Saturday 30 November 2013

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About P.T. Macias @pt_macias

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About P.T. Macias

My name is Patricia T. Macias. I was born in San Jose, California. I currently live in Sacramento, California with my family.

I have three children. My eldest is my daughter Erica Crystal. My middle child is Andres Arturo, and my youngest child is Ricardo Emanuel. I have four beautiful grandchildren. I have three grandsons and one granddaughter. My granddaughter is only a few months old. My family is my pride and joy.

I also enjoy spending quality time with family and friends. I love to read romance and paranormal. My favorite book is Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I also enjoy reading J.R. Ward, Lindsey Sands, and lots more.

I always dreamed of writing and I’m extremely happy to be achieving my dream. I want to write since I was in elementary. My characters are my best friends. They’re always talking and living in my mind and dreams. I would tell you that writing is my passion.

I graduated from the University of Phoenix with a dual Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management Administration.

I’ve been working for the same employer for 32 years. I started working with them when I was eighteen. I’ve been working in my current technical position for 28 years.

I’ve been writing for approximately three years. I realized one day that all of my dreams were stories and characters demanding to be told.

I write without an outline or plan. The stories flow out when I’m writing. Their personalities and their characteristics are developed. I see them clearly in my mine. Then direct the plot, the scenes, and the dialogue.

I wrote my first series, the De La Cruz Saga, in one year. The saga has a subtle influence of Spanish and the Spanish becomes more laced (as the story progresses).

I write in the present tense because I believe it puts the reader “IN” the action, rather than as part of an “after thought”. I believe it brings the characters to life!

This is my voice, my style. Dare to read the awesome De La Cruz Saga that’s full of passion and suspense. Enjoy my latest and greatest series is Razer 8. The new Razer 8 series is all about action, adventure, passion, and romance.

My latest and greatest goal is to write a Mexican Cook book. I hope you enjoy the recipes.


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Redfox, Razer 8 10-13-13

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Genre – Romantic Suspense

Rating – PG 13

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Belinda Vasquez Garcia – What Inspired Me to Write Return of The Bones, Inspired by a True Story @MagicProse

There is a legend among the Pueblo peoples that the great leader, Moctezuma, was a witch born at the ancient Pose Uingge Pueblo in New Mexico. After he grew up, Montezuma traveled to the Pecos Pueblo where he changed his name to Montezuma and ruled. Under Montezuma, Pecos flourished and became overpopulated so he decided to form other New Mexico pueblos with the surplus. Montezuma then flew on a giant eagle south and founded more pueblos in New Mexico and then the great Mexico City.

While doing research for the Native American legend of Montezuma for my Land of Enchantment Trilogy, I stumbled across an article in the Harvard Gazette. In 1915, Alfred E. Kidder would become a famous archaeologist for discovering the ruins of the Pecos Pueblo. Kidder dug up more than 2,000 skeletons and transported these bones to Harvard University for medical research, including the famous Osteoporosis Study that proves exercise strengthens bones. The Pecos dig was the beginning of American Archaeology.

In 1990, Congress passed the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act, allowing Native Americans to reclaim ancestral remains and artifacts taken from burial sites. The article in the Harvard Gazette was about the 2,067 Pecos skeletons being claimed by their descendants, and transported back to the ruins of the Pecos Pueblo for reburial.

I was moved by the journey these bones had undertaken. For 83 years these skeletons had to work instead of lying in peace in their graves. It seemed as if these skeletons were calling out to me to write their story and let the world know about their contributions to mankind so they would not be forgotten.

I could see an image of an old Native American and his granddaughter, the last of the Pecos Indians, traveling in a raggedy pickup, to claim their family’s ancestors and rebury them back at their haunted pueblo ruins.

I like to add magic to my books so the old Native American became a shaman who fashions for his granddaughter a dream catcher that now and then whirls her back to the past to experience her people’s triumphs and suffering. Return of the Bones is a different way to write historical fiction. I wanted to bring the past to life for Hollow-Woman and place her right there at the pueblo so she could witness the history of her ancestors first hand.

In creating the character of Grandfather, I was inspired by an old Native American who used to visit my father, a man I called Chief. He worked as a gardener during the summers at my aunt’s house at the end of my street. The old man lived in a shed, his only possessions his clothes on his back, hand-rolled cigarettes and bottles of whiskey. He and my dad would sit around our table and drink, philosophizing as only drunks can. The old Native American was shrunken and weather-beaten with skin like bark. He had greasy braids and a red bandanna tied around his forehead. He wore stained, grey khaki pants. He was mainly closed-mouth, sitting next to my father, smoking his hand-rolled cigarette, his eyes like two slits in a mud-cracked face. He would grunt back at my father. When the Native American was done drinking the bottle he and my dad shared, the old man would stand up and wobble to our front door. He would walk drunkenly down our street back to the small shed he called home for the summer.

Return of the Bones won Best Historical Fiction for the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. The novel is written with much love and heart, and I hope the reader feels the emotion pulsing between the pages.

BookCoverwAwardSticker_BelindaVasquezGarcia_Return of the Bones

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Genre – Historical fiction

Rating – PG

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Friday 29 November 2013

#AmReading - The Noticer Returns by Andy Andrews @AndyAndrews

The Noticer Returns by Andy Andrews


Perspective is a powerful thing.

Andy Andrews has spent the past five years doing a double take at every white-haired old man he sees, hoping to have just one more conversation with the person to whom he owes his life.

Through a chance encounter at a local bookstore, Andy is reunited with the man who changed everything for him – Jones, also known as “The Noticer.”

As the story unfolds, Jones uses his unique talent of noticing little things that make a big difference. And these “little things” grant the people of Fairhope, Alabama, a life-changing gift - perspective. Along the way, families will be united, financial opportunities will be created, and readers will be left with powerfully simple solutions to the everyday problems we all face.

Through the lens of a parenting class at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Alabama, Jones guides a seemingly random group to ask specific questions inspired by his curious advice that “You can’t believe everything you think.” Those questions lead to answers for which people have been searching for centuries:

  • How do we begin to change the culture in which we live?
  • What is the key to creating a life of success and value?
  • What if what we think is the end…is only the beginning?

    What starts as a story of one person's everyday reality unfolds into the extraordinary principles available to anyone looking to create the life for which they were intended.

  • Ocean’s Gift by Demelza Carlton @DemelzaCarlton

    “To the lucky deckie!” Skipper roared. All the beer glasses went up with a ragged cheer, before tipping to empty their contents down the throats of their owners.

    My glass came down empty. I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand and stood up. I started to weave through people to the sink out the back. It was near closing time and there was an unspoken rule – it was always the deckies’ turn to wash up.

    Skipper stood in front of me, so I had to stop. “Not your turn tonight. You head back to camp.” He winked. “Maybe find some other way to celebrate tonight.”

    Bloody bastard was reading my mind. I faked a yawn. “Yeah, like sleep before you get me up at the crack of dawn tomorrow.” I stumbled out of the club into the dark.

    Someone made a ribald comment behind me that I didn’t hear, but the laughter in response was unmistakeable.

    It took me a minute to find my torch in my pocket and switch it on, before I went down the rock-strewn track to the dinghy.

    I pushed it out into the water and got in. The engine caught on the second pull and I steered her around, headed back to Rat Island and camp. Good thing I knew this stretch of water so well – beer and driving a boat in the pitch black was bloody difficult.

    I figured I had maybe half an hour before the other guys would be back. If we had the lights out by then, maybe they wouldn’t bother us. Was that enough time for a couple of drinks with her? A drink or two and one thing might lead to another….SHIT!

    I felt the wave drench me from behind and saw it half fill the boat with water, knocking the torch out of my hand. The engine sputtered and died, drowned, and I found a few more four-letter words to describe the motor. I pulled on it, over and over, pounded it till my hand hurt, but the bitch didn’t catch. Dead in the water, with a boat full of water, I groped for the paddle I know had been there before the wave hit. My hand grasped the handle and I pulled it free.

    Look at the bloody lucky deckie now, I fumed. Paddling his bloody dinghy back to Rat Island in the dark.

    I paddled till my arms ached, but the distant lights on Rat only seemed to get further away. I saw the other guys get in their dinghies and head back to Rat Island in a convoy. I shouted and waved, but they never heard me. The wind was blowing the wrong way, carrying my voice out to sea. It had picked up a fair bit, too.

    I stopped paddling to rest for a few minutes, letting the boat drift with the waves. Maybe it’ll ground on a sandbank or a rock and I can just sit here and wait till morning.

    I hadn’t prayed about it, but the unsaid prayer was answered anyway. The bottom of the boat scraped across a rock. I tipped the useless motor up, in an effort to save it from further damage, as the tinnie wedged up against part of the rock just under the surface. I breathed a sigh of relief.

    Now I just sit here and have wet dreams while I’m soaked through in a dinghy full of water on a rock, until someone comes looking for me in daylight. Just the thought of Vanessa with her clothes off would keep any red-blooded male warm for a night…

    I drifted between sleep and daydreams, waking every time a wave jolted the boat. Another wave sloshed over the side of the boat, soaking me again, and forcing me awake. The boat was almost full of water now, I realised in panic, as I groped for a bucket to start baling with. Throwing bucket after bucket overboard, I couldn’t tell if I was making any difference to the water level in the boat.

    One moment I was holding the bucket, about to scoop up more water, the next I was flying through the air, full of spray and water and no sign of the tinny. Suddenly immersed in cold, black water, I couldn’t see the surface. I struggled, kicking in the direction I thought was up, and hit a rock. I jerked back reflexively and my head cleared the water. I gulped a huge lungful of air and grabbed for the rock. I had to hold on till daylight. Surely, that couldn’t be too far away.

    Another big wave broke and I tried to keep a hold of the slimy rock, but I was pushed out of reach, drifting in the current. I tried to kick my legs, but I wasn’t sure if I did. I couldn’t feel my feet and the numbness was creeping up my legs. Vanessa won’t be able to help me here, I thought. I could feel my body shake with laughter. I drifted.

    I could hear the breakers on the outer reef, louder than they were from shore. I could feel the spray on my face. A wave washed over me and I was under the water again.

    I thought I heard dolphins, but it sounded deeper and closer with my head submerged. Dolphins or whales? I thought I could feel them beside me, rolling me over so my face was at the surface, pulling my body through the water.

    Arms lifted me into a boat, laying me down across the length of it. Dolphins with arms? No, that’s not right.

    I could feel the boat moving through the water, but I couldn’t hear the engine. Maybe it was the rushing in my ears, drowning it out. All I could hear was an unearthly singing, high and sad, like some kind of suicidal dolphin. I could say I blacked out, but everything was already so fucking black I wouldn’t have noticed the difference.

    I checked out of Hotel Consciousness. At least I got to dream of Vanessa naked.


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    Genre - Australian sea adventure,contemporary urban fantasy,paranormal romance

    Rating – PG 13

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    Author Interview – Shanna Hatfield @ShannaHatfield #thechristmascowboy

    Image of Shanna Hatfield

    How do you work through self-doubts and fear?

    As soon as I register doubts and fears creeping in, I turn my thoughts to something positive. Maybe it’s a nice review I’ve recently received or a note from a friend. Anything to chase away the negative thoughts. Facts help, too. Rather than fuss about what I fear in the future, I look at the facts. Numbers don’t lie.

    What scares you the most?

    Snakes. I really, really don’t like snakes.

    What makes you happiest?

    I find happiness in many places – like a cup of fragrant tea, a good visit with a friend, a bouquet of beautiful flowers, finding money in a coat pocket I forgot was there. But I’d have to say my husband (lovingly referred to as Captain Cavedweller) makes me the happiest.

    Why do you write?

    I write because I can’t imagine going through life not writing. It is part of who I am, what I do, and always will be.

    Have you always enjoyed writing?

    Always. I think I wrote my first work of fiction in third grade. It was about a raccoon.

    The Christmas Cowboy

    "10% of the net proceeds from all my book sales December 1-24 will be donated to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund®"

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    Genre – Romance (contemporary western)

    Rating – PG

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    Thursday 28 November 2013

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

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


    Jez listened to his heart pound as he made his way to the militarized airplane. The propellers of the Lisunov Li-2T whumped as they waited patiently for heavier work, but patience wasn’t a condition he suffered from. The blood had raced through his veins non-stop since he’d been reassigned.

    Only a handful of passengers crossed the airstrip; and boarding the right-hand side of the aircraft revealed why: cargo took up ten of the twenty seats. Probably it was munitions for the KKE, or Soviet personnel. He found an empty window seat behind the wing, stowed his kitbag and sat.

    A regular army captain flustered along the aisle and bundled awkwardly into the seat next to him. He was a short, thickset man with a kindly, but weathered face.

    “Ah, the uniform, you’re with Spetsnaz.”

    “Yes, sir.”

    “You’re very young. Are you new to the group?”

    “Yes, I am, sir.”

    Conversation over, the captain nodded, settled his briefcase onto his lap and busied himself with its contents. He hummed so tunelessly that Jez reckoned the composer would have trouble recognizing it.

    Not long after the last passenger had boarded, the beat of the aircraft’s engines increased and the vehicle started to move slowly, turned a quarter circle, stopped and then turned a bit more before beginning its journey up the runway. Jez tingled as he felt the bulk of the machine try to get airborne. Several times it lifted from the blacktop only to bounce back to earth and waft small clouds of blue smoke from the tires.

    Jez kept vigil out of the window until the plane had enough power to keep the wheels in the air. He knew that this, his first flight, would be the most exciting of all flights. The drone of the engines increased. The plane rose up to the clouds, reached its desired height and changed the angle of elevation towards horizontal. They hit turbulence and the passengers bounced fiercely in their seats.

    “Is this the start of a long tour of duty, Private?” the captain asked.

    “The truth is, sir, I don’t know.” Even if he had, he wouldn’t have been willing to discuss his remit.

    The captain seemed to sense what Jez thought of the question, smiled graciously and returned his attention to the briefcase. The aircraft rode through every available air pocket and Jez enjoyed each twist and turn, until at last they arrived at the KKE landing strip.

    In 1948, with two-thirds of the country in communist hands, coming down in a safe region wasn’t difficult. This strip was north of the Balkan Peninsula in a southern area of Macedonia. Historically, the Greek right-wing conservatives had used tyranny to subjugate the Macedonians, which made for an easy alliance with the KKE.

    Jez was last off the plane, because the captain took forever to repack his case. When he did leave his seat, another officer rushed by and Jez was held up further. By the time he reached the bottom of the gangway, his travel companion had met his contact and most of the other passengers had left the strip. Workers were unloading the cargo from a rear hatch, and beyond that a young KKE soldier stood by a UAZ-469 Soviet jeep.

    The soldier looked too young to be there. His long unkempt hair hung straight, stuck untidily out from under a weather-beaten beret. His features typically Greek, his dusty olive uniform was an exact match for the color of his skin; and his large brown eyes, should he live long enough, would draw the girls like flies to sugar.

    He held out a hand to halt Jez. “You Kornfeld?” he asked.

    “Yes, I’m Private Kornfeld.”

    The boy remained solemn-faced and nodded towards the jeep.

    “Good luck, Private,” the captain bid, as he and his associate passed. “I hope the ride you have here is not as bumpy as the one we’ve just shared.”

    “Thank you, sir.” Jez forced a friendly grin, but found the lackluster in the KKE boy’s gaze had unnerved him. A face without expression and eyes without life. Jez wondered what lay ahead.

    The young soldier crunched into gear and pulled away at breakneck speed, while Jez jerked backwards as they flew from the dirt runway. The jeep formed a sand cloud that trailed their movements. After fifteen minutes of dusty roads they reached mountainous ground, and Jez hung on as the jeep danced over the rough terrain. Rocks jutted dangerously from the track or the road hung precariously over precipices, and he bit his lower lip at the boy’s avant-garde attitude to driving.

    “You must have seen a lot of action here?” he said, and hoped he hadn’t interfered with the boy’s concentration.

    He looked only around fourteen, but his character seemed a lifetime older. His eyes left the road to give Jez a cursory glance. In the meantime, the jeep took the twists and curves as if on automatic pilot. “No Russian speak,” he replied, and without a line of expression he returned focus to the job.

    Jez wished Anna had been by his side. He was sure she’d have something to say about the boy’s erratic driving and stone-faced comments. Whatever, he concluded a great friendship wasn’t about to be forged with his Greek driver, and he turned his attention to the elevations around them. The journey took them south, nearer enemy territory, and finally to an open stockade in a dustbowl nestled at the foot of a line of low-rise mountains.

    The jeep raced to the center of the compound, the wheels locked up and they skidded to an emergency stop. The dust cloud didn’t follow suit and Jez learned what it was to be enveloped by a sandstorm. The powdered dirt settled, and without a word the young Greek soldier shut off the engine, nodded and left. Jez threw his kitbag over his shoulder and turned full circle in the hope there might be someone more companionable.

    Soviet soldiers had gathered in a group near a cluster of tents and a sergeant held center stage. “Excuse me, if you’re Sergeant Viktor Sharansky,” Jez said, breaking the loop, “I believe you’re expecting me. I’m Private Kornfeld.”

    The sergeant looked him over derisively. “What’s this? Now they send me little boys to take care of in the middle of a war. Maybe I should stick a broom up my ass and sweep up as I go, because I’m not doing enough already. What say you – err – Private Kooornfeld?” He stretched the name sarcastically, and the others laughed.

    Around forty years old, Sharansky was medium to tall with square shoulders that tapered to slim hips. Muscles fought to burst the confines of his short-sleeved combat shirt, and he looked every centimeter the definition of a boyhood hero. A cubed head with rough features on the front of it, creases that denoted laughter and eyes displaying a cheeky twinkle – Jez wasn’t put off by his words.

    “You’ll find I’m able to look after myself, Sergeant. I’ll give you no cause for concern.”

    The sergeant laughed. “Don’t let that distress you, little one, I have no intention of offering any such thing. What happens to you is down to you. What’s your first name? I’m not giving you Private Kooornfeld every time I’m ordering you around.”

    “My name is Jez, Sergeant.”

    “Right, Jez Sergeant, I’m busy. Find somewhere for your kit and we’ll see what we can do with you later.”

    Birth of an Assassin

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

    Buy Now @ Amazon, B&N, Kobo & Waterstones

    Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense

    Rating – R

    More details about the author

    Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter


    Wednesday 27 November 2013

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


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


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

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

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

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


    “A crude rendition of Beauty and the beast”

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

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

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

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

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

    Buy Now @ Amazon

    Genre – Fiction

    Rating – PG 13

    More details about the author

    Connect with Eve Rabi on Facebook & Twitter


    Indiestructible: Inspiring Stories from the Publishing Jungle @MsBessieBell

    Tackling the Time Factor

    by Jessica Bell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    So what about the rest?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Here’s an example:

    My job (at least 7 hours worth)

    500-1000 words on my WIP

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

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

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

    I made dinner.

    I walked the dog.

    I relaxed.

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

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

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

    Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

    Nothing is impossible if you truly want it.

    Nothing is impossible. Full stop.


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

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

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

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


    Buy Now @ Amazon

    Genre –  Non-fiction

    Rating – G

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    Laila Ibrahim – Spiritual faith

    Spiritual faith is a central theme in Yellow Crocus.  My own beliefs a liberal religious person shine through the story.  A deep spiritual life can be essential for getting through the hard times in life-whether those hard times are something as devastating as the loss of a child or something as trivial as failing a driving test.

    The centering and strengthening of religious rituals, the release and commitment that come through communal prayer, the joy of shared celebration, working together with like minded-people, and serving as companion, guide, and comforter to one another–all of these dimensions of the experience of religious community help to deepen’s one faith.

    From The Gift of Faith by Jeanne Harrison Neiuwejaar

    Tending to your child’s spiritual life is no easy task in our hectic culture.  There are so many distractions, so many wonderful opportunities, and so many demands for our that it is hard to carve out the time for matters of the spirit.  Taking the time to be grateful for a beautiful sunset, marvel at our place in creation, think about what happens after we die or reflect on our deepest purpose takes a back seat to soccer, birthday parties, and homework.

    It is easy to experience the instant payoff of soccer, birthday parties and doing homework.  The longer term payoff of a spiritual life, of church, can be more elusive.  But the investment is ultimately worth it.

    Church was not optional for our children.  We made it very clear to them at a young age that on Sundays we go to church.  By middle school they were regularly attending worship in Hamilton Hall where they learned the rituals that go along with adult worship as Unitarian Universalists.

    By 11th grade Kalin, our older daughter, was the person in our family who was most  insistent that we go to church.  She was feeling very overwhelmed by her life.  The pressure of high school and college applications was very hard on her.  She told us, “I need church.  I need that quiet time to reflect on the important things in life in a place where I feel safe, surrounded by people who care about me no matter what.”  Church helped her to get through that hard time.  Our investment had paid off.  We had given her a precious gift:  The gift of faith.

    Yellow Crocus

    Buy Now @ Amazon

    Genre - Historical Fiction

    Rating – PG-13

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    Tuesday 26 November 2013

    Breathing for Two by Wolf Pascoe @WolfPascoe

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

    #AmReading - Dust by Hugh Howey @hughhowey

    Dust by Hugh Howey


    WOOL introduced the silo and its inhabitants.
    SHIFT told the story of their making.
    DUST will chronicle their undoing.
    Welcome to the underground.

    Sunday 24 November 2013

    The Howling Heart by April Bostic

    * * * *

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

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

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

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


    Buy Now @ Amazon

    Genre – Paranormal Romance

    Rating – Adult

    More details about the author & the book

    Connect with April Bostic on Goodreads


    Saturday 23 November 2013

    Deidre D Havrelock – What are your long-term and short-term goals? @deidrehavrelock

    What are your long-term and short-term goals?

    My short term goals are to market my three books (and my three ebooks) Studying…The Testimony, Living…The Testimony, and my spiritual memoir, Saving Mary: The Possession. After marketing is started, and it already has begun, I will be finishing book three in the testimony series: Preparing…The Testimony. Preparing…The Testimony is not a typical Bible study. This study is meant to help Christians both discover and value their own personal testimony. Oh, I also have the audio book for Saving Mary coming up for sale in December, 2013. I can’t wait for the audio book; I’ve found a great reader who is just wonderful with dialogue. And of course, I will be finishing book two – Saving Mary: The Deliverance. This is the second book in the Saving Mary series. I called my memoir ‘Saving Mary’ because Mary Magdalene was the woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons. (See Mark 16:9.) The first book, Saving Mary: The Possession is the story of how I became possessed by two evil spirits; the second book is the story of how I became unpossessed. Basically, it’s the story of how God revealed Jesus to me and, ultimately, changed the course of my life. A shortened version of the whole story can be found in Living…The Testimony.

    Long-term goals: I’m going to be working on a screenplay. It’s a hobby of mine. I took up screenwriting back in Saskatoon, SK, when I ran into Bill Boyle (author of The Visual Mindscape of the Screenplay). I also have another book in mind that I’d like to write, one regarding women and the Holy Spirit. I believe the Holy Spirit is stirring up an awful lot of women to step out in faith and preach and teach the gospel. I’d like to encourage these women.

    I will also be looking to put a few conferences together on the importance of testimony, bringing in some speakers to share their personal testimonies. I would also like to publish a book of testimonies from readers. So, send me your personal testimonies of how Jesus was revealed to you!

    Or post your story here:

    Living the testimony

    Buy Now @ Amazon

    Genre – Christian Living

    Rating – G

    More details about the author

    Connect with Deidre Havrelock on Twitter



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

    Friday 22 November 2013

    Joyfully Yours by Amy Lamont @Amy_Lamont

    Chapter One

    Faith Leary had kicked off the holiday season the same way every year since she’d reached adulthood—standing in the express checkout line at Carlucci’s Market the day before Thanksgiving. 'Cause nothing said “Happy Holidays” better than a dented can of cranberry sauce. 

    Though this year was a little different. She’d made a major score. Only one of the two cans of cranberry sauce she held was dented. Her mother would have only half as much to complain about. 

    And speaking of things to complain about…she tapped out a sharp beat with her toe on the dingy linoleum floor. She stretched up onto her toes and leaned sideways in an attempt to see around the man in front of her. The customer at the register pulled out a wad of coupons and Faith bit back a groan. With a quick huff to blow the fringe of bangs out of her eyes, she shuffled both cans of cranberry sauce into one hand and dug into her over-sized bag with the other. She stirred through the debris living in the bottom of her purse until her fingers wrapped around her phone. 

    The line didn’t move an inch. 

    Faith checked the time. 2:10. She’d promised Mrs. Marshall she’d arrive no later than 2:30. If she didn’t make it, she’d have to wait until after the Thanksgiving weekend to get paid for walking Mrs. Marshall’s ancient Lhasa Apsos. She had a few bills to pay, and in another week her rent was due. Her negative bank balance meant she couldn’t afford to hold off on getting her paycheck. 

    That’s what you get for waiting until the day before Thanksgiving to buy cranberry sauce. Honestly, Faith. She cringed and almost turned to see if her mother stood behind her in the grocery line. She stopped at the last minute. That voice was all in her head. 

    Decisions, decisions.  Stay in line and miss any chance of making rent on time this month or put down her only contribution to Thanksgiving dinner and risk her mother’s anger? Eviction was the worst that could happen if she paid her rent late. And that was a lengthy process. Her landlord worked with her in the past. Maybe he’d do it again. 

    There would be no working things out with her mother. For the rest of her life she’d hear about the Thanksgiving she’d completely ruined by waiting until the last minute to get cranberries. Sighing again, Faith dialed Mrs. Marshall and told her she wouldn’t make it. 

    Faith checked her phone again when she reached the head of the checkout line. 2:20. Was it possible only fifteen minutes passed? 

    “That’s $3.58,” the cashier said around a huge gob of gum. 

    Faith once again plumbed the depths of her bag, this time in search of her wallet. Opening it, she found two crumpled dollar bills. Wasn’t there a five in there yesterday?

    Oh, wait. She gave it to the bartender when she bought a Coke at the place her band played last night. What remained in her wallet was the change he gave her. She offered the cashier a weak smile as she dived back into her bag. Surely she’d stuck a few singles in a pocket here or there. 

    Dragging her fingers across the crumb-coated bottom, they closed around some change. Snatching it up, she counted out seventy-two cents. 

    She squinted at the price glowing green on top of the cash register, mentally cursing any store for having a cash only line in this day and age. “How much is it again?” 

    “$3.58,” the cashier repeated in a bored tone. 

    Faith went in once more, this time coming up empty-handed. She pulled items out, piling her sunglasses, lip gloss, tissues, and a half-eaten Hershey bar on the conveyor belt. The toe of the man in line behind her started tapping and she ground her back teeth together. 

    “Let me get that for you.” 

    Faith turned toward the end of the checkout lane.  A pair of sky blue eyes met hers, their color enhanced by the dark hair dipping over his forehead. He offered her a friendly grin and her lips curled in response. Her gaze drifted down, admiring his strong jaw and then roaming even lower…locking on the spot under his chin. 

    She blinked once, then again. The vision in front of her didn’t change. His black shirt and white tab collar were still there. 

    Holy crap. How fast does a person get sent to hell for checking out a priest?

    Faith turned back to the cashier and forced down all thoughts of what she had almost done. She had absolutely not been about to start batting her eyelashes at a priest. Nope, not her. 

    At least there was one good thing about all this—with a priest bearing witness to this whole mess, the people behind her would probably refrain from showering her with stinging insults and settle for dirty looks. 

    Faith dug in her purse again, avoiding eye contact with the priest. “Thanks, but it’s okay. I’m sure I have–” 

    “Lady,” the man waiting in line behind her said, “take the money so the rest of us have a chance to make it home before Thanksgiving.” 

    Faith’s shoulders dropped and she turned to the priest. “I can pay you back.” 

    “Don’t worry about it. Consider it my good deed for the day.” He flashed another grin that made her want to melt into a puddle at his feet. You know, before she remembered the whole priest thing. He handed her the two dollars and she paid for her cranberries and stuffed her belongings back in her purse.

    She turned back towards the priest to offer her thanks, but he’d already disappeared. 

    She grabbed her bag and hurried outside before the other patrons had a chance to grab their torches and pitchforks.

    Holidays sure did seem to bring out the best in people. 

    Joyfully Yours

    Buy Now @ Amazon

    Genre - Contemporary Holiday Romance

    Rating – PG

    More details about the author

    Connect with Amy Lamont on Facebook & Twitter


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    #AmReading - The Fire Opal by Connie Flynn @ConnieFlynn

    The Fire Opal by Connie Flynn



    A runaway teenager returns to the Cajun roots she fled in terror to attend her mother's funeral and learns that some destinies cannot be escaped.

    A bounty hunter goes back to the swamps in search of his brother's killer and discovers the girl he thought was dead is now a full-grown woman who never gave him a second thought after she ran away.

    Le phantom noir, the dark entity who killed her mother and grandmother, resides in the swamp. Her father is in pursuit and they are pursuing him, all intent on getting the opal back. It's their only chance of defeating this evil. 

    Onio by Linell Jeppsen @nelj8

    Chapter 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Onio revised (2)

    Buy Now @ Amazon

    Genre – Fantasy/Romance

    Rating – PG13

    More details about the author

    Connect with Linell Jeppsen on Facebook & Twitter


    Thursday 21 November 2013

    #Bargain Post-Human by David Simpson @PostHuman09


    PROMOTION: Now you can switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible audiobook. Add the professional narration of Sub-Human (Book 1) for a reduced price of $2.99 after you buy the Kindle book of Sub-Human. Listen to Sub-Human Chapter 3's sample here Also, Post-Human (Book 2), Trans-Human (Book 3) and Human Plus(Book 4) are all $0.99 each for a LIMITED TIME as well!
    And their audiobooks are coming soon!

    Age Range: 12 years and up

    The future should have been perfect. Microscopic robots known as nans could repair any damage to your body, keep you young by resetting your cellular clocks, and allow you to download upgrades like intelligence, muscle strength, and eyesight. You were supposed to be able to have anything you wanted with a simple thought, to be able to fly without the aid of a machine, to be able to live forever. But when a small group of five terraformers working on Venus return to Earth, they discover that every other human in the solar system has been gruesomely murdered. Now, James Keats and his four companions must discover what happened to the rest of humanity and fight back if they wish to avoid the same, horrifying fate. Welcome to the post-human era.

    Buy Now @ Amazon

    Genre - Science Fiction

    Rating – PG

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    Connect with David Simpson on Facebook & Twitter

    Boundless by Brad Cotton @BradCott0n

    Chapter 6

    NOT TWENTY MINUTES after leaving the motel, young Ruby fell asleep upon her bag in the back seat. As the BMW crossed the border into Colorado just before lunch, Ruby had still not awoken.

    “When did you know?” Ray asked Duncan. He put down his book and looked over to the driver.

    “Know what?”

    “Did you just decide it one day or did you always think it?”

    “This again?”

    “Maybe it’s just a feeling,” Ray surmised. “Like people who think that everything happens for a reason. But you don’t think that, do you?”

    “I think some things happen for a reason, sure,” Duncan said.


    “Why would there be a word for fate if it didn’t exist?”

    “There’s a word for unicorns, isn’t there?”

    “I think there has to be some kind of plan,” Duncan said. “You can fall off the path or change direction, but you can’t run from who you are.”

    “What’re you guys talking about?” a voice said from the back seat.

    Ray curled his head around the over-sized headrest.

    “Oh, nothing,” he said. “Just something we started a long time ago.”


    “No. Not unicorns.”

    “It sounds like you’re talking about unicorns.”

    “Ray’s been trying to understand how I can believe in God,” Duncan said.

    Duncan looked in the rear view mirror to see if he could catch Ruby’s reaction. He couldn’t even see the top of her head. Though awake, Ruby had slouched down even further and curled across the entire back seat. She rested her head on her bag and shut her eyes once more.

    “Arguing whether there is or isn’t a God is like arguing whether or not a song is good,” she said. “You can never be right and you can never be wrong.”

    “You believe in God?” Ray asked.

    “I don’t know.”

    “You don’t know?”

    “I’m assuming you don’t?”

    “Not for a second.”

    “How can you be so sure?”

    “The evidence against it is overwhelming.”

    “So then what happens to you when you die?” Ruby asked.

    “You die,” Ray said. “You’re dead. End. Over. Bye bye.”

    “I think I believe in reincarnation,” Ruby said, her eyes still closed. “Haven’t you ever met someone that you feel you’ve met before, or that you know from somewhere else? And what about all those people that just seem so new?”

    “Well, if there is such a thing as reincarnation, I’d come back as a cat,” Ray said.

    “A cat?” Duncan said. “You hate cats.”

    “For the same reasons I’d want to be one.”

    “A cat?”

    “A housecat, yeah. I’d lie around all day. Someone else would get my food, rub me down, and no one would give a shit if I ever paid any attention to them.”

    “Pray on it,” Duncan said.

    “Don’t you want to be in heaven?” Ruby asked. “Don’t you want to think that once you die you’ll get to be with the people you love? The people you’ve lost?”

    “I think it sounds like a pretty crowded place,” Ray said. “And no, I don’t think I’d want to be anywhere where I had no purpose.”

    Duncan shook his head.

    “Can we stop?” Ruby asked.

    “Yes, please,” Duncan said. “We’ve been talking about it forever and we never get anywhere.”

    “No, can we stop. I’m a girl, small bladder.”

    “Oh, yeah, sure,” Duncan answered. “I’m hungry, anyway.”

    “Yeah, a cat.” Ray said. “That’s the life.” He nodded as he looked out the window at the grass whizzing by.

    Duncan pulled off Interstate 70 at the outskirts of Grand Junction, Colorado. He screeched into a gas station and Ruby sprung from the car and scurried to the washroom. Ray got out to stretch his legs; Duncan began refueling.


    Buy Now @ Amazon

    Genre – Contemporary Fiction/Literary Fiction

    Rating – R

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    Author Interview – AFN Clarke @AFNClarke

    How has your upbringing influenced your writing?

    It’s been a major influence.  I’ve lived all over the world, so from an early age I experienced different cultures and religious, political and social systems.  My father was a low level MI6 operative and my mother worked in British embassies, so I was also immersed in the intelligence community and the intrigues of international diplomacy – all enhanced later by my own training as part of Britain’s elite Parachute Regiment.

    These experiences are a rich source of content for my books, in terms of the plot, locations, the diverse characters and the historical background that’s key to the stories I weave.

    What’s the one thing from your childhood that endures in your writing today?

    An intense curiosity about everything!  Having lived in exotic locations from an early age I was immersed in different landscapes, tastes, smells, sounds – and I found it all very exciting, intensely interesting and a great adventure.  There was so much to explore, so many different people to talk to.  That curiosity and the excitement of new frontiers and ideas continues today – so I hope that comes through to my readers and keeps them turning page after page into the early hours of the morning.

    What’s your greatest strength as a writer?

    I think my greatest strength is trusting my instincts and allowing my characters to write themselves into an intriguing story.  I never plot out my books from beginning to end, I just can’t write that way.  To me the characters and story have a life of their own that they reveal to me as I write – and so to touch a reader I need the characters to think, live, breathe and expand the way life does – never predictable, never scripted but growing and developing organically.  I guess it takes a bit of insanity to write this way, but it’s my way and for me it works.

    What’s your greatest character strength?

    I would have to say, perseverance. It’s a trait that was definitely strengthened through life’s circumstances. The army taught me a level of perseverance that probably saved my life, once I was medically discharged.  No-one thought I would live through my medical ordeal, but my determination proved them wrong. I’ve tackled difficult jobs and situations throughout my life and don’t give up easily and I think that’s what helps me as an author as well.

    I knocked on doors for over two years before my first book CONTACT was accepted by a publisher and then became a bestseller.  If a chapter in my book is not to my liking I will write and rewrite till I get the “aha” moment when I know I’ve cracked the code and it’s flowing again. I hate problems or puzzles I can’t solve – so I keep teasing away at them till I figure them out.  It’s that curiosity plus tenacity that I think makes me want to continually be a better writer, better “whatever” and most likely helps me keep going when others might give up.

    Are there any books you really don’t enjoy?

    I think every book and genre of book has developed, in some measure, as a response to a wide variety of readers’ needs.  And even if I do not enjoy a particular book, as an author I can still learn something from it.  But nevertheless there are certain types of books I generally don’t read.

    Romance novels, because I find most of them over sentimental, soppy and a bit formula.  Books with gratuitous violence, which is strange to say, as my thrillers involve violent acts and death – but vivid descriptions of violent or sordid acts that are written just to shock are not what I enjoy reading and not what I would call good literature. “How-to-become-spiritual-and-a-better-person” books, because again, I don’t think that’s a “follow-these-steps” process or formula.  My personal belief is that deep inside we all know what we need to do to become better people and we have the capacity – we’re just too lazy, it doesn’t always suit us, we try to avoid putting in the effort or personal change required.


    Buy Now @ Amazon

    Genre – Thriller

    Rating – PG-13

    More details about the author and the book

    Connect with A.F.N. Clarke on Facebook & Twitter



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