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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

#AmReading - Dead Hunger by Eric A. Shelman @AuthorShelman

Dead Hunger by Eric A. Shelman


This is the second book in the Dead Hunger series. Just thought we'd make it clear in case you found this one first . . .
As Flex, his niece Trina, Gem, Hemp and Charlie brave the wild world teeming with the walking dead, they make up the rules as they go along. Flex Sheridan was an electrician before the world took a nasty turn; Gem, an artist. Hemp is a scientist who specializes in epidemics and also carries in his bag of tricks a mechanical engineering degree. Charlie is a metal and punk rocker in her mid-twenties who has learned how to take out two zombies at once with her crossbow. Each one of them has their own story.
This one is Gem's chronicle.
They know they need to stay safe. But they also know that to hole up and hide away is to allow the creatures who crave human flesh to walk the world forever. Join with them as they struggle to balance their natural tendencies toward self-preservation with their strong desire to rid the world of the zombie scourge. Our band of machine gun-toting nomads moves from place to place in fortified vehicles, keeping their eyes peeled for survivors, and zombie battles ensue at nearly every turn. But this is not a world where love dies. This is a moment in history when human connections and things of beauty are more important than ever; things to be embraced and held tightly to.
So hop in the Crown Victoria with the ballistic steel body and the swiveling AK-47 on the top, and hang on to your seat as Gem powers the car through hoards of zombies and gets her precious Trina and Flex where they need to be. Learn what Hemp and Charlie discover in the lab – a huge clue to what caused the epidemic that has 90% of the world hunting the rest. But after you meet this group, youll begin to wonder: Who are the hunters, and who are the hunted?

Monday, December 30, 2013

Author Interview - Ava Zavora @avazavora

What is your greatest strength as a writer?
Most positive comments seem to fall into two areas. Readers are drawn to my lyrical writing style and/or they remark about my unexpected endings.
How did you come up with the title?
Since I knew the novel was going to be in a semi-epistolary format utilizing e-mails (as well as chats and texts), Dear Adam came to me very early. I love the title for its simplicity and symbolism.
Can you tell us about your main character?
The titular character of Adam is a mysterious Englishman with a shadowy past. He’s a man’s man who likes Hemingway, whiskey, cigarettes, and Frank Sinatra. Lured by Adam’s enigma and seduced by his sexy voice, my heroine, Eden falls in love with him sight unseen.
How much of the book is realistic?
Since many people are living their lives on social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.) the events in my book can happen to anyone. Even if one is not part of an online dating website, forming a deep online connection is easier to do more than ever, and I suspect, more commonplace than people realize.
Have you started another book yet?
I am deep in a fantasy manuscript about a historian who becomes ensnared in centuries-long quest to unearth Alexander the Great’s deadliest secret, one that will release untold evil into the world.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Ava Zavora on Facebook & Twitter
Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

#Free - Hannah’s Dream by Lenore Butler @ALJambor

Hannah’s Dream by Lenore Butler

Amazon Kindle US

Genre – Historical Romance

Rating – PG

5 (6 reviews)

Free until 30 December 2013

A sweet historical set in 1895
Hannah Dawes is an enchanting strawberry blond who is betrothed to the boy next door.  When his father sends him a hundred miles away to become a doctor, Hannah vows to wait for him.  When he marries another, she's hurt, but she's not down for long.  Hannah has a dream, and the gumption to see it through.  Drawn to the colors in the church's stained glass windows, she abandons the sandcastle sculptures she shared with her former beau and embraces painting with color.  She draws inspiration from the wild Atlantic ocean and when the family fortune is lost and she is forced to move to Colorado, Hannah is heartbroken - until she sees the Rocky Mountains and a cowboy named Adam.
Adam is a shy man who loves horses and thinks he'll spend his life on the range.  But when he
sets eyes on the saucy, red-haired Hannah, he's smitten.  He hasn't known many women, and that Hannah is a strange one.  At first, he retreats when she gets riled up, which seems to be all the time, and she doesn't think he likes her, and when he tries to talk to her, his lack of sophistication frustrates her.  But there is something about the sweet cowboy that stays with her, and even when she meets a handsome and rich doctor, she can't get Adam out of her mind.
While they try to find common ground, Hannah and Adam grow to love one another, but someone from Hannah's past has come to Colorado to steal her away and won't let anyone stand in his way.  Will he keep Hannah and Adam apart?
Settle into an sweet, old-fashioned romance and get lost in Hannah's Dream.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

#AmReading - The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty @adrianmckinty

The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty


Spring 1981. Northern Ireland. Belfast on the verge of outright civil war. The Thatcher government has flooded the area with soldiers, but nightly there are riots, bombings, and sectarian attacks. In the midst of the chaos, Sean Duffy, a young, witty, Catholic detective in the almost entirely Protestant Royal Ulster Constabulary, is trying to track down a serial killer who is targeting gay men. As a Catholic policeman, Duffy is suspected by both sides and there are layers of complications. For one thing, homosexuality is illegal in Northern Ireland in 1981. Then he discovers that one of the victims was involved in the IRA, but was last seen discussing business with someone from the Protestant UVF (Ulster Volunteer Force). Fast-paced, evocative, and brutal, this book is a brilliant depiction of Belfast at the height of the Troubles and a cop caught in the cross fire.

10 Tips to Become a Better Writer – Diane Mulligan @Mulligan_writes

10 Tips to Become a Better Writer

Ever since I published my first novel, people have been asking me what they should do if they, too, wish to write a novel. A worthy question, and one that I’ve thought about. Allow me to distill my best advice to ten things that I think will put you on the right path.

1. Set goals for yourself.

If you want to become a better writer, the first thing you need to do is figure out what that vague, fuzzy idea of “a better writer” means to you. Does being a better writer mean getting more acceptances at literary magazines or getting into a conference? Does it mean a kind response from the friend you entrusted to read your draft? Does it mean fewer squiggly grammar-check lines as you type? The more specific you are, the better you can plan to fulfill your goal. My goal in my new book The Latecomers Fan Club was pacing. The feedback I got on my first book was that I should speed up the beginning. That was concrete and specific and I was able to tackle it. If I merely set out with trying to be a better writer, I wouldn’t have known where to place my efforts.

2. Finish what you start.

In a direct corollary to setting goals, if you want to be a better writer, it’s important to follow through on a story. Get to the words “The End.” If you want to be a writer, you probably have dozens of ideas, any one of which could make a great story. Unfortunately, if you start a new one every day but never finish any of them, you won’t break from the ranks of the aspiring into the ranks of the writers. I suggest setting a deadline and daily/weekly word count goal. You can take the NaNoWriMo approach of 1667 words per day for 30 days to finish a draft of a novel, or 1000 words a day for two months, or 1000 words five days a week for three months, or 300 words a day for a year, but whatever you decide, follow through!

3. Read a lot.

I have been astounded to hear many people say that want to write a book but that they don’t read much. Why would a person want to create something he or she wouldn’t even consume? It’s like a vegetarian grilling steaks for supper. Besides, the best way to learn to write is to study the writing of others. Which brings me to number 4:

4. Find literary role models.

Not just buddies who also like to write or even a few teachers, but role models whose works you adore. What are you favorite books, the ones you’ve read over and over and that you always come back to? Turn to those books and study them. How do they work? Is the dialogue sizzling? Is the setting so real you feel like you’ve visited it? What do you love in those books? Pin down specific features you admire and then imitate. I know what you’re thinking. Imitation is a dirty word. Or is it? Imitation is the foundation of learning. Before being original, we must imitate.

5. Be quiet.

Eavesdrop. What do real people sound like when they converse? Take cues from real life when writing dialogue. Notice how often people fail to respond to each other, how often one questions is answered by another irrelevant question. Most conversations are actually two people talking at each other. Written dialogue should sound like real dialogue.

6. Know when to silence your inner editor.

Sometimes our inner editors are mean and spiteful. They tell us our writing sucks, our stories are boring, and no one likes us. At those times, we must shut our inner editors away where we can’t hear them. We wouldn’t listen to someone else talk to us that way, and we shouldn’t talk to ourselves that way either. When your inner editor makes personal attacks, lock her in the closet and then keep writing.

7. Know when to listen to your inner editor.

Conversely, sometimes our inner editors are wise and helpful. When they tell us that a time sequence is not clear, or that a character is being too contradictory, or that we may have gotten carried away with fancy prose, they might just be on to something. In other words, when our inner editors offer specific, constructive criticism, like a kind friend, we should listen. When my inner editor told me, after two whole drafts of the Latecomers Fan Club, that the book would be better in third person (I had originally written in first), I didn’t want to face another complete rewrite, but the suggestion was so specific and clear that I had to try, and guess what—my inner editor was completely right. The book is much better now.

8. Accept criticism graciously.

This is a direct correlation to 6 & 7. When you are given feedback, even if you disagree with it, say thank you to the person who spent time considering your work. If someone bothered to criticize you, even if it feels bad to hear the criticism, there must be something worthwhile in your work, or there’d be no reason to comment at all. There’s nothing worse than a piece of literature that leaves a reader with absolutely nothing to say.

9. Be open-minded.

If you really want to be a better writer, you must go beyond graciously saying thank you to feedback. You have to be willing to really hear the feedback and evaluate its relevance to your writing and goals. When your kneejerk reaction is to dismiss feedback, pause. Take a breath. Consider it again. You may still decide it’s bad advice for you, but you may also learn something important about your writing style. A number of friends told me the first fifty pages of my first book Watch Me Disappear  were nice but a bit slow moving. I knew this advice came from people who cared, so I took it to heart and in writing my next book, I focused on the action of the first fifty pages instead of just setting up characters and setting. Do I try to heed all the bits of advice that come my way? No. For instance I choose to ignore the agent who told me my stories were not saleable. That wasn’t constructive or helpful, so I didn’t need to worry about it.

10. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

I find that in writing and in life, I always do well to keep it simple.

The Latecomers Fan Club

What is it about guys with guitars in their hands that makes them so irresistible, even when they are obviously self-centered jerks? If Abby and Maggie could answer that question, maybe they could finally get over Nathaniel. There’s just something about him when he picks up his guitar and gets behind the microphone, something that makes sensible women act like teenyboppers instead of rational, self-respecting adults.

Abby was first sucked in by Nathaniel’s rock ‘n roll swagger four years ago when a drunken fling turned into a series of drunken hook-ups that became something like a relationship. Now, as New Year’s Eve promises a fresh start, she wants to believe he’s finally going to grow up and take their relationship seriously.

What does Nathaniel hope the New Year will bring? An escape from the disappointing realities of his life. He’s thirty-four years old and he’s barely making ends meet as an adjunct philosophy professor, which was always only a backup plan anyway. Nathaniel’s real goal was always to make his living as a musician, but his band, The Latecomers, broke up a couple of years ago, and he hasn’t picked up his guitar in months.

When he decides to spend the holiday with some high school friends instead of hanging out at the bar where Abby works, he gets the happy surprise of reuniting with his long-lost friend Maggie. Newly divorced, Maggie has just moved back to her mother’s house to regroup. Nathaniel and Maggie were supposed to be the ones who left Worcester forever to conquer the world. He was going to be a rock star. She was going to take the world of art by storm. He’s never gotten farther than Boston, and her best efforts only left her broke and heartbroken.

As they ring in the New Year together, Nathaniel decides it’s time to take control of his life and to start making his dreams come true. He thinks the first step will be easy. All he needs to do is break up with Abby and finally admit his feelings for Maggie. But the New Year has more surprises in store, and nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Women’s Literature

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Diane V. Mulligan on Facebook & Twitter


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

Living The Testimony by Deidre Havrelock @deidrehavrelock

My Personal Testimony

I grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, as a Cree/Irish borderline Catholic girl, meaning this half-breed rarely went to Mass. However, I did pray every night. I absolutely loved God and believed in Him deeply. Being Catholic, I had heard about Jesus. In fact, my favorite song was “Away in a Manger.” Whenever I was scared, which was often, I would sing this song. But I imagined Jesus to be a fairytale—a fantasy about a perfect God coming to save people. He was just for good thoughts. He was in no way a reality.

Despite my vague belief in Jesus, my relationship with God seemed deep. I would have conversations with my invisible God; I would tell God I loved Him. And I certainly did love Him. Although, I was becoming a bit frustrated with Him because of my dreary life circumstance. You see, my dad drank—a lot. And this stress, along with the stress of my quickly emerging spiritual life, was simply too overwhelming.

As a child I lived with a strange secret. I sensed an ominous yet deeply intriguing spiritual force in my home. I simply assumed a ghost lived in my house. To convolute matters even more, when I was just seven, a man with fire for hair appeared to me in a dream, forcing me to marry him in front of an upside-down cross. He told me in the dream, “Don’t worry, you have been chosen.” From this point on, I completely believed I was married to the devil—irrevocably dark and aligned with evil.

Fortunately, this dream did motivate me to dig my heels in and search for God. I figured only God could get me divorced from the devil. But instead my search led me to Fred, a kind spirit I met in grade four through a Ouija board. Being Cree, spirits were nothing new to me. My mom’s family always talked about spirits. Most of my aunts and uncles were scared of the spirits or ghosts they saw in their dreams and in their houses, but my grandmother told me the spirits were there to help and protect us. I wasn’t quite sure what to believe. I was confused. After all, the spirits I sensed around me and the ones I saw in my dreams scared me, too. But then again, Fred seemed different. This spirit was nice. He was funny. Fred told me through the Ouija board that his job was to protect and watch over me. Eventually, I began telling myself that spirits just felt creepy, but once you got to know them they could be nice. Especially, if you were nice to them.

Fred became my constant companion. But one day, in grade six, after my best friend’s dad tried to molest me and just after my uncle Glen (who had sexually molested me as a small child) came to live with us in our home, I had a nervous breakdown. While left home alone with Glen, I grabbed a butcher knife and ran to my room to hide. Once in my bedroom, instead of picking up my Ouija board to call on Fred, I cried out to God, telling Him I wanted to kill myself. Suddenly I heard a voice speak out loud: “When you are big everything will be okay.” It was God; He spoke to me. He was real.3 I told God I’d hang on until I was big, which obviously, to a twelve-year-old mind, meant eighteen.

By age sixteen, things seemed to have miraculously changed for the better. First of all, my dad was now inexplicably healed from alcoholism. Second, I was introduced by my high school teacher to a New Age transcendental meditation and channeling group that met weekly in the back room of a small bookstore.4 I was so excited. I thought for sure—in this extremely spiritual group—I would find God and get my divorce from Satan.

This group also told me spirits were good and helpful. However, a few sessions later, I found myself strangely altered after my spirit guide Fred, along with another extremely violent spirit, entered my body during group meditation and refused to leave. A member of the group did attempt to help me force these spirits from my body, but the endeavor failed. Consequently, I was kicked out of my New Age group for having bad karma. This meant I was the one attracting these evil spirits to the group—because I was evil. I left the group feeling deeply hurt, misunderstood, and very aware of being “chosen” by the devil.5

A school friend of mine named Doug, who had joined the channeling group with me, then suggested, without knowing anything about my spiritual past, that I study Satanism. His brother had a Satanic Bible.6 After flatly declining, I began dreaming I was killing people. I also dreamed of horrible evil creatures. Rats invading my house was a common dream, and the devil with fire for hair began reappearing in my dreams, growing angrier every time I refused to follow him. When I turned eighteen, I gave up on spirituality. I simply wouldn’t choose Satan and God had failed to show up and save me.

When I was twenty-two years old, now bulimic/anorexic, depressed, and suffering from intense back pain, my life took an unexpected turn when at work God surprisingly spoke to me again saying, “This is the man whom you shall marry.” That man was DJ, a young man who worked in the same office as I did. Eventually DJ and I began dating, and even though we seemed to have nothing in common—because I was convinced that God had sent him to help me—on our third date, I opened up to him, describing to him my nightmares and my spirit guide, Fred. Of course, I worried DJ might consider me crazy, but instead he said, “I’m here to help.”7

It was a few weeks later that DJ opened up to me, explaining how he believed in Jesus. He told me he believed Jesus was alive. He told me Jesus could heal me and save me; and because he was God’s actual Son, he was the gateway to knowing and experiencing God. DJ asked me to simply trust Jesus.8

But I was more than a little doubtful. In fact, his Christian beliefs made me furious. It seemed idiotic for anyone to believe that a childhood fairytale could be true, and it seemed positively arrogant that DJ thought he knew and understood God. After all, why couldn’t God just save me Himself? What did He need Jesus for? Why was Jesus so important? I argued with DJ about the relevance of Jesus many times. Then one night, after arguing about Jesus yet again, my back flared up with pain. DJ asked if he could pray for me. I was uncomfortable with this but thought, What will it hurt?

As DJ prayed for me, particularly when he asked me to be healed “in the name of Jesus,” my back pain sharply escalated—then the voices began. It was just like during my channeling days. Spirits stirred inside me wanting to speak. Except this time they were enraged. As DJ continued praying, my body contorted as my muscles tightened; a low growl came from my lips. Within seconds, a thick black mass pulled out from my back and hovered above us. I remember huddling against DJ, whispering, “What is that?”

“It’s evil,” he said.

I was terrified. DJ, however, immediately told the evil spirits to “leave, in the name of Jesus.” Surprisingly, the blackness retreated back down inside me. I was horrified and confused, crying and shaking. I didn’t understand I was possessed. All I knew was that Fred and another spirit were living inside me; they were angry, extremely strong, and they absolutely hated the name Jesus.

DJ, now with clear confirmation that my problem was actually demonic possession, had to find help, but where was he to go? He wasn’t sure if his church leadership would believe him. DJ then met with a Christian girl, Audrey, who also worked in our office.9 She and DJ decided to bring me to her church. They hoped her pastor could pray for me and expel the evil spirits.10

DJ convinced me to attend a service. However, shortly after arriving at the church, I found myself running from the service after voices in my head told me to kill the pastor. I remember this pastor was preaching about Jesus being able to heal. The whole service felt strange and uncomfortable to me, but DJ convinced me to go back to this church two more times. Each time I returned, the strength and rage of the voices grew and my strange back pain returned. Finally, much too terrorized and confused to go on, I refused to go back. I told DJ talking about Jesus aggravated my problems, so the solution was obviously not to talk about him.

Living the testimony

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Christian Living

Rating – G

More details about the author

Connect with Deidre Havrelock on Twitter


The Colors of Friendship by K. R. Raye @KRRaye

Moving On

Lance flicked his wrist and checked his watch.  Yes, 5:00 p.m. on the dot.  With a smile he knocked on the girls’ dorm room door ready to tackle their English study session.  Even though they each pursued different majors: Melody, Communications; Imani, Chemical Engineering; and he studied Business; they all made a vow at orientation to align their core Freshmen classes and liberal arts electives whenever possible. 

He heard movement behind the door as one of the girls checked through the peephole and then Imani threw open the door.

Lance smiled and landed a peck on her cheek before he strolled inside. 

The phone rang and Imani shoved him towards it.  “Could you get that? It’s my mom,” she said heading towards the bathroom she shared with Melody and the two girls in the connecting room. 

Colors of Friendship

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – New Adult, Contemporary

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with K R Raye on Facebook and Twitter


Friday, December 27, 2013

Yves Fey – Villainous Inspiration @YvesFey

Villainous Inspiration


Gilles de Laval, baron de Rais and his decadent crimes are the inspiration for my fin-de-siècle murderer in Floats the Dark Shadow. Gilles de Rais is France’s most evil and prolific serial killer, but few people have heard of him—among mystery buffs, at least. Some devotees of horror are more sanguine, though his name is often missing from the “worst serial killers” lists. This is despite his having one of the most flamboyant profiles of any of these infamous murderers.


Jack the Ripper remains the most vivid in our collective consciousness, but that is because he was never caught. Red Jack remains a nightmare. But Gilles de Rais is buried under the ever-growing pile of cases that often demonstrate the banality of evil, such as the Honeymoon Killers. He is a forgotten superstar of depravity, with a body count at minimum in the dozens and perhaps in the hundreds. His victims were pretty young peasant boys (sometimes girls in a pinch). Their names were seldom recorded, peasants being considered little better than cattle at the time, and their children even less worthy of note. We know a number of doleful tales from their parents, who often thought they were sending their children into service at court, a life brushed by magnificence. Because Gilles was so far above his chosen victims, he was almost untouchable. His servants and accomplices carried out his orders, bringing him victims, joining him in their rape and torture, then disposing of the mutilated corpses, usually in a huge furnace. Gilles’ murders were only the icing on the cake when he was finally arrested—for heresy. In matters of Faith, the Church had more power than the aristocracy. No doubt it helped that Gilles had plummeted from the richest man in France into bankruptcy.


According to the contemporary accounts of the 15th century, Gilles de Rais was a handsome, dashing, courageous warrior whose bravery (and contributions to the king’s coffers) earned him the title of Marshal of France. Early on, Gilles had an arranged marriage and his wife bore him a daughter, but he lived separately from them. The most astonishing thing about Gilles de Rais was that he served as lieutenant to Joan of Arc. As his exact body count is unknown, so is the date when he began his pedophiliac crimes. He may, like many serial killers, have begun early. Yet the hideous drama is enhanced if he began his killing spree after Joan’s death, in a crisis of faith, his soul incinerated on Joan’s pyre. According to Gilles’ own confession, he did not begin murdering children until after her death.

He also experimented with alchemy and devil-worship. Perhaps feeling that God had abandoned him, Gilles summoned one fake alchemist after another to bring him face to face with the Devil. What fortune he didn’t fritter away on this always abortive blind date was spent in staging gigantic extravaganzas (he wrote a play commemorating Joan’s capture of Orleans), in decorating his castles and their chapels, enhancing his stables, bejeweling his huge library of books, and dressing the least of his performers in cloth of gold. His pretty choir boys were particularly indulged.

At some point his psyche shattered and he devolved, taking more and more foolish risks both with his murders and his attempts to bolster his crumbling fortune. When arrested, he went overnight from scornful arrogance to piteous repentance. At one point in his interrogation, Gilles suggested that his overly spiced diet might have unbalanced his mind—the earliest version of the Twinkie defense. But he took credit for the crimes, vast shame alternating with pride in his own uniqueness. Prostrating himself, Gilles begged the Church and the families for forgiveness. It was granted, at least formally. One suspects there were some parents who mumbled a bit.

The baron asked to be killed before his accomplices. He wanted to set a good example. Gilles de Rais was throttled and his body burned on October 26, 1440.


For some reason, the stone erected by his daughter at the site of his execution became a place of pilgrimage for pregnant women who wanted to increase the flow of their breast milk. The holy site was destroyed during the French Revolution.

Life is strange.





Young American painter Theodora Faraday struggles to become an artist in Belle Époque Paris. She’s tasted the champagne of success, illustrating poems for the Revenants, a group of poets led by her adored cousin, Averill. When children she knows vanish mysteriously, Theo confronts Inspecteur Michel Devaux who suspects the Revenants are involved. Theo refuses to believe the killer could be a friend—could be the man she loves. Classic detection and occult revelation lead Michel and Theo through the dark underbelly of Paris, from catacombs to asylums, to the obscene ritual of a Black Mass. Following the maze of clues they discover the murderer believes he is the reincarnation of the most evil serial killer in the history of France—Gilles de Rais. Once Joan of Arc’s lieutenant, after her death he plunged into an orgy of evil. The Church burned him at the stake for heresy, sorcery, and the depraved murder of hundreds of peasant children. Whether deranged mind or demonic passion incite him, the killer must be found before he strikes again.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Historical Mystery

Rating – R

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Yves Fey on Facebook & Twitter

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

Midshipman Henry Gallant in Space by H. Peter Alesso


The hours in a day were never enough. Each watch, report, and exam seemed like an organized disruption to Gallant’s desire for food and sleep. Each irreverent “Attention Midshipman Gallant” that blared over his head, called him away to some new obligation. A week after re-qualifying, Gallant joined the other midshipmen in an advanced flight training session conducted by Lieutenant Mather.

Mather was going to review the ship’s computer systems in detail in preparation for a mock combat session. While many of the midshipmen were already up to date on the ship’s AI systems, it was an opportunity for Gallant to catch-up.

Mather stood at the head of the compartment at a lectern facing several rows of chairs. He began describing the Repulse’s computer system, “It’s a marvel of Twenty-second Century technology. It provides three levels of operation for each and every important department on board including: navigation, engineering, weapons, environmental, and communications. The first level is the centralized Artificial Intelligence (AI) system. It performs what we call ‘strong-AI.’ Then, the second level includes system operations of individual departments with their own ‘weak-AI.’ They require more human interaction in order to coordinate systems. Finally, the last level is direct human manual control.”

“Officers, this is the strong-AI system nicknamed GridScape.” A three dimensional humanoid holograph form appeared before Mather. ““The avatar image is changeable,” he flipped through a few before settling on a base form. “I prefer this nondescript image for my lectures. GridScape is a wireless grid computer network consisting of over one million parallel central processors performing a billion-billion operations per second. It helps to control operations throughout the ship and its fighter support within a limited range. It coordinates overall control with our technically trained crew. Of course, it has redundant connectivity for reliability; both direct wiring, as well as wireless connections. GridScape is fully capable of independent automatic operation for most routine operations and many emergency responses that the ship may be required to perform.”

Sandy Barrington stood up and asked, “What happens when there’s battle damage, sir?”

“In the event the strong-AI system is damaged, the weak-AI computer systems take over local functional operation. Of course, every device can be switched to manual operation as required. Also, all crew members have their comm pins. They can connect to local resources that in turn can connect to the centralized AI,” said Mather.


Buy Now @ Amazon and Smashwords

Genre – Science Fiction

Rating – G

More details about the author and the book

Connect with H. Peter Alesso on Facebook


Thursday, December 26, 2013

#AmReading - Magician’s End by Raymond E. Feist @refeist

Magician’s End by Raymond E. Feist


Three decades . . . Five Riftwars . . . One magnificent saga: From New York Times bestselling author Raymond E. Feist comes Magician's End, the final book in the epic Riftwar Cycle.

Thirty years ago, Feist's first novel, Magician, introduced us to an orphan boy named Pug, who rises from slavery to become a Master Magician, and to Midkemia and the Riftwar, an epic series of battles between Good and Evil that have scarred Pug's world for generations.

After twenty-nine books, Feist delivers the crowning achievement of his renowned bestselling career: Magician's End, the final chapter in The Chaos Wars, the climax of his extraordinary Riftwar Cycle.

Pug, now the greatest magician of all time, must risk everything he has fought for and everything he cherishes in the hope of destroying an evil enemy once and for all. But to achieve peace and save untold millions of lives, he will have to pay the ultimate price.

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

12 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

  1. Drink more.
  2. Shake off any friends you once had.
  3. Stare at people for a long time, letting cigarette smoke diffuse into your eyes.
  4. When you meet people ask things like ‘How many times on average do you masturbate per day?’ or ‘When was the last time you shit and did you look at the dirtied toilet paper?’ just to gage their reaction and let them know that you are a writer now -  you have no time, patience or room for sanity.
  5. Discard all pretences of reading other writers’ work or maintaining contact with family members.
  6. Experiment with drugs and sexuality. Maybe even start shouting and shaking your hands a lot like Ginsberg.
  7. Always dress as if ready for a burlesque performance at any time; never actually take your clothes off, though – just allude to it constantly.
  8. Laugh at people who talk about things as if they actually matter; when proving to them the trivial futility of existence, only quote yourself.
  9. Be utterly, despicably sure of yourself. Wear it about you eternally.
  10. Never, ever stay still. Staying still kills people.
  11. Talk to yourself; there is no better conversation possible.
  12. Then write something. And never stop writing. Quit your job to write. Write even whilst you’re dancing, whilst you’re talking, whilst you’re drinking, whilst you’re asleep and whilst you’re dead.

A stark dystopian world of insatiable greed and ceaseless distraction is that of young Gustav Klein, a German twenty-three-year-old who has just sold his hotel in Munich. He is looking for nothing more than escape. The modern gadgets which flash their endless advertisements are locking society inside brick houses, allowing them to be dumbed-down further by the money-hungry gremlins in the high towers. Gustav Klein, meanwhile, begins a journey over the myriad terrains of Europe, through countless bottles on the corner of morbid winter streets, coloured by the peculiar characters he encounters, some who bestow upon him their wisdom, some who fuel his disdain, some who ignite his desires, and some who merely drink with him until they hit the floor in a merry temperament. But the hedonistic, aimless rambling must come to end, for life calls. And Gustav lands on a mountain in Scotland, searching for release, for total nature, untouched by the destructive hand of man. But, it seems, it is too late… In this harrowing tale of youthful rebellion, dark nihilism on the road, heavy drinking beatniks, political adversity and the capricious desires of the gluttonous modern man, the reader is taken by the hand firmly and hauled into a bleak world where every man lives for himself. Close your eyes if you are scared, but you cannot escape.

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Genre – Travel, Political, Dystopia, Romance

Rating – PG15

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Standing Stark: The Willingness to Engage by Carla Woody @CarlaWoody1

Chapter Two:
Beyond Words

I was leading a very mainstream life. While I had some sense of purpose, I additionally had an underlying feeling that something was seriously lacking. Even though there was a recognition of incompletion, I can’t say that it was a conscious realization, more of a sense of things not expressed, blocked or segregated.

The previous year I’d left the large government agency where I’d worked nearly my entire career up to that point. Being out from under bureaucratic constraints lent a certain kind of freedom that I craved, but a large part of my livelihood was still generated through that environment where I returned as a consultant. I felt the rigidity of the organization to the point that it triggered an aversion in me.

What I now know is that whenever we have an unreasonably strong response to something external, something is lurking internally of the same nature. At the time, I recognized what I can only describe as flatness, a lack of real engagement to anything in which I was involved. It’s unlikely that this fact was apparent to anyone but me. I was known for my mind and abilities for pulling people and projects together. To others, my guess is that I appeared actively engaged in my life. After all, I was busy doing what needed to be done, just like most with whom I came in contact.

But I knew something was omitted. Fourteen years earlier, I’d had a major signal identifying my disconnection. Because of a viral infection that attacked my thyroid, I became extremely ill. I was likely within a hair’s breadth of death before I’d had any inkling of the seriousness of the illness. It probably was only through my mother’s mother-bear-like, protective attention and demands to the physician I finally visited that I am even alive today.

A major crisis such as this one is often the impetus that will kick start a revelation—or revolution. After my recovery, I finally comprehended the level of absurdity and danger that the lack of awareness of my own condition brought. I was able to discern that I wasn’t practicing denial in the sense of not wanting to face something. But more so, I was disconnected from my body to the degree that I had been unable to recognize my lack of health. How could I? My life and level of consciousness was weighted in my head, cut off from my physicality and any real experience or attunement other than mental observation.

I heeded a cry from my Core Self, not even knowing of her existence, and sought out meditation. That was an unlikely avenue back then, only because where I was living at the time offered very few opportunities to explore anything even somewhat resembling consciousness studies. With the help of a couple of books, I put together a practice to which I remained faithful.

Over the years, I found myself becoming increasingly calmer and healthier. I knew that the change was due directly to my dedicated focus on meditation. Indeed, I became much more in tune with my body and its messages to me. I began to trust those messages implicitly, telling me when things were right, or not, in my world.

But I knew something was still missing. I remained an observer to a large degree, not a participant. While I’d read of spirituality and various states that told of that realm, I’d had no direct experience. I intellectually knew that Spirit was an aspect of my makeup, but couldn’t quite grasp even the concept of such a reality. And yet there was something underpinning my entire existence that called out for this wholeness. Some part of me deeply desired integration.

When strong intent is present, the means to fulfill it will automatically appear. But I didn’t know this truth at that point in my journey. I only knew that I felt somewhat fragmented, and one day noticed an ad in a professional journal for a retreat with a Peruvian shaman to be held in the Southern Utah desert. Ignoring the fact that my sole idea of camping then was in pensions in large European cities, or that I didn’t even know what the term “shaman” meant, I felt a strong draw in my body to call and register. So, I did.

Four months later, I flew cross-country to Salt Lake City where I was picked up with some other retreat goers and driven some hours south to a remote canyon in the San Rafael Swell. The beauty of the area was incredible and helped to overwhelm my uneasiness of being with people with whom I wasn’t acquainted, and an upcoming event about which I knew absolutely nothing.

When we finally rolled into the makeshift camp, I climbed out of the truck feeling a mixture of excitement and apprehension, the two being closely linked anyway. While in this state, I noticed a brown-skinned man making his way toward me. He had dark, wavy hair, a mustachioed, handsome face, and wore a woven poncho. His eyes sparkled. He smiled broadly and wrapped his arms around me in greeting. As he did so, any fear I felt dissipated immediately and was replaced by great warmth swelling from some place inside me, unlike any I’d ever felt. This was the man the sponsors had advertised as a shaman, the person who, in the years ahead, I would come to know not only as a mystic and teacher of the heart, but a cherished friend—Don Américo Yábar. My meeting him was to change the fabric of my entire life. And I had asked for it unknowingly.

Around the campfire that evening, Don Américo introduced the subject of intent through his translator. He encouraged each of us to set our intent that evening for the week that was to follow. I went off on my own to think about what he’d said, the whole idea of intent being a slippery one, at best, that I had a challenge grasping. However, I decided that I must have set my intent, at some level, before I even came. That was what pulled me to the retreat not even knowing what it entailed. I wanted to be joined. I wanted direct engagement. I wanted integration of my mind, body and spirit. I told no one.

The next morning held the usual gorgeous, blue desert sky. The group had hiked some distance from our camp and found a natural rock amphitheatre. We made ourselves comfortable in the shadows of the boulders, out from under the Utah sun which was already getting quite warm. Don Américo began to speak. I don’t remember now exactly what he said. I was being lulled by the lilting rhythms of his and his translator’s vocal patterns that took the meaning of the words to some unconscious level.

Suddenly, he stopped and gazed intensely at me. He motioned for me to come to the middle of the circle where he stood. Under normal circumstances, I would have done so reluctantly, if at all, not being comfortable “exposing” myself to others in that way. In that case, however, I felt completely at ease.

I approached him. He stood directly in front of me only about eighteen inches away, his liquid brown eyes locking onto mine. It was as though he was channeling pure love directly into my being. Both of his hands hovered right outside my body at the chest level.

Making a motion of pulling apart outside the heart center, he said, “The way to see is with the body’s eye.”

I felt what I could only describe as a sweet welling in that energy center that began to undulate, creating a rippling effect.

He moved one hand up to my forehead. Making a wiping motion in my subtle energy field, he proclaimed, “Not the mind’s eye!”

I felt something shut at that level, all the while the heart energy continued to reverberate. I was unaware of anything other than large waves of effervescent warmth that seemed to echo silently, returning from the stones surrounding us, further intensifying the awakening. People seated around us gasped and murmured. I have no idea how long I stood that way. I do not know how I found my feet to return to my seat. I do not recall what occurred the rest of the day.

I was opened. I was filled. I’d had my first direct experience—beyond words.


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Genre – Nonfiction, Spirituality

Rating – PG

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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.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Kevin Sterling – Writing in the Mountains @ksterlingwriter

“Writing in the Mountains”

A few years ago, my wife and I permanently relocated from the big city to our vacation home in the Colorado Rockies with our Golden Retriever, Shelby. We’re in the middle of nowhere on the top of a mountain and completely off-the-grid, so life has been quite interesting to say the least. You would think it’s a cakewalk to sit here and write books – no hustle and bustle, no distractions, beautiful scenery, fresh air, delightful creatures romping about for the sole purpose of providing us with endless entertainment, etc.

Well…yes and no.

Admittedly, it’s gorgeous up here, and mountains in general are mysteriously inspirational, just like the ocean. All I have to do is walk out to the patio from my study, look at the panoramic view of the Sangre de Cristos, and I’m ready to start making things up. Add a glass of Scotch to that scenario, and we’re really talking. Some of my best (and worst) work is done AFTER cocktail hour!

But the environment inside our house is no different than a home in the big city. And because of my obsession with technology, it’s probably worse than most. For starters, my computer workstation has four screens (not counting the TV), thereby allowing me to have my manuscript, outline, stock-trading software, email, Internet and social media conveniently segregated on my desktop.

Wait a minute. If you did the math, you just figured out that I’m two screens short. Well, I’m afraid it’s going to stay that way because I told my wife I was tossing around the idea of wiring up a couple more, and her response was not exactly enthusiastic. Apparently, she’s already worried I’ll go blind from the massive barrage of synthetic light in my face all day, so adding to that problem is not her idea of a rational decision. Okay, maybe she’s right.

I treat my writing like a business, which includes a regimented 45-hour base work week, Monday through Friday, with extra hours and/or weekends added as needed – just like a regular job. So, as you might imagine, most of my work time is full of distractions like the stock market, emails, tweets, Facebook posts, phone calls and texts.

Then you have to add the time-consuming aspects of maintaining one’s existence on a remote mountaintop. Thank God for satellite Internet and DIRECTV with NFL Sunday Ticket!

For example, our mailbox is twenty minutes away on the county road. Running to the store takes an hour. Retrieving packages from UPS and FedEx when there’s snow on the ground can be a fiasco. And when one of the many systems around here that duplicate city services goes down, who knows how long it will take yours truly to fix it, especially considering it’s anywhere from one to five hours just to run out and get the parts I need.

Take water, for example. The last time it went out, the problem was reported by my wife without her saying a word. She just showed up at my study with her hands on her hips and white facial wash dripping from her chin. Like a crack detective, I promptly deduced what was wrong.

I swear, this actually happened a couple of weeks ago, and I had no choice but to drop everything and get on the job.

Seriously, when you live way up here, you can’t exactly get a tradesman to pop over to the house for a quick repair, so I’ve had to learn how to do pretty much everything myself. I just draw the line at servicing the septic tank.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I just can’t help but dispel any illusions people might have about life in the wilderness.

That being said, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Kevin Sterling

The Jack Lazar Series has it all from mystery and suspense to action, humor and romance

Jack heads to Egypt to investigate a crash-landed World War II fighter plane that was recently discovered in the middle of the Sahara. But something remarkable was left onboard, and people will stop at nothing to possess it.

An Egyptian Girl with Blue Eyes? Just Stunning.

But Jack soon finds himself in the middle of a hornet’s nest as he becomes enthralled with Dalia, an exquisite woman of Egyptian and English descent whose father is the Egyptian Head Consul to the UK, not to mention a formidable ex-agent with the Mukhabarat. The man’s skills and weapons come in handy as he and Jack join forces to battle a faction that has plans to kill millions of innocent people and subject the world to their twisted ideologies.

A Race Against Time

The trail leads to Northern Europe as all hell breaks loose. And before long, it’s up to Jack and Jack alone to cheat death as he struggles to save Dalia, her father, and scores of unsuspecting people from the plot of a deranged madman.

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Genre – Action, Mystery, Suspense

Rating – R

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Jack Canon’s American Destiny by Greg Sandora @gregsandora

This is an excerpt from my upcoming novel, Gabby, Angel of God.

“You think we have a strong bond, Gabby?”
“Of course, we’ve been inseparable, and I know you like me.”
“Love.” I answered softly.
Gabby pouted, “I told you, Bo, not to fall in love with me.”
“Well it’s too late, I already have, and I promise you…”
“What’s that, Bo? What do you promise?”
“That I’ll love you forever.”
“You won’t allow yourself the possibility that because I’m an angel you find me hard to resist. Bo, it’s totally normal for a human man to feel this way.”
“Gabby, hard to resist is the understatement of the century. Impossible to resist might be nearer the truth.” Gabby looked sad as I continued, “Angels have been off the radar for me, I never thought I’d see one, let alone spend time with one. I really can’t describe how it feels, except that I’m in love and at peace.”
“Oh Bo, it is going to be so hard for you when I leave.” She cautioned shaking her head.
“Gabby, I don’t get how any kind of relationship with that waitress isn’t going to cause problems with Jill. Worse without you to referee!”
“Bo, was that what I was back at your house?”
“Yeah, if that had been any other girl, let’s just say it would have ended badly. Now Jill and I are getting along great, because of the way you handled things.”
“Bo, I didn’t want to get into it awhile ago, because I knew you’d freak out.”
“Candy and you are pieces of the same soul. She’s going through a very hard time right now. Bo, being friends with you would help her.”
“You’re serious?”
“Yes, and I think you understand.” Gabby peered into my eyes.
“She’ll feel like she’s home?”
“Yes Bo, you get it!” She said happily, “You’re familiar in a way she’ll feel deeply even though she won’t know why.”
“Oh, I get that, but I’m a little worried.”
“What about?” Gabby voiced genuine concern.
“I’ve never really been friends with an adult woman before, you know, on my own. Sally and I had share friends, I’d tell my jokes and talk, but I’ve never carried the relationship. I wouldn’t know where to begin. I always relied on her, I mean…”
Gabby cut me off, “I want you to spend some time with her, she needs…”
“She needs me?”
“Very much, Bo, will you help her?”
“I’ll try, Gabby, but what will I do? How can I help? I don’t know the first thing about…”
“You start by just listening, try to be her friend. A gentle nod, an a hum here and there. Hugs, you can do it! For heavens sakes, Bo, it’s not brain surgery!”
“I guess it’s pretty important if we share the same soul. I’m up for it.”
“Great Bo, I’m proud of you.”


My current novel

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Genre – Political Thriller

Rating – PG

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Loving Conor: A Clairvoyant’s Memoir on Loving, Bonding and Healing by Tami Urbanek @tamiurbanek

Chapter Three: Surviving Life

I woke up to the phone ringing in the middle of the night.

“Tami, you need to pick me up,” I heard Nyle say.

“Where are you?”

“I’m at 7-11,” he said, slurring his words.

He told me the street and packing Bethany into the car, I drove through a light snowstorm to find him.

I located the correct 7-11 and I walked in looking around for Nyle.

“Hey, are you looking for that drunk?” The 7-11 clerk asked as he nodded at me.

“Was a guy here waiting for someone?” I asked.

“Yeah, he wanted booze, I told him to leave.”

“Do you know which way he went?” I asked.

“Have no idea.”

Leaving the store and getting back in my car, my hands clenched the steering wheel. I drove around looking for Nyle, scolding myself for coming out in the snow with Bethany in a car that didn’t have snow tires, to look for a drunken soon-to-be ex-husband.

I found Nyle wandering the sidewalk. Pulling over, I rolled down the passenger window.

“Nyle, what are you doing? Get in the car.”

He just looked at me, obviously drunk, confused, and swaying as he tried to keep his balance.

He crawled into the front passenger seat, laid his head back, and closed his eyes. I drove him back to my apartment. Once I parked the car, I realized I had no idea how to get him from there to inside my apartment. It was too cold to leave him in the car overnight, though I did consider it. I looked over at Nyle, and I wondered what the hell I was doing and how I was going to get him to wake up.

After continually pushing on his arm to wake him up, he finally roused awake enough to stumble into my apartment. He immediately staggered over to the couch and collapsed on it. I gently placed Bethany in her crib, gazing at her as she slept. In that moment, I was grateful I was divorcing Nyle and knowing my daughter was safe and asleep, I immediately fell asleep too.

I was still on maternity leave, so I was home the next morning when someone came to get Nyle for work.

“Hey, you need to wake him up,” Nyle’s friend said. He had figured out that Nyle was here when he didn’t show up at the barracks last night.

“I tried, I can’t get him up. I think he’s still drunk.”

“He’s going be in trouble if he doesn’t show up to formation.” Giving up, the guy left.

Walking over to Nyle and pushing on him hard, I said, “Nyle, wake up! GET UP! You have to get up for work!” I felt like I was yelling at a deaf person.

He finally opened his eyes and looked at me with a confused expression. He seemed to be trying to remember how he got to my apartment. He slowly sat up, keeping his hands on the couch for balance. He mumbled something, but it sounded as if his mouth was full of cotton. He stood up and with a shaky walk he made his way to the phone as I watched him call a friend to come get him.

Later that day, as I sat on the couch, in my apartment, I looked at my bills and felt my ongoing fear starting to rise. I began looking at my past choices. At eighteen, I had made the choice to marry and by nineteen, I had made a choice to be a mother. I had stayed with Nyle for fifteen months even though he was drinking and would be violent when he was drunk. I wasn’t proud that I was working at McDonald’s to meet basic financial needs, and I was fearful on a daily basis.

How was I going to fix this? How was I going to survive? Would things ever change? Would I ever be happy? Would I ever earn more than slightly above minimum wage? I didn’t know.

I walked around the apartment while Bethany was napping in her crib. Without Nyle there, the apartment was cleaner and I didn’t fear the weekends anymore. I still had to deal with the holes in the doors and walls at some point.

Out of desperation, the next day, I took my wedding ring to the pawnshop and I was grateful for the cash. It had a couple of diamonds, so they offered me a decent sum of money.

When my mom called to see how I was doing, I told her I had pawned my wedding ring.

“Why did you pawn your ring?”

“I needed the money,” I said, feeling depressed.

“Well, we’ll give you the money to go and buy it back. You don’t want to pawn your ring.” With my parents’ financial assistance, I bought back my ring before it was sold to someone else. But what about next month, when money would once again be tight?

That week, the manager at McDonald’s called to make sure I was still coming back to work when my maternity leave ended.

I told him I couldn’t wait to get back to work and I meant it. I was looking forward to having at least a few dollars in my wallet.

I spent the next couple of weeks getting on a schedule with Bethany and looking for home daycares. I found one near my apartment.

I returned to work, and I happily started earning money again. I was receiving child support, and life began to take on a more routine state, but I was experiencing a lot of anxieties. I still wanted a man to make me feel better about myself. I didn’t understand that I was not giving myself the credit I deserved in being able to love and take care of myself. As a result, I drew in the same types of people and relationships as before.

Not long after returning to work, I ran into Josh, a guy I had briefly dated when I was seventeen years old. We easily picked up where we left off and we quickly became exclusive in our dating.

Initially, Josh was attentive toward Bethany, and we had fun getting to know each other again, but it didn’t take long before we began to fight. We would get into yelling matches that were reminiscent of my relationship with Nyle, always fighting about something that wasn’t even important. We were young, immature and neither one of us knew how to communicate. Still, I was thankful he was in my life when one day out of the blue, I found Nyle knocking on my door.

“Tami, can we talk?” Nyle asked. Standing there waiting for me to say it was okay for him to come into the apartment. His hands were in his pockets and I noticed the tension he held in his shoulders.

“I guess…”

He walked into my apartment and sat down on the couch.

“Tami, I’m sorry. I screwed up.” He paused and then said, “I know I messed up with you….” Nyle’s voice trailed off and I waited for him to continue, not really knowing where this was heading.

He finally continued, “What do you think. Could we try again?”

I looked at him wondering what to say. Despite our fighting, I had strong feelings for Josh and now, here was Nyle apologizing and proposing we try again. As I paused, not sure what to say to him, I looked around my apartment. It was cleaner, and I immediately noticed the still unpatched holes in the wall and doors. I wasn’t sure I wanted to start again and have the same old result of drunken weekends.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea…” I said.

He left without much hesitation. That was my clue that he wasn’t invested in starting over, but maybe just looking for convenience. I knew he never liked living in the barracks on base. Also, I always wondered if his mother had talked him into trying to get back together or if it was all his idea. I knew she wanted me to take care of him.

I had begun to understand that it was never my job to take care of Nyle. That was his job. Although it took me a few years to fully realize that I needed keep my focus on caring for Bethany and myself. Even then I had begun to understand this and that I didn’t need to feel guilty for leaving Nyle.


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Genre - Memoir

Rating – PG-13

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Monday, December 23, 2013

#AmReading - Deadly Coast by R.E. McDermott @RobtMcD

Deadly Coast by R.E. McDermott


Dugan thought Somali pirates were bad news. Then it got worse.
As Tom Dugan and Alex Kairouz, his partner and best friend, struggle to ransom their ship and crew from murderous Somali pirates, things take a turn for the worse. A US Navy contracted tanker with a full load of jet fuel is also hijacked, not by garden variety pirates, but by terrorists with links to Al Qaeda, changing the playing field completely.
With a link between piracy and terrorism now in play, the US and British goverments order the halt of all negotiations for captive ships, and enraged pirates ratchet up the mistreatment of captive crews. When a crewman is murdered in front of him on a live video feed, a frustrated Dugan starts his own rescue operation, only to stumble across something far more sinister -- a rogue salvage operation for a long lost weapon of mass destruction. Isolated at sea on an old tanker previously destined for the ship breakers, Dugan and his hastily assembled little force of Russian mercenaries find themselves the last line of defense between the world and a terrifying bio-weapon.
Weaving historical fact with speculative fiction, Deadly Coast takes the reader from London board rooms into the very real world of modern day pirates -- and their victims.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The King of Sunday Morning by J.B. McCauley @MccauleyJay

The Mile End Mambo
He held him in his arms and looked into the glassy eyes. Yellow flecks dotted the cornea. This boy was dead a long time before Roger had run him through. He knew the look. Too much top shelf and not enough down time.
The body from which life dramatically seeped away began to convulse. It would not be a Hollywood death. It would be a harsh demise for this gangster. Unexpected but unavoidable. He had stepped on the wrong toes and nobody touched Roger’s patch.
The big screen had always glamorised death but there was nothing glamorous about having a gaping 12-inch gash where your stomach had once been. Roger’s white shirt was splattered with blood and sputum. He noted to himself with an air of cold detachment that he would have to dispose of it later. The boy soldier’s back arched in agony. A gurgling noise rushed from his throat and then he was gone.
Roger put his arm underneath the boy’s knees and slowly lifted him from the red morass that had filled the doorway. He cradled him in his arms and walked slowly along the pavement. A young couple averted their gaze as he struggled with the limp body. They knew not to look. This was after all the witching hour in the East End. What you don’t see, you can’t tell. He turned the corner and moved into another shop doorway. It was a Dixon’s electrical shop exalting the latest stereos and TV’s.
Roger placed the body carefully on the ground. He took one final look at what 10 minutes ago had been the epitome of arrogance, bravery and youth, then left. He walked quickly to the edge of Walters Street, turned into Burden and darted through a now deserted car park and onto Rially. He saw a red telephone box just up from Dunston Road. He opened the door and tried to ignore the stench of piss and shit. He dialled the number and waited patiently for the connection.
His rich baritone West-Indian voice caressed the receiver.
“Yeah, he’s in Dixon’s shopfront on Walters Street.” He paused, digesting the question on the other end of the line.
“Yeah he’s dead. Dead as a door nail. See you at home.”
With that, he hung up the phone and disappeared into the night. His red Rasta beanie swaying as he loped through the shadows. The victim wouldn’t be missed. Roger had nothing to fear. The status quo had been maintained and an example had been made.
Most of all, Rudi would be pleased.
King of Sunday Morning
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Genre – Thriller, Action, Suspense, Gangster, Crime, Music
Rating – PG-18
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Saturday, December 21, 2013

#MustRead - Stark Warning by James Raven @JamesRaven9

Stark Warning by James Raven

Amazon Kindle US

Genre – Thriller

Rating – PG13

4.5 (26 reviews)

“Every time you appear on screen someone will die.”
That’s the stark warning given to Jessica Lee, host of a confessional talk show on network television with millions of fans. But one deranged viewer is out to destroy her career. He demands that her programme be scrapped and tells her to stop appearing on TV. To prove he means business he claims his first victim – a young woman who is found dead with her throat cut. Jessica and her bosses face an agonizing dilemma: take the show off the air or risk more murders. They decide to defy the killer, for fear of setting a dangerous precedent. But there are dire consequences.
James Raven, author of Stark Warning, has worked for over thirty years in the television industry and drew on his experience when writing this novel. He’s also the author of Malicious, After the Execution, Rollover, Urban Myth, Red Blitz, Brutal Revenge and Arctic Blood.


Check out the Video trailer for MALICIOUS:

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sandy Nathan @sandyonathan

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sandy Nathan

I’m not a well-known author, so you probably don’t know much of anything about me. I’ll fill in the blanks.

1. I am old. This may seem like a suicidal thing to say in an industry that considers authors kaput at thirty-five. I’m pushing seventy. I’m supremely happy and comfortable in my skin, more than I’ve ever been. I couldn’t write what I do when I was younger. I didn’t have the depth of understanding or the ability to immerse myself in a story. I for sure didn’t have the writing skills. I’ve spent about eighteen years in two writing groups and being coached/mentored by my editor. My creative mind is as sharp as ever, though my short-term memory is a bit wonky. (Who did you say you were?) And––I just got a new horse, a gorgeous gray Peruvian Paso mare. We’re in love. So don’t fear aging, it’s not so bad.

2. I was born in San Francisco and lived either there or on the San Francisco Peninsula most of my life. That area came to be known as Silicon Valley. My dad was the President and CEO of what was the 9th largest residential construction company in the United States in its heyday. I know what powerful, successful men and women are like, and I know their energy. I also know how social systems work in very prosperous places. They’re brutal. This knowledge is most relevant for my Bloodsong Series, which takes place in the late 1990s to the contemporary era, but it’s also relevant for the Earth’s End Series. The economically segmented world, in which Jeremy Edgarton and his friends live in (in The Angel & the Brown-Eyed Boy) is drawn from my childhood.

3. I lived in a golden bubble of prosperity until I was eighteen years old. When a drunk driver ran into my father’s car head on, my wonderful life was ripped from me. My dad was horribly maimed and died after three days of agony. I went from a golden princess to someone living close to poverty level. Boy, was that ever a character-building experience. I developed myself as a result and learned to stand on my own feet. I’m very different than I would have been had my dad lived, but I do miss the bubble sometimes.

4. I went to school a lot. I love learning and it was part of my salvation after my father was killed. I’ve got an MS in Economics and an MA in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling. (I was doing a career change.) I also spent a year at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in their PhD program. This convinced me that I did not want a PhD in Economics, but it opened the door to a twenty-year gig coaching negotiations for one of the professors. I loved this: just me, a video camera, and two MBA (Master’s in Business Administration) students in a small room. There, I bludgeoned them into being able to listen non-judgmentally. The skill probably lasted two minutes after they walked out of the room, but I consider it my contribution to making the world a better place.

5. I have worked a lot. I’ve worked three gigs as an economist. I was project economist on two studies—one a year long and the other a year and a half. The studies were managed by the Planning Department of Santa Clara County (southern part of Silicon Valley). The second one was a big deal, funded by the National Science Foundation and jointly conducted by the SCC and the RAND Corporation. I got to play with the really bright boys there. Later, I was the Economic Analyst for Santa Clara County. I gave it all up to get my MA in counseling––and to be a mom. I had my two daughters right about then. I’ve done other stuff, too. We owned a furniture store. I went back to school (again) and studied interior design. I worked as the principle designer in our store for ten years. Out of the blue, our family was consumed by a horse addiction. We were all smitten by Peruvian Paso horses and ended up breeding them for twenty years before retiring. So, be glad if you’re old and not lazy, you can cover a lot of ground.

6. I had my first visionary experience as a young teenager, riding my horse through the redwood groves of the Coastal Range down the spine of the San Francisco Peninsula. Much later, getting my MA in counseling, I learned it was a “unitive experience.” The redwoods with their motes of light and the soft dust of the trail, the gurgling brook surrounded by ferns, my warm horse with his gentle breathing, and I merged. I couldn’t tell one from the other. It was a glimpse of the way the world should be, or could be. Peaceful. Ecstatic. Sacred. I’ve had those experiences ever since, usually when something rotten happens.

7. Because of the tendency for tragic and traumatic events to throw me into ecstatic states that turn into books, I say that I write “literature through disaster.” The Earth’s End Series came to me after a transcendent experience following my brother’s death. You can read more about it the Author’s Note at the front of the book. Something even worse produced the Bloodsong Series. (It’s in the Author’s Note of that series, as well.) These glimpses of the divine that give me my books punch a hole in the universe and allow me access to higher realms of being. The hole stays open after I’ve spit the initial book out. With Earth’s End, I wrote The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy at warp speed. When I was done, Lady Grace & the War of a New World was there. When I was done with The Lady, pop! The Headman & the Assassin flowed in. The way I get my books is through a gestalt of meaning, I don’t have trouble finishing them. Whereas before the experience of creating the Bloodsong Series, I couldn’t finish a limerick to save my life; afterward, I finish pretty near everything, eventually.

8. I’ve always written, whether academically or professionally. I thought I was a good writer. I was, for those fields. That means nothing in terms of writing publishable fiction. So I participated in two writing groups and worked with my editor, turning into a pretty good writer. I’m tougher on myself than anyone else is, which is a good thing. Clean up those participles! Sponge those redundant phrases!

9. My primary purpose in writing is to raise my readers to that higher plane I touch every so often. Do I want to change the world? You bet. Do I want to save the world? If it’s possible. No matter how grim, grisly, violent, bloody, sexy, or beautiful my writing is, every word is there for one reason: to wake people up and get them to think. To inspire them. Life is so short and transitory; we need to savor every minute. As my father’s death showed me, everything can be gone in a moment.

10. You don’t have to know all this stuff about me to read my books, but it will fill in the blanks and give you an indication of what shaped my words.

I hope you’re moved to read my work and I hope you find it valuable if you do. Thanks so much for walking this way with me. It’s been a privilege to share my life with you.


Tomorrow morning at 7:35 AM, a nuclear holocaust will destroy the planet. Two people carry the keys to survival: Jeremy Edgarton, a 16-year-old, tech genius and revolutionary; and Eliana, the angelic, off-world traveler sent to Earth on a mission to prevent her planet’s death.

Welcome to a future world only heartbeats from our own.

By the late 22nd century, the Great Recession of the early 2000s has lead to a worldwide police state. A ruined United States barely functions. Government control masks chaos, dissenters are sent to camps, and technology is outlawed. War rages while the authorities proclaim the Great Peace.

It’s New York City on the eve of nuclear Armageddon.

Join Eliana & Jeremy as they begin a quest to save two doomed planets . . . and find each other.

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When the earth blows up at the end of The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy (Earth’s End 1) that was it, right? The characters go off in all directions, nevermore to be seen.

Not exactly. In Lady Grace, a few survivors of the nuclear holocaust make their way back to Piermont Manor, Jeremy Edgarton’s ancestral estate. The radiation is gone and it’s finally safe to go home.

What awaits them makes their worst dreams look like Bollywood frolics. Right away, they find out that evolution can work for evil as well as good. Going home requires a battle more deadly than any they’ve fought.

The returning characters appear from everywhere, in ways you’d never believe. Some of them you’ve met before; some are new to Tales from Earth’s End.

Bud Creeman and Wesley Silverhorse, characters from author Sandy Nathan’s novel, Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money, drop in from the year 2015, thousands of years before the time of Lady Grace. Bud and Wes provide needed Native American skills and spiritual power.

Shining through it all is Lady Grace, a phoenix rising from the devastation of her civilization, unrecognizable as the person she once was.

It was a new world, but was it one that permitted love?

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HE KNEW HER WORK WAS MURDER Sam Baahuhd has been the village headman for twenty-two years. Like all the headmen in surrounding villages, he has powers. But Sam’s powers are greater than any headman’s, anywhere, ever. He controls others with his speech and heals with a touch. Even with what he can do, Sam has survived only because he’s kept his fellow villagers from murdering him. They’re a gang of thugs who spend most of their time drunk or stoned. Sam and the villagers live on Veronica Edgarton’s estate. Or they do until nuclear Armageddon forces them into a huge underground bomb shelter. When Sam carries a naked stranger into the shelter, he knows what she did before the war. Her work was murder–murdering people.

She tortured people until they broke, or died. She was a federal agent in a police state. Nuclear radiation traps Sam and Emily and the rest of the village’s residents in an echoing cement cavern three hundred feet beneath the earth’s surface. There is no escape from the underground. Not for them. Or their children, or their children’s children . . . Sam has no idea Emily will ignite his heart and change his world. The lovely outsider carries deadly secrets. Only Sam with his village headman’s power can heal her. Only Emily can make Sam the man he was meant to be. Passion explodes between them. Passion that brings joy and pain, ecstasy and remorse. Passion that can kill. Join Sam & Emily for a legendary love story you’ll never forget.

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Genre – Metaphysical Science Fiction

Rating – R

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Friday, December 20, 2013

#AmReading - Eliza’s Home by Rachael Herron @RachaelHerron

Eliza’s Home by Rachael Herron


Home isn’t always a place…
It's 1945, the war is over, the GIs are returning , and Eliza is on the run. At least, she would be if her truck hadn't broken down in the middle of nowhere and her money hadn't, quite literally, flown out the window. So when Joshua Carpenter, a cowboy with the most brilliant blue eyes she has ever seen, stops to offer her help, Eliza can't afford to say no… Joshua, it seems, is single-handedly building a home for himself on farmland just outside the town of Cypress Hollow. And as Eliza is about to discover, sometimes running away is the only way to come home...

Becoming Human (The Exilon 5 Trilogy, Book 1) by Eliza Green @elizagreenbooks

Eliza Green

Two Worlds. Two Species. One Terrifying Secret.

In 2163, a polluted and overcrowded Earth forces humans to search for a new home. But the exoplanet they target, Exilon 5, is occupied. Having already begun a massive relocation programme, Bill Taggart is sent to monitor the Indigenes, the race that lives there. He is a man on the edge. He believes the Indigenes killed his wife, but he doesn’t know why. His surveillance focuses on the Indigene Stephen, who has risked his life to surface during the daytime.

Stephen has every reason to despise the humans and their attempts to colonise his planet. To protect his species from further harm, he must go against his very nature and become human. But one woman holds a secret that threatens Bill’s and Stephen’s plans, an untruth that could rip apart the lives of those on both worlds.

BECOMING HUMAN, part one in the Exilon 5 trilogy, is a science fiction dystopian adventure that you won’t want to put down.

˃˃˃ Thought Provoking SciFi, Dystopian Tale – Compulsion Reads

I would happily recommend this book to fans of dystopia, science fiction and conspiracy lovers. You will be in for an exciting ride.

˃˃˃ Excellent Use of ForeShadowing – Masquerade Crew

This book demonstrates why I read Indie books and have enjoyed doing so immensely. Yes, some self-published books don’t deserve to see the light of day, but this isn’t one of those. Far from it. It was exciting and it had mystery. It sets up the next book while still giving you closure in this one–a difficult task for a book in a series.

˃˃˃”Becoming Human”… a promising first book… 4 1/2 Stars – Top 1000 Amazon Reviewer

A well written and deftly told Sci-Fi tale that got better and better.

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Genre – Science Fiction

Rating – PG13

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