Jack Canon's American Destiny

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Christopher Grey on the Big Dirty Publishing Secret @greyauthor #AmWriting #WriteTip #AmReading

The Big Dirty Publishing Secret: Novels Are Products 
Every author should watch 1987s Throw Momma from the Train with Billy Crystal and Danny DeVito. It’s a wonderful comedy, but that aside, it is a wonderful expose of the minds of writers. My wife, also an author, and I quote that movie to each other all of the time. One of the more poignant quotes in the movie happened when the protagonist Larry gets fired by his literary agent, played hilariously by Rob Reiner, who finally says, “You want to be an artist? Fine. Go to Mexico—the rest of us need to make a living.”
It’s so easy, given the tremendous amount of work we put into our books, to remember that our books are products and our work is to create a product. That is not to say novel writing should be void of art and creativity, but we should never lose sight of the fact we are trying to sell the book. That is why it is so important that authors let the professionals take them through the process—editors, publishers, book designers, marketers—they all know the trade and while you may know how to write a book, that doesn’t mean you need to be an expert in all facets of publishing.
The best thing an author can do after a book is born, is to let it go. Detach oneself from the novel so that it can be groomed, tailored and packaged. Without the rest of the industry doing its job, your novel can never truly reach its potential.
For me, the antidote for letting go of a book, is to write another one. By the time you are immersed in the next story it’s much easier to let the last one go.
In the fall of 1947, Will Shakespeare saw the world collapse around him. Shakespeare, a secret soldier for the Knights Templar, barely escapes the slaughter of his entire knighthood at the hands of a rogue militant arm of the Vatican in a small Montreal church. With orders to escort Templar business associate Dorothy Wilkinson back to her home in Bermuda, Will must locate and rescue the most important secret treasure in human history before it is devoured by a hurricane in the watery caves beneath her father's property. The spiraling quest sends Will and Dorothy into uncovering dark secrets that make up the origins of the knighthood as they confront the traps and puzzles that masterfully protect the world's most coveted treasure.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Action, Adventure
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Christopher Grey on Google+ & Twitter

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

10 Things You Didn’t Know About MB Mulhall @MBMulhall #AmReading #LGBT #YA

  1. The MB stands for MaryBeth. One word. Capital B in the middle!
  2. I love ink, whether it’s on the page or on my skin. When I signed with Harmony Ink (my publisher) I treated myself to a new tattoo.
  3. Image and video hosting by TinyPic
  4. I devoured Nancy Drew books as a child.  It has led me to try to end all chapters on a cliffhanger of sorts.
  5. If I’m not writing, I’m probably crafting, or taking pictures. I love artsy stuff. I painted my boyfriend a picture for Valentine’s day. Good thing he likes my artsy side!
  6. I hate reading aloud in front of others. I struggle in my writing group and often have to fight back the panic attack. I’m hoping if I keep forcing myself to do it, it will become easier.
  7. A couple years ago I decided to keep track of every book I read, posting the list to my blog at the end of every month. At the end I found I had read over 200 books throughout the year!
  8. I was one class short of a minor in Japanese in college.
  9. I’m very musical having sung in choirs and musicals (and my car!). I have also played several instruments: piano, clarinet, bass clarinet, baritone horn, a little tenor sax and a little standup bass.
  10. Self-publishing my first book was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  It’s not easy to put yourself out there for others to criticize, but it was worth it to see people enjoy the story and ask for more.
  11. I’m a wee bit obsessed with Doctor Who. My boyfriend even indulges me by giving me Doctor Who/Hello Kitty mashup t-shirts!
Secrets. Their weight can be crushing, but their release can change everything—and not necessarily for the better. Ian is no stranger to secrets. Being a gay teen in a backwater southern town, Ian must keep his orientation under wraps, especially since he spends a lot of time with his hands all over members of the same sex, pinning their sweaty, hard bodies to the wrestling mat.
When he’s trying not to stare at teammates in the locker room, he’s busy hiding another secret—that he starves himself so he doesn’t get bumped to the next weight class.
Enter Julian Yang, an Adonis with mesmerizing looks and punk rocker style. Befriending the flirtatious artist not only raises suspicion among his classmates, but leaves Ian terrified he’ll give in to the desires he’s fought to ignore.
As secrets come to light, Ian’s world crumbles. Disowned, defriended, and deserted by nearly everyone, Ian’s one-way ticket out of town is revoked, leaving him trapped in a world he hates—and one that hates him back.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - LGBT, YA
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
 Connect with MB Mulhall on Facebook Twitter

@KellenBurden the Importance of Choosing Your Setting #WriteTip #AmWriting #Thriller

There is nothing more magical than snow falling on a city. All the dirt and dinge and noise and movement is cleaned, shined, muffled and stopped. Falling against the sparkling lights and piling in the gutters and driven by the wind. See a couple, holding hands in Central Park as the snow blankets the trees. See a single rider on a black horse in a clearing in Tennessee as the flakes stream down like an omen. Or maybe it’s hot. 120 degrees in the middle of the day in July in Arizona, the sun looming and terrible in the washed out sky as your hero stands sweating through his T-shirt, holding a beer that has gone flat and warm an hour ago.  Maybe it’s hot like Miami. Maybe like Arizona. Maybe Afghanistan.
Choosing a setting is obviously vital to the way that your story plays out and is perceived by the audience. Sleepless in Muncie, Indiana would have been a totally different movie. Different settings breed different characters. They hold different challenges and offer different benefits. Try having a running gun battle through New York City without police involvement. Good Luck working out the specifics of that. But on the flipside, try waving down a cab in Tempe, Arizona. Also not going to happen. When choosing a setting it’s important to have a basic working knowledge of the area you’re talking about, whether it’s through independent research (blogs about the area, reading books that take place there etc.) or from having visited the place. You can then fill the gaps by interviewing people who live there, (calling information booths, or local libraries is a good place to start). By doing those things, you can talk about a town or area without deeply offending its inhabitants or drawing your reader out of the world you’re creating.
With that being said, no research you could ever do would come anywhere close to having lived in a place. No one else can know what the train sounds like, screaming past your window at 4 in the morning. No guide book will tell you about what the Park smells like when the ducks come back in spring, or about the feeling of watching a flash flood swallow the street in front of your house. Interviews are alright, but they don’t measure up to seeing a city 24/7 for 365. They don’t measure up to falling asleep to its sounds, having them permeate your dreams and then waking with them again in the morning. Building that from scratch isn’t easy. Not impossible of course. Obviously, J.K. Rowling has never been to Hogwarts, and I’m fairly certain that J.R.R. Tolkien had never been to middle earth, but even Tolkien and Rowling had places that they built their fantasy worlds off of. A structure that they used to compile a place of their own. The point is, to be a believable, successful writer you have to be able to put your reader in your world. To make them feel with their whole bodies, the things that your character is experiencing. It’s a tall order when you yourself have not done these things.
Sebastian Parks is drowning in a flood of his own creation. Dishonorably discharged from the Army, he's wracked with night terrors and an anger that he can't abate. Unemployable and uninterested in anything resembling a normal job, Parks makes his living in fugitive apprehension, finding wanted felons on Facebook and thumping them into custody with his ex-military buddies John Harkin and Eric "Etch" Echevarria. When the body of a teenage Muslim boy is found in front of a downtown Denver nightclub Parks, Harkin and Etch are called on to do what they do best: Find bad men and make them pay. 
First-time author Kellen Burden serves up edgy humor, brutal action and characters you can't get enough of. Flash Bang will keep you turning pages until the end.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller, Mystery
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with Kellen Burden on Facebook

#Mystery #Thriller #Excerpt from "Message of the Pendant" by Thomas Thorpe

The boat rocked violently.
Sea spray splashed them with each bow’s rise and fall, streaming water over the planking. Rolling waves grew three feet high while the boat worked its way further from land. Rain blasted square in the face and howling wind drowned out the hull’a groaning protests.
Clinging to her husband, Elizabeth’s fear grew every minute, and she fervently yearned for the voyage to be over. Her body shuddered and heaved the contents of her stomach across the deck. Sky spun dizzily overhead. Desperately, she fixed her gaze on the cabin, hoping to find reassurance on the captain’s face, but could no longer see through the splattered glass. Wild pitching would not let her stand up, so she dug fingers into interstices between the cabin’s planks. Overhead, the mast complained with each sway while waves pounded with increasing force against their slanting deck.
A huge geyser crashed on the port side. When the spray cleared, a six-foot piece of railing had disappeared.
“The boat is disintegrating!” Elizabeth cried.
“Hang on!” William yelled.
He looped a rope around her midsection and tied them both to a short beam at the edge of the ship's hold. Despite the lifeline, the frightened pair slid sideways back and forth to portside, then starboard, over and over.
“I'm getting sick again," she warned. Pale lips parted and she vomited. Her body wracked with convulsions, leaving her limp and exhausted.
Swells, now ten-feet tall towered on both sides. Their craft struggled up to the top of a crest and plunged down into a pit of dark foam. Each time the bow dove through a valley, timbers creaked loudly and the deck disapeared under a flood of sea.
“William, I can't take any more of this!” she pleaded weakly.
Words barely came from her mouth when a gigantic wave tore at the hull, turning the vessel on its side. Elizabeth shrieked as the wall of water smacked their bodies against the railing. When the boat righted, the cabin had vanished along with the old seaman.
“We're going to drown!” Elizabeth yelled.
Above, the mast snapped. The upper piece narrowly missed William before taking a chunk of siding into the water. Icy wind whistled harder, threatening to sweep the refugees from their lurching perch. They clutched each other, gulping for air and praying what remained of the boat would stay afloat.
With half the deck torn away, the mid-section rose again among the endless swells and gorges. Once more they plummeted downward.
“Oh, my God," William's terrified voice came above the roar as their craft dropped bow-first, from a height of twenty feet.
The impact felt like an explosion.
Elizabeth plunged deep below the surface in a swirling maelstrom of frigid gray turbulence. Current carried her further and further into darkness. Desperately, she clawed at the liquid, trying to stop the descending flow.
She slowed without sense of up or down, only cold pressure crushing the life within her. For an instant, she hung, suspended in an amorphous world of dimness. Searing pain tore at her lungs as if they would burst.
Elizabeth felt herself being pulled upward by the rope around her waist. Surroundings brightened, she found herself immersed in a cloud of foam. Higher and higher she rose through murky fluid.
Suddenly, she burst into a blast of cold air. Coughing and spiting, she gasped amid the churning water. Above, stormy skies sent a myriad of drops splattering down. She flailed at the ocean with leaden arms, body numb, trying to stay afloat through rolling tide.
A few feet away, a dark form bobbed within the swells.
A piece of boat decking pulled at the rope, still tied to the hold section. She grasped the line through the heaving current. Scrambling onto the floating section, she clung to the beam, pressing her head against dripping wood, panting with exhaustion.
After a moment, she noticed a knot of rope on the opposite side, straining as it slid over its mooring. William's line! Behind it, rope stretched into water. She jerked up to her knees. Not five feet from the deck’s edge, a bloated coat floated face down.
“William!” she screamed and lunged for his line.
Despite the pitching, Elizabeth pulled her husband’s waterlogged body onto the raft.
She turned him over and lifted his head out of the water. With rising panic, she peered at a palid face with closed eyes. Her fingers rubbed the cold, flacid skin of his cheeks.
“William, don't die! Please don't leave me!” she cried.
Desperately looking for help, she fought a feeling of hopelessness. The slanting raft bobbed  halfway under water, and inches of water streamed over the portion sticking out from the waves. Her body trembled uncontrollably.
Crouched next to his side, she squeezed his chest despairingly and moved his head against her chest. Blood trickled down his neck from a dark patch of matted hair behind his ear. With her left hand, she pried open his mouth to help him breathe.
A wave crashed down on top of them, throwing their bodies against the hold. When foam subsided, he began to cough, spitting out water. Eyes fluttered open, and stared with a glazed expression. Tearfully, she pulled his shoulders to hers as they rode over the top of another swell and plummeted into a cavernous trough on the other side.
William Darmon and wife Elizabeth were powerful figures who in 1818 set society's pace from expansive grounds known as Mayfair Hall. When a family member is murdered, a mysterious pendant is found containing a long lost request by Napoleon Bonaparte for an American mission to burn down Parliament buildings. The couple sets out on an action filled pursuit of the killer. 
While interviewing Henry Clay in post-war Maryland about the failed mission, they uncover evidence of a conspiracy to free the Emperor from exile. The Darmons infiltrate the cadre, but a shipwreck off the coast of Scotland, a firestorm at the Darmon's Manor and a harrowing assault on the Island of St. Helena loom before the mystery can be unraveled.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Mystery, Historical, Thriller
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Thomas Thorpe on Facebook

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Purity #Prayer from Nina Borum's "Praying for Men of P.O.W.E.R. @TrinityGalBlog #Christian #TBR

Father, I thank you today that ____________________ is keeping his way pure. I release a hunger for your word into his heart that he may desire to live according to it. May he seek you with every fiber of his being and thirst for you daily. I rebuke any plans of Satan that would deceive him to stray from your commands. Hide your word in his heart that he may not sin against you. Lord, be slow to anger concerning any idols in his life. Convict him with the areas of his life that he has broken his covenant with you. Open his eyes to see the things, people, opinions, ideas, organizations, etc. that he has put before you. May he be pure in his covenant with you.

You didn't learn these prayers in Sunday school. Put your armor on, and get ready to see God move!
Do you ever get sick of praying? It's okay to admit. We all do. It is emotionally draining to beg God without ceasing. Christians often forget that under Christ's authority, we have the power to command God's promises to be released from heaven to earth and into our lives.
In Praying for Men of P.O.W.E.R., author Nina Elaine Borum challenges readers to stand confidently and command the promises of God for the men in your life. As someone who has struggled with prayer, Nina believes that God does not intend for his children to feel helpless in praying. His Word has instructed us in how to bring the kingdom of heaven to a world where Satan runs freely. We are all in the midst of a vicious spiritual battle, and Nina hopes this book will help you to fight on behalf of Christian men.
Buy Now @ Amazon Tate Publishing
Genre - Christian non-fiction
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Nina Elaine Borum on Facebook & Twitter

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Danny Wynn's Experience with a Professional Editor #WriteTip #AmWriting #Literary

When a publisher took me on to publish my first novel (in this case, a novella), they told me I would be working with an editor first.  I knew very little about book publishing, and up until that point had thought an editor was basically to make sure that all the grammar and punctuation was correct.  I had re-written the manuscript so many times that I thought even that level of editing was not necessary.   I thought I’d already caught every typo, mis-spelling, and grammar mistake, so that I had little need for an editor.  But of course the publisher insisted, and I complied.
The editor I worked with, almost entirely by email, was truly expert at what she did, and worked with me as I understand editors used to do (before the big publishing house editors became little more than barometers of public taste).  She guided me on everything from structural changes to comma uses, including very importantly making me aware of various current writing conventions followed by the publishing industry, of which I was blissfully unaware, and aware how seriously the publishing industry takes these conventions, especially for unpublished writers.  I had previously known that a published book had to be super polished, bearing no resemblance to a draft, and naively thought I had accomplished that. I was extremely wrong.  The editor drilled down in my work at a level one can never get in a workshop, or indeed in any group setting, and evaluated thousands of creative/craft-related decisions I had made in the course of writing the book, and guided me through making many of them better.
I learned much more from my editor than I had ever learned from any writing teacher or work-shop leader.  As pretty much a self-taught writer, I had long wanted detailed specific help in learning the craft, but had been unable to find.  It’s so easy to find people who will give you vague, big picture feedback of the type that isn’t a lot of work to give (they read the work and say generally what they think, like any member of the writing public does, only they do it with more expertise), and even people who do that well are hard to find.  To find someone who will really buckle down, and identify in detail what you aren’t doing right, and guide you through fixing it, is beyond hard.
I would estimate that my editor improved my book by a genuine 20%.  By contrast, I would estimate that the benefit I’ve gotten from any one class or workshop is usually around 2%, and tops out at about 5%, which is an extraordinarily successful result from a workshop.
So, I’m sitting here typing to tell you that real writing gurus are not the professors, seminar leaders, publishing house editors, literary agents, or workshop leaders.  They are the freelance editors out there who have really learned their craft and willing to work hard at it.
How far would you go to add excitement to a life you felt was boring and meaningless?
For seventy-three-year-old Jaime, the answer takes him by surprise. Accustomed to a lonely life high up in the mountains on the western coast of Mallorca, his dull routine is suddenly shattered when a man parachutes from a plane and lands nearby. The plane crashes; the man lives.
It’s a drug smuggling operation gone bad. But Stefan, the man from the sky, has escaped with eight kilos of cocaine in a gym bag. Jaime brings Stefan home and is soon entangled in Stefan’s attempts to sell the cocaine and start a new life.
As they dodge Parisian drug dealers and corrupt Mallorcan police, Jaime’s search for excitement and Stefan’s resolve to find stability lead them both down dangerous paths.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Literary Fiction, Adventure
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Danny Wynn on Facebook

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Holderby's Landing by J. D. Ferguson #Excerpt #Historical #Fiction

“Interesting, ain’t it?” hisses in his ear. His heart leaps into his throat. If not for the fact that his throat closed upon itself, he would certainly have screamed. Whirling around, he comes face-to-face with the girl of his dream, or rather her living model, the common room serving girl. His breath is coming in snatches and he stammers as he tries to explain. Nothing comes out of him except inane yammering. She is so close he can smell the natural womanly perfume of her hair.
“It’s okay, you know”, she whispers. “No need to explain or be embarrassed. I done it myself before. Missus has a man from time to time.” She smiles and holds on to Justin’s nightshirt as she squints past him and into the room. “Ooh, but not like this one.” She half suppresses a giggle.
Justin tries to squeeze past her, only to have her hold on to the front of his shirt, and turn him, so he now is backing away. “My, my, you are the nervous one, ain’t ya? Never been with a woman, I’m guessin’. That’s fine though. You mighty good lookin’ to get away for so long without some woman hookin’ ya.” With her other hand she reaches up to her throat and pulls a drawstring holding her night dress together. It falls open in a sharp V between her breasts. He raises his finger to his lips in a shushing manner and moves further away from the door, pulling the girl along with him. He backs up until he is across the room and encounters a table with his rear end. The nightdress continues a slow slide from his companion’s shoulders to expose one pink-nippled breast. Smiling the girl uses her free hand to tweak her nipple causing it to dimple and expand. Justin is enthralled. Despite being caught spying, and now within earshot of the couple in the next room, he is beside himself with desire. Everything he has been through tonight has done nothing if not enflame him sexually. He makes a sudden decision to have this girl, no matter the consequences. Have her now, and right here.
With a look of feminine understanding, red lips part and brown eyes assume a wily, lascivious glint. She maneuvers around him to the table, deftly raises her nightdress above her hips and positions a firm bottom on the table edge. Impatiently she whispers, “Well then? It ain’t goin’ to do the job without a bit of help.” When Justin just stares at her exposed charms, she grasps the drawstring of his underpants, tugs them loose and allows them to fall to the floor. Now fully erect and exposed, she admires the swollen penis pointed directly between her legs. “Good Lord, boy. The women that passed you by surely didn’t know what they missed,” she whispers with a giggle.
When Justin Thorne, coddled student and heir apparent to Sylvan Springs Plantation, is forced to find his heritage, his manhood, and his destiny, in the space of one brief spring, all hell breaks loose on the banks of the Ohio River. His Virginia of 1836 is a time of transition and enormous growth. Northern industrial might and southern aristocracy, abolitionist movements and slave cultures, collide in turmoil and lay bare the raw needs and desires of those intrepid spirits confronting the frontiers of the antebellum South. Coming of age is an expected result of time and circumstance. It happens to all who live so long, but to each within the dictates of their own lives. The process is on-going and ever dynamic. Every person is a precious product resulting from the effects of nature and nurture. 
One's ancestry, culture, and environment collude in myriad ways to make us; all as different as each life's story, and as singular as snowflakes. This theme is played out over-and-over throughout the world and throughout history, in millions of places like Holderby's Landing; as similar and as different as each human is to the other. Holderby's Landing is a single glimpse in time at the coming of age of a land, a community, and a few determined souls thrown together in love, strife and chance. What they make of the time, the opportunities and themselves is the story told and the living breath of this book.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Historical Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with J. D. Ferguson on Facebook

Kate LeDonne on the #Books She Loved Growing Up @originlbookgirl #Fiction #AmReading

What are you most proud of in your personal life?
My daughter.
What books did you love growing up?
“Parveen” by Anne Mehdevi, “Just So Stories” by Rudyard Kipling, all of the Uncle Wiggly books, “Song of the South” we had the record and book with all the songs, and all those Disney book and record sets I loved. Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Pinocchio. I loved the James Bond books when I was in 5th-6th grade. I read tons of “Choose Your Own Adventure” books.
Who is your favorite author?
I don't have a single favorite. I love Edgar Allan Poe, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Moliere, Anna Maxted, Carl Hiassen, Charles de Lint, J.K. Rowling, and Fanny Flagg.
What book genre of books do you adore?
General fiction, I guess. I love great storytelling.
What book should everybody read at least once?
Mine! Ha ha!! I'd also say “Dreams Underfoot” by Charles de Lint, “Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man” by Fanny Flagg, “Sick Puppy” by Carl Hiassen, “A Dirty Job” by Christopher Moore, and the “Beautiful Creatures” series by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia.
Are there any books you really don’t enjoy?
I don't mind books with romance in them, but I loathe romance novels. Gak.
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
I was born and raised in Indiana. After I graduated, I moved around a lot. I went on foreign exchange to Australia the summer after I graduated high school in 1989. I went to college in the St. Louis area for one year, then went to Arizona State University. I lived in Hawaii for nine months, Chicago, Nashville, um...Indianapolis again as an adult. I've also lived in Columbus, Ohio, Atlanta, Georgia and Portland, Oregon metro. I'm currently living in the Kansas City metro area, which seems to be the best fit. It's all kind of a long story.
How did you develop your writing?
Slowly, over time.
Do you find it hard to share your work?
Do you plan to publish more books?
Fasten your seatbelts for a white-knuckled ride on the looney wagon and trip down memory lane with a band of misfit teenagers. Kiera Graves and her small posse of true blue friends plot ways to escape their cowtown; and play a game of keep away with her Machiavellian family to help her survive high school and make it to college.
Courage under fire, the closest bonds of friendship and blossoming romance keep this tale of coming of age and survival buzzing with excitement, heart, and warmth.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - General Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
 Connect with Kate LeDonne on Twitter

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Photo Traveler by Arthur J. Gonzalez @arthurjgonzalez #reviewshare #ya #bookreview

The Photo TravelerThe Photo Traveler by Arthur J. Gonzalez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you are looking for an ordinary character that is caught in extraordinary circumstances this is the book for you. I found the beginning to be a bit slow but after that I was hooked. Gonzalez has a writing style that is both entertaining and original.

The story did not end the way I expected it too and it is the ending that has left a bad taste in my mouth. I felt very invested with the story but got nothing back at the end. If you do not like cliffhangers then this is not a book you'll appreciate.

What I did like about the book was Gavin's personality which many teenagers will be able to understand and absorb. The author has a sense of imagination that reminds me of Lemony Snicket. Despite everything bad that happened to Gavin he did not wallow for too long and this was a plus point for me as it can also help teenagers who read this story to understand the importance of moving on.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews