Jack Canon's American Destiny

Sunday, December 29, 2013

#AmReading - The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva @danielsilvabook


The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva


Art restorer, assassin, spy—Gabriel Allon returns in The Fallen Angel, another blockbuster espionage thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Daniel Silva. The acclaimed author of Portrait of a Spy, Silva (“a world class practitioner of spy fiction” —Washington Post) is an undisputed master of the genre who has brought “new life to the international thriller” (Newsday).

A breathtaking adventure that races around the globe, The Fallen Angel begins in Rome, where Allon is called upon to investigate a murder at the Vatican, one with disastrous repercussions that could plunge the world into a conflict of apocalyptic proportions. If you haven’t yet been drawn into Daniel Silva’s thrilling universe of intrigue, danger, and exceptional spycraft, start here—and see why the Philadelphia Inqurer declares that, “The enigmatic Gabriel Allon remains one of the most intriguing heroes of any thriller series.”

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Living The Testimony by Deidre Havrelock @deidrehavrelock


My Personal Testimony

I grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, as a Cree/Irish borderline Catholic girl, meaning this half-breed rarely went to Mass. However, I did pray every night. I absolutely loved God and believed in Him deeply. Being Catholic, I had heard about Jesus. In fact, my favorite song was “Away in a Manger.” Whenever I was scared, which was often, I would sing this song. But I imagined Jesus to be a fairytale—a fantasy about a perfect God coming to save people. He was just for good thoughts. He was in no way a reality.

Despite my vague belief in Jesus, my relationship with God seemed deep. I would have conversations with my invisible God; I would tell God I loved Him. And I certainly did love Him. Although, I was becoming a bit frustrated with Him because of my dreary life circumstance. You see, my dad drank—a lot. And this stress, along with the stress of my quickly emerging spiritual life, was simply too overwhelming.

As a child I lived with a strange secret. I sensed an ominous yet deeply intriguing spiritual force in my home. I simply assumed a ghost lived in my house. To convolute matters even more, when I was just seven, a man with fire for hair appeared to me in a dream, forcing me to marry him in front of an upside-down cross. He told me in the dream, “Don’t worry, you have been chosen.” From this point on, I completely believed I was married to the devil—irrevocably dark and aligned with evil.

Fortunately, this dream did motivate me to dig my heels in and search for God. I figured only God could get me divorced from the devil. But instead my search led me to Fred, a kind spirit I met in grade four through a Ouija board. Being Cree, spirits were nothing new to me. My mom’s family always talked about spirits. Most of my aunts and uncles were scared of the spirits or ghosts they saw in their dreams and in their houses, but my grandmother told me the spirits were there to help and protect us. I wasn’t quite sure what to believe. I was confused. After all, the spirits I sensed around me and the ones I saw in my dreams scared me, too. But then again, Fred seemed different. This spirit was nice. He was funny. Fred told me through the Ouija board that his job was to protect and watch over me. Eventually, I began telling myself that spirits just felt creepy, but once you got to know them they could be nice. Especially, if you were nice to them.

Fred became my constant companion. But one day, in grade six, after my best friend’s dad tried to molest me and just after my uncle Glen (who had sexually molested me as a small child) came to live with us in our home, I had a nervous breakdown. While left home alone with Glen, I grabbed a butcher knife and ran to my room to hide. Once in my bedroom, instead of picking up my Ouija board to call on Fred, I cried out to God, telling Him I wanted to kill myself. Suddenly I heard a voice speak out loud: “When you are big everything will be okay.” It was God; He spoke to me. He was real.3 I told God I’d hang on until I was big, which obviously, to a twelve-year-old mind, meant eighteen.

By age sixteen, things seemed to have miraculously changed for the better. First of all, my dad was now inexplicably healed from alcoholism. Second, I was introduced by my high school teacher to a New Age transcendental meditation and channeling group that met weekly in the back room of a small bookstore.4 I was so excited. I thought for sure—in this extremely spiritual group—I would find God and get my divorce from Satan.

This group also told me spirits were good and helpful. However, a few sessions later, I found myself strangely altered after my spirit guide Fred, along with another extremely violent spirit, entered my body during group meditation and refused to leave. A member of the group did attempt to help me force these spirits from my body, but the endeavor failed. Consequently, I was kicked out of my New Age group for having bad karma. This meant I was the one attracting these evil spirits to the group—because I was evil. I left the group feeling deeply hurt, misunderstood, and very aware of being “chosen” by the devil.5

A school friend of mine named Doug, who had joined the channeling group with me, then suggested, without knowing anything about my spiritual past, that I study Satanism. His brother had a Satanic Bible.6 After flatly declining, I began dreaming I was killing people. I also dreamed of horrible evil creatures. Rats invading my house was a common dream, and the devil with fire for hair began reappearing in my dreams, growing angrier every time I refused to follow him. When I turned eighteen, I gave up on spirituality. I simply wouldn’t choose Satan and God had failed to show up and save me.

When I was twenty-two years old, now bulimic/anorexic, depressed, and suffering from intense back pain, my life took an unexpected turn when at work God surprisingly spoke to me again saying, “This is the man whom you shall marry.” That man was DJ, a young man who worked in the same office as I did. Eventually DJ and I began dating, and even though we seemed to have nothing in common—because I was convinced that God had sent him to help me—on our third date, I opened up to him, describing to him my nightmares and my spirit guide, Fred. Of course, I worried DJ might consider me crazy, but instead he said, “I’m here to help.”7

It was a few weeks later that DJ opened up to me, explaining how he believed in Jesus. He told me he believed Jesus was alive. He told me Jesus could heal me and save me; and because he was God’s actual Son, he was the gateway to knowing and experiencing God. DJ asked me to simply trust Jesus.8

But I was more than a little doubtful. In fact, his Christian beliefs made me furious. It seemed idiotic for anyone to believe that a childhood fairytale could be true, and it seemed positively arrogant that DJ thought he knew and understood God. After all, why couldn’t God just save me Himself? What did He need Jesus for? Why was Jesus so important? I argued with DJ about the relevance of Jesus many times. Then one night, after arguing about Jesus yet again, my back flared up with pain. DJ asked if he could pray for me. I was uncomfortable with this but thought, What will it hurt?

As DJ prayed for me, particularly when he asked me to be healed “in the name of Jesus,” my back pain sharply escalated—then the voices began. It was just like during my channeling days. Spirits stirred inside me wanting to speak. Except this time they were enraged. As DJ continued praying, my body contorted as my muscles tightened; a low growl came from my lips. Within seconds, a thick black mass pulled out from my back and hovered above us. I remember huddling against DJ, whispering, “What is that?”

“It’s evil,” he said.

I was terrified. DJ, however, immediately told the evil spirits to “leave, in the name of Jesus.” Surprisingly, the blackness retreated back down inside me. I was horrified and confused, crying and shaking. I didn’t understand I was possessed. All I knew was that Fred and another spirit were living inside me; they were angry, extremely strong, and they absolutely hated the name Jesus.

DJ, now with clear confirmation that my problem was actually demonic possession, had to find help, but where was he to go? He wasn’t sure if his church leadership would believe him. DJ then met with a Christian girl, Audrey, who also worked in our office.9 She and DJ decided to bring me to her church. They hoped her pastor could pray for me and expel the evil spirits.10

DJ convinced me to attend a service. However, shortly after arriving at the church, I found myself running from the service after voices in my head told me to kill the pastor. I remember this pastor was preaching about Jesus being able to heal. The whole service felt strange and uncomfortable to me, but DJ convinced me to go back to this church two more times. Each time I returned, the strength and rage of the voices grew and my strange back pain returned. Finally, much too terrorized and confused to go on, I refused to go back. I told DJ talking about Jesus aggravated my problems, so the solution was obviously not to talk about him.

Living the testimony

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Christian Living

Rating – G

More details about the author

Connect with Deidre Havrelock on Twitter

Website www.deidrehavrelock.com

The Colors of Friendship by K. R. Raye @KRRaye


Moving On

Lance flicked his wrist and checked his watch.  Yes, 5:00 p.m. on the dot.  With a smile he knocked on the girls’ dorm room door ready to tackle their English study session.  Even though they each pursued different majors: Melody, Communications; Imani, Chemical Engineering; and he studied Business; they all made a vow at orientation to align their core Freshmen classes and liberal arts electives whenever possible. 

He heard movement behind the door as one of the girls checked through the peephole and then Imani threw open the door.

Lance smiled and landed a peck on her cheek before he strolled inside. 

The phone rang and Imani shoved him towards it.  “Could you get that? It’s my mom,” she said heading towards the bathroom she shared with Melody and the two girls in the connecting room. 

Colors of Friendship

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – New Adult, Contemporary

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with K R Raye on Facebook and Twitter

Website http://krraye.com/events.html

Friday, December 27, 2013

#AmReading - Angel in Black by Max Allan Collins @MaxAllanCollins


Angel in Black by Max Allan Collins


Honeymooning in LA, private detective Nate Heller is a suspect in the LAPD’s Black Dahlia murder investigation and must rely on old friend Eliot Ness to help solve the crime before it’s too late.

Julia Park Tracey – A Day in the Life of An Indie Author


A Day in the Life of An Indie Author

by Julia Park Tracey

4:30 a.m. Let cats out.

5:00 a.m. Let cats in.

5:30 a.m. Cats have a brawl on top of my legs in bed. Kick both cats off. Husband awakens and gets ready for work. Try to sleep a little longer.

6:00 a.m. Give up on sleep and take meds, feed cats, start coffee.

6:30 a.m. Caffeine intake on target. Ready for blast off. Check email. Check Facebook. Check Twitter. Read online newspaper. Reply to overnight tweets and posts with snappy comebacks. Consider the merits of own wit. Praise self.

8 a.m. Look for email from Big Name Publisher, then laugh because there isn’t one. It is I. I do it all. I remind myself of this when there is no big fat contract to sign or big fat check in the mail. I also remember it when I reap what I sow, that is, work hard and see results.

By 9 a.m. I am setting up my Twitter, Facebook and Google+ feeds for the day via HootSuite. With the Doris Diaries (my women’s history project), I post excerpts from my great-aunts diary from the 1920s on one set of social media. On my author pages, I post relevant links to articles, personal appearances or funny things I saw while reading the newspaper earlier in the day. As an aside, I have a degree in journalism and our professors used to grill us on what was in the paper every morning. I have never lost the habit of reading through the local, national and world news, plus sports, biz and weather – and I find surprisingly relevant-to-my-book articles all the time. For Tongues of Angels, my current novel, I am posting all kinds of links and articles about the new pope, equal rights for gays and women, and other social justice stories.

Somewhere in here I eat a bowl of cereal or yogurt. I also look at the dishes from last night and think about washing them. I don’t. But I do consider it.

By 10 a.m. I am working on marketing and answering email. I might have a blog post to write but I’ll put that off til later. Why? Because every writer procrastinates. I am one of them My addiction to the deadline keeps me working on a story in my head until the last possible minute, and then I sit and dump, that is, I write a powerful first draft, do a quick clean up, and skid into the finish line with a minute to spare, if not a few minutes late. (My journalism background is a blessing and a curse. I write clean copy. I wait til the last minute.)

One of the most important tasks I do is a daily marketing to-do, something that my publishing consortium asks of us. The women at Indie-Visible have set up a plan called “One-A-Days,” that is, a simple marketing task to keep us in the groove. It might be as simple as checking my blog statistics or adding a new hashtag to my Twitter profile. It might mean looking for search terms to add to my web site. It might mean I review another author’s book or vote on a GoodReads Listopia list. One simple task that pushes the book even an inch further on its jurney out into the world is all we ask. (This One-A-Day is now available free to subscribers at this link.

11 a.m. is a good time for another cup of coffee (two a day is my usual dosage) and a quick peek at Facebook and Twitter via HootSuite or the actual sites. It’s good to check in and see how people are responding to your posts, and to comment and RT other things you see online. It’s the back-and-forth that builds followers, and the Lord knows, I need followers. Popping in *briefly* is also a way to curate your social media. Stop any bickering, delete any stalkers, answer any questions, update a question or event you left hanging there. But I don’t let it become a time suck.

As an indie author, I also have a lot of other work to do. Pay the rent and the bills, for one thing. Housework and cooking, for another. About midmorning, I throw in a load of laundry, decide what’s for dinner and look at my bills. If I have some of those things to do, I either do morning or afternoon, but try to compress it to one day a week, morning or afternoon. I don’t like to lose too much time dithering away at the grocery store.

I’m also a freelancer, which pays the bills between royalty checks. I might have an article to write, an interview to set up, or a meeting over coffee with a potential client. I might write a company history, edit someone’s manuscript, or prepare an outline for a class I will teach in the fall. Note: Your local adult school, par and rec department or senior center is always looking for someone to teach a one-night or several-weeks-long course. Creative writing? Poetry boot camp? Children’s journaling and storytelling? If it’s something you can teach, write up a proposal and send it in. The worst that can happen is they say no. And if they say yes, another income stream. This fall I will be teaching a children’s journalism program at various elementary schools, and I have an outline in hand for that. I have met with the director of the program three times so far this spring, and those are meetings I set up for late morning (in time for that tasty second cup of coffee) or late afternoon (time for tea!).

In the meantime, aside from domestic duties and outside appointments, I have editing or writing to do. And by midmorning, I need to be head-down and humming.

I usually don’t eat lunch at noon. I usually look at my clock and realize it’s about 1:30 and time to eat.

1:30 p.m. Break for lunch. A good time for reading.

2 p.m. If I have anything to mail, and missed the post, this is a good time to take a break and walk to the PO. It’s important to get away from the desk, stretch out the legs and arms and stop being the Hunchback of Julia’s Apartment. I have a tendency toward repetitive stress injuries (shoulder, tendons, wrists) so I force myself to get away from the desk every day. Vitamin D is also important (sunshine).

3 p.m. When I get back from my walk and errands, I often settle down with a book or manuscript to read. I might make comments on a work in progress (either a paid gig or for a writer friend), or I might be reviewing a book for a blog, web site or newspaper. Afternoon reading time is important for me. Of course, sometimes I get sleepy, but giving myself down time in the midafternoon is crucial. Because I work at home, I often work until late at night. Down time to read for pleasure also takes place here. And if I didn’t go to the post office or run errands, I might read all afternoon and walk at sunset instead.

Somewhere between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. I make myself a cup of tea. Add a few cookies or a piece of toast to that, to keep my going until dinner time. I head back to the laptop and check in on email, social media and news of the world while enjoying my tea.

6 p.m. is a tough time to get any work done. The Boy (he’s 15) is usually home and getting ready for kick boxing class or other evening activity. Mr. Husband gets home. I need to get dinner going. So I stop working for a while and take care of folding laundry or other chores while dinner cooks. This is usually when last night’s dishes get done.

7:30 p.m. is time for dinner. It’s the only time we are in the same place at the same time, and one of our four daughters might swing by. Dishes get stacked after dinner and await my tender ministrations in the morning. Or whenever.

About 8 p.m. I go back to my computer. I usually have a last burst of energy here and get in another one to three hours, depending on how annoying the cats were the previous night. If I have a deadline, I am definitely going to be working til 10 p.m. That’s about as late as I push it, generally, but there are days when I’m still working at midnight. Deadlines – ha ha! I laugh at them! They don’t laugh back.

But on a good day, I am in bed somewhere between 9:30 and 10 p.m., reading some more. Good readers make good writers, and I read voraciously. I get in half an hour at least at night, but if it’s riveting, I might be up til 11 p.m. or later.

That snoring sound is my husband, in bed and sawing logs since about 8:30 p.m. I also can hear my downstairs neighbor snoring. Earplugs in, lights out. No worries – the cats will wake me when it’s time to go out.

Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist and blogger. Her novel, Tongues of Angels, is live at Amazon and your local bookstore now. Like her at Facebook/JuliaParkTracey or on Twitter@JuliaParkTracey.

Tongues of Angels

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Julia Park Tracey on Facebook & Twitter

Blog http://www.thedorisdiaries.com/

Midshipman Henry Gallant in Space by H. Peter Alesso



The hours in a day were never enough. Each watch, report, and exam seemed like an organized disruption to Gallant’s desire for food and sleep. Each irreverent “Attention Midshipman Gallant” that blared over his head, called him away to some new obligation. A week after re-qualifying, Gallant joined the other midshipmen in an advanced flight training session conducted by Lieutenant Mather.

Mather was going to review the ship’s computer systems in detail in preparation for a mock combat session. While many of the midshipmen were already up to date on the ship’s AI systems, it was an opportunity for Gallant to catch-up.

Mather stood at the head of the compartment at a lectern facing several rows of chairs. He began describing the Repulse’s computer system, “It’s a marvel of Twenty-second Century technology. It provides three levels of operation for each and every important department on board including: navigation, engineering, weapons, environmental, and communications. The first level is the centralized Artificial Intelligence (AI) system. It performs what we call ‘strong-AI.’ Then, the second level includes system operations of individual departments with their own ‘weak-AI.’ They require more human interaction in order to coordinate systems. Finally, the last level is direct human manual control.”

“Officers, this is the strong-AI system nicknamed GridScape.” A three dimensional humanoid holograph form appeared before Mather. ““The avatar image is changeable,” he flipped through a few before settling on a base form. “I prefer this nondescript image for my lectures. GridScape is a wireless grid computer network consisting of over one million parallel central processors performing a billion-billion operations per second. It helps to control operations throughout the ship and its fighter support within a limited range. It coordinates overall control with our technically trained crew. Of course, it has redundant connectivity for reliability; both direct wiring, as well as wireless connections. GridScape is fully capable of independent automatic operation for most routine operations and many emergency responses that the ship may be required to perform.”

Sandy Barrington stood up and asked, “What happens when there’s battle damage, sir?”

“In the event the strong-AI system is damaged, the weak-AI computer systems take over local functional operation. Of course, every device can be switched to manual operation as required. Also, all crew members have their comm pins. They can connect to local resources that in turn can connect to the centralized AI,” said Mather.


Buy Now @ Amazon and Smashwords

Genre – Science Fiction

Rating – G

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Connect with H. Peter Alesso on Facebook

Website http://www.hpeteralesso.com/Default.aspx

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik


Image of Rik StoneHow much sleep do you need to be your best?

Probably eight hours, but I manage on about five.

Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge and thank for their support?

Yes, my wife Sue, she holds me up when I’m down and keeps me buoyant when I’m unsure. Other than that she does everything to look after me, having said that her cooking leaves something to be desired.

Every writer has their own idea about a successful career in writing, what does success in writing look like to you?

If every person who reads my book enjoys it then I’ve been successful.

Can you tell me about yourself: where you’re from, where you grew up, and what you have done with your life?

I grew up in the slum-lands of 50’s North East England and left school at 15 years of age without any form of qualification. From school I went to work in the local shipyards on the River Tyne. At 19, I went into the merchant navy, drifted, or bobbed, through life until it became pointless, gave it up in favor of working in a quarry in Essex. When I married, I realized my life was plodding along without horizons; it looked bleak. I started studying. After completing O and A levels, I began a degree course and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and computing. The qualification got me a job in the Ford Motor Co. IT dept where I became a project business analyst. I took an early retirement at 50 and that was when I began writing seriously.

How did the idea of the book come to you?

I have relations who lived in ‘The Pale’ (a barren place where the Jewish population was forced to live – think Fiddler on the Roof). They escaped the czarist pogroms in the late 19th century. Some came to England, others to the US and Canada.

Because of them, I looked into Jewish history in Russia and was shocked to learn of the suffering there. But it gave me an idea for a story. However, 19th century Russia didn’t fit. I trawled through Russian/Soviet history until I came to the post-war period. The setting was perfect for me, but I had to take away the protagonist’s Jewish religion. First, to fit in with his military ambitions and also to demonstrate that it isn’t only about religious belief – prejudice is prejudice.

Birth of an Assassin

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


Standing Stark: The Willingness to Engage by Carla Woody @CarlaWoody1


Chapter Two:
Beyond Words

I was leading a very mainstream life. While I had some sense of purpose, I additionally had an underlying feeling that something was seriously lacking. Even though there was a recognition of incompletion, I can’t say that it was a conscious realization, more of a sense of things not expressed, blocked or segregated.

The previous year I’d left the large government agency where I’d worked nearly my entire career up to that point. Being out from under bureaucratic constraints lent a certain kind of freedom that I craved, but a large part of my livelihood was still generated through that environment where I returned as a consultant. I felt the rigidity of the organization to the point that it triggered an aversion in me.

What I now know is that whenever we have an unreasonably strong response to something external, something is lurking internally of the same nature. At the time, I recognized what I can only describe as flatness, a lack of real engagement to anything in which I was involved. It’s unlikely that this fact was apparent to anyone but me. I was known for my mind and abilities for pulling people and projects together. To others, my guess is that I appeared actively engaged in my life. After all, I was busy doing what needed to be done, just like most with whom I came in contact.

But I knew something was omitted. Fourteen years earlier, I’d had a major signal identifying my disconnection. Because of a viral infection that attacked my thyroid, I became extremely ill. I was likely within a hair’s breadth of death before I’d had any inkling of the seriousness of the illness. It probably was only through my mother’s mother-bear-like, protective attention and demands to the physician I finally visited that I am even alive today.

A major crisis such as this one is often the impetus that will kick start a revelation—or revolution. After my recovery, I finally comprehended the level of absurdity and danger that the lack of awareness of my own condition brought. I was able to discern that I wasn’t practicing denial in the sense of not wanting to face something. But more so, I was disconnected from my body to the degree that I had been unable to recognize my lack of health. How could I? My life and level of consciousness was weighted in my head, cut off from my physicality and any real experience or attunement other than mental observation.

I heeded a cry from my Core Self, not even knowing of her existence, and sought out meditation. That was an unlikely avenue back then, only because where I was living at the time offered very few opportunities to explore anything even somewhat resembling consciousness studies. With the help of a couple of books, I put together a practice to which I remained faithful.

Over the years, I found myself becoming increasingly calmer and healthier. I knew that the change was due directly to my dedicated focus on meditation. Indeed, I became much more in tune with my body and its messages to me. I began to trust those messages implicitly, telling me when things were right, or not, in my world.

But I knew something was still missing. I remained an observer to a large degree, not a participant. While I’d read of spirituality and various states that told of that realm, I’d had no direct experience. I intellectually knew that Spirit was an aspect of my makeup, but couldn’t quite grasp even the concept of such a reality. And yet there was something underpinning my entire existence that called out for this wholeness. Some part of me deeply desired integration.

When strong intent is present, the means to fulfill it will automatically appear. But I didn’t know this truth at that point in my journey. I only knew that I felt somewhat fragmented, and one day noticed an ad in a professional journal for a retreat with a Peruvian shaman to be held in the Southern Utah desert. Ignoring the fact that my sole idea of camping then was in pensions in large European cities, or that I didn’t even know what the term “shaman” meant, I felt a strong draw in my body to call and register. So, I did.

Four months later, I flew cross-country to Salt Lake City where I was picked up with some other retreat goers and driven some hours south to a remote canyon in the San Rafael Swell. The beauty of the area was incredible and helped to overwhelm my uneasiness of being with people with whom I wasn’t acquainted, and an upcoming event about which I knew absolutely nothing.

When we finally rolled into the makeshift camp, I climbed out of the truck feeling a mixture of excitement and apprehension, the two being closely linked anyway. While in this state, I noticed a brown-skinned man making his way toward me. He had dark, wavy hair, a mustachioed, handsome face, and wore a woven poncho. His eyes sparkled. He smiled broadly and wrapped his arms around me in greeting. As he did so, any fear I felt dissipated immediately and was replaced by great warmth swelling from some place inside me, unlike any I’d ever felt. This was the man the sponsors had advertised as a shaman, the person who, in the years ahead, I would come to know not only as a mystic and teacher of the heart, but a cherished friend—Don Américo Yábar. My meeting him was to change the fabric of my entire life. And I had asked for it unknowingly.

Around the campfire that evening, Don Américo introduced the subject of intent through his translator. He encouraged each of us to set our intent that evening for the week that was to follow. I went off on my own to think about what he’d said, the whole idea of intent being a slippery one, at best, that I had a challenge grasping. However, I decided that I must have set my intent, at some level, before I even came. That was what pulled me to the retreat not even knowing what it entailed. I wanted to be joined. I wanted direct engagement. I wanted integration of my mind, body and spirit. I told no one.

The next morning held the usual gorgeous, blue desert sky. The group had hiked some distance from our camp and found a natural rock amphitheatre. We made ourselves comfortable in the shadows of the boulders, out from under the Utah sun which was already getting quite warm. Don Américo began to speak. I don’t remember now exactly what he said. I was being lulled by the lilting rhythms of his and his translator’s vocal patterns that took the meaning of the words to some unconscious level.

Suddenly, he stopped and gazed intensely at me. He motioned for me to come to the middle of the circle where he stood. Under normal circumstances, I would have done so reluctantly, if at all, not being comfortable “exposing” myself to others in that way. In that case, however, I felt completely at ease.

I approached him. He stood directly in front of me only about eighteen inches away, his liquid brown eyes locking onto mine. It was as though he was channeling pure love directly into my being. Both of his hands hovered right outside my body at the chest level.

Making a motion of pulling apart outside the heart center, he said, “The way to see is with the body’s eye.”

I felt what I could only describe as a sweet welling in that energy center that began to undulate, creating a rippling effect.

He moved one hand up to my forehead. Making a wiping motion in my subtle energy field, he proclaimed, “Not the mind’s eye!”

I felt something shut at that level, all the while the heart energy continued to reverberate. I was unaware of anything other than large waves of effervescent warmth that seemed to echo silently, returning from the stones surrounding us, further intensifying the awakening. People seated around us gasped and murmured. I have no idea how long I stood that way. I do not know how I found my feet to return to my seat. I do not recall what occurred the rest of the day.

I was opened. I was filled. I’d had my first direct experience—beyond words.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Nonfiction, Spirituality

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with Carla Woody 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.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Author Interview – Kim Cresswell @kimcresswell


Image of Kim Cresswell

What motivates you to write?

My need to tell stories and entertain readers. I can’t imagine NOT writing.

What writing are you most proud of? (Add a link if you like)

I’m the most proud of my first published novel, REFLECTION, a romantic thriller. In REFLECTION, my heroine, reporter, Whitney Steel is investigating an alleged human cloning project when she meets up with the hero, FBI Agent, Blake Neely who’s searching for his own answers. Everything from this point on focuses on Blake and Whitney discovering whether or not the villain has produced the world’s first cloned human. The book took a tremendous amount of research and was a huge challenge to write. http://www.amazon.com/Reflection-ebook/dp/B00B5HRBZE

How much sleep do you need to be your best?

Because I have chronic pain I need at least six hours of sleep to be at my best. Anything less…well I’m a bit grumpy.

Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?

Manhattan District Attorney, Lauren Taylor, is about to take on the most important case of her career, prosecuting Gino Valdina, acting mob boss of New York’s most influential crime syndicate.
For three decades, Gino Valdina has led New York’s Valdina crime family. Since his recent indictment for murder, the leadership of the family is in turmoil, appalled by the death of one of their own, Gino’s wife, Madelina. Without the support of the family behind him, Valdina will do anything to save himself.
But Lauren soon discovers, things aren’t always as they seem when she’s tossed into a mystery, a deadly conspiracy that reaches far beyond the criminal underworld and a journey into the past makes her a target…and anyone she’s ever loved.

I wrote LETHAL JOURNEY because of my fascination with the Mafia, my love for law and action -packed thrillers.

Are you a city slicker or a country lover?

I’m a city girl all the way even though I grew up on a farm. I love the convenience of the city.

Lethal Journey333x500

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Genre – Thriller

Rating – PG-18

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Connect with Kim Cresswell on Facebook and Twitter

Website http://kimberleycresswell.wordpress.com/

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

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

#AmReading - The Bachelor Battles by Angela White @Angelawhitelaw


The Bachelor Battles by Angela White


500 Years into the future, nine of every ten babies conceived are female. Men have been enslaved for their own protection and the only way to get a mate is to enter the Network Games and fight for one. The Catch?
It's a live battle To The Death and the competition is fierce.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

#AmReading - The Sowing by K. Makansi @akmakansi


The Sowing by K. Makansi


The Resistance Has Begun.
Remy Alexander never thought she'd be hunted. Growing up in the posh comfort of the elite meritocracy of the Okarian Sector, she knew nothing of genetically modified food, drug regimes used to control and manipulate citizens, or the mysterious disappearances of powerful Sector scientists and politicians. But when her older sister Tai was killed in a brutal classroom massacre, Remy and her friend Eli swore to find the truth behind her sister's murder. Now, three years after the massacre, Remy and Eli are fighters for the Resistance, a fledgling group of renegades trying to stop the Sector's systematic enslavement of citizens. But just as Remy and Eli think they've found a clue into the mystery of her sister's death, Valerian Orlean, Remy's old schoolgirl crush, is put in charge of destroying the Resistance. While Remy and her friends race to unravel the mystery behind her sister's murder, Vale is haunted by the memory of his friendship with Remy and is determined to find out why she disappeared. As the Sector hunts the Resistance, and Vale and Remy search for answers, the two are set on a collision course that could bring everyone together - or tear everything apart.
In this science-fiction dystopia, the mother-daughter writing team of Kristina, Amira, and Elena Makansi immerses readers in the post-apocalyptic world of the Okarian Sector where romance, friendship, adventure, and betrayal will decide the fate of a budding nation.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Becoming Human (The Exilon 5 Trilogy, Book 1) by Eliza Green @elizagreenbooks


Eliza Green

Two Worlds. Two Species. One Terrifying Secret.

In 2163, a polluted and overcrowded Earth forces humans to search for a new home. But the exoplanet they target, Exilon 5, is occupied. Having already begun a massive relocation programme, Bill Taggart is sent to monitor the Indigenes, the race that lives there. He is a man on the edge. He believes the Indigenes killed his wife, but he doesn’t know why. His surveillance focuses on the Indigene Stephen, who has risked his life to surface during the daytime.

Stephen has every reason to despise the humans and their attempts to colonise his planet. To protect his species from further harm, he must go against his very nature and become human. But one woman holds a secret that threatens Bill’s and Stephen’s plans, an untruth that could rip apart the lives of those on both worlds.

BECOMING HUMAN, part one in the Exilon 5 trilogy, is a science fiction dystopian adventure that you won’t want to put down.

˃˃˃ Thought Provoking SciFi, Dystopian Tale – Compulsion Reads

I would happily recommend this book to fans of dystopia, science fiction and conspiracy lovers. You will be in for an exciting ride.

˃˃˃ Excellent Use of ForeShadowing – Masquerade Crew

This book demonstrates why I read Indie books and have enjoyed doing so immensely. Yes, some self-published books don’t deserve to see the light of day, but this isn’t one of those. Far from it. It was exciting and it had mystery. It sets up the next book while still giving you closure in this one–a difficult task for a book in a series.

˃˃˃”Becoming Human”… a promising first book… 4 1/2 Stars – Top 1000 Amazon Reviewer

A well written and deftly told Sci-Fi tale that got better and better.

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Genre – Science Fiction

Rating – PG13

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Website http://www.elizagreenbooks.com

Great White House by Christoph Paul @ChristophPaul_



Most stories should not start with “it was a dark and stormy night” but this evening in Washington, DC could be described no other way. A great storm was raging, as were key members of Congress and other important figures. The politicians waited in silence staring at a blank satellite screen for the eccentric Chinese President Xi Jinping to appear and discuss the massive debt America owed China.

The group was in the East Room of the White House above the library, where a small window reflected the faces of those who had enough ‘klout’ to sit at the round table with President Obama and Vice President Biden.

It would be any news reporter's dream to sit alongside these political heavyweights, but the “China Task Force” or C.T.F. had made this a closed conference, top-secret event. So secret, even Snowden didn’t know about it.

Even if the White House let the press in, the reporters would not have made it through the heavy downpour in Washington, DC. Visibility in the city was close to zero. Normal traffic ended hours earlier as young and old government employees hunkered down in their favorite bars to weather the storm.

Now, rain poured so hard the echoes of the downpour shot through the White House, giving attention to the awkward silence in the East Room.

As the large teleprompter screen remained blank, an animated Michele Bachmann broke the silence. “I just don’t trust these Chinese, even with their food. My husband ends up having problems with his rectal area after he eats it when I’m away. You should see the fees I pay his proctologist. Thank the good Lord we don’t have ObamaCare or he wouldn’t be able to walk.”

The other members of the C.T.F. remained silent, as most believed Mr. Bachmann to be a closeted homosexual. Being the peacemaker, President Obama wanted to avoid any divisive issues. “Yes. I understand. Chinese food, though delicious, bothers my stomach and Michelle’s as well Congresswoman Bachmann.”

Joe Biden rose from his chair and headed toward the decanter on a table at the side of the room. “Hey, Barry, I thought it was only black guys that were late, not the Chinese. Ha. That's good one.”

The oft-amused Biden smiled and gave a self-satisfactory laugh. President Obama shook his head, grateful the press wasn’t here to catch another ‘JoeGaffee.’ Biden poured himself a glass of scotch as Obama popped a piece of Nicorette in his mouth.

“Since this meeting is 'not official,' I suppose it's all right to have a drink.” Biden cheered the room. He brought another cup over to Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan and sat back down; the two had become close since their 2012 Vice Presidential debate and would drink over the ‘malarkey’ of the day.

Eric Cantor, next to his also-tanned counterpart Majority Leader Boehner, was fed up with the jokes. “In all seriousness, what the Chinese President is doing is a power move. It’s a psychological display of dominance. You can’t trust a communist.”

Senator Ted Cruz slammed his fist on the table. “Those commies will play mind games. I agree.”

Congresswoman Pelosi raised her hand. “Excuse me, but I’m more worried about this storm. We might be stuck here.” She gestured at the window. “This storm has gotten dangerous. I'm telling you, it's global warming. Only global warming could cause a downpour of this magnitude! My constituents are very worried about this issue and so am I.”

Democrat Senator Harry Reid and Socialist Bernie Sanders agreed but Congresswoman Bachmann and Congressman Tim Scott shook their heads in annoyance and said a silent prayer for the socialists in the room.

Other Republicans rolled their eyes at Pelosi’s statement. Libertarian-leaning Senator Rand Paul responded, “If global warming even exists, the market will fix it. What we need to worry about is the debt. The Chinese have every right to call this emergency meeting and to want their money.”

Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner (who was called out of retirement to help out the C.T.F.) nodded in approval of Senator Paul’s market solution.

President Obama took a deep breath and offered a fake but serene glance to acknowledge Paul's statement. He put his hand up and quieted the room. “Now, now, let's not have the global warming debate right now, folks. There is talk that the Chinese are very upset about our debt and want us to pay now, which is a surprise to us all. But that is not the only reason for this emergency meeting. The NSA has heard some terrorist chatter about an attack on Annapolis that could dismantle many of our Navy’s resources. They say the Chinese might know about it. We might be in for a long night. Look, if the storm gets worse, you can sleep here; it’s a big house. We can sell to it to the press as a political sleepover. They’ll find that cute and bipartisan.”

New York Senator Schumer rubbed his temples in frustration. “Oi vey, I don’t have my Ambien.”

Senator McCaskill gave him a nice Missouri smile.

“It’s okay, Chuck. You can have some of mine. Senator Rubio, I have some bottled water if you need it, too.”

The group laughed and Senator Rubio inwardly grimaced at the overused joke but mustered a smile that only a man running for President in 2016 could pull off.

Senator McCain put down his unfinished poker game. “You pansies and your sleeping pills. When I was in Vietnam I slept on pure steel and spider shit… President Obama, sir, I’m sick of waiting for these communists. Either you call them or I will.”

President Obama saw an annoyed crowd and felt the temperature in the room rising. On days like this he was sick of being President but he knew this was not a time for self-pity. He looked out at the storm and thought of his Kenyan father herding goats in this type of downpour. His father would not have been deterred by hardships like this. The President sighed with finality. “All right, John, enough is enough. Let’s get President Xi Jinping on screen. We’ve waited long enough.”  

Great White House NEW COVER

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Genre – Fiction, Humor

Rating – PG-13

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

#AmReading - Whispers in Autumn by Trisha Leigh @trishaleighKC


Whispers in Autumn by Trisha Leigh


In 2015, a race of alien Others conquered Earth. They enslaved humanity not by force, but through an aggressive mind control that turned people into contented, unquestioning robots.
Except sixteen-year-old Althea isn’t content at all, and she doesn’t need the mysterious note inside her locket to tell her she’s Something Else. It also warns her to trust no one, so she hides the pieces that make her different, even though it means being alone.
The autumn she meets Lucas, everything changes.
Althea and Lucas are immune to the alien mind control, and together they search for the reason why. What they uncover is a stunning truth the Others never anticipated, one with the potential to free the brainwashed human race.
It’s not who they are that makes them special, but what.
And what they are is a threat. One the Others are determined to eliminate for good.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Love Unbroken (Love, Life, & Happiness) by Sheena Binkley @ChevonBink




I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone when I arrived at Shaw University. After my last stint at love, the only thing I wanted to focus on is getting through my first semester of college without any drama. That was my intentions, until I met Shawn Walker. At first I didn’t like him. He was arrogant and cocky; someone that I could easily despised, if he wasn’t so damn sexy. But one night changed my thoughts about him. I was able to let down my guard and be myself. Now, I have a second chance at love. Will I let myself love again, or will I continue to live in the past?


After my last girlfriend cheated on me, love was not on my agenda. I tried to escape it at all costs, until I met Riana Robertson. After thinking she was like every other girl, I easily avoided being around her, but that night, when I saw what happened to her, I had to help her. I had to protect her. That night changed the way I felt about her and I realized I could fall hard for her. But will our relationship survive once she finds out the truth about me. Or will I lose her forever…

This story is intended for readers 17+ (adult content/language, sexual content/language).

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Genre - New Adult Romance

Rating – R

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Date with the Dead by Chris Myers @CMyersFiction

Chapter 5
After the Caldwells give us our licenses back, Reese and I head out.
“Do you want a ride home?” he asks.
“That’s okay. It’s only a couple miles,” I say. “Let’s talk about the evidence tomorrow.”
“I’ll go over it tonight,” he says, grinning at me.
I’m glad he’s into the techie side of the business. Going through hours of video and voice recordings bore me. Drew and I climb onto my bike. Dark clouds cover the moon, so I pedal fast to beat the rain. I should’ve accepted the ride.
We aren’t even a quarter of the way home when fat droplets splatter my arms. “Shoot.”
Drew squeezes my waist. “Get over. This SUV’s going to clip us.”
Bike reflectors are hard to see at night, so I don’t look behind me but get off the road as far as I can. The headlights shine on me and light up the road in front of me. I’m right against the curb. Surely, he sees me. The SUV slows. The engine breathes on me. I don’t look back. Why isn’t he going around? The vehicle camps on my rear fender for a minute.
“What’s he doing?” Drew asks.
“I don’t know.”
The SUV slowly comes beside me. I look into the tinted windows. I can’t see inside, but the thought of someone staring back at me sends chills along my arms.
The SUV speeds up and brushes against my left pedal. My body jumps as if I’ve been struck by a live wire. The bicycle swerves. I hit the curb and flip, which would’ve seemed graceful if it had been on purpose. My body slides against the sidewalk then onto someone’s lawn.
“Jerk,” Drew yells, pumping his fist in the air.
“I don’t think he can hear you.” I gather myself while rain droplets plunk down on my head, matting my hair.
“Are you okay?” Drew asks, helping me to my feet.
“I’ll survive,” I say, assessing the damage. My right knee is banged up. Shin and palm road rash. I’m shaking hard like I’m holding onto the wing of an airplane flying through a storm.
Computer? I yank it from my back pack. It’s okay. I sigh with relief.
My front handlebars are askew. Great. I’ll have to walk my bike home in the rain. Another drop hits my nose. I tighten my thin jacket and shiver from the sudden wet cold. I pick up the bike and push it while wincing with each step I take. 
A blue FJ Cruiser drives onto the curb behind me. Add embarrassment now to my list of injuries. The rain patters my head.
The driver gets out. It’s Hayden, Mr. Terminator. My knees buckle, not that they needed much encouragement. Why couldn’t it be a teacher, someone I don’t care if he sees me looking my worst? Hayden’s in jeans and a snug polo shirt and looks fabulous whereas I probably look like road kill.
“Jesus,” he says. “I saw that guy run you off the road. He was probably chatting on his cell phone.”
That could be true, but the way he slowed down still has me trembling. “Did you get his license plate?” I ask.
“Sorry. I was too far back.” Hayden walks over to me. “Are you okay? Do you want me to call an ambulance?”
That would cost money. “No. I’ll be fine.” I hobble another few steps forward, because the rain is picking up its tempo.
Date with the Dead
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - YA Paranormal Mystery, Romance
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author and the book
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Monday, December 16, 2013

Rebekah's Quilt by Sara Barnard @TheSaraBarnard


“The Lord has blessed me by making sure I am a part of a family and village so generous and caring, I have no doubt about that.”

Joseph’s face broke into a dazzling, dimpled grin.

Like the sun. In an odd display of forthrightness, words tumbled off her tongue. “But the fishing pole was my favorite.”

Ducking his head, Joseph held up a packet of cheesecloths, tied up with a black ribbon. “Even more than these … well … things?”

Rebekah snatched them playfully. “Cheesecloths!”

Tilting his head down, Joseph stared at her, the ghost of a smile lingering on his lips. Slowly, he took a step toward her.

Longing for even the briefest of brushes from his skin to hers, Rebekah forced herself to remain still. She inhaled deeply in an attempt to still her thundering heart. His sweet, woodsy scent left her head spinning.

“I’m glad you loved your gift,” he whispered. His breath was aromatic, smelling of honey and coffee.

“I loved making it for you.”

Rebekah feared she may melt into a puddle on her family’s sitting room floor. Ever ladylike, she clasped her sweaty hands behind her back.

Bringing his hand up painfully slow, she watched from the corner of her eye as he hesitated, only a moment beside her cheek, before continuing up to touch the brim of his black felt hat.

“Goodnight, sweet Rebekah. And happy, happy birthday.”


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Genre - Romantic Historical Fiction

Rating – PG

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



Peter Simmons thinks he is an ordinary boy, before he is abducted by a man with certain special abilities, learns of his inescapable destiny, befriends immortals and becomes famous wordlwide. Why? Because Peter Simmons is mankind’s last hope for survival.

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

Rating – PG-13

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Website http://ramzartso.blogspot.com/

Sunday, December 15, 2013

#AmReading - Branded by Keary Taylor @kearytaylor


Branded by Keary Taylor


Jessica’s had the nightmares for as long as she can remember. Nightmares of being judged for people who have died, of being branded by the angels. Her friends and family think she’s a crazy because of it all. Yet she carries the mark of the condemned, seared into the back of her neck, and hides it and herself away from the world.
But when two men she can’t ignore enter her life everything changes, including the nightmares. The two of them couldn’t be more different. She will do anything to be with one of them. Even tell him the truth about angels, why she never sleeps, and the scar on the back of her neck. But one of the two has set events into motion what will pull her toward her own judgment and turn her into the object of her greatest fear.

Author Interview – Shanna Hatfield @ShannaHatfield #thechristmascowboy


Image of Shanna Hatfield

Are you a city slicker or a country lover?

Country girl all the way, as long as you don’t ever plan to take me camping. I must have hot running water every single day. When I was a little girl, our pipes froze one winter. We spent about two months without running water and the only hot water was what Mom heated on the stove. It was awful and I don’t ever, ever want to be without hot running water.

What’s your next project?

I’m working on a book about an arena football player and a very quiet, serious girl who tries her best to ignore him.

How do you feel about self-publishing?

I think it is the greatest thing since sliced-bread. I say that because The Christmas Cowboy is my 20th self- published book. I know self-publishing isn’t for everyone, but for me, it has been the perfect fit. Absolutely perfect. I have an odd assortment of prior experiences that blended really well for self-publishing including writing, copy editing, and graphic design.

How important are friends in your life?

Extremely important. Friends are there when you need a lift and are always willing to share a laugh or celebrate a triumph. To me, friends are more like family.

How many friends does a person need?

That depends entirely on the person. I have a friend who has a goal in life to collect as many friends as possible. I’m the opposite. I don’t need many friends. Those I do have, though, are there for me whenever I need them and know my door and heart is open to them anytime.

The Christmas Cowboy

"10% of the net proceeds from all my book sales December 1-24 will be donated to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund®"

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Genre – Romance (contemporary western)

Rating – PG

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Website http://shannahatfield.com

The Beautiful American by Marilyn Holdsworth @m_holdsworth


Part I 
The Desk

Chapter 1

Going once; going twice.” The auctioneer hesitated for dramatic effect, scanning the audience. “Any more advance on this exceptional piece? Ladies and gentlemen, look at the intricate carving, the magnificent craftsmanship,” he pleaded. “Any more advance? Last chance,” he threatened, waving his gavel in midair. “Sold!” The gavel banged, and scattered applause rippled through the crowd.

“Smart buy goes to the little lady in the third row. What’s your number again?”

Abby hoisted her bidding paddle, her hands trembling and heart racing with a heady surge of excitement. “I got it,” she whispered. “I got it.” She picked up her shoulder bag and edged down the row of filled seats to the main aisle. Minutes later, she was standing at the cashier’s counter writing out a check to pay for her purchase. She knew she had paid more than she had budgeted for the piece. A couple of aggressive dealers had pushed the price higher, but she was determined to have it, and she had offered the winning bid.

She had fallen hopelessly in love with the desk after seeing it at the auction’s morning previews. Although its finish was age worn, its intricate inlaid woods and slender, tapered legs gave it an elegant, graceful style. And it was the perfect size for a lady—for her. It was the gift she had promised herself when her business was finally flourishing. And this had been an excellent year for her. Not only was her shop, Abby’s Antiques and Collectibles, successful, but she had landed some lucrative decorating contracts as well. Finding and purchasing period pieces at affordable prices for customers had become her specialty, and demands for her services were growing. She had a special talent for tracking down and authenticating hidden treasures and loved doing it. But this morning’s find was for her. Her hand still slightly trembled as she wrote out the check, signed it, and handed it to the cashier with her driver’s license for identification.

The clerk smiled, glanced at her signature, and studied the picture on her license before handing it back to her. “Abigail Cecilia. Pretty name, not one you hear often these days,” he commented.

“From my dear grandmother. Old fashioned name. Old fashioned girl.” Abby laughed, pushing a strand of her long strawberry-blond hair back from her brow. Her thickly lashed, blue-green eyes and fresh, dewy complexion gave her a much younger appearance than the thirty-two years on her driver’s license. And in her loose-fitting peasant dress with flat shoes, she looked much smaller than the five-foot-seven statistic. Even her hair in the picture was shorter, darker, causing the clerk to give her a final appraisal before dropping her check into the cash drawer.

“You gonna need delivery for this?” he asked, waving the receipt.

“I can manage if somebody will help me load it into my van. I’m parked right outside.”

“Just hand the guys at pickup this slip, and they’ll load it.”

“Thanks.” Abby beamed at him and turned away from the counter.

“Quite a buy ya just made.” A short, chubby man with a baseball cap pulled down to his protruding ears pushed through the line to her. “Wanna sell it. I’ll give ya a good deal. Make a quick profit. What do ya say?”

“It’s not for sale,” Abby answered, firmly turning away from the man.

“Ya ain’t gonna get a better offer,” he persisted, blocking her way, his hand reaching out to take her arm.

“Get out of the lady’s way,” a deep voice sounded from behind her, and the man took a step backward.

“Okay, okay, ya don’t need to stick your nose into nothin’, buddy. I was just offerin’ the lady a cool deal. That’s all. Piece of junk ain’t worth it anyhow. She paid too much for it anyway.” The man scowled as he pushed his way through the crowd and disappeared into the auction warehouse.

“I hope he didn’t alarm you too much. Sometimes these dealers just can’t let go of an item. I think he’s pretty harmless, but just to be careful, I’d be happy to escort you to your car.”

“I’m sure I’ll be all right. But thanks. He’s gone now, and I’m going to leave too as soon as I can pick up my desk and get some help loading it.” Abby smiled up at the tall young man facing her. He was dressed in a pair of hip-hugging jeans, a T-shirt, and athletic running shoes. A shock of wavy, dark brown hair fell across his forehead, giving him a casual, boyish look, but his intense hazel eyes showed his concern for her. And as she moved toward the sign indicating the pickup station, he fell into step beside her.

“Sorry, I should have introduced myself sooner. I’m Nathan Edwards,” he offered apologetically as they walked out of the warehouse onto a wide concrete loading dock, where numerous items were lined up waiting to be claimed.

“And I’m Abby Long,” she responded, anxiously scanning the various pieces of furniture and artwork for her desk. “Oh, there it is,” she said, relief sounding in her voice. “Just as beautiful as I remembered from the previews. Thank goodness I got here early and was able to see it up close. Sitting in the audience, even in the front rows, it’s hard to see the details of a piece. And that auctioneer kept up such a furious pace, I thought for a minute there I was going to be caught in a bidding war.” She handed the stock boy her pickup slip. “Did you buy anything?” she asked as she watched her desk being carefully lifted down off the dock.

“Not today. I didn’t find quite what I was looking for. If your desk had been two or three times bigger, you might have had a real battle taking it away from me,” he said, laughing. “It’s perfect for a lady, but my long legs wouldn’t begin to fit beneath it.”

“You’re looking for a desk? Any special period or style?”

“Just one I like. Big enough, roomy enough, and preferably with a leather insert on the top. I saw one a couple of months ago I liked, and I could kick myself for letting it get away. Didn’t make my mind up fast enough, and it sold right out from under my nose. Auctions are fun, but you have to move quickly or you lose out,” he said ruefully.

“You’ll have to come by my shop. I have a couple of desks, one in particular you might like—beautiful mahogany finish with a leather top like you were describing.” Abby dug into her bag and handed him a card.

Nathan took the card, pocketed it, and followed her out to the parking lot. When her desk had been loaded into her van, Abby turned to him smiling. “Thanks again for rescuing a damsel in distress. I really did appreciate it,” she said, offering her hand to him. “And, Nathan—it is Nathan isn’t it?”

He nodded, still holding her hand.

“Don’t forget about the desk. It might be just what you’re looking for. We’re open weekdays nine to five and Saturdays ten to three.”

“I might just do that. Like to see it,” he said, smiling warmly at her as she slid behind the wheel and started up the motor. He watched her van turn out of the parking lot into the busy intersection and disappear down the street.

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Genre - Biographies & Memoirs

Rating – PG-13

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Blog http://MarilynHoldsworth.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sara Barnard - How to Avoid the Rejection Blues @TheSaraBarnard


How to Avoid the Rejection Blues

Peter Rabbit. Gone With the Wind. Frankenstein. Moby Dick. Little Women. The Wizard of Oz. What do all of these timeless classics have in common? They were all manuscript rejects – several times over. Jack London was rejected over 600 times before selling a single story. Nicholas Sparks’ THE NOTEBOOK – you know, the favorite chick flick and a must see for anyone in a relationship – was turned down by 24 literary agencies. The 25th not only picked it up, but sold it ONE WEEK LATER to Time Warner for the tiny little sum of $1 million. Louisa May Alcott was told to stick to her day job of teaching when seeking out publishers for Little Women. Meg Cabot, the author of The Princess Diaries, kept all of her rejections in a bag under her bed ... until it became so full she couldn’t lift it. Judy Blume, J.D. Sallinger, Agatha Christie, Louis L’Amour, and even the beloved Dr Seuss are members of the Rejection Hall of Fame. In short, rejection is part of this career. A western author in one of my groups moved into a remote cabin and papered the walls of the bathroom with his rejection letters, but me, I read them and then throw them away. I have lost count of how many I’ve received – but all it takes is for one person to say yes, then you’re on your way!


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Genre - Romantic Historical Fiction

Rating – PG

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

#AmReading - The Midwife’s Revolt by Jodi Daynard @JodiDaynard


The Midwife’s Revolt by Jodi Daynard


The Midwife’s Revolt takes the reader on a journey to the founding days of America. It follows one woman’s path, Lizzie Boylston, from her grieving days of widowhood after Bunker Hill, to her deepening friendship with Abigail Adams and midwifery, and finally to her dangerous work as a spy for the Cause. A novel rich in historical detail, The Midwife’s Revolt opens a window onto the real lives of colonial women.

Rebekah’s Quilt by Sara Barnard @TheSaraBarnard



Who can Rebekah trust when the line between English and Amish becomes blurred?

An Amish Settlement. An English stranger. The Blizzard of 1888.

Rebekah’s mother, Elnora Stoll, is the finest quilter in all of Gasthof Village but it seems Rebekah has inherited none of her skill. It’s not until the arrival of a mysterious English stranger that a lifetime of questions are answered and Rebekah, her special friend Joseph Graber, and the entire settlement of Gasthof Village learn the true meaning of what it truly means to be Amish.

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Genre - Romantic Historical Fiction

Rating – PG

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Monday, December 9, 2013

#AmReading - Dying to Forget by Trish Marie Dawson @Trish_Dawson


Dying to Forget by Trish Marie Dawson


Sometimes the day you die is only the beginning of a new job.
Piper Willow dies the summer after her high school graduation and finds herself in a spiritual terminal called the Station. She's given only two choices: Move on to the unknown where she'll be faced to spend an eternity in her own personal hell or be trained as a Volunteer and return to Earth as the subconscious for a person in need of outside assistance. Does Piper have what it takes to save a life, to be the nagging voice inside another person's head? Or will she fail and end up lost and tormented...forever?

J.L. Myers – My Publishing Journey @BloodBoundJLM


My Publishing Journey

When I started writing What Lies Inside, I had always intended to follow the path of traditional publishing. Honestly I had no idea of knowledge of how self-publishing even operated or how I would go about it. So I kept writing and completed my novel. Once it was finished I tried to revise it myself, with no educational knowledge of how to do so. After that I tried my luck and sent out a few queries and sample chapters to agents in my genre. The waiting was torture and of the few I’d sent to and received replies from, although they were encouraging, none of them were interested in taking me on.

During the waiting time (because I’m the least patient person you’ll every meet) I began doing research, wondering if my lack of experience was holding me back. That was when I came across Holly Lisle’s writing and revising courses. Having already written the entire novel her ‘How To Revise Your Novel’ course was absolutely prefect. The taught revision of my novel began that day for a course that delivered an in-depth lesson every week for around 5 months. This course along with Holly’s involvement and honesty changed my life. It gave me the tools to be able to turn what I had originally created into a finished and polished book that I was proud to have created and was confident in sharing.

Holly’s course also opened my eyes to the possibility of self-publishing. Holly herself was a traditionally published author for many years and has now taken the self-publishing route by choice. Knowing both sides she provides personal experience and the pros and cons of each option.

From everything I learned, I decided to take my future into my own hands instead of waiting hopefully for an agent or publisher to taken me on. This was also      the right decision for the Blood Bound Series as I didn’t want to get represented, then have and editor demand I remove the main things that made me write this story in the first place, or decide that my intended series needed to end into two books or even one.

After the decision was made and Holly’s course was completed it was time to source an editor, proofreader, get the cover professionally made, have the eBook formatted, the website created…and finally create an account on Amazon to publish my book. Being self-published all of these things are now in the author’s hands, and while you can hire people to help, which I did and recommend if you can afford it, the processes are still long and require a lot of input and attention for you. All the time, sweat and tears involved, I’m glad I self-published and having now done it I definitely wouldn’t change a thing.

What Lies Inside

Amelia Lamont never asked to unleash her inner vampire

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

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

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

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

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

Warning – This book contains some language and sexual situations.

YA/ Vampire/ Paranormal Fiction

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – YA Paranormal Romance

Rating – PG-13+

More details about the author

Connect with  Jessica Myers on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://bloodboundnovels.com

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

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Author Interview – AFN Clarke @AFNClarke

What’s your favourite place in the entire world?
To be honest, being out on the ocean alone, on a sailboat, when the sky is blue, the sun’s warm, there’s a nice breeze and the water’s so clear I can see deep into it’s depths.  Anywhere peaceful away from man-made stress with a big sky and surrounded by nature, even if it’s on a boat in the middle of the biggest storm at sea, is heaven to me.
What is your favourite colour?
If I have to choose one, I would have to say, blue. It is the colour of the sky on a bright sunny day and the ocean surrounding coral reefs. It is warm, inviting and uplifting and always gives me a wonderful sense of well-being. Without blue, sunsets would be insipid, the ocean a dark menace and my life would be grey.
What’s your favourite food?
That’s tough, I love all sorts of foods – rich curries, simple pastas, fresh fish and seafood.  But I guess one of my favourite rituals is ending each night sitting quietly with my wife and enjoying a glass of good port, a sliver of Stilton cheese and letting the activities and thoughts of the day fall away.  I’ve also got a sweet tooth, so my latest vice is chocolate covered honeycomb – hmmm – delish!!!
What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book Contact started out as a way of coming to terms with the world after returning from combat physically and emotionally wounded. I was lost, angry, sad, and felt I didn’t fit in with the so-called “normal world” – what’s “normal” after being at war, anyway?  I wanted people to understand what it was like going out expecting to be shot or blown apart every day.  How we came to terms with the stress, loss of life, fear and boredom.  Wanted families of veterans to understand why their loved ones might be distant, different.  But my primary motivation was to ensure that the lives lost and destroyed, both of soldiers and civilians, counted for something – and that politicians might stop and think long and hard before choosing to go to war.
It’s still one of my best selling books all these years later – which is, ironically, rather sad, as I had hoped it would have been redundant by now.  But it seems we humans never learn. Now I prefer writing fiction and taking my readers to different worlds through my stories. Eight books so far, with many more to come.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
Writing IS my career and I can’t imagine doing anything else.  I think it’s a career because it’s more than just something I do to earn money or pass the time – it’s a lifelong passion and activity that I nurture and grow and do everything I can to excel at and learn more about.  I hope each time I write, that passion and growth shows and inspires my readers to read more, and new writers to keep on writing and be even better.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author and the book
Connect with A.F.N. Clarke on Facebook & Twitter