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I graduated from university in 2004 having received B.A. degrees in History and Politics. Moving back to my hometown of Hereford (a quiet, sleepy town near Wales) I quickly got bored (boredom to become a key inspiration throughout my quest to publish these books). Writing hadn’t crossed my mind at this stage and after a year of small town monotony I moved to London, having netted myself what I thought to be a comfy little local government job (little did I know how true this would be, but as I’m still in that local government job so can’t say too much).

Having been in the job since 2006 it was in about 2009 that I started writing. The excitement at moving to London gradually began to wane as I found myself a monotonous cog in the government system. Seeing how that world works from the inside initially manifested itself as searing cynicism and spawned a disappointed, and probably annoying, idealist. One day at work a few years ago an inner spark fired (the flint again being extreme boredom) that fuelled putting pen to paper. An idea for a working-class genius politician came to mind and after developing that character it became about moulding him into a story and background.

The Chronicles of Hope series of books is thus just that, a story of hope. Without giving too much away it’s ultimately a utopian vision of a hopeful future for humanity. The intention behind the books is merely to challenge people’s beliefs and make people think and question everything. I’ve genuinely never been motivated by money, I don’t subscribe to the theory that it brings happiness, but saying that I do understand that having none will often bring unhappiness if it stops you having the lifestyle you want to have. Fortunately my income and circumstances to that end have always been very middle of the road, something that feels like a privilege in this world we live in.

I think the Che Guevara in me hopes that the more people think and the more people work out that we’re owned by the world’s leaders and have no say in society, the closer the world might come to some kind of uprising and revolution. Despite that, there’s no great moral message at the core of the books, I’m well aware that the pile of crap is probably too deep now for such change. My hope is loosely that more people thinking about some of the issues raised could lead to more people refusing to accept the failings of the society in which we live.

2082

Frank Noon divides opinion. Whilst some say he’s a philosophical genius, some say he’s a fanciful dreamer who deliberately courts controversy with his anti-establishment views about the failings of modern society.

Seemingly nearing the end of his life in politics, he reluctantly fronts an experimental inter-galactic government project late in the 21st century aimed at making life on an overpopulated Earth more sustainable. As he battles to gain control of a relative asylum, consisting of a cross section of the populous as much at odds with themselves as the situation, he unwittingly embarks on a life-changing journey of self discovery.

As they learn more about the project and its intentions how far-reaching might the consequences be for the future of humanity?

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Genre – Political Fiction

Rating – PG

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Connect with Robert Breeze on Facebook & Twitter

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How did you develop your writing?

I placed an ad for Stock Market Magic in a local financial newspaper and sold enough copies by mail order to pocket a reasonable profit after paying the cost of the ad. In the hope of getting some publicity, I delivered one full copy to the editor of that paper. A few days later I received a phone call:

“I’m moving to become the editor of a new national broadsheet newspaper. I like the way you write. How would you like to write a weekly column for us?”

“What about?” I asked

“Anything you like.”

And so, my writing career commenced as a sideline to my day-job. I wrote a column called “Albert Tells How”. It was ostensibly a report of a conversation between me and a 300 year old Swiss gnome by the name of Albert. N. Sane. I owned a small factory at the time and Friday was the day I had to pay wages. Naturally, on Wednesday nights I couldn’t sleep so I would go to the refrigerator to get a snack. In those days, the refrigerator light didn’t just switch itself on. Personal service was still important. Like the old days when you stepped into an elevator and the operator would ask “which floor?” That’s how I met Albert. He was 3” tall and he was taking a sabbatical in our ‘fridge.

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He had done a deal with Westinghouse. In exchange for free board and lodging it was his responsibility to switch the light on and off whenever it was appropriate. Albert and I became friends. Having lived for 300 years he had seen it all. When I had a business problem or I was worried about the economy or about the stock market, he would draw on his vast experience and calm me down. I was always able to pay the wages on the Friday.

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More importantly, I came to understand that, for me, writing could be a “do it first and think about it afterwards” kind of activity. Once a week I would sit at the computer – sometimes with no ideas in my head. When that happened, I would shoot word bullets out of my fingers and, eventually, a coherent pattern would emerge. Then, with a bit of iterative editing, I was able to craft a column. Often the final column looked nothing like the original thoughts. That’s when I came to understand how to manage writer’s block.

So you’ve been writing on and off since the 1980s?

Yup. When I emigrated to Australia with the family in 1987 I stopped for a few years, but then I started blogging from about 2002. Eventually, Denise – my loyal and long suffering wife – turned around and asked me why I didn’t do something more challenging, like write another book. In 2005, I took her advice and decided to write a novel. I had no idea where to start, but I knew that the answer would come to me. You’ve heard the expression “wired for sound”? Well I seem to be “wired for inspiration”. In Denise’s language, my third eye is wide open. So I just waited for inspiration. It didn’t take long.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

The ideas just come to me. Most often it happens in the dead of night when my conscious mind is asleep. Of course, they don’t just come out of the black (it’s night time, remember J); I’m usually mulling over a problem in my mind when I’m awake and, if I can’t solve it I just let it go and I wait.

Eventually, one of two things happens: Either I wake up at around 4:00 am with a clear picture of how to proceed, or a book or a person will jump into my life from somewhere – usually in the daytime, when I’m awake – and in the book or in conversation with that person, there will be a clue. For example, with Beyond Neanderthal, my first novel, a friend of Denise’s suggested that I write about Blue Amber. I had never heard of Blue Amber, but I started researching it and then I put pen to paper and, along the way, I found I was writing about humanity’s social evolution – so I changed the name to Beyond Neanderthal. It was a name that just popped into me head in the dead of night after I realised that the original name , “Blue Amber” would not be appropriate.

This type of experience has been happening to me for most of my life. Denise tells me I’m “plugged in”. I first assumed she was talking about the collective unconscious that Carl Jung spoke about. Later, I came to understand that the entire universe is like a giant database of information – something like The Cloud, only much more all encompassing. Religious people might describe it as the mind of God. New Age followers might talk of Akashic Records. It’s a matter of how one perceives things.

In my imagination, I see how it might have been possible for the prophets of old to tap into that database and see the future. I don’t really understand how it works and I can’t “force” it to happen on demand. I’ve come to understand that I should just go with the flow. My best bet is to maximise the potential for my remaining plugged in to the database. I do this by meditating as often as possible – but no more than once a day – and, recently, I have joined the Tai Chi class that Denise teaches. Mostly, I like to be at one with nature, “surrounded by nobody” as our daughter Jenna used to put it when she was a child. When my mind is quiet, the ideas flow. When my mind is cluttered, it tends to go into cruise-control mode.

How did you come up with the title?

With both books, I asked the question of my unconscious mind and the answer manifested in the dead of night. (I’m not kidding). I think that the names of my two books – Beyond Neanderthal and The Last Finesse are spookily representative of the ideas those books are trying to communicate. Denise would argue that they are examples of my being plugged in.

Who or what influenced your writing once you began?

There were several influences. My father was an English teacher. When he was retired and had nothing to do, I would ask him to “edit” my weekly newspaper columns. The man was superhuman. He never once commented on the content; kept his opinions to himself. He would read the article and hand it back to me with spelling mistakes corrected and with suggestions as to grammar.

For most of my business career I have been involved in drafting Business Plans. It soon became clear to me that the human mind works well if it is presented information in context and as part of an unfolding story that has reference benchmarks.

In drafting advertisements as part of my business activities it soon became clear that less is more. If one has something to say then say it. It’s rather like having an itchy left ear: You can scratch the itch with your left hand or you can extend your right hand all the way over the top of your head and scratch it that way. I discovered that readers typically don’t appreciate that kind of meandering writing.

Denise often criticises me for being too basic. “Readers aren’t stupid” she often tells me. “You don’t have to explain at that level of detail.” But then again, I often don’t know what the hell she’s talking about, so it boils down to a balanced approach.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I tend to break my life down into “projects”. Right now my project is to market my two novels. Creative writing is on the back burner. However, if I’m successful and the books start to sell in reasonably large numbers, I might attempt a third book that looks at an imaginary day-to-day adventure/thriller story of life in the future – on the assumption that life on planet earth evolves as my two novels envision. I might call it “The Next Frontier” and the “thrills” might come from conquering the unknown rather than engaging with an enemy.

On the other hand, if my marketing efforts do not give rise to significant sales then I will not try to argue with the market. “Success” is often about timing. My books may be too far ahead of their time. If that turns out to be the case then I may turn my attention to children’s stories. I’ve had this idea about an alternative life form that inhabits the planet and lives in parallel with humans, but only innocent children can see them and consciously interact with them. The stories might involve the human children’s adventures with citizens of the community/ies within the alternative life form.

My fallback position is to devote myself to getting my golf handicap down. I’ll be 67 years old in January and whilst my health is okay, I consider myself to be on the home stretch to death. I don’t want to engage in anything that I’m not enjoying. Last week I managed to score a net 70 in a local golf competition, so I have various options.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Often. Most times I walk away just to allow my mental batteries to recharge and my unconscious mind to open. Sometimes, I “pretend” that I’m travelling downhill on a bicycle and even though I know it’s a waste of time, I start pedalling furiously in anticipation of reaching the next hill. I “dump” words onto a page even though I know they won’t have traction. But then, after a few pages, an idea starts to emerge. At that point I go back to where I starting pedalling and I start to edit by cutting and pasting relevant ideas, deleting irrelevant ideas. Eventually, I recognise that I’ve started pedalling up the slope again and I continue the momentum of my writing.

Beyond Neanderthal

There is an energy force in the world—known to the Ancients—that has largely escaped the interest of the modern day world. Why? There are allusions to this energy in the Chinese I-Ching, in the Hebrew Torah, in the Christian Bible, in the Hindu Sanskrit Ramayana and in the Muslim Holy Qur’an. Its force is strongest within the Earth’s magnetic triangles.

Near one of these–the Bermuda Triangle–circumstances bring together four very different people. Patrick Gallagher is a mining engineer searching for a viable alternative to fossil fuels; Tara Geoffrey, an airline pilot on holidays in the Caribbean; Yehuda Rosenberg, a physicist preoccupied with ancient history; and Mehmet Kuhl, a minerals broker, a Sufi Muslim with an unusual past. Can they unravel the secrets of the Ancients that may also hold the answer to the future of civilization?

About the Author:

In 1987, Brian and his young family migrated from South Africa to Australia where he was employed in Citicorp’s Venture Capital division. He was expecting that Natural Gas would become the world’s next energy paradigm but, surprisingly, it was slow in coming. He then became conscious of the raw power of self-serving vested interests to trump what – from an ethical perspective – should have been society’s greater interests.

Eventually, in 2005, with encouragement from his long suffering wife, Denise, he decided to do something about what he was witnessing: Beyond Neanderthal was the result; The Last Finesse is the prequel.

The Last Finesse is Brian’s second factional novel. Both were written for the simultaneous entertainment and invigoration of the thinking element of society. It is a prequel to Beyond Neanderthal, which takes a visionary view of humanity’s future, provided we can sublimate our Neanderthal drive to entrench pecking orders in society. The Last Finesse is more “now” oriented. Together, these two books reflect a holistic, right brain/left brain view of the challenges faced by humanity; and how we might meet them. All our problems – including the mountain of debt that casts its shadow over the world’s wallowing economy – are soluble.

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Genre – Thriller

Rating – MA (15+)

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Image of David Litwack

Tell us a bit about your family.

I’ve been lucky to be married to my best friend for going on 38 years. We have two sons, one recently married, and the other soon to be.

How do you work through self-doubts and fear?

If you define yourself by what other people think, you probably shouldn’t be a writer. At best, you’ll write watered down stories that offend no one and lack a distinct voice. At worst, you’ll never finish anything. The best answer to self-doubt—be true to yourself.

What scares you the most?

Spending a year on a novel and discovering the basic structure is flawed, then having to rip it apart and throw away some darlings.

What makes you happiest?

Finding the perfect word, phrase, sentence, paragraph, scene. Re-reading the prior day’s writing and thinking—that’s better than I thought it was.

What’s your greatest character strength?

Persistence. I need to rewrite a lot to make it good.

What’s your weakest character trait?

Procrastination. Sometimes I’ll do anything rather than write.

Why do you write?

It’s a character flaw. People in my head keep insisting I tell their story.

Have you always enjoyed writing?

I had a wonderful English teacher in seventh grade who taught me to love to read. That was the start. Then when I was sixteen, this girl who was the editor of a daily camp newsletter convinced me to write something. When it was printed the next day with my byline, I was hooked.

What motivates you to write?

I hope readers feel something special when reading my books, so special that it changes them for the better. Or at least makes them pause and think.

What writing are you most proud of?

Hopefully, I’m continuously improving, so I’m usually most proud of my latest work.

What are you most proud of in your personal life?

My two sons, who have grown up to be fine young men.

AlongtheWatchtower

WINNER: Readers’ Favorite Book 2013 Bronze Award Winner, Drama Category -Fiction

A Tragic Warrior Lost in Two Worlds…

The war in Iraq ended for Lieutenant Freddie Williams when an IED explosion left his mind and body shattered. Once he was a skilled gamer and expert in virtual warfare. Now he’s a broken warrior, emerging from a medically induced coma to discover he’s inhabiting two separate realities. The first is his waking world of pain, family trials, and remorse–and slow rehabilitation through the tender care of Becky, his physical therapist. The second is a dark fantasy realm of quests, demons, and magic that Freddie enters when he sleeps.

In his dreams he is Frederick, Prince of Stormwind, who must make sense of his horrific visions in order to save his embattled kingdom from the monstrous Horde. His only solace awaits him in the royal gardens, where the gentle words of the beautiful gardener, Rebecca, calm the storms in his soul. While in the conscious world, the severely wounded vet faces a strangely similar and equally perilous mission–a journey along a dark road haunted by demons of guilt and memory–and letting patient, loving Becky into his damaged and shuttered heart may be his only way back from Hell.

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Genre – Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy

Rating – PG

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Connect with David Litwack on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.davidlitwack.com

Why do you write? To entertain and inspire and to fulfil my creativity

Have you always enjoyed writing? Yes

What motivates you to write? While writing is rather easy for me it is also challenging to create something really great and I love challenges

What writing are you most proud of? (Add a link if you like) That Girl Started Her Own Country when it will have its new sequel finished making it a complete enough work for fans to realize greater satisfaction

What are you most proud of in your personal life? My children

What books did you love growing up? Strangely, the only book I recall the title of from childhood is The Ghost of Dibble Hallow because I am a late bloomer when it comes to my love for reading and writing.

Who is your favorite author? There are so many that I love, but I would have to say the one that influenced me most is Alexandre Dumas.

What book genre of books do you adore? I love a good mystery based adventure novel.

What book should everybody read at least once? For modern literature I would say either 1984 or Pride and Prejudice but for more ancient works, The King James Version of the Bible if English is your first language, otherwise, you would miss out on the world’s most influential collection of literature and not discover the seamless ingenuity of it.

Is there any books you really dont enjoy? I can’t remember the names of those books but they were books that didn’t capture my attention with either too much introductory descriptions or the story just wasn’t for me. I love old books partly because it gives you a genuine idea of the time period when written.

What do you hope your obituary will say about you? “Was he/she really the Holy Ghost Writer?”

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live? I can’t say because of the contest to discover my identity, however, I have had more impacting life adventures spanning the globe than you may find in a series of good novel.

Holy Ghost Writer

The Sovereign Order of Monte Cristo is a continuation of The Count of Monte Cristo (Book I), related through the voice of Sherlock Holmes and The Sultan of Monte Cristo (Book II). It includes exhilarating new adventures, characters, and ideas, carrying the reader past book I and II and into book III of an ever-expanding new series based on the classic.

Those who have already had the pleasure of reading The Sultan of Monte Cristo will certainly appreciate the unique way in which the Holy Ghost Writer has expanded the original story without the help of anyone (except perhaps from the ghosts of Dumas and Doyle).

In addition to comprising a 3rd sequel to The Count of Monte Cristo, The Sovereign Order of Monte Cristo serves as a prequel to The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

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Genre – Action, Adventure

Rating – PG-15

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Website http://holyghostwriterbooks.blogspot.ca/

Why do you write?

I wrote my novel because I wanted to tell the story of an important period in California history I call the Medical Malpractice Insurance Crisis, circa 1960-1975. This time affected many doctors and the medical and legal professions. As no one has written about it, and I had lived it first-hand, I felt a responsibility to accurately portray it, which I have in my book, Malpractice! the Novel.

Have you always enjoyed writing?

Yes, but in the past it has been only non-fiction- medical articles and books.

Who is your favorite author and why?

This has changed over a lifetime. At this time, it is Colum McCann. His novel, “Let the Great World Spin”, is constantly fascinating, and I am still awed by the craftsmanship with which he guides these very diverse lives into a relationship based on a casual sighting, from the streets of New York City,  and of an unusual incident. It is beautiful because it is seamless.

Do you plan to publish more books?

No. This will be my one and only novel.

How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?

I write at a desk on my Macintosh computer.

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?

Yes- my wife. Her advice, endless support and thoughtful editing suggestions were priceless.

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is. What does success in writing look like to you?

Since I am retired from one career now, my idea of success as a writer is to be on the best-seller list, and to influence national tort reform.

Tell us about your new book. What’s it about, and why did you write it?

Malpractice! the Novel is a courtroom suspense drama involving a fictional but realistic malpractice trial held in California during 1972. The book depicts the medical details of the case, and the entwined lives of the three main characters, including explicit descriptions of their sexual lives. I wrote it to help record the historic period, and to tell a fictional version of some of my own memories of this time.

What do you hope people will take away from your writing?

How will your words make them feel? I hope the average reader  will learn something about medical malpractice litigation, an esoteric subject to the general public. This is now a national problem, referred to as tort reform, which requires attention by our lawmakers.

What’s your next project? 

I have none planned at this time.

What’s the reason for your life?

Have you figured out your reason for being here yet?  Avoiding all the religious  fantasies and mythology, the only “REASON”  for being alive on Earth is normal anatomy and physiology, and evolution. However, if we are referring to accomplishments  during a lifetime as a reason for being here, I am satisfied that my career in Neurosurgery included some worthwhile accomplishments.

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Malpractice! the Novel is an electrifying work of realistic fiction written by an anonymous insider who worked the frontlines of the clash between the medical and legal professions during the California medical malpractice insurance crisis, which began in the 1960s. William Louis Harvey, a nom de plume, takes readers on a steamy adventure involving power, sex, lies and money in this candid courtroom suspense thriller. While Malpractice! The Novel, is a work of fiction, it is rooted in the personal experiences and firsthand knowledge the author acquired during his decades of working inside the medical industry. California in the 1960s and first half of the 1970s had already seen a dramatic increase in medical malpractice lawsuits as juries awarded progressively higher sums for “pain and suffering,” a category that had no concrete limits and caused physicians’ insurance premiums for malpractice to skyrocket.

Harvey chaired a committee that reviewed all malpractice claims involving a major California hospital during the crisis. Details of some of the cases he experienced are engraved in his memory, and small portions of these tidbits find their way into Malpractice! the Novel, his first novel. Roused by a recent New York Times article about the American male novelist’s fear of addressing sexuality, Harvey interleaved honest sex histories for his novel’s characters, adding a titillating sensuality to the suspenseful novel.

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Genre – Steamy Courtroom Drama

Rating – R

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What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Pistachio

If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose? 

Princess Diana

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? 

Coffee, Scrabble eggs with ham, onion, and peppers, and tortillas.

Night owl, or early bird?

I’m an early bird.

Pet Peeves?

I hate it when people leave non-food items on my kitchen counter

Skittles or M&Ms?

M&M

What is your favorite genre to write? To read?

I love to write romantic suspense, action and adventure, military series, saga. I love to read romance, paranormal, fantasy, romantic historical.

Is there anything about one of your books you totally hate and wish you could change, but everyone else seems to like?

I don’t have a part that I hate, not yet. I do have my first two books that have a little more Spanish than the others. The majority of people like it.

Where do you do most of your writing?

I do my writing in my office.

Who are your favorite authors?

I don’t have a favorite author. I like several authors.

What’s the one genre you absolutely will NOT write about? Why?

I’m not sure. I haven’t thought about it. I wouldn’t write the genre pornography, bestiality; these are the ones that come to mine. I’m sure they’re might be more genre.

Do you often use people you know as characters? And do you tell them if you do?

No, I don’t, never.

Have you had any creepy fan experience yet?

Yes I did have a creepy experience. This fan reacted odd when other fans approached me.

Does your family know about ALL the books/stories you’ve written, or are you keeping a few hidden?

Yes my family is aware of the books that I’ve written. They’re very proud of my achievements.

Last, but not least, is there anything you would like to say to your fans?

I’m thrilled that the fans love my books. It’s an amazing feeling to hear from a fan. It’s truly a delight to hear they’re pleasure in reading my stories. I’m also thankful for their support.

LocoRazer

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Redfox, Razer 8 10-13-13

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Genre – Romantic Suspense

Rating – PG 13

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Website http://ptmacias.com/

Chapter 4 

Professor Valentine’s lecture drew to a close and soon students were emptying out into the halls. Outside the windows, the sun was setting. A violet curtain shrouded the heavens, save where the horizon blushed coral in the west. Pivoting a desk, Ransom sat atop it and threw one leg up on the chair.

“Why take me here?” asked Corwin. “If a philosophical debate is in order, I feel that I may require more bourbon.”

“Before you attended this university,” said Ransom, “you already had your doubts about God and Christianity, but here something changed. Those doubts solidified into a worldview, turning you from an agnostic into a hardened atheist. Do you recall what spurred that change?”

“I guess it was the first time that I’d applied critical thinking to religion. Once you stop trying to justify the fairy tales, all that’s left are contradictions and wishful thinking.”

“Yes, yes.” Ransom waved a hand dismissively. “That’s all very enlightening, but it’s not really what I wanted to know. What changed you wasn’t anything that you realized about religion. It was something you realized about yourself.”

The angel’s words struck a chord and Corwin understood at once what he meant. It wasn’t any clever argument or decisive piece of evidence that had swayed him. To question a creed was easy, and the merit of such arguments could be endlessly debated by those who felt compelled to do so, but to look in the mirror and question one’s innermost self . . . that took a bit more resolve.

“I came to see that I’d been accepting beliefs, or at least entertaining them, simply because they were comforting. They were what I had always been told, and easier than seeking my own answers. At first it was scary letting go of religion’s promises, walking the tightrope of life without a spiritual safety net, but if I was to be honest with myself, it was a step that I had to take.”

“Good!” Ransom clapped him on the shoulder. “That’s more like it!”

Corwin blinked hard, unsure whether the angel staring back at him was still playing for the same team.

“Humans are creatures of passion,” said Ransom. “Whether finding faith or rejecting it, the decision is often more a matter of the heart than of the head. Take the atheist who scorns God on account of the foolishness that men do in his name, or the believer who clings to faith because the harshness of life without the hope of Heaven is too much for his fragile spirit to bear.”

“People believe what they want to believe,” affirmed Corwin.

“When perceived truth differs from the truth one desires, a person must choose. You chose the right master, Corwin. In your self-reflection, you stumbled upon a simple and profound, yet seldom followed principle.”

“And that would be?”

“That the only good reason to believe something is if it’s true.”

Dead_Godless

When outspoken atheist Corwin Holiday dies an untimely but heroic death, he’s assigned a chain-smoking, alcoholic angel as his defense attorney in the trial to decide the fate of his soul.

Today many cast Christianity aside, not in favor of another faith, but in favor of no faith. We go off to school or out into the world, and we learn that reality is godless and that free thinking means secular thinking. But must faith entail an end to asking questions? Should not the Author of Reason be able to answer the challenge of reason?

Dead & Godless is a smart and suspenseful afterlife adventure that explores the roots of truth, justice and courage. In these pages awaits a quest that spans universes, where the stakes are higher than life and death, and where Christianity’s sharp edges aren’t shied away from, because we’re not called to be nice. We’re called to be heroes.

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Genre – Christian Fiction

Rating – PG-13

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“Stand up and drop the weapon.”

A long shadow stretched over the grass, followed by a second. Breton loosened his grip on the weapon and let it fall. Careful to step on the blade as he rose, he held out his hands to show he wasn’t armed.

A second robed figure emerged from the knee-tall grass, and the tip of a second arrowhead glinted in the sunlight. Breton ran his tongue over his teeth. The first stood close enough for Breton to reach, if he could avoid being struck.

The second man would prove the true problem. If Breton was hit — or if the archers missed him and hit Ferethian instead — he’d have more than his survival to worry about. While he needed to find Kalen, he didn’t want to lure the Rift King back to the Rift through death.

“That’s right. Easy now. Keep your hands where we can see them, Rifter.”

Breton glanced out of the corner of his eye at Ferethian. The Rift King’s horse stood rigid, the animal’s dark eyes staring beyond the two outsiders.

The pair of large shadows moved closer, and it took all of Breton’s will to stare at the two figures in front of him.

“Hands up higher, Rift King,” the man snapped.

Breton hesitated, glancing at each figure in turn. They thought he was the Rift King? He frowned and considered the two men. They didn’t exactly go out of their way to describe Kalen to anyone. However, he could recall a few missives talking about how unusually small the Rift King’s horse was. Had they learned of Ferethian, but not of the man who rode him?

“Do it!”

The shadows solidified to the towering forms of black horses. The taller of the two Breton recognized from the familiar warmth in his chest born from being near his horse. Perin’s teeth were bared and both ears were turned back. The second horse was covered in river mud and dust, with black patches showing through.

Breton held his breath.

Ferethian lifted his hoof and struck the ground once. A chill ran through Breton. The two large animals took their placed behind the robed figures, their movements silenced by the ever-present hiss of the wind.

“Halter your horse,” the man ordered.

He lifted his hands to his shoulder to grab the ruined halter. Ferethian snorted and reared back, slamming both hooves down at the same time.

The outsiders fell to the heavy blow of hooves to the head. Angry squeals broke the silence, and Ferethian surged forward to trample the fallen, his long tail bannering.

Breton shivered, stooping to pick up the poisoned blade and the outsiders’ bows and arrows. One of them was carrying a small pouch tied to his belt. He grabbed it and tucked it away in a pocket. Pivoting on a heel, he left the bodies for the nibblers. The three Rift horses flanked him.

He hurried to where the Foristasa cut its way through the plains. The weapons vanished beneath the white caps of its waters. Perin draped his head over Breton’s shoulder and sighed. There was only one reason he could think of for outsiders to make their way to Blind Mare Run. They wanted the Rift King, dead or alive.

If the outsiders learned the truth of the Rift King’s disappearance, he didn’t want to think of the consequences. Breton knelt by the river’s edge and clucked his tongue at the horses. Perin came without complaint, letting him clean the blood from his legs.

The other two horses refused, as though unwilling to wash away the evidence of their devotion to the King no longer within the Rift.

He glanced in the direction of the bodies, shook his head, and headed back towards Blind Mare Run to call for the other Guardians.

StormWithoutEnd

Kalen’s throne is his saddle, his crown is the dirt on his brow, and his right to rule is sealed in the blood that stains his hand. Few know the truth about the one-armed Rift King, and he prefers it that way. When people get too close to him, they either betray him or die. The Rift he rules cares nothing for the weak. More often than not, even the strong fail to survive.

When he’s abducted, his disappearance threatens to destroy his home, his people, and start a hopeless and bloody war. There are many who desire his death, and few who hope for his survival. With peace in the Six Kingdoms quickly crumbling, it falls on him to try to stop the conflict swiftly taking the entire continent by storm.

But something even more terrifying than the machinations of men has returned to the lands: The skreed. They haven’t been seen for a thousand years, and even the true power of the Rift King might not be enough to save his people — and the world — from destruction.

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Genre – Fantasy

Rating – PG – 13

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Tom pushed open the screen door of Glancy’s grocery. He carried a bag of food and was embarrassed to be here. Boys didn’t shop. But Aunt Bessie told him if he wanted her to cook food, he had to go buy it. She didn’t have time to kill and pluck a chicken.

The rickety door slammed behind him and he nearly ran into Junior Baker. Beside him stood Alrik Olsen. Both boys were fifteen, a year older than Tom. He tensed.

“Watch where you’re going, little boy,” said Junior. He pointed to the shopping bag and grinned at Alrik. “Lookie here. The shrimp is doing the shopping. What happened, shrimp? Did your Uncle Davis found out that you couldn’t lift a fork of hay and made you do woman’s work?”

“Get lost, Junior,” said Tom.

He stepped away and headed home. Junior rushed him and jammed his shoulder into Tom’s back. Tom crashed to the ground, the groceries spilling into the dirt. A fresh chicken wrapped in brown paper scooted across the dust. Junior stomped it.

Tom’s face reddened. He raised up, driving his head into Junior’s stomach and swinging with his right hand. His fist clipped Junior’s ear and the larger boy fell backward. As Tom charged him, Alrik grabbed Tom’s arm and spun him around. Tom saw the big fist coming and ducked, but the knuckles caught him under his left eye and he went down again. Junior stood over him, fists ready when the screen door opened and Mr. Glancy rushed out holding a baseball bat.

“I won’t have fighting around my store,” the gray haired man said. Junior and Alrik scurried away.

“Who started it?” said Mr. Glancy.

Tom struggled to his feet rubbing his face. “Doesn’t make any difference. Looks like I’ll need another chicken.”

Mr. Glancy nodded and went back in the store as Tom picked up the groceries. He brushed the dirt off of everything except the smashed chicken. Mr. Glancy brought him another wrapped in brown paper. At the end of the month, Aunt Bessie would question why her bill listed two chickens when she only got one. Tom planned to lie. He couldn’t tell her the truth. She didn’t want him fighting and watched over him like a mother hen.

He dropped off the groceries in the kitchen of the West Lot house, dodged Aunt Bessie, and hustled out to the well pump. Will peered at him from the upstairs window, and before Tom finished, Will joined him. He touched Tom’s swollen cheek.

“Spit it out. What happened?”

“Junior and Alrik jumped me. I could handle Junior, but Alrik throws a mean punch.”

“We’ll get them back,” said Will.

“I don’t care. I won’t be around anyway.”

“You’ll have a black eye for the picnic tomorrow. The girls’ll fawn over you like a newborn kitten. They’ll persuade you not to leave town.”

“Nope, I’m going.”

“Good food, sunshine, good-looking girls and explosions. What else could you want in life?”

Tom laughed. The picnic might be fun and he always liked being around Helen, but nothing could happen at a picnic to keep him from leaving.

StepIntoDarkness

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Genre – YA/Mystery

Rating – PG – 13

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Ben Woodard on Facebook and Twitter

Website http://BooksByBen.com

Image of Sarah Krisch

Who is your favorite author? 

Nora Roberts is probably my favorite author.  She does so many things so well as a writer.  Her characters are compelling and her pacing is dynamic.  Even after having written so many wonderful books, she still amazes me nearly every time I read her.

What book should everybody read at least once?

Gone With the Wind.  I’ve read GWtW at least four times, and every time I read it, I learn something new.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

With the advent of indie publishing, getting published is almost too easy.  Not that I discourage anyone with a good story idea not to give it a try.  Writing and marketing are equally difficult, but in different ways.  Sometimes you sit down to write and you have the black screen and that darned blinking cursor staring at you and you haven’t the slightest idea what you’re going to write.  Luckily for me, those moments don’t stretch out into something more substantial.  I don’t necessarily ever get writer’s block, but I can understand how some people do.  That blank page can be intimidating.  I just remind myself that I control my output.  Marketing, especially for a new author like myself, can be just as intimidating as that blank screen.  Approaching reviewers can feel like those awkward childhood moments when you wanted to ask a boy to dance at a junior high dance.

Do you plan to publish more books?

The Good Life series is a trilogy, so yes I do.  I’m hoping to complete the trilogy by the spring.  And after that… I have an idea for a YA paranormal series.  I don’t want to give away the details, but it’s going to be fun to write!

How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?

Ever since I was little, I always had the romantic notion that someday I would write longhand in journals.  But, realistically, that’s not how my brain works.  I’ll write a sentence on my laptop and then rewrite it sometimes a dozen times.  While I still harbor those romantic notions, writing in longhand would never work for me.

How much sleep do you need to be your best?

I wish I could get by with less sleep, but I’m a crabby zombie if I sleep less than eight hours a night.  Nine hours would be even better, but the demands of work, family, and writing won’t allow it.

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?

Really, if my characters entertain my readers for a few hours, then I’m doing my job.  It’s hard to predict how many readers I’ll ever have, but I would feel like a success if my readers follow me from one book to the next.

Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?

From the book description:

A failed actress, twenty-something Julia McCarthy begins writing a fictionalized blog as a form of self-therapy. Based on her carefree summers at her grandparents’ farm, she never expects her little experiment to garner a viral following, but it does. Boy, does it ever.

Now, with thousands of loyal blog followers, and a syndication deal with the Chicago Herald, Julia is approached by GreenTV to adapt her blog into a TV show. The producers see her as a “Rachel Ray on the Prairie-type”. She sees herself as a fraud.

In Julia’s fictional world, she’s successful. She can pay her bills on time. Heck, she even has a fictional gorgeous husband and charming little boy. Ready to realize her dreams, Julia returns to her grandparents’ farm to shoot the TV pilot.

Brad Taylor is definitely not her type: he’s rugged, sensible, and oh-so smug about learning that Julia’s blog is a farce. As the manager of her grandparent’s farm, Brad doesn’t have time to deal with whimsical women who don’t even know how to cook. 

Julia can’t allow her attraction to Brad to distract her, not when her dreams are about to come true. But are these truly her dreams, her good life? 

A fun, fast (150 pages) contemporary romance

What’s your next project?

Right now I’m wrapping up Madi, The Good Life Book Two.  Next up, I’m planning to write a Christmas novella: Trudy, A Good Life Christmas.  That story will focus on Julia’s grandmother when she was a newlywed during the 1950s.

How do you feel about self-publishing?

I find it both liberating and scary.  On the one hand, it has freed so many talented authors from the confines of the traditional publishing model, many of whom never had the chance to get their work published until now.  One the other hand, with few constraints to what gets published there is also a rising tide of bad books on the market.  It makes it confusing for readers.  I would encourage any reader in this new publishing world to read samples before you buy.  Reviews are helpful, but they can only help so much.

I LOVE my Kindle Paperwhite, I just wish it was waterproof so I could relax a bit more when I take it into the bath.  When I find a free half hour I enjoy romance, paranormal romance and new adult books, mostly.

Do you find the time to read?

It’s hard to find the time, but when I do I read mostly romance, paranormal romance and new adult books.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

My family.  We have three happy, healthy boys.  I met my husband in high school and we’ve been together ever since.  What we’ve built together, it’s like a dream come true.

What’s your favorite place in the entire world?

Realistically?  I would say Grand Haven, Michigan.  It’s a short drive for our busy family.  We’ve vacationed there a number of times, enjoying the quiet beaches and nearby small towns.  Laying in a hammock and a good book is serenity.

How long have you been writing?

About three years.

What genre are you most comfortable writing?

I love writing romance, but I can picture writing paranormal and even a thriller at some time down the road.

What inspired you to write your first book?

My husband has been writing since high school.  He’s been a published author for over a decade and over the years I’ve always been his first reader.  I guess you could say I’ve become a writer out of osmosis.  After giving my input for so long, I finally decided I wanted to tackle my own stories.  While Glen mostly writes horror stories, I much prefer HEA (happily ever afters).

Write now I write because I enjoy it.  Even with indie publishing, I think selling the amount of books it would take to make writing a career is still a lot like winning the lottery.  Sure, some people win, but the odds are against it.

Have you developed a specific writing style?

My goal is to try to establish the characters’ emotions.  You can’t have a romance without an emphasis on emotions.  I figure, emotions + conflict = a recipe for a successful romance novel.

How much of the book is realistic?

Julia is set, as are all the books in the Good Life series, in Harmony Grove, Iowa.  These are stories about small town charm and hard-working people.  I don’t sugarcoat these aspects, even if some of the narrative is on the nostalgic end of the spectrum.

What are your goals as a writer?

I want to tell stories that I would like to read.  I figure if I can accomplish that, then readers will eventually find my work.

What contributes to making a writer successful?

Having a thick skin is important.  If you shy away at the slightest criticism, either in the critiquing phase or after your work is published, then writing might not be in the cards for you.  Writing is a hard and oftentimes lonely business.  One day a reader might call your book an all-favorite, while the next day someone might question your ability to string together coherent sentences.  Hard work and a thick skin will take you far.

Do you have any advice for writers?

Reading is just as important as writing.  I sometimes read about a writer who doesn’t read when they are in the middle of writing a novel.  Aren’t novelists always in the middle of writing a novel?  Does that mean that they don’t read at all?  I read for enjoyment, but I also read to learn about improving my craft.  You can learn as much from a poorly written novel as a literary masterpiece.  But you have to take the time to read, or you’ll lag behind those writers of equal talent who do.

Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers?

My readers have been so supportive so far!  I love talking to readers, either about my work or books in general.  You can drop me an email at:  sarahkrisch@gmail.com

Julia

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG-13

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Connect with Sarah Krisch on Facebook


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