Friday, June 27, 2014

@EileenMakysm Talks Rejection & Giving Up #AmWriting #Authors #Paranormal

at 10:30 AM 0 comments
For me, the worst part of being a writer is the rejection.  I tend to be an introvert (like many writers!) so it can be hard for me to put my work and myself out there in the first place.  When my efforts are met with a brief form letter or email, or, even worse, utter silence, it often makes me want to just go to bed and hide under the covers (not the most helpful of reactions).
I knew what I was signing up for when I decided to become a writer, of course; the image of an author papering their walls with rejection slips is practically a clich√©, and everyone has heard the stories about famous books that were initially rejected by publisher after publisher.  But like so many things, there’s a vast difference between being aware of something and actually experiencing it.
My first rejection technically came the summer after my freshman year of college, when I sent some (truly horrible) poems to literary magazines on a whim.  All rejected.  It didn’t really bug me much, since I didn’t have much invested in those poems – which was probably a factor in how truly, truly horrible they were!  My first story rejection was a different matter, though.  It was a weird little piece about a family trying to divest a man’s estate at his funeral, while he was alive and protesting from his casket.  I did what many first time writers do: I sent it to theNew Yorker. It was, of course, summarily rejected.  I was crushed.  Clearly my work sucked.  Clearly I wasn’t cut out to be a writer.  Clearly I should just give up.
I wallowed for a day or so, but eventually got over it.  I kept writing, and kept submitting, because my desire to be a published author was greater than my discouragement at being rejected.  But it was a near thing, and that struggle replays itself every time I receive that dreaded form letter, even now.  It’s gotten a little easier to take, but I’ve also developed a number of coping mechanisms.  They keep me from spending more than, say, a couple hours in bed with the covers pulled over my head.
The first thing I do is remember that every writer gets rejected, even ones who are famous or have been at this for a long time.  That’s because there are many reasons that a story might be rejected, and quality is only one of them!  Let’s say the story has a talking rabbit.  Maybe the editor really despises talking rabbits.  Maybe the talking rabbit angle just isn’t suited for that particular publication.  Or maybe they ran a talking rabbit story just last month!
Whatever the reason the talking bunny story was turned down, it had to do with the story, not the author.  A rejection only tells the writer that the piece isn’t suitable.  It doesn’t tell them that they are a bad writer or that they’ll never succeed as an author.  And it definitely doesn’t say anything about the writer as a person.
Once these reminders have kept me from being totally crushed, I do a couple things to keep moving forward.  First, I reward myself for having put myself out there!  There’s a lovely clay pot on my desk that was an anniversary gift from my husband.  Every time I get a rejection, I put money into the jar.  The more I submit my work, the more rejections I get, and the more money goes into the jar.  I’ve been rejected a lot, so I’ve amassed a lot of money that way.  The computer I’m typing on right now was funded by that cash!
The second thing I do is immediately send the story out again.  I usually have a pretty good idea of what magazines are out there that might be a good match for the piece, so I pick one and submit!  It keeps me from second-guessing the story and getting caught up in endless tinkering.  Every writer is familiar with chasing the horizon of perfection.  At some point you’ve just got to say enough is enough.  I had already made sure the piece was the best it could be before I sent it out to begin with: enough is still enough.
This is how I’ve managed to beat back the Rejection Blues!  It’s not easy, at all, but it definitely can be done.  Above all, what’s important for all writers is that we be kind to ourselves, and keep writing!

Tara Martin – exceptionally accomplished neurobiology major with a troubled past. Steven Trent – confident political science major with an irresistible attraction to Tara. Paul Stratton – history major who is able to hear spirits. Together, they make up the Society for Paranormal Researchers at their prestigious New England University. When they’re not in class or writing papers, the three friends are chasing their passion….ghosts.
When the group learns of a local retired couple trying to sell a house they claim is haunted, they decide to investigate. As the clues unfold, a familiar spirit interrupts their investigation and Tara finds her life in danger. Can her friends save her before it’s too late?
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Genre – YA paranormal, NA paranormal
Rating – PG-13
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Ann Benjamin's Practical Advice for Beginning Writers @ABenjaminAuthor #AmWriting #SelfPub

at 10:00 AM 0 comments
Where do I get started?

I’ve heard this question from a few friends and over the years this is what I’ve managed to come up with.  Start small.  For a long time, I used to pass around a list of drabbles (subjects for people to write exactly 100 words about).  When sending the list, I would instruct people to aim for completing the list.  100 words a day is something everyone has time for.  By working on this list a few at a time or even one a day, I wanted my friends to simply get in the habit of writing.  While something exciting like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – every November) might be a bit intimidating, 100 words is a good place to start.  100 words forces you to carefully choose what exactly is going to be included and what is extra.  The 100 words a day could be an ongoing story or different scenes.  The drabbles, I’ve found, are also a fantastic way to break through writers block.

So, now you’re writing every day – great!  Writing is a kind of muscle and habit that needs to be worked out.  What next?  Reading!  For whatever genre you are intending to write in, you need to know what is selling and how popular authors are doing.  After all, if your end game is to write a fantastic novel, but also find representation for that book, you’ll need to approach an agent who represents authors similar to your style.  An agent with sales for books similar to yours is a great way to think about approaching your dream agent in the future and building a list of those who might want to represent you.  Reading will also help you understand how genre stories are crafted.  When ‘research reading’ (reading books similar to those I’m working on), I critically approach the book.  I want to know why the author made the decisions they did.  Why is their character acting a certain way?  How would my character respond in a similar situation?  What is the tone?  What does the dialogue sound like?

Hopefully, by now, you’ve got your idea.  And you’ve been reading.  So, time to get started!  While many authors prefer to use an outline (and that can involve anything from note cards to extensive pages of exactly what actions and scenes are going to take place), I do not.  For you, do what is comfortable.  After all, this is your book.  While completing your outline, you might want to invest some time in research (depending on the topic) and character development.  There are numerous fact sheets to get to know your character.  If you’re writing in science fiction, maybe you need to spend some time world building.

Now, find a comfortable space and get started.  Yes, that first page does look lonely, but it will soon be followed by many other pages and scenes.  Go ahead and set a loose timeline or deadline you want to finish the book by.  It could be six months, one year or by some anniversary, but hold yourself accountable or it’s never going to be finished.  But one day, it will be finished!

After the rough draft is complete, I believe in the Stephen King principle – that is, once you are finished putting the book in the proverbial drawer for at least a month.  I tend to put mine away for even longer.  It’s important to get some space from your work so that when you come back you’ll be ready to look at the manuscript with fresh eyes.  Personally, I don’t let anyone look at my work until I’ve finished the first draft, but perhaps you might want to seek out notes for a rough draft.

Finally, it doesn’t hurt to go back to basics.  While there are numerous books on the subject of writing, I thoroughly enjoyed Stephen King’s On Writing as well as Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird.  Chuck Wendig also has a lot of fantastic stuff to say.

For experienced writers, what advice would you give a young writer starting out?


One hotel suite. One year. Many stories. The Winchester Hotel is an active property in Beverly Hills, California. Luxurious and discreet, it is a perfect location for business meetings, weddings, affairs, and other important life events - including the death of an A List celebrity. Told from the omniscient perspective of the room, the reader has a front row seat to the drama that unfolds in the suite. Although each chapter is unique, the characters' lives intertwine in a way only possible in a major metropolis like Los Angeles.

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Genre - Contemporary
Rating – R
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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Querying Publishers? @JessicaDall Says Don't Make These Mistakes #WriteTip #Historical #Fiction

at 11:30 AM 0 comments
Back before I became an author (or at least a published author, this was 2009ish) I spent some time working in acquisitions at a small press. I don’t think it’s any small coincidence that, even though I had been writing and querying for years at that point, my first novel was picked up a year later. It is a sad fact of life that being a good novelist doesn’t necessarily make you a good query writer—and just like I think working as an editor has helped improve my own writing, I think reading thousands of query letters over my time in acquisitions at least taught me some of what does and doesn’t work in querying.
1.       Using  “Dear Sir or Madam”
You’ve probably heard this tip before, but if all possible find a name for your query. Many publishers will have an “about us” which will include the acquisitions editor’s name—take the three seconds to check. If you have looked around and can’t find any name at all, I at least find it better to address the letter specifically to the publisher (“Dear 5 Prince Publishing…” or the like). At least then it proves you have taken the time to acknowledge whom you are contacting rather than cutting and pasting a form letter to everyone under the sun.
2.       Not looking at publisher’s current list
Publishers like to know that you have taken the time to think about why you’re submitting to them rather than blanketing every submission email you can find hoping something sticks. It should go without saying, but make sure you are submitting to publishers who publish your genre before sending anything (more than I’d care to admit, there were automatic rejections due to people sending things like sailing stories to a fantasy/sci fi/horror press). You are only going to annoy whoever has to send out the rejection letters.
Beyond making sure the publisher publishes your genre, it’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the books currently listed as produced by the publisher you are querying. If you feel like your book would fit in well, you have a better chance of being accepted. Bonus points for being able to point to the books by name (Similar to [PUBLISHER’S BOOK] and [PUBLISHER’S BOOK], [YOUR BOOK] would…)
3.       Grammar/Spelling errors
Another “more often than I’d care to admit” occurrence, typos are a big problem for query letters. If it doesn’t seem like you are a good enough writer to write a query letter properly, it’s likely the acquisitions editor won’t open your sample pages at all.
4.       Overselling yourself
Ok, you’re supposed to “sell yourself” in your query letter (or at least sell your work) but you make no friends byoverselling it. If your query letter talks about how you’re sure your books will sell billions or how everyone says you’re the next [BIG AUTHOR] take it out now. Publishing is a business, and so query letters are first and foremost trying to get the publisher to go into business with you. No one wants to work with someone who is unrealistic and/or egotistical.
5.       Not letting your voice shine through.
While the golden rule of query letters is that it is a business letter, and should be treated as such, you certainly shouldn’t take “business” to mean “boring”. If you’re writing humor, it’s all right for your query to sound funny. If you’re writing horror, it’s ok for the tone to be a little scary (especially in your hook). Your query is your first foot in the door. Stay professional, but don’t feel as though you can’t have any personality in it. Certainly let that shine through.

Adela Tilden has always been more ambitious than her station in life might allow. A minor nobleman’s daughter on a failing barony, Adela’s prospects seem dire outside of marrying well-off. When Adela catches the eye of the crown prince, Edward, however, well-off doesn’t seem to be a problem. Thrown into a world of politics and intrigue, Adela might have found all the excitement she ever wanted—if she can manage to leave her past behind.
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Genre – Alternate Historical Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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Saturday, June 21, 2014

E. Stoops on Succeeding at Conferences Without Really Trying #WriteTip #AmWriting #Authors

at 10:00 AM 0 comments
I used to be staff for a medium-sized convention and while I was there,  I saw authors make all kinds of mistakes that are probably still following them around even today, which is years later. This advice goes for little guys and big guys:
1. Even if you are just doing a reading on Sunday night,  come in the day before the convention starts.
The real value in conventions is having face time with potential fans. To come out as your best, you need to be well-rested and on top of things. Getting in the night before will help you deal with jet lag and give you time to get in healthy breakfast before you have a whirlwind weekend. Sleep and healthy food tend to become increasingly rare as the weekend goes on, so getting it in beforehand is vital. If you are coming from a great distance, sometimes you should even aim to come in two nights before to get yourself calibrated to your new time zone.
2. Treat Staff and Other Pros Nicely
Well, you should honestly aim to treat everyone with due respect, but I’ve seen plenty of authors take their frustration out on staff.  Cons are often exercises in frustration, and sometimes things come out, but this is the best way to shoot yourself in the foot. First of all, con staff  is often comprised of local pros. Secondly, con staff tends to be friends with other con staff, from other cons. Snarling about your botched scheduling to the guest liaison doesn’t sound like the worst thing you could do, until you realize three days later on Sunday afternoon she’s one of the teachers that was going to invite you to come talk to her drama class. Con staff can hold open a lot of doors, but they can also close them by simply saying how unpleasant it was to work with you to other con staff. I know more than one pro that has gotten politely run off.
3. Don’t Bite the Hand that Feeds You
I know Kindle/Amazon is kind of a bad deal for authors in certain ways, but sitting through a panel in which two authors ate up the time whining about Kindle and Amazon when the panel was supposed to be about e-publishing (and over half of the attendees had a Kindle) was just painful to witness.  Everyone that walked out of that room was highly unlikely to purchase any books by either author, ever. I’ve also sat in panels where Authors mocked fan groups. Again, they disgusted an entire room full of potential fans.
Related to that – keep your business about you. Call out or shout out good people, but don’t make yours a double act if you can avoid it. I’ve seen a number of authors make their attendance contingent on their friend or spouse also being invited as a pro. I admire people’s efforts to ‘send the elevator back down’ as Kevin Spacey has said, but if the crowd doesn’t take to them, this can backfire not just on the friend or spouse, but the pro. I’ve seen an author make themselves unpopular with both fans and con committees by holding them hostage this way. Fans really do catch on, too. Some folks just assume that someone blabs the details of the deal, but I’ve seen fans make some remarkable guesses with nothing but observations to lead them.
4. Don’t Be a Used Car Salesman
Don’t be the author with bookmarks, pins, postcards, badge flags, etc. Don’t launch into your spiel at the first chance you get. Let your conversations grow organically – you’d be impressed by how many people give you a chance to sell yourself to them in the course of a normal conversation. But don’t have a stump speech: I once approached an author just to speak briefly with them. They gave me a stump speech that lasted 30 minutes and had nothing to do with the one question I wanted to ask them.
5. Partake, Eat, Drink, Be Merry
Some pros show up for their panels and then go hide away in their room. No fun for the fans. Go to the room parties and chat with people. Dance to the bad music, wear a costume, if you get invited to role play or play Cards Against Humanity, do it. People are much more likely to buy a book from a ‘cool guy’ that chatted with them and added to the fun than someone that did a great reading.
6. Don’t Worry That Much
You’ll screw up. You will, just accept that you will do a reading to a room that hates it, or your funny panel gets no laughs. People will forgive you.
7. Be Creative
I said something would go wrong. Your projector doesn’t work. Your reading room has no chairs.. Your computer has just died a sparky death, taking your reading with it. You have some choices: panic, or creative. Think like a kindergarten teacher: No projector? Walk around with the laptop, giving everyone a chance to see the image. No chairs? Well, blast-from-the-past people, guess we’re sitting criss-cross applesauce. Sparky death?  Time for a quite change of panel topic (I highly recommend asking the crowd what they REALLY want to talk about in this situation. I’ve been dragged on great tangents over the years, and people really seem to enjoy it.)
This all might seem like common sense, but it can be hard to juggle on the fly. Always count to three before responding if you feel completely overwhelmed. A great phrase to learn is “Please give me a second to catch my bearings.” It works like a charm. You’ll always come across better after a deep breath anyway. Makes the voice more resonant.

In an alternate universe where the twentieth century gave rise to individuals with psychic talents, the Great War ended far differently, and the flow of history led the United States into a losing war with China by the middle of the twenty-first century. The combined submarine navies of Britain, Russia, France, Canada and the United States are holding back an ever more hostile enemy that is intent on winning a war of attrition. A desperate Navy presses antiquated boats into service to supply the main fleet and mans them with the leavings of the Navy’s worst sailors. For Chief Petty Officer Lucius Tagget and his best friend Aaron Fredrickson, it’s their ticket out of naval prison and a chance to clear their names.

What should be an uneventful assignment behind the front lines turns into a nightmare when Aaron is killed in an accident that claims the lives of all the men on his submarine. Terrified of condemning another boat and crew to eternal patrol, the Navy assigns the CPNS Puget Sound a talented seer in hopes of preventing another accident. Instead, that decision changes the entire crew, and ultimately, the entire war.
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Genre - Alternative History
Rating - PG-15
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DIGGING: Lifting the Memorable from Within the Unthinkable by Susan M. Rostan #Memoir #WWII

at 9:00 AM 0 comments
I remember having a conversation with Marian after the 9/11 Towers left New Yorkers traumatized by fear — the omnipresent fighter jets roaring over my home, patrolling the New York skies, and soldiers, so many soldiers with guns, guarding bridges, transportation centers, and my daughter’s Tribeca neighborhood. Feeling the differences between the two situations six decades apart, I asked Marian how long it had taken for him to adjust to a world turned upside down. Marian thought for what felt like mere seconds and responded: “Three weeks.” I was more shocked by the short time it took for the Jews to settle into their new world order, than comforted by the hope that in the fall of 2001 we would soon settle into the “scheme of things.”

Within the confines of the Ghetto, the Jews of Warsaw slowly began to give and attend lectures, concerts, and courses. Feeling safe behind the Ghetto walls they established community kitchens and institutions for the aged, homeless children, and refugees. It was common knowledge that some Jews worked as informers for the Gestapo, but it was explained as their way of making a living — a despicable livelihood; the Gestapo sought details of merchandise hidden in the Ghetto as well as gold, smuggled food, and medicine. The Jewish Council, a Nazi-sanctioned government-in-miniature, furnished work battalions, maintained peace and order (by Jewish policemen), trained skilled workers, managed sanitation and medical needs, and organized workshops where raw materials allotted by the Germans were finished by Ghetto workers for the armed forces of Germany, the Wehrmacht.

“Elzbieta secured an acceptable place for us to stay in the Jewish Residential District,” Marian said. He, Menache, and their mother Rivka shared a two-bedroom apartment. Elzbieta had her own apartment where she operated her dental supply business until all the merchandise she managed to salvage had been sold. These were the first of many “accommodations” — including a later stay at a church on Leszno Street, which they would inhabit as the Nazis transformed the Ghetto from a Jewish community to a holding place before eventual deportation to the Treblinka death camp. Elzbieta took charge of the family in the Ghetto, securing their safety and saving their lives, as long as she could. Marian suggested to me, with little detail, the desperation they felt as they began to understand the ramifications of forced expulsion from their home.

By now, Marian’s life must have been increasingly restricted, but he did not speak of his experiences in the Ghetto — the lack of food, the intolerable lack of hygiene, and the constant threats to his safety and security. He did not tell me the untellable — the images of starving men, women, and children in the streets of the old town, morphing into corpses lying on the sidewalks, neglected and ignored.

Have you ever really thought about your ancestors beyond their names and dates of events in their lives? The stories of how they lived their lives can be a source of strength as well as inspiration in your own life.
In this new work of narrative nonfiction, Susan M. Rostan invites us to experience her journey as she seeks to uncover the story of her husband s family, including two courageous but silent survivors of WWII s Warsaw Ghetto: her mother-in-law Elzbieta and Elzbieta s brother, Marian Rosenbloom.
With the passing of Elzbieta, an aging Uncle Marian is the only surviving link to his family s history — the stories of tragic loss and heroic survival — that he and his sister had refused to share with anyone throughout their life. Encouraged by the author and driven by an emerging sense of responsibility to his sister s namesake and future generations, Marian begins a difficult journey into the memories of his childhood in the Warsaw Ghetto and subsequent survival.
As his experiences unfold, he haltingly recalls how he managed to escape the Ghetto and survive, thanks to his courageous rescuers. Out of his remembrances, the author nurtures not only the story of her husband s family history, but finds herself immersed in an insistent desire to honor Marian s rescuers. Through her poignant and compelling narrative, she revives Elzbieta s legacy of hope, caring, and laughter for all of us to share.
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Genre – Creative Nonfiction
Rating – PG-13
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Friday, June 20, 2014

#Excerpt from HOLDERBY'S LANDING by J. D. Ferguson #Historical #Fiction #BookClub

at 11:30 AM 0 comments
The banks of the Ohio River lay back like a great step from the sweeping green-brown water. Flat for a hundred yards, the rise forms a field that during winter rains is three feet under brown flood, but in this warm spring supports a field of fresh corn stalks almost as high as the water had been but a short time before. On the eastern edge of corn and atop yet another bank, River Road meanders between huge trees and in perfect sync with the twists and turns of the mighty water. Beyond the elevated road the field broadens to half a mile and separates two bald narrow hillocks that stand like guideposts. Atop the southernmost hill, and the taller of the two, a white two-story clapboard house faces the river. A collection of out-buildings, all white and of various sizes, run the ridgeline behind and culminate in the larger body of a huge barn, drab weather-beaten grey against the deep blue morning sky. The hill, with so steep a drop on the river side, gradually declines to the rear. The drive to the house runs from River Road along the base of the hill to the rear of the formation, there it crosses a mountain stream fed by hillside runoff during wetter periods, and always by the spring at its head which originally gave it birth.
Primus Rose notes it all from his open carriage. He muses silently, as he most always does upon entering these grounds, how the location of the Cross home so typifies the owner. Commanding the river and flat land surround, the house proper can be approached only from the rear, through the defensive positions of out-buildings, fences, corrals, and dogs. The front of the house stares with dark glassy eyes into the Ohio Territory across the expanse of roiling river, and speaks to all who view it from the river or the road, there is little welcome here, but what there may be is through the back door.
The carriage, a kindness provided by his flock, albeit at his own manipulation, crosses the sturdy wooden bridge with a rattle of planking, and proceeds up the grade with a fresh persistence from the two-horse team. Primus enjoys the ride to the Cross house. Always has. It suits him for some odd reason. The fact that the trip ends by sitting in the same room with Philby Cross would dampen the enjoyment from most outings, and most people, but it has little impact on Right Reverend Primus Rose nor on his delight in the ride.
From beneath the wide, flat brim of his black beaver hat – an affectation of his own design similar to the Boss-of-the-Plains but with higher and sharper crown – deep violet eyes stare at the passing trees with a fixed attention. As the calash exits the trees, bright sunlight flashes, exaggerating in the milk white face the almost permanent squint held by his eyes. His sensual, full and feminine lips crease into a wan smile at the sight of Cross’s guard dogs growling in menace at the approaching buggy. He knows from experience that the dogs will growl and snarl, and upon his alighting from the carriage, will plant themselves immediately at his heels, but will not bite without threat being evident. If you pay them no mind, and move as if you belong here, they will warily allow your movement to the back door. With a jerk the coach stops, and Primus does just that.

When Justin Thorne, coddled student and heir apparent to Sylvan Springs Plantation, is forced to find his heritage, his manhood, and his destiny, in the space of one brief spring, all hell breaks loose on the banks of the Ohio River. His Virginia of 1836 is a time of transition and enormous growth. Northern industrial might and southern aristocracy, abolitionist movements and slave cultures, collide in turmoil and lay bare the raw needs and desires of those intrepid spirits confronting the frontiers of the antebellum South. 

Coming of age is an expected result of time and circumstance. It happens to all who live so long, but to each within the dictates of their own lives. The process is on-going and ever dynamic. Every person is a precious product resulting from the effects of nature and nurture. One’s ancestry, culture, and environment collude in myriad ways to make us; all as different as each life’s story, and as singular as snowflakes. This theme is played out over-and-over throughout the world and throughout history, in millions of places like Holderby’s Landing; as similar and as different as each human is to the other. Holderby’s Landing is a single glimpse in time at the coming of age of a land, a community, and a few determined souls thrown together in love, strife and chance. What they make of the time, the opportunities and themselves is the story told and the living breath of this book.
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Genre – Historical Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

GENERATION by @_William_Knight #Excerpt #Crime #Thriller

at 12:00 PM 0 comments

In 2001 the New Scientist reported that researchers had isolated a gene for regenerating damaged organs from the DNA of a South American flatworm. Within five years it had been spliced into the chromosomes of mice, pigs and rhesus monkeys, transported through the cell walls by a retro-virus denuded of its own genetic material.
Results remain secret, but success could yield extreme rewards. If ageing could be stopped or even reversed, and diseased or damaged organs regrown, life could be extended well beyond a natural span. No longer would you expect to retire and wait for death. You might remain fulfilled and active for ever, your worn out parts simply regrown and replaced.
Attempting to regrow impaired or elderly tissues, a scientist will one day modify the DNA of a human being by injecting the gene-carrying virus. It is just a matter of time.
Before consenting to treatment, you may want to ask a simple question: could there be a situation in which you would want to die but were unable to do so?
A man emerges from the sodden undergrowth, lost, lonely and starving he is mown down by a speeding car on the edge of a remote forest.
Rumours of ghostly apparitions haunt a rural Northumberland community.

A renowned forensic research establishment is troubled by impossible results and unprecedented interference from an influential drug company.
Hendrix ‘Aitch’ Harrison is a tech-phobic journalist who must link these events together.
Normally side-lined to investigate UFOs and big-beast myths, but thrust into world of cynical corporate motivations, Hendrix is aided by a determined and ambitious entomologist. Together they delve into a grisly world of clinical trials and a viral treatment beyond imagining.
In a chase of escalating dangers, Aitch must battle more than his fear of technology to expose the macabre fate of the drugged victims donated to scientific research.
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Genre – Crime, Thriller, Horror
Rating – R-16
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10 Things You Didn't Know About Belinda Garcia Vasquez @MagicProse #Romance #Suspense

at 11:00 AM 0 comments
1. I am a closet romantic. I write love stories into most of my books. I love to watch romantic movies and read romantic books that make my heart beat fast. I love the famed romantic couples; Rhett and Scarlet; Darcy and Elizabeth, etc.
2. I’m a computer nerd (which is probably why I’m a closet romantic and not a romantic). I worked as a computer programmer and web developer. It’s like a drug, and I now get my fix by working on my website or creating my book covers.
3. I believe in personal power. I once heard that human beings only tap about 4% of their brain. Within everyone lies unimaginable power and strength. Believe in yourself and you can do anything!
4. I love movies. I go nearly every week. I prefer love stories but enjoy action-packed movies that my husband likes. Feel-good movies and funny comedies are the best; but so is a touching movie that stirs the emotions, leaving my cheeks wet with tears.
5. When little, I would stand up on a chair to dry dishes and count the silverware. Thank goodness for DVD players. When I used to watch a tape on a VCR, I would have to cover the numbers with a towel else I’d be adding them up as the movie played down. I think the counting is related to my nerdicitis.
6. I love to dance.
7. I’m a bit too independent. My father abandoned my family when I was 11 and my mother was ill so I would walk to a strip mall to buy my school clothes and supplies, etc. I was sort of on my own. When I was 16, my mother died, I was pretty much on my own.
8. I’m crazy about Zumba, a Latin-dance-exercise. I attend a class 4 or 5 days a week. I spend so much time sitting at my desk that Zumba keeps me limber. For some reason, when my mind is relaxed, my brain likes to start writing. I start hearing dialogue in my head, or narration starts writing. I have to run to my notebook, do some scribbling, and then get back in line to continue the song.
9. I never worry. It’s a total waste of time and doesn’t change anything. Worrying is frustrating and nerve-wracking. My philosophy has always been, don’t worry about the fire until you see the flames!
10. I have great faith in God, though I confess I rarely attend church. From the time I was six until the age of 16, when my brother and I were forced out of our home by the man who owned the mortgage, I used to lie on the roof of our shed and talk to God about my life. He was a great listener and many times helped me and still does in my life. God has literally reached out and touched me, and no one can ever convince me that He doesn’t exist.

The last thing Miranda ever expected was to see her brother’s ghost at the fallen Twin Towers.
It’s bad enough survivor Christopher Michaels scares her with claims that if one dies violently, his ghost will haunt the place that holds his name. And to top it all, one of those thousands of ghosts follows Miranda to her hotel. The only certainty is the ghost grabbing her under the covers is not Jake.
Their parents’ deaths separated Miranda from Jake when they were kids. Michaels insists Jake brought them together and it’s no coincidence that of thousands mourning at Ground Zero, it’s his best friend she bumps into. Some best friend. Michaels is more like a moocher. The cheapskate never has money, just a blood-stained wallet he broods over. Miranda has no choice but to hang out with the weird Michaels in order to unravel her brother’s past.
As Miranda spends time with Michaels, she begins to wonder who he really is. Against her better judgment, Miranda becomes emotionally entangled with Michaels, a bitter alcoholic with a secret linked to her brother and that blood-stained wallet.
I Will Always Love You is part mystery, suspense and romance, a novel that will keep the reader turning the pages!
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Genre – Suspense, Mystery, Romance
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Belinda Vasquez Garcia on Facebook & Twitter

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

INQUISITOR by @RJ_Blain #AmReading #Paranormal #Fantasy

at 8:30 AM 0 comments
Caroline was either the best actress I’d ever seen, or she was really dead. I crouched next to her, torn between touching her neck to feel for a pulse and running away before the sweet scent of a fresh kill overwhelmed my restraint.
A clock chimed ten. The power of the full moon slammed into me, tugging at my heart, and tightening my chest. The need to embrace my inner beast and become one with the night quickened my breath.
Scents flooded my nose. Strong perfumes mingled with cologne, and the sweat of hot, living bodies stirred my hunger. I licked my lips, and for one brief moment, imagined the salty sweetness of fresh blood on my tongue.
There was another hunter in the room with me, and they taunted me with their kill. Their prey was either dead or left to die. It was a challenge to the scavengers, to the hunters, and a warning to the prey.
“What do you think?” Mark’s mother asked.
“I think she’s an amazing actress,” I replied, careful to keep my tone light. I rose to my feet. If I grew a tail, I could only hope my gown would hide it long enough for me to slip from the party and find a place to gain control over myself.
Or complete the change and go on a rampage.
Another minute passed in silence. I shook my head. “This would be why I’m not a police officer.”
The Wicked Witch of the West giggled. I shivered at the sound. “I see. Very well, Cinderella. Shall we mingle with the other guests and learn about this terrible, terrible deed?”
“I thought this was when Mark was supposed to come rescue me from a fate worse than death,” I muttered.
Oops. So much for keeping civil. I guess it was inevitable. Bodies brought out the worst in me. Especially when the body wasn’t one of my making. To make matters worse, I couldn’t exactly raise the alarm.
If I did, I’d reveal to those who knew the truth about werewolves and witches that I wasn’t just some human girl after a wealthy boy. Then the Inquisition would find silver old enough to kill me or reduce me to ashes to make certain they purged the world of one more rogue werewolf.
“Why can’t you be wealthy?” Mrs. Livingston lamented.
The old woman’s question caught me by surprise. Had she heard me? Did she think it an amusing quip?
Was it possible the woman actually liked me? Confused at the question, I answered honestly. “Ma’am, who says I’m not? I’m your son’s accountant. Do you really think he’d trust someone who didn’t have access to at least somemoney with his money?” I glared at the old woman. At least the brewing fight between us distracted me from Caroline’s body a little. “Don’t forget I know exactly how much he makes a year, where he transfers his funds, who owes him how much, and whom he owes. I know how much he’s paid in taxes, and I know how much I saved him last tax season.”
The witch’s mouth dropped open. “Just what—”
“I paid more in taxes than he did last year. I’ll let you do the math. Unless, of course, he learned how to count from you.” I pivoted on a heel and stalked my way towards the refreshment stand.

When Allison is asked to play Cinderella-turned-Fiance√© at a Halloween ball, the last thing she expected was to be accused of murder on the same night. She has to find the killer or she’ll be put to death for the crimes she didn’t commit. To make matters worse, the victims are all werewolves. 

On the short list of potential victims, Allison has to act fast, or the killer will have one more body to add to his little black book of corpses. 

There’s only one problem: One of the deaths has struck too close to home, and Allison’s desire for self-preservation may transform into a quest for vengeance…
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Urban, Paranormal Fantasy
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with RJ Blain through Facebook & Twitter

Friday, June 13, 2014

TO LOVE A CAT by Billi Tiner @TinerBooks #AmReading #Romance #Contemporary

at 7:00 AM 0 comments
“Let me show you to your room,” Cat said as she stepped back into the kitchen after saying good-bye to Stacy.
Ethan stood and followed her up the stairs and down a short hallway.
“That’s my room,” Cat commented, pointing to a closed door on the right side of the hall. “This is your bathroom,” she added, stopping at the next room. “I stocked it with some supplies; toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, that kind of stuff. Let me know if there’s anything I missed.” Turning to the room across the hall, she said. “And this is your room.” She pushed open the door and stepped back.
Ethan moved past her and stopped a few feet inside the room. His back was to her, so Cat couldn’t see his expression. She hovered at the entrance unsure of what to do next.
The room contained a double bed, nightstand, chest of drawers, desk, and computer. She’d also hung a small flat screen TV on the wall opposite his bed.
After a long moment of silence, she said, “I’ll give you some time to look around. If there’s anything you need, let me know, and we can go pick it up. I’ll be downstairs in the office doing some work. Feel free to come down, whenever you get settled.”
Cat waited a moment for Ethan to respond. Last night, she’d spent several hours picking out the stuff for his room. She’d wanted it to be decorated before he arrived, so he wouldn’t feel like he was a guest. She’d even taken the time to hang a few posters the clerk at the store had assured her a teenage boy would find cool. Cat felt a pang of disappointment when he didn’t make any comment about the room. Giving up, she pulled the door closed and left.Don’t expect too much too soon, she reminded herself.
Several hours later, her stomach growled. Glancing at her watch, she was surprised to see that it was after noon. Ethan still had not made an appearance downstairs. Cat leaned back in the leather office chair and stared out into the empty living room. She’d left it up to him to come down when he was ready. She wasn’t sure if she should go get him for lunch or leave him alone. Sighing, she rose and went to the kitchen to make him a sandwich. Taking a guess, she went with bologna, cheese, and mayonnaise. She added a bag of Doritos and a Coke and carried the food up to his room.
The sound of the TV filtered under the door. She paused to take a deep breath, then knocked. “Ethan,” she called softly. “May I come in?”
“It’s your house,” came the muffled reply.
Cat pushed the door open and stepped into the room. Ethan was sprawled out on the bed, staring at the television. He didn’t bother to look her way.
“I brought lunch,” Cat said. “Bologna and cheese sandwich. I wasn’t sure what you liked. I hope it’s okay.”
Ethan glanced over. He rolled off the bed and walked to her. Taking the food from her hands, he mumbled, “Thanks.” Then he went back to the bed, his attention returning to the movie he was watching.
“Okay, well, I’ll be downstairs if you need anything else,” Cat said as she backed out of the room and closed the door.
I guess I don’t have to worry about him talking my ear off, she thought.
Later that evening, Cat sat bent over her desk working through some figures. She glanced up when she heard the muffled sound of footsteps approaching. She watched Ethan walk across the living room and stop in the doorway.
He leaned against the door jam and shoved his hands into his pockets. “I’m hungry.”
Cat looked at her watch. It was after 6:00p.m. “Is there anything in particular you’d like?” she asked.
He shrugged.
“How about pizza?” she suggested.
“Okay.” Another one-word reply.
“What do you want on it?”
“I don’t know,” he answered.
“Well, what do you like? Hamburger? Pepperoni? Cheese?”
She patiently waited for him to answer. Finally, he shrugged and said, “Hamburger, I guess.”
She grinned. “Great, hamburger it is.”
Cat stood and walked toward him. As she drew close, he flinched slightly. She caught the look of wariness that flashed into his eyes. As someone who’d received unsolicited beatings herself, she recognized the automatic response. Her heart constricted with sympathy. Knowing the last thing he would want from her was pity, she didn’t acknowledge that she’d noticed his reaction.
“I’m just going to grab my cell phone,” she said softly.
He nodded and took a step back. Not wanting to make him feel any more uncomfortable, she made sure not to pass by him too closely.
As she placed the call to order the pizza, Ethan returned to his room. When she disconnected the call, Cat sank down onto the sofa. This is going to be tough, she thought. How am I going to build any kind of relationship with him, if he refuses to stay in the same room with me?
Several minutes later, she was jerked out of her thoughts when the doorbell rang. “Pizza’s here!” she called, reaching for her wallet. After paying the delivery man, she turned back into the house to see Ethan standing at the foot of the stairs.
“Let’s eat it in the kitchen,” Cat suggested. She was determined to have a conversation with the boy.
He reluctantly followed her to the kitchen and sank down into one of the chairs at the dining table. Cat placed the pizza box in the middle of the table and went to get them some plates. When she returned, she took the chair directly opposite Ethan.
Within seconds, he’d already eaten his first piece and started on the second.
“I guess you like it,” she commented dryly.
He glanced up. A blush crept into his cheeks. He dropped the piece he held in his hand. “It’s good. I’ve never had it before,” he mumbled.
“You’ve never had pizza?” she asked, dumbfounded.
He shook his head. “Dad didn’t like it, so we never had it.”
Cat was at a loss for words. She couldn’t believe Ethan was a teenager and had never tried pizza. No wonder he didn’t know what kind he wanted. She wondered what else he’d missed out on in his life. She suspected pizza was just the tip of the iceberg.
“Well, I’m glad you like it. We’ll have to try a different flavor next time, maybe something really crazy like Hawaiian.”
“What’s that?” he asked.
“Canadian bacon and pineapple. It’s delicious.”
They ate the rest of the meal in silence. When they finished, he excused himself and returned to his room. Cat was a little disappointed they didn’t talk more, but at least she’d learned something about him. It was a start.

From the author of “Dogs Aren’t Men” comes “To Love a Cat”, a contemporary romance novel.
Catherine “Cat” James’ life is simple and orderly, and she likes it that way. She loves her job as an accountant. Working with numbers is safe and routine, no surprises. Her childhood had been very abusive and unstable. She vowed not to live that way as an adult. She also made a promise to herself to become a foster parent. She wished someone had been there for her as a teenager, to let her know she wasn’t alone.
Cat agrees to foster Ethan Summers, a troubled teenage boy whose childhood closely resembles her own. Suddenly, her nice and orderly life is filled with chaos and uncertainty. Things really start to spin out of control when circumstances bring police detective Mitch Holt into the picture. He’s handsome, charming, and definitely not what Cat needs right now, or so she thinks.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Billi Tiner on Facebook & Twitter

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