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Can you learn by reading fiction? Author Pamela Cummins thinks so!

Check out this blog post from author Pamela Cummins, who finds value in reading fiction for gaining knowledge—even romance books! Not only can you study human nature, but also learn facts about history, famous people and more. I know this to be true, reading author Kathy Otten’s Western historical romances. I was lucky enough to be part of her critique group , and learned all kinds of things, even how to birth a calf with your own hands!!

 

I’m proud to be one of Pamela’s “favorite authors”– why don’t you jump aboard??

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Minzie by L. Horton

I recently had the pleasure of talking to a group of teens at Arms Around ASD, a local office that supports people on the spectrum and their families, and we explored the basics of writing, including character traits and details. One young man was very excited about his piece, and I offered to share it with the world, in keeping with the season. Enjoy!

 

Image result for free clip art witchThere once lived a wicked witch who did not like the heroes of the pacific side of the world. So she casted a spell on a jack o lantern who she named Minzie and brought it to life. It grew a body of vines and was ready to kill what was on schedule. There was Luke, a Rich Pagan Wizard from Saipan who has triplets. There was Logan, a Buddhist from Guam, who helps people and hunts pigs to make food for the community, with his rich wife Lauren. There was Marky, an Orthodox Jewish detective from Christmas Island and Leia a Buddhist from Japan who knows ninjitsu. Moving on, we are starting with Luke in this story.

 

Part 1. Luke the Wizard

Luke was potty training his triplets when suddenly his wife Helena pops in.

“Luke, you are the hero of Saipan. Can’t you grant me good luck at work today because I’m afraid I’m going to fail at a project going on and get fired.”

“Aw sweetheart  I can grant you that.”

“Thanks so much, Luke!” said Helena.

When potty training was done, he took his triplets outside to play and then three hours later it was time for a bath and then bedtime. When itImage result for free clip art Pumpkinhead was bedtime he went to sit at the bar in his mansion and that’s when Minzie came and killed him by sending wines through his chest and his abdomen and them Minzie ate his head and heart.

The very next day, Helena came in and she screamed loudly and held a funeral with the triplets and his family.

Part 2. Marky the Inspector

Marky was at somebody’s house dealing with a missing puppy, which he found an hour later. After that he went home and watched Benny Hill. During Benny Hill he received a call from his childhood friend Logan on Guam.

“Hey Marky! How does work go for you on Christmas Island>?” said Logan.

“It goes fine. I’m a detective and found a puppy today.”

“Neat!” said Logan.

Then suddenly Minzie appeared outside Marky’s house. Marky said, “Hang on I gotta go.”

So he walked outside and got his head eaten by Minzie.

Part 3. Leia the Ninja

directrix clipart ninja #74261093 clip art library downloadLeia was at her dojo training with her sensei Kyubo and she went home with her stepdad. Her stepdad even told her that she is the hero of Japan, but there is a monster on the loose so she needs to stay inside where it is safe.

Minzie soon appeared and vined out her heart and ate it.

There was later a funeral at a crematorium.

 

Part 4. Logan the pig hunter

Logan and his rich wife Lauren were out hunting pigs for bacon on Guam, to have a meat sale to benefit the community.Image result for free clip art explosion

But when Minzie arrived to get him, the military had tracked the pumpkin, and had it surrounded and blew up Minzie with a missile. The danger was over but everyone who died was always remembered as a hero.

When push comes to shove, resistance turns to revolution–are we ready?

bab5Recently Amazon Prime started showing the series BABYLON 5. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a critically acclaimed science fiction show from the 1990s, written primarily by J. Michael Straczynski, (of SENSE8 fame).

From IMDB: In the year 2258, it is ten years after the Earth-Minbari War. Commander Sinclair takes command of a giant five-mile-long cylindrical space station, orbiting a planet in neutral space. At a crossroads of interstellar commerce and diplomacy, Cmdr Sinclair (2d season Captain Sheridan) must try to establish peace and prosperity between various interstellar empires, all the while fighting forces from within the Earth Alliance. It is a precarious command, particularly given that sabotage led to the destruction of Babylon stations 1, 2, and 3 and 4 vanished without a trace.

 

I didn’t watch it first time around for some reason, and I’ve picked up bits and pieces of it in reruns over the years. But I’m finally watching it in toto, and getting some really wild vibes, considering our current political situation.
So, early in the series, a president of Earth (which is apparently under one government in 2258) comes to power through questionable means.  He puts his friends in positions of power. He starts a campaign against aliens. When he begins receiving criticism, he starts a program called Nightwatch, where citizens are encouraged to spy on each other and turn neighbors and friends in for “unpatriotic” speech. He co-opts the media, drowning out any source that is not complimentary to him. He sets up a Ministry of Peace, which is headed by a gung-ho sycophant who, I swear, is the mold from which Kellyanne Conway is made.

As the series continues through assorted alien crises and other wars, we keep comingb52 back to the corrupt presidency. Eventually our B5 heroes stand up to the ridiculousness, violence and flat-out lawlessness on Earth and lead a revolution.

Watching it. it seems to me that those of us wanting to take our country back, and frustrated by the slow pace of the investigations (tho not their ongoing indictments) might take a lesson from this narrative. Captain Sheridan finally  breaks his wait-and-watch stance when the president orders the destruction of a ship full of 10,000 refugees. Were we less shocked at the immigration debacle, the caged children and deported parents? Or perhaps the destruction of all the protections that have been hard-won by previous administrations for our air and water? Or the even harder-fought laws that give our citizens equal rights to conduct business, marry and drink from water fountains? How much are we willing to stand?

It’s worth a watch, whether you’re a sci-fi fan or not, with lessons in moral judgment and the reminder that following illegal and immoral orders is not mandatory. We don’t have to quietly go along the path into that good night. Other characters urge waiting to handle the problem through the vote, through political manipulations and other methods. But Sheridan and his team choose resistance and finally open revolt. Where do you stand?

b53

The Lost Chord’s five stars!

I’m finally back from gallivanting ’round the country… it’s not my fault all my family spread out to the corners of the world! Coming home refreshed, I found three more 5-star reviews for THE LOST CHORD! Like Christmas in July! 🙂

thelostchord400x600 (1)THE LOST CHORD is a multi-dimensional story that pulled me in and kept me enticed. I am not a sci-fi fan normally. However, I decided to pick up this novel because the heroine was a teenage girl with autism. I have been an autistic support teacher for thirteen years and this is book has had one of most realistic, believable portrayal of a person living with autism! I will be recommending this book to my colleagues because it gives an insight to the feelings and mind of people on the spectrum. It allows people to see the main character, Bee, as different, not less.

 I give this book five stars because it contained all my likes, different universes, chakras, stones, believable characters and magic talismans. Once you read this, it will strike a chord within you that will resonate all the way to your soul.

One of the biggest things I appreciated from this book was the diversity. Alexander has always had a knack for showing diversity in her novels, and she didn’t falter here. There were interesting role reversals and certain dilemmas the characters had to overcome that really showed a message of acceptance and unity. There were many possible themes in this story. Understanding, leadership, teamwork, and perseverance were prevalent throughout

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Artist Luc Grigg’s rendition of Bee–based on real-life model Tasha

the whole story, and all important messages such as not fearing the unknown and accepting people for who they are were very present and unambiguous. I always enjoy Alexander’s work, and this is no exception. The clear diversity and character arc in this novel puts it at the top of my list of recommendations.

The combination of sibling rivalry, teen angst, runes, magic, time travel, and saving the world from the plight of the Scourge — ticks all the boxes for me.

So many people love it–and they’re signing up to be Chordians–our fan club!!  What are you waiting for? Get your copy now!

PAPERBACK [EAN 978-1-941278-81-9 | ISBN 1-941278-81-7] 6×9 library trim (200 pages) | Average Price: $11.99 or less || Paperback at Amazon | Paperback at Amazon UK | Paperback at Barnes & Noble | Discount Paperback at Lulu |

HARDBACK [EAN 978-1-941278-80-2 | ISBN 1-941278-80-9] 6×9 library casebound (200 pages) | Average Price: $19.99 or less || Discount Hardback at Lulu |

EBOOK [EAN 978-1-941278-82-6 | ISBN 1-941278-82-5] Available in EPUB and Kindle MOBI (70,000 words) | Average Price: $4.99 or less || Kindle at Amazon | Kindle at Amazon UK | EPUB at Apple iBooks | EPUB at Barnes & Noble | EPUB at Kobo Books | EPUB & MOBI at Smashwords |

Monday snippet!

shutterstock_62419543lizardA few years ago when shapeshifter romances were becoming all the rage, I wrote A Small Degree of Hope. Not your standard warm and fuzzy hero, Griff is an alien reptile, who has the ability to shift into a human appearance.

Worse yet, his species is trying to turn human women into reptiles for mating purposes. Kylie Sanderson is part of the crack team investigating the case, and she becomes involved in a way she never imagined in her worst nightmares.

With that said, here’s today’s snippet:

Griff said, “While you were at the hospital, I tracked my brothers who fled when you were rescued. They have not withdrawn far.”

That raised her eyebrow. “You knew where they were, and you didn’t tell SIRT?”

“I was not sure I could trust them. While they had you, I had to be cautious.”

There it was again, that almost tender sound to what he said. Like when he’d pledged his loyalty to her a few moments before. Did he know the feelings she held for him, the effect he had on her? She’d been comfortable, held in his arms but she intentionally hadn’t defined their relationship.

In the hospital, she rationalized his role as mentor, perhaps, or a co-participant in experiments. He’d been necessary to explain the differences between reptile and human as he knew them for medical necessity.

But here, as they hid together from the forces massed against them, she knew in her heart that this was different. She was drawn to him, not by necessity, but because some tenuous feelings had evolved between them. He had been there, each step of the way. He hadn’t abandoned her, like her father, or turned on her, like Jaco. He’d stayed by her side, good or bad.

For better, or for worse, in sickness and in health…

That was the standard, wasn’t it? When you mated/married, you took each other with all the foibles as well as the high points, and you did what you could to support the other person through the bad times.

And these were bad times.

A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online and retail booksellers. Enjoy!

Is truth just another version of fiction? Or vice versa?

My reptile shapeshifter romance book A SMALL DEGREE OF HOPE is featured at author Cara Bristol’s blog this week. Check out the story of how it came to be written, through a real life romance!

Even the smallest degree of hope can spark love.

Against her wealthy father’s demands, and the usual blockades of a male dominated profession, Kylie Sanderson proves worthy of her position as lead investigator of planet Andan’s Scientific and Investigative Research Taskforce. Someone is killing Andan’s women in an attempt to mutate them into reptiles. Kylie makes it her mission to discover who’s behind the murders and prevent more grotesque deaths.

Shapeshifting lizard Griff comes to Andan to stop his brethren from mutating other planets’ women into mindless breeding stock. Overcoming Kylie’s suspicious and defensive nature proves difficult, but he must in order to help the SIRT team thwart his planet’s scientists.

When Kylie is abducted and becomes the first human to survive the transformation, it’s up to Griff to rescue her so SIRT can restore her human form. On the run and desperate to unravel the mysteries of Kylie’s past to solve the crimes of their present, can she and Griff forge a future for themselves?

From Kensington Publishing/Lyrical Press.

Buy here: https://www.amazon.com/Small-Degree-Hope-Lyndi-Alexander-ebook/dp/B00IPQWY9G/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

My interview with R. Kyle Hannah

I’m the star of the show over at the Writing and Rambling blog today. Please stop by and learn what I’m working on, what I’m passionate about, and why I have new kitties. 🙂

 

Image may contain: cat, flower and plant

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!

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

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.

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