Sunday, 29 May 2016

Angelic Confessions by Janny C

Jan Marie (Also known as Janny C) is an establish online article writer. Mostly self trained with only attending one Rock Valley College writing course she first broke into the comic book writing scene where she worked with new independent companies as head script writer. She then moved into freelance writing having been published by various online publishers and also was featured in FATE magazine. She also hosts her own book promotion blog site Authors and Angels where she host reviews and interviews of fellow indie authors.

Now under the pen name Jan Marie she has entered the book world with her first fantasy romance novella "Angelic Confessions." She is currently working on Book 2 in the series titled “Angelic Awakenings”

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About the Book

Even Angels Sin…

Aye is an angel born unto one of highest angels of the heavenly council. Having never had this happen before Father raises Aye as his own making her believe she was created just like the rest of her angelic brethren, well except for the voices that whispered to her to kill them all. Aye would never, but she can not deny the thought, the sight of their blood on her skin, her lips is thrillingly tempting. What is she really? Why does everyone look at her with either disgust or lustful interest?

Aye’s world changes at the behest of Father that she have a guardian. Surprised it is the soldier Pio that Aye had befriend as a child. Soon emotions are tempted that could awaken a beast that could destroy or save them all.

Get it today on Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

What inspires you to write?

My love for the written word. It always inspires me to continue writing no matter what odds are against me. Art also sparks inspiration in me. Whenever I hit a road block in my book writing I look to fantasy art to help.

What authors/books have most influenced you?

I would have to say Stephen King and Anne Rice.

If you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?

I love them both, but King(Stephen) is the winner. I like his mind.

When did you first consider yourself an author?

I guess it was when I published my first book, yet I never felt like an author really. I think I like the term writer instead. I write on many things.

What is the biggest obstacle you face as an author and what do you do to overcome it?

Life. I had a dark battle with depression recently. It took me away for awhile. Funny thing though the pen and paper waited patiently knowing I’d come back. Now I’ve come back.

Does your family support you in your writing, or are you on your own?

I do now yes! My fiancé is my biggest supporter. Yup I'm engaged!

What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?

This just happened just recently. I am originally from Illinois and have currently moved to a little in town in Florida. My son was at church youth activities one night. He came home and told me some guy was talking to him and of course he mentioned me his mom. The guy said. “I like your moms work!” What are the odds of that! I was stunned and that really meant a lot to me. My goal as a writer is to touch people and it seems I am.

Have you ever had a particularly harsh critique? How did you handle it?

Oh yes, and I had a comeback for every harsh critique he threw my way. I learned from it though. I think it made me a better writer for it.

What is the best writing advice you've ever received?

I’m not sure if it was advice, but I have never forgotten it. A writing teacher once told me. “You know what you’re doing don’t you.”

If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could only have five books with you, what would they be?

First 5 from Anne Rice: The Vampire Chronicles. That would be Interview with a Vampire, Vampire Lestat, Queen of the Damned, Tales of the Body Thief, and Memnoch the Devil.

What fears do you have about writing and being an indie author? How do you cope with your fears?

One fear is that since you self published you are not a "true author". I write because I love to. I write because I have a story to tell. I write in hopes to move people. I think that is why we all write no matter if your are best selling or indie author. That is how I cope.

What is your writing process?

I read a wonderful quote the other day by George R.R. Martin that puts it eloquently, He said he likes to think there are two types of writers. The architect and the gardener. The architect writes out whole blue print outline. The gardener on the other hand digs a hole, plants a seed. Then watering it with is blood trying to shape what comes up. I would have to say I am a gardener. I just write. Just like the character in the story I have no idea where we are going. I have no idea how its going to end. I like it that way.

Do you write about real life experiences, or does everything come from your imagination?

It’s a mix of both. It wasn’t until a friend pointed it out to me after reading Angelic Confessions, that the whole book has a deep underlining to my actual life.

Have you ever gotten an idea for a story from something really bizarre? Tell us about it.

From the simple line of “ She put a Gardenia in her hair.” I wrote a strange short story about a nurse who was remembering her patients life right before he died. It was strange. I think Stephen King would be proud. I had it in my portfolio of works for awhile but took it out cause I think it was too strange for the normal masses.

What are you working on now?

Finally!!! Book 2 in the Angelic Confessions series ANGELIC AWAKENINGS!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Change of Life (A Menopausal Superhero Novel Book 2) by Samantha Bryant

Samantha Bryant believes in love, magic, and unexplainable connections between people. Her favorite things are lonely beaches, untamed cliff tops, sunlight through the leaves of trees, summer rains, and children's laughter. She has lived in many places, including rural Alaska, Kansas, Kentucky, Vermont, England and Spain. She is fierce at heart, though she doesn't look it.

She's a fan of Charlotte Brontë, William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Neil Gaiman, Nicole Perlman, and Joss Whedon, among many others. She would like to be Amy Tan when she grows up, but so far it doesn't look like she'll be growing up any time soon.

Samantha writes blogs, poems, essays, and novels. Mostly she writes about things that scare or worry her. It's cheaper than therapy. Someday, she hopes to make her living solely as a writer. In the meantime, she also teaches middle school Spanish, which, admittedly, is an odd choice for money-earning, especially in North Carolina.

When she's not writing or teaching, Samantha enjoys time with her family, watching old movies, baking, reading, and going places. Her favorite gift is tickets (to just about anything).

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About the Book

With great power comes…great frustration. Several months after the events of Going Through the Change, retired corporate vice president (and occasional lizard-woman) Patricia O’Neill is embroiled in a search for the mad scientist who brought the “change” upon them all.

Meanwhile, Flygirl Jessica Roark and gender-bending strongman Linda/Leonel Alvarez have joined a mysterious covert agency known only as The Department. They’re training hard, in hopes of using their newfound powers for the greater good.

Patricia thinks they’re being used. Cut off from the other menopausal heroes, she’s alone. And her search has hit a serious dead end.

Then Patricia disappears, and all the clues point to a dead man. It’s up to her friends and The Department to find her and bring her home.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for a guest post by the author:

Ripples in the Stream

One of the tricky things about promoting your work is figuring out what works. You end up trying a lot of things. You might solicit reviews. You might arrange for guest blog posts and interviews. You might buy advertising on Facebook. You might tweet your heart out all the livelong day. You might rent a table at a book festival or a convention. You might start a newsletter.

So, what works?

Sometimes you know right away that something worked. If you are at a convention and someone approaches your table, buys a book from your own hands and asks you to sign it, you know that your presence at that table resulted in that sale. It’s a great feeling. We all want to know that we’re getting a return on our investment, whether we’re investing dollars or time. We want instant feedback.

But it’s usually not that simple.

Sometimes, you have to find your zen, and let the universe works its will. You don’t know where something will lead. That’s why it’s important to treat people well and put your best foot forward all the time.

That guy in your reading club at the library? He might have a radio show he’d be willing to interview you on. That time you had a reading and only three people came? Maybe one of them will remember you and invite you to be a part of a panel at a book festival a few months down the road. Your dentist might turn out to be a fan of paranormal romance. Your child’s teacher might invite you in for career day.

I’ve seen ripples flow around and bring good things my way. Other times, I never knew how an opportunity came about. But life is about connections, and you have already made some, whether you know it or not.

That’s not to say that you should just lie back, smugly expecting good things to come to those who wait. You’ve got to make an effort, put yourself out there. But you’ve also got to be patient and not give into frustration when your efforts don’t seem to bear fruit.

Effort is never wasted, even when it seems like it was. You learn what you enjoy and despise and can use that to plan what you’ll try next. You find out what makes you feel uncomfortable and what flows easily for you and you grow by stretching your personal boundaries. You make new connections.

You toss pebbles into the stream, and the ripples flow outward. You don’t know who’s watching and what might flow back to you.

Have patience, grasshopper.

Monday, 23 May 2016

The Gold Mailbox by Beth Schulman

Beth Schulman’s life could be compared to Dr. Seuss’ book, Are you my mother? Like the little bird in Seuss’ classic story, Beth spent most of her childhood searching for surrogate mothers, since her own mother was emotionally unavailable and often abusive. She found her first substitute mother in her older sister, and then in her best friend’s mom, in her camp counselors and finally in her paternal aunt, the woman who graciously opened up her home to Beth when she was 12 years old.

In her adolescence and early twenties, Beth continued to develop strong relationships with maternal figures. These connections helped Beth triumph over tragedy and led her to her career in elementary education, where she has devoted the past twenty years in creating supportive, creative and literacy rich learning environments for young children. She has also worked with professional teachers at The University of Pennsylvania through The Penn Literacy Network (PLN) as an instructor and literacy coach since 1997. Her greatest role is being the proud and adoring mother to James and Ian, her two teenage sons.

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About the Book

Beth and her older sister try desperately to maintain normalcy and order, in the face of uncertainty and confusion. Their young lives are filled with deception and despair at the hands of a narcissistic mother and her abusive boyfriend. Told from Beth’s point of view, the story unfolds with innocence and honesty. The Gold Mailbox captures moments of despair and hope, sadness and humor, sister rivalry and sister love, death and emotional rebirth, abuse and unconditional love. In the end, the story leaves the reader marveling over the healing power of compassion and forgiveness.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

I'd spent much of my life trying to keep busy, always moving forward at warp speed, avoiding thoughts of my early years of abuse and neglect. It wasn't until I became a mother, that the voices from my past came back to haunt me. I was struggling in ways I couldn't explain or understand. As a form of therapy I started recording memories from my childhood. My writing was confined to a journal I took out mostly in the summertime when I had a reprieve from my job as a kindergarten teacher. Over many years the journal entries developed into scenes and the scenes into a story.

Fast forward fifteen years – I was divorced and busy teaching kindergarten children during the day and graduate students at night. The story I’d written about my childhood had been packed away in a box alongside the scrapbooks I'd started making when my babies were still babies. My two sons were almost fully grown, living their own busy lives as high school students and athletes. I felt a new resolve to get my story finished. I dusted off my old journal and started taking wriitng courses and going on writer's retreats. I became completely immersed in getting my story out. I was determined to finish it. As I started sharing it with other writers and close friends, their enthusiasm and encouragement helped me gain the confidence to get it published. 

Do you have a "day job"? If so, what do you do?

I am a Kindergarten Teacher. I also work facilitate workshops and graduate courses for teachers through The Penn Literacy Netwok at the University of Pennsylvania. The workshops and coursework focus on integrating reading and writing across the curriculum. 

What genres do you write?

Memoir, blog about the trials and tribulations of raising teenage sons, hope in the face of adversity and humor pieces related to women in mid life

What authors/books have most influenced you?

Blackbird by Jennifer Lauck
After This by Claire Bidwell Smith
Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene' Brown

What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?

That my story gave them strength and hope. 

What is the best writing advice you've ever received?

The best writing advice I got when writing my memoir was constantly asking yourself, does this scene move the story forward. Also the power of sensory details when developing scenes.

What do you enjoy doing aside from writing?

I love to travel. I try to live my life collecting experiences, not things. It's my goal to see all the states in the US. I am about halfway there!

What book or series do you enjoy reading over and over again?

Anything by Brene' Brown

Do you write about real life experiences, or does everything come from your imagination?

I'd like to try writing fiction, but at this point I've only written a memoir.

How has writing about your own personal experiences affected you?

I've found the process of writing about my childhood trauma overwhelming and painful at times, but ultimately a cathartic and empowering experience. I would encourage anyone who has experienced abuse, either as a child or adult, to write about it. Even if you don't intend to publish your work, writing can be therapeutic and healing. 

Do you have any advice for other authors?

Don't give up. If you're stuck, leave it alone for a few days. When you come back to it, you will see it in a whole new way.

Also, I found it really helpful to be part of a writer's group. Reading and responding to other people's writing, helped me become a better writer. Also, reading my work aloud to others became a powerful tool in figuring out what to keep, what to cut and what to rewrite. 

Do you have anything specific you'd like to say to your readers?

I hope my story inspires readers to understand and "own" their stories. I lived so much of my life hiding from my past and feeling deeply ashamed about it. Once I was able to unpack and understand where my shame was coming from, I was able to feel "whole" and live a much healthier happier life. Our stories matter. 

I love the quote by Brene Brown, "When we deny the story it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brand new ending."

Friday, 20 May 2016

Time Shifters by Shanna Lauffey

Shanna Lauffey is a native Californian currently living in Europe. She spends her time between homes in Sweden, France and the UK. She writes Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance in her spare time between attending university and travelling.

Her first novel, She-Wȕlf, was released 1st January 2012. A Science Fiction series involving time travel is in progress.

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About the Book

An ancient people who can move through time or space...

A secret that never should have been revealed...

One day in a Los Angeles restaurant, Akalya of the Harekaiian witnesses the capture of several of her people and is the only one to get away. Now it is up to her to rescue the captives and learn how... and why... they are being apprehended. The key lies in discovering who is behind the hunt for her people, when no one should have known they existed.

Get it today on Amazon, Smashwords, and Lulu!

Keep reading for an excerpt:

“We can’t shift,” Gaye said quietly. “They’ve done something, I don’t know what.”

Akalya reached forward and took the hands of the Harekai closest to her. The others quickly joined hands as well so that they made a circle. All of them closed their eyes and tried to sink into the shifting consciousness.

Akalya, automatically attuned to everyone in the circle by the physical contact, then recognized that a barrier was preventing them from completing the shift. An intangible interference felt as if it were blocking the mind-shift that preceded the physical movement. She took the lead, attempting to shift herself and pull them with her. First she tried a distance jump, visualizing The Strand just above their location. With her eyes closed, she brought the image of a particular spot next to a lamp post to her mind and tried to feel herself there. The pull to shift was present, but her charges pulled her back like eight sets of efficient emergency brakes. Despite their willingness to follow, another force prevented them from reaching the level of vibration required. She tried again, but the result was the same. The attempt had a moment of anticipation quality like a broken starter motor on a car that whines just on the edge of turning over, yet never quite sparks. Her charges were dead weight, too anchored to take with her.

The door opened. People rushed in, perhaps three of them. Akalya had stepped back into her place of concealment and could not see around the door to be sure whether there were more, but those she could see immediately turned and saw her. They had clearly known of her presence. There was no choice. She would have to escape quickly and come back for the others another time. Hoping against her own doubts that the dampener effect was not a feature of the room rather than something inflicted on the individuals within, she let go of her charges both physically and mentally and shifted out. One of the Memlekel tried to physically grab her, but she faded to elsewhere as his hands reached around her. Even in the twilight world of mid-shift, Akalya felt relief that the shift had worked, albeit a little more slowly than usual.

There had not been time to assess very much about her would-be captors. Though they wore no insignia, they had been dressed identically in black cargo trousers and T-shirts, so perhaps it was meant to be a uniform of sorts after all. The one who had reached for her had dark hair like her own, but wore dark sunglasses so that she had been unable to see his eyes. He had been a little taller than her and she had sensed... something. She wasn't sure what. She only knew that she was glad that she had shifted before he had been able to touch her.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Think You Know Me by Tricia Copeland

Tricia Copeland grew up in Georgia and now lives in Colorado with her family. 

The first two books of the Being Me series, Is This Me? and If I Could Fly, were released in 2015. Think You Know Me is the third in her Being Me series. Her first YA paranormal manuscript, Drops of Sunshine, is included in Spellbound, a summer reads novella collection, also out May 2016. 

If not on the trail, you can find Tricia at or on many social media channels.

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About the Book

Think You Know Me 
A psychological suspense novel 

March 20 
This isn’t fair! I see his face every time I close my eyes, hear his mother’s words echo in my dreams. And he’s a headline again? How do I move past the rage and guilt when he won’t go away? I need him gone. He doesn’t get to win like this. I won’t let him. 

Amanda’s first year of college is fraught with drama and parental scrutiny. With her relationship secure and a clean break from her parents, all she wants is a normal term. But fate steps in and deals a shattering blow. Think You Know Me will keep you guessing from the first chapter.

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

I began my author career as a technical writer. My first manuscript formed over years of creating characters and story line.

Do you have a "day job"? If so, what do you do?

I am a patent agent.

What genres do you write?

YA and NA

What inspires you to write?

My aim is to engage, entertain, and enlighten my audience. I enjoy the feedback and discussion I get from my readers as much as writing itself.

What authors/books have most influenced you?

Tia Silverthorne Bach, Mary Stewart, Stephanie Meyer, Molly McAdams, Marie Lu, Scott Westerfield

When did you first consider yourself an author?

When I published my first book in May 2015.

What are your goals as an author?

I plan on finishing my NA series and writing more in the YA genre.

What is the biggest obstacle you face as an author and what do you do to overcome it?

A piece can never be perfect, it just must be finished at some point. I have a hard time just letting my manuscripts be.

Does your family support you in your writing, or are you on your own?

My family is very supportive. My teenage daughter helps me with graphic choices and story plots sometimes.

What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?

Tobi Helton of Forget the Housework, I'm Reading blog texted me two days after I sent her my first book. "I bought your second book already. They are super addictive," she wrote. Her thoughts made my month.

What do you enjoy doing aside from writing?

I love being outdoors. My favorite activities are hiking, running, and biking.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could only have five books with you, what would they be?

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer, The Pretties by Scott Westerfield, Chasing Memories by Tia Silverthorne Bach, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart

What made you decide to self-publish?

I've been friends with author Tia Bach for ten years. I let her read my then 150,000 word manuscript and she nudged me towards publishing.

Do you have anything specific you'd like to say to your readers?

I have been so blessed to meet so many wonderful people through my experience of publishing. At my first writer's convention I met a girl, named Amanda who was about to begin her freshman year at college. My main character's name is Amanda and in the first book of my series she is beginning her college career, it seemed like fate.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Shadows of Atlantis: Awakening by Mara Powers

MARA POWERS is an American Gen X’er who discovered the mystery of Atlantis at sixteen, and has researched it avidly ever since. Hailing from a literary family, she has always been a free spirit, living a life of adventure in pursuit of her many creative talents. Her travels have enhanced her love of words, and gifted her with experiences, life observations and characters to weave into her stories. She regularly migrates between Los Angeles and San Francisco, California, Northern Colorado, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Austin, Texas.

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About the Book

Atlantis is an idyllic paradise where citizens are meant to live in alignment with nature and reach their highest potential. For thousands of years, they have powered their cities with a Crystal Grid fed by psychic mindlight. But the Grid has been infiltrated by parasitic shadows that feed off the negative emotions of humans – an epidemic called “the madness.”

D’Vinid, a dejected musician, is consumed by his personal problems. But when he meets Brigitte, who has arrived in Atlantis from the dreamclans, a chain of events is set in motion, showing D’Vinid he has an important role to play. He is among those born with a gene, that can unlock the mystical powers once believed to be the birthright of all humans. Soon he is faced with his own awakening, and the shocking realization that Atlantis could be experiencing the end of its days.

Get it today on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and Kobo!

Keep reading for an excerpt:

Music began. Atlantean classical music was designed to weave the delicate harmonies of nature and emulate frequencies from the universal spheres. It had evolved in modern times to a more primal reminder of human existence, with multi-layered rhythmic pulses as its basis. It had become popular at revelries to feature the dark, grooving textures of percussive instruments run through resonance amplifiers. The dance style to this tribal heartbeat music was an individualized expression of character and personal power.

D’Vinid, like all dabrina players, studied classical music. His unique musical contribution in his day was to run his instrument through the same resonance amplifiers to modulate universal frequencies. The ensuing melodic textures created a juxtaposition over the fierce pulsing rhythms. His legendary ingenuity had started a trend, and he was well known as the inventor of the fusion.

He struggled with his vow to avoid the Watchers as he fiddled with the dabrina peg he now wore around his neck. They knew him all too well. His thirst to play for the gathering courtiers tugged at his every step. But if he played, he would willingly offer himself to Pan’s plan. The last thing he wanted was to be in Kyliron’s sights. His desire for this not to occur far outshone his desire to play music.

The garden had been set up with swirling lights and long, draping streamers to disorient revelers and give the feeling of walking in dreamsight. Revelries were a cultural mainstay all through Atlantean history. They believed it to be their birthright as humans to enjoy the pleasures of sensory perception, while reaching for the bliss of higher consciousness. They had found the best way to do this was through revelries.

D’Vinid wandered aimlessly, pacing through the gardens in unsettled thought. He lowered his head to avoid laughing courtiers as they chased through the garden pathways. He thought perhaps an elixir would soothe his torment. Just as he had the thought, the path emptied into a small patio where a mixologist had set up a portable case of tiny glass vials.

Some of the courtiers were relaxing on cushions around the woman’s tiny costumed form. She had a painted face which glowed in the twinkling lights, and an intricate, feathered head-dress. Her eyes landed directly on D’Vinid as he appeared on the patio. She gestured a delicate hand toward an empty cushion. The other courtiers gazed up at him with eager eyes and mimicked her gesture, urging him to join in their intoxication.

“What is your pleasure?” she asked in a sing-song voice. “Are you sad and lonely?” She waved her hand over the vials, pushing their tops gently to make a fragile chiming sound as their various glass shapes clinked together. “Do you need me to slip you a feeling of sexual arousal? Are you longing to see the other side? Or perhaps you need some excitement and adrenalin!”

D’Vinid carefully thought of his answer. Pan had the best elixir mixologists, and any feeling he wished to have, she would deliver. “I need to not care.”

Her expression darkened. “This is a specific feeling you ask for. You have many things haunting your thoughts. Do you wish to forget? I can give you temporary amnesia.”

One of the courtesans rubbed his thigh and leaned in to whisper in his ear. “Go for arousal. I will help you forget.” She giggled and fell back, landing in the arms of the man behind her, who caught her up in a greedy kiss.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Deviant Acts by J.J. White

J. J. White is an award winning novelist and short story writer who has been published in several anthologies and magazines including, Wordsmith, The Homestead Review, The Seven Hills Review, Bacopa Review, and The Grey Sparrow Journal. His story, The Adventures of the Nine Hole League, was recently published in The Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, #13. He has won awards and honors from the Alabama Writers Conclave, Writers-Editors International, Maryland Writers Association, The Royal Palm Literary Awards, Professional Writers of Prescott, and Writer’s Digest.

His crime fiction book, Deviant Acts, was released by Black Opal books in November, and will be followed by his Historical Fiction book, Nisei, in 2016. He was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize for his short piece, Tour Bus. He lives in Merritt Island, Florida with his understanding wife and editor, Pamela.

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About the Book

Jackson Hurst lives his nightmares with his eyes open. Only the heroin he’s been addicted to since Vietnam keeps the horror at bay. A poster child for losers, Jackson’s addiction has cost him his job, his girlfriend—and unless there’s a change soon—his life. That change comes in the form of the wicked Aunt Camille, a Vermont millionaire who desperately needs Jackson’s services to retrieve her twenty-year-old daughter, Cheryl, from kidnappers. Camille wants her back at any cost and she wants the kidnappers, who maimed her only daughter, murdered. Jackson could use the money—no, he desperately needs the money—but can he stay clean long enough to get her back? And, more importantly, can he kill again, despite the demons that haunt him from the war?

Get it today on Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with the author:

Why did you decide to be a writer?

About ten years ago I injured myself playing tennis. I had to stay in bed two weeks recuperating, so I decided that would be a good time to write all the stories I had in my head that I had been promising myself I would write, someday. Nine books and 350 short stories later, I'm still at it.

What genres do you write?

Primarily Crime Fiction and Thrillers but my next book after Deviant Acts is Historical Fiction, so I guess I'll run the gamut of genres until I run out.

Is there a genre that you've been wanting to experiment with? If so, what is it and what attracts you to it?

Science Fiction. I like the idea of writing books that can't be fact-checked by readers. Plus I grew up on Asimov, Rod Serling and Philip Dick.

What inspires you to write?

Usually one or two beers, but seriously, if I hear or read about an interesting story or character it gets the literary juices flowing and the fun begins.

What authors/books have most influenced you?

Cormac McCarthy - Blood Meridian, Frederick Forsyth - The Day of the Jackal, Ernest Hemingway - A Movable Feast, Ken Follett - The Eye of the Needle, Dennis LeHane - The Given Day and Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird.

If you could choose an author to be your mentor, who would it be?

Stephen King, not because I want to learn how to write horror, but because he's one of the most knowledgeable teachers of the writing craft among contemporary authors.

What are your goals as an author? Where do you see yourself in five years?

I would like to be published by one of the big five . In five years it'd be nice to see my book at a Barnes and Noble in hardcover and with a dust jacket.

What is the best compliment you've ever received as an author?

A friend of mine read, Deviant Acts, and then gave it to his father to read. His father finished it and then asked him if the author had written anything else. 

What is the best writing advice you've ever received?

Make your characters as crazy and eccentric as possible. You want them to be people you like to read about but not someone you would invite to dinner at your house. 

If you were stranded on a deserted island, and you could only have five books with you, what would they be?

"Outdoor Survival Skills" by Larry Dean Olsen, "Edible Wild Plants" by Lee Alan Peterson, "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville, "Blood Meridian" by Cormac McCarthy, "War and Peace" by Tolstoy and "Madame Bovary" by Flaubert.

What book or series do you enjoy reading over and over again?

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

What is your writing process?

I usually have an idea of the plot, the beginning, and ending of the novel and wing most of the rest of it. I don't outline, but I will bullet the highlights of a chapter and reference them while I'm writing. 

How long does it take you to write a book?

Usually around nine or ten months for the first draft. That's working about two hours a night on it, five days a week.

Have you ever gotten an idea for a story from something really bizarre? Tell us about it.

I had a friend at work who told me a story about his daughter, Emily. It seems that from the time she could run she would always run on her toes. She had no problem otherwise so he and his wife let Emily do as she pleased and even enrolled her in a ballet class when she was seven because pointe would come easily to the girl since she already ran on her toes. One day at a park, a nurse told my friend he should take Emily to a neurologist to see if dancing and running on her toes was a sign of impending disease. They did and the doctor diagnosed Emily with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. Apparently she was compensating for the lack of muscle in her calves by running and dancing on her toes. I wrote a short story about it called, Dancing on Her Toes, and it was published by several magazines. In my story the girl dies in puberty but thankfully the real Emily is alive and recently graduated from college. 

What are you working on now?

I'm just finishing a Crime Thriller about an American sergeant who abandoned a young girl to the Soviets in post-war Berlin after promising her he would get her to the American sector. Three years later, he plans to go back and keep his promise. The tentative title is, "A Promise to Lena."

How do you market/promote your work? Have you found something that works really well for you?

I use PJ Nunn of Breakthrough Productions for most of the publicity for my novels along with whatever I can muster locally and on the social networks.

Do you have any advice for other authors?

Try to read as much as you can even while you're writing. And when you need an idea for a story, go to a local Irish pub and listen to some of the stories told by the patrons after they've had a few. No one can tell a story like an Irishman. Then go home and stretch their story into a book.

Do you have anything specific you'd like to say to your readers?

Thank you for the read and please review the book honestly. Nothing helps a writer with his craft more than a good critique.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Population by Elizabeth Stephens

Elizabeth Stephens was born in Baltimore, Maryland but has since lived in Atlanta, Seattle, Washington D.C., Cairo, Amman, Paris, Beirut, and Geneva. Elizabeth currently lives in Johannesburg with her boyfriend and Zurg, a fat cat she stole from her neighbors.

Elizabeth began writing at the age of 10. She later was able to translate these skills into work as a political correspondent and travel writer during her time in the Middle East and North Africa. Her true passion however, still remained in the realm of fiction.

Being a fan of the macabre, Elizabeth's first published pieces were horror stories that featured in several ezines and online magazines. She then combined her love of horror with a soft spot for all things romantic and produced Population, her first full length, adult fiction title published by Vantage Point Books in April 2015. The second and final installment to the Population series, Saltlands, is scheduled for release in May 2016.

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About the Book

The day the sky ripped open and the Others descended on Earth marked the beginning of the World After. Twelve years later and violence is Abel’s native tongue in a world run by monsters, ravaged by gangs, and fueled by the desperation of hunger. The list of rules she lives by keeps her among the few humans left living, but when her best friend’s daughter is taken by one of the Others, Abel discovers that to get her back she’ll have to break them all.

Rule number five: run.

But she doesn’t even though blood bastes the scene and one of the Others is still breathing. In a jolt of irrational inquiry, Abel takes something so precious from one of the Others as he clings to life.

Rule number three: don’t get personal.

When he hunts her down to retrieve what she has taken, violence brings them together in an unlikely alliance and she quickly realizes that in order to get her best friend’s daughter back, she’ll have to trust one of the Others.

Rule number one: never hope.

Unused to foreign concepts like friendship and trust, Abel is wary when the Other drags her into his world and offers her something she didn’t think existed in the World After: hope.

Get it today on Amazon, Amazon UK, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, and Google Books!

The first 10 people to email Elizabeth get the book FREE!

Keep reading for an excerpt:

He cocks his head and for a second I think he’s really considering my offer. Then his eyes look past me, becoming distant. “I’d prepare yourself. It looks like we’re about to have guests.”

I don’t hear anything myself and even though I don’t trust him, I at least trust his hearing. I curse under my breath and reach for the sword even though it’s closer to him than I care to be. I grunt as I pull, but nothing happens. Grunting louder, pulling harder, I’m still not making much progress until I feel his rough hand close around mine. I hold my breath, preparing to defend myself, but when I glance at his face I see that he’s watching me and though I can’t name the emotion I see in his dark eyes, it’s not homicidal. At least. He gives the sword one swift jerk and hands it back to me.

I don’t know what to say, so I stand over him and mutter, “Just try and look dead or something.”

He closes his eyes and lies back on the floor with a groan. “Shouldn’t be too difficult.”

I have half a mind to laugh at his calm, especially given that he’s mortally injured and in enemy territory, but I’m distracted from the impetus by distant hollering. “Gangs,” I whisper, gritting my teeth.

“Gang,” he corrects, “just one.”

I look down at him. His eyes are closed and a slash of moonlight cuts across his blood-covered chest to reveal no less than half a dozen gaping, bloody mounds. Bullet holes that haven’t closed up yet. Other than that, he’s got the body of a regular human guy. Well, minus the fact that he’s ripped beyond belief and also glowing. Yeah, so there’s that… The moonlight helps disguise what is very definitely a faint orange light emanating from the space over his heart. I watch it for a moment and notice that it seems to pulse at a slow, but steady metronome. I tilt my head to the left and watch the way the light flares and dies then flares again. It fascinates me for longer than it should. Also because it’s warm. His entire chest emits a faint heat that I find intoxicating.

“Yes?” He catches me watching him, so I straighten up quickly. Too quickly.

I look away from him and am fleetingly thankful for the darkness, which I hope disguises my blush. All business, I ask him, “Can you hear them from here?”
He tilts his head to the left, as if he’s considering lying to me, then in the end decides against it. “Yes.”

“How many are there?”

He pauses, as if to think. “Seven, maybe eight.”

“Any women?” When I speak my voice is an entire octave higher.

“No.” And I shudder as his tone dips and chills, becoming as icy as the night air around us. “But I will not allow them to dishonor you. Kill you, perhaps. But dishonor you, no.”

I make a sound like a horse. “Well that’s comforting,” I say. The funny thing, is that it is.

He cocks his head towards the furthest room at the end of the hall. “You’d best be going.” And just as he says that, I hear the unmistakable crunch of porcelain on the first floor.

An excited voice calls into the space, “Johnny, I’m home.”

Monday, 2 May 2016

Propehcy, Book 1, Antigone: The True Story by Coreena McBurnie

My name is Coreena McBurnie and, ever since grade 5 when I had to do a report on Theseus and the Minotaur, I have had a soft spot for Greek mythology. When I hit university, I was drawn to the Classical Studies department (earning both a BA & MA), where I explored the archaeology and culture of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds — and also where I managed to read Homer’s Odyssey, one of my absolute favourite books, in the original Greek, something which was thrilling for me (I know, sounds crazy, but the poetry and scope of the original text is amazing). After a lifetime of “what is that?”, “why did you study that?”, and “what can you do with a degree in Classical Studies?” I have decided to write novels based in ancient myth and to bring so many of the stories I love to life for a modern audience, with my own spin, of course. 

Prophecy, Book 1 in the Antigone Series, is my first published novel. Currently I am working on Book 2 in the Antigone Series, called Fate. I am also in the middle of another novel about Clytemnestra who is notorious in Greek myth for killing her husband, Agamemnon, when he returned home from the Trojan War. I love exploring the motives of strong women in ancient myth. 

I live in BC, Canada with my husband, our three kids, and our cat, in a beautiful part of the country, on two rivers, surrounded by ranches, near ski hills, and only a couple of hours drive to the ocean.

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About the Book

An ancient princess, hidden prophecies, impossible choices… 

Sixteen year old Princess Antigone, daughter of the infamous ancient Greek King Oedipus, wants to lead a normal life and fulfill her duty to the gods, her city, and her family, but fate has other plans. The Olympian gods bless her, the snakes talk to her, her parents want her to marry a foreign prince, her embroidery looks like burial shrouds for dogs, and she has fallen in love with the wrong boy. 

When the mysterious and devastating prophecies surrounding her family are revealed, Antigone must choose where her allegiance lies: With the gods who have betrayed her family but who she is obliged to serve? With her plague ridden city? With her family which lay in ruins? Or even with herself? 

In Prophecy, Book One of the Antigone: The True Story series, Antigone steps out of the shadows of the past to tell her own story, a story where truth of history is stranger than the fiction of myth.

Get it today on Smashwords, Amazon, Kobo, iBooks and Barnes & Noble!

Keep reading for an interview with Antigone of Prophecy, Book 1 of the Antigone Series:

Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?

I was born in Thebes in ancient Greece, approximately 1400 BC. Thebes is a walled city, surrounded by olive groves and hills where shepherds keep sheep. I love my city. We get lots of travelers coming through because we are close to the Oracle of Delphi, which is a very important place to get the advice of the gods on tricky matters. However, recently, my city has been cursed with a plague that is making people sick and killing them. No one seems to know how to stop it and our once prosperous city is suffering hard times.

Did you have a close relationship with your family?

Yes, my family is everything to me. My parents, King Oedipus and Queen Jocasta, are often busy with running the kingdom, but I know that they are always there for me. My brothers are older, and thought I love them dearly, they don't have much time for their little sister. My best friend in the world is my younger sister, Ismene. I would do anything for her. We spend most of our days together and she covers for me when I'm late for my lessons.

Who do you most admire in your world? Why?

That would be my father. He was the savior of Thebes when he bested the Sphinx by answering her riddle (what walks on 4 legs in the morning, 2 in the afternoon, and 3 in the evening -- the answer is man). When he gave the correct answer, the Sphinx was devastated and killed herself, thereby freeing Thebes from her. My father has such an amazing sense of duty to his city and to his family -- he would do anything for them. I only hope I can be half as loyal as him. 

Tell us a little about your world, and where you fit in?

I am a princess, so grew up in the palace and had a wonderful childhood, playing on the grounds with the other children. I even had a personal servant named Sandrine, who was like a mother to me in many ways, to help me. I had to take lessons in sewing, embroidery, and running a household with my sister, Ismene, but they bored me to tears, so I would try to escape to the gardens as much as I could -- which also meant I was in trouble all the time.

What are your goals? What would you like to achieve?

I want to live my own life. As much as I love palace life, I don't want to get married off to a foreign prince and never see my family again. I want to be able to study at the temple and serve the gods instead. But, this isn't my choice to make. As a princess, I have to do what my parents say and what is best for the city. I have to do my duty.

What is the most important lesson you've learned about life?

That life isn't fair. You can be loyal and honour the gods and do everything they say and still get cursed. I know we have a duty to serve the gods, but they can be so arbitrary and fickle sometimes.

What is the strangest situation you've ever found yourself in?

When I found out I could talk to snakes! It was terrifying. I thought people would think I was a witch or would be so scared of me that they'd hurt me. Especially with the plague, people were already on edge. If they found out their princess could speak with snakes, I had no idea what they'd do.

Do you have any hobbies? What are they?

I don't know if you could call it a hobby, but I loved learning at the temple. The gods came to me in a dream and asked me to serve, so my parents allowed it. It was amazing to be a part of something bigger than myself. I even enjoyed cleaning up the gore of a sacrifice more than learning to sew!

Have you ever been in love? 

I'm in love with my cousin, Haemon -- which is OK in ancient Greece. He's strong and kind and cares for me too, but our parents say all of that doesn't matter because I have to marry a foreign prince and make an advantageous political connection for Thebes, especially now that the plague is devastating us.

What kind of clothing do you prefer to wear?

I prefer a simple peplos, which is like a long dress. Some of them are made of fine material and have embroidery on them, but I like to keep it simple. I also wear sandals and hold my hair up with combs.

What is your favorite food?

I absolutely love the roasted meat from a successful sacrifice. It's always exciting to honour the gods and have a priest read the entrails to find out if we are on the right path. If everything goes well, we roast the animal after and have a feast. We actually don't eat a lot of meat, even at the palace, so it is quite a treat.

If you could change something about yourself, what would it be? Why?

I wish I could be more like my sister, Ismene. She is so pretty and good at doing what she is told. She seems content with everyone's expectations of her and even seems to enjoy embroidery. I'm always getting into trouble and letting people down.

What is your greatest virtue? 

I am fiercely loyal and I always protect those I love. 

Why do you think this is so?

I'm not sure why, exactly. Maybe it's from watching my parents and all of the sacrifices they've made for Thebes. I am living in a time of heroes, where honour and duty are a big part of our values. I just take this all a little more seriously than most others.

If you had one day left to live, what would you do with your last day?

I would spend it with my family, my whole family -- mother, father, brothers, and Ismene. We would be together at the palace. Maybe my brothers would wrestle and we could watch. I just want us all to be together, be carefree, and to enjoy each other's company. There would be no plague or curses or prophecies from the gods to worry about.

Sunday, 1 May 2016