S.M. McEachern Presents Worlds Collide

I’d like to welcome S.M. McEachern, author of the Sunset Rising series.

S.M. McEachern, author2014 has been a big year for your writing career. Can you tell us a bit about that?

Yes, it has been big a year for me. For one thing, I published the second book of the Sunset Rising series, entitled Worlds Collide, last March. I was happily surprised when it rocketed up the Amazon ranking chart and maintained a spot in the top ten Amazon action and adventure romance bestseller list for months. That in turn attracted new hybrid-publisher Vook to ask me about acquiring the Sunset Rising series. After a few phone calls, many emails, and a lot of deliberation, I signed with Vook. I’m very happy I did.

I’m also working on the third book of my series, tentatively titled New World Order, which I plan to release in January 2015.

In the past, you’ve blogged about enjoying being an indie author, but you signed with Vook?

I have to admit, I do like having control over my books. When I want to do a promotion, or put the books on sale, or give the books away if I want to, I don’t have to ask permission from a publisher. I can just do it. So yes, when Vook first approached me I was hesitant to sign with them. However, Vook is a different kind of publisher; they are a “hybrid publisher.” They provide an enhanced publishing platform with ongoing marketing support via proprietary software that tracks ebook sales so authors can make better and more informed marketing decisions, and authors retain all copyrights and control over their books.

I officially joined them in July and I have received so much more than they promised. Vook is a dynamic, enthusiastic team of individuals that have partnered with me to bring my series to readers through all ebook retailers at affordable prices. Good for authors and good for readers! And as a company, they’re growing and constantly investing in themselves and their authors. For instance, they recently acquired their first publishing imprint, Byliner. I’m really excited to be a part of Vook, because I truly believe they are the future of publishing.

Your third book of the Sunset Rising series, tentatively titled New World Order, will be released in January?

That’s the plan. I’m madly writing everyday and no longer take weekends off! Not that I mind. Writing a book is like reading a good book; I don’t want to put it down. And this third book has a LOT going on. It’s definitely the most action-packed of the series, with minor characters from the first two books sharing Sunny’s spotlight.

You do a lot of world-building in the series. What’s your process for creating a post apocalyptic world?

In a nutshell, research and imagination. I love research because not only does it give me a good, solid foundation to begin my stories, but it also ignites my imagination.  It’s kind of like taking what is and projecting what can or could be. So I read a lot of non-fiction articles and I also reach out to experts, most of whom have been really happy to help me. Dr. Bergren of the National Institute of Nanotechnology and Chris Kratt of the Wild Kratts have been two super helpful resources. I’ll be doing an interview with Chris this weekend, talking about what a post apocalyptic creature world might look like, and will have it up on my blog by September 18th if you’re interested in checking it out.

Is your third book the last one of the Sunset Rising series?

The series was named for the heroine, Sunset O’Donnell (Sunny), and the first three books are told from her point of view (spoiler alert: there’s another person sharing the story in book 3!). But as I said above, I’ve gone to great lengths to create a new world. I can definitely see more books told from other characters points of view as they reinvent their civilization and explore a post nuclear earth. And with recruiters, scorchlanders, and northerners out there, who knows what they’ll find… Continue reading

Misbehavior By Kathryn Kelly

MisbehavorMisbehavior (Death Dwellers MC # 3) by Kathryn Kelly

Matthew “Val” Taylor, the Road Captain in the club, was introduced to sex at an early age. Saved from the streets by the club’s Enforcer and President years ago, Val now lives for women and the open road. Until the night the only woman he’s ever loved is almost killed. Val determines to change his ways and be the man Zoann Donovan should have and the father their son deserves.

Zoann has loved Val for a long time. Violence and bitter betrayal forces her to ignore her feelings and distance herself not only from the sexy RC, but her beloved brother, too. Until she discovers the truth. Can Zoann ever be forgiven for all the pain she’s caused? Will Val overcome his own demons and have a future with her and their son? Who will survive in an MC filled with lust and revenge, love and hate?

Warning: This is a tale of rape, murders, deception, heartache, lies, and infidelity. The road to redemption is a tumultuous struggle where only the strong survive and justice is served…Outlaw-style.

Purchase Misbehavior (Death Dwellers MC, Book 3) on Amazon | All Romance Novels | Smashwords | Kobo

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 About the Author

Kathryn Kelly is living her dream and writing books. Everyone who follows Kat on Facebook is well aware of her relationship with her mother. For those of you who are unaware, the following will offer you a taste. To live in peace, Kat acknowledges she is a mom, but prefers to keep her personal life private. In spite of her momma.

Kat has always been an avid reader and still devours books in her spare time. She also enjoys football, socializing, music, eating, and jokes. In her head, she’s the ultimate biker babe. In reality, she’s an ordinary girl-next-door and a native New Orleanian.

Connect with Kathryn:  Website |  Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Google Plus

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The Best of Jonathan’s Corner by CJS Hayward

Best of Jonathan's CornerTitle: The Best of Jonathan’s Corner by CJS Hayward

Genre: Creative non-fiction / many genres / religion and spirituality / Eastern Orthodox

The Best of Jonathan’s Corner, newly expanded ​ after getting five star reviews​, is a collection of varied works of Eastern Orthodox mystical theology. It spans many topics and many different genres of writing, but it keeps coming back to the biggest questions of all. It is inexhaustible: the works are independent, and you can read a few, many, or all of them to suit your taste. Fans of CS Lewis and GK Chesterton will love it.

Excerpt: From “The Angelic Letters”

My dearly beloved son Eukairos;

I am writing to you concerning the inestimable responsibility and priceless charge who has been entrusted to you. You have been appointed guardian angel to one Mark.

Who is Mark, whose patron is St. Mark of Ephesus? A man. What then is man? Microcosm and mediator, the midpoint of Creation, and the fulcrum for its sanctification. Created in the image of God; created to be prophet, priest, and king. It is toxic for man to know too much of his beauty at once, but it is also toxic for man to know too much of his sin at once. For he is mired in sin and passion, and in prayer and deed offer what help you can for the snares all about him. Keep a watchful eye out for his physical situation, urge great persistence in the liturgical and the sacramental life of the Church that he gives such godly participation, and watch for his ascesis with every eye you have. Rightly, when we understand what injures a man, nothing can injure the man who does not injure himself: but it is treacherously easy for a man to injure himself. Do watch over him and offer what help you can.

With Eternal Light and Love,
Your Fellow-Servant and Angel Continue reading

Now Is Our Time – When Divorce Gets Ugly

Author Jo KresselThe whole idea for Now is Our Time came after a friend told me a story. It was a real-life tale about a divorce which became ugly and acrimonious because, let’s face it, not all marriages can end amicably. Not all couples can ‘consciously uncouple’ like Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. In this instance a British guy had married a New Zealand girl. They’d had three children and lived in the UK. Ten years later they split up. The New Zealand girl wanted to go back home and take the children with her. The English guy battled to prevent that from happening. He didn’t want his children spirited to what is literally the other side of the world. So began an ugly custody battle.

Now is Our Time explores the gritty reality of love, marriage, divorce, children, when it works and when it doesn’t work. And yes, there is a custody battle at the heart of it. Here the relationship is transatlantic, between British Claire and American Jonah Kennedy. As I was writing it Gwyenth and Chris split up. Before I wrote it Madonna and Guy Ritchie split up. There must be hundreds of other less high-profile couples like them.

Whilst the adults might find it easy to move on, what about the children? That is also explored in Now is Our Time, when multi person POV’s allow the reader to get into several of the different characters’ heads. San Diego and London are not exactly round the corner from each other. It’s a long way for Mom or Dad to go visit for the weekend.

Everyone will have a different opinion on what the final outcome should have been for the New Zealand girl and the English guy – I’m not at liberty to divulge, but in the end a court and Judge did come to a decision. Everyone will have an opinion on what the final outcome should be for Claire and Jonah. Their case also ends up in court, but I’m not going to give any spoilers! If you do read the book, however, I would love to hear your thoughts on how Claire and Jonah’s story does finally end…………… Continue reading

Lisa Amowitz Presents … Vision

Vision by Lisa AmowitzVision by Lisa Amowitz
Release Date: 09/09/14 by Spencer Hill Press

Synopsis:

The light is darker than you think… 

High school student Bobby Pendell already has his hands full—he works almost every night to support his disabled-vet father and gifted little brother. Then he meets the beautiful new girl in town, who just happens to be his boss’s daughter. Bobby has rules about that kind of thing. Nothing matters more than keeping his job.

When Bobby starts to get blinding migraines that come with scary, violent hallucinations, his livelihood is on the line. Soon, he must face the stunning possibility that the visions of murder are actually real. With his world going dark, Bobby is set on the trail of the serial killer terrorizing his small town. With everyone else convinced he’s the prime suspect, Bobby realizes that he, or the girl he loves, might be killer’s next victim.

Add Vision to your Goodreads shelf.

Purchase Vision on Amazon | B&N | Kobo | The Book Depository Continue reading

How to Move From Friendship to Relationship

Ever get stuck in the dreaded “friend zone” to the point of no return? Today’s guest post is by award winning YA and adult contemporary author Karen Rock. Karen shows you how to get unstuck so pay attention.

Author Karen RockHere’s the playbook for pulling off the romantic equivalent of a Hail Mary pass- turning your best friend into your boyfriend. Some say it can’t be done. Some say you’ll crash and burn. I say, if handled right, you have nothing to lose… not even the friendship. Here are some strategies to break out of the Friend Zone:

  1. Shake things up. Catch him off guard with a compliment. You always think them, so why not say one? He needs to know that you see him as more than a friend.
  2. Stop bringing up the past. It will only reinforce you as a friend. Instead focus on the future and make plans. It will show him you want to spend together.
  3. Change the subject whenever he wants to talk about girl trouble. You aren’t his sounding board or his advice column. He needs to see you as girlfriend material.
  4. Do things meant only for two. Having other friends around makes it super awkward to break out of the routine and get romantic.
  5. And not in some creepy, stalker way. But in a casual, ‘oops how did that happen?’ kind of way. Grab his hand during a scary movie, fly a kite and hold onto the reel together or fishing for that matter, dunk each other in the pool or anything else that will get you two in physical contact. The more that happens, that more comfortable you’ll feel when the hand grab turns into a hand hold.
  6. Romantic gestures. Bake his favorite cupcakes and put hearts on them when he’s down, bring him chicken soup when he has a cold, send him a ‘Thinking of You’ card when he least expects it, bring him a thermos of hot cocoa during a cold sports game. Men are all about action.
  7. A lot. This is something you already do as friends so it should be easy. And this part of your relationship should never change. But if you bring a lot of friend drama to him, it might be time to dial it down and focus on having fun as a couple.
  8. Get word to him through a friend. You can always deny, deny, deny, later. But in case he likes you- SCORE! Sure it’s juvenile, it’s high school, it’s whatever… but some of us aren’t good with the direct approach and it will give him time to think before feeling pressured into giving an answer. Another plus- he’ll see that your mutual friends support the status change- are even working to make it happen!
  9. Write a note. Nothing long. Nothing over-the-top. Go for the three S’s- short, sweet and sincere.
  10. And if all else fails- hit the EJECT button on your expectations. But don’t ditch your friendship. You want him in your life even though it’s time to move on to greener pastures.

Continue reading

Short Story Excerpts from Traveling Left of Center

TRAVELING LEFT OF CENTER

Traveling Left of Center

“Girl,” my mama had said to me the minute she entered my hospital room, “on the highway of life, you’re always traveling left of center.”

Mama was always saying things like that. She had a phrase for every occasion, and would pronounce them with a certainty that, in my younger days, I accepted as gospel. But that time, I didn’t pay her no mind. I just went on painting my nails “Passionate Purple,” hoping that the sexy polish would catch the doctor’s eye.

I was justifiably proud of my hands, especially since, at that particular time, they were the only part of me that was skinny. A girl’s body sure takes a beating from having a baby. It had taken me at least a year to get my shape back after Robert Nicholas, and it looked like Rebecca Nicole wouldn’t be any kinder to her mama than her big brother had been.

~~~~~~~~~~

The Healer

“Just let me touch you. Please—just one touch. The tip of my finger, then. Please, can I touch you with the tip of my finger? Please? Just for a second. Please!”

Begging. Pleading. The voice of desperation. Cassie had heard it so many times before and, in the beginning, in the early days, had found it impossible to ignore. So she would stand there, let them touch her, stroke her face, cut tiny pieces of faded cloth from her shirt, her jeans—once, even a strand of hair from her head, done so quickly that she couldn’t shield her skin from the sharp blade of the scissors. And with each touch, she felt more of herself being taken, being lost…

Cassie was a healer. At least, that was what the people who touched her said. She never touched anyone—just stood there while they approached, hardly daring to breathe for fear they would find a way to take away even the breath from her body. Then, with one or two trembling fingers, these people—these needy, needy people—would tentatively reach out and lightly caress the sleeve of her jacket, the back of her neck, her forehead where every day, new wrinkles scarred their way across the thin skin.

Every time they touched her, Cassie would shiver, as though, molecule by molecule, life-giving heat was being drained from her. But then it passed (it always passed) and she would be warm again—maybe not as warm as she would like to be but then, as her Granny had always reminded her when she complained of the cold, drained feeling that followed a touching, “You have a gift and with a gift comes cost. That’s just the way it is, Cassandra, and you’d better get used to it.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Still Life

This is how it should be—

In the morning, I would go into my kitchen, with its golden oak cabinets and white tile counter tops, where I would grind some fine brown coffee beans—a special blend, grown high in the Andes where the air is so sharp it can slice your lungs. When the coffee has finished brewing, I would pour it into a delicate gold-rimmed demitasse, and the steam would rise, rich and fragrant, almost as satisfying as that very first taste.

I would take my cup and one freshly-baked, flaky croissant, and walk out onto the deck. From there, I would see the sun as it fights its way through the pine trees, struggling to reach the sky. The first rays color the darkness orange and red, purple and gold, and as the night is conquered, the sun would emerge victorious.

On the deck, there is one small glass-topped table with wrought iron legs, a wicker rocker with a thick purple-flowered seat cushion, and my easel.

I look at the sky and then at my paint box and colored pencils, waiting on the shelf below the empty canvas. Finally, with slow, deliberate strokes, I begin to sketch my world—the pines, with each needle meticulously placed on each branch and each branch grafted carefully onto the trunk, and the sky: its colors melting and bleeding into each other like a dying harlequin…

Later again, much later, I would rest in my rocking chair, drinking champagne from a delicately etched crystal goblet, watching the stars glitter in the darkening sky… I would stretch my legs out before me, scratched and tired from the afternoon walk, and rest my head on the back of the chair. My fingers are tinted with sunrise colors, the paint permanently stained into my skin from endless mornings spent at my easel, and I can no longer remember the true color of my flesh.

~~~~~~~~~~

Waiting for Sara

“Mom, it’s Sara.”

Her voice was distorted by the miles of wire separating us—how many miles I could only guess.

“Where are you?”

So many of our conversations began like that, with Sara making contact, and me, desperately trying to keep that contact alive, sending out my love like a rope to bind her to me.

“Things haven’t been goin’ too good here.” Her voice was slurred—drink or drugs, I couldn’t tell.

“Sara.” My voice sharpened with worry. “Tell me where you are. Are you okay?”

“Cool, Ma.” Her voice faded away, and then came back again. “So what’s happenin’?”

“I’d love to see you, Sara. Tell me where you are, and I’ll come get you. Or give me your number and I’ll call you back.”

The phone company could trace a number, I thought. I’ll tell them it’s an emergency. I’ll tell them we were cut off. We were cut off. Between my daughter and me, there was a chasm deeper than the Great Divide. And every spar I threw across fell to the bottom, the echoes endlessly crashing through my life.

Learn more about these stories and Nancy Christie.