Jack Canon's American Destiny

Broken Pieces

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cerece Rennie Murphy's #WriteTip for an On-the-Spot Interview @CereceRMurphy #SciFi

How to have fun giving an On-the-Spot Interview
Unlike most public speaking opportunities, I actually look forward to interviews.  Whether they are in-person, on camera, radio or via an emailed list of questions, I always feel like I know how to prepare and just what to do because an interview is about the one thing you know best – you.  You might not be able to list significant developments in the Middle East Crisis or come up with a succinct definition of “irony” on the spot, but you are an expert in you and your work and that’s all an interview is really about.   So here are some thoughts I have on how to approach an interview with anticipation instead of dread.  You might even have a little fun in the process.
1)     Ask yourself what you would want to know.  Look at the body of work that the people interviewing you will be familiar with.  Are there any interesting connections, inconsistencies or curious departures that, if you were a stranger, you’d want to know more about?  Practice putting your thoughts together on how to describe, explain or clarify your unique journey.  I wouldn’t recommend memorizing anything here, because if you get nervous and you can’t find “the word” that’s supposed to come next, you might convince yourself that you’re lost when you’re not.  You can never be lost in an interview because you have the ultimate home court advantage – you know you better than anyone else.  You just want to have thought about the questions they might ask long enough for your to identify the themes and patterns that are important to you so that you can recall them with more ease when you need to.
2)     Don’t be afraid to give an answer they don’t like.  A really good interviewer wants to get to know you.  The right answer is the one you give.  It may not be what they are looking for, but that doesn’t mean it is wrong.  I’ll never forget one of the last job interviews I had. One of the interviewers asked me what I would do if I disagreed with my supervisor.  I told her that I would voice my opinion and then leave it up to the supervisor to decide.  She didn’t like that.  I could see it right away, but it was the truth and if she couldn’t handle that then I probably wasn’t the right fit for her or the organization.  It’s tough to do this when your livelihood is on the line.  You have to decide what are the things you can compromise on and what are the things you just can’t and stand as firm as you can for as long as you can, otherwise, it will come back to bite you in the butt.
3)     Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know.  Expect the question you didn’t prepare for.  Be surprised. It’s ok.  The trick is not in the fact that you didn’t know they were going to ask that question.  That’s obvious, unless you are clairvoyant.  The trick is in how you handle the surprise and answer the question anyway.   Talk about what you do know on the subject, or why your attention has been focused on X thing that is more important to you/relevant to what you are doing, or how you would find out about X thing and what you think are the most pressing questions to be answered.  A surprise is your chance to surprise them right back.  At a recent convention, I was pitching my book to an attendee (which is a mini-interview in itself) and in mid-pitch she cut me off and told me that my book sounded like another book by a British author.  What do you say to that?  Since I didn’t know what she was talking about, I asked her if she could remember the title and tell me a little bit about the storyline.  I could tell she was taken aback.  Her comment was meant to disarm me, but instead I was curious.  She wasn’t expecting that.  Suddenly, she became flustered, “I don’t really know,” she said sheepishly then grabbed a bookmark off my table.  “Does this have all the information on your books,” she asked. “Yes,” I replied.  “You can read the first chapter of the first book for free on my website.” Another surprised look came across her face, “Ok,” she offered, looking me in the eye for the first time during our interaction.  “I’ll check it out,” she said finally before walking away.  Maybe she will, maybe she won’t, but the point is, I wasn’t afraid, either way.
4)     And last, but not least, breathe and smile. I always feel honored whenever someone wants to know my opinion on anything.  Take it as a sign that you’ve got something that someone thinks is worth sharing – so share it.  You’ll feel better for it and you just might help someone else along the way.
Order of the Seers
What would you do if you held infinite power in the palm of your hand? Part One of the thrilling Order of the Seers trilogy poses this question within a story that fuses action, mystery, romance, and adventure in a science fiction novel that keeps you at the edge of your seat. Captured and enslaved for their extraordinary gift, a group of individuals, known as Seers, are forced to serve a ruthless world organization that uses the power of the Seers to exploit the ultimate advantage: knowing the future. While a brother and his Seer sister fight to evade the group that hunts them, an unlikely captured Seer, plots his escape from within the organization and sets off a chain of events that will change the world.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Science Fiction
Rating – NC-17
More details about the author
Connect with Cerece Rennie Murphy on Facebook Twitter

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Zen and Sex by Dermot Davis #ReviewShare #Romance @DermotDavis1

Zen and SexZen and Sex by Dermot Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In many ways Zen and Sex by Dermot Davis made me think of "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People" as Martin's mannerisms are a lot like Sidney Young. He craves companionship but is distraught when it turns up in the form of Frances.

Any woman who wants to have some idea as to how much a male mind can roam and the other inner workings of the male mind should read this book. You may learn something, you may not but you will definitely have a good time and laugh like never before.

An older woman interested in dating a younger man? Is it so rare that we have to be shocked? That appears to be the key question in Zen and Sex. We are used to seeing a much older man with a younger woman but why the disdain when it happens the other way around.

If I could change one thing about the book it would be the first two chapters or so which dragged without a sense of direction. Other than that, if you are in the mood for a fun, heartwarming romance that doesn't follow the typical plot, you should read this book.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Sunday, February 23, 2014

J.J. Ward Discusses the Gender Divide in #Fiction @MI7Ward #amwriting #amreading

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
When someone starts assassinating paparazzi in three countries, MI7 sits up. Apparently, the killer is none other than Dmitri Vassyli Kramski, retired SVR field-operative and former Kremlin protégé. True, the Cold War is long finished, but everyone knows Vladimir Putin is as unhappy for Russia to play second fiddle on the international stage as even the most strident of his Communist predecessors. In 2010 therefore, East-West relations remain as tortuous as ever.
Kramski’s trail leads deep into London’s émigré community, forcing his pursuers into conflict with an unknown organisation bent on protecting him. Bit by bit, he begins to look less like a professional assassin and more like someone plotting to scupper the foundations of Western democracy itself. To compound matters, the Russians are as baffled by him as anyone.
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Espionage Thriller
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with J.J. Ward on Twitter

Friday, February 21, 2014

#Romance #Excerpt from Shelf Life: The Publicist, Book Two by Christina George @publicistgal

Chapter Two

Mac leaned back in his chair and observed Rebecca, a fellow editor, as she walked in and sat down.
“So how is it to be back?” he smiled, knowing the answer.

“It’s hard to leave a newborn,” she sighed. “It’s even harder when the minute I get back to work, Edward’s insisting we sign nothing but porn.”

Mac laughed, “Well, he tactfully called it ‘erotic romance’ but yeah, same thing.”

Rebecca rolled her eyes, “I hate Fifty Shades. Well, I hate what it’s doing to the industry. This hideously written book is being marked as a game-changer. I have to wonder if anyone who actually read the book said this. It was a repetitive and boring pile of crap. I want more literature. I was hoping to come back and do more children’s books and instead I’m ‘encouraged’ to sign porn.”

Mac spotted Kate walking past his office, “Katie, come in and say hi to Rebecca. She’s back from maternity leave and mad as hell.” Mac’s light blue eyes were on her; as usual, she heated up instantly. A smile rose from his lips, crinkling those eyes set off by his dark, thick hair. She wished she could run her fingers through it.

Pull yourself together, she thought. She took a deep breath, walked in, and sat down.

“Good to see you back. You’re not mad at me, are you? Chelsea did great this morning.” Mac’s eyes were still on her, burning into her. Kate shifted in her seat.

Chelsea was one of Rebecca’s authors, Kate wondered if she should tell her that she had to drug her up. It looked like her coworker had enough on her mind; Kate decided to wait to share Chelsea’s fear of national television.

Rebecca shook her head, “It’s not Chels, though I do appreciate the update. It’s the memo Edward sent around this morning.”

“I didn’t see it.” Kate was puzzled.

“It only went to editors,” Mac began, “encouraging us to sign more erotic books. ‘It’s what the readers want,’ Edward insisted.” Mac tapped a pen on his desk, clearly impatient with his boss.
“Shocker.” Kate threw Rebecca an encouraging smile, “I’m sorry, but you know this will wane. At some point housewives will get tired of reading about red rooms and being tied up.”

Rebecca laughed, “You’re right, I know we need to jump on trends. It was one thing when we were trying to sign young adult after the Potter craze, but this takes the cake.”

“I know,” Mac said supportively, “but you know Kate’s right. Edward will lose interest once something else shiny pops up on his radar screen.”

Rebecca stood, “You’re right, Mac, thanks for listening.” She turned to Kate. “Glad it went well with Chels this morning, I’ll catch her segment online.”

After Rebecca left, Mac turned to Kate. “So,” he smiled a broad sexy smile that drew her in, “how did it really go this morning?”

Mac observed a tiny muscle flicker near her eye. It always happened when she was stressed. She’d smile, her poise never wavering, but Mac knew. He could always tell when she was feeling ready to punch someone.

“I had to drug her to get her to go on. Her manager told me that she gets nervous from time to time, but it’s nothing major. Nothing major my ass! She was in a full-blown meltdown and there I was, shoving a pill under the door.”

Mac laughed so hard, he rocked his chair back. “Katie, world class publicist and author rescuer saves the day, again.”

A tiny smile slipped across her face. Mac was right; she was often less of a publicist and more of an author 911. She shook her head. “I have to call her manager and tell her that she’s either here for the rest of Chelsea’s TV gigs, or I’m pulling them. I barely got her to go on air this morning.”

“I think as a general rule, all authors should be sedated from the moment we sign them.”

Kate stood up. “It sure would make my job easier.”

Mac’s laughter followed her down the hall.


Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – R
More details about the author and the book
Connect with Christina George on Facebook & Twitter

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Jonas Trust Deception by AFN Clarke @AFNClarke #thriller #excerpt

The Jonas Trust Deception
by AFN Clarke

AFN CLARKE is the author of 8 books, including the best selling memoir CONTACT, that was serialized in a British newspaper and made into an award winning BBCTV film.  His latest novel, The Jonas Trust Deception, is a Thomas Gunn thriller and follows the success of The Orange Moon Affair.  Readers have called it “classy, complex and cunningly compelling” and a “powerful force in the thriller genre”.  In solving the mystery of an ongoing conspiracy involving his old friend Morgan, Thomas Gunn, ex-Special Forces, takes an action so shocking and bold, that even his team fear he’s lost his mind.  The question is, has he?  To get a taste of things to come, here’s an excerpt from the book.  And for more information visit www.afnclarke.com or the Amazon Kindle store.


There is something so totally desolate about sitting in a prison cell staring at the blank grey walls that, unless you’ve experienced it, you’ll never understand. There is a finality and hopelessness that is almost beyond comprehension. A despair that sucks at your soul. My salvation was that I knew that my stay here was going to be short-lived, but what the future held was one big question mark. I had the distinct feeling somebody had put a ring in my nose and was leading on a mystery tour with more questions than answers.

Left alone with just the usual sounds of dissatisfied inmates, clinking keys and slamming doors for company, I thought back to the frantic last few days.

Confusion would be an apt description of my state of mind.

What facts could I scramble together?

Several dead bodies at Morgan’s ranch.

A small but ruthless Mexican Mafia gangbanger, with the unlikely nickname of ‘El Cobra Poco’, who seemed as if he could be a strange ally.

And the mysterious Robert Sutherland.

What other questions remained?

There were many, starting with who would have wanted to kill Morgan? Everything went back to my request for her to investigate the financial dealings of the Griffin Trust and its Chairman Ted Lieberman.

How was the Mexican Mafia involved if what Sutherland said about Morgan working for him was true?

I could just lie here all night long and create imaginary scenarios, but that wouldn’t supply any answers, so I closed my eyes and concentrated on emptying my mind.

Sleep was what I needed.

It must have been two hours after the jail cell lights went out, that the goons came for me. Dragged me off the bed and frog marched me down the corridor to the back of the jail and down narrow stairs to a basement garage without saying a word. There was a nondescript cream coloured painter’s van waiting with the rear doors open, and I was unceremoniously bundled inside.


Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author and the book
Connect with A.F.N. Clarke on Facebook & Twitter

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik

Chapter 42

Jez let his mind dwell on the ceiling’s dull paint rather than think about his recent nightmares. But those thoughts wouldn’t stay down: whatever happened, he would achieve justice for Viktor.

Anna came out of the bathroom, hair wrapped in a towel, turban style. “We still have time to travel south,” she said. He sighed. She looked desperate again. “Please think about it. I promise this isn’t a test. No tricks. I’m telling you what’s in my heart, and I think we should run.”

Vertical tracks forged between his eyebrows. “We’ve already been through this, Anna. I do trust you, but I’ve made my decision.”

“But I don’t think you’ve thought it out properly. From what I can see, Mitrokhin has high-ranking contacts everywhere and I don’t think even Petrichova can save you. The captain has the guile of a fox and his cunning outwits us all. Please, Jez,” she implored, “go with me now.”

He got off the bed and embraced her. “I don’t know why you’ve become so worried. I’d never imagined you like this, but whether what you say is true or not, I won’t run. I must win justice for Viktor – and for me, come to that. Viktor has been murdered and I’ve been set up to look like his killer.”

Anna wept against his chest, and he couldn’t figure why. Of what he knew about her, it was totally out of character.

“I want you to remember this,” she sobbed. “And I’m speaking from the heart. No matter what happens, this is what is real and this is the memory I want you to hold onto. I love you, Jez, I love you.”

Baffled, he realized that having a real relationship with a woman was an enigma. Her declaration seemed distressed rather than tender. The only way he could think of handling this was to let it go straight over his head.

“And I love you, Anna, but I must go back.”


Outside the hotel the snow lay thick, and despite the best efforts of a heavy blanket of cloud, the cold had worked its way through.

“I’m glad I packed the ski jacket. Cold or not, this suitcase has me overheating. I know you’ve put my stuff in with yours, but what a weight.”

“Just girl things,” she smiled, and stepped out ahead.

“That’s right, don’t wait for me. Oh…” he said, almost stopping, “I forgot to pay for my lodgings at the hotel.”

She turned and raised an eyebrow. He grinned.

“You’re right, all the troubles I’ve got and I should worry about paying for a room. I’ll let the state sort it out.”

She laughed.

They trudged through the snow until they came to Railway Station Square – part of Stalin’s rebuild of the city. Anna wore the same azure coat with fur trimmings and fur hat as on the second day of their reunion, and he wondered how such a beautiful woman could really be interested in him.

“You look like a film star dressed like that, but aren’t you worried someone might be following?”

She tutted. “You seem to be worrying enough for both of us.”

She was so avant-garde, maybe she hadn’t carried out as many missions as she’d suggested. “Oh well, nearly there,” he said.

She smiled sadly.

He stopped to cross an avenue near a trolley rank. Six or seven people queued closely together, ankle-deep in snow, exhaling frosted breath as they waited for their ride. At last, a lull in the traffic. Anna went ahead. Jez kept a half metre behind, but something jarred his senses. Above the din of the city an explosion rang out. He turned to the direction of the noise and then looked at Anna. A hole had opened and blossomed in the back of her coat. His heart seemed to stop beating. She’d been shot and he couldn’t move. The force of the bullet had arched her back. She spun to face him, stumbled, eyes widened in shock.

The crowd at the trolley rank scattered in panic and shrill screams pierced his ears. But still, he couldn’t move – Anna.

Birth of an Assassin

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

Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter


Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Believable Protagonist by Diane V. Mulligan @Mulligan_writes #Women #MustRead

How to Make Your Protagonist Believable
What makes a character believable? In a word: Flaws.
In real life, no one is perfect. We are contradictory human beings whose beliefs and actions are often out of sync with one another. We make mistakes. Sometimes we make the same mistake over and over. With any luck, we learn and grow. With any luck, we become better people. And while we’re improving in some ways, we’re probably picking up new flaws, too.
Our flaws make us not only human but also interesting. Think about it. Would you rather befriend someone who…
practices yoga daily, makes all her family’s meals from scratch, maintains a size-two figure, has a Jon Hamm lookalike for a husband, is on track to be president of the company where she works, and finds time to knit and do other homemade crafts on the weekends;
someone who doesn’t have time to cook between work and getting the kids to and from their activities so she brings home a pizza knowing that it’s bad for her paunchy husband’s cholesterol, but if he wanted to take care of his health maybe he could cook his own damn dinner now and then, and she promises herself she’ll only eat one slice but then she has four despite the fact that she really wants to fit back in her size-ten jeans by the end of February, but work has her stressed because they’re always promoting younger people and she’s afraid she’s becoming obsolete, and all she wants to do this weekend is hit the mall with her gal pals for some retail therapy and maybe some margaritas.
Be honest. You don’t want to befriend Little Miss Perfect. You don’t even want to stand next to her. You might want her life, but you don’t want to be her pal.
Of course, Polly Pizza, for all her flaws, may be believable without being likeable, and that’s a problem, too. Once you have a believable, multidimensional character roaming your story, take her a step further. Make her vulnerable.
How do you make a character vulnerable? Put her in a situation in which something she cares deeply about is in jeopardy. In that context, we see how her flaws shape her actions, her worldview, and her life’s path.
Remember, protagonists don’t have to be “good people.” They have to be believable and likeable. Showing the way a character acts in a moment of vulnerability can go a long way towards both.
The Latecomers Fan Club
What is it about guys with guitars in their hands that makes them so irresistible, even when they are obviously self-centered jerks? If Abby and Maggie could answer that question, maybe they could finally get over Nathaniel. There's just something about him when he picks up his guitar and gets behind the microphone, something that makes sensible women act like teenyboppers instead of rational, self-respecting adults.
Abby was first sucked in by Nathaniel's rock 'n roll swagger four years ago when a drunken fling turned into a series of drunken hook-ups that became something like a relationship. Now, as New Year's Eve promises a fresh start, she wants to believe he's finally going to grow up and take their relationship seriously.
What does Nathaniel hope the New Year will bring? An escape from the disappointing realities of his life. He's thirty-four years old and he's barely making ends meet as an adjunct philosophy professor, which was always only a backup plan anyway. Nathaniel's real goal was always to make his living as a musician, but his band, The Latecomers, broke up a couple of years ago, and he hasn't picked up his guitar in months.
When he decides to spend the holiday with some high school friends instead of hanging out at the bar where Abby works, he gets the happy surprise of reuniting with his long-lost friend Maggie. Newly divorced, Maggie has just moved back to her mother's house to regroup. Nathaniel and Maggie were supposed to be the ones who left Worcester forever to conquer the world. He was going to be a rock star. She was going to take the world of art by storm. He's never gotten farther than Boston, and her best efforts only left her broke and heartbroken.
As they ring in the New Year together, Nathaniel decides it's time to take control of his life and to start making his dreams come true. He thinks the first step will be easy. All he needs to do is break up with Abby and finally admit his feelings for Maggie. But the New Year has more surprises in store, and nothing is ever as simple as it seems.
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Women's Literature
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Diane V. Mulligan on Facebook & Twitter

Lethal Journey by Kim Cresswell @kimcresswell

Chapter Three

Detective Eric Brennan sat at his usual table and sipped the night’s beverage of choice—a cola. In Chunkers Bar and Grill loud pointless chatter overpowered the ‘80s rock and roll band on stage.

The last week was a blur. Every waking hour he pounded the streets in search of his father’s killer.

Eric knew every detail of the shooters face, but not the kid’s name. He’d heard from one of his informant’s, the kid was a young tough-guy looking to be made—a “cugine” ready to make his mark into New York’s most influential crime network, the Valdina family. As part of his induction into the mob family, the asshole had already killed a low-life rival family member and Eric and his father were working the homicide case when they got a tip.

That steamy June evening had started like any typical bust. Within minutes after Eric and his father arrived at the warehouse, dozens of DEA agents secured the perimeter. Eric entered the warehouse first, his father followed. Amid the stench of mildew and dust, the first pop of an automatic echoed within the barren walls.

They were ambushed.

His father, a veteran with twenty-three years on the force never saw the shots coming. Eric threw his body against his father in hopes of shielding him. It was too late. Instead Eric witnessed his father’s face, the sickening whitish blue tint that came with death...

While Pete checked in with the precinct, Eric shifted in the chair. His left knee still burned where the bullet had grazed his leg. He rubbed the scar, a permanent reminder of a drug bust gone bad. Very bad.

“Hey, Brennan.” Pete threw a twenty-dollar bill on the table and downed the last swallow of his beer. “Come on. I think we got a lead.”

Outside on West 35th Street, a full moon peeked through the clouds. Jagged streaks of lightning ignited the sky as rain sprinkled against Eric’s leather jacket. He lit a cigarette and leaned against his white pick-up truck parked in front of Chunkers.

Pete smirked. “Man, I thought you quit.”

Lethal Journey333x500

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Thriller

Rating – PG-18

More details about the author

Connect with Kim Cresswell on Facebook and Twitter

Website http://kimberleycresswell.wordpress.com/

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

Thursday, February 13, 2014

#Author Elliot C. Mason's #WriteTip on What To Look For in an Agent @ArthurRay44

What To Look For in an Agent
Green skin, a gluttonous gut, shiny red nose, fake hair, a superior dandy smile and suede loafers are the signs of a man with more money than sense. Yellow fur, snarling grin, vicious teeth, padded paws and a mane are the giveaway clues that in front of you is a lion. Lightly beating drums and the sharp twang of strings being plucked building on the horizon, looming nearer, tempo rising and the occasional whimper of an organ in the distance or clang of symbols are unmistakably the mark of a shark approaching from beneath the water. Characterless ties, archaic comb-overs, rosy cheeks of innocence, the jealous scent of fifty pound notes, the dusty grimace of Etonian grooming, the daunting realisation that you are under that shining black shoe, the sudden lightness of your pockets, and those gold-ringed fingers ravaging your wallet are all clear marks of a politician approaching. Worn corduroy blazer over unbuttoned waistcoat, floppy hair bouncing in the wind, light grey stubble and thick-rimmed glasses, carrying a retro briefcase, listening to Bob Dylan, muttering meaningless fables from ancient writers concerning the nature of democracy lying principally in man’s own bludgeoning of himself – spot these traits and unmistakably a university professor is marching straight towards you.
A money-hungry talent leech who sucks the life out of your veins, pumps you up with chirpy propaganda, sticks you on a totem pole outside a bookshop and takes every penny you ever made is a literary agent.
All these things should be avoided.
A stark dystopian world of insatiable greed and ceaseless distraction is that of young Gustav Klein, a German twenty-three-year-old who has just sold his hotel in Munich. He is looking for nothing more than escape. The modern gadgets which flash their endless advertisements are locking society inside brick houses, allowing them to be dumbed-down further by the money-hungry gremlins in the high towers. Gustav Klein, meanwhile, begins a journey over the myriad terrains of Europe, through countless bottles on the corner of morbid winter streets, coloured by the peculiar characters he encounters, some who bestow upon him their wisdom, some who fuel his disdain, some who ignite his desires, and some who merely drink with him until they hit the floor in a merry temperament. 
But the hedonistic, aimless rambling must come to end, for life calls. And Gustav lands on a mountain in Scotland, searching for release, for total nature, untouched by the destructive hand of man. But, it seems, it is too late... In this harrowing tale of youthful rebellion, dark nihilism on the road, heavy drinking beatniks, political adversity and the capricious desires of the gluttonous modern man, the reader is taken by the hand firmly and hauled into a bleak world where every man lives for himself. Close your eyes if you are scared, but you cannot escape.
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Travel, Political, Dystopia, Romance
Rating – PG15
More details about the author
Connect with Elliot C. Mason on Facebook & Twitter

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Kevin Sterling's #WriteTip On An Outline Doesn’t Have to Handcuff Your #Story @ksterlingwriter

An Outline Doesn’t Have to Handcuff Your Story
There are so many different schools of thought about outlines. Some famous authors say they never write a book without one, and others will tell you they simply sit at their desk with a general plot idea and just start typing, allowing the story to follow its natural course.
I believe a compromise is the right way to go.
An outline has two primary purposes. The first, quite obviously, is to give the author a roadmap for writing the story, thereby preventing the possibility of conflicts, the likelihood of which becomes greater when the book has a complex plot and/or our main character is solving a mystery. The second purpose of an outline is to remind us exactly where we are, which becomes increasingly more helpful as we’re writing the latter parts of a book.
The biggest mistake I think many people make with an outline is thinking they have to relentlessly stick to it. The magic of writing a great novel is letting the story create itself, hence why many writers don’t use outlines at all, so we can’t let an outline handcuff our story. Instead, we should use it as an initial roadmap subject to change at any time. It provides a clear direction to start, thereby allowing us to hit the ground running, but gives us the latitude to take the scenic route or change our destination entirely if that’s where the story and our characters want to go.
But here’s where I think things can really go awry, and I found out the hard way with my first two novels. If the story takes a turn, even if it’s just a small one, the result can be a domino effect that destroys the original storyline, renders the outline unusable, and may even conflict with the chapters we’ve already written. But what do most of us do? We jot down notes to fix these things later and keep on trucking because we’re all fired up about our new storyline and can’t wait to get it all down.
My advice? Call a time out. If we press forward and let this new direction take over without keeping everything in line, the manuscript will turn into a convoluted, mind-numbing mess that will take forever to fix, assuming we don’t give up on the project entirely and metaphorically throw it into the nearest trash dumpster.
It is rare for me to go an entire day without some sort of story alteration. But before I’m done for the evening, I do three things, regardless of how late I have to work to accomplish them. First, I fix everything in the book – past chapters and all – that may have been impacted by the latest change. Second, I edit the outline to make sure it ties perfectly with the manuscript as it now stands. And third, I alter the description of all future chapters in the outline to correspond with the altered storyline. That way, when I pick up the book again, whether it’s the next day or two weeks from now, the entire project is tight and clear, I can remind myself of exactly where I am, and I can keep working without any risk of driving myself into a dreadful mess.
Being an artist and disciplining our work practices seem counterintuitive at times. But when we successfully balance the two, the creative process is so much more enjoyable and fulfilling.
Happy writing!
Kevin Sterling

The Jack Lazar Series has it all from mystery and suspense to action, humor and romance

Jack heads to Egypt to investigate a crash-landed World War II fighter plane that was recently discovered in the middle of the Sahara. But something remarkable was left onboard, and people will stop at nothing to possess it.

An Egyptian Girl with Blue Eyes? Just Stunning.

But Jack soon finds himself in the middle of a hornet's nest as he becomes enthralled with Dalia, an exquisite woman of Egyptian and English descent whose father is the Egyptian Head Consul to the UK, not to mention a formidable ex-agent with the Mukhabarat. The man's skills and weapons come in handy as he and Jack join forces to battle a faction that has plans to kill millions of innocent people and subject the world to their twisted ideologies.

A Race Against Time

The trail leads to Northern Europe as all hell breaks loose. And before long, it's up to Jack and Jack alone to cheat death as he struggles to save Dalia, her father, and scores of unsuspecting people from the plot of a deranged madman.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Action, Mystery, Suspense
Rating – R
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Monday, February 10, 2014

#Author Brandon Overall & His Favorite Place In the Whole World #SciFi #Mustread

What is your favorite quality about yourself?
-When I set my mind on something, I usually put in the time and effort to excel at it.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
-I take failure extremely hard, and it usually bothers me for quite a while.
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
-Achieving my goal of joining the Army, and also writing a book!  Not many people can say they have done both.
What is your favorite food?
-Sushi!  I could eat sushi every single day and never get bored of it.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world?
-My apartment.  Sorry, I’m boring.  If I’m at home, I’m happy.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
-I don’t feel like it really has.  I guess going to a decent school system growing up gave me a chance to develop grammar and basic writing a bit more than I would have otherwise, but I don’t see how my upbringing has a huge impact on my writing.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
-I remember really enjoying writing in school.  I loved having the ability to create a story from my imagination and turn it into something that someone else could read and remember.  I didn’t really start writing as a hobby until very recently, and that just sort of happened all at once without much reason other than extra free time.
When and why did you begin writing?
-I began writing when I started writing Superhuman Nature.  I can’t really tell you why!  I just sort of thought of a good idea and figured I’d try to write a book about it, and next then I know I had a finished rough draft.
How long have you been writing?
-Since I started writing Superhuman Nature, pretty much!  So that makes about 4 months.
When did you first know you could be a writer?
-I still don’t know that I can, but it’s looking promising.
What inspires you to write and why?
-I like the idea of thousands of strangers reading my work and talking about something I came up with to their friends.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
-I love science fiction, and I have a decent knowledge base to pull from with my Computer Science degree and an interest in science/physics.
What inspired you to write your first book?
-A good idea and a lot of free time!
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
-Definitely writer’s block.  When I’m on a roll, I can knock out thousands of words in a single day, but when I get to that part of the story where I just don’t know exactly what I want to happen next, I can spend several days without writing more than just a few hundred words.  It’s tough, but you just have to push through it.
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
-It taught me that what you want the story to be might not necessarily be the best way to write it.  You aren’t writing it for yourself, you’re writing it for your readers.  You have to let the story unfold the way they want it, even though you might rather have it play out differently.  At the end of the day, they are the ones you are trying to satisfy.  You have to write something other people will want to read, not just yourself.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
-Not a career, but definitely a lucrative hobby!
How did you come up with the title?
-The title is a combination of several ideas that come together in the story.  The first, and most obvious, is the fact that the story is about a character with superhuman powers, and talks about the nature of those powers.  The second meaning is a kind of play on words in reference to the “human nature” that is often cited to be the source of many problems in society.  The main character’s flaws as he deals with his extraordinary abilities are sort of a reflection of his “superhuman nature”.
Can you tell us about your main character?
-Neil is a character I feel that a lot of people can identify with.  He doesn’t have a super personality, he is just a regular guy with super powers who doesn’t really know how to deal with them.  I feel like Neil captures the struggle a lot of people would face if they were placed in a similar situation.  What would you do if you had all the power in the world?  Would you use it for good or evil?
How did you develop your plot and characters?
-A lot of the story and characters were actually improvised as the story progressed.  I went back a few times to reshape the earlier parts of character or plot development to allow something that I thought of later on to occur.  I knew what the major plot points and characters would be, but the journey from point A to point B was mostly improvised.  That way, writing the story was just as much fun for me as reading it is, because the story was unfolding in front of my eyes, and each new advancement in plot was a surprise to me.
Superhuman Nature is Brandon Overall's first novel. It was written and published during his first deployment to Afghanistan as a 2nd Lieutenant in late 2013.
Neil Hitchens was a senior ROTC Cadet in college. He was just weeks away from graduating and becoming an Officer in the United States Army, until a strange dream set off a chain of events that would twist his life into something he could have never prepared for.
In the days following his dream, several strange happenings occurred that he began to suspect were the result of his own actions. Before long, he discovered that he had the ability to control the world around him with his mind.
What started out as an unpredictable ability quickly evolved into an extraordinary power that had the capacity to change the world. It didn't take long for the government to find out what Neil could do.
They knew having such limitless potential on the side of the US Military could give them limitless political influence, and they would stop at nothing to get Neil to do their bidding. They would find out what happens when you back a dangerous animal into a corner.
Neil spent his whole life believing he would amount to greatness, but he never expected how greatness could corrupt even the most innocent of minds.
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Genre – Science Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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