Jack Canon's American Destiny

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Caroline Kennedy on the Inspiration for Her Book @StephenWardBook #Politics #Scandal

It was a gradual process and even more gradual decision. I was commissioned to research a TV film on “The Profumo Affair” of the early 1960s. After a year of personal interviews, trips to the newspaper libraries and travelling around the UK following leads, I came to realize that I had far more material than could possibly ever be used in a 90 minutes film.
I also came to the obvious conclusion that War Minister, John Profumo, was not the focal point of my research. The far more interesting, complex and fascinating character in the whole “Profumo Affair” was the society osteopath, Stephen Ward.
My realization was confirmed when I was invited to a rambling farmhouse in Lincolnshire where my host invited me to open a trunk in his attic which, he said, contained handwritten manuscripts, reel-to-reel tapes and letters, all written or recorded by Stephen Ward while he was on remand in prison awaiting trial.
When I returned home that evening I immediately set about transferring the tapes onto cassettes and, through the scratchy quality of the 1960s recordings, emerged Ward’s compelling voice.
So, after over a year of discussing Stephen Ward with almost 100 people who had known him, I finally heard his voice summing up his case very objectively and very succinctly. I was mesmerized. I realized then that a grave miscarriage of justice had taken place and, above anything else, I wanted to rectify it.
“How the English Establishment Framed Stephen Ward” is a major expose of a government cover-up that has lasted half a century. It is a powerful story of sexual compulsion, political malice and ultimate betrayal. A number-one bestseller when it came out in 1987 under its original title, “An Affair of State”, the book reveals never-before-heard testimony that has been uncovered by the authors in the years since the scandal broke. 

Using startling new evidence, including Ward’s own unpublished memoirs and hundreds of interviews with many who, conscience-stricken, have now spoken out for the first time, this important account rips through a half-century cover-up in order to show exactly why the government, the police forces, the Judiciary and the security forces decided to frame Stephen Ward. 

Stephen Ward is now the subject of an upcoming Andrew Lloyd-Weber musical and this book offers a wider perspective on its complex, central character as well as a broader insight into one of the greatest scandals of the past 100 years. As the authors’ research reveals, Ward’s “trial of the century” was caused by an unprecedented corruption of justice and political malice which resulted in an innocent man becoming a scapegoat for those who could not bear to lose power. 

This is an epic tale of sex, lies, and governmental abuse whose aftermath almost brought down the government and shook the American, British, and Soviet espionage worlds to their core. With its surprising revelations and meticulous research, Ward’s complete story can finally be told.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Politics, Espionage, Scandal
Rating – PG-16
More details about the author
Connect with Caroline Kennedy on Facebook & Twitter

Book Trailer

Malpractice! The Novel by William Louis Harvey @sexandlawnovel #AmReading #Drama

When they arrived at her house, she opened the door and ushered him into the living room. She sat him down and offered him a drink. “There’s beer, or even hard liquor,” she said, but Paul asked for a Coke since he had other things on his mind. She brought the drinks in from the kitchen, put them down on a low table, and sat down on the couch next to him. Paul reached his arm around her shoulders, leaned toward her, and kissed her. Their tongues darted forward, and their teeth opened.

Tongues touched and moved in and out. Paul was getting an erection as he brought his left hand around and put it on her breast. He could feel her nipple through the dress and light bra as he began to fondle it, but she made a little cry and said, “Gentle, gentle.”

“Sorry,” he said and continued more lightly. She moaned (or perhaps, purred) as he continued and then switched to the other breast.

After a while, he slowly opened the zipper at the back of her dress and, with her help, pulled the top of the dress forward and downward, exposing her naked skin and bra. (p 36) Malpractice! the Novel

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Genre – Steamy Courtroom Drama
Rating – R
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Connect with William Louis Harvey on Facebook & Twitter

The Soul of the World (Legends of Amun Ra #2) by @jg_silverman #Fantasy #SciFi


Kem dives to the ground in desperation, covering his head and neck from the rocks raining down. I didn’t see that coming. I thought I was quiet, he thinks.

The announcement of Cadmus’ elimination booms over the intercom. Well, at least I don’t have to worry about a vengeful brother.

The dust and debris settle from the crumbled wall. Find Kesi. Kem trots towards the end of the path. Before he gets there, he sees a shadow along the wall.
Dio turns the corner and spots him. She’s already throwing blue spheres before he knows what happened.

Kem hits the floor hard, dodging the first two. Dio hurls more at him.

His heart beats like a jackhammer in his chest. He is covered in dirt and sand. Kem swerves left, then right, ducking from a shot aimed at his head. He looks back at Dio, who walks with determination, shooting at him. Will she not let up a little? Got to slow her down.


Buy Here
Genre – Science fiction, Fantasy
Rating – PG-13+
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Connect with Joshua Silverman on Facebook & Twitter

Saturday, June 14, 2014

@CarinKilbyClark Shares Her Thoughts on the Importance of Mentors #NonFiction #WriteTip

If you were to interview someone who is successful – in any field – there’s a really great chance they will mention a mentor. Someone who supported them on their path and showed them how to replicate the success they’ve experienced in their own endeavors.
Before I had a mentor, I didn’t know how important mentoring was. I really didn’t see the point at first. I was determined to figure it all out on my own and thought it may be better that way. And that I’d learn more through hands-on, rather than listening to someone else tell me how they did this or that.
I first became associated with my mentor, Natalie MacNeil, in late 2013. I had followed her work for some time and was really moved by her philosophy, ethic, and vision for women entrepreneurs. When she opened applications for her founding Concord mastermind group, I jumped right in.
Why Mentors Are Important
Mentorship means not doing this alone. It means having someone to show you the ropes  – and someone who will be there to cheer you on. Once I started working with my mentor, she was the perfect person who I could bounce my ideas off of. She gave me valuable feedback, and helped me to develop my plans. When I told her that I wanted to write a book she was the first person who said YES, you should. And she showed me how to plan my book proposal and query letter, and how to research agents and publishers. My mentor’s advice has been critical to my success as a writer, and as a business owner.
When you work with a mentor, their industry knowledge is at your disposal. You benefit from their years of training or information gathering. You are put on the fast track by being able to avoid the pitfalls and curve balls that they experienced. Mentors are important because they help you replicate what works, so that you can be successful in what you do.
If you are considering a mentor, here are a few thoughts to help you make the right choice.
  • Look for someone who has in-depth expertise in your industry
  • Find a mentor that has actually accomplished what you are looking to do
  • Personality is important – find a person who you click with
  • You want a mentor you respect, and who you can admire and look up to
  • Look for a mentor who is humble and has a deep respect for all people
  • Find someone that you feel is relatable and approachable
Carin Kilby Clark is the author of the ebook, Time Management Made Easy for Busy Moms: 5 Simple Tips on How to Control Your Time and Get Things Done (April 2014, Clue Consulting, LLC). If you want to learn how to finally put time on your side, then this book has the goods that you need – and for less than the cost of a cup of coffee. Buy your copy today!

Do any of these excuses sound familiar?

I’m just too busy
I have too much on my plate
There’s never enough time
I have to do it all
I don’t know how to manage it all

If you answered yes, then prepare to put an end to the overwhelm once and for all. In Time Management Made Easy for Busy Moms, Carin Kilby Clark shares five simple tips that moms can implement right away to improve how they control their time and get things done.

Time Management Made Easy for Busy Moms offers insight into the one major block that prevents us from maximizing our time, gives readers practical information that is easily applied to everyday life, and helps you along the path to your “aha” moments about how and why you’ve been ineffective in managing your time; and how to to finally put time in its rightful place {on your side, of course!}.

As the mother of three very active children who also works full-time, runs a business in her “spare” time, publishes a lifestyle & parenting site, manages a growing motherhood community, and regularly contributes parenting advice to many popular sites in the parenting/family life niche, Carin’s advice is solid; based on methods that she has successfully implemented in controlling her time and getting things done.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Parenting, Relationships
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Carin Kilby Clark on Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Carlos Aranda on Looking for a Publisher @Losman1976 #SelfPub #AmWriting #WriteTip

Now there are many options when it comes to getting published. I will start with what I know most about and that is traditional publishers. There are very few these days that have open submission. Most traditional publishers today require that you go through a literary agent first. The only issue that I have with going with an agent is that, this in one more person cutting into the profits from your book. The advantage to using an agent is getting your book into a better company that will make up for the extra percentage by making sure that your book is making the most money possible. For a traditional publisher taking open submissions, there are a few things to check out before your submit and sign on the dotted line so to speak. 

First is this company a legitimate company that has a good reputation with others as well as part of the Better Business Bureau. There are some companies out there that market themselves as a traditional publisher yet are just what they call a vanity press. They look good but the final cost you have to pay for their services is just ridiculous. For the publisher I went with, Tate Publishing, they required a retainer for my publicist which the price was negotiable and is returned to you once you have sold 1,000 copies with them. The second thing with choosing traditional publishers is finding the one with the best royalty rate. There are some that will give you a very low royalty rate so that they make the majority of the money from the book rather than being fair and giving their authors a fair amount, considering that you did all the work really. 

Finally for traditional publishers you need to see what kind of marketing they are going to be doing on their end as well as the markets that they can present your book in. That is one advantage that I have learned about traditional versus self-publishing. A traditional publisher has markets that self-publishing cannot get into as a lot of companies will not acknowledge them, regardless of how wonderful the book really is. 

Now for self-publishing I don’t know that much about it. I do know that you need to really research each option and find which one is going to best suit your needs. You need to look at final cost, editing and if there is any help with some marketing of your book. I have found that there are indeed a few companies that do help with distribution and marketing of your book depending on what kind of budget you are looking at to get published. No matter what choice you decide to go with don’t just jump into the first opportunity that comes your way. Research and find the best choice that will suit you and your needs the best. Sometimes that first option is not always the best option.

This book is a biblical perspective on how God wants us to see and get through the trials that life brings our way. It is a book of conversations and things brought to our attention that we may not always see and how through scripture God wants us to get through them.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Christian Living
Rating – G
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Connect with Carlos Aranda through Facebook & Twitter

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

@DeborahHawk3 Interviews Ellen Scott, Housekeeper at Burnham Abbey #Romance #Historical

Our guest post for today comes from author Deborah Hawkins, author of Dance for A Dead Princess, who is interviewing Ellen Scott, housekeeper at Burnham Abbey and close friend of Nicholas Carey, the Eighteenth Duke of Burnham.
Deborah: “Thank you for stepping out of the pages of Dance For A Dead Princess to talk to us.   What is it like to be a modern-day housekeeper at an English stately home that dates back to Henry VIII’s time?”
Ellen:  “Well, obviously I love my job.  I oversee the household staff and ensure  the kitchen is running properly.  Above all, I’m responsible for the happiness of our resident chef.  Nicholas insists on having a top-rated chef at all times, and he takes it very hard when one of them leaves.   Since Downtown Abbey became popular,  people I meet are a lot more interested in what I do than they used to be.  They think I am like Mrs. Hughes, but our staff at the Abbey is much, much smaller than the staff at Downtown.”
Deborah: “Does the new attention make you uncomfortable?”
Ellen: “Not at all. The attention isn’t new really.  My job has always kept me in the spotlight because of my connection to Nicholas.   He is the second richest man in England.  The press hounds are  always pursing me for gossip about the women in his life.  Of course, I tell them nothing.”
Deborah: “How did you come to be the housekeeper at Burnham Abbey?”
Ellen: “I grew up on the estate. My father was a tenant on one of the Burnham Trust farms. I went to university to be a teacher, and I taught for a while at the school in the village after I got married. My husband Pete also grew up on one of the estate farms.  He oversees all the Trust’s agricultural holdings now.
“I agreed to be Nicholas’ housekeeper after Nicholas inherited the title and wanted to live at the Abbey and take care of the land in the traditional way of the old dukes.  He was going through a bad patch in his marriage to Deborah just then, and I couldn’t say no. The job stuck, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Deborah: “Is it true Nicholas became close to Princess Diana because of his wife?”
Ellen: “Yes.  Deborah and Diana were great friends at West Heath when they were girls.   Nicholas loved Deborah beyond anything I’ve ever seen, and he turned to Diana for advice when his marriage was in trouble.  And she, likewise, sought his advice over the whole Charles-Camilla thing.”
Deborah: “Did you ever meet the Princess of Wales?”
Ellen:  “Oh, yes.  Many times.  She was a lovely, lovely warm woman.  I still cry at times when I think about her being gone.  I’m always half-expecting to hear her car in the drive and her voice calling out for Nicholas.  He always took her part in everything.  There were so many men in her life who should have loved her, but who didn’t. More fool them.   She was just the most beautiful, thoughtful woman in the world. And she loved her boys.”
Deborah: “What did you think of Taylor Collins when you met her?”
Ellen: “She didn’t look like a lawyer.  She was this tiny little thing with dark curly hair and deep violet eyes.  But there was something about her that set her apart from the other women Nicholas brings around.  She had this fierce, determined attitude that made her seem a little off-putting at first.  But I saw the way Nicholas looked at her, and I was so afraid he was going to get his heart broken again.  Losing Deborah was a blow he refused to get over, and now I thought he was headed for another heartache. Taylor Collins was the only woman in the world who hadn’t any interest in being the Duchess of Burnham.”
Deborah: “Did you know Nicholas was looking for the video tape that Diana made, naming her killer?”
Ellen: “Oh, yes.  He was discouraged for so many years because he had no information about what happened to it.  I begged him to let it go because looking for it put his life in danger.  But he wouldn’t listen.  After Deborah died, I think he had a death wish.  That is, until he met, Taylor.”
Deborah:   “I understand you knew Nicholas’ ward Lucy very well?”
Ellen:   “I don’t think any of us knew Lucy well.  Sixteen-year-olds are unpredictable, and Lucy was particularly hard to understand.  I just know she broke Nicholas’ heart too many times to count.  He blamed himself for her, and I didn’t think that was right.  Drug addiction tears a family apart.”
Deborah: “I understand Taylor Collins found a manuscript in the Abbey library that Thomas Carey, the first duke wrote, about the love of his life, Elizabeth Howell.  Have you read it?”
Ellen:  “I have.  Nicholas always insisted the family was founded on the murder of Thomas’ first wife to clear the way for him to marry Elizabeth, the heiress.  Taylor, who had read the manuscript, said that wasn’t true; and I wanted to know how the Careys came to be one of England’s most powerful and wealthy families.”
Deborah: “And did you find out?”
Ellen: “Indeed, I did.  Thomas’ contemporaneous portrait of Henry VIII is fascinating.  You feel as if you’re standing right there in front of him with Thomas.  But I haven’t time  to tell you that story now.  We’re serving tea in the Long Gallery in a half hour to a group of American tourists. Tourists are a substantial part of the Abbey’s income, and they spend a lot of money with the villagers in Burnham during their summer visits,  so Nicholas insists we make them feel fully welcome to show our gratitude.   But I would love to have you join us for tea.”
Deborah: “Thank you.  I would be delighted.”

In January 1997, Princess Diana received a phone call telling her she would be assassinated. She recorded the information on a secret video tape, naming her killer and gave it to a trusted friend in America for safekeeping. It has never been found.
Diana’s close friend, Nicholas Carey, the 18th Duke of Burnham and second richest man in England, has vowed to find the tape and expose her killer. After years of searching, he discovers Diana gave the tape to British socialite Mari Cuniff, who died in New York under mysterious circumstances. He believes Wall Street attorney Taylor Collins, the executor of Mari’s estate, has possession of it. He lures Taylor to England by promising to sell his ancestral home in Kent, Burnham Abbey, to one of her clients, a boarding school for American girls. Nicholas has dated actresses and models since the death of his wife, ten years earlier, and has no interest in falling in love again. But he is immediately and unexpectedly overwhelmed with feelings for Taylor at their first meeting.
Taylor, unaware that Diana’s tape is in her long-time friend and client’s estate and nursing her hurt over her broken engagement to a fellow attorney in her firm, brands Nicholas supremely spoiled and selfish. She is in a hurry to finish the sale of the Abbey and return to New York. But while working in the Abbey’s library, Taylor uncovers the diary of Thomas Carey, a knight at the court of Henry VIII and the first Duke of Burnham.
As she reads Thomas’ agonizing struggle to save the love of his life and the mother of his child from being forced to become Henry’s mistress, she begins to see Nicholas in a new light as he battles to save his sixteen-year-old ward Lucy, who is desperately unhappy and addicted to cocaine. But just as Taylor’s feelings for Nicholas become clear and at the moment she realizes she is in possession of Diana’s voice from the grave, she learns that Nicholas may be Lucy’s father and responsible for his wife’s death at the Abbey at the time of Lucy’s birth. When Nicholas is arrested for Lucy’s murder and taken to Wandsworth Prison, Taylor sets out to learn the truth about Nicholas, his late wife, and the death of the Princess of Wales.
Dance for A Dead Princess is a the story of two great loves that created and preserved a family that has lasted for five hundred years.
Finalist in Romance Category for Forward Reviews 2013 Book of the Year Award
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Romance,Mystery
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Deborah Hawkins on Facebook 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Unfinished Business #Excerpt by @Ted_Tayler #Thriller #GoodReads #AmReading

After a brisk ten minute walk Colin was stood on the pavement opposite the Aberdeen Music Hall, the venue for the first gig on Maiden’s Hair’s mini tour of the United Kingdom. He gazed at the magnificent pillared façade of the former Assembly Rooms and reckoned it was an appropriate setting for its band members who were paying tribute to legends of the heavy metal music genre that he had always enjoyed.
He crossed the road and searched out the poster advertising that night’s performance. There were no surprises; every detail on the billboard was exactly as Colin had included in his laptop file. There were six group members, all Canadian born and bred. Although the original members of the real Iron Maiden were now in their mid fifties, these young men were in their early thirties, with toned muscular bodies and a full head of hair nestling on their shoulders. Each one was every inch the rock god that they were imitating from the original band as they looked out from the billboard dressed in their ubiquitous denim and leather uniform.
Gabriel Anderson the dark haired lead singer with a pilot’s cap under his arm; Vincent Gagnon, Jordan Campbell and Nick Williams who provided the three guitar identity of the legends they were paying homage to. Jordan’s twin brother John was eerily like Nicko, Maiden’s drummer and Brandon Taylor completed the line up on bass as he mimicked Steve Harris, Maiden’s founder member. Colin was mesmerised. He couldn’t wait to hear them play tonight; if only it could have been Iron Maiden themselves! Still, he had to admit that the playlist was everything it should be, all the early favourites and a few of the newer tracks as well.
Colin’s stomach was telling him he had missed breakfast. He checked around the sides and back of the imposing Music Hall building to make certain everything was where he thought and then he walked down Union Street to find somewhere to eat. When he was fed and watered he made his way the short distance to the public library, where he spent several hours whiling away the time until he had calculated that the Maiden’s Hair entourage would arrive, ready to prepare for tonight’s gig.
Around three o’clock in the afternoon, Colin wandered back in the drizzly rain and sure enough a large Mercedes truck was parked up by the stage doors of the Music Hall. There were two roadies and it was evident to Colin that they had only just started unloading gear from the back of the truck. A couple of young lads were fetching and carrying smaller items, such as boxes of microphones, metre upon metre of leads, microphone stands, plus all the paraphernalia a drum kit comprises, all enclosed in battered old covers. The heavy lifting and manoeuvring of amplifiers, speakers, PA systems and lighting rigs was best left to the professionals!
Colin approached the older roadie and asked ‘Frankie?’
‘Yes mate. What can I do you for?’ Frankie replied in an accent not from Montreal or Ottawa but straight from London’s East End.
‘The tour management sent me up to give you a hand. I’ve just got back from several years abroad and I need to get some time in driving on the left hand side of the road again! I guess the extra pair of hands will be useful setting up too?’ Colin said.
‘Brilliant!’ said Frankie ‘Billy’s inside with a couple of staff from this place and I’m just going to start offloading the heavy stuff. If you want to pitch in you’re more than welcome mate!’
Colin took hold of the speaker cabinet Frankie shoved towards him, hoisted it easily onto his chest and walked into the building. As he walked towards the stage he had a brief smile at the corner of his mouth. One phone call to a dim young girl in London at the tour management company’s offices and he had discovered the lead roadie’s name; it was like taking candy from a baby! Neither Frankie nor Billy was going to check up on him. They would be only too happy that there was an extra pair of hands around to help with all the grafting and driving that they had to do; when you’re pretty much on minimum wage why sweat it?
The next couple of hours were spent getting the kit onto the stage and setting it up. Colin had seen it done hundreds of times on a smaller scale in The Crown and had studied footage on ‘how to’ online, so he coped well enough on the stuff he was comfortable with and steered clear of anything that was foreign to him. He watched Frankie and Billy in action and made mental notes of the various steps he needed to go through on later gigs on the lighting rigs for instance, to stop anyone asking exactly where and what he was doing when he was overseas. Life on the road as a road manager is one helluva lot tougher than lounging about with a cocktail in your hand on the veranda of a luxury villa, but Colin was pretty fit for a guy in his early forties and he had his eyes on the main prize. Travelling with Maiden’s Hair and listening to them play virtually each night was a bonus. Each gig was taking him closer and closer to his first task; to avenge the death of his precious daughter.

The sequel to the award winning ‘The Final Straw’ sees Colin Bailey return to the UK after almost a decade abroad. With a new name and a new face he still has scores to settle. His meticulous planning takes him ingeniously across Scotland and the North of England ticking names off his list with the police completely baffled. 

DCI Phil Hounsell pitted his wits against Colin before and so he is sent to Durham where he teams up with super intelligent young DS Zara Wheeler; together they track their man to Manchester and then eventually south to Bath. 

The final scenes take place on the streets of the Roman city; Phil Hounsell’s family is threatened and in a dramatic conclusion reminiscent of Holmes and Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls, the two men struggle above the foaming waters of the historic Pulteney weir. 
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-18
More details about the author
Connect with Ted Tayler on Facebook & Twitter

Getting to Know #Author Richard Parry @TactualRain #AmReading #Fantasy #Thriller


Do you plan to publish more books?
You couldn’t stop me if you tried.
Okay, before someone steps up with a big CHALLENGE ACCEPTED shirt and cuts off my fingers, there are probablyways you could stop me.  Let’s not go down that road.
I have a current plan to release a new title about once a year.  A lot depends on the title, and how much work’s needed.  For example, Night’s Favour is about 108,000 words, give or take, and I know how long that took to write. Upgrade is looking to be more like 150,000 words.
The complexity ramps up. I look at books like REAMDE by Stephenson, and I’m not quite sure how he does it, to keep coherence throughout.  I’m sure Stephenson has a brain the size of Mars, but still, the editing process must belegendary.
That aside, I have four more books to be released about one-a-year to make a five-for-five plan.  I’ve got a few people asking for a sequel to Night’s Favour, and one of those books is that sequel — you’ll get your story, to find out where Val and Danny go, what John does with his life, where Carlisle ends up.  One of them will be a sequel toUpgrade.  I don’t want to say too much about that, as it’ll spoil the surprise, except to say that I plan to deliverUpgrade in a full complete story when it’s done.  It’ll stand alone without a sequel: the tale will be complete, and you’ll be able to choose — as with Night’s Favour — whether you want to dip a toe into the sequel.
The fifth book is a new thing for me — it’ll be my first book with a female lead.  This one is going to be the hardest one of them all to write, because (being a male human) I don’t easily understand what life’s like to be a woman.  I hope the book doesn’t suck.

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

Valentine’s an ordinary guy with ordinary problems. His boss is an asshole. He’s an alcoholic. And he’s getting that middle age spread just a bit too early. One night — the one night he can’t remember — changes everything. What happened at the popular downtown bar, The Elephant Blues? Why is Biomne, the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, so interested in him — and the virus he carries? How is he getting stronger, faster, and more fit? And what’s the connection between Valentine and the criminally insane Russian, Volk?
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Genre – Action, Thriller, Urban Fantasy
Rating – R16
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@KentBurden on What to Write About #AmWriting #NonFiction #Wellness

I often get the question “how do you decide what you’re going to write about?” it’s a pretty valid question, unlike someone who writes fiction I don’t have to come up with a story or a plot I just have to come up with a subject, but what subject? As a health and wellness expert my choices are endless, exercise, stress reduction, weight loss, nutrition and all the sub categories that go along with healthy living. But how do you decide what to spend your valuable time and energy writing when we all know that some books will sell and some won’t. How to chose a topic that people will want to buy and will be something I want to delve deeply into. I’ve written 7 books (and counting) and I’ve chosen subjects based on key word searches, surveys, market research and a coin flip. But sometimes a topic just chooses you.
 A few years ago while working at a high end California spa,  I was sitting at my desk in my office reading a popular men’s magazine (I was on my break– I swear) when I came across an article that said new research proved that sitting for extended periods of time increased your risk of getting diseases like diabetes, heart disease obesity and certain forms of cancer and that doing 30-60 minutes of exercise a day wasn’t enough to counteract the damage that sitting did. The article even claimed that as far as negative health effects were concerned, sitting was just as bad as smoking! To top it off it stated that people who sat more during the day were heavier than people who moved around and spent more time standing during the day regardless of how much they exercised.
I remember sitting there feeling like I had just been kicked in the crotch by Chuck Liddell. This is not what they had taught me in my six years of college. It’s not in the literature they give you for your personal trainer certification and no one was talking about this at fitness conferences. This had to be complete and utter bull s#!t. So I did some research myself and what I found shocked me, and the deeper I dug the more I began to think this new discovery might just have merit. 
The first thing I did was go back through my records. As a trainer you always have clients that trouble you. They work hard in their sessions, say their doing all the things you tell them to do on their own, insist they are sticking to their diet program, but never can get to the goal weight loss they set or they can’t seem to get their blood work numbers were they need to be. I always chalked it up to the “they think they are but there not syndrome”. Many people fool themselves into thinking they are doing things that they aren’t actually doing, you’ve seen it. The person who says they eat healthy but over the course of the day eats 20 mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups from the office candy dish and then scarf down half a quart of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey Ice Cream while watching Game Of Thrones just before bed. But maybe I was wrong, maybe they had been doing everything I had been telling them to do but what I was telling them to do just wasn’t enough. Low and behold when I checked all of my trouble clients had jobs like accountant, lawyer, software designer and author all jobs that had them sitting all day long.
I called a couple of the researchers that had been quoted in the article and came away with the distinct feeling that this was big. I mean the-sky-is-falling big. This was when I decided I HAD to write the book. I pulled together all the research I could find, I talked to all the major players in the field. I collected opinions on how best to counteract the deadly effects of prolonged sitting,  then created movements that could be done anywhere (even in the office) so people could discover new ways to be healthy. For me the hardest part was figuring out how to make all these facts and medical research interesting enough to actually read. The bottom line is I was on fire!  I needed to spread the word and get these simple, effective tools into people’s hands. That’s how my book, “Is Your Chair Killing You? A Healthier You in 8 Minutes a Day” was born. No market research, no key word searches and no coin flips. It also happens to be my bestselling book so far. Things that make you go hmmmmm.

Sitting for extended periods of time is as bad for your health as smoking cigarettes. And exercising for 30-60 minutes a day isn’t enough to undo the damage from extended periods of sitting. Is Your Chair Killing You reveals shocking new research showing that sitting for long periods greatly increases your risk of developing obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer. Our bodies were designed to move constantly over the course of the day, but most of us sit for hours a day at work and at home! Fitness and wellness expert and award-winning author Kent Burden has created brief, simple movements you can incorporate into your daily life to combat the damaging effects of sitting. These simple movements, done standing for 1-5 minutes each hour will burn calories, energize and refresh you, and you won’t even break a sweat; you’ll even improve your back pain. This book is a how-to for weight loss and disease prevention. Read this book–you’ll be healthier in as little as 8 minutes a day.
Nominated for the Dan Poynter Global Ebook Awards and won honorable mention at the Los Angeles Book Festival
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Genre – Non-Fiction
Rating – G
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Razer 8 Series by P.T.Macias @pt_macias #BookClub #Suspense #Romance

Chapter One

Marsha Diane Bryant looks over at the shiny red sport car. Oh yes, I’m going to get that cute car for my birthday. I’m so lucky that my Daddy spoils me, she thinks. She smiles at her Daddy and at her Mama. She watches him sign the paperwork.

“Marci, dear, you know that this is also a gift for your hard work in school. You’re going to graduate next year. I know that you’ve worked hard to maintain your GPA. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to see that you’re going to be able to qualify to be an intern at the Capitol,” states Rex Bryant.
Chief Commissioner Rex Bryant has always dreamed of seeing one of his girls enter the realm of politics.

Marsha chews her lower lip. Oh, yeah, I did forget about that. I don’t want to enter the world of politics. I don’t want to disappoint Daddy. I know that he’s counting on me since Margaret decided to get married. I don’t know when I’m going to tell Daddy that I want to go into law. It’s almost the same. I can be a judge, she thinks.

“Marci, I’m real proud of you,” says Daddy Rex.

“Thank you, Daddy,” replies Marsha.

“Sir, here are the keys to the car,” says the salesman. He looks over at Marsha with longing. “Ms. Bryant, you’re going to enjoy driving down the coast in your new car.”

“Yes sir, I’m sure I will. Daddy, can I drive Cherry Bomb home?” asks Marsha.

Her lovely blue eyes sparkle with pleasure. Her face is softly flushed with a soft glow of excitement.
Chief Bryant turns to gaze at his lovely daughter. He smiles with pleasure upon seeing her excitement. He raises an eyebrow with amusement. 

“Yes, Marci. You can drive your new car home. Cherry Bomb?” replies Daddy Rex.

He chuckles with amusement. He turns to the sales man and takes the keys from him. “Marci, dear, you drive carefully.”

Marsha jumps up from the chair and excitedly hugs her Daddy. She gives him a huge kiss on his cheek. She then takes the keys from his hands.

“Thank you, Daddy! Thank you, Mama. I love you both! I’ll see you at home. I want to stop for a few minutes at Sarah’s to show her my new car!” Marsha turns to give her Mama a quick hug.

“Marsha Diane, you best drive carefully. We’ll see you at home shortly,” says Mama Irene.

“Absolutely, Mama,” replies Marsha, nodding. She walks out of the sales office and out into the dealership showroom.

The salesman is opening the huge glass doors. Marsha walks up to the red sports car. She opens the door and slides in. She smiles and turns on the car.

Marsha turns to look over at her parents with an enormous smile. She waves at them and pulls out of the showroom.

Hell yeah, I’m going to love driving this cute car. I’m such a lucky girl, she thinks. Nodding she turns on the stereo and starts to sing along to her favorite song.

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Redfox, Razer 8 10-13-13
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Genre – Romantic Suspense
Rating – PG 13
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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Peter Simmons and the Vessel of Time by @RamzArtso #YA #SciFi #AmReading

Peter - Chapter 4
Portland, Oregon
October 22nd
Afternoon Hours

I sauntered out of the school building with my friends in tow and pulled on a thickly woven hat to cover my fluffy flaxen hair, which was bound to be frolic even in the mildest of breezes. I took a deep breath and scrutinized my immediate surroundings, noticing an armada of clouds scudding across the sky. It was a rather blustery day. The shrewd, trilling wind had all but divested the converging trees off their multicolored leaves, pasting them on the glossy asphalt and graffiti adorned walls across the road. My spirits were quickly heightened by this observation, and I suddenly felt rejuvenated after a long and taxing day at school. I didn’t know why, but the afternoon’s indolent weather appealed to me very much. I found it to be a congenial environment. For unexplainable reasons, I felt like I was caught amidst a fairytale. It was this eerie feeling which came and went on a whim. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Perhaps it was triggered by the subconscious mind brushing against a collage of subliminal memories, which stopped resurfacing partway through the process.

Anyhow, there I was, enjoying the warm and soporific touch of the autumn sun on my face, engaging in introspective thoughts of adolescent nature when Max Cornwell, a close, meddlesome friend of mine, called me from my rhapsodic dream with a sharp nudge in the ribs.

‘Hey, man! You daydreaming?’

I closed my eyes; feeling a little peeved, took a long drag of the wakening fresh air and gave him a negative response by shaking my head.

‘Feel sick or something?’ he persisted.

I wished he would stop harping on me, but it looked like Max had no intention of letting me enjoy my moment of glee, so I withdrew by tartly saying, ‘No, I’m all right.’

‘Hey, check this out,’ said George Whitmore,–who was another pal of mine–wedging himself between me and Max. He held a folded twenty dollar bill in his hand, and his ecstatic facial expression suggested that he had just chanced upon the find by sheer luck.

‘Is that yours?’ I asked, knowing very well that it wasn’t.

‘No, I found it on the floor of the auditorium. Just seconds before the last period ended.’

‘Then perhaps you should report your discovery to the lost and found. I’m sure they’ll know what to do with it there.’

‘Yeah, right. That’s exactly what I’m going to do,’ he said, snorting derisively. He then added in a somewhat defensive tone, as if trying to convince himself more than anyone else, ‘I found it, so it’s mine–right?’

I considered pointing out that his intentions were tantamount to theft, but shrugged it off instead, and followed the wrought-iron fence verging the school grounds before exiting by the small postern. I was in no mood for an argument, feeling too tired to do anything other than run a bath and soak in it. Therefore, I expunged the matter from my mind, bid goodbye to both George and Max and plunged into the small gathering of trees and brush which we, the kids, had dubbed the Mini Forest. It was seldom traveled by anyone, but we called it that because of its size, which was way too small to be an actual forest, and a trifle too large to be called otherwise.

I was whistling a merry tune, and wending my way home with a spring in my step, when my ears abruptly pulled back in fright. All of a sudden, I couldn’t help but feel as if I was being watched. But that wasn’t all. I felt like someone was trying to look inside of me. Right into me. As if they were rummaging in my soul, searching its every nook and cranny, trying to fish up my deepest fears and darkest secrets. It was equivalent to being stripped naked in front of a large audience. Steeling myself for something ugly, I felt the first stirrings of unease.


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Genre – Young-adult, Action and Adventure, Coming of Age, Sci-fi
Rating – PG-13
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