The Hobbit

The Hobbit

Woody Allen

If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Special Offer, Excerpt and Giveaway: The Plot Thickens (Sémya Slotin Mystery #1.5) by Danielle-Claude Ngontang Mba

Description: 18+

Polliannah's story is live!

What led to that horrific phone call to Semya and Josh in the middle of the night?

When Polliannah Koch Guryev meets John Allen, she thinks that she’s finally found her Prince Charming in the form of a tall, blond and handsome banker. What could go wrong?

John Allen has a job to do and getting closer to the beautiful Miss Koch Guryev is supposed to be a means to an end. But then they fall in love. He’s a hit man with a mission, she’s the sister of his targets. What possible future could they have? Now he and his Russian Princess have to leave London for their safety.

But it may already be too late for them.


This was supposed to be an easy case

Sémya Slotin had spent the last three years living in London with her best friend Polliannah Koch staying away from solving cases. After Hawaii, she was taking a break from puzzles, cases and mysteries that could potentially get her killed. Instead, she had been doing her second and third favorite things, drinking and selling expensive vintage wines and having earthshattering sex with the mysterious, sexy, beautiful but ever so secretive Josh Heinz. Life in London was good….until her funds ran out. Too much wine drinking, not enough wine selling!

When fashion designer and adoptive mother, Annika Slotin, summoned her back to Paris to hire her for what Sémya considered being the easiest case of her amateur sleuth career, all she could think of and see was money signs and a well-deserved Cuban holiday once it was solved.

What Sémya didn’t see was her stumbling on the fresh corpse of supermodel Johanna Cartier. She didn’t think that male model turned fashion designer Julian Marais-Caldwin, who also happened to be Sémya’s ex, would be suspected of brutally murdering her. Johanna was his girlfriend, his muse and he loved her. Sémya didn’t see the dead bodies piling up or the conspiracy theories.

Sémya was a little rusty. But then again, it was supposed to be an easy case and she was going to solve it. One vintage wine at a time… Sémya Slotin was officially back in business!

EXCERPT 




“It looks like someone vomited the nineties in here. Is that man smoking?” Polliannah exclaimed as they were entering the club. “Or a regular Eastern European club,” she added. 

“I thought you might like it,” John teased back. She gently knocked his ribcage. 

“I love it.” She looked a little out of the place. She was wearing jeans and not a flashy dress and dangerously high heels. Sémya would have been proud. Sémya would have loved it here. Maybe she should ask her to come with Josh? She caressed John’s grin. “I love you.”

“I love you more,” he said back. 

Wow! “Just tell me that you’re not one of those men who just stared at women dancing in the shadows. Creeps!” She moved her head and hips to the music.

“I would have let you know that I’m an excellent dancer… after a few drinks,” he joked back leading her to dance floor. “So two bottles of wine and a couple of vodka shots…”

She just laughed, happy to be out with him. He wasn’t lying, he was good. He seemed more relaxed tonight that he had been for the past four weeks. The DJ was going Daft Punk crazy. Sémya would have really loved it here. They used to be Daft Punk diehard fans. Daft Punk and absinth… the nineties! 

She looked at him completely letting loose when One More Time started. “It’s been a very long day!” he said over the music. 

“I am not judging! I’ve had a very long year,” Polliannah said and asked for a cigarette. She lit it and laughed when Roses by Outkast came on. “Not that I don’t enjoy the music but the DJ knows it’s 2013?” Always the same shit with Eastern European style club. But they usually have the best absinth… “I’m thirsty,” she whispered in his ear while she was dancing against him. 

“What do you want to drink Princess?” he groaned back. 

Polliannah played with his soft blond hair before diving into his deep blue eyes, “Absinth please, straight up,” she said against his lips. She saw the admiration in his eyes, “I have my vices too.”

He kissed her and pressed her tighter against him, “I see…,” he mumbled taking a drag from her cigarette. California Love started, “…after this song!”

“Oh you were on these white lads!” she said rolling her eyes. He eagerly nodded as he sung. She just laughed and kept on dancing. Can this night be more perfect?


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About the author:
“My life journey is like my playlist, amazingly unique but full of contradictions with surprising joys with every song...”

In the past two years, while living in Canada, England and France I wrote four novels: This Could Have Been Our Song! A coulda woulda shoulda ballad... (Book one) currently available on amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Barnes and Nobles and Smashwords. The sequel This Would Have Been Our Song! Catchy tune and dancers’ tales has been in January 2014. Bird Of Prey, my first mystery romance novel has been released in October 7th, 2013 and its first sequel The Plot Thickens (a novella) in December. The second one Polliannah Got Married! will be released in June 2014. I’m currently residing in Paris, France.


Author's Giveaway

Excerpt and Giveaway: Beyond the Reach of Judgement (a paranormal romantic tragedy) by Jo Bissell

Published: April 19th, 2014

Description:

“Did we leave any sin out?” She replied with a forced weak laugh.

“No. Between the two of us, I think we have managed to cover them all.” He mumbled as that uncomfortable lump in his gut returned.

Julien Rene Durant was once a good man. Born in France, he took the oath as a Jesuit Priest in the 1600s. He dedicated his life to spreading the Gospel. Now, he was a monster surviving off the blood of others; killing for survival even as he wished for nothing other than for his own extinction. After almost four centuries of guilt and hopelessness, he encounters someone who might just be able to rescue the good man trapped within the monster, but will his judgements deny him a second chance?

Mary Ruth Jacobson-Ryan is nothing special; a small town girl stuck in a rut. Married to the local Iraqi War Hero who turned out not to be the perfect guy she fell in love with before the war, she is desperate for a way out. When things turn from bad to worse, she runs with plans to never look back. She quickly finds, however, that her search for a better future may lead her down a path with no future at all.

EXCERPT 




Agent Samantha Wolf reviewed the surveillance video for the fifth time that hour. Frustrated, she rewound the tape and played it a sixth time. Her sources had verified that the woman was indeed the one for which she searched, but her case ended there. The tape remained her only hard evidence. There must be something in it she had missed. She needed something new, anything new. Her only angle thus far had been the black Porsche. Only a few people in the entire state owned that exact make, model, and trim in that color, all of which she had questioned personally. 

Sighing, she opened her notes and flipped through the pages. There was no body. She almost always had a body. If not a body, she had a victim with a story and a trail of clues leading straight to her undead perpetrator. She had no body, no victim, and only a dried up trail of black sports cars to work from. Why did she agree to a missing person’s case? There was absolutely zero evidence to support anything other than a human had taken the girl from that street corner. This case was not even in her jurisdiction. 

Looking over at the photo of her husband in uniform sitting on the nightstand in her hotel room, she shook her head and pulled the frame closer. She was not doing this because it was her job, she was doing this because it was the right thing to do for her fellow officer, and a good friend of her husband. If it was her husband missing, she hoped a friend would do the same for her. In fact, Jonathan Ryan had done that for her. By sending her the letter cataloging her husband’s last moments, and the happier times prior to those moments, including photos and comments from his other friends, he had given her something she felt she needed to return. She was determined to find his missing wife. He deserved that, and she had the training and the resources to do it.

Reading over her notes, she tried desperately to connect the dots. She flipped through the profiles of the eight Porsche drivers she had questioned recently. Of the eight, two were women, and five had verified alibis. Mr. William Durand of Kansas City, MO remained the only man whom had yet to prove his whereabouts that evening. His address was mere blocks away from the location where Ms. Ryan had last been seen, but other than her gut feeling about him, she had no other real evidence against him. The car and the address hardly proved anything other than his wealth. 

When she had visited Magdalen Durant, as she had called herself, Wolf had no idea at the time that the girl she was investigating for unrelated reasons, would become the same woman she so desperately wanted to find now. If only she had opened the email from Jonathan sooner, instead of allowing it to drift further down her inbox until she had all but forgotten about it. As soon as she read Jonathan’s desperate plea for help and opened the picture of the exact girl she had interviewed a few days prior, she regretted her decision. Had she had this information during the interview, she imagined it would have ended very differently.

Instead of just some random female who had flagged the alerts she had in place with the hospital as part of her ongoing investigation into mysterious deaths from extreme blood loss, she was Mary Ruth Jacobson-Ryan, wife of her dead husband’s best friend, and recent missing person case to which she had unofficially assigned herself. She assumed it to be coincidence. All of her other victims had been prostitutes. It seemed now to be one of her stranger cases, actually; dead, bloodless prostitutes found with slit wrists in motel rooms around the city every three to four weeks.

It took the local authorities years to see the pattern and wonder if they were connected. Everyone involved in the individual cases attributed the deaths to suicide and rightly so, based on the obvious evidence. But to her experienced eyes, it had to be vampiric in nature. Nothing else she had encountered could drain a human dry in such an exact way, not even suicide via wrist slitting in a bathtub. 

Turning to her notes again, she read through the details regarding her interview with Ms. Durant/Mrs. Ryan. As she scanned them, her eyes stopped.

“Scarring to a wound consistent with previous suicide attempt by exsanguination via laceration of the radial artery at the wrist.”

While this detail had been important when Wolf had been focused on her bloodless prostitute case, somehow she had forgotten it when she realized she had missed her chance to confront Jonathan Ryan’s missing wife.

Looking over at her calendar, she noted, for the first time, that the highlighted days had come and gone with no dead girl found in a motel bathtub. Furthermore, the woman’s arrival at the hospital correlated with that timeline perfectly.

What if she wasn’t working two different cases? What if Mary Ruth Jacobson-Ryan was the latest victim of her prostitute-preying predator? She did disappear from a street corner well known for such activity. It could be possible that she had fallen victim in the same way the others had. 

Thinking back to her interview with Mrs. Ryan, she tried to understand if indeed she had experienced and survived an attack by a vampire, why she would not have said anything about the attack during their exchange. So many questions swirled through the agent’s mind - Did she not remember? Did she not care? Did she not think she would be believed? Was she being coerced into silence? If so, how and why? Why had she been allowed to live when so many others had died? How had she escaped? 

Samantha’s thoughts drifted to the possibility that Mr. Durand could be one of the immortals she usually investigated. He definitely had a certain air about him - the difficult-to-place accent, the large amount of wealth for a man no one had seemed to have heard of, and a bit of arrogance when speaking with the law that she had encountered with her other vampires of significant age and experience. She remembered him being attractive and healthy in appearance at the time she had met him, meaning if he were indeed vampire, he had probably fed recently, but not too recently, judging by the whites of his eyes and the paleness of his skin. 

Making a note to get more security footage from Mr. Durand’s building to determine if he ever left during daylight hours, she grabbed her folder that contained the details of the prostitute case. Pulling out the map showing the locations of the victims’ bodies and their last known locations prior to their deaths, she located the loft building in which Mr. Durand lived. 

“Aha!” she exclaimed as she noticed the building’s location, centrally located among the mess of dots. Her suspicions increased, and now the evidence started to support them. 



About the author:
Jo Bissell started writing in middle school with fantasy stories inspired by books such as The Hobbit, and in fact once turned in a journal project written entirely in Dwarfish Ruins. She then explored fanfiction and short speculative fiction writing. Now, after many years of study, she spends most of her time working as a full time physician caring for hospitalized adults. When she is not writing or doctoring, she enjoys reading, watching movies, traveling, archery, thrift store shopping, and snowboarding. She currently resides in the Iowa City, IA area with her husband and two cats.

Beyond the Reach of Judgement is Jo Bissell’s first original novel which evolved out of a 2012 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) project. She also has a short speculative fiction piece, His Eyes, available for Kindle. Future planned novels include a sequel to Beyond the Reach of Judgement, other works of urban fantasy and paranormal romances, and a science fiction novel. She continues to participate in NaNoWriMo.


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Excerpt and Giveaway: The Biggest Poser by Sam Cheever

Published: April 18th, 2014

Description:


May the biggest liar win. Or die trying!

Personal trainer for the ever popular, Lose it! reality show, Jillie Maxwell is up for the most important award of her career. And she’s competing against the biggest b-eye-itch she’s ever met. Fortunately for her, she has the sexiest man alive in her corner. Problem is, each and every one of them has a dirty little secret that could tank a career.

For the contestants, the race is on to lose the most weight and win everything. For the staff of the popular weight loss show, the clock is ticking to the culmination of their lies and the possibility of losing it all.

Will the Biggest Poser win? Or will the lies just grow and grow until they sink the whole show? Only one thing is certain. Whatever happens, it’s gonna be an entertaining ride!

EXCERPT 



May the biggest liar win. Or die trying!

Personal trainer for the ever popular, Lose it! reality show, Jillie Maxwell is up for the most important award of her career. And she’s competing against the biggest b-eye-itch she’s ever met. Fortunately for her, she has the sexiest man alive in her corner. Problem is, each and every one of them has a dirty little secret that could tank a career.

For the contestants, the race is on to lose the most weight and win everything. For the staff of the popular weight loss show, the clock is ticking to the culmination of their lies and the possibility of losing it all.

Will the Biggest Poser win? Or will the lies just grow and grow until they sink the whole show? Only one thing is certain. Whatever happens, it’s gonna be an entertaining ride!

~~*~~

He was so close she could smell the clean musk scent of his aftershave and feel the moist heat of his breath. His muscular thigh flexed against her leg as he leaned in to cut a bite of asparagus.

As he lifted it to her lips, his gaze fixed on her mouth. His tongue swept over his bottom lip as if anticipating her taste. Jillie’s body tightened with need and her mouth quivered in anticipation of kissing him.

She took the spear of green off the end of the fork, sliding her tongue over her lips to get every ounce of its flavor.

The asparagus was perfect. Slightly crisp and tart with balsamic vinegar.

Brandt watched her chew and licked his lips. “I love balsamic. Let me try.”

She expected him to cut himself another bite, but instead he leaned close and slid his tongue over her slightly parted lips.

“Mmm. Delicious. I need to try the steak too.”

He cut another sliver of meat and doused it liberally with the rich sauce. As he placed it on her tongue, she drew it in, curling her tongue slowly around it, before chewing.

Brandt lowered his head and took her bottom lip into his mouth, sucking gently. He moaned. “Incredible. The sauce is exquisite. What’s your secret ingredient?”

She closed the distance between them and nibbled on his full lower lip. “There’s a reason they call it a secret ingredient.”

He slid his hand up her bare arm, over her shoulder, and wrapped it lightly around her throat, tipping her chin so he could trail kisses along the place where her blood pulsed with growing excitement. “I bet I can get it out of you.” His voice had deepened and grown husky with lust.

The sound of it abraded her overcharged nerves, making her shiver. “Just as long as you know I’m holding out as long as I can.”

He sucked an earlobe into his mouth and gently bit down. “As you know, I love a challenge.”

She gasped. When her nipples peaked hard against the soft cotton of her thigh-length T-shirt, Jillie figured he had to be able to feel them against his arm. She pressed closer, driving the painfully hard peaks into his muscular flesh. “Are you hungry?”

His lips feathered along her jaw line and lifted, stopping a mere breath away from her lips. “Starving.” Then he lowered them and claimed her mouth in an aggressive, hungry kiss.

Jillie wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him in, draping her legs across his lap and allowing him to pull her onto the tiny chair with him. His arms enveloped her, holding her close enough to feel every hard, sexy line of his long body.

She pulled away after a moment and reached for her wine, needing to give herself a moment to cool down or she was going to lay him out in the thick grass and have her way with him right there.

She took a sip as he skimmed his hands along her bare legs, fighting the urge to spread her knees and let him in. They could so easily be discovered in that very public spot. She sipped her wine and placed it against his lips, tipping it for him to drink.

When she pulled away, a drop of wine trickled down his stubbled chin. She leaned in and swept it away with her tongue.

Brandt groaned. “I think I’ve turned permanently blue in some of my favorite parts.”

She chuckled, sipping her wine again. “Smurf crotch?”

He lifted an eyebrow, not amused.

An idea began to form that she wasn’t about to resist. Jumping up, she grabbed his hand. “Come on. I have just the place.”






About the author:
May the biggest liar win. Or die trying!

Personal trainer for the ever popular, Lose it! reality show, Jillie Maxwell is up for the most important award of her career. And she’s competing against the biggest b-eye-itch she’s ever met. Fortunately for her, she has the sexiest man alive in her corner. Problem is, each and every one of them has a dirty little secret that could tank a career.

For the contestants, the race is on to lose the most weight and win everything. For the staff of the popular weight loss show, the clock is ticking to the culmination of their lies and the possibility of losing it all.

Will the Biggest Poser win? Or will the lies just grow and grow until they sink the whole show? Only one thing is certain. Whatever happens, it’s gonna be an entertaining ride!

FUN Facts

I believe chocolate was the first antibiotic. It still remains one of life’s greatest healing substances. It’s completely true.
I’m just a tiny bit OCD. I’m just a tiny bit OCD. I’m just a tiny bit OCD. #:0) #:0) #:0)

My husband and I rescue dogs and we have 13, all living in the house with us. #:0)

You’ve seen those cartoons where the dogs have the bed and the people are on the floor…yeah, most great comedy is based in truth. Some nights there’s literally no room on the bed for me so I go to the couch. LOL

Last summer we moved to a cabin in the woods of Southern Indiana and we’ve been rehabbing it. We’re slowly turning it into our own little hideaway and I’m loving it.

This year I’m going to start my first vegetable garden. I’m very excited. I hope I don’t suck at it.

I’m not overweight…I’m undertall. If I were eight feet tall I’d be perfect!

I like to write to the sound of movie scores. Maybe that’s why I’M SUCH A DRAMA QUEEN!

I’ve always believed I’m an introvert, but I recently discovered I’m an ambivert. This means I’m emotionally drained in crowds, but I rise beautifully to the occasion if I’m forced to interact with…gasp…people!

When I was in high school I wasn’t part of a single clique. I was part of all of them!

I’m almost rich. All I need now is money. #:0)

I secretly always wonder why people would ever buy one of my books. I mean, there are trillions of other authors out there! Surely readers can do better than my stuff. LOL


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Cover Reveal: Redeemed (Believe #3) by L. Chapman

Release Date: TBA

Description:

Megan’s life has been anything but simple. She’s always lived amongst chaos, and for once, she just wants it all to stop. After years of lies and agony, will anything work out for her? 

In this heart-gripping third installment of the Believe series, watch Megan discover love again, and not just any love, but one worth fighting for, one that makes her feel different, cherished, wanted, and treasured. For Megan, Mark is the one to give her all of that and has brought a new meaning to her life and a new reason to live. 

The old saying, "Nothing comes easy in life," holds true to this story, which is packed with unexpected twists and turns. For Megan and Mark, it pushes their love to new heights. Will the love they share for each other keep their relationship strong, or does Megan’s string of erroneous luck run out?

About the author:
L. Chapman was born in and continues to live in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom. She has spent most of her life helping others as a health care assistant, and was, at one time, a DJ for a special needs club. Blending her love of helping others and her love of children, L dreams to one day own and operate a childcare nursery that will help mainstream special needs children with others. In the rare times that L. is not working to help others or maniacally writing, she enjoys making a mess of things while creating beautifully detailed greeting cards. She spends time relaxing with family, friends, and good books. L. loves to travel and has been to many places in the United Kingdom; her favorite places all involve the ocean. She hopes to one day share a kiss with her happily-ever-after in the romantic shadow of the Eiffel Tower. Should she ever get over her fear of flying, those kisses may be shared in the shadows of the Egyptian Pyramids. Ever the fussy eater, L. has never once tasted peanut butter, and she despises coffee. If you should feel the need to bribe her, it is suggested that you bring chocolate, as that is one of her know weaknesses.

books in series

Concurs RO - Trilogia Materiile Intunecate de Philip Pullman

HRISTOS A INVIAT!
Descriere editura:
Povestile sunt lucrul cel mai important din lume. Fara ele am inceta sa mai fim oameni.“ (Philip Pullman)
Praful este viu si are un secret, intunecat si trist. Copii care dispar. Daimoni care insotesc oamenii ca niste umbre si iau chipul emotiilor lor. O calatorie spre Nordul indepartat. Alethiometrul – aparatul care masoara adevarul din fiecare lucru. Aurora Boreala, taine stiintifice si magice, ursi in armura... toate acestea intr-o fantezie in care Lyra Belacqua si daimonul sau – Pantalaimon – pleaca spre Nord pentru a afla secretul Prafului si pentru a-si salva prietenul. Daca exista o alta lume, dincolo de Luminile Nordului, daca ea este buna sau rea, daca Lyra o va descoperi, doar Praful poate sa o spuna. Urmeaza Praful!
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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Guest Post and Giveaway: Deceitful Truths by Maggie Thom

Description:

He created a legacy that no one could imagine...

Tarin has lost a week of her life. She doesn't know what happened but not long after she returns to work she is suspended from her job. Confused and pregnant, she quits and agrees to marry Stephen, only to be thrown into a whole new nightmare. Desperate, she grabs her son and moves across the country to get away from her abusive husband and to avoid her unforgiving father. Thrilled at getting the job at Knights Associates, where she'll help them solve cyber crimes but also be able to use their connections and resources to find her own answers. Who stole a week of her life? And will they return to steal the secret she is now protecting?

Graham and his partner Guy, can't keep up with the demand. They are being flooded with requests at Knights Associates, where they offer a combined service of private investigator and that of solving cyber crimes. It appears that someone wants to get their attention as not only have they been hacked but Guy's family business, Caspian Winery, seems to be under attack as well. Hiring an assistant seems to be the answer but when Graham discovers she's been accessing their high-security accounts, he realizes the cause of their predicament might be closer then he thought. Is there new assistant behind the problems they're having? If she's so innocent why does someone want to abduct her?

Tarin and Graham discover that although they don't trust each other, they are forced to work together to solve several seemingly unrelated crimes that may lead to one disastrous conclusion. Can they figure it all out before Tarin's nightmare plays out? An eighty year old woman pays with her life? Or before Tarin learns a truth that may seal her fate and be the one secret that will keep her and Graham apart as neither one of them may be able to forgive or forget... 

(Standalone but is a Sequel/Companion Novel to Captured Lies)

GUEST POST
What to avoid in writing a thriller/suspense

Suspense/thrillers are one of the genres that I love to read and I love to write. For me a suspense/thriller has to have this intriguing story that pulls me in and continues to build and it keeps me guessing as to where it’s really going, who’s guilty, why things are happening, who’s going to win out and how. A suspense/thriller can be a novel that tells you who’s guilty, what they’re doing and it really becomes a race against time or it can be more of a puzzle, where you meet many people but you’re not sure who the guilty party is and possibly why. 

Something I hear a lot when someone is first reading suspense/thrillers is they find that there is a lot to keep track of - possibly a lot of characters and a lot of information. It can be a bit confusing. My response: awesome, keep reading. To write a good suspense/thriller there has to be a number of things introduced, lots of people so that it keeps you guessing as to who is guilty and why or what the bad person is going to do next and what is the bad person’s real motive. All I can tell you is, don’t stop reading. A good author will tie all of it up for you, explain all of it by the end so that it makes sense and everything is pulled together.

So when writing a suspense/thriller there are some things that an author should avoid doing:

1. Introducing main characters 3/4’s the way through the story. Don’t bring in a character who has not been introduced or barely mentioned and have them be a key player - it doesn’t work. I recently read a book that did this. A character was mentioned in about the first third of the book - ‘oh that’s (her name), she’s in a grade behind us’ - and that was it. Then about 2/3’s to 3/4’s it turns out she was the bad person, who had really made this other person’s life hell and she had all of these magical powers - none of which showed up earlier in the story. If I had been told, ‘she’s so mean to cats, she’s always experimenting on them with her magic’ or something that simple, earlier on, I might have been okay with her being the bad person. The story lost me because there was no lead up to her even being a main character or really having any role. 

2. Characters acting out of character without an explanation - don’t have someone act in a way that isn’t explained well as to why they would do that. i.e. there’s this sweet, little old lady who is very nice to everyone and that’s all you see but then you learn she’s the one who’s the mass murderer. It’ll never work unless there some hints that she’s not all that she seems.

3. Too many twists. It’s always good to have twists in your story but you have to make sure there aren’t too many. I love twists in a story and when they are well placed, they can really bring a wow factor and keep the reader reading because they want to know where you’re going with it. In Deceitful Truths there are several twists but when I first wrote it and edited I realized I had too many. I ended up cutting out two major twists in the story because otherwise it became too much of a roller coaster. It’s finding that balance of enough but not too much.

4. Keep your story believable - whether it’s in the real world or the fantasy world, you still have to make sure that the events you have occuring have an explanation that ensures the reader can believe it.

5. Giving away too much at the beginning. When writing a suspense/thriller you want to draw the reader in, entice them. So you want to give some hints/clues for several characters, you want to hint there are things that aren’t what they seem. It’s kind of like putting a staircase in front of your reader, you give them enough information that will get them to take the next step to figure out what’s going on. Again it’s finding that balance. In Deceitful Truths I introduce Tarin and I hint at what she’s been through and is going through. She’s at a point she has to find answers as to who was behind the week she lost. You then are introduced to a few people who aren’t the nicest characters, each could be the one that is messing with her life. Sorry I can’t tell you more than that, it would ruin the story for you. :)

A good suspense/thriller will give a lot of information and will lead you down many paths, keeping you guessing, keeping you reading until all is revealed at the end. 

What do you like in a suspense/thriller?

About the author:
Maggie Thom took the challenge and leapt off, leaving a full time twenty year career in management, to write full time. After her initial panic that she might need a straight jacket, she published her first book Captured Lies, October 2012. And now is excited to release her second novel, Tainted Waters, April, 2013. Her third book, Deceitful Truths (sequel to Captured Lies) available fall of 2013. An avid reader and writer her whole life, she decided to break the monotony of wishing to be an author by making it happen. Married to her best friend, she is learning that humor, love and patience help her navigate her way through her twins’ teen years. 

Her motto: Escape to read and Read to escape. "Maggie Thom writes a fast paced thriller laced with romance that keeps the reader interested and on edge!" InDtale Magazine


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Guest Post and Giveaway: Becoming the Chateran (The Chateran Series, Book One) by S. J. Aisling

Description:

When Princess Rhea’s actions inadvertently condemn two innocent knights to death, she wakes to the hard reality that not even nobility is above the law. All her attempts to remedy the situation only complicate it, however, until she finds herself a fugitive in her own kingdom, having dragged her best friend into the trouble, as well. Their only hope for pardon? To accompany Sir Paladin and Sir Zephen in their sentence:

Slay, or be slain by, the Dragons of Sama-Ael-Fen.

Travelling incognito, they meet with more malicious Phoenixes than could be coincidental, discover the mysterious disappearance of numerous citizens, and come face to face with a reawakened evil power. With the kingdom oblivious to the connection of these dangers, it’s up to Rhea and her outlaw companions to stop the rising threat and redeem their names – if they can survive their quest.


GUEST POST
Six Tips for Defeating Your First-Draft Fears

You’ve decided to write a book. How wonderful! You have your original idea, memorable characters, plot twists, and everything all planned out. 

You just… can’t… start. 

Overwhelmed? That’s natural – you’re trying something new and challenging yourself. I’ve been where you are, and I want to share a few hints I’ve learned that have helped me immensely. Here are three suggestions each to stop and start doing as a writer to help you get through writing your first book. 

Stop:

- Stalling. If you really want to write as much as you tell your friends, then write.

- Worrying about perfection. The problem with published books is that we only see the finished product. When we start writing, ourselves, we feel embarrassed, perhaps even shocked, when our own work isn’t on par with what we read. Please, for the love of the Oxford comma, don’t do this to yourself. Every masterpiece that was ever penned went through the gangly, awkward rough-draft phase, and your soon-to-be-written tale is no different. Your first draft will not be worthy of being a bestseller the moment you’re done with it, and that’s okay. Neither was J. K. Rowling’s, Garth Stein’s, or John Green’s. 

- Rehashing. You are writing right now, not editing. You can edit later.

Start:

- Planning ahead. If you're a pantser (newbie: this is a term for someone who writes on the fly, by the seat of their pants, instead of fully plotting out the entire book before they start writing), you probably hate me for saying this. Please, let me elaborate before you chuck that rotten tomato my way. It is much easier to steamroll out several hundred words a week if you have a gist of what you're supposed to be achieving with them. I, myself, lean more towards being a panster, but within certain limitations. 

At the beginning of each chapter I make a few bullet points listing things that need to happen to further the plot(s) or strengthen the character's development within it. It's okay, however, if I don't hit them all in letting my characters take charge of events. They're not an iron-sided channel for my creativity – they’re a springboard for it. 

- Relaxing. There is no pressing need for you to do anything spectacular. Writing alone is spectacular - it is not something that everybody does. Ask a stranger: "You written your inciting incident yet?" and I bet he won't know what you’re talking about. (Newbie, an ‘inciting incident’ is the ‘she was a normal girl until this happened’ plot element.) 

- Taking it page by page. Stop looking at your book as a whole once in a while – consider each page a triumph, instead of simply sweating about all the chapters you still have to write, and the going will be easier. Learn to enjoy the process of writing instead of just the thrill of having written.

About the author:
Stacia Joy has always loved to tell stories and invent fictional lands and characters. But she never considered becoming a writer herself until age thirteen, when, inspired by a pretend play she invented with a friend, she wrote the first draft of Becoming the Chateran. The story has since expanded into what will become The Chateran Series. Stacia Joy also writes in several other genres, including steampunk and paranormal/science fiction, and occasionally writes poems about buffalo.

Wanting to be able to show others what her imagined universe looks like, Stacia Joy taught herself to draw by studying the work of illustrators like Alphonse Mucha, Arthur Rackham, Kate Seredy, and Jan Brett. She also received training in illustration and graphic design at Madison Area Technical College, and plans to become a full-fledged freelance illustrator before long.

When not immersed in writing or art, Stacia Joy spends her time playing the piano and folk harp, composing music, Irish dancing, singing at the top of her lungs, and learning new things. She also enjoys helping with children's ministry at her church, and currently resides in the Madison, Wisconsin area with a kitten named Lord Peter Whimsey.


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Excerpt and Giveaway: Remember the Moon by Abigail Carter

Description:

Being dead is harder than you might expect.

Clinging to life from the edge of a cliff, Jay, a beleaguered software company executive sees the possibility of rescue in the eyes of the firefighter dangling beside him, but as the car slips, Jay uses what strength he has left to utter his final words, “tell my wife to remember the moon!” The car lurches and Jay plunges toward his watery grave. He floats above his lifeless body and hears a familiar voice. “Welcome home J.J.”

Jay is reunited briefly with his father, who died when Jay, a hapless 14-year-old, unable to save his dad after a canoe accident. Instead of a heartfelt reunion, Jay’s dad introduces him to his “transporter,” Alice, the person responsible for easing Jay into a life of being dead. Death isn’t at all it’s cracked up to be.

He visits his wife Maya, who in her shock quits painting, the one thing that might comfort her and watches helplessly as his seven-year-old son Calder seems bent on joining his dad through hapless skateboarding accidents. Jay longs to tell them how much he loves them.

When Maya hires Liz, a lesbian psychic, Jay’s excited to finally give his wife his message of love. Instead, he learns her terrible secret and in anger and jealousy, leads her toward an ill-fated romance with a narcissistic, sexually deviant player she believes is “heaven sent” from Jay himself.

Maya’s grief becomes more complicated in the aftermath of another loss, and Calder’s alarming behavior prompts Jay to find a way to set them both free or risk the well-being of them all. Confronted with the decision to either follow his mortal instincts or help his wife find new love, Jay must learn to transcend everything he ever was.

Fans of The Lovely Bones and Ghost will appreciate Remember The Moon as a poignant story of everlasting love that reaches far beyond the grave.

EXCERPT 



Watching myself die, I felt no pain, no emotion, no fear. The grisly scene of my death faded and grew hazier, as if a dense fog had rolled in across the Sound, obscuring my view. The fog grew whiter and more opaque. I witnessed a unique clarity of light, like sunlight refracted through a diamond. For an instant, instead of being blinded by the light, my vision was clearer than it had ever been.     

***

My eyelids were heavy, the white noise of pavement clacking under the tires, lulling me at the end of a long day. My spat with Maya still fresh in my mind, I knew I had been driving out of spite in order to join her and Calder on this family ski weekend, but I was determined to be the dutiful husband. 

It was a clear night in February 2006, but construction for the upcoming 2010 Vancouver Olympics made the road treacherous. During a slowdown, I leaned my head back and closed my eyes for a few moments before a honk from behind jolted me into shifting gears and lurching on. I passed Horseshoe Bay and wound around steep hairpin turns in the dark, driving too fast, widening my eyes to keep them from drooping shut as the smooth hum of the car lulled me. I turned on the radio and fiddled with the tuner until I found a classic rock station playing Steely Dan’s Aja. I cranked it. 

The traffic thinned until only the odd car sped by in the opposite direction. Transfixed by the white dividing line, my eyelids fluttered shut for the briefest second. A crucial second. I missed a sharp curve, veered left across the oncoming lane, and launched through a perfectly aligned gap in the guardrail, fate having its way with me. My eyes sprang open. The arc of my ineffective coffee, suspended in time, splattered like a Pollack painting against the windshield. The car tilted downward, Steely Dan’s Aja still blasting, …there’s no return… 

The view of Howe Sound was particularly breathtaking. Tiny boats glowed against the black water. In the sky, a pale light of the crescent moon, …double helix in the sky tonight. A voice that didn’t sound like mine whispered “Oh fuck” just before the car made impact with the gnarled rocks of the coastline. The car rolled in deafening slow motion until it arrived at a precarious resting spot, teetering on the edge of the cliffside, fifty feet below the highway, a hundred feet above the water. The white edges of the waves crashed violently against the rock face. Still conscious, I couldn’t feel my legs but could see that they were crushed beneath the dash. Something warm dripped down my cheek. I tasted blood. Christ. This was bad. I thought about Maya and Calder. If I made it out of this alive, I would stop being such an asshole. God. One weekend in Whistler. Why did I make it into such a big deal?    

“You’ve gotten yourself into quite a pickle here, J.J.” My father sat beside me in his Rolling Stones T-shirt.

“Dad? What are you doing here?”

“I told Calder to warn you.” 

“He did warn me. How did he know? Am I going to die?”

“You’ve should’ve listened to your son, son.”

I yelled a dry, hoarse whisper. Shit. I was hosed. I wondered if anyone had seen me go off the road. Darkness prevailed.   

I awoke to a man’s face leaning through the broken window, swinging slightly. I glanced toward where my father had been sitting, but he was gone.

“Hey buddy! Wake up! That’s it.” I forced my eyes open. Pain constricted the movement of my legs, forcing a moan from deep in my chest. He looked away for a second and shouted, “He’s conscious!” Turning back to me he said, “Quite a mess you’ve found yourself in here. What’s your name?” 

“Jay,” I croaked. 

“OK, Jay. We’re just going to try and get a line hooked up to the car and then we’ll get you outta here, K?” I managed another nod. 

“Just don’t move. We’re going to get you—” The car lurched another few inches, tilting now at a dizzying angle. “Whoa!” The firefighter swung free, his arms waving as he tried to regain balance and I realized he was suspended from above. He grabbed onto the door handle, leaning down to peer into the window.

“Don’t move, Jay. K? Just don’t move!”

“Tell my wife I love her,” I whispered.

“You’re going to be fine, Jay. We’ll get you secured. Don’t worry.” 

“Tell her to remember the moon.”    

“Remember what?” The car slipped another inch and I could only see his torso now. “I can’t hold it!” he yelled up to the crew.

“The moon!” I yelled as loudly as I could. The car slipped away with a slight grinding of metal against rock.

“Shiiiit!” I heard the man yell. I closed my eyes and braced for the impact. A wall of water slammed into me through what was left of the windshield. The car bobbed for a minute, hood down, my entire body submerged. I gasped from the cold and sucked air into my lungs. When the trunk filled with water, my beloved Beamer and I plunged through the depths of black until my giant lead boot touched the sea bottom silently in a velvet nap of sand. My final breath escaped in tiny bubbles, jewels of iridescent light that rose, dancing languidly to the surface.    

Gaping mouth, empty eyes, floating hair, legs crushed into my giant steel clamshell – I became a grisly sea anemone. I floated underwater, looking down on my lifeless body, limp hands and hair flowing with the current, my skin glowing an alien greenish-yellow hue.    

A shape began to form in a fog – a body pushed against a thin layer of latex. A figure emerged through it, someone familiar. 

“Hey J.J. Welcome home.”


About the author:
Abigail Carter wrote The Alchemy of Loss: A Young Widow’s Transformation (HCI, 2008) as a form of catharsis after her husband’s death in the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. Her work has also appeared in SELF magazine, Reader’s Digest Canada, MSN.com and MORE.com and she maintains  her blogs. Abigail is also the co-Founder of Writer.ly, an online marketplace where writers can find the people they need to publish successfully. She can be found on Facebook and on Twitter (@abigailcarter).

Abigail’s teaches memoir writing at Camp Widow, a yearly retreat for widows and at The Recovery Cafe in Seattle, a community center for people recovering from addiction. She has extensive Board experience: Executive Board of The Healing Center, a Seattle-based bereavement center for children and their parents; Executive Board, Hedgebrook, a women’s writing retreat on Whidbey Island, WA; Executive Board, The Seattle Freelances Association, a respected professional writer’s association based in Seattle; Advisory Board, University of Washington Digital Publishing Program.

Abigail moved from New Jersey to Seattle in 2005, where she now lives with her two children. 


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Happy Release Day! Excerpt and Giveaway: Running In The Dark (Running in the Dark #1) by Inger Iversen

Description:

Trace’s job has always revolved around death. Trace is a Watcher, a position created assist to the undead to their final resting place without alerting humans of the vampire race. Whether his job is to witness the death of a fellow vampire or deal it, Trace has learned that being a Grim Reaper isn’t what he thought it would be. After years of killing, he’s ready for a new job, a new life, or to just disappear. When Bessina becomes his new target after she witnesses the death of fellow vampires Sam and Hope, Trace is ready to eliminate her—until a strange course of events turns the tables and has Trace protecting Bessina from his boss and running for his life.

O M G this book was absolutely fantastic. I don't even know where to begin. It's an easy read. You get lost in the first few pages and don't want to put it down. The characters are so real and vibrant. I love the way they connect with one another. - Karla (Goodreads)

EXCERPT 



“You’re insane if you think I’m getting back in that car with you!” Bessina yelled over her shoulder. She walked faster down the road. It was dark as hell out and Bessina had no clue where she was or how she was going to get home, but the thought of staying in that car was more than she could take. She was silly to think that they’d built any amount of trust. She’d been honest, while he’d held back a very important detail about their pursuers.

Her heart cracked at the look of hurt in Trace’s eyes and thundered furiously as she walked further away. Bessina glanced around the dark road, weighing her options. There was nowhere else to go except into the woods, and as angry as Bessina was, she’d made enough bad decisions. It was time for her to get her head together and get to Ohio as planned. Walking wasn’t the preferred method, but it was all she had at the moment.

“Bessina, listen to me.” Trace begged from behind her. He was closer than she’d expected.

She wanted to stop and almost did, but sane people didn’t talk about vampires. No, that was something her crazy ass father would talk about, and she’d escaped that horror when she left home. She wouldn’t fall for it again with a stranger—even if being close to him made her heart gallop and her palms sweat.

“No way. You are the reason all this is happening, and I’m starting to think that the farther I get from you, the better. Those guys only know about me because of you.” She picked up her pace.

“I know, trust me I know, but you don’t stand a chance without me out here.”

Bessina spun around. “You are the reason this is happening! I think I stand a greater chance of surviving without you, Watcher,” she spat. “Stay. Away. From. Me.”

Bessina fought the urge to push, slap, or punch Trace. In that moment, she hated him and everything about him. All she wanted was to get to her aunt and away from everything that had happened in the past year.

Before Bessina could scream, Trace had an arm around her waist and a fist full of her hair, tilting her head up so she had no choice but to look in his eyes. His nostrils flared and his eyes roamed over her face, leaving hot paths wherever his gaze landed. Bessina struggled to free herself, but he only held her tighter.

“You asked me before why I let you live.”

His warm breath on her cheek smelled of spearmint. She summoned strength and fire from deep within. “Screw you. I don’t care anymore.”

Trace laughed and held her tighter. His body was hard against hers. “I let you live because I didn’t have the guts to kill you.” He closed his eyes briefly. “I saw you, the way you looked at me as if you could see me for the murdering piece of shit that I was, and that killed me right then and there. I couldn’t let you look at me like that. I couldn’t be the last thing you saw, Bessina. I couldn’t. When you looked at me the same way you looked at that guy who harmed you in school, and I realized then and there that if I ever touched you again, it would be to make you feel good, not to hurt you.”

This usually worked since I looked more like an angel with wings than the old man with a scythe that most people envisioned. Maybe that's why I'd been chosen to become the first female Reaper in history. I think the boys had been losing too many souls.



About the author:

Inger Iversen was born in 1982 to Anne and Kaii Iversen. She lives in Virginia Beach with her

overweight lap cat, Max and her tree hugging boyfriend Joshua. She spends 90 percent of her time in Barnes and Noble and the other ten pretending not to want to be in Barnes and Noble.


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