Rachel Thompson

#Bargain Sand Dollar: A Story of Undying Love by Sebastian Cole @sebastiancole3

Beverly Hills Book Award winner, USA Best Book Award finalist, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award bronze winner, International Book Award finalist, ForeWord Firsts debut literary competition finalist.
The story opens with Noah Hartman, eighty years old, lying on his deathbed recounting his life of love and loss to Josh, a compassionate orderly at the hospital. As Noah’s loved ones arrive one by one, they listen in on his story, and we’re transported back in time to Noah’s younger years.
Though outwardly seeming to have it all, Noah, now thirty-five, is actually an empty, lost, and broken man running on automatic pilot. He has no true identity due to having allowed his powerful, wealthy parents to manipulate, control, and brainwash him from a young age. With the threat of disinheritance and withholding love and approval if he doesn’t comply with the plan they have for his life, Noah is lured in by the reward of great wealth and the illusion of running the family business empire some day.
Enter Robin, twenty-five years old, who — in direct contrast to Noah — is a vivacious, free spirit. Full of life and always living in the moment, Robin’s love saves Noah by inspiring him to stand up to his parents and live his own life at all costs, reclaiming his true self.
They get married, and while snorkeling in the Caribbean, the captain of the boat warns them not to disturb anything in the sea. Ignoring the exhortation, Noah dives down and snags a sand dollar from the ocean floor, whereupon it explodes in his hand. With the fragile sand dollar taking on new significance, Robin inexplicably leaves Noah shortly after returning from their honeymoon. Like a passing breeze, she disappears out of his life without a trace, seemingly forever.
Years pass, and Noah still can’t get Robin out of his mind and out of his heart. After all, the one he loved the most would forever be the one who got away. That’s when he finds out about her hidden secret, the underlying condition responsible for her leaving. Noah has no choice but to move on with his life without her, meeting Sarah at the premiere of SAND DOLLAR, the movie he wrote about his time with Robin.
Years later, it’s Noah and Sarah’s wedding day, and Robin discovers a clue that Noah had surreptitiously inserted into the movie, inspiring her to race to the wedding to try to stop it. With the wedding in shambles, the scene jumps back to present day, with both Robin and Sarah placed in Noah’s hospital room. But which one did he choose?
As Noah wraps up his story, he discovers a far greater truth about the past, present, and future. Things are definitely not as they appear as the pieces of a shattered love are put back together in the remarkable final chapter of Noah’s life.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG 13
More details about the author
Connect with Sebastian Cole on Facebook & Twitter

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS
Read Comments

Secret Words (Secret Dreams Book 1) by Miranda P. Charles @MirandaPCharles

Secret Words

Love touched the core of their heart unexpectedly

But how do they fight those who believe they weren’t meant to be?

When Jasmine Allen met Kane Summers in the unlikeliest of places, she wasn’t expecting the swift and immediate attraction she felt for him. But Jasmine had a secret she wasn’t at all comfortable sharing with anyone, least of all, the hunky guy who was literally sweeping her off her feet.

Kane Summers was a sucker for damsels in distress. When he found himself wanting to protect Jasmine Allen in more ways than one, the instant chemistry they had for each other hit him squarely in the chest. But Kane’s life was complicated, and he wasn’t totally free to act on the fascination he felt for her.

Kane and Jasmine were fighting a losing battle to stay away from each other. But circumstances – and certain people – beyond their control were very much intent on keeping them apart.

How could they find their way past secrets and malicious intents to nurture a love that, if given the chance, could last a lifetime?

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Contemporary Romance

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with Miranda P. Charles on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://mirandapcharles.com/

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS
Read Comments

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik


Jez listened to his heart pound as he made his way to the militarized airplane. The propellers of the Lisunov Li-2T whumped as they waited patiently for heavier work, but patience wasn’t a condition he suffered from. The blood had raced through his veins non-stop since he’d been reassigned.

Only a handful of passengers crossed the airstrip; and boarding the right-hand side of the aircraft revealed why: cargo took up ten of the twenty seats. Probably it was munitions for the KKE, or Soviet personnel. He found an empty window seat behind the wing, stowed his kitbag and sat.

A regular army captain flustered along the aisle and bundled awkwardly into the seat next to him. He was a short, thickset man with a kindly, but weathered face.

“Ah, the uniform, you’re with Spetsnaz.”

“Yes, sir.”

“You’re very young. Are you new to the group?”

“Yes, I am, sir.”

Conversation over, the captain nodded, settled his briefcase onto his lap and busied himself with its contents. He hummed so tunelessly that Jez reckoned the composer would have trouble recognizing it.

Not long after the last passenger had boarded, the beat of the aircraft’s engines increased and the vehicle started to move slowly, turned a quarter circle, stopped and then turned a bit more before beginning its journey up the runway. Jez tingled as he felt the bulk of the machine try to get airborne. Several times it lifted from the blacktop only to bounce back to earth and waft small clouds of blue smoke from the tires.

Jez kept vigil out of the window until the plane had enough power to keep the wheels in the air. He knew that this, his first flight, would be the most exciting of all flights. The drone of the engines increased. The plane rose up to the clouds, reached its desired height and changed the angle of elevation towards horizontal. They hit turbulence and the passengers bounced fiercely in their seats.

“Is this the start of a long tour of duty, Private?” the captain asked.

“The truth is, sir, I don’t know.” Even if he had, he wouldn’t have been willing to discuss his remit.

The captain seemed to sense what Jez thought of the question, smiled graciously and returned his attention to the briefcase. The aircraft rode through every available air pocket and Jez enjoyed each twist and turn, until at last they arrived at the KKE landing strip.

In 1948, with two-thirds of the country in communist hands, coming down in a safe region wasn’t difficult. This strip was north of the Balkan Peninsula in a southern area of Macedonia. Historically, the Greek right-wing conservatives had used tyranny to subjugate the Macedonians, which made for an easy alliance with the KKE.

Jez was last off the plane, because the captain took forever to repack his case. When he did leave his seat, another officer rushed by and Jez was held up further. By the time he reached the bottom of the gangway, his travel companion had met his contact and most of the other passengers had left the strip. Workers were unloading the cargo from a rear hatch, and beyond that a young KKE soldier stood by a UAZ-469 Soviet jeep.

The soldier looked too young to be there. His long unkempt hair hung straight, stuck untidily out from under a weather-beaten beret. His features typically Greek, his dusty olive uniform was an exact match for the color of his skin; and his large brown eyes, should he live long enough, would draw the girls like flies to sugar.

He held out a hand to halt Jez. “You Kornfeld?” he asked.

“Yes, I’m Private Kornfeld.”

The boy remained solemn-faced and nodded towards the jeep.

“Good luck, Private,” the captain bid, as he and his associate passed. “I hope the ride you have here is not as bumpy as the one we’ve just shared.”

“Thank you, sir.” Jez forced a friendly grin, but found the lackluster in the KKE boy’s gaze had unnerved him. A face without expression and eyes without life. Jez wondered what lay ahead.

The young soldier crunched into gear and pulled away at breakneck speed, while Jez jerked backwards as they flew from the dirt runway. The jeep formed a sand cloud that trailed their movements. After fifteen minutes of dusty roads they reached mountainous ground, and Jez hung on as the jeep danced over the rough terrain. Rocks jutted dangerously from the track or the road hung precariously over precipices, and he bit his lower lip at the boy’s avant-garde attitude to driving.

“You must have seen a lot of action here?” he said, and hoped he hadn’t interfered with the boy’s concentration.

He looked only around fourteen, but his character seemed a lifetime older. His eyes left the road to give Jez a cursory glance. In the meantime, the jeep took the twists and curves as if on automatic pilot. “No Russian speak,” he replied, and without a line of expression he returned focus to the job.

Jez wished Anna had been by his side. He was sure she’d have something to say about the boy’s erratic driving and stone-faced comments. Whatever, he concluded a great friendship wasn’t about to be forged with his Greek driver, and he turned his attention to the elevations around them. The journey took them south, nearer enemy territory, and finally to an open stockade in a dustbowl nestled at the foot of a line of low-rise mountains.

The jeep raced to the center of the compound, the wheels locked up and they skidded to an emergency stop. The dust cloud didn’t follow suit and Jez learned what it was to be enveloped by a sandstorm. The powdered dirt settled, and without a word the young Greek soldier shut off the engine, nodded and left. Jez threw his kitbag over his shoulder and turned full circle in the hope there might be someone more companionable.

Soviet soldiers had gathered in a group near a cluster of tents and a sergeant held center stage. “Excuse me, if you’re Sergeant Viktor Sharansky,” Jez said, breaking the loop, “I believe you’re expecting me. I’m Private Kornfeld.”

The sergeant looked him over derisively. “What’s this? Now they send me little boys to take care of in the middle of a war. Maybe I should stick a broom up my ass and sweep up as I go, because I’m not doing enough already. What say you – err – Private Kooornfeld?” He stretched the name sarcastically, and the others laughed.

Around forty years old, Sharansky was medium to tall with square shoulders that tapered to slim hips. Muscles fought to burst the confines of his short-sleeved combat shirt, and he looked every centimeter the definition of a boyhood hero. A cubed head with rough features on the front of it, creases that denoted laughter and eyes displaying a cheeky twinkle – Jez wasn’t put off by his words.

“You’ll find I’m able to look after myself, Sergeant. I’ll give you no cause for concern.”

The sergeant laughed. “Don’t let that distress you, little one, I have no intention of offering any such thing. What happens to you is down to you. What’s your first name? I’m not giving you Private Kooornfeld every time I’m ordering you around.”

“My name is Jez, Sergeant.”

“Right, Jez Sergeant, I’m busy. Find somewhere for your kit and we’ll see what we can do with you later.”

Birth of an Assassin

Set against the backdrop of Soviet, post-war Russia, Birth of an Assassin follows the transformation of Jez Kornfeld from wide-eyed recruit to avenging outlaw. Amidst a murky underworld of flesh-trafficking, prostitution and institutionalized corruption, the elite Jewish soldier is thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems, nobody can be trusted, and everything can be violently torn from him.

Buy Now @ Amazon, B&N, Kobo & Waterstones

Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://rik-stone.simdif.com

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS
Read Comments

Gringa – A Love Story (Complete Series books 1-4) by Eve Rabi @EveRabi1



I was twenty-one, a sassy college student who took crap from no one. While holidaying in Mexico, I was accosted by The Devil of Mexico called Diablo and shot, because the s.o.b. mistook me for a spy.
I survived, only to encounter him again months later. How’s that for luck?
Furious and sick of all that I’d been through because of him, I slapped him, told him to go to hell and braced myself for the bullet. He could shoot me – I no longer cared.
But, to my surprise, he became fascinated with me and blackmailed me into becoming his woman. He’d slay the entire village that sheltered me, if I rejected his proposal.
He was Kong, hairy, tattooed from fingertips to face, with scary ass piercings, blood-shot snake eyes, a ruthless killer and above all, he was my murderer – how could anyone expect me to say yes?
To save the village I had to.
He took me by force, terrorized me into submission and made me his. To make matters worse, I had to put up with his ruthless, backstabbing family who hated me and wanted to kill me.
I despised the bastard and I told him that. Spark flew. Fists too.
But, the more I rejected Diablo, the more he wanted me.
At times he wanted to kill me because of my insolence, but other times he just wanted me to love him.
I was his Gringa and in an attempt to get my love, he began to change for me. Drastic changes that made me laugh at him at first, then made me curious.
As the days went by, I found myself drawn to him and I began seeing him differently. When I found out about his past, everything changed.



He grabs me by the scruff of my neck and drags me out of the room to the lunch table.

‘Leave me the fuck alone!’

He shoves me into the dining room. It’s Saturday so that entire gang is there, in the mood to party and to be entertained. Watching Diablo drag me to the table gets them excited.

Humiliated and seething, I sit down and drum my nails on the table. I don’t eat or look at him.

‘Eat!’ he orders.

I ignore him and drum louder, furiously.

A man named Norman, seated next to me, leans over and says, ‘Señorita gringa want Whisky?

‘Yes please, Norman.’

Norman pours the whisky and places the glass in front of me.

‘Thank you Norman,’ I say, bypassing the glass and reaching for the bottle.

Norman’s eyes grow huge when he sees me taking giant swigs from the bottle.

It’s awful. I hate whisky. Tastes like gasoline to me.

‘Damn!’ I say, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand. ‘This sure is mighty fine whisky, Norman.’

‘Eh, Señorita gringa, my name …’

‘Lemme pour you one, Norman.’ I top his glass to the brim and hand it to him. ‘Knock yourself out,’ I chuckle.

Diablo’s not smiling.

Yeah, I’m supposed to be nice to him now that the FBI is involved. Well, fuck the FBI and Fuck him.

As lunch progresses, I’m feeling a little more relaxed now. Warm in my toes and even a little confident. Well, they’re eating lunch and I’m drinking mine – whisky, Tequila and some other shit on the table.

After a few more swigs from the bottles, I cross my arms over my head and whistle Hit me Baby One More Time by Brittany bitch. Totally out of tune, but hey, who gives a fuck right now.

Diablo’s hairy face reveals little, but somehow I don’t think he’s comfortable with my drinking. Hell, I’m not comfortable with my drinking, but screw him.

They’re passing around pictures. Pornographic pictures and the conversation becomes steamy.

Usually, I pass on the pictures, but today, I snatch them out of Norman’s hand. ‘Lemme see that!’

I peer at the picture then burst out laughing. ‘That’s the fugliest flower I have ever come across,’ I say.

‘Eh, Señorita gringa, iiis not a flower, iiis a, how you say it…?’ He snaps his fingers.

‘Vagina,’ some other fucker calls out.

I peer at him. ‘What?!’ I snatch it out of his hands again. ‘Gimmee that.’ I stare at the picture. ‘Mm. Can’t be a woman’s vagina. It’s too fugly. Has to be a man’s.’ I hand him back the picture and go back to my neglected bottle.

‘So many Gringas,’ Antonio says, perving over the pictures. At the mention of the word ‘Gringa’, all eyes zero in on me.

Am I embarrassed? Hell no!

‘Hey, don’t look at me,’ I say and down another Tequila, whisky – whatever – I’ve lost track of what I’m drinking. ‘I don’t roll that way. Why don’t you ask the fugly asshole at the end of the table?’

There is a collective gasp in the room and all eyes dart towards Diablo, including mine. Now he’s gonna be really pissed. Great.

But his amused response in Spanish brings on some guffawing.

‘What? What did he say, Norman?’

Norman is pissed enough to explain. ‘Diablo say, is like a fucking a Colchón sometimes. He say, is a big let down. And, Señorita Gringa, and my name is not …’

Colchón … mattress? He said that, did he?’ I let out a long, low whistle. ‘Well Norm, what the hell does he know, huh?’

I smile at Norman. ‘Can I call you “Norm?” I don’t wait for him to answer. ‘He don’t know jack. Foreplay – hell, he probably thinks it’s some kind of sugar-free chewing gum or something to do with his car’s steering wheel. Huh, Norm?’

‘But Señorita gringa, my name is not Norm, it is not Norman, it is Lucas.’

I stare at him for so long, he starts to flinch. ‘Lucas?’

He nods.

‘Why didn’t you say something, Norm? Okay, I’ll call you Lucas from now on, Norm.’

‘Eh …’

Santana almost falls off her chair laughing.

I look at Norm. ‘Now Norm,’ I point to Santana, ‘she’s probably laughing at what I said. Or she’s laughing at what the fuckwit at the end of the table said about me – the mattress – whatever shit …but, you ever seen a donkey laugh, Norm?

‘No, Señorita gringa. But my name …’

‘Never? Well, it’s your lucky day, Norm, cos you’ve seen it now.’ I jerk my head towards Santana.

Well, that magically erases the smile of donkey’s face.

‘You biiitch!’ Santana screeches. ‘I fargin’ kiiill you!’

I smile and raise my bottle at her. ‘Take a “fargin” number and get in “fargin” line.’

Troy comes up to me. ‘Gringa,’ he whispers, ‘come, let me take you to bed so you can sleep it … ’

My eyebrows shoot up. ‘Take me to bed? Are you better in bed than your brother? Christ, I hope so, Troy!’

Troy turns scarlet and shrinks back, all the while glancing nervously at Diablo.

Diablo looks at everyone around him falling out of their chairs with laughter and his breathing becomes like that of an emphysema patient – raspy and labored.

‘He really is lousy in bed Troy. And you know what? I don’t like him. He’s hairy and yuuuuck! He won’t let me visit my … ’

Diablo slams his fist onto the table, rattling the table and animating plates, cutlery, glasses.

‘Fuck! Look what you did Satan – you nearly made me spill my …’ I jerk back and peer at the label on the bottle in my hand. ‘What the fuck is this shit? Anyhoo, you’ve made me lose count of how many drinks I had. Have to start all over again. In case I have to drive.’

Diablo suddenly whips out his knife and flings it ninja-style at me. I duck and it hits the wooden beam behind me.

‘Ooooh!’ I cry shaking both my hands mockingly. ‘I’m in trooouble now! Biiiiga trooouble.’

‘Go gringa, go!’ some of the men cheer.

‘Whoookay!’ I say.

Diago stands up.

I stand up too and look him in the eye, my eyebrows disappearing behind my spiky fringe.

Breathing heavily, he creeps slowly to me, but I’m ready for him. I kick back my chair and sidle around, using the table as a barrier between us.

‘Watch him move, like a … eh, what you say for walrus in Spanish?’

The men laugh harder. Even Christa laughs.

‘You will farkin’ die!’ Diablo roars.

‘And who’s gonna farkin kill me, huh?’ I ask, dancing on the spot. ‘You?’ I throw my head back and laugh.

More laughter around me.

Diablo runs to his knife, grabs it off the beam and runs towards me.

But I’m already out of the villa and racing towards the cliff.

‘I’m going to kiiiill you!’ he yells as he chases me.

‘Fuck you, motherfucker!’ I scream over my shoulder and sprint ahead. I don’t care if he kills me, I just don’t want to be assaulted by him. He’s super strong and I stand no chance against him if he does. I’ve never seen him run before and I’m hoping he’s out of shape and slow. Well, the big lunch should make him sluggish.

But to my dismay, I can actually hear his breathing. I’m surprised at my slowness. Must be something to do with the booze. I have to admit, I didn’t realize how drunk I was until I started running. Too late now.

I run up the hill and through the dense foliage, passing startled villagers tending the cannabis crops. They stop and stare when they see Diablo chasing a gringa with a knife in his hand. Behind Diablo are his men, some on horseback and some on foot, not wanting to miss the moment Diablo finally kills the insolent Gringa.

‘Go, gringa go!’ I hear.

I run faster than I ever did in my life.

‘You will die!’ Diablo threatens behind me, still brandishing the knife. His breathing is getting louder and I know I have to do something.

The rock pool! I know for sure that Diablo is no match for me in the water. Very few people are. I head for the pool.

Changing route confuses Diablo and for a few moments, the gap between us increases, allowing me some respite.

I’m desperate to reach the rock pool so that I can shake the enraged animal behind me.

But to my dismay and my surprise, he catches me.

‘Let go of me, you fucking freak!’
Link to Gringa:



Where to find Eve Rabi online


Website: http://everabi.wordpress.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/eve.rabi

Blog: http://everabi.wordpress.com/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/everabiauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EveRabi1


Deception – A Palace Full of Liars – Book 1

Deception – A Palace Full of Liars – Book 2

Burn’s World – Book 1

Burn’s World – Book 2

Burn’s World – Book 3

Burn’s World – Book 4

CAPTURED – My Sworn Enemy, My Secret Lover – Book 1

CAPTURED – My Sworn Enemy, My Secret Lover – Book 2

Gringa – A Love Story Book 1

Gringa – A Love Story Book 2

Gringa – A Love Story Book 3

Gringa – A Love Story Book 4

THE CHEAT – A Tale of Lies and Infidelity – Book 1

THE CHEAT – A Tale of Lies and Infidelity – Book 2

You Will Pay – For Leaving Me (This book is free to Eve Rabi Fans)

Obsessed with me –Book 1

Obsessed with me –Book 2

Betrayed – He’d get his Girl at Any Cost

My Brother, My Rival (Book 1)

My Brother, My Rival (Book 2)

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS
Read Comments

Indiestructible: Inspiring Stories from the Publishing Jungle @MsBessieBell

Tackling the Time Factor

by Jessica Bell

The biggest problem I had with deciding to go indie was the time factor.

With a stressful full-time job as a project manager for the Academic Research & Development department at Education First, it was difficult for me to see how I could possibly work, write, blog, edit, publish, market, run a literary journal, direct a writer’s retreat, and live my life all at once. It doesn’t help that I’m a bit of a stickler. I like to get everything done myself because I have a hard time waiting on others to do things I know I can get done more quickly and efficiently. I outsource if I really have to, but I do enjoy doing the work, such as designing covers, learning new skills and navigating social media. So when I say, DIY, I really mean DIY. Where on Earth, I wondered, would I find the time to be an editor for an educational publisher and literary magazine, an author, a typesetter, a designer, and a marketer? And what about walking the dog? Making dinner? Sleeping? (Forget the laundry. I have months of unfolded washed clothes in a heap on the couch that will soon need to go straight back into the machine from the dog rubbing herself all over them.)

The time factor is a logical fear. But once I finally made the decision to do this on my own, I realized that it wasn’t as daunting as it seemed. Do you know how much more you actually get done when you think something is impossible?

I don’t want to tell you how to schedule your day, but I’m going to give you a run down on how to approach this time management malarkey mentally. The key for me is not to focus on one thing all day. When you do this, you burn out. Your brain starts to lag from the monotony of the same information. You need to mix it up. If you mix it up, you get more done, because your mind is consistently stimulated with fresh information.

Let’s start with the actual writing of your books. Because this is what it all boils down to, yes? But first, I have to say, everyone is different. Everyone writes at different speeds, deals with stress in different ways, has different expectations of themselves. So you need to figure out what you want and works for you.

1. Stop thinking about what other people will think of your work. And write honestly. The first version of my debut novel was written for an audience. It was rejected again and again—for five years. And then, I found a small press who saw something in me and made an effort to get to know me. (Unfortunately that publisher liquidated only six months after its release, but that’s another story which you can read about here.) The publisher said my book was good, but that it felt like she was watching the characters through a window. She said: “Go deeper.” So I dug deeper and dragged the truth from my heart and soul. A truth I was afraid to admit was there. But it resulted in an honest book—a book I didn’t know I had in me. And one I hope women will be able to relate to. It’s glory-less, but real. And real steals hearts. What does this have to do with time management you ask? A lot. When you believe in your work, when you love your work, the words get written faster.

2. Focus on one paragraph at a time. I will never forget Anne Lamott’s advice from Bird by Bird (most accessible and nonsense-less book on writing I’ve ever read): write what you can see through a one-inch frame.

The reason I say this, is because knowing how much you have to revise can sometimes be daunting and overwhelming, and you might try to get through as much as possible and forget to focus your attention on the quality of your work. If you make each paragraph the best it can be before you move on, you won’t have to do any major rewrites (unless there’s a snag in your plot that you’ve overlooked and it’s related to a pertinent turning point). I’m talking revision here, not first draft.

3. Divide your writing time into short bursts. I find that if I give myself only one hour to write every morning before work, sometimes even shorter periods of time (especially when I accidentally sleep in), I’m forced to come up with things I wouldn’t normally think of.

The brain works in mysterious ways when it’s under pressure, and sometimes a little self-inflicted pressure can push you to great heights. Can you believe I wrote the first draft of The Book over a three-day long weekend? I did this because I experimented with the self-inflicted pressure idea. It worked. But be careful not to expect too much from yourself. There is nothing worse than becoming unmotivated due to not reaching personal goals. Which brings me to my fourth point ...

4. To start with, set your goals low. Set goals you know for a fact you can reach. If you set them too high, and continuously fail to meet them, you are going to feel really bad about yourself. This may result in neglecting your goals altogether. I know this from personal experience. If you later realize that you are meeting your goals with ease, gradually make them more challenging. But I strongly urge you to start small. It’s better for you, psychologically, to meet easy goals, than to struggle meeting difficult goals. Not achieving goals is a major hazard for self-esteem, motivation, and creativity.

So what about the rest?

Let’s see. These are the things I continuously have on the go that are not part of my day job or writing books, and I still find time to walk the dog and make dinner (sorry, the washing is still on the couch):

—Vine Leaves Literary Journal (reading submissions, sending rejection/acceptance letters, designing the magazine, promoting the magazine)

Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop (organizing the event and handling finances)

Typesetting, designing, and marketing my books (which includes, what seems, a never-ending thread of guest posts and interviews)

Blogging (including keeping up to speed with my weekly guest feature, The Artist Unleashed)

Maintaining my online presence (Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.)

I do all this stuff on top of the day job. On top of my writing. Because I do it all in scheduled, short bursts. I get up early to make sure I have one hour to write and one hour to do something else from the list above. I pick and choose depending on priority. During my lunch break, I blog and spend about half an hour to an hour (depends on how long I can take from work) on social media. After work, I walk the dog, make dinner, maybe go to yoga. Once that’s done, I’ll spend another hour or so doing something else from the list above. Then I have a shower, relax in front of the TV, or do something else away from the computer before I go to bed. Then in bed, I’ll read a chapter or two of the book on my bedside table. Reading to me is relaxing and not a chore.

So what have I accomplished in this average day of mine?

Here’s an example:

My job (at least 7 hours worth)

500-1000 words on my WIP

I read 30 Vine Leaves submissions and sent a few responses, maybe even set up a classified ad on NewPages.com.

I wrote/scheduled a blog post, commented on other blogs.

I connected with everyone I wanted to online. I may have worked on my latest book cover for a bit.

I made dinner.

I walked the dog.

I relaxed.

Look ... I’ll deal with those clothes tomorrow, okay?

I know people with kids who have just as much, and more, on their plate, and they’re still finding the time to self-publish. You can too.

My point is, it can all be done. And it doesn’t have to freak you out, or overwhelm you. Just pace yourself. And if you don’t have a full-time job like me, imagine how much more you can get done.

Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

Nothing is impossible if you truly want it.

Nothing is impossible. Full stop.


If Jessica Bell could choose only one creative mentor, she’d give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. This is not only because she currently resides in Athens, Greece, but because of her life as a thirty-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, whose literary inspiration often stems from songs she’s written.

In addition to her novels, poetry collections, (one of which was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2012), and her Writing in a Nutshell series, she has published a variety of works in online and print literary journals and anthologies, including Australia’s Cordite Review, and the anthologies 100 STORIES FOR QUEENSLAND and FROM STAGE DOOR SHADOWS, both released through Australia’s, eMergent Publishing.

Jessica is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and annually runs the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca. She makes a living as a writer/editor for English Language Teaching Publishers worldwide, such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, MacMillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

Keep an eye out for her forthcoming novel, BITTER LIKE ORANGE PEEL, slated for release, November 1, 2013.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre –  Non-fiction

Rating – G

More details about the author

Connect with Jessica Bell on FacebookTwitter

Blog http://thealliterativeallomorph.blogspot.com/

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS
Read Comments

#AmReading - Poison Me by Cami Checketts @camichecketts

Poison Me by Cami Checketts


Can they catch a killer that no one believes is real?

Jake Merrill was raised by his grandmother, Ruby, and her hilarious friends. After a suspicious death at the retirement home where Ruby lives, she enlists Jake and Chanel, the beautiful activities director, to help her find the killer.

Secrets Ruby has kept for decades threaten her family and the man she's always loved, but could never have. Chanel's unstable ex-boyfriend, a presumably dead relative, and vicious criminals add to the confusion. Time is running out as Jake, Chanel, and Ruby desperately search for clues to solve the murders and fight to save those they love.
"Poison Me made me laugh out loud and thoroughly enjoy myself. I wish I had a friend like Ruby! Snappy dialogue, romance, and a strong sense of family made this book well worth reading."
Rachel Ann Nunes, bestselling author of Line of Fire and Before I Say Goodbye

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS
Read Comments

Breathing for Two by Wolf Pascoe @WolfPascoe




IN the freshman year of my anesthesia residency, I was given a lesson in breathing by a patient whom I’ll call Otto. Anesthesia residencies come replete with breathing lessons, but Otto was also teaching humility that day, a subject absent from the formal anesthesia curriculum.

A doctor gets humility not from curricula but from his patients. I acquired a truckload of humility the day I met Otto, and the truck has only gotten larger since.

Otto was undergoing a cystoscopy, a look inside the bladder performed by passing a thin viewing scope through the urethra. There is no incision in such a procedure.

Generally, you don’t need anything fancy to support a patient’s breathing while giving anesthesia during a cystoscopy. As the patient passes from wakefulness into unconsciousness you can let him continue to breathe for himself.

In Otto’s case, I strapped a rubber anesthesia mask over his mouth and nose to make an airtight seal against his skin, and delivered through the mask an appropriate combination of oxygen and anesthetic gas. In principle, what I did was essentially what the Boston dentist, William Thomas Green Morton, had done during the first public demonstration of ether anesthesia in 1846.

The modern anesthesia face mask is a hollow cone of rubber or plastic. It’s like the oxygen mask that drops down from above a passenger’s head on an airplane, though it’s more substantially built. The base is malleable and cushioned by a ring of air, a sort of inner tube. The mask is shaped to fit around the nose and mouth; with a bit of pressure, it seals against the skin. The top of the mask connects to a source of anesthetic vapor and oxygen.

Readers of a certain age may remember the TV series, Marcus Welby, M.D., which began each week with Dr. Welby lowering a black anesthesia mask down over the camera lens. In those days, apparently, the family doctor did everything.

The anesthesia machine—the “cascade of glass columns, porcelain knobs and metal conduits” I described previously—is the gas delivery system. The machine connects to an oxygen tank and directs the flow of oxygen from the tank through a vaporizer where the oxygen mixes with anesthesia gas. The mixture passes out of the machine through plastic tubing (“anesthesia hose”) that connects to the face mask.

The patient breathes the mixture.

Gas leaving the anesthesia machine actually flows through the anesthesia tubing in a circle—in fact it’s called the circle system. One limb of the circle travels from the machine to the anesthesia mask, where the patient inhales it. The other limb, carrying exhaled gas, travels from the mask back to the machine, where excess carbon dioxide from the patient is filtered out. The filtered gas is mixed with fresh gas and travels back to the patient.

The same gases, minus the carbon dioxide, keep going round and round. The system is airtight, except for a pop-off valve that relieves excess pressure.

Otto was a large man with a thickly muscled neck, but by extending his head I could keep his airway clear, allowing him to continue breathing while the urologist worked. Instead of using an anesthesia mask to deliver my mix of gases, I could have assured Otto’s airway by using an endotracheal tube. This is a long breathing tube (about a centimeter in diameter) inserted through the mouth all the way into the trachea.

But getting an endotracheal tube in isn’t always easy, and it’s usually not necessary during a cystoscopy. Most often an anesthesia mask will do.

One side effect of anesthesia is the loss of normal muscle tone. This happened to Otto. A few minutes into the case, his flaccid tongue fell back in his throat. His diaphragm continued to contract, but air couldn’t get through to the lungs—his airway was obstructed. Otto was, of course, completely unconscious at this point.

Everyone loses some muscle tone during sleep—this is the cause of snoring, and of the more serious condition of sleep apnea. But the loss of tone is even greater under anesthesia, and the anesthetized patient cannot rouse herself to find a better breathing position.

I managed the problem by putting a short plastic tube called an airway into Otto’s mouth. The airway depressed the tongue and cleared a passage for air. It wasn’t as good as an endotracheal tube, which would have extended all the way into Otto’s trachea, but it seemed to do the trick.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Non-fiction / Memoir

Rating – G

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Wolf Pascoe on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://wolfpascoe.com

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS
Read Comments

#AmReading - An Affair of Deceit by Jamie Michele @jamiemichelebks

An Affair of Deceit by Jamie Michele


A father’s sins. A daughter’s loyalty. A lover’s protection.

When a charming CIA agent shows up on her doorstep, lawyer Abigail Mason finds herself drawn into the search for a man she had written off long before--her estranged father. Her father’s caught in the agency’s crosshairs, and she’ll do all that she can to figure out just what he’s done.

Agent James Riley knew that the stubborn, tough-as-nails attorney would be a thorn in his side, but he never guessed that he’d feel an undeniable attraction to her. To keep Abigail from stumbling alone into a web of international espionage and danger, he’ll need to bring her into his search and keep her close. But when a madman singles her out as the one who should pay for her father’s sins, Riley will do all he can to protect the woman who’s claimed her heart.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS
Read Comments

The Howling Heart by April Bostic

* * * *

Three days after my father’s funeral, I landed at the airport in Denver. I rented a Jeep Wrangler, because I needed a four-wheel-drive vehicle to get up the mountain. The July weather was mild, so I wore khaki shorts, a plain white tee, and beige Vans sneakers.

One of the odd things about finding our cabin was you had to find the nearby town first. I remembered we got lost during our vacation, which caused an argument between my parents. Finding the road that led to the town was tricky, because there was only one accessible by vehicle, and there was no road sign. My father knew how to get there, because the person who sold him the cabin gave him a landmark. Luckily, he passed that information onto me during one of our conversations. Once you found the road, the town was so small that if you blinked, you’d drive right by it. When my mother said it was remote, she wasn’t being facetious.

I drove on the interstate for over an hour before I realized I missed my turn. I had to find a tree shaped like a wishbone—it was struck by lightning — but all the trees looked alike to me. It took another half-hour for me to turn around and make another attempt.

I found my landmark, but a tangle of fallen branches blocked the entrance. My hands gripped the steering wheel. I knew I was in for a bumpy ride. I floored the accelerator, and the Jeep broke through the roadblock. The road was narrow, and the terrain was rough. Whoever constructed it didn’t want people to travel on it. I screamed when tree branches appeared out of nowhere and banged against the windshield. The forest surrounded me on both sides, and I wondered if I’d ever reach the town.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Paranormal Romance

Rating – Adult

More details about the author & the book

Connect with April Bostic on Goodreads

Website http://www.aprilbostic.com/

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS
Read Comments

The Secret of the Sacred Scarab by Fiona Ingram @FionaRobyn

A 5000-year-old mystery comes to life when a scruffy peddler gives Adam and Justin Sinclair an old Egyptian scarab on their very first day in Egypt. Only when the evil Dr. Faisal Khalid shows a particular interest in the cousins and their scarab, do the boys realise they are in terrible danger. Dr. Khalid wants the relic at all costs.
Justin and Adam embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, taking them down the Nile and across the harsh desert in their search for the legendary tomb of the Scarab King, an ancient Egyptian ruler. They are plunged into a whirlpool of hazardous and mysterious events when Dr. Khalid kidnaps them. They survive terrifying dangers in a hostile environment (such as a giant cobra and sinking sand), pursued by enemies in their quest to solve the secret of the sacred scarab. They must translate the hieroglyphic clues on the underside of the scarab, as well as rescue the missing archaeologist James Kinnaird, and their friend, the Egyptologist Ebrahim Faza, before time runs out. They must also learn more about the ancient Seven Stones of Power and the mysterious Shemsu-Hor.
With just their wits, courage, and each other, the boys manage to survive … only to find that the end of one journey is the beginning of another!
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Juvenile Fiction
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Fiona Ingram on Facebook 1Facebook 2 & Twitter

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS
Read Comments

Joyfully Yours by Amy Lamont @Amy_Lamont

Chapter One

Faith Leary had kicked off the holiday season the same way every year since she’d reached adulthood—standing in the express checkout line at Carlucci’s Market the day before Thanksgiving. 'Cause nothing said “Happy Holidays” better than a dented can of cranberry sauce. 

Though this year was a little different. She’d made a major score. Only one of the two cans of cranberry sauce she held was dented. Her mother would have only half as much to complain about. 

And speaking of things to complain about…she tapped out a sharp beat with her toe on the dingy linoleum floor. She stretched up onto her toes and leaned sideways in an attempt to see around the man in front of her. The customer at the register pulled out a wad of coupons and Faith bit back a groan. With a quick huff to blow the fringe of bangs out of her eyes, she shuffled both cans of cranberry sauce into one hand and dug into her over-sized bag with the other. She stirred through the debris living in the bottom of her purse until her fingers wrapped around her phone. 

The line didn’t move an inch. 

Faith checked the time. 2:10. She’d promised Mrs. Marshall she’d arrive no later than 2:30. If she didn’t make it, she’d have to wait until after the Thanksgiving weekend to get paid for walking Mrs. Marshall’s ancient Lhasa Apsos. She had a few bills to pay, and in another week her rent was due. Her negative bank balance meant she couldn’t afford to hold off on getting her paycheck. 

That’s what you get for waiting until the day before Thanksgiving to buy cranberry sauce. Honestly, Faith. She cringed and almost turned to see if her mother stood behind her in the grocery line. She stopped at the last minute. That voice was all in her head. 

Decisions, decisions.  Stay in line and miss any chance of making rent on time this month or put down her only contribution to Thanksgiving dinner and risk her mother’s anger? Eviction was the worst that could happen if she paid her rent late. And that was a lengthy process. Her landlord worked with her in the past. Maybe he’d do it again. 

There would be no working things out with her mother. For the rest of her life she’d hear about the Thanksgiving she’d completely ruined by waiting until the last minute to get cranberries. Sighing again, Faith dialed Mrs. Marshall and told her she wouldn’t make it. 

Faith checked her phone again when she reached the head of the checkout line. 2:20. Was it possible only fifteen minutes passed? 

“That’s $3.58,” the cashier said around a huge gob of gum. 

Faith once again plumbed the depths of her bag, this time in search of her wallet. Opening it, she found two crumpled dollar bills. Wasn’t there a five in there yesterday?

Oh, wait. She gave it to the bartender when she bought a Coke at the place her band played last night. What remained in her wallet was the change he gave her. She offered the cashier a weak smile as she dived back into her bag. Surely she’d stuck a few singles in a pocket here or there. 

Dragging her fingers across the crumb-coated bottom, they closed around some change. Snatching it up, she counted out seventy-two cents. 

She squinted at the price glowing green on top of the cash register, mentally cursing any store for having a cash only line in this day and age. “How much is it again?” 

“$3.58,” the cashier repeated in a bored tone. 

Faith went in once more, this time coming up empty-handed. She pulled items out, piling her sunglasses, lip gloss, tissues, and a half-eaten Hershey bar on the conveyor belt. The toe of the man in line behind her started tapping and she ground her back teeth together. 

“Let me get that for you.” 

Faith turned toward the end of the checkout lane.  A pair of sky blue eyes met hers, their color enhanced by the dark hair dipping over his forehead. He offered her a friendly grin and her lips curled in response. Her gaze drifted down, admiring his strong jaw and then roaming even lower…locking on the spot under his chin. 

She blinked once, then again. The vision in front of her didn’t change. His black shirt and white tab collar were still there. 

Holy crap. How fast does a person get sent to hell for checking out a priest?

Faith turned back to the cashier and forced down all thoughts of what she had almost done. She had absolutely not been about to start batting her eyelashes at a priest. Nope, not her. 

At least there was one good thing about all this—with a priest bearing witness to this whole mess, the people behind her would probably refrain from showering her with stinging insults and settle for dirty looks. 

Faith dug in her purse again, avoiding eye contact with the priest. “Thanks, but it’s okay. I’m sure I have–” 

“Lady,” the man waiting in line behind her said, “take the money so the rest of us have a chance to make it home before Thanksgiving.” 

Faith’s shoulders dropped and she turned to the priest. “I can pay you back.” 

“Don’t worry about it. Consider it my good deed for the day.” He flashed another grin that made her want to melt into a puddle at his feet. You know, before she remembered the whole priest thing. He handed her the two dollars and she paid for her cranberries and stuffed her belongings back in her purse.

She turned back towards the priest to offer her thanks, but he’d already disappeared. 

She grabbed her bag and hurried outside before the other patrons had a chance to grab their torches and pitchforks.

Holidays sure did seem to bring out the best in people. 

Joyfully Yours

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Contemporary Holiday Romance

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with Amy Lamont on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://amylamont.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS
Read Comments

Hidden by Derick Parsons @1_DerickParsons

Kitty-cat!  She had all but forgotten his private name for her, and it conjured up a host of happy memories, along with just a tinge of guilt.  Although she had been home for some time now she had not yet hooked up with any of her old friends and seeing him now, and so unexpectedly, made her feel pleasantly nostalgic.  And emotional.  She felt the prickle of tears in her eyes at the warmth of his greeting and hugged him back fiercely, surprised by the depth of her emotions at this unwonted human contact.  And with a start she realized again just how lonely she had become, and how starved of any real human contact since returning to her native city.  She blinked away the nascent tears gathering in her eyes and covered her raw feelings by gasping, ‘Welcome home, my arse!  I’ve been home for months!  Now let me go before I suffocate, you big oaf!’

He released her, still grinning, and over his shoulder Kate saw the beam on the receptionist’s face and the shine in her eyes as she looked at Jordan.  It was always the same; ugly or not, women liked Trevor, and more often than not were attracted to him too.  As indeed she had been, once upon a time.  Until he got too close, became too demanding.  Or, more accurately, until her own fears had made her flee in panic at the prospect of someone getting inside her carefully constructed defenses.

He stepped back and looked her up and down before saying appreciatively, ‘You look incredible, Kate.  A scruffy schoolgirl wearing too much eye make-up went to England; a beautiful woman returned.  Their loss, our gain.’

She couldn’t help smiling even as she protested, ‘I was not a scruffy schoolgirl!  I was twenty-six when I left!  And I’m hardly beautiful now.  But thank you anyway.’

His smile faded and a faint frown knitted his heavy, reddish eyebrows, ‘I hate to spring this on you but there’s someone here you have to meet.  I didn’t plan it; he just turned up out of the blue.  But since he’s here I think I have to introduce you to him.  Reluctantly.’

He turned away and Kate stood still in confusion, ruefully thinking that life was always like that when Trevor was around; nothing was ever straightforward, and surprises lurked around every corner.  Maybe it was this unpredictability that had made her leave him all those years ago; because of her disrupted childhood she had always prized peace and stability.  But even as she thought this she knew that she was lying to herself; it was her fear of commitment that had made her run.  In the end it always triumphed over her need to be loved.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Mystery, Thriller

Rating – PG-18

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Derick Parsons on Twitter

Website http://www.derick-parsons.com/

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS
Read Comments

Emily Kinney – How to Make Your Characters Believable @theshadylady

How to Make Your Characters Believable

Characters are, disputably, the life and breath of any story. Unless, of course, you are purposely wasting paper just to describe things, such as an era or certain scenery. However, these in no way can be considered stories, for stories, as most will stubbornly agree, must be about something. Preferably, beings who think, feel, and live in the harsh environment known as the world, or even other worlds. In stories, there is what happens, and then there are those whom it happens to. The most effective way to connect with readers is when they can relate to the person, or animal, robot, what have you, the story centers upon.

Making characters believable is a constant plight for writers. Usually, the easiest tactic to employ is to model the character’s personality after someone they’ve met or know in real life, so that there is a credible reference out in reality. This has been done countless times, and tends to result in character favorites among readers. Characters based on real people always seem to leave an indelible mark, mainly because their realness radiates so strongly.

However, what if you create a character out of pure, thin air, with nary an existing relation or acquaintance to mold him or her after? What does a writer do then? The obvious would be to take cues from real-life examples. For instance, how would a regular person react to discovering a seven talon claw sticking out of the bedroom wall? In this day and age, where people are both reasonable and stupid, it could all boil down to the specific personality of the person. A reasonable person might run away, issuing squeals of terror, while a stupid person would unavoidably approach the claw because it looked cool.

But the initial reaction of the reader would be to think, “What’s this dude’s problem? Get away from there, you dolt!” It could easily turn into a case of the reader thinking that the author made the character choose to do that in order to create conflict. And while, yes, stories are driven by conflict, and therefore will never be fully realistic, since there aren’t too many adventures occurring on a day to day basis in the world, readers still relate to characters who handle the conflict in a way that they might themselves.

By giving your characters all the elements of a real person, such as fears, doubts, confusion, emotions, bodily reactions, it makes them feel authentic and substantial. There are many instances where the author neglects to mention these aspects about a character, and while the character is fun to follow and cheer for, there is always this sense of fantasy that accompanies the reading. Sometimes it is borderline fakeness. Such as an impenetrable cowboy hero, or an extremely clever sorcerer who is always one step ahead of his adversaries. These are engaging characters that can carry a story, but they fail to convey a believable, real quality.

In order to construct believable heroes, heroines, foes, monsters, mentors, side-kicks, they have to be multi-dimensional in the same way non-metaphysical folk of flesh and blood are. There must be a competent mix of psychology, philosophy, mentality, emotions, and motivation. On and on. All the real injected into the fake.

The Island of Lote

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Young Adult Fiction

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with Emily Kinney on Facebook & Twitter


Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS
Read Comments

Onio by Linell Jeppsen @nelj8

Chapter 4

For four days, Mel drifted in and out of consciousness. When she was able to swim up from the tendrils of death that held her, she dreamed vivid and horrifying dreams.

Once, she sat up with a start and saw a scene from Dante’s Inferno. She saw a huge hairy man being flogged by a branchless tree trunk. The tree was very large and the branches on it had been cut crudely so that long splinters sprouted from its surface like jagged teeth. The man was held in place by long ropes of vine that were hung from stalactites so that his feet barely touched the floor. He was screaming while others of his kind either cheered in triumph or wept with sympathy.

Another time Mel awoke in a hospital room with nurses all around her. She felt like she was in familiar territory, but wondered how she had changed places with her mother. Her mom held her wrist in one large hand and peered into her eyes with concern.

“Mama…,” she croaked, and drew back in alarm when her mother’s face disappeared. Now she was surrounded by monsters. Their giant hairy faces leered down at her. Their mouths sang an eerie chorus Mel couldn’t hear, but understood. The hospital room dissolved into a small cave and her crisp, white sheets were replaced by a scruffy fur blanket. She shrugged it off, screaming, before succumbing to the healing darkness once again.

Finally Mel awoke to voices. She felt a little better and her head no longer felt like it might explode. She looked over to the far side of the cave and saw Onio being tended to by the old sasquatch female. He looked pale and shaken. The old one, whose name was Rain, rubbed some sort of ointment on Onio’s back. Although their lips didn’t move, they were talking. Mel closed her eyes and listened.

“Onio, what he did was just,” she murmured.

“Just!” Onio snarled. “The test is designed to punish the worst criminals…murderers, and rapines! What I did was not even a crime! Why did he bring his grandson, who would be king, to his knees?”

Mel peeked at the two sasquatches through her eyelashes. She saw that Onio’s head was bowed and that his shoulders heaved with sobs. Rain stood some distance away and wiped her hands clean with a rag. She regarded her grandson with an eyebrow raised in equal parts exasperation and love.

She brought Onio a mug of something to drink and Mel’s throat ached with thirst. She watched as he set the mug down, staring at the floor in anger. Rain sat next to him on the shelf of rock that served as a bed.

“Onio, what you did was akin to murder. I know you know this, because I have taught you these things myself!” She placed a hand on the male’s thigh. “I will teach it again, Grandson,” she continued. “Maybe this time you will listen and truly understand.”

Rain slapped the young sasquatch sharply and stood up. Onio hunched his shoulders at the reprimand, glaring at his own toes.

“The small humans have small brains, Grandson. Also, their brains work differently than ours. We are intuitive, telepathic and sensitive to the ways of nature and the planet around us. They are none of these things, but they are creatures of intellect. Look at the marvelous machines they construct, the technology they have invented! In many ways their workings are like magic to us. Just as, I think, our ways are magical to them.” Rain sighed.

“That is why we hide from them, Onio. They are a covetous race, and would take from us, by any means necessary, that which they desire. For many generations the humans have tried to unlock the mysteries of our brains. They want to know how to use the soul song, and would steal it from us if they could. Many times they have tried…this you know, first-hand!”

Tears were dripping out of Onio’s eyes and falling to the floor. He murmured, “I am sorry, Grandmother. I wasn’t thinking properly.”

Mel saw the old female smile as she fussed with some things in a bag, then walked over to cook something on a fire set in the middle of the floor.

“Now, finally, First Son admits to not thinking before acting.” Although the sasquatches lips didn’t move, Mel could hear the sarcasm dripping from Rain’s voice, as the smell of meat cooking filled the air.

“Onio, listen and hear my words.” Rain’s voice was urgent. “There are as many reasons as birds in the sky why we do not co-mingle with the little humans. Most importantly, they will hunt us down and kill us for the gifts we possess. They would experiment on us and dissect our brains, and all for nothing! Even if they knew how to extract our abilities, their brains do not have the means, or the capacity, for soul song. It is called neural pathways…or some such. I have forgotten the exact words.” Now she glared at her grandson again. “We think that this little human will survive what you did to her, Onio.”

Mel slammed her eyes shut as she saw the big male glance her way. Guilt was written all over his face.

“You were lucky, I think, that this creature survived at all. Your gift opened pathways in her brain…neural connections most humans are not equipped to deal with, or understand. We believe that the only reason the girl hasn’t died is because her ear canals are damaged. Our gifts are sense, rather than thought, oriented. Hearing is a sense, so her brain was able to withstand the new impulses. She is very ill, though, and will be frail for a long while to come. She may not survive the change…someday her brain might break from the strain you yourself put on it!”

Mel saw Onio put his hands over his face and shudder. “Oh Grandmother,” he moaned. “Truly, I did not think to kill this little human…I did not think at all!”

Rain nodded, filled a wooden bowl with meat, and handed it to him. She glanced over at Mel and sat down next to Onio again.

“You are young yet, Onio, and perhaps foolish, but you will be a fine leader someday. To lead well, though, you must learn to listen to the world around you. Drak, your uncle, is also a fine man, but he suffers from jealousy. He never thought that you would be declared king after Bouldar is gone…not with the small human blood that flows in your veins. That he himself told you this only serves to prove that he hasn’t the wisdom to lead the tribe.”

She chuckled. “There is a thing the small humans call irony. It took me many, many years of study to understand this concept, but I find it ironic that the very thing Drak used to wound you with actually ensures your ascension to the seat of leadership.”

She stood again and moved around behind Onio to apply more salve to his wounded back. “My husband believes that the human soldiers are renewing their efforts to find us, and hunt us down. He believes that these soldiers want to use the soul song as some sort of weapon. They are a warrior species who will use even the most benign gift as a tool for destruction!” The old female apparently forgot to be gentle in her application of the medicine on his wounds. Onio winced with pain.

“He thinks that the tribe needs a leader who can both sympathize with and out-maneuver the humans who want to conquer us. The blood in your veins has made you smarter than the rest of us…especially Drak. You still possess the tribe’s gifts, like telepathy and camouflage, but your intellect will be the thing that can save the tribe from the small humans’ greed.” She gave her grandson’s shoulders a shake, not caring that he cried out in pain.

“That leader will be you, Grandson!” she shouted. “But only if this little human woman survives and you learn to think before you act!”

Rain’s voice was pensive when she spoke again. “Before Bouldar became my husband he was much like you; curious and compelled to seek out the small humans’ company, despite the risks.” She threw her arms up with a growl of rage.

Onio revised (2)

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Fantasy/Romance

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with Linell Jeppsen on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://neljeppsen.weebly.com/

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS
Read Comments

#Bargain Post-Human by David Simpson @PostHuman09


PROMOTION: Now you can switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible audiobook. Add the professional narration of Sub-Human (Book 1) for a reduced price of $2.99 after you buy the Kindle book of Sub-Human. Listen to Sub-Human Chapter 3's sample here goo.gl/kdxS8i. Also, Post-Human (Book 2), Trans-Human (Book 3) and Human Plus(Book 4) are all $0.99 each for a LIMITED TIME as well!
And their audiobooks are coming soon!

Age Range: 12 years and up

The future should have been perfect. Microscopic robots known as nans could repair any damage to your body, keep you young by resetting your cellular clocks, and allow you to download upgrades like intelligence, muscle strength, and eyesight. You were supposed to be able to have anything you wanted with a simple thought, to be able to fly without the aid of a machine, to be able to live forever. But when a small group of five terraformers working on Venus return to Earth, they discover that every other human in the solar system has been gruesomely murdered. Now, James Keats and his four companions must discover what happened to the rest of humanity and fight back if they wish to avoid the same, horrifying fate. Welcome to the post-human era.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Science Fiction

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with David Simpson on Facebook & Twitter

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS
Read Comments

Living in Grace: The Shift to Spiritual Perception by Beca Lewis @becalewis

Chapter Two: Principles of
The Shift®

The 1st Step To Shift—Be Willing.

He who would may reach the utmost height, but he must be eager to learn.


Are you willing to be aware of the abundance, in all its forms, that already is present? Are you willing to let go of the beliefs that hold you and bind you to a sense of lack? Are you willing to become what you are meant to be? Are you willing to be worthy?

The single most important key to The Shift to Spiritual Perception is the first step of Being Willing. There is no way around this first step. Being Willing cannot be forced on anyone or faked.

Being Willing involves every moment and every thought. It includes being willing to let go, willing to do what is asked, willing to be open, willing to set boundaries, willing to have no desires, willing to have everything, willing to follow inspiration, willing to wake up, willing to stop hurting, willing to be happy, willing to not be liked, willing to be loved, willing to let Truth be the one and only guide—all these are examples of willing.

We must be willing for anything to happen. If we are not willing, nothing will ever be accomplished. We will either not start, or we will sabotage the effort. To be willing we must yield and let go of our own ego and our thoughts of how it ought to be. If we are going to move to an unlimited Reality, we must desire to see the Truth, no matter what the cost to our cherished beliefs.

This willingness is not about applying human will. Any time we force an issue by using the human ego and will, we are heading down a path that will eventually bring trouble. Although it may accomplish the immediate purpose, we have lost the larger goal of moving towards unlimited abundance and Truth. It is our human perception of ourselves that has limited us in the first place. Human will carries us only so far before letting us down. Human will blinds us to what is true. Our desire is to be willing, not willful.

The process of Shifting is the preparing of the human mind to consent. Our task is to teach our mind with logic and love to let go. We are not attempting to make our small minds better. We are in the process of asking our human mind our—self-perception, our personality, the voice inside who says “this is me”—to step aside and yield to the larger unlimited Mind. We do not change our minds; we release them. We learn to yield to a full and loving picture. This picture benefits all it touches. Our own small picture will usually benefit only us.

Being willing also applies to how we deal with others. We cannot force other people into anything unless they are willing. Think of all the heartache we would save ourselves and those we love by simply noticing whether they are willing to do whatever we are asking them to do, and if they’re not, by letting them work it out in their own way. All we can do for those we love is to provide a place where they feel it is safe to be willing.

Cross the cow gate.

Our willingness lies in our ability to step past our fears. In the movie Camilla, Jessica Tandy plays the role of a woman who has a chance to step forward into a life that she has dreamed of for years. Since she had originally come from the country, she describes a cow gate as an obstacle that keeps the cows from wandering out of the pasture. It is not really a gate and there is no fence, just boards laid into the road. The cows, not liking the feel of the boards, will not cross this gate even though there is nothing really keeping them in. By the end of the film, she does step through her personal cow gate into her new life.

What keeps us in our unfenced pasture and not moving on to our dreams are things we think we do not like to “step over,” or things we do not want to do. It could be as simple as not wanting to make a phone call. It is not the large things or actions that keep us from our dreams; it is the small things that we are not willing to do that impede our progress. Once we are willing to move to unlimited reality, either these little things melt away or we gain the courage to cross over the willingness threshold into an unlimited life that has always been awaiting our return.

There is neither an end nor a beginning to Being Willing. It is the constant conscious yielding to Truth, which is Heaven here and now.

Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.

—Will Rogers

Living In Grace

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Spirituality, Non-Fiction

Rating – G

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Beca Lewis on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.becalewis.com

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS
Read Comments

Boundless by Brad Cotton @BradCott0n

Chapter 6

NOT TWENTY MINUTES after leaving the motel, young Ruby fell asleep upon her bag in the back seat. As the BMW crossed the border into Colorado just before lunch, Ruby had still not awoken.

“When did you know?” Ray asked Duncan. He put down his book and looked over to the driver.

“Know what?”

“Did you just decide it one day or did you always think it?”

“This again?”

“Maybe it’s just a feeling,” Ray surmised. “Like people who think that everything happens for a reason. But you don’t think that, do you?”

“I think some things happen for a reason, sure,” Duncan said.


“Why would there be a word for fate if it didn’t exist?”

“There’s a word for unicorns, isn’t there?”

“I think there has to be some kind of plan,” Duncan said. “You can fall off the path or change direction, but you can’t run from who you are.”

“What’re you guys talking about?” a voice said from the back seat.

Ray curled his head around the over-sized headrest.

“Oh, nothing,” he said. “Just something we started a long time ago.”


“No. Not unicorns.”

“It sounds like you’re talking about unicorns.”

“Ray’s been trying to understand how I can believe in God,” Duncan said.

Duncan looked in the rear view mirror to see if he could catch Ruby’s reaction. He couldn’t even see the top of her head. Though awake, Ruby had slouched down even further and curled across the entire back seat. She rested her head on her bag and shut her eyes once more.

“Arguing whether there is or isn’t a God is like arguing whether or not a song is good,” she said. “You can never be right and you can never be wrong.”

“You believe in God?” Ray asked.

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?”

“I’m assuming you don’t?”

“Not for a second.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“The evidence against it is overwhelming.”

“So then what happens to you when you die?” Ruby asked.

“You die,” Ray said. “You’re dead. End. Over. Bye bye.”

“I think I believe in reincarnation,” Ruby said, her eyes still closed. “Haven’t you ever met someone that you feel you’ve met before, or that you know from somewhere else? And what about all those people that just seem so new?”

“Well, if there is such a thing as reincarnation, I’d come back as a cat,” Ray said.

“A cat?” Duncan said. “You hate cats.”

“For the same reasons I’d want to be one.”

“A cat?”

“A housecat, yeah. I’d lie around all day. Someone else would get my food, rub me down, and no one would give a shit if I ever paid any attention to them.”

“Pray on it,” Duncan said.

“Don’t you want to be in heaven?” Ruby asked. “Don’t you want to think that once you die you’ll get to be with the people you love? The people you’ve lost?”

“I think it sounds like a pretty crowded place,” Ray said. “And no, I don’t think I’d want to be anywhere where I had no purpose.”

Duncan shook his head.

“Can we stop?” Ruby asked.

“Yes, please,” Duncan said. “We’ve been talking about it forever and we never get anywhere.”

“No, can we stop. I’m a girl, small bladder.”

“Oh, yeah, sure,” Duncan answered. “I’m hungry, anyway.”

“Yeah, a cat.” Ray said. “That’s the life.” He nodded as he looked out the window at the grass whizzing by.

Duncan pulled off Interstate 70 at the outskirts of Grand Junction, Colorado. He screeched into a gas station and Ruby sprung from the car and scurried to the washroom. Ray got out to stretch his legs; Duncan began refueling.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Contemporary Fiction/Literary Fiction

Rating – R

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Brad Cotton on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.bradcotton.com/

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS
Read Comments

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik


Dressed in white shorts and vests, the cadets gathered in a gymnasium void of equipment. Stripped to the waist, Nikolas held a dagger, trying to affect a muscular pose, but with too much belly and slack muscles. Well, put a pig in a pair of shorts, and it’s still a pig. Hold on to that picture, Jez thought and grinned.

One after another, the cadets attempted to evade an armed strike from the enemy, but not one returned to the outer circle without clutching at a gash. Jez watched nervously. He knew he was fitter than the NCO, and bringing him down for what he’d tried to do to Anna was a fantastic thought; but if he kicked against the system... Whether he’d fully understood what the colonel had said back in his office he wasn’t sure, but he was sure his mentor wouldn’t tolerate aggression towards a senior soldier. And besides, it was clear the NCO was expert at what he was doing. Out of shape or not, he’d beat Jez easily.

A yell from Popov and she left the circle suppressing a sob, clinging to a wound high on her right breast. That was it then, only him and Anna to go.

“Centre circle, Kornfeld,” Nikolas commanded.

He sighed and moved forward.

The corporal, to Jez’s surprise, sheathed his knife and announced, “Athletics, shooting, seems you’re a bit better than good. But you’re a skinny little runt and somehow…”

A sickening thud sank into Jez’s chest and pitched him to the ground.

“…I don’t think this will be your specialty.”

He tried to get up, but Nikolas kicked him in the side and rolled him onto his back. Jez had moved with the blow, but it still left him staring at the ceiling, winded. He needed a breather, but Nikolas came at him again. Jez fought nausea and darted to one side.

“Oh, girlie tactics. I didn’t expect that from a big shot like you. I might have expected it more from Puchinsky. Ah, Puchinsky, yes, you’re up next,” he said, and turned to Anna, grinning, breathing heavily. “And we still have a little debt left unpaid.”

As he considered the words, Jez got to his feet, but his attention had shifted. Nikolas pulled his knife and slashed it sideways. The tip of the blade scratched a red line across Jez’s now slit white vest. The corporal holstered the weapon and flexed his physique, readying for hand-to-hand.

“Come on, Kornfeld, one on one. Do your worst.” He laughed. “You have my full permission to set all your might against me.”

Nikolas suddenly lunged, and the heel of an open-palmed strike knocked Jez heavily to the floor. Somehow he had to keep out of the way, but getting to his feet he was surprised to see the trainer had paled. He’d overdone it with the other cadets and his lack of fitness was there for all to see. A chance presented itself as he took a more casual swipe. Jez followed with gut reaction. The punch flew and he reacted with a nimbleness that left his opponent in slow motion. He grabbed the corporal’s wrist with both hands, made a half turn, held the grip, brought the larger man’s arm onto his shoulder and whipped it down as hard as he could. The limb snapped to the sound of bone breaking and gristle tearing. Then came a shriek, as Nikolas screamed out in agony. Jez stepped back, but a surge of arousal had warmed the pit of his stomach and the stimulus urged him to finish the job. Why not? His career was over after this. He fixed his eyes on Nikolas and moved forward.

“Jez, no,” Anna shouted.

He stopped just as a hulking silhouette emerged from the shadow of a doorway to assist the crippled trainer. Jez returned to the group and joyous murmurs flowed through the circle. Suddenly, he’d become the most popular cadet in the hall.

The man helped the trainer out of the hall and the cadets separated into smaller groups, hanging around, awaiting further instruction. Jez and Anna sat together with their backs against the wall, he staring at the door expecting guards to come and get him any minute.

“I think the others are worried they might all be in trouble,” Anna said.

“Maybe they are, but it’s me who’ll come under fire,” Jez said, voice miserable, emotions much the same.

Anna cleared her throat. “Thanks,” she said, with a softness he hadn’t heard from her before.

“For what?” he asked.

“I know you lost it because Nikolas tried it on with me, and I know how important the army is to you… I’m sorry it had to happen. I’ll always be grateful.” The words were sweet, but the voice was stern.

He was embarrassed, just as when his older brother and sister had ribbed him about looking like a pretty girl.

He had no reason to say it, other than being stuck for words, but he responded, “You’d have done the same.”

She came back at him in a flurry of decisiveness. “No, Jez, no, I wouldn’t. I’m like you in as much as the army is everything to me. But believe me, I wouldn’t have done anything so… irrational. Not for any reason. I would protect my career at all cost.”

He smiled. “Or maybe it’s just that you don’t like me as much as I like you.”

Her shoulders dropped, her face relaxed and her eyes sparkled. “No, it isn’t that. I like you well enough.”

His cheeks were still burning when a cadet from one of the other huts came into the hall.

“I’m at the end of my training and have been told to command this unit for the rest of today. I don’t know how far you’ve all got with your preparation, so we’ll just go out for a run… I want to see you in front of the hut in full kit in five minutes.”


Birth of an Assassin

Set against the backdrop of Soviet, post-war Russia, Birth of an Assassin follows the transformation of Jez Kornfeld from wide-eyed recruit to avenging outlaw. Amidst a murky underworld of flesh-trafficking, prostitution and institutionalized corruption, the elite Jewish soldier is thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems, nobody can be trusted, and everything can be violently torn from him.

Buy Now @ Amazon, B&N, Kobo & Waterstones

Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://rik-stone.simdif.com

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS
Read Comments