Tag Archives: indie author

Walking on Custard

I have a new release coming up. Walking on Custard by Neil Hughes will be released on 31 March 2015 but you can pre-order it now here

Inner critic: I can’t believe you’re doing this…

Shh.

Inner critic: I mean, it’s bad enough you WROTE this damn book, now you’re TELLING everyone about it as well? You do realise how embarrassing this is going to be, right? You’re like a chimp driving a stolen car. You have no IDEA of the consequences. Just stop already!

My inner critic has some reservations about this article, it seems. But then he had a number of reservations about the book, too.

He reckoned that a comedy book about anxiety was a guaranteed disaster.

Inner critic: In fairness, that’s mostly because it was an idiot like YOU writing it. The idea is fine.

But I went ahead and wrote it anyway. Walking on Custard & the Meaning of Life explains how I learned to be less anxious, mostly by telling embarrassing personal stories… mixed with flights of outright fantasy, badly-drawn graphs and philosophical discussion of anxiety and happiness.

Inner critic: I’m in it too! I’m the best bit. Tell them about me!

Sigh. Yes, my inner critic is in it too. But don’t let that put you off. It’s still a fun read. And even a helpful one for those struggling with anxiety, or who want to get to know themselves better.

Or, I suppose, for those curious enough to want to know the Meaning of Life. But who would be interested in that…?

Inner critic: Really? THAT’S your attempt at a hook? Pretty obvious and lame, Neil. Lucky your book is better than that, or –

Aha! I knew you liked it really! And you just admitted it publicly!

Inner critic: Aw, nuts.

If your inner critic is as annoying as mine – or if you’re anxious, self-critical, unsure, in need of a laugh or confused – then check out Walking on Custard & the Meaning of Life: A Guide for Anxious Humans.

AN EXCERPT FROM Walking on Custard & the Meaning of Life (999 words!)

It was late 2010 and I was sitting at my desk at work. My life was broadly satisfying. I was settled into a new job, and my social life in a new city was budding. I was writing a book (I wrote one, it was rubbish), and had just done my first stand-up comedy gig, to mostly universal acclaim (of the people who’d been there, which was more than enough for me). And I was dating a girl I’d secretly liked for months. All was well.

Yet, on this day, suddenly, I felt awful. I had noticed a slight unease earlier, but now my head was spinning and my heart was pounding. I was terrified. I imagined the embarrassment of falling apart in front of my colleagues, and forced myself to sit still, hoping that no-one had noticed what was going on. Whatever it was.

I went to the little office kitchen and looked outside at some trees. Possibly somewhere in the back of my mind I thought this would help me connect with nature and make me feel better.

It didn’t.

In fact, the normality of everything outside contrasted with my spinning sense of falling apart, and I felt worse still.

I returned to my desk. At lunchtime I liked to watch a comedy show, a treat I usually looked forward to all morning. As the familiar sound of the theme tune started up in my headphones I put my fingers to my neck to feel my heartbeat thumping. What is that… like… 120 beats per minute? Am I dying?

I couldn’t concentrate. I closed the browser tab. I wasn’t even in the mood for laughter. Something was seriously, seriously wrong.

I left work early and went to the doctor convinced I must be ill. Something was wrong with my stomach, perhaps. In the back of my mind was an insistent thought that I was severely sick. I could not shake the thought.

This non-event began a lengthy anxious period. Every day I woke up feeling a heavy dread, my chest tight and my heart pounding. I couldn’t concentrate, only pretending to engage while my inner monologue desperately screamed about how awful everything was. I said no to social engagements in case I fell apart and embarrassed myself and everyone would know what a fraud I was.

I dreaded everything. Mostly, I dreaded continuing to feel like this. But I couldn’t see how it would stop, so I sought to explain how it started.

I was certain there must be a physical cause. I had stomach aches, headaches, bowel problems, racing heart, dizziness and shortness of breath. Surely these must point to the underlying cause. I simply had to find what was wrong and then all would be fixed. Or so I hoped.

I searched online. I diagnosed myself with every disease humans can catch, and probably some that they can’t. I saw multiple doctors, and signed up for blood tests, urine tests, fecal tests, scans, allergy tests, reaction tests and the bar exam.

(Well, maybe not the bar exam. But I would have, if I thought it might help.)

One day I even had a surprise endoscopy.

I should probably explain the endoscopy. It wasn’t exactly a surprise. Obviously I knew I was having an endoscopy. A certain amount of co-operation is required, after all.

The surprise was that, somehow, I hadn’t really considered what an endoscopy meant.

If you don’t know, it involves a scope going, er… in your end. Pleasingly, the word describes itself: End-o-scope-y.

I optimistically believed it would be a quick in-and-out procedure, so to speak. I’d nip to the hospital, there’d be a momentary discomfort, and I’d soon be on my way, finally armed with the answer to what’s wrong with me.

Five minutes, at most.

Two hours later, as I lay in a hospital bed, naked but for a backless gown (having reluctantly been forced to hand in my clothes, my mobile phone and my wallet), I wondered if perhaps I should have told my colleagues – or in fact, anyone at all – that I was going to the hospital for a procedure and that I might be late to work.

Several hours later, I uncomfortably boarded the bus home. I never made it to work that day. But I did have a story that greatly amused my housemates that evening.

Some days I’d feel better, some worse. But every day I feared that today would be the day I’d “lose control” or “lose my ability to cope”. I wasn’t sure what I was failing to cope with, exactly, but it was clearly something. I became terrified of driving, of getting trapped in traffic, or being on a train, or in a crowded place like a theatre. I was afraid that there was something deeply and irretrievably wrong with me.

And every day I searched for more possible causes, figuring that if I could just understand why then I’d finally be able to fix everything.

Maybe it’s subconscious trauma. Or delayed grief for the death of my father. Maybe it’s carbon monoxide poisoning. Or brain cancer. Or an allergy. Am I getting enough exercise? Or doing too much? It could be my environment. My life choices. Did I say brain cancer already?

Even – finally – accepting that there was nothing physically wrong with me didn’t help. Now I couldn’t understand how to fix myself mentally. My frightening online research indicated I had several anxiety disorders. At least.

I was afraid of the feelings. I was afraid they’d never stop.

This book is the story of how I came to understand and handle these feelings. Maybe you’re in a similar situation. If so, you have my sympathy. At the risk of getting uncomfortably poetical, this is a pilgrimage I’ve travelled myself, and I understand how arduous it is to pass.

But before we talk about exactly how, I’m afraid that there are things we must discuss regarding custard and physics…

 

Pre-order now here 

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Broken People – FREE

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you are all having a lovely day and thanks for stopping in and checking on me. I’m assuming your presents are opened and the house is in total chaos. Well here’s a Christmas present for you – for today and tomorrow only you can download Ioana Visan’s Broken People for FREE! Can’t wait to read this one, who’s with me?
You don’t always get what you want, but if you’re lucky, you might get what you need.For one week only, an impenetrable castle is open to the public, and Dale Armstrong has come to Bratislava to rob it. When he finds his partner’s arms mangled, he desperately searches for a way to fix him before time runs out.Because the war in the Far East is sapping all the allied nation’s resources, only The Nightingale Circus has the spare parts, the power, and the expertise to fix prosthetics and help the injured, but nothing is free.

Unfortunately, Dale doesn’t know about The Nightingale Circus’s side job, but a forced encounter with the most dangerous woman in the city, the Golden Lady, sends him their way. On this roller coaster of crazy twists and flips, schemes and deceit, wishes and dreams, no one can foresee how the aerialist will land.

Anything is possible in a world of Broken People.

Book Links:
Free dates: December 25 – 26, 2014
Author bio:
Award-winning writer Ioana Visan has always dreamed about reaching the stars, but since she can’t, she writes about it.
After fighting the apocalypse aftermath in “Human Instincts”, she played with shapeshifters in “Blue Moon Café Series: Where Shifters Meet for Drinks”, and then she dealt with vampires in “The Impaler Legacy” series, before tackling longer works like a fantasy trilogy and a science fiction series.Aside from publishing short stories in various Romanian magazines and anthologies, she published a Romanian short story collection “Efectul de nautil” and the Romanian edition of “Human Instincts”.She was awarded the Encouragement Award by The European Science Fiction Society at Eurocon 2013.

 


Mysteries and Scandals

Here’s a little something from author De’John Leonardo. Take a look at the blurb for Mysteries and Scandals – what do you think?

How would you feel if the life you are currently living was a set up? What if everything you thought was one way turned out to be another? Life for Justin has been no walk in the park. He once knew what it was like to have a happy family and to be loved by someone but all that changed the day his father was murdered. Justin’s life has been flipped upside down and not for the better but for the worse. Justin is stuck with the one person who he can’t stand and that is his mother Brandy. He and Brandy never got along but now that his father is dead they really don’t get along. Justin has always thought of his mother as a stranger. Could it be that he feels that his mother forgot where she came from? Or could it be Justin’s own fault be because of the choices he has made in life? Whatever the case may be they surely don’t see eye to eye. Life for Justin really gets confusing as he unlocks the mysteries behind the scandal. How will he be able to handle everything once he learns the truth about Brandy and what she tried to sweep under the rug for years?

 

You can download this book now from Amazon

 


Lost in Mist and Shadow

This week we have a new book from an author who has been here before. Have a read of this exclusive from Morgan Daimler’s Lost in Mist and Shadow.

 

“Wow, that stuff reeks,” Jason made a face, waving his hand in front of his face.

Allie stopped walking, the burning bundle of sage leaves held out in front of her. She glanced around her store, the ordered rows of bookshelves now obscured by a haze of smoke. “I like the way it smells.”

Jason wrinkled his nose, then looked up towards the ceiling, “You did remember to turn off the smoke detectors before lighting that thing up, right? Because I’m going to be really embarrassed if the alarm goes off and -”

“And all your firefighting buddies roll up and see you playing witch.” Allie interrupted, rolling her eyes. “Fine Takada, go open the front door and let some fresh air in.”

“More like let some smoke out. I hope no one thinks the building’s on fire,” Jason laughed, already jogging up to open the door. Allie mimed a kick in his direction, forgetting her bad ankle which screamed in protest at taking all her weight. She staggered, pain shooting up her leg, and bit her lip feeling foolish, but Jason hadn’t seen anything. She turned quickly and went back to smudging the store, limping more than usual now as she walked around trying to get the smoke into every crevice. Jason had always been prone to worrying about everything but Allie was pretty sure he was just teasing this time.

“I’m not sure that helped very much,” Jason moaned as Allie moved between the shelves in the back of the store.

“Well, then go open the back door and get some circulation going. Maybe that’ll help.”

“Do you really think burning some plants will get rid of funky energy?” Jason asked, hesitating.

“Yup. I know it does. My grandmother swore by burning sage.” Allie said, blowing on the smoldering bundle to keep the embers going.

“I dunno. Seems kinda weird, even for magic. I mean I get channeling energy, and chanting spells, and drawing out patterns to set a spell, but burning an herb and expecting it to cleanse the air seems, I dunno, just counterproductive.”

“You sound like such a firefighter, arguing against burning things,” Allie laughed.

Jason laughed with her, “I guess, but really how do you know it works?”

“Because I can feel the energy changing. Don’t they use herbs for cleansing in Japan?”

“I wouldn’t know,” Jason shifted slightly starting to move towards the back as Allie emerged from the bookshelves. “Not my thing and remember my mom and I came over to the US when I was little.”

“Yeah, I always forget you aren’t into your dad’s heritage side of things.”

“Why should I be?” Jason looked uncomfortable. “Who needs an emperor and seppuku anyway? You’re talking about a culture that hasn’t changed hardly at all since the black ships arrived in 1853.”

“You’re being ridiculous, and please you’re talking to me here, you think traditional Japanese culture is rigid try Elvish culture. You offend someone by using the wrong pronoun and you get challenged to a duel.” Allie waved the sage bundle in the air for emphasis and ash drifted down onto the wooden floor.

“I’m being ridiculous? You’re trusting burning plants to clean your energy,” Jason said sticking his tongue out at her.

“Hey, who’s the empath here? I think I can judge what works for getting rid of bad energy.”

He rolled his eyes dramatically, “Whatever, I’m going to open the back door and I’ll get some lunch started, if you have anything worth eating back there and I can see through the haze to find it.”

“You are such a dork. I think there’s some leftover pizza in the fridge if you want to heat it up and you can get some tea started. There’s a bunch of kinds in the cabinet over the sink,” Allie shook her head slightly as Jason disappeared into the back area of the building where her small kitchenette and storage rooms where, heading towards the back door. She felt a moment of unease at the idea of the back door being opened and left open with no one watching it, but she shoved the feeling away. Nothing was going to happen and she wasn’t alone. She was safe. Shrugging she turned and kept smudging lost in thought.

In the last month, since their friend Syndra had been killed and then Allie had been kidnapped and almost killed herself, she and Jason had been spending a lot more time together. Sometimes Allie

wondered if Jason really liked being around her so much or if he was trying to protect her from the one person involved in hurting her who had gotten away, but mostly she tried not to think about it. He was the one uncomplicated thing in her life, the one person who didn’t seem to want anything from her, and she enjoyed being around him. He was also the only one she had been able to think of to help her out when she decided her store needed an energetic overhaul: her cousin Liz wouldn’t help with anything magical, her friend Bleidd was off visiting his elven relatives for the first time in more than a half century, and her boyfriend had been gone for several weeks, on an assignment in the adjoining Fairy realm.

She had tried to comfort herself a bit about Jessilaen being gone by reminding herself that it wouldn’t be any different if she had accepted his offer to go and live with him, but she knew in her heart that wasn’t true. If she were living with him at the elven Outpost or in Fairy she would have gotten updates from the other Elven Guard or his family. Elves lived in very tight knit communities of extended family units and if she had agreed to be part of that she wouldn’t be left totally on the outside with no one telling her anything about what was going on. Not even Jess’s brother Zarethyn had made any effort to keep in touch with Allie and she felt far too uncomfortable with the situation to call him herself.

Part of the problem was, she did know exactly where he was and what he was doing but she wasn’t supposed to. Jess had finished his assignment and was back at the Outpost now, but he hadn’t called her to tell her that yet. Allie assumed that meant he wasn’t free to see her, and since she shouldn’t know what was going on with him it put her in an awkward position. The only reason she did know was that when she had been kidnapped she had used a spell based in dark magic to try to save herself by creating a psychic bond between them using her innate empathy. In the immediate aftermath of the events Jess and the other elves in his unit of the Elven Guard had all felt that the spell’s effects would most likely fade over time – they hadn’t, nor had she managed to get any control over her empathic gift since opening herself up to it. Jess’s presence was a constant for Allie and she heard what he was hearing in the back of her mind like the perpetual murmur of background noise in her head. If she concentrated she could block it out to some degree, but if she wasn’t careful she projected herself fully into his mind and saw and experienced whatever he was doing in that moment. Sometimes all it took was thinking too much about missing him, or wondering what he was doing…and she didn’t dare let anyone know how little control she had over it. Or how much of his life she end up eavesdropping on, both because it felt like an invasion of privacy and because she worried that she might get him in trouble with the Guard if they knew that she knew so much. She felt like a giant magical disaster, but there wasn’t anyone she could go to for help. She shook her head slightly as she finished up the last section of the store. Jess knew, of course, that she was still in his head, but not how much she was there, and she had been making an effort to pull back as much as she could.

Sighing Allie limped over to the counter and dropped the last of the sage bundle into a waiting brass bowl to let it burn itself out.

 Buy to Book from Amazon now!

Find out more about Morgan on Facebook


Save Me


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Title: Save me
Author: Natasha Preston
Genre:NA contemporary romance
Release Date: 7th October

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SYNOPSIS

Tegan Pennells used to care about everything: family, friends, boys, school, and music. But then her dad died and that stopped.

She doesn’t care about her relationship with her mum and sister. She doesn’t care that she’s pushed away most of her friends. She doesn’t care that she lost her virginity to her friend’s brother in the backseat of his car. She doesn’t care that she uses men, or what people think about her friends with benefits agreement with Kai, a guy she met in a bar.

Tegan doesn’t care about the man that received her father’s heart. And she doesn’t want to care about that man’s son.

She doesn’t want to care about anything ever again.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK
Amazon USA
Amazon CA
iTunes

TEASERS

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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UK native Natasha Preston grew up in small villages and towns. She discovered her love of writing when she stumbled across an amateur writing site and uploaded her first story and hasn’t looked back since. She enjoys writing NA romance, thrillers, gritty YA and the occasional serial killer.

CONNECT WITH NATASHA

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

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Cobbled Life

I’ve been speaking with HM Flath and he’s been telling me all about his novel set in Russia. Here’s what he has to say.

1. Cobbled Life is a story about a conscripted soldier in 1908 Russia. How much of this story is fictional and have you used any events from this time, or interpreted other historical accounts that you can tell us about?

Real:

* The Tsar’s desire to modernize and build up the Russian army in 1908 is real as he did not want to be embarrassed in battle.

* The battles on the Eastern front between 1914 and 1915 along the Gorlice-Tarnow line are real.

* The Russian Revolution of 1917 is real.

* The existence of Pokovnik Constantine Vasiletvich Zaharoh is real.

* The description of the immigrant ship and train are real.

* The Flath family settlement in Saskatchewan is real.

* Many of Otto’s personal experiences while in Russia and then also in Canada are real.

* The dates are all real.

Fictional

– The conversations are fictional.

* Some of the characters are fictional, ie. the Pokovnik’s family.

* Clara’s family, the Jungs, and their background contains much conjecture on my part as I had only snippets of information.

Events that are utilized:

-World War I – Eastern front battles

-The Russian Revolution of 1917

* The existence of the Spanish flu epidemic and its consequences

* The Great Depression of the 1930’s

2. Obviously 1908 Russia was a very tumultuous time, what does your leading character Otto, face as he travels on his perilous journey?

Upon entering Russia, Otto was confronted with prejudices of language, ethnicity, cultural and social status which were underlying themes through the whole book. The dramatic tumultuous time for Otto began in 1914 with the outbreak of WWI. He faced danger, the horrors of war and the possibility of physical harm and/or death, loyalty in the face of danger, escape from Russia during the Russian Revolution, the tragic death of his mother and then the difficulties of life as an immigrant during the Great Depression.

3. What type of man is Otto and how does he develop throughout the story?

Otto begins as an immature, inexperienced, nineteen year old who has had a fairly easy life until the time he was conscripted and where the story begins. His character grew much stronger as he lived and learned from personal experiences, from living with the Pokovnik’s family, from

being on the front during WWI, escaping from Russia, immigrating, etc. He grows into becoming a loyal devoted family man – strong and committed.

4. Are there any other significant characters in Cobbled Life you can tell us about?

* Martin is Otto’s father and the man responsible for the first Flaths to emigrate to Canada.

* Constantine Vasilevich Zaharoh, Pokovnik of a cavalry regiment in Russia’s third army, was Otto’s boss and mentor (father figure) for 9 years. Otto went to the battle lines on the Eastern front as the valet to Pokovnik Zaharoh.

* Anya Oleshenko was Otto’s secret love who played a major role in several of Otto’s decisions.

* Clara Jung became Otto’s wife. She provided strength and loyalty to their marriage and family and eventually became the mother to their nine children.

* Gustav Jung, Clara’s father, was a strong, ambitious, solid patriarch of the Jung family whose choices lead to the emigration of that family.

5. What is your favorite part of the story? (You can use a snippet of it if you like.)

There are several. One of my favorite scenes is in Chapter 6 when Otto takes the Pokovnik’s daughter to watch the ice break-up in the spring.

She fell backwards onto the bridge deck and lay there. Otto only had heard a small cry for help and quickly turned his attention to Natalie who was lying on the ground. Instantly, Otto fell to his knees and peered into Natalie’s face. He then sensed another presence. His eyes gazed up and not a foot away, he found his eyes locked to another set of the most beautiful soft blue eyes he had ever seen.

Another of my favorite scenes is found in Chapter 11 when the Pokovnik spoke to Otto prior to their departure for the battle fields.

This is total madness. What is there to gain? A few pieces of land? For whom? We are going to kill each other and for what reason? Because someone else speaks a different language? Because others worship God in a different way than we do? Because others wear their clothing differently? Because others have skin and hair colors that are different from ours? It makes no sense to me, Otto. All that every one of us just wants, is to be happy…… to have a family ……. to be safe ……. to live without fear. Look at yourself and the other two million men in our army …… what do they want? Do they want to lose their lives just because the Tsar wants to prevent Franz-Joseph of Austria from ruling this pathetic piece of ground? Of course not! This is sheer madness. It makes me sick. I have been in battles and I know what is coming.”

6. Who is your target audience – who will love this book and who should read it?

My target audience is anyone and everyone who has emigrated or has family which has emigrated, experienced war, poverty, prejudice and/or bigotry. I especially hope that young people who often don’t appreciate their heritage would read and reflect upon the many messages interwoven in the fabric of the story.

7. What do you want readers to come away with once they have finished Cobbled Life?

I want the reader to leave with an appreciation of their own situation, an appreciation of the Canadian way of life and a debt of gratitude to their forbearers and to those who made Canada, as a nation, possible.

8. What is next for you HM Flath?

I am presently working on a second manuscript. All that I would like to say is that it too, is historical fiction.

 

Download this book now from Amazon


Safe Haven

Safe Haven is a story set before The Running Game. I wrote the story after I published The Running Game as a sort of companion piece, but it is also a great introduction to the feel of the series. This story is available for free from most online retailers including Amazon so if you like what you read please give the full story a go – I promise you won’t be disappointed. And don’t forget you can leave comments and feedback at the bottom of the page.

 

The world was white. So white the dark night couldn’t penetrate the layers of snow suffocating the surrounding forest. Each breath Isobel managed to push out crystallised in the air around her small mouth, sparkling under the moonlight. She pushed forward, the snow swallowing her legs to the knees in hungry gulps. Her hands and feet were numb but her thighs burned furiously with each agonising step.

It was late and she was so very tired. The last night was spent in the back of their Landrover, fighting for space on the backseat with her little sister while their Dad kept watch. It had been a cold, broken night, but Isobel would give anything to be back there now. Anything not to be walking through Red Forest in the middle of December.

She sniffed and looked behind her. Rachel was only six, three years younger than Isobel but at that moment it felt like there was a lifetime between them. Rachel didn’t understand why they were in the middle of the wilderness. She had no idea why they had to leave their mother. She had slept through their uncle running into the cottage, screaming that the army was coming. She had no idea of the danger they were in. Isobel stared at her sister as she struggled in the snow and envied every tiny, oblivious step she took.

Rachel fell and started to cry. She was sobbing for their mum, looking around the expanse of nothing for her. But Isobel knew they would never see their mother again. She took a strong heavy breath, close to tears herself. She wanted to move to help her sister but her legs refused to go back, not after the effort they had put into going forwards.

Instead she called out. “Dad!”

He was ahead of them, scoping out the safety of the forest. When he saw Rachel he hurried back, covering the ground in five easy strides. Despite the cold and fatigue Isobel broke a smile. Her father was the greatest man, he could still do anything in her eyes. Despite the snow sticking to his beard, the creases in his weather worn face, he was still her hero. He lifted Rachel effortlessly into his large arms, brushing the snow from her hair. And that’s when the gunfire started.

“Run! Isobel run!” He screamed.

He grabbed her coat as he ran past, but she stayed, looking through the trees at the erupting lights, as though the night sky had sunk to the earth.

“Isobel!” Her father shouted and she came to her senses.

They were coming! She started to run. Her feet leapt into her father’s footsteps, following his shadow as he weaved through the trees. The foliage became denser, the snow thinner. She found her feet striking firming soil, frozen dirt and icy puddles. She leapt over a ditch and her father caught her. His hand pulled her close and they huddled together into a dug out burrow off the path.

“We need to work together,” he whispered, so softly Isobel thought she was imagining them. “We’re not here,” he told them both. “Say it with me girls. We’re not here.”

Isobel closed her eyes, sinking into the warmth of her father’s wax coat. She reached for her sister’s hand and concentrated. “We’re not here,” she repeated. “We’re not here.” Over and over she focussed on the words, hearing the echo in the baritone voice of her father and the small squeak of her sister.

Time started to twist, the cold subsided and she felt herself floating against the body of her father. The explosions around her, the shouting, the danger, all started to melt away. But the power running over her wasn’t hers, it didn’t even belong to her father. The dominant voice inside her head became her sister’s, small and yet entirely commanding. She focused on it, echoing it as best she could and then she felt herself merge into nothing.

How long had they stayed like that? Isobel had no idea, but when her father broke free of their spell the militia had gone, leaving a stunned silence in their wake. The surrounding trees were torn apart with gunshot. Pieces of bark and bullet shells scattered the ground around them. It had been ferocious whatever had come their way.

“Daddy,” Rachel asked sleepily. “What’s going on?”

Isobel waited. She’d asked the question herself the night before, but she was sure her father wasn’t about to repeat his answer. How could he tell a six year old the truth? That they were caught in the middle of a civil war, insurgents and militia intent on claiming land that never belonged to them? How could he explain to her that these men didn’t care who got caught in the crossfire? That this wasn’t a fight for freedom, or liberty or any sense of lost righteousness? That this was about control and power? How could he tell his youngest daughter that she had never been in more danger, because if they found out what she was, what all three of them were, both sides would lock them away and do all kinds of experiments on them?

“We’re playing a game,” he said, stroking his younger daughter’s hair, while at the same time squeezing Isobel’s hand. “It’s called the Running Game. We have to run and hide, concentrate on not getting caught. Wherever we go, whatever we do we keep moving, counting the exits, planning our escape routes so nobody can ever find us.”

“It sounds like a stupid game,” Rachel said.

Their dad laughed softly. “It does, but you get a prize if you play it well.”

“What prize?”

“You get to live Rachel. You get to grow up, to keep running. You have to keep running baby. Always be ready to run because they’ll always be coming for you. Whatever happens, they’ll always be coming for you.”

“When will they stop Dad?” Isobel asked.

Her father held Rachel close, as though he were protecting her from the next confession.

“They’ll never stop,” he said. “Right now we need to rest. The secret to winning the game is knowing when to run and when to wait. You’re tired. You’ve done so well today. Try to sleep now, we’ll try to get out of the forest in a few hours.”

Rachel was asleep in moments and Isobel had a suspicion her father had put her to sleep using his powers. She snored quietly, looking almost peaceful.

“There’s a lot of ground to cover,” he said to Isobel. “We’re going to make our way south, to S’aven. There’s a man there. A priest called Father Darcy. He’s an old friend. We can trust him. He’ll help hide us until all this is over.”

Isobel nodded, understanding these were instructions, not reassurances. She rolled the name in her head; Father Darcy. She had to remember it.

“Your sister, her powers…” he shook his head and sighed. “If they find her it will be bad for all Reachers.” He turned to her, his eyes warming. “If they find either of you, it will be bad honey. You’re so young, this isn’t the life I wanted for you. You need to be strong now sweetheart, you need to look after your sister. I wouldn’t trust her to anyone else.” He pushed the hair from her face. “My beautiful girl, look at you, you’re so grown up already. You make me and your mum so proud.”

She felt a lump swell in her throat.

“Whatever happens you look after your sister. Can you do that Isobel?”

Her father was a good man and she would have done anything to make him happy. She stared into his dark blue eyes and the look he gave her betrayed everything that was about to come – his death, their journey, her future.

“Can you do that Isobel?”

Would he have asked if he had honestly known what it would mean – what she would do to keep her sister safe?

“Isobel?”

 

This book is available to download for FREE. Get it from Amazon Smashwords or Kobo 

And you can add your book and others in the Reacher series to your Goodreads


Cover Poll – The Unlucky Man

Never judge a book by it’s cover. But what about when that’s all you’ve got to go on? Today we are getting interactive.

Check out this cover from H T G Hedges’ debut The Unlucky Man and tell us – based on this cover alone would you buy the book? Vote below for a chance to win a copy of the book:

 

The Unlucky Man

 

Leave a comment – even a simple hello – and one of you will be chosen to WIN an e-copy of the book on Saturday! 


Presence (Phillip Brunn Stories Book 1)

Let’s start the week with an interview from B D Fiala who is talking all about Presence, the first book in his Phillip Brunn series.

You write a series of short stories about Psychologist Phillip Brunn, can you tell us a bit about Phillip and the type of man he is?

Phillip is basically a lost soul. He is still trying to cope with the fact that he lost his job and his marriage, even though it happened almost two years before the story begins. He is doing what a lot of people do when they can’t deal with reality; they look for refuge in drinking and that’s what Phillip does as well.

Phillip encounters a ghost in your first story Presence, how does this affect Phillip?

It scares him, but he tries not to think about it as he keeps thinking about his past more than about his present. This ghost is not the first he encountered and it reminds him of tragic events that happened couple years before the story begins, but they are not completely revealed to us and we learn about them as the story progresses. He doesn’t seem to understand what exactly is going on and even though he is skeptical about ghosts, he feels that there is something there and that there is something strange going on.

Where is your story set, what is the feel of the location?

Story goes on mostly in England and also some other parts of Europe like Prague (some parts have not yet appeared in the published material). It goes on in everyday environment, there are no old abandoned houses or anything cliché like that. Everyday homes by everyday people who for some reason encounter the unexpected and disturbing events and Phillip ends up looking for explanations.

Are there any other characters in the story that are important to Phillip and can you tell us about them?

There is Lisa. That would be Phillip’s ex-wife and probably the only important person to him even though his agent and his assistant seem to care about him since they regularly take care of him and help him get out of trouble. Lisa is special for Phillip, she is the love of his life and she is gone, out of his life for good. Phillip has a hard time accepting that.

Presence is a short story rather than a full length novel, why did you write it this way and what do you think makes it better than reading a full length novel about Phillip Brunn?

There are two reasons. Number one is that I am an impatient person and since I decided, after a few years of preparation, to finally start writing and publishing stories online, I simply could not make myself wait until I finish a full length novel. Writing a short story each month and publishing it right away seemed like a better idea. Also, the reader gets to read a part of the story (depending which part he stumbles on over the internet) and he has a chance to decide whether to read the rest or not. I guess I’m saving money for someone who decides to give it a go but then realizes the story is not for him, so he doesn’t have to pay $5 for a novel, but instead pays $0.99 for a part of the story.

Do you ever plan to write a full length novel, featuring Phillip Brunn?

So far I have five stories planned and I intend to finish them. It’s possible that there will be additional stories in the future, so a novel is a possibility as well.

Outbreak is book 2 of your Phillip Brunn series, where he is encountering more ghosts – without giving any spoilers how has Phillip changed in this later novel?

Outbreak is setting up the rest of the story. There’s less ghost action perhaps and more meeting some new characters and starting certain subplots. Phillip realizes that being a paranormal investigator is a job that he has to do in order to make a living. He doesn’t really change his opinion, but he accepts the situation he is in.

What is your favourite part of the series so far (feel free to use a snippet)?

I like the general idea that was the basis for the series. The ideas is that I am trying to find a different answer to the most common question every man asks himself: ‘’What happens after death (if anything)?’’. Even though I’d describe myself as agnostic atheist, I am proposing an idea of an afterlife that people might find intriguing. I find it intriguing, but I don’t want to say anything more, just read it and wait for it to develop.

There are five books due in the Phillip Brunn series, when is the next book out?

The idea is to publish a book a month. ‘’Presence’’ came out in August, ‘’Outbreak’’ in September, so the new book named ‘’Voice’’ is coming out in October. ”Frequency” will follow in November and the grand finale ”Collision” is due around Christmas.

And finally, after Phillip Brunn what is next for B D Fiala?

I am writing a Sci-fi novel that goes on in the future, on a colonized Earth like planet. It’s called ‘’Brand New Earth’’ and it’s a story about a small tribe that is trying to survive deep in the woods, as far away from other people and Earth’s old technologies as possible. Of course, things are never that simple, and people are more or less always driven by the same needs, a need for love and a need for power and consequently end up fighting wars and suffering because of it.

I am also developing ideas for three different novellas, writing poems and trying to find someone who would like to draw a comic based on some of my crazy ideas, so if someone happens to be reading this and wants to collaborate, look me up as I’d be glad to hear from you. I am open to different genres, but I would like to work with someone who draws fast since ideas seem to be coming to me on a daily basis.

All in all, I’ve got a lot of creative work in front of me that I’m looking forward to.

In the end, I wish to thank you for this interview and wish you luck with your web page!

You can pick up the first and second book of the series here: http://www.amazon.com/Presence-Phillip-Brunn-Stories-Book-ebook/dp/B00MHYJHE2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1407473449&sr=8-2&keywords=b.d.fiala

Or add the books to your Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8440690.B_D_Fiala

 


The City of the Mirage

It’s the end of the weekend and today we’re featuring author Jerome Brooke who has kindly taken the time to answer some questions about his book The City of the Mirage.

 

 

I think with any fantasy novel setting is always important. Can you describe to us your world and the influences you have had in creating such a place?

My Dark Empire of Astarte is set in the Multiverse. We live in a Cosmos that is one among many. Over the eons our children will sail to the stars and seed them with life. Astarte is one of the last born on our world, Sol III. She is the Great Queen, and is worshiped as a goddess in her realm.
We sometimes speculate that our reality is only one plane of existence – a cosmic cluster of galaxies. We also ask – where is everyone? A civilization should expand and fill the galaxy. Are we the very first, with a cosmic destiny?

What type of character is Astarte?

I wanted someone who was unlike the usual hero armed with a sword, with our own conceptions of right and wrong. She can be cruel, a “Dark Lord.” Her story is a Dark Fantasy. She has lived for eons, and seeks mortal lovers to amuse her. That is, she seeks to find a warrior to make her life interesting for a time. She needs a hero to fight and conquer for her entertainment.

The Conqueror is an ally to Astarte what is their relationship like?

The Immortal Astarte is a really Older Woman. The Conqueror is repelled by her savagery. However, she is powerful, and passionate. She gives him fine garments to wear, and delights to see him triumph in battle.

She is proud of her lover, and delights in war as a way to excite her, and as a cure for boredom.

A lot of people are put off by huge fantasy books, but The City of the Mirage is quite short for an epic fantasy – is it still packed full of adventure (and can you tell us some of the things that happen).

The hero is one of an Archetype. His adventures are akin to those of Beowulf. He leads her army into battle, and displays the valor expected of a hero. He also is handsome, and women respond to his valor and battle scars in an atavistic fashion (an instinct?).

The novel appeared as a serial in a magazine. Each chapter can be read as a separate, like the Conan or Sherlock Holmes tales. There were at one time long and short versions, and it all depends of what publishers will like and buy.

Astarte is obviously a name taken from Greek mythology, are there other Greek influences?

In the Empire, people wear garments like those of the classical world. These are tunics and capes, and loincloths. The weapons and armor are also taken from the eras of Rome and Sparta, and the Teutonic tribes. I imagine the same for the Conan and Gor series.

Are there any films or books that you would say are similar to The City of the Mirage?

I use the Conan and Gor books as a model. The Conan stories can be read alone, but share the same age and world. They have elements of a novel or saga. The same is true for the many books and stories of the Dark Empire of Astarte series, and also my other related series.

What is your favourite part of the story?

The final battle to serve Astarte is one I like. The enemy lord is beheaded, and his head is placed on a pike. The lips of the man still move, as if animated by an otherworldly vitality.

The City of the Mirage is part of a series called The Dark Empire of Astarte Collection, how many books are in this series and how many (include titles) are available to readers.

Under various pen names I have hundreds of books, stories, poetry chaps, collections and anthologies. The F&SF is mostly under the Jerome Brooke byline. There are 15 books on Amazon in the series (search under Brooke Dark Empire). However, there are related spin offs and related books and series.

How big is this series going to be and where do you hope to go with it?

I like the universe I have created for Astarte, and I issue new editions or revised versions as time permits. However, I am working on new unrelated series – series that are much more popular. So, the adventures of Astarte may or may not continue.

What about Jerome Brooke – after The Dark Empire what’s next for you?

I am writing the newer Kitti Katzz series, a series of sexy stories that are much more popular with readers than my F&SF. For example, I have recently put out a collection of “Sister Wives” books written as Kitti Katzz. Another resent series is my “Ladyboy and Her Girlfriend” books. Other like sets are ones that focus on Boss Ladies, Fantasy Maids, Uncensored Case Sexology Studies and so forth.

Another related series are the “Sister Severa” and “Mother Superior” series written as Juliet Baranne. Still another recent series is my Voodoo books of paranormal genre written as Joan Barron.

I am able to write the Kitti Katzz books quickly, and they are usually more popular among readers than the F&SF. However, The F&SF has some appeal to some readers, so I may do more if time permits. I live in Thailand, and have a family here. These are unsettled times, in this Kingdom of Siam.

 

You can download this book here from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/City-Mirage-Empire-Astarte-Collection-ebook/dp/B00JEVEDS6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411169996&sr=8-1&keywords=city+jerome+brooke

And read more from Jerome Brooke: http://runesofthebard.wordpress.com/