Dreaming in the Pages

Books ... where dreams are better than reality

Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

#Excerpt from "What Freedom Smells Like: A #Memoir" by Amy Lewis @AmyLewisAuthor #Religion

Transformation doesn’t happen overnight. It takes decades to shed our childhood conditioning – the beliefs and thoughts that pieced together like not so colorful charms on a bracelet determine our destiny. But sometimes one moment pierces a hole so large in our consciousness, we can’t continue living as we once did. Seeing my husband’s dead body was that moment for me.

Religion meant very little to me growing up. I was raised Episcopalian. Like Catholic but without the confessional. I attended Sunday school for about a year as a young child. My parents felt obliged to send my sister and me off to church, not because they believed in any of it, but because it seemed proper. After about a year, I think they grew weary of pretending and announced church was no longer required. At fifteen when I could drive, I went back a few times on my own. I liked the church and its 1960s mid-century design. It felt peaceful to me. And, I liked the priest. He was cute, and at 15 older men did something for me. I would kneel in the pew enjoying the atmosphere and fantasize about the priest – romantic fantasies, not sexual ones.

Dad was an atheist although he would never use that word for it. My mother was more of an agnostic. We never talked about God in our family although we did say grace, always the same prayer. “Come Lord Jesus be our guest, let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen.” We must have said it a thousand times. We didn’t have a backup grace, and we never free styled it. That was the only time we ever mentioned Jesus, and I think we only said it to please my father’s mother. I got most of my views on religion, God and Jesus based on my fathers’ negative tirades about his sister. She was a born again Christian. My father thought the whole thing utterly ridiculous at best and highly dangerous at worst.

We never spoke of death. We never spoke of souls. We certainly never spoke of eternity. I had a clear picture of death: darkness. Death was pitch-black darkness. The coffin lid closes, the lights go out, and it’s over - forever. I remember staying awake for hours in my preteen years thinking about infinity. I would lay stiff like a corpse and imagine what death would be like. Pitch black darkness forever and ever and ever and ever and ever. The and evers would torture me. I couldn’t stop obsessing night after night. I decided I would stop thinking of death. From that moment onward, I became terrified of death. The thought, the image, the mere mention of the word made me go numb.

I stood by the door of his room. I had no concept of time so I can’t tell how long. Then my body decided to move, and I took one step and another and another and with my fourth step I found myself right next to Truth’s body, which was slightly slumped to the left.

What I witnessed when I looked into his eyes was the beginning of my own personal revolution. If seeing was believing, then I couldn’t believe what was before my eyes. My husband, whom I had never spent a day apart from in four and a half years, was no longer there. He was dead. Yes, I knew that. His body, which the nurse insisted I say goodbye to, was not him. I knew it instantly when I looked into his eyes. He was nowhere to be found. Who I knew him to be had disappeared. Gone. I couldn’t believe what I saw and what I felt in every pore of my being. He was not there, but his body was. So to whom was I saying goodbye?

I realize all this may sound elementary to those who were raised to believe in what I was just embarking on. I had no idea. My belief system told me it was him but dead. But it wasn’t him. Was I going crazy? I found my presence there pointless. He wasn’t there. I knew it just as much as I knew he had been there a few hours ago. So I left.

whatFreedomSmellsLike

Diagnosed with Borderline Personality disorder, Amy struggled with depression and an addiction to sharp objects. Even hospitalization didn't help to heal her destructive tendencies. It took a tumultuous relationship with a man named Truth to bring her back from the depths of her own self-made hell.Amy's marriage to dark, intriguing Truth was both passionate and stormy. She was a fair-skinned southern girl from New Orleans. He was a charming black man with tribal tattoos, piercings, and a mysterious past. They made an unlikely pair, but something clicked. During their early marriage, they pulled themselves out of abject poverty into wealth and financial security practically overnight. Then things began to fall apart.
 Passionate and protective, Truth also proved violent and abusive. Amy’s own self-destructive tendencies created a powerful symmetry. His sudden death left Amy with an intense and warring set of emotions: grief for the loss of the man she loved, relief she was no longer a target for his aggression.

Conflicted and grieving, Amy found herself at a spiritual and emotional crossroads, only to receive help from an unlikely source: Truth himself. Feeling his otherworldly presence in her dreams, Amy seeks help from a famous medium.

Her spiritual encounters change Amy forever. Through Truth, she learns her soul is eternal and indestructible, a knowledge that gives Amy the courage to pursue her own dreams and transform herself both physically and emotionally. Her supernatural encounters help Amy resolve the internal anger and self-destructive tendencies standing between her and happiness, culminating in a sense of spiritual fulfillment she never dreamed possible.

An amazing true story, What Freedom Smells Like is told with courage, honesty, and a devilishly dark sense of humor.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Amy Lewis through Twitter

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

#Excerpt from A LIFE LESS ORDINARY by Victoria Bernadine @VicBernadine #WomensFic #ChickLit

Manny walked in her door, looking tired and feeling worn out. She wondered ruefully why the only thing not on a schedule was the time she could leave the office. She dropped her purse on the table and hung up her coat and keys. With a tired sigh, she walked into the living room and plopped into the armchair. She closed her eyes as Harvey walked out of the kitchen with a glass of white wine and began to rub her shoulders. He again looked impossibly handsome, this time wearing a sweater and jeans. She sighed in imagined bliss, and looked at him with sad eyes.
You have no idea how much I wish you were real.
In a blink, he was gone–and the phone was ringing. For a split second, Manny considered not answering it.
There’s your chance to talk to a real person, Harvey murmured.
Probably a telemarketer.
Probably Rebecca. Or Daisy. They’ll worry if you don’t answer.
All right, all right.
Manny heaved herself to her feet and walked to the phone.
Maybe I’m glad you’re imaginary after all.
She caught a glimpse of his grin as she answered the phone.
It was Rebecca, asking her to go out the next night.
“I don’t know…” Manny sighed.
“Oh, come on–you’ll have fun! And seriously–you haven’t gone out with us in months!”
“I’ve been tired…”
“You’ve been tired your whole life I think. You need to break out of this rut you’re in! Come out for a few drinks and dancing with me and Daisy. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet a good-looking guy and be swept off your feet into a red-hot love affair.”
Sounds like a plan to me.
Yeah, ’cause that’ll happen.
“I’d love to go dancing,” Manny said to Rebecca, “but the guy is just a figment of your imagination.”
“Only because you don’t put any effort into it. Seriously, it’s not healthy to do nothing but work and go home. That’s how people go crazy you know.”
“Huh. You mean next thing you know I’ll be talking to my imaginary friend?”
Harvey grinned wickedly and Manny abruptly turned her back to him.
“Exactly!” Rebecca said. “Come on–what do you say?”
“Okay, okay,” Manny sighed. “Tomorrow night–the usual place?”
“Yep–and sound like you’re actually looking forward to it, okay?”
“I’m sorry. I am looking forward to it–it’ll be fun.”

For the last fifteen years, Rose “Manny” Mankowski has been a very good girl. She turned her back on her youthful fancies and focused on her career. But now, at the age of 45, she’s questioning her choices and feeling more and more disconnected from her own life. When she’s passed over for promotion and her much younger new boss implies Manny’s life will never change, something snaps. In the blink of an eye, she’s quit her job, sold her house and cashed in her pension, and she’s leaving town on a six month road trip.
After placing a personal ad for a travelling companion, she’s joined in her mid-life crisis by Zeke Powell, the cynical, satirical, most-read – and most controversial – blogger for the e-magazine, What Women Want. Zeke’s true goal is to expose Manny’s journey as a pitiful and desperate attempt to reclaim her lost youth – and increase his readership at the same time. Leaving it all behind for six months is just an added bonus.
Now, armed with a bagful of destinations, a fistful of maps, and an out-spoken imaginary friend named Harvey, Manny’s on a quest to rediscover herself – and taking Zeke along for the ride.
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – ChickLit, Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
 Connect with Victoria Bernadine on Twitter

@KimberlyShursen on the Successful Branding Process for Authors #AmWriting #Thriller #PubTip

Branding? What’s that have to do with me?
By Kimberly Shursen - Author of Itsy Bitsy Spider, Hush
 
If you’re familiar with branding, most of us relate this to logos or a clich├ęs such as “Have it your way,” or Coke’s “It’s the real thing,” or State Farm’s “Like a good neighbor.” So, what does that have to do with writing? In my opinion it has a lot to do with retaining and capturing the right reader base.

Now I’ve heard from time to time that authors should write several genres. I’m not a believer. I’m sure it has been done and done successfully, but most of us focus on one genre. Why? Because we know it’s where we will achieve our best writing.

If you take a look at my covers, you will notice that this is where I begin the branding process. I hope that one day readers will look at my covers, and without noticing my name, will say “That’s a Shursen book.” Now this may never happen, or may happen after I’m six feet under, but this is my hope. I use the same somewhat dark colors, and eerie fonts that are always in a blood red.. So, this is the beginning of branding my products. Okay, I don’t like to use the name “product” to describe my writing, but we’re working with the “other” side of the brain when we talk business here.

Now we move to the content of the book. Ya gotta have a style. Find it; implement it; and hang onto it. Don’t let editors tell that you have to use a complete sentence. How often do we greet someone with “Hello. How are you? I haven’t seen you in a very long time.” Really? Real, live people say, “Hey. How’s it goin’?” Characters need to be real. After a character murders someone would we say; “He ran down the street and through an alley. His heart was beating so fast, he thought he was going to pass out.” My words would be; “Racing between houses … through back yards … into a dark alley … his heart beating out of control, Caleb could taste the bile that rushed into his throat.”

There are three things readers will get to know about me; 1) no flowery, continual, ongoing verbiage about centerpieces, hairdos, or designer clothing, and 2) each chapter will be a cliff hanger, and lastly 3) there will be an unpredictable ending. There will always be those who claim they already knew the ending, but it would be highly unusual. Most readers say they read my novels in either one or two sittings, in spite of the fact they range anywhere from an 80,000 to a 92,000 word count. It makes me tingle all over when I know someone couldn’t put my novels down.

Many of the “greats” write in different genres, with book covers that don’t use the same font or types of images. For me, I don’t feel I would do well writing other genres as I need the constant tension that writing thrillers offers. I leave that up to my peers, and enjoy reading their romance, cozy mysteries, historical, literary fiction, or biographies.

We all have a unique niche, and it’s up each of us to find it. With branding, you won’t lose readers; you’ll find readers who are interested in your style and genre who will become fans.

hush

Soon after Ann Ferguson and Ben Grable marry, and Ben unseals his adoption papers, their perfect life together is torn apart, sending the couple to opposite sides of the courtroom.

Representing Ann, lawyer Michael J. McConaughey (Mac) feels this is the case that could have far-reaching, judicial effects -- the one he's been waiting for.

Opposing counsel knows this high profile case happens just once in a lifetime.

And when the silent protest known as HUSH sweeps the nation, making international news, the CEO of one of the top ten pharmaceutical companies in the world plots to derail the trial that could cost his company billions.

Critically acclaimed literary thriller HUSH not only questions one of the most controversial laws that has divided the nation for over four decades, but captures a story of the far-reaching ties of family that surpasses time and distance.


*** Hush does not have political or religious content. The story is built around the emotions and thoughts of two people who differ in their beliefs.

 EDITORIAL REVIEW: "Suspenseful and well-researched, this action-packed legal thriller will take readers on a journey through the trials and tribulations of one of the most controversial subjects in society today." - Katie French author of "The Breeders," "The Believer's," and "Eyes Ever To The Sky."

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Kimberly Shursen through Facebook and Twitter

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Mike Hartner on #SocialMedia & Showing Other Interests Outside Writing @MHartnerAuthor #WriteTip

How To Network Online to Sell Your Book

First, I must print this disclaimer. I’m not a marketing individual. And I, James, the second book of The Eternity Series which will be released in September 2014, is only the second book that I’ve tried to market. So, everything has been trial and error. But, I will borrow heavily from badredheadmedia.com’s Rachel Thompson, and several others, and the lessons they have taught me.
  1. You need an Online Presence. Gmail+, FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest…. They all have their uses. Personally, I’m on FaceBook, and Twitter.
  2. Facebook has my personal page, where my family and friends reside, and then a Corporate page which is where I try to publicize The Eternity Series. And other projects that I have. BcBaldEagles.com also comes to mind. It’s also a separate corporate page. And the three pages share posts from each other.
  3. Twitter is my second social media channel. @MHartnerAuthor is my identity, since Rachel once said, it’s better to publicize yourself as an author than to publicize individual books, and keep changing the identity. Son’t confuse people. Publicize yourself as an author.
  4. First Rule of Social Media: It’s Social. Don’t Spam. Don’t spill every word saying ‘Buy my book’. Build relationships, show people your interests outside of writing. If you’re interested in Nutella, and Alaskam wilderness cabins, show that. If it’s quilting, crocheting and flowers you’re interested in, show that. Let people meet the REAL you.
  5. Pluggio and hootsuite are great tools. Pluggio allows you to ‘drip’ every few hours news topics of your interest. Hootsuite allows you to post on more than one site from a consolidated dashboard. Both are useful.
  6. Don’t expect everyone who follows you to remain. But help them by not including expletives in every second post, or every third word. Show them that you can enjoy life as much as it can frustrate you.
Social Networks allow you to reach out to a lot of other people. AS much as you want others to follow you, follow them. Find others with your interest. Other authors, other Nutella aficionados, other quilters, whatever… By following a wide range of others, a wide range of them will follow you.

BLOG, or get blog tours. Blog tours are GREAT exposure for your book. They usually have a wide and diverse cross section of reviewers, who are all interested, to some extent, in your writing.

HELP OTHERS. If you can help others with your lessons, do. If you can Share other’s posts, announcements, etc… chances are they’ll share yours. And your messages will get out to people you never expected.

90/10 Rule. At least 90 percent of your posts and blogs should be focused on things OTHER THAN selling your book. Great reviews are one thing you can announce more often. Share Reviews of books you’ve read. Even better if they’re current books (last five years). Even Better if you’re following the author when you post the review.

ENGAGE your audience. Snippets, comments, and reviews of everyone’s work are great things to post. Top Ten lists about your life, about your hobbies… all of these build audience.

And while you’re building audience, but not screaming BUY MY BOOK, chances are some people will buy it.

And that’s what makes social media so great. Being Social.

IJames

James Crofter was ripped from his family at age 11. 
Within a year the prince was a pauper in a foreign land. 
Is nature stronger than nurture? And even if it is, can James find the happiness he so richly desires? 

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Historical Fiction, Romance
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Mike Hartner on Facebook & Twitter

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Roland Hughes Says Learn All You Need to Know About #Writing from Short Stories #Dystopian

I must warn you, my mind is a dangerous place.  My friends have been hearing that since we were teenagers but it wasn’t until I started writing novels that they began to realize it was just a joke.
As a writer/author one question gets asked countless times.  I has many different wordings, but it is the same question.  “What lead you to write this story?”  “What was going through your mind as you wrote this story?”  “How did you come up with the idea for this story?”  The wording doesn’t matter, it is the same question no matter how it is phrased.  What they are really asking, even if they won’t admit it is “How can I (or my readers) write a story like this?”
Most author interviews I’ve read seems to indicate they become calloused from this question and toss out the same response no matter how it is phrased, like a politician with talking points.  In the past I have been innocent and tried to actually answer the way it was phrased in a politically correct manner.  Nobody wants to hear the honest answer.  The honest answer is “You can’t because I certainly didn’t.”
Shocked?  It’s true.  I didn’t get a writing degree, create an outline, or follow any rules other than grammar and spelling.  The character chose to tell its story.  I wrote it down as best I could then fixed a few things.  Quite honestly, if you wish to become a writer you just need to be adequate with spelling and grammar, able to hire professional editing and, most importantly, listen to the character.
If you are not a writer and reading this I fully understand if you are shaking your head.  It defies what most people are told when they are young, but it is the truth.  If you want to know how to be the kind of author who gets some good/great reviews on their work the honest answer is “you cannot be told.”  There is no response or set of rules one can provide you with.  There is no formula to creating something nobody has ever thought of before.  There is no college course you can take or degree you can get which will make you an author who gets good/great reviews no matter what admissions tells you when you are handing over your money.
You can learn all you need to know by reading two short stories in a single book.  The book is Skeleton Crew.  The first short story to read out of it is Ballad of the Flexible Bullet.  This simple tale explains in detail what the mind of a writer is really like and where stories really come from.  If you don’t believe that after reading it then either switch to non-fiction writing or choose a new line of work.
The second story you need to read (and in this order) is Word Processor of the Gods.  This one story tells you everything you need to know about every story you will ever write.  Your mind and story are both free to travel as far as they wish if and only if they keep a tether to that subset of things which define humanity.
Fornit Some Fornus

“John Smith: Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars” is one big interview. It is a transcript of a dialogue between “John Smith” (who, as the title of the book implies is the last known survivor of the Microsoft wars) and the interviewer for a prominent news organization.
Buy Now @ Amazon & B&N
Genre – Dystopian Fiction
Rating – PG
More details about the author

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Rik Stone on Self-Publishing, Author Platform & Social Networking @Stone_Rik #WriteTip #AmWriting

Every writer needs an author platform and that starts with social networking… it’s important because readers need to know you exist before they can buy your book. Don’t wait, start now. Use Twitter; weave into your tweets without labouring the point that you’re working on a novel. Tell them its title and what it’s about. Make the Tweets interesting and you have a number of potential customers who might also tell their friends to look out for your work. I mention Twitter, but there are plenty of other networks out there.
Okay, you’ve built a social group and your book is written. Do you aim at the traditional publishers or go indie? Well, the traditional hill is a difficult one to climb and I feel agents and publishing editors might sit back to see which products appeal to the audience, EL James is a good example. If I’m right a successful indie campaign will give you every chance of getting that elusive traditional publisher, if that’s what will make you happy.
But is the indie option an easy one? Far from it, going down this route means you have to do the promotion and marketing yourself, so if you’re not willing to sign over your life completely, think again… Okay, you’re happy to do it, good, but you’ll soon learn that when you wrote ‘The End’ it was the biggest piece of fiction in the book; it’s actually the beginning. First base, you need a publicist. First question, can you afford one? No, go to second base. Yes, then research the prospective business partners thoroughly, there’s a lot of snake oil out there. Oh, if you do use a publicist you’ll need to publish in paperback as well as eBook. Second base, virtual tours, you’re reading this so you’re seeing part of one of them, I hope you’re impressed. Other than paying out for TV adverts, these tours seem to attract the most eyes.
I won’t go on too much, as I don’t want to take advantage of my kind host, but there is one statement I must make before you get your book out there: The presentation of text, the cover, and the quality of the work is of paramount importance to sales. The indie path is a medium that allows anyone to publish anything, don’t subscribe to ‘that will do’ if you want to gain public respect and retain their interest, you’d only be letting yourself down. Even if it nips at your budget give your work every chance by having professionals improve the quality and presentation. Editing, format of text, creation of cover picture and uploading the work onto your chosen medium is not overly expensive and you want a book to be proud of.
One final comment, Monty Hall wasn’t a writer, he was a TV celebrity, but his words are relevant: “Actually, I’m an overnight success, but it took 20 years.” So whatever you learn and whatever strategies you might want to use, the real secret is to keep at it, and never give up!

Set against the backdrop of Soviet, post-war Russia, Birth of an Assassin follows the transformation of Jez Kornfeld from wide-eyed recruit to avenging outlaw. Amidst a murky underworld of flesh-trafficking, prostitution and institutionalized corruption, the elite Jewish soldier is thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems, nobody can be trusted, and everything can be violently torn from him.
Buy Now @ AmazonB&NKobo & Waterstones
Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, November 7, 2014

STORM WITHOUT END (Requiem for the Rift King) #Excerpt by @RJ_Blain #Fantasy #AmReading

Men reacted to death in different ways. Some saw their own mortality, and the fear of it consumed them. Others were consumed by their anger and hatred. A rare few accepted it and recognized what they faced and did so with pride and dignity.
There were even those who enjoyed it.
Two of the men ran forward in silence, their eyes burning with their need to strike Kalen down. Ducking beneath the blades that were held too high, he stepped to the side and onto firmer ground. Both let out startled cries as they splashed into the muck. Letting momentum guide his hand, Kalen cracked the flat of the sword across their shins. It took the slightest twist of his wrist to slice the edge through their trousers and into their flesh.
“Stop!” Derac shouted.
The man’s companions didn’t obey. Kalen stepped back and dug his toes into the moss. The sword was longer than he liked, but it was well cared for and sharp. His teachers would flay him if they learned he used the weapon like most used a scythe, but it let him add power to the strength he possessed. The sharp edge cut through flesh and bone with such ease it left a bad taste in his mouth. His victim fell before having the chance to rise from the mud.
“By the Lady of Light, stand down, Luca,” Derac pleaded.
Kalen held his ground, the bloodied sword ready. His arm ached from the strain of holding a weapon too heavy for him. Each moment where he stood still, his feet hurt almost as much as his arm did. While there was no pain from the bite marks, the burning sensation continued to creep up his arm to his shoulder. His breath came as ragged pants.
“Derac’s right,” Marist said. “We can’t kill him. If we do—”
“Enough,” Kalen interrupted, twisting around to glare at the talkative man. Marist’s teeth snapped together with an audible clacking. “I’ve no quarrel with you.”
The unspoken “yet” hung between them. Luca stepped back, spreading the distance between them, and leaned against one of the large trees. The man’s sword was held low enough to be ready for use, but not in preparation to strike. Kalen wanted to sit down or rest against something — anything — but he didn’t dare.
Enemies always waited for the first sign of weakness.
“He killed Hareth and Uthen,” Luca said in an emotionless voice.
“May the Lady of Light watch over them both,” Derac replied.
The tip of Luca’s sword touched the ground. Kalen let out a sigh, relaxed his stance, and mimicked Luca so he wouldn’t drop his weapon.
“And you’ll do nothing?” Luca whispered.
Out of the corner of his eye, Kalen glimpsed Marist shaking his head. “They attacked him first without cause. We are at fault.”
“But they’re dead!”
“And I count our blessings that we aren’t too,” Marist spat. “If you’d like to join them, you’re welcome to it, but not I, Luca. Not I.”

Kalen’s throne is his saddle, his crown is the dirt on his brow, and his right to rule is sealed in the blood that stains his hand. Few know the truth about the one-armed Rift King, and he prefers it that way. When people get too close to him, they either betray him or die. The Rift he rules cares nothing for the weak. More often than not, even the strong fail to survive.
When he’s abducted, his disappearance threatens to destroy his home, his people, and start a hopeless and bloody war. There are many who desire his death, and few who hope for his survival. With peace in the Six Kingdoms quickly crumbling, it falls on him to try to stop the conflict swiftly taking the entire continent by storm.
But something even more terrifying than the machinations of men has returned to the lands: The skreed. They haven’t been seen for a thousand years, and even the true power of the Rift King might not be enough to save his people — and the world — from destruction.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Fantasy
Rating – PG – 13
More details about the author
Connect with RJ Blain on Facebook and Twitter

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Amanda Lee on on Writing - Being a Pantser and a Plotter @GayleTrent #AmWriting #Mystery #TBR



Q. How do you categorize yourself: pantser or plotter?
A. Both. I start out with a general idea and then try to plot chapters as I go along. I’ll outline chapters as opposed to the entire book, because if the chapter changes the book might go in an entirely different direction.
Q. What are you working on now?
A. I’m working on the next Fontaine book. This time Brandy and Luke are in Las Vegas. I’m really having fun getting to know these characters, and I hope readers will too.
Q. How do you deal with the dreaded writer’s block?
A. I whine and panic and then I what-if. I’ll start with a blank page and type “What if” at the top. Then I’ll put something to the effect of “What if ____ comes to the hotel room?” Or “What if the phone rings, and Luke is called away on business?” Eventually, I’ll come up with something that will advance the plot.
Q. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
A. I’d be somewhere WARM! Hawaii would be wonderful! Want to join me?
Q. How do you work through self-doubt and fear?
A. I struggle with self-doubt and fear every day. Some days I handle it better than others. Other days, I simply try to set my feelings aside and work through my insecurity. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel that I’m “good enough.” But do any of us? (If you answer “yes” to that, please write and tell me how!) J
Q. What scares you the most?
A. The thought of something bad happening to my children.
Q. What makes you the happiest?
A. Spending time with my children. I can’t imagine life without them!
Q. What books did you love growing up?
A. I adored Victoria Holt’s gothic romances. They were so romantic and intense!
Q. Is there any book you really didn’t enjoy?
A. I hate to admit this, but I could not stand Lord of the Flies. I detested the idea that without societal boundaries, we’d all turn into animals.
Q. What is hardest—getting published, writing, or marketing?
A. All of the above! It all really does take a great deal of effort and makes up the entirety of writing. If you want your writing to be more than a hobby that you share primarily with family members, then publishing and marketing are essential.
Q. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
A. Part of me wants to say Hawaii, because when we vacationed there years ago, I fell in love with the place and didn’t want to come home. I’m afraid, though, that the novelty would wear off and that I’d miss the “mainland.”


Embroidery shop owner Marcy Singer is about to have the rug pulled out from under her….

Marcy can’t wait to see the new exhibit at the Tallulah Falls museum on antique tapestries and textiles, including beautiful kilim rugs. But her enthusiasm quickly turns to terror when, the day after the exhibition opens, she discovers a dead body behind her store, the Seven-Year Stitch, wrapped up in a most unusual fashion.

The victim appears to be a visiting art professor in town for the exhibit. Did someone decide to teach the professor a lesson, then attempt to sweep the evidence under the rug? Along with her boyfriend, Detective Ted Nash, Marcy must unravel an intricate tapestry of deception to find a desperate killer.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Cozy Mystery
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Amanda Lee on Facebook & Twitter

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

#Excerpt from MOXIE'S PROBLEM by Hank Quense @hanque99 #SciFi #Fantasy #GoodReads

Scene Background: Moxie is on her way to meet her betrothed Count Gamel. Three apprentice knights, Percivale, Bore and Gareth are escorting her there.

Bors rode to the top of a hill and examined a flat, boulder-strewn summit. Beyond the boulders, a grassy knoll butted against a tall outcrop that would shelter them from the wind. Bors rode past the boulders, dismounted on the grass and removed the saddle from his horse, Escrow. He grunted in pleasure as a cool breeze wafted over him.

Percivale, Gareth and Moxie joined him on the knoll and they decided to camp there. Soon, all the mounts were unsaddled, hobbled and grazing nearby.

After tending to his horse, Escrow, Bors studied the boulders. Something about them seemed strange, almost unnatural. The rocks were in lines almost like the beads on his abacus. He ignored Moxie's latest outburst of whining and continued to examine the rocks. Dark gray boulders — dozens of them — covered the area in three lines with exactly twenty rocks in each line. A fourth rank, separate from the other three, contained five rocks.

"How dare you!" Moxie roared.

Bors grabbed his sword hilt and whirled towards the sound of her voice. Moxie stood ten feet away glaring at a boulder in the middle rank.

"What's goin' on?" Percival, also on foot, asked her. Gareth stood near Percivale, looking quizzically at Moxie.

"I'm a princess, you impudent rock. Apologize this instant or I'll break you into rubble."

Bors gawked at her. The memory of a story an old hunter once told him and his father flooded his brain and almost overwhelmed him with the danger they faced. His skin crawled.

Moxie picked up a fist-sized rock.

Bors gasped. Moxie was about to get them all killed.

Moxie bounced the rock off the boulder.

Bors ran to her and grabbed her arm before she could do more damage.

"The stone insulted me." Moxie frowned at Bors as if she suspected his motives.

"Why did you throw the rock?" Percivale asked.

"Moxie just attacked one of the rock-folk," Bors said in a quavering voice.

"I did what?"

"She did what?" Percivale said. "I'm confused."

Bors waved an arm around the boulder collection. "This is a rock-moot. I've heard about them. The rock-folk come together to settle problems and make new laws. And the stone Moxie threw was a rock-baby."

"The big one degraded me." Moxie sniffed and pointed at the boulder. "It made lewd suggestions."

"Rocks can't talk," Gareth said. "Leastwise, not so we can hear them."

"I can hear them. I’m descendent from the Ancient Ones. Royal Ancient Ones, of course. And the Ancient Ones were descended from the fairies.”

"We have to get out of here," Bors said. "Fast."

"Why is the ground shaking?" Moxie looked alarmed. She grabbed Percival's arm to steady herself.

"It's the rock-folk," Bors said. "They're gettin' all worked up over Moxie's attack."

Their mounts whinnied in fear at the trembling ground. They jumped and stamped their hooves and strained at the hobbles until they broke free. The four horses ran down the hill and disappeared into the forest.

A worried Bors said, "We have to get out of here. Let's grab the saddle bags and put some distance between us and the rocks."

A boulder inched closer to Moxie's foot and she shrieked.

Percivale made a face at the sudden pain in his ear from Moxie's reaction, but didn't move, as if frozen in place.

"Someone has to get my horse," Moxie said.

"I ain't goin' through those rocks." Gareth pointed to a group of rocks rolling to form a line between them and the direction the horses went.

"We have to leave." Bors pushed Moxie in the back. "That way."

"Unhand me! And what about dinner? I'm hungry."

"Dinner will be very late tonight, Your Royal Feyness." Bors kept his hand on her back, nudging her away from the builders. He grabbed Moxie's saddle bag and handed it to her, then picked up his own.

"You expect me to carry that?"

Bors dropped her saddle bags. "If you don't carry it, it stays here and gets crushed by the rocks. I'm not carryin' yours, you are."

Bors looked at Percivale who stood without moving, his face drained of color. Bors grabbed an arm and yanked Percivale backward. Percivale blinked and gave Bors a strange look. "Come on, Perc," Bors yelled. "Snap out of it and let's get goin'."

Percivale picked up his saddlebags and trotted away from the boulders.

A few minutes later, they descended the hill.

"Moxie, look out!" Gareth yelled.

Bors turned and saw a boulder thundering down the hill. A bow wave of dirt sprayed out on both sides of its path.

Gareth dropped his saddle bags and pushed Moxie out of the way. Both landed in a heap a moment before the boulder sped past them.

"Get off me, you blundering lummox."

Gareth picked himself up and pointed to the boulder now at the bottom of the hill and rapidly losing speed. "Must have been sentry." He went over to his saddle bags, partially crushed by the boulder.

"Are these rocks stupid or something?" Moxie stood with her hands on her hips. "Commoners are supposed to ignore royal misunderstandings."

"I don't think rock-folk are impressed with your royal birth," Bors said. "Let's get movin'.

"When do you think the horses will come back?" Moxie asked. "I can't carry my saddle bags all the way to Count Gamel's."

"Those animals ain't comin' back," Percivale said. "Not after the way they got spooked. They're inna next county by now." The color had returned to his face.

"Can someone please carry my bags?" Moxie asked in a pleasant voice while fluttering her eyelids. "They have my wedding dress in it."

Bors slung his own bags over one shoulder and said, "It'll do you good to get some exercise." He turned his back on her and walked east.

"We gotta get a lotta miles from here before we can stop for me to cook the rabbits I caught." Gareth tied two hares to a saddle bag. "We better start pickin' nuts and berries if we see any."

Bors shook his head. He wished the adventure would go back to being boring again.

Moxie huffed, stamped her foot and picked up her saddle bags. She followed the three knights while raining insults and curses down on their collective heads.

Moxie had never thought that life outside the castle could be so difficult. Her escorts made her sleep on the ground with only two thin blankets: one under her and one on top of her. She had to sleep in her clothes. The men made her get up at dawn. She had to eat cold meals when it rained. They made her ride the horse all day long. The knights were disrespectful of her nobility. They often ignored her commands.

It was if she was a peasant not a princess. And now they didn’t have horses and had to walk and non one would carry her saddlebags.

Moxie dropped the saddlebags to wipe her tear-filled eyes. Gamel better be worth all this misery she thought.

Moxie's Problem

Do you enjoy untypical coming-of-age stories? Well, you won’t find one more untypical than Moxie’s Problem. Moxie is an obnoxious, teen-age princess who has never been outsider her father’s castle. Until now. The real world is quite different and she struggles to come to grips with reality. The story takes place against a backdrop of Camelot. But it isn’t the Camelot of legends. It’s Camelot in a parallel universe. So, all bets are off!

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Genre – Fantasy, Sci-fi
Rating – G
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Connect with Hank Quense through Facebook & Twitter

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

WITNESS TO MY HEART by @LoniFlowers #AmReading #Romance #Excerpt


Excerpt contains strong language 
Grabbing my shoulders, Max pushed me against the wall. I sucked in a sharp breath and tried to push him away from me, but couldn’t make him budge an inch. “Get your hands off me,” I demanded.

Stepping closer, Max leaned in and the muscles of his chest flexed under my palms. His stance was wide, each foot planted on the sides of mine. When I peered down, I noticed the waist of his jeans hung below his hip bones. Considering my position, and Max’s over-reactive, accusatory tone, I did my best not to drool because I was supposed to be mad. I was pissed, right?

“Don’t play games with me, Abi.”

Max stared down, his gaze skimming over my chest as I stood there in one of Caroline’s pretty, pink push-up bras. Having more than enough to fill the small cups, I didn't require the extra lift. My chest rose up and down with visible succession in every breath I took and I didn’t know if it was because I was scared or possibly getting turned on.

“I don’t play those types of games, Max.”

Shit! Not the appropriate comeback in a situation like this.

His grip hardened, “Now! Tell me why you covered for me?”

“Ow, let me go! I was only doing you a favor.”

“I didn’t ask for handouts when I came here. What the fuck did David say to you!?”

“He said you were a good guy and I shouldn’t kill you; but obviously, he has you mixed up with someone else because you’re a fucking lunatic!”

“Oh.”

“Oh? You man-handle me and all you can say is oh?” Forget shocked, I was furious. “For your information, Charlie is a friend, like a father, and he’s extremely protective over me. Sometimes, he does background checks on the people in my life. If he had seen you here, he would have done one on you and on your vehicle. I assumed you wouldn’t want him snooping around. Plus, if he did find something he didn't approve of, he wouldn’t let me…”

I instantly paused and thought if he didn't stop this line of interrogation, I could say something I shouldn't. My record of zero slip-ups since being placed in the Witness Protection Program might be broken this very day.

“Wouldn’t let you… what?”

“Nothing. He wouldn't want me staying here. Excuse me for trying to be proactive.” If he thought he could talk to me or handle me however he wanted, he had another thing coming. I straightened up before I leaned forward, letting my hands slide up his chest until my fingers curled over the top of his shoulders. His brow rose with interest, but I ignored it. Pulling Max’s chest forward, I pressed my chest against his to whisper into his ear. “Didn’t I tell you not to underestimate me?”

Max pulled back, slightly squinting as if he suddenly recalled something. His eyes gazed intently on me and I was momentarily frozen. His lips parted, and a rushed breath escaped his mouth as his finger curled around a lock of my hair. He gathered it in his hand and pulled it away from my shoulders. His face twisted in confusion before amusement sparkled in his eyes. My unexpected heavy breathing seemed to match his own.

“Darling, I never underestimate anyone, but you...”

“What? You think you know me? Don’t pretend to assess me either.”

“Tell me, do you act this way every time you get pissed off? Because I think I could get used to it.”

“Who pushed whom against the wall in a fit of anger?” I countered.

His full, pink lips curved into a small grin as he pierced me with his amber brown eyes, the color of a light brandy. Like a cognac that slid down your throat until it found the right spot and scorched your insides. God, why did he have to be so damn sexy?

My fingers swiped over the taut muscles in his neck and I might have murmured an audible sigh. I wasn’t sure. When his grin spread wider, I knew I was caught. It had been far too long since I'd been intimate with a man, and standing that close to him, inhaling so much testosterone, became too much for me to handle. He being a jackass didn't make much difference at that moment.

Witness to my Heart

Keep a low profile. That's what Abigale Peterson was supposed to do, especially when the person she was being protected from was one of the world's worst crime lords. After seven years in the Witness Protection Program, she felt no safer now than she did when she was seventeen. Revenge was rarely forgotten when it came to a professional criminal like Zerilli.

Low profiles meant no social life and definitely no love life.

Paranoia and lies became daily habits, going against everything Abigale believed in, but they kept her safe. They kept everyone safe.

Until a house fire puts her out of that safety and into the arms of a stranger. Max Smith is sexy, smart, and has major attitude. He’s the only one who seems to get her. He calms her fears and comforts her from her nightmares. But he also sees right through her lies.

Before Abigale can stop, she’s in too deep; confiding too much and breaking the one rule she promised herself to uphold: Never fall in love.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with Loni Flowers through Facebook & Twitter