Aicha Zoubair

Jessica Bell

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Elyse Douglas – Best & Worst Memories @douglaselyse

What are your best and worst memories from adolescence?
by Elyse Douglas
Elyse: My best memories from adolescence involve high school. I started off in ninth grade as a tall, gangly “four eyed” kid with braces, painfully shy and insecure. I would half-run, half-walk down the hallway, with my head down, eyes lowered, in the hopes that no one would notice me. I attended a Catholic, co-ed school, staffed primarily by Sisters of Mercy, but there were a few lay teachers. One was my freshman year history teacher, a single young man right out of college. I developed a huge crush on him and learned to type just so I could type up his world history outline. (My typing skills helped me much more in life than learning world history, although I did remember some facts about English kings and queens for a while.)
Things started to turn around when I convinced my parents to let me get contact lenses (which I paid for by having a small paper route – throwing papers onto doorstops from my bicycle every morning). Then the boys started getting taller, my braces came off, and suddenly, in eleventh grade, I was considered desirable! The high point of the year was when I was in a production of Camelot, in the chorus.
How I loved the make-up, the make-believe, and the costumes… and I know I looked stunning as a siren in King Arthur’s Court because one of the Sisters told me that a Father who came to see the show actually singled me out as the prettiest girl in the show. Then the boy who played King Pellinore asked me out on a date. He was a great actor, and finally, finally, I had a boyfriend. We danced close at the junior prom, even in a Catholic high school auditorium, and made out in his father’s car until the wee hours of the morning.
By senior year, I had learned to play the guitar so I could lead a hootenanny, I was on the student council, I accompanied the Christmas chorus on the piano, I was named valedictorian, and I lost Pellinore. I dated a few other guys, but it took me until the end of senior year to catch another star, one of the best athletes in the school, who took me to the senior reception. More close dancing and lots more necking. Those were great memories.
My worst memories involve my home life. My parents fought continuously. My sister and brother left for college, leaving me alone in the war zone. I developed an ulcer. I wrote furiously in my journal every night; I wrote poems; I walked the beach – and then my parents sold our beach house, and I was devastated. But you know, we all survive adolescence and crazy home lives. And I have to agree with what one of my boyfriends said: My parents must have done something right, because I turned out to be a pretty nice person.
Douglas: My best memories are of baseball summer days under high blue skies, scooping up baseballs off the fat bats of opposing players who were bigger and richer than I. My best memories are also of falling in love every month with a new girl – and then some of the worst memories are of being too shy to ever let them know it. And then there was the pain and confusion of crashing adolescent emotions – as well as utter shock when I realized that adults were nearly as confused as I was. I thought they had figured life out. Seeing that they hadn’t was very discouraging. Very early on, I knew I had a long, rough road ahead of me.
After Juliet Sinclair divorces her unfaithful husband, she expects to pick up the pieces of her life and move on. When Juliet sees her much-loved father waving to her on a New York City street, she’s astonished. Her father and mother live in Ohio. At that same moment, she receives a call from her mother telling her that her father has died from a heart attack.
Juliet quits her job and moves back to Ohio, determined to investigate a substantial loss of money, and find a mysterious woman who had close ties with her father, Juliet’s mother knew nothing about.
While on her journey, Juliet has a serious accident and is saved from near death by a handsome ex-soldier with a tragic past. He falls in love with her, even though his past still haunts him. Christmas is approaching, and Juliet works to uncover her father’s secrets while falling in love, struggling to find the courage to forgive and to love again.
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Genre – Romance
Rating – PG
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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Suzanne Anderson – Fame or Fortune?

Fame or fortune, which would you prefer?

by Suzanne Anderson

Both, of course!

This question reminds me of the old: ‘what would you wish for, if you had three wishes?’ Well, I’d wish for three more wishes.

Fame and fortune for a writer are both good things, I’d argue.

Fame means the fulfillment of every writer’s greatest desire, to not only see their work in print, but to know that many readers are not only reading the story, but by inference of its popularity, enjoying it and recommending it to others. (I’m assuming you’ve attained fame via your book’s popularity, not through other, perhaps less savory means.)

Knowing what great pleasure reading a really good book brings me, and wishing to achieve the same in my own writing has been one of my great motivators. Writing a book that gains popularity and is enjoyed by readers would be a wonderful indication that I’ve achieved my goal. And of course, that is the caveat of the quest for fame. One would want to achieve it as evidence of a book’s positive impact on the reader.

The flip side, becoming infamous for something I’ve written such as James Frey’s evisceration after the revealing of A Million Little Pieces, is a much less appealing way to enjoy fame. Although one could argue that Mr. Frey’s fortune from the same book went miles to assuage his discomfort.

Which brings us to fortune.

Wild riches, perhaps on par with J.K. Rowling, or on a lesser scale, with a New York Times best-selling thriller writer, might bring a lot of time-consuming duties that would cut into one’s writing time. After all, someone has to be found to manage all that money. But, the greatest gift of fortune, or let’s call it ‘financial independence’ is: freedom.

Financial independence allows the writer the time to write without the burden of simultaneously carrying a full-time job, while keeping the house clean, and being the primary caretaker of children or aging parents. It truly makes ‘a room of one’s own’ possible. It provides the writer with the psychological and physical space to breathe and think and dream and create new stories.

I have never wanted to be rich, but I will always strive to create enough monetary wealth to provide freedom. As for fame…only if it comes from readers who love my books. As an avid reader myself, that would be the nicest gift of all.

Waiting With God

When you feel as if you’ve been abandoned in God’s Waiting Room, this 31-day devotional will provide comfort. Each day features Bible verses for meditation and a short essay for your personal reflection and prayer.

If you’ve ever cried out in desperation, “Help me, Jesus!” You will find comfort in this 31-day devotional for women as we walk together through God’s Word. By the end of our month together, you’ll find Jesus calling you into a relationship that will be a lifelong source of comfort and strength.

Waiting is often when God draws us closest to Him, to receive the gift of His companionship. Instead of waiting on God to fix your life, you’ll find that you are working with God to create the life He’s planned for you all along.

God is with you. God loves you. God will never abandon you.

Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink,

He will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with

your own eyes. Your own ears will hear him.

Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,”

whether to the right or to the left. ~ Isaiah 30:20 -22

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Genre - Inspirational Devotional

Rating – G

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

#AmReading – Falling for the Good Guy by Violet Duke @VioletDukeBooks

Falling for the Good Guy by Violet Duke


Abby Bartlett is well aware that everyone thinks she's in love with her best friend Brian. He is, after all, the type of man a nice girl should be with--the polar opposite of the bad boy--the kind of guy who didn't let his wife's decade-long illness stop him from showering her with a lifetime of love every second until her dying day. Yes, Brian has been the yardstick against which Abby has measured all other men. But everyone's wrong; she couldn't possibly be in love with him.
Because she's never once allowed herself that option.
It's taken a while but Brian Sullivan has finally come to terms with being a widower at the age of thirty, surviving the woman he spent half his life loving, a third of it losing. Truth is though, he wouldn't have 'survived' any of it really had it not been for Abby--sweet, incredible Abby--the woman he's never once had to picture his life without, never realized he couldn't truly live without. Until now. Now that he's finally able to love her the way she deserves, the way he knows she wants to be his brother.
Who's giving him exactly one chance to speak now or forever hold his peace.

Constantinopolis by James Shipman @jshipman_author

His father! Mehmet stewed when he thought of him. His father had never shown him any real affection or spent significant time with him. He was not, after all, originally the heir to the Sultanate. He was a second son and only became heir when his older brother died. Mehmet had been forced from then on to endure a frantic and often harsh tutoring process. He was just beginning to grasp his responsibilities when at the age of 12 his father had retired and named him Sultan. He had done the best he could to govern, but in short order Grand Vizier Halil had called his father back to take over the throne. The Sultan felt Halil should have helped him, should have supported him. Instead he had watched and reported Mehmet’s shortcomings to his father, betraying him and leading to his humiliation.

From then on Mehmet had bided his time. He had learned to keep his thoughts and emotions to himself, to trust no one. He had studied everything: military art, languages, administration, and the arts. He had worked tirelessly so that when he next ruled he would not only equal his father but also exceed him. He would be the greatest Sultan in the history of his people, Allah willing.

His chance came when Murad finally died only two years before, as Mehmet turned 19. Mehmet quickly took power, ordering his baby half brother strangled to assure there would be no succession disputes, and set to organizing his empire. He had learned to be cautious and measured, leaving his father’s counselors and even Halil in power to assist him. From there he had slowly built up a group of supporters. They were young and exclusively Christian converts to Islam. These followers, many of whom now held council positions, were not nearly as powerful as the old guard, but they were gaining ground. They were the future, if Halil did not interfere.

Halil. His father’s Grand Vizier and now his own. He had always treated Mehmet with condescending politeness. He was powerful, so powerful that Mehmet could not easily remove him. So powerful it was possible he could remove Mehmet in favor of a cousin or other relative. Mehmet hated him above all people in the world, but he could not simply replace him. He needed Halil, at least for now, and Halil knew it.

This dilemma was the primary reason for Mehmet’s nighttime wanderings. He needed time away from the palace. Time to think and work out a solution to the problem. How could he free himself from Halil without losing power in the process? He could simply order Halil executed, but would the order be followed or would it be his own head sitting on a pole? The elders and religious leaders all respected and listened to Halil. Only the young renegades, the Christian converts who owed their positions to Mehmet were loyal to him. If Halil was able to rally the old guard to him, Mehmet had no doubt that the result would be a life or death dispute.

Mehmet needed to find a cause that could rally the people to him. The conversations he had heard night after night told him this same thing. The people felt that his father was a great leader, and that he was not. If he could gain the people’s confidence, then he would not need Halil, and the other elders would follow his lead.

Mehmet knew the solution. He knew exactly what would bring the people to his side, and what would indeed make him the greatest Sultan in the history of the Ottoman people.

The solution however was a great gamble. His father and father’s fathers had conquered huge tracts of territory in Anatolia and then in Europe, primarily at the expense of the Greeks. Mehmet intended to propose something even more audacious, to conquer the one place that his ancestors had failed to take. If he succeeded he would win the adoration of his people and would be able to deal with Halil and any others who might oppose him. If he failed . . .

The Sultan eventually made his way back near the palace, to the home of his closest friend, Zaganos Pasha. Zaganos, the youngest brother of Mehmet’s father in law, had converted to Islam at age 13, and was Mehmet’s trusted general and friend. He was the most prominent member of the upstart Christian converts that made up the Sultan’s support base.

Zaganos was up, even at this late hour, and embraced his friend, showing him in and ordering apple tea from his servants. Zaganos was shorter and stockier than Mehmet, a powerful middle-aged man in the prime of his life. He had receding dark brown hair. A long scar cut across his forehead and down over his left eye. He looked on Mehmet with smiling eyes extending in to crow’s feet. He smiled like a proud uncle or father.


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Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG

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Nobody Has to Know by Frank Nappi @FrankNappi

Nobody Has To Know, Frank Nappi’s dark and daring new thriller, tells the story of Cameron Baldridge, a popular high school teacher whose relationship with one of his students leads him down an unfortunate and self-destructive path. Stalked through text-messages, Baldridge fights for his life against a terrifying extortion plot and the forces that threaten to expose him. NHTK is a sobering look into a world of secrets, lies, and shocking revelations, and will leave the reader wondering many things, including whether or not you can ever really know the person you love.

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Genre - Thriller

Rating – PG-13

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Monday, October 28, 2013

In Love With My Best Friend by Sheena Binkley



How did my life get so complicated? One minute, I, Camille Anderson, was living a pretty normal life in which nothing ever happened to me, and the next I'm practically being hauled away from the premier wedding venue in Houston, The Corinthian, by security because of my sudden outburst to the groom.

I should have known I was setting myself up for disaster, but I had to do it. I had to tell my best friend that I'd been in love with him since I was thirteen.

I really didn't expect the scene to unfold the way it did, especially while Trevor was getting married, but I couldn't hold my feelings in much longer. I felt he was making a terrible mistake, because he was marrying the wrong woman. He should have been marrying me.

I guess I should backtrack to when Trevor and I first met. It was seventeen years ago, when the Williams family first moved into the house next to ours. I was outside waiting for my friend Tia Simmons to come by when I first noticed Trevor. He was absolutely gorgeous as he stepped out of his family's SUV. He had that "boy next door" look, with wavy black hair and smooth ivory skin. He looked over at me and gave me a huge grin, which I greatly returned.

After that day, not only did we become friends, but our parents became great friends as well. We always went by each other's homes for dinner or for game night (until we were too old to appreciate hanging out with our parents on a Friday night).

We were practically inseparable during our high school years, and many of our friends thought we would eventually get married and have lots of kids. When anyone mentioned that to Trevor, he would shrug it off and say, "We're just friends, and it will stay that way until the day we die." Usually those words would tug at my heartstrings, but being the shy person I am, I never let my feelings show.

As we went to college, Trevor and I went into the same major, public relations. That was when he met Chelsea Parker, who was also my roommate. At first I liked Chelsea because she was basically a sweet person, but when she set her sights on Trevor, I quickly disliked her. Not because she took Trevor away from me, but because she became a different person.

If only I could go back to four weeks ago, or even seventeen years ago, I would be with the man I loved...


Four weeks ago....

"I don't know why you dragged me to this," I said as I looked at my friend Tia. The two of us were inside the Aventine Ballroom of Hotel Icon waiting for our friend Trevor and his fiancée, Chelsea, to arrive for their engagement and welcome home party. The two had announced their engagement to everyone a while back when Trevor was visiting his parents before going back to Dallas. Not only did he announce his engagement, but he also said that he had accepted a new position at a prestigious PR firm and was moving back to Houston. Although I was happy that my best friend was moving back, I was not thrilled that he was getting married.

"For once, why can't you be happy for Tre? He and Chelsea are finally getting married."

I gave Tia an evil stare as I looked toward the revolving door to the ballroom.

"You know how I feel about Trevor and Chelsea getting married."

"Oh please, Cam, when are you going to get past the fact that Trevor found someone? I told you to admit your feelings to him, but being the person you are, you decided not to."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"You felt you would have been rejected if you told Trevor your true feelings."

"If I remember correctly, in high school when Charles asked him why we never hooked up, he said, and I quote, 'We're just friends.'"

Tia rolled her eyes at me and started to stare at the door as well. This was not the first time we'd had this conversation about my feelings for Trevor, so I'm pretty sure Tia was tired of hearing it.

Tia was my other best friend and the complete opposite of me. While I was quiet and reserved, Tia was wild and carefree. She always did what she wanted and didn't care about the consequences. People always thought we were sisters, with our caramel-colored complexion and long, dark-brown hair. But that was where the similarities ended. I looked down at my black sequin dress that went above my knees, wondering if I was dressed appropriately for the occasion; but as I looked at the hot-pink dress Tia was sporting, I figured my outfit was perfect.

"So how are things between you and Eric?"

"Finished; I broke up with him a couple of days ago."

"I'm assuming because he's not Trevor? Cam, you have got to move on."

I sighed as I noticed two figures coming through the door. I started to breathe slowly as I watched my friend walk in with his fiancée. Trevor always was attractive, but tonight he looked really handsome in a dark blue suit, white shirt, and blue and white striped tie. His black, wavy hair was cut short, bringing out his beautiful brown eyes. He walked hand in hand with Chelsea, the woman I wish I'd never met, who was positively glowing in an ivory-colored empire dress. Her reddish brown hair was pulled into a tight ponytail and her makeup was flaw- less. Although I was completely jealous of Chelsea, I had to admit the two made a stunning couple.

Tia gave me a frown.

"You OK?"

"I'm cool. Let's just get this over with."

While the crowd of family and friends were clapping and whistling for the happy couple, all I could do was just stand in my place, looking at Trevor as if he was the only person in the room. He gave me a smile that showed the deep dimples on each of his cheeks. As he went to greet a couple of his family members, I took a deep breath to control any tears from flowing.

I shouldn't have come tonight.



"Why did we plan a huge engagement party? Everyone knows we're engaged," I asked my fiancée, Chelsea, as we were walking hand in hand down the corridor inside Hotel Icon.

"Sweetie, I just wanted everyone to celebrate in our happiness and what better way than a huge party?"

I sighed as I continued to walk, not realizing how frustrated I was becoming.

Chelsea was the love of my life. I instantly knew I wanted to marry her when I first laid eyes on her in Camille's dorm room. The two were roommates their junior year at University of Houston, which was great for me, considering I was able to see my best friend and my girlfriend at the same time. Although Camille and I were really good friends, I got the sense that something had been bothering her since I'd been dating Chelsea. Call me crazy, but it seemed as if Camille was jealous of our relationship. I hope not, because Chelsea loves Camille and considers her a good friend.

As we walked into the ballroom, everyone from our family and our friends were clapping and cheering for our arrival. We started to wave at everyone as we entered. Once I turned my head toward the center of the room, I had to stop and admire the person staring straight at me. My heart jolted several beats at the beauty who was giving me a dazzling smile. Camille Anderson had always been a beautiful woman, from her caramel-colored skin to her deep chocolate eyes; she definitely stood out in a crowd.

Just looking at her long hair flowing around her face and the black dress that hugged her curves in all the right places made me feel sort of embarrassed, because I shouldn't have been looking at her in that way. I always considered her my best friend and nothing more, so why was I looking at her differently now?

Chelsea turned her attention to me, wondering what was wrong.

"Is everything OK?"

I suddenly realized I was staring a little too long as I turned to Chelsea.

"I'm fine," I said as I squeezed her hand.

I gave Camille a huge grin as I walked over to talk to a nearby guest. I snuck another peek at her; she was talking to our friend Tia near the bar. I don't know what was going on with me, but hopefully this feeling I was having about my best friend would go away soon.

That's if I want it to.

In Love With My Best Friend

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Genre - Contemporary Fiction

Rating – PG13

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Frank Hawthorn Is Blindsided by James M. Copeland


Frank jerked the phonebook out of his desk drawer and went to the marina section. There was no coast guard listed. He flipped to the Federal section of the white pages, found the listing, and dialed the number. When the clerk answered, Frank asked, “Hi, could you tell me how I could find a loose boat?”

The clerk replied, “Is this some kind of prank, mister?”

“I sure wish it was. This is Detective Frank Hawthorn. I’ve physically seen with my own two eyes a thirty-two-foot cabin cruiser parked at the granary docks. The boat is no longer there. This incident was reported by the owner’s father this morning. I met him there and saw for myself what he was talking about. It was the scene of some kind of altercation. The cabin was filled with splattered blood on everything. It’s gone now, and no one seems to know where it went. I was hoping you might help me find the boat.”

“Well, yes, ah, Mr. Hawthorn. Sorry about the confrontation at first. We get ’em, pranks I mean. I’ll let you talk to Post Commander Chuck Rogers. He might be of service to you.”

Frank sat waiting for almost a full minute.

“Hello, Mr. Hawthorn. My clerk said you have a problem with a missing boat?”

“Yes, sir down by the granary docks on the Mississippi River. I think the location is called . . . the Fisher granary. Mr. Fisher says his son’s boat was there last night and now it’s gone. I also found some bloodstains on the planking of the dock beside where the boat supposedly was moored.”

Frank told Chuck that he needed the expertise of the coast guard to help find the boat. The commander reluctantly agreed to help him and asked Frank to come to the compound so they could go downriver together.

After asking for directions, Frank locked up the office and headed that way. When he arrived at the coast guard gate, he found the clerk he had talked to. The clerk introduced him to Commander Rogers. After they talked for a minute, Commander Rogers picked up the phone and contacted someone located inside his facility to get the coast guard cutter ready for a river trip at once.

He said, “Come with me, Mr. Hawthorn. We’ll board the cutter out at the dock.”

Frank had always wanted to experience the ride of the big cutters. He had seen them many times when he was near the Mississippi, but he’d never been on one before. The commander told him all about the craft as they walked to the dock, where they waited for the captain to bring the cutter around.

The commander said it was constructed in 1955. It had a keel laid fifty-five feet from bow to stern, and was nine-and-a-half-feet wide. The craft was propelled by two Chrysler diesel engines, producing one thousand pounds of thrust and rated at six hundred horse power. It generated power for the light beams capable of reaching one thousand feet out into the blackness of the night to spot another craft either fleeing or in distress. It would sleep six crew members for rotating shifts on an all-night mission or provide shelter for rescued survivors as they hauled them in.

After an admiring look at the craft, they boarded the vessel just before the other four young officers climbed aboard and went to their duty stations. Frank found a position to sit comfortably, and the captain shoved off. When the way was clear, he shoved the throttle full ahead. The big cutter was flying down the river with water spraying off the bow, almost reaching the banks at some narrow points.


Detective FRANK HAWTHORN receives a call from W.J. FISHER. He said that his son Milford Fisher had disappeared. He found his boat near the Memphis, Tennessee branch of the Fisher Granary Corp covered in blood. Later that day the boat disappears as well.

Hawthorn is told that young Fisher discovered someone was stealing millions from the company and now he is missing. Everyone believes him dead except Hawthorn who has a premonition that maybe…he’s still alive.

Detective Hawthorn works his magic to solve the crime. After several incidents and mishaps, he discovers the truth and finds the guilty individuals. There is an important twist in the story and Frank Hawthorn uncovers a plot that will keep you on your toes. Frank wears his heart on his sleeve and is BLINDSIDED when he discovered the truth about the woman he loves while he searches for the truth. You’ll never guess what happens in this riveting tale.

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Genre - Crime Mystery

Rating – PG

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Author Interview – Dianne Worrall @DiWorrall

Image of Di Worrall
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I have chosen to team up with OB Book Tours to spread the word to the business community on Accountability Leadership – my current best seller. Accountability Leadership represents a virtually untapped goldmine of opportunity for personal and business transformation using the new science of accountability.
Few would argue that the demonstration of accountability and responsibility is a good thing. Look at the outrage we feel when people are treated unfairly by corporations or our disgust when companies like Enron fall due to corruption.  Yet while we express our corporate disgust, we succumb to the same unaccountable habits by continuing to point the finger of blame and back stab one another around the coffee machine. It’s no wonder the corporate world in particular gets accountability so wrong.  We can’t see how we are contributing to the problem.
In my experience we have adopted the habit of using accountability as a tool of negativity – to wield punishment when things go wrong. We have lost sight of its original meaning as positive tool to help things go right. To transform cultural habits from low accountability to high accountability can actually be surprisingly straightforward. All you need to do is tackle one cause or one conversation at a time… and magic happens.  But the secret is to be able to recognise one of these golden opportunities for change and focus your attention on changing just a few keystone habits that will make the most difference.  That’s where Accountability Leadership comes in.
How did you come up with the title?
I selected the best possible keywords that would attract people around the world who were searching for accountability and responsibility at work
Can you tell us about your main character?
You are the main character if you are someone who has a vested interest in improving performance through accountability and responsibility in the workplace.
Why did you choose to write this particular book?
This title was inspired by a professional “epiphany” I experienced in my first senior executive job as an HR Director of a large government organisation.
The following story is an extract from my author bio at
Over the course of her career, Di has developed a personal and professional mantra about what she sees as the number-one issue that makes or breaks leadership performance today: Accountability for outcomes, performance, and results.
That mantra goes like this:
“The degree to which you have developed the capacity to hold your organisation and its people accountable for the delivery of results is directly proportional to your capacity to either build–or haemorrhage–value from your organisation.”
…An Early Accountability Lesson Becomes a Catalyst for Change
In her first senior executive post, Di managed to turn a difficult accountability lesson into an opportunity for change when it became clear that the failure of her executive team to hold one another accountable was setting their entire organisation up to fail on its delivery of a major business initiative.
Having no intention of letting the project go bad, Di led her fellow executives through specific actions to improve personal accountability throughout the leadership team. As a result, she managed to turn a pending loss into a remarkable profit.
“Accountability was something we couldn’t delegate,” she says, recalling the initiative. “Much to our surprise, employees in our respective divisions started to intuitively follow suit, modelling our new behaviours.”
Inspired by that early experience, Di developed an enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge relating to the “new rules” of high accountability (you can read more about these in her new book, Accountability Leadership), and has devoted her findings and expertise to enterprise transformation and change efforts ever since.
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
Letting go of the manuscript in order to seek honest feedback from a panel of peers before publishing
Di Worrall
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Genre - Business, Leadership, Workplace Behaviour, Human Resources, Executive Coaching
Rating – PG
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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik

Adrik waited in the guard’s room a couple of corridors along from Kornfeld’s cell. There was only one way out, so the Jew had to pass this room. He spun a Makarov on his finger, aimed at imaginary targets and thrilled at the thought of using it. The gun was standard issue, but he would’ve chosen it anyway. Totally reliable, pull the trigger and out pop the bullets. The blowback design expels the spent case to the right and loads the next cartridge into the chamber – easy. And fully armed with eight rounds, he would use them all.

This wouldn’t be his first killing and sure as hell wouldn’t be his last. Kornfeld was a pain, and it was Otto who mattered. He would do anything for him. Why should he care about some Jew who got in the way?

But time dragged, and Kornfeld hadn’t yet made a show. For one horrible minute he thought there might be another way out – but no, that isn’t even possible. Calm down, be patient... Try as he might, he couldn’t, and the idea ran around his head, irritating him beyond measure.

He left the guardroom and paced the corridor outside. At first a short distance and then a bit further into the next passageway. No good – he had to find out what had happened. With gun in hand and footsteps stealthy he reached the cell door – it was slightly open. Oh shit, did that mean there was another way out? Or maybe Kornfeld had gone deeper into the prison block. Or maybe he was in the cell hoping the element of surprise would be with him.

Possibilities ganged up. Kornfeld knew Lubyanka well. What if there was another way out and that little bastard knew it? If so, Otto would kill him, never mind the Jew. He kicked the door fully open, slammed it against the cell wall, stood back and then moved in, pointing the gun around to make sure Kornfeld wasn’t hidden on either side of the opening. The cell was dimly lit and he found it difficult to see. He would stay put until his eyes got accustomed to the light. A body, he saw a body. It was covered with a greatcoat, on the bunk facing the wall.

He was clearly supposed to think it was Kornfeld. In that case he’d be under the bunk waiting... But then that’s obvious too, so he might be on top with the guard pushed underneath. That made more sense – it would be easier for him to make an attack from on top – but, shit, wouldn’t that be what he wanted him to think?

To be sure of the kill, Adrik wanted to shoot above and below – but he couldn’t. How would he explain the soldier’s death? Oh, Otto, if only Otto was there to tell him what to do. But he wasn’t, he had to make up his own mind. The Jew was on top – yes, definitely on top.

Cautiously, he edged forward, pointed the pistol to the back of the person’s head and pulled the body towards him with gun steady and ready to fire. As quickly as his huge form allowed, he pulled the greatcoat away.

Fuck! The guard! No time to react. A leg came from under the bunk with incredible speed and wrapped around the back of his. At the same time, the Jew’s other foot came against his knees and pushed. Adrik had brought his legs together when he tore the coat away and Kornfeld used the imbalance to his advantage. Adrik’s arms went out. He hovered awkwardly, then almost regained control, but Kornfeld pushed harder and Adrik went flying backwards with his legs in the air. A sense of suspension ended and he fell heavily, striking the hard stone floor. His head bounced, shudders chased through his brain and he found himself staring at the ceiling, wavering between conscious and unconscious.

The pain pierced his skull and he noticed his head had rested in a pool of warm liquid. He hadn’t seen that when he came in. Numbness consumed his body; he couldn’t move. But then his blurred vision saw the bleary outline of the Jew. Awareness came that his body was being rolled over. He was paralyzed, but it didn’t stop the surge of fear that ran through every fibre of his being.

Birth of an Assassin

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Genre – Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

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Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik

Birth of an Assassin

Set against the backdrop of Soviet, post-war Russia, Birth of an Assassin follows the transformation of Jez Kornfeld from wide-eyed recruit to avenging outlaw. Amidst a murky underworld of flesh-trafficking, prostitution and institutionalized corruption, the elite Jewish soldier is thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems, nobody can be trusted, and everything can be violently torn from him.

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Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Ethan McKenzie – Ten Tips of How To Become A Better Writer @myreaderspress

Ten Tips of How To Become A Better Writer

by Ethan McKenzie

Anyone who has ever tried to write stories knows that development is important. It is a great thing that you want to improve your writing skills and you are willing to learn new things and are open to new ideas. Here you can find ten useful tips which help you become a better writer.

First of all, you need to read a lot. Read as many books as you can. It is not only enjoyable and relaxing; by reading books, you learn how to create a good structure for your stories, how to compose sentences, how to describe your characters to make them real. If you read plenty of books, chances are that you are good at grammar, you have an extended vocabulary, and your spelling is flawless.

Read books of any genre. Read classics, contemporary fiction, literary fiction, science fiction, gothic literature, pulp fiction. You can learn something from every genre and every single book.

Practice makes perfect. Write a lot. Write a diary, write short stories, it does not matter if it is not meant for an audience. Get up ten minutes earlier and write about your thoughts; write about anything that comes to your mind. It helps you express your thoughts. It makes your text flow.

Honesty and authenticity are important. Actually, this is probably the most important part of your success in writing. If you want to write great stories – and who would not want that –, then write about subjects that you adore and admire. You need to be truly interested in your story, its subjects, and its characters. This is the X factor that makes the difference between a fairly good story and a great fiction. Your writings reflect your persona. If your writings are in harmony with your innermost persona, then it will show. Your readers will just love your fictions.

Give your works a nice, well-composed structure. A good story needs to have a riveting introduction, adventures and challenges for the characters, and, in the end, a spectacular climax full of tension, and a short aftermath. Put your characters through difficult situations. Give them as much difficulties as you can think of, and see how they react, how they solve these problems.

Instead of naming certain traits of a character, you should just describe their acts and habits that will highlight these traits. Instead of saying “she was hard working and studious”, write “she got up early, she did a thorough research on every school project, she studied until midnight every day, and spent hours by reading books and taking notes preparing for her tests”.

Be careful with dialogues. They should be simpler and shorter than sentences in the narrative. This makes the situation look natural and real. Do not let your characters use stilted, long sentences. Make sure that the language they use fits them. A gangster will not use the same language as a priest does.

Do not use too many adverbials.

Do not add scenes that are unnecessary. If you have already shown in one scene that your character is strong, we do not need three more scenes to emphasize this.

Keep your writings and your sentences short and neat. Do not use too many words if you could say the same thing with much less words. Think of Hemingway. Of course, you may use more sophisticated language – Lovecraft did so, and he wrote wonderful stories –, but do not be repetitive.

Write about believable, real characters. Readers do not need clichés and Mary Sues. An actual character has flaws. Your characters do not need to be great looking, warm, down-to-earth, happy, and innocent. They are allowed to be sulky, envious, angry, arrogant, or awkward. They may have fears or imperfections. Just do not forget, instead of telling about their traits, you should describe them. Tell about their habits, their unique characteristics. Remember – your characters are not just “smart and kind, love classical music”, they are “near-sighted, short, and plump, they often eat chocolate, they always listen to Mozart, they can memorize any details quickly, and they love Sudoku and mathematics”.

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Genre – Medical Suspense Thriller

Rating – PG

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The Photo Traveler (The Photo Traveler Series) by Arthur J. Gonzalez


I can’t ask for a better day to be out shooting. Man, what a view. Something about how the sun’s rays press against the faint distant outline of the mountains. Sick! If it can seem so dominating from all the way over here, I can only imagine what it must feel like up close. I don’t know. It just always kind of does something to me.

I know, I know. Lame, right? But trust me, if you lived in the hellhole I live in, anytime alone is sacred. You start to appreciate all these little not-so-particular things. Yeah—even the outline of the mountains.

Carefully, I focus the lens on my Canon 7D to capture the effect of the clouds drifting across the peaks of Mt. Rose and get my shot. A few seconds later, the sunlight dims. I hadn’t realized it was so late. I glance at my watch, wondering what’s taking Melinda so long. She promised to pick me up by five, even though I knew that would mean five-thirty. It’s five-forty-five.

I call her on my cell. It rings four times, then goes to voicemail. “Come on, Mel!” I mutter. “It’s getting late!”

I’ve had a good day so far, probably because I’ve been alone for most of it, and I really don’t want another confrontation with Jet. I can still taste the faint copper tinge of blood at the corner of my mouth where he split my lip the last time around. Two days ago.

I hit redial. Straight to voicemail. “Dammit, Mel!”

I tell myself to breathe, but my anxiety is really starting to kick in. Sweat is beading on my forehead and my heart is jolting in my chest. Why does she always have to be so impossible? I don’t get it.

The moment I hear the loud thrum of an engine roaring up the dirt road, I jump up from the boulder I’ve been perched on. It’s about damn time!

She screeches up to me in her new, cherry-red Mini Cooper and slams on the brakes. I dodge around to the passenger side. Grab the door handle. It’s locked.

“Mel!” I shout. “Open up!”

But she’s sitting behind the wheel pretending not to hear me. Eyes glued to her phone, purple nails tapping out a text message. With a tiny smirk on her glossed-up lips.

I hit the window with my fist. “Stop messing around! Jet’s gonna be pissed!”

She finishes her text, sends it … and adjusts the rearview mirror so she can check out the jet-black curls at her temples. She still hasn’t given me one look. Is she really serious right now?

I pound at the window again, as hard as I can. “Open up, dammit!” My anxiety is turning into rage. And rage is something Jet’s modeled for me only too well over the years, ever since he and his first wife, Leyla, took me in as a foster kid. Mel was just six at the time, but “my sister,” which she became after they finally adopted me, was a full-fledged brat from Day One, and she’s only gotten worse.

My fist hurts. I’m afraid of what Jet will do when we get back, since he ordered me to be home by six so I can start dinner.

But as far as Mel’s concerned, I might as well not be there. I can’t control it any longer. I take a step back, lift my knee, and kick the passenger door with all my strength. The hollow metal frame vibrates against the sole of my shoe. Mel’s prized car now has a six-inch dent right in the middle of the passenger door.

I guess that got her attention. Her mouth is hanging open. For a moment, she’s so astonished that she can’t speak. She swings her door open and charges around to the passenger side.

“MY CAR!” she screams, staring at the dent. “Are you crazy?!”

“Why couldn’t you just open up?” I yell back.

“Gavin, you’re an asshole! I was just messing with you! You’re never gonna learn to use your head, are you?”

“Go to hell!”

She goes still, then raises her eyebrows with an “Oh, really?” expression. Then she hauls off and slams her fist into the right side of my face. All I can feel is the large stone of her ring jabbing into my cheek. She stalks back to the driver’s side with a wicked smirk creasing her lips and snaps, “You can walk home!”

She slides behind the wheel, slams the door, and peels off so hard and fast that the car kicks up a stinging cloud of gravel and asphalt dust all over me.

She can’t be serious. But as the Mini disappears around the first bend in the road, I realize that she is.

* * *

Photo Traveler

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Genre - Young Adult Science Fiction

Rating – PG

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Filipa Fonseca Silva – How to Make Your Characters Believable

How to Make Your Characters Believable

by Filipa Fonseca Silva

On both my books readers said that my characters were so real that they know people like them. My “secret” is simple: I imagine every detail in their lives.

If my story is about 40 year-old man, I try to imagine what he was like growing up, what kind of relations he had with his family, who were his friends, his pets, his favorite band. All this stuff defines people’s personality and future decisions.

I addition to that, I try to imagine the characters physiognomy – even if I don’t want to describe the character to the readers in detail, I must have that information in the back of my mind. I give the characters traces of people I know or I’ve seen, so that they become more alive in my head. If it’s hard for you to mix fiction and reality, look for a stranger in a magazine and clip that image.

Bottom line: you must know your characters as well as you know a good old friend.

Vanessa M

When Vanessa got into her car that winter’s afternoon, she had no idea she was setting off on a journey with no return. An inner journey that would call into question a whole life spent living up to other people’s expectations.

With tragic and comic episodes that bring together a domineering mother, a hippie aunt, a boring marriage, an insufferable boss and a friend who never knows when to shut up, “The Strange year of Vanessa M.” shares Vanessa’s voyage of self-discovery with us. And it makes us marvel at the power we have to question things, because there’s no end to the pursuit of happiness.

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Genre - Contemporary Fiction  

Rating – PG13

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

#Free–Penalty Clause by Lori Ryan @loriryanauthor

Penalty Clause by Lori Ryan

Amazon Kindle US

Genre – Romantic Suspense

Rating – R

4.5 (42 reviews)

Free until 24 October 2013

To keep her, he'll have to gamble it all!
Andrew Weston and Jill Walsh had to be the two most unlikely people to fall in love. When Jill's first husband's love for her simply fizzled and died, Jill knew she'd never trust that love could last again. After Andrew's first love betrayed him in the most brutal way possible, he knew he might fall in love again someday, but there was no way he'd ever make himself vulnerable again by confessing those feelings if he did.
Fate had a different ending in mind for these two, though, and when Andrew discovers his love for Jill, he knows the only way to get her to stay with him forever is to offer her an iron clad penalty clause in a prenuptial agreement. He stays with her forever or he loses everything he owns. The millions he's worked for, his property, his cars, everything. Now he just needs to hope that's enough to hold onto Jill forever.

Dermot Davis – How to Write by the Seat of Your Pants: Outline or No? @dermotdavis1

How to Write by the Seat of Your Pants: Outline or No?

by Dermot Davis

Whereas most writers I know favor one form of writing preparation to another, I tend to differ my approach each time, depending on the project. If I was to do a quick survey of writers I know, however, most, if not all would tell me that they definitely – will always – outline a story before they begin to write the first line of the story. To write without outline, some will tell me, is akin to flying in the dark without radar or any navigable aids to assist you. Not only have you no idea where you are heading – and hence, you could end up anywhere – but you also, just might crash!

Whereas I agree that crashing (presumably, getting so stuck in the story that it becomes impossible to complete) does not sound like a good thing, ending up somewhere that you never intended to go may not be such a bad thing, at all. In fact, it may turn out to be a very good thing. Ending up in some place that you never knew even existed could be downright magical!

Admittedly, sometimes I may just be just being lazy by not outlining a story before I begin and in fairness, I find a lot of pre-preparation of writing a book to be downright boring but that doesn’t take away from extolling the virtues of not outlining a story before you begin to write, proper. Many authors I know will “beat outline” a story in depth and write full biographies of each of the characters that inhabit the story, perhaps even including where they went to kindergarten and what their favorite color is. The beat outline chronicles every scene and twist and turn in the story, right down to length of scene or set piece and covers how each character will change and grow, resulting in their overall “arc” or their final growth resolution.

Whereas I may not go into such detail before every project, I have deeply outlined a story in great detail. Doing so, to me, feels like telling a story with a safety harness attached. It gives a great sense of purpose and direction to the writing and I know that if at any point of the way I may get stuck, I simply study my outline again and I’m back on track. Another wonderful feature of the detailed outline is the fact that you know whether the story you’re going to write works, before you even write it. That’s worth the price of admission, right there. In fact, by outlining the story before you begin is almost like doing the hard work; doing all the heavy lifting first so that the actual writing of the story becomes a breeze. You’ve already figured out the kinks and problems with plot, so you know you’re not wasting any time by writing yourself into any troublesome corners that you can’t get yourself out of.

Writing without an outline – or working with only a very general outline – is a different form of writing that I reserve to the stories that I only have a loose idea about and I want to explore them while I’m writing it. Sometimes I like to surprise myself and in the act of writing itself, I surprise myself often. Many writers have expressed that sometimes the story “writes itself” or characters become almost real and seem to generate their own ideas about where they think the story ought to go. Whereas I might describe outlining as “imposing” personality traits and motives upon my characters, when writing them without outline, they can “come alive” and tell me what their motives are and seem to develop personality traits, all of their own.

In this form of writing, yes, very much you are writing by the seat of your pants and just like the opening analogy of the airplane pilot, you could end up somewhere you didn’t even know you were headed. I have to admonish that writing without outline is a risky proposition and like most risky propositions, you could end up lucky or just plain broke. I have written stories in this way that turned out magical and beyond my own initial creative impulses but I have also ended up with unusable stories that have so much problems with them, it’s not worth my investment in time to fix them and they end up in the proverbial bottom drawer.

How do you decide to outline first or not outline? I would suggest trying it both ways and seeing where your aptitude lies. Only you can answer for sure if flying by the seat of the pants is a worthwhile thrill ride for you. Or not.

Stormy Weather

This novel explores the role that dreams play in the healing of the body/mind/spirit.

Robert Munro, a therapist specializing in dream interpretation, awoke one morning to find himself in a dream from which he could not awaken. Experiencing first hand the limitations of his own training and theories, he must solve the puzzle of his own dream in order to break free from its bondage. In the process, he’ll better understand himself, other people, and the nature of consciousness itself.

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Genre - Literary Fiction

Rating – PG

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dana Hui Lim – Why Writing is a Form of Personal Therapy

Why Writing is a Form of Personal Therapy

by: Dana Hui Lim

How do you deal with the loss of a loved one? How would you mourn for the loss of your family? Who do you talk to when you have been lost in the depths of madness so complete, that it took over your entire country? You can quote the figures: two million people, a quarter of the population fell victim to starvation or outright murder. The numbers are awful, but you know that only another survivor could possibly understand.

And they’re not talking.

Everyone I knew until I was 18 went through the same ordeal, and to an outsider it is like it never happened. You can sit down to dinner with my entire family, and by the time dessert is served you will be none the wiser. When we found each other amidst the ashes of the Khmer Rouge, we said virtually nothing about what we had been through. Even my brother Huor, who is never without a story, gave us only the barest outline. I was married for nine years and my ex-husband is also a Khmer Rouge survivor. We never spoke about what had happened to us before we came to Australia, so an entire decade of our lives was not gone or forgotten, just ignored.

How then to deal with the memories? I could continue to shy away from them as I had for 25 years, or I could drag them out and hold them up to the light, examine them one by one and pour them out onto the page for all to see. My family avoids dwelling on the past, and I don’t blame them for that in the least. I couldn’t let it lie though, and so I chose to talk to anyone who might listen. If no one wanted to hear then that would be okay; at least I would not leave it all bottled up inside me, scratching at the corners of my mind.

It was once dangerous for me to speak but I am free now, and in the act of writing I have been able to say things that I wanted to for years, for decades in fact. It was as if I was able to let loose a scream of outrage for what happened to me, my family, and for anyone else who has not had the means to voice their pain. I would like to be a catalyst for conversation and that may cause tears to be shed, but that is not so bad. Some things are worth crying over, some things should be cried over. Forgetting the past would just add insult to injury, particularly when it is your own.

I have to live with the images of my past now. They are out in the open and I have sorted through them far too thoroughly for them to be quietly shut away again. I think I am the better for having written my book, but only time will tell.

Mother and Tiger

In 1969 the small Asian nation of Cambodia was under attack: first by US bombers as the Vietnam war spilled over the border, and then by the Khmer Rouge as they began their brutal reign of terror. Under the rule of Pol Pot, ordinary city folk were driven from their homes and banished to labour camps that eventually saw two million people die. Darkness descended and “Year Zero” had begun.

Mother and the Tiger is the story of one small girl, who struggled to survive one of the most ruthless regimes in human history. Six-year-old Hui Lim was trapped by the madness around her and cast into a seemingly endless nightmare. Her family was cursed as a member of a hated ethnic minority and targeted by the murderous Khmer Rouge. To survive where so many others died, Hui had to tap an inner strength that she never knew she possessed. Despite her youth she was determined to find her scattered family, no matter the odds.

Her memoir of that brutal regime proves that even amidst the blackest depths of human depravity, hope can endure.

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Genre – Memoir

Rating – PG13

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Colony East (The Toucan Trilogy #2) by Scott Cramer @cramer_scott

Colony East
When the bacteria that killed most of world’s adults undergo a deadly mutation, 15-year-old Abby must make the dangerous journey to Colony East, an enclave of scientists and Navy personnel who are caring for a small group of children. Abby fears that time is running short for the victims, but she’s soon to learn that time is running out for everyone outside Colony East. (Parental discretion advised for readers 13 and under)
Colony East will be specially priced at $2.99, 60 percent off the regular price.
Night of the Purple Moon (Book 1 of the Toucan Trilogy) is free.
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Genre - Science fiction
Rating – PG-13
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#Free - Night of the Purple Moon by Scott Cramer @cramer_scott


Abby, 13, is looking forward to watching the moon turn purple, unaware that deadly bacteria from a passing comet will soon kill off older teens and adults. She must help her brother and baby sister survive in this new world, but all the while she has a ticking time bomb inside of her--adolescence.

"Cramer creates a picture of our world that's both frightening and inspiring in this heartfelt story that both young adults and adults can enjoy.A heartwarming but not overly sentimental story of survival." KIRKUS REVIEWS

"Outrageous and completely 'out of the box'."
"Three words: Gripping. Palpable. Well-developed." WORD SPELUNKING review blog

Buy Now @ Amazon & B&N & iBooks & Kobo

Genre - Science fiction

Rating – PG-13

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend by Cheryl Carpinello

Chapter 1

The Hunt

Guinevere stared into the shadows along the edge of the forest. She could hear Cedwyn shifting from foot to foot beside her, unable to stand still. She sighed, the bow made of sturdy pine in her hand growing heavier like her heart. Her thirteenth Birth Day was in a few days, but she wasn’t excited. Birth Days were supposed to be fun, but not this year. Not for her, not for a princess.

She frowned as Cedwyn adjusted the leather quiver of arrows on his back again. Sometimes, like today, her patience with the seven-year-old was short.



“But ...”


She stamped her boot on the ground, her displeasure clearly showing.

“Cedwyn,” she snapped. “What is so important that you can’t be quiet?”

“I’m hungry, and the bottoms of my trousers are wet. Can’t we go back to the castle?” His face showed his confusion at her tone.

Guinevere realized that she shouldn’t have directed her anger at Cedwyn. It wasn’t his fault. Glancing down at her own clothes, she saw the bottom of her green ankle-length tunic wet with the morning dew. Her stomach chose that moment to begin grumbling. It started as a low vibration but grew louder as if it hadn’t been fed in days. Cedwyn heard it and started giggling. He tried to smother the sound by covering his mouth with his small hand, but he was too late.

Trying to keep from laughing also, Guinevere shook her head. “How are we ever going to shoot a rabbit with all this noise?” She reached down and tousled his blond hair to let him know that she was not serious and to apologize for her crossness. “Let’s try for just ten minutes longer. Then if we find nothing, we’ll go back. Is that all right?”

Cedwyn shook his head, not wanting to make any further noise. She let her eyes move across the blue sky. The English summer sun had barely reached above the far hills when they had first arrived at the forest. Now, it was well on its way in its climb toward the dinner hour, and they hadn’t even had a proper breakfast yet. Cedwyn’s mum was sure to be upset that they had been gone so long.

“Come on,” he whispered. “The only creatures we’ve seen moving have been badgers and Cornish hens. We could of had five bloody hens by now.”

“I told you, it’s good luck to bag a rabbit on the eve of your thirteenth Birth Day,” Guinevere informed him.

Cedwyn studied her face, unsure if she was telling the truth or not. Then his blue eyes widened, and he grabbed her arm as she turned to continue hunting. “Wait a minute! You promised to help me bag a rabbit on the eve of my tenth Birth Day. You said that was lucky!”

She turned to him, her balled fists on her slim hips. “You need to listen closer when I talk to you. I explained the difference be- tween boys and girls. Boys have to seek luck on the eve of their tenth and fifteenth Birth Days. Since girls are naturally luckier than boys, they only have to seek luck once, on the eve of their thirteenth Birth Day.”

Cedwyn eyed her suspiciously, and then his eyes lit up.

“But I thought that the eve was the night before. Your Birth Day isn’t until the day after tomorrow.”

“That’s true, but the eve of something can also be anytime close to the day.”

“Are you sure?”


Buy Now @ Amazon @ Smashwords

Genre - Arthurian Legend

Rating – G

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Indiestructible: Inspiring Stories from the Publishing Jungle by Jessica Bell, Melissa Foster, Susan Kaye Quinn, Leigh Talbert Moore, Anne R. Allen, Cindy M. Hogan, Dawn Ius, Michelle Davidson Argyle, Roz Morris


Need motivation and inspiration to self-publish, or sign that contract with an interested small press? Have you done all the research you can, but still feel ambivalent about the idea? “Indiestructible: Inspiring Stories from the Publishing Jungle” brings you the experiences of 29 indie authors—their passions, their insights, their successes—to help you make the leap into indie publishing.

This is not a how-to guide. This is the best of the indie tradition of experienced authors paying forward what they’ve learned, giving you information to help you on your journey. The personal essays in this book will leave you itching to get your work into the hands of readers and experience, first-hand, all the rewards indie publishing has to offer.

100% of proceeds from “Indiestructible” purchases will be donated to

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Genre –  Non-fiction

Rating – G

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Sherrie Cronin – Writing about Superpowers

Writing about Superpowers

by: Sherrie Cronin

I write speculative fiction, and am currently in the middle of creating a collection of six novels in a genre know as magical realism. In my world, fantasy-type things happen as part of normal reality and you, the reader, are hopefully convinced that neither magic nor yet-to-be-invented science are involved.

Each of my books concerns a character with a different superpower, and each time I have struggled to invent ways in which the power doesn’t work. It turns out that the abnormal abilities are fun, but it’s those limitations that make for a good story. In x0, my first protagonist discovers that she is a telepath. I could tell early on that if I let her powers go wild, by halfway through the book she’d pretty much run the world. That’s not much of a story.

One solution was to create villains with equal or greater powers, but this yielded a sort of comic book cosmos that wasn’t what I was after. I wanted a believable lady in a universe that looked like my own, in which she dealt with dangerous but real people. So, she could read minds, but obviously not easily or at a distance or all of the time.

In my second book, y1, my main character is a real life shape shifter. Once again, if he could turn himself into anything and he had even a little imagination, he ought to be in charge of everything before the plot really gets going. Luckily, I developed his powers as being rooted in his amazing fine muscle control and certain chameleon-like color alteration abilities. That left him limited by his hair, his clothes and his approximate size. No turning into wolves or refrigerators or flies on the wall for him. His limitations helped me craft a plot that involved the fanciful but didn’t spin out of control before it even got started.

My hero in z2 can slow down the passage of time to the point where it almost stands still. Once again I was challenged to limit his capabilities. He begins the book thinking that his unique talent only shows itself when he is playing sports. As he finds himself in a variety of physical emergencies, he figures out that he is more versatile than he realized. Fortunately it takes him to the end of the novel before he learns to dependably control and use this power. This lack of knowledge about how and when his superpower can be called upon allowed him to occasionally save the day without becoming too quickly.

There are three more books in this collection, and more superpowers to be developed. I’m enjoying playing with these new plot lines, and working my hardest to keep my remaining super people from becoming too invincible. I want them to have adventures that my readers will enjoy.


Alex once walked away from a rare ability to warp time, thinking it was only a young man’s trick to play basketball better. Now, as a father and teacher, he needs to relearn the skill quickly before the past begins to destroy his own future.

To protect his daughter and his most promising student, he must stop the school at which he teaches from turning the clock backwards to an era of white supremacy. He wants desperately to use his unique gifts to help an old high school friend solve an ancient Maya mystery that offers a rare chance to bridge the past and the future. Both are possible, but only if Alex can learn to control his temporal talents before he runs out of time.

Buy Now @ Amazon @ Smashwords

Genre - Speculative Fiction

Rating – PG

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

10 Things I Wish I Knew About Being an Author – Michele Kimbrough @Madambition

When I fantasized about being an author, I saw myself sitting on the oceanfront, sipping a tropical drink, happily tapping away on my laptop while the sound of the crashing waves made me feel one with nature.  Quite the contrary in reality.  Writing at the beach is distracting. Aside from sand getting between the keys of the keyboard, the visually delightful (and not so delightful) distractions broke my flow. Sometimes the noise was overwhelming. Then there was the wind, which brought with it its own obstacles.

Here are some things I wish I knew about being an author I didn’t know before.

1. Time is of the essence.  The days of leisurely taking ten years to write a book are gone. I’m not really sure they ever existed, except in my mind. The reality is, there are deadlines, and not just for writing the book. There are deadlines for editing, revising, proofreading, book covers, promotions and market.

2. Reading is fundamental.  Believe it or not, reading creates a better writer. Reading, besides enjoyment, is like research to the writer.

3. Talk is cheap. In other words, do less talking about your story and more writing. When you talk about your story instead of writing it, it’s sort of like letting a little air out of the balloon.  At least for me, the more I talked about my story, the harder it was to write that particular scene.

4. Keep note pad and pen handy.  I could be enjoying dinner with my family when an inspiration or character situation would come to me. I’ve been sitting in traffic when a scene inspiration would arise. In that instance, I used my phone’s voice feature to record the scene before it was lost to my faulty memory.

5. Genre is important.  I wish this one wasn’t true but it is. Not only that, you’d better get the language right. No one is dizzy with desire in Thrillers.  No one’s eyes are darting or walls bleeding in Romance, and you’d better know what a galaxy is if you’re lost in space. Readers know their genres and if you screw it up, you’ll have a huge mountain to climb to redeem yourself.

6.  Authors are stereotyped. Tragically, authors are seen as tormented and fragile human beings. I’m not sure how this came to be, but I wish it’d go away. It’s depressing and generally (hopefully) not true.

7.  Marketing is my job. It doesn’t stop at the conclusion of the book. Marketing begins the moment you decide to write the book and doesn’t end until you retire the book. It’s like raising a kid.

8.  Not everybody is excited that you wrote a book. Most people are impressed at the level of commitment it took to complete a novel. But, I’m neither the first nor the last to have achieved this goal. Perhaps if I broke some literary record, like the most days and books on a bestseller list. Or maybe the most books adapted to screenplay. Ah, a girl can dream.

9.  Reviews are important. Whether you like it or not, your work is going to be critiqued by the general public.  People who use their hard earned money to buy your book, then spend several hours reading your book, have every right to critique your book. It’s a good thing, because if their review is good, other people will take a chance on your book, too.

10.  It’s fulfilling. The process of writing is fun but having a finished product is like nirvana.


Things aren’t always as they seem.

Attorney, Prudence Payne, seems to have it all: beauty, intelligence, love and a sure path to making partner with her law firm. The reality is her boyfriend, James, is unable to commit. She’s dealing with recently revealed family secrets and lies. And, she’s doing it all without her best friend who died a year ago.

Richard Mayweather is a single father raising two daughters. He’s been in love with Prudence since they were tweens, and now he thinks it’s time that she knows it. But when James decides to finally commit, is it too late for Richard? Or will Prudence realize, at last, that the love she’s always searched for has been right in front of her the whole time?

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Genre - Romance, Interracial

Rating – PG13

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#AmReading – JET by Russell Blake @BlakeBooks

JET (International Action / Adventure Thriller) by Russell Blake


Code name: Jet  
Twenty-eight-year-old Jet was once the Mossad's most lethal operative before faking her own death and burying that identity forever. But the past doesn't give up on its secrets easily.
When her new life on a tranquil island is shattered by a brutal attack, Jet must return to a clandestine existence of savagery and deception to save herself and those she loves. A gritty, unflinching roller-coaster of high-stakes twists and shocking turns, JET features a new breed of protagonist that breaks the mold.
Fans of Lisbeth Salander, SALT, and the Bourne trilogy will find themselves carried along at Lamborghini speed to a conclusion as surprising as the story's heroine is unconventional.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Author Interview – April Bostic

Who do you admire?

People who get wealthy after living in poverty. People who cure diseases. People who rescue others from death.

What is your favorite quality about yourself?

I’m logical.

What is your least favorite quality about yourself?


What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?

Author Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” I like it because it’s true and it motivates people to start writing their own stories.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

Publishing most of the stories I’ve written as an adult.

What is your favorite color?


What is your favorite food?


What’s your favorite place in the entire world?

My bedroom


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Genre – Paranormal Romance

Rating – Adult

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Dermot Davis – How to Make Your Characters Believable

How to Make Your Characters Believable

by: Dermot Davis

If you don’t have believable characters, you don’t have a believable or engrossing story. I’ve seen many terrific stories not fully realized to their full potential because the characters were wooden, one-dimensional and ultimately not credible.

When I write unbelievable characters – and let’s face it, we all do from time to time – it is usually because I’m not sure about the character in the first place. If I’m fuzzy in my mind about my character, then that character cannot but be fuzzy on the page. My solution is to know the character – in my mind – as a fully realized human being, albeit one that exists in my mind only.

This is most difficult to do when creating a character from whole cloth. Creating a character means more than coming up with a name, an age, a gender and some work and personality tidbits: the character you conjure up should be as real as the other people that populate in your head, people from your so-called “real life.” Think of all the amazing characters from literature that have endured down through the years; some characters, we’re not even sure if they were real personages or not: Madame Bovary, Sherlock Holmes, Philip Marlowe, Jane Eyre, Scarlett O’Hara, Rhett Butler, Ebenezer Scrooge, Becky Sharp, James Bond and so on. Many of us know these characters so well that in any given situation, we could answer the question: what would my character do now? For instance, if the house was on fire and it was not sure if anyone was trapped in the house, what would James Bond do? What would Ebenezer Scrooge do? Or Rhett Butler? Who would dash back in, without thinking? Who would think before running back in? Who wouldn’t run back in, at all? Who would encourage someone else to run back in? Who would run in to check on people? Who would run in to check on valuables?

If you’re not sure what your character would do in eventualities such as this, then you don’t fully know your character and they are not going to be well represented on the page. One quick and surefire way of creating believable characters is to base them on someone you already know. It’s fairly safe to say that many of the above literary personages and others not mentioned were based on people or an amalgam of people that the author personally knew. It’s said that Arthur Conan Doyle based Sherlock Holmes on a former professor of his; Ian Fleming based James Bond around his brother Peter and other spies like him that worked for the Navel Intelligence Division during the Second World War. Flaubert based Madame Bovary on a true personage from his village.

Usually when I base a character upon someone that I once knew, I will invariably remember them in a biased way that may not fully represent their full personality. For instance, I will remember a past school teacher of mine very differently than his work colleagues, his wife and indeed his children would remember him. Very often we naturally distort a particular memory of someone based on our evaluation of our experiences with that person; did I feel traumatized or joyful as a result of my exposure to them, for example.

Very often the character that ends up on the page bears no resemblance to the personage upon which they are based. What the exercise has done, however, is give us a template, so to speak, a character template upon which to build upon and give us a clear picture in our heads of how we think that person would react to other characters and other elements in the story.


All Daniel Waterstone ever wanted to do was write the great American novel and change the landscape of modern literature forever. He has two literary books in print but no one’s buying. His agent won’t even accept his latest masterpiece which he poured his soul into: apparently, it’s not commercial enough.

In a final act of desperation, under the pseudonym of Charles Spectrum, he writes a feverish satire on a Transformational, Self-help best-seller that’s currently topping the charts. Intended as a parody, “How to do Amazing Things Using Only Your Brain,” similar to the best-seller, contains crazy and hilarious exercises on how to increase one’s brain power.

Instead of being published as satire, however, it hits the shelves with all the other serious pop psychology, self-improvement books. It becomes a huge hit. People all around the world are doing unbelievably zany exercises to improve themselves. Even crazier still: they’re getting results. Readers are levitating, bending spoons and seeing into the future. Daniel becomes one of the most desired talk show guests and is soon lionized by agents and publicists. Seminars are organized and what was intended as a joke takes on a huge life of its own.

To complicate things further, Daniel falls in love with a beautiful woman who adores him as Charles Spectrum, the guru. If she was informed of his earlier incarnation as a penniless, failed author, would she still love him? Daniel knows that at some point he must choose between the celebrity author gravy train or, being true to his self and to his art, return to the pits of poverty, obscurity and perhaps, worst of all, most likely lose the woman of his dreams.

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Genre - Contemporary Fiction

Rating – PG13

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