Chasing Prophecy by James Moser — Giveaway

Title: Chasing Prophecy

Author: James Moser

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Thriller

Ebook available at: Kindle | Smashwords  




Book Description:

Mo is a shy teen who is just trying to survive high school. He has secretly fallen in love with a girl named Prophecy who lives with a group that some call a commune and others call a cult. When she disappears, Mo must find the courage to face the monster that her family has become. Chasing Prophecy is a contemporary coming of age story that is heartwarming, suspenseful, and beautifully written. This book chronicles the adolescence of one boy who must transform himself to save the girl of his dreams.

Kirkus Reviews:

“A stellar read for teens and adults, full of hilarious growing pains, tenderness and a few surprises. Moser’s debut is an unflinching young-adult novel that sees a group of friends tested by bigotry and the illegal machinations of a religious cult. The author serves up an irresistibly wisecracking narrator in Mo Kirkland. Every page ripples with a controlled cleverness. There’s also a rawness to this tale similar to that which many teens face in the real world. Moser can wax rhapsodic about young love, but he shows that he knows how to raise the tension in the second half of the novel.”


Excerpt:

Richard said, “Why are you even talking, Maureen, I mean Maurice? Go sit in your highchair and let the grownups work this out, OK, little guy?”Even with my new growth spurt, he never missed a chance to let me know I lived every second of my life ten seconds from a surfing lesson.

Max said coldly, “Don’t you clowns talk to him that way.”

Kazzy said, “—or we will kick your cracker asses.”

I looked up at her and realized I’d been looking up to her my whole life. She was calm and still when she was standing up for herself. She didn’t have to stand on her tiptoes or raise her voice. When I tried to stand up for myself, I knew people saw the question marks in my eyes.

Kazzy’s eyes were full of answers, and I loved her. Deep inside me I felt something break, heal, and get stronger all at once.

Richard watched another carful of mourners pass us by. “Your little cult funeral all done?” he said.

Kazzy said, “Why do you say ‘Cult’? Do you see a fence keeping anyone in or out? Do you see us trying to blow anything up? There’s not a weapon on our whole ranch. You crackers have more guns than I’ve seen in my whole life.”

I pulled out my pocketknife, found a smooth spot in the pine railing, and pushed the blade into the sun-bleached log. I worked the blade up and down, back and forth, deeper and deeper.

Kazzy said, “So let me get this straight. One of us jumps, and you don’t say ‘cult’ for two years? You don’t say a word to any of us all the way til graduation night?”

“That’s the deal.”

I pushed the tip of the blade across the wood. I made a rectangle and rounded off the corners.

I pulled off my Seattle Mariners baseball cap and dropped in my keys and phone. I found a safe corner to stash my stuff near a gigantic steel bracket joining two logs. I walked to the other side of the bridge, across from the others.

Richard said, “We’re waiting, Kazzy, I mean Prophecy.”

“Hey, Richard!” I said.

He looked at me. They all looked at me.

“Catch!” I yelled, tossing him my knife. I said, “It’s August twentieth. If you can’t spell ‘August,’ just write eight-dash-twenty.”

They all stared at me. I held up three fingers. “Redneck Honor,” I said. I pulled off my shirt, dropped it to the ground, and ran right at Richard and Boo. They stepped back. Their eyes were full of questions.

For the first time in my life, my eyes were full of answers.

“He’ll never . . .” Richard started to say.

“Mo, DON’T!” Kazzy yelled.

Max screamed, “Oh, YEAH!!!”

My left foot landed on the orange Bigfoot “X”.

My right foot landed on the low rail. I pushed off.

I closed my eyes. I opened my eyes. I saw sky and mist kicked up by white water crashing into rocks.

I closed my eyes. I opened my eyes. I looked down. I was either going to just clear the boulder closest to the bridge or I was getting an ambulance ride, or I was about to die.

I screamed, “AAAAAAAAAAAAHH!”

The bottoms of my feet smacked the water hard, then all of me was underneath, then my feet hit the bottom. Knees and elbows on rock. I looked up through ten feet of clear, freezing water. Through the bumpy surface I could see the shapes of my friends, the colors of their clothes. I pushed off the bottom and shot through the surface.

Bloody. Dizzy. Alive. Icy water—snow the day before—stretched my skin tight.

I squinted up at the bridge, saw Max and Kazzy jumping up and down, arms over their heads, screaming. I pulled myself up to the flat top of a giant rock. I stood and raised my arms to the sky, the mist throwing little rainbows all around me. I held up the three-fingered redneck honor salute. My friends threw back their heads and laughed. They turned to Richard and Boo, showed them three fingers. The bullies walked slowly to their car. I stood on a rock but felt myself floating.

I thought, So this is what it means to fly.

About the Author:
James Moser has always loved stories in all forms. He is in his fourteenth year of working with high school students. The author’s goal was to write a book that would inspire even his most reluctant readers. Young adults have always inspired him. As such, he wanted to show teenagers transforming themselves to overcome obstacles, which is what he watches them do, every day.

Moser has a B.A. in English and a Master’s degree in Secondary English Education. He lives in Seattle with his beautiful wife and eight year old son. When he’s not reading and writing, or thinking about reading and writing, he’s watching way too much television while snacking on frozen treats from Trader Joe’s. Man, those things are good.

Where to find James Moser:


Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

 

Author Interview and giveaway: D A Bale

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. The giveaway is a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Long and Short Reviews welcomes D A Bale. Thanks for stopping by!

LASR: Who is your favorite author and why?

DAB: My personal library is pretty full of Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt novels, so I’d probably have to say its still him, especially more of his earlier works. I love the interesting (and sometimes “out there”) scenarios he comes up with, the sense of adventure woven in with the mystery and action. Then there’s the whole camaraderie between Pitt and his best bud, Al Giordino, with their kick-butt and take-no-prisoners mentality. Then there’s Tolkien too. I absolutely love the Lord of the Rings and was pleasantly surprised at how well they stayed true to the nature of the novels when making the movie series. It’s a rather weird dichotomy, but I really enjoy both suspense/thriller genres and LOTR’s type fantasy, where the stakes are high (and the costumes are awesome!) and men are real men. Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong time period!

LASR: What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

DAB: Solid, believable characters and good use of setting that enhances the mood.

Let me tackle the whole setting idea first. Let’s say you have a guy who has experienced tragedy and loss. When he goes home to his big McMansion, you want to use elements to help your reader “experience” your character’s sense of pain. His home may be beautiful, gleaming, with sunlight streaming through the windows. But perhaps he tears through the house, drawing all of the curtains to close out the light so he can sit in gloom – or maybe the gathering storm outside shuts out the sun and resembles how the light has faded from his own heart. Perhaps among all his earthly wealth, the only thing that stands out to him is the large, framed photo of him with his wife and children above the living room fireplace. They’re all smiling, something he will never do again because they’re all dead. He goes to the photo, pulls it from above the mantle, and trudges up the dark staircase to hide it away with his heart in the dank, musty attic of the third floor – the only sound is the echo of his singular tread on the worn wood instead of the happy laughter of his children as they slide down the mahogany banister or track mud into the marble-tiled foyer, his wife’s lilting voice trailing though room after room behind them. What he wouldn’t give to kneel beside and help her clean up those muddy footprints again.

See how little “setting” I gave but how what I chose to utilize helps identify you to the character’s mood and plight? You don’t have to have two or three pages describing every last detail as someone walks into a room – but the detail you DO choose to use should have some sort of impact on the character(s). There needs to be a reason they notice certain things about their surroundings. If you try to include everything all at once, it gets your reader more into what I call an “info dump” situation, and that’s not going to keep someone reading. Usually when you as a writer info dump, your reader will flip through those pages after a bit and try to pick up the story at a more interesting point. Worse – they quit reading, put your book down, and never recommend it to anyone else.

With characters, it’s important for the writer to fully flesh them out in their own mind. What has happened to your character in the past that makes them act or react the way they do now? What are their personality quirks (real people all have them)? What are their internal motivations and why (goes hand in hand with giving them a past)? Don’t get stuck focusing so much on their outward appearance (though you’ll need to eventually get to that), but develop each one from the inside out. Otherwise, they come across as flat and one-dimensional – more of a caricature instead of realistic, living, breathing human beings. And no matter how strange that sounds, you WANT your characters to come across as if they are real, like your reader feels as if they could walk right off of the page into their living room or bedroom (hubba-hubba!) or that your reader feels as if they’ve become your characters, so immersed they are in the story. Then also, don’t be afraid to put your characters through tough situations. Maybe someone wins the lottery but because of some sort of a vice, they lose it all (happens more often than not in real life). How does this change them as a person throughout the various life transitions and circumstances of the story?

I once received some excellent advice about characterization that has stuck with me for years – make your bad guys REALLY bad and give your good guys some flaws. But your bad guys need to also have a back story in your head of how they became bad. No one is ever 100% good or 100% bad throughout their life – sometimes it’s about perception.

LASR: What comes first, the plot or characters?

DAB: Ouch! It really hard for me to separate the two, like conjoined twins. If you try to separate one from the other, it’s gonna get messy. You don’t necessarily have to outline and plot it all out, but you’ve gotta have a plan. Generally I have the beginning and end of a story in mind before I start writing – but even then it involves one or two key players in the mix. I guess then I spend some time deciding on who my key players are – their backgrounds and motivations. However, once I start writing and coming up with other characters, sometimes they’ll develop into something more right in front of my eyes. Then other times, what I originally saw as a key player – it will make more sense if I kill him off somehow. I do that a lot!

Biggest thing – you’ve got to have an interesting plotline AND interesting characters to make it all work. That’s what I try to keep in mind.

LASR: What are you reading now?

DAB: Nothing actually. I went through a binge of reading at the beginning of the year, then started working on a sequel to my short story, The Study. Then I took a break and did more reading for my blog and now I’m getting back into the third and final book in the Deepest Darkness series, Rising from the Darkness. Usually when I’m deep in the throes of writing, I don’t do ANY reading unless required because it could throw me off from what I’m trying to accomplish.

LASR: How do you come up with the titles to your books?

DAB: Pretty much the way I do most everything else – I let it come to me organically. Sometimes I have a firm idea of a title before I even START a book. Other times I have a working title that I absolutely hate but merely use it as an identifier for my critique group. Most of the time, however, I utilize the brains of my fellow critique group members to help me brainstorm titles after they’ve gotten into a storyline. It was funny – when I realized that Running into the Darkness was going to encompass more than one book and probably three, I wanted to be sure and put the next book title in the series at the end of book one so readers would know what to look for as an upcoming title. When I settled on Piercing the Darkness for the title of the second book, I didn’t realize at the time that there was already another book out there with that title. So for the third book title, I came up with several ideas, checked around online to ensure I wouldn’t end up sharing said title, and sent them around to my critique group members with a general description for the final say. So that’s how Rising from the Darkness came into being.

LASR: What is your work schedule like when you are writing?

DAB: What schedule? I squeeze in the writing whenever I can. If I could write all day, every day, I’d probably do it. There’s been many a weekend where I dragged myself out of bed in the morning, plunked down at my desk, and hardly moved while the sun came up, went down, and came up again. I try not to let myself do that too much, but when the Muse is screaming at you to get your sorry butt busy, it kinda overtakes anything and everything else.

LASR: What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book(s)?

DAB: In regard to the Deepest Darkness series, it’s been interesting to realize the presence of an overriding emotion in each book. It wasn’t until after finishing and publishing the second book, then prepping for book three that it hit me. I realized in Running into the Darkness, the overall emotion Samantha Bartlett expresses is anger. Then in book two, Piercing the Darkness, she has shifted into an overwhelming fear mode. There’s actually several readers who’ve also picked up on this “theme” emotional element and asked if I’d intended to do this. It just seemed to develop that way without me consciously being aware of it.

Don’t ask me what it will be for book three, because it may not stay with this strange emotion theme. It’s not been written yet!

LASR: What are your favorite TV shows?

DAB: Well one USED to be Downton Abbey, but I’m so mad right now that they killed off Sybill AND Matthew. Probably going to forego that one in the future just because it’s now not so interesting – in theory, that is. I absolutely love NCIS (the real one), especially the first five seasons. It was one of those shows that you had to watch very closely to determine “who done it” – and that’s something that’s usually easy for me to figure out, but not always with this show. The last one is Deadliest Catch. I’m an Alaska junkie and will get there however I can.

LASR: What would we find under your bed?

DAB: The boogeyman! No, seriously – I have some of the worst nightmares at times. Then I get some really awesome story ideas from the nightmares (toned down a bit). Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had extremely vivid and frightening dreams. I still remember the reoccurring dream as a child where the red glowing eyes in the windows would follow me through the house. I’d race around, trying to close all of the drapes before the eyes could find me. Totally creepers! Someone once told me that people who have really terrifying dreams usually are very creative. Not sure about that one, but I guess I’ll take it.

In reality, probably tufts of kitty fur, a bit of dust, and probably a cat toy or two. I don’t get under there much.

About the Author:6_25 tribute interview Author HeadshotSometimes life emulates fiction.

Life is filled with tragedy and Ms. Bale’s writing reflects this reality. However, there is always a silver lining…even if one must spend their entire life searching for it.

In her previous career, Ms. Bale traveled the United States as a Government Relations Liaison, working closely with Congressional offices and various government agencies. This experience afforded her a glimpse into the sometimes “not so pretty” reality of the political sphere. Much of this reality and various locations throughout her travels make it into her writing.

She dreams of the day she can return to visit Alaska.

D A Bale’s Web Site/Blog:
http://dabalepublishing.blogspot.com/

D A Bale’s Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/D-A-Bale/181244371959801

D A Bale’s Twitter:
https://twitter.com/DABale1

 

6_25 tribute interview RITD-Final CoverDeath follows Dr. Samantha Bartlett throughout her life until it claims everyone close to her. There’s one powerful man responsible on whom Samantha sets her sights for revenge. The price is her soul. For centuries, sex has been the weapon of men…now it’s her turn.

“I never intended to kill the President. As a doctor, I swore an oath to protect life – not take it. But that was before…”

Second year resident, Dr. Samantha Bartlett, is swept from the frigid New York winter to once again confront the sting of death back home – and face those she left behind. But she’s not alone. A strange man she dubs Shades haunts her every step as she seeks answers to the inferno which claimed her grandmother, an eerie reminder of her parents’ deaths. The secrets Samantha uncovers forever changes her image of those she only thought she knew.

Confronted by Shades, Samantha joins a secret underworld known only as the Elite, where a web of power and control is woven deep within governments worldwide. Their sights are set on the power structure of the United States, and Samantha becomes the unlikely key to infiltrating the White House at its most intimate levels.

The quest for blood threatens to destroy Samantha. From the darkness there is no escape.

Kindle buy link ($1.99):
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0063HIS26?tag=tributebooks-20

Nook buy link ($1.99):
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/running-into-the-darkness-d-a-bale/1107516247?ean=2940032854623

Smashwords ($1.99):
http://www.smashwords.com/b/98766?ref=tributebooks

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THE ANGEL CHRONICLES, Book 3 and Giveaway

 

A Privilege:

The Angel Chronicles, Book 3

The beloved Angel/Warrior team face pure evil in their final climactic story!

The first time they were sent down, Irish lives were led. Emily, the angel, ended up embedded in murder and lost in the realm of true love. While Matthew, the warrior, took over a life that left blood on his hands and anger in his soul.

With their second coming, Emily found herself facing an oncoming war that brought her to the shores of America. While Matthew tried desperately to unveil the evil character of a young man who was intent on locking his partner in a ‘gilded’ cage.

Now…Emily and Matthew find that their lives are all their own. Yet, all the memories, hatred, longing and regret have come hand-in-hand with this newfound freedom.

In small town U.S.A., Matthew finds himself loving his new life. From his military school existence to a new, ‘odd’ friend who’s arrived in town, Matthew’s looking forward to graduation and heading off into a brilliant future with Emily by his side.

Emily wants nothing more than to hide. Although doing her best to fit in, she lives a life on the edge, wondering when her past love with reappear to either forgive or seek revenge on the angel who let him down. Battling the shadows that seem to be breaking her soul in two, Emily soon discovers that her small, quiet town has a secret that’s beyond dangerous…

As she and Matthew join forces to help a ‘haunted’ victim, they open the door on a mystery neither of them can believe. A true villain has returned from the past, and not even their heavenly family will be able to save them. This time they’re on their own, as they face a fight that could lead them straight to Hell…and end the angel/warrior team forever.

Excerpt

Without a word, Matthew reached out, took Emily by the hand and pulled her down beside him. He looked into her eyes and smiled. “I knew my Emily was still in there.”Out of the blue, the room became incredibly hot, as if Gabriel had entered in order to give a lesson to his favorite students. “What?”

“That spark.” He pulled Emily’s face closer before she could push herself away. “You’ve been acting all this time like you’re just here to sit and wait it out until you’re lucky enough to go Home. But you’re still in there, Emily. You still have all that energy and belief in there and you want to do something. That’s the partner I know.”

Shaking her head, Emily listened to her own breathing intensify as she stared at his full lips and wondered why she felt so completely and utterly strange…vulnerable even. “I want to help this girl. This is a job, maybe my only job down here. She saw a ghost and she wants me to help her out, that’s all.”

“And you will.” Matthew captured Emily’s lips, and she could no longer feel the breath in her lungs. Completely different than the one kiss they’d shared up above so long ago, this one was far more demanding, as if Matthew was a young man determined to kiss his human love for the very first time.

Sitting back, Emily practically jumped off the bed.

“I’m sorry,” she heard him whisper behind her. “I guess I was just excited to see you again.”

Not trusting her voice, she remained silent.

“We have jobs, but we also have a life to live. Our own lives this time around. Maybe you should think about adding that into your angelic plans.” Matthew continued softly, “Jason isn’t here, Emily.”

The name being said out loud sent a chill down Emily’s spine. It reminded her of the vow she’d made a long time ago—a vow that an angel couldn’t break.

She cleared her throat. “It doesn’t matter if he’s here. We were sent to do a job, and maybe helping this little girl prove her story is what I need to begin.”

Standing up, Matthew looked as if he was a man who wanted nothing more than to turn back the clock and erase the name he’d spoken aloud. He walked to the open window. “Well, I hope the job goes well. Good luck with it.”

“Matthew,” Emily took a step toward him. “Don’t leave like this.”

He nodded at the book on the bed. “You have your mission, Emily…your job. Ghosts, goblins, lost souls—knock yourself out.” He took a deep breath. “I wonder when you’re going to figure out that the living souls around you would like some of your attention as well.”

Closing her eyes, Emily shed silent tears as she heard his feet hit the ground beneath her window. A friend, a partner, the one who actually listened, was now just an angry young man racing back to The Armory—a place where warriors reigned.

Emily sighed. She’d done it again. No matter how hard she tried to be good, her mouth always got her into trouble. She needed Matthew to understand. She’d made a promise to a young man a long time ago; a promise that was supposed to last for eternity. How was she to know at the time that their eternity would include death by her hand?
Had the second time around broken their vow? Emily had no idea. But whatever happened she could not and would not offer Matthew her heart if payment was still due for her past sins. Above all, Matthew was the last person who deserved to be punished for her mistakes.

Author Amy Lignor

Amy Lignor began her career at Grey House Publishing in northwest Connecticut where she was the Editor-in-Chief of numerous educational and business directories.

Now she is a published author of several works of fiction. The Billy the Kid historical The Heart of a Legend; the thriller, Mind Made; and the adventure novel, Tallent & Lowery 13.

She is also the owner of The Write Companion, a company that offers help and support to writers through a full range of editorial services from proofreading and copyediting to ghostwriting and research. As the daughter of a research librarian, she is also an active book reviewer.

Currently, she lives with her daughter, mother and a rambunctious German Shepherd named Reuben, in the beautiful state of New Mexico.

 

 

Books 1 and 2 are now 99 cents on Kindle!   

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VILLAINS by Richard Long

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Click on the banner to see the other stops on the tour. Prizes for this blog tour are

1. 1 $25 Amazon.com gift card or PayPal cash
2. 3 gifted Kindle ebooks of ‘The Book of Paul’ by Richard Long
3. 1 signed paperback of ‘The Book of Paul’ by Richard Long and swag (including a special surprise!)

A Rafflecopter form in provided at the bottom of the page. Please scroll down to enter.

VILLAINS. YA GOTTA LOVE ‘EM!

 I’ve always believed that any good vs. evil tale is only as good as the evil. The best villains are the ones you end up rooting for—the ultimate guilty pleasure.  You want them to survive, so you can get another unhealthy dose of evil down the road.

Check out the following links for various lists of the top literary villains of all time and the top film villains of all time. I’ve included three lists in each category to point out the overlap of critical consensus. In literary fiction, many of the same names keep popping up. Ditto with the film villains. Which are your favorite villains from each list (or your own write-ins)?

Literature:

http://bit.ly/W1Kuzn

http://bit.ly/12SwLxE

http://bit.ly/Yf6Ixw

Film:

http://bit.ly/12SyYsQ

http://bit.ly/WzHTif

http://bit.ly/XPBe4N

When I reviewed these lists my overwhelming takeaway was this: on the average, the film villains are so much more memorable than the literary villains. There are many exceptions of course. Shakespeare really knew how to write a good villain. But for so many of the literary picks, my reaction was a shrugged, “meh.” Is there anyone alive who CAN’T identify every single villain below? Captions not required.

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Maybe it’s the compressed time frame of a film that brings out the best in a writer. You’ve got two hours to scar someone’s psyche forever, as opposed to 300+ pages. Another factor is the collaborative nature of film. The actor and director do a lot of the heavy lifting in making a screen villain so compelling.

What makes a great villain? Here’s my critical checklist (Most of these reference points are cinematic because…see above):

  1. Percentage of “screen time”. Whether the villain is cinematic or literary, if the villain rarely appears, you’re ultimately dealing with a thin character, sometimes paper-thin. Take Voldemort for example. Please. He’s on every one of the literary and film lists, but out of thousands of pages in the Harry Potter series, and eight films, how much screen time does he get? A pittance. Another area where the V man falls short is:
  2. Set Pieces: For those who haven’t heard this term, a set piece is cinemese for killer scenes that make a movie shine and become engraved in your brain until you draw your last breath. The more set pieces that occur in a book or film, the higher my ranking. Oh, and Voldmort? Roll off a view of your favorite set pieces in 4,224 pages. Hmmmm…yeah, I thought so.
  3. Memorable dialog: Zingers. Bone-chilling threats. Great exit lines. Operatic monologues. For a villain to be truly great, it’s not just what they do, it’s what they say. Richard III, Iago, Othello. Once again, I defy anyone reading this to not be able to recite verbatim some of your favorite villain’s best lines.
  4. Charisma: Charm. Humor. Intelligence. Wit. Flamboyance. Theatricality. Grandstanding. Scenery-chewing. Megalomania. For me, all these qualities matter most when creating a villain or enjoying one. I want to be riveted every time the villain appears. That’s not going to happen with some one-note boogeyman or grunting numbskull.
  5. Complex characterization: Good villain: The Terminator. Great Villain: Hannibal Lecter. It’s possible to have a compelling one-dimensional villain, but personally, I prefer a multi-layered monster¾unpredictable, perhaps even unfathomable.
  6. Sadism: this is where most people get all wishy-washy and apologetic in discussing their favorite villains. Because ALL the great villains are sadistic. They take great pleasure in others’ misfortune. They think up ingenious ways to make their victims suffer. It’s very uncomfortable for any decent person to fess-up to their fondness for a reprehensible character who is causing such tremendous suffering.  But…there you have it.
  7. Despicableness: I could probably file this under sadism, but for me, this connotes an across-the-board contempt for all humanity, of all things “other.”  A great villain will commit the worst possible offenses whenever the opportunity arises.
  8.  Humanity: I want a villain I can get inside. Mr. Smith in The Matrix or HAL 2000 aren’t human, but they make me feel my own humanity through the emotional depth of their despicability.
  9.  A ray of goodness. Only a ray, mind you. I don’t want my villain getting all Darth Vadery at the end. But I do want to see that glimpse of “what might have been” – the road not travelled.
  10.  Motivation: Every great villain has an ax that needs grinding and a person or world population he/she wants to grind it on.

Okay, your turn to weigh in on all things villainous. But before I wave my sickle in a fond farewell, I’m sure you’re dying to know who my favorite villain of all time. Why, I thought you’d never ask! Click right here and have a taste of the baddest man on the planet: http://www.thebookofpaul.com  Then try to get a good night’s sleep.

About the Author: 

3_13 richardlong

Richard Long writes to exorcize the demons of his past and manifest the dreams of his future. His debut novel, The Book of Paul, is a dark, thrilling, and psychologically rich supernatural horror/thriller that blends mythology, science and mystery into a page-turning addiction. Richard is also writing a YA novel, The Dream Palace, primarily so that his children can read his books. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, two amazing children and their wicked black cat, Merlin.

 

 

3_13 Book of Paul - LRG“Everything you’ve ever believed about yourself…about the description of reality you’ve clung to so stubbornly all your life…all of it…every bit of it…is an illusion.” 

In the rubble-strewn wasteland of Alphabet City, a squalid tenement conceals a treasure “beyond all imagining”– an immaculately preserved, fifth century codex. The sole repository of ancient Hermetic lore, it contains the alchemical rituals for transforming thought into substance, transmuting matter at will…and attaining eternal life.

When Rose, a sex and pain addicted East Village tattoo artist has a torrid encounter with Martin, a battle-hardened loner, they discover they are unwitting pawns on opposing sides of a battle that has shaped the course of human history.

At the center of the conflict is Paul, the villainous overlord of an underground feudal society, who guards the book’s occult secrets in preparation for the fulfillment of an apocalyptic prophecy.

The action is relentless as Rose and Martin fight to escape Paul’s clutches and Martin’s destiny as the chosen recipient of Paul’s sinister legacy. Science and magic, mythology and technology converge in a monumental battle where the stakes couldn’t be higher: control of the ultimate power in the universe–the Maelstrom.

The Book of Paul is the first of seven volumes in a sweeping mythological narrative tracing the mystical connections between Hermes Trismegistus in ancient Egypt, Sophia, the female counterpart of Christ, and the Celtic druids of Clan Kelly.

 

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GUEST BLOG: Robert Pielke

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. One commenter will win an ebook copy of the book. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What About SFF Attracts You?

I think I have to deal with another question first, namely, the question as to what science fiction (SF) is in the first place. But there’s no way I can do that without getting really pedantic and totally mired in obscure details. To begin with, not all F/SF appeals to me. (Not all of anything appeals to me.) In fact, it’s only a few select writers and a few select novels that have had any kind of affect on me. Along the way I’ll mention a few and try to point out what it is that they have that “calls to me.”

Ambrose Bierce – especially “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” (published in 1890 and replicated in various other media, including an episode of Twilight Zone): Not only do I like the way he tells a story with surprising twists and a dark, moody flavor, I like the fact that he worked with his experiences during the Civil War.

Harlan Ellison’s “A Boy and His Dog”: It’s a short story in his Cycle series and he later turned it into a novella – then it was made into a film. It’s dark and depressing and you can feel Ellison’s anger. I was impressed with his willingness to “go where no other SF novel had gone before.”

Jack Kerouac’s On the Road: It’s not in any way science fiction. It’s a story of self-discovery along with the discovery of the soul of America – a “road” story. His characters are what catch me…not so much the story itself. Deane Moriarty – one of his major characters — is based on one of his friends, Neal Cassady. Yes, writers DO construct characters from real-life persons they know. I like that!

Charles Bukowski in Tales of Ordinary Madness shows that you can write about the most brutal and seediest parts of life and make it poetic….not the life…but the words about it. He treats his fiction as poetry, and that’s what I find fascinating.

Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land is a kind of utopian novel. In this and all of his writings, he builds his own ideology into it – and not too cleverly! It’s far too obvious and it detracts from his stories. I can see, by this, what to avoid — preaching!

Author C. Clark: In almost all of his novels that I’ve read, the aliens are either only indirectly suggested – 2001 A Space Odyssey – or presented as totally different in kind from we humans, Childhood’s End (even though they look like something familiar to us). He doesn’t give us a bar scene like in Star Wars or a variety of “humanoids” as in Star Trek.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula – a perfect novel in the sense that he allowed the story telling to shape the form of the novel.

H.G.Wells’ Time Machine is the essence of a perfect time-travel story. He tries to make it conform with logic. The attempt must be made.

Well, I’m not sure I’ve answered your question, but perhaps by “skirting” it, you can see a kind of answer within this list: It’s not anything about science fiction that attracts me – it the writing of some people that attracts me, regardless of their genre.

About the Author:2_13 BIOSHOTsmRobert Pielke, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, now lives in Claremont, California. He earned a B.A. in History at the University of Maryland, an M. Div. in Systematic Theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and a Ph.D. in Social Ethics from the Claremont Graduate School.

He taught on ground and online for countless years at George Mason University in Virginia, El Camino College in California and online for the University of Phoenix. Now happily retired from “the job,” he is doing what he always wanted to do since he wrote his first novel at ten in elementary school. It was one paragraph, three pages long and, although he didn’t know it at the time, it was alternate history.

His academic writings have been in the area of ethics, including a boring academic treatise called Critiquing Moral Arguments, logic, and popular culture. Included in the latter is an analysis of rock music entitled You Say You Want a Revolution: Rock Music in American Culture. He has also published short stories, feature articles, film and restaurant reviews. His novels include a savagely satirical novel on America and its foibles, proclivities and propensities, Hitler the Cat Goes West, and an alternate history, science fiction novel, The Mission.

Most recently, he has updated and revised his book on rock music, which is being republished by McFarland & Co.

He swims daily, skis occasionally, cooks as an avocation, watches innumerable movies, collects rock and roll concert films, is an avid devotee of Maryland crabs and maintains a rarely visited blog filled with his social and political ravings. His favorite film is the original Hairspray; his favorite song is “A Day in the Life”; his favorite pizza is from the original Ledo Restaurant in College Park, MD; and he is a firm believer in the efficacy of “sex, drugs and rock and roll.” Somehow his family and friends put up with him.

Find the author online at

Robert G. Pielke’s Web Site: http://www.robertgpielke.com/
Robert G. Pielke’s Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/robert.pielke
Robert G. Pielke’s Twitter: http://twitter.com/rpielke
Robert G. Pielke’s YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/rpielke
Robert G. Pielke’s Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/990626.Robert_G_Pielke

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Noam Chomsky argues that communication with aliens would be impossible. Stephen Hawking argues that it would be extremely unwise even to try. What if it were absolutely necessary to do so? This question arises with extreme urgency at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, in this time-travel, alternate-history trilogy, A New Birth of Freedom.

GUEST BLOG: AMY LIGNOR

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Matthew & Emily’s ‘Supporting’ CastSometimes, an inspirational ‘bent’ on a book can bother readers. Some feel that if ‘Heaven’ is mentioned, then the book is all about being too preachy or looking at things from only one perspective. I hope that after Until Next Time and especially after Gilded Wings, readers will see that this team is all about two young souls who just, basically, are doing a job they want to do well.

They have a family, just like most characters do – whether those characters are a part of a supernatural/fantasy world or a suspense, drama, romantic world, Matthew and Emily’s family just have some added recognition.

Michael and Gabriel are their mentors and teachers. St. Francis is the fun friend who takes care of his animals and is always there when they need to talk to someone. Saint Mark is the visionary – he is the one who understands the power and tragedy of love, and knows how much Matthew and Emily need each other in order to survive.

When I put together Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – you don’t see the souls in robes – you see four very close friends who have passion for life. They have passion for their jobs as well as the two teens they have taught and raised. They play cards, they race horses, and make sure that with every win comes a vat of candy bars. Because, let’s face it, what better thing did the humans of the world invent than that fabulous concoction?

Perhaps my take offends some, but this is Emily and Matthew’s world; this is their daily life with their friends and family. Not everything in their lives up above nor down below will be filled with bright, white lights and choirs singing. From their perspective they train, they go to class and learn, they head to the library and read the stories of others who have gone before them; they worry, fret, love and live, while all the time having the kindest family to rely on when things get rough.

When the Son arrives, He presents Himself in a way that shows (what this author believes) to be his real personality. He is a communicator. He loves to smile and help the angel/warrior team who are doing their best to save souls down below and make the world a better place. When He was sitting beside Emily in Until Next Time, dressed in a suit with a top hat, it was because He was having fun; He took the dark look out of her eyes and brought her back to the world of happiness and love which is what Emily needed to continue.

In Gilded Wings, He will also appear – just once – when Emily needs her ’best friend’ to speak to. And Michael and Gabriel – the first team/duo who made sure to help, save, protect and punish, depending on the situations they were in – will also come to the teens when need be. Why? Because they feel as if they are fathers. They want Matthew and Emily to be safe in a world that doesn’t offer much safety.

What I hope readers truly understand is that The Angel Chronicles is not about the Bible, or Christianity, or preaching of any kind. It is simply about a duo who has a family that loves, protects and stands by their side when, at times, faith can waver.

Until Next Time, Everybody,
Amy

 

Until Next Time: The Angel Chronicles, Book 1

How does a girl choose between the one who steals her heart and the one who owns her soul?

Matt and Emily were created for a specific job. Raised and trained as the ultimate angel/warrior team, they are sent down to save, defend, judge and forgive, depending on the ‘life’ they’ve been assigned. What they don’t realize is that the power of human emotions, such as love, anger, passion and fear can take over even the best of souls, causing them to make mistakes and follow paths that lead to confusion and heartache.

When the reason for their training is finally revealed, the angel/warrior team find themselves thrust into a world they know nothing about. Matt takes over the life of Daniel, a young man with a great deal of baggage. Emily becomes Liz, a girl living in a remote village who relies on nothing more than her own strength to survive. A violent storm erupts one night, and framed in the window of Liz’s establishment is a frightening face. Let in by the soul of a Good Samaritan, the two visitors bring with them a past full of secrets that could literally change an angel’s path and a warrior’s plans.

From murder to redemption, this angel/warrior team must find a way to keep the faith they have in each other in a world that’s ripping them apart.

 

 

The Beloved Angel-Warrior Team from Until Next Time Returns!

When Matt and Emily are sent on their second mission they have no idea how truly dark human nature can become…

Emily never wanted to face humans again. With the heartache that went on down below, she’s still trying to figure out how to save souls that don’t deserve saving. The only one she wants to see again is Jason – the young man she fell in love with who became the soulmate she simply can’t forget…

Matt was trained to protect and defend the souls down below. Longing to feel the heartfelt emotions that come from being human, Matt wants nothing more than to have just one life – one chance – to live and love the girl of his dreams…

The powerful team find themselves in a brand new century, living in the Gilded Age of New York City. Emily takes over the body of Anya, a young Russian girl who arrives on Ellis Island after a hideous tragedy. There she meets up with a strangely familiar young man by the name of Drew Parrish, who helps Anya survive in an unknown world of luxury, snobbery and…obsession.

What Anya’s inner angel doesn’t know is that the soul she loves is also back. This time around Jason goes by the name of Max Carrow. Once a quiet and kind boy, he’s now part of the ‘Four Hundred Club,’ and wants nothing more than to be among the most admired as he climbs the shaky ladder of society’s elite.

As two worlds merge, Emily and Matt struggle under the weight of their “Gilded Wings.” Not only will they have to figure out who they should fight to save, but they must also face a romantic choice that could destroy them both.

“Read along” excerpt: Drew took her hand. “It’s okay. Hope is sometimes a lot to bear. Anyway, look over to the right. There’s something I promised to show you today.”

Anya turned to where he was pointing and sucked in her breath as she walked closer to the amazing window. Inside—on black velvet palettes—was a sea of crystals and gemstones beaming in the morning sun. Included among the shiny jewels were beautiful glass lampshades of every color, shape and size. The ornaments were mesmerizing, like a thousand cathedral windows were beaming their heavenly light into the street. “What is under those colored shades that make them glow like that?”

“Those are light bulbs.” Drew smiled. “We’ve been working on electricity forever, but few homes have been able to have it. Factories have it, but now home lighting is becoming all the rage. Thomas Edison invented them.”

“Another brilliant man.”

“Yup. He’s invented loads of things. Tiffany took the idea and turned it into the most beautiful fixtures that have ever been created. It’s really fine craftsmanship.” Drew looked proud of his own knowledge. “America has created some wonderful things.” His voice suddenly changed, “Some bad things, too.”

Anya shivered at his haunted words; every once in a while a sadness came from his eyes that she didn’t understand.

“I’m afraid you’ll see those as well,” he whispered.

About the Author:

Amy Lignor began her career at Grey House Publishing in northwest Connecticut where she was the Editor-in-Chief of numerous educational and business directories.

Now she is a published author of several works of fiction. The Billy the Kid historical The Heart of a Legend; the thriller, Mind Made; and the adventure novel, Tallent & Lowery 13.

She is also the owner of The Write Companion, a company that offers help and support to writers through a full range of editorial services from proofreading and copyediting to ghostwriting and research. As the daughter of a research librarian, she is also an active book reviewer.

Currently, she lives with her daughter, mother and a rambunctious German Shepherd named Reuben, in the beautiful state of New Mexico.

Amy Lignor’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alignor
Amy Lignor’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/HelloWritersAmy
Amy Lignor’s Website: http://www.thewritecompanion.com/
Amy Lignor’s Blog: http://hellowriters.wordpress.com/

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GUEST BLOG: SUZANNE STROH

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Leave a comment to win a download of Tabou 1. Other stops on Suzanne’s tour can be seen by clicking the tour banner above.

The Story Behind the Covers of Tabou
I worked with a very talented young designer, Andrea Kuchinski, on the cover design of the Tabou series. We’ve been collaborating creatively for a decade, ever since Andrea was a teenage apprentice at the design firm that won a Hermes award for my web site, suzannestroh.com.

For this project, we needed to incorporate several key elements. We had a series title, and there are five books in the series. So we needed a family of covers, not just one cover. The series title, TABOU, is incomplete without the mysterious mirror reflection of currency symbols, £$F€£, used throughout the series as section dividers. I can’t explain the meaning of this, or else I’d be ruining the climax of Book Five, Valerie. So trust me: the title and the series of currency symbols are inseparable. We also had to incorporate the tree of life, with its nine withered branches representing the nine dynastic families of TABOU, and with its entangled root system. And finally, we wanted to express the eroticism and good taste that sets TABOU apart from contemporary trends in literary fiction.

Our process at the beginning of each new project is to talk things through over a coffee. Sometimes Andrea will record our conversation, but at this stage in our collaboration, we can pretty much read one another’s aesthetic. I leave her to work freely and come up with a concept.

As you can see from the Facebook page, Andrea’s first prototype was a family of covers that evokes the South Pacific imagery where Sylvie Russet grew up on Hiva Oa, near Tahiti. Dominated by the tree, the covers were whimsical, blocky, colorful and fun—but not edgy. We agreed we wanted to go for something deeper, bolder, starker and more profound, more beautiful.

To me, an art history major in college, nothing is more beautiful than the human body. I started looking for nude photographs that would hint at the mysteries of TABOU, showing the variety of sexual experience (and more critically, the powerful union of sex and love) that is central to my theme.

Meanwhile, Andrea had a breakthrough. She noticed that our tree of life contained elements in the root system which, if lifted out of context, resembled beautiful, flowing tattoos. By overlaying the root system on the nudes, we began to get some really extraordinary imagery that still evoked the South Pacific. We knew we had what we wanted, stylistically. What remained was layout.

Andrea drives this part of the iterative process, which usually goes very fast. It’s a back-and-forth exchange where we home in on color, typeface and layout until we feel that we’ve reached the full expression of our concept. Very soon we’d built a unified family of covers. Et voilà.

We were both completely shocked when the iBookstore judged the cover of Book One too “explicit” and asked for a redesign—or else they would refuse to sell the book. I wasn’t happy, but agreed to the redesign. I love the aesthetics of Apple devices, and I myself am totally “Macked-out.” But the idea of censorship by Apple still sticks in my craw.

Since before the Renaissance, the highest measure of artistic greatness (in painting, sculpture and modern media) has always been depicting the nude–the magnificent form and structure of the human body. I disagree profoundly with the conventional American notion that expressing nudity, especially artistic nudity, is “obscene,” when expressing graphic violence is not. Censorship is not just a problem for authors. It limits filmmakers as well, as I know from my work as a screenwriter and film producer, driving the marketplace through the Hollywood rating system, which determines what movies our children can see—or cannot see.

I shouldn’t have been surprised when the iBookstore rejected the cover of Book Two. But I am still disappointed. As with Book One, I have redesigned the cover of Jocelyn for iPad readers. You can see the original artwork on my Facebook page.

About the Author:

Suzanne Stroh is a screenwriter and film producer, author of published case studies on family business. She grew up in Michigan where her family brewed Stroh’s beer for five generations. She studied art history at Wellesley College and Newnham College, Cambridge then worked in the New York art world before turning to writing. A mountaineer and field medic, she lives with her family in the Virginia countryside. TABOU is her first novel.

Jocelyn Russet and Patience Herrick. Two powerful, British-born American lesbians, fiery heiresses of different generations. Both coming of age at the same time. Are they destined for one another—or starcrossed? Follow their ten-year Odyssey in a sexy romp through the rollicking 1980s and 1990s. Discover how their fate turns on secret histories that bind the Russet and Herrick dynasties in business, politics and espionage. Meet an international cast of supporting characters who must all choose between love and duty in book one of the TABOU quintet.