Saturday, November 30, 2013

Author Interview–Derick Parsons @1_DerickParsons

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Image of Derick Parsons

Is there any books you really don’t enjoy?

I don’t like horror stories; they bore me. Everywhere you look there’s a vampire novel or tv program. I enjoyed the novel Dracula when I was young but I don’t find vampires –or werewolves- cool or sexy. I just think they’re silly.

What do you hope your obituary will day about you?

I don’t care, unless it’s written by my wife or my sons. Then I’d like to be described as loving and supportive, as a good father. But why would I care about the opinion of a stranger who knows nothing about the real me?

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?

I grew up in south Dublin and I live there now, but I’ve lived all over the world inbetween.

How did you develop your writing?

Being exposed to other cultures has made me intolerant of intolerance and bigotry, if nothing else.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

All writing starts as a daydream, a fantasy that grows instead of being forgotten about or dismissed. Then you write it down.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

Writing is easy; getting published is hard, marketing is hell. I’m not a salesman and I hate trying to be one.

What marketing works for you?

The KDP select free giveaway program got my first book, Hidden, on the paid bestsellers list so that obviously worked for me, but I imagine it’s different with everyone.

Do you find it hard to share your work?

It’s easier to share work with strangers than with family, as obviously the opinion of those closest to you is more important. But it’s something you grow used to.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Mystery, Thriller

Rating – PG-18

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Author Interview – Emily Kinney @theshadylady

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Image of Emily Kinney

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax? It depends on what mood I’m in. Sometimes I cook, or play video games, or listen to music. Mostly I love to read, and watch cooking shows. Food Network and Cooking Channel have been soothing me for several years now.

Do you have any tips on how writers can relax? Well, for starters everyone relaxes differently. We all have individual interests, and I would suggest just doing the one that is as far removed from writing as possible. Not to mention something that is calming. Like baking. I would recommend every person on the planet take up baking. I guarantee that would make for a jollier, roly-poly-er planet.

How often do you write? And when do you write? I’m strenuously trying to get a schedule down. Life’s not like it was in high school or directly after high school when all I had in my life was writing. No, now I have a full-time job, a book to promote, a boyfriend to love on, a car to clean (which I still must remember to do). Everything now has to be scheduled, which is actually quite helpful. But generally I enjoy writing in the morning. Any time of day is good for me as long as I can focus.

Do you have an organized process or tips for writing well? Do you have a writing schedule? I definitely have tips, as for a schedule, it certainly sounds like a good idea. I should try that. Anyway, I strongly recommend outlining. Yes, that thing everyone groans at when they hear it, but trust me, it makes writing a trillion times easier. Outline whatever you can. The whole book, the chapters, your short stories, blog posts. Give it a skeleton, and the rest of the body will materialize with considerably less strain. Also, charts are wonderful. Depending on the project, you might or might not need them, but for larger stories I like to employ character, setting, and plot charts. Beyond those two tips, just the typical read everything and constantly, clear your mind, and remember it’s about the story, not you.

Sometimes it’s so hard to keep at it – What keeps you going? It can get ludicrously hard. Agonizing. You stop and think, with frightening clarity, to yourself, ‘Why am I putting myself through this?’ Honestly, you never know just how difficult it’s going to be until you’re in it. And then it simply stuns you. It’s hard to admit to delusions of grandeur and naivety, but the truth is that I had no idea it would be this hard. It has pushed me to my limit over and over again. To tears, to heart ache, to misery so intense that it’s shocking it exists. But, I’ve never given up. I’ve always kept on going. Because I remind myself that all of it is simply what must be tolerated to do what I love. It’s not what’s real. When I stare out into the sky at dusk, past the silhouettes of leafless trees, at a full moon that is being passed over by wispy clouds, and feel the waves of imagination and possibilities roll within me, everything becomes clear. This is why I do it.

The Island of Lote

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Genre - Young Adult Fiction

Rating – PG

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Friday, November 29, 2013

Author Interview - Beca Lewis @becalewis

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Image of Beca Lewis

Where do you get your inspiration from?

From what I notice about the world and people around me.  When I am stuck I trust that an idea will pop into my head and get me started.  It always works, even though sometimes I just have to sit at my computer and start typing something before I get an real idea about what to write.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

They are all hard in their own way, and all rewarding in their own way.  The difference is, perhaps I could get help with publishing or marketing, whereas I realize I have to do the writing.

What marketing works for you?

Advertising.  This came as a surprise to me – and on second thought I realized that it was obvious that advertising works, otherwise why would big companies do it. Finding advertising that I can afford and that works is the trick!

Do you find it hard to share your work?

Yes.  At writing conferences, I envy those that feel comfortable reading aloud what they write.  Every time I push the button to publish an Ezine, I have to remind myself that what counts is someone might benefit from what I have written.

Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?

Yes, all of my family is supportive, and my friends are too. Perhaps it is because many of my current friends met me after I started writing, so there was no choice to make.  My family, because my dad also was a writer has always thought writing was an awesome thing for anyone to do.

Living In Grace

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Genre – Spirituality, Non-Fiction

Rating – G

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Bargain Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love by Sebastian Cole @sebastiancole3

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Beverly Hills Book Award winner, USA Best Book Award finalist, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award bronze winner, International Book Award finalist, ForeWord Firsts debut literary competition finalist.
The story opens with Noah Hartman, eighty years old, lying on his deathbed recounting his life of love and loss to Josh, a compassionate orderly at the hospital. As Noah’s loved ones arrive one by one, they listen in on his story, and we’re transported back in time to Noah’s younger years.
Though outwardly seeming to have it all, Noah, now thirty-five, is actually an empty, lost, and broken man running on automatic pilot. He has no true identity due to having allowed his powerful, wealthy parents to manipulate, control, and brainwash him from a young age. With the threat of disinheritance and withholding love and approval if he doesn’t comply with the plan they have for his life, Noah is lured in by the reward of great wealth and the illusion of running the family business empire some day.
Enter Robin, twenty-five years old, who — in direct contrast to Noah — is a vivacious, free spirit. Full of life and always living in the moment, Robin’s love saves Noah by inspiring him to stand up to his parents and live his own life at all costs, reclaiming his true self.
They get married, and while snorkeling in the Caribbean, the captain of the boat warns them not to disturb anything in the sea. Ignoring the exhortation, Noah dives down and snags a sand dollar from the ocean floor, whereupon it explodes in his hand. With the fragile sand dollar taking on new significance, Robin inexplicably leaves Noah shortly after returning from their honeymoon. Like a passing breeze, she disappears out of his life without a trace, seemingly forever.
Years pass, and Noah still can’t get Robin out of his mind and out of his heart. After all, the one he loved the most would forever be the one who got away. That’s when he finds out about her hidden secret, the underlying condition responsible for her leaving. Noah has no choice but to move on with his life without her, meeting Sarah at the premiere of SAND DOLLAR, the movie he wrote about his time with Robin.
Years later, it’s Noah and Sarah’s wedding day, and Robin discovers a clue that Noah had surreptitiously inserted into the movie, inspiring her to race to the wedding to try to stop it. With the wedding in shambles, the scene jumps back to present day, with both Robin and Sarah placed in Noah’s hospital room. But which one did he choose?
As Noah wraps up his story, he discovers a far greater truth about the past, present, and future. Things are definitely not as they appear as the pieces of a shattered love are put back together in the remarkable final chapter of Noah’s life.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG 13
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#AmReading - Chasing Memories by Tia Silverthorne Bach @Tia_Bach_Author

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Chasing Memories by Tia Silverthorne Bach


There isn’t another way; not now. The others are coming. I can’t let them have you…
Seventeen-year-old Reagan has a problem: She can’t remember what happened the night her brother was taken. Now, the dreams haunting her from the incident are becoming more intense by the day. All the while, the lines between what’s real and what’s a product of her paranormal-obsessed mind are becoming blurred.
Is she losing her mind or has she just stepped into a world she thought only existed in books?
Caught in a web of worried parents, competing boys, Wiccan relatives, protective amulets, and psychiatrist babble, Reagan must determine the truth before it’s too late.

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik

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Jez was already fit, an excellent shot, and he could fight – or at least that’s what he’d thought. But after more than six months of intensive training with Spetsnaz, he realized he’d only been scratching the surface.

He’d not long been back from an exercise in Northern Siberia and he was tired, dirty. They’d given him a tent, a knife, no food, and enough clothes to keep out the brutal weather conditions – barely. When they dropped him off in the middle of nowhere, the unit sergeant shouted, “Let’s see if you can find your way out of this,” and drove off laughing – all part of the process.

He’d lived off the land for three weeks before he got back to base, and the first thing on his list was to shower. He soaked up the tepid water until his skin wrinkled, and then he dressed. No sooner was that done than a soldier pushed the tent flap back. “The sergeant wants you,” he said, and left without another word.

“You want to see me, Sergeant?” Jez said, going into the unit commander’s tent.

“Yes, come in, Kornfeld. Colonel Petrichova has looked at feedback on your performance since you’ve been with us.”

“Yes, Sergeant,” Jez said.

His time had come and he’d be on his way again, he was sure. He only wished he could tell Anna, and wondered where she would be now. Perhaps she’d already set out plans for world domination. He smiled inwardly.

“I don’t know what world affairs you keep up with, Kornfeld, but the Greek communist party, the KooKooEh, is at civil war with the conservatives.”

“Yes, Sergeant, I know about as much of the situation as is made public.”

“Good, because that was about as much as I was going to tell you. Pack your kit, soldier, you’ll be flying out to join your new unit in about four hours.”



Birth of an Assassin

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

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Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gringa – A Love Story (Complete Series books 1-4) by Eve Rabi @EveRabi1

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What book should everybody read at least once?

You Will Pay for Leaving Me, by Eve Rabi. Seriously, it’s a great book and it’s free.

It’s sad in the beginning, but it’s about a woman’s strength and her ability to make things happen. I guarantee, you will laugh and you will remember this book .

Is there any books you really don’t enjoy?

I dislike, girl meets guy, they fall in love on first sight because they are ‘hot’. Not my cup of tea.

What do you hope your obituary will day about you?

She showed us the way.

She will never be forgotten.

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?

I grew up in South Africa but I have lived in Australia for the last 14 years.

Growing up “hood” has contributed immensely to my writing and has kept me compassionate and humble.


This is the complete Gringa Series, books 1-4 being offered at a discounted price.


I was twenty-one, a sassy college student who took crap from no one. While holidaying in Mexico, I was accosted by Diablo and shot, because the motherfucker mistook me for a spy.

I survived, only to encounter him again months later. How’s that for luck?
Furious and sick of all that I’d been through because of him, I slapped him, told him to go fuck himself and braced myself for the bullet. He could shoot me – I no longer cared.
But, to my surprise, the fucker became fascinated with me and blackmailed me into becoming his woman. He’d slay the entire village that sheltered me, if I rejected his proposal.
He was Kong, hairy, tattooed from fingertips to face, with scary ass piercings, blood-shot snake eyes, a ruthless killer and above all, he was my murderer – how could anyone expect me to say yes?
To save the village I had to.
He took me by force, terrorized me into submission and made me his. To make matters worse, I had to put up with his ruthless, backstabbing family who hated me and wanted to kill me.
I despised the bastard and I told him that. Spark flew. Fists too.
When the FBI came on the scene and secretly recruited me to help put Diablo behind bars, I was thrilled. I wanted them to throw his ass behind bars, then torment him for the rest of his life like he was doing to me. I was willing to do whatever it took to get him there.
But, the more I rejected Diablo, the more he wanted me.
At times he wanted to kill me because of my insolence, but other times he just wanted me to love him.
I was his Gringa and in an attempt to get my love, he began to change for me. Drastic changes that made me laugh at him at first, then made me curious and even intrigued me.
After all, I was an ignored child and as an adult, nobody gave a rat’s ass about me. Here was a man who actually wanted me and was willing to do whatever it took to get me – how the hell could I not be flattered?
As the days went by, I found myself drawn to him and I began seeing him differently. When I found out about his past, everything changed.
I now wanted to protect my murderer, my tormentor, The Devil of Mexico from the FBI and I was prepared to lie to the Feds, if it meant saving him from them.
I was even prepared to go to jail for him.
And I did.
My days in Mexico were filled with violence, hate, lust and sorrow.
It was also filled with laughter, love and passion and most importantly, it taught me that love conquers all.

Gringa – a modern–day, love story that will have you laughing, crying and wanting more!

WARNING: This book contains sexual violence, sex scenes, graphic language, drug references, violence and is suitable for mature readers


“A crude rendition of Beauty and the beast”

“IMO, It is one of the best romance books ive read in some time. I read it all in one sitting. I couldnt peel my eyes away even for a minute. The story had it all from action to romance.”

“Some scenes had me giggling out loud, but there was one scene that had me laughing out loud for a couple minutes.”

“This book is not for the faint of heart. It’s horrible, dirty, raw, passionate, hilarious, sweet, sad, addictive, and so much more.”

‘One thing that I like from this author now that I have read all her books is that she takes time to develop her characters as well as develop the romance. There is no zero to 60 in 3 seconds here. Her characters are flawed and multi-dimentional. They also experience growth throughout the book. There are plenty of twists and turns in ths book to keep you guessing.’

“A college student, an alpha male. Nuff said. The author has woven such intricate characters in this tale and I will be hard pressed to find another book which was so well rounded and beautifully written.”

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Genre – Fiction

Rating – PG 13

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Author Interview – Angie Robinson @angierobinson90

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Can we expect any more books from you in the future?
I expect to write and publish more books. I have so many ideas racing around my mind, that it’s a matter of allowing the ideas to filter into complete stories. I even have a plan for a non-fiction inspirational book.
Have you started another book yet?
I created an outline for a book using one of the characters from Shadows of Truth (John Coleman, the police officer) as the main character. Interestingly, so many readers said they loved his character and wanted to learn more about him. I may even write a mystery collection about John’s adventures as a private investigator in his retirement.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I hope to be living in a lakefront home in North Carolina writing even more than I am currently.
Do you have any advice for writers?
The best advice I received when I was constantly thinking about my novel, but not writing was ‘JUST WRITE’ and stop critiquing every word. I highly recommend that anyone who wants to write just write. Set aside the fear of failure and the visions of disappointment and keep writing. Of course at some point editorial assistance and feedback will help improve the writing, but the only way to get started is to start without reservations.
What other jobs have you had in your life?
I was a bank teller for many years, and then I stayed home to raise my children. Most of my ‘work’ has been in a volunteer capacity in various organizations.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
I guilty pleasure is watching TV. I also like to walk my dog, ride my bike, and simply sit on my patio feeling the fresh air and listening to the leaves rustling and the birds chirping.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
I hope people feel a greater sense of hope and courage to face their own personal challenges. I want to inspire readers to live fully and courageously.
What makes you angry?
Violence makes me angry. I wish there was a magical way to rid the world of violence. It’s important to demonstrate kindness and teach our children early that violence is not the way to achieve their goals.
Do you know your neighbors?
I know my neighbors enough to chat when we’re outside, but I don’t really socialize with them. I have a few really good friends that live outside my town.
Last book you purchased? Tell us about it.
I purchased Still Alice by Lisa Genova. She published Still Alice herself and was ultimately courted by agents and publishers because the book was a great success. It’s the story of a woman who suffers early onset Alzheimer’s with the subsequent challenges of an ever-changing life with new obstacles. It was well written and the characters were beautifully developed.
What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out?
One of the most important tools I used, and would highly recommend, is the book called Elements of Style by Strunk & White.  It took my manuscript from at-home-mom-wannabe-writer to author of a novel.
Shadows of Truth
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Genre - Women’s Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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Author Interview – John H.T. Francis @JohnHTFrancis

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Sometimes it’s so hard to keep at it -What keeps you going?
I do not think that there is one particular thing that keeps me going all the time: sometimes it is an inner determination, sometimes it is a new frustration with how things in the human world are, sometimes it is the genuine interest for my work I see in people close to me that encourages me… But the important thing is to keep on going and try to make a difference.
What color represents your personality the most?
I think it is deep blue.
If you could do any job in the world what would you do?
This might sound common but it would be an astronaut. I think it is a job that gives great perspectives. I have had this dream when I was a child; I was really fascinated with aerospace and astrophysics; I even majored in fluid dynamics when I grew older. But somewhere down the line, this dream became unfeasible.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world?
One particular small forest with a particular type of majestic trees… I will not say more ;) The smell, the silence, the shades of lights in between the leaves, the dignity, and the natural wisdom, all of it moves me.
How do you think people perceive writers?
Oh this is a tough one. I think a lot of people do not really care about writing or reading books, or even hold a general negative view of writers as not being men/women of action. I wish this were not the case but I think that this is the current reality of perceptions; I really hope this will change with the global economic development. As for the ones genuinely interested in words and ideas, I guess they view writers depending on the genre they like; some perceive them as dreamers, some as artists, some as intellectuals, some as wise, and some as political or business thought leaders.
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?
I think I lack a great deal of affinity in poetry; I think it is something that I did not really have the chance to study deeply and appreciate. So if I can go back and study something in particular all over again, it would be this.
How do you feel about self-publishing?
I think self-publishing is revolutionizing the publishing industry and there is still more to come. Of course, by lowering the barriers-to-entry, you may have many more books of lower quality out there, but there is also a greater chance for an outsider to make it. I think the most challenging part of self-publishing remains in how to get book presence in traditional brick-and-mortar bookshops.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book?
I am not currently travelling a lot for the promotion my book as I am still mostly relying on targeted online marketing. But I guess this might change with time and with a greater familiarity with the book.
When did you first know you could be a writer?
I was in my early twenties and I found myself often dwelling on the same subjects. I guess I felt the need to write about them, and I probably knew then that at some point in my life I might actually do.
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Genre - Philosophy, Non-Fiction
Rating – G
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Indiestructible: Inspiring Stories from the Publishing Jungle @MsBessieBell

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Tackling the Time Factor

by Jessica Bell

The biggest problem I had with deciding to go indie was the time factor.

With a stressful full-time job as a project manager for the Academic Research & Development department at Education First, it was difficult for me to see how I could possibly work, write, blog, edit, publish, market, run a literary journal, direct a writer’s retreat, and live my life all at once. It doesn’t help that I’m a bit of a stickler. I like to get everything done myself because I have a hard time waiting on others to do things I know I can get done more quickly and efficiently. I outsource if I really have to, but I do enjoy doing the work, such as designing covers, learning new skills and navigating social media. So when I say, DIY, I really mean DIY. Where on Earth, I wondered, would I find the time to be an editor for an educational publisher and literary magazine, an author, a typesetter, a designer, and a marketer? And what about walking the dog? Making dinner? Sleeping? (Forget the laundry. I have months of unfolded washed clothes in a heap on the couch that will soon need to go straight back into the machine from the dog rubbing herself all over them.)

The time factor is a logical fear. But once I finally made the decision to do this on my own, I realized that it wasn’t as daunting as it seemed. Do you know how much more you actually get done when you think something is impossible?

I don’t want to tell you how to schedule your day, but I’m going to give you a run down on how to approach this time management malarkey mentally. The key for me is not to focus on one thing all day. When you do this, you burn out. Your brain starts to lag from the monotony of the same information. You need to mix it up. If you mix it up, you get more done, because your mind is consistently stimulated with fresh information.

Let’s start with the actual writing of your books. Because this is what it all boils down to, yes? But first, I have to say, everyone is different. Everyone writes at different speeds, deals with stress in different ways, has different expectations of themselves. So you need to figure out what you want and works for you.

1. Stop thinking about what other people will think of your work. And write honestly. The first version of my debut novel was written for an audience. It was rejected again and again—for five years. And then, I found a small press who saw something in me and made an effort to get to know me. (Unfortunately that publisher liquidated only six months after its release, but that’s another story which you can read about here.) The publisher said my book was good, but that it felt like she was watching the characters through a window. She said: “Go deeper.” So I dug deeper and dragged the truth from my heart and soul. A truth I was afraid to admit was there. But it resulted in an honest book—a book I didn’t know I had in me. And one I hope women will be able to relate to. It’s glory-less, but real. And real steals hearts. What does this have to do with time management you ask? A lot. When you believe in your work, when you love your work, the words get written faster.

2. Focus on one paragraph at a time. I will never forget Anne Lamott’s advice from Bird by Bird (most accessible and nonsense-less book on writing I’ve ever read): write what you can see through a one-inch frame.

The reason I say this, is because knowing how much you have to revise can sometimes be daunting and overwhelming, and you might try to get through as much as possible and forget to focus your attention on the quality of your work. If you make each paragraph the best it can be before you move on, you won’t have to do any major rewrites (unless there’s a snag in your plot that you’ve overlooked and it’s related to a pertinent turning point). I’m talking revision here, not first draft.

3. Divide your writing time into short bursts. I find that if I give myself only one hour to write every morning before work, sometimes even shorter periods of time (especially when I accidentally sleep in), I’m forced to come up with things I wouldn’t normally think of.

The brain works in mysterious ways when it’s under pressure, and sometimes a little self-inflicted pressure can push you to great heights. Can you believe I wrote the first draft of The Book over a three-day long weekend? I did this because I experimented with the self-inflicted pressure idea. It worked. But be careful not to expect too much from yourself. There is nothing worse than becoming unmotivated due to not reaching personal goals. Which brings me to my fourth point ...

4. To start with, set your goals low. Set goals you know for a fact you can reach. If you set them too high, and continuously fail to meet them, you are going to feel really bad about yourself. This may result in neglecting your goals altogether. I know this from personal experience. If you later realize that you are meeting your goals with ease, gradually make them more challenging. But I strongly urge you to start small. It’s better for you, psychologically, to meet easy goals, than to struggle meeting difficult goals. Not achieving goals is a major hazard for self-esteem, motivation, and creativity.

So what about the rest?

Let’s see. These are the things I continuously have on the go that are not part of my day job or writing books, and I still find time to walk the dog and make dinner (sorry, the washing is still on the couch):

—Vine Leaves Literary Journal (reading submissions, sending rejection/acceptance letters, designing the magazine, promoting the magazine)

Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop (organizing the event and handling finances)

Typesetting, designing, and marketing my books (which includes, what seems, a never-ending thread of guest posts and interviews)

Blogging (including keeping up to speed with my weekly guest feature, The Artist Unleashed)

Maintaining my online presence (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.)

I do all this stuff on top of the day job. On top of my writing. Because I do it all in scheduled, short bursts. I get up early to make sure I have one hour to write and one hour to do something else from the list above. I pick and choose depending on priority. During my lunch break, I blog and spend about half an hour to an hour (depends on how long I can take from work) on social media. After work, I walk the dog, make dinner, maybe go to yoga. Once that’s done, I’ll spend another hour or so doing something else from the list above. Then I have a shower, relax in front of the TV, or do something else away from the computer before I go to bed. Then in bed, I’ll read a chapter or two of the book on my bedside table. Reading to me is relaxing and not a chore.

So what have I accomplished in this average day of mine?

Here’s an example:

My job (at least 7 hours worth)

500-1000 words on my WIP

I read 30 Vine Leaves submissions and sent a few responses, maybe even set up a classified ad on

I wrote/scheduled a blog post, commented on other blogs.

I connected with everyone I wanted to online. I may have worked on my latest book cover for a bit.

I made dinner.

I walked the dog.

I relaxed.

Look ... I’ll deal with those clothes tomorrow, okay?

I know people with kids who have just as much, and more, on their plate, and they’re still finding the time to self-publish. You can too.

My point is, it can all be done. And it doesn’t have to freak you out, or overwhelm you. Just pace yourself. And if you don’t have a full-time job like me, imagine how much more you can get done.

Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

Nothing is impossible if you truly want it.

Nothing is impossible. Full stop.


If Jessica Bell could choose only one creative mentor, she’d give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. This is not only because she currently resides in Athens, Greece, but because of her life as a thirty-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, whose literary inspiration often stems from songs she’s written.

In addition to her novels, poetry collections, (one of which was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2012), and her Writing in a Nutshell series, she has published a variety of works in online and print literary journals and anthologies, including Australia’s Cordite Review, and the anthologies 100 STORIES FOR QUEENSLAND and FROM STAGE DOOR SHADOWS, both released through Australia’s, eMergent Publishing.

Jessica is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and annually runs the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca. She makes a living as a writer/editor for English Language Teaching Publishers worldwide, such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, MacMillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

Keep an eye out for her forthcoming novel, BITTER LIKE ORANGE PEEL, slated for release, November 1, 2013.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre –  Non-fiction

Rating – G

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#AmReading - Of Windmills & War by Diane Moody @dianemoody

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Of Windmills & War by Diane Moody


The rumblings of war in distant countries mattered little to Danny McClain. Growing up in Chicago, his world revolved around after-school jobs, a rescued beagle, his pen pal in Holland, and the Cubs’ chance to go to the World Series. Then, in December of 1941, during his first year at Northwestern University, news of the attack on Pearl Harbor hit much too close to home. After a series of unexpected events over the next couple of years, Danny found himself in the co-pilot seat of a B-17, stationed with the 390th Bomb Group in Framlingham, England.
Anya Versteeg had been just a teenager when Hitler’s troops invaded her homeland of Holland in May of 1940. Forced to grow up much too fast, the feisty preacher’s daughter eagerly immersed herself in the Dutch Resistance and its many efforts to thwart the enemy. Certain that God had turned His back on Holland, she closed her heart and did whatever she had to do to save her country before it was too late.
By 1945, the people of Occupied Holland were starving. Cut off from the outside world in retaliation for their failed attempt to oust the Germans invaders, the Dutch had no food, no electricity, no fuel, and little hope of surviving. Thousands were dying every day. Then, just days before the war ended, help came to The Netherlands like manna from heaven.
Operation Chowhound held special meaning for Lieutenant Danny McClain. Somewhere below in the battered land of tulips and windmills was the girl who needed rescuing—after rescuing so many others. And he would move heaven and earth to find her.

Author Interview - Di Worrall @DiWorrall

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Image of Di Worrall

How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?

Pen and paper at first to gather ideas and model ideas.

Then I organise the ideas on a laptop, reviewing iterations on my ipad

My inspirational spaces move between several locations in my home depending on what I’m writing about and my mood, I also have a favourite café that I love to work in. I have a great capacity to convert all the surrounding café sounds into white noise and get into the flow for hours. There’s something to be said about being in flow. I was once interrupted by some people in this café and asked whether I was JK Rowlings.

Where do you get support from? Do you have friends in the industry?

I outsource all around the world.

How much sleep do you need to be your best?

8.5 -9 hours

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?

My Managing Editor and Chief Adviser, Patsi Krakoff

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?

For me, a successful writing career makes a connection with someone and inspires action by making life easier or solving a business problem.  The writing style is also very important. I aim to reach people through a very accessible, easy-to-read style as opposed to an academic transcript

What it is about:

My current best selling title is Accountability Leadership: How Great Leaders Build a High Performance Culture of Accountability & Responsibility.

Accountability Leadership is for those leaders who are tired of living in hope that employees will follow through on expectations.

Great business leaders understand that acceptance of greater accountability and responsibility leads individuals, teams, and entire organisations back on the path to success. But with the evolving nature of 21st century business, economics, and the growing sector of misunderstood knowledge workers, the practical steps that go into creating an accountability culture have become more muddled than ever.

Many organisations have seen temporary improvements, implementing traditional systems of accountability in an attempt to drive high performance in the workplace—only to quickly revert back to their old ways, or worse. With Accountability Leadership, you will discover how to use the new science of accountability to create a high performance culture of accountability and responsibility.

Why did I write it?

Extract from my author bio at

Over the course of her career, Di has developed a personal and professional mantra about what she sees as the number-one issue that makes or breaks leadership performance today: Accountability for outcomes, performance, and results.

That mantra goes like this:

“The degree to which you have developed the capacity to hold your organisation and its people accountable for the delivery of results is directly proportional to your capacity to either build–or haemorrhage–value from your organisation.”

…An Early Accountability Lesson Becomes a Catalyst for Change

In her first senior executive post, Di managed to turn a difficult accountability lesson into an opportunity for change when it became clear that the failure of her executive team to hold one another accountable was setting their entire organisation up to fail on its delivery of a major business initiative.

Having no intention of letting the project go bad, Di led her fellow executives through specific actions to improve personal accountability throughout the leadership team. As a result, she managed to turn a pending loss into a remarkable profit.

“Accountability was something we couldn’t delegate,” she says, recalling the initiative. “Much to our surprise, employees in our respective divisions started to intuitively follow suit, modelling our new behaviours.”

Inspired by that early experience, Di developed an enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge relating to the “new rules” of high accountability (you can read more about these in her new book, Accountability Leadership), and has devoted her findings and expertise to enterprise transformation and change efforts ever since.

Di Worrall

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Genre - Business, Leadership, Workplace Behaviour, Human Resources, Executive Coaching

Rating – PG

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Author Interview – John Phythyon @JohnRPhythyonJr

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Q: What does love mean to you?

A: Love is the most powerful and complex of human emotions. It’s transformative and magical. Both my wife and I are happy in ways we’ve never been, because we’ve found the love we’ve been looking for. It’s so difficult to describe, but it feels like we’ve given each other new life.

I think that’s one of the reasons I’m interested in fairy tales. Many of them feature the magical power of love, and I’m experiencing that for the first time in my life. In my short story, “Sleeping Beauty: A Modern Fairy Tale”, it’s a flawed, corrupt version of love that causes the title character to fall under the sleeping curse, and it’s only the pure form that wakes her. In the Wolf Dasher series, my protagonist transforms into a different, better person, because, for the first time in his life, he knows love.

Love is amazing. It has improved my life, and that theme is working its way through my fiction, even in the books that end badly for the main characters.

Q: What social issues matter to you most?

A: I’m a pretty solid proponent of gay marriage. I believe it should be legal. The Declaration of Independence enshrines the concept of all people being created with equal rights and that among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Forbidding one group from marrying while allowing another to is not a system of equal rights. Moreover, given that married couples have different tax and property rights, it’s discriminatory to prevent one group of people from benefitting from those.

Beyond that, I’m interested in justice and equality for all. If everyone were able to live with dignity and a sense of being treated fairly, I think we’d be a lot better off. I love being an American. I believe our country was founded on the highest principles. But we struggle on a day-to-day basis to live up to our own ideals.

Q: Do you find time to read?

A: It’s very hard. I am so busy that I struggle to take time to just sit down and enjoy a book. I read my local paper every morning, so I’ll be up on current events locally, and the same technology that enables me to publish independently also makes it possible for me to read. I love my Kindle and read before bed whenever I can. I’ve got the Kindle app on my phone now, and that allows me to sneak in some reading when I’m in line at the grocery store or waiting for my daughter when I’m picking her up at school.

Q: Whom do you admire?

A: My wife is at the top of my list. She had an awful divorce and had to raise two children by herself afterwards. When I met them, everyone had their problems, but those kids were pretty amazing. They were terrific young people, who were fairly resilient. I thought it was incredible my wife was able to do so well with them under the circumstances. Her will and strength and love are just unmatched. My wife is the most amazing person I know. I feel truly fortunate to not just know her but also to be her husband.

Q: What is your favorite quote and by whom?

A: “In the midst of winter, I found there was within me and indomitable summer.” – Albert Camus. That speaks volumes to me. I’ve seen it be true so many times. I remind myself of it when I’m feeling down.

Q: What genre are you most comfortable writing and why?

A: I’m primarily a fantasy author. I have always been fascinated with magic and monsters. It’s very hard for me to write a story without one or both.

I like it, because fantasy affords me a distance to talk about the things I want to in my themes. By putting my stories in magical lands or tapping a monster as my villain, I can explore ideas more cleanly.

Q: Who or what influenced your writing once you began?

A: My family inspires me to keep writing. The faith and love I get makes it all possible.

The stories themselves come partially from my mind and partially from current events. I pay a lot of attention to the news, and American culture and world events inspire me to craft the plots I do.

Q: What do you consider the most challenging part of writing a novel?

A: Finishing. Writing a book-length piece of fiction is a tremendously hard thing to do. It takes training, dedication, and perseverance. There are so many distractions every day and so many reasons not to sit down and write. My novels run 60,000 to 90,000 words, and I can write 1500 to 3000 words a day four to five days a week. It takes me two to three months to get from the opening line to “The End,” and the hardest part is just staying with it – making myself write when I’m tired, soldiering on when I don’t think it’s going well, fighting my way out of plot corners. One of the reasons I outline is so I don’t quit. If I’ve got a guide to work from, I can’t give in to writer’s block or another excuse.

Q: Did writing Beauty & the Beast: A Modern Fairy Tale teach you anything?

A: Well, I recognized that sometimes you have to adapt your plans. “Beauty” was supposed to be a short story like “Sleeping Beauty: A Modern Fairy Tale” is. My plan was to release it this past summer, and then next year I would publish a novella entitled, The Secret Thief and collect it and the two short stories into a single volume. Unfortunately, “Beauty & the Beast” rapidly developed into a novella itself. Not only did that blow my publishing schedule, since it took longer to write, but it changed how I planned to put all the material out. I was never planning on having it available in print, but I do now, because it is long enough for it to be worth it.

I also discovered it was fun to write about my hometown. I set Beauty & the Beast: A Modern Fairy Tale at Lawrence High School. It was neat writing about places I knew and interviewing high school students to get the details of their school correct. I definitely will do that again.

Q: Have you developed a specific writing style?

A: I think I have a “voice.” If you read my books, you can see the “Phythyonic style” at play.

Q: Have you ever had writer’s block? What did you do about it?

A: I do get blocked from time to time. I think every writer does. What I’ve found works best is writing. It sounds counterintuitive, but, if I don’t know what to write, the best solution is usually to sit down and start writing. The process of writing unlocks my brain, and the ideas start to flow. Sometimes, I’ll be writing about something else entirely. I could be writing an article for the newspaper, when the solution to the plot problem in my latest novel comes to me. I think the more you write the less blocked you tend to get. Everybody goes cold periodically, but you stay warm the more you keep doing the work.

Q: When you wish to end your career, stop writing, and look back on your life, what thoughts would you like to have?

A: That I wrote good books. That the language was good, the stories were good, and they had something important to say.

I also hope to be satisfied with what I’ve done. I want to look back on my life and feel like I didn’t waste it, like I made sure to spend my time wisely.

And I hope my loved ones are proud of me – not because I was a writer, but because I wrote things they appreciate. I want them to look at me and my work and be proud to have known me.


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Genre - Fairy Tales, Contemproary Fantasy

Rating – PG-13

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Author Interview – Adrian Powell @AuthorAdrian

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Image of Adrian Powell

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?

Success in writing to me means being acknowledged for your work. I think every author who truly writes from their heart wants someone to tell them how much their book meant to them or how it influenced their life. So success to me is being able to reach the audience you set out to engage.

If you could do any job in the world what would you do?

I would LOVE to travel the world listening to tales and myths from various cultures and complying them together to create great books.

Why do you write?

I write to channel my creativity. I write to share the stories in my mind. I write to influence lives.

How important are friends in your life?

My friendships are one of the most important aspects of my life. Most of my friends I have known for an average of 9 years so the memories and

What is your favorite quality about yourself?

I love how observant I am. This is my favorite quality about myself because it allows me to analyze my environments. It also helps to create stories.

What is your least favorite quality about yourself?

The least favorite quality about myself is that I procrastinate a lot. Although I am working on improving it I have been able to learn how to work under pressure.

How do you think people perceive writers?

I think the oversaturation of the market has led people to think that writers are less important than previous years. The open market in publishing was both a blessing and a curse. Now a days anyone can say they are a writer and produce less than subpar work when years ago being a writer was an elite profession.

What would you love to produce in your life?

I would love to produce a legacy that transcends time, race, and gender. I would love to produce a book that people will love and respect decades in the future.

What is your favorite color?


What is your favorite food?

My favorite type of food is seafood. Living in Houston I have the pleasure of tasting some great seafood. I’m visiting New Orleans soon and I can’t wait because I’m told has the best seafood dishes.

What social issues interest you the most?

Poverty. I think that a lot of people can overcome their economic status if they are educated on how the system work as well as learn how to decipher between a need and a want. I think cooperative economics is a great way for us to recover from this depression.

How often do you write? And when do you write?

I write everyday normally in the daytime. I am trying to get on a more structured writing routine so that I can focus on producing quality books in a reasonable amount of time.

How often do you write? And when do you write?

What keeps me going is the end result. As I am writing or if I get frustrated I always think of the light at the end of the tunnel. Nothing worth it comes easy.

Up, Up, in the Air

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Genre - Children’s Book, YA

Rating – G

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Breathing for Two by Wolf Pascoe @WolfPascoe

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IN the freshman year of my anesthesia residency, I was given a lesson in breathing by a patient whom I’ll call Otto. Anesthesia residencies come replete with breathing lessons, but Otto was also teaching humility that day, a subject absent from the formal anesthesia curriculum.
A doctor gets humility not from curricula but from his patients. I acquired a truckload of humility the day I met Otto, and the truck has only gotten larger since.
Otto was undergoing a cystoscopy, a look inside the bladder performed by passing a thin viewing scope through the urethra. There is no incision in such a procedure.
Generally, you don’t need anything fancy to support a patient’s breathing while giving anesthesia during a cystoscopy. As the patient passes from wakefulness into unconsciousness you can let him continue to breathe for himself.
In Otto’s case, I strapped a rubber anesthesia mask over his mouth and nose to make an airtight seal against his skin, and delivered through the mask an appropriate combination of oxygen and anesthetic gas. In principle, what I did was essentially what the Boston dentist, William Thomas Green Morton, had done during the first public demonstration of ether anesthesia in 1846.
The modern anesthesia face mask is a hollow cone of rubber or plastic. It’s like the oxygen mask that drops down from above a passenger’s head on an airplane, though it’s more substantially built. The base is malleable and cushioned by a ring of air, a sort of inner tube. The mask is shaped to fit around the nose and mouth; with a bit of pressure, it seals against the skin. The top of the mask connects to a source of anesthetic vapor and oxygen.
Readers of a certain age may remember the TV series, Marcus Welby, M.D., which began each week with Dr. Welby lowering a black anesthesia mask down over the camera lens. In those days, apparently, the family doctor did everything.
The anesthesia machine—the “cascade of glass columns, porcelain knobs and metal conduits” I described previously—is the gas delivery system. The machine connects to an oxygen tank and directs the flow of oxygen from the tank through a vaporizer where the oxygen mixes with anesthesia gas. The mixture passes out of the machine through plastic tubing (“anesthesia hose”) that connects to the face mask.
The patient breathes the mixture.
Gas leaving the anesthesia machine actually flows through the anesthesia tubing in a circle—in fact it’s called the circle system. One limb of the circle travels from the machine to the anesthesia mask, where the patient inhales it. The other limb, carrying exhaled gas, travels from the mask back to the machine, where excess carbon dioxide from the patient is filtered out. The filtered gas is mixed with fresh gas and travels back to the patient.
The same gases, minus the carbon dioxide, keep going round and round. The system is airtight, except for a pop-off valve that relieves excess pressure.
Otto was a large man with a thickly muscled neck, but by extending his head I could keep his airway clear, allowing him to continue breathing while the urologist worked. Instead of using an anesthesia mask to deliver my mix of gases, I could have assured Otto’s airway by using an endotracheal tube. This is a long breathing tube (about a centimeter in diameter) inserted through the mouth all the way into the trachea.
But getting an endotracheal tube in isn’t always easy, and it’s usually not necessary during a cystoscopy. Most often an anesthesia mask will do.
One side effect of anesthesia is the loss of normal muscle tone. This happened to Otto. A few minutes into the case, his flaccid tongue fell back in his throat. His diaphragm continued to contract, but air couldn’t get through to the lungs—his airway was obstructed. Otto was, of course, completely unconscious at this point.
Everyone loses some muscle tone during sleep—this is the cause of snoring, and of the more serious condition of sleep apnea. But the loss of tone is even greater under anesthesia, and the anesthetized patient cannot rouse herself to find a better breathing position.
I managed the problem by putting a short plastic tube called an airway into Otto’s mouth. The airway depressed the tongue and cleared a passage for air. It wasn’t as good as an endotracheal tube, which would have extended all the way into Otto’s trachea, but it seemed to do the trick.
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Genre – Non-fiction / Memoir
Rating – G
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Monday, November 25, 2013

Author Interview – Michael J. Webb @mjwebbbooks

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Are you reading any interesting books at the moment?

Here’s what is sitting on my desk next to my computer:

The Source Field Investigations by David Wilcock, Beneath the Pyramids by Andrew Collins, The Genius of the Few by Christian O’Brien; Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers by Bryan Mark Rigg; Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell; Writing 21st Century Fiction by my agent Don Maass; Genes, Giants, Monsters, and Men by Joseph Farrell; DMT: The Spirit Molecule by Rick Strassman, M.D.; Forbidden Gates by Tom Horn; and The Thrones of our Souls by Paul Keith Davis.

When you wish to end your career, stop writing, and look back on your life, what thoughts would you like to have?

That I made a difference.

Here’s what I would like on my tombstone.  I’ve paraphrased it from the New Testament Book of Acts:  He was an ignorant and unlearned man, but he has been with Jesus.

Why do you write?

First, and foremost, I’m a storyteller. I love to entertain readers with pulse-pounding action, flawed–but intriguing–characters, and fascinating plots that have my readers asking, “How did he come up with that?” My tagline is “stories that ignite imaginations and stir souls . . .”  I like to get people thinking about the world they live in from a very different perspective than they are used to, especially as it relates to the realm of the spirit, angels and demons, and the intersection of the biblical, scientific, and historical disciplines.

There is an ancient battle being fought around us on an hourly basis in the realm of the spirit. It regularly manifests in the natural, or terrestrial realm, yet few people really understand the true nature of the battle. Hence, many perish for lack of knowledge. Like Toto in the Wizard of Oz, I love pulling back the curtain and exposing “the wizard” for who he is–a short, balding, fat man from Kansas!

While all of my thrillers do have the purpose of provoking my readers to examine their belief system, at their core I hope they are simply good stories; the kind that keep you turning pages long after the sun goes down and make you wish there was more to read once you’ve finished. My heart is to figuratively serve up a ten course meal with each new story I tell, and leave my readers hungry for their next serving.

What writing are you most proud of?

My most recent novel, Infernal Gates.  I’ve been writing since 1984 and it just seems like I finally hit my stride with this thriller.  I’m very excited about the sequel that I’m just finishing up as well.  I’ve fallen in love with the diversity and uniqueness of my characters and I’m trying to decide if there is a credible way to continue on with them once the second book is complete.

What books did you love growing up?

The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew when I was young, then anything Science Fiction from Junior High through College, especially Robert Heinlein, Phillip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was a favorite), Isaac Asimov, Phillip Jose Farmer, Arthur C. Clarke (all the oldies, but goodies).  I read everything James Michener wrote, but my favorite was The Source. I also read a lot of books on biology, chemistry, astronomy, physics, metaphysics, and philosophy. Guess you can tell I was, and still am, an eclectic reader.

Infernal Gates

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

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

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

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

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

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Genre – Christian Thriller, Fantasy, Adventure

Rating – PG-13

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Author Interview – Pepper Winters @PepperWinters

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Do you know your neighbors?
Yes. They’re the best neighbors ever. They bring us cake and muffins on a fairly regular basis. LOL
How important are friends in your life?
Very important. Without my writerly friends I might never have got to this stage. I owe them everything.
How many friends does a person need?
Endless, but close friends is up to you. I’m very lucky to have a great support network and love each and every one
What does love mean to you?
Unconditional. I love my husband with all my heart. He’s my ultimate best friend, confidant, support, and life partner. Even when we don’t see eye to eye I love him as we made a promise to spend our lives together. I don’t believe in divorce and I”ve been very very lucky to find my soulmate.
When you get free time on the internet or you go to the library – what do you want to read about?
Successful stories. Authors who are doing well. Things that inspire me. J
Tears of Tess
Tess Snow has everything she ever wanted: one more semester before a career in property development, a loving boyfriend, and a future dazzling bright with possibility.
For their two year anniversary, Brax surprises Tess with a romantic trip to Mexico. Sandy beaches, delicious cocktails, and soul-connecting sex set the mood for a wonderful holiday. With a full heart, and looking forward to a passion filled week, Tess is on top of the world.
But lusty paradise is shattered.
Kidnapped. Drugged. Stolen. Tess is forced into a world full of darkness and terror.
Captive and alone with no savior, no lover, no faith, no future, Tess evolves from terrified girl to fierce fighter. But no matter her strength, it can’t save her from the horror of being sold.
Can Brax find Tess before she’s broken and ruined, or will Tess’s new owner change her life forever?
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Dark New Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG-18
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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.

The Howling Heart by April Bostic

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* * * *

Three days after my father’s funeral, I landed at the airport in Denver. I rented a Jeep Wrangler, because I needed a four-wheel-drive vehicle to get up the mountain. The July weather was mild, so I wore khaki shorts, a plain white tee, and beige Vans sneakers.

One of the odd things about finding our cabin was you had to find the nearby town first. I remembered we got lost during our vacation, which caused an argument between my parents. Finding the road that led to the town was tricky, because there was only one accessible by vehicle, and there was no road sign. My father knew how to get there, because the person who sold him the cabin gave him a landmark. Luckily, he passed that information onto me during one of our conversations. Once you found the road, the town was so small that if you blinked, you’d drive right by it. When my mother said it was remote, she wasn’t being facetious.

I drove on the interstate for over an hour before I realized I missed my turn. I had to find a tree shaped like a wishbone—it was struck by lightning — but all the trees looked alike to me. It took another half-hour for me to turn around and make another attempt.

I found my landmark, but a tangle of fallen branches blocked the entrance. My hands gripped the steering wheel. I knew I was in for a bumpy ride. I floored the accelerator, and the Jeep broke through the roadblock. The road was narrow, and the terrain was rough. Whoever constructed it didn’t want people to travel on it. I screamed when tree branches appeared out of nowhere and banged against the windshield. The forest surrounded me on both sides, and I wondered if I’d ever reach the town.


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Genre – Paranormal Romance

Rating – Adult

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Author Interview – Johannah Reardon @JoHannahReardon

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Image of JoHannah Reardon
If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?

Intriguing question! I would invite classic authors such as Charles Dickens, Jane Austin, Mark Twain, C. S. Lewis and Edgar Allen Poe. Wouldn’t that be an interesting mix of people! The conversational interplay would be fascinating.

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?

With my husband. Just being around him makes me relax. We also hike and ride bikes together, which is very calming and a nice change from all the sedentary work of writing.

What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?

There is a lot of angst in today’s world, so I hope that my books give people a rest and reprieve from the tensions of daily life—an escape or mini-vacation so that when they have to get back at it, they will be refreshed.

What movie do you love to watch?

I love BBC mini-series and period pieces. They are the only movies I can watch over and over again. It’s like watching fine art. But I also have a weakness for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I’ve watched it more times than I can count.

How do you feel about social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter? Are they a good thing?

They are a very good thing for me because they connect me with my readers. I am able to encourage and respond to them in a way I never could without them.

How much of the book is realistic?

It’s a fantasy, so a great deal is unrealistic. But in the midst of that, the characters act in a realistic way. None of them have magic, although some characters have more than average ability. But they act as anyone in our world would act under similar circumstances.

The Crumbling Brick
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Genre – Fairy tale, Fantasy
Rating – G
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Friday, November 22, 2013

Joyfully Yours by Amy Lamont @Amy_Lamont

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Joyfully Yours

A fun and heartwarming holiday romance.

When fate keeps throwing a handsome good Samaritan in her path, musician Faith Leary needs a little holiday magic to help her see he’s perfect for her.

A musician and a priest walk into a grocery store—singer Faith Leary thinks this is a better opening for an off-color joke than a recipe for romance, until she finds herself ogling Father Michael in the checkout line the day before Thanksgiving.

When Father Michael first steps in to bail Faith out of her financial jam, Faith thinks she’s being picked up at the grocery store. Right up until she catches sight of the black shirt and tab collar. Since not much in her life is going her way lately, it doesn’t come as much of a shock when Michael turns up at her mother’s Thanksgiving dinner. What does come as a surprise is the attraction that springs up between them. If only he weren't a priest, he would be perfect for her.

Faith’s sister finds Father Michael attractive, too, and she’s making no bones about it. Scenes from the Thorn Birds flitting through her head, it comes as a relief to Faith to find out Michael is not exactly what he seems. It’s good news until she realizes her sister is a far better match for him than her screw-up self could ever be. But if that’s true, why does Michael insist on seeing only the good in Faith, no matter how often she falls short of her too perfect sister?

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Genre - Contemporary Holiday Romance

Rating – PG

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Onio by Linell Jeppsen @nelj8

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Chapter 4

For four days, Mel drifted in and out of consciousness. When she was able to swim up from the tendrils of death that held her, she dreamed vivid and horrifying dreams.

Once, she sat up with a start and saw a scene from Dante’s Inferno. She saw a huge hairy man being flogged by a branchless tree trunk. The tree was very large and the branches on it had been cut crudely so that long splinters sprouted from its surface like jagged teeth. The man was held in place by long ropes of vine that were hung from stalactites so that his feet barely touched the floor. He was screaming while others of his kind either cheered in triumph or wept with sympathy.

Another time Mel awoke in a hospital room with nurses all around her. She felt like she was in familiar territory, but wondered how she had changed places with her mother. Her mom held her wrist in one large hand and peered into her eyes with concern.

“Mama…,” she croaked, and drew back in alarm when her mother’s face disappeared. Now she was surrounded by monsters. Their giant hairy faces leered down at her. Their mouths sang an eerie chorus Mel couldn’t hear, but understood. The hospital room dissolved into a small cave and her crisp, white sheets were replaced by a scruffy fur blanket. She shrugged it off, screaming, before succumbing to the healing darkness once again.

Finally Mel awoke to voices. She felt a little better and her head no longer felt like it might explode. She looked over to the far side of the cave and saw Onio being tended to by the old sasquatch female. He looked pale and shaken. The old one, whose name was Rain, rubbed some sort of ointment on Onio’s back. Although their lips didn’t move, they were talking. Mel closed her eyes and listened.

“Onio, what he did was just,” she murmured.

“Just!” Onio snarled. “The test is designed to punish the worst criminals…murderers, and rapines! What I did was not even a crime! Why did he bring his grandson, who would be king, to his knees?”

Mel peeked at the two sasquatches through her eyelashes. She saw that Onio’s head was bowed and that his shoulders heaved with sobs. Rain stood some distance away and wiped her hands clean with a rag. She regarded her grandson with an eyebrow raised in equal parts exasperation and love.

She brought Onio a mug of something to drink and Mel’s throat ached with thirst. She watched as he set the mug down, staring at the floor in anger. Rain sat next to him on the shelf of rock that served as a bed.

“Onio, what you did was akin to murder. I know you know this, because I have taught you these things myself!” She placed a hand on the male’s thigh. “I will teach it again, Grandson,” she continued. “Maybe this time you will listen and truly understand.”

Rain slapped the young sasquatch sharply and stood up. Onio hunched his shoulders at the reprimand, glaring at his own toes.

“The small humans have small brains, Grandson. Also, their brains work differently than ours. We are intuitive, telepathic and sensitive to the ways of nature and the planet around us. They are none of these things, but they are creatures of intellect. Look at the marvelous machines they construct, the technology they have invented! In many ways their workings are like magic to us. Just as, I think, our ways are magical to them.” Rain sighed.

“That is why we hide from them, Onio. They are a covetous race, and would take from us, by any means necessary, that which they desire. For many generations the humans have tried to unlock the mysteries of our brains. They want to know how to use the soul song, and would steal it from us if they could. Many times they have tried…this you know, first-hand!”

Tears were dripping out of Onio’s eyes and falling to the floor. He murmured, “I am sorry, Grandmother. I wasn’t thinking properly.”

Mel saw the old female smile as she fussed with some things in a bag, then walked over to cook something on a fire set in the middle of the floor.

“Now, finally, First Son admits to not thinking before acting.” Although the sasquatches lips didn’t move, Mel could hear the sarcasm dripping from Rain’s voice, as the smell of meat cooking filled the air.

“Onio, listen and hear my words.” Rain’s voice was urgent. “There are as many reasons as birds in the sky why we do not co-mingle with the little humans. Most importantly, they will hunt us down and kill us for the gifts we possess. They would experiment on us and dissect our brains, and all for nothing! Even if they knew how to extract our abilities, their brains do not have the means, or the capacity, for soul song. It is called neural pathways…or some such. I have forgotten the exact words.” Now she glared at her grandson again. “We think that this little human will survive what you did to her, Onio.”

Mel slammed her eyes shut as she saw the big male glance her way. Guilt was written all over his face.

“You were lucky, I think, that this creature survived at all. Your gift opened pathways in her brain…neural connections most humans are not equipped to deal with, or understand. We believe that the only reason the girl hasn’t died is because her ear canals are damaged. Our gifts are sense, rather than thought, oriented. Hearing is a sense, so her brain was able to withstand the new impulses. She is very ill, though, and will be frail for a long while to come. She may not survive the change…someday her brain might break from the strain you yourself put on it!”

Mel saw Onio put his hands over his face and shudder. “Oh Grandmother,” he moaned. “Truly, I did not think to kill this little human…I did not think at all!”

Rain nodded, filled a wooden bowl with meat, and handed it to him. She glanced over at Mel and sat down next to Onio again.

“You are young yet, Onio, and perhaps foolish, but you will be a fine leader someday. To lead well, though, you must learn to listen to the world around you. Drak, your uncle, is also a fine man, but he suffers from jealousy. He never thought that you would be declared king after Bouldar is gone…not with the small human blood that flows in your veins. That he himself told you this only serves to prove that he hasn’t the wisdom to lead the tribe.”

She chuckled. “There is a thing the small humans call irony. It took me many, many years of study to understand this concept, but I find it ironic that the very thing Drak used to wound you with actually ensures your ascension to the seat of leadership.”

She stood again and moved around behind Onio to apply more salve to his wounded back. “My husband believes that the human soldiers are renewing their efforts to find us, and hunt us down. He believes that these soldiers want to use the soul song as some sort of weapon. They are a warrior species who will use even the most benign gift as a tool for destruction!” The old female apparently forgot to be gentle in her application of the medicine on his wounds. Onio winced with pain.

“He thinks that the tribe needs a leader who can both sympathize with and out-maneuver the humans who want to conquer us. The blood in your veins has made you smarter than the rest of us…especially Drak. You still possess the tribe’s gifts, like telepathy and camouflage, but your intellect will be the thing that can save the tribe from the small humans’ greed.” She gave her grandson’s shoulders a shake, not caring that he cried out in pain.

“That leader will be you, Grandson!” she shouted. “But only if this little human woman survives and you learn to think before you act!”

Rain’s voice was pensive when she spoke again. “Before Bouldar became my husband he was much like you; curious and compelled to seek out the small humans’ company, despite the risks.” She threw her arms up with a growl of rage.

Onio revised (2)

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Genre – Fantasy/Romance

Rating – PG13

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