Category Archives: book

A scorned minotaur wreaks havoc in The Minotaur King from Stuart Thaman

Thanks for being with us today, Stuart!

First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc.  What’s your education, if it’s relevant to your writing?

Hey, my name is Stuart Thaman, and I’m a best-selling author from Kentucky, though I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. I attended Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, and I received a BA in politics, a BA in German, and a concentration in classical political philosophy. I’m currently in my second year of law school as well.

That’s really interesting to me–I’ve been a lawyer for 30 years (now retired), and found that the call for creative solutions that comes from lawyering also helps in the creative writing process!

My background helps my writing quite a bit as I believe the hard work and extreme academic environment provided by Hillsdale College has shaped me into the self-starter that I am today.

Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times?

I do drink a good deal of coffee, though I enjoy tea as well, especially mint tea.

Tell us about your latest publication.

PerfectThe Minotaur King is my latest release, and it becomes available on September 1st. The short novella is my first published novella. Set in the world of The Goblin Wars, it follows Qul, a would-be royal guard of a minotaur clan and his ultimate rise to power through the mountain ranks.

What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?

Qul has a pretty cool backstory that I just barely touch in The Goblin Wars book 2, and I really wanted to flesh it out to give readers an idea of what he was like before they meet him as the bloodthirsty king he is in Death of a King.

How would you best describe your books?

I write epic and heroic fantasy. This is a layout of the covers of the Goblin Wars series–I love it! 

All 3 no TextWhat is your favorite genre to write? To read?

I read mostly horror and sci-fi with just a little bit of fantasy, though my writing is the complete inverse. Fantasy is just so much more fun to write than it is to read.

 

What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I’ve always wanted to be an author. That much I knew from when I was little. And the best thing about writing is getting to craft the most grandiose, over-the-top scenes I can imagine and bring them to life.

I also love meeting fans at conventions—I hate driving to conventions.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?

I’m a mod over at www.reddit.com/r/selfpublish, a community of 14,000 self-published and indie writers.

Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?

Oh yes. I always listen to music. Usually, and more so when I’m writing a battle scene, I listen to Sabaton. Other favorites include: Unleash the Archers, Epica, Dimmu Borgir, Kamelot, Arch Enemy, and The Agonist.

 

Tell us a little about your path to publication.

My first book was written for National Novel Writing Month. I got an offer on the manuscript through some personal connections, and that proved to largely be a scam. But regardless, I had my foot in the door. That gave me a platform to approach larger publishers.

How did you finally find a publisher? How did you receive the Call?

I met Tony Acree, the owner of Hydra Publications at an author fair in Indiana. Wehydra were on a panel together and seemed to have very complimentary personalities, and I had been sitting on a horror manuscript (eventually turned into For We Are Many) at the time, so it made sense to submit to Hydra. Luckily, they accepted me!

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?

The Minotaur King has some cool aspects. At its core, The Minotaur King is about a lost love and a delusional minotaur who thought he had the queen’s eye. It also tells a bit about manipulation and how those emotions can be turned to pure rage and then molded to something useful.

What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you?

I have another full length novel coming soon: The Chronicles of Estria Part One: Blood and Ash. The book is a bit of a departure for me, though it is certainly epic fantasy. Blood and Ash follows Lina Arias, a princess who forsakes her family and crown in favor of fangs and dark, evil magic. The Chronicles of Estria is a series that goes along with the tabletop miniatures game Chaos Wars, produced by Iron Wind Metals.

Up next I’ll be at Cincy Comic Expo in September and Lexington ScareFest after that. I can’t wait!

What would you like to tell readers?

Keep the fantasy alive!

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The sadness of being relevant: White Supremacy isn’t history, friends

Authors often agonize over whether their books will remain relevant, especially those who write young adult stories and others that use a particular setting or set of jargon to make their points. Even as I wrote the Color of Fear series, critique mates would point out the use of SoCal cadence in Valery Paz’s “Valley Girl speak,” and pop culture references in the banter of electrogeek Eddie Garrick. (It’s true, though–you can’t stop the signal.)

The series tells the story of a world hit by terrorism, and the apocalyptic plague that has wiped out most of the Caucasian population of the world. Mixed blood has saved some whites, but the majority of the survivors, especially in the hard-hit United States, are people of color. Blacks. Native Americans. Asians. Hispanics.

While those people are trying to recover and pull together the remains of the shattered nation, from out a concrete bunker in the northwest comes Bernard Ellison, the self-styled Gabriel, a ideological brother-son of the Posse Comitatus, the American Vanguard and other white nationalists. Gabriel commandeers an abandoned radio station and broadcasts to the faithful:

“How long, my friends, have those terrorists been watching and listening to our communications, so that they knew precisely when to strike? Bin Laden and his people clearly read our country’s weakness. The Universal Jihad Front that launched the Second Holocaust, they, too, understood how far our leaders had left us vulnerable. Listen to this.”  He played the government spokesman’s clip Eddie had played on his show a few days before. “Does that sound like a government that can protect you, my friends? I think not!

   “Without a strong, healthy government to keep those foreign devils off American ground, do you believe they just stayed home and played in the sand? How do we know they didn’t take advantage of the apocalypse to begin landing ships on our unprotected shores, spilling thousands of them out to take your wives and daughters? Will they recruit those of color who survived in this land? They are banding together, taking aim at the real Americans who are left.”

   The propaganda-filled diatribe paused for a moment, then continued, “My friends discovered a nest of potential murderers right here in our heartland just last night. We’d tried to contact these rebels, to show them the truth, but instead, they returned threats and violence. They ruined a major highway!”

   A note of stricken sadness came into his voice. “Now crossing our great land will be so much more difficult. Why do these people insist on destroying the world?”

***

At about the same time in the story, a small band of people trying to get to St. Louis, where the new capital is forming, have this conversation with a ham radio operator who’s keeping them informed of the state of the nation:

  “KC-five-NXS, KC-five-NXS, this is K-two-JJB. Hang, are you there? What’s going on?”

   “KC-five-NXS, yes, I’m here.” Hang settled onto the floor in front of the radio as the others gathered around. “Thanks for getting back to me. I wanted to let you know we’re going to be delayed—”

   “What? I don’t think you can wait any longer, son. Word came down this morning that Gabriel’s on the move. His people set off explosives all along the stretch of I-Eighty between Omaha and Lincoln, knocking out the road. It’s impassable.”

   “Cabron,” Valery hissed.

   San eyed Charlie, his worst fears coming to life. Yeah, I do know what I know, fool. “We need a map,” he said.

   “I got one in the truck,” Terry said, and he hurried out.

   “Why would he do that?” Hang asked. “Don’t his people need to get around, too?”

   “Word has it that some groups in the two cities planned to set up a blockade, aiming to take Gabriel out. Apparently he just got the jump on them. He’s celebrating on his damned station, claiming the other side was the attacker. I’m not sure how much of what he says you can believe, but we’ve got confirmation from our men on the ground that there are plenty of dead, and they aren’t Gabe’s people.”

   “Whoa.” Deflated, Hang leaned back against the bookshelf where the radio sat.

   “How many dead?” Marie asked.

   “Reports range from just a few to hundreds, depending on who’s telling the story.”

   Terry came back with the map, and they spread it out on the table. Mere inches separated Lincoln from their intended route on Interstate Seventy, inches that translated into only one hundred and seventy miles. And they still had three states to cross moving east.

 

Sound familiar? Does it sound like “Many sides” are at fault? How much more relevant can you get?

***

THE COLOR OF FEAR SERIES from Zumaya Publications and Lyndi Alexander 

Book One–WINDMILLS

Terrorists launch a plague in the United States that spreads to kill most of the world’s Caucasian population. As the deadly bioweapon mutates, Tzu Lin Kwan’s father, a renowned medical doctor and biologist, defects from China to MB910216387help develop a cure. His  only daughter, Lin Kwan, is left behind in Hong Kong with her aunt.
Then Kwan’s father summons her from across the sea to bring him Chinese medicinal herbs. Lonely and missing her parents, she accepts the challenge, traveling with her sensei Li Zhong to the New World.
But a Chinese spy is on her trail, determined to kill her and Li Zhong, and when Kwan discovers her father has disappeared, she sets out on a journey to find him and deliver her precious cargo, a quest that she may not survive.
Buy it here!   Find out more and see some excerpts here and here and here.… and another posted by Sharon here !  And a really nice one by Sandy Dailey here.
For an interview with Lin Kwan, see the blog with Sharon Buchbinder here. So many choices she has to make, and they can mean life and death for the world.
NOW AVAILABLE!! Book Two in the series–DESTINATIONS!

DestinationsWEBfs

Xi San saved the life of a mysterious girl one night in his ravaged San Francisco neighborhood. He can’t get her out of his mind, but believes that she’s lost to him. Lin Kwan came to America to bring her scientist father Chinese medicinal herbs, hoping to stop the virus that killed most of the world’s Caucasians before it mutates to infect the rest of the world. On her way to finding him, she meets again the man who once saved her, a man she can’t forget.With a diverse group of fellow travelers, they head for St. Louis, where civilization is being rebuilt. Between them and safety, danger lurks—Gabriel, a self-styled religious leader and white supremacist, who has organized his army from Upper Midwest survivalist and militia followers, determined to take revenge for the white man.

But Gabriel isn’t their only enemy. Before they reach their destination, they will battle nature, prejudice and even those hidden among them who wish their destruction.

Now available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers. Or place an order through your local indie bookstore!

 

Book Three–ADVERSARIES   Coming Soon!

After terrorists unleash a virus on the world that kills most of the Caucasian population, Lin Kwan has finally found her scientist father in America and can deliver the precious herbs he asked her to bring from China. But their reunion is nothing like she expected.

Survivalist and white supremacist Gabriel leads his army of Angels against the new U.S. capital of St. Louis, determined to punish those who lived through the horrors of the virus and re-establish whites as the ruling class. He plans to tear out the heart of the city by first destroying its heroes, then negotiating its surrender.

Xi San, Valery Paz, Eddie Garrick and the other survivors rally to fend off Gabriel’s attack, only to find their city under siege from a much more insidious opponent–the remains of the federal government bureaucracy, which insists on taking control.

And assassin Jin Piao has never been closer to his objective, now that Kwan, her father and the healing medicines are within his grasp. Will he follow his orders and kill them, to save his own wife and child?

Lauded author Catherine E. McLean provides revision help for writers!

One of the best parts of being an Area 1 Pennwriter is the wonderful quality of the members and the camaraderie we all share. I’m happy today to share the latest from sister PW writer Catherine McLean. She teaches at the yearly conference, and I’ve heard attendees swear by her lessons. Don’t miss out on this one!

 

Nothing gives a writer a life-high like finishing the first draft of a story— and nothing frustrates a writer more than having to revise and edit that draft.

Revision is a Process offers secrets, tips, shortcuts, practical advice, and “cheat sheets” that will enable a writer to go step-by-step through a self-editing process to create a reader-friendly, marketable manuscript.

Revision is a Process showcases—

● How using 12 simple steps when revising saves time, energy, and frustration

●  How to systematically examine the entire story so nothing is overlooked

●  How to examine the plot for what’s out of sync and for missing elements

●  How to avoid “logic flaws,” Freudian slips, and faux pas

●  How to use “red flag” words to find bloopers and blunders

●  How to diagnose a prologue before keeping or deleting it

Every writer believes there has to be an easier way to revise a manuscript. Revision is a Process is the gift you’ve been waiting for. In its pages is a remarkably easy approach to self-editing that will take the pressure off a daunting task and open the path to success. Details, Table of Contents, Excerpts and other great advice can be found at http://www.writerscheatsheets.com/   (Available at Amazon.com – 5 Star Review) and at Barnes and Noble.com

When THE END turns out to be THE BEGINNING–Guest Liza O’Connor

Saving Casey bannerIn what states can old people go out gracefully?

If you wish to die with dignity, you should move before you ever get sick to one of the three states that can realistically help you.

Oregon, Vermont or Washington

Be aware you’ll have to establish residency before anyone will touch you with a ten foot pole and that can take up to a year.

Montana and New Mexico laws are so conflicting that getting a doctor to assist may be impossible.  While a court ruling allows doctors the right to assist in suicide if they get the patient’s written permission, it is still considered a felony crime.

Did you know $170 billion, of Medicare is spent on patients’ last six months of life? Six months of torment and pain that most would have preferred to escape.

Turns out, the more educated you are, the more likely you will request death with dignity.

Another interesting tidbit is that not everyone who gets the lethal prescription needed to die actually takes them. More than half do, but a great deal of patients use it as the back-up plan, hanging on as long as they can, but knowing they have an out, if the pain becomes too much.

In Oregon, the number of patients requesting Death with Dignity increases each year.

While the law allows anyone over the age of 18, mentally able, and a resident of the state to have the right to die, if they are fatally ill, the core ages requesting to die are age 66 to 74, with the median age of 71

79% of deaths are due to malignant cancers.

63% of the people dying have private medical insurance which doesn’t surprise me. This group will be likeliest to receive ‘medical care’ that cannot actually save the person, and often does great harm.  Thus a person has more incentive not to be tortured and watch all their saving be siphoned off to doctors rather than leaving it for their spouse and children.

Honestly, after reading the massive paperwork required to legally die, I can understand why Cass didn’t even try to move to another state.  She would have traveled all the way to New Mexico only to discover the right to die with dignity had been revoked. Then she would have flown up to Oregon and discovered by the time she became a citizen (1 yr) and filled out the mass of paper work she’d already be dead.

No she’s satisfied with her home alone plan.

Saving Casey 400 x 640

Saving Casey

By

Liza O’Connor

Book 1 of theSaving Casey Requires Rescue

Requires Rescue Series

Contemporary Suspense

 

BLURB

When 80 year old Cass Goldman learns she has inoperable cancer, she decides to end her life, peacefully on her terms. So imagine her horror when she wakes to find herself in a hospital with strange rich people staring at her. It’s not until the doctor arrives to examine her that she realizes she’s no longer old. She’s in the body of a seventeen year old teen named Casey.

Unfortunately, her new body comes with some serious baggage. First of all, the kid has burned every bridge imaginable. Secondly, those ‘people’ in her room are her outrageously rich parents and while the Dad seems friendly, the mother wants nothing to do with her. The moment they take her home to a horrifically huge mansion, which she dubs Tara, she’s abandoned to the care of the butler.

While Cass is determined to turn this train wreck of a life around, doing so is far harder than she expected. In fact, without help, she’ll end up dead just like the last occupant of this body. Thankfully, her dad has his hunky head of security become her body guard. Between her eighty years of life lessons and hunky Troy’s help, she just might live long enough not to be jail bait.

EXCERPT

Tears flowed again, not for Cass’s death, but for the distress her dear friend would suffer.

“Better than watching me die in a hospital,” she muttered and willed her tears away. She placed the letter in an envelope and put two stamps on it, uncertain of the going postal rate. It changed so often.

She then went upstairs and gathered the bottles of painkillers she’d acquired over her lifetime. Most had expiration dates from years ago, but hopefully they could still kill her.

Returning to the kitchen, she placed the garage door clicker on the table as promised. While pouring green tea into a large plastic bottle, she called her dog.

Jess didn’t respond.

“Jess, here.”

Her small, beautiful old dog entered, tail down, eyes worried.

Did her dog know what she planned? Did he not wish to take this journey with her?

Did she have the right to do this to Jess? But who would want her twenty-year-old dog?

Tears streamed down her face and she sat down on a chair so she could pet her faithful friend. “You don’t have to come. You can stay here. I’ll put out enough food for you to survive until they come find me. I’ll ask Victoria to find you a good home.”

Jess whined and pressed his head against her legs.

“It’s okay. You’re not ready. But I gotta go while I still have a say about the path I’m taking.”

Leaning over, she kissed the dog’s soft forehead. “I love you and I always will.”

Her tears fell into Jess’s eyes, making him pull back and whine again.

She gathered her plastic bottle of tea, placed her three large containers of painkillers in her pocket, and headed to the door. Jess followed right behind her. Before she opened the door, she studied her dog. “You sure you want to come?”

He wagged his tail twice.

A sense of relief eased her pained heart. She didn’t want to leave her dog. Jess would be miserable without her.

“Come on then. Our last journey.” She led the way and locked the door behind them.

 

 SALES LINK

AMAZON

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Liza O’Connor is a nut.

Not a real nut, but she is prone to being a smart ass at times, and not surprisingly her heroines say odd and inappropriate things in her book, as well. So even in a suspense novel you can expect to laugh along the way. That’s because Liza loves to see humor in the crazy world around her.

Saving Casey was actually the first book Liza published. Having recently reclaimed her rights to the book, she is happily re-publishing it as her 18th book. And because her books sell better when in a series, she using Saving Casey to kick of a new series called Requires Rescue. It will be different from her other series where the same characters show up in each book. This series will be about strong women who are trying to go it alone, only when help is offered, they have the good sense to accept the helping hand, because in all of our lives, there will come a time you need someone else to help you. Being strong doesn’t make us invincible. Book 1 is Casey/Cass’s story. Book 2 will be about an entirely different young woman who desperately needs help before she’s murdered on the streets of NYC. Book 3, well the plot is super unique, and more books will follow.

You’ll be able to read the series in any order you want, but in each case, you’ll have a strong young woman, a guy stepping up to help when no one else does, and danger galore with humor stuffed in anywhere I can.

I hope you’ll come along with me so you can laugh, love, and get revenge.

 FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT 

LIZA O’CONNOR

Liza’s Blog and Website   Facebook   Twitter

eBay deal of a lifetime… a ghostly lover

downloadGhost For Sale

Sandra Cox

Release

Blurb:

Caitlin King can’t believe that her shopaholic cousin actually bought two ghosts off of eBay. But she can’t ignore the truth when she starts seeing sexy Liam O’Reilly, who’s been dead for over a hundred years. He’s a fascinating specter, and the more time Caitlin spends with him, the closer they become—sending them both spiraling into a star-crossed tailspin. No matter how desperately they long for each other, there’s just no future with a guy who’s already stopped breathing.

 

 

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Bio:

Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Historical Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee and enjoying a good book. She’s a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.

Links:

EKensington: http://www.ekensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/31737

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Sale-Sandra-Cox/dp/1616507748/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1440436095&sr=8-3&keywords=sandra+cox

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ghost-for-sale-sandra-cox/1121228433?ean=9781616507732

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/ghost-for-sale

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ghost-for-sale/id979049608?mt=11

Google: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=978-161650773-2&c=books

Website: http://sandracox1.com

Blog: www.sandracox.blogspot.com

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/sandra_cox

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SandraCox.Author

Giveaway:49894

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you thought a poltergeist was bad–what about a deadly cyber-geist?

    


 

Maxx Fragg, V.P.I.

 

S.A. Check
Genre: Young Adult / Sci-fi / Paranormal
Release Date:09/03/15

 

Publisher Ink Smith Publishing

 

Cover Designer: Macy Stom
 
pasted image 0When Maxx lost his brother in a car accident, his world fell apart.  It didn’t help he was driving the car when it happened.  Finding an escape inside the virtual world of Other Syde, Maxx runs the Maxx Fragg Virtual Paranormal Investigative Agency with his best friend, Tane. But in a world where dreams become reality, can nightmares be far behind?

      When a real ghost attacks Maxx inside the program, he’s saved by the last person he ever expected to see again, his brother. Risking everything for a chance to say he’s sorry, Maxx, Tane, and Maxx’s almost-girlfriend Emi, need to figure out why real ghosts are haunting a virtual world while on the run from a murderous cyber-geist, high-tech security guards, a corrupt corporation with their own plans for the technology, the recluse genius who created the program, and Maxx’s own demons.

About the Author

 

 
 

 

Excerpt
Tucked between the shadows and the night, standing in a darkened corner of the room, Maxx Fragg watched the young couple huddled on the couch. They had no idea what he had in store for them. He almost felt sorry. Almost. He watched as Travis stroked Debbie’s hand and whispered something in her ear. Maxx locked eyes with her as he moved across the apartment. He saw the desperation mixed with fear in her eyes and he grinned. He liked it that way. Pulling a pair of gloves from his belt, Maxx cinched them tight around his wrists. The rush of adrenaline rose up from his chest. This was far from his first job but he still got a thrill each time. He clicked off the lamp and the room went black.
         Debbie gasped. “Can’t we leave a few lights on?”
         “I prefer to work in the dark. It helps me concentrate,” Maxx said. It really didn’t matter but he felt it intensified the experience.
         “I think I’d rather see what’s coming.” Travis pulled a cushion on his lap, clutching the fabric.
         “Why? You expecting a pillow fight?” Maxx dropped the equipment bag slung over his shoulder.
         Debbie jumped. “What are you going to do with that?”
         “What I’m being paid to do. My job.” Maxx nodded across the room to his partner, who shook his head in disapproval. Bending next to the couch, Maxx slowly unzipped the bag. He was close enough to see the goose bumps on Debbie’s arm rise with each click.
         “I don’t care what it takes. Just get that thing out of my house,” Travis said.

         “Don’t worry. You’ll be ghost free in no time.” Maxx knew his clients needed to believe he could make it better, take away their fears. If only it was that simple. Everyone wanted to name the night, put a label on their personal horrors. He wished someone could shut the door to the monsters in his own closet.

Shapeshifter love!

small degreeToday I’m featured at Liza O’Connor’s blog with a science fiction romance novel with an alien shapeshifter and a family mystery. This unique story is available both in ebook and paperback from Kensington.

http://multiuniversesoflizao.blogspot.com/2015/08/lyndi-alexander-brings-you-different.html

Inherit the Stars–with Laurie A. Green

2011 Rita & Golden Heart AwardsWelcome today to my Science Fiction Romance Brigade sister LAURIE A. GREEN! Thanks for being with us today.

First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc. Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times? What’s your education, if it’s relevant to your writing, and how does that education help you/or do you find that you can write well even without the diploma others might think they must have?

Thanks for inviting me to your blog today! I’m Laurie A. Green and I live in the great state of New Mexico, though I’m a native Michigander. My husband and I own a small ranch, so yes, we have the usual menagerie of critters—dogs, cats, horses.

As far as addictions (assuming the internet doesn’t count), I generally can’t function before I’ve had my two cups of coffee in the morning—and on really rough days I need an afternoon booster from Starbucks. I’m also a peppermint chain-popper, especially the soft puffy variety. Did you know peppermint is a natural antacid? Works wonders.

I don’t have a degree though I have quite a bit of unfinished business at various colleges. I’ve worked for 20 years as a military budget director, so the lack of a degree hasn’t hindered me and likewise, I don’t feel it’s had any adverse effect on my writing career.

Inherit_the_Stars_Complete_NovelTell us about your most recent publication. 

I just became a debut author in January with a novelette, Farewell Andromeda, but my first novel, Inherit the Stars, launched in February. (It actually had two debuts—first as a serialized novel in three parts, and again as a complete novel in one volume.) Both titles are part of a Science Fiction Romance series. It’s now available in print, too!

What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?

The core idea for Inherit the Stars came to me in a dream. It’s about one man’s attempt to escape enslavement by a galactic superpower. To evade his captors, he strikes a desperate deal with the female captain of a prototype starship, and soon finds himself not only emotionally connected but fatefully entangled in her destiny–a course that will take him full circle to face the very evil he most fears.

I have to avoid spoilery here, but I can say I did quite a bit of research on theories surrounding dark energy, camouflage capabilities in space, and high tech communications, and then let my imagination take the reins. Writing is an education in and of itself. I always learn new things when I’m researching a novel.

Sounds fascinating! How would you best describe your books?

Unapologetically Science Fiction Romance with a side of high adventure. Most of my novels include military elements in some form, which seems to flow naturally from my long career in military in civilian support. Honor and duty are themes readers will see often in my work, and a love vs. duty scenario can lead to some powerful emotional conflicts.

What is your favorite genre to write? To read?

Oh, it’s SFR on both counts, but I do have one slipstream SFR/Paranormal manuscript completed and I do occasionally read outside the genre.

What would you write if you could write anything you wanted to write?

New Mexico picIt would still be Science Fiction Romance, but I have to confess…I do have a family saga Historical on slow simmer in the back of my mind. It takes place in Spain, Mexico and the colonial Southwest (New Mexico) in the 1600-1700s. Maybe when I’m retired and have the time to do all the necessary research, I’ll see where it leads. It would be an ode to my adopted state.

When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I’ve written stories ever since I learned how to scrawl words out on paper. Just wired that way, I guess. I was a very shy, quiet kid, and it was about my only outlet for self-expression. I think I have to credit my dream to become an author to a junior high English teacher who gave me a ton of encouragement and once told me to never stop writing. Someday I’d like to be able to tell her, “Thank you, Ms. Phillips. I never did.” I’m sure she has no idea what a huge impact her words had on me.

What do you love most about writing and what do you not like?

I love everything about writing. I totally get lost in the stories and the world when I’m in the zone. A whole day can pass in a blink. What I don’t enjoy is trying to juggle the time I want to spend on writing with all the other priorities in my life—the promotional duties, professional job and household chores all add up to a lot of demands on my time. If I had my druthers, I’d spend that time at the keyboard.

sfr

Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?

I’m one of those who can’t listen to music while I’m in the process of creating the story. I need absolute quiet for that. But I do listen to music when I’m plotting or brainstorming. I do a lot of that on my two-hours commute to and from work and it helps set the mood or tone for the story. I prefer soft and classic rock—America, John Denver, ELO, John Mayer and Moody Blues are some of my faves. I have “soundtracks” on my iPod for my various novels.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?

Yes, I’m a member of RWA, LERA (Land of Enchantment Romance Authors), FF&P (Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal), and The Golden Network local chapters, CritiqueCircle, and the SFR Brigade.

CritiqueCircle.com was a huge find for me. I joined in 2007 and I made more progress in that first year than I had in the previous ten! I learned oodles about the craft through the critiques, and three of the novels that went through the CC queues went on to final in the RWA Golden Heart Awards. I also developed bonds with a large group of peers who have since become published authors—Barbara Elsborg, Arlene Webb, D.L. Jackson and Liana Brooks, to name just a few.

I know I love my critique group. You do learn so much!  Do you belong to a critique group? What do you find most valuable about the experience? 

I think having a critique group is an essential tool for a writer. I have a pool of writers and authors that I exchange critiques with, many of whom I met on CritiqueCircle. Most of the writers on our joint blog—Spacefreighters Lounge—are close peers that I can count on to critique or beta-read my work or just help me hash out a new idea. I also have a couple of local peers I work with for face-to-face critiques. It’s more time consuming, but it can be really energizing to get that direct, immediate feedback.

I believe critiques are essential. No writer can work in a vacuum. You need to get your work in front of others’ eyes so they can point out issues or problems you may not see because you’re too close to your work. It has to be a peer you can trust to give you solid advice. Critiqueing is an art form in itself. Not everyone makes a good critique partner.

Tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one?

This is actually the second go-round for me. I was ardently pursuing a career in publishing back in the mid-1990s when I got so discouraged that I stopped writing for a decade. When I decided to reboot and take another shot at it in 2007 (I credit that inspiration to a Halloween eve movie marathon of the Lord of the Rings trilogy), I’d lost a lot of time but I was twice as determined.

Four years later in 2011, I was named a double finalist in the RWA Golden Heart Awards and then became a single finalist again in 2012 with three separate novels. (One of them was Inherit the Stars, under its original title P2PC.) I found my agent, Amanda Luedeke of MacGregor Literary Agency, during that time after a peer read a guest blog she wrote and urged me to query her. Over the next two years we knocked on a lot of doors, but Science Fiction Romance just wasn’t getting any takers. We decided to forego the traditional path last September, and we co-published my first two works in January and February. C0-publishing is the term I use for being published via my agent.

Farewell_Andromeda-FinalHow did you find a publisher? How did you receive the Call?

As per the above, I’m co-published through my agent—I call it “Indie with benefits”—so when I talk about “the call” it was the one I received from Amanda when I first queried her, and she emailed to say “we should talk.” I was so nervous before we had that first telephone conversation, pretty much scared to death we wouldn’t click. Not to worry! We ended up chatting for hours about my work, my plans and the industry in general. Then she made her official offer to represent me. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to find someone so enthusiastic and excited about my work and who wanted to be my agent.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?

Inherit the Stars was a very different experience from all my other novels because the idea hit so hard and the scenes unfolded so fast when I began writing that I blasted out the first draft in six weeks. I mentioned the original inspiration came from the remnants of a dream, but the story that unfolded from that single idea was like a driving force. My muse seemed to be on auto-pilot! And this novel is no lightweight, it weighs in at around 112,000 words.

What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you? 

Right now, I’m working on shining up the next novel in my series, The Outer Planets, for a fall release, and that will be followed in the Spring of 2016 with the third novel, also complete but in need of a good spit and polish. The next three books haven’t been written yet, but I’ll be retiring from my day job next February so I can devote more time to getting those wrapped up.

I’ll be attending the RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas from May 12th-17th. This is my first RT, so I’m really looking forward to the experience. Next year, I hope to get to several more conferences and events.

What would you like to tell readers?

If you’re the sort who loves a good romance and feels a real sense of wonder when you gaze up at the stars, you’d probably enjoy my work. After all, space is the final Romance frontier.

If you’d like to learn more about my books, please visit my website: http://www.laurieagreen.com

Best wishes with your release!

 

Dark skies, dieselpunk and super heroes: welcome author Pippa Jay!

Welcome a writer friend from across the pond, the fabulous Pippa Jay!! And don’t forget to read all the way to the bottom to learn about her intriguing contest, which runs until December 19–take it away, Pippa!

WP_20141125_007pippaHi, I’m Pippa Jay, author of scifi and the supernatural with a romantic soul. Over the last year I’ve written things I never imagined I would, from subgenres of SF to paranormal and urban fantasy. From aliens and space-faring humans to zombies. And now to superheroes. If you told me I’d be writing those a couple of years ago, I’d have laughed. But here I am, with my first superhero story out in the wild.
Several things influenced the setting for When Dark Falls. When I first started thinking about the story, it materialized as an urban fantasy, something I’d never written and don’t read a lot of, so the idea scared me off a bit. I tried to put a SF twist on it as I started Camp NaNoWrimo in August 2012, but soon I realized I was trying to write two different genres in one and I had to stop. When Dark Falls stumbled to a messy stop.
Then I was listening to Living Things by Linkin Park, and the music transformed the story. The album had a quite dark/industrial sound. It made me think of Art Deco buildings, of technology out of synch with the period feel. It reminded me of Dark City and Skycaptain and the World of Tomorrow. Smoke, oil and metal. Bronze and chrome. Black skies and flame.
A bit of research took me into dieselpunk and decopunk. I’d found the setting I wanted for my characters, and a bit of research into Egyptology (which was so tied into the Art Deco/Art Nouveau periods) gave me a name for the city from the goddess of funereal custom – Nephthys. So Neophopolis, with its bronze futurist towers and dark skies with pillars of flames came to life.
Just think what might have happened if I’d been listening to something else…

About the Story:

In a city where Dark Technologies Inc. now runs the show, Kadie Williams has more immediate concerns than the fall of Blaze, their guardian superhero. Almost every morning for the last few months she’s woken up with cuts and bruises on her body, and no idea how she got them. There are no nightmares. No evidence that she sleepwalks, or any sign of a break in. And nothing to tell her who’s been cleaning up after her. As just one of thousands of civilians conscripted to slave away in the labs of Professor Dark, she knew there’d be trouble ahead. But she never expected it to be so bad, or so personal.

Desperate for answers, Kadie looks to the new defender of the night, the only person who can hinder the total domination of Professor Dark—Nocturnelle. The mysterious vigilante superhero came from nowhere with her cybernetic sidekick Shadow, set on putting an end to the brutality of Dark’s regime. But as his laboratories work on a new secret super-weapon, Nocturnelle and Shadow may not be enough to save Nephopolis…or to save Kadie either.

When Dark Falls is an alternative 1920s superhero romance released by Breathless Press on the 21st November. Add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE. Sign up to my no-spam newsletter HERE to stay up to date with releases, cover reveals, sales and giveaways for all my titles and more.

whendarkfalls_1650x2550Excerpt:

Nocturnelle perched on the carved griffin statue decorating the tower’s cornerstone, with hundreds of feet of empty space between her and the ground below. Her second skin felt tight. It was a familiar sensation and yet always the first thing she noticed on waking, as if her body needed to remind her of the fact. She stretched and her outer skin crackled like leather. She flexed her fingers, the delicate oh-so-white digits a stark contrast to her black arms. Silver lines marked her left forearm, and she frowned at them. She was meant to be impervious to blades and bullets, and yet somehow, not too long ago, she must have injured herself.
As she rose, her skin creaked. She stretched again, and then tugged her hands through her hair, pulling the thick swathe of black silk from her face and knotting it at the back. Darkest Night forbid it should get in her way. The second skin pressed tight against her forehead, running around her eyes and mouth, cradling her chin. She ran her fingers around the edges, tracing the outline. Perfect. Her body tingled as though electricity danced in her veins, and she smiled. Breathed in the evening air. This was her time.
Viscous and reeking, the night sky hung over the city of Art Deco towers and buildings like an oil-slick. Behind her, the metallic chinking of the cloudburner cooling after a day spent scorching the sky ticked away the seconds like a clock.
“Nelle?”
The deep male voice sent a shiver down her back, and she turned. “Ah, my faithful Shadow. Ready for another night-time jaunt?”
A figure stepped out of the shadows to join her. He matched her for height; his whipcord frame clad in a charcoal-colored armor vest, black combats, and a hip-length military jacket. When the rooftop lights hit his face, the chiseled jawline showed; his skin a dark tan. He wore a mask over his eyes, but his teeth gleamed white when he smiled. And when he smiled, something inside Nelle set her heart racing.
“Ready and set, Nelle.”

About Pippa Jay:

After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include YA and adult stories crossing a multitude of subgenres from scifi to the paranormal, often with romance, and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).

Website – http://www.pippajay.co.uk
Blogs –
Adventures in Scifi – http://www.pippajay.blogspot.co.uk
Spacefreighters Lounge – http://www.spacefreighters.blogspot.com
Romancing the Genres – http://www.romancingthegenres.blogspot.co.uk/
SFR Brigade – http://www.sfrcontests.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/pippajaygreen
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5054558.Pippa_Jay
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Pippa-Jay-Adventures-in-Scifi/114058821953752
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/pippajaygreen/
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/101080630877126516448/posts
Wattpad – http://www.wattpad.com/user/PippaJay
Amazon page – http://www.amazon.com/Pippa-Jay/e/B0080QVWEE/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1406376408&sr=8-1

Buy Links:

Breathless Press – http://www.breathlesspress.com/index.php?main_page=product_free_shipping_info&cPath=25&products_id=691
Bookstrand – http://tinyurl.com/kkonr53
All Romance eBooks – http://tinyurl.com/n873eap
Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/When-Dark-Falls-Pippa-Jay-ebook/dp/B00P5MQR6Y/
Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/When-Dark-Falls-Pippa-Jay-ebook/dp/B00P5MQR6Y/
Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/495412
Web page to other links – http://www.pippajay.co.uk/#!when-dark-falls/cl15

Contest:

Open internationally until the 19th December. I’ve donned my superhero guise for the length of the tour, and you get to name me and decide my talent(s)! If I like it, I may include it in the sequel to When Dark Falls and credit you in the acknowledgements. To enter, please put the name, talent, and your contact details in the comments. Please note – by entering this contest you are giving me full permission for me to use the superhero name without any recompense to you, financially or otherwise, other than the acknowledgement, and you are waiving any rights to the name. You’ll also get a digital format of your choice for When Dark Falls.

***

How exciting is that? Your very own superhero in Pippa’s next book? Can’t wait to see all the possibilities.  Thanks for visiting, Pippa! Cheers!

Love through a lens of secrets: Gemma Brocato’s EXPOSED TO PASSION

ETP CoverToday we welcome Gemma Brocato, whose new release EXPOSED TO PASSION, book #3 of the Five Senses series, is released just in time for holiday giving. Here’s a bit about the story:

They walked through the shadows individually. Will they emerge into the light together?

Leading a vagabond life as a curator for a traveling photography exhibit translates to a lot of bad days for Rikki Salerno. But her trouble doubles when a careless high school student shoves her into a marsh. Being rescued by teacher Sam Kerrigan should have made things better, but Rikki’s inability to confess her true identity casts a shadow over their budding affair.

When Sam refuses an overly aggressive parent’s marriage proposal, she’s determined to ruin him. Not only does she doctor photos to make it look like Sam’s behaved inappropriately in front of students, she hacks the foundation website to reveal Rikki’s true identity. Faster than the blink of a shutter, Rikki’s focus changes from pursuing her full-color future to the black and white necessity of clearing Sam’s name.

Now let’s learn a little more about Gemma!

Thanks for being with us today.

Thanks for having me here today, Lyndi.

First, would you tell us about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc. Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times? What’s your education, if it’s relevant to your writing, and how does that education help you/or do you find that you can write well even without the diploma others might think they must have?

This should be easier. I love to talk about myself, doesn’t everyone? I live in the Kansas City area, American’s midsection. I love the big city/small town vibe and the amount of green space here. Prior to moving here, my husband and I lived in London for a few years. That’s where I wrote my first novel. The story was great, the writing was crap! So that one remains on my laptop. I get it out and tinker occasionally. I love coffee and wine and reading. Hey – at least one of those addictions is not bad for you. I do have a degree in journalism, which has helped throughout my career, but I don’t think you have to have a writing related degree to write a great story. The grammar and punctuation and deep POV things you need to know can be learned.

 Tell us about your most recent publication.

Exposed To Passion is the third book in the Five Senses series, but each book reads as a stand alone. The story centers around Sam Kerrigan and Rikki Salerno and deals with the sense of sight. Rikki is a photographer. I tossed in a high school girl who is being bullied, a grown-up mean girl and a little over-exposure of Sam and Rikki’s affair.

 What inspired you to write this story? What interesting thing did you learn or research to write it that you didn’t know before?

I knew when I started the series I wanted each book to represent not only a sense, but a social cause. This book deals with bullying behavior, which is beyond reprehensible. Not only have Sam and Rikki both dealt with bullies growing up, they are still dealing with it.

MC900039215(1)I did have to research photography and cameras and learned how to do astro-photography. Have you seen those pictures of the Milky Way? That’s what astro-photography is. I loved writing a scene that detailed it.

 How would you best describe your books?

I’d call them sexy, sensual contemporary romances with heart.

What is your favorite genre to write? To read?

I recently made a foray into Science Fiction with my story, Mission: Mistletoe and I really loved it. But, I’m most comfortable writing contemporary romance. As far as reading, heck, give me the back of the cereal box. I’ll read anything.

What would you write if you could write anything you wanted to write?

Well, it sure wouldn’t be writing about financial products (which I’ve done). I’d love to write paranormal or urban fantasy, but I’m not sure I can suspend my own disbelief enough to make it believable.

 What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I love to create the world with just words, to infuse emotion and passion into a world in order to make it three dimensional. When I quit a full time job I loved in order to be available when my teenaged children got home from school, I started considering writing. Then, after a transfer for my husband’s job took us overseas, I finally took the plunge.

 What do you love most about writing and what do you not like?

I like the freedom of setting my own schedule, which is also what I don’t like about it. Because the schedule I set is usually 12 hour days, at least 5 days a week. That doesn’t include weekends.

 Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?

I am president of my local RWA chapter and I’m in a critique group, which is awesome.

Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?

I’m more of an instrumental kind of gal. I find I can’t write to any music with words. I can edit to popular music, though.

What do you find most valuable about the experience in your critique group?

I love my critique group. They are terrific about catching issues in my manuscript and even better about brainstorming.

Tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many books did you write before selling one?

I currently have five books available. Three that were traditionally published and two I’ve self-published. When I finished my second novel, I shelved it until I finished the second in the series before I began trying to submit my first. After I pitched Cooking Up Love, and an editor asked for a full manuscript, the rest is history.

 How did you find a publisher? How did you receive the Call?

I did an online pitch with an editor through Word Wranglers. After she requested a full manuscript, I sent it and then kept writing until I heard a month later that Lyrical Press wanted to offer me a contract for the book. After the shock wore off, there was a lot of celebration.

What’s your favorite thing about the book featured here today? Any special memories you have in the creation of it?

I was very excited to write about Sam Kerrigan. He has been featured in the first two books in the series and I’ve been eager to tell his story.

What are you writing now? What’s next for you?

I’ve just submitted the fourth book in the series, based on smell. And I’ve begun working on a new story I hope to have out early next year. I guess I better get busy adding words to that story.

What would you like to tell readers?

Keep reading and always remember to review the books you’ve read. Reviews really do help authors.

Excerpt:

Sam’s attention wandered yet again off the homework papers he was supposed to be correcting. The universal law of gravitation wasn’t nearly as riveting as the memory of Rikki Salerno wearing a purple jacket and tight running shorts in the early morning sunlight. He’d resisted the urge to wrap her in his arms when he’d run up on her in the park that morning. A fiery halo had lit her hair, glints of red winking in her messy ponytail. The sight of her when she turned back toward town and ran ahead of him! He’d have been happy to follow her for all twenty-six miles of a marathon. But, his need to talk to her overruled his desire to watch her spectacular behind, so he’d quickened his pace to catch her.
Rikki had tensed when he’d started ranting about Marguerite Sims. Without knowing how, he’d made her angry again. He didn’t understand it, but she seemed defensive when he’d made disparaging remarks about her boss. He was going to have to watch his comments about the pampered princess when he was around Rikki.
And, if wishes did come true, there would be a whole lot of around Rikki time. Her image in his mind’s eye—exotic, interesting, and intriguing, all wrapped up in one sexy package…. He fidgeted in his hard teacher’s chair, suddenly uncomfortable with the tightness of his khakis. Thank God, there weren’t any students in the room. That’d be a hell of a thing to explain to a bunch of horny teens.

Buy Links
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Exposed-Passion-Senses-Gemma-Brocato-ebook/dp/B00MMMGY18
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/exposed-to-passion-gemma-brocato/1120138660?ean=9781616506162
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/exposed-to-passion/id908402553?mt=11&uo=4
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/exposed-to-passion
Kensington: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/30951?category=313085

Gemma BrocatoAbout the Author:
Gemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit,’ and a slip of paper from a fortune cookie proclaiming her a lover of words; some day she’d write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss, even the rejections addressed to ‘Dear Author’ were gratifying.
After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy. Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue an avocation as a romance author.

Social Media Links:

www.Gemmabrocato.com
https://www.facebook.com/gemma.brocato
https://twitter.com/GemmaBrocato
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7229886.Gemma_Brocato
http://www.wattpad.com/user/GemmaBrocato
https://plus.google.com/+GemmaBrocato/posts

Also By Gemma Brocato:
Cooking Up Love
Hearts In Harmony

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