Rachel Thompson

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Richard Parry Opens Up About His #WIP & Full-Time Job #AmWriting #Authors #Fantasy

Do you plan to publish more books?
You couldn’t stop me if you tried.
Okay, before someone steps up with a big CHALLENGE ACCEPTED shirt and cuts off my fingers, there are probablyways you could stop me.  Let’s not go down that road.
I have a current plan to release a new title about once a year.  A lot depends on the title, and how much work’s needed.  For example, Night’s Favour is about 108,000 words, give or take, and I know how long that took to write. Upgrade is looking to be more like 150,000 words.
The complexity ramps up. I look at books like REAMDE by Stephenson, and I’m not quite sure how he does it, to keep coherence throughout.  I’m sure Stephenson has a brain the size of Mars, but still, the editing process must belegendary.
That aside, I have four more books to be released about one-a-year to make a five-for-five plan.  I’ve got a few people asking for a sequel to Night’s Favour, and one of those books is that sequel — you’ll get your story, to find out where Val and Danny go, what John does with his life, where Carlisle ends up.  One of them will be a sequel toUpgrade.  I don’t want to say too much about that, as it’ll spoil the surprise, except to say that I plan to deliverUpgrade in a full complete story when it’s done.  It’ll stand alone without a sequel: the tale will be complete, and you’ll be able to choose — as with Night’s Favour — whether you want to dip a toe into the sequel.
The fifth book is a new thing for me — it’ll be my first book with a female lead.  This one is going to be the hardest one of them all to write, because (being a male human) I don’t easily understand what life’s like to be a woman.  I hope the book doesn’t suck.
What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time…
I used to say that I played piano in a whorehouse, because it was more honourable than my actual job, until someone asked me to play a tune.
I can’t play the piano.
“Something in computers,” is my usual answer.  I work for the government, with the usual bunch of Top Men*, trying to help make realistic investment planning advice in information systems, along with planning for disruptive innovation.
* ObIndy
It’s a little less awesome than it sounds.
Totally, it pays the bills, and pays quite well.  But the skills aren’t easily transferrable: it’s not like all that business writing maps to a page of character-driven storytelling.  And the biggest challenge is keeping my head straight, my creativity on tap, to generate good stories.
Mostly what I want to do when I get home is drink.  That’s not great for creativity.
I’d love a job where I could work part-time, a couple days a week.  I only need so much money to survive, and I’d much rather write — even if it pays poorly — most of the time.  It’s nice to dream.
What other jobs have you had in your life?
For a few years I worked as a consultant.  That’s kind of interesting, if you don’t mind having your brain fried on a sort of hourly basis.
The way I pitch consulting is a bit like this: imagine you’re walking on a tightrope.  You’ve got to get to the other end, and someone’s shooting at you.  Along the way, someone sets fire to the rope, and it’s about to break.  You, and only you, have the skills to repair that rope.
And you can’t walk a tightrope.
That’s kind of what it’s like.  It’s exciting!  But it’s not something I can handle for more than two or three years at a throw.  I wouldn’t mind doing more of it, but again, in brief spurts.
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?
I’ve thought about this a surprising amount.  It’s one of the things I’d like to do: when I retire, spend the rest of my days at a university learning stuff because it’s cool, not because it’s something to monetise.
My early answer would have been Philosophy, but now I think it’d be Religion.  Most of the things I find interesting are about people and how they work, and much of the way the world is today is about what people believe, and have believed, throughout history.  Understanding how all that fits together — or at least getting a bit of insight into it, if not the whole thing — would be a lot of fun.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
It might be somewhere mediterranean.  I loved Italy, the people, the food, the climate.  There’s not much to not like about the place, except for serious things like the economy and the government.
Failing that, somewhere quiet.  It’d be nice to have a house on the edge of a remote lake, a fridge of beer and a satellite uplink, to spend my days how I choose.  I’d write, and probably fish a little.  I never catch anything, but I don’t think that’s why people go fishing.
How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
When I was starting out in this gig, I spent some time working out what worked best for me.  You know, there’s some people out there with strong views.  I read a book once that said that anyone who didn’t use Word to write their work was some kind of imbecile.
I guess that’s a view.
Me, I’ve got nothing against Word, but I figure you’ve got to take your own steps to work this thing through.  Where I ended up was a sort of amalgam: I do my primary production on a laptop, usually at my desk in my sanctum sanctorum, or at a local cafe.  I always need some kind of network connection, which is easy at home, but I’ve got a good data plan on my phone so I can tether wherever I might find myself with an urge to scribe.
For example, I’m writing this in a cafe right now, using the Internet to make sure my use of “scribe” isn’t horrendous.  Mirriam-Webster supports my use of the word as an intransitive verb!  Take it home.
I don’t write in bed.  Bed’s for … other stuff.
Tech aside, I also have a notebook — I use that for freeform ideas, scribbles, plot thoughts.  I find that my mind is most nimble with a pen in my hand, and I have a strong desire to get one of the walls of my sanctum sanctorumconverted to a chalk board.
I take my phone everywhere, and take copious photos and notes of everything.  Most of these make it straight to the trash, but I’ve grabbed quite a few useful quotes, lines, and photos of people and things for places and outlines.  As a writer, much of what we do is creative, but I feel there’s a tremendous amount that is recording and observing the world and people around us.  Our ability to mulch it, synthesise it, and then make it real again is what makes us better at our craft.
Software?  I have a deep and long-standing love affair with Scrivener, and a newer hotbed romance with Scapple (both from the same company).  I haven’t found anything that equals Scriveners’ ability to work with words yet, and if I could have it installed on my office computer I’d do it in a flash.  I get that people like Word as well, and I can work within that, but really, anything works in a pinch.  Chunks of Night’s Favour were written in Notepad.
Where do you get support from? Do you have friends in the industry?
There’s a posse, sure.
I’m not sure if I’d call them “the industry,” but one of my close friends works as an editor.  She introduced me to a now mutual friend, who runs the speculative fiction publishing house Steam Press (who you should check out, because they’re doing things no one else is).
And there’s my writing homies — people I’ve met through writing, or have known for ages and discovered they’re closet writers too.  I have a writing group, which is awesome, we meet monthly over coffee and cake and talk about aliens and brain viruses.  Or, sometimes, their kids.
I find it hard to differentiate some of those categories.
Aside from the people who practice The Craft™, I have a group of friends who bend over backwards for me.  They are always willing to talk about ideas and offer advice, even when I don’t take it — which astounds me, that they deal with that without reservation.  It’d piss me off if I kept giving advice to someone and they didn’t take it, which probably makes my friends better people than me.  Or just more patient.
How much sleep do you need to be your best?
Somewhere in the ballpark of six or seven hours, depending on the day before.
It’s an odd day when I’ll sleep for eight hours.  That’d be a sign that I’ve been infected with some kind of parasite or soul worm, and putting me in a box and returning to sender would be the best policy.
Less than five hours, and The Beast comes out.  The Beast isn’t very articulate, has trouble remembering nouns, and gets angry, but without the endearing qualities of The Hulk.
Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
Easiest question by far.  My fiancĂ©, Rae.  She’s amazing.
Yeah, I know we’re supposed to say that, but there’s a lot of ways you can measure this objectively.  I don’t know — how many people do you know who will help you to the point of putting your life and dreams before theirs?
It’d be a short list, I can guarantee you that.
I don’t know if I’d be able to do this without her.  There’s a lot of incidental things that go along in life, whether you’re a writer or not, and I can absolutely guarantee she’s got my back in all things.  But from a writing perspective, she talks with me tirelessly about my work — even I get bored talking about it sometimes.
This is apparently weird.  I’ve talked to some of my “writing friends” whose partners are antagonistic about this weird, time-wasting pursuit they do, or are ambivalent about it, treating it as some sort of cute fad.
Fuck that noise.  Rae believes in me and my dreams, and helps them to become real.
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
It’d be nice to be financially successful, sure, and I’ll cover that one off first.  To me, I’d be super happy making even a third of my current income so I could “retire” from a day job and work full time.  That’s a firm metric, easily measurable.  Am I making X dollars per year?  Yes?  Quit your job!  No?  Keep writing.
The real form of success that I hadn’t considered until it happened was this: that people thought what you wrote was good.  That they liked it.  They say they couldn’t put it down, and  ask when the movie is coming out.  That it reminded them of Dean Koontz, Jim Butcher, whoever — that it reminded them of someone’s work they loved.
That kind of success can’t be bought or paid for, and it blew my mind.  That alone would keep me writing until the end of time.  That something that I wrote made someone else out there happy?  That’s what makes it worthwhile, and when I saw those comments start to come in, it was a measure of success I hadn’t expected or planned on.
It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
My marketing campaign, such as it is, is about reviews.  I think people attach well to reviews, and having quality reviews is vital.
By quality, I mean both good and bad.  The truth of it is, Night’s Favour is not in the same genre as Anne of Green Gables, sad as that may sound.  They are not the same by any measure, except that they are both written using the language commonly known as English.
Having a 2-star review from someone who’s read AoGG, but who explains why — that Night’s Favour was too violent for them, that they didn’t enjoy the fact that it’s got a werewolf in it — that’s valuable.  I don’t want people to have a shitty time with the book because it’s not what they expected.
By the same token, a 4-star review from someone who says they read Koontz and that the style is very similar — that is gold.  It helps people hone down: do they also like Koontz?  Is it worth giving this a shot?
The challenge here is quality — quite a few people are willing to write a review, but the number of useful statements that help you understand what they’d normally go for can be low.  As a reader shopping on Amazon or whatever, I find the best reviews give me context.
For example, doing a book tour is something I’m hoping will be highly useful — that a group of people with similar tastes will enjoy the work, and tell people about it.

Valentine’s an ordinary guy with ordinary problems. His boss is an asshole. He’s an alcoholic. And he’s getting that middle age spread just a bit too early. One night — the one night he can’t remember — changes everything. What happened at the popular downtown bar, The Elephant Blues? Why is Biomne, the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, so interested in him — and the virus he carries? How is he getting stronger, faster, and more fit? And what’s the connection between Valentine and the criminally insane Russian, Volk?
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Action, Thriller, Urban Fantasy
Rating – R16
More details about the author
 Connect with Richard Parry on Facebook & Twitter

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Author Spotlight on @RobertBreeze (2082) #Politics #Fiction #AmReading

What makes you happiest?
Writing with my dog at my feet.
What’s your greatest character strength?
Work ethic.
What’s your weakest character trait?
Obsessive about planning.
Why do you write?
Sounds vomit inducing but it’s just become my main passion.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
Not really. At university I noticed I had a bit of a talent for piecing essays together. Then thought it’d be fun to do that but with my own creations and characters I love. 
What writing are you most proud of?
I guess publicly I have to say The Chronicles Of Hope series (www.thechroniclesofhope.com) which I’m writing now. Secretly it’s probably a little known offensive book I’ve written that’s like an offensive critique on modern society. 
What book should everybody read at least once?
The Bible. It’s a great science fiction novel but the more we evolve as a species and the more it’s read, the more people will become conscious of the fact that it’s nonsense and that the main charac­ter is a jealous, vindictive, misogynistic, homophobic, racist, genocidal bully.
Is there any books you really don’t enjoy?
Erotic fiction.
How did you develop your writing?
The characters always come first. From there I fit them into a situation/story. I think the writing naturally gets better as you progress, so the key developing factor is time and patience.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
Now self publishing is a very feasible option I’d say the writing.
What marketing works for you?
Online. Interacting on forums, blogging, social media.

Frank Noon divides opinion. Whilst some say he’s a philosophical genius, some say he’s a fanciful dreamer who deliberately courts controversy with his anti-establishment views about the failings of modern society.
Seemingly nearing the end of his life in politics, he reluctantly fronts an experimental inter-galactic government project late in the 21st century aimed at making life on an overpopulated Earth more sustainable. As he battles to gain control of a relative asylum, consisting of a cross section of the populous as much at odds with themselves as the situation, he unwittingly embarks on a life-changing journey of self discovery.
As they learn more about the project and its intentions how far-reaching might the consequences be for the future of humanity?
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Political Fiction
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Robert Breeze on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, June 13, 2014

DEAD & GODLESS #Excerpt by Donald J. Amodeo @DonAmodeo #AmReading #Christian #TBR

“Establishing target coordinates. Captain, your key,” called Ransom.
In the angel’s hand glinted a titanium key. Corwin reached instinctively into his side pocket and his fingers closed on the cool, hard edge of its partner. Among the switches and dials on the panel in front of him was the slit of a lock.
“On the count of three!”
“Remind me why I’m doing this?”
“One, two . . .”
It doesn’t matter. None of this is real, thought Corwin, but no matter how much he tried to rationalize it, everything about the situation felt disturbingly wrong. An angel wouldn’t start a nuclear war, right?
The captain and his first mate twisted their keys in unison. Above a bright red button shielded by glass, the word “armed” blazed ominously. Ransom leaned over and flipped up the guard.
“It’s all yours, Captain.”
“Hold on a second!” Corwin’s finger trembled over the fateful button. “I don’t understand. At least tell me the circumstances!”
“What difference does it make? Just press the button!”
“It makes all the difference in the world!” insisted Corwin. “I don’t even know who we’re firing at! Are we the defender or the aggressor? How many people are going to die if I push that button?”
“Perhaps ten. Perhaps ten million. One number is as good as the next,” Ransom said dispassionately.
“This is insane! I must know the situation!”
“And if I told you, would you understand which course of action to take?”
“Surely an informed decision is better than a blind one!”
“But I thought that all true understanding is scientific understanding. Explain to me why firing a nuclear missile is just or unjust. Explain it with science!”
“I, but that is,” Corwin choked on his words. Could he quantify the value of human life? Taking a labored breath, he struggled to think clearly. “It’s in our genes, a feeling evolved from herd instinct.”
“You’re dancing around the subject, Captain!” growled Ransom. “I didn’t ask you to explain why you feel a sense of justice. I asked you to validate that feeling scientifically. Show me the equation that proves why the jumble of atoms you call a living human being is better than the jumble of atoms you call a corpse.”
“I can’t!” stammered Corwin. “There is no such equation!”
“Then the answer cannot be known scientifically. The question must be irrelevant!”
“I won’t do this! I won’t play your game!”
His voice shaking, Corwin snapped shut the guard and took a fearful step away from the button.
“Our orders come straight from the top. To disobey is treason!” In a flash, Ransom drew his sidearm, pressing its cold barrel to the side of Corwin’s head. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to relieve you of command, Captain.”
“Whoa!” Corwin threw up his hands. “I thought we were past the whole persuasion-by-physical-abuse stage in our relationship!”
“Let me make this easier for you. In a short time, this world’s sun will explode in a supernova, extinguishing all human life. Why not push the button?”
“Because . . . Because I . . .” Corwin’s mind groped for an answer, finding nothing.
“If I pull this trigger, science can tell me the velocity of the bullet, the heat in the chamber, the trajectory of the blood that splatters on the wall. But science cannot tell me if I should pull the trigger or not. Answering that question requires something more.”

When outspoken atheist Corwin Holiday dies an untimely but heroic death, he’s assigned a chain-smoking, alcoholic angel as his defense attorney in the trial to decide the fate of his soul.
Today many cast Christianity aside, not in favor of another faith, but in favor of no faith. We go off to school or out into the world, and we learn that reality is godless and that free thinking means secular thinking. But must faith entail an end to asking questions? Should not the Author of Reason be able to answer the challenge of reason?
Dead & Godless is a smart and suspenseful afterlife adventure that explores the roots of truth, justice and courage. In these pages awaits a quest that spans universes, where the stakes are higher than life and death, and where Christianity’s sharp edges aren’t shied away from, because we’re not called to be nice. We’re called to be heroes.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Christian Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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Connect with Donald J. Amodeo on Twitter

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Order of Earth (Elements of Ink) by Jennifer Cornet @J_Cornet #Fiction #Fantasy #BYNR

The brass doors opened behind her bringing with it an unexpected guest.

“I knew you’d come home.”

Onyx’ heart sank hearing him speak in that gentle voice. He always used that voice when he knew he was wrong; when he was trying to make her forgive him. It felt repulsively sweet now.

“She was just leaving,” Jade said in a firm tone as she turned to face him.

“Nicky, you brought a bodyguard with you? That hurts,” he sounded genuinely insulted.

“Goodbye, Philip.” Onyx said softly, suddenly lacking the confidence she just had.

Philip reached out for her arm, but Jade intercepted the action, grabbing him by the wrist and twisting it until he let out an almost inaudible yelp.

“You will not lay a hand on her. Not now, not ever again. If you so much as brush against her in a way I don’t like, I will break every bone in your body, starting with your pinky toe and ending with your skull.” She twisted just a little further.

But he didn’t lose his composure. He looked Onyx dead in the eye, “Quite a lot of bark for your little Chihuahua of a friend here, huh? Nicky, we don’t need all of this. This running away, the muscle, the hiding out, we are better than this. You know I love you more than anything in the world. Just come home, baby. I need you. It’ll be different, I promise. I’ll start going to therapy like you always wanted. You can even hang out with that crayon haired one. No questions asked. Just come home. What do you say? Come on, I need you.”

“Onyx, don’t you listen to him. Put the bags in the elevator, we’re leaving.”

Onyx hesitated, switching her gaze back and forth between the two. He looked so hurt, so broken up, she just wanted to leap into his arms and console him. For a moment, she could feel her heart ripping in her chest; she believed him. She believed he meant he would change and things would be different. She believed it and she hated herself for it.

Onyx rolled her bags into the elevator before she lost her nerve.

“Goodbye, Philip.” She said again.

“If you love her even half as much as you say, you’ll let us leave here. You’ll leave her alone and move on with your life. But keep the therapy bit, you need it.” Jade winked at him before joining Onyx.

As Jade released his wrist, he noticed a small green marking on her arm; a very familiar mark that he knew all too well.

The girls disappeared down to the ground floor, leaving Philip alone in his flower filled living room. He pulled out his phone and hit speed dial.

“She’s with the Order of Earth. Find out what family, find out who their Protector is, and find out now.”

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Urban Fantasy
Rating – PG – 13
More details about the author
Connect with Jennifer Cornet on Facebook & Twitter

DOUBT (Among Us) #Excerpt by Anne-Rae Vasquez @Write2Film #YA #Thriller

Kerim’s hand found its way to her knee.
Cristal leaped up from her seat, and her arms were flailing up to push Kerim away, which knocked Gabriel sideways as he was just entering the room. The tray of coffee mugs slipped from his hands onto the table and sent boiling coffee onto Kerim’s lap and her computer.
“Hey! Take it easy, man!” Kerim cried out.
“What the hell are you doing?” Gabriel shouted.
He reached out and grabbed the box of tissues from the table. Kerim stood up, coffee dripping down from his pants to the carpet.
“You are both insane!” Cristal snapped while pulling the tissue box from Gabriel’s hand.
“Hey, I need those,” Kerim said.
He reached out for the box.
Cristal pulled the box away, taking a handful of tissues and wiping the sticky brown mess off her computer. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Gabriel’s fists clenched. This is crazy.
“You know, you’re a real jerk,” Gabriel growled.
“What did you say?” Kerim asked in a quiet voice.
“Oh, you heard what I said,” Gabriel said, his eyes blazing.
He lunged towards Kerim, swinging at him. Kerim smoothly turned his body avoiding the punch. He grabbed Gabriel by the wrist and twisted his arm behind his back.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Cristal mumbled to herself.
She noticed that her hands had started to shake. Oh, not again! She needed to get out of there soon. She grabbed her laptop and backpack.
“What are you doing?” Gabriel asked with his hand still locked behind his back.
“Where are you going?” Kerim added, letting Gabriel’s arm go.
She stopped and whirled around to face them.
“I don’t have time for this, whatever this is. We need to finish the mission and obviously you two want to arm wrestle.”
Her hands were still shaking.

Do you love shows like J.J. Abrams’ Fringe and read books like Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones?
“Doubt” mashes fringe science, corporate espionage and paranormal encounters to catapult you into an out-of-this-world experience.
At 21 years old, Harry and Cristal are fresh out of university with their PhD’s. Labeled all their lives as being ‘weird’ and ‘geeky’, they find true friendships with other outcasts by playing online virtual reality games.
Harry Doubt, a genius programmer and creator of the popular online game ‘Truth Seekers’, has a personal mission of his own; to find his mother who went mysteriously missing while volunteering on a peacekeeping mission in Palestine. His gaming friends and followers inadvertently join in helping him find her; believing that they are on missions to find out what has happened to their own missing loved ones. During Harry’s missions, Cristal and the team of ‘Truth Seekers’ stumble upon things that make them doubt the reality of their own lives. As they get closer to the truth, they realize that there are spiritual forces among them both good and evil, but in learning this, they activate a chain of events that start the beginning of the ‘end of the world’ as they know it.
Doubt is Book 1 of the Among Us Trilogy. Among Us is a book series which delves into the world of the supernatural and how it intersects with the everyday lives of seemingly ordinary young people as catastrophic events on earth lead to the end of times. Among Us weaves the theme of a young man and woman, who while not fully understanding their ‘abilities’, are drawn together in their desire to find out the truth about the world they live in which is similar to themes used in J.J. Abrams’ TV shows Fringe and Lost.
What readers have to say…
As a big fan of the show Fringe, this book appealed to me tremendously. The writing was well done, and the way the “supernatural” forces were introduced was great.
A good, clean read for any age.
It was an excellent story that I’m sure both adult and teen urban fantasy fans will enjoy. You don’t have to be a gamer or know one to identify with the characters. They’re very well developed and definitely feel like people. I would definitely recommend it to a friend and I’m really looking forward to the second book.
…the novel is written in such a languid style, it moves on effortlessly and absorbs the reader into the story completely. Although the story itself revolves around the online gaming industry, one does not have to have an in depth knowledge as it is ably explained and discussed within the plot line.
OMGosh! I just finished reading “Doubt” INCREDIBLE! I couldn’t put it down.
˃˃˃ >>> Depth and Substance mashed up with Fringe Science. Will entertain young and old alike.
This book is intended for mature young adults and new adults. Ages 16 to 45 +
˃˃˃ >>Inspired by real Truth Seekers Aaron Swartz and Harry Fear
The main character Harry Doubt was inspired by Aaron Swartz, internet prodigy and activist, co-founder of the Creative Commons and Reddit, and Harry Fear, journalist, documentary filmmaker and activist whose coverage of the conflict in the Middle East was seen on UStream by millions of viewers.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Young Adult, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Thriller
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Anne-Rae Vasquez on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, June 6, 2014

Author Spotlight on RJ Blain (STORM WITHOUT END) #Fantasy #AmReading #BYNR

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
I grew up in the middle of the woods in Maryland. It was about 45 minutes to get to the nearest actual library, 20-30 minutes to the closest grocery store, and the morning commute to my high school took 2 hours. Once I learned to read, there was nothing else to do but play pretend and read books, so I got lost in my own little world fairly often.
The next door neighbor and I played abandoned on an island using a picnic table as our island and boat pretty often.
I abandoned ship after I turned 18 to move to Canada, as my fiancé (at the time) had work there, so it made sense for me to immigrate to Canada.
How did you develop your writing?
I practiced, practiced, and practiced some more. Then, with an overly ballooned ego, I asked another writer friend for his honest opinion. My ego balloon was shredded to little scraps. Being the stubborn type, I rolled over and played dead for a few months, dusted myself back off, snapped my fingers, and decided I’d prove him wrong. It was about that time I realized I had to relearn most of what I thought I knew about grammar…
I developed my writing by writing, reading about how to improve my writing, and trying to emulate the authors I really enjoyed until I found my own style and way.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I don’t really know. I just love telling stories, so I tell stories. If anything, I’m inspired by the people who enjoy reading the crazy stuff I come up with. I don’t really get inspired by the usual culprits, such as sitting in front of a fire with hot cocoa or watching the snow. I just write. I’ve never been one to try to need inspiration to write. That requires some outside condition to do it, and that’s a trap I just don’t want to fall into.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
Marketing. Writing for me is easy. I love doing it, and even when the editing is difficult, I love the process enough I don’t mind doing it. Getting published has gotten a whole lot easier over the years, especially with all of the self-publishing options and small publishing companies out there. Marketing feels like work…. Hard, thankless work.
What marketing works for you?
Any marketing I can have someone else do for me. Honestly, my favorite is word-of-mouth marketing, because that means people are enjoying my story and are talking about it. This really makes me happy! The rest is hard work, often thankless work (as results are rarely immediate), and sometimes expensive. That said, I’d rather invest money for a professional to handle my marketing because I’d rather be writing.
Do you find it hard to share your work?
Not at all. That said, I don’t like sharing my work with others often. I don’t want to annoy people. I try to limit how much time I spend sharing my work, since I don’t want to annoy the people connected with me on social networks. That said, I’m very happy to talk about my writing whenever someone is interested.
Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?
My family and friends are supportive, in that ‘I don’t understand why you spend so much time on this, but you’re you, so we’re behind this’ sort of way. It works out well. They know when I get crazy-eyed from approaching deadlines, that it’s a writer thing. They will then send tea, cupcakes, or moral support in other ways. But, mostly in the form of baked goodies…
Do you plan to publish more books?
Definitely. Next year, I hope I can turn four manuscripts I’ve been working on into actual books ready for publication. We’ll see if that works out. I do have two set for publication next year, though.
What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time…
I am a freelance developmental editor. I help other writers get their novels whipped into shape on a structural level, with a focus on style, voice, tension, pacing, plot, and character development. A lot of the funds I earn as an editor, I turn around and invest back into my own writing.
What other jobs have you had in your life?
I worked as a marketer for an adult website company for a while, then that company entered the dating website niche. I coordinated the marketing teams, dealt with invoicing and contracts between our business and advertisers, and other jack-of-all-trades jobs in the office.
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?
Archaeology. I always wanted to be a modern day, slightly more realistic Indiana Jones. Except female. As a second and third option, I’d love to get into Paleontology or Volcanology. What can I say? I have a thing for history, things buried in the ground, or explosions.
Kalen’s throne is his saddle, his crown is the dirt on his brow, and his right to rule is sealed in the blood that stains his hand. Few know the truth about the one-armed Rift King, and he prefers it that way. When people get too close to him, they either betray him or die. The Rift he rules cares nothing for the weak. More often than not, even the strong fail to survive.
When he’s abducted, his disappearance threatens to destroy his home, his people, and start a hopeless and bloody war. There are many who desire his death, and few who hope for his survival. With peace in the Six Kingdoms quickly crumbling, it falls on him to try to stop the conflict swiftly taking the entire continent by storm.
But something even more terrifying than the machinations of men has returned to the lands: The skreed. They haven’t been seen for a thousand years, and even the true power of the Rift King might not be enough to save his people — and the world — from destruction.
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Genre – Fantasy
Rating – PG – 13
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Steps Into Darkness (Shakertown #Adventure) by Ben Woodard @benswoodard #AmReading

The unknown figure’s back was to them as he connected the wires to the detonator. Will shoved Tom. Only minutes remained.

They located the last connection point where the blasting caps were wired to two sticks of dynamite. The wires to the plunger snaked up the hill. The connecting strands were twisted, tightly, as with pliers. Tom snatched a rock, but Will grabbed his hand and pointed up the hill. Tom understood. The man would hear the pounding. They each took a twisted connection and tried to pry it apart with their fingers. They would need to break only one.

The wires resisted. Tom gritted his teeth, then remembered his pocket knife. He pulled it out, flipped the blade open, and wedged the tip between two strands. He twisted and the blade snapped. The sound startled the man. He whirled around and stared directly at the boys. Tom forced the broken blade into the gap in the wires. Will put his finger on top of one and pulled as Tom twisted. Blood ran down Will’s hand as the metal bit into his finger. They strained, and watched the man. His eyes darted in all directions. Then he made his decision. He pulled the plunger up, hesitated a moment, and slammed it down.

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Genre - YA/Mystery
Rating – PG – 13
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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Devolution by Peter Clenott @PeterClenott #BookClub #YA #AmReading

Chiku couldn’t help stare at the large bulge that was Rebecca’s baby-to-be. It made her reflect upon the gynecological exam Dr. Kessel had just given her. At sixteen, she couldn’t imagine being anyone’s mother, except maybe a chimpanzee’s. Rebecca was only fourteen, an eighth grader back home, a middle schooler. How could she be a mother? Yet even in wealthy well-educated America girls in their mid-teens were getting knocked up all the time, having their babies, and changing their lives in ways unpredictable and permanent. Not Chiku. Boys could go to hell.

“When was the last time you saw him?” Chiku asked.

“Two week. Three week. He ask me how my baby doing. I tell him, fine. He give me twenty francs. He always give me money.”

“And that was it?” Chiku gazed at Tim who was still holding all of the things she had given him from her buried stash. “What about Dr. Fisher? Do you know why he’d be in my dad’s house?”

Rebecca dipped her head in thought then gave out with a startled grunt as the baby inside her gave a hefty kick. “Soon,” she said, “Any day my Abasi.” Then she staggered against Chiku.

“You okay? Maybe she’s coming out now.” Chiku was aghast.

“No. No. He. Not yet. No water.”

“Well, you can’t stand here. You have to sit, Rebecca. In the shade.”

Chiku pulled the pregnant girl into the cooler cover of the banana tree. “You want water? Something to drink?”

Rebecca leaned against the tree rather than risk getting herself into a position from which she couldn’t rise. She panted, holding a hand against her belly, Chiku watching that hand move not of its own volition but due to the child inside raring to get going with life.

Not for me, Chiku thought.

Rebecca said, “I okay.”

“You’re sure?”

“When the water break, then we know.”

“Know what?” Chiku asked.

“That the baby is coming,” Tim said. He placed his hands on his friend’s shoulders. They were trembling as if she were the one about to go into labor. “Honestly, Chiku, what do they teach you in Brookline, Massachusetts?”

“How to avoid reality.”

Chiku took Rebecca’s hand. It was cool and sweaty and on her ring finger she was wearing something that looked awfully familiar to Chiku. “Nice,” she said. “Amethyst. My color. My ring, actually. How’d you get it?”

“Your father give me.”

“Cool. It matches your dress.”

Chiku didn’t care that it was an old ring, one that she had either lost or forgotten some distant time in the past and that probably couldn’t even fit her fingers anymore. She just wondered why her father would have given this particular girl this particular ring.

“I think they kill him,” she said.

“What?” Chiku’s eyes darted from the purple colored ring to the black face of the Hutu teenager.

“They were mad mad.”


“Fisher. Your father. Dr. Kessel. They all mad. And the others.”

“What others?” Chiku asked. “Does Colonel Fundanga know?”

“Colonel Fundanga one of them,” Rebecca said. “I keep quiet. Bad enough in the camp. I don’t want to die.”

Rebecca let out a long breath, took in a deep mouthful of air, and let out her discomfort once again. Then she smiled at Chiku before saying, “They come for you next. You his daughter.”


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Genre - Young Adult
Rating – PG
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The Last Finesse by Brian Bloom @BrianB_Aust #Conspiracy #Thriller #AmReading

‘Gramps wasn’t around anymore. Successful industrialists don’t have time for their daughters. My mother had her hands full with the boys. Teenagers crave attention. That’s all I was doing. It turned out I was quite normal. I finally grew up. Sports were helpful.’

He was as intrigued with her as ever. ‘What kind of sports?’

‘Gymkhana horse riding, till I was 15, and then some board surfing, on the odd occasion, and then, more recently, board sailing. I love to be at one with nature.’ She flicked back her hair and looked up at the sun.

‘So,’ he said in response, ‘we both know how to ride a horse – that’s a start isn’t it?’

‘Yeah,’ I guess so, she replied, ‘but I’d rather play golf.’

‘I’d be delighted if you’d play with me,’ he stated enthusiastically. ‘What did you do when you were “finished” at that “finishing school” of yours?’

‘I’ve told you,’ she answered: ‘my old man wanted me “barefoot and pregnant” in the kitchen next door – he thought it was time I settled down. We had a hell of a fight, but I had Guido on my side, and my mother finally came to the party and supported me.

‘I enrolled in a journalism course at Texas U, in Austin. I did quite well. My old man finally acknowledged my existence by coming to my graduation ceremony. And then our relationship became an armed truce, when I “informed” him I’d decided to go out on my own.’ Using her index and middle fingers, she drew quotation marks in the air, around the word “informed”.

‘That wasn’t his idea of how a good Italian woman should conduct herself. I basically told him, “Go fuck yourself!”, but I used more diplomatic language – as they taught me at finishing school. He finally came to realise he’d been a failure as a father, and backed off. From time to time, he still dangles my trust fund in my face, in the hope he can make me see reason and live my life according to his paternal script.’

‘Right,’ Luke acknowledged. ‘And your mother?’

‘Mum died when I was 20, a week before my 21st-birthday party. That rug was also pulled out from under me, and it was the last straw, as far as I was concerned. That’s when I moved to San Francisco to start living my own life properly.

‘That’s also why I wanted to know your views about gay marriage. Like Sydney, San Fran’s got a large gay community, and I’m lucky enough to have a lot of gay friends.’

His ‘naughty streak’ surfaced again. ‘And if you come to live in Australia among the “large gays”?’

She smiled, but was clearly fixated on wrapping up her story. ‘Some of them might miss me.’

‘Did you struggle to get a job?’

‘No,’ she answered, ‘not really. A few doors were opened to me because I topped my class and was the daughter of Louis Marchetti.’

Luke imagined the opening doors, and indulged in a quick fantasy about banging his boys up against her open doors . . . ‘So,’ he remarked, ‘he wasn’t entirely a waste of rations . . . Hang on a second: did you just say you topped your class?’

She had a palpable air of relief that she’d finally told her story. ‘Look, Luke, he’s not really a bad guy; it’s just he’s been hanging on to his old values in the modern world. I’m convinced that somewhere deep inside him, he’s just as sad as I am that we don’t have a relationship. I’m his only daughter. Maybe, if you and I finally get together, it’ll serve as an ice breaker.’

‘You topped your class?’ he persisted.

‘Yes,’ she replied, with a trace of impatience. ‘So what?

He considered his next question. ‘Can I ask you something personal?’

The Last Finesse
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Genre - Conspiracy Thriller
Rating – MA (15+)
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Eternal Night by @JadeKerrion #Fantasy #Paranormal #AmReading

Ashra pushed past the blackness at the start of his memories, expecting deeper darkness. Instead, the colors shifted into shades of ochre and gray. Memories, older than his body, resided in his soul; memories of an Earth long since lost to them—a planet surrounded and nourished by water; images of tall buildings glistening beneath a benevolent sun, and of thriving cities filled with the bustle of humans; memories of quiet and intimate conversations beneath a silver moon, the same silver moon that now graced Malum Turris with its light, though a thousand years older and viewed only from beneath the protection of the dome.

She saw herself as he must have seen her, a much-younger icrathari, still hopeful for the future, never realizing that the Earth they had all known and loved was irretrievably lost. Had she ever looked that vulnerable? Had her smile ever been so beautiful, so filled with love as she looked upon—

“Rohkeus?” Oh, blessed Creator, was that stricken whisper her voice?

Ashra pulled back and stared at the human. Her mouth dropped open. Her heart pounded in her chest, its beat erratic. It couldn’t be. It simply couldn’t be—

She looked up at Tera. The other icrathari nodded.

Rohkeus’s soul reborn…in a human.

Ashra threw her head back and laughed, a despairing sound.

Elsker stepped forward. The sole male icrathari was slightly taller than the female icrathari, and dressed in a black silk shirt and linen pants. His silver hair was cropped short, and his light blue eyes were wide. “Rohkeus reborn? That’s impossible.”

Siri shrugged, her red gown shifting around her curvaceous frame. Her silver hair, cut short, framed her face. “Stranger things have happened.” Her pale violet gaze raked over the human. “At least he had the good sense to choose a pretty body.”

Ashra shook her head, the movement jolting her out of her daze. Her prince, her love, reduced to a human? Her slender fingers coiled into fists. Her golden eyes glittering, she pushed away from him, though her body trembled from the loss of his warmth. No, the human was not Rohkeus; he could never be Rohkeus.

Steeling herself against the gasp of pain that escaped from his lips as the anesthetizing effect of her kiss faded, Ashra rose to her feet with sinuous grace. “He is not one of us. Not anymore.” Nothing had been more devastating than losing Rohkeus to a human assassin. To see his soul reborn in that contemptible and weak race was an insult to the person Rohkeus had been.

“Should we turn him into a vampire?” Tera asked.

“Kill him. Set Rohkeus’s soul free.”

Siri seized Ashra’s hand before she could turn away. Siri’s lips, painted the same provocative color as her dress, shaped an O. “You’re not serious. How many people are offered a second chance at the love of a lifetime?”

A second chance? Her traitorous pulse raced even as her lips curled with disgust. “He’s human.”

“We can make him immortal—a vampire.”

Ashra swallowed hard. “But not an icrathari.”

Siri’s gaze fell. “No, of course not.”

“Kill him.”

“You can’t.” Siri stepped forward, placing herself between Ashra and the barely conscious human.

“This is amazing. It’s never happened before—a soul reborn.”

“Rohkeus is dead, and I rule Aeternae Noctis.” She turned to Tera. “I told you to kill him.”

Tera hesitated for a fraction of a second, and then she shook her head. “I won’t do it, and neither will Siri or Elsker. If you want him dead, you’ll have to do it yourself.”

E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords
Paperbacks available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

Jade Kerrion developed a loyal reader base with her fan fiction series based on the MMORPG Guild Wars. She was accused of keeping her readers up at night, distracting them from work, housework, homework, and (far worse), from actually playing Guild Wars. And then she wondered why just screw up the time management skills of gamers? Why not aspire to screw everyone else up too?
So here she is, writing books that aspire to keep you from doing anything else useful with your time.
Her debut novel, Perfection Unleashed, spawned the Double Helix series which has won a total of seven science fiction awards, including first place in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2012 and the gold medal in Readers Favorites Awards 2013. She is also the author of Earth-Sim and When the Silence Ends, which placed first and second respectively in the 2013 Royal Palm Literary Awards, Young Adults category.

She lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with her wonderfully supportive husband and her two young sons, Saint and Angel, (no, those aren’t their real names, but they are like saints and angels, except when they’re not.)

Connect with Jade: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Eternal Night ebook
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Genre - Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating – PG-13
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