Lori Ryan

Rachel Thompson

Aicha Zoubair

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Twelve Houses by Olga Soaje #ReviewShare #Contemporary #Women

Twelve HousesTwelve Houses by Olga Soaje
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Twelve Houses follows the spiritual self-discovery of a woman named Amelia who has recently become widowed. In some ways she appears to have the perfect life, but with her husband gone she is confronted with the reality that she’s distant from her daughter, Chloe, and not as self-sufficient as she may have once thought. Nathan helped to take care of Amelia in many ways, and was always closer to their daughter than she had been. She also has a son, David, who she is closer with and he helps to provide some support for both women during this grieving process. There was some surprising drama from a named Barbara, and you’ll understand why as you begin to read. I wouldn’t call her or any other character “bad” people, but you like all humans they have faults and don’t handle each situation perfectly. The main story does focus on Amelia’s difficulty filling in the gaps in her life and working through her loss. It’s inspiring to see how she finds ways to mend her life and relationships.

Olga’s writing style is simple, succinct and the topic she writes about may be appealing to a large variety of readers. I appreciate that she did not provide unnecessary details about scenery or side stories, or try wow the reader with pretentious language. The story seemed genuine and heartfelt, and many readers will be able to see themselves in some of the characters at one point in their own lives. This book is definitely an emotional journey, and Olga really helps the reader to understand Amelia’s experiences as if they were their own. Personally, I felt really moved and I could relate to Amelia quite a bit. I enjoyed some of the flashback scenes of her relationship with Nathan, but overall I liked the development with her daughter best.

Interestingly, there is astrological theme that relates to the title of the book that the average reader may not have heard of before. The concept of the twelve houses in astrology perfectly melds with the overall theme of the book of dealing with relationships, grief, and love. For those interested, a person’s houses are determined by their birth month and date, and relate to their life experiences, relationships, ability to succeed and more. Keep in mind, a reader doesn’t need to know about this to enjoy the book, but an experienced astrologist may enjoy analyzing this theme more closely.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Murder Strikes a Pose #Excerpt (A Downward Dog #Mystery) by @TracyWeberTypes #AmReading

Chapter 1:  Minutes before yoga teacher Kate Davidson’s life changes forever.

I laid my body on the cool wood floor, covered up with a blanket, and prepared to die.
Metaphorically, that is.

Corpse Pose’s ten-minute rest always soothed my stressed-out nerves, and for once I didn’t feel guilty about the indulgence. My to-do list was blank, Serenity Yoga’s phone was silent, and I had a whole blissful hour between clients to do my favorite activity: practice yoga.
Even my eclectic Greenwood neighborhood seemed uncharacteristically quiet, lulled by 

Seattle’s rare afternoon sun. The residents of the apartments above the yoga studio were off at their day jobs; the alcohol-addicted patrons of the block’s two dive bars slept off their Jim Beam breakfasts; the soccer moms shopping at next door’s upscale PhinneyWood Market purchased the day’s supplies in unusual silence.

I wiggled my toes under a Mexican blanket, covered my eyes with a blue satin eye pillow, and inhaled deeply. The ooey-gooey smell of Mocha Mia’s chocolate caramel cake wafted from across the street and filled my nostrils with sweet toffee-scented bliss—my all-time favorite aromatherapy.

Paradise. Simply paradise.

I released my weight into the earth and silently coached myself, exactly as I would one of my students. OK, Kate. Feel your body relax. Notice the random fluctuations of your mind and—

A vicious snarl ripped through the silence, startling me out of my catnap. I sat straight up, eye pillow falling to the floor with an undignified thump.

What the heck?

When had a dog fighting ring moved into the neighborhood?

A dog fight was the only plausible explanation for the commotion outside. Bursts of deep, frantic barking were followed by high-pitched yelping, all punctuated by the peace-shattering sounds of angry yelling. The phrases I could make out confirmed my suspicions. This had to be a dog fight, albeit one-sided.

“Control your dog!”

“Get that vicious beast out of here!”

And even a simple, “What the hell?”

I closed the door between the yoga room and the studio’s lobby, hoping to block out the intrusive sounds. Snarls, shouts, and an occasional ear-piercing shriek continued to reverberate right through the wall.

Undaunted, I imagined that the sounds were merely clouds floating across my mental horizon. Most of those clouds were dark and ominous, like the deep thunderclouds preceding a hailstorm. But every so often I heard a soft voice, more like the fluffy clouds of childhood summers. I couldn’t quite make out his words, but I could tell that the speaker was a man. From his tone, I assumed he was trying to calm beasts both human and animal.
It wasn’t working.

Neither, for that matter, was my attempted meditation.

I’d obviously have to shift tactics.

I tried drowning out the clamor with low, soft chanting. Then I increased the volume. But even as I belted out Om Santi, my favorite mantra for peace, I felt my jaw start to tighten. 
My fingernails bit deeply into my palms. My shoulders crept up to my ears.

An entirely different mantra began pounding through my head: Don’t get me angry; you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

Guestpost 3_photo2 (1)

About Murder Strikes a Pose:
Seattle yoga instructor Kate Davidson has unusually tight hamstrings encased in Miss Piggy-like thighs, and she often acts more like a champion fighting rooster than the Dalai Lama. When she’s not teaching yoga, she spends her time hiding from her creepy landlord and dodging her best friend’s relentless matchmaking attempts. Even though her father was a cop, Kate has zero crime fighting aspirations. She has enough trouble keeping her struggling yoga business afloat while trying to live up to yoga’s Zen-like expectations.
Then she stumbles over a body in the studio’s parking lot.

The police dismiss the murder as drug-related street crime, but Kate knows that George—a homeless alcoholic she had befriended—was no drug dealer. And if the police won’t take his murder seriously, she’ll just have to solve the crime herself. After all, “Drunk Dies in Drug Deal Gone Bad at Yoga Studio” isn’t exactly the free publicity she’s been hoping for.
Kate stretches herself and takes on two new challenges. First, solve George’s murder. Second, find someone—anyone—willing to adopt his intimidating, horse-sized German shepherd, Bella, before Animal Control sends her to the big dog park in the sky.

But with Bella’s time almost up and the murderer hot on her trail, Kate will have to work fast. Or the next time she practices Corpse Pose, it may be for real.

"Weber's debut, which launches the Downward Dog series, should appeal to anyone who likes canines, yoga, and a determined sleuth. ... Cozy fans will eagerly await the next installment." 
Publishers Weekly

"What a treat! A charming heroine, a cantankerous pooch, and a clever page-turner of a mystery make for delightfully original entertainment. You don't need to love yoga to love this series--its good karma makes it an instant winner."
Hank Phillippi Ryan

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Cozy Mystery
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Tracy Weber on Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, August 28, 2014

#Excerpt from COPYRIGHT : A NOVEL by Lori Lesko @LeskoLori #Thriller #Fiction #AmReading

“The water can’t be any warmer. The doctor said warm baths only, nothing too hot because it would be hard on your heart,” Karen said. We intertwined together as she steadied me on my bathtub chair, newly purchased from a medical supply store.
“I’m cold,” I whined. But there was never any leeway with Karen. She’d always been the tough one. When it came to the kids, she was the disciplinarian, whereas I, on the other hand, was the eternal adolescent. The Mommy who allowed her kids to get away with everything, from having dessert before eating dinner, to turning a blind eye when Danny smoked pot or snuck Alice out the front door first thing in the morning. As far as I was concerned, they were sixteen; they were going to have sex no matter what.
“Okay, babe, we’re done. How do you feel?”
“Tired,” I said and leaned into her. “Am I going to be this tired forever?”
“No. I promise you’ll get stronger.”
A thirty-nine-year-old woman should not feel this old. Maybe my past had slowly crept up on me? Hmm, forget slowly, it had sped toward me like a freight train and I was tied to the tracks, helpless. As I shuffled back toward my temporary bedroom, I saw Danny, Alice and Kira all standing next to the sofa in the living room. Laid on the sofa adorned with a shiny pink ribbon bow was a laptop.
“Look, Mommy, we got you a present!” Kira said, as she brought it to me.
“Wow! Thank you guys! I missed my little machine so much!” I said excitedly. I suddenly registered the color of the lid. Black. This wasn’t mine. “Where is my laptop?” I questioned.
“Babe, don’t you remember?” Karen asked. “It was destroyed when you spilled your glass of lemonade on it.” She led me to the sofa and sat next to me.
“Yeah, Mom, I dropped it off at the Computer Max store and the tech guy said the hard drive was fried, sorry.” Danny leaned over and planted a kiss on my cheek. “But this one is way better! The memory and hard drive are awesome, super-fast!”
Flabbergasted and afraid to move, I went into a trance. Danny’s words barely registered. It felt like I was having an out-of-body experience.
“Amber, what’s wrong, babe?” Karen asked.
Oh, nothing important, just all the work I’d done on my book had been lost. Spilling a glass of lemonade had erased two whole years of my life. I didn’t even enjoy lemonade, I preferred iced tea. I managed to lift my head up and ask, “My book? I was working on a new book, it’s not here anymore?”
All of their mouths dropped opened. They all spoke at once, trying to reassure me that it would be okay.
“You saved your work to a disk, didn’t you?” Danny asked.
“What about your email? You email yourself copies don’t you?” Alice asked meekly.
“No, she never goes online,” Karen answered for me.
Kira yanked on my sleeve. “What’s wrong, Mommy?” I looked down at her, unable to communicate, and then back to Karen. Karen dashed upstairs to my office.
“The papers!” Danny yelled and took off behind her.
I heard the creaking of the floorboards as they moved from one room to the next. Then silence. As they began the slow walk downstairs, I placed my hands over my face, covering my eyes. I didn’t want to see their expressions. Karen knelt on the floor in front of me.
“Is this it?” Karen asked as she gently tugged at my hands. I opened my eyes and saw a bundle of papers. I looked at the first few, and I recognized them, they were my words. I had typed them.
“Yes, this is my work,” I said. A huge sigh of relief came from the group. I handed the papers back to Karen. “But it’s not the book I was working on.” More silence followed. “This is The Lamp Burned Out. My last book, it came out three years ago,” I mumbled. “Where is my new book? I printed out the pages, you saw me do it every night, Karen!” The room started to spin. Kira wept as she clung to me.
“Calm the fuck down,” Karen whispered to me. “What’s the title?”
“You don’t know the title of her book?” Alice challenged Karen. I saw a flash of rage develop as Karen’s mouth tightened, but then she reluctantly forced a smile.
“No, Alice, I don’t know the title,” Karen said, as she flicked through the disordered pages.
“You know Mom is crazy superstitious,” Danny added, trying to diffuse the tension. “She never tells anyone about the subject matter or title until the book is finished.”
I smiled up at Danny and Alice. Karen lifted her head and asked, “So, what’s the title, babe?”
Brain Waves,” I said. “It will be on the top right hand side of each paper.” Karen bobbed her head and Alice offered to get us all a diet soda and a juice box for Kira. Danny, Kira and I watched as Karen lifted page after page from the huge stack. I realized then that there was more than one of my novels in the stack of papers.
“Why are all my manuscripts mixed up together?” I asked, curious, as I always kept them in their own boxes. Years ago, Danny had made a wooden box in school, and had given it to me to store my manuscripts in. It had become a tradition now, and I had several of his handcrafted wooden boxes in my office, each with drafts of each novel in them.
“When the paramedics arrived to help you, there wasn’t much room in the office and when they brought the stretcher in, they knocked the boxes over. It was all so chaotic with the medics and papers shuffling all around.” Karen looked up from her sorting, an apologetic smile on her face. “Honestly, all I was concerned about at that time was you, babe. Danny and Alice did their best to put them order, but they must still be mixed together.”
I calmed down then, happy that all of the papers must be there, because the idea of my manuscript not being there was simply unthinkable. After thirty minutes or so of Karen crisscrossing papers on top of each other and making stacks of two of my novels; The Lamp Burned Out and Strawberries for Breakfast, she inhaled deeply.
“This is all I found of Brain Waves,” Karen said, as she handed over what seemed like a minuscule stack of papers. I grabbed them in disbelief. Though the pages were not in order, I could tell that it wasn’t all there.
“Are you sure this is all of the papers?” I asked. Karen’s eyes transformed into a different shade of blue. Not the comforting navy or oceanic blue, but an overwhelmingly dejected blue.
I jumped up; my thoughts, and the room, were spinning. I staggered across the room, and before I could think of the pain it would cause me, I got to the bottom of the stairs and grabbed the handrail to pull myself up.
“Amber, what the hell are you doing?” Karen asked as she ran after me.
“I just have to take a look around. I won’t be long,” I replied.
“Mom, stop!” Danny yelled.
“The stairs are off limits, Amber, remember?” Karen added.
“Just one minute,” I said breathlessly. I lifted my right foot onto the first step and then I pulled hard on the rail for support. I managed to get my left leg up the next step before Karen clutched hold of me.
“Goddamn it! Stop! Do you want to burst your sutures?”
I looked around and saw her face. I watched Danny holding Kira’s hand tightly, Alice by his side. Despondently, they all gazed at me.
“Step back down. Come on, I got you,” Karen said more softly. “We will get to the bottom of this, I promise you.”
“Yeah, Mom, we will,” Danny said with conviction.
I slowly stepped backwards with Karen’s guidance. She then led me to my bed. Beads of sweat had formed on my forehead; I was officially spent for the day. My hands shook and I could feel my heart beating at a rapid pace. I lay down and trusted that this too, shall pass. Karen lay next to me. It felt so good to have another human body touching me again. Kira crawled in, too. I closed my eyes and listened to Danny and Alice out in the kitchen, quietly speaking. I had part of my manuscript. It was better than nothing; I could fix it later. I drifted off to sleep, encased by Kira and Karen.

Amber Tyler is living every author’s dream: her books are all best sellers and she writes full time. She has worked hard and is well-accomplished in her career, and she has the support and love of her beautiful children and girlfriend. 

But the dream soon turns into a terrible nightmare when her latest manuscript is stolen. She decides to fight for what is rightfully hers, only to find that the harder she tries, the easier it all slips through her fingers, putting her career, her family, and her life in jeopardy.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Lori Lesko on Facebook & Twitter

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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

The Soul of the World (Legends of Amun Ra, #2)The Soul of the World by Joshua Silverman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Authors such as Joshua Silverman make me envious because I know I will never have the skills to create an out of body experience like he has done with Portara. He has excellent writing skills and his imagination will strike wonder in the worst of readers.

As I passed from the first book to the second, I couldn’t wait to be involved with the characters who by now were real people to me. While The Soul of the World can be read as a stand alone (although you won’t enjoy it as much) there are some questions that are better answered if you read the series in sequence. When you get to the last chapter you get the feeling that more is developing and I can’t wait for the third book.

Engaging, entertaining and it offered me an escape on my daily commute. What more could I ask for? Must read.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads UK Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my book review. This book review is based on my thoughts, opinion and understanding of the book. This book review does not reflect the opinion of other book club members.

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Is the Seawater Always Blue? by @shabanamuhajir #ReviewShare #Children #NonFiction

Is the Seawater Always Blue?Is the Seawater Always Blue? by Shabana Dastageer Muhajir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was very excited to read this book. I know at least 10 of our book club members who have been to Langkawi and I wanted to know this author’s perspective. Unfortunately, very little of Langkawi, Malaysia is mentioned.

But the title is about the sea? Correct. In that case, why focus on a particular place? If the author wasn’t going to highlight the destination, why mention it? This is really bugged me throughout the book especially when you know that you are selling your book on an international platform.

Other than that, the book was good and was very detailed in explaining the different colours of the seas. Useful knowledge for a child and it is broken down in simple sentences. The boys also learn about other seas around the world briefly. Recommended.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads UK Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my book review. This book review is based on my thoughts, opinion and understanding of the book. This book review does not reflect the opinion of other book club members.

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INCITEMENT #Excerpt by David Graham @DavidANGraham #AmReading #Thriller

Okay, she said to herself, take your time, it’s a good presentation, just let it speak for itself.
She signaled for the lights to be dimmed, then walked over to the projector screen and brought up the first slide.
A split screen with two photographs appeared. The left half showed a luxury speedboat, black and sleek in the water and at least thirty feet long. It was just possible to make out the two bodies in the cockpit. The other half of the screen showed a closer view. The first body had been raked with multiple gunshots to the torso, leaving it a blood-soaked mess, and the second, which lay half over the side of the boat, had its throat ripped open. The picture’s impact could be felt throughout the room.
“April nineteenth, last year. Rene Salazaar and one of his brothers. The boat was found by the Coast Guard. The coroner’s report estimated it’d been drifting for more than twenty-four hours before it was discovered. Salazaar’s other brother and two more associates are missing. We think they were on the boat and either conducted the attack themselves or were killed and dumped overboard. Given the length of time since their last sighting, we favor the latter theory. Next.”
The image of the carnage-strewn speedboat disappeared and was replaced by another. This picture, taken from the quayside, showed a dark cloud of smoke billowing from a half-submerged cargo ship about 50 meters from shore.
“September twelfth, the Mariner’s Friend sunk dockside in an explosion in Port of Spain. Maurice Jackson, one of the main drug traffickers in Trinidad and Tobago and some of his senior lieutenants were on board at the time. A substantial amount of cocaine and meta-amphetamines that we believe were on board and bound for the U.S. has yet to be located. Next.”
An aerial shot of the remains of a bombsite.
“February twenty-ninth this year, a major heroin refinery just outside the border town of Conchillo in Mexico. We believe the attack was perpetrated by a small team of well-trained, well-equipped hostiles. They killed the building’s security personnel and virtually obliterated its structure. Next.”
The image of the bloody room disappeared and was replaced by a picture of a large container ship in port. Nothing was obviously wrong and there were puzzled looks around the room.
“July fifteenth, the day before yesterday. The Spirit of Marseilles safely docked in Miami; there was no damage. Slight problem, though, for Rodolfo Dominguez, the largest wholesaler and distributor in the state since Salazaar’s demise. A wiretap yesterday recorded him ranting on his main telephone line. Very out-of-character for the normally reserved Dominguez, but the cause for his outburst soon became clear.”  Mesi turned off the overhead projector and signaled for the lights. “As well as the coffee that was on the ship’s manifest, there should have been 3,000-plus kilos of heroin on board. Someone boarded the ship and, in the middle of the night during a heavy storm, eliminated the cartel personnel on board and made off with the drugs.”
“That’s it. Four incidents in fewer than eighteen months. Each was a setback for the Madrigal-Zaragosa Alliance, and we have no idea who’s behind them. We don’t know if these are it, or if they’re only part of a larger picture. What we’ve seen is enough to be of major concern, but if there were more ….”
The attendees considered what they had seen and Mesi’s closing remark. There was a lot to take in, and she sensed that people were still trying to get their bearings.
Allenby was the first to assemble his thoughts. “You’re obviously making a connection between these events but … couldn’t they be a string of unrelated incidents?”
Mesi waited to see if Marshall wanted to take the question, but he gestured for her to address it. “My team monitors cartel activity, trying to identify new trends or strategies as early as possible. We try to discern what way the power structures are changing and then use that to predict future developments. By definition, we’re particularly interested in anything out of the ordinary. What you’ve just seen qualifies.”
“I’d have thought in this environment, where violent criminals and enormous sums of money are not unusual, these episodes would be quite commonplace?” he remarked.
“There’s more order here than you might think. Most of it appears to be down to Luis Madrigal, whom I’m sure you’re all familiar with. He’s worked tirelessly to foster an atmosphere of stability among the various South and Central American cartels. Up to a few years ago, the Colombians and Mexicans particularly had gone their separate ways. Most of that division was as a result of the Mexicans bypassing the main Colombian cartels as a source of cocaine and of their success in fostering their own indigenous heroin industry. Madrigal completely reversed this pattern by proving how everyone could benefit from cooperation.”
“Just in case anyone here doesn’t quite appreciate the breadth of Madrigal’s organization,” Marshall added, “the Alliance he formed with Esteban Zaragosa now comprises groups from more than ten countries. A consequence of his work has been the reduction in occurrence of events like those you’ve just seen.”
“Still, there’s quite a long time frame involved here, doesn’t that reduce the likelihood of them being connected?” Allenby asked.
“I’d have to disagree with you there, sir,” Mesi inwardly cursed herself for phrasing it so bluntly. “A little more than a year in this context really isn’t that long. Besides, there are too many common hallmarks to ignore the possibility that some of these are connected. If you consider the excellent intelligence regarding where and when to strike, the precision in their execution and ….”
She hesitated.
“Go on,” Marshall said.
“Perhaps most worryingly of all, as far as we can determine through all of our informants and wiretaps, none of the increasingly larger quantities of drugs involved appear to have surfaced again. Ever.”
The last statement caused Dan Schutterop from the FBI’s Law Enforcement Coordination Office to look up quickly from his folder. “If there were more incidents, say even ten more on a similar scale, and the drugs and the drugs involved were taken out of circulation, what would be the cumulative effect within the U.S.?”
This was the question she’d been dreading.
“Well, fifteen more such episodes in total could be enough to affect availability.” She knew immediately her attempted vagueness would do no good.
“And how’d that impact prices?” Schutterop pressed.
“They’d probably be pushed up.”
“So, enough incidents could result in a drop in the availability of drugs and a general rise in prices, like what’s been reported recently?” Schutterop persisted.
“It’s possible.”
She could feel the mood of the room changing. Some of the attendees would be delighted with what they were hearing, while others would be worried. Quite a few people had gone on the record as saying that little or no bottom-line impact should be expected from Plan Coca. As the Plan’s successes had appeared to mount, the opinions of these critics had grown in influence to the point where some people’s reputations and possibly their positions might be in jeopardy. But if there were a variable of this magnitude at play, then the apparently erroneous predictions could be mitigated, maybe even vindicated.
“Why are we only hearing about this now, if it’s something Agent Mesi contends has been brewing for more than a year?” asked Allenby angrily.
She tried to think of something to say that might defuse the atmosphere, but before she could reply, Arthur Marshall responded, “Diane voiced her concerns to me shortly after the Mexican incident, once she thought she’d spotted a pattern, but I thought it was too early to jump to conclusions.”
“So, do you agree there’s a connection, Arthur?” Allenby asked.
Everyone waited for Marshall’s answer. Mesi had no idea what he would say as the seconds stretched.
“No. No, I don’t think they’re connected. While there are similarities in the attacks, as Diane says, there are also aspects which differ. The drugs dropping out of circulation? Well, that’s also debatable.”
Mesi could have offered further basis for her assertion on this point, but given the mood of the room, she kept silent and quietly made her way back to her seat.
“So what, you called us all in here because you don’t believe there’s a connection?” Schutterop asked.
“I think it’s important to keep an open mind. Regardless of whether these events are related, attacks of this magnitude have implications for everyone in this room in one way or another. We’ve been criticized in the past for not sharing information, so that’s what we’re doing.”
“I appreciate that, Arthur. Apologies, but I’m under some time pressure,” said a smiling Allenby as he stood up.
“Okay, that’s fine. We’ll keep you all updated,” Marshall said, signaling an end to the meeting.
Mesi could see that one or two others might have liked to pursue the conversation further, but after a moment they, too, stood to leave.

A brutal conflict unleashed.
Who stands to win?
A bloody massacre at a Mexican heroin refinery; a Miami-bound freight ship hijacked for its cargo of illegal narcotics; the ruthless assassination of a Kosovar drug lord – a war has erupted between two drugs superpowers.
As DEA Agent Diane Mesi investigates she becomes convinced that the conflict is being orchestrated by an unknown third party. But she is marginalised by her colleagues and her judgement is challenged at every turn. Only if she can expose the truth will she be able to stop the violence and save her career.
Michael Larsen is an ex-soldier and hired mercenary who has been contracted to fuel the conflict at every opportunity until it destroys both sides. As he battles his own demons, he hopes that by directing the violence he will attain some measure of redemption.
But neither Mesi nor Larsen know the full extent of the forces at play or of what is truly at stake. As they each pursue their own resolution, the violence escalates and they become increasingly vulnerable to the dangers that stalk them.
Incitement won the John Murray Show / RTE Guide / Kazoo Competition from over 500 entries.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with David Graham on Facebook & Twitter

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

@AlinkaRutkowska on #BookMarketing & #SocialMedia - #AmWriting

Start a website with a blog on it. Post regularly. I recommend daily. Blog around the subject of your book. My favorite platform is WordPress. You can get a free template or pay a few bucks for an upgrade (which I recommend). Buy a domain – dot com is best. You can start doing this even a year before launching your book.
Get a Facebook and Twitter profile and connect it to your blog, so that each time you upload a post, a message appears on your social profiles. Make new connections. Like and retweet other people’s stuff that you find valuable. Run promotions to get new readers.
Get a seal for the cover. Try to get your manuscript reviewed or even awarded a prize before publishing. This way you can publish it with this distinction on its cover. I love Readers’ Favorite for what they offer in this department.
Solicit reviews – once your book is out – get as many Amazon reviews for your book as possible. 20 look good. 50 look excellent. You can do this via giveaways on LibraryThing or through storycartel or via book review swap with other authors (Readers’ Favorite offers one). You can also contact top reviewers on Amazon.
Do a virtual blog tour. I’ve used Pump up your book and Orangeberry Book Tours. The results are not immediate but it gets you out there and who knows, maybe the New York Times will pick you up!
Do a book launch at your local library/book store/ hairdresser’s. Get some people together, offer a few snacks, discuss your work, sell your books!
Do a press release. There are plenty of free resources but I recommend using one of the big guys’ services. I use PR Newswire, iReach. It’s best to be able to write that the book has received an award or five star reviews and things like that.
Make an appearance on book fairs. Get your book out there – for a relatively small fee you can have your book represented at the largest book fairs in the world. It might be picked up by foreign publishers and you will be able to sell foreign rights! Foreword Reviews and the American Collective Stand both offer such services.
Niche marketing. If you’ve written a book whose plot takes place on a cruise ship, market it to cruise ships! If you’ve got a book about eggs, market it to your local farmers. Find places in which you are one of the few books on display.
Celebrate! Make sure you celebrate every success! Got your first review? Celebrate! Got an award? Big time event! Has your book been picked up at a book fair? Open that bottle of bubbly. Have you made a deal with your local bookstore? Celebrate again!

Alinka Rutkowska has created a tale that will appeal to children, which teaches about choices, and encourages communication and sharing. Rating: 5.0 stars from Readers’ Favorite Reviews.
Embark on a one-of-a-kind, unprecedented, breathtaking adventure with Maya and Filippo as they travel around the globe on board the “Fun Princess” — a cruise ship full of surprises. Discover their fascinating ports of call, find out what the local customs and traditions are, join the kids in activities at sea, and explore the remarkable world they create through the power of their positive outlook.
This time the kids spend a day on board the Fun Princess. They become junior chefs at sea and learn how to bake a cake. Maya and Filippo discover how trying out different recipes gets them closer to creating the perfect dessert. They also discover the power of sharing.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Children’s Picture Book
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Alinka Rutkowska on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, August 22, 2014

#Excerpt from Haunted by @EileenMakysm #AmReading #YALit #NALit

The real estate office was bright and cheerful, with large potted plants in each corner and flowers on the counter.  The young receptionist was happy to buzz the agent for him, and a minute later, a woman with dark, perfectly coiffed hair and a red business suit strode out from the back.
“Mr. Trent?”
Steven stood and offered his hand, which the woman shook firmly.  “Ms. Smithe,” he said.  “Thank you so much for taking the time.”
“Not that much time, Mr. Trent.”  She held out a single key on a ring.  “This will open the front door.”
Steven took the key from her.  “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome.  The electricity and water are still on, and the heat’s set warm enough so the pipes won’t freeze when the temperature drops.  It is a little chilly in there, though, so if you’re spending the night, I’d recommend dressing warmly and bringing a good sleeping bag.”
“Will do.” He debated briefly, then decided that he had nothing to lose (he had the key in hand, after all).  “Ms. Smithe, have you experienced anything in the house?  Anything supernatural?”
The young woman behind the desk looked up.
Ms. Smithe glanced at her, then back at Steven, her eyes narrowed.  She stepped closer and smiled tightly.  “Mr. Trent,” she said in a low voice, “It is a house.  It is a property that I am trying to sell.  And that is all.  Mr. Lacey has requested that you be granted access, and that’s his right.  But I would appreciate it if you left me out of it – and didn’t go blabbing your mouth and making my job harder.”
Steven tilted his head.  “You did see something, didn’t you?”
Her smile vanished, and she turned around.  “Slide the key into the mail slot tomorrow morning.”  Then she walked back to her office.  “Good day, Mr. Trent.”
Steven heard a door slam.
The woman behind the desk watched her go, then looked back at Steven.  “This is about the Lacey place, huh?”
Steven shifted his eyes to her.  “Yes, it is.  Why?”
The woman nodded.  “I figured.  She doesn’t like that house.  She’s supposed to show the house and everything, but every time someone wants to see it, she has some excuse why she can’t show it, and has one of our trainees do it.”
“Has she said why?”
“Not as such.  I do remember her saying something about a baby…but I’m pretty sure the Laceys don’t have any kids.”
Steven nodded, pressing his lips together.  “Well.  Thank you for telling me this.”
“No problem.  Only…”  She craned her neck to look down the hallway, then turned back to Steven.  “Just don’t tell her I told you, okay?”
Steven smiled.  “You got it.  Have a great day.”
She sighed.  “I’ll try, but I’m guessing she’s in a foul mood now; she’s a total bitch when she’s in a bad mood.”  She again glanced quickly down the hall.  “Don’t tell her I told you that, either.”

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

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

GENERATION by William Knight @_William_Knight #Crime #Thriller #AmReading

After three nights lying in a sodden hole without seeing so much as a curious weasel, Hendrix had been tiring of the outdoor life. He longed for a regenerating cup of coffee and a heated discussion with his editor about faked Apollo landings. Such was the way of things. He didn’t mind the odd night roughing it, as it reminded him of the better times in the services, but this went beyond the call of duty.
The so-called Ashburton Wolf began devouring sheep a couple of years back, but this was the first time anyone from the editorial team at Strange Phenomena had investigated it.
Sam was a monster. A cross between a rottweiler and a German shepherd, it looked like a squat, black cow with shark-teeth and a full-moon attitude. It might have been called Sam, but the innocence of its name was an absurd contrast to its spittle-soaked canines and ink-pot eyes. The chain around its neck could have held an ocean liner at full steam ahead.
“Practically a vegetarian, that dog,” said the farmer, “and unless he keeps a key jammed up his arse, he ain’t been out the garden this morning.” Sam was tucking into a hollowed-out thigh bone stuffed with a mix of roasted vegetables and beef stock, not a newborn lamb.
“And how do you explain the blood trail?” Hendrix asked.
The farmer pointed to a brace of rabbits hanging from his belt. Blood oozed from their noses.
“Always blood somewhere in these paddocks. No surprise to me.”
A man emerges from the sodden undergrowth, lost, lonely and starving he is mown down by a speeding car on the edge of a remote forest.
Rumours of ghostly apparitions haunt a rural Northumberland community.
A renowned forensic research establishment is troubled by impossible results and unprecedented interference from an influential drug company.

Hendrix 'Aitch' Harrison is a tech-phobic journalist who must link these events together.

Normally side-lined to investigate UFOs and big-beast myths, but thrust into world of cynical corporate motivations, Hendrix is aided by a determined and ambitious entomologist. Together they delve into a grisly world of clinical trials and a viral treatment beyond imagining.
In a chase of escalating dangers, Aitch must battle more than his fear of technology to expose the macabre fate of the drugged victims donated to scientific research.
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Genre – Crime, Thriller, Horror
Rating – R-16
More details about the author
Connect with William Knight on Facebook & Twitter