Friday, January 29, 2016

Writing Exercise: Friday, 1/29

Miss writing-- so I'm trying something new here. I've signed up for a daily writing prompt from Writers Write, so going to give it a shot. Today's prompt List the last five films I've seen-- that's not as easy as it sounds, because (1) we don't go out to the movies (2) we watch a lot of old movies on TV (love the old movie channels) and (3) I'm usually working while we're watching so I don't pay that much attention to what's on. But, five movies I remember watching recently are: Song of the Thin Man Love Crazy The Inn of the Sixth Happiness The Keys of the Kingdom The High Country So... first words (not counting "the" of course): Song Love Inn Keys High Novel Title: Sing a Song in a High Key at the Love Inn... okay, maybe not... my business partner, Marianne, would say that title is too long for Twitter. However, I like the title The Key to the Love Inn or The Song of the Love Inn.. or maybe The Keys to the High Inn. Hmmmmm... thoughts?

Royal Pain by Danielle Doolittle - Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Danielle Doolittle will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Prince Henry Fitzgerald, once high flying playboy, finds himself grounded and forced into rehab. Changing isn't in the cards but facing off with feisty horse trainer, Carleigh Philips, makes him see he's not as far gone as everyone-including himself-thought. When a series of accidents add up to foul play Henry must set aside his fear of failure and act quickly to save the woman who woke his heart.

Enjoy an excerpt:

"You asked why I was spending so much time with her. I’m teaching her how to trust — to love — for the first time. It’s slow, hard work, but it’ll be worth it in the end. The first time is always the hardest, especially for those who don’t know where to begin."

Carleigh met Henry’s searching gaze over the fence. She wasn’t sure if she was talking about the horse anymore. Somehow, she got the feeling Henry had never allowed himself to be vulnerable enough to accept love, even from his family, and that was the saddest thing of all. How long had he been shutting himself off from the people around him? Some of her compassion must have showed on her face, because right before her eyes, the harsh lines that had relaxed during her story appeared again. He was shutting down, and a part of Carleigh cried out at the loss.

He shrugged, as if her explanation was of no concern to him. "I didn’t really come out here to talk about the horse."

"I figured." Carleigh tilted her head, studying him. "Why did you come here?"

"Do you mean that question in the universal ‘why are we all here?’ way?"

"I’m serious, Henry."

"I gathered, Carleigh. That’s the trouble with you, you know. I’ve noticed you’re always very, very serious." Carleigh tried not to fidget as his gaze swept her body. "Except for the other night, that is. The other night, the only thing that was serious was the heat between us."

About the Author:
Danielle Doolittle has always had a knack for storytelling. When she completed her first work of fiction at age six about a bunny and particularly juicy carrot she was hooked. Years later, she's spinning tales of first loves, awkward moments, and the occasional creature that goes bump in the night.

She lives in the wilds of a Northwest Ohio college town with her husband and three small children where she consumes above average amounts of coffee and dark chocolate and spends way too much time on Twitter.

She loves to hear from readers so don't be shy!

Email: ~ Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook
Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or All Romance eBooks.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Win a $25 GC: Escape from the Past - The Duke's Wrath by Annette Oppenlander

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Annette Oppenlander will be awarding a $25 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.

When fifteen-year old nerd and gamer Max Anderson thinks he’s sneaking a preview of an unpublished video game, he doesn’t realize that 1) He’s been secretly chosen as a beta, an experimental test player. 2) He’s playing the ultimate history game, transporting him into the actual past: anywhere and anytime. And 3) Survival is optional: To return home he must decipher the game’s rules and complete its missions—if he lives long enough. To fail means to stay in the past—forever.

Now Max is trapped in medieval Germany, unprepared and clueless. It is 1471 and he quickly learns that being an outcast may cost him his head. Especially after rescuing a beautiful peasant girl from a deadly infection and thus provoking sinister wannabe duke Ott. Overnight he is dragged into a hornet’s nest of feuding lords who will stop at nothing to bring down the conjuring stranger in their midst.

Enjoy an excerpt:

I heard more rustling. Louder now. Not from the men, but from the woods behind me. My knees buckled and I was vaguely aware of the thudding sound I’d made. I had to figure out what had just happened, retrace my steps. Where was my room? My mind churned as I scanned the ground for some sign of home, something familiar.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw the bearded thug turn his head. Ducking behind a hazelnut bush, I squinted through the leaves. The thug had raised his sword and stepped toward my hiding place.

I crouched lower, my ears filled with the pounding of my own heartbeat. Rough laughter came from the other two riders. Despite my panic I caught a glimpse of them poking their swords at the injured man’s shoulder. I smelled their stench—and the wounded man’s fear.

The bearded thug continued in my direction. Sunlight bounced off the edge of his blade. He took another step, scanning, listening. I forced my shaking body to be absolutely still. This had to be some kind of challenge in the game.

The man kept coming. Twenty feet. Everything about him looked menacing: his eyes the color of mud, his razor-sharp sword wide as a hand. Fifteen feet. I held my breath.

A scream rang out.

“Have mercy, My Lords,” the bleeding man cried. He was kneeling now, waiving his good arm in a pleading gesture. “I beg you,” he wailed.

I lowered my gaze. Somewhere I’d read that the white of a man’s eyes could give you away. Keeping my lids half-closed, I peeked through the leaves once more. The thug was ten feet away. Close up he looked worse, a brute with arms the size of my thighs, his chest covered in leather and wide as a barrel. Despite his size he had the soundless walk of a stalking animal. I watched with paralyzed fascination. Any second I’d be discovered, but all I managed was to shove my hands into my jeans pockets to keep them from trembling. It’s a computer game, my brain screamed. It’s real, my gut argued.

About the Author:
Annette Oppenlander writes historical fiction for young adults. When she isn’t in front of her computer, she loves indulging her dog, Mocha, and traveling around the U.S. and Europe to discover amazing histories.

“Nearly every place holds some kind of secret, something that makes history come alive. When we scrutinize people and places closely, history is no longer a number, it turns into a story.”

Website ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or IndieBound.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Sugarspear Chronicle by Nicole Arlyn

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter will win the prize described in the Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_TheSugarspearChroniclesThe Sugarspear Chronicles, the incredible twenty-six-novella saga that started with a little girl and her willow tree, is finally available in one complete collection.

The Sugarspear Chronicles: The Complete Collection is the story of young Sadie Sugarspear, a girl who endures intolerable abuse by reading about a fantasy world filled with incredible sights and outlandish people—a place she’s only ever encountered through her real father’s storybook.

One day, when the cruelty becomes too much to bear, Sadie runs away and hides inside her beloved willow tree. To her surprise, the tree opens, sending Sadie down into the abyss, into a land she’s only ever read about—where she must being a long, terrifying, and heartbreaking journey home.

Readers can now enjoy the entirety of author Nicole Arlyn’s dark fantasy saga in one complete book. This complete collection also includes a note from the author detailing the inspiration and events that led to The Sugarspear Chronicles.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The wind was ripping through the dandelion fields. The fence that stood alone shook but the blue flowers hanging off it stayed still. A pale girl walked on the dirt road through the fog and mud puddles towards the fence, her long brown hair slapping against her face, covering her green eyes that seemed blue when she turned them to the sky. She pushed her thin body through the wind, the black Rolling Stones t-shirt she wore as a dress blowing into her stomach. When she stood in front of the fence, the flowers finally swayed. Sprinkles of dew dying. Then she pulled them off, the crushed flowers in her hands, falling to earth. The wind never took them.

She sat on top of the fence watching the sky for rain. Instead she saw the faces that the clouds made morphing from evil to angel in one blink of her eyes. She ran her hands along the old brown wood, digging her fingertips hard in, crusted blood under her fingernails. She kicked her legs against the fence half wanting to knock it over and half wanting to fall with it, but it wouldn’t fall. She rubbed her thighs with the splinters until they burned and then made a fist with her right hand and bit down on it. She bit hard enough to stop her own tears. Only cry when the rain comes, she thought. That way the rain would wash away her tears and no one would know. She saw a caterpillar sitting beside her and picked it up.

“No one knows youʼre here but me,” she whispered. She laid the caterpillar where she found it. She opened her hands and kept waiting to catch the rain. She waited as the sky twisted around her, sealing her in a mist she wished only the sky could see through.

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheSugarspearChroniclesAbout the Author: Nicole is a writer and an actress born in Brooklyn, New York. She has worked in films such as Clay Pigeons, opposite Joaquin Phoenix; The Wedding Planner; and Brooklyn Bound, among many others. She has performed, written and directed theater productions in New York, Los Angeles, and Europe. She has also read her poems in many poetry lounges in Europe and America, and is a song lyricist for musicians.

After living in Rome, Italy, for the past several years, Nicole has returned to New York City where she lives with her husband and son. She is at work on more novels.

Publisher's Author Page ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Book Website ~ Goodreads ~ Website

Today only the book is FREE at Amazon.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Win a $10 GC: Average Joe and the Extraordinaires by Belart Wright


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Belart Wright will be awarding a $10 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.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00011]On a dark and balmy Floridian night, a strange and mysterious dark haired woman stalks the shadows of the local college football stadium, on the prowl for secrets buried deep beneath the Earth. These secrets, she knows, may change everything including this small town.

While knocking back illegal drinks with his friends at the hallowed Orangetown Pickers' college football stadium, average kid Joe Black finds himself desperately trying to save the life of a beautiful dark haired woman after a deadly explosion violently interrupts his fun and games. While trying to fathom why he would even do something so reckless he soon finds himself entangled in a dangerous game of terrorist plots, mistaken identities, hard boiled detectives, the criminal underworld, and of all things magic as he tries to escape with his life and make sense of it all.

Joe faces many challenges from all new enemies, assassins, and even his own friends. Can Joe navigate all this danger, escape with his life, and handle his biggest challenge to date, finding something about himself that is truly extraordinary? Find out within the pages of Average Joe and the Extraordinaires.

Enjoy an excerpt:

She rode off, down the street on her motorbike that was now a sky blue color to match the highlights in her hair, her ponytail, and her full face helmet. As she drove, she thought of her next move. She had a long list of places she wanted to visit, mostly associated with Grabas and the secrets he held beneath the stadium. But now her focus was on getting Joe out of trouble. She needed to figure out who has gunning for him...or better yet, she had to convince the man who hired this assassin to call off his killer. That man was definitely Robert Grabas.

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_AverageJoeAbout the Author:Belart Wright was born and raised in Detroit Michigan with a short but adventurous stint in St. Ignace during his childhood. Always poor, Belart had to learn to use his imagination to fuel the fun he had. Whether it was drawing cool and dangerous looking heroes to creating fully fledged storylines with his action figures to writing stories about kids similar to himself with fantastic abilities and destinies, Belart was always an expert in delving into other worlds that were not his own.

Always naturally talented at writing, it took the advice of his brother, and a little creative boost from his high school creative writing teacher to get him to realize that writing was something he could do really well and pursue as a career. To this day he revels in building worlds and characters from the ground up such as the worlds of Hell Warriors, Story of K, Cyborgs and Deadmen, and Pannam which are all working titles.

In his spare time Belart tries to update his two blogs whenever he can, but mostly just ends up writing or editing. As a huge gamer he plays a lot of games online and off with his favorites at the time being Borderlands 2, Phantasy Star Online, X-Men Legends, and Dark Souls. He just wishes he had more time to whittle his impossibly long gaming list down which goes all the way back to PS1 and Sega Genesis classics. He and his buddies at FlubberKnuckle Studios are also working on several new game IPs. He is also patiently waiting for the next installment of the superb Legacy of Kain series.

Personal Blog:
Story Blog:

Buy the book for $0.99 at Amazon.

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Win a $10 GC: The Green Rose by Stephanie Burkhart

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Stephanie will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_TheGreenRoseOn the continent of Gaia, evil is brewing. Turncoat wizard, Balthyser, kidnaps the kings of Dahaka and Tapin. He wants the green rose, a source of powerful magic.

Princess Sonia of Tapin is forced to hunt down the rose in exchange for her father's life. It's the ultimate betrayal of Gaia's peace, but she has no choice if she wants to save her father.

Prince Ivánstan of Dahaka accompanies her on the journey. Both face challenges and obstacles that test their strength of character during the hunt for the rose. Dare Sonia put her trust and faith in a man she hardly knows to secure Gaia's peace or will the continent's harmony be shattered forever?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Racing forward, he spotted her near Tapin's tents surrounded by three beasts. Tall and slender, she possessed a strong, wild beauty he found intriguing. Long chestnut brown hair flowed down her back. Her eyes were golden yellow with obsidian irises. She'd been bonded! Only the noble bonded. Her high, exotic cheekbones and patrician features were steeled in courage and determination. The primal urge to mate with her made his heart pound in his chest.

A falcon, the heraldic symbol of Tapin, was prominently displayed on her tunic.

A bird screeched. A wyldebeast craned its neck upward and the descending falcon slashed its talons over the creature's face, spraying blood.

"Well done, Hiro!" exclaimed the woman.

A second wyldebeast lashed at her. She stumbled backwards, tripping on a rock. Her wrist struck the ground hard, sending her sword sprawling several feet away from her, leaving her vulnerable.

"Draco, defend the Tapin noblewoman!"

Ivánstan's dragon, now overhead, shot a blast of flame from his mouth, scorching the fur of an advancing beast. The creature collapsed and rolled over, attempting to use the ground to extinguish the flames on its body.

The remaining wyldebeast raised his hand, its fingernails moist, poised to strike the noblewoman. Ivánstan lunged forward and sliced off the creature's wrist just inches in front of her face.

"Thank Nyla!" she cried.

The beast howled in pain and spun to face Ivánstan. Draco latched its thorny claws into the creature's shoulders, lifting it into the air.

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheGreenRoseAbout the Author:Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. She served 11 years in the US Army and currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate and is addicted to coffee. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children's books published with 4RV Publishing.

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ YouTube ~ Pinterest

Buy the book at Desert Breeze Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or All Romance eBooks.

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Win a $25 GC - Fairly Certain by Deborah Ann Davis

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Deborah will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Petir takes a rough tumble in the Connecticut woods, but awakens in the middle of old England. His instinct to freak out is tempered by the arrival of a fair maiden wearing a bow...and arrow. Throwing caution to the wind, Petir decides he has nothing to lose by pursuing Maid Rianne. But when she is captured by the enemy, a geek with no ability to defend himself must find a way to rescue the fair maiden.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Let go of me.” Rianne spoke quietly, tightly gripping her irritation as she stared at the hand grasping her arm. Where was the giddy feeling the mere sight of Lord Robert usually invoked? His oh-so-handsome face still held those marvelous gray eyes and perfectly even teeth, but, right now, she wanted to punch that flawless nose. The idea of spending the rest of her life with him was rapidly losing its appeal.

He uncurled his grip from her arm and took a step back. “M’lady.” He bowed, his attractive face marred by a sneer. “Or should I say, m’lad?”

She bit down on her rising annoyance. They never argued. They always agreed. So why could he not get past this? “What upsets you most, m’lord? That I am disguised as a lad, or that I side with the oppressed?”

“The oppressed? I beg your pardon. They live the life they have chosen. Please, Maid Rianne, think. How will it appear to the sheriff if I allow you to go off into the forest to live with this band of thieves?”

Allow me? Even as her anger escalated, she noticed a slight shift in his stance. She braced herself.

About the Author:
I’m DEBORAH ANN DAVIS, and I write Quirky New/Young Adult Fiction with a Twist. I began writing when searching for inspiration for my 5th grade English Journal. Lo and behold, my world was full of funny tales just waiting to be told. It never occurred to me to pursue writing, not even when I discovered my flare for telling stories at college parties.

After a string of undergrad majors, I realized I could reach a captive audience EVERY DAY in the public school system. As you probably know, teenagers love to laugh, and what could be more entertaining than Biology, Earth Science, and Environmental Science? I jumped into teaching with both feet and loved it for 27 years. It came with an added bonus: Once teens know you like to laugh, they want to make you laugh. Go figure.

Twelve years after our first kiss, I reunited with, and married my childhood sweetheart. Together we coached our daughter's AAU Basketball Team, which swept States two years in a row. (Yay!) Then, for several years, our daughter and our money went to college.

During a particularly nasty bout of Lyme disease, I turned to Fitness to boost my Health, and to Writing to boost my Happiness. Currently, I am a healthy and happy Educational Speaker and a Certified Personal Trainer who loves to write.

We presently reside on a lovely lake in Connecticut. When I’m not writing novels for my Love of Fairs series, I enjoy dabbling with living a sustainable life, dancing, playing outside, and laughing really hard every day. I also promote increasing movement throughout your day as Wiggle Writer in my Merry Meddling blog.

Twitter ~ Twitter (Wiggle Writer) ~ LinkedIn ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads

Buy Fairly Certain at IndieBound, Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, bLio, or Inktera.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Win a $15 GC + swag: Sonar the Cyclone by B. Truly

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $15 Amazon GC plus Swag: 1 Sonar The Cyclone e-book, 1 Sonar The Cyclone Photo Magnet and 1 Sonar pen to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_SonarTheCycloneIs your destiny determined by what the future has foretold? Or is fate deemed in the hands of what you behold?

The Royal 4 are now back on their home territory of Nazari, determined to get things back to normal. Syira’s forbidden love is being held captive. She is hell-bent on fighting for him despite the immense obstacles. She must find a way to convince her race that Kadeem is not dangerous. Their threat lies from deeper within.

Shiray has accepted her past and is moving forward with her life, but it comes back to haunt her tenfold. That all changes when she stumbles across the truth. Now, she must pick up the pieces of her shattered life.

They are in the calm but know when they approach the dirty side of the Cyclone storm, terrible things will unravel. The future is revealed and they get a glimpse of Fate’s course. Time is not on their side. They must attempt to change their destiny or their world will be doomed.

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt:

Tara let Kadeem and me into her bedroom. The room was pretty much set up the same way as before when I’d come several months ago. Candles were lit everywhere and it was dim. We followed her to where she had more candles and the same brown bowl on the floor. There were several pillows on the ground. We both sat down and waited for instructions. “I have already explained the basic concept to Kadeem,” I told Tara.

“Okay. Let’s begin. Remember, you’ll feel weird. Once you start to feel the effects, let me know and we will join hands.”

She handed Kadeem the bowl first. He sniffed it and turned his nose.

“It tastes bitter,” I warned him.

He took a few sips. “Yeah, you’re right.” He passed me the bowl and I took three sips. Yuck! It still tasted nasty. I held Kadeem’s hand. We stared at each other for a few minutes. Then the effects hit me. The high feeling was the same. I was hoping it might be different since I had been pregnant last time. Kadeem was gleaming, obviously feeling the effects.

“Has the substance kicked in?” Tara asked.

“Yes,” we said in unison.

“It will take several hours for the effect to wear off,” I told Kadeem.

“I’m not sure I want them to.” He smiled even wider.

“Kadeem,” I said, shocked.

“I’m just saying,” he replied; his eyes appearing glazed.

Tara shook her head and grinned. Then she reached for ours hands. “Don’t let go of each other’s hand until the vision begins to unfold. Once it does, it will be as if you are really there,” she told Kadeem. It terrified me to see the rest of this vision. But you had to face your fears to overcome them.

Kadeem and Tara both vanish. Blazing vibrant lights flash before me. Then I see the dark open field close by Elms Forest. Thunderous noises echo from above. Our ships are in sky battle. Another bright flash occurs and hundreds of Kadanans and Polars appear. Kadeem is standing next to me and I feel I can face this.

Shiray’s at it again with the platinum bob woman who has grey eyes. I pray it ends differently this time. They are exchanging blows, their movements rapid. The woman Polar has mind powers equivalent to Shi’s. They are inflicting pain while brawling. Every few seconds one of them inflicts pain and the other gets the upper hand.

My heart races as they continue to box. Another female intervenes and Shi is fighting both of them. Bryan spots them and tries to jump in. He throws flames at platinum bob. But she dashes from the flames’ path and pins him to the ground with agony. Shi scrambles to her feet in an attempt to help Bryan, but platinum bob delivers a warp of pain her way. The other female Polar uses this to her advantage and sends multiple rounds of lightning bolts through Shi. She falls to her knees, helpless under both their attacks. Shi continues to get blasts of electricity. Kadeem stares in shock. I turn my head unable to bear it. Moments later, I hear a thud. I then look at Shi, whose face is etched in pain. It’s a horrid sound when her heart stops beating. The life leaves her eyes. Bryan is shouting her name.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_SonarTheCycloneB Truly has wanted to be an author since she was fifteen years old and is grateful to have accomplished this dream. She has very vivid dreams and a wild imagination. She likes to read, watch tons of TV shows, and movies. She is addicted to romance and gets a thrill out of action and suspense. She writes New Adult, Fantasy, Sci-fi, and Paranormal-Romance.

In the Sonar series, B Truly said, “It was fun to explore different elements of Sci-fi romance and create various realms of powers for my characters. I want to show my readers that Sci-fi can be fun, but also traumatic. I hope you guys enjoy the Sonar Series.”

B Truly has three wonderful children and a husband who defines the person she is today. She works full-time as an Ultrasound technologist in Sugarland, Texas.

Buy the book at Amazon or Smashwords

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Win a $20 GC: Blood's Force by Ellis Morning

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ellis Morning will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Hi everyone, thanks for having me here and checking out my book today! I thought I’d share a little information on heraldry, which plays an important role in the world of Blood’s Force.

Historically, one of heraldry's first functions was to identify combatants whose faces would otherwise be hidden by armor. However, coats of arms have also been used by cities and people, royal and otherwise, for identification purposes. Wherever literacy is rare, colors and symbols become critical for conveying information at a glance.

The galaxy of Blood’s Force was once united under a single ruler known as Hegemon Zander, but those days are long over. It now more closely resembles feudal Europe: fractured into dozens of domains, each governed by a Lord with his or her own color and seal. The Lord and everyone in his service, from his personal messenger to the soldiers on backwater planets he’s never been to, wears those colors.

Meanwhile, Dame Jessamine and other knights errant, unaffiliated with any Lord, wear grays and browns to reflect that fact. But they have their own symbols, called sigils, for identifying themselves and their property. For instance, Jessamine uses a symbol that originated with the ancient Shipbuilders. It used to show up in diagrams concerning electronics, and was called the variable resistor:

Jessamine has this symbol tattooed on her wrist. It also shows up on her sword’s pommel, and on the side of her ship’s hull.

Do you have a personal symbol you identify with? Does your family have its own coat of arms? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Where superstition is law, there is no order!

Dame Jessamine is a knight errant with a spaceship for a steed, a pupil of ancient science and technology who quests on behalf of the downtrodden. She's accustomed to forging her own path through the galaxy—until she's hijacked at sword-point and sent to investigate Nidaros, a remote barony known for bursts of rebellion.
In Nidaros, Jessamine finds a populace short on food and patience, innocents detained for torture, and a court trapped in a web of delusion. The Baron considers her a distraction. The magicians, convinced of a "curse," dismiss her pleas for rational action. Even as Jessamine forges an alliance with the soldiers, an unknown foe seeks to frame her as an agitator.

Stuck amid murderous intrigue and cut off from her mentors, Jessamine must figure out how to save Nidaros from starvation. But the only people who understand the true "curse" have been accused of witchcraft—and if Jessamine's not careful with her ancient knowledge, she'll join them in the dungeon!

Blood’s Force is Book 1 of the Sword and Starship series of science fiction/fantasy adventure.

Enjoy an excerpt:

At my strange accusation, Ingvar halted within the estate corridor as though he’d struck an invisible wall, staring at me in bloodless terror.

My glee never faltered. I stopped at his side, grinning. “What else do you think is full of it?”

He remained transfixed, probably not sure what to make of the bizarre tone accompanying my questions.

“Want me to go first? Gladly.” I bounced on my toes, giddy enough to illustrate the blasphemy I hoped to hear from him. “How about Master Ormyr pushing off important business to schmooze? How about Baron Tristan knuckling under because of Ormyr’s ‘magic’ drivel?”

“And what of knights errant, and the tripe ye peddle from one cesspool to the next?” Ingvar snapped. A scowl chased away his disconcertment. Annoyance restored the color to his face. “The only loyalty any of ye arse-head sellswords know is to your coin-purse! Ye serve no actual purpose short of bashing each other’s heads in and dazzling people with lies!” An accusing finger jabbed at my nose. “Your garbage may impress the others, but I’m wise to you! Pretending like ye’re the next coming of Zander. Skíta! If ye’d ever actually earned a shred of Lord Catherwood’s confidence, he’d have made you a proper knight in his service! Don’t know what ye’re supposed to be doing here, but damned if I’ll let you make things worse!”

At this welcome display of nerve and candor, I burst out laughing. Weak knees backpedaled me against a wall, where I doubled over, laughing until every assisting muscle ached and I struggled to breathe.

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_BloodsForceAbout the Author:Ellis has always loved staging adventures in her head before going to sleep each night. When she was twelve, she started putting these adventures on paper.

For the next twenty years, she wrote with varying degrees of seriousness, but always as a hobby. In that time, she fell in love with Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut, the original Star Trek series, and Mystery Science Theater 3000. Science fiction became her favorite domain to work in, but she also enjoyed reading fantasy, horror, Western, and detective stories, and incorporating their elements into her work. One of her favorite things to do was make people laugh.

Ellis denied being a writer for decades. But then she sold articles to The Daily WTF, and a short story to Analog Science Fiction and Fact. After quitting her full-time job to finish her first novel, it was time to own up to writing as her calling. She's currently an editor at The Daily WTF, and having the time of her life penning novels and short stories.

Google+ ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

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

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Win a $30 GC - The Measure of Love by Saundra MacKay

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Saundra will be awarding a $30 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_TheMeasureOfLoveThe Measure of Love is unique in that it is an authentic modern-day love story that captures the mystique and splendor of large size women of today. It will captivate the hearts of the readers as they walks through Vanessa’s everyday life as she confronts the realistic obstacles from being a woman of size. The story addresses size in a kinder, gentler way about full figured women beyond the realm of society’s idea of what is physically beautiful

Enjoy an excerpt:

Good fortune spared her from becoming further unnerved by allowing her to get to the airport without much delay, and to find a parking spot, with a few minutes left before his flight was to arrive. Vanessa felt as if she couldn’t make time move fast enough. With each passing minute, she couldn’t deny her mounting eagerness to see his handsome face come through the exit doorway. While the passengers were disembarking, Vanessa positioned herself in a place where she could easily see him come through the door, yet far enough away from the crowd of onlookers waiting for the same reason. As the doors opened and each unfamiliar face passed through the doorway, she felt as if her inflated heart was going to burst onto the carpet. She felt sure she would stop breathing if she didn’t see his face in the next few seconds.

Vanessa stood very still, watching the stream of emerging passengers. And then, suddenly, there he was, looking like the million dollars he was worth in her shining eyes. Unbeknownst to her, Jon had been anticipating seeing her just as much once the plane had landed, and the need had only increased as the plane, much too slowly, had taxied up the runway. His feet had wanted to run down the long walkway, making him impatient with the necessary procedures and the lingering passengers who, to his increasing anxiety, were taking their time walking down it. He didn’t know why, but he was nervous and very anxious, even though he’d been looking forward to this day since it had been arranged.

By the time Jon reached the exit, he was so wired it took everything he had not to push the people ahead of him out of his way to run the extra steps. Then, at the exact same moment, their eyes locked. Vanessa stood there, so statuesque, and wearing the biggest smile. It took all the remaining restraint he had not to drop his bag where he stood, run to her, and grab her up in his hungry arms to consume every inch of her big, beautiful body. She was one fine female, and he could see she had no idea of the enormous impression she made as she stood looking like a vision to all who had an eye for real beauty.

Never taking his eyes off hers, Jon walked toward her, lowered his bag, and forced himself to slowly pull her into his impatient arms. The feel of her softness revived the many feelings that had possessed him since he last left her, and gave him a new wish to hold on to her for a lifetime, just as he was at that very moment. For someone of such a large frame, she was so small in so

He had missed her. For someone of such a large frame, she was so small in so many ways not obvious to those who couldn’t see past the image taken in by the discriminating eye. Jon just wanted to hold her and protect her forever from all the ugliness around her and within her own insecure reflection. Vanessa wrapped her large arms around his neck, nestled her face deep into his shoulder beneath his scented square chin, and whispered, “I’ve missed you so much. Welcome, my love.”

About the Author:  I was a large-sized child shaped by the view of those expecting me to act a certain way because of my size and their narrow views. As a “fat” child I was treated just how they thought I would act, as if I was so sensitive I were incapable of doing most things thin children could do. It was around the age of twelve I started to gain weight, changing my physical image of my body. It was a slow, steady process, but the ramifications were not.

"© copyright DON WEST / fOTOGRAfIKS all rights reserved - domestic & foreign 617.524.1975"As I grew older and the pounds followed, the images changed dramatically and I wasn’t capable of fighting the effects from it. As a young girl of size, trying to keep some semblance of positive image was an uphill battle. It was the start of feeling isolated and unsure as an introverted child growing up and into most of my teen years. I didn’t feel I could trust anyone enough to talk to about personal issues, especially anything to do with my weight.

As a teen and into adulthood the meaning of unrequired love was lost to me. As I explored the world around me, I unknowingly learned how to trust many of the voices of the people I was blessed to have had walk through my life. In time, it showed me my innate trust in something bigger than society’s issues and helped me to listen to my own voice to hear the messages I tell myself.

Now, the image of my body is one of kindness, caring, and love. In light of realizing its society’s image of body that is distorted and do not accept the difference in every individual, I have come a long way to appreciate the uniqueness of my body. Today love means so many things to me, and is felt in defining ways that have helped shape me into the person I am today. I believe I have always reflexively felt a connection to my innate love for myself and on so many amazing levels love have helped me to understand and value the real me.

As a young adult, I started to read every opportunity I had. Then my love of words was found, allowing me to create a world in which I could express myself comfortably. I now have the pleasure of embracing the feelings of joy and excitement that come with being a writer of truth and a romance novelist. It’s possible because I evaluate myself and my growth with honesty in hopes of being capable of writing true-to-life love stories. Love stories about large-size women who are seen for more than their innate beauty and are worthy to be the heroine who gets the man

Amazon Author Page ~ Website ~ Facebook

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Win a Book: Let's Stalk Rex Jupiter by Allison Spector

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Allison Spector will be awarding a signed copy of book with original plot outline notes (loose sheets of paper) inside and additional notes at end or in margins of story (US/Canada only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Writer's View

The view inside my writing space

The view inside my writing space is that of a two-fold universe. On the surface there are comfy chairs and Buddha statues, and charming miscellanea. There’s an ottoman for my feet to rest upon. And there is always a cup of tea awaiting my return. There are books, eagerly sitting within arm’s reach, waiting to be read. And there are cats. So many cats!

Then deep below the surface is the body that owns the fingers that move deftly across the keys. And if you peer inside those windows you might catch a glimpse of a mind, sparking away with thoughts and energy. My brain is my writing space and it is full of sound, and soft colors. Mostly it is a place of formlessness and unspoken words. Concepts take flight in a stream of chemical impulses and the firing of neurons. There’s a flurry of emotions and ideas. My mind pushes them down, down into my fingertips where they dance across the keyboard and scatter into the world.

The view outside my writing space

The view outside my writing space is a vast maze of McMansions that sprout up from prairie grass and frost-caked plains. They are a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit, self-actualization, and pioneering moxy, as much as they are a reflection of conquest, harm, and willful isolation from the diverse cornucopia of human experience.

Knowing what lies outside my walls, I gird myself away and pine for the mountains, counting every hour until I’m surrounded by majestic sequoias and ferns and happy little rainclouds once more.

Layout 1Trouble’s brewing in the Evergreen Jungle. When controversial author Rex Jupiter plans a visit to a Bellingham bookstore, news of his arrival attracts the attention of the mysterious Paladin, who plans on leading a mob of rioting housewives against him. But the Paladin has competition. Sleuth-extraordinaire Marian Krause has her own bone to pick with Jupiter as she scrambles to solve the death of a woman who has stolen her identity. Rex may think he has the situation under control, but when the wrath of the local Druids is incurred, pitchforks and torches may be the least of his concerns.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Marian’s lungs shuddered against the fumes of the organic, locally sourced, native-friendly tobacco as it passed from the long-stemmed cigarette holder through her lips and into her body. It was a dirty, messy habit. And it was hers. The smoke floated in the air, letting forth a wave of guilty pleasure. She carefully measured out her puffs, since told her that for every cigarette she smoked she would lose 5.5 minutes of her life.

Thus, she made sure that she only sacrificed 1.375 minutes at a time. She found the pleasure-to-life-lost ratio to be acceptable as everyone knew that all detectives smoked. And they did so in darkened rooms, with shades drawn, and only the light of a low-watt desk-lamp to illuminate the wisp of airborne tobacco trailing off like a faded dream.

Also, it made her feel badass. So, there.

Of course, there were disadvantages to sitting in a darkened room, the greatest of which was that it made her extremely susceptible to her husband’s Tokens of Affection, which usually fell into three categories:

(A) Crimes Scenes: composed of stolen police tape, ketchup, and teddy bears

(B) Fan Fiction: of a most Adult variety, written about Marian, and cleverly slipped in between her meticulously organized case files and resumes

(C) Brazen Thievery: which meant that her Second-Most Favorite Fedora would be missing, and she could only retrieve it following an Elaborate Series of Clues

The very thought of his categorical attentions made her want to climb down from her attic office and pay him a Conjugal Visit that instant. She would bring the Special Trench Coat and the magnifying glass and…

She slapped herself on the cheek. Love would have to wait.

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_LetsStalkRexJupiterAbout the Author:Allison Spector was born and raised in the hedonistic playground of the Jersey Shore, but finds herself oddly allergic to spray tan. She is a proud graduate of Goucher College, and started her environmentally-focused career in Washington DC in 2005. She moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2008, and fell in love with its beauty and people. Allison is currently on a Midwestern Adventure and is determined to live as much life as possible—to accomplish her dreams one at a time—and to nurture her loving family, and blaze a trail of wit, whimsy, and eccentricity wherever she goes.
Twitter ~ Website

Book available on Amazon.

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

The X Factor by Ivan Sivec

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ivan will be awarding a free e-copy of the X Factor or a signed greeting card from Slovenia (international) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

It takes three mistakes to be swallowed up and spat out by the fashion industry.
You trust the wrong people.
You think you know everything there is to know about life.
You abuse drugs.

The almost 18-year-old Maja is a regular high-school kid, who at the threshold of adulthood thinks she knows everything there is to know about life. As she enters the world of fashion modelling she gets completely enchanted.
However, the more her career thrives she’s less able to see the danger lurking around fashion industry. Maja starts falling in a downward spiral of drug addiction and is torn between the tempting dream of becoming a world famous model and the horrendous thought of destroying her body beyond the point of no salvation.

At a yacht party Maja gets drugged, assaulted and tossed overboard. She’s found the next day. Barely alive. Only a shade of her former self, in a gray space between life and death, she realises the fashion industry sucked everything out of her – except one thing – the will to live. Maja wants to be her old self again.

Ironically, it means losing the only thing that made her special. She has to give up on her hidden X Factor.

The X Factor:
Confession of a Naïve Fashion Model
is a psychological YA novel showing the glamorous fashion world behind its less glamorous scenes.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The window scene.

It was like a scene from a film about the escape of prisoners. They tied four sheets together to form a rope and climbed down onto the pavement, one by one. It was easy, just as if they were shooting a commercial. Downstairs, they hugged, as if they had just saved each other’s lives.

“And now what?”

“Nothing’s open right now and we won’t make it far on foot.”

There was a bakery on the other side of the street. Every day they rushed past, as they were tempted by the wonderful smell coming out of it. They were too afraid they would give in to temptation.

“We’ll break in to the shop, end of discussion!” Maja was overcome by a divine power. “As soon as we get our first salary, we’ll pay the owner back everything, including a large tip. I’m sure he’ll be understanding.”

“But is there even any bread in there?”

“There must be! Old bread and bread rolls stay in the bakery until the morning, when the farmers from the suburbs pick them up. They must use them for pig fodder. I’ve watched them from our window many times.”

The bakery wasn’t built very solidly. They took out an old window, easily entered and rushed to the shelves.

“Wow, that’s a lot of bread!”

“Oh, I’m so happy!”

Sitting on the floor in the middle of the room they stuffed themselves with old bread rolls until their stomachs became blown up as if they were pregnant.

“Well, I won’t die after all!”

“I won’t die either!”

Feeling blissfully satisfied, knowing they were full, they fell asleep from exhaustion and all the bad things that happened to them.

The owner found them half lying, half sitting, surrounded by old bread rolls.

“Mamma mia, mamma mia! What’s the world coming to?” he said, wringing his hands.

“They’re wearing the most expensive clothes in the world, but they would have died of hunger if they hadn’t stolen some bread!” He carefully woke them up and said with an understanding tone:

“Don’t be afraid, I won’t report you to the police. I’ve been observing you for a long time now. You’re as thin as rakes! Are you even women still?! I wouldn’t like to have such a woman for anything in the world. Oh, mamma mia, mamma mia, what’s the world coming to, what’s the world coming to…!”

They swore that when they get rich they would repay him for all the damage and add a prize on top.

“The biggest prize for me would be if you would buy some bread rolls each evening and start living a normal life.”

But despite the fact they were full, they couldn’t work that day. They were too full. They were so sick they vomited everything out, every last bite. They were too weak to even leave their beds. That was their first day without work. It was their own fault.

“A final warning before expulsion,” the director Monica let them know. “There are at least a hundred girls waiting in line who are serious about work. One more mistake like that and you’re out!”

About the Author: Ivan Sivec is a writer, poet and publicist from Slovenia, Europe. People say he is ‘a man with a hundred stories’ and he has been sharing them with his audience, both young and mature, for over four decades now. He is listed under the top five Slovenian bestselling authors.

In his rich and thriving career he has written in many genres. As a poet he has written more than 2,500 lyrics for ethnic and entertaining music for which he received several awards. His broad prosaic ‘repertoire’ includes biographies, historical, psychological and adventure novels, travelogues, youth book series, picture books as well as humorous stories. To this date he published over 130 books and is considered to be one of the most popular Slovenian authors.

His particular interest goes to psychological novels on issues teenagers face today, especially topics like suicide, drug addiction, adoption, AIDS... He shares true stories to let the young reader know they’re not alone.

Sivec devotes his free time to his wife of 44 years, their two children and three grandchildren. Since his retirement a decade ago he enjoys his days hiking the Alpine peaks (he is especially proud to have conquered the tallest mountain in Europe, the French Mont Blanc (4,810 m/ 15,771 ft), together with his daughter-in-law Tina). When he is not gathering inspiration from the mountains he is soaking in the tranquility of the Mediterranean Sea with his wife. Nature is his source of creativity. It allows Ivan to gather his thoughts and pour them onto paper.

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Win a $25 GC: Fortytude by Shelly Hickman

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Shelly Hickman will be awarding a $25 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.

The Challenges of Writing Chick Lit

1. Avoiding the Cliché

I suppose trying to avoid the clichéd storyline is a challenge, no matter what genre you write. Let’s face it, there are only so many plots to explore. I always get a bit miffed when people say the plot of a story was predictable. Well, unless you’re writing a thriller that’s intended to be a real mind bender, stories based on any kind of romance will likely include elements we’ve seen before. Whether it be the woman who’s secretly in love with her longtime best buddy, her boss, or her ex. Personally what I like about chick lit is the predictability of a happy ending, so I guess one of the big challenges is crafting interesting characters. (I changed that one midstream, didn’t I?)

2. Keeping it Light

This a struggle I’m dealing with in my current work, Harmony to Heartburn, the third book in my Fortytude series. I’m building up to an awkward and painful conflict for one of the characters, and my goal is to convey it in a sensitive manner without being overly dramatic or heavy. I love addressing difficult situations in my fiction, but at the same time chick lit should be an escape, and I don’t want my readers feeling like they signed up for some giggles, and instead were given a heavy heart. I hate when stories do that! I think I can safely reference How Stella Got Her Groove Back. That movie came out in the 90s. If you’ve never seen it and think you might someday, I’m giving you your spoiler alert now. Skip to number three. Anyway, I was soooo pissed when Whoopi Goldberg died in that movie! I was like, “Really?” This was supposed to be some light-hearted flick about an older woman getting her groove on with the incredibly sexy Taye Diggs, and they just had to throw in Stella losing her best friend to cancer. Don’t get me wrong. It’s still a great movie, but so not cool!

3. Being at Least a Little Bit Funny

Chick lit should provide a few good chuckles here and there, and there’s always a balancing act when it comes to occasionally injecting humor, without trying too hard and falling flat. I think this is easily my biggest fear in regards to this genre. Everyone’s sense of humor is different, so when I list “humor” as one of the sub-genres for my books, I get a little nervous. Especially since whenever I do a promo for a Fortytude title, “humor” is the category it seems to chart in the fastest. I dread the thought of a reader finishing one and thinking, “Humor? …If you say so, lady.”

There are plenty of other challenges that come with writing in general—writer’s block, making the time, getting hung up on finding the perfect word, etc., etc.—but I would say the three mentioned are my biggies. I would be interested to hear how other chick lit authors would answer.

Anna has never been the beautiful one; she’s always been the nice one. So when the gorgeous man sitting across the table at a wedding reception remembers her from high school—and quite fondly at that—she’s taken off guard.

Formerly overweight and unpopular, Kiran has never forgotten Anna, the one person who was kind to him when no one else could be bothered, and Anna’s a bit flustered as she slowly comes to grips with his intense attraction for her.

In what feels like a romantic dream come true, all-grown-up, hunky Kiran invites Anna on a trip to Varanasi. But her troubled, whack-a-do ex-boyfriend starts interfering, creating drama at every turn, which begs the question, “Can nice girls really finish first?”

The sequel to "Vegas to Varanasi" catches up with Anna and Kiran a couple of years after the event that brought the once “ugly duckling” high school acquaintances together. But will their romance continue to flourish in the face of a whole new set of insecurities brought on by middle age?

First, there’s Kiran, who has an unexpected health scare. While his doctors assure no permanent damage has been done, there seems to have been some damage to his personality, as the normally respectful and reserved Kiran begins behaving erratically and overtly. Anna wants to hope that this is temporary, sparked by the visit of Kiran’s womanizing, free-spirited cousin, Seth. But is this just the midlife Kiran surfacing?

Anna has midlife issues of her own. Now forty-eight, she’s navigating the onset of perimenopause and all the delights that come with it, from facial hair to mood swings to body temperature issues. On top of that, her two-year-old granddaughter is starting to show signs of a behavior disorder, bringing with it a whole other level of stress and worry.

Will Anna and Kiran finally find their happily ever after? Or end up stuck in a midlife mess in this romantic comedy of accepting change, and “the change.”

Enjoy an excerpt:

When I look up, Kiran is regarding me so intently, I swear he’s mentally calculating the diameter of my pupils. “It was truly exceptional, for someone your age to be so compassionate toward others.”

  This is becoming far too intense. My insides feel as if they’re playing musical chairs. “I could really use a drink. You?”

“I’ll get it for you. What would you like?”

“A glass of white wine, please.”

“Any particular kind?”

“Whatever they have is fine.”

I sit down on one of the sofas while he walks to the bar for our drinks.

This is childish. Why am I acting like I’ve never had a man give me attention before? It has to be because I’m letting his looks intimidate me.

Luke never flustered me, but maybe that was because he was my buddy first. Despite his good looks, he was approachable. Kiran, on the other hand... I can honestly say I’ve never met anyone in real life who was so arresting.

I feel flushed and touch my face.

He’s not full of himself, and he genuinely seems to like me. Clearly, he has these idealistic memories of me which are far too much to live up to. I’m not Gandhi, for crying out loud!

About the Author:
Living in Las Vegas since she was two, Shelly Hickman has witnessed many changes in the city over the years. She graduated from UNLV with a Bachelor of Art in 1990, and in her early twenties worked as a computer illustrator. In the mid-90s, she returned to school to earn her Masters degree in Elementary Education. She now teaches computer literacy and media technology at a middle school in Las Vegas. She loves to write about people, examining their flaws, their humor, spirituality, and personal growth. Shelly lives with her husband, two children, and their dogs, Frankie and Junebug.

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Amazon Author Page

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Writer's View: Gerhard Gehrke

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Gerhard Gehrke will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The View Inside My Writing Space

My writing space is an exercise of compromise.

My wife has two adopted cockatiels. She swears they're mine. They regularly find their way to my desk in search of almonds. Recently Jasper (the young boy bird) decided he likes the taste of my computer cables. It took me a moment to realize my backspace and period key were no longer working as he chewed most of the way through the keyboard's cord. He's a rescue project that we took on as a neighbor kept him in a dark room for about seven years with little human contact. When he's not biting me, he loves getting his head and neck scratched, writing deadlines notwithstanding. The girl bird has been with us for seventeen years. She doesn't like the boy.

So almost everything that's in my desk space has the tell-tale signs of hostile avian lifeforms. It's a crowded few square feet where I do both my writing and try to run a business. My first edited manuscript sits tucked by the monitor, yet someone has tried to turn it into nesting material. I have three notebooks in play for my writing. Random ideas go into one. A second is a current project notebook where I'm putting down research which pertains to a fall-of-civilization novel I'm working on. My most recent page therein is on safe-cracking and picking locks. The third notebook is a binder with printouts from editors, writing tips, grammar guidelines, and things of that nature. All three notebooks are nibble-notched.

Food and water is a necessity at my desk. I'm constantly hungry, and it's a distraction if I have to get up more than necessary. I keep raw almonds and sometimes a box of cereal nearby to keep away the grumblies. Both birds know this. The birds are evil, and they covet my food. Birds don't have lips. Thus there are crumbs around my keyboard. Crumbs get into my checkbook. I've placed the checkbook as a bulwark against the invaders getting food in the keyboard, but it's not much of a barrier. I have to blow the checkbook out before I write checks.

Other random papers include a tax binder, a copy of PC Gamer, and a clipped magazine article on fusion that need to be filed. Scraps of paper have notes on them. One flier from our local sanitary district has a rough short story outline and a brainstorm list of alternate titles for my second novel which might see the light of day in 2016.

The final compromise around the workspace is my spine. I sit forward at an awkward lean, typically with a leg crossed. There's often the girl bird on one foot that's sleeping, and I usually don't want to wake her up. The other one when not roaming is in its cage where the little demon belongs, but he will no doubt find his way back up here soon. With the current situation, I might get some work done, if I'm quiet. And if I'm lucky, the almonds will be all mine.

What would you do if you found a dead alien on a lonely highway?

Was it an accident, sabotage, or murder? And why is everyone blaming Jeff?

The extraterrestrials aren’t waiting for answers. They want revenge. And Jeff isn’t ready for company.

His only hope is an outcast mechanic from another world and a woman who might do anything to get off planet, including selling out her own kind. Jeff has to get to the bottom of why there are so many alien bodies piling up and who is really responsible.

MediaKit_BookCover_ABeginnersGuideToInvadingEarthA science fiction adventure novel, A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth tells the story of a reclusive ex-computer programmer who is the unwitting central figure of a plot to keep humanity from ever making first contact.

Enjoy an excerpt:

First contact with the humans wasn’t going as planned, as was obvious by the rank smells that choked the air of the alien visitorsʹ craft. But no one called them aliens where they came from.

Seven little Greys, short bipeds with large heads and big eyes and delicate limbs, sat in the flight seats of their ship’s crew compartments and listened as the Mission Commander lectured them from the Command Module. The harangue lingered in the air, not as words or even sounds but as a smell, a ripe one replete with pheromones and scent packets that the Greys used to speak with one another. A new string of curses from the Commander’s glands smelled of licorice. The Mission Commander composed itself. It wiped sticky sweat from its hairless frontal lobe.

The lights and displays in front of the seven crewmembers blinked and flashed. No one would so much as touch a button until the Commander was finished addressing the crew.

“I’ll hear no more of it,” the Commander said. “We’re on the human world. We go forward. Probability calculations for success show at 100%. The computer will be trusted.”

About the Author: Gerhard Gehrke studied film at San Francisco State University. He wrote and produced several shows for community television. His Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror short stories have appeared in several publications, including an Editor’s Choice-winning short story at A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth is his first novel.

You can connect with him at

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