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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review: The Little Boy Who Was Precious by Reagan Chesnut

11:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments
The Little Boy, Who Was PreciousThe Little Boy, Who Was Precious by Reagan Chesnut
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What were the main themes of the book? Being away from a loved one isn’t easy, especially when you are a little one. This book is about a little boy whose parents need to make an overseas trip and he stays with his grandparents. Everything about this book is flawless and the illustrations are superb.

Describe your favourite scene. When the little boy arrives at his grandparents' house and he “threw himself into her arms and stuff a cookie into his mouth.” This is a memory we can all relate to no matter how old we are.The warmth of a grandparents' home is reassuring even in the most confusing of times.

Were you able to connect with the main character and why? Separation anxiety is something we’ve all had to deal with. As much as young children are fearful of being abandoned, parents worry about being apart from their little ones too. This is a good book for parents to explore the topic with their younger children.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book from the author via Orangeberry Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Lady Grace & The War For A New World Excerpt Two by Sandy Nathan @sandyonathan

6:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

How to Make Your Characters Believable

“Characters you’ll want to hang out with—where does Sandy Nathan find these people? They live, they breathe. You love ’em. You hate ’em. And, you care about them. That’s what makes their story so engaging.”

Laren Bright, award-winning writer and three-time Emmy nominee

I was thrilled when the testimonial above came in. Others have said similar things about my characters. Where do I get them? How do I write them? What techniques do I use?

In truth, I have no idea where they come from or why they seem real or how I write good characters. This isn’t very helpful, so I contemplated this question and came up with the following insights to share with you.

The bottom line is: my characters are everything I’ve done, everything that’s happened to me, all of my feelings and reactions and pain, and my situation in life as I write. They’re everything I’ve learned about writing, a collage of all of my past work, and what bothers me in my deepest gut. My characters are created from what I’ve experienced in every meditation retreat or spiritual event in my life: my dreams, my fantasies, archetypes, and personal depths. They are also my verbal IQ.

They’re all of me and, as such, are non-transferable. If you’re planning on writing the way I do, you’ll have to delve into yourself and find the deep inner currents that carry memorable characters.

Let’s get a little more precise about the origin and development of my characters.

How did I come up with Eliana, the exquisite visitor from another planet, and Jeremy Edgarton, the sixteen-year-old genius revolutionary, the main characters of The Angel & the Brown-Eyed Boy?

As I discuss in the Author’s Note in The Angel, Eliana came to me hours after I had a totally unexpected mystical experience. As I slept, I experienced a brilliant golden light hovering over my bed. It exuded love, acceptance, and joy. It took away pain. The light lowered itself onto me as I lay in bed and merged with me. I got to feel the state of the angel: total goodness, purity, kindness, and love. The state went with me into my day, gradually declining until I was my normal self.

Shortly afterward, I experienced something like a tear in the fabric of the universe and Eliana was there. Jeremy followed soon after. The outlines of their stories were present in my mind and soul. The rest of the book followed in the next few days.

Why did I have that transcendental experience? Was it the phase of the moon? The alignment of the stars? A past life experience?

No. My younger brother died tragically and unexpectedly. I loved my brother dearly. He had a very difficult life. My heart was breaking––and that angelic presence came to me.

That is how an intuitive gets a story and characters. Do you know what an intuitive is?

The famous Swiss psychiatrist and psychologist Carl Jung developed a theory of personality types to explain differences between the ways he and his buddies, Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, viewed the world. This has extreme relevance to writers. Here’s a blog article I wrote about Jung’s typology and why it matters to you.

The article talks about finding your Jungian type and about readers’ probable Jungian types. This is important: people who have the same Jungian type as you will like what you write. They are that tribe who all the consultants say you should find.

But some types are more numerous than others. In my article, which you really should read, you’ll find that just two types comprise almost 80% of the market. Those are the feeling and sensate types. If you are an intuitive (like me, yay!) or a thinking type, you’re fighting for a lousy 21.5% of the population from the outset.

As an example, I’m an intuitive. We like detail. We want to know everything that’s happened to our characters, every feeling and thought and fear they’ve had since birth. We also want to know about our characters’ personal growth trajectory and that of their dogs. And cats. Goldfish. We write long books.

But does everyone––the two types that make up almost 80% of the population––like long books? No. You have to modify your basic writing tendencies to attain a wide readership. There’s a lot more in the article.

The best way to make your writing more palatable to the population is edit the sucker. A good content editor will turn a 240,000 word monster manuscripts into a svelte 120,000 word novel that people will love to read. That’s what my editor did. It hurt, but I’ve got all this short story material now.

What does this have to do with creating realistic characters? You have your Jungian type. You’ll write a certain way because of it. That’s a curse or a blessing. Thinking and sensate types are probably going to have a hard time creating deep characters. They will be great at thrillers, mysteries, action adventure tales, and textbooks. Feeling types create the romance industry. Intuitives write visionary stuff, sci-fi, fantasy, and related. The Feelers and Intuitives like deep characters. They understand emotions and complexes and personal conflicts.

If you’re a Feeling type or Intuitive, you’ll have the basic requirements of writing believable characters, but you still have to learn to write. This means working with coaches, editors, and writing groups. Going to conferences. Reading about writing skills. Reading everything all the time, developing an ear for what’s good. It means tearing your work apart a zillion times. Being compulsive about every little word.

I’ve done the above since 1995—eighteen years, with no end in sight. But I’m learning to write. Learning, not “have learned.” It’s a lifelong process.

Writing believable characters means living with the way your work is presented to you. I have the big, uplifting blast offs that my personality presents me with.

Since you know that I got the inspiration for the Earth’s End series from my brother’s death, does this mean that someone has to die every time I start a book? No. The tear in the fabric of reality that allows my books to come stays open. If I use what’s given to me and write the book, more books flood out, in the same way that more toothpaste comes out if you squeeze the tube with the cap off.

Something even worse than my brother dying happened to me in the 1990s. I got the Bloodsong Series from that. Two books from that series have been published and maybe ten more bang from inside my hard drive, wanting out. What happened was so horrendous that I’m still inspired. Books flutter around me like moths. I just started a new one about a seven-year-old girl who is a bounty hunter––and a witch.

Anyway, characters. A big inner event happens. My whole life and soul gets activated from the gritty dregs to transcendental heights. Characters appear. And not all are from a single burst. They come to me as I’m standing at the vegetable counter at the grocery store. Walking to the barn. Taking a shower. Eventually, I end up in front of a computer with words pouring out of my fingers.

I write as inspiration moves me. I sit at my computer like a director creating a movie, playing all of the parts. When I’m writing my characters, I am the characters. I become them. I know how they think and feel. What they look like. They reveal more of themselves to me as I get to know them better.

For instance, I was writing one character and realized she was phobic. Afraid of everything. Saw a shrink, took medication. Another guy lived in Florida and went out airboating on the Everglades pretty often. He couldn’t swim and was afraid of water, but he really liked the birds on the ‘glades. I didn’t know that about those “people” when I started writing.

Glimmers of intuition give me the characters. Sitting with them, and letting them talk, reveals who they are. Feeling the characters in his or her body, hearing them breathe and talk, that’s how I do characters.

They come to me. I write them.


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

Welcome to a future world only heartbeats from our own.

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

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

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

Buy Now @ Amazon


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Now @ Amazon


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

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

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Metaphysical Science Fiction

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with Sandy Nathan on Facebook and Twitter

Author Interview – Reagan Chesnut @reaganchesnut

6:00 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

Image of Reagan M. Chesnut

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Snippets of life.  Someone will say something in a conversation, and I’ll take the phrase and build a scene.  I’ll see something happening and speculate about what’s going on.  For the children’s books, I draw the inspiration from my own life and family.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

For me: marketing.  Getting published was cake because I didn’t even approach an agent or publishing house – I was determined to get the first book out on my own.  Writing is enjoyable and natural for me.  Selling myself is not. I’m not an extrovert, so the marketing is definitely the hardest part of this whole thing!

What marketing works for you?

Word of mouth has been most successful so far, but I know that pool will eventually dry up and I will need to have a wider reach.  I’m doing a giveaway on Goodreads ( which means that at least 350+ people have at least heard of my book now.  I don’t know how many sales that will generate, but it’s great visibility.

Do you find it hard to share your work?

Not really – I find it hard to hold back.  I’ve probably given away more copies of the book than I should have to people who probably would have bought it.  When I’ve written a play, I pass it around my friend circles for feedback, and I pound the theatre pavement with a lot more ease than the publishing pavement, meaning I’ve sent my plays everywhere. I write to be read, which means I have to share!

Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?

They are so supportive.  I keep telling them, over half the fans on my facebook page are from my parents’ friend list.  My husband actually got me my first play reading with The Breakaway Project by secretly submitting my play and surprising me.  I couldn’t ask for more.

Do you plan to publish more books?

Yes! I’m actually working on two separate children’s series at the moment. The Little Boy, Who Was Precious is the first book in The Little Boy series. These books are a little softer, a little more lyrical, and the topics are a little broader.  The next book in this series will be about the Little Boy and his dog. The next book to come out is part of my Myrlen series.  The illustrations will be a little more cartoonish, a little bolder, and the topics much more focused.

What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time…

I’m the office manager for the Department of Theatre at my alma mater, Hope College, during the academic year.  During the summer, I’m the company manager for Hope Summer Repertory Theatre.

What other jobs have you had in your life?

So very many retail jobs!

If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?

I was able to complete my dream-major, Theatre, and continue on to earn a graduate degree in the same field, but if I could go back, I would want to study forensic psychology.  When I get my hands on Robert Hare’s books, I just consume them.  It’s a really interesting field once you get past the drama that television shows make it out to be.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

If I didn’t have to find a job, I’d move back to Ireland.  It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.

How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?

I write exclusively on a laptop – preferably by daylight.  The last time I wrote by hand, my arm cramped up for a week.  My penmanship is awful anyway.

Where do you get support from? Do you have friends in the industry?

I have a lot of friends in the theatre/playwriting industry, so I have a lot of internal support on that side.  I’m brand new to publishing, so I’ve found a lot that of support online.

How much sleep do you need to be your best?

All of it.  All of the sleep.

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?

My husband, for putting up with me going straight to writing/promotion when I get home from my job, and my parents for helping us out financially – otherwise the international move and new baby would have been very difficult to manage on our own.

Reagan Chesnut

The Little Boy, Who Was Precious is a story about a child’s first long stay with his grandparents when his parents are away. The little boy, who is so brave against the beasts of his imagination, finds himself strangely lost without his mother and father. It takes a pair of loving grandparents to convince him that he is still the bravest and most precious little boy.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Children’s

Rating – G

More details about the author

Connect with Reagan Chesnut on Facebook & Twitter


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Author Interview – Ramz Artso @RamzArtso

6:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

Image of Ramzan Artsikaev

Have you always enjoyed writing?

I started out by drawing, as a child. That, with time, segued into writing. So, I guess one could say I was born a storyteller.

What motivates the most?

Readers. The notion of millions of people being able to read and relate to the characters I write about is an extremely exciting one. In addition to that, I just love to weave tales. It’s a necessity.

What writing are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of my Peter Simmons books, as it took me years to just come up with a plot that’s not too cliché.

What are you most proud of in your personal life?

I used to be able to bench  kg six times.

What books did you love growing up?

I loved reading Harry Potter and anything J.R.R. Tolkien and Dan Brown. Also, ‘The Wind in the Willows’ was really quite good.


Peter Simmons thinks he is an ordinary boy, before he is abducted by a man with certain special abilities, learns of his inescapable destiny, befriends immortals and becomes famous wordlwide. Why? Because Peter Simmons is mankind’s last hope for survival.

Buy Now @ Amazon

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

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author and the book

Connect with  Ramz Artso on Facebook & Twitter


Author Interview – Robyn Roze @robynrozeauthor

6:00 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

Image of Robyn Roze

What genre of books do you adore?

I enjoy a good science fiction/fact book—James Rollins (SIGMA Force Series), Scooby-Doo for adults—Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child (Agent Pendergast Series), ‘bad boy’ books—Lisa Renee Jones (Inside Out Trilogy—LOVED Chris Merit), and humorous rocker erotica—Kendall Grey (Hard Rock Harlots Series).  I may have just made up my own genres….

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Inspiration comes from living life.  Friends, family, books, movies and personal experiences all come together to tweak and foster imagination and inspiration.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

I love this question.  One would think the answer is writing, but no, it’s not.  And publishing in the indie era is relatively easy.  So that leaves marketing, which is BY FAR the most difficult aspect of being an author, in my opinion.  There are millions of books in the marketplace and getting yours noticed is nothing short of a herculean effort.

What marketing works for you?

Word of mouth is the best marketing any author can have.  Friends, family, and fans are the best form of advertising.

Do you plan to publish more books?

Definitely.  I’m currently working on a new novel titled HellKat.  I will be releasing it in 2014.

What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time…

I am an accountant and work from home.  There are advantages and disadvantages to working from home, mostly advantages.  The biggest disadvantage, however, is that it’s always staring me in the face.  It’s not like leaving an office building to go home and easily separating my work life and home life.  My job at home is always waiting for me.  And now, with writing taking up so much of my time, that self-imposed pressure is even greater.  It definitely requires motivation and strong organizational skills on my part.

How do you write – laptop, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?

I use a laptop usually at my desk and seldom write anything down.  However, I do mark up galley copies, but couldn’t even imagine having to hand write everything that I’ve typed!  I just love technology.

How much sleep do you need to be your best?

I only need a good 6 or 7 hours of sleep to have all the energy I need for a day.  I actually wish I could get by on less—more time to write!

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?

Well, of course, my husband is supportive and doesn’t say a word when laundry gets backed up or the dishwasher hasn’t been run in a few days.  He knows how much I’m enjoying writing, networking and marketing my books.  But I also have to mention my mom.  She’s in her seventies and has read everything I’ve EVER written.  She has been my biggest fan since day one—literally.

Shayna Chastain has ended her marriage and is ready to move forward with her life. That’s hard to do when your ex wants you back and your angry daughter has taken his side. However, Shayna rediscovered herself during the separation, and she isn’t easily persuaded. She’s entered a new stage in life, and she’s enjoying it.

Now Sean Parker, the new younger man in her life, is determined to make sure she doesn’t look back. Their attraction is instant but the fallout will last a lifetime. Ultimately, their chance encounter will not only change Shayna’s life, but will have a profound effect on those closest to her. As Sean and Shayna fall deeper, secrets surface that will ultimately have far-reaching, deadly consequences.

By the end, you’ll be asking yourself: “Who is Sean Parker?”

Will the glimpse you get be enough?

How well do you know the people you love?

Even the one’s you’ve known most of your life…

(Mature themes and sexual content for 18+)

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Women’s Fiction, Suspense, Thriller, Romance

Rating – R

More details about the author and the book

Connect with  Robyn Roze on Facebook & Twitter


Author Interview – Jessica Bell

6:00 AM Posted by James Noel No comments

Have you developed a specific writing style?
Yes. My writing is quite literary in nature, but I also think it has a decent amount of commercial appeal; a balance of both.

What is your greatest strength as a writer?

I have a real knack for cinematic writing. I’d probably beat you in a “show-off”. ;-)

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Absolutely. I usually take it as a sign that I’m burned out and give myself a break. It works.

What are your goals as a writer?

To have my books linger in the minds of readers long after they’ve turned the last page. With regards to my non-fiction, to help aspiring writers realize that writing doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as it seems. Learn the craft in bite-sized pieces, and eventually everything will come together.

What books have most influenced your life?

Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson

Cold Blood, by Truman Capote

The Robber Bride, by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

The Boy in The Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, by Rebecca Miller

The Stone Gods, by Jeanette Winterson

Just Kids, by Patti Smith

Short Cuts, by Raymond Carver

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott

The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, by Milan Kundera

All poetry by the following poets: Gwen Harwood, Sharon Olds, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Non-Fiction / Writing Skills Reference

Rating – PG

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Jessica Bell on FacebookTwitter


Massimo Marino – I Write Naked @Massim0Marin0 #SciFi

5:00 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

I Write Naked

By the time you leave here, fellow writers, you’ll be writing naked, or discover you always did.

Many writers fail to reach their readers because they write fully clothed. They come out with fanciful plots and complicated character development. They sin with flowery prose and use words you have to look up in the dictionary. I don’t believe they do to impress their readers, but to keep them at arm’s length. They’re afraid. Afraid to bare their souls and inject themselves into their work.

When I’m asked in interviews why I do write, I answer that’s because there’s a story inside me that kicks and pushes to be written. But having that story inside you doesn’t make you a writer. How you tell that story does. Writing is like having an open wound that never heals and the story oozes out of it; it should not be a pleasant look.

A writer has to tell the story through his heart, with honesty. The writer has to be naked, for so to say, and the readers have to see the man (or woman). Writing needs to feel like walking naked on Main Street.

“Don’t simply tell me that faith saves you, tell me how it almost failed you, too. Don’t tell me about love, speak of your passion. Don’t tell me you’re hurt, let me see your heart breaking. I don’t want to see your talent on the page, I want to see your blood. Dare to be naked before your readers because that’s writing, and everything else is worthless crap.” – Anonymous teacher at a creative writing class.

I swear by that.

Mankind is undergoing rebirth, the new arrivals closely watched by the Selected: the transgenic beings created by the Moîrai. The new communities thrive with the aliens’ support and peace and security reign on Eridu, as the planet Earth is known by the Moîrai and in the galaxy.

But peace and security of the cradle are suddenly shattered by acts of sabotage set to disrupt the fragile balance of the fledgling communities.

From the coldest climes to the deepest ocean floors, a cosmic conspiracy full of betrayal and fear is being hatched with the hope of pushing the world perilously close to the brink of self-destruction.

It is up to Dan Amenta to journey through dark and deadly alleys–even into the depths of the planet–to unlock the shadowy logic of alien minds.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Science Fiction

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Massimo Marino on Facebook and Twitter


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nobody Has to Know by Frank Nappi @FrankNappi

6:15 PM Posted by James Noel No comments

Nobody Has To Know, Frank Nappi’s dark and daring new thriller, tells the story of Cameron Baldridge, a popular high school teacher whose relationship with one of his students leads him down an unfortunate and self-destructive path. Stalked through text-messages, Baldridge fights for his life against a terrifying extortion plot and the forces that threaten to expose him. NHTK is a sobering look into a world of secrets, lies, and shocking revelations, and will leave the reader wondering many things, including whether or not you can ever really know the person you love.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Thriller

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with Frank Nappi on Facebook & Twitter


Author Interview – Wolf Pascoe @WolfPascoe

10:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

When did you first know you could be a writer?

This is hard to say. For me there came a moment when the answer to the question, “What do you do?” changed from “I want to be a writer” to “I’m a writer.” It was well after my first book found a publisher. I needed to learn that unpublished writing could be as good as published writing—that in fact a lot of published writing wasn’t any good at all, and had more to do with knowing the right people rather than meriting attention.

Are you reading any interesting books at the moment?

I’m re-reading Anna Karenina—listening, rather, to the audiobook. I read it in high school for fun, and appreciated it as much as I was capable of at that time. Recently I saw the movie—the Keira Knightley-Jude Law version. I was entranced—I found the theatrical metaphor breathtaking—and watched it twice again. Then I wanted to re-visit the book. The version narrated by David Horovitchis the one to get. I listen to a lot of audiobooks. This is one of the best-narrated ever. I wondered if our face-paced Internet world had spoiled me for such a long novel, and that I wouldn’t have the patience for Tolstoy’s leisurely narrative. I needn’t have worried. Every moment is wonderful.

What was the inspiration for Breathing for Two?

For the longest time, I felt that my day job (anesthesiology) immersed me in this strange, difficult, hidden world. I wanted to tell people about it. Medicine can be very dramatic. But almost all of what has been written or filmed about operating rooms concerns surgery. Mention anesthesia and most people draw a blank. But in many ways it’s more dramatic than surgery. I wanted to convey what happens in a manner that was non-technical and (I hope) intriguing. Breathing is only one aspect, of course, but by keeping a narrow focus, I could go deep.

How have other doctors responded to Breathing for Two?

I wrote the book under a pen name (Wolf Pascoe) for confidentiality. My favorite response was from a colleague and friend who read an excerpt of the book that was published in an anesthesia journal. He didn’t know I had written it. “Did you read that excerpt?” I asked him. “Yes.” “What did you think of it?” I asked him. “Good.” “What about the author?” I said. “Just a guy like you or me,” he said.

Do you want to write more about medicine?

Yes, but no more first-person essays like Breathing for Two. I’ve been writing in the first person for two or three years now in my blog Just Add Father, which chronicles experiences with my son. I really want to get back to fiction, and to write in the third person. I’m tired (he said) of the first person singular pronoun.

What will your next book be?

In the prologue to Breathing for Two, I describe the experience of undergoing anesthesia as a night-sea journey. I’m very taken with this metaphor. I want to explore it all the way back to its mythological roots, which lie in Greece in the temples of Asclepius, the god of medicine.

What do you think the essence of writing is?

The essence of writing is voice, and a big part of voice is rhythm. Finding a voice in writing is like finding a character as an actor.

What’s the purpose of writing?

To make the words disappear.



In this page-turner, veteran anesthesiologist Pascoe offers a riveting portrait of surgery’s most harrowing relationship and a breathtaking (pun intended!) account of what it means to hold another person’s life in one’s hands.”  – Amazon reader

What I most enjoyed about this very personal journey is that Pascoe reveals in an unflinching way his mistakes, narrow brushes with disaster, as well as his victories, and how it all has changed him during his thirty years of anesthesia practice.” — Amazon reader

It’s the kind of book that makes you deeply interested in things you never thought about before.” — Amazon reader


Ever wonder why giving anesthesia is described as hours of boredom, moments of panic? With gentle precision, anesthesiologist Wolf Pascoe teases apart an overlooked world and unveils the eggshell dance that takes place at the head of an operating table.


As Atul Gawande gives readers the surgeon’s perspective, so Wolf Pascoe lets us know what it’s like to be at the other end of the table. – Amazon reader

I’m a doctor and I thought that this book would be only mildly interesting, but I found that I was captivated and in suspense wanting to see how his difficult cases turned out.” — Amazon reader

Pascoe’s honest prose reminds us that we’re all human – flawed, fragile, and doing our best to navigate the unpredictable with the tools we have at hand. Beautifully written, easy to read.”   — Amazon reader

Intrigued or spooked by what happens in an operating theatre? Breathing for Two is a seat on the stage, a short book that will change the way you think about life, and breath.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Non-fiction / Memoir

Rating – G

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Constantinopolis by James Shipman @jshipman_author

5:45 AM Posted by James Noel No comments

His father! Mehmet stewed when he thought of him. His father had never shown him any real affection or spent significant time with him. He was not, after all, originally the heir to the Sultanate. He was a second son and only became heir when his older brother died. Mehmet had been forced from then on to endure a frantic and often harsh tutoring process. He was just beginning to grasp his responsibilities when at the age of 12 his father had retired and named him Sultan. He had done the best he could to govern, but in short order Grand Vizier Halil had called his father back to take over the throne. The Sultan felt Halil should have helped him, should have supported him. Instead he had watched and reported Mehmet’s shortcomings to his father, betraying him and leading to his humiliation.

From then on Mehmet had bided his time. He had learned to keep his thoughts and emotions to himself, to trust no one. He had studied everything: military art, languages, administration, and the arts. He had worked tirelessly so that when he next ruled he would not only equal his father but also exceed him. He would be the greatest Sultan in the history of his people, Allah willing.

His chance came when Murad finally died only two years before, as Mehmet turned 19. Mehmet quickly took power, ordering his baby half brother strangled to assure there would be no succession disputes, and set to organizing his empire. He had learned to be cautious and measured, leaving his father’s counselors and even Halil in power to assist him. From there he had slowly built up a group of supporters. They were young and exclusively Christian converts to Islam. These followers, many of whom now held council positions, were not nearly as powerful as the old guard, but they were gaining ground. They were the future, if Halil did not interfere.

Halil. His father’s Grand Vizier and now his own. He had always treated Mehmet with condescending politeness. He was powerful, so powerful that Mehmet could not easily remove him. So powerful it was possible he could remove Mehmet in favor of a cousin or other relative. Mehmet hated him above all people in the world, but he could not simply replace him. He needed Halil, at least for now, and Halil knew it.

This dilemma was the primary reason for Mehmet’s nighttime wanderings. He needed time away from the palace. Time to think and work out a solution to the problem. How could he free himself from Halil without losing power in the process? He could simply order Halil executed, but would the order be followed or would it be his own head sitting on a pole? The elders and religious leaders all respected and listened to Halil. Only the young renegades, the Christian converts who owed their positions to Mehmet were loyal to him. If Halil was able to rally the old guard to him, Mehmet had no doubt that the result would be a life or death dispute.

Mehmet needed to find a cause that could rally the people to him. The conversations he had heard night after night told him this same thing. The people felt that his father was a great leader, and that he was not. If he could gain the people’s confidence, then he would not need Halil, and the other elders would follow his lead.

Mehmet knew the solution. He knew exactly what would bring the people to his side, and what would indeed make him the greatest Sultan in the history of the Ottoman people.

The solution however was a great gamble. His father and father’s fathers had conquered huge tracts of territory in Anatolia and then in Europe, primarily at the expense of the Greeks. Mehmet intended to propose something even more audacious, to conquer the one place that his ancestors had failed to take. If he succeeded he would win the adoration of his people and would be able to deal with Halil and any others who might oppose him. If he failed . . .

The Sultan eventually made his way back near the palace, to the home of his closest friend, Zaganos Pasha. Zaganos, the youngest brother of Mehmet’s father in law, had converted to Islam at age 13, and was Mehmet’s trusted general and friend. He was the most prominent member of the upstart Christian converts that made up the Sultan’s support base.

Zaganos was up, even at this late hour, and embraced his friend, showing him in and ordering apple tea from his servants. Zaganos was shorter and stockier than Mehmet, a powerful middle-aged man in the prime of his life. He had receding dark brown hair. A long scar cut across his forehead and down over his left eye. He looked on Mehmet with smiling eyes extending in to crow’s feet. He smiled like a proud uncle or father.


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Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG

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Author Interview – Regan Black @ReganBlack

5:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

Image of Regan Black

How do you work through self-doubts and fear?

Hang on? Do you mean you’re supposed to work through those? Just kidding. A little. Maybe.

I’m not sure authors ever truly shed that bizarre sense of insecurity no matter how well we’re doing in the current work or in the current market. Doubt seems to be a perpetual personality requirement for authors.

For me, when doubts drag at me, it’s a matter of planting myself at the keyboard and getting lost in the story until I can’t hear them anymore. Ray Bradbury said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” It’s a quote I live by and it’s proven most helpful in this venture I call a career.

Of course if all else fails, a call to my husband or another author friend usually does the trick, by assuring me I’m not alone

What scares you the most?

Having twenty-plus years of experience as a mom, the list is remarkably short when it comes to tangible fears. Spiders terrify me. (And formatting. But I’m getting over the formatting thing.)

As for the more intangible, I’d have to say failure is the thing I fear most. My father was a motivational speaker and he drummed positive thinking and a ‘never give up’ attitude into me from the day I was born.

Good thing too.

The publishing industry isn’t known for being logical or gentle. I think that despite rejection letters, harsh critiques, and myriad disappointments, those lessons from my dad are what keep me going in spite of the risk of failure.

What makes you happiest?

My family is such a source of joy and strength. They know how to shore me up, how to help me celebrate victories big and small, and just when to send me back to the writing cave with a full cup of coffee.

I love to spend time with husband and kids, whether we’re chilling out with a video game or bouncing around story ideas for Bulletproof and the other books that will follow. One thing I can count on from my family – there’s never a shortage of opinions and I love that!

Why do you write?

Because the characters won’t leave me alone. Seriously, when it came to Bulletproof, John and Amelia wouldn’t give me a day off – and that was a good thing for my writing process.

I’ve learned the hard way I can’t be away from the writing for more than three days, preferably two. I turn into a miserable, vicious beast. No joke – horns, claws, breathing fire, the whole bit. It’s ugly.

No matter what’s going on in my life, I need to stay connected to my writing process, if only with some quick brainstorming or journal entries.

Have you always enjoyed writing?

Books have always been a favorite pastime for me and I firmly believe a love of reading plants the seed that a writer eventually harvests. I was a pretty shy kid and it didn’t take long for me to realize writing was the safest and most dynamic way for me to express myself.

I still enjoy the thrill of drafting a new adventure, whether it’s a short story or a full length novel. Seeing the final draft is even more exciting, especially when readers enjoy the stories too. When Bulletproof showed up, with its hot guy cover and the formatting complete, I didn’t stop smiling for days.

I do everything in my power to appreciate each moment along the way with each story so that magic never fades.


“Dark, gritty, sexy suspense with one hell of a hot hero.” -USA Today bestseller Debra Webb

A soldier is nothing without his honor.

To avoid a dishonorable end to his decorated military career, John Noble made a deal with the devil. He gave up his name, endured harrowing training, and accepted every mission thrown at him for one purpose: redemption.

When he accepts his latest orders, providing personal security for a reporter in trouble, he bargains hard to guarantee it will be his last job for the shadow agency he knows only Unknown Identities (UI).

An ambitious reporter, Amelia Bennett, is about to break the story of her career, if she lives long enough to tell it. Caving to her boss’s demand, she hires a bodyguard and soon it is obvious John Noble is the only obstacle standing between her and certain death.

Just when John believes he has found someone he can trust and love, who loves him unconditionally for who and what he has become, his orders are amended: Amelia Bennett is to be terminated.

Introducing Unknown Identities: an alternative for elite soldiers and spies facing criminal charges… if they can survive the program.

Don’t miss Double Vision, the next installment of this sizzling, action-packed series.

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Genre - Romantic Suspense

Rating – R

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Nobody Has to Know by Frank Nappi @FrankNappi

5:00 AM Posted by James Noel No comments

Nobody Has To Know, Frank Nappi’s dark and daring new thriller, tells the story of Cameron Baldridge, a popular high school teacher whose relationship with one of his students leads him down an unfortunate and self-destructive path. Stalked through text-messages, Baldridge fights for his life against a terrifying extortion plot and the forces that threaten to expose him. NHTK is a sobering look into a world of secrets, lies, and shocking revelations, and will leave the reader wondering many things, including whether or not you can ever really know the person you love.

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Genre - Thriller

Rating – PG-13

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Author Interview–Parker Paige @parkerpaige86

9:30 AM Posted by James Noel No comments

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

It would have to be Larry David. Larry David is just the most amazing character. He’s an eccentric to a fault and I find him terribly entertaining.

What color represents your personality the most?

Black. Black is mysterious and secretive and I see myself as both.

If you could do any job in the world, what would you do?

I would be an action movie superstar, just like Bruce Willis, only the female version.

Who do you admire?

I admire President Obama for what he has accomplished and for being so lovable.

When you have free time on the internet, what do you want to read about?

I am on the internet for hours everyday researching different topics about social media, diet, self improvement, almost anything that helps me improve my life.


THREE beautiful redheads – THREE Motives – ONE Murder

Tapping into the common wish to be someone else, if only for a short time, this suspense drama explores what happens when a woman, bored with her humdrum existence dyes her hair red and takes on the persona of her late sister.

After the murder of her beloved sister, a quiet and warmhearted legal secretary, Charlie Weiss, who works for the prestigious Whitley & Austin, is in search of an escape. A few sessions with her psychologist propel her to the realization that the excitement that she seeks is in a new life, the life of her late sister.

With a daring wish to continue the wild life of her late sister, she colors her hair red and dares to reinvent herself. And with this new persona comes a different type of experience, including becoming one of three redhead suspects to a murder.

“This whodunit suspense drama will keep you guessing until the last page.”–Elance book editor

Parker Paige has been writing fiction for several years with a passion for creating eccentric characters. She is fascinated with true stories and for that reason, she is drawn to the network Investigation Discovery like a drug. She is the author of “The Color Pink” and “Whitley and Austin.” She is not completely insane, maybe just a little bit crazy. She lives in Los Angeles.

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Genre - Romantic Suspense

Rating – PG-13

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In Love With My Best Friend by Sheena Binkley

5:45 AM Posted by James Noel No comments



How did my life get so complicated? One minute, I, Camille Anderson, was living a pretty normal life in which nothing ever happened to me, and the next I'm practically being hauled away from the premier wedding venue in Houston, The Corinthian, by security because of my sudden outburst to the groom.

I should have known I was setting myself up for disaster, but I had to do it. I had to tell my best friend that I'd been in love with him since I was thirteen.

I really didn't expect the scene to unfold the way it did, especially while Trevor was getting married, but I couldn't hold my feelings in much longer. I felt he was making a terrible mistake, because he was marrying the wrong woman. He should have been marrying me.

I guess I should backtrack to when Trevor and I first met. It was seventeen years ago, when the Williams family first moved into the house next to ours. I was outside waiting for my friend Tia Simmons to come by when I first noticed Trevor. He was absolutely gorgeous as he stepped out of his family's SUV. He had that "boy next door" look, with wavy black hair and smooth ivory skin. He looked over at me and gave me a huge grin, which I greatly returned.

After that day, not only did we become friends, but our parents became great friends as well. We always went by each other's homes for dinner or for game night (until we were too old to appreciate hanging out with our parents on a Friday night).

We were practically inseparable during our high school years, and many of our friends thought we would eventually get married and have lots of kids. When anyone mentioned that to Trevor, he would shrug it off and say, "We're just friends, and it will stay that way until the day we die." Usually those words would tug at my heartstrings, but being the shy person I am, I never let my feelings show.

As we went to college, Trevor and I went into the same major, public relations. That was when he met Chelsea Parker, who was also my roommate. At first I liked Chelsea because she was basically a sweet person, but when she set her sights on Trevor, I quickly disliked her. Not because she took Trevor away from me, but because she became a different person.

If only I could go back to four weeks ago, or even seventeen years ago, I would be with the man I loved...


Four weeks ago....

"I don't know why you dragged me to this," I said as I looked at my friend Tia. The two of us were inside the Aventine Ballroom of Hotel Icon waiting for our friend Trevor and his fiancée, Chelsea, to arrive for their engagement and welcome home party. The two had announced their engagement to everyone a while back when Trevor was visiting his parents before going back to Dallas. Not only did he announce his engagement, but he also said that he had accepted a new position at a prestigious PR firm and was moving back to Houston. Although I was happy that my best friend was moving back, I was not thrilled that he was getting married.

"For once, why can't you be happy for Tre? He and Chelsea are finally getting married."

I gave Tia an evil stare as I looked toward the revolving door to the ballroom.

"You know how I feel about Trevor and Chelsea getting married."

"Oh please, Cam, when are you going to get past the fact that Trevor found someone? I told you to admit your feelings to him, but being the person you are, you decided not to."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"You felt you would have been rejected if you told Trevor your true feelings."

"If I remember correctly, in high school when Charles asked him why we never hooked up, he said, and I quote, 'We're just friends.'"

Tia rolled her eyes at me and started to stare at the door as well. This was not the first time we'd had this conversation about my feelings for Trevor, so I'm pretty sure Tia was tired of hearing it.

Tia was my other best friend and the complete opposite of me. While I was quiet and reserved, Tia was wild and carefree. She always did what she wanted and didn't care about the consequences. People always thought we were sisters, with our caramel-colored complexion and long, dark-brown hair. But that was where the similarities ended. I looked down at my black sequin dress that went above my knees, wondering if I was dressed appropriately for the occasion; but as I looked at the hot-pink dress Tia was sporting, I figured my outfit was perfect.

"So how are things between you and Eric?"

"Finished; I broke up with him a couple of days ago."

"I'm assuming because he's not Trevor? Cam, you have got to move on."

I sighed as I noticed two figures coming through the door. I started to breathe slowly as I watched my friend walk in with his fiancée. Trevor always was attractive, but tonight he looked really handsome in a dark blue suit, white shirt, and blue and white striped tie. His black, wavy hair was cut short, bringing out his beautiful brown eyes. He walked hand in hand with Chelsea, the woman I wish I'd never met, who was positively glowing in an ivory-colored empire dress. Her reddish brown hair was pulled into a tight ponytail and her makeup was flaw- less. Although I was completely jealous of Chelsea, I had to admit the two made a stunning couple.

Tia gave me a frown.

"You OK?"

"I'm cool. Let's just get this over with."

While the crowd of family and friends were clapping and whistling for the happy couple, all I could do was just stand in my place, looking at Trevor as if he was the only person in the room. He gave me a smile that showed the deep dimples on each of his cheeks. As he went to greet a couple of his family members, I took a deep breath to control any tears from flowing.

I shouldn't have come tonight.



"Why did we plan a huge engagement party? Everyone knows we're engaged," I asked my fiancée, Chelsea, as we were walking hand in hand down the corridor inside Hotel Icon.

"Sweetie, I just wanted everyone to celebrate in our happiness and what better way than a huge party?"

I sighed as I continued to walk, not realizing how frustrated I was becoming.

Chelsea was the love of my life. I instantly knew I wanted to marry her when I first laid eyes on her in Camille's dorm room. The two were roommates their junior year at University of Houston, which was great for me, considering I was able to see my best friend and my girlfriend at the same time. Although Camille and I were really good friends, I got the sense that something had been bothering her since I'd been dating Chelsea. Call me crazy, but it seemed as if Camille was jealous of our relationship. I hope not, because Chelsea loves Camille and considers her a good friend.

As we walked into the ballroom, everyone from our family and our friends were clapping and cheering for our arrival. We started to wave at everyone as we entered. Once I turned my head toward the center of the room, I had to stop and admire the person staring straight at me. My heart jolted several beats at the beauty who was giving me a dazzling smile. Camille Anderson had always been a beautiful woman, from her caramel-colored skin to her deep chocolate eyes; she definitely stood out in a crowd.

Just looking at her long hair flowing around her face and the black dress that hugged her curves in all the right places made me feel sort of embarrassed, because I shouldn't have been looking at her in that way. I always considered her my best friend and nothing more, so why was I looking at her differently now?

Chelsea turned her attention to me, wondering what was wrong.

"Is everything OK?"

I suddenly realized I was staring a little too long as I turned to Chelsea.

"I'm fine," I said as I squeezed her hand.

I gave Camille a huge grin as I walked over to talk to a nearby guest. I snuck another peek at her; she was talking to our friend Tia near the bar. I don't know what was going on with me, but hopefully this feeling I was having about my best friend would go away soon.

That's if I want it to.

In Love With My Best Friend

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Genre - Contemporary Fiction

Rating – PG13

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Layce Boswell – How to Make Your Characters Believable @markdmajor

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How to Make Your Characters Believable by Layce Boswell

When illustrating, it is the artist’s job to create believable characters based on what the writer has provided. Beyond writing, how does an artist take verbal definitions of who a character is into a visual state that agrees with what has been declared in the text? Doing so can be a very hard process, but it is not impossible and should not be seen as daunting so much as an exciting challenge.

To make a believable character through illustration does not limit the artist to only realistic renderings; as an artist, one can make any kind of character, no matter how abstracted, come to life. When creating, an artist must pay special attention to his or her character’s environment as well as the character. The environment must coexist flawlessly with the character to establish believability with the viewer.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, an artist must find a style that suits him or her as well as the written text, and then he or she must commit wholeheartedly to that style. As mentioned above, the type of style does not matter as much as a continuity of stylistic choices. Whatever choices are made, they must be made with a kind of confidence that is expressed boldly through media, technique, and skill. When these factors flow together seamlessly, the viewer will believe anything the artist wishes to create.


Infinitesimal Abundance of Color

An Infinitesimal Abundance of Color, written by Mark David Major and beautifully illustrated by Layce Boswell, tells the simple story of a father answering his daughter’s questions at bedtime.

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Genre – Juvenile Fiction/Bedtime and Dreams

Rating – G

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik

1:45 AM Posted by James Noel No comments

Otto’s mind takes him back to finding his mother at the Serbsky Institute.

Inmates had jittered and made signs at him as he made his way through the corridors. “Please help me,” he heard from some and, “They have me here because of my political beliefs,” from others. They’d reached out to him as he passed, and his insides had quaked. With the stench of piss and shit everywhere, revulsion filled him. But he’d felt no compassion for these people. He hadn’t given a fuck about them. Only his mother mattered.

“This way,” the nurse had said. “She’s through here.”

He found her in a large open room. She sat on the only piece of furniture in it. The chair was pushed back against the wall and she rocked slightly, staring blankly into nothingness. Spittle leaked from her mouth and she was barely recognizable as the woman he loved. Her long, luxurious, oily-black hair had been shaven to the skin. Her teeth had somehow been removed and her formerly full face had caved in because of it. Like a corpse, she was yellowed and sunken. Only 47 years old and she looked twice that. He’d wished he hadn’t found her and cried bitterly – in front of those sadistic bastards that called themselves nurses.

More like prison guards. And in reality, that’s what they were. Soviet dissidents ended up in places like Serbsky, out of harm’s way. In mental hospitals where they could be abused and broken. Somewhere to extinguish credibility. He’d seen those inmates beaten, teeth punched or kicked from their faces. And if they still didn’t bow to the might of the people, enforced lobotomy wasn’t unheard of as a final step.

With desperation, he’d hoped his mother hadn’t suffered such cruelty.


And now, somehow, she’d made it through to 60. Why, oh why had she lasted this long? All those years, and still she rocked on that old wooden chair and stared at nothing. How could life be this cruel?

He remembered the first time he’d visited the asylum in full Spetsnaz uniform. After calling several of the nurses together, he said, “I know you all have military connections. On that basis, I won’t explain this uniform. Each of you has some sort of responsibility to my mother. The good news is you’re about to receive an extra income. The bad news: if you don’t look after my mother properly and see she gets the kind of care and nourishment she needs, I may have to call on my KGB colleagues. I hope we all understand what that could mean.”

Memories dissolved as he entered the large open room. On his instructions, her hair had been left to grow. But now it was too long and no one had shown it a comb. Still she rocked, gazing into nothingness with the expression of a lunatic on her face.

The burly warder turned to leave but Otto grabbed his arm. “We have an agreement. Next time I come here, I expect my mother to be presentable. Look at her, her hair hasn’t had attention for who knows how long. She needs a bath and a change of clothes. She looks like she’s just puked down them.”

“I err…,” the nurse spluttered with a voice too high for his size.

“Fuck you and your errs. Why do I pay you people so much? I’ll say this once. If I’m not satisfied with the way she looks next time I come, I’ll personally see to it that you have teeth to match hers. And each time after that, I’ll take you a step further down that road. Clear enough?”

“Yes, Captain. I’ll see to it myself.”

The nurse left and Otto looked at his mother. His heart brimmed. The only woman he’d ever loved – could ever love. He got down on his honkers, and took her hand. No sign of recognition, but at least she didn’t pull away.

“Hello, Mother, how are you today?”

Birth of an Assassin

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Genre – Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Color Pink by Parker Paige

10:25 PM Posted by James Noel No comments


Can wearing the color pink attract true love?

That is the question Summer Jones intends to answer.

In her early thirties, Summer Jones thought that she had found the perfect man, the man she planned to marry until she learned that he still had feelings for his first love. Now, at age thirty-five, Summer is ready to fall in love again. After she hears that wearing the color pink can attract true love, she sets out to do just that–and finds more than just true love.

Follow Summer as she journeys into the world of color magic and find out how she uses that magic to help her choose between one man from her past and another man who is destined to become her future.

This romantic drama serves up something fun and sexy, proving that the road to love can be paved with many painful lessons and memorable moments. It’s a story about paying attention to your past so that you don’t always have to repeat it.

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Genre - Romance

Rating – PG-13

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Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik

8:50 AM Posted by James Noel 1 comment

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

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Friday, October 25, 2013

The Photo Traveler (The Photo Traveler Series) by Arthur J. Gonzalez

11:15 PM Posted by James Noel No comments


I can’t ask for a better day to be out shooting. Man, what a view. Something about how the sun’s rays press against the faint distant outline of the mountains. Sick! If it can seem so dominating from all the way over here, I can only imagine what it must feel like up close. I don’t know. It just always kind of does something to me.

I know, I know. Lame, right? But trust me, if you lived in the hellhole I live in, anytime alone is sacred. You start to appreciate all these little not-so-particular things. Yeah—even the outline of the mountains.

Carefully, I focus the lens on my Canon 7D to capture the effect of the clouds drifting across the peaks of Mt. Rose and get my shot. A few seconds later, the sunlight dims. I hadn’t realized it was so late. I glance at my watch, wondering what’s taking Melinda so long. She promised to pick me up by five, even though I knew that would mean five-thirty. It’s five-forty-five.

I call her on my cell. It rings four times, then goes to voicemail. “Come on, Mel!” I mutter. “It’s getting late!”

I’ve had a good day so far, probably because I’ve been alone for most of it, and I really don’t want another confrontation with Jet. I can still taste the faint copper tinge of blood at the corner of my mouth where he split my lip the last time around. Two days ago.

I hit redial. Straight to voicemail. “Dammit, Mel!”

I tell myself to breathe, but my anxiety is really starting to kick in. Sweat is beading on my forehead and my heart is jolting in my chest. Why does she always have to be so impossible? I don’t get it.

The moment I hear the loud thrum of an engine roaring up the dirt road, I jump up from the boulder I’ve been perched on. It’s about damn time!

She screeches up to me in her new, cherry-red Mini Cooper and slams on the brakes. I dodge around to the passenger side. Grab the door handle. It’s locked.

“Mel!” I shout. “Open up!”

But she’s sitting behind the wheel pretending not to hear me. Eyes glued to her phone, purple nails tapping out a text message. With a tiny smirk on her glossed-up lips.

I hit the window with my fist. “Stop messing around! Jet’s gonna be pissed!”

She finishes her text, sends it … and adjusts the rearview mirror so she can check out the jet-black curls at her temples. She still hasn’t given me one look. Is she really serious right now?

I pound at the window again, as hard as I can. “Open up, dammit!” My anxiety is turning into rage. And rage is something Jet’s modeled for me only too well over the years, ever since he and his first wife, Leyla, took me in as a foster kid. Mel was just six at the time, but “my sister,” which she became after they finally adopted me, was a full-fledged brat from Day One, and she’s only gotten worse.

My fist hurts. I’m afraid of what Jet will do when we get back, since he ordered me to be home by six so I can start dinner.

But as far as Mel’s concerned, I might as well not be there. I can’t control it any longer. I take a step back, lift my knee, and kick the passenger door with all my strength. The hollow metal frame vibrates against the sole of my shoe. Mel’s prized car now has a six-inch dent right in the middle of the passenger door.

I guess that got her attention. Her mouth is hanging open. For a moment, she’s so astonished that she can’t speak. She swings her door open and charges around to the passenger side.

“MY CAR!” she screams, staring at the dent. “Are you crazy?!”

“Why couldn’t you just open up?” I yell back.

“Gavin, you’re an asshole! I was just messing with you! You’re never gonna learn to use your head, are you?”

“Go to hell!”

She goes still, then raises her eyebrows with an “Oh, really?” expression. Then she hauls off and slams her fist into the right side of my face. All I can feel is the large stone of her ring jabbing into my cheek. She stalks back to the driver’s side with a wicked smirk creasing her lips and snaps, “You can walk home!”

She slides behind the wheel, slams the door, and peels off so hard and fast that the car kicks up a stinging cloud of gravel and asphalt dust all over me.

She can’t be serious. But as the Mini disappears around the first bend in the road, I realize that she is.

* * *

Photo Traveler

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Genre - Young Adult Science Fiction

Rating – PG

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

#Free–Penalty Clause by Lori Ryan @loriryanauthor

12:00 PM Posted by James Noel No comments

Penalty Clause by Lori Ryan

Amazon Kindle US

Genre – Romantic Suspense

Rating – R

4.5 (42 reviews)

Free until 24 October 2013

To keep her, he'll have to gamble it all!
Andrew Weston and Jill Walsh had to be the two most unlikely people to fall in love. When Jill's first husband's love for her simply fizzled and died, Jill knew she'd never trust that love could last again. After Andrew's first love betrayed him in the most brutal way possible, he knew he might fall in love again someday, but there was no way he'd ever make himself vulnerable again by confessing those feelings if he did.
Fate had a different ending in mind for these two, though, and when Andrew discovers his love for Jill, he knows the only way to get her to stay with him forever is to offer her an iron clad penalty clause in a prenuptial agreement. He stays with her forever or he loses everything he owns. The millions he's worked for, his property, his cars, everything. Now he just needs to hope that's enough to hold onto Jill forever.

The Colors of Friendship by K R Raye @KRRaye

7:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

The Alpha Party – January 2000

“Whew, we made it,” Melody Wilkins said with a laugh as she, Lance Dunn, and Imani Jordan escaped the throng of fraternity partygoers.
Imani brushed past Melody, eager to enjoy the relative oasis of the makeshift bar.  She pulled up a stool and swallowed her disappointment.  During their mad, congested dash from the front door to the back bar, she scanned the two hundred plus, hard-dancing students looking for Trevor, but to no avail.
She pasted on a smile to prevent Melody or Lance from misinterpreting things.  Hell, even she didn’t know what to expect from the Trevor situation.  All she knew was that she liked hanging out with him in and out of class.  Imani checked her expression in the nick of time before Lance caught her eye.
Lance winked and arranged his muscular, 6’2” frame into a GQ stance while he stroked his goatee, a pose that he assumed oozed sexy charm.  Please, like he didn’t already generate enough attention when they entered the fraternity house, working the room like a campaigning politician or the ridiculous jock he was.
Imani tried to choke back a guffaw as Melody watched her in amusement.  But much to Imani’s awe and chagrin, Lance’s ridiculous antics started working.  Four attractive girls honed in on Lance’s horny, homing beacon, their mouths almost salivating.
What the hell?  Imani frowned as two of the girls shot her and Melody jealous daggers.  All of this unwarranted attention just because Lance played football the last two games of the season and played well?
Imani sucked her teeth and turned to the bar.  “Damn, I’m ready to get my swerve on!”
“Well, you deserve a drink,” Melody replied as she hopped her petite, frame onto a stool to Imani’s left.  Melody’s thick, blond curls bounced about like springs.  “Heck, after our intense studying all week and your physics exam today; you deserve to unwind.”
Right on cue the attractive fraternity brother acting as the bartender meandered over.  “What can I get you, Sugar?”
“Two amaretto sours,” she said gesturing to Melody and herself, “and one vodka tonic for him,” she said nodding towards Lance.
“Sure thing, Sugar,” he replied with a wink.
After the flirty bartender departed, she elbowed Lance in his side.  “You’re awful quiet.”
“I’m sure he’s thinking what I’m thinking,” Melody said, swiveling her stool around to face them.  “Looking at all these beautiful faces and wondering which person is the one, that magical one, true love.”
“Oh Lord, here we go!”  Imani moaned and leaned back against the bar.
“Ah, let me handle this, Imani.”  Lance clapped Melody’s back.  “Dear, deluded Melody,” he said, then he stroked his mustache and goatee.  “In actuality, I was looking at all of these beautiful women and wondering which one is going to end up in my bed.  However, it seems I need to school you.”  He cleared his throat and his deep voice took on a preacher-like quality.
“Love is highly overrated.  It’s this fantasyland you read about in those Harlequin rags you devour.  A vicious lie parents tell their little girls.”  He shook his head and shrugged.  “That’s why the divorce rate is so high.  Unreasonable expectations.”
“Thoughts, Imani?”  Melody smiled knowing she could get a rise out of her.  Melody’s gray-green eyes twinkled in anticipation against her golden-tanned skin.
“Lance is kinda right.”  Imani’s nose scrunched up, hating to agree with Lance.  “You’re one of these women that fosters unrealistic fantasies about the fairytale wedding and living happily ever after.  That shit don’t happen.”  Imani threw Lance a scathing look.  “But love does exist and it ain’t overrated.”
Colors of Friendship
True friendship endures all obstacles…right?
Three college friends search for true love, NFL fame, and a successful engineering career. Will one friend’s quest for happiness endanger all three of their lives?
Naïve, romantic Melody Wilkins aims to find true love at college just like her parents. But will she sacrifice her soul to obtain it?
No-nonsense Imani Jordan strives for good grades and a chemical engineering degree. When a friendship offers more, will she follow her head or her heart?
Lance Dunn is only serious about two things: football and protecting his girls, Melody and Imani. When a threat enters their lives and tests their friendship, can he stop it before it kills them?
After the torrents of jealousy, sex, and abuse subside, will their friendship survive…The Colors of Friendship?
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Genre – New Adult, Contemporary
Rating – R
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Author Interview – Pete Clark

6:30 AM Posted by James Noel No comments

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?

I love quotes. I have many favorites but I can only narrow it down to a top three.

“Each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.” Poe. Just pure beauty of establishing the mood and perfect word choice.

“I fall upon the thorns of life; I bleed.” Percy Bysshe Shelley. I love tragic quotes and this is one of my favorites. It is a great mix of experience and agony.

“And Yet to me what is this quintessence of dust-“ Big Willy Shakes. Really that whole monologue – “I have of late but wherefore I know not lost all my mirth…” in Hamlet - is about the best paragraph in existence. I love it all. I know I’m not exactly uncovering a hidden gem here, but it’s amazing.

What genre are you most comfortable writing?

This answer is sort of a cheap move but I am comfortable writing in all kinds of genres. Horror, western sci-fi, comedy, realistic drama. But if I had to choose, I guess comedy comes easiest for me.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Not really. What is writer’s block really? I guess it means when you just don’t have a good idea or you are stuck in your story at a certain point. I think labeling it just makes it worse. If I feel hung up, I either work on something else or I just start writing. No matter how lousy it is, I just crank it out and eventually I end up getting to something usable. Then I go and scrap the rest. Sometimes the random garbage actually stimulates ideas for something else.

Who is your publisher?

J Ellington Ashton Press

How much of the book is realistic?

Most of Midnight Riders is based on real historic people and events. However I have added quite a bit of chaos to the mix. But for the most part I did stick to a lot of facts. Historians will easily notice where I took some liberties.

How important do you think villains are in a story?

Villains are crucial. A hero is only as heroic as his nemesis is dangerous. A great villain makes for great conflict, which is key in many genres. Some of my favorite characters are villains.

When you wish to end your career, stop writing, and look back on your life, what thoughts would you like to have?

Man, I’m sick of tripping over all of these jewel filled treasure chests. Although to be honest, I don’t really care about money. If people thought of me as a writer who was versatile and didn’t sell out but wrote well, I would be happy.


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Genre – Alternate History

Rating – PG13

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