Indie Publishing News – March 2018

This is a copy of last months Magazine for those who wish to read through without images or links.  It does keep you up to date and I encourage everyone to join in with this promotional tool which is FREE if you sign up to receive and share the magazine across your social medai groups and email groups.  This is how we extend our reach to help each other.  Thanks

From the Editor’s Desk

Rather late this month due to not having enough links, interviews and flash fiction. Please get your items in to me by 10th of each month

In this issue you will find information on all sorts of things, including the second part of how to use amazon to get your books noticed. We also have our second graphic artist/book cover designer in the spotlight. I do hope you like the magazine cover she designed.

Take Care of Each Other. Love, Live and Help where you can.

The more we work together the  better Our final product will be!

Plaisted Publishing

House Ltd

Helping Indie Authors get their books published professionally

Now we have celebrated two years. I have opened this magazine to Indie Music in hopes you will watch and listen to something different. Next month we will have a music interview with thanks to Tory Gates.

Look out for the educational and informational articles you’ll find spread through out this magazine. Don’t forget to join in the fun and send in articles for everyone to enjoy or learn from. The more we share, the better the team work, the better we become as writers.

Together Each Achieves More

Orbits Through Time by C A Keith

Krystal looked around at her surroundings. She had a funny feeling like she’d been there before. Déjà vu. It was niggling her and she didn’t like the eerie gut feeling like she’d been there before. It was late and she felt like she just woke up from a long nap unsure of how she got where she was. Krystal’s cotton summer sleeveless dress clung to her. Even at eleven at night, it was still humid. She looked younger than her age of 25. Her hair hung limply against her forehead. She blew air out of her mouth to blow a strand of hair from her eyes. It blew up and stuck to her damp forehead.

A tall man in a smart shirt and trousers swiftly approached her. He moved closer. Suspiciously, he looked from atop his dark glasses. His head darted as he looked around him.
“What are you doing out this time of night? You should not be seen. Run quickly before they spot you. They will pick you up. What are you doing here?” He whispered softly.
Krystal dropped her head. “I’m not sure really. I was sitting on that park bench just after my dinner and the next thing you know it is pitch dark. I looked at my phone and saw that it was 11:11pm,” she explained. She showed him her brand new blingy iPhone 10 that she recently purchased. Smiling, she pulled at a few stray strands of hair and tucked them behind her ear.
“Why do you have that old thing? My name is Kevin. Never mind. Come with me. You can stay with my wife until morning. You won’t be spotted easily at rush hour in the morning. My wife has a code reader that will scramble your code. It’s dark. But where is your bar code?” He lifted her arm turning it around. He grabbed her gently by the elbow and directed her to the next small road. I’m Krystal. I don’t know what is going on here. I don’t live far from here I think.
She got worried when he tugged at her arm. She didn’t know him and was somewhat concerned about where he was taking her. She noticed the signs indicated she was on the corner of Trillium and Maple Street. They were heading west on Maple. She lived on Maple, number 11. She squinted at the numbers. There was something off. Her eyes strained to look at the house number, 30. She wondered why the Miller’s cut down their huge oak tree. It was beautiful. It was there yesterday. The houses looked odd as if seeing them for the first time. The continued walking briskly and furtively.
The man kept a watchful eye around him with every step. “Well, here we are. My place. I will introduce you to my wife. She can take you home in the morning safely. You should know better than to come out at this time,” he said firmly. “Ok. What’s going on here? Who are you really? This is my house. I live at 11 Maple Street,” Krystal said suspiciously. She pulled out her driver’s licence and handed it to Kevin.
Kevin looked at the plastic card and laughed. “Where did you get this card? They stopping making cards a hundred years ago,” he laughed.
“You’re lying! Why are you saying these things?” She ran to the door and yelled, “Mom, Dad let me in!” knocking loud enough for porch lights to turn on.
“Keep it down! You don’t want to alert the Shroff’s.” He turned his head quickly and shielded her body with his large coat.
“Shroff’s?” She wrinkled her nose as he stood largely in front of her using his trench coat as a cover.
The door made a series of buzz and clicks as latches opened the door. His wife, named Sandy, stood half asleep beside the door in her cotton pajamas.
“Kev, what’s going on?” she wearily asked. He grabbed Krystal by the hand and pulled her in swiftly. The door slammed shut with repeated buzzes and clicks to lock it securely.
Krystal looked around with disbelief. Everything looked odd. The living room set that her parents recently bought were not there. Everything looked more modern. A television screen covered most of the wall. “Is this a hidden prank show? This is 11 Maple Street in Westnoor, Virginia Beach. Right?” She furrowed her brow and looked inward as if to answer her own question.
Krystal had never been so confused before. She sat down on the sofa. She pushed back to lift the legs but a motor switched on and adjusted the seat to an automatic perfect setting. The chair elevated her legs and the head rest inched forward so her head rested comfortably. Upon her rested state, the television lit and words came on the screen. “Would you like a drink?” It said. In her head she wished she could have a stiff rye on ice. Before she had the chance to reply the TV blinked, “Your request was received, rye on ice coming up.” The TV screen said aloud.
“Wait! Wha- What?” She blinked and felt woozy.
“Anti-sickness medication and sleeping pill coming up,” The television posted.
She looked over at Kev, then his wife, then back to the television. Buzzing sounds came from the kitchen then a whirring neared her. She saw what looked like a robotic stool with a tray on top. It stopped near Krystal with her requested drink and a side dish of biscuits and pills. She looked, mouth ajar. Her hand slowly brought her jaw back into place.
“Will you pinch me please?” She demanded. She scratched herself with her nail to leave a red welt. Her nail was sharp enough to draw blood. “Wake up, wake up!” She told herself. Krystal felt like she was in a dream.
“Ok! Let’s go through this again. Where did you get that old plastic card? It’s weird that it has your picture on it. Did someone make that for you?” Kevin asked her.
“No. It’s my card. I got my picture taken a couple of years ago. What is happening? Where are my parents? Is this some weird undercover thing?” She said angrily. Her teeth bit down hard against each other. The grating sounds startled her. She reached in her mouth and fingered the sharp edge of the tooth that she chipped from biting down aggressively. “I woke up this morning and went to get coffee like usual. The next thing I know I was sitting on that bench at the park where you saw me. I can’t remember what I did today. I’ve drawn a blank. I come to my home and you can’t tell me where my parents are and you’ve moved stuff in my house. You’re freaking me out with the TV thing. Is this a practical joke show?” she said, eyebrows furrowed and glaring at the strangers in her home. “What year do you think this is?” He glared, awaiting an answer.
“Of course, it’s 11th November 2020. Here just a minute. In my purse I got my work pay stub. My name and address is on the stub?” She rifled through her purse that was slung over her opposite shoulder across her body underneath her coat. She didn’t like having her purse obvious to others. Nor did she like carrying a person either.
“Stub?” He furrowed his brow.
Krystal handed him her pay stub that showed her name, address, and where she worked, Flannigan’s Textiles.
Kevin and Sandy squinted their eyes, puzzled by the paper. They turned it back and forth several times trying to make sense of the paper. They looked at some of her other ID that she handed them, credit cards, debit cards, health card. Everything had her name on it, some with expiry dates within the next five years. No one had paper identification anymore. Everyone had chips. No one could make mistakes or fool the government. They knew almost everything, at any time you left the house.
He flashed his arm in front of the screen. “Orbit, What is today’s date?” “Today’s date is 11th November 2120.” The TV screen responded.
“Why are you saying those things? Stop freaking me out. Really, where are my parents and who are you?” Krystal was edgy. Tears welled in her eyes until they gushed when she blinked. She thought she was dreaming until she saw the dried blood that dried and clotted on her skin. She rubbed her head with her fingertips, in search for a bump. Perhaps she fell and she was dreaming, the only possible cause to this madness.
She squeezed her soggy eyelids tight. She held them closed for 30 seconds, reopened them, and nothing had changed. “Seriously now, where the heck are my parents?”
“Orbit, show me events of 2025,” Kevin directed to the TV. “Do you really want to know?” He looked over at Krystal with compassion.
She nodded and waited to hear.
The TV thought for a moment. “Here are some top events of the year 2025?”
Krystal watched wide-eyed as events unfolded in front of her eyes, “President assassinated, Bomb dropped in several states, leaving hundreds of thousands dead. States nearby each bombs affected with burns, severe injuries. Those in safe zones survived, many didn’t. Top bands include,…” He paused the TV.
“Before that occurred, there were warnings. Not many listened or even believed the warnings. From what I remember reading about in history, there were underground bunkers. How you got here, I don’t know. I’ve heard about time travel. But I wonder where you were at the time? I wonder how or why you got sent here?”
Krystal wept. All she wanted was to find her parents. She wondered how she got there. Maybe if she slept, she’d wake up, and it would all be one crazy dream. “Who were these strangers? How could she save her family from a devastation so grand? Who would believe her anyway?
Kevin showed her to her room, which was their guest bedroom. He handed her a tee-shirt to sleep in. In the morning, they would all have to think of a plan, either to send her back to the right time, or figure out, how to avoid getting caught, and sent to prison. Those that got sent to Santa Clara Island, never came back. Those that questioned the government, would never return. No one knew what happened. He worked for a secret organization. There were many levels of the government. Even he didn’t understand the tiered system. Those that questioned, took a seemingly long vacation, and never came back. “Keep your head to the ground, don’t ask questions, don’t fight back, listen, do as your told, go where you’re told, say what they tell you to say, and life will be tolerable.”
“Orbit, turn on the night light.” The light flickered off and a dimmer light shone through the room.
Krystal shuddered and tucked the warm blankets up to her chin. The bed was plush and comfy. She had so many questions, so little answers. How would she find her way back home? Was she really was stuck in the future? She recalled giggling with her friends when they broached the topic of time travel. Not ever did she believe in time travel.
“Why me? Why am I here? I never would have chosen to really come here. How will I get back home? Who will believe me when I tell them?”
She sobbed quietly into her pillow. For now, she needed to sleep. Her head hurt. Tomorrow, she would figure out if she was really dreaming. If this was her new reality, how would she get back to life as she knew it. Krystal was about to realize she was in the biggest fight if her life. Her life would forever remain in orbit 11:11, if she couldn’t find the portal in time. Her time was counting down.

Spotlight Graphic Artist – Sharon Lipman

Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m a cover designer and paranormal romance author, originally from west London, but I now live in southern Spain. I concentrate on covers for paranormal romance, urban fantasy and dystopian stories, but I have clients who write in a wide range of genres. I specialise in photomanipulation, not illustration, and all my covers include at least two different images – though it is usually a lot more – to  create a new and unique image.

How did you get into graphic design?                                                          .
I am also an author and I started seriously looking at cover creation when I was about half-way through writing my first novel. I’ve always been creative, and have enjoyed painting, textile work and crochet for many many years. I’d never dabbled in digital art before, but I had a vision of what I wanted for my own book cover and decided to investigate whether I could do it myself.

When did you start?
About 6 years ago. I started creating mood boards and looking at what the market expected from paranormal romance covers – the genre I write in.

What inspires you?
A lot of things. Sometimes it’s a title, or a genre. Sometimes I find a great model in a fantastic pose and think to myself, wouldn’t it be great if she was a witch/angel/sword fighter? I make quite a few premade covers so I keep an eye out for great covers in my favourite genres – paranormal romance, urban fantasy and dystopian – but sometimes I like to create covers that are outside of my normal go-to genres. I have horror, thriller, sci-fi and post-apocalyptic covers in my portfolio too. I was recently asked to redo a cozy mystery series, something I have not done before, but I love expanding my horizons and creating beautiful, eye-catching covers for my clients.

Did you have any formal training?
No. I took art when I was at school, and have always had an inner need to create stuff – whether that’s great looking book covers, a new watercolour, crocheting a piece of clothing, or trying a new recipe in the kitchen. I spent a lot of time looking at online tutorials and practicing new techniques. It’s not something I learnt overnight or knew immediately how to do, and I’m still learning. There are always new techniques to learn, or new plugins and digital brushes to try, and I enjoy putting new elements into my work.

Your favourite part of design
I love it when a plan comes together! I have some wonderful clients and I love providing them with something better than they were expecting. I also love finding new ways to create – as I said, I’m always learning.

Least favourite part of design
From a practical point of view, cutting out body parts is time consuming and sometimes difficult and boring. It’s worth it in the end, but unfortunately there’s no magic button for removing backgrounds from images. It takes time and attention to detail.

From a design point of view, some authors want all seventeen characters and three different worlds on their covers. I’m an author too, so I know what it feels like to want to show the world everything on your book cover, but honestly, it’s not going to work. There is limited space on a book cover and it’s much better to give readers something eye-catching and indicative of the story and genre than it is to try and recreate the whole story in one image.

What’s your favourite tool? Paintbrush stylus pencil marker?
I’m probably in the minority here, but I usually use my mouse! I know a lot of fellow designers use a graphic design pen, and I do have one, but I only use it for certain aspects of my designs. Sometimes I don’t use it at all. I suppose it’s what I’m used to. I use my graphic pen and pad if I need to digitally paint something, but for a lot of my work I’m manipulating images, and I find my mouse much easier to use.

Do you prefer black and white Grayslake or colourbomb
Given the genres I usually work in, colourbomb is usually the way to go – though there is beauty in greyscale, if it fits the story and genre.

Do you stay with one canvas or have you tried others? For example, some use paper to paint and draw. Some use cloth and paint fabric and others prefer digital
I paint on paper and canvas for pleasure, but not for my cover design. All of my covers are created digitally using photomanipulation techniques and combining several images to create something new.

Book Reviews

Bat Shit Crazy Review Requests by Gisela Hausmann

You know those people who are able to tell a great joke, keeping on a terribly serious face expression, so that, as you scramble back to normalcy from laughter, you suddenly calm down and start wondering if, perhaps, they may have been serious and actually meant it seriously? Well, I think Ms Hausmann is one of them. You may laugh at some of the cited email review requests, but some will have you thinking and rethinking quite seriously your own email writing. With a giggle or two, but still – you will think on it.

Having read several non-fiction, no-fluff books by Gisela Hausmann, marketing expert, I was looking forward to reading this one, which takes on a different route, a slightly comical one, yet still very instructive.

This is an interesting and quite helpful approach to work emails, not just for review purposes, and I would definitely recommend it to people who need practical advice, but don’t want to read a dry, fact-filled instruction book. In simple layers of text, email quote
followed by a line or two in comment by the author, the book reminded me of a witty, yet tough teacher commenting on the students’ essays. Being respectful of teacherly advice, I am already rethinking my emails.

PS: the presidential campaign emails are extra added value.

Reviewed by Anita Kovacevic

Pride’s Children: Purgatory by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

The Great literary fiction, part one. ((How highly can I praise this book without looking like a sycophant? And, why are we having to wait for the next part of the story???))

Elegant literary fiction which is also literate, modern, gripping, and extraordinarily entertaining, to label the subject matter a ‘love triangle’ would be like daubing the Taj Mahal with graffiti.

Alicia Ehrhardt takes the reader into the persons of Kary, Andrew and Bianca by turns, and uses this approach with consummate skill to construct characters whom one comes to know, ((dare I say this?)) rather better than one knows one’s spouse, or significant other. She does this better than any other author I have yet read. The plot is more than character-driven; there is a sense in which the plot is the characters.

The pace is unhurried, almost meditative at times. By contrast, the tension is considerable, and the reader is kept in suspense all the way to the disappointing end. I have to call it disappointing because Ms. Ehrhardt has clearly planned the whole story across a trilogy, and this is therefore only the first part. Disappointing, because by the time one reaches the end of this first book, one is aching for resolution. ((Well, I was, at least.))

The writing itself is beautiful, witty, and considered. I felt at times that every word had been weighed. Ms. Ehrhardt has created characters of rare power and beauty, whose natures result in relationships of living, breathing complexity. Beside the central three, other characters look quite flat – and yet, they are as developed as most good authors’ central protagonists. The settings and situations are fully realised, being founded upon either the author’s own experience or diligent, exhaustive research. ((I can’t tell which. Ha!))

I cannot recommend this book, this trilogy, highly enough – but not to everyone. This is a book for readers who appreciate literary fiction and a very deeply developed romance with a thoughtful debate on ethics. I believe the pace and the delayed gratification will frustrate many modern romance readers who look for fast-burning romance, titillation, and simple love stories. However, if you are a reader who will appreciate a modern ‘Jane Eyre’, this trilogy is for you.

Reviewed by D B Rose

Nightmares Rising By Mirren Hogan & Erin Yoshikawa

I received a PDF of this novel from the authors in exchange for an unbiased review. Neither author threatened me, bribed me, or promised chocolate.

Darn.

What they did promise was a good story, and Nightmares Rise delivers. The characters are engaging, the action pretty solid, the dialogue was also solid and the locale plus the creeps added up to a fine read. Now, I did have one little quibble, and that was the sex…it was a little continuous for me. I’m no prude, and, granted, the main characters make for an attractive couple, but at times the novel verged into AV territory…almost, but not quite.

What Ms. Hogan and Ms. Yoshikawa are adept at doing is transitioning quite well from a steamy romp into creepy or sudden danger. Not many authors can do that, but they pulled it off nicely.

Overall, a good start to a trilogy. Recommended.

Reviewed by J S Frankel

Tainted Waters By Lucretia Stanhope

This is a fantastic read that keeps the reader wondering and guessing from start to finish. It is often said that light drives out darkness and that loves drives away fear. Such proverbs may be mostly true most of the time, but not without exception.

‘Tainted Waters’ is a book full of such exceptions. It is a story of shadows and illusions, doubts and deceptions, and of clouded thoughts and emotions. In her youth, Alice desires security, truth and a sense of belonging, but enjoys none of these. Trusting nobody and belonging nowhere, her world is one where, time and time again, she has to choose the least terrible option and learn to make the best of it.

Stanhope has woven a tale in which conflict, distrust and obscured truths come into sharp contrast as the powers of light and darkness battle with one another for supremacy.

As Alice discovers who and what she is, and how to make use of the resources available to her, the reader sees those same contrasts in her character: naïveté and inherited knowledge, vulnerability and power, weakness and strength.

This is a fantastic read that keeps the reader wondering and guessing from start to finish. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and found it hard to put down. Acorn Award I Golden

‘Tainted Waters’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn for excellence in storytelling.

Reviewed by Book Squirrel

Outcasts By J S Frankel

I must applaud the author for coming up with the character that is Callie. She transforms between being a male and a female, and her struggles resemble that of a transgender person perfectly. When Mitch falls in love with Callie, he also has to deal with his confused feelings. Everybody calls him gay, and he has to overcome his homophobia before he could really be with her. This is very thought-provoking stuff, especially when she talks about the difficulties of not knowing which bathroom to use.

When you are a teenager, change can be hard. But for these four teenagers, change came with impossible challenges. bookerina.com book review Outcasts by J.S. Frankel

WOULD I RECOMMEND IT?

Heck yes, I would. It is one of those books that you struggle to put down. There are still some unanswered questions, so I am looking forward to the rest of the series coming out.

Reviewed by Bookerina

One Snowy Night – Short Romance Anthology

An entertaining book of short stories that certainly warmed the heart.

Unforeseen Circumstances –

Though the premise of this story sounded like a bad soap opera, a woman suffering from amnesia falls back in love with her ex, it was done in a way that made it endearing. The characters were relatable and the story sweet.

All the Things I Should Have Told You –

My second favorite story in this collection. A heart wrenching story about unrequited love and how true love means sacrifice and undying loyalty. My favorite bit was these lines at the beginning: “Hell is not full of screams or wails. It is full of rhythmic, mechanical breaths and the beep of machines. It smells of disinfectant, and the cruelest trick it plays is letting you know that everybody is doing everything they can, but it might all flitter away in a moment.”

One Snowy Day –

This was my least favorite story. The story is sweet and certainly tugs at the heartstrings, but there is far more dialogue than narrative. The characters have too many info dump conversations and opportunities to really get to know the characters on a more personal level are glossed over.

Again, the story itself is not bad, but it could have been presented better.

Somewhere Between Falling –

My favorite story of the bunch. Told from the two main character’s point of views, we meet two people who have had their lives turned upside down and their hearts broken. Meeting again has old sparks flying and they begin to wonder if their past disastrous relationships were as deep as they had originally thought. Lovable characters and an intriguing plot made this one hard to put down.

All in all, a nice collection for a cold winter day.

Reviewed by Marie’s Review

Justice for the Lemon Trees By Jessica Lucci

“Justice for the Lemon Trees” is Author Jessica Lucci’s personal memoir of “tragic child abuse, brash bullying, and calamitous schooling”. Plagued by domestic violence, and an unfair social services system that would rather imprison women than provide the mental healthcare they need and deserve, Lucci rises up time and again through despair, loss, and tragedy to become an effective advocate for others walking the most difficult paths of life, leading them from helpless victim to proud survivor.

For once, I’m not going to expand on the author’s writing style—which, by the way, conveys the reallife, nitty-gritty life she has endured. I am only going to say that, for anyone who has experienced childhood sexual-abuse, bullying, domestic trauma, and the misfortune of being completely misunderstood and discounted, meet your kindred soul-survivor.

I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to understand how a person who is broken down time and time again still has the courage and fortitude to rise up and become a beacon to others.

To Author Lucci—for all the life lessons you had to learn the hardest way possible, for all the bright spots you sparked in a sea of misery, for all the work you do to help those survivors of abuse and trauma today—I’ll just say a simple, “Thank you for being who you are today.”

Reviewed by J B Richards

Take Care of Each Other

Stop the Bullying

Help and Stand with

Indie Authors

Fixture & Fittings by Julia Blake

Having read the first book, I was really interested to see what this was going to be like. I knew I would enjoy it as I liked the author’s writing style and story telling.

I wasn’t disappointed. Julia Blake wove a wonderful tale of a house and its occupants. Suddenly the book’s cover and title fell into place. It had everything I loved in a story; intrigue, romance, drama and great characters. There was even a little joke running throughout regarding the twins. I’ll let you discover that.

It was interesting to see how the people from the first book made an appearance as minor characters. At this point, I must say, you don’t have to read the first book first, as this is a completely separate story.

Because I read so many books, I appreciate it when they are shorter ones. My Kindle told me this was just under 4 hours of reading time.

However, now and again you read a something and realise its coming to an end, and you’re not done with it the characters yet. For me, it was over too soon. I wanted more of the romance between Marcus and Grace; more of their discovery of each other. I’d also liked to have been involved in the ‘doing up’ of the house. I’d already wondered whether they would have to move out first and how they would feel about the changes. They were some great descriptions of how run down it had become and how loved it was. As a reader I’d bought into this house and would have liked to have seen its rebirth.

As some point it was said that Grace was hiding under her appearance. Marcus, too, said it took time to see the real Grace who was buried under her quirkiness. I would have like to have seen her emerge as a duckling to a swan.

Grace’s daughter, Zoey was an interesting character. She sensed things. She knew when she awoke one morning that the day was going to end badly. She also sensed her bees wouldn’t hurt her, and it made me wonder if there as a little paranormal there and what kind of a story that would make.

The author is writing more books about different members of the Blackwood family, and I believe she can write a book in a fortnight. So the upside is we don’t have to wait too long for them.

If a book leaves you wanting more, then its done its job. This one certainly did that.

Reviewed by Karen’s Book Buzz

The Maori Detective by D A Crossman

Great debut NZ crime novel

This was a great read. An interesting start; from the Prologue – different characters located in Sydney, Wellington, Cairo, Christchurch; the job offer from a Mr Prince to protagonist Carlos Wallace (ex-cop, suffering, part-Maori), and an unexpected inheritance of a house, all seemingly disconnected but the fun is seeing how they all inter-relate and send Carlos on very merry (and some not so) chases.

The main setting of Christchurch, post earthquake is almost a character in its own right and Carlos, newly returned to NZ takes up the PI job offer from the absent Mr Prince (but, conveniently, he supplies them with premises and funds to operate).

His side-kick, Ginny Andrews is a feisty, capable woman (thank goodness). The relative who left him the house asks only that Carlos looks after his whānau and in particular, his cousin, Miriama.

The story moves at a fast pace and maybe, once or twice, things are glossed over a tad too quickly, but they don’t detract from the whole.

Characters are strong – I liked Uncle Tau, local cop about to retire, who reminds Carlos of the family background and supposed curse and the pressure on Carlos to sort out the family problems. Soon the PI jobs of looking for lost dogs and unfaithful wives leads go on the back burner (to surface later) as Carlos investigates a missing person case that leads to international complications.

All things are connected, the story is layered, the links to Maori culture strong. Recommended.

Reviewed by Amazon Customer

Dragon’s Quest – a working draft novel

by Claire Plaisted

Jagan swooped down lower, twisting and turning, laughing when he felt Zoe cling tighter to his back as they zoomed through the night sky.
“Behave Jagan,” she screamed, wind whistling past her ears, her long hair braid smacking her back.
“It’s fun,” he huffed out a flash of fire, nearly singing his nostrils when the wind blew it back into his face making him yelp. “Serves your right.” She leant over his neck looking at the city below with a frown. “Jagan, how come this place looks untouched?”
“How would I know, ask your mother.”
“Thought you knew everything.”
“Well I’m finding a place to land on the outskirts, we can rest for the night and then you can go find out what’s going on in the morning.”
“Yes boss,” she smacked his scales as he landed gently in a fallow field.
Zoe chanted and soon Jagan was asleep in her pocket.
“Mother, why did you send me here?”
“They need guidance, my daughter,” whispered Gaia. “They need to believe again.” “Believe?”
“Their new King is leading them astray, away from the truth with his lies and deceit.”
“Who is the new King?”
“Lord Rumpleton. Take great care. He is powerful and dangerous with many minions supporting his rule. “What do you wish me to do?”
“You will know when the time is right.”
“Goodnight mother.”
Zoe curled up on the ground, making a fire orb to keep her body warm with a mist over her so nobody would find her. It was always best to be careful in a new place.

Garaith peered out of the dirty window wondering what type of bird has just flown past. It was huge, bigger than even an eagle and a strange colour. Frowning, he put his eye back to the window again, and other than a quick flicker of light there was nothing. The night was too dark and it had begun to rain.
“Get to bed before dad catches you Garaith,” whispered his twin sister—Ceraith.
“I’m sure I saw something,” he muttered back to her, scrambling off the window ledge as loud steps pounded up the stairs. He dived under the bedclothes, covering his head as their door slammed open. A huge dark figure of a man stood in the doorway glaring before stomping out and closing the door with a loud click. “Damn that was close,” Ceraith mumbled.
“Sorry.”
“You get caught and we both get punished.” Her skinny young body trembled, her big cyan eyes spilling tears. “I wish mum were still here. I can’t understand what happened.”
“Tis weird.”
“Sleep now. We’ve work in the morn’n.” “Wish we could go back t’ school.”

Down stairs the twins father sat by the roaring fire smoking his pipe, his feet on the hearth. He was waiting for a message, wishing they’d hurry up so he could get some sleep. He hated waiting for people. Lifting his foot, he kicked one of the wolves, it growled snapping at his foot, its fangs digging into Valten’s leather boot making him laugh.
“You’re like a kitty cat with a bite like that, you daft mutt.”
A soft knock on his front door had him jump out of his chair ambling over to yank it open. “What?”
“Message for ya.”
“Code?”
“How the heck do I know.”
The had handed over a leather pouch tied with a piece of string and hurried away.
Slamming his door, he sank back into his chair, shoving the wolf out of his way to chuck another log on the fire. Unwrapping the leather pouch, he took out the cream paper reading the contents with a scowl.
“Damn the man,” he muttered, screwing up the paper, tossing in on the fire watching the yellow and red flames lick around the edges as it burst into flames.
“It’s started,” whispered Gaia
“Mother,” muttered Zoe, turning in her sleep, dreams turning to nightmares. “No mother, please. They can’t,” she stretched out her arms, fear filling her.

Zoe woke with a burst of energy, sitting up she looked around her frowning. Listening, she heard the whispers on the wind. Small animals were running away from the town, birds flocked together flying north away from the city. A horse in a nearby field lifted its head, listened for a moment. Neighing he jumped over the hedgerows following the birds to the north.
Getting to her feet, Zoe held out her hands, opening her mind to Gaia to find her mother agitated, wringing her hands, pacing outside her cottage. “What is happening, mother mine?”
“Evil is growing in the city.”

Testimonials for Fantasia

“Fantasia Covers is magical to work with. She offers gorgeous premades, but can also create stunning custom covers with little direction. I always enjoy working with her and highly recommend her services to all of my friends.”
Catherine Banks, USA Today Bestselling Author

” I have worked with Sharon Lipman of Fantasia Covers for 2 book covers and the accompanying promotional materials. She is an amazing artist and extremely professional to work with. In particular the cover of my last book, The Woman at the Well never fails to elicit a “gasp! Who did that cover?” from people who are seeing the gorgeous art for the first time! It always gives me great pleasure to recommend Sharon and Fantasia Covers! She is exceptional!
Alana Haase, Author

“Mrs. Lipman was wonderful to work with. Not only is she easily approachable, but she worked well with our ideas to incorporate it into a beautiful and original book cover. While our book is not fantasy driven, her work with Fantasia Covers can fit any genre and be just as eye-catching. We greatly recommend her.”
Jessica, Mackenzie, Meredith, and Stephanie Jackson, Authors

“Sharon took an idea I had and brought it to fruition with a creative flair that managed to catch the eye of the post-apoc community, bringing them running and nearly tearing down the doors to get in…”
L.L. Akers, Author

The Auditions by Jane Risdon 2018

Her head thumped and it was a toss-up between a glass of red and a handful of Aspirin.
‘Dear God, the things I do for charity,’ she mumbled. The last of the ‘performer’s had left and she leaned back in her leather chair closing her eyes. Her engineer took another drag on his splif and blew smoke circles in the air. ‘What the hell!’ He shook his head, putting his feet up on the desk.
‘My thoughts exactly,’ she said wearily.

Two days of auditioning hopefuls for a charity record and video had been sheer torture.
‘The bloke who barked and meowed; bloody hell!’ The engineer took a swig of his cold tea. His head throbbed too. ‘Got any
Aspirin?’
‘Was thinking more along the lines of wine, but yeah, in my coat pocket. Bring some for me.’ She pointed to the coat rack by the studio door. ‘Arsenic might be better come to think of it.’
‘Who the hell writes a song for ‘Spit the Dog’, whatever that is?’ She rubbed her aching eyes.
‘Here,’ her engineer shook two pills on to his producer’s hand. ‘Just don’t go there.’
She gulped her own cold tea and shuddered. ‘Can’t remember the last time I had a half decent hot drink.’
‘Oh well, it’s over now and we can put it all behind us, and move on to the next job. Let them worry about the rubbish, we did our job. I can’t believe they’ll make a record with any of them.’
‘Just don’t want any credits on anything for that lot, do you?’ The producer stood up and rubbed her aching back. ‘Freebie it may have been, but they’ve been having a laugh. Sending such dire crap and expecting us to pick some talent from that lot. Talent! Glad I don’t have to polish it.’
‘Hell no!’ The engineer began to wind leads and put them on the hooks in the cubby hole next to the desk. ‘Good luck to ‘em I say. Gonna need it.’
‘Remember that bloke on the first day?’ She asked, staring into the live room. ‘I’m getting flash backs.’
The engineer roared with laughter. ‘Bloody hell, that was out there or what!’
‘No-one would believe us,’ she laughed too. ‘I mean, your face when he came in, I couldn’t look at you.’
‘Don’t know where they find ‘em; I mean leopard skin tights which hid nothing, full make-up and the pouting lips – no-one told him the eighties is over.’ The engineer chuckled recalling the Steve Tyler look-alike who’d pranced into the studio and caressed the mic stand suggestively, as he flicked his long curls, thrusting his groin in the direction of the control room, and blowing kisses at the producer. ‘He was so full of it.’
‘The funniest was when he started singing and thrusting himself all over the studio, I thought I’d burst a gasket and I daren’t look at you, I mean, when his ‘appendage’ began to slip down his leg.’ The producer began to laugh, holding her stomach.
‘Yeah, I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Every time he moved, ‘it’ moved a little further down his leg, flipping hell – that was hysterical.’
‘He couldn’t sing to save his life but I give it to him, he had balls.’ And they both laughed their heads off at the memory. ‘Well, he did and he didn’t.’ The producer cackled as she recalled the spectacle auditioning in front of them. ‘I nearly passed out when ‘it’ managed to find its way down to his ankle boot. I’ve seen some sights in my life, but never a courgette used like that before. I mean, who did he think it was going to impress?’ She grabbed her seat to steady herself as laughter rocked her body. ‘Especially when you looked at where it had come from, talk about disappointment!’
‘He obviously wanted to impress you. I didn’t fancy him at all. I nearly choked as he contorted himself trying to stop it slipping from where he’d put it, I mean your eyes were out on stalks. Never seen anything so funny, and as he hit the high note in ‘Red Corvette,’ it stopped just by his ankle.’ The engineer and producer rocked, gasping for breath.
‘Steve Tyler eat your heart out.’ The engineer wiped his eyes, ‘and he casually removed it still singing, not a blink of his eye, nothing.’
‘You can never say I’m swayed by bribery and suggestion,’ the producer managed to say.
‘Nothing impresses you, not even a guy with a large courgette!’

SKIN

skin like the richest,
dark chocolate smooth and silky, tightly coiled curls
the colour of the void;
skin like the richest, creamy coffee warm and soft,
loose curls cascading down
the colour of warmest earth;
skin like the richest olive groveshimmering and smooth,
wavy locks billowing in ocean breeze

he colour of chestnuts;
skin like the palest milk,
rich and fresh dotted with freckles
strands of straightened hair the colour of warmed straw;
all are enticing and beautiful hidden strengths within
like steel buried in deepest earth; blessings given
to menkind by the universe only to be shamed for their Uniqueness

KyrenaLynch 2018

So You Wrote A Book! Now What? By Patty L Fletcher

Well, before you get into it let me just ask you a few questions.

  • Are you willing to push yourself past limits that make you feel pain?
  • Are you willing to go the extra mile?
  • Are you willing to get over the idiot voices in your head that tell you that your work sucks, put your heart somewhere on a shelf, develop a thick skin bust your ass and work harder than you have ever worked in your life?
  • Are you willing to, when you hire someone to market you, to pay attention to every detail as if it were the very breath you need to stay alive, and to give the work you spent hours and hours slaving over the attention it deserves?

Because if you are not, I just want to know how you expect anyone to want to buy your work, and read it?

Ladies and gents if you do not believe in your work enough to sweat with everything you have inside you and give it everything you have, and stop making piddling excuses not one other person is going to look at your work more than to say, “Well, hell, if the author doesn’t believe in it why the hell should I?”

You say you don’t know what to tell people about your work, when your marketer asks you how you want to promote yourself.

First you do not tell them. You show them.

  • You show them by the content writing you put out after the book is published.
  • You show them by getting into the grit and grime of dog eat dog competition entering contest after contest, entering your writings in magazine submissions, and papering your walls with rejection slips.
  • If you do not submit people cannot accept.
  • If you do not get yourself back up off the floor after every knock down no one is going to do more than take the toe of their shoe and scoot you out of the way.

So, if you really want to be a bestselling author, you’re going to have to work, work, work, and did I mention work? Because there are one-million and more out there just like you.

  • You want to be a Bestselling author?
  • You want your writing to pay the bills rather than the jobs you are doing?

Then roll your sleeves up and get ready to work.

My old supervisor had a saying, and it is true.

“The one you are helping needs to be willing to work harder than you are to make it happen.”

That means when someone hires me to do a job they’re going to bust their asses as hard as will I. From now on if people want me to work for them they are going to work with me. That is that. No excuses no exceptions. If I mess up I expect them to call me on it. I won’t ask anything of others I don’t ask of myself every day.

When I wrote my first book, I was working 80 hours per week at a regular job.

I got up at 3 in the morning did without sleep, never went anywhere, never had a life, to get my book published, and the current of the self-publishing world drags me under every-day and I get the hell up dry myself off and do it again. I’ll keep doing it and I’ll keep doing it. I have done it. I went out and even though my first book was not doing so great, I wrote another, and I’m now working on my third.

Why??

Because I want it. I want it more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life and I’m going to have it.

I ask again.

So, you wrote a book. Now what?

Now, if you are ready to roll your sleeves up and work harder than you ever worked in your life making your passion a success, then I can help you with marketing. You can contact me at patty,volunteer1@gmail.com

The secret of getting ahead, is getting started

Mark Twain

https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/mark_twain

Children’s Book Reviews

The Top Secret Cheese by Mr Wolf

A cute story! The evil couple were perfectly horrible villains who eventually get what they deserve. The heroes were likable, though Red Head was weird and amusing in his own way. I enjoyed the illustrations scattered throughout. They really gave the story some character.

Overall, fun read!
Reviewed by Ashley Uzzell

Unicorns Are Real and other cool poems by Sarah Northwood

What an enchanting illustrated book of poems. The illustrations throughout this book are phenomenal which adds to the poetry being written.

If there was one thing I would point out and it’s small is that some of the poems are difficult to read given their background. Other than that this book is really well done
Reviewed R M Gauthier

The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin by M E Hembroff

There was a small hint of mystery in this story, but there should’ve been a bit more suspense or building up. However, with that all said, I enjoyed the story of Bess, and how she is very curious and likes solving mysteries and learning things.

Bess is a great character, and has something unique and quirky about here. I like her friendship with Megan, and how they connect to each other.

I’ve read other books by Hembroff and enjoyed each one.
Reviewed by Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews

Candy Cow and the Caterpillar by Maureen Larter

Candy Cow learns about ‘Camooooflage’

Candy Cow and the Caterpillar is a children’s picture book from the Alphabet Animals of Australia series by Maureen Larter, with illustrations by Patsy Seager.

The story chronicles how Candy the Cow learns a valuable lesson about the art of camouflage or in her case, ‘camooooflage’ – from a very small, unexpected source. At the end of the book, the author provides some ‘projects for schools’ to consider.
Reviewed by Sharon L Norris

Maureen Larter – Author

Tell us about yourself:-
Hi – My name is Maureen Larter and I write children’s picture and chapter books. I also have garden guides, and, under the name Marguerite Wellbourne, I write adult novels. I do this to keep my brain challenged as well as a hobby. One day I hope to make some money from it!! I am now retired, having been a secondary school English and music teacher during my career. I have many interests and have been to China and Cambodia teaching English since my retirement.

What brought you to the world of writing? :-
I have always been a reader from my youth. In fact, in Primary school I wrote my first book. Since retiring, a friend gave me some Australian Tarot cards – picked out ten and told me to write a story on each. That was 14 years ago, and I haven’t stopped since.

What is your first book and what do you think of it now? :-
My first books were a series of garden guides which I researched and compiled. I am very happy with them. My first picture book was ‘Angus Ant and the Acrobats’ and I’m still proud of my accomplishment.

What type of books do you write and do they fulfil your readers needs? :-
See above – children’s picture and chapter books, garden guides, self-help books and adult drama novels. So far I have had a very good positive response.

Would you like to feature a book, if so which one? Tell us about it.
The book I would like to feature is ‘Broken Wing’ which is the first in a series of books about ‘The Fairies of Aurora Village’. ( the second book is called ‘Spiders, Lizards and Flies’ and the third is ‘Cave of the Golden Bowerbird’.) This is a story about a young fairy who has an accident, and then three mischievous elves go on a journey to find the special thread to repair her wing. Along the way there are many adventures, and another elf arrives to try to sabotage their success.

How long does it take you to write your first draft? :-
When I get an idea and run with it, my first draft is written very quickly. The children’s picture books are short and only take me a couple of hours. The chapter books, probably a week. The adult novels took me longer – about a month.

Do you plot or not, if so why? :-
I don’t really plot. I have the idea in my head and then the story writes itself. The only book I have ever ‘plotted’ was my adult novel – I wrote a paragraph for each chapter, to see where the story would go, then I started to write. Often, the characters will take me in different directions, but the main idea will stay the same. It is a joy to write – never a chore!

Do you write in 1st or 3rd person, or have you done both? :As I have written many books, I have used both techniques.

How do you edit your work? Do you leave your draft alone or edit as you write? :-
Editing is a fourfold process. I edit as I go for obvious mistakes – typos and spelling etc. I then leave the manuscript for a while – sometime three or more months. Then I re-read and fix any grammar or sense problems. After that, I have three friends who read the work and make suggestions. Finally, I go through and take all the suggestions into account and rewrite sections if necessary. I often then ask one of my friends to re-read.

What type of people/readers do you market your books to? :-
This is difficult for me. Children’s picture book are aimed at the children, but marketed to adults – parents, grandparents, aunties etc – everyone has young children somewhere in their sphere of existence. The adult books are aimed usually at women. The self-help/gardening books are hard to market as it is difficult to find the people who would be interested in those things. I try to market just to the general public – surely one of my books will be of interest?? LOL.

Do you self-publish or have you worked with an agent/published? :-
I am my own publisher. I do all the designing and formatting. I also publish other people’s books.

How do you promote your books? :-
I use facebook – I have three pages – a personal and two business. I also have a blog ( readeatdream.net ), and I will be emailing a newsletter as from next month. In my local area, I do personal signings and appearances as ‘Fairy Wrinkle’ for the children’s fantasy books. I hope to add talks in schools this year.

Where can we buy your books? :-
I have an Amazon page for my ebooks, although I am not happy with the format for my picture books. Otherwise, hard copies can be bought directly from me – just email me at maureenlarter@gmail.com if you would like me to send you any of the books, or if you require any more information.

Links

maureenlarter@gmail.com
https://readeatdream.net
www.facebook.com/eBooksByMaureenLarter www.facebook.com/AlphabetanimalsofAustralia

I have an author page on Amazon under Maureen Larter, as well as Marguerite Wellbourne.

Regards

 

The Lost By Rose D Gordon

All books are available from Createspace as well as Amazon and from me. A couple of the books are available through Smashwords as well.

Once there was a little girl who could see things other people couldn’t. She was a special girl. She grew up like most girls with a loving family and older siblings. The difference between Hana and her older siblings was her love of the forest where she would wander most days due to the forest been behind her home.

One day everything started to get bad in her house. Her parents stared to fight over everything so Hana would spend more time in the forest. During her walks Hana found a meadow with lots of different bright flowers in it and a crystal-clear pond. She loved this beautiful place and called it the Crystal Garden and spent most of her time there with the spirts who looked after this secret place. Hana loved smelling the flowers and understanding all of nature and the spirits.

A few weeks later Hana heard her parents fighting she heard them say her name and what they were going to do with her. You see they had found her in the forest when she was a baby. When Hana heard this, she ran out of the house to her crystal garden knowing no one would find her. Hana hadn’t been found she’d been stolen from the spirits which is why she could see and hear them. Hana was a nature spirit. She had waist long royal purple hair, gray eyes and pail soft skin Hana was five-foot one inch.

After Hana ran away, her parents pretended to look for their daughter however, because the crystal garden was hidden by the spirts so they couldn’t find her no matter where they looked. The spirits wouldn’t allow one of their own to be taken again by those nasty humans. Her fake parents looked for her for four years but gave up once they knew they’d never find her no matter how hard they looked.

Hana, on the other hand grew up into the kind and caring girl she was always meant to be. The spirts taught her everything she needed to know about how to talk to the nature and how to read the terrain of the mountains. As the seasons changed they moved to different places never staying in the same place. They loved to see the different homes of the animals living in the forest.

Hana would rarely go into the towns because she didn’t like the humans, they were too noisy. She preferred the calming of the forest. Hana would sometimes watch them from the edges of the trees to see what they were up to and what had changed since she’d lived in the human world.

Kelly Smith Reviews

Only Time Will Tell by T L Travis

Frequent visitors to my blog are probably familiar with the name TL Travis, since I read everything she writes. Having been a reader since the first Sebastian Chronicles book, I’ve delighted in seeing her talent stretch and grow with each piece she puts out.

OTWT is a quick read, featuring two lovable characters, a vivid supporting cast, and a unique plot that keeps moving. There are no frills here, just sex, romance, and just enough drama to keep it interesting. Angst is largely absent from the narrative between the characters. Rather, the main conflict revolves around a mysterious pocket watch and a trip back in time that separates the two men and must make one fall in love with the other during a time when same-sex marriage resulted in imprisonment.

Alex and Charlie are great characters. As a reader, you just want to wrap them in blankets and hug them. Their romance is natural, and doesn’t seem overly sexualized, despite the many sex scenes in the book. Additionally, the sex doesn’t take away from the story whatsoever. It feels just as natural as everything else and is hot, hot, hot!

Fans of LGBT+ romance, sci-fi or contemporary, will fall in love with this book and be begging for more.

Rainne’s Reviews

The 12 Terrors of Christmas by Claudette Melanson

A wonderfully creepy take on Santa… and Christmas.

I enjoyed these 12 dark and disturbing stories that explore a less than jolly side of the holiday season.

The short stories include zombie elves, were-deer and vampires to name but a few, and many of the tales were interlinked which added to the interest.

This is a well-written and descriptive anthology, and an entertaining read.

Killer of the Mind By Valerie Albemarle

In ‘Killer of a Mind’, Albermarle immerses the reader in the sights and sensations of various towns along the east coast of America before dunking them in the waters of the Mayan Riviera on the shores of Mexico, where the contrasts and conflicts of this story are heightened by those characteristic of Tulum, the Mexican town in which Ryan finds himself. Noise and quiet reflection, richness and poverty, sunshine and shade all reflect Ryan’s own mental and emotional condition.

Unlike Ryan, the reader understands that there is always more than one side to a story. Albermarle has woven the threads of this story together with craftsmanship and finesse, leaving nothing to either predictability or fate. The reader is not allowed to become complacent – as Ryan discovers, there is always a new challenge, a surprise or a revelation as a corner is turned or a hill is crested that shows the light shining on things differently with a change of perspective.

Albermarle’s writing is rich and vivid, developing magnificent scenery full of colour and sound, and complex characters that seem to have more shade than light to them..
Book Squirrel Reviews

Secret Method To Choosing Amazon Book
Categories In KDP By Dave Chesson

HOW TO FIND THE AMAZON BOOK CATEGORIES

There are three steps to finding out how to choose a good kindle category or Amazon book category. For this, I will be using an example. In this example, I will be trying to find a good category for a language book:Sadly, Amazon doesn’t just list every category they have somewhere – if they did, I’d be a super happy camper.Instead, we need to ‘find’ pertinent but niche categories.

To start this, we’ll begin by typing into the Amazon search box any words to describe our book. Our goal is to get a list of books that are similar to our book.I will then systematically go through each book and check their category string links like below:

Doing the above, I checked out other books and found the following categories:

  • Language Experience Approach
  • Education Reference
  • Language Instruction – Miscellaneous
  • Foreign Language Study & Reference
  • Linguistics
  • Test Preparation
  • Pedagogy (I actually had to look up what this word meant…haha)
  • Study & Teaching
  • Words, Language & Grammar
  • Memory Improvement

STEP2:NICHE DOWNFURTHER

Niching down — okay, niche can’t be a verb but humor me — can be a really good thing for your potential rankings. The more niche you get in a category, the lower the ABSR will be in order to be a #1 bestseller

The more niche you get in a category, the lower the ABSR will be in order to be a #1 bestseller CLICK TO TWEET

Your competitor might have stopped at a very broad category, but by looking for further book categories, you can niche down your selection and thus, have less competition. After clicking on a category, look to the left side and see if you can click down any further.

In the example above, I checked out “Words, Language & Grammar,” and sure enough, there are some niche categories to choose from.

Hmmm….out    of  these,  I can select “Linguistics,  Study & Teaching,” and potentially “Vocabulary.” Again, we are just checking our list for more potential places to select.

So Steps 1 and 2 help you build your list of potential Amazon book categories. Now we are going to work on selecting the right one!

STEP TWO NEXT MONTH

 

To Late – Prequel to Pride’s Children by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

St. Paddy’s Day. Grafton Street, Dublin.

I made sure I bumped into her St. Paddy’s Day. In the harsh broad daylight, middle of Grafton Street with the Dublin shoppers and tourists out in full force.
She shimmered, rosy-cheeked, kissed me softly on the cheek. “Hello, Andy.” She’s the only one, other than the lads and me ma, I ever let call me ‘Andy.’ None of the other girls. But I was so sure she was the one. I’d met her our first film acting together, and grabbed her up. Even ma, back on the farm I couldn’t wait to leave, liked her. “Don’t let this one go,” ma said. But I was bloody stupid.
“Something’s different,” I said. Her copper hair was cropped short, modern, pixyish. It glinted, reflected the sun crooked. Ten long years with me it’d been breast-length, silky. My fingers ached at the memory.
“Right ye are.” Her smile was ever the best part of her, a smile ye could get lost in and not come out for days. Toward the acrimonious end of us I had seen little enough of it.
“I heard ye’d hooked up again.” I shot the words deliberately, telling her it was too soon, much too soon. The shaft found its mark, and right there in the middle of the bricked-over street, her aura seemed to dim. A successful solicitor in the city, for chrissake. “Didn’t make it a month, did ye?” “It was over long before I walked out on ye.”
“Could ‘a fooled me.” And kicked myself. I could never keep me mouth shut. Then I made it worse. “Bloody short skirt.” “Like it?” She twirled, her ivory sweater-coat held billowing-wide like a spinnaker, forced her confidence back.
“I bet everyone on the street, everyone in the whole of Dublin city likes it.” Except me. Except me.
“Aye, there’s the rub.” She sighed, re-wrapped and belted against the chill. She knew I’d never liked sharing her.
She fixed that deep honey-colored gaze on my face, checking round my eyes. Pinned like a dart on the board. I never did hide anything from her. “Ye’re looking terrible anxious, Andy.”
“It’s a big gig, this film.” I was buried in process: pages of dialogue, a character to be. Scoping out the other actors filling the holes round me in the script, making ’em react the way I wanted… She could ‘a waited, run lines with me, had faith. “It’ll make or break me.”
Her laugh kicked me in the stomach. “That’s what ye always say, no small roles. I’m happy for ye, Andy. I hope it’s the big one.”

O’Connell St., Dublin. Late summer.

Five months later filming was over, and I came back to spend a day with the folks on the farm, see the old Dublin gang. Ye can never tell with films ’til the editing’s over, and the music added, and the critics fed, but I had a deep solid feeling about this one. The character fit like electric blue spandex. We’d had a good bit of fun together, he and I.
If I was right–and I knew I was–life would change. I’d been disappointed before, too many times. Good work lost on a cutter’s floor, script seen for what it was–a mishmash of cut-and-paste–when time came to put the bits together. But this one…
For this short while, only I knew this strange power, the rightness of it. When the movie premiered, everyone would know.
I had to tell her. I stalked our old haunts, pacing O’Connell Street from square to bridge, at closing time. I almost missed her. She came out of Clery’s department store, headed away from me. I’d know that walk anywhere, but something was odd. I sprinted to catch her, tapped her shoulder.
I should ‘a known, I should ‘a known.
The middle of her was a rounded mound. From the back I’d noticed looseness where she usually pulled her shirts tight, proud of her taut little body. She’d invariably dressed smart, but she’d added expensive. She laughed at my reaction. “Surprised? Ye knew bloody well I always wanted me own.”
“Is… Is it mine?” I asked, with the standard stunned gape of the male of the human species. Christ Almighty, the complications…
She flushed. “Get over yerself, Andy. Don’t ye think I would have told ye, ye bleedin’ eejit?”
“Are ye sure?” She’d wanted babies. Hell, I’d wanted babies–and now I could feed ’em. It’d be awkward, but I could manage, we’d manage…
“Christ, Andy. A woman knows.” A dark shadow flitted over her face, was gone in the soft afternoon. “Be happy for me, Andy.” She squinted at her cell phone’s misted screen for the time. “Have to go. Be well.” Why’d none of the lads said a word?
She didn’t even hear me stutter I was happy for her.

McDuff’s Pub, Dublin. December.

Too late. It was the big one, sudden fame, everyone wanting a bloody piece of me. Me? I wanted more than anything in the world to share it with her.
She knew where to find me. She came to our old pub, McDuff’s, one night in early December. Crisp, cold out; warm, thick in. Her hair gleamed dully, reflecting the dim lights.
The lads shielding me from the new vampires vanished, leaving a sudden hole round me at the scarred oak bar. She took a barstool just like old times. “Thought I’d find ye here, Andy. I knew ye had it in ye.” And her face was full of joy. For me? “Heard ye had the baby.” She hadn’t changed her perfume. My perfume. The gold sheath she wore, with an open gold leather coat, backdropped her coloring. Damn if she hadn’t shrunk quick back to size. “Where’d ye leave him?”
“A pub’s no place for a baby, Andy. He’s with me ma.”
“Not with…” I could’na speak the supplanter’s name. I could’na ask her about him. The thought of his touch on her perfect skin…
“Sure a mott has to get out once in a while, right?” She glanced over her shoulder, and there he stood, dark, soft, impeccable, holding a Guinness for her. She took the pint from him. “Thanks, Finn.” She looked at me. “It’s good for the nursing.”
He slid the coat off her shoulders, possessive. He put out the other meaty paw. “Congratulations, fella.” I would ‘a been a boor in front of all me new fans had I not shaken it.
Ritual completed, the room’s air suddenly relaxed. Best man wins.
But I hadn’t. I had what I’d thought I wanted most: me face on billboards, a contract for another film with numbers me folks had never seen, talk of golden statuettes.
Even in that ratty pub, girls of all hair colors waited impatiently for the ceremony to end.
He held her gaze. “Don’t keep us waiting, luv.” He kissed her crown to mark his territory, jerked his head toward a table in the far corner where some other young couple stared our way, nodded to me.
She watched him go, turned back to me. “Would ye like to see a picture, Andy?” She didn’t wait, pulled out the zippered wallet I well remembered, showed me a snap of a fat copper-fuzzed baby, coaxed into grinning as he drooled.
“He’s a beauty.” What else could I say? I’d checked: under Irish law, and her a married woman, in spite of it being a new Millennium, I couldn’t even ask if he was mine. For the life of me, I could’na put out me hand to touch the plastic sleeve… but I stared long enough to make her twitch.
“Think we’ll keep him.” She closed the wallet, tucked it away. Her eyes were somber, but only for a moment. Then she twinkled as of before, when I’d bring unexpected Chinese in printed cartons to our tiny two-room flat for supper and we’d toss lines back and forth and talk ’til dawn. “I really am happy for ye, Andy. It’s what ye always wanted.” She left me there, joined her friends. And him.
The pack descended on me, loud and needy and obsequious, and the next time I turned round her table was empty.
And I can’t get it out of me head, this image of a growing lad, copper-topped and cradled in her lap, but looking a little like me? Too much like me?

Copyright Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt 2009
Used by permission

Deb Hockenberry – Author

Tell us about yourself.
I have always wanted to write for children since she was a child. Back then, I loved making up stories for my five brothers and sisters along with the neighborhood kids.

I’ve taken a course at the CBI Clubhouse http://www.cbiclubhouse and multiple courses from The Institute for Children’s Literature http://www.instituteforwriters.com to keep up with the ever-changing children’s market.

I’m a regular contributor to her church newsletter, send out announcements and reminders on MailChimp, and keeping the church website updated. In my spare time, I enjoy knitting, crocheting, music, movies, reading, and of course going to parties.

What brought you to the world of writing?
I was bitten by the writing bug when I was in elementary school. In the summers, my mother would let myself and my siblings go to our local library. I think I read every book in the children’s section, but something was missing. I love parties and I love books with talking animals in them. I wanted to read a book with both in the book, but I don’t remember reading one. Needless to say, I was very disappointed! That led me to a decision.

The next time we were at the library and my siblings were engrossed in the books they picked out in the children’s section, I went to the librarian’s desk. I was so nervous! I told her that I wanted to learn the write way to write stories. I thought she was going to laugh, but she was delighted!

The librarian took me into the adult section. In those days kids were never allowed there, but there I was. Nine-yearsold and taken in there by the librarian! She sat me down at a table by myself and proceeded to pull books off the shelves for me. They were The Writer’s Market, The Writer’s Handbook, along with many other books about writing. That librarian had a big hand in getting me started in writing.

What is your first book and what do you think of it now?
‘Where Can We Have The Party?’ is my first book has morphed so many times through the years. The very first version was a more violent cops and robbers/mystery type of talking animal story. Of course, it had my party in it, too. Needless to say, I’ve re-written it several times over the years until both me and the story were happy.

What type of books do you write and do they fulfil your reader’s needs?
I write mainly children’s picture books for kids ages three to eight. I am working on a few other books write now plus another picture book. I have one for middle grade, young adult, and adult in the works now just to get out of my comfort zone. I always seem to gravitate back to picture books.

I think they fulfil a reader’s needs. This is what I aim for. I want to keep the story light, entertaining, without hitting the child in the face with a lesson. I feel there’s so much room, especially in today’s society, for entertainment. I do have a subtle lesson in the story, but try to keep it in the background so the child doesn’t even notice it.

Would you like to feature a book, if so which one? Tell us about it?
I only have one book out. It’s called, “Where Can We Have The Party?” It’s a very simple concept:

Giraffe wants to have a party for his friend, Chimpanzee. There’s one problem, though. Where can he have the party? He asks his other friends for ideas. They have great ideas, but for one reason or another the ideas won’t work. Where can they have the party and what kind of party will it be?

How long does it take you to write your first draft?
This varies from book to book. For ‘Where Can We Have The Party?’ it took quite a while. First, I did write it out without outlining as a pantser would do and then I outlined. Then the story decided to change yet again and making me start over again.

Do you plot or not, if so why?
I suppose you mean outlining here. I always start out being a pantser. Then I’ll take a good look at the manuscript and write a formal outline so there aren’t any holes in the plot.

Do you write in 1st or 3rd person, or have you done both?
I’ve tried both. I always start out in third person. If that doesn’t feel right, I’ll try first and compare the two to see which is better.

How do you edit your work? Do you leave your draft alone for a while or edit as you write?
I do let my story rest for a while before I pick it up to see where there are problems. I also read it into a tape-recorder. It really helps to hear your story as well as to see it with fresh eyes. Then, I edit and proofread.

Even though I do that, I always send it out to an editor. That way you get an honest, objective viewpoint plus constructive criticism to help improve your writing.

What type of people/readers do you market your books to?
My picture books are aimed at ages three to eight-years-old. The others are for middle grade, young adult, and adult.

Do you self-publish or have you worked with an Agent/Published?
I self-published ‘Where Can We Have The Party?’ through CreateSpace. I want to both self-publish and traditional publish. I’ve never gone through an agent.

How do you promote your writing?
I promote over the internet and book signings and book readings. The book signings/book readings are always fun!

Where can we buy your books?
You can currently buy my books online. I haven’t gotten ‘Where Can We Have The Party?’ into brick and mortar stores, yet.

Here are the buy-links
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1537077120
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0759ZTTTS/
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wherecanwehavethepartydebhockenberry/1125988767?ean=9781537077123

Who are your favourite authors?
My favorite authors are varied. Of course, J.K. Rowling. Who doesn’t like the Harry Potter series? More authors are Allyn M. Stotz, Mary Jo Nickum, Madeline D’Engle, Dr. Seuss, and so many more.

Links

http://www.facebook.com/debhockenberry1
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDebHockenberry
https://www.facebook.com/WhereCanWeHaveTheParty https://plus.google.com/u/0/108456474548771191270
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16597765.Deb_Hockenberry http://www.twitter.com/debhockenberry

Do you have any more information you’d like to share with us?
Thanks so much for interviewing me! I hope all of your readers will enjoy ‘Where Can We Have The Party?’!

POETRY BOOK

Perfect Break by Anais Chartschenko

When everything falls Apart, people are just Pieces of who they should Be After best friends Claire and Madison are separated for the summer, they promise to tell each other everything. But when one of the girls starts keeping dangerous secrets, can their friendship survive? A novel told in verse

 

Netgalley or Not by K S Marsden

Hello lovely readers. I recently experimented with listing my book on Netgalley, and I have decided to share the results.

If you haven’t heard of Netgalley it’s the biggest website for connecting reviewers with free books in exchange for a review. Seriously, it is the daddy of reviewer websites. It is the go-to company for all the big publishers, to get the most influential reviewers to talk about their books. It regularly hosts best-sellers, and you can’t open Amazon or Goodreads pages without reading “I received a free copy from Netgalley” in countless reviews.

Reviewers

As a reviewer, I have been a member of Netgalley for a few years, and I’ve done about 40 reviews for them. I would highly recommend signing up, if you are interested in reviewing books. It’s free for us, and if you are approved by the author/publisher, you get an ecopy to download. Your copy is technically a loan, and the file magically expires after about 60 days, so make sure you don’t sign up for more books than you can handle at one time.

OK, onto the author-side of the business.

Authors

Netgalley have kindly allowed Indie and small-pub authors to join their ranks. Which is great, because it’s shocking that some companies still refuse to do business with this fast-growing industry. The slight sarcasm is because… well, you’ll see.

Netgalley introduced the option of listing a single title, which is great for Indie authors, who don’t have enough titles to make the most of a publisher’s account. All of this for the tidy sum of $450 for a six-month listing. Or $699 if you want to include Netgalley marketing. Yeah, I’m not completely in love with the idea of paying £325 to give my book away for free, even if it is the hub of the most influential reviewers.

But, fear not, Netgalley offer a further deal – you can list your title on their website, at a discounted price if you are a member of IBPA. They only charge $399 for a six-month stint, and also offer a 3-month option of $199. So, that’s starting to get a bit more reasonable for the average Indie author.

Oh, small print – IBPA membership is $99 – $629 a year, depending on whether you’re unpublished, indie, small pub, or regular publisher. Starting to look less of a good option. (I know, there are other pros and cons to IBPA membership beyond getting a Netgalley deal, but this post is focusing on Netgalley).

Cost-Conscious Authors

So there are other options available, if you look for them. There’s a very popular route of joining a Netgalley Co-op. These are set up by someone who buys a publisher’s account on Netgalley, and then “rent out” the listings. Some of these Co-ops are permanent fixtures, where you are allocated a listing for the entire period; and some are more flexible contracts, where you can list your book for a month or two, with no further commitments. At this time, they cost about $40-60 for a month. Much more affordable.

You didn’t expect me to pay Netgalley’s extortionate prices, did you?

My Experiment

I’m going to make the assumption that I am an average Indie author. I have a few books, have a few sales, and about break-even over the year. I’ve got a decent amount of reviews, but always looking for more.

When my newest book “James: Witch-Hunter” was published, I decided to try Netgalley, to see if it could help boost my books to the next level. “James” seemed like the perfect candidate. I felt it was one of my strongest books, and it is a stand-alone, connected to my most popular series. With any luck, I’d get some new fans for the Witch-Hunter trilogy, too! So, I signed up to Pikko’s House Netgalley Co-op (note: Pikko’s House will cease running Co-op’s in April, as they are struggling to get as many author’s sign-up as they used to), and my book was listed for the month of December 2017.

~James’ page~

And the excitement began!

I made sure to advertise the fact that people could pick it up on Netgalley, using Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and my newsletter. James and his Netgalley link were always visible (although I never did a hard sell, I can’t do hard sell). I felt like I’d worked my socks off, and I waited for the feedback to roll in. …(On a side-note, this isn’t my first time using Netgalley. I signed The Lost Soul up for a Co-op, back in 2016, and I got 2 reviews. To be fair, I didn’t push the fact it was featured on Netgalley, I assumed that, because it was signed up to this shinydaddy-of-review-wrangling, I’d inevitably get reviews.)

Back to James.

Every copy that reviewers have downloaded has expired, as it’s beyond the 60 days of the last download date, so I am assuming that the majority, if not all of the reviews are in.

Results

Crystal at Pikko’s House very kindly sent me an excel file with a list of all the reviewers that applied for a copy of James. Whether they were accepted or rejected (reviewers that downloaded too many books but failed to deliver reviews, or were on Pikko’s blacklist were automatically rejected); and whether they left a review.

Right, onto numbers, what you guys really want.

29 reviewers requested my book; 21 of which were approved; 6 reviews were posted on Netgalley; All 6 also left reviews on Goodreads. 1 on Amazon UK; 3 on Amazon US.

I am very grateful for each and every reviewer that took the time to leave a review. There will naturally be authors that do better, some that do worse. I can’t account for how well other genres might perform, as all my books are Fantasy. This time, I can say that the reviews cost me $9.17 each. Which is not extortionate, but not as effective as I was hoping.

I think at the end of the day, Netgalley still has it’s place. It is still a powerhouse, but perhaps needs more input than a mediocre writer like myself can provide, to really get the most out of it. I can feel proud that my book is still listed on Netgalley, alongside the bestsellers, it’s quite the buzz. I may promote James, or one of my other books on Netgalley again. Perhaps later in my career it will be a more useful tool.

Alternatives Goodreads

Free to join.

Goodreads is the most popular website for book reviews, and your book should be listed with them, if you have any sense. This isn’t a straight-forward machine that will find reviewers for you, so it is a little more laborious, having to find groups and communities that accept review requests. But, you can find groups that focus on your genre, so you’re more likely to get positive reviews.

Example:

I listed James with Shut Up & Read’s Read It & Reap program (very popular, booked ahead for the next year). 5 people requested a copy, with 4 of them leaving full reviews, and 1 leaving a rating.

Booksprout

Free to join (does have paid options, too). Booksprout is a mix between Goodreads and Netgalley. It is focused on getting reviews, but it has other functions, too. There are “Pro Author” and “Bestseller” options at $10 and $20 a month respectively, but I found the free option met all of my current needs.

Example:

At the end of January, I listed James as available for review, requesting that reviews be completed by 9th March. 8 out of a possible 20 people downloaded a copy (you can have a max of 20 reviewers per ARC on the free account option); of these, 2 people left reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and 1 left a review solely on Booksprout. I imagine there may be another one or two to come in over this month. (Edit 13/03/18: already received 6 out of 8 potential reviews)
http://thenorthernwitchbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/netgalleyornot.html

Introducing Rhonda & Chris Johnson

What bought you to the world of writing?
Whether you write books, poetry or music, writing is a way to connect to the world in a very dynamic way. Peoples ideas, views, values and diverse cultures are always on the move, changing, growing and developing for the next generation.

Writing music is a way of conveying all the above within a symphony of sound. There is something within music that will touch the hearts of everyone, no good movie would be a good movie without the symphony of sound being placed behind the characters and storyboard.

Moofish music is a collective of personal and observational changes, witnessed within ourselves and the world around us. If we allow life to flow through us instead of at us, we are able to experience so much more, it allows us to see things we would other wise not be aware of, perhaps that is centred within our music.

The Genre of music that Chris and I produce is diverse, shifting and being moulded by the experience of the world around us, so putting our music into one Genre is very difficult, as it is a collective of many things.

Moofish routinely flout convention by introducing truly mind-bending Alt techniques on guitar, utilising multiple capos, bows, loop stations, pedals and more (often simultaneously) in an effort to distinguish themselves in a truly creative way. The foundation for all this experimenting is set with some truly beautiful songs combined with gripping, powerful vocals and melodies.

Chris and I never stop to intentionally write a song, rather let the process take charge and go with the flow, whether that be lyrically or musically. A song will come together very quickly this way. Unlike writing a book, the first draft is usually the keeper, and it’s not often anything will be rewritten or reconfigured.

Music is very personal so writing in the 1st person is common for me as the lyricist, though in saying that the experience may not always be mine. Writing the plot or narrative of the song does not come into play until first the music is heard, usually or more often it will take place as the music is being composed by Chris.

Having being together writing, recording and performing for many years, 30 years in fact, the music has enabled us to blend our styles to create something quite unique, to have a sound that is quite different from others.

The feature right now is a song recorded and released on the 2 march 2018, called ‘Change Is Here’. A video and sound track has been released world wide, it can be found on all music sites like Itunes, spotify, Amazon, video released via Vevo and Youtube.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/fx2opH4JPbo

We have our own website http://www.moofish.co.nz where you will find a historical overview of our music and the website will keep people up to date on what’s going on. We also have a Facebook page moofish which is updated regularly.

https://www.facebook.com/Moofish737584946261946/ https://www.numberonemusic.com/moofish

The story line or plot would have to account for a personal view of the world in which we live. The many changers taking place right now in front of us, and the idea of where we will be heading.

Life today is bringing forth many new challenges and depending of course on how humanity tackles the challenges will depend on the outcome.

Chris and I have released an album and various mini releases since 1999, self titled and self published but this time we have opted to go with a publisher Songbroker New Zealand. We will indeed push to promote our music ourselves online in the hope to reach as many people as possible. A particular focus on our fans registered with our mailing list we have collected over the years.

We have finished recording 21 songs in the past year and will release a number of singles before we release ALT_MUSE Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3 of the complete collection. It’s very exciting as Chris and I have accomplished what we set out to do in a very short time.

Focusing now on Video making for the second single release, we are finding ideas and hope to be starting that video creation very soon. Chris has a natural talent working with video and photo footage and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.

Making the video is certainly more proactive than the creative song writing as locations, people and settings have to be thought through thoroughly.

As far as any influence to our music, I have to say we are very influenced by what’s going on around us, with out any genre being more listened to than the other. We enjoy creativity full stop. Some have said the latest songs sound influenced by Karen Elson.

A blog review of the single ‘Change is Here’ “What an off-kilter combustion that is at its base a soulful performance but then there is the background aggravation which threatens that purest of talents. It is breakout different, jazzy and soulful but destined to grip those closer to pop’s mainstream. Edgy stuff” mp3hugger.

We receive feedback feed back from fans all around the world, from different age groups and different cultures, it appeals to people for different reasons as music is a personal experience. I dearly hope that listeners will continue to find something soulful within our music, and enjoy the creations as much as we have enjoyed the experience of making them.

Introducing Sam Prigmore

Bio

My name is Sam Prigmore and the pathfinder ethos is Mind, Body, Spirit, Soul. I have an unshakeable belief that if we spend our days doing our very best to build our Mind, Body, Spirit and Soul we simple become the best we can possibly be.

Once you see a negative in a positive light it can only be beneficial to welcome negative moments because you know ultimately them can build you into the best possible you”

So, a little bit about me, I am an eclectic soul you can find me in the mosh pit on Friday night and then on Saturday I could be watching a musical stage show and loving both the same. I love films and music and I honestly whole heartedly believe life can be its own therapy. I believe this because I am not special from any other person on this planet, I have learnt from my lows and loved every second of my highs. I started my coaching journey from a very young age thanks to my dad as he got me teaching swimming and that progressed into being a further education teacher in my 20’s. This also covered being a martial arts instructor and for a brief time I helped run a martial arts school. Throughout my coaching and teaching career I always came across people who told me things a little bit out of my realm to help apart from give stories from my own experiences. That is when I decided to start doing my studies into using all these negatives that exist in life and start learning how to help people through them or over them. So, that is a little bit about me folks. Just remember when you feel like you have hit rock bottom you have pick yourself up before, so it is always possible to do it again.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/samprigmore0448a5154/ https://www.instagram.com/samprigmore/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQaj72UUpTr0_T6EhgfMJ6A pathfindersp13@gmail.com
www.bethepathfinder.co.uk
https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=searchalias%3Daps&fieldkeywords=pathfinder+sam+prigmore+

Will ‘O’ Witch by Becka Abbott

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Dana sat in the square area near the door. It had been good that she bought too much food for dinner, because when they divvied it all up between the three adults and the little kid who wouldn’t leave the cupboard, there was just enough for everyone to be full. She lifted her plate to her mouth and scooped the last of her rice and sauce.

The one with a dragon soul had a very kind face. He was oddly tall and lanky but also graceful. There was something about him that she liked, it was the same feeling as making a blanket fort in front of a fire while it’s snowing outside. A child-like part of her just wanted to curl up in his lap and sit in that warm, flickering energy.

Her eyes glanced back to “Will” and she took in the details of him. His physical face was the same as Mina’s, quite androgynous with a square jaw, tanned skin, with an oddly shifting tone of brown in his eyes. But his spiritual face was entirely different. Mina had bright green spiritual eyes, but his were steel blue, almost gray. And the energy coming off him was very much like the crystal from before, endlessly calm. She wondered if he was a monk or something.

She’d never really come across the idea of multiple people in one body. Her mind resisted her attempts to wrap around it, but, with her new sight she couldn’t really argue because he was right in front of her.

She frowned and took a deep breath. This had been a totally insane day, but oddly, she felt as if she belonged. And it was the first time she’d ever felt that. She’d lived her life trying to be like everyone else, hoping that being as normal as humanly possible that she’d stop feeling like some sort of changeling living in the world.

She snorted at her own thoughts. Perhaps being a witch meant she was some sort of changeling. Maybe this was why she didn’t fit in.
“How are you going, Dana?” Steel gray eyes sparkled at her.
She swallowed. “Big day. I told Mina that I keep expecting to just go bibldy but I don’t. It’s all so weird.”
Will’s smile was broad but gentle. “You’re doing well.”
Dragon grunted. “I never had that awakening, I don’t envy you one bit.”
Her eyes widened. “You’ve always known about this stuff?”
“Yeah.” He nodded. “Even as a small person I knew that I saw more of the world than the rest of my family. And it’s hard not to notice when you feel wings and claws that aren’t physically there.”
Behind her, she heard little footsteps approach. A small person crawled up her leg onto her lap, and young Cain curled in close to her. She instinctively put her arms around his little shoulders.
“Hello, Cain,” she said gently.
Dragon snorted. “Wow, I’ve never seen him warm up to anyone so quickly.”
“I have a lot of little cousins,” she smirked. “They all say I have a snuggly lap.”
Smiling, Will got to his feet and started collecting plates. “He’s a good kid, aren’t you, Cain?”
The little one opened an eye and nodded at them. Her instincts flared up at her, suggesting that the kid had a difficult past, and needed as much affection and kindness as possible. Her arms tightened around him for a moment and she gave him a hug.
“Of course you’re a good kid!” she said. “Who could possibly think otherwise!”
Dragon approached them and crouched down to get level with his son. “Cain,” he put a long-fingered hand on the boy’s hair. “Me and Will have to go out for a little while, would you be OK staying here with Dana where it’s safe?” The little one grunted, not unlike his dad, and nodded.
A pair of coal-brown eyes lifted to look at Dana, and for a moment there was no human face at all. She could see a black dragon with a long snout, and two sets of curling horns sitting on the top and side of his head. She blinked and the physical world reasserted itself as the more solid reality.
He smiled. “Dana, do you mind staying here with Cain?”
She shook her head. “Not at all!”
“I just need to get some stuff from our old place.” He leant in close and kissed Cain’s hair. “We won’t be long.”
The little one unfolded his body, reaching his arms up towards his dad and Dana saw a flicker of energy linking his arms with his body, like bat wings. Dragon lifted Cain off her lap and hugged his son tight.
Again, she sensed that there was more underlying pain, this time in both father and son. She looked sideways, trying to give them a little privacy, and saw Will coming back towards them from the kitchen.
He seemed to sense her discomfort. “Dana, let me show you our apartment out the back. I’m sure you and Cain can find a movie or something to watch while we’re out.” She smiled and stood up.

Finding your PATH – Identifying Your Hurdles
By Sam Prigmore

Who is affected.

Hello everyone and welcome to the second instalment of the 5-step communication wheel.

The second step is to consider all the people that can be affected by your communication. This spreads out further to the people directly involved and could very easily impact the people in the other areas of your life.

Now this seems like an obvious thing, but it really isn’t. A lot of people think communication as a one way or a two-way process only having the individual or one other person involved. For argument sake let us call these people the primary participants. The primary participants think of their actions as like throwing a stone at a wall (a static motion that has a target). But there are always others who get hurt or are affected in a good or bad way thanks to your situation. Let’s call these the secondary affected participants.

The reason why these exist is because of the nature of your actions. Any communication is not like throwing a stone at a static wall, it is like throwing a pebble into a pond. You create ripples and these ripples have their own effect on the surrounding people.

Let us explore this a bit further.

We have all heard of the saying “just let it go” but that is hard. Any situation we are in it leaves a mark, a positive memory leaves a positive mark a negative one does the opposite. The saying let things go is focused at this emotional mark. The first step in understanding the people who are affected that are not directly involved is to understand how the situations are affecting us. If we are in a stressful situation that gives birth to our anger, we need to find a positive outlet for this. By that I mean being able to release this that causes no harm to ourselves or others.

If we do not release this anger this will leave a mark that can spread uncontrollably to those in every area of our life.

Example; a person who has situations at work that gives birth to this anger. This person will natural go home and as their emotions are already strained it will not take much for the person to snap at their family.

Being aware of who can be affected by the situations you deal with can keep you focused in this stage of the communication wheel. You will learn to focus your energy into the solution so people who don’t have to be affected are not. It will also aid you in finding ways on how to positively release your emotions, so no harm is caused. This is the outcome of knowing who is affected that way your plans going forward with your communication becomes stronger in the journey to find the solution. So, for this section you must see all who can be affected and choose not only your battles but your battle ground, so you limit the people involved. Most communication that needs such planning it is not down to a peaceful situation.

Although the same five steps can be used for peaceful communication. To get the strength you need to do this stage, it is a clever idea to be empowered with yourself. A good practice to do is the self-appreciation list. This will remind you of who you are at your core, so you can have stronger eyes on the people who are involved.

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The Coven Princess by Lily Luchesi

Your blood does not define you.

Harley Torrance’s parents were killed in a home invasion when she was three. Adopted by a nice couple, Harley begins to develop strange powers. At fourteen she brews a potion so strong it gains the attention of the Coven King, and changes her world forever. She’s not human, she’s a witch.

Now a part of the magical community, Harley must learn to control her powers lest the Darkness already in her blood overcomes her. Can she dampen her lust for power in order to stop the Dark from taking over the Coven and killing everyone in their way?

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The Frugal Author by Paul White

The Frugal Author is full of the distilled results, the acquired knowledge and personal practice of being a successful indie author who dislikes paying out more than is absolutely necessary.

The Frugal Author generates profit from his very first books sale. In this book, he explains how he achieves that, along with insights into indie publishing and sharing his ideas of how you too can implement the same type of methods for your own books.

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Love’s Endurance by Kim Cox

Twenty-eight-year-old, Madison Barrett, and her husband, Eric, decide it’s time to start a family? She’s young. She’s healthy—until she gets news no woman wants to hear . . .

Readers who enjoy women’s fiction full of emotion will love Love’s Endurance.

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Master Fantastic by J S Frankel

High school student Paul Coleman’s life is an ordinary one. His existence takes a turn for the extraordinary when he and his best friend, Rory, are attacked by a winged demon one day. The demon, which calls itself Hekla, possesses the power of sound, and kills Rory with its scream. Paul survives, but the force from the blast has left him mainly deaf.

A year later, Paul is out of school, working part-time, and is fearful of going deaf forever. Although he has learned sign language well, he wonders where his life will go.

All that changes when Montague (Monty) Trillian, also known as Master Fantastic, enters his life and requests his services as a sign language teacher for his daughter, Myrna.

Paul accepts, and soon finds out that Trillian is not just any magician, but an Elementalist, one capable of wielding the four elements of Earth with ease. He can also open portals to other worlds, and often does so, visiting those of earth, water, and fire.

Many adventures follow, and Paul and Myrna grow close, but Hekla returns and demands Myrna be given to her. It seems that Myrna is the product of a union between Monty and Hekla, and like all mothers, she desires to protect her own.

Now, Paul must do everything he can to save Myrna from being used for a fate far worse than death, and only the abilities of Master Fantastic can save them all—or can they?

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Strings by Rebekah Jonesy & Jin Okubo

Robert wanted for nothing. His job gave him wealth, esteem and satisfaction. His family gave him all the love and security that he thought he needed. Jenny fell into his world. Like dominoes falling, she knocked over all his defenses and excuses.

Robert wanted to write her off, to ignore her, to deny her. She offered him salvation, subjugation, and with those a feeling of acceptance that could only come from seeing her marks on his body.

She broke him before she even touched him. Then she started to tie him back together again.

This book is not intended for children.

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Reading Is Power by Tania Giguere

Bring your child’s world to life through reading. Reading is power and books bring the world to your children. Teaching new words and helping to build bright minds that carry them into becoming smart adults. This book shows the kids just how much fun reading can be and how valuable it is to share books with each other. Start your children on the road to reading with this wonderfully illustrated story of friends and how they share their stories with one another.

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Ruhannas Flight and other stories by Jeanette O’Hagan

Tales of wonder, romance, adventure – dip into the world of Nardva with this collection of stories.

Ruhanna’s Flight – Ruhanna’s father is coming for a rare visit from the capital. When everything goes terribly wrong, she discovers a mysterious gift that could save her — if it doesn’t kill her first.

Heart of the Mountain – When shapeshifter Zadeki slams into the mountain side, he finds himself trapped in a strange underground realm. Can he escape or is he there for another reason?

The Herbalist’s Daughter – Anna has her heart set on an burly guard at the palace, but the antics of the young Prince could jeopardise both of their futures.

Rendezvous at Alexgaia — In her last mission, Space operative Dana secured the Infinity Cube at the cost her partner’s life or at least his humanity. Will Neon’s sacrifice be for nothing or will Dana be able to retrieve the key to the mysterious cube’s use?

Also Anna’s Dilemma, Lakwi’s Lament, Moonflame, Withered Seeds, Space Junk, Rookie Mistake, Inferno and other stories. A delightful introduction to Jeanette O’Hagan’s fantasy world of engaging characters and stirring adventures.

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The Fabulous Life of Minnie the Sassy Chick by Cindy L Shirley

Minnie the Sassy Chick celebrates her birthday with Carly and Riley. This hilarious sequel finds the girls planning a fun filled fashion show for Miss Minnie’s birthday.

The girls are rocking out and being sassier than ever!

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Tales of Mentara by Ashley Uzzell

Five children find themselves stuck in a beautiful jungle on a strange planet. But all is not as peaceful as it first appears…

Twelve-year-old Charlotte has been different all her life. It isn’t just that her father left when she was a child, or her mother ignores her. What really makes her an outsider is the fact that she has strange abilities that she can’t explain and struggles to control. Everything changes in the summer of 1993 when she feels drawn to a certain spot outside of town. Unfortunately, she isn’t alone when things go sideways.

When the children realize they are definitely not on Earth anymore, they have to learn not only how to fend for themselves, but how to get along. The problem is, even Charlotte has no idea how to get off the alien planet. And, perhaps, she doesn’t want to.

It doesn’t take long for the five to realize they aren’t alone in this strange land and that life here is              BUY LINK more dangerous than they could have imagined.

The Shadow Rises by K S Marsden

Witches are real, and to be blunt, they’re all black-hearted, and evil. These are not wiccans; witches are a different breed that use magic with devastating effect.

Charged with stopping the witches, taking whatever measures necessary, there are witchhunters, all reporting to the Malleus Maleficarum Council (MMC). For hundreds of years witches have been persecuted and when the powerful Shadow Witch rises again, they have their opportunity for revenge.

The best the MMC has to offer, the talented seventh-generation witch-hunting Hunter Astley has his own part to play. In his own way.

Only Time Will Tell by T L Travis

Two men, one watch…

When Alex and Charlie met, they instantly clicked. Throughout the years, their bond grew from friends, to lovers. But when Charlie’s father passes away something inside him changes. Alex feared their relationship was over and knew his heart would never survive.

Things spiral out of control as Charlie’s erratic behavior leads Alex to think the worst. During an intense argument, they’re transported back in time. When Charlie comes to, Alex isn’t by his side. Frantically, he searches for him. But when he finds him, he’s surprised Alex doesn’t remember who he is.

Charlie must make Alex fall in love with him again. But what happens if he doesn’t? Will this be the end of their relationship, or will it be game over for them both?

Only Time Will Tell is an Erotic, M/M, Time Travel/Sci-Fi 56,000-word stand-alone Romance for those over 18.

Bad Choices Make Good Stories by Oliver Markus Malloy

The strange but true story of a writer who meets his wife on Goodreads

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The Sleeping Serpent by Luna Saint Claire & Virginia Bowen

Whether by free will or fate, Luna’s encounter with Nico provokes a storm that shatters her perceptions of identity, duty, morality, and self-worth. The storm didn’t blow in from the outside. She was the storm. Its turbulence within her, forcing her to confront the darkness, uncovers her secrets and her pain.

Luna Saint Claire has a loving husband and an enviable career as a Hollywood costume designer. Still, something is gnawing at her. Bored with her conventional and circumscribed existence, she feels herself becoming invisible. When she meets Nico Romero, a charismatic yoga guru, his attentions awaken her passions and desires. Dangerous, but not in a way that scares her, he makes her feel as if anything is possible. Infatuated, she becomes entangled in Nico’s life as he uses his mesmerizing sexuality to manipulate everyone around him in his pursuit of women, wealth, and celebrity.

Immensely erotic and psychologically captivating, The Sleeping Serpent is the compelling story of a woman’s obsession with a spellbinding guru and the struggle to reclaim her life. At its heart, it is a painfully beautiful exposition of unconditional love that makes us question what we truly want.

“She realized in an instant that being around him awakened her, stirring the sediment that had long ago settled at the bottom of her well. He made her feel a part of him–of something larger, and somehow more alive.“

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Indie Authors Supporting Charities

All proceeds from this book are being donated to the Global Scoliosis Foundation.

What happens when you let eleven authors twist classic fairy tales? MAGIC!

Weave your way through imagination as Fate takes an interesting turn in your favorite childhood stories. From The Frog Prince to The Six Swans, see what happens when fairy tales are … twisted.

A king struggles to find someone who can love him despite his flaws. A musician works to reverse his curse. A queen wants to keep her crown. The singing bard plans an escape, and Red might have bitten off more than she can chew. These stories and more await you.

Let the magic of these tales sweep you away with mischief, mayhem, and a good dose of snark. Open the door to A Twist of Fate.

In a Word: MURDER – An Anthology

It’s a simple book, article, review or blog post. What could possibly go wrong? Everything, as this international collection of short crime stories shows. Each story takes a slightly different look at the world of words, but each one shows how dangerous writing can be.

So come along. Enter the world of writing, publishing, reviewing, editing and blogging, where crime can find its way in anywhere.

In aid of The Princess Alice Hospice in memory of editor, blogger and crime writer Maxine Clarke.

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