Who am I?
Welcome to Literarily Speaking! I am a book blogger, book reviewer, author and CEO/Founder of Pump Up Your Book. Literarily Speaking is a smorgasbord of anything literary. I talk about books as well as host author interviews, guest posts and reviews. While my time is very limited running a business, I have little time to review so most of my reviews are from books I request although that might change. I am open to guest posts as long as the post pertains to anything literary - whether it be the publishing or the promoting process. If you want to be featured here with a guest post, email me at thewriterslife (at) gmail.com.
Meet Cooter!
Meet Cooter!

Meet Cooter, my tour coordinating helper. You want a tour? You have to go through him first! Okay, Cooter, do we tour this author? Woof! Woof!


postheadericon Interview with David Lundgren, author of ‘Rhapsody’

David LundgrenDavid Lundgren was born in “a pokey town in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia)” and spent the first 18 years of his life there. He grew up in an environment “that seemed to combine the best elements of both an American and English heritage with a hybrid African lifestyle.” Lundgren is also a musician, which gave him the creative spark to create the Melforger series. He spends his time in San Francisco “teaching, enjoying frequent – and often frustrating – games of tennis, trying to learn the blues on piano, attacking Sudoku puzzles with relish, and attempting to make some headway with the ever-increasing pile of books that is waiting patiently at my bedside, developing its own gravity.”

His latest book is the fantasy/science fiction, Rhapsody.

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Q: Thank you so much for this interview, David! Can you tell us where you are from?

I was born in Zimbabwe, Africa (it used to be called Rhodesia), and since leaving decades ago, have lived in the UK, the Caribbean, and most recently the States. Some might call me a drifter, I like to think of myself as an international nomad Rhapsody 2(which obviously sounds more sophisticated).

Q: How did you come up with your title?

I think rhapsody is a beautiful word, and the third book is quite dark and intense; I liked the contrast. Melforger, however, comes from the root for music, ‘mel’. All three titles have a deliberate musical association.

Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

The title fonts and logos for all three books in the trilogy were designed by a super-talented English artist called George Watson. I also wanted to be involved in them and helped design the three different ‘journey’ aspects they depicted.

Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

It’s unique – completely original – and is set in what I think are gorgeous and extreme environments, with the adventure unfolding at breakneck pace.

(Also, it has humongous trees that people live inside – walking on a natural platform hundreds of yards above the ground. How cool is that?!)

Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

I’ve tried not to be preachy in the book and wanted more to draw on the reader’s love for adventure, for magic, for nature and forests, for the personal journey that young adults experience, and above all for music. I hope that there is plenty of room for readers to draw their own conclusions and ‘messages’ from it.

Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

There’s a scene in Rhapsody which I enjoyed writing immensely as it contains one of my greatest fears in life (no spoilers). It’s terrifying and dark, but at the same time has, as a counterpoint, one of my favorite characters in it who never fails to make me chuckle at his antics.

Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

Firstly, Rhapsody is the final book in The Melforger Chronicles trilogy, so there’s the first reason: to complete it. As for why I wrote the entire trilogy, I suppose if you look at my love of reading sci-fi and fantasy as a boy (an only child), my upbringing in Africa with its jaw-dropping wilderness, and how I was surrounded my music my entire life (and indeed played many different instruments and sang myself), it seemed an obvious for me to find a way to string them all together and create my own original story.

Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

I’m terrified of spiders, hippos, crocs, sharks and heights – in that order. (which I can’t help but feel makes me a candidate for Worst African Ever)

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

The Himalayas. I have a hunger for extreme climates and vistas and have just completed a hike in Iceland which was astounding. Always looking to one-up myself, the next unticked box on my list is the base camp hike to Everest.

Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

Absolutely a night person. I enjoy mornings once I’m up, but getting over the initial hump is a messy affair.

Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

My step-grandfather was a respected historian in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), but I’m the only one who’s ventured into the creative waters of fiction.

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

I was an only child and a stereotypical dreamer (bearing in mind we had very little TV in Africa when I was young). In classes at school I would forever be designing spaceships and hovercrafts, or coming up with ideas for stories, or just drawing aimless doodles as my mind wandered around landscapes of its own choosing.

Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?

Well, on a selfish note, I would love for the trilogy to be made into a movie – I think it would be phenomenal to have it on the big screen with all its epic settings and colors and action sequences.

On a less indulgent, more health-related angle, I’d rather like us to finally conquer the big ‘C’ which has preyed on too many people in my life.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

Happy reading! I hope you find the books as enjoyable to read as I did to write.

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postheadericon Interview with Kat Flannery, co-author of DEADLY DOZEN

Deadly Dozen banner

Kat FlanneryKat Flannery has loved writing ever since she was a girl. She is often seen jotting her ideas down in a little black book. When not writing or researching, Kat enjoys snuggling on her couch with a hot chocolate and a great book.

Her first novel, CHASING CLOVERS became an Amazon’s bestseller in Historical and Western romance. LAKOTA HONOR, Kat’s second book and book 1 in the Branded Trilogy became an instant success in Paranormal Historical Mystery/Romance. This was followed by book 2, BLOOD CURSE, which will be released October 1, 2014. Kat is now working on the final book in the trilogy.

When not focusing on her creative passions, Kat is busy with her three boys and doting husband.


About the Book:

Deadly Dozen 2The DEADLY DOZEN Book Bundle contains 12 complete mystery/thriller novels by award-winning and international bestselling authors: Cheryl Kaye Tardif, Catherine Astolfo, Alison Bruce, Melodie Campbell/Cynthia St-Pierre, Gloria Ferris, Donna Galanti, Kat Flannery, Jesse Giles Christiansen, Rosemary McCracken, Susan J. McLeod, C. S. Lakin and Linda Merlino.

THE BRIDGEMAN by Catherine Astolfo

DEADLY LEGACY by Alison Bruce

A PURSE TO DIE FOR by Melodie Campbell & Cynthia St-Pierre

CHEAT THE HANGMAN by Gloria Ferris

A HUMAN ELEMENT by Donna Galanti

LAKOTA HONOR by Kat Flannery

PELICANBAY by Jesse Giles Christiansen

SAFEHARBOR by Rosemary McCracken

SOUL AND SHADOW by Susan J. McLeod


ROOM OF TEARS by Linda Merlino


With an individual list price total of more than $45.00 and over 640 reviews collectively on Amazon.com, the DEADLY DOZEN Book Bundle is a value-packed, rollercoaster thrill ride that takes you from amateur sleuth to detective to paranormal to ancient mysteries set in intriguing worlds and so much more.

For More Information

  • Deadly Dozen is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Kat! Can you tell us where you are from?

Hi there! Sure, I am from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Q: How did you come up with your title?

The DEADLY DOZEN was titled by my publisher Imajin Books, and I’m pleased with the selection. It gives the reader an idea of the 12 books inside the bundle.

Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

The cover for the bundle was designed by Ryan Thomas Doan Digital Design and Photography. He designs all the covers for Imajin Books and is extremely talented.

Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

The bundle features 12 titles, with 12 of Imajin Books authors. My book, LAKOTA HONOR is a historical paranormal suspense with a hint of romance.

In the small town of Willow Creek, Colorado, Nora Rushton spends most of her days locked up in her home with a father who resents her and fighting off unwanted marriage proposals from the wealthy Elwood Calhoun. Marked as a witch, Nora must hide her healing powers from those who wish to destroy all the witkowin–crazy women. What she doesn’t know is that a bounty hunter is hot on her trail.

Lakota native Otakatay has an obligation to fulfill. He has been hired to kill the witkowin. In a time when race and difference are a threat and innocence holds no ground, courage, love and honor will bring Nora and Otakatay together as they fight for their freedom. Will the desire to fulfill his promise drive Otakatay to kill Nora? Or will the kindness he sees in her blue eyes push him to be the man he once was?

Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

Yes. Times have not changed so much that people don’t look at someone who is different and judge them. I created a world in the 1800’s where this happens and how two very different people deal with being outcasts.

Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

I’d have to say the flashbacks were my favorite parts to write, because I was able to give the reader bit by bit information on my characters background. I was able to make them feel what his life was like and what caused such hatred to fester inside of him.

Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

To remind people that just because you are different doesn’t mean you do not deserve to love and be loved.

Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

Hmmmm. I love to eat chocolate while soaking in the tub.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I’d love to go to Italy. I don’t have a particular place in the country I’d go, but I’ve always wanted to see the landscape and the historic buildings. Being Italian, I feel an extra pull to visit with the people as well.

Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

Night!! I do not like mornings. However, with children I suffer through them.

Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

No, not in my immediate family. I do have a cousin who writes phenomenal poetry. In fact her poem is featured in my new release Blood Curse coming Oct. 1, 2014.

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

Yes. I loved to make up stories and write them down.

Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?

I only get one? Okay…I’d wish for peace. I know that sounds cliché, but I’d really want there to be peace in this world.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

Thank you for having me! I love hearing from readers they can message me through my website www.katflannerybooks.com or via my author facebook page. Kat Flannery, author.

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postheadericon A Conversation with ‘The Scent of Humanity’ Margay Leah Justice

The Scent of Humanity banner

Descended from the same bloodline that spawned the likes of James Russell, Amy and Robert Lowell, Margay Leah Justice was fated to be a writer herself from a young age. But even before she knew that there was a name for what she was doing, she knew one thing: She had a deep and unconditional love for the written word. A love that would challenge her in times of need, abandon her in times of distress, and rediscover her in times of hope. Through her writing, Margay has learned to cope with every curve ball life has thrown her, including the challenges of single parenting, the harsh realities of living in a shelter, coping with the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, and the roller coaster ride of dealing with a child who suffers from bipolar disorder. But along the way she has rediscovered the amazing power of words.

Margay currently lives in Massachusetts with her two daughters, two cats, and a myriad of characters who vie for her attention and demand that their own stories be told. In her spare time, she is an avid knitter, knitting her way through a stash of yarn that almost rivals her tbr pile!

Her latest book is the romantic suspense/women’s fiction, The Scent of Humanity.

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Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Margay! Can you tell us where you are from?

I’m from Massachusetts, born and raised.

The Scent of Humanity 2Q: How did you come up with your title?

It was one of those phrases that just popped into my head and I thought, ‘wow, that’s a good title for a book.’ It just seemed to fit with the plot of this book.

Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

Yes! The cover was designed by Donna Collier and I think she captured beautifully the core theme of this book, which is the terrified girl who was nearly kidnapped. But is the girl on the cover the niece – or Silvie, who still feels like frightened little girl inside?

Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

Nick Fahey. He is a delicious character that I had so much fun writing about! And if you like your romance with a good dose of suspense, family angst, and tense situations, then this might be for you!

Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

I think the most important one is to just protect yourself when you’re out there – always be aware of your surroundings, it’s safer to travel in pairs/packs rather than alone, and if someone tries to take you, do your best not to let it happen. Unfortunately, too many times, if they get you to another location, it ends up bad for you.

Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

I don’t think I had a specific one that I liked above all the others; I liked writing them all. If I did, it would probably be the one where Nick is shot during an ambush from a suspect he was tracking. There was just so much happening during the hospital scene, the most significant being that this is when Silvie admits that she’s in love with him, but not to him (she confesses to his sister), and has to come to terms with the fact that it might be too late to tell him – that she might lose him before she has the chance to. I also love the chapter where they are mourning the loss of one of their own (it happened during the ambush) and they’re all at his widow’s house; just the way the women take care of their men in that scene really gets to me every time I think about it.

Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

After what happened to my niece, it was like I was compelled to write it. Something just drove me to it – the book practically wrote itself; I was just the transcriber!

Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

Deep, dark secrets should remain deep dark secrets! I don’t really have any – sorry I’m so boring!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I’d love to go to the UK to trace my roots.

Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

I don’t think I’m specifically one – I’m cranky morning and night!

Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

I have a nephew who likes to write and one of my daughters used to do a lot of fan fiction. Also, my older sister writes songs.

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

Oh, definitely! Where do you think all my ideas came from then?

Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?

If I’m being totally frivolous, a trip to Pairs. Otherwise, good health.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

I just want to thank you so much for having me here today. I really enjoyed our time together.


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postheadericon Interview with Cindy McDonald, author of ‘To the Breaking Pointe’

Cindy McDonaldFor twenty-six years Cindy’s life whirled around a song and a dance: she was a professional dancer/choreographer for most of her adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005. She often notes: Don’t ask me what happened, but suddenly I felt drawn to my computer to write about things I have experienced (greatly exaggerated upon of course—I’ve never been murdered!) with my husband’s Thoroughbreds and happenings at the racetrack. Viola! Cindy’s first book series, Unbridled, was born—there are four books to that series so far.

Cindy is a huge fan of romantic suspense series, and although she isn’t one to make New Year’s resolutions, on New Year’s Day 2013 she made a commitment to write one, Into the Crossfire is the first book for her new series, First Force.

People are always asking Cindy: do you miss dance? With a bitter sweet smile on her lips she tells them: Sometimes I do. I miss my students. I miss choreographing musicals, but I love my books, and I love sharing them with you.

Her latest book is the romantic suspense, To the Breaking Pointe.

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About the Book:

To the Breaking Pointe 2Pushed to the breaking pointe!

Five years ago First Force operative, Grant Ketchum, let the ballerina of his dreams dance right of his life. Silja Ramsay returned to her birthplace, Russia, to take the position of principal dancer for the Novikov Ballet Company.

The owner and director of the ballet company, Natalia Novikov, has a dark secret: her beloved ballet company is almost broke. Natalia forces her dancers to prostitute themselves to financial contributors at exclusive after-show parties. Silja has been exempt and kept in the dark about the parties—until an American financier offers to bail the failing ballet company out. His prerequisite: Silja must become his personal companion, live in his home, and fulfill his every desire. Against her will, Silja is taken to the American’s mansion, but before she goes she manages to send a text to the only man who can save her, Grant: HELP!

Now Grant is on a mission to find his lost ballerina and rescue her from this powerful man’s subjugation. He will do anything to get her out alive. If they survive, will he let her chasse out of his life again?

For More Information

  • To the Breaking Pointe is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Cindy! Can you tell us where you are from?

I am from Pittsburgh, PA

Q: How did you come up with your title?

I was a professional dancer for twenty-six years. The title just seemed perfect for the storyline.

Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

My cover was designed by Todd Aune of Projeto Communications. That said, I personally seek out the very handsome men that you see on the First Force covers. The man on To the Breaking Pointe is Stuart Tomlinson. I am friends with many photographers on FB—I keep a very close eye out for photos of extremely handsome hunks that fit my storylines, and then I buy the photos from the photographers. The men are usually athletes turned model and they are thrilled to be on the covers.

Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

The story is about a hot marine special operative who must travel to Russia to save his former lover—a gorgeous ballerina—need I say more?

Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

No—I’m afraid the story is pretty straight-forward. I just want everyone to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

Chapter 23–I am very pleased with the ending of this story. Very pleased, and I think the characters are too!

Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

To the Breaking Pointe was not set to be book #2 of the First Force Series—Into the Dark was supposed to be in that position. But this story simply wouldn’t let me write Into the Dark. It niggled at me—as did the characters. Well, I just had to put Into the Dark aside and write To the Breaking Pointe. It was what the characters wanted, and I think you’ll agree once you read it that they were absolutely right.

Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

LOL—I drink cabernet when I’m writing hot love scenes.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

This is a great question because I’m getting to travel there in April—France! I will be cruising through the Bordeaux country, stopping at all the little towns and wineries—I’m very excited, and then its two days in Paris. April in Paris!

Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

Unfortunately, I suffer from insomnia; therefore, I am a night person. I do a lot of writing at 3am.

Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

No, I believe that I am the first.

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

Absolutely. Only I didn’t dream about becoming a writer—I wanted to be a movie star! Well, I became a professional dancer that became a writer—I guess its close enough!

Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?

I would wish that we could find a peaceful end to the problems in our world and that no more of our boys would die or be maimed—I would wish for peace among all nations.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

I hope everyone enjoys To the Breaking Pointe—I have dedicated this book to the cast of my 2005 production of Coppelia—when you read the book, you will see the relevance. Thanks so much for interviewing me today.


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postheadericon Warriors at the Helm by Juan Carlos Marcos Book Feature

Warriors at the HelmTitle:
 Warriors at the Helm
Author: Juan Carlos Marcos
Publisher: Elie Press
Pages: 174
Genre: Business
Format: Hardcopy/Ebook

In Warriors At The Helm: A Leader’s Guide To Success in Business, Juan Carlos Marcos shares his almost four decades of experience regarding people dynamics in the corporate World. Whether you’re just getting started in business, or you are a thirty-year warrior, nothing is as valuable to your growth, and in preparing you for success, as learning through trial and error. However, modern-day corporate America can be very unforgiving or impatient through your learning process. This book represents the next best thing to being there, which is learning from others’ experience. Juan provides the reader with a practical tool that offers valuable insights into the distinctive and real differences between effective leaders (those that people eagerly follow) and those who lack the self-awareness to understand that they may be barriers to progress versus a catalyst. To further add texture to his insights, Juan elicits and shares thoughts from veteran executives who share personal experiences and perspectives derived from years of trench warfare. In Warriors At The Helm you will learn about the traits that make Leaders and Individual Contributors successful in business and how to manage the Dumb Asses and Egomaniacs (AKA Barbarians) that roam the corporate landscape. The book will provide you with the awareness and knowledge of the life “on the inside” that will help you emulate and demonstrate the behaviors that will keep your career on a positive and productive track.

Purchase Your Copy At:

Juan Carlos Marcos was born in Cuba and immigrated to the United States in 1962. He spent almost four decades in leadership roles in human resources in the corporate world, including experience in multiple industries. Among the companies he worked at included Saint Mary’s Hospital Medical Center, in Madison Wisconsin, Graber Industries Inc., Boston Market and McDonald’s Corporation. Now retired and working as a consultant, he took the time to fulfill his dream of writing his first book. Juan holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in business from the University of Wisconsin. Juan lives in Evergreen, Colorado, with his wife Randi.

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postheadericon 5 Things You Should Know About Barcelona by Mary Carter #Barcelona

Mary CarterMary Carter is a freelance writer and novelist. Meet Me in Barcelona is her eighth novel. Her other works include: Three Months in Florence, The Things I Do For You, The Pub Across the Pond, My Sister’s Voice, Sunnyside Blues, She’ll Take It, and Accidentally Engaged. In addition to her novels she has written six novellas: Return to Hampton Beach in the anthology, Summer Days, A Southern Christmas in the upcoming 2014 anthology Our First Christmas, A Kiss Before Midnight in the anthology, You’re Still the One, A Very Maui Christmas in the New York Times best selling anthology Holiday Magic, and The Honeymoon House in the New York Times best selling anthology Almost Home. Mary currently lives in Chicago, IL with a demanding labradoodle. She wishes she could thank her gorgeous husband, but she doesn’t have one. In addition to writing she leads writing workshops.

For More Information

Five Things You Should Know About Barcelona

  1. Even the red wine on the plane on your way there is divine
  2. The street performers in La Rambla are electric
  3. If you wander down cobblestone alleys you might just find a jazz club
  4. Jamon and cheese sandwiches sound too simple to be that good
  5. Everything Guadi is great

About the Book:

A surprise trip to Barcelona with her boyfriend, Jake, seems like the perfect antidote to Grace Sawyer’s current woes. The city is dazzling and unpredictable, but the biggest surprise for Grace is discovering who arranged and paid for the vacation.

Meet Me in Barcelona 2Carrie Ann wasn’t just Grace’s foster sister. Clever, pretty, and mercurial, she was her best friend—until everything went terribly wrong. Now, as she flees an abusive marriage, Carrie Ann has turned to the one person she hopes will come through for her. Despite her initial misgivings, Grace wants to help. But then Carrie Ann and Jake both go missing. Stunned and confused, Grace begins to realize how much of herself she’s kept from Jake—and how much of Carrie Ann she never understood. Soon Grace is baited into following a trail of scant clues across Spain, determined to find the truth, even if she must revisit her troubled past to do it.

Mary Carter’s intriguing novel delves into the complexities of childhood bonds, the corrosive weight of guilt and blame, and all the ways we try—and often fail—to truly know the ones we love.

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postheadericon Letter to Zev in The Book of Zev

The Book of Zev

The Book of Zev

The Book of Zev Synopsis
The Book of Zev is a psychological thriller that tells the story of two gentle people who change the course of history. Zev Bronfman, a strapping 32-year old-virgin, angry atheist, refugee from a religious Jewish life, and former engineer for the U.S. Patent Office in Alexandria, Virginia, drives a cab and sleeps around in New York City. After a bitter divorce, Sarah Hirshbaum, a beautiful, redheaded, depressed, God-hating kosher chef, seesaws between yoga and too much red wine. Independently, the two consult the same psychic who inadvertently sends Sarah Zev’s session tape. When Sarah contacts Zev to pick up the recording, a series of events forces them to connect with a powerful terrorist in order to thwart his plans to destroy the UN and Israel.
Click here to read an Excerpt of The Book of Zev
Pre-order from Amazon
About the Book
• Paperback: 298 pages
• Publisher: Koehler Books (December 1, 2014)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 1940192781
• ISBN-13: 978-1940192789
• Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches

Author Marilyn Horowitz

Author Marilyn Horowitz

Dear Zev,

Thank you for inspiring me to write this book.  Thank you for being such a cooperative and helpful character. I was troubled by your crisis of faith and wonder what would have happened to you if you hadn’t almost been killed. Would you still be living at home? Would you have married Rivka? How long would it have taken you to come to your senses? Would you have ever realized that you couldn’t stay in your world? Hopefully, my arranging that little Deux Ex Machina with the falling I-beam helped speed things up.
I also appreciate being allowed into your deepest thoughts and feelings, and hope that I conveyed them accurately. I was thrilled to discover that we share the same passion for the rock band Metallica.
I know that you are an atheist, and I am a believer. But we all have moments of doubt, and when I do, I know the cure: Find yourself a good atheist and buy him or her a coffee or a glass of wine. An hour’s chat with a lucid atheist will restore me because he or she is so sure that God doesn’t exist. I rebel against smugness, and so the reverse faith revivifies me. Thank you for restoring my faith.
On another note, I want to apologize for creating the situations where you had to kill two people, but hopefully saving someone was worth it. Sometimes the cure for lack of faith is great love for someone or something, and this was the best way I could come up with to open that door for you.
Lastly, I hope that you are somewhere living happily ever after, and that you have made peace with your faith either way.


About Marilyn Horowitz
Marilyn Ida Horowitz is a producer, writing coach, and award-winning professor of screenwriting at New York University. From her books on her trademarked writing system—now standard reading at NYU—to her appearances at Screenwriters World and The Great American Screenwriting Conference & PitchFest, Marilyn has guided the careers of literally hundreds of writers. She is currently featured in the Now Write! Screenwriting Anthology (Tarcher/Penguin) and in the upcoming The Expert Success Solution (Morgan James). Her production credits include And Then Came Love (2007), starring Vanessa Williams.
Follow Marilyn at her website, www.marilynhorowitz.com
Connect with Marilyn on Facebook


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postheadericon Married One Night Book Blitz – Win $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Married One Night Book Blitz Banner

We’re happy to be hosting Amber Leigh Williams and her MARRIED ONE NIGHT Book Blitz today!  Be sure to enter the $25 Amazon Gift Card giveaway below.  Giveaway ends 12 a.m. October 2!

Married One Night 2

Title: Married One Night
Author: Amber Leigh Williams
Publisher: Harlequin Superromance
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

What happened in Vegas…followed her home! 

Olivia Lewis is not the marrying type. So when a wild weekend in Vegas leaves her with a surprise husband, she’s happy to sign anything to erase her mistake—even if that mistake is handsome, charming and comes with an English accent. Fortunately, her groom has other plans.

Bestselling author Gerald Leighton knows he can make his new bride fall in love with him—he just needs time. In exchange for a quickie divorce, Olivia grudgingly gives him a few weeks to attempt to woo her. And whether Olivia likes it or not, Gerald plans on using every second to win her heart!

Book Excerpt:

Before Olivia could shoulder her way through the door, it opened quickly. She felt herself pitch over, tripping over the edge of the bedsheet. Cursing, she fell against the lean, chiseled chest of the man on the other side of the bathroom doorjamb.

She heard his surprised whoosh just before his arms snagged her under the shoulders and curled around her to keep her from falling at his feet. Her cheek pressed tight against his sternum. He was so warm. The deep timbre of a chuckle trebled beneath the ear pressed to his chest and words, rough around the edges, came floating from his mouth. “Ah, she wakes.”

When she tried to pull herself back, he held her fast to him for a moment longer to make sure she had her footing. With a murmured, “Easy there, love,” he released her and she stepped away, seeking his face.

He was smiling. The soft expression was tense around the edges, probably from what she could guess was a good deal of pounding happening on the inside of his head, too. She drew in a breath. His eyes were a brilliant shade of green. Dimples, or laugh lines, dug in around his mouth and the corners of his eyes. A man who smiled often and laughed well, Olivia surmised. His hair was blond and wet from a shower she assumed, judging by the steam behind him. He’d combed the hair back from his forehead, leaving his high brow bare.

A towel hung loosely around his waist. She blinked. She was staring. But the longer she stared, the more she could remember from last night, and the giddy spontaneity and blistering heat of all that had transpired made her forget for a moment how miserable she felt.

And, bless him, he didn’t seem to mind the staring. He was doing a good bit of his own. The smile on his lips deepened into a full-fledged grin, eyes softening further as he took her in. “Well. Aren’t you a sight for sore eyes.”

She found a smile curving at the corner of her mouth. He was British. His words were enunciated with the high-class sounds of English breeding and good humor. His voice was like fine-aged wine. Or whiskey.

Whiskey, she decided. It had a good, old-fashioned burn to it.

Lifting her hands to the sheet knotted just under her collarbone, she made sure it was in place before dragging a hand back through her long, curly, bedraggled tresses. “Erm…good morning?” Olivia said, unsure of herself. Usually, she knew how to navigate the awkward, morning-after interlude. But this stranger’s clean-cut, unexpected appeal threw her for a loop.

He beamed and held out a hand, skimming far and above the awkwardness of the situation with good-natured ease. “Gerald Leighton. It’s lovely to meet you…again.”

About the Author:

Amber Leigh Williams

Amber Leigh Williams lives on the Gulf Coast. A southern girl at heart, she loves beach days, the smell of real books, relaxing at her family’s lakehouse, and spending time with her husband, Jacob, and their sweet, blue-eyed boy. When she’s not running after her young son and three, large dogs, she can usually be found reading a good romance or cooking up a new dish in her kitchen. She is represented by Joyce Holland of the D4EO Literary Agency.

Her latest book is the contemporary romance, Married One Night.

For More Information


Amber is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins 12 a.m. October 1 and ends 12 a.m. October 2.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Friday, October 3.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!


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postheadericon Interview with H. Peter Alesso, author of ‘Lieutenant Henry Gallant’

H. Peter AlessoAs a scientist and author specializing in technology innovation, H. Peter Alesso has over twenty years research experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). As Engineering Group Leader at LLNL he led a team of computer scientists and engineers in innovative applications across a wide range of supercomputers, workstations and networks. He graduated from the United StatesNavalAcademy with a B.S. and served in the U.S. Navy on nuclear submarines before completing an M.S. and an advanced Engineering Degree at M.I.T. He has published several software titles and numerous scientific journal and conference articles, and he is the author/co-author of seven books.

His latest book is the science fiction space opera, Lieutenant Henry Gallant.

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About the Book:

Lieutenant Henry Gallant 2In an era of genetic engineering, Lieutenant Henry Gallant is the only Natural (non-genetically enhanced) officer left in the fleet. Many of his superiors, including rival Anton Neumann, have expressed concern he is not up to the challenge. However, his unique mental abilities have proven essential to the defense of the United Planets in its fight against the Titan invaders.

Serving on the first FTL prototype, the Intrepid, on its maiden voyage to Tau Ceti, Gallant finds a lost colony on the planet Elysium. Cyrus Wolfe and his son, manipulate planet politics against the democratic opposition led by James Hepburn and his granddaughter Alaina. Wolfe has allied himself with an ancient Artificial Intelligence which had lain dormant on the planet for millennia, but is now willing to protect the colonists against the Titans.

With Alaina’s help, Gallant discovers the ancient AI has a sinister ulterior motive and he matches his unique and exceptional mind against the complexity of machine intelligence to escape the ultimate trap and prevent the extermination of humanity.

In Lieutenant Henry Gallant, one man pits the naked human mind against the perspicacity of machine intelligence.

For More Information

  • Lieutenant Henry Gallant is available at Amazon.
  • Watch the trailer at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Thank you for this interview. We would love to start out by asking you how did you come up with the idea to write this book?

I am a voracious reader. I have habitually read several books a weeks in a wide variety of subjects since I first obtained a library card. I found that science fiction novels provided wonderful adventures in unexpected places with unusual characters and strange circumstance. I’ve enjoyed them all my life, so when I first began to develop science fiction stories, I wanted to write adventures that I could vicariously enjoy.

Lieutenant Henry Gallant is handsome, brave, and daring—just what you want in a hero who sets out on a great adventure. A rival challenges him for the love of a young, beautiful, and bold woman—just what you’d expect in a warrior princess. Together they face an alien invasion, a jungle full of dangers predators, and a malevolent artificial intelligence bent on exterminating humanity.

Can you guess who wins in the end? I’ll give you a hint, it’s not the corrupt politicians who maneuver to upset all Gallant’s efforts to protect the people and stop the malicious AI.

How much fun do you think I had writing this tale?

Actually, I had more.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

In the past, I’ve published several books through large traditional publishers, but for Lieutenant Henry Gallant, I chose self-publication in order to get the book to market more quickly. It allowed me more flexibility in editing and marketing choices.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Yes. I had lots of editorial help and several proof readers for support; nevertheless, I still managed to leave several well-hidden typos in the first edition of the book. It took a while to cull out the remaining offenders.

It’s a lot like picking out the cashews in a can of mixed nuts. You work hard to catch your favorite nuts, yet even after you’re convinced no more remain, one day you discover a hidden one, just waiting for you.

Q: All books, fiction or nonfiction, usually has a special message. What message are you trying to get across with your book?

I hope the reader will feel that my book is based upon hard science with characters responding with normal human behavior.

I offered a scientific basis for the fictional science I described. My characters were presented as complex people. Their behavior was multifaceted—sometime predictable, sometimes not—but their responses always fell within the spectrum of normal human reactions.

Q: Can you tell us about your career outside of writing and how it influenced your writing?

I graduated from the United States Naval Academy and served in the U.S. Navy on nuclear submarines. Also, I was a research scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for over twenty years. My publications reflect my training and knowledge which include several software titles, numerous scientific journal and conference articles, and seven books.

I have found that the scientific speculation in science fiction has helped spark the curiosity of researchers in many fields. As a result, I believe science fiction should start on hard scientific principles. I researched the technologies included in the story and tried to predict their development path into the next centuries. For example, genetic engineering is current an important social topic and humanity faces difficult choices ahead. In Lieutenant Henry Gallant, genetic engineering plays an influential role in the background, but it is cast against a competing innovation—Artificial Intelligence.

Q:What would your fans be the most surprised to learn about you?

I like to work out both my left and right hemispheres of the brain using a wide variety of skill sets and abilities. As a result, I love to read, do word (or math) puzzles, as well as develop computer apps for Android.

Q: What’s next for you?

A multi-book story arc requires a thorough understanding of the characters and their motivations, as well as considerable planning. An author always benefits from the encouragement and feedback of his co-conspirators in this endeavor—the readers. With the release of each book in a series, the voice of the readers becomes clearer. Their desire to see certain characters prevail and certain events transpire becomes plain.

I am looking forward to further developing The Henry Gallant Saga—if the readers encourage me to do so through their review comments.


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postheadericon 20 Questions with Peter Darrach

Peter DarrachPeter Darrach has lived in New York, London, Prague, Munich and Vienna. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and a Master of Arts degree in German Literature, both from Pennsylvania State University. Darrach pursued a career in sales and marketing in fields as diverse as amusement parks and retail before moving to Europe in 1991. Since then he has worked in Eastern and Western Europe, holding a series of executive positions with blue chip FMCG companies.  Most recently he has returned to the U.S. to pursue his career as a business coach and fiction author and currently lives in Florida.

His latest book is the sci-fi, Tavern on the Edge of Time.

For More Information


  1. Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Actually, the time of day doesn’t matter so much to me, but I do need peace and quiet and that rarest of commodities, no distractions.

  1. Do you outline or not?

Yes, I roughly outline the entire book on an 18 x 12 sheet of paper segregating the various plot lines until they converge and write from that.

  1. Which comes first – plot or character?

I’m currently writing a series (book 4), so many of the characters already exist in the previous books, though they also evolve. Usually the plot coalesces at a high level and then the personalities of the characters help me flesh it out.

  1. Noise or quiet when working on your manuscript?

Classical, non-vocal music is an excellent background; other than that, I require peace and quiet.

  1. Favorite TV show?
  2. Favorite type of music?

Classical, Flamenco, Fado, 1940s swing.

  1. Favorite craft besides writing?
  2. Do you play a musical instrument?

Yes, guitar, some keyboards, and, of course, vocals. I’m working on an album at the moment.

  1. Single or married?

Single, recently divorced, and in love.

  1. Children or no?

None currently.

  1. Pets?

There will be again soon (cats, a rabbit, possibly a parrot.)

  1. Favorite place to write?

The location is not too important if there is peace and quiet, a table, and a chair. I prefer to be able to look at a window at a scene containing trees, a garden, a view. The illumination has to be fairly good, too, partly so I can see my outline.

  1. Favorite restaurant?

The Cliff House in San Francisco.

  1. Do you work outside the home?

Often. Airports, for example, are good.

  1. What was the name of the last movie you saw?

The 100 Foot Journey.

  1. Favorite outdoor activity?

Running, hiking.

  1. Pet peeve?

People who prefer to complain without taking any steps to address their grievance.

  1. Your goal in life?

Currently conducting an inventory and steering miy life very decidedly in a new direction, setting a course for happiness, peace of mind, love, joy, and financial independence.

  1. Your most exciting moment?

When my love of 35 years ago recently said she will marry me.

  1. The love of your life?

See 19 above.

About the Book:

Tavern on the Edge of TimeDuring the year 2125, former asteroid miners Max Cody and Elaine Zhou never get a moment’s rest. No sooner have they doused the flames of war between Earth and Mars or returned from their first trip to the Tavern on the Edge of Time when they are called upon to help fit out the fledging Martian colony orbiting Jupiter’s moon Callisto. In parallel, Earth extradites the war’s fomenter, ex-billionaire arms merchant Xanthus Rex, hoping to gain from his insights into Martian teleportation technology, but he manages to turn Earth’s resources toward private revenge against Max, Mars, and the Callisto Colony. In the meantime aliens are leaking into the Earth-Mars continuum from the Tavern, whose proprietor repaired and upgraded Max after accidentally injuring him during an asteroid mining expedition. Max’s enhancements help, of course, but when strange beings with the power to animate matter—the Assemblers—find their way to Earth, Max, Mars, and humanity are sorely beset. Worse yet, the Tavern itself is becoming unstable, its acquisitive host having overstretched his considerable powers. His prospecting for collapsed neutron matter has also opened portals between continua, inadvertently adding still more aliens to the mix. That’s when the Assemblers’ overlord arrives and Max finally meets his match. Oh, and Elaine is expecting their hybrid baby. Yes, you might say these are difficult times at the Tavern on the Edge of Time.

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postheadericon Unlocking Your Spiritual Greatness by Jim Greene – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card

Title of Book # 1: Unlocking Your Spiritual Greatness
ISBN:  978-1-105-46980-0
Genre: Spiritual Maturity, Christianity, Discipleship Training
Publisher: LuLu Enterprises, Inc.
Publication Date: 2005, 2011
Just like there are specific physical exercises that are good for physical conditioning, there are specific spiritual exercises that are good, in fact, essential for our spiritual conditioning and growth. If you want to grow spiritually, you have to do spiritual exercises. (1Timothy 4:8)
This book looks to Jesus for “duplicate-able” activities for the model for our growth. For years Christian writers have identified specific activities regularly evidenced in his earthly life and called them Spiritual or Christian Disciplines. I believe that if it was useful for Jesus to be disciplined in his worship and praise to God, then it is useful for us as well. Further, I believe that the inclusion of Christian Disciplines in our lives, or what I call the Disciplined Training Approach places us in obedient submission to God and that is where we are supposed to be. 
Book excerpt:
God has outlined a plan for living that when followed will bring us into a closer fellowship with Him. All the treasure in the world will not purchase it, but God will provide it for free to whosoever really wants it. No matter how worthless you may think you are, you can become one of the greatest treasures in the world.  You can become the person God wants you to be, equipped with all the supernatural power for the Kingdom work He wants you to do!  
Simply put, if you hear what God tells you, trust that He will not lead you astray and do what you’re told to do, you will experience the peace God planned for you. More than that, the consequences of ignoring God can be anxiety, frustration, depression and even eternal separation from Him.
People, however, are not simple.  In fact, we go to great lengths to take something simple and complicate it.  Our relationship with God should be personal, based on the time we spend with Him.  We can’t manufacture a relationship with Him, but we can come to know him based on our personal experiences.
If you want to be blessed, comforted or reassured in a small way, then exercise a small amount of faith.  If however, you need your life changed… it may take more. It starts with regular prayer, regular meditation and regular listening. It continues when we do things outside our comfort zone and that’s exactly where faith begins.
Your life will change when you realize God’s ability
zone is greater than your comfort zone.
Purchase at
Title of Book #2   God’s Answer, Praying the Scriptures Back to God
God gave us the Bible as a constant reminder of His love and plan for us. More than a historical document, it is truly alive. As we read His Word and become heart-linked with Him, a supernatural transformation begins to take place in us.  God’s Word is alive and we can’t comprehend it all at once. That explains why you can read a passage several times over weeks or months and receive a different message from the same verses.
God gave us prayer as an avenue or vehicle that He designed for us so we could be in constant communication with Him. God’s Answer seeks to bring you to His Throne of Grace, where prayers are answered, (Hebrews 4:16) so that you can claim the promises God makes about today’s problems. That’s a tall order, so let’s look at what He said about prayer in His Living Word, the Bible.
Several times He promises us that He will hear and in fact, answer our prayers. It would be great to think that we always get what we want or that we could just name it and claim it, but that simply is not the case. What we can claim is the promises God makes and we will be exploring those. Let’s examine a few passages and see what they reveal beyond God hearing us and answering our prayers.
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Title of Book #3        A Place of Faith, When There is No Place Else to Go
What or where is the place of faith?  Is it a physical location? No, it is where we are when we step out into the unknown in a blind, yet obedient faith because that is all we have left.  Our Christian vocabulary is filled with ideas, quotes and even promises from God that are meant for comfort and reassurance. As real as God’s Word is, what happens when all has been recalled and rehearsed and we still find ourselves alone at the place of faith. A Place of Faith defines faith from a real and practical viewpoint, then develops it’s progression from a measure of faith, to a step and then a leap of faith.  Most importantly, time is spent on the Enemy of Faith and the Trial of Faith and finally, The Results of Faith. Each chapter concludes with a hymn that reinforces the points made in the chapter and a few reflection questions.
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Title of Book #4  Living on the Dark Side of Faith
While faith has two sides, they are both sides of the same thing. The word faith cannot be substituted for the word belief or theology. It is more than a collection of thoughts about religion. It is more than simply believing in the existence of God, the demons in Hell do that. The faith we speak of is in God and how, though we may not see how, He will provide for His beloved. The faith we have is certain; it is the evidence of things to come. It begins with a measure and increases with experience and that often means a trial or test of our faith.
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About the author:


Jim Greene makes his home in Knoxville, TN in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. An avid backpacker, his countless hours in the outdoors have often blessed him with many topics to write about.
As a layman Sunday School teacher, he challenges himself and his class to strive for and enjoy a closer relationship with God. Each of his books look to God as the ultimate authority in our lives. He is the author of Unlocking Your Spiritual Greatness, God’s Answer, A Place of Faith, When There is Nowhere Else to Go, and Living on the Dark Side of Faith. His next book is entitled, When Waiting isn’t Working.
Jim feels God speaks to him personally through journaling and his books primarily came to answer a question in his life. They may just help you too.
Pump Up Your Book and Jim are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!
Terms & Conditions:
§  By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
§  One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the prize.
§  This giveaway begins September 2 and ends on September 26, 2014.
§  Winner will be contacted via email on October 1, 2014.
§  Winner has 72 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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postheadericon Interview with Karen-Anne Stewart, author of ‘Ash to Steele’

Karen-Anne StewartKaren-Anne Stewart has always adored reading and has now fallen in love with writing. Her written works are The Rain Trilogy: Saving Rain, Healing Rain, and After the Rain, and the newly released stand alone novel, Ash to Steele. Her debut novel, Saving Rain: The First Novel in The Rain Trilogy, was a nominee for the Book Junkie’s Choice Awards, and Saving Rain and After the Rain were nominees for the 2014 RONE Awards.

When Karen-Anne isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking, and visiting new places. She fuels her addiction of creating new stories by her only other addiction, caffeine, and listening to a myriad of musical genres. Tucked away near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Karen-Anne lives with her husband, daughter, two dogs, and their cat. She plans on writing new adult romance as long as her fingers maintain dexterity.

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About the Book:

Ash to Steele 2Emma

Who I am and all I believe is marred with just one glance into angry, steel blue eyes. He seems to control my air, my ability to breathe. He makes me crave everything I know is a sin. Pure becomes tainted and lines are blurred. It’s my fault; I’m the one who isn’t strong enough. I’ve been damaged…broken. Breck’s words haunt me…’There’s a consequence for every choice you make.’


I’ve had so many women I can’t even remember over half of their names, but none of them are mine; I make damn sure of that. I take what I desire and never look back. I don’t need or want anyone, ever…not until I met Emma. Those eyes bore into what’s left of my soul and her touch sears me, weakens me. I want to hate her for that. She is my ruin…my sweetest hell.

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Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Karen-Anne! Can you tell us where you are from?

Thank you so much for having me! I’m from a small town near Asheville, NC.

Q: How did you come up with your title?

There’s a bit of an “ah ha” moment with the title…so, if you don’t mind, I’m going to keep my lips sealed on this one J.

Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

I found the cover for Ash to Steele on Fotolia. When I saw this model’s pic, I knew he was perfect as Breck! To me, the look he’s giving is intriguing, making me want to know what’s going on in that handsome head…which is very much how Emma feels when she’s around Breck. The cover is definitely not bad to look at either J.

Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

If you love a sexy story about a bad boy with a good heart and a heroine who is sweet and innocent but can hold her own, Ash to Steele is a novel for you! Breck’s a tattooed, arrogant, panty-melting, I’ll-kick-your-ass-if-you-mess-with-me-or-someone-I-love kind of bad boy, but he has a heart of gold buried underneath his cocky as hell exterior. Emma is a preacher’s daughter who is desperate to find out who she really is away from her small town image and suffocating ex-boyfriend. She has a quiet strength and a fierce desire to find her more. When Breck and Emma meet, they are hell-bent on trying to hate each other, but that’s hard to do when each one consumes the other’s soul.

Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

Ash to Steele is more than just a ‘bad boy meets good girl’ sexy romance; it’s a story about personal demons, heartache, angst, tears and humor, friends I want as my BFFs, and a powerful, redeeming love.

Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

Chapter Eleven was one of my favorite chapters to write but it was also one of the most heart-wrenching. I loved how the reader gets to see a softer side of Breck before getting a glimpse of his lethal badass, protective nature.

Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

I’m such a sucker for a bad boy who doesn’t answer to anyone, but who will go through hell and back for the girl who owns his heart and soul. Being from a small town myself, I can relate to many of Emma’s struggles. I loved showing the depth and redeeming power of love between two people who start out hating each other but end up fighting like hell to stay together and to heal from personal demons.

Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

If you want to see my dark side, try denying me my morning coffee and this 5 foot, mild mannered chick will go all crazy ugly on ya ;). As far as secrets, I developed a serious crush on Kas (The Rain Trilogy), and Breck and Gavin (Ash to Steele)….just don’t tell my husband.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Italy! I’ve always wanted to visit Venice, Pisa, Tuscany, and the cobblestone streets and vineyards in Italy.

Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

I’m more of an evening person. I hate having to get out of bed, and my husband is usually the one to deal with the horrible alarm, get up first, and shower before he wakes me up…God love him!

Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

My brother writes poetry, short stories, and he’s written a full length novel which he will probably publish in the near future. My fourteen year old sister writes poetry and short stories, and she’s already won an award. I’m very proud of them!

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

Oh my, YES! I’m still a dreamer. I’m very much an emotionally based person who leans considerably on the dreamer personality side but I have a healthy dose of reality mixed in there, too J.

Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?

End human trafficking forever!

Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

Thank you very much for having me! I appreciate the readers taking the time to find out a bit more about Ash to Steele today. I hope you fall in love with Breck and Emma as much as I did writing their story. I would love to hear from you, so feel free to contact me at any (or all) of the places below:

Website: www.karen-annestewart.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6920317.Karen_Anne_Stewart

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SKarenAnne

Instagram: http://instagram.com/skarenanne

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/SKarenAnne/



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postheadericon What is Growing Out of Your Ear by Angela Graham Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Title: What is Growing Out of Your Ear

Author: Angela Graham

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Pages: 24

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

It is summer and Angela eats a bowl of cherries. After she swallows some cherry pits, her Grandpa warns what will happen — “A cherry tree will grow out of your ear.” Angela thinks that is silly. Do you believe a cherry tree can grow out of Angela’s ear? 



 Angela Graham lives in Ottawa, Canada with her husband, two lively children and their dog. She has enjoyed writing stories for her children since they were young to inspire the love of reading. Angela’s stories add a humourous twist to real life. This story is motivated from Angela’s own childhood.


Angela is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins September 1 and ends on September 13.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, September 16.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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postheadericon Interview with Donna Galanti, author of ‘A Hidden Element’

Donna GalantiDonna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is an International Thriller Writers Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element, the short story collection The Dark Inside, and Joshua and The Lightning Road.

She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. Donna dreamed of being a writer when she fell in love with the worlds of Narnia and Roald Dahl attending school in a magical English castle where her dark imagination ran wild in an itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included). She now lives in Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle again—preferably with ghosts.

Her latest book is the paranormal romance, A Hidden Element.

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About the Book:

A Hidden Element 2

When Caleb Madroc is used against his will as part of his father’s plan to breed a secret community and infiltrate society with their unique powers, he vows to save his oppressed people and the two children kept from him.

Seven years later, Laura and Ben Fieldstone’s son is abducted, and they are forced to trust a madman’s son who puts his life on the line to save them all. The enemy’s desire to own them—or destroy them—leads to a survival showdown.

Laura and Ben must risk everything to defeat a new nemesis that wants to rule the world with their son, and Caleb may be their only hope—if he survives. But must he sacrifice what he most desires to do so?

For More Information

  • A Hidden Element is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Donna! Can you tell us where you are from?

All over. I was born in Ohio and adopted as an only child of my parents. We lived in England for a while and I retain my first memories there of writing and knowing that was all I wanted to do. We then moved to a campground in rural N.H. to fulfill my father’s dream of running a vacation spot. Eventually, my parents settled down to country living in the hills above Albany, New York known as the HeldebergMountains. We lived in a 200-year old farmhouse on acres of apple trees and falling-down barns. It was a child’s world to explore. I would roam the woods around our home with notebook and pen writing in fields and beside hidden ponds, and always with my two, frumpy dogs.

Q: How did you come up with your title?

From a vision just like the story! Both books one and two in my Element Trilogy, A Human Element and A Hidden Element, grew out of visions I had – one while driving, one while dreaming. And the titles came with them.

Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

I absolutely adore my cover! Ryan Doan did the covers for both book 1 and book 2 in the Element Trilogy. I gave him a few visions I had for A Hidden Element and shared the themes of the story, but he breathed life into it with color and layers I never imagined. It pops of thriller and sci-fi with a twist of darkness.

Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

I write from the dark side with a glimpse of hope and am drawn to writing the tormented hero’s journey – and tormented villain’s. I enjoy creating empathy for both by blurring the lines between good and evil. And I especially enjoy using the paranormal elements of mind control to shake the foundation of my character’s world. If you enjoy paranormal murder and mystery with a dash of steam you’ll enjoy A Hidden Element.

Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

A Hidden Element has several themes in it. Such as, seeking power through good leads to salvation OR on the flip side of that – seeking power through evildoing leads to self-destruction. A major message in the book is about how relinquishing the struggle to belong can lead to self-acceptance and internal peace.

Much of my life plays into my stories such as feeling like I didn’t belong because I was adopted. When you’re adopted you can feel like you don’t have blood roots and can roam around trying to find belonging. Some of my characters do the same. I connect with the nomad, the outsider, the alone one. Feeling abandoned is also an issue adopted children can have and it can be hard for them to commit to a relationship and fully trust. Several of my characters are abandoned and deal with it in extremely different ways. It colors their lives – good and bad.

Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

I loved writing any scene with Caleb, my tormented hero. I fell in love with him from the beginning – so much so that he became the main character! My favorite chapter with him was when he saved his only love, and then had to let her go.

Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

Book 2 in my paranormal suspense trilogy, A Hidden Element, was written after a dream. Readers had been asking for a sequel to book 1, A Human Element, but I couldn’t see it happening until I woke up one morning with the story all planned out in my head. It was a vision to be acted on, like the vision I had years before to write book 1. Is it any wonder my books have a paranormal element to them? So why write the paranormal? I am fascinated by the power of the brain and how little we use. Writing in the paranormal allows me to tap into the “what if”. What if we possessed the power to do the unbelievable? And what if we could use those powers to heal – or to kill? And what if these powers are inside us all along and all we have to do is to tap into them?

Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

I’m adopted, which isn’t so dark and deep but the secrets that come with that are. Adoption, corruption, and secrecy have been a part of my real life tale, as well as the stories in my Element Trilogy books. Was I a black market baby? Was my natural father murdered? Did my natural mother murder her own mother? Read more about that here!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Back to England. I lived there as a child long ago and fell in love with its medieval feel. One town we lived in was Cobham Surrey. We lived in the old caretaker’s house of this old grand estate called White Tops. It even came with a gardener. It was a place of days gone by where I’d walk down the country lane to school and feed horses along the way. Each day the fish man would bring kippers for breakfast and the milk man would drop glass bottles at our door…and clotted cream some days. I made my parents take me to Tintagel in Cornwall, the supposed castle ruins of King Arthur, because I love all things King Arthur. I’m planning to take my family to England in an upcoming trip. My son adores history and castles so it will be right up his alley!

Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

Morning all the way! I am drooling by 9pm and often set my alarm for 4:30am to write. It’s my best time of day.

Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

My son is an amazing writer, although he’ll tell you he’s an artist first.

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

As a child…and a teen…and a grown up. Daydreams, night dreams. My dreams as a child were so vivid and colorful that I kept a dream diary. Unfortunately, along with the fluffy, cupcake dreams there were also the nightmares of lava and machete men chasing me. You can read all about that here.

Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?

To be an amazing guitar player and country western singer! (I can hear my husband groan now at the thought).

Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

I am now plotting the third and final book in the Element Trilogy, A Healing Element, and also a young adult medieval fantasy series. I also write children’s books and in 2015 have the first two books coming out in my middle grade adventure fantasy series, Joshua and the Lightning Road. In book 1, Joshua Cooper learns the hard way that lightning never strikes by chance, when a bolt strikes his house and whisks him on an adventure to a world where stolen kids are work slaves for the frustrated heirs of the Greek Olympians. You can learn more about it here: www.donnagalanti.com

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postheadericon Interview with Tara Edin, author of memoir ‘Moonflower’ #memoir

Moonflower banner

Tara is an incest, rape and sexual assault survivor, a teacher, a wife, a mother, a Reiki master, and an author.

As a rape and sexual assault survivor, who struggled for many years, yet came out on the bright side, one of Tara’s goals is to help fellow survivors feel less alone, less crazy, and more inspired.

Tara spent much of her life feeling “wrong” and being quiet due to some very tough circumstances that shook her to the core. After a spiritual awakening on one of her darkest nights, Tara began to embrace her own power to transform past trials into dreams come true.

Writing her story has helped Tara retrieve her voice and find additional creative outlets. Publishing her book has simply made her story available to those who may benefit from it.

These days, Tara puts most of her energy into raising her two children, enhancing her creative life, and living her best life ever. But because she is a Survivor, Tara will always walk a healing path—healing for herself and for others.

For More Information

About the Book:

Moonflower 2Blooming was her Birthright. Darkness the Unexpected Catalyst.

Tara is an incest, rape and sexual abuse survivor, who suffered from PTSD for many years but was misdiagnosed with mental illnesses instead. This took her down a near-fatal path ultimately ending in an accident, which nearly claimed her life at age 29. Most only know the abridged version of the story, yet the real story holds many truths and miracles that must be shared. With a second lease on life, Tara faces the sexual abuse and betrayal from her younger years with support from a compassionate zen therapist. Tara begins to recreate her life with a new spirituality that feeds her soul and encompasses her painful past, giving life to the love that has always been her birthright. With lucid prose and powerful poetry, Tara details her soul’s transformation from darkness to light, offering her readers the gifts of honesty, empathy, and empowerment.

Moonflower is Part Memoir, Part Self-Help & Part Spiritual Odyssey.

Rape, incest and sexual assault are unspoken controversial topics that still fester behind closed doors in the 21st century as survivors are still being told to “Get over it,” or worse, “It didn’t even happen.” It takes years to heal from such life-altering, traumatic experiences, and many survivors are doing this work alone. There is a great need for testimonies from those who have emerged from their ordeals stronger.

This revealing story uncovers the aftermath of abuse that often leads to unstable relationships, repeated abuse, and mental or physical disease. Although Moonflower covers difficult topics such as emotional and sexual abuse, the author sifts through these experiences to offer her readers the gifts and lessons that can be drawn from such setbacks.

There is no cookie-cutter journey to healing, but there is great power in sharing our stories. Moonflower exhibits the power of the self and spirit in the healing process. It stretches beyond what may be considered a “normal” path and braves a non-traditional spiritual road to wellness, inspiring others to broaden their perspectives of the healing experience. Readers will be inspired by Tara’s fiery spirit and deep reflective soul, cheering her on as she finds her way back to herself.

For More Information

  • Moonflower: A Memoir of Healingis available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Watch the book trailer at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Tara! Can you tell us where you are from?

Thank you so much for the interview! I was born and raised in San Diego, California and currently live in beautiful Carlsbad.

Q: How did you come up with your title?

One of my highly intuitive friends once told me my book would have a flower on the cover. Roses and orchids were always favorites but didn’t seem to fit. When I learned about the moonflower, I was intrigued. Moonflowers bloom only at night and rather quickly, within a matter of minutes. Because the turning point of my story occurs on my darkest night, the moonflower is a perfect symbol. In addition, I am a night owl and have always felt deeply connected to the moon and the psychic/unconscious powers that it symbolizes.

Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

I wanted the moonflower to be the focal point of the cover. Regina Wamba from www.MaeIDesign.com designed the moonflower cover image, capturing the essence of my story on the first draft with only a few minor changes.

Thanks, Regina!

Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

It’s real, it’s raw, and it’s remarkable. Moonflower is a story of survival and success with the fearlessness of Kill Bill and the introspection of Eat Pray Love. It connects the dots between victim, survivor, and healer.

Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

Moonflower is about making the conscious decision to heal oneself no matter what one has endured, and how the universe supports that intention. It does cover sensitive topics like sexual abuse, family dysfunction, depression, and suicide, yet the focus is on the healing journey rather than the initial traumas. My book shows ways I’ve transformed my life at its lowest point into one that is delightfully “normal.” Most “normal” people we come into contact with have integrated their pain or are hiding their scars. My book speaks to anyone who has ever been stuck in pain.

Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

My favorite chapter to write is titled “Life’s Mothers.” It discusses how when one aspect of life is lacking, the universe provides us with help to reach the next level. It highlights some of the women in my life who have nurtured and supported me when my own mother could not or did not. This chapter was special because my deceased dance teacher and my late mother-in-law stepped in to divinely guide my writing.

Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

At age 16, I had originally begun writing this account in a journal format. It was a cathartic vehicle for my emotional suffering after being raped. In the following years, I explored the idea of sharing it but stopped and started many times, still unsure of myself and my story’s significance. Eventually, I stopped questioning the Universe’s nudge to finish it and just resolved to see it through. If anything, I intended it for my children and their children to read much later in life as a record of where their mother/grandmother had been in her life. Sometimes I simply thought of tucking it away in a drawer indefinitely—completely safe but not very helpful. We are all here on Earth to learn and to help each other heal through our work. This story is part of my contract on Earth, and this gift can only provide assistance when shared. Today it is my intention to lend healing and insight through my story. If just one poem or sentence creates a soulful “hit,” I will have fulfilled a fraction of my purpose here on Earth.

Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

All of my deep dark secrets are in the book! Okay, I am a chocolate addict.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I would love to spend a summer in Tahiti in a secluded bungalow over the water just writing, reading, swimming, meditating, and laying out. It is a place I have often seen in my dreams.

Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

I come alive at night. It’s when my best work happens almost by magic. It’s as if the night infuses me with renewed energy, even if I’ve had an exhausting day. Also, it’s the time when my house is so blessedly quiet!

Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

My maternal grandfather loved the written word, but more the reading and singing of it rather than the writing. I don’t know of any passionate writers in my family on either side, although there have been a number of painters and artists on my paternal side.

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

Yes, I was a little dreamer, an introspective child. My friends and I loved writing stories and songs and playing pretend. Dreaming fueled and expressed my imagination… still does.

Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?

I would wish for child sexual assault to end once and for all.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

Thank you again for the interview. It was a lot of fun!


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postheadericon First Chapter Reveal: Two Empty Thrones by C.H. MacLean

Two Empty Thrones 2Title: Two Empty Thrones
Author: C.H. MacLean
Publisher: CNH Publishing
Pages: 242
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Paperback; Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

With her powers growing every day, fourteen-year-old Haylwen Rightad thinks she’s safe in the magical forest. And now that she finally has the friends she always wanted, what is there to be afraid of?

But she’s not out of the woods yet. Old enemies rip through her beloved forest, threatening to haul Haylwen and her newfound friends away. Their safety shattered, Haylwen and her friends are suddenly at each other’s throats. Is the friendship she worked so hard for already ruined, or is there another, unseen enemy at work?

Haylwen and her brother must unmask this mysterious enemy before they can fight it off. But even if all their enemies are destroyed, the King of the magic users will stop at nothing to ensure he’s still in power when the dragons take over the world. And he’s hidden an enemy where Haylwen would never think to look.

If no one is what they seem, who can she trust?

First Chapter

Haylwen, Cadarn, the twins, and Nacia sat in a circle in the open grassy area where they usually met for martial arts practice. They used it for everything now. Today they were practicing sign language. It was quiet, only occasionally broken by a few words, if Cadarn asked a question.

Haylwen took a break and leaned back against the large oak behind her. Surrounded by the trees, the magical trees that somehow kept them safe from the monsters that chased them, she relaxed, hearing the birds and breeze through the leaves above her. Without trying, almost by reflex, she felt the energy of magic. She had been reading and practicing so much, the light leaped to her inner sight without effort. She could see clearly the light surrounding her, and her own bright and strong inner ball of light sitting in her chest.

She let her ball of internal energy grow and felt a tug. For a moment, she felt there were other places in her body where energy would form! She excitedly wondered if they might let her do more with magic. Does Cadarn or my father know? Maybe one of the books? She didn’t wait to ask.

She found one at her throat, touched another really big one at her head. Maybe it was more than one? She focused. Ok, there was the first one in my chest, one in my belly, and at least another one below that. She compared them and felt lines, strings maybe, connecting them. Haylwen suddenly realized they weren’t balls, but were more like pools of energy, with streams flowing back and forth between the pools. She looked at their pulsing movement, growing and shrinking. In another exciting realization, she saw them as tide pools being fed by the ocean of light all around her. They’re all connected!

Then she felt another one, a bigger one, just out of reach beyond her head. She imagined her top pool sending a little stream toward where she felt this other pool. She strained, but it slipped away. She relaxed, and it came closer. She let the stream wander its own way, which just happened to be toward the bigger pool. They touched.

Suddenly, she was swept along in a river. Her little stream grew in an instant, swallowing her in a flash flood. Terror twisted her stomach, but before she could even open her eyes, she stopped. She blinked. Or, at least, she thought she did. Am I awake or dreaming? Or finally gone completely crazy?

She stood on a small island, surrounded by a stream. The stream’s giggles whispered around her as it danced along its rocky bed. Other islands surrounded hers, with swift streams making their way along them, a network of water and earth. Each island had a single tree on it. Her island had a tall oak, and she could swear it was the same one she had been leaning against. She took the several steps to the water’s edge and looked into the rapidly moving water. Though it was running quickly, the water was so clear she could see sparkling stones on the bottom.

“Welcome!” a voice said from behind her.

Haylwen spun and saw an old man standing there, his arms crossed, smiling through his beard. His hair was long, dark brown, and snarled, but in such a pattern as to seem intentional. He wore a long robe of coarse fabric, shaded in browns. His eyes were amazingly bright green and shone in contrast against his brown skin. He stood right where the oak had been, the great tree that was now gone.

“Again we felt. You come.” He spoke so slowly, Haylwen initially thought of saying something during the pauses after his sentences. “Welcome. Haylwen. Quickling child.” She eventually figured out his sentences were all one.

Haylwen didn’t mind waiting, as there was so much going on in her…what she felt coming in from around her. She felt as if she were immersed in energy, in magic. Everything had a background shimmer, as if she could see the energy of the air reflecting and bouncing off the energy of the land and water. The energy carried a chorus of music, perfectly harmonious together, though each was a full symphony by itself. Haylwen caught a part of the tune, a catchy, simple melody that sounded familiar. She was barely aware of a tiny note of wrongness that was somewhere close, but Haylwen lost it in the wonder.

When the old man had not spoken for some time, Haylwen replied, “Where am I?”

He gave a breezy laugh. “You are. Where you were. And still are.”

“Huh? Um, let’s start over. How do you know my name?”

The old man blinked, shook his head slowly. Haylwen felt herself slow down, or everything else speed up, as the old man muttered something about time and quicklings. Either way, suddenly his speech didn’t seem slow.

He said, “You told me your name.” He didn’t seem to be kidding.

Haylwen tried again. “Who are you?”

“I am who I was.” He looked briefly confused, then brightened. “But, of course! For the you-now this is the first.” He made an odd sort of bow, a swaying from the waist. “I am Barandarus, the youngest of the elders, the speaker for the grove.”

A flash made Haylwen look around. On the other islands, where the other trees had stood, now stood men and women, wearing similarly-styled robes. They silently watched.

Haylwen tried again. “What is this place?” She tried not to think she was just hallucinating. A dream, that’s all.

Again, the breezy laugh, which seemed to echo as it spread among the other people. “This is no place, quickling. This is the energy of the grove. You might even call it the mind of the grove,” he said, looking around. “Your energy, my energy,” he continued, waving his hand at the others, “hers and his and hers, all of their energy, vibrating in resonance, in concert. Energy, mind, all as one.”

“Why did you bring me here?”

He shook his head, still smiling. “We do not bring. The way was there, the door to open, and you brought. Why did you bring you here?” After a pause, he continued with a wink. “Perhaps it is guidance you seek from the grove?”

Was that a hint? “What sort of guidance might I want?”

The old man smiled and gave another of his wavy bows. “You told us, or will tell us, this would be the way, but still.” He smiled with a slow head shake. “Curious quicklings, so full of energy, without perspective.” He stood a bit differently. “You said to be sure I will tell you three.” He held up one finger. “One. Remember Rivenwake.”

Haylwen’s eyes widened. Remember Rivenwake? She echoed it in her mind, memories flashing past. Her one real-life meeting with him was a blur of embarrassed stammering as she’d tried to seem normal in the face of his fathomless eyes and too-cute face. Or, could he be talking about her dream of him, running from a horde of assassins and her first kiss, heart-pounding nightmare and romantic fantasy all in one? She couldn’t forget him, despite all her trying.

A thrumming started, and Barandarus blinked. “Nothing save trouble,” he muttered. He flicked a second finger up. “Two. Find Faustas.”

Why did that name sound familiar…? Oh! The mustachioed king from her book on the history of magic! Find Faustas the Traitor?

“He’s dead!” Haylwen blurted.

Barandarus shook his head. “Of course not. Though, it has been a while, even for us.”

A moan interrupted. Low and quiet, like someone in the distance was injured. Barandarus winced and then grimaced as more moans joined, changing voices, coming closer. He shook his head, eyes unfocused. A scream broke his look, and he fixed his gaze on her intently.

“Child, there is damage come to the grove,” he said with energy beyond the volume of his words, “and darkness carried in it. We feel it comes for you. We will do what we can, but they were invited, in a way. You are needed to protect yourselves, ourselves. Go, please go.”

Looking in Barandarus’ eyes, Haylwen could feel his pain. For a second, she knew him, trusted him. She felt a pulling, as if someone had opened a door on a storm.

“Wait, what is the third?” she blurted, fighting the pulling sensation.

“Clearing come. Now go!” Barandarus shouted.

Haylwen let herself slide into the opening, back along the same way she’d come. She blinked and was back in the clearing, sitting just as she had been. She jumped up, the others watching her curiously.

“What’s up, Hayl?” Cadarn asked.

“There is damage and darkness coming to the grove,” she shot out. She blushed slightly, trying not to notice Cadarn’s look. “We should get back to the house.”

She quickly grabbed her pack and went to the edge of the clearing to stand looking toward the main house. The others were slowly gathering their things, except for Oakren. He had grabbed all his things, stepped up almost in front of her, and made a few gestures in sign language. Haylwen shook her head, not understanding. He was deaf, but she felt dumb.

Nacia was leading the others out, and Oakren gestured to her and then Haylwen.

“What?” Nacia said. “You want me to say what? You heard the trees and want to talk to them next time?”

Haylwen looked sharply at Oakren, surprised. Oakren nodded to himself and smiled. He made a few more gestures.

Nacia sighed. “He says he wants you to bring him next time.” She shook her head and said under her breath, “I know he has a crush on you, but honestly.”

Haylwen heard a crash, the distant sound of breaking wood. She started walking, and then heard the sound of a chainsaw. She picked up the pace. Nacia was gesturing to the twins, who looked confused, then angry. They started running, sprinting past Haylwen. By the time Haylwen got to the farmhouse, the boys were standing next to Feabee on the porch, the three of them looking like thunderclouds.

Nacia ran over to stand with her mother, Topaz, just inside the door. They looked so much alike, one just an older version of the other, a mirror through time. Haylwen drifted to stand by her parents off to the side, while Cadarn stood by himself to the side of the porch. Everyone was looking down the path, to where the sounds of crashing branches and large motors were gradually coming closer. Feabee made an occasional gesture to the twins to let them know what the rest were hearing.

Haylwen blanched at a particularly loud crash, wincing. Her father looked at her questioningly. “They are trying to help, and it is hurting them,” Haylwen whispered. Her father held his questioning look for a moment. His eyes popped wide and suddenly narrowed as he heard what she’d said. He looked into the forest briefly and then turned and started to say something to Haylwen.

He was drowned out as a large, olive-green truck crashed through the last of the branches, leaves and twigs caught in its grille and hanging from the roof rack. It looked like some savage beast, a destroyer of trees. It revved its engine and then growled its way up the slope to stop halfway up. It backed off the dirt road onto the grass as a shiny black SUV quietly rolled out from the mangled tunnel of trees. After the SUV passed it, the truck threw itself in a roaring spin that threw chunks of green and mud behind it to block the road out. It sat there, engine still growling. The smell of diesel rolled up to the house.

The SUV pulled off the road and drove across the rolling lawn, leaving crushed grass in its wake. It stopped with the passenger side at the very edge of the farmhouse porch. The passenger door opened and a tall man in a charcoal suit stepped out, directly onto the porch.

With his blond hair chopped short, it took Haylwen a moment to recognize him. “Mr. Johansen,” she whispered, clutching her father and sliding behind him. Her ex-principal was here? A wave of fear washed over her, carrying memories of when he had grabbed her—the feel of his hands on her neck, the chemical smell of his car as he’d stuffed her in.

“You have nothing to fear from him,” her father said in a quiet, but stern, voice, tension rolling off of him.

Haylwen’s mother, Crystyn, leaned over, turning to look Haylwen in the eye. “He will never touch you again, I promise.” Crystyn stood, taking a couple of firm steps to stand a bit ahead of Haylwen and her father. Abrennin twitched away as Crystyn moved past him, like he had gotten a shock. He gave her a brief look of surprise and confusion, but she wasn’t paying attention.

“May I help you?” Feabee said. “You realize this is private property.”

Mr. Johansen took a step toward Feabee, a reddish hue seeping from him. Haylwen’s guts clenched. He was going to use magic to hurt Feabee!

Abrennin whispered something and then choked. Haylwen’s stomach twisted more, realizing what her father’s choking meant. With me and Cadarn here, our parents’ Oath is in effect. Mom and Dad can’t use magic. Her parents might protect her from a physical attack, but what about a magical one?

Feabee shot Abrennin a wide-eyed look and he nodded once. She blinked, then her jaw muscles jumped as a green glow slipped around her. Haylwen squeezed her father’s hand, a question. He smiled thinly and squeezed back. Of course, Feabee could use magic!

“I have information that you are willfully transgressing against federal law,” Mr. Johansen said. Haylwen gave a little gasp as a red arc shot from Mr. Johansen, a striking snake, to bounce off Feabee’s green shield. “You are harboring fugitives, aiding and abetting criminals.” Another red snake slithered along the ground, trying to work its way under Feabee’s shield.

Feabee shook her head with a smile.

“You think truancy laws are less important than any other?” Mr. Johansen said loudly, standing a bit taller. “We must make sure the children of society are safe.”

“My paperwork is in order and has not expired,” she said.

“Perhaps, but it only lists three students,” he sneered.

Haylwen looked over to Cadarn, sharing the look of guilt and fear that this was about them. Haylwen felt her fear twist into anger. Feabee, Nacia, and the twins were going to get in trouble because of her! She looked up at her father, who just held her hand and shook his head slightly.

“Actually, I submitted updated paperwork, which was received two days ago,” Feabee replied.

“And I was sent to confirm the information was accurate. We have the right to do an inspection for classes equal to, or larger than, five,” he said.

“There is no such law,” Feabee retorted, eyes narrowing.

“Law? Oh, I guess you didn’t see the express invitation to an inspection on the forms you completed?” he sneered. His red bubble pulsed. Several snakes struck as he said, “The forms you signed authorized the right of inspection with acceptance. We must make sure there is actual learning, to prevent child neglect.”

Feabee threw apologetic looks at Haylwen’s parents. “Invitation? I didn’t see…” Her green shield was weakening under the repeated attacks.

“You understand that the neglect laws include all students, correct?” The red intensified, and the attacking snakes grew in number. “Under the child abuse and neglect statutes, we have the authority to take all of the children into custody immediately,” Mr. Johansen said.

Haylwen watched as the green glow started to show tiny spots of black, gaps in the shield. Two more red snakes quickly shot out from Mr. Johansen, squirming against the black spots, trying to force their way in. Feabee looked resigned, trapped. Haylwen felt her father try to say something, but he tensed and choked.

“You have no authority here.” Haylwen gave a small gasp, hearing her mother’s voice with such power. “You will take your polluting trucks and leave immediately.” Crystyn stalked across the porch to stand ahead and to the side of Feabee, making Mr. Johansen shift to face her. Haylwen glanced up at her father, who was breathing easier. His face was an odd combination of confused and proud.

Mr. Johansen looked over Crystyn’s head, following where she had come from to see Haylwen and Abrennin standing there. He gave a little smirk, a twisted look of revenge.

“Ah, Mrs. Rightad. I see where your vandalizing daughter gets it.” Several thick red snakes slowly approached her mother. “If I leave, it will be with your truant children…”

A white glow erupted around Haylwen’s mother. Haylwen squinted, slightly blinded as the white glow around her mother flared even brighter, engulfing the snakes, obliterating them.

“You will leave with nothing,” her mother said in a tone that sent shivers down Haylwen’s spine. Her mother had locked eyes with Mr. Johansen. Though he was at least a foot taller, he seemed to shrink with each passing moment, while Haylwen’s mother seemed to grow. The white glow increased in intensity and size, washing like waves against the receding red of Mr. Johansen. “If you ever come close to either of my children again—”

“I did nothing, I have witnesses,” Mr. Johansen interrupted, momentarily straightening, the red pushing against the waves.

The white flared again, and Mr. Johansen took a step back. He had only the slightest hint of red around him now, flickering.

“You have nothing to withstand a mother protecting her child,” Haylwen heard her mother say, as another blinding flare of white pulsed out. Mr. Johansen took another step back, stumbling, withering even more under her fierce gaze.

Crystyn pointed her finger toward the SUV as another pulse of the white light washed over Mr. Johansen. “You and your agent’s invitations are revoked!” Haylwen’s mother nudged Feabee, who nodded once.

Mr. Johansen slid backward down the stairs, banging into the SUV, scrambling to open the door and get inside before being sucked away. He slammed the door closed, and the SUV’s idling engine roared, tires spitting grass and dirt in every direction. Everyone was pelted, but Haylwen noticed not a fleck hit her mother.

The SUV bounced down the hill as the olive-green truck tore out of the way. The black SUV disappeared into the tunnel as the truck spun around, engine roaring, tires clawing the ground, making a new set of wounds in the grassy field. A cold shiver crawled up Haylwen’s legs, tightening around her throat, as she looked at the ruined lawn. Even after the smell of exhaust had drifted away, the wounds were mocking proof they weren’t safe. It was only a matter of time.


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postheadericon Interview with Eliot Baker, author of ‘The Last Ancient’

Eliot BakerEliot Baker lives in Finland. He teaches communications at a local college and runs an editing and translating business, but would be content singing for his heavy metal band and writing novels full-time. He grew up near Seattle, got his B.A. in World Literature at PitzerCollege, and got his M.S. in Science Journalism from BostonUniversity. He was an award-winning journalist at the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror, and before that he wrote for the Harvard Health Letters. He spent four years pursuing a career in the sciences while at the HarvardExtensionSchool, during which time he spun old people in NASA-designed rocket chairs and kept younger people awake for 86 hours at a time in a sleep deprivation study. He likes good books, all music, and bad movies, and believes music and literature snobs just need a hug.

His latest book is the supernatural thriller/historical mystery, The Last Ancient.

Visit his blog at www.eliotbakerauthor.blogspot.com.

About the Book:

The Last Ancient 2Around NantucketIsland, brutal crime scenes are peppered with ancient coins, found by the one man who can unlock their meaning. But what do the coins have to do with the crimes? Or the sudden disease epidemic? Even the creature? And who–or what–left them?

The answer leads reporter Simon Stephenson on a journey through ancient mythology, numismatics, and the occult. Not to mention his own past, which turns out to be even darker than he’d realized; his murdered father was a feared arms dealer, after all. Along the way, Simon battles panic attacks and a host of nasty characters — some natural, others less so — while his heiress fiancee goes bridezilla, and a gorgeous rival TV reporter conceals her own intentions.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Eliot! Can you tell us where you are from?

Thank you for having me! So, where am I from; it’s a straightforward question that requires a few sentences. I was born and raised in suburban Seattle, but I went to college near LA, mostly to get out of the rain and into the sun. After LA, I lived in Finland for a year, and then Massachusetts for seven years. But I’ve bounced back to Finland now for the past four years to raise my family with my Finnish wife. Ironically, I tried to leave Seattle’s grim winters, only to find myself in arguably the grimmest winter on the planet. But I kid. Finland is wonderful.

Q: How did you come up with your title?

That was a bit of a process. My original title was very strange, and I liked it very much and hope to use it for something else some day (and hence won’t spill the beans on it here). But my publisher, wisely, axed it on account of it being so strange and long. After a long go-round of titles that captured certain aspects of my book, I realized that the real fulcrum of my novel is the mythological creature, (which might or might not be the Last Ancient). The title hits the mark: it elicits that vague concern we get when confronting yet another extinction of a species or culture or tradition. And it makes us curious to find out who, or what, really is The Last Ancient?

Q: They say you can judge a book by its cover. Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?

I’ve been told by many people that they love my cover. I was surprised by it. It wasn’t what I was expecting based upon the lengthy materials I submitted to the art department at Champagne Books. They seemed to stress the romantic and spiritual elements of the story with the cover, which are certainly important, although The Last Ancient has a distinctly dark and sinister tone that’s set from the first page.

Q: Can you tell us something about your book that would make me run out and buy it?

The mythological creature is real. It’s on Nantucket. It is powerful, beautiful, and its intentions are impossible to interpret without reading this book to the end. Oh, and the conspiracy is real. The world is about to change in every way. Our resources are depleted, our societies are bankrupt. A magical world will be born. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, you’ll have to find out yourself.

Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?

This book is about choice and borderlines. What’s the difference between killing and justifiable defense—how do we define that choice? How about the differences between obsession, addiction, and love—are we capable of seeing the borders? Or what about personal transformation and the greater good—are they mutually exclusive or inextricably linked? Simon Stephenson is constantly faced with deeply troubling choices, and he’s not always certain whether he’s exercising free will or acquiescing to the demands of someone or something else.

Q: What was your most favorite chapter to write and why?

The last chapter was wonderful. It just came alive for me after a long struggle with how to tie everything together, and I was riding co-pilot with Simon as he took his final journey and made his final choice in this place that encapsulated the entire book’s philosophical underpinning.

Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?

I had things I needed to say, and this book was how I had to say them. I’d just moved to Finland and while I love it there, a move that drastic entails upheaval on several levels. I’d left behind country, career, and loved ones, after all, at an age when I’d have preferred to put my head down and continue along as a science journalist, a profession I very much enjoy. But the move was the right decision, hard as it was. That feeling of choosing between worlds is an important part of The Last Ancient. Anyhow, a few months after moving I reached that magical triple point of creative inspiration, financial stability, and an irresistible wedge of time. It all came together. One day between classes (I’m a teacher, amongst other things), I opened up my laptop and stared out at the encroaching Finnish winter and thought back to my time on Nantucket as a reporter, some of the best years and experiences of my life. I thought about one of my first field assignments, shadowing a deer hunter at dawn, and how the island sun rose all red and raw to a chorus of gunfire. I got nostalgic. I typed, “Gunshots bark across Nantucket.” It was like an incantation. A portal opened to another world.

Q: Now, some fun questions – What deep dark secret would you like to share with us?

Ah, geeze. I’d better get this off my chest now or it’ll eat me alive. When I was a teenager, I threw a party when my folks were out of town and someone barfed on their bed. They came back the next day, before I could get the stain out. I blamed it on my cat. And my dad yelled at the cat. Yes, I’m a terrible person. Sorry, black kitty.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I would venture 20,000 leagues under the sea in one of those DeepFlight adventure submarines that James Cameron sometimes buzzes around in. I like scuba diving. I think the ocean is our real final frontier. There’s just this sense of possibility and wonder when you’re underwater. I can’t imagine the rush of underwater flying in a submarine. It’d be cool to cruise through a school of swordfish and rest over an octopus’s garden on your way to a pirate shipwreck in Davey Jones’ Locker.

Q: Are you a morning person or a night person?

Night person, although I admire morning people and I strive to be one. I never feel terribly energetic about getting out of bed, although my life demands I wake up around 6:30 AM each morning. However, my creative mind really comes alive sometime around 8 PM.

Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?

My mother, Sharon Baker, when she was alive, wrote three science fiction novels in the 1980s. She’s the reason I became an author.

Q: As a child, were you a dreamer?

Not only was I dreamer, but I was a lucid dreamer. My parents used to try to play with me when I’d build up these elaborate wars between my transformers and my G.I. Joes and Master’s of the Universe, complete with individuated voices and back stories. I’d yell at my folks to stop disturbing me, they were ruining my imaginary war. They were worried about me being a little too weird for a while, but I did well enough in school and had enough friends that I avoided a trip to the shrink. Now I write down what my imaginary friends say to me and call myself an author.

Q: Last but not least, the magic genie has granted you one wish. What would that be?

For my kids to develop super powers that would bring music and peace to the world.

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postheadericon More Precious Than Rubies by Randy Coates Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

More Precious Than RubiesTitle: More Precious Than Rubies
Author: Randy Coates
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 174
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

Paul Brager is twelve when his father tells the story of Iduna and her apples. Mr. Brager always tells stories before bed to entertain Paul’s little brother, Adrian—a ritual that has become even more important since their mother died. Iduna was a goddess who grew apples that made the gods younger and stronger, but one day she disappeared, along with her apples. Paul doesn’t think much of the myth; he has other things on his mind.

Paul and his best friend, Chad Tremblay, are excited to start the school year as seventh graders at Dorian Heights Public School. Even when they hear about the new principal, Mr. Theisen, they aren’t worried about ending up in his office. When Paul finally meets the principal, however, he finds him to be strange, mysterious, and extremely fond of apples. That’s when things start going wrong.

Theisen develops an uncomfortable interest in Paul, claiming he once knew Paul’s father. It becomes apparent to Paul and Chad that Theisen is after something, maybe some kind of treasure—and it involves the Brager family. Paul believes his family must be protected and that Theisen must be stopped. Still, he can’t get the story of Iduna’s apples out of his head; there seems to be an odd connection to the tale his father told. He and Chad want to know the answers, but learning them may put their lives in danger.




Randy Coates graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor of arts degree and went on to acquire his teacher’s certificate at the University of Western Ontario. He is currently an elementary teacher in the Toronto District Board of Education.

Randy is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins August 4 and ends on August 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, August 18.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!


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postheadericon Interview with Natsuya Uesugi, author of grydscaen



Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Author: Natsuya Uesugi

Publisher: Xlibris

EBook: 288 pages

Release Date: July 21, 2011

Follow the lives of the main characters as they come together in the backstory to grydscaen:retribution, the first volume of the grydscaen saga. Faid is tired of life on the run in the Echelons, trying to keep his psychic power in check, he founds the Packrats establishing a safe haven for psychics. As a hacker he uses his jack to support his neurocyne habit. Lino is recruited by the Psi Faction and is sent on a mission to kidnap Faid. Riuho, Lino’s half brother becomes a prisoner of the Elite military and they experiment on him, train him and subject him to mind control, then send him out on a mission. On his return, Riuho is set on escaping and recruits Faid who hacks into the Psi Faction systems. They escape and return to the Packrats leading up to the start of grydscaen:retribution.


What are you passionate about?

The grysdcaen series has a few messages. I write to get those messages out. The messages are LGBT equality, stopping bullying, ending the stigma of mental illness, hacker’s rights, and showing the plight of LGBT homeless youth on the streets. All of these are messages that I try to touch on in the sci fi grydscaen series. I want to provide role models for LGBT youth and youth in general and I can do this through grydscaen. If I touch just one person I will have been doing my job.

What would you consider to be the best book you have ever read?

Neuromancer by William Gibson

What are the most important attributes for remaining sane as a writer?

You need to know yourself. Writing grydscaen was cathartic for me it helped me to better understand myself. If you don’t understand yourself how are you going to understand your characters? They will not be believable if you don’t relate to them and know them intimately. Also you have to keep the world straight ad not contradict yourself. The grydscaen series is a multi book cyberpunk epic, the world is a microcosm of today set in the future in 2055. You have to know your world to write in a science fiction genre and have people relate to your characters and believe in your story.

Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.

Crazy Sexy Typewriter

Is there a writer you idolize? If so, who?

I don’t know if I idolize a writer. I respect a few like Ann Rice, William Gibson and Bret Easton Ellis. Maybe that answers the question slightly.

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postheadericon Psyche-Soul-Ology by David Roberts Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Psyche Soul OlogyTitle: Psyche-Soul-Ology

Author: David Roberts

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 202

Genre: Psychology

Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

Psyche-Soul-ology: An Inspirational Approach to Appreciating and Understanding Troubled Kids is a companion text to At the Mercy of Externals: Righting Wrongs and Protecting Kids, 2nd Edition. Dr. Roberts presents a spiritually based application of his theories and the Roberts FLAGS Model detailed in his first book. His use of the term Psyche-Soul-ology focuses on the importance of addressing both the minds and souls of troubled kids. Of utmost importance is the need to look beyond the obvious external behaviors and problems of every kid, making an effort to see who they truly are relative to their unique potential for redirecting their lives. By looking into each kid it is possible to discover their uniqueness and encourage them to understand who they are intended to be, rather than who they are becoming. Dr. Roberts stresses the importance of complicating factors serving as obstacles to the progress of low income, disadvantaged kids. He focuses heavily on professional ethics and the need for both extreme compassion and full competence when working with troubled kids and their families. Both of these books are vital for parents and professionals if we are to fight against social injustices associated with poverty and other complicating factors.


Dr. Roberts, a proud father and grandfather, is also a licensed clinical psychologist, author, and college instructor, trained in California and living now in his home state of Alabama. His education, training experiences and worldview make him unique, and he is recognized as an expert with troubled kids and families.


David is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins July 21 and ends on August 1.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, August 4.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!


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