Rachel Thompson

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

AFN Clarke Shares His Strength as a Writer @AFNClarke #AmWriting #Thriller #GoodReads


What’s your greatest strength as a writer?
I think my greatest strength is trusting my instincts and allowing my characters to write themselves into an intriguing story.  I never plot out my books from beginning to end, I just can’t write that way.  To me the characters and story have a life of their own that they reveal to me as I write – and so to touch a reader I need the characters to think, live, breathe and expand the way life does – never predictable, never scripted but growing and developing organically.  I guess it takes a bit of insanity to write this way, but it’s my way and for me it works.
What’s your greatest character strength?
I would have to say, perseverance. It’s a trait that was definitely strengthened through life’s circumstances. The army taught me a level of perseverance that probably saved my life, once I was medically discharged.  No-one thought I would live through my medical ordeal, but my determination proved them wrong. I’ve tackled difficult jobs and situations throughout my life and don’t give up easily and I think that’s what helps me as an author as well.
I knocked on doors for over two years before my first book CONTACT was accepted by a publisher and then became a bestseller.  If a chapter in my book is not to my liking I will write and rewrite till I get the “aha” moment when I know I’ve cracked the code and it’s flowing again. I hate problems or puzzles I can’t solve – so I keep teasing away at them till I figure them out.  It’s that curiosity plus tenacity that I think makes me want to continually be a better writer, better “whatever” and most likely helps me keep going when others might give up.
Are there any books you really don’t enjoy?
I think every book and genre of book has developed, in some measure, as a response to a wide variety of readers’ needs.  And even if I do not enjoy a particular book, as an author I can still learn something from it.  But nevertheless there are certain types of books I generally don’t read.
Romance novels, because I find most of them over sentimental, soppy and a bit formula.  Books with gratuitous violence, which is strange to say, as my thrillers involve violent acts and death – but vivid descriptions of violent or sordid acts that are written just to shock are not what I enjoy reading and not what I would call good literature. “How-to-become-spiritual-and-a-better-person” books, because again, I don’t think that’s a “follow-these-steps” process or formula.  My personal belief is that deep inside we all know what we need to do to become better people and we have the capacity – we’re just too lazy, it doesn’t always suit us, we try to avoid putting in the effort or personal change required.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favourite authors? Why?
I love good literature and books that stretch my horizons. I grew up on the classics but if I had to choose one author to highlight, it would be JP Donleavy. His books like “The Gingerman”, “A Singular Man”, “The Onion Eaters” and others opened my eyes to the fact that creative writing is a living organism. When you write creatively you have the ability to invent in many ways, both grammatically and with vocabulary, which if it works, creates a vivid colourful and satisfying result. Donleavy turns convention on its head, leaves out verbs, uses words in a visceral or visual rather than “correct” way and it’s an amazingly freeing experience to read him.
If someone had the power to step into your creative mind what would they see?
I think they’d see something that resembles a really large, intricate, interconnected spider web. Because I write in a “stream of consciousness” style, my stories evolve organically. This means that I continually have all of the characters, events and sub-layers in my mind all the time. This creative soup is “processed” 24/7 into intricate patterns that find their way onto the page each day. The web is woven in my head first, so that’s what readers would see – it’s a bit like chaos theory – there actually is order in what appears to be total chaos.
Do you have a favourite character in your new thriller series, aside from the lead? If so, which one and why?
In my new Thomas Gunn thriller series, in the first book, The Orange Moon Affair, one of my favourite characters is Julie.  And in the second, The Jonas Trust Deception, it’s Sarah. Most “male dominated” thrillers avoid strong female characters, but why? In my opinion women often have greater insight and that quiet strength of character that men often lack when they only resort to brute force to solve problems. They’re also more unpredictable. Julie weaves all those characteristics, plus a fierce loyalty and other hidden abilities into a dominant role that results in a highly surprising ending to the first book.  With Sarah, I love her courage, gutsiness, down-to-earthiness and her willingness to take on any risk, despite her own physical disability.  But mostly, she just makes me smile.
In all the years you’ve been publishing your work, what is the biggest mistake you made that you could share so others can avoid making it?
Fortunately, my first book CONTACT (a memoir) was a bestseller but then I made a rookie mistake that I’ve never made again. My publisher said “so what’s your next book?” and I said “what book?” Oops – wrong answer! My second book, Collisions, did OK, but it took a while to get the momentum back.  My advice? Don’t let the limelight get to your head – take your ego, box it up, and get back to work! Now I always know what my next book is going to be… and the next… and the next.
How important do you think villains are to a story?
Villains are important in certain types of stories, the most obvious being in thrillers, suspense, espionage, action and adventure and in true stories, of course.  But the villain role may be equally played out in other genres, by someone who simply evokes strong emotions and creates dramatic tension.  Those kinds of roles help carry a story forward and keep the reader’s interest.
The danger of villains is when they are written one dimensionally and become cardboard cut-outs that take away from, rather than add to, believability.  Mind you, sometimes a Bond-movie-type-of-villain that’s pure evil whom we love to “boo” is greatly entertaining, and just what we need.
How do you find the time to write?
I think every writer is, to some degree, self-indulgent, as to be successful we simply have to sit and write no matter what else is happening around us. Or that’s how I feel, anyway. I’m lucky to be writing full-time but have to acknowledge that my amazing wife bears the brunt of handling the demands of everyday life so that I can actually spend each day at my computer. I let go of a lot of things normal people do  – I become more of a hermit and far less social but the consistency pays off and I think my books are better for it.
What is one thing you hope I do not tell the readers?
Ha, that’s a very funny question! I have to admit I have a short fuse with people who won’t think for themselves or refuse to “think outside the box”. I am insatiably curious, read tons, and love to have heated discussions. That’s when I feel most excited and alive, and so I’m baffled by some people who seem to live life on automatic, and never question anything. Or people who just want to sit on the side-lines of life and “watch”. Sadly we’ve become too much of a “spectator society” instead of getting in there, boots and all, and participating.
You are self-published, what led to you going your own way?
My first 6 books were traditionally published, but I’ve stepped out of that system in more recent years. I found I had to do most of the marketing myself anyway, so why not take back control and reap the rewards? So I did, I got my rights back and released all my work as eBooks in the Amazon Kindle Store. Interestingly, after 30 years Random House agreed to hand back the rights to my bestseller CONTACT as the book was supposedly “too old”. I am glad to say I have proven them wrong! It’s still one of my bestsellers and resonates with readers all over the world. I love the freedom self-publishing brings, though would still work with a good publisher on a more equal footing if that were possible.

The Jonas Trust Deception, another Thomas Gunn thriller by bestselling author AFN Clarke, follows The Orange Moon Affair, a “hard to put down”, “5-star novel by a 5-star author”. Thomas (ex-Special Forces) goes on high alert after a desperate message from his journalist friend, Morgan. She’s in danger. But where? And why? Rushing to her ranch he finds it being torn apart by a highly-trained female assassin of East European descent, with a mysterious butterfly tattoo on her neck. An image that sends his mind reeling. Dread seeping into his soul.
In her ongoing investigations, Morgan may have uncovered something even more explosive and far-reaching than the Orange Moon conspiracy.  If so, her enemies will want both her and her information destroyed. Racing to follow tangled leads, Thomas and his girlfriend Julie are thrust into the deadly path of Mexican drug cartels, corrupt politicians, unscrupulous financial brokers like Jonas T Purdue, the FBI, the UK intelligence services and their arch nemesis Marika Keskküla. What deception binds these unlikely “players” together? What’s their power struggle really about? And even more personally disturbing, why the constant links back to a secret mission in Afghanistan, that Thomas has tried so hard to forget?
Outraged by the feeling of constantly being “played”, Thomas decides to turn the tables on the faceless “puppeteers” by taking an action so bold, so dangerous, and so unexpected, that even his team fear he’s lost his mind. Has he? Or can he expose the “vermin” at the top and finally eliminate them forever?
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-13
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Connect with A.F.N. Clarke on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, April 25, 2014

Getting to Know #Fantasy Author @NRNadarajah #AmReading #BookClub

What scares you the most? 
Public speaking makes me nervous. Losing loved ones worries me. Both are common amongst most people. As for fear. I can confidently say I have no fears. And if I do have one, I’m not aware of it, because I’ve yet to find out what that fear is.
What makes you happiest? 
I’m a very simple guy and it doesn’t take much to get me happy or to keep me happy. Now, if you’d like to know what would make me ‘happiest’, I’d have to go with my career as a writer taking off. Either that, or a world-class sushi buffet.
Why do you write? 
I write because I love telling stories, and because I don’t like repeating myself (insert chuckle here).
Have you always enjoyed writing?
Perhaps up until my preteen years, I wasn’t overly fond of writing. I loved telling stories, but I hated writing them down when my teachers insisted that I do so as a journal entry or a short story.
I didn’t quite have the patience for it then.
What motivates you to write? 
I always finish what I start, both for my sake, as well as those who’re involved. Whenever I run low on motivation, I tell myself that somewhere out there, someone’s waiting for me to finish writing my next book and I can’t disappoint them. I then throw on my film score soundtracks and force myself to put down a few words. During the first few minutes, my brain usually curses me for pushing it to wake up. But I keep pushing at it, greasing the wheels to get my train of thought rolling. Needless to say, once I do, my brain usually thanks me for having pushed it to start working.
What are you most proud of in your personal life? 
Growing up, I was often stressed and that, as a result, affected my personal life.
Having said that, the two things that I’m proud of are that I’ve learned to control my stress to the point it’s now almost nonexistent, and I’ve learned to keep my mood as mellow as possible. In the society we live in, and the hectic lifestyles we’re forced to live, it’s good to have those two traits. And because of those two traits, I’ve found a balance to my work, family, and personal lives, and it’s made all three that much better.
What books did you love growing up? 
Norpert Nipkin (my first experience reading fantasy as a child), which led to The Hobbit as a preteen, and ultimately, The Lord of the Rings as a teen.
As a preteen, I also loved books by Gary Paulsen, as well as random assortments of ‘choose-your-own-adventure books’. Whatever happened to those? I’d love to see them come back.
Who is your favorite author?
J.R.R. Tolkien, and the runner up is J.K. Rowling.
What genre of books do you adore?
I’m a fantasy buff. About 90% of the books I read fall into that genre. Aside from that, I’ve enjoyed some mystery, certain historical fiction, a little bit of sci-fi, and a bit of literary fiction.
What book should everybody read at least once? 
The Harry Potter series. For those who love reading, this is a must read. For those who don’t read, this is the perfect series to get them reading. The Harry Potter series is one that caters to almost anyone, regardless of age, gender, or reading preference.
Are there any books you really don’t enjoy? 
Books that thin down and degrade certain genres. There are many, many books I can name that have come out in recent years that have utterly and completely devastated certain genres, as well as folklore that took past generations many, many years to build. So that I don’t go on a rant, I’ll leave it at that.
Haunted by memories of his massacred settlement, sixteen-year-old Weaver seeks cover in a hidden refuge among the remains of a ruined city. In the midst of building a new life, Weaver discovers that he has the amazing power to cast his dreams into reality. Convinced it’s just an anomaly, Weaver ignores it. That is until he learns of a mysterious man who shares the ability, and uses his power to bring nightmares into existence and wage war on the world. The peaceful life Weaver hoped for begins to unravel as waves of chaos begin to break loose about him. In a race against time, Weaver must learn to accept his role as a dream caster and master his new power, before his new home is destroyed and humanity is pushed to the brink of extinction.
Buy @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Fantasy
Rating – PG
More details about the author
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

@DeanFWilson and the Importance of Cover Design #AmWriting #WriteTip #Fantasy

The popular idiom is “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but despite how true it might be in an idealistic sense, the reality of the book industry is that the vast majority of readers do indeed use the cover of a book as a deciding factor in not only whether or not they should buy the book, but if they will enjoy it as well.
With millions of books for readers to choose from, the first “sales pitch” is the cover. If it is not striking enough to draw attention, it will be passed over for something more interesting on either side.
If the text is not clear enough from a distance, or when the image is a thumbnail online, then a great sounding title will be lost on a potential customer. If the font is sloppy, unappealing, illegible, or just unprofessional (such as the overly-used, and some would say abused, Comic Sans or Papyrus fonts), it will immediately turn off the reader.
The cover is not only a billboard for the book, but, in a sense, the first page of the story, because it is here that the book can communicate a little of the style and mood of the tale inside. A dark cover, with lots of shadow, can suggest a horror, while a bright white cover with clouds could suggest a motivational textbook. This is important because it speaks to the emotions of the reader, engaging them on a deeper level, and thus potentially not only securing a book sale, but setting the stage for whether or not they will like the book in the first place.
A cover can also create preconceptions in a reader’s mind about what the characters or the setting look like. It is debatable whether or not this is a good thing, as the cover design may not match the author or reader’s ideas, but it could act as a visual aid where necessary. Romance and erotica obviously make good use of this fact with appealing models on the front cover, enticing readers as much as they might entice each other as characters in the story.
A well-designed cover is the first assurance the reader has that the book is of a high quality, both in content and delivery. The cover can scare away a customer or lure them in. Bad covers, with pixelated images, watermarks clearly visible, text badly formatted or aligned, and so forth, suggest to the reader that the interior of the book will be equally sloppy.
When a cover design is poorly produced it can also create preconceptions in the mind of the reader, setting them in “critical” mode as opposed to “enjoyment” mode. With their attention already drawn to errors and sloppiness, they will more easily spot mistakes in the text, or might even go looking for them. They are also likely to be less forgiving of typos than they would of what appears to be a more professional work.
The importance of cover design has prompted many big publishers to come up with different covers for different markets, catering to the unique culture of each region. Design principles are not the same the whole world over, leading to, for example, simpler designs on many UK covers, with more frequent use of negative space, and more detailed designs on US covers that cram in more imagery, potentially speaking to different cultural perceptions of “value for money.”
Titles on covers can also change, thanks to different meanings of words in different countries. A classic example isHarry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which was renamed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the US, since “philosopher” does not have the same connotations with magic there as it does in the UK. The artwork also changed to help reinforce the magical themes of the book, and the font itself became much more mystical, ending up being the form that was employed for the movies as well.
Great cover designs therefore need to draw the reader’s attention, engage them on an emotional level, suggest the tone and style of the work, and showcase the quality of the book itself, all the while taking into consideration the potential cultural expectations of the reader. This is a monumental task, without doubt, but one that could be a deciding factor in making a book a best-seller.

After the catastrophe of the Call of Agon, Ifferon and his companions find themselves in the unenviable situation of witnessing, and partaking in, the death of another god—this time Corrias, the ruler of the Overworld.
With Corrias locked inside the corpse of the boy Théos, he suffers a fate worse than the bonds of the Beast Agon. Yet hope is kindled when the company find a way to restore the boy, and possibly the god, back to life.
The road to rebirth has many pitfalls, and there are some who consider such meddling with the afterlife a grave risk. The prize might be life anew—but the price might also be a second death.
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Genre - Epic Fantasy
Rating – PG
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lazar’s Mission by Kevin Sterling @ksterlingwriter #Mystery #Suspense #AmReading

Excerpt from Chapter Four

It was eleven fifteen, and there was no sign of Melati. She could have been late for a number of reasons, or a complete no-show for that matter, and Jack hoped it was the former. No doubt, fraternizing with the passengers was forbidden, or at least frowned upon. So the question was whether she had been sufficiently lured by Jack’s charm to break the rules. His stomach was in knots from the anticipation of seeing her, and he paced the floor of his suite like a caged animal.
Part of him was over-the-top excited to see her, play with her. But a voice of reason in the depths of his consciousness couldn’t help but speculate whether he was getting himself into trouble again. He just couldn’t see how.

Perhaps Jack was just channeling his Eastern mentor, Tasagi, who had not only been his private jujitsu and karate instructor for several years now, but over time had become a valuable spiritual guide as well. According to Tasagi, Jack was bringing dangerous situations to himself through a process called the Law of Attraction, and it was tied to his internal belief system. That meant Jack consciously believed he had chosen to involve himself with certain people or situations because of their reasonable appearance on the surface, whereas in reality his energy had attracted an underlying issue or conflict, and he didn’t recognize it until it was too late.

The problem was that Tasagi had him questioning everything now, including sweet Balinese girls, and he knew he had finally taken it too far. He knew there was nothing at all wrong with Melati, and he prayed he would soon hear her knock on the door.

In the meantime, he forced himself to stop pacing, and he reclined on the couch with a bottle of water to hydrate himself for what he hoped to be a spirited night.

To get more comfortable, he had changed into a loose-fitting pair of white drawstring linen pants with an aquamarine linen shirt and brown woven leather loafers sans the socks. After all, the ship was traversing the Mediterranean Sea toward the north coast of Africa, so an outfit leaning toward the tropical seemed most fitting.

Also, despite his earlier wine-opening announcement of eleven o’clock, he chose to uncork the bottle of Caymus Special Selection Napa Cab at ten and empty it into a decanter to let it breathe. The wine steward had thoughtfully included a pair of Spiegelau vinovino Cabernet wineglasses, and Jack knew the large, appellation-designed bowls would let the wine open up to its full potential.

Kevin Sterling

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Genre – Action, Mystery, Suspense
Rating – R
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Heavyweight #YA #Excerpt by @MBMullhall #AmReading

Julian has visibly paled and is shaking slightly. I don’t know if it’s from anger or shock. Seeing him in such a state has my rage immediately abating, heading south for the winter. Weary, I run a hand over my face.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to snap…. I just… I’m exhausted and stressed, and to be honest, I’m not used to having people do things for me.” He’s still shaking like an autumn leaf in a strong breeze. Oh God. Did I break him? I grab his hand and half drag him around to the alley between the theater and the now closed drug store.
It’s dark, and no one can see us unless they step into the alley themselves. Without stopping to think of the consequences, I pull his shaking body close to me and wrap my arms around him. He fits perfectly against me, like a matching puzzle piece. I rest my chin on top of his head and tell him again I’m sorry for my outburst.
I realize his trembling has subsided. He’s not hugging me back, but he’s not trying to break free of my embrace, either. I’ve tread into very dangerous territory here. Unsure what to do, I slowly let my arms drop and take a small step back, where I meet the cold brick again.
What else is there to do other than apologize again and hope I didn’t royally fuck things up by hugging him? Hanging my head, I let the “sorry” slip through my turned-down lips and turn to leave the alley.
Before I can leave the shadows, his spry body is up against mine, pushing with such force that I can feel the rough texture of the bricks through my clothes. His long, graceful artist’s fingers are in my hair, roughly pulling my head down to meet his. Soft, warm lips meet mine in a gentle caress, unlike the frenzied actions of the rest of his body. He’s grabbing at my hair, rubbing up against me. My mind is in a complete fog.
It’s a fantasy come true. He nips at my bottom lip, surprising me. His wet, seeking tongue coaxes my mouth open, and I sigh as he explores the formerly uncharted territory. I’m acting on instinct, sending my own tongue out on an exploratory mission—Lewis and Clark have nothing on me. I taste the sharp tang of metal as my tongue touches his lip ring. It wakes me out of my hormonal haze.
Eyes wide, I push him away from me. My head spins wildly, looking to see if anyone has caught our tentative dance. Thankfully, there is no one waiting to cast stones at us. My head keeps shaking.
I have to do something. Say something. I know it’s going to hurt him, and God, the last thing I want to do is hurt him. I want to drag him down to the dirty ground and run my hands along the expanse of his sinewy frame, telling him how beautiful he is, how his kiss set my entire body on fire. But I can’t. I can’t let the secret out. No matter how much I want this man, how much I want to confide in him and learn about him and have him teach me… I can’t. I hope he can forgive me for what I’m about to do. I have to force the words past my still tingling lips. My traitorous tongue trips me up.
“Jules, I’m not… I’m sorry… but I’m not gay.”
Secrets. Their weight can be crushing, but their release can change everything—and not necessarily for the better. Ian is no stranger to secrets. Being a gay teen in a backwater southern town, Ian must keep his orientation under wraps, especially since he spends a lot of time with his hands all over members of the same sex, pinning their sweaty, hard bodies to the wrestling mat.
When he’s trying not to stare at teammates in the locker room, he’s busy hiding another secret—that he starves himself so he doesn’t get bumped to the next weight class.
Enter Julian Yang, an Adonis with mesmerizing looks and punk rocker style. Befriending the flirtatious artist not only raises suspicion among his classmates, but leaves Ian terrified he’ll give in to the desires he’s fought to ignore.
As secrets come to light, Ian’s world crumbles. Disowned, defriended, and deserted by nearly everyone, Ian’s one-way ticket out of town is revoked, leaving him trapped in a world he hates—and one that hates him back.
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Genre - LGBT, YA
Rating – PG-13
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Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Angel & The Brown-Eyed Boy by Sandy Nathan @sandyonathan #Excerpt #SciFi #TBR

When the girl appeared on the sidewalk, the edges of her body and clothing were fuzzy, as though all of her hadn’t arrived. She looked up and down the street, the way a person would if she’d forgotten an address or lost her way.

Her hair was frizzed and matted, sticking out akimbo. She was thin, had a dirty face, and wore a scratchy coat that was far too big. Its sleeves were rounded little capes; her arms stuck out of them like chopsticks protruding from a napkin. The coat slipped off her shoulders, first to one side, then the other. She hitched it up and kept walking. When she walked, the coat opened to reveal her feet and lower legs.

Her thin socks, trimmed with grayed lace, were pulled up to make a ruffle below her knees. Pink satin laces held up the socks, their Xs snaking up her shins from her shoes. She looked pretty much like everyone she saw, except for her shoes. Long pink ballet slippers stuck out from beneath her coat, as improbable as roses sprouting from the cement.

Eliana made her way along the sidewalk, knowing that she was dirty, feeling the grit in her hair and on her skin. When she had reached the planet’s atmosphere, clothes and all sorts of things had rushed at her with great force, tossing her over and over. Dirt had come, too. She’d found the clothes she needed and put them on the way her teachers had shown her. Then her people had put her where she was.

Humans passed, but no one stopped or said anything to her. A paper blew against her leg. More dirty papers blew and piled up everywhere. Streaked and grimy buildings rose near her. Writing in different colors covered their walls. She looked carefully, but couldn’t make out the words. She’d learned to read and write English, but those words mystified her.

“Hey, you!” a person said loudly.

“Yes?” She spoke to a human for the first time, politely bowing. The human was dirty like Eliana, with torn clothes and matted hair. She couldn’t tell if it was a he or a she.

“Get out of here!” the ragged person shouted. “You don’t belong here.” Eliana cowered, but the stranger rushed past her, clawing at something Eliana couldn’t see. “Stay away,” the human said, and then stood with feet braced, shouting, “Get out of here, all of you. Stay away!” The creature hadn’t seen Eliana at all.

The girl realized that her people were right; they had put her where no one would notice her. Now she needed to tell them that she had arrived. She raised one foot, turning it gracefully and resting it easily on the other knee. She flicked the shoe with her finger, listening. A trill of clear notes deep within her brought the hint of a smile. She held the coat closed and stood still. She was where she was supposed to be. It had begun.

She fingered the piece of paper in her pocket. Her map. Beneath it, in the pocket’s depths, was the notebook. What was written on it would get her where she needed to go. She had all she needed.
She walked a long way along the hard path. More humans passed her. To her left, gray, inert structures rose high in the sky, blocking the sun. She touched the see-through parts of their lower levels, looking at the humans inside. They looked at each other with darting eyes, speaking rapidly.

Everyone outside rushed frantically, noticing nothing. They didn’t see her, just as her people had said.
Eliana choked when a very large carrier passed, spewing a foul odor. The carrier floated above the hard surface where the vehicles moved. Her teachers had told her about the floating. Though she couldn’t see it, a force lived under the machines that made them go. It would kill her if it touched her.

She didn’t know what kill meant; kill did not exist in her world. Her mother had explained that she would be like a dead pet. She had seen dead pets before they whisked them away. Motionless husks. She moved away quickly. Better get on with her purpose. She didn’t have much time.

A man with a round stomach and a gray hat walked out of an opening in the ground with many others. He walked like he had a mission. His coat was the same scratchy stuff as hers, but it was buttoned up and looked new. He looked new; his face was ruddy and clean. His shoes reflected the pale sunlight. The trill of notes resounded in her mind once again.

He was the one! She stood in front of him to make him stop. She hoped he could comprehend her speech.

“Will you help me?” she said, working to form the strange words.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Buy Now @ Amazon

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Metaphysical Science Fiction
Rating – R
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Friday, April 4, 2014

Once Humans by Massimo Marino @Massim0Marin0 #SciFi #AmReading #BlogTour

Memories from Dan Amenta’s Journal

We had the perfect life in the French-Swiss countryside until that mysterious windstorm in February. No one realized anything unusual has happened, but the next morning, while driving Annah, my daughter, to school, I discovered that vehicles littered the highway, with their dead occupants still inside.

Returning home, no one answered the phone at any of the emergency departments nor could I or my wife, Mary, reach our relatives and friends. Checking on the neighbors, I found them dead.

We soon realized we might be the only survivors of a global catastrophe. We stock up on emergency supplies, turn the house into a stronghold, and collected food and medicines. The Internet still worked so I launched a large, online campaign to find other survivors with the hope of learning more about what we were facing. While waiting for any response at all, I managed to befriend some neighborhood dogs and we armed ourselves with survival gear.

At first, it felt weird and disturbing to go into stores and take things without paying but, of course, there was no one to pay. The whole world had become a ghost town.


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Genre – Science Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Author Interview – Mark David Major & Layce Boswell @markdmajor

Image of Mark David Major

Mark David Major
Are there any new authors that have sparked your interest and why?
MARK: I seem to be reading a lot of Swedish authors lately. I don’t know why.

What contributes to making a writer successful?
MARK: Love what you’re writing and the rest will take care of itself. If you don’t love writing, then you’re in the wrong gig.

Do you have any advice for writers?
MARK: Write what you love and the rest will take care of itself. Don’t ever underestimate the importance of editing what you write. However, ‘always cut what you love the most’ (a sentence, a scene, and such) is a surprisingly effective rule of thumb to follow.

What are your goals as a writer?
MARK: To write what I love and hope people like or love it, today, tomorrow or some point in the future even after I’m gone.

What do you do to unwind and relax?
LAYCE: I like listening to music, watching Disney films, and riding my bike.

MARK: Hanging out with dog Izzy, watching a film, indulging in guilty-pleasure TV shows. My TV schedule is as, chronologically by day: The Walking Dead/Falling Skies (Sunday); How I Met Your Mother (Monday); New Girl (Tuesday); Survivor (Wednesday); and Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team (Friday).

Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers?
MARK: A squeaky wheel never points north.

An Infinitesimal Abundance of Color, written by Mark David Major and beautifully illustrated by Layce Boswell, tells the simple story of a father answering his daughter’s questions at bedtime.

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Genre – Juvenile Fiction/Bedtime and Dreams
Rating – G
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