Friday's 5 with Tim Aker

Tim Akers was born in deeply rural North Carolina, the only son of a theologian. He moved to Chicago for college, where he lives with his wife. He splits his time between databases and fountain pens.

1.) When did you first get serious about writing?

A.) When I turned 30. I had been talking about being a writer since high school, and had some publishing credits, but on my thirtieth I decided to get serious. I went out and bought copies of every sf/f magazine I could find, started researching the markets, and began researching the various awards, conventions and organizations in the business.

2.) What is the hardest part for you about writing?

A.) Revision. I want to write the next book, no rewrite this one. Ten times.

3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?

A.) Pretty ecstatic at first. But it quickly settled on my mind that it was only one step in the larger project. Writing is something you do over the course of a lifetime, not something you do and then have done and then move on. Being a writer is so much more than one publication.

4.) What is more important to you, story, or character? Why?

A.) I don't think there's anyway to remove one from the other. Characters in a void are just dull, and a story propped up by boring characters are just flash. I don't think you can do one of those things correctly without proper support from the other.

5.) What is a typical day like in your world?

A.)  My wife and I are both self-employed. While that comes with a lot of troubles, from unstable income flows to sketchy health insurance to endless trouble trying to get a loan, it has some pretty unique benefits. We've committed to an alarm clock free lifestyle, so we get up when we're no longer tired and are able to take time off during the day. It's pretty grand. That said, I get at least two or three writing sessions in each day. I can't sit and write for eight hours, so I break my tasks into two or three hour sessions. I don't hold myself to particular goals in those sessions, unless I'm under immediate
deadline. Going to the empty page with no real expectations actually does wonders for my productivity.

Tim can be found online at:


Kindle Unlimited Thoughts

Re-Blogged from A Newbie's Guide to Publishing

Like everyone else in KDP Select, I've been paying attention to my Kindle Unlimited page reads.

When the new accounting began at the beginning of this month, I had 33,000 daily page reads. I had no idea if this was good, or bad. It was what it was.

But I was intrigued to see my Amazon Author Rank go up. My best rank was #1, but for the past two years I've been hovering around #1000. On June 30 I was #854.

Now I hover around #400. I got to #267 last week, and now I'm at #441.

Since I haven't released any new solo novels in two years (I have three coming out by fall, two Jack Daniels thrillers and a Jack Kilborn horror), the only explanation I have for this jump up was the new KU rules.

By the end of the first week, my daily reads were up to 60,000. By the end of this month, they're at 85,000.

Now, this all could mean absolutely nothing. Maybe my page reads have remained static, and Amazon's new accounting system is simply finding its groove.

Maybe people are finishing my books, and the more they read the more they want to read. Or maybe a lot of people are starting them and not finishing them. The likeliest answer is some readers finish, some don't. Page reads, by themselves, don't give us enough information.

Amazon has the tech to pinpoint how much a reader has read of your work, and where they stopped reading. I've pleaded with Amazon to allow authors access to this information. It would be invaluable. As writers, we've never been privy to how quickly readers read our work, if they finish it, or when they choose to put the book down. I'd love to look at trends. Do I have any books where readers tend to quit before finishing? Where do they quit? I know I could use this information to fix books, make them more reader-friendly, and get a higher page read.

Read the rest at A Newbie's Guide to Publishing
Writing is not a career for the weak. It comes with seemingly everlasting periods of writer’s block, glooming fits of self-doubt and often little recognition or remuneration in return for great dedication. Perhaps the biggest bother, though, is constantly having to defend who you are, what you write and why you write it. For many people, because they know how to write, they carry an assumption that writing is easy. What they don’t realize, however, is that writing, the tool you learn in school and use to jot texts, refrigerator memos and the occasional letter, is quite a ways away from writing, what novelists, poets, journalists and others who connect words professionally do. Read more at Follow us: @observer on Twitter | Observer on Facebook Read more at:
Writing is not a career for the weak. It comes with seemingly everlasting periods of writer’s block, glooming fits of self-doubt and often little recognition or remuneration in return for great dedication. Perhaps the biggest bother, though, is constantly having to defend who you are, what you write and why you write it. For many people, because they know how to write, they carry an assumption that writing is easy. What they don’t realize, however, is that writing, the tool you learn in school and use to jot texts, refrigerator memos and the occasional letter, is quite a ways away from writing, what novelists, poets, journalists and others who connect words professionally do. Read more at Follow us: @observer on Twitter | Observer on Facebook Read more at:

Advice Does Not Equal Rules

Hi, I’m Dev Jarrett. I’ve written a bunch of short stories and a couple of novels. The first novel was Loveless, published by Blood Bound Books in 2013. It’s the story of a ghost haunting a Georgia lake. Permuted Press published my second, called Dark Crescent, just a few days ago. It’s the story of an accidental psychic who uses his talent to prevent a savage murder, then unwittingly becomes the murderer’s next target. Further up the pipeline, my third novel will also be published by Permuted next February. It’s called Casualties, and it’s about a soldier back from Afghanistan who must fight a demon in the Arizona desert. After that, well, who knows? I’m working on a number of other projects at various levels of intensity. Werewolves, dolls, vampires, sea monsters...all those stories and more are coming.

Novice writers, like all artists, are often given stupid advice. “You want to sell books, then...” “...write what you know.” “ need a strong hook at the beginning.” “...give your readers a character with whom they can identify.” There are at least a hundred others, and most of them come from respected sources. You can find lists of them everywhere, and all those lists claim to be definitive.

Read the rest at Darkness Dwells

Friday's 5 with Stan Morris

I remember it being a cold, windy day on the beach at Half Moon Bay.  We were coming home from camp where I had been a counselor for sixth graders.  The sky was overcast, but because we had been camping in the California coastal mountains, we had on warm clothing and good sturdy shoes, so other than keeping my hands in my pockets, I was semi-enjoying the beach.
The commotion began in the parking lot where the yellow school buses were stationed.  Looking back, I think one of the bus drivers must have been informed over her radio, and she passed the dreadful news to counselors and kids standing nearby.  The information quickly spread.  Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
Around me people began crying.  I was stunned, but not so much by the news, since from 1963 the United States had been experiencing a wave of assassinations, especially in the ranks of civil rights workers.  I was stunned by the reaction of the crowd.  At seventeen I learned that my generation was ready to move on, to leave America’s racist past behind.  It was a day of tragedy, but it was also a day of triumph.
As a writer I look back to that moment sometimes, and I think about how important it is to remember that most teenagers do have a moral compass, and how when it counts, clothes, sex, school, social media, and other distractions will be put aside, and our common values will be embraced.  I never forget that, for the most part, our children will be better men and women than we are.

 I’m Stan Morris, and I’m so old, Josef Stalin was still alive when I was born in Linwood, California. Growing up, I lived in Norwalk and Concord, California. In 1972, I moved to New Mexico. I met a teenager at college in 1975, set out to score, and have been married to her since 1977. Early on, my wife and I made a deal.  She would have the career, and I would stay out of jail.  It’s worked, so far.  We lived in Texas for five years, and then we moved to Maui, her home state. Yes, the weather is wonderful.  We raised two boys, both gainfully employed, thank goodness. I worked at a variety of jobs before developing a computer business in the late 1980's. Now we are both retired and living on a farm. I garden, watch sports, listen to music, read, and write. I don't make much money at it, so occasionally I have to ask my wife for an allowance. I like science fiction (Heinlein, Asimov, Weber, Flint), romance (Krentz, Roberts, Morisi, Chesney), mystery (JD Robb, MC Beaton), historical fiction (Lindsey, Stewart), and history books (Shelby Foote, David McCullough, William J. Bernstein.)

1.) When did you first get serious about writing?

A.) Excellent question, because I usually get asked when I began writing (age 14).  I got serious about writing in 2008.  For a long time I had wanted to write a post-apocalypse book showing teenagers working together to create a society.  It was my rejection of the concepts from Lord of the Flies.  I wanted a book that brought out the best in people.  That book was Surviving the Fog.

2.) What is the hardest part for you about writing?

A.) The greatest difficulty I have is describing a scene when the characters are not speaking to me.  I have that trouble right now.  One of the main characters in the book I writing, Howard the Red, is not opening up and telling her story.  It's exasperating.

Click on the cover for more info.

3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?

A.) It was a good feeling to see Surviving the Fog offered at ebook sites.  Those were the days before Smashwords and Kindle Digital Publishing.  I am task oriented, and the completion of the book was the end of the task, though I have edited the book from time to time and have uploaded newer versions.

4.) What is more important to you, story, or character? Why?

A.) I don't see how one can be more important than the other.  No matter how interesting the story is, if the reader can't empathize with the characters the book fails.  The alternative is also true.  Great characters are boring if they sit on their hands.

5.) What is a typical day like in your world?

A.)  I get up around 7am on weekdays, stagger into the kitchen and get a cup of coffee, stagger to my man cave and start my computer.  Then I turn on the tube which is usually set to CNBC.  About 8:30am I walk for exercise, and then I return to my computer.  On Thursdays and Fridays I start watching PGA golf at 9:00am.  Since I live in Hawaii, watching sports on the mainland starts early; sometimes at 6:00am, so I get up earlier during the weekend.  I'm retired, and my time is my own.  I live on a small farm, so I exercise in the afternoon by doing farm work.  At night, I might spend one or two hours watching television.  I listen to music, read, and garden

Books by Stanley Morris

Surviving the Fog 
Surviving the Fog-Kathy’s Recollections
Sarah’s Spaceship Adventure
Sam’s Winnings (Tales of the Ragoon)
Kate’s Movie Star (Tales of the Ragoon)
Amy’s Hero (Tales of the Ragoon)
The Colors of Passion and Love
What’s in My Shorts (short stories)

Stanley can be found online at:

Surviving the Fog Website:

Author’s Personal Website:

Book Trailer:

Author Links


Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Amazon Canada:

Amazon Australia:


Google Play:


Social Media Links

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Writer’s Café:



Library Thing:

My Blog:

Why Horror is Good For You.

Seraphim by Greg Ruth

 One of the core reasons I make books now is because Ray Bradbury scared me so happy, that what I am perpetually compelled to do is, at best, ignite the same flame in a young reader today. Most of my comics, certainly the ones I write myself, are scary ones or revolve around scary themes. In the last ten years I began to notice that they also featured, as protagonists, children. Even when the overall story wasn’t necessarily about them, there they were: peeking from behind some safe remove, watching.

I came to understand the pattern was leading me to a more clearly defined ethos when I both had kids of my own and I came to find that the comics industry had for the most part decided not to make books for kids anymore. Instead they wanted to tailor even their brightly colored, undies-on-the-outside superhero books to old men nostalgic for their long-passed childhoods than for the children they were intended to inspire. Insane, right? This generation had not only stolen the medium away from its following generations, it had helped foster one of the greatest publishing face-plants in American history: it killed its own future by ignoring the basic need to grow a new crop of readers, and so made certain it had no future at all.

And one thing no one was going near was horror stories for kids. Clinton was president and we hadn’t yet learned about the wonderful effects anthrax-laced letters, the Washington DC snipers, and everyone losing their jobs would have on us. (To be perfectly honest, I think I—like many others—existed in a continual state of fear from mid-2001 all the way up to last Wednesday). The time has become ripe again and with the collapse of the DC and Marvel models, it was time to do what they wouldn’t: scare the hell out of kids and teach them to love it. Here’s why this is not as crazy as it sounds:

Read the rest at

This Week's New Releases 7-22-2015

New this week on Amazon. Click on any cover for more info.

Action - Adventure:  The Werewolf Principle

Synopsis: Many centuries in the future, a two-hundred-year-old man is discovered hibernating in a space capsule orbiting a distant star. Transported back to his home planet, Andrew Blake awakens to an Earth he does not recognize—a world of flying cars and sentient floating houses—with no memory whatsoever of his history or purpose. But he has not returned alone. The last survivor of a radical experiment abandoned more than a century earlier, Blake was genetically altered to be able to adapt to extreme alien environments, and now he can sense other presences inhabiting his mind and body. One is a biological computer of astonishing power; the other is a powerful creature akin to a large wolf. And Blake is definitely not the one in control. With his sanity hanging in the balance, Blake’s only option is to set out in frantic pursuit of his past, the truth, his destiny—and quite possibly the fate of humankind.

Contemporary Fiction: The Scamp: A Novel

Synopsis: Mysterious, chilling, and told a breakneck pace, The Scamp will thrill readers of Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone and Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State.

Rayelle Reed can’t escape in her small town, where everyone knows everything and not enough: All the guys she slept with, but not the ones she loved. The baby she had out of wedlock with the pastor’s son, and how the baby died, but not the grief and guilt that consume her. At a motel bar, Rayelle meets Couper Gale, a freelance detective on a mission to investigate a rash of missing girls, and she tags along as an excuse to cross the state line. But when Couper’s investigation leads them to the mystery surrounding Rayelle’s runaway cousin Khaki, she finds she is heading straight back into everything she was hoping to leave behind.

As fates become entwined, Rayelle must follow a haunted and twisted path—leading her toward a collision where loyalties will be betrayed, memories uncovered, and family bonds shattered. Unflinchingly dark and compelling, THE SCAMP confronts head-on the issues of family origins and the bonds between mothers, daughters, and sisters. It delves deep into the cycle of abuse and poverty, questioning, in the end, the value of any one life, child or adult.

In Pashley’s hands, the lost girls of rural and industrial America, trapped in the unforgiving systems of government assistance and single parenthood, are portrayed with depth and nuance. She exposes the ingrained poverty and atmosphere of disillusionment that damns them before they have a chance and she gives them a ray of hope for a better life ahead.

Horror: The Light Through The Water

Synopsis: I died when I was 8 years old. I drowned...

If my father hadn't pulled me out of the water I would have stayed dead. Just before I blacked out, I saw the most beautiful light coming through the water. A light so bright and full of love it made me forget about death. Years went by and I forgot about the light. Things changed, I got older. People I loved saw their own light. And I eventually saw mine again. This is the story of my light.

The Light Through the Water

Literary Fiction: The Musubi Murder

Synopsis: Small town life, big academic egos, revenge, romance, and Spam musubis

The Musubi Murder is Hawaii's first campus murder mystery

Newly single and far from home, Professor Molly Barda wants to focus on her job and stay out of trouble until she gets tenure at remote Mahina State University. But her life is upended when fast-food entrepreneur Jimmy Tanaka, founder of Merrie Musubis, pledges a huge donation to Molly's college, and then disappears.

Molly's bottom-line-obsessed dean tasks her with locating the missing musubi mogul, a quest that lands her in a stew of old grudges, whispered scandals, and murder.

Along the way, Molly starts to fall for Tanaka's competitor, the too-good-to-be-true Donnie Gonsalves. Donnie seems to like her for all the wrong reasons--and has a few secrets of his own.

The Musubi Murder is for

    mystery lovers
    Hawaii expatriates
    disillusioned academics
    anyone who fancies Spam (the meat)

˃˃˃ What is a Musubi?

The Spam musubi, Hawaii's favorite snack and Merrie Musubis' signature dish, is a cube of sticky rice topped with a slice of fried Spam, and then wrapped in a strip of dried seaweed. From a distance, musubis look a lot like oversized pieces of sushi.

Romance: Enchanting the Swan

Synopsis: Paul, a classical pianist, meets law student cellist Fiona at William & Mary and they begin playing beautiful music together. When they perform The Swan by Camille Saint-Saëns on William & Mary's Charter Day, their love is sealed forever. They agree to marry after graduation, but Fiona's reactionary godparents object to her marrying Paul and command her to come back home to Belgium. When Paul visits her in Brussels, Fiona breaks their relationship, following the wishes of her deceased parents that she marry into her Belgian social circle. She does just so, unaware of her godfather's real intentions. Heartbroken, Paul leaves for Geneva to start his banking career, and gets entangled in a dramatic banking fraud. He is forced to return to the USA, where he finds Fiona physically and psychologically abused and on the verge of utter despair. Paul endeavors to restore their love but faces harrowing obstacles. Will they ever play The Swan again?

Sci-Fi: Lucid Blue: And Other Tales Too (Tarnished Sterling)

Synopsis: Not everything that happens in the world is seen by Travis Colfax. This anthology explores the wider universe of the Tarnished Sterling books with eight short works, including two novellas.

Ranger Roy the Rocket Rider - Travis and the Trainees attempt to catch a group of burglars who are breaking into places which have memorabilia related to the Golden Age Hero 'Ranger Roy'.

Omnirunner - Dan Fullbright was a lousy hero. In fact, he'd pretty much abandoned the life and spent his days below the radar, doing odd jobs and the occasional petty theft. The job Evelyn brought him looked simple enough - make it look like a man wasn't dead just yet. The way Dan's day had been going, it was anything but simple.

Reforger - Fleeing the fall of his vessel, Lord Captain Zsh-ya doesn't get much further than the surface of the planet. An old supervillain and his rival attempt to get their hands on Zsh-ya's ship before the Heroes show up.

Heartstrings - Valentine's Day brings the Eighty-first annual Heartstrings Archery Tournament to New Port Arthur. For Errol Rickard, it is the perfect cover to gain access to Leyden Academy and correct a mistake which could reveal his family's secrets.

Lucid Blue - Four juvenile delinquents attempt to get their lives back in order and avoid jail through the Community Fund's Junior Redemptioner program. All the while a new drug is making its way to the streets, one that gives people temporary powers.

Dead Men Talking - Baron Mortis talks to dead people, and they talk back. Sometimes, they won't shut up. A fact Donny discovers when he finds out the skull mask carries more baggage than just the weight of legacy about it.

Iron Conjurer - Looking to salvage something after failing to get their hands on Zsh-ya's shuttle, a pair of supervillains hatch a plan forged from sheer audacity. They are going to rob Sterling Towers itself.

Dirge of Carcosa - "How would you like to go to Mars?" Rex Holt asked. It was an offer Travis couldn't turn down. Of course, with all things the Fund Board gave, it came with a catch...

Thriller: Eye for Revenge

Synopsis: Something unusual is happening to Quinn Montgomery. Trapped inside her unconscious mind, the sound of her father's soothing voice seeps through, and the past twenty-four hours comes flooding back. She wakes to find herself in the hospital. Her childhood best friend Evie is dead. But not just dead, murdered, and Evie's four-year-old son witnessed it all. Traumatized over what he saw, he's not talking. And when Evie's cold-blooded killer goes into hiding, Quinn isn't only out for justice, she's out for revenge.

Guest Post: Crafting a Character

A well-rounded character draws from many inspirations. Raena Zacari, the reformed Imperial assassin, in my new trilogy was born in ballet class.

I studied ballet as a child. I started the year I entered first grade – in a studio in the basement of the teacher’s house – and continued at a different studio until I went away to university at 19. One of the girls I danced with got accepted into the corps at Joffrey Ballet. Another became a ballet teacher at our studio. All of us in my class were serious about our lessons. We danced as many nights a week as we could afford.

Raena Zacari, main character of The Dangerous Type and its sequels, came directly out of those dance classes. Ballerinas are strong, fierce, and completely unafraid of pain. If something hurts, you suck it up: because if you can’t do the combination, someone else will take your part.

Read the rest at The Dark Geisha

The one trait every writer must Possess.

I'm sure every writer who has ever put pen to paper has experienced the following situation.

You've researched your target market thoroughly, reading past issues to see what types of work they have been publishing, scouring writers forums for feedback from writers rejected by your target market. You don't want to make any of the mistakes they have.

You develop your idea, a nugget that recently presented itself to you from that unknowable region within the writers mind where all ideas are born. You've slaved over the story, slanting it to fit within your target market. Writing and rewriting, editing and re-editing, polishing until the words flow with an eloquence that startles even you.

Your cover letter is a masterpiece of brevity, direct and to the point, wasting nary a syllable, nor a moment of your target editor's time. You're confident the piece will be accepted, after all you've covered all the bases so you turn your attention to other tasks, focus on other works while in the back of your mind you're patiently waiting for that acceptance email.

Time passes, anywhere from three weeks to a year has gone by since you submitted your work to that target market. The email has arrived, you recognize the subject as the one you wrote for the original submission and you hesitate for a moment before opening the email. For a brief second you think to yourself that it has to be a rejection, after all that's been the story of your life lately.

You open the email, secretly hoping it's time for a celebration while at the same time dreading the discovery of the words that will mar the start of a new day.

"Thank you for your story submission. Unfortunately we will not be able to use it. Good luck in the future."


The stages of grief ensue.

SHOCK, "you gotta be kidding me, after all the work I put into this submission."

DENIAL, "it has to be a mistake, they just got my acceptance email mixed up with another writer's  rejection."

"This can't be right!"

ANGER "who do these people think they are? I'll show them."

Anger fuels desperation as you hit the lowest point of loneliness and isolation.

Most of us emerge from the other side with a renewed desire to push ourselves even harder if for no other reason than to show the editor who rejected us that it was they who made a mistake. We accept their decision and move on, forging ahead with an understanding that this is what the writing life is all about.

Those who do not, become trapped in that downward bubble of loneliness and isolation, eventually giving up on a dream that was really nothing more than a passing fancy.

How close had they come when they gave up?

That which drives us onward is a simple trait we know as persistence. An intangible thing that compels us to keep pushing on even in the face of seemingly impossible odds. It is persistence that pushes the writer through those upside down bubbles, the deep valleys that are as much a part of the writing life as the high peaks. The desire to succeed, coupled with a strong sense of persistence, is the driving force that pushes the writer to keep submitting, to keep putting it out there, no matter the reaction.

It is not a trait that can be taught to anyone. One does not learn how to be persistent in the classroom, though some advanced subjects in college require their students to arrive with a high degree of persistence. We learn how to be persistent through out our lives. If we want something important to us, and it is out of reach, we persist in attaining that goal. Be it a new job, good grades in school, or even that shiny new car you've been eying up.

Do you have the persistence to keep going in the face of impossible odds?

What was the worst thing that has ever happened in your writing life that you've managed to push past?

For me it was the loss of ten years of work when a hard drive crashed. One moment I had nearly a million words of work saved to my hard drive. The next moment it was all gone. Vanishing right before my eyes. All I had left were a few print outs.

Fridays 5 with Taylor Fenner

Taylor grew up in a small town in Wisconsin. She's been an avid reader with a vivid imagination since she was very young. Most of her childhood can be described as having her nose stuck in one book or another. She's a strong believer in ghosts and the paranormal, which led to her interest in writing paranormal romance.
When she's not busy writing you can find her reading and adding to her extensive book collection, working on photomanipulations on her computer as a hobby, taking photographs, cooking as often as possible, and fighting with her cross-eyed cat, Tiger.

Taylor still currently lives in Wisconsin, not far from where The Haunting Love is set. The Haunting Love is her debut young adult novel.

1.) When did you first get serious about writing?

A.) I always dreamed of being an author but I didn’t get serious about it until I was in middle school or high school. I started writing my first novel, The Haunting Love, when I was a junior or senior in high school.

2.) What is the hardest part for you about writing?

A.) The hardest part for me is when I hit a block. In the beginning or every one of my projects I do all of the planning, figure out the setting and the characters, and do any research I might need to start; but sometimes I can be halfway through with a project and have no inspiration to continue on. I find if I let the story sit for a while and work on other things I eventually get back on course but in that moment it’s frustrating not knowing what is going to happen next.

3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?

A.) I felt excited of course, but at the same time really nervous.  I was afraid that nobody would want to buy or read my novel. The feelings are all still new to me and I’m just letting them sink in. This has been my dream for so long and it finally came true. It’s so rewarding at the end of the day when someone tells me that they’ve read The Haunting Love and they love it or that they can relate to one or more of my characters.

4.) What is more important to you: story, or character? Why?

A.) They’re both very important and they go hand in hand.  You could write the best character imaginable but if you don’t have a story you just have a character. What is the character’s story? What complications will they meet in life? Will they end up happy? To me that’s the fun part, seeing how their stories will pan out.

5.) What is a typical day like in your world?

A.)  To me there is no such thing as “typical”.  Some days I get up and spend the entire day online updating my author social media pages, answering questions about my novel, trying to promote it, and answering emails. Other days I spend the entire day writing. It depends on what else is going on in my life. Some nights I’ll be up until one a.m. listening to music and writing down ideas or just writing in general and some days I don’t get anything done at all.

Taylor is all over the web:

The Haunting Love Goodreads Page:
Twitter: (@TaylorFenner)
Amazon Author Page:

This Weeks New Releases: July 15, 2015

New this week on Amazon. Click on any cover for more info.

Action / Adventure: Dragonvein

Synopsis: With new friends and allies fighting by his side, Ethan Dragonvein must find a way to overcome the might of the Eternal Emperor Shinzan. As the voices of the dragon’s call to him, he is driven to seek them out in the faint hope that they can help him fulfill his destiny and save the people of Lumnia. But he must hurry. Shinzan has not been idle and moves swiftly to crush this fledgling mage before he can become a challenge to his power.
Contemporary Fiction: Father of the Gods

Synopsis: A traumatic day in the orphanage in London throws two 17 year old boys into a quest for the unknown and a fight for survival. While being chased by dangerous people, they travel to India, and then to Japan and to the lap of the origin of civilization in Europe, discovering age old mysteries like the secret of the Yeti of the Himalayas and the secret of the Daruma Dolls in Japan. They encounter teleporters operated by humans from a parallel earth whose human citizens declare themselves to be ancient Norse Gods, and are caught up in a web of four millennia of hidden history which could destroy Earth as we know it. Will they be able to make their way to the other dimension? Will they find their fathers and in the process discover the all-consuming secret of the Father of the Gods which is an integral part of every myth and culture across the world? THE DIMENSIONS BOOK ONE STARTS AN ADVENTURE WHICH THREATENS TO UNRAVEL THE ORIGIN OF HUMANS ITSELF.

Horror: The Shadow Aspect: The Harvesting Series Book 2

Synopsis: When Layla took the final step through the labyrinth, she thought she was saving the ones she loved.

She couldn't have been more wrong.

Layla and the other survivors now find themselves caught in a war for our world, the unwitting victims of a grudge seething for eons. Surviving the zombie apocalypse has become the least of their worries as they come up against vampires, shapeshifters, and fae. When she uncovers an unspeakable horror, whom can Layla trust? The carnie girl? The doctor searching for a cure? The tarot reader? The stranger with alluring gold eyes? Or the man she loves?

The wrong choice could doom them all.

When the world burns, mankind’s shadow side rises. Do we deserve to survive?

Continue this award-winning zombie/dark fantasy genre mash-up series in Book 2, The Shadow Aspect.

Literary Fiction: My Father Is an Angry Storm Cloud: Collected Stories

Synopsis: A film studies major gets a meat-processing job supervising the systematic dismemberment and disembowelment of chickens. A troubled loner finds the man of her dreams in a shoebox of horse figurines; a depressed mother is riddled with anxiety about her toddler daughter's eerily coded accounts of a "ghost." The short stories in Melissa Reddish's newest collection, My Father Is An Angry Storm Cloud, reconfigure the boundaries between victim and aggressor--and between complicity and innocence--in exhilarating prose that is at once sensibly deadpan and mysteriously hallucinatory. College-educated, creative, and faced with no prospects to speak of, Reddish's hapless postmillennial protagonists stoically eke out monotonous existences as factory workers, retail sales clerks, and homemakers, staring down their limited lives even as the desperation of everyday life spirals into the no man's land between fantasy and psychosis. Yet they are also clear-eyed and conscious, calmly aware of--and uncannily receptive to--the most devastating of life's horrors. Elegant, perfectly controlled, and confidently weird, these brilliantly imagined short stories reveal the strangely satisfying world of a superbly talented practitioner.

Romance: I SEE YOU

Synopsis: I watch you, I see you in ways no one else can, and through my lens I create a life of you for someone to dissect. I capture you in your vulnerability; that smile, your laugh, those tears. I document you and sell your secrets.

When I watch you through my lens you’re mine until I pass you to the buyer. I, like most people, have a fetish for pretty things and in my job I get to be around a lot of pretty things. They pay me to watch them and capture them in a frame for many purposes, and sometimes I like my profession a little more than I should.

I took a job to capture her… I wanted to capture and keep her in more than just the image. This time I will take myself away from the lens and become the client because I cannot resist her, she reminds me too much of my first, I need to have her.

Traumatised from a vicious attack, Nina Drake finds herself shut off from the world until her neighbour brings her out of more than just her nightmares. Even after moving and changing her name, she still can’t shake the feeling of being watched. The memories are so close.

And so is the shadow of the creator of them all.

Sci-Fi: Space Cowboys & Indians (Cosmic Cowboys Book 1)

Synopsis: How can the chance of a lifetime go so horribly wrong?

Mining Engineer Cole Hudson signed up for NASA astronaut training, but after washing out short of getting his gold wings, he retreats to Alaska where he stakes out a gold claim. When billionaire entrepreneur Duncan Janson offers him an opportunity to join a mining team on an asteroid, Cole jumps at the chance.

But nothing is as it seems. Former NASA reject and rival classmate, Tessa Hernandez, is also a member of the team, and from the beginning of the mission test flight, things go wrong. They soon discover they’re not the only ones on the asteroid. As they try to escape, they are pulled through a wormhole and back to the early 1800s New Mexico desert where aliens and Apaches may be the least of their problems.

Thrillers: Missing

Synopsis: Haunted by her best friend's disappearance, always practical Rowan Quaide lives a life of cold logic. As an intelligence analyst, her world is ruled by who has the best strategy and Ro's reasoned control makes her Queen.

A Chance encounter with a man from her past stretches the bounds of reason and throws her into a game of dark deception and danger. With the past creeping from her nightmares into her reality, Ro pits herself against the monster determined to destroy the new love she's found.

As the intel gets more and more disturbing and events begin to spin out of control, she must rely on her instincts and cling to an unreasonable truth, or allow logic to tear her apart.

Writing YA with Mr M.

Bryan, my science teacher, was totally cool…not Fonzi cool…surfer dude cool. He paddled from Los Angeles to Catalina. After hearing this news I convinced my father that we needed to buy paddleboards. Besides Bryan, I only remember the books I read. Young adult books can leave an imprint on a reader.

The relationship between reader and writer can be deep. It can’t be taken away. It  is something to be cherished. Think about it. Someone spent time loving something you or I wrote and yet we have never officially met. I know that reading YA books shaped my perspective.

One such book was The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. The main character, Ponyboy Curtis is one of my favorite character voices of all time. He was able to navigate between two different social classes. As time went on I devoured other young adult books like The Catcher In The Rye. This was the first time I realized that characters can have a bitter tone. Soon I went through a Steinbeck phase and later a Louis L’Amour phase. I loved reading about a family that he created called The Sacketts.

Later, I enjoyed movies about teens like the Breakfast Club, War Games, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. They were heavy on character, voice, and tone. For example, in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Matthew Broderick’s opening monologue immediately tells the audience that he most likely has a high intellect, a good sense of humor, and the ability to lead. Below is just one statement he makes while getting ready to leave the house in the morning.

“Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me." Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off people.”

His dialogue is pure poetry. Whether I am writing or reading I crave characters with strong voices. What movies, books, or television shows have shaped your perspective about the YA genre?

About Mr M.

Mr. M graduated from Chapman University with a BFA in Film and Television Production. He received his MFA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute. As a television executive at CBS, UPN, and ABC he worked with writers and producers supervising comedies and dramas for the networks.

Some of the shows Mr. M worked on were Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Girlfriends, Alias, George Lopez, and the short lived Invasion. Mr. M was always interested in teaching and decided to make a career change.

He attended Pacific Oaks College where he earned a Masters of Human Development and a multi-subject credential. The Magical Adventures of Brian Leonard is his first young adult book!

Mr M can be found on the web at.




Buy 'The Magical Adventures of Brian Leonard':

Fridays 5 with Chris Tucker

Chris Tucker grew up in New England and has lived throughout the country. From an early age, he acquired a love of reading and writing, and always wanted to write a novel of his own.
That opportunity came while he was living in Hawaii and he decided to start writing what would become his first novel - Lost Voyage. The birth of his son caused the novel to be put on hold and it would be more than a decade before the book was finally published.
Since that time, he has also published a short story zombie series called the "5280 Diaries".
When not writing, Chris spends his time raising his son, playing guitar, taking his pup to the park, hiking through the Rocky Mountains, coaching youth soccer, and watching anything Boston sports related.

1.) When did first get serious about writing?
A.) I’ve always had a passion for writing, but it wasn’t until I was living in Hawaii when I really sat down and started writing out my first novel. I didn’t have a computer so I actually had to hand write it all out in a notebook. I’m happy to say that is no longer the way I write my books, as I have joined the rest of modern society and now have a laptop of my own. Once my son was born, the book was put on hold for almost a decade while I spent my time raising him. Babies require a lot more attention than you would think. I thought they just came out and that was it, but nope, you actually have to pay attention to them.

2.) What is the hardest part for you about writing?
A.) Even though I work from home, it would be the time aspect. I coach youth soccer and run my own business, so while I sit on my couch all day, I don’t have as much time as I would like to actually write more books. Once I get into my groove though, there is no better feeling. The other hard part is trying to keep the ideas fresh. All of my novels will have the same main characters in them, so keeping everything fun for the reader requires me to write the dialogue in such a way that it doesn’t become repetitive in each book. Other than that, I really don’t think there’s anything hard about writing. I love putting my words on paper and I’ve been known to laugh out loud when I write a funny scene. It’s just a lot of fun. I have no idea how I come up with some of the plotlines and dialogue. But that’s the best part of it all. I can’t even put my shoes on the right feet most days, but I’m able to come up with some pretty cool plots and twists along the way (or at least I hope all my readers feel that way).

3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?
A.) I went and bought a pretty kickass bottle of red wine and proceeded to drink it as I smiled profusely. It was one of the coolest feelings to see my novel published and hold a copy in my hands. It was a book 10 years in the making and to finally put it out there for the world to read was a feeling like no other. Getting that first awesome review from someone I didn’t know personally was an even better feeling. To know someone liked (and actually paid for) something I worked so hard on gave me a sort of validation that I might be good at this whole writing thing. The person who left the bad review might differ in that opinion, but I’ve accepted the fact that not everyone will like the book. I personally think it was my mom who left the bad review, but she hasn’t fessed up to it yet. Might be payback for me being a horrible kid in my teen years, but I’ll break her eventually and get her to admit it.

4.) What is more important to you, story, or character? Why?
A.) If I have to choose, I would say my characters are more important, but only because it’s on a personal level for me. While I love how I come up with the storylines for my books, I tend to throw in a personal touch with my characters and their development. For example, my main character’s partner is named Pat Vigil. Pat is based off of my best friend who passed away a few years ago. Being able to write him into the story and pretty much write his character as he was in real life is something that means a lot to me. It helps me to keep him alive, so to speak, and it allows my readers to see what he was like and why our friendship meant so much to me. His character is so easy to write because I just imagine what he would say or do in certain situations. One of his relatives read the book and told me, “Yep, that’s Patrick.” For me, that was the coolest thing anyone could have ever said about his character. It means I’m portraying and honoring his legacy in a good way. There are also a few other characters in the book based on real people in my life. I wish I could have chosen both responses for this question because I have such a great time coming up with my storylines…maybe next interview? Hint, hint…

5.) What is a typical day like in your world?
A.) I always begin each day by getting my faced licked to no end by my pup, Bailey. Then it’s time to get up and take her out for a quick walk. I usually plop myself down on the couch and turn on something sports related (usually a soccer game) while I fire up my laptop. I pretend to work for a few hours so my girlfriend thinks I’m actually accomplishing something (although I’m usually screwing around on my social media accounts), and then I try and squeeze in a little writing. Then it’s off to soccer practice where I get to make myself feel better by yelling at a bunch of 11 year olds (joking about the yelling…not really, but kinda) and I get to do something I truly love as I watch them develop into better players. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to have that kind of effect on kids and see them become better each and every day. I also have my own son who is my entire world who gets a fair share of my attention, and then there’s my amazing girlfriend who seems to put up with me on a daily basis for some unknown reason – we both work from home so we get to see each other all the time. That’s my day in a nutshell. In between all of that, I try and find time to write my next novel so my readers will stop pestering me about when it’s coming out. I know… it’s such a burden to have people wanting your next book, isn’t it?

Chris can be found all over the web.

This Weeks New Releases

New this week on Amazon.
Click on any cover for more info.

Action - Adventure: The Plantation (Payne & Jones Book 1)

Synopsis: One by one, in cities across America, people of all ages are taken from their homes, their cars, their lives. But these aren't random kidnappings. They're crimes of passion, planned and researched several months in advance, then executed with a singular objective in mind. Revenge.

Ariane Walker is one of the victims, dragged from her apartment with few clues to follow. The police said there's little they can do for her, but that isn't good enough for her boyfriend, Jonathon Payne.

With the help of his best friend, Payne gives chase, hoping that a lead in New Orleans somehow pays off. Together, they uncover the mystery of Ariane's abduction and the truth behind the South's most violent secret.

Contemporary Fiction: Prophets of Eternal Fjord: A Novel

Synopsis: Idealistic, foolhardy Morten Falck, the hapless hero, is a newly ordained priest sailing to Greenland in 1787 to convert the Inuit to the Danish church. He's rejected the prospect of a sleepy posting in a local parish and instead departs for the forsaken Sukkertoppen colony, where he will endeavor to convert the locals. A town battered by unremittingly harsh winters and simmering with the threat of dissent, it is a far cry from the parish he envisioned; natives from neighboring villages have unified to reject colonial rule and establish their own settlement atop Eternal Fjord. A bumbling and at times terrifically destructive mix of Shakespeare's Falstaff and Nathaniel Hawthorne's Arthur Dimmesdale, he's woefully ill prepared to confront this new sect. Torn between his instinctive compassion for the rebel congregation perched atop Eternal Fjord and his duty to the church, Falck is forced to decide where he belongs. His exploits in this brutal backwater include an accidental explosion after a night curled around a keg, a botched surgery, a love affair with a solitary and fatalistic widow, and an apprenticeship with an eager young scholar that ends in tragedy.

Horror: The Pretty Ones

Synopsis: New York, 1977. The sweltering height of the Summer of Sam. The entire city is gripped with fear, but all Nell Sullivan worries about is whether or not she’ll ever make a friend. The self-proclaimed “Plain Jane” does her best to fit in with the girls at work, but Nell’s brother, Barrett, assures her that she’ll never be like them. When Nell manages to finally garner some much-yearned-for attention, the unthinkable happens to her newfound friend. The office pool blames Son of Sam, but Nell knows the awful truth…because doing the devil’s work is easy 
Literary Fiction: A Hanging at Cinder Bottom

Synopsis: The year is 1910. Halley’s Comet has just signaled the end of the world, and Jack Johnson has knocked out the “Great White Hope,” Jim Jeffries. Keystone, West Virginia, is the region’s biggest boomtown, and on a rainy Sunday morning in August, its townspeople are gathered in a red-light district known as Cinder Bottom to witness the first public hanging in over a decade. Abe Baach and Goldie Toothman are at the gallows, awaiting their execution. He’s Keystone’s most famous poker player; she’s the madam of its most infamous brothel. Abe split town seven years prior under suspicion of armed robbery and murder, and has been playing cards up and down the coast, hustling under a variety of pseudonyms, ever since. But when he returns to Keystone to reunite with Goldie and to set the past right, he finds a brother dead and his father’s saloon in shambles—and suspects the same men might be responsible for both. Only then, in facing his family’s past, does the real swindle begin.

Romance: Easy Charm (The Boudreaux Series Book 2)

Synopsis: Gabrielle Boudreaux, the youngest of the Boudreaux clan, is a single mother of her young son, Sam. Running a Bed and Breakfast at the family plantation house at the edge of the Mississippi River, Gabby loves her inn, her boy and her family. She meets new people every day, and takes pride in the house and land that has been in her family for more than five generations. Blessed beyond measure, she’s also lonely, although she would never admit that to anyone. Until Rhys O’Shaughnessy walks through her door, brooding and wounded and the sexiest thing she’s ever laid eyes on.

Rhys has been at the top of his game as a major league pitcher for the Chicago Cubs for more than ten years. Baseball is in his blood. But when he tears his rotator cuff and has to sit a season out, he retreats to Inn Boudreaux at the recommendation of his cousin, Kate, to heal and work toward building his shoulder back to perfect shape with only one goal in mind: to return to the game he loves. But he didn’t plan on being utterly charmed by a devastatingly beautiful woman and her baseball-loving son.

When Rhys’ shoulder has healed and he’s given the chance to return to his team, will he leave the family he’s come to love behind, or will he stay with Gabby and Sam?

Sci-Fi: Devil's Daughter: Lucinda's Pawnshop, Book One

Synopsis: Lucinda is as old as humanity itself, yet perpetually young, beautiful, and endowed with supernatural powers. She lives a double life—human and immortal. Born out of a betrayal of trust between the first woman, Eve, and father, Lucifer, Lucinda has worked covertly and subtly for millennia to be true to her mother’s love by subverting her father’s schemes. In her human guise, she manages Lucinda’s Pawnshop & Antiquary, the doors of which can open to any street anywhere in the world at any time. Mortals who have arrived at a moral or spiritual crossroads are drawn into the mysterious shop. If they acquire one of its cursed artifacts, they may find themselves drafted into Lucifer’s service. And if the Devil's daughter will not love a man he can control, can Lucifer control the man she loves?

Mystery - Thrillers - Suspense: Pieces Of You (A Stan Brookshire Novel Book 4)

Synopsis: Some cases are hard to let go of, even haunting. Detective Stan Brookshire knows this better than anyone - he still relives a particularly brutal unsolved case from his past in his darkest dreams. A young girl gone and her murderer never brought to justice…

There’s a serial killer who removes pieces of his victims until they succumb to his game and then skips town, without a trace. He's already left his mark on Lake City and Stan himself but he's back and has his eyes set on Stan; this time it’s personal.

It's Stan against the clock as he and the entire Lake City Police Force race once more to catch the one that got away. Will another innocent die in the process or will Stan get to her in time?