Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sue Parritt on Being a Migrant & Her Writing Inspiration @OdysseyBooks #AmReading #Dystopian #Goodreads

at 7:00 AM 0 comments
What inspired me to write my book?

Anger, abhorrence and disbelief motivated me to write Sannah and the Pilgrim. I was and remain appalled by past and present governments’ policy on refugees and asylum seekers. News bulletins and current affairs programmes helped fuel my deep concerns about the direction our country is heading. From a country that welcomed scores of displaced people after the Second World War, we are becoming xenophobic, rejecting those that have fled what for most of us are inconceivable terrors. As a migrant myself, I tried to imagine how I would have felt, if instead of paying my ten pounds and travelling here on an ocean liner, I had been forced to flee my homeland, hand over my life’s savings to greedy people smugglers and risk my life by boarding a leaky overcrowded boat.

My thoughts then turned to a different category of refugees, those we can expect in the not so distant future. Low-lying Pacific islands are already under threat from accelerating climate change, about which wealthy first-world countries have so far failed to act. Soon there will be a flood of environmental refugees seeking a safe haven in our sparsely populated and prosperous nation. How will our government react then, when turning back the boats won’t be an option?

I felt my option as a fiction writer was to draw on contemporary government policies regarding refugees and climate change to create a portrait of a future Australia that is, to my mind, entirely possible. The idea to divide the country into zones according to race of origin came from a thinly veiled proposal made by an ultra-conservative politician some years ago. Research into climate change led me to place my characters in the most inhospitable part of twenty-fourth century Australia, the extremely hot, humid and disease-ridden north. Confined to the Brown Zone (formerly Queensland) the people, descendants of Pacific environmental refugees, are forced to cultivate the remaining fertile coastal strip to produce food for White Southerners, whose zone, although more suitable for human habitation, is too arid to support agriculture.

I was inspired to create the role of storyteller for my protagonist, Sannah, by the manner in which information is often distorted by both the media and government in order to provoke certain reactions. For instance, fears of being swamped by refugees are intensified by using terms such as ‘illegals’ and concerns over rising utility costs assuaged by promises to repeal the Carbon Tax. Sannah’s people are kept in ignorance through a steady diet of Tales (a weird blend of historical fact and fiction) delivered by government-trained storytellers. In similar fashion, we are fed only what governments and multinational companies want us to hear and it takes a great deal of effort to uncover the truth. Lies ensure compliance in both twenty-first and twenty-fourth century Australia.

Sue Parritt author pic

About the Author:
Sue Parritt is an Australian writer, originally from England. Her poetry and short stories have been published in magazines and anthologies in Australia, Britain and the USA. After graduating BA University of Queensland 1982 (majors: English Literature, Drama and French), Sue worked in university libraries until taking early retirement in 2008 to pursue her long-held dream of becoming a professional writer.  Since then she has written Sannah and the Pilgrim, numerous short stories and poems andFeed Thy Enemy, a feature film script set in Naples in 1944 and 1974 and based on a true story (Sue is currently seeking a producer). She recently completed a second novel Safety Zone and is now writing a sequel to Sannah and the Pilgrim  the working title is Pia and the Skyman.

Sannah and the Pilgrim by Sure Parritt

When Sannah the Storyteller, a descendant of environmental refugees from drowned Pacific islands, finds a White stranger on her domestep, she presumes he’s a political prisoner on the run seeking safe passage to egalitarian Aotearoa. However, Kaire’s unusual appearance, bizarre behaviour, and insistence he’s a pilgrim suggest otherwise.

Appalled by apartheid Australia, Kaire uses his White privileges to procure vital information for Sannah and her group of activists regarding new desert prisons that are to be built to house all political prisoners. The group plans sabotage but needs help, and Kaire is a willing accomplice. But when Sannah turns Truthteller and threatens to reveal the country’s true history, even Kaire’s White privilege and advanced technology cannot save Sannah and her daughter from retribution.

About Sannah and the Pilgrim:

Sannah and the Pilgrim is a tale of courage, defiance and deceit that asks the reader, ‘Would you risk death by telling the truth about your country, or would you play it safe and spend your life as a storyteller?’

Are you concerned about our governments’ (both past and present) failure to act on climate change and the detention and inhumane treatment of refugees? I am, so I have drawn on contemporary conservative attitudes to present a dystopian view of a future Australia in my speculative fiction novel Sannah and the Pilgrim. Read it and discover what could happen to our‘lucky’ country.

Friday, December 5, 2014

@MargaretWestlie on Anna Beaton's Murder & Writing Without an Outline #WriteTip #AmWriting #HistFic

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When I was taking the Masters’ Degree in English at the University of Missouri at Kansas City I was taught the germ theory of writing.  You hear a story or read an article in a magazine and take a word or a phrase from it and create your own story around it.  It need only be a word or two, something that triggers your imagination and sends it off into the wilds of your creative mind.  As long as you take the idea and don’t repeat it word for word you can go where you will with it.  It really is only something to spark your creativity.  You can separate the idea completely from its source once you get going on your project because it will have no relationship to its origin anymore and is probably no longer even recognizable as coming from there.
I get my stories from my elders.  They’re all great story-tellers.  Anna’s Secret is a case in point.  The story is based on the story of Anne Beaton’s hollow where a murder took place 150 years ago that was blamed on an ancestor of mine.  He was subsequently cleared of the deed and left Prince Edward Island.  I took the fact of her murder and fictionalized it by changing her personality, the circumstances surrounding her life and death, and putting in characters who never existed outside of my imagination.  I asked myself questions like:  What if she had been someone entirely different than who she was purported to be?  Who was she really?  Who did she really go to see?  Was it an innocent visit or was it a clandestine affair as everyone thought?  Who really murdered her?  What were the motivations?  Questions of this nature lead to a well fleshed-out novel not based on the original story, which was probably based in truth.  Then I took the original question of who she really was and who I thought she should be and dug and explored all her fictional relationships which eventually led to the denouement.
I have never used an outline.  I tried it once because I was told it was the best way to work but it didn’t work for me.  It kept me too bound by the structure of the outline.  I felt I had to write by the rules when my characters wanted to do something different.  I had to let them be themselves.  They become living people in my mind and you have to let people do whatever it is they need to do.  They talk to me and argue with me and agree with me just like real people.  You can’t be too controlling or your story will become too rigid and awkward.  Let you characters tell the story.  Keep notes as to who is related to whom and when they did a certain thing and anything else you think you might get hazy on as the story moves along.  That way you don’t have to keep going back to look for it, should you need that information again.  So try writing without an outline, you never know where your characters will take you or why they want you to go there.

Anna Gillis, the midwife and neighbour in Mattie’s Story, has been found killed. The close-knit community is deeply shaken by this eruption of violence, and neighbours come together to help one another and to discover the perpetrator. But the answer lies Anna’s secret, long guarded by Old Annie, the last of the original Selkirk Settlers, and the protagonist of An Irregular Marriage. Join the community! Read Anna’s Secret and other novels by Margaret A. Westlie.
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Fiction, mystery, historical
Rating – G
More details about the author
 Connect with Margaret Westlie on Facebook & Twitter

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Moxie Meets Count Gamel in MOXIE'S PROBLEM by Hank Quense @hanque99 #Excerpt AmReading #SciFi

at 9:30 AM 0 comments
Scene Background:  

Moxie is on her way to meet her betrothed Count Gamel. Three apprentice knights, Percivale, Bore and Gareth are escorting her there. 

Bors rode to the top of a hill and examined a flat, boulder-strewn summit. Beyond the boulders, a grassy knoll butted against a tall outcrop that would shelter them from the wind. Bors rode past the boulders, dismounted on the grass and removed the saddle from his horse, Escrow. He grunted in pleasure as a cool breeze wafted over him.

Percivale, Gareth and Moxie joined him on the knoll and they decided to camp there. Soon, all the mounts were unsaddled, hobbled and grazing nearby.

After tending to his horse, Escrow, Bors studied the boulders. Something about them seemed strange, almost unnatural. The rocks were in lines almost like the beads on his abacus. He ignored Moxie's latest outburst of whining and continued to examine the rocks. Dark gray boulders — dozens of them — covered the area in three lines with exactly twenty rocks in each line. A fourth rank, separate from the other three, contained five rocks.

"How dare you!" Moxie roared.

Bors grabbed his sword hilt and whirled towards the sound of her voice. Moxie stood ten feet away glaring at a boulder in the middle rank.

"What's goin' on?" Percival, also on foot, asked her. Gareth stood near Percivale, looking quizzically at Moxie.

"I'm a princess, you impudent rock. Apologize this instant or I'll break you into rubble."

Bors gawked at her. The memory of a story an old hunter once told him and his father flooded his brain and almost overwhelmed him with the danger they faced. His skin crawled.

Moxie picked up a fist-sized rock.

Bors gasped. Moxie was about to get them all killed.

Moxie bounced the rock off the boulder.

Bors ran to her and grabbed her arm before she could do more damage.

"The stone insulted me." Moxie frowned at Bors as if she suspected his motives.

"Why did you throw the rock?" Percivale asked.

"Moxie just attacked one of the rock-folk," Bors said in a quavering voice.

"I did what?"

"She did what?" Percivale said. "I'm confused."

Bors waved an arm around the boulder collection. "This is a rock-moot. I've heard about them. The rock-folk come together to settle problems and make new laws. And the stone Moxie threw was a rock-baby."

"The big one degraded me." Moxie sniffed and pointed at the boulder. "It made lewd suggestions."

"Rocks can't talk," Gareth said. "Leastwise, not so we can hear them."

"I can hear them. I’m descendent from the Ancient Ones. Royal Ancient Ones, of course. And the Ancient Ones were descended from the fairies.”

"We have to get out of here," Bors said. "Fast."

"Why is the ground shaking?" Moxie looked alarmed. She grabbed Percival's arm to steady herself.

"It's the rock-folk," Bors said. "They're gettin' all worked up over Moxie's attack."

Their mounts whinnied in fear at the trembling ground. They jumped and stamped their hooves and strained at the hobbles until they broke free. The four horses ran down the hill and disappeared into the forest.

A worried Bors said, "We have to get out of here. Let's grab the saddle bags and put some distance between us and the rocks."

A boulder inched closer to Moxie's foot and she shrieked.

Percivale made a face at the sudden pain in his ear from Moxie's reaction, but didn't move, as if frozen in place.

"Someone has to get my horse," Moxie said.

"I ain't goin' through those rocks." Gareth pointed to a group of rocks rolling to form a line between them and the direction the horses went.

"We have to leave." Bors pushed Moxie in the back. "That way."

"Unhand me! And what about dinner? I'm hungry."

"Dinner will be very late tonight, Your Royal Feyness." Bors kept his hand on her back, nudging her away from the builders. He grabbed Moxie's saddle bag and handed it to her, then picked up his own.

"You expect me to carry that?"

Bors dropped her saddle bags. "If you don't carry it, it stays here and gets crushed by the rocks. I'm not carryin' yours, you are."

Bors looked at Percivale who stood without moving, his face drained of color. Bors grabbed an arm and yanked Percivale backward. Percivale blinked and gave Bors a strange look. "Come on, Perc," Bors yelled. "Snap out of it and let's get goin'."

Percivale picked up his saddlebags and trotted away from the boulders.

A few minutes later, they descended the hill.

"Moxie, look out!" Gareth yelled.

Bors turned and saw a boulder thundering down the hill. A bow wave of dirt sprayed out on both sides of its path.

Gareth dropped his saddle bags and pushed Moxie out of the way. Both landed in a heap a moment before the boulder sped past them.

"Get off me, you blundering lummox."

Gareth picked himself up and pointed to the boulder now at the bottom of the hill and rapidly losing speed. "Must have been sentry." He went over to his saddle bags, partially crushed by the boulder.

"Are these rocks stupid or something?" Moxie stood with her hands on her hips. "Commoners are supposed to ignore royal misunderstandings."

"I don't think rock-folk are impressed with your royal birth," Bors said. "Let's get movin'.

"When do you think the horses will come back?" Moxie asked. "I can't carry my saddle bags all the way to Count Gamel's."

"Those animals ain't comin' back," Percivale said. "Not after the way they got spooked. They're inna next county by now." The color had returned to his face.

"Can someone please carry my bags?" Moxie asked in a pleasant voice while fluttering her eyelids. "They have my wedding dress in it."

Bors slung his own bags over one shoulder and said, "It'll do you good to get some exercise." He turned his back on her and walked east.

"We gotta get a lotta miles from here before we can stop for me to cook the rabbits I caught." Gareth tied two hares to a saddle bag. "We better start pickin' nuts and berries if we see any."

Bors shook his head. He wished the adventure would go back to being boring again.

Moxie huffed, stamped her foot and picked up her saddle bags. She followed the three knights while raining insults and curses down on their collective heads.

Moxie had never thought that life outside the castle could be so difficult. Her escorts made her sleep on the ground with only two thin blankets: one under her and one on top of her. She had to sleep in her clothes. The men made her get up at dawn. She had to eat cold meals when it rained. They made her ride the horse all day long. The knights were disrespectful of her nobility. They often ignored her commands.

It was if she was a peasant not a princess. And now they didn’t have horses and had to walk and non one would carry her saddlebags.

Moxie dropped the saddlebags to wipe her tear-filled eyes. Gamel better be worth all this misery she thought.

Moxie's Problem

Do you enjoy untypical coming-of-age stories? Well, you won’t find one more untypical than Moxie’s Problem. Moxie is an obnoxious, teen-age princess who has never been outsider her father’s castle. Until now. The real world is quite different and she struggles to come to grips with reality. The story takes place against a backdrop of Camelot. But it isn’t the Camelot of legends. It’s Camelot in a parallel universe. So, all bets are off!

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Fantasy, Sci-fi
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Hank Quense through Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, November 20, 2014

NAKED TRUTH : Saving Liam #Excerpt by DP Denman @DPDenman #MustRead #LGBT #AmReading

at 12:00 PM 0 comments
Liam finished his sandwich, left the plate in the sink, and strode across the condo to the guestroom they’d converted to a home gym. He didn’t need a workout, but he definitely needed a shower, and this one guaranteed he wouldn’t wake Justin while he took it. He stripped out of his clothes and stared back at the night on the other side of the wall of windows. He no longer felt the wiggle of anxiety from being nude in a room so exposed to the city. The vulnerability was an illusion. There were no buildings near enough to see him without a telescope, and if watching him toss dirty clothes in a hamper was someone’s idea of a turn on he wouldn't fault the poor, lonely bastard his hang-ups as long as he did it from a distance.

After so many nights as a spectacle on the stage, it was easier to shrug off the fear of prying eyes than it used to be as long as he wasn’t in a room of horny men. He’d gotten past quite a few things, but he wasn’t brave enough to deal with that. He wasn’t sure he ever would be, even with the rumor that men at Spark tipped better than the women did. He already made plenty of money.

He turned on the bathroom light and smiled at the thought while he pushed the door closed. For the first time since his parents had thrown him out, he was making enough to support himself. In a city with the illustrious title of Most Expensive in Canada, that was something worthy of a little pride. His job guaranteed he wouldn’t have to suffer the horrors of street life ever again and he was building a savings account to make sure it stayed that way. If anything happened to break him and Justin up, it would hurt, but it wouldn’t put him back on the street. That was the most important thing, though his broken heart would argue the point.

He scrubbed the night from his hair and body and dried off before wrapping the towel around his waist. He tugged the door open, turned off the light, and crossed the moonlit condo to creep into the bedroom. Justin was a lump under the blankets of their four-poster bed. He moved on silent feet to the walk-in closet and traded the towel for a clean pair of boxers before climbing under the covers to snuggle close to his sleeping man.

“How was work?” Justin mumbled.

“Same old.”

Justin kissed his head, wrapped him in his arms, and drifted back to sleep. Liam shushed the regret over a single mumbled question that used to be an actual conversation about his night. He didn't want to contemplate what that could mean for their relationship if the distance between them continued to grow. It was too scary.


Buried lies never die.

Liam has a new career, a new condo, a newfound sense of control and none of it is quite right. Shadows drift behind the bright sparkle of his life; things he's determined to ignore until a shocking revelation makes it impossible. With the help of Justin and a new friend, Liam must face the life he's buried.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Contemporary Gay Romance
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with DP Denman through Facebook & Twitter

Saturday, November 8, 2014

@Lord_Ra_Krishna on Focusing Your Attention from Negative to Positive #AmReading #Motivaltional

at 8:00 AM 0 comments

How do you work through self-doubts and fear?

Excellent question. First of all I turn to the most simplest action, to breathe. Concentrating on deep breaths and then meditation. Once I find balance within myself I utilize what is known in Hermetic philosophy and alchemy, as mental transmutation. All that basically means is to focus your attention from a negative point to a positive. For example if I’m feeling fear, instead of attempting to erase the fear I focus on courage and allow the courage to transmute the fear. The courage comes from my desire to inspire people.

What scares you the most?

Not being myself, and not being the self I have “evolved” into. Also not for filing my destiny.

What makes you happiest? 

I am already happy, you have to be happy from within first. Also making other people happy, seeing my children smile, seeing other people smile, seeing people happy when they “get it” or have an “AH-HA “ moment. Beautiful music, the ocean and some good “legal” medical marijuana.

What’s your greatest character strength

What’s your weakest character trait?


Why do you write? 
I actually just like to create with words, in itself. However, the point of my writing is to share new ideas and create doubt.

What are you most proud of in your personal life? 

My children

"This “new age” book of poetry reflects the diverse views and philosophies of it’s author Ra Krishna EL. It’s an intimate, humorous and thought provoking group of poems intended to evoke strong emotion. To quote the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, this style of poetry can be called “Zukunfts poesie“ which translates into “Poetry of the future”, where truly original ideas are presented thru poetry. Also known as post Nietzschean poetry.

It’s subjects include society, pop culture, love, religious dogma, God and the new age of Aquarius. This book was written and published during the false incarceration of its author in Chicago’s notorious Cook County Jail, the largest jail in the country."

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Poetry, Philosophy
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Lord Ra Krishna EL on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, November 7, 2014

#Excerpt from Touching Madness (River Madden) by K S Ferguson #AmReading #Fantasy #Goodreads

at 7:30 AM 0 comments
I cowered at the hooves of the eight-foot tall demon, wallowing in the soot and debris of the apocalyptic cityscape. He frowned at me, and his mouth formed words, but I couldn't understand him. Hoards of translucent black cloud nightmares rose and fell through cracks in the scarred ground, widening the fissures with each pass. They roiled around us, cutting off light coming from a source that I couldn't identify. I opened my mouth to scream, and one of the nightmare clouds poured in, clogging my throat, filling my lungs with ash, and shooting burning cinders up through my brain. I thrashed, trying to get to my feet so I could run, but I no longer had legs.

I jerked awake, thoroughly tangled in the space blanket, my legs numb, and looked into a pair of amber eyes that stared back at me along the blade of a big, scary military-type knife pointed at my throat. I swallowed hard. Boy, had I screwed up.

"Hi," I said.

She didn't blink. My God, she was beautiful in the pre-dawn light glowing through the windows. No human looked that perfect. Was she real? I freed my right hand and ever so slowly raised my index finger to the tip of the blade while she watched. When I pressed lightly against the point, it pricked my skin. I pulled my hand back. Blood welled from the tiny cut. Yep, real. Shit. She'd taken me prisoner.

"We're surrounded by cops," I said. "If you stick me, I'll scream like a girl."

Ah, crap, why'd I used that expression? She probably screamed like an Amazon warrior. How'd she even lift a knife that big? She was such a tiny thing. All the cops I'd met were big louts. But she had the drop on me, and the knife was a lot more threatening than her wand thingy.

"Who are you? Where are we? How'd I get here?" she asked. The taut muscles around her eyes telegraphed fear, and the knife trembled in her hand.

I rubbed my prickling wrist tattoos against my jeans and caught a whiff of something burnt. I glanced around the kiosk. Up near the ceiling, a trace of shapeless sooty cloud leaked out through the crack around the door. My mouth opened, closed.

"Do you smoke?" I asked, hoping she'd tell me she did. The cloud could have been cigarette smoke even if it didn't smell like tobacco… purposeful cigarette smoke, on the dark side. A hallucination. Not real.

A frown joined her stare. Oops. I'd wandered off topic. What had she asked? Who are you? But her team had that tracking device that reacted to me. How could she be looking for me but not recognize me?

"I brought you here so they wouldn't shoot you. I had to hide you while I led him away." I gave her a tentative smile and waited for her to gush her thanks for saving her life. Maybe she'd be so grateful, she'd tell me about the tracking device—and point that big knife some other direction. Then I could get away before she figured out who I was.

She added narrowed eyes to the stare and the frown. I chewed my lower lip. Maybe I wasn't communicating as well as I'd hoped. I felt woefully inadequate talking to someone as lovely as her, especially someone carrying a dangerous weapon. It could have been worse—at least I hadn't degenerated into word salad or spoken in rhymes.

Touching Madness

Light bulbs talk to River Madden; God doesn't. When the homeless schizophrenic unintentionally fractures a dimensional barrier and accidentally steals a gym bag containing a million dollars, everyone from the multiverse police to the local crime boss—and an eight-foot tall demon—are after him. Can he dodge them long enough to correct his mistakes and prevent the destruction of three separate dimensions? If he succeeds, will the light bulbs stop singing off-key?

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary, Urban fantasy
Rating – R
More details about the author

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mike Hartner on Being Social, Not Spamming and Book Marketing @MHartnerAuthor #AmWriting #HistFic

at 8:30 AM 0 comments
How To Network Online to Sell Your Book

First, I must print this disclaimer. I’m not a marketing individual. And I, James, the second book of The Eternity Series which will be released in September 2014, is only the second book that I’ve tried to market. So, everything has been trial and error. But, I will borrow heavily from’s Rachel Thompson, and several others, and the lessons they have taught me.
  1. You need an Online Presence. Gmail+, FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest…. They all have their uses. Personally, I’m on FaceBook, and Twitter.
  2. Facebook has my personal page, where my family and friends reside, and then a Corporate page which is where I try to publicize The Eternity Series. And other projects that I have. also comes to mind. It’s also a separate corporate page. And the three pages share posts from each other.
  3. Twitter is my second social media channel. @MHartnerAuthor is my identity, since Rachel once said, it’s better to publicize yourself as an author than to publicize individual books, and keep changing the identity. Son’t confuse people. Publicize yourself as an author.
  4. First Rule of Social Media: It’s Social. Don’t Spam. Don’t spill every word saying ‘Buy my book’. Build relationships, show people your interests outside of writing. If you’re interested in Nutella, and Alaskam wilderness cabins, show that. If it’s quilting, crocheting and flowers you’re interested in, show that. Let people meet the REAL you.
  5. Pluggio and hootsuite are great tools. Pluggio allows you to ‘drip’ every few hours news topics of your interest. Hootsuite allows you to post on more than one site from a consolidated dashboard. Both are useful.
  6. Don’t expect everyone who follows you to remain. But help them by not including expletives in every second post, or every third word. Show them that you can enjoy life as much as it can frustrate you.
Social Networks allow you to reach out to a lot of other people. AS much as you want others to follow you, follow them. Find others with your interest. Other authors, other Nutella aficionados, other quilters, whatever… By following a wide range of others, a wide range of them will follow you.

BLOG, or get blog tours. Blog tours are GREAT exposure for your book. They usually have a wide and diverse cross section of reviewers, who are all interested, to some extent, in your writing.

HELP OTHERS. If you can help others with your lessons, do. If you can Share other’s posts, announcements, etc… chances are they’ll share yours. And your messages will get out to people you never expected.

90/10 Rule. At least 90 percent of your posts and blogs should be focused on things OTHER THAN selling your book. Great reviews are one thing you can announce more often. Share Reviews of books you’ve read. Even better if they’re current books (last five years). Even Better if you’re following the author when you post the review.

ENGAGE your audience. Snippets, comments, and reviews of everyone’s work are great things to post. Top Ten lists about your life, about your hobbies… all of these build audience.

And while you’re building audience, but not screaming BUY MY BOOK, chances are some people will buy it.

And that’s what makes social media so great. Being Social.


James Crofter was ripped from his family at age 11. 
Within a year the prince was a pauper in a foreign land. 
Is nature stronger than nurture? And even if it is, can James find the happiness he so richly desires? 

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Historical Fiction, Romance
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Mike Hartner on Facebook & Twitter

Saturday, October 25, 2014

#Excerpt from The Seer’s Lover by Kat de Falla @KatDeFalla #GoodReads #Fantasy #BookClub

at 11:30 AM 1 comments
She traced a circle in the sand with her finger.

Why would she disclose her whole existence to someone she’d just met? Someone who talked so little about himself that she found herself talking to fill the void. Saying things she could barely admit in her own head.

His hand covered hers. “I’m lonely, too. Getting to know you this week has been the brightest point in my life and I don’t want you to leave, but I know the only place you’ll be safe is far away from me.”

She swallowed. He had read her mind.

He lay down on his back and closed his eyes. “Cali, you know when you hear a song for the first time and you kind of ingest it? You can’t possibly know right away that it will be one of your favorite songs for the rest of your life. A classic.”

“Yeah.” She hoped he was going somewhere good with this.

“That first listen,” he continued, “you pick up a little of the melody and some lyrics that catch you. But when the song ends, you have to hear it again because you want to memorize all the words and sing along. After you hear it a few times and learn the words inside and out, then you begin to let the melody seep inside you. Next thing you know, you’ve completely digested the song and find yourself humming it while you are doing nothing, like shaving or driving your car. Finally, the song becomes so ingrained it becomes a part of you. Forever. You can recall it and it’s with you whenever you need it. Am I making any sense?”

She nodded, blinking back the tears fighting to fall.

“Cali, I don’t want you to go back because you’re my favorite song.”

The Seer's Lover

For years, Calise Rowe has been able to sense unusual energy from people, making her believe she is different. Pulled into an ancient war raging for centuries between demon hunters and seers, she's about to find out she's right.

Her search for the truth leads her to Lucas Rojas, a seer of angels and demons who walk the earth shrouded from normal human eyes. He's hidden his gift for years and refuses to endanger Calise by sharing it with her.

In the sultry Costa Rican Jungles, their worlds collide. As their passion and desire ignite, so does the ancient war between demons and seers. Will their combined efforts be enough to save themselves and the entire human world, or will their new found love be their downfall?

**Download free music for The Seer's Lover at

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre - Dark Fantasy
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with Kat de Falla through Facebook & Twitter

Friday, October 17, 2014

DARK CHEMISTRY - #Excerpt from Chapter 5 - by Kirsten Mortensen @KirstenWriter #Romance #Suspense

at 8:00 AM 0 comments
*****In this excerpt, the novel’s fifth chapter, we catch our first hint of the powers of the story’s villain, Gerad Picket.

One of the plot elements in Dark Chemistry is that a brilliant but odd research chemist has learned how to create powerful, synthetic pheromones—odorless, undetectable chemicals that can exert strong subjective effects on people exposed to them. These chemicals can influence peoples’ moods, for example, or cause them to feel aroused.

The two characters we visit in this scene are Donavon Todde, the man who will soon fall in love with the protagonist. He’s known the other character in the scene, Jessica Thomas, since they were kids. Here, they learn that Gerad seduced an RMB intern. What they don’t know—yet—is that he used synthetic phermones to do it. Hopefully they’ll figure it out in time!

As soon as they were wheels down, he turned his phone back on.

It began to vibrate almost immediately: three texts, all from Jessica, all time-stamped from about an hour ago.

Donnyboy, you back in town?

Something’s happened.

Ellyn. shitshitshitshit

Oh, boy. Donavon considered whether or not to text back. He liked Jessica okay—he’d known her for years, first as the older sister of one of his high school buddies, now because they worked for the same company—but ugh. The way women can turn the most inane crap into giant freaking soap operas ... And this Ellyn. Some intern working in R&D. Cute, but she’d turned out to be a bit of a flake. Crying jags at work—that sort of thing. Trouble at home or something, must be.

And of course, Jess had adopted her.

He peered out of his window. They were nearly at the gate. And all his stuff was in his carry-on, so once he deplaned he just needed to get his car. It wouldn’t take long. He’d be home in an hour ...

His phone buzzed again.

she screwed Gerad!!!!!!! dying here



He tapped a message back: just landed. what happened?

The airplane turned, slowed, eased into position near the jetway.

meet me at screechers. hour?

Eh, fine. Another beer or two wouldn’t hurt. And it beat going home and ... thinking too much.

k. cu there

The passengers in the row ahead of Donavon stood up, and he did too—rather, he stood partway, his head bent at an angle to avoid the low ceiling over his seat.

An older guy with a paunch wrested his bag from the overhead bin.

Finally there was room in the aisle for Donavon to step out and reach his duffel, and a few minutes later he was striding through the near-empty airport terminal.

He remembered the blond, then, but he gave an inner shrug. SU student, most likely. Just like a million others.

He’d never see her again.

Screechers looked its age. Built originally as an Inn, it had never been anything fancy: a big, no-nonsense block of a structure set perpendicular to the road. A hundred-plus years of wear and tear had left the building shabby and humbled, and the quarter acre or so of land around it—long since paved over—was broken only by an enormous sign in the front of the building, mounted on two 4x4s of unpainted, treated lumber that were set in a crumbling concrete footer.

“Screechers,” the sign read in fading paint, and then below that, in smaller lettering: “Lunch Served Daily.”

No outsider would be tempted to stop.

But to the locals from Amesbury, New York, Screechers was as good a gathering spot as any.

Donavon left his car next to Jessica’s—he didn’t bother locking it—and climbed the steps to Screechers’ main entrance, which faced the parking lot and was framed by a wide porch.

A couple pairs of splintery Adirondack chairs served as an outdoor smoking section in the winter, and an outdoor smoking and drinking section in the summer. They were empty, tonight.

He pushed the old wooden door open and stepped into the bar, a big, dingy room that smelled of pine-scented cleaner and rancid fryer grease and stale beer.

He spotted Jessica, sitting alone, still dressed in her work duds: blue jean coveralls and wool knit cap.

She didn’t speak when he walked up to her. But her face told him everything he needed to know: that she was mightily indignant.

“Table?” he said as he paid Thomas, the bartender, for his beer, and she nodded.

They sat down at one of the cheap Formica-topped tables along the wall of the main barroom.

Donavon took a sip of beer. “Okay. What happened?”

“I shoulda let you have at her,” said Jessica. She looked at him glumly.

“Hah,” said Donavon. “I told you. So she really screwed the guy?”

“Yup.” The expression of Jessica’s face morphed from gloom to disgust. “An’ now she’s quit, I guess. She came in this morning, went straight to HR, and gave her notice.” Jessica was drinking a Bud from the bottle. She set it down now and shrugged out of her jacket. “Damnit, Don, what was she thinking?”

“You’re asking me?” Donavon’s smile was bitter. “I’m a guy, remember? You can’t expect me to understand what the fuck you women are thinking.” He took another drink. “So what happened, exactly?”

Jessica sighed. “Well, you know I kinda took her under my wing—”

“Yeah, I know.” Although the metaphor Donavon would have chosen was more along the lines of Jessica-as-mama-bear. Right after Ellyn was hired, he’d mounted a charm offensive—and could you blame him? She had quite the body and he was a single man. But Jessica was having none of it. She jumped all over him. Told him to back off. Ellyn was fragile, is how she’d put it. Leave her alone.

Jessica guessed what he was thinking. “Hey, you can’t blame me.” She gestured at him, palms up in a show of innocence. “She was an intern. And she was fragile. And you weren’t into her for the right reasons.”

“There’s nothing wrong with having a good time.” He smiled, teasing her.

Jessica’s eyes narrowed in an expression of pretend accusation. “Don’t give me shit, Donnyboy.”

“Hey,” Donavon said. “There’s not a lot else to do in Amesbury.”

“Right. Anyway, we were out last night after work—me, an’ Kim, an’ Ellyn—and Ellyn’s been acting really weird lately, so we were asking her what’s the matter—and then she finally came out with it, man—”

“That she’d screwed Gerad?”

Jessica nodded. “I lost it,” she said. “I totally lost my shit, Donnyboy.”

“Well, I can see why,” said Donavon, although he wasn’t being entirely truthful.

“I mean, of all people—shit. Anybody else but Ger-fucking-AD.”

“Maybe she’s a gold-digger.”

Jessica checked his face quickly to see if he was joking. “Nah,” she said. “Seriously. I can’t figure it out. I mean—Donny. The guy’s gross. Gross.”

Donavon considered her words a moment, trying to figure out how women might filter Gerad Picket. As the CEO of RMB—at least temporarily, since Richard Molnare had ejected from the earthly coil—Gerad was more or less king of Amesbury. Top dog of the county’s biggest employer, the biggest suit in a pond too small to hold more than a handful of suits. And gals like that kind of thing, right? Power’s the big aphrodisiac ... plus his salary was probably three times the county average. So what if he was a bit ... dumpy-looking. And that strip of a moustache over his upper lip, didn’t that look go out of style with Clark Gable?

And yet, apparently, gals don’t mind that kind of stuff. Donavon had seen enough to know.

“Well,” he said. “Maybe the guy’s got a way with the ladies.”

Jessica scrunched her nose and shook her head in violent disgust. “No,” she said. “Trust me on this, Donny. The man is gross. And he’s a sucky boss.” She looked at Donavon again. “She might have been just an intern, but she knew he was a sucky boss. She knew. I think that’s one reason it pissed me off so much. She let me down. She let us all down.”

The bar door banged and they looked over and nodded in unison at the newcomer—Wayne Peters, a local who ran a little auto repair shop out of his house. A bit of a drunk.

They sat in silence another moment while Wayne took a seat at the bar, and Tom emerged from the kitchen, and Wayne ordered a draft Miller Lite.

“Anyway,” Jessica said, and sighed, and seemed to lose herself in her thoughts again.

Donavon sipped his beer.

The lights flickered. The wiring at Screechers acted a bit funky at times. But neither Donavon nor Jessica really noticed, they were used to it. All of the regulars were, except once in a while someone would joke that the place was a firetrap.

“Donny, I lost my shit,” Jessica started talking again. “I told her it was a violation of RMB policy for managers to have sex with employees and we’d get his ass fired, and she—my God, Donny. She was like crying and all ‘no, no, no, you promised you wouldn’t tell anybody.’ Goddamnit, I just lost my shit. I told her she was a fucking dumbass and would probably get herpes or something from that creep. An’ I left.”

“Harsh,” said Donavon.

Jessica nodded. “You know me. I was kind of looking after her, Donny! She’s so... ... young.”

Yeah. Young. And pretty too—at least a 7. Dark, with a pointed chin and small high breasts. Yeah. He’d checked her out. Not every day they hired someone that cute at RMB. But Jessica had told him “no” and he’d held off ... hah. So old Gerad had—

He realized that Jessica was watching his face. “Hey,” he said. “She’s cute.”

She sighed again, heavily this time. “I should call her up, apologize for yelling at her. But every time I think about it, I get pissed off again. An’ you know me.”

He did. Jessica was not the sort of gal who could be coaxed, easily, out of a temper.

“So what’s next?”

“I dunno.” Jessica shook her head. “Do you think I should report it?”

“Hmmmm.” Donavon looked at his beer. On the one hand, he was no big fan of Gerad. The guy was a douche—the sort of executive who thinks that if he exhorts staff with half-assed platitudes he’s being a visionary leader. On the other hand, he was a man, and he’d bedded a cute girl. Donavon couldn’t quite help feeling a bit of solidarity with him on that. Like he should be on Gerad’s side, kinda.

Fortunately, Jessica didn’t really seem interested in Donavon’s opinion. “Maybe I’ll just go to Ellyn’s and apologize in person for losing my shit like that. I mean, she says she’s into him—and once you got that situation, there’s not much anybody can do.”

“His days at RMB might be numbered anyways,” said Donavon. “Depending on what happens with Richard’s daughter.”

“Yeah. She’s supposed to be at the plant tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow? I thought it was next week sometime.”

“You think she might fire him?” Jessica finished the last of her beer and began picking at the label on the bottle.

“Depends. If she has more sense than her father, she will.”

“I never understood why he hired Gerad. Richard was a good guy.”

“Who knows? Gerad was supposed to be this hotshot business transformation guru. Maybe Richard thought he needed to burnish RMB’s management team a bit. Maybe he was planning to take us public or sell us or something.”

“Shame he passed like he did.”

Donavon didn’t answer. Richard Molnare’s death had been sudden, and RMB was a small company. They’d all felt the shock.

“Well.” Jessica stood up, pulling her jacket from the back of her seat. “Guess I’ll go see if Ellyn’s home.”

Donavon couldn’t resist. “If she’s not,” he said, “check Gerad’s.” He grinned and sure enough, he was rewarded for his teasing. Jessica’s mouth and nose crinkled immediately in horror.

“Oh GAWD,” she said. “Seriously. Gerad? GERad? Of all the people in this town ... I wouldn’t fuck that disgusting slug of a piece of human crap if he was the last hard dick on Earth.”


A woman's worst nightmare

Drugged by something...that makes her think she's fallen in love.

All Haley Dubose has ever known is beaches and malls, clubs and cocktail dresses.

But now her father is dead.

And if she wants to inherit her father's fortune, she has to leave sunny Southern California
for a backwater little town near Syracuse, New York. She has to run RMB, the multimillion dollar
chemical company her father founded. And she has to run it well.

Keep RMB on track, and she'll be rich. Grow it, and she'll be even richer. But mess it up, and her inheritance will shrink away before she gets a chance to spend a dime.

Donavon Todde is her true love. But is it too late?

He's RMB's head of sales – and the more Donavon sees of Haley, the more he's smitten.
Sure, she comes across at first as naïve and superficial. But Donavon knew Haley's father. He can see the man's better qualities stirring to life in her eyes. And Donavon senses something else: Haley's father left her a legacy more important than money. He left her the chance to discover her true self.

Donavon has demons of his own.
He's reeling from a heartbreak that's taking far too long to heal. But he's captivated by this blond Californian, and not only because of her beauty. It's chemistry. They're right for each other. But has Donavon waited too long to woo this woman of his dreams? Because to his horror, his beautiful Haley falls under another spell. Gerad's spell.

A web of evil.

Gerad Picket was second-in-command at RMB when Haley's father was alive. And with Haley on the scene, he's in charge of her training. But there are things about RMB that Gerad doesn't want Haley to know.

And he must control her. Any way he can.

Romantic suspense for your Kindle

Will Haley realize that her feelings are not her TRUE feelings?
Does Donavon have the strength left to fight for the woman he loves?
Will the two of them uncover Gerad's plot to use RMB pheromones to enslave the world?
And even if they do – can they stop it?

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Romantic suspense
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Kirsten Mortensen through Facebook Twitter

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

#Excerpt from SCHOOL OF DEATHS by Christopher Mannino @Ctmannino #AmReading #YA #Fantasy

at 8:30 AM 0 comments
“Suzie, my gawd, you look like death.”

Crystal hadn’t changed. The smiling redhead with large blue glasses and the ever-present smell of cherry bubblegum was her best friend. She was grateful Crystal had spent the summer away. “Did you have a nice summer? How was Colorado?”

“My summer was great. Colorado’s cold. Geesh, what happened to you, Suzie?”

“I’ve been sick,” said Suzie. Not a complete lie, obviously something was wrong with her, but she didn’t know what.

“Sick?” Her voice lowered to a whisper. “You look like you’re dying.”

“I’ll be fine.”

“Crystaaal. Suzieee,” shouted a voice from across the parking lot.

“Oh gawd, it’s Monica,” said Crystal. “Let’s go inside quick.”

Suzie and her friend started to walk away, but the tall, lanky girl with small eyes caught up to them. Monica. She wasn’t too bad, if you ignored her whiny voice and her inane stories.

“Hiii guys,” said Monica. “I missed youuu this summer. Did you lose weight? The funniest thing happened the other day…”

Suzie realized the worst of the day was over. She got teasing looks from the kids and concerned frowns from the teachers, but like Monica, most people were too wrapped up in their own little world to pay any attention to her. Even Crystal eventually stopped asking questions.

“Tell me again, do you like the way you look?”

“I’m sorry, what?” she asked.

Suzie snapped to attention. The day had blurred by, and she was sitting in Dr. Fox’s office, wearing a hospital gown.

“Suzie, I asked if you like the way you look?”

Suzie was cold and annoyed. The office smelled of bleach, and the fluorescent light overhead hummed like a dying fly. Dr. Fox glanced up from her notes and smiled a dry, lifeless smile she probably practiced in front of a mirror.

“No, Doctor.” She repeated the same answers she had given last time, and the time before. “I despise the way I look. I’m a damned skeleton. You can see every bone. I love to eat, I don’t purge, I hardly exercise, and I actually feel fine.”

“Yes, that’s the strangest part,” interrupted Dr. Fox. “Every test seems to indicate that you’re at the peak of health. No lanugo, no joint issues, no skin problems, and your stomach and the rest of you are actually functioning fine. I’ve almost completely ruled out anorexia, but your weight is still drastically low. It’s like your calories are vanishing into some other dimension.” She laughed. “My husband wishes that would happen with me.”

“May I get dressed now?”

School of Deaths

Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe. Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target. Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail.

Caught in the middle of a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths, Suzie must uncover the reason she’s been brought there: the first female Death in a million years.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre - YA Fantasy
Rating – PG
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Friday, October 10, 2014

#Excerpt from "Across Worlds: Collision" by S. A. Snow @BooksBySnow #AmReading #Erotica #SciFi

at 10:30 AM 0 comments
She reached behind her and made sure he door was securely locked. The benefit of the unisex bathroom was that there was almost always a chair or something for parents to sit on as they waited for children. This particular bathroom had a long, low wooden bench against one wall. Perfect.

Her mind made up, Jane unbuttoned three buttons on her shirt and took her pants off, draping them neatly over the paper towel dispenser so that they were easily accessible. She sat down on the bench, jumping when the cold wood hit her bare ass. She giggled at her nerves and eased back onto her elbows. There was nothing comfortable about a wooden slab, but it was long enough to kind of lay down on—if she let her legs hang off the sides, and it was sturdy enough to hold her, which made it good enough for her needs.

She tugged the lace cup of her bra down so that she could rub her fingers over her nipple. It stiffened and pressed into her palm, aching to be touched. She pulled on it gently, moaning softly at the burst of desire that erupted deep within her. She spread her legs farther and let one hand drift between them, finding wetness there. Stroking herself gently, her hips rocking against her hand, she found her clit with her middle finger and pressed against it firmly while rubbing. She tugged her nipple harder, rubbing it with her fingertips at the same time.

Pleasure speared through her body, and she sighed contentedly. She would feel better in just a few minutes. Already she could feel tension seeping from her body as she got closer to orgasm. Anxious to get there, she slid one finger inside herself, moving it back and forth quickly as she pressed her palm against her own flesh.

Almost there. The orgasm built up quickly, and Jane moved her hands harder and faster. She was almost there. Release was within her grasp.

The knocking on the door was sudden and violent.

“Hey! Whoever’s in there, you’ve been in there fifteen minutes!”

Frustrated, Jane moved her fingers faster, trying to finish while she shouted back. “I’ll be out in a minute!”

“I’ve got three kids that need to pee and a diaper explosion. I don’t got a minute, lady!”

“There are other bathrooms!” She pinched her nipple, desperately trying to keep going.

“Finish the hell up and come out! This is the family bathroom! You got kids in there?”

“No, but—”

“No buts about it. Get your ass out!”

Family friendly my ass, Jane thought as the moment was gone. Her orgasm slipped out of reach yet again, and she threw her head back against the bench in irritation.

She sat up slowly and reached for her pants, growling, “I’m comin’.”


Jane expected six months undercover to be hard; she expected it to be lonely and bleak. She didn’t expect to find love. 

Jane Butler, a CIA operative, is assigned the task of infiltrating the Xanthians and determining if they’re a threat to humanity. Going undercover as a Xanthian mate, she boards the transport ship and meets Usnavi—her new mate. After spending six days traveling through space, Jane is ecstatic to explore the Xanthian station and soon sets out to complete her mission. The only problem? Usnavi—and the feelings she is quickly developing. 

Fumbling their way through varying sexual expectations, cooking catastrophes, and cultural differences, they soon discover life together is never boring. As Jane and Usnavi careen into a relationship neither of them expected, Jane uncovers dark secrets about the Xanthians and realizes she may no longer be safe. When it becomes clear she’s on her own, Jane is forced to trust and rely on Usnavi. Simultaneously struggling with her mission, her feelings for Usnavi, and homesickness, Jane faces questions she never imagined she would have to answer.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Blended Science Fiction, Erotica
Rating – NC17
More details about the author
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