Jack Canon's American Destiny

Friday, November 29, 2013

#AmReading - NOS4A2 by Joe Hill @joe_hill

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NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Amazon

NOS4A2 is a spine-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns.

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”
Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

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

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sanddollar
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

DELETED SCENE ONE TEARS OF TESS – Pepper Winters @PepperWinters

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DELETED SCENE TWO

TEARS OF TESS

Copyright PEPPER WINTERS

My lips parted. Oh my, was Brax playing with me? Finally! I nodded, not able to say a word. Could Mexico spice up our love-life, after all?

He gave me an indulgent smile, pulling me from my chair. Other guests at tables close by grinned as Brax hugged me. He whispered in my ear, “Let me swim for an hour. Then I’m all yours.”

My heart raced, kicking against my ribs. “Promise?”

He answered with a peck on my lips.

We left the outdoor restaurant, hands linked, carrying our beach bag with our kindles, sunscreen, and water. The best loungers around the pool had already been claimed. Couples and families all lay sweaty and content under the Mexican sun.

“We’ll go on the beach. I think I remember them saying you could hire cabanas for a few hours. Some shade would be good.”

I squeezed his hand. I knew he preferred to be in the sun, but I couldn’t handle much. My alabaster skin lived up to my last name, Snow, rather well. The sun liked to turn me into a burned shish-kabob rather than bronzed goddess. Guilt crushed me with the force of a heavy wave. After everything Brax gave me, after how considerate and kind he’d been… why did I still need more? I was a heartless bitch who didn’t deserve him.

Tears of Tess

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Dark New Adult Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG-18

More details about the author

Connect with Pepper Winters  on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.pepperwinters.wordpress.com/

 

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

Author Interview – J.J. Ward @MI7Ward

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Image of J.J. Ward
Do you plan to publish more books?
I’ve set myself a target. Ten MI7 books by 2018. I’ve already got lots of outlines. The trouble is, I’ve got ideas for other books as well. Then there’s the marketing. And the selling on Ebay to support the marketing. It’s a busy life.
What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time…
I’m a secondary school teacher in an all-girls school. It keeps me sane.
What other jobs have you had in your life?
I was a taxi driver for a while. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to write a novel. You get to meet a wide variety of people when they’re drunk, and they tell you things they wouldn’t otherwise tell anyone.
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?
If I had the ability, biology or physics, then I’d set out to cure cancer or create free energy.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
I like where I live now. It’s warm in the summer, and in the winter it snows. You get a real sense of the seasons. I think wherever you live in the world, there are drawbacks. I definitely wouldn’t want to live anywhere I couldn’t speak the language. I don’t think I’d be very good at that booming ex-pat thing.
Tales of MI7
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Espionage Thriller
Rating – PG
More details about the author and the book
Connect with J.J. Ward on Twitter









Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik

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*

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.”

“Sergeant!”

*

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

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Gringa

This is the complete Gringa Series, books 1-4 being offered at a discounted price.

SERIES DESCRIPTION:

I was twenty-one, a sassy college student who took crap from no one. While holidaying in Mexico, I was accosted by Diablo and shot, because the motherfucker 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 fuck himself and braced myself for the bullet. He could shoot me – I no longer cared.
But, to my surprise, the fucker 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.
When the FBI came on the scene and secretly recruited me to help put Diablo behind bars, I was thrilled. I wanted them to throw his ass behind bars, then torment him for the rest of his life like he was doing to me. I was willing to do whatever it took to get him there.
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 and even intrigued me.
After all, I was an ignored child and as an adult, nobody gave a rat’s ass about me. Here was a man who actually wanted me and was willing to do whatever it took to get me – how the hell could I not be flattered?
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.
I now wanted to protect my murderer, my tormentor, The Devil of Mexico from the FBI and I was prepared to lie to the Feds, if it meant saving him from them.
I was even prepared to go to jail for him.
And I did.
My days in Mexico were filled with violence, hate, lust and sorrow.
It was also filled with laughter, love and passion and most importantly, it taught me that love conquers all.

Gringa – a modern–day, love story that will have you laughing, crying and wanting more!

WARNING: This book contains sexual violence, sex scenes, graphic language, drug references, violence and is suitable for mature readers

REVIEWS FROM READERS:

“A crude rendition of Beauty and the beast”

“IMO, It is one of the best romance books ive read in some time. I read it all in one sitting. I couldnt peel my eyes away even for a minute. The story had it all from action to romance.”

“Some scenes had me giggling out loud, but there was one scene that had me laughing out loud for a couple minutes.”

“This book is not for the faint of heart. It’s horrible, dirty, raw, passionate, hilarious, sweet, sad, addictive, and so much more.”

‘One thing that I like from this author now that I have read all her books is that she takes time to develop her characters as well as develop the romance. There is no zero to 60 in 3 seconds here. Her characters are flawed and multi-dimentional. They also experience growth throughout the book. There are plenty of twists and turns in ths book to keep you guessing.’

“A college student, an alpha male. Nuff said. The author has woven such intricate characters in this tale and I will be hard pressed to find another book which was so well rounded and beautifully written.”

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Fiction

Rating – PG 13

More details about the author

Connect with Eve Rabi on Facebook & Twitter

Blog http://everabi.wordpress.com/

Indiestructible: Inspiring Stories from the Publishing Jungle @MsBessieBell

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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.

Bio:

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.

indiestructible

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre –  Non-fiction

Rating – G

More details about the author

Connect with Jessica Bell on FacebookTwitter

Blog http://thealliterativeallomorph.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Author Interview – Christina George @publicistgal

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Tell us about MacDermott Ellis (Mac), he’s hot and dangerous and the kind of man many of us could lose ourselves over. Is he real? Yes, well sort of. It’s an odd story about Mac, I wrote this character years ago and then met a man very similar to Mac so I was able to give this character even more depth. But yes, Mac is hot. Mac’s the guy your mother warns you about and still, you don’t care.
Do you find the time to read? Yes, and candidly whether I want to or not. Don’t get me wrong I love books and I love reading, but my job requires a lot of it so I have to make time to read. It’s really an awesome thing though, right? I mean getting paid to read! Who gets that lucky?
When and why did you begin writing? It’s funny actually, I started writing because I found that I had stories to tell. Stories about stories. So my work as a publicist is never without adventures and I really wanted to share them. I wasn’t sure I could I mean I had never intended on being an author, not really. I worked with them, I promoted them, but to become one? I hadn’t planned on that at all. Then I realized, I had something to say, so I did!
What’s your favorite place in the entire world? I love Europe, love it – especially France and Belgium. I hope to see my characters travel there in Book Three!
Where do you get your inspiration from? Mostly from the publishing world and the authors I have worked with but also from authors that other publicity people have worked with, too.
ShelfLife
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – R
More details about the author and the book
Connect with Christina George on Facebook & Twitter

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

Infernal Gates by Michael J. Webb @mjwebbbooks

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Chapter 5

After searching his home, verifying his wife and children had packed and taken clothes with them for their vacation to St. Thomas, Ethan had frantically called Quest Airways.

They’d confirmed what he already knew.

Flight 1485, his flight, had crashed shortly after take-off.

No other details were available. The woman he’d spoken with had asked if he had family or friends on the flight. Still in shock, he-d muttered, “Family—”

Now, he sat on the couch in the living room, his eyes glued to the big screen T.V. He knew he’d get more information from CNN than from Quest Airways.

“. . . this is Joan Archdale, live at CNN Center in Atlanta, with a Breaking News Update. Quest Airways Flight 1485, on its way from Charlotte, North Carolina to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, crashed yesterday morning, approximately twenty-five minutes after take-off. Investigators are still—”

The anchorwoman paused. “We’re going now to CNN’s Don Reichert—”

Ethan sat forward as the scene on the TV switched to a middle-aged, balding man dressed in a short-sleeve shirt and Khaki pants.

“This is Don Reichert, reporting live from the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Georgia, approximately twelve miles from the town of Folkston, just north of the Florida state line. Behind me is the blackened, still smoldering, crash site of Quest Airways flight 1485—a huge crater at least forty feet deep and about three times as wide. It’s been a little over twenty-six hours since the A-320 Airbus, carrying one hundred forty-two passengers, and a crew of five, plunged nose-first into North America’s largest swamp. Although the cause of the crash is still unknown, an anonymous source told me that the residue of an explosive material has been found on a rectangular piece of metal tentatively identified as part of the door to the baggage compartment.”

“Does that mean investigators think this might be an act of terrorism?” the Atlanta-based anchorwoman asked.

“My source wasn’t willing to go that far,” Reichert replied. “I can confirm that the FBI has sent one of its top anti-terrorism experts to the crash site to work with the NTSB.”

“Any news about survivors?”

“From what I’ve seen it seems highly doubtful anyone on Flight 1485 made it out alive—”

The scene changed back to the news room in Atlanta.

Ethan hit the mute button.

The words “explosive residue,” “FBI,” and “criminal activity” raced through his mind—a harsh, threatening echo. He remembered, in stark detail, the sounds of the explosions, the terrified screams of his daughter, the panic in his son’s normally inquisitive eyes, the violent shaking of the aircraft, his desperate, unsuccessful efforts to hold on to his wife and calm her, and the last thing he saw before he blacked out—the gaping hole where the exit row had been.

He stood up and paced.

He needed rational, sensible answers—and he needed them now.

But who could he turn to?

The airline had set up a hotline, but they’d only give out limited information. The woman he’d spoken to over the phone recommended he come down to the Charlotte-Douglas airport. That option didn’t interest him. Hundreds of people would be demanding information the airline didn’t have, or wouldn’t release until it felt it was in their best interest to do so.

That could take days, or weeks.

Besides, as soon as the airline discovered who he was, they’d start asking questions he couldn’t answer.

He stopped pacing, stared at the TV, lost in thought.

As the reality of his situation sunk in, he cried out in agony, “Oh, God—not again,” then slumped to his knees.

When Ethan roused himself, it was dark.

He glanced at his watch. Six hours had passed since he’d fallen to the carpet!

He sat up, rested his back against the couch, and looked around the darkened room. The only light was that of the television screen. CNN was still on, but there were no further images being broadcast about the crash.

He hit the mute button, and the sound returned.

Another newscaster, this one a man, was interviewing an astronomer about the possibility of a rogue asteroid hitting the Earth. The anchor’s guest looked to be in his early thirties and had dirty- blond hair and sparkling grey-green eyes. “So, Professor Sharpe, you’re saying that we’re overdue for a strike by a killer asteroid—”

“We in the scientific community have come to realize the danger to humanity from asteroid or comet collisions is comparable to other natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and floods. However, where comet and asteroid collisions are concerned, we talk in terms of frequency of occurrence, rather than fatalities per year.”

“How often do these collisions occur?”

“About every half million years.”

“It’s been that long since the Earth was hit by a large asteroid?”

“Considerably longer. We’re way over due. It’s not a matter of if—but when. There was a near miss just over four thousand years ago, when a very large interloper—what we now believe was a rogue comet—came within fifty thousand miles of the Earth. We have a record of it in ancient Sumerian and Egyptian texts. If that happened today, we’d have less than ten hours notice to prepare for the end of life on Earth as we know it—”

Ethan sighed, stood up, turned on one of the lamps, then used the remote to turn off the TV. He had a lot more to worry about than a rogue comet hitting the Earth.

During his time on the floor an idea had come to him.

He headed for the kitchen and wondered if he could find something to eat.

He also wondered if tomorrow he’d find the answers he desperately needed.

Jeremy Sharpe stared up at the star-studded night sky above New South Wales, Australia. For the hundredth time in the past two weeks he was grateful he’d persevered through myriad difficulties and finished what he’d started nearly eight years previously.

Fourteen days ago he’d been awarded his Ph.D. in Astronomy from Cambridge University. Tonight, he was about to embark upon his first research project, in conjunction with members of the AAO—the Anglo-Australian Observatory. Four hours earlier, he’d finished an interview with CNN and his head was still spinning from the sudden interest in his controversial theory.

He picked up his backpack and headed for the three-story domed building in front of him.

After a prolific letter-writing campaign, coupled with a highly complementary reference letter from his mentor, Dr. Antoine Levy, his request for seven nights use of the UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory had been granted. Getting time on this particular telescope was no small accomplishment. Only thirty-five nights a year were allotted for visiting astronomers. This was the first time someone whose ink on their degree was still drying had been given twenty-percent of that time.

He opened the door at the first floor entrance, stepped inside.

He glanced around and noticed four pairs of eyes staring at him. Although he’d never met any of them, he knew the four astronomers in the room by reputation.

On his left were Chris Hawthorne, an Australian whose specialty was the origins of life, and Quentin Mallory, the boy wonder from Caltech who had set the astronomical world aflame three years earlier with his radical theories of red dwarf formation. To his right, were Russell Hathaway, who studied globular clusters and carbon stars, and Ian MacGregor, the Scotsman whose mathematical calculations had revolutionized the study of star formation in galaxies and shed new light on the origins of galactic halos.

Chris Hawthorne said, “Well, well, well—if it isn’t Dr. Levy’s star pupil. The Yank who thinks he’s a Brit and who’s come to set us mere mortals straight about the reality of the existence of Nemesis.”

“Don’t mind him,” Quentin interjected. The Cal Tech graduate reached out his hand. “When I first came on board six years ago, Hawk called me the Yank who’d come to set him straight on red dwarfs. He’s got a thing about letting all the ‘newbies’ know he’s the Alpha wolf.”

“Hawk?” Jeremy echoed as he shook Quentin’s hand.

“We gave that nickname to him because he watches the night skies like a hawk, searching for anything that will give him a clue to the origin of the universe,” Ian said, his voice thick with a Scottish brogue.

“Come on, I’ll show you the way to your cubicle,” Russell said.

Jeremy spent the next half hour unloading his backpack and setting up his desk. He only had a week here and he wanted to make every minute count.

By the time he’d finished he still had thirty minutes before his first shift on the telescope began. He intended to use that time to check out the new multi-object, fiber-optic, spectroscopy system before he got started. The new technology replaced the decommissioned FLAIR system that had been in place for the past thirteen years. It would cut down the time he needed for his research from months to days. Although the mathematics for his project had been around for years, the technology to prove his calculations was only just now catching up.

“You really think you’re going to find Nemesis?” Quentin asked, startling him.

Jeremy turned and faced the gangly astronomer. “I’m going to give it my best shot.” He frowned, then added, “Although, to be completely honest, part of me wants to fail.”

Quentin’s eyebrows shot up. “Come again?”

“If I do find Nemesis, it means we Earthlings have a lot more to worry about than global warming, or planetary overpopulation.”

“The other guys think you’re on a fool’s errand using valuable time on what most astronomers think is a wild goose chase—”

Before Jeremy could respond, Chris Hawthorne came around the corner. “Okay, Yank, it’s my responsibility to make certain you don’t mess up our multi-million dollar facility. Follow me and I’ll give you the run-down on how we do things around here.”

Infernal Gates

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Genre – Christian Thriller, Fantasy, Adventure

Rating – PG-13

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Website http://www.michaeljwebbfiction.com/

Breathing for Two by Wolf Pascoe @WolfPascoe

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ONE
BREATHING LESSONS
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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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Monday, November 25, 2013

#AmReading - The Blood Gospel by James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell @jamesrollins

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The Blood Gospel by James Rollins & Rebecca Cantrell

Amazon

An earthquake in Masada, Israel, kills hundreds and reveals a tomb buried in the heart of the mountain. A trio of investigators--Sergeant Jordan Stone, a military forensic expert; Father Rhun Korza, a Vatican priest; and Dr. Erin Granger, a brilliant but disillusioned archaeologist--are sent to explore the macabre discovery, a subterranean temple holding the crucified body of a mummified girl.
But a brutal attack at the site sets the three on the run, thrusting them into a race to recover what was once preserved in the tomb's sarcophagus: a book rumored to have been written by Christ's own hand, a tome that is said to hold the secrets to His divinity. The enemy who hounds them is like no other, a force of ancient evil directed by a leader of impossible ambitions and incalculable cunning.
From crumbling tombs to splendorous churches, Erin and her two companions must confront a past that traces back thousands of years, to a time when ungodly beasts hunted the dark spaces of the world, to a moment in history when Christ made a miraculous offer, a pact of salvation for those who were damned for eternity.
Here is a novel that is explosive in its revelation of a secret history. Why do Catholic priests wear pectoral crosses? Why are they sworn to celibacy? Why do the monks hide their countenances under hoods? And why does Catholicism insist that the consecration of wine during Mass results in its transformation to Christ's own blood? The answers to all go back to a secret sect within the Vatican, one whispered as rumor but whose very existence was painted for all to see by Rembrandt himself, a shadowy order known simply as the Sanguines.
In the end, be warned: some books should never be found, never opened--until now.

Author Interview – Rob Manary @robmanary

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What is your least favorite quality about yourself?

I am incredibly arrogant and self absorbed. I think that is why it was so easy to write the egocentric Brandon Fahr, my protagonist in the Icarus Trilogy. Write what you know, isn’t that right?

But I must say, as clich├ęd as it may be, writing a character with similar traits as myself, although exaggerated for effect, really gave me some insight into myself. I used the word “myself” twice in that last sentence. Buy “Icarus Rising”, the writing is much better, I promise.

Anyway, I’m still arrogant and self absorbed but I’m a little more self aware now.

What is your favorite color?

Purple. Prince did a lot to boost the popularity of purple, but that was a long time ago and there is a generation that likely doesn’t know who Prince is. I’d like to be the new champion for purple. I’d be completely willing to do an endorsement deal with the Crayola people.

What’s your favorite meal?

Anything I don’t have to cook myself!  And that’s not really too far from the truth.  Actually, I don’t mind cooking but I’m not very imaginative when it comes to what I should throw into the pot or the pan or the oven.

Hey, I’m about to order a pizza.  Want a slice?

What’s your favorite place in the entire world?

Between the thighs of a beautiful woman, the musky sweet smell of her womanhood intoxicating me, filling my head, causing me to harden. The taste of her sweet nectar on my tongue as I lick… that’s a pretty good answer for an erotic romance writer right?

When I wasn’t even yet a teen my Dad and I built a small cabin in the woods. I don’t imagine I was much help, but we built this cabin far from civilization on a piece of property in the bush that was my Grandfather’s property before it was my Dad’s, and likely has been in the family for generations.

There is a well for water, and no electricity, and my Dad and I spent hours playing cards by lamp light with the wood stove for warmth in the winter. That’s my favorite place in the entire world especially if I have my Dad for company and no one else for hundreds of miles.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

I honestly think I’m quite happy exactly where I am.  Unlike Brandon and Rachel from Icarus Rising, I don’t need or, really, want, the lavish luxury lifestyle.  Sure, I want to have enough money to be comfortable and not worry about where my next meal is coming from, but beyond that… I don’t require much.  Electricity for my computer so that I can continue writing, Internet access, a phone to order take-out…

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Genre – Erotic Romance

Rating – R

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Isabella: Braveheart of France by Colin Falconer @colin_falconer

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Chapter 5

Two weeks later Isabella prepares to become a queen. “How do I look?”

“You look beautiful, your grace,” Isabella de Vescy tells her. She is much older than her other ladies and has taken her in hand, as if she thinks she needs a mother. Perhaps she does.

“Do I look regal?”

Even in the polished steel mirror she sees the frown of hesitation. “Very regal,” the younger one, Eleanor, tells her and earns a frown of rebuke from de Vescy that she thinks Isabella does not see.

Well of course I do not look regal. I look like a twelve years old girl, over-primped and overdressed; if not for these ribbons and artifices I would disappear inside this gown and my uncles would have to hack a way through the taffeta and velvet with their swords to free me.

“Will Gaveston be there?”

De Vescy shrugs with all the eloquence that a mature woman can muster.

“Why does no one want to talk about him?

Valois bursts in. Her uncle comes and goes as he pleases, it seems, immune to Madame de Vescy’s cold stares. He still treats her as a child, they all do.

He regards her gown and sighs. He had done much sighing since arriving in England. “Are you ready to become queen of England, your grace?”

She takes a deep breath and nods her head. She is ready for no such thing.

* * * * *

Isabella

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Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG-13

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Howling Heart by April Bostic

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* * * *

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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Website http://www.aprilbostic.com/

Friday, November 22, 2013

Joyfully Yours by Amy Lamont @Amy_Lamont

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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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Website http://amylamont.com

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Thirty Scary Tales by Rayne Hall @RayneHall

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*

Fig Moon held the land in its fiery embrace. The five moons had passed, so from now on, Turgan would have to watch for symptoms. He checked his skin tone - still a healthy tan. He tested his strength on the shaduf - he could still operate it with a single hand.

He had to plan what he would do once the signs of decay set in. He had intended to stab the knife into his ear. That was no longer an option - not just because the Darrians had taken his knife, but because he had Laina to think of.

Laina was safe from advances only because Darrians respected marriage. As a widow, she would be acceptable prey and helpless against Kurush's force.

Instead of killing himself where his body would be found, Turgan would have to find a way to absent himself from Ain-Elnour, and not return.

But achieving that would be tricky. Turgan massaged his aching neck, pondering. Locals were not allowed to leave the town, except for plantation labour under the watchful eye of ... what was his name? ... the Darrian man with the whip.

With luck, the war would be over soon. The Darrians had as good as won, and the Koskaran surrender was imminent. Then the travel restrictions would lift and Turgan could disappear.

*

Thirty Scary Tales

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Genre – Horror

Rating – PG-13

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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.

Onio by Linell Jeppsen @nelj8

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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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Website http://neljeppsen.weebly.com/

Thursday, November 21, 2013

#AmReading - Burial Ground by Michael McBride @mcbride_michael

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Burial Ground by Michael McBride

Amazon

When the body of Hunter Gearhardt washes up on the banks of a seasonal river outside of Pomacochas, Peru, with only samples of vegetation, a handful of feathers, two black- and gray-streaked rocks, and a golden headdress of indeterminate origin in his possession, his grieving father launches an expedition to determine how his son died. The party uses these clues to divine Hunter’s route into the jungle, where they find a surviving offshoot of a primitive tribe, long thought to be extinct, and something far more sinister, something that’s been able to avoid discovery for eons for one simple reason: No one leaves the rainforest alive.
Includes a free bonus novella: Xibalba.

#Bargain Sub-Human by David Simpson @PostHuman09

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Sub-Human

PROMOTION: Now you can switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible audiobook. Add the professional narration of Sub-Human (Book 1) for a reduced price of $2.99 after you buy this Kindle book. Listen to Sub-Human Chapter 3′s sample here goo.gl/kdxS8i. Also, Post-Human (Book 2), Trans-Human (Book 3) and Human Plus(Book 4) are all $0.99 each for a LIMITED TIME as well!

And their audiobooks are coming soon!

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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Author Interview – Massimo Marino @Massim0Marin0

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Image of Massimo Marino

How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?

My father was a compulsive and avid reader. In a sense he was rarely there with us. Maybe this affected why I was writing since an early age.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

It was one thing said by my philosophy teacher: Just because I say it, or you read it in a book, it doesn’t mean it’s true. You have to enquire always, and find the truth inside yourself.

Do you admire your own work?

No, it is not my role. I love my books but I always try to get better at writing, so I’m never satisfied.

What are books for?

A book is a portal to another world, and a portal to one self. Books allow us to ask questions to the innermost part of our personality. Sometimes the answer is not of our liking and we have a chance to grow.

Have you ever found true love?

Yes, I was 18 and she was 15. After the Summer we started dating. I married her; we have a daughter.

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Genre – Science Fiction

Rating – PG-13

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Website http://massimomarinoauthor.com

Memoirs of a Sex Addict: A Jersey Girl Bares All by Samantha Barrett @samanthabarrett

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Chapter Two

My father thought I was crazy having so many surgeries. It had even gotten to the point that I would sneak and have a friend take me. I wouldn’t tell my family about it because I was so embarrassed. They thought I was crazy already. My dad would say it after each surgery, “You’re sick, you’re out of your mind.” He was right, I was sick, although at the time neither of us knew how sick I really was. I couldn’t stop. That was very hard for me too, upsetting my father.

I said earlier that I felt guilty because I thought my brother wished he had a pretty sister; I felt the same way about my dad. I knew my parents loved me. I knew they would do anything for their children, but I don’t think that they thought I was pretty either. They never said I was pretty. Well, for school pictures and times like that when they had to say it, but you can tell when parents think their child is beautiful, and mine didn’t. But again, I did know they loved me, they did tell me that, often. They also complimented and encouraged all of my good qualities, like how smart I was, what a good athlete I was, so if they thought I was pretty they would have said it, right? That’s what I thought. Also, if I was fresh or talked back or something my mom would say, “Shut your ugly little mouth!”

One time in fifth grade, I think fifth—fifth or earlier—my mom and my aunt Olivia, Tiffany’s mom, were going to teach me how to wear make-up. I had asked them for their help. They ended up arguing about it! My aunt put the eyeliner outside on the bottom lid and my mom said, “What are you doing, put it on the inside! My aunt said, “No, when you put it on the outside it makes the eyes look so much bigger.” To which my mom replied sternly, “Her eyes are big enough!” So now, not only did I hate my nose, but I knew my mother thought my eyes were too big and both my mother and my aunt agreed that I needed to start wearing makeup at just ten years old!

I know, I sound like a shit, blaming my family for my ugliness, but I promise you I never did. I knew God had blessed me with parents who love their children and each other, unconditionally. I learned at a young age that was rare and have always been very thankful. I figured I just wasn’t born with the looks “card,” and I don’t think there is anything any one of them could have said or done to make me think differently about myself.

No, that’s not true! I’ll bet that if my brother ever heard my father say I looked pretty, even just one fucking time, he wouldn’t have been so cruel all those years!! I mean my brother wanted to be just like my dad, so even if my dad lied to me and said, “Look how pretty my little girl is!” or “You were the prettiest girl there!” my brother would have changed the way he felt about me, whether he believed it or not. I swear—if my father said that the sky was orange my brother would go around trying to convince people the sky was orange! That’s the influence my father’s opinion had on my brother.

I don’t know, maybe I’m being somewhat of a hypocrite. I have always said that those families of the people on American Idol were the worst. I always said they weren’t doing their children any favors by saying, “Oh you have such a beautiful voice!” and letting them find out on TV, in front of millions of people that they really suck! I think that was the reason that my dad didn’t try to convince me or my brother that I was beautiful. He knew how beautiful people were treated. He knew that beautiful people were treated just a little bit differently and was afraid if they convinced me at home that I was beautiful, I would be hurt when people in my adult life told me or treated me otherwise. You see, again, I knew the love was there; they were protecting me from being hurt. I just wanted so badly to be a “pretty girl.” Even though some people would tell me I was pretty, I never believed them. I figured they were family and friends just being nice because they had to. I guess that unless my father or brother told me I was pretty, I would never think so.

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Genre – Biographies & Memoirs / Self-Help

Rating – R

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Website http://www.memoirsofasexaddict.com/

Boundless by Brad Cotton @BradCott0n

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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.

“Really?”

“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.”

“Unicorns?”

“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.

Boundless

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Genre – Contemporary Fiction/Literary Fiction

Rating – R

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Website http://www.bradcotton.com/

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik

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*

Dressed in white shorts and vests, the cadets gathered in a gymnasium void of equipment. Stripped to the waist, Nikolas held a dagger, trying to affect a muscular pose, but with too much belly and slack muscles. Well, put a pig in a pair of shorts, and it’s still a pig. Hold on to that picture, Jez thought and grinned.

One after another, the cadets attempted to evade an armed strike from the enemy, but not one returned to the outer circle without clutching at a gash. Jez watched nervously. He knew he was fitter than the NCO, and bringing him down for what he’d tried to do to Anna was a fantastic thought; but if he kicked against the system... Whether he’d fully understood what the colonel had said back in his office he wasn’t sure, but he was sure his mentor wouldn’t tolerate aggression towards a senior soldier. And besides, it was clear the NCO was expert at what he was doing. Out of shape or not, he’d beat Jez easily.

A yell from Popov and she left the circle suppressing a sob, clinging to a wound high on her right breast. That was it then, only him and Anna to go.

“Centre circle, Kornfeld,” Nikolas commanded.

He sighed and moved forward.

The corporal, to Jez’s surprise, sheathed his knife and announced, “Athletics, shooting, seems you’re a bit better than good. But you’re a skinny little runt and somehow…”

A sickening thud sank into Jez’s chest and pitched him to the ground.

“…I don’t think this will be your specialty.”

He tried to get up, but Nikolas kicked him in the side and rolled him onto his back. Jez had moved with the blow, but it still left him staring at the ceiling, winded. He needed a breather, but Nikolas came at him again. Jez fought nausea and darted to one side.

“Oh, girlie tactics. I didn’t expect that from a big shot like you. I might have expected it more from Puchinsky. Ah, Puchinsky, yes, you’re up next,” he said, and turned to Anna, grinning, breathing heavily. “And we still have a little debt left unpaid.”

As he considered the words, Jez got to his feet, but his attention had shifted. Nikolas pulled his knife and slashed it sideways. The tip of the blade scratched a red line across Jez’s now slit white vest. The corporal holstered the weapon and flexed his physique, readying for hand-to-hand.

“Come on, Kornfeld, one on one. Do your worst.” He laughed. “You have my full permission to set all your might against me.”

Nikolas suddenly lunged, and the heel of an open-palmed strike knocked Jez heavily to the floor. Somehow he had to keep out of the way, but getting to his feet he was surprised to see the trainer had paled. He’d overdone it with the other cadets and his lack of fitness was there for all to see. A chance presented itself as he took a more casual swipe. Jez followed with gut reaction. The punch flew and he reacted with a nimbleness that left his opponent in slow motion. He grabbed the corporal’s wrist with both hands, made a half turn, held the grip, brought the larger man’s arm onto his shoulder and whipped it down as hard as he could. The limb snapped to the sound of bone breaking and gristle tearing. Then came a shriek, as Nikolas screamed out in agony. Jez stepped back, but a surge of arousal had warmed the pit of his stomach and the stimulus urged him to finish the job. Why not? His career was over after this. He fixed his eyes on Nikolas and moved forward.

“Jez, no,” Anna shouted.

He stopped just as a hulking silhouette emerged from the shadow of a doorway to assist the crippled trainer. Jez returned to the group and joyous murmurs flowed through the circle. Suddenly, he’d become the most popular cadet in the hall.

The man helped the trainer out of the hall and the cadets separated into smaller groups, hanging around, awaiting further instruction. Jez and Anna sat together with their backs against the wall, he staring at the door expecting guards to come and get him any minute.

“I think the others are worried they might all be in trouble,” Anna said.

“Maybe they are, but it’s me who’ll come under fire,” Jez said, voice miserable, emotions much the same.

Anna cleared her throat. “Thanks,” she said, with a softness he hadn’t heard from her before.

“For what?” he asked.

“I know you lost it because Nikolas tried it on with me, and I know how important the army is to you… I’m sorry it had to happen. I’ll always be grateful.” The words were sweet, but the voice was stern.

He was embarrassed, just as when his older brother and sister had ribbed him about looking like a pretty girl.

He had no reason to say it, other than being stuck for words, but he responded, “You’d have done the same.”

She came back at him in a flurry of decisiveness. “No, Jez, no, I wouldn’t. I’m like you in as much as the army is everything to me. But believe me, I wouldn’t have done anything so… irrational. Not for any reason. I would protect my career at all cost.”

He smiled. “Or maybe it’s just that you don’t like me as much as I like you.”

Her shoulders dropped, her face relaxed and her eyes sparkled. “No, it isn’t that. I like you well enough.”

His cheeks were still burning when a cadet from one of the other huts came into the hall.

“I’m at the end of my training and have been told to command this unit for the rest of today. I don’t know how far you’ve all got with your preparation, so we’ll just go out for a run… I want to see you in front of the hut in full kit in five minutes.”

*

Birth of an Assassin

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

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Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

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Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter

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