Lori Ryan

Rachel Thompson

Aicha Zoubair

Friday, February 28, 2014

Once Humans by Award Winning #Author Massimo Marino @Massim0Marin0 #SciFi #MustRead

From Dan Amenta’s Journal

We had the perfect life in the French-Swiss countryside until that mysterious windstorm in February.

No one realized anything unusual has happened, but the next morning, while driving Annah, my daughter, to school, I discovered that vehicles littered the highway, with their dead occupants still inside.

Returning home, no one answered the phone at any of the emergency departments nor could I or my wife, Mary, reach our relatives and friends. Checking on the neighbors, I found them dead.

We soon realized we might be the only survivors of a global catastrophe. We stock up on emergency supplies, turn the house into a stronghold, and collected food and medicines. The Internet still worked so I launched a large, online campaign to find other survivors with the hope of learning more about what we were facing. While waiting for any response at all, I managed to befriend some neighborhood dogs and we armed ourselves with survival gear.

At first, it felt weird and disturbing to go into stores and take things without paying but, of course, there was no one to pay. The whole world had become a ghost town.


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Genre – Science Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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Practical Advice for Beginning #Writers by RJ Blain @rj_blain #Fantasy #WriteTip

Writing a novel is a huge task, and it is kind of scary when you’ve never written one before. Is it really possible to write 50,000 words? 75,000 words? 100,000 words? Doubt and uncertainty plague fledgling writers, especially those who have never tried to write so much in a single piece before.
Take it one word at a time. If you can write a single word, you can write a novel. Take your first word, and then add another until you’ve written a sentence. Sentences are the fundamental building block of your novel.
If you can write a sentence, you can write a novel. After all, a novel is nothing more than a collection of words and sentences that tell a story. Worry about writing your story first. There’s a time and a place for writing a good story, and that happens after you have told the first version of the story.
Understand the Role of Editing
Editing is a trap many new writers fall into. Some writers edit the life out of their story without ever actually finishing their novel. Others don’t understand that they need to edit in order to turn a bad story into a good story, or a good story into a great story.
Editing has a role, and understanding how it plays in the writing process can really help relieve a lot of stress – and help get that project done.
For beginners, I want to stress how important editing is, in its time and place. That time and place is after you have experienced the joy of writing a novel and finishing the first draft. There may be the temptation to edit the life out of something you’re working on, but I really recommend you resist that temptation until after you’ve completed a novel.
There are a lot of doubts and uncertainties that plague beginners who have never finished a draft before. Worse still, for every unfinished draft that exists, it gets even harder to try to finish the next one.
Finish your draft first, then edit.
So, what role does editing serve? Editing serves a lot of purposes. It lets a writer better pace the novel. It lets a writer fix problems with character development, plot development, grammar, and spelling. There are lots of things a writer can fix through editing. They can’t, however, fix a novel that hasn’t been written yet.
Bad Habits to Avoid
Every writer approaches their novel(s) in a different fashion. Some write, edit, then write some more. Some write the worst drivel they can think of, and then fix it after they’re done vomiting words. Others spend years writing a novel one sentence at a time. However, there are a few habits that should be avoided.
Try not to…
  • … set conditions on when you write. If you only write when the stars align, it’ll take forever and a day to finish a project. Chances are, you’ll never finish a project, and that’s frustrating. This also applies to muses.
  • … write only what you view is politically correct. It’s okay to write about difficult subjects. Write what you want to write. Write what you love, and write about what you wish you could do. The possibilities are limitless.
  • … procrastinate. Procrastination is a certain way never to finish a novel.
  • … associate your value with the quality of your novel or how others perceive your novel. Your writing is not you.
  • … expect to write a masterpiece the first try.
Good Habits to Embrace 
Like with bad habits, there are good habits you want to embrace. A few of them include:
  • Write whenever possible. If you’re writing every day, even if it is a sentence, you will finish your novel.
  • Challenge yourself to do better. Study grammar. Emulate authors you love. Love your craft.
  • Critique others. If you can spot problems in other people’s novels, you can start spotting those problems in your novel. That’ll help you fix them.
  • Write about things you love, not necessarily what you know.
  • Study people. It helps with characterization.
  • Read lots of things – fiction, non-fiction, whatever you enjoy reading. Just read. It helps when you go to write your own stories.
Most importantly, have fun. Writing is a lot of work, but it can be really enjoyable as well.
Kalen’s throne is his saddle, his crown is the dirt on his brow, and his right to rule is sealed in the blood that stains his hand. Few know the truth about the one-armed Rift King, and he prefers it that way. When people get too close to him, they either betray him or die. The Rift he rules cares nothing for the weak. More often than not, even the strong fail to survive.
When he’s abducted, his disappearance threatens to destroy his home, his people, and start a hopeless and bloody war. There are many who desire his death, and few who hope for his survival. With peace in the Six Kingdoms quickly crumbling, it falls on him to try to stop the conflict swiftly taking the entire continent by storm.
But something even more terrifying than the machinations of men has returned to the lands: The skreed. They haven’t been seen for a thousand years, and even the true power of the Rift King might not be enough to save his people — and the world — from destruction.
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Genre - Fantasy
Rating – PG13
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Frances M Thompson on the One #Book Everybody Should Read @BushBirdie #amreading

What book should everybody read at least once?
The Bride Stripped Bare by Nikki Gemmell, though she wrote it as “Anonymous” when it was first published. She is one of my favourite authors and it was the first novels I read that had a second person narrator. It was a fascinating reading experience and the story challenged many norms facing women in their twenties and thirties. Interestingly, I didn’t really like the main character but I cared deeply about the story - that’s quite an accomplishment by the author!
What do you hope your obituary will day about you?
I would love it if it read something like this… “Frances M. Thompson was a successful author of many books and short stories. Her books made people smile, laugh and love life a little more”.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
The things I see, the people I meet and the stories I’m told. In fact many of the stories in Shy Feet are based on things I saw or heard myself. For example, The Road is Long was based around a story my friend in Australia told me about how she found a wallaby that had been hit by a car. And in See the Amalfi Coast (which is free on Kindle or Kobo) there is a scene where the two protagonist have an impromptu hotel that is actually closed for the season, and that happened to my family and I on a trip to the Amalfi Coast when I was seventeen - the taste of that delicious spaghetti has stayed with me for the longest time!
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
Without a doubt marketing. As it happens, I’ve not pitched my stories to an agent or publisher yet, so I can’t really comment on “getting published” but in the whole self-publishing process I went through I really struggled to understand how best to market and sell my book. I still do, to be honest!
What marketing works for you?
I’ve been quite surprised that direct marketing on my blog has worked quite well; two big sales peaks came when I published blog posts about my book. I find marketing easier when I’m doing something I enjoy, i.e. writing a blog post, sharing some beautiful photos that relate to one of my stories and I try to be more creative, for example, I’ve created playlists for people to listen to while they read my book. I also found selling signed copies of my book on my blog was more successful than I had thought. In fact, getting my book in print was so crucial to my sales; I’ve sold nearly as many print books as I have ebooks!
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?
I’d love to study the history of fashion. There’s no link here to writing or publishing, it’s just something I’m very, very interested in. I’ve read a few books on it and I love learning how fashions over the decades have reflected social change and historical events.
Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
I have to thank my partner for really being my back bone from the beginning of this journey into writing and publishing. He’s a man of science and really has little time for the arts - he doesn’t even read that often! - but he’s been my biggest source of support. From creating code to transform my manuscripts into ebooks to telling me to “keep the faith!” when I’m full of self-doubt, this journey would have been much harder without him. It looks like I’m going to have to write that robot post-apocalyptic science fiction story he wants just to say thank you!
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you? 
Right now, I’m not sure. It felt like enough of a success to get a book ready for publishing but six months after that, I realise that a career in writing is best seen as a series of successes and so it’s time for me to work towards the next one. I certainly have some goals or ideas of success in mind for the future, I’d love for one of my books to break the Amazon Top 100 one day.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
I love reading, of course, and I try to do at least ten minutes in the morning of each day, normally while eating breakfast. We don’t have a television but we do have Netflix so my boyfriend and I like to slowly work our way through a TV series or two during our free evenings. I also like to crochet and I’m teaching myself to knit – I find both so therapeutic to take my mind off everything!
Do you have any tips on how writers can relax?
It’s not immediately obvious as a relaxing activity, but I really believe in the power of exercise to help you stay focused and to also help you relax. When I’ve done at least twenty minutes of exercise a day, I feel like I deserve to relax so automatically I can slow down and not feel guilty for taking time for me. I also recommend switching notifications off your phone or leaving your phone in another room when you want to relax; it’s not healthy how much Smartphones make us instantly contactable.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world?
As a regular traveller and travel writer, I have too many to mention so I’ll go with something safe like Amsterdam, where we currently live. Aside from all the beautiful canals and architecture, I love this city for being a place where people can be themselves – whatever that may be – and I love how safe it is for children. Every summer you see kids drawing chalk on the pavements outside their houses, often unaccompanied. Sadly that doesn’t happen so much in London (where I’m from).

"This collection of stories is like a blanket woven from 100% wanderlust under which you can hide as Frances M. Thompson tucks you in with her words and keeps you warm with her descriptions of characters you'll love and places you can tell she knows by heart." Gesa Neitzel, www.bedouinwriter.com
Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel is a collection of twelve quirky, charismatic and touching tales of travel.
The inquisitive Ruth tells the story of The Lost Children of Gatwick Airport and in Max's Holiday we learn what a seven-year-old boy considers a "proper holiday" to be. In The Flowers Sleep Tonight, we meet Thomas and Carly, two solo travellers whose paths keep crossing... because that's exactly what Thomas wants. A spontaneous plan to elope is revealed in The Runaways and Homes from Homes is about the lessons Patricia learns from the hotel bellboy she has a fling with. Oh, Henry is the story of how a dream holiday can mean two different things to two lovers and Katie's Maps is an offbeat love letter to a vast collection of maps. Extracts from a travel journal tell one woman's life story in All the Beaches are Made of Pebbles and find out what Australia and underpants have to do with Claudia wanting to leave her husband of forty years in The Road is Long.
From the unforgiving Australian Outback to the jagged beauty of the Amalfi Coast, along the pebbled beaches of Brighton & Hove and down the busy streets of late night Barcelona, this collection of short stories highlights how travel intersects and enriches all of our lives, often without us realising it...
"Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel transports you to exotic locales without leaving your armchair and leaves you wanting more... Frances M. Thompson has a novel in her and I can't wait to read it." Nathalie Harris, www.acooknotmad.com
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Short Stories, Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG13
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Thursday, February 27, 2014

12 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer by Elliot C. Mason @ArthurRay44

12 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer
  1. Drink more.
  2. Shake off any friends you once had.
  3. Stare at people for a long time, letting cigarette smoke diffuse into your eyes.
  4. When you meet people ask things like ‘How many times on average do you masturbate per day?’ or ‘When was the last time you shit and did you look at the dirtied toilet paper?’ just to gage their reaction and let them know that you are a writer now -  you have no time, patience or room for sanity.
  5. Discard all pretences of reading other writers’ work or maintaining contact with family members.
  6. Experiment with drugs and sexuality. Maybe even start shouting and shaking your hands a lot like Ginsberg.
  7. Always dress as if ready for a burlesque performance at any time; never actually take your clothes off, though – just allude to it constantly.
  8. Laugh at people who talk about things as if they actually matter; when proving to them the trivial futility of existence, only quote yourself.
  9. Be utterly, despicably sure of yourself. Wear it about you eternally.
  10. Never, ever stay still. Staying still kills people.
  11. Talk to yourself; there is no better conversation possible.
  12. Then write something. And never stop writing. Quit your job to write. Write even whilst you’re dancing, whilst you’re talking, whilst you’re drinking, whilst you’re asleep and whilst you’re dead.
A stark dystopian world of insatiable greed and ceaseless distraction is that of young Gustav Klein, a German twenty-three-year-old who has just sold his hotel in Munich. He is looking for nothing more than escape. The modern gadgets which flash their endless advertisements are locking society inside brick houses, allowing them to be dumbed-down further by the money-hungry gremlins in the high towers. 
Gustav Klein, meanwhile, begins a journey over the myriad terrains of Europe, through countless bottles on the corner of morbid winter streets, coloured by the peculiar characters he encounters, some who bestow upon him their wisdom, some who fuel his disdain, some who ignite his desires, and some who merely drink with him until they hit the floor in a merry temperament. 
But the hedonistic, aimless rambling must come to end, for life calls. And Gustav lands on a mountain in Scotland, searching for release, for total nature, untouched by the destructive hand of man. But, it seems, it is too late... In this harrowing tale of youthful rebellion, dark nihilism on the road, heavy drinking beatniks, political adversity and the capricious desires of the gluttonous modern man, the reader is taken by the hand firmly and hauled into a bleak world where every man lives for himself. Close your eyes if you are scared, but you cannot escape.
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Genre – Travel, Political, Dystopia, Romance
Rating – PG15
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Since You've Been Gone from TWELVE HOUSES by Olga Soaje #Literary #Women

Since You’ve Been Gone

Stay with me.
Don’t fall asleep too soon.
The angels can wait for a moment.
—Westlife, “Written in the Stars”
You promised you would never leave me. Thirty-five years ago, I looked you directly in the eye and heard, “I will never leave you,” as we stood next to the ocean. And now, like a thief in the night, you go. No last words, no promises, no tears.
As I look back at that moment, I can still feel your hand intertwined with mine, each finger between mine, like an oyster shut tight against the sea, protecting the treasure it carries inside. But the treasure was in my belly, full of love and expectations.
We walked like tourists along Pier 59, a place we came to think of as home. Wind in our faces and a carefree spirit in our hearts. Gently you stopped and pulled my hand so I would follow suit as you turned; I could see your eyes full of love and complete devotion. I felt I could stay in that moment forever. It was this feeling, this sublime happiness, that I did not want changed or challenged. That’s when I turned to you and looked into those blue eyes as I said aloud, “I don’t want this to change.”
Your face distorted into a concerned expression as you tried to reassure me. “It will be different when the baby arrives; it will be even better.”
“It’s not that. I’m excited about meeting the baby and having it with us.”
So you poked at the subject with concern on your face, as you asked, “Then what is it? What don’t you want to change?”
“Us,” I answered blithely, taking in a large whiff of air through my nose as a source of strength for what I was about to request of you. As I looked out to the sea right in front of us, I said, “I don’t want to forget this feeling. I want to always feel this love and peace between us.”
You gave me that dimply smile. “We will always have it. And when we don’t, we will have the direction in which we want to go.”
As a sea gull passed close to us, landing in the water with a tiny splash, I looked at you and finally said what had been on my mind, the deep seed of this conversation. “I don’t want to lose you.” Once again, your easy laugh, followed by an enveloping hug, while you gave me the grin I’d come to realize meant, You’re hormonal. “I’m serious. Just promise me…”
Can anything good follow the best thing that ever happened to you?
Amelia Weiss loved her husband of thirty-five years very much, but now he’s left her a widow. Without him, she is unable to work in her sculpture studio without crying. She no longer has a bridge to her estranged daughter. And she can’t seem to keep her mind in the present.
But when her daughter reaches out asking for her help and her agent threatens a lawsuit if Amelia doesn’t deliver for an upcoming exhibit, she’s forced to make a choice. Will she reengage with her life and the people in it—allowing room for things to be different than they were before? Or, will she remain stuck in the past, choosing her memories over real-life relationships?
Thrust fully into the present, Amelia stumbles into a surprising journey of self-discovery.
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Genre – Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction, Women's Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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Artwork from An Infinitesimal Abundance of Color by Mark David Major, Layce Boswell @markdmajor



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Genre – Juvenile Fiction/Bedtime and Dreams

Rating – G

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Forty 2 Days (The Billionaire Banker) by @GeorgiaLeCarre #erotic #romance #amreading

‘Dishonest little Lana,’ he murmurs, his breath hot against my skin.  He runs his hands down the smoothness of my neck into the collar of my blouse.
I begin to tremble.  He watches his own fingers slip a button out of its hole and then another.  He spreads apart the joined material so my throat, chest and the lacy tops of my bra are exposed.  His cold furious eyes return to mine.  The breaths that escape my lips are suddenly shallow and quick.  He smiles possessively.  He knows the effect he has on me.
‘You were by far more when you squeezed into that little orange dress and your fuck-me shoes, and went looking for money.  Look at you now; you’re flapping around inside a man’s jacket.  Two hundred thousand and you don’t even buy yourself a nice suit.’
He tuts.  ‘And this…’  He raises his hand to my hair.  ‘This ugly bun.  What were you thinking of?’ he asks softly, as he plucks the pins out of my hair and drops them on the blue carpet.  Bit by bit my hair falls around my shoulders.  Without moving his feet he reaches back to a box of tissues on the table.  Takes one and starts wiping away my lipstick.  Meticulously.  From the outside in.  He throws the stained tissue on the ground.
‘That’s better,’ he pronounces.
I stare wordlessly up at him.  He looks as if he wants to devour me.  All the time we have been apart is wiped away.  It is like we have never been away from each other.  This is the man I belong to heart and soul.  Without him I have been an empty shell going through the motions.
‘Lick your lips,’ he orders.
‘What?’  I am horrified by the cold command, and yet electrified by the sexual heat his order arouses in me.  My nerves scream.
His jaw hardens; his eyes are steely.  ‘You heard me.’
The tension in his body communicates itself to me.  It simmers between us. Desire ripples through me.  My thighs clench tight with excitement and my heart flutters like a crazy thing. This is how he is in my recurring fantasies.  Demanding, possessive, taking, raging with sexual need.
I lick my lips slowly.
He eyes the journey my tongue undertakes avidly.  ‘That’s more like it.  That’s the mercenary bitch I know.’
One moment he is standing there cold and insulting, and the next he has thrust a rough hand into my hair and pulled my head back.  I gasp with shock, my eyes wide, his dark.  Like a desert storm he descends on my parted mouth.  There is no time even to pull one’s cloak about oneself.  So sudden.  So unexpected.  He tastes wild, the way the first drops of rain in the desert taste.  Full of minerals. Bringing life to all it touches.
He kisses me, as he has never done.  Roughly, painfully, violently, purposely bruising my lips, his mouth so savage that I utter a strangled, soundless cry.  The change, the extent of his anger, is impossible to comprehend.  He is different.  There is no longing.  Only an intense desire to hurt and have his revenge. This is not the same man.   My actions have unleashed something uncontrollable.  Something that wants to hurt me.  Alarm bells go off in my head.  It occurs to my fevered brain that he is ravenous, starving.  Then for some strange reason an image of him eating thin, almost transparent slices of cheese on biscuits flashes into my mind.  How civilized he was.  Then.  Before I betrayed him.
I taste the fury in his kiss: blood.
And my mind screams—this is abuse.  A moan gets caught in my throat, struggles vainly, and then escapes.  My hands reach up to push him away, but my palms meet the stone wall of his chest, and as if with minds of their own, push aside the lapels of his jacket and grip his shirt.  I know what once lived beneath the shirt and I want it.  I have always wanted this man.  As if my hands splayed across his chest have communicated my total submission, the kiss changes.  His tongue gentles, but demands more surrender.
The fingers grasping my hair hurt my scalp.  I feel the pain vaguely, but more than that I feel myself begin to drown in that vortex of sexual desire.  The violent, throbbing need between my legs finds its way into my veins and flesh.  Every cell in me wants him inside me. I am on fire. One year of waiting has made me hungry for him.  I want him.  I want him thrusting that enormous dick of his deep inside me.  For a year I have dreamed of him inside me, filling me.  I know how good he can make me feel.  My body tries to burrow closer to him, but I cannot get closer; his grip on my hair is relentless.  Desperately I push my hips towards him towards what I know will be delicious hardness.
As if that is some silent signal he puts me casually away from me.  And I am thrust back in a shitty back office in Kilburn High Street.  What the fuck am I doing?   He casually props himself against the desk, folds his arms across his chest, and looks at me calmly.
I cannot return the insult.  I am a mess.  I stand there frustrated beyond belief, breathing hard, the blood pounding like an African drum in my head.  My knickers are wet and between my legs I ache and pulse for him.  With every weak and trembling part of me I want him to finish what he started.  I want him so bad it is shocking.  I clench my hands at my sides and try to get myself under control.  I look at him, how cool and collected he is, as he watches me struggle to regain some measure of composure.
Then he smiles.  Oh! Cocky.  He shouldn’t have done that.  I feel maddened by the taunting smile.  How dare he?  He just wanted to humiliate me.
And then I see it.  Not so fast, Mr. Blake Law Barrington.
I take two steps forward, reach my hand out and put a finger on that madly beating pulse in his throat.  It drums into my skin.  The frantic beat is carried away by my blood up into my arm, my heart and into my brain.  Years later I will remember this moment when we are connected by his beating pulse.  We never break eye contact.  His eyes darken.  Now he knows that I know—my need may be obvious and easy to exploit, but he is not as unaffected as he pretends to be.  He was testing his own limits of control, but it hasn’t been as easy as he expected.
‘Is it sex when I want to see you come apart?’ he asks bitterly.
A breath dies in my chest.  I take my finger away from his throat.   ‘What do you want, Blake?’
‘I want you to finish your contract.’
Beyond the seductive power of immense wealth lies... Dark Secrets
Devastatingly handsome billionaire, Blake Law Barrington was Lana Blooms first and only love. From the moment they touched his power was overwhelming. Their arrangement quickly developed into a passionate romance that captivated her heart and took her on an incredible sexual journey she never wanted to end.
The future together looked bright until Lana made a terrible mistake. So, she did the only thing she could... she ran.
Away from her incredible life, away from the man of her dreams, but she should have known a man such as Blake Law Barrington was impossible to escape. Now, he's back in her life and determined that she should taste the bitterness of his pain.
Shocked at how rough the sex has become and humiliated that she is actually participating so willingly in her punishment, she despairs if she will ever feel the warmth of his touch--the solidity of his trust again? And even if she can win his trust, loyalties are yet to be decided, and secrets to be revealed--secrets that will test them both to their limits.
Will Lana be able to tear down the walls that surround Blake's heart, and break him free of the brutal power of immense wealth?
Can Blake hold on to Lana's heart when she discovers the enormity of the dark secrets that inhabit the Barrington family?
Lana has always believed that love conquers all. She is about to test that belief...
Buy @ Amazon
Genre – Erotic Romance
Rating – PG-18
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