Saturday, 31 May 2014

7 Questions with #Author Ann Benjamin - #Contemporary #Fiction


What’s your greatest character strength?
I am a very loyal person who loves to include everyone. I’m not sure where the trait developed, but I am an inclusionist to a fault.

Why do you write?
Because I have to!  Honestly, I’m not sure what I would do with all these ideas I have.  Where would they go?  I suppose if I was artistically inclined, I’d have a way to creatively express myself, but writing is like breathing.

Have you always enjoyed writing?
I have always enjoyed writing!  Literally, I have a picture of myself at age 8 sitting on our front porch with a three ring binder and a box of pencils working on some story or another.  In college, I flirted with screenplays but in my early twenties I finished my first novel and haven’t looked back.  If I’m not working actively on a book, then I’m definitely editing something.  Even when I’m reading, I’m wondering how my own books stack up.

What motivates you to write?
I’m motivated by a lot – song lyrics, podcasts, and artwork.   Ideas come from all over.

What writing are you most proud of?
Two unpublished works – one YA and one historical thriller.  I hope they do get published at some point.

What are you most proud of in your personal life?
Taking a risk and moving outside of the United States.  My husband and I decided seven years ago to try expat living and nothing has paid off more. 

What books did you love growing up?
I loved a lot of books and credit some great authors with getting me interested in writing.  I loved and read (and reread) the entire Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I still think Alanna (from the Tortall series by Tamora Pierce) is one of the best female protagonists ever.  I also love the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hard Lovelace.

room702

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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Thursday, 29 May 2014

The Sovereign Order of Monte Cristo by Holy Ghost Writer @SultanOfSalem

After the much-needed bath, Dantes puts on his dressing gown and lies down on his old bed, which he finds deeply comforting. He has played and traveled hard over the past few busy years, and he knows it has worn on him; there is more silver in his hair than before. He hopes to slow down soon, for he loves his new home with his family close by and misses them terribly. The sweet, baby faces of his daughters loom in the darkness of his closed eyes. How blessed he is! He resolves to enjoy Paris while he is here, though. He wants to go to the opera while he is in town and also visit a few of his favorite haunts. Finally, he falls fast asleep, only to awaken to a servant telling him the meal is nearly ready.

The servant helps Dantes dress and leads him to the dining room.

“The table looks divine,” Dantes says, thinking how nice it is to be out of his traveling clothes and into something more refined. He looks at the spread before him—fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as two huge pheasants with mint jelly. The yeasty smell of homemade bread fills the air and makes his mouth water.

“I hope this pleases you, sir,” Valentine tells him. “I know the food in America is quite different. Perhaps you have become too accustomed to their fare to appreciate ours.”

“Oh, nothing can compare to a good French meal, although American food has its own charms. When the baby is old enough to travel, you will all have to visit my estate in Georgia. It’s a different world, but one I believe you will enjoy,” Dantes tells them.

Just then, he hears the creak of a wheelchair. In comes M. Noirtier. Dantes rushes over to him and bids him hello.

“My old friend!” he says. “My heart fills with joy to see you—let us enjoy this magnificent feast as well as one another’s company.”

The next morning, Dantes plans to visit more of his old friends, at least those who still reside in Paris. A carriage awaits him in the hazy light of dawn, and he is flooded with memories as he drives through the streets. He wishes Mercedes and Haydee could be at his side, but knows his daughters are far too young for such travel; it would exhaust them.


Holy Ghost Writer

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Genre – Action, Adventure
Rating – PG-15
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Malpractice! The Novel by William Louis Harvey @sexandlawnovel #Drama #Fiction

In the midst of this process, he heard the water start in the shower but didn’t alter the pace of undressing. When all was in order, he went into the bathroom and opened the shower door. He stood there, immobile except for a growing erection, admiring her beautiful body. Cleo was a few inches shorter than Paul, neither thin nor fat, with a firm body; beautiful, firm breasts with erect nipples; a thin waist; and smooth skin that had a slightly tan color from her one-quarter Hawaiian heritage. Her face remained exotically beautiful after all of its makeup was washed away, with just a hint of Asia in her eyelids, and she had black hair that was stylishly cut short.

Her pubic hair was also black and appeared to be standing guard over the delights below, like the eunuch guarding the sultan’s harem.

Finally, in mock anger, Cleo said, “OK, Boss, either come in or leave, but close the door. You’re getting water all over the floor.”

Paul laughed and complied. They put wet, soapy arms around each other and washed backs while their fronts were in contact. (pp 181-182) Malpractice! the Novel 

Malpractice_Cover_sansback1

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Genre – Steamy Courtroom Drama
Rating – R
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Peter Simmons and the Vessel of Time by Ramz Artso @RamzArtso

Portland, Oregon
October 22nd, Afternoon Hours

I sauntered out of the school building with my friends in tow and pulled on a thickly woven hat to cover my fluffy flaxen hair, which was bound to be frolic even in the mildest of breezes. I took a deep breath and scrutinized my immediate surroundings, noticing an armada of clouds scudding across the sky. It was a rather blustery day. The shrewd, trilling wind had all but divested the converging trees off their multicolored leaves, pasting them on the glossy asphalt and graffiti adorned walls across the road. My spirits were quickly heightened by this observation, and I suddenly felt rejuvenated after a long and taxing day at school. I didn’t know why, but the afternoon’s indolent weather appealed to me very much. I found it to be a congenial environment. For unexplainable reasons, I felt like I was caught amidst a fairytale. It was this eerie feeling which came and went on a whim. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Perhaps it was triggered by the subconscious mind brushing against a collage of subliminal memories, which stopped resurfacing partway through the process.

Anyhow, there I was, enjoying the warm and soporific touch of the autumn sun on my face, engaging in introspective thoughts of adolescent nature when Max Cornwell, a close, meddlesome friend of mine, called me from my rhapsodic dream with a sharp nudge in the ribs.

‘Hey, man! You daydreaming?’

I closed my eyes; feeling a little peeved, took a long drag of the wakening fresh air and gave him a negative response by shaking my head.

‘Feel sick or something?’ he persisted.

I wished he would stop harping on me, but it looked like Max had no intention of letting me enjoy my moment of glee, so I withdrew by tartly saying, ‘No, I’m all right.’

‘Hey, check this out,’ said George Whitmore,–who was another pal of mine–wedging himself between me and Max. He held a folded twenty dollar bill in his hand, and his ecstatic facial expression suggested that he had just chanced upon the find by sheer luck.

‘Is that yours?’ I asked, knowing very well that it wasn’t.

‘No, I found it on the floor of the auditorium. Just seconds before the last period ended.’

‘Then perhaps you should report your discovery to the lost and found. I’m sure they’ll know what to do with it there.’

‘Yeah, right. That’s exactly what I’m going to do,’ he said, snorting derisively. He then added in a somewhat defensive tone, as if trying to convince himself more than anyone else, ‘I found it, so it’s mine–right?’

I considered pointing out that his intentions were tantamount to theft, but shrugged it off instead, and followed the wrought-iron fence verging the school grounds before exiting by the small postern. I was in no mood for an argument, feeling too tired to do anything other than run a bath and soak in it. Therefore, I expunged the matter from my mind, bid goodbye to both George and Max and plunged into the small gathering of trees and brush which we, the kids, had dubbed the Mini Forest. It was seldom traveled by anyone, but we called it that because of its size, which was way too small to be an actual forest, and a trifle too large to be called otherwise.

I was whistling a merry tune, and wending my way home with a spring in my step, when my ears abruptly pulled back in fright. All of a sudden, I couldn’t help but feel as if I was being watched. But that wasn’t all. I felt like someone was trying to look inside of me. Right into me. As if they were rummaging in my soul, searching its every nook and cranny, trying to fish up my deepest fears and darkest secrets. It was equivalent to being stripped naked in front of a large audience. Steeling myself for something ugly, I felt the first stirrings of unease.

Ramz_cover_3_blueBG_1800x2560

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Genre – Young-adult, Action and Adventure, Coming of Age, Sci-fi
Rating – PG-13
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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The Curse Giver by Dora Machado @DoraMachado #Fantasy #GoodReads #BookClub


Lusielle waited until the lady and her bodyguard left the room before she stole out of the bed. She stood up slowly, testing both her feet and her balance. The soles of her feet protested slightly as she pressed them to the floor, but then went numb. She tried taking a step.

The jars and bottles crowding the nightstand wobbled when she steadied herself on the table. She spotted an open jar. A quick whiff revealed the presence of cat’s claw, mixed with high quality fats and scented with lavender’s extract and a touch of calendula to ward off the festering. Upon further inspection, she recognized several kinds of aromatic oils to promote quick healing and the laudanum tincture that was most likely responsible for her drowsiness.

The lady’s healers had used nothing but the best ingredients. No wonder her burns were almost healed.

Dragging the linen sheet around her body, she shuffled towards the ornately framed mirror leaning against the far wall. It was a shock to see her reflection in that long, gilded mirror, disheveled, gaunt and half-naked, like a frail, helpless fool.

Lusielle found the sight alarming, because with the exception of the small hand-held mirror her husband used to supervise her when she shaved him, Aponte Rummins refused to allow mirrors in his house. He thought mirrors spoiled women, aiding in the corruption of the feminine virtues he appreciated best—modesty, obedience and humility. Vanity, he’d often said, was a woman’s blight, and he intended to protect Lusielle from the sins it engendered, including pride, arrogance and wantonness.

Ten years she had lived under Aponte’s rule. Ten lost years she would never get back.
Until today, Lusielle had never had the time or the means to examine her body in front of a full-length mirror. Releasing the crumpled sheet, she found her legs too long, her frame too thin and her feet bound in clean bandages. She also spotted a dressing covering her back.

After undoing the knots, the bandages dropped to the floor. Then for the first time she looked—really looked—at her back.

A few crooked welts snaked between her shoulder blades, marking the trail of the lash. Her skin was still red, but it was healing in the spots where the braided whip had broken through. A messy bruise surrounded the mending wound midway down her back. Craning her neck, she spotted the darker pigmentation beneath the bruise, the faint but even outline of what looked like a small pair of butterfly wings imprinted at either side of her spine.

The gods protect her. Her body indeed wielded a mark, just like the lady said!

She suppressed a rush of fear and forced herself to think. Just because she bore a mark didn’t mean that everything the lady and her bodyguard had said was true. Lusielle might come from a modest family, but she was no ignorant wench. She understood that every cauldron cooked a different mix, more so if it entailed the mighty highborn. For reasons she couldn’t yet comprehend, the Lady of Tolone wanted Lusielle gone. Thus the boots and the gold coins.

On the other hand, why stay and run the risk that the lady was right on any count? The most compelling fact supporting the women’s warning was obvious. Her rescuer was a highborn lord. He had no reason to offer Lusielle his protection and no motive to save her life. She could be of no value to him, as she wasn’t highborn and she didn’t command a ransom.

Her husband had repudiated her. Her town had turned her out. Orell had tortured her. The magistrate had condemned her to death. Under the circumstances, it didn’t seem so far-fetched that when it came to her, the grim-gazed lord had no other purpose but sport.

Nothing good could come from staying with these people.

She sensed the danger all around her. Sure, she couldn’t exactly go back home, but staying put offered more risks than advantages. She didn’t understand the Lord Brennus’s actions and she couldn’t even begin to fathom the lady’s motives, but she knew one thing—she had to trust her instincts. She had to leave.

But where could she go?

Lusielle knew she had to have a sound plan if she was going to survive. The last few weeks—no, the last ten years of her life—had taught her a brutal lesson. At sixteen, she had become an orphan and a bride. At twenty-seven, she was equally helpless and sentenced to die.

Despite her best efforts and sacrifices, she was still alone—as helpless, weak and vulnerable as she had been the day her parents died.

She wiped a stray tear from her eye. No more of that. She was done grieving, and she was tired of submitting and conforming.

She was determined to turn disaster into opportunity. To do so, she was going to have to carve out a spot in a world that had thus far refused to make space for the likes of her. She must go to the only place where she might have a chance to survive and maybe even thrive. It entailed a long and dangerous journey with no assurances, and yet it was her best—nay, her only—chance. She just had to figure out how to get there.

Her eyes fell on the money Tatyene had given her, the three gold coins glinting atop the pile of clothing on the bed. They offered a good beginning.

She donned the soft linen shift and put on the ruffled blouse and the brown skirt. She rolled the woolen hose over her bandaged feet and up her legs, then put on her boots, lacing them loosely. Because of her rescuer’s care, she’d had precious time to heal, and thanks to the healers’ efforts, her feet were mostly mended.

No excuses. This had to be done.

A quick look out the window confirmed that the rain continued to fall. She had no choice but to steal one of the oiled leather mantles she found conveniently hanging on a peg. Her eyes fell on the tray of food standing in the corner. Her stomach grumbled. After downing a bowl of broth in one long gulp, she crammed a buttered roll in her mouth and stuffed her pockets with a bunch of grapes and a few slices of ham. She would have to eat the rest on the run.

She went to the door, but hesitated at the threshold. She had a plan and she intended to follow it. But what if this Lord Brennus was simply a nice man, the last one remaining in this cruel, crazy world?
She recalled how well he had cared for her throughout their journey. Had it not been for him, she would surely be dead. Even her lips remembered his kiss’s generosity. After enduring Aponte’s harsh mouth, she fancied she could easily distinguish cruelty from kindness and voracity from honest passion. No, despite the lady’s warning, she couldn’t think of the lord who had rescued her as mean, vicious or brutal.

What if he had seen through the injustice that had befallen her? What if he had been the only person—highborn or not—willing to help her in the face of that injustice?

The risks were too many to ignore and the danger was too real to forget, but the Lord of Laonia had saved her life and even as she fled him, she didn’t have to join the ranks of the ungrateful.

Lusielle retraced her steps and rummaged through the desk. Although there was no parchment in the drawer, she found a quill and a little pot of ink. She jotted down a few words on her unlikely page and then made for the door.

She slipped out of the chamber into the corridor. She had no idea which way to go, but she had to find a way out of the seed house. Voices and lively music echoed from below. A carved stone banister overlooked the main hall. She peeked between the railings.

The Lord Brennus sat on a high-backed chair next to the Lady of Tolone across from a fire roaring in the massive hearth. He sipped from a gilded horn, listening to the lady’s chatter but staring at the fire with a sullen expression.

Lusielle could tell that he had recently arrived from whatever foray he had undertaken as his boots were wet and muddy. He was still wearing his greaves and his muscled breastplates, impressive leather-and-bronze chest armor strapped at the shoulders and embossed with swirling vines.
The music began. The tall, gaunt man who had accompanied the lord during their trip came into the chamber and joined some of the warriors who had ridden with them on the way to Tolone. She recognized their faces from her journey’s hazy memories.

Other people loitered in the great hall, the lady’s servants and retainers, talking, gaming and eating from the trays on the tables. The lady’s fierce-looking bodyguard stood behind her chair. Even the guards wearing Tolone’s colors seemed to linger in the hall, until a couple of them got up and headed for the stairs, reminding each other loudly that it was time to make their rounds.

Lusielle froze as the guards mounted the first few steps. She wasn’t sure, but she thought that the lady had spotted her, hiding behind the railings.

Without delay, the lady rose to her feet and announced that she was going to dance in ringing tones. Every eye in the room fell on the stunning woman, including those of the guards, who paused on the stairs to watch their mistress.

Lusielle crept down the hallway. She didn’t really trust the Lady of Tolone or anyone else for that matter, but she was determined not to waste her best chance to escape.

Curse Giver

Award-Winning Finalist in the fantasy category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards, sponsored by USA Book News

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Genre – Fantasy/Dark Fantasy
Rating – PG-18
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Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Digging: Lifting the Memorable from Within the Unthinkable by @Susan_Rostan #WorldWar

I was watching my granddaughter Ella, just two years old, and her companion — a four-month-old black lab called LJ — sitting, as usual, with LJ nestled close by Ella’s side. They seemed so content in their own particular kind of digging into the moist vegetation of my back yard. I had been doing some digging of my own, the genealogical kind at this stage of our lives, yet thus far without the obvious satisfaction I could see in Ella’s smiling blue eyes and L J’s thumping tail.
 
In search of the history of my husband Bobby’s family — his decimated family tree — I had found myself immersed in the rubble of the Holocaust. Precious little information survived the destruction of their Jewish community in Warsaw. I didn’t even have verified names of some family members for searching accessible documents. Worse still, I could not ask for help; the Holocaust years were not discussed by my husband’s family.

 
Resigned to pursuing my handful of clues, I turned to writers and historians for a sense of what the family’s life might have been like. Yet a sense of the general terrain of their times was no substitute for the particulars of their lives. Discouraged by the limitations of the information I possessed, I considered the obvious: the family names, along with their stories, would be lost forever.
The unexpected back yard scene before me was a revelation; it gave me insights into the nature of digging, the patience and focus I needed to continue the painful and painstaking work of reconstructing a family’s lost history. I resisted the temptation to run for my camera. Ella’s effort was beyond a Kodak moment: it was an experience replete with memories and meanings. I needed words to describe what I was seeing and understanding.

 
As Ella and L J occupied themselves excavating the soil, a third party, engaged in its own version of digging, drew me away from my own ruminations about excavating the buried lives of Ella’s ancestors. Here a determined earthworm was seeking the soft black loamy terrain as it moved forward in its journey along the earth. The little worm, seemingly disturbed by the crowded corner of the yard, burrowed and slowly zigzagged off through the lightly vegetated ground. Engulfing dirt as it tunneled, the worm aerated the soil, bringing nutrients to the surface, and cast a rich fertilizer — vital to the soil’s health — back into the earth. L J was nearby, his head just touching Ella’s soft pudgy thigh. The puppy’s nails dug into soil as he enthusiastically removed dirt from the perimeter of a half-buried rock. Obsessively, L J maintained his focus on the dirt surrounding the rock, digging without concern for the debris flying in all directions.

 
Tiny Ella meanwhile explored a small log-sheltered hole just vacated by the earthworm. Her curious finger bent in its search for the end of the tubular space. Unsuccessful finding the hole’s destination, she began to gently pull tiny plants out of the soil and, after examining their roots, transplant the miniature foliage into new holes she meticulously prepared. Turning next toward the earthworm’s travels through and over the soil, Ella placed tiny pieces of leaves in its path and offered a soft but firm directive: “eat.” It struck me how nurturing both Ella and the earthworm had been in their diggings. Unlike L J, who was determined to dig and unearth without concern for the consequences, Ella and her terrestrial friend both created an environment for new growth, for beneficial possibilities.


digging

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, 23 May 2014

7 Questions with #Author Carin Kilby Clark - #Parenting #NonFiction


How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
The way I deal with self-doubts and fear is to first acknowledge it. You can’t address the issue if you are trying to pretend like it doesn’t exist. After I admit to myself that I’m having doubts, and that I’m afraid of taking the next step or what might happen next, I take out a pad and pen and write it all down. Every single thought – the bad, ugly, and truly terrible – and for every negative thought, I develop a positive alternate. I then read the positive thoughts aloud and practice envisioning that reality. That’s what helps me to accept my new thought pattern.

What makes you happiest?
I’m happiest when making my family proud and spending time with them. When I was growing up, my family was very close – and we still are. So, when I created my own family that value has been the true foundation that guides my purposeful actions geared towards fostering that strong family bond with my children. Some of the best times of my life are when we are all hanging out and acting silly together. It’s the greatest feeling in the world.

Why do you write?
I write to share my experiences and to hopefully help at least one person feel less alone. I receive so many positive comments and emails with readers who tell me how my stories have helped them and how they can relate. That is the reason why I write. It’s all about my readers.

What writing are you most proud of?
The writing I’m most proud of is a piece I wrote for the Huffington Post, Motherhood Did Not Change Me, It Made Me – of which an expanded version also became a part of the motherhood anthology New Life Within. It was such a personal piece about my experience with motherhood and how it shaped the person that I am today.

What are you most proud of in your personal life?
I’m most proud of the great example I have set for my children. As a single parent who first became a mother at the age of 17 and is divorced, there are many reasons why life could have gone a different way. But I never let my circumstances hold me back. Or determine what I was capable of achieving. I already see this same value at work within my children. And that makes me so very proud.

What genre of books do you adore?
I adore transformational books. I am a huge fan of continuous evolution. I look back, even a year ago, and I can see how much I’ve grown and changed. I love to read books that have advice, strategies, and tips on how to make the transformations in your life that are necessary for continually growth and self-development.

Where do you get your inspiration?
I get my inspiration from life. From actually living – experiencing various situations and interacting with people. I write about what I’ve dealt with personally, so my writing is always inspired by my life.

timeManagement
Do any of these excuses sound familiar?

I'm just too busy
I have too much on my plate
There's never enough time
I have to do it all
I don't know how to manage it all

If you answered yes, then prepare to put an end to the overwhelm once and for all. In Time Management Made Easy for Busy Moms, Carin Kilby Clark shares five simple tips that moms can implement right away to improve how they control their time and get things done.

Time Management Made Easy for Busy Moms offers insight into the one major block that prevents us from maximizing our time, gives readers practical information that is easily applied to everyday life, and helps you along the path to your "aha" moments about how and why you've been ineffective in managing your time; and how to to finally put time in its rightful place {on your side, of course!}.

As the mother of three very active children who also works full-time, runs a business in her "spare" time, publishes a lifestyle & parenting site, manages a growing motherhood community, and regularly contributes parenting advice to many popular sites in the parenting/family life niche, Carin's advice is solid; based on methods that she has successfully implemented in controlling her time and getting things done.

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Genre – Parenting, Relationships
Rating – G
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Thursday, 22 May 2014

5 Questions with Troy McCombs @Sonne3 #Horror #GoodReads #AmReading


Q: What first got you into writing?
A: My third grade teacher. She had the students write a short story for class credit. Well, it was love at first sight for me. Ever since I could not stop telling tales. I've always had an affinity for horror/scary stories. I don't know why horror over everything else. Maybe because I was (and am) afraid a lot of things. Death, flying, crowds, public speaking, being a few.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your writing routine.
A: I usually don't write till late in the night. And I mean late. I'm talking from 2 to 3 in the morning. That's when I get most of my energy. That's when my mind's freshest. There are times though when I right in the evenings. Five, six o' clock. Mornings are a bad time for me. I stay up most nights, so I'm definitely not a morning person. Other than that, I'll write for thirty minutes to an hour or more. It just depends on whether the ideas are flowing or if I don't have the creative UMPH. Sometimes the story writes itself; other times everything's forced. I don't think it's good to write when it's very forced.

Q: What do you like to do besides writing?
A: Recently, I took up playing guitar and singing. I'm not good at either! At least not yet, anyway. I know that practice makes perfect, and one can only improve with practice. I also like to work out, box, and do MMA. Reading and watching movies has always been something I really enjoyed.

Q: Tell us a little about your novel, Imaginary Friend.
A: I've had the idea for a long time. If you can imagine Stephen King's “Carrie” having an imaginary friend, this would be the result. A little boy named Nathan Stevenson lives a very rough life. His father beats him. Kids pick on him. His mother's a crackhead. His only salvation is his imagination. His only real friend isn't real. One night, while his father is abusing him, Nathan basically says WHEN. That's when all hell breaks loose. He believes his friend to life. Max, the heroic monster he created within his mind, goes on a killing spree. It's a very brutal story, and no punches are held back. If you like stories about the underdog who gets his revenge on his foes, look no further, I promise you.

Q: Do you have any other novels in the works?
A: Plenty. I'm actually branching out into drama and coming-of-age-type stuff. Horror will always be my forte, and I'll never stop writing it. But I really don't want to stick to one genre forever. I'll just keep writing and see where it leads me. That's all I can do :)

ImaginaryFriend

The apostles said to Jesus, “Make our faith greater.” Jesus answered, “If you had faith as big as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Pull yourself up by the roots and plant yourself in the sea!' and it would obey you.”

Tulpa: a materialized thought that has taken physical form.

Eight-year-old Nathan Stevenson is beat by his father, teased by his peers, and has zero friends—except Max, his imaginary friend. Max is a heroic creature he created years ago when the physical abuse became too much to bear. Strangely, every time Nathan imagines him, he becomes more lifelike, more substantial... but nobody could guess what soon happens when Nathan refuses to be a victim anymore.

The barriers of reality break down, and Max becomes real. Only Nathan can see him, but anyone can feel his violent wrath. The monster slays anyone who gets in his creator's path, and eats the hearts of his casualties in order to obtain strength. There's only one question: can Nathan learn to control his Tulpa? Or will it break free from his mental restraints to do whatever it desires? Either way, there will be a lot of dead bodies to clean up!

Author's Note:
This paranormal/splatterpunk horror novel, Imaginary Friend, has been updated with a new cover and has been reedited for a more soothing read. It also contains elements of science fiction and fantasy, but the information about "Tulpas" are based on fact. For adults only!

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Genre – Horror
Rating – R
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Connect with Troy McCombs on Facebook & Twitter

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

@RJ_Blain on Deadlines, Procrastination, Limitations & Having Fun #AmWriting #WriteTip

I think deadlines are the one thing every adult alive has in common with each other. At some point or another, we have to deal with them. Some of us embrace our deadlines. Others run away, find a corner, and curl into a little ball, weeping at its approach, all the while fearing the consequences of missing it. Some of us sit off to the side, watching it zip by our heads, joining the pile of other missed deadlines, numb to the fact that yet another one has flown by.

I deal with deadlines on a daily basis. When I’m not novel writing, I work as a freelance developmental editor. My clients expect me to get my work done so they can get their work done. Sometimes, all I want to do is run away from an encroaching deadline and weep. Most of the time, I stare it in the eye and face it with all of the determination I can muster. And yes, there are times I watch it zip by my head and shrug it off because there was just nothing I could do about it.
So, how do I deal with deadlines and stay sane? There are days where I’m convinced I don’t deal with them and stay sane. The simple truth is that once a deadline approaches, I have to sometimes go to extreme measures to get it done. Sanity is optional. So is sleep. Sometimes, so is eating. When it takes a certain amount of time to get things done, that amount of time isn’t going to change just because the deadline approaches.

Procrastination is not your friend.
The first tip to succeeding at deadlines is to learn not to procrastinate. It won’t help you. Spending an hour a day on a project is much easier than trying to cram 20 hours of work in a 24 hour day. I’ve done days like that, and they’re hard. They hurt. They can often be avoided. If I goof off instead of work, I only have myself to blame when the deadline comes up and I’m running out of precious time.
Procrastination is a habit, and it is one that can be beaten. But, if you have to procrastinate, do things that are useful. You aren’t writing? Clean your house. Don’t want to clean your house? Well, consider writing instead. I’ve beaten many a deadline by procrastinating on other projects. It’s a vicious circle of productivity if you learn to harness procrastination as a benefit instead of a disadvantage.

Plan your Time
Planning your time is a great way to avoid the worst of the edge of a deadline. The longer the deadline, the more the buffer you should give yourself. If you have a project you anticipate taking you three months, plan your time to finish three weeks early. That should give you enough time to address any of the problems and hiccups that will happen in a project of that scale.

I recommend a week of buffer time for every month of time you’re investing in a project. Then, if you need a day off, you can take one.

Understand your Limitations 
We all have limitations. Some of us can’t work more than an hour or two on a project at a time. Some of us like working one long day a week on a project. Understand how you work best, and understand your limitations. That way, when you’re planning your time and estimating the project, you can be realistic about how you’ll accomplish it.

Rise to the Challenge
When you go into a project, have the attitude of being challenged. Have an attitude that lets you strive to do better and reach your deadline. Have the attitude that you want to accomplish your goal. Some people say mind over matter is a clich√©, but it really does make a huge difference. Your perception of your deadlines makes a big difference on your ability to accomplish your goals.

Have a Little Fun with it 
The last thing I’ll leave you with is the idea that accomplishing goals and meeting deadlines can be fun and rewarding. Find a friend who will challenge you. Find a friend who also has deadlines to cope with. Tie your deadlines to a small reward, be it a handcrafted present or a prized journal. Sure, it’s a reward system, but when you and your friends do it together, it’s a lot of fun, too.
One of my friends bribes me with a journal if I have a particularly crazy month full of deadlines. If I accomplish everything I need to do, I get a reward. There is that little extra of a reward at the end of it, which makes me work harder to get it done.
Have fun with your work whenever you can. It makes beating deadlines a lot easier.

inquisitor

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
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