Friday, January 31, 2014

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

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.


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Genre – Science fiction, Fantasy
Rating – PG-13+
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Thursday, January 30, 2014

#Fiction #Author Donald J. Amodeo - Life, #Writing & Himself @DonAmodeo

About the Book
What inspired you to write Dead & Godless?
Books of Christian theology and larger-than-life adventure novels are among my favorite reads, so why not combine them? I’d read novels with a Christian message, but they seldom tackled more than one or two arguments. Crafting a comprehensive apologetics resource that’s also a suspenseful journey was a challenge that I just had to take a shot at.
What other stories influenced your own?
Readers of Dead & Godless will spot references to everything from Lord of the Rings to Star Wars and The Matrix, but if I were to name one (not so mainstream) influence, it would be C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy. Though less popular than Narnia, the Space Trilogy is a wonderful, more grown-up adventure with some real gems of theological insight.
What was the greatest obstacle you faced in writing this book?
My biggest challenge with Dead & Godless was finding the right balance between the existential debate and the action. When writing philosophical arguments, it’s all too easy to let them get drawn out. I like short, fast-paced chapters with a good measure of mystery and suspense, and that wasn’t going to be achievable unless I kept my arguments concise. Doing so while getting the getting the key points across (and keeping the dialogue natural) was no easy task.
On the Writing Process
What are your favorite types of scenes to write?
I love writing action sequences. As a martial arts instructor and a longtime fan of action films and novels, writing fast, hard-hitting exchanges comes naturally. There’s a fine balance between describing the details of the action and keeping the plot rolling, and I’ve found a pace that I hope is as exciting to read as it is for me to write.
What type of writing do you struggle with?
Writing good dialogue takes effort. It doesn’t come as easily to me as action scenes tend to. And there’s a whole lot of dialogue in Dead & Godless. Trying to capture philosophical debates in language that is both witty and natural was a big challenge, and a rewarding one to overcome.
Do you find it hard to share your work?
I’m not the shy or timid type. If my work is terrible, I want to know about it, though it certainly helps when the criticism is constructive. As such, I really enjoy sharing my work. Every week I attend a write night, in which several friends and myself meet up to share some of our recent material. It’s great to get honest feedback from people you can trust to tell you both the strengths and weaknesses of your story.
Why do you write?
I’ve always been drawn to creative pursuits, whether its creating digital art (I attended art school for a time), building websites or launching businesses. I’m not happy unless I’m creating something. I love writing in particular because it’s such a pure art. In many creative fields – such as films or video games – it takes hundreds of people to produce a final product. That product’s vision often feels “designed by committee” as a result. But with novels, a single artist can express his or her vision without compromise. That’s incredibly appealing to me.
Personal Questions
What’s your greatest personal strength?
It’s much easier to list my faults, but if I must single out a strength, it would probably be my imagination. Dreaming up worlds in elaborate detail is something that I have trouble *not* doing. I’m not always sure that it’s a strength at all. There are times when I’ve wished that I could shut off my imagination and be happy working a regular job, but the creative monster inside is quick to remind me that I won’t be satisfied unless I feed it.
What’s your biggest personal weakness?
I can be impatient and occasionally a bit of a pessimist. If I don’t have some project to work on, I tend to get restless, and I’m prone to stressing out when something is simply out of my hands. “Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26) – I don’t always have an easy time remembering that.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
My favorite writers of Christian theology and philosophy include classic thinkers such as Aquinas and Pascal, along with some fantastic modern writers such as Peter Kreeft and Scott Hahn. For fiction, I lean towards sci-fi and fantasy, with J.R.R. Tolkien and Gene Wolfe among my favorites. The wonderful work of C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton crosses into both genres.
What books did you love growing up?
I devoured troves of fantasy novels in my youth. The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit), The Belgariad, The Dark Elf Trilogy, Dragonlance . . . Some of it was Christian, but there was also plenty of standard Dungeons & Dragons fare. I enjoyed sci-fi novels as well (such as The Time Machine), but fantasy was my go-to genre.

When outspoken atheist Corwin Holiday dies an untimely but heroic death, he’s assigned a chain-smoking, alcoholic angel as his defense attorney in the trial to decide the fate of his soul.

Today many cast Christianity aside, not in favor of another faith, but in favor of no faith. We go off to school or out into the world, and we learn that reality is godless and that free thinking means secular thinking. But must faith entail an end to asking questions? Should not the Author of Reason be able to answer the challenge of reason?

Dead & Godless is a smart and suspenseful afterlife adventure that explores the roots of truth, justice and courage. In these pages awaits a quest that spans universes, where the stakes are higher than life and death, and where Christianity’s sharp edges aren’t shied away from, because we’re not called to be nice. We’re called to be heroes.

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Genre - Christian Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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Author Interview - Samantha Warren @_samanthawarren

What scares you the most? Failure. And success. I want to be a successful writer, but at the same time, it scares the bejeebus out of me.

What makes you happiest? Coffee. And laying in the hammock reading a really good book on a nice day with a light breeze.

What’s your greatest character strength? I’m loyal and I’m strong when I need to be. Plus I’m very independent.

What’s your weakest character trait? I don’t trust myself. I have a bad habit of always assuming everyone knows more than I do.

Why do you write? I have to. I’ve tried to give up before. I’ve actually said “After I finish this book, I quit.” But before I finish with that one, three more story ideas have popped into my head and started nagging me to be written. If I don’t write them, they sit there and pester me until I sit down at the keyboard and let them come out.

The Iron Locket

She was raised to hunt faeries. He was raised from the dead.


Aiofe Callaghan comes from a long line of faery hunters. Hired by one of the faery queens, they protect the human world from chaos and destruction. But when Aiofe stumbles through an open door into the land of Faery, she discovers the job isn’t as simple as it seems, and neither is she.

Arthur Pendragon spent centuries in blissful nothingness, until the day the four queens banded together to raise him from the dead. Along with his twelve most talented knights, he leads the warring armies of Faery against the greatest enemy they have ever known: one of their own.

Can they overcome their differences to confront the greatest challenges either of them have ever faced?

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Genre –  Paranormal Romance

Rating – PG

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Jonas Trust Deception by A.F.N. Clarke @AFNClarke

The Jonas Trust Deception

by AFN Clarke

AFN CLARKE is the author of 8 books, including the best selling memoir CONTACT, that was serialized in a British newspaper and made into an award winning BBCTV film.  His latest novel, The Jonas Trust Deception, is a Thomas Gunn thriller and follows the success of The Orange Moon Affair.  Readers have called it “classy, complex and cunningly compelling” and a “powerful force in the thriller genre”.  In solving the mystery of an ongoing conspiracy involving his old friend Morgan, Thomas Gunn, ex-Special Forces, takes an action so shocking and bold, that even his team fear he’s lost his mind.  The question is, has he?  To get a taste of things to come, here’s an excerpt from the book.  And for more information visit or the Amazon Kindle store.

There is something so totally desolate about sitting in a prison cell staring at the blank grey walls that, unless you’ve experienced it, you’ll never understand. There is a finality and hopelessness that is almost beyond comprehension. A despair that sucks at your soul. My salvation was that I knew that my stay here was going to be short-lived, but what the future held was one big question mark. I had the distinct feeling somebody had put a ring in my nose and was leading on a mystery tour with more questions than answers.

Left alone with just the usual sounds of dissatisfied inmates, clinking keys and slamming doors for company, I thought back to the frantic last few days.

Confusion would be an apt description of my state of mind.

What facts could I scramble together?

Several dead bodies at Morgan’s ranch.

A small but ruthless Mexican Mafia gangbanger, with the unlikely nickname of ‘El Cobra Poco’, who seemed as if he could be a strange ally.

And the mysterious Robert Sutherland.

What other questions remained?

There were many, starting with who would have wanted to kill Morgan? Everything went back to my request for her to investigate the financial dealings of the Griffin Trust and its Chairman Ted Lieberman.

How was the Mexican Mafia involved if what Sutherland said about Morgan working for him was true?

I could just lie here all night long and create imaginary scenarios, but that wouldn’t supply any answers, so I closed my eyes and concentrated on emptying my mind.

Sleep was what I needed.
It must have been two hours after the jail cell lights went out, that the goons came for me. Dragged me off the bed and frog marched me down the corridor to the back of the jail and down narrow stairs to a basement garage without saying a word. There was a nondescript cream coloured painter’s van waiting with the rear doors open, and I was unceremoniously bundled inside.


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Genre – Thriller

Rating – PG-13

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Doubt (#AmongUs Trilogy) & How It Fell Into Place @Write2Film #Paranormal #AmReading

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
I usually write by myself but I learned that being the Lone Ranger is not the best way to write. Thankfully, when I was writing Doubt, I had my developmental editor by my side. It was mostly a collaboration of minds, although we frequently butted heads. But the outcome, once we ironed things out, was pure magic.  In addition, my team of beta readers participated in missions (in the theme of the book) and also provided further feedback of each chapter. I also worked with my critique partner who helped shake up the story and make it richer.  Finally, the manuscript went through two copy and proof editors to refine the work and polish off the writing.
How did you come up with the title?
Aaron Swartz who passed away in early 2013 and Harry Fear, two young truth seekers were the inspiration for my book’s main character Harry Doubt.  The title Doubt not only is a play on the main character’s last name but also reflects how the characters question the reality of the world they live.
Can you tell us about your main characters?
Harry is a former child prodigy and tech genius. He created the popular online game the Truth Seekers.  His best friend, Cristal is also a talented and intelligent programmer. Her father went missing when she was a child. She senses that there is something different about her but she cannot bring herself to admit it.
How did you develop your plot and characters?
The story mixes social media communications such as text messaging and video messaging as a form of communication between characters as they go on missions to find their family members.
All characters have aliases and avatars, which are displayed as a splash page image at the beginning of the book.  The official website of the book ( also has detailed M.O.’s of the characters so readers can also view and interact with the characters on the website.
The story although geared to young adult/ early adult readers is also entertaining for general readers who are interested in the supernatural, sci/fi urban fantasy, apocalyptic genres with themes similar to the TV show Fringe (by J.J. Abrams).
As a filmmaker, journalist and web design programmer, I tell stories in multiple mediums.  Doubt (book 1 of the Among Us Trilogy) was literally created from an interactive online reality game that I created with the help of my developmental editor (Josefina Rosado).
The official website interacts with visitors allowing them to participate as Truth Seekers following the theme of the story.
I wanted to give readers another way to connect with my story.  Entertainment does not need to be contained in one medium. I believe in telling your story in many mediums. How do we do this?  One way was to entice readers  to participate in the experience of the story as it is being written. Putting Theory to the Test Here was the plan I used for fan recruiting  for my new novel Doubt, Book 1 of the Among Us Trilogy:
1)    Design website for the book series using the theme of the story
(Theme: Truth seekers who are online gamers use the internet to communicate with each other and also hack into global networks to save the world from catastrophic events caused by an unknown entity.)
2)    Entice beta readers to read drafts of the chapters as I write them but only awarding the first 10 who register
3)    Assign characters from the novel to each beta reader.
4)    Provide the beta reader with their assigned character’s strengths, weaknesses, personality traits and physical characteristics.
5)    As more chapters in the book are written, the ten beta readers will be asked to provide input with the incentive that what they write may be included in the next chapter. They will not know until the next chapter is released.
6)    Release each new chapter to the first ten fans as an award for having joined early.
7)    As more beta readers register to the site, ask them to create their own character and post the character’s 3 strengths and 3 weaknesses and 3 physical characteristics on the website.
8)    Entice additional beta readers to complete simple mission assignments related to the story with the incentive that their character may be chosen to be written into the Book 2 and Book 3 of the series.
9)    Give beta readers a Thank you credit on a Thank You page on the site and also on the credit page when the book is published.
10)    When the beta readers pass a mission assignment, a chapter will be released to them.
Using this approach to write Doubt, I also allowed fans to participate and shape the story. This has helped build the fan base and also promote the book launch. The release of the book is November 9, 2013 and because of this approach, Doubt is being featured at the Rain Dance Book Festival in Canada.
Who designed the cover?
Moi. I’m a web designer in my alternate life so graphic design is one of my hidden talents.
How do you promote this book?
We’re currently doing a book launch tour online and at live events. Fortunately, the Raindance Book Festival on November 9th was a perfect venue to launch “Doubt”.  The festival provided us the platform to have a live event attended by hundreds of people which we UStreamed to our fans all over the world.  On our book launch day, we connected with other authors at the festival and exposed our book to a lot of attendees. 
Currently, we are marketing “Doubt” to book review bloggers and social media sites; Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, our blog, GoodReads, Amazon, Kindle groups, etc. We also are hosting giveaways on our blog, GoodReads and Library Thing.  We are really excited to be doing an Orangeberry Book Blog Tour, which starts on Dec 30th with over 25 blog stops. 
During the tour, we are scheduling more giveaways, interviews and social media events.  Recently, we did a KDP Select free day where almost 6000 people downloaded my novella “Truth Seekers” which is Part 1 of the full novel “Doubt.” It is like a ‘Try before you buy’ approach. If readers like the novella, we know they will purchase the novel Doubt for the whole story.
Will you write others in this same genre?
Yes, I will be writing books 2 and 3 of the Among Us Trilogy in the Young Adult/Teen Urban fantasy paranormal apocalyptic thriller genres.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I believe that there is a truth seeker in all of us whether we want to admit it or not. Some people will reject the idea while others will open their eyes and embrace it.
How much of the book is realistic?
Ummm…the time travel part.
What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
The thrill that readers are enjoying the book and telling me to write book 2.

Do you love shows like J.J. Abrams' Fringe and read books like Cassandra Clare's City of Bones?

"Doubt" mashes fringe science, corporate espionage and paranormal encounters to catapult you into an out-of-this-world experience.

At 21 years old, Harry and Cristal are fresh out of university with their PhD's. Labeled all their lives as being 'weird' and 'geeky', they find true friendships with other outcasts by playing online virtual reality games.

Harry Doubt, a genius programmer and creator of the popular online game 'Truth Seekers', has a personal mission of his own; to find his mother who went mysteriously missing while volunteering on a peacekeeping mission in Palestine. His gaming friends and followers inadvertently join in helping him find her; believing that they are on missions to find out what has happened to their own missing loved ones. 

During Harry's missions, Cristal and the team of 'Truth Seekers' stumble upon things that make them doubt the reality of their own lives. As they get closer to the truth, they realize that there are spiritual forces among them both good and evil, but in learning this, they activate a chain of events that start the beginning of the 'end of the world' as they know it.

Doubt is Book 1 of the Among Us Trilogy. Among Us is a book series which delves into the world of the supernatural and how it intersects with the everyday lives of seemingly ordinary young people as catastrophic events on earth lead to the end of times. 

Among Us weaves the theme of a young man and woman, who while not fully understanding their 'abilities', are drawn together in their desire to find out the truth about the world they live in which is similar to themes used in J.J. Abrams' TV shows Fringe and Lost.

What readers have to say...
As a big fan of the show Fringe, this book appealed to me tremendously. The writing was well done, and the way the "supernatural" forces were introduced was great.
A good, clean read for any age.
It was an excellent story that I'm sure both adult and teen urban fantasy fans will enjoy. You don't have to be a gamer or know one to identify with the characters. They're very well developed and definitely feel like people. I would definitely recommend it to a friend and I'm really looking forward to the second book.
...the novel is written in such a languid style, it moves on effortlessly and absorbs the reader into the story completely. Although the story itself revolves around the online gaming industry, one does not have to have an in depth knowledge as it is ably explained and discussed within the plot line. OMGosh! I just finished reading "Doubt" INCREDIBLE! I couldn't put it down.
˃˃˃ >>> Depth and Substance mashed up with Fringe Science. Will entertain young and old alike.

This book is intended for mature young adults and new adults. Ages 16 to 45 +

˃˃˃ >>Inspired by real Truth Seekers Aaron Swartz and Harry Fear

The main character Harry Doubt was inspired by Aaron Swartz, internet prodigy and activist, co-founder of the Creative Commons and Reddit, and Harry Fear, journalist, documentary filmmaker and activist whose coverage of the conflict in the Middle East was seen on UStream by millions of viewers.

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Genre - Young Adult, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Thriller
Rating – G
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Monday, January 27, 2014

Absolution (The #Vampire Alliance) by Angela Louise McGurk @Angela_McGurk #Fantasy #PNR


Eve Blakethorn can barely remember what it was like to be unaware of the vampire world around her. Many years have passed since she met the stranger, the man who saved her life, gave her the world and promised her immortality. Unfortunately for Eve someone in power had not wanted her to have the world. Within days of her marriage her life is shattered. Everyone Eve cares for, vampire and human, is taken from her and she is left alone to fend for herself in a world she neither understands nor fits into.

How can she hope to survive her dark and lonely existence while still plagued by the horrors she witnessed when her husband died? How can she avoid becoming prey to the monster who stalks her footsteps, the devil she has long suspected to be the one who brought about her husband’s downfall?
Desperation drives her every move, leading her into the darkness where monsters wait. Can Eve discover the truth about how her world came to crumble and who was really responsible? Is there another stranger out there capable of bringing her some sense of peace? And just what is the vampire government, The Senate, hiding in the dark tunnels under the city?

Praise for Absolution*: 
“I enjoyed every chapter haven't stayed up so late for a book in so long I just couldn't put my phone down. Great book.”

“Wow! It's a nice change to read something in the vampire category with a more mature storyline. Your story was interesting and had me captivated from the beginning until the end. It was beautifully written, and falling in love with with the characters was easy. Great job absolutely loved it!”

“I have thoroughly enjoyed this book! I think this has been one of the most original, mature vampire stories I have ever read... The lives of your vampires are fully realised, their abilities are believable, and the twists in your story are sublime.”

*All comments are from readers.

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Genre - Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Rating – R
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The Forgotten Child by Lorhainne Eckhart @LEckhart

“Please sit down, Emily.” He extended out the flat of his hand, very much in control.

“Ah, thank you.” She perched on the edge of the soft leather seat across from a man who was too damn good to look at—a man obviously comfortable in his own skin.

Hardness set his jaw as he studied her. The tick of the wall clock seemed to echo in the silence, and Emily squirmed in her seat. Why was he looking at her like that? Maybe it was her outrageous entrance and he was wondering what kind of kook she was, whether he could entrust her with his child. Yes, that had to be it.

She swallowed hard. “I’m Emily Nelson; I talked to you yesterday on the phone about the job.”

He blinked before closing those exquisite eyes, as if he’d forgotten the reason she was here. When he opened them again, his hard judgmental expression seemed to have softened a bit.

Again he extended his large hand, taking hers in a firm grip. Just the touch of his solid calloused hand and the secure squeeze was enough to teeter her nerves back to that awkward woman at the door. She wondered what it would be like to have a man like this run his hands over you. She snatched her hand back before her face burned any brighter. Finally, he introduced himself. “The name’s Brad Friessen.” Emily kept quiet. He didn’t run on with his words. He must be a deep thinker, a doer. She could relate to that… but not to him. Her sly eyes glanced down at his left hand: no gold band, no white line, no wife or significant other. Or maybe he was one of those arrogant guys who wouldn’t wear a ring, a lady’s man. He had the looks and the attitude. Now was the time to ask about the woman who answered the phone when she called. Who was she?

“This is a working ranch I run, and I need a woman to look after my son. I’m old fashioned in my values. Children should be at home, not stuck in daycare. I’m looking for someone who’s comfortable in a kitchen and looking after children: a role that should come natural to a woman. I don’t want someone who’s got the phone stuck to their ear half the day. It’s a decent job and good pay; $500 a week, room and board, and includes all your meals.”

Her heart sank about the same time the bottom dropped out of her stomach. It was too good to be true. She wanted to cry. “But I… I have a little girl, I didn’t realize–”

His face hardened and he looked away. For some reason he was angry with her… no, furious. Emily didn’t know what to say when he let out a heavy sigh. He closed his eyes, rubbing his hand over the light brown shadow that appeared over his jaw. Then he faced her again, with those deep brown eyes now turned to steel. Emily saw that he could be a hard man.

Lorhainne Eckhart

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Genre – Contemporary Western Romance

Rating – PG

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

How the English Establishment Framed Stephen Ward by Caroline Kennedy @StephenWardBook

FBI director, J.Edgar Hoover, was convinced that British society was riddled with whores, pimps, sex maniacs and Soviet agents. His conviction was given a boost on Sunday, 16th June, when an article by British solicitor, Michael Eddowes, appeared in the Journal-American. In it Eddowes told of his meeting with Yevgeny Ivanov during the Cuban missile crisis. Eddowes described Ivanov as highly aggressive and full of blustering threats to wipe out England and to drop an atomic bomb in the sea 60 miles off New York. According to Eddowes, Hoover immediately ‘instructed’ him to make further enquiries into the security aspects and report back to him.
Washington was now buzzing with as many rumours as had swept London during the height of the scandal, so what happened next was not entirely a surprise. The White House became involved. The most likely explanation for President Kennedy’s sudden interest in the affair is that his brother, Attorney-General Robert Kennedy, told him of the long report from Hoover.
There were then both political and personal reasons for the President’s interest. One was that the scandal could provide Kennedy’s opponents in Congress with ammunition to attack his plans for a multi-nation NATO nuclear force. If Britain was so leaky, why should the US share it’s defence secrets? Another was a call in the Washington News for Kennedy to cancel his scheduled visit to London because it would provide moral support for the foundering Government of Harold Macmillan. ‘We can think of no better time for an American President to stay as far as possible away from England.’
And a third reason, a personal one, was that given Hoover’s animosity for the Kennedy family, the President became concerned that Hoover would somehow use the scandal against him….The only feasible reason for this widespread fascination is that all these people feared that the President of the United States was about to be dragged into the scandal, not on a political level, but on a sexual one…..The reason was that Robert Kennedy was worried that Christine or Mandy, or even both girls, might have slept with the President during their recent visit to the United States and he needed to know for certain so that he could protect the President from the scandal that would follow if the girls blabbed. It would have been simpler for Robert Kennedy to ask his brother if he had slept with either of the girls. But, as we now know, John F. Kennedy’s sexual appetite was so prodigious and so indiscriminate that he would not have been able to remember.
How The English Establishment Framed
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Genre – Politics, Espionage, Scandal
Rating – PG-16
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Sunspots by Karen S. Bell @KarenSueBell

* * *

As I lie in bed with these thoughts, I finally notice that Marina has quietly come back into my room and is sitting in the armchair watching me. She offers me some more medicine and I shake my head, “no.” I don’t want to sleep, and I don’t want to be awake. There is no comfort in anything. She says, “Come. We’ll have a nice cup of tea.” And I follow her downstairs and into the kitchen, zombie-like. I watch her with dull eyes that do not see her movements as she opens cupboards and finds a teapot, cups, and tea bags. I listen with deaf ears to her hum a Russian tune. I sit patiently with no patience sipping the tea I cannot taste. In silence, we sit. In silence, we speak without speaking. Marina’s life force wills me to feel her love.

And then she tells me her plan. “Maybe, I’ll stay with you awhile. Nothing back in Brooklyn right now.” I answer, mouthing words that I want to feel and yet cannot feel because I have closed myself off to the emotions of life, “Oh yes, please stay, Marina. I couldn’t bear all this alone.” I’m overwhelmed by her generosity, my loss, and the hidden truths lurking under the surface waiting to be revealed. Then the cordoned off person inside me breaks through all my controls again and unwonted tears erupt in a torrent of suppressed anguish. I am enveloped in her arms and her soothing voice whispers calming words as I try to regain the safety of stoicism.

Marina and I, sisters of a sort, sit together in my huge kitchen, in my huge house, sharing the huge hole in my heart as my tears pour down my face, flowing as if someone has turned on a spigot. Two small souls in a too-big kitchen of a too-big house silently wondering about the business problems of which his lawyer spoke using carefully chosen words somberly executed while his eyes burned with deep meaning. Problems that would have to be sorted out after I finished sitting “Shivah.” How can one cope with all of this? When will I wake up from this nightmare?

Eventually, it is dawn and I must sit on the wooden bench that signifies my mourning as memories cloud the present and I relive a life that is no more.


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Genre – Contemporary romance, Magical Realism

Rating – PG-13

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Author Interview - Jennifer Cornet @J_Cornet

Image of Jennifer Cornet

What makes you angry?

-Lots of stupid things make me mad. I’m from the DC area so traffic is a way of life. But there is something about someone going the speed limit in the fast lane when there isn’t traffic that makes my blood boil. That and movies that are way too long. 90 minutes, that’s all you need to tell a good story.

Are you a city slicker or a country lover?

-Neither. I enjoy both, which is why I love the DC area. I’m just outside the city (on the Virginia side), but also less than an hour from good hiking trails. It’s a little of everything.

How do you think people perceive writers?

-Depends on the writer. If they are remotely good, people tend to be amazed that they could come up with a complete complex story. If they are not so good, people think maybe a screw has come loose somewhere.

What’s your next project?

-I’m currently working on books 2 and 3 of the Elements of Ink series. At the same time, I’m developing a music based series that will have nothing to do with fantasy or sci-fi, so that will be a major change for me. I’m looking forward to working on a bit of everything.

What’s the reason for your life? Have you figured out your reason for being here yet?

-I think that’s a bold question. I feel it’s more important to live a life that make you happy and that you feel proud of rather than define it with a reason or purpose.


For Onyx Bay, what started as a cathartic ink session takes an unexpected turn when a specialized blood test at the tattoo parlor reveals her true identity, which threatens to turn her entire world upside down.

When Onyx learns that she is the descendant of a fantastical race of creatures who control the global elements, she discovers that her own blood makes her a valuable prize for competing forces, known as the Orders. As the truth about her bloodline spreads, she finds herself at the center of a supernatural bounty hunt pursued by both human and creature members of the Orders willing to do anything to claim her as their own. The hunt intensifies when a prophet foresees she will tip the balance of power and upset the peace among the Orders. As she attempts to evade capture and survive, Onyx is forced to choose between her humanistic past and a supernatural destiny in order to take control of her own future.

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Genre - Urban Fantasy

Rating – PG - 13

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

Along The Watchtower by David Litwack @DavidLitwack

The elevator dinged and the doors slid open. In less than a minute, I found myself in physical therapy. Like the rest of the hospital, the room was green-tile sterile, but someone had made an effort to cheer it up. Porcelain clowns lined the windowsill. Stuffed circus animals—lions and elephants and a family of monkeys—surrounded the rack that held the free weights. And a variety of fresh-cut flowers had been set in mugs in the cup holder for each exercise bicycle and treadmill. Later, I’d learn from Ralph that Becky kept them fresh, paying for them out of her own pocket. He said she’d deny it, but he’d seen her sneak in on more than one Monday morning with an armful.

Fresh-cut flowers. Mom used to get them every Monday as well, to brighten up the gingerbread house. But after Dad died, she started leaving them too long, not replacing them until they’d decayed so badly they smelled. After Joey died, she stopped buying them altogether.

The girl I met in the courtyard stood over a rolling aluminum table, organizing things I didn’t much like the look of. She was sufficiently absorbed that she didn’t notice us until Ralph called out.

“Afternoon, Becky. Brought you some fresh meat.”

She turned and grinned. “Always love a new victim.”

“Great. I’ll leave you two alone. Sounds like you need some privacy.”

After he left, she went back to finishing her preparations, making me wait. Finally, she came over and extended a hand.

“We already met, but let’s make it official. You’re Lt. Williams, but I can call you Freddie. I’m your worst nightmare, but you can call me Becky.”

I reached out and shook her hand. She didn’t seem scary.

“Ralph says you’re the best, that if anybody can bring me back, you can.”

“Ralph’s wrong. I’m just the guide. You’re going to do most of the work.”

“But are you the best?”

“Let’s say I haven’t lost one yet.”

“So I’ll be back on the basketball court in no time.”

Her grin vanished. She grabbed a chair, dragged it over and sat next to me.

“We’re going to be spending a lot of time together, Freddie, so we need to be straight with each other, right from the outset. My goal is to get you back to as normal a life as possible. If you work hard, I’ll have you out of that wheelchair and on crutches in a month. A month after that, maybe a cane. Beyond that, we’ll see. I make no promises other than to work as hard as you will.”

She stared at me. I stared back, captivated by my reflection in her gray-green eyes. She blinked first and went back to the rolling table.

. . . . . . .

She sat down again and undid the Velcro from my brace.

I winced. I hadn’t looked at my leg much since my peek the week before. The incision was less angry and the oozing had stopped. But what shocked me were the muscles. Where once I had bulges, now there were hollows. Not the leg of an athlete or soldier. Not the leg of a guy who might someday dunk. The leg of an invalid. Becky’s words rattled around in my brain. Crutches, then a cane. After that, we’ll see.

“It may not be pretty,” she said, as if she’d read my mind, “but it’s yours. Take a good look. Let it motivate you when you start making progress. And trust me, you will make progress.”

She squeezed some ointment from a tube onto her hands and rubbed them together.

“This will feel a little cold.”

She spread the ointment, swirling her fingertips over what had once been my quad. When she started the e-stim treatment, I felt the muscle spasm and contract involuntarily, a strange but not entirely unpleasant feeling. As she slid the wand around, humming along to its buzz, I noticed her touch more than the current.

She spoke out of nowhere. “I read the report. Says you have no family.”

I kept staring at her making figure-eights on my leg.

“Is that right?” she said.

I nodded.

“What happened?”

“I was born an orphan.”

She turned off the e-stim and looked up at me.

“Want to talk about it?”


“Ralph said you don’t talk much.”

“I talk when I want to. I don’t want to talk now.”

“Fine with me.” She resumed the treatment, hummed a few more bars, and then spoke without looking up. “Ralph was right about another thing.”

“What’s that?”

“You are a hard case.”

She was quiet after that, going about her job while I focused on the clowns at the windowsill. Every now and then, I’d sneak a look at her. A beautiful, happy optimist. But she’d never lived my life.

Crutches and a cane. After that, we’ll see. I was different from her—a realist. I knew what “we’ll see” meant. I’d need more than physical therapy to bring me back. I’d need a miracle.


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Genre – Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy

Rating – PG

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Friday, January 24, 2014

#Author R.J. Blain On Her Writing Habits @rj_blain #amwriting #amreading

Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?
Storm Without End is the story of Kalen. Kalen is the short, crippled king of a place best known for its hostile terrain and equally harsh people. Someone out in the world wants to see the current peace between the kingdoms fail, and will do anything to make it happen, including using horrific beasts known as the skreed. It falls to Kalen, Breton, and the other Rifters to somehow put an end to a war that hasn’t officially started yet.
Whether or not they succeed will be seen…
I wrote this book because I was a little tired of the standard cultural fare in epic fantasies. I wanted to pursue how the relationships between a bunch of different cultures and people would work. Every culture I created for this series focuses on a different element of human nature, which resulted in some interesting cultural quirks and characteristics.
This fantasy let me pursue how people behave, and that’s one thing I really love writing about.
If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?
I’d have a dinner party for two, with my father and me. He died before I was published, and he always helped support my reading (and writing habits) when I was a teenager, not minding when I ‘forgot’ most of my clothes and had to buy me new stuff so I could fill my duffle bags with books and writing journals.
But mostly, I’d hope we could just talk. It’s been a while.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
I spend most of my ‘free’ time writing, but I do like to read books and try to learn how to crochet. I’m not very good at crocheting, but I have the reading books thing down to a science. Open book, read!
Real answer: I play Everquest, an old-school MMO. My character is a rogue. I run around all sneakysneaky, and then I get behind my target, and with a delighted squeal, stabbystabby my foes!
I also have a tendency to, in a sing-song voice, say, “Yay!!!” when we when events while raiding big bad ugly monsters. Occasionally, my husband will talk with people in a voice chat, and they will hear me go “Yay!!”
That’s about when 53 people start giggling at me. (My husband included.)
How often do you write? And when do you write?
Almost every day. When I’m actively drafting a novel, I’m usually writing 2,000-5,000 words (by hand) per day. If I have an editorial job or deadlines for a client, I try to write a minimum of 228 words per day. That’s my average word count for a single moleskine page, after transcription.
I write whenever I have the time to write. It isn’t uncommon for my journals to walk around the house so I can get to the writing whenever I have a few free moments.
Have you met any people in the industry who have really helped you?
A few years ago, I went to a very small Sci-Fi and Fantasy convention in Montreal. Tad Williams and Deborah Beale were present. I was on two or three panels with Deborah, so we got to know each other a bit. On the last day of the convention, between panels Deborah and I were both on, we went to a bar across the street. Tad joined us.
I learned a lot, and we had a lot of fun just talking. That made me decide, one way or another, I was going to really go through with sharing my novels with the world. Deborah was a huge help in teaching me a bunch of my flaws. Most importantly, she gave me really good advice on how to correct those flaws and turn them into strengths.
I don’t think I could have gotten this far without their help.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
I really hope people will just enjoy the story, and get swept up in a world outside of our own – and have fun with it. Mostly, I just want to entertain people in the only way I know how.
If I could, I’d like my stories to encourage others to try to tell stories of their own, and think of new places that only exist in the imagination.
What’s your favorite meal?
Turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, and stuffing and gravy. With a side dish of gravy. I really love gravy. We celebrate turkey dinner in our household several times a year legitimately (Christmas, American Thanksgiving, and Canadian Thanksgiving) and whenever turkeys are on sale.
We really like turkey. I like it more than others, though…
What color represents your personality the most?
Red and yellow. Yes, two colors. They both are warm, energetic colors, and that’s how I am. We may as well throw orange in there for the same reasons. The entire warm-color spectrum suits me.
What movie do you love to watch?
Indiana Jones & the Raiders of the Lost Arc, Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade, Star Wars (a New Hope), Lord of the Rings, and the Hobbit.
No, I will not pick just one! I love them all equally! I can’t do it, I just can’t pick one of them! (Though if I had to pick a fandom, I’d go with Indiana Jones. He represents all of the things I wish I could be some days, and inspires some of the things I actually write about.)
How do you feel about social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter? Are they a good thing?
Like a lot of other things, I think social media sites can be good and bad. It all depends on how they are used and how much time is wasted on them. I use google+ as a way to spend a few minutes here and there when I need a break from other things, and it’s a great way to connect with fans and other like-minded individuals. The games on facebook are just a major time sink, and I think they should be avoided if you want to seriously get anything done. However, these platforms do provide an interesting way to reach out to fans, and I think every writer should at least have some sort of presence on them.
How do you think people perceive writers?
That’s an interesting question. Some people perceive writers as lazy. I’ve met others who perceive me as someone who works way too hard and needs to lay back and do more fun things in my life. I’ve met those who are somewhere in the middle.
Most, however, think I’m a little crazy, because I live in my made up world. Then they realize I make money doing this. I think those folks don’t know what to make of it, really. I’m okay with that, though.
What’s your next project?
I have several projects in the works right now. First, I have Storm Without End’s sequel partially written. I’m about a fifth of the way through it. I also have the second novel of my other series in the works. On the side, I’m working on two fantasy standalone stories. One is a little steampunkish in nature. The other is a thriller Urban / Paranormal fantasy. 2014 is going to be a really busy year for me!
How do you feel about self-publishing?
As someone who is working with self-publishers every day, and have done both venues, I’m a fan of it. It isn’t the style of publication that is important: It is the amount of work, dedication, and attention to quality that really matters.
More self-publishers are getting really serious about writing, editing, and making their novels stand out. It’s a multi-player game now, and at the end of the day, there is very little separating a traditionally-published author and a self-published author if they are both professionals.
Self-publishing, I fear, will forever be plagued with those who aren’t ready to be professionals yet. But at the same time, I do feel that there is a lot of room on the market for everyone. I let the covers and blurbs determine which authors I’ll check the samples of nowadays, and then I let the samples decide for me. Self-publishing has a lot of potential, so long as authors try to write like they’re traditional professionals.
Do you know your neighbors?
I know one of them. They’re really interesting. For context, I live in Montreal, Quebec. It’s a very multi-cultural region. It’s a flip of a coin if I speak the language of my neighbors. I’m pretty certain the people on one side of me speak French and English. We have a big hedge separating our driveways, so we don’t have a lot in the way of random encounters. On the other side, however, the neighbors are tri-lingual: Greek, French, and English. We both have pools, so we have powwows to talk about how much we hate the cotton fluff trees.
It’s hard understanding them, but I learn a lot about different cultures every time we run into each other and have a chat.
I’d like to get to know the other neighbors, but I’m a bit shy like that.
When you get free time on the internet or you go to the library – what do you want to read about?
There are three things I’m likely to do at a library. Option one: Write. It’s quiet, and no one is going to bother me, and there is something wonderful about writing when surrounded by books. Option Two: I will randomly go into the reference section and pick a random book and start to randomly read a section of it. I’ll do this for 20-30 minutes, go put the book back, and get another one.
Option Three: I’ll go find some fantasy or science fiction novel I haven’t read before, read it and put it back.
Or check it out if I haven’t finished it before I leave the library.
On the internet, well, that’s a different story. I’ll go to Wikipedia and explore things, do research, or be very, very bored. When I get bored, I grab a journal and start writing, or I’ll socialize on google+, twitter, or facebook.
It’s gotten easier and easier to get away from the internet, ironically.
Do you find the time to read?
I try to make at least 15-30 minutes a day to read a fiction book. I read quite fast, so this 15-30 minutes often means I can finish a book in a week, sometimes two weeks. Once I’m done reading my fiction, I’ll write a review on it. Sometimes I post them to my blog and amazon/goodreads, sometimes I don’t. Next year, I want to review two books a month. It should be a fun challenge!
On the research front, I probably spend an hour a day just reading non-fiction. I really think non-fiction is important for every writer to spend time reading about daily, in order to build a good knowledge base. This knowledge base helps prevent plot holes, and gives a novel a more realistic feel.
Last book you purchased? Tell us about it.
The Dresden Files. Almost the entire series. Missing one or two books, I think. I’m not going to get started on it. It’d be bad. I’ll just say, “Me love you long time, Harry Dresden.”
Though, I got a copy of We Will Destroy Your Planet by David McIntee – it’s hilarious, and I really recommend it for anyone who has the urge to conquer a planet.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
“`Do you know, I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too! I never saw one alive before!'
`Well, now that we have seen each other,' said the Unicorn, `if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you. Is that a bargain?'”
Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll
This really has always struck a chord with me. It speaks a lot about the manner of friendships in general. I think that if everyone took a few moments and looked at the person they’re talking to, believe in their existence, and get the same back in return, the world would be a far better place.
Everyone, I think, wants someone to believe in them.


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 – PG - 13
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Connect with RJ Blain on Facebook and Twitter
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