youngest daughter Jenna started out as a youth outreach worker. When she was barely out of school, as a 17 year old – she’s now in her late 20s – she worked as a charity volunteer in one of Sydney’s most notorious red-light districts getting to know the homeless people who lived in the area. She was too young to know fear and, under supervision, got to know every homeless person in the area by name. The organisation she worked for sometimes offered accommodation and usually offered a hot meal. Now she works for the Sydney City Council and interfaces with several elements of the community. Amongst other things, she attempts to inculcate a feeling of belonging of individuals to their communities. As an aside, she is emerging as a formidable “spray-can” stencil artist and has won two art competitions. For my part, I’ve spent a goodly proportion of my mind space over the past 50 odd years thinking about whether or not humanity is going to survive if we carry on like we are, and what we should be doing to change our behaviour so that we can ensure that survival. At the end of the day, both my books – which are disguised as light hearted novels – are intended to communicate messages of hope for the future. Our world is clearly in trouble, but it’s always darkest before the dawn. We have five bright grandchildren with enquiring minds and who give us enormous pleasure. All five are under the age of 7.
What books did you love growing up?
My mother was a bit of a romantic. She read me Peter Pan and all the Beatrix Potter stories before I could read, and my grandmother – when she visited – used to read a few pages of Swiss family Robinson every night before I went to bed. I remember them all and I’m going to make sure that my grandkids read them all. Later on, my mother read me Little Lord Fauntleroy, which is very probably what turned me into a rebel. None of my friends called their mothers “mummy dearest”. It just didn’t feel “cool” to my 5 year-old way of thinking. Nevertheless, the story must have been interesting enough even though I can’t remember it today because I sat still for the entire time it took to read that book. Maybe I just enjoyed it vicariously because my mother loved it so much.
When I first started to read, Enid Blyton drew my attention for a few nanoseconds, but I was soon drawn to the Hardy Boys and then, later, I started reading books that can probably be best described as kitchen table philosophy – with an emphasis on the Holocaust; what it was about and why it happened.
My father had once owned a bookshop called Pickwick Bookshop. It eventually went out of business, but he couldn’t bear to part with some of the more unusual books so we had a room full of literally thousands of books. Most were dreary reference tomes or classical works or books on history, but now and again I would pick one out and scan through it, looking for pearls of wisdom. You could probably call it “dragonfly” reading. I would swoop down on a book, dip into it and flit away.
The book that undoubtedly had the biggest impact on my life was one I found on the desk of my friend’s mother. It happened to be lying there and I was bored. It was an out of print book of prose called Earth, by Frank Townshend. He was probably in his 70s when he wrote it. It described in non rhyming verse his perceptions of life on earth and I thought it had been written after World War II. When I finally turned to the flyleaf, I discovered it had been published in 1929. That book had an amazing impact on my thought processes for the rest of my life. It opened with the following statements:
1
“I wandered about the earth, meeting all sorts of people;
And I lived in every kind of place,
Doing all manner of work.
2
Of the people that I met, only one was completely and unalterably happy.
Indeed, I observed that most of them did, whatever they did, because of fear;
Fear of life or fear of death,
Or fear of after life or after death,
So they piled up possessions if they could,
Hid from sight their personal affairs,
Covered their risks with reasonable precautions,
Denied their inmost longings,
Or became deeply religious, or even thoughtful.”
I read it from cover to cover, all 164 pages, standing there at Mrs Morris’ desk. It took me hours; I don’t know how many. Time ceased to have meaning and nobody seemed to care where I was. It was school holidays and Peter was lying by the pool, probably asleep or reading.
Who is your favourite author?
I found Michael Crichton’s work fascinating. His approach to scientifically oriented thrillers captured my imagination and probably influenced me greatly in the writing of my books, although I’m not all that keen on blood and guts. I also enjoyed Dan Brown’s works and Beyond Neanderthal has a bit of his style of reasoning in it. Lately I’ve been reading thrillers by Sam Bourne.
What book genre of books do you adore?
Well, the word “adore” is a bit over the top. I really enjoy a good conspiracy novel and I particularly like books that have a feeling of historical mystery – for example, to do with the Knights Templar and their supposed links to the Freemasons. I like science fiction but draw the line at science fantasy. It needs to be credible. I also prefer books to have happy endings. I don’t enjoy books that are dark and leave me feeling scratchy. My preference is to read a book and close it with a feeling of having been uplifted. Once in while I might pick up and old classic that has a bit of old-fashioned romance in it – something like Jane Eyre. Those books remind me of what it’s like to be human in a world that seems to have lost touch with what it’s like to be humane. Nowadays, for example, it’s all about the science itself as opposed to how our lives might be improved by the science. For example, if you watch a TV program on the adventures of (say) a pathologist, it’s all about the blood and guts and how the pathologist looks for physical evidence. No one seems to be interested in the lives of the individuals except if they’re hopping in and out of bed with each other.
I suppose, like my mother before me, I’m a bit of a romantic. I like to read any book that is about people who have something uniquely interesting about them. I’m not particularly interested in what a person has or owns or does. I’m interested in who the person is, how their mind works, and why they are doing what they do. In this regard, I remember something that J.K. Rowling was reputed to have said. It was to the effect that she started off by defining the characters so that each character would be a recognisable individual. Then she built the story around the people. Given the volumes of her book sales, I thought it might be a good idea to pay attention. I bore her approach in mind when I wrote my two novels. Hopefully, my characters themselves are of interest in addition to the storyline.
Do you find it hard to share your work?
Not at all. What would be the point of writing if I was the only person who ever read the stuff?
What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting up?
Once you have decided whether you want to write fiction or non fiction, get yourself an appropriate software program that will help you to structure your thinking in terms of layout and sequence with which information is prepared. If you are writing a novel, make sure that you breathe life into your characters. There are software programs that guide you in that also.
What contributes to making a writer successful?
Above all, tenacity. There are thousands of reasons why you should give up. Pay no attention. Keep chipping away. But do this within context of structured thinking. Tenacity without clear purpose is more like stubbornness.
Do you have any tips on how writers can relax?
Of course there are artificial means such as medication or alcohol – which may be sensible in moderation – but the fact is that these techniques can easily spiral out of control and a writer can become dependent on them. There are only two sensible ways that I know of to relax: The first is to get rid of excess energy by some form of aerobic exercise, following which the heart-rate will slow down as a matter of course and physical tiredness will give rise to mental calmness; and the second is to slow the metabolic rate down by meditation or yoga or some other form of relaxation technique.

In the global corridors of power, a group of faceless men is positioning to usurp control of one of the world’s primary energy resources: uranium. Climate change looms large. Luke Sinclair is a young, Australian-born professor of mineralogy and an expert in the nuclear-fuel cycle. Up to now, he’s led a carefree, hedonistic lifestyle.
But things change: renegade North Korea is about to transfer its illicitly acquired nuclear-weapons technology to Myanmar. The CIA wants to block the development. It enlists the aid of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service. ASIS commandeers Luke, who quickly discovers there are wheels within wheels. Who has the real power? Who are his real friends? Is the attempt to corner the nuclear market ‘The last finesse’ of the faceless men who are so fixated on their personal goals they’ll risk a planetary cataclysm? Has ethical behaviour become merely an anachronism in the 21st Century gladiatorial arena?
The Last Finesse is Brian’s second factional novel. Both were written for the simultaneous entertainment and invigoration of the thinking element of society. It is a prequel to Beyond Neanderthal, which takes a visionary view of humanity’s future, provided we can sublimate our Neanderthal drive to entrench pecking orders in society. The Last Finesse is more “now” oriented. Together, these two books reflect a holistic, right brain/left brain view of the challenges faced by humanity; and how we might meet them. All our problems – including the mountain of debt that casts its shadow over the world’s wallowing economy – are soluble.
About the Author:
In 1987, Brian and his young family migrated from South Africa to Australia where he was employed in Citicorp’s Venture Capital division. He was expecting that Natural Gas would become the world’s next energy paradigm but, surprisingly, it was slow in coming. He then became conscious of the raw power of self-serving vested interests to trump what – from an ethical perspective – should have been society’s greater interests.
Eventually, in 2005, with encouragement from his long suffering wife, Denise, he decided to do something about what he was witnessing: Beyond Neanderthal was the result; The Last Finesse is the prequel.
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Genre - Conspiracy Thriller
Rating – MA (15+)
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Fool for Love by Merry Farmer @MerryFarmer20 #Historical #Romance #AmReading

Chapter Four

The Majestic rose up out of the water in its Liverpool dock with all the glory of its name.  Amelia held one hand to her hat and stared at its iron sides, its two dun-colored funnels and three tall masts.  The ship was a strange thing to her, a mixture of old and new, progress with hints of the past.  It had sails that could be unfurled in a pinch, but with its powerful new engines, the ship could cross the ocean in a week.

Seven days to a new world.  It was an exact description of everything her life had become.  It was every bit as daunting.

“What am I doing?” Amelia whispered, staring at the hopeful monstrosity in front of her.  It was one thing to accept an offer for a new life.  It was another thing entirely to go through with it.
She turned away from the ship, swallowing the nausea that had plagued her since she’d left her mother’s house.  This time it wasn’t morning sickness.  That was long past.  At the moment, the baby was the least of her worries.  Her stomach rolled over the idea that she was about to board a ship heading for a new life at the mercy of a stranger, a man, no less.  The last time she had trusted her life and her future to a man had been a disaster.

She paced, purse clutched to her chest, scanning the busy dock in search of her American savior.  Men, women, and children crowded the gangplanks, eager to start their journeys, excited and hopeful.  Many of the third-class passengers carried bundles that indicated theirs was a one-way trip as much as hers was.  Eric had left her there to go buy her ticket, but there was nothing stopping him from running off and leaving her stranded.  Like her father.  Like Nick.  She was a fool to agree to this.  She pivoted and marched away from the ship.

No, she stopped herself after a handful of steps, this was the best decision she could have made.  She may have felt small and lonely standing by herself, waiting, heart and stomach fluttering, but she was as much a part of the intrepid adventurers seeking a new life in America as any of her fellow passengers.  This was right.

Maybe.

“Well, we got a minor problem on our hands.”

The twang of Eric’s accent shocked Amelia from her worries.  She spun to face him as he approached her with wide strides, scratching his head and looking as guilty as a schoolboy.

“A problem?” she asked, voice fluttering.

“Yeah.  I went to buy you a ticket, but they’re plumb sold out.”

Amelia’s chest tightened and her tender stomach lurched.  “Oh.  Oh dear.  Well I suppose….”

She lowered her eyes, heart aquiver.  As quickly as it started, her chance for a new life was over.  All that worrying for nothing.

She squared her shoulders to face her fate.  “I … I thank you for your efforts on my behalf regardless, Mr. Quinlan.”

Eric’s brow crinkled into a curious frown.  “Regardless?”

“I suppose I could find work here in Liverpool,” she explained.  “Surely there must be a shop somewhere that would look the other way from….”  She lowered her hand to the mound of her stomach.

Eric’s lips twitched.  The morning sunlight caught in his eyes.  “I didn’t want to have to put you in third-class, so I told them you were my wife.”

Amelia blinked.  “You what?”

“I told them we’re newlyweds.  I reserved my stateroom in first class last year when I came over.  Good thing I paid for it then too, ‘cuz after this fiasco of a trip I’ll never ride first-class again.  Anyhow, when they said they didn’t have any more rooms, I told them you were my wife and that we would be staying in the same stateroom.  They sold me a ticket for that.”  He handed her a fresh, clean ticket with her name written as ‘Mrs. Amelia Quinlan’.  “Sorry.”

Amelia held perfectly still on the outside, but on the inside her heart pounded and her stomach rolled with guilt for questioning him.  He wasn’t abandoning her.  He had gone out of his way to help her.  Her heart squeezed as it never had before.  She took the ticket from him with a trembling hand, hardly noticing when her fingers brushed his.  She was rescued after all.

“Thank you, Mr. Quinlan.  You have no idea how much this kindness means to me.”  She had to concentrate on breathing, standing straight, and looking up into his handsome eyes with a smile to keep her tears at bay.

“You don’t mind sharing then?” he asked her.

FoolForLove
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Genre – Western Historical Romance
Rating – R
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Rainy Kaye's SUMMONED @rainyofthedark #Paranormal #AmReading #BYNR

The target’s name is Phil. He lives in a big house in Scottsdale. Rich guy. Typical of Karl. I’m not entirely sure what Karl’s industry is, but he is one hell of a competitor. I mean, I haven’t met any other suit who has a hired-gun at his command—literally.
I asked my father once how this came to be. He said the deal happened so long ago, no one really remembers what transpired. We’ve been passed down generation after generation, serving Karl’s family line as they see fit.
While I have no proof, I do have a strong suspicion this is exactly how they have all used their upper-hand. I can’t imagine any other use for us. It would be a waste just to have us cooking up soufflés in the kitchen or some shit.
My boots clunk down the stone floor of the mansion hallway. I have my head down, sorting through the papers. My intel does a good job. They have provided a picture, an address, everything except the target’s baby book. Hell, I could probably get that too, if I asked.
But I have all the information I need. The trickiest part will be getting him alone. I could try to find an in with the guy and lure him off somewhere. Click of the trigger and problem solved. Or, I could use brute force and break into his house. Unfortunately, that increases the chances of the first shot fired being at me. Not a big fan of that idea.
See, most people won’t shoot to kill. They’ll take out a knee or something. Personally, I would rather die than what happens if I don’t fulfill a wish.
Failure isn’t an option. Not for as long as I’m still breathing.

Twenty-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told—literally. Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker.
Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well. When he meets Syd—assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd—he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri can’t tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isn’t the type to tolerate secrets.
Then Karl starts sending him away on back-to-back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karl’s ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw coming—the wish that will destroy him.
Summoned is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.
Author Bio
Rainy Kaye is an aspiring overlord. In the mean time, she blogs at <a href=http://www.rainyofthedark.com>RainyoftheDark.com</a> and writes paranormal novels from her lair somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona. When not plotting world domination, she enjoys getting lost around the globe, studying music so she can sing along with symphonic metal bands, and becoming distracted by Twitter (<a href=http://www.twitter.com/rainyofthedark>@rainyofthedark</a>).She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.
Grab a Sidebar badge for your blog & Support Rainy Kaye’s SUMMONED:http://www.rainyofthedark.com/summoned-images/
More ways to connect with Rainy Kaye 
********
Cover Design: Kris Wagner https://www.facebook.com/digitalgunman
Model: Adam Jakubowski https://www.facebook.com/LadyJakubowsky
Photographer:  Marcin Rychły https://www.facebook.com/karrdepl

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The Soul of the World (Legends of Amun Ra #2) by Joshua Silverman @jg_silverman #SciFi #Excerpt

Kem dives to the ground in desperation, covering his head and neck from the rocks raining down. I didn’t see that coming. I thought I was quiet, he thinks.
The announcement of Cadmus’ elimination booms over the intercom. Well, at least I don’t have to worry about a vengeful brother.

The dust and debris settle from the crumbled wall. Find Kesi. Kem trots towards the end of the path. Before he gets there, he sees a shadow along the wall.

Dio turns the corner and spots him. She’s already throwing blue spheres before he knows what happened.

Kem hits the floor hard, dodging the first two. Dio hurls more at him.

His heart beats like a jackhammer in his chest. He is covered in dirt and sand. Kem swerves left, then right, ducking from a shot aimed at his head. He looks back at Dio, who walks with determination, shooting at him. Will she not let up a little? Got to slow her down.

1175648_514024498686135_1699853908_n
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Genre – Science fiction, Fantasy
Rating – PG-13+
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@GayleTrent's #WriteTip on Handling Pressure & Deadlines #AmWriting #Mystery

It sounds contradictory, but the best way to handle pressure is to relax. I’ve been reading articles and books on how you can be more creative when you’re in a relaxed state.  When you’re overwhelmed, you have a tendency to freeze up and become unproductive.
If you’re stressing over writing deadlines, the best—albeit hardest—thing to do is to lie down, consciously relax your muscles, and tell yourself to relax. If you’re unable to relax in this way, hit the gym. A workout on the treadmill or the elliptical trainer will get your heart pumping and flood your system with endorphins.
Some writers claim that their best ideas hit them when they’re washing dishes, taking a shower, walking, or driving. This is because even though you aren’t consciously thinking about your book and your writing at that moment, your subconscious is still working on those plot points that you were trying to figure out during your last writing session.
Many writers—especially when deadlines are looming—stick to a strict daily minimum word count. I asked one such writer how she dealt with writers’ block. She said she doesn’t have it that often, but that when she does, she simply writes through it. “Even if it’s total garbage, I write anything in order to keep my writing flowing,” she said. “I know I can always come back and fix it when I get my story going back in the right direction.”
Another writer cautioned me against editing as I write. As a perfectionist, I find it difficult not to get my facts straight as I’m writing. For example, the new Fontaine book is set in Las Vegas. I couldn’t write the first draft saying to myself that I’d go back and fill in the details later. For me personally, I have to have the descriptions and facts in place as I write.  I have come to realize, however, that the books don’t have to be written in a linear form.  If I’m writing a relaxed restaurant scene and something dramatic is supposed to happen next, I can insert [ARGUMENT WITH COWORKER] or whatever scene that might be upcoming and then write something else if I’m not ready to write the heavier scene.
However you choose to do it, relaxation is key when writing under pressure: hug your dog, take a walk, watch cute animal videos, workout, take a nap…. And remember, in a true emergency, you can always request an extension for your writing deadline.

Embroidery shop owner Marcy Singer is about to have the rug pulled out from under her….

Marcy can’t wait to see the new exhibit at the Tallulah Falls museum on antique tapestries and textiles, including beautiful kilim rugs. But her enthusiasm quickly turns to terror when, the day after the exhibition opens, she discovers a dead body behind her store, the Seven-Year Stitch, wrapped up in a most unusual fashion.

The victim appears to be a visiting art professor in town for the exhibit. Did someone decide to teach the professor a lesson, then attempt to sweep the evidence under the rug? Along with her boyfriend, Detective Ted Nash, Marcy must unravel an intricate tapestry of deception to find a desperate killer.
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Genre – Cozy Mystery
Rating – PG
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