Jack Canon's American Destiny

Broken Pieces

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Survival of the Fittest by Robin Hawdon #Detective #AmReading #HistFic

The questions are always with us. Does God really exist? Are science and religion incompatible bedfellows? Charles Darwin shook philosophy to its foundations with his theory of evolution, yet strangely, he himself refrained from commenting in depth about the religious implications for fear of adding to the furor.
But suppose that he did in fact write down his conclusions as a secret addendum to his seminal work, Origin of Species. And suppose his beloved wife, Emma, who kept her own secret journal, was the only other person to know of this hidden postscript.
The novel Survival of the Fittest is the modern day story of the search for these two hugely significant works. An eccentric and endearing London antiquarian book dealer is hired by an equally eccentric American billionaire to track down the documents for his world famous collection of original manuscripts.
The complex investigation ranges across England, from historic towns and stately piles to prisons and Darwin homes, and involves a series of encounters ranging from the criminal to the romantic and the revelatory. Along the way, it explores the spiritual struggle within the extraordinary Darwin household, and the effects of that same struggle on the creators of the atom bomb and on modern terrorists.
Do we want to know the answer, or will it stir up a hornet’s nest?
This dramatic investigation of man’s spiritual dilemma occupies the spaces between authors Dan Brown and Richard Dawkins.
About the Author:
Robin Hawdon is one of Britain’s most prolific playwrights. His plays have been seen in over forty countries. At any one moment there may be over a dozen productions running across the USA, Europe, and elsewhere. This is his third novel.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Detective, philosophy, religion, historical
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Robin Hawdon on Facebook & Twitter

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Host Chronicles: The Devil’s Offspring (Vol. 1) by D L Cox #Fantasy #GoodReads #BookClub

“Sango,” Eshu said with a sinister smile. “The Host is going to fall tonight.”
Sango handed his sword to Nat. Eshu rested his sword back on his shoulder and attempted to head into the entrance, but Sango stepped in front of him.
Eshu shook his head. “Now, now, you know the rules. Once the Host is consecrated, you’re out the game. It’s time for you to fly home.”
Eshu attempted to walk through Sango, and Sango thrust his right palm into Eshu’s chest, pushing him back into the air. Eshu landed on his feet twenty-five feet away. Before Eshu could take a step, Sango appeared in front of him.
Eshu stepped back and raised his sword in a fighting stance. “You’re not allowed to engage me now!” he shouted.
Sango calmly said, “Wrong. I’m not allowed to hurt you. That was a harmless shove.”
Eshu barked, “Get out of my way.”
Sango shrugged. “It’s on you to make me, but as long as I’m here, you can forget about getting to the Host.”
Eshu lunged and swung his sword down at Sango’s left side, and Sango sidestepped the blow. Eshu reset and swung at Sango’s neck, and Sango ducked and avoided being hit. In the next motion, Eshu crouched and swung at Sango’s legs, and Sango jumped over the sword. Eshu then stood and launched a combination of swings to Sango’s left and right side, and Sango dodged each swing with ease. Frustrated, Eshu raised the sword above his head and faked a swing to Sango’s right, and then spun left and jumped in the air while swinging the sword down at the top of Sango’s head. Sango raised his hands and caught the sword’s blade between his palms. Eshu struggled to free the sword from Sango’s grip to no avail.

In this Urban Fantasy, the devil’s daughter, SALEENA, and her reaper boyfriend, IZZY, elope to earth and seek to overthrow her estranged brother, SIMON CLASH, as the devil’s heir apparent on earth, but Simon is head of a powerful conglomerate, and he’s not going out without a fight. As the rivalry turns bloody, the warring siblings discover the devil has been manipulating their feud to advance his secret agenda and is using them as decoys to draw out a sword-wielding champion of humanity called the HOST, whom must be slain before the devil can unleash a reign of terror on earth.
Legend says the Host will emerge when humanity plunges into hopelessness and despair, and NATHANIEL BRENNER, the young man responsible for delivering a magic sword to the Host, hopes that is soon. Nathaniel has spent the last six years searching for the Host to no avail and has recently seen a drastic rise in demon activity on earth, which he knows could only mean one thing: humanity is running out of time. Saleena and Simon unite to save their own hides, but it may be too late—not only for the devil’s offspring, but for humanity too! The future of humanity hangs in the balance, and Nathaniel is determined to thwart the devil’s plans and find the Host.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Urban Fantasy
Rating - PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with D L Cox on Facebook & Email

Saturday, May 24, 2014

#Excerpt from Beyond Neanderthal by Brian Bloom @BrianB_Aust #Thriller #AmReading

From Chapter 36 – Bermuda Triangle
Whoa, what was that?’ Patrick suddenly felt his stomach leap into his mouth
as the safety harness bit into his shoulders.
Tara did not reply. She bit her lip in concentration, her hands on the joystick; her knuckles white with tension. She watched the altimeter’s numbers twirling faster than she had ever seen.
‘We’re losing altitude!’ she exclaimed. ‘It’s happening too fast for me to estimate our rate of descent! We’ve dropped 2,500 feet … 3,000 feet … 4,000 feet!’
Less than fifteen seconds had elapsed. The propellers were screaming. The rev counters were in the red zone. Tara pulled back on the throttle until the engines sounded normal to her. She didn’t have the luxury of time to remain focussed on the rev counters. She was too preoccupied with the fact that the artificial horizon was way off the horizontal. In simple terms, the plane’s left wing was pointing towards the ground or, in this case, towards the sea’s surface. She had flicked off the automatic pilot to assume manual control. Her focus of attention was on getting the plane to fly level again, which she managed to do. Sweat had broken out on her upper lip and on her forehead.
Patrick felt an enormous pressure on his buttocks as a giant unseen hand pushed him viciously back into his seat. He vaguely felt a reduction of tension in the harness on his shoulders followed by a sharp pain on his forehead. His hand whipped up to grab at the sore spot where he felt wetness. ‘What the …’ He looked at his fingers. Blood! How had that gotten there? He was securely strapped in. Surely he couldn’t have hit his head on the ceiling?
Tara gunned the engines again to get traction. ‘We’re going up again,’ she said. ‘Hold on.’ She managed to steal a glance at the weather radar. Nothing.
‘We’ve hit clear weather turbulence,’ she shouted.
She flicked the microphone switch. ‘Pan! Pan! Pan!’ She called. She was expecting the message to be monitored by New York flight control.
‘This is November-nine-one-nine-six-Quebec. We are encountering severe air turbulence from Bermuda to El Portillo. My co-ordinates are …’ She looked down at the GPS. Its glass had cracked. The screen was blank. ‘GPS inoperative,’ she said. ‘Estimate 110 nautical miles heading from Bermuda. ETA local time 04.40 hours.’
Again, the rev counters were in the red. Now she kept an obsessive eye on them. If the engines overheated and blew she would have to ditch. She throttled down for a second time. She checked the inlet turbine temperature. Close to red line! Her pilot instincts were reacting faster than her eyes.
The plane seemed to go into free-fall again. The altimeter showed 18,000 … 17,000 … 16,000 … 15,000 feet. She didn’t see it, but Patrick was watching it. Five seconds. ‘My God!’ It stopped revolving. Tara gunned the engines, hoping to hell that the automatic pitch would kick in so as to adjust the propellers’ revs. She needed as much bite as they could muster.

There is an energy force in the world—known to the Ancients—that has largely escaped the interest of the modern day world. Why? There are allusions to this energy in the Chinese I-Ching, in the Hebrew Torah, in the Christian Bible, in the Hindu Sanskrit Ramayana and in the Muslim Holy Qur’an. Its force is strongest within the Earth’s magnetic triangles.
Near one of these–the Bermuda Triangle–circumstances bring together four very different people. Patrick Gallagher is a mining engineer searching for a viable alternative to fossil fuels; Tara Geoffrey, an airline pilot on holidays in the Caribbean; Yehuda Rosenberg, a physicist preoccupied with ancient history; and Mehmet Kuhl, a minerals broker, a Sufi Muslim with an unusual past. Can they unravel the secrets of the Ancients that may also hold the answer to the future of civilization?
About the Author:
In 1987, Brian and his young family migrated from South Africa to Australia where he was employed in Citicorp’s Venture Capital division. He was expecting that Natural Gas would become the world’s next energy paradigm but, surprisingly, it was slow in coming. He then became conscious of the raw power of self-serving vested interests to trump what – from an ethical perspective – should have been society’s greater interests.
Eventually, in 2005, with encouragement from his long suffering wife, Denise, he decided to do something about what he was witnessing: Beyond Neanderthal was the result; The Last Finesse is the prequel.
The Last Finesse is Brian’s second factional novel. Both were written for the simultaneous entertainment and invigoration of the thinking element of society. It is a prequel to Beyond Neanderthal, which takes a visionary view of humanity’s future, provided we can sublimate our Neanderthal drive to entrench pecking orders in society. The Last Finesse is more “now” oriented. Together, these two books reflect a holistic, right brain/left brain view of the challenges faced by humanity; and how we might meet them. All our problems – including the mountain of debt that casts its shadow over the world’s wallowing economy – are soluble.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – MA (15+)
More details about the author
Connect with Brian Bloom on Twitter

Friday, May 23, 2014

@Stone_Rik on Carrying an Ambition Around for Many Years #AmWriting #AmReading #Thriller

Lots of people feel the need to write almost as soon as they learn to put words together. I went to school with girls who kept diaries and diligently made entries on a daily basis. Not me, I was like the other boys. If there was a ball to play with, we’d play football. If there was no ball, we’d find an old tin, maybe in a dustbin, and play kick the tin. In the late 50’s, early 60’s, where I came from that was what life was for a young lad – and I loved it.
I don’t remember the exact age, let’s say fifteen for the sake of argument, but I picked up a book I think was my uncle’s and began reading it. The novel was called The Carpetbaggers and was written by Harold Robbins. The first chapters, when the protagonist’s parents were murdered, absolutely enthralled me. I couldn’t put it down. Unfortunately, not enjoying the greatest of concentration at that time, I found the book too long, too slow, and soon got bored. However, when another novel by the same author showed up in the house, The Adventurers, I thought I’d give it a go. Once again the first chapters had me living the pages, but, yet again, as I delved further into the book my interest waned.
So, you might think, no signs of a budding writer here. But no, those first chapters in The Adventurers were about an author who’d made it to the top of his trade. He lay next to his private swimming pool in the garden of his grand house musing over what the point of his life was now he’d done it all. Without realising it at the time, that man by the pool had been so believably drawn by Robbins that he weaved himself through my skin. Over the years he held on to a compartment of my mind. I wanted what he’d had. You might think I mean his wealth and position. That would be nice, but no, my reasoning was that the stories of that fictitious writer were adored by all who read them. He had a worldwide following and his works were renowned. I think what I felt was that age old sin… envy.
This figment of some writer’s imagination grabbed a space in my mind from where he occasionally popped up to make sure I hadn’t forgotten him. I was fifty when I retired and I had no intention of donning a new harness belonging to someone else. At the same time I’m not one to sit around contemplating life and I’d been an avid reader for many years. The little man in my head chose that moment to highlight an opportunity. I did creative writing courses, bought and read a multitude of ‘how to write anything’ type books and started writing… and there I was, proudly presenting my debut novel Birth of an Assassin. An interesting offshoot to this tale; you can carry ambition around for many years without even knowing it.
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 @ AmazonB&NKobo & Waterstones
Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter

Julia (The Good Life Series) by Sarah Krisch #Romance #Contemporary #GoodReads

...and looking out on the two acres of newly planted seedlings, I feel a sense of satisfaction that only working your own land can bring. Although my back is sore and dirt cakes my fingernails, I know that the land gives back so much more than the effort I put into it. Inhaling the fragrant spring air, feeling the sun's gentle warmth, I am at peace. For tonight, my family will feast on cream of asparagus soup, an early season tossed green salad, and a crusty home-baked bread that melts on your tongue. Pair this with a bottle of local elderberry wine, and you're living the good life. 

Julia closed her eyes, her fingers a hair's width from striking the laptop's keyboard. She could almost feel the sun on her cheeks, smell the freshly turned soil. It was a comfort she would often recall whenever she needed a reminder of some of the happiest moments of her life. As a child she'd spent her summer months living at her grandparents' farm in Harmony Grove, Iowa. In retrospect, those quaint, stuck-in-time summer vacations were a great way to grow up, but she couldn't be happier having moved to Chicago—or living with Nora, her best friend since they'd been paired as college roommates eight years ago.

The click of high heels brought her out of her reverie. Julia looked up to see the overly made-up face of the nail tech as she glanced at the timer and whispered, "Five more minutes." Julia nodded and looked back at her laptop screen.

She sighed, happy to have finished another weekly column. Not only was it finished, it was actually pretty darned good. Nine months of weekly columns… she never imagined it would last so long, or that she would even have enough to write about to keep it fresh and interesting. When she'd started the column as a simple blog she never thought anyone would read it. But somehow, in the mysterious workings of the internet, her little Wordpress blog had garnered a following, a following that soon outgrew the free domain world of Wordpress. Her blog, The Good Life, had been syndicated by the Chicago Herald website for six months. Her thousand loyal readers had now become ten times that amount, and growing.

She saved the file to her laptop, careful not to smudge her manicure, and then emailed a copy to her editor at the Herald.

When the timer went off, Gloria, the owner of the salon, approached with a smile and lifted the hairdryer. "How was your day of beauty?"

Julia stood up from the pedicure drying station and glanced down at her toes. "I finally look worthy of the gorgeous Jimmy Choos I bought last week. They only cost me a month's worth of columns."

"I don't know how you get any work done here with all of this racket going on."

"When I'm working on my column, I'm not really here," Julia said as she closed her computer and stowed it in her laptop bag. "I'm at the farm."

"You sure don't look like a farm girl to me."

"And thanks to all of your fabulous skills, I never will." Julia wiggled her fingernails, gleaming with fresh polish. She hadn't had her hands in freshly turned soil in many years.

"None of your readers suspect that you're really just a city girl with an active imagination?"

"No, ma'am. That's one of the reasons I keep coming back to you. Beautician-to-client confidentiality," Julia said with a wink.

"Your secrets are safe with me, girl," Gloria said as she walked Julia to the cash register. "Same time next week?"

Julia handed over her well-used Visa. "You know I can't resist."


Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Sarah Krisch on Facebook

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Invisible Sorority by Ty Johnson-Anderson @invisible_soror #AmReading #Abuse #SelfHelp

I stand here for all survivors of sexual assault to make our struggle evident. I am starting a movement—the “I Am Not Invisible” movement. Why? Because it’s needed. Some estimates state that as many as one in four women will be raped or sexually assaulted sometime during their lives. That makes them members of our not-so-exclusive sorority.
We walk among society faceless, mainly because of our own shame. We fake our bright smiles-behind them are our lifeless eyes. We are lost in the crowd. But not for long. It’s our time-our time to step out of the shadows, and finally make the world take notice of this horrid epidemic.
I too am a survivor. Notice I didn’t say “victim.” I was violated by a boyfriend, although initially I didn’t categorize what had happened to me that way. More on that later.
As in all healthy relationships, we had sex-lots of consensual, teenage, lust-filled sex. But we also had a lot of non-consensual sex. While we were living together, I would often wake up to him having sex with me.
In my heart of hearts, I knew this FELT wrong. But I had never been in any other sexual relationship, so I had no reference- no handbook to tell me what was healthy. As with many parents, my mother never shared her sexual exploits with me or talk to me about my role in a sexual relationship, albeit not her fault, but a societal fault. So, being a naïve teenager, I thought maybe this was normal, this is what girlfriends do.
My thoughts as it was happening were; if you had sex with a person once, you had to continue to give it to them, right? I mean, we were in a relationship. So I shut up and I took it. For a year, I took it! In that year, I lost count of how many times I “engaged” in nonconsensual sex-nights with him rolling off me and me rolling over and crying myself to sleep.
Like many survivors, I suffered in silence. I was jaded . . . conflicted. On one hand, I had a boyfriend who took me out, opened doors, showered me with the kind of affection you’d expect from a lover. On the other hand, I had a secret, a deep, dark secret.
It couldn’t be rape. That’s what I kept thinking. In fact, at that time, I wore a smile every day. The only time I cried was when he was on top of me. But . . . it couldn’t be rape. I didn’t say “no.” You have to do that, right? I didn’t fight him off. You should do that too, right? I thought these things were the truth.
As children we are taught by our parents and the media that rape is something that a stranger does to you in a dark alley. I kept a wary eye out for “those” guys, but my antenna was not tuned to the rapist in my bed. My guy, who by day was a dream, became “that guy,” at night. He wasn’t violent, maybe because I didn’t resist his advances or fight back. So again, it couldn’t be rape, could it?
Let me tell you that any sex that is engaged in without consent is rape. Your lack of fighting back is not giving your consent. Your failure to scream, “No, please don’t do this!” is not giving your consent.
I must have a guardian angel because although they weren’t the best people for me to be in a relationship with, they weren’t pure evil either.
I still have trust issues. I still have intimacy issues. I still have communication issues. My journey is still not over. And I’m sure your journey, whether you’re at the beginning or in the midst of it, is ongoing.

Ty Johnson-Anderson is the creator of The Invisible Sorority, a community of intimate partner sexual assault victims ushering one another into healing and thriving post-assault. Ty launched the movement, I Am Not Invisible, in an effort to humanize the victimless statistics. Once a young adult spiraling out of control, she has managed to emotionally liberate herself from her dark past and move forward to manifest her future. She lives in Edgewood, Maryland with her wonderful husband and beautiful little girl. Visit her at www.theinvisiblesorority.com
The Invisible Sorority will show you:
Why forgiveness can be your best healing tool
Several techniques you can use to heal your heart through mastering your mind via hypnosis and guided meditations
How to increase your ability to manifest your ideal future
How to embrace your tears to strenthen your emotional stability
Improve your sex life using several intimacy exercises designed to show you to live in the NOW
The invisible sorority is like a phone conversation with your best friend. It will inspire you to make positive changes in your life while helping you to ease the pain of your past assault.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Non-Fiction, Self Help-Abuse
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Ty Johnson-Anderson on Facebook & Twitter

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

10 Things You Didn't Know About Brian Bloom @BrianB_Aust #BookClub #TheLastFinesse

10 things you didn’t know about the author
Brian Bloom grew up in a loving environment and with a fiercely independent streak that enabled him to straddle both sides of the financial divide (1% & 99%) with equal comfort. This gave him a balanced view of life and the courage as an author to say what needs to be said in his writing without his worrying unduly about “peer pressure” and/or “political correctness”.  The following 10 things are illustrative of his upbringing:

  1. When Brian was born his parents were dirt poor and when he was 1 the family moved into a tiny cottage at the bottom of his mother’s aunt’s garden. On good weather days his mother would put the +- 15 month old Brian on a blanket out in the fresh air, where he would play for hours. His only toy was a makeshift rattle made out of an old glass Vaseline jar that had an empty wooden cotton reel inside. He would make music, chanting “digga, digga , digga” in time to the rattle and, having not yet learned to walk, he would sway his little body rhythmically as if in mesmerised prayer. He was comfortable in his own company and in natural surroundings.
  2. At age 2, his mother taught him to say “many happy returns” in anticipation the arrival of his 8 year-old girl cousin who was to visit with a friend on her birthday. Brian flubbed the words, saying “many happily turns” and was mortified with shame when the two girls guffawed in merriment.  The positive side was it taught him empathy, and he has looked at the world from the other guy’s perspective ever since.
  3. At around 4, the family moved to their own home in a much poorer suburb than his great aunt’s. With curiosity and no sense of intimidation, he experimented with fire. The Fire Brigade had to be called out twice to douse the voracious blazes. He learned to fear consequences.
  4. When Brian was 5, his great aunt’s son – about 9 months older – came to play but went home much earlier than was expected. Angry and frustrated, Brian decided to walk to their home 20 kilometers away. He walked down the main thoroughfare in peak hour traffic, got lost towards the end, but was offered help by a kindly gentleman who gave him a lift. Brian arrived well after dark at his destination; tearless, unrepentant but anxious.  He was severely punished by his relieved, but even more anxious, parents. He learned to look ahead and differentiate between “smart” and “stupid” behaviour.
  5. At 8 he was effectively a latch-key kid. Both parents worked and the maid was preoccupied with daily chores. He roamed the immediate vicinity, largely unsupervised, and made friends with a couple of kid neighbours. One of these kids lived in a violent home where the mother was routinely beaten by her husband. Brian learned that observation and inoffensive participation were more important than ego and a competitive spirit in a no-win situation.
  6. Also to keep himself occupied, he would travel by tram to a local pool hall, paying the fare with school-bus coupons. He had been attracted by the raucous antics of a group of leather jacketed bikies who adopted him as a mascot because they took a shine to him. It transpired that Brian had a good eye for angles and distances and was able to pot the snooker balls even though he could barely reach over the table top.
  7. At around 10 or 11, he discovered that he also had great ball sense. He was chosen to represent his junior school at both soccer and cricket, and he played first team cricket and hockey at high school. This boosted his inner sense of self confidence and enabled him to socialise unselfconsciously with both peers and those in higher stations of life. But he was always a quiet child, partly because his parents had drummed good manners into him and partly because he had learned not to draw attention to himself when in any situation that might become unmanageably combative.
  8. Another reason he was quiet child was that he was a year younger than the average of his classmates. His parents wanted him to start school at the same time as his three boy cousins, all of whom were around 9 months older. When kids are 20% older than you they are typically much bigger than you. Brian learned that brains trumps muscles under those circumstances.
  9. He finished high school at 16 and had a B.Com Degree when he was 19, at which age he spent 3 months in the South African Air Force under conscription. The barracks had about 40 beds in it, with most occupied by the 99%. Brian blended in just fine and no one resented the fact that he was allowed/encouraged to play golf on week-ends by the CO.
  10. When he was still at school, the family moved to a small holding and was supplied fresh, unpasteurised milk from the cow next door. Brian was shocked when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. By a stroke of good fortune, his uncle (a doctor) had detected it in its very early stages. TB is usually a disease of the working classes or the unemployed, and there was no “private” treatment available.  At 21, Brian was admitted to a public ward in a public TB hospital where the patients were at various terminal stages of wheezing, coughing blood and/or drowning in their own mucus. Even though the other patients regarded the middle class young man as “Richie Rich”, they spoke to him with quiet dignity. Brian expected no preferential treatment from the nurses and the dying men with calloused hands respected him for that.

In the global corridors of power, a group of faceless men is positioning to usurp control of one of the world’s primary energy resources: uranium. Climate change looms large. Luke Sinclair is a young, Australian-born professor of mineralogy and an expert in the nuclear-fuel cycle. Up to now, he’s led a carefree, hedonistic lifestyle.
But things change: renegade North Korea is about to transfer its illicitly acquired nuclear-weapons technology to Myanmar. The CIA wants to block the development. It enlists the aid of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service. ASIS commandeers Luke, who quickly discovers there are wheels within wheels. Who has the real power? Who are his real friends? Is the attempt to corner the nuclear market ‘The last finesse’ of the faceless men who are so fixated on their personal goals they’ll risk a planetary cataclysm? Has ethical behaviour become merely an anachronism in the 21st Century gladiatorial arena?
The Last Finesse is Brian’s second factional novel. Both were written for the simultaneous entertainment and invigoration of the thinking element of society. It is a prequel to Beyond Neanderthal, which takes a visionary view of humanity’s future, provided we can sublimate our Neanderthal drive to entrench pecking orders in society. The Last Finesse is more “now” oriented. Together, these two books reflect a holistic, right brain/left brain view of the challenges faced by humanity; and how we might meet them. All our problems – including the mountain of debt that casts its shadow over the world’s wallowing economy – are soluble.
About the Author:
In 1987, Brian and his young family migrated from South Africa to Australia where he was employed in Citicorp’s Venture Capital division. He was expecting that Natural Gas would become the world’s next energy paradigm but, surprisingly, it was slow in coming. He then became conscious of the raw power of self-serving vested interests to trump what – from an ethical perspective – should have been society’s greater interests.
Eventually, in 2005, with encouragement from his long suffering wife, Denise, he decided to do something about what he was witnessing: Beyond Neanderthal was the result; The Last Finesse is the prequel.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Conspiracy Thriller
Rating – MA (15+)
More details about the author
Connect with Brian Bloom on Twitter

@PeterClenott On Humans, Chimps & Neanderthals #YA #GoodReads #MustRead

Of Humans, Chimps and Neanderthals
I recently saw an intriguing NOVA episode on PBS called ‘Decoding the Neanderthals’. The subject of human evolution has long fascinated me though I was never bright enough to pursue the study as a career. I stll prefer stone tools and cave paintings to the iPhone and social media.
Here’s the basic premise. The study of human evolution up until recently concluded that Neanderthals, our beetle-browed predecessors, were an evolutionary dead end. Their own ancestors had migrated out of Africa about 800,000 years ago. Until recently, it was believed that modern man followed the Neanderthal out of Africa about 40,000 years ago and that, ten thousand years later, the Neanderthal was gone, pushed or killed into extinction. But the recently completed decoding of the Neanderthal genome has proven otherwise. In fact, most humans carry some Neanderthal DNA, a small amount to be sure– from 1% to 5%. What this means is, Neanderthal and modern humans mated. Not on off weekends either but on a regular basis. The theory then goes that Neaderthal was simply bred out of existence over a period of ten thousand years.
But I wonder. Doesn’t that leave open the question of where modern man came from, aside from the fact that we are told he or she came from Africa. Modern man could not have evolved directly from something more primitive than Neanderthal, miraculously jumping from Home erectus to Wall Street banker. Modern man, Cro-Magnon, whatever you want to call her/him, had to go through a phase just as Neanderthal did. Perhaps, the migration of humans was an on-going affair, never stopping, back and forth for hundreds of thousands of years, with the various groups interbreeding all along, not just forty-thousand years ago. Change, the evolutionary process, is a constant trial and error process that may have produced many dead ends that we will never know about, but the process proceeded unhindered for millennia, leading to us. It is still going on. What, I wonder, will we look like in ten thousand years?

What does it truly mean to be ‘Human’?
Chiku Flynn wasn’t raised to be human. Born in the Congolese rainforest, she spends her first eleven years as part of an experiment. For her, the aboriginal—the primitive—is ‘normal.’
Just after her eleventh birthday, Chiku witnesses the horrifying death of her mother, and her father sends her ‘home’ to the United States, to a normal teenager’s life. But she can’t adapt. She is the proverbial wild child—obstinate and defiant.
When her father disappears, sixteen-year-old Chiku heads back to the primordial jungle, where she uncovers her own dark past and puts to use her greatest skill: she can communicate via sign language with the wild chimpanzees of Chimp Island.
But there is turmoil in the rainforest—civil war, environmental upheaval…and murder. The lives of the chimps and the safety of the people she loves depend upon one teenaged girl who refuses to be messed with—Chiku Flynn.
Editorial reviews:
“Peter Clenott’s story of a troubled teen searching for her father in the African jungle skillfully combines the breakneck pace of a thriller with the emotional tug of a coming of age novel while providing a fascinating glimpse into the relationship between people and chimpanzees that will leave readers questioning which species is more humane. A thought-provoking read.” —Tasha Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of Behind the Shattered Glass
“Devolution is an enthralling, action-packed and fast-paced jungle thriller from beginning to end. The story is set in modern day Africa and is centered on the book’s heroine, Chiku, a firecracker of a girl full of energy and spirit. She can also talk to chimpanzees! The backdrops to the story are as old as time itself—war, racism, hunger and greed. Can a strong-willed sixteen-year-old girl and a band of chimpanzees survive in war-torn Africa? Or will death find its way into this strange yet wonderful family! This book is an interesting coming of age tale full of intrigue, wonder, romance and danger. A truly exciting and original read! This is not your grandparent’s Tarzan tale!” —Christopher P. Obert, founder of the New England Authors Expo
“If it takes a bipolar teenager and some chimpanzees to save their piece of the Congo, then Chiku and her primate friends are the ones to do it. Label them superheroes. Peter Clenott has captured diverse characters in a vibrant setting and added snappy dialogue for this unique and interesting novel.” —Shirley Ann Howard, author of the Tales series
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Genre - Young Adult
Rating – PG
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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lights Over Emerald Creek by @ShelleyDavidow #SciFi #YA #GoodReads

The Phonecall

‘Hi this is Lucy.’
‘Lucy, it’s Jonathan. So glad you’re there.’ The roundness and beauty of rocky hills and misty lochs sounded in his voice. It was a young voice, but had an edge of manhood about it. He wasn’t a boy.
Warmth seeped from the top of her head, into her heart.
‘That’s nice of you to call,’ she said, desperately casual. ‘What time is it there?’
‘It’s almost seven,’ he said. ‘But I’ve been up for hours.’ She liked the way he rolled his ‘r’s. ‘I can hear the sun in your voice,’ he said.
‘Really?’ she laughed. ‘But it’s been raining all day!’
He laughed too. ‘I can still hear it. It must be warm there.’
‘Yeah, sticky and hot. But I want to know everything. Is this going to be expensive for you?’
‘Not at all. In fact I have this calling card that’s a really good deal. I can call you cheaper than I can call my neighbours.’
‘What does it look like in Scotland today?’ Lucy said, nervously winding a pipe of hair around her finger and then sticking the end into her mouth.
‘It’s grey, and it’s freezing. The Firth of Forth is foaming and frothy, and beating the land into shape, fed by the cold North Sea. The clouds are low and dense. People are really grumpy as they huddle against the wind and drag themselves to work. But I’m lucky … I’m all bundled up in my pyjamas listening to cheesy eighties music in my grandpa-slippers, drinking hot tea and talking to a girl with a beautiful sunny voice on the other side of the world.’
Lucy felt herself blush.
‘What’s Australia like today?’
‘It’s hot. Probably thirty-four degrees. That’s Celsius. Humid too. Been raining all this time. From my window I can see two Kookaburras — I gave them names a while back — Kevin and Evan. My dog Jaffa’s at my feet. The hills are green outside and … I don’t know …’ she laughed. ‘Is this small talk and should we get to the point?’
Jonathan laughed too. ‘If you like. Kookaburras. I can hardly imagine.’
‘Yeah, sometimes if you give Kevin a juicy bit of sausage outside our kitchen and you time it right you can gently stroke his back as he eats. You have to be fast though. Sneak in a cuddle before he turns his beak on you.’
‘I’m jealous,’ Jonathan said. ‘Well, I wish I could see you Lucy. No chance of Skype?’
‘Maybe it’s better you don’t see me anyway, I’m as pale as an albino earthworm after months without sun. But I’d like to see you, if I could.’
‘Well, that wouldn’t be fair, would it?’
‘I suppose not. Would you send me a picture? Email it?’
‘Only if you send me one at the exact same time,’ she said smiling. ‘Whether you’re an earthworm or not.’

Lucy Wright, sixteen and a paraplegic after a recent car accident that took her mother’s life, lives in Queensland on a 10,000 acre farm with her father. When Lucy investigates strange lights over the creek at the bottom of the property, she discovers a mystery that links the lights to the science of cymatics and Scotland’s ancient Rosslyn Chapel.
But beyond the chapel is an even larger mystery. One that links the music the chapel contains to Norway’s mysterious Hessdalen lights, and beyond that to Saturn and to the stars. Lucy’s discoveries catapult her into a parallel universe connected to our own by means of resonance and sound, where a newly emerging world trembles on the edge of disaster. As realities divide, her mission in this new world is revealed and she finds herself part of a love story that will span the galaxy.

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Genre - Young Adult SF
Rating - PG
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Friday, May 16, 2014

Frances M. Thompson's SHY FEET: #ShortStories Inspired by #Travel by @BushBirdie

The following is an extract from Scorpion, one of the twelve short stories in Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel.
A long time ago, before I grew up, before I was married, before I had my children, my career and my mortgage, I worked as an au pair in Paris.
What was both a vain attempt to postpone real life and a more successful effort to aggravate my parents, I found work with the Charrons, a young family who lived in an elegant art nouveau apartment in the 9th Arrondissement. I arrived on a drizzly day in September with a suitcase full of clothes and a heart pumping romantic aspirations into my head.
I believed Paris was where I would meet my future French husband. Our paths would cross immediately: in the queue for passport control at Charles de Gaulle, or perhaps at the top of the Métro steps outside Gare du Nord. It would be the beginning of the rest of my life and it would be thanks to him that I wouldn’t have to return to a university course I was only partially interested in. Instead, we would lie entwined in bed for hours building the foundations of our happy ever after. We’d argue over future names for our brood of bilingual children, both hoping that they’d have my blue eyes and his brown hair. We’d talk about moving to the country to keep chickens and a fat, pink pig in the garden of a converted Burgundy farmhouse. Our first kiss would take place under the watchful arches of the EiffelTower.
I didn’t meet him on the day of my arrival, nor did I meet him on any other day after that.
My year in Paris was a gloomy one, tortured by grey skies and the mother of two slightly odd children. She nurtured both an eating disorder and a deep paranoia that her husband was having an affair. Her husband was a tall, jovial and charming man, who was almost certainly having an affair, or two. Their two sons, aged three and six, had many quirks – a tendency to grab my breasts at bath time and a habit of hiding food in their underpants – but they made my year tolerable as they grew loyal to me and I fell in love with their little French pouts and perfect side partings.
The highlight of my year in Paris was the summer we escaped. One day in early August, I helped Monsieur Charron pack up the family car – a Peugeot estate the colour of Nutella – and I dutifully sat between the squabbling Jean-Pierre and Marcel as we headed south.
The landscape changed rapidly and the clouds disappeared one by one. Slowly, promisingly, I watched France blossom into a country I thought I could love again. By the time the dry heat of the south flowed through our open windows, I was smitten.

“This collection of stories is like a blanket woven from 100% wanderlust under which you can hide as Frances M. Thompson tucks you in with her words and keeps you warm with her descriptions of characters you’ll love and places you can tell she knows by heart.” Gesa Neitzel, www.bedouinwriter.com
Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel is a collection of twelve quirky, charismatic and touching tales of travel.
The inquisitive Ruth tells the story of The Lost Children of Gatwick Airport and in Max’s Holiday we learn what a seven-year-old boy considers a “proper holiday” to be. In The Flowers Sleep Tonight, we meet Thomas and Carly, two solo travellers whose paths keep crossing… because that’s exactly what Thomas wants. A spontaneous plan to elope is revealed in The Runaways and Homes from Homes is about the lessons Patricia learns from the hotel bellboy she has a fling with. Oh, Henry is the story of how a dream holiday can mean two different things to two lovers and Katie’s Maps is an offbeat love letter to a vast collection of maps. Extracts from a travel journal tell one woman’s life story in All the Beaches are Made of Pebbles and find out what Australia and underpants have to do with Claudia wanting to leave her husband of forty years in The Road is Long.
From the unforgiving Australian Outback to the jagged beauty of the Amalfi Coast, along the pebbled beaches of Brighton & Hove and down the busy streets of late night Barcelona, this collection of short stories highlights how travel intersects and enriches all of our lives, often without us realising it…
“Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel transports you to exotic locales without leaving your armchair and leaves you wanting more… Frances M. Thompson has a novel in her and I can’t wait to read it.” Nathalie Harris, www.acooknotmad.com
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Genre – Short Stories, Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG13
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Richard Parry Says No Plan Survives Contact With The Enemy @TactualRain #WriteTip #AmWriting

No plan survives contact with the enemy, but plans are really useful anyway.
The thing is, my writing tends to be pretty organic.  The conversations my characters have aren’t manufactured through some formula.  The path the story takes?  It’s not set in stone.  I tend to outline just enough to give me a path to follow, maybe some high points to hit, and then write.
The outlines I write are more detailed at the start of the story, and less so at the end — often having a single outline point like, “Hero saves the world.”  I mean, that’s enough: it says everything it needs to say.
Making characters real means you need to allow them some flex in their interactions.  If you need John to get that cat out of the tree, but it’s more fun or interesting to have the cat escape from him instead, you’re kind of screwed if your whole story revolves around him returning to Andy with the cat.
The better writing gets lost in service to the outline you’ve drafted, and that’s not okay.
Different writers have different views on this, and I think that’s great.  I’m not trying to tell people that there’s only one way to tell a story — I’m saying that when I write stories, I try and make sure there’s room for my characters to grow through that story.  After you’ve spent 100,000 words with someone, they’re a lot more real than they were on page one, right?
When I wrote Night’s Favour, the basic outline — hand drawn in blue pen — was on a page of my notebook, and some supplementary pages for specific scenes.  Writing Upgrade, a more complex story, I’ve needed to bust out Scapple to do a quick A4 on the moving parts.  There’s lines everywhere.
Funny thing is, both stories diverged from the originally planned ending.  It’s meant more work for me in terms of the writing, but it makes me happier with the end result.  I’d rather the end show a believable outcome for my characters than keeping to an outline that was started months — if not years — ago.
Outlines are great, but like the rest of what I write, they’re disposable in favour of the better story.  To make things better, you sometimes need to throw your initial thoughts into the trash.

Valentine’s an ordinary guy with ordinary problems. His boss is an asshole. He’s an alcoholic. And he’s getting that middle age spread just a bit too early. One night — the one night he can’t remember — changes everything. What happened at the popular downtown bar, The Elephant Blues? Why is Biomne, the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, so interested in him — and the virus he carries? How is he getting stronger, faster, and more fit? And what’s the connection between Valentine and the criminally insane Russian, Volk?
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Genre – Action, Thriller, Urban Fantasy
Rating – R16
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Tracy Weber Talks Inspiration, Writing & #Yoga (#Mystery #AmWriting)

Several things inspired me to become a writer: a lifelong love of cozy mysteries; a passion for yoga; an almost obsessive love of dogs; a next door neighbor who is also a prolific author. I can even narrow down the specific moment I decided to write the Downward Dog Mystery series. It involved a rainy night, a particularly challenging workout, and a passage from Susan Conant’s book Black Ribbon.
But in the end, the inspiration for Murder Strikes a Pose came from my German shepherd dog Tasha, a homeless woman, and her Rottweiler mix—all of whom taught me the true meaning of love.
Tasha has some of the same issues as Bella, the German shepherd in Murder Strikes a Pose. She’s huge, not always perfectly well behaved, and she has a variety of expensive health conditions. In spite of her problems, I adore her to a fault. Living with Tasha has changed my life, in every way for the better. She has made me more patient, more loving, and more connected with my community. At the same time, she gets me into some pretty “interesting” situations. My yoga students have been putting up with my “Tasha stories” for years now, so writing them down seemed like a no-brainer.
Most people don’t understand my connection with Tasha, but I befriended a homeless woman who did. She used to hang out near the entrance to my favorite grocery store, and she always had a large Rottweiler mix in a crate next to her. The dog was aggressive to other dogs and frightening to the store’s customers. The crate—which my friend stored behind the building at night—allowed her to keep the dog nearby, in spite of its reactivity.
I never knew this woman’s name, but she adored her dog to a fault and went to great lengths to keep it safe, in spite of her own financial issues and living conditions. She was as dedicated to her pet as most people are to their children.
I started to wonder: What if her dog had Tasha’s illnesses as well as its behavior issues? What would she do? Whatcould she do? She could never have afforded Tasha’s medication. That’s when the story of George and Bella formed in my head. I want to be clear: George is not that woman—not even close. But like her, he knows the joy and heartache that come from deep love for an imperfect creature. And like her, he was willing to make great sacrifices for his dog.
Unfortunately, she moved out of my neighborhood long before I wrote the first draft of Murder Strikes a Pose, so I will never know what she would have thought of being my muse. I hope she would have felt complimented.
Tracy Weber is a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, where she current­ly lives with her husband, Marc, and German shepherd, Tasha. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. When she’s not writing, she spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sip­ping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house. Tracy loves connecting with fans.  Find her on her author web page or on Facebook.

When George and Bella—a homeless alcoholic and his intimidating German shepherd—disturb the peace outside her studio, yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s Zen-like calm is stretched to the breaking point. Kate tries to get rid of them before Bella scares the yoga pants off her students. Instead, the three form an unlikely friendship.
One night Kate finds George’s body behind her studio. The police dismiss his murder as a drug-related street crime, but she knows George wasn’t a dealer. So Kate starts digging into George’s past while also looking for someone to adopt Bella before she’s sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer nipping at her heels, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.
Cozy fans will eagerly await the next installment.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
Murder Strikes a Pose, by Tracy Weber, is a delightful debut novel featuring Kate Davidson, a caring but feist yoga teacher . . . Namaste to Weber and her fresh, new heroine!” PENNY WARNER,AUTHOR OFHOW TO DINE ON KILLER WINE
“[T]his charming debut mystery . . . pieces together a skillful collage of mystery, yoga, and plenty of dog stories against the unique backdrop of Seattle characters and neighborhoods. The delightful start of a promising new series. I couldn’t put it down!” WAVERLY FITZGERALD, AUTHOR OF DIAL C FOR CHIHUAHUA
“Three woofs for Tracy Weber’s first Downward Dog Mystery, Murder STrikes a Pose. Great characters, keep-you-guessing plot, plenty of laughs, and dogswhat more could we want? Ah, yesthe next book!” SHEILA WEBSTER BONEHAM, AUTHOR OF DROP DEAD ON RECALL
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Genre – Cozy Mystery
Rating – PG
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