Friday, May 30, 2014

Troy McCombs on the Different Kinds of #Horror @sonne3 #AmReading #GoodReads #Fiction

There are many different kinds of horror; they all come in different flavors. There’s “subjective horror” in which the horror doesn’t show itself until the very end, if at all. This is often light on gore, and usually uses the “what could be” element to scare the reader or movie watcher. I have to admit; this brand scares me the most. In Cinema, the film that has always scared me time after time was the original Amityville Horror. You never see anything, but you feel it’s there, and you don’t really want to know how diabolical it is, because it would ruin the mystery factor. In literature, Lovecraft is the king in this area. The way he weaves his stories is second to none. He paints the perfect monsters by giving just the right details and leaving what most writers put in, out. Lovecraft “suggests” horror instead of shoving it in your face. A lot of people don’t like this, but I’m one who does. What’s scary is not the monster or the looks of it; it’s what it’s capable of. It’s in the not knowing what you wants to do with you.

Movie Examples:
The Ring
The Blair Witch Project
Paranormal Activity

Book examples:
Almost anything Lovecraft
Edgar Allen Poe
The Exorcist (the book may be more frightening than the film!)
The Conqueror Worms by Brian Keene
Stephen King’s “The Mist” (this one’s not entirely subjective, but it’s kind of close)
A short story which was written by ?, entitled, “The Phantom Drug”
Phantoms by Dean Koontz (this also falls into the category below/it’s both)

Then there’s your action, “in your face” horror. Evil entities are revealed and become antagonists instead of mysterious, hidden-in-the-corner “things” that shouldn’t be. These scare me the least, but not always. In cinema, this brand is everywhere and has been done a thousand times before.

Movie examples:
Nightmare on Elm Street (this, in my opinion, falls in both categories—at least the original)
Friday the 13/sequels
Halloween and its sequels
Texas Chainsaw and it’s sequels…

Book Examples:
Lots of Stephen King stories (NOT all)
Almost anything “zombie”
Vampires, werewolves, psychopathic novels
—I really haven’t read a lot of action horror, even though I do write quite a bit of it. Reason? It’s easier to write, it’s easier to sell, and I think more people enjoy it.

This brand relies on excess blood, death, and mayhem to try and scare the watcher/reader. It’s a fast-paced style, and the antagonists are usually as black as night and the protagonists are as white as clouds. Not always. Never always. Different subcategories blend together a lot. Sometimes this works well; other times it fails miserably. And it depends a lot on the reader/readers. A thousand people may think one book is a piece of garbage, but one person may cherish it. Vice-versa. I’ll never read Twilight, because I don’t think a hunky teenager vampire is interesting.
There are several other subcategories of horror, ranging from comedy to post apocalyptic. Everyone has different taste buds, so choose what you will. There are more writers today than ever before. That means there really IS something for everyone.
I hope that you’ll check out my novel, Imaginary Friend. It falls into the second category, but it has a few elements of the first, and is largely based on suggestion (it was my intention). Below is a short blurb.
A little boy. A big imagination. A very rough life…
What if he could just believe… believe enough to make his pretend friend real? Then his father would stop abusing him. Teachers at school might hear him. Kids might be his friend.
Or, perhaps, his pretend friend might simply go on a killing spree and stop anyone from getting close.
Tulpas might just be real…. or, at least, for those willing to have enough faith.

The apostles said to Jesus, “Make our faith greater.” Jesus answered, “If you had faith as big as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Pull yourself up by the roots and plant yourself in the sea!’ and it would obey you.”
Tulpa: a materialized thought that has taken physical form.
Eight-year-old Nathan Stevenson is beat by his father, teased by his peers, and has zero friends—except Max, his imaginary friend. Max is a heroic creature he created years ago when the physical abuse became too much to bear. Strangely, every time Nathan imagines him, he becomes more lifelike, more substantial… but nobody could guess what soon happens when Nathan refuses to be a victim anymore.
The barriers of reality break down, and Max becomes real. Only Nathan can see him, but anyone can feel his violent wrath. The monster slays anyone who gets in his creator’s path, and eats the hearts of his casualties in order to obtain strength. There’s only one question: can Nathan learn to control his Tulpa? Or will it break free from his mental restraints to do whatever it desires? Either way, there will be a lot of dead bodies to clean up!
Author’s Note:
This paranormal/splatterpunk horror novel, Imaginary Friend, has been updated with a new cover and has been reedited for a more soothing read. It also contains elements of science fiction and fantasy, but the information about “Tulpas” are based on fact. For adults only!
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Horror
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with Troy McCombs on Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, May 29, 2014

UNFINISHED BUSINESS by @Ted_Tayler #Thriller #Excerpt #BookClub

Colin Owens was going back.
His cloak of invisibility was still giving him good service despite the years he’d been living in West Africa, spending his days lounging in the sun and plotting. He had made the occasional flight to Europe, as had his wife Sue. Colin’s trips had been for cosmetic surgery; minor alterations to his nose and jaw line. Sadly, Sue’s journeys back to Europe had been far more serious and ultimately futile.
It had started out as yet another sun soaked lazy morning at their luxury villa at Cape Point. They had breakfasted late and while Colin used one of his recently acquired skills to drive their beach buggy into the local town of Bakau for a few odds and ends, Sue had taken a leisurely shower and as she had on thousands of mornings previously, checked her body for things she hoped she would never find. Colin found her sat on the end of their bed when he returned.
‘I’ve found a lump dear!’ she said, then crumpled. Colin consoled her and tried to convince her to remain positive.
‘We can afford the best treatment darling’ he had told her ‘let’s get moving quickly and hit this thing hard, head on. You’ll be fine. Don’t worry.’
The tears were soon gone, followed by anger and a steely will to fight whatever was going to be thrown at her. Sue Owens returned to the UK and sought out the best medical help. She made those long flights back and forth for almost two years, but she was to discover that she was in that small percentage of women who despite all medical efforts, are destined to suffer the hell of secondary cancer which spreads beyond the breast and the lymph nodes into the bones, liver and lungs.
Sue’s last flight home, ironically on her sixty third birthday some ten months before, had been when she resolved not to fight anymore, but to see out her final days with her second husband; the man she had married despite the knowledge that she had gained from her trip down into the tunnels of the Shaw Park mines almost a decade before. The man she loved unreservedly, despite knowing he was a stone cold killer.
Colin had listened to her decision as they drove back to Cape Point from the airport. He spent days trying to get her to change her mind to no avail. Sue would find him sat on the veranda with his laptop staring into space, the screen showing yet another possible treatment option that he was researching, no matter how expensive or bizarre. Every now and then a tear would appear on his cheek. Colin didn’t readily show emotion and Sue loved him even more in those final weeks than she had before, but as each week passed, all treatments having been withdrawn, her body slowly began to lose the battle that it was now fighting alone.
The end was painful for them both and as Colin had cradled Sue’s head against his shoulder on that last terrible afternoon, he had known that as her life was slipping inexorably away, the softer loving side of him that Sue had uncovered and nurtured was slipping away too. When the end had finally come and Sue’s ragged breathing had fluttered to a standstill, Colin hadn’t shed a tear. His heart was now a solid block of ice.
Colin was alone in the world.
The next few weeks were spent arranging a simple funeral for one of the only two people he had ever truly loved; the other of course being his beloved daughter Sharron, who had been so cruelly dispatched by Neil Cartwright, a man Colin had thought of as a friend, someone he believed he could trust. In his naivety, Colin had handed his little girl over to a practised and cunning sexual predator.
Sue Owens was buried near Cape Point overlooking the beautiful home they had shared since they had made their hurried escape from the UK. The villa was sold and the proceeds, together with the sizeable amount remaining in their joint bank account, were safely tucked away in accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.
On the long overnight flight from Banjul to Schipol airport in the Netherlands, Colin had time to think; time to remind himself why he was making this journey.
The unfinished business back in the UK could now be dealt with once and for all. His constant checking on what was happening back ‘at home’, while he and Sue were enjoying the high life in The Gambia, had given him lots of new projects to attend to. The first priority however was Neil Cartwright. Colin allowed himself a brief smile of satisfaction as he closed the file on his laptop with all the data he had gathered on his first target.

The sequel to the award winning ‘The Final Straw’ sees Colin Bailey return to the UK after almost a decade abroad. With a new name and a new face he still has scores to settle. His meticulous planning takes him ingeniously across Scotland and the North of England ticking names off his list with the police completely baffled. 

DCI Phil Hounsell pitted his wits against Colin before and so he is sent to Durham where he teams up with super intelligent young DS Zara Wheeler; together they track their man to Manchester and then eventually south to Bath. 

The final scenes take place on the streets of the Roman city; Phil Hounsell’s family is threatened and in a dramatic conclusion reminiscent of Holmes and Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls, the two men struggle above the foaming waters of the historic Pulteney weir. 
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-18
More details about the author
Connect with Ted Tayler on Facebook & Twitter

@KentBurden's #WriteTip for Deciding What You’re Going to Write #Wellness #AmWriting

I often get the question “how do you decide what you’re going to write about?” it’s a pretty valid question, unlike someone who writes fiction I don’t have to come up with a story or a plot I just have to come up with a subject, but what subject? As a health and wellness expert my choices are endless, exercise, stress reduction, weight loss, nutrition and all the sub categories that go along with healthy living. But how do you decide what to spend your valuable time and energy writing when we all know that some books will sell and some won’t. How to chose a topic that people will want to buy and will be something I want to delve deeply into. I’ve written 7 books (and counting) and I’ve chosen subjects based on key word searches, surveys, market research and a coin flip. But sometimes a topic just chooses you.
 A few years ago while working at a high end California spa,  I was sitting at my desk in my office reading a popular men’s magazine (I was on my break– I swear) when I came across an article that said new research proved that sitting for extended periods of time increased your risk of getting diseases like diabetes, heart disease obesity and certain forms of cancer and that doing 30-60 minutes of exercise a day wasn’t enough to counteract the damage that sitting did. The article even claimed that as far as negative health effects were concerned, sitting was just as bad as smoking! To top it off it stated that people who sat more during the day were heavier than people who moved around and spent more time standing during the day regardless of how much they exercised.
I remember sitting there feeling like I had just been kicked in the crotch by Chuck Liddell. This is not what they had taught me in my six years of college. It’s not in the literature they give you for your personal trainer certification and no one was talking about this at fitness conferences. This had to be complete and utter bull s#!t. So I did some research myself and what I found shocked me, and the deeper I dug the more I began to think this new discovery might just have merit. 
The first thing I did was go back through my records. As a trainer you always have clients that trouble you. They work hard in their sessions, say their doing all the things you tell them to do on their own, insist they are sticking to their diet program, but never can get to the goal weight loss they set or they can’t seem to get their blood work numbers were they need to be. I always chalked it up to the “they think they are but there not syndrome”. Many people fool themselves into thinking they are doing things that they aren’t actually doing, you’ve seen it. The person who says they eat healthy but over the course of the day eats 20 mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups from the office candy dish and then scarf down half a quart of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey Ice Cream while watching Game Of Thrones just before bed. But maybe I was wrong, maybe they had been doing everything I had been telling them to do but what I was telling them to do just wasn’t enough. Low and behold when I checked all of my trouble clients had jobs like accountant, lawyer, software designer and author all jobs that had them sitting all day long.
I called a couple of the researchers that had been quoted in the article and came away with the distinct feeling that this was big. I mean the-sky-is-falling big. This was when I decided I HAD to write the book. I pulled together all the research I could find, I talked to all the major players in the field. I collected opinions on how best to counteract the deadly effects of prolonged sitting,  then created movements that could be done anywhere (even in the office) so people could discover new ways to be healthy. For me the hardest part was figuring out how to make all these facts and medical research interesting enough to actually read. The bottom line is I was on fire!  I needed to spread the word and get these simple, effective tools into people’s hands. That’s how my book, “Is Your Chair Killing You? A Healthier You in 8 Minutes a Day” was born. No market research, no key word searches and no coin flips. It also happens to be my bestselling book so far. Things that make you go hmmmmm.

Sitting for extended periods of time is as bad for your health as smoking cigarettes. And exercising for 30-60 minutes a day isn’t enough to undo the damage from extended periods of sitting. Is Your Chair Killing You reveals shocking new research showing that sitting for long periods greatly increases your risk of developing obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer. Our bodies were designed to move constantly over the course of the day, but most of us sit for hours a day at work and at home! Fitness and wellness expert and award-winning author Kent Burden has created brief, simple movements you can incorporate into your daily life to combat the damaging effects of sitting. These simple movements, done standing for 1-5 minutes each hour will burn calories, energize and refresh you, and you won’t even break a sweat; you’ll even improve your back pain. This book is a how-to for weight loss and disease prevention. Read this book–you’ll be healthier in as little as 8 minutes a day.
Nominated for the Dan Poynter Global Ebook Awards and won honorable mention at the Los Angeles Book Festival
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Non-Fiction
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Kent Burden on Facebook & Twitter

Carin Kilby Clark's Tips on Being a Good Guest #Blogger (#NonFiction #AmWriting)

One of my most favorite aspects about blogging is being able to feature other great writing on my blog. I’ve also had the pleasure of contributing to other fabulous sites within my parenting & family niche – and every time I send an article I try to maintain a certain standard; and make it easy on the blog owner.
While I do love to feature other writers, I’ve noticed that not every blogger/writer knows how to be a good guest blogger. There are a few steps you can take which will make the process much smoother for you, and for your article’s host.
Here are some tips on how to be a good guest blogger.
Be a good guest blogger by making sure your article is optimized. Pick a key word or phrase to focus on and make sure you optimize the article for that key word or phrase. This will benefit both you and the blog owner in that the more organic traffic your piece receives, the more likely the blog owner will invite you back and the more traffic that will end up circling back to you through the link in your bio.
Be a good guest blogger by optimizing images for pinterest and the web. I should probably start with the fact that you should always include at least one image with your post. If it’s not a graphical representation, you can always use a program like PicMonkey to make an image out of a quote or excerpt from the article. This will help with making the post pinnable, and by optimizing the image for search you will continue to drive organic traffic.
Be a good guest blogger by writing a stellar piece of content. You should always send a blog host your absolute best. As a matter of fact, when I guest blog I try to make that post even better than ones that are on my own site. The reason is that you want to attract new readers who will follow the link in your bio back to your site. This is only effective if your post is truly outstanding; and leaves the reader wanting to see more of your writing.
Be a good guest blogger by promoting your guest post. This is a very important part of being a good guest blogger. You must promote your work on the host site – don’t leave it all up to the blog host. It’s a shared responsibility to promote the content that you’ve written, and they’ve published.
Be a good guest blogger by hanging out and responding to comments. Engagement on your post is key. If you have readers who make comments – whether they ask a question, or add something to the discussion – it’s important that you are around to interact with them. Again, don’t leave it all up to the blog host as you, as the writer, are better postured to engage with readers on your post.
Carin Kilby Clark is the author of the ebook, Time Management Made Easy for Busy Moms: 5 Simple Tips on How to Control Your Time and Get Things Done (April 2014, Clue Consulting, LLC). If you want to learn how to finally put time on your side, then this book has the goods that you need – and for less than the cost of a cup of coffee. Buy your copy today!

Do any of these excuses sound familiar?

I’m just too busy
I have too much on my plate
There’s never enough time
I have to do it all
I don’t know how to manage it all

If you answered yes, then prepare to put an end to the overwhelm once and for all. In Time Management Made Easy for Busy Moms, Carin Kilby Clark shares five simple tips that moms can implement right away to improve how they control their time and get things done.

Time Management Made Easy for Busy Moms offers insight into the one major block that prevents us from maximizing our time, gives readers practical information that is easily applied to everyday life, and helps you along the path to your “aha” moments about how and why you’ve been ineffective in managing your time; and how to to finally put time in its rightful place {on your side, of course!}.

As the mother of three very active children who also works full-time, runs a business in her “spare” time, publishes a lifestyle & parenting site, manages a growing motherhood community, and regularly contributes parenting advice to many popular sites in the parenting/family life niche, Carin’s advice is solid; based on methods that she has successfully implemented in controlling her time and getting things done.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Parenting, Relationships
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Carin Kilby Clark on Facebook & Twitter

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

#Excerpt from NIGHT'S FAVOUR by Richard Parry @TactualRain #Fantasy #Thriller #Action

“I’m still sweating.”  Val pulled his wet shirt away from his skin.  Much as he had to admit that transparent shirts on a fat guy looked bad, he’d carried his jacket rather than putting it on.  A light breeze was nudging against the fabric.  “I thought a cold shower after the gym would help.  This isn’t selling it for me.”
“That’s a mark of pride, buddy.  Just don’t get too close to me.”  John grimaced.  “Did you use deodorant?”
“Wait.  I can’t remember.”  Val sniffed under his arms.  “Yeah.  Smells like Axe.  I’ll probably sweat it off, but my intentions were pure.”
“No doubt.  You did good today.  Really good.”  John seemed distracted — he wasn’t checking out the women on the street, and he wasn’t really paying attention to where he was walking.  His phone had rung a couple of times, and he’d just ignored it.  John, the man whose digits were in more single women’s phones than anyone else alive, was ignoring his phone.
It was uncanny.
“You don’t sound like I did good.  You sound like we’re discussing my funeral.”  When he’d been a kid, Val had come off his bike.  He’d fallen a long way down a bank, rolling a couple times before the bike had caught up with him.  The tumbled images of earth and sky along with the taste of green grass and dirt in his mouth stayed with him.  He remembered the clank of the bike following him down, banging its way through the brush.  He’d wrenched his shoulder pretty badly.  Nothing serious, the doctor had said.  Rest it, it’ll be fine.  They say you don’t remember pain, but he swore this felt the same.  Wincing, he rubbed his shoulder.  “Damn.”
“Well, shit.  Ok.  Give me a minute.  I think I need to break this down for you.”  John continued on a few more paces, then stopped.  A couple of women almost walked into him, veering at the last minute.  One gave him a look over her shoulder as she passed.  He didn’t even notice.  “Look.  So you benched a lot today.”
“Dude, you just got a hair flick.”
“What?”  John looked around, but she was long gone.  “Was she hot?”
“I dunno.  I guess.  It felt like a lot.  Man, I’ve never hurt this bad.”  A memory came, stark against the mundane street around him.  She’d been bleeding so bad.  He could remember that damn headlight shining in his face through her shattered passenger window.  “Except maybe after the accident.”
John didn’t seem to notice the reference, focused on something different.  “Do you know how much is, ‘A lot?’”
“I dunno.  You said it was more than you could bench, but I figured that for a sort of motivational speech.  So I guess maybe less than you, sure, but a lot, right?”
John just stared at him.
“What?  Man, say something.”  Val looked around the street.  “What!”
“Ok, stupid, we’ll play it your way.  Today, you benched around six hundred and fifty pounds.  Maybe a bit more, a bit less.”  John slapped the mixed roll of cash his back pocket.  “It’s what’s buying the beers tonight.  That six fifty press.”
“I guess that sounds like a lot.  But it’s all Smurfberries to me.”  Something else was hurting in his back.  Val arched, trying to work the kink out.  This is why exercise isn’t more popular — it hurts too damn much.  You could read it in the papers: man killed riding a bike.  You never read about a man killed sitting on a couch.
“Smurfberries?  Are you on coke?”  John looked him in the eye.  “You can tell me.”
Val snorted.  “I’ve only got a thirst for Jack.  There’s this iPhone app, Smurf Village.”
“I don’t see where you’re going with this.”
“Give me a sec.  I’m trying to play your six fifty pounds game.  Trying to get it in my head, ok?  So in this app —”
“Smurf Village.”
“You got it.  In Smurf Village, you can build houses, go fishing, whatever.  I don’t know, bang Smurfette, whatever you want.”  Val frowned.  “Ok maybe not that, it’s for kids.  But the game’s free, except it’s not.”
“Smurfette’s a hooker, right?”
“You’re on the right track John, but it’s a kid’s game for fuck’s sake.  You need to work that out somehow, it’s creepy.  You can play the game, but you can sort of… I don’t know, incentivise your Smurfs.  Buy them Smurfberries.  And Smurfberries come right off your Mastercard.”
“So what’s a Smurfberry get me?”
Val clapped his hands together.  “Exactly.  We know how much a Smurfberry costs, because those thieving bastards charge your Mastercard for them.  But before you go in, before little Johnny —”
John winced.  “Jemima, please.”
“Sure.”  Val nodded.  “Before little Jemima gets hooked on the game crack that Smurf Village is, you’ve no clue as a consenting parent what a Smurfberry costs.  So when Jemima comes in and bothers you in front of the big game, asking for twenty bucks for some more Smurfberries, what do you do?”
“I dunno.”  John rubbed his chin.  “The big game.  Is it half time?  Does she leave me alone for another half hour?  I might pay twenty bucks for that.”
“Sure you might.  But that’s the thing.  You just don’t know.  It’s like any other arbitrary measurement, like —”  Val waved his hands in the air.  “Like, I guess, a megawatt hour, or a megabyte maybe.”
“I know what a megabyte is.  I work in a gym, but I’m not prehistoric.”
“Ok wise guy.  What’s a megabyte?”
“It’s, well…”  John trailed off, then tried to man up to the challenge.  “It’s a bunch of emails.”
“How many?”
“A lot?”
“Is six hundred and fifty pounds a lot?”
“You fucker.”
Val nodded.  “You see, I know what a megabyte is, and I might even be able to work out what a Smurfberry is worth.  I know cheese comes in pounds.  I can maybe imagine a six fifty pile of cheese, but I don’t know.  Is that a lot?”
“Seriously, you’re an asshole.”  John turned away and started checking out the talent, looking for the next hair flick.
Val dragged him back with a pat on the shoulder.  “Can an ordinary dude lift six fifty pounds worth of cheese?  I mean, it’s not something I’ve tried.”
“Fair enough.  Ok.  You got me.”  John walked on a few more paces.  “Here we go.  You know a guy called Scot Mendelson?”
“Does he work with you?”
“I wish.  Scot holds the current world record for the raw bench.”
“Raw?”  It’d been a while since meals.  “Like, uncooked?”
“Raw, like unassisted.”
Val gave John a blank look.  “How can you assist a guy on the bench?  Are there two guys pushing up?  One pulling from above?”
“It’s not important.  Well, it’s a little bit important, because you strap on a special shirt, and you can lift more.  But the raw bench is where it’s at, ok?”  John watched a woman walk past, head tracking as she sashayed past him.  “Ah.  So Scot, he’s the world record holder.”
“I know you’re dying to tell me.  What’s his record?  A thousand?”
“Not even close.  You need to think much, much lower.”
“Eight hundred?  We can play this game all day.  You should just tell me, since I made you famous on YouTube today.”
“We should probably get you a beer first.  Make sure you’re sitting down.”  John patted the wad of cash in his pocket again.  “You’re going to need to be lubricated for this one.”
“Now you’re scaring me.  What’s his fucking record?”
“Seven hundred.”  John paused, every so slightly — damn drama queen.  “And one.  Seven oh one pounds.  Dude’s been powerlifting his whole life, he’s a real significant piece of machinery, and he benches just fifty pounds more than you.”
Val stopped so suddenly the guy behind him on the sidewalk walked right into the back of him.  He turned and stared at John.  “You’re just trying to make me feel better for hurling at the gym.”
“I’m really not.  I had to clean that up.”  John rubbed the designer stubble on his jaw.  “Look, you did an amazing thing today.  Really, truly amazing.  So amazing, you shouldn’t have been able to do it.  I’m sort of impressed, but I’m wondering when the guy from Candid Camera is going to come out and have me on.  What you did, well, it’s a bit like the Coyote finally catching the Road Runner.  It breaks all the rules.”
Val laughed, a slightly weak and hysterical sound.  “You know me.  I just keep breaking rules.”  He swayed a little, then leaned against a parking meter.
John slapped him on the arm.  “It’s ok man.  You did good.  I just — I just can’t really believe it.  Even now.  I think I need that beer more than you do.”
“There’s one thing I don’t get.”
“Just one thing?  What is it?”
“Your friend, the guy who was there?”
“Sure, I guess.  Why’d he back me to six fifty?”
“Emilio’s crazy.”
“He bet a hundred bucks — our drinking money — that I’d bench six fifty.  Just fifty shy of Scot Wosshisname’s record.”  Val stared into the sky for a second, then back to John.  “If I was a judge of character, I reckon Emilio’s rigged this.”
“Maybe.  He’s coming down to drink with us tonight, so you can ask him then.  Since we’re sharing though, there’s one thing that I don’t get.”
Val stood up, pushing his bulk away from the parking meter.  “What?  I’m really thirsty.  It’s kind of inhumane keeping me out here like this.”
“How do you know what a Smurfberry is?”
Val chewed the inside of his cheek for a moment.  “That can’t be what you want to know.”
“No, I really want to know.  You’ve got no kids —”  And there was that damn memory again, burning as bright as the headlight through the shattered passenger window.  Rebekah was looking right at him, grasping his arm.  She was begging him to not leave her, What about the baby, she’d said.  “— But you know what a Smurfberry is.”
Val shook off the memory.  Just a dead relic.  “Let’s get that beer.”

Valentine’s an ordinary guy with ordinary problems. His boss is an asshole. He’s an alcoholic. And he’s getting that middle age spread just a bit too early. One night — the one night he can’t remember — changes everything. What happened at the popular downtown bar, The Elephant Blues? Why is Biomne, the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, so interested in him — and the virus he carries? How is he getting stronger, faster, and more fit? And what’s the connection between Valentine and the criminally insane Russian, Volk?
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Action, Thriller, Urban Fantasy
Rating – R16
More details about the author
 Connect with Richard Parry on Facebook & Twitter

NOTHING IN PARTICULAR #Excerpt by Kate LeDonne @originlbookgirl #AmReading #Fiction

My grandparents actually call me Cinderella, but they never say anything to their son about how he treats me or my mother.
I love my grandparents. They are the only people I am related to that ever act like they are glad I was born. They love me in their own way. They choose to live in a reality where their son isn’t really an evil bastard. Too bad it isn’t true reality. Dale Graves is my grandfather.
He’s about six feet tall, with steel gray hair and periwinkle blue eyes. His hands are big and rough, but gentle. They are the hands of a working man. He is a retired plumber. He was one of eight kids and the only one to go to college. He couldn’t get the kind of job he wanted because of the Depression, so he got what employment there was and then he stayed because he made a good living. He reads all the time and does crosswords. I have only heard him raise his voice once. He speaks with a low, deep voice that is so soft you have to strain to hear him. He has always been gentle, patient and loving to me. He is my favorite male human. Lucille Graves is his wife and my grandmother. She is four feet eight inches of spunk and wit. She has mouse brown hair that she gets done once a week, usually Friday, at her beauty parlor. She has a kind face and sparkling hazel eyes that seem to look right through to your soul. My Grandma makes the best desserts you’ve ever tasted and she sews all of her own clothes. She is a homemaker, but once worked as a secretary. That’s how she and Grandpa met.
The sink in the executive bathroom flooded and she called a plumber and voilĂ … she and Grandpa became an item. She is highly intelligent, but she never had the opportunity to go to a university or have any secondary education. She wanted to be a nurse, and as much as she fusses with people, I think she would’ve been great. She feeds absolutely everyone and loves to talk. She’s a little bit of a gossip, but mostly just because she is interested in other people. She is the hostess with the mostess. I adore them to my detriment because they can manipulate me really easily. I always feel so guilty if I say “no” to them. They force me to hug and kiss my father, which I resent. They always have because they know that otherwise I won’t. I was always afraid of him as long as I can remember — and I remember being a baby.
I return to my room as the washer chugs along and de-funkifies our clothes. I straighten things up after unpacking my overnight bag and I get my school crap ready to go. I slip a mixed tape in my walkman to keep me company as I vacuum, dust, polish, clean and straighten each room.
Siouxsie’s voice purrs as smooth as silk about putting your head down to the ground and shaking it all around when you slowdive.

Fasten your seatbelts for a white-knuckled ride on the looney wagon and trip down memory lane with a band of misfit teenagers. Kiera Graves and her small posse of true blue friends plot ways to escape their cowtown; and play a game of keep away with her Machiavellian family to help her survive high school and make it to college.
Courage under fire, the closest bonds of friendship and blossoming romance keep this tale of coming of age and survival buzzing with excitement, heart, and warmth.
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Genre – General Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

#Excerpt from Once Upon a Set of Wheels Part 1: Baby Driver by @LMSteel1 #Thriller #Crime #TBR

Lotus is living with her first foster family and it’s not the happy home she was promised it would be. So very young she is already starting to learn what she must do to survive…
Martin was the worst. He would torment me in ways that would almost have me in tears, but I never cried; I would never give him the satisfaction. Things got worse as time went on, and he realised I could beat him. At first it was just teasing and torment, but eventually it became physical – that was shortly before I was removed from their care.
On the way to school he would steal my lunch box and sell my lunch to the other kids. For a while I would go hungry through the day, but after I came out of hospital I started taking care of things. He still stole my lunch, and I would pretend to be upset, but what he didn’t know, was that when everyone had gone to bed at night, I would sneak into the kitchen and make myself a second lunch, which I hid in a tear in my little orange coat. Because I could only hide a small sandwich in my coat, I would pick-pocket the other kids and buy crisps and sweets from the shop at first playtime.
Some might say this was when my life of crime began, but not really. This was just survival, and when you were treated like me you had to be quick to survive. The other kids would bully me and call me names and some would even go as far as pinning me down in the playground and punching my face. I had no friends to stand up for me, but I was fine. After a while I discovered it was a great way to get my money; while they were on top of me beating the crap out of me, I would pretend to try and push them away and steal the twenty pences out of their pockets. This was my own special way of avenging their beatings, and I was never suspected of stealing by the teachers; I was the quiet little foster child who sat in the corner with no friends and kept to herself.

On May 17th 1982, an infant girl is found in a stolen car abandoned on a bridge. The police call her ‘Lotus’ after the car she is discovered in, and ‘Ogden’ – the name of the dam over which the car rested. Abandoned for no one; for no one came to claim her as their child, no one came to say that they were responsible for this babe, no one came to love her. This was how it was to be; always. Following abuse at the hands of her adoptive father, foster families and others, Lotus finds unlikely allies in car thieves and drug dealers, but her life of crime extends so much further than any of them appreciate. So very young, she takes her first life and realises how easy it is, and how no one would ever suspect the poor, timid, shy little girl who nobody calls their own. “Villain? Anti-Hero? Whatever she is, Lotus Ogden is like a perfect storm of rage and pain, but she’s also disturbingly human.” “Feed the dogs and take the phone off the hook. Once you get into this book you’re not going to want to put it down.” “A fast read, a great story, full of twists and turns.”
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Genre – Crime, Thriller
Rating – PG-18
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Friday, May 23, 2014

THE END by Denise Moncrief @DMoncrief0131 #Romance #Suspense #GoodReads

He shifted and nudged a loose piece of concrete with the toe of his brogan. “I think she knows a lot more than she’s willing to tell.” He smiled, seemingly to himself as if he had a delicious secret. “She thinks she’s gonna keep it to herself, but she doesn’t know me very well.” He seemed thrilled at the prospect of dragging true confessions out of my ex-co-worker. What did he have in mind? There was already sexual tension between Presley and Paul. She had made sure of that. Would he use her sexuality against her?
My breath caught in my throat. “Don’t, Paul. Don’t do that.”
“Do what?” He acted as if he didn’t know what I was talking about, but I was certain he did.
“Don’t play her like that.” I didn’t say what I meant—I meant don’t go to bed with her. The thought of the two of them twisting in the sheets made my stomach churn. On some level, I suspected she had taken Tab from me and I was too stupid, too blind, or too busy to notice. But Paul? I wasn’t willing to give up—
“Like what?”
“Don’t get all charming…and all seductive and—”
“You mean you don’t want me to get busy with her?” He smirked, perhaps at his choice of words, or maybe at me. “What’s the matter? Are you jealous?”
I laughed with all the derision I could manage. “Of you and Presley? No. Don’t be ridiculous.”
He smiled. “I thought not.” But it was obvious that’s exactly what he thought. The presumptuous jerk.
I turned and headed up the steps, tired of the conversation and of his posturing. If he was trying to get a rise out of me… Well, he succeeded.
“Wait, Ellie.”
I twisted on my heel. “What?”
“I mean it. I don’t think you should be alone.” He took a step toward me.
“Are you volunteering to keep me company?” My tone suggested there was no way I’d even consider the option. Although my heart did a little tap dance at the thought.
He grinned. “Do you want me to?”
“I have Betsy.”
His mouth twisted as if he was suppressing a condescending remark. “When was the last time you cleaned her? Or went to the practice range?”
I lifted my chin. “I’ll go tonight.”
He nodded. “That’s my girl. I’ll go with you.” Before I could object, he strolled down the street toward the corner. “I’ll see you at seven.”
“I’m not your girl,” I hollered after him. “And make it eight.” I wouldn’t be dictated to and I was nobody’s girl. But suddenly the idea struck me that I might want to be his girlfriend, not someone he owned, just someone he cared about on a very personal level. It had already become obvious we could be more than friends…if that’s what I wanted.
“It’s a date.” He grinned and I failed to argue with him about whether it was really a date or not. I mentally debated the status of our planned outing right up until he rang my buzzer promptly at eight.

Sometimes the end is only the beginning.
Almost a year after her husband dies, Ellie Marston opens the file for Tab’s last manuscript, a thriller so compelling it reads like a true story. His manuscript needs an ending, so Ellie writes the obvious conclusion. The same morning she types The End, her career as an assistant district attorney falls apart. Accused of throwing the high profile Patterson case, she resigns in disgrace. The only friend she has left in the criminal justice system is Det. Paul Santiago, a man she has worked closely with on numerous cases. While she was married to Tab, she squashed her growing feelings for Paul, determined to make her deteriorating marriage work, but circumstances after Tab’s death bring Ellie and Paul together.
Ellie’s paranoia increases as she becomes convinced Patterson is harassing her, certain that someone is searching her belongings for any hidden evidence she might have that would reopen his case. It becomes clear there was a conspiracy to release Patterson. She seeks help from her former co-worker, Presley Sinclair, but soon discovers Presley is deeply involved in the subsequent cover up. Worse yet, Tab’s affair with Presley drew him into the twisted conspiracy as well.
Together Paul and Ellie attempt to uncover the conspiracy in the District Attorney’s office, the set up that forced her to resign. The key to the mystery is hidden in the pages of Tab’s manuscript. Once Paul and Ellie come to the correct conclusion—Tab’s manuscript is a true story and Ellie’s added ending is the only logical outcome—Ellie attempts to reveal Patterson’s hidden partner in the District Attorney’s office, but the co-conspirator she uncovers is not whom she suspects. Danger swirls around her as she steps further and further into the conspirator’s trap.
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Genre – Romantic Suspense
Rating – PG
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Christina Daley on the Dumbest Things People in Publishing Say @cdaleywrite #AmWriting #Fantasy

My first book Seranfyll is three years old! To celebrate, I’m re-releasing it with the second book in the series, Eligere, and given them cover makeovers.
I didn’t study creative writing or illustration in school, so everything I learned was either from reading blogs, books, attending writers’ conferences, and practice. I still have a lot to learn, but I’ve heard some pretty dumb (and pretty great) things said by people in publishing. Here are the five dumbest (and one best) things that I’ve heard or read:
1. “Write what you know.”
I believe it’s safe to say that the overwhelming majority of writers have heard this at one point or another. It works, I think, for people aiming to produce a memoir or educational material. I, personally, know that I would produce very dull books about folding laundry or my very clever stacking method for dishes if I wrote about what I knew.
2. “Write what you are.”
I read this in one of the SCBWI bulletins some time ago. A publisher had apparently said this to a POC author, who went back and changed her whole book from being a fantasy to being a historical (or a contemporary—I can’t remember exactly). It’s great that she found a home for her book eventually, but I wonder at what cost. It seemed her fantasy was rejected because she didn’t fit the bill (i.e. was not white and did not have a “Western” sounding name) of a fantasy writer, and she was only accepted when she produced a work that was “acceptable” for a person of her ethnic background.
3. “Write and publish fast. Quantity, not quality, matters.”
This came to me three years ago from another self-publishing author when I was about to self-publish Seranfyll for the first time. It remains, to this day, one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. There are many great selfers who write and publish books quite quickly. I’m unfortunately not one of them, so it takes more time for me to release a full-length novel that I can be proud about.
4. “I didn’t like Twilight or The Da Vinci Code. And even if I had gotten queries about them, I still wouldn’t have taken them on.”
This was from an agent. While I’ve met some amazing agents who were awesome human beings, this was not one of them. I didn’t care for these books either, but this statement suggested to me that this agent didn’t know how to pick a profitable project. Granted, I don’t think anyone has a magic formula for picking a bestseller, but obviously Meyer, Brown, and their people figured out something that worked, and what their work has achieved is worth the respect.
5. “I don’t know enough about this art form to make a comment on it.”
This came from an art director at a recent conference I attended. We had an assignment, and I did mine in manga style that was more cartoon rather than graphic novel. I don’t mind having constructive feedback, but no feedback at all is pretty useless…especially since I had paid an extra couple hundred dollars for that feedback.

Now for the single best thing I’ve heard from someone in publishing:
“Write and draw only what brings you joy.”
This came to me during a conversation with an illustrator. She’s illustrated a zillion books, and she’s one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. When I told her about what happened in Dumbest Thing #5 and believing that I had done my assignment in the “wrong style,” she answered me with these words. It was a great reminder after an awful couple of weeks leading up to that conference, and it overwhelmingly trumps the five Dumb Things.

(Ages 10+) Rain has never chosen her own name. Nor has she met a polite apple tree, been caught in a house’s security spell, or ridden a horse . . . winged or not. What she does know is that, after having been a slave for all thirteen years of her common life, she’s free and has nowhere to go. 

That all changes when she’s taken in by the peculiar Domrey Seranfyll, who was drunk when he purchased Rain’s freedom and doesn’t remember doing so. Some say he’s part devil and spent time overseas learning the dark arts—not the sorts of things one hopes for in a housemate. And the longer Rain keeps company with Lord Seranfyll, the more magic and mayhem she gets tangled into, all the while discovering that being free can be far more exciting, and dangerous, than she ever imagined. 

(~ 85,000 words or roughly equal to 330 print pages) 
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Genre - Middle Grade Fantasy
Rating – PG
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