Jack Canon's American Destiny

Broken Pieces

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

#Excerpt from WITNESS TO MY HEART by Loni Flowers @LoniFlowers #Romance #MustRead #TBR

Choosing to dress in my own clothes for dinner, I slipped on a soft, baby blue blouse with short, capped sleeves, a pair of slim-fit, jean capris, and my brown, strappy sandals. Twisting my long dark strands into a loose knot, it felt good to wear my own clothes and I headed downstairs to the kitchen.

David, who was only slightly taller than Caroline, was physically the polar opposite of Max. Max was tall and broad with obviously well-defined muscles, and David was much thinner. Also well toned, but not as obviously as Max, David was pale with short, wavy, blonde hair. He was an absolute perfect match for Caroline. Together, David and Max sat at the dining room table, drinking their beers as I eased through the foyer.

“David, can you get this bowl down for me?” Caroline asked. He stood, without noticing me as I stopped outside the threshold to the kitchen. Max’s eyes found me instantly and he assessed me in his iron chair with one ankle crossed over the other. He changed into khakis and a navy collared shirt. It was a pleasant surprise to see him dressing up a bit for dinner. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. His pose, so casual, yet confident, was appealing in so many ways.

“Join the party,” Max finally said with a smile.

I stepped into the doorway and Caroline turned. “Oh, Abi, how are you feeling? I hope you were able to get some rest?”

“It was enough I guess,” I smiled, peering at Max, while remembering his unexpected charge into my room earlier.

“What?” Max asked. “Sorry I woke you. Next time, I’ll let the cleaners leave your clothes hanging on the front porch… including your sexy lingerie.”

Caroline and I gasped. “You went through my clothes?”

He picked up his beer with a chuckle and walked to the patio door. “Of course not, what do you think I am… a pervert?”

“Yes!” Caroline answered sarcastically.

“Well, I’m not, but I know my instincts were right,” he grinned. “Now I’m curious if it’s the black or red you prefer? I already had you pegged as a red girl, but I’m sure you have some naughty black mixed up somewhere in there too.”

My mouth gaped open, and I was unable to think of a comeback. Max stared at me, his eyes penetrating my body as if he could clearly see the black lace bra and panty set I wore beneath my clothes. I wanted to run away and change so he wouldn’t be right. And I was sure my silence and shocked expression confirmed his suspicions. David snickered, trying to snuff out a laugh as he peeked at me from behind Caroline.

“C’mon David, let’s sit outside.”

David walked past and patted me on the back. “Sorry, Abi, but if you could see your face right now…” He chuckled again and grabbed his beer from the table before opening the patio door.

Max caught my eye and winked as he followed David. That man is going to drive me nuts! I faced Caroline and she stared back with her hand on her hip.

“I can’t believe him… both of them!” she chided.

I waved the whole conversation off and walked around the bar beside her. After all the other exchanges Max and I had these last two days, this one was fairly tame, even if it pissed me off. “It doesn’t make a difference. What’s bad about the whole thing is: Max was right. I do have a lot of red… and I’m kind of wearing black right now.”

Caroline gave me the once-over and smirked. “Cotton?”


“You are a naughty girl,” she teased. “I didn’t think you had it in you.”

“Oh hush! There’s a lot about me you don’t know, my lingerie being just one of a number of choices.”

“Oh no…. let me stop you right there. I don’t need any mental pictures. How about you chop up the vegetables and just keep that dirty talk to yourself?”

I laughed. “I think I can handle that.” I had all kinds of dirty flashing through my mind lately.

Witness to my Heart

Keep a low profile. That's what Abigale Peterson was supposed to do, especially when the person she was being protected from was one of the world's worst crime lords. After seven years in the Witness Protection Program, she felt no safer now than she did when she was seventeen. Revenge was rarely forgotten when it came to a professional criminal like Zerilli.

Low profiles meant no social life and definitely no love life.

Paranoia and lies became daily habits, going against everything Abigale believed in, but they kept her safe. They kept everyone safe.

Until a house fire puts her out of that safety and into the arms of a stranger. Max Smith is sexy, smart, and has major attitude. He’s the only one who seems to get her. He calms her fears and comforts her from her nightmares. But he also sees right through her lies.

Before Abigale can stop, she’s in too deep; confiding too much and breaking the one rule she promised herself to uphold: Never fall in love.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with Loni Flowers through Facebook & Twitter

Friday, December 26, 2014

Cheryl Rice on Writing "Where Have I Been All My Life" @RiceonLife #AmReading #Memoir #Women

What Inspired Me to Write"Where Have I Been All My Life"

One life changing event and three simultaneous inner urgings inspired me to write my book, Where Have I Been All My Life? A Journey Toward Love and Wholeness.

The life altering event was the swift, merciless death of my mother – who happened to also be my best friend – when she was an otherwise robust and healthy 68 years old and I was 45. I was completely unprepared for life without her. Her death broke me open in unprecedented, yet ultimately life-affirming, ways.

While I was mired in grief, and playing all sorts of grief games in an effort to stay connected with her, I also felt compelled to live more boldly, authentically and vibrantly than I ever had before. Even though I had always prided myself on living with intention and enjoyed setting and reaching challenging goals, there were a few dreams, like writing a book, that I had been too scared and overwhelmed to tackle. But in the wake of my mom’s death there was no time for just thinking about “tomorrow” or relegating my long buried dream to “someday.” My someday was now.

The second thing that inspired me to write my book was a deep, intrinsic desire to produce something that would outlive me. While I had two wonderful stepchildren and a puppy I treated as my baby, I hadn’t yet truly offered the world something tangible that would endure. And now I had a fierce longing to give creative birth to something that would speak for me when I was gone – something that would be part of my legacy.

The third thread of inspiration for my book came from a yearning to find and validate my own voice. Ironically, as a professional leadership and life coach I was comfortable and competent helping others, especially women, claim and cultivate their own voice yet I had been remiss in doing the same for myself. Coming from a family of writers (but never identifying as one myself), I always knew that writing was a wonderful way of clarifying and cleansing one’s thoughts, but beyond penning some bad adolescent poetry and keeping journals episodically throughout my life, I never took myself or my writing seriously. That changed once my mother died, my heart broke, and my time and need for self-inquiry and validation burst forth.

Lastly, I had a strong desire to reach out and connect with other people, women in particular, who were struggling with similar issues. Issues like self-acceptance, using longing as a substitute for loving, and overcoming the loss of a loved one. Reading books, especially stories of personal resilience written by women, had always been a comfort and balm to me. Through the brave and honest stories of other women I found strength, companionship and validation. My loneliness or isolation would lift, even for a bit, and my fortitude and hopefulness would be reignited. Also, since I adore championing women, writing a book felt like a natural and necessary vehicle to connect with them on both a deeper and broader level and to inspire those who are on a similar journey toward love and self-acceptance.

Where Have I Been All My Life

Where Have I Been All My Life? is a compelling memoir recounting one woman’s journey through grief and a profound feeling of unworthiness to wholeness and healing. It begins with the chillingly sudden death of Rice’s mother, and is followed by her foray into the center of mourning.

With wisdom, grace, and humor, Rice recounts the grief games she plays in an effort to resurrect her mother; her efforts to get her therapist, who she falls desperately in love with, to run away with her; and the transformation of her husband from fantasy man to ordinary guy to superhero. In the process, she experiences aching revelations about her family and her past—and realizes what she must leave behind, and what she can carry forward with her.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Cheryl Rice through Facebook & Twitter

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

#Excerpt from A LIFE LESS ORDINARY by Victoria Bernadine @VicBernadine #AmReading #ChickLit

Manny glanced up as her assistant energetically bounced in.
“Morning, Manny.”
“Morning, Roxie. How was your evening?”
“Great–went to that new Robert Downey Jr. movie–rrrooowwwrrrr! Phil wasn’t too impressed with my drooling though.”
Manny laughed. “I’d expect not. I guess I need to go see it then.”
“Yeah, sure. When was the last time you actually went to a movie in the theatre?”
Manny paused, considering the question then shrugged carelessly. “Can’t remember, actually.”
Roxie shook her head in exasperated fondness and sat down in front of Manny’s desk. She leaned forward and lowered her voice. “So, the new boss starts today?”
“Yep,” Manny replied absently, reviewing the e-mails in her inbox.
“Are you going to be okay with this? I mean, you–”
“Of course I’m okay with it. Steph’s a nice person, bright, energetic, competent, levelheaded, full of new ideas. She may have a bit of a learning curve ahead of her, but she’ll do just fine. She may be just what we need around here. Perk us up a bit.”
“Yeah, but you–”
Manny took her hands off the keyboard and turned to face Roxie directly. She gave her a reassuring smile and calmly held her gaze.
“I’m okay with it,” she said. “Really. I didn’t want to be the boss anyway.” She paused then continued. “Everything’s going to be fine. You’ll see. A new boss will be fun!”
Roxie grimaced cynically and Manny shook her head in mock disapproval.
“We should get to work,” she urged gently.
Roxie nodded and stood. “Yeah, that at least never changes. But Manny…”
Manny raised a quizzical eyebrow.
“It should’ve been you.”

For the last fifteen years, Rose “Manny” Mankowski has been a very good girl. She turned her back on her youthful fancies and focused on her career. But now, at the age of 45, she’s questioning her choices and feeling more and more disconnected from her own life. When she’s passed over for promotion and her much younger new boss implies Manny’s life will never change, something snaps. In the blink of an eye, she’s quit her job, sold her house and cashed in her pension, and she’s leaving town on a six month road trip.
After placing a personal ad for a travelling companion, she’s joined in her mid-life crisis by Zeke Powell, the cynical, satirical, most-read – and most controversial – blogger for the e-magazine, What Women Want. Zeke’s true goal is to expose Manny’s journey as a pitiful and desperate attempt to reclaim her lost youth – and increase his readership at the same time. Leaving it all behind for six months is just an added bonus.
Now, armed with a bagful of destinations, a fistful of maps, and an out-spoken imaginary friend named Harvey, Manny’s on a quest to rediscover herself – and taking Zeke along for the ride.
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – ChickLit, Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
 Connect with Victoria Bernadine on Twitter

Madi Brown on Finding the Right Book Cover Designer @Madithe1brown #AmWriting #SelfPub #ChickLit

Why Book Covers Are So Important

Unless you don't have eyes, people are visual. If there's a handsome guy sitting  across  from me during my daily commute on the train, I'm going to look. If I'm away on vacation, I'm going to appreciate the beautiful sights around me, because I know that I'm there to relax. If my mom bakes one of her yummy peach cobblers, I'm going to feast on it with my eyes first, and then I'm going to devour it. In the world of books, book covers work in the same way. There are probably millions of them out there, but most readers are only looking for one title. Just think, your book cover is going to be the very first thing that a buyer will see. If you're suddenly feeling the pressure of of just  how important a book cover really might be, then continue to read on.

“I've penned a stellar novel. People are going to love me once they read what I've written.” Plenty of authors are probably thinking the exact same thing. But how are you going to let people know about this stellar body of work that you've just created? I'll tell you how.  You're going to  have a fabulous book cover that will make your book stand out from the rest. And don’t worry, I get it. Writers aren't book designers, but here's where you bring in someone to help with bringing your vision to life. Outsourcing can be your new best friend.

How to  Find a Book Cover Designer That Fits Your Needs

I'm pretty infatuated with the book cover for my debut novel, The Truth About Emily, but it wasn't a one step process of knowing what I wanted straight away. It started with me doing research. Think about your storyline or nonfiction topic. Jot down some ideas so that you have a place of reference to pull from. Do you have a title already? Great. If you do, then keep that in mind too, because it's another source. Now go online and begin looking at other people's book covers.  Are they popular authors? Ask yourself what it is, if anything, that's drawing your eyes to it. How do you feel about the colors, the images, the font style, and the font size? Also, check out some of the books that you've previously purchased; specifically on the strength of its book cover. What caused you to click on buying it? Next up, what you want to do, is take all of that information and keep it somewhere safe. We'll come back to it.

Now you'll need to find yourself a competent book cover designer. Fiverr (an online company that will do almost any task for you for $5.00) has loads of  people on there who can assist you for a bargain, but just remember that most of those people specialize in quantity over quality. By this, I mean that you might end up with a book cover identical to someone else or it may have an appearance that looks manufactured. This isn’t to say that there aren’t  some gems on there, but you'll have to diligently seek them out.  As for myself, I chose to go with a freelancer. I was drawn to the element of selection in having access to a host of talented designers with exceptional portfolios  and being able to make a choice based on a price that I’ve set. My final winning pick was Gavin Pledger, Creative Soutions King).

By now ,you’ve found yourself a book cover designer (as far as the work contract is concerned, make sure that you add in how many times they’re willing to revise. Negotiate a flat fee). The first thing that they’ll want to know is what creative direction you’d like them to go in. This is when you whip out the notes that you’ve been compiling for your project. It’s your starting point. Don't be afraid to let them know what works for you, and what doesn’t. A really good book cover designer will be as excited as you are in getting right!


"If you LOVE New York, if you’re a name-dropping, fashion fiend careerist; fed up with serial dating, plagued with a thirst for sex, then you’ll totally stalk me for what I've penned.” - Author, Madi Brown


29-year-old Emily Greene looks the part, but she’s still working on becoming a modern-day woman. Not that she’s one to back down from a challenge, but living as an eternal work-in-progress wasn't exactly the goal that she had in mind. It’s a harsh but true realization---the idea that that time isn't on her side, and the notion that wanting to have it all, doesn't mean getting it. The verdict is in; with zero prospects for a relationship and a stalled blogging career, Emily has every reason to believe that she’s been living a life too humdrum for her own good.

Making the change won’t be easy. She’ll have to do whatever it takes; start dating like a man, become more selective about which RSVP's she accepts, and work even harder at getting her dream job.The payoff’s huge; a modern twist on a storybook ending, but gains don’t often come without risks. In the here and now Emily just may be forced to choose...It’s got to be one or the other----the profession that she’s always wanted, or the love that she’s never had.

˃˃˃ Praise for Madi Brown & 

her debut novel, The Truth About Emily

"The added depth of character promises complexity but wraps everything in the saucy cloak of Emily's evolving personality and newfound beliefs about life, love, and the real nature of happiness. And this is where The Truth About Emily outshines many competitors, making it a recommended read for those seeking more than a standard romance novel." - D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Reviews

"This book has just about anything a girl would love to read about. If there's anything Emily Greene has is ISH and lots of it, oh the ending... This book is a total keeper, just anything about fashion to relationships to friends and family." - Y. Sanchez, Goodreads

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Women's Fiction
Rating – PG18
More details about the author
Connect with Madi Brown on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, December 19, 2014

KS Ferguson Says Sub-Genres Multiply Faster Than Rabbits, Agree? #AmWriting #Fantasy #SelfPub

Do you read fantasy? Which kind? Back when I started reading fantasy—just before the invention of the printing press—fantasy was all wizards with staffs and cloaks, kids with magical objects that allowed them to fly to the moon, or crazy professors making trips to the center of the Earth. I don't recall there being separate sub-genres. If there were, the librarian didn't tell me about them.

Now days, sub-genres seem to multiply faster than rabbits. You've got your epic fantasy, your sword-and-sorcery fantasy, steam-punk, dark, superheroes, and urban, just to mention a few.

I just have to ask—why urban? I mean, isn't that a tad discriminatory? Is an urban setting somehow superior to a suburban setting? No witchcraft going on behind those perfectly trimmed hedges? No summoning of demons from the sinkhole that's just opened in the back yard?

Don't get me started on rural settings! No one thinks it would be amusing if the shape-shifter hero morphed into a dairy cow to blend into the herd or gored the baddie to death? No possessed pocket gophers taking over the town? If pocket gophers aren't a creation of the Devil, I don't know what is!

When I wrote Touching Madness and published it, retail sites insisted I classify it according to their prescribed list of genres. Because it involves traveling to alternate realities, it might fit the fantasy alternate histories category. But it's not about a single alternate reality.

Touching Madness isn't epic, sword-and-sorcery, or steampunk. It's sort of urban fantasy. But it isn't strictly confined to an urban environment. While River spends most of the book in Centerville, Kansas, important chapters see him in a Raptor military camp, snowy winter woods, and an underground compound of unknown origins.

So in keeping with current trends, I'm proposing a new category: contemporary, alternate-dimension-hopping-magic-advanced-technology-and-demons fantasy. What do you think? Will it catch on at Amazon?

Touching Madness

Light bulbs talk to River Madden; God doesn't. When the homeless schizophrenic unintentionally fractures a dimensional barrier and accidentally steals a gym bag containing a million dollars, everyone from the multiverse police to the local crime boss—and an eight-foot tall demon—are after him. Can he dodge them long enough to correct his mistakes and prevent the destruction of three separate dimensions? If he succeeds, will the light bulbs stop singing off-key?

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary, Urban fantasy
Rating – R
More details about the author

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hank Quense Shares Key Writing Tips to Create Believable Characters @Hanque99 #SciFi #WriteTip

To make a believable character, you have to develop the character in four separate areas: physical (outer) attributes, mental (inner) attributes, a biography and a dominant reader emotion.

Physical attributes:  

These attributes are the obvious ones. They tell the reader what the character looks like. Many beginning or inexperienced fiction writers stop the character development at this point. What they have created is a cardboard cutout of a real character. No reader wants to spend time with characters like this because they aren’t human. In fact, these attributes are the least important of the four areas. I’ve written and had published short stories in which I never described the characters. I left that job to the reader’s imagination. The only important attribute here is dialog; how does the character speak?. Does the character talk like a banker or a thug? Does the character’s dialog use gonna, inna and other words of this ilk? It’s important to differentiate the characters through their dialog. If every character sounds the same as all the other character, it won’t be an interesting story.

Mental attributes:  

These attributes are much more important than the physical ones. These are what turn the cardboard character into a “human.” These are the attributes you have to assign to your character. Every one has a personal philosophy and your character needs one also. Is the character an optimist? A pessimist? Is she an individualist or a pragmatist? Once you assign a philosophy, the character has to act in that fashion. You can’t have a optimist acting like a pessimist. If you do, the reader will call you out on it. Other important traits include the character’s personality. Is he charming, despotic, murderous, friendly? And don’t forget to give the character a few quirks. Does he avoid making eye contact with others? Does he overeat? How about picking at her finger nails, or her nail polish?

All this attributes are essential to defining a well-rounded character.


Most new writers don’t understand the need for a character bio. After all, most of the material will never make it into the story, so why bother. Writing a bio allows the writer to understand the character and learn what makes him tick. If you don’t have a bio, you don’t know how the character will react in different situations. Suppose you didn’t wrote a bio and someone walks up to your character and punches him in the mouth. How doe he react? Does you character punch back? Turn around and walk away? You don’t know what the character will do, because you don’t understand the character. What if a beautiful woman grabs him and kisses him. Does you character turn red and develop a stammer? Does he ask for her phone number? Does he kiss her back? Without a bio, you’re guessing what the character will do. Guess will ensure the character inconsistency.

Dominant reader emotion: 

This attribute isn’t discussed much in fiction writing books. It’s the emotion you want the reader to experience when the character is in a scene. All the main characters need one or more of this attribute. Typical reader emotions are: sympathy, annoyance, pity, amusement, empathy and affection. Don’t give the story’s hero a dominant reader emotion like annoyance or hatred. These are reserved for the bad guy in the story.

Moxie's Problem

Do you enjoy untypical coming-of-age stories? Well, you won’t find one more untypical that Moxie’s Problem. Moxie is an obnoxious, teen-age princess who has never been outsider her father’s castle. Until now. The real world is quite different and she struggles to come to grips with reality. The story take space against a backdrop of Camelot. But it isn’t the Camelot of legends. It’s Camelot in a parallel universe. So, all bets are off!

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Fantasy, Sci-fi
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Hank Quense through Facebook & Twitter

Friday, December 5, 2014

S.A. Snow on Procrastination - The Jaws That Bite, The Claws That Catch @BooksbySnow #Scifi

Beware the Procrastination Demons

Have you ever heard that poem the Jabberwocky? It’s one of my favorites. I even wrote a short story around it once, to an extent. “Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws the bite, the claws that catch!”

The Jabberwock is procrastination.

I honestly do not believe in writer’s block. I simply think it’s a form of procrastination and people just don’t know to get around it. They become so good at it that they can’t figure out which way to even start. Well, the news flash is in!

Put your fingers on the keyboard, pick up that pen and just start going! You can’t edit a blank page, you can’t share a story that hasn’t been written. Procrastination is that little voice in your head telling you that you can’t do it, and the fact of the matter is, you are the only person in the way of yourself.

Stop putting the blame on someone else, stop finding excuses (there’s a saying I’m going to share...excuses are like armpits; everyone has two and they both stink!), and get your butt in gear and write that story! It’s important. It matters! It’ll make you feel good!

Everyone struggles with procrastination. Know you are NOT alone. I have issues with it, and so does the next person. The trick to avoiding it is finding out how to motivate yourself. Sometimes I use websites like Write or Die by Dr Wicked in order to motivate me (and yes, I use the Kamikaze level where it deletes your writing if you don’t write fast enough), I use accountability partners, friends who are allowed to yell at me, and sometimes it’s as simple as just scheduling the time to write at the same place/same time during the day every day.

Find what works for you. And sometimes, when the Jabberwock is really after you, you might need to try something new. Sit in the bathtub with pillows and lock the door. Go outside to the park and only bring a notebook, pen and the last two lines you have written. Go to Starbucks with a writer friend, put in headphones and stare at the computer vowing not to talk to your friend. Hide under the covers on your bed with the laptop on your lap and type away. Take your laptop to your car, park in a lot where there is no wifi and pretend you ran out of gas and are waiting on AAA to come to your rescue in their big white truck.

Be creative in your ways to avoid procrastination, and you’ll find your creativity won’t stop flowing. You’ll have slain the Jabberwock with the very bite and catch it dealt you.


Jane expected six months undercover to be hard; she expected it to be lonely and bleak. She didn’t expect to find love. 

Jane Butler, a CIA operative, is assigned the task of infiltrating the Xanthians and determining if they’re a threat to humanity. Going undercover as a Xanthian mate, she boards the transport ship and meets Usnavi—her new mate. After spending six days traveling through space, Jane is ecstatic to explore the Xanthian station and soon sets out to complete her mission. The only problem? Usnavi—and the feelings she is quickly developing. 

Fumbling their way through varying sexual expectations, cooking catastrophes, and cultural differences, they soon discover life together is never boring. As Jane and Usnavi careen into a relationship neither of them expected, Jane uncovers dark secrets about the Xanthians and realizes she may no longer be safe. When it becomes clear she’s on her own, Jane is forced to trust and rely on Usnavi. Simultaneously struggling with her mission, her feelings for Usnavi, and homesickness, Jane faces questions she never imagined she would have to answer.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Blended Science Fiction, Erotica
Rating – NC17
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Connect with S. A. Snow on Facebook