Dreaming in the Pages

Books ... where dreams are better than reality

Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Latecomers Fan Club by Diane V. Mulligan @Mulligan_writes




Abby had to work on New Year’s Eve. She didn’t know if she felt worse for the sad sacks who would be ringing in the new year in the dumpiest bar in town or herself for working there. It didn’t help that she hadn’t been feeling well for the past week or so. All she wanted to do was sleep. She had no idea how she was going to stay on her feet all night. Bill, the idiot owner, had decided that they would have a Mardi Gras theme for New Year’s. Did he not understand that Mardi Gras already had a place in the calendar?

In her tiny, dark bedroom, she dug her “party” clothes out of the plastic bin under her bed. She cursed the pea-soup green carpet as the bin snagged when she tried to shove it back into place. She was sick of the cramped apartment with its stained rugs, peeling vinyl floor, and fake wood paneling.

Black halter-top, a short black skirt, and a handful of plastic Mardi Gras beads. It felt good to get dressed up, even if her destination wasn’t anything special. Her eye makeup made her look more awake than she felt. She was zipping up her boots when her cell phone rang.

“Hey, you gonna swing by later?” she asked, cradling the phone between her ear and her shoulder and tossing a few things into her purse. She had this nagging feeling that she was forgetting something. She’d felt that way for most of the past week.

“I don’t know, babe,” Nathaniel said. “My plans are still a little shaky.”

“Seriously? I thought we were at least going to have midnight together.” Abby pulled a big hoodie over her skimpy bar clothes and slid her down jacket over that. However hot it was going to be in the bar, the weatherman promised that it was going to be one of Boston’s coldest New Year’s Eves on record.

“It’s not that I don’t want to see you, but the Watering Hole isn’t exactly my favorite place.”

Abby tucked her long brown hair into the collar of her jacket and put a knit cap on her head. “I thought your favorite place was wherever I am.”

“Yeah, because that cutesy shit always works on me,” Nathaniel said.

“Tell me again about the hopeless romantic you used to be.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”

It wasn’t okay, but she wasn’t in the mood for a fight. She knew what Breanna would say if she were here. You deserve better, Abby. “What are you doing tonight?”

“Zack’s having some people over. I think I’ll just stay out there.”

Even a house party west of Worcester trumps a night at metro-Boston’s finest, Abby thought. “Who’s gonna be there?” she asked.

“The usual suspects, I’m sure. Nobody you know.”

Of course not, Abby thought, stepping out into the cold, because you never invite me. “Well, have fun,” she said, the icy air biting her nose.

“Yeah, you, too, kiddo.”

Abby hated when he called her kiddo. She hung up the phone.

It was a short walk to the bar, but long enough that Abby’s fingers and toes were frozen by the time she got there. Bill shouted at her to shut the door before she let all the cold air in. Abby rolled her eyes. She slipped into the little office at the back of the bar and reluctantly took off her warm outer layers. A few wardrobe adjustments, a swipe of lip gloss, and she walked out to the bar. She brushed past the low tables with their scratched Formica tops and chairs whose torn vinyl seats were patched with duct tape. No wonder no one ever sat down in them. The overhead lights glared down on the sticky, shellacked counter. The drop ceiling was gray and dingy from years of cigarette smoke. Smoking had been banned indoors for at least ten years, but Bill would never bother to spend money to make the place a little more welcoming.

“Beautiful, doll,” Bill said, looking her up and down. He was setting up the sound equipment on the small stage against the back wall.

“Who’s on tonight?” Abby asked.

“You, Kate, Jason—”

“No, who’s the entertainment?”

“Those college boys. What do they call themselves? Timbuck Blue?”

It was hard to believe that was the best entertainment Bill could come up with for New Year’s Eve, and even harder to understand how those hipsters would contribute to a Mardi Gras theme. Bill probably wasn’t paying them. Abby noted the baskets of beads behind the bar. She wondered if Bill had any other theme items or if he was just hoping drunk girls would show off their tits. And by girls she meant the middle-aged women who were among the regulars, because there weren’t likely to be many girls present, unless Timbuck Blue had managed to find some groupies since their last appearance.

Nathaniel’s band, the Latecomers, would have been a far better choice. They played crowd favorites, and they could do jazzy tunes to create a New Orleans mood, but the Latecomers hadn’t played at the Watering Hole for three years.

They used to be a regular part of the lineup. That’s how Abby and Nathaniel met. Abby had just gotten the job. Bill said he had a gap in the schedule on Tuesday nights and he’d like Abby to fill it. Abby had arrived for her first shift prepared for a slow night. Being a weeknight, she figured there’d be a few regulars, lonely drunks who’d expect her to listen to their tales of woe and to make sure that the TV was set to ESPN. When a balding, middle-aged guy with a beer belly came in and began setting up speakers and microphones, Abby had no idea what was going on.

When he was done setting up, he came over to the bar and ordered a gin and tonic, heavy on the gin. “Hope you like music,” he said.

What kind of person doesn’t like music? she had wondered. She preferred classic rock and country, something with solid lyrics and nice harmonies, but she could enjoy almost any live music.

“I’m Johnny, by the way,” he said, extending his hand.

Johnny took his drink to a table in the back of the bar and set up an easel with a newsprint tablet that said “Open Mic” with times listed for people to sign up. Abby couldn’t imagine any of the grizzled guys at the bar crooning out tunes. She wondered who was going to be performing and what style of music she could expect. Still, she reasoned, whatever it is, it mustn’t be great. Live music should draw people in, but Bill had specifically warned her not to expect much by way of tips.

After a while guys with guitars began trickling in. The aspiring musicians had a median age of forty-five, Abby guessed, and as a group they were in need of a shower and a shave. A few of the old-timers who had been warming barstools settled their tabs and headed for the door as Johnny introduced the first act of the night. Not a good sign.

When the third act, a heavy man with greasy hair and a beat up classical guitar, was half way through his rendition of “Feliz Navidad” (in the middle of July), Abby understood why Bill had a gap on Tuesdays. She watched the performer for a minute and then turned back to the bar. She noticed a new patron near the back wall.

He had dirty blond hair, blue eyes, and dimples when he smiled. He was, by far, the youngest customer of the evening. Abby guessed he was about thirty. She noticed the guitar case leaning against the wall behind him.

When she asked what he was drinking, he produced some wrinkled bills and a few coins from his pocket. He asked her to stretch that as far as it would go. He grimaced at the Bud she brought him, but he drank it and two more after it. She would have asked him about his act, but she was working alone and had to attend to other customers.

Johnny flagged her down for two shots of whiskey. Abby gave him the glasses and watched him walk over to the stage and set one on the stool beside Mr. Christmas-in-July. Abby didn’t think the whiskey would help him much.

The music did get better as the night went on. A duo of middle-aged guys in jean shorts and work boots sang some nice harmonies, and a short, professorial-looking man played several complicated instrumental pieces on a twelve string. Finally, Dimples and his band got up to play. They were the last act of the night.

“We’re the Latecomers,” Dimples said, as he tuned his guitar. “That’s Charlie on bass, Jeff on keyboards, and I’m Nathaniel.”

Each week, the Latecomers closed out the open mic with an hour set (unlike the others who got three songs each), and each week, Abby served Nathaniel his succession of Buds.

After a month or so, impressed that she had lasted so long, Nathaniel finally introduced himself properly. Abby had never met a Nathaniel who didn’t shorten his name, and she made the mistake of calling him Nate, but he pointedly corrected her. Later, Abby learned that he was named after his father, who went by Nate, as Nathaniel had as a child. Once he was in college, he chose to distinguish himself from his father as much as possible, so he insisted his friends call him by his full name.

After their official introductions, he offered to play a special request, and she asked for a Beatles song, it didn’t matter what one. Their second number that night, “Baby You Can Drive My Car,” was dedicated to her.

Later, when she picked up the tip Nathaniel left her, she found a scrap of paper with his phone number tucked under the dollar bill. When she got home and told Breanna, she shook her head at Abby and said, “But he’s the guy who can barely afford a Bud.”

Abby probably should have listened to Breanna, but he was a musician, and she had a soft spot for cute musicians. Although she couldn’t carry a tune if her life depended on it, she loved music, and she was fascinated by people who made it. Every crush she’d had in high school had been a guitar-toting dreamer, and she was always dragging her friends to the summer concerts at the ski area near her parents’ New Hampshire home. Peter Frampton, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Boston—bands long past their prime who put on cheap shows under the stars. You could get lawn seats for twenty bucks and spend the entire night soaking up the music, imagining what it would have been like to see those bands when they were still the hot ticket in town. Other girls could have the jocks. She wanted a guy who could sing her a love song.

Besides, he had offered her his phone number, not a marriage proposal. At the time, at the hopeless age of twenty-three, she’d been living in Somerville for a year and, despite the large numbers of available men purportedly in the greater Boston area, she’d gone out with only two guys, neither of whom made it to a second date. It couldn’t hurt to give this handsome, dimpled musician a try.

And four years later, he still never had more than ten bucks in his wallet, the Latecomers had fallen apart, and marriage still wasn’t part of the conversation. Breanna was right: She was a fool.


The Latecomers Fan Club

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Genre – Women’s Literature

Rating – PG-13

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Connect with Diane V. Mulligan on Facebook & Twitter


Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Floats The Dark Shadow by Yves Fey @YvesFey

Excerpt from Deleted Chapter at a strange Paris shop.  Fun, but it didn’t further the mystery enough.

Dark gleaming eyes watched her.

Black lips parted to show fearsome fangs.

Mesmerized, Theodora stared at the snarling leopard crouched and ready to spring.

Laughter erupted nearby.  Paused on the threshold, Theo fought the answering smile that quivered at the edge of her lips.  Instead, she pressed one hand to her heart, the other to her brow, and faux swooned against the doorjamb.  “Save me.  I will be devoured.”

“Save you from such a unique death?”  Paul exclaimed.  “Never!”

“Indeed, what poet would spare you such a devastatingly delicious experience?” Casimir  inquired.

“Delicious for the leopard,” Theo scoffed, stepping into Deyrolle’s taxidermist shop.  Underneath bowls of potpourri exuding rosemary, lemon, and lavender, she breathed a musty aroma of fur and feathers, a hint of chemicals.  Kneeling in front of the leopard, she felt its sharp fangs and stroked its rough, spotted pelt.  She wished she could feel the muscle ripple beneath the hide.  How wonderful that would be—to stroke a live leopard.

Despite all the praises Theo had heard, this was her first visit to Deyrolle’s.  She loved living animals and had had little desire to visit a shop full of dead ones, however unusual.  Now that she was here, to her surprise, she felt caught in its spell.  There was a strange blending of cruelty and in love the preservation of these creatures.  Violation and honor.  Still kneeling, she looked about her.  Hovering above the crouching leopard, a crane soared on outstretched wings.  A passageway opened to either side.  In one, a baby elephant lifted its trunk as if sniffing the air.  In the other, a huge king cobra rose, spreading his hood.  Beside the winding staircase stood a mannequin in a dapper suit and striped cravat, topped with the head of a gazelle.  Deyrolle’s managed to be at once charming, sad, and unnerving.

Theo stood and went to join the Revenants who had responded to Averill’s request to meet here.  Casimir, Paul, Jules were gathered around a glass case near the elephant.  They were dressed in descending degrees of elegance, aristocratic, professorial, and shabby country church mouse.  Also present were les trois Traits—the three Hyphens, as Paul had dubbed them—three slim, dark-haired poets named Jean-Jacques, Pierre-Henri, and Louis-LeRoi, professor, student, and fledgling lawyer … There was a bucket with three bottles of iced champagne on the floor beside them, and a fancy basket held crystal flutes.  An attendant waiting behind the cash register had a towel draped over his arm, as if champagne were de rigueur on such occasions.  Theo looked around for Averill and saw him descend the curving staircase that led to the next floor.  Her heart trip-stepped at the sight of him.  At first he seemed freshly scrubbed, almost boyish.  His hair was smoothly pomaded, his linen gleaming white, and his suit neatly pressed.  When he came close to greet her, she saw dark circles under his eyes.  Too much studying—or too much absinthe?


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Genre – Historical Mystery

Rating – R

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Author Interview - Jennifer Cornet @J_Cornet

Image of Jennifer CornetLocation and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?

-I grew up in the suburbs of northern Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC. My father is retired Navy and my mom was a stay-at-home mom. I grew up in a household that nurtured creative abilities as well as emphasized the need for education. I think that is why I wound up as an engineer with so many hobbies. My mom taught me to sew at a young age, and my dad let me play with his tools in the garage. It was a fun household, often covered in glitter.

I still live in Springfield, where I was raised. My husband, who also grew up here, and I bought a house a little over two years ago and have settled in. I work as an engineer for the Navy while he works at the Pentagon.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

-Boy, I wish I knew. It sounds cheesy, but I don’t know where most of my ideas come from. I often find myself cooking when a random train of thought comes rolling through my brain and I go “huh, that’s an interesting concept.” From there I usually obsess about it until I can flush it out as a viable idea, or dismiss it completely.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

-Writing is by far the easiest. If you had asked me in July, I might have said publishing is the hardest. I sent out tons of agent queries and only got canned responses in reply. Now that I have chosen to head down the “self-publishing” route, I’ve discovered that that isn’t so much the case anymore. By far the hardest thing is marketing. There is a massive amount of information out there on the internet and no one to direct you. It’s very overwhelming to even think about where to start.

What marketing works for you?

-I’m trying to figure out the whole marketing thing as I go. It’s a big, scary world out there with millions of outlets. I’m just trying to figure out what works for me and where I fit in to it all.

Do you find it hard to share your work?

-I did at first. Now I don’t find it hard to share by passing files along or something. I do, however, still hate reading my own work out loud. It’s a fear I’m working on getting over.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Urban Fantasy

Rating – PG - 13

More details about the author

Connect with Jennifer Cornet on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.jennifercornet.com/

Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

#Author R.J. Blain Gets Personal @rj_blain #Fantasy

Tell us a bit about your family.
I have a husband, four cats, and a warrior fish. I’ve been married for over ten years now (yikes!), and at least two of our kitties have been with us most of our marriage. The other two are recent adoptees to the family. Tsu Dhi, the Warrior Fish, observes his domain from his bowl in our kitchen.
He lets us live, under the strict condition we don’t forget to feed him and clean his water.
What scares you the most?
Spiders. Oh, without a doubt, spiders scare me the most. As do heights. And my husband getting into a car accident on his way home from work. Does this list have a limit? I don’t have to just pick one, do I? There are lots of things I fear, though I try not to let them get to me too much.
What makes you happiest?
Writing, Reading, and playing computer games with my husband. I love seeing what I can put characters through when I write. It’s a whole new world I get to explore day after day. Reading is for when I just want to escape, but I don’t want to be the one who has to put in the heavy lifting. I may be a writer (and freelance editor) by day, but I’m backstabbing rogue at night! Gaming is definitely how I unwind and just enjoy myself without having to think too hard.
What’s your greatest character strength?
I’ve been told by a multitude of trustworthy sources that I have the patience of a saint, so I’m going to go with that one. I like trying to give everyone a chance to prove themselves and become better – especially at writing. I think giving someone the gift of my patience is the only way I can really help another writer or person do what they want to do.
What’s your weakest character trait?
Hyperactivity. When I’m really having fun, I get particularly energetic and hyperactive. This can involve bouncing, squealing, and other disruptive reactions. I usually try to save this bundled up energy for home, but sometimes it slips out in public…
… especially if I spot a horse. I love horses.
Who is your favorite author?
Mercedes Lackey. She was the author who inspired me to write. My favorite of her works is definitely her oldest books, though. Nowadays, my favorites also include Jim Butcher (Mhmm Harry Dresden and Tavi!) and Brandon Sanderson.
What book should everybody read at least once?
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. This book made me think, and I really enjoy books that make me think. I feel this sort of novel has a lot of impact over time. That said, I think it needs to be read in the mindset of comparing the reality of our world with the presentation of the government and world from Brave New World to have the most impact.
Are there any books you really don’t enjoy?
I really have a strong dislike for A Song of Fire and Ice by George R. R. Martin. I never was able to get into it, and I keep getting pressured by people who think I should enjoy it when I don’t. I probably wouldn’t dislike it nearly as much if so many people didn’t act like I should like it when I don’t.
It doesn’t fit my particular tastes. I have nothing against people liking this series, but I don’t want it shoved in my face when I just don’t enjoy it.
What do you hope your obituary will say about you?
Obituaries are so interesting. If I had to have one written about me though, I’d hope it’d be written by a fan of my writing. My writing is an integral part of me, so that’s what I’d like for  it to be about. So I guess I’d like to be survived by my pets (and hopefully my spouse) and my fans – I’d like my writing to be remembered by people who enjoyed my stories.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Fantasy
Rating – PG - 13
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Author Interview – Christina Smith

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? Yes I have, and when it happens, I like to put on music, and close my eyes while I listen to it. It clears my head.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? Sure it is the third and final book in the Moon’s Glow series, and it’s called Riley’s Redemption.

How did you come up with the title? The last name of the male character is Riley, and in the prequel, he has a curse and in this book, he has a secret.

Can you tell us about your main character? Yes her name is Megan Banks, and she was born privileged, but raised by superficial parents. She went along with what her spoiled selfish friends do only because she never knew any better. But she proves she’s not really like them she gets in a tough situation.

How did you develop your plot and characters? I wanted to see if I could write a character that had killed and make him likable. And since I wanted to branch out into more supernatural, I thought about werewolves. And I wanted him to be a reluctant monster, who hated what he was.

Who designed the cover? Stephanie Mooney

What was the hardest part about writing this book? Letting the series go. While I will miss the characters, I have so many different ideas I couldn’t write a series with more than three books.

Will you write others in this same genre? Yes, definitely.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Learn how to forgive yourself and others.

How important do you think villains are in a story? Very. Without conflict a story is boring.

Who is your favorite author and why? Not sure if I have just one favorite author, but one of them is Kresley Cole, and the biggest reason is her humor. I love to laugh when I’m reading.

Do you have any advice for writers? Yes, read, and write as much as you can.

Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers? Just that I hope you enjoy my book, because I loved writing it.

What do you do to unwind and relax? Listen to music, read and watch TV. It helps clear my mind.

If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be? Finding my passion for writing was liberating. I had lived my life doing jobs that I had to do in order to survive. I was happy with my life, and family, but when I found my passion, it was like I had awakened from a life without color. So my advice is not to settle, and if you haven’t found your passion yet, keep looking.

When you wish to end your career, stop writing, and look back on your life, what thoughts would you like to have? I hope to be at peace at what I accomplished in my career. I hope to have made people happy and entertained them with what I wrote.

Riley's Secret

Buy Now @ Amazon @Smashwords

Genre - Young Adult/Fantasy/Romance

Rating – PG13

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Connect with Christina Smith on Facebook & Twitter & Google+

Blog http://www.christinasmithbooks.com/

Author Interview – Dermot Davis @dermotdavis1

You’re also a playwright?

Yes, my background is in theatre and aside from some early poetry and short stories, plays were the first real writings I attempted.

How does the experience of writing a play differ from that of writing a novel?

For me, they pose a very different set of challenges. The limitations involved in writing a play are very strict and confining and can be very difficult to adhere to or overcome. In a play, the entire action is taking place in real time and although you can play around with creative lighting, scene changes, blocking and so on, so much is dependent on the dialogue itself. Mostly everything has to be conveyed through believable dialogue between the characters on stage and only one person can speak at a time. The number of characters you can put on a stage at any one time tends to determine what can happen in a scene.

Having said that, it’s also very true that knowing and working within the limitations can be very freeing and can very much improve the work. Dialogue has to be economical and very, very precise, for instance.

And writing the novel?

Writing the novel is almost like going to the other extreme where there are unlimitless possibilities. You can write for a cast of thousands, travel back and forth around the world and through time itself and you have the opportunity of allowing your characters to speak pages and pages about their inner-most thoughts. It’s wonderful.

You enjoy writing having in a medium that has less limitations, then?

Yes and no. They are both just different beasts, really. The dangers of having too few limitations are that, in the novel, for instance, I can write pages about something that really doesn’t serve the characters or the plot but I’m so in love with my writing that I find it hard to curb myself. That happens a lot and a good editor should be able to spot those areas and respectfully run a red pen through them (laughs). A really strict editor is a writer’s godsend, to be honest.

Do you have an organized process or tips for writing well? Do you have a writing schedule?

I don’t write to a schedule usually but I do try to write every day that I’m working on a project. Some days I could write lots and other days very little but I try not to force myself to write if the story isn’t flowing. Usually when I find myself slowing down, on further analysis, I discover within myself that I’ve come to some kind of resistance in the writing and it serves me to stop and take a closer look at what that might be.

How do you do that? What kind of resistances are you concerned about?

Resistances come in many flavors and can be very hard to ascertain. It can require some deep introspection but doing so usually pays dividends so I try to stay as aware and alert to them as I can because if I don’t, ultimately the work can suffer. Sometimes, it’s just a question that I have been working too much at the expense of play or relaxation and the playful part of myself feels restless and maybe a little cheated. A simple remedy would be to take some time off and go to the beach or do something fun. A more serious kind of resistance could indicate that I’ve lost my way in the story or rather that I’ve strayed from the truth in some way. Maybe I’m forcing the characters to follow some plotting that I want to have happen and it’s not being respectful to the characters and may come across in the read as being false.

Zen & Sex

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Genre - Romance

Rating – PG13

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Website www.dermotdavis.com

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Lazar’s Mission by Kevin Sterling @ksterlingwriter

0Excerpt from Chapter Four

It was eleven fifteen, and there was no sign of Melati. She could have been late for a number of reasons, or a complete no-show for that matter, and Jack hoped it was the former. No doubt, fraternizing with the passengers was forbidden, or at least frowned upon. So the question was whether she had been sufficiently lured by Jack’s charm to break the rules. His stomach was in knots from the anticipation of seeing her, and he paced the floor of his suite like a caged animal.

Part of him was over-the-top excited to see her, play with her. But a voice of reason in the depths of his consciousness couldn’t help but speculate whether he was getting himself into trouble again. He just couldn’t see how.

Perhaps Jack was just channeling his Eastern mentor, Tasagi, who had not only been his private jujitsu and karate instructor for several years now, but over time had become a valuable spiritual guide as well. According to Tasagi, Jack was bringing dangerous situations to himself through a process called the Law of Attraction, and it was tied to his internal belief system. That meant Jack consciously believed he had chosen to involve himself with certain people or situations because of their reasonable appearance on the surface, whereas in reality his energy had attracted an underlying issue or conflict, and he didn’t recognize it until it was too late.

The problem was that Tasagi had him questioning everything now, including sweet Balinese girls, and he knew he had finally taken it too far. He knew there was nothing at all wrong with Melati, and he prayed he would soon hear her knock on the door.

In the meantime, he forced himself to stop pacing, and he reclined on the couch with a bottle of water to hydrate himself for what he hoped to be a spirited night.

To get more comfortable, he had changed into a loose-fitting pair of white drawstring linen pants with an aquamarine linen shirt and brown woven leather loafers sans the socks. After all, the ship was traversing the Mediterranean Sea toward the north coast of Africa, so an outfit leaning toward the tropical seemed most fitting.

Also, despite his earlier wine-opening announcement of eleven o’clock, he chose to uncork the bottle of Caymus Special Selection Napa Cab at ten and empty it into a decanter to let it breathe. The wine steward had thoughtfully included a pair of Spiegelau vinovino Cabernet wineglasses, and Jack knew the large, appellation-designed bowls would let the wine open up to its full potential.

Kevin Sterling

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Genre – Action, Mystery, Suspense

Rating – R

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Author Interview – Ben Woodard @benswoodard

Image of Ben Woodard

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

I’ve always had a fantasy about living in New Zealand. I’ve never been there, but I’m an outdoorsman and the idea of living in a small country with mountains and glaciers in the South and tropical islands in the North definitely appeals to me.

How do you write, with a laptop, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?

All of the above, and more. When I’m writing a draft, I usually dictate using Dragon Dictate for the Mac. I’m a decent storyteller and this is the quickest way for me to get the words out. However, when editing I use a Mac Mini with a large screen monitor. Don’t tell, but sometimes when editing or writing, I will get in the tub with a couple of dark beers, a pad of paper, and a pencil and stay until my wife threatens to call the fire department to get me out.

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?

To me success would be when reluctant readers, and especially boys, read and enjoy my books. I’ve had one boy who, according to his mother, is bored with reading. She got him to read Hunger Games and the Percy Jackson books, but he’s a slow reader and lost interest. But with tears in her eyes, she told me that when he read my book, A Stairway To Danger, he wouldn’t put it down and even hid under the covers reading late into the night. That’s my definition of success.

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?

I like to read, to hike in the woods, to play with the grandkids, and snuggle with my wife on the couch. Oh, and not necessarily in that order.

How often do you write? And when do you write?

I write, market, and/or edit every day. Since I’m semiretired—I don’t have to go to work every day—I’m fortunate to be able to spend from eight to twelve hours a day on my books. And that doesn’t seem to be enough time.


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Genre - YA/Mystery

Rating – PG – 13

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Website http://BooksByBen.com

Author Interview – Eleni Papanou @elenipapanou

What marketing works for you?

To be honest, I haven’t figured it out yet. As I write visionary fiction, I find the best way to present my work is by getting involved with other writers of the same genre and building something together with them. I’m one of the founding members of the Visionary Fiction Alliance.

Do you find it hard to share your work?

At first, I did as I always felt heavily judged because of my childhood trauma of being bullied. But once I honed in on learning my craft, I developed a confidence I never had before. Now I look forward to sharing my work.

Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?

My family is highly supportive and very critical in a constructive way. They push me to be my best. I’m lucky to have them. My husband beta reads for me. I also found a great support group with other writers.

Do you plan to publish more books?

As many as I can!  My next release is Beyond Omega’s Sunrise, which will be published in November of this year, and I have three more books scheduled to be released in 2014. I’m focusing on building a robust back catalogue.

What other jobs have you had in your life?

I’ve been a fitness counselor, sung in wedding bands, fronted my own original band and worked as a secretary.


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Genre - Paranormal Mystery

Rating – PG13

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Blog http://elenipapanou.com/

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Sovereign Order of Monte Cristo: Newly Discovered Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Holy Ghost Writer @SultanOfSalem

Holy Ghost Writer

The Sovereign Order of Monte Cristo is a continuation of The Count of Monte Cristo (Book I), related through the voice of Sherlock Holmes and The Sultan of Monte Cristo (Book II). It includes exhilarating new adventures, characters, and ideas, carrying the reader past book I and II and into book III of an ever-expanding new series based on the classic.

Those who have already had the pleasure of reading The Sultan of Monte Cristo will certainly appreciate the unique way in which the Holy Ghost Writer has expanded the original story without the help of anyone (except perhaps from the ghosts of Dumas and Doyle).

In addition to comprising a 3rd sequel to The Count of Monte Cristo, The Sovereign Order of Monte Cristo serves as a prequel to The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

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Genre – Action, Adventure

Rating – PG-15

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Website http://holyghostwriterbooks.blogspot.ca/

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Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Author Interview - Peter Clenott @PeterClenott

Image of Peter Clenott

What is your favorite food? Toss-up: pizza, cheeseburgers, sea food platters.

Do you find the time to read? I try to, But between work, promoting the books, and family, I find myself getting tired as bedtime approaches. I am reading the work of a fellow local novelist now.

What’s the reason for your life? Have you figured out your reason for being here yet? I guess that’s all something we have to determine for ourselves. There is no great reason for any of us to be here. It was all a matter of chance, coincidence and astronomical good fortune. I’d like to think that I have something to share with the world to make it a slightly more livable place. So, I would say my reason for being is to communicate to the world through my writing. I hope I have good genes.

If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask? Abraham Lincoln, who was not only a giant, but had a wonderful sense of humor and could tell a good story. And Jesus. Whatever you believe, you would certainly learn the truth.

What are your current writing projects now? I have long had on the back burner a novel called COMRADE LOLITA. The story is based on Lolita Lebron and the Puerto Rican nationalists who tried to assassinate Harry Truman and who shot up the House of representatives in the early 50s. It relates well to the terrorist activities of this century and asks the question, why do people commit violent acts in the name of politics? Do they really believe these acts will generate some positive outcome or are they really just childish acts of vindictiveness?


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Genre - Young Adult

Rating – PG

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Website www.peterclenott.net

Author Interview – Jade Kerrion @JadeKerrion

Is there any books you really don’t enjoy?

Horror. I see absolutely no point in spending my time and paying money to not sleep at night. J

What do you hope your obituary will say about you?

That I lived well, did much, and had a great deal of fun along the way.

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?

I spent my childhood in Malaysia and my college years in Baltimore, Maryland. I worked for several years in Singapore, but since then have relocated permanently to the U.S. where I have lived in Charlottesville, VA, Dallas, TX, Springdale, AR, and most recently, Fort Lauderdale, FL. If I had to pick my favorite places, it would be Charlottesville or Fort Lauderdale.

How did you develop your writing?

It was organic, at first, mostly from reading and emulating others. Unfortunately, I emulated lots of bad habits. (It’s a well-known fact that famous authors can get away with writing habits that would draw the ire of editors otherwise.) Once I started writing professionally, I paid for an editor who was also a writing coach. She was a tremendous help in my growth as an author.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get this question a lot, and I don’t really know how to answer it. There’s just a story percolating in my head that has to be told. I don’t always know where the story comes from.

Eternal Night ebook

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Genre - Fantasy, Paranormal

Rating – PG-13

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Website http://www.jadekerrion.com

Author Interview – Zarug Thane @ZarugThane

You feel that Abdul al Hazred, author of the Necronomicon, will reappear?

Bringing him back is one of my chief tasks.  It’s essential, if the End Times are to arrive on schedule.

Why do you think we’re heading for the End Times?

Nearly all the Gods have been rejected, the Old Ways forgotten.  Slavery is almost universally outlawed, burning at the stake and many other forms of execution are deemed too violent, wars of aggression are frowned upon.  In a word, the Gods are getting bored and something needs to be done (like at the Tower of Babel) to keep humanity from living together in peace, which would be too tedious to even contemplate.

How do you plan to bring al Hazred back?

Cloning.  The advent of this technology:  this too is a sign the End is near.  I know where the Great One’s body is entombed.  Once I extract DNA from his mummy, I will have his body reconstituted, so that his spirit can then possess it.  This is a hell of a lot easier than the normal rituals, believe me.

What part of modern society do you like the best?

Running water.  Incandescent lights come in a close second.  If you’ve ever tried to read by candlelight or torch light, you know that I’m talking about.  The gods only know how many people went blind from doing that.  But if I had to choose, I’d take the running water.  Living in a world of chamber pots is dehumanizing.  I don’t even like thinking about it.

What environment do you prefer to write in?

I work by artificial light, usually with some wordless music playing in the background, more as white noise, though I prefer music you could actually listen to, so that when I pull up out of a zone, the music isn’t just mindless, repetitive crap.  My neighbors all think I’m a vampire, because I’ve got all the windows blacked out.  I make it a point to collect the mail while the sun is still up, just to avoid trouble.

I don’t like any external noise or distractions.  People who can write in a Starbucks are just sick.

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Genre - Erotic Fantasy

Rating – NC17

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Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

Tempted: The Dark Hart Chronicles (Book 1) by Alexandra Anthony


Three hours later I was pulling out of Thompson BMW in a brand new silver 550i, courtesy of Nick Hart.  I was heading home when my cell phone rang and I gave a quick glance at the caller id.

Carlton Wood.

Sighing heavily, I pressed the speakerphone button and answered.  "Hey Dad."

"I just spoke with Elliott.  He informed me you're working for Nick Hart and you need to sign a NDA.  You need to bring it by so I can look over it."

That's my father for you.  Never one to mince words, he didn't bother with pleasantries.  He was all business, straight to the point.  I had five minutes, tops.

"I'm doing great, Dad.  Thanks for asking," I snapped.  "Would it kill you to act like you care?"

"Savannah, I am concerned, hence my phone call now.  Stop by the house this evening so I can at least look over it."

It was a little too late for him to look over a contract.  I didn't have the heart to tell him I was already driving my signing bonus.

"I really don't have time tonight.  I'm having drinks with Siobhan later," I said apologetically.  It wasn't a lie.  I was seeing Siobhan later.  It was a convenient excuse since I had no desire to see my step-monster Bree.  She was four years older than me and I was positive the term ‘bitch on wheels’ was coined after an encounter with her.  She was mere arm candy for my father, a perfect Stepford wife with more silicone than brains.  My father didn't like his women with an opinion.  He preferred them to just stand around and look pretty.

Did I mention I wasn't fond of her? There was no love lost between us, believe me.

"Please tell me Elliott at least looked it over," he replied distractedly.  My five minutes was nearly up.

Fighting to keep my voice level, I spoke softly.  "Dad, do you think Elliott would screw me over?"

A brief silence greeted me before he answered.  "Of course not, Savannah.  Give Siobhan my best."

"I will.  Thanks for calling, Dad.  I mean it.

"Goodbye, dear."

I hung up and dialed Siobhan next.

"Hey, Blondie."

"Von, you know I hate that nickname," I groaned.  "Guess who I just met?"

"Hmmm..." Siobhan hummed.  I could hear her fingernails tapping on her desk.  "I give.  Who?"

Smiling smugly, I checked my rear view mirror.  "Nick Hart."

"Nick Hart? The Nick Hart? The same one that was eye fucking you across the room last night?"

"Yep.  Your Dad called me last night and had me come into interview for a PA job.  I didn't know who the client was until today." I made a sharp right turn into my driveway.  I let the car idle while I finished my phone call.

"Girl, what time are we meeting tonight? I have to hear the entire story."

It was nearly 4 pm now.  I'd like to unwind before running out to start gossiping with Siobhan.  "How about 8?"

"Works for me," Siobhan agreed.  "Savannah, promise me one thing right now."

I knew where this was going before she asked but indulged her anyway.  "How long have we known each other? You know I don't promise anything."

"Whatever, Blondie.  Promise me if you get the chance you'll bang him like a screen door in a hurricane.  And I want all the torrid details!"

I quickly cut her off.  "Goodbye, Von!"

I'd tucked my phone away when I started laughing hysterically.  I'd never tell Siobhan that I'd already imagined doing that very thing.  It was unfortunate that he was my employer and it would never happen.  I'd have to stay focused or I'd never get any work done with Nick's charm and unabashed sex appeal.

Leave it to me to go from one extreme to the other.  I go from working for a disgusting drug addict to an irresistible, sexy beast.

It figures.  I've always had impeccably horrible timing.


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Genre – Erotica

Rating – R

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Website http://www.alexandra-anthony.com/

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Dance For A Dead Princess by Deborah Hawkins @DeborahHawk3


Mid-April 2010, Paris

In the gray spring rain, he stood in the Place d'Alma staring down at the tunnel where she had vanished from his life on the last night of August 1997. He came here whenever he was in Paris. He counted the pillars until he reached number thirteen, the one that had taken her life. Tears formed behind his eyes, as they always did in this place. But he refused to let them overflow. Instead, he took a long breath of fresh rain mixed with the exhaust of cars speeding through the tunnel.

When the big black Mercedes entered its skid that horrible night, his last living link to Deborah had been taken from him. Diana and Deborah, West Heath girls, friends forever. Deborah had been dead since 1994, but he had lost her long before she became his wife, three years after he met her at Diana's wedding to the Prince of Wales in 1981. How many nights had he spent talking to Diana about his marriage, about her marriage, about his guilt over Deborah, and about the impossibility of being in love? Too many to count. He ached to tell her now how empty his life had become without either of them.

He stared down the long, gray tunnel, wondering as always what she had felt as she had slipped away from everyone who loved her. Had she struggled against it, as Deborah had? Or had her torn and broken heart quietly accepted its fate? No, he doubted that. She'd have fought to stay with her boys. Diana hadn't gone into death quietly. That January, she'd had a warning of what was coming. She'd recorded a video tape naming her assassins and had given it to someone in America for safekeeping. But she would never tell him who it was. Too dangerous, she always insisted. If you had it, they'd come after you, too. Leave it alone, Nicholas. The tape is safer out of England.

His phone abruptly interrupted with a text message from his assistant. He was late for a meeting of the Burnham Trust at the Trust's Paris headquarters, and everyone was waiting. Well, they could wait. All day and all night if he wanted. He was the Eighteenth Duke of Burnham and the second richest man in England after the Duke of Westminster, and he'd be late if he decided to be. He hadn't wanted to be a duke but having been forced into the job, he was going to enjoy every possible perk.

As soon as the news of Diana's death reached him, he'd vowed to find her tape and make it public. No luck for the last thirteen years, but his latest operative had just come up with a stellar lead at last. It was so stellar that not only was he pretty sure he was going to find the tape, he was also going to have the opportunity to unload the decaying family seat in Kent and exact his well-deserved revenge upon his father, the Seventeenth Duke.


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Genre – Contemporary Romance,Mystery

Rating – G

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Website http://deborahlhawkins.com/