Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Author Interview – Kara Stefanowich @Karakazoo

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What are your goals as a writer?

My goals are to always improve as a writer and turn my work into my retirement plan. I don’t expect, in this economy, that I will have anything to turn to once I can no longer work. So I’m hoping that the career I’ve chosen as a writer helps me when I can do nothing else. But I would also like to go out knowing that I’ve made something of myself. I’m hoping I inspire other people’s creative juices to flow. I hope I give others the strength to, as NIKE would say, “Just do it”. Artists should never fear their creativity.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Well, when I’m dreaming I see myself in a hammock between two palm trees overlooking a beautiful blue ocean. Realistically, I see myself only just getting settled into my writing career and possibly retiring from my day jobs. (With a little luck…..*prays*….)

Are there any new authors that have sparked your interest?

Thanks to social media websites I have had the opportunity to read the works of many authors whether they be published or hiding in a dark room. I have had the pleasure to read some great books from Scott Sigler, who hooked me with ‘Infected’. I’ve had the pleasure to read ‘Exile: The Protector Book 1’, by M.R. Merrick. I’ve had the pleasure to read ‘Sand’ by Lili Tufel. I’ve also had the pleasure to read several manuscripts from aspiring authors like, Christina Brown. She actually did write and publish one book called, ‘Deathly Revenge’. I was truly amazed by her work and especially hope she continues to share her gift. I’m also very happy to say I have had the opportunity to chat with all these wonderful people via Twitter. I highly recommend looking up your favorite authors on twitter. You’d be surprised how amazing they are to talk to.

Do you have any hobbies?

My hobbies consist of things like gardening (I love gardening with a passion. Say it’s the woman in me wanting to see something I made grow and thrive, I don’t care.) I enjoy doing things that require a lot of physical labor, like landscaping, building things (wood work mostly, burnings, carvings, bird houses, boxes and so on), I like to clean, paint, draw, wash my car……things like that.

How did you come up with the cover of your book?

I actually wrote out the entire story then sent it off to one of my friends to read and criticize. In that process I found out that she was very much into photography. I was, at that time, in need of a photographer for another book I’ve been working on and I asked her to be the photographer for that. It was only a few edits later that I actually realized I was going to need a photographer for my novel. So I asked her kindly if she’d like to do my cover. She happily accepted and worked her little fanny off to get me just the right picture. She used the information from the book to get ideas and then added her sister into the mix as the model. Hats off to Melissa Michaud for her wonderful photos.

Who are the people who have supported you the most in your writing career?

My list is small but very important to me. My son, first off, is more supportive of my writing than I ever expected him to be, especially when his mother is losing her marbles because her computer won’t do what she says.

My boyfriend is next on the list as he’s been more than supportive than I ever knew a boyfriend could be. He’s encouraged me to keep going and helped me when I got stuck on every possible occasion. And when I need a break, he makes sure I get it.

My boss and his wife have been incredibly supportive and even gone as far as advertising my work through their business. They’ve encouraged me and helped me every chance they got without even being asked.

I can’t forget a few online friends who prompted me to keep going, Liz Griggs, Christy Brown, Jamie Corrigan and many others.

For these people I am thankful and grateful.

How has writing impacted your everyday life style?

Life has become quite full since I’ve started writing regularly. I already work 2 jobs and have a child to take care of and a household to run so squeezing in some writing time every day has become a bit difficult, but I’m taking it all in stride. I’m also learning that one needs time off once in a while. LOL!!

What genre’s have you written or plan to write? Why?

So far I’ve written a Suspenseful Romantic Thriller, Paranormal Romance, and a prequel to the Suspenseful Romantic Thriller.  I am currently working on a Suspenseful Thriller/Mystery, a book of poetry, a Paranormal Thriller and my Biography. I happen to enjoy the ‘fear factor’ in life and in entertainment. I little fear with your mystery makes me jump and pay attention. I hope it has the same affect on my readers.

What would you like to be able to do with your book earnings?

Above anything else I’d like to be able to retire on my book earnings……even if it’s only when I’m at retirement age (which I am NOT) LOL!

But if nothing else I’d really love to have my own cabin on a lake. My own personal getaway that can really make me feel at ease. The idea of sitting out on the porch in my old rickety rocking chair and looking out over the peaceful water would be amazing.

hostage

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Genre - Paranormal Romance

Rating – R

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Connect with Kara Stefanowich on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.thrillsandchills.net/

Hostage by Kara Stefanowich @Karakazoo

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3.

Her eyes opened slowly, smothering her vision with the late morning’s sun light. It streamed in from behind the curtains and through their cracks. Ivy could hear cars rolling down the street as everyone carried on with their ritualistic lives.

Pain swam around her temples. It hurt just to see. She blinked her eyes hard in an attempt to kill the pain, but of course, it remained.

It seemed only seconds after she awoke that she recalled the night’s excitement. It seemed clouded, though. Like a dream. The question of whether or not it was vanished when Ivy caught sight of the candles on the coffee table along with the George Michaels CD case.

“Holy shit, Stone.” Ivy spoke to herself out loud. “What the hell is going on?” Her mind raced and ached at the effort. Ivy realized her natural dose of paranoia was completely acceptable today. Her eyes darted around the room.

Eventually, Ivy managed to get to the bathroom and shower. It felt great to have the hot water running over her skin. Ivy lifted her face into the water and let it rain down over her.

It wasn’t the most glamorous bathroom in town, but she did what she could to make it livable. The tub was a fairly modern, cheap fixture. It was one of those tub/shower combo’s, the kind that attached to the wall. It was all white and had a glass, sliding door instead of a shower curtain. The fixtures in the bathroom were all silver. Even the tiny porcelain sink was white. Ivy always thought that the color white was the most boring color in the world. So she added some brightly colored towels and candles and things to give it a pop. Her towels had multicolored stripes. Yellow, magenta, green, and lavender filled the room. They seemed to be an endless rainbow of colors. At least she had a nice wooden cupboard under the sink, because other than that, there was nowhere to store anything. There wasn’t even a counter. She just figured that was as good as it gets for a studio apartment.

Once Ivy shut off the faucet and stepped out of the tub onto the white checkered linoleum floor, the cloudy mirror above the sink seemed to silently summon her attention. Her eyes fell over her own naked reflection. But as she stood there looking into the mirror, suddenly, the reflection changed. Ivy saw herself, but with a man standing behind her. In the mirror, Ivy was splashing water on her face, and the man was at her back, looming over her. His eyes were fixed on Ivy’s neck and his hands… his hands were slowly climbing up her back.

The entire vision only lasted a fraction of a second, but its power seemed endless. Ivy’s breath stuck in her throat. She shook her head and put a palm to her closed eye.

“Get a hold of yourself, Stone.” Ivy grumbled to herself. There was no way someone actually got into her apartment and fed her hallucinogens and then left. The whole idea was ridiculous. Maybe she lit the candles and put in the CD in her sleep or something. Hey, it could happen. Ivy rolled her eyes and sighed.

“I don’t have time for this. I’ve got things to do.” she said to herself. In about fifteen minutes Ivy was dressed, painted and ready to go.

The bulk of her money came from singing in nightclubs. It paid well. The only problem was that they didn’t like too many repeat performances. The customers got bored easily, so Ivy was constantly trying to come up with new music so that she wouldn’t have to move once a month. Though, frequent moves were, unfortunately, inevitable.

Today Ivy was going down to ‘The Bottom Feeder’ to see about getting a gig or two. ‘The Bottom Feeder’ was supposed to be the big dog of underground metal clubs in the area. Her goal wasn’t just to get a gig and pay a few bills, but it was mostly to find a band that thought she was worthy enough to lay claim to. It was a goal that had been lingering for too long.

The chill in the air seemed to remain still inside her GTO. It was old and the body of the timeless muscle car was worn and a little dented in several places, but Ivy loved her big black beast. It reminded her of herself. Old, beaten and battered, all before it’s time, yet it’s still going and still strong. The interior was worn out pretty good. The upholstery was original leather, or ‘pleather’, as Ivy liked to call it. You know, it wasn’t really leather, but some kind of plastic leather mixture that the company threw together to save some money. Anyway, it was tired and torn right down the middle of the passenger side seat in the back. Duct tape covered the guts of the seat that would have been spilling out, looking terrible. The duct tape wasn’t exactly factory direct, but it was good enough for Ivy. The shifter had that long silver bar that seemed endless compared to modern day vehicles. The shifter head was a black cue ball that Ivy had replaced the original with as it had gotten pretty worn out and eventually developed some kind of sticky dirt residue on it that she wasn’t fond of.

The engine started with a groan, and with a wiggle and pull of the shifter, she was on her way. About twenty minutes later Ivy was parked outside of ‘The Bottom Feeder’. The front door was actually on the side of the building, which was lined with an alley instead of a street. The words, ‘The Bottom Feeder’ glowed red in smaller print than expected for a club, just on top of a single rusted steel door. A couple of miscellaneous posters hung on the brick walls on each side of the door. Promotions for local bands, Ivy figured.

Ivy knocked on the cold door a couple times then opened it and peeked in. She’d never been there before so Ivy wasn’t sure what to expect. Especially at 12:45 in the afternoon. It was kind of dark inside but a string of small dull bulbs lit a stairwell leading almost straight down, like some kind of dungeon beyond the door.

Ivy followed them down to another long narrow hallway lit by the same string of small dull light bulbs. It was a little creepy, but creepy had always been right up her alley. What seemed like the longest, darkest hallway in the world finally came to another rusted steel door that was slightly ajar. Once again, Ivy knocked and then pushed it open. She walked into a huge, well, dungeon. The walls and floor were made of cobblestone. There was purple Christmas lights lining the ceiling beams and more scattered haphazardly along the walls. The bar kept an entire wall off to the right side. There were only a few tables outside of the bar that looked like they’d been through a tornado. A few too many bar room brawls, Ivy supposed.

A stage took the back wall. It stood about three feet off the main floor and was caged in chicken wire. An inner alarm went off in her head, but at the same time Ivy was a little wet with excitement.

“We’re closed!” A strong baritone voice boomed.

Ivy spun on her heels to see a very large man hovering in the doorway next to the bar’s end. The word ‘Office’ was written in what looked like permanent marker over the door.

“Hours are 5:00pm to 2:00am.” he said as he wiped his hands on a dirty hand towel, not paying her much attention.

“Are you the one to talk to about a gig?” Ivy asked with her own strong voice.

The big man’s tired face lifted. He looked Ivy up and down blatantly, huffed then mocked, “What, you?”

Ivy felt her stomach tighten a bit with the thought of being somewhere she didn’t belong. Ivy ignored it and allowed her nature of intimidation to hold her strength out on her skin. “Is that a problem for you?” She asked holding her ground firmly.

The big man chuckled a bit causing his gut to bounce. “Have a seat.” he said after a moment, motioning to a bar stool. “You got a band?”

“I have a guitar.”

He chuckled again, shaking his head. “Lady, you’d have to be real fucking good to stand on that stage with no more than a microphone and a guitar in front of the kind of crowds we get.” he said antagonistically. “I don’t take real kindly to having to sweep up a lady’s eye balls at the end of the night.”

“I appreciate your concern, sir, but I don’t need it.” Ivy retorted with her own note of sarcasm. As Ivy spoke the sentence, he stood across from her on the other side of the bar with his hands palm down on top of it. He looked her straight in the face with his mouth slightly gaped open.

“Lady, either you’re the ballsiest woman I ever did see, or you’re that damn good.” He croaked.

“I’m that damn good.” Ivy replied. There was a silent moment.

“What’s your name?” the big man asked.

“Ivy Stone.” she answered.

A smile crept over the man’s aged face. His widow’s peak slunk back a bit. “Ivy Stone, huh? Come up with that yourself?” he laughed.

“As a matter of fact I did.” She answered proudly.

“What, Ivy because you’re no delicate flower and Stone, because that’s what the world made of ya?”  His vicious grin didn’t fade for a second. “I’m Hef. Short for Hefty. I think that’s pretty self explanatory.” he said holding out a hand to shake hers. Ivy took it and shook. “We’ve got a spot tonight at 11:45. If you live through it, there will be $200 waiting for you.” he said.

“Thank you.” Ivy turned and departed. That took care of the easy part.

hostage

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Genre - Paranormal Romance

Rating – R

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Connect with Kara Stefanowich on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.thrillsandchills.net/

Monday, December 30, 2013

Author Interview – Sarah Krisch

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Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers?
My readers have been so supportive so far!  I love talking to readers, either about my work or books in general.  You can drop me an email at:  sarahkrisch@gmail.com
Who is your favorite author? 
Nora Roberts is probably my favorite author.  She does so many things so well as a writer.  Her characters are compelling and her pacing is dynamic.  Even after having written so many wonderful books, she still amazes me nearly every time I read her.
What book should everybody read at least once?
Gone With the Wind.  I’ve read GWtW at least four times, and every time I read it, I learn something new.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
With the advent of indie publishing, getting published is almost too easy.  Not that I discourage anyone with a good story idea not to give it a try.  Writing and marketing are equally difficult, but in different ways.  Sometimes you sit down to write and you have the black screen and that darned blinking cursor staring at you and you haven’t the slightest idea what you’re going to write.  Luckily for me, those moments don’t stretch out into something more substantial.  I don’t necessarily ever get writer’s block, but I can understand how some people do.  That blank page can be intimidating.  I just remind myself that I control my output.  Marketing, especially for a new author like myself, can be just as intimidating as that blank screen.  Approaching reviewers can feel like those awkward childhood moments when you wanted to ask a boy to dance at a junior high dance.
Do you plan to publish more books?
The Good Life series is a trilogy, so yes I do.  I’m hoping to complete the trilogy by the spring.  And after that… I have an idea for a YA paranormal series.  I don’t want to give away the details, but it’s going to be fun to write!
Julia
A failed actress, twenty-something Julia McCarthy begins writing a fictionalized blog as a form of self-therapy. Based on her carefree summers at her grandparents’ farm, she never expects her little experiment to garner a viral following, but it does. Boy, does it ever.
Now, with thousands of loyal blog followers, and a syndication deal with the Chicago Herald, Julia is approached by GreenTV to adapt her blog into a TV show. The producers see her as a “Rachel Ray on the Prairie-type”. She sees herself as a fraud.
In Julia’s fictional world, she’s successful. She can pay her bills on time. Heck, she even has a fictional gorgeous husband and charming little boy. Ready to realize her dreams, Julia returns to her grandparents’ farm to shoot the TV pilot.
Brad Taylor is definitely not her type: he’s rugged, sensible, and oh-so smug about learning that Julia’s blog is a farce. As the manager of her grandparent’s farm, Brad doesn’t have time to deal with whimsical women who don’t even know how to cook.
Julia can’t allow her attraction to Brad to distract her, not when her dreams are about to come true. But are these truly her dreams, her good life?
A fun, fast (150 pages) contemporary romance
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Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG-13
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Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

#AmReading - Paydirt by Paul Levine @Jake_Lassiter

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Paydirt by Paul Levine

Amazon

Bobby Gallagher has it all...a great job, a loving wife, and an adoring son...
Then he's fired; his wife divorces him; and he goes bankrupt...
Now, to reclaim his life, all he has to do is rig the Super Bowl, win a huge bet, and avoid getting killed.

#Free - Hannah’s Dream by Lenore Butler @ALJambor

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Hannah’s Dream by Lenore Butler

Amazon Kindle US

Genre – Historical Romance

Rating – PG

5 (6 reviews)

Free until 30 December 2013

A sweet historical set in 1895
Hannah Dawes is an enchanting strawberry blond who is betrothed to the boy next door.  When his father sends him a hundred miles away to become a doctor, Hannah vows to wait for him.  When he marries another, she's hurt, but she's not down for long.  Hannah has a dream, and the gumption to see it through.  Drawn to the colors in the church's stained glass windows, she abandons the sandcastle sculptures she shared with her former beau and embraces painting with color.  She draws inspiration from the wild Atlantic ocean and when the family fortune is lost and she is forced to move to Colorado, Hannah is heartbroken - until she sees the Rocky Mountains and a cowboy named Adam.
Adam is a shy man who loves horses and thinks he'll spend his life on the range.  But when he
sets eyes on the saucy, red-haired Hannah, he's smitten.  He hasn't known many women, and that Hannah is a strange one.  At first, he retreats when she gets riled up, which seems to be all the time, and she doesn't think he likes her, and when he tries to talk to her, his lack of sophistication frustrates her.  But there is something about the sweet cowboy that stays with her, and even when she meets a handsome and rich doctor, she can't get Adam out of her mind.
While they try to find common ground, Hannah and Adam grow to love one another, but someone from Hannah's past has come to Colorado to steal her away and won't let anyone stand in his way.  Will he keep Hannah and Adam apart?
Settle into an sweet, old-fashioned romance and get lost in Hannah's Dream.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Author Interview - Sandy Nathan @sandyonathan

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Image of Sandy Nathan

What’s your greatest character strength?

I’m tough and I finish what I start. Actually, I’m driven until I finish what I start. Compulsive, they call it. Like a pit bull clamped down on the mailman’s leg.

What’s your weakest character trait?

I worry like crazy. Lack of trust, I guess. Given ten possible outcomes, I assume the worst will happen, and when it does, no one will help me. This doesn’t happen, but it’s always in the back of my mind.

Why do you write?

I can’t help it. I’ve always written academically or professionally, but in 1993 I had a personal disaster. After working like crazy to heal myself for two years, I had a gigantic transcendent experience, which left the plot of a book in my mind. A series, actually, which was delivered in an instantaneous inner experience. That happened in 1995. I haven’t been able to stop writing since. I’ve got two series going and a couple of miscellaneous books.

Have you always enjoyed writing?

No. I used to enjoy waterskiing and riding my horse more. I’ve always written; I had to in school and at work. I didn’t start writing as a full time profession until 1995.

What motivates you to write?

Words bang around inside my head until I let them out. That’s my daily experience. What’s behind the words is a desire to save the world, elevate consciousness, and heal everyone. I’m giving it my best shot. Looking at the news, I don’t seem to be having much success.

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Genre – Metaphysical Science Fiction

Rating – R

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The Curse Giver by Dora Machado @DoraMachado

at 1:15 AM 1 comments
Chapter Eleven
THE MAN CRAMMED IN THE COFFIN with Lusielle wasn’t much for words. Talking to a toad would have bettered her chances to learn something pertinent, let alone helpful. A toad would have been more forthcoming and less irritating as well.
She didn’t give a hoot about highborn and their bloody quarrels. After all, the highborn had been plotting against each other for centuries. But if she was going to escape with her life, if she was going to survive her plight, she needed to understand what the Lord of Laonia wanted and why. Her life depended on her wits.
“Word in the kingdom is that Laonians are warmongers,” she said.
A snort. “That’s what Riva would like for you to believe.”
“He’s sent away a lot of able men and women to repel Laonian raids.”
“Have you considered it could be the other way around?”
“Why would we want to attack you?”
“I’m not having this discussion with you.”
How wrong he was. “We’ve heard rumors of a few little skirmishes at the river borders over the years,” Lusielle said.
The man’s body tensed in the darkness. “Skirmishes?”
“King Riva always wins.”
“Ha!”
“Ha?”
“Do you always believe everything that Riva says?”
“Nobody challenges King Riva and lives.”
“Riva rules over a bunch of fools.”
“The kingdom’s cemeteries are seeded with his opponents’ tombstones.”
“He’s a man, not a god,” the lord said.
“And yet he can’t be defeated.”
“Of course he can be defeated. My father defeated him in battle twice, thirty years ago and then again twenty years ago. And less than two years ago, I repelled a full scale invasion at the Narrows.”
“You did?”
“The tyrant can be defeated. Laonia has seen to that.”
Lusielle was hard pressed to believe what the lord was saying, and yet she had to admit that some of what he said made sense. There had been rumors. Thousands of troops had never returned from the river borders. Sons and daughters forsook their mothers for good. Husbands and wives went missing en masse. Food had grown scarce. Even horses had been difficult to find.
Had the king managed to conceal a major defeat from his subjects? Was the Lord of Laonia telling the truth?
She had never heard anyone else speak ill of King Riva, let alone challenge him openly. Everyone she knew was afraid of Riva. Not even the kingdom’s highborn dared to call the king a tyrant aloud.
The Lord of Laonia might be short of words and quick to anger, but these days, a man had to be very brave to speak as he did.
Curse Giver
Award-Winning Finalist in the fantasy category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards, sponsored by USA Book News
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Genre – Fantasy/Dark Fantasy
Rating – PG-18
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Living The Testimony by Deidre Havrelock @deidrehavrelock

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My Personal Testimony

I grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, as a Cree/Irish borderline Catholic girl, meaning this half-breed rarely went to Mass. However, I did pray every night. I absolutely loved God and believed in Him deeply. Being Catholic, I had heard about Jesus. In fact, my favorite song was “Away in a Manger.” Whenever I was scared, which was often, I would sing this song. But I imagined Jesus to be a fairytale—a fantasy about a perfect God coming to save people. He was just for good thoughts. He was in no way a reality.

Despite my vague belief in Jesus, my relationship with God seemed deep. I would have conversations with my invisible God; I would tell God I loved Him. And I certainly did love Him. Although, I was becoming a bit frustrated with Him because of my dreary life circumstance. You see, my dad drank—a lot. And this stress, along with the stress of my quickly emerging spiritual life, was simply too overwhelming.

As a child I lived with a strange secret. I sensed an ominous yet deeply intriguing spiritual force in my home. I simply assumed a ghost lived in my house. To convolute matters even more, when I was just seven, a man with fire for hair appeared to me in a dream, forcing me to marry him in front of an upside-down cross. He told me in the dream, “Don’t worry, you have been chosen.” From this point on, I completely believed I was married to the devil—irrevocably dark and aligned with evil.

Fortunately, this dream did motivate me to dig my heels in and search for God. I figured only God could get me divorced from the devil. But instead my search led me to Fred, a kind spirit I met in grade four through a Ouija board. Being Cree, spirits were nothing new to me. My mom’s family always talked about spirits. Most of my aunts and uncles were scared of the spirits or ghosts they saw in their dreams and in their houses, but my grandmother told me the spirits were there to help and protect us. I wasn’t quite sure what to believe. I was confused. After all, the spirits I sensed around me and the ones I saw in my dreams scared me, too. But then again, Fred seemed different. This spirit was nice. He was funny. Fred told me through the Ouija board that his job was to protect and watch over me. Eventually, I began telling myself that spirits just felt creepy, but once you got to know them they could be nice. Especially, if you were nice to them.

Fred became my constant companion. But one day, in grade six, after my best friend’s dad tried to molest me and just after my uncle Glen (who had sexually molested me as a small child) came to live with us in our home, I had a nervous breakdown. While left home alone with Glen, I grabbed a butcher knife and ran to my room to hide. Once in my bedroom, instead of picking up my Ouija board to call on Fred, I cried out to God, telling Him I wanted to kill myself. Suddenly I heard a voice speak out loud: “When you are big everything will be okay.” It was God; He spoke to me. He was real.3 I told God I’d hang on until I was big, which obviously, to a twelve-year-old mind, meant eighteen.

By age sixteen, things seemed to have miraculously changed for the better. First of all, my dad was now inexplicably healed from alcoholism. Second, I was introduced by my high school teacher to a New Age transcendental meditation and channeling group that met weekly in the back room of a small bookstore.4 I was so excited. I thought for sure—in this extremely spiritual group—I would find God and get my divorce from Satan.

This group also told me spirits were good and helpful. However, a few sessions later, I found myself strangely altered after my spirit guide Fred, along with another extremely violent spirit, entered my body during group meditation and refused to leave. A member of the group did attempt to help me force these spirits from my body, but the endeavor failed. Consequently, I was kicked out of my New Age group for having bad karma. This meant I was the one attracting these evil spirits to the group—because I was evil. I left the group feeling deeply hurt, misunderstood, and very aware of being “chosen” by the devil.5

A school friend of mine named Doug, who had joined the channeling group with me, then suggested, without knowing anything about my spiritual past, that I study Satanism. His brother had a Satanic Bible.6 After flatly declining, I began dreaming I was killing people. I also dreamed of horrible evil creatures. Rats invading my house was a common dream, and the devil with fire for hair began reappearing in my dreams, growing angrier every time I refused to follow him. When I turned eighteen, I gave up on spirituality. I simply wouldn’t choose Satan and God had failed to show up and save me.

When I was twenty-two years old, now bulimic/anorexic, depressed, and suffering from intense back pain, my life took an unexpected turn when at work God surprisingly spoke to me again saying, “This is the man whom you shall marry.” That man was DJ, a young man who worked in the same office as I did. Eventually DJ and I began dating, and even though we seemed to have nothing in common—because I was convinced that God had sent him to help me—on our third date, I opened up to him, describing to him my nightmares and my spirit guide, Fred. Of course, I worried DJ might consider me crazy, but instead he said, “I’m here to help.”7

It was a few weeks later that DJ opened up to me, explaining how he believed in Jesus. He told me he believed Jesus was alive. He told me Jesus could heal me and save me; and because he was God’s actual Son, he was the gateway to knowing and experiencing God. DJ asked me to simply trust Jesus.8

But I was more than a little doubtful. In fact, his Christian beliefs made me furious. It seemed idiotic for anyone to believe that a childhood fairytale could be true, and it seemed positively arrogant that DJ thought he knew and understood God. After all, why couldn’t God just save me Himself? What did He need Jesus for? Why was Jesus so important? I argued with DJ about the relevance of Jesus many times. Then one night, after arguing about Jesus yet again, my back flared up with pain. DJ asked if he could pray for me. I was uncomfortable with this but thought, What will it hurt?

As DJ prayed for me, particularly when he asked me to be healed “in the name of Jesus,” my back pain sharply escalated—then the voices began. It was just like during my channeling days. Spirits stirred inside me wanting to speak. Except this time they were enraged. As DJ continued praying, my body contorted as my muscles tightened; a low growl came from my lips. Within seconds, a thick black mass pulled out from my back and hovered above us. I remember huddling against DJ, whispering, “What is that?”

“It’s evil,” he said.

I was terrified. DJ, however, immediately told the evil spirits to “leave, in the name of Jesus.” Surprisingly, the blackness retreated back down inside me. I was horrified and confused, crying and shaking. I didn’t understand I was possessed. All I knew was that Fred and another spirit were living inside me; they were angry, extremely strong, and they absolutely hated the name Jesus.

DJ, now with clear confirmation that my problem was actually demonic possession, had to find help, but where was he to go? He wasn’t sure if his church leadership would believe him. DJ then met with a Christian girl, Audrey, who also worked in our office.9 She and DJ decided to bring me to her church. They hoped her pastor could pray for me and expel the evil spirits.10

DJ convinced me to attend a service. However, shortly after arriving at the church, I found myself running from the service after voices in my head told me to kill the pastor. I remember this pastor was preaching about Jesus being able to heal. The whole service felt strange and uncomfortable to me, but DJ convinced me to go back to this church two more times. Each time I returned, the strength and rage of the voices grew and my strange back pain returned. Finally, much too terrorized and confused to go on, I refused to go back. I told DJ talking about Jesus aggravated my problems, so the solution was obviously not to talk about him.

Living the testimony

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Christian Living

Rating – G

More details about the author

Connect with Deidre Havrelock on Twitter

Website www.deidrehavrelock.com

The Colors of Friendship by K. R. Raye @KRRaye

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Moving On

Lance flicked his wrist and checked his watch.  Yes, 5:00 p.m. on the dot.  With a smile he knocked on the girls’ dorm room door ready to tackle their English study session.  Even though they each pursued different majors: Melody, Communications; Imani, Chemical Engineering; and he studied Business; they all made a vow at orientation to align their core Freshmen classes and liberal arts electives whenever possible. 

He heard movement behind the door as one of the girls checked through the peephole and then Imani threw open the door.

Lance smiled and landed a peck on her cheek before he strolled inside. 

The phone rang and Imani shoved him towards it.  “Could you get that? It’s my mom,” she said heading towards the bathroom she shared with Melody and the two girls in the connecting room. 

Colors of Friendship

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Genre – New Adult, Contemporary

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with K R Raye on Facebook and Twitter

Website http://krraye.com/events.html

Friday, December 27, 2013

#AmReading - Out of Breath by Rebecca Donovan @beccadonovan

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Out of Breath by Rebecca Donovan

Amazon

"My insides still burned. I considered what I could do to push the torment back into the dark and return to my numb state. I couldn't do it on my own. I needed help. I was desperate."

Emma Thomas is hiding. From everything and everyone...including herself. But she can't hide forever. Her past will find her, and her secrets won't remain quiet—not if she wants to be forgiven. Emma learns that honesty can hurt worse than betrayal, and the truth may cost her the only love she's ever known.

The highly anticipated conclusion of The Breathing Series will have readers holding their breath until the last page.

Midshipman Henry Gallant in Space by H. Peter Alesso

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CHAPTER 5

The hours in a day were never enough. Each watch, report, and exam seemed like an organized disruption to Gallant’s desire for food and sleep. Each irreverent “Attention Midshipman Gallant” that blared over his head, called him away to some new obligation. A week after re-qualifying, Gallant joined the other midshipmen in an advanced flight training session conducted by Lieutenant Mather.

Mather was going to review the ship’s computer systems in detail in preparation for a mock combat session. While many of the midshipmen were already up to date on the ship’s AI systems, it was an opportunity for Gallant to catch-up.

Mather stood at the head of the compartment at a lectern facing several rows of chairs. He began describing the Repulse’s computer system, “It’s a marvel of Twenty-second Century technology. It provides three levels of operation for each and every important department on board including: navigation, engineering, weapons, environmental, and communications. The first level is the centralized Artificial Intelligence (AI) system. It performs what we call ‘strong-AI.’ Then, the second level includes system operations of individual departments with their own ‘weak-AI.’ They require more human interaction in order to coordinate systems. Finally, the last level is direct human manual control.”

“Officers, this is the strong-AI system nicknamed GridScape.” A three dimensional humanoid holograph form appeared before Mather. ““The avatar image is changeable,” he flipped through a few before settling on a base form. “I prefer this nondescript image for my lectures. GridScape is a wireless grid computer network consisting of over one million parallel central processors performing a billion-billion operations per second. It helps to control operations throughout the ship and its fighter support within a limited range. It coordinates overall control with our technically trained crew. Of course, it has redundant connectivity for reliability; both direct wiring, as well as wireless connections. GridScape is fully capable of independent automatic operation for most routine operations and many emergency responses that the ship may be required to perform.”

Sandy Barrington stood up and asked, “What happens when there’s battle damage, sir?”

“In the event the strong-AI system is damaged, the weak-AI computer systems take over local functional operation. Of course, every device can be switched to manual operation as required. Also, all crew members have their comm pins. They can connect to local resources that in turn can connect to the centralized AI,” said Mather.

midshipman

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Genre – Science Fiction

Rating – G

More details about the author and the book

Connect with H. Peter Alesso on Facebook

Website http://www.hpeteralesso.com/Default.aspx

Author Interview – Massimo Marino @Massim0Marin0

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Image of Massimo Marino

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Yes, but I will not divulge any details. Most of what is seen by the main character in the story comes from real experience. Some scenes are inspired by events happened to others in their own lives. The rest, started in my imagination and hopefully grows and ends in the readers’.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

If I had to choose I would like to have Stephen King as mentor. Not because I consider him as having a particularly brilliant prose and lyrics but because he knows how to trigger emotions into the readers, make their imagination work and filling the gaps of what he’s not saying. I think King has mastered the art of knowing what not to write in the story so that the reader is guided to become a part of it.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

In my writing? Or an entity in general? One of the Daimones took me under his wing years ago and then let me know it was time to reveal the story.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Writing didn’t come as something like ‘when I’m older I want to be a pilot’. You wouldn’t ask someone “what made you want to be a walker?” or a “food eater”. I write, I walk, I sleep, I watch a movie. It is a natural thing. Over a year ago I decided that I wanted to be read. That’s different. What made me want to be read? The discovery that I could share the pleasure I had while writing with others. I could gift pleasant reading moment to those venturing in the world I create. I wanted to share good time.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I’m afraid I don’t have a favorite author. My favorite is always the one I read at the moment. I grew up reading sci-fi, so all the big names mostly, from Isaac Asimov to Ray Bradbury, Ursula Le Guin, Frank Herbert, Larry Niven, Robert Heinlein, to name just a few and then other genres too, Tolkien, Stephen King, Tom Clancy and others. Italian authors, too, like Svevo, Calvino, Sciascia, and also Greek mythology authors, the ones I used to hate at school and that are instead fantastic writers and authors. We live with myths daily, even if we do not realize it.

http://www.orangeberrybooktours.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Once-Humans.jpg

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Science Fiction

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Massimo Marino on Facebook and Twitter

Website http://massimomarinoauthor.com

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Standing Stark: The Willingness to Engage by Carla Woody @CarlaWoody1

at 1:15 AM 0 comments

Chapter Two:
Beyond Words

I was leading a very mainstream life. While I had some sense of purpose, I additionally had an underlying feeling that something was seriously lacking. Even though there was a recognition of incompletion, I can’t say that it was a conscious realization, more of a sense of things not expressed, blocked or segregated.

The previous year I’d left the large government agency where I’d worked nearly my entire career up to that point. Being out from under bureaucratic constraints lent a certain kind of freedom that I craved, but a large part of my livelihood was still generated through that environment where I returned as a consultant. I felt the rigidity of the organization to the point that it triggered an aversion in me.

What I now know is that whenever we have an unreasonably strong response to something external, something is lurking internally of the same nature. At the time, I recognized what I can only describe as flatness, a lack of real engagement to anything in which I was involved. It’s unlikely that this fact was apparent to anyone but me. I was known for my mind and abilities for pulling people and projects together. To others, my guess is that I appeared actively engaged in my life. After all, I was busy doing what needed to be done, just like most with whom I came in contact.

But I knew something was omitted. Fourteen years earlier, I’d had a major signal identifying my disconnection. Because of a viral infection that attacked my thyroid, I became extremely ill. I was likely within a hair’s breadth of death before I’d had any inkling of the seriousness of the illness. It probably was only through my mother’s mother-bear-like, protective attention and demands to the physician I finally visited that I am even alive today.

A major crisis such as this one is often the impetus that will kick start a revelation—or revolution. After my recovery, I finally comprehended the level of absurdity and danger that the lack of awareness of my own condition brought. I was able to discern that I wasn’t practicing denial in the sense of not wanting to face something. But more so, I was disconnected from my body to the degree that I had been unable to recognize my lack of health. How could I? My life and level of consciousness was weighted in my head, cut off from my physicality and any real experience or attunement other than mental observation.

I heeded a cry from my Core Self, not even knowing of her existence, and sought out meditation. That was an unlikely avenue back then, only because where I was living at the time offered very few opportunities to explore anything even somewhat resembling consciousness studies. With the help of a couple of books, I put together a practice to which I remained faithful.

Over the years, I found myself becoming increasingly calmer and healthier. I knew that the change was due directly to my dedicated focus on meditation. Indeed, I became much more in tune with my body and its messages to me. I began to trust those messages implicitly, telling me when things were right, or not, in my world.

But I knew something was still missing. I remained an observer to a large degree, not a participant. While I’d read of spirituality and various states that told of that realm, I’d had no direct experience. I intellectually knew that Spirit was an aspect of my makeup, but couldn’t quite grasp even the concept of such a reality. And yet there was something underpinning my entire existence that called out for this wholeness. Some part of me deeply desired integration.

When strong intent is present, the means to fulfill it will automatically appear. But I didn’t know this truth at that point in my journey. I only knew that I felt somewhat fragmented, and one day noticed an ad in a professional journal for a retreat with a Peruvian shaman to be held in the Southern Utah desert. Ignoring the fact that my sole idea of camping then was in pensions in large European cities, or that I didn’t even know what the term “shaman” meant, I felt a strong draw in my body to call and register. So, I did.

Four months later, I flew cross-country to Salt Lake City where I was picked up with some other retreat goers and driven some hours south to a remote canyon in the San Rafael Swell. The beauty of the area was incredible and helped to overwhelm my uneasiness of being with people with whom I wasn’t acquainted, and an upcoming event about which I knew absolutely nothing.

When we finally rolled into the makeshift camp, I climbed out of the truck feeling a mixture of excitement and apprehension, the two being closely linked anyway. While in this state, I noticed a brown-skinned man making his way toward me. He had dark, wavy hair, a mustachioed, handsome face, and wore a woven poncho. His eyes sparkled. He smiled broadly and wrapped his arms around me in greeting. As he did so, any fear I felt dissipated immediately and was replaced by great warmth swelling from some place inside me, unlike any I’d ever felt. This was the man the sponsors had advertised as a shaman, the person who, in the years ahead, I would come to know not only as a mystic and teacher of the heart, but a cherished friend—Don Américo Yábar. My meeting him was to change the fabric of my entire life. And I had asked for it unknowingly.

Around the campfire that evening, Don Américo introduced the subject of intent through his translator. He encouraged each of us to set our intent that evening for the week that was to follow. I went off on my own to think about what he’d said, the whole idea of intent being a slippery one, at best, that I had a challenge grasping. However, I decided that I must have set my intent, at some level, before I even came. That was what pulled me to the retreat not even knowing what it entailed. I wanted to be joined. I wanted direct engagement. I wanted integration of my mind, body and spirit. I told no one.

The next morning held the usual gorgeous, blue desert sky. The group had hiked some distance from our camp and found a natural rock amphitheatre. We made ourselves comfortable in the shadows of the boulders, out from under the Utah sun which was already getting quite warm. Don Américo began to speak. I don’t remember now exactly what he said. I was being lulled by the lilting rhythms of his and his translator’s vocal patterns that took the meaning of the words to some unconscious level.

Suddenly, he stopped and gazed intensely at me. He motioned for me to come to the middle of the circle where he stood. Under normal circumstances, I would have done so reluctantly, if at all, not being comfortable “exposing” myself to others in that way. In that case, however, I felt completely at ease.

I approached him. He stood directly in front of me only about eighteen inches away, his liquid brown eyes locking onto mine. It was as though he was channeling pure love directly into my being. Both of his hands hovered right outside my body at the chest level.

Making a motion of pulling apart outside the heart center, he said, “The way to see is with the body’s eye.”

I felt what I could only describe as a sweet welling in that energy center that began to undulate, creating a rippling effect.

He moved one hand up to my forehead. Making a wiping motion in my subtle energy field, he proclaimed, “Not the mind’s eye!”

I felt something shut at that level, all the while the heart energy continued to reverberate. I was unaware of anything other than large waves of effervescent warmth that seemed to echo silently, returning from the stones surrounding us, further intensifying the awakening. People seated around us gasped and murmured. I have no idea how long I stood that way. I do not know how I found my feet to return to my seat. I do not recall what occurred the rest of the day.

I was opened. I was filled. I’d had my first direct experience—beyond words.

StandingStark

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Genre – Nonfiction, Spirituality

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with Carla Woody on Facebook & Twitter

 

 

Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Ian Truman – Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing – Why I chose to self-publish @iantruman

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Self Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing – Why I chose to self-publish

I guess I’m not one of those people who will scream loud and clear against the publishing industry. I believe that if a deal is to your advantage, you should take it. I won’t lie, I sent out a lot of requests to agents and publishing houses, everything came back negative. Friends suggested that I write short stories for magazines, get my name out there etc… Writing short stories is as valid as anything else, it’s just not my thing. So I focus on novels.

I didn’t choose self-publishing because I was in a crusade against the publishing industry. Some of the arguments against self-publishing are true: a lot of books are of poor quality and it mostly work for very specific niche genres. I just had a look at the best-sellers on Amazon and most of them were cheesy romance (which is true of most of the book industry anyways, but that’s another question). So that argument is true but does not invalidate the notion that self-publishing is a valid opportunity, especially if you’re an artist that doesn’t fall into a specific, easily marketable category.

I feel i am lucky enough to be born in a time where huge corporations (Amazon, Apple, Kobo in Canada) will give anyone-anywhere-anytime the opportunity to sell their books online with no upkeep. I was still in college when the whole “kindle” wave hit (It wasn’t so long ago) and I could not dream they would allow any writer to just put their novels out there. I actually made plans with a few colleagues to start a small press in order to open a business account and hope to be approved for distribution in those networks, turned out you didn’t even need the business account.

I used to do zines when I first went to community college (that was ten years ago). I was also very much in the punk/militant scene and we would photocopy small zines at the student union and just hand them out on the street. It was cool to do and we had a lot of fun with it but the reach was incredibly limited. There were no such things as wordpress or blogger. The reach people can have today with very little resources is incredible. You could argue that there’s too much of it out there, that your voice “drowns” in the sea of blogs, but trust me, handing out political leaflets on St-Denis Street in the middle of a warm spring evening, will make you feel pretty damn isolated as well.

So I’ve decided to self-publish and make a name for myself. I guess it’s a DIY punk thing, “If the images you want to see or the stories you want to tell aren’t out there, just do them.” I could cite dozens of artists who made a similar statement and all of them were connected somehow to punk rock music. I’m think here about the kids from that “Beautiful losers” movie, Jacod Bannon from Deathwish inc or if you’re older, Greg Gurewitz who started Epitaph records. Some of these artists had been told “no” thousands of times, and did their art forms the way they wanted to do it in the first place. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, these artists have become very successful either by just doing their art or by building their companies from the ground up into successful endeavours.

After a few rounds of queries, I realized nobody was going to push my novel for me. It’s understandable: why would they risk money on something that’s not “theirs.” I wouldn’t. I couldn’t afford to. In music, even new bands have to prove themselves by playing dozens of shows and recording demos and EP’s before they are recognized. I knew I was going to have to do the same.

So I made a cover I was happy with, I hired people I knew to edited it who suggested people they knew to work with me and we pretty much went through the same process for ATS as an independent feature than if it had been picked up by a publishing house. Hell, some of the people I worked with could have been hired as freelancers by any of the Big5 and that’s the truth.

Of course, I had to pay them for the work they were doing, but as I am a new and independent artist, they have agreed to do a certain amount of work that was decent and I managed to pay them a certain amount of money that was also decent and I hope I get to pay them better next time.

There are corners you just can’t cut out there, editing’s and marketing are two of those things. The rest, I do on my own because I may not have a lot of money, but I do have some spare time on my hands (instead of playing videogames of photoshopping shitty instagram photos, for example – alright that’s a lie, I still manage to play videogames.)

Things I had to do on my own for this particular project was the artistic direction. What kind of cover did I want that fit the novel? For this, I decided to design and print apparel that looked like bands each of the main characters would listen too. If you look closely, there’s Neurosis, Terror, Anti-Flag and The Weakerthans.

Then I found a good silk-screen company through friends of friends and had them print the shirt (I tried to silk-screen in my apartment, but the results were catastrophic). Once that was done, I organized the photoshoot, contacted the models, took the pictures myself, designed the standardized version of the novels and edited the files so that you could see it was a series. That was the artistic direction.

After that, there’s the uploading and upkeep of files online through all the sales network (amazon, smashwords, kobo, lulu, createspace etc…) and while it takes a certain amount of time to do so, paying anyone else to do it for you is just plain stupid. Some companies out there sell you their services but let me tell you, if you’re smart enough to set up a facebook account, then you’re capable of putting your own e-book online.

Before the launch, I had to get beta reader copies printed so that I could get some reader feedback to tweak the novel before the final files are ready, then I send e-mails to cultural journalists in Montreal, and hired a book tour company to help with all the literary blogs I had no freaking connection too.

If you’re going to self-publish, there are things you need to learn how to do, other things you need to respect your limitations and invest a little bit of money. (But be weary of scams) Just remember that even if you don’t have a lot of resources, be fair, pay what you honestly can and people will want to keep working with you in the future.

I don’t know what to expect out of all of this beyond the fact that I will have released my fourth book (second full length novel). I do expect to go to another bunch of small press events, do a bunch of blog tours, hope for reviews. If people pick up the novel, find that it’s a valid story, then if I ever get a call from an agent or a publishing house, I’ll be in a much better position to get a deal that will be to my advantage.

Thanks for reading,

Ian

A Teenage Suicide

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Genre - Literary, Coming of Age

Rating – PG13

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Connect with Ian Truman on Facebook

Website http://www.iantruman.com

Author Interveiw – Mark David Major & Layce Boswell @markdmajor

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Image of Mark David Major

Mark David Major

What scares you the most?

LAYCE: Never doing enough.

MARK: Being forgotten.

What makes you happiest?

LAYCE: Painting. Drawing. Writing. Talking. Learning.

MARK: Reading and writing, spending time with my dog Izzy.

What’s your greatest character strength?

MARK: I’m meticulous, honest, blunt to a fault, and insightful at understanding people in gross terms.

What’s your weakest character trait?

MARK: I’m meticulous, honest, blunt to a fault, and flawed at understanding people as individuals.

Why do you write?

MARK: Because I love to write and I hope someone will take something away from what I produce, whether that is a children’s book, poem, play, science fiction novel, or academic/professional article.

http://www.orangeberrybooktours.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Infinitesimal-Abundance-of-Color.jpg

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Juvenile Fiction/Bedtime and Dreams

Rating – G

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Mark David Major, Layce Boswell on Facebook and Twitter

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

#AmReading - Blood Harvest by Michael Louis Weinberger @Mike_Weinberger

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Blood Harvest by Michael Louis Weinberger

Amazon

Steve Jacobs isn’t a Vampire…not really…then again…
It doesn’t really matter what he is or was anymore because Steve abandoned the darkness of his former life over a decade ago when he left the only people he ever considered to be family and ran to California. There he joined the Los Angeles Police Department, graduated first in his class at the Academy and now works as a Detective in the Homicide division. Respected by his fellow officers and enjoying a special bond with his Captain, whom he considers to be his mentor, Steve feels that he has finally found a place where the world makes sense and he can leave his dark past behind. So when his Captain calls in the middle of the night and instructs him to come to a highly unusual crime scene, Steve does so without question.
Arriving on the scene Steve discovers that the entire staff and patronage of nearly one thousand people at a popular and hedonistic Los Angeles nightclub have suddenly and mysteriously collapsed where they stood and appear to be dead. Rumors of a biological or chemical terrorist attack are doubted by the large number of LAPD and emergency personnel on the scene, but there seems to be no other explanation for the unnerving occurrence.
Then, before Steve can even fully begin his investigation, the case goes from unusual to absolutely bizarre with the appearance of an exotically beautiful and seductive woman in the company of a large, incredibly powerful white haired man. Both individuals are people that Steve thought he had left behind over a decade ago, but he now finds his past and his present are interwoven together in a mystery that threatens to destroy everything that he holds dear. Steve quickly learns that what happened at the nightclub was only the tip of the iceberg in a much larger conspiracy of greed that, if he is unable to stop, will enslave an entire society of people, the existence of whom the rest of the world isn’t even aware, and are the people that Steve used to call his family.

Loving Conor: A Clairvoyant’s Memoir on Loving, Bonding and Healing by Tami Urbanek @tamiurbanek

at 1:00 AM 0 comments

Chapter Three: Surviving Life

I woke up to the phone ringing in the middle of the night.

“Tami, you need to pick me up,” I heard Nyle say.

“Where are you?”

“I’m at 7-11,” he said, slurring his words.

He told me the street and packing Bethany into the car, I drove through a light snowstorm to find him.

I located the correct 7-11 and I walked in looking around for Nyle.

“Hey, are you looking for that drunk?” The 7-11 clerk asked as he nodded at me.

“Was a guy here waiting for someone?” I asked.

“Yeah, he wanted booze, I told him to leave.”

“Do you know which way he went?” I asked.

“Have no idea.”

Leaving the store and getting back in my car, my hands clenched the steering wheel. I drove around looking for Nyle, scolding myself for coming out in the snow with Bethany in a car that didn’t have snow tires, to look for a drunken soon-to-be ex-husband.

I found Nyle wandering the sidewalk. Pulling over, I rolled down the passenger window.

“Nyle, what are you doing? Get in the car.”

He just looked at me, obviously drunk, confused, and swaying as he tried to keep his balance.

He crawled into the front passenger seat, laid his head back, and closed his eyes. I drove him back to my apartment. Once I parked the car, I realized I had no idea how to get him from there to inside my apartment. It was too cold to leave him in the car overnight, though I did consider it. I looked over at Nyle, and I wondered what the hell I was doing and how I was going to get him to wake up.

After continually pushing on his arm to wake him up, he finally roused awake enough to stumble into my apartment. He immediately staggered over to the couch and collapsed on it. I gently placed Bethany in her crib, gazing at her as she slept. In that moment, I was grateful I was divorcing Nyle and knowing my daughter was safe and asleep, I immediately fell asleep too.

I was still on maternity leave, so I was home the next morning when someone came to get Nyle for work.

“Hey, you need to wake him up,” Nyle’s friend said. He had figured out that Nyle was here when he didn’t show up at the barracks last night.

“I tried, I can’t get him up. I think he’s still drunk.”

“He’s going be in trouble if he doesn’t show up to formation.” Giving up, the guy left.

Walking over to Nyle and pushing on him hard, I said, “Nyle, wake up! GET UP! You have to get up for work!” I felt like I was yelling at a deaf person.

He finally opened his eyes and looked at me with a confused expression. He seemed to be trying to remember how he got to my apartment. He slowly sat up, keeping his hands on the couch for balance. He mumbled something, but it sounded as if his mouth was full of cotton. He stood up and with a shaky walk he made his way to the phone as I watched him call a friend to come get him.

Later that day, as I sat on the couch, in my apartment, I looked at my bills and felt my ongoing fear starting to rise. I began looking at my past choices. At eighteen, I had made the choice to marry and by nineteen, I had made a choice to be a mother. I had stayed with Nyle for fifteen months even though he was drinking and would be violent when he was drunk. I wasn’t proud that I was working at McDonald’s to meet basic financial needs, and I was fearful on a daily basis.

How was I going to fix this? How was I going to survive? Would things ever change? Would I ever be happy? Would I ever earn more than slightly above minimum wage? I didn’t know.

I walked around the apartment while Bethany was napping in her crib. Without Nyle there, the apartment was cleaner and I didn’t fear the weekends anymore. I still had to deal with the holes in the doors and walls at some point.

Out of desperation, the next day, I took my wedding ring to the pawnshop and I was grateful for the cash. It had a couple of diamonds, so they offered me a decent sum of money.

When my mom called to see how I was doing, I told her I had pawned my wedding ring.

“Why did you pawn your ring?”

“I needed the money,” I said, feeling depressed.

“Well, we’ll give you the money to go and buy it back. You don’t want to pawn your ring.” With my parents’ financial assistance, I bought back my ring before it was sold to someone else. But what about next month, when money would once again be tight?

That week, the manager at McDonald’s called to make sure I was still coming back to work when my maternity leave ended.

I told him I couldn’t wait to get back to work and I meant it. I was looking forward to having at least a few dollars in my wallet.

I spent the next couple of weeks getting on a schedule with Bethany and looking for home daycares. I found one near my apartment.

I returned to work, and I happily started earning money again. I was receiving child support, and life began to take on a more routine state, but I was experiencing a lot of anxieties. I still wanted a man to make me feel better about myself. I didn’t understand that I was not giving myself the credit I deserved in being able to love and take care of myself. As a result, I drew in the same types of people and relationships as before.

Not long after returning to work, I ran into Josh, a guy I had briefly dated when I was seventeen years old. We easily picked up where we left off and we quickly became exclusive in our dating.

Initially, Josh was attentive toward Bethany, and we had fun getting to know each other again, but it didn’t take long before we began to fight. We would get into yelling matches that were reminiscent of my relationship with Nyle, always fighting about something that wasn’t even important. We were young, immature and neither one of us knew how to communicate. Still, I was thankful he was in my life when one day out of the blue, I found Nyle knocking on my door.

“Tami, can we talk?” Nyle asked. Standing there waiting for me to say it was okay for him to come into the apartment. His hands were in his pockets and I noticed the tension he held in his shoulders.

“I guess…”

He walked into my apartment and sat down on the couch.

“Tami, I’m sorry. I screwed up.” He paused and then said, “I know I messed up with you….” Nyle’s voice trailed off and I waited for him to continue, not really knowing where this was heading.

He finally continued, “What do you think. Could we try again?”

I looked at him wondering what to say. Despite our fighting, I had strong feelings for Josh and now, here was Nyle apologizing and proposing we try again. As I paused, not sure what to say to him, I looked around my apartment. It was cleaner, and I immediately noticed the still unpatched holes in the wall and doors. I wasn’t sure I wanted to start again and have the same old result of drunken weekends.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea…” I said.

He left without much hesitation. That was my clue that he wasn’t invested in starting over, but maybe just looking for convenience. I knew he never liked living in the barracks on base. Also, I always wondered if his mother had talked him into trying to get back together or if it was all his idea. I knew she wanted me to take care of him.

I had begun to understand that it was never my job to take care of Nyle. That was his job. Although it took me a few years to fully realize that I needed keep my focus on caring for Bethany and myself. Even then I had begun to understand this and that I didn’t need to feel guilty for leaving Nyle.

LovingConor

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Genre - Memoir

Rating – PG-13

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

The King of Sunday Morning by J.B. McCauley @MccauleyJay

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The Mile End Mambo
1990
He held him in his arms and looked into the glassy eyes. Yellow flecks dotted the cornea. This boy was dead a long time before Roger had run him through. He knew the look. Too much top shelf and not enough down time.
The body from which life dramatically seeped away began to convulse. It would not be a Hollywood death. It would be a harsh demise for this gangster. Unexpected but unavoidable. He had stepped on the wrong toes and nobody touched Roger’s patch.
The big screen had always glamorised death but there was nothing glamorous about having a gaping 12-inch gash where your stomach had once been. Roger’s white shirt was splattered with blood and sputum. He noted to himself with an air of cold detachment that he would have to dispose of it later. The boy soldier’s back arched in agony. A gurgling noise rushed from his throat and then he was gone.
Roger put his arm underneath the boy’s knees and slowly lifted him from the red morass that had filled the doorway. He cradled him in his arms and walked slowly along the pavement. A young couple averted their gaze as he struggled with the limp body. They knew not to look. This was after all the witching hour in the East End. What you don’t see, you can’t tell. He turned the corner and moved into another shop doorway. It was a Dixon’s electrical shop exalting the latest stereos and TV’s.
Roger placed the body carefully on the ground. He took one final look at what 10 minutes ago had been the epitome of arrogance, bravery and youth, then left. He walked quickly to the edge of Walters Street, turned into Burden and darted through a now deserted car park and onto Rially. He saw a red telephone box just up from Dunston Road. He opened the door and tried to ignore the stench of piss and shit. He dialled the number and waited patiently for the connection.
“Rudi?”
His rich baritone West-Indian voice caressed the receiver.
“Yeah, he’s in Dixon’s shopfront on Walters Street.” He paused, digesting the question on the other end of the line.
“Yeah he’s dead. Dead as a door nail. See you at home.”
With that, he hung up the phone and disappeared into the night. His red Rasta beanie swaying as he loped through the shadows. The victim wouldn’t be missed. Roger had nothing to fear. The status quo had been maintained and an example had been made.
Most of all, Rudi would be pleased.
King of Sunday Morning
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Genre – Thriller, Action, Suspense, Gangster, Crime, Music
Rating – PG-18
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Saturday, December 21, 2013

#AmReading - Sempre Redemption by J.M. Darhower @JMDarhower

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Sempre Redemption by J.M. Darhower

Amazon

In this thrilling and sexy follow-up to Sempre, two young lovers struggle to keep their relationship intact after they become deeply enmeshed in the dangerous mafia-run crime ring they once tried to overthrow.
Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco have been through a lot. Haven was taken in by Carmine’s father, and with his family’s help, she escaped a gruesome fate. However, saving Haven from the dark intentions of a mafia family cost Carmine a steep price: he was forced to swear loyalty to them.
Now, still passionately in love, Carmine and Haven must face the fall-out of Carmine’s forced service, as Haven discovers terrifying secrets about the family that enslaved both her and her mother—and why she matters so much in this intricate web of lies.

#MustRead - Stark Warning by James Raven @JamesRaven9

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Stark Warning by James Raven

Amazon Kindle US

Genre – Thriller

Rating – PG13

4.5 (26 reviews)

“Every time you appear on screen someone will die.”
That’s the stark warning given to Jessica Lee, host of a confessional talk show on network television with millions of fans. But one deranged viewer is out to destroy her career. He demands that her programme be scrapped and tells her to stop appearing on TV. To prove he means business he claims his first victim – a young woman who is found dead with her throat cut. Jessica and her bosses face an agonizing dilemma: take the show off the air or risk more murders. They decide to defy the killer, for fear of setting a dangerous precedent. But there are dire consequences.
James Raven, author of Stark Warning, has worked for over thirty years in the television industry and drew on his experience when writing this novel. He’s also the author of Malicious, After the Execution, Rollover, Urban Myth, Red Blitz, Brutal Revenge and Arctic Blood.

 

Check out the Video trailer for MALICIOUS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btPmqY2NOV4

Author Interview – K. R. Raye @KRRaye

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Image of K. R. Raye

What makes you happiest?  The little things in life:  a stranger that smiles as they walk past, someone holding the door open, saying and hearing, “please” or “thank you.”

What’s your greatest character strength?  I’m persistent and patient, traits necessary for writers trying to make a living.

Why do you write?  I love writing as much as I love reading.  It’s just something I’ve always done since I was four years old.  Sometimes the easiest way to express yourself or work through the feelings you want to convey, is by writing them down first.

Have you always enjoyed writing?  Yes, I learned to read at three and write little poems by four (I wish I kept some of them now).  It’s a fun way to express feelings and emotions, try things you never considered, or create whole new worlds or alternative universes.

What motivates you to write?  I love writing as much as I love reading.  It’s just something I’ve always done.  Sometimes the easiest way to express yourself or work through the feelings you want to convey, is by writing them down first.

Colors of Friendship

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Genre – New Adult, Contemporary

Rating – R

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Website http://krraye.com/events.html

 

 

Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Becoming Human (The Exilon 5 Trilogy, Book 1) by Eliza Green @elizagreenbooks

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Eliza Green

Two Worlds. Two Species. One Terrifying Secret.

In 2163, a polluted and overcrowded Earth forces humans to search for a new home. But the exoplanet they target, Exilon 5, is occupied. Having already begun a massive relocation programme, Bill Taggart is sent to monitor the Indigenes, the race that lives there. He is a man on the edge. He believes the Indigenes killed his wife, but he doesn’t know why. His surveillance focuses on the Indigene Stephen, who has risked his life to surface during the daytime.

Stephen has every reason to despise the humans and their attempts to colonise his planet. To protect his species from further harm, he must go against his very nature and become human. But one woman holds a secret that threatens Bill’s and Stephen’s plans, an untruth that could rip apart the lives of those on both worlds.

BECOMING HUMAN, part one in the Exilon 5 trilogy, is a science fiction dystopian adventure that you won’t want to put down.

˃˃˃ Thought Provoking SciFi, Dystopian Tale – Compulsion Reads

I would happily recommend this book to fans of dystopia, science fiction and conspiracy lovers. You will be in for an exciting ride.

˃˃˃ Excellent Use of ForeShadowing – Masquerade Crew

This book demonstrates why I read Indie books and have enjoyed doing so immensely. Yes, some self-published books don’t deserve to see the light of day, but this isn’t one of those. Far from it. It was exciting and it had mystery. It sets up the next book while still giving you closure in this one–a difficult task for a book in a series.

˃˃˃”Becoming Human”… a promising first book… 4 1/2 Stars – Top 1000 Amazon Reviewer

A well written and deftly told Sci-Fi tale that got better and better.

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Genre – Science Fiction

Rating – PG13

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Website http://www.elizagreenbooks.com

 

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