Rachel Thompson

J.J. Ward's Thoughts on the Gender Divide in Fiction @MI7Ward #Espionage #Thriller

The gender divide in fiction: sexism by the back door?  

Let me tell you what I’m trying to do as an author, and why I think more authors should be doing it.
When I was a boy – about forty-five years ago now – boys and girls had very different likes. Boys liked Action Man, girls liked Barbie; boys liked toy tanks, girls liked toy ponies. But more than this, their reading matter was different: girls liked Judy and Bunty, boys liked Victor and Commando. Girls liked Enid Blyton’s The Twins at St Clare’s and Malory Towers, boys liked Alfred Hitchcock’s Three Investigators and Franklin W Dixon’s The Hardy Boys. But even in those days, boys didn’t read as much as girls.

The divide has widened since then. According to a 2009 OECD report, in almost every country in the world, girls read for enjoyment more than boys. On average, only about half of boys read for enjoyment; in Austria, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Liechtenstein, less than 40% do so. Girls read fiction and magazines more than boys, but boys are more likely to read newspapers and comic books.

I grew up in the 1960s. You only have to watch Mad Men to know how bad the situation was for women in those days. Nowadays, it’s pretty much taken for granted by most intelligent people that men and women are intellectually broadly similar.

Except in fiction, it seems, where it’s still chick-lit and romance for women, and guns-‘n muscles for men. Penny Vincenzi and Jill Mansell for women, Andy McNab and Frederick Forsyth for men. Here, a kind of self-imposed separation still holds sway.

Of course, there are gender-neutral genres: crime, for example, and fantasy. But we don’t know enough about these to know whether men and women approach them differently, expecting different things from them. There may be subtle sub-categories within these genres.

Imagine if authors, instead of trying to profit from the gender divide, tried to write romance not for women but for men and women, and espionage and war fiction not for men but for both genders equally.

Of course, the publishing world wouldn’t like this. Making a profit is about targeting your market. If the target’s too broad, maybe anyone can hit it.

Anyway, as a child of the ‘60s, it’s what I’m trying to do. After all, that’s one of the advantages of self-publication: you don’t have to worry about moulding your material to a pre-constructed, pliant market. You can write what you want.

In short, I want to make romance attractive to men, and guns-‘n-muscles attractive to women. And get us all talking to each other again. About books … and life.

It’s going to be a long hard struggle. Meanwhile, I’ve written to Penny Vincenzi and Andy McNab suggesting they collaborate on their next novel, make it a joint effort. Next week, I’m going to write to Jill Mansell and Frederick Forsyth suggesting the same thing.

You can help out. Name the two authors you’d like to see collaborate. Then write to them.

Or bang their heads together.

Tales of MI7

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Espionage Thriller
Rating – PG
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@_William_Knight Shares Tips to Write & Bring Up Children #PubTip #AmWriting #Thriller

All writers need more time. But where to get it from? You can’t give up the day job since that pays the bills and puts food on the table, and when you’re at home the children take up so much time you can’t spend so much as a minute inside your own head. Here then are ten ways you can find the time to write even if you had children, but please don’t take these ideas too seriously ;-)
  1. Buy a playpen– playpens have gone out of fashion, but they never did me any harm. A playpen nicely situated in a soundproof room will give you hours of time. Use baby monitors if you must but turn them to low so that only persistent and emergency howls will break your concentration.
  2. Use bedtime stories for character and plot development. What does your character want really badly? What is getting in his way? What flaw in the character will stop  him enjoying the thing once he gets it? All these questions are perfect for developing kids stories.
  3. Encourage play dates. We all know that having other kids round keeps our own from moaning and complaining. “Dad, can you do this? Dad, can you do that?  Dad, Tommy pulled my hair.” etc.
  4. Get a partner. If you don’t have one already then a partner is perfect for handing the kids to while you being the next opus. There are many online places to find a partner these days, and once you have one they can’t usually get away without a lengthy process. This will give you plenty of time to write, and if they do manage to get away then it’s normally simple to find another. (I just have to look in my in box for all the offers).
  5. Get a divorce. Have you noticed that divorced parents share the children. This means you can spend at least half your life writing while you ex takes care of the little darlings.
  6. Steal your kids ideas. We all know children have fertile imaginations and that they can creatively out-think adults. Utilise this skill where you can to find interesting plot twists and situation.
  7. Employ your kids computer skills for digital marketing. Kids come out of the womb able to work Twitter and Facebook. Get them maintaining your auto tweets and review responses so you don’t have to bother with all that online guff when you’d rather be writing. This has an added benefit that the kids always want screen time and now you can simply sit them in front of a computer for hours on end engaged in useful work.
  8. Drop them at their Grandparents without notice. Your parents always expected you would turn out irresponsible and reckless, so don’t disappoint them.
  9. Experiment with new emotions for your characters: Raising kids will drive you mental. Note how angry you get and use it for character development. Troublesome kids are best in this regard, and you will only ever be a few moments away from a unique perspective on life that you can use in your writing.
  10. Daily chores. While children are young you will have to clean up after them. But within a few short years you will be able to put them to work cleaning and tidying. Don’t skimp. It is character building for the children and the time you save will allow you to put in another few hundred words a day.

A man emerges from the sodden undergrowth, lost, lonely and starving he is mown down by a speeding car on the edge of a remote forest.
Rumours of ghostly apparitions haunt a rural Northumberland community.

A renowned forensic research establishment is troubled by impossible results and unprecedented interference from an influential drug company.

Hendrix ‘Aitch’ Harrison is a tech-phobic journalist who must link these events together.
Normally side-lined to investigate UFOs and big-beast myths, but thrust into world of cynical corporate motivations, Hendrix is aided by a determined and ambitious entomologist. Together they delve into a grisly world of clinical trials and a viral treatment beyond imagining.

In a chase of escalating dangers, Aitch must battle more than his fear of technology to expose the macabre fate of the drugged victims donated to scientific research.

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Genre – Crime, Thriller, Horror
Rating – R-16
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Connect with William Knight on Facebook & Twitter

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Jessica Dall Says, Let Your Character Lead @JessicaDall #AmWriting #WriteTip #HistFic

When it comes to writing, I have always been a “character-driven” author. If you don’t have a good plot, of course it’s a problem, but I fully admit that it tends to be the characters that make me interested in writing a particular story rather than the plot (sometimes I’m not even entirely sure what the plot is going to be when I start out since I don’t tend to care for outlines).

Leaving the characters in charge of powering the story, however, makes building believable characters all the more important.  So how do you do that?

1.       Work out a backstory
No character exists in a vacuum. Just like you didn’t magically appear one day fully grown (I’m assuming…) your character has likely has some past that affects the person they are today. While you should certainly avoid info dumping (overwhelming your reader with a bunch of backstory that they may or may not need to know all or once) you, as the author, need to know what makes your character tick. Have they had a great sense of humor since they were a child? Did they learn it from a friend? Is it a reaction to having a very serious family? The answer may not matter to anyone else, but it will help you shape the little things about your character which turn them from ‘Character A’ to a real person.

2.       Use Character Questionnaires sparingly
All right, this comes down to if you find them helpful or not, but Character Questionnaires have only been passingly helpful for me in the past. They are great for getting the basics down, like what your character looks like or if they have siblings, but is thinking about what my character’s favorite ice cream flavor is really going to help make them real? If questionnaires work for you, go for it. You just might be better served working outside a form (I personally like writing in paragraphs when it comes to the basics) or using other character-building techniques.

3.       Take your characters out of your story
Dialogue has always been my strength so I might be biased here, but one of the best ways I have found to develop a flat character is to take them out of the actual story, and throw them into a strange situation. How would Character A take it if she was suddenly stuck in an elevator with Character B. How would Character B act if he was out couch shopping with his mother? Without having to worry about where the story is going, the characters are free to talk to one another and generally interact with the world, which can give you some great insight into everything from their speech patterns to past relationships.

4.       Let your character lead
This one doesn’t happen to everyone, but sometimes well-developed characters get a little headstrong. If you find yourself writing and all of a sudden a character decides that they actually don’t really like a character you meant to make their best friend/significant other, let them make the change. It’s a good sign your character is developed enough to react to a situation as their own person—forcing them back to what you originally were planning will often suddenly shatter the little things that make them a “real”, believable person.


Adela Tilden has always been more ambitious than her station in life might allow. A minor nobleman’s daughter on a failing barony, Adela’s prospects seem dire outside of marrying well-off. When Adela catches the eye of the crown prince, Edward, however, well-off doesn’t seem to be a problem. Thrown into a world of politics and intrigue, Adela might have found all the excitement she ever wanted—if she can manage to leave her past behind.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Alternate Historical Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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Belinda Garcia on Being a City Slicker & More @MagicProse #AmReading #Romance #TBR

What are you most passionate about? What gets you fired up?
I’m most passionate about my books. I get fired up when I design a cool cover.
What makes you angry?
I can’t comprehend cold-blooded people who are missing sensitivity chips and have no empathy for others.
What’s your most embarrassing moment of your life?
When I was working as a web developer, I was carrying some papers and reading them. The men’s and women’s bathrooms were side by side. I pushed open the door, walked in, looked around and mumbled, “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.” I spun and shoved open the door but a guy I knew saw me walking out of the men’s room.
Are you a city slicker or a country lover?
I’m definitely a city slicker. I like my conveniences.
How do you think people perceive writers?
Well, I would hate to be J.K. Rowling, who is more like a movie star and had to even move from Great Britain to Scotland because she had become too famous. Most people, I think, perceive writers as ordinary people who just happen to have a bubble blower in their brains.
What’s your next project?
I’m doing the final two edits of Rise of the Black Rose, the final book of my Land of Enchantment trilogy that should be available around the end of March.
What would you love to produce in your life?
I have plans for a great urban fantasy series in which there is no continuing story like my trilogy. I’m hoping to come out with the first book this year. I, also, have an original idea for a soft science fiction series which I hope to write some day. I only write very unique novels. I don’t even want to mess with writing a book if the idea has been done well before.
What’s the reason for your life? Have you figured out your reason for being here yet?
I don’t think about why I’m here or if there is any reason for my life. I just consider myself extremely lucky that I was ever born at all. When a man and woman create another life, that egg has millions of options, but somehow I was chosen. I could only have been conceived in that one moment of time, by that one egg, and that one little fishy swimming up the woman’s canal to beat out the other million or so fish and fertilize that egg. It’s really awesome when you think about the odds of you ever having been given life at all.
How do you feel about self-publishing?
Self-publishing is very exciting, and I love it. I have always had a very independent nature and like controlling my own career. I prefer designing my book covers myself. Anyway, unless you’re Stephen King, (who was lucky enough to break in during the Dark Ages instead of the Age of Enlightenment) the author has to do all the work, including the marketing. If I’m going to be working eleven hours a day, seven days a week, I’d rather be working for myself.
Do you know your neighbors?
Yes. I live in a planned community and we regularly have dances and dinners, etc.
How important are friends in your life?
My friends are important to me but I don’t like to be smothered. I write most days and come up for air sometimes to hang out with my friends.

The last thing Miranda ever expected was to see her brother’s ghost at the fallen Twin Towers.
It’s bad enough survivor Christopher Michaels scares her with claims that if one dies violently, his ghost will haunt the place that holds his name. And to top it all, one of those thousands of ghosts follows Miranda to her hotel. The only certainty is the ghost grabbing her under the covers is not Jake.
Their parents’ deaths separated Miranda from Jake when they were kids. Michaels insists Jake brought them together and it’s no coincidence that of thousands mourning at Ground Zero, it’s his best friend she bumps into. Some best friend. Michaels is more like a moocher. The cheapskate never has money, just a blood-stained wallet he broods over. Miranda has no choice but to hang out with the weird Michaels in order to unravel her brother’s past.
As Miranda spends time with Michaels, she begins to wonder who he really is. Against her better judgment, Miranda becomes emotionally entangled with Michaels, a bitter alcoholic with a secret linked to her brother and that blood-stained wallet.
I Will Always Love You is part mystery, suspense and romance, a novel that will keep the reader turning the pages!
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Suspense, Mystery, Romance
Rating – PG
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Michelle Rabe's 10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer @michrabe #WriteTip #Fantasy #AmWriting

10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

  1. Read a lot. The more you read the more you’ll learn what you like and don’t like. You’ll also learn what works and doesn’t. That and reading is just good fun. If you don’t think you have enough time to read think about your day, are there places where you can catch a few minutes? Do you have a long commute? Unabridged audiobooks are awesome for long drives.
  2. Write a lot. The more you write the more you’ll develop your style and figure out what works for you. Again if you don’t think you have time think about places where you can make time. I write on my breaks and lunch at work. Can you cut down on the TV, Movies, Video Games or time you spend online?
  3. Write the whole first draft before you show anyone. The first draft should be written without showing anyone else so that any questions or feedback they have doesn’t get in the way of the story.
  4. Your first draft is allowed to be filled with errors and plot holes. You’re just trying to get the basic story down on the page. There are going to be things that need fixing, that’s what revision is for.
  5. Real Writers Revise. No one gets it perfect the first time. I went through a couple of complete rewrites of Cast in Blood from the time I started it until it was right. Don’t be afraid to cut things that you love or think are great. If they don’t serve the story, then let them go. The great thing about computers is that we can save these unneeded but loved scenes on our hard drives so they’re never really gone.
  6. Have fun. We get to make stuff up, invite readers into our world and share it with them. It’s great, have fun while you’re writing and it will show through in your work.
  7. Edit out all the adverbs you can. They are passive weak words that can, for the most part, be replaced with much more interesting descriptions. Stephen King said that ‘the road to Hell is paved with adverbs’ and I agree. I do make exceptions for dialogue though, since my stories are modern, adverbs are a part of normal speech these days.
  8. Find a good editor and take their advice. I know my editor, Kathy Lapeyre, caught issues that my weekly writing group missed because they’re used to my writing style. She also fixed my grammatical flaws which is invaluable. I took about 95% of her advice and listened to the rest with an open mind. Remember the editor is there to help make your piece better.
  9. Don’t be afraid to try something crazy. If it sounds good to you, try it. The worst that can happen is that you don’t pull it off and you can figure out why. The best is that it works and you have a new piece to share. My short story Hard-Luck Harry came about because I was doing voice over work on a noir podcast and I thought it would be fun to try and write a modern noir.
  10. Back up your work, in more than one place. There’s no worse feeling than having a hard drive failure and knowing that something you wrote is lost. It’s happened to me, don’t let it happen to you.
    Michelle Rabe

    Buy Now @ Amazon
    Genre - Paranormal Urban Fantasy
    Rating – PG-13
    More details about the author and the book
    Connect with Michelle Rabe on Facebook & Twitter

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@EileenMaksym Shares 10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer #AmWriting #PubTip #WriteTip

One of my goals as a writer is to constantly improve my craft, because I believe that no matter how good a writer is, they can always be better!  Here are ten things that I do to keep myself moving forward.  Keep in mind that everything in writing is very personal!  What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.

1)    Read as much as possible.  This is always tip #1 when it comes to learning to write better.  Reading is what teaches us to write.  Read a variety of authors in a variety of genres.  Read good stuff to learn what to do, and read bad stuff to learn what not to do.    Read fiction and non-fiction.  And don't forget poetry and plays!  Poetry is important for developing an ear for how language sounds, and a feel for expressing an idea concisely and with beauty, while plays are helpful for getting a feel for dialogue and setting.

2)    Write as much as possible.  Like all things, writing gets better with practice.  Now, a lot of authors say that you have to write every day at a certain time, for a certain amount of time. If that works for you, great!  If it doesn't, don't be discouraged!  Personally, I do not write every day; I write on weekdays in the afternoon while my husband is at work and my kids are at school.

3)    Set a daily word count goal, and reward yourself when you reach it.  A friend and fellow NaNoWriMo writer shared this tip: Keep a calendar and buy some nifty stickers.  Every time you reach your goal for the day, put a sticker on your calendar!  All of us love getting a gold star, so give it to yourself!  Another thing that helps is breaking your goal into smaller chunks and giving yourself a small reward for each chunk you complete.  For instance, I have a daily goal of 1,000 words.  I break that down into five chunks of 200.  For every 200 words I write, I allow myself ten minutes of email, Twitter, Facebook, etc, before going on to the next 200.

4)    Keep writing, even when what you're writing is really, really terrible.  Because sometimes it will be.  Sometimes the prose will be dry and stilted, the dialogue jerky and awkward, the plot painfully slow or seemingly pointless.  No matter.  Keep writing.  It's the only way you're going to get better, and sometimes you just have to write out the terrible stuff to get to the good stuff.

5)    Keep a writing journal.  This is not a diary.  The point is not to make a daily entry to talk about your life (although you can if you like).  The point is to record the little things that catch your attention every day (song lyrics, snippets of conversation, that guy sitting across the cafe in a sweater vest reading Orwell's 1984) as well as to give yourself space to write freely about any subject you want.  Have an idea for a story?  Want to try your hand at writing a sonnet? Need to pour your heart out about that guy you had a crush on when you were a freshman in high school?  Turn to your journal, and let the words flow.  It's a great way to flex your writing muscles without fear of screwing up, and it's also a goldmine of inspiration the next time you're looking for a story idea.

6)    Watch good television.  There are lots of writers who say that you should disconnect your TV entirely.  I disagree.  Is there a lot of crap on TV?  Absolutely, and I wholeheartedly recommend being very choosy when it comes to what shows you spend your time on (give talk shows, “reality” TV, and most sitcoms a pass).  But while there is bad stuff out there, there's also brilliant stuff.  Shows that skillfully tell stories with characters that are well-crafted, that engage the mind and draw the viewer into the world of the tale.  Watching shows with these qualities teach us how we can emulate them in our writing.  Good movies are the same way.  For TV shows to check out, I recommend Elementary  and Sherlock  for two very different (and equally wonderful!) takes on the Sherlock Holmes canon, as well as Hannibal for its beautiful and deeply disturbing portrait of evil.

7)    Learn about weird, unusual, random things.  Did you know that the holes in swiss cheese are called “eyes,” and that swiss cheese without holes is known as “blind?”  Or that a severe fear of darkness is called “nyctophobia?” Little interesting tidbits like these can inspire and add depth to your writing (someday, I'm going to write a story called Nyctophobia). For the most part, I do this online.  There's a plethora of websites out there devoted to cool facts, such as Mental Floss and MetaFilter, that I like to browse periodically, my journal close at hand to record the facts that spark my imagination.  Of course, getting lost in this rabbit hole of nifty is a big danger, which brings me to my next point.

8)    Avoid getting sucked into the internet.  The web is amazing, and full of awesome things, and it is all too easy to spend hours, or days, at a time on social media, games, YouTube, etc.  If I'm not careful, I can get lost on Facebook and Twitter alone and not surface for hours, and that's hours that aren't being spent writing!

9)    People watch, and eavesdrop (be subtle about it, of course!)  Characterization is vital for good writing, and observing people, how they act, how they move, what they wear, can become fodder for character descriptions.  Listening to people talk can also help with learning to write dialogue.

10) Join a writing group.  Once you've used all the above tips to write some stories, you need to show them to somebody.  Usually the first people on that list are friends and family; for me, it’s my husband, Pete.  And while he’s great at encouraging me, he’s not going to tell me when my writing sucks, and neither is my mother, or my best (non-writer) friend.  A group of writers, on the other hand, not only will recognize problems in my writing, they will be able to give me ideas on how to fix it.  There is also tremendous value in reading and critiquing others’ work.  Often, when we are able to see things that don’t work in someone else’s writing, we are better able to recognize it in our own.

These are the things that help me continue to improve my work!  Give them a try, and see if they work for you!


Tara Martin – exceptionally accomplished neurobiology major with a troubled past. Steven Trent – confident political science major with an irresistible attraction to Tara. Paul Stratton – history major who is able to hear spirits. Together, they make up the Society for Paranormal Researchers at their prestigious New England University. When they’re not in class or writing papers, the three friends are chasing their passion….ghosts.

When the group learns of a local retired couple trying to sell a house they claim is haunted, they decide to investigate. As the clues unfold, a familiar spirit interrupts their investigation and Tara finds her life in danger. Can her friends save her before it’s too late?

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – YA paranormal, NA paranormal
Rating – PG-13
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Lichgates: Grimoire Saga (Book One) by @TheSMBoyce #BookClub #Fantasy #AmReading

Kara rubbed her temples and leaned on the submerged library’s stone desk, her eyes unfocused as she stared at the letter she could now magically read. She didn’t try to tell herself to calm down, to chill out, or to breathe. Her only thought was of how royally she’d screwed herself over by walking through that gazebo or lichgate or whatever it was.
She had walked through a door in a mountain. A ten-by-ten dirt closet had swallowed her phone. Her pack and stun gun had probably already been eaten by a bear. She had heard whispers while alone in a massive, underground library and opened a secret book called the Grimoire, which was apparently pretty important. She’d discovered a hidden pocket of Earth called Ourea.
In an effort to stay calm, she took deep breaths. It didn’t work. Each breath became a panicked gasp as she tried to figure out what was going on. Only, she couldn’t figure out what was going on. That’s why she was panicking.
It was a vicious cycle.
The flick, flick, flick of the Grimoire’s turning pages stole her focus. The last page lingered in the air as it fell to reveal a small block of red text on the otherwise empty beige paper.
I wish I could have caused no pain or fear, but such isn’t a reality of life. A treasure has been awoken within you—you are now a vagabond of Ourea.
She groaned. “Yeah, thanks, I gathered that much. So what happens now?”
The pages flipped to another image of the hooded figure, but this time he wore a thick leather band wrapped around his wrist. Spidery red text adorned the paper beside him. Something was off about the drawing, and she leaned in for a closer look. It took her a second to realize the clover pendant in her hand was also drawn into his wrist guard.
The last blood-red rays of the day poured through the skylight. She sighed. Her dad’s search party would head out any minute, scanning the ditches for her body. Oh, he was going to love this story.
She resigned herself to the impending lecture and leaned in to read the red text besides the drawing.
This is the Vagabond as he was in life. He wrote the observations of his travels here, creating me over his lifetime. The trials he faced were treacherous, and you will fare the same. The life of a vagabond isn’t an easy one.
I was made to open only for the gifted and the strong. Be patient in the times to come and trust yourself, for you are worthy of the power here.
Though it may sometimes seem as if life is decided for us, remember that in all actions before this, you made the choices which brought you here. You alone decide where to go next. There is always choice.
“Freaking awesome.” She rubbed her eyes. Apparently, it was her fault she’d been dragged by a root down a dirt closet.
She fiddled with her locket and looked down once again at the tiny clover amulet. Its diamond wasn’t blue anymore, though it did shimmer. She slid it over her head with a quiet sigh, and the clover dangled just above her collarbone.
“Look, I just want to get home. How do I get out of here?”
The pages flipped toward the back, where a sketch of the library consumed the page and more spidery red text described how to open a secret door in one of the shelves. She lifted the book and carried it with her as she looked for the way out. At least using the Grimoire was easy enough. That had to be some small compensation for the unrestrained hell it had already brought upon her.
Kara scanned the shelves for a few minutes, browsing through titles like The History of Isen Guilds, Earaks are Evil, and even such treasures as All Anyone Will Ever Need to Know about Beer before she finally found The Ways of Peace, the green cover mentioned in the Grimoire’s instructions. It was the last on its shelf to survive the gale from earlier, as the rest of its neighbors littered the floor. She took care not to step on them as she reached for the green book and pulled, rolling it back on a hinge. The crack of splitting rock broke across the room.
A rumble quaked through the library. More books fell. Two shelves pulled inward on the opposite wall, opening like doors and missing the edges of the desk by inches. Beyond the confines of her book-lined prison was a dark cavern, its roof riddled with holes that leaked in the twilight and dripping lines of rainwater. The broken remnants of a white castle tower lay against the side of the cave, most of its bricks crushed to dust.
But Kara had a visitor.
A brunette looked up from where she knelt on the floor. The fading light caught the glint of a golden cross in her hand as flowing curls coursed over her loose white tunic. The stranger paused, watching the library with narrow eyes, but quickly stood and sneered.
Kara forced herself to swallow the rising sting of fear in her throat. She should’ve just stayed in the stupid library.

“The writing is flawless. The kingdoms and surrounding landscapes breathtaking. The Grimoire is a piece of imaginative genius that bedazzles from the moment Kara falls into the land of Ourea. – Nikki Jefford, author of the Spellbound Trilogy
Spring 2013 Rankings
#6 Kindle Store | #1 Science Fiction & Fantasy | #1 Epic Fantasy | #1 Sword & Sorcery | #1 Teens
Now an international Amazon bestseller. Fans of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and Eragon will enjoy this contemporary remix of the classic epic fantasy genre.
Kara Magari is about to discover a beautiful world full of terrifying things: Ourea.
Kara, a college student still reeling from her mother’s recent death, has no idea the hidden world of Ourea even exists until a freak storm traps her in a sunken library. With nothing to do, she opens an ancient book of magic called the Grimoire and unwittingly becomes its master, which means Kara now wields the cursed book’s untamed power. Discovered by Ourea’s royalty, she becomes an unwilling pawn in a generations-old conflict – a war intensified by her arrival. In this world of chilling creatures and betrayal, Kara shouldn’t trust anyone… but she’s being hunted and can’t survive on her own. She drops her guard when Braeden, a native soldier with a dark secret, vows to keep her safe. And though she doesn’t know it, her growing attraction to him may just be her undoing.
For twelve years, Braeden Drakonin has lived a lie. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. Though he begins to care for this human girl, there is something he wants more. He wants the Grimoire.
Welcome to Ourea, where only the cunning survive.
Novels in the Grimoire Saga:
Lichgates (#1)
Treason (#2)
Heritage (#3) – Available Fall 2013
Illusion (#4) – Available Fall 2014
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Fantasy
Rating – PG13
More details about the author
 Connect with SM Boyce on Facebook & Twitter & Pinterest

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#Author Donald J. Amodeo's #WriteTip for Beating Writer's Block @DonAmodeo #AmWriting

Top 3 Tips for Beating Writer’s Block
Writing is like exercising. Once you get started, it can be enjoyable, and it always feels great when you’ve finished a good session. But finding the motivation (or inspiration) to get started in the first place – that can be a challenge.
According to some, writer’s block amounts to nothing more than sheer laziness, and maybe they’re right. I’ve had days when I wanted to do anything but write, yet managed to knock out some quality material once I locked myself away in the cave and committed to the job. However, it’s not always that simple. Some days I’ll sit down, eager to write, only to find that my brain isn’t being cooperative. I’ve literally struggled with a single sentence for over an hour, typing and retyping it in a thousand different ways, hating each new version more than the last.
That’s writer’s block. It’s a feeling that makes me want to toss my laptop through the window and scream “never again!” to the writing gods. But who am I kidding? Like an abused lover who loves the abuse, I keep coming back, and I’ve found three solutions that tend to help me forge on.
Solution 1: Skip it.
If a certain scene just isn’t coming to you, skip it for the time being. It’s helpful to hold yourself to a daily writing commitment, but nobody said you have to write your story in order. Jumping to a fresh scene can be a great way to get your creative juices flowing again and renew a sense of excitement in your work. Of course, your aim should be to make every scene exciting, and if the section you’re stuck on really isn’t…
Solution 2: Cut it.
Before you slave away, striving to make that particularly cumbersome scene work, ask yourself: How much would be lost if I cut this segment from the narrative? Maybe the reason your scene isn’t working is because it’s not meant to be. Are you forcing a passage into your story merely because you’re in love with a snippet of dialogue, despite the surrounding action not being terribly eventful?
Don’t do it. Trim that unnecessary fat and leave your overwrought scene on the drawing board. It might hurt losing those few lines that you like, but the sacrifice is worth it. I can’t overstate the relief I’ve felt when it stuck me that a passage I was struggling with wasn’t truly vital to the story at all. The slimmer, sleeker tale that resulted flowed better for readers, and good pacing is worth far more than a witty line or two.
Solution 3: Get some fresh air.
Despite the writing drill sergeants who preach that you just have to power through it, sometimes getting away from the keyboard may be exactly what you need. There have been days when I’ve beat myself up over trying to hammer out a passage just right, only to leave the computer and have the perfect words miraculously spring to mind mere minutes after I commit to doing something else. I’ll be taking a walk or a drive, and there it’ll be – the wonderful sentence I’d been striving for in vain all those fruitless hours in front of my monitor.
So get out. Get some fresh air. But here’s the thing: don’t overdo it.
A break should mean getting away from the computer for an hour, maybe the rest of the night. It shouldn’t mean taking a month-long vacation from writing to go “find your center.” Every writer has a rhythm, and you can lose that rhythm if you take off for too long. You may even forget the tone or direction of your story. If you need a week to clear your mind after every three pages, then writing probably isn’t for you.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Christian Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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Connect with Donald J. Amodeo on Twitter

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@PublicistGal's 8 Tips to Make Your Next Writers Conference Awesome! #WriteTip #BookMarketing

Eight Tips to Make Your Next Writers Conference Awesome!

I love going to writers conferences, and it’s really awesome when I’m speaking there as well. But as wonderful as the networking is, if you don’t show up with a plan or a set of action items for the conference, you can get sucked up into the vibe of the event without being very productive. Here are some tips to help you maximize your event!

Goals: Before you go to a writers conference, be clear on your goals. If it’s just networking that’s great, but if you want to get more than networking out of the event, make sure you establish your specific objectives in advance.

Start networking before the event starts: Now that you’ve gone through the conference website, it’s time to identify the folks you’d like to get to know better and start your networking early. Send them an email and tell them you are looking forward to seeing them at the event, or hearing them speak. Follow them on Twitter and begin to network with them there. Early networking is a great way to get in front of agents and publishers you might not otherwise have access to.

Make appointments early: The conference website should be your new best friend. Comb through it to find names of publishers and agents who are going to be there. Most conferences will offer you publisher or agent appointments so you can present your work, but if you want to coordinate a meeting with someone for any other reason check the website to find out who will be there and see if you can get on their calendar. I have showed up at conferences hoping to make appointments there and found that they’re not only difficult to schedule, but often confusing as well. Once you hit the conference floor the momentum of the event takes over, and any appointments that haven’t been confirmed prior to the event generally won’t happen.

Take business cards: Make sure you bring a lot of business cards, running out at an event is never good.

Stay organized: I will generally bring some letter-sized envelopes with me to the event and then file cards by session or event so I can keep track of where I collected them. For example, let’s say I went to a big awards dinner and did some networking. If I file all of these in the “Awards dinner” envelope, I can add a personal element to the follow-up email like, “It was nice to meet you at the awards dinner, wasn’t Marci’s acceptance speech great?”

Easy follow-up: Ok, so you’ve had a great meeting with a publisher and they want to see a chapter of your book. Great! Now what? Take their card, flip it over and jot down a few important notes on the back such as: follow-up steps, short meeting details (“met for lunch”), and anything else you can fit onto the card such as any personal details they shared – like having a daughter who went to the same school as your kids or something like that.

Never eat alone: There’s a great networking book by the same name (Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi, Crown Books) and the statement is true. At a writers conference be sure to grab a table packed with people and even better, don’t sit with the same folks over and over again. Mix it up and meet new people!

Action items: At the end of each conference day, I find it helpful to gather my notes and go through and highlight the important items from the day. I have often waited until I’m on the plane back home, or worse, the Monday following the conference and I generally can’t make heads or tails out of who I am supposed to follow up with at that point. Lesson: do it early while the information is still fresh.
And finally, our bonus tip:

Plan B: If you can’t afford to attend the writers conference that’s in your town here’s an idea for you. When a big conference rolls into town, an author friend of mine will sometimes hang out in the downstairs coffee shop or restaurant at the hotel where the event is being held and network with people there. You never know who you might meet…

Conference follow-up: This is a biggie. Make sure you always follow up with everyone you connected with, especially if you committed to them that you would send them more information, sample chapters, whatever.

Keep the networking going: Relationships take time. Don’t expect miracles when you land at a writers conference. Sometimes great stuff will happen right away, and other times it’s a process. Don’t let the networking end when the function is over. You’re now networking with them online via Twitter and Facebook, and perhaps you have some follow-up to do. Keep on their radar screen and then be on the lookout for future events you can attend!

Writers conferences are a great way to get out there and network, meet your peers and meet agents, publishers, and marketing professionals who can help you publish or market your book.


Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – R
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Connect with Christina George on Facebook & Twitter

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J. D. Ferguson on Holderby’s Landing & Writing #AmReading #HistFic #BookClub

Is there any books you really don’t enjoy?
I have no interest in the self-serving interests of politicians, and therefore no interest in what they write.
Where do you get your inspiration from? 
Inspiration can come from almost anywhere and anything, but inspiration does not a story make.  My inspiration comes mainly from everyday life and my need to express the extraordinary that can be found there.  I revel in being able to see the world in a grain of sand, and try to put that on paper.
Do you plan to publish more books?
Yes!  I will probably write until my toes turn up and someone dumps me in a hole.  Getting them published and out to readers is the hard part for me, and that which I enjoy the least.  I am currently working on my fourth book, another historical novel set in 1939 Georgia.
What other jobs have you had?
First off, let me say that writing has never been my job.  At present, I have no job, that is why I can spend time doing things like this Q&A.  But up until last year I had worked at one thing or another for the whole of my life.  I started working at paying positions when in the third grade.  My career began at the age of eight as a janitor in a one-room schoolhouse on a back road in Appalachia.  Since, I have been everything from a meat-cutter in a hog slaughterhouse to naval hospital corpsman to salesman to business general manager, and many, many things in between.
How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
I write at a desk on a desk-top computer.  I am poor of sight, the world’s worst typist, and prone to get distracted.  Without the regimen of trudging to the office and making me perform the process, nothing would get on paper.  I once tried pencil and paper, but by the time I had finished editing, I could hardly interpret my intensions from among the scribbles, erasures, and write-overs.
Tell us about your new book.  What’s it about and why did you write it?
Holderby’s Landing is centered on a young man from plantation life in 1836 Virginia whom is suddenly thrust into dire situations and forced to grow up.  His spring and summer of challenges and danger play out along the banks of the Ohio River and in the wooded highlands of what is now SW West Virginia.  His interactions with the residents of Holderby’s Landing, current day Huntington, WV, forms the main action of the story.  I wrote this novel because I liked the storyline and the potential to explore, in my often roving imagination, the historical aspects of an area in which I grew up.
If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?
I believe that I would ask Mark Twain to dinner.  Not only is he the author of many great works of literature, he is an American literary icon, and also a recognized public speaker of international renown.  Who better to make any meal a lively success?
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
I should probably lie here in order to intrigue my readers, by saying that I travel the world in search of adventure and experiences to prime my creative pump.  That would be a lie indeed!  It is not that I do not wish to experience new and exciting things, but I must explain that I have obligations and responsibilities – just like anyone else , am a bit beyond the average in age, and live on a fixed income.  My life has little relaxation in it.  When not writing, I am working at something else.
How often do you write?  When do you write?
I try to do something every day, if I can be creative.  Sometimes the spark isn’t there and then it is best to let it go and do something else.  I am a terrible typist and tend to make more than the usual mistakes, so writing is a chore.  It takes me about two hours per page, including editing and corrections, when writing anything.  If what I am involved in requires research, then there is additional time consumed.  I like writing in the mornings, when I am freshest, mentally and physically.
Sometimes it’s so hard to keep at it.  What keeps you going?
I am driven to write; driven to strive for the presentation of any truth or interpretation of life, displayed for all to read in the perfect sentence.  I will never achieve such proficiency, but might achieve acknowledgement of my peers for having tried.  That might be enough.
What do you hope people will take away from your writing?  How will your words make them feel?
I attempt to tell a story with my works.  It that story are points of wisdom, insights into the human condition and events only imagined for most of us.  I want the reader to enjoy the tale, learn what they can, and glean the hidden nuggets of truth to chew upon.  My words should make them feel satisfied, if nothing else.
When Justin Thorne, coddled student and heir apparent to Sylvan Springs Plantation, is forced to find his heritage, his manhood, and his destiny, in the space of one brief spring, all hell breaks loose on the banks of the Ohio River. His Virginia of 1836 is a time of transition and enormous growth. Northern industrial might and southern aristocracy, abolitionist movements and slave cultures, collide in turmoil and lay bare the raw needs and desires of those intrepid spirits confronting the frontiers of the antebellum South. 

Coming of age is an expected result of time and circumstance. It happens to all who live so long, but to each within the dictates of their own lives. The process is on-going and ever dynamic. Every person is a precious product resulting from the effects of nature and nurture. One’s ancestry, culture, and environment collude in myriad ways to make us; all as different as each life’s story, and as singular as snowflakes. This theme is played out over-and-over throughout the world and throughout history, in millions of places like Holderby’s Landing; as similar and as different as each human is to the other. Holderby’s Landing is a single glimpse in time at the coming of age of a land, a community, and a few determined souls thrown together in love, strife and chance. What they make of the time, the opportunities and themselves is the story told and the living breath of this book.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Historical Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with J. D. Ferguson on Facebook

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