Rachel Thompson

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Peter Simmons and the Vessel of Time by Ramz Artso @RamzArtso


Chapter 4

Portland, Oregon

October 22nd

Afternoon Hours

I sauntered out of the school building with my friends in tow and pulled on a thickly woven hat to cover my fluffy flaxen hair, which was bound to be frolic even in the mildest of breezes. I took a deep breath and scrutinized my immediate surroundings, noticing an armada of clouds scudding across the sky. It was a rather blustery day. The shrewd, trilling wind had all but divested the converging trees off their multicolored leaves, pasting them on the glossy asphalt and graffiti adorned walls across the road. My spirits were quickly heightened by this observation, and I suddenly felt rejuvenated after a long and taxing day at school. I didn’t know why, but the afternoon’s indolent weather appealed to me very much. I found it to be a congenial environment. For unexplainable reasons, I felt like I was caught amidst a fairytale. It was this eerie feeling which came and went on a whim. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Perhaps it was triggered by the subconscious mind brushing against a collage of subliminal memories, which stopped resurfacing partway through the process.

Anyhow, there I was, enjoying the warm and soporific touch of the autumn sun on my face, engaging in introspective thoughts of adolescent nature when Max Cornwell, a close, meddlesome friend of mine, called me from my rhapsodic dream with a sharp nudge in the ribs.

‘Hey, man! You daydreaming?’

I closed my eyes; feeling a little peeved, took a long drag of the wakening fresh air and gave him a negative response by shaking my head.

‘Feel sick or something?’ he persisted.

I wished he would stop harping on me, but it looked like Max had no intention of letting me enjoy my moment of glee, so I withdrew by tartly saying, ‘No, I’m all right.’

‘Hey, check this out,’ said George Whitmore,–who was another pal of mine–wedging himself between me and Max. He held a folded twenty dollar bill in his hand, and his ecstatic facial expression suggested that he had just chanced upon the find by sheer luck.

‘Is that yours?’ I asked, knowing very well that it wasn’t.

‘No, I found it on the floor of the auditorium. Just seconds before the last period ended.’

‘Then perhaps you should report your discovery to the lost and found. I’m sure they’ll know what to do with it there.’

‘Yeah, right. That’s exactly what I’m going to do,’ he said, snorting derisively. He then added in a somewhat defensive tone, as if trying to convince himself more than anyone else, ‘I found it, so it’s mine–right?’

I considered pointing out that his intentions were tantamount to theft, but shrugged it off instead, and followed the wrought-iron fence verging the school grounds before exiting by the small postern. I was in no mood for an argument, feeling too tired to do anything other than run a bath and soak in it. Therefore, I expunged the matter from my mind, bid goodbye to both George and Max and plunged into the small gathering of trees and brush which we, the kids, had dubbed the Mini Forest. It was seldom traveled by anyone, but we called it that because of its size, which was way too small to be an actual forest, and a trifle too large to be called otherwise.

I was whistling a merry tune, and wending my way home with a spring in my step, when my ears abruptly pulled back in fright. All of a sudden, I couldn’t help but feel as if I was being watched. But that wasn’t all. I felt like someone was trying to look inside of me. Right into me. As if they were rummaging in my soul, searching its every nook and cranny, trying to fish up my deepest fears and darkest secrets. It was equivalent to being stripped naked in front of a large audience. Steeling myself for something ugly, I felt the first stirrings of unease.


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Genre – Young-adult, Action and Adventure, Coming of Age, Sci-fi

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with  Ramz Artso on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://ramzartso.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 29, 2013

Author Interview – Rayne Hall @RayneHall

Image of Rayne Hall
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
I enjoy long walks along the seafront and sunbathing on the beach – both if the weather permits. Alas, I live in England, where we have more rain than sunshine.  I also enjoy studying ancient history, container gardening and of course reading.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
Horror stories like the ones in Thirty Scary Tales give the reader the thrill of danger, but also the reassurance that they can shut the book at any time and be safe.
I like to captivate my readers and take them on exciting journeys to new places where they meet new people.  At the same time, I like to open up new perspectives for them, to make them think, and invite them to probe their own conscience. Some of my stories are psychologically disturbing, because readers ask themselves what choices they would have made, how they would have responded to the dilemma, if they could have resisted the temptation, if they would have the moral courage to do what’s right.
I believe that dark fiction invite the reader to explore the boundaries between good and evil in new ways.
What color represents your personality the most?
Navy blue: quiet, deep and dark
How do you feel about social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter? Are they a good thing?
Social media devour valuable writing time! I’ve chosen just one social network  – Twitter – and I use it actively. My followers love interacting with me and reading my tweets because they know I’m genuine.  I like Twitter because tweets are quick to write, and Twitter gives me a lot of control and few distractions, unlike Facebook. I have 39,000 followers, most of them real people who share my reading and writing passions.
If you could do any job in the world what would you do?
I’d be an author, of course!
Thirty Scary Tales
Thirty creepy, atmospheric stories by Rayne Hall.
The horror in these stories is spooky, creepy, unsettling and sometimes disturbing. It is not very violent or gory; however, the stories may not be suitable for young readers without parental guidance. PG 13.
This book is a compilation of volumes 1-5 of the Six Scary Tales books. It includes the acclaimed stories Burning and The Bridge Chamber.
All stories have been previously published in magazines, ezines, collections and anthologies. British English.
Stories in collection include:
The Devil You Know, Greywalker, Prophetess, Each Stone A Life, By Your Own Free Will, The Bridge Chamber, Only A Fool, Four Bony Hands, The Black Boar, Double Rainbows, Druid Stones, Burning, Scruples, Seagulls, Night Train, Through the Tunnel, Black Karma, Take Me To St. Roch’s, Turkish Night, Never Leave Me, The Colour of Dishonour, Beltane, The Painted Staircase, I Dived The Pandora, Terre Vert and Payne’s Grey, They Say, Tuppence Special, Disturbed Sleep, Normal Considering the Weather, Arete.
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Horror
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author and the book
Connect with Rayne Hall on Twitter
Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

Guys Named Jack by Mark LaFlamme


My father didn’t want to talk about it, but my mother couldn’t get enough. Her brother, too, my Uncle Bondo. A wound-up, erratic fellow, is Bondo, but I love him like a brother. It was Bondo who taught me how to skate and stick handle a puck. Bondo who spent hours on the Brookside ball field, teaching me how to hit and field a baseball. Bondo wanted to show me the ways of deer-hunting, too, but my father had managed to put his foot all the way down on that one. I never made it out into the woods to shoot Bambi and for that I was privately grateful.

When they heard the blow-by-blow story – from me and then from Julie – of how I had battled the three punks of Privilege, they were agog. I mean, my mother and her brother were half-convinced I was the second coming of Chuck Norris. “A savant,” Bondo kept shouting because Bondo shouts just about everything. “A by-God savant who masters fists and feet instead of numbers and boring equations. That’s my boy! That’s my Jackie Blue!”

His enthusiasm took a hit a day later when he took me to the backyard to fight.

Bondo is a big man with a barrel chest. He’s got a wild, fly-away beard and hands the size of catcher’s mitts. For an hour, he threw soft jabs at my face, bobbing and weaving around the backyard in a way that made Mike Tyson seem serene.

“Come on, Jack. Come on, Jacky, defend yourself. Take me down, you bad mutha!”

A light slap against my left cheek. A hard finger poking my chest like a bullet. Poke, poke. Jab, jab.

I waited for it to come. I even tried to summon the voice.

Cobra, I thought. Horse. Snake, godammit. Where are you?

Nothing. It was late Sunday afternoon and I kept telling him I had to give it up. I had homework to do before the onslaught of school. Uncle Bondo looked more fired up than ever. I was worried that his disappointment would be so great, he’d end up in a bar somewhere – possibly in Privilege – looking for someone real to fight.

“Come on, Uncle,” I said for the fifth time. “I’ve got nothing. Whatever it was is gone.”

“You’re killing me, Jacky,” he said, still bobbing and still weaving. “You’re killing an old man here.”

But I could tell that he was ready to admit defeat. He had failed to evoke the magic.

Then Julie stopped by.

She came in through the gated fence that surrounds the backyard. She started toward us, ducking under a clothesline, her hair falling in delicious waves over her face. My heart fluttered painfully again and I wondered if that was going to be a permanent condition.

She wore a white blouse and black jeans. She looked curvy and beautiful. She was smiling as she closed the gap between us. I waited, smelling apricots through some mysterious, anticipatory sixth sense.

Then Bondo sprang into action. He jumped into Julie’s path before she had reached me. I saw a bemused expression cross her face. Not fear by any stretch of the imagination. Julie knew Bondo well and she liked him. But as Bondo started in on his next act, her smile morphed into a look of puzzlement and it pissed me off a little. I love my uncle, but the idiot never knows when to stop.

“Oh ho!” he cried, dancing about like some drunken elf. “It is our hero’s lady friend, the damsel in distress! Will you fight for her, young Jackson? What if I wish to kiss her?”

Bondo twisted into a deranged crouch and stalked toward Julie, who had stopped in her tracks. The bemusement was still on her face, but it was giving way to outright confusion and (I fancied) a dim anxiety.

“Come Julie!” Bondo cried, ambling around her like a fairytale ogre. “Let us go away together and leave poor Jack to pine. We will marry, you and I, and live in the woods!”

He hooked his fingers into claws, making as if to grab her. Julie shied away from him, playing along and yet at least vaguely apprehensive. Again, it pissed me off that my uncle would pursue this game for so long.

“Knock it off, Uncle Bondo,” I said, taking a step toward them.

“Oh ho! Seems the lad doesn’t favor the notion of his girl running off with a woodsman. Well, tough titty, as the kitty would say. She’s mine now, master Jack. All mine.”

He continued to stomp around her, hands jabbing the air. Julie shot me a look. She was trying to smile, but that look said what the hell IS this, Jack? What’s going on?

I walked to her and reached for her arm. Sometimes you just have to remove the game to make Bondo stop playing it. I would walk her inside where my mother would kick her brother in the ass if he kept it up.

“Come on, Julie. Let’s go in…”

Bondo swatted my hand away as I reached for Julie’s elbow. Then he took her other elbow in his own hand and began to pull her away.

“Hey!” I yelled. “Knock that shit off.”

Leering, cackling, still dancing from foot to foot, Bondo bounced in between Julie and I and shoved me with both hands.

I stumbled back, feeling my face going red, both with rage and embarrassment. Glancing up, I could see that the smile had withered on Julie’s face. Now she just looked uncomfortable at best, genuinely concerned at worst.

Bondo came for me again, lunging with both hands out to knock me on my ass.

Unbidden, the whispered voice returned.

It said: Ga!

I twisted slightly and threw my right shoulder at my oncoming uncle. With my left hand, I reached for his wrist and grabbed it. My right hand shot up into his armpit, fingers digging into the sweaty underside of his shirt. I planted my right foot. I felt power surging up from my feet. I twisted at the hip and hoisted my uncle into the air, using my shoulder as a sort of fulcrum. I heard him go “Wah?” and saw his feet come off the ground. I shifted my weight, lifted him higher and I flung him, as easily as I would have flung a bag of fertilizer. He went up over my head, flipped end for end and sailed across the lawn. He came down five feet away with a terrible thud. It sounded like snow falling off a roof.

Uncle Bondo lay on his back, arms out at his sides. I took a few steps toward him, moving like a cat stalking a bird. My right hand had pulled up to my shoulder, fingers bent, ready to strike. I stayed at his blind side, bending in, focusing on the center of his face. My right arm felt like the string of a bow, pulled taut and ready to unload all of its energy in one precise spot.

“Jack!” Julie cried from behind me. “Don’t!”

The spell broke. The intense focus was gone as though someone had pulled blinds over a window.

I knelt in the grass next to Bondo. His lips were pulled back against his gums so that I could see every one of his teeth. He looked like a man desperately trying to pass gas. Only he wasn’t trying to rid himself of air but trying to take some in. The wind had been knocked out of him when he hit the ground and now he was frantically trying to get oxygen to his lungs.

“Smoke on the water,” I mumbled into the face of my uncle. “Fire in the sky.”

Uncle Bondo blinked, comprehending that line no more than I did.

Julie appeared on the other side of him. She cupped her hand behind his head and lifted it slightly. Bondo continued to grimace, looking at Julie and then at me. His eyes were wide. He started to breathe again, short little sips of air at first and then magnificent gulps.

“Threw me,” he wheezed. “Holy crap, Jackson. You threw me.”

I heard the back door squeak open and then slam shut. My mother was with us a second later. I looked up at her. Her eyes were gleaming, not with anger or even concern. She looked delighted.

“That was amazing,” she said in a flat, far away voice. “You threw the big idiot like a bag of crap.”

Uncle Bondo sat up. He was sucking in air as fast as he could, but he was grinning, too. He looked pleased. For the first time I could remember, I saw the similarities between Bondo and his sister – my mother. There was a touch of lunacy in each of them, I thought. In that moment, I understood why, when they were together, my father was relieved of any semblance of household power.

I looked at Julie and she was looking at me. Her eyes were narrow; troubled. I opened my mouth to say something to her. I’m sorry? I’m really not like this?

I don’t know. Before I got a chance to say anything at all, my mother and uncle were babbling all at once.

“Jackie Boy,” Bondo said, laboring to his feet. “You’re going to be a star.”


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Genre – YA / Thriller

Rating – PG

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Mark LaFlamme on Facebook

Website http://marklaflamme.com/

JD Wylde – How To Avoid The Rejection Blues

How To Avoid The Rejection Blues

by JD Wylde

No one likes to be rejected. Deep down inside I think each one of us has the desire to be accepted. To be liked. Even praised.

It’s the same for our writing.

We start with an idea. We nurture it into a story. We work tirelessly for months, maybe years creating what we think is a great angle, a unique twist, and we perfect it until it’s the very best we can make it. Then we send it off with all our hopes and dreams tied up in a pretty bow on top of it. And we eagerly wait to hear those special words. I love it! It’s exactly what I’m looking for. Why aren’t you already published? Let me be the first to offer you a five-book contract.

Some do hear those words.

Some of us don’t.

We told although our story is good, it’s not great. What we thought was a unique twist, was already done. Or the real heartbreaker, we’re told that they love our story, but there’s no place to fit it into their current lines. Or, another heartbreaker, they don’t have room to take on a new author. Or we get the photocopied rejection letter with our name scribbled across the top. (I’ve gotten one of those.) Or the rejection letter with someone else’s name typed on it. (I’ve gotten one of those, too.)

Or the enthusiastic request for a partial submission with no response back. Ever.

It’s not fun.

So what do we do about it?

Chocolate’s a good idea. I keep an emergency kit in the refrigerator for just that reason. Hershey has never rejected J.D. Wylde. (Although to be perfectly honest, I don’t really need any reason to indulge in chocolate.) Ice cream works, too. A large spoon and a quart of Double Dutch Chocolate is a good elixir for rejection.

I’ve been told alcohol works, too. Personally I have enough other vices, so I haven’t tried this one, but I’m told a little Gentleman Jack goes a long way toward soothing pain. And smoothly, too. Captain Morgan, Jim Bean, Johnny Walker. These men don’t reject!

But seriously, allow yourself the time to feel bad. Come on! This is your dream that’s been trampled on. Your ego is bruised. You really thought you had a winner this time. Allow yourself time to mourn, to rage, to pout, but then set that letter or email aside.

You’re a writer.

One rejection letter, or a hundred, is not going to stop you. I have received enough of them over the years, I think, to possibly paper a wall in my bathroom.

Salve your ego. Dust yourself off, and try again.

Come up with a new idea. Another story line. Take an on-line class. Beef up your characters, your plot, your sagging middle (and not the one from eating too much ice cream). Just don’t give up.

Keep trying.

Keep writing.

Author Bio

J.D. Wylde is the author of four books currently published. (WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVE, THE JOURNEY, KARMA IN CAMO, and BLISS.)  She has been married for thirty-four years to her very own superhero, and together, they have three handsome sons, one beautiful daughter-in-law, and a very crazy Cairn Terrier.  She’s busy at work on two new releases coming soon. (WHEN LAW MET DISORDER and THE DREAM.)

You can visit J.D. at her website, www.jdwylde.com, her fan page on Facebook (J.D. Wylde) and Twitter (@jdwylde).


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

Connect with the authors on Facebook

Thursday, November 28, 2013

#Bargain Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love by Sebastian Cole @sebastiancole3

Beverly Hills Book Award winner, USA Best Book Award finalist, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award bronze winner, International Book Award finalist, ForeWord Firsts debut literary competition finalist.
The story opens with Noah Hartman, eighty years old, lying on his deathbed recounting his life of love and loss to Josh, a compassionate orderly at the hospital. As Noah’s loved ones arrive one by one, they listen in on his story, and we’re transported back in time to Noah’s younger years.
Though outwardly seeming to have it all, Noah, now thirty-five, is actually an empty, lost, and broken man running on automatic pilot. He has no true identity due to having allowed his powerful, wealthy parents to manipulate, control, and brainwash him from a young age. With the threat of disinheritance and withholding love and approval if he doesn’t comply with the plan they have for his life, Noah is lured in by the reward of great wealth and the illusion of running the family business empire some day.
Enter Robin, twenty-five years old, who — in direct contrast to Noah — is a vivacious, free spirit. Full of life and always living in the moment, Robin’s love saves Noah by inspiring him to stand up to his parents and live his own life at all costs, reclaiming his true self.
They get married, and while snorkeling in the Caribbean, the captain of the boat warns them not to disturb anything in the sea. Ignoring the exhortation, Noah dives down and snags a sand dollar from the ocean floor, whereupon it explodes in his hand. With the fragile sand dollar taking on new significance, Robin inexplicably leaves Noah shortly after returning from their honeymoon. Like a passing breeze, she disappears out of his life without a trace, seemingly forever.
Years pass, and Noah still can’t get Robin out of his mind and out of his heart. After all, the one he loved the most would forever be the one who got away. That’s when he finds out about her hidden secret, the underlying condition responsible for her leaving. Noah has no choice but to move on with his life without her, meeting Sarah at the premiere of SAND DOLLAR, the movie he wrote about his time with Robin.
Years later, it’s Noah and Sarah’s wedding day, and Robin discovers a clue that Noah had surreptitiously inserted into the movie, inspiring her to race to the wedding to try to stop it. With the wedding in shambles, the scene jumps back to present day, with both Robin and Sarah placed in Noah’s hospital room. But which one did he choose?
As Noah wraps up his story, he discovers a far greater truth about the past, present, and future. Things are definitely not as they appear as the pieces of a shattered love are put back together in the remarkable final chapter of Noah’s life.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG 13
More details about the author
Connect with Sebastian Cole on Facebook & Twitter

#AmReading - Play Dead by Leslie O’Kane @LeslieOKane

Play Dead by Leslie O’Kane


Meet Allie Babcock – The Audacious Dog Therapist with a Flair for Sleuthing
At her brand new shop in Boulder, Allie’s very first client is a dejected collie whose previous owner allegedly took her own life. But with a natural nose for crime, Allie soon suspects murder—leaving her dejected canine client as possibly the sole witness to the crime.
With the scent fresh, Allie is quickly on the case – but a second murder curtails her investigation. Before taking another step, Allie needs to count her enemies: several suspicious dog owners, a boyfriend with a temper (and a demand for vengeance!), and a mysterious door-to-door salesman with a curious tale to tell…
Bizarre salesman, vicious boyfriend and suspect dog owners – one thing is for sure – Allie’s life may never be safe until one of these characters lands in the pen…

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik


Jez was already fit, an excellent shot, and he could fight – or at least that’s what he’d thought. But after more than six months of intensive training with Spetsnaz, he realized he’d only been scratching the surface.

He’d not long been back from an exercise in Northern Siberia and he was tired, dirty. They’d given him a tent, a knife, no food, and enough clothes to keep out the brutal weather conditions – barely. When they dropped him off in the middle of nowhere, the unit sergeant shouted, “Let’s see if you can find your way out of this,” and drove off laughing – all part of the process.

He’d lived off the land for three weeks before he got back to base, and the first thing on his list was to shower. He soaked up the tepid water until his skin wrinkled, and then he dressed. No sooner was that done than a soldier pushed the tent flap back. “The sergeant wants you,” he said, and left without another word.

“You want to see me, Sergeant?” Jez said, going into the unit commander’s tent.

“Yes, come in, Kornfeld. Colonel Petrichova has looked at feedback on your performance since you’ve been with us.”

“Yes, Sergeant,” Jez said.

His time had come and he’d be on his way again, he was sure. He only wished he could tell Anna, and wondered where she would be now. Perhaps she’d already set out plans for world domination. He smiled inwardly.

“I don’t know what world affairs you keep up with, Kornfeld, but the Greek communist party, the KooKooEh, is at civil war with the conservatives.”

“Yes, Sergeant, I know about as much of the situation as is made public.”

“Good, because that was about as much as I was going to tell you. Pack your kit, soldier, you’ll be flying out to join your new unit in about four hours.”



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.

Buy Now @ Amazon, B&N, Kobo & Waterstones

Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://rik-stone.simdif.com

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gringa – A Love Story (Complete Series books 1-4) by Eve Rabi @EveRabi1

Here I was planning to show off my new look to Elaine and Paris. I was so in the mood to be entertained by their jealously. It would have been the ultimate compliment.

Besides, I wanted Austin to see the new and improved me and die of disappointment – how could he have made such an enormous mistake and married the wrong sister?

Pacing in heels is not a good idea but I continue.

My family really is expecting me. I sent word with Marcus that I’ll be seeing them today.

‘Gringaaa!’ Diablo yells.

I slam the door on his hollering. Bastard can go to hell.

‘Gringaaa!’ he yells again, and again, I ignore him.

Finally, Maria quietly enters my room, a worried look on her face. ‘SeƱorita please …’

‘Maria, you tell him …’ I draw a long breath, ‘tell him my name is Payton, and not fucking “Gringaaa! Gringaaa! Gringaaa!”’

Before she can respond, Diablo storms into my room and of course, hears what I said.

‘Come to lunch,’ he says in a strained, but controlled voice.

I look him in the eye. ‘No!’

He stiffens. ‘Come to lunch.’

‘No! I don’t wanna eat with you.’

He grabs me by the scruff of my neck and drags me out of the room to the lunch table.

‘Leave me the fuck alone!’

He shoves me into the dining room. It’s Saturday so that entire gang is there, in the mood to party and to be entertained. Watching Diablo drag me to the table gets them excited.

Humiliated and seething, I sit down and drum my nails on the table. I don’t eat or look at him.

‘Eat!’ he orders.

I ignore him and drum louder, furiously.

Link to Gringa:




I was twenty-one, a sassy college student who took crap from no one. While holidaying in Mexico, I was accosted by The Devil of Mexico called Diablo and shot, because the s.o.b. mistook me for a spy.
I survived, only to encounter him again months later. How’s that for luck?
Furious and sick of all that I’d been through because of him, I slapped him, told him to go to hell and braced myself for the bullet. He could shoot me – I no longer cared.
But, to my surprise, he became fascinated with me and blackmailed me into becoming his woman. He’d slay the entire village that sheltered me, if I rejected his proposal.
He was Kong, hairy, tattooed from fingertips to face, with scary ass piercings, blood-shot snake eyes, a ruthless killer and above all, he was my murderer – how could anyone expect me to say yes?
To save the village I had to.
He took me by force, terrorized me into submission and made me his. To make matters worse, I had to put up with his ruthless, backstabbing family who hated me and wanted to kill me.
I despised the bastard and I told him that. Spark flew. Fists too.
But, the more I rejected Diablo, the more he wanted me.
At times he wanted to kill me because of my insolence, but other times he just wanted me to love him.
I was his Gringa and in an attempt to get my love, he began to change for me. Drastic changes that made me laugh at him at first, then made me curious.
As the days went by, I found myself drawn to him and I began seeing him differently. When I found out about his past, everything changed.



Where to find Eve Rabi online


Website: http://everabi.wordpress.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/eve.rabi

Blog: http://everabi.wordpress.com/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/everabiauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EveRabi1


Deception – A Palace Full of Liars – Book 1

Deception – A Palace Full of Liars – Book 2

Burn’s World – Book 1

Burn’s World – Book 2

Burn’s World – Book 3

Burn’s World – Book 4

CAPTURED – My Sworn Enemy, My Secret Lover – Book 1

CAPTURED – My Sworn Enemy, My Secret Lover – Book 2

Gringa – A Love Story Book 1

Gringa – A Love Story Book 2

Gringa – A Love Story Book 3

Gringa – A Love Story Book 4

THE CHEAT – A Tale of Lies and Infidelity – Book 1

THE CHEAT – A Tale of Lies and Infidelity – Book 2

You Will Pay – For Leaving Me (This book is free to Eve Rabi Fans)

Obsessed with me –Book 1

Obsessed with me –Book 2

Betrayed – He’d get his Girl at Any Cost

My Brother, My Rival (Book 1)

My Brother, My Rival (Book 2)

Author Interview – J.L. Myers @BloodBoundJLM


Who is your publisher?

I am my own publisher. Being self-published I hold all rights to my work and although I did look into traditional publishing, I decided last year that indie pub was the way I wanted to go. If any aspiring writers are looking to take the indie route I’m always happy to offer advice from my own experience of the process. Just contact me here http://bloodboundnovels.com/contact/

Why did you choose to write this particular book?

Firstly I absolutely love anything vampire or werewolf related, even before the Twilight buzz. All other supernatural creatures intrigue me too, but vamps and wolves will always be my favourites. So I had my character species sorted. On top of that I wanted to tell a story about love, and how anything worth loving in life is worth fighting for. Amelia’s journey to find true love was never going to be an easy one, but I hope the reader comes away with the belief that all her pain, struggles and self-growth are worth the outcome of finding ‘the one’.

What was the hardest part about writing this book?

I think the hardest part about writing this book was pinning down Amelia’s character. In the draft she was rather weak and flat, and definitely not how I had envisioned her to be. This lack of character depth was one of the reasons I went through the tedious revision process to learn how to fix this—the first time around. What came out of this process was a strong heroine who fights for what she wants, and who will spout insult in her enemies face even when her death is seconds away. I hope you love reading her as much as I loved re-creating her character.

Will you write others in this same genre?

The Blood Bound Series will be at least 4 books in length, so yes, I will definitely be writing more books in the Paranormal Romance genre. Post this series I do have a psychological thriller I’m committed to writing, but past that the many other book ideas I have in Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy will be next in line.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I want my readers to believe that although they might be different and feel like an outsider, intruder, or someone who just doesn’t belong, that there is always someone out there in the world who does and will accept them no matter what. I also want my readers to know that no matter how dark things seem in their lives that there is always hope around the corner, and a better day on the way.

What Lies Inside

Amelia Lamont never asked to unleash her inner vampire

Amelia’s normal teen world is shattered when a terrifying nightmare awakens the monster inside her. A newfound, insatiable thirst for blood that leads her to drain the school quarterback is only the beginning; she’s horrified to discover that her family and best friend Kendrick have been harboring the secret all along. And is the strangely alluring boy who seems hell-bent on curbing her murderous, blood-filled desires a friend, or foe?

To escape detection Amelia and her twin brother Dorian are forced to move to a new town, and the challenge of a new, exclusive high school where nearly every classmate smells like prey. Including the irresistible Ty, who seems hauntingly familiar, yet darkly menacing …

Amelia’s disturbing dreams and entanglement in a web of forbidden romance render her increasingly powerless against the chilling lies and secrets of vampire power struggles. And, as she soon discovers, vampire politics mixed with outlawed love can be a lethal cocktail.

Falling in love may just cost Amelia everything: her friends, her family…even her life

Move over Twilight, True Blood and Underworld! J.L. Myers’ first book in the Blood Bound series will have you swooning for more!

Warning – This book contains some language and sexual situations.

YA/ Vampire/ Paranormal Fiction

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Genre – YA Paranormal Romance

Rating – PG-13+

More details about the author

Connect with  Jessica Myers on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://bloodboundnovels.com

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

Indiestructible: Inspiring Stories from the Publishing Jungle @MsBessieBell

Tackling the Time Factor

by Jessica Bell

The biggest problem I had with deciding to go indie was the time factor.

With a stressful full-time job as a project manager for the Academic Research & Development department at Education First, it was difficult for me to see how I could possibly work, write, blog, edit, publish, market, run a literary journal, direct a writer’s retreat, and live my life all at once. It doesn’t help that I’m a bit of a stickler. I like to get everything done myself because I have a hard time waiting on others to do things I know I can get done more quickly and efficiently. I outsource if I really have to, but I do enjoy doing the work, such as designing covers, learning new skills and navigating social media. So when I say, DIY, I really mean DIY. Where on Earth, I wondered, would I find the time to be an editor for an educational publisher and literary magazine, an author, a typesetter, a designer, and a marketer? And what about walking the dog? Making dinner? Sleeping? (Forget the laundry. I have months of unfolded washed clothes in a heap on the couch that will soon need to go straight back into the machine from the dog rubbing herself all over them.)

The time factor is a logical fear. But once I finally made the decision to do this on my own, I realized that it wasn’t as daunting as it seemed. Do you know how much more you actually get done when you think something is impossible?

I don’t want to tell you how to schedule your day, but I’m going to give you a run down on how to approach this time management malarkey mentally. The key for me is not to focus on one thing all day. When you do this, you burn out. Your brain starts to lag from the monotony of the same information. You need to mix it up. If you mix it up, you get more done, because your mind is consistently stimulated with fresh information.

Let’s start with the actual writing of your books. Because this is what it all boils down to, yes? But first, I have to say, everyone is different. Everyone writes at different speeds, deals with stress in different ways, has different expectations of themselves. So you need to figure out what you want and works for you.

1. Stop thinking about what other people will think of your work. And write honestly. The first version of my debut novel was written for an audience. It was rejected again and again—for five years. And then, I found a small press who saw something in me and made an effort to get to know me. (Unfortunately that publisher liquidated only six months after its release, but that’s another story which you can read about here.) The publisher said my book was good, but that it felt like she was watching the characters through a window. She said: “Go deeper.” So I dug deeper and dragged the truth from my heart and soul. A truth I was afraid to admit was there. But it resulted in an honest book—a book I didn’t know I had in me. And one I hope women will be able to relate to. It’s glory-less, but real. And real steals hearts. What does this have to do with time management you ask? A lot. When you believe in your work, when you love your work, the words get written faster.

2. Focus on one paragraph at a time. I will never forget Anne Lamott’s advice from Bird by Bird (most accessible and nonsense-less book on writing I’ve ever read): write what you can see through a one-inch frame.

The reason I say this, is because knowing how much you have to revise can sometimes be daunting and overwhelming, and you might try to get through as much as possible and forget to focus your attention on the quality of your work. If you make each paragraph the best it can be before you move on, you won’t have to do any major rewrites (unless there’s a snag in your plot that you’ve overlooked and it’s related to a pertinent turning point). I’m talking revision here, not first draft.

3. Divide your writing time into short bursts. I find that if I give myself only one hour to write every morning before work, sometimes even shorter periods of time (especially when I accidentally sleep in), I’m forced to come up with things I wouldn’t normally think of.

The brain works in mysterious ways when it’s under pressure, and sometimes a little self-inflicted pressure can push you to great heights. Can you believe I wrote the first draft of The Book over a three-day long weekend? I did this because I experimented with the self-inflicted pressure idea. It worked. But be careful not to expect too much from yourself. There is nothing worse than becoming unmotivated due to not reaching personal goals. Which brings me to my fourth point ...

4. To start with, set your goals low. Set goals you know for a fact you can reach. If you set them too high, and continuously fail to meet them, you are going to feel really bad about yourself. This may result in neglecting your goals altogether. I know this from personal experience. If you later realize that you are meeting your goals with ease, gradually make them more challenging. But I strongly urge you to start small. It’s better for you, psychologically, to meet easy goals, than to struggle meeting difficult goals. Not achieving goals is a major hazard for self-esteem, motivation, and creativity.

So what about the rest?

Let’s see. These are the things I continuously have on the go that are not part of my day job or writing books, and I still find time to walk the dog and make dinner (sorry, the washing is still on the couch):

—Vine Leaves Literary Journal (reading submissions, sending rejection/acceptance letters, designing the magazine, promoting the magazine)

Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop (organizing the event and handling finances)

Typesetting, designing, and marketing my books (which includes, what seems, a never-ending thread of guest posts and interviews)

Blogging (including keeping up to speed with my weekly guest feature, The Artist Unleashed)

Maintaining my online presence (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.)

I do all this stuff on top of the day job. On top of my writing. Because I do it all in scheduled, short bursts. I get up early to make sure I have one hour to write and one hour to do something else from the list above. I pick and choose depending on priority. During my lunch break, I blog and spend about half an hour to an hour (depends on how long I can take from work) on social media. After work, I walk the dog, make dinner, maybe go to yoga. Once that’s done, I’ll spend another hour or so doing something else from the list above. Then I have a shower, relax in front of the TV, or do something else away from the computer before I go to bed. Then in bed, I’ll read a chapter or two of the book on my bedside table. Reading to me is relaxing and not a chore.

So what have I accomplished in this average day of mine?

Here’s an example:

My job (at least 7 hours worth)

500-1000 words on my WIP

I read 30 Vine Leaves submissions and sent a few responses, maybe even set up a classified ad on NewPages.com.

I wrote/scheduled a blog post, commented on other blogs.

I connected with everyone I wanted to online. I may have worked on my latest book cover for a bit.

I made dinner.

I walked the dog.

I relaxed.

Look ... I’ll deal with those clothes tomorrow, okay?

I know people with kids who have just as much, and more, on their plate, and they’re still finding the time to self-publish. You can too.

My point is, it can all be done. And it doesn’t have to freak you out, or overwhelm you. Just pace yourself. And if you don’t have a full-time job like me, imagine how much more you can get done.

Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

Nothing is impossible if you truly want it.

Nothing is impossible. Full stop.


If Jessica Bell could choose only one creative mentor, she’d give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. This is not only because she currently resides in Athens, Greece, but because of her life as a thirty-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, whose literary inspiration often stems from songs she’s written.

In addition to her novels, poetry collections, (one of which was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2012), and her Writing in a Nutshell series, she has published a variety of works in online and print literary journals and anthologies, including Australia’s Cordite Review, and the anthologies 100 STORIES FOR QUEENSLAND and FROM STAGE DOOR SHADOWS, both released through Australia’s, eMergent Publishing.

Jessica is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and annually runs the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca. She makes a living as a writer/editor for English Language Teaching Publishers worldwide, such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, MacMillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

Keep an eye out for her forthcoming novel, BITTER LIKE ORANGE PEEL, slated for release, November 1, 2013.


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Genre –  Non-fiction

Rating – G

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Blog http://thealliterativeallomorph.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 25, 2013

Breathing for Two by Wolf Pascoe @WolfPascoe

IN the freshman year of my anesthesia residency, I was given a lesson in breathing by a patient whom I’ll call Otto. Anesthesia residencies come replete with breathing lessons, but Otto was also teaching humility that day, a subject absent from the formal anesthesia curriculum.
A doctor gets humility not from curricula but from his patients. I acquired a truckload of humility the day I met Otto, and the truck has only gotten larger since.
Otto was undergoing a cystoscopy, a look inside the bladder performed by passing a thin viewing scope through the urethra. There is no incision in such a procedure.
Generally, you don’t need anything fancy to support a patient’s breathing while giving anesthesia during a cystoscopy. As the patient passes from wakefulness into unconsciousness you can let him continue to breathe for himself.
In Otto’s case, I strapped a rubber anesthesia mask over his mouth and nose to make an airtight seal against his skin, and delivered through the mask an appropriate combination of oxygen and anesthetic gas. In principle, what I did was essentially what the Boston dentist, William Thomas Green Morton, had done during the first public demonstration of ether anesthesia in 1846.
The modern anesthesia face mask is a hollow cone of rubber or plastic. It’s like the oxygen mask that drops down from above a passenger’s head on an airplane, though it’s more substantially built. The base is malleable and cushioned by a ring of air, a sort of inner tube. The mask is shaped to fit around the nose and mouth; with a bit of pressure, it seals against the skin. The top of the mask connects to a source of anesthetic vapor and oxygen.
Readers of a certain age may remember the TV series, Marcus Welby, M.D., which began each week with Dr. Welby lowering a black anesthesia mask down over the camera lens. In those days, apparently, the family doctor did everything.
The anesthesia machine—the “cascade of glass columns, porcelain knobs and metal conduits” I described previously—is the gas delivery system. The machine connects to an oxygen tank and directs the flow of oxygen from the tank through a vaporizer where the oxygen mixes with anesthesia gas. The mixture passes out of the machine through plastic tubing (“anesthesia hose”) that connects to the face mask.
The patient breathes the mixture.
Gas leaving the anesthesia machine actually flows through the anesthesia tubing in a circle—in fact it’s called the circle system. One limb of the circle travels from the machine to the anesthesia mask, where the patient inhales it. The other limb, carrying exhaled gas, travels from the mask back to the machine, where excess carbon dioxide from the patient is filtered out. The filtered gas is mixed with fresh gas and travels back to the patient.
The same gases, minus the carbon dioxide, keep going round and round. The system is airtight, except for a pop-off valve that relieves excess pressure.
Otto was a large man with a thickly muscled neck, but by extending his head I could keep his airway clear, allowing him to continue breathing while the urologist worked. Instead of using an anesthesia mask to deliver my mix of gases, I could have assured Otto’s airway by using an endotracheal tube. This is a long breathing tube (about a centimeter in diameter) inserted through the mouth all the way into the trachea.
But getting an endotracheal tube in isn’t always easy, and it’s usually not necessary during a cystoscopy. Most often an anesthesia mask will do.
One side effect of anesthesia is the loss of normal muscle tone. This happened to Otto. A few minutes into the case, his flaccid tongue fell back in his throat. His diaphragm continued to contract, but air couldn’t get through to the lungs—his airway was obstructed. Otto was, of course, completely unconscious at this point.
Everyone loses some muscle tone during sleep—this is the cause of snoring, and of the more serious condition of sleep apnea. But the loss of tone is even greater under anesthesia, and the anesthetized patient cannot rouse herself to find a better breathing position.
I managed the problem by putting a short plastic tube called an airway into Otto’s mouth. The airway depressed the tongue and cleared a passage for air. It wasn’t as good as an endotracheal tube, which would have extended all the way into Otto’s trachea, but it seemed to do the trick.
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Genre – Non-fiction / Memoir
Rating – G
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Sunday, November 24, 2013

#AmReading - Cornerstone by Kelly Walker @KWalkerWrites

Cornerstone by Kelly Walker


When Emariya Warren learns enemy forces have captured her father, she'll do anything to save him. Anything. Even marry a mysterious prince she knows nothing about in order to rally the strength to arrange a rescue. During her journey to Torian's foreign castle, Emariya comes face to face with her mother's killers--and a deadly secret.
Not only does Emariya possess a powerful but unexpected magical gift passed down through each of her families, the prince she's promised to marry possesses a third, and an ominous prophecy has warned the three gifts must never be combined.
If she breaks her promise to marry Torian, she won't be able to save her father and if she keeps it, she may bring a curse upon everything she holds dear. Determining which choice is best won't be easy, but when she meets the gorgeous prince who may desire more than just her heart, she realizes she will have to fight just to have a choice at all.
Her heart wants him desperately. Her head begs her to run. If she doesn't want to share her mother's fate, she'll have to find a way to untangle the truth from the lies in time to save herself.
Discover the heartbreaking betrayals, fascinating magic and fated love of Cornerstone.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Howling Heart by April Bostic

* * * *

Three days after my father’s funeral, I landed at the airport in Denver. I rented a Jeep Wrangler, because I needed a four-wheel-drive vehicle to get up the mountain. The July weather was mild, so I wore khaki shorts, a plain white tee, and beige Vans sneakers.

One of the odd things about finding our cabin was you had to find the nearby town first. I remembered we got lost during our vacation, which caused an argument between my parents. Finding the road that led to the town was tricky, because there was only one accessible by vehicle, and there was no road sign. My father knew how to get there, because the person who sold him the cabin gave him a landmark. Luckily, he passed that information onto me during one of our conversations. Once you found the road, the town was so small that if you blinked, you’d drive right by it. When my mother said it was remote, she wasn’t being facetious.

I drove on the interstate for over an hour before I realized I missed my turn. I had to find a tree shaped like a wishbone—it was struck by lightning — but all the trees looked alike to me. It took another half-hour for me to turn around and make another attempt.

I found my landmark, but a tangle of fallen branches blocked the entrance. My hands gripped the steering wheel. I knew I was in for a bumpy ride. I floored the accelerator, and the Jeep broke through the roadblock. The road was narrow, and the terrain was rough. Whoever constructed it didn’t want people to travel on it. I screamed when tree branches appeared out of nowhere and banged against the windshield. The forest surrounded me on both sides, and I wondered if I’d ever reach the town.


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Genre – Paranormal Romance

Rating – Adult

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Connect with April Bostic on Goodreads

Website http://www.aprilbostic.com/

Author Interview – Emma Right @emmbeliever

What scares you the most?

That my children will not  feel that I love them.

What makes you happiest?

Seeing good people happy. Like when a person who’s had cancer defeat it and it never comes back again. Or seeing children laughing.

What’s your weakest character trait?

Too many to list–we’d need an encyclopedia, although most young people would probably wonder what are those archaic things called encyclopedia.

Why do you write?

To share with my target readers the message I have through my imagination and the fiction I’ve created.

Have you always enjoyed writing?

I probably express better through writing than speaking.

What motivates you to write?

My desire to leave a positive impact in this world.

What writing are you most proud of?

I have only written one book–Keeper of Reign Book 1

What are you most proud of in your personal life?

My children!

What books did you love growing up?


Who is your favorite author?

Too many to list.

Keeper of Reign

Books written in blood. Most are lost, their Keepers with them. A curse that befell a people. A Kingdom with no King. Life couldn’t get more harrowing for the Elfies, a blend of Elves and Fairies. Or for sixteen-year-old Jules Blaze. Or could it?

For Jules, the heir of a Keeper, no less, suspects his family hides a forgotten secret. It was bad enough that his people, the Elfies of Reign, triggered a curse which reduced the entire inhabitants to a mere inch centuries ago. All because of one Keeper who failed his purpose. Even the King’s Ancient Books, did not help ward off that anathema.

Now, Gehzurolle, the evil lord, and his armies of Scorpents, seem bent on destroying Jules and his family. Why? Gehzurolle’s agents hunt for Jules as he journeys into enemy land to find the truth. Truth that could save him and his family, and possibly even reverse the age-long curse. Provided Jules doesn’t get himself killed first.

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Genre - Young Adult Adventure Fantasy  

Rating – G

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Connect with Emma Right on Facebook & Facebook (Keeper of Reign)

Website http://www.emmaright.com/Home.aspx

Friday, November 22, 2013

#AmReading - Daffodils by Alex Martin @Alexxx8586

Daffodils by Alex Martin


Katy dreams of a better life than just being a domestic servant at Cheadle Manor. Her one attempt to escape is thwarted when her flirtation with the manor’s heir results in a scandal that shocks the local community.
Jem Beagle has always loved Katy. His offer of marriage rescues her but personal tragedy divides them. Jem leaves his beloved Wiltshire to become a reluctant soldier on the battlefields of World War One. Katy is left behind, restless and alone.
Lionel White, just returned from being a missionary in India, brings a dash of colour to the small village, and offers Katy a window on the wider world.
Katy decides she has to play her part in the global struggle and joins the war effort as a WAAC girl. She finally breaks free from the stifling Edwardian hierarchies that bind her but the brutality of global war brings home the price she has paid for her search.

Author Interview – James Shipman @jshipman_author

Image of James Shipman

How do you work through self-doubts and fear?

I try to work through periods of fear by working even harder on the thing I’m afraid of and taking it on head on.  I tend to just go for it sometimes when I’m afraid to do something.  That either goes amazingly well or horrifically wrong.

What scares you the most?

Bees and heights.  The worst case scenario would be running into a bees next while clinging to a cliff wall.

What makes you happiest?

I love working hard and having something come together, particularly after months or years without any success.  Of course immediate instant success is nice as well.

What’s your greatest character strength?

Resilience.  I definitely feel I’m able to bounce back and keep going when things try to take me down in life.

What’s your weakest character trait?

Concentration.  I have first team, all conference adult attention deficit disorder (undiagnosed).  I can do 318 things at the same time, but I can’t do one thing.


In 1453 Constantinople is the impregnable jewel of the East. It has stood as the greatest Christian city for a millennium as hordes have crashed fruitlessly against its walls.

But Mehmet II, the youthful Sultan of the Ottoman Turks, has besieged the city. His opponent is Constantine XI, the wise and capable ruler of the crumbling Eastern Roman Empire. Mehmet, distrusted by his people and hated by his Grand Vizer, must accomplish what all those before him have failed to do: capture Constantinople. To prove that he deserves the throne that his father once took from him, Mehmet, against all advice, storms the city. If he fails, he will not only have failed himself and his people, but he will surely lose his life.

On the other side of the city walls, the emperor Constantine must find a way to stop the greatest army in the medieval world. To finance his defenses, he becomes a beggar to the Pope, the Italian city-states, and the Hungarians. But the price for aid is high: The Pope demands the Greeks reunite the Eastern and Western churches and accept the Latin faith. If Constantine wants aid for his people he must choose between their lives and their souls.

Two leaders, two peoples, two faiths battle for their future before the mighty walls of Constantinople.

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Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG

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Connect with  James Shipman on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://james-shipman.com

Joyfully Yours by Amy Lamont @Amy_Lamont

Joyfully Yours

A fun and heartwarming holiday romance.

When fate keeps throwing a handsome good Samaritan in her path, musician Faith Leary needs a little holiday magic to help her see he’s perfect for her.

A musician and a priest walk into a grocery store—singer Faith Leary thinks this is a better opening for an off-color joke than a recipe for romance, until she finds herself ogling Father Michael in the checkout line the day before Thanksgiving.

When Father Michael first steps in to bail Faith out of her financial jam, Faith thinks she’s being picked up at the grocery store. Right up until she catches sight of the black shirt and tab collar. Since not much in her life is going her way lately, it doesn’t come as much of a shock when Michael turns up at her mother’s Thanksgiving dinner. What does come as a surprise is the attraction that springs up between them. If only he weren't a priest, he would be perfect for her.

Faith’s sister finds Father Michael attractive, too, and she’s making no bones about it. Scenes from the Thorn Birds flitting through her head, it comes as a relief to Faith to find out Michael is not exactly what he seems. It’s good news until she realizes her sister is a far better match for him than her screw-up self could ever be. But if that’s true, why does Michael insist on seeing only the good in Faith, no matter how often she falls short of her too perfect sister?

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Genre - Contemporary Holiday Romance

Rating – PG

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Connect with Amy Lamont on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://amylamont.com

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Onio by Linell Jeppsen @nelj8

Chapter 4

For four days, Mel drifted in and out of consciousness. When she was able to swim up from the tendrils of death that held her, she dreamed vivid and horrifying dreams.

Once, she sat up with a start and saw a scene from Dante’s Inferno. She saw a huge hairy man being flogged by a branchless tree trunk. The tree was very large and the branches on it had been cut crudely so that long splinters sprouted from its surface like jagged teeth. The man was held in place by long ropes of vine that were hung from stalactites so that his feet barely touched the floor. He was screaming while others of his kind either cheered in triumph or wept with sympathy.

Another time Mel awoke in a hospital room with nurses all around her. She felt like she was in familiar territory, but wondered how she had changed places with her mother. Her mom held her wrist in one large hand and peered into her eyes with concern.

“Mama…,” she croaked, and drew back in alarm when her mother’s face disappeared. Now she was surrounded by monsters. Their giant hairy faces leered down at her. Their mouths sang an eerie chorus Mel couldn’t hear, but understood. The hospital room dissolved into a small cave and her crisp, white sheets were replaced by a scruffy fur blanket. She shrugged it off, screaming, before succumbing to the healing darkness once again.

Finally Mel awoke to voices. She felt a little better and her head no longer felt like it might explode. She looked over to the far side of the cave and saw Onio being tended to by the old sasquatch female. He looked pale and shaken. The old one, whose name was Rain, rubbed some sort of ointment on Onio’s back. Although their lips didn’t move, they were talking. Mel closed her eyes and listened.

“Onio, what he did was just,” she murmured.

“Just!” Onio snarled. “The test is designed to punish the worst criminals…murderers, and rapines! What I did was not even a crime! Why did he bring his grandson, who would be king, to his knees?”

Mel peeked at the two sasquatches through her eyelashes. She saw that Onio’s head was bowed and that his shoulders heaved with sobs. Rain stood some distance away and wiped her hands clean with a rag. She regarded her grandson with an eyebrow raised in equal parts exasperation and love.

She brought Onio a mug of something to drink and Mel’s throat ached with thirst. She watched as he set the mug down, staring at the floor in anger. Rain sat next to him on the shelf of rock that served as a bed.

“Onio, what you did was akin to murder. I know you know this, because I have taught you these things myself!” She placed a hand on the male’s thigh. “I will teach it again, Grandson,” she continued. “Maybe this time you will listen and truly understand.”

Rain slapped the young sasquatch sharply and stood up. Onio hunched his shoulders at the reprimand, glaring at his own toes.

“The small humans have small brains, Grandson. Also, their brains work differently than ours. We are intuitive, telepathic and sensitive to the ways of nature and the planet around us. They are none of these things, but they are creatures of intellect. Look at the marvelous machines they construct, the technology they have invented! In many ways their workings are like magic to us. Just as, I think, our ways are magical to them.” Rain sighed.

“That is why we hide from them, Onio. They are a covetous race, and would take from us, by any means necessary, that which they desire. For many generations the humans have tried to unlock the mysteries of our brains. They want to know how to use the soul song, and would steal it from us if they could. Many times they have tried…this you know, first-hand!”

Tears were dripping out of Onio’s eyes and falling to the floor. He murmured, “I am sorry, Grandmother. I wasn’t thinking properly.”

Mel saw the old female smile as she fussed with some things in a bag, then walked over to cook something on a fire set in the middle of the floor.

“Now, finally, First Son admits to not thinking before acting.” Although the sasquatches lips didn’t move, Mel could hear the sarcasm dripping from Rain’s voice, as the smell of meat cooking filled the air.

“Onio, listen and hear my words.” Rain’s voice was urgent. “There are as many reasons as birds in the sky why we do not co-mingle with the little humans. Most importantly, they will hunt us down and kill us for the gifts we possess. They would experiment on us and dissect our brains, and all for nothing! Even if they knew how to extract our abilities, their brains do not have the means, or the capacity, for soul song. It is called neural pathways…or some such. I have forgotten the exact words.” Now she glared at her grandson again. “We think that this little human will survive what you did to her, Onio.”

Mel slammed her eyes shut as she saw the big male glance her way. Guilt was written all over his face.

“You were lucky, I think, that this creature survived at all. Your gift opened pathways in her brain…neural connections most humans are not equipped to deal with, or understand. We believe that the only reason the girl hasn’t died is because her ear canals are damaged. Our gifts are sense, rather than thought, oriented. Hearing is a sense, so her brain was able to withstand the new impulses. She is very ill, though, and will be frail for a long while to come. She may not survive the change…someday her brain might break from the strain you yourself put on it!”

Mel saw Onio put his hands over his face and shudder. “Oh Grandmother,” he moaned. “Truly, I did not think to kill this little human…I did not think at all!”

Rain nodded, filled a wooden bowl with meat, and handed it to him. She glanced over at Mel and sat down next to Onio again.

“You are young yet, Onio, and perhaps foolish, but you will be a fine leader someday. To lead well, though, you must learn to listen to the world around you. Drak, your uncle, is also a fine man, but he suffers from jealousy. He never thought that you would be declared king after Bouldar is gone…not with the small human blood that flows in your veins. That he himself told you this only serves to prove that he hasn’t the wisdom to lead the tribe.”

She chuckled. “There is a thing the small humans call irony. It took me many, many years of study to understand this concept, but I find it ironic that the very thing Drak used to wound you with actually ensures your ascension to the seat of leadership.”

She stood again and moved around behind Onio to apply more salve to his wounded back. “My husband believes that the human soldiers are renewing their efforts to find us, and hunt us down. He believes that these soldiers want to use the soul song as some sort of weapon. They are a warrior species who will use even the most benign gift as a tool for destruction!” The old female apparently forgot to be gentle in her application of the medicine on his wounds. Onio winced with pain.

“He thinks that the tribe needs a leader who can both sympathize with and out-maneuver the humans who want to conquer us. The blood in your veins has made you smarter than the rest of us…especially Drak. You still possess the tribe’s gifts, like telepathy and camouflage, but your intellect will be the thing that can save the tribe from the small humans’ greed.” She gave her grandson’s shoulders a shake, not caring that he cried out in pain.

“That leader will be you, Grandson!” she shouted. “But only if this little human woman survives and you learn to think before you act!”

Rain’s voice was pensive when she spoke again. “Before Bouldar became my husband he was much like you; curious and compelled to seek out the small humans’ company, despite the risks.” She threw her arms up with a growl of rage.

Onio revised (2)

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Genre – Fantasy/Romance

Rating – PG13

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#Bargain Sub-Human by David Simpson @PostHuman09


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Age Range: 12 years and up

Before he was Old-timer, he was Craig Emilson, a young doctor, sucked into military service at the outbreak of World War III. Enlisting to become a Special Forces suborbital paratrooper, Craig is selected to take part in the most important mission in American military history–a sortie into enemy territory to eliminate the world’s first strong Artificial Intelligence. The mission is only the beginning of Craig’s story, and for the story of humanity as well, as they accelerate towards a world that is post-human.

If you’re already a fan of the smash-hit Post-Human Series, this prequel to Post-Human, Sub-Human, will answer the previously unanswered questions of how the post-human world came to be. And, if you’re new to the series, Sub-Human will serve as an engrossing introduction to a possible future that has enraptured tens of thousands of readers in 2012 alone!

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Genre - Science Fiction

Rating – PG

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Jack Canon’s American Destiny by Greg Sandora @gregsandora

“You think we have a strong bond, Gabby?”
“Of course, we’ve been inseparable, and I know you like me.”
“Love.” I answered softly.
Gabby pouted, “I told you, Bo, not to fall in love with me.”
“Well it’s too late, I already have, and I promise you…”
“What’s that, Bo? What do you promise?”
“That I’ll love you forever.”
“You won’t allow yourself the possibility that because I’m an angel you find me hard to resist. Bo, it’s totally normal for a human man to feel this way.”
“Gabby, hard to resist is the understatement of the century. Impossible to resist might be nearer the truth.” Gabby looked sad as I continued, “Angels have been off the radar for me, I never thought I’d see one, let alone spend time with one. I really can’t describe how it feels, except that I’m in love and at peace.”
“Oh Bo, it is going to be so hard for you when I leave.” She cautioned shaking her head.
“Gabby, I don’t get how any kind of relationship with that waitress isn’t going to cause problems with Jill. Worse without you to referee!”
“Bo, was that what I was back at your house?”
“Yeah, if that had been any other girl, let’s just say it would have ended badly. Now Jill and I are getting along great, because of the way you handled things.”
“Bo, I didn’t want to get into it awhile ago, because I knew you’d freak out.”
“Candy and you are pieces of the same soul. She’s going through a very hard time right now. Bo, being friends with you would help her.”
“You’re serious?”
“Yes, and I think you understand.” Gabby peered into my eyes.
“She’ll feel like she’s home?”
“Yes Bo, you get it!” She said happily, “You’re familiar in a way she’ll feel deeply even though she won’t know why.”
“Oh, I get that, but I’m a little worried.”
“What about?” Gabby voiced genuine concern.
“I’ve never really been friends with an adult woman before, you know, on my own. Sally and I had share friends, I’d tell my jokes and talk, but I’ve never carried the relationship. I wouldn’t know where to begin. I always relied on her, I mean…”
Gabby cut me off, “I want you to spend some time with her, she needs…”
“She needs me?”
“Very much, Bo, will you help her?”
“I’ll try, Gabby, but what will I do? How can I help? I don’t know the first thing about…”
“You start by just listening, try to be her friend. A gentle nod, an a hum here and there. Hugs, you can do it! For heavens sakes, Bo, it’s not brain surgery!”
“I guess it’s pretty important if we share the same soul. I’m up for it.”
“Great Bo, I’m proud of you.”


My current novel


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Genre – Political Thriller

Rating – PG

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

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Boundless by Brad Cotton @BradCott0n

Chapter 6

NOT TWENTY MINUTES after leaving the motel, young Ruby fell asleep upon her bag in the back seat. As the BMW crossed the border into Colorado just before lunch, Ruby had still not awoken.

“When did you know?” Ray asked Duncan. He put down his book and looked over to the driver.

“Know what?”

“Did you just decide it one day or did you always think it?”

“This again?”

“Maybe it’s just a feeling,” Ray surmised. “Like people who think that everything happens for a reason. But you don’t think that, do you?”

“I think some things happen for a reason, sure,” Duncan said.


“Why would there be a word for fate if it didn’t exist?”

“There’s a word for unicorns, isn’t there?”

“I think there has to be some kind of plan,” Duncan said. “You can fall off the path or change direction, but you can’t run from who you are.”

“What’re you guys talking about?” a voice said from the back seat.

Ray curled his head around the over-sized headrest.

“Oh, nothing,” he said. “Just something we started a long time ago.”


“No. Not unicorns.”

“It sounds like you’re talking about unicorns.”

“Ray’s been trying to understand how I can believe in God,” Duncan said.

Duncan looked in the rear view mirror to see if he could catch Ruby’s reaction. He couldn’t even see the top of her head. Though awake, Ruby had slouched down even further and curled across the entire back seat. She rested her head on her bag and shut her eyes once more.

“Arguing whether there is or isn’t a God is like arguing whether or not a song is good,” she said. “You can never be right and you can never be wrong.”

“You believe in God?” Ray asked.

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?”

“I’m assuming you don’t?”

“Not for a second.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“The evidence against it is overwhelming.”

“So then what happens to you when you die?” Ruby asked.

“You die,” Ray said. “You’re dead. End. Over. Bye bye.”

“I think I believe in reincarnation,” Ruby said, her eyes still closed. “Haven’t you ever met someone that you feel you’ve met before, or that you know from somewhere else? And what about all those people that just seem so new?”

“Well, if there is such a thing as reincarnation, I’d come back as a cat,” Ray said.

“A cat?” Duncan said. “You hate cats.”

“For the same reasons I’d want to be one.”

“A cat?”

“A housecat, yeah. I’d lie around all day. Someone else would get my food, rub me down, and no one would give a shit if I ever paid any attention to them.”

“Pray on it,” Duncan said.

“Don’t you want to be in heaven?” Ruby asked. “Don’t you want to think that once you die you’ll get to be with the people you love? The people you’ve lost?”

“I think it sounds like a pretty crowded place,” Ray said. “And no, I don’t think I’d want to be anywhere where I had no purpose.”

Duncan shook his head.

“Can we stop?” Ruby asked.

“Yes, please,” Duncan said. “We’ve been talking about it forever and we never get anywhere.”

“No, can we stop. I’m a girl, small bladder.”

“Oh, yeah, sure,” Duncan answered. “I’m hungry, anyway.”

“Yeah, a cat.” Ray said. “That’s the life.” He nodded as he looked out the window at the grass whizzing by.

Duncan pulled off Interstate 70 at the outskirts of Grand Junction, Colorado. He screeched into a gas station and Ruby sprung from the car and scurried to the washroom. Ray got out to stretch his legs; Duncan began refueling.


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Genre – Contemporary Fiction/Literary Fiction

Rating – R

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