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Friday, June 27, 2014

J.D. Ferguson Says, Write Logically and Other Tips #AmWriting #WriteTip #HistFic

Giving advice has always left me a bit queasy, especially when the advice pertains to something as personal as fiction writing.  After all, who am I to assume that I know any more about what makes a creative mind hum than anyone else?  If fact, I doubt that I do.  But, that being said, I do relate to what budding authors experience when placing their flights-of-fancy on paper.  From that perspective I do have some observations.

I could write about story lines, persistence, consistency, and editing…editing…editing, but most that have worked at words, knows about all that; at least in degrees.  No, if I could offer one piece of sound advice to any author-in-progress, it would be to write logically.  Don’t misunderstand.  I did not say truthfully, or factually, or rationally.  No characters in fact or fiction can maintain those traits through all circumstances.  What I do mean is that when your scenes or dialogues, etc, are looked upon from a truly logical perspective, does the story line follow?

It does not matter in what genre you practice your craft.  The line or logic you follow must be sound.  Don’t just take my word.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of Four said it best, “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”   Just modify that to end must be the logical result.  For you can never really find the truth of any subject, just your perception of it.  In the words of Clarence Darrow, “Chase after truth like hell and you’ll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails”.

I am not telling you to limit your imagination.  On the contrary, your imagination is what must be exercised to its fullest.  Let’s face it, if authors only wrote what they knew, there would be no works of fiction.  Anything and everything is fair game for the nimble of mind and fluent of words.  J.K. Rowling, that darling of the fantasy genre (may we all be so successful) said, “I mean you could claim that anything’s real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody’s proved it doesn’t exist”.  And, as I am sure everyone knows, you cannot prove a negative.  So go for it.  Let your mind scramble where it may.  Just be logical with the results.

Fiction is fiction because it is not true.  It is based on truths, those realities with which we all must contend, but is not The Truth.  What it must be is a logical progression of circumstances to a given end.  When trying to envision how your hero or heroine works the wonders of their escape from the fire-breathing dragon remember the words of the great Mark Twain, “Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities.  Truth isn’t.”

Logic rules!


When Justin Thorne, coddled student and heir apparent to Sylvan Springs Plantation, is forced to find his heritage, his manhood, and his destiny, in the space of one brief spring, all hell breaks loose on the banks of the Ohio River. His Virginia of 1836 is a time of transition and enormous growth. Northern industrial might and southern aristocracy, abolitionist movements and slave cultures, collide in turmoil and lay bare the raw needs and desires of those intrepid spirits confronting the frontiers of the antebellum South. 

Coming of age is an expected result of time and circumstance. It happens to all who live so long, but to each within the dictates of their own lives. The process is on-going and ever dynamic. Every person is a precious product resulting from the effects of nature and nurture. One's ancestry, culture, and environment collude in myriad ways to make us; all as different as each life's story, and as singular as snowflakes. This theme is played out over-and-over throughout the world and throughout history, in millions of places like Holderby's Landing; as similar and as different as each human is to the other. 

Holderby's Landing is a single glimpse in time at the coming of age of a land, a community, and a few determined souls thrown together in love, strife and chance. What they make of the time, the opportunities and themselves is the story told and the living breath of this book.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Historical Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with J. D. Ferguson on Facebook

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lisa Consiglio Ryan on Her Favourite Food by @LisaConsiglioR #NonFiction #Wellness

What do you hope your obituary will say about you?  That I lived a life of ease and authentic love of life.
How much sleep do you need to feel your best? I wish I could say 8 hours but 9 hours really changes my life!
How often do you write? And when do you write?  I try to write daily in my journal as well as for my books.  Just getting a pen and doing a brain dump does wonders for my mood and also I feel I accomplished something each day. I write in the mornings after mediation.  I try to get up at 5 am but it’s more like 6 am!
What’s your favorite food?  Hmmmm, this is a hard one.I like a lot of food!  I have to say my smoothie creation:  banana, cocao powder, almond butter, mango, kale, and almond milk.
If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone, dead or alive, who would you invite? Audrey Hepburn, Gloria Steinem, and Alexander McQueen.
What television shows do you enjoy watching?  I LOVED Dexter, True Blood and Weeds.  Now I’m into Game of Thrones.
What color represents your personality the most? Yellow, pretty positive and bright.
If you could do any job in the world what would you do?  I sometimes want to be a movie star but actually I am doing what I want now. Seriously. For realz.
Are you a city slicker or a country lover? I love both but thrive more in the city. I like fast-pace most of the time with a little trip to quiet once in awhile.
Last book you purchased? Tell us. Thrive by Arianna Huffington.  I am so interested in the “have it all” mentality we grow up with and for someone to demystify the importance of money and power and preach that wellness is the key to a good life, well, that is an amazing book.  Very thought-provoking.
When did you begin writing? I believe I was in 2nd grade. I used to make little booklets with stories and pictures about families (usually a dad without a wife-she of course died, and there were tons of kids, mainly girls who did all the cooking-Very stereotypical! Maybe I watched too much Disney).  I sold them for 5 cents to my family members.
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?  Being a mom and being awesome at it.  I was so afraid I would damage my kids when they were babies but they are turning out to be amazing.  But of course, who knows what will come out when they hit the teen years!

Lose weight, energize, and glow with over 50 recipes and complete 10 day detox plan. This whole foods cleanse includes detailed menu plan, shopping list, and bonus recipes to make after your cleanse. Renewal “Anytime” also includes pre-detox plan, daily instructions, FAQ’s, and post-detox next steps.
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Wellness
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Lisa Consiglio Ryan on Facebook & Twitter

A Day in the Life Belinda Vasquez Garcia @MagicProse #AmWriting #AmReading #Romance

It’s midnight. I wish there was time to be more social, but I’ve just finished up the 2nd draft of the final book of my Land of Enchantment trilogy. There are two blog tours coming up, and a book festival 2400 miles away, all within a two month period. I have a short piece of fiction to edit, which I plan to publish in the next 3 weeks. And there’s a new novel that needs editing, which I hope to publish in 7 weeks.
After seven hours sleep, I walk the dog so my husband can sleep late. I feed my cat, Shakespeare, and then take 10 minutes for breakfast.
I drive to my Zumba class. I’m shaking my hips, moving my feet, loving the music, feeling relaxed and BAM! My brain decides to start writing one of three other books I’m hoping to do this year. My characters speak, or scream, or narration spills out of my head. They’re sentences, paragraphs, plot, or characters that will vanish forever if not put on paper. So, I leave the exercise line and look for paper in my purse. I walk out to the YMCA lobby, grab an exercise schedule and scribble on the back the gold my mind has just mined. I grab a few extra sheets, just in case. I run back to class.
I get home and throw the piece of new writing on top of a pile of others. I shower, and I’m back at it on the computer.
I stop for a 15 minute lunch during which time I watch Netflix streaming or Reign, which I’ve taped, or I watch The Bates Motel, or Once Upon a Time on Demand.
I clean up my dishes and make any pressing phone calls that can’t wait until evening.
I go back to the computer and write again, or damn myself for surfing the web and wasting time.
I go to dinner with my husband. Quick, I grab a napkin and scribble. We drive home and the new piece of writing on the napkin goes in the pile.
I get on the computer and do any personal stuff, like pay bills.
I start writing again.
I’ve promised myself that I’ll watch a movie at 8:00 or 9:00. I tell myself to only do non-writing book stuff, such as marketing, on Tuesdays, but some things can’t wait until Tuesday, such as that audio book and Best Historical Fiction award that came out four months ago which I’ve been meaning to email people about or post on Facebook. I manage an email to another group of mine and check it off my list.
I draft an email about my Books into Movies Award I received ten months ago for the first book of my trilogy, and about the Best Fantasy Finalist award I got for the second book three months ago. I hit the save button. I’m waiting a couple of weeks until the last book of my trilogy comes out to make all announcements together.
For the umpteenth time, I tell myself that I should faithfully post to my blog every week.
It is 10:00 now. I still haven’t gotten off the computer to watch that movie. I’m lost in my new novel, and that’s really the best place to be.

The last thing Miranda ever expected was to see her brother’s ghost at the fallen Twin Towers.
It’s bad enough survivor Christopher Michaels scares her with claims that if one dies violently, his ghost will haunt the place that holds his name. And to top it all, one of those thousands of ghosts follows Miranda to her hotel. The only certainty is the ghost grabbing her under the covers is not Jake.
Their parents’ deaths separated Miranda from Jake when they were kids. Michaels insists Jake brought them together and it’s no coincidence that of thousands mourning at Ground Zero, it’s his best friend she bumps into. Some best friend. Michaels is more like a moocher. The cheapskate never has money, just a blood-stained wallet he broods over. Miranda has no choice but to hang out with the weird Michaels in order to unravel her brother’s past.
As Miranda spends time with Michaels, she begins to wonder who he really is. Against her better judgment, Miranda becomes emotionally entangled with Michaels, a bitter alcoholic with a secret linked to her brother and that blood-stained wallet.
I Will Always Love You is part mystery, suspense and romance, a novel that will keep the reader turning the pages!
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Suspense, Mystery, Romance
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Belinda Vasquez Garcia on Facebook & Twitter

@WillNorthAuthor Choosing Your Setting Correctly #AmWriting #WriteTip #Women

I can’t tell you how many fans have written me to say, “I don’t have to visit the places where your books are set because you’ve already taken me there.” Or, they’ll write that they can’t wait to visit those same places because they are so vivid in their minds.
Setting is not just the place where the story happens, it’s not a backdrop. Setting is central to the story itself. It is a major “character” in the story. It lives. Sometimes it even determines the course of the narrative, as if it were a higher being watching over the things that transpire within its boundaries.
In the 1920s, D. H. Lawrence wrote, “…spirit of place is a great reality.”  It is indeed. It is real. Think of any place you’ve ever been: did you have a sudden sense of belonging? Or, was your immediate instinctive response, “I don’t belong here?” This is something we feel in our bones.
To me, the stories that remain vivid in my memory are the ones the author has made visible to me in my mind’s eye. Though I have never been there, I know the setting as well as my own town, my own backyard. I can see and smell and hear what it is like. I am there, in that place. Its “placeness” is as real to me as the characters that inhabit it.
Most of my novels are set in Britain, a place that has always felt like home to me, even though I am an American with relatively little English heritage. Explaining why is a long story for another time. My latest novel, “Seasons’ End,” is the exception. It is set on an island in Washington State’s Puget Sound that I now call home. It is the first place in my native country to which I have ever felt I belonged. That, too, is a long story for another time.
When I am researching a novel, I go to the place where the story is set and I spend at least a week watching, listening, absorbing. I take pictures. I wander around and mumble observations into a little hand-held digital recorder, like some spy. I want to grasp the shape of the land, the underlying geology, the local architecture, the flowers blooming at that particular time of year, the brand of ale on offer at the local pub. I am ever watching. And I am sure I look either suspicious or mad. Or both.
I also have the benefit of a photographic memory for place. The rest of my memory is rubbish, but this part works brilliantly. A decade ago I spent three and a half months walking through much of southern England. To this day, I can give you the details of that walk almost blade of grass by blade of grass. I still use the places I visited during that long walk in my novels. They aren’t places, they’re living characters.
Here’s the essential point about setting: If the “place” in your story is not real and alive to you, it won’t be for your readers. The magical thing about setting is that, when you nail it, your reader will live there.
And if you don’t, your readers won’t “live” in your story, either.

Every summer for generations, three families intertwined by history, marriage, and career have spent “the season” at their beach cottage compounds on an island in Puget Sound. Today, Martha “Pete” Petersen, married to Tyler Strong, is the lynchpin of the “summer people.” In childhood, she was the tomboy every girl wanted to emulate and is now the mother everyone admires.
Colin Ryan, family friend and the island’s veterinarian, met Pete first in London, years earlier, when she visited his roommate, Tyler. He’s loved her, privately, ever since. Born in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, son of a bar owner, he’s always been dazzled by what he sees of the sun-kissed lives of the summer people.
But this summer, currents strong as the tides roil: jealousies grow, tempers flare, passions clash. Then, on the last day of the season, a series of betrayals alters the combined histories of these families forever.
As in previous novels, The Long Walk Home and Water, Stone, Heart, with Seasons’ End, Will North weaves vivid settings and memorable characters into a compelling tale of romance and suspense.
Buy Now@ Amazon
Genre – Women’s Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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Connect with Will North on Facebook & Twitter

@_William_Knight Takes on #BreakingBad & Writing - #AmReading #Crime #Thriller

Breaking Bad is more than a TV show about a teacher turned rotten, it’s a metaphor for the dual personality of the struggling writer. Behold, with a tongue firmly in a cheek, here are a dozen – more or less – reasons why writers are secret repeat offenders in the vein of Walt:
  1. It’s criminal. Let’s face it, writing is so self-indulgent anybody taking part should be arrested and thrown in a dark pit for eternity.
  2. You want your customers to be addicts. Your intention is to pound out such a perfect product  that people cannot get enough and keep coming back to buy more. You think one book a year is probably enough, but you’d like to supply more if only you didn’t have to make money.
  3. You have a secret identity. Like Heisenberg, you have a fake online persona so that readers can’t trace the real you. You cultivate this persona to mythical proportions, inventing attitudes and ideas you use in author interviews and at book launches. Sometimes you don’t know the persona from the real you because you are so creative.
  4. You keep secrets. There are things you think and do that you can’t tell your closest friends and family (this is particularly true if you write thrillers or – obviously – erotica.) Your partner is in denial otherwise they would have to leave you.
  5. You are hunted: You secretly think everybody is trying to steal from you. You are obsessed with finding your product for download on Pirate Bay or for sale under another name and cover. What if your work is stolen but international digital marketers?
  6. No matter how successful you are, the money just slips through your fingers. Bad marketing schemes and poor judgement for suppliers are just a few of the pitfalls you have in common with Walt. All this means any money you do make from writer is gobbled up attempts to make even more.
  7. You could murder people who say bad things about you or your product. All reviewers are entitled to their opinion of course, but some are simply wrong and deserve an acid bath.
  8. You have an unfailing belief your product is by far the best on the market.
  9. An idea you once had has made some other person a millionaire while you slave away in a day job. You’d like to get even.
  10. You have a day job that you keep to avoid the suspicion you are really a writer.
  11. You wear a stupid hat.
  12. You don’t try your own product except to check the quality.

A man emerges from the sodden undergrowth, lost, lonely and starving he is mown down by a speeding car on the edge of a remote forest.
Rumours of ghostly apparitions haunt a rural Northumberland community.

A renowned forensic research establishment is troubled by impossible results and unprecedented interference from an influential drug company.
Hendrix ‘Aitch’ Harrison is a tech-phobic journalist who must link these events together.
Normally side-lined to investigate UFOs and big-beast myths, but thrust into world of cynical corporate motivations, Hendrix is aided by a determined and ambitious entomologist. Together they delve into a grisly world of clinical trials and a viral treatment beyond imagining.
In a chase of escalating dangers, Aitch must battle more than his fear of technology to expose the macabre fate of the drugged victims donated to scientific research.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Crime, Thriller, Horror
Rating – R-16
More details about the author
Connect with William Knight on Facebook & Twitter

@GaryTroia on What Scares Him the Most #AmReading #AmWriting #Fiction

What’s the one book you never get tired of and can read over and over again?
The book I’ve read the most is Animal Farm. I love its paradoxical simplicity and cleverness.
Why do you write?
I can only describe it as an inner yearning.
What scares you the most?    
Not being good enough. I used to want to be as good as Swift or Orwell; but then I realised they are geniuses and I am not. Now that I’ve come to terms with this, I am not so scared.
What writing are you most proud of?
The latest, I feel that with each book my writing improves.
What other jobs have you had in your life?
Bricklayer, teacher, Chandelier cleaner, paper boy.
Wow! That’s quite varied.  
Yes, my C.V would look something like this: Amazon bestselling author of four short story collections; former alcoholic; drug dealer; Christian cult member who was deported from the United States, who went onto to complete a degree in Spanish and Philosophy and became a teacher . Has lived the life he writes about in his short story collections and memoirs.
Can you share a little bit about what you are working on now?
Yes, I have just finished my debut novel, “Ray Dennis Does the Secret.”
When Ray Dennis, an alcoholic, English bricklayer, living in Maryland is deported back to the UK on a drug charge, he has no idea that his life and identity are about to change forever. Shattered by his knowledge that he is a failure, Ray dedicates himself to self-improvement and he unwittingly puts himself and his family on a trajectory to disaster once he discovers the book, The Secret.
And I have also completed the first draft of my second novel.
Why did you choose to write “Ray Dennis Does the Secret?”
I wanted to write the kind of book I love to read. I love books that are original and different. I don’t want to write commercially, that would take all of the joy out of my writing. I decided
I should write to entertain myself, and even if publishing rejections rolled in, I could at least enjoy the process and be proud of the result.
What kind of research did you do for the novel?
I did some reading-lots of reading! And I asked Richard Dawkins, to answer a philosophical question. (He has not yet responded)
Your novel’s epigraph is a biblical quote, “Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” (Mark 11:24.)
How do you think that quote applies to your book?
It is the foundation of the book! There have been so many recent non- fiction, new age books written on the subject of positive thinking and visualisation and harnessing cosmic power, but these ideas have been around, as the quote shows, since biblical times. I have taken these ideas and turned them into an action packed novel where the main character does implement positive thinking and puts it to bad use instead of good.
Where is the book set?
London, Los Angeles and Andalucía, these are all places that I have lived before, so it saved on research!
For the first time ever, this collection of short stories by Gary Troia brings together, in chronological order stories and memoirs from Spanish Yarns and Beyond, English Yarns and Beyond and A Bricklayer’s Tales into one complete volume.
“Excellent! A collection of short stories about depression, alcoholism and drug use. Very compelling reading. I read this short story collection all in one go.” (Maria, Goodreads.)
A Bricklayer’s Tales is the ultimate “I hate this job” story, written as a collection of short stories and memoirs, each one revealing a snapshot in the life of Ray. Troia captures the tedium of working in a low paid, menial job and living hand to mouth. This book of short stories is sad and questions the reader to ask questions about their own life. This book achieves clarity without trying.
Ray has three expensive hobbies: drinking, drugs, and running away. Without the income that Bricklaying provides, he would not be able to maintain his chosen lifestyle, so he compromises his principles and continues with his trade.
A collection of short stories and memoirs that include:
The Cuckoo’s Egg. Boyhood antics lead to tragedy.
My Grandfather’s Shed. The making of an English key
No Comb on the Cock. Gypsies, champion fighting cocks, and career choices.
What I Did In My Summer Holidays In 1000 Words. Could having an idea ever be considered a criminal act?
My Best Mate’s Head. Did a weekend of boozing save Ray from certain death?
The Shetland Isles. A trip to sunny Benidorm, a chance meeting with some Glaswegians, and a cold, miserable job in Lerwick.
Pointing a House in Islington. Too much alcohol and cocaine don’t mix well on building sites!
Angel Dust. The peculiar story of a man whose new life in America leads to conversations with Ancient Greek philosophers
Peyote. Hippies, LSD and an idyllic refuge
Return Ticket. Handcuffed and ready for deportation. A sad departure from the States
When I Joined a Cult. Sober dating as Ray discovers religion.
Bilbao. How very, very English!
Teaching Other People. The grass is always greener-the escape from bricklaying.
A Week in the Life of Ray Dennis. With the prospect of no money for food or alcohol this Christmas, Ray has to find work quickly.
Catania. A meeting with a Sicilian fox, some Neapolitans, and a man with a camel haired coat.
Advert In The Art Shop Window. Will a new building job in Spain be the start of a new life?
Gaudi. A flight to Barcelona for a kebab, and a look at the Sagrada Familia.
The Day My Soul Left Me. “To be or not to be? That is the question”
How Not to Travel to The AlhambraHung-over, the wrong fuel, the car breaks down. Will they ever make it to Granada?
The Road To Ronda. A terrifying drive to Ronda, was it worth it?
Poking A Carob Tree. A new home and new neighbours, just in time for Christmas.
Spain Reborn.No more commuting to London. Lets celebrate!
Home From HomeA parallel world where the Spanish have taken over Weymouth.
Three Common Carp.An epic battle with a whale and marlin it is not.
Mrs. McClintock. An absurd farce in which a Glaswegian couple retire to Spain
Steak, Egg and Intensive Care. A harmless dinner leads to hospitalisation.
The Unchangeable Chameleon. Can a leopard change it’s spots?
A Bricklayer’s Tale. The story of a disillusioned, alcoholic bricklayer
A collection short stories and memoirs of British dark humour.
 Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Fiction, Short Stories
Rating - PG-16
More details about the author
Connect with Gary Troia on Facebook & Twitter

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

@JR_Tague on Things She Had Known Before Writing Her First Book #YA #Fiction #AmReading

1) You always re-write the beginning pages.
Before I even had a plot for Leveling Up, I wrote the first two pages. They were basically Max introducing himself and telling the reader what he was about. When I finally had a story to go with those pages, I got a lot of positive feedback on them.
Then I went to a writer’s conference and learned in one of my first workshops that the first pages always get scrapped or re-written. I thought I’d be the exception. I’m a painfully slow, careful writer, which certainly has its drawbacks. But the positive of that is that I usually have a lot less editing to do later.
When I finished my first draft, I hired a developmental editor to help me get my story in shape for querying. And guess where we focused the majority of our efforts? ON THE OPENING. It was hard to admit that I wasn’t special. But it made sense. When you write the first few pages of your novel, you’re just starting to feel out your characters and settings. You’re just finding the story’s narrative voice. That makes those pages very important. And very special. But, as my editor pointed out, they were just for me. Once I had my narrator’s voice, I had it. I could use it to craft an opening that set up the proper expectations for the novel, and the work would be stronger for it.
2) Writing the middle is the hardest part and you’ll feel like giving up.
I was at about 30k words when I ran out of outline for my first novel. I knew from the beginning that Leveling Up was going to be a series, so I’d envisioned the first book as an introduction to my character and the issues he’d be struggling with throughout the series. Thing is, that’s not enough plot for an entire novel—even a shorter YA novel. I only had half a book and felt completely lost and discouraged. It was such a relief later when I learned that it’s a common problem amongst writers. Middles are just hard. But once you get past them, it gets easier again.
3) Trust your characters
I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about my characters and getting a vague, misty idea of what their stories are, before I ever start writing. So by the time I’m into the plot, I expect to have a good idea of who they are and what they’re all about. But often they surprise me. They want to do things I don’t expect from them. They have reactions and emotions I didn’t think they would. It almost feels like a betrayal at first. But I think it’s actually a great sign. It means they’re realistic.
4) Nobody wants to hear about your book while you’re writing it. But everyone wants to hear about how it’s doing once you’ve published it.
Hearing about another person’s work in progress, unless you’re an extremely good friend (which I’m fortunate enough to have), is super painful. Maybe not as bad as listening to someone’s weird-ass dream, but similar. Even once we’ve completed a draft, it’s difficult for most of us to come up with tag lines and an “elevator pitch” (one-sentence summation of the book). When we’re in the middle of a novel, it’s very hard to narrow it down. We’re too embroiled in the intricacies of the plot. Therefore I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to hear me yammer on about it.
It’s just that for me, that’s the exciting part—getting the story down. But once it’s published, it’s a real thing to other people. They are excited for you, and proud, and happy, and so supportive. And that’s when they want to know how it’s doing. Are sales good? Is feedback positive? What are you doing to promote it? Those are all extremely valid questions and they are coming from a good place. Buuuuut, I always want to answer that the book is done. I finished it years ago, in fact. I still love it and care about it and yes, of course I am trying to make sure it does well. But my head’s already in book two.
5) That it’s like having homework. Forever.
Writing isn’t a hobby; it’s a job. It was easier to lie about that when I was writing my first novel. Because any aspirations I had for it were kept secret, even from myself, for a long time. It was just something I was kind of working on, and I’d just see how it went.
But once I got serious about it, once I started thinking about the sequels and signing book deals, and coming up with other, unrelated series to write as well, that’s when I knew it had me. I was committed. There wouldn’t be just this one trilogy, there’d be other stories. There’d be other multi-book sagas to write. And before I knew it, it wasn’t a choice anymore. The stories had found me and I had to write them.
Max McKay gets a second chance at life when, after a bizarre accident on his sixteenth birthday, he is reanimated as a new breed of thinking, feeling zombie. To secure a spot for his eternal soul, Max must use his video game prowess as well as the guidance of Steve the Death God to make friends and grow up. As if all that weren’t hard enough, Max discovers that he’s not the only zombie in town. As he enlists the help of his new friends, Adam and Penny, to solve the mystery of their un-dead classmate, Max discovers that he must level up his life experience in order to survive the trials and terrors of the upcoming zombie apocalypse. And, even worse, high school.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – YA
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with J R Tague on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, June 20, 2014

#Excerpt from To Love A Cat by Billi Tiner #Romance #Fiction #GoodReads

Mitch ran a hand over his tired eyes. He checked the clock on his dashboard, 1:00 a.m. It had been another long day, and he wasn’t any closer to catching the man who’d brutally murdered a couple in their home. All evidence indicated that the couple had come home and surprised someone in the act of robbing them. The would-be robber had shot both victims in the chest and then escaped on foot. Several of the neighbors reported hearing the shots. Two people saw a man of medium height and build running away from the scene, but they could not provide any other details.
It had been three weeks since the murder, and Mitch was beginning to wonder if they were ever going to catch a break. He’d interviewed members of a local gang, but they’d all had solid alibis. He’d questioned the neighbors several times about any unusual activity leading up to the night of the murders, but nothing had surfaced. He was also digging into the lives of the murdered couple, thinking maybe someone only wanted it to look like an attempted robbery. So far, he’d come up empty. Without any physical evidence, it was just a guessing game at this point.
He turned a corner a few blocks from his apartment building and spotted a teenager walking down the sidewalk. He had his shoulders hunched and his hands shoved into his pockets. Mitch rolled down his window and pulled up alongside the kid. The boy glanced over and quickened his pace.
“Easy, kid. I’m a cop. I just want to talk with you.”
“Leave me alone,” the boy mumbled. “I ain’t done nothing.”
“It’s one o’clock in the morning. Do your parents know where you are?” Mitch asked.
The kid didn’t answer. Mitch moved the car a few yards ahead of the boy and stopped. He opened the door and stepped out in front of him.
“Come on, let me drive you home,” he said.
“You’re nuts if you think I’m gettin’ in that car with you,” the boy replied. “I ain’t stupid.”
Mitch pulled out his badge and showed it to the boy who’d stopped a few feet away from him.
“That don’t mean nothing,” the kid replied, his eyes darting around looking for an escape route.
“Look, kid, I’m tired and I just want to go home and collapse. I can’t leave you wandering the streets alone at this time of the night. You’re right to be wary. There are a ton of nut jobs out here, but I’m not one of them. Now, get in the car and let me drive you home.”
The boy stood indecisively for several seconds. Finally, he nodded and walked around to the passenger side of Mitch’s car. He slid in and slammed the door.
Mitch got in and turned to him. “Where to?” he asked.
The boy shrugged. “I don’t know the address, but I can tell you how to get there.”
“You don’t know your address?”
“I just moved in today, okay?” the kid responded defensively.
Mitch sighed, trying to hang on to his patience. “Okay, which way?”
Jerking a thumb over his shoulder, he replied, “You need to turn around.”
Mitch turned the car and headed back the way he had come. Of all the nights I had to run into a kid roaming the streets, it had to be tonight, he thought irritably.
He was surprised when the kid directed him to an upscale neighborhood. Based on his unkempt appearance, he’d assumed he was poor.
“So, what were you doing wandering the streets in the middle of the night, anyway? Were you running away?”
The boy shrugged and continued to stare out the window.
“What’s your name, kid?” Mitch asked.
“Ethan, what?” Mitch prodded.
“Summers. This is the house,” Ethan replied, pointing to a gray, two-story house with maroon shutters sitting at the end of a cul-de-sac. The lawn was perfectly manicured. The house definitely didn’t match the boy.
Mitch turned into the drive and killed the motor.
Ethan threw him a worried look. “You don’t need to come with me.”
Mitch grinned at him. “Sorry, kid. I need to make sure your parents know you were out wandering the streets in the middle of the night.”
Ethan glared angrily at Mitch. Then he threw open his door, got out, and slammed it shut.
Mitch walked with him to the front door and rang the bell. A minute later, he heard a loud crash, followed by a mumbled curse.
“Coming!” a female voice called out.
Moments later, a tall, slender, redhead answered the door. Mitch could see a broken lamp laying on the floor behind her. Her green eyes narrowed on the boy. “Ethan, what’s going on?”
He stared at the tops of his shoes, refusing to look up. The woman swung her gaze to Mitch.
When their eyes met, his mind went completely blank. He’d been about to say something, but for the life of him, he couldn’t remember what it had been. Wow, her eyes are gorgeous, he thought as he stared into them.
“Who are you and why is Ethan with you?” Her voice held a sharp edge to it.
Mitch glanced blankly down at the boy. Struggling to find an answer, he thought, I must be more tired than I thought. Why am I here? Oh, yeah, now I remember.
“My name’s Mitch Holt, ma’am. I’m a detective with the Spring Valley police department. I found Ethan walking down Third Street. I gave him a ride home. Did you know he was out?”
The woman’s eyes widened in surprise. Mitch didn’t look like the typical police detective. His blond hair curled down over his collar. Wearing a bright yellow polo shirt and khakis, he looked more like a surfer than a cop. She shook her head. “No,” she replied.
“Can I go to my room, now?” Ethan asked.
“Yes,” the woman replied, stepping back to let him pass. She watched him walk up the stairs, a worried expression on her face.
“Does he sneak out often?” Mitch asked.
“I don’t know,” she replied. “He just moved in with me today.” She turned her gaze back to Mitch. “I’m his foster mom,” she added in explanation.
“Looks like you have your work cut out for you,” Mitch commented.
She sighed tiredly, her shoulders slumping. “Yes, it does, doesn’t it? To be honest, I feel like I might have gotten in a little over my head.”
“Just be firm. You’ve got to establish the rules early. Don’t let this go without some kind of consequence. Otherwise, he’ll think he can get away with anything,” Mitch offered helpfully.
“That’s what they told us in foster parent training class. I think making him follow rules might be easier said than done,” she replied. She straightened her shoulders and said, “Well, I won’t keep you any longer. Thank you for bringing him home.”
“No problem.” Mitch pulled a card out of his wallet. “Feel free to call me, if you have any other problems with him. As far as I could tell, he was just out for a walk. I don’t think he had any other intentions. I didn’t smell alcohol or marijuana on him.”
She nodded and took the card. “That’s good, I guess.”
Mitch turned to go. Remembering he’d never asked her name, he turned back. She had the door halfway closed.
“Excuse me, ma’am, but I didn’t get your name.”
“Catherine James,” she replied.
“Good luck, Catherine.”
“Thank you.”
Mitch arrived home around 2:00 a.m. He didn’t bother to turn on a light as he stumbled toward his bedroom. He was just about to the bed, when his foot caught on something. Losing his balance, he crashed face-first into the floor.
“Damned cat!” Mitch bellowed, pushing himself onto his elbows.
The big orange tabby walked over and rubbed its head against Mitch’s shoulder. “Next time, get out of the way, will ya?”
Grasping the bed for support, he pulled himself to his feet. Roscoe was sleeping in the middle of the bed. He raised his head and thumped his tail at Mitch. Rebecca had been right. Roscoe and the cat already acted like buddies, and it had only been a couple of days. He sighed as he slipped off his shoes. Not bothering to undress, he fell onto the bed and was asleep within seconds.

From the author of “Dogs Aren’t Men” comes “To Love a Cat”, a contemporary romance novel.
Catherine “Cat” James’ life is simple and orderly, and she likes it that way. She loves her job as an accountant. Working with numbers is safe and routine, no surprises. Her childhood had been very abusive and unstable. She vowed not to live that way as an adult. She also made a promise to herself to become a foster parent. She wished someone had been there for her as a teenager, to let her know she wasn’t alone.
Cat agrees to foster Ethan Summers, a troubled teenage boy whose childhood closely resembles her own. Suddenly, her nice and orderly life is filled with chaos and uncertainty. Things really start to spin out of control when circumstances bring police detective Mitch Holt into the picture. He’s handsome, charming, and definitely not what Cat needs right now, or so she thinks.
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Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG
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Karin Rita Gastreich's HIGH MAGA @EolynChronicles #AmReading #Fantasy #Fiction

There was a knock at the door, followed by Sir Drostan’s muffled baritone. Akmael bade the knight to enter, and kept his gaze steady upon Eolyn as Drostan crossed the room and laid a long package wrapped in well-oiled leather on the table. The knight paused and cleared his throat, looking from High Maga to Mage King as if to say something, but then he merely bowed and took his leave.
Akmael removed the leather wrapping, unsheathed the sword therein and set it before Eolyn. The hilt was inlaid with ivory, the blade shone silver-white. Her throat went dry when she recognized it.
“This? Where did you get this?” she asked.
“I have had it since the Battle of Aerunden.”
Eolyn sat down, so great was her shock. “Kel’Barú. My brother’s sword. All this time you have had it?”
“I wanted to keep it,” he confessed. “It is a fine weapon, and you seemed to have little use for tools of war. But the Galian wizards gave this sword a will of its own, and it has done nothing these past years but weep for you.”
She stood and lifted the sword, one hand sustaining the ivory hilt, the flat of the blade resting on her long fingers.
Eolyn, it sang in the quiet hum of metals. Eolyn, Eolyn, Eolyn.
“I want you to learn how to use it,” Akmael said.
At once she set it down. “No.”
“I will not argue this with you.”
“Stop it!” Every fiber of her body ignited with anger. “Stop it, Akmael. Why are you doing this?”
A moment passed before she realized her transgression. She lowered her eyes. “Forgive me, my Lord King. I didn’t intend-”
“Do not apologize. It pleases me, to hear you say my name. I would have you say it more often.”
There was such unexpected kindness to his tone that the rage slipped through her fingers. She managed a hesitant smile. “Thank you. I mean no insult by questioning your gift, but you know my feelings on this matter. We have no use for knights and walls and swords. This is an Aekelahr, not a military outpost.”
“This is a fragile community of magas cultivating seeds of great power. You are not to go unprotected.”
“Moehn is a peaceful province. That is why I chose it. We are well received here. No one wishes us harm.”
“It is not Moehn I worry about.”
“Who, then? There won’t be any armies emerging from the South Woods, and no one can get through the Pass of Aerunden without crossing the kingdom and defeating you first.”
Akmael let go a slow breath. The turmoil that stirred behind his dark eyes disturbed her; as if there were something of importance he could not bring himself to reveal. He picked up Kel’Baru and proffered it to her.
Eolyn shook her head, hands clenched stubbornly at her sides. “We tried this, a long time ago. You know I have no gift for weaponry.”
“You are not the frightened girl you were then. You have strength, balance and speed. And you have a sword that loves you. Borten can teach you how to use it.”
“I’ve seen how your men fight. I could never hope to—”
“No, you could not!” He struck his fist against the table and gestured angrily toward the courtyard where his guards waited. “One of those men – trained from the time they were children—one of them could kill you in a heartbeat. But with this blade in your hand, it might take them two heartbeats. Or three. Or fifteen. And that might be enough for someone to come to your aid before it is too late.”
“I am not without defenses. I have my magic and my staff. I can invoke almost every manner of flame known to our people. I have even cast the curse of Ahmad-kupt, though I hope never to use it again.”
“Your magic will not be enough.”
“For what?”
He glanced away, set his jaw. “I want you to have every tool at your disposal, for whatever may come.”

Lands Ravaged. Dreams destroyed. Demons set loose upon the earth.
War strikes at the heart of women’s magic in Moisehén. Eolyn’s fledgling community of magas is destroyed; its members killed, captured or scattered.
Devastated yet undaunted, Eolyn seeks to escape the occupied province and deliver to King Akmael a weapon that might secure their victory. But even a High Maga cannot survive this enemy alone. Aided by the enigmatic Mage Corey, Eolyn battles the darkest forces of the Underworld, only to discover she is a mere path to the magic that most ignites their hunger.
What can stop this tide of terror and vengeance? The answer lies in Eolyn’s forgotten love, and in its power to engender seeds of renewed hope.
HIGH MAGA is the companion novel to EOLYN, also available from Hadley Rille Books.
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Genre – Epic Fantasy
Rating – PG-13
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