Jack Canon's American Destiny

Broken Pieces

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Samantha Warren – 10 Things I Wish I Knew About Being an Author @_samanthawarren

10 Things I Wish I Knew About Being an Author I Didn’t Know Before

By: Samantha Warren

1. No one does it right the first time. Not even Stephen King. The first draft is always crap, and that’s okay. That’s why they invented editing.

2. It doesn’t get easier. As much as I would love to say it gets easier the more you know, the opposite is actually true. The more I learn, the harder it gets. But it’s also more rewarding because you know that you’re putting out the best possible book you can.

3. What worked for the last book may not work for this book. The publishing industry is changing so fast that marketing is a huge challenge. What may have made your last book a big hit won’t necessarily reap the same rewards for the newest book. You have to stay on top of your game, which leads us to…

4. Stay in the know. You have to stay on top of all the changes going on in the publishing world and social media. If you don’t, you’ll fall behind the curve and be left in the dust.

5. Self-publishing is not the devil. Like most people, I used to look down on self-publishing. But it’s really quite awesome. Any mistakes you make are your own, and you can fix them quickly.

6. Yes, you need an editor. I thought I was a good editor, and I am, but when you created the book, you need an extra set of eyes (or two, or three) to help you out. I had an editor once tell me that she cringed every time she heard someone say they liked the control self-publishing gave them because it meant they would be less open to her suggestions. While I don’t think that’s necessarily true, it could be for a lot of people. When an editor gives you a suggestion, take it to heart. Really look at what they’re saying, then decide if it’s right for your book or not. Don’t just write them off because you think you know better.

7. Even bad reviews are good. Bad reviews hurt, and they never stop hurting. When someone says your book sucks and they couldn’t finish it, or puts it in their “OMG make it stop” shelf on Goodreads, you’ll want to cry. But if the reviewer has done their job and actually given reasons for why they didn’t like the book, that review can be very helpful. It will allow you to improve in your next book and continue to grow. Also remember that you can’t please everyone. Not everyone will love your book. Some will hate it. And that’s just the way it goes.

8. You need a professional cover. Unless you have a degree in graphic design, it’s best to hire someone else to do your covers. Sure, you may be able to make a decent enough cover, but a well made cover makes a huge difference. And don’t use 3D models. They look cheesy.

9. Writing is an art; publishing is a business. It’s very hard to separate the writer mind from the publisher mind, but it must be done. Even traditionally published authors have to do a bit of marketing and business work. You have to be able to put your love of your book aside and treat it like a product in some ways. It’s your baby, but your baby is in a very big pageant and you need to realize that once the book is written, you become the coach, not the parent.

10. Just write. It’s so easy to get caught up in the marketing and social media jazz that comes along with publishing, but don’t forget the most important part: the writing. You should be spending more time on writing than promoting.

The Iron Locket

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre –  Paranormal Romance

Rating – PG

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Samantha Warren on Facebook  & Twitter

Website http://www.samantha-warren.com/

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

#AmReading – The Edge of Courage (Red Team) by Elaine Levine @ElaineLevine

The Edge of Courage by Elaine Levine


Step into Elaine Levine's exciting new series of alpha warriors--products of the government's secret corps of assassins called the Red Team:
Haunted by memories he cannot reach, stalked by an enemy bent on revenge . . .
Rocco Silas has come home to Wyoming after long years as a Red Team operative in Afghanistan. It isn't easy returning to civilian life, especially burdened as he is with a staggering case of PTSD or hunted as he is by an enemy determined to seek an eye-for-eye--neither of which can he battle until he confronts the truth of what happened one fateful day in the high mountain ranges of the Hindu Kush.
. . . She alone holds the key to his sanity.
Mandy Fielding's dream of opening a therapeutic riding center on her family's ranch is almost within her grasp--until she hires Rocco Silas, a dangerous ex-Spec Ops friend of her brother's. His haunted eyes and passionate touch promise a love she never dared believe possible. Can they confront the truth of his past and build a future together or will the enemy stalking him destroy them both?
Length: Approximately 367 pages
Ages: 18 & up (story contains sex, profanity, and violence)
The Edge of Courage (Red Team) is the first book in a serialized story that is expected to include nine installments. I highly recommend you read this series in order!

Author Interview – J.L. Myers @BloodBoundJLM

Image of J.L Myers

What movie do you love to watch?

I love how to Loose and Guy in 10 Days. Kate Hudson is amazing as the real Andy Anderson and as the ‘flip the switch’ psycho girlfriend. Her relationship and character development in falling in love Benjamin Barry (Matthew McConaughey) is heart tugging and tear jerking. And what girl doesn’t like a good cry now and then…

How do you feel about social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter? Are they a good thing?

I think Facebook and Twitter are a must these days for allowing people to follow you as an author and your work. In the beginning these types of platforms don’t really return sales, but once you begin to have a following and bring out more books, they are a way to keep your fans informed and up to date. They are also good to incorporate with other marketing strategies and can help you to connect with other authors, readers and promoters.

If you could do any job in the world what would you do?

I used to think I wanted to become a singer or an actor, but firstly I can’t sing, and secondly, public speaking or anything like that scares me more than spiders…and I hate spiders! So if I could do any job in the world I would be doing exactly what I’m doing now. Writing is my dream job, being able to create something that other people can love and enjoy is just amazing. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

What makes you angry?

I get really annoyed when I’m interrupted. Being a goal-driven perfectionist means I fill my days with things to accomplish, and anything that slows me down or gets in my way can instantly turn my mood. Oh and repetitive noises…any little sound that just repeats over and over, which I can’t find the source of or don’t have control of to stop. That drives me bonkers!

Are you a city slicker or a country lover?

I love the quiet of the country, the serenity and the scenery. The city is nice for a holiday, but I’m always happy to leave the hustle and bustle and come home. Having grown up part-time on a farm, I appreciate the sounds of being outside, the wind in the trees, the birds. The also love the openness and sight of rolling hills, dense trees…and at night, a glittering galaxy of twinkling stars. With me nature will always win out over concrete.

What Lies Inside

Amelia Lamont never asked to unleash her inner vampire

Amelia’s normal teen world is shattered when a terrifying nightmare awakens the monster inside her. A newfound, insatiable thirst for blood that leads her to drain the school quarterback is only the beginning; she’s horrified to discover that her family and best friend Kendrick have been harboring the secret all along. And is the strangely alluring boy who seems hell-bent on curbing her murderous, blood-filled desires a friend, or foe?

To escape detection Amelia and her twin brother Dorian are forced to move to a new town, and the challenge of a new, exclusive high school where nearly every classmate smells like prey. Including the irresistible Ty, who seems hauntingly familiar, yet darkly menacing …

Amelia’s disturbing dreams and entanglement in a web of forbidden romance render her increasingly powerless against the chilling lies and secrets of vampire power struggles. And, as she soon discovers, vampire politics mixed with outlawed love can be a lethal cocktail.

Falling in love may just cost Amelia everything: her friends, her family…even her life

Move over Twilight, True Blood and Underworld! J.L. Myers’ first book in the Blood Bound series will have you swooning for more!

Warning – This book contains some language and sexual situations.

YA/ Vampire/ Paranormal Fiction

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – YA Paranormal Romance

Rating – PG-13+

More details about the author

Connect with  Jessica Myers on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://bloodboundnovels.com

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Constantinopolis by James Shipman @jshipman_author

His father! Mehmet stewed when he thought of him. His father had never shown him any real affection or spent significant time with him. He was not, after all, originally the heir to the Sultanate. He was a second son and only became heir when his older brother died. Mehmet had been forced from then on to endure a frantic and often harsh tutoring process. He was just beginning to grasp his responsibilities when at the age of 12 his father had retired and named him Sultan. He had done the best he could to govern, but in short order Grand Vizier Halil had called his father back to take over the throne. The Sultan felt Halil should have helped him, should have supported him. Instead he had watched and reported Mehmet’s shortcomings to his father, betraying him and leading to his humiliation.

From then on Mehmet had bided his time. He had learned to keep his thoughts and emotions to himself, to trust no one. He had studied everything: military art, languages, administration, and the arts. He had worked tirelessly so that when he next ruled he would not only equal his father but also exceed him. He would be the greatest Sultan in the history of his people, Allah willing.

His chance came when Murad finally died only two years before, as Mehmet turned 19. Mehmet quickly took power, ordering his baby half brother strangled to assure there would be no succession disputes, and set to organizing his empire. He had learned to be cautious and measured, leaving his father’s counselors and even Halil in power to assist him. From there he had slowly built up a group of supporters. They were young and exclusively Christian converts to Islam. These followers, many of whom now held council positions, were not nearly as powerful as the old guard, but they were gaining ground. They were the future, if Halil did not interfere.

Halil. His father’s Grand Vizier and now his own. He had always treated Mehmet with condescending politeness. He was powerful, so powerful that Mehmet could not easily remove him. So powerful it was possible he could remove Mehmet in favor of a cousin or other relative. Mehmet hated him above all people in the world, but he could not simply replace him. He needed Halil, at least for now, and Halil knew it.

This dilemma was the primary reason for Mehmet’s nighttime wanderings. He needed time away from the palace. Time to think and work out a solution to the problem. How could he free himself from Halil without losing power in the process? He could simply order Halil executed, but would the order be followed or would it be his own head sitting on a pole? The elders and religious leaders all respected and listened to Halil. Only the young renegades, the Christian converts who owed their positions to Mehmet were loyal to him. If Halil was able to rally the old guard to him, Mehmet had no doubt that the result would be a life or death dispute.

Mehmet needed to find a cause that could rally the people to him. The conversations he had heard night after night told him this same thing. The people felt that his father was a great leader, and that he was not. If he could gain the people’s confidence, then he would not need Halil, and the other elders would follow his lead.

Mehmet knew the solution. He knew exactly what would bring the people to his side, and what would indeed make him the greatest Sultan in the history of the Ottoman people.

The solution however was a great gamble. His father and father’s fathers had conquered huge tracts of territory in Anatolia and then in Europe, primarily at the expense of the Greeks. Mehmet intended to propose something even more audacious, to conquer the one place that his ancestors had failed to take. If he succeeded he would win the adoration of his people and would be able to deal with Halil and any others who might oppose him. If he failed . . .

The Sultan eventually made his way back near the palace, to the home of his closest friend, Zaganos Pasha. Zaganos, the youngest brother of Mehmet’s father in law, had converted to Islam at age 13, and was Mehmet’s trusted general and friend. He was the most prominent member of the upstart Christian converts that made up the Sultan’s support base.

Zaganos was up, even at this late hour, and embraced his friend, showing him in and ordering apple tea from his servants. Zaganos was shorter and stockier than Mehmet, a powerful middle-aged man in the prime of his life. He had receding dark brown hair. A long scar cut across his forehead and down over his left eye. He looked on Mehmet with smiling eyes extending in to crow’s feet. He smiled like a proud uncle or father.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG

More details about the author and the book

Connect with  James Shipman on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://james-shipman.com

Nobody Has to Know by Frank Nappi @FrankNappi


Nobody Has To Know, Frank Nappi’s dark and daring new thriller, tells the story of Cameron Baldridge, a popular high school teacher whose relationship with one of his students leads him down an unfortunate and self-destructive path. Stalked through text-messages, Baldridge fights for his life against a terrifying extortion plot and the forces that threaten to expose him. NHTK is a sobering look into a world of secrets, lies, and shocking revelations, and will leave the reader wondering many things, including whether or not you can ever really know the person you love.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Thriller

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with Frank Nappi on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.franknappi.com

Monday, October 28, 2013

In Love With My Best Friend by Sheena Binkley



How did my life get so complicated? One minute, I, Camille Anderson, was living a pretty normal life in which nothing ever happened to me, and the next I'm practically being hauled away from the premier wedding venue in Houston, The Corinthian, by security because of my sudden outburst to the groom.

I should have known I was setting myself up for disaster, but I had to do it. I had to tell my best friend that I'd been in love with him since I was thirteen.

I really didn't expect the scene to unfold the way it did, especially while Trevor was getting married, but I couldn't hold my feelings in much longer. I felt he was making a terrible mistake, because he was marrying the wrong woman. He should have been marrying me.

I guess I should backtrack to when Trevor and I first met. It was seventeen years ago, when the Williams family first moved into the house next to ours. I was outside waiting for my friend Tia Simmons to come by when I first noticed Trevor. He was absolutely gorgeous as he stepped out of his family's SUV. He had that "boy next door" look, with wavy black hair and smooth ivory skin. He looked over at me and gave me a huge grin, which I greatly returned.

After that day, not only did we become friends, but our parents became great friends as well. We always went by each other's homes for dinner or for game night (until we were too old to appreciate hanging out with our parents on a Friday night).

We were practically inseparable during our high school years, and many of our friends thought we would eventually get married and have lots of kids. When anyone mentioned that to Trevor, he would shrug it off and say, "We're just friends, and it will stay that way until the day we die." Usually those words would tug at my heartstrings, but being the shy person I am, I never let my feelings show.

As we went to college, Trevor and I went into the same major, public relations. That was when he met Chelsea Parker, who was also my roommate. At first I liked Chelsea because she was basically a sweet person, but when she set her sights on Trevor, I quickly disliked her. Not because she took Trevor away from me, but because she became a different person.

If only I could go back to four weeks ago, or even seventeen years ago, I would be with the man I loved...


Four weeks ago....

"I don't know why you dragged me to this," I said as I looked at my friend Tia. The two of us were inside the Aventine Ballroom of Hotel Icon waiting for our friend Trevor and his fiancée, Chelsea, to arrive for their engagement and welcome home party. The two had announced their engagement to everyone a while back when Trevor was visiting his parents before going back to Dallas. Not only did he announce his engagement, but he also said that he had accepted a new position at a prestigious PR firm and was moving back to Houston. Although I was happy that my best friend was moving back, I was not thrilled that he was getting married.

"For once, why can't you be happy for Tre? He and Chelsea are finally getting married."

I gave Tia an evil stare as I looked toward the revolving door to the ballroom.

"You know how I feel about Trevor and Chelsea getting married."

"Oh please, Cam, when are you going to get past the fact that Trevor found someone? I told you to admit your feelings to him, but being the person you are, you decided not to."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"You felt you would have been rejected if you told Trevor your true feelings."

"If I remember correctly, in high school when Charles asked him why we never hooked up, he said, and I quote, 'We're just friends.'"

Tia rolled her eyes at me and started to stare at the door as well. This was not the first time we'd had this conversation about my feelings for Trevor, so I'm pretty sure Tia was tired of hearing it.

Tia was my other best friend and the complete opposite of me. While I was quiet and reserved, Tia was wild and carefree. She always did what she wanted and didn't care about the consequences. People always thought we were sisters, with our caramel-colored complexion and long, dark-brown hair. But that was where the similarities ended. I looked down at my black sequin dress that went above my knees, wondering if I was dressed appropriately for the occasion; but as I looked at the hot-pink dress Tia was sporting, I figured my outfit was perfect.

"So how are things between you and Eric?"

"Finished; I broke up with him a couple of days ago."

"I'm assuming because he's not Trevor? Cam, you have got to move on."

I sighed as I noticed two figures coming through the door. I started to breathe slowly as I watched my friend walk in with his fiancée. Trevor always was attractive, but tonight he looked really handsome in a dark blue suit, white shirt, and blue and white striped tie. His black, wavy hair was cut short, bringing out his beautiful brown eyes. He walked hand in hand with Chelsea, the woman I wish I'd never met, who was positively glowing in an ivory-colored empire dress. Her reddish brown hair was pulled into a tight ponytail and her makeup was flaw- less. Although I was completely jealous of Chelsea, I had to admit the two made a stunning couple.

Tia gave me a frown.

"You OK?"

"I'm cool. Let's just get this over with."

While the crowd of family and friends were clapping and whistling for the happy couple, all I could do was just stand in my place, looking at Trevor as if he was the only person in the room. He gave me a smile that showed the deep dimples on each of his cheeks. As he went to greet a couple of his family members, I took a deep breath to control any tears from flowing.

I shouldn't have come tonight.



"Why did we plan a huge engagement party? Everyone knows we're engaged," I asked my fiancée, Chelsea, as we were walking hand in hand down the corridor inside Hotel Icon.

"Sweetie, I just wanted everyone to celebrate in our happiness and what better way than a huge party?"

I sighed as I continued to walk, not realizing how frustrated I was becoming.

Chelsea was the love of my life. I instantly knew I wanted to marry her when I first laid eyes on her in Camille's dorm room. The two were roommates their junior year at University of Houston, which was great for me, considering I was able to see my best friend and my girlfriend at the same time. Although Camille and I were really good friends, I got the sense that something had been bothering her since I'd been dating Chelsea. Call me crazy, but it seemed as if Camille was jealous of our relationship. I hope not, because Chelsea loves Camille and considers her a good friend.

As we walked into the ballroom, everyone from our family and our friends were clapping and cheering for our arrival. We started to wave at everyone as we entered. Once I turned my head toward the center of the room, I had to stop and admire the person staring straight at me. My heart jolted several beats at the beauty who was giving me a dazzling smile. Camille Anderson had always been a beautiful woman, from her caramel-colored skin to her deep chocolate eyes; she definitely stood out in a crowd.

Just looking at her long hair flowing around her face and the black dress that hugged her curves in all the right places made me feel sort of embarrassed, because I shouldn't have been looking at her in that way. I always considered her my best friend and nothing more, so why was I looking at her differently now?

Chelsea turned her attention to me, wondering what was wrong.

"Is everything OK?"

I suddenly realized I was staring a little too long as I turned to Chelsea.

"I'm fine," I said as I squeezed her hand.

I gave Camille a huge grin as I walked over to talk to a nearby guest. I snuck another peek at her; she was talking to our friend Tia near the bar. I don't know what was going on with me, but hopefully this feeling I was having about my best friend would go away soon.

That's if I want it to.

In Love With My Best Friend

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Contemporary Fiction

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with Sheena Binkley on Twitter

Website http://sheenabinkley.wordpress.com/

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik

Adrik waited in the guard’s room a couple of corridors along from Kornfeld’s cell. There was only one way out, so the Jew had to pass this room. He spun a Makarov on his finger, aimed at imaginary targets and thrilled at the thought of using it. The gun was standard issue, but he would’ve chosen it anyway. Totally reliable, pull the trigger and out pop the bullets. The blowback design expels the spent case to the right and loads the next cartridge into the chamber – easy. And fully armed with eight rounds, he would use them all.

This wouldn’t be his first killing and sure as hell wouldn’t be his last. Kornfeld was a pain, and it was Otto who mattered. He would do anything for him. Why should he care about some Jew who got in the way?

But time dragged, and Kornfeld hadn’t yet made a show. For one horrible minute he thought there might be another way out – but no, that isn’t even possible. Calm down, be patient... Try as he might, he couldn’t, and the idea ran around his head, irritating him beyond measure.

He left the guardroom and paced the corridor outside. At first a short distance and then a bit further into the next passageway. No good – he had to find out what had happened. With gun in hand and footsteps stealthy he reached the cell door – it was slightly open. Oh shit, did that mean there was another way out? Or maybe Kornfeld had gone deeper into the prison block. Or maybe he was in the cell hoping the element of surprise would be with him.

Possibilities ganged up. Kornfeld knew Lubyanka well. What if there was another way out and that little bastard knew it? If so, Otto would kill him, never mind the Jew. He kicked the door fully open, slammed it against the cell wall, stood back and then moved in, pointing the gun around to make sure Kornfeld wasn’t hidden on either side of the opening. The cell was dimly lit and he found it difficult to see. He would stay put until his eyes got accustomed to the light. A body, he saw a body. It was covered with a greatcoat, on the bunk facing the wall.

He was clearly supposed to think it was Kornfeld. In that case he’d be under the bunk waiting... But then that’s obvious too, so he might be on top with the guard pushed underneath. That made more sense – it would be easier for him to make an attack from on top – but, shit, wouldn’t that be what he wanted him to think?

To be sure of the kill, Adrik wanted to shoot above and below – but he couldn’t. How would he explain the soldier’s death? Oh, Otto, if only Otto was there to tell him what to do. But he wasn’t, he had to make up his own mind. The Jew was on top – yes, definitely on top.

Cautiously, he edged forward, pointed the pistol to the back of the person’s head and pulled the body towards him with gun steady and ready to fire. As quickly as his huge form allowed, he pulled the greatcoat away.

Fuck! The guard! No time to react. A leg came from under the bunk with incredible speed and wrapped around the back of his. At the same time, the Jew’s other foot came against his knees and pushed. Adrik had brought his legs together when he tore the coat away and Kornfeld used the imbalance to his advantage. Adrik’s arms went out. He hovered awkwardly, then almost regained control, but Kornfeld pushed harder and Adrik went flying backwards with his legs in the air. A sense of suspension ended and he fell heavily, striking the hard stone floor. His head bounced, shudders chased through his brain and he found himself staring at the ceiling, wavering between conscious and unconscious.

The pain pierced his skull and he noticed his head had rested in a pool of warm liquid. He hadn’t seen that when he came in. Numbness consumed his body; he couldn’t move. But then his blurred vision saw the bleary outline of the Jew. Awareness came that his body was being rolled over. He was paralyzed, but it didn’t stop the surge of fear that ran through every fibre of his being.

Birth of an Assassin

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Genre – Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter

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

The Color Pink by Parker Paige


Can wearing the color pink attract true love?

That is the question Summer Jones intends to answer.

In her early thirties, Summer Jones thought that she had found the perfect man, the man she planned to marry until she learned that he still had feelings for his first love. Now, at age thirty-five, Summer is ready to fall in love again. After she hears that wearing the color pink can attract true love, she sets out to do just that–and finds more than just true love.

Follow Summer as she journeys into the world of color magic and find out how she uses that magic to help her choose between one man from her past and another man who is destined to become her future.

This romantic drama serves up something fun and sexy, proving that the road to love can be paved with many painful lessons and memorable moments. It’s a story about paying attention to your past so that you don’t always have to repeat it.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Romance

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with Parker Paige on Twitter

Website parkerpaige.wordpress.com

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik

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

Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter

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

Friday, October 25, 2013

Author Interview – James Shipman @jshipman_author

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I hope happily writing with a great group of fans who enjoy my books.

What are your current writing projects now?

I am writing a civil war novel, “Going Home,” that is based on a true story.  This title will be released in July, 2014.

Are you reading any interesting books at the moment?

Nathaniel Philbrick’s new title, “Bunker Hill.”  A fascinating and detailed description of the events that lead up to Lexington and Concord.

What contributes to making a writer successful?

Hard work, research and daily consistency in writing and marketing is the key.

Do you have any advice for writers?

Do your research, get to know other writers and develop relationships with them.  Work hard consistently day after day and don’t quit.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

I love creating works and I love having people read them and appreciate them.

When you wish to end your career, stop writing, and look back on your life, what thoughts would you like to have?

I want to know I worked hard at writing and wrote my entire life.  And I hope that I will have imparted a little joy and interest in history to my readers.


In 1453 Constantinople is the impregnable jewel of the East. It has stood as the greatest Christian city for a millennium as hordes have crashed fruitlessly against its walls.

But Mehmet II, the youthful Sultan of the Ottoman Turks, has besieged the city. His opponent is Constantine XI, the wise and capable ruler of the crumbling Eastern Roman Empire. Mehmet, distrusted by his people and hated by his Grand Vizer, must accomplish what all those before him have failed to do: capture Constantinople. To prove that he deserves the throne that his father once took from him, Mehmet, against all advice, storms the city. If he fails, he will not only have failed himself and his people, but he will surely lose his life.

On the other side of the city walls, the emperor Constantine must find a way to stop the greatest army in the medieval world. To finance his defenses, he becomes a beggar to the Pope, the Italian city-states, and the Hungarians. But the price for aid is high: The Pope demands the Greeks reunite the Eastern and Western churches and accept the Latin faith. If Constantine wants aid for his people he must choose between their lives and their souls.

Two leaders, two peoples, two faiths battle for their future before the mighty walls of Constantinople.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with  James Shipman on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://james-shipman.com

The Photo Traveler (The Photo Traveler Series) by Arthur J. Gonzalez


I can’t ask for a better day to be out shooting. Man, what a view. Something about how the sun’s rays press against the faint distant outline of the mountains. Sick! If it can seem so dominating from all the way over here, I can only imagine what it must feel like up close. I don’t know. It just always kind of does something to me.

I know, I know. Lame, right? But trust me, if you lived in the hellhole I live in, anytime alone is sacred. You start to appreciate all these little not-so-particular things. Yeah—even the outline of the mountains.

Carefully, I focus the lens on my Canon 7D to capture the effect of the clouds drifting across the peaks of Mt. Rose and get my shot. A few seconds later, the sunlight dims. I hadn’t realized it was so late. I glance at my watch, wondering what’s taking Melinda so long. She promised to pick me up by five, even though I knew that would mean five-thirty. It’s five-forty-five.

I call her on my cell. It rings four times, then goes to voicemail. “Come on, Mel!” I mutter. “It’s getting late!”

I’ve had a good day so far, probably because I’ve been alone for most of it, and I really don’t want another confrontation with Jet. I can still taste the faint copper tinge of blood at the corner of my mouth where he split my lip the last time around. Two days ago.

I hit redial. Straight to voicemail. “Dammit, Mel!”

I tell myself to breathe, but my anxiety is really starting to kick in. Sweat is beading on my forehead and my heart is jolting in my chest. Why does she always have to be so impossible? I don’t get it.

The moment I hear the loud thrum of an engine roaring up the dirt road, I jump up from the boulder I’ve been perched on. It’s about damn time!

She screeches up to me in her new, cherry-red Mini Cooper and slams on the brakes. I dodge around to the passenger side. Grab the door handle. It’s locked.

“Mel!” I shout. “Open up!”

But she’s sitting behind the wheel pretending not to hear me. Eyes glued to her phone, purple nails tapping out a text message. With a tiny smirk on her glossed-up lips.

I hit the window with my fist. “Stop messing around! Jet’s gonna be pissed!”

She finishes her text, sends it … and adjusts the rearview mirror so she can check out the jet-black curls at her temples. She still hasn’t given me one look. Is she really serious right now?

I pound at the window again, as hard as I can. “Open up, dammit!” My anxiety is turning into rage. And rage is something Jet’s modeled for me only too well over the years, ever since he and his first wife, Leyla, took me in as a foster kid. Mel was just six at the time, but “my sister,” which she became after they finally adopted me, was a full-fledged brat from Day One, and she’s only gotten worse.

My fist hurts. I’m afraid of what Jet will do when we get back, since he ordered me to be home by six so I can start dinner.

But as far as Mel’s concerned, I might as well not be there. I can’t control it any longer. I take a step back, lift my knee, and kick the passenger door with all my strength. The hollow metal frame vibrates against the sole of my shoe. Mel’s prized car now has a six-inch dent right in the middle of the passenger door.

I guess that got her attention. Her mouth is hanging open. For a moment, she’s so astonished that she can’t speak. She swings her door open and charges around to the passenger side.

“MY CAR!” she screams, staring at the dent. “Are you crazy?!”

“Why couldn’t you just open up?” I yell back.

“Gavin, you’re an asshole! I was just messing with you! You’re never gonna learn to use your head, are you?”

“Go to hell!”

She goes still, then raises her eyebrows with an “Oh, really?” expression. Then she hauls off and slams her fist into the right side of my face. All I can feel is the large stone of her ring jabbing into my cheek. She stalks back to the driver’s side with a wicked smirk creasing her lips and snaps, “You can walk home!”

She slides behind the wheel, slams the door, and peels off so hard and fast that the car kicks up a stinging cloud of gravel and asphalt dust all over me.

She can’t be serious. But as the Mini disappears around the first bend in the road, I realize that she is.

* * *

Photo Traveler

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Young Adult Science Fiction

Rating – PG

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Arthur J. Gonzalez on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.arthurjgonzalez.com/

Thursday, October 24, 2013

#Free–Penalty Clause by Lori Ryan @loriryanauthor

Penalty Clause by Lori Ryan

Amazon Kindle US

Genre – Romantic Suspense

Rating – R

4.5 (42 reviews)

Free until 24 October 2013

To keep her, he'll have to gamble it all!
Andrew Weston and Jill Walsh had to be the two most unlikely people to fall in love. When Jill's first husband's love for her simply fizzled and died, Jill knew she'd never trust that love could last again. After Andrew's first love betrayed him in the most brutal way possible, he knew he might fall in love again someday, but there was no way he'd ever make himself vulnerable again by confessing those feelings if he did.
Fate had a different ending in mind for these two, though, and when Andrew discovers his love for Jill, he knows the only way to get her to stay with him forever is to offer her an iron clad penalty clause in a prenuptial agreement. He stays with her forever or he loses everything he owns. The millions he's worked for, his property, his cars, everything. Now he just needs to hope that's enough to hold onto Jill forever.

Author Interview – Maggie Thom

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? Besides my family, for me I’d have to say where I’m at in life. Publishing my first novel, which took a long time and meant climbing over a lot of fear and overcoming a lot of limiting beliefs about myself.

What is your favorite color? I have several but green is my most favorite, especially blue green colors – teal, jade.

What is your favorite food? Fresh fruit. I love in summer when fruit is ripe and you can go and pick it right from the plant or tree. Yum.

What’s your favorite place in the entire world? To sit beside or hike alongside a flowing stream, creek or river, preferably near waterfalls. I love going to the Rocky Mountains and exploring nature there.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? I think the freedom I had growing up. My siblings and I were always out hiking in nature, exploring and having wonderful adventures. I think that curiosity and love of exploring and trying something new all played into how I write and what I write about.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? No idea really. I loved to read and so did most of my family. I think it was curiosity to see if I could write something that I’d like to read. I’m quite sure though it didn’t come from my English class in high school, I always felt lost and 4 pages behind everyone else. :) Although I did run into my English teacher several years ago and told her I was writing, she was thrilled.

When and why did you begin writing? I’m sure it was curiosity and boredom that started me writing. I grew up on a farm, 15 minutes from town, so in winter when it was too miserable to be outside and I was tired of reading or playing games with my siblings, I wrote. I think that my interest in writing became stronger when I entered my teens, because most of my siblings were older and were doing their own things or were moving out of home and on with their own lives.

How long have you been writing? I started playing at it at a young age, preteen for sure. And I dabbled with it over the years, more for amusement for myself but about 18 years ago, I really decided that I wanted to write and so started exploring what that meant for me.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Suspense

Rating – PG13

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Connect with Maggie Thom on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.maggiethom.com/

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Anastasia Faith

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Anastasia Faith

1. I enjoy lists.

2. My name isn’t really Anastasia Faith. If I told you my real name, it would defeat the purpose of the pseudonym, so it’s for me to know.

3. I’m hoping to attend MTSU this fall for journalism, then get a job as a professional blogger or freelance writer, rent an apartment, and go to Nashville State for sign language interpreting.

4. I love Skillet, Thousand Foot Krutch, Red, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

5. I want to adopt—at least ten kids, but no more than twenty—both internationally and locally, including a set of twins (preferably a boy and a girl), and a set of Irish twins. That’s the family in my fantasy anyway. I’ll be happy with any, really.

6. I love Doctor Who, Sherlock, Monk, and Psych.

7. I learned to read when I was four.

8. I take pictures of grammatically incorrect signs.

9. My favorite candy bars are Butterfinger and Reese’s (any kind but the bars or the whipped Reese’s).

10. I’d love to be a screenwriter one day.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Christian YA Fiction

Rating – PG

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

#AmReading Straight Dope by LeRon Barton

Straight Dope is book that asks the simple question – why are drugs so entrenched in America's society. Instead of doing the same ol' rigamarole song and dance and interviewing talking heads and experts, Straight Dope gets to the heart of the matter and talks to the people at ground zero – the drug addicts whose life revolves around getting high; the criminals who profit of the misery of the addicts; the teachers who deal with the children in drug abused homes; the drug counselors that try and balance breaking the addicts cycle of addiction while dealing with the bureaucracy of government politics; the legal marijuana growers battle against tobacco companies and how to thrive in the growing industry; and the parents issue of how they will prepare their children to just say no.

Inspired by the late great Studs Terkel's many works, Straight Dope is comprised of raw and uncut hard hitting interviews about the participants experiences, thoughts, opinions, and outlook on drug abuse, why or why not drugs should be legal, and how the government is handling the war on drugs.

Removing nearly all of the questions, the interviews are more like monologues, allowing the reader to feel as if the subject is just, “talking,” instead of your standard interview.

In addition to the real life accounts of people, Straight Dope also has spoken word pieces compiled of biting social commentary, as well as my own personal reflections composed of my experiences with drugs.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - NonFiction / Sociology
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with LeRon Barton on Twitter

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Colony East (The Toucan Trilogy #2) by Scott Cramer @cramer_scott

Colony East
When the bacteria that killed most of world’s adults undergo a deadly mutation, 15-year-old Abby must make the dangerous journey to Colony East, an enclave of scientists and Navy personnel who are caring for a small group of children. Abby fears that time is running short for the victims, but she’s soon to learn that time is running out for everyone outside Colony East. (Parental discretion advised for readers 13 and under)
Colony East will be specially priced at $2.99, 60 percent off the regular price.
Night of the Purple Moon (Book 1 of the Toucan Trilogy) is free.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Science fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Scott Cramer on Facebook & Twitter

#Free - Night of the Purple Moon by Scott Cramer @cramer_scott


Abby, 13, is looking forward to watching the moon turn purple, unaware that deadly bacteria from a passing comet will soon kill off older teens and adults. She must help her brother and baby sister survive in this new world, but all the while she has a ticking time bomb inside of her--adolescence.

"Cramer creates a picture of our world that's both frightening and inspiring in this heartfelt story that both young adults and adults can enjoy.A heartwarming but not overly sentimental story of survival." KIRKUS REVIEWS

"Outrageous and completely 'out of the box'."
"Three words: Gripping. Palpable. Well-developed." WORD SPELUNKING review blog

Buy Now @ Amazon & B&N & iBooks & Kobo

Genre - Science fiction

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend by Cheryl Carpinello

Chapter 1

The Hunt

Guinevere stared into the shadows along the edge of the forest. She could hear Cedwyn shifting from foot to foot beside her, unable to stand still. She sighed, the bow made of sturdy pine in her hand growing heavier like her heart. Her thirteenth Birth Day was in a few days, but she wasn’t excited. Birth Days were supposed to be fun, but not this year. Not for her, not for a princess.

She frowned as Cedwyn adjusted the leather quiver of arrows on his back again. Sometimes, like today, her patience with the seven-year-old was short.



“But ...”


She stamped her boot on the ground, her displeasure clearly showing.

“Cedwyn,” she snapped. “What is so important that you can’t be quiet?”

“I’m hungry, and the bottoms of my trousers are wet. Can’t we go back to the castle?” His face showed his confusion at her tone.

Guinevere realized that she shouldn’t have directed her anger at Cedwyn. It wasn’t his fault. Glancing down at her own clothes, she saw the bottom of her green ankle-length tunic wet with the morning dew. Her stomach chose that moment to begin grumbling. It started as a low vibration but grew louder as if it hadn’t been fed in days. Cedwyn heard it and started giggling. He tried to smother the sound by covering his mouth with his small hand, but he was too late.

Trying to keep from laughing also, Guinevere shook her head. “How are we ever going to shoot a rabbit with all this noise?” She reached down and tousled his blond hair to let him know that she was not serious and to apologize for her crossness. “Let’s try for just ten minutes longer. Then if we find nothing, we’ll go back. Is that all right?”

Cedwyn shook his head, not wanting to make any further noise. She let her eyes move across the blue sky. The English summer sun had barely reached above the far hills when they had first arrived at the forest. Now, it was well on its way in its climb toward the dinner hour, and they hadn’t even had a proper breakfast yet. Cedwyn’s mum was sure to be upset that they had been gone so long.

“Come on,” he whispered. “The only creatures we’ve seen moving have been badgers and Cornish hens. We could of had five bloody hens by now.”

“I told you, it’s good luck to bag a rabbit on the eve of your thirteenth Birth Day,” Guinevere informed him.

Cedwyn studied her face, unsure if she was telling the truth or not. Then his blue eyes widened, and he grabbed her arm as she turned to continue hunting. “Wait a minute! You promised to help me bag a rabbit on the eve of my tenth Birth Day. You said that was lucky!”

She turned to him, her balled fists on her slim hips. “You need to listen closer when I talk to you. I explained the difference be- tween boys and girls. Boys have to seek luck on the eve of their tenth and fifteenth Birth Days. Since girls are naturally luckier than boys, they only have to seek luck once, on the eve of their thirteenth Birth Day.”

Cedwyn eyed her suspiciously, and then his eyes lit up.

“But I thought that the eve was the night before. Your Birth Day isn’t until the day after tomorrow.”

“That’s true, but the eve of something can also be anytime close to the day.”

“Are you sure?”


Buy Now @ Amazon @ Smashwords

Genre - Arthurian Legend

Rating – G

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Cheryl Carpinello on Facebook & Twitter & Goodreads

Website http://www.beyondtodayeducator.com/

Saturday, October 19, 2013

#AmReading - Heir to the Luima Legacy by Gabrielle Poplar @GabriellePoplar

Heir to the Luima Legacy by Gabrielle Poplar


A few people advance beyond their wildest aspirations, and other people descend lower than the expectations of their family and friends. Such was the story of Meryl and Nestor, a story that began in Custodian of the Luima Legacy. Now, the struggle between the brothers continue.

Meryl became the King of the Luima because of a series of events that revealed his true ancestry. He also found out that he was the first son of Prince Finnegan, heir to the throne of Bahadi. The Prince had another son, Nestor, who had been abducted by King Arpad of Estruchi. Nestor’s uncle and a few nobles determined to maintain Nestor’s position in the Bahadi line of succession declared Meryl to be a bastard King, and they recruited a cult of assassins to remove him. The internal feud in the Bahadi royal family was exploited by King Arpad, who convinced the dissenting Bahadi Lords to side with him in launching a war against the dominant Bahadi kingdom.

The choices made by Nestor, and the resolutions made by Meryl would determine who would become the Heir to the Luima Legacy.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Invasion: A Diabolical Onslaught by Michael Dismuke


An otherworldly force opens a gate in a remote mountain range in Colorado and unleashes an alien organism into the forest. Once the gate opens, a shield is placed over the entire area blocking all communications in or out of the zone. It then releases a time pulse every 30 minutes locking everything inside the shield into a checkpoint. If anything destroys the gate, everything within the shield is reset back to the previous checkpoint before the gate was destroyed.

The organism is highly infectious and anything it touches mutates and joins the invading force. They become soldiers with a darker will and help spread the infection even further. Survivors caught within the shield try to escape and stop the organism from leaving, but something keeps destroying the gate, resetting time, and changing their fates.

INVASION is the first volume in the Darkness & Daemons series, event 1-10.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – SciFi Horror

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with  Michael Dismuke on Facebook & Twitter

Author Interview – Greg Sandora @gregsandora

Have you included many of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? Friends who have read it have commented they can see some of my life woven into the plot. Of course my wife and children are represented in the characters voices. I basically write what I know and the things I have seen and done find there way into the story.

How important do you think villains are in a story? Villains are key to this story, many don’t want Jack to succeed and set up every roadblock imaginable.

Who designed the cover? Carol Itoh designed the cover.

What is your favorite drink? I love Ice Tea, especially with lemonade in it.

Who is your publisher? Itoh Press is my publisher

Are you reading any interesting books at the moment? The untethered soul.

What is your least favorite quality about yourself? I tend towards impatience.

How long did it take to write Jack Canon’s American Destiny? Writing takes a great deal of time. Jack Canon’s American Destiny took six months to write.

When is your favorite time of day to write? I love to write early in the morning. Usually after I have dreamt something or had a thought that must be added.

What books have influenced you in the past? The Course in Miracles, Seat of the Soul. I love books on spirituality.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Political Thriller

Rating – PG

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Greg Sandora on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.gregsandora.com/

Monday, October 14, 2013

Relative Malice by Marla Madison @MarlaAMadison

Relative Malice by Marla Madison

Amazon Kindle US

Genre – Suspense

Rating – PG13

4.4 (60 reviews)

Free until 15 October 2013

When four family members are found dead after a home invasion, Detective Kendall Halsrud takes charge of the case. In the murder house, she discovers an empty crib with blood drops next to it on the wood floor. The family: a father, mother, teenage daughter, and young son have been fatally shot . . . but where is baby Philly?
The desperate search to find the child derails when a man is arrested for murdering the family and claims to have killed the baby. Suspecting he had an accomplice, Kendall isn’t convinced. Refusing to give up on finding the child, Kendall persists in unearthing the family’s secrets. With the help of a hacker turned spurious fortune-teller and a former cop hired by the missing baby’s uncle, she discovers a furtive pedophile ring is planning on buying and sharing a baby. Can she stop them while there's time to save Philly?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

#Bargain - Infinity by Sedona Venez @tlclarke_tlc

Infinity by Sedona Venez


New Adult Paranormal Romance
The first moment I saw Boulder... his helmet-covered head snapped in my direction and stared.
My eyes greedily took in the hardness of his thighs encased in dark jeans, his kickass motorcycle boots, and leather jacket. I licked my bottom lip, stifling the crazy urge to leap out of the car and climb him like a tree while burying my nose into the crook of his neck like a possessed woman.
I needed to see his face, and as if answering my request, he pulled off his helmet impatiently, and literally, something clicked in my head as his warm apple-green eyes locked onto me and he muttered, "All mine."
Well, that's what I imagined he was saying as his lips moved silently. He could have been whispering, "Stalker girl," but hey, I was willing to stalk him into submission.

**Mature Content Warning** 18+ for language, and adult situations.

Excerpt: The Woodpecker Menace by Ted Olinger

The Woodpecker Menace

It was one of those damp, warmish evenings so common to Puget Sound in spring. I was sitting on the deck of our still new-ish house, only now emerging from my little family’s first winter in her. I had been contemplating the mold on the railing over the far edge of a martini glass when I heard what sounded like rapid gunfire.

I sat up somewhat straighter and listened to the booming echo in the surrounding woods—or was it the ringing in my ears? The occasional gunshot on the rural peninsula where we live is not uncommon, especially at cocktail hour, but machine-gunning the gathering dusk seemed a bit much even for our sparsely populated neighborhood.

I heard it again: two or three quick, penetrating bursts. Seemed to be coming from the front of the house, near the road. That’s it, I thought. Roadwork. Must be a jackhammer. I forgot all about it.

Before sunrise the next morning, our three-year-old boy kicked open the bedroom door and announced, “I AM AWAKE.” I heard the jackhammer again. A rapid, relent-less pounding that seemed both to be in my head and wrapped around it. Of course, I thought, that’s what woke him. Damn early though. I’d speak to the work crew up on the road.

But there was no work crew.

I heard it again that evening. And again. I walked down our long gravel driveway to the road. The sound tore open the evening quiet: BDDDDDDTH! BDDDDDDTH! BDDDDDDTH!

My God, I thought. It’s coming from our house!

I crept back up the driveway, concealing myself in the rhododendrons. BDDDDDDDDTH! I slinked behind the house. BDDDDDDDTH! A bright flash rocketed down from the eaves and smashed into the suet basket hanging on our deck. There it was, a tan and speckled woodpecker, shining orange under the wings, talons sunk deep into the suet, twirling at the end of the basket’s chain. It sensed my gawking and turned its evil gaze on me. It took off in a blur and vanished into the tree line, violently beating the air with flashes of banded gold.

Dawn next morning. BDDDDTH! BDDDDTH! BDDDTH! The walls pulsated. The windows rattled. Our boy kicked open the door. “WOO’PECKER,” he said. We lay there, my wife and boy and I, innocents in the dark, listening to this twelve-inch tall bird produce a sound like all the jackhammers of hell destroying the Devil’s own driveway.

I crept downstairs and silently opened the back door. BDDDDTH! The very air was rent. I looked up to the eaves. He was near the apex of the roof, below the chimney, attacking a piece of flashing. His evil little head snapped back and forth with military precision. He aimed his beak at some secret confluence of roof, flashing and gutter and BDDDTH! BDDDTH! BDDDDTH! The sound it produced was stunning, and it was directly above our three-year-old’s room. It seemed an honor, in a way, to be thus embraced by the natural world, as if the arrival of the woodpecker was a sublime gift offered with outstretched arm by the open hand of nature.

Four weeks later, neither my wife nor my son nor I had slept past dawn. Five in the morning. BDDTH! Five in the evening. BDDDDDDTH! Any time in between. BDDDDDDDDTH! The boy started to have bad dreams. My wife demanded action. I searched for an answer in vain until one evening, while sitting on our deck, a small piece of freshly gouged wooden siding floated down and came to rest near my martini glass. The siege of the woodpecker was no longer just mental torture.

Our nemesis had a name—Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)—and we were not his first victims. The broad migration range of the flicker spills across North America like so much blood, seeping all the way into the deserts of the southwest down to Central America and even Cuba. The male will “drum,” as the rapid fire hammering of his beak is called, to proclaim his territory, but principally he drums to attract a mate. If decibels were any measure of desire, we had one lonely woodpecker on our hands. Once paired, however, flickers are monogamous. Ensconced in their choice locale, they may remain for a decade. They will defend their territory to the death.

Ordinarily, flickers seek out dead trees for nest excavation but ignore the well-seasoned wood of older homes. In the absence of appropriate dead wood, they will readily apply their skills to any structure for “drumming,” as the bird books modestly call this 20-beat-per-second head banging. Cedar shingles, metal gutters, roof flashing, an-tennae, chimney caps, highway signs—all are ripe targets for drumming. And the louder the better, for drumming is not a search for food, it is a declaration: “THIS LAND IS MINE. LOVE ME OR LEAVE IT.”

It must be said that the Northern Flicker is not only tough, adaptable and fearless—as anyone who has battled it will admit—it is a keystone species. The cavities it creates provide homes for numerous other animals. It is also, ironically, a mostly terrestrial feeder, scouring the ground for ants and termites and other insects potentially harmful to the very same houses it would happily chisel into oblivion by its hammering. “Ant bird” is one of the two hundred or so monikers that have been hung on this terrible creature since our colonial times. Other attractive handles include: Big Sapsucker, Carpintero, Cotton-back, Golden Winged Woodcock, High Holer, Little Wood Chuck, Pecker Wood, Shadspirit, Yellowhammer and, most fitting of all, the Blackhearted Woodpecker for the heart shaped mark emblazoned on its chest, Superman style.

The books urged us to cover up the damage with an array of anti-woodpecker paraphernalia. We took down our suet baskets and bird feeders, enraging the local jay population. We bought a battery-powered motion detecting plastic owl that turned its head and hooted whenever one of our dogs drew near. More extreme measures, such as attaching mirrors near the damage, applying foul tasting muck or stapling strips of Mylar along the roofline were impractical. Our roof, where the flicker chose to drum, is over thirty feet off the ground and too steep to stand on. The idea of renting an extension ladder long enough to reach it and risk plunging to my death while trying to scare away a bird was laughable. For a while.

By April, blood was in the air. None of our simple tricks had worked. The owl batteries had long since died. Friends who had laughed at our troubles now offered sympathy and firearms. I still resisted the idea of attaching anything to our roof, strictly out of concern for my own safety. I was not going to risk my life staple-gunning plastic ribbons to the gutter. Even if it worked, I’d have to go back up there and rip it all down. Or would I? Would we have to leave it there indefinitely? We needed a better answer.

One of the less helpful sympathy gifts we had received was a stuffed animal version of a Northern Flicker Woodpecker. We were encouraged to “try some voodoo on this guy and see what happens!”

Our son commandeered the toy and incorporated it into the menagerie of stuffed monkeys, bears and other exotics that accompanied him to bed each night. He carefully propped each one up among the pillows at the head of his bed, to watch over him as he slept. “We love you all the time, but now it’s time to go to sleep,” he intoned, which was exactly what we said to him each night.

As I tucked the boy in and observed the woodpecker in his burrow of pillows, I realized we were going about this whole thing the wrong way.

What if we welcomed this bird instead of fighting it? What if we installed a woodpecker house on our roof, right at his drumming spot? Perhaps he would move in and stop drumming there?

I went to a local tool store to rent the dreaded extension ladder. The aging owner behind the counter demanded to know what I was about. I found it difficult to say out loud, but admitted that I planned to nail a birdhouse to my roof to keep a woodpecker from hammering my home to pieces. He stared at me. “Is it a Flicker?” he whispered, as if one might be listening. “Had one on ah house ah mine once.”

My heart quickened. Here was a survivor of woodpecker battle, full of knowledge to share. “What did you do?”


Somehow I managed to climb the ladder, carrying a two-foot tall, six-by-six inch woodpecker house stuffed full of cedar sawdust (to give the flicker something to excavate), a cordless drill, and a bunch of screws. Cheating death, I installed this new totem, and waited for the silence to begin.

The hammering went on. The woodpecker house failed to attract, discourage, or even interest the woodpecker in any way. It occurred to me that this bird was obviously a veteran of many conflicts with humans. And there was that arresting phrase I’d read: “Will defend their territory to the death.” It began to hit home.

I am not ordinarily bloodthirsty and am a sincere believer that nature is best left to its own devices. But after more than two months this living hammer had still not attracted a mate despite its singular, incessant and spectacular hammering. After all, I too am part of the evolutionary circle of life. Sometime in May I decided that if he didn’t find a date soon, this woodpecker was going to be selected against.

Like all migratory birds, the Northern Flicker is a protected species. However, the federal government has kindly provided, in its familiar tortured fashion, a process by which one may obtain a permit to kill a woodpecker that is damaging property or driving a young family insane. My years in uniform had made me a competent rifleman—and I have been known to trim lofty tree branches with a shotgun—but I was not eager to start blasting holes in the side of my house to kill a bird. I took the decision seriously. With the grim and disciplined patience appropriate for such a measure, I began the tedious filing and phone calling necessary to obtain the two permits that would become my license to kill.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Fiction / Short Stories

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Ted Olinger on Facebook

Website http://www.woodpeckermenace.com/

Justice Incarnate by Regan Black

Justice Incarnate

Whoever said, “You only live once” didn’t know Jaden Michaels.

The year is 2096 and evil is running rampant in Chicago. As the police chief, Brian Thomas has seen it all, until he runs into a would-be thief on her way to the museum.

In every life Jaden has chased down a predatory demon, exacting her fatal brand of justice, only to lose her own life in the process. This time, as she searches for the weapon that will banish the demon forever, she must also fight for the love that has always managed to slip through her grasp.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author and the book

Connect with  Regan Black on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.reganblack.com

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Keeper of Reign (Reign Fantasy) by Emma Right


THE LAST THING Jules Blaze thought of before he closed his eyes was how he, how anyone, could undo the curse his people were under. He was in the middle of a dream, a nightmare as far as he was concerned, begging Grandpa Leroy and Grandma Bonnie not to leave, when someone banged on their front door, shaking their entire tree house.

Who’d be crazy enough to disturb them at this hour? He sat up on his bed and cocked his head. His mother’s soft tread tap-tapped on the wood floor.

“Who’s there?” her muffled voice asked, harsh and whispery from sleep.

The banging stopped.

“Erin, open up.” Saul’s voice, gruff and loud, jolted the last fog of sleepiness from Jules. He peered over at his brother sleeping noiselessly in the bunk below him, and quietly slipped down the ladder. On tiptoe he sneaked to the trapdoor opening that led down to the living room where Saul stood dripping from the rain.

“Is everything okay?” Erin said.

“Would I visit now if it were?” Saul said. Then in a gentler voice he added, “I’m sorry. Please, let’s take a seat, Erin.” He nodded at Jules who’d slipped down the pull-down ladder to join them. “Jules.” Jules thought about his father at the war front and swallowed a lump in his throat. Was this why Dad hadn’t sent any word to them for the last months? Because he couldn’t?

Saul held Erin by the arm. He led her to the dining room chairs behind the sofa covered with knitted shawls and afghan throws.

Jules trudged to the window and peered at the branches outside. The arm of the oak tree grew so thick they could easily live in it, although getting up there could be a problem, especially since he was afraid of heights. These days they didn’t even live in stone houses, or even wooden ones, unless living under a tree counted as a wooden home. Elfies lived in trees, or burrowed under rocks, in the forest of Reign.

“Take a seat, Jules.” Saul locked eyes on him for an instant. “I just received word from the riverfront patrol—Leroy and Bonnie’s boat capsized in the storm. They’re searching for the bodies, but it doesn’t look good.”

Erin let out a gasp and brought a fist to her mouth. “No!”

“Boat? How can they be sure it was them?” Jules leaned forward in his chair.

“Some of their belongings floated to shore, and I identified the wreck—the pieces drifted to the bank.”

Erin looked at him blankly.

Saul said, again, “The boat…was a wreck.”

“Boat?” Erin said.

“I’d loaned it to them.”


Saul looked at the ceiling. “They’d wanted to get across to Handover.”

“Handover? That’s preposterous. After telling us never to cross the river and saying how dangerous Handover is?” Erin’s voice sounded angry amidst her sobs.

Saul pushed his chair back and stood. He reached into the cloak of his pocket, brought out a few items and laid them on the dining table. “Some things to remember your folks by.” And with that he turned and stalked back out into the dripping night.

Jules stared at his grandpa’s pocket watch, the green felt hat the old man always wore, especially on damp days, and his grandma’s silk scarf she donned when the wind ruffled her snowy white hair. Erin sobbed more violently, and Jules stood behind his mother’s back, leaned over and hugged her trembling shoulders.

Keeper of Reign

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Genre - Young Adult Adventure Fantasy  

Rating – G

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Connect with Emma Right on Facebook & Facebook (Keeper of Reign)

Website http://www.emmaright.com/Home.aspx

The Curse, A Teleplay by London Tracy

The Curse

From HBO’s hit series, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” comes, “The Curse, a teleplay:” After Larry David quarrels with his lesbian neighbors, he finds himself under a seven-day curse of bad luck.

LONDON TRACY is an author, screenwriter and freelance writer. She lives in Los Angeles.

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Genre – Comedy

Rating – PG-13

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Website http://londontracy.wordpress.com

Friday, October 11, 2013

Alice Will by Ashley Chappell @AshleyNChappell


With her leaky powers and premature smiting problem, fourteen year-old Trotter was still just trying to get the hang of the demi-godding business when the apocalypse began. In a world where the gods have withdrawn from humanity, leaving mortals bitter toward magic, she finds herself torn between the human and the goddess in her as the world begins to fade away and she becomes the prime suspect. When her search to determine the cause and prove her innocence ends up revolving around a mysterious little girl named Alice, she discovers that not all of the gods had been as distant as they seemed… Now, with everyone against her and the gods fighting amongst themselves, Trotter is on her own to save her world and stop a spiteful god from using Alice to destroy everything.

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Genre – YA Fantasy

Rating – PG

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Connect with Ashley Chappell on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.ashleychappellbooks.com/