Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Win a $25 GC - The Writer's View by Doug Howery


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Doug Howery will be awarding a $25.00 Amazon GC and an autographed copy of the book to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please note geographical restrictions apply. United States only for the physical prize. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The View Outside My Window


The view outside my window is framed by TIME. Each pane in the window represents a piece of time…Time for a world of prejudice, bigotry, and hatred.

Outside my window and viewing through the looking pane, there is time for the rights and dignity of the oppressed, a time, and place in this world where beauty and the individuality of people can rise and shine above the deprivation.

Outside my window and viewing through the looking pane, there is time for stagnancy and stereotypes, a time for stereotypical titles such as the Mainstream Moral Majority, a title created for the sanctity of a few in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Outside my window and viewing through the looking pane, there is time for all who feel anointed, the only creation. There is time for all who are different, the beauty of it all.

Outside my window and viewing through the looking pane, there is time for judgment of those who are different. A malignant prejudice that enables people to loathe the ones that should be loved and cared for the most, the ones created in the same spirit like us all.

Outside my window and viewing through the looking pane, there is time for acceptance and love for the whole worth of a person, acceptance for the individual spirit, the spirit that creates nations.

Outside my window and viewing through the looking pane, there is time for all to be esteemed as a whole society, not by the individual wealth or stature in society, the times that create war from the powerful, hunger from self-interest.

Outside my window and viewing through the looking pane, there is time for mothers to kill themselves because of a society stereotyping their children as unnatural.

Outside my window and viewing through the looking pane, there is time for voices of the entire Twenty-First century to make a change for the generations of the next century.

Outside my window, the view is setting high in the alabaster sky: There Is Time!

By: Doug Howery

Sixteen-year-old Smiley Hanlon is a young woman tethered to a young man's body. In the 1950's Appalachia coal fields of Solitude, Virginia, Smiley is placed in the "Mentally Retarded Class" because he is effeminate and wears a blouse and saddle shoes to school.

Smiley is backed by his best friend, Lee Moore who protects Smiley from a father and many townspeople who hate him. Smiley has dreams of becoming an entertainer. Raised by his aunt in a juke joint, as a child Smiley sings and dances on the Formica bar top into the wee hours. Chosen as the female lead, Dorothy, in a new town production called Dorothy of Oz Coal Camp, his dream is being realized. The triumph of the play and his dream is sabotaged by his father and classmate bullies culminating in a tragic and horrific moment that changes both Smiley and Lee, forever.

Smiley and Lee flee to NYC. They learn that prejudice is prejudice whether in the coal fields of Virginia or on the streets of NYC. Smiley suffers at the hands of his real mother who is a religious zealot. She tries to change who Smiley is because he is a boil on the body of Christ. Lee suffers at the hands of psychologists who practice Aversion Therapy-electric shock treatment to cure his homosexuality.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Both Smiley and Lee become forces of change as do countless others. In 1969, Smiley Hanlon and his friend, Lee emerge as leaders of a gay revolution, the historical Stonewall Riots. The riots are vicious but the real battle will be won or lost on another continent: Solitude, Virginia.

The Grass Sweeper God is a force of nature that flows through all things...straightens out that which is bent...which is sick...

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Lettie sat on the twin bed with the gun and the letter in her lap. She noticed Brac’s graduation picture sitting on the nightstand. She turned it face down. She placed the love letter from Brac’s lover on top of his graduation picture. She placed Ted’s bankbook, her letter to Ted, her cat-eyeglasses and dentures beside Brac’s turned-down picture. She lay down on the bed. She stretched out and placed the gun at her side and stared at the ceiling. She thought about her children. She had never owned them, never owned herself, and now they could choose their own road in life. But she could choose when to exit this world and how. She had to get out of her head, out of her heart. Tears like the mistakes she had made in life flowed down her face. She put the gun under her ribs and pulled the trigger.



About the Author:
DOUG HOWERY has been writing both fiction and essays since 1990. His essays and familial stories have appeared in The Blue Ridge Lambda Press.

In many of his stories, as in "The Grass Sweeper God," Mr. Howery's true lode, his font of inspiration is in the passion and suffering he has experienced.

Author, Doug Howery penned the novel with insight into his own struggle for sexual identity and personal tragedy. His mother committed suicide in 1982, blaming her two sons' sexual identity in a letter and declaring herself a martyr for intolerance and social bigotry. She referred to her own sons as "Gutter Rats that Could Rot in Hell" and represents the hate and mistrust that have plagued society.

Suspense author, Maggie Grace, with the North Carolina Writers' Network writes about her cohort Mr. Howery: "What I like is the riskiness, the cutting edge of the narrative voice we hear. The moments when he lapses into descriptions of the moon, of the horse, etc. are true poetry that offers some relief from the coarseness of the story, and he places them well. He has an ear for the rhythm of the story, a natural sense of when to end--hangs fire with a new way of looking at someone or something, turning the entire chapter on its ear. I like the way he makes it impossible for the reader to stop reading at the end of the chapter." Mr. Howery lives in Virginia with his partner of 34 years where he is at work on his next novel.

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Buy the book at Amazon.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Win a $20 GC - The Other Side of Hope by R.F. Dunham


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. R.F. Dunham will be awarding $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What is the point of fiction?


We all love to write and I’d wager that most of us aren’t going to stop anytime soon. There are ups and downs, days when we can’t seem to stop writing and days when we can’t seem to start. But despite all of that, we’re committed to this crazy pursuit. I’d like to ask all of us a question in light of that fact:

Why?

Why do you write every day? Why do you sit around creating make believe worlds and populating them with all sorts of characters? Why do you expect to make a living off such a strange activity? Why don’t you do something more “productive” or “useful” with your time?

Now, I hope those questions don’t offend you. I certainly don’t believe writing fictional stories is unproductive or useless. I do, however, want to provoke you to thought, just in case you haven’t considered these questions before. As a writer, you should know why you’re writing. You should have a goal larger than simply finishing your next book.

What’s yours? Why do you write?

In a very broad sense, I think all of us might answer that question in very much the same way. The specifics will be different of course, but when you strip away the top layers, the foundation will be similar.

We all write with the very simple purpose of changing the way people think. Even if we don’t realize it, that’s our ultimate goal. We write stories so that people will read them, of course, but what effect do we expect them to have? Doesn’t it go beyond mere entertainment or escapism? Every story we interact with changes us at some fundamental level. The characters infect us, the plot sparks a new line of thinking, the setting captivates our imagination; something changes when we consume stories. Something changes in your readers when they consume your stories.

Now think about this: what effects are your stories producing in your readers?

You wield incredible power. What are you using it to accomplish? If the point of fiction is to change the way people think, what are you changing about your readers’ thinking?

If you can come up with answers to these questions, you’ll have your goal. You’ll have something that drives you to write even when you don’t feel like it. Even when the words just don’t seem to flow, you’ll force them out because you have a purpose. Writing is fun, sure. But it’s also work. Work with a profound purpose.

Don’t miss out on your purpose as a writer. That purpose is a flame that will fuel countless books if you can tap into it. If you’re only writing because it’s fun, your motivation will slacken eventually. You’ll give up and look for something else. But if you’re driven by passion, by an all-consuming desire to get something done, you’ll never stop. Even better, that passion will bleed through into your stories and your readers will feel it. They’ll be hungry for more even if they don’t know why.

So, what is the point of fiction? The point of fiction is no less than to change the world, one person at a time.

The pen is indeed mightier than the sword. Use yours wisely.

Find out more about me by subscribing to my mailing list at dunhamwriter.com. I’ll send you a free book chapter by chapter, and much more!

In 732 A.D., the Frankish and Burgundian forces led by Charles Martel defeated an army of the Umayyad Caliphate led by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi and halted the Muslim advance into Christian Europe. At least, that's what happened in the world as you know it.

Step into the world of The Other Side of Hope, where the world as you know it is turned on its head. A world where Charles Martel fell on that field south of Tours, France and was never given his nickname, "The Hammer." A world where Europe came under Muslim rule and Christianity was eventually forced to flee to the shores of a distant land in search of religious freedom. A land where, without support from European colonial powers, they found only conflict and poverty.

In the modern day, this world remains divided. The wealthy Muslim East and the poverty-stricken Christian West are constantly at odds. A single spark is all it takes to ignite fresh conflict and the cycle seems never-ending.

Follow the paths of Ethan Lewis and Hamid Damir as they are put on a collision course with the other side. Will they find hope for a brighter future or be lost in the despair of intractable conflict?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Hamid looked down at his plate then back up at Dilara. “You know writers don’t make any money. Not for years, if ever.”

“That’s not the point.”

“It doesn’t matter if it’s not the point, it’s reality. I know you want to write and you know I think you’re a great writer, but that doesn’t change the fact that we need your paycheck.”

Dilaraclosed her eyes and took several deep breaths.

Hamid wasn’t sure if he should take that as a good sign or a bad one.

“We can make changes. Sacrifices. It would be worth it,” she said

Hamid raised his eyebrows. “Worth it? Who knows when it would be worth it. Even if we did move, the gas I’d spend getting to work would cancel out any savings. It’d take you months to write a book, years to get it published, and even then you might not make enough money for it to matter.”

“Sometimes I wonder if you even know me at all.” She picked up her fork and went back to eating.

Hamid stared at her, his own food forgotten. “Of course, I know you.”

Dilara slammed her fork down again. “No. I don’t think you do. You think money is what matters to me? That I want to write so I can make money?”

“No, I don’t think that.” He shook his head. “But that’s what I have to think about, our finances, our family.”

“What about doing something with my life? What about my dreams? Do you think about that?”

Hamid put both hands on his head and looked at the ceiling. “Yes, I think about that. But we have dreams, too. Dreams we’ve been working toward since college. You really want to throw all of that away?”

Dilara looked away and got quiet.

He’d gotten through. Good.

“Maybe those aren’t my dreams anymore.”

About the Author:
R.F. Dunham writes with one purpose: to take you places you've never been before. That might be a distant fantasy land, the far reaches of space, the future of earth, or simply to an idea you've never encountered. A student of language and culture, Dunham's stories will pull you into complex worlds that challenge your perception of your own surroundings.

After working for over two years as a professional ghostwriter, the time has finally come for him to release his first full-length novel published in his own name, The Other Side of Hope. His short story, “Just a Drop,” was recently published in Nebula Rift Science Fiction magazine and an interactive version of the story is currently in beta testing. When he’s not writing, R.F. can be found playing the trumpet, writing his thesis in Arabic linguistics, or hiking in the mountains of Virginia.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Win a book: Heaing Up by Stacy Finz


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Stacy will be awarding a digital copy of Heating Up to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Nugget, California, is remote, picturesque—and the perfect place to fall in love. Even when you’re trying desperately not to… Dana Calloway is tired of being second choice. No question she was her parents’ consolation prize, and now she’s placed second in the race for a guy’s heart—a guy she could have sworn was The One. Is it any wonder such a normally type A person accidentally burns down her house in one distracted moment?

Cal Fire arson investigator Aidan McBride came to Nugget to do a little soul searching about his commitment phobia. But there’s only one available apartment in this tiny town, and the headstrong woman who just had a house fire needs it too. Of course, there are worse things than sharing living quarters with someone so beautiful…

Dana’s determined to resist her sexy new roommate, but it isn’t long before Aidan realizes he doesn’t have a commitment problem when she’s around. And the hotter things get in their apartment, the brighter the blaze when someone finally ignites that first spark…


Enjoy an excerpt:

Aidan hadn’t even officially started at Cal Fire when he’d gotten called out on the boomer. That’s what they called a good working structure fire. He’d just completed his six-week training at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s academy in Ione, a Gold Country town only slightly larger than his new home, Nugget. Although a seasoned firefighter and arson investigator back in Chicago, he didn’t have experience fighting forest and wildland fires.

That was all about to change.

With California in its fourth year of record drought, wildfires burned at breakneck speed across the state. And Cal Fire was responsible for protecting thirty-six of California’s fifty-eight counties, meaning millions and millions of acres.

About the Author:
Stacy Finz is an award-winning reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. After more than twenty years covering notorious serial killers, naked-tractor-driving farmers, fanatical foodies, aging rock stars and weird Western towns, she figured she finally had enough material to launch a career writing fiction. In 2012 she won the Daphne du Maurier Award for unpublished single-title mystery/suspense. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband.

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Buy the book at Amazon, iBooks, Google, Kobo, or Barnes and Noble.

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