Jack Cannon's American Destiny

Rachel Thompson

Saturday, August 30, 2014

HIGH MAGA #Excerpt by Karin Rita Gastreich @EolynChronicles #AmReading #Fantasy #BYNR

Rishona unclasped her cloak and flung it to the floor at Mechnes’s feet. “You are not to question my wisdom or my will in public. Ever.”
Mechnes could not help but smile at the sight of his niece, now a grown woman pretending to give him orders. “With all due respect, San’iloman, I am your military advisor. It is my duty to speak my mind when the weight of my experience contradicts your rather naïve instincts.”
She moved to strike him, but he caught her wrist and forced her arm until she gasped. “It is a little early in the day to start with these games, my Queen. But if you desire a spark of conflict to brighten this weary morning, I am more than willing to please you.”
Rishona kept her eyes hard as stone and her voice taut with menace. “Speak your mind, Mechnes, but do so with discretion. I will not have our disagreements heard by those who would use them to spread malicious rumors against me. Nor will I have our men, who have struggled long and hard up this wretched pass, fall victim to any suspicion that our unity of purpose is wavering.”
He brought her body tight against his, let his breath fall upon her silky skin until he felt a shiver pass through her, followed by the softening of her shoulders and the almost imperceptible tilt of her face that always preceded that ardent kiss.
Before their lips met, he released her. “We must open up this road if we hope to bring a proper army through it.”
“We cannot bring down any more trees,” she insisted. “We are undermining the power of this forest. We need its magic for everything that is to come.”
“This is a very big forest.” He drew out one of their maps, passing his hand over the moss green crescent of impenetrable woodland that swept north toward East Selen and south along the foothills of the Paramen Mountains. “And a very small pass.”
Rishona stared at the map, lips protruding in that familiar charming frown. She rubbed her arms to ward off the damp chill. Noting her discomfort, Mechnes retrieved a dry cloak and placed it about her shoulders.
“I hope you are right,” she said. “It is just that every time we bring down one of those trees, I feel strength torn out of the earth. I fear I went too far by clearing the valley where my parents died.”
“You are Syrnte, Rishona. Your magic derives from the air.”
“Yes, but these creatures were not banished to the Underworld by Syrnte magic. They were imprisoned by the mages and magas of Moisehén, and they must be summoned by the same powers. I will need the air to anchor my spirit when I summon them, but without the earth I cannot control them.”
Mechnes narrowed his eyes. “If you have doubts regarding your ability to manage these beasts, you should have mentioned them before now.”
“I have no doubts.” She looked up at him, defiant. “I know how to gratify the Naether Demons and bring them into our service. But there are many elements involved, and they must be integrated carefully. No one has attempted this before, uncle. Or if they have, they failed miserably, and hence we know nothing of their fate.”
“Are you ready to summon these beasts or not?” He did not bother to hide the threat in his tone. Already he had poured tremendous resources into this conquest. He would show no mercy if she had deceived him.
Rishona straightened her shoulders, expression resolute. “Yes, I am ready. For tonight, I am most ready. And for what is to come, I have time to prepare.”

Lands Ravaged. Dreams destroyed. Demons set loose upon the earth.
War strikes at the heart of women’s magic in Moisehén. Eolyn’s fledgling community of magas is destroyed; its members killed, captured or scattered.
Devastated yet undaunted, Eolyn seeks to escape the occupied province and deliver to King Akmael a weapon that might secure their victory. But even a High Maga cannot survive this enemy alone. Aided by the enigmatic Mage Corey, Eolyn battles the darkest forces of the Underworld, only to discover she is a mere path to the magic that most ignites their hunger.
What can stop this tide of terror and vengeance? The answer lies in Eolyn’s forgotten love, and in its power to engender seeds of renewed hope.
HIGH MAGA is the companion novel to EOLYN, also available from Hadley Rille Books.
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Genre – Epic Fantasy
Rating – PG-13
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Friday, August 29, 2014

A Day in the Life of #Author Billi Tiner @TinerBooks #AmReading #AmWriting #Romance

I recently had the good fortune to reach the point in my writing career where I could quit my job and devote my time to writing full-time. Prior to that point, I had a job that kept me on the road a lot. I did all my writing while alone at night in various hotel rooms. I had a vision that once I quit my job, I would spend my time sitting in my home office typing away on my computer writing my next big novel. What I didn’t count on were the many distractions there are that can fill up a day. As a wife and mother, I found myself using the time at home alone to do chores such as housework, grocery shopping, etc. Then, I would look at the clock and see that the kids would be home soon, and I hadn’t done any writing. It took me a while to realize that I was going to need to set up a schedule that included time specifically dedicated to writing. I have settled into a good routine, where I can spend 5-6 hours per day writing four days per week. I have dedicated one day to household chores. This schedule has seemed to work for me. My evenings are filled with family activities. I have a teenage daughter and an elementary school age son. They both keep me hopping with their schedules. I am very grateful that I can now enjoy all their various activities, instead of spending evenings alone on the road. I’m pretty sure my husband is happy about that as well.
As far as what I like to do outside of writing, I am an avid sports fan, especially college football and basketball. I try to watch every Oklahoma State University game that is televised and try to attend at least one game each year. I also enjoy spending time outdoors. I have a large rose garden and several fruit trees in my yard, so during the spring and summer, I spend a large amount of time gardening. I also love walking, and when the weather permits, try to spend at least one hour each day walking.

From the author of “Dogs Aren’t Men” comes “To Love a Cat”, a contemporary romance novel.
Catherine “Cat” James’ life is simple and orderly, and she likes it that way. She loves her job as an accountant. Working with numbers is safe and routine, no surprises. Her childhood had been very abusive and unstable. She vowed not to live that way as an adult. She also made a promise to herself to become a foster parent. She wished someone had been there for her as a teenager, to let her know she wasn’t alone.
Cat agrees to foster Ethan Summers, a troubled teenage boy whose childhood closely resembles her own. Suddenly, her nice and orderly life is filled with chaos and uncertainty. Things really start to spin out of control when circumstances bring police detective Mitch Holt into the picture. He’s handsome, charming, and definitely not what Cat needs right now, or so she thinks.
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Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Belinda Vasquez Garcia on Writing Journey @MagicProse #PubTip #Suspense #Romance

Writing for me is always a journey of exploration. As I’m creating the story, I’m waiting with baited breath to see what happens next so writing adds excitement to my life. Laughter is good therapy, and I often laugh at the antics of my characters and some of the doozies that come out of their mouths. I sometimes cry as I’m writing an emotional scene. A good cry now and then is therapeutic and cleanses the emotions. Writing to me is fun and entertaining. I always learn something during my research.
I usually develop a love story in my books to give the novel a heartbeat, and because I am a closet romantic. I confess that I often fall in love with some of my characters, especially the male leads. It was particularly fun to create the love story of Mandy Balboa and the flawed Christopher Michaels in I Will Always Love You.
I often visit Manhattan to see family and love the city. Like everyone else around the country, I was devastated when the terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center. Writing I Will Always Love You a few months after the 9/11 attacks helped me to deal with the tragedy and my feelings. Everything was still fresh in my mind. However, I chose not to publish the book until recently.
I Will Always Love You centers on the love story between the characters. It takes place two weeks after September 11, 2001. Manhattan and the tragedy is merely the setting, a place for two lost souls to come together. The book was a way for me to cope with my feelings, and to honor the victims and Manhattan.
I come from a dysfunctional family. My father was a bigamist and abandoned my family when I was 11. My mother died when I was 16. I found that writing The Bigamist & The Womanizer, Memoirs of My Father provided therapy. As I get time, I am working on a memoir entitled A House of Sticks.
Words come from the heart. Writing about a certain matter helps me deal with a situation. People who visit a therapist talk about issues to help in understanding and dealing with life. Writing can, also, help get bugs out of a person’s system; perhaps not in one take, maybe not forever, but writing can be like a good cry. You feel better about it.
Reading can help accomplish the same thing. Even fiction can be a self-help book.
The last thing Miranda ever expected was to see her brother’s ghost at the fallen Twin Towers.
It’s bad enough survivor Christopher Michaels scares her with claims that if one dies violently, his ghost will haunt the place that holds his name. And to top it all, one of those thousands of ghosts follows Miranda to her hotel. The only certainty is the ghost grabbing her under the covers is not Jake.
Their parents’ deaths separated Miranda from Jake when they were kids. Michaels insists Jake brought them together and it’s no coincidence that of thousands mourning at Ground Zero, it’s his best friend she bumps into. Some best friend. Michaels is more like a moocher. The cheapskate never has money, just a blood-stained wallet he broods over. Miranda has no choice but to hang out with the weird Michaels in order to unravel her brother’s past.
As Miranda spends time with Michaels, she begins to wonder who he really is. Against her better judgment, Miranda becomes emotionally entangled with Michaels, a bitter alcoholic with a secret linked to her brother and that blood-stained wallet.
I Will Always Love You is part mystery, suspense and romance, a novel that will keep the reader turning the pages!
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Genre – Suspense, Mystery, Romance
Rating – PG
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Generation (Medical #Thriller) by @_William_Knight #Crime #Horror

Parnell was an old man operating at the pace of a teenager, still battling to make a difference, to add something to life, and he talked to the assembled internet generation as if they were equals. Even though he was fighting frailty and in need of a permanent nurse, his passion infected the room and enthused the listeners. Amazing. And far from being trite, his literary reference actually stirred something within Hendrix. We have a duty to not go gentle into that good night, he repeated to himself.
“That was brilliant,” said Joan, intruding on his self-comparison with the seventy-year old.
“Yes.” Hendrix replied limply. He smiled. Joan had a future, but honestly, he couldn’t see how a man like Parnell would be interested in owning a magazine obsessed with oversize animals and UFO conspiracies.
They began filtering out of the conference room.
“You going to start tweeting now, Aitch?” asked Joan.
Her words flashed him a surge of his mobile-phone paranoia, but he quickly hid behind sarcasm, “Not sure I can edit my features down to a hundred and forty characters Joan. Maybe you can help?”
He was briefly horrified when she took the comment at face value, “Sure, I’d love to,” she said.
A stand-off. He stared into her eyes for a second and saw the hint of a smile. He laughed and Joan’s smile broadened. He could be generous and add dry sense of humour to her unfavourable character analysis, and despite the crescent-moon eyebrows her smiling face was not unattractive.
“Tom’s got another trip for you? Somewhere up north this time,” she said. “You’re getting about a bit.”
“Young, free and single.” God, that sounded like a come on. “I mean, I don’t have any ties here at the moment,” he stammered. He felt his ears turning purple. Joan appeared not to have noticed. They walked around the central column of the building towards Strange Phenomenas island of furniture.
He pulled the swivel chair out from under his desk and sat down.
“Any idea what it is?” he said.
She shrugged. “Ghosts, I think. Don’t forget to tweet. Especially if you catch one,” she said, as she disappeared behind the vanity screen.
A man emerges from the sodden undergrowth, lost, lonely and starving he is mown down by a speeding car on the edge of a remote forest.
Rumours of ghostly apparitions haunt a rural Northumberland community.
A renowned forensic research establishment is troubled by impossible results and unprecedented interference from an influential drug company.

Hendrix 'Aitch' Harrison is a tech-phobic journalist who must link these events together.

Normally side-lined to investigate UFOs and big-beast myths, but thrust into world of cynical corporate motivations, Hendrix is aided by a determined and ambitious entomologist. Together they delve into a grisly world of clinical trials and a viral treatment beyond imagining.
In a chase of escalating dangers, Aitch must battle more than his fear of technology to expose the macabre fate of the drugged victims donated to scientific research.

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Genre – Crime, Thriller, Horror
Rating – R-16
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Seasons' End #Excerpt by Will North by @WillNorthAuthor #WomensFic #AmReading

That afternoon, over drinks on the porch, Colin watched Tyler. Knowing him as he did, he had expected an anxious jauntiness, a mix of groom’s day-before jitters and Tyler’s characteristic bravado. Instead, his friend seemed oddly subdued. Colin put it down to tennis exhaustion initially, but as the afternoon wore on, it seemed to him that his friend was like a man in slow motion, slogging as if through hip-deep mud, not toward the matrimonial altar but toward execution. A dead man walking. Colin put himself in Tyler’s place: if he’d been about to marry Pete, he’d feel only elation. 

He’d be over the moon. But would he ever have put himself in Tyler’s place? Would he ever have asked Pete if she loved him, asked her to marry him? No, it wasn’t his place to do so. It would never be his place. He was not one of them.

After dinner, in a spasm of traditionalism, Pete banished Tyler from her sight until the morning’s ceremony. It was bad luck, she said, for him to see her again until she was in her wedding gown, approaching the minister—her own father—on the arm of old Adam Strong, Tyler’s uncle.
As the dishes were being cleared, Pete appeared at Colin’s side.

“I need a walk on the beach. Will you come?”

“Of course.”

She smiled and took his arm.

The two of them sloshed along the tide line for a while in companionable silence. To the west, the sun had dipped behind the fir-clad hills and the cobalt blue sky began fading to the color of robin’s eggs. 

Across the outer harbor and beyond the low hills of Maury Island the almost iridescent white cap of “the mountain,” as everyone here called towering Mount Rainier, had turned the color of pale Spanish sherry. All around them the visible world seemed to slip from three dimensions to two, the low hills flattening to a navy blue screen.

Colin finally spoke. “You okay, luv?”

Pete squeezed his arm against her side and smiled but said nothing.

A little farther on, looking out across the darkening water, she said, “It’s what was meant to be. All along. This is where it’s all been going.”

“This wedding?”

“Well, marrying Tyler, anyway.”

“You act as if it was inevitable.”

“I wouldn’t say that.”

“What would you say?”

She paused. “Preordained. I think that’s what I’d say…preordained.”

“As in, not a choice?”

“As in part of the plan, part of the natural order of things.”

“I never took you for a fatalist.”

“I’m not.


“Life is what you’re given; this is what I’ve been given.”

“That’s bullshit. Life is what you make of it.”

To his surprise, she giggled.


She hugged his arm again. “If I’d been given as little as you were, I’d believe life was what I made of it, too. But I have had a certain degree of privilege, haven’t I?”

“With no mother and an absentee father?”

“No, with the interwoven safety net of the Petersens, the Strongs, and, to a lesser extent, perhaps, the Rutherfords, not just here on the beach but in town, too. We’re like a tiny galaxy, held together by our own form of gravity. That’s part of what draws Tyler and me together, what keeps us together.”
“The weight of history?”

“No. Or at least not just that. Something else, but I think it’s related We are known to each other. Do you know what I mean? I think everyone, deep down, longs to be known—truly known—to someone. 

There is such a comfort in that. I think that’s the foundation of love. Tyler and I, we’ve always had that.”

Colin wanted to argue with her, but there wasn’t any point. He’d never pressed his case and this wasn’t time to start. He nudged the conversation off on a tangent.

“If that’s the case, what’s up with Tyler this afternoon? Where’s the dazzled groom?”

Pete said nothing for a moment. She used the soles of her feet like paddles to spray seawater out ahead of her as she walked through the shallows. Finally, she spoke.

“I think it’s his mother. She’s not coming.”

“Mother? He’s never said a thing to me about his mother.”

“No, I don’t suppose he would have.”


Again, silence.

“Tyler’s dad, Richie Strong?” she said finally. “He was a famous pilot.”

“So he said, but he’s never told me much about him, either.”

“He seldom does. But I will. You deserve an answer. Tyler’s dad was something of an aviation hero. Went to Billie Boeing’s flight school down in Oakland before the war. He was maybe twenty. Came home with a commercial pilot’s license and a wife, Amanda James. She was a secretary at the school; I don’t think she was even eighteen yet. American Airlines, which was only a couple of years old, had already heard about Richie from Boeing and they snapped him up.”


“Yeah. And then, in World War II, the president of American Airlines, a guy named C. R. Smith, was made head of something called the Air Transport Command. Their job was to ferry planes filled with equipment and soldiers back and forth across the Atlantic. Tyler’s dad was one of the first pilots Smith commandeered under the war powers. Apparently, Smith already had Richie on his radar screen. Tyler’s uncle…”

“Old Adam?”

“Yeah, well Old Adam told me Smith used his brother for all kinds of top secret missions. One story is he took General Mark Clark, who was tight with Eisenhower, deep into North Africa to oversee the campaign against Rommel there. The plane he piloted was flanked by a dozen fighters.”


“Yeah. Old Adam’s crazy about his kid brother. It’s very sweet. Anyway, after the war, Richie went back to American Airlines. He was already one of their most senior pilots and he was only thirty. Flew for them from then on, from prop planes to jets. Then he was killed.

“What, he crashed or something?”

“Yeah, he did.”

“Oh, man…”

“In a car.”

They’d reached the far west end of the beach, where the sand gave way to sharp, barnacle-encrusted rocks. When they turned, they could just see the tip of Rainier, above the hills across the harbor, glowing as if aflame.

“For years,” Pete continued, “everyone said it was an accident; Richie was driving his car, a convertible, too fast. Hit a telephone pole. Nineteen sixty-two.”

“Shit. All those years in the air and he dies on the ground. That’s so ironic.”
“And wrong.”

“Yeah, that too.”

“No, I mean it didn’t happen that way.”


“Tyler’s father killed himself.”

Colin stopped and stared at her. “Jesus, Pete!”

“It’s all about Amanda.”

“Tyler’s mom?”

“I got this from Old Adam, after several bourbons, okay? Tyler doesn’t know I know. Please don’t say anything.”

“Okay. Promise.”

“Old Adam and his wife Emily made room for Richie and Amanda at the beach house, right here, after they’d married. Emily was the only daughter of Silas Wolfenden, the founder of Wolfenden Industries, the timber giant, and Silas gave Adam and Emily the land here on the beach. Silas had cut all the timber decades before and it was all new growth then. Old Adam’s got a big heart; he built the smaller Strong beach house next door to his own for his brother and Amanda. But Emily never trusted Amanda. Figured Amanda had seen that Richie was going places and just latched on to him for the ride.”

Pete paused and looked out over the darkening water.

“And?” he said after a few moments.

“And she was right. American Airlines based Richie in Chicago. Richie was gone a lot, building a career, and Amanda landed a job as a stewardess. For the next ten years they both flew, though not together, and put off having kids. Adam said word was Amanda was a quite a party girl. In 1950, when Amanda was twenty-nine, Jamie was born. But she didn’t settle down.”

“Okay, I’m not following here. I thought they were married a long time. They had two kids.”

“Yeah, Jamie…”

“And Tyler.”

“Right, but Tyler came along much later, when Amanda was nearly forty.”

“And Tyler’s father killed himself? I don’t get that.”

“Old Adam told me his brother Richie came home early from a trip, found the house empty, Jamie with a sitter, and went looking for his wife. Found her at her favorite bar, right there in their neighborhood outside Chicago. She was wrapped around the bartender. Not the first time, either. 

Richie turned around, climbed in his car, headed out fast into the countryside. Police figure he drove straight into that pole. Died instantly. Or maybe he really died back at the bar, you know? I mean, how can someone who has a kid commit suicide? I think some part of them has to be dead already to do that.”

Pete had stopped, and, reflexively, Colin put his arms around her. She did not withdraw.

“Man; that must have been hard on Tyler.”

Pete pushed away and continued walking.

“Tyler wasn’t even born yet. He came along eight months later.”

“Wait. Was Richie even Tyler’s dad?”

“Good question.”

“He doesn’t know?”

“He believes he’s Richie’s son, the son of a hero and flight pioneer; it’s Amanda who doesn’t know.”

“She swears he is. Problem is, as Old Adam tells it, the math doesn’t work. Richie couldn’t have been the father; he was away, flying.”

“This is tough.”

“But Amanda wasn’t done.”

“What’s that mean?”

“It wasn’t enough for her.”

“What wasn’t?”

“Having a dead hero for a husband. She wanted a son who was a hero, too. She wanted a fucking parade of heroes, if only to put the spotlight on her mothering instead of her adultery.”

“You’ve lost me.”

“It’s simple; when Richie died, she pushed Jamie to live up to Richie’s legend. The kid joined the Marines first chance he could, got sent to Viet Nam, and was so gung-ho he’d already been made a company commander by the time they sent his unit to Khe Sahn. The battle of Khe Sahn, which was at the end of his tour, was a bloodbath. A week before he was to be discharged—he already had a Purple Heart by then—Jamie dug a hole, climbed into it, and issued orders to his company from it. He didn’t want to get shot just days before going home.”

“That makes sense.”

“Yeah, except he took a direct shell hit instead. Nothing left of him but the dog tags.”


They were now nearly parallel to the Petersen compound. Pete stopped and looked at her friend.

“So Amanda drilled it into Tyler that he had two heroes to live up to, his father and his brother. And she never let him forget it.”


Every summer for generations, three families intertwined by history, marriage, and career have spent “the season” at their beach cottage compounds on an island in Puget Sound. Today, Martha “Pete” Petersen, married to Tyler Strong, is the lynchpin of the “summer people.” In childhood, she was the tomboy every girl wanted to emulate and is now the mother everyone admires.

Colin Ryan, family friend and the island’s veterinarian, met Pete first in London, years earlier, when she visited his roommate, Tyler. He’s loved her, privately, ever since. Born in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, son of a bar owner, he’s always been dazzled by what he sees of the sun-kissed lives of the summer people.

But this summer, currents strong as the tides roil: jealousies grow, tempers flare, passions clash. Then, on the last day of the season, a series of betrayals alters the combined histories of these families forever.

As in previous novels, The Long Walk Home and Water, Stone, Heart, with Seasons’ End, Will North weaves vivid settings and memorable characters into a compelling tale of romance and suspense.

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Genre – Women’s Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

LEVELING UP by J.R. Tague @JR_Tague #AmReading #YA #Fiction

When I returned to school the next Monday, it became a little harder to ignore that something had changed. Getting out of bed in the morning was even more difficult than usual. I mean, yeah, sure, I had stayed up super late the night before finishing up a forty-man raid with some dudes on the west coast. But it’s not like that was new to me or anything.
Everything looked different as I entered into the vivid, fast-paced chaos of my high school. I stared, bleary eyed, at the mobs of students, my theoretical peers, moving in and out of doorways, around lockers, through the halls. They looked like schools of tropical fish, brightly colored and somehow swimming in formation despite the disorder around them. I wondered what it’d be like to move among them. I mean, yeah, I walked among them. But I wanted to, you know, swim. It seemed like everyone else had figured out some sort of secret, had learned how to make our time in this ocean bearable.
Until then all I’d wanted was to wait out the rest of my teen years in the hopes that I’d earn passage into a bigger, better, infinitely more interesting world. Now, for the first time, I wondered if that had been a mistake. I mean, what if this was all I got in the end? Maybe I should have been making the most of it. After all, if I really were dead and gone, how many of them would even notice?
I sighed as I opened my locker, wondering if everyone who had a near death experience got this emo about it. I was reaching up for my biology book when something crashed into my locker door, slamming it closed.
“You OK, man?” asked a guy from my Algebra II class as he retrieved his wayward football.
“Sure,” I replied, a little startled. He gave me a quick once over, then nodded before trotting back to his friends down the hall. I reached into my locker again to grab the textbook when I noticed a small cut on the middle finger of my right hand, and white indentations on the tips of the other three fingers.
What the hell?
The hand worked just fine as I pulled the book down, my fingers functioning normally as they curled around the cover and carried its weight for the short journey between shelf and backpack. It should have hurt like hell when the locker slammed into them.

Max McKay gets a second chance at life when, after a bizarre accident on his sixteenth birthday, he is reanimated as a new breed of thinking, feeling zombie. To secure a spot for his eternal soul, Max must use his video game prowess as well as the guidance of Steve the Death God to make friends and grow up. As if all that weren’t hard enough, Max discovers that he’s not the only zombie in town. As he enlists the help of his new friends, Adam and Penny, to solve the mystery of their un-dead classmate, Max discovers that he must level up his life experience in order to survive the trials and terrors of the upcoming zombie apocalypse. And, even worse, high school.
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Genre – YA
Rating – PG
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Friday, August 22, 2014

Dean Wilson on The Plotter vs. The Pantser #AmWriting #PubTip #Fantasy

There are three primary schools of thought when it comes to writing a novel, pointing to the two extremes available, and the road between them. The two diverging ways are affectionately called the Plotter and the Panster, while the third way is largely unnamed, being a mingling of the others.
The Plotter creates intricate plans of how the story will be told, from chapter summaries to, in the more extreme examples, a synopsis of the entire book, scene by scene. An author with this approach might spend just as much time with the outline, rewriting and revising it, than the finished product itself. The framework is put firmly in place, and then the rest is filled in until the book is complete.
The Pantser, on the other hand, takes the opposite approach. A theme or character might pop into mind and the author sits down and goes with the flow, seeing where it brings him or her, often being as surprised by the story as the reader will be later. In some cases the author does not even have any sliver of an idea for the book at all, but simply opens up a blank page and begins an exercise almost like automatic writing.
My experience and research suggests that authors are usually somewhere between these two extremes, rarely entirely at one end or the other, but that we tend to lean more towards one approach, while in some cases the preference depends on the book in question.
A good example of the ambiguity of approaches to writing is J.R.R. Tolkien, whom many would, at the outset, consider a Plotter, given the sheer volume of planning that went into The Lord of the Rings and his other writings, not to mention the numerous appendices.
However, his own words speak differently. In his Foreword to The Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien said: “This tale grew in the telling…” He clarified later: “As the story grew it put down roots (into the past) and threw out unexpected branches: but its main theme was settled from the outset…”
Here we see then that Tolkien, like many writers, had a primary idea in mind, but did not know all of the details before the writing process began. When the pen was put to the page, with the intent of driving a character to a particular event or experience, things began to take shape in unintended ways.
Personally, I usually come up with a seed idea, something that thematically sets the stage for everything that will follow, or, as is often the case, precede it. The thought that will germinate into a story for me is often how it ends, and I work backwards in my mind to where the story must start in order to bring about that ending. With the A and Z in place, there is sufficient confinement, a reasonably wide, yet not too broad, vessel in which to contain the story; many, and perhaps all, of the letters in-between remain unknowns until they are encountered.
Likewise, a story may begin with a character, who is then dropped into a world or placed in a scenario in which they, with their unique personality, must respond. Often the thoughts, words or actions of these characters are initially shocking to the author, yet make perfect sense in retrospect, when the author considers that the character, with his or her various personality quirks, can act no other way. Thus the character comes alive and drives the story, while the author merely records it, hoping to capture the events as they unfold, and hoping to deliver to the reader something approximating the experience the author undergoes—the experience of life and living, through the eyes of another.

After the catastrophe of the Call of Agon, Ifferon and his companions find themselves in the unenviable situation of witnessing, and partaking in, the death of another god—this time Corrias, the ruler of the Overworld.
With Corrias locked inside the corpse of the boy Théos, he suffers a fate worse than the bonds of the Beast Agon. Yet hope is kindled when the company find a way to restore the boy, and possibly the god, back to life.
The road to rebirth has many pitfalls, and there are some who consider such meddling with the afterlife a grave risk. The prize might be life anew—but the price might also be a second death.
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Genre - Epic Fantasy
Rating – PG
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

MESSAGE OF THE PENDANT #Excerpt by Thomas Thorpe #HistFic #Mystery

The room was not completely dark. High above the floor, five window slits provided flickering bursts of light whenever distant lightning struck. Beneath dark wooden beams, flashes created menacing shadows that quickly disappeared until the next glimmer.
Huddled in a corner with her sister, Emily, the wait became excruciating for Elizabeth. Where was the stalker now?
A large stone fireplace under an antlered head of a stag stood at the far side of the room. She decided to edge over to the hearth and look for a tool or piece of wood which could be used against the blackguard.
On hands and knees, she carefully advanced along the room’s perimeter trying not to make any noise. Fifteen feet, ten feet, five.., she felt the bricks. She reached out for a poker, but had to settle for a two-foot log, three inches in diameter. Clutching her prize, she turned to start back. A new creak punctured the air in the middle of the room.
She froze.
Several English chairs and Queen Anne upholstered seats rested between game tables, turned at various angles to her sight. The sound had come from there. She stared at the outlines.
Lightning flashed again. To her terror, a dark figure rose behinda seat turned away from the chimney. Light disappeared before she could see anything more.
Elizabeth’s mind raced, wondering if she had been heard.
Another flash. The figure had moved toward Emily’s corner.
“Emily! Emily!” she screamed. “Wake up. Someone’s coming toward you!”
She could hear Emily stirring, muttering words that made it clear she did not understanding their plight.  She had to help her sister! Her legs felt weak and a rush of panic welled up inside her. She could not move.
Glint came again. The figure had stopped.

William Darmon and wife Elizabeth were powerful figures who in 1818 set society’s pace from expansive grounds known as Mayfair Hall. When a family member is murdered, a mysterious pendant is found containing a long lost request by Napoleon Bonaparte for an American mission to burn down Parliament buildings. The couple sets out on an action filled pursuit of the killer. 

While interviewing Henry Clay in post-war Maryland about the failed mission, they uncover evidence of a conspiracy to free the Emperor from exile. The Darmons infiltrate the cadre, but a shipwreck off the coast of Scotland, a firestorm at the Darmon’s Manor and a harrowing assault on the Island of St. Helena loom before the mystery can be unraveled.
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Genre – Mystery, Historical, Thriller
Rating – PG
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Marie McKean on Fear, Happiness & Writing @Marie_McKean #AmWriting #Horror #Fantasy

1. How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
If I start feeling too down, I step away from whatever’s bothering me and do two things. 1) I listen to Elvis; particularly the song, “Blue Hawaii.” 2) I drink a coke. Elvis and Coke are my leveling factors. If I’m able to, I’ll also throw in some intense cardio at the gym. This always seems to help me put my self-doubts and fears into perspective.
2. What scares you the most?
Call me crazy, but I can’t handle being suspended from heights in a bucket. So Ferris Wheels, cherry pickers, and gondolas are pretty much out for me. And it’s not the heights. I have no fear of heights. It’s the fact that I’m suspended from a bucket. Not really sure how to explain that one.
3. What makes you happiest?
Laughing. If I can find something to laugh about, life isn’t so bad. The good moments are made even better, and the bad ones are brightened.
4. What’s your greatest character strength?
I am fiercely loyal. Once I’ve decided that you’re “mine” I will think of you that way forever. This could also be considered a flaw I suppose, it’s burnt me before, but really I think you shouldn’t live life holding back. If you’re too afraid to love people then you’ll never experience the reward that comes from doing so.
5. What’s your weakest character trait?
I have a tendency to be a firework. I go crazy, becoming completely obsessed/motivated to get things done . . . for about three days. After that, I fizzle out and loose all interest. Luckily, I have a husband who helps me stay motivated, and with a lot of work, I’m starting to put this weakness behind me slowly.
6. Why do you write?
I write because it makes me happy. I love the adventure of discovering a story that hasn’t been told before, and losing myself completely in it. As an added bonus, the characters become my closest friends. I’m happiest when I’m writing, and so I always try to be working or thinking about some aspect of it.
7. Have you always enjoyed writing?
Believe it or not, no. Writing was something I did because I had to for school, work, or whatever else you want to throw in there. However, I have always loved telling stories. Eventually that passion led to actually writing them down. Now I’m hooked.
Born of Oak and Silver
All that you can do is make the most of what you’ve been dealt—fight a good fight, resist being beaten by circumstance, and hope that somehow, despite it all, you’re able to accomplish the impossible.
But even then you cannot change the fact that you were born cursed.
I am one of those unlucky few upon whom the Curse of the Four Fathers has fallen.
It is I who must bear the burden of having a life that is unchangeably intertwined with the Fae. A sorrow made all the more great by knowing that where they are tragedy, loss, misery, and despair most assuredly follow.
As a Druid it is my responsibility to uphold the boundaries that keep the worlds of the Tylwyth Teg, and our own, separate. As a man it is my only ambition to protect the family and woman I so desperately love.
The only problem: I'm not sure this curse will allow for me to do both.
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Genre - Paranormal Fantasy, Horror
Rating – PG-13
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