Does any of this look familiar to anyone? Sums up my life to a tee. Heehee. 😁
Does any of this look familiar to anyone? Sums up my life to a tee. Heehee. 😁
It has been ages since I’ve posted anything on here. Although I’m not trying to make excuses, I do have legitimate reasons.
1. I quit my teaching job in December and have been looking for work on a slightly different career path.
2. I found that path as a director of a school age program in Seattle.
3. Therefore, we are now downsizing, packing, and purging everything we own and stuffing it into a POD in preparation for a move across the country.
4. We are selling our house in Texas while purchasing a new one in Washington.
5. I spent 4 days driving from Texas to Washington, where I now reside.
6. Since our house in Washington isn’t ready yet, I’m staying at an Extended Stay with bare minimum until our POD arrives in October when our house is finished.
7. Sadly, within this timeframe, I have been suffering from severe writer’s block, which I’m hoping will be cured when my life settles down from all these changes.
All these changes are good though. I’m starting a new job, which I’m hoping to make a career of, I’m moving into a brand new house, and I’m back home in the Pacific Northwest where I belong. Within the next few months, my life should once again maintain some kind of normalcy. I am hopeful that my writing hiatus will come to an end as well.
Welcome back to Author Spotlight! Today, I’d like to introduce you to JL Madore.
JL is a full-time, multi-genre romance novelist giving life to fantasy, paranormal, time-slip historical, and contemporary love stories. She loves to twist Alpha heroes and kick-ass heroines into chaotic, hilarious, magical situations and make them really work for their Happily Ever After.
“Destiny my ass.” Jade Glaster refuses to believe the Fates rule her life. Orphaned after an attack by Scourge soldiers, a young Jade vows never to be powerless again. Once grown, wielding the affinities of fire and healing, Jade protects innocents as an enforcer for her world’s elite policing agency—The Talon.
When an emissary mission to reinstate a race of exiled Elves brings Galan into her life, Jade finds herself overwhelmed by new passions, some welcome, some not. Although Galan’s antiquated views on women offend her to her heated core, when the Scourge attack his family, she helps him navigate the outside worlds he knows nothing about—the magical Realm of the Fair and, stranger still—the modern streets of Toronto.
Through their sensually charged pursuit of justice, Jade discovers that when dealing with the Fates—destiny is never random.
Readers love BLAZE IGNITES:
“This fantasy romp has it all: swords, magic, elves, shifters, evil queens and drag queens.”
“What a jewel of a book!”
“Fiery, Fantastical Fun!”
Book 5, the final book in the series, Fate’s Journey, launched July 24th – Free on Kindle Unlimited
Watcher Untethered – Book 1 of the Watchers of the Gray, Dark Angels Series
To be immortal, but still feel pain and bleed like a sieve sucks ass. Part of this world, but not. Alive, but not. There are the Darkworld feeding quotas we police, the humans we protect, and then us—Nephilim—living in the shadows of cities that know nothing about us. And if we do our job right, never will.
Wounded in battle, Zander wakes in a daemon feeding ground, bound to a human female. The origins of the restraints are unknown, the woman – Austin – a risk for Otherworld exposure. In the midst of human corpses, and with relationships punishable by death, Austin tempts a part of him he’s locked down his entire existence. His beast, however, the part of him that consumes every dark soul he’s ever dispatched, pulls at its tether, fighting to claim what can never be.
Danika Glass grew up feeling more connected to the past than to real life. With her gift of Psychometry, touching antiques allows her to witness glimpses of history unfolding first hand. A successful relic hunter and thief, when Danika touches a rare Roman coin, she is suddenly not seeing history but living it.
Hurled back in time to Rome, 79 AD, Danika realizes that the coin’s energy is gone and she is trapped. Catapulted into the intrigues of politics, soldiers, and spies, she walks the dangerous line between convincing her captors of the coming danger and making herself a target. With time ticking, these violent men of the past threaten to not only claim her body and her life . . . but also her heart. For here, Quintus Porcius Magnus, the Praetorian guard tasked to discover her truths, shows her a level of loyalty so foreign to her that when faced with a choice, Danika is torn between two vastly different paths—one of safety and the other of desire.
In The Shadow is an episodic adventure which joins the great historical romances of Diana Gabaldon and Susanna Kearsley.
This week’s spotlight shines on David Taylor II. David is an author, songwriter, producer, educator, playwright, and poet. He writes sci fi, fantasy, children’s literature, and comic books. He is the author of the new children’s favorite, Diary of a Smart Black Kid and is also adding to his Dear God children’s series.
His latest novel, Lucifer: Soldiers, Serpents and Sin is an internationally bestselling book. He has created an entire story world called The Realm from that first book and continues to expand it with coloring books, comic books, and audiobooks.
He is a co-composer for the smash hit theater production, Eye of the Storm: The Bayard Rustin Musical, nominated for 3 Black Theater Alliance awards. In 2015 his book Wayward Pines: Survival, from the hit Fox TV show of the same name, broke top 10 in the Amazon bestseller list and is currently still in the Top 100 of Kindle Worlds sci fi.
He is the writer of the independent comics The Nephilim Wars, The Order of Orali, and the Kryo-Karuto.
He is also the founder of Authors At Last™, an online site for Masterclass training for authors.
He is the proud father of two, as well as a lover of football, pizza, and a good glass of lemonade.
Baron Winters is an 11-year-old African-American boy. He’s smart, black, and a Geek. That means bullies, bullets, and beaches. And girls. Can he survive the challenges of going into sixth grade? Can he decipher the mixed messages of adults? And are his struggles unique, or are they our own?
So I almost got shot today – End of Summer Part 1
So I almost got shot today. But I’ll get to the gun thing in a minute. See, I love summer bike riding in my hometown. It’s homey! Also. I might be using cycle therapy (see what I did there?) to casually ignore the fact that it’s almost here.
“It” meaning, the test that will change my life.
Well ‘almost’ actually meaning springtime next year. Still. WOO HOO! Yeah, only geeks count days until tests. So color me count-y. There’s something happening in my life even sooner, however. That would be the Blessed Advent of Junior High School. And by ‘Blessed Advent’ I mean ‘yeah I’m scared brainless.’ Sixth grade is just a few days away. Sixth grade. In a few days. I need to do really well this year in school to even qualify for the test in the spring.
But in the meantime, I need to graze in every boy’s natural habitat: sweat! According to my mother every time I take a shower I’m wasting water and running up the electric bill. Haven’t figured that one out yet. But what I do know is that It’s August and that means bike riding ‘til it’s dark. Till dark, I tells ya! Also. Adults and kids have different definitions of ‘dark.’
Speaking of my hometown, it’s right outside Chicago. Lots of bike paths. Although I prefer riding in the streets. I probably shouldn’t tell my parents that I played chicken with a bus one time. Yeah maybe I’ll leave that out of our next dinner ‘So how was your day?’ discussion.
August is a funny month. I’m pretty sure it’s named after Augustus. Who was like, the first Roman emperor. And I know that more babies are born in August. My mind’s kind of buzzy like that, all funny factoid n’ thangs. Maybe that’s not one hundred percent true because my big sister Christina (she’s eighteen) was born in May and my big brother Zeke (he’s twenty-one, SO old) was born in December. But that was with dad’s first wife and not my mom so does that make the August thing totally bogue? Anyway. August is still like the last dance with summer, so it has all these really hot days. Maybe so you can like soak up some extra sunshine or heat or something because winter will make you forget all of this.
Then there’s Friday, which has to be, like, the best day of the week ever. It’s the only day of the week where’s there no downside. Like if candy were turned into a day. Because:
-No work the next day
-Allowance money comes
-Cartoons and pancakes all morning
-You can sleep until the sun stops talking
Also. Every single sleepover in the history of people has happened on a Friday night. Then there’s pizza, which has to be like, celestial in origin. Greek gods ate ambrosia and nectar. American gods eat pizza. I’m sure there’s a god law that says so. Pizza was invented for Fridays. Pizza is the king of food.
So I think that makes Friday like, the king of days. Or it would be if there was a contest for such things. Like Friday would beat up Thursday and take Wednesday’s girlfriend and exile Monday. Because who loves Mondays? Nobody, that’s who.
Tuesday is clearly like that kid that nobody notices except when they do something crazy. Like for example when it follows a three-day weekend. Then Tuesday feels like Monday part deux and ugh. Three day weekends are always fun though because they’re like extra ketchup on a burger. I have noticed that my big brother and sister seem to be able to pack more fun into their weekends than I can. I guess that’s part of the benefits of being older. I’m not even fully a teenager and already it seems like being a non-teenager is the coolest thing ever. Except for maybe Minecraft. I can’t imagine anything out-cooling that. Hey wait wouldn’t it be awesometacular if Friday got in a fight with Minecraft to see which one was cooler? I’m pretty much figuring there is a magical place where all this stuff that kids imagine actually happens, or else why would we be able to imagine it? Well. Anyway. Friday wins all battles and sometimes I wish it could be forty-eight hours long because that would rock like Ben Grimm in a mudslide. Friday is life.
Except for the fact that this particular Friday there was that gun thing with the cop. I was downtown in my second favorite bookstore, Kirst & Dorsten. This cop followed me out of the store. Then he watched me unchain my bike from the rack. Like he didn’t believe it was mine. I wanted to get out of there in a hurry so I started moving faster (because what kid likes being stared down by law enforcementicals?) Then he totally pulled his gun on me. I had to drop my bike and my lock, and faceplant myself.
Running down my leg, my sweat shook hands with my pee and said in unison “we’re in trouble.” I just never pictured dying before my first year of junior high school. Fortunately, after he saw my highly trembly demeanor Officer Not-So-Friendly seemed to no longer think I was a thief.
So I left. (note to self: put an I.D. tag on your bike when you get home. Oh and change your pants.) Maybe I should get a tattoo on my bike that says “Property of Baron Winters.” Because I could never get like, a real tattoo. My mother would look at me like I grew a second face. Then she’d break the one I have.
So I pretty much decided I wasn’t gonna let Captain Overanxious back there suck the joy out of my day. Even though he almost Rodney King’d me. Yeah, I watched those videos. History Maaaaan! Plus if I qualify to take that test at all, nothing’s gonna stop me from doing well on it. That’s just not gonna happen. But I’ve got a whole school year to get through before I’m there. And I’m gonna live in Comic Book World until then. Oh um along with studying of course. Hashtag not a slacker. #NotaSlacker
I had gone into Kirst & Dorsten because I didn’t have time to ride all the way across town to the Comic Shop. Sometimes K & D has some comic books. Although lately, my allowance was on life support after a trip to buy some comics. Comics are like, five dollars per book. I love love LOVE the Comic Shop tho. They have everything. Comic books, RPGS, action figures (They. Are. Not. Dolls.), game nights, DVDs, posters. I could just live there. I would if I could afford it. Jeezum Lord a’Mercy I could just see the drama if I asked my dad for more allowance money. I wouldn’t recommend that to my worst enemy.
…Well actually, I would because I can’t stand that evil Derek Kilroy. But. Anyway. I haven’t figured out yet why the stuff you hate the most takes up so much brain space. But then again I guess the stuff you love the most does too. Life’s kind of funny that way but when I grow up, I’m gonna invent some kind of brain filter memory device.
Like…like…totally awesome Forgetto Glasses!
Holy mother of haggis they will be the best-selling thing ever. Know why? Because what people wouldn’t give to be able to have selective memory. Know how I know that? Because all parents in the League of Adultage have selective memory. They can’t seem to remember all the stuff you’ve done right when they’re yelling at you. Just the things you do wrong. I’d like to perfect that and then flip the switch so I could only remember the good things.
…Then again, what would happen if you didn’t know how to classify a memory? Yikes, I sense a bug in the software. Oh well, I’d figure out a way to classify memories for targeted removal. Because I totally could.
If I wasn’t already such a genius I would invent patented Genius Pills and turn myself into a genius.
Eeeyup I have solved all problems.
This week, the Author Spotlight shines on ML Sparrow. ML Sparrow is currently the author of several full length novels, three novellas and a slew of short stories published in various anthologies. Her novella, A Tangled Web, was a finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and in the 2017 Readers’ Favorite Awards. Another novella, Red Days, was a winner in the BookExcellence Awards, Current Events category.
She will write pretty much anything that pops into her head, no matter the genre, and enjoys keeping her readers guessing as to what she will write next, though you can pretty much guarantee that there will be some degree of romance!
As well as writing, she enjoys travelling and is currently living in Tokyo. Her travels are a constant source of inspiration and she has an endless supply of ideas for future novels…
Her book Flirt, the second in her What Happens on Campus series, was released July 27th, 2018. It’s a contemporary NA romance.
*Contains scenes of drug and alcohol abuse.*
Flirting never hurt…
Forced to give up her promising gymnastics career due to a devastating injury, Riley Murphy decides to join her twin sister at St Joseph’s University in Texas. Finding a best friend in her roommate, Chloe, she nonetheless finds herself going off the rails as she indulges in drugs, alcohol and boys. However, playing quickly turns into something she can’t control… Too ashamed to confide in her friends or family, and with a boyfriend who does nothing but feed her addictions, the person she turns to is Cameron Lucas, someone she knew as a child.
Cam’s loved Riley since he used to go to work with his mama at the Murphy estate, but she was always so far out of his league. Now he’s beginning to realize that he never really knew her in the first place… However, that realization only deepens his feelings. But the question is, how far is he willing to go to help someone who won’t help them self? And can he discover the demons driving her to self-destruct?
A cool breeze ruffled his shirt as he stood on the wrap around porch. Even outside there was a horde of people drunkenly weaving around. A guy he recognized vaguely as being on the football team entertained his friends by juggling with beer bottles. Predictably, he dropped them all but luckily the grass cushioned their fall and none shattered. The group of stocky football players laughed uproariously and Cameron sighed.
He was just thinking of leaving when he spotted Riley in the crowd, dressed in an even skimpier dress than the one she’d modelled that morning. The sight of her made his heart race. Unable to leave now, he followed her with his eyes as she joined a group of guys on the verge by the road, giggling and flirting, falling all over them. One swooped her up in a fireman’s carry and slapped her butt. She beat his back and struggled, but she was laughing.
When he put her down, another guy grabbed her around the waist and pulled her close. The guy was practically humping her leg and she was acting like it was just a bit of fun, not an insult.
Unable to watch any more, he pushed through the crowd toward the street but something made him pause and glance back over his shoulder. Growing up in a rough area, he knew how quickly these things could escalate.
The guy who held her had his hand thrust up her skirt. Riley was no longer laughing and her smile was strained as she tried to shove his hand away.
“Drew, stop it. Don’t touch what you can’t afford,” she joked.
When the guy didn’t release her, he stepped forward without a second thought. They were all double his size, but in that moment he didn’t care.
Shoving through their ranks, he demanded, “Let her go.”
There was a moment of awkward silence and then someone snorted. “What are you going to do about it pipsqueak?”
Color rose in his cheeks. Instinct told him to back down in the interest of self-preservation, but then he noticed Riley craning her neck to look over at him, her other hand slapping angrily at Drew’s chest.
Squaring his shoulders, Cameron cleared his throat, yet his voice still came out sounding weak. “Get your hands off her, she said stop.”
The guy who’d confronted him stepped closer, towering over him, so close that he could smell the beer on his breath. “You want to fight, kid? Come on then.”
Cameron shuffled back a step and his opponent laughed, glancing over his shoulder to encourage his friends.
Curling his fingers into fists, he used the moment of distraction to strike. His clenched fist connected with the guy’s jaw and he stumbled back, hand flying up to his bloody lip. There was a brief moment when he got to admire his handiwork, before payback came in the form of a punch to the eye that sent him reeling backward.
He must have blacked out momentarily, because the next thing he knew he was on the ground and someone was standing over him. Anger sparked from Terri as she stood with her hands on her hips, clearly braced for battle.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” she shouted.
“We were just having some fun,” Drew replied, releasing Riley who gave him a shove before moving away.
“You broke his glasses,” Terri accused, stabbing a finger at the guy who’d punched him.
“He started it.”
Pushing himself upright, Cameron opened his mouth to speak, however, Terri was on a role.
“Hardly a fair fight, was it?” she snorted contemptuously, making him feel about three inches tall. “I’m betting you’d be kicked off the team if Coach found out.”
Drew narrowed his eyes on her threateningly. “You going to rat us out?”
She shrugged indifferently, clearly not cowed. “Maybe, maybe not. Depends if you plan to stump up the money for a new pair of glasses?”
“Hey, Terri, you all right?”
Cameron turned his head to see a tall, lanky guy of either Asian or Indian descent walking towards them. Behind him, two more football players followed and he recognized the one with brown hair as the guy Riley had been flirting with on the quad earlier.
Scrambling to his feet, he brushed himself off and pulled off his glasses to check the extent of the damage, though everything was a messy haze without them. They fell apart in his hands.
“You’re gonna have a nice shiner there.” Looking up, he wanted to dislike the brown haired football player that Riley seemed to have a fondness for, but his smile and tone were friendly.
“What are you fuckers up to?” the other guy growled. Tall and broad, with too-long blond hair and a red baseball cap, he was more than a little intimidating.
“Nothing,” someone piped up immediately and the group shifted guiltily, glancing at one another.
“Go do nothin’ somewhere else.”
Without another word, they scattered, heading into the house.
After a moment, Terri turned to face him. “Are you all right?” she asked.
He nodded. His eye throbbed, but it was his pride that really hurt. Clearing his throat, he glanced around, “Is Riley okay?” He couldn’t see her and his stomach dropped.
Without his glasses it was hard to see, but he thought Terri rolled her eyes as she said, “She’s fine, she’s probably gone chasing after them.”
“Terri,” the Asian guy chided and she swung around with a scowl.
“Well, it’s the kind of stupid thing she does all the time,” she snapped. “And you can stop taking her side, you’re supposed to be my friend.”
“I am your friend. I just think you’re a bit harsh on her sometimes.”
“That’s because you didn’t grow up with her, she’ll do anything to get attention. She just can’t handle not being in the limelight.”
Cameron watched the back and forth with a sinking feeling in his stomach; he’d always thought there must be more to Riley than what everyone else saw, he’d had faith that under all the flirting and drama she had a heart of gold, but Terri was her twin and she seemed to think Riley was just as shallow as she appeared.
Shifting uncomfortably, he felt his ears burning as he drew everyone’s attention back to himself. “I, um, I’m just going to go.”
“How far can you see without your glasses?” one of the other guys enquired, waving a hand in front of his face. “How many fingers am I holding up?”
The blond with the baseball cap punched his arm, growling, “Stop bein’ a dick.” However, when he turned to Cameron his expression wasn’t too terrifying. “You’ll get used to him,” he said. “Dawson likes to wind everyone up.”
Behind his back, Dawson pulled a face and made a hand gesture.
“I’m Parker. I think I’ve seen you ‘round, do ya live in Oak, too?”
Nodding cautiously, Cameron racked his brains trying to remember if he’d seen Parker around. He was sure he’d remember if he had; Parker looked like the kind of guy he’d usually try to avoid, but then he did spend most of his free time either working in his room, or in the library.
“We’re just headin’ back, mind if we walk with you?”
Again he nodded, though he felt like he’d just accepted a babysitter because they didn’t trust him to walk back to the dorm alone.
Welcome to another episode of Author Spotlight. Today, the light shines on Aduro Tri. Aduro is a full-time author, while trying to learn computer programming, having a base online presence here and there. Specializing in High Fantasy stories that take place in an expansive world with the intention of them feeling alive, while also being able to dabble in other genres. With a deep love of storytelling and especially character creation. As well, he prefers to stay in the company of nature and animals over people, while at the same time enjoys playing video games as a hobby. In as quiet of a city as Mountain Home, ID, though, quiet might not be the word as a train passes through the town every now and again.
(cover artist: https://www.deviantart.com/skitty22 )
There are many things Elvera Antos—the Kingdom of Edithien’s High General—dislikes: losing a fight or failing to protect her people and family are among those. However, when she awakens battered and bruised from a fight she unable to recall, she finds that she had been away from her kingdom for longer than she had planned. After finally regaining her memories, she finds her list of dislikes quickly expanding. The integrity of the kingdom’s defenses is in question, and there is a sinister plot that threatens the safety of not just her people, but the entire world. Now, with the aid of her unwaveringly loyal Knights of Edithien, she is faced with a difficult prospect. To protect those she loves, she just might have to do something she never imagined: commit treason.
Darkness; to his eyes, it was like a blur of pure black that was about to engulf him. It was overwhelming, and it felt as if all the air was being forced out of his lungs. It wasn’t until he fell to his knees, clutched his stomach, and gasped for breath, that he finally realized what was happening. It was like having a bucket of water thrown over him, and new sensations filled him. The sheer number of them, and their intensity, made him double over, and try to curl up into a fetal position. He already wanted to surrender.
That was far from an option though, as he felt a hand lift up his form by his long, silvery mane; as it did, a new sight greeted him. It was the sight of someone he knew, but she was unlike what he recognized; the mare, with a black coat and streaked violet mane, was surrounded by a thick, black aura that made him feel like someone had their hands wrapped tight around his neck. Her mane seemed to move as if lifted by the aura around her.
Just as he was lifted to meet her gaze, he noticed briefly that her pupils had narrowed to cat-like slits. The sight sent chills along his spine. He was soon flung against the wall, and it was only when he managed to draw in a sharp breath that he could look up from the ground. A new figure was there: a bright orange fox, cloaked and hooded, firing spell after spell at the mare, who was easily able to either deflect them with her bracers or avoid them entirely before—
He swore that, even from this distance, he heard at least two or three ribs breaking from that one punch. The vixen was sent crashing into the wall. How could they even stand up to someone like her? He thought about it while slowly trying to get to his feet. He felt pain in his own chest, almost like someone had shoved a spike through one of his lungs, and coughed while trying to balance himself as he clung to the wall.
“So you can move after all,” the mare hissed, her voice backed up by a second, deeper one. “Here I was worried that you’d miss the rest of the fun!”
“Elvera, this isn’t you!” he cried, “You’re—”
Whatever he had to say next was lost, for in the instant he blinked she appeared just inches before his face. She was fast; faster than she used to be. Where had she gotten all this speed from? Where had she gotten all this strength from? It was unnatural. No one could be this strong! He laughed inwardly though, knowing that to be a false statement. He felt his body become lighter for just a brief second, and then crashed face first into the ground. Time couldn’t be wasted, however, as he flipped onto his back. He winced from the pain, his entire body screaming at him again.
He was lucky he did, too, because a bright blue light filled the room briefly before whizzing right by Elvera. Though it didn’t seem to hit, there was a visible look of panic on her face as she tilted back just slightly. She was just barely able to react fast enough to it.
“Aella, keep firing!” he ordered, turning his head to the vixen, but she needed no reminder.
Several blasts of light erupted from the end of her staff. Though smaller than the first, they flew right past him, and Elvera was forced to take a few steps back. She let each blast fly past her, missing by just barely an inch, coupled by a look of strain as she avoided them.
Just those few seconds that these blasts bought were more than enough. They allowed him to rotate his body rapidly enough to whirl up to his feet, and utilized both the momentum and friction he had generated to catch Elvera in a sphere of wind before she flew back along with it.
“As fast as she is, I think—”
“You think what?” Elvera growled, her gaze turning up to the male equine.
She didn’t wait long, feeling the darkness that enveloped her urging her forward. It was like a second force had taken over her entire body, and all she could do was follow it. She felt it urging her to take their lives, and she drew two swords from her belt, holding the one in her left hand in reverse to the one in her right.
“What were you about to say, Kalen? Go ahead, I’ll spare you for a few seconds longer!”
“I would’ve thought you’d be more original if you ever turned evil…”
That was something he knew he would immediately regret, and he entered a defensive stance with his eyes closed. He knew he was outclassed by Elvera’s combat skills, and he knew that it was over for him.
In mid-stride, Elvera found herself trapped in the worst imaginable position as, to her right, something new became visible. She couldn’t quite make out any of the details of it; all she saw was a beautiful shade of forest green filling her vision, before she felt a sharp blow to her head and everything left her. She felt every single ounce of strength vanish from her body as she hit the ground, and the world around completely vanished.
As writers, we all face rejection in some form or another. I recently ran into this and had to share.
How to handle rejection like a champ.
Welcome back to another Author Spotlight. Today the light shines on Elizabeth Hurst. Here’s a word from Elizabeth:
At the ripe old age of 45, I have just quit my day job. (I know, but it’s old to me, okay?)
I have rejected the rat race, condemned the commute, escaped the establishment and forsaken the firm. In short, I am now flying by the seat of my pants into The Great Unknown.
I couldn’t have timed it better. I am scribbling this whilst lying on a towel in my garden, in the full glare of the hot sunshine. I’ve taken an hour and a half for lunch, because…well, why not? I was up at 6.30am and finished a copyediting job at around noon. No point starting the next one until tomorrow, what with Wimbledon and everything. This evening, I shall be reading and pondering the plot for my next book.
Sounds idyllic, right?
Well, it’s been a long hard slog to get here, let me tell you…
The corporate world can be a funny place. Contrary to what the film industry would have us believe, it’s not all hot gossip across the water cooler. For my part it consisted mainly of manipulating data into spreadsheets. Lots of them. Don’t get me wrong, I had some fantastic years in the automotive industry, and I am incredibly proud of some of the projects in which I was involved. However, when you start sending emails to your director (seven levels of seniority above you) about misplaced apostrophes, you have to question your motives.
For the vast majority of writers, it’s just not possible to live on the amount of money we make from the sale of books alone; most of us need to pay the bills somehow. About three years ago, I realised that my day job was not at all conducive to creative pursuits. Often, I was too tired or too stressed to even contemplate writing in the evenings, and when the weekend came around, I would find other things to do. (Yes, I am the Queen of Procrastination.)
After someone at work made a throwaway comment about me being a grammar pedant, I began to investigate what it would take to become a professional copyeditor and proofreader. If I can make enough money doing that, I thought, perhaps I can quit the day job and do that instead, thus being completely free to manage my time and, critically, get more writing done.
And, thus, EMH Editorial Services was born.
I completed my first project in early 2016, for a writer I had previously met at a conference. She was over the moon with my work. But I was desperate to gain momentum, and this was just a short story. It was great to get paid for it, but it was never going to keep me. So, I stepped up the social media presence, mentioning my new skillset to all of my writerly friends in their writerly places, and generally tried to get the word out there.
It was during this time that I started work on my latest book, A Friend In Need. It’s the first book I have written that has required serious research, so I made a big decision: I switched contracts and departments to allow me to work only four days per week, part of my grand plan to transition away from the corporate world. It meant I could use that extra day for marketing my editing business and squeeze in the odd research trip. I spent hours poring over centuries-old documents in a variety of archive offices, including the library at the Society of Friends’ House in London. Fascinating!
However, the picture-perfect thatched cottage she moves into hides a secret and is not the sanctuary she was hoping for.
Enter her dashing next-door neighbour, Lewis. Charismatic and confident, he seems to be everything Emma wants in a man and she’s very attracted to him. But after a drunken one-night stand, he turns out to be not all he seems either.
Can they each face their inner demons and, in doing so, solve the mystery of another lost soul?
Selena Thornton wants a child, but she is haunted by tragedy and clinical depression. As a result, she won’t let her husband anywhere near, however hard he tries to be close to her. A rift has opened up between them and it threatens their marriage.
Over three hundred years earlier, against a backdrop of religious oppression, another woman laments the loss of her child, missing presumed dead.
A spooky encounter causes a shift in Selena’s thinking and she begins to view the world through different eyes. Who is the little girl in the Quaker house? And why does it seem like the most important thing in the world to solve her mystery?
Siren Spirit is the first in the series, followed by A Friend In Need. Book 3 is in progress.
It’s time for another Author Spotlight! This week, the light shines on Anthony Avina. Anthony is the fusion of intense and visual-inducing horror, optimism and hopeful enthusiasm. As an indie author who has spent the last eight years creating unique and original stories that highlight the fact that both good and evil can reside in anyone or anything, the creative YA writer hopes to craft entertaining tales that take the reader into unimaginable worlds. With three successful series and a string of popular stand-alone novels and novellas, author Anthony Avina is a must watch indie author that is always working on the next great story to share with the world.
Anthony Avina’s latest novella, Freshman Hunt: A Nightmare Academy Novella, follows Francesca, an immortal teenage vampire who finds herself thrust into yet another dangerous mission from within the mysterious Nightmare Academy. This novella is a YA action/horror story with a splash of romance mixed in, and focuses on themes such as love, sexuality, what defines a monster and more.
This novella is the second in a prequel series to my hit adult series, Nightmare Wars, which is available on Amazon markets now. It is now available on Amazon Kindle formats, as well as Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo and more! Anthony Avina is currently in the process of editing his work in progress, the fourth novel in the acclaimed Nightmare Wars series, as well as the third novella in the Nightmare Academy series.
Prelude: A Brush with Death
The faintest tinge of light began to creep over the cloudy skies above Raven. It was a brisk October morning, (Halloween to be exact), and the 50 year old woman stepped out of the diner where she worked as a chef with a smile on her face. She didn’t know why she was smiling. It had been a typical night, cooking hot and greasy meals for hungry travelers and truck drivers as they drove along the coast.
Robin “Raven” Barber lived in a small apartment in Ocean Park, CA, near her favorite place in the world, Santa Monica. She’d been working at Al’s 24-hour diner for four years, although she’d spent over twenty years working as a chef. She’d spent years cooking and serving all sorts of customers, and whenever she worked these late nights, she was used to dealing with the occasional asshole who claimed their food was overcooked or not cooked enough. This night was no different, and yet she was happy.
As she breathed in the cool morning air, she thought about the day ahead of her. Although she’d lived alone for the last six years in her small apartment near the beach, (with the exception of her two cats, Carrie and Harrison), she had two beautifully grown children who were set to visit her for her birthday today. Her son, Charles Barber, was a twenty-two year old photographer living in Los Angeles, while her daughter, Alicia Barber, was a 19 year old woman working as a waitress while working her way through school, studying to become a full-time makeup artist. It had been four weeks since she’d last seen her children, and as a working single mother, her favorite days had always revolved around seeing them.
As she walked to her car, the early morning sunshine catching in her purple tinged hair, she thought of her coming day and felt a smile tug on her lips again. Raven spent most of her time working, and the rest of her time dedicated to her love of the Wiccan culture. A practicing Wiccan herself, she loved the approach to magic that the Wiccan culture taught, viewing magic as a law of nature that is not yet understood by modern science. She hoped to one day see magic materialize before her eyes, proving to herself once and for all her beliefs were valid. She could deal with the occasional naysayer who called her “eccentric” for her beliefs, but she could not tolerate her own self-doubt, and so she pursued her beliefs with a passionate zeal.
As these thoughts rushed through her mind, a chill began to run down her spine, and she began to rub the intricate patterns of her tattoo on the base of her neck, which depicted the beautiful Moon Goddess draped across the moon’s surface, watching over the world. She did this without thinking, as this was usually a habit she had whenever something stressful or bad entered her life. She shook her head and continued towards her small blue Mini Cooper.
Suddenly, a howl rose through the early morning air. Raven tensed and scanned the parking lot, which was mostly empty except for the cars of the morning shift employees who had arrived a half hour earlier. She looked around, feeling as if she were being watched, and was shocked to see a pair of red eyes staring at her from some nearby bushes. Her breath caught in her throat, and her mind screamed for her to run, but her legs wouldn’t comply. She stared in amazement and horror at the piercing red eyes, but soon the growling began to emerge from the bushes, and she knew what was about to happen.
Finally snapping out of her shocked state, Raven turned and ran to her car, pulling out her car keys as fast as she could. She heard the sharp bark of an animal behind her, followed by the scurrying feet scuttling across the gravel parking lot. Just as she reached her car, a powerful mass of muscles smashed into her back, sending her flying into her car door and her keys flying from her hands. Sharp claws dug into her back, and she tried to scream in pain, but the breath had been knocked out of her. She was sure she was going to die, and so she said one last prayer of sorts to the Moon Goddess, asking for her protection for her children now that she would no longer be there.
Before she could finish her thoughts however, another powerful shock hit the animal attacking her, and she found herself free from its death grip. She rolled over onto her back, wincing at the bloody tears in her back, and looked in terror as she watched a beautiful teenage girl tearing into a shaggy black mass. The animal in the girl’s grasp yelped in pain, and then fell silent and unmoving in the young woman’s arms. The girl dropped the animal, which looked like a giant ball of black fur, to the gravel, and looked up at Raven.
The girl’s eyes were the loveliest shade of emerald green Raven had ever seen, and her beauty was evident, but Raven looked on in horror as she saw the girl wipe a smear of black blood from her mouth, spitting out large gobs of the blood onto the ground.
“Are you ok?” the girl asked, wiping her hands and face with a cloth that she pulled out of her jean pockets.
“What….what…” Raven stammered, staring up in horror at this strange woman.
“She’s in shock,” a voice spoke up behind Raven. She turned to see the strangest sight yet, a handsome young man with skin the color of the ocean and swirling lights surrounding him.
“I can tell. She was attacked by a hellhound. This is definitely the place it’s going to happen,” the girl remarked to the man. Raven thought she detected a hint of tension between the newcomers, but the pain was becoming overwhelming and delirium threatened to slide between the cracks in her mind. She walked over to Raven and in one swift motion picked Raven up off the ground, as if she weighed nothing. “Can you fix her up Jasper?”
“Sure can, Francesca. It’ll just take a second,” the man replied. Before Raven could speak, she felt a warm and pleasant tingling sensation run down her back, and soon she felt her back was whole again. “There you go my dear, you’re injuries should be healed, as will your amazing t-shirt. I felt a strong magic in you. Are you a Wiccan by any chance?”
“I’m…yes, I’m a Wiccan. I’ve…I’ve been searching for proof of magic for years, and you’ve given it to me. Thank…thank you both for saving me.”
“You are most welcome my dear, but we must take your memories of this event. This area is going to be a dangerous place to be for the next twenty-four hours, and we can’t have anyone remembering seeing us here,” the man, (Jasper was what the girl, Francesca, called him, Raven thought to herself), replied.
“Oh please, I can’t forget this. This is what I’ve searched for. You are the answer I’ve always sought.”
“I’m sorry my dear, but you can’t remember us. However, maybe we can leave you with a little token of magic,” Jasper replied. He waved his hand in front of Raven’s face, and her mind went blank. Francesca guided the woman into her car, sitting her in the driver’s seat and putting her keys in the ignition. When she came to, Raven would only remember falling asleep in her car, and nothing more. Jasper smiled as he left a little box inside the car with Raven. Then they shut the door, and walked back into the forest near the diner, off to their adventure.
Raven woke several minutes later, and laughed as she remembered falling asleep. She shook her head, smacked her cheeks to wake herself up, and then started the car. Before she left the parking lot however, she spotted a small box sitting on her dashboard. She picked it up, and saw a note, which simply read, “Never Stop Believing, J.” She shook her head in amazement, not sure who J was, but when she opened the box, she saw a small piece of paper inside. The paper seemed to have some sort of incantation written on it, and laughing to herself, she playfully spoke the words aloud.
As she finished the incantation, a small light emerged from the box, and a miniature firework show played before Raven’s eyes. She stared in wonder as the spell played out, and she felt a tear of joy spilling down her cheek. From the woods, Francesca and Jasper watched the woman smile, and Francesca turned to Jasper with an equally big smile on her face.
“What?” Jasper asked.
“That was a wonderful thing you did for her,” Francesca remarked. She knew they had to seek shelter from the sun soon, but she wrapped her arms around Jasper and enjoyed this small moment with him. The tension between them vanished, and they found themselves lost in the moment.
“With all the horror coming our way tonight, I think we both needed that as much as she did. The smallest glimmer of hope can turn the worst of tides,” Jasper replied. She smiled, and hoped he was right. The things that they would have to face that night would be horrible indeed, and all they had going for them was hope. She only hoped that hope would be enough.
Welcome back to another Author Spotlight. This week, I’d like to introduce you to Maria Riegger.
Maria is based in the Washington, DC area. She is a banking/corporate attorney by day (but please don’t hold that against her), and a fiction author by night.
Maria is a Gemini whose head has always been in the clouds. From a young age, her mother scolded her for not paying attention; when she was bored, she would make up stories in her head. She has been writing since she was about thirteen years old. A lover of languages, she speaks French, Spanish, and Catalan.
She has been caught air-guitaring in public. She loves to laugh, and is the “go-to” person if a friend needs someone to laugh at his lame jokes. In true Gemini fashion, she indulges both her logical personality as an attorney as well as her creative fiction-writing personality. She loved law school and even misses it, which led her friends to conclude that she is certifiable.
A native of the Washington, DC area, she is a political junkie who has respect for all views and who admires the political involvement of Americans. She loves nothing more than a solid political discussion where all views are represented.
An irreverent Gen X’er, she writes gritty contemporary romance, with plenty of sarcasm.
What would you do if you met someone who defied all of your stereotypes?
Outspoken and abrasive, law student Isabel enjoys arguing with just about everyone, including her friends. It’s 2010, and her strained relationship with her mother, less-than-stellar job prospects and frustrations with the conformist political culture of Washington, DC have left her resentful and unfulfilled. Only her sisters and a few good friends are able to keep her semi-grounded. When she meets a new fellow student who dares to challenge her, she is intrigued but skeptical. While Isabel is risk-averse where her feelings are concerned, she is also becoming increasingly curious. She’s afraid to get close, because being vulnerable always lead to being hurt, doesn’t it?
Then suddenly a soft voice cut through all the chatter.
I whipped my head up, looking over my open laptop.
It was Tarek.
Jesus. I hadn’t even heard him approach.
I decided to take in the entire sight of him. Since he had addressed me directly, I finally had an excuse to take a good look at him. I decided afterward that it was kind of a mistake.
He was wearing a black T-shirt with dark jeans. His T-shirt hugged his chest, which, like his entire body, was lean and muscular. His short beard and goatee were neatly trimmed. He was certainly dark enough to be what Lara and Eric called “my type,” although I usually went for Latin men. I guessed his age to be about 28, but his eyes held an experience that made him seem more mature.
He wasn’t super-tall. I guessed that he was between 5 feet, 9 inches and 5 feet 10 inches. I
was 5’6” so I more or less did a quick comparison. His curly black hair hung in carefully
groomed, tight tiny ringlets around his face and almost down to his shoulders. He was incredibly sexy. He probably had to spend a lot of time on his hair, moussing it up, and that if he let it go it would probably be frizzy. His curls reminded me of Lara and her unruly hair, although her ringlets were more tousled and larger, and always framed her beautiful face perfectly. She was forever straightening it, but I kept telling her it looked gorgeous in ringlets, like Tarek’s curls did now. I felt myself softening a little at the thought of my sister, but I steeled my reserve and plastered a semi-scowl on my face. My scowl and general surly attitude were my defense mechanisms. After enough unpleasantness, people generally left me alone. I liked it that way.
Eric, Josh, and Dinesh were somehow building up a tolerance for it. It was starting to piss me off.
Lately, everything was pissing me off.
I had to admit, however, that I was intrigued as well as annoyed. Few people had the nerve to come and talk to me like this, with no warning.
I decided not to say anything at first. I just stared and raised my eyebrows.
He waited a good three to four seconds before he spoke. The left corner of my mouth started to go up into a smirk. Invariably, there were only two reasons a guy like this, a semi-stranger no less, would deign to talk to me. If he was going to miss class and wanted to get my notes, he was shit outta luck. And if he wanted a booty call, well, I wasn’t quite sure yet how I would handle that. Little did I know, he wasn’t going to ask me either of those things.
All’s fair in love and law school. Or is it?
Antagonistic Washington DC law student Isabel must face her unsettled past and navigate the final weeks of the semester while figuring out fellow student Tarek’s feelings for her before he slips away. Isabel’s rational mind and her emotions are at odds, but will she have the guts to see where this leads in spite of an uncertain future?
Book 3 coming soon (Title to be determined)
What do you get when you cross an East Coast Catholic Republican with a West Coast hipster atheist Democrat?
Monica, a Republican congressional candidate, who had a past affair with her Democratic opponent, Brian, must now deal with the fallout from a public scandal while navigating a razor-thin election and resolving her recurring emotional attachment to her opponent.
As oversized egos and the desire to win an election at all costs threaten the bond slowly forming between these two political opponents, they end up discovering that they may have more in common than they originally thought.
Your Scorpio Child: A Guide for Parents
Scorpio is the most misunderstood of all the signs in the zodiac. Much has been written about Scorpio men and women. However, the Scorpio child remains somewhat elusive, mostly because Scorpio children do not usually say what is on their mind. Successfully raising a Scorpio child involves mindful parenting, including being conscious of your child’s feelings, and tuning out from distractions and tuning in to the child. I hope that you find the information in this book useful.
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