Friday, August 31, 2012

Launch Day Space Hive

Kenna McKinnon

Today, Saturday September 1st, is launch day for SPACEHIVE, my MG/YA sci-fi novel, available in Kindle and print on www. and in print on CreateSpace

Earth was in danger.

Jealous eyes gazed toward our Sun from a planet called Jive Hive in another star system, black compound eyes that peered without compassion as though we were flies caught on sticky paper ready for the fire.

The first of their suns was setting as blood-orange light spilled into the valley. Three female worker bees, two over seven feet tall and the other not quite five feet, sat under a purple-flowered tree, sorting through various blossoms, while other bees worked nearby.

"We can't go on like this much longer," Banter said. "There are too many of us. The hive has to find a new home. The Black Watch wasps, vicious as they are, know what they're doing. They've been scanning the skies for hundreds of years and keeping a check on our population."

She sat next to her cousins, Zibb and Bipp. They had worked all day collecting pollen for their hive. Now they rested and talked of the Imperative—to colonize. The whole Jive Hive planet was abuzz with the news.

"Yes," Zibb agreed. "The queen said this one is a plum ripe for the picking and only eight light years away. We'll be tired from the long sleep when we arrive. It'll be a brand new adventure for us. A new Jive Hive."

"Too bad there are beings there." Banter selected a fresh flower and began culling its nectar.

"Too bad we have to kill them all," Zibb said. "I've heard the new planet's green and warm. The wasp scouts said that it's abused by its inhabitants, though."

"Their fault then and all the more reason to kill them. We must take it while we can.

Kenna McKinnon is a freelance writer/photographer and self-employed medical transcriptionist who lives in Edmonton, Canada. Although her degree is in Anthropology (with a minor in Psychology), Kenna has spent her life writing. Kenna has lived successfully with schizophrenia for many years. She has also published an anthology of poetry ebook on Kindle, available on as well.

"If I knew then what I know now I would have put clowns on my wedding cake" from PLAYING DEAD by Jody E. Lebel. Twitter: @KennaMcKinnon

Thursday, August 30, 2012

William Haloupek


1. How did you pick the genre you write in?

I write in a dozen different genres, but they are all related to science. It’s what I know. The world needs a little more understanding of science, so I'm informing and educating readers, as well as entertaining them. Besides, real science is more interesting than fantasy, at least to me!

2. Did you encounter any obstacles in researching it?

There is a chase scene toward the end of Far-called, involving relativistic velocities. I wanted the time onboard ship to be about 4 years, and I wanted the physics to be accurate. Setting up the time delay and the acceleration for pursuer and evader was trickier than I thought it would be. It took me a couple of days to get that all worked out.

3. What was the worst writing advice someone gave you?

A lot of people have certain “rules of good writing,” which seem to be violated by a lot of good writers. One of these rules is to avoid the “information dump.” Readers, I’m told, don’t want a lot of description. They get bored reading more than a page or two without any action. “Show it, don’t tell it,” they say. When I read fiction, I actually want a detailed description of the characters and the physical environment. The great thing about fiction is that it can describe what it’s like to live in another time and place. I’ve written more about this in my blog; maybe I should just point to that.

4. Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book?

I’ve heard a lot of bad things about the way the publishing industry treats new authors, and in my brief exposure, this negative impression was only amplified. They do 10% of the work and get 90% of the profit. So I decided to self-publish. That’s becoming a viable option, especially for me. I spend almost all my time writing, and very little time promoting and pandering. Soon I will have a respectable body of work, and we’ll see. I’m not in any hurry. It’s not about the money, for me.

5. Describe your book.

I put a lot of science in my fiction. More than any other writer I know. Most of my writing is nonfiction, but the first book I have actually finished is Far-called, a work of hard science fiction. It’s as much a description of what it’s like to live in the 35th Century as it is an adventure story about a guy and his girlfriend. Although there is a lot of action and adventure.

6. What do you consider your weakness and what strategies do you use to overcome it?

My greatest character flaws are that I have a short attention span, and too many interests. I have started many writing projects, and have at least five projects active at any time. Nothing ever gets done. It took a concentrated effort to finally finish Far-called.

7. What authors do you admire?

I grew up reading Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut, but I’ve never tried to emulate them. I love Shakespeare, Dylan Thomas, Melville, Kipling and William Blake. Stephen Hawking and Edward O. Wilson are great writers of popular science books. In science fiction, I read Iain Banks, Frederik Pohl, Robert Forward, Niven & Pournelle, and Kim Stanley Robinson.

8. What other time period besides your own would you like to experience?

I would like to visit classical Greece. Most of my vivid daydreams involve the School of Athens (as depicted fictitiously in that painting by Raphael), the Acropolis, Plato’s Academy, and so on.

9. What is your favorite writing reference book and why?

I use Wikipedia frequently. The internet and word processors have changed the craft of writing immeasurably, and for the better, I think. At least, it is easier to write well. Makes you wonder why nobody can match the brilliance of the old masters.

10. What other writing projects are you working on?

I’m writing an astronomy text called Solar System Calculations, and another text on rotational dynamics. One that I’m really passionate about lately is called Special Relativity for Space Travelers. I also have a book on religion, and a handful of mathematical research projects. Most of my time is spent on genealogy. My next science fiction book is called Tetrahedron. The Tetrahedron consists of four main star systems, arranged in a roughly tetrahedral configuration. The distance between any two is about eight light years. The four star systems are each dominated by a single star: Zeus, Ra, Surya and Kinich Ahau.


Author Bio

I’m a mathematician (PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1992), and former math professor. I also worked for ten years in the missile defense industry, on ballistic missile trajectories, and radar discrimination algorithms, to detect and classify ballistic missile threats. My hobbies are genealogy, astronomy, coin collecting and hiking.


Book Blurb

It had been a war of attrition. Starting with superior forces, Tzin and his navy could have lost every battle and still won the war. In the comfort of his office, Matej adjusted his dwindling resources, and waited for the computer to generate the new theater of war configuration, in 100x real time. His command ship, the Sudeten, was disabled, in a helpless Keplerian trajectory. All available energy was diverted to life support and defensive countermeasures. Decoys and chaff were deployed, probably to no avail.

My blog: My page on Smashwords: My book on Smashwords: My book on Amazon:

Thanks for the blog spot! Bill Haloupek

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Love and Not Destroy


Sandra Carey Cody



MAY 1987

He stood at the crest of the hill, already shamed by the act he was about to commit. Could he go through with it? No choice. He studied the workers scurrying around the base of the building. No one seemed to notice him–or the bundle he carried. He moved closer, seeking accessible shelter. Behind the castle-like structure, a three-walled shed hugged the side of the hill. A half dozen steps put him in position to see that the interior was filled with antique carriages and farm wagons. There was no security guard in sight. A sure sign of a safe town. The decision made, he walked away.

He came back in the darkest part of the night, slipped through the opening in the fence, and moved, step by irrevocable step, toward the shed. A wooden sign suspended from a thick rope proclaimed the area off limits. He ducked under the barrier and squeezed past the conveyances.

A twig snapped.

He stooped low and squinted into the shadows. A dog. He tensed when the animal approached, nodded when it ignored him. Yes, safe. Stray dogs don’t fear strangers here.

He set his burden in the corner and stepped back, but remained poised, ready to intercede. He watched the animal sniff, then curve itself harmlessly, even (he told himself) protectively, against the basket’s side. The deed done, he slipped back through the opening in the fence and paused only momentarily to stare into the dark void that was the shed’s opening before he walked away.

He returned when the sun was high to observe from outside the fence. The festival was in full swing, with celebrants swooping over the lawn like flocks of earthbound swallows. Strains of a dulcimer floated in the intervals between blacksmith hammer blows. Voices rose and fell in an easy-going hum.

The dog began to bark in the shed. And didn’t stop.

Someone will check on that.

Again, he walked away and, this time, did not allow himself a backward look.


A baby is found in a basket on the grounds of a small-town museum during their annual Folk Festival. Twenty-two years later, a homeless man is murdered in exactly the same spot. Connection? Or coincidence? Peace Morrow, the foundling, now an adult working at the museum, is haunted by this question and thus begins a quest that explores the nature of family, of loyalty and responsibility. As she tries to reconstruct the victim's history, his story becomes entangled with her own search for family roots, a journey that leads her through the dusty boxes in the museum's basement, to the antique markets in northern Pennsylvania and, ultimately, to the innermost reaches of her own heart.

Sandra Carey Cody grew up in Missouri, surrounded by a family who loved stories, whether from a book or told on the back porch at a family gathering. She's lived in various cities in different parts of the country, but wherever she's gone, books have been the bridge to her new community and new friends. She now lives in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the setting of her latest mystery, Love and Not Destroy. In addition, she is the author of the Jennie Connors mystery series: Put Out the Light, Consider the Lilly, By Whose Hand, and Left at Oz. These stories explore the challenges facing a single mother as she learns to balance independence with family and career responsibilities.
To learn more, please visit her website:
She blogs at:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Dracula's Secret

Dracula’s Secret

by Linda Mercury



She calls herself Valerie Tate. One of the few vampires left on earth, as beautiful as she is powerful, Valerie has resisted her craving for human blood for years, just as she once hid her true gender. But the night she lays eyes on the most enticing man she’s ever seen, it’s game over. He radiates goodness and light—and searing sexual energy. Valerie must have him. Taste him. Consume him. For he is temptation—and he is her destiny…


Lance Soleil is a rugged war veteran who runs a homeless shelter in Portland. At first gaze, he knows what Valerie is—and wants her even more. But when he welcomes a pack of werewolves into his shelter, he attracts the attention of Valerie’s oldest rival—her bloodthirsty brother, Radu, who hopes to become the first vampire President of the United States. Valerie knows Radu has a hidden agenda, and with Lance’s help she is determined to stop his unholy rise to power. But first, she must risk their growing love by fully revealing herself—as the one and only Dracula…



His sun pierced her night.

Valerie Tate stopped dead at the sudden stabbing pain and clapped her leather gloved hands over her sensitive eyes. She’d been running full speed from rooftop to rooftop in an effort to bypass the clogged holiday traffic between her and her destination. Portland’s nighttime rain had merely cloaked her progress instead of slowing her down.

The flare of light, brighter than a magnesium bomb exploding in her face, now left her stunned, blind, and helpless. Any one looking out over the skyline could see her. Not something she wanted.

She crouched, one foot poised over the lip of a building’s crown. One wrong step and she’d fall off. It wouldn’t be a fatal drop, but it would certainly slow her down. Better to risk being seen up here, prancing about like some crazed musical number, than sprawled out on the pavement in the middle of the Halloween crowd.

Valerie probed the skin on her face. Unlike magnesium and direct sunlight, she hadn’t blistered or burned in response. Good. That would have ruined her evening’s plans. Much depended on her appearance not gathering too much attention.

Blood seeped from under her eyelids in response to the too-bright shine. Under the cover of her palms, she blinked away the achingly intense spots floating before her vision.

How could this happen? Once, a magnesium bomb had detonated next to her. Even as her skin peeled back, she had kept going. Nothing broke her concentration during a mission. Six hundred years of killing had taught her well.


AUTHOR Bio and Links

Linda Mercury left behind her varied careers as a librarian, art model, and professional clown to pursue writing. She’s interested in writing, romance, the Middle East, reading, organizing, cooking, hand-made silk Turkish rugs, and the Nike of Samothrace.

Website and blog:
Twitter: LindaMercury1
Facebook: Linda Mercury

Thursday, August 23, 2012

K23 Detectives

Noah Murphy Authorsday

1. What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?

My first novel was The Sapphires, an 80,000-word fictional autobiography of a superhero husband-and-wife team that I wrote in 2004. I sent out a few query letters, all of which were rejected. I eventually realized it was terrible. When I go back and read it years later, I’m shocked at just how poor my writing was at the time.

2. Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book?

I’m self-published; currently I have three books released in a series of eccentric fantasy thrillers called K23 Detectives plus a collected edition, along with a short story collection based on the same setting called Sandworm Rodeo. I chose to self-publish because my book premises would never make it past the query stage with a publishing company. It’s a choice I don’t regret. While my K23 Detectives series had poor sales, the evolution I have made as a writer since June 2011, when I published A Clear and Feathered Danger, has been far greater than my development in the previous 6 years when I was trying to get published traditionally.

3. What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know pre-published that you wish you knew?

Writing for money and writing for a hobby are completely different. When writing for fun, you don’t really have to tailor your work for an audience. Like any business, publishing ultimately comes down to selling a product. If nobody is interested in reading your work, it doesn’t matter how great that work may or may not be. The literary establishment hates authors like James Patterson because they see him as a no-talent hack. But James Patterson is a great writer because he puts books in hands, which is ultimately the true measure of an author, since quality is subjective.

For me, this lesson is why my writing has evolved so much over the past year. I had to stop writing purely what I wanted to and start writing fiction that other people would want to read.

4. What’s your favorite quote?

A quote from John Locke in “How I Sold 1 million Ebooks in 5 Months” in regards to the term “vanity publishing”: “When I invested my own money to start my insurance agency, no one accused me of starting a vanity agency.”

I like this quote because I can relate to it. In addition to writing, I run a small pet sitting business which I started with my own money. Nobody accused me of starting a vanity pet sitting business. I see investing in my pet sitting business as no different from investing in my books - both are businesses.

5. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?

The best writing advice I ever got recently came in the form of a scathing one-star review of a book called What Lies Within, which was the second volume of my K23 Detectives series. In the review, the writer stated that the action scenes in A Clear and Feathered Danger (the first K23 volume) were the strongest part of that book, and the book’s severe lack of action hurt it. This told me where my true writing strength really lied.

6. What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?

My writing strength, as I eluded to earlier, is action. When I write an action scene, I literally choreograph the scene in my head as if I were directing a film. This helps me add in the subtle details that make these scenes shine.

7. What do you consider your weakness and what strategies do you use to overcome it?

Proofreading. I’m abysmally bad at it. I overcome this by hiring an editor, who proofreads all my stuff, including these interview questions. It’s not cheap, but the benefits in terms of coming across as a professional are well worth it.

8. Describe your book.

My upcoming book is called Ethereal Girls, which is a superhero novel starring four young heroines. It’s a complete rewrite of a novella I released last October but later pulled from sale called Barbarian Girl, which had been hampered by hack-job editing as well as not having a clear audience in mind. When I sat down with Ethereal Girls I wrote it from the ground up to a have more mainstream edge in terms of plot and characterization. While it retains some of the quirkiness of K23 Detectives (literally, in one case!) I believe it is the strongest, more cohesive work I’ve ever written.

9. Who is your favorite character in your book?

Meadow, who is shown on one of the book’s promotional poster. She’s the 107th reincarnation of an ancient sorceress who reincarnates with all her previous memoires and experiences but still has to go through the same stages of childhood development as everyone else each time. So in her you find a constant battle between her adolescent side and her all-powerful deity side, which has nearly disastrous implications in the book.

10. What were the hardest scenes to write?

The hardest scenes to write were the fight scenes, which were also my favorite scenes to write. The fights, being choreographed in my head as I wrote them, took full energy and concentration and usually left me tired after writing them. Still, they were incredibly fun to write because I was experiencing the thrills as they emerged onto the page.

Author Bio

Noah has been writing fiction since he was a child. For many years he wrote sci-fi and fantasy short stories and novels as a hobby, developing as a writer. In 2011, Murphy self-published for the first time. He is releasing his fifth book in November.

In addition to writing, Noah runs a small pet sitting business and volunteers at a parrot rescue. Noah lives in Montgomery County , Maryland.

Book Blurb

In Medieval Europe, four mystical weapons were forged in order to combat malevolent spirits – vile entities seeking nothing more than to spread misery and chaos across the universe. Centuries later, only one weapon remains to protect Earth. That weapon, the Axe of Boren, falls into the hands of teenage Liza while she is driving home from cheerleading practice, transforming her into a hulking warrior of immense strength and endurance. At the same time, her best friend Macie is twisted into a psychopathic murderer by one of the Axe’s counterparts, the corrupted Sword of Boren, and goes on a gruesome killing spree.

But just as Liza and Macie are headed for battle, the most powerful evil spirit in generations appears, unleashing an army of monstrous cannibals on Washington, D.C. In order to defeat the spirit, Liza must ally with three odd girls: a sickly waif with macabre teleportation abilities; a member of a snake-like race called the Lamia who wants nothing more than to be a human teenager; and the 107th reincarnation of an ancient goddess who may know far more about the mystical weapons than she lets on. But even with her new friends, Liza faces a near impossible task. Macie is obsessed with destroying her regardless of the devastation unfolding around them…


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Follow the Dream by Heidi M. Thomas


Sunday, July 14, 1929

Spring rains never came this year.

The little bit of grass that came up is nearly gone. Used up rest of the hay already. Jake’s not himself. I’m really worried....

When they watched the skies now, it was with a tingling sense of hope and dread. The clouds built up over the rims, dark and angry, then dispersed as the hot winds blew them to nothing.

In June, Jake had only shrugged when the thunderheads passed over and splattered just a few hard raindrops like bullets into the dust. There was always a chance that the next storm would dump its load and the grass would come back, resurrected from its hardpan grave.

Each time the sky grew dark, Nettie ran to gather clothes from the line, shut the windows in the house and bring four-year-old Neil in. While their son played cowboy on a saddle in the kitchen, she and Jake prepared themselves, anticipating the long, drowsy afternoons of gentle rain when they could rest without guilt as the earth replenished itself. But disappointment always followed one brief, hopeful interlude after another.

As summer wore on, the clouds produced nothing more than a frightening display of heat lightning, the air so charged with electricity that the hair on Nettie’s arms stood up. She thirsted for a view of something green, the smell of new grass. A silent vigilance overtook their lives.

She watched the tension pull at Jake, his hopeful expectation as the sky darkened, the half-smile when he heard the first clap of thunder, and then the slump of his shoulders when the storm again passed them by. Her heart ached for him, and fear built inside like the thunderheads on the hills.

He no longer whistled in the mornings. It had been weeks since she had seen him joke and wrestle playfully with Neil. He rode out every morning, but more and more often he returned with nothing. The drought had killed or driven off the coyote’s food supply, too.

Disappointment pooled inside Nettie like the rain puddles she craved. One evening in the deepening shadows of dusk Nettie saw Jake sitting on the rock by the corral, his face buried in his hands. Cold fear swept her, stopped her from calling out. Her feet felt too heavy to move. Her strong, invincible cowboy seemed beaten. If he had no hope, what was left?


Heidi M. Thomas grew up on a working ranch in eastern Montana. She had parents who taught her a love of books and a grandmother who rode bucking stock in rodeos. Describing herself as “born with ink in her veins,” Heidi followed her dream of writing with a journalism degree from the University of Montana and later turned to her first love, fiction, to write her grandmother’s story.

Heidi’s first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, has won an EPIC Award and the USA Book News Best Book Finalist award.

Follow the Dream is the second book in the “Dare to Dream” series about strong, independent Montana Women and is a WILLA Literary Award winner.

Heidi is a member of Women Writing the West, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Skagit Valley Writers League, Skagit Women in Business, and the Northwest Independent Editors Guild. She is also a manuscript editor, and teaches memoir and fiction writing classes in the Pacific Northwest.


Nettie Moser’s dreams are coming true. She’s married to her cowboy, Jake, they have plans for a busy rodeo season, and she has a once in a lifetime opportunity to rodeo in London with the Tex Austin Wild West Troupe.

But life during the Great Depression brings unrelenting hardships and unexpected family responsibilities. Nettie must overcome challenges to her lifelong rodeo dreams, cope with personal tragedy, survive drought, and help Jake keep their horse herd from disaster.

Will these challenges break this strong woman?

This sequel to Cowgirl Dreams is based on the life of the author’s grandmother, a real Montana cowgirl.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Free Book Monday

I am offering a new service on my blog. If you or your publisher are offering your book for free, you can send me the information and I will post it on the Monday before it is free. I need the title, your name, the URL for the book, and the dates it will be free.

Only one today:
Darker By Degree
Keri Knutson
August 24-August 27

Susan Fleet
Wednesday August 22 thru Friday, August 24

amazon US UK Germany France Spain Italy

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Kristen Lamb Does it Again

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

No Remorse

ExcerpTuesday:Ian Wakely

- First Heading

No Remorse

by Ian Walkley


Two men, exiles from their respective societies, take conflicting approaches in the quest to regain their place and self-respect, and find themselves at war over a kidnapped girl.

Lee McCloud (“Mac”), a special forces soldier facing trumped-up charges of murder, is forced to work for a mysterious government outfit operating outside the law.

Khalid Yubani, cast out of Saudi Arabia for an offence against another member of the Royal family, seeks revenge through ruthless acts of evil. Engaged in the worst forms of human trafficking, Khalid buys Sophia, the daughter of Mac’s best friend, who has been kidnapped in Mexico. With time running out for Sophia, Mac enlists the help of a beautiful computer genius, a British SAS soldier and a Lebanese fixer to try to find Sophia and save her from the terrifying fate that Khalid has in store.

Although starting the quest as a man with no remorse, Mac gradually discovers a side of himself that he suppressed after witnessing the abduction of his own sister years before.

Dodging assassins, corrupt generals, evil medicos, Mossad agents, corrupt bureaucrats, and sharks, Mac ignores the order to stay out of trouble and follows Sophia’s trail from Mexico to Paris, London and Dubai, and the island of Andaran, where Khalid and his henchmen are waiting…



The girls’ fathers, Bob and Marvin, each carried a briefcase full of cash with a tiny GPS tracker hidden in a false bottom. They were both taller than the kidnappers, and through the scope Mac could read the pain on Bob’s face. The behavior of the kidnappers was still bothering him, but there was nothing he could do except watch. The leader held out his palm and waved his pistol like it was a flag. He addressed the fathers in accented English.

“You’re late. We think perhaps you do not want your daughters back, eh?”

“Sorry,” Bob said, his breathing short and sharp. “We took a wrong turn coming into the dam. The signs were confusing.”

The man grunted and glanced at the one with the knife. “Check them.”

Knife Man patted them down, searched their pockets, nodded the all clear.

“You have our money?”

“Of course.” Bob’s voice came through deep and confident in his earpiece, although the armpits of his shirt betrayed his anxiety. Be courteous but strong, Mac had advised him, otherwise they won’t respect you. Being a basketball coach undoubtedly helped. “And you have our daughters,” Bob said. A statement, not a question. He held out the briefcase. “Here’s the money. We didn’t contact the police.”

Several kidnappers gave a hearty laugh.

The leader smirked. “We wouldn’t be here if you had, gringo. But your daughters would be. With bullets in their heads.” He gestured to a kidnapper wearing a red bandana around his neck. “Abrirlos,” he ordered, and the man took both briefcases and unclipped the locks.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Ian Walkley has had a career in social and market research, and has been writing novels, short stories, travel articles and copywriting since 2008. He has co-authored two publications on small business and his first novel, No Remorse, was published in 2012. Ian's screenplay "Deniable Justice" placed fourth in the Writer’s Digest 2011 Competition for best screenplay. Ian has travelled extensively and researched his subject, and brings a knowledge of location and technical detail to the exotic settings and big screen thrills. Ian lives in Brisbane with his wife and three children



Monday, August 13, 2012

A Great Blog Post

Breakdown of a Fantasy.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Authorsday: Michele Drier

Blog Interview Questions: Pick any ten 1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

In high school I wrote some poetry (don’t we all!) and a short story, but began college as a chemistry major. Organic chem did me in and I began hanging around with the Journalism crowd which led to years of newspaper reporting and editing. In the back of my mind, there was always the dream to be a published writer, but it had to wait until I cold partially retire. So, I guess most of my life.

2. How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing in one form or another for close to 40 years. In addition to newspapers, I’ve managed organizations and wrote fund-raising letters, grants and proposals, annual reports, public relations material, white papers and testimony for state legislative committees.

3. How did you pick the genre you write in?

Well, I write in two genres. I chose traditional mysteries because that’s what I like to read. I’ve been hooked on Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh and Margery Allingham, and now love Elizabeth George, Martha Grimes and Deborah Crombie. I also like well-written thrillers. Robert Crais and Lee Child are at the top. I never miss Daniel Silva and Michael Connelly.

But I began writing paranormal romance because my daughter and son-in-law love vampires and kept nagging me to write a vampire story. So I read Charlaine Harris and Karen Moning, Kelley Armstrong and Jim Butcher and was hooked on some of the otherworld beasties.

4. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?

I’m pretty much a pantser. I usually know where the story will end up, but I have no idea which roads it’ll take. There are lots of detours because the characters begin to pull away and take off on their own. Every so often, I have to round ‘em up and bring ‘em back. The byways can get interesting. At the end of SNAP: New Talent, the second book of the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, a secondary character took over and hijacked the protagonist, a move I didn’t see coming!

5. What drew you to the subject of the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles?

When I began to write the first paranormal romance, I knew that the vampires had to be constantly evolving and growing. After all, doing the same thing—killing and sucking blood—for 500 years would get really boring. So I was drawn to telling a story that would give them depth and character, not too different from when they were the living. So the Kandesky family of vampires own the world’s largest and richest multinational celebrity gossip empire.

As my daughter said, “Everybody who’s a celebrity only comes out at night, wears huge dark glasses and rides around in limos with tinted windows. They could ALL be vampires.”

6. What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?

My first novel was a traditional mystery, Edited for Death. I tried to find an agent for about five years and was accumulating rejections until I began querying small presses. It was contracted by Mainly Murder Press in Connecticut and published Oct. 1, 2011.

It’s picking up some good interest. Midwest Book Review called it “riveting and much recommended” and it was nominated on the Most Memorable Book for 2011 of the DorothyL list.

7. How many rejections have you received?

Wow, I’ve lost track. I began sending out query letters when I finished the first draft and started getting two or three rejections a month. I was also working with a writing coach and rewriting the book, so after each revise, I’d send off a bunch more queries, and get back a bunch more rejections. When I felt I had a solid manuscript, I began querying small presses and got rejections, until MMP bought it.

I’ve probably been rejected by 80 agents and 10 presses.

And that’s hard, because every single one of them is personal, of course. Not only is your book no good, but you’re a terrible person. That’s not really true, but rejections feel that way.

8. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?

Write. Write. Write. And keeping writing. This is also the advice I’d give to my young reporters. One of them had never taken a grammar class in college and she wanted to got to work for the AP. I worked with her, she wrote and wrote, and eventually not only joined the AP, but became a national writer with them.

9. If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?

Oh boy, just one? I’d ask them what I could do in the next book that would enthrall them, entrance them, astound them so much that they’d come back again and again!

10. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

It’s not just one book, it’s the entire Chronicles. Right now there are three books in the series. Another short novel will join by September and another full-length novel by Christmas, with at least two more next year. And what I enjoy is the interplay between the protagionist, Maxie, and Jean-Louis. Maxie is the managing editor for SNAP, the magazine and Jean-Louis is the art director. Oh, and second-in-command of the vampire family who owns the SNAP empire.

They’re attracted to each other, but they both have their own lives and ways of doing things. It’s incredibly fun to throw out traps and barriers between them and see how they manage to work around them.

Author Bio

Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home. During her career in journalism — as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers – she won awards for producing investigative series.

Her mystery Edited for Death, called “Riveting and much recommended” by the MBR, is available at Amazon and B&N.

SNAP: The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, is available in ebook format at Amazon. Book One, SNAP: The World Unfolds, received a 4-star rating from the Paranormal Romance Guild as did SNAP: New Talent. The third book, Plague: A Love Story, was published in June 2012.

Visit her website:
Book Blurb:

SNAP, a multinational celeb TV show and magazine, is the holy grail for Maxie Gwenoch. When she snags the job as managing editor, she's looking for fame, fortune and Jimmy Choos. What she finds is a media empire owned by Baron Kandesky and his family. A family of vampires. They're European, urbane, wealthy and mesmerizing. And when she meets Jean-Louis, vampire and co-worker, she's a goner.

The Kandesky vampire family rose in Hungary centuries ago. They gave up violence and killing to make a killing on the world's commodities markets and with that beginning they built SNAP, an international celebrity multimedia empire. Now cultured...and having found food substitutes for killing...they’ve cornered the world market for celebrity and gossip journalism.

Books for Bunnies

Books for Bunnies Blog Blast – August 8, 2012 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Books for Bunnies

Books for Bunnies is an event set up by the blogger over at The Bunny’s Review and coordinated with the help of blogger Alchemy of Scrawl.

These two ladies have worked tirelessly in getting authors to donate eBooks for the event. Currently there are over 100 eBooks that have been donated, along with over 30 print books. Some of the print books are even signed by the authors themselves.

The event is to help raise money for the House Rabbit Society. The House Rabbit Society (or HRS) is a 501 non-profit organization to help raise awareness and to rescue rabbits from animal shelters. Below is a little about the background of the HRS.

House Rabbit Society Background
House Rabbit Society is a national, nonprofit animal welfare organization based in Richmond, California. Our mission has two parts:
  • Through our fostering program, volunteers rescue abandoned rabbits and find permanent adoptive homes for them.
  • Through education, we seek to reduce the number of unwanted rabbits — and to improve bunnies' lives — by helping people better understand these often misunderstood companion animals.

In line with our mission, we are against the exploitation of rabbits.

Since HRS was founded in 1988, over 25,000 rabbits have been rescued through our foster homes across the United States. Many of these bunnies had run out of time at animal shelters and were scheduled for euthanasia; others had been deemed "unadoptable" because of age, health, or disposition. Because there is no time limit on our rescued rabbits, HRS foster parents are able to spend time getting to know each individual bunny and can then match him or her with an appropriate home. We neuter/spay all incoming rabbits, obtain any necessary veterinary care, and attend to their social needs.

In caring for so many diverse bunnies, our all-volunteer organization has learned a tremendous amount about their social, behavioral, and medical requirements. By sharing the collected information these rabbits have taught us, we are able to help other people improve their relationships with their rabbits. HRS provides educational materials to veterinarians and humane societies and helps individual rabbit people solve behavior and health problems, primarily through our web site,, and our quarterly publication, House Rabbit Journal.

Over the past 20 years, HRS has grown from 300 to more than 8,000 members, with local chapters and educators in over 30 states plus Canada, Italy, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore. Our web site,, is accessed over 100,000 times a day by people in dozens of countries around the world.

We are asking people to donate money to the HRS at this link through Network for Good. The person that makes a donation will receive either an eBook or print book equal to the amount donated. There are books ranging in price from 99 cents to $27.00. There are several print copies of the books that have been autographed by the author.

The person that donates will receive an email thanking them for donating. That email needs to be forwarded to This will show the amount that has been donated. Please remember there is not any donation that is too small. Any amount will be greatly appreciated. The HRS will use the money to either help pay for vet bills or help in finding a forever home for the hundreds of bunnies in their care.

Please if possible take a moment to donate a couple of dollars to the HRS you never know what bunny’s life you might be saving.

Suzie & The Bunnies - CupCake & Coale

Books for Bunnies Website: Video for the House Rabbit Society:
a Rafflecopter giveaway Link for the code:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

ExcerpTuesday: William S. Shepard


Professor Moriarty glowered through his one-way mirrors at the four men who had assembled in the anterooms of the study of his mansion in the West End. He stared at each in turn, waiting to see if anyone was intimidated. That would certainly be a disqualification. Anyone who was intimidated by plush surroundings would certainly not be up to the task of murder. And certainly, such a person would not be up to killing Sherlock Holmes!

It had taken Moriarty a lot of time to arrive at his decision. As with any businessman, Moriarty allowed for some losses—spoilage or shelf time, if you will. But crimes, which were detected, and thus unsuccessful, were an unacceptable risk when your business was masterminding the majority of crimes in London. And the fact that it was inevitably Sherlock Holmes who, along with his sidekick Dr. Watson, spoiled Moriarty’s crimes meant that the problem was localized. Get rid of Sherlock Holmes, and the problem was solved.

The question was how to go about it. Moriarty could, of course, undertake the task himself. However, his rule had always been to have some underling, well-trained and briefed, commit the actual crime. That created a very public deniability for Moriarty himself, who could always produce many eyewitnesses to show, if the police inquired about his whereabouts, that on the night of the robbery or murder, he had been at Covent Garden enjoying the music, or was having supper at Simpson’s on the Strand. It was a proven formula which had worked more than once. All the more reason to have someone else kill Holmes.

But that was no reason to be careless in his preparations. Moriarty had decided not to let the men see one another, so that each would know as little as possible about his plan. Clearly only the man who measured up would be chosen for the job, but that didn’t mean there should be eyewitnesses to the actual selection. That would be inviting trouble. No, Professor Moriarty would interview each man in turn, give each a week to prove himself, and then after the selection, make a final arrangement to see the selected assassin and complete arrangements.

The four men he had chosen to meet were Herman Houlihan, Ed the Bludgeoner, Morris the Ascot Dandy, and Fastidious Fred Fielder. There had been several criteria for this selection. First, none of the men was generally known in London. Scotland Yard did have its informants throughout the islands, but police detection was not yet a very exact or national science, and it was possible for a criminal to be relatively unknown far from his usual haunts. And each of the four, Professor Moriarty had it on good authority, was an experienced murderer... <\p>

William S. Shepard

Now residents of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the Shepards enjoy visits from their daughters and granddaughters, ocean swims at Assateague, Chesapeake Bay crabs, and the company of Rajah and Rani, their two rescued cats.

Prize winning mystery writer William S. Shepard is the creator of a new genre, the diplomatic mystery, whose plots are set in American Embassies overseas. That mirrors Shepard’s own career in the Foreign Service of the United States, during which he served in Singapore, Saigon, Budapest, Athens and Bordeaux, in addition to five Washington tours of duty.

His E-books explore this rich, insider background into the world of high stakes diplomacy and government. He evokes his last Foreign Service post, Consul General in Bordeaux, in Vintage Murder, the first of the series of three “diplomatic mysteries.” The second, Murder On The Danube, now also available on Kindle, mines his knowledge of Hungary and the 1956 Revolution. In Murder In Dordogne Robbie Cutler, his main character, is just married, but their honeymoon in the scenic southwest of France is interrupted by murders.

“More Coffee Break Mysteries: The Sherlock Holmes Edition”

This collection of twenty short mysteries ranges from British cozy mysteries, to the American hardboiled mystery school, just the thing when the reader has only fifteen minutes of free time and wants a diversion. It is the second collection in the Coffee Break Mysteries E-book series.

The mysteries begin with five stories featuring the immortal characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Professor Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes, Inspector Lestrade, Dr. Watson, and Mrs. Hudson. The reader is invited to match wits with Holmes and Moriarty! This group of mysteries has been specially authorized by the Conan Doyle Literary Estate for publication.

The E-book, like the diplomatic mysteries, is available on, at

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fun Facts from Jenn Nixon

1. The first real piece of writing that I finished from beginning to end was a Star Wars Fan Fiction based on the Jedi Apprentice Series. If you really dig on the internet I think you can still find it on a forum or something. The story wasn't half bad, and I've actually taken some of the names and characters from that piece and used them in other works. I will admit, I was super proud of myself for finishing something and it helped me to see how much I loved to write. I haven't stopped since.
2. I was once a semi-finalist in a regional Karaoke contest. Before I became a writer, I wanted to be a singer. I'm pretty good, not the best, but I enjoy it. Anyway, the day of the big competition, I messed up my words because I got there late and couldn't practice and the version I sang was different than the one I was used to singing. :-(
3. I started keeping a Diary at age 13. I kept up with it for the most part up until a couple of years ago when I started blogging. For Teenaged Jenn, writing in my diary was cathartic. It was the one place I wasn't judged, lied to, picked on, yelled at, or treated like a kid. I haven't gone back recently to read some of those old entries, but the last time I did, I kinda felt bad for that Teenage Jenn, she was very sad but kinda funny too. Such drama for a 16 year old! One day I may use those old writings for a memoir or something.
4. I love hats! I don't have a huge collection right now because I'm kinda broke, but if I had money, I'd have a huge hat collection instead of a shoe collection. I currently have about 7 or 8 hats. They are mostly painter cap types with a few ball caps, my favorite two are the Indiana Jones Fedora (Decorative only) and my awesome new bowler hat that I got for Christmas last year from the BFF. This year I asked for a Deer-Stalker. Hope I get one!
5. When I was in High School, I read every single play and sonnet by Shakespeare. I thought it was cool that we shared the same birthday (Chris Redding too!), and I enjoyed reading Hamlet. So, my wonderful English teachers from 11th & 12th grades gave me access to the book room!
6. Back in the mid 1990's, I was a telemarketer. I was damn good too. Anyway, at one point, probably right before I left the place, I knew every zipcode and phone exchange in NJ. Remember, this was before cell phones. (But I had a beeper!) I still remember some of them. My home town, of course: 862 and 925 were the originals, now there's like ten 474, 523, 717…
7. I believe in Aliens. I know, I know, kind of a given right? But hey, some people may not know that about me. Recently, I've been fixated on the whole Ancient Astronaut theory. The theory is that aliens have been coming to Earth since, well, forever, and have helped Humans along via DNA, Technology, and even in a Religious/Spiritual nature. While I don't necessarily believe ALL of the theory, there are some part of it that make total sense to me.

Lucky’s Charm Excerpt
To protect her family and find a killer, Felicia “Lucky” Fascino assumed her adoptive father’s identity and joined the network, an organization of moral assassins to finish the job he began. Eliminating the man responsible for murdering her mother has consumed her for the last five years. While keeping her Uncle Stephen and cousin Elizabeth at arm’s length, Lucky begins to feel the weight of her career choice and reclusive lifestyle. Then a chance encounter with an enigmatic hit man, during one of her jobs, turns into a provocative and dangerous affair. Distracted by the secret trysts with Kenji Zinn and mounting tension within her family, Lucky makes reckless mistakes that threaten her livelihood and almost claim her life.
Bio: Jenn’s love of writing started the year she received her first diary and Nancy Drew novel. Throughout her teenage years, she kept a diary of her personal thoughts and feelings but graduated from Nancy Drew to other mystery suspense novels.
Jenn often adds a thriller and suspense element to anything she writes be it Romance, Science Fiction, or Fantasy. When not writing, she spends her time reading, observing pop culture, playing with her two dogs, and working on various charitable projects in her home state of New Jersey. Twitter: @jennnixon

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Authorsday: Andrew Clawson

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
-This is going to sound cliché, but it’s true. One day after I set down the book I was reading, it just hit me…why don’t I write a book? I’d been reading all my life, and it seemed simple enough, so what would be so tough? Looking back, I can’t believe how foolish it sounds. If I only knew then what I know now, this may never have happened.
2. Did you encounter any obstacles in researching it?
-One of the toughest parts of my research was determining exactly what factual elements to include in my story. The main concept was easy enough, but the idea of focusing on George Washington and one particular aspect of his life was merely the beginning. Fleshing out this idea was by far the most time-intensive part of the process, other than the actual writing. I needed to identify locations and items from our nation’s history that were not only interesting to myself and (hopefully) the reader, but that would blend with the fictional areas of my work to produce a believable narrative.
3. How many rejections have you received?
-Around forty or so. I must admit that every single one was polite and encouraging. Even if they really thought my work was a pile of nonsense, no one was cruel enough to tell me that while they were dashing my hopes of representation.
4. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?
-Write every damn day. That’s the best advice I could ever give any aspiring author.
5. If you have a day job, what is it?
-When I’m not writing I work for a Class I freight railroad investigating railroad accidents. You see some interesting things at my job.
6. What’s your writing schedule?
-Whenever I can find the time, but usually at night. I’ll set a word goal for myself, which I always strive to achieve. It can vary depending on how much time I have and what part of the story I’m putting on paper that night, but once I sit down and start typing, I do my best to stay focused until I hit my goal.
7. What’s your favorite quote?
-I’ve got two, because you’ll probably laugh at the first one. “The pen is mightier than the sword.” (obvious, but I love it) “Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” (This becomes more apparent with every passing day)
8. Who is your greatest cheerleader?
-My Mom.
9. What would you like to learn to do that you haven’t?
-Fluently speak a second language.
10. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
-The most rewarding part of this process was seeing my characters develop before my eyes. As the story progressed from start to finish, what were originally hazy, abstract outlines came sharply into focus, becoming living, breathing people (sort of). It became so that while as the author, I was driving the story, my main characters were sitting shotgun, serving as the navigator. Knowing how these people would react, understanding their motivations, wants and needs, allowed me to write quickly and efficiently, producing a more involved and complete tale.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Excerpt of Freakout


Lilian J. Gardner was born in British India, and moved to South Africa after her marriage.
At present she is living in a town near Venice, Italy, where she does voluntary teaching in State Schools, to Elementary and Middle school immigrant students, to bring them up to class level. Her pastimes are writing any genre of fiction, fantasy, song lyrics and listening to people’s life stories. She has decided to share her stories by publishing them on the Internet. Her husband is an ex-fighter pilot and enjoys cooking and playing piano. They both love cats, gourmet tourism and entertaining.

FREAKOUT (blurb)
The ordinary life of the Scott family tips
off balance when a big, black bird flies into the garden and repeats that it is 'Abe.The too-curious family cat, Joshua, will be its first victim. From this moment on, Abe will be an elusive, overshadowing presence in their life; but who, or what, is really Abe? This is an engaging story that rapidly builds up to reveal a twisted character and an ‘unguessable’ finale.

FREAKOUT (excerpt from chapter 8)
*** Neil parked and the two men got out of the car, careful not to bang the doors. They approached Abraham Wilkins’s house cautiously, made sure there was no one in sight, before creeping up to the front door. “Hush!” Neil said, putting a finger to his lips and his ear to the door. “That’s Glenda’s voice. She’s trying to persuade Bentley to set her free. Come on, we’ve got to get her out.” He turned the door knob as slowly and silently as he could, but the minute he opened it, the lights went out. ***

‘Freakout’ is available for download here:
Contacts: Twitter: @LilianWrites Facebook: