Lori Ryan

Rachel Thompson

Aicha Zoubair

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sebastiana Randone's THE HOUSE @sebasti29567440 #Romance #Fantasy #HistFic

She had developed into a very beautiful maiden; tall and svelte with thick golden hair, a long swanlike neck, and blue-green eyes that enchanted by their tendency to change colour with mood. These blue sapphires won young William over. Many suitors had come and gone. But he was the only one that made her heart quicken with ever increasing passion.
William Chatterham was extremely ambitious. Having created his wealth from speculation, at a time when England was expanding her empire through industry and commerce. With this, came along numerous opportunities. Particularly to those driven like William, who was fuelled primarily, by the desire to advance in station and social stature.
As a farmer, his father had toiled long and hard. Being a man who had a proclivity towards fiscal discipline, meant that the family endured a parsimonious existence, for which they were often derided and criticised, as is often the way with miserly folk. This lifelong adherence to economy however, eventually resulted in an inheritance that was surprising, as it was substantial.
When he was six, William’s mother passed away during child birth. The newborn, a girl, survived only to perish some days later. Eighteen year old William was the only child when his exhausted father finally fell to his death. This ensured the young man a small fortune. Sadness notwithstanding, suddenly William found himself in the novel predicament of a life that held much promise. Confidently he embraced this ascendancy with great expectation.
Not wishing to emulate his father, William, who was more predisposed to mental pursuits than manual labour, decided to tread a different path. With his formative years dedicated towards the procurement of wealth, William’s aspiration was largely borne of the desire to live a gentrified routine, consisting of fine clothes, food and wine, and marrying into a respectable family. The culmination of the inheritance, as well as, an innate acumen for investment and capitalising on opportunities, meant that William’s advance up the stairway to wealth and privilege was guaranteed.
Upon introduction William fell instantly in love with Elizabeth. Her charms and beauty were dazzling to the young inexperienced man. He eagerly agreed to marriage with the alacrity of a young man who had yet to experience the joys of physical romance. Fortunately, Elizabeth reciprocated his advances. William, a very handsome man, with dark looks and a tall stout physique, spoke the promise of a fairy tale union.

The House is an adult fairy tale rich in mystery and intrigue.
Here is a tale of a woman so absorbed with historical novels that her own reality ceases to offer any hope of romance and beauty.
Until one day this dreamy idealist finds herself in a mysterious forest. How she arrived there is unknown. Soon she encounters a dilapidated house, within whose ancient walls magical rooms that transport to parallel worlds lie in wait.  There she is transmigrated to 18th century England, where our heroine interacts with an odd mix of characters whose dysfunctional lives become immediately apparent.
Her first tribulation involves a nefarious lord, an archetype of the monstrous characters one encounters in fairy tales. The ramification from this confrontation sets the tone for the narrative.
A magic portal finally enables escape from the austere Georgian dwelling. She is then spirited back to the enigmatic house, and a journey to Regency London follows, where a large cast of eccentric identities present themselves.
Late one night, following a long stay in Florence, a young, heart-broken poet arrives. His introduction to the beautiful time traveller offers promise of restoration and love. But there are several more obstacles ahead before her destiny in this curious adventure is made apparent.
In the end an unexpected twist is revealed. But like all good fairy tales, this surprising conclusion is pleasing, even though the means of getting there are dark, and at times sinister.
Buy Now @ Amazon & Createspace
Genre - Historical, Fantasy, Romance
Rating - PG-16
More details about the author
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John Smith Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars by Roland Hughes #Excerpt #Dystopian

This is definitely my kind of book, the kind that messes with your head and I can't wait to start reading it. Thank you Mr Hughes for sharing an excerpt from your recent release - John Smith Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars 

SK:      Can we talk about the Microsoft Wars now?

JS:       Orwell was right.  Everyone was forced to read his book and yet, it still happened.  In reality, that is all anybody needs to know.

SK:      Orwell?

JS:       <sighs> Back in 1949, an author by the name of George Orwell published a novel titled 1984.  It was a look into the future and basically created the concept in society of Big Brother.  This Big Brother was a government, any government really, which would watch over you like a child.  Your life would be monitored and controlled 24 hours per day.  The dictionary would not grow in size, but shrink, as words and thoughts were continually restricted.  Anyone who possessed a thought against the government, system or the way things were being run would be turned in by friends/family/neighbors as a thought criminal.

One by one, various ministries were set up to control every aspect of life, all for the betterment of society, and most had some plausible excuse bringing them into existence.  There would be monitors installed everywhere, so you were continually watched and controlled.  It was one of the best- selling and most widely talked-about books of all time.  Many movies were created showing various flavors of the book.

SK:      Well, if everybody knew about it, then it surely didn't happen.

JS:       Not in 1984, no.  The final vehicle for control wasn't  chosen until the early 1990s and it took a while to roll out globally.  Sometime during 2010, the governments around the world achieved 95 percent of what they wanted.  The vast majority of citizens carried with them a 24-hour monitoring device, which could be accessed remotely and would, via GPS, give a complete picture of their travels.  Each one had a unique ID.  Best of all, the devices were marketed in such a way as to make people think they were nothing unless they had one and kept it with them at all times.

When it became apparent that some portions of society simply couldn't afford the devices—yes, each citizen paid for their own, and gladly...they even paid to customize them—most governments came up with some kind of ministry or program to ensure each and every person falling into the “cannot afford” category was issued one under some plausible story as “medical need” or “neighborhood watch.”  This removed the poor-person-rejection-of-charity problem.  Nobody felt insulted to receive the devices, since the devices allowed them to communicate with anyone at any time, as long as they knew the other person's unique ID.

SK:      Do you honestly expect me to believe that everybody stood in line to get a unique ID for the government to monitor them 24 hours per day, seven days per week?

JS:       No. They didn't see it like that. They stood in line to get the latest and greatest cellphone with video camera, GPS, speaker phone, Internet access, and every other buzz phrase marketing could think of.  If you don't know what any of that is, it doesn't matter.  All you need to know is the more applications, called apps, it had, the more people wanted it.

Each phone had to have a phone number, which was globally unique so anyone in the world could call anybody else in the world, no matter where they were at the time. It was that “anywhere, anytime” communications capability that was a major selling point. A system of assigning phone numbers to allow for international calling had been in place for many years due to the older land line system, so it was simply leveraged.

Everyone proudly carried and used their government monitoring device.  There were even crime shows on television showing how law enforcement agencies could track a cellphone as long as it was turned on.  What they didn't tell you was that the phone would periodically report in even when turned off, and if certain instructions were waiting, it would turn itself back on, silently, so full monitoring could continue without the owner being aware.

The only thing that could truly stop monitoring was to remove the battery, then turn the cellphone on to drain the hidden reserve.  When you did that, however, the phone was of no use.

SK: So let me get this straight—you're saying that there was a communications network that could monitor every person in the country?

JS: No.  Before the middle of 2011, thanks to some production cost reductions, it was every person on the planet living in any civilized country and even many third world countries.  A basic cellphone could be manufactured and sold for under $20 retail, which put the actual production cost at about $6.  Those countries too poor or with terrain too rough used the satellite phones, which cost a bit more, but leveraged cellphone components to reduce costs.  Both networks were monitored by government agencies, even though commercial companies were providing the services to the cellphone owners.  Even children in third world countries who didn't have food to eat or a bank account in their name had a phone so they could be tracked.


"John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars" is one big interview. It is a transcript of a dialogue between "John Smith" (who, as the title of the book implies is the last known survivor of the Microsoft wars) and the interviewer for a prominent news organization.

Buy Now @ Amazon & B&N
Genre – Dystopian Fiction
Rating – PG
More details about the author

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Soul of the World (Legends of Amun Ra #2) by Joshua Silverman @jg_silverman

Kem dives to the ground in desperation, covering his head and neck from the rocks raining down. I didn’t see that coming. I thought I was quiet, he thinks.

The announcement of Cadmus’ elimination booms over the intercom. Well, at least I don’t have to worry about a vengeful brother.

The dust and debris settle from the crumbled wall. Find Kesi. Kem trots towards the end of the path. Before he gets there, he sees a shadow along the wall.

Dio turns the corner and spots him. She’s already throwing blue spheres before he knows what happened.

Kem hits the floor hard, dodging the first two. Dio hurls more at him.

His heart beats like a jackhammer in his chest. He is covered in dirt and sand. Kem swerves left, then right, ducking from a shot aimed at his head. He looks back at Dio, who walks with determination, shooting at him. Will she not let up a little? Got to slow her down.


Buy Here
Genre – Science fiction, Fantasy
Rating – PG-13+
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CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE by Gledé Browne Kabongo @gkabongo #Excerpt #Suspense #TBR

She would never be able to have children on her own. That was the bombshell diagnosis from Nina’s doctor. Apparently, both her fallopian tubes were blocked because of massive scarring. IVF seemed to be the most viable option. Marc wasn’t completely on board but Nina made the unilateral decision to move forward, and that led to a huge fight. They didn’t speak to each other for three days. Once the smoke cleared and Nina had time to think things through calmly and rationally, she could see why Marc felt the way he did. They had been trying to get pregnant for almost a year, and that was stressing him out. He complained they never made love for fun anymore, everything was based on her ovulation cycle and she wouldn’t let him touch her unless it was that time of the month. The pressure was causing him to be resentful and he suggested they consider adoption at some point if she couldn’t get pregnant the old-fashioned way. That caused Nina to fly into a rage and she accused him of giving up without a fight. That led to an even longer, louder argument that ended with Marc moving to the guest bedroom.
This morning she was in a sour mood but the person knocking on the other side of the door was persistent.
“Come in,” Nina said wearily.
Nina was astonished to see her younger sister barge into her office. Cassie was in her late-twenties, slightly chubby, yet sickeningly pretty. If a piece of clothing was short, tight or showed her cleavage, Cassie owned it. The Boston College dropout had a platinum credit card permanently attached to one hand, and a puppet string controlled by their father attached to the other.
Nina gave her a bright smile and a hug. “You didn’t tell me you were coming over.”
“I was at Downtown Crossing and thought I should come by and see what you’re up to.”
“Found anything good in the stores?”
“No, but my friend Kate says new inventory will be coming in at Neiman Marcus and she’ll hold some items for us.”
“I don’t know, Cass. Marc is already complaining that I’ve taken up all the closet space. “If I buy any more clothes or shoes, I think he’s moving downstairs.”
“Oh, please. Marc’s not going anywhere.”
“Maybe you’re right. It’s an empty threat. Name the date and the time and I’ll be there.”
Cassie seemed pleased. Nina had a guilt complex regarding her younger sibling. She didn’t see her as much as she should. They were somewhat close, but Nina and the naïve and somewhat irresponsible Cassie were perpetually at different junctures in their lives. Cassie lacked direction and focus while Nina was single-minded in whatever she pursued. At the moment, it was motherhood. Cassie was the ultimate daddy’s girl and he had no problem letting her wander through life aimlessly on his dime until the day when she figured out what she wanted to do with her life.
“Great, I can’t wait. Dad says hello, by the way. He’s still mad at you for skipping his birthday party.”
“I always skip his birthday party, that’s nothing new.”
“He was hoping it might be different this year.”
“He knows better.”
“Come on, Nina,” Cassie said impatiently. “How long do you intend to keep this up? Can’t you give him another chance? This is getting ridiculous.”
“I would expect that coming from you. The way you hero-worship him, though — that’s what’s ridiculous.”
Cassie looked put out by the criticism. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“He’s not who you think he is, Cassie. I’ve been trying to tell you this for a long time. Yet, you refuse to even consider my point of view.”
“You’re the one who’s hard of hearing. Our father is getting old. Every time he reaches out to you, you reject him. Why can’t you just be nice to him?” He’s not going to be around forever and then you’ll be sorry if you don’t make up with him.”
Nina was getting sick of Cassie’s constant nagging about their father. Still, she was almost sympathetic to her sister’s plight, since Nina had been the one who dashed her hopes of them ever being a happy family again. Nina recollected the story exactly as she had written it in her diary.

#1 Amazon Bestseller in the suspense and women’s psychological fiction categories.
Boston executive Nina Kasai has been living a lie since her days as a student at Stanford University. But she’s about to learn that some secrets are too big to stay buried.
Years ago, Nina fled from her life of wealth and privilege and vowed never to look back. The horrifying truth has been locked away in her hidden diary, and in the mind of a disturbed woman who will never tell, ever. However, the perfect life she’s since created is about to come crashing down when Phillip Copeland –a ghost from her past with political ambition and secrets of his own, makes Nina an offer she can’t refuse: her silence in exchange for his.
Soon, it all goes horribly wrong when a  shocking double-cross sends Nina reeling,  and devastating loss threatens to push her over the edge. To make matters worse, her diary, the only link to her secret past has been stolen.
To reclaim her life and bring this twisted game to its stunning conclusion, Nina must confront the past she’s been running from, and find the courage to make a life-altering decision that leaves multiple casualties in its wake.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Psychological Suspense
Rating – R
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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Lethal Journey by Kim Cresswell @kimcresswell #Excerpt #AmReading #Thriller

Detective Eric Brennan sat at his usual table and sipped the night’s beverage of choice—a cola. In Chunkers Bar and Grill loud pointless chatter overpowered the ‘80s rock and roll band on stage.
The last week was a blur. Every waking hour he pounded the streets in search of his father’s killer.
Eric knew every detail of the shooters face, but not the kid’s name. He’d heard from one of his informant’s, the kid was a young tough-guy looking to be made—a “cugine” ready to make his mark into New York’s most influential crime network, the Valdina family. As part of his induction into the mob family, the asshole had already killed a low-life rival family member and Eric and his father were working the homicide case when they got a tip.

That steamy June evening had started like any typical bust. Within minutes after Eric and his father arrived at the warehouse, dozens of DEA agents secured the perimeter. Eric entered the warehouse first, his father followed. Amid the stench of mildew and dust, the first pop of an automatic echoed within the barren walls.

They were ambushed.

His father, a veteran with twenty-three years on the force never saw the shots coming. Eric threw his body against his father in hopes of shielding him. It was too late. Instead Eric witnessed his father’s face, the sickening whitish blue tint that came with death...

While Pete checked in with the precinct, Eric shifted in the chair. His left knee still burned where the bullet had grazed his leg. He rubbed the scar, a permanent reminder of a drug bust gone bad. Very bad.

“Hey, Brennan.” Pete threw a twenty-dollar bill on the table and downed the last swallow of his beer. 

“Come on. I think we got a lead.”

Outside on West 35th Street, a full moon peeked through the clouds. Jagged streaks of lightning ignited the sky as rain sprinkled against Eric’s leather jacket. He lit a cigarette and leaned against his white pick-up truck parked in front of Chunkers.

Pete smirked. “Man, I thought you quit.”

Lethal Journey333x500

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Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-18
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Friday, June 20, 2014

@SMMceachern on Knowing Absolutely Nothing About Being an Author #AmWriting #SciFi

I knew absolutely nothing about being an author until after I published.  Yes, I realize that’s a bit like tying my shoes before I put them on, but that’s the point. If I have hard time putting on my shoes, odds are I’ll go looking for a different pair, which will probably put a different spin on what I’m wearing.
For me, writing by the seat of my pants gives me flexibility.  Don’t get me wrong. I’m not sitting down at my computer banging out whatever pops into my head (okay, that’s not entirely true…). I do have a plot in mind. But it’s the journey from the beginning of the story to the end that holds twists and turns even for me. How is that possible, you ask? It’s the characters that lead me.
When I start to write my characters they almost jump up off the page and introduce themselves. Even the minor characters, like a guard who just needs to be in the hallway, has to have a story. I’m thinking of my character inSunset Rising, Bron Llewellyn.  Honestly, she was just a guard in the first chapter. Why? Because the Pit is guarded and I had to have guards. I made her one of the “good” guards because even in a dystopic world, not every single guard is going to be mean, right? Then I asked myself, why is she a good guard?  Why is she sympathetic to the Pit?  By answering those questions, I hatched a subplot that wove seamlessly into the main plot and spilled into the second book of the series, Worlds Collide.
I’m a member of local writer’s group and I’ve talked to authors who create an outline first and then write to the outline. I’m amazed at this kind of organization. I wish I could apply it to my Tupperware drawer because I’d save myself at least 15 minutes every morning trying to find containers with lids that fit for my kids’ lunches. Then again, if I could readily match lids with containers, I’d probably make chocolate pudding more often for lunch.  Chocolate pudding isn’t really that good for them.  An apple is better.  And an apple doesn’t require a container.
You see the logic?
The point is, if the story is already laid out for me, I’ll write to the storyline. I’ll stop asking myself questions—and if I do that, I’ll stop coming up with answers I didn’t expect.  For me, writing by the seat of my pants gives me the freedom to be creative.

February 2024: Desperate to find refuge from the nuclear storm, a group of civilians discover a secret government bio-dome. Greeted by a hail of bullets and told to turn back, the frantic refugees stand their ground and are eventually permitted entry.  But the price of admission is high.
283 years later…  Sunny O’Donnell is a seventeen-year-old slave who has never seen the sun.  She was born in the Pit, a subterranean extension of the bio-dome. Though life had never been easy, the last couple of months had become a nightmare. Her mom was killed in the annual Cull, and her dad thought it was a good time to give up on life.  Reyes Crowe, her long-time boyfriend, was pressuring her to get married, even though it would mean abandoning her father.
She didn’t think things could get any worse until she was forced upstairs to the Dome to be a servant-girl at a bachelor party.  That’s when she met Leisel Holt, the president’s daughter, and her fiancé, Jack Kenner.
Now Sunny is wanted for treason.  If they catch her, she’ll be executed.
She thought Leisel’s betrayal was the end.  But it was just the beginning.
“Sunset Rising” is Book One of a series.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - YA Science Fiction, Dystopian
Rating – PG-16
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Steps Into Darkness (A Shakertown #Adventure) by @BensWoodard #YALit #Mystery

The unknown figure’s back was to them as he connected the wires to the detonator. Will shoved Tom. Only minutes remained.

They located the last connection point where the blasting caps were wired to two sticks of dynamite. The wires to the plunger snaked up the hill. The connecting strands were twisted, tightly, as with pliers. Tom snatched a rock, but Will grabbed his hand and pointed up the hill. Tom understood. The man would hear the pounding. They each took a twisted connection and tried to pry it apart with their fingers. They would need to break only one.

The wires resisted. Tom gritted his teeth, then remembered his pocket knife. He pulled it out, flipped the blade open, and wedged the tip between two strands. He twisted and the blade snapped. The sound startled the man. He whirled around and stared directly at the boys. Tom forced the broken blade into the gap in the wires. Will put his finger on top of one and pulled as Tom twisted. Blood ran down Will’s hand as the metal bit into his finger. They strained, and watched the man. His eyes darted in all directions. Then he made his decision. He pulled the plunger up, hesitated a moment, and slammed it down.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - YA/Mystery
Rating – PG – 13
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Saturday, June 14, 2014

A LIFE LESS ORDINARY #Excerpt by @VicBernadine #AmReading #ChickLit #Fiction

Manny laid in bed, staring up at the ceiling and waiting for sleep. She plucked restlessly at the blanket and wished she could relax. Tomorrow was Steph’s first staff meeting. Today she’d reacquainted herself with everyone in the office then spent the rest of the day with Manny being briefed on the details of the work of the branch and any current issues she’d need to resolve within the next few days. That meant Manny’s own work had been delayed, and tomorrow it would be delayed again–and Manny would have to leave early in order to meet Rebecca and Daisy at the lounge for drinks before heading to the club.
Manny took a deep breath and slowly let it out. It wouldn’t be too bad, she staunchly told herself. Steph was young, energetic, and had a shrewd intelligence almost obscured by the cleavage-revealing shirts, short skirts and a figure that could stop traffic–and probably did. Manny wondered if Craig truly understood what he’d gotten himself in for by promoting Steph rather than Manny.
Cleavage and legs.
She mentally rolled her eyes at Harvey’s dry, cynical tones.
Maybe–but that’s not really fair to him, is it? He’s not a bad guy.
But he is just a guy.
She does bring a new perspective–a new way of thinking about things. She’s not a bad choice–and I can’t argue with Craig’s idea that shaking things up could make things better.
And where does that leave you?
No worse off than I was before.
And no better.
If you’re not going to be helpful…
Harvey glanced down at his suddenly ruffled shirt opened to the middle of his muscled chest and skin-tight breeches. He glanced back at her with a ruefully amused smile.
Watched the Ice Pirates again, did you?
Oh, shut up–it’s a classic no matter what anybody else thinks!
I’m just sayin’–if I was real and regularly wore pants this tight, I’m not sure I’d be of any use to you. If you know what I mean.
Manny groaned and shook her head, and Harvey blinked out of existence. She wondered when she’d managed to lose control of a figment of her imagination–one she’d eventually felt compelled to name after an invisible rabbit.
She groaned again, rolled over and pulled the covers over her head. It was going to be another long day tomorrow.
Complete with dancing.

For the last fifteen years, Rose “Manny” Mankowski has been a very good girl. She turned her back on her youthful fancies and focused on her career. But now, at the age of 45, she’s questioning her choices and feeling more and more disconnected from her own life. When she’s passed over for promotion and her much younger new boss implies Manny’s life will never change, something snaps. In the blink of an eye, she’s quit her job, sold her house and cashed in her pension, and she’s leaving town on a six month road trip.
After placing a personal ad for a travelling companion, she’s joined in her mid-life crisis by Zeke Powell, the cynical, satirical, most-read – and most controversial – blogger for the e-magazine, What Women Want. Zeke’s true goal is to expose Manny’s journey as a pitiful and desperate attempt to reclaim her lost youth – and increase his readership at the same time. Leaving it all behind for six months is just an added bonus.
Now, armed with a bagful of destinations, a fistful of maps, and an out-spoken imaginary friend named Harvey, Manny’s on a quest to rediscover herself – and taking Zeke along for the ride.
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – ChickLit, Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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 Connect with Victoria Bernadine on Twitter

HEAVYWEIGHT by @MBMulhall #YA #Excerpt #AmReading

As usual, I’m the first student in the room. I give Ms. Yang a weak welcome. She looks me over with a keen eye but says nothing other than hello. I pull out my sketch of Mei-Li, thinking it’s ready for oils, but find I can’t look at it. She hasn’t done anything wrong, but after the conversation I just had with Clay, I can’t bear to work on it right now. I put it aside and get a fresh canvas from the cabinet in the back, deciding to start something new, something dark and abstract. Maybe I can work through some of my emotions by putting them down on the taut white fabric.
I squeeze out colors onto my palette, being sure to add a good amount of black and gray so I can darken some of the brighter colors. Grabbing a handful of different kinds of brushes, I deposit them all on the table next to my station and stare at the blinding white canvas. The bright purity of it makes me mad. Clean is the last thing I feel. I grope for a brush, any brush, and dip it into a blob of paint without looking to see which one.
Angry splashes of color appear in front of me, tarnishing the pure canvas, my emotions spilling out without my saying a word. I change brushes and colors. Finding I’ve got a bright, glaring red, I stipple it around the canvas, illustrating the hate that currently surrounds me, the hate I have for myself and my selfishness. I add swirls of gray for my uncertainty, purple for my confusion.
I’m so engrossed in the process, I never notice Jules arrive. I don’t take note of anything or anyone else in the class. My focus is narrow, not allowing another thing through. I would have missed the bell ringing if it wasn’t for Ms. Yang’s gentle touch on my shoulder.
“Ian, class is over.”
I blink several times and snap out of my trance, staring at the creation I’ve made. It should be a mess of muddy colors and amateurish strokes, but somehow, it’s perfect. It’s chaotic and wild, just like my thoughts and emotions. There are small patches of white still peeking through. A sign that there’s still some good to me? To my life? I don’t know.

Secrets. Their weight can be crushing, but their release can change everything—and not necessarily for the better. Ian is no stranger to secrets. Being a gay teen in a backwater southern town, Ian must keep his orientation under wraps, especially since he spends a lot of time with his hands all over members of the same sex, pinning their sweaty, hard bodies to the wrestling mat.
When he’s trying not to stare at teammates in the locker room, he’s busy hiding another secret—that he starves himself so he doesn’t get bumped to the next weight class.
Enter Julian Yang, an Adonis with mesmerizing looks and punk rocker style. Befriending the flirtatious artist not only raises suspicion among his classmates, but leaves Ian terrified he’ll give in to the desires he’s fought to ignore.
As secrets come to light, Ian’s world crumbles. Disowned, defriended, and deserted by nearly everyone, Ian’s one-way ticket out of town is revoked, leaving him trapped in a world he hates—and one that hates him back.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - LGBT, YA
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
 Connect with MB Mulhall on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, June 13, 2014

Five Writing Tips from @DeanfWilson #SelfPub #Fantasy #AmWriting

In almost every interview I have been asked to give advice to aspiring writers, sometimes on how to get published, how to finish a book, or just how to write in the first place. These tips should prove helpful for all of these desired outcomes.
1. Read Often and Widely
Without reading there would be little reason to write. A writer must firstly be a reader or he or she will never know the craft. I have actually encountered a few would-be writers who do not want to read, with some finding it unnecessary and others afraid it will influence their work. The truth is that everything will influence an author’s work, directly or indirectly, and we should actively immerse ourselves in the written word. We know what “read often” means, but what about “read widely?” Broaden your reading to more than just your favourite genre. Read the classics. Read non-fiction. Read books with great characters and books with great plots. Read masters of language, including poets. Read articles, news, and comics, because everything can enhance your understanding of language and how to use it effectively. All styles and genres have something to teach us.
2. Write the Rubbish Out of Your System
Raymond Chandler, author of The Big Sleep, is hailed as the origin of the advice that authors must write one million words of rubbish before they can write anything good. While the exact number is obviously just an estimate, a rule of thumb, the key to this is: practice. A writer must gain experience writing in order become good at it, in much the same way the experts of any other field had to undergo years of practice to get to their current level.
Over the years I wrote many things, from novels and short stories to poetry and articles, and I wrote a lot of terrible work, much of which still sits in shame on the forgotten parts of my hard drives. These were necessary creations, as much as it pains me to even think about them, because without writing them I would never have developed my craft to the level it is today.
Part of the initial process, apart from learning to write in general, is finding your style. This can take quite a long time, as we are initially prone to emulate the greats. We are also likely to want to “show off” our new-found “mastery” of language to some degree, using fanciful words, or perhaps too many words, that serve only to hinder our ability to communicate, rather than enhancing it. When we get past this pretentious period we begin to uncover our real ability and style, and the process becomes much easier and faster.
3. Study the Language
Sometimes it does not matter how much you read or write—you have to learn the rules of the language. Knowing how to use certain elements of grammar or the correct spelling of a word is essential to telling a good story. Most of these rules are in place in order to enhance our ability to communicate. While some authors might think of themselves as the next James Joyce, recreating Finnegan’s Wake is not the most ideal way to write a book. As the saying goes, we must learn the rules before we can break them. Our duty is to communicate a story, which means that sometimes we can bend the rules in order to do so, but it should be a conscious effort, not merely an error due to poor understanding of the language. Attention to detail in this regard can also increase our chances of getting published and ensure we do not aggravate attentive readers.
4. Perfect the Work
Finishing the book the first time over is not the end of the process. Chances are it needs revision, potentially a lot of it. At the very least it will need to be edited and proofed. Sometimes we miss our own errors, so it should also be checked by the eyes of another.
Now, obviously it is impossible to reach absolute perfection, but that does not mean we should go to the opposite extreme and send it to an agent or publisher, or publish it independently, as soon as we type the final word.
We may need to stew on it for a while, and newer story ideas that have not been plotted sufficiently in advance may need to be completely reworked, especially if there are plot gaps, contradictions, or other glaring errors.
We should always submit our best work. We would expect it of any other writer we read, and we owe it to our readers to deliver similarly high quality material.
5. Persevere
The single factor that defines success in any aspect of life is perseverance. If you do not keep turning the pages, you will never read a book. If you do not keep writing, you will never amass a million words, nor develop your style. If you do not keep studying the language, you will never know how to use it to communicate a good story. If you do not keep perfecting your work, you will never deliver the quality the reader deserves.
Many people say they would like to write a book, but at the end of the day they must sit down and do it, or the aspiration will always remain a dream. It is hard work and not always fun, but we can never have the view from the top of the mountain if we do not make the difficult climb up.
Likewise, when a writer finishes their book they must persevere through the often lengthy rewriting and editing stages, and then the potentially agonising period of seeking publication. Many popular writers were rejected frequently before they were published. For example, J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter title was refused by 12 publishers before it was finally given a chance, proving that publishers are not always right about what is good material or what might sell well. If she had given up at any of the many hurdles along the way, she would have missed out on what turned out to be a very lucrative career, and readers would have missed out on an enjoyable series.
Stay the course and continue to trudge on. In time that effort will be repaid tenfold.

After the catastrophe of the Call of Agon, Ifferon and his companions find themselves in the unenviable situation of witnessing, and partaking in, the death of another god—this time Corrias, the ruler of the Overworld.
With Corrias locked inside the corpse of the boy Théos, he suffers a fate worse than the bonds of the Beast Agon. Yet hope is kindled when the company find a way to restore the boy, and possibly the god, back to life.
The road to rebirth has many pitfalls, and there are some who consider such meddling with the afterlife a grave risk. The prize might be life anew—but the price might also be a second death.
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Genre - Epic Fantasy
Rating – PG
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@DMoncrief0131 Shares 10 Surprises for the Unpublished Author #AmWriting #SelfPub

You should have heard me squeal when I got the email offering my first publishing contract. There is nothing more magical to an unpublished writer than the words, “If your story is still available, we would like to offer you a contract.” My family thought I’d found a snake in the house…again.
Before my first release, I didn’t know much about becoming a published author. I thought all I had to do was write a great story. Silly me! After two years, I’m still finding out what it means to be published. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.
10. Hiring an agent is not like hiring a plumber to fix your sink. — Because there are so many unpublished writers wanting access to the big publishers, agents can afford to be choosy about whose work they represent. One doesn’t hire an agent. An agent hires a writer.
9. People can be blunt, thoughtless, or even mean-spirited when reviewing a book. – It is easy to be harsh hiding behind the Internet. Sometimes reviewers forget there is a human being with real feelings behind the book. The key to understanding the reviewer is that she considers the review to be her review of your book not yourreview of your book.
8. Books do not sell themselves. – Readers will not automatically know a book is available for purchase. Promotion can be both time-consuming and expensive, sometimes with very little return for the effort, but there is nothing more satisfying to an author than the words, “I bought your book and I loved it.”
7. Readers have certain expectations and some of them will get testy when those expectations are not met.— An author’s vision for the book is useless if no one is interested in the premise or the way it’s delivered. A writer must be familiar with generally accepted expectations for her genre and remember to give the reader what she wants.
6. Most authors will support you instead of treating you like the competition. – There is a definite vibe of “we’re all in this together” running throughout most of the writing community. Some of a writer’s best friends are writers she’s never met face-to-face.
5. Unless you make time for it, there will be less time for writing. – Promotion can consume a writer’s every waking thought if she lets it. If a writer does nothing else to further her career as a writer, she should make time to write.
4. Writers leave gaps in their stories and don’t realize it. – A writer’s mind will fill in plot gaps because she knows the backstory, the details, and the reasons for her characters’ behavior. A writer should ask people she trusts to read her work, people who are willing to tell her when her story is missing something. Which leads me to my next thought…
3. A good editor is priceless. I’ve had some good editors, and I’ve had some less than stellar editors. If a writer is lucky enough to acquire an editor who knows what she’s doing, she should make sure she lets her know how much she appreciates her.
2. Success will not come overnight for most writers. – What writer doesn’t dream of being discovered and having her book baby turned into a movie? The truth is that most writers will never make a living from being published. A successful writer has committed to a long-term publishing career, sticking with it until she has an established fan base. Which leads me to my last thought…
1. Once a writer is published, it’s too easy for her to forget why she writes. — Being a published author can be the most rewarding thing in the world for a person who loves the power of the written word, but a writer can lose her joy if she becomes bogged down in everything that comes after releasing her first book. The writer should never lose her focus and remember every day why she began writing.
Why do I write? It’s a compulsion. If I can’t write, I might as well not breathe. I promote what I write because I want someone to read it.

Sometimes the end is only the beginning.
Almost a year after her husband dies, Ellie Marston opens the file for Tab’s last manuscript, a thriller so compelling it reads like a true story. His manuscript needs an ending, so Ellie writes the obvious conclusion. The same morning she types The End, her career as an assistant district attorney falls apart. Accused of throwing the high profile Patterson case, she resigns in disgrace. The only friend she has left in the criminal justice system is Det. Paul Santiago, a man she has worked closely with on numerous cases. While she was married to Tab, she squashed her growing feelings for Paul, determined to make her deteriorating marriage work, but circumstances after Tab’s death bring Ellie and Paul together.
Ellie’s paranoia increases as she becomes convinced Patterson is harassing her, certain that someone is searching her belongings for any hidden evidence she might have that would reopen his case. It becomes clear there was a conspiracy to release Patterson. She seeks help from her former co-worker, Presley Sinclair, but soon discovers Presley is deeply involved in the subsequent cover up. Worse yet, Tab’s affair with Presley drew him into the twisted conspiracy as well.
Together Paul and Ellie attempt to uncover the conspiracy in the District Attorney’s office, the set up that forced her to resign. The key to the mystery is hidden in the pages of Tab’s manuscript. Once Paul and Ellie come to the correct conclusion—Tab’s manuscript is a true story and Ellie’s added ending is the only logical outcome—Ellie attempts to reveal Patterson’s hidden partner in the District Attorney’s office, but the co-conspirator she uncovers is not whom she suspects. Danger swirls around her as she steps further and further into the conspirator’s trap.
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Genre – Romantic Suspense
Rating – PG
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Thursday, June 12, 2014

@TheobaldSprague Shares an #Excerpt from "The Other Side of the Ice" #AmReading #Family

Before grabbing a book and heading below, I took a stroll out on deck to try and gather in the towering strength and beauty of the mountains that surrounded our still and peaceful anchorage, perhaps the most stunning I’d ever seen. Low, shrub-covered flats quickly ran up to rocky foothills that rose straight up into the monstrous snow-covered peaks. It was an area waiting to be hiked and explored but, for me at least, only after a good night’s sleep. Sometime during the past day, we had crossed an invisible line that moved everyday thinking to a seldom-visited level.
We were anchored now in an area much more raw, powerful, and potentially threatening than we had experienced. On our way into this amazing paradise, we encountered, for the first time, charts that simply didn’t have complete soundings, no channel markers, no warning of shoals or hidden rock outcroppings. While we weren’t exactly flying blind, we were navigating in an area of greatly reduced information. Not for the first time in the trip the thought struck, “If we stick here, we are screwed.”
This new level of thinking and awareness was debilitating, a slowly circling feeling of expected isolation and self-reliance. No longer would a potential emergency be met with a simple call on the ship’s radio to the local Coast Guard or towboat. We were becoming increasingly isolated and as such were going to have to rely on our own wits. My hope was that this mounting sense of isolation would stay beyond the limits of the boat and not work its way inside. Time would tell. For the past two years, the talk had been to simply get to this area and then farther north.
I unexpectedly found my senses coming alive. My sense of smell was more acute, my hearing was finer, and my sight was more focused. It was a feeling, a new way of seeing life, that through the rest of the trip would reach far deeper than I could have imagined.
The Northwest Passage is a ship killer, and always has been.
At various stages of the journey, I found myself numb. Exhausted. Terrified.
How had it all started? What were we doing?
I was leading a crossing of the Northwest Passage, an 1,800-mile channel north of the Arctic Circle, connecting, in theory, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Hundreds of sailors had given their lives trying to do the exact same thing. We were a small boat with a small crew. Bagan is a fifty-seven foot long Nordhavn, and she was manned by six of us, three of whom were my children.
One thought and one thought only kept shouting in my mind, a thought that no expedition leader and, especially, no parent should ever have to think; a thought that held me in a cold, mental death grip, a thought that I still think about.
“Have I brought us all together just to lead us to our deaths?”
TO WATCH THE OFFICIAL HD TEASER FOR “The Other Side of The Ice” [book and documentary] PLEASE GO TO: VIMEO.COM/45526226) 
A sailor and his family’s harrowing and inspiring story of their attempt to sail the treacherous Northwest Passage.
Sprague Theobald, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and expert sailor with over 40,000 offshore miles under his belt, always considered the Northwest Passage–the sea route connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific–the ultimate uncharted territory. Since Roald Amundsen completed the first successful crossing of the fabled Northwest Passage in 1906, only twenty-four pleasure craft have followed in his wake. Many more people have gone into space than have traversed the Passage, and a staggering number have died trying. From his home port of Newport, Rhode Island, through the Passage and around Alaska to Seattle, it would be an 8,500-mile trek filled with constant danger from ice, polar bears, and severe weather.
What Theobald couldn’t have known was just how life-changing his journey through the Passage would be. Reuniting his children and stepchildren after a bad divorce more than fifteen years earlier, the family embarks with unanswered questions, untold hurts, and unspoken mistrusts hanging over their heads. Unrelenting cold, hungry polar bears, and a haunting landscape littered with sobering artifacts from the tragic Franklin Expedition of 1845, as well as personality clashes that threaten to tear the crew apart, make The Other Side of the Ice a harrowing story of survival, adventure, and, ultimately, redemption.

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Genre – Memoir, Adventure, Family, Climate
Rating – PG
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