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introducingBLUE

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Rose B. Fischer

Today, please help me welcome fellow blogger and author, Rose B. Fisher.  She is an avid fan of  foxes, Stargate: SG-1 and Star Trek.  She would rather be on the Enterprise right now.  Since she can’t be a Starfleet Officer, she became a speculative fiction author whose stories feature women who defy cultural stereotypes.

In her fictional worlds, gender is often fluid, sexuality exists on a spectrum, and “disability” does not define an individual. Her current project is The Foxes of Synn, a low-tech science fantasy serial.

Rose is a survivor of domestic violence who lives with multiple disabilities.  In the early 2000s, she became homeless afer leaving her abusive spouse.  She later entered a transitional housing program while attending college. These experiences inspired her to begin writing non-fiction, and have had lasting impacts on her approach to fiction writing.

She publishes science fiction, science fantasy, horror, and biographical essays.  She blogs about the intersection of storytelling, social responsibility, art, and pop culture. You can find her blog here.

Meet Rose

Hello, everyone! I’m Rose B. Fischer, science fantasy author and lover of princesses. Corina’s invited me to talk to you about my serial, The Foxes of Synn, and I’m going to do that. I promise. But first I’m going to talk about PRINCESSES. And Witch-Queens.

The first movie I ever saw in theaters was Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I couldn’t have been more than four, so I really shouldn’t remember, but the experience had a permanent effect on me. I was familiar with the Grimm Brothers’ Snow White from storybooks, and I had a fairytale coloring book in which I only ever colored the pictures of ladies — preferably the ladies in fancy clothes. That movie was different. The characters were huge, both because they were on the big screen and because they had life that the storybook versions often don’t. The Wicked Queen fascinated and terrified me. I pitied her. I wanted to know the story behind her odd relationship with her Huntsman. I wanted to know why, on Earth, Snow White’s father couldn’t see that the Queen was nuts. I wanted to know what had made her like that! In the space of about an hour, I developed a whole head canon about the Queen’s life prior to her marriage and how she was in love with the huntsman. I wanted her to stop being so vain and learn that she and Snow White could both be beautiful, or if she couldn’t do that, I wanted her to at least find a way to make peace with Snow White’s existence. I’m not the only one. There are a crap-ton of re-imagined fairytales that want to make the Queen an antihero.

Snow White fascinated me too. I admire her for all the reasons she’s often dismissed as “weak” and “silly” today. She’s quiet, kind, and gentle (I am not.) She’s an optimist (I am not.) She works hard without complaining (I work hard. Complain A LOT.) She can get animals to do whatever she wants. (Are you seriously going to tell me that you never envied her for that?) She can manage a large household. (This is actually something I can do, and it’s one of the skill-sets I’m most proud of. Snow White was my mentor. >.>)

I had head canon for Snow White too. I imagined that the huntsman would come back to the woods and mentor her, teaching her his skills and trade while she lived safely with the dwarfs. Then, the Queen would find out, and all hell would break loose, but Snow White would be kickass by then, and…

Well, that part didn’t happen.

But I’m a writer. And anyone who writes will know what I mean when I say, the stories that grab us first are the stories that stay with us. Witch Queens and Princesses have stayed with me my whole life. They permeate the world of Synn, and the kick-ass Snow White that’s been in my head since I was four is at the heart of Northern Synn’s history.

I’ve always been drawn to stories with compelling female protagonists. For a lot of my life, that meant royalty. Queens, princesses, duchesses– because that’s where powerful women were to be found in literature and in history. There were also sometimes nuns, like Bernadette of Lourdes and cross-dressing warriors like Joan of Arc, but for the most part I was exposed to princesses.

Princess Leia is the one everyone recognizes. Princess Allura is the one I saw the most, and the one I wanted to love because she could rock this dress:

allura

She could also be kind and sensitive, yet still stand up to her sexist guardians, and fly the Blue Lion. I could never fully get on board with Allura, though, because as hard as she tried, she was always the first person getting knocked out, captured, made naïve mistakes, or would otherwise be the weak link on the team. And I don’t like pink.

Fast forward a few years to the mid-80s, and there’s Princess Adora, who remains my go to example of a well-rounded, compelling female character whose writers handle the Princess Trope well.

Fast forward a few more years to the mid-90s and there was Belle and Nala, then Esmeralda and Mulan, who expanded Disney’s definition of Princess, but at the same time popular culture was turning on the Princess. Suddenly, girls could do whatever we wanted. We could be doctors, lawyers, police officers, truck drivers, wrestlers, but GOD FORBID that any girl want to be a princess. Nooo, we must make sure our girls are self-sufficient and empowered. Because, you know. Being able to manage a house and rule a kingdom wisely don’t have anything to do with self-sufficiency or empowerment. And saving your friends (or the kingdom) only counts if you do it with a sword, by yourself, with no help from a male, especially a love interest. Smart girls didn’t like princesses. Smart girls didn’t like pink or glitter or fancy dresses, oh no. Smart girls were going to resist being stereotyped by trading feminine stereotypes for masculine ones.

Wait, what?

Yeah. But I bought into that, so I let my Magic Princesses and my Witch Queens go, and I don’t think I found them again until I was spending time with my niece in the mid-2000s. She was as smart as I was, and she was one of the “in crowd” in a way that I’d never been. She loved the trendy things, followed fashion, enjoyed popular boy bands. She was also interested in science, religion, sociology, and would read any book you put in front of her. She liked to read about princesses. Heck if I was going to tell her no, she could like anything else she wanted but NOT THOSE. So, I had to reevaluate my stance, and I’m glad I did.

Even with that settled, it was a long time before the Foxes of Synn came to be. It wanted to be a story that took the things I love best about science fiction and fantasy, blended them together with fairytales, and asked a lot of questions about gender roles, sexuality, romance, and whatever-else, for which I don’t have answers. I already had two major speculative fiction projects at the time, and I wasn’t looking for another one. I wanted something light and fun that I could sell in a traditional publishing market. I wanted a book that a publisher would take a chance on, that would be a stepping stone in a traditional publishing career, not another weird, unclassifiable spec fic project. What I got was a mishmash of animal fantasy, wormhole physics, traveling to other universes via magic mirror, and…well…fun. At least I got the fun.

Eventually, I decided that I needed to let the story be what it wanted to be. About a year ago, I took the plunge into creating serial fiction and self-publishing for Kindle. I have had a rockin’ time so far, and I couldn’t be happier with the direction that Synn has taken. If you’d like to learn more about the serial, it’s characters, and the world literacy live, you can check it out on my blog or my Amazon author page.

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introducingBLUE

Melissa Barker-Simpson

Melissa Barker-Simpson

Today, help me welcome author and fellow blogger, Melissa Barker-Simpson.  I hope you enjoy reading about here and her books and that you take a look at her novels.

It’s lovely to be invited to Corina’s place to visit with you all. I’ve been blogging for two years now, and I’ve met some incredible people along the way. It’s a vital online community and, as a writer, it feels like my second home! There is so much to learn, so much to share and experience.

I’ve been writing since Junior School, which in the US I believe is classed as Elementary (first grade). I loved nothing more than creating new worlds and sharing my adventures with others. When I left school and went to college, I spent less time writing, and more time studying. I couldn’t decide on a career and so, after leaving full time education I held a number of jobs. Although I couldn’t seem to make anything stick, I did have a passion for language, which led to my interest in British Sign Language (BSL). I eventually became an interpreter, and have been interpreting for ten years now.

It’s a job I particularly enjoy because I get to explore different settings; police, theatre, community, education, medicine. It’s a lot of fun and, though it can be challenging at times, the variety suits my fickle nature! BSL is a beautiful, visual language, with a rich and complex grammatical structure, one that never ceases to amaze.

One of my most important roles in life though, is being a mother. I have two teenage daughters, who are a great source of joy.

I didn’t begin seriously writing again until 2005, a year after I lost my father. It was a really difficult time, and I escaped my grief by remembering the stories I shared with him in my youth. The characters never really went away, even when life got too busy, so when I let them back in, it became impossible to deny the part of myself I had supressed for so long.

There are a number of things I could talk about when it comes to my writing journey. I recently published The Fallen, which is my ninth novel, and the first in a series. It seems I have a penchant for writing series, and thanks to my busy mind, I’m unable to concentrate on one project at once.

My work is always character driven, and Maddison, the protagonist from The Fallen has her hooks in me at the moment. When I sit down to write, whether it is a short-story, or my next work in progress, she invariably muscles her way in!

It’s the reason that, as well as working on my latest novel in the Morgan and Fairchild series, I decided to venture into serialised fiction. I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I love the idea of creating monthly episodes like a television series, and pulling those together to create a season. There are different ways to approach serialised writing, but I aim to have an overarching theme while solving individual story arcs during each episode.

The Collective is an offshoot of the Fractured series, so readers will be familiar with some of the characters. I’m sure Maddison will make an appearance or two. It is a lot of fun developing this group of supernatural creatures, and to explore more of the world I created.

At the beginning of this month I published The Contract, prequel to the Fractured, as an introduction. One of the main players is a god, Orion Reece, and he seems to be a popular character. So I decided to share a scene with you from The Fallen, which incorporates Maddison and Orion.

The Fallen.jpg

The Fallen

*Background: Maddison Wood is a hunter, and a witch. Her instincts draw her to the city; trouble is coming and she wants to meet it head on. Donovan is her partner in crime. She rescued him from a particularly brutal clan of demons, and now owns his contract.*

“Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me,” Maddison groaned, hackles rising.

“What?”

She didn’t look Donovan’s way, her eyes were glued to the street, to the ball of light which glowed like a beacon of tightly controlled power. “Orion Reece,” she said through clenched teeth.

Am I supposed to know who that is?’ Donovan asked, his voice a deep rumble inside her mind.

She could feel his eyes on her, but she didn’t turn.

When Orion appeared, he did so with none of the arrogance she had come to expect, and, for some reason, the lack of drama unnerved her more than his presence. He was a god, one who enjoyed flaunting his superiority every chance he got. The pale blonde hair, hanging to his shoulders like fine silk, still shone as a testament to his power, and yet alarm bells were ringing in Maddison’s head. Something was definitely wrong with the picture.

“To what do we owe the pleasure?” she asked, her voice and gaze steady. She would not give him an inch.

“Come now, Woody.” His dark eyes flashed, the gold at the outer edges drawing her in. “You can do better than that.”

Woody?’ Donovan asked through their connection.

Long story,’ Maddison replied. She took a step towards Orion, delighted when Donovan followed suit.

“We haven’t been introduced,” Donovan said, extending his hand.

Orion threw back his head and laughed. “My dear boy, if you want to know more about me, all you have to do is ask.”

As a hympe, Donovan had a unique gift. It was empathy based, so if he opened himself up to the connection, he could learn anything through touch.

“I’ll forgive the discourtesy,” Orion continued. “Because I have you at a disadvantage.” His eyes grew cold. “I’m the reason your current owner stumbled upon your sorry excuse for a-”

“Nobody owns him,” Maddison said, stepping between them. “And you’re not the only reason he’s free.”

Orion raised his hand, eyes flashing with challenge. Maddison’s hair slithered towards him, the long braid dancing in the cool night air, like he was a regular snake charmer.

“Is that so?” he asked.

Maddison shot magic into the wayward locks and regained the advantage. She knew Orion used the trick to test her, to steal her control. Given that her hair was her weapon of choice, it was an effective reprimand.

What’s he talking about?’ Donovan asked.

He sent me to the Firmani Caves, or at least set it up so I would be in the right place at the right time.’

Donovan’s shudder was involuntary. The Firmani Caves were home to the Nrikabat demons, the original proprietors of his contract – those responsible for his torture and abuse.

“How did you know?” Donovan asked, staring wide-eyed at Orion. “Why would you care?”

“I don’t.” Orion’s tone was bored. “But I owed your father a favour.”

Don’t listen to him,’ Maddison said, touching Donovan with her mind. ‘Even if he’s telling the truth, he will use the information against you. I’ll find another way to learn his secrets.’

She turned her attention to Orion. Everything about him was designed to entice – the tall, sculptured body, strong jaw, sinful mouth; he was quite a package. “Can we just get this over with? Why don’t you tell us what you want?”

“Oh, how you wound me,” he said, placing a hand over his heart. “Can’t I have the simple desire to visit with an old friend?”

He was stalling, she realised. Taunting them purposely, perhaps hoping they would lose the trail. She could almost feel her instincts curling up in her gut, retreating into silence. “If you’re here to shoot the breeze, we can do that as we walk,” she said, starting to move past him.

Orion sidestepped, putting himself in her path. His strong jaw was set, lips pressed into a hard line. “You need to get as far away from here as possible,” he said, his voice low and urgent.

She blinked, genuinely surprised by the concern in his dark eyes. “Something’s coming, isn’t it?”

There was a long beat of silence. “You don’t want to get tangled up in this, Maddy.” He squinted, assessing her reaction. “Don’t force my hand.”

Donovan moved so he was shoulder to shoulder with Maddison. “That sounds like a threat.”

She almost smiled. Donovan had no idea who he was dealing with; either that or he had a death wish. Orion could squash him like a bug; though, granted, Donovan hadn’t been crushed yet.

“If he was going to do something, he’d have done it already,” she said. “He either can’t interfere, or the focused use of his power will give him away.” That was it. She knew it as soon as the words left her mouth. Why there had been no fanfare when he arrived, why the light of his power was subdued. “It’s big, isn’t it?” she said, more to herself than Orion, because she knew he wouldn’t answer.

I hope you enjoyed the snippet. Thanks again to Corina for inviting me, and to you all for reading.

Mel

LINKS

The Fallen

Author Website

Blog: http://www.mbarkersimpson.wordpress.com

Email: info@mbarkersimpson.co.uk

Twitter handle: @mbarkersimpson

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/melissabarkersimpson

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/mbarkersimpson

Changing Worlds 2

Changing Worlds

Fifth Watcher - Cover for Createspace

The Fifth WatcherHands_of_Evil_Cover_for_Kindle

Hands Of Evil

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introducingBLUE

JANET CHRISTIAN

JANET CHRISTIAN

Janet Christian began her adventure in writing in second grade, with a book of fanciful poems about cats. She later became a professional technical writer, creating complex but boring computer manuals. To escape the drudgery of describing hardware circuits and software routines, she returned to writing fiction.  She served as 2003 President of the Heart of Texas Sisters in Crime in Austin, and became a published author in 2012..  She now also maintains a weekly blog at http://janetchristian.com.

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself. 

These days I live with Eric Marsh, my husband and best friend since 1989, on a 100 acre ranch in Lockhart, TX – 30 miles south of Austin. We have four goofy dogs, an ever-changing population of cats (usually around ten… or so), and a small herd of four-horned, spotted Jacob sheep.

Q: What do you do for fun?

When I’m not writing, I create art pieces in my combination pottery studio and tiki bar. I don’t throw (an odd term for making pottery, for sure). I have a slab roller, which looks like a giant lasagna noodle maker. There’s nothing quite like working big flat pieces of wet clay into fun shapes while also sipping on a fresh, cold Mai Tai.

My husband and I also travel, which is incredibly inspiring for a writer. In the past three years we’ve been to 18 countries in Europe and Asia. In the fall we’re going to Portugal.

Q: What genre do you write in?

That’s a trick question for me. I’m mostly attracted to murder mysteries, but you couldn’t tell that from my track record. I write what shows up in my head. Stories come to me in a flash, like a “blipvert” fromMax Headroom (I guess I just dated myself). It usually happens at three in the morning and I have to get up and capture it right then or I’ll lose it. I’ve written a children’s novel, a murder mystery, a dystopian science fiction, and I’m currently writing a speculative fiction. I’ve written short stories in all those genres, although most of my short stories seem to end up with a horror twist in them.

Q: Tell us more about your books

My first was a coming-of-age children’s novel called Wanda’s New Eyes. I originally wrote it before cell phones, so I’m busy rewriting it for a contemporary audience. I already have a great cover design, thanks to Karen Phillips, who now designs all my covers.

After Wanda, I wrote and published The Case of a Cold Trail and a Hot Musket, which is, hopefully, the first of a series of murder mysteries featuring Private Investigator Marianna Morgan. My next novel was a dystopian science fiction called Born Rich. I still love that story, but I pulled the book off Amazon after rereading a Frank Herbert novel. I couldn’t stop thinking of ways to improve and expand my first effort at creating a new world, or at least a new future for this world. There is so much more potential in Born Rich than I originally envisioned. I’d never really pushed it, so sold few copies. I’ll be offering anyone who bought the original version a free copy when the expanded one comes out.

These days I’m finishing up a speculative fiction novel called Virgilante. It can best be described as Dexter-lite. Virgil takes karma into his own hands; he just doesn’t use plastic sheeting and large knives. And his victims don’t end up in small pieces.

Q: How do you tackle writing in such diverse genres?

As they say, “Research, research, research.” I do a lot of online research and even face to face interviews and site visits. I’ve found most experts love it when you ask them questions. I’ve interviewed police chiefs in two small towns, the Historian and Curator of the Alamo, head librarian at the San Antonio Public Library, the owner of the Snake Farm (a roadside attraction north of San Antonio), bicycle police who patrol the San Antonio River Walk, the Ford Mustang Vintage Car Club, a former professional motorcycle racer, a database specialist, a psychiatrist, a veterinarian, and a realtor. They were all thrilled to be asked for their expertise.

I also belong to an awesome critique group called the Lockhart Writers. In spite of the unimaginative group name, everyone is incredibly creative, knowledgable, and capable, not just in the mechanics of good writing, but across many areas of expertise.

Q: What was your favorite research effort?

Hands down, my visit with Dr. Richard Bruce Winders from the Alamo. My murder mystery was inspired by a news article. Someone had donated a Brown Bess musket to the Alamo. There were thousands of these muskets used at the battle of the Alamo — most every Mexican soldier had one. What made the one in the news article unique was that its triangular bayonet tip had an unusual bend in it. My brain thought, “It could be identified years later!”

The problem was, I knew nothing about Brown Bess muskets, so I arranged an interview with Dr. Winders. First, I told him I’d never seen one other than pictures and was wondering how a wooden-stock musket could be hidden for 35 years without damage or deterioration. He got up from his desk, crossed to a closet, and handed me an actual Brown Bess to hold. I then told him about the article that inspired my story, and about the bent bayonet tip. He pulled open his desk drawer and said, “You mean this one?” He had the ACTUAL TIP! He let me hold it, too. Definitely the most awesome book research I’ve ever done.

Q: What’s next?

Finishing Virgilante, of course. Karen is working on the cover and my new editor, Crystal Hubbard, is waiting for the final draft. I have three different beginnings for sequels to my Marianna Morgan series. I want to get back to one of them. I love all the plot ideas, so I’ll probably have to flip a coin. Also I want to tackle expanding Born Rich. I’m honestly not sure which I’ll do first, the murder mystery or the science fiction. I’m not good at writing simultaneous stories. When I’m writing, it feels as if I’m living in that world. Writing two stories at the same time would be like jumping between parallel universes. Plus I think both stories would suffer.

Janet’s book (soon to be books):

FrontCover

The Case of a Cold Trail and a Hot Musket

Private Investigator Marianna Morgan finds she has more than she bargained for when Stephen Davidson hires her to tail and identify a woman he believes is his long lost sister Stephanie. There’s just one problem: Stephanie was kidnapped and presumed murdered 35 years ago.

The twins were seven when the Davidson home near San Antonio was burgled, their father was murdered, and one item, an Alamo-era, Brown Bess musket was stolen. Now, 35 years later, if the woman in question is Stephanie, why has she suddenly resurfaced, where has she been all this time, and why hasn’t she contacted her brother? If it isn’t her, why is the woman in question searching for the musket and attempting to stop Marianna via death threats… and worse?

Marianna must use all of her investigative skills to figure out what is really going on and resolve the decades-old mysteries.

Amazon print and ebook: http://www.amazon.com/Case-Cold-Trail-Hot-Musket/dp/1477699597

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I had gotten in the practice of posting about an indie author here on this blog on the first Monday of the month. I did three then in May, because of my surgery, I dropped the ball on it and didn’t have that feature. Today I have to admit that I don’t have one for you this month, either. I did try to contact a couple of indie authors through their blog “contact me” option but haven’t heard back from either. I have a list of about six names besides them so today I am sending out emails to those people to see if I can start this back up for July.

In the meantime, let me tell you about one blogger who has published a novel which I loved so much that I am sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for her next novel. She is Rebecca Bradley and has written Shallow Waters, a detective novel which features Hannah Robbins as the chief detective in this case. Rebecca is a former detective in Nottinghamshire where she lives. Her experience and knowledge of the police investigative in Nottinghamshire give her writing an informed and genuine feel. When I read Shallow Waters I was captured by the time I had read the first paragraph and read every page closely and quickly so I could find out if they caught the criminal or not. It is by far one of the most engaging police procedural/detective novels I have read in a long time.

I invite you to check out Rebecca’s blog and Shallow Waters. You will find Rebecca to be quite approachable and engaged with her blog followers. She is a delight to know, even if only in the blogosphere! By the way, she is currently involved in BritCrime Online Festival coming up in July in which followers will be able to interact with a number of British Crime writers. It sounds like fun!

And if you care to check out the posts I wrote introducing you to indie writers, you can find them here:
Larry Brill
Joanne Huspek
Zoe Ambler

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Please help me welcome Larry Brill, author of two published novels, Live At Five and The Patterer. Larry is a personal friend. I’ve known him since high school. I’ve read both of his novels and I recommend them. My favorite is The Patterer. For sure you should read that one if not both! I hope you enjoy this post and that you share it with your friends, followers, fellow tweeters, etc. And if you have any comments or questions for Larry, be sure to include them in the comments.

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Larry Brill

Larry Brill

Tell me. Why would any self-respecting author want to be known as the “Worst Writer in America?” I’d like to think I have plenty of respect for myself. So the fact that I won that title as champion of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a contest to intentionally write the worst opening sentence to an imaginary novel, speaks volumes about me and about my work. I suppose you could make the case that writing one really bad sentence for laughs launched my fiction writing career. That sentence was reported in newspapers across the country, on CBS morning news with Charles Osgood, and as far away as radio New Zealand. But truth be told, twenty-five years as a TV news anchor proved to be a great warm-up for writing fiction.

I write Literary Snark. It’s not an official genre, as far as I know, but it does capture the essence of my two published novels and the one I am working on at the moment. One reviewer said my books are like “A Saturday Night Live skit with a plot.” I write because it makes me smile, and I write because I want to make others smile, too.

Obviously I didn’t invent Literary Snark. There are tons of authors out there writing witty, intelligent, laugh-out-loud books. Carl Hiaasen does it with crime capers. Christopher Moore does it with paranormal fiction. My kind of humor goes like this: my novel The Patterer imagines what would happen if you dropped today’s TV newscast (write what you know, you know?) into the hands of a rascal street actor back in 18th century London. It mixes pop culture with historical figures. Our hero goes about giving news reports that borrow liberally from things like the theme song from Gilligan’s Island, and quotes Humphrey Bogart from Casablanca.

Now what? The idea for my current novel in progress came from my high school reunion a couple of years ago. A number of us got caught up in a discussion that nearly every baby boomer confronts to one degree or another these days. It’s wondering what we might do differently if we could go back and do it again. So I dreamed up a guy who is going through a mid-life meltdown and decides to recreate his high school days by moving back home with his drug-addled hippie parents, and going back to school, getting a job at the old campus where his high school sweetheart now works. It’s a comedy about a second chance to catch the girl that got away.

Book synopsis and info after all the links, please read on.
Where to find Larry Brill’s stuff:
www.larrybrill.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5aYK3rdmc0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHXSkvGfkOs
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Larry-Brill/e/B00C9KOWVW/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1426871790&sr=1-2-ent
Barnes & Nobel: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-patterer-larry-brill/1117079520?ean=9780988864344
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLarryBrill
Twitter: https://twitter.com/larbrill
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7042414.Larry_Brill

LiveAtFiveAmazonSm

Live @ Five
If success breeds contempt and adversity builds character, the life of Hunter Riley should be a springboard of inspiration to everyone treading water in the shallow end of the talent pool.

Hunter has been working his way down the ladder of success from nightly news anchor in the country’s largest television market until he finds himself running the pathetic small-town newsroom at KDOA-TV in Bakersfield, California. When the station’s owner threatens to cancel the newscast and fire the staff, Hunter hires a topless dancer named Sugar Kane to anchor the news and manufactures a heart-wrenching crusade to save an old folks home. It’s a desperate attempt to ride sex appeal and a made-for-TV crisis to take KDOA from ratings doormat to number one.

The result is a hilarious clash of ambitions in the world of TV news where perception is reality, and reality just gets in the way of a good story. How far will Hunter stretch his personal and professional ethics to save the newscast from the ratings trash heap? The answer will keep you laughing until the final credits roll.

Stay tuned.

patterer coverBlue

The Patterer
What would it look like if a smart-aleck news guy invented the TV newscast 200 years before the invention of TV? That’s what our hero, Leeds Merriweather, has done in 1765 London.

Leeds is scratching out a living as a common street performer, a patterer, using his wit and storytelling skills to draw crowds on the streets of London in order to sell newspapers and all manner of literature. He wants to be a respected journalist and start his own publishing business instead of being a mouthpiece for others, but the poor bloke has been cursed with fine, handsome looks, a strong voice and straight teeth. In other words, he’s too pretty to be anything more than a patterer. He knows he’ll never make enough money as a patterer to finance his dream until…

Inspired by a chance, drunken encounter with Benjamin Franklin, Leeds invents the daily “news performance,” and assembles a zany cast of characters to help him pull it off. The story follows Leeds’ hilarious rise to celebrity status as history’s first newscaster and his humiliating fall from grace when he risks it all for an affair with a conniving upper class married woman. In the end, Leeds learns a lot about himself, and the price of love, honor, and the power of news, where blood and lust make the world go ’round—though sometimes in personal ways you’d never expect.

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Please help me welcome Joanne Huspek, author of two published novels, and a personal friend. I hope you enjoy this post and that you share it with your friends, followers, fellow tweeters, etc.

introducingBLUE

Joanne Huspek

Joanne Huspek

Joanne Huspek is an author who lives in the frozen tundra called Michigan, where she helps her husband run a business while attempting to keep warm.

During the summer months, she can be seen puttering around the garden, trying to save her tender veggies from marauding squirrels.

Joanne self-published Virtually Yours as an eBook in 2012 and Finding Cadence as both eBook and physical copy in 2014.

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself. What do you do for fun?
There’s not much time for fun around my house! Besides writing, which I do for fun and escape, I like making wire wrap jewelry. I’m especially interested in using fiber and basket weaving techniques in my designs, which is difficult because wire can get very brittle. I like rocks and stones, too. Otherwise, my other “fun” is inventive cooking, eating well, and enjoying fine wine.

Q: What do you like most about the genre you write in?
I do not stick to one “formula” genre. I write about women and their problems. I’ve written serious literary (Finding Cadence) as well as romance mixed with mystery (Virtually Yours) and have tried my hand at YA a couple of times. I love writing from a woman’s point of view. I lovingly call my work “mom-lit” – chick lit for those of us who used to be chicks. Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

Q: Where is your favorite place to write?
I have a favorite comfy chair in my bedroom, and if that seat is taken by my cat, there’s another downstairs in the family room. I find it intimidating to write in public spaces like in cafes or libraries. To write fiction, I need absolute silence and a minimum of distractions – hard to do in my life, but I manage to carve out some quiet time.

Q: What’s your next project?
I’m editing the sequel to Virtually Yours, called Virtually Yours Forever. I hope to release it by the end of this year, fingers crossed. I’m working with a developmental editor and he wants to weave in a parallel story line having to do with the Internet (again!), so this is no small undertaking. After that, I need to edit a YA I completed years ago, and finish the accompanying romance (same story, told in the mother’s point of view).

The Books:
Finding Cadence
The Reeds (Cadence and Carter) seem to have it all: an enduring marriage, wealth and social standing, a thriving business, and talented pianist son attending a West Coast conservatory. But an accident on an icy Michigan highway leaves Cadence Reed an unexpected widow. After the funeral, Cadie learns her loss is not limited to Carter’s passing. Layer after layer of secrets are revealed, exposing Carter as a philandering sociopath who has left his family in a precarious financial state. Her heart broken, her world in shambles, Cadie and her son embark on a journey, across the country and into Cadie’s past. Cadence must look deep inside herself to find the will and a means to survive.

FINDING CADENCE explores deception and depression, the intricate and tentative bond of relationships, and one woman’s determination to overcome pride and adversity to find the strength to carry on.

Finding Cadence

Finding Cadence


E-book contains questions for discussion.

VIRTUALLY YOURS
VIRTUALLY YOURS is the offbeat and humorous journey of the on-and-offline relationships of six women who met and maintained a lasting friendship on the Internet. The Virtual Moms embrace a newbie – with a secret – and the dynamic is changed, adding an unexpected twist to the lives of the friends.

Virtually Yours
Thanks to the prodding of sassy Manhattanite Janna Abraham, the Virtual Moms allow North Carolina stay-at-home parent and romance novelist Asheley MacDaniel, entree into their club. A recent Iraq War widow and alone with an adorable young son, Ashe proves a sympathetic figure. Although some of the members initially balk, Ashe fits in easily — perhaps too easily — sharing valuable insights on the personal dramas of Missy and Laurel, while gaining strong rapport with Ally and Skye.

Skeptical Celia is not as easily swayed as her friends. Who is this Asheley MacDaniel, and why are the VMs in virtual love with this newbie? Why is Ashe so secretive, and why won’t she email photos of herself and her five-year-old? And who was the stranger who answered the phone when Celia called?

Ashe has a secret, all right, one that the girls do not learn until after the friendships strengthen. Just as Ashe lands a book deal, Celia has enlisted the services of a private investigator and the truth now lies in an envelope in her hands. But before the truth can be told, Ashe decides to make the long drive from North Carolina to New York City to bear all to Janna in person, even as the revelation could cost dearly.
E-Book Includes Questions for Discussion

Coming soon! Stay tuned…Virtually Yours Forever,
It’s a Virtual Moms wedding!

After four years of cyber and long-distance dating, Janna and Ashe are finally taking the Big Step – making their relationship legal. They’ve invited the women in their private online group, the Virtual Moms, to the grand festivities in New York. However, Real Life mama drama threatens to upset the proceedings.

Matronly Ally believes her husband is going off the rails – with the friendly, sex kitten neighbor next door. Can she leave with danger a driveway away? Frazzled Laurel is still single-handedly supporting her family and wondering how to fund her son’s college education, when she is offered an off-beat position she’s not sure she can accept. Ex-beauty queen Missy finds herself stretched thin between two needy teenagers, an established career and a glamorous ‘dream’ job – complete with fast-talking hunk. Super-confident, ultra-organized Celia has taken the reins as matron of honor for Janna, completely ignoring the potential groom who is knocking at her own door. Lost in the preparations, Skye is curiously silent and withdrawn.

Janna quickly heads down the path toward Bridezilla status as she obsesses over the vision of a perfect ceremony. There’s also that slinky designer gown she chose. She’ll need to lose five pounds in order to be wedged into it. Ashe spends most of his time in Bonnie Doone on the pretext of getting the old home ready for sale; instead of packing, he recalls bittersweet memories about his beautiful first wife who died in Iraq.

Added to the chaos is the sudden appearance of Master Perturbation, the new bitchy blog sensation that’s taking the Internet by storm. The posts mirror the lives of the real life Virtual Moms. Could one of the VMs have penned the hurtful blog?

As the clock ticks closer to the nuptials, the group threatens to fall apart. With a record-breaking Nor’easter dumping two and a half feet of snow up and down the Eastern Seaboard, and with Janna and Ashe fussing, will they – and the rest of the VMs – make it to the ceremony?

Where to find Joanne Huspek
Joanne Huspek’s blog
Facebook
Twitter
Medium
Goodreads

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A couple of months ago I met a blogger named Zoe Ambler. She has a new book out that she has published on her own. Independent writers have a tough job. They must do their own marketing and publicity and unless you have a huge online presence and following, that’s a pretty tough job! It occured to me that I could help a tiny bit by introducing her to my readers here on this blog. It is my hope that YOU will share a link to this blog post with your friends and readers, as well as on Twitter if you have a Twitter account. Each one of us can help. I hope you will help Zoe by reading about her and pointing others here to read about her.

introducingBLUE

Author Zoe Ambler

Author Zoe Ambler

Zoe Ambler is from Enterprise, Alabama. She’s 44 years old and broke through into writing by way of role-play gaming, which she still loves to this day.
A “military brat”, she has traveled the world, but always finds her way back home.

Her hobbies include sketching, playing violin (badly, according to Zoe), collecting oddities and office supplies. Zoe is often found spoiling her fat cat, obsessing over coffee and the coming zombie apocalypse.

Zoe is the author of Road Of Darkness, a horror novel published in December of 2014. Her next project is a follow up to Road Of Darkness which she hopes to have available this summer.

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself. What do you do for fun?

I’m a Southerner, so I guess for fun I do the stereotypical ‘redneck’ things. I’ve gone hunting and fishing. I like driving my big truck. But, I also play the violin, badly, but hey, I try. I am an avid gamer though. I absolutely love text based RPG style games and strategy games.

Q: What do you like most about the genre you write in?

I love the different spins you can put on things. The horror genre allows you to take these classic monsters and put your own ideas into them, breaking them from the norm. It also allows you to go through the ages, through history, learning little facts you may not have known along the way.

Q: Where is your favorite place to write?

My home office and my local Coffee Shop. My home office is set up just right, and, well, I’m at home. I don’t have to put pants on. The coffee shop is a favorite place because it keeps me from some of those bad habits like sneaking on to my games and whatnot, allowing me to focus. (The Wi-Fi is slow…not acceptable for gaming. :[ )

Q: What’s your next project?

I’m working on the follow up book to The Road of Darkness. It is pretty much completed, though I found myself with two endings. I’m torn on which one to use. And after that, I am releasing a series of romance/erotica books.
theroadofdarkness_zoeambler

The Road Of Darkness
A brief Summary
The Road of Darkness is the story of Addison. She’s a young Southern Belle in early 1700 Louisiana with a love for Voodoo. She’s a child of privilege, but never really let it go to her head. She was always a little odd.

Our little Southern Belle is attacked and turned. A vampire. However, unlike most, she embraces this new ‘life’. She finds delight in it. A darkness grows within her.

Like any young vampire left to fend for themselves, she stumbles in her new existence. She meets others here and there, and the world of the paranormal opens up to her.

Due in part to her thrill of bloodlust, she becomes fascinated with war. Soon she is moving from country to country, war to war. Mans evolution and technology in the art of warfare intrigues her.

Through her time and adventures, she has fleeting bits of both happiness and sorrow. The darkness within her will only allow her so much happiness.

Her link with all things Voodoo brings her into the servitude of the Baron Semedi, demi-god of the Underworld. A deal gone bad. It only serves to deepen that darkness. Can anyone help her before she does irrevocable damage to both an entire city of innocent people…and herself?

Not your typical vampire story in the least…

Links:
Zoe’s Website
Zoe’s WordPress Blog
Zoe’s Blogspot blog
Facebook
Twitter @ZoeAmbler5
Amazon
Smashwords
Kobo
GooglePlay
Barnes & Noble
GoodReads
Scribd

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