Sunday, March 16, 2014

Brandon Overall says, "Writing ... the ultimate way to bring a fantasy to life" #scifi #amreading

Why do you write?
-Writing, to me, is the ultimate way to bring a fantasy, thought, or idea to life.  Imagine going to a movie or reading a book where your thoughts guided what happens on the screen or on the pages.  You can decide how the story will play out, but even then, it’s still a surprise to you.  It’s kind of like dreaming while you are awake.
Have you always enjoyed writing?
-I’ve always enjoyed it, but for some reason I haven’t actually taken it up as a hobby until recently.
What motivates you to write?
-I want to create stories that other people will read and remember.  I want my writing to inspire thoughts in people that they would have never had otherwise.
What writing are you most proud of?
-So far the only thing I have written is my novel Superhuman Nature but I’m really happy with how it turned out!
What are you most proud of in your personal life?
-I am most proud of following my dream and becoming an Officer in the Army.  It took a lot of work, but it was definitely worth it.  My life is exactly where I want it right now.
What books did you love growing up?
-I didn’t read a whole lot growing up, but I did love the Harry Potter series (who doesn’t?) and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I also really like the book Watchers by Dean Koontz.
Who is your favorite author?
-I would definitely have to say J.K. Rowling
What book genre of books do you adore?
-Most types of fantasy and sci-fi
What book should everybody read at least once?
Starship Troopers.  It’s got a lot of really thought provoking commentary.
Is there any books you really don’t enjoy?
-Just can’t get into Romance.  I don’t think I’m part of the demographic that’s supposed to enjoy it, though.
What do you hope your obituary will say about you?
-That I was survived by my children who received my massive fortune.

Superhuman Nature is Brandon Overall's first novel. It was written and published during his first deployment to Afghanistan as a 2nd Lieutenant in late 2013.
Neil Hitchens was a senior ROTC Cadet in college. He was just weeks away from graduating and becoming an Officer in the United States Army, until a strange dream set off a chain of events that would twist his life into something he could have never prepared for.
In the days following his dream, several strange happenings occurred that he began to suspect were the result of his own actions. Before long, he discovered that he had the ability to control the world around him with his mind.
What started out as an unpredictable ability quickly evolved into an extraordinary power that had the capacity to change the world. It didn't take long for the government to find out what Neil could do.
They knew having such limitless potential on the side of the US Military could give them limitless political influence, and they would stop at nothing to get Neil to do their bidding. They would find out what happens when you back a dangerous animal into a corner.
Neil spent his whole life believing he would amount to greatness, but he never expected how greatness could corrupt even the most innocent of minds.
Buy @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Science Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Brandon Overall on Facebook

Monday, March 10, 2014

Order of Earth (Elements of Ink) by Jennifer Cornet @J_Cornet

Book Excerpt: (Chapter 2)

The brass doors opened behind her bringing with it an unexpected guest.

“I knew you’d come home.”

Onyx’ heart sank hearing him speak in that gentle voice. He always used that voice when he knew he was wrong; when he was trying to make her forgive him. It felt repulsively sweet now.

“She was just leaving,” Jade said in a firm tone as she turned to face him.

“Nicky, you brought a bodyguard with you? That hurts,” he sounded genuinely insulted.

“Goodbye, Philip.” Onyx said softly, suddenly lacking the confidence she just had.

Philip reached out for her arm, but Jade intercepted the action, grabbing him by the wrist and twisting it until he let out an almost inaudible yelp.

“You will not lay a hand on her. Not now, not ever again. If you so much as brush against her in a way I don’t like, I will break every bone in your body, starting with your pinky toe and ending with your skull.” She twisted just a little further.

But he didn’t lose his composure. He looked Onyx dead in the eye, “Quite a lot of bark for your little Chihuahua of a friend here, huh? Nicky, we don’t need all of this. This running away, the muscle, the hiding out, we are better than this. You know I love you more than anything in the world. Just come home, baby. I need you. It’ll be different, I promise. I’ll start going to therapy like you always wanted. You can even hang out with that crayon haired one. No questions asked. Just come home. What do you say? Come on, I need you.”

“Onyx, don’t you listen to him. Put the bags in the elevator, we’re leaving.”

Onyx hesitated, switching her gaze back and forth between the two. He looked so hurt, so broken up, she just wanted to leap into his arms and console him. For a moment, she could feel her heart ripping in her chest; she believed him. She believed he meant he would change and things would be different. She believed it and she hated herself for it.

Onyx rolled her bags into the elevator before she lost her nerve.

“Goodbye, Philip.” She said again.

“If you love her even half as much as you say, you’ll let us leave here. You’ll leave her alone and move on with your life. But keep the therapy bit, you need it.” Jade winked at him before joining Onyx.

As Jade released his wrist, he noticed a small green marking on her arm; a very familiar mark that he knew all too well.

The girls disappeared down to the ground floor, leaving Philip alone in his flower filled living room. He pulled out his phone and hit speed dial.

“She’s with the Order of Earth. Find out what family, find out who their Protector is, and find out now.”


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Genre - Urban Fantasy

Rating – PG – 13

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Steps Into Darkness (A Shakertown Adventure) by Ben Woodard @benswoodard

The unknown figure’s back was to them as he connected the wires to the detonator. Will shoved Tom. Only minutes remained.

They located the last connection point where the blasting caps were wired to two sticks of dynamite. The wires to the plunger snaked up the hill. The connecting strands were twisted, tightly, as with pliers. Tom snatched a rock, but Will grabbed his hand and pointed up the hill. Tom understood. The man would hear the pounding. They each took a twisted connection and tried to pry it apart with their fingers. They would need to break only one.

The wires resisted. Tom gritted his teeth, then remembered his pocket knife. He pulled it out, flipped the blade open, and wedged the tip between two strands. He twisted and the blade snapped. The sound startled the man. He whirled around and stared directly at the boys. Tom forced the broken blade into the gap in the wires. Will put his finger on top of one and pulled as Tom twisted. Blood ran down Will’s hand as the metal bit into his finger. They strained, and watched the man. His eyes darted in all directions. Then he made his decision. He pulled the plunger up, hesitated a moment, and slammed it down.


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Genre - YA/Mystery

Rating – PG – 13

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Devolution by Peter Clenott @PeterClenott


Chiku couldn’t help stare at the large bulge that was Rebecca’s baby-to-be. It made her reflect upon the gynecological exam Dr. Kessel had just given her. At sixteen, she couldn’t imagine being anyone’s mother, except maybe a chimpanzee’s. Rebecca was only fourteen, an eighth grader back home, a middle schooler. How could she be a mother? Yet even in wealthy well-educated America girls in their mid-teens were getting knocked up all the time, having their babies, and changing their lives in ways unpredictable and permanent. Not Chiku. Boys could go to hell.

“When was the last time you saw him?” Chiku asked.

“Two week. Three week. He ask me how my baby doing. I tell him, fine. He give me twenty francs. He always give me money.”

“And that was it?” Chiku gazed at Tim who was still holding all of the things she had given him from her buried stash. “What about Dr. Fisher? Do you know why he’d be in my dad’s house?”

Rebecca dipped her head in thought then gave out with a startled grunt as the baby inside her gave a hefty kick. “Soon,” she said, “Any day my Abasi.” Then she staggered against Chiku.

“You okay? Maybe she’s coming out now.” Chiku was aghast.

“No. No. He. Not yet. No water.”

“Well, you can’t stand here. You have to sit, Rebecca. In the shade.”

Chiku pulled the pregnant girl into the cooler cover of the banana tree. “You want water? Something to drink?”

Rebecca leaned against the tree rather than risk getting herself into a position from which she couldn’t rise. She panted, holding a hand against her belly, Chiku watching that hand move not of its own volition but due to the child inside raring to get going with life.

Not for me, Chiku thought.

Rebecca said, “I okay.”

“You’re sure?”

“When the water break, then we know.”

“Know what?” Chiku asked.

“That the baby is coming,” Tim said. He placed his hands on his friend’s shoulders. They were trembling as if she were the one about to go into labor. “Honestly, Chiku, what do they teach you in Brookline, Massachusetts?”

“How to avoid reality.”

Chiku took Rebecca’s hand. It was cool and sweaty and on her ring finger she was wearing something that looked awfully familiar to Chiku. “Nice,” she said. “Amethyst. My color. My ring, actually. How’d you get it?”

“Your father give me.”

“Cool. It matches your dress.”

Chiku didn’t care that it was an old ring, one that she had either lost or forgotten some distant time in the past and that probably couldn’t even fit her fingers anymore. She just wondered why her father would have given this particular girl this particular ring.

“I think they kill him,” she said.

“What?” Chiku’s eyes darted from the purple colored ring to the black face of the Hutu teenager.

“They were mad mad.”


“Fisher. Your father. Dr. Kessel. They all mad. And the others.”

“What others?” Chiku asked. “Does Colonel Fundanga know?”

“Colonel Fundanga one of them,” Rebecca said. “I keep quiet. Bad enough in the camp. I don’t want to die.”

Rebecca let out a long breath, took in a deep mouthful of air, and let out her discomfort once again. Then she smiled at Chiku before saying, “They come for you next. You his daughter.”


Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre - Young Adult

Rating – PG

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Eternal Night by Jade Kerrion @JadeKerrion


Ashra pushed past the blackness at the start of his memories, expecting deeper darkness. Instead, the colors shifted into shades of ochre and gray. Memories, older than his body, resided in his soul; memories of an Earth long since lost to them—a planet surrounded and nourished by water; images of tall buildings glistening beneath a benevolent sun, and of thriving cities filled with the bustle of humans; memories of quiet and intimate conversations beneath a silver moon, the same silver moon that now graced Malum Turris with its light, though a thousand years older and viewed only from beneath the protection of the dome.

She saw herself as he must have seen her, a much-younger icrathari, still hopeful for the future, never realizing that the Earth they had all known and loved was irretrievably lost. Had she ever looked that vulnerable? Had her smile ever been so beautiful, so filled with love as she looked upon—

“Rohkeus?” Oh, blessed Creator, was that stricken whisper her voice?

Ashra pulled back and stared at the human. Her mouth dropped open. Her heart pounded in her chest, its beat erratic. It couldn’t be. It simply couldn’t be—

She looked up at Tera. The other icrathari nodded.

Rohkeus’s soul reborn…in a human.

Ashra threw her head back and laughed, a despairing sound.

Elsker stepped forward. The sole male icrathari was slightly taller than the female icrathari, and dressed in a black silk shirt and linen pants. His silver hair was cropped short, and his light blue eyes were wide. “Rohkeus reborn? That’s impossible.”

Siri shrugged, her red gown shifting around her curvaceous frame. Her silver hair, cut short, framed her face. “Stranger things have happened.” Her pale violet gaze raked over the human. “At least he had the good sense to choose a pretty body.”

Ashra shook her head, the movement jolting her out of her daze. Her prince, her love, reduced to a human? Her slender fingers coiled into fists. Her golden eyes glittering, she pushed away from him, though her body trembled from the loss of his warmth. No, the human was not Rohkeus; he could never be Rohkeus.

Steeling herself against the gasp of pain that escaped from his lips as the anesthetizing effect of her kiss faded, Ashra rose to her feet with sinuous grace. “He is not one of us. Not anymore.” Nothing had been more devastating than losing Rohkeus to a human assassin. To see his soul reborn in that contemptible and weak race was an insult to the person Rohkeus had been.

“Should we turn him into a vampire?” Tera asked.

“Kill him. Set Rohkeus’s soul free.”

Siri seized Ashra’s hand before she could turn away. Siri’s lips, painted the same provocative color as her dress, shaped an O. “You’re not serious. How many people are offered a second chance at the love of a lifetime?”

A second chance? Her traitorous pulse raced even as her lips curled with disgust. “He’s human.”

“We can make him immortal—a vampire.”

Ashra swallowed hard. “But not an icrathari.”

Siri’s gaze fell. “No, of course not.”

“Kill him.”

“You can’t.” Siri stepped forward, placing herself between Ashra and the barely conscious human. “This is amazing. It’s never happened before—a soul reborn.”

“Rohkeus is dead, and I rule Aeternae Noctis.” She turned to Tera. “I told you to kill him.”

Tera hesitated for a fraction of a second, and then she shook her head. “I won’t do it, and neither will Siri or Elsker. If you want him dead, you’ll have to do it yourself.”

E-books available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Apple / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Smashwords

Paperbacks available at Amazon / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository


Jade Kerrion developed a loyal reader base with her fan fiction series based on the MMORPG Guild Wars. She was accused of keeping her readers up at night, distracting them from work, housework, homework, and (far worse), from actually playing Guild Wars. And then she wondered why just screw up the time management skills of gamers? Why not aspire to screw everyone else up too?

So here she is, writing books that aspire to keep you from doing anything else useful with your time.

Her debut novel, Perfection Unleashed, spawned the Double Helix series which has won a total of seven science fiction awards, including first place in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2012 and the gold medal in Readers Favorites Awards 2013. She is also the author of Earth-Sim and When the Silence Ends, which placed first and second respectively in the 2013 Royal Palm Literary Awards, Young Adults category.

She lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with her wonderfully supportive husband and her two young sons, Saint and Angel, (no, those aren’t their real names, but they are like saints and angels, except when they’re not.)

Connect with Jade: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Eternal Night ebook

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Genre - Fantasy, Paranormal

Rating – PG-13

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Monday, March 3, 2014

#Humor #Author Bryan Taylor Says, I Write Because I Enjoy Entertaining People

Tell us a bit about your family.
I am an only child.  This gave me more time to read, and I took advantage of it. My parents got divorced when I was twelve, and I ended up living with my dad.  He always pushed me to be successful and always supported me in what I did, so that helped.  Also, he was a preacher, and both my grandparents were preachers, and that is where my religious rebellion comes from. I have never married and have no children.
What scares you the most?
The government because they have power of your life and they usually make the wrong decisions because they do what benefits them, not what benefits you.
What makes you happiest?
Laughing and hearing other people laugh.
Why do you write?
I write because I enjoy entertaining people. I enjoy the process of thinking up interesting things, especially humorous twists that I hope will delight people, and then, of course, hearing the response from my readers.
What motivates you to write?
I write because I enjoy entertaining people. I enjoy the process of thinking up interesting things, especially humorous twists that I hope will delight people, and then, of course, hearing the response from my readers.
What writing are you most proud of?
My novel, The Three Sisters, is the work I am most proud of.  It is my only novel, so far, so the choice was easy.  Still, it is not only the book I wanted to write, but one I would have wanted to read.  It has all the elements in it that I enjoy in a book, and I hope that readers can appreciate these things as well.
What are you most proud of in your personal life?
It would have to be the work I have done for the company I work for, Global Financial Data, in providing financial data to our customers.
Who is your favorite author?
Shakespeare would have to be my favorite author.  His mastery of the English language is incomparable.
What book genre of books do you adore?
If you are referring to fiction, it would have to be humor and satire, which is why I wrote a book in this genre.  The difficult part about this genre is knowing when to stop. They start off very funny, but by the end they’re beating a dead horse and it is no longer funny.
What book should everybody read at least once?
The Bible.
Is there any books you really don’t enjoy?
Books that want to preach to me and tell me what I should think.  Whether they are religious or political books, they turn my stomach.  I can think for myself.  You don’t have to think for me.

Nuns just want to have fun! But when three former Catholic nuns have too much fun and get in trouble with the law, they become nuns on the run.
Driving back to Washington D.C. where they work at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Parts, the three sisters are arrested in Tennessee. After defeating the local deputy in strip poker, they escape from jail, and are pursued by the zealous Detective Schmuck Hole, who has personally offered a $10,000 reward for their capture on The 700 Club. Little do they know that when the three sisters visit the Washington Monument, their lives will change forever.
Set in 1979, The Three Sisters is a sacrilegious satire that skewers not only organized religion, but the government, the media, intellectuals, corporate greed and every other part of the establishment. Maybe not the greatest story ever told, but possibly the funniest.
Buy @ Amazon
Genre – Humor, Satire, Catholicism, Politics
Rating – R
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A Day in the Life of #Author RJ Blain @RJ_Blain #amediting #amwriting

It’s 8:30, and the phone rings. It’s reminiscent of one of those old-fashioned tellies most people only see in museums nowadays. If I wasn’t already at least a little awake, the sound would’ve had me sitting up groping around to answer the phone, only to realize it’s my alarm. What can I say? I have to trick myself into waking up in the mornings.
Usually, though, I beat the alarm up by five or ten minutes, sleepily checking my email for any new stuff from my editing clients. I have roughly an hour to wake up, and I tend to spend most of it addressing little things I can do on my phone while half asleep.
By 9:30, I’m mostly conscious, and have sent my husband off to work. Then, and only then, can my real work begin.
Cue chaos.
First up, I have client work to address. This means I’m reading through manuscripts trying to find ways an author can improve their novels on a structural level. Some days, this involves picking at writing on a sentence level, making recommendations on style improvements, tension and pacing improvements, and even general improvement of English-language skills. On other days, I’m picking apart character arcs, plot arcs, and the general tone of a novel.
Once I reach my benchmarks for the day, I’m drafting or editing my own novels. This can be rewriting scenes I think need a lot of improvement, tweaking sentences, or addressing problems my editor(s) have pointed out.
During this, I’m dealing with household emergencies, bills, making sure my four cats don’t try to eat me, you know, the usual. Sometimes, I flake out and do things other than what I’m supposed to be doing. One of my favorite flaking-out activities is drawing maps of my world. I used to sketch them on my computer, but now I do them on imitation parchment paper and scan them into the computer. Sometimes I sketch things like dragons. Other times, I’ll crochet something (badly) or try to knit.
Mostly, though, I work and try to pretend that I’m not falling behind on the house chores again. One of these days I will get a maid. Of course, one of these days will probably never come, but a girl can dream, right?
At night is when things get really weird. On the surface, I look like this responsible and serious editor-writer person. Then, my husband comes home. If I owned the proper attire or felt comfortable in that sort of thing, I’d probably get into a catgirl suit, find some daggers, and try to play my computer game character. My fellow gamers just call me StabbyStabby. I play a rogue, and I’m prone to saying StabbyStabby before it’s time to kill something in the game.
I guess all work and no play for a few years made me a kind of crazy person. I raid in Everquest with my husband a few days a week, which gives us time to spend together doing something we both enjoy. Rogues are great therapy characters. If I have a bad day at work, it’s no problem. I can take it all out on some unsuspecting monsters in Everquest. Stabbystabbystabby…
Whenever I find time, I settle down and read books. I usually try to review the books I read, because I enjoy the process of explaining what I liked and didn’t like about a story. I also find it useful for readers who are potentially buying a story.
To sum it up…
A day in the life of RJ Blain: Busy but rewarding.
Here’s to tomorrow.
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.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Fantasy
Rating – PG - 13
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Getting an Editor for Your #Book is Not an Option @Hanque99 #amwriting #amediting #writetip

In my opinion, getting an editor to work on your book is not an option.  It is a mandatory requirement.  An editor provides another pair of eyes to read your manuscript.  If you think your manuscript is perfect, it isn’t.  It doesn’t matter how many times you went through it to dig out typos and polish sentences, it still needs an editor.  An editor will find a lot of mistakes, typos, incorrect usage (‘to’ instead of ‘too’ or ‘two’).  A good editor will also find plot gaps or inconsistencies (in fiction works), clumsy sentence structure, repeated words and other mistakes.  Errors like these, if not rooted out, will make the reader think she bought a book written by an amateur.  If you want to produce a quality book, it has to be edited.  Always remember, your name will be on the title page and the cover, so you want the book to be as perfect as possible.
Don’t give the book to your wife or brother to edit unless they are also writers.  If they aren’t, they may find a few typos, but they aren’t skilled at identifying gaps in plot logic and clumsy sentence constructions or incorrect usage.  Professional editors are worth the money they charge.
If you don’t know any editors, ask in one or two groups on Linkedin.  When you get a few names of editors, send them an email describing your project and ask for a price and when the editor can begin working on your manuscript.  Most of them will quote a per-word cost or a per-page cost.  This allows you to get a firm price for the editing.  Some other editors will give you a flat rate.  If you don’t know the editor, be suspicious of this flat rate, especially if the flat rate is much lower than the prices of editors who give a per-word or per-page price.  The flat-rate editor may be giving you a low-ball price to get the business.  Later on, you may get a message that the editing is more complicated then anticipated along with a demand for more money.  In this instance, you could end up paying more than you would have with a per-word or per-page editor.
Editing will probably be the most expensive cost in your publishing process.  Make sure you account for this in your budget.
You should get the editing underway as soon as possible because it will take time for the editor to do her job, especially if she has other projects in front of yours.
There are several different types of editors available.  Content editing is the most challenging.  Content editors consider the entire manuscript and try to find character flaws, illogical plot developments and other basic story design problems.  If you can get several good critiques, you have essentially replaced the need for a content editor.  Content editing or critiquing should be done prior to starting the publishing process.  This is because the content editing will take time and so will the revisions to the manuscript.
Line editors scan your manuscript as a whole.  They are invaluable for finding plot gaps, illogical plot developments, poorly developed characters as well as misspelled words, missing commas and other punctuation problems.  These are the type of editors I look for.  I want an editor who can punch holes in my story and who can tell me where my sentence structure is clumsy, my explanation obscure and where I’m using repetitious phrasing or words.
Another type of editing is called copy editing and these folks concentrate on cleaning up the language and writing.

Planning on self-publishing a book? Uploading files to a packager isn't the entire scope of work. That's actually the easiest task, but there are many more necessary tasks to be done..  This book explains the entire self-publishing process.  It breaks up the publishing process into four timeframes starting four months before the availability date. This spreads the workload into easy-to-manage chunks.
The book describes the complete process necessary to self-published a book. Unlike those who maintain that self-publishing a book consists of simply uploading the cover and manuscript files, this book details all of the necessary preliminary tasks that have to be finished before uploading the files.
It’s a complete roadmap to get a book self-published. It’s organized by timeframes to break up the workload into manageable chunks.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Non-fiction: how-to
Rating – G
More details about the author
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Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Last Finesse by Brian Bloom @BrianB_Aust

From Chapter 37

‘Gramps wasn’t around anymore. Successful industrialists don’t have time for their daughters. My mother had her hands full with the boys. Teenagers crave attention. That’s all I was doing. It turned out I was quite normal. I finally grew up. Sports were helpful.’

He was as intrigued with her as ever. ‘What kind of sports?’

‘Gymkhana horse riding, till I was 15, and then some board surfing, on the odd occasion, and then, more recently, board sailing. I love to be at one with nature.’ She flicked back her hair and looked up at the sun.

‘So,’ he said in response, ‘we both know how to ride a horse – that’s a start isn’t it?’

‘Yeah,’ I guess so, she replied, ‘but I’d rather play golf.’

‘I’d be delighted if you’d play with me,’ he stated enthusiastically. ‘What did you do when you were “finished” at that “finishing school” of yours?’

‘I’ve told you,’ she answered: ‘my old man wanted me “barefoot and pregnant” in the kitchen next door – he thought it was time I settled down. We had a hell of a fight, but I had Guido on my side, and my mother finally came to the party and supported me.

‘I enrolled in a journalism course at Texas U, in Austin. I did quite well. My old man finally acknowledged my existence by coming to my graduation ceremony. And then our relationship became an armed truce, when I “informed” him I’d decided to go out on my own.’ Using her index and middle fingers, she drew quotation marks in the air, around the word “informed”.

‘That wasn’t his idea of how a good Italian woman should conduct herself. I basically told him, “Go fuck yourself!”, but I used more diplomatic language – as they taught me at finishing school. He finally came to realise he’d been a failure as a father, and backed off. From time to time, he still dangles my trust fund in my face, in the hope he can make me see reason and live my life according to his paternal script.’

‘Right,’ Luke acknowledged. ‘And your mother?’

‘Mum died when I was 20, a week before my 21st-birthday party. That rug was also pulled out from under me, and it was the last straw, as far as I was concerned. That’s when I moved to San Francisco to start living my own life properly.

‘That’s also why I wanted to know your views about gay marriage. Like Sydney, San Fran’s got a large gay community, and I’m lucky enough to have a lot of gay friends.’

His ‘naughty streak’ surfaced again. ‘And if you come to live in Australia among the “large gays”?’

She smiled, but was clearly fixated on wrapping up her story. ‘Some of them might miss me.’

‘Did you struggle to get a job?’

‘No,’ she answered, ‘not really. A few doors were opened to me because I topped my class and was the daughter of Louis Marchetti.’

Luke imagined the opening doors, and indulged in a quick fantasy about banging his boys up against her open doors . . . ‘So,’ he remarked, ‘he wasn’t entirely a waste of rations . . . Hang on a second: did you just say you topped your class?’

She had a palpable air of relief that she’d finally told her story. ‘Look, Luke, he’s not really a bad guy; it’s just he’s been hanging on to his old values in the modern world. I’m convinced that somewhere deep inside him, he’s just as sad as I am that we don’t have a relationship. I’m his only daughter. Maybe, if you and I finally get together, it’ll serve as an ice breaker.’

‘You topped your class?’ he persisted.

‘Yes,’ she replied, with a trace of impatience. ‘So what?

He considered his next question. ‘Can I ask you something personal?’


The Last Finesse

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Genre - Conspiracy Thriller

Rating – MA (15+)

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Cast in Blood (Morgan Blackstone) by Michelle Rabe @michrabe


The Assassin’s voice boomed through the closed double doors to the study for the fifth time since he’d entered the room with Morgan’s Blood Sons, almost five hours before.  Marcus cringed as the doors were flung open, and Nicholas strode out, rage radiating from every inch of his six–foot, four–inch frame. Storm–gray eyes landed on Marcus, narrowed to slits, and he stalked past, commanding him to follow with an imperious wave of his right hand. Not wanting to piss the Assassin off more, Marcus bit back a snide comment, and followed him up the sweeping staircase to the mansion’s upper floors.

“Damn it all to hell, Old Man!” Nicholas roared as he began pacing the landing at the top of the stairs. He wanted Marcus to throw himself against his temper to take the edge off.

Ye Gods, Marcus thought, we’ve done this more times than I’d care to count in the centuries we’ve known one another, but this is different. Well, something other than the fact that we’ve barely spoken a civil word to one another in almost two hundred years.

“I take it the boys couldn’t add anything to what we already knew. In spite of the almost five hour interrogation?” Marcus asked, fighting to rein in his own temper, leaning against the banister at the top of the stairs.

“Five hours?” Nicholas stopped moving. He turned to Marcus, meeting his eyes. The other vampire nodded.  “It was really that long?”

“Yes. What’s next, Assassin?” Marcus asked, letting some of the frustration he felt give his voice a hard edge. The last thing they needed right now was for Nicholas to go soft.

“We can’t do anything before the sun sets,” he said, after giving Marcus a long, appraising look.

He’s assessed my well–being and decided I’m not fit for the field. I’ve seen that look too many times before and know better than to argue with him, Marcus thought, trying to work out a logical counter argument.

“I haven’t slept.” Nicholas sighed. “You look like death warmed over and those two are rattled.” He nodded toward the room where he’d left the younger vampires.

“Fine.” Marcus nodded. “I took the liberty of having my staff get us some SUVs. If Morgan’s alive, she’s going to need fresh blood. We’re going to need the extra room.” Marcus was almost certain that he didn’t have to mention that, but the desperate look in Nicholas’s eyes led him to believe that there was no such thing as being too careful in this situation.

“She has to be alive, Marcus.”

“We’ll find her.” Marcus answered, feeling like an ass for lying. We both know that the odds suck. This could be nothing more than trying to find her body. Gods, whoever did this is going to pay.

“I have a very bad feeling about this,” the Assassin muttered, looking through Marcus. Nicholas’s mind was turning over what he knew, making connections and searching for others.

“How so?” Marcus asked, prompting Nicholas to think aloud, knowing it helped him make connections he otherwise missed, and it gave Marcus the opportunity to make a few as well.

“The security footage Danny sent over from the club’s parking lot shows Morgan and her attackers, but never their faces.”

“The club has cameras outside?”

“Apparently one of the human staff had some trouble right after the club opened. Morgan had them installed after that.”

“They could have scoped out the cameras. Not too difficult when you know what to look for,” Marcus muttered, his brows drawn together. “Why didn’t anyone see her being attacked, if it was caught on camera? Why are we just learning about this now? Just because she somehow jacked my mind and knocked me flat on my ever–loving ass.” Marcus’s words sped up as he continued, agitation given voice.

“The footage is stored on massive hard drives but not reviewed unless an incident is reported. Since no one reported her disappearance…” Nicholas’s voice trailed off.

“I have a feeling Morgan will be revising that policy when she returns.”

“If she returns.”

Michelle Rabe

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Genre - Paranormal Urban Fantasy

Rating – PG-13

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