TEN AUTHORS, TEN DAYS: DAY EIGHT: KAREN KING

Can love survive death?

sapphire blue cover“No one has ever walked out of Red. Once the Soul Catchers get you they don’t let you go.” Denny’s words scare me but I have no choice. If Will is in Red that’s where I have to go.

I’ve never really thought what it was like when you died. I’m only 16, too young to worry about that. At least I thought I was. I’ve heard about Heaven and Hell, of course, but it doesn’t look like I’m in either of them. All I know is that Will is here too and I need to find him. I can’t face spending eternity without him.

Friend and fellow author Karen King talks soul trekking in her new YA Sapphire Blue. Even better, as at press time, Karen had great news to share: She has racked up an award for cover design. Take a look:

golden star awards 2nd place - Paranormal trophy 300

Congrats!

Q & A

  1. Sapphire Blue reads like a quest journey; a YA novel that takes the protagonist through Hell in search of her Will, like Dante searching for Beatrice in the Inferno. What inspired you to follow this path in YA?

I’ve always believed that we live on after we die, that our souls go back to the place we came from, join our friends and family and carry on with our journey. I was talking about this to someone one day and they said that they hoped they didn’t forget life on Earth, when they died that they still had their memories. That started me thinking about what it would be like. If you loved someone would your love still survive in the afterlife? Does everyone go to the same place? It was from this that the idea of Sapphire Blue was born.

  1. In our fast-paced, social media driven culture here in North America, how do you account for the exploding popularity of YA literature?

People still like to lose themselves in a good book, kids, teens and adults alike, and there’s some amazing YA stories published at the moment. YA deals with things that teens (and adults) worry about, living, loving, dying, fitting in, the world ending. It’s imaginative introducing new worlds, magic, strong characters and above all it usually encompasses Hope. And that’s the thing I think people want to hold onto most in these uncertain times. Hope that you’ll survive, win through, that things will get better.

  1. What and who did you read as a teen and young adult? Which one(s) stayed with you?

Agatha Christie and The Saint books by Lesley Charteris. I loved trying to solve the mysteries in the Agatha Christie books and the nonchalant way The Saint dealt with the situations he was in.

  1. Let’s backtrack for our readers: Give us your elevator pitch for Sapphire Blue.

Sapphire Blue is a YA with a difference in that it’s set in the afterlife. It’s a story of love, bravery, drama, mystery, horror but above all Hope.

5. Your cover is in the running for an award. Tell us about it.

Yes I’m chuffed to say that the cover for Sapphire Blue –and the cover of my children’s novel, Firstborn – is in the finals of the Golden Star cover Art Contest run by Highlighted Authors http://highlightedauthor.com/golden-star-cover-art-contest/paranormal-cover-category/

I’ve got my fingers crossed for them both but there are some great covers in the finals so I’m just happy they’ve got this far.

6. What’s next?

Accent Book has just signed me up for three contemporary novels so I’m working on the second one of those – the first one is finished. After that, I’ve been asked by a couple of readers to write a follow up to Sapphire Blue so maybe I will.

ExcerptOur first drive together. Later, I’ll take photos of wherever it is we’re going, save a leaflet, a ticket, or receipt. Today deserves a whole page in our scrapbook.

Will’s a good driver. His eyes constantly dart to the mirrors to check what’s behind him, around him, in front of him, and he keeps his speed steady. I feel safe with him.

I look out of the passenger window, trying to guess where we’re going. As soon as we join the dual carriageway I know. Mawlish Cove. Where we went for our very first proper date. It’s our special place, the one we go to when we want to celebrate something, but usually we have to cycle there. I think of all the places we can go now that Will can drive, to the coast a few miles away, a sightseeing tour of the local villages, maybe even drive to Wales to see my cousin, Gemma. I’ll be seventeen in a few months and maybe I can pass my test too, then we can go away for weekend, share the driving. I glance at Will and smile. I’m so proud of him.

“I love you,” I say.

“Love you too,” he replies. Then he starts singing.

“Sapphire Blue,

I do love you,

Forever me,

Forever you!” I join in the chorus, bubbles of happiness fizzing through me.

Will wrote the song for me last Christmas, calling it Sapphire ‘Blue’ after the color of my eyes—he said. He knew his folks were buying him the guitar he’d been begging for all year, so had secretly written the song to surprise me. It was the first thing he played. I remember how he picked up the guitar, slowly strumming the strings, then he’d walked over to me, sat down beside me and gazing into my eyes he’d started singing. It was only a short song, one verse, nothing special, I guess, but it summed us up. Me and Will, together forever. A warm surge of love spreads through me. I reach out and touch his hand. He turns to me and our eyes meet.

Just for a couple of seconds. An eye blink. Hardly any time at all.

But long enough for us to not notice the container fall off the back of the lorry in front. When we do notice, it’s in the middle of the road, blocking our path. A shard of ice slithers down my spine.

“Stop! Will, stop! We’re going to crash!”

Even as I shriek the words I know that there isn’t enough time to stop. I’m frozen to my seat, my eyes fixed in terror on the huge metal box just meters away.

“Hold tight!” Will jerks the steering wheel to the left in an attempt to avoid it, but he loses control of the car, and we’re skidding off the road. OMG, now we’re heading for a huge tree. It’s looming in front of us, solid and immovable. Its long, leafy branches swaying in the wind like scaly, green arms reaching out to grab us.

“Shit!” Will’s almost standing on the brakes in an effort to stop the car. My body shoots forward, then is pulled back by the seatbelt. My head slams against the back of the seat. The tires screech as the car starts to slow down but not quick enough for us to avoid the tree. I shut my eyes, not wanting to see the inevitable, horrific moment of impact. I can hear Will shouting, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I love you!” I want to tell him that I love him too, but I can’t speak, can’t move, my body’s turned into a block of granite.

I’m dimly aware that someone is screaming as if their soul is being ripped from their body. It is a few seconds before I realize that the screams are mine.

We’re going to die.

Craaaaaash!

An explosion shatters in my head.

biographyKaren King has had over one hundred children’s books published. She’s written for many children’s magazines too including Sindy, Barbie, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine. She writes for all ages and in all genres; story books, picture books, plays, joke books and non-fiction.  Sapphire Blue is her second YA novel. She also writes romance novels under the name of Kay Harborne.

Buy Links

Amazon UK  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sapphire-Blue-Karen-King-ebook/dp/B00QKYAL7W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417793348&sr=8-1&keywords=sapphire+Blue+by+karen+king#_

Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Sapphire-Blue-Karen-King-ebook/dp/B00QKYAL7W/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1417779552&sr=1-1&keywords=sapphire+Blue+karen+king

Solstice Publishing   http://solsticepublishing.com/sapphire-blue/

Author Links

Website: www.karenking.net

Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn&__adt=7&__att=iframe#!/KarenKingAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/74448.Karen_King

Twitter: @karen_king

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Karen-King/e/B0034P6W7I/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kryski/

Wow, Karen. You are busy. Keep us appraised and best of luck. xo

TOMORROW:

Reily Garrett

Carnal Innocence Banner

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TEN AUTHORS, TEN DAYS: DAY THREE: SHYLA WOLFF

Blogger, tour promoter, cover designer and purveyor of paranormal romance fantasy Shyla Wolff joinsTiny wolves BLOG FUNKHAUSER today. Welcome her aboard as she shares her methods, aspirations, and an excerpt from her latest SHADOWED HORIZONS. Hello Shyla!

  

  1. I was walking in the woods over Labor Day Weekend and found some amazing wolf tracks. I Q & Afollowed for a little bit before realizing that it would be very rude on my part to barge in on the wolf’s den! Do you like the woods?

 

As a hick from the stix – Yep, I absolutely love being in the woods. Can’t say I love the ticks much, but you have to take the sour with the sweet.  My three shepherds and I spend a good deal of time playing/training there, S & R, one furbaby is a therapy dog, the others…not so much. Lol. There’s an innate peace and calm found in the woods I can’t replicate anywhere else.

  1. We’ve enjoyed many discussions as writers and friends. Would you classify yourself as a spiritual person…whatever that might mean?

Not per se. Without excavating personal convictions, I’d say that we’re all a part of something awe inspiring, the whole being greater than the sum of the parts, and that there are forces at work which we’ve yet to understand. I believe in honoring those with compassion, integrity, and motivation.

  1. You have a great blog. Tell the readers what it’s about and maybe share some links to favorite posts?

Thank You. At this point I’m still new to blogging and have much to learn. I’ve been hosting a lot of book tours/ giveaways and drawing a ton of hits to the page. Everyone loves a giveaway.

Now – I’m starting to branch out and do interviews and relevant blog posts. Relevant to writers and readers.

I’ve found it absolutely fascinating to converse with other writers – there’s a wealth of information, not to mention friendships waiting to develop, if you just reach out.

Also – I’m beginning to design book covers and headers for fb, blogs, etc. Below is a sample of what I’m working on now. They will show up on my  blog very soon.

Anath banner

My favorite posts would be to books I’ve read (and would love to have time to read more). Like you, A. B. Funkhauser, I can think of two others whose works have fascinated as well as entertained.  I know there are many more fantastic authors out there, but darned if I can find the time to read their works.

Heuer Lost And Found entertains throughout. I love a sharp wit.

http://shylawolff.blogspot.com/2015/05/heuer-lost-and-found-by-b-funkhauser_14.html

Charley Daveler also has a fascinating talent and I’d read her work even though it’s not usually my genre.

http://shylawolff.blogspot.com/2015/08/interview-with-charley-daveler.html

Carnal Beginnings – Everyone loves when an underdog can turn the tables and emerge victorious.  The sequel  – Carnal Innocence will release on Sept. 15, 2015.

http://shylawolff.blogspot.com/2015/08/carnal-beginnings-by-reily-garrett.html

  1. What are you working on right now, this minute?

I’m working on a romantic paranormal fantasy, set in the Amazon jungle. I love to step outside my comfort zone and bring new things to life for readers.

Deep in the rainforest, it is said there is a mythical creature called Kurupira who protects all within his realm from those who would rape and destroy the land. From this, I branched out and had a ball developing the story line.  It should be released sometime in October, 2015. Below is the cover art.

tIAGO for interview

  1. Do you like contests? Ever submitted? Tell us what that feels like?

I’ve never entered a contest, but it’s time I started.

  1. This thing you do called writing. What’s it all about? A gift? A torture? A path to follow?

 It’s a compulsion, pure and simple. I love it.

  1. Got a publishing anecdote? Share, please…lol

I find this the most hilarious thing that’s ever happened to me. A year ago, I’d been working on a novel during the prior six months. A private editor told me I’d never get it published. This person also told me to get over my squeamishness of writing romantic scenes.

Being the obstinate person I am, I wrote what I thought was a scorcher.  While I was waiting on edits for my first book, I submitted the scorcher to a publishing house. It was accepted within 48 hours. Furthermore, it won TOP Pick at The Romance Reviews… I think I laughed for a week.

And the book I was told would never be published? It along with 2 sequels have also been published.

Don’t ever let someone tell you  “You can’t”.

  1. Do you have a muse?

 No. Just tons and tons of ideas that won’t leave me alone until I write them down.

  1. What do you read when you aren’t writing?   

Through my blogging/reviewing, I’ve found quite a few fascinating authors. I love reading those works that are convoluted but yet easily understood.  Now that I have so little time, I don’t get to read near as much.  I’m an avid reader of Dean Koontz.

Other than that – S & R training  stuff for working with my dogs.  One is a therapy dog.  They are my life, my support and my inspiration. I include dogs in each of my books as integral characters.

  1. Guilty pleasure: person, place or thing???leyna snow

Spending too much time with my dogs…

Thanks for the update on your blog and design work. Now let’s tuck into your newest:

SHADOWED HORIZONS

Shadow HorizonsLove is a flame we embrace with open arms.

Kiera, adopted from the streets by her psychic brethren, is fated to protect Carlin, an electronics genius. Passion flares after extracting him from death’s clutches, drawing her into a world of espionage, romance, psychic stalkers and an extraordinary destiny.

Kyley’s years of abuse at Roth’s hands have yet to crush her spirit. In order to prevent him from creating chaos and anarchy, she must escape his psychotic hold and acquire the support of other paranormals.

Taylor is a strong telekinetic craving to set Kyley free, replacing her memories of torture and fear with hope and passion.

Two groups of warriors, their unique skills unknown to mankind, live and fight in the shadows with courage and honor, to preserve our way of life. Their incredible stories are a spirit-stirring journey that speaks to the dreams we all share.

 

ExcerptCarlin strode beside his bodyguard through the dimly lit parking garage fidgeting with his keys. “Adam, this does not make it to my top five favorite places to visit.”

A rat skittered across the floor in the shadows, and he imagined it turning a gimlet-eyed stare on its intruders. Filth, gas, and pizza from a nearby restaurant thickened the air, reminiscent of the alley apartment he occupied during college. Small pools of dingy light challenged macabre shadows for dominance—and lost. Clashing of the bleak rays and murky silhouettes added an ominous, prophetic feeling he couldn’t shake. Water stains mingled with the shadows to create fleeting two dimensional monsters. Carlin was not a fan of Rorschach. Crap, I haven’t been spooked like this in years.

Adam shrugged. “Sir, as your bodyguard, I admit this isn’t my idea of a secure location either, but it is the closest enclosed parking available to meet with your client. The open street leaves you too vulnerable. As much as you cherish your privacy, I’m surprised you agreed to help at all.”

“He’s a college buddy, needed help with a simple, high-tech security task. Seems twenty-first century technology left him in the dust.”

“Next time, why don’t you at least suggest meeting during the daytime?” Adam’s narrowed eyes and tilted head as if listening to a far-off sound—usually spelled trouble.

Next time, remind me a proctologist’s exam would be more enjoyable, okay?” Sweat beaded his forehead despite the cool December breeze drifting over the graffiti-covered knee wall.

“Yeah, I’m feeling it too. Let’s get the hell out of here.”

Carlin’s skidding on a badly patched piece of concrete prompted his bodyguard to scan the area around them. Dirt and crumbles skittered, their audio report echoed off the walls.

“Watch your step, sir, we don’t need to broadcast our location.” Adam murmured as he reached out to steady him.

“You know…” Carlin muttered, “Folks generally think of me as a good analytical and concrete thinker. Perhaps whatever higher power gifted me with intuitive abilities for logistics and computers decided on a mental tariff—common sense.”

“My sixth sense says trouble’s GPS has already locked on. Stay close.”

The gentle slide of Adam’s gun from its shoulder rig compelled Carlin to suck in the cool night air, searing his lungs.

“Sir, instincts are the best survival tool we have. They’re rarely wrong. Better safe than sorry.”

Sharp chirps split the silence, Carlin’s cell threw his heart rate into overdrive. Hair on his nape prickled as he fumbled in his pocket. With an all-thumbs equivalent, he extracted the nuisance and hit ignore.

Massive pillars supported the five-story concrete structure. Rounding one to his left, his foot stalled mid-step when Adam snatched him sideways. The colossal thug he almost plowed into blended into the shadows.

“Jesus!” The man personified hulkish features with abject malice in his gaze. The split-second observation brought Carlin a rush of adrenaline. “You’re huge!” Brown hair pulled back in a ponytail swept his shoulder giving the look of a mob enforcer. A bulge of pitted, tanned skin separated a straight line of bushy eyebrows. Dark eyes appeared to hold a terrible knowledge and gave his hard stare a cold calculating look.

The brute’s gaze raked Carlin’s body head to toe. Chipped yellow teeth appeared as his thin lips pulled back in a wide grin. “Time to meet your maker, prodigy.” He mimicked Carlin’s sidestep in a lightning-fast move and knocked Adam’s gun from his right hand. Its ricocheting underneath a nearby Toyota produced multiple tin-like clinks.

Time seemed to fracture. Adam’s left arm shoved Carlin to the side. His assailant took wily advantage in that flash of time. He watched his bodyguard go down hard from his attacker’s leg sweep.

One blink and a dagger appeared in the thug’s hand. Its arc and swift speed toward his belly made it little more than a glimmer in the weak light. His neurons couldn’t fire fast enough to follow its passage. Two feet stood between Carlin and a trip to his maker, complements of this walking nightmare.

 

BIOGRAPHY

Life teaches us many lessons. One of the most important ones Shyla’s learned is to take the time to enjoy family and friends. Our circumstances change on a daily basis. However small the differences may seem, they add up over time. Through a lifetime of various trials and tribulations, she’s discovered the enjoyment of sharing her stories with those that would relish participating in the journey of extraordinary people through their everyday lives.

After years of employment in various fields including medical, law enforcement, and private investigations, Shyla’s experiences inspired the stories she brings to life. From the horrific to the awe-inspiring, life’s lessons affect us all, regardless of the virtual walls we build or the blinders we don.

The way we incorporate these into our daily life helps determine our character and how we affect those around us. A simple and small kindness can go a very long way and have a profound effect on others.

 

LINKS

https://www.facebook.com/shyla.wolff

http://shylawolff.blogspot.com/

https://twitter.com/wolff_shyla

http://shylawolff.com/

Amazon buy link

http://www.amazon.com/Shadowed-Horizons-Anath-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00RC7QOIQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1422718443&sr=1-1&keywords=Shadowed+Horizons

Link to Shadowed Origins

Shadowed Origins big pichttp://www.amazon.com/Shadowed-Origins-Anath-Book-2-ebook/dp/B00SKL3O1S/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1422718469&sr=1-1&keywords=Shadowed+Origins

Link to Shadowed Passage

http://www.amazon.com/Shadowed-Passage-Anath-Book-3-shadowedpassage72ebook/dp/B00XFRFAXM

 

 

Thank you Shyla for stopping by. Wishing you every success with SHADOWED HORIZONS as well as all projects current and future.

ABF

 

TOMORROW:

Short story maven Gloria Weber talks speculative fiction and the “What if” that can change worlds. Tune in!

GloriaWeber

TEN AUTHORS, TEN DAYS: DAY TWO: MAIGHREAD MACKAY BLASTS OFF WITH HER SOLSTICE DEBUT!

Today is a HUGE day for author Maighread MacKay: 5-4-3-2-1

Polaris Missile A3

That’s right! It’s LAUNCH DAY for her adult-themed paranormal novel STONE COTTAGE, and she has chosen this blog to be among the first to tell EVERYBODY.

This author/blogger is honored. Not only do we share the same publisher (Solstice) but we also share a penchant for book trailer making. (That’s another story.)

Today is your day Maighread. Let’s jump in with STONE COTTAGE followed by a tasty interview (keep reading)…

 

book coverVictoria Anne McBride is dead, mourned and buried. Unfortunately, she doesn’t see it that way and refuses to move on. There’s something she needs to tell her husband, Will. Until she does, she will wait for his return to their home, Stone Cottage. For as long as it takes, she will wait…wait…wait.

Rebecca Wainwright is a 21st century woman. Her world is perfectly controlled. Just the way she likes it. Tragedy strikes and she descends into chaos. Trying to heal, she searches for a sanctuary…a place of her own, away from the burdensome concern of her family and best friend. A place where she can lick her wounds without anyone watching. She stumbles across a lovely stone home located off the beaten path and feels completely at home, as if she’d been there before. Why is she so drawn to this place? How can it help her to heal?

Perhaps, Annie can help.

 

Q & A

 

  1. Maighread, Stone Cottage has so many things going for it: paranormal, romance, and a journey of self discovery to name a few. How would you classify this work?

I often ponder the meaning of life and had read a book Your Soul’s Plan by Robert Schwartz that presents a different paradigm from what I had been taught to believe. Wondering how his concepts would play out in everyday life, I wrote Stone Cottage. I am hoping that the readers will love the story as much as I do, but I’m also hoping that maybe it will also cause some of them to go ‘hmmm-never thought of life that way’. That said, I would classify the story as one soul’s journey to discover meaning in her life, while being presented with paranormal concepts that challenge her firmly held concepts. There is tragedy, but also hope. It does have a ‘happily ever after’ ending, along the lines of Ghost Whisperer.

 

  1. You’ve published three children’s books already. What made you switch to adult fiction?

Actually, I’ve always written adult fiction and non-fiction. The children’s books were written for my grandchildren as their legacy from me. I wanted my descendants to know who I was through my writing.

 

  1. Your love of the past (history) is apparent. That you weave it seamlessly into a contemporary parallel plot is a testament to your skill. To which time frame did you identify most as you were crafting Stone Cottage?

Ah, yes, I do love history. I love Regency romances, historical fiction, and I am the genealogist in my family. I really did identify with the Victorian era when I wrote the book. I love all of our modern conveniences, but sometimes they are very intrusive. Also, I am the youngest in my family and my Father was the youngest in his family, so a lot of my relatives were born in the Victorian era and I grew up under their influence and am comfortable with the language and customs of that time period.

 

  1. Without introducing spoilers, I’ll suggest that one of the characters starts out in a not entirely sympathetic vein. Was this done on purpose, or did she merely lead the way?

Yes, it was done on purpose. I am hoping that readers will learn that sometimes people we meet have a reason for the way they react to things. The old adage of ‘be careful how you treat people. Everyone carries a burden that you may know nothing about’ applies here. It doesn’t excuse the behaviour but it can explain it and bring understanding instead of judgement.

 

  1. Plotter or pantser?

A combination of both. Probably more of a panster. I have the main plot in my head, and think about it all the time. The characters live with me while I’m writing and they are always showing me new aspects of themselves that end up changing the parts of the plot.

 

  1. I’m so happy to be spotlighting you on today of all days: book launch day! Where can we buy your book?

It can be purchased through Amazon.com and Amazon.ca., through my publisher Solstice Publishing, and through myself.

 

  1. Whet our appetites: What is your elevator pitch?

Victoria Anne McBride is dead, mourned and buried. Unfortunately, she doesn’t see it that way and refuses to move on. There’s something she needs to tell her husband, Will. Until she does, she will wait for his return to their home, Stone Cottage. She’s been waiting a long time.

Rebecca Wainwright is a 21st century woman. Her world is perfectly controlled. Just the way she likes it. Tragedy strikes and she descends into chaos. Trying to heal, she searches for a sanctuary…a place of her own, away from the burdensome concern of her family and best friend. A place where she can lick her wounds without anyone watching. She stumbles across a lovely stone home located off the beaten path and feels completely at home, as if she’d been there before. Why is she so drawn to this place? How can it help her to heal?

It’s a story of second chances. How our lives intertwine like the weave of a tapestry to help us grow and become the people we are. It presents a different way of looking at life that will be new to some readers.

 

  1. What’s next?

I continue to write short stories, poems and such. My big work in progress is another novel with the working title – Friday: Dinner at Mother’s. I’m just at the very beginning stages of it, so I’m not sure where it wants to take me, although I can tell you that it deals with family dynamics and murder. I’m also doing a Twitter chat with Mel Massey of Solstice Publishing at 6 pm EDT on Monday, the 14th and I’m so excited about that! But there’s more: author Marie Lavender is interviewing Victoria Anne on her blog on September 11th.

Ed. — More details on these events later today!

 

  1. A lot of writers find promotions daunting. What will you be doing in the next few months to get the word out on Stone Cottage?

Yes, promotion can be very daunting. I will be doing more blogs, putting the word out on FB and Twitter, plus I have a book signing on October 11th at our local Chapters store in Oshawa and will be at Bookapalooza in November at Durham College.

 

  1. I’m not letting you go without a word on Chicken Soup for the Soul. You have a story in the next one. Deets, please.

Some of you may not know that I’m extremely fortunate to be married to the guy in the red suit that visits at Christmas. Yup, Santa! When I heard that Chicken Soup for the Soul was looking for stories regarding Christmas, I decided to submit a manuscript entitled “Being Santa” for the 2015 Christmas edition. It gives you a small glimpse of what it’s like to be Santa at other times of the year. I was fortunate that they loved the story and it will be coming out in the Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas 2015 edition. The book will be available on October 20th. That will be so much fun. I’m really looking forward to it.

 

Thank you Maighread for the share. Here’s what we can all look forward to in STONE COTTAGE:

 

ExcerptIn the aftermath of the blinding flash, the darkness shimmered like liquid ebony. The wind ripped the leaves from the trees and tossed them aside. The rain slashed the windows of the isolated aged stone house.

Inside the dwelling, all was silent except for the ticking of the longcase clock in the foyer. The parlour to the right of the front door held a sofa placed in the centre of the room facing a large fireplace made of fieldstone. Two tall windows looked onto the lawn at the front of the house. Comfortable chairs flanked the fireside. A small table holding a glass lamp was located beside one of the chairs. A handmade throw rug covered the highly polished wooden floor in front of the hearth. An old dog lay asleep on the mat. With the shelves filled with books, the soft glow of the fire and gas lamp, and the comfortable chairs, the parlour had been warm and cozy in the gloomy night.

Victoria Anne McBride, the solitary human occupant of the room was curled up in one of the chairs, a blanket covering her and a book on her lap.

A sonic boom of thunder shook the house and ricocheted around the room breaking the spell of silence. Startled, she surged from the chair, the eiderdown and tome cascading to the floor. She had been feeling warm and drowsy under the quilt but now realized there was nothing but cold ash left in the fireplace. The gas lamp on the table had burned out and the room was freezing. How long had she been there? She listened as the rain scratched the window glass like the long nails of a ghostly hand pleading to be let in out of the cold. Bringing her awareness back to the moment, she tried to remember why she was here in the parlour.

 

LINKS AND BUY INFO:

 

Buy:

Amazon.com http://amzn.com/B01452HED4

Amazon.ca http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01452HED4

Solstice Publishing:  http://solsticepublishing.com/stone-cottage/

 

Link:

Website: mhefferman.ca

FB: facebook.com/maighreadmackay

Twitter: @maighreadmackay

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsDj938kUzM

 

TOMORROW:

A mystery? Find out at BLOG FUNKHAUSER *Adult, Unapologetic and Cognizant*

 

 

A WRITER FOR ALL AGES, PLEASE WELCOME PENNY ESTELLE

The Authors Penny EstellePenny Estelle is a best selling writer for all ages, from the early reader to adults.  Her books range from pictures books for the little ones, to fantasy and time-travel adventures for ages 9 to 13. She also, under P. A. Estelle, has written adult stories including a family drama and contemporary, paranormal and historical westerns romances.

Penny was a school secretary for 21 years.  She and her husband moved to their retirement home in Kingman, AZ, on very rural 54 acres, living on solar and wind only.

Find Penny and her books here:

www.pennystales.com

www.pennyestelle.blogspot.com

http://www.amazon.com/Penny-Estelle/e/B006S62XBY

EXCERPT

HIke up Devils mountain - new cover

Jason was getting closer to Andy.  His voice hissed through his teeth.  “You must think we are some kind of stupid.  We aren’t like the hicks who live in this town and if you think we would even begin to believe some story about an old witch who lived here, then you better think again!”  Jason pushed Andy hard against the wooden cabinet.

Andy shut his eyes waiting for the first blow.  Nothing happened.  He squinted open his left eye and saw Jason’s head cocked to one side, trying to see behind Andy’s back.  “What have you got there, Andy Pandy?”

Uh oh, the glowing stick.  Andy wasn’t about to give that up.  “Nothing,” he told him, trying to back away but there was no place to go.

“Oh I think there is something,” Jason sneered.

“It’s mine!” Andy shouted.  “You will have to do your worst if you think you are taking this from me!”

“No problem,” Jason said, lunging forward.  Andy tried to fake him out, pretending to run one way and then the other.  That didn’t work.  That never worked!   Jason grabbed Andy’s arm that held the stick and tried to grab it.  Something was going to break, and Andy wasn’t sure if it would be the stick or his arm.  They both fell and were rolling on the floor.  Andy knew he was losing this battle.  No matter how hard he held on, he could feel his new-found treasure start to slip out of his grasp.

“Jason, stop it!”  Danny shouted.  “You’re acting like a big dumb toad!”

“Yeah…you’re … acting… like…a…toad!” Andy gasped between each word.

The stick exploded into a flash of light and then the fight was over.  Andy jumped up, trying to fill his lungs with air.  What happened?  Danny came running over to where Andy stood.  “Where’s Jason?”  Andy couldn’t answer because he couldn’t catch his breath.  Danny yelled, “Jason, where are you?  Quit messing around!”

His chest still heaving, Andy stammered, “I don’t know.  I . . . don’t know what just happened.”

They both looked to the floor.  Under one of the boxes was what looked like a pair of pants.  “Jason!” Danny hurried to lift the box.  No Jason — just his pants.  Lying close by were his nice Nike shoes, socks and a short distance away was his shirt.  “What did you do?” he yelled at Andy.

“Nothing!  I didn’t do anything!  I . . . don’t know!”  Andy had no answers.

Danny tried again.  “Jason,” he screamed his name.  “Where are you?”

Hike Up Devil’s Mountain is available in eBook, Print, and Audio

Amazon – http://goo.gl/sqR59

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Print – http://goo.gl/D40So

A CHARACTER INTERVIEW WITH THE BOYS FROM HIKE UP DEVIL’S MOUNTAIN

BY PENNY ESTELLE

Good morning everybody.  I am here today, talking to Andy Thompson, and Jason and Danny Crew.

Me:                  Good morning boys!

Andy:              Morning

Danny:            Morning

Me:                  Oh, I thought there were three of you.

Andy:              Well, there is…or was

Danny:            We had a bit of trouble.

Me:             Uh oh.  What kind of trouble and Danny, what is that sound coming from your pocket?

Danny:       That’s my brother, Jason.  He is kind of a…uh…toad now.

Me:             OH!  Is that the bit of trouble you were talking about?

Andy:         It wasn’t my fault.  I was in the basement of this old house that is about to be demolished, minding my own business, and in walks, Jason and Danny.  I found this awesome glowing stick and he tries to take it.  So you can plainly see it was not my fault.  He’s the school bully!

Jason:         I am not!

Me:             Wow!  The toad talks?

Jason:         Yea, I can talk.  We were having this little disagreement and then poof, out of nowhere, I’m a toad!  He did this to me!

Me:             You boys are in quite fix.  What’s the plan of attack?

Danny:       We are headed up Devil’s Mountain.  There’s a witch there and we hope she can fix this whole thing.  My parents won’t like it if Jason as to live at the lake.

Jason:         Not funny, Dude.

Me:             Boys, that’s a big, dangerous mountain and I’ve heard some scary things about it, so be very careful and good luck on your Hike Up Devil’s Mountain!

Thank you Penny Estelle for dropping by The Blog today. All the best to you and your future future projects!

MONDAY: Author Vicki-Ann Bush talks about her father and the courageous battle that binds her family.

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RIDING HIGH ON THE SEA AND INTO ROME: DAVID K. BRYANT RETURNS

The Authors David K. BryantSite favorite David K. Bryant returns with an update on Captain Flint and hints at what’s to come through the Proust Questionnaire. Clue: You must cross the Rubicon to get there! Welcome back, David.

THE BOOK

Step up the gangplank to an adventure tale set in the 18th Century, when the world made its money from conquest and slavery, pirates were the muggers of the sea lanes and life was fragile – with violence and disease never far away.

Tread Carefully on the Sea is the first novel by retired journalist David K. Bryant. Packed with historical atmosphere, it will take you on a voyage from Jamaica to the “New World” of the American colonies. The Tread Carefully on the Sea cover pictureaction comes as rapidly as the horrors in a ghost train, starting with the kidnapping of an aristocratic young woman on the night of her 21st birthday party by Captain Flint’s crew.

Amidst conspiracy, murder, cannonades, bare-knuckle boxing, disease and a devastating storm, there is the chance for all the main characters to reveal the better or worse sides of their natures. This is a swashbuckle, yes, but it’s also a story about the strengths and weaknesses of believable human beings.

“I’ve written an escapist yarn in the tradition of high adventure but in much more user-friendly language than the old classics,” says David K. Bryant.  “It’s exciting, involving, a bit tear-jerking and is pure adventure and romance.”

Buy Link: http://amzn.to/1zs9ebu

THE CHARACTER:

20150124_153128-1 - Copy (2)

AN INTERVIEW WITH CAPTAIN FLINT

“Captain Flint appeared only in reminiscences in “Treasure Island”. I’ve given him a story of his own in my book “Tread Carefully on the Sea”. But he’s got more life in him than that. So here’s a couple of add-ons…”

Captain Flint, it’s good of you to give time to a journalist. Do you mind if I ask you some blunt questions?”

“Not if you don’t mind some sharp answers.”

“Okay, I see you have your cutlass there and I wouldn’t want you to answer me with that. Anyway, first question. Could you describe yourself?”

“I have black eyes and I’m told they’re quite intimidating. They’re on you now.”

“Yes, uh, they’re quite charming. Could we change the subject? I hear you’re quite a sportsman.”

“I enjoy archery. I’m a bit tired of conventional targets. In “Tread Carefully on the Sea” I shoot a man in the head.”

“Oh, that must have been in self defense.”

“No, I just wanted to make an example of him.”

“It must be hazardous being a pirate but I expect you get a lot of fan mail.”

“Quite a few ghosts seem to have a sneaking respect for me.”

“Well that is unusual. Who do you most admire?”

“Anyone who’s still alive after I meet them.”

“Um, Captain Flint, you don’t mind me being here, do you? I mean, I’ll leave if I’m taking up too much of your time.”

“Too late. We’ve up-anchored since you arrived.”

“Oh dear, where are we going?”

“Ultimate destination – Hell. But before that we’ll be making a stop at Purgatory.”

Proustian Questionnaire Image BIG

What are your thoughts on muses and do you have one?

Everyone has something in their head that no one else could understand. I believe in angels. I think I have some special ones who’ve helped me out at crucial times. That includes getting me to write books, rather than just think about it.
Characters have a great capacity to love, yet they’re starved. Why do you think this happens in fiction and in real life?

I think that we learn to restrain our feelings, for fear of getting hurt. We become too careful of each other. That may be worse for men than women. For example, when I be-friend a female on Facebook or exchange tweets on Twitter, I am cautious, lest she think I have the wrong motives. In all sorts of ways, we hold back. Fiction reflects true life in this. In fact, I don’t believe there’s any such thing as fiction – it’s just life presented in a story.
Without giving spoilers, would you say you’re a “happy ending” writer?

In my books it’s a happy ending for some, not for others. That’s because I start with a concept but I don’t know how the story’s going to end. I construct my characters and, as I go along, I ask how people like them would react to the circumstances. The characters often speak to me and tell me the answer themselves. That determines the next step in the tale and it goes on like that to the end. So their fate entirely depends on what they, or others, do. It’s great for me because it’s like writing the story and reading it at the same time.
What would you like to be remembered for?

Please arrange for my tombstone to be inscribed: “I tried.”
If you could dine with any historical figure living or dead, who would it be and why?

Elvis Presley or Margaret Thatcher. Elvis because he was a great wit and had a fun outlook. I’d persuade him to do a few songs after dinner. Margaret because she was one of the most visionary and resolute people ever. I had the privilege of working for her so my admiration was developed up close.
Past, present or future? Where does your mind dwell?

All over the ……. place. I do believe, however, in the motto: “Start from where you are.”
What informs your writing most?

My love of history. The pirate era of the 18th Century was the premise of my first book, “Tread Carefully on the Sea“. Ancient Rome is the setting for the second, “The Dust of Cannae“. Those two novels took enormous research. My third and fourth take place in the 1960s and 1970s and mostly derive from my own memories. Yes! – I remember the 60s and I was there!
Growing up in the Seventies, school kids were encouraged to think globally and act locally. Have you ever flirted with this philosophy?

If we want a better world, I think we all have to do the best we can every day.
Guilty pleasures: we all have them. What is yours?

I can’t answer the question “What is yours?” because “is” calls for a singular guilty pleasure. I have a lot. And I’m not telling.

(Good one! lol–ed)

Your greatest victory?

Getting my books published. And for anyone who wants to know why – it’s a fight. There’s advice for aspiring authors on my website, www.davidkbryant.com and I’m always ready to answer questions.
Tell us about the one that got away. Person, place or thing.

I would have loved to have been a musician. I tried, but unfortunately I couldn’t find the “pitch perfect” queue when I was preparing for this life.
What are some of the overriding themes in your work? Do you have a favorite?

The caprice of life and “revenge is a dish best served cold”. Favorite = fortunes always change.
Who do you admire and why?

Those historical figures I said I would like to dine with, Elvis and Margaret, plus:

Bill Clinton – what a shame he’s remembered mostly for Lewinsky. I once saw that man deliver a twenty-minute speech without notes or autocue in which he covered every major aspect of world affairs, displaying a deep knowledge.

Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan – effective campaigners as well as top entertainers.

Winston Churchill – the reason is obvious.

Homer – who invented the novel.

David Cameron – the best British prime minister since Thatcher, but we have a General Election on May 7th and who knows what then.

Are writers fully formed works of art or works in progress?

No book or writer cannot be improved upon.

www.davidkbryant.com

Best wishes from the author of the adventure book “Tread Carefully on the Sea” and the upcoming Roman drama “The Dust of Cannae”

And thank you, David, for stopping by. As a fan of the excellent HBO series “Rome” I look forward to The Dust of Cannae. Be sure and let us know when we can expect it. Meantime, I’ll content myself with old Cicero! Cheers!

cicero

TOMORROW: Author Penny Estelle chats it up with the boys from HIKE UP DEVIL’S MOUNTAIN, A Teen Novel and her latest.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPenny Estelle is a best selling writer for all ages, from the early reader to adults.  Her books range from pictures books for the little ones, to fantasy and time-travel adventures for ages 9 to 13. She also, under P. A. Estelle, has written adult stories including a family drama and contemporary, paranormal and historical westerns romances.

www.pennystales.com

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Bewitching Book Tours specializes in paranormal romance, urban fantasy and paranormal erotica book tours though we tour almost all fiction genres including horror, YA, NA, and all the romance sub-genres (contemporary, historical, thriller, suspense, etc).

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RUNNING WITH THE ALPHAS: A.A. SCHENNA

The Authors A.A. SchennaThe Blog welcomes resident Athenian, action, adventure, romance writer A.A. Schenna whose thoughts on travel, musing and the one that got away will surprise and delight. Welcome A.A.

THE ALPHAS

The Alphas

The black angels have come, destroying the world to remake it in their own image. Some humans will survive, even overcome. As their world burns, they will rise from the ashes.

And some survivors will fall.

EXCERPT

Dark Secrets

656 BC

“You destroyed everything!” The tall man was exclaimed, trying to unchain his hands.

“No, you destroyed us,” the powerful speaker, the winner of this battle answered and looked at his enemy, feeling sorry for him.

“We could be together in this. We could do anything, Marc.” He couldn’t accept his failure and forthcoming punishment as he attempted to earn Marc’s trust by making him feel emotionally trapped.

“It’s over, Leonim.” Marc would never disrespect the law.

“I will never forget your betrayal, Marc. The next time I will kill your Alphas after cutting off your head first.” Leonim was sure he would be given another chance, and didn’t hesitate to threaten the leader of white soldiers of their lord as well.

“You will miss being embodied, Leonim. I will see you the final day again.” Marc waved his left hand at the guards and took him away while he watched his violent removal in silence.

“You will regret it, Marc. I will kill you and your Alphas like you did to my race,” Marc shouted out, scuffing his feet roughly on the ground, trapping the white soldiers in a cloud of dust. He was unable to accept the consequences of his mutiny and kept resisting.

Marc turned back and walked to the place where the first Alphas had been slaughtered by Leonim and the rest of the revolutionists. The moment he gazed at their bleeding, soulless bodies, he cried out and, although he was aware of how things would evolve, he could do nothing but admire their strength. He had truly loved these people and never stopped admiring their passion to protect their offspring by sacrificing their lives.

Marc made a circle around the place they were found and, later, he knelt in front of the true fighters, touching their bodies while praying for their souls before giving the final signal to burn the temples of their pure hearts.

“The gates are closed. Leonim and the rest will remain locked in until the last day. The offspring of the first Alphas are enough to restart everything again,” the tall man opposite him intoned.

The white angel got up and remained stable, staring for the last time at the first Alphas. The dark had covered the forest and the towering oak trees–the last remaining paradise on earth– but the new day would turn into the new beginning of humanity.

After a while, the fire turned the bodies of the first Alphas into ash whereas the smoke kept rising, becoming one with the white clouds of euphoria, seeking for a shelter to transfer and let their souls rest in peace.

The black angels were defeated and now they would remain trapped in the abyss, the zone between life and death, unable to do anything other than wait for their punishment.

“I think we are done here,” Marc said and looked toward his powerful soldiers. The white angels nodded at their leader and waited for his next move.

Marc looked around him and spread his great wings to take to the air. The rest of his team followed him back. Flying higher, Marc remembered the past and his initial reaction, considering whether he could have done something to prevent this from happening or not.

***

“Look at them!” Leonim said contemptuously.

“It’s not our business.” Marc said firmly.

“The only thing they know is producing offspring, they are pathetic,” Leonim added, pointing at the people who lived in small villages.

“You know the rules, Leonim.” Marc was able to guess Leonim’s thoughts.

“We could make things different, Marc. We could be their Gods and worship both of us everyday.” Leonim whispered, feeling guilty for his selfish confession.

“Are you insane?” Marc shook his head, trying to forget his words.

“Stand by my side and I will help you do everything you want,” Leonim dared to suggest while Marc remained speechless, coming across the ruthless reality.

“I will pretend you never said that, Leonim.” Marc murmured.

“I understand.”

That moment Marc realized that his brother had lost his mind, desiring the privilege of their father. He was certain that nothing would be the same again since Leonim stepped into the zone of selfishness, ignoring the law and disregarding the love of their father. Leonim regarded that he could make everything better whereas nothing and no one would be able to stop him.

The following day, Marc found Leonim sleeping with the daughter of a man under the shadow of an oak tree. He loved his brother, and now froze in fear because he knew what their father would do to him.

“What have you done?” Marc cried, trying to hide his tears. Leonim had crossed the line and betrayed them all.

“I decided to change everything and make a new race. Come with me, Marc, we could be the best team. Our offspring will become very strong–no one will be able to hurt them and we will become their Gods.” Leonim was so passionate with his plan that he couldn’t understand the consequences of his actions yet.

“You did something you knew was forbidden,” Marc whispered.

Thank you!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author photoA.A Schenna was born on May 8, 1982 and currently lives with his partner Maria in Athens, Greece. As a child, A.A dreamed of being a cardiac surgeon. Later, Schenna realized that this was not what he wanted.

Writing has always been his greatest pleasure. When he doesn’t write action, adventure, romance stories or anything else, he reads everything.

Schenna admires all the writers he comes across and enjoys talking about books and magazines.

A.A loves traveling, meeting new people and discovering new places.

LINKS

www.aaschenna.com

http://www.amazon.com/A.-A.-Schenna/e/B00PY4Q4QQ/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

http://www.amazon.co.uk/A.-A.-Schenna/e/B00PY4Q4QQ/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

https://www.facebook.com/pages/AA-Schenna/701740166542505?ref=hl

https://twitter.com/ASchenna

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9867849.A_A_Schenna

Book:  The Alphas

Pre-order:  4/28/2015

Release5/5/2015

 

Proustian Questionnaire Image BIG

What are your thoughts on muses and do you have one?

They treat me well! If they were real, and if I had the chance to meet them, I would definitely talk with Clio and Melpomene.

Life and the people I love give birth to inspiration. When I am surrounded by their positive energy, I feel the need to write stories that I want to share with everyone in this world.
Characters have a great capacity to love, yet they’re starved. Why do you think this happens in fiction and in real life? 

Love is passion, obsession. Although we are capable of almost anything, I do believe that we can’t control the power of love. Most times, love turns into a wonderful, but dangerous addiction as well. We demand everything and we never feel satisfied.
Without giving spoilers, would you say you’re a “happy ending” writer? 

Yes! Sometimes life treats me well and I feel grateful to God for keeping me healthy and safe. But there are times I feel sad and I really need to read something that will help me forget my problems. I love reading and writing books with happy endings.
What would you like to be remembered for? 

For being a good man… Everyday I do my best to be kind, and I try to be patient and friendlier with everyone.
If you could dine with any historical figure living or dead, who would it be and why? 

I would definitely do that with Aristotle, the Greek philosopher and scientist (384-322 BC).  His philosophy continues to influence Christian Theology, and continues to be the object of active academic study today! In my opinion, this is amazing.
Past, present or future? Where does your mind dwell? 

Present!  As Angel, the human being, I like having contact with reality. On the other hand, A.A Schenna, the writer, could turn back the time and travel in future…
What informs your writing most? 

The people, the experiences I come across and the power of nature.

Growing up in the Seventies, school kids were encouraged to think globally and act locally. Have you ever flirted with this philosophy? 

Yes, and I still can’t understand the reason we gave up on this philosophy. In my view, locally means family and globally means God. I wish we would think globally and act locally again. I am sure our world would be different since we would love, appreciate and respect one another.
Guilty pleasures: we all have them. What is yours? 

Ice-cream! I believe I am addicted to chocolate.
Your greatest victory? 

I would say the presence of some people in my life. These people know what love means, and they helped me realize the real meaning of this word. It’s easy to say “I love you”, but it’s very difficult to prove it.
Tell us about the one that got away. Person, place or thing. 

It was a dog. My grandmother moved to the countryside and Maggie didn’t stay with me. She couldn’t live without my grandmother!
What are some of the overriding themes in your work? Do you have a favorite? 

Hope and determination are my favorite themes. I think that when we lack positive emotions and virtues, we stop living, we just exist, and this is tragic.
Who do you admire and why? 

The people who never give up and keep doing everything they can to achieve their goals. I admire their energy, their passion and the way they affect the rest of us. When I meet such people, I feel I want to do the same thing.
Are writers fully formed works of art or works in progress?

I don’t have a straight answer.

I believe that writers produce stories.

On the other hand, stories are made of words. Then again, words can be put together to build larger elements of language. But the language is a living and growing organism, and we can feel it changing.

I think only the time should answer this question!

Thank you A.A. for stopping by. All the best in your work and travels!

TOMORROW: Swashbuckler David K. Bryant talk pirates, Presley and all good things Ancient www.davidkbryant.com

20150124_153128-1 - Copy (2)

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Bewitching for Authors

Bewitching Book Tours is geared towards the new author, the ebook author, the small and independent press author, and the mid-list author- the author who doesn’t have a huge marketing budget but wants the most bang for their promotional buck.

Bewitching Book Tours aims to offer just that by pairing authors and their books with targeted book bloggers and readers who enjoy the types of books the authors write.

Bewitching Book Tours specializes in paranormal romance, urban fantasy and paranormal erotica book tours though we tour almost all fiction genres including horror, YA, NA, and all the romance sub-genres (contemporary, historical, thriller, suspense, etc).

Bewitching for Readers

Bewitching Book Tours offers readers the chance to discover new books while getting behind the scenes information about authors, books and characters.

Join us for a virtual book tour -you can read author guest blogs, interviews & book reviews and exclusive excerpts, listen to radio interviews, and participate in chats with the authors- all from the comfort of your home.

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BATTING IT OUT OF THE PARK WITH RALPH PELUSO AND THE SULTAN OF SWAT

The Authors Ralph PelusoBaseball season has sprung and it is the perfect time to pick up a great new book about the sport’ s all-time greatest player.  “512” Ralph Peluso’s recent novel is based on the life of Babe Ruth. This is not your John Goodman/ William Bendix portrayal of the greatest baseball player of all time. This is a more serious character, emotionally scarred driven to excel at baseball – Learn about the many intriguing characters who went in and out of his life – See him as the game’s most solidifying man who stood fast against the gamblers deep hold on the sport – Discover what really lead to his sale to the Yankees and his nearly  two decade feud with a mean spirited, bigoted commissioner, Judge Landis – Ride his journey to crush batting records and chase Young’s elusive 511 win mark – See how the love of a strong women led him on the right path Read 512 ! Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

512

512 cover

George Herman “Babe” Ruth is widely regarded as the most recognized American sports icon. In 1902 at age 7 disheartened parents abruptly delivered him to an “orphanage”. Called incorrigible” his father coldly turned and walked away. Emotionally scarred Ruth forever craved acceptance. Painfully he mistook the exploitation of his talents for emotional bonding. Decades later his emotional void finally filled by the love of a strong and determined woman.

At the turn of the 20th century, popular American sports had fallen prey to the evil influence of gamblers, baseball was not immune. In a game controlled by mean spirited and cheap owners, players were the real victim: chattel tossed aside when no longer having purpose. Impoverished players easily lured into the web of deceit. In 1903 with the advent of the World Series, the stakes increased. Players had big paydays altering the outcomes. Baseball’s little secret hidden until 1919 when news shocking the nation broke. The World Series was fixed!

Enter a self-serving and biased federal judge handed absolute power to save the crumbling sport. He looked for help in the one player unapproachable by gamblers. In Ruth, Landis found a perfect and unsuspecting accomplice for control over every aspect of baseball. Ruth, with popularity soaring, was not controllable. A second scandal erupts in 1926 threatening to end the Landis grip on baseball. Never more fragile, the game was on the precipice to status as another corrupt sport. Landis looked to Ruth once again. This time Ruth wanted assurances about his future.

This is the remarkable journey of Ruth’s assault on the baseball record book including his attempt to surpass the unreachable record of 511 wins as pitcher. He meets an assortment of unique characters and experiences colorful events; leading to a dramatic showdown with his chief adversary, Commissioner Landis.

About the Author

rp pixRalph was born and raised in New York City. At a very young age his father introduced him to baseball. He has been a sports enthusiast since. Active in youth sports for over thirty years, he has coached high school and middle school teams to many successful seasons. He has served on the board of several regional youth team organizations. He is an advocate of player and parent sportsmanship. In 2006 he became a member of the Society of American Baseball Researchers and currently serves on the Overlooked Legends committee.

He has an MBA in Finance from Bernard Baruch College (Zicklin School of Business) of the City University of New York. Ralph has had a successful and award winning business career, serving in senior executive positions for several major corporations including MCI, WinStar and Cisco. Today he is a partner in a boutique consulting practice that helps emerging companies fulfill their promise.

Ralph has published a series of short stories including ‘Outer Banks Chronicles’ and ‘Jersey Shore Fever and Other Seaside Maladies.’

Ralph and his wife Renee currently reside in Virginia.

Proustian Questionnaire Image BIG

What are your thoughts on muses and do you have one?

A personal muse, sure do have one: the sight of the early morning  sun peeking over the horizon, the soothing warm rays  gracing  my face, the sounds of the dawn silence broken by the gentle commotion as the city awakens,  and the blending  of the sweet  aroma and jarring  taste of that first cup of  steaming coffee.   All of my senses awakened fully.   Inspiration 101!

Coffe cup

No need to worry about my muse being turned into a magpie, as a plethora of fresh thoughts erupt,  I just hope I can write them down quickly enough before I forget them.

Yup this daily routine led to the creation of many of the great scenes in 512.  My favorite, a young Ruth, in his best pre-teen mezzo soprano voice sings the Ave Maria at an all school Mass.

Your central character in 512, Babe Ruth has great capacity to love, yet he was starved. Why do you think this happens in fiction and in real life?

kids

 You can find Ruth among the bevy of children.

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” This is a great quote from Mark Twain.

The legendary George Herman “Babe” Ruth is perhaps the most misunderstood and misrepresented person in sports and entertainment history.  He was full of love, especially for family and children.  He fought for the little guy, a well-paid athlete who battled miserly owners to help other players make more money.  He did things for other people today’s superstars would not dream of, unless they could make a buck from it.  One time hearing a semi-pro team lacked enough players to field a team, so Ruth borrowed a uniform and played first for them.

group shot

Ruth after playing a game for the Hartford Poli semi-pro team.

In his life Ruth was starved for love, he suffered deep emotional scars from abandonment numerous times.  Neither fictional nor biographical accounts can describe the extreme distraught this rambunctious seven year old must have felt when he was unceremoniously dropped at the “feet” of the Christian Brothers by cold parents.  He spent the next dozen years at St. Mary’s Industrial School. This was not an orphanage but a “reform school”.  From this point on Ruth yearned for acceptance.

A few days shy of his 19th birthday, Ruth is “emancipated” from this safe environment, thrust into cruel heartless world, his guardianship entrusted to a complete stranger who was simply looking for a pitcher. Within months, that same man sells Ruth to a different club.  Ruth, now among the real life wolves, would suffer pain of abandonment several more times.  What young adult male with money to burn and no support system, free from rules after years of rigid discipline would not act out? And he did, very wildly at times.   Ruth acted foolishly but he was not a fool.

After an ill-fated and hasty first marriage, he finally discovers love and family guided by a strong willed woman, Claire.  She pierces his external personae, seeing his vulnerability, and that he is easily exploited by others.  She grabs hold of him and guides him on a path of stability.  From Claire, Ruth learns how to accept love.

Through all of his wildness Ruth never lost his ability to give love.  I did have the fortune of interviewing Julia Ruth Stevens his daughter, the deep sense of love for “Daddy” ever present.

Fiction and reality exist in blended harmony within my characters; it is tough to separate the two.

Without giving spoilers, would you say you’re a “happy ending” writer?

Unless I am writing a humorous piece I definitely want to leave the readers thinking one of two things:   “What the heck just happened? “Or “Could it have happened that way?”

My view is to make the work memorable, a water cooler conversation piece for the readers.

I want them to let their minds wander and debate all aspects of possible outcomes.

What would you like to be remembered for?

This is sort of like writing your own epitaph. I think the remembrance I would most want is simple admiration for having a positive impact on lives that I have touched, whether through my writings, in business, teaching or coaching children.

But, most of all I want to be remembered by my family members; who had to endure the countless odd ball life stories I shared, each having a unique moral they called “RalphO-isms”.

Don’t ask why they stuck the O in the middle of the name, that’s a story for another day.

If you could dine with any historical figure living or dead, who would it be and why?

nixon with glove

Nixon, opening day 1969, most likely only President to ever wear a baseball glove while throwing out a first pitch! What a geek!

nixon cropped

The 37th President of the United States

I guess I just have a soft spot in my heart for the completely misunderstood enigmatic heroes.  Richard Milhous Nixon never was comfortable in the limelight but he was equally uncomfortable when not in a suit, shirt, tie and wingtip shoes, even when strolling on the beach. He was bold and confident enough to take on the most difficult decisions imaginable, but vilified for the easy arrogance with which those decisions were made.  Despite the many achievements during his abbreviated tenure in the Oval office, he is remembered most for his departure in disgrace, which he accepted valiantly. Nixon went through a second resurrection after leaving office, with historians finally recognizing the importance of his accomplishments.

Nixon was a man counted out at least twice politically but managed to arise from the ashes each time.  I think anyone can learn from him.  The art of perseverance, what does it take?  How do you muster the courage to face the fierce adversaries who criticize and have beaten you, then to reverse your defeats?

Heralded and hated, there is so much I would like to ask him.

Past, present or future? Where does your mind dwell?

The George Harrison lyrics frame it for me.

“Sunrise doesn’t last all morning

A cloudburst doesn’t last all day

Seems my love is up and has left you with no warning

It’s not always going to be this grey

All things must pass

All things must pass away”

Each day is a new page in our lives, only we can complete the chapter or the story.  As I get older, I believe that there is pre-destination to our lives. The beginning and ending are known but we assemble and shape our own journey. Along the way we will encounter rocky and smooth points; how we pave the road will determine our happiness.

The forward of 512 is the true life story of my friend Larry.  I talk about his path taken and the certainties that would have happened to others had he gone down a different road.

When I get up, I think about the kind of road I will pave today.

What informs your writing most?

Life, every bit of it! Everything has a story.   People watching is one great source of creative material.   It does not matter where you are: at the mall, on the beach, on a crowded subway platform. Absorb what you see, hear and experience –“the truth is stranger than fiction”, especially when you can write it your own way.

Growing up in the Seventies, school kids were encouraged to think globally and act locally. Have you ever flirted with this philosophy?

bomb shelter

Learning to survive a nuclear attack in the 1950’s

Well I actually grew up in the 50/60’s. We were encouraged to think about careers in which we could not be replaced computers.  But that was after we were taught to kneel under our desks and put our head between our knees in case of an attack by the Soviet Union.

Guilty pleasures: we all have them. What is yours?

Guilty pleasures, well there are all too many to name; but none that I feel guilty about!  But if I had to narrow it down to just one, I would say 18 holes of golf, alone, on a not too crowded course, playing three or four balls each hole.

golf

Ruth could hit the golf ball a long way!

 Your greatest victory?

My greatest victory was convincing my beautiful wife to marry me, after years of heavy pursuit. Not sure how or why she caved finally but that was a big win!

Now if you had asked about greatest accomplishment, then it would be watching the youngest of my children graduate knowing each child was now on their way to a fulfilling adult life on their terms.

Finishing close behind the above is having 512 published after the 4 ½ years of research and writing effort.

Tell us about the one that got away. Person, place or thing.

I grow up in the Bronx and did a “boat load of fishing” (no pun intended) let me tell you many, many more than one got away.   But I have to draw from Don Quixote quote “in last year’s nest there are no birds this year”.  Don’t spend time looking backwards.

I try not to get stuck thinking about the past; or thinking the grass always greener on the other side.

Too many people think “Oh my life would have been better if…”  Thinking that way one will never be fulfilled and the basket of ones that got away will rival the parable of the fish and loaves, never ending.

What are some of the overriding themes in your work? Do you have a favorite?

I have a soft spot for the plight of the underdog who manages significant accomplishments while facing long odds or against a more powerful adversary.  It is hard to imagine the iconic Ruth as an underdog, but certainly he was.

Born in perhaps the poorest section of Baltimore, emotionally crippled, he substitutes a street gang for family. The only life he knows is inside the walls of a tough love reform school. He is a boy with no interpersonal or social skills. Somehow this youngster, barely 19, not only survives but thrives through pure determination of will to crush all the baseball records, transcend the sport against an antagonistic and megalomaniacal commissioner, and to this day 67 years after his death remains an iconic figure.

Ironically, Ruth himself had a soft spot in his heart for the underdog and downtrodden.

Other favorite themes are “conspiracy and the hidden agenda.”   I enjoy keeping the readers on their toes.

Who do you admire and why?

Again this is tough question, especially when you think about all those who helped build our great country.  In honor of 512, I will stay with the baseball theme.

As product of the Bronx, New York who else is there to pick but Mickey Mantle, nearly every New Yorker’s hero from 1951- 1968. So much has been written about him.

tape guy

Before every game both legs were heavily taped so he could play through the pain

Blessed with blue eyes and golden hair, and an even more golden smile, this powerfully built athlete had to fight demons his entire life.  From a small rural mining town in Oklahoma, the shy 18 year old was thrust onto the bright New York City lights, with a cardboard suitcase and one change of clothes. His athletic prowess and boyish charm elevated him and hid his real fears from the public eye.  No male in his family had lived beyond the age of 40.  Imagine electrifying a city six months a year for 18 years believing your time on earth had a defined expiration date.  He did that while battling chronic pain from injuries his entire career. Such great fortitude is deserved of every ounce of admiration I can muster.

Mantle used excessive drinking to suppress his demons.  Ironically, Mantle lived into his mid-sixties, losing his battle from the effects of alcoholism.  In the end Mantle’s story was a true a Shakespearean tragedy.

Are writers fully formed works of art or works in progress?

 mosesHum…writers are fully informed works of art in progress!  Writers, I think are like Michaelangelo.  Years and years after studying anatomy he creates the statute Moses.  The work is an astounding sculpture renowned for its detail, the muscle definition in the arms and bone structure in the hands are exquisite perfection.  Nearly completion, Michaelangelo step back to review his work.  WHAM!  He banged his mallet in frustration on the knee of the statute, dissatisfied with an imperfection he noticed.

The delete key is my mallet; definitely I am an informed work of art always in progress.

LINKS

http://www.amazon.com/512-Ralph-Peluso/dp/1625261349

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/512-ralph-peluso/1120619918?r=1&ean=9781625261342&kpid=9781625261342&cm_mmc=GooglePLA-_-Book_Under5-_-Q000000633-_-9781625261342

Thank you so much for stopping by Ralph. All the best with 512 and we’ll see you on the links!

 

The AlphasTOMORROW: Author Angel Schenna talks THE ALPHAS, endings and the ideal muse.

 

 

 

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Roxanne Rhodes, President and CEO
Roxanne Rhodes, President and CEO

Bewitching for Authors

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Bewitching Book Tours aims to offer just that by pairing authors and their books with targeted book bloggers and readers who enjoy the types of books the authors write.

Bewitching Book Tours specializes in paranormal romance, urban fantasy and paranormal erotica book tours though we tour almost all fiction genres including horror, YA, NA, and all the romance sub-genres (contemporary, historical, thriller, suspense, etc).

Bewitching for Readers

Bewitching Book Tours offers readers the chance to discover new books while getting behind the scenes information about authors, books and characters.

Join us for a virtual book tour -you can read author guest blogs, interviews & book reviews and exclusive excerpts, listen to radio interviews, and participate in chats with the authors- all from the comfort of your home.

And there are always chances for readers to win prizes; free books, gift cards, prize packs, Kindles and more. New tours start every Monday.

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FREDERICK CROOK: SEVENTIES DUDE, TWENTY SECOND CENTURY MAN

The Authors Frederick CrookMy friend the scientist could talk for hours with future guy Frederick Crook. Dark themes, distant places, bad guys and star ships, he goes places we dare to follow, if only for the measure of hope he offers: ‘when there’s nothing to lose, there’s everything to give.’ I like that and so might you. Hello, Frederick Crook.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

AuthorPic250300Frederick was born in Chicago in 1970 and now lives in Villa Park with his wife, Rae and their three miniature dachshunds. He began by writing fictional works all through high school, earned an Associate Degree of Applied Science in Electronics in 1994 and the Bachelor of Science in Technical Management from DeVry University in 2005.

In 2009, Frederick began writing his first novel, The Dregs of Exodus, which was self-published in late 2010. This was followed up with another novel, The Pirates of Exodus in 2012.

Throughout that year and early 2013, he continued writing and published four short stories in eBook form for Kindle and Nook. All of these stories share the same premise, but all are independent from one another, though the short eBook, Campanelli: The Ping Tom Affair and his third novel, published by Solstice Publishing, Campanelli: Sentinel, share the same main characters.

Minuteman Merlin was released for the Kindle by Solstice Publishing, March 1st of 2015.

He loves writing and enjoys meeting and talking to readers at book signing events.

THE BOOKS

CampanelliSentinel300

It is 2110 and migration to the colony planet, Alethea, has depleted Earth of billions of people. As a result, migration has been declared illegal by all world governments. Human trafficking becomes highly profitable for organized crime and their influence reaches beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. Many starships returning from Alethea are diverted from the scrapping process and secretly refurbished, allowing the population to shrink further.

Frank Campanelli is a blind Chicago Police detective who depends on his fully functional bio-electronic implants to see and do his job.  After assisting on a botched infiltration of a top human trafficking network, he and his partner, Marcus Williams, are transferred into the CPD’s Organized Crime Division to head the newly formed Sentinel group and bring down the Ignatola family business.

Cover art by Arvin Candelaria & Velvet Lyght of “Stories by CL”.

MinutemanJR

Nebraska, 2121. A widower by the name of Merlin lives in his converted Minuteman-3 missile silo with his Black Lab, Chief. Suffering from stomach cancer, Minuteman Merlin is under the care of Doctor Larry Hammonds. On this post-Great Exodus Earth, the cure has left for the stars along with the vast majority of Mankind, so the doctor must treat him with the long-outdated methods of chemotherapy and radiation.

In the small town where he receives this medical treatment and trades goods, Merlin confronts a child abuser. The situation goes horribly wrong, resulting in the death of the victim’s father and the destruction of Doctor Hammond’s office. To make amends, he opens his home, giving the physician a place to practice medicine and the boy a place to live.

A man with nothing left to lose has everything left to give.

Cover by Arvin Candelaria & Velvet Lyght.

LINKS

Website

http://frederickcrook.wix.com/crooksbooks

Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/home.php

Twitter

@FrederickHCrook

Pinterest

https://www.pinterest.com/frederick_crook/

Amazon Author Page

http://www.amazon.com/Frederick-H.-Crook/e/B00P83FW02/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

YouTube Channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIiKxKPL6iaEmKqOLfoYbqQ

Proustian Questionnaire Image BIG

What are your thoughts on muses and do you have one?

I’ve never had one specific muse. I am inspired mostly by the old men of science fiction. Heinlein, Asimov, Asimovand Clarke.  I’ve also been influenced by Stephen King and Dean Koontz. The ideas that came to me after I wrote my first novel, The Dregs of Exodus seem to just occur to me. “Dregs” was an interesting scenario about a dystopian future given the right circumstances. I’ve been working backwards for the most part, writing about the experiences of other characters in other times and locations.
Characters have a great capacity to love, yet they’re starved. Why do you think this happens in fiction and in real life?

Well, that depends on the characters, of course and the nature of the story. Starved enough, I suppose, you have a villain on your hands.
Without giving spoilers, would you say you’re a “happy ending” writer?

Not with everything, that’s for sure. There are stories that I’ve written with indisputably positive endings. The rest tend to end on a mixture that I feel makes for a realistic outcome.
What would you like to be remembered for?

I want readers to remember me as an author of dystopian sci-fi stories that did not rely on a disaster to create them. I think many people are turned off by dystopian adventures because of the massive deaths that go along with a 2012 or a Deep Impact scenario. I wanted my work to have a positive back story: The vast majority of Mankind is making a new home on the colony planet, Alethea.
If you could dine with any historical figure living or dead, who would it be and why?

Roosevelt

I’d have to say Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I’d like to know what it was like to be pulling the strings behind
the scenes of the world’s biggest conflict.
Past, present or future? Where does your mind dwell?

I’m in the past for the most part. I really enjoyed the music of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, and I really enjoyed the way of life back then quite a bit more than these days. All the gadgets that we live with on a daily basis are intrusive in many ways and not necessarily helpful. The reliability of something like the provider of our internet, TV and phone is often subpar because they try to stuff too much capability into it. In the ‘80’s, I had my music on LP’s and cassettes, 40-ish channels on the cable television, and we had a landline phone. It was so quiet and pleasant back then.
What informs your writing most?

I have to have music running, especially lately. My mind is like an old tube-amplified AM radio. It drifts without any outside influences. I can’t even begin to list what I listen to, but you can bet it’s from the ‘70’s or ‘80’s. I like some new stuff, don’t get me wrong, but in a world where a Tom Petty rip-off wins a Grammy for the best song of the year it’s hard to find stuff that I like.
Growing up in the Seventies, school kids were encouraged to think globally and act locally. Have you ever flirted with this philosophy?

In the ‘70’s, I was attending a Catholic school in Cicero that, fortunately, no longer exists. Thought was not encouraged in any form, let alone actions derived from such behavior. While I tend to mind my own business when it comes to most things, I do recycle and think I do a lot to minimalize my negative impact on the Earth, though I think she’s a lot tougher than us and will be glad when we’re off her back.
Guilty pleasures: we all have them. What is yours?

Pretzels in white chocolate are awesome. A Maker’s Mark cigar with its tip soaked in its namesake is bliss. Sneaking a beer before noon is as cool as it sounds.
Your greatest victory?

I hope I haven’t experienced it yet, though the day I left a mind-numbing office job a few years ago without being jailed for assault has to be it. I lost the job but I regained my true self and no one had to get hurt. Setting myself free that day felt better than achieving my degrees.
Tell us about the one that got away. Person, place or thing.

Actually, anything that I’ve gone for and failed at has turned out for the better. I’ve tried for that automobile that I knew I couldn’t afford and was pissed off when the financing companies denied me, but looking back at it, I know it would have ruined me. I’ve tried for that house that I knew I couldn’t swing and was shot down by the mortgage companies. I’m happy about that, too. I’ve pursued some women in my time and I can’t say that there are any that I regret not catching. There’s a saying that I like to keep in mind about such things in life. I don’t know who said it and I can’t even remember when I heard it, but it’s this: “Never pursue a woman or money. Both will leave you in the dust.”

What are some of the overriding themes in your work? Do you have a favorite?

I think that readers should understand that things that change our world are not always for the better. There is a negative aspect to everything we achieve, no matter how small. For instance, the “Great Exodus” that I feature in all of my works is a beneficial event for most of Mankind, except for the people that remain on Earth. Things will happen in our reality that may seem all good for us, but the experience will always produce some sort of negative cost. Most of the time, the bad side of something is a trade that we can live with, but sometimes it’s not. It’s as important to not be naïve as it is to not be jaded.
Who do you admire and why?

I admire men and women of the arts that have become internationally recognized and are genuinely happy. I think Stephen King, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are prime examples of that. There are musicians that put that feeing across as well. Now, perhaps these are merely facades of contentment, but who is to say other than they?
Are writers fully formed works of art or works in progress?

I don’t think anyone is a fully formed work. We’re all works in progress because we as people are always changing as we get older and experience the world. It’s important to keep evolving and working toward our goals, changing things when we find the need. If we don’t keep changing, then our art will be stagnate and forgettable.

Thank you Frederick Crook for you insights. Be sure and check out F.C.’s YouTube channel. He has a je ne sais quoi for book trailers!

TOMORROW: Baseball aficionade. writer and all round New Yorker Ralph Peluso

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Bewitching for Authors

Bewitching Book Tours is geared towards the new author, the ebook author, the small and independent press author, and the mid-list author- the author who doesn’t have a huge marketing budget but wants the most bang for their promotional buck.

Bewitching Book Tours aims to offer just that by pairing authors and their books with targeted book bloggers and readers who enjoy the types of books the authors write.

Bewitching Book Tours specializes in paranormal romance, urban fantasy and paranormal erotica book tours though we tour almost all fiction genres including horror, YA, NA, and all the romance sub-genres (contemporary, historical, thriller, suspense, etc).

Bewitching for Readers

Bewitching Book Tours offers readers the chance to discover new books while getting behind the scenes information about authors, books and characters.

Join us for a virtual book tour -you can read author guest blogs, interviews & book reviews and exclusive excerpts, listen to radio interviews, and participate in chats with the authors- all from the comfort of your home.

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UPFRONT AND PRESENT: AUTHOR SUSANNE MATTHEWS

The Authors Susanne MatthewsToday, the blog welcomes romance author and fellow Ontarian Susanne Matthews. Educator, visionary, novel crafter, Susanne tackles her storylines with a view to a journey. From first page to last, her characters move and we, the readers, are transformed with them. Welcome Susanne.

The White CarnationThe last person disgraced reporter Faye Lewis wants back in her life is Detective Rob Halliday, the man she blames for ruining her career and breaking her heart. But when she finds an old friend murdered, he’s the one she calls.

For the past year, Rob and his team have been hunting the Harvester, a serial killer who ritualistically murders new mothers and vanishes with their infants. What Rob doesn’t need is another case, especially one involving his ex-fiancée.

Then Faye is assaulted, and Rob realizes the cases are connected. She may hold the answers he needs to find the elusive killer. But the more they investigate, the more complex the situation becomes. Can they set the past aside and work together, or will the Harvester and his followers reap another prize?

Excerpt from: The White Carnation

After more than four hours of hobnobbing with the rich and not so famous, Faye was hot, tired, and exasperated. The engagement tea had been even worse than she’d imagined. Clowns—they’d had clowns—and she hated clowns. You never knew who was behind that pasty white makeup. What kind of adults used a kiddy theme for their engagement party? Alright, so the groom’s family was in the home party décor business. What difference did that make? There had to be hundreds of themes more suitable to the occasion.

Imagine that snooty little bitch thinking she was the help—it might be the society page, but press was press. Thank God she wasn’t one of them anymore. Sure, the money, clothes, and bling were nice—although Faye wasn’t penniless, she did have to pinch the ones she had—but at least she had a valid reason for getting out of bed each day. Hopefully, Abigail and Reginald would be happy, but she wouldn’t count on it. If ever there was a marriage arranged in the boardroom, that was it. Imagining that couple on their wedding night as they completed the merger made her laugh out loud in the car. Miss Ice Cube wouldn’t possibly warm up enough for Mr. Icicle to penetrate in the first place … clowns or no clowns.

She slapped the steering wheel in frustration. The drive from Wellesley to Beacon Hill seemed interminable, and more than once, Faye cursed inept drivers who didn’t know the least little bit about driving or where they were going. She hated being late, and thanks to overlong speeches and bad traffic, she would be.

“Tourists,” she grumbled when a sudden exit off the highway almost caused an accident. “Too bad GPS doesn’t come with idiot-proofing.” When she eventually got off the I-90 and onto the side streets, she spotted a parking space on Marlborough only half a block from Mary’s family home, a neighborhood she remembered fondly from her youth. Well, at least the parking fairy’s on my side.

Glancing at the heavy gray clouds on the horizon, she cursed. It would rain soon, and she’d forgotten her umbrella in her desk. This jacket needed to be dry-cleaned, and she’d already blown this month’s budget for that. Grabbing the white carnation with the rainbow ribbon that her secret admirer had left on the windshield this morning, she got out of the car. That flower was the only bright spot in her otherwise dismal day. As always, there’d been no card. The individual flowers, their stems tucked in micro-vases that held the precious water they needed, arrived on a more or less regular basis. This was the fourth—no, the fifth one. Sloan had joked about the first one.

“Maybe O’Malley learned you hate roses.”

Jerk!

She was convinced her secret admirer was sweet and maybe a little shy. For a while, she’d thought Jimmy might have been leaving the flowers for her, but he’d been out of town on assignment the last two times. At least Mr. Mysterious wasn’t some crazed stalker sending her death threats. It was good to know someone still admired her, and if the only romance in her life was a carnation four or five times a year, so be it. Her crushed heart wouldn’t be in any danger that way. She usually took the flowers home, but this time, she’d give it to Lucy Green. Why not? The woman deserved a bright spot in her day, too.

The neighborhood hadn’t changed much. Did someone ensure that the geraniums in the window boxes looked exactly the same from year to year? Was a gardener paid to fluff the petals just so? The geraniums she’d hung on her tiny balcony had more than one dead bloom that needed removing. These? Not one.

The Greens lived in a unit on the top floor of a renovated brownstone. As she walked toward the building that had practically been her second home, Faye tried to let go of her frustrations and think of the simpler, happier days when she’d lived just a few blocks away. That had been fifteen years ago; Faye had been sixteen when her life had changed forever. She’d been the fun-loving one, the one people sought when they were down.

“Forgive me. I’m sorry.” God, she hated those words, the last ones her father had penned. She’d trusted him to love her and protect her, but he’d let her down. After one too many bad financial decisions, instead of sticking around and trying to fix things, Dad had taken the easy way out and left her and her mother to pick up the pieces. “Trust no one but yourself” was Faye’s mantra. Sadly, she’d forgotten it four years ago when she’d met Rob, and look at what had happened.

Today, her career was on life support and her heart was broken into so many pieces, she doubted it would ever be whole again. Sometimes, the easy way out didn’t look so bad. Maybe she was more like her father than she thought. She’d certainly made a few bad decisions of her own.

About the author:

new picture of meSusanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. She’s always been an avid reader of all types of books, but always with a penchant for happily ever after romances. In her imagination, she travelled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. A retired educator, Susanne spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

Follow Susanne on her:  Website    Blog    Facebook page    Twitter @jandsmatt

Amazon author page    and    Goodreads author page

Proustian Questionnaire Image BIG
What are your thoughts on muses and do you have one? 

Muses are an interesting breed. Since I’m a pantser, I have to have a muse, otherwise, where would the stories come from? I can’t describe her, but she’s real. She enjoys tormenting me at night—giving me all kinds of great ideas that keep me from sleeping—ideas that disappear when I finally do, and even if I write down some key idea, that doesn’t make sense the next day. But, essentially, she’s kind, and shows up when I need her most. Since a lot of my books are suspense novels, she’s got to be the one with the experience, right?
Characters have a great capacity to love, yet they’re starved. Why do you think this happens in fiction and in real life? 

Love can be a scary thing. If you love someone deeply, you have to lay it all out there, and when you do, you can get hurt.  I think in many ways people are afraid to love. As a writer, I torture my characters, make it hard for them to find love because in real life, finding love and keeping it is a struggle. If it comes too easily, it’s not necessarily going to last. We value what we work hard for.

Without giving spoilers, would you say you’re a “happy ending” writer? 

Yes, absolutely. No matter what torment my characters undergo, in the end, things will work out for them.
What would you like to be remembered for?

I’d like to be remembered as someone who made a difference in someone’s life. If they enjoyed reading one of my books that would be great.

If you could dine with any historical figure living or dead, who would it be and why? 

William Shakespeare. I’d like to know how he’d feel knowing that those plays he wrote by hand have been immortalized. I’d also ask him why he created two such weak men as Hamlet and Macbeth. Even King Lear was powerless.

Past, present or future? Where does your mind dwell? 

Solidly in the present at least half the time. Since I write historical romance too, I guess 25% of the time I’m in the past. The other 25 % I’m thinking of the future and planning out what I need to do.
What informs your writing most? 

Not quite sure what you mean by this. If you’re asking about my inspiration, then it’s events in the news. I’ll see an article and research various aspects of it until I find a story notion—that’s where the muse kicks in.
Growing up in the Seventies, school kids were encouraged to think globally and act locally. Have you ever flirted with this philosophy? 

Growing up in the Fifties and Sixties, the world was a smaller place. I might dream globally, but I was firmly rooted at home. That really hasn’t changed. I have lots of friends around the globe now, thanks to Twitter and Facebook, but I tends to stay in my own corner of the world.
Guilty pleasures: we all have them. What is yours?

Cheesecake and red wine
Your greatest victory? 

Selling my first novel, Fire Angel. It was a dream come true.
Tell us about the one that got away. Person, place or thing. 

I had a chance to go to Woodstock in 1969, and I turned it down because I didn’t like the idea of having to sleep in a tent. I was 19.
What are some of the overriding themes in your work? Do you have a favorite? 

Good wins out in the end is the overriding theme. I don’t like to see women diminished or minimized in any way. True love always shines in the end.

Who do you admire and why? 

Nora Roberts. She has always been one of my favorite authors and I aspire to be as good as she is one day.

My daughter, Angela, because she has faced adversity and overcome it. She has four young children, and has raised them on her own while working full time. She’s my hero.
Are writers fully formed works of art or works in progress?

A work in progress for sure—one that gets better all the time.

Thank you for dropping by Susanne and much success with THE WHITE CARNATION.

Tomorrow: Author Raegyn Perry showcases LAVENDER FIELDS and muses her way through the Proustian Questionnaire

RP musing

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Roxanne Rhodes, President and CEO
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Bewitching for Authors

Bewitching Book Tours is geared towards the new author, the ebook author, the small and independent press author, and the mid-list author- the author who doesn’t have a huge marketing budget but wants the most bang for their promotional buck.

Bewitching Book Tours aims to offer just that by pairing authors and their books with targeted book bloggers and readers who enjoy the types of books the authors write.

Bewitching Book Tours specializes in paranormal romance, urban fantasy and paranormal erotica book tours though we tour almost all fiction genres including horror, YA, NA, and all the romance sub-genres (contemporary, historical, thriller, suspense, etc).

Bewitching for Readers

Bewitching Book Tours offers readers the chance to discover new books while getting behind the scenes information about authors, books and characters.

Join us for a virtual book tour -you can read author guest blogs, interviews & book reviews and exclusive excerpts, listen to radio interviews, and participate in chats with the authors- all from the comfort of your home.

And there are always chances for readers to win prizes; free books, gift cards, prize packs, Kindles and more. New tours start every Monday.
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REALIZING A DREAM: AUTHOR RIVAL GATES

The  Authors Rival GatesMichigan born Ontario raised author Rival Gates has a foot in two countries and two worlds. His first novel, QUEST FOR THE RED SAPPHIRE, Book 1 of the Sapphire Chronicles, had its genesis in a young man’s dreams, becoming a reality in adulthood as a finished work under the auspices of Solstice Publishing. Rival owes his determination to supportive family members, but the drive to realize the written word is wholly his own. QUEST fuelled an imagination for years, but it has sparked a career that will span many years to come. Welcome, Rival.

QUEST FOR THE RED SAPPHIRE, BOOK 1

Cover2

General Linvin Grithinshield was used to enemies trying to kill him on the battlefields of the medieval world of Lavacia.  Now he has the fear of being killed anytime, anywhere.  He thinks he is summoned home from the goblin wars to oversee the family merchant empire after his father’s disappearance; and for a while he is right.  Then his mother is assassinated and Linvin’s true purpose is revealed.  He must seek out and find the all-powerful Red Sapphire and claim its might before the murderers find it…or him.  With new dangers around every turn in an ever-escalating spiral of violence, he must prove himself worthy of the gem and lead his party to success against insurmountable odds.  To fail would mean death for far more than just him.  The world, itself, could fall into permanent shadow and darkness.

 

Excerpt 1

Linvin was still. He closed his eyes and tried to put aside the events of the day. At last he spoke, “My life makes no sense to me. There I was, growing up with my parents and then out of nowhere my father tells me, ‘I must send you away, son. You are destined for something greater than the life I can provide. The greatness in your future lies down a separate road than I must travel. To prepare for that, I must send you to the greatest teacher you could have, Sedemihcra.’”

“‘You will be trained to be a soldier, a commander and a leader of men. He will also train you to use your mind to solve problems that force alone cannot solve. He will set you on the right path. When the time is right and your training is complete, I will send for you to return home.’”

“I asked him what was at the end of my path. He had such passion in his voice as he told me, ‘One day you will make an unrivaled difference in the lives of others. The weak, the helpless, the oppressed; all will one-day look to you as their champion. They will be counting on you. I will be counting on you.’”

“‘To send you away is the hardest thing I have ever done. Your mother is against this but the time has come for you to begin your training. There is so much at stake, son. You will have the chance to stand up to tyranny, oppression and all the evils of the world. That task will fall to you alone. You can rise to the challenge or turn your back. If you do turn away though, millions of people will suffer. Terrible storms are on the horizon. You are the only shelter the people will have. So you see my son, that is why you must go.’”

Anvar sat his stein on the rail and began to pace. “Your parents agonized over the decision and your mother was indeed set against the entire idea, but in the end, your father would not defer. He sent you away because he knew that you needed training.”

Linvin finished his ale and refilled the great vessel. “I had many years to ponder those words as I grew up in Valia. It never made sense to me but I had to trust my father’s judgment.”

“So here I am at last, summoned home to fulfill my destiny. As it turns out, I am destined to be a merchant or politician and marry some cold, greedy woman who comes from the right family. I will settle down, make more money and be a proper member of society.” Linvin’s tone had been sarcastic and his movements, grandiose.

He approached Anvar in a combination of frustration and anger. “So, dear uncle, best friend of Dirk Grithinshield, is this the life for which my father sent me to be trained?”

QUEST FOR THE RED SAPPHIRE is on sale on Kindle for .99 and can be bought at  http://amzn.to/1npYd0S 

BIOGRAPHY

Rival Gates Suit Enhanced(2)_peI was born in Port Huron, MI and was the youngest of four surviving children.  At the age of five my Father took a position as a magazine editor in Toronto, Ontario Canada.  We moved to a large city just outside Toronto called Mississauga.  The different cultures and demographics to which I was exposed formed many of the ideas for my story.

When I was thirteen, my Father’s declining health forced him out of work and our family struggled.  It was at that time that I decided to channel my negative energy into a constructive purpose.  I set out to write a short story about a magical gem called the Red Sapphire.  My brothers teased me that such a stone was simply a ruby.  That irony was part of the attraction for me.  After all, who would be writing about a Red Sapphire?  Years went by and we moved down to my Father’s home town of Harrow, Ontario on the shores of Lake Erie.  It was a drastic change from city life and I found myself retreating more and more into my ever growing story.  By age fifteen I had a two-hundred page hand written manuscript.

Advancing from high school to college at Michigan State University there was little time for writing and the project sat in a drawer in my parent’s home.  In spite of my lack of attention to writing, every night I would fall asleep working out details of the book and the series to follow.

I met a wonderful woman at Michigan State who agreed after graduation to become my wife.  As we started our family I began a career in retail management and sales.  For over twenty years I excelled in the field and even incorporated some of my knowledge into the book.  I hold my position in the greatest esteem.

While I rewrote the story several times on my computer, I did not attempt to publish it until the longest supporter of my writing, my Mother, became terminally ill.  She told me the last time I saw her how proud she was of the story I had created and made me promise to publish it and share it with the world.  With the loving support of my wife, our three children and the help of the good people at Solstice Publishing, I am fulfilling that promise.

When my Father (ever the editor) read the book, he told me how proud he was and that somewhere he knew my Mother was equally proud.  I present to you the first part of the saga which is my life’s work, “Quest for the Red Sapphire.”  May it bring you as much joy to read as it has brought me to write.

Rival Gates

LINKS

Web Site: http://www.rivalgates.com/

Blog: http://www.rivalgates.com/blog

http://rivalgates.tumblr.com/

Facebook: Author http://on.fb.me/1qqrjiB

Series: https://www.facebook.com/thesapphirechronicles

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rivalgates1

Buy Links for “Quest for the Red Sapphire”

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1npYd0S

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1mSIAkT

Purchase “The Sapphire Crucible”

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1lGfOVN

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1n8o0yN

Goodreads “Quest for the Red Sapphire”

http://bit.ly/1u1DJxN

Goodreads “Sapphire Crucible”

http://bit.ly/ZqUav3

Excerpt 2

Linvin looked into the darkness but only saw the swaying trees in the night’s sky. “That wolf sounded close,” he noted.

“That was no ordinary wolf,” Rander commented.

“What is so unusual about that wolf?” Linvin inquired as he found his bow and arrows.

“Remember those predators I was telling you about before?” Rander asked. “That’s one of them. You can tell from the low howl. Up here, we call them Trogoandras Wolves.”

“What is so special about those wolves?” Anvar asked.

“Well, to start with, they are the size of a full grown human. Their claws can effortlessly cleave flesh from bone. They have powerful jaws that can snap your thigh in two, like a twig. Inside their mouths, are two rows of teeth. The outer set is for tearing and shredding while the inner ones are for grinding.”

“They have been the bane of loggers and farmers.

You see, for all of the creature’s strength and power, Trogoandras have one flaw. Their legs are disproportionately short for their body. Most of the prey out here is long legged and too fast for them to run down, so they hunt in packs. One will mark a target and call for the pack to assemble. Then they will corner the herd they are tracking and attack. They are reasonably intelligent and crafty hunters, few escape the net of death they drop on their victims.”

“With the ax men driving away the herds from these woods, Trogoandras have set to devouring stock and as necessary, people.”

“They attack people?” exclaimed Linvin as he placed an arrow on the string of his bow.

“Sure do,” said Bander. “Lost two friends in the last month to ‘em. Can’t run as fast as deer, ya’ know. Out a control, them Trogos are.”

“I shouldn’t worry for now,” Rander told his cousin. “That was only one Trogoandras we heard. They seldom attack alone and will never come near a campfire without a pack. As long as we keep the fire going through the night, we should not have anything to fear.”

Proustian Questionnaire Image BIG

What are your thoughts on muses and do you have one?

I have known people who had them and found them instrumental in their art.  It has never been an avenue I have taken as my ideas flow from within.  If you read the lyrics to the Pearl Jam song “Black” you will see the downside when the muse is gone.  I like to look inward for inspiration.

 

Characters have a great capacity to love, yet they’re starved. Why do you think this happens in fiction and in real life?

Often times fiction reflects a writer’s experiences in the world.  There is a huge difference between a person’s capacity to love and the right opportunity to do so.  Love is like a butterfly passing by.  It doesn’t happen often and it is illusive when it is near.  But if you are lucky enough to get your hands on it, you have something special, indeed!

Without giving spoilers, would you say you’re a “happy ending” writer?

Most of the time I am a “happy ending writer.”  I think the books and movies with sad or distressing endings are fine, but I rarely want to read or watch them again.  This life throws enough negative things our way.  We seek entertainment to lose ourselves in another story and I think most people want to finish it happy.

 

What would you like to be remembered for?

Aside from my writing, I would like to be remembered for the lessons I have taught my children and hopefully for being a good father and husband.

 

If you could dine with any historical figure living or dead, who would it be and why?

I would love to dine with Marco Polo and hear firsthand about all his wondrous adventures.  

Past, present or future? Where does your mind dwell?

My mind is usually looking to the future as I am a compulsive planner.  I reflect on the past and draw inspiration from there but I use that inspiration to plan for the future.

What informs your writing most?

I would have to say my imagination.  I dream up different scenarios I think would be cool and then I find a way to fit them into my work.

Growing up in the Seventies, school kids were encouraged to think globally and act locally. Have you ever flirted with this philosophy?

It governs my charitable contributions.  For example, hunger is a terrible thing worldwide.  But before I send my money overseas I would rather feed the hungry in my city. 

Guilty pleasures: we all have them. What is yours?

In a word: Doritos

Your greatest victory?

My greatest victory was publishing my first book.  My father wrote for his whole life and never accomplished that.  So far I have published two with more to come.

Tell us about the one that got away. Person, place or thing.

There was a girl in college I had asked out the same week I asked out my wife.  It just so happened my wife was available earlier in the week and we went out.  I knew right then that she was the one for me and I cancelled the other date.  The other girl and I stayed friends throughout college.  She went through a slew of really bad boyfriends and at one point asked me to leave my girlfriend (now wife) to be with her.  I couldn’t do that.  So she moved on after graduation and I never heard from her again.

What are some of the overriding themes in your work? Do you have a favorite?

One of my favorite themes is if you rush into a situation, it will almost always end badly.  If you think it through, the answer is always there.

Who do you admire and why?

I admire the great artists of the past who were often unappreciated in their time but continued to do what they loved even without all the tools we have at our disposal these days.

Are writers fully formed works of art or works in progress?

Writers are definitely works in progress.  We are like water.  We bend around our surroundings and pick up characteristics of them.  Writers change their styles over time and vary quite a bit on different pieces.

 

Thanks Rival, and best of luck with the series. Rival can be found on Goodreads. Be sure to add him to your MY BOOKS list.

Tomorrow: Educator and incurable romantic Susanne Matthews talks about THE WHITE CARNATION and more http://www.mhsusannematthews.ca/

new picture of me

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Blog Tour brought to you by BEWITCHING BOOK TOURS

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Roxanne Rhodes, President and CEO
Roxanne Rhodes, President and CEO

Bewitching Book Tours is geared towards the new author, the ebook author, the small and independent press author, and the mid-list author- the author who doesn’t have a huge marketing budget but wants the most bang for their promotional buck.

Bewitching Book Tours aims to offer just that by pairing authors and their books with targeted book bloggers and readers who enjoy the types of books the authors write.

Bewitching Book Tours specializes in paranormal romance, urban fantasy and paranormal erotica book tours though we tour almost all fiction genres including horror, YA, NA, and all the romance sub-genres (contemporary, historical, thriller, suspense, etc).

Bewitching for Readers

Bewitching Book Tours offers readers the chance to discover new books while getting behind the scenes information about authors, books and characters.

Join us for a virtual book tour -you can read author guest blogs, interviews & book reviews and exclusive excerpts, listen to radio interviews, and participate in chats with the authors- all from the comfort of your home.

And there are always chances for readers to win prizes; free books, gift cards, prize packs, Kindles and more. New tours start every Monday.
http://www.bewitchingbooktours.com/