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M/M Contemporary Romance Spotlight and Author Interview: Jesse’s Smile by Angelique Jurd @AngeliqueJurd

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M/M Contemporary Romance

jesses smile

Jesse Peterson is 26 and loves his job at a pet store. He loves the cats, the dogs and Sniffles the rabbit. What he doesn’t love is the way people assume that he can’t look after himself, that he’s isn’t a man. So, when the store’s newest customer, buying supplies for his kitten, asks him out, Jesse has trouble understanding why. Jesse knows he’s not stupid, but nobody else seems to know that. They just see a good-looking young man whose smile seems to be the brightest thing about him.

Drew Oliver isn’t other people. A high school teacher with a history of bad relationship choices, Drew is patient, loving, and doesn’t care that Jesse is different. He just cares about being able to make him smile as often as he can.

Everyone seems to have an opinion about the differences between Drew and Jesse, few notice the things they share. Can their relationship survive the scrutiny and judgement passed by everyone around them? And when one of Drew’s bad choices shows up, will love be enough to help them survive the aftermath?

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“It’s more than a bit OCD,” Jesse starts to protest but stops when Drew snorts. His glasses are back in place. Jesse thinks he’s the handsomest man he’s ever seen and that’s strange because his Dad wears glasses for reading and he’s not handsome. Maybe his mom thinks he is.

“Dude, you have never seen my mother with housework, trust me you have a long way to go.” Drew crunches on a cracker he’s smeared with blue cheese. “Jesse, you know, you’re not broken, you’re just different. And I’d still like to take you out tomorrow night.”

Sighing, Jesse sits back in his chair for a moment, unsure of what to do. Part of him wants to run home, lock the door behind him, grab Wicket, and rub his hand over him until his heart stops pounding. Part of him wants to go out tomorrow night and see what happens. And an entirely different part of him wants to climb in Drew’s lap and kiss him again. He decides he should probably ignore that part. For now.

“Okay, what are we going to see?”

Jesse’s Smile, Angelique Jurd ©2017-2018

About the Author:

angelique jurd

A former print journalist and editor, with experience in newspaper, magazine and digital formats, Angelique Jurd writes M/M contemporary romance Based in New Zealand, she is owenved by four cats, three adult children, and a boyfriend. Her love of pop culture has led her to preparing herMaster of Arts thesis on the ways in which fan-produced media disrupts, informs, and influences the original text and creators of the television show Supernatural. Jesse’s Smile is her first novel.

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Author Interview:

Thanks for doing an interview! Could you tell our readers a little bit about your writing journey?

When I was 12 I read my first Stephen King novel (yeah I was precocious) and heard Bruce Springsteen on the radio and I was just enchanted by the way they painted pictures with their words. It was magic and I knew I wanted to do that. I started out as a journalist and worked my way up to editor. I then spent some time doing corporate writing (something I was very bad at) before deciding to return to university. I graduated in 2017 with a BA in Media Studies and English and am currently preparing my Masters thesis in Media Studies. My ‘day job’ (my thesis) involves analysing and writing about M/M fan fiction and my ‘other’ job is writing M/M romance – it’s a win all the way around.

How many books do you currently have published?

I have just published my first novel, but I do have a collection of columns I wrote for a newspaper and a collection of four short stories. I put them on Amazon a few years ago – before all the amazing tools we have today were so easy to access – so the formatting on them isn’t … wonderful. One day soon I’ll take them down and fix them.

I have some more novels due out over the coming months.

What has been your favorite book to write so far? Why?

I’ve written four novels over the past twelve months and Jesse’s Smile has been my favorite. I just liked Jesse’s character from the moment I heard him in my head so it made it very easy to sit down and work each day. When I was finished I went into mourning for a week, I missed him so much.

Are you currently working on a book? Will this be your next release?

I am currently working on two books. One is the third in a trilogy – The Capistrano Series – the first of which will be released in May. The other – Guard You With My Heart is the first in a paranormal m/m romance series – Guardian Angel series – will be my next release.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Painting pictures with words. Meeting characters in my head (it’s noisy in there), discovering their world, and telling their story.

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?

I do. It used to bother me a lot but now I deal with it by putting on some music, opening a document about something entirely different, and ignoring the characters and plot that are blocked. Usually within 24 hours they start opening up again. I don’t know if that would work for everyone, but it works for me.

Have you ever had one of your characters to take a twist you weren’t expecting and surprise you?

Yes. In The Capistrano Series, one of the characters has just thrown a massive temper tantrum. He’s normally really placid and easy going and it blindsided me – so it certainly blind sided the other characters.

Which of your characters is your personal favorite? Least favorite? Why?

I have favorites and villians in each book. In Jesse’s Smile, Jesse was my favorite by far because I liked his transparency and his lack of pretense. I really hated David – hated writing him, hated everything about him. Happily so do readers. He’s the villain of the story and he was just so awful to have in my head.

Now it’s time to get to know you! What are some of your favorite books to read?

I’m a huge fan of Stephen King, JK Rowling, Melissa Foster, oh look the list is huge and very ecclectic. I read a lot of fan fiction too.

What about television shows? Movies?

Supernatural. BBC Sherlock. Arrow. The Black List. NCIS.

Movies – pretty much any movie available. I’m going to see The Shape of Water today.

Can readers find you at any live events, such as book signings or conventions?

I’m hoping to have some of those lined up very soon so stay tuned.

Psychological Thriller Spotlight: Portrait of Death by Greg Ryan @GregRyan24

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portrait of death jpg

Nathan Pearson defines emotional scars – a former Chicago detective who is against becoming an FBI agent and used to date a psychotic serial killer, an art teacher fixated on painting portraits of her victims. But when new murders make a connection between him and Mona, he will be forced to go visit her at the mental hospital for information.

With Mona committed to a mental hospital, a mysterious group are striking back at her and Nathan. Though Mona claims she knows nothing about it, the murders are committed in a similar fashion as hers.

But every time there is another murder, a threatening note is left specifically for Mona—and Nathan begins to wonder why he has been named in all of this. Nathan will do whatever is necessary to get the information he needs from Mona—or wait until the mysterious group catches up to him and Mona. One thing is clear: Mona’s obsession with art goes far deeper than anyone knows. This all leads to a twisted and shocking turn of events that will make Mona Pruitt the next deadly famous artist.

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Linda gave in and turned the portrait around to show Mona. Mona took it in her hands to get a real look at it. It was a portrait of a young guy at a library, standing near a bookshelf, picking out a book to read.

“I followed him to the campus library,” Linda said. “I knew there was something about him that had a story to tell. His eyes had so much promise of a wise man. I couldn’t let him go.”

“How did you kill him?”

“Stabbed a pencil in the back of his head. Then I used some string to make him stay standing, appearing to be looking for a book to read. What do you think?”

“I think this is wonderful, Linda. It shows you have a true understanding of art and where it comes from. I like the color you used for his face.”

“Thank you so much, Mona!” All of Linda’s dreams just came true. She was waiting with so much anticipation to find out what Mona Pruitt would think of her portraits. Her face filled with the acceptance that she may never have gotten before, and Mona handed the portrait back to her.

About the Author:

greg ryan

I have been fascinated with stories ever since I was a kid and my passion for it grew as I got older. Focusing on TV shows and movies has really helped shaped the kind of vision I need to be a good writer. Stories are told differently between shows, movies, and books and by getting very familiar with all three it has only enhanced my skill as a writer. Watching stories unfold one episode at a time has a very specific structure that has to be followed and that has allowed me to write better stories. Learning different structures for movies or shows has been a great combination to allow me to tell the best and most exciting story. I promise you won’t be bored.

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Urban Fantasy Spotlight and Author Q&A: Mage Emergence by Christopher George @CGNovels

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Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Adventure

mage emergence

Release Date: December 15, 2017

War sweeps across the globe as a minor conflagration is turned into a major world war. Mages have emerged from the shadows and turned on each other after generations of hiding. As the conventional war fizzles to a close, the real war continues – the war for supremacy amongst Mages.

Devon, broken and crippled by his former Master has determined that none of his kind should survive the evil that they have unleashed on the world. Though physically weak, his Mana has never been greater as he seeks out the one thing he cannot find – revenge against his former Master.

No one has seen or heard from Victor Whittlesea in six years, however Devon knows that a final confrontation is coming and that his only hope is to discover a way to kill a man who cannot die.

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And so we come to the end. It is fitting that my ending takes place where I began. It is also perhaps fitting that I am surrounded by the ruins of the city in which I was born. This is my legacy. I leave behind me only waste and desolation.  Those who come after me will not remember my name fondly. Any friends and family who still remain behind will not even know I have passed. There will be no one to mourn my name when I am gone. Yet, I am content. This is as it should be.

My name is Devon Wills and I am going to die very soon. I can feel it in my bones. I can taste it in the very air around me. With each passing moment I become more certain that I will not survive the night. Even as I kill more of those sent to end me, I know it is simply a matter of time. I have already dispatched three teams of soldiers who sought to kill me, but it will not be such as those that will be my downfall – it will be my former master.  I glance down at my watch uncertainly. It’s past time. He is late.

My former master is Victor Whittlesea and he is never unintentionally late.

I grip the mobile phone in my pocket nervously as I glance across the city. I’m not looking at the city as it is now, with its fallen towers and burning streets. I’m not seeing the scavengers hiding in bolt holes and sewers. Their fates don’t interest me. I look past the gangs and marauders who have taken control of the streets since all order had fallen. No, I’m looking at the city as it had once been.

God knows it hasn’t been perfect – we’ve had homelessness and graffiti, vandalism and muggings in the past – but it was better than this. It had worked.  It deserves better than this. I remember shopping with my father at a small supermarket that was now a pile of rubble. I had eaten at a restaurant that has since been gutted and opened to the elements. I had probably ridden the exact tram car that was now smashed and lying abandoned in the middle of the street.

I don’t care to see the people on the street below now, as they fight and kill each other.  I know in my heart that many are just victims of circumstance and they aren’t truly responsible for their actions, but it doesn’t really make much difference at the end of the day. A starving man killing another for tinned fruit is still just as damaged as a psychopath who kills for pleasure. The damage is still done and there is no coming back. I know all too well the damage done by being forced to commit murder. I have killed many times and I will kill again, once more at least.

I still see those who have fallen before me when I close my eyes. I hear their death screams and I remember the light as it left their eyes. Yes, there is truly no coming back from inflicting death. I am broken, but I am not unusual in that. Everyone in the city below me is broken in one way or another. I wonder how many new damaged souls have been created as our ‘war’ intensifies across the globe. It had begun so simply and has spiralled out of control so quickly.

Our kind spread like wildfire across the globe as we turned upon each other in righteous fury. We fought each other in an attempt to prove our dominance over one another and we had dragged the rest of the world along with us.

I had chosen to stand against my kind. I saw them as nothing more than a cancer on the face of world that needed purging. We were the evil. We were the ones who had started all this. Our quest for power had brought the old world down. I knew the hypocrisy of my statement, as amongst my peers I was the most responsible, but that just meant I had to be the one to do something. Many of my kind had fallen to me, but there were always more. As the war expanded across Europe and then into the United States I realised I could no longer work alone. The collateral damage was too much. This war needed to end.

What had started as a conventional war had twisted into something new, something more dangerous – a mage war.  In a conventional war, the winner is usually determined by who has the better tech. A mage war winner is determined by one simple factor – power. Whichever side has the more powerful mages wins.

That didn’t matter to me though. With every fallen mage on both sides, my objectives would be furthered. The death of my kind would relieve the shackles held around the world’s throat. This war would pass, and people would recover, and the countries and economies would regrow. Soon the world would return to the old ways and it would be as if our kind never existed. I was a fool. It had taken me far too long to see this simple truth: the old world was gone. In the end I was forced to come to the same conclusion as everyone else. There simply wasn’t enough left to save. Our war had changed everything.

Only one true relic remains from the old world: my former master. And I am going to remedy that tonight.

Victor is here; he has been for some time now. He isn’t hiding from me. He is far too sure of himself for that. So why does he delay? I am here, alone and unarmed. Well, at least as unarmed as our kind can be.  Why hasn’t he struck me down yet? I’m sure it’s not through a lack of motivation. He’s already tried to kill me before.

He had almost been successful, too, on several occasions. Instead he had left me crippled and broken. Only my magic prevented my injuries from seriously handicapping me. I had used Mana to make myself powerful once again. I had used it to keep myself mobile. I had used it because I had no other choice.  Without my powers I was as feeble as a child, barely able to walk or hold myself upright, but with them I was unstoppable.

Victor and I are probably the last two most powerful practitioners of our art left. Once he deals with me he will have free reign and stand supreme. His domination will be complete and he will rule over the remains of our planet with a tyrannical fist.  The problem is, should I survive, my rule won’t be any less brutal. I’ve already proved I am capable of acts no less savage than his. My evil is just as pronounced as his. It doesn’t really matter who wins – our future is fucked either way.

I don’t much like my chances of survival, but I am going to fight anyway. Why? Because I have no choice – this conflict needs to end. I know it and so does Victor. All he has to do is come and finish me off. And here I am, standing on a building rooftop in plain sight.  Surely this opportunity is too much to pass up?  So why isn’t he here? I check my watch again.

“Victor!” I call out, using my Mana to amplify my voice. “Come out and finish this. It is time!”

My voice would have been heard across every inch of this city. He would have heard me, but more so he would have felt the Mana surge across the city as I amplified my voice.  I can still see the shockwave caused by my Mana passing over the smouldering rubble of once-familiar buildings and across the beloved landmarks of my childhood now falling into ruins.

The loud explosion of sound that usually precedes a teleport spell brings me spinning around to face my old master. It is time. I steadied my nerves as I gripped my fingers into fists. I casually clip the loose battery on my mobile phone into place and close the lid. I carefully flick the phone on, never once taking my eyes from my adversary. The familiar electronic jingle notifies me that it has finished loading and then I drop it into the rubble beneath me as I step forward and look at my upcoming death squarely in the eyes.  I will not flinch in the face of it. I am ready.

This is how it ends. It is fitting. Let me now tell you how this begins.

About the Author:

christopher george

As an avid science fiction and fantasy reader Christopher George has been immersing himself in books from a young age. In 2004 Christopher completed his Bachelor of Multimedia at Monash University and has been working as an IT professional ever since. He currently lives in Melbourne with his partner, her daughter and three cats.
Mage Catalyst is his first completed novel and was written in a variety of hotel rooms and airports across Australia. Catalyst is his first non-technical piece and he finds it much easier to write fiction than software documentation.
It’s also very recently come to light that he is simply awful at talking about himself in the third person.

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Author Interview:

Thanks for doing an interview! You’ve written several books in the science fiction/fantasy genres. How do you stay inspired to come up with new plotlines and ideas?

That’s an interesting question, the storyline for this series has remained pretty static, I knew what was going to happen and how the series would end, but I didn’t know how I was going to get there. It was a curious mixture of awe and terror as the series unfolded itself towards its eventual final scenes. As the fourth book ends shortly after the prologue from the first book starts it was really surreal to be writing a scene that I’d originally penned down nine years ago.

How many books do you currently have published in your series?

The Mage Series currently has four books, Mage Catalyst, Mage Accession, Mage Dissolution and finally Mage Emergence.

Has the series taken the direction you originally planned for it?

All, in all. Yes. I guess it did, but in a curious way No it didn’t. A third of the plot for the third book was almost rewritten from scratch taking the series into a whole new direction. This was terrifying as I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to bring the whole thing back together again. Fortunately, the rewrite was critical and it basically allowed for the fourth book. I hadn’t exactly left myself too many plot points with my original ending for the third novel.

What’s next for 2018?

I’m busy writing as always. I’ve got another piece coming out early 2018. It’s a spin off from the main series starting all new characters. I’m also trying to branch out into other genres, I’m still working on a high fantasy piece which is no where near ready yet and a science fiction piece called Skybound that has basically dominated my thoughts for the past six months. I can’t wait to share that with you all. It’s not ready yet, but it will be soon.

What do you enjoy most about writing? What do you like least?

Storytelling. I love telling stories and I love discussing my work with my readers.

Could you tell us some about your book covers? Do you design the artwork yourself? What do you look for when it comes to covers that best represent your books?

There are two people responsible for my covers. My good friend Ian Harding who did all the photographic work. And Meg Owenson who did the Illustration. I did all the layout and design. It’s been an interesting journey with the covers – the hand is a difficult thing to shoot properly.

Have you ever had one of your characters to take a twist you weren’t expecting and surprise you?

Yes, it’s funny it’s not the main characters, it’s always the minor ones. They’re usually fleshed out enough to further the understanding of the main character, but occasionally they’ll jump from the page and demand more details. That’s when I know that I’ve created someone interesting and not just background noise.

Which of your characters is your personal favorite? Least favorite? Why?

I’ve got a soft spot for Victor. Villians are easy to understand their motivations, but it’s not like that for Victor. I’ve never liked the concept of Good Verses Evil. For me it’s always been ever more shades of grey. Victor’s like that. He’s definitely the antagonist of the series, But after four books and looking back. I’m not sure he’s the villain. I think that role might fall to Devon.

So far, what has been your favorite scene to write?

There was scene in Mage Catalyst where Devon is facing off against his first real mage fight with Vin. This scene just seemed to flow from me as if I was watching it on a screen in front of me. I’ve never felt anything like it since. The whole section was written in one session and it didn’t feel like keys on the keyboard. I could see it in my mind. Each crash, each crunch and finally Vin’s brutal death screams were vivid in my mind as my fingers did their work.

What lessons have you learned since becoming a writer? Do you have any tips for new writers?

Keep at it. Doesn’t matter what you’re writing. Just get it down. Do whatever you can to get that first draft finished. Then – well, then your work is just started. I was surprised by how much of the novel was crafted from the editing process. But that’s as it should be. Good stories are crafted – not blurted out in one sitting.

Do you have any extras you’d like to share, like a teaser about an upcoming new release, a summary of a deleted scene, or a teaser about a surprising plot twist or character?

I do, I hinted at it before, but I’ve got a spin of series due out early 2018. It’s going to be set in the same world as Devon and Co, but set just after the events of Mage Catalyst. Whilst Devon himself won’t appear, a few familiar characters might appear. Stay tuned!

If you were doing a book to film adaptation, which actors and actresses do you feel would best represent your main characters?

Ooh, Good question, I had a Poll on my website about this a few months back. I think we settled on Alycia Debnam Carey for Renee & someone like Marcus Vanco for Devon. I’ve always pictured Liam Neeson as Victor and Jared Leto as Marcus.

Now it’s time to get to know you! What are some of your favorite books to read?

I wish I had more time to read, but when I did I was a massive fan of Terry Pratchett & Ben Elton.

What about television shows? Movies?

Game of Thrones. What else? Loving the new Star Wars movies.

Is there a book that you have read that you feel has made a big impact on your life? Why?

Frank Herbert’s Dune. There was a man who truly understood power.

If you had to sum up your life as a writer in ten words, what would you say?

… I think my keyboard is broken.

Do you have anything else you’d like to share with readers?

I’d like to thank them for sticking with me through four novels. It’s been a long journey and I’m exceedingly proud of the result. Thank you.

Featured Historical Fiction Book and Author Q&A: In a Time Never Known by Kat Michels @FictionofTruth

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Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction

in a time never known

Wife, mother, spy. Anna is hiding a dangerous secret from her family, especially her Confederate General husband. However, it is not her covert work for the Union that she finds the most daunting, it is dealing with her spoiled Southern belle daughter. When Kady discovers that her mother has been leading a carefully constructed double life, she must choose whether to work by her mother’s side in the shadows or return to the pampered life of a Southern planter’s daughter.

Cast into the bloody fray of one of the deadliest wars in our history, In a Time Never Known is the story of women who courageously defy the expectations of the era to do unprecedented things, altering the course of American history and their own lives.

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“When at long last Benjamin quietly locked the door to the shop and pulled Anna into the back, her face flushed and her heart raced, whether from fear or excitement she did not know. Before she could decide, Benjamin kissed her. It was like no feeling she had ever had, like no feeling she knew was even possible. A warmth spread throughout her body that she felt down to her toes. He kissed her again and again, until the warmth centralized itself into her lower abdomen and she veritably ached for him. His hands held her firmly, one on her lower back, and the other stroking rhythmically on the side of her bodice, nearly driving her to distraction. She wanted so badly to be free of her many layers, to feel his flesh on hers, to ease her aching as only this man could, right here and right now.

Then he stopped. As he pulled away from her, she saw that he was breathing as heavily as she. He looked down, slightly shaking his head, then looked up to her with the kindest, most loving eyes and gently placed his hand against her cheek. She felt so small next to him, his hand could have easily engulfed her entire face. He ever so carefully stroked her cheek with his thumb until she had to close her eyes to keep the tears at bay.”

About the Author:

kat michels

Kat Michels lives in Los Angeles, CA, with her two puggles. She is the author of a historical fiction novel, three children’s book, and a series of mini-biographies about extraordinary American women. Kat has received multiple awards for her writing, including two regional Emmys for her work on short-form documentaries.

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Author Q&A:

Thanks for doing an interview! Could you tell our readers a little bit about your writing journey?

I’ve been writing stories and poetry for as long as I can remember. My life has been a series of scraps of paper and napkins with brilliant, spur-of-the-moment ideas hastily scribbled on them. Despite this, it took until I was in my mid-twenties before it occurred to me that not only was I a writer, I wanted to write as my profession. From there I started dabbling wherever I could. I wrote the narrative to a couple of short-form documentaries. I was a theater critic in Los Angeles for four-ish* years. I discovered the joy of uncovering and writing about historical American women who did extraordinary things, but received little to no recognition for their work. And the need for a heartfelt baby shower gift plus the chorus of a show tune getting stuck in my head became my introduction to the world of children’s books. While I have a place in my heart for all of these things, I have learned that it is really in the novel that I feel most at home. I love a good sweeping story that carries you away – to watch, to read, and to write.

* I say “ish” because I still get pulled back in by the siren song of live theater and write a review when I see something that truly blows me away.

How many books do you currently have published?

Four – three children’s books (Children Have Got to Be Carefully Taught, 10 Cheeky Monkeys, Monsters in the Night) and one novel.

What has been your favorite book to write so far? Why?

The novel is my favorite medium to tell a story, but children’s books are my favorite to write. I get to play around with rhymes and poetic structure and they are way less work than a novel. As much as I love writing, it is work. When the entire book is less than 100 words, it feels less like work and more like play.

Are you currently working on a book? Will this be your next release?

I am actually working on four different books right now, which didn’t seem crazy until I said it. Now it sounds a little crazy. I don’t know which one will be my next release, but the smart money is on one of the children’s books. I work with two different illustrators, so I’m working on the text for a prequel to Monsters in the Night for M. McCune to work on, and a book called Because I’m a Girl, for A. Sutton to work on. Then I am also working on the sequel to In a Time Never Known, as well as a non-fiction book about the Civil Rights Movement as told through the eyes of the women who fought for the movement.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

I get to write the stories that I’ve always wanted to read.

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?

I have come to realize that I don’t get writer’s block, I get writer’s fear. The ideas are flowing and I have words to put down, but I am afraid that what I put down won’t be good. That I won’t be able to make the words on the page match the idea in my head. This fear builds to the point that I become paralyzed and incapable of putting anything down on the page. At those times, I turn to friends for encouragement. There was one piece of advice/encouragement that has really stuck with me. I called a friend one night and told her all about this book that I wanted to write, but was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do it justice. She said to me, “The first draft may suck. But you have the talent, the passion and the dedication to fix it, so that the final draft will be great. Just start.” Those words are now my mantra when the self-doubt starts to creep in, “Just start.”

Have you ever had one of your characters to take a twist you weren’t expecting and surprise you?

Yes – Jacob. No matter what I threw at that guy, he would always come out on top. He’s just one of those characters that can see where he will benefit in every situation he’s faced with. In early drafts I fought against that, because I wanted him to have some sort of comeuppance. It never worked, and I just wound up with chapters that felt false. Eventually I gave in and let Jacob be Jacob.

Which of your characters is your personal favorite? Least favorite? Why?

Mary, Anna’s personal slave, is hands down my favorite character. She is so strong, both by necessity to live as a slave, but also as part of her nature. She has learned how to survive in the circumstances she was dealt without giving up her dignity and sense of self. Yet despite all of her hardships, her capacity to love and empathize with those around her is immeasurable. If I could sit down and have a chat over a cup of coffee with anyone in my book, it would be Mary.

I don’t know that I would call him my least favorite character, but definitely the character that I love to hate is General Bell. He has a set of rules by which he lives and he is going to stick to them even if it means turning on those he holds most dear. He is just so awful in so many ways, but underneath that cruel exterior is a sad little boy that didn’t get held enough as a child. There are times that I want to give him a hug, then punch him in the face, because he both needs and deserves both.

So far, what has been your favorite scene to write?

The battle scene was particularly fun to write. I studied stage combat for seven years, so I got up and acted out most of the fight to help me get the descriptions and the flow of the violence correct.

What lessons have you learned since becoming a writer? Do you have any tips for new writers?

I have learned so much about criticism. First and foremost, that any critique is simply one person’s opinion about the work in front of them. Outside of memoirs that work has nothing to do with you as a person. While the work may feel like your baby, it’s not, and a critique of that work is not an attack on you as a person. As such, it should not be taken personally. Which is definitely easier said than done. However, the only way to get better is to let people read your work, and comment. So this realization and acceptance made me more open to criticism. The more open I was, the more I actually listened, and the better my writing became.

The one thing that I always tell new writers is that they have to learn the difference between criticism (This sucks!) and constructive criticism (Jane reacting this way feels forced. Why is she so disturbed by the situation?). On the whole, the former can be ignored and the latter should be considered. But at the end of the day, it’s your work. Just because someone says they don’t like something, doesn’t mean you have to change it. Now if ten people all say the same thing, then you have a problem that needs addressing.

Do you have any extras you’d like to share, like a teaser about an upcoming new release, a summary of a deleted scene, or a teaser about a surprising plot twist or character?

My most recent children’s book was released on October 5, and I had a lot of fun doing a recorded reading of it for Youtube.

Now it’s time to get to know you! What are some of your favorite books to read?

When I’m reading for pleasure my tastes run toward historical fiction, fantasy and young adult. I live in this world every day, so when I read I like to enter a different world. That being said, what gets me excited about a story is when an author can paint the world of their book so vividly that I can picture every aspect of it in my mind. I’m willing to overlook mediocre writing or shaky plots as long as the world-building is fantastic. Suck me into your world and you’ve got me till the end. Young Adult books are my guilty pleasures. They read quickly, often have better writing than adult books, and sometimes are downright silly. Sometimes you just need to read about a giant peach smashing some nasty aunts.

What about television shows? Movies?

I’ll watch just about anything by Joss Whedon. Years ago, I was reading an interview he did in a magazine and came across a piece of advice that has stuck with me. He said, “Give your audience everything they want, but in the worst possible way.” That concept intrigues me, and I love to see him play that out in his work. I also love how he is able to inject moments of comedy into even the most serious of scenes. As George Bernard Shaw said, “”Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.” I’m also a huge fan of Criminal Minds. I find the psychology of deviant behavior fascinating.

Is there a book that you have read that you feel has made a big impact on your life? Why?

Loath as I am to admit it, I was not a big reader when I was younger. I read what was required of me for school or the summer reading program at the library, but no more. Books were often chosen because they contained the correct page count for an assignment, with little regard to their content. In 7th grade, I read The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye because it was so long, I could be done with the semester’s reading assignment after one book. I didn’t even know what it was about when I opened it and read the first page. Ironically, it was the first book that truly enveloped me in a story and made me fall in love with sweeping historical dramas. Looking back, that is probably where the kernel for historical fiction was planted.

The only other book that truly stands out to me is, A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. I read it in college and was completely absorbed in the concept of alternate truths, which was sparked specifically by her discussion of Shakespeare’s sister. What if she had been the brilliant writer in the family? What if she had tried to pursue that career? Would we have even a tenth of the canon that we do today, had the author been a woman instead of a man? I was fascinated by the ‘what ifs.’ I already had a love for history, and reading her words opened up a whole new angle of exploration.

If you had to sum up your life as a writer in ten words, what would you say?

Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Did I say rewrite? Rewrite again!

Crime Book Spotlight: Cash is the Word by Huston Bartley @blackbrickpub

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Crime (Heist) / Comedy

cash is the word

An ex-embezzler trying to get out of the alternative lifestyle racket puts together the remnants of his old team with a couple of digital warriors for a heist with a difference.

Set around the edges of Silicon Valley, memories and delusions intersect to reveal what’s real and what people think is real.

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Terry was more at peace with disappearing friendships than most people were. He probably thought of them more, too. They were part of his daily ritual, both indoors and outside. But there was no longing for times past, or any urge to reconnect with old friends. Any time he’d dipped his toe in that pool had left cold waves pulsating through him. That life was now where it belonged. The dissolution made sense to Terry – it was all about the solitary exit. Anyway, he had his time down pat. Between working on his music and tinkering with new approaches to safe-cracking, his days were full. It was almost a hassle to squeeze a job in. He only did so to keep his ship afloat.
​Walking past liquor stores didn’t ply the pressure on as it once had. The old downtown area was a cruise and modern shopping was an easy dodge for Terry, who only bought from supermarkets and occasionally a second-hand bookshop. He’d become the type of person who could live anywhere, but he would never leave San Jose. For him, it was still a place of learning… about anything worthwhile even if his mown field of expertise had sold out to technology. But what he didn’t get was how the leftfield work of the experts had been lost in the rush. And that gave him his edge. Under his wiry exterior was the wonder of a man who never stopped sourcing lesser-seen truths.

About the Author:

Huston Bartley is a writer of novellas and short stories about the lesser seen sides of Californian life.

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Reincarnation Book Spotlight: The Gabriel Principle: Soulmates & Twin Flames lifetimes of loves by Linda Beauvais @lindabeau888

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Novel, Romance, Reincarnation, Intrigue

the gabriel principle

Leanne and her husband bought a hypnoses how-to book and started to do past life regression. They discovered that they knew each other in many past lives. From life to life they exchanged roles, sometimes her husband was her father, sometimes her friend, even her employe. They discover that their lives form an never ending story where all kinds of karma is created.

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I was so excited about the session that I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to bring John in to yet another life; through a crack in the drapes, I could see it was getting dark, but I continued:

Leanne: I want you to go further ahead in time to
another lifetime. What do you see? What do you
John: I’m on a train.
Leanne: Where are you going?
John: I don’t know. They are taking us
Leanne: Who are us?
John: My wife and I.
Leanne: And who are they?
John: The Nazis.
Leanne: Oh! Go forward in time and tell me where you are?
John: I am in a field.
Leanne: What are you doing in the field?
John: I am digging.
Leanne: Where is your wife?
John: She is in another camp, I don’t know if she is still alive.
Leanne: How long has it been since you have seen her?
John: Two years.
Leanne: Go forward in time, tell me what is happening?
John: They bring all of us into a big room. I wonder what they want with us this time.
Leanne: What’s happening now? (He starts to quiver.)
John: They’re spraying something on us. What are they doing? (His chest raises and he looks panicked.)
John: I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!

I knew what was happening, and I knew where he was, I also knew the outcome. I panicked. He was panting heavily and I didn’t know what to do. I got a grip on my emotions and, very forcefully said:

Leanne: Calm down. You feel no pain. You feel no pain.

His heaving chest calmed, as he resumed normal breathing. This event made me realize, that without experience hypnotizing could be dangerous. I must use more caution with my probing instructions.

Leanne: Take a deep breath and relax. That’s it… Relax. Now I want you to cross to the other side after your death. Tell me what you see?
John: So many people died, so many souls, it’s such a shame.
Leanne: What have you learned in this lifetime?
John: How to be a businessman. I’ve learned hatred. I’ve learned bitterness; I’ve learned to be a victim of hatred.

About the Author:

linda beauvais

Linda Beauvais is a French Canadian from Montréal, a baby boomer born on the 19th of May 1955 Her writing is somewhat funny, somewhat sarcastic but always kind and entertaining. Linda even though she is absent minded and dyslexic, she wrote this book because it was very dear to her heart. Linda has worked in many fields but mostly in graphic arts but it is the writing that has fulfilled her the most.
Linda has been interested in reincarnation for a long time and has a diploma in hypnotherapy. She believes that hypnotherapy is the answer for many illnesses and emotional problems. Linda has always preferred though to do past life regressions as a hobby and a past time.
Writing is something that she was compelled to do. She enjoyed it and has kept it to herself for many years. This book has been her therapy and a joy to write. She wanted to share with everyone the concept of having lived many lives and how they affect our present live. But more importantly Linda wanted people to know that we all have our individual truth and answers with-in. This truth, this path has been chosen by us for a particular reason, sometimes way before we were born.

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