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Saturday, November 30, 2013

#AmReading - Titanic Deception by John & Toni Rakestraw @John_Rakestraw

6:35 PM Posted by James Noel No comments

Titanic Deception by John & Toni Rakestraw


With stars in her eyes, Alice Clarke boards the Titanic, heading to a new life. On board, she falls in love, only to lose him in the disaster. He leaves her with a pocketwatch, which holds more secrets than she realizes.
Her great-grandson, Michael Kearney, inherits her diary. When he overhears an unusual story about why the ship was wrecked, he finally reads it and finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy that stretches across a century involving some very powerful people.
With the help of Soft Kitty, an irascible conspiracy theorist, and his girlfriend, Sylvia, he must bring the truth to light and bring down the men behind it, no matter what the cost. Maybe some secrets are better left at the bottom of the sea.

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

6:45 AM Posted by James Noel No comments


Chapter 4

Portland, Oregon

October 22nd

Afternoon Hours

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

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

‘Hey, man! You daydreaming?’

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

‘Feel sick or something?’ he persisted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Rating – PG-13

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Author Interview – Moira Katson @moirakatson

6:00 AM Posted by James Noel No comments

Image of Moira Katson

What is your greatest strength as a writer?

Creating characters that the reader can empathize with; even with antagonists, I want their motives to be clear and reasonable. There is always room for improvement, of course – but I think that is my greatest strength right now.

Why did you choose to write this particular book?

It’s very difficult to say, because the story takes on a life of its own. I may think that I know what a story is about, but often as I am writing I find new meaning in it. Shadowborn began with the desire to tell Miriel’s tale, and Catwin came into being as an unexpectedly strong-minded character—after that, it was about telling their story, together.

How important do you think villains are in a story?

They are one of the most important elements! Villains are often the architect of the ills that befall the protagonist, and they are also often the protagonist’s foil. Because villains are so central, I think it really is essential to see them written carefully—one of the things that can really disappoint, in a book, is when the villain seems like a straw man character. I have to understand your villain’s character, circumstances, and drive (or there has to be some legitimate reason I don’t know), or the story is oddly flat.

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

Yes, indeed! I am working on another trilogy right now that I am slating for next June. This one will be SciFi instead of fantasy, but it will often read like Fantasy. Stay tuned!

What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out?

I am a huge fan of Scrivener, because it keeps chapters and sections all organized. However, I think the biggest resource is the wealth of knowledge, especially blog posts, available for writers. If you’re looking to learn about marketing, formatting, finding editors or cover artists, or writing queries, there is so much information out there!

What contributes to making a writer successful?

I think that a huge component of success is just not quitting. Another is having the guts to let people shred your work. If you keep improving, and don’t quit, you have a much better chance of making it!

Do you have any advice for writers?

It’s so clichéd, but it’s the only advice: keep writing. No time spent writing is wasted.

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot?

I suppose that my experiences and the people I know must be reflected somehow, but things are so combined and shifted around that it’s difficult to tell what was inspiration for which piece of a book.

What inspired you to write your first book?

It’s difficult to remember—my stories usually begin with an image or a concept, and morph significantly as characters emerge! At the time that I began writing Mahalia, I was working in a job that was miserable, and so I was always daydreaming of her world.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?

Trying to get the story on the page as close as possible to the story in my head. Robin McKinley said, “the story is always better than your ability to write it,” and I have always found that to be true.

What is your favorite food?

Anything that has been simmered and stewed for a while—curries, ragouts, bourgignon! It sounds especially appealing now that winter is just around the corner.

What other jobs have you had in your life?

I’ve worked as a clerk at an apple orchard, a temp worker for one of the Ivy League colleges, a barista, a math tutor, and a call center rep. Pretty varied!

What genre of books do you adore?

I have a soft spot for Regency-era romances. I can feel assured that everything will work its way out, and the books are full of quips and funny happenstance! The Lady Whistledown books are probably my favorite. I am also a huge fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy, and I like history, historical fiction, and books about economics or sociology.


Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre - Fantasy

Rating – PG-13

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Website http://www.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Author Interview – Sebastiana Randone @sebasti29567440

6:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments
Image of Sebastiana Randone
What motivates you to write?
A desire to see how things will unfold in the story as the work progresses, the more familiar I become with my characters, the more I look forward to visiting their world.
What writing are you most proud of? (Add a link if you like)
There is a scene in The House, involving a fortune teller who is called upon in the hope that insight into the origins of, the all too mysterious time traveller, may be gained. I then created some scenes that came to the clairvoyant through her crystal ball, thereby adding another dimension to the plot. Speaking in the language of a fortune teller was most enjoyable as it gave me much licence to speak in metaphors and symbols, whilst presenting the reader with genuine clues.
What books did you love growing up?
My parents being Italian did not read to me, fortunately this did not deter me from finding a passion in reading from a very early age.  My early years were devoted to Enid Blyton, of whom I read absolutely everything. This was followed by Alice in Wonderland and by the time I was ten, I encountered C.S Lewis and read all the Narnia series voraciously, not dissimilar to the fervour the Harry Potter books generated in recent times. My primary school was equipped with a comprehensive library, so I was able to borrow each book in succession, with no wait, which was good, as I still recall quite vividly the impatience I felt awaiting the next instalment.  As a teenager I developed a taste for crime mysteries so I read everything the library had to offer, Agatha Christie, James Hadley Chase etc. Then it was off to the adult reads Harrold Robbins, Jacqueline Sussan, Mitchener, there are too many to mention as I can honestly say that since the age of 7, I have never been without a book. The classics began when I was about 18. The Brontes, Austen, Radcliffe, Dickens, Thackeray, Hardy, George Eliot,Wilkie Collins the list goes on. By my mid 30’s I discovered the French – Balzac, Stendhal, Zola, Hugo, Maupausant. Then back to England, with Somerset Maughan, Huxley, D H Lawrence, then to Russia, with Turgeniev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy. Then there was Shakespeare which led me to read Homer, Ovid and the Greek myths. There are so many more. Sadly I have not kept a running list of books I have read, but there have been thousands I am sure.
Who is your favorite author?
This is a very difficult one to answer as there are many I simply adore and respect. But I think for now I will say George Eliot.  Next time it could very well be Balzac.  There are too many in reality, as they wrote extremely fine books back then.
What book genre of books do you adore?
Classical literature – gothic, romance, political, historical fiction.

The House is an adult fairy tale rich in mystery and intrigue.
Here is a tale of a woman so absorbed with historical novels that her own reality ceases to offer any hope of romance and beauty.
Until one day this dreamy idealist finds herself in a mysterious forest. How she arrived there is unknown. Soon she encounters a dilapidated house, within whose ancient walls magical rooms that transport to parallel worlds lie in wait.  There she is transmigrated to 18th century England, where our heroine interacts with an odd mix of characters whose dysfunctional lives become immediately apparent.
Her first tribulation involves a nefarious lord, an archetype of the monstrous characters one encounters in fairy tales. The ramification from this confrontation sets the tone for the narrative.
A magic portal finally enables escape from the austere Georgian dwelling. She is then spirited back to the enigmatic house, and a journey to Regency London follows, where a large cast of eccentric identities present themselves.
Late one night, following a long stay in Florence, a young, heart-broken poet arrives. His introduction to the beautiful time traveller offers promise of restoration and love. But there are several more obstacles ahead before her destiny in this curious adventure is made apparent.
In the end an unexpected twist is revealed. But like all good fairy tales, this surprising conclusion is pleasing, even though the means of getting there are dark, and at times sinister.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Historical, Fantasy, Romance
Rating - PG-16
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Author Interview – Kelly Jackson @MidlifeGals

6:00 AM Posted by James Noel No comments
Image of Kelly Jackson
How did you come up with the title?
A Texan Goes to Nirvana.
Back when I first decided to write my book, there were few ‘doubting Thomases.’  Yoga was the rage, but you didn’t question the supposed spiritual interpretation of each different style of yoga. Some of it was Hinduism, but some of it was cultish hooey, and I experienced the latter. I’ll question just about anything, so my title basically reflects the dichotomy of a Texan and Nirvana.  The photo on the cover is I, who appear to have a secret.  Hehehe.
How much of the book is realistic?
The setting is almost entirely realistic, although I changed the names of the state, the swami and his ho’s to protect the guilty.  The teacher training classes were very realistically portrayed, and the descriptions of the ashram campus are true to my memory.  I can still smell the dining hall, a combination of everyone’s shoes in shelves upon entering mixed with boiling Kale and lentils.  It still makes me throw up in my mouth just a tiny bit. The German Yoga Nazi teacher was even worse than I described…and Nanandaji…well, don’t get me started.   Oh, and the care package that was sent to me was exactly as described….a little box of heaven.  I lost 18 pounds at the ashram.  Buon appetito!
How important do you think villains are in a story?
I don’t know how important villains are in a story, but I know how much FUN they are to get to know, to describe, to fear, to wonder where they came from and where they are going in your head, as the author, and in the head of the reader.  What fun it was for me, and there is a very clear villain in my story.  I could tell you, but then that character would probably have to kill you.  Notice that I did not give away gender here, because, unlike my sister, Sal, I do NOT begin a book with the last chapter.  She is a Gemini though, so it’s part of her nature.
What are you goals as a writer?
It would please me if people read my books, but seriously, I write to get it all out of there, out of the way back room of my brain that has all of the filing cabinets where the little man goes looking for things that I am trying to remember.  He rifles through the files willy-nilly at night to provide me with endlessly entertaining and nonsensical dreams. I love him, and I want to express myself through the interesting files that he brings me…ones that cause me to gasp, to be so pleased with that I grin from ear to ear.  I want all of it on paper…or virtual paper, whatever.  It wants OUT! That is my only goal with writing.
What books have most influenced your life?
Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen, West With the Night by Beryl Markham, Me Talk Pretty One Day and Naked by David Sedaris, I remember Nothing by Nora Ephron, 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe.
Can we expect any more books from you in the future?
I am about to revisit a another comic mystery novel that I started a few years ago, then The Universe took me in another direction.  It’s called, An Ear for Mirabel.  Intrigued??
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Believe it or not, I still do yoga three times a week, but it’s all in the balance, because then I have a cigarette and a martini.  You see, yoga is about keeping my body flexible and strong.  And, after my stint at the ashram, I did indeed open a yoga studio, but I called it Yoga for Normals.  Yoga for Smokers, Drinkers, Meat Eaters and Non-Believers wouldn’t fit as a neon sign.  Unlike some yoga teachers who espouse their own spin on the spiritual branch of yoga instruction, I never, ever felt myself spiritually equipped enough to spread my own gospel to my students.  I leave all of that up to the pastors of the mega churches and the snake oil salesmen.  In my yoga class, we listened to Boz Scaggs and James Taylor instead of Ravi Shankar.
What makes me happiest?
At this stage in my life, I’ve reconnected with my favorite sister, Sally.  We came together in 2007 to care for our aging mother (The Ancient One), and after she took her ‘final field trip,’ we stayed together…no kids between us, no husbands, but an understanding, admiration and laughable love for each other that transcends any love I have experienced before. We moved from Texas to Hawaii together, and one of my happiest times is when we reconnect after a work day, sit out on our porch, smoke a cigarette, drink a martini, go over the day, plan for the morrow, toast whatever accomplishments we made during our day and laugh, laugh, laugh.
What else do you do to make money other than write?
I am perhaps the best executive secretary on the planet.  I can spin 7-8 plates in the air at once, check my Facebook page, actually get the boss a cup of coffee, keep secrets, make people laugh just because I want to, find the perfect dentist for the boss’s kids, pick up his new glasses and the laptop from the airline where he left it on the seat in the plane, keep the office managed and stocked…and not let ANYone near the ‘big guy’ unless they please the ‘guardian of his gate.’ I have both the left side and right side of my brain firing on whichever cylinders are needed in the moment.  I like to be as creative at work as I do when I am writing. I fancy myself very good at both.
Tell us about your marketing campaign?
I am self-published, as A Texan Goes to Nirvana is my first novel, and I finally blew the dust off the top of it and took advantage of the un-rarified air of today’s independent authors who needn’t bow to a publishing house.  I will bow to a publishing house, of course, should one approach me, because I want people to enjoy my little comic novel.  I remain shameless, because I am not getting any younger.
I have entered the KDP Select group on Amazon, and have researched the marketing of self-published books, following advice like giving it away for free for a few days each month, producing an author’s Facebook page and an Amazon author’s page.  I found Orangeberry too!  I post regularly on my FB page, The Midlife Gals’ FB page, Twitter and our own website,  I am proud of my novel and tell everyone I know!  But, here’s the one thing on which I just cannot spend time – forums.  I am not a forum person, a group person, a team player or club joiner.  So, shoot me, but please buy my book first so I will know that one more person will laugh at my funny story.
What book should everyone read at least once?
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
What are you most proud of in your personal life?
I am most proud of my courage.  It has provided me with the most amazing experiences in my lifetime.  My mother gave me courage, as her mother instilled it in her.  I am proud of 90% of the choices that I have made in my life, and I will continue to throw caution to the wind if something that must be done draws my attention.
A Texan Goes to Nirvana
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Humor Mystery
Rating – PG
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Connect with Kelly Jackson on Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, November 28, 2013

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

4:15 PM Posted by James Noel No comments
Beverly Hills Book Award winner, USA Best Book Award finalist, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award bronze winner, International Book Award finalist, ForeWord Firsts debut literary competition finalist.
The story opens with Noah Hartman, eighty years old, lying on his deathbed recounting his life of love and loss to Josh, a compassionate orderly at the hospital. As Noah’s loved ones arrive one by one, they listen in on his story, and we’re transported back in time to Noah’s younger years.
Though outwardly seeming to have it all, Noah, now thirty-five, is actually an empty, lost, and broken man running on automatic pilot. He has no true identity due to having allowed his powerful, wealthy parents to manipulate, control, and brainwash him from a young age. With the threat of disinheritance and withholding love and approval if he doesn’t comply with the plan they have for his life, Noah is lured in by the reward of great wealth and the illusion of running the family business empire some day.
Enter Robin, twenty-five years old, who — in direct contrast to Noah — is a vivacious, free spirit. Full of life and always living in the moment, Robin’s love saves Noah by inspiring him to stand up to his parents and live his own life at all costs, reclaiming his true self.
They get married, and while snorkeling in the Caribbean, the captain of the boat warns them not to disturb anything in the sea. Ignoring the exhortation, Noah dives down and snags a sand dollar from the ocean floor, whereupon it explodes in his hand. With the fragile sand dollar taking on new significance, Robin inexplicably leaves Noah shortly after returning from their honeymoon. Like a passing breeze, she disappears out of his life without a trace, seemingly forever.
Years pass, and Noah still can’t get Robin out of his mind and out of his heart. After all, the one he loved the most would forever be the one who got away. That’s when he finds out about her hidden secret, the underlying condition responsible for her leaving. Noah has no choice but to move on with his life without her, meeting Sarah at the premiere of SAND DOLLAR, the movie he wrote about his time with Robin.
Years later, it’s Noah and Sarah’s wedding day, and Robin discovers a clue that Noah had surreptitiously inserted into the movie, inspiring her to race to the wedding to try to stop it. With the wedding in shambles, the scene jumps back to present day, with both Robin and Sarah placed in Noah’s hospital room. But which one did he choose?
As Noah wraps up his story, he discovers a far greater truth about the past, present, and future. Things are definitely not as they appear as the pieces of a shattered love are put back together in the remarkable final chapter of Noah’s life.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG 13
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Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik

6:45 AM Posted by James Noel No comments


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

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

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

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

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

“Yes, Sergeant,” Jez said.

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

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

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

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



Birth of an Assassin

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

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

Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

More details about the author

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

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

3:30 PM Posted by James Noel , No comments

At 6 PM I step outside the house for some air and look straight into Diablo’s hideous face.

As in my nightmares my scream lodges in my throat and as in my nightmares he towers menacingly over me. Déjà vu all around.

He has a posse – about twenty hairy, tattooed men and two women, all on horseback all staring at me.

Diablo’s stares as if he’s seeing a ghost. ‘I thought I killed you,’ he says and grabs me by the neck.

Like someone lost in a trance, I can only gape at him. He jabs a gun under my chin and sticks his puce face in mine. Imagine, I cheated death only to be killed again by the same monster. What are the odds of that? Could my life suck any more?

‘Listen fucker,’ I hear myself say, ‘you got the wrong chick. I’m no spy, okay?’

Okay, I’ve travelled for two days, I’m dehydrated, exhausted from the harsh mountain climb, my feet are shredded from the jagged rocks and I’ve probably got sunstroke – my mind is AWOL.

His grip on my neck tightens and his gun jabs harder into my neck.

‘You wanna kill me? Do it. Just make sure you do it right this time, huh?’

Okay, I having one of those out-of-body-experiences people talk about. This can’t be me asking this barbarian to kill me.

There is a collective gasp around us as surprise registers in his bloodshot eyes. I doubt anyone has ever spoken to the miserable, cranky bastard like this before.

‘Why? Huh? Tell me why? Why the fuck are you so desperate to kill me, huh? What are you scared of?’ To my surprise, my voice is low, controlled, impatient, but not at all scared. ‘You that afraid of a chick, you actually have to kill her? Huh, you fucking shithead?’

The place is so quiet, I can hear a clock ticking. Or is it my heartbeat? I can’t tell right now.

Link to Gringa:\



I was twenty-one, a sassy college student who took crap from no one. While holidaying in Mexico, I was accosted by The Devil of Mexico called Diablo and shot, because the s.o.b. mistook me for a spy.
I survived, only to encounter him again months later. How’s that for luck?
Furious and sick of all that I’d been through because of him, I slapped him, told him to go to hell and braced myself for the bullet. He could shoot me – I no longer cared.
But, to my surprise, he became fascinated with me and blackmailed me into becoming his woman. He’d slay the entire village that sheltered me, if I rejected his proposal.
He was Kong, hairy, tattooed from fingertips to face, with scary ass piercings, blood-shot snake eyes, a ruthless killer and above all, he was my murderer – how could anyone expect me to say yes?
To save the village I had to.
He took me by force, terrorized me into submission and made me his. To make matters worse, I had to put up with his ruthless, backstabbing family who hated me and wanted to kill me.
I despised the bastard and I told him that. Spark flew. Fists too.
But, the more I rejected Diablo, the more he wanted me.
At times he wanted to kill me because of my insolence, but other times he just wanted me to love him.
I was his Gringa and in an attempt to get my love, he began to change for me. Drastic changes that made me laugh at him at first, then made me curious.
As the days went by, I found myself drawn to him and I began seeing him differently. When I found out about his past, everything changed.



Where to find Eve Rabi online








Deception – A Palace Full of Liars – Book 1

Deception – A Palace Full of Liars – Book 2

Burn’s World – Book 1

Burn’s World – Book 2

Burn’s World – Book 3

Burn’s World – Book 4

CAPTURED – My Sworn Enemy, My Secret Lover – Book 1

CAPTURED – My Sworn Enemy, My Secret Lover – Book 2

Gringa – A Love Story Book 1

Gringa – A Love Story Book 2

Gringa – A Love Story Book 3

Gringa – A Love Story Book 4

THE CHEAT – A Tale of Lies and Infidelity – Book 1

THE CHEAT – A Tale of Lies and Infidelity – Book 2

You Will Pay – For Leaving Me (This book is free to Eve Rabi Fans)

Obsessed with me –Book 1

Obsessed with me –Book 2

Betrayed – He’d get his Girl at Any Cost

My Brother, My Rival (Book 1)

My Brother, My Rival (Book 2)

Author Interview – Deidre D Havrelock @deidrehavrelock

11:15 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

Image of Deidre Havrelock

If you could have any superpower what would you choose?

Those dreams where you can fly, those are the best. So I pick flying. I don’t want to be stretchy—that’s too weird. And I don’t want to be anything where I’m naked, like the invisible woman. I don’t like being cold.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Vanilla…but I read somewhere that only really complicated people choose vanilla!

If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?

First I’d like to spend some time with Jesus and learn as much as I could about whatever he wanted to talk about. But I’d also really like to meet Joan of Arc. That would be cool. We’d hang out in my back yard and sip iced coffee and tell God-stories where crazy stuff happens. I think we’d get along. Yeah, we’d be best friends.

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?


What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

My quirk is that I write in bed. I sometimes get my laptop and stay in bed for hours! My husband calls it “my office.”

Living the testimony

We testify in accordance with what we know and have experienced.

…It’s time to learn and experience more!

The first book in this thought-provoking series explained how testimony relates to the Bible; this book will help you understand how testimony relates to living. Living…The Testimony will not only encourage Christians to reflect on who they believe Jesus to be (and why they choose to believe this), but it will also correct current misconstrued ideas as to what the Christian testimony is all about.

- a testimony is not about church;

- a testimony is not about God;

- a testimony is not about faith in general terms;

- this book contains numerous testimonies that will strengthen your faith in Jesus.

A strong Christian testimony is one that continually grows in the knowledge of Jesus, continually shares that knowledge boldly, while at the same time performs good works based on Jesus’ teaching of love—all while abstaining from works of darkness.

Because a biblical testimony deals not only with our belief system, but also with the way we conduct our whole lives, our Christian testimony becomes our most valuable asset. It is life itself.

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Genre – Christian Living

Rating – G

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Indiestructible: Inspiring Stories from the Publishing Jungle @MsBessieBell

6:45 AM Posted by James Noel No comments

Tackling the Time Factor

by Jessica Bell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what about the rest?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s an example:

My job (at least 7 hours worth)

500-1000 words on my WIP

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

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

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

I made dinner.

I walked the dog.

I relaxed.

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

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

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

Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

Nothing is impossible if you truly want it.

Nothing is impossible. Full stop.


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

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

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

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


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Genre –  Non-fiction

Rating – G

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Author Interview – Kristen James @writerkristenj

5:30 AM Posted by James Noel No comments

Image of Kristen James

What was the hardest part about writing this book?

I learned so much while writing this book, but it wasn’t hard. I wrote the first draft in two months. It just flowed, and then I went through and added in more ideas and details.

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?

I went outside of writing a romance to look at family life. I also worked more with my secondary characters—some of them came to life and became very important to the story.

How do you promote this book?

I promoted to my fan base through Facebook, and then I ran a Bookbub ad for one day. Amazon also sent out emails. After about six weeks, I got an email from Montlake Romance (an Amazon imprint) and then accepted an offer. So I stopped promoting to wait until Montlake relaunches the book.

Will you write others in this same genre?

I love the romance/family drama genre. You could include it in women’s fiction, although there is a heavy romantic element to it.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I want the book to speak for itself, but I also think it’s pretty clear that the story is about making a marriage work, and that family matters and can help you through the tough times.

How much of the book is realistic?

I use emotions I felt in personal experiences, and I also blend in little realistic details, such as the toy parade the kids do in the book. My kids did that.

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot?

Many of my stories and characters come from a certain aspect of my life. I’ll even start a character based on someone and then develop that character further.

What are your goals as a writer?  

I want to write better and better books, grow as a writer, reach more readers and continue to love the process.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

My family and I went to Coos Bay for a weekend so I could have everything fresh in my mind when writing Point Hope. We had a great time and I took notes on local businesses, Sunset State Park and the area.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I hope to have another 10, 15 or more novels out and a much bigger fan base.

What contributes to making a writer successful?

Reading, writing and putting concentrated effort into storytelling.

Do you have any advice for writers?

Write from your heart. Use your passions, fears and experiences.

If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be?

Always believe in yourself and look for the beauty in life. We see what we look for, so look for reasons to be happy.

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

I want to see a long career of emotional, moving books with lasting effect. I want to write books that stick with people, and have a readership that read all my books. It’s about connecting with people and showing how I want the world to be.

Point Hope Cover

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Genre - Romance (women’s fiction/ family drama)

Rating – PG13

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#AmReading - Twisted Vine by Toby Neal @tobywneal

2:20 PM Posted by James Noel No comments

Twisted Vine by Toby Neal


The island of Oahu is skyscrapers and rainforests, beaches and boutiques—but Special Agent Lei Texeira is drawn into a shadow world connected by death and the Internet.
Mysterious suicides draw Lei and her team, including tech specialist Sophie Ang, to hunt a criminal who plays with the thin gray line between right and wrong. Lei stirs up a hornet’s nest on the investigation as her past reaches out in a twisted vine of old loves, new technologies and dark vendettas.

Breathing for Two by Wolf Pascoe @WolfPascoe

5:45 AM Posted by James Noel No comments
IN the freshman year of my anesthesia residency, I was given a lesson in breathing by a patient whom I’ll call Otto. Anesthesia residencies come replete with breathing lessons, but Otto was also teaching humility that day, a subject absent from the formal anesthesia curriculum.
A doctor gets humility not from curricula but from his patients. I acquired a truckload of humility the day I met Otto, and the truck has only gotten larger since.
Otto was undergoing a cystoscopy, a look inside the bladder performed by passing a thin viewing scope through the urethra. There is no incision in such a procedure.
Generally, you don’t need anything fancy to support a patient’s breathing while giving anesthesia during a cystoscopy. As the patient passes from wakefulness into unconsciousness you can let him continue to breathe for himself.
In Otto’s case, I strapped a rubber anesthesia mask over his mouth and nose to make an airtight seal against his skin, and delivered through the mask an appropriate combination of oxygen and anesthetic gas. In principle, what I did was essentially what the Boston dentist, William Thomas Green Morton, had done during the first public demonstration of ether anesthesia in 1846.
The modern anesthesia face mask is a hollow cone of rubber or plastic. It’s like the oxygen mask that drops down from above a passenger’s head on an airplane, though it’s more substantially built. The base is malleable and cushioned by a ring of air, a sort of inner tube. The mask is shaped to fit around the nose and mouth; with a bit of pressure, it seals against the skin. The top of the mask connects to a source of anesthetic vapor and oxygen.
Readers of a certain age may remember the TV series, Marcus Welby, M.D., which began each week with Dr. Welby lowering a black anesthesia mask down over the camera lens. In those days, apparently, the family doctor did everything.
The anesthesia machine—the “cascade of glass columns, porcelain knobs and metal conduits” I described previously—is the gas delivery system. The machine connects to an oxygen tank and directs the flow of oxygen from the tank through a vaporizer where the oxygen mixes with anesthesia gas. The mixture passes out of the machine through plastic tubing (“anesthesia hose”) that connects to the face mask.
The patient breathes the mixture.
Gas leaving the anesthesia machine actually flows through the anesthesia tubing in a circle—in fact it’s called the circle system. One limb of the circle travels from the machine to the anesthesia mask, where the patient inhales it. The other limb, carrying exhaled gas, travels from the mask back to the machine, where excess carbon dioxide from the patient is filtered out. The filtered gas is mixed with fresh gas and travels back to the patient.
The same gases, minus the carbon dioxide, keep going round and round. The system is airtight, except for a pop-off valve that relieves excess pressure.
Otto was a large man with a thickly muscled neck, but by extending his head I could keep his airway clear, allowing him to continue breathing while the urologist worked. Instead of using an anesthesia mask to deliver my mix of gases, I could have assured Otto’s airway by using an endotracheal tube. This is a long breathing tube (about a centimeter in diameter) inserted through the mouth all the way into the trachea.
But getting an endotracheal tube in isn’t always easy, and it’s usually not necessary during a cystoscopy. Most often an anesthesia mask will do.
One side effect of anesthesia is the loss of normal muscle tone. This happened to Otto. A few minutes into the case, his flaccid tongue fell back in his throat. His diaphragm continued to contract, but air couldn’t get through to the lungs—his airway was obstructed. Otto was, of course, completely unconscious at this point.
Everyone loses some muscle tone during sleep—this is the cause of snoring, and of the more serious condition of sleep apnea. But the loss of tone is even greater under anesthesia, and the anesthetized patient cannot rouse herself to find a better breathing position.
I managed the problem by putting a short plastic tube called an airway into Otto’s mouth. The airway depressed the tongue and cleared a passage for air. It wasn’t as good as an endotracheal tube, which would have extended all the way into Otto’s trachea, but it seemed to do the trick.
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Genre – Non-fiction / Memoir
Rating – G
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Monday, November 25, 2013

#AmReading - The Waking Moon by T.J. McGuinn @TJMcGuinn

9:15 PM Posted by James Noel No comments

The Waking Moon by T.J. McGuinn


Paulette’s life is in shambles. Her sister is dead, her mother is a drunk, and she’s been forced to transfer into a chaotic public school full of bullies. Things go from bad to worse when, one night while driving them home from dinner, her intoxicated mother hits and kills a teenage boy and is sent to jail. Now Paulette is truly alone. But when the teenage boy mysteriously comes back from the dead looking for Paulette, she finds herself face to face with the purest love on earth.

AFN Clarke – The Thrills And Spills Of Writing A Book Series @AFNClarke

6:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments
The Thrills And Spills Of Writing A Book Series.
We asked AFN Clarke, the best-selling author of CONTACT and the new Thomas Gunn thrillers, what it’s like to take on the challenge of writing a book series.
In the last 6 months I have published the first two books of my new Thomas Gunn thriller series, The Orange Moon Affair and The Jonas Trust Deception, and the third, Running with the Bonefish is already underway.  When asked how different it was to write a series compared to a one-off novel, I realised how complex a process it really was.
Because I’m more of a “stream of consciousness” writer, I don’t map out each story and then write to that detailed outline. Although I have a clear idea of the plot and a definite focus, I simply start and the book takes on a life of its own. I’m told this approach gives my writing a greater immediacy, vibrancy, and feeling of being “real”. It’s certainly what I aim for.
But as I started writing The Orange Moon Affair, I realised the enormity of the task that any author of a series is faced with – how to write one book with its own plot integrity, while seeding it with links, symbols, events, characters, clues and elements of mystery and intrigue that won’t explode to the forefront till much later in the series.  I’ve had to learn how to hold up to 5 books in my head at once, and keep going back to insert small but vital “set-ups”. I have to go forward in order to go back, if that makes sense at all. It does my head in to be honest, but I’m loving it, and am excited about the results.
What’s both fabulous and challenging is developing the characters over a longer time frame than just one book.  It’s not easy for an author to create enough of a personality in one book while allowing room for growth in a future one. But for a reader, it draws them into a more personal journey, getting to know the characters intimately over time, developing an attachment to them and then holding their breath or cheering as they hurtle headlong into danger. My central character, Thomas Gunn, is ex-British Special Forces and all he wants to do is forget his past and create a new life with his girlfriend Julie. But something happens in each book to drag him back to his old life – like the brutal murder of his billionaire father or the mysterious disappearance of an old friend. These trigger events must catch readers by surprise each time. And, importantly for me, keep pushing the boundaries between reality and fiction.
All in all, I never thought embarking on a series would be so exhausting and thrilling at the same time, and I have a new level of respect for any author crazy enough to try it. It’s an all-consuming task, requiring us to face our worst nightmares and call on the creative potential of a lifetime of experiences and learning. But I wouldn’t change it for the world and as I’ve become quite attached to him, I intend for Thomas Gunn to keep having many more adventures for countless years to come. Perhaps even on the silver screen – why not?
AFN CLARKE is a full-time author, son of a British MI6 operative, pilot, sailor, screenwriter, father of four who’s lived all over the world, served as an officer in Britain’s elite Parachute Regiment, and recovered from the physical/emotional traumas of war. He’s insatiably curious, loves heated discussions and has a rascally sense of humour. His bestselling memoir CONTACT was serialized in a British newspaper and made into an award winning BBCTV film. He now writes fiction of various genres – the Thomas Gunn thriller series (The Orange Moon Affair; The Jonas Trust Deception with more coming soon); political thrillers (An Unquiet American); human drama (Dry Tortugas); humour/satire (Dreams From The Death Age; Armageddon); and psychological horror (Collisions). All available now at the Amazon Kindle Store.
The Jonas Trust Deception, another Thomas Gunn thriller by bestselling author AFN Clarke, follows The Orange Moon Affair, a “hard to put down”, “5-star novel by a 5-star author”. Thomas (ex-Special Forces) goes on high alert after a desperate message from his journalist friend, Morgan. She’s in danger. But where? And why? Rushing to her ranch he finds it being torn apart by a highly-trained female assassin of East European descent, with a mysterious butterfly tattoo on her neck. An image that sends his mind reeling. Dread seeping into his soul.
In her ongoing investigations, Morgan may have uncovered something even more explosive and far-reaching than the Orange Moon conspiracy.  If so, her enemies will want both her and her information destroyed. Racing to follow tangled leads, Thomas and his girlfriend Julie are thrust into the deadly path of Mexican drug cartels, corrupt politicians, unscrupulous financial brokers like Jonas T Purdue, the FBI, the UK intelligence services and their arch nemesis Marika Keskküla. What deception binds these unlikely “players” together? What’s their power struggle really about? And even more personally disturbing, why the constant links back to a secret mission in Afghanistan, that Thomas has tried so hard to forget?
Outraged by the feeling of constantly being “played”, Thomas decides to turn the tables on the faceless “puppeteers” by taking an action so bold, so dangerous, and so unexpected, that even his team fear he’s lost his mind. Has he? Or can he expose the “vermin” at the top and finally eliminate them forever?
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Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-13
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Sunday, November 24, 2013

#AmReading - Buying In by Laura Hemphill @HemphillLaura

5:15 PM Posted by James Noel No comments

Buying In by Laura Hemphill


Bright, ambitious Sophie Landgraf has landed a job as a Wall Street analyst. The small-town girl finally has her ticket to the American elite, but she doesn’t realize the toll it will take—on her boyfriend, on her family, and on her. It isn’t long before Sophie is floundering in this male-dominated world, and things are about to get worse.

With the financial crisis looming, Sophie becomes embroiled in a multibillion-dollar merger that could make or break her career. The problem? Three men at the top of their game, each with very different reasons for advancing the merger. Now Sophie doesn’t know whom to trust—or how far she’ll go to get ahead.

Set inside the high-stakes world of finance, Manhattan’s after-hours clubs, and factories in the Midwest and India, this is the high-powered, heartfelt story of a young woman finding her footing on Wall Street as it crumbles beneath her. Written by an industry veteran, Buying In tackles what it means to be a woman in a man’s world, and how to survive in big business without sacrificing who you are.

The Howling Heart by April Bostic

5:45 AM Posted by James Noel No comments

* * * *

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

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

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

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


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Genre – Paranormal Romance

Rating – Adult

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Author Interview – Robert Davies @ahundredstories

6:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments is your favorite author?
Can I have two? The books that have had the most inspiring and lasting impression on me were written by Mark Helprin and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. They both write so colourfully. Their styles are very different but they both have a tendency to spiral off along some wild tangent before snapping back to the story. I just love the untamed richness of their writing.
How did you develop your writing?
At first I only showed my short stories to a select few friends, and relied on their feedback. The problem with friends being that they don’t want to hurt your feelings of course, but overall they were a good gauge of how well-written a story was. Then I started posting them to small online communities and relying on their (more brutally honest) feedback, and also reading other stories. There’s an absolute ocean of talent swimming online, and I was blown away by some stories, which only made me want to up my game and hone this thing until I could write something like them. Then someone recommended a short creative writing course near me, and I took it. They were impressed with my stories and told me to write a novel – thankfully the course was geared toward novel-writing, so I took all that I learned and ran with it.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
A lot of my stories came from dreams. Everything is so fluid there, it’s just a world of ideas and pure feeling, and somehow that makes a story more clear and solid when I wake. Something felt so strongly needs to be unleashed, and it’s especially potent when combined with intense feelings from waking life. Both of my novels and some of my best dream-stories were written after my mother died, while the trauma of being with her at the end was still strong. It’s important to experience things to their fullest, without hiding from them, no matter how unpleasant, and channelling that into writing is a productive way of dealing with things that would otherwise be overwhelming. Not to say that all my inspiration is from horrific life events, or that I see bad things as an opportunity, but for me, writing is more about feelings than ideas. Anything inside me that’s fierce enough can be transmuted into its own idea and used as fuel for inspiration.
Do you find it hard to share your work?
In the digital age there seem to be many writers like me, who will show their writing to hundreds of complete strangers online but refuse to let anyone in “real” life see it. When I attended a short creative writing course, I took my stories but asked someone else to read them, I was so shy about them. I don’t even tend to mention what I’ve written or what I’m working on to my family or most of my friends. There’s something intensely vulnerable about finally exorcising something very personal onto paper and then watching people peer into you that way. It’s easier to post it online and not have to look anyone in the eye when they give out feedback.
Do you plan to publish more books?
Definitely. If I could, I’d like to churn out a new novel every year. They’d be the bricks and short stories would be the mortar. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to be that prolific at the moment, but another novel and a possible short story collection are in the works already.
What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time…
I actually work full-time as a web programmer, expanding and maintaining a big back-office system and client database for a medium-sized company. I get to work from home, but it’s still frustrating to have eight hours of the day taken away, it leaves very little room to settle down and just write. The upside is people think I’m clever when I tell them what I do.
What other jobs have you had in your life?
I started out as an early-morning cleaner in a local bookshop. I actually enjoyed it, as I was largely ignored and left to read books and magazines whilst vacuuming the floor. It’s also where I discovered Neil Gaiman via his Sandman stories, so I have only good memories of the place.
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?
I think I’d actually pick one of the sciences, either maths or physics. I’d love to work on the cutting edge of something, inventing, creating new things and pushing boundaries. I once approached my physics tutor when I was studying for my end-of-school exams, and showed him a schematic I’d drawn up for an ion drive, and he said he’d never seen anything like it before. In retrospect, that probably said more about him than me, since ion thrusters had already been used by NASA for decades based on the very principles I’d “invented”, but I still maintain that almost-inventing one at age 15 wasn’t bad going.
The Man Who Lived at the End of the World
September, 2013: When the summer ended, so did the world.
Staggering under a volley of meteorite hits, cities the world over are evacuated by the military as violent earthquakes, floods, storms and fires rage across the planet.
The journey unfolds through the jaded yet childlike eyes of Silas Stanley, a recently escaped psychiatric patient who must travel hundreds of miles across a devastated Britain to find his dying daughter before the world ends. Through ruined and deserted cities, flooded countryside and burning fields, Silas makes his way from an evacuated London all the way to his old home town in the Lake District, all the while startled and amazed by the world around him. En route he must avoid the strict martial law that is in force, and steer clear of the huge nuclear explosions being set off by the military in a last-ditch attempt to correct the earth’s faltering orbit.
On a world knocked off course and brought to its knees, love for his family finally forces Silas to face the enormity of his own past with just as much bravery as his uncertain future.
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Genre - Apocalyptic fiction
Rating – PG
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Friday, November 22, 2013

Joyfully Yours by Amy Lamont @Amy_Lamont

3:00 PM Posted by James Noel No comments

Joyfully Yours

A fun and heartwarming holiday romance.

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

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

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

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

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Genre - Contemporary Holiday Romance

Rating – PG

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Sunspots by Karen S. Bell @KarenSueBell

6:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

On the evening of my third and last day, I began my closing ceremonies—punching on voicemail, putting away the sign-in book, and clearing off crumbs from the daily muffin I picked up from the fabulous shop at street level. Unusual for these assignments, it had been a very pleasant three days. People were polite and there was a constant flow of stylish men and women who had appointments, so juggling the sign-in book and answering the phone kept my brain from going numb. I was actually a little sorry to leave. With my attention focused on my chore, I didn’t notice that someone was standing at my desk. Suddenly, my nervous system sensed a nearby presence and I jumped and gasped out loud. As our eyes met, I was Jane Seymour as Elise McKenna in Somewhere in Time realizing that here was the man for whom she had been waiting all of her life.

“It’s you,” I said just like in the movie. And then my fantasy quickly evaporated and I was left staring at this stranger, scrambling to hide my naked emotion. “Oh, I’m sorry,” I said coughing to camouflage my strange outburst. And then with a small embarrassed laugh, I said, “You startled me. I didn’t notice that anyone was there.”

Although I had started to speak, I immediately fell speechless creating another awkward moment as his dark flame-throwing eyes studied my face. He was smiling and I could see dimples forming on either side of his mouth. We just stood there, apart, in silence, yet there was an unmistakable sexual tension gluing us together like Kelly McGillis and Harrison Ford in Witness or Omar Shariff’s Dr. Yuri Zhivago and Julie Christie’s Lara Antipova. When he finally spoke, he asked me if I could recommend a good restaurant nearby elongating his vowels in a cute Southern accent that I would later learn was peculiar to Texans.

“If you like French cuisine, there is a wonderful place right around the corner, La Grenouille. I believe it’s quite popular with some of the executives here,” I said no longer mute, and handed him a business card that was kept in a stack on the desk.

“Would it be too much trouble, ma’am, for you to call and make a reservation?” he asked in a faux subservient manner. “I can’t understand French accents, especially over the phone.”

“Of course… sir,” I said returning his request with sugary sarcasm. I was, after all, nobody’s secretary and certainly not of the vintage that brought forth ma’am from the lips of a virile stranger. When I got the restaurant on the phone, I looked up and asked casually, “For what time, sir?”

And then he paused, looked at me with a gleam in his eye and said quite softly, “Well, let’s see. What time is good for you?”

Shocked but not rattled, I responded without any hesitation, “Now,” I said steadfastly meeting his gaze, “Now is perfect.”

And that’s how I met Jake Stein and sealed a future that fate ordained. Life-changing events seem to come when you’re ready even if you’re not aware of their import. Intuition can nudge feelings into your conscious space making a seemingly ordinary encounter, like a dropped book, one of great significance. Somehow, I understood that then and I understand that now. Meeting Jake Stein was my dance with destiny.

We instantly harmonized, interacting on two levels. The overt reality of the commonplace chitchat, sexually charged banter, and frothy intellect contrasted with a covert reality, a place where everything had deeper meaning, connection, and familiarity. In some cosmic way, our unspoken language was far more important than the spoken. Scientists might describe our attraction as the interaction of airborne pheromones—chemical messages emitted through our skin conveying our primal sexuality. Indeed, we seemed to be enchanted at the deepest levels of our instincts. Two realities happening at once—the outer and the inner—one a slick manifestation of the intelligentsia, the other a calming and gentle journey afloat a timeless river.


Sunspots follows the healing journey of a young woman thrown into the horror of losing a spouse. It is a love story of loss and redemption and the ghosts that haunt our lives and our houses. Skirting the genres of magical realism and romance, Sunspots, explores the existence of the afterlife and the paranormal. The story takes the reader on a path of high emotion as the narrator, Aurora, uncovers her husband Jake’s secret life and her own internal conflicts as she matures to self-awareness. The novel’s tone vacillates from irreverent humor to solemnity as Aurora relates her previous life with Jake and her present challenges. The title refers to the solar maximum which became the backdrop for Aurora’s conception when her hippy parents went to Canada to observe the Aurora Borealis. In name and in spirit, Aurora is connected to the observable and unobservable energy around us. With the help of friends, family, and the ghost of Viola Parker (her home’s original owner), Aurora accepts her fate and the secrets revealed about Jake’s true character. She realizes that in this life she will finally break the cycle of pain caused by her love for this man, Jake Stein, through the centuries.

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Genre – Contemporary romance, Magical Realism

Rating – PG-13

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