Friday, 30 March 2018

Zephyr I: An #Action #Adventure #Novel by Warren Hately

Warren Hately is a journalist, cultural theorist and parent coach from Margaret River, Western Australia. Amid many life interests, he writes the ongoing Amazon series Zephyr: a postmodern superhero adventure which started in the early 90s, like George RR Martin’s Wild Cards books, as a Superworld RPG inspired by the world of Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho.

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Zephyr is an ongoing serial fans compare to Alan Moore’s Watchmen and other classics of the adult superhero genre. The Zephyr series, by journalist and cultural theorist Warren Hately, now runs to eight books and counting -- and the first book Zephyr I is only 99c for a limited time...

Zephyr tells the story of a cynical, smart-mouthed superhero kicking ass as the whole world goes mad around him. The place is Atlantic City: a sweeping longitudinal metropolis rebuilt following widespread devastation in 1984. Superhumans are not only real, they’re human. All too human, as Nietzsche would say…

With his daughter getting into the business and his wife showing him the door, it’s easy to wonder if Zephyr’s life might be easier without his ever-growing powers as supervillains, extradimensional invasions and city-shaking calamities derail his best efforts handling life in a celebrity-mad alternate universe where Manhattan’s a mutant-infested ruin and the Beatles were a superhero team.

Zephyr I is a sardonic, cinematic and intelligent take on the standard Marvel/DC-type superhero genre. Imagine if American Psycho was about costumed vigilantes rather than stockbrokers and you have half the idea.

In Volume 1, Zephyr faces financial pressure to reform his old superhero team, saves his best friend Twilight, endures sexual blackmail, reconciles his daughter’s expulsion from high school, and deals with a close betrayal at the same time the star-god Hariss as-Sama prepares for its assault on Atlantic City.


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Keep reading for an interview with the author:


Why did you decide to be a writer?


I didn't feel I had much choice. I've been writing compulsively since I was a kid and a lifelong interest in narrative, meaning and language has only compelled me further.

Do you have a "day job"?


I'm a newspaper journalist and editor in daily life and used to be an academic working in post-structuralist language theory at the interface between semiotic and psychoanalytic language theory.

What genres do you write?


Cross-genre is my favorite thing, with the (so far) seven-book Zephyr series a grab-bag, the superhero genre letting me bring in a wide and varied array of influences wrapped up in a cinematic action-storytelling kind of narrative.

How often do you write?


I write pretty much every day, though it's not always fiction because of work. Apart from newspaper reporting I've also been an essayist. Real life intrudes on my ideal writing structure, but it's generally good practice for writers to write every day, even if it's just a small burst to add to the word count. Writing's a lot like bricklaying and these things don't write themselves, so there's not much choice but to roll up the sleeves and get cracking.

Do you have a daily word or page count goal?


If I get an open run, the vomit draft of any manuscript has a daily word count of anywhere between 4k and 9k. I recommend writers get down at least 500 words per day, which is a nice ideal that doesn't always match up with the practicalities of daily life.

What is the quirkiest thing you've ever done while writing?


My Achilles heel seems to be putting headphones on and getting distracted by the work before I actually select any music.

What is the oddest thing you've ever researched for one of your books?


Let's just say there's a few Google searches I'd prefer not to have to explain, ever.

What is the most difficult thing you've ever researched?


I like to push the envelope in terms of transgressive fiction, but that doesn't necessarily mean I find some of those topics palatable. Once I start link-surfing it can lead almost anywhere. Complex historical matters (especially ones I plan to subvert through writing about parallel history) are always challenging, particularly coming from an outsider's perspective/knowledge about any given events. I find the level of gun violence oversees these days quite shocking and upsetting, and in general I struggle to comprehend the weird inversions we experience as a global culture, where talk of compassion quickly gives way to base tribalism the moment things turn difficult.

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


I'd like to have a seance with Stieg Larsson.

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


These days, the saturation of the ebook market with so much rubbish is the biggest challenge to competent authors. Breaking through the white noise, while at the same time sometimes being shocked at the relatively low level of standards even readers demand from writers, is quite dispiriting. More than anything else though it's the question of visibility, which author interview sites such as yours really help address.

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


It's a solitary game.

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


Just read the reviews on Zephyr I and subsequent books. It's incredibly heartening to read reviews from readers who really "get it", especially when my work isn't always as easy to grok as some of the slightly more commercial books technically in the same genre.

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


Make a list and prioritize.

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


Again with the saturation of people buying into the "hope machine" and believing they can retire and write for a living, the growing push towards "writing for market" is pretty awful. On the one hand it's good advice. You can't be hoping for commercial success without at least aiming at the target. On the other hand, it encourages a lot of writers to invest time and energy into soulless projects. The best books and the books which make the biggest impact on the market (in terms of forging new trends) always come from a place of passion, which is the integral and often missing ingredient that push books that 10% further into the realm of excellence. if you look at books like the Twilight series (I have to find a better example, since I am not much of a fan), or maybe The Walking Dead (better) they started as passion projects aimed first at pleasing their writers, and that kind of passion is vital to pushing work.

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


I really only read non-fiction these days. I'd probably choose books by Jung, Nietzsche and Alexander Lowen because these are tools for daily life.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Deepest Scars: A #Romance #Novel by Tricia Copeland




Tricia Copeland grew up in Georgia and now lives in sunny Colorado with her family. In addition to the award-nominated Being Me series, her books include Best Book Award Fantasy Finalist series, The Kingdom Journals, Lovelock Ones, a post-apocalyptic dystopian adventure, and Drops of Sunshine, a YA paranormal novella. Find all of Tricia’s books on her website!








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About the Book


“He jests at scars that never felt a wound.”
― William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

A new job, new city, and new friends seem like the perfect solutions for healing Zack’s broken heart. A fiery red-head, with passion for all of his favorite activities couldn’t hurt either. She seems perfect for him, and he's immediately drawn in. The romance blossoms, but Zack is side-swiped when he learns she's hiding things. Is the relationship worth salvaging or do her scars run too deep? Don’t miss Zack’s story in this Being Me series stand-alone companion novel!

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More about Deepest Scars…


Zack's love life has been on the fritz for months. How could he, again, have been so delusional as to believe Amanda would choose him. But now he's in a new city, working towards his dream job. He's found new friends and hikes, camping trips, and volleyball tournaments fill his calendar. Having given up his casual hook up strategy of meeting girls, he's focused on his career and experiencing all the southwest has to offer. Enter Liz, a fiery red-head with passion for all of Zack's favorite activities.

Keep reading for an excerpt:


“Ask her out,” Carlos yells after me.

I wave a hand at him as I walk away, thinking maybe Carlos is right. I need to get back in the saddle, or I’m going to end up wearing sweaters and raising cats. But I don’t want to be like I was before, moving from girl to girl with no rhyme or reason. Maybe I’m overthinking it. Most guys on the team are older than me and still dating around, at a different club with a different girl every week.

Finding an empty treadmill is easy on game days, and I take the one against the wall. I pop in my earbuds and start my run playlist. Before long, all I am thinking about is my feet hitting the treadmill deck and the sweat beading on my forehead. At six miles, I slow my pace and walk a few minutes. I take a quick shower and head to the market to pick up something for dinner.

Weaving through the aisles, I find some veggies and strip steak to grill. My phone buzzes as I join a checkout line. Abe’s message reads:

THOUGHT YOU WOULD WANT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU SAW IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA. ASHLEIGH GOT ENGAGED. WEDDING IN DECEMBER.

Shaking my head, I text back: K, THX.

HEY ZACK, SOMETHING ELSE.

YEAH?

SHE’S MARRYING ADAM.

LIKE IN OUR ADAM?

YEAH.

THANKS.

Man, I must be out of the loop. How long have they been dating? It’s been six years, but she was my first. My chest tightens. Abe, Adam, and I had our Bar Mitzvah together. Didn’t she break up with me because I was too hometown? He works as a loan guy at the bank down the street from our neighborhood.

“You want to check out, dude?” the guy behind the counter asks.

I throw my items on the belt, slide my card, and grab the loaded bag. Outside, I take deep breaths of the hot air. I got over Ashleigh years ago and wonder why I’m upset. Probably if I wasn’t coming off the blow from Amanda, I wouldn’t care. Quit being a pansy, I think.

Over the row of cars, a flash of red hair catches my eye, and I do a double take. Liz stands hand to hips outside her car door. You don’t care, I force into my psyche. But I’m not that guy. At least her name doesn’t start with an A. I wind around the truck and approach her as she’s using a cereal box to fan her front seat.

“Everything okay?” I ask.

Her head turns, and her eyes grow wide. “Zack?”

“Yeah, grocery shopping. Not stalking.” I motion to my bag. “What’s up?”

“Nothing. It’s fine.” She blows her breath over her forehead.

“Tinted windows would help. I got mine done—”

“I know. My neighbor said the same thing.”

“I have a guy. He had a fair price and came to the hospital lot. I have Monday off. If you want, I could be there when he comes.”

She shakes her head. “My neighbor gave me a name. Brad’s a firefighter, so he should be safe.”



Friday, 16 March 2018

Sons of Taldra: A #SciFi #Adventure #Novel by Duane Simolke

Duane Simolke received StoneWall Society Pride in the Arts Awards for his books The Acorn Stories, Degranon, and Holding Me Together. He also wrote New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio and served as editor/co-author of The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer. His writing appeared in nightFire, Mesquite, Caprock Sun, Midwest Poetry Review, International Journal on World Peace, and many other publications. DuaneSimolke.Com includes some of his work, as well as a variety of resources. He lives in Lubbock, Texas.

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About the Book


In an alternate reality, an Iroquois scientist and her twin gay sons battle shapeshifting aliens. Telius wants to marry the man he loves. Argen struggles with the residual effects of a deadly drug addiction. Both twins help their mother face Valchondria’s greatest threats.

Taldra accepted the title of Leader for Valchondria’s one-world government. Maintainer Admiral Nil blames her for a series of tragedies and might be as dangerous as the changelings that want to feed on humanity.

“The most intriguing aspect of the story is controlled by emotion as relatable characters grow and brave it all together, selflessly helping each other.” -Enas Reviews

Native American storytelling inspired this stand-alone sequel to Degranon: A Science Fiction Adventure. Degranon and Sons of Taldra are also available together as the eBook Taldra: Science Fiction Adventures.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:


They held him until the shaking stopped and he grew quiet.

“Come back to us,” Taldra said, stroking his sweating face. “Come back to us.” She helped him into the chair and poured him a cup of water from a nearby pitcher. “I’ll never forgive the Degrans for getting you addicted to their pills. Please, fight the effects. Come back to us.”

“I’m trying,” he whispered, as the ability to speak returned to him. “The confidence pills made me so fragile, so….”

Taldra wiped the drool from his face and held back the tears that might upset him more. He couldn’t help how his seizures made her worry, and she wouldn’t burden him with any guilt over her maternal fears.

Argen coughed and tried to speak again. “So stupid.”

“You’re not stupid,” Telius and Taldra both said, as usual.

Telius added, “And you’re hardly fragile. I know I couldn’t handle those seizures, or having to take those oversized antidote pills.”

“We’ll take care of each other.” Taldra hugged them. “I won’t let the Degrans, or anyone else, hurt my boys or my world again.”

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Going Home Again: a #Romance #Novel by Carol Cassada

Carol Cassada hails from a small town in Virginia. Growing up, Carol loved to read, but it wasn’t until her teens when she decided to be a writer. After taking a creative writing class, Carol set out on her writing journey.

After graduating college, Carol began writing her first book, Going Home Again. Since then, she’s written and published 7 volumes in the Westmore series. With a penchant for romance and drama, Carol’s books draw you in with their soap opera essence.

Although romance is her main genre, Carol has expressed interest in writing in writing other genres. With a notebook full of ideas, Carol promises there’s more to come with her stories.

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About the Book


Fashion photographer Rachel Mitchell was living the good life in New York; she had everything she ever wanted. However, the death of her mother sends Rachel home to Virginia to be with her family. Upset she seeks comfort from her ex-boyfriend Cole Ashton and they start to reconnect. Their reunion makes Rachel question her life and she’s left with a difficult decision, either stay in New York or start a new life with Cole in Virginia. Which will she choose?


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Keep reading for an excerpt:


Rachel took a sip of water and heard a tender voice. "At long last, we finally meet." Water dribbled from the glass onto Rachel's chin. She wiped her chin with her hand and turned to see Cole. He looked the same the last time she saw him. Same short brown hair and dark brown eyes that could hypnotize anyone. He wore a gray suit, with a white button shirt and black tie, the first time Rachel had ever seen him in a suit. She couldn't believe Cole Ashton; her ex-boyfriend was standing in front of her. Feeling uncomfortable, she began to fidget; running her fingers through her hair. She didn't know what to say or do.

Finally, Cole broke the silence. "Hey, Rach."

"Hello, Cole." Rachel took another sip of water.

"I'm sorry about your mom."

"Thank you."

"She was a great woman." Cole picked up a cracker.

"I've been hearing that a lot lately."

"It's true, she really was. I've always thought a lot of her. She was always nice to me, treated me like I was her son."

Rachel took a few more sips of water. It was no secret that her family adored, actually loved Cole. They always thought he was the perfect man for her. It broke their hearts more than it did hers when she and Cole broke up. But Cole remained a close friend of the family. Whenever Rachel called home, her mother would give her updates about Cole. Even though Rachel acted like she didn't care, she was curious about what went on in his life. "She treated everyone like they were family."

"I know. I'm going miss her. She was my best customer."

"Customer?"

"Yeah, she trusted me with the repairs on her car."

"So, you're still working as a mechanic?"

"Yes."

"Which shop are you working in?"

"Actually, I have my own shop."

"Really?"

"Yeah, my cousins and I opened our own repair shop."

"That's good. I'm happy for you. That was always your dream."

"Thank you. Your family keeps us in business. It seems like every week they’re coming in with a new problem."

"They were never any good at car repairs.” Rachel gave a half-smile. “I can see why they came to you.”

"Every time I see them they talk about you."

"About me?"

"They talk about your life in New York. Your mother bragged the most, she really loved you."

"We've always had a close bond." Rachel looked down at the water in her glass. Sadness began to overwhelm her again.

Cole sensed Rachel's moodiness and quickly changed the subject. "So how long are you going to be in town?"

"I'm leaving in two days. I just came back for the funeral and to help my sisters."

"You know, if you're ever in town again and want to get together to catch up on old times, give me a call."

"Okay, I'll think about it."

"It was good seeing you, Rach." Cole held out his hand.

"Good seeing you too."

With a quick handshake, Cole and Rachel said goodbye. Rachel watched as Cole and his mother left. She felt relief sweep over her, glad her meeting with Cole was over. For the second time, Cole was out of her life. But little did she know how much he would be a part of her future.

Monday, 12 March 2018

The Sons of Godwine: A General #Fiction #Novel by Mercedes Rochelle

Born and raised in St. Louis MO, Mercedes Rochelle graduated with a BA in Literature from the University of Missouri. She learned about living history as a re-enactor and has been enamored with historical fiction ever since. A move to New York to do research and two careers ensued, but writing fiction remains her primary vocation. Her first four books are historical novels about 11th century Britain and events surrounding the Norman Conquest. Mercedes now lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her husband in a log home they had built themselves.






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Earl Godwine had great plans for his children. But he didn't understand his sons. And they barely understood each other.

This is England in the days of Edward the Confessor, when Godwine and his sons tower over the other great families. Harold emerges as the power behind the throne and would soon become king. Tostig rules the north as Earl of Northumbria. They control all the earldoms except one.
What could go wrong?

We see tumultuous events of the mid-11th c. through the eyes of Godwine's sons. Harold's story is all about Harold, but his brothers see things differently. Their remarks are tinged sometimes with admiration, sometimes with skepticism. Alas, Harold’s rise in fortune is not blameless and sometimes those closest to him must pay the price of his fame.


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Keep reading for an excerpt:


Once William and Matilda were seated, the Duke pointed to the table in the center of the hall. "Go, my friend, and take your place by the Bible."

My heart went out to Harold as he calmly stepped down and put his hand on the Bible. I knew how uncomfortable he was, but one could never tell to look at his face. He gazed at William impassively.

"My friends and nobles," said William, getting up and pacing before the assembly. "Earl Harold would return to England, despite my protests. But ere he leaves, I have asked him to swear an oath, before my assembled Lords." He turned to face Harold, who had already broken into a sweat. No mention of an oath was ever made in my presence.

"I would have you swear, my Lord Harold, that you will espouse my daughter Adeliza as soon as she is of marriageable age."

That was all right; he had offered to do so. After a moment, Harold said, "I swear."

"Secondly, I would have you swear to give up to me, this day, your castle at Dover, so that I may garrison it with Norman soldiers." The corner of William's mouth turned up into an almost unnoticeable sneer. He must have known this was impossible. Even if he would, Harold had not the power to give up a royal castle.

Harold looked up at the ceiling, sighing. "To this also I swear," he said evenly.

"And thirdly, lastly, I would have you be my man in England and uphold my claim to the throne of my friend King Edward upon his demise. In return for this, I swear to give you all the highest honors in England, and allow you to retain your earldom."

So William hadn't given up on his design for the English Crown. I was glad I had warned my brother. He stood silent for a long while. I don't think anyone really expected Harold to keep this promise. But if he didn't, he would damned as an oath breaker.

"Swear," shouted William, filling the room with his voice.

I hated Duke William at this moment, with all my heart. Shaking his head, my brother obeyed. "I swear," he said quietly.

"Speak the words, Harold."

"I swear to be your man in England and speak up in your support. Now let me go."

Harold started to walk toward me when William called "Wait" in a harsh voice. My brother stopped and waited.

Suddenly, Duke William summoned a man forward who was sitting next to Count Alain le Rouge. "Walter, pull the linen from the table, and bid your countryman to come forward."

Harold walked slowly back to the table. I know he was dreading a wretched surprise.

Hands shaking, that other man obeyed then turned away, burying his face in the cloth. My poor brother sank to one knee. William turned triumphantly to the assembly.

"See the holy relics of the Saints of Normandy," William blared. "Earl Harold has sworn his oath on their bones. Take heed, all of you!"

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