Friday, 21 November 2014

Featured Book: Echoes of Immortality by KC McDonald

Jenna Sims is a culinary student with a secret. While perfecting a homework recipe, she consults an old worn book that belonged to her great-great grandmother and unwittingly cooks up a spell for immortality. Jenna's secret, unbeknownst to her, is that her ancestry comes from a coven of witches. A down-on-his-luck cosmetics company marketing representative finds out about the spell and sets out to steal the book for the recipe, which he thinks would be a hit for the company and allow a reversal of fortune for himself. A period of self-discovery and a short learning curve is unleashed as Jenna strives to protect the family secrets and keep evil from stealing the spell book containing enough power to change the world.

Buy Links   Amazon (Kindle)   Paperback

Jenna Sims on Immortality:    “I don’t think being immortal sounds all that great. Don’t you think that not having to worry about death would steal the joy from living? I mean, life is stretching to achieve goals, and exploring new things, and struggling to overcome obstacles. Life is not just breathing in and out every day. I think immortality would make all these things that add up to our lives hollow and meaningless.”
Story behind the story
I set out to write a novel at the end of 2011, after writing a couple of short stories. For me, idea generation comes from asking myself what if questions. For example: What if the Hindenburg had been made of marshmallows? Or: What if cats had thumbs? Echoes of Immortality was borne from the question: What if a culinary arts student accidentally cooked an immortality potion? I thought this idea had more merit than the previous two examples, so more questions were asked. How would this character be able to do such a thing? What would be the consequences of this discovery? Once those questions were answered, many more were asked and soon a plot began to develop.
Once the plot became a bit less murky, I began outlining the story (yes, I am a reformed plotter). I outlined the entire story and began writing in December of 2011. About 25K words into the story, I realized it was predictable and would likely not be very satisfying for the reader. So, into the round file with the outline and the transformation from plotter to pantser. Once I made that change, the characters really came to life and began doing things on their own, surprising even me at times.

About me

I retired from the U.S. Army in 2008, after a 23-year career. It was then that I inventoried my skill set to figure out what I was good at and really enjoyed doing.
I worked at two other jobs after retirement, but was laid off at the end of 2011.  riting had always come easy to me and I enjoyed it, but serious writing was always on the ‘someday’ list. Someday came at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012 when I figured out that writing is what I wanted to do. I started Echoes of Immortality in December 2011, and published it on September 25th, 2014. I also wrote a 100-page screenplay during Script Frenzy in April 2012, titled Echoes of Enchantment, which is the back-story for Echoes of Immortality, and will eventually be the second book in the series. Another day job found me in the spring of 2012, but I am plugging along and eventually plan to shed the daily grind in favor of the glamorous life of a full-time writer.

Connect with Kevin online

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Featured Book: Satin Murder by Bonnie Glee

Sallee Anderson is a wealthy, somewhat naive, socialite living in the Seattle area in the late 1950s, who suddenly finds herself a forty-year old widow, the beneficiary of a multi-million dollar shipping company, and the prime suspect in her almost ex-husband Seth Anderson’s murder.  How could she be so neglectful as to misplace the .25 she bought after their separation? How could she not be aware that someone was constantly following her? One thing her gifted discernment did tell her was that her overly caring brother, suddenly by her side, had ulterior motives.
While trying so hard to stay out of the limelight she is suddenly confronted at a dinner party with someone who could reveal her tiny little secret. She couldn’t suddenly faint because that very person would be at her side in a flash, and the social section in the local Seattle Times would have a hey-day.
She relies heavily on two alias, Nell her best friend and Max the shipping business lawyer. Both rush to her side with motives of their own.

The story weaves through trials with her family, friends, even her loyal housekeeper, and her never tiring, recently acquired personal investigator/lawyer, Ryan.

BUY LINKS    Amazon

"Ladies don't just let a gun rattle around in the bottom of their purse." She took the beige bag, unzipped it, and dropped the contents on the bedspread. She gasped, as Officer Riley and Mr. Davis stared in silence. In place of the gun, there lay a mostly flat brownish-black rock.
It's the 1950s in Seattle and socialite Sallee Anderson is at the height of her popularity, but her beauty, intelligence, and savviness won't stop her from being implicated in the cold murder of her husband, who was found dead in his office with a single bullet to the head. What's more, Sallee's pistol is missing. Lawyer Ryan is now hot on the case trying to unravel the mystery, but will he make it in time to save Sallee from jail and disgrace?
Disgrace is not all that threatens Sallee's happiness. With suspicious family and friends surrounding her, Sallee doesn't know who to trust, especially not with this kind of secret.
What is Sallee's secret? 

About the Author
Bonnie Glee is a freelance writer who enjoys membership in the League of Utah Writers, the Utah State Poetry Society with previous leadership positions in both. Her publications include a short story Pigtails in the Cache Valley Magazine; poetry in Utah Sings: Volumes Seven and Eleven and other publications; essays in the Healing Ministry, Not Everybody Can Cry, Wasatch Woman, Life After Motherhood; and human interest articles printed in the Logan Herald Journal, Kirk Peterson: Paradise’s Professional Jockey and The Pied-Piper Marsha Anderson and the Gingerbread Kids. In 2012 she won Honorable Mention for her poem ‘Where is Comfort’ sponsored by Whitmore Library. June 2014 found her short story, Dust of the Evening, printed in the anthology, Romantic Hero’s, by Safkhet Publishing, now out on September 1, 2014 will be the release date of her first novel, Satin Murder by Safkhet Publishing, e-Book on and paperback on CreateSpace. 
Second book, Token Woman due to be released by Mirror Publishing, spring of 2015.
She lives in Cottonwood Heights, Utah with her husband Joe, is the mother of five children and two chosen children, 20 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Connect with Bonnie online

Monday, 17 November 2014

Featured Book: My Girl by John W. Howell

San Francisco lawyer John J. Cannon who is burned out on lawyer work decides to take a leave of absence from the firm to start a fishing charter business. He returns to a small fishing village on the Texas coast, buys a boat he names MY GRL and is unaware the boat has been targeted by a terrorist group to be used to destroy a symbol of America's greatness. John's first inkling of a problem is when he wakes in the hospital and learns he was found unconscious next to the body of the attractive young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John is the only one who is aware of the terrorist plan and stands alone between them and the success of their mission.

Buy Links   Amazon    B&N    Kobo   iBooks

Background to the Book
I always wanted to write. I tried to write a book while I was working and once it was finished, I printed it off so that I could edit it while traveling. It was a weighty tome and unfortunately it stunk. Today it is useful holding the laundry room door open. I decided to wait until I could devote myself full-time to writing. My last child graduated from college in December of 2011 and I retired in April 2012
Since that time, I have been writing non-stop and have published the fiction thriller titled My GRL. 
The inspiration for the story came as my sister and I were touring the aircraft carrier Lexington.  Our dad was a naval aviator and served on the Lexington. She is now berthed in Corpus Christi near my home on Mustang Island. Upon touring the massive vessel, we made our way to the flight deck.  Thinking as we stood on the impressive deck that this boat had no protection from anyone who would want to destroy her. This thought led me to develop a plan to first of all develop a logical plan to destroy the Lexington. The next task was to work out an equally logical plan to prevent such destruction. The story naturally flowed from there but with a number of twists and turns..
Once finished, I began to query agents to see if I could find representation. Of the few that answered my query all said my story wasn’t in the scope of what they were working on. I then did some research of publishers who would accept un-agented work and start the query process again. The first query found a favorable response at Martin Sister’s Publishing and we signed a contract in March of 2013. It took until December for the paper edition to be published and the kindle version in January of 2014. The sequel has been sent to the publisher and is awaiting a publish date. The final book of the trilogy is about half way finished and should be complete by December.

About the Author
John's main interests are reading and writing. He turned to writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive career in business. John writes thriller fiction novels and has a number of short stories published in various on-line magazines. One of his short stories has been recognized by Writers Digest in the Popular Fiction Writing contest. His novel, My GRL published by Martin Sisters Publishing and is the first of three exciting adventures of the book's central character John J. Cannon.
John lives on Mustang Island in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of south Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Connect with John online:

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Fear and What ifs....

Last week you might have seen my post about the two challenges that I am tackling together in November. On Wednesday I saw a blog post about fear in writing and I started wondering, am I really that brave or is it fear manifesting itself with another face?
My first thought was, that is crap. I like a challenge, I thrive on broadening my horizons, and need to see if I am capable of doing more than what I believe I can. My second thought however, made me stop. What if there is some truth there? What if…

I am afraid to fail 
To some extent we all fear failure and we can drive ourselves crazy with the ‘what ifs’ in our lives, relationships, jobs, writing, and so on. The list of what ifs can be longer than my arms can hold. Then I look back over my life and realise that it isn’t failure that I fear. I had my own business that had to be closed down after ten years. It effectively failed due to economic reasons, but I made the decision and have to this day not regretted that. Not the company failing, because I loved the work, but making the decision not to hang on, but to move on.

I am afraid of success 

How can anyone be afraid of success? To my mind that is what we want after all, isn’t it? But success is not an easy thing to achieve and once you have it, keeping it takes more hard work and more sacrifices than what we might be able to live with.
Some people don’t like change. Some people may not want the responsibilities that come with success. Or for some the challenge is gone once success walks in the front door, and now they don’t know what to do. We are not all the same, and these fears are not trivial to them.
I have been in that position, and some people might say that I still am, but what if the success people see in me is not the success I see for myself? Yes, my work is challenging and stimulating, and so are my creative outlets. However, what if my ‘success’ is not exactly in line with my definition of success? I don’t have an answer to this question, yet.

I fear rejection from my readers
When I started to write my first book, it never occurred to me that someone would read it. While that may seem stupid or naïve to you, I wrote my first book for me. I love writing and I love writing the stories of the characters that live inside my head.
Since that first book, I have written a few more, and wizened up to the fact that there is a risk that people might not like my books, or the genres that I write in.
I am grateful for people who take the time to review my books (hint, hint J), but it is still humbling to know that there are readers that do like my books and have told me so to my face.
Not all is moonshine and roses though. My stories, most of them to be honest, contain explicit sex and/or scenes with violence, and that will not be to everyone’s taste. From that point of view it will be naïve of me to expect 5 star reviews from each and everyone that reads them.
I still write for myself for the pure pleasure of it, and will continue to do so, despite the risk that readers may not like my books.

I hit that blank page (or writers block)
What’s that? A blank page? Oh yes, time for my story now!
As someone who has never had to face that dreaded blank page, I can only sympathise for those of you who have. My hat off to you if saw, battled and overcame it.
A few people have asked me what to do when they get stuck. My answer: write about it. Writing out your frustrations, your feelings about feeling blocked or craving to tear you hair out, is usually the advice that I come up with. Maybe not the best advice, but hey, when all is said and done, you wrote a few hundred words. Awesome! Congratulate yourself and move on. Now finish that story, will ya?
No one said all writing is perfect. In fact everyone have heard the quote about first drafts being shit. But where else to start planting roses than in the fertiliser, right? So man up, write about all the crap that is preventing you from writing, then print it and frame it if you want, because you just wrote the biggest load of crap ever. Nothing can be worse, right? Now get back work.

I don’t care about fear
Call me an ostrich with her head in the sand, or tell me that I am in denial, but it is working for me. Fear can be as much of a motivator as a demotivator, and the only difference is in my mind. I refuse to let it rule me. I refuse to let it rule my writing. If the words are not coming, I write about the frustrations and moan about it in one of my journals. Before long those are out of my system, albeit temporarily, and then I can get some writing done.
Those words might be useless and deleted later on, but getting them written is the important thing, fear or no fear.

Is there another fear that stands in the way of your writing or other creative endeavours? How do you deal with it?

Friday, 14 November 2014

Featured Book: Lexus Sam by B.P. Gallucci

'Lexus Sam' is about a man who wakes up in Manhattan with only a few memories of his past -- a life in California, married to Sarah, a girl with green eyes and a yellow rose tattoo. He’s been in a car accident recently, he knows, but not how he got to Manhattan and into someone else’s life.
 He has ID that says he's Adam Williams; keys to Adam's apartment; a man he’s never seen before insists they’re in a relationship. But he knows Adam Williams is not him; his life is someone else’s. So he refuses that identity and picks the name Lexus Sam for himself instead and starts on a journey to get back to his real life and the loving wife he remembers.
 Lexus enlists the help of Dr. Renesque, who promises his experimental hypnotherapy can recover lost memories. But the doctor has his own motives for working with Lexus and instead of helping, Dr. Renesque’s treatment blurs the line between what happened in the past with what merely could have happened. 
 Unaware of Dr. Renesque’s true aim, but undeterred, Lexus continues to work on his own investigation, attempting to at least prove that he’s not Adam Williams. This trail leads him to his girl with green eyes, Sarah, at the high school where she works. But his relief, his hope that his journey is nearing an end, dies in an instant.

BUY LINKS  Amazon    B & N

The blowing snow cut across his path in a downward slant, drawing stinging lines of white over the empty plain.  A path of footprints, little craters in the sheet covering the hard ground, trailed away in a gently curving arc over the horizon — each print a signpost pointing the way to his girl with green eyes.  But the drifting, falling snow filled them in bit by bit and unless he caught up soon, it’d cover her tracks forever.
He pulled his scarf up over his mouth against the blowing snow and stepped off the road.  He matched her stride step for step, walking in her footprints.
Something caught his eye and–
–the scene burned away.  The plain of blowing snow became tangled sheets of green snaked around a twisted, sprawled form in bed.
He raised his head off the pillow and sat up, propped on his elbows, and stared.  Stared straight ahead, past his physical sight and through to the fading dream, those footprints in the snow.

About the Author

BP Gallucci was born and raised in the suburbs of Toronto.
He began writing at an early age – a (very) short story written while in Kindergarten won a school-wide creative writing contest. He was chosen to represent his school at a creative writing retreat with other students from all over the region. That story, The Little Big Feet, was reproduced in that year’s anthology. He has been writing and telling stories in one form or another non-stop since.
His influences include Hunter S. Thompson, William Gibson, William S. Burroughs, Ken Kesey, Stephen King, Jack Kerouac, Neal Gaiman, David Foster Wallace, Haruki Murakami, and Alan Moore.

Connect with BP Online
Twitter: @BPGallucci