Dreaming in the Pages

Books ... where dreams are better than reality

Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Friday, December 6, 2013

#AmReading - Shattered Rose by T. L. Gray @AuthorTLGray

Shattered Rose by T. L. Gray


When obsession and love blend, and darkness consumes the mind and spirit, is it even possible to recognize the light?
Set in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, nineteen-year-old Avery Nichols embarks on a journey of love, loss and recognition that perfection is often an illusion. Avery finds herself drawn to two men — one troubled, one committed to the truth. To choose between them, she must learn about unconditional love and self-worth.
It is the beginning of her sophomore year at Winsor University, and Avery is determined that nothing will stop her momentum, not even the internal battle she has fought for four years. Forced to live on campus because of her alumni scholarship, Avery is thrilled when she is placed in the coveted University Apartments and is swept away by her roommate’s cousin, Jake, whose charm and charisma touches every part of her soul and shatters every piece of her heart. Broken and lost, Avery meets Parker, a man who not only offers her hope, but also teaches her to love in ways she never thought possible.
Jake is complicated and damaged, fighting to find his way after the loss of his mother, and despite his every attempt to stop it, Avery gets behind his defenses and forces him to feel once again. He doesn’t want to love her, but can’t let her go. Parker is genuine, honest, and falls for Avery the moment he sees her. He wants nothing more than to love her, if she would only let him.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pegasus by Marilyn Holdsworth @m_holdsworth


* * *

Hannah Pierce Bradley sat curled on the sofa in her country-style family room. Her long, silky chestnut hair tumbled around her shoulders, pulled back from her face with a wide blue band. Her large brown eyes, fringed by thick dark lashes, intently studied the papers strewn around her. Her creamy skin had a healthy glow from jogging in the morning air. The warmth of the room’s colors and the friendly, comfortable, early-American furniture made it Hannah’s favorite place in the house. Glass sliding doors opened out onto a wide brick patio, where two shaggy mongrels lolled in the sunlight. The larger of the two cocked an ear and thumped his tail as Hannah got up and crossed the room. The dog didn’t move but watched her protectively as she passed into the kitchen to pour a cup of coffee and then returned to her place on the sofa, plumping the pillows and reaching for a tablet that lay on the side table. She sipped her coffee as she flipped through the pages of the notebook.

The phone shattered the stillness, and she answered reluctantly. This was going to be her day to begin work on her new series of articles. There was still much research to do, and she resented any intrusions. She reached for the phone and answered with a note of impatience in her voice. “Hello.” Her tone immediately softened when she heard Winston Caughfield III’s voice on the other end. “I’m so sorry, Win,” she said affectionately. “I didn’t mean to bite your head off. It’s just that I was about to get into my first article. You know how I am when I’m working.” She knew he’d understand as always.

His warm laugh was all the reassurance she needed. “It’s okay, and I do understand,” he replied. “But your work is why I called. I wondered if you’d seen the morning papers and thought perhaps if you were knee-deep in research you might not have. There’s a story about an accident that might interest you. Take a look at the Daily Register, page two, bottom right-hand corner. Not a big write-up, so it might not make TV or radio news, and you might miss it. Now I won’t keep you any longer from all that thinking and planning I know you’re doing. Call me later about Saturday and tell me what you think of the story.” The line went dead. Hannah unfolded her long legs and immediately went in search of the morning paper.

How very like Win, she reflected, undemanding, always interested in whatever concerned her. She pictured him this morning, his strong, even features and quick smile. He was over six feet tall, trim and athletic; only the silver streaks in his dark brown hair hinted at his age. Yes, Win was a special person, but it was still too soon. The ache and longing for Jonathan was too close to her heart, the healing process a long one. Jonathan’s death had been such a shock, so swift; one day there, the next on his way to Chicago on business, and then the terrible snowstorm and fatal flight of United Airlines 111. Engine failure in the storm. She willed herself back to the present and her thoughts of Win. Maybe with time. That’s what Win always said when they talked about their relationship. Just give it time.

She found the paper and quickly flipped to the article on page two. It was a brief account of an accident on some desolate canyon road. But what leaped out at her was the name, Vincent Rossi, and the Circle R horse farm. It was suspected that the horses in the van had belonged to him and that the van’s driver was unlicensed, driving under the influence of alcohol. A truck and horse-trailer rig the size of the one in the accident should not have been on that narrow, winding road at all. There were no survivors reported at the scene. The driver of the van, the horses, and the two occupants of the small car that collided with the van had died in the crash. The wreckage at the bottom of the steep ravine was severely burned, making positive identification of the charred remains difficult.

Hannah let the paper slip to the floor. “What a waste, what a miserable waste,” she said out loud. “Those beautiful animals carelessly killed. A crime.” The worst kind of crime, in Hannah Pierce Bradley’s opinion. A crime against harmless, helpless creatures. “That kind of scum shouldn’t be allowed to raise animals,” she muttered fiercely. “I hope they hang Vincent Rossi out on this one. And maybe I can help add some more fuel to that already smoldering fire.”

She called Win later that evening, after spending the day organizing her notes and outlines for her newest project. Most of her past work she had done as a freelance writer. But lately she had been approached by several magazines offering assignments after her tremendously successful series of articles on the brutalities of puppy mills had appeared in the Wall Street Journal. Acclaimed as the brave new voice of social conscience, she was bombarded with offers to speak at animal rights groups across the country. She declined each with a thank-you note and a firm refusal, citing her need to continue her work raising public awareness of the need for laws and strong legal action against those so willing to exploit animals for greedy financial gain.

“Those horses didn’t stand a chance.” She spoke with much feeling in her voice, and Win could imagine her soft features set in a firm, determined line. He remembered similar words when she fiercely attacked the puppy-mill owners. “Vincent Rossi should be run out of town on a rail and his stables shut down,” she said flatly. “He’s criminally abusive, and a little slap on the wrist isn’t going to change him. A fine and a few lines of bad publicity aren’t going to do any good. And you know it as well as I do, Win.”

“I do. I know what you say is true. I also know the guy is a sleazy small-time gangster. He’s not at all like his father. The Rossi farm raised some fine horses in the old days. Trained them well and raced them fairly. They were some of the best in the smaller racing leagues. Never made it to the big time but did real well at the small tracks, fairs, things like that. My dad knew old Dominic Rossi, respected him as a fine horseman. But Vince’s gone sour, bad as they come. The guy is unscrupulous and mean. Backed into a corner, you don’t know what he’ll do.”

“He’s gotten away with it too long, Win,” Hannah said firmly. “And for every one of him, there’s another coming right up behind him, willing to make the money any way they can. Ready to follow his lead.”

“Hannah, I didn’t call attention to the article because I wanted to encourage your involvement in any attempt to bring Vincent Rossi to justice,” Win said firmly. “I just knew you’d be interested and want to follow the story, that’s all. I really don’t think you should entertain any idea of digging into it. You still get threats after all those puppy-mill stories. You don’t need to open any more of Pandora’s boxes.”

“Yes, I do. The stories need to be told,” she said determinedly. “My next series is a follow-up on the adoption of the animals rescued from the mills and the outstanding efforts of the humane societies and private funding across the country that saved those dogs. Three different magazines have approached me on the follow-up stories. I started working on my outlines today. And I honestly think I should work straight through the weekend,” she finished.

“But what about Saturday?” Disappointment edged his voice. “I thought you could come out to the ranch for the day, have lunch, and ride in the afternoon. Quiet, just the two of us. All the help will be off except Mary Little Deer. She always stays at the ranch. Wouldn’t know what to do with a day off.”

“It sounds so nice, Win. Just what I need—fresh air, riding, and quiet. I’d really love to come. Let me work like crazy for the next couple of days. Without too many interruptions, I should have things pretty well outlined by then.”

“I’ll pick you up on Saturday morning. The weather should be good; forecast is for a fair weekend. Besides just seeing you, I have something I want to show you.” She could hear the enthusiasm in his voice.

“Win. You’ve done so many nice things for me already. I really couldn’t accept more right now.”

“Now don’t start that again. You know how much I enjoy being with you. I’ll look forward to Saturday.”

She hung up the phone and sat for a moment, speculating on what Win might possibly have to show her on Saturday. She smiled; she had to admit he was clever. Her interest had been piqued, and she found herself eagerly anticipating the weekend. She not only looked forward to seeing him, but she wondered just what it was he wanted so much to show her at the ranch.


Buy Now @ Amazon Kindle

Genre - Adventure / Romance

Rating - Adult

Connect with Marilyn Holdsworth on GoodReads

Julia (The Good Life series) by Sarah Krisch


A failed actress, twenty-something Julia McCarthy begins writing a fictionalized blog as a form of self-therapy. Based on her carefree summers at her grandparents’ farm, she never expects her little experiment to garner a viral following, but it does. Boy, does it ever.

Now, with thousands of loyal blog followers, and a syndication deal with the Chicago Herald, Julia is approached by GreenTV to adapt her blog into a TV show. The producers see her as a “Rachel Ray on the Prairie-type”. She sees herself as a fraud.

In Julia’s fictional world, she’s successful. She can pay her bills on time. Heck, she even has a fictional gorgeous husband and charming little boy. Ready to realize her dreams, Julia returns to her grandparents’ farm to shoot the TV pilot.

Brad Taylor is definitely not her type: he’s rugged, sensible, and oh-so smug about learning that Julia’s blog is a farce. As the manager of her grandparent’s farm, Brad doesn’t have time to deal with whimsical women who don’t even know how to cook.

Julia can’t allow her attraction to Brad to distract her, not when her dreams are about to come true. But are these truly her dreams, her good life?

A fun, fast (150 pages) contemporary romance

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG-13

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Author Interview – Debbie Heaton

Have you always enjoyed writing? Absolutely—writing empowers me to unleash my imagination and let it run wild!

What motivates you to write? My biggest motivation for writing is the opportunity to step away from day-to-day life and stand in someone else’s shoes for a moment and see life through their eyes.  It may sound a little cliché, but I find inspiration in the people around me whose lives I touch.  In turn these experiences motivate me to take what I have learned from them and instill those qualities into my characters as I write.

What writing are you most proud of? I’m most proud of The Haunting of Wolfe Haven.  I think every writer wants to create something special and I certainly feel that way when I sit down at my lap top.  For me, The Haunting of Wolfe Haven helped me see my potential as a writer.  It has won numerous awards from a 2010 Bronze Medal in ForeWord’s Book of the Year Award to being named an Honorable Mention in the 2013 Eric Hoffer Legacy Award as well as many others.  Each accomplishment has given me greater insight into the book through the eyes of others.  A complete list of the book’s accomplishments can be found on my website at www.debbieaheaton.com

What are you most proud of in your personal life? Without a doubt it’s my daughter, Marsha.  I’ve been privileged to watch her grow into a confident young woman with values and determination.  I am thankful to have her in my life.

What books did you love growing up? I read anything I could get my hands on as a child.  Reading to me was an “adventure” and I couldn’t get enough.  But Wuthering Heights and Gone with the Wind rank on the very top for me.  Wuthering Heights made such an impression on me that I’ve read it more times than I can count!


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Romance (Gothic)

Rating – R for graphic sex and language

Connect with Debbie A Heaton on FacebookTwitter

Website http://debbieaheaton.com/

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

#Free - The Alpha Choice by M.D. Hall

The Alpha Choice by M.D. Hall

Amazon Kindle US

Genre – Science Fiction

Rating – PG13

5 (5 reviews)

Free until 4 December 2013

Three thousand years ago, the Vespoid Khitine are about to learn they must live with the disappointment of trade negotiations collapsing - or at least most of them will have to live with it - Chindara has other things to occupy her mind.
Their erstwhile partners to be, the Te, have their own plans. This is merely one more conquest, hardly different to scores that have gone before, Well, that isn't quite right; it's the first time they have had their actions halted by the appearance of a tiny electric blue light, a Custodian. Never have they watched, helplessly, as two of their battle cruisers blinked out of existence, before receiving a polite, but firm warning: attempts to circumvent the, hitherto unheard of, Accords will result in their complete destruction.
Twenty-one years ago, in the Gallsor system, the warning all but forgotten, Commander Jaron makes a choice that will have unimaginable consequences, the least of which follows his return to Te'ath, when the Supreme Council are prompted - on the urging of the most dangerous of the three heads of the covert Agency, Garnoth - to sanction a plan circumventing the Accords. The target? Telluria (Earth).
Garnoth's most able protégé, Tala, is tasked with leading the expedition, the success of which is dependent upon the Tellurian, Hugo Black (a Boston corporate attorney) heading up a multinational corporation, TeCorp.
Only two people can disrupt Garnoth's plan: Gorn, a twenty-one year old Te'an prodigy, whose brilliance is matched by his self-doubt and social ineptitude. He is recruited, when particularly vulnerable, to the cause of the Te'an rebellion by the single minded Narol. Gorn will betray his best, his only friend and, if he succeeds in his 'mission,' condemn his people to almost certain destruction. While taxing his mind over the choices to be made, he is completely unaware he has been marked for assassination.
The second potential fly in the Te'an ointment is history lecturer, Jonathon (Jon) Tyler and his recently acquired, rebellious young companion, Emily. Spirited from his bed, in the dead of night, he meets the physical embodiment of the electric blue light; a woman, whose beauty reminds him of a classical statue, an impression heightened by a cold and humourless aspect enhanced, in turn, by her inhuman electric blue eyes, completely electric blue eyes. Jon is told that an Artefact exists - a sentient, artificial life form, which may, or may not choose to help - and his job is to bring it to the attention of those who speak for Earth. How difficult could that be?
He is allowed to glimpse the consequences of converging forces, far beyond the danger posed by the Te'an threat, and guesses this to be the real reason for Custodian interest in his planet. For now, he has no choice but to act as a Custodian pawn in an opening gambit, on a board only just beginning to take shape, and where all the pieces have yet to arrive.

Accountability Leadership by Di Worrall @DiWorrall



As a leader, how can you influence more of your people to step up to the plate, see opportunities, and take ownership, rather than get by with minimal effort?

When you observe your superstars, you see how effectively they engage in their work. How can you get more of your people to be like them?

Increasing staff engagement may seem simple in concept, but it’s not so simple in its practical application. This chapter reveals what you can do as a leader to help your staff work better and feel more engaged and satisfied with work. You do this by creating conditions of accountability. In the long run, they’ll thank you for it.

I believe that the vast majority of working people crave opportunities to find renewed enthusiasm and energy in their jobs. Most employees – those who are neither stars nor problem hires – respond well to challenges and stretch goals with the right leadership.

Which begs the question: How do you reach the hearts and minds of the people working for you and ignite their enthusiasm and energy so they bring their best to work each day?

Di Worrall

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Business, Leadership, Workplace Behaviour, Human Resources, Executive Coaching

Rating – PG

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Di Worrall on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.diworrall.com.au/

Author Interview - Ted Tayler @ted_tayler


Have you always enjoyed writing? My mother started my love of words and books from the age of about four. Two of my aunts were school teachers and by gas light and candle light on occasion, we’d spend hours battling with our cousins over word games they conjured up for us to stretch our vocabulary. There were very few TVs about in those days! It was a natural progression to read voraciously as a teenager, and then start to write for myself. In those days it was poetry that occupied my pen, then life got in the way and I only started writing again six years ago.

What writing are you most proud of? http://www.tedtayler.co.uk/the-long-hard-road/time-for-reflection

This piece was the hardest thing I ever had to write.

What books did you love growing up? I never grew up! While I was getting older I enjoyed Dickens, Conan Doyle and more recently Rankin.

Who is your favourite author? Charles Dickens. I keep going back to ‘A Tale of Two Cities’.

Which is hardest – writing, getting published or marketing? At last! A simple question! I find writing easy and today getting published isn’t the lottery it once was. Marketing, that’s the killer isn’t it? If I could crack that one I would be a happy man.

Do you plan to publish more books? Given a little encouragement by a few more readers – then yes, definitely!

What else do you do to earn money, other than write? Now that I am almost sixty-eight, my full time working career is behind me. Ever since 2002 I have worked as an Exam Invigilator at a local school. We have a team of about two dozen men and women who look after students from the age of 11 – 18 when they sit various levels of examination during their school life. It’s a challenging yet very rewarding role.

What other jobs have you had in your life? When I left school in 1964 I was a bank clerk for two years. I joined a tyre company two years later and stayed there until I was awarded the DCM in 2000. (DCM standing for Don’t Come Monday!)

While I was there I was a Cost Accountant, a Cost Investigation Manager and an Industrial Engineer.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Amazon UK & Smashwords

Genre – Crime / Thriller

Rating – 18+

More details about the book

Connect with Ted Tayler on Twitter

Website http://www.tedtayler.co.uk/

Monday, December 2, 2013

Author Interview – AFN Clarke @AFNClarke

What is your most recent book?  Tell us a little about it.
The Jonas Trust Deception, which is actually the second book of a new thriller series. It follows the success of the The Orange Moon Affair which features Thomas Gunn, ex-Special Forces, who is dragged back to his old life of international intrigue and danger following the brutal murder of his billionaire father.  In The Jonas Trust Deception, the fallout from the Orange Moon conspiracy throws Thomas and his girlfriend Julie into the deadly path of Mexican drug cartels, corrupt politicians, unscrupulous financial brokers, and the US and UK intelligence services. Outraged by the feeling of constantly being “played”, Thomas decides to take an action so shocking and unexpected, that even his team fear he’s lost his mind.  The question is – has he?
I’m loving writing this series and am already part-way through the third book “Running with the Bonefish”, which I expect to release in early 2014.
What inspired you to write your new thriller series?
My inspiration is the person the first book, The Orange Moon Affair, is dedicated to – Terry Forrestal, ex-British SAS, brother-in-arms and a dear friend, may he rest in peace. His life read like a Hollywood movie, indeed he was a stunt man, actor and stunt coordinator (The Killing Fields, Titanic, Brazil and more), and he had that streak of larrikin in him, so I think he would enjoy these books. He – like myself, and the central character Thomas Gunn – was always torn between the “trained killer” part of himself and the more caring, emotional part that simply wanted a more “normal” and peaceful life. That inner turmoil is an integral part of the book and it’s what makes Thomas so vulnerable. It also makes for an interesting relationship with his girlfriend Julie.
I was also inspired to take on the challenge of a series  – and believe me it is a real challenge – because I wanted the opportunity to develop a number of inter-related themes and characters over a longer period of time, allowing the reader to go on a continuing journey as if they were a part of the main characters’ lives.  It’s not easy, but I’m loving the process and excited about continuing with many more books to come.
What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
What I love about writing is living in and creating whole new worlds in which my readers and I can lose ourselves. Editing is what I dislike most! For me, when I write the last word I’m done. Enter my long-suffering wife and first-line editor. She puts on her suit of armour and delivers her forceful feedback. Despite my relentless kicking and screaming, her insistence slowly works its magic and I do indeed succumb, making changes that are essential to the success of the book. You’d think I’d learn, but the next time, it’s the same again, round and round we go.
What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have any hobbies or party tricks?
I am not naturally a sedentary person, so I spend my relaxation time being physically active. My favourite thing is to sail out on the ocean alone when the sky is blue, sun warm, and let the wind blow the cobwebs out of my head. My wife and I take long walks and we enjoy travelling off the beaten path. I used to be a race-car driver so watch all sorts of motor racing and just about every kind of sport you can imagine. I also really enjoy cooking and make a huge mess in the kitchen.
No party tricks I’m afraid, don’t go to them – am not a fan of crowds, they make me uncomfortable.  A remnant from army days, patrolling and breaking up unruly crowds with hate in their eyes.  Some things are hard to shake even years later.  I do love cooking for a few good friends though, with great conversation, maybe a heated discussion or two thrown in followed by a glass of port and lots of laughs.
What is the hardest, getting published, writing or marketing?
If you had asked me that 30 years ago I would have said, getting published.  But today I self-publish, and the new digital age has opened up Indie publishing in a way that makes it really easy for an author to get their work out there.  Marketing and promotion is my nemesis, and I think tough for most authors.
I mean, let’s face it, we’re authors – we like to spend our every available moment away from the prying eyes of the word writing our next book.  Many of us have hermit-like tendencies – then suddenly we have to become masters at marketing, out there talking ourselves up, chattering away on social media, sending messages in 140 characters when we normally write books with half a million characters, creating budgets, developing web sites, writing blogs that take time away from writing books, figuring out where to place ads.  Makes my head spin.  Yet it’s part of the new Indie author’s roadway to success, so none of us can avoid it.  And that roadway does offer us so much more freedom and control of our own work – so my solution?  Get past the bitching and just get on with it.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-13
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Sunday, December 1, 2013

#AmReading - Pentecost by J.R. Penn @thecreativepenn

Pentecost by J.R. Penn


A power kept secret for 2000 years. A woman who stands to lose everything.
India. When a nun is burned alive on the sacred ghats of Varanasi, and the stone she carried is stolen, an international hunt is triggered for the relics of the early church.
Forged in the fire and blood of martyrs, the Pentecost stones have been handed down through generations of Keepers who kept their power and locations secret.
Until now.
The Keepers are being murdered, the stones stolen by those who would use them for evil in a world transformed by religious fundamentalism.
Oxford University psychologist Morgan Sierra is forced into the search when her sister and niece are held hostage. She is helped by Jake Timber from the mysterious ARKANE, a British government agency specializing in paranormal and religious experience. Morgan must risk her own life to save her family, but will she ultimately be betrayed?
From ancient Christian sites in Spain, Italy and Israel to the far reaches of Iran and Tunisia, Morgan and Jake must track down the stones through the myths of the early church in a race against time before a new Pentecost is summoned, this time powered by the fires of evil.
The first in the ARKANE series, PENTECOST is a fast-paced thriller that explores the edges of faith against a backdrop of early Christian history, archaeology and psychology.
If you love a fast-paced, rollicking read, download a sample or buy Pentecost now.