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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Peter Simmons and the Vessel of Time by Ramz Artso @RamzArtso

Peter

Chapter 4

Portland, Oregon

October 22nd

Afternoon Hours

I sauntered out of the school building with my friends in tow and pulled on a thickly woven hat to cover my fluffy flaxen hair, which was bound to be frolic even in the mildest of breezes. I took a deep breath and scrutinized my immediate surroundings, noticing an armada of clouds scudding across the sky. It was a rather blustery day. The shrewd, trilling wind had all but divested the converging trees off their multicolored leaves, pasting them on the glossy asphalt and graffiti adorned walls across the road. My spirits were quickly heightened by this observation, and I suddenly felt rejuvenated after a long and taxing day at school. I didn’t know why, but the afternoon’s indolent weather appealed to me very much. I found it to be a congenial environment. For unexplainable reasons, I felt like I was caught amidst a fairytale. It was this eerie feeling which came and went on a whim. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Perhaps it was triggered by the subconscious mind brushing against a collage of subliminal memories, which stopped resurfacing partway through the process.

Anyhow, there I was, enjoying the warm and soporific touch of the autumn sun on my face, engaging in introspective thoughts of adolescent nature when Max Cornwell, a close, meddlesome friend of mine, called me from my rhapsodic dream with a sharp nudge in the ribs.

‘Hey, man! You daydreaming?’

I closed my eyes; feeling a little peeved, took a long drag of the wakening fresh air and gave him a negative response by shaking my head.

‘Feel sick or something?’ he persisted.

I wished he would stop harping on me, but it looked like Max had no intention of letting me enjoy my moment of glee, so I withdrew by tartly saying, ‘No, I’m all right.’

‘Hey, check this out,’ said George Whitmore,–who was another pal of mine–wedging himself between me and Max. He held a folded twenty dollar bill in his hand, and his ecstatic facial expression suggested that he had just chanced upon the find by sheer luck.

‘Is that yours?’ I asked, knowing very well that it wasn’t.

‘No, I found it on the floor of the auditorium. Just seconds before the last period ended.’

‘Then perhaps you should report your discovery to the lost and found. I’m sure they’ll know what to do with it there.’

‘Yeah, right. That’s exactly what I’m going to do,’ he said, snorting derisively. He then added in a somewhat defensive tone, as if trying to convince himself more than anyone else, ‘I found it, so it’s mine–right?’

I considered pointing out that his intentions were tantamount to theft, but shrugged it off instead, and followed the wrought-iron fence verging the school grounds before exiting by the small postern. I was in no mood for an argument, feeling too tired to do anything other than run a bath and soak in it. Therefore, I expunged the matter from my mind, bid goodbye to both George and Max and plunged into the small gathering of trees and brush which we, the kids, had dubbed the Mini Forest. It was seldom traveled by anyone, but we called it that because of its size, which was way too small to be an actual forest, and a trifle too large to be called otherwise.

I was whistling a merry tune, and wending my way home with a spring in my step, when my ears abruptly pulled back in fright. All of a sudden, I couldn’t help but feel as if I was being watched. But that wasn’t all. I felt like someone was trying to look inside of me. Right into me. As if they were rummaging in my soul, searching its every nook and cranny, trying to fish up my deepest fears and darkest secrets. It was equivalent to being stripped naked in front of a large audience. Steeling myself for something ugly, I felt the first stirrings of unease.

Ramz_cover_3_blueBG_1800x2560

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Genre – Young-adult, Action and Adventure, Coming of Age, Sci-fi

Rating – PG-13

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Connect with  Ramz Artso on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://ramzartso.blogspot.com/

Thursday, November 28, 2013

#AmReading - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green @realjohngreen

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

Amazon

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

#Bargain Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love by Sebastian Cole @sebastiancole3

sanddollar
Beverly Hills Book Award winner, USA Best Book Award finalist, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award bronze winner, International Book Award finalist, ForeWord Firsts debut literary competition finalist.
The story opens with Noah Hartman, eighty years old, lying on his deathbed recounting his life of love and loss to Josh, a compassionate orderly at the hospital. As Noah’s loved ones arrive one by one, they listen in on his story, and we’re transported back in time to Noah’s younger years.
Though outwardly seeming to have it all, Noah, now thirty-five, is actually an empty, lost, and broken man running on automatic pilot. He has no true identity due to having allowed his powerful, wealthy parents to manipulate, control, and brainwash him from a young age. With the threat of disinheritance and withholding love and approval if he doesn’t comply with the plan they have for his life, Noah is lured in by the reward of great wealth and the illusion of running the family business empire some day.
Enter Robin, twenty-five years old, who — in direct contrast to Noah — is a vivacious, free spirit. Full of life and always living in the moment, Robin’s love saves Noah by inspiring him to stand up to his parents and live his own life at all costs, reclaiming his true self.
They get married, and while snorkeling in the Caribbean, the captain of the boat warns them not to disturb anything in the sea. Ignoring the exhortation, Noah dives down and snags a sand dollar from the ocean floor, whereupon it explodes in his hand. With the fragile sand dollar taking on new significance, Robin inexplicably leaves Noah shortly after returning from their honeymoon. Like a passing breeze, she disappears out of his life without a trace, seemingly forever.
Years pass, and Noah still can’t get Robin out of his mind and out of his heart. After all, the one he loved the most would forever be the one who got away. That’s when he finds out about her hidden secret, the underlying condition responsible for her leaving. Noah has no choice but to move on with his life without her, meeting Sarah at the premiere of SAND DOLLAR, the movie he wrote about his time with Robin.
Years later, it’s Noah and Sarah’s wedding day, and Robin discovers a clue that Noah had surreptitiously inserted into the movie, inspiring her to race to the wedding to try to stop it. With the wedding in shambles, the scene jumps back to present day, with both Robin and Sarah placed in Noah’s hospital room. But which one did he choose?
As Noah wraps up his story, he discovers a far greater truth about the past, present, and future. Things are definitely not as they appear as the pieces of a shattered love are put back together in the remarkable final chapter of Noah’s life.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG 13
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Connect with Sebastian Cole on Facebook & Twitter

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik

*

Jez was already fit, an excellent shot, and he could fight – or at least that’s what he’d thought. But after more than six months of intensive training with Spetsnaz, he realized he’d only been scratching the surface.

He’d not long been back from an exercise in Northern Siberia and he was tired, dirty. They’d given him a tent, a knife, no food, and enough clothes to keep out the brutal weather conditions – barely. When they dropped him off in the middle of nowhere, the unit sergeant shouted, “Let’s see if you can find your way out of this,” and drove off laughing – all part of the process.

He’d lived off the land for three weeks before he got back to base, and the first thing on his list was to shower. He soaked up the tepid water until his skin wrinkled, and then he dressed. No sooner was that done than a soldier pushed the tent flap back. “The sergeant wants you,” he said, and left without another word.

“You want to see me, Sergeant?” Jez said, going into the unit commander’s tent.

“Yes, come in, Kornfeld. Colonel Petrichova has looked at feedback on your performance since you’ve been with us.”

“Yes, Sergeant,” Jez said.

His time had come and he’d be on his way again, he was sure. He only wished he could tell Anna, and wondered where she would be now. Perhaps she’d already set out plans for world domination. He smiled inwardly.

“I don’t know what world affairs you keep up with, Kornfeld, but the Greek communist party, the KooKooEh, is at civil war with the conservatives.”

“Yes, Sergeant, I know about as much of the situation as is made public.”

“Good, because that was about as much as I was going to tell you. Pack your kit, soldier, you’ll be flying out to join your new unit in about four hours.”

“Sergeant!”

*

Birth of an Assassin

Set against the backdrop of Soviet, post-war Russia, Birth of an Assassin follows the transformation of Jez Kornfeld from wide-eyed recruit to avenging outlaw. Amidst a murky underworld of flesh-trafficking, prostitution and institutionalized corruption, the elite Jewish soldier is thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems, nobody can be trusted, and everything can be violently torn from him.

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Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://rik-stone.simdif.com

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gringa – A Love Story (Complete Series books 1-4) by Eve Rabi @EveRabi1

Gringa

This is the complete Gringa Series, books 1-4 being offered at a discounted price.

SERIES DESCRIPTION:

I was twenty-one, a sassy college student who took crap from no one. While holidaying in Mexico, I was accosted by Diablo and shot, because the motherfucker mistook me for a spy.

I survived, only to encounter him again months later. How’s that for luck?
Furious and sick of all that I’d been through because of him, I slapped him, told him to go fuck himself and braced myself for the bullet. He could shoot me – I no longer cared.
But, to my surprise, the fucker became fascinated with me and blackmailed me into becoming his woman. He’d slay the entire village that sheltered me, if I rejected his proposal.
He was Kong, hairy, tattooed from fingertips to face, with scary ass piercings, blood-shot snake eyes, a ruthless killer and above all, he was my murderer – how could anyone expect me to say yes?
To save the village I had to.
He took me by force, terrorized me into submission and made me his. To make matters worse, I had to put up with his ruthless, backstabbing family who hated me and wanted to kill me.
I despised the bastard and I told him that. Spark flew. Fists too.
When the FBI came on the scene and secretly recruited me to help put Diablo behind bars, I was thrilled. I wanted them to throw his ass behind bars, then torment him for the rest of his life like he was doing to me. I was willing to do whatever it took to get him there.
But, the more I rejected Diablo, the more he wanted me.
At times he wanted to kill me because of my insolence, but other times he just wanted me to love him.
I was his Gringa and in an attempt to get my love, he began to change for me. Drastic changes that made me laugh at him at first, then made me curious and even intrigued me.
After all, I was an ignored child and as an adult, nobody gave a rat’s ass about me. Here was a man who actually wanted me and was willing to do whatever it took to get me – how the hell could I not be flattered?
As the days went by, I found myself drawn to him and I began seeing him differently. When I found out about his past, everything changed.
I now wanted to protect my murderer, my tormentor, The Devil of Mexico from the FBI and I was prepared to lie to the Feds, if it meant saving him from them.
I was even prepared to go to jail for him.
And I did.
My days in Mexico were filled with violence, hate, lust and sorrow.
It was also filled with laughter, love and passion and most importantly, it taught me that love conquers all.

Gringa – a modern–day, love story that will have you laughing, crying and wanting more!

WARNING: This book contains sexual violence, sex scenes, graphic language, drug references, violence and is suitable for mature readers

REVIEWS FROM READERS:

“A crude rendition of Beauty and the beast”

“IMO, It is one of the best romance books ive read in some time. I read it all in one sitting. I couldnt peel my eyes away even for a minute. The story had it all from action to romance.”

“Some scenes had me giggling out loud, but there was one scene that had me laughing out loud for a couple minutes.”

“This book is not for the faint of heart. It’s horrible, dirty, raw, passionate, hilarious, sweet, sad, addictive, and so much more.”

‘One thing that I like from this author now that I have read all her books is that she takes time to develop her characters as well as develop the romance. There is no zero to 60 in 3 seconds here. Her characters are flawed and multi-dimentional. They also experience growth throughout the book. There are plenty of twists and turns in ths book to keep you guessing.’

“A college student, an alpha male. Nuff said. The author has woven such intricate characters in this tale and I will be hard pressed to find another book which was so well rounded and beautifully written.”

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Genre – Fiction

Rating – PG 13

More details about the author

Connect with Eve Rabi on Facebook & Twitter

Blog http://everabi.wordpress.com/

Author Interview – T.G. Ayer @TGAyerAuthor

Can you tell us about your main character?

In FIRE (the Hand of Kali #1) Maya Rao just wants to be normal, the all-American girl. She’s tired of being different and just wants to fit in. What she doesn’t know is that she is the furthest from normal that she could possibly be.

Who designed the cover?

My cover artist Eduardo Priego

Why did you choose to write this particular book?

I’d written Norse mythology for my first YA so I thought I would play around with a different mythology and chose Indian because as far as I know it has never been done this way before in YA

Will you write others in this same genre?

Yes, definitely. I love writing YA and I especially love mythology. I already have a few stories to look at in terms of what’s next on my project list

Can we expect any more books from you in the future?

Definitely. There is no reason to stop writing.

Dead Chaos – book 3 in the Valkyrie series will be out end of Sep 2013

Blood and Time – books 2 & 3 in the Kali series will be out Dec 2013 and mid 2014

Lost Soul and Second Chance – books 2 & 3 in the Darkworld series will be out late 2013 and mid 2014

Have you started another book yet?

I’ve started Lost Soul- #2 in my Darkworld series and I’ve outlined the plot for Blood, the second book in my Hand of Kali series and I’m looking forward to finalising that and getting on to writing it as soon as Lost Soul is written.

Fire

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Genre – YA Fantasy/Paranormal

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with T.G. Ayer on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://tgayer.wordpress.com/

Indiestructible: Inspiring Stories from the Publishing Jungle @MsBessieBell

Tackling the Time Factor

by Jessica Bell

The biggest problem I had with deciding to go indie was the time factor.

With a stressful full-time job as a project manager for the Academic Research & Development department at Education First, it was difficult for me to see how I could possibly work, write, blog, edit, publish, market, run a literary journal, direct a writer’s retreat, and live my life all at once. It doesn’t help that I’m a bit of a stickler. I like to get everything done myself because I have a hard time waiting on others to do things I know I can get done more quickly and efficiently. I outsource if I really have to, but I do enjoy doing the work, such as designing covers, learning new skills and navigating social media. So when I say, DIY, I really mean DIY. Where on Earth, I wondered, would I find the time to be an editor for an educational publisher and literary magazine, an author, a typesetter, a designer, and a marketer? And what about walking the dog? Making dinner? Sleeping? (Forget the laundry. I have months of unfolded washed clothes in a heap on the couch that will soon need to go straight back into the machine from the dog rubbing herself all over them.)

The time factor is a logical fear. But once I finally made the decision to do this on my own, I realized that it wasn’t as daunting as it seemed. Do you know how much more you actually get done when you think something is impossible?

I don’t want to tell you how to schedule your day, but I’m going to give you a run down on how to approach this time management malarkey mentally. The key for me is not to focus on one thing all day. When you do this, you burn out. Your brain starts to lag from the monotony of the same information. You need to mix it up. If you mix it up, you get more done, because your mind is consistently stimulated with fresh information.

Let’s start with the actual writing of your books. Because this is what it all boils down to, yes? But first, I have to say, everyone is different. Everyone writes at different speeds, deals with stress in different ways, has different expectations of themselves. So you need to figure out what you want and works for you.

1. Stop thinking about what other people will think of your work. And write honestly. The first version of my debut novel was written for an audience. It was rejected again and again—for five years. And then, I found a small press who saw something in me and made an effort to get to know me. (Unfortunately that publisher liquidated only six months after its release, but that’s another story which you can read about here.) The publisher said my book was good, but that it felt like she was watching the characters through a window. She said: “Go deeper.” So I dug deeper and dragged the truth from my heart and soul. A truth I was afraid to admit was there. But it resulted in an honest book—a book I didn’t know I had in me. And one I hope women will be able to relate to. It’s glory-less, but real. And real steals hearts. What does this have to do with time management you ask? A lot. When you believe in your work, when you love your work, the words get written faster.

2. Focus on one paragraph at a time. I will never forget Anne Lamott’s advice from Bird by Bird (most accessible and nonsense-less book on writing I’ve ever read): write what you can see through a one-inch frame.

The reason I say this, is because knowing how much you have to revise can sometimes be daunting and overwhelming, and you might try to get through as much as possible and forget to focus your attention on the quality of your work. If you make each paragraph the best it can be before you move on, you won’t have to do any major rewrites (unless there’s a snag in your plot that you’ve overlooked and it’s related to a pertinent turning point). I’m talking revision here, not first draft.

3. Divide your writing time into short bursts. I find that if I give myself only one hour to write every morning before work, sometimes even shorter periods of time (especially when I accidentally sleep in), I’m forced to come up with things I wouldn’t normally think of.

The brain works in mysterious ways when it’s under pressure, and sometimes a little self-inflicted pressure can push you to great heights. Can you believe I wrote the first draft of The Book over a three-day long weekend? I did this because I experimented with the self-inflicted pressure idea. It worked. But be careful not to expect too much from yourself. There is nothing worse than becoming unmotivated due to not reaching personal goals. Which brings me to my fourth point ...

4. To start with, set your goals low. Set goals you know for a fact you can reach. If you set them too high, and continuously fail to meet them, you are going to feel really bad about yourself. This may result in neglecting your goals altogether. I know this from personal experience. If you later realize that you are meeting your goals with ease, gradually make them more challenging. But I strongly urge you to start small. It’s better for you, psychologically, to meet easy goals, than to struggle meeting difficult goals. Not achieving goals is a major hazard for self-esteem, motivation, and creativity.

So what about the rest?

Let’s see. These are the things I continuously have on the go that are not part of my day job or writing books, and I still find time to walk the dog and make dinner (sorry, the washing is still on the couch):

—Vine Leaves Literary Journal (reading submissions, sending rejection/acceptance letters, designing the magazine, promoting the magazine)

Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop (organizing the event and handling finances)

Typesetting, designing, and marketing my books (which includes, what seems, a never-ending thread of guest posts and interviews)

Blogging (including keeping up to speed with my weekly guest feature, The Artist Unleashed)

Maintaining my online presence (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.)

I do all this stuff on top of the day job. On top of my writing. Because I do it all in scheduled, short bursts. I get up early to make sure I have one hour to write and one hour to do something else from the list above. I pick and choose depending on priority. During my lunch break, I blog and spend about half an hour to an hour (depends on how long I can take from work) on social media. After work, I walk the dog, make dinner, maybe go to yoga. Once that’s done, I’ll spend another hour or so doing something else from the list above. Then I have a shower, relax in front of the TV, or do something else away from the computer before I go to bed. Then in bed, I’ll read a chapter or two of the book on my bedside table. Reading to me is relaxing and not a chore.

So what have I accomplished in this average day of mine?

Here’s an example:

My job (at least 7 hours worth)

500-1000 words on my WIP

I read 30 Vine Leaves submissions and sent a few responses, maybe even set up a classified ad on NewPages.com.

I wrote/scheduled a blog post, commented on other blogs.

I connected with everyone I wanted to online. I may have worked on my latest book cover for a bit.

I made dinner.

I walked the dog.

I relaxed.

Look ... I’ll deal with those clothes tomorrow, okay?

I know people with kids who have just as much, and more, on their plate, and they’re still finding the time to self-publish. You can too.

My point is, it can all be done. And it doesn’t have to freak you out, or overwhelm you. Just pace yourself. And if you don’t have a full-time job like me, imagine how much more you can get done.

Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

Nothing is impossible if you truly want it.

Nothing is impossible. Full stop.

Bio:

If Jessica Bell could choose only one creative mentor, she’d give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. This is not only because she currently resides in Athens, Greece, but because of her life as a thirty-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, whose literary inspiration often stems from songs she’s written.

In addition to her novels, poetry collections, (one of which was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2012), and her Writing in a Nutshell series, she has published a variety of works in online and print literary journals and anthologies, including Australia’s Cordite Review, and the anthologies 100 STORIES FOR QUEENSLAND and FROM STAGE DOOR SHADOWS, both released through Australia’s, eMergent Publishing.

Jessica is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and annually runs the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca. She makes a living as a writer/editor for English Language Teaching Publishers worldwide, such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, MacMillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

Keep an eye out for her forthcoming novel, BITTER LIKE ORANGE PEEL, slated for release, November 1, 2013.

indiestructible

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Genre –  Non-fiction

Rating – G

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Connect with Jessica Bell on FacebookTwitter

Blog http://thealliterativeallomorph.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Author Interview -Tarah Scott @TarahScott

How much sleep do you need to be your best?

Seven hours seems to be the magic number for me.

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?

That’s easy! Being able to write full time.

Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?

My latest book is the second book in the Highland Lords series, My Highland Lord. These are stand alone books. My Highland Lord is about a woman whose father was accused of being a traitor, so she became a British spy in hopes of proving his innocence. She meets a Scottish marquess who she comes to find works a bit outside the law.

If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?

Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Stephen King would do for starters.

Do you have any tips on how writers can relax?

As a writer, I relax by reading or watching a good movie, but I think that works for just about anyone.

How often do you write? And when do you write?

I try to write every day.

Sometimes it’s so hard to keep at it – What keeps you going?

Heh heh. If I get overwhelmed and think I’ve had it, the bug just burrows deeper, and I find myself back at the keyboard.

What’s your favorite meal?

I love sushi!

My Highland Lord

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Genre – Historical  Romance

Rating – R

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Tarah Scott on Facebook, Tarah Scott’s Reader Group & Twitter

Website http://www.tarahscott.com/

Breathing for Two by Wolf Pascoe @WolfPascoe

ONE
BREATHING LESSONS
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IN the freshman year of my anesthesia residency, I was given a lesson in breathing by a patient whom I’ll call Otto. Anesthesia residencies come replete with breathing lessons, but Otto was also teaching humility that day, a subject absent from the formal anesthesia curriculum.
A doctor gets humility not from curricula but from his patients. I acquired a truckload of humility the day I met Otto, and the truck has only gotten larger since.
Otto was undergoing a cystoscopy, a look inside the bladder performed by passing a thin viewing scope through the urethra. There is no incision in such a procedure.
Generally, you don’t need anything fancy to support a patient’s breathing while giving anesthesia during a cystoscopy. As the patient passes from wakefulness into unconsciousness you can let him continue to breathe for himself.
In Otto’s case, I strapped a rubber anesthesia mask over his mouth and nose to make an airtight seal against his skin, and delivered through the mask an appropriate combination of oxygen and anesthetic gas. In principle, what I did was essentially what the Boston dentist, William Thomas Green Morton, had done during the first public demonstration of ether anesthesia in 1846.
The modern anesthesia face mask is a hollow cone of rubber or plastic. It’s like the oxygen mask that drops down from above a passenger’s head on an airplane, though it’s more substantially built. The base is malleable and cushioned by a ring of air, a sort of inner tube. The mask is shaped to fit around the nose and mouth; with a bit of pressure, it seals against the skin. The top of the mask connects to a source of anesthetic vapor and oxygen.
Readers of a certain age may remember the TV series, Marcus Welby, M.D., which began each week with Dr. Welby lowering a black anesthesia mask down over the camera lens. In those days, apparently, the family doctor did everything.
The anesthesia machine—the “cascade of glass columns, porcelain knobs and metal conduits” I described previously—is the gas delivery system. The machine connects to an oxygen tank and directs the flow of oxygen from the tank through a vaporizer where the oxygen mixes with anesthesia gas. The mixture passes out of the machine through plastic tubing (“anesthesia hose”) that connects to the face mask.
The patient breathes the mixture.
Gas leaving the anesthesia machine actually flows through the anesthesia tubing in a circle—in fact it’s called the circle system. One limb of the circle travels from the machine to the anesthesia mask, where the patient inhales it. The other limb, carrying exhaled gas, travels from the mask back to the machine, where excess carbon dioxide from the patient is filtered out. The filtered gas is mixed with fresh gas and travels back to the patient.
The same gases, minus the carbon dioxide, keep going round and round. The system is airtight, except for a pop-off valve that relieves excess pressure.
Otto was a large man with a thickly muscled neck, but by extending his head I could keep his airway clear, allowing him to continue breathing while the urologist worked. Instead of using an anesthesia mask to deliver my mix of gases, I could have assured Otto’s airway by using an endotracheal tube. This is a long breathing tube (about a centimeter in diameter) inserted through the mouth all the way into the trachea.
But getting an endotracheal tube in isn’t always easy, and it’s usually not necessary during a cystoscopy. Most often an anesthesia mask will do.
One side effect of anesthesia is the loss of normal muscle tone. This happened to Otto. A few minutes into the case, his flaccid tongue fell back in his throat. His diaphragm continued to contract, but air couldn’t get through to the lungs—his airway was obstructed. Otto was, of course, completely unconscious at this point.
Everyone loses some muscle tone during sleep—this is the cause of snoring, and of the more serious condition of sleep apnea. But the loss of tone is even greater under anesthesia, and the anesthetized patient cannot rouse herself to find a better breathing position.
I managed the problem by putting a short plastic tube called an airway into Otto’s mouth. The airway depressed the tongue and cleared a passage for air. It wasn’t as good as an endotracheal tube, which would have extended all the way into Otto’s trachea, but it seemed to do the trick.
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Genre – Non-fiction / Memoir
Rating – G
More details about the author and the book
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Monday, November 25, 2013

#AmReading - Planet Urth by Jennifer & Christopher Martucci @JennyMartucci

Planet Urth by Jennifer & Christopher Martucci

Amazon

Jennifer and Christopher Martucci, coauthors of the hit series Arianna Rose and Dark Creations, would like to take you on an exciting new journey. They invite you to visit Planet Urth…
More than two hundred years into the future, human beings are an endangered species. The planet has been battered by war, its inhabitants plagued by disease and death. Few humans survived and remained unaffected. Most changed dramatically and evolved into something else entirely. Irrevocable alterations caused by chemical warfare have created a new species. North America is in ruins and has been overtaken. Humanity has fallen at the hands of mutants known as Urthmen.
Seventeen year-old Avery is alive and unchanged. But she has not been immune to the harshness of the new world. She has lived on the run for much of her life, in terror.
After losing her father, Avery is the sole guardian of her eight-year-old sister, June. Avery is now charged with June’s safety as well as her own, a nearly impossible task.
Forced to hide deep in the forest and away from the cities overrun by Urthmen, Avery and her sister are constantly hunted. Danger awaits them at every turn. They fear they are the only human beings left, that they are the last of their kind.
But are they truly alone?
Find out in this raw and rousing first installment of the Planet Urth series.

Author Interview – D.A.& M.P. Wearmouth @dampwearmouth

When you get free time on the internet or you go to the library – what do you want to read about?
M – Science and Environment.
D – I love to catch up on all of the daily news from around the world. I don’t like going cold turkey, I have to have my daily fix.
Do you find the time to read?
M – Yes I always find time for new and interesting books.  I read at night generally to wind down.
D – Mostly on holiday or when traveling with work. I try to read a couple of books a month.
Last book you purchased? Tell us about it.
M – The secret life of trees.  I am a volunteer for the Woodland Trust and also have to deal with trees in my subsidence business.  This book was fascinating and examined the genealogy of each species.
D – Fractured by D.J Molles. He’s an indie author with a great series ‘The Remaining’. This is his fourth book and he’s done a first rate job. Check him out if you haven’t already.
Who do you admire?
M – Usain Bolt
D – James Anderson, he’s an English cricketer who is currently the best in the world at what he does. I’d love the ability to bowl like him, but his sort don’t come around that often.
What is your favourite quote, by whom, and why?
M – One life.  It’s a simple mantra to remember.
D – “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” By Winston Churchill. What he says rings true for me. You can’t force your way to potential or try to think your way there, it’s a long road full of hard work.
What’s your favourite place in the entire world?
M – Harrogate
D – Milford Sound in New Zealand.
First Activation
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Genre – Horror/Science Fiction
Rating – R
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Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Howling Heart by April Bostic

* * * *

Three days after my father’s funeral, I landed at the airport in Denver. I rented a Jeep Wrangler, because I needed a four-wheel-drive vehicle to get up the mountain. The July weather was mild, so I wore khaki shorts, a plain white tee, and beige Vans sneakers.

One of the odd things about finding our cabin was you had to find the nearby town first. I remembered we got lost during our vacation, which caused an argument between my parents. Finding the road that led to the town was tricky, because there was only one accessible by vehicle, and there was no road sign. My father knew how to get there, because the person who sold him the cabin gave him a landmark. Luckily, he passed that information onto me during one of our conversations. Once you found the road, the town was so small that if you blinked, you’d drive right by it. When my mother said it was remote, she wasn’t being facetious.

I drove on the interstate for over an hour before I realized I missed my turn. I had to find a tree shaped like a wishbone—it was struck by lightning — but all the trees looked alike to me. It took another half-hour for me to turn around and make another attempt.

I found my landmark, but a tangle of fallen branches blocked the entrance. My hands gripped the steering wheel. I knew I was in for a bumpy ride. I floored the accelerator, and the Jeep broke through the roadblock. The road was narrow, and the terrain was rough. Whoever constructed it didn’t want people to travel on it. I screamed when tree branches appeared out of nowhere and banged against the windshield. The forest surrounded me on both sides, and I wondered if I’d ever reach the town.

SONY DSC

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Genre – Paranormal Romance

Rating – Adult

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Website http://www.aprilbostic.com/

Friday, November 22, 2013

Joyfully Yours by Amy Lamont @Amy_Lamont

Joyfully Yours

A fun and heartwarming holiday romance.

When fate keeps throwing a handsome good Samaritan in her path, musician Faith Leary needs a little holiday magic to help her see he’s perfect for her.

A musician and a priest walk into a grocery store—singer Faith Leary thinks this is a better opening for an off-color joke than a recipe for romance, until she finds herself ogling Father Michael in the checkout line the day before Thanksgiving.

When Father Michael first steps in to bail Faith out of her financial jam, Faith thinks she’s being picked up at the grocery store. Right up until she catches sight of the black shirt and tab collar. Since not much in her life is going her way lately, it doesn’t come as much of a shock when Michael turns up at her mother’s Thanksgiving dinner. What does come as a surprise is the attraction that springs up between them. If only he weren't a priest, he would be perfect for her.

Faith’s sister finds Father Michael attractive, too, and she’s making no bones about it. Scenes from the Thorn Birds flitting through her head, it comes as a relief to Faith to find out Michael is not exactly what he seems. It’s good news until she realizes her sister is a far better match for him than her screw-up self could ever be. But if that’s true, why does Michael insist on seeing only the good in Faith, no matter how often she falls short of her too perfect sister?

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Genre - Contemporary Holiday Romance

Rating – PG

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Website http://amylamont.com

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Author Interview – Christine Locke

What books did you love growing up? I read C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series so many times, I lost count.  As I got into high school, I started to read the classics.  I settled on Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald by senior year.  It’s fun to watch people get interested in the literature of the 1920’s and ‘30’s again.  It seems like it’s coming back in a big way.  I think there’s a lot about that period that speaks to us and teaches us right now.

What book genre do you adore? I’m enjoying paranormal young adult fiction set in the American south.  I know that’s a very specific “genre,” but I think I see a trend developing with the popularity of Beautiful Creatures and the success of some other series I’m following.  I wrote about this trend recently in a blog post.

Location and life experiences can really influence writing. Tell us where you grew up and where you now live.  I was a Navy brat growing up.  I really liked moving every two years or so: I always felt like it was a fresh start and an opportunity to redefine myself.  I also wrote a LOT of letters growing up, keeping up with family and friends in the places we left behind.  I think that’s part of the reason it feels natural to tell stories now.

How do you develop your writing? By writing.  It’s true: I still go back to old manuscripts that I have not yet published and edit them.  It’s humbling and tedious, and, yet, I think it makes me stronger.  And, it can also be cool to see errors that were once common in my writing that I now know enough to avoid even in a first draft.

Every writer has his/her own idea of what a successful writing career is.  What does success in writing look like to you? People reading my stories and engaging with them.  I don’t necessarily want all my readers to love the books; I’d rather that my stories make you think.  Some of the stories that I have found most thought-provoking were books I would not care to read again.  Others I love to revisit, over and over.  Of course I want some readers who re-read my stories, but it’s ok with me if not everyone likes them that much.  What I would hope is that even if you didn’t care for my story, you found something in it that you had not seen before.

Open Door

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Genre – Young Adult

Rating – PG/PG13

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Website http://christinelockebooks.blogspot.com/

Onio by Linell Jeppsen @nelj8

Chapter 4

For four days, Mel drifted in and out of consciousness. When she was able to swim up from the tendrils of death that held her, she dreamed vivid and horrifying dreams.

Once, she sat up with a start and saw a scene from Dante’s Inferno. She saw a huge hairy man being flogged by a branchless tree trunk. The tree was very large and the branches on it had been cut crudely so that long splinters sprouted from its surface like jagged teeth. The man was held in place by long ropes of vine that were hung from stalactites so that his feet barely touched the floor. He was screaming while others of his kind either cheered in triumph or wept with sympathy.

Another time Mel awoke in a hospital room with nurses all around her. She felt like she was in familiar territory, but wondered how she had changed places with her mother. Her mom held her wrist in one large hand and peered into her eyes with concern.

“Mama…,” she croaked, and drew back in alarm when her mother’s face disappeared. Now she was surrounded by monsters. Their giant hairy faces leered down at her. Their mouths sang an eerie chorus Mel couldn’t hear, but understood. The hospital room dissolved into a small cave and her crisp, white sheets were replaced by a scruffy fur blanket. She shrugged it off, screaming, before succumbing to the healing darkness once again.

Finally Mel awoke to voices. She felt a little better and her head no longer felt like it might explode. She looked over to the far side of the cave and saw Onio being tended to by the old sasquatch female. He looked pale and shaken. The old one, whose name was Rain, rubbed some sort of ointment on Onio’s back. Although their lips didn’t move, they were talking. Mel closed her eyes and listened.

“Onio, what he did was just,” she murmured.

“Just!” Onio snarled. “The test is designed to punish the worst criminals…murderers, and rapines! What I did was not even a crime! Why did he bring his grandson, who would be king, to his knees?”

Mel peeked at the two sasquatches through her eyelashes. She saw that Onio’s head was bowed and that his shoulders heaved with sobs. Rain stood some distance away and wiped her hands clean with a rag. She regarded her grandson with an eyebrow raised in equal parts exasperation and love.

She brought Onio a mug of something to drink and Mel’s throat ached with thirst. She watched as he set the mug down, staring at the floor in anger. Rain sat next to him on the shelf of rock that served as a bed.

“Onio, what you did was akin to murder. I know you know this, because I have taught you these things myself!” She placed a hand on the male’s thigh. “I will teach it again, Grandson,” she continued. “Maybe this time you will listen and truly understand.”

Rain slapped the young sasquatch sharply and stood up. Onio hunched his shoulders at the reprimand, glaring at his own toes.

“The small humans have small brains, Grandson. Also, their brains work differently than ours. We are intuitive, telepathic and sensitive to the ways of nature and the planet around us. They are none of these things, but they are creatures of intellect. Look at the marvelous machines they construct, the technology they have invented! In many ways their workings are like magic to us. Just as, I think, our ways are magical to them.” Rain sighed.

“That is why we hide from them, Onio. They are a covetous race, and would take from us, by any means necessary, that which they desire. For many generations the humans have tried to unlock the mysteries of our brains. They want to know how to use the soul song, and would steal it from us if they could. Many times they have tried…this you know, first-hand!”

Tears were dripping out of Onio’s eyes and falling to the floor. He murmured, “I am sorry, Grandmother. I wasn’t thinking properly.”

Mel saw the old female smile as she fussed with some things in a bag, then walked over to cook something on a fire set in the middle of the floor.

“Now, finally, First Son admits to not thinking before acting.” Although the sasquatches lips didn’t move, Mel could hear the sarcasm dripping from Rain’s voice, as the smell of meat cooking filled the air.

“Onio, listen and hear my words.” Rain’s voice was urgent. “There are as many reasons as birds in the sky why we do not co-mingle with the little humans. Most importantly, they will hunt us down and kill us for the gifts we possess. They would experiment on us and dissect our brains, and all for nothing! Even if they knew how to extract our abilities, their brains do not have the means, or the capacity, for soul song. It is called neural pathways…or some such. I have forgotten the exact words.” Now she glared at her grandson again. “We think that this little human will survive what you did to her, Onio.”

Mel slammed her eyes shut as she saw the big male glance her way. Guilt was written all over his face.

“You were lucky, I think, that this creature survived at all. Your gift opened pathways in her brain…neural connections most humans are not equipped to deal with, or understand. We believe that the only reason the girl hasn’t died is because her ear canals are damaged. Our gifts are sense, rather than thought, oriented. Hearing is a sense, so her brain was able to withstand the new impulses. She is very ill, though, and will be frail for a long while to come. She may not survive the change…someday her brain might break from the strain you yourself put on it!”

Mel saw Onio put his hands over his face and shudder. “Oh Grandmother,” he moaned. “Truly, I did not think to kill this little human…I did not think at all!”

Rain nodded, filled a wooden bowl with meat, and handed it to him. She glanced over at Mel and sat down next to Onio again.

“You are young yet, Onio, and perhaps foolish, but you will be a fine leader someday. To lead well, though, you must learn to listen to the world around you. Drak, your uncle, is also a fine man, but he suffers from jealousy. He never thought that you would be declared king after Bouldar is gone…not with the small human blood that flows in your veins. That he himself told you this only serves to prove that he hasn’t the wisdom to lead the tribe.”

She chuckled. “There is a thing the small humans call irony. It took me many, many years of study to understand this concept, but I find it ironic that the very thing Drak used to wound you with actually ensures your ascension to the seat of leadership.”

She stood again and moved around behind Onio to apply more salve to his wounded back. “My husband believes that the human soldiers are renewing their efforts to find us, and hunt us down. He believes that these soldiers want to use the soul song as some sort of weapon. They are a warrior species who will use even the most benign gift as a tool for destruction!” The old female apparently forgot to be gentle in her application of the medicine on his wounds. Onio winced with pain.

“He thinks that the tribe needs a leader who can both sympathize with and out-maneuver the humans who want to conquer us. The blood in your veins has made you smarter than the rest of us…especially Drak. You still possess the tribe’s gifts, like telepathy and camouflage, but your intellect will be the thing that can save the tribe from the small humans’ greed.” She gave her grandson’s shoulders a shake, not caring that he cried out in pain.

“That leader will be you, Grandson!” she shouted. “But only if this little human woman survives and you learn to think before you act!”

Rain’s voice was pensive when she spoke again. “Before Bouldar became my husband he was much like you; curious and compelled to seek out the small humans’ company, despite the risks.” She threw her arms up with a growl of rage.

Onio revised (2)

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Genre – Fantasy/Romance

Rating – PG13

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Connect with Linell Jeppsen on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://neljeppsen.weebly.com/

Thursday, November 21, 2013

#Bargain Sub-Human by David Simpson @PostHuman09

Sub-Human

PROMOTION: Now you can switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible audiobook. Add the professional narration of Sub-Human (Book 1) for a reduced price of $2.99 after you buy this Kindle book. Listen to Sub-Human Chapter 3′s sample here goo.gl/kdxS8i. Also, Post-Human (Book 2), Trans-Human (Book 3) and Human Plus(Book 4) are all $0.99 each for a LIMITED TIME as well!

And their audiobooks are coming soon!

Age Range: 12 years and up

Before he was Old-timer, he was Craig Emilson, a young doctor, sucked into military service at the outbreak of World War III. Enlisting to become a Special Forces suborbital paratrooper, Craig is selected to take part in the most important mission in American military history–a sortie into enemy territory to eliminate the world’s first strong Artificial Intelligence. The mission is only the beginning of Craig’s story, and for the story of humanity as well, as they accelerate towards a world that is post-human.

If you’re already a fan of the smash-hit Post-Human Series, this prequel to Post-Human, Sub-Human, will answer the previously unanswered questions of how the post-human world came to be. And, if you’re new to the series, Sub-Human will serve as an engrossing introduction to a possible future that has enraptured tens of thousands of readers in 2012 alone!

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Genre - Science Fiction

Rating – PG

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Boundless by Brad Cotton @BradCott0n

Chapter 6

NOT TWENTY MINUTES after leaving the motel, young Ruby fell asleep upon her bag in the back seat. As the BMW crossed the border into Colorado just before lunch, Ruby had still not awoken.

“When did you know?” Ray asked Duncan. He put down his book and looked over to the driver.

“Know what?”

“Did you just decide it one day or did you always think it?”

“This again?”

“Maybe it’s just a feeling,” Ray surmised. “Like people who think that everything happens for a reason. But you don’t think that, do you?”

“I think some things happen for a reason, sure,” Duncan said.

“Really?”

“Why would there be a word for fate if it didn’t exist?”

“There’s a word for unicorns, isn’t there?”

“I think there has to be some kind of plan,” Duncan said. “You can fall off the path or change direction, but you can’t run from who you are.”

“What’re you guys talking about?” a voice said from the back seat.

Ray curled his head around the over-sized headrest.

“Oh, nothing,” he said. “Just something we started a long time ago.”

“Unicorns?”

“No. Not unicorns.”

“It sounds like you’re talking about unicorns.”

“Ray’s been trying to understand how I can believe in God,” Duncan said.

Duncan looked in the rear view mirror to see if he could catch Ruby’s reaction. He couldn’t even see the top of her head. Though awake, Ruby had slouched down even further and curled across the entire back seat. She rested her head on her bag and shut her eyes once more.

“Arguing whether there is or isn’t a God is like arguing whether or not a song is good,” she said. “You can never be right and you can never be wrong.”

“You believe in God?” Ray asked.

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?”

“I’m assuming you don’t?”

“Not for a second.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“The evidence against it is overwhelming.”

“So then what happens to you when you die?” Ruby asked.

“You die,” Ray said. “You’re dead. End. Over. Bye bye.”

“I think I believe in reincarnation,” Ruby said, her eyes still closed. “Haven’t you ever met someone that you feel you’ve met before, or that you know from somewhere else? And what about all those people that just seem so new?”

“Well, if there is such a thing as reincarnation, I’d come back as a cat,” Ray said.

“A cat?” Duncan said. “You hate cats.”

“For the same reasons I’d want to be one.”

“A cat?”

“A housecat, yeah. I’d lie around all day. Someone else would get my food, rub me down, and no one would give a shit if I ever paid any attention to them.”

“Pray on it,” Duncan said.

“Don’t you want to be in heaven?” Ruby asked. “Don’t you want to think that once you die you’ll get to be with the people you love? The people you’ve lost?”

“I think it sounds like a pretty crowded place,” Ray said. “And no, I don’t think I’d want to be anywhere where I had no purpose.”

Duncan shook his head.

“Can we stop?” Ruby asked.

“Yes, please,” Duncan said. “We’ve been talking about it forever and we never get anywhere.”

“No, can we stop. I’m a girl, small bladder.”

“Oh, yeah, sure,” Duncan answered. “I’m hungry, anyway.”

“Yeah, a cat.” Ray said. “That’s the life.” He nodded as he looked out the window at the grass whizzing by.

Duncan pulled off Interstate 70 at the outskirts of Grand Junction, Colorado. He screeched into a gas station and Ruby sprung from the car and scurried to the washroom. Ray got out to stretch his legs; Duncan began refueling.

Boundless

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Genre – Contemporary Fiction/Literary Fiction

Rating – R

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Website http://www.bradcotton.com/

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

#AmReading - Hazardous Duty by Christy Barritt @cbarritt

Hazardous Duty by Christy Barritt

Amazon

Buying a gun to kill your wife: $3,000
Hiring Trauma Care to clean afterward: $1,500
Having that same cleaner uncover evidence that frames you: Priceless
On her way to completing a degree in forensic science, Gabby St. Claire drops out of school and starts her own crime scene cleaning business. “Yeah, that’s me,” she says, “a crime scene cleaner. People waiting in line behind me who strike up conversations always regret it.”
When a routine cleaning job uncovers a murder weapon the police overlooked, she realizes that the wrong person is in jail. But the owner of the weapon is a powerful foe . . . and willing to do anything to keep Gabby quiet.
With the help of her new neighbor, Riley Thomas, a man whose life and faith fascinate her, Gabby plays the detective to make sure the right person is put behind bars. Can Riley help her before another murder occurs?

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik

*

Dressed in white shorts and vests, the cadets gathered in a gymnasium void of equipment. Stripped to the waist, Nikolas held a dagger, trying to affect a muscular pose, but with too much belly and slack muscles. Well, put a pig in a pair of shorts, and it’s still a pig. Hold on to that picture, Jez thought and grinned.

One after another, the cadets attempted to evade an armed strike from the enemy, but not one returned to the outer circle without clutching at a gash. Jez watched nervously. He knew he was fitter than the NCO, and bringing him down for what he’d tried to do to Anna was a fantastic thought; but if he kicked against the system... Whether he’d fully understood what the colonel had said back in his office he wasn’t sure, but he was sure his mentor wouldn’t tolerate aggression towards a senior soldier. And besides, it was clear the NCO was expert at what he was doing. Out of shape or not, he’d beat Jez easily.

A yell from Popov and she left the circle suppressing a sob, clinging to a wound high on her right breast. That was it then, only him and Anna to go.

“Centre circle, Kornfeld,” Nikolas commanded.

He sighed and moved forward.

The corporal, to Jez’s surprise, sheathed his knife and announced, “Athletics, shooting, seems you’re a bit better than good. But you’re a skinny little runt and somehow…”

A sickening thud sank into Jez’s chest and pitched him to the ground.

“…I don’t think this will be your specialty.”

He tried to get up, but Nikolas kicked him in the side and rolled him onto his back. Jez had moved with the blow, but it still left him staring at the ceiling, winded. He needed a breather, but Nikolas came at him again. Jez fought nausea and darted to one side.

“Oh, girlie tactics. I didn’t expect that from a big shot like you. I might have expected it more from Puchinsky. Ah, Puchinsky, yes, you’re up next,” he said, and turned to Anna, grinning, breathing heavily. “And we still have a little debt left unpaid.”

As he considered the words, Jez got to his feet, but his attention had shifted. Nikolas pulled his knife and slashed it sideways. The tip of the blade scratched a red line across Jez’s now slit white vest. The corporal holstered the weapon and flexed his physique, readying for hand-to-hand.

“Come on, Kornfeld, one on one. Do your worst.” He laughed. “You have my full permission to set all your might against me.”

Nikolas suddenly lunged, and the heel of an open-palmed strike knocked Jez heavily to the floor. Somehow he had to keep out of the way, but getting to his feet he was surprised to see the trainer had paled. He’d overdone it with the other cadets and his lack of fitness was there for all to see. A chance presented itself as he took a more casual swipe. Jez followed with gut reaction. The punch flew and he reacted with a nimbleness that left his opponent in slow motion. He grabbed the corporal’s wrist with both hands, made a half turn, held the grip, brought the larger man’s arm onto his shoulder and whipped it down as hard as he could. The limb snapped to the sound of bone breaking and gristle tearing. Then came a shriek, as Nikolas screamed out in agony. Jez stepped back, but a surge of arousal had warmed the pit of his stomach and the stimulus urged him to finish the job. Why not? His career was over after this. He fixed his eyes on Nikolas and moved forward.

“Jez, no,” Anna shouted.

He stopped just as a hulking silhouette emerged from the shadow of a doorway to assist the crippled trainer. Jez returned to the group and joyous murmurs flowed through the circle. Suddenly, he’d become the most popular cadet in the hall.

The man helped the trainer out of the hall and the cadets separated into smaller groups, hanging around, awaiting further instruction. Jez and Anna sat together with their backs against the wall, he staring at the door expecting guards to come and get him any minute.

“I think the others are worried they might all be in trouble,” Anna said.

“Maybe they are, but it’s me who’ll come under fire,” Jez said, voice miserable, emotions much the same.

Anna cleared her throat. “Thanks,” she said, with a softness he hadn’t heard from her before.

“For what?” he asked.

“I know you lost it because Nikolas tried it on with me, and I know how important the army is to you… I’m sorry it had to happen. I’ll always be grateful.” The words were sweet, but the voice was stern.

He was embarrassed, just as when his older brother and sister had ribbed him about looking like a pretty girl.

He had no reason to say it, other than being stuck for words, but he responded, “You’d have done the same.”

She came back at him in a flurry of decisiveness. “No, Jez, no, I wouldn’t. I’m like you in as much as the army is everything to me. But believe me, I wouldn’t have done anything so… irrational. Not for any reason. I would protect my career at all cost.”

He smiled. “Or maybe it’s just that you don’t like me as much as I like you.”

Her shoulders dropped, her face relaxed and her eyes sparkled. “No, it isn’t that. I like you well enough.”

His cheeks were still burning when a cadet from one of the other huts came into the hall.

“I’m at the end of my training and have been told to command this unit for the rest of today. I don’t know how far you’ve all got with your preparation, so we’ll just go out for a run… I want to see you in front of the hut in full kit in five minutes.”

*

Birth of an Assassin

Set against the backdrop of Soviet, post-war Russia, Birth of an Assassin follows the transformation of Jez Kornfeld from wide-eyed recruit to avenging outlaw. Amidst a murky underworld of flesh-trafficking, prostitution and institutionalized corruption, the elite Jewish soldier is thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems, nobody can be trusted, and everything can be violently torn from him.

Buy Now @ Amazon, B&N, Kobo & Waterstones

Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://rik-stone.simdif.com

Author Interview – Keira Michelle Telford @mylostanddamned

Do you plan to publish more books?

Plenty! The next book will be SILVER: Lex Talionis. It’s the eighth book in The SILVER Series, and also the first book in The Outlier Trilogy. Additionally, I’m working on the second book in The Prisonworld Trilogy, The Procuress, as well as a new series of (erotic) paranormal romance novelettes, The Nightside Stories.

Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?

In an over-populated, post-apocalyptic city on the brink of internal collapse, Silver is a banished Hunter with a grudge. Accused of crimes she didn’t commit, branded a traitor and left for dead, she’s spent the last six years struggling to survive in a prison district filled with murderers, thieves and rapists. Biding her time, reluctantly earning a living for herself as an executioner, she finally seizes an opportunity for redemption when a prolific serial killer evades capture.

I didn’t intend to write dystopian SF, it just sort of happened. I thought I was writing an adventure romance … then I realized, hey, there are monsters (Chimera) everywhere, and the world ended three hundred years ago … umm … holy crap, this is science fiction!

Do you have any tips on how writers can relax?

Get a couple of guinea pigs.

What contributes to making a writer successful?

Tenacity.

How often do you write? And when do you write?

I write every day, from 3pm to about 5am most days. Sometimes I lose track of time, and don’t stop writing until I see the sun come up. Those are the best days.

Silver 1

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Genre – Dystopian Sci-Fi

Rating – 18+

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Connect with  Keira Michelle Telford on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.ellacross.com/

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Accountability Leadership: A Catalyst for Change – Dianne Worrall @DiWorrall

Accountability Leadership: A Catalyst for Change

Accountability Leadership was inspired by a professional “epiphany” I experienced in my first senior executive post as an HR Director of a large government organisation.

Soon after I took up the role of HR Director, it became clear that we were heading downhill fast on the delivery of a major business initiative. The crux of the problem was not our business competence. We were meeting our personal goals and objectives as always – yet the project was still at risk.  Rather, it was the quality of our interactions that was letting us down. Our failure as an executive team to hold one another accountable was setting up our entire organisation to fail.

With our professional reputations at stake, we had no intention of letting the project go bad. So I worked with my fellow executives through specific actions to improve our personal accountability to one another as a leadership team. As a result, we managed to turn a pending loss into a remarkable profit.

We realised that accountability was something we couldn’t delegate. But much to our surprise, our new approach to accountability went viral. The employees in our respective divisions started to intuitively follow suit, modelling our new behaviours.

I found this early accountability lesson one of the most profound of my career, and a personal catalyst for change.  I have since developed a personal and professional mantra about what I see as the number-one issue that makes or breaks leadership performance today: Accountability for outcomes, performance, and results.

That mantra goes like this:

“The degree to which you have developed the capacity to hold your organisation and its people accountable for the delivery of results is directly proportional to your capacity to either build–or haemorrhage–value from your organisation.”

Inspired by that early experience, I developed an enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge relating to the new science of accountability (which you can read more about in my new book, Accountability Leadership).

In my experience, the problem is that we have adopted the habit of using accountability as a tool of negativity – focussing on short-sighted measures of progress and wielding punishment when things go wrong. We have lost sight of the true meaning of accountability as a positive tool to help things go right. To transform cultural habits from low accountability to high accountability can actually be surprisingly straightforward. All you need to do is tackle one cause or one conversation at a time… and magic happens.  But the secret is to focus your attention on changing just a few keystone habits that will make the greatest difference.

That’s where Accountability Leadership comes in, representing a virtually untapped goldmine of opportunity for personal and business transformation using the new science of accountability.

Post by Di Worrall

Award-winning Business Transformation & Strategy Consultant, Best Selling Author, Executive Coach

www.diworrall.com.au

Find out more about the missing link between high performance and high accountability in Di Worrall’s #1 Amazon best selling book: Accountability Leadership – How Great Leaders Build a High Performance Culture of Accountability and Responsibility (2013) at http://amzn.to/1cphIpl

Di Worrall

Accountability Leadership Saves Tech Company

In 2005, HCL Technologies was in trouble.

The Delhi-based IT firm was losing market share, as competitors grew by 50% annually.

By 2009, HCL’s president, Vineet Nayar had turned the company around, nearly tripling annual revenues and doubling market capitalisation despite the recession.

Nayar accomplished all this through a top-down culture of accountability, beginning with the leadership qualities of himself—the CEO—and other senior managers.

The Rules Of Accountability Have Changed

Great business leaders understand that acceptance of greater personal accountability and responsibility leads organisations back on the path to success.

But with the evolving nature of 21st century business, the practical steps that go into creating a high performance culture of accountability have become more muddled than ever.

Many organisations have seen temporary improvements, implementing traditional systems of accountability in an attempt to drive high performance in the workplace—only to quickly revert back to their old ways, or worse.

Accountability Leadership Will Teach You:

  • What it really takes to lead a high performance culture of accountability
  • Why so many of today’s employees avoid personal accountability and responsibility like the plague, and how to reverse that trend
  • How to sustain great performance through inspiring feedback, feed-forward and follow-through
  • What an accountability plan is, how to create one, and why it’s considered the “secret weapon” behind successful business transformation

Filled with real world case studies and straightforward, easy to digest research, Accountability Leadership offers practical solutions that are direct, engaging, fast, cost-effective, proven, and easy to implement…

Immediate, Concrete Solutions You’ll Take Away From This Book Include:

  • How to transform the “dark side” of accountability into a positive force for change
  • Why carrots and sticks no longer work—and what they’ve been replaced with
  • How to create compelling consequences that inspire people to perform at their best, and achieve the ultra productive workstate known as “flow”
  • Crack the code of high accountability conversations, turning confrontation into a productive and positive opportunity

Accountability Leadership Also Sheds Light On Topics Like…

  • How negativity bias covertly sabotages your feedback loop with your employees
  • The optimal ratio for positive to negative comments in feedback
  • The right amount of autonomy to give employees—without overdoing it
  • What lack of recognition is really doing to your workforce (hint: it’s staggering)
  • The surprising biochemical effect of praise, and why it cannot fail

Plus, You’ll Also Receive A Special Bonus

Reader’s can claim an exclusive 20-minute podcast interview with top-rated thought leader Marshall Goldsmith, sharing his powerful experiences and groundbreaking ideas on coaching for accountability leadership—absolutely free.

A Personal Message From The Author

Accountability is arguably the number-one issue that makes or breaks leadership performance today. Yet most of us were never taught this critical skill—not by our parents, teachers or business leaders.

The good news is, accountability can be coached.

The ideas in this book draw from extensive research and 25 years experience working with executives to improve performance through high accountability.

These ideas work.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Business, Leadership, Workplace Behaviour, Human Resources, Executive Coaching

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with Di Worrall on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.diworrall.com.au/

Author Interview – Voicu Mihnea Simandan @vmsimandan

What’s The Matrix and the Alice Books about and why did you write it?

The book that I’m virtually touring now is an intertextual study of the film The Matrix and the books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll. The initial research for the book was done as part of my two-year master’s degree studies in Bangkok. I have probably seen The Matrix trilogy over one hundred times and having the book in my hands has brought my longtime obsession with The Matrix and the Alice Books to a satisfactory conclusion. Now it’s time for the world to read it and dive down the rabbit hole and explore a world where the boundary between dreams and reality is blurred by some of the most remarkable and memorable fictional characters ever to appear on the pages of a book and on the screen of a TV.

What books did you love reading when you were growing up?

The world Lewis Carroll created in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass had a great impact on me and, as a child, I often found myself slipping down my own rabbit hole under a pillow-made castle, joining Alice in her wonderful adventures. Jules Verne’s adventure novels, especially Around the World in 80 Days, instilled in me a strong desire to see the world and Verne’s great explorers, men of arms and scientists soon became my heroes in whose footsteps I hoped to follow. Now, in my mid-30s, after having published a postgraduate study about the Alice books and having made a new life for myself in Asia, miles away from my home country in Eastern Europe, I do believe that the books I grew up with have made me the man I am today.

If you could have a party and invite anyone, who would it be?

Now, imagine the tea party from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland where, alongside Carroll’s usual suspects, the March Hare – who is no longer hosting, as it’s now my own party! – Alice, the Dormouse and the Hatter. I would also invite Neo, Morpheus and Trinity who will hail in their shiny outfits from the real world of the Matrix. What a great party it would be, with Morpheus suggesting sending the Dormouse to the Oracle to find out why he kept falling asleep, and with Neo explaining to the March Hare that there’s nothing to fear as there’s no such thing as Time and so the Hare couldn’t have murdered it, regardless of what the Queen of Hearts declared.

Alice and Trinity would have a great time, sitting next to each other at the tea table, chatting away about the fun they had jumping from one world to the other, chasing white rabbits and being chased by sun-glassed agents of the System. Then, just when the Hatter starts asking his riddles, as if having all of them at the same table wouldn’t be enough of a riddle, out of thin air, the Cheshire Cat makes her appearance and informs all of us to down our cups of tea and put them back on the shelf as Agent Smith was on his way, ready to smash to smithereens every piece of china clay pottery he would come across. Agent Smith would seem very upset that Neo freed him from the bounds of the Matrix and, above all, that I did not invite him to the party!

What specific genre of books do you like?

I have various intellectual interests, from history to anthropology to linguistics, so I tend to evenly balance the number of non-fiction and fiction books that I read. Recently, I have started reading more and more science fiction, delving into the works of the classics that have established this genre. However, I also read literary fiction, fast paced mysteries, and books of fiction written by expats living in Thailand – which I then review for a Bangkok-based monthly magazine.

What’s your favourite meal?

Although I live in Thailand, I am not a gourmand but I rather believe in what Dozer in The Matrix told Neo during his first “real” meal on the Nebuchadnezzar, after Neo was unplugged from the Matrix. Referring to the rather disgusting-looking goo everyone was eating for breakfast, Dozer explained: “It’s a single celled protein combined with synthetic aminos, vitamins, and minerals. Everything the body needs.” So, as long as my food is healthy, not spicy and doesn’t have a strong smell (another oddity of mine, as Thai food is famous for its spices), I eat anything. Having been brought up in Communist Romania, where food was not something you could pick and choose might also have something to do with me not having any specific favourite food.

The Matrix & The Alice Books

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Non-Fiction/Movie Studies/Literary Criticism

Rating – G

More details about the author and the book

Connect with  Voicu Mihnea Simandan on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.simandan.com/