Saturday, 29 November 2014

Are you an ethical author?


ALLiEthicalAuthor_Final-Outlines#ethicalauthor
An Author Program Facilitated by the Alliance of Independent Authors
(“Author” being any writer who has published a long-form work of fiction or non-fiction, either via a trade publisher or self-publishing platform.)
Ethical Author Code

Guiding principle: Putting the reader first

When I market my books, I put my readers first. This means that I don’t engage in any practices that have the effect of misleading the readers/buyers of my books. I behave professionally online and offline when it comes to the following practices in my writing life:

Courtesy

I behave with courtesy and respect toward readers, other authors, reviewers and industry professionals such as agents and publishers. If I find myself in disagreement, I focus on issues rather than airing grievances or complaints in the press or online, or engaging in personal attacks of any kind.

Aliases

I do not hide behind an alias to boost my own sales or damage the sales or reputation of another person. If I adopt a pen name for legitimate reasons, I use it consistently and carefully.

Reviewing and Rating books

I do not review or rate my own or another author’s books in any way that misleads or deceives the reader. I am transparent about my relationships with other authors when reviewing their books.
I am transparent about any reciprocal reviewing arrangements, and avoid any practices that result in the reader being deceived.

Reacting to reviews

I do not react to any book review by harassing the reviewer, getting a third party to harass the reviewer, or making any form of intrusive contact with the reviewer. If I’ve been the subject of a personal attack in a review, I respond in a way that is consistent with professional behaviour.

Book Promotions

I do not promote my books by making false statements about, for example, their position on bestseller lists, or consent to anyone else promoting them for me in a misleading manner.

Plagiarism

I know that plagiarism is a serious matter, and I don’t intentionally try to pass off another writer’s words as my own.

Financial ethics

In my business dealings as an author, I make every effort to be accurate and prompt with payments and financial calculations. If I make a financial error, I remedy it as soon as it’s brought to my notice.

Responsibility

I take responsibility for how my books are sold and marketed. If I realise anyone is acting against the spirit or letter of this Code on my behalf, I will refer them to this Code and ask them to modify their behaviour.
Linzé - I subscribe to this Code of Conduct. The post was reblogged from SelfPublisingAdvice.com 

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Why I took the self, out of self-publishing: A guest post by Anthony Renfro

Linzé: You might have seen Anthony's book featured earlier in the month on the Broomstick (click here). In the meantime the author decided to approach a small publisher instead of sticking to self-publishing. Here is why...

I gave it a lot of thought, and then just a bit more. I came to the conclusion that two heads are better than one. The book “Ghostly Visitations and Southern Destinations” wasn’t doing all that great on its own. It also wasn’t being marketed all that well by me either, so I decided to hand over the keys to a small publisher. Granted, he won’t just take over and I can go about my day writing with happy ease. No, that won’t happen with this deal. I still have to do the same grunt work as before, still have to figure out how to market myself in a very busy writing field, and I still have to labor to find sales. However, he also has to do the same since he signed me. That means both of us are now trying to find a way to make “The Tale of the Golden Pirate” a best seller on Amazon – that’s the new title to this book in case you were a bit confused. It made more sense in my head for a book that wasn’t doing all that well to put another person on it. Maybe, together, we can get this book out to more people than I could ever dream about. That’s why I took the self out of publisher, and for once let someone else help me out.

About Anthony:
I was born in Bristol, Tennessee, in 1972 and grew up in a little town in the Appalachian Mountains called Abingdon, Virginia. In those small town days I fell in love with many things, among them reading. Reading was a way to escape from a town whose borders always seemed to be too tight. I discovered my love of writing in college, under the influence of various Stephen King novels. The first time I read a novel by him, I knew I would need to write for the rest of my life. 
You can find me at many spots on the web, but if you really need to find my center in the social media storm it would be at my blog, apoetryjourney.wordpress.com. There you will find one other passion of mine, poetry. 
Let me now take your hand on a journey into dark places. I promise that you will be scared, and you may even be terrified, but in the end you might just find you liked the ride.

Book Links (you can use any of these):
Australia = http://goo.gl/MzoXnC

Paperback
Australia = Unavailable
Canada = Not Available - YET

Monday, 24 November 2014

Featured Book: The Meaning of Life According to the Mosquito by Debora Broadhead

SYNOPSIS
Prince George is a young adult mosquito who refuses his crown and the responsibility it holds. A bit of a dreamer, George walks away from his coronation, leaves his pre-arranged marriage, and searches for the true meaning of life. With his two squires by his side, George’s timing couldn’t have been worse. The dragonfly gang is threatening to attack his kingdom, and George is their only hope. When George has toured the world in search of answers, he is finally ready to return home. However, he finds that everything he loves has crumbled. Life bites! Now, Prince George struggles to pick up the pieces of his shattered life. Will the prince ever forgive himself, and resume his destiny?


Buy links:     Amazon  B&N    Publisher  


Reviewed By Michelle Stanley for Readers’ Favorite


“What is the Meaning of Life?” That’s the question to which Prince George wants to find the answer in The Meaning of Life, According to the Mosquito by Debora Broadhead. Prince George, heir to the throne of the Great Swampland, is nervous about his coronation ceremony. He doesn’t feel he’s worthy to rule the mosquito kingdom alongside his father, the King. He’s also not ready for the arranged marriage to Princess Anaya. George refuses the throne, yearning to explore the world to discover the meaning of life. He sets off on his quest with guards, Flick and Smack. While the Prince is touring exciting mosquito cultures, the Dragonfly Gang attacks the kingdom. George returns to find the Great Swamplands in devastation and feels remorse. He ponders his future in the Great Swampland, while comparing it to the ones on his quest.

The Meaning of Life, According to the Mosquito by Debora Broadhead is very entertaining. This is one of the most original stories I have ever read. Although the characters are insects and the setting is mainly swampland, it is so realistic. The author created a story that makes me feel she is describing humans instead of insects. There is never a dull moment as Debora Broadhead writes creatively. The descriptive plot contained a mixture of humour and sadness which the characters displayed naturally. Young adults can relate to George, who wants to find himself before taking on serious responsibilities. This is a book children and adults will enjoy.

About the Author
When I was younger, I loved to write poetry. After winning a contest, I was interviewed by a small weekly newspaper, and as a result was offered a job. The deadlines, and pressure got to me, and I lost my desire to write. I laid down my pen and went another direction in my life. I focused on raising my children and I put my dream on hold.
Twenty years later the desire to write came flooding back. I decided to give it one more try. This time I wrote a fantasy novel. I hit a home run on my first attempt to get it published. It's called : The Meaning of Life According to the Mosquito. 
I couldn't be happier. I love writing, it releases something deep inside of me. It is my passion. I've been married for 30 years and have two lovely adult children. My daughter takes after me and loves to write, maybe one day soon she'll be following in her mother's footsteps. I live in beautiful British Columbia Canada and when I am not writing, or teaching, I enjoy participating in equine events, kayaking, reading, hiking, and just recently, I've taken up sailing.

Newspaper articles about author

Friday, 21 November 2014

Featured Book: Echoes of Immortality by KC McDonald

Synopsis
Jenna Sims is a culinary student with a secret. While perfecting a homework recipe, she consults an old worn book that belonged to her great-great grandmother and unwittingly cooks up a spell for immortality. Jenna's secret, unbeknownst to her, is that her ancestry comes from a coven of witches. A down-on-his-luck cosmetics company marketing representative finds out about the spell and sets out to steal the book for the recipe, which he thinks would be a hit for the company and allow a reversal of fortune for himself. A period of self-discovery and a short learning curve is unleashed as Jenna strives to protect the family secrets and keep evil from stealing the spell book containing enough power to change the world.

Buy Links   Amazon (Kindle)   Paperback

Excerpt
Jenna Sims on Immortality:    “I don’t think being immortal sounds all that great. Don’t you think that not having to worry about death would steal the joy from living? I mean, life is stretching to achieve goals, and exploring new things, and struggling to overcome obstacles. Life is not just breathing in and out every day. I think immortality would make all these things that add up to our lives hollow and meaningless.”
Story behind the story
I set out to write a novel at the end of 2011, after writing a couple of short stories. For me, idea generation comes from asking myself what if questions. For example: What if the Hindenburg had been made of marshmallows? Or: What if cats had thumbs? Echoes of Immortality was borne from the question: What if a culinary arts student accidentally cooked an immortality potion? I thought this idea had more merit than the previous two examples, so more questions were asked. How would this character be able to do such a thing? What would be the consequences of this discovery? Once those questions were answered, many more were asked and soon a plot began to develop.
Once the plot became a bit less murky, I began outlining the story (yes, I am a reformed plotter). I outlined the entire story and began writing in December of 2011. About 25K words into the story, I realized it was predictable and would likely not be very satisfying for the reader. So, into the round file with the outline and the transformation from plotter to pantser. Once I made that change, the characters really came to life and began doing things on their own, surprising even me at times.

About me

I retired from the U.S. Army in 2008, after a 23-year career. It was then that I inventoried my skill set to figure out what I was good at and really enjoyed doing.
I worked at two other jobs after retirement, but was laid off at the end of 2011.  riting had always come easy to me and I enjoyed it, but serious writing was always on the ‘someday’ list. Someday came at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012 when I figured out that writing is what I wanted to do. I started Echoes of Immortality in December 2011, and published it on September 25th, 2014. I also wrote a 100-page screenplay during Script Frenzy in April 2012, titled Echoes of Enchantment, which is the back-story for Echoes of Immortality, and will eventually be the second book in the series. Another day job found me in the spring of 2012, but I am plugging along and eventually plan to shed the daily grind in favor of the glamorous life of a full-time writer.

Connect with Kevin online
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jennasimmortality
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JennasImmortal

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Featured Book: Satin Murder by Bonnie Glee

SYNOPSIS
Sallee Anderson is a wealthy, somewhat naive, socialite living in the Seattle area in the late 1950s, who suddenly finds herself a forty-year old widow, the beneficiary of a multi-million dollar shipping company, and the prime suspect in her almost ex-husband Seth Anderson’s murder.  How could she be so neglectful as to misplace the .25 she bought after their separation? How could she not be aware that someone was constantly following her? One thing her gifted discernment did tell her was that her overly caring brother, suddenly by her side, had ulterior motives.
While trying so hard to stay out of the limelight she is suddenly confronted at a dinner party with someone who could reveal her tiny little secret. She couldn’t suddenly faint because that very person would be at her side in a flash, and the social section in the local Seattle Times would have a hey-day.
She relies heavily on two alias, Nell her best friend and Max the shipping business lawyer. Both rush to her side with motives of their own.

The story weaves through trials with her family, friends, even her loyal housekeeper, and her never tiring, recently acquired personal investigator/lawyer, Ryan.

BUY LINKS    Amazon

PRESS RELEASE
"Ladies don't just let a gun rattle around in the bottom of their purse." She took the beige bag, unzipped it, and dropped the contents on the bedspread. She gasped, as Officer Riley and Mr. Davis stared in silence. In place of the gun, there lay a mostly flat brownish-black rock.
It's the 1950s in Seattle and socialite Sallee Anderson is at the height of her popularity, but her beauty, intelligence, and savviness won't stop her from being implicated in the cold murder of her husband, who was found dead in his office with a single bullet to the head. What's more, Sallee's pistol is missing. Lawyer Ryan is now hot on the case trying to unravel the mystery, but will he make it in time to save Sallee from jail and disgrace?
Disgrace is not all that threatens Sallee's happiness. With suspicious family and friends surrounding her, Sallee doesn't know who to trust, especially not with this kind of secret.
What is Sallee's secret? 

About the Author
Bonnie Glee is a freelance writer who enjoys membership in the League of Utah Writers, the Utah State Poetry Society with previous leadership positions in both. Her publications include a short story Pigtails in the Cache Valley Magazine; poetry in Utah Sings: Volumes Seven and Eleven and other publications; essays in the Healing Ministry, Not Everybody Can Cry, Wasatch Woman, Life After Motherhood; and human interest articles printed in the Logan Herald Journal, Kirk Peterson: Paradise’s Professional Jockey and The Pied-Piper Marsha Anderson and the Gingerbread Kids. In 2012 she won Honorable Mention for her poem ‘Where is Comfort’ sponsored by Whitmore Library. June 2014 found her short story, Dust of the Evening, printed in the anthology, Romantic Hero’s, by Safkhet Publishing, now out on Amazon.com. September 1, 2014 will be the release date of her first novel, Satin Murder by Safkhet Publishing, e-Book on Amazon.com. and paperback on CreateSpace. 
Second book, Token Woman due to be released by Mirror Publishing, spring of 2015.
She lives in Cottonwood Heights, Utah with her husband Joe, is the mother of five children and two chosen children, 20 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Connect with Bonnie online

Monday, 17 November 2014

Featured Book: My Girl by John W. Howell

Synopsis
San Francisco lawyer John J. Cannon who is burned out on lawyer work decides to take a leave of absence from the firm to start a fishing charter business. He returns to a small fishing village on the Texas coast, buys a boat he names MY GRL and is unaware the boat has been targeted by a terrorist group to be used to destroy a symbol of America's greatness. John's first inkling of a problem is when he wakes in the hospital and learns he was found unconscious next to the body of the attractive young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John is the only one who is aware of the terrorist plan and stands alone between them and the success of their mission.

Buy Links   Amazon    B&N    Kobo   iBooks

Background to the Book
I always wanted to write. I tried to write a book while I was working and once it was finished, I printed it off so that I could edit it while traveling. It was a weighty tome and unfortunately it stunk. Today it is useful holding the laundry room door open. I decided to wait until I could devote myself full-time to writing. My last child graduated from college in December of 2011 and I retired in April 2012
Since that time, I have been writing non-stop and have published the fiction thriller titled My GRL. 
The inspiration for the story came as my sister and I were touring the aircraft carrier Lexington.  Our dad was a naval aviator and served on the Lexington. She is now berthed in Corpus Christi near my home on Mustang Island. Upon touring the massive vessel, we made our way to the flight deck.  Thinking as we stood on the impressive deck that this boat had no protection from anyone who would want to destroy her. This thought led me to develop a plan to first of all develop a logical plan to destroy the Lexington. The next task was to work out an equally logical plan to prevent such destruction. The story naturally flowed from there but with a number of twists and turns..
Once finished, I began to query agents to see if I could find representation. Of the few that answered my query all said my story wasn’t in the scope of what they were working on. I then did some research of publishers who would accept un-agented work and start the query process again. The first query found a favorable response at Martin Sister’s Publishing and we signed a contract in March of 2013. It took until December for the paper edition to be published and the kindle version in January of 2014. The sequel has been sent to the publisher and is awaiting a publish date. The final book of the trilogy is about half way finished and should be complete by December.

About the Author
John's main interests are reading and writing. He turned to writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive career in business. John writes thriller fiction novels and has a number of short stories published in various on-line magazines. One of his short stories has been recognized by Writers Digest in the Popular Fiction Writing contest. His novel, My GRL published by Martin Sisters Publishing and is the first of three exciting adventures of the book's central character John J. Cannon.
John lives on Mustang Island in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of south Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.


Connect with John online:

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Fear and What ifs....

Last week you might have seen my post about the two challenges that I am tackling together in November. On Wednesday I saw a blog post about fear in writing and I started wondering, am I really that brave or is it fear manifesting itself with another face?
My first thought was, that is crap. I like a challenge, I thrive on broadening my horizons, and need to see if I am capable of doing more than what I believe I can. My second thought however, made me stop. What if there is some truth there? What if…

I am afraid to fail 
To some extent we all fear failure and we can drive ourselves crazy with the ‘what ifs’ in our lives, relationships, jobs, writing, and so on. The list of what ifs can be longer than my arms can hold. Then I look back over my life and realise that it isn’t failure that I fear. I had my own business that had to be closed down after ten years. It effectively failed due to economic reasons, but I made the decision and have to this day not regretted that. Not the company failing, because I loved the work, but making the decision not to hang on, but to move on.

I am afraid of success 

How can anyone be afraid of success? To my mind that is what we want after all, isn’t it? But success is not an easy thing to achieve and once you have it, keeping it takes more hard work and more sacrifices than what we might be able to live with.
Some people don’t like change. Some people may not want the responsibilities that come with success. Or for some the challenge is gone once success walks in the front door, and now they don’t know what to do. We are not all the same, and these fears are not trivial to them.
I have been in that position, and some people might say that I still am, but what if the success people see in me is not the success I see for myself? Yes, my work is challenging and stimulating, and so are my creative outlets. However, what if my ‘success’ is not exactly in line with my definition of success? I don’t have an answer to this question, yet.

I fear rejection from my readers
When I started to write my first book, it never occurred to me that someone would read it. While that may seem stupid or naïve to you, I wrote my first book for me. I love writing and I love writing the stories of the characters that live inside my head.
Since that first book, I have written a few more, and wizened up to the fact that there is a risk that people might not like my books, or the genres that I write in.
I am grateful for people who take the time to review my books (hint, hint J), but it is still humbling to know that there are readers that do like my books and have told me so to my face.
Not all is moonshine and roses though. My stories, most of them to be honest, contain explicit sex and/or scenes with violence, and that will not be to everyone’s taste. From that point of view it will be naïve of me to expect 5 star reviews from each and everyone that reads them.
I still write for myself for the pure pleasure of it, and will continue to do so, despite the risk that readers may not like my books.

I hit that blank page (or writers block)
What’s that? A blank page? Oh yes, time for my story now!
As someone who has never had to face that dreaded blank page, I can only sympathise for those of you who have. My hat off to you if saw, battled and overcame it.
A few people have asked me what to do when they get stuck. My answer: write about it. Writing out your frustrations, your feelings about feeling blocked or craving to tear you hair out, is usually the advice that I come up with. Maybe not the best advice, but hey, when all is said and done, you wrote a few hundred words. Awesome! Congratulate yourself and move on. Now finish that story, will ya?
No one said all writing is perfect. In fact everyone have heard the quote about first drafts being shit. But where else to start planting roses than in the fertiliser, right? So man up, write about all the crap that is preventing you from writing, then print it and frame it if you want, because you just wrote the biggest load of crap ever. Nothing can be worse, right? Now get back work.


I don’t care about fear
Call me an ostrich with her head in the sand, or tell me that I am in denial, but it is working for me. Fear can be as much of a motivator as a demotivator, and the only difference is in my mind. I refuse to let it rule me. I refuse to let it rule my writing. If the words are not coming, I write about the frustrations and moan about it in one of my journals. Before long those are out of my system, albeit temporarily, and then I can get some writing done.
Those words might be useless and deleted later on, but getting them written is the important thing, fear or no fear.

Is there another fear that stands in the way of your writing or other creative endeavours? How do you deal with it?

Friday, 14 November 2014

Featured Book: Lexus Sam by B.P. Gallucci

SYNOPSIS
'Lexus Sam' is about a man who wakes up in Manhattan with only a few memories of his past -- a life in California, married to Sarah, a girl with green eyes and a yellow rose tattoo. He’s been in a car accident recently, he knows, but not how he got to Manhattan and into someone else’s life.
 He has ID that says he's Adam Williams; keys to Adam's apartment; a man he’s never seen before insists they’re in a relationship. But he knows Adam Williams is not him; his life is someone else’s. So he refuses that identity and picks the name Lexus Sam for himself instead and starts on a journey to get back to his real life and the loving wife he remembers.
 Lexus enlists the help of Dr. Renesque, who promises his experimental hypnotherapy can recover lost memories. But the doctor has his own motives for working with Lexus and instead of helping, Dr. Renesque’s treatment blurs the line between what happened in the past with what merely could have happened. 
 Unaware of Dr. Renesque’s true aim, but undeterred, Lexus continues to work on his own investigation, attempting to at least prove that he’s not Adam Williams. This trail leads him to his girl with green eyes, Sarah, at the high school where she works. But his relief, his hope that his journey is nearing an end, dies in an instant.

BUY LINKS  Amazon    B & N

EXCERPT
The blowing snow cut across his path in a downward slant, drawing stinging lines of white over the empty plain.  A path of footprints, little craters in the sheet covering the hard ground, trailed away in a gently curving arc over the horizon — each print a signpost pointing the way to his girl with green eyes.  But the drifting, falling snow filled them in bit by bit and unless he caught up soon, it’d cover her tracks forever.
He pulled his scarf up over his mouth against the blowing snow and stepped off the road.  He matched her stride step for step, walking in her footprints.
Something caught his eye and–
–the scene burned away.  The plain of blowing snow became tangled sheets of green snaked around a twisted, sprawled form in bed.
He raised his head off the pillow and sat up, propped on his elbows, and stared.  Stared straight ahead, past his physical sight and through to the fading dream, those footprints in the snow.

About the Author

BP Gallucci was born and raised in the suburbs of Toronto.
He began writing at an early age – a (very) short story written while in Kindergarten won a school-wide creative writing contest. He was chosen to represent his school at a creative writing retreat with other students from all over the region. That story, The Little Big Feet, was reproduced in that year’s anthology. He has been writing and telling stories in one form or another non-stop since.
His influences include Hunter S. Thompson, William Gibson, William S. Burroughs, Ken Kesey, Stephen King, Jack Kerouac, Neal Gaiman, David Foster Wallace, Haruki Murakami, and Alan Moore.

Connect with BP Online
Twitter: @BPGallucci

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Featured Book: High Wind to Idaho by Rod Barclay

SYNOPSIS
Most people believe that the United States has never been bombed. This is not true! During world War II, around 300 balloon bombs, out of 9,000 launched from Japan, landed on the United States and Western Canada. They rode on the Pacific trade winds, just as Yoshi does in this new Middle grade historical novel “High wind to Idaho” just released by Amazon.
His secret balloon carries no bombs, only a scared 13 year old boy on a joy-ride that goes terribly wrong. He really wasn’t supposed to take it up, only help his uncle test it for the Japanese Army. Instead, he ends up crashing on a farm in Idaho in the midst of the first UFO scare in the US. This is in 1896. This was a full-blown scare, with newspapers full of ghostly airship sightings and Martian abductions.
Luckily for Yoshi, he survives the crash, saved by Billy, also 13, his mom and younger sister. He fears if the US government finds out about the balloon, they will force him to tell the balloon’s secrets. To do so would betray his family’s Samurai Honor. He vows to return to Japan, or if found out, commit hara-kiri, just like his great uncle Saburu.
He must get back to Japan before anyone finds out about his balloon. He and Billy’s family concoct a plan to escape the clutches of the local sheriff and nosy neighbors, and go by train to San Francisco to find a relative who might help him return and apologize to his uncle. Their plan is thwarted by a vengeful Japanese Army Officer, sent to bring him back in disgrace. In the meantime, news of the balloon has been leaked to the press and the Pinkerton Detective Agency is on Yoshi’s trail, hired by the US Army Intelligence Service.
Trapped in a dingy room, with the police getting closer, Yoshi sees no other way out than to commit Hara-kiri, but is rescued just in time by the Japanese officer. They return to Japan, undetected, for Yoshi to make amends to his Uncle.
As the story begins, Billy is now a Forest Ranger during WWII, called to inspect a downed balloon bomb in the Oregon forest, and it looks suspiciously like Yoshi’s balloon of forty-six years ago. Is Yoshi, his friend, responsible for this terrible weapon? The postscript, set in 1942 Japan, give us the answer.

Buy links     Amazon

Excerpt
Yoshi lay down on the futon pad in his room later that night, thinking about all the work he had done for his uncle and how he had now been reduced to a lowly helper.
“I know I can fly that balloon. I don’t need a stuck-up army officer to supervise me,” he muttered. “People in America are free to do almost anything. That is what Father William says. If I was there, I would be free to fly any balloon I wanted.”
The more he thought about the airship just sitting out there, ready to go, the more he became convinced he had to show his uncle that he could fly it. His uncle would then have to let him make longer, more important flights. He would become a famous aviator and make demonstration flights all over the world.
“I just have to do it!” he exclaimed.
At four o’clock, as the eastern sky dawned, he got dressed quietly in a shirt and hakama, trousers, and tiptoed to the kitchen in his tabi socks, geta in hand. The servants had put together some food in a wicker hamper for the flight.
He left the house and sneaked over to the laboratory, looking out for Old Taiji. There he was, in a little shed outside the laboratory, reading a paper. His long white hair and stringy beard took on a golden glow from the lantern by his side. As soon as the watchman’s head start to nod, Yoshi ran quickly to the airship. It swayed gently in the breeze; the ropes that held it to the ground were taut. It seemed to Yoshi that the craft longed to be set free, just as he longed to be her pilot.
He climbed up the ladder into the gondola and stowed the food hamper.
All the gear was just as they left it. He had brought a padded jacket for extra warmth, and matches to light the lantern. He was ready.
Or was he? Suddenly he started to tremble at the thought of what he was about to do. Uncle Takahashi would surely be angry after what he had said to the lieutenant; Aunt Yasue would be upset; Lt. Itani would be insulted. But still, his desire to fly the balloon drove him on.
It wouldn’t be any safer with the lieutenant on board, he thought. I would have to tell him what to do, and I’ll have landed before they know what has happened.
Reassured, he started to untie the tether ropes: First the one on the port side, then on the starboard side. He hesitated before letting go of the stern rope. Was he ready to face the consequences of what he was about to do? Was he ready to face an angry uncle, an enraged lieutenant, a disappointed aunt? There was a piercing noise.

About the Author
Rod Barclay has always been curious; as a kid taking clocks and radios apart, exploring museums, peeking in on foundries and manufacturing shops. He lived in England as a boy, and later in California. He studied Radar, Industrial Design and Engineering, working in the computer and electronics industry.
Writing came later, with a desire to bring together learning and adventure, especially for boys.
His stories are mainly historical adventure that relate to his experiences and interests.
As well as writing stories, his recent activities have involved restoring old cars, (A 1953 MGTD from England and a 1953 Studebaker Hardtop, designed by the noted Industrial Designer, Raymond Loewy), ceramics, metal clay jewelry, and working in the field with his ‘Best Buddy’, Maru, a miniature wire-haired Dachshund.
Rod lives near Denton, Texas, with his other ‘Best Buddy,’ his wife, Nancy and two more miniature wire-haired Dachshunds, Wrinkles and Lexie.

Connect with Rod online

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Ambitious or just plain insane?

Source: Facebook
For many of us (writers that is) November is NaNoWriMo month. We register on 1 October, plan our novel until 29 October, then we start panicking on the 31st. When 1 November rolls around you are either jumping up and down with excitement, or hyperventilating in a brown bag.
Sound familiar? Yes, you have been there and probably have the T-Shirt to show for it. And it is an achievement to be proud of. A whole month of writing, neglecting our families, our homes and possibly even our pets because that 50k is not easy. Does give you a newfound respect for those authors who do this for a living, doesn’t it?
This year I started my fourth NaNoWriMo. Although I am not a planner, there are some things that have to be in place even for the pantser in me. At the very least I have to know where to start, who my characters are, where my story is taking place and what genre I am aiming for.
Since I am writing a series of novels, some of these aspects are clear, others are flowing on from the first two books, and some will be a surprise, just as I want them to be. I chain my muse to the wall, send my internal editor on a sinking ship to China and tell my husband to buy pizza more often than usual. Not an unfamiliar situation for most of us, I am sure.
But November 2014 turned out to be a different kettle of fish. There has been general consensus that I went off the deep end, and struck my head when I hit the bottom! And during this second week of November, I am inclined to agree.
You see, I enrolled not only to take part in NaNoWriMo, but also NaNonFiWriMo. That might be an unfamiliar acronym, and quite unpronounceable too, but it is the non-fiction equivalent of NaNoWriMo.
It is insane I know, but my third novel is on a go or no go path. If I cannot finish the first draft this year, it is going straight into file 13, locked and sealed. My non-fiction book has not seen much progress for a whole year, and that is becoming a real pain too.
So I made the decision: do or die! November will see the completed first drafts, or I stop wasting my time on both these projects and move on to something else. There are after all sixty eight more manuscripts on my computer that are in various stages of completion.
To NaNo or not to NaNo is not the question, it is the answer of which level of insane I want my life to be in November. Harrr!

Have you done both at the same time? Tell us about your NaNoWriMo experiences.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Featured Book: Time's Tempest by MJ Moores

Synopsis
Taya
A loyal and dedicated government contractor extraordinaire, learns of the fate of the planet while on a top-secret job working as a lab tech for a disreputed scientist.

Dezmind
A Talian government dissenter who claims the only way to save their dying world is to trust a set of ancient documents lost long ago in the forbidding Deserts.

Zaith
A reporter covering the story of a lifetime following a lead that could mean more than breaking the biggest story to hit the planet since the Nine Seas Massacre.

Fate, destiny and truth collide with 2000 year old secrets the government will do anything to keep buried. When Taya is forced to accept a contract that will be a death sentence for anyone involved, she unwittingly becomes a catalyst in a game she never wanted to play. As she leads a false prophet and his followers on a mission doomed from the start, she learns far more about herself and her world than she ever thought possible.

Excerpt
Zaith bit her lower lip. We had an arrangement: I was never an official source for her stories. But I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. The theories Professor Denali was so close to proving kept ricocheting around in my head. History and some ancient supposed chronicles were not going to solve this problem.
The Talian countered with a fierce passion lacing his every word. “Clues were left behind on the Ancient Tablets preserved in the Museum of Darius. We need to study them, analyse them, and form a band of Kahn-lea. With the information we gather, we’ll take to the Deserts and retrieve the Chronicles. Legend states that the ‘pure one’ upon finding them, will be granted the sight of old.”
Something clicked in the back of my mind: Legends – not facts. There is no substance here. “Bedtime stories, dreams and fantasies are all that’s left of the truth behind the Ancient Tablets and Chronicles. No one could ever know if what they risked their lives for was real, or if they were even looking in the right area of the Deserts. There’s no need for all this blather about your Spoken Truth.”
Chatter rose among the audience.
“Who is she?”
“Why is she challenging the Talian?”
“Is she right?”
“Why doesn’t she believe?”
The Talian held up his hand for silence, never once breaking eye contact with me. “We will never know when we’ll face the end of our existence. We’d be fools if we did nothing and died because of it. The Kronik, the supposed men of my race, continue to flounder, hide, and avoid the problem. It’s our turn now. This is a time for believers and doers.”
The crowd agreed with him, dismissing me entirely. They refilled the space between us. My skin pricked cold. My spine tingled and itched. This was not over. The Kronik may not be handling this problem publicly, but they have been dealing with life and death issues since the Great Migration over two thousand years ago.
He has no idea of the damage he’ll cause – the death sentence for anyone involved. And they believe him! Didn’t they hear him? He said “take to the Deserts!” He has to be stopped.
My body vibrated with fury. His disregard for the sanctity of life shattered my common sense. I couldn’t let these people be led to the slaughter.
As he spoke about the forming of a legion of Kahn-lea, the ancient term coined for a band of citizens dubbed ‘Explorers of Fate’, I opened my belt-pack and retrieved my Clinex. The small, round, reflective weapon emitted plasma bursts to a range of 300 yards. It would get the job done. Though it was a CTF-issued weapon, it was compact and discrete. No one would see it coming, no one but Zaith would know it was mine.
Zaith, oblivious to my actions, continued to carefully record the first sighting of a Talian in public since before the two of us were born.
Grasping the Clinex in my left hand, I closed my eyes. I took a deep breath to steady my nerves. Then, stepping back I opened my eyes again and took aim.

About the Author
Growing up in Ontario, Canada, M.J. was the only child of a single mom. M.J.’s passion for the arts ignited at a young age as she wrote adventure stories and read them aloud to close family and friends. The dramatic arts became a focus in high school as an aid to understanding character motivation in her writing. Majoring in Theatre Production at York University, with a minor in English, she went on to teach both elementary and high school for 10 years throughout Simcoe County.
M.J. currently lives with her husband and young son in Caledon, Ontario. She keeps busy these days with her emerging authors’ website Infinite Pathways: hosting writing contests, providing editing services, free publicity tips, book reviews, and opportunities for authors to build their writing platform and portfolio. In addition she writes articles and freelance edits between bouts of personal writing and novel crafting. Time’s Tempest: The Chronicles of Xannia (1) is M.J.’s debut science fiction novel. She firmly believes that if she hadn’t been born a Virgo, she wouldn’t be half as organized as she needs to be to get everything done.

Connect With M.J. Online
Twitter: @AuthorMJMoores

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Featured Book: Newborn Nazi by Rhoda D'Ettore

"This family is amazing! A Nazi spy. A future SS officer. A brother in America oblivious to everything. And a sister who would kill us all." 

Germany, 1934 -- SS officers entered the house of Hedwig Schultz and ripped her 14 year old brother, Edmund, from her arms. He has been selected for an elite division of the Hitler Youth that will train him for indoctrination into the feared SS.
Horrified, Hedwig enlists the help of her brother in America to thwart Nazi plans regarding the Final Solution of the Jewish people. It becomes a cat and mouse game as the family enters a world of Nazi spies, double agents and the Underground movement. All the while, Hedwig must prevent their brother, Edmund, from becoming suspicious. One report of treason to his Hitler Youth instructors would result in death... or worse.


Buy Links      AMAZON        SMASHWORDS  

The Story Behind Newborn Nazi
Most authors are inspired by real occurrences or people. Newborn Nazi is based on a family legend of a real family who faced life altering circumstance and then vowed to stand by principles of what was right and what was wrong. Remember, the book is fiction. The family was not involved with murder or Nazi spies. They were, however, involved with the Underground movement to assist Jewish families and those of other orientations get out of Germany. What is important is that Hedwig and Edmund lived, and because of them, many others did as well.


THE REAL STORY: Twelve year old Edmund was forcibly removed from the family home and chosen for an elite division of the Hitler Youth. Boys were being groomed to become SS officers upon adulthood. The real Hedwig was so outraged by the actions of the Third Reich that she began housing Jewish families and even American soldiers during the later days of the war. Although her brother was torn between his loyalties for his sister and that of the Third Reich, Edmund used his position to protect his sister. And in essence, he protected the lives of those she helped. In real life, Edmund died on the Russian front in 1941. The Gestapo eventually stormed Hedwig's home in search of “deviants”. An American uniform was found by the soldiers and when questioned, Hedwig replied, “My brother sent them as souvenirs.” The quick thinking woman stood in front of her fireplace mantle where her brother's picture and memorial flag rested. The officer in charge saw the picture then ordered the men to leave. “This is a house of mourning, and you will not be disturbed again.” She spent the rest of the war working with the Underground. Not one time was she ever searched or questioned after that fateful day. Hedwig always believed her brother was still watching over her, protecting her.

About the Author
Rhoda D'Ettore was born and raised in the Philadelphia suburbs of southern New Jersey. She comes from a family with five siblings, raised by her widowed mother. She has a degree in Human & Social Servies and minored in History/Politics.  She makes it a point to volunteer and donate to charitable organizations--especially for military families, children  and animals. $1 of every sale will be donated to the National Military Family Association.
As a 15 year veteran with the United States Postal Service, her first work is a compilation of crazy, humorous things postal workers must endure--including alligators, human heads and bombs in the mail.  This story was such a hit she has gone on to publish three paperbacks, three audiobooks and 10 ebooks.  Her writing usually encompasses historical writings set in the Philadelphia area, her own family legends and humorous anecdotes.  Her favorite quote: "I don't plan the stories or they would be predictable. I first think what I can do to mess up the character's life, and then I ask myself how I can shock the reader."

Connect with Rhoda online
Twitter: @rhodadettore