Aicha Zoubair

Jessica Bell

Monday, September 30, 2013

Free Alert - What Lies Inside by J.L. Myers

The remainder of the morning, with constant and at times agonizing restraint, had so far passed without any bloodshed. Every moment around humans, I felt on the precipice of crumbling. Always, the sinister plotting of how to take one of them down without repercussion played at my thoughts. Reprieve seemed unattainable, until my first double art class before lunch.
The art center was a separate and small building. It was located down a quiet path shrouded by a thicket of sassafras trees, and isolated from the main building. Its seclusion and smaller class headcount disturbed me. There’d be fewer witnesses if I lost it, less mess to clean up. It would take more control than I thought I could muster, to keep my mind from planning someone’s bloody demise.
Preparing for a doubled forty-five minute game of ‘ignore and don’t kill’, I walked stiffly through the open door into class. A girl with pixie-like features and sleek fiery-red hair bopped in front of me. My mouth clamped shut, holding my breath.
The girl’s face beamed as she swayed on her much-too-high-for-school stiletto heels. “Hi, you must be Amelia. I’m Vanessa.”
Her bubbly personality floored me. So far she was the only person—apart from the mysterious and tempting Ty—to introduce herself to me. The memory of him tugged at me from within, our entire interaction imprinted on my mind. I could remember every detail of his appearance and the few words he’d said to me. Still, I was no closer to placing him.
Now this girl was watching me, waiting on a reply while I stood reminiscing. “Uh, hi,” I said with caution.
Vanessa motioned to the back of the classroom, where two vacant easels waited. They were the only two left available. “Come on, I saved you a seat.”
With a smile, she turned and led the way past the other students already seated. A broad beam of warm sunlight streamed through the wall, made entirely of glass panels. The light encompassed the two vacant easels and a single paint rack positioned between them. Not nearly a good enough barrier to separate her from me.
The sun’s rays cast a distinct line across the polished cement floor. I paused at its edge, staring blankly past Vanessa and into the lush fernery beyond the glass. Sunlight was supposed to burn vampires. Well, all turned vampires, from what I had been told.
Yesterday I even witnessed it. I had been in the front passenger seat of Mom’s Mercedes SUV, bewildered by the huge mansion before us. The day was overcast, wind-blown clouds sheltering what should have been a pastel-blue sky. Mom slid from the car while Dorian and I stared. Was this monstrous structure really our new home?
Then the clouds shifted. A sizzling and gag-worthy stink of burning flesh reached us. Mom swore—something she rarely did—and dove into the back seat, tugging the door shut behind her. The UV resistant tint provided refuge from the sun’s escaping rays.
“Mom!” I cried, twisting in my seat. “Are you okay?”
Dorian’s arm shot out, collecting her hand and pulling it forward. “Shit!”
A bubbling welt of scorched flesh covered her forearm. “Language, Dorian,” Mom chastised. “And I’ll be fine.” She pulled her hand from Dorian’s. Instantly the redness began to soothe, the bubbled skin smoothing until her arm was totally unblemished.
I turned back to the dashboard, dropping my head into my hands. “Tell me again,” I said, hating the quake of my voice. “Tell me how you’re affected by the sun, when we’re not?”
Mom had gone over this subject many times at the cabin, but I was still unsettled by her explanation. The story just didn’t add up.
Mom flattened her blouse and sighed. “I was turned as an adult. However, it seems the circumstances in which you were both infected has provided immunity.” She edged forward, her posture straight as she rested a firm hand on each of our shoulders. “Now, this is the last time I will repeat myself.”
Back in the classroom, Vanessa had taken her spot and was waiting, watching me with a mixture of what looked like impatience and anticipation.
Shaking the memory from my mind, I stepped into the light. The curve in Vanessa’s smile twitched, her piercing blue eyes blinking.
“Welcome, Amelia.” The sudden voice caused Vanessa to jump, knocking her knee against the paint rack. A thin woman in paint-spattered overalls and a paintbrush holding her hair back in a bun, stood at the front of the classroom. “I’m Mrs. Ruby.” She looked to Vanessa. “Vanessa, would you please explain the project options to Amelia?”
Vanessa nodded, shifting her eyes back to me. Her face was painted with a perfect and what I thought was a faked smile. There goes my paranoia, again.
“So, we have two options,” she said. “Create a portrait of what we see ourselves becoming in ten years, or reveal our hidden selves. The side we keep secret from the world.”
The image of me devouring a blood-baggie that morning, with greedy drops of crimson escaping the corner of my mouth, intruded on my thoughts. Not pretty. Bile threatened to rise up at the back of my throat. I swallowed in an attempt to push it back down. Then I grasped a tube of paint from the rack to mask my discomfort. “Sounds interesting…”
Vanessa leaned closer, eyes sparkling. “So, what do you see yourself becoming in ten years?”
I clung tighter to the paint tube. The lid popped and a squirt of green shot at the ground. A murderer, I thought. Though I doubted ten years would pass before I did finally lose control. “Um…” Needing to evade her watching eyes, I snatched paper towel from the rack to clean up the mess. I searched my mind for a normal response, before hesitating and coming up blank. “I really don’t know.”
Vanessa crossed her arms over her chest. “Well, what about the second option? Got any deep dark secrets I should know about?”
Yes. I’m a vampire and drink blood, I thought, but had the better sense to respond with. “Nope… What about you?”
I attempted to keep my voice level, even though I was lying through my teeth. Teeth? I did a double take, running my tongue over my teeth. They were completely level and human. My fangs aren’t extended? And that’s when it hit me, or should I say, didn’t hit me. I couldn’t scent her blood.
My eyes shot up to Vanessa, who shrugged. “Well, I am kinda a fashion Nazi, which sucks for me. Unlike almost every kid at this school, I’m on a scholarship. Even with a part-time job I’m reduced to shopping online.”
“Where do you work?” I looked her over while sniffing the air. Diamanté-studded stretch jeans and a fitted, red-leather jacket. No scent.
“Nowhere, really. It’s more of an errand-based gig.” As I kept staring, a frown pinched Vanessa’s brow. “What?” A look of horror transformed her expression. “Oh my God, don’t tell me I have body odor!”
Wiping the primal look from my face, I shook my head. “No. Sorry.” I held up my hand that still clung to the paper towel smeared with green paint. “It’s the paints,” I said, drilling my brain for a normal excuse. “They, uh…smell the same as the ones from our old school. Kind of like toe-jams and toothpaste.”
“Oh, good,” she said, voice hesitant, “as long as you can’t smell me.”
Forcing a smile, I began squeezing different paints onto a pallet. I should have been figuring out what I planned on painting. I should have been doing anything and everything to appear normal. But my mind was elsewhere. Yes, I felt relieved to have met someone I didn’t want to drain, to drink from until they were lifeless in my arms. Still I couldn’t get my head around her lack of scent. Who was this girl?
“Hey,” Vanessa said, breaking my train of thought. “What’s your mobile number?” When I frowned, wondering why on earth she’d want my number, she said, “You do have one, don’t you? I mean next to lip gloss, it’s the one accessory a girl can’t live without.”
Puzzled, and trying not to stare at her heavily-glossed lips, I pulled my iPhone from my jeans and handed it over. It was personalized with a Three Days Grace case.
Vanessa snatched the phone and dialed from it. Then she pulled her own mobile, sporting a cover speckled with diamantes, from her jacket pocket. It chimed and her fingers glided over the glass screen. “All done,” she said handing mine back. “I texted you my number too.”
“Oh, thanks.” The phone chimed and I stuffed it back into my pocket. The interaction left me feeling even more confused. She’s just being friendly, I tried to convince myself. But my suspicion didn’t agree.
After that I stared at my blank canvas for what felt like forever. I was trying to force myself to think about the project, but my mind kept wondering about the unusual girl sitting beside me. When the bell rang, I realized my efforts had been useless. I had spent the entire class staring at my canvas and tapping a dry paintbrush against my thigh.
Vanessa rose to her feet and looked down at me. “Got any plans for lunch?”
“Uh, no,” I replied. Where she was going with this?
“Great! You can sit with us.”
Eat in a cafeteria full of humans? Yeah, that’ll end well. “I can’t,” I said quickly, thinking up a lie. “Math quiz tomorrow. I need to study.”

“Study can wait.” Vanessa strung her arm through mine and yanked me forward. “Besides, I’m not taking no for an answer. Oh and don’t worry, my friends don’t bite,” she said flashing me a wicked grin, “unless provoked.”
What Lies Inside
Free until 30 September 2013
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Genre – YA Paranormal Romance
Rating – PG-13+
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Author Interview - Yvonne Jones

What responses have you had from readers whose eyes were opened to the realities of military life?

I’ve had such wonderful responses so far. The book was published right after our last move here to Tampa, so I didn’t really know anybody here outside of the military. So, I met this wonderful civilian woman, who had just moved to Tampa herself. After she heard that I wrote a book about military life, she was very eager to read it and later stated that she was so glad she did, mainly because it addressed so many issues that she would have never thought to ask about. Through the reading she became aware of our differences as well as our similarities. I am really good friends with her now, and I truly believe it’s because of this book. It laid out our way of life in such a way, that she could better relate to me and my family.

Another example is this very beautiful email I received from an aunt of someone in the military. And she basically thanked me for opening her eyes to all the issues a military family goes through during a deployment. Most Americans DO realize to some extent how hard it is to be separated from your loved ones, but can’t truly comprehend the DAILY challenges a service member and his or her family has to go through for such prolonged periods of time.

Of course, I’ve also received some emails from readers that are either military spouses or in the military themselves. I’ve actually gotten a lot of responses from foreign-born military spouses and also military widows, thanking me for having included them in the book and drawing some attention to their specific issues they have to face in the military.

This book has been very well received so far. And I’m hoping I’m able to reach many more, because I truly believe that it can help in closing this gap that currently exists between our military and civilian worlds.

Whom have you approached about this book? How are you trying to spread your message/the message of the book?

Well, I approach anyone who’ll listen and anyone who believes IN and fights FOR the same causes as I do. I even got former U.S. Representative Ike Skelton listen to me on the phone for about 30 minutes. He stands for and supports the same cause. I truly, truly believe this subject matter to be so very important, to both Military Families as well as the American society as a whole, that we can’t afford not to try to open other people’s eyes about this issue. The American people need their military. But the Military also needs the American people.

How is this book different to other military resources?

One of the reasons I believe that so many people on the outside don’t know much about us is because it is nearly impossible to find information that specifically relates or pertains to the relationships held between military service members and their civilian parents, in-laws, siblings, or friends. There are tons of resources for military spouses and their children, but not much that promotes knowledge and information applicable to service members’ other important individuals in their lives (such as civilian friends and, civilian in-laws and so on).

If you look at the deployment topic, you would actually find some great guides out there for parents of the service member, for example. BUT when it comes to less covered topics, like moving, for example, then all you’d find is information for military families themselves. There’s not much out there that tries to explain the moving process to civilians. And this book tries to fill that void.

It is also different in that it tries to give voices to multiple different perspectives. For example, some topics are written from a service member’s point of view, while others are depicted from a spouse’s view point.

All is explained using plain language. You won’t find any military lingo, which otherwise might discourage a lot of potential readers, since they don’t understand it.

Closing The Gap

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Genre – Military Family

Rating – G

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Day in the Life of JD Combs

 In January of 2011 I began a journey toward writing with a blog I named “Oh, For the Love of…My Children.”  In my blog I tell story after story of life within the confines of our family.  As I continued on my blog journey, though, I realized there was something more I was supposed to be doing. About a year after I began my blog, I was smacked in the face with the reality that it is time to follow the path of doing more than just my little blog.

Several times in the past couple of years other people who would like me to write stories about their lives have approached me.  And I've been flattered beyond all belief but never really believed that telling others' stories was something I could do and do well.  I love telling the stories of our family, our life in my blog.  It's easy for me. I live it every day but I have been afraid to take others' stories on because I wasn't sure I could do them justice.  I wanted to tell their stories but it was safe within my little blog.  But life has a funny way of telling you what to do and when to do it, if you’ll just listen.  And I was forced to listen to what life was telling me to do by way of a little Pilipino woman who had her story to tell.

My oldest son and I were traveling home from Maryland together and decided it was time for lunch.   We wanted it to be a quick trip through the Wendy's drive through so we could get home.  But as we were getting off the interstate, I decided I had a hankering for some good, old', fried chicken a la KFC.  Lo and behold...the holy grail of fried chicken was right there in front of us.  As I whipped the car into the parking lot, my son decided he needed to go in to use the facilities.  We went from a quick trip through Wendy's drive through to parking the car and going in to order.

We walked up to the counter to place our order and pay for our food, and as I handed the little Pilipino woman behind the counter my card, she said, in a heavy accent, "I'm sorry.  I'm not really with it today.  My mind is elsewhere."  I assured her it was fine.  “We all have days like that,” I said.  It was while I was paying for our lunch the little woman, with a heavy accent, poured out her story to me.  It ended with me knowing more about her than I know about some of my friends.  I have no idea what her name is but she needed a willing ear to hear her tale and I happened to be there.

She told me she found out her husband of 20 years has been having a five year long affair with another woman.

He fathered a child with this woman, bought her a car, and lived with her when he wasn't home with his wife and family. She told me she called her sister, who is a psychologist back in the Philippines for advice.  She asked her sister why she wasn't sad, why she couldn't get mad.  This little woman told me, with not a hint of tears in her eye, that her sister told her it was because she was in denial.  She asked me if I thought she was in denial.  I said I had to agree with her sister.  She went on to ask me for my advice...what should she do?  Should she leave him now, or wait...Oh, why me, I thought!  Heavens, this is not my area.  I couldn't wait to leave, to escape from this little woman who desperately wanted my advice and for me to hear her story.

I did a mental head slap as my son and I loaded back into the car. I realized I should have stayed and heard the rest of her story.  I should have gotten her name and told her story the right way.  It was then I knew it was time to tell other people's stories.  I don't know what made this little woman spill her guts to me but she made me realize I want, and need, to tell stories not just about me and my family, but about other people as well, both fictional and non-fictional.   It is what I’m supposed to do in life.  I am a storyteller.

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Genre -  Romantic Suspense
Rating – R (adult language / sexual scenes)
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Pelican Bay–Jesse Giles Christiansen

Some things are better left alone…
After Ethan Hodges discovers an undersea cemetery just off the beach of Pelican Bay, South Carolina, he seeks answers from a grandfatherly fisherman named Captain Shelby. The captain wants the past to remain buried, and he warns Ethan to stay away. But Ethan doesn't listen.
Ethan's best friend and secret love interest, Morgan Olinsworth, joins in the investigation, unearthing intriguing secrets about the mysterious fisherman. When Captain Shelby is suspected of murder and disappears, a manhunt ensues, revealing a truth that unnerves everyone in Pelican Bay.

Pelican Bay by Jesse Giles Christinsen

Amazon Kindle US

Genre – Mystery, Suspense

Rating – PG13

4.2 (29 reviews)

Free until 29 September 2013

Cleanse Fire by Anastasia V Pergakis


Pars IV

20th day of Solis Moon, 1364

Derac choked. "What?"

"He came to speak with me while I was in the bath." The amber swirls in her eyes glowed bright and betrayed her panic, but her voice was calm.

His eyebrows shot into his hairline. "Did he force himself on you?" He swallowed the bile in his throat.

"No. He stared at me in a way that made me extremely uncomfortable and," she paused and held her lips between her teeth for a moment. "He kissed my neck. He didn't press any further than that, however."

Derac's breath rushed out of his lungs. He leaned back against the sofa and forced his muscles to relax. "What did he say?"

"He told me that he had great power, greater than just being the Mission Commander. He told me I should partner with him."

Derac's eyebrows shot up again. "What did you say to that?"

She spoke in hushed tones, but the words tumbled from her lips. "I told him no. I don't care for power. He said I could have my own power if I did partner with him. Then he told me to think about it. To wait until after the mission. He said that the events of the mission would help me to make up my mind. I have the awful feeling that this mission is going to go terribly wrong, and the Commander is behind it." She paused to her catch her breath. "Centurio, I know it sounds outlandish, but my feelings have never let me down before. We have no proof, but I think at the very least we should exercise caution around the Commander until we do find out the truth."

Derac rested his chin on the tips of his fingers. The elf thought he could barge in on the elfa's bath like he was supposed to be there? He tried to feel shocked at his Commander's possible betrayal and perverted actions, but he failed.

"What should we do?"

"I trust your judgment Kie. And you're right, we don't have proof. But I think I know of a way to get it." He lowered his voice to a whisper. "We tell the Commander our plan is to stay together. During the mission however, we split up. Get one group of faeries out of the cells and have two elite lead them back to the cabin. The other four will get the second group."

"Wait. Wouldn't that make the two vulnerable handling that many faeries on a six hour trip, on foot?"

"Yes. But, even if the faeries are weak, they could offer some help. There are hundreds of them down there according to the report." He winced. "Then again, you may have a point. What if the intel is wrong, yet again?"

"Didn't I see a report about sentry rotations at night?" Her eyes roamed over the table.

"Yes. It's here." He handed her the paper.

Her amber pools scanned the list. "Let's assume this is incorrect. According to this, they cut the guards in half at night. What if they had less? That would mean less to worry about. And, two of us could easily handle a few sentries."

"What do we do if they actually double the guards at night?"

Her lips pressed into a thin line. "Good point."

He pinched the bridge of his nose. "We can't even rely on our intel. Even if it ended that Palto was not involved, we could still be walking into an ambush. How would we know for sure it was his doing or just bad intel?"

She put her hands behind her head and glanced up at the ceiling. "I don't know. I have no skill with strategy."

He snorted. "You read battle strategies for fun."

"Exactly. I'm trying to learn. Doesn't mean I can make up new ones."

"All right. Let's go over all our options again. We can enter through the front or through the secret tunnel. With any of those options, we can stay together, split in half, or split four to two. Is there any other way to get into the mines?"

She shook her head. "I've heard rumors at the very top of the mountain is a shaft that runs all the way down to the lower levels of the mine. But, I don't know for certain and the mountain side is treacherous. We could injure ourselves more just trying to gain entry."

Derac held his head in his hands and tried to predict the outcome of their mission. Kie mirrored his position as her eyes scanned the intel scattered across the table. Her spine jerked and she sat up straight.

"What if we split up into three groups of two? Two to lead the first group out like you said before, two to provide protection, the last two get the second group. Done fast enough, all six of us and all the faeries would leave right after each other, or at least within moments of each other."

"And you say you have no skill with strategy."

She chuckled. "It's still risky though."

"What part of any mission isn't?" He sucked in air and held it a few moments before he exhaled. "Again, I don't like the plan, but it'll work."

They finalized their strategy and detailed every second of their mission. Confidence filled Derac that their idea would work and he ordered Kie to sleep.


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Genre – Fantasy / Military

Rating – PG13

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Beware the Procrastination Demons – Fenella Miller

Beware the Procrastination Demons

Procrastination is something I’m very good at – in fact I think there are many writers who consider themselves an expert in this field. Finding something else to do instead of getting on with writing your book is so easy nowadays.

Facebook, Twitter, Good Reads, Linked in –are just four of the demons waiting to pounce on the

unwary writer. Even if you are strong willed enough to ignore the siren call of these four then you still have to open and read your e-mails every morning. By the time you have answered these an hour might have gone by. Unfortunately there might well be messages from Facebook and Twitter telling you friends have birthdays, or that they have mentioned you in a comment – of course you can’t ignore these. Another hour will have been wasted because once you’re on Facebook or Twitter it’s impossible not to read and respond to the other comments.

Then there are the various loops that a writer belongs to – I am a member of at least six – but only two I read in their entirety, but it still takes up valuable writing time.

Don’t forget a writer must check their Amazon sales/rankings/royalties and reviews –how can we know whether we need to do more promotion of social media if we don’t keep an eye on things?

Now we come to the dreaded blogs and websites – I am a member of three which require a post every month and, being a historical, they usually need to be on something historical which requires time and research to prepare. I also have my own blog upon which I try to put at least three posts per month and these can’t always the rabbiting on about my latest book – some of them require careful planning and thought. There are also the blogs written for book promotional tours and guest blogs.

Often a writer gives talks at Women’s Institute and other meetings – these have to be prepared and everyone expects a high-tech PowerPoint presentation nowadays. They could, like me, be a professional reviewer which requires not only writing a review but reading the book in detail.

I think you’re getting the picture now – a writer can legitimately procrastinate and tell themselves they are not actually wasting any time but doing valuable social media work. The jury is out on how valuable social media is in raising an author’s profile and increasing their book sales.

For me the worst procrastination demon is cricket – not a sport played in the US – for those uninitiated it’s a team game requiring the eleven players on each side and two umpires. A match can last anything from four hours to five days. Basically two men from one of the teams try to hit a small, hard ball as far as they can then dash up and down scoring runs, whilst the fielding team try to prevent this. I expect you’ve all gone to sleep by now so I will desist from trying to explain why I am obsessed with this peculiarly English game. The last international for the summer has just been played so until the overseas tour starts in November I shall have no excuse for procrastinating.

The best advice I can give any writer is to put your backside on your seat and write. Don’t get up until you have completed your quota for the day. When this is done, and only when this is done, connect to the Internet and spend as long as you want on all the time wasting and very enjoyable social media activities.

I wish I was able to follow my own advice.


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Genre – Historical fiction

Rating – PG

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hindsight by Owen Banner


I laid in bed that night, assuring myself that it would be the easiest money I'd ever made.

There was something about it, though--something cold sliding down into my gut. I had bitten that worm, and the hook was already working its way through me.

I smoothed over that feeling with the thought that I could be giving Haley a shot at the life she deserved--Winnie too. That's all I needed. I'd pay any price for that. Somehow that thought helped me get to sleep.

Around nine thirty-five, I began to drag myself out of unconsciousness like I was coming out of a coma. Slamming my hand down on my alarm, I stumbled through the living room to the red leather briefcase. An hour and a half later, I was in Philly, turning down a little side road called South Juniper Street. I had the brown paper package and a clipboard tucked under my arm.

About twenty-five steps from the corner was a small shop with a green awning and a candle lantern beside the entrance. The print on the window read McAfee’s Clockworks and Antiques. The curved brass handle on the door was cold. It was the kind of cold that hits your chest like a gong, then vibrates through the rest of you. The bell tinkled over my head as I pushed through the door and a small old man walked out from the back room. Wiping his hands with a dirty towel, he hobbled out from behind the counter.

"Can I help you, lad? Don't be afraid, there isn't anything an old goat like me can do ta hurt ya."

"I've got a package for Mr. Lyndon McAfee."

"Well, that would be me, wouldn't it?" He said with a smile. The man's face was tough, despite his age. He wasn't hobbling because he was old, he must have had some injury back in the day. I handed him the clipboard with the delivery sheet that Isaac had given me.

"This is quite unexpected," his voice had the same syrupy thickness of Isaac's. "There you go." He handed me back the board as I placed the package in his other hand.

"You have a nice day," I said and started to go.

"Can I get you anything before you go? Cup o' tea? A sandwich or something other?"

I turned back and forced a smile. "No thanks, sir. I'd really better be getting back to work," I said holding up my clipboard and giving it a shake.

"Very well, you have a good day."

"You too," I said as the bell tinkled overhead again. The door shut behind me. I rounded the corner feeling the sunlight on my face and crossed the street between the cars. When I stepped onto the sidewalk, I was already thinking about that money and just caught myself before I knocked a latte out of the hand of a blonde-haired businesswoman wearing a little too much perfume. Dodging her, I almost ran smack into a young guy with a black windbreaker and a camera. He stepped aside, and I caught his eye as he went past. I had time to notice he had short, dark hair, olive skin--Middle Eastern. A small scar cut down at the edge of his hairline. His eyes locked onto mine. That's when it hit.


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Genre –  Thriller

Rating – R

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Marie Maiden – What Inspired Me To Write My Book?

What Inspired Me To Write My Book?

by Marie Maiden

I was compelled to write my book in order to share my story of how I overcome the odds that were stacked against me.  I titled my book “You Cannot Find Peace Until You Find All The Pieces” because there were many things missing from my life as a child growing up and my life as a young adult was negatively impacted by a less than desirable childhood.  I strongly desired to live a happy life so I did the work that was necessary to put the pieces of my broken life back together.

In my book, I share how I overcame many obstacles in my life. Through my story, the reader will be encouraged to overcome the obstacles in their own lives.  My book offers Hope. My book reveals the path to finding authentic living and happiness.  Life comes at you and you have to know how to deal with it.  Learn how to unlock the inner strength in you. This book is a powerful and effective tool to help the reader to discover the answers to what is missing from your life.  Read “You Cannot Find Peace Until You Find All The Pieces” by Marie Maiden.

You Cannot Find Peace

You Cannot Find Peace Until You Find All The Pieces tells the story of how God through Jesus Christ transformed my life and gave me the strength to overcome a less than desirable childhood, the regrets of becoming a teen mother, anger, immaturity, poor decision making and a really bad attitude.

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Genre - Christian/ Historical/Inspirational

Rating – G

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Friday, September 27, 2013

How To Find Your Vital Vocation by Brian Cormack Carr


What you love is what you are gifted at, and there are no exceptions.
~ Barbara Sher

This chapter is action-orientated and is all about finding the key that unlocks your Vital Vocation. It’s where we go in search of your gifts and talents in the sure knowledge that these lie at the root of your ideal work. If you already think you know what they are, great; now’s your chance to verify that. If you don’t, the exercises in this chapter will really help you to unearth them.

Discovering What Makes You Tick

The simplest way to get a hint of where your talents lie is to pay attention to anything that you are attracted to and in particular, anything that you really love.

Even if you don’t have an obvious talent in that area, you can be sure that your love for a thing points you towards a talent of some sort. Perhaps it will be something as simple as the fact that you have a heightened appreciation of the subject in question. Yes, that is a real talent. An expert wine-taster doesn’t need to be able to make wine, but he or she needs to fully appreciate good wine in order to do the job well. A history teacher may never make history, but he or she needs to love learning about it in order to teach it effectively. So it is with you. If you love something, you see it in a particular way: a way that’s utterly unique and therefore very valuable to you, and to others.

In order to cast the net as wide as possible, I’m going to ask you to explore several areas which will provide you with clues as to what you should be doing with your life. In the exercises that follow we’ll be searching for this treasure in:

- Your memories

- Your future plans

- Your imagination

- Other people’s perceptions of you

- Your unconscious mind

Each area is explored in a separate exercise and I’ll give examples from my own life so that you can see how it’s done.

It’s worth giving yourself sufficient time to do each exercise without having to rush through it. By going searching for what you love in each of these areas (the last two are optional) you’ll be able to gather enough information to spot any pattern in the things that are capable of satisfying and stimulating you. Once you can see a pattern like that, you can begin to build a life and career around it.

Ready? Enjoy this. We’re about to do no less than discover your purpose in life!

EXERCISE 3: Journeying into the Past

For this exercise, you’re going to cast your mind back to things you’ve loved doing in your past.

Step 1

Wherever you are just now in your life, think back to several earlier periods, for example:

- Childhood

- Your teenage years

- Young adulthood

- Adulthood

- Middle age

Write each of the periods you’ve chosen as a heading on a separate page and make a list of all the things you really loved to do when you were that age. List as many as you can recall and be as specific as possible.

However – and this is important – only write down the things you particularly loved. Choose things that would rate a 7 or above if you were to rate them on a “lovability scale” of 1 to 10 (with 10 being highest).


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Genre –  NonFiction / Careers

Rating – G

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Marilyn Holdsworth – Why choosing your setting is important

Why choosing your setting is important:
The settings in a book are important to the overall tone of the book. The action and the characters are affected by their surroundings. I have found to capture the true feel of a particular place it is most helpful to have been there myself. I have traveled to many different areas when writing my books. When I was working on my first book, Pegasus, I visited many locations in California. Also in Austria, I took a trip on the Danube and visited the Spanish Riding School. All those experiences helped me to write realistically about the settings of my story.
When I was working on The Beautiful American I visited James Monroe’s home, Ashlawn in Virginia and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. I also toured all throughout Albemarle county to get the feeling of the area I was writing about in the book and the settings I was creating for my characters. I have been to Paris many times and to the Louvre which was extremely helpful in writing the parts of the book set in post- revolutionary France.
In Making Wishes my main character lives in the Los Angeles area but travels to New York and London. Having visited both New York and London many times helped me create realistic settings for that book. And since I live in California, Los Angeles is a familiar area to me.
I can visualize in my mind the settings I am creating for my characters much better if I have been there. For my books to be realistic it is very important I choose settings that not only suit the characters and plot but most importantly are places I know and feel comfortable writing about.

Making Wishes

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Genre - Women’s fiction

Rating – PG-13

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Julia Park Tracey – Woman of Mystery

Woman of Mystery

By Julia Park Tracey

I waited till I got out the door, across the parking lot and into my car before screaming. I had just left the book-signing from hell, held, appropriately, on Friday the 13th.  I was supposed to participate in a “romance tableau” in honor of Valentine’s Day and had been looking forward to reading a short, evocative excerpt from my contemporary novel at the event. Alas, it was not to be.

Despite foul weather and appalling traffic, I arrived on time at the bookstore, where the manager said they were expecting a big crowd. The other reader was a romance novelist who has written about 24 books in less than 10 years. The writer asked if this was my first book, and when I said yes, she gave me a lecture about how I should always bring freebies to give away to the audience and my publisher should provide those. Then she looked at my photo on the back of the book and said, “That’s not very good.” She flipped through the pages and criticized my writing. She was also not thrilled to have to share the spotlight with the likes of me. By this time I felt we were on the road to a solid friendship and I took my seat.

Fabulous Romance Writer apparently has a big fan base, as the entire audience came out to see her, not me. No one knew who I was or why I was there except the owner, and she was late (foul weather and appalling traffic). When the owner arrived, she introduced us to the audience, first, Miss Fabulous, who the owner said would tell about the joys of being published by a major house, and then she pointed at me and said — and I quote, “This is Julie Parker and she wrote a mystery and published it herself. Now they’re going to tell about their very different experiences…”

I was, um, speechless, to say the least. Which to correct first? My name? The fact that I don’t even read mysteries, much less write them? That the book was under the auspices of an indie publisher? That I came prepared to read my novel, not compare my miserable existence to that of the Fabulous One? But there was no time for that; it was time to hear what Miss Fabulous had to say.

Miss Fab talked for a good half hour about herself and her books and herself and her editor and publisher and herself and herself, mildly interesting to me though clearly exciting to all her fans. Since I was sitting with her in front, I smiled and nodded and looked interested the whole time while feeling like the third wheel. I wondered, if I had written a mystery, what it would be about. I toyed with the notion of legally changing my name to Julie Parker, in hopes of hearing it pronounced, “Julia Park.” And I thought about my novel, Tongues of Angels — which takes on some major contemporary themes in the Catholic Church: the nun who wants to be ordained, the priests with celibacy issues, the power struggles, the politics.  And I thought, “I’m at the wrong reading. I’m at the wrong bookstore. These people don’t want to hear what I have to say. They are lighting pitchforks and sharpening torches as we speak.”

When I got to speak, I skirted the story itself and instead gave a little background, then just talked about writing and the difficulty I had with finding an agent with the controversial subject matter, and why I eventually went indie-rogue. A woman from the audience offered a comment. “I read your book,” she said. “And you’re right. The Catholic Church does hate you.” She said she thought the book was “interesting.” We all know what that means.

Then a minister at the back of the room said he thought I was brave and he admired my courage. Later on, he bought my book, asked me to sign it, slipped me his card and asked me to call him. For a date. “Send me an e-mail and we’ll talk,” he said with a particular smile. I am going to have some new business cards made up that say, “Julie Parker, Woman of Mystery,” just for these occasions. My area code will be 666.

But wait – there’s more. Turns out there was an editor for a romance magazine in attendance. I offered my book to the editor and asked if she might like to review it. She looked at me and said, “Oh. Well. I don’t think so. No.”
After I left the bookstore, I reflected back on a past book-signing event, where I had sat for two hours and received more compliments on my shoes than sales of my book. I was wearing those same lucky shoes for Friday the 13th.  When I got to the restaurant where I was meeting a friend for dinner, the hostess stopped me to gush over my shoes.
Per the advice of Miss Fabulous, I am planning to give a pair of free shoes with the purchase of every book.

IV Ink ( is re-releasing Julia Park Tracey’s novel, Tongues of Angels, as a 10th anniversary edition in April 2013. Follow her on Facebook/TonguesofAngels and Facebook/JuliaParkTracey; on Twitter@JuliaParkTracey.

Tongues of Angels

A Catholic priest with questions. A penitent woman with a secret past. A jealous friend. The fourth in this lover’s knot? God.

Father Rob Souza faces the forbidden desire of his own heart when Jessica, victim of a brutal assault, comes for counseling. Rob’s best friend, Lawrence, is a priest with an artistic temperament and trials of his own. A Greek chorus of gossiping priests, and church politics riddled with suspicion and battling for souls, force Lawrence, Rob and Jessica to make choices they didn’t intend.

Tongues of Angels offers a peek behind the curtain of the priesthood, offering a funny, poignant look at Catholic angst and ambiguity. Based on a true story, Tongues of Angels is a canny, warm and surprisingly spiritual novel for our time. Now back in print for the 10th Anniversary Edition, through Indie-Visible Ink.

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Genre - Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG13

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Jamie Denton – Point Of View Made Easy

Point Of View Made Easy

© Jamie Denton

I’ve become a stickler when it comes to viewpoint. I’ve become one of those annoying purists who rarely switches POV within a scene. This could be because way back in the day when I first started writing, I made a mess of POV and was determined to master this elusive component in crafting a novel. I went beyond your average Head Hopping Syndrome and stormed right into so ridiculous it wasn’t funny. With a little help from my friends, and by studying how other authors handled POV in their stories, I learned. But first, I had to understand exactly what was POV.

There are different types of point of view; omniscient viewpoint, sometimes referred to as authorial intrusion. There is first person point of view (POV/1), otherwise known as the “I” perspective. And finally, third person point of view (POV/3), which is most commonly used in genre fiction, romance in particular, which is what I’ll be talking about today.

We live our lives in only one viewpoint, so this should be simple, right? It’s looking at the sunset, or listening to Mozart (or Nickelback), maybe enjoying a banana split on a Saturday afternoon, or inhaling the sweet fragrance of a dew-kissed rose. Let’s not forget the swelling of our heart when we look at a newborn child. Hard to believe that we experience this all through only one perception, isn’t it?

Now let’s transfer this to our characters.

One of the most important things to remember is if your viewpoint character can’t see it, hear it, taste it, smell it, or feel it, then neither can your reader. In other words, the heroine can gaze at the hero, but she can’t gaze at him with desire burning in her gaze if we’re in her point of view. Why? Because your heroine can’t see this.

Confused? Try this…

If your hero is observing your heroine from across a crowded room, your heroine can’t know that the hero is lusting after her unless she sees some sign of his lust. Now, if your heroine is standing next to your hero, and she can see that “his gaze burned hot” or some such, your reader can know it as well. Why? Because we know your heroine saw this from her own viewpoint.

That all sounds much simpler, doesn’t it? But, the question remains, how do you convey the non-viewpoint character’s emotions without jumping into their head? Easy—emotion through action.

Here’s an example of emotion through action from my first romantic suspense novel, THE MATCHMAKER (Kensington Brava, 2006), with the heroine, Greer, observing the hero, Ash:

She looked into his eyes and her pulse took off like a rocket. Desire burned within the intense depths of this gaze and whatever protest she’d been searching for vanished. Instead of pushing away from him like she knew she should, she reached up to cup his jaw in her palm.

And then she kissed him.

Within Greer’s viewpoint I established not only Ash’s emotions (desire), but also Greer’s, which we see through her actions and her thoughts. We know that she still desires Ash (her estranged husband), but also how she still feels about him, which we see through the tenderness of her touch. All of this information is given to us through Greer’s point of view. No head hopping necessary.

Now that we have a better idea of what point of view is, how do you decide who should be the viewpoint character? Answer the following:

  1. Who will be the center of the action?
  2. Who will have the most at risk?
  3. Whose struggle toward their goal is the fuel of the scene?
  4. And finally, who will be moved or changed by the outcome?

In romance, most likely the viewpoint will be that your hero or your heroine. Once you’ve answered these questions, the appropriate point of view character should no longer be a mystery.

For example, let’s say Hannah Heroine has just announce to Hank Hero she’s pregnant. In the previous scene, we’ve already established Hannah’s angst over being pregnant. She needs to know Hank’s reaction to the news because it affects her. She’s the one at risk. Therefore, the scene belongs to Hannah. But, you still need to know Hank’s reaction. Why? Because you know from the story that Hank has something at stake as well. He was planning on leaving town in the morning to take a long awaited promotion he’s been longing for on the opposite coast.

You DO NOT have to wait until the end of the scene before getting into Hank’s head to know what he’s feeling. We can use the ol’ point of view switch <insert shocked gasp here> within a scene to find out what Hank is thinking. Keep in mind that you want your transition to be smooth. Take a look at this example:

[HANK’S POV] . . . Restraint and nobility fled. A groan rose from deep in his chest. He grabbed hold of her hips, pulling her tight against him. Her lips sought his in hot, opened mouthed demand.

[HANNAH’S POV] Hanna’s skin warmed and she went all dizzy as his hands skimmed her hips, inching the material of her sundress higher. She wanted him. It was that simple. She couldn’t explain what made her forget the warnings that she was playing with fire, and she didn’t think she wanted to know.

Note how I re-establish the reader in the heroine’s viewpoint by using the senses, specifically, how she feels when Hank touches her. And Hank can’t possibly know that she is feeling all warm and dizzy, or what she’s thinking in regard to warnings she’s choosing to ignore.

Here’s another short example of point of view switching within a scene. We begin this scene in the courtroom during a custody hearing in Melina’s viewpoint, but watch the change into Mario’s POV:

…This man staring at her [across the courtroom] with such disdain was not the same man who’d nearly told her loved her a few days ago. This man looked as if he wished her dead.

Mario sensed Melina’s torment but hardened himself against her. The flash of fear in her eyes gratified the part of him that wanted to hurt her. Hurt her as she’d hurt him, not once, but twice.

Both characters are in emotional angst at this point in the story, which is conveyed by their separate points of view and their observation of the other. From Melina’s viewpoint we know that Mario can hardly stand the sight of her because of the way he’s looking at her. From Mario’s point of view we know that he’s glad Melina is suffering right along with him because of what we see through his eyes.

If you absolutely have to change viewpoints within a scene, keep the transitions seamless. Really cement the reader into your new viewpoint character’s head by using Name (Mario), Action (Stared) and Emotion (in disbelief).

The best way to learn how to switch point of view is by not switching point of view. Sound confusing? Not as much as you might think.

The way I learned to make a seamless point of view change was to write an entire scene in one character’s viewpoint using the five senses as my rule of thumb. If my heroine couldn’t see it, hear it, taste it, smell it or feel it, then quite simply neither could my reader. Once you understand what it takes to firmly establish your character’s viewpoint within a scene, making the transition between the hero and heroine’s point of view is a great deal easier to accomplish.

One thing to always keep in mind — when using a singular POV per scene, DO NOT rehash the same information in the next scene in the opposite character’s viewpoint. If you remember the theory of Scene and Sequel, this shouldn’t be a problem. Whether you want to switch point of view within a scene, or become a viewpoint purist, in the end, the best thing you can do for yourself, and your characters, is to always trust your instincts.

Jamie Denton sold her first attempt at a contemporary romance to Harlequin Books four days before Christmas in 1994. Despite a few bumps in the road, in the almost 20 years since her first sale, she’s gone on to final and win several notable awards, made a national bestseller list and has seen over three million copies of her books in print worldwide and translated into several languages. Jamie is currently at work on her 30th novel.


Five authors contribute five novellas to this romantic collection set over centuries, in one home on the Albemarle Sound.

Home is where the heart is…

One stately residence on North Carolina’s Albemarle Sound. Five stories of heart-warming romance. Told against the backdrop of the Civil War, the loss of an unsinkable ship, the patriotic zeal of the second world war, the heart-rending conflict of Vietnam, and the thrill of modern day Nascar, Jamie Denton, S. K. McClafferty, Kathleen Shoop, Marcy Waldenville, and J. D. Wylde deliver a variety pack of poignant, sexy, and sweet.

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Genre – Romance

Rating – R

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Hunters and the Queen: Element Series (Young Adult Fantasy Romance) @VirginiaVayna

The Hunters and the Queen – Virginia Vayna

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre – Fantasy, Paranormal, Mythology

Rating – PG

3.8 (4 reviews)

The Hunters and the Queen is a work of fiction in the young adult, fantasy and paranormal romance genres. The story blends elements of romance, darkness, history, fantasy, and reincarnation. The second book in the series, The Gypsy Hunter, has a release date during fall 2013. I hope you enjoy the story. Please come back for more of the journey.~
The main character, Jolán Vajnbirg, is developing into another being. She has a calling from the sky world. A battle is on the horizon.
While working on her studies at the Churchill Military Academy in Kinsburgh, England, Jolán Vajnbirg’s final year at the academy develops into a year of competition, aristocratic love, reincarnation, and a calling from the sky world to help save earth from the death and destruction caused by the Order of the Hunters.
Jolán Vajnbirg is an often reserved, yet occasionally outspoken young woman living in Kinsburgh, England. She has a relatively easy life living in her quiet England town. She has a full-ride swimming scholarship to the Churchill Military Academy. She has a strong mind, she has an athletic body, and she has a loving family and caring friends.
As Jolán embarks upon her final year at the Academy, her life takes an unexpected turn. She has a quaint encounter with Colemund, the Prince of Gallia Belgica, and the two are literally a universal match created centuries ago. As Jolán begins the last year of her studies, she experiences many changes. She is unaware her future love will develop in to a star-crossed romance.
The sky world is steadily preparing Jolán for her future fate. She will need her friends to help her battle the Order of the Hunters. The hunters have upset the universal balance of earth, and the hunters have upset the sky world.
Jolán will learn about her past, she will learn about reincarnation, and she will understand her responsibilities in the realm. Her relationship with Colemund is no ordinary college love.
An Excerpt from The Hunters and the Queen:
The Phoenix
Hadrian immediately placed an angry phone call to Akuji, but this time she answered her phone. Hadrian sharply inquired, ‘Where are you, Akuji? We have a major problem in development.’ Akuji nonchalantly replied, ‘I just transformed a farmer into a hunter, and I’m explaining the rules.’ Hadrian didn’t care about what Akuji was currently doing at the moment; he violently said, ‘Return to Komi. Do not waste time, do not waste resources, but return on the next flight out of England.’ Akuji said, ‘I still have to finish one more assignment. I need to find and follow this girl named Jolán.’ The mere sound of such a name caused Hadrian’s stomach to turn, and his unnerving sensation returned. Hadrian dryly inquired, ‘Who is Jolán?’ As soon as Hadrian spoke Jolán’s name, he felt his insides turn and his stomach ache. Hadrian felt weak. Akuji said, ‘She is some assignment I have to figure out, but I’m not having any success.’ Hadrian gathered as much strength as he could for the moment, and he said to Akuji, ‘Get on the next flight back to Russia. We have heavy issues of concern we need to assess for action.’ At that moment, Akuji heard several voices come through her phone; but she was unsure what happened or where the voices were located. She asked Hadrian, ‘Are you ok?’ All Akuji could hear was the sound of a thousand whispers. Hadrian kept saying, ‘Akuji, are you there? Answer me.’ Hadrian received no response from Akuji. Hadrian finally hung up the phone, but Akuji still heard the voices. She was caught in a trance for several minutes until she received a piercing headache. Akuji quickly left some items behind for the farmer to study, and she walked towards her car. She hustled to the seat of her car. She was en route to the airport; and she was headed back to Komi. Akuji felt something had changed. She felt a sense of urgency.

Sweet Karoline by Catherine Astolfo

Chapter 1

I met Ethan on the day that I killed Karoline.

Other than a few minor adjustments, I believe that I have handled her murder exceedingly well.

The state of my car, for instance, has become something of a nuisance. Bits of tissue, used napkins, paper cups and pop cans litter the floor at my feet or fly out the window as I drive along. I am invariably subjected to a barrage of honking whenever I reach a red light.

People these days have no patience. They ought to understand that I am busy examining the stray bits in my car. Some of them are works of art. I don't notice the change to green because they are so infinitely interesting.

This study of creative possibilities has become somewhat of an obsession. In the back of my mind I know that all I have to do is clean it up. Yet the thought of actually tackling the onslaught of debris leaves me inert and helpless.

Ethan offered recently to take me to the car wash. He'd help me dump the debris and vacuum the inside, but I have seriously considered the idea that I may be destroying a future Picasso. I have thus far refused his proposition. Not that I have shared my vision of a Picasso with him, of course. I just say that I never have time.

I have acquired a habit of going shopping. I make lists of things in my mind—groceries, toiletries, cosmetics, medicines, vitamins or clothing—that seem absolutely essential to the arrival of tomorrow. But once inside the pharmacy, the clothing store or the shopping center, the bright lights mesmerize me. My eyes blur and I can't for the life of me remember what I have come for.

When I do buy something, I am left vaguely dissatisfied, certain that I could have gotten a better bargain somewhere else had I only looked a little longer. Depressed because I had to use my credit card again and this purchase will become just one more thing to do. Write the check. Buy the stamp. Walk to the post box. Mail the envelope.

The little, unfinished things do sometimes bother me. Dirty laundry is piled up in the closet. The bed is always unmade. In the bathroom, the ceiling is slowly cracking from some unspecified leak that I have failed to report to the superintendent. The drapes in the living room neither open nor close anymore.

At first I tended to watch television all night long, despite the fact that the next day I was a zombie. After I decided to go on an extended sick leave, it didn't matter. I started to sleep all night and all day, never moving unless forced to by some phone call, knock at the door or the call of nature.

I spend hours at the sink. For some reason, the suds and the water are calming. So far I have washed every dish, bowl, and ornament in the apartment two or three times. I reenact advertisements for the latest dishwashing liquid, showing off my lovely long fingers and hands to, well, myself. I speak in a sing-song voice to the imaginary audience, telling them how kind the dishwashing liquid has been to my hands over the years, encouraging them to run right out and buy this product before it disappears from the shelf.

After I've allowed the water to swirl down the drain, I shift to spending hours in front of the little mirror that hangs in my kitchen. People tell me that I am a very beautiful woman. On good days, when I feel haughty and happy, I can gaze into the polished glass and agree with their assessment. On other days, I notice the nose that's a little too upturned. The lips that protrude a bit too much. The dark birthmark above my left eyebrow. The ears that don't lie flat against my head. I have no idea why I am considered flawless, for I have many perceptible flaws, both inside and out.

My father is white and my mother is black with some Native American thrown into her background. My parents have always bragged that I inherited all the great physical features of those races. Their perspective is far less critical than mine. They focus on all the positives. Naturally wavy hair. Large brown eyes with long curling lashes. High, full cheekbones. A small, pert nose. Lips just thick enough to be called luscious.

I am one of those fortunate people who can eat all day and not gain an ounce. Thus I am described as tall and lean as opposed to thin. I have full breasts and a narrow waist. I am a fast runner and good at any sport I attempt. In Hollywood, I am considered full figured.

My skin is a light brown, the color of coffee with cream I guess you would say, that makes me look as though I've just stepped out of a tanning bed. Heads literally turn to stare at me in the street, from across a room, or on the subway. Male and female. To me, it's a constant source of surprise, chagrin and exasperation.

Lots of people, especially women, have jealously told me that I should be grateful for my looks. But I hate being identified as beautiful. Men tend to stare only at my chest when they talk to me. Or they show me off like some trophy and do not bother to ask my opinion on anything. I have been approached in bars and stores alike. Even in this land of plastic enhanced faces, I literally cannot go anywhere without being stared at or even followed. Most people, in fact, are convinced I am a movie star or model. These are not careers I've ever wanted.

I have often been stalked, thus the three sets of locks on our door. Our telephone number is always unlisted and has to be changed once some obsessed man discovers it. When you are lovely on the outside, it's always difficult to entice people to look for the true person underneath. I'm learning through Ethan that it's exactly the same for truly ugly people.


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Genre –  Psychological Suspense

Rating – 18+

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Tanya Karen Gough – How I Ended Up Self-Publishing My Book

How I Ended Up Self-Publishing My Book

by Tanya Karen Gough

It seems hard to believe that the publishing industry has changed so much in such a short time. I really think it’s amazing, even though I’m former CD and video store owner, which means I lived through the slow suffocation of the music retail business and the first years of the quicker, but no less painful contraction of the video retail business.  You would think that I would have stayed away from book publishing under the circumstances, but the truth is books are an integral part of who I am. Also, eBooks barely existed when I wrote ROOT BOUND, and although it was possible to predict they would appear, there was no way to know how the book industry would be affected.  As it happens, my entire journey spanned the most radical changes to publishing, and as such offers a bird’s eye view of the shift.

I didn’t set out to self-publish originally. Traditional publishing was still the way to go back when I first started shopping for agents in late 2007, early 2008.  I got a lot of great responses and several requests for full manuscripts, but it was clear the book needed some more work. So I took the feedback I received and did some rewrites over the next six months, but by then, the book market was in a tailspin. Agents were freaking out, and no one knew what was going to happen. I’d been through it all before with my CD store (which I closed shortly after Napster launched), and with my Shakespeare catalogue (which I closed shortly after YouTube and Netflix emerged). There wasn’t anything I could do, and ePublishing still wasn’t widespread, so it didn’t feel like a viable option.

In the meantime, the recession was in full swing, and I moved to Toronto for work. By the time the dust settled (both for me and for the book industry), self-publishing had become remarkably easy to do.  I didn’t want to spend any more time sending out queries and working through the agent process all over again. So I decided to do it myself. I was lucky that most of the technical requirements were already part of my skill set, thanks to my job. I don’t know how non-technical writers figure all that stuff out.

Self-publishing has its own challenges. The hardest thing for me has been getting the word out there. The problem with self-publishing being easy is that *everyone* is doing it now. There’s so much noise out there, and it’s very difficult to cut through the noise. Amanda Hocking got her books moving by rallying the support of book bloggers. Nowadays, everyone knows that and the poor book bloggers are drowning in requests for reviews. Other writers got widespread visibility by going the Amazon free route, but then Amazon changed their algorithms and the game changed overnight.

Did I make the right choice? Only time will tell, but there are risks and challenges with both routes, and you have to take the bad with the good.  I’m grateful to have a venue to share my books with whoever finds them. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

Read Tanya’s companion piece, “Traditional versus Self-Publishing” to learn more about the decisions she made along the way. You’ll find a list of available links on the Emma & the Elementals blog [Link:]

Root Bound

How far will you go to find your way home?

Emma and her father are always on the move, travelling from place to place as her father’s work demands. Their new home, however, is different. There’s a frightening woman who lives down the hall: she bears an uncanny resemblance to a witch. A mysterious light comes from her apartment, and a small boy seems to be trapped inside. School in this town is no happy place either, with an odd principal and a gang of girls who make tormenting Emma their special project. And strangest of all is the fact that there seem to be brownies – basement brownies, in the air vent in her bedroom.

Haunted by visions of her mother, Emma travels through the brownie burrow to the valley of Hades to visit with the goddess Ceres, following a series of clues that lead her across the sea of memory to the centre of the world. There, on an inhospitable rock floating in a sea of steaming lava, Emma must find a way to release her mother from the sea of memory and restore magic to both the brownie burrow and the human world above.

Buy Now @ Amazon @Smashwords

Genre - Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure

Rating – G (ages 10+)

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