Guest post ~ Author Lisa Calell…
Today I have the great pleasure of introducing the very talented, best selling author and friend ~ Lisa Calell ~ Author of two books, Disconnected and the sequel Reconnected. I have read both of these heart-felt books and I was truly captivated. Lisa Calell weaves an intricate story that will surely tug at your emotions and leave you wanting more. A page turner like no other, I urge you to read both Disconnected and Reconnected and follow the incredible journey of two people in this emotion-charged story…
Lisa Calell is the author of the Disconnected series, which soared to the top of the Amazon Charts within six weeks of the release of Book 1 – Disconnected in March 2013. Book 2 – Reconnected was released on March 31st 2014 and on that day reached the top 100 in Psychological on Amazon.
She has now started a three-part series which takes you through the emotions of a father, a mother and a daughter following a family break up. Blinded by Control should be released at the end of 2014/beginning of 2015 and is anticipated to be more intensely emotional than the Disconnected series.
Lisa was born and raised in a small Scottish town called Troon. She now lives in Lancashire, England with her husband and two children but maintains ‘you can take the girl out of Scotland but you can’t take Scotland out of the girl!’
Disconnected (book #1) Blurb:
Katherine (Katie) Calder is happy, or is she? Married to a patient, loving and handsome lawyer who has been her life for 6 years – Chris. He wants nothing more than a ‘normal’ happy family life – will being with Katie ever give him that? Katie does not know how to love him or anyone but she knows she could not be without him. She has detached from life, from love, from any true emotion yet Chris continues to love her unconditionally wishing for the day she will declare her love and even cry for the first time since he has known her.
Katie’s mother – Jill Williams is desperately trying to rebuild a relationship with her daughter who has been missing from her life for six years for reasons she has never understood. Bringing Gerry back into Katie’s life was not the answer. Gerry brought back the horror of her ‘missing years’ causing her distress, misery and even blackouts. Why, what had Gerry done? What had happened in those two years when she had been missing that could cause this pain and anguish and if they found out would they feel the same about her? Katie didn’t think so, she had to protect them against the truth and she had to face her past – but at what cost?
Disconnected is an intense, emotional journey that will have you smiling one minute and then feeling hurt and pain the next. You want it to work out, you want the happy ending – but then life is never that straightforward, this book will leave you with a void, this book will leave you disconnected!
USA DOWNLOAD: http://amzn.to/1jXQDLs
UK DOWNLOAD: http://amzn.to/1hnJKDX
Reconnected (book #2) Excerpt:
Not surprisingly, “Orphan” became a best seller. Danielle had been right, it appealed to both adults and children and suddenly I was globally famous.
My life was in a whirlwind of travel and interviews, always with the question “How did you come up with this book, what inspired you?” I wasn’t about to tell them that my heart had been ripped out and left in the street to be trampled on daily by crowds of people. No, I always used the same reply: “Everyone experiences loss in their lives. Everyone feels empty and lonely from time to time. I just wanted to take that pain from them and put it in writing. Something the reader could understand and relate to but it be someone else with the sorrow instead of them, at the same time giving them something to cry over to release their agony.”
Each time I said this, the interviewer would nod, having experienced the loss I described—the emptiness and loneliness. They could feel my pain; it would seem the whole world could now feel it.
It was a clear day in Washington DC that Tuesday in June. I woke up to yet another hotel room. This was easy for me; each room was bare and disconnected just like me. The rooms were like mirrors of my soul. Today’s schedule was a busy one; two interviews and a book signing, then dinner with Danielle later this evening to discuss my next book. She wanted one to equal this. Did I have another book in me? This one had taken everything from me, drained every last emotion, and left me weak.
The interviews went as well as to be expected, no new questions. More people wanting to know what my pain was, how could I have written this emotional heart-wrenching book if I hadn’t felt these emotions first-hand? I always laughed saying I watched too many tear jerking movies in my life. That I felt every laugh and cry from them and it eventually gets to you after a while. Each interviewer would laugh with me unbelievably; they knew there was more to this.
I arrived in the city. Book signings were never fun for me, endless lines of men and women wanting me to write a note just for them, or for their mom, aunt, daughter or brother. Idle chitchat, a soft smile, a photograph even. Some would tell me about how this book had brought meaning to their life. One woman even said that she had not felt the same way about a book since Catcher in the Rye; I was honoured by that, to be up there with J D Salinger. In some ways, to be compared with such a classic was one of my life’s ambitions complete.
I only had two hours to get through; this was the longest part of my day. As I approached the bookstore, I could see crowds of people already lining the streets with their copy of “Orphan” in their hands. Sighing, I got out the car to huge cheers.
The manager of the bookstore guided me to a table surrounded by posters of the cover with copies and copies of “Orphan” all around me. I had five minutes before they would open the door to let the crowd in so I started signing books around me hastily in preparation.
One by one, they approached me eagerly and excitedly asking me to sign their copy. Thanking each one in turn for reading my book, I was looking down when another copy was laid before me, “Do you want me to address this to anyone special?” Still not looking up “Yes, address it to Katie, my wonderful wife, I will love you always and forever.” I gasped, as I looked up and stared at him. I couldn’t breathe, my mind was racing, and my heart was pounding. He was still so deliciously handsome, he looked worn though. I had done this to him. I sat frozen to the chair. I could hear my heart beating but I was sure I was still not breathing.
UK DOWNLOAD: http://amzn.to/1g3aqo3
USA DOWNLOAD: http://amzn.to/PXuSjB
Guest post by Author Katheryn Lane – A Bride for the Sheikh…
Today I have the great pleasure of introducing to you the very talented author Katheryn Lane who is also a great friend of mine. I met Katheryn while networking through social media and thankfully our paths crossed and we became friends. I have personally read all of Katheryn’s books which are what I would call “The perfect romance” if you want to escape into a great book then I highly recommend “The Sheikh Series” which are perfect escapism in my humble opinion and will transport you into a delightful world of romance, desire and of course love…
Katheryn Lane is the bestselling independent author of The Desert Sheikh series, which spent over three months at #1 on Amazon’s bestseller lists when it was first published in January 2013. She is also the author of several other contemporary romance novels, including her latest release, A Bride For The Sheikh. Her other novels include The Royal Sheikh and The Sheikh’s Beloved, both of which have hit the top ten on Amazon’s bestseller rankings.
She currently lives with her family in the Middle East, surrounded by desert, palm trees and of course rich, handsome sheikhs.
The Story Behind The Stories
I love the escapism of a highly emotional romance with a great happily-ever-after ending, so that’s what I love to write. When I was younger, I wrote a lot of different romances, but most of them remained unfinished in files on my computer. It wasn’t until my husband received a contract in the Middle East that I started writing sheikh romances. Where I live now, I am surrounded by desert, camels, palm trees and of course, lots of sheikhs! All my stories and characters are fictitious, but many of the details are based on things I’ve seen and heard about in the region.
For example, in A Bride For A Sheikh, much of the plot centres around the idea of arranged marriages, a practise that is still very common in the Middle East, where some people don’t meet their prospective spouse until the day of the wedding. In The Desert Sheikh the kidnapping in is based on an incident that happened several years ago when a teacher was kidnapped on his way to the airport in Yemen by a local warlord and held hostage for several weeks. The volcanic ash cloud in The Sheikh’s Beloved is based on the 2010 eruption which grounded all UK flights, leaving hundreds of people stuck in the Middle East, a part of the world known for its very generous hospitality. As for The Royal Sheikh, Sheikh Rafiq takes the heroine, Clare, onto his yacht where she sees a vase filled with flowers made of solid gold and precious stones, something that a friend of mine once saw when she went into one of the royal palaces. How she got into the palace and what she did when she was there is another story . . .
All of my books, including A Bride For The Sheikh, are available at online bookstores, including Amazon.
Amazon UK: http://www.facebook.com/l/pAQGPt9kyAQEvVVvVT4DpvkITgdxe4rnEbQL9OyvQizs-HA/www.amazon.co.uk/A-Bride-For-The-Sheikh-ebook/dp/B00G2GJFIO/ref=sr_1_25?ie=UTF8&qid=1383659102&sr=8-25&keywords=sheikh+romance
Katheryn Lane has recently released her new romance novel, “A Bride for the Sheikh” I read this wonderful book in one sitting and simply loved it… You can read an excerpt from chapter one below!
A Bride for the Sheikh: An excerpt from chapter one:
“Maybe marriage is more than just a business contract?” Sheikh Rashid suggested.
“My son, I don’t regret sending you to college in England,” the sultan replied, referring to the three years that Rashid had spent studying Media Studies at Oxford Brookes University. “However, sometimes I wonder if you picked up a few silly notions while you were there.”
“If marriage is a business contract, then perhaps it’s open to negotiation?” Rashid said, trying a different approach. He knew that if he argued with his father and opposed him too strongly, the sultan would have him married off to the dreadful Chrystal Longhorn the very next morning.
“What type of negotiation?” the sultan asked, looking more amused than angry.
“What if I agree to marry a foreign woman, but I get to choose who it is?”
“You want to choose?”
“I would only choose someone who would be a suitable bride for a member of the royal family.”
“Naturally,” the sultan replied.
Rashid waited while his father thought about the idea. When his father began to smile at him, he knew he had a chance.
“If you can find a foreign woman, from a decent family, a woman who would be an asset to our own, then I agree,” his father said at last.
“Thank you!” Rashid was thrilled that he no longer had to marry the vile Chrystal. He bowed low to his father in gratitude.
“However, you must find her and present her to me within two weeks. If you don’t, I’ll start the arrangements for your wedding to Jack Longhorn’s daughter.”
“Two weeks? How can I find someone in just two weeks?”
“Those are my conditions. You either agree to them or I announce your engagement to Miss Longhorn today.”
“I agree,” Rashid replied, bowing again, but this time it was as if a weight was on his shoulders, forcing him down. How could he find someone in just two weeks? How could he find a suitable foreign bride in so short a time?
“You can go.” The sultan waved his hand to dismiss his son.
“Go now, before I change my mind and make it just a week,” the sultan commanded.
End of excerpt.
To learn more about Katheryn lane and her books you can contact her at the following links:
Guest post by talented author Paul Rega re: New release – Trail of 32
Paul Rega is not only a bestselling author of How To Find a Job When There Are No Jobs, he is also a great friend of which I am blessed to have crossed paths with over the last couple of years. With over 30 years experience in executive job placement and running his own business that was hugely successful Paul Rega is a mind of knowledge and wisdom. He oozes positiveness and inspires all that come in contact with him. Paul Rega recently released 12 Steps To Freedom and the very much talked about Trail of 32, a true story of a youthful spirit that new not of defeat, which is receiving very high acclaim. I could envisage Trail of 32 as a great movie which will touch the hearts of all who watch it…
Paul Rega began his writing career in 1980 while attending Western Illinois University as a staff reporter for the Western Courier. Upon graduating with a degree in biology and journalism, he spent the next thirty years in business having started an executive search firm in 1984. His passion for writing stayed with him throughout his business life, and he started writing his first book in 1993. He published, How To Find A Job: When There Are No Jobs in December 2011. The book was an instant success, and hit #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list for job hunting books in March 2012. He published 12 Steps to Freedom in August 2013 and Trail of 32, a true coming of age story in September 2013. Paul lives in a small town along the Gulf Coast of Florida, where he is working on his next book.
SHUTTING DOWN MY RECRUITING BUSINESS even for a few days was always a difficult task for me. Owning a small business for nearly 23 years was gruelling enough. Taking a vacation and trying to mentally check out from the demands of my business was extremely difficult. It was late October and the fall season was fast approaching. There was usually a day or two during this time of the year, when the weather would cooperate and I’d be able to get away to fish and reflect on my hectic life.
Indian summer had not yet arrived and I began to think it would never come, but the weatherman miraculously changed his forecast at the last minute to a sunny, 75°F day. I would have to act quickly, as I was sure another day like the one predicted would not come again until next year. It would be perfect fishing weather and I was determined to go and try to rejuvenate my work torn mind and body.
I was particularly excited about the prospect of a fishing trip this year, as I had missed my annual outing to the river the year before, because of a difficult time I was having with my family. Earlier in the week, when the unpredictable Midwestern weather didn’t seem to be cooperating, I started to think about what other options I might have to get away on a fishing trip before another harsh winter set in. I began to have visions of my previous fishing trips in the warm gulf waters of the Florida Keys once again. I had taken a much needed trip a few years back in February 2002, in an attempt to cope with a difficult family situation, and avoid a burnout from the rigors of my business. My dream had always been to be in Florida, sitting on a beach somewhere in the Keys, writing a book.
The Keys had always been a place for me to go where I could gather my thoughts and connect with my father, who had passed away a number of years ago. In an effort to cope with my life, and recharge my internal batteries, I decided to take the trip alone and reflect on my life’s future. This was unusual for me, as I have a relatively large family of four boys and we would normally travel together. This particular year however, had been much different from the past and some time alone was exactly what I needed to save my sanity, and potentially my marriage.
We had lost our only daughter, Jennifer, in the summer of August 1998, in a tragic car accident, and our family was never quite the same afterwards. Jenny was not my wife’s biological child and she did not live with us at the time of her accident. My wife did not quite understand the pain and extreme level of emotion I was feeling. It was having a negative impact on my ability to function or even run my company.
Relieved by my decision to take a fishing trip by myself, I was still somewhat lonely and missed my family. Nonetheless, I was determined to enjoy myself on my vacation while writing my book and trying to relax in the warmth of the Keys. I decided to explore an expansive white sandy beach in a beautiful state park called Bahia Honda. The warm clear blue ocean waters and sound of the gentle surf began to calm my soul. This incredible park is located on Bahia Honda Key, approximately eight miles south of the town of Marathon and Key Vaca. To get to the park via automobile, you need to cross an enormous bridge that spans nearly seven miles into the ocean, before coming to rest on another small island and piece of the Keys. If you’re heading south toward Key West, the “Seven Mile” bridge, as it is called, is situated between the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west.
The Keys are literally comprised of hundreds of tiny islands, the largest of which are connected by several man-made bridges and are primarily made up of coral deposits. As a result, very few natural beaches are present in this part of Florida. A much older bridge, that was originally built in 1912, as an overseas railway by industrialist Henry Flagler, runs parallel with the newer more modern bridge. Large sections of the original bridge were destroyed by a massive hurricane that killed hundreds of people in the Keys on Labor Day, in 1935.
I fished for the first time in the Florida Keys on that trip; somewhat ironic since my father had owned a townhouse for many years in Marathon on Key Vaca. I didn’t catch many fish despite having an excellent guide, but I came to admire the beauty and serenity of the backcountry. The pristine blue waters and the thousands of exotic birds that often congregate in the shallows of the Keys were magical. I had dreamed of going to Africa for many years, and as I sped across the crystal blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico and parts of the Everglades in my 16 foot skiff, piloted by Captain Charlie Owens; I was in Africa that day.
As I sat on the beach trying to relax on a cheap lounge chair I had bought at Wal-Mart for ten dollars, I felt the warm white sand between my toes and a gentle breeze start to caress my face. I soaked up an abundance of sun and began to visualize leaving my business and writing full-time. I was on a special mission during that trip, as I was trying to prove to myself that I could write and relax at the same time. I was anxious to try my hand at backcountry fishing. Both writing and fishing have always been passions of mine, and unless I scheduled time to do either one of them, often constraints due to my business and family life seemed to get in the way. That particular trip to Florida had special significance and meaning for me, and I was sure it would be one I would remember for the rest of my life.
A Midwestern fishing trip, like the one I was beginning to plan for, nearly always eluded me. This year however was somehow different and no matter what, I was determined to go. The previous destination for my trip was the VermilionRiver in a beautiful part of South Central Illinois. It’s a rather unusual river as it flows north on its journey to meet up with the Illinois River. The fact that the Vermilion runs north is a feat shared with only a few other rivers in the world, one such being the great Nile of Egypt. The Vermilion is a very old river as its many twists and turns are evidence of the time spent cutting through its rocky and sandstone banks. Many miles of beautiful and untamed sections of whitewater rapids and pristine wooded shoreline dotted with massive boulders, can be seen having been deposited by the last great Ice Age. Wildlife is abundant, while any real industry is rare, and not a single house can be seen for many miles at a stretch.
As a young boy, my father would take me canoeing and fishing at the river and we would often camp along its lush wooded banks. He loved the area so much that he would later purchase a small farm on the river above the dam near Streator, Illinois. He used it as a refuge to get away from the demands of his own business. My trips to the Vermilion during later years of my life were often bitter sweet after my father’s passing in June of 1997. My memories of him and our many times together, either fishing or canoeing the river, lay heavy on my mind. I missed being with him. My personal trips to the river as an adult were a time and opportunity for me to reflect on my own life and the challenges that lay ahead of me on my own journey.
An area of the river where I planned on fishing during this trip had a very significant and special meaning to me. It was also rife with a vivid memory of a near tragedy. My father and I had been canoeing the river many years ago, when I was only nine years old. The river seemed rather high for that time of the year and the water was moving at a very fast pace. I was wearing a bulky, oversized lifejacket my father had purchased from a Navy supply store. I think he thought the bigger the better, but I remember not being able to move or even paddle very well. He had added an extra level of security by tying a half inch piece of rope around my back and securing it with a large square knot in the front of the jacket.
The military issued lifejacket was very constricting, but I was sure it would hold me up in the water and probably one other person should I fall into the raging rapids. It had only been my second time down the river and I could sense a certain amount of concern on my father’s face. He was desperately trying to keep our canoe afloat as we dodged numerous rocks and submerged boulders. I recall his anguish as he commented that the river was a lot higher than he had originally thought and the current was moving faster than he could ever remember.
My father was an expert canoeist and former Boy Scout, having canoed numerous rivers across the country including the Vermilion and several others in Illinois. For whatever reason, he decided to run a rapid on the far left side of the river in an area known as the Rock Garden. I think he wanted me to experience the thrill of running a real rapid. Strewn across entire sections of this part of the river are numerous jagged rocks and massive boulders, some partially exposed. When the water is higher than normal, the Rock Garden can be rather treacherous and deadly, as many a canoeist, both novice and experienced, have discovered over the years.
My father had purchased a Voyageur canoe that had fallen off a delivery truck and was severely damaged. He was able to buy it for a reasonable price and quickly learned how to repair it with fiberglass. The canoe was maroon in color, and the bow and stern of the boat rose up and curved at the top resembling an Indian birch bark canoe. It was unlike any canoe I had ever seen. Its extra wide body and keel were well suited for whitewater and almost never tipped. Over the years, the canoe would take on a new dimension and weight, as we would need to repair it after several bouts with the Vermilion. The canoe became so heavy due to all its repairs and added amounts of fiberglass, that it would take four men just to carry it to the launch site near Englehaupt’s property.
On a previous trip with my father, Mr. Englehaupt, who lived in one of the few homes on the banks of the Vermilion warned us that if you’re not familiar with this river or are a novice canoeist, this section can be very dangerous during times of high water and should be avoided. He was right, and we were just about to run this part of the river and try to navigate through some of its most treacherous rapids! I began to feel my heart beat faster as we got nearer to the Rock Garden. I could see and hear the water swirling and crashing violently against the rocks. My father yelled to me, “Get down on your knees, Paul, stay low and paddle!” Because I was in the front of the canoe, I could see clearly as we approached what appeared to be a massive amount of whitewater and a five to six foot drop off. We were heading straight into the center of this incredible whirlpool of swirling whitewater.
The front of our canoe hit the rapids first and we began to drop off the edge of the waterfall. I heard a loud crash as the bottom of the canoe scrapped hard against the rocks below the surface and the fiberglass began to buckle. Our canoe shook violently from side to side and just as I thought we were about to tip over, my father steadied our canoe and we continued to move swiftly through the rapid. Then, without any warning, there was a loud crushing noise followed by an eerie almost deadening sound of what must have been solid rock ripping through the bottom of our canoe. As our small craft came to an abrupt stop in the middle of the raging rapids, it began to shake more violently as waves crashed hard against its sides. With our canoe on the verge of being eaten alive by the rapids, I heard my father cry out in pain. When I looked back at him, to my horror I saw a steady flow of his fresh blood clearly visible against the gray bottom of our canoe. His left knee had been split open from a jagged rock that that had punctured a section of our boat where he had been kneeling.
We were now being held in place by a large jagged rock in the middle of a churning mass of whitewater. The rock had just ripped a gaping hole in our canoe severely injuring my father. His face was grimacing with what had to be excruciating pain. His massive body and tired arms tried desperately to keep our small canoe afloat. He yelled to me, “Stay low, and don’t panic!” I don’t remember panicking, but I was worried about my dad and wondered how we would manage not to sink and be swept down river in only our lifejackets. Even at nine years old, I was a pretty good swimmer, but questioned my ability to swim with any chance of survival in these types of waters.
As more and more water rushed in from the large rip in the bottom of our canoe, huge whitecaps crashed over the sides completely soaking our bodies in cold river water, threatening to sink us. I could feel our canoe begin to shake violently once again as my father desperately tried to free it from the grips of the rock that had punctured our boat, and ravished his knee. Suddenly, I heard another loud scrapping noise and our boat catapulted forward and was finally free from the grips of the rocks. My father yelled to me, “Bail Paul, bail!” I quickly dropped my paddle into the canoe and began to frantically bail the water out of our nearly swamped boat with a plastic milk container.
Our only hope to survive this incredible mishap was to try and make a quick sharp turn across the river and shoot for the right bank. I could see that the left bank of the river was completely washed out by the high water and there was no sign of dry ground. A massive concrete and steel bridge that spans across the Vermilion at this section of the river has hash marks on its immense columns, indicating the height of water in the river. As we came closer to the bridge, I could see that the river was well past the six-foot marker on the columns, nearly reaching the seven-foot mark, an extremely dangerous water level for this river. At an eight-foot level, the Vermilion looks like a branch of the Colorado River.
As we desperately tried to keep our canoe afloat, I thought that if we missed getting out of the river at this point, we might be washed further downstream without much hope of getting out for several miles. I was worried about my father’s knee and his ability to continue paddling. If we were to save ourselves, we would have to safely steer our small canoe around the massive bridge columns, make a sharp right turn and head for the far right bank of the river. Not a very easy task with a boat nearly filled with water and my father’s severe injury. Still kneeling, he tried desperately to stop the profuse bleeding from the gash in his knee by wrapping his drenched shirt around his wound. As he applied pressure, I could see his face grimace in pain. It was a first aid technique I’m sure he must have learned while in the Boy Scouts. It was apparent that he was in agony and was the only one paddling, as I continued my desperate attempts at bailing. With each movement forward, our canoe continued to take on more river water. The water rushed in through what appeared to be two large jagged rips in the bottom of our canoe.
As I struggled to bail, mustering every ounce of energy left in my body, I could hear my father groan in pain as I felt our weighted down canoe start to slowly turn toward the right bank with each powerful thrust from his paddle. His last orders to me on the river were, “Stop bailing, Paul, now paddle, paddle hard!” Somehow through our incredible determination to save our lives, my father and I were able to make it safely to the other side of the river without sinking and being swept down the VermilionRiver. It’s a vivid memory of how determination, teamwork and the sheer will to live, which saved our lives that I will never forget. I often reflect on this amazing tale of courage, as I continue to fish and canoe that very part of the river as an adult.
END OF EXCERPT.
Titles by Paul Rega… An international bestselling author who is a great support to all who cross his path. Paul Rega’s determination and motivation in all that he does knows no boundaries…
Please pop over to Author Jude Ouvrard blog where Paul Rega’s NEW RELEASE continues with another fantastic EXCERPT of this much talked about true story TRAIL OF 32: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.judeouvrard.com%2Fmeet-paul-rega&h=NAQHtTzUp
NEW RELEASE: “The Bones Will Tell” by the very talented author, Vickie McKeehan…
A serial killer has the city of Seattle gripped in fear. As his bloody total continues to mount, Skye Cree gets dragged into the mix by her longtime friend, homicide detective Harry Drummond. Desperate for leads Harry hopes Skye’s special gift for locating missing children might be the answer. When Skye brings in Josh Ander, together they’ll face the most cunning adversary they have yet to hunt. As weeks turn into months, as the number of victims continues to climb, Josh’s vivid dreams of the crime scenes are the only key to unlocking the mind of a killer. But can Skye and Josh turn the tables fast enough when the unstoppable killer decides to come after her? Especially when the best clue they have is the revelation that—the bones will tell.
Six months earlier
His first taste for killing happened when he was eight. On a visit to his grandparents’ farm, he’d snared a rabbit in a trap he’d built himself. He’d taken out his trusty Swiss Army knife then and there and slit its throat right before he’d skinned it.
But that had been twenty years ago. Since then he’d graduated to bigger and better rabbits. He chuckled at his own joke as he made another pass on foot, past the house where the blonde lived who he’d been spying on for the better part of a week.
He’d already been inside her townhouse. He knew her name was Carrie Bennington and that she lived alone, except for the occasional men she brought home for pleasure and companionship, always on the weekends. He smiled. Carrie didn’t have to worry too much longer about whether she would be alone or not, or how she spent her time, or how dedicated she was at her job as an administrative assistant.
Because the clock ticked and the Grim Reaper waited for Carrie like a long lost friend, or maybe it was a nice friendly labradoodle. Either way, he’d picked Carrie after she’d caught his eye at the marketplace and he’d followed her home. That had been a week ago last Saturday. He’d waited until that Monday morning after she’d left for work before he’d picked the lock on her sliding glass door and slipped inside. That had been the first time, the neighbors none the wiser. So much for the neighborhood watch program.
Because he was good at climbing, athletic and lean, he didn’t let things like a two-story apartment building dissuade him from getting at his quarry, not if he really wanted to get inside. He’d been a long distance runner in high school and still kept in shape. But even so, he liked to keep it simple. He preferred it when his victims had the good sense to own their own homes. Like Carrie who lived in a stylish two-story townhouse with an undersized courtyard.
He’d spent hours there going through her closets, her dresser drawers, even her refrigerator. He’d used her bathroom. After all, when the urge to take a dump hit a guy, he had to go.
Every day this week he’d spent some time in Carrie’s home. He’d watched. He’d waited. That’s how he knew what time she left for work each morning, what time she unlocked her front door every evening, and where she picked up men during happy hour on Friday and Saturday nights.
He knew she kept a vibrator in her nightstand, the one on the left hand side of the bed. He knew which store she’d purchased her last pair of underwear from.
It excited him that he could come and go as he liked. He touched the ring he carried inside the pocket of his hoodie, the ring he’d taken from her jewelry box, some dime-store trinket he’d known when he took it that she’d never miss. The ring kept him focused, had for a week. Not that he needed incentive or purpose to think of what he wanted to do to Carrie. But the ring was a reminder that he could come and go in her things, get inside the place where she should’ve been the safest whenever he needed or wanted.
Standing under the light from a street lamp, he watched as Carrie’s bedroom light went out right on schedule. Ten-thirty. He shook his head. One thing about Carrie, she was dependable. He walked to the end of the block, sliding into the shadows of the alley behind her co-op. When he reached the six-foot fence, he took the time to stretch on a pair of gloves. He had help vaulting over the barrier by using crates he’d had the forethought to stack along the alleyway beforehand.
In the backyard, he took out his penlight. He went over to the little outdoor shed Carrie used as a greenhouse, found the metal pipe he’d spotted there a week earlier. He hefted the weight onto his shoulder and stepped to the sliding glass door. He didn’t need the tool to break the glass. Only amateurs made too much noise. And he was no novice at B&E or killing. No, he had another use in mind for the heavy rod. From the inside of his pocket, he took out his mask, pulled it down over his head. He pulled out his picklock and went to work on the door he’d already breached once before.
Inside the living room, he scanned the area using the beam of light. Even though he had familiarized himself with the location of the sofa, the coffee table, the bookcase—which wall held the flat-screen television, which side of the room had the fireplace—he still took his time until his eyes adjusted. But knowing the layout made it easier for him to make his way to the staircase in short order. He managed to avoid the steps that creaked along the way up and kept to the path that allowed him the art of surprise.
When he stepped into Carrie Bennington’s bedroom and stood over her sleeping form, he paused long enough to appreciate her golden hair, her soft skin, her long neck. By the time he placed his hand over her mouth it was too late. He thrilled at the terror he saw reflected in her green eyes. Not only that, but it excited him to know his face would be the last one she’d ever see.
Vickie is the author of six novels, including The Evil Trilogy and the Pelican Pointe series. She’s a hardcore lover of books who grew up listening to her mother tell fascinating stories about ghosts and other tales full of characters she wasn’t sure ever really existed.
A self-proclaimed beachgoer and ocean-lover, she lives in Southern California with the love of her life. When she isn’t working on her next manuscript or screenplay, she loves to be outdoors.
In her spare time she tries to grow things which other people commonly refer to as gardening. She loves reading all kinds of books, both fiction and non-fiction, loves to play video games, and enjoys watching football with the hubby. If you’ve ever read any of her books, you know she’s a die-hard Raider fan, which means she has the patience of Job.
She lives for chocolate, but then who doesn’t? She’ll kill for a cup of coffee in the morning. She’s convinced the best food on earth is French fries. And she could easily be a vegetarian if it wasn’t for bacon
Guest post by author Jude Ouvrard:
Jude Ouvrard is a very talented author and friend. Jude is a true workaholic! Like myself she is the mother to a four year old and maintaining a full-time job whilst writing in her spare time, one can only respect the dedication of this wonderful lady… I am very honoured to have Jude here today at dawnsdaily studios. Here you can read all about her new release, “Under the Sun” which is now available on Amazon.
Author bio :
Jude was born and raised in a small village named Lacolle. She now lives in Montreal, Canada. She is the proud mother of a beautiful four year old son, and has spent the last twelve years with her partner, Cedric.
French is her native language, but she prefers to write in her second language, English.
Besides working full time for a Title Insurance Company and being a mother, Jude has a passion for books, both reading and writing them.
Her first novella, Under the Sun is coming out at the end of July. It will be part of a beach reads called Heat Wave. Her second novella, Wonderland, will be out in September and its part of a Fall anthology. Both will be published with Renaissance Romance publishing.
Tracey Howard has put her life on hold for years to care for her ailing grandmother. Now that her grandmother has passed away, Tracey decides to spend summer at the beach and reflect on where she wants life to take her next. Jackson Phillips is her new neighbor, and he dazzles her from the first moment they meet. Will Jackson be able to show Tracey how to let go of old pain and embrace future happiness?
It might have been my imagination, but when our eyes met, I felt something stirring inside me. I stared at her, wondering what had just happened, and I could still feel the tingling warmth on my skin. There was something between us, but I didn’t know quite what. Everything felt right, like we were supposed to be together.
Tracey looked away, breaking our connection. “Do you need help with anything?”
“Nope. Everything’s ready.” Even though I could have stared at her all night, I didn’t want to ruin the evening. So I turned my attention to our dinner and got the bruschetta and the garlic bread on the table.
“Mmm, it looks delicious, chef.” Tracey laughed. She had quite the spirit, and unlike so many women, she didn’t appear to be complicated.
When I placed the shrimp Alfredo linguini on the table, Tracey literally licked her lips. “I think I might join you for dinner every night. It smells so good.”
“I would love that,” I replied. “The company would be nice.”
Tracy was unsettling to me, causing me to lose tact and intelligence.
For the most part, we ate in silence. Often I found myself just staring at her, like she was going to run away if I wasn’t watching her. I’d remembered her features from the first time I saw her, but she seemed different now, almost serene and calm. The first time I’d met her, I had seen the love and devotion for Mrs. Howard in her eyes, but now they were tired and sad. Regardless of how beautiful I thought she looked tonight, I wanted to be able to change that for her, to bring happiness to her eyes.
The first time I’d seen Tracey, her blond hair had been a lot shorter, too. It had reached just below her ears, but now, it hung down to the middle of her back. She’d been wearing yoga pants with a Hello Kitty T-shirt. At the time, I thought it was adorable, young and fun, but tonight she looked more mature and sexy. She was perfect.
“Earlier, you mentioned that you’re here for the summer.” It was the best way I could think to start a conversation.
“Yeah. I needed some time away from home. The past few years have been rough. What about you?”
Rough? What did Tracey mean? But instead of pushing her to clarify, I heard myself rambling out an answer to her question. “I’m here for the summer, too, but I might have to leave on a few business trips.”
“Oh, that’s great. I took a couple months off work. Believe me, I needed it.”
“Do you mind me asking why?”
“Oh, sure. I can’t just give you little pieces here and there and not tell you everything. I spent the last few years taking care of my grandmother. She passed away recently. Beth had Alzheimer’s, and by the end, she was so lost inside herself. She could remember the house where she grew up in Salt Lake City, but she couldn’t remember who I was. It’s a terrible disease. She lost all her knowledge and independence. Even simple things like going to the bathroom or changing her clothes were a challenge.
“Sometimes, Beth thought I was her sister Amanda. And there were days when she thought I was her caregiver. Those days were the worst; she didn’t want help, and she thought she was doing just fine, so I had to deal with her constant mood swings and irritability. Oh, and the language that came out of her mouth? Well, let’s just say that my grandmother wouldn’t have used those words.
GUEST POST BY AUTHOR: TRACY KAUFFMAN:
Today I have the great pleasure of introducing you to the talented author, TRACY KAUFFMAN. Tracy is a Christian Fiction author of Children and Young Adult books. She is from North Alabama and has an associates degree. Writing books has been Tracy’s life’s dream from an early age. Tracy Kauffman is a fiction author from North AL. She has an associates degree in Applied Science of Nursing. She works part time as a registered nurse. She is married and has two children. As an author, Tracy wants to write stories that will edify, encourage and be decent for children and young adults. She graduated Calhoun College with a Degree in applied science. She works at a nursing home with some fantastic elderly folks who inspire her. She loves hearing their interesting stories and often jokes that she has several mothers and fathers there. She wants to bring joy to the world today by her books. She enjoys writing fiction fantasy books for young adults and children stories.
Southern Attraction was written as a reminder of the devastating tornadoes that blast through Alabama in April of 2011. After seeing the tornado destruction from my own eyes, losing power, seeing lives changed, I decided to write this book.
Southern Attraction is a young adult romance book about a girl who loses her parents and is forced to live with a redneck uncle from Alabama. There she has to choose between two young men that she likes. Will she choose true love or a lifestyle that she is accustomed to.
Heather has everything she ever wanted; money, clothes, friends, popularity and parents that adored her. Until one terrible day, she loses it all. She is uprooted from a place she loves to a small town in Alabama with a uncle she doesn’t know. The small town of Huckleburg was nothing like Manhattan. Country rednecks owned the town and no one accepted Yankees from New York. Heather didn’t think things could get worse until a tornado comes and blast through the small town. Heather has to lose herself to rediscover what life is all about. She meets two guys that she can’t decide between who she really wants. Join Heather as she discovers that there is more to life than money and fame. Will Heather ever fit in and find true love or will she stay an outsider living in the south.
“Uncle Mick, something is wrong with my television. Can you fix it?” she yelled through the walls to Mick. Within seconds she heard an alarm sounding. “What in the —-”, she said. Her bedroom door came flinging open and Mick ran inside. “Heather, there’s a tornado warning going on. We got to head to the storm pit!” he exclaimed.
“What?” Heather questioned. “I said come on,” Mick said as he grabbed her arm and pulled her behind him. Heather didn’t know what to think. She had never been in a place where tornadoes ever doomed the city, so she just followed Mick’s lead..
As Mick opened the front door, Heather was stunned to see the sky so dark. It had only been a few minutes that she drove into the driveway with a clear sky. Now suddenly a dark cloud hovered overhead. Heather and Mick ran toward the back of the house. Heather started to worry when she saw a cement looking building carved into the ground. Mick grabbed the door handle and pulled it.
“Get inside quick or we are going to be blown away!” he exclaimed. Heather could hear a roaring sound like a strong wind approaching them. She turned to look at the sky when she saw a funnel shaped cloud in the distance. Suddenly, fear came over her and she didn’t know what to say or do. Mick pushed her inside, and he pulled the door closed. Then he latched the door closed. “What are we going to do?” she cried.
“Don’t worry, we are safe in here. I’ve been through several of these storms in the past and everything will be fine,” Mick said, trying to console her. Mick tried to act calm for Heather’s sake but deep down he was terrified. He was worried that the tornado was going to blow the door off the storm pit, and they were going to be sucked out into the twister. He had been fortunate in the past to escape a tornado’s fury, when it ravaged his neighbor’s farm and left his untouched. He wasn’t convinced that this time, he would be as lucky.
Mick’s words of encouragement did nothing to calm Heather’s nerves. She was more scared than she ever had been before. She didn’t know what to expect or what to think about the idea of a tornado approaching. That is something that she never had to experience living in Manhattan.
An extreme fear came over her and she was in shock. Yes, her parents’ passing had traumatized her, but she never felt this type of terror and doom before in her life. She was afraid that this could end her life and Mick’s and she wasn’t ready to leave this world yet. She felt her life was just beginning.
She hadn’t lived the life that she always wanted to live. Mick could see the panic in Heather’s eyes and by the expression on her face. Mick heard Heather mumbling something that he couldn’t make out. Then he saw her close her eyes as if she were praying. She cried as she asked God to forgive her and to protect her and Mick from the storm. Heather wasn’t a religious girl but she believed in a higher power. She believed in God as a creator of all things. She knew that now was the best time to make her peace with God, because she didn’t know if she would make it to live another day.
Then suddenly without warning they both heard loud noises coming from outside. Heather heard a crash like something had been hit by a fast moving train. Then she head a hard thud and some clattering and crashing sounds. Her body could feel vibrations through the ground and the walls.
“Lord, I don’t want to die, please help us God,” she cried. Trying to keep his emotions to himself, Mick reached out to hug Heather. She held her uncle tightly hoping that the storm would soon be over.
The vibrations from the ground grew stronger while the deafening booming sounds got louder and louder. Then all of the sudden, there was a complete silence. The storm had only lasted a few minutes, but it felt like an eternity to Heather. After everything became quiet, Heather fell to her knees and began to sob.
“Heather it’s over, don’t worry,” Mick said. Mick was concerned and worried what kind of terror was going on inside of her head. He could see her distress, but he didn’t know what to do, except hold her until she stopped crying. He was hoping that he could regain his own composure in the process.
“Everything will be alright, I promise,” he consoled.
After sitting on the concrete floor for several minutes, Heather finally quit shaking. After seeing Heather come back to herself, Mick leaped up off the concrete floor and went to open the door to the outside. The sky began to lighten and he walked outside to look around. Heather slowly got up on her feet and crept outside. She was taken back at the sight she saw before her eyes. A pile of rubble sat where the house once stood. All she could see was a dirty field full of debris. Their furniture and possessions looked like garbage, scattered across the ground.
“Are you okay,” Mick asked. “Yes, I’ll be fine,” Heather replied. After climbing over a pile of of wood Mick said, “Look, your car is over there and there is my truck. Maybe they are drivable.” “I guess things could be worse. At least we weren’t injured,” Mick said as he surveyed the area. “How can you say that? You lost everything in that terrible storm. Don’t you care that we are both now homeless?” Heather asked with frustration. “I know you are upset, but we’ll figure something out. ”Heather couldn’t understand why Mick was so calm and unemotional. He has lost his mind or something, she thought.
Mick walked over to his truck and tried to crank it. The truck started up without a hitch. “Come on Heather, let’s go see if someone might need our help.” Heather was still a little shaken up and confused when she followed Mick to his truck and climbed inside. Mick started to drive down the gravel road leading away from his farm when they observed a horrendous sight. They both were astounded at what they saw before their eyes. They looked around as Mick drove and they saw piles of debris scattered along the road and fields. They noticed the path of destruction was over several miles and only a few homes were left untouched.
“It is weird but it looks like the tornado picked it’s targets,” Heather said. “I see what you mean. Some houses are left and others are completely gone. It even cleared out all the trees, ”Mick replied. Mick pulled over to the side of the road by a mound of rubble. He jumped out of the truck and ran over to where a house once stood. “Is there anyone in there?” he yelled.
Please help us!” Noises came from underneath the wood fragments. Mick ran to the debris and started pulling off planks of wood and garbage. “Come help me!” Mick exclaimed as he motioned for Heather. Heather quickly hurried to help Mick pull off the jagged and sharp boards from the heap of rubble. “Be careful, these have nails in them,” Mick instructed. Finally, Mick could see an older couple peering out from underneath the wreckage. He dug faster but carefully trying not to injure them. At last, an elderly man and woman climbed out from underneath. “Thank you! Thank God, you came. We don’t know how long we would have been under there,” the man said. Heather could see how glad the man and woman were that they were rescued. Suddenly Heather felt good that she was able to help the couple. After checking for injuries, Mick told the couple that they were going to look for other people who needed help. They waved goodbye as they quickly drove down the rode. So many people were out examining the area looking for survivors and anyone that was trapped.
Heather saw steel power lines snapped in two. Cars and trucks were turned upside down on their axles. Huge trees were uprooted and pulled up from the ground with the roots lying on top of the ground. Cement slabs were robbed of the houses that once stood on their surfaces. Shreds of cloth that once resembled clothing lay on the ground. Pieces of twisted tin were wrapped around trees that still stood amongst the wreckage.
Heather was grieved at what she saw. She marveled at what had become of the town.
Facebook Fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/TracyKauffmanFictionAuthor?ref=hl
NEW RELEASE: CASSIDY JONES and the SEVENTH ATTENDENT:
A police car screamed past me as I veered off Fifth Avenue and into an alley. Sirens came from every direction on their way to the museum. I ran until I was sure no one was pursuing me and slid into the shadows of a doorway to assess the damage. A small cry of panic tore from my throat when I saw the ravaged costume, spotted with blood. I had been shot so many times, it was a miracle I hadn’t been cut in half.
“No, no, no, no,” I chanted, worming a trembling finger into a bullet hole. Due to the hardness of my skin, I couldn’t feel anything through my numbed fingertips, so I ripped away the costume and lifted the black tank underneath, exposing my stomach, which was peppered with bullets. They reminded me of corks lodged in wine bottles. Small amounts of blood burbled up around the bullets, as if they plugged a dam.
Tears of relief smarted my eyes. This was one of those rare occasions when I was grateful to be a mutant.
“It’s going to be okay. These can be removed. I’ll heal.” I dried my eyes with my forearm and suddenly realized I couldn’t hear Emery in the earpiece, nor the background noise of the coffeehouse. We had somehow lost our phone connection. I retrieved my phone and punched the speed dial.
“Are you all right?” Emery answered. The sounds of sirens,the museum’s alarm, talking, shouting, and a police officer on a megaphone flowed through the receiver along with his voice. “Cassidy,” he said again when I didn’t answer.
“I don’t know what to do.” I wiped back a sudden flood of tears with the tattered sleeve of my mummy costume. “My head’s scrambled. I can’t think straight.”
“Do you know where you are?”
“Yeah.” I glanced around. “No. I’m not sure. It’s weird that I can’t feel any pain. I should feel pain.”
“Cassidy, listen carefully,” Emery said slowly and calmly,which meant he wasn’t calm at all. “You’re only four blocks from Riley’s office—”
“How do you know—” I began to ask, then remembered GPS. I struck my forehead with my palm in an attempt to clear the haze.
“You’ll be fine,” Emery soothed. “I’ll take care of you. Please concentrate.”
He explained how to get to the back of Riley’s building through alleys, avoiding the main streets. I would have known this if I could think properly.
“There are a lot of people on the streets now, so take care not to be seen. I’m only two blocks away from Riley’s office. I’ll let you in through the emergency exit in back. Everything will be fine, Cassidy. This is almost over. Repeat back to me everything I just told you.”
I tried but couldn’t. The bullets felt heavy in my stomach. A horrifying thought struck me: What if my skin suddenly softens and the bullets get swallowed up in my flesh?
“Hurry, Emery.” I disconnected the call and shot toward the street. We need to get these bullets out of me!
At the street, I looked around, recognizing where I was—or believing I did. Spying an alley, I ran across the street toward it, leaping over a parked car. I saw two men and a woman in the alley ahead. One man held a switchblade to the other man’s throat while the woman riffled through his pockets. I moved so fast, none of them saw me until the mugger with the switchblade was yanked off his feet by the back of his jacket collar.
“Help!” he screamed as I dragged him behind me, arms flailing, boot heels bumping along the asphalt.
I emerged from the alley into a street bustling with activity and flung the mugger toward an oncoming police car. Lights flashing,siren blaring, the police car screeched to a halt and the mugger hit the hood,tumbling over it with the switchblade still gripped in his hand.
I jammed the cell phone between my teeth and took a flying leap at the nearest building, catching a windowsill on the second floor. I scaled the protruding bricks as swiftly as a spider scurrying up a wall and heaved myself over the ledge and onto the roof. Pausing to catch my breath, I spat the phone into my hand and looked down. A small crowd had gathered below to gape at me.
The dazed mugger, sprawled atop the police car, dropped his switchblade, which clattered across the hood and onto the asphalt. The officer in the passenger’s seat stared up at me with a radio microphone to his mouth,but his lips weren’t moving, as if he were at a loss about how to call in what he had just witnessed.
Elise Stokes lives in Washington State, with her husband and four children. This is third book in the Cassidy Jones Adventures. CASSIDY JONES AND THE SECRET FORMULA and CASSIDY JONES AND THE VULCAN’S GIFT are the first two books in the series. Young adults all over the world have become hooked on the Cassidy Jones series you only have to read all the views on Amazon to see what an incredible success Cassidy Jones has become worldwide. The story is also full of values such, as strenght of mind, courage and integrity key values for young adults alike.
TO BUY BOOK FOLLOW THE LINKS:
US LINK: http://amzn.to/11hDG1J
UK LINK : http://amzn.to/12UMgI7
Blog tour – little nani revisited…
Thank you for visiting this wonderful blog today so you can know a bit more about Little Nani, her stories, her world, and her author. OK, her author is not as interesting as Little Nani, but what can we do? They go hand in hand, so please bear with her.
Why are we here today? Because Little Nani is suffering a series of changes. “The Funny Adventures of Little Nani” was published for the first time last September 2012, both in print and in ebook form, on Amazon and Createspace. However, along the months, I started feeling less enthusiastic about my book, thinking that the cover was dull and boring, and also thinking that the stories could be improved, maybe going through some extra editing and proofing. So that’s what I did, and now I am much happier about the result and I trust that I will start getting many more sales. Why? Because I will make the books available not only on Amazon and Createspace, but also on Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and Feed-A-Read.
There will be also many different options to buy the books. Do you want to buy the whole set of stories? You can do it. Do you want to buy just some stories, the ones you think you would like? You can do it too, since I will publish the stories individually on Smashwords. So you see, different options to match different customers, different readers.
Once all this is settled and the books are republished on all those retailers, I will start to do the same process with the second book in the Little Nani series, which will be available next Fall.
Follow the whole blog tour since I will be announcing all the news in the different blogs!
Little Nani is a little girl who likes helping people. However, when she helps people the results can be a bit unexpected. Why is that? Little Nani is a witch! Or at least she wants to be a witch. With her magic wand, she will try to cast different spells to help her friends, but she won’t be successful all the time.
Follow Little Nani in her funny adventures and meet her extraordinary friends. Funny ostriches, horses that love reading, super-fast turtles, grumpy zombies… Little Nani has lots of friends! You can also draw your own characters!
Little Nani is willing to become a good witch. Will she manage to do it? Who knows? Read the stories and discover what happens next!
Cinta Garcia de la Rosa is a Spanish writer who has loved the written word since She discovered she was able to read books at age 5. Since then, she has become a bookworm and reads around 100 books every year. She also writes, every day, compulsively, even in the middle of the night. You cannot control when inspiration hits you, can you? She writes in English because she is convinced that in a previous life she was British, so writing in English feels more natural to her than writing in her native language. Yes, she is crazy like that. Cinta Garcia is the author of “The Funny Adventures of Little Nani”, a collection of short stories for children, and “A Foreigner in London”, a short story published on Smashwords. She is a member of Independent Authors International (iAi).
Little Nani’s characters. Where do I get the ideas from? (And an excerpt).
First of all, thank you, Dawn, for hosting me on your blog and for giving me the chance to talk about my characters and where the ideas to create them come from. Well, the truth is that I use people I know and situations I live to create those characters. Obviously, the characters are not exactly the same as the real people, but some of them can be easily relatable (for the person who inspired me that character, of course).
Creating Little Nani was easy, since she is a reflection of myself. The two ostriches appeared on my mind as a funny contrast with Horse; I mean, if Little Nani’s friends wanted to ride a horse, then Little Nani should want to ride something more extravagant, just as extravagant as she is. So ostriches seemed a good choice, mainly because it was unexpected.
As for the rest of the characters, I guess I can tell a bit about their hidden story. I created the Caffeine-Addicted Zombie because all my online friends complained every single morning about how they were zombies until they got coffee. So they got in my book.
Mr. Henchick and the penguins were born after having a funny and awesome chat with my dear friend Peter Germany, in which he was telling me about his chickens and how they disliked going out when it was snowing. So I had to write a story about that.
The Double-Faced Boy was born after I discovered that a friend of mine was betraying my trust by telling lies about me. It is never a good idea to make a writer to be angry with you, because you can end up in their books. That’s what happened here. He was nasty to me, I turned him into a nasty character.
Captain Bendy Leg was born in an absurd and funny chat with my friend and writing buddy Dan Leicht (D.e.e.L). I asked him if I could use it in a story, he said yes, and voilà! Captain Bendy Leg got his own story.
So basically my friends, conversations, or experiences make me think of new characters, of new friends for Little Nani. Some others just pop in my head. Why? I don’t have a clue.
EXCERPT (From “Little Nani and the Flying Muffin”).
“How can you say that you are bored when I am reading to you one of the funniest books I have read in a long time?” said Horse in an exasperated tone. When Little Nani shrugged her shoulders, Horse had retreated to his favourite rocking chair in a corner of the room.
“Can I go out and make angels?” asked Little Nani, who was upside down, standing on her hands.
“Don’t be silly. You can only make angels in the snow, not in the rain,” said Horse without raising his eyes from the book.
“Can I go out and jump in the pools?” asked Little Nani, who was hopscotching all over the room.
“If you go out you will get soaking wet, and then you will catch a bad cold, and then you won’t be able to go out for a long time,” said the impatient horse. He didn’t like being interrupted while reading.
“Then I will cast a spell to make the sun come back,” said Little Nani, trying to take her magic wand out of her pocket while rolling on the floor. Big Billy, watching her efforts to take her magic wand out, and fearing that Little Nani could make the rain turn into a tempest, quickly pecked Little Nani’s hand.
“Ouch!” exclaimed Little Nani. “That hurt!”
She tried once more to take her magic wand from her pocket, but this time it was Skinny Nikki who pecked Little Nani’s hand.
“Ouch!” exclaimed Little Nani again.
It was pretty clear by now to Little Nani that she wasn’t going to have any fun that day. She thought that the rain was boring and, folding her arms with an angry look, she sat down in a corner.
Don’t forget to leave a comment, so you can enter the giveaway for the opportunity to win a signed copy of “The Funny Adventures of Little Nani”. If you leave comments in several blogs during the tour, you will get an entry for each comment. So don’t hesitate to comment!
Smashwords Author: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Austenite78
FEATURED TODAY: AUTHOR OF MCSWAIN & BECK SERIES: C.R. HIATT
I was so honoured when C.R. Hiatt author of the bestselling McSwain and Beck series agreed to a guest post here at Dawnsdaily virtual studio. Having read both of these books I can honestly say I am hooked, McSwain and Beck are two kick ass detectives that you will instantly bond with, throughout the story you will be gunning for them, laughing with them and feeling all of their emotions too. A beautifully written series by an author who is at the top of her game. I met this fabulous author quite sometime ago whilst networking throughout the social media circuit and we fast became friends along with a small group of indie authors. We then went on to form Thrills, Chills and Kills a promotional group formed by a group of like minded authors.
McSwain & Beck series on #SALE #99cents
CLICK HERE: To download “Gone at zero hundred” http://amzn.to/ZyKwov
CLICK HERE: To download “Fireworks On The 4th” http://amzn.to/11HtJhQ
Gone at Zero Hundred 00:00 and Fireworks on the 4th, both Amazon bestsellers in YA mystery-thrillers, are on sale for 99cents starting April 26 and ending at midnight on April 28. Get your copies now; then get ready for the third book in the series, Lethal Hostages, coming soon!
“High-octane, action-packed and quick-witted romp through the perilous underworld. Written in a vein similar to early James Patterson (his good stuff) the chapters are short and make you want to gobble them down.” ~ Goodreads Reviewer
“CR Hiatt weaves a complex tale of intrigue and suspense that grabbed me right away and never let go, right up to the climactic end” ~ Goodreads Reviewer
Detective Carter crept up the hills above an exclusive mansion keeping in the shadows to stay out of sight. One hand was firmly clasped around the 9mm Glock clipped at his hip. The other held the end of a Pelican LED police-issued flashlight which he used to guide his way. He followed the footprints noticeable in the mulch, size seven and ten if he had to take a guess. Sloppy for would-be prowlers looking to rob the place, or crazed killers carrying large weapons—at least that was the description given by the frantic woman when she phoned police dispatch after she spotted suspicious activity in the hills while she was jogging.
Hearing the sound, Carter whipped out his gun and waived his flashlight over the area. He noticed a camera perched on a tripod, peeking out through a row of bushes that was pointed toward a window on the second floor of the mansion.
A camera, that’s the large weapon the caller complained about?
“Ready, and action!” he heard a male voice say.
“Sutter Beach Police!” Carter moved the flashlight toward the voice; then pushed his way through a set of bushes to get a look. He shook his head at what he saw.
“McSwain & Beck, I should have known.” He put his gun back in the holster, and watched with an amused look on his face.
Cody was squatting down in the brush behind the camera, filming. He was painted in camouflage to blend in with the brush, and wore an ear piece with a built-in microphone.
He spoke into the mic. “Looking for two hotshot sleuths?” He veered the lens of the camera toward a set of branches high up on a tree.
That’s where I was, decked out in black Under Armour tights and a long-sleeve athletic shirt, with a ski-mask to hide my face. I was dangling upside down like a bat by a rope I affixed to the tree. I had my own camera zoomed in, and filming the escapades taking place inside the window of the mansion. After I got the footage I was looking for, I yanked on the rope, pulled myself upright and slithered back down.
Cody kept the camera on me until I hit the ground. Then, we posed in front of the camera with my face still hidden behind the mask.
Cody said into the camera, “Have a cheating spouse? Looking for a runaway teen? Need to verify facts, gather information, or have an employee take off with your funds?”
I added, “Or maybe you just need good old-fashioned surveillance services performed? No job is too big, or too small. Look no further, McSwain & Beck, the reluctant sleuths are here for you…”
Every minute was becoming a blur for Jaden. It was like being in the middle of a nightmare, only he couldn’t seem to wake up. After being questioned by Seth Bauer, he knew he wasn’t getting out anytime soon, and that he was being moved to a new location. The only positive news was that Syd and Cody were looking into it. That gave him hope. He knew they wouldn’t let up until he was home.
When the thug with the slash across his face waltzed into the room wearing an eerie smile, Jaden knew it was time…he was going to hell.
He was thrown into the back of a beat up truck with guards carrying AK-47s, and leather whips. By the looks and physical gestures they gave him, he knew he was in danger. He was an American in Mexico. He assumed some of them were gang members, or associates of cartels. The back of the vehicle slid shut, and the truck ambled down the road.
After a long, and excruciatingly hot and bumpy ride, the vehicle came to a stop. The back door slid open, and Carlos greeted him at the door.
“Bienvenido al camp de exterminio! … Salir en fila india,” he said, but followed it with an eerie cackle.
Jaden learned Spanish in school. He knew exactly what they were saying: “Welcome to the Death Camp!”
Another guard ordered him out of the vehicle. When he hesitated, he was met with a crack of the whip. He shuffled out the door. That’s when he got a look at his new hell. It wasn’t like any prison he had ever imagined. It was a large block of dilapidated sandstone with few windows, surrounded by a barbed wire fence, and patrolled by two armed guards. Beyond that it was miles and miles of desert sand. If he tried to escape, he would possibly die, and his skeletal remains wouldn’t be found for years. That is if the creatures of the desert left anything to find.
It had been a long time since Jaden had actually prayed, but he found himself silently pleading and begging for his life. There was still so much he wanted to do. “Please don’t let me die in this horrible place,” he said to himself.
The sound of a gunshot brought his attention back to Carlos who was dangerously waving the weapon in the air. They ordered him to put on a blindfold then he was ushered through the gate, and into the compound prison. They led him across several feet of open space, up a flight of stairs and then tossed him into a confined space. As they slammed the door behind him, he removed his blindfold.
He looked around his new dwelling, noticing all the little creatures that scurried along the floor. The walls and floors were concrete, the color of ash. It looked like the place had gone up in smoke, but was somehow left standing. The only way to go to the bathroom was by squatting over a hole in the floor.
For more info on CR HIATT:
REGRET NO MORE LAUNCH BY SEB KIRBY
Nothing is safe from the past
The mystery deepens as the tragic events in Florence return as a matter of life or death for James Blake and his family. A stolen Picasso used in an art swindle lies at the root of an international conspiracy that reaches into the life of a prominent US politician with devastating consequences not just for him but for so many of those caught up in the crime.
Wolfgang Heller, a ruthless assassin, is seeking to eliminate those who have any knowledge of the swindle. James has to leave the secure life he has established and become involved in this new threat to the future.
REGRET NO MORE combines thrilling action with a thought-provoking story line centred on international art crime.
REGRET NO MORE is the second book in the bestselling James Blake series of thrillers. The first, TAKE NO MORE has been widely praised for its innovative and knowledgeable depiction of art crime. The final book in the series, FEAR NO MORE, is to be published later this year.
Praise for TAKE NO MORE
‘I loved the inclusion of a more modern evil …. along with the search for lost classic art and the romantic tale of James Blake, who loved his wife very much…’
‘Kirby’s spare yet rich prose, his perfect word choices, made this a work that appeared to be effortlessly constructed. That seamlessness is the hallmark of a gifted writer.’
‘I really liked the main character, James Blake and his fearless pursuit of the truth.’
‘It was a few pages before I realized what I was reading: a sort of modern noir. I walked in the hero’s shoes, was privy to his thoughts and intruded on his emotions
‘Memorable characters with murder, organised crime, Italy and art….’
‘Mystery and the arts – a great combo. The art world depiction was fascinating….
‘From the first pages ‘Take No More’ held me enthralled and it delivered on every promise it made. It is a rich story set in a complex tapestry of characters and settings.’
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Seb-Kirby/e/B004J95W0G
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/Take.No.More
What attracted you to writing?
I was raised with books but not in the usual sense – my grandfather ran a mobile library in Birmingham and my parents inherited a random selection of the books. They weren’t much interested in them; they were piled up in a box room, gathering dust. I would disappear in there and resurrect much read classics. I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s always seemed a natural thing to want to do – to write.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
I write thrillers and I write sci fi. That’s probably because those are the genres that I get the most enjoyment reading. I’ve written quite a lot of non fiction, as yet unpublished. I have a hankering to write comedy one day but that’s a hard call since you don’t know if what you write will be funny until you try it out on an audience.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
I had a tough upbringing in Birmingham. I think that gave me a lifelong understanding of what really matters in everyday life. But I received a good education that gave me a grasp of cultural tradition and the importance of maintaining it. I try to address both these aspects in my writing.
Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?
Ray Bradbury put it best: ‘My stories run up and bite me in the leg – I respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs away.’ I feel the same. The best ideas come when a story is in full flow and the characters take on a life of their own.
Do you have any writing rituals or listen to “mood music” when you write? Where is your favourite place to write?
I carry a notebook. I write whenever it feels right – on trains, on a flight, in a hotel room, at home. I listen to jazz a lot but I’ve never been able to do that while I’m writing. I prefer silence and I’m lucky to live in a place that has real silence.
What’s your favourite place in the entire world?
That’s a tough one. I’m lucky that I’ve been able to travel and find places that resonate and that I want to return to as often as I can. With the exception of Ambleside (The English Lake District) all are cities: Florence, London, Venice, San Diego, Paris, San Francisco (in no particular order).
What was your favourite part of REGRET NO MORE to write? Which part was the hardest?
I enjoyed recapturing the ascent to Sandia Crest that I made some years ago aboard the Sandia Peak tramway outside of Albuquerque. I find those cable cars very scary. The view over the Rio Grande plain was memorable but the descent over TWA valley was something of a challenge.
What I found hardest was synchronising events in Austin, Texas with events in London. There’s a six hour time difference in Summer and it was challenging to make sure that the characters were doing what they were supposed to be doing at the right time of day – sleeping, having breakfast or dinner. I hope I got it right!
Give your fans three fun facts that they may not already know about you.
Not sure how many of these are fun but here goes: I try to walk 15 miles each week; I think Miles Davis was a musical genius; I’m a lifelong vegetarian.
Chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry?
It’s just got to be chocolate. I’m a chocoholic, so ‘more than 70% cocoa solids’ is the kind of off the wall talk that appeals to me!
If you could invite any 6 people to dinner who would you choose?
Being a writer, I wouldn’t expect all to be living right now, so I could delve back into history as much as I like. That would make things interesting! I’d like to meet Pythagoras, the guy who invented music,
mathematics and vegetarianism amongst much else. I’d like to hear him bounce ideas off George Gershwin, the guy who just about invented modern jazz. Then, I’d like to introduce them to H G Wells, one of the forbearers of modern science fiction (who, long ago now, had a profound influence on my grandfather when they met and talked in the bookish circle surrounding my grandfather’s lending library). I think they should have some female company and that would have to be Mary Shelley, creator of Frankenstein and all round woman ahead of her time. That would leave just two places and one would have to go to Leonardo Da Vinci. I’d like to hear how a man like him could have done so much in so many fields of endeavour in such a short time. My last invite would go to Albert Einstein. Where would modern science be without the great man? Some dinner party!
So what’s next for you as an author?
I’m ready to develop my sci fi novel DOUBLE BIND with a sequel but the next thing on the list is to complete the James Blake trilogy. The full extent of the corruption merging from the Landos in Italy is a story yet to be told. The working title is FEAR NO MORE. I’m hoping to complete this before the end of the year, or sooner if the creative process goes well.
Thank you so much Seb for dropping by my virtual studio. I am looking forward to reading your new novel, “REGRET NO MORE” and wish you much success.
GUEST POST BY: SCOTT BURY, THE ONE SHADE OF RED BLOG TOUR…
When good friend SCOTT BURY asked me if I would like to take part in his blog tour I jumped at the chance. I was very excited about his new book “One Shade of Red” a spoof of, “Fifty shades of Grey.” I knew Scott was on to something big with his sexy spoof…
Scott Bury is a journalist, editor and novelist based in Ottawa, Canada. His articles have appeared in magazines in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia, including Macworld, the Financial Post, Applied Arts, the Globe and Mail and Graphic Arts Monthly.
His first published novel is The Bones of the Earth, a fantasy set in the real time and place of eastern Europe of the sixth century. He has also published a short story, Sam, the Strawb Part (proceeds of which are donated to an autism charity), and a paranormal story, Dark Clouds. His work in progress is tentatively titled Walking from the Soviet Union, and tells the true story of a Canadian drafted into the Red Army during the Second World War, his escape from a German POW camp and his journey home.
Scott Bury lives in Ottawa with his lovely, supportive and long-suffering wife, two mighty sons and the orangest cat in history.
He can be found online at www.writtenword.ca, on his blog, Written Words [link: http://scottswrittenwords.blogspot.com/], on Twitter @ScottTheWriter, and on Facebook [link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scott-Bury-author/347727125260907/]
A GUEST POST BY AUTHOR SCOTT BURY:
Thank you very much, Dawn, for hosting the blog tour for the launch of my second novel, One Shade of Red, a spoof of the baffling bestseller, Fifty Shades of Grey.
One Shade of Red turns the concept inside-out. The narrator is the naive, under-confident university student, Damian Serr. When he tries to make money cleaning pools during Toronto’s hottest summer on record, he ends up getting an education in business from the slightly older, beautiful, smart and rich — in other words, perfect — Alexis Rosse. Alexis also teaches him something about women, men and himself.
This excerpt comes from Chapter 7, where Damian gets into an argument with his long-time girlfriend, the girl next door, Kristen.
One Shade of Red launches April 2 on Amazon, iTunes/iBookstore, Smashwords and other fine e-tailers. For links, visit Scottswrittenwords.blogspot.com.
THE ONE SHADE OF RED LAUNCH BLOG TOUR:
An Excerpt, Chapter Seven: Argument with Kristen.
“Well, look who’s here. Hello, stranger.” Kristen’s voice had that clipped sneer in it. She folded her arms across her chest.
I put on my best smile and held out the flowers from the grocery store. “I finally got the bank account straightened out. Wanna have something to eat and hang out?”
Kristen couldn’t suppress her smile when I held the flowers under her nose, although she tried to. Finally, she took the bunch and sniffed. “Well, since you brought flowers … Where are we going?” She looked up at me, blue eyes shining through the flowers. Her mouth slowly spread into a smile.
“Why not Mama Toni’s? And my parents are away for the weekend, so I got a DVD.”
Kristen pretended to think about it for about two seconds. “Let me put these in some water.”
I stepped inside her house — her parents’ house — and waited like I had so many times before. Mrs. Petri came out of the kitchen, wiping her hands on a towel. “Oh, hello Damian,” she said. “Why don’t you sit down?”
My breath caught whenever I saw Mrs. Petri — even after all these years. She was the neighbourhood beauty: tall and fit with bright blue eyes that she had passed on to her daughter. Her hair was done up high, exposing her long neck, and she wore a sleeveless t-shirt and short pants. I wondered why she always showed more skin than her teenaged daughter.
I followed her to the kitchen and sat at the table; I knew from experience not to sit on the “good furniture” in the living room. Mrs. Petri poured me a cup of tea from the pot that was always filled. “Would you like a cookie?”
I took one from the plate in the middle of the table. Mrs. Petri baked regularly, and I loved her cookies. That’s how I first made friends with Kristen. When I was five, I was in a bunch of kids who came over to the Petris’ to play. I went back for the cookies. Through school, Kristen and I alternated coming over to each other’s houses for homework and other activities. I preferred being at her place, sitting at her mother’s kitchen table and munching on cookies. Those cookies were all that got me through long division in Grade 3 and A Separate Peace in high school.
I ate three cookies before Kristen returned from upstairs, dressed in her going-out-for-cheap-dinner clothes: khaki pants, a scoop-neck blouse and sensible shoes. She had tied her long, straight brown hair into a pony-tail. Kristen resembled her mother in her blue eyes and symmetrical, delicate features, but she was smaller, shorter. She was like a pretty doll: perfect and fragile. The prettiest girl in my grade, she was more for looking at than holding.
“Thanks for the cookies, Mrs. Petri,” I said as Kristen pulled me to the front door.
Kristen and I could never agree on Mama Toni’s restaurant : I thought it was expensive; she thought it was cheap. Of course, she never paid for the food. She thought it was a quaint little place with mementos and pictures from Italy and New York on the walls; I pointed out that it was part of a chain and was owned by a foodservice corporation in Philadelphia. But we both liked the food and I liked to show off just a little by drinking Italian beer — which cost over seven bucks a bottle.
Hell with it: I felt the pool-cleaning cash burning a hole in my pocket.
Kristen ate about a quarter of her plate of pasta; she refused wine on principle and sneered at me every time I took a sip of my Moretti.
“So where are your parents tonight?” she asked while we waited for the bill.
“Up at the cottage for the weekend.”
“Why didn’t you go with them?”
“I don’t live with them anymore, Kristen. I’m a grown-up now. So are you. Besides, this way we have their whole house to ourselves.”
She narrowed her eyes at me. “I thought you said you didn’t live with them anymore.” She sipped her water delicately. Even though she could be judgemental and annoying, she was very pretty in a delicate, little-girl way. A little too thin, maybe. She’d like it if I said that. She worked hard to keep her weight down.
“I do have a key to the front door. So we can watch the 50-inch plasma in full theatre-surround sound.”
She dabbed her lips with her napkin, then folded it carefully to cover the food left on her plate, as if she couldn’t bear to look at it anymore. “What DVD did you get?”
“Hey, it’s the perfect couples movie.” I had been waiting all day to say this. “For the ladies, Brad Pitt gets naked. For the men, big, fat, ugly guys beat him up. What more could you ask for?”
I thought it was pretty funny. I still do.
Kristen said “That’s disgusting! Watching men beating each other up entertains you?”
I had seen the movie and loved it. “Just kidding,” I said. “I got The Vow. You know, with that actor you like.”
“Channing Tatum.” She smiled again. “You had me worried for a second.” Did I mention that Kristen is beautiful when she smiles? And that it’s easy to make her smile? All it takes is everything she wants, when she wants it.
At my parents’ house, Kristen put popcorn into the microwave while I set the home theatre perfectly: dimming lights, setting the balance on the sound system. Kristen stopped me when I started to pour some of my parents’ vodka into glasses. “You still have to take me home,” she said.
“Kristen, you live next door. We can walk.”
“My dad won’t like it if he smells alcohol on your breath.”
“I hadn’t planned on kissing him.”
“Why do you think he always kisses you on both cheeks?”
“I thought it was a tradition for your people.”
“‘My people’ have been in Canada for four generations, now. We’re not quaint villagers. Daddy’s an accountant, for Pete’s sake!” She was getting worked up. “No, he always kisses you on the cheek to see whether you’ve been drinking. I thought you would have figured that out by now!”
“But I’ve already had a beer.”
“Papa understands a beer with dinner.”
“You and I both know that he has a drink, himself, occasionally.”
“But he doesn’t want my boyfriends to be drunks! And neither do I.”
Okay, no booze, my brain and I agreed. At least not for now.
We settled onto the couch and I hit Play on the remote. Kristen loved romances, but I thought the movie was painful. The only good thing about Kristen’s movie tastes were the way she would cuddle under my arm, taking popcorn from the bowl I held in my lap. Her body was warm against mine. I caressed the skin of her neck and breathed in the smell of her hair. The smell came from her shampoo, but it was still nice.
When the movie got especially boring, I went for a kiss. We smooched long and deep, and when we came up for air, I looked into her big blue eyes, hoping to see desire.
She looked right back at me, lips parted, so I went in for another kiss, then trailed little smooches along her jaw and started on her neck, like I had with Alexis. Kristen sighed and put her arms around me, so I kissed her neck harder and she rewarded me with more sighs.
Kristen’s reaction, combined with the thoughts of Alexis I couldn’t help but have, gave me an erection that was almost painful. I put the popcorn bowl down on the floor and went back to intense kissing.
“Damian, we’re missing the movie,” Kristen moaned. I paused it and kissed her neck some more. She was starting to squirm a little, and I thought I saw an opportunity.
I bit her throat gently, then went back up to her lips. Then back to her neck, up to the lips, back and forth. I hoped to really turn her on. When Kristen moaned ever so quietly and ran her fingers through my hair, I thought I had my chance.
I kissed down her neck until my lips touched the neckline of her white blouse. I kissed along it and, very gently, ran my fingertips under the hem. I pulled up as slowly and gently as I could, but Kristen pulled away and put her hands on mine, stopping them. “Naughty, naughty,” she warned.
“Yes, I fully intend to be very naughty,” I said and tried to kiss that spot between her collarbones.
“Damian, stop,” she said, sliding across the couch. “No more than kissing before we’re married.”
“But why, Kristen? This is the 21st century. And we love each other.”
“Damian, we’ve been through this. I don’t think it’s moral or proper for unmarried couples to have sex.”
THE THING ABOUT FICTION IS: BY ALAN MCDERMOTT:
I am so thrilled to have Alan McDermott author of the infamous Tom Gray trilogy pay dawnsdaily another visit today. As a huge fan of Tom Gray I cannot recommend his books enough. It all started with GRAY JUSTICE for me and I never looked back. Following Tom Gray’s journey as he seeks justice for the injustice he had to endure has been an exciting and powerful one.
Today Alan McDermott talks about fiction. See what he has to say below and if you are looking for an original and intriguing read then check out his books…
The thing about fiction is…
An excerpt of, FIREWORKS ON THE 4TH: By Cathy Carson:
Today, I am pleased to have the wonderful CR HIATT stop by for a visit to share her recently released, FIREWORKS ON THE 4TH. Cathy’s first book see below, GONE AT ZERO HUNDRED, has been a great success and a bestseller. This is testament to the authors great talent.
FIREWORKS ON THE 4TH: READ EXCERPT!!!
With the NVGs guiding us in the dark we crossed the desert by timing our moves with the guards alternating walks around the perimeter. Jake kept watch while I crawled through the fence then he followed and we jogged silently in the direction of the guard shack. A couple feet away, he signaled me to get flat on the ground. I complied.
Through the NVGs, I watched as one of the security guards stepped out of the shack and began to make his rounds. When he disappeared behind the building, Jake pulled the M9 from his hip and moved in silent, but stealth-like mode toward the shack. He sidled up alongside the building, staying just underneath the windows. Took two steps until he was square in the opened door, and raised the weapon.
Before the guard even got the chance to raise his head from his magazine…THWAP – Jake fired.
A dart protruded from the weapon and hit the guard center chest. Several seconds passed before the guard’s lanky frame slumped down. Jake quickly moved him out of view. At the same time, he signaled me to run toward the back of the building.
I took flight, and hid behind one of the four-wheeler’s. When I glanced back, Jake was no longer at the shack and disappeared from my sight.
The first security guard reappeared from the other side of the building, and made his way back toward the shack. He stopped in his tracks when he noticed his partner was not at his post and automatically reached for his weapon. Before he could, Jake unexpectedly rose up out of the ground where he was buried in the sand. The M9 was raised.
THWAP – a dart hit the guard in the neck.
Jake caught him before he slumped down, lifted him off the ground and returned him to the shack. He grabbed supplies from his side pocket, quickly bound the guards’ wrists with plasti-cuffs, and covered their mouths with duct tape.
The take down was so methodical and quick, I knew my father had been doing missions like this for a very long time. I couldn’t help but watch in awe. He signaled me to join him as he entered the garage.
“Now, we move fast. They’ll be out for a while, but no guarantees how long.”
We did a quick search of the garage, checking inside the white box truck. He signaled me to get behind him as he double-checked the office then we met up at the door to the basketball-sized room I referred to as the kill house.
Buy: Fireworks on the 4th
A GUEST POST BY SEB KIRBY: HOW I WRITE…
I would like to introduce Seb Kirby a very talented author of the best selling books, Take no More and Double Bind. Having already read one of Seb’s books it’s easy to see why they are so popular. Seb Kirby has kindly agreed to drop by dawnsdaily.com and share a few tips with us today! So without further adieu here is the great man himself…
Well, first I think that’s a very personal thing and that every author will have their own take on this. There’s no right or wrong way. As W. Somerset Maugham said: ‘There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no-one knows what they are.’
Basically, I prefer the Stephen King approach as set out in his ‘On Writing’. You know, the book he wrote after he was hit by a truck when he was out walking to clear his mind after a writing session. The truck that nearly killed him. You get the idea that he felt he had to put it all in that book, just in case.
I take his approach to be something along the lines of: If you’re not surprising yourself when you’re writing your book, how can you hope to surprise your readers when they’re reading it? So, I try to be excited at what’s coming out as I write and let the novel plan itself. With this approach, you don’t start with a detailed, worked-out plot or anything more than a part-glimpsed plan, you really do let the characters tell you what should happen next.
Generally, I don’t believe in heroes. I wouldn’t want to trust one. I get more from ordinary, flawed, people in situations that take them out of their normal lives. Then things get interesting as you see how they struggle with what seems for them the impossible. And I want to resolve things in the end in their favour. My way, if you like, of righting some of the wrongs, albeit in a small way.
There are two of Stephen King’s aphorisms that I take seriously. The first: ‘The road to hell is paved with adverbs.’ So, where at all possible I don’t use them. The second: ‘Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.’ I never use a dictionary or a thesaurus.
Finally, I’d emphasise the importance of the ‘polishing’ stage in the writing process. Once the words have formed themselves out of the characters’ wishes, once the story has been told, the real work begins. Writing and rewriting, working and reworking the text to give it as much shine and polish as you can muster. And there’s then always the hope in discovering another of the goals suggested by Stephen King – that seldom achieved ‘gem’ where you contribute a striking and novel turn of language that lights up the whole show.
Seb Kirby website: http://noveltakenomore.blogspot.co.uk/
A GUEST POST BY VAN HEERLING:
Today the wonderful talented author Van Heerling agreed to guest post here at Dawnsdaily.com I can’t tell you how honoured I am. After reading Van’s moving book “MALAIKA” recently I knew I was not just reading a book by another author but an extremely talented and insightful author.
I will now hand over the reins to Van who will share is invaluable editing tips with you and an excerpt into his new book ” DREAMS OF ELI”
TALENTED AUTHOR VAN HEERLING BIO:
Van lives in Burbank, California with the lingering spirit of Redford—his adopted morbidly obese cat, which was more of a paperweight than a feisty feline, his wife and boy and their very alive kitty—Abigail.
Van always enjoys hearing from his readers. If you wish to send your comments you may do so at www.vanheerlingbooks.com
Author website : www.vanheerlingbooks.com
Twitter link: https://twitter.com/VanHeerling
Twitter handle: @vanheerling
There is an awful lot of chatter out there about how Indie authors are ruining the publishing industry, that a lot of the work is sub par. This is true in some cases but I think the majority of Indie authors take pride in their work and want it to be the best it can be.
With this in mind, I am going to discuss specifically how I go about editing a story from the point of a completed draft manuscript to the final edit. If we have time today I will also mention a few pointers about the book cover.
I should mention one thing about my process, it works for me; it may not for you. I do hope at the very least you will pick up a pointer or two.
Let’s get into it. Once I have my manuscript complete, I do a read through. This is always a printed copy. I read it in small chunks, maybe ten to fifteen pages at a sitting, and ink the heck out of it. Once I make those corrections, I do the same thing again, printing out a new copy. Guess what? It’s still crap. Regardless of this, the raw story goes to a trusted beta-reader.
Next, time to call the professionals. I am fortunate enough to have found two fantastic editors. Matt, my primary editor, also has a knack for story editing as well. One of the things I like most about him is he literally edits by writing in the margins. I prefer this rather than the “track changes” word document type of editing.
The meeting after the first edit is somewhat uncomfortable for me. After all, this is the first time the story has been read professionally. This meeting usually consists of picking up the “well-inked” manuscript and walking in the Hollywood Hills with Matt, while he proceeds to give me my lumps and thankfully gives me some positive feedback as well.
I make the needed changes and then resubmit the story back to him. This edit can be even more extensive than the first. I’m not sure why this is, but it seems to be the case.
After this second professional edit is done, I then send it to a completely different trusted editor. Her name is Alanna. I find it invaluable to have both male and female editors. These two don’t always see eye to eye, but that is okay; the final decision is always mine. Once Alanna is finished and I have made the needed corrections and have read the story again, I resubmit the work for a final edit with Matt.
I should mention that during this editing process I have more beta-readers read the work. This to some may seem counter-productive. One could argue that if I have a major story edit to do based on an opinion of a beta-reader, I should wait on the edits. It’s a valid point, but I choose to do it my way.
Once the final professional edit is finished, I have a few proofs or “test” paperback copies printed and I distribute these to readers that are willing to help me look for last minute typos and anything else that may be off. (One point on typos: they are nasty unhappy little fellows, and always disappointing. Even after the extensive edits as described above, it is inevitable that a reader will find one or more of those buggers. The reasons are many. One reason could be last minute formatting issues and another might be a spouse yelling from the other room while the author is deep in “edit-land.” Whatever the reason, they will be there. Just take care of them as they come up).
My second point of discussion is the book cover. I will make this quick. Unless you are a professional cover artist or the like, I recommend hiring someone for your cover. There are three major components to presenting a book: A darn good story, the blurb on the back cover, and a stellar cover, (we will have to talk about the blurb another day). If your cover is off-putting then most likely your story won’t be read. I know you know this. I am simply reminding you in case you are thinking about doing it yourself with cut and paste technology. Don’t do it. There are many more points I would like to mention about the cover but I think my time is almost up!
Once you have your eye-catching cover and your beautifully written story fully edited, you need to have it formatted. After that, that’s it. Time to go live!
I hope my process above will help you on your writing journey. I would like to hear about your process, so please let me know in the comments section if you wish to share. And if you are interested in any of my work, I invite you to read on.
Southern soldier Eli West wakes in a cave and discovers he is held captive by a soldier of the Union. Shot, drugged, and tortured, he descends into the darkness and the beauty of his unconscious, uncovering a time when he was still in love, a time before war, a time before everything fell away.
Eli Age 26
During a skirmish two days ago, while in retreat, I lost my company. Somewhere in the backwoods of Northern Mississippi I finish a piece of stale bread, stand up, and lay my rifle against my shoulder.
It is not the crack of the enemy Enfield rifle round that startles me. It is the sifting whispers of the bullet as it splits the wild grass in my direction. The shooter, by the sound of it, is between four hundred and five hundred yards off. I know this because I have the same standard issue. The ball strikes me hard in the lower left shin. White searing pain shreds up my leg and body like a thunderbolt.
I stumble. My rifle catches most of my weight as I plow it into the soft earth from where I had just risen. But the shock is too great. I lose my grip—falling hard and fast to the cool soil where I crush my face against a large granite boulder. The flavors of shattered teeth, and metallic blood sour my mouth. But all I can think about is the next eighteen seconds—enough time for my enemy to reload. The shot that I will never hear is upon me. I knew I would die in these woods. I just did not realize I would be alone. But at this end I do not want my brothers next to me. I want Cora. I wait for the final shot, but it never comes. Instead, blackness takes me.
Dreams of Eli
A middle-aged man with the crushing weight of his American past seeks peace and a simpler life in rural Kenya. Armed with only his smokes and coffee he discovers a friendship with the most unlikely of friends–a lioness he rightfully names Malaika (“Angel” in Swahili). But she is no ordinary lioness nor is he an ordinary man. Between them they share a gift. But not all embrace their bond and some seek to sever it. Discover this new world rich in human truth and sensibility.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Van Heerling for guest posting here today. It was a great honour…
A BLOG SWAP WITH SCOTT BURY:
I was so pleased when Scott Bury invited me to swap blogs for the day.To say I was honoured is an understatement to say the least! See what I had to say on Scott’s blog today just click on the link below…
Scott is the very talented writer of ” The Bones of the Earth” as well as a twitter legend. His website (see below) is full of wisdom for writers all over!
Scott Bury is a professional writer and editor based in Ottawa, Canada. His first novel, The Bones of the Earth, is available on Amazon and Smashwords. His blog, Written Words (http://scottswrittenwords.blogspot.com), offers reviews, writing tips and opinions on all sorts of communications-related things.
First, I have to thank Dawn for giving her blog to me to ramble on. Of course, in return, Dawn is contributing a guest post to my blog, Written Words, where I’ve asked her to describe the best and the worst her writing has done for her.
I thought I would approach the same question in terms of the publicity and promotional efforts I’ve made. I won’t use the word “campaign,” because I don’t think the disorganized thrashing I have done has enough logic to justify that description.
The best outcome of writing and publishing fiction in the past year has been the new personal relationships I have made. Last summer, I started blogging more frequently in advance of publishing my first fiction. I started participating in others’ blogs, as well, and in online writers’ fora. I started to use Twitter and Facebook.
I discovered the world of independent publishing, a world that includes beta readers, crit circles, flash fiction competitions and sites that promote independent books. I’ve discovered excellent writers, and I have made many rewarding virtual friendships. I’ve joined the World Literary Cafe (http://www.worldliterarycafe.com/), which is now sending tweets every day or so to help promote my book.
The online publishing world has offered several opportunities. I’ve contributed guest posts to several blogs, like this one, and I’ve asked several writers to contribute to my series, “what’s the best and the worst you’ve ever done as a writer?” The answers have been wide-ranging and surprising.
But I’m a bad boy
As I wrote, all this social networking is very rewarding … at least, emotionally. Less so financially. But I’m not complaining. Okay, I complain, but I don’t whine. Okay, I whine sometimes, but I have cheese with it.
The downside to all this social networking is that it really takes up writing time. And I don’t have a whole lot of time available for writing fiction. I have a family and a career, and they’re of course my priorities one and two.
So, I’ve had to let some things slide into the future. I haven’t spent much time at all on LinkedIn since the fall. I have joined groups like the Magic Appreciation Tour (http://www.magicappreciationtour.com/Default.aspx) and Book Club Reading List (http://bookclubreading.com/), but I have not done much with either site, yet, so I have not been able to take advantage of the publicity they might offer.
I have made a number of commitments to write various pieces—like this column—and have taken entirely too long to write them. For example, I agreed to write a short story about the last five minutes of the world for an anthology project organized by Lyn Midnight through Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/65828-writers-worth). I impressed her with the speed on the first half of the first draft, but it’s languished since then. And I agreed to write a short story for a competition for the Masquerade Crew (http://masqueradecrew.blogspot.ca/2012/02/interested-in-sponsoring-judging-or.html); thankfully, Mark Lee pushed the deadline forward. I have the idea worked out, I have an outline, characters, a conclusion and about three-quarters of the story, but I have to finish it.
I will. I promise. There, I said that publicly, here on DG Torrens’ blog. Now you can all hold me to it.
Oh, yes, and then there are the people who’ve asked me for reviews or advice. I’m getting to it. Really.
And at the end of all this, there’s that little thing writers call the “WIP.” Work in progress. Tentatively titled Walking Out of the USSR, it’s the novelized memoir of my father-in-law, who was drafted into the Red Army, was captured by the Germans, then escaped from a POW camp, rescued the 12 men in his command, entered the resistance, then was recaptured by the Soviets and sent to fight outside Berlin in 1945. Once the fighting was over, he escaped the Reds and made his way back to Canada.
There just are not enough hours in a week to do the things I need to do. Fortunately, there are supportive fellow writers like Dawn, who provide tweets and guest blogging opportunities to help get the word out to a wider audience.
See below a link direct to Scott’s book on Amazon:
AN INTERVIEW WITH ALAN MCDERMOTT:
I cannot tell you how excited I was when the wonderfully talented author Alan McDermott agreed to be interviewed right here in Dawnsdaily studios! I met Alan around six months ago when we joined twitter at around the same time, we instantly hit it off and became great friends, and now there is a lovely group off us sharing mutual respect for each others work and promoting each others work! Alan is an one of those incredible authors that captures the readers attention from the first sentence in his book never mind the first page! After reading his amazing book “Gray Justice” Alan had a new fan instantly. Having managed to create not just a brilliant story but also an exceptionally original one, which in this day and age is a very rare challenge indeed. So grab your coffee, get comfortable while I hand you over to my good friend Alan McDermott!!!!
1) I recently read your amazing debut thriller “Gray Justice” I thought this was such an original story I truly loved it. Where and how did you come with the idea for the
I was watching one of those cop shows on TV and saw a car chase which lasted for
about 30 minutes. The offender was weaving in and out of traffic, going through
red lights and the wrong way around roundabouts, and when they caught him it was
revealed that he had around 40 previous convictions. For his latest crime he
was given a fine and community service, which didn’t seem much of a punishment
to me. I decided to write about someone who was affected by such an offender but I didn’t want it to be just your typical revenge story. I wanted the main character to
seek more than just petty vengeance: he had to address what he saw as a problem
with the judicial system at the same time. It also had to have a twist that the
user doesn’t see coming. I have read a lot of books over the years and a few
chapters in I can see where most are leading. That has never been said about
2) How long did it take you to write “Gray Justice” ?
It was about a year from start to finish. I got the first 25k words done by
December 2010 but then I hit writer’s block. I could see where the book was
going but it just felt like a million other books and I wanted mine to be
different. It was 3 months before I picked it up again, and thankfully I was
able to come up with the twist that everyone talks
3)I believe you are currently writing the sequel to “Gray Justice” can we expect the same unputdownable and original read as the first?
I don’t want to give too much away in case your readers haven’t already got their copy of Gray Justice, but I feel the pace will be the same as the first book, with perhaps a
little more tension and action. The sequel will focus on a few of the
characters from the first book, including Sam Grant and James Farrar. Sam is
just beginning to get to grips with his new life abroad when circumstances place
him in the hands of the not-very-nice.
4)How did you find the self publishing process the first time, and what did you learn from it?
I was so thankful for the opportunity to get my works in the hands of readers. I started writing 21 years ago and got about 30k words into a novel, but back them it was almost
impossible to get into print. I tried with a couple of short stories but got
blanked by everyone, and that put me off for a long time. It was only in 2010
that I discovered Smashwords and I published my short story Recidivist. The
process was so easy thanks to their formatting guide and clear
What did I learn? GET AN EDITOR! I, like a billion others, thought I could self-proof my book. Boy, was I wrong! I published the original copy with around 220 typos. After
someone mentioned them I revised it and fixed over 100, but have had to upload
several other versions as more have been discovered. I have had a few reviews
that have given me 4 rather than 5 stars just because of the grammar, and I
don’t plan to make that mistake again.
5)Do you allow book reviews to influence your writing?
Yes and no. I never expected such a great reception for my book, thinking that family and friends were just saying they liked it for fear of offending me, but the majority of 5
star reviews have been from people I have never met or had any interaction
with. Every time I get a 4 or 5 star review it spurs me on to write more. However, I do get some negatives in my reviews. I expected this, as I set out to write a story
the way I want to read. Gray Justice was 70K words long. I could have made it
120K but that would have been filler. I prefer to get down to the story and
move it along at such a clip that the reader doesn’t want to put it down. Very
few books (perhaps 3 or 4) have ever had that effect on me, and I think it
should be a pre-requisite. I am all for developing a character, but to spend 5
pages doing so when 5 sentences will suffice just slows down a book for me. In
recent years I have started and abandoned around a dozen books simply because
they didn’t grab me in the first ten pages. All reviews have
valid points, and all I have ever asked is that they reflect what the reader got
from my story.
6)Which authors have influenced you over the years?
Andy McNab and Chris Ryan are authors I have read over the years. I like action thrillers, and they must have an authentic feel. These guys have been there and know what they are talking about. I’ve never tried to copy them, but I do try to make sure the
details in my books are as detailed as possible.
7)What were the challenges (Literary, research, psychological, and logistical) in bringing your book too life?
Working full time and coming home to two young daughters means I have very little spare time to do my writing, which means I have to get up early and stay up late to get anything on paper. It has been tough, but it’s the only way I can share my stories.
Perhaps one day I’ll get enough sales that I can write full time, but that seems
a long way off at the moment.
8)If you had to do it all over again from the beginning would you change
Yes. I would buy another laptop! At the moment I can only get on mine after the kids are in bed, so having a spare would shave a few months off my stories! As for my writing style, I don’t intend to change it. Some may not like it, may feel it isn’t
professional enough or doesn’t tick all of the required boxes (must have a love
interest, etc), but the majority of my readers are looking forward to reading
more of my work and that tells me I’m doing something right.
9) Do you have any advice for other writers?
Remember that a reader picking your book up for the first time needs to be engrossed from the start, otherwise they won’t be back for more. Once you’ve grabbed them by the scruff of the neck, give them something they’ve never had before. As I said
earlier, I have read a few books and given up after a few pages. These weren’t
just indie books, but international bestsellers, too. I would also urge you not
to start dreaming of fame and fortune the day you publish your first work. The
chances of becoming an international bestseller are almost nil, so be happy to
get 150 sales in your first year and build from there. I’m personally hoping
for 1000 sales a year, but I know that won’t come until I’ve got 4 or 5 books
under my belt, and that is going to take me another couple of years at the very
Thank you so much Alan
for agreeing to be interviewed here today, this has been a great honour for me. I am a great fan of your work and I like so many others are extremely excited about “Gray Justice the sequel.”
A GUEST POST WITH MIKE WELLS:
I am very honoured to be interviewing a most talented and incredible writer that is Mike Well’s. Best selling thriller and suspense author! Having read one of his books “Lust, money & murder” and currently half way through “Wild child” I can certainly see why! He truly is an exceptionally talented writer… Please see my interview below!
1: When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I realized that at a very early age, maybe at 7 or 8, when I was reading the
Hardy Boys novels and also Tom Sawyer and other great books for young people.
2: Where does your inspiration come from?
For me, inspiration is mixed with the feeling of challenge. I always want to see if I can make my next book even better than the last one. I like to entertain people. My main
challenge is to see if I can keep the reader fully engaged from the very first
page to the very last. To me, any writer who fails to do that has not created a successful book.
3: Where did the idea for your first book “Wild Child” come from?
The initial idea for Wild Child came from a dream. In the dream, a girl I knew from high school challenged me to a swim across a lake. When we started swimming I could hear the sound of a motorboat in my ears. I panicked and woke up with a start. The story grabbed hold of me and I started madly writing it down to see what would happen next.
4: Please can you share your incredible story about “Wild Child” The book that
would not die?
Well, it’s a long story and is on my blog (see link at end of interview). But the compressed version is that the book was rejected by all the big publishers because it was “too short”, so I self-published the book. But my work circumstances changed and I left the USA and ended up throwing almost all 3,000 copies in the trash. Several years later these copies began surfacing on Amazon. To my amazement, someone had rescued the poor 3,000 copies and started selling them! When I published it as an
ebook, Wild Child went to the top of the Amazon bestseller lists in the USA and
5: What are your challenges (research, literary, psychological and logistical) in
bringing your books to life?
For me, creating solid characters that behave in believable ways (in a rather wild
story) is the most difficult part of writing a novel. It’s relatively easy to make up wild stories but not so easy to create characters that would behave in ways that would make
those stories unfold just the way you want them to. So I spend a lot of time on character motivation and development when I’m writing a book, probably more time on that than any other aspect. The background research (into the setting, etc.), putting the words on paper, etc. is relatively easy compared to character motivation. Also, I like my characters to grow by the end of the novel, and that’s pretty hard to pull off in a believable way, too.
6: What do you think is “Key” to writing a successful book?
I think that novels have to entertain, which means that they have to give people
a stimulating emotional experience, or a stimulating “mental” one (like figuring out “whodunit” in a mystery). If a novel doesn’t do one or the other (or both!) of those things, I don’t believe it will be very successful, regardless of how well written it may be.
7: If you had to choose, what writer would you consider a mentor?
I couldn’t choose just one writing mentor—it would depend on what I was trying to
improve. If I wanted to improve my dialogue, I might choose Rod Serling or David Mamet. If I wanted to create more memorable characters, I might choose Charles Dickens or J.K. Rowling. It just depends. (Wouldn’t it be nice if we really could do
8: I have recently read your book “Lust, Money and Murder” I felt this book flowed
like water, it was a fantastically written book, as a reader I felt engaged from the start, the story draws you in from the very first page! I think many women could identify with Elaine, the main character. Where did your idea for this book stem from?
I have always liked strong women who still retain their femininity (i.e., my mother, sister, grandmothers, cousins, and my wife!) and so I wanted to write a book about one. I wanted the hero to be young, poor and naive at first, not sure of what she wanted in life, and to be thrown into one awful situation after another until she became stronger and
stronger, finally strong enough to take on some of the most powerful, evil (male) villains in the world. I happened to read an article about global currency counterfeiting at the time and—viola!—the idea was born. I decided Elaine Brogan should be a poor girl from Pittsburgh who grows up to become a Secret Service Agent. And then I started writing the book.
9: Do you have any advice for other writers?
If you are writing commercial fiction (that is, fiction that people will spend their hard-earned money on), my advice is to get your work into the hands of real readers as soon as possible. By “real” readers, I mean total strangers who enjoy reading and have
absolutely nothing to gain or lose by giving you honest feedback. Writing teachers, professional editors, etc. are great for learning the basics of fiction writing, but ultimately, you have to find your own voice. That will necessarily mean breaking the rules and trusting your own judgment about your work.
10: Finally what are your current projects?
I’m currently juggling several projects in various stages, including Wild Child 3, doing
a sequel to Lust, Money & Murder, and starting another novel similar to LM&M with a different set of characters and plotline.
Thank you Mike
Thank you, Dawn, not only for the opportunity to give this interview but for all the
support you have given me as a writer, and also for all the support you have given other writers! You are a gem!
Mike Wells is the author of a dozen novels and two screenplays. Many of his novels are now in ebook format for the Kindle, Nook, iPad, Kobo, etc.
Book 1 of Lust, Money & Murder is available free in all eformats here.
Wild Child is also available free in all eformats here.
AN INTERVIEW WITH KEVIN SWARBRICK:
Today I have the great pleasure of interviewing the talented author of “Louie has Landed” Kevin Swarbrick. I am also blessed with his friendship since we met on twitter. Kevin is an extremely inspirational person, you only have to be in his sphere for a short while to discover this. Having read his true life story “Louie has Landed” I immediately felt a connection with Kevin. We had a deep and knowing understanding for each other’s journey. Through out life we meet people who come and go, and then there are those special few you just know will be in your life a very long time! Kevin is most definitley one of those special friends…
Hi Dawn, first of all let me say thank you for taking the time to interview me and inviting me on to your blog, it’s an honour and a pleasure to be here.
My name is Kevin Mark Swarbrick. I am 37 years old and was born in Salford,Manchester,England. I now live in a quiet little town ten miles outside of Manchester City Centre. I went to Lower Kersal Primary School and Kersal High School. College came after where I studied Art and Design and passed my National Diploma. When I was in college I was working with my dad on weekends to earn myself some extra money. He was a Painter and Decorator, but is retired now. After I left college I had numerous jobs and found myself working for different companies in the Decorating Trade. In 2002 I started my own business, KMS Painting and Decorating Services, which I still run to this present day.
1: What inspired you to write your first book?
It’s crazy really what life has mapped out for you, but the main character in my books called Sarah gave me the inspiration to write. I don’t want to say too much as it would spoil the story for you. But for me with the way my life was with all its ups and downs, this character along with true friends, gave me the inspiration and the positivity to make this journey possible.
2: Do you have a specific writing style?
The style of writing from my stories I have wrote so far, gives the readers a sense of reality and depth that comes with real life warts and all. I wanted to keep this story unique and recreate all the characters and keep everything as real as they are.
3: How did you come up with the title?
Now that’s a funny question and yes the answer to that is all in the books, I would hate to spoil that part, but I think the reader would like what I have come up with!
4: What books have most influenced your life most?
I wouldn’t say any books have influenced my life as such, I believe it’s only you as a person who can influence your own life (That’s my experience anyway)
5: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Absolutely! My stories are non-fiction so far, the characters in the books are as real as you andI.70% of the names have been changed to protect the innocent. I know that comment sounded like a scene from ‘Drag Net the movie!’ (Giggles)
6: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I wouldn’t like to be mentored as such but only guided in the right direction; I want to develop my own style and with Louie, I think I’m learning how to do that. However, if I had to choose then I would have to say the obvious Stephen King, who wouldn’t!
7: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Believe it or not I would have to say you Dawn, we both met on twitter around the same time, our first books were out around the same time and I have been following you since. There are so many new great authors out there; I keep meeting so many on a daily basis, but I would have to say you Dawn along with Charity Parkerson and Denis Campbell. All of you are great authors and much more. I personally feel it is an honour to know you all.
8: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I would have to say I have been very lucky to have good friends who have stood by me along the way, through the thick and thin. The one person who has always been there for me and has been my rock is again another character out of my book, her name is Jill, one of the best friends anyone could ever wish for.
9: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
The style of writing could do with a tweak (some would say) but as I do have so many styles inside me, it won’t be long before the reader can tell me what style they preferred! So far I am happy with what I’ve achieved.
10: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I have two Novels that are out at the moment; “Louie has Landed” (The Early Days) and also “Louie has Landed” (The Second Encounter) but I’m still working on the Louie story and trying to turn that in to a script. I am also working on a couple of other stories besides that.
11: Where do you want to be five years from now?
Hopefully not in the position I’m in now. I would be quite happy to pack up my Decorating tools and do my writing full time, after all, who wouldn’t want to progress? Progression is inevitable in my eyes.
12: Who is your favourite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’ve read some amazing short stories by people I know and people I don’t. As long as the story feels right, I’ll read it. I wouldn’t say I have a favourite author, as there are so many great ones out there. However, I am enjoying the work of Aaron Sorkin, he really knows how to get me to turn the page, this guy is funny that’s for sure.
13: How have you found the self publishing industry?
I’ve found it very time consuming, but I must admit I am enjoying the experience. I just wish I had more time to do more and push myself more, but there are never enough hours in a day.
14: What knowledge of the industry did you have before publishing your first book?
To tell you the truth I had no knowledge whatsoever, I was a novice with a real steep curve ahead of me. All this for me was a whole new education, to a new journey in my life. People think you just write a book and everything is ok, it’s a shame they don’t know the real ins and outs of all the hard work we authors actually do, I must admit I was one of them people at one time! I’ve woken up since. Everything to me has been a whole new education!
15: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I would have to say writing about my past for the world to read about, sharing my inner dark secrets revealing and exposing my life, from behind closed doors. Letting people feel the pain I felt along with the madness I have lived, the fun times, the passion. The real hardest part would have to be trying to explain the word ‘love’ through a man’s perspective. There was a lot of emotion involved with many sleepless nights, but the words just came naturally from the heart.
16: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned the true value of friendship along with patience. I learned that the people I wrote about shaped my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined, they gave me a new perspective towards my outlook on life.
17: Do you have any advice for other writers?
All I can say to people is never quit. If you want to write, then write. Like any creative pastime, I write because I enjoy it, but knowing that people are relating to my stories and enjoying them, gives me an over-whelming feeling inside and this alone gives me the means and drive to carry on and if I can do it, anyone can do it if they put their mind to it.
18: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I would like to thank all my readers for their support and kindly ask them to stick around. There’s way more to come from me yet…
19: What book are you reading now?
I’ve almost finished ‘Amelia’s Destiny’ but I’ve also been reading Aaron Sorkin ‘West Wing Script book’ when I get the chance to read that is!
20: What are your current projects?
I have got a few stories on the go; one is the Louie series that I am trying to turn into script. Another story I’m working on is based from my childhood years up to my late teens. My life was a bit hectic, with bullying in school, family break ups, there’s all sorts in this story from even living with my grandparents from the age of 14-17. I am also working on a short story, but I am not giving too much away about that I know what you’re thinking, ‘How can he work on so many things as well as doing his day job?’ All I can say it’s hard going! Keeping these three stories going is good for me, sometimes I can’t think straight on one story, it all depends on how I am feeling when I return home from work and what story I find best to relate too.
Where to find me
You can find me in most places in cyber-space by either visiting KevinSwarbrickAuthor.Weebly.com or by using my username on all these networking sites. Twitter: you can find me @KevinSwarbrick, also you can find me on Goodreads.com, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Author Central, Igoogle, and also Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/k.m.swarbrick by typing the same name Kevin Swarbrick, I did say it was a hard one to remember! There is also my author page on Facebook but I do use my full name for that one ‘Kevin Mark Swarbrick.’ I also run a Facebook group called Authors and Readers.https://www.facebook.com/k.m.swarbrick
And for my female readers here is a cheeky photograph of our Author/Painter/Decorator that is the lovely Kevin Swabrick!!!
AN INTERVIEW WITH DAX. M. TUCKER:
am honoured to introduce the exceptionally talented author of “The leaf catcher” Dax. M Tucker – he has an amazing way with words, having read his book recently I was so inspired by the message his story sends out I just had to ask him to come on my website and he very kindly agreed.
Authors links below:
Barnes and Noble http://tinyurl.com/3ow8hdz
Have you read/studied poetry for a long time?
I am a voracious reader and writer with eclectic interests that encompass almost every genre. Poetry is something I had experimented with off and on since the tumultuous years of adolescence and on through each stage of my life as a way of sublimating negative energy into something that I could reaffirm my goals and direction in life. The only formal study I had was an advanced poetry class at CSULB.
Did the idea for this epic poem (and the other works to follow) just come to your mind or did you arrive at it over a longer period of time?
The idea of The Leaf Catcher originally came to my mind a few years ago as I went from one seemingly dead end job to the next and I carried a piece of paper in my wallet that asked myself, “Am I to go through life from one meaningless job to the next or will someday I realize my purpose?” Then that idea began to evolve one day as I was driving and I thought about writing a story about a guy with a similar mundane job who would be a voice to all the common blue collar workers and would show them that they could find joy in whatever they do. Hence the epigraph from the book of Ecclesiastes at the beginning of the book. Then the story just continued to evolve as I wrote it into a book of proverbs and philosophy that the common family man could incorporate into his life to be able to find enjoyment no matter what obstacles or oppression he faces.
Did you complete the work in linear fashion (from start to finish) or did you piece it together by tying verses/sections together (if that makes any sense)?
A very insightful question, I actually finished both the beginning and the end parts first because I knew where I wanted the character to start and where I wanted him to end in terms of his growth and enlightenment. Then I brainstormed in the middle to find the best way to connect the two. As an interesting side note, originally I wrote the outline of the story in prose and then as an epiphany I began to change the lines into verse. And as an extra challenge I chose Dante’s Terza Rima style because it is said to be very difficult to do in English since the language does not have as many rhyme endings as the Italian language.
You seem to be able to convey just the right meaning while staying in rhyme–do conceptualize focusing on the content of each verse/section or on the rhyme? I guess what I’m asking is how can you always come up with the right words that rhyme but also perfectly suit the content in terms of meaning?
Another very good question, yes, it was quite a challenge to both stay true to the rhyme style and convey the story I wanted to tell at the same time. Many times I would labor over a word that I wanted to use but couldn’t because either it did not rhyme or because it would not be the correct number of syllables per line. Not only that, but also when I had the characters speak I had to research each word and make sure the word was available during that century! Indeed, that was one of the most difficult parts in crafting the story, but also I found that in the process of adhering to a set style I would often come up with words that not only expressed what I was trying to convey, but do so in a way that was even more refined.
Did you develop the epic poem to address the issue of negativity or did you just let the poem flow and then realized what the dominating theme was? (I’m guessing that you wanted to address the issue of negativity because your message is so powerful about remaining positive when everything is taken from you).
As mentioned above, originally the idea was to show how one can find enjoyment and remain positive no matter what the circumstances, but sometimes the poem would flow and lead me to address themes and ideas that I hadn’t originally considered. In other words, while giving an example of one who overcomes negativity was the main premise on which the story was based, the flow of the poem would often guide me to the best way to express the story. So there was this kind of a hybridization of the main message I wanted to convey with a writing style that pushed me to find the most refined way to express it.
Corliss is a character, but seems to be a vehicle to drive home your point about what is important in life and how to remain positive–did you envision him initially as a character or as a means by which to show the reader what you wanted to leave as a lasting impression from the poem?
Corliss, while merely a character, evolves into the manifestation of an ideal. Hell, I wrote the book and I still read the story over and over again to remind myself how I should handle negative situations I am confronted with on a daily basis. Is it possible to attain the kind of resilience Corliss has against negativity of any kind? I’m not sure many people in the past, present or future have or will attain this level of wisdom and discipline, but it certainly sets a goal one can aspire to, and the closer they can come to realizing it the better quality of life I believe they will experience.
Your ABCs were amazing! Did all of those descriptions just come to your mind or did you have to think hard about some of them. Also, how did the thought of the alphabet come to you–did it just flow as part of the poem or did you go back and add that after the basic piece was completed?
I am so glad that you singled out one of my favorite parts of the story. I had to think very hard on these because Corliss was not only teaching his daughter the alphabet, but also very important morals in life. In addition, not only did each quatrain for each letter have to keep an exact 10 syllables per line, but if you noticed that the italics in this section were words that were part of words within the quatrain (e.g. weevil can be broken down to we and evil.) Hence the title of this canto, Words Within Words, Lessons Within Lessons. I also did this because I wanted to break up some of the monotony of the rhyming style throughout the story, as I also did with the Sestina (the same six end words are used in different order throughout the six stanzas) rhyme style of Corliss’s story to Hope about how the Magic Box came to be in his possesion, and the free verse poem that Maddox writes Khalilah.
There is more than just one point driven home in this work, it’s amazing how you worked in some many points of thought, but was that intentional and did you know all of the thoughts/points that you wanted to convey?
Yes, there are many messages to be learned within the story and I wanted to convey them all as part of the philosophy of life that Corliss exemplifies: to strive to be mentally and physically strong!
It’s amazing how you tied in all of the aspects about how the Leaf Catcher’s family came together and even the children’s names, but still kept the poem flowing–do all of these details just automatically come to your mind and it’s easy for you to tie them together and mold them into the overall story?
No, tying them together was a challenging process, sometimes I would get sections that would just come to me easily, but most of the time it was an intense process of trying to stay true to both the rhyme style and the story. On average I would only be able to write about 14 to 28 lines per day!
Did the magic box come in for this poem and then you saw it as a way to tie it into your works to come or do you have all three works in your mind and knew from the start that this would play a part in each?
The Magic Box idea actually came to me in a dream one night when I was about half way done with the first book. I am writing the second book now and I have decided to make the Magic Box the narrator of the trilogy. The first book, as you know, takes place in the past, the second takes place in the near future, and the third will take place in the distant future.
A big thank you Dax its been a great pleasure!
If you are interested in “The leaf catcher” please see authors links at the top of the page…
A GUEST POST BY R.S. GUTHRIE:
I would like to introduce R.S. Guthrie, Author and friend, who has agreed to guest blog for me today. His cause is a great one and the main focus is “read a book, make a difference” (RABMAD).
I grew up in Northeastern Iowa and Northwestern Wyoming, which, if you’ve never been to either of these places means I have always known how to deal with cold winters and plenty of snow! Growing up in the Heartland and the Rocky Mountains, and alongside the good people who populate these beautiful areas of the United States, among the many things I learned was one core principle of any great culture:
The importance of people helping each other.
My father used to leave the keys to our Chevy Blazer in the ignition whenever we went into the store. I would ask him if that was a good idea and he always answered the same way: ‘What if there is an emergency and someone needs it?’ Perhaps not the most personally profitable answer, but that was the culture in which I was raised. You think of others before yourself.
Read a Book, Make a Difference is my vision to encourage other writers (and all people, really) to consider giving back from the proceeds of their books. Reading is such a fundamental part of all our lives, and it’s such a joy for so many people, young and old. I believe binding together these two core elements of our culture—reading and giving back—is a natural win-win!
I think for every person there is a profound reason that urges them to give back and help other. For me, it is a very personal reason.
On Christmas day in 2007, our miracle baby, Brody, was born. He was perfect in every way. We’d tried for five years to have a child and had nearly given up when we found out we were pregnant. We were scheduled for a C-section on the 26th of December, but Brody decided (amidst a Denver snowstorm) that he wanted to be the only Christmas baby in our hospital. Two months later, on February 21st, 2008, our whole world changed. Our perfect, healthy, gorgeous miracle boy died in his sleep during an afternoon nap. SIDS was the cause we were given, which is an insidious non-answer at best. It was a terribly difficult recovery for my wife and I, but one of the things that really helped us move on was to give more of our time and support to others in need, doing it all in Brody’s name.
We began supporting the local SIDS organization, Angel Eyes, plus just about any cause our friends, family, and other acquaintances could throw our way. My wife, Amy, eventually went to work for the American Humane Association. And when I released my first book, Black Beast: A Clan of MacAulay Novel, in 2011, I knew I wanted to do something special with part of the proceeds.
Ben Fieber is the 10 year-old son of some good friends of ours. He has Down Syndrome and autism. The public school system here in Colorado was simply not offering Ben the attention and education that the rest of us take for granted—i.e. an acceptable one. Ben’s parents got him into a wonderful non-profit school here in Denver, The Joshua School. TJS is a home-like environment in which children on the autism spectrum—including Ben—literally thrive.
The school is not inexpensive, however, so each year our friends have a fundraiser:
This year I decided to donate half the net proceeds to B4B—and 100% of the September and October proceeds! But after promoting this for a while I thought “why wouldn’t other authors want to get on-board with a concept like this? People are going to purchase more books—why not give them an option to look at Indie authors who are donating some of the proceeds to a worthy cause?”
Thus, Read a Book, Make a Difference was born.
I’ve started a website and an acronym called RABMAD (guessing everyone can figure out what that stands for)! In just a couple of weeks, we are already pushing upward toward twenty authors! By years end I would love to triple or quadruple that number. I mean, it’s free, no money passes through the site—we simply promote the authors and their wonderful chosen causes (including mine)!
Personally I cannot think of a better way to pay any success forward. I will always donate a portion of my proceeds to Ben. Every book!
If you are an author, or know of one, please consider joining or pointing them to our site! If you are a reader, please come check out all our authors and their great books and causes!! You can purchase a quality read and know you are helping someone who really needs it!
And what better thing can any of us do, than to help make our world a more giving place?