@DeanFWilson Shares 4 Keys to a Successful Novel #WriteTip #PubTip #AmWriting

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There are four keys to a successful novel, and while one or more of these might be stressed over the others in any given book, their combination makes for something a reader will find difficult to put down.

Key 1: The Story

If you don’t have a good story, nothing will save the book. Generally speaking a writer needs one gripping concept that asks the reader a question, and then answers itself through the unfolding of the novel—or gives the reader the ability to answer the question him or herself by the end.

For example, what if the line between animals, humans, and androids was significantly blurred? This is one of the big questions posed in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Philip K. Dick’s classic science fiction piece that became Blade Runner on the big screen. In fact, even the very title of the book (sadly lost in the film) asks a profound question that drives the story, and thus the reader, forward.

The reason the story is focused on a question is because mystery and intrigue are what pull most readers in, and keep them turning the page. It is that desire to find the answer that makes it impossible to put a book down, and is, indeed, the reason why the mystery and thriller genres are so popular, and why the likes of Sherlock Holmes continues to inspire to this day.

Humanity is questioning by nature, and it is largely our curiosity about ourselves and the world around us that has driven civilisation forward.

Key 2: The Character/s

You might encounter the notion of “story-driven” or “character-driven.” Sometimes a story is so good that it almost doesn’t matter who the character is—it’s the concept that matters. Other stories are less engaging, but the characters are so real and interesting that we just have to take a peek into their lives.

A good character not only propels the story forward, taking on a life of his or her own, but invites the possibility of numerous sequels. Think of, for example, the character of James Bond. While the various situations he gets into (in both the books and films) are interesting, it is largely the character itself that people are interested in. It almost doesn’t matter who the bad guy is, so long as we know that the martini-drinking and smooth-talking hero is along for the ride (preferably in an Aston Martin).

A well-developed character will not need to be prodded on by the writer, but will actively react to story elements as he or she encounters them. The most engaging characters, with the most interesting personalities, will stay with a reader long after the book is closed.

In fact, the fictional nature of the character may even be questioned by some readers, for whom such characters can seem more real than the people around them. We see this with some people who obsess with characters in soap operas, for example, and begin to warn the actor of situations in the show as if it were real life.

Key 3: The Suspense

A truly engaging story has risk. If Frodo could get on the back of an eagle and fly all the way to Mount Doom to destroy the Ring, we would stop caring about the characters. It is their struggle, and the possibility of failure, that excites the reader into rooting for the hero, and investing emotionally in the journey.

Many great stories not only have the central quest that must be achieved, and the major risk associated with that, but a series of smaller hurdles that must be crossed. Sometimes these throw the entire endeavour into jeopardy, further engaging the reader.

Plot twists, cliff-hangers, and surprises are all tools designed to heighten the tension. Some of them answer questions, while others pose new ones. Will a certain popular character die? (Or, in the case of George R.R. Martin, will any of the characters live?) Can the hero cross the new hurdle unscathed, and will success in this minor battle affect the bigger war?

Tension can also be worked into a story in more subtle ways, by hinting to the reader that all is not quite right. We are familiar with this from horror movies, in particular, where lighting and music will be used to suggest danger.

Writers can do the same in fiction by associating key words or phrases, or a particular style of writing, with intense events. When this literary “score” resurfaces, it instantly communicates the same emotions to the reader.

Key 4: The Conflict

Conflict is the driving force behind most stories, with many of the risks and hurdles characters face coming from other characters, or situations created by those characters.

There is external conflict, such as the various forces of Sauron in The Lord of the Rings, more immediate conflict, such as Boromir turning on the Fellowship, and internal conflict, such as Frodo’s struggle with temptation, amplified by showing just how far that internal struggle can go in the dual-natured Gollum.

Popular soap operas thrive on conflict. Whether it’s family disputes, martial cheating, backstabbing friends, or just plain old shouting matches, it is this kind of thing that makes people watch. The same is true for any novel, because a story without conflict is boring.

Imagine for a moment if the central question of a story was answered by all of the characters in the same way. With no disagreement, a major source of interest is lost. We stop caring about the characters, because there is no battle to win, and thus no real side to root for.

When a good story is populated by strong characters, and when that story is underlined by tension and those characters driven by conflict, the reader is in for a treat.

roadToRebirth (1)

THE DYING BREATH. THE DYING WILL. THE DYING HOPE.

After the catastrophe of the Call of Agon, Ifferon and his companions find themselves in the unenviable situation of witnessing, and partaking in, the death of another god—this time Corrias, the ruler of the Overworld.

With Corrias locked inside the corpse of the boy Théos, he suffers a fate worse than the bonds of the Beast Agon. Yet hope is kindled when the company find a way to restore the boy, and possibly the god, back to life.

The road to rebirth has many pitfalls, and there are some who consider such meddling with the afterlife a grave risk. The prize might be life anew—but the price might also be a second death.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Epic Fantasy

Rating – PG

More details about the author

 Connect with Dean F. Wilson on Facebook & Twitter

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Rik Stone & How “Birth of an Assassin Evolved” #Crime #AmReading #TBR

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How my Story Evolved

Nearly all stories have a general platform from which to launch into exclusivity. I wanted to write something that I felt hadn’t been done or at least something different to what I’ve read. Of course, there’s no such thing as a tale that hasn’t been told. All you can hope for is that you might create a unique twist. Mine was a simple enough idea. I would present a set of non-western characters. How is that different? Well, in the novels I’ve trawled my way through over the years I’ve found that even in the most exotic of settings there is an American or European hero to sort out the mess. If you read Birth of an Assassin you’ll see that needn’t be the case.

But what stage could I use for my story and what genre? Being a thriller addict the genre went without saying, but what about setting? Well, I have an uncle by marriage whose parents fled anti-Semitism under late 19th century czarism. My uncle passed on little odds and ends relating to the hardships Jewish people had at that time and I thought there might be a story waiting to be told.

I researched the period and there were lots of events that could easily be weaved into a single fictitious account. I’ll give a couple of examples to explain what I mean:

In the second half of the 19th century, a Jewish boy was conscripted into the army to fight on one of the many battlefronts against The Ottoman Empire. The boy was killed and tsarist police operating in The Pale, a barren stretch of land where the Jewish population was forced to live, came to the house of the boy. They didn’t tell the parents he’d been killed in action. No, they said he was a deserter, and that the family was left responsible for his crime. The parents were fined several hundred roubles. Their belongings were sold for 40 roubles, leaving the family with a debt of, yes several hundred roubles. This became ritual; they rebuilt and their belongings were taken and sold as payment towards the fine.

In the early 1900’s a Russian child was murdered. The Jewish population was blamed and a series of state supported pogroms followed, ending in Kishinev in 1903 where the worst of the persecutions took place. Later, it turned out the child’s family had been responsible for the murder – and police had covered it up.

I could go on, there were a multitude of travesty’s over many years. Enough to say, I collected the makings of a story, but looking into that period, I saw no believable way that anyone Jewish could possibly come out on top, so I worked my way through Russian history looking for a home for my plot. It wasn’t until reaching post war Soviet Russia that I found a window. That isn’t to say my hero wins out in Birth of an Assassin, but I needed a place where he at least had a chance. Unfortunately I had to take my protagonist’s religion away, but his burning ambition to be a part of the Red Army wouldn’t have worked with it.

So, I had someone to represent the Jewish population. Now, I needed a core of anti-Semitism: along came Otto to provide the conduit for my story.

If you read Birth of an Assassin you can be forgiven for not seeing my analogy. When all’s said and done it’s simply an adventure thriller with goodies and baddies. And if I were to itemise now what happens in the book against its past equivalent I would be giving you a series of spoilers.

Birth of an Assassin

Set against the backdrop of Soviet, post-war Russia, Birth of an Assassin follows the transformation of Jez Kornfeld from wide-eyed recruit to avenging outlaw. Amidst a murky underworld of flesh-trafficking, prostitution and institutionalized corruption, the elite Jewish soldier is thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems, nobody can be trusted, and everything can be violently torn from him.

Buy Now @ AmazonB&NKobo & Waterstones

Genre – Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://rik-stone.simdif.com

Enemy of Man (Chronicles of Kin Roland) by @ScottMoonWriter #SciFi #TBR

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CHAPTER ONE

HEROES weren’t sealed in space caskets and launched into the void—not while they were still breathing. Kin shuddered. Memories came at night; they came with regrets, fears, and nightmares only a man buried alive could understand. Heroes destroyed the enemy. Heroes saved the day and died before they could wear medals or explain what it was like to shed the blood of millions.

This room is too dark.

Kin needed to go outside and look at the sky, but the wormhole song, the distant groaning of a universe unraveling, reminded him of Hellsbreach—gunfire, plasma bolts, and nuclear explosions on the horizon. Better to dream of Becca, though she was the reason he volunteered for the campaign.

“Stop thinking of her,” Laura said.

Kin sat up in bed, dropped his feet to the floor, and watched her drift back to sleep. Her chest rose and fell, a silk sheet accentuating her curves. Her eyes began to move under her eyelids.

“You don’t even know who she is.” He ran a finger behind Laura’s ear and down her neck until she giggled in her sleep. He smiled. “I can share anything with you in moments like these.” He slowly pulled the sheet lower and she didn’t stir.

Laura would like the game—exposing her skin to the night air and staring until she sensed his attention and awoke, but he stopped, reaching to cup the side of her face instead. Lust didn’t mix well with the darkness still in his mind.

“I’d fail again, given the same choice. Could you commit genocide, Laura?” he asked.

“Hmm?” She struggled to open her eyes, it seemed, but pushed him clumsily away with one hand as she rolled onto her stomach, twisting the sheets as she moved.

“I still love her. You know that, right?” Kin said.

Motionless on the bed, Laura seemed not to breathe. The wormhole that dipped into the atmosphere quieted. Silence spread across the planet. Sea birds called to each other and waves gently touched the beach.

Kin pulled on his pants and gun belt, then picked up his boots and go-bag as he crossed the room. Outside, he pressed an ampoule of caffeine against his neck and injected it. Sleep wasn’t a friend. The intramuscular dose was meant to be injected in the gluteus maximus, otherwise known as the place Laura hung on for dear life when they were together, but Kin didn’t want to ruin the feel of her hands by sticking his ass cheek with a needle.

He watched the sky as he did upon awakening morning, noon, or night, hating the way the wormhole that dumped them on the uncharted planet seemed alive and sentient. Lightning flashed through the undulating red, orange, and purple tube of light as it climbed lazily toward the ring of moons around the planet. The moons, by contrast, soothed his spirit when he could stop thinking about the gaping mouth of the wormhole. They climbed vertically from the horizon like the underside of an arch, brilliant at night and hazy during the day.

Kin steadied his breathing, forcing his shoulders to relax as he studied the anomaly.

The Goliath came through that hole. The enormous exploration vessel had been designed to orbit a planet and send down shuttles, not descend to the surface. No one planned for the uncharted wormhole to catch the ship and drop it inside the atmosphere. Much of the ship broke apart and scattered along the coast. The survivors existed between the sea and the impact site of the main fuselage.

Each year, sand covered the available salvage, making building materials scarce. The thought of leading another scavenger mission bored Kin, though he knew the children looked forward to crawling into holes the adults couldn’t reach. He rubbed his neck and decided he was done with caffeine injections for a while.

Kin had grown more sensitive to his surroundings since the deadly campaign on Hellsbreach. He heard Laura roll out of bed, though the heavy curtains were drawn over the doorway and she was trying to be stealthy. The floor creaked and Kin guessed she paused to scoop her pants and shirt off the floor. He didn’t hear her tug zippers or take the time to fasten buttons. Their relationship wasn’t that formal.

The ocean breeze and crashing waves soothed his mind, but didn’t mask the sounds Laura made. To Kin, there were simply more sounds, distinct and easily identifiable. She would have been smarter to move when the surf broke, but he still would have heard her. Auditory discrimination was why he hadn’t been slaughtered by Reapers on Hellsbreach. They could sound like men, or wolves, or stalking tigers, but beneath the obvious sounds there was always a clicking in their throats.

Laura moved closer to the doorway but stopped, probably listening for him. He measured the pause and assumed she was peeking through the curtain. She wasn’t incompetent at stealth, but he knew her game.

She moved behind him, wrapping her arms around his trim waist and pressing her body against his. She gripped him hard with no pretense of romance. Perhaps she heard what he said about being in love with Becca. She pretended she wasn’t jealous, but she was. She bit his ear. He continued to lean on the rail, ocean breeze blowing on his face, solid wood under his feet. She bit his neck. He smiled. The bite hurt, but he pretended it didn’t.

“You put your pants on,” she said. “Did I tell you to get dressed and sneak out of my bed?”

“I would hate for the Fleet to send a rescue mission and find me out of uniform.”

“If the Fleet comes to Crashdown, I’ll tell them about you,” she said. Her lips brushed his ear as she spoke and she lingered with a kiss even as one hand went into the front of his pants. Kin smiled and shook his head minutely.

“Crashdown is a good name for this place.” He thought the planet was huge and extremely dense, because the gravity was heavy and the ocean horizon to the west was flat as a blade.

“Do you think I’m joking?” she asked.

Kin didn’t answer. He wished she wouldn’t try to provoke him. He had killed for less. She enjoyed rough sex, danger, and power. Kin was bored with two of the three. She released him, patting his ass before she walked away.  He knew she kept them all alive. She was a force of nature. He needed to meet a nice girl, someone like Becca.

The wormhole convulsed. Kin let go of the rail and stood straight. His hand went to the pistol hanging on his leg. Objects burst from the hazy opening high in the atmosphere. Most ships that crashed on this huge planet came alone—pioneers, explorers, or pilgrims fleeing persecution. Meteors were more common, but during the last three days, a variety of space junk and wreckage had splashed into the ocean and smashed against the mountains east of Crater Town. Somewhere in the universe, an epic battle raged and the debris drifted through the wormhole.

Pacing, Kin watched the sky until the wormhole began to puke earnestly. Small pops sounded in the distance, but he suspected they were explosive thunderclaps.

Damn.

Objects burst into the air close together, sounding like the chatter of machine gun fire. Pop-pop-pop. Pop-pop. Pop-pop-pop-pop-pop.

That’s a planetary assault force.

Each cluster of fast-moving smoke trails were troopers in Fleet Single Person Assault Armor units. He had worn an FSPAA unit during his enlistment and recognized the formation. Several larger objects followed, flanked by more troopers in airborne assault mode.

Laura emerged from the doorway, paused to stare at the sky, and hastily buttoned up her shirt. “I’m going to the meeting hall.”

“Go to a bunker,” Kin said, but she was already running.

“Damn!” Kin estimated a division of Fleet troopers were plummeting toward Crater Town. He jumped off the side of the deck and ran to the lighthouse, sprinting up the spiral staircase. When he reached the top, he doused the light and picked up a horn.

A large ship emerged from the mouth of the wormhole, bow elevated twenty degrees too high and drifting sideways. The ship was still under power, laboriously righting itself as the atmosphere burned it. Kin watched pieces break off. He didn’t recognize the ship’s class or if it were built for entry into the atmosphere, but it was shaped like a Fleet vessel.

An armada of broken ships, huge things never meant to enter the atmosphere even if in one piece, were the last through. Kin sounded the alarm. Horns answered from every corner of Crater Town. Men, women, and children rushed from their homes with survival kits. He saw many running to the well to form a bucket line and parents rushing their children to crude fallout bunkers.

Two companies of assault troopers splashed into the water off shore. Two additional companies veered right while another two veered left of Crater Town as flanking elements. Four came straight at him. The command ship and heavy vehicles—Tanks, Strykers, and reconnaissance vehicles—fought for altitude. They soared over the town, landing near the Goliath half buried in the sand between the coast and mountains.

Kin picked up binoculars from the railing and tracked the progress of each assault force and the efforts of Crater Town’s people. About the time young men surrendered to Fleet troopers in seven-foot-tall armor, the space debris hit. The noise of the plummeting ship parts had been minimal from a distance, but as they neared, they ripped through the air, vibrating the tower where Kin stood. Troopers and townspeople ran for shelters, threw themselves on the ground, or gaped at the destruction. Earth exploded. Water erupted into steaming clouds of death. Fires rampaged like demons.

Kin risked a final glance toward the wormhole before descending the tower.

That’s not a Fleet ship.

He jerked the binoculars up.

No military emblems. No weapons. And it’s shaped like a blockade runner. 

He watched the small craft drift away from the others, seeming to sneak free of the chaos. Kin didn’t like the feeling in his gut. Dread hollowed him out. He thought of Reapers and stolen technology.

The faster Fleet vessels and plummeting debris posed the immediate threat. Kin knew it. He needed to ignore the small civilian ship, but understood Reapers hijacked anything that would take them from their home world. The creatures didn’t build ships and were notoriously bad pilots, but when they left Hellsbreach, they were on a mission of murder.

Kin forced his gaze toward the ships and troops already on the ground.

Don’t think of Reapers. Don’t think of Hellsbreach. Captivity. Death. I should have died. Kin steadied his breathing, unsure if it calmed him or merely suffocated his panic. Should have killed them all.

Sweat beaded on his forehead. He waited for Fleet ships to spot the stranger and destroy it, but nothing happened. The craft disappeared beyond the mountain pass. He wanted to go after it, but Crater Town took priority.

He left the tower and ran down the unpaved street twisting around ramshackle huts near the bay. Laura hurried from a building up the street, wearing a firefighting coat. She paused to tie up her hair, then pulled on heavy gloves. People carrying tools rushed from their shelters to follow her. She accosted a group of men held at gunpoint by Fleet troopers and ordered them to follow her.

The squad leader pointed at Laura and gave an order. Get back. This is Fleet business.

Laura elevated her chin and put both hands on her hips. She said something. I’m sleeping with Kin Roland, a murdering deserter and traitor to the Fleet. He’ll cut your balls off if I even nod your direction. Fleet business my ass. This is my business. These are my people. Kindly mind your manners, you faceless killer.

The Fleet trooper spread his hands in frustration and surprise. He yelled and thrust his gauntleted finger near her face. Listen you stupid bitch. You’re lucky I don’t blow your head off.

Kin couldn’t hear the conversation, but he could imagine it. He wasn’t surprised when the troopers released the people of Crater Town to Laura. The guards followed, seeming a bit dazed.

What the fuck just happen?

Don’t ask me. You’re the squad leader. Take charge.

I’ll take charge of your face with my boot. Stay sharp. Watch the work crew. I’ll watch the councilwoman.

Kin ran up the steep hill, knowing planetary assault forces demanded immediate compliance when they made planetfall. They were paid to shoot people. He feared Laura would push too hard. Inflexible and harsh standard operating procedures placed the interests of the Fleet before the welfare of local populations. He needed to warn her about what happened when people resisted. She won this scrimmage and freed her work crew, but needed to consider a softer touch when dealing with officers.

Then he realized she had a trump card. He believed he knew Laura. He believed she had been toying with him when she said she would expose him to the Fleet. Being wrong would cost him his life.

“You there, halt and identify,” a Fleet trooper shouted. His amplified voice echoed from the helmet speaker. He held a rifle and a plasma thrower, each connected to the armor by woven metal tubes. Kin ignored the trooper, who moved forward, weapons ready.

He slipped around the corner and ducked through a cloud of smoke, then circled the area until he was behind the trooper who continued in the wrong direction.

“Identify yourself,” Kin said, under his breath. 

enemyOfMan

Lost Hero

Changed by captivity and torture, hunted by the Reapers of Hellsbreach and wanted by Earth Fleet, Kin Roland hides on a lost planet near an unstable wormhole.

When a distant space battle propels a ravaged Earth Fleet Armada through the same wormhole, a Reaper follows, hunting for the man who burned his home world. Kin fights to save a mysterious native of Crashdown from the Reaper and learns there are worse things in the galaxy than the nightmare hunting him. The end is coming and he is about to pay for a sin that will change the galaxy forever. 

Books

Enemy of Man: Book One in the Chronicles of Kin Roland was written for fans of military science fiction and science fiction adventure. Readers who enjoyed Starship Troopers or Space Marines will appreciate this genre variation. Powered armor only gets a soldier so far. Battlefield experience, guts, and loyal friends make Armageddon fun. 

Movies

If you love movies like Aliens, Predator, The Chronicles of Riddick, or Serenity, then you might find the heroes and creatures in Enemy of Man dangerous, determined, and ready to risk it all. It’s all about action and suspense, with a dash of romance—or perhaps flash romance. 

From the Author

Thanks for your interest in my novel, Enemy of Man. I hope you chose to read the book and enjoy every page. 

If you have already read Enemy of Man, how was it? Reviews are appreciated! 

Have a great day and be safe.

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Genre – Science Fiction

Rating – R

More details about the author

 Connect with Scott Moon on Facebook & Twitter

Heavyweight by @MBMulhall #AmReading #LGBT #GoodReads

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Julian has visibly paled and is shaking slightly. I don’t know if it’s from anger or shock. Seeing him in such a state has my rage immediately abating, heading south for the winter. Weary, I run a hand over my face.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to snap…. I just… I’m exhausted and stressed, and to be honest, I’m not used to having people do things for me.” He’s still shaking like an autumn leaf in a strong breeze. Oh God. Did I break him? I grab his hand and half drag him around to the alley between the theater and the now closed drug store.

It’s dark, and no one can see us unless they step into the alley themselves. Without stopping to think of the consequences, I pull his shaking body close to me and wrap my arms around him. He fits perfectly against me, like a matching puzzle piece. I rest my chin on top of his head and tell him again I’m sorry for my outburst.

I realize his trembling has subsided. He’s not hugging me back, but he’s not trying to break free of my embrace, either. I’ve tread into very dangerous territory here. Unsure what to do, I slowly let my arms drop and take a small step back, where I meet the cold brick again.

What else is there to do other than apologize again and hope I didn’t royally fuck things up by hugging him? Hanging my head, I let the “sorry” slip through my turned-down lips and turn to leave the alley.

Before I can leave the shadows, his spry body is up against mine, pushing with such force that I can feel the rough texture of the bricks through my clothes. His long, graceful artist’s fingers are in my hair, roughly pulling my head down to meet his. Soft, warm lips meet mine in a gentle caress, unlike the frenzied actions of the rest of his body. He’s grabbing at my hair, rubbing up against me. My mind is in a complete fog.

It’s a fantasy come true. He nips at my bottom lip, surprising me. His wet, seeking tongue coaxes my mouth open, and I sigh as he explores the formerly uncharted territory. I’m acting on instinct, sending my own tongue out on an exploratory mission—Lewis and Clark have nothing on me. I taste the sharp tang of metal as my tongue touches his lip ring. It wakes me out of my hormonal haze.

Eyes wide, I push him away from me. My head spins wildly, looking to see if anyone has caught our tentative dance. Thankfully, there is no one waiting to cast stones at us. My head keeps shaking.

I have to do something. Say something. I know it’s going to hurt him, and God, the last thing I want to do is hurt him. I want to drag him down to the dirty ground and run my hands along the expanse of his sinewy frame, telling him how beautiful he is, how his kiss set my entire body on fire. But I can’t. I can’t let the secret out. No matter how much I want this man, how much I want to confide in him and learn about him and have him teach me… I can’t. I hope he can forgive me for what I’m about to do. I have to force the words past my still tingling lips. My traitorous tongue trips me up.

“Jules, I’m not… I’m sorry… but I’m not gay.”

heavyweight

Secrets. Their weight can be crushing, but their release can change everything—and not necessarily for the better. Ian is no stranger to secrets. Being a gay teen in a backwater southern town, Ian must keep his orientation under wraps, especially since he spends a lot of time with his hands all over members of the same sex, pinning their sweaty, hard bodies to the wrestling mat.

When he’s trying not to stare at teammates in the locker room, he’s busy hiding another secret—that he starves himself so he doesn’t get bumped to the next weight class.

Enter Julian Yang, an Adonis with mesmerizing looks and punk rocker style. Befriending the flirtatious artist not only raises suspicion among his classmates, but leaves Ian terrified he’ll give in to the desires he’s fought to ignore.

As secrets come to light, Ian’s world crumbles. Disowned, defriended, and deserted by nearly everyone, Ian’s one-way ticket out of town is revoked, leaving him trapped in a world he hates—and one that hates him back.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – LGBT, YA

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

 Connect with MB Mulhall on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://keystrokesandwordcounts.wordpress.com/

Night’s Favour by Richard Parry @TactualRain #UrbanFantasy #Thriller

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Val felt like he’d been hit by a car.

Curling over the bowl, he retched again, hands shaking.  He didn’t remember waking up; he didn’t remember getting home, or what might have happened after his tenth beer last night.  He hoped it was only a night — he had a big meeting with the boss this morning.

It wouldn’t be the first time he’d lost days of time down the bottom of a bottle.

“Get your shit together, Val.”  He spat into the bowl, bracing himself on the edge of the porcelain.  Standing up shakily, he felt the nausea rise and curled back over, retching again.  He failed to get his tie out of the way this time, and it came back out of the bowl covered in —

How in God’s name was he wearing a tie?  He didn’t even have any pants.

He tried standing again, this time managing to get to his feet.  Holding himself up on the walls of the toilet, he controlled the shuddering, awful urge to throw up.  He spat into the bowl again then hit the flush button.

Slowly — and quietly — he made his way out of the toilet and into the bathroom.  He caught a glimpse of stubble in the mirror on the wall and felt confident it was only a night gone.  Maybe if he could just get in to the office before nine — God, what time is it now? — it’d be ok.

He pulled back the mirror, his fleshy reflection pushed aside as he exposed a collection of white bottles set against a backdrop of tired cardboard boxes, tubes of expired ointment, and half-empty boxes of Band-Aids.  The bulk box of store-brand acetaminophen came away disturbingly light — I bought that just last week — and he tossed the empty hundred box to the ground, hand trembling towards the Pentazine.  Expensive gold, he dry-swallowed four of the tabs.  Motion sickness be damned; the drug would take the edge off wanting to throw up his feet.  He chased it with some ibuprofen, a generic brand in a white box of fifty.

He started up a good lather to get rid of the stubble.  It was then he noticed that his left arm’s shirt sleeve was missing, ripped off by the looks of it.  The shirt wasn’t in great shape overall; it had that creaseless arrogance that only came with being rained on.  The sleeve was missing from the elbow down, give or take, the frayed end of a blue thread trailing to wrist level.  He’d been lying in a pool of good Merlot unless he missed his guess, the sleeve and side of the shirt a gentle pink.  The thought of Merlot almost made him heave the pills back up, so he stripped off the shirt and let it drop to the floor alongside the empty box.  If he just left all that crap there Baitan would sort it out later.

His belly wasn’t an admirable sight, the booze and the desk job leaving their toll, the flab hanging out over his underwear.  John kept nagging him like an old woman, saying he needed to get back to the gym, do some exercise.  There was time for that later — it was important to get more drugs, and maybe shave, if he was going to get to work today.

Focus, Val.

NightFavour

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

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Action, Thriller, Urban Fantasy

Rating – R16

More details about the author

 Connect with Richard Parry on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.rage.net.nz

Jack Canon’s Women of the House by @Greg Sandora #Romance #Thriller

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“Guys, would you excuse me for a moment. Daphne teased biting her lower lip in an adorable half smile. Jack, I’ve got something to show you.” Her voiced pitched as she trained her pretty eyes toward mine anticipating my reaction.

“Nice, Honey. While you’re out there…tell the V.P.—we’ll meet with her on Monday.”

“Are you sure, Jack?” Locking eyes, “Your Mondays are always so full?”

“Sweetie, just fit her in the best you can—between something else – we might as well get it over with. Ten minutes tops.”

Daphne leaned into my side to whisper, “Okay, I’ll be right back,” I couldn’t see them, but I imagined her raising her perfectly brushed brows. She leaned in closer, her pretty voice got softer, “With a surprise – I’m just dying to show you the dress I bought for the wedding.” Her breasts and tummy pressed against my arm as she tenderly whispered the words.

“How’s that a surprise if you told him?” Alyson asked freshly. “I heard you.”

Daphne was generous with her touch and rubbed into me. I’ve never met a girl more comfortable in her own skin. Placing one hand firmly on my leg, she squeezed, delicately leaving the chair, before performing her usual sexy slink toward the door. This girl couldn’t help being beautiful!

Alone together, Alyson piped up, “That’s why woman hate her, Jack.” She added shaking her head gently against my chest, “That walk – it’s like she’s always trying to turn you on. Every minute she’s around you – she never let’s up. She’s so competitive – do you see it? And,—thatvoice – nobody talks like that!”

I put both arms around Alyson and held tighter to reassure her, “Honey, – this job would kill me if I didn’t have you girls to take the edge off.” She seemed satisfied to hear me excuse Daphne’s sultry antics. We sat quietly a moment before she started fidgeting with the ends of her dress.

“I’m sorry, Jack – you must think I’m just as bad the way my dress is riding up. It’s so short to begin with – I wore it for you.”

“Don’t ever worry about me, – you’re a wonderful distraction.”

“You know what – the heck with it then, I’ll just let it ride up so you can see the tops of my thighs.” She giggled.

“They’re beautiful. I just don’t want to take advantage of you.”

Alyson snuggled closer, getting more comfortable, “Really, Jack? It’s my body and I want you to see it. For that matter these are my lips,” I felt a trace of lip-gloss, scented cherry.

“My mouth wanted to kiss you.”

“Yeah?” I said a bit too softly, wishing I’d said it in a deeper tone. Rubbing her arms, feeling tender towards her. “It’s sort of funny, your body does whatever it wants.”

She giggled and smiled, “I guess.”

“Okay, I’m good, Sweetie.”

“Hey, Jack? What ever happened to Elsa?” Changing the subject.

“Elsa? We located her shoes. We found them in a Greek brothel. The girl that had them told our crew Elsa was auctioned off to a Saudi Sheik.”

“Oh my God.” Alyson covered her mouth.

“No, that’s good news because chances are she’ll still be alive when we go get her.”

“You’re going after her?”

“We sure are. Tip has your dad training on weapons and systems right now. It’s going to take him a few days to get him back up to speed. He’s been out of commission for a while, but as soon as he is ready he’s heading over there to rescue her.”

“Jack, do you think the sheik will just hand her over?”

“No, it’s going to be messy, we’ll have to wreck the place, but we’re sending a message. The only thing that matters is that Elsa will be coming home. And, girls like her will be safe. We’re going to stop human slavery once and for all.”

“What about in the U.S., Jack?”

“Here it’s a different story – we need to beef up law enforcement. We already have the means to stop trafficking, but it’s been allowed to go on.”

“Why?” Alyson asked in disbelief.

“Tip would be angry for me telling you – for your own sake, Sweetheart—you really don’t want to know…” Just as I was about to spill it—Daphne saved me from having to explain any further. Sauntering in wearing a peach form fitting tube dress—flattering her knock out figure to lengths I hadn’t ever allowed my mind to go. All-over- glitter silver stilettos shining over glossy black platforms gave her a statuesque long-legged appearance. She made her way toward me stopping short in the middle of the room. Daphne had a way of making love with her eyes.

Womenofthehouse

Two months have passed since the long awaited inauguration of the New President of the United States – Jack Canon. Now he must live up to his promises. The World is wounded, people are hurting, the new President must keep the country afloat. Jack leads a very full life – The first couple’s relationship is hot with passion, but he can never admit that to Sandy, his best friend who is also head over heels in love with him. The Women of the House provide a welcome distraction while helping with the arduous task of running the country.

As President Jack must make tough decisions: Global Terrorism, Human Trafficking, Korea on the brink of war, all while thwarting International Greed. Women of the House is a story of noble sacrifice at extremely high cost. Who’s going to be the first to be strong enough and willing to pay? It’s not all work in Women of the House – Think the Wedding of the Decade meets the Crime of the Century.

Jack Canon’s Women of the House, is a story filled with Love, Lust, and Loyalty where passions can run wild! In Sandora’s monumental sequel, patriotism and valor mingle with an undying love that refuses to quit. Ride along as Jack Canon fights back against the most evil people on the planet. Readers are sure to embrace this unforgettable tale which will appeal to fans of political adventure, suspense and romance alike. Jack Canon’s Women of the House is a story of kindness, passion and courage that can’t be separated.

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Genre – Romantic Thriller

Rating – PG-13

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Olga Soaje on Saying Thank You to Readers #Contemporary #Fiction

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How much of the book is realistic?

The astrological parts in the book are real; I read on the subject and consulted with specialist in this area.

How long have you been writing?

I always loved to read and you could see me carry a book everywhere, but never considered writing until 2011 when the idea first appeared in my mind and it grew a life of itself and I began writing and needing to do it every day in it I found one of the great joys in my life.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

Oh my! This is a difficult question because I feel in love with so many of the characters in their virtues and flaws. But in my heart I guess with Amelia.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I love to read. There are many authors that are my favorite Vanessa Diffenbaugh, Paula McLain, Maria Semple among others.

What is your dream for your writing?

My deepest desire is that my writing touches and inspires the people who read my books.

How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

In my previous novel that would have been a very easy answer with one or two characters there. However in this one it’s hard to say, because they all had facets to them that made them human and likeable or should I say relatable in the end.

Have you started another book yet?

Not officially but I already have the outline in mind.

What is it about?

It deals with friendship between three women, the love that binds them together and the struggles they keep inside that will of course, be challenged.

What was the most challenging part about writing your book?

Trying to get the mother-daughter relationship imperfectly right.

What contributes to making a writer successful?

I think you can work on your trade, read, study. But in the end, it’s kind of intangible. When you correctly pour your soul into words you can achieve that kind of greatness.

Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers?

“Thank you” would be the first thing that I always say to them and write in the acknowledgments, for allowing me the privilege of their time.

I feel honored when readers send me messages in Facebook, Pinn some of my thoughts on Pinterest and take the time to post reviews of the book on Amazon and Goodreads. To know by readers that my books have affected their life is one of the most joyous moments…. Thank you.

twelveHouses

Can anything good follow the best thing that ever happened to you?

Amelia Weiss loved her husband of thirty-five years very much, but now he’s left her a widow. Without him, she is unable to work in her sculpture studio without crying. She no longer has a bridge to her estranged daughter. And she can’t seem to keep her mind in the present.

But when her daughter reaches out asking for her help and her agent threatens a lawsuit if Amelia doesn’t deliver for an upcoming exhibit, she’s forced to make a choice. Will she reengage with her life and the people in it—allowing room for things to be different than they were before? Or, will she remain stuck in the past, choosing her memories over real-life relationships?

Thrust fully into the present, Amelia stumbles into a surprising journey of self-discovery.

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Genre – Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Rating – PG-13

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