July 2013


Do Not Go Quietly by George Cappannelli

Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Other Side of the Coin

On the other side of the coin, however, we face the challenges previously identified. And while these challenges impact the lives of everyone on this planet, the graying of our population — one person every seven seconds joins the 50-and-older crowd — is exacerbating them and presenting those of us who are GenXers, Boomers, and Elders with immediate threats.

Among these threats are those being advanced by people and groups that appear more committed to defending the frailty of an unbalanced economic model than in creating, articulating, and implementing truly effective strategies, policies, and methods that can better support the well-being and greater good of the majority. Their efforts include serious attempts to dismantle the social safety net by altering or eliminating Medicare and Medicaid and privatizing Social Security. And unfortunately for the majority of us, some of these attempts are gaining purchase in some quarters. If successful, the road ahead for older citizens around the world will be increasingly challenging indeed.

A number of us are also dealing with efforts to reduce our retirement and pension benefits, if not by those intent on advancing flawed theories of fiscal austerity then by organizations that seek to avoid responsibility for their past ineffectiveness by reorganizing under the protection of bankruptcy laws.

The cost of health insurance and of health care in the U.S. for individuals as well as those covered by group plans is going up dramatically. Workers’ rights to collective bargaining, which have substantially eroded over the last several decades, are now under frontal assault; and proposals to increase the retirement age are being seriously considered. Even with the recent changes to the healthcare laws, the cost of healthcare and drugs in America is spiraling out of control with no realistic or achievable solutions in sight. And this is only a partial list of the challenges we who are 50 and older face.

While some of the blame for these challenges can, at least in part, be assigned to special interest groups, lobbyists, and the politicians and legislators whose votes have been purchased by them, the reality is that each and every one of us must take full personal accountability for these conditions.

During our time at the helm, although some of us have done our best to explore alternatives and others have tried mightily to bring greater light to the shadows, many of us have witnessed, contributed to, or allowed some of these less-than-laudable conditions and practices to come into being. For example, on our watch, many of the greatest advances in science and technology have also cast long shadows that threaten some of our most cherished values, raise more than just the specter of the loss of personal privacy and human rights, and create levels of toxicity that are turning many of our homes and our places of work into places of danger.

Along with their substantial benefits and breakthroughs our medical advances have increased our dependence on artificial drugs, further distanced us from our capacity to self-heal, and ushered in a time when we are often asked to choose between a plethora of detrimental side effects (some of which include death) and the illnesses these drugs have been created to address. In short, we are asked to choose a cure that is sometimes as bad or worse than the disease.

The technology we celebrate — while making our lives easier and dramatically increasing our ability to connect with each other — has also turned many of us into media voyeurs who too often experience life vicariously rather than directly and who, as a result, appear to be losing our ability to think for ourselves.

Although we have witnessed the growth of collaborative world bodies like the UN, we continue to allow our own and other governments to practice war as the habitual though futile response to dealing with our differences. And under the guise of nationalism we continue to allow a number of our elected officials and religious leaders to fuel the fires of bigotry and hatred both at home and abroad, fires that serve as the breeding ground for ignorance, violence, and terrorism.

And while progress is being made in support of some environmental initiatives, our efforts to reduce the impact of climate change are timid, at best, and almost always limited by the gospel of short-term economic need rather than guided by a genuine commitment to protect our habitat now and for future generations.

Finally, on our watch we have abdicated too much of the primary control of our society to others, especially to a new breed of philosophically biased legislators and judges, to a privately owned and biased media, and to a strange new entity called “the corporatocracy.” With this abdication a subset of political and financial operatives now manipulate the public trust in the pursuit of self-serving religious and financial agendas. This abdication has, in turn, contributed to a number of practices that threaten the foundations on which this great experiment in democracy called America was founded.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Non-Fiction / Motivational

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with George Cappannelli on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://donotgoquietlythebook.com/


Inside the Mind of JD Combs

Posted on Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Inside the mind of JD Combs

I’m not sure anyone deserves to be subjected to the inner workings of my mind.  It’s a messy, messy place; very disorganized and jumbled.  There are so many days where I wish I had a mind that resembled a well-organized kitchen.  You know the kind of space I’m talking about…one where everything has a place and everything is in its place.  I’m sorry to say that’s not what my mind looks like.

Instead, my mind looks like a tornado just blew through.  Or the thought of a tornado doesn’t suit your fancy, you could liken the inside of my mind to Carrie Bradshaw’s bedroom after she’s gone through her closet looking for the perfect outfit to wear out with Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda.  Whichever scene you want to imagine is exactly what my mind looks like on any given day.

Words, sentences, picture and scenes all flit effortlessly into my head and then just as effortlessly, they flit out.  Those things are like a butterfly looking for the perfect flower to find.  They don’t find it inside my head so those things skedaddle right on out before they have a chance to get sucked into the giant void of my brain.

It is precisely because nothing stays put in my messy brain for very long that I write.  I write as often as I can and as much as I can so I don’t lose what little I have upstairs.  It’s the only way to stay just a little sane with the God given brain I have.

When I write, thoughts become crisper and cleaner.  Images come into focus.  Sentences become longer, leaner and they gain meaning when I write.  Scenes in my head turn into paragraphs, which then become chapters.  Chapters go from bare bones to soft, warm and fleshy.  Those chapters then morph into novels.  Writing makes the demons in my head clean house a little.

When I take the time to sit and write down my mind turns into the well-organized kitchen in my dreams.  I can see a place for everything and everything in its place.  I can quiet the tornado sirens and banish Carrie Bradshaw’s closet to far recesses of my brain when I sit down to write.  I couldn’t think of a better way to quiet my mind and keep things organized than to write and write and write.  I couldn’t think of a more lovely way to live my life than as that of a writer.

Charley, a devoted wife and mother of five, has a life that looks picture perfect to those around her. But years of living life in a neglected marriage make her question her relationship with her husband. Charley spends sleepless nights writing in her journal and trying to find happiness in the life she has. She’s not sure she can continue living a dull, loveless life anymore.
When an old high school crush strikes up a conversation on the Internet, an innocent flirtation begins. Charley begins to, once again, feel alive and vibrant, but she quickly learns not everything is what it seems. Will her naiveté in the online world propel her toward the point of no return? Will the woman who seemed to have it all lose it in the blink of an eye? Or will Charley finally find the happiness she’s been craving?

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre –  Romantic Suspense

Rating – R (adult language / sexual scenes)

More details about the author

Connect with JD Combs on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.jdcombs.com/


The Critical Flaw by Alan P. Chan, Pharm. D

Chapter 1 – Money’s Fractured Foundations

Reserve Banking and Interest Creation During Money Generation

"At the end, fiat money returns to its inner value - zero."

- Voltaire, French writer

Creation and Extinction of Money

Now that we have the fundamentals of money under our belts, we can move on to other important points. How is money created and extinguished, and what are the consequences of such a process? More importantly, how do the economic cycles of boom and recession define the economic equations of power in this world?

In order to understand how money is created, we need to first understand the concept of Fractional Reserve Banking (FRB). If the sum of all deposits in a bank is $1,000, for example, banks can lend up to $900, or 90%, while the remaining stays with the bank as reserve. This is the concept of FRB:  banks retain only a fraction of the total deposits as reserves.

All banks perform the basic function of accepting deposits from those with surplus funds and lending those surplus funds to others who need them for capital or for any other purpose. The banks charge interest at a greater rate on loans than the interest they provide to depositors on their deposited funds. The difference between the interest received and the interest paid is the profit of the bank.

How FRB ‘Creates’ Money

Suppose a person named Alan deposits $1,000 in Apple Bank. Banks can make money only by lending to someone. In accordance with fiscal regulations, Apple Bank can now lend 90%, or $900. Now, suppose $900 is loaned to a person named Britney who deposits this into another bank, named Bay Bank. Again, Bay Bank can lend $810, or 90% of $900.

The initial $1,000 has now ‘increased’ to representing $2,710 = $1,000 + $900 + $810.

The amount of money in circulation is $2,710, though only $1,000 was originally deposited. This process can be repeated, with the amount of money in circulation increasing with every step, until we find that the total money in circulation is ten times what was originally deposited into the first bank in this chain. Most of this money in circulation is debt that has to be returned to someone.

Thus, creation of money and debt go hand in hand. This example is only illustrative. Britney can deposit the loaned $900 in Apple Bank – or she can use, say, $500, and deposit the remaining $400 with any bank, Apple Bank or Bay Bank. The point of the matter is that through FRB, the amount of money in circulation increases, as does debt.

Between 93% and 95% of the need for money is created through such deposition lending in banks via the FRB process. The remaining 7% to 5% is created through dealings between the Federal Reserve and the Treasury.

FRB works only as long as:

·         People have faith in the economy and in the banks, and do not want to withdraw all their funds at once. In times of economic distress, when people lose faith in the economy and make a run to withdraw all their funds from the bank, FRB fails.

·         There are no defaults.

Talking about defaults brings us to the second part of this process. Because banks charge interest on all the funds they loan out, the amount of money that has to be paid back is greater than the amount that was originally loaned. Unless additional money is created by someone, the principal and the interest can never actually be repaid because there is just not enough money to go around.

Money has to be continuously created if the present system is to work. Interest, therefore, is a functional glitch in the system, and FRB is at the root of this need for the continuous creation of money. If interest was not charged, the money created when the loan originated would be extinguished when the loan is repaid.

Interest Creates Need for Generation of More Money

Suppose you borrow $100 at 10% interest. Where will the $10 come from? It comes from the printing of extra money.

Money required to repay the interest is not created when the loan is originated – only the amount of money borrowed as principal is created. The money required to pay the interest is created by the Federal Reserve, which is the central bank in the American economy. The heart of the matter is that when more and more money is created, its supply increases. In accordance with the rules of supply and demand, when supply of a certain commodity is greater than the demand for it, its value declines. With money creation, the value of money goes down in relation to goods and services, and its purchasing power declines. To put it simply, there is inflation, which creates price increase.

In such a state of affairs, default is inevitable. Default is also a product of fraudulent tendencies by certain unscrupulous borrowers. Because of default, banks require money themselves. The lender of last resort in the United States of America is the central bank of the economy, the Federal Reserve.

Actual Printing of Money

When Congress needs more money to lend out to these banks, it asks the Treasury Department to sell Treasury Bonds to large banks. These banks then sell these bonds to the Federal Reserve, and they simply print more money to make the purchase. This is possible because all money, especially fiat money that is not backed by commodities, is an abstract concept, as mentioned earlier.

Interest and FRB ensure that money created when a loan is issued is never extinguished, because more money has to be created to repay the interest and the principal. This means that growth of money, which we know as economic growth measured through the increase of the GDP, is always accompanied by inflation, the silent killer.

Power Equations Inherent in the Process of Money Creation

Economists always refer to the inevitability of economic cycles of high and low economic activity, something we respectively know as “boom time” and “slowdowns.” Such cycles are a result of the perpetual need for creation of more money. These cycles ensure that traders, both buyers and sellers, always remain at the mercy of the banks and the government.

When the cycle of money creation continues, the percentage of interest-inflation in the GDP increases exponentially. Because of the increase, more and more of the GDP is composed of interest and accompanying inflation. GDP grows due to:

·         An actual increase in the production of goods and services produced by everyone within the geographical boundaries of a country.

·         Inflation, a result of increasing interest load.

Real increase of GDP, or the increase in GDP without inflation, naturally decreases when the money generation cycle continues. The increased interest load also means that instability is inevitable because people will default. When this happens, banks have fewer funds to lend to other businesses. This situation, therefore, creates economic slowdowns when the interest load or debt is wiped out through bankruptcies and default.

Another consequence of default is foreclosure, or the confiscation of property that the borrower has pledged to the bank as a security against non-payment of his dues to the bank. Such property is referred to as collateral, and its confiscation by the bank leads to an increase in the assets owned by the bank.

In effect, this cycle of generation of money shifts the control of wealth toward those who control assets and the system of money creation:  the banks and the government. Traders – all buyers and sellers, ranging from common people to entrepreneurs and giants of the business world – are perpetually under the control of banks and governments.

It is widely but quietly acknowledged that heavyweights and heads of the industrial world always get loan waivers worth billions of dollars sanctioned from the government each year. Of course, it happens behind closed doors. It would not come as a surprise if these basics of the money generation process were used as a bargaining tool by industrial heads.

But where does that leave the common trader – normal people and small entrepreneurs? The answer is simple: nowhere. They certainly do not have the collective bargaining power of the colossal corporates to secure loan waivers. Then again, middle and lower class people who work as employees are the first to face the full blast of economic slowdowns in the form of layoffs and pay cuts.

Corporates can bargain because they are street-smart, provide employment to millions of people, and because they have financial muscle. No government wants to be seen as responsible for massive job cuts by refusing to bail out influential industrialists. And so goes the practice that some job and pay cuts are essential to prevent the same from occurring on a much larger scale.

This does not solve the problem. Slowdowns are bad not just because of the job and pay cuts, but because they introduce uncertainty and instability in the minds of people, especially those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. This robs people of peace of mind, destroys livelihoods, and is at the root of numerous problems.

Apart from smaller traders without any bargaining power, the fact that this process is complicated ensures that laymen do not understand the fundamentals. The disease is left undiagnosed and people only demand treatment of the symptoms in the form of stimulus and bailout packages.

Needless to say, this plays into the hands of the real powers. Through such programs, government makes a big show of doing something to improve the economy while leaving the fundamentals untouched. Through this charade, they become benevolent heroes in the eyes of the people, helping those in misfortune whose misfortune they have created, partially or wholly.

Economic democracy is absent, as wealth and control of this wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few. Political democracy does not automatically ensure economic democracy unless people understand the fractured foundation of the present economic system.

One cannot play God or micromanage a complex economy. As concentration of wealth and power acquires epic proportions, economy and culture decline, finally leading to disintegration of civilizations. Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman civilizations declined due to some of the same reasons. When the civilization itself is destroyed, what is left for the micro-managers to manage?

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Business & Investing

Rating – PG

Connect with Dr.Alan Chan on Facebook & Twitter & GoodReads


Orange Karen: Tribute to a Warrior by Multiple Authors

Change Finds You

by Cara Michaels

“The date of record is October thirtieth, two-thousand-twelve. This is Special Agent Everett Benjamin.”

The voice drew my attention from the digital voice recorder resting on the table. The red recording light assured everyone observing that my words would be captured for all time, with “all time” defined as “until the Gemini Group buried the story”. At best, anything I said today would end up in a heavily redacted report buried in some government archive. Hadn’t stopped me from trying to get the word out, though. No, the FBI could take credit there. Getting nabbed at a convenience store just proved I’d never been intended for the undercover life. I’d only lasted two months on the official run.

“For the record, please state your name.” The special agent sitting across from me held an air of comfortable superiority. As homegrown investigative organizations rated, he still believed his FBI sat at the top of the food chain.

How sweet.

“Dr. Savannah Welborn.”

“Thank you, Doctor.” For a tough FBI guy, he had a nice voice. Kind of deep, kind of mellow.

The pen held between his index and middle fingers drummed an uneven, impatient beat. The air conditioning kicked on, a background hum of recycled air smelling faintly of paper and dust. Like the room needed to be colder. What brainless desk jockey thought hypothermia contributed to productivity? The beds of my fingernails had turned blue some fifteen minutes of waiting ago. My body had already forgotten how it felt to be warm. Inside, outside, and everywhere in between. I ground my teeth to hold in a shiver.

“Not a problem, Agent Benjamin,” I said. I even flashed my gritted teeth as I smiled. Just call me Doctor Cooperative.

His gaze slid over my Celldweller concert tee. Beneath the table, worn blue jeans allowed refrigerated air to sneak in at the torn knees. Like I needed his visual disdain to tell me I was way underdressed for a federal interrogation. They didn’t do anything without a tie or stockings.

At least my feet stayed warm in socks and sneakers.

“Sorry,” I said. “I didn’t get apprehended in my Sunday best. I’ll try harder next time.”

His lips pinched, biting down on whatever he wanted to say and emphasizing his stern features. Add a sense of humor and strip away the premature aging of his job, and I put him in his early thirties, maybe. Salt dashed his black pepper hair, the cut military short.

“You understand why you’re here, yes?” he asked.

“I can play stupid if you’d prefer to explain it for the viewers at home.” I gestured to the large mirror dominating the end of the room on my left.

Benjamin clenched his teeth, let out a slow breath.

“You’ve been charged with obstruction of an ongoing investigation, as well as aiding and abetting the vigilante organization known as the Paladins.”

He made a good show of flipping through a manila folder stuffed with evidence. Of my so-called crimes, no doubt. My actions over the last several years tied me to the Paladins and — if one knew where to look — to the Gemini Group who had unintentionally created them. I’d built the Gemini Group, created the experiments, written the procedures. I’d documented its transition into a monster as the sons and daughters of my trial groups grew and revealed the changes in their genetic codes.

The cells made to save their parents had resulted in unexpected, even terrifying mutations. A woman with Ehler Danlos Syndrome gave birth to a daughter who could dislocate and reshape her bones and body at will. A man with early-onset Alzheimer’s fathered a child with eidetic memory. A treatment for severe hypothermia resulted in a son with extreme cold tolerance, who could manipulate the temperature around him, and even generate ice from the water in the air.

In short, my efforts to cure disease created superhumans.

But Karen Gemini, the reason any of my work had been possible, accused me of using her to play God.

She had it right, maybe. At least in the beginning.

Like a proud parent, I’d been thrilled by these gifted children. But like regular humans, they came in all shades of good, bad, and indifferent. Some made an effort to use their unique abilities to help the world around them. The public had taken to calling them the Paladins, and it suited them. Honorable, fierce, and steadfast in the face of a world turning on them.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Karen Gemini gathered the blackest souls to her bosom, a nightmare brood poised to unleash hell on earth.

The FBI and Agent Benjamin might not yet realize it, but the Paladins stood in the way of gathering darkness. And as the woman whose research had started all of this, I stood to shield the Paladins.

If Benjamin meant to intimidate me, he needed a new strategy.

Go ahead, Agent Benjamin. Take me down. This is so much bigger than you know.

“Dr. Welborn?” Benjamin’s gaze, his eyes an eerie amber-orange, fixed on me.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “Did you want me to deny the allegations? For dramatic effect?”

He turned away, but not before I saw him grimace. Aw, did my attitude hurt his career advancement opportunities? Tough shit.

He needed to toughen up his poker face for this job.

I’d stepped into sharky waters with open eyes. I’d known the risks of siding with the Paladins. Of siding against Gemini.

I smiled.

He rolled his eyes, tension visible along his jaw. “Belligerent charm. Does that work for you often?”

“What do you want from me here, Agent?”

“Names. Aliases. Addresses. We want the Paladin operation.”

I laughed. Not a polite titter, but a snort of disbelief. “Sorry to say, but you’re doomed to disappointment.”


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Short Story Anthology

Rating – PG13 (some strong language)

More details about the book

Connect with this cause on Facebook Events & Twitter


Tongues of Angels by Julia Park Tracey

Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013

Tongues of Angels

A Catholic priest with questions. A penitent woman with a secret past. A jealous friend. The fourth in this lover’s knot? God.

Father Rob Souza faces the forbidden desire of his own heart when Jessica, victim of a brutal assault, comes for counseling. Rob’s best friend, Lawrence, is a priest with an artistic temperament and trials of his own. A Greek chorus of gossiping priests, and church politics riddled with suspicion and battling for souls, force Lawrence, Rob and Jessica to make choices they didn’t intend.

Tongues of Angels offers a peek behind the curtain of the priesthood, offering a funny, poignant look at Catholic angst and ambiguity. Based on a true story, Tongues of Angels is a canny, warm and surprisingly spiritual novel for our time. Now back in print for the 10th Anniversary Edition, through Indie-Visible Ink.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with Julia Park Tracey on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.thedorisdiaries.com/


CS Patra – 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

by CS Patra

-I wrote my first novel at 18, which is when I really got into writing. I was interested in it for a long time but started taking it seriously by the end of high school. I handwrote this novel with multi-colored pens. Each section was written with a different color. These were pens I got as a present and I loved to write with them. So it seemed fitting to write this book that way. It was a fantasy novel and I remember it having lots of missing words (problem with having no white-out). But I felt accomplished afterwards. I doubt I would publish it in reality though.

-I am fond of the following random things besides writing; yellow roses (have to be yellow), ladybugs, turtles (be them land, sea, ninja, etc), peacocks, Greek mythology, movies, theater productions, French fries, dancing, yoga/pilates, museums, silver jewelry, and sleeping. They are some of the few things in the world that make me happy, no matter what mood I’m in.

-I love to work out and I go to the gym quite a bit. If I miss a day, I usually feel like something is missing in my life. Sometimes, I lift weights and run. Sometimes, I go into a dance or yoga class. But no matter what, I try my best to keep my body as fit as my mind.

-I’m not much of a makeup person but I do love nail polish and I like getting an occasional manicure/pedicure. I love colors that stand out, the brighter, the better. Sadly, I cannot keep my manicures for long. At most, they last a week before my nails start to chip (due to all kinds of work I do). My pedicures last quite a long time though.

-I could never give up cheese or ice cream (as well as frozen yogurt, gelato, sherbets, etc) for anything. I don’t eat them all the time but they are my guilty pleasures. Once in a while, I do like to indulge in them. I eat almost all cheeses and ice cream flavors too.

-My biggest issue with writing sometimes is finding a good stopping point. I get the beginning, I get the middle, but the end always takes me time to wrap up correctly. I think that is a reason why a good chunk of my books often end up having sequels. I always feel like something was unresolved. I’m working on this though!

-I do not know what my life would be like without music sometimes or least having some background noise. My musical tastes range from classical to country, rap to rock, and everything else in between. It helps me write and do my other work. Without it, I find myself getting easily distracting.

-Some of my books and ideas come from dares/discussion with other people. Lengths for Love was one of those ideas. I find it very challenging and it often gets me looking up/researching things that I never knew about before.

-Though I write just about anything, I really don’t like to write plays/scripts that much. I think it’s because I don’t like writing stage direction. I’d rather the actors come up with their own emotions/directions to the lines. I think I may squeeze out a play once in a blue moon but I’d rather write stories and poetry over them.

-I have quite a few interests outside of writing. In addition to that, I paint, make jewelry (though I haven’t done much of it lately), and I cook on a rare occasion. I am also doing my masters right now and I work for the state’s revenue department. Those tend to take up my day while writing and more schoolwork tends to take up my nights.

People say they will do just about anything for love. Some might go far enough to try and find the impossible. Some will stop at no lengths for the one they love. When Ian Choi’s girlfriend gives him the most difficult task…find her someone, a vampire, to turn her immortal…he is faced with a choice he never imagined he’d have to make. And little does he know just what could happen while he’s trying to make her wish come true.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Supernatural / Romance / Fiction

Rating – PG13

More details about the author

Connect with CS Patra on Facebook & Twitter


Root Bound by Tanya Karen Gough

Posted on Sunday, July 28, 2013

Root Bound

How far will you go to find your way home?

Emma and her father are always on the move, travelling from place to place as her father’s work demands. Their new home, however, is different. There’s a frightening woman who lives down the hall: she bears an uncanny resemblance to a witch. A mysterious light comes from her apartment, and a small boy seems to be trapped inside. School in this town is no happy place either, with an odd principal and a gang of girls who make tormenting Emma their special project. And strangest of all is the fact that there seem to be brownies – basement brownies, in the air vent in her bedroom.

Haunted by visions of her mother, Emma travels through the brownie burrow to the valley of Hades to visit with the goddess Ceres, following a series of clues that lead her across the sea of memory to the centre of the world. There, on an inhospitable rock floating in a sea of steaming lava, Emma must find a way to release her mother from the sea of memory and restore magic to both the brownie burrow and the human world above.

Buy Now @ Amazon @Smashwords

Genre - Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure

Rating – G (ages 10+)

More details about the author

Connect with Tanya Karen Gough on Facebook & Twitter

Blog http://emmaseries.blogspot.com


The Darkest Lie by Angela Day



             "I bet he escaped from the psych ward," Remi mused, fascinated by Thane's story. "He sounds like one of those savants, people who can do one thing better than anyone else on the planet but lack in their connection to reality." 

              They were at his locker in the school hallway during lunch, two days after Thane's mad dash to catch the bus and lightning strike. Remi had been glad to see him and drawn out everything that had happened since he left school on Monday, and he'd just finished telling her about Brennan Tayler. "Here's your backpack, Flash," Remi said, smacking him in the chest with it. Thane gave her a quizzical look, and she colored. "He's a comic book guy. Wears all red, runs so fast he's hard to see."  Thane kept looking at her until she punched his arm. "Cool people like comic books."

              "Sure," Thane said, smiling a little. It felt good to be doing something normal after the last few days. He stretched the fingers of his right hand, thinking about the hospital and Brennan again. 

              Remi noticed. "Let me see it?" Thane held out his previously injured knuckles for her and she stared at them like a jeweler inspecting a diamond. "There's nothing here. No bruising, no swelling, nothing. Are you sure you even hurt it?"

              "Yeah," Thane answered. "It was broken. He fixed it."

              "I wonder why," Remi mused, reaching out and taking his hand in both of hers.  Thane stiffened, unsure, but Remi was too deep in her thoughts to notice. She rubbed his knuckles with her thumb, trying to feel for any inconsistency. Thane felt his face going red and was about to pull away when something inside his hand moved.

              Remi froze-- she'd felt it too. Their eyes met over his hand. "What is that?" she asked him. He shrugged, pulling his hand out of hers to look at it himself. He pushed his finger down in the space between his second and third knuckles, and felt that same something hard roll away. It was so small he never would have noticed it on his own. He pulled his hand up to his eyes, and Remi stood on tiptoe to get a closer look. They both leaned in, trying to see any evidence of what they were feeling under Thane's skin.

              The bell rang, startling them both. Thane and Remi realized their faces were only inches apart, and sprang back. Snickers around them in the hallway let them know their display had not gone unnoticed.

              "New girlfriend, Thane?" Ben called from a few lockers down. 

              "You could do better, new girl," Jeran said, flexing his muscles. "I could show you a lot more than that weak loser." Thane's face colored, but Jeran walked off laughing with his buddies. Jeran was an entitled prick, the star of the second worst football team in the state. He wasn't smart enough to be the quarterback but as a wide receiver, you only had to get the ball somewhere near him and he would catch it. Tall and muscular, girls flocked around him and grownups loved to talk to him. Thane wanted to punch him hard enough to make it impossible for him to smirk for at least a week.

              "Don't worry about those idiots," Remi started, but Thane spun around and left her behind. From the moment Mr. Hoffman introduced them, Thane had failed at his one cardinal rule. When he was with Remi everybody saw him.

              Thane was one of the first into the room. Ms. Rasmussen didn't look up as he entered, engrossed in some magazine. He managed to slide onto his stool in the back row without exciting note or comment from anyone. He took out his notebook and pretended to read it as the rest of the class arrived in twos and threes. 

              Remi's voice, laughing and chatting, stabbed his ear and he couldn't help glancing up. She was walking in with Jeran, smiling at him and shaking her head so that her dark hair bounced. As they came in, Ms. Rasmussen's attention was diverted by Remi's giggle and she smugly observed them. "Know your way around now, sweetie?" she asked Remi in a satisfied voice. Remi gave her a half smile, but did not respond. Jeran flashed Ms. Rasmussen a grin calculated to charm, then turned to Thane and transformed it into a self-satisfied smirk.

              "Thanks, Jeran," Remi said, and walked back to sit with Thane. Jeran's face darkened as she walked away.

              "I found your girlfriend lost in the hall," Jeran swaggered down the aisle towards him, voice dripping with false sympathy. "I told her you were unstable." Thane was clenching his teeth, jaw taunt, and Jeran bent down in his face. "It's okay, loser. If your dad doesn't wake up, I'll take care of your hot mom, too."

              Music blossomed in Thane's mind as his fist connected with Jeran's jaw. There was a crunch and a sizzle and the smell of burnt flesh as Jeran fell backwards and the second bell rang. Jeran landed on the floor, as surprised by the sucker punch as Thane was. Jeran sprang back up, blood in his mouth and rage in his eyes and oddly, a bright burn on his jaw. He moved at Thane.

              "That is enough, Jeran!" Ms. Rasmussen snapped. Jeran hesitated, and then lunged for Thane. Ms. Rasmussen grabbed Jeran's shoulder and spun him around, her eyes flashing and her breath quick. "Get out of my class." 

              "What?" Jeran was stunned. "But Cressa--"

              "You will call me Ms. Rasmussen. Go to the nurse's office, then the principal's.  Now." Her voice had gotten softer, colder, and somehow so dark that Thane repressed a chill.

              Jeran crumbled. He fled from the room, the door banging as he ran through it. Ms. Rasmussen came to stand in front of Thane and rested the tips of her fingers on his arm. "Aren't you a hero for defending your mother's honor like that!" She was sweet, but her green eyes glowed with something Thane didn't recognize. Greed? Insanity? She tugged at his arm a little, and he stood up. "Why don't you come up here and take Jeran's seat? He won't be needing it."

              Thane obediently gathered his things and went with her to the front. Remi followed him. Ms. Rasmussen seemed delighted. She even clapped her hands to get the attention of the class, which was completely unnecessary as every eye was already on her.  

              "Change of plans today, everyone! We're going to be doing hands-on experiments instead of a quiz." Her announcement brightened the feeling in the room considerably. "Put away your books and keep out your notepads. You'll need to take good notes. Every team will need a Bunsen burner, a holding tray, one five hundred milliliter beaker, one hundred milliliter beaker, safety glasses for each of you, a thermometer, and a pair of tongs. We're going to talk about thermodynamics!" She seemed gleeful, as manic as Thane had ever seen her.  

              Thane got up and gathered the implements since Remi wouldn't know where they were. He felt awful for ditching her in the hall. Carefully holding as many of the implements as he could in his arms, he set them down gently on the table in front of Remi and spread them out. 

              "I stole his playbook," Remi whispered. Thane attached the Bunsen burner to the short tube that rose out of the center of their rectangular table. "I thought we could do some creative play changing."

              A rush of gratitude warmed Thane. Having a friend had perks. Ms. Rasmussen continued to give instructions.  "...and be sure, girls, to keep your hair away from the flames. I'll be around to make sure that the gas lines are connected. Place the holding tray about six inches above the flame and fill the larger beaker with water from the sink..." Remi grabbed the larger beaker and followed the line of students back to the sink. Soon all the students had their beaker of water in place on the holding tray and were turning the burners on, seeing the waving yellow and orange flame tighten into a straight blue and purple one. "Open the air hole to only about half, we don't want it fully on. We're just heating water."

              The lean, tall woman walked around the classroom checking each burner to ensure that the gas lines were attached correctly and the flames were high and hot enough. She came to Thane and Remi, bending to peer closely at their set up. "I think you need to lower your holding tray slightly," she instructed, and Thane made the adjustment. The corner of Ms. Rasmussen's mouth twitched, and then she moved on.

              Her foot slipped, the thin heel shooting into the air, and she flailed her arms. With one hand she grabbed the side of a table, and the other grabbed Thane's left arm, pulling his wrist directly across the open flame.

              "Argh!" Thane grunted, jerking his hand back. There was a shiny red mark along the underside of his wrist as wide as two fingers. He stared at it as his teacher regained her balance and turned to him.

              "Oh, Thane, I'm so sorry," she gushed. "Someone spilled some water on the floor and I slipped! Let me see it," and she jerked his arm towards her. Her green eyes studied the red welt for a slow heartbeat, and she appeared... pleased. But only for a moment. Her face was full of concern and contrition when she looked back at him. "It's not badly burned. Run cold water over it. As for the rest of you," she whirled to face the class, her beautiful features twisted in fierce and dangerous anger, "be more careful. This could have been a serious accident. If you spill any liquid, clean it up immediately. I could've broken my ankle and poor Thane," she looked down at him and her tone quieted, "poor Thane could have lost his hand. Well," she said, her voice returning to normal, "back to work, everyone."

              As the flames burned and the students adjusted their safety glasses, Ms. Rasmussen pulled a box off the shelf behind her desk. It was dusty, and she smiled and held it for a moment. Then she wiped it off and placed it on her desk. "In this box I have several pieces of Field's Metal. Has anyone ever heard of it?" She paused, but no hands went up. "It is a most impressive alloy. It's a non-toxic mixture of bismuth, tin, and indium. There are many alloys that melt at low temperatures, even though the metals they are mixed from require much higher temperatures to melt in their pure form. These low melting point metals are called fusible alloys."

              Several of the students were scribbling furiously, as Ms. Rasmussen was not writing on the board. Instead, her hands were resting on either side of the open box as she was intently watching the beaker and the flame in front of Remi and Thane. Remi was one of the desperate note takers-- Thane couldn't take his eyes away from the chemistry teacher, like a bird staring at a snake. His heart pounded against his chest and his palms felt sweaty. Something was wrong. 

              She reached her hand into the box and drew out what looked to be a silver straw. "Each of you will be given one of these Field's Metal wires. Place your thermometers into the water and the metal wire into your smaller empty beaker. Using the tongs, hold the smaller beaker partially submerged in the boiling water. Record at what temperature, both Fahrenheit and Celsius, the metal begins to melt. I will pass out molds to each team for you to pour your liquid metal into, and you will time how long it takes the metal to re-harden."

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – New Adult Urban Fantasy

Rating – PG

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Angela Day on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://awriterbyday.com/


The Survivors by Daniel Harvell

Posted on Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Survivors

When seven strangers impossibly survive a horrific airplane crash, they find themselves changed in remarkable ways. The survivors are endowed with powers that defy explanation. Some are blessed. Some are cursed.

Going their separate ways, they adapt their extraordinary “gifts” to their ordinary lives. The results, however, aren’t always pretty — particularly when one of them engages in a killing spree. With little more to go on than the psychic link that they all share, the survivors seek out one another to uncover the murderer and bring him or her to justice.

The fireman, the grandmother, the psychiatric patient, the basketball player, the mute girl, the rich blonde, and the man in the wheelchair — they all have secrets worth hiding. They can’t trust each other. They can’t even trust themselves.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Fantasy

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with Daniel Harvell on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://danielharvell.com


Women’s Obsession with Shoes: Real Stories Straight from the Sole (Vol. 2) by River Maria Urke


  Women’s Obsession with Shoes clip_image001

A woman’s love for shoes has no boundaries. Million’s of women from all lifestyles and ages, crossing borders around the globe, care not of the necessity of shoes as much as they care of the aesthetic quality of them. The likelihood is high you know at least one friend or family member that has a love for shoes. In fact, you may be captivated yourself.

A woman’s love of a pair of shoes has been known to trump comfort for many an occasion. Some women hold the view shoes are the glue that binds an outfit together, while others base their outfit on their favorite pair of trendy shoes. The fashion of trendy and designer shoes is seen in our media traveling the globe with Stilettos on top. Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City is known for her obsession with designer shoes like Manolo Blahniks and Christian Louboutin. She estimates she has a $40,000 shoe collection in her New York City apartment. Carrie is a fictional character that portrays women’s obsession with shoes to an extreme. The Consumer Reports National Research Center for the shopping magazine ShopSmart conducted a poll in 2007 on women and shoes. They found that the average American woman owns 19 pairs of shoes, while 15% of women own more than 30 pairs. “Women obviously love their shoes and are willing to go to great lengths for them,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart.

Why are women obsessed with shoes? When did this fascination begin? A brief look at the history of shoes along with cultural factors and philosophy will help glide us a step further in understanding women’s obsession with shoes.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Creative Non-Fiction / Memoirs

Rating – PG

More details about the author & the book

Connect with River Urke on Facebook & Twitter & LinkedIn


Death Ain't But A Word: A Supernatural Hot Mess - Zander Marks

Death Ain’t But A Word - Zander Marks

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre - Urban Fantasy

Rating -  PG13

4.4 (29 reviews)

Free until 31 July 2013

Just because Wilkin's a crackhead doesn't mean the shadows aren't real.
They're real. And they've been haunting him since he was seven years old. Mostly he ignores them.
But when the ghost of his best friend from childhood shows up at the local motel, Wilkin can't ignore the call of friendship. And when his friend's killer buys the motel so he can destroy the remains, Wilkin can't ignore that, either.
Wilkin steals his friend's skull before the killer can destroy it and is plunged into a hot mess of a supernatural thrill ride.
A death-race pursuit of a child's skull. A spirit-whispering trucker hauling plush toys to Kansas. Five demonic farm-kids in a housing project. A Dodge City marshal who executes wayward ghosts. A nasty yellow jersey that takes the joy out of living. And a graveyard full of snitches.
It's enough to make you want to hit the crackpipe. All leading to a climax where staying alive is the least of Wilkin's worries.
Because when most of the people around you are spirits anyway, DEATH AIN'T BUT A WORD.


The Tortoise Shell Code by V Frank Asaro (Excerpt 6)

A Walk in the Midnight Sun

Anthony Darren sat alone at a small table in a dark back corner of the jammed bar, listening to the jukebox playing “Sweet Home Alabama.” Well, what else? It seemed like “Sweet Home Alabama” was the only current song any jukebox played in 1974.

The view through the plate glass window a few feet away overlooked the rigging, masts and hulls that filled one of the most scenic yacht basins in San Diego Bay. Halfway through his second scotch, above the din of laughter and guitar riffs, Anthony heard a woman’s voice: “I know you.”

He looked up. “Hi, maybe so.” With the dim light behind her and so much cigarette smoke in the air, he saw only her silhouette from the bosom down. But it was a terrific silhouette.

“Would you mind some company?” she asked. “I’m afraid your table has the only available chair in the place.”

“No wonder you said you know me. Sure, no problem, sit down.” He adjusted the chair for her. As she seated herself, a pair of black horn-rims perched on a pert nose came into view. The glasses partially hid a face he was sure he’d seen somewhere, maybe on the front page of a fashion magazine. She held what looked like a gin and tonic.

“Hi. My name is Laura Evans. I really meant it when I said I know who you are: Anthony Darren. I’ve seen you in the courtroom.”

Anthony didn’t respond. A few bars of different music filled the space: thank God, someone had discovered “Bennie and the Jets.”

“Why so glum?” she said. “You look like a kid who lost his puppy.”

“Lost something. It wasn’t a puppy.”

“Sorry…I don’t mean to be nosy.”

“Okay, then, I’ll be nosy. Tell me all about you.”

“Well…I do editing and proofreading for an educational book publisher, and also write the occasional newspaper article.”

“You’re a writer?”

“Not full-time. I also moonlight as a legal secretary.” Her gaze intensified. “I watched you in court one afternoon about six months ago and sold a small piece about it to the Business Daily. Did you see it?”

“Let’s see, the Archer case?”

“That’s it.”

He rubbed his chin. “I read that article. Factually very accurate. Well done for such a complicated matter.”


But he was looking out the window again. As pretty as this girl was, and as intelligent as she seemed, he wished she hadn’t intruded on his solitude. Well, that’s what you get when you look for privacy in a crowded bar, you moron.

After the silence stretched uncomfortably thin, he looked back at her, looked squarely into a pair of frankly sympathetic eyes of darkest brown. Eyes you could fall into.

“Tell me about it,” she said.

And he realized he wanted to. Realized that was exactly why he’d come here—to improve the odds of talking. To anyone. About anything. He smiled. “I just left my house, and no one there showed any interest in talking to me.”

“I’m different. I could be your secret admirer.”

“You’re also a journalist. This isn’t going to end up in the Business News, is it? ‘Half-Drunk Lawyer Whines Like Baby?’”

“Strictly off the record. I promise.”

“In that case, I can’t be rude to a possible secret admirer. But kick me or throw an ice cube at me if I talk too much.”

“Deal. Go on; I’m a good listener.” She shifted forward on her elbows with her chin cradled in her knuckles. He noticed her breasts jiggle beneath a thin sweater: no bra.

“Okay. My last trial. I’d been in court for a month defending these guys, Phillips, Jones & Conrad. Three partners with everything at stake. One day Conrad caught me in the hall outside the courtroom and said he was concerned about Phillips’ health. Said the old guy had heart problems and was making himself sick worrying about the case. Could I do something to pep him up—give him a boost? Like, tell him we had a reasonable chance to win?”

A waitress brought the drinks. When the glasses were on the table Anthony said to Laura, “Are you with me so far?”

“Of course. Cheers.” She lifted her glass and touched it to his. “So, did you?”

“Did I what?”

“Have a reasonable chance of winning the case?”

He sipped his drink; actually sucked half of it down. “You never know. It didn’t look good, but you never know. The judge made some promising comments. So I was torn between wanting to ease Mr. Phillips’ stress and at the same time be completely truthful. But one day I saw him standing in the hall, looking real bad. On impulse I went over, put my arm around his shoulder and told him to perk up—things would get better. We had a pretty good chance of winning, I said. He looked very happy. ‘Do you really think so?’ he asked. I said sure. And at the time, you know, I believed it.”

She leaned farther forward. “So, did you win?”

“No. I lost. Lost big. As my secret admirer, you must have heard about it: TV cameras rolling outside the courtroom when we left, reporters cornering Phillips.” He finished his scotch. “Four days later I’m at his funeral, watching his wife and kids say farewell to his casket. Heart attack. The night of the decision.”

Laura reached over and placed a warm palm on Anthony’s hand. Said nothing.

He stared back out at the boats. “I holed up in my house for three days reenacting the case in my head. The truth is that from the get-go I knew we were almost certain to lose. But as the case evolved I thought we had a reasonable chance. Maybe the let-down for Phillips wouldn’t have been so harsh if I’d better prepared him to handle it. I don’t know—I can’t shake the feeling I’m partly responsible for his death.”

“It wasn’t your fault, Anthony. Surely you realize that.” She squeezed his hand again.

He looked at her. “Isn’t it funny that you’re the only person I’ve been able to talk to about this? Maybe a stranger is exactly who I needed. I appreciate your listening.” He paused. “I also broke up with my girlfriend tonight. It was a long time in coming. We both knew it.”

“You’re kidding.”

“No. I went back to work today—for the first time since Phillips died—and when I got home she was sitting in my kitchen with all her cackling buddies—drinking, smoking and having a good ol’ time. She hardly even noticed me. I felt like a renter stopping by to change clothes.” He shook his head. “So I suggested that the party might be over; she knew how I still felt about the funeral. When they didn’t leave, I did.”

To his astonishment tears appeared in Laura’s eyes, their shine almost missed behind the horn-rims. Been through it, too, he thought. And in that instant he was swept away. How long had it had been since he’d known a woman with such an open and touchable heart? Since Cheryl, that’s how long.

He smiled. “Will it surprise you to hear I’ve never been married?”

“Will it surprise you to hear I was married and don’t want to talk about it?”

“Hey, that’s not fair.”

“Maybe some other time.”

“Kids?” he asked.

She shook her head.

“Me neither. No wife, no girlfriend, no kids…only work. Am I a living cliché or what?”

“I read up on your background for that article I wrote. It didn’t seem cliché to me. A full scholarship to Berkeley Law…and then you volunteered for combat in Vietnam?”

He fiddled with his empty glass. “Well, I was going over there one way or the other, right? Like everybody else. Could have opted for JAG, and soon I ended up there anyway, but…it sounds ridiculous when I say it.”

“Go ahead.”

“You know Berkeley’s reputation, politically—‘Moscow West.’ Well, one night I went to an event and some antiwar activists had this North Vietnamese propaganda film. It showed American soldiers getting gunned down—and the audience applauded. It pissed me off so much I went across the bay the next day and enlisted. I saw two other law students from my class doing the same thing; they were in the audience at the film too. Reported for duty the week after graduation.”

“And saw action.”

“Yes. Some. Then became a Judge-Advocate—a military lawyer—after all. They needed me more there.”

“So the law is your passion.”

He hesitated. “You could say it’s another way to fight the good fight.”

“Okay. So after your enlistment ended you came back to San Diego, served as a deputy DA for five years, and now you’re a member of one of the top law firms in the city, specializing in shipping and maritime accidents.”

“You did do your homework.”

“Why that particular niche?”

He shrugged. “My best friend in high school came from a tuna fishing family, so I learned a lot about the industry and developed real admiration for the people who do it. I don’t know, it just seemed a natural direction for me to take.”

“According to rumor, you’re very good at it.”

“I thought so, until that last trial.” He spun the glass between his hands. “I don’t know, maybe I’m already burning out. I’ve been going from trial to trial to trial for so long I’m beginning to feel like a dolphin spending too much time between resurfacings.”

“Then slow down. Take a breath.”

“I’m not sure I know how.” He gave a laugh. “Sorry, I’m not usually so mawkish. You’re very gracious to sit here listening to me whimper.”

Again, the warmth of her hand pressed against his. “Maybe it’s not burnout or even too much dedication. Maybe you’re running away from some fundamental disappointment in your life.”

Her eyes were—there was no other word for it—hypnotic. “Are you sure you’re not the reincarnation of Sigmund Freud?”

“No, I told you. I’m your secret admirer.”

“Not so secret now.”

“No, not so secret. So ‘fess up. What’s really got you down?”

He shrugged. “I guess I feel the need for something…more. Graduating from college I almost went into political science. Had written some papers, got some recognition. Had some ideas. Well, those ideas are still there. In fact they keep growing, looking for a way out.”

“What kind of ideas?”

“Oh no you don’t. I haven’t had that much to drink.”

“Drat. My evil plan has failed.”

He laughed, and on impulse reached out to brush a lock of her thick shiny hair behind her ear.

“That smile looks good on you,” she said. “I love a deep thinker who can laugh.”

“And I love a deep laugher who can think. What? Damn, I have had too much to drink.” He threw enough crumpled money on the table to pay the tab plus a generous tip, then stood. “May I walk you to your car?”

She took his arm and they maneuvered together through the crowd and into the refreshing night.

“Where is your car?” she asked.

“Let’s see, about two blocks away.”

“C’mon; I’ll give you a ride to it.” She escorted him to a well-used sedan, climbed in, waited until he was buckled, and then pulled into the street.

“Right turn at the next corner,” he said. His tongue felt a little thick. “I’m down about half a block.”

At the corner she slowed…and turned left.

“Laura. You’re going the wrong way.”

“No I’m not.”

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Legal Drama

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with V Frank Asaro on GoodReads & Twitter


Jamie Denton – Point Of View Made Easy

Point Of View Made Easy

© Jamie Denton

I’ve become a stickler when it comes to viewpoint. I’ve become one of those annoying purists who rarely switches POV within a scene. This could be because way back in the day when I first started writing, I made a mess of POV and was determined to master this elusive component in crafting a novel. I went beyond your average Head Hopping Syndrome and stormed right into so ridiculous it wasn’t funny. With a little help from my friends, and by studying how other authors handled POV in their stories, I learned. But first, I had to understand exactly what was POV.

There are different types of point of view; omniscient viewpoint, sometimes referred to as authorial intrusion. There is first person point of view (POV/1), otherwise known as the “I” perspective. And finally, third person point of view (POV/3), which is most commonly used in genre fiction, romance in particular, which is what I’ll be talking about today.

We live our lives in only one viewpoint, so this should be simple, right? It’s looking at the sunset, or listening to Mozart (or Nickelback), maybe enjoying a banana split on a Saturday afternoon, or inhaling the sweet fragrance of a dew-kissed rose. Let’s not forget the swelling of our heart when we look at a newborn child. Hard to believe that we experience this all through only one perception, isn’t it?

Now let’s transfer this to our characters.

One of the most important things to remember is if your viewpoint character can’t see it, hear it, taste it, smell it, or feel it, then neither can your reader. In other words, the heroine can gaze at the hero, but she can’t gaze at him with desire burning in her gaze if we’re in her point of view. Why? Because your heroine can’t see this.

Confused? Try this…

If your hero is observing your heroine from across a crowded room, your heroine can’t know that the hero is lusting after her unless she sees some sign of his lust. Now, if your heroine is standing next to your hero, and she can see that “his gaze burned hot” or some such, your reader can know it as well. Why? Because we know your heroine saw this from her own viewpoint.

That all sounds much simpler, doesn’t it? But, the question remains, how do you convey the non-viewpoint character’s emotions without jumping into their head? Easy—emotion through action.

Here’s an example of emotion through action from my first romantic suspense novel, THE MATCHMAKER (Kensington Brava, 2006), with the heroine, Greer, observing the hero, Ash:

She looked into his eyes and her pulse took off like a rocket. Desire burned within the intense depths of this gaze and whatever protest she’d been searching for vanished. Instead of pushing away from him like she knew she should, she reached up to cup his jaw in her palm.

And then she kissed him.

Within Greer’s viewpoint I established not only Ash’s emotions (desire), but also Greer’s, which we see through her actions and her thoughts. We know that she still desires Ash (her estranged husband), but also how she still feels about him, which we see through the tenderness of her touch. All of this information is given to us through Greer’s point of view. No head hopping necessary.

Now that we have a better idea of what point of view is, how do you decide who should be the viewpoint character? Answer the following:

  1. Who will be the center of the action?
  2. Who will have the most at risk?
  3. Whose struggle toward their goal is the fuel of the scene?
  4. And finally, who will be moved or changed by the outcome?

In romance, most likely the viewpoint will be that your hero or your heroine. Once you’ve answered these questions, the appropriate point of view character should no longer be a mystery.

For example, let’s say Hannah Heroine has just announce to Hank Hero she’s pregnant. In the previous scene, we’ve already established Hannah’s angst over being pregnant. She needs to know Hank’s reaction to the news because it affects her. She’s the one at risk. Therefore, the scene belongs to Hannah. But, you still need to know Hank’s reaction. Why? Because you know from the story that Hank has something at stake as well. He was planning on leaving town in the morning to take a long awaited promotion he’s been longing for on the opposite coast.

You DO NOT have to wait until the end of the scene before getting into Hank’s head to know what he’s feeling. We can use the ol’ point of view switch <insert shocked gasp here> within a scene to find out what Hank is thinking. Keep in mind that you want your transition to be smooth. Take a look at this example:

[HANK’S POV] . . . Restraint and nobility fled. A groan rose from deep in his chest. He grabbed hold of her hips, pulling her tight against him. Her lips sought his in hot, opened mouthed demand.

[HANNAH’S POV] Hanna’s skin warmed and she went all dizzy as his hands skimmed her hips, inching the material of her sundress higher. She wanted him. It was that simple. She couldn’t explain what made her forget the warnings that she was playing with fire, and she didn’t think she wanted to know.

Note how I re-establish the reader in the heroine’s viewpoint by using the senses, specifically, how she feels when Hank touches her. And Hank can’t possibly know that she is feeling all warm and dizzy, or what she’s thinking in regard to warnings she’s choosing to ignore.

Here’s another short example of point of view switching within a scene. We begin this scene in the courtroom during a custody hearing in Melina’s viewpoint, but watch the change into Mario’s POV:

…This man staring at her [across the courtroom] with such disdain was not the same man who’d nearly told her loved her a few days ago. This man looked as if he wished her dead.

Mario sensed Melina’s torment but hardened himself against her. The flash of fear in her eyes gratified the part of him that wanted to hurt her. Hurt her as she’d hurt him, not once, but twice.

Both characters are in emotional angst at this point in the story, which is conveyed by their separate points of view and their observation of the other. From Melina’s viewpoint we know that Mario can hardly stand the sight of her because of the way he’s looking at her. From Mario’s point of view we know that he’s glad Melina is suffering right along with him because of what we see through his eyes.

If you absolutely have to change viewpoints within a scene, keep the transitions seamless. Really cement the reader into your new viewpoint character’s head by using Name (Mario), Action (Stared) and Emotion (in disbelief).

The best way to learn how to switch point of view is by not switching point of view. Sound confusing? Not as much as you might think.

The way I learned to make a seamless point of view change was to write an entire scene in one character’s viewpoint using the five senses as my rule of thumb. If my heroine couldn’t see it, hear it, taste it, smell it or feel it, then quite simply neither could my reader. Once you understand what it takes to firmly establish your character’s viewpoint within a scene, making the transition between the hero and heroine’s point of view is a great deal easier to accomplish.

One thing to always keep in mind — when using a singular POV per scene, DO NOT rehash the same information in the next scene in the opposite character’s viewpoint. If you remember the theory of Scene and Sequel, this shouldn’t be a problem. Whether you want to switch point of view within a scene, or become a viewpoint purist, in the end, the best thing you can do for yourself, and your characters, is to always trust your instincts.

Jamie Denton sold her first attempt at a contemporary romance to Harlequin Books four days before Christmas in 1994. Despite a few bumps in the road, in the almost 20 years since her first sale, she’s gone on to final and win several notable awards, made a national bestseller list and has seen over three million copies of her books in print worldwide and translated into several languages. Jamie is currently at work on her 30th novel.


Five authors contribute five novellas to this romantic collection set over centuries, in one home on the Albemarle Sound.

Home is where the heart is…

One stately residence on North Carolina’s Albemarle Sound. Five stories of heart-warming romance. Told against the backdrop of the Civil War, the loss of an unsinkable ship, the patriotic zeal of the second world war, the heart-rending conflict of Vietnam, and the thrill of modern day Nascar, Jamie Denton, S. K. McClafferty, Kathleen Shoop, Marcy Waldenville, and J. D. Wylde deliver a variety pack of poignant, sexy, and sweet.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Romance

Rating – R

Connect with the authors on Facebook


Tattered Phoenix by Kachina Riley


Tattered Phoenix is a heroic, real-life American memoir of one woman’s brave fight for success in the last half of the 20th century. Beginning in the 1940s, author Kachina Riley details her family’s brave struggles against mental illness, illiteracy, and other health issues. In the end she achieves upward mobility beyond anyone’s expectations, earning two master’s degrees and breaking free from the limitations of her Appalachian roots to become a highly respected professional social worker and a world traveler. She is forced to fight her way through many challenges along the way as she rises from the ashes, torn but never beaten. In many ways, Ms. Riley’s story is the story of our nation evolving into what it is today. Tattered Phoenix will rekindle memories for anyone who grew up in America during the post-war era.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Memoir

Rating – PG13

Connect with Kachina Riley on her website



Orangeberry Book of the Day – The Blackout by Stephanie Erickson


The next morning Molly got up and went to class, prepared to hear the groans from her Modern Poetry class for their late papers.  She usually punished them with half a letter grade for every class they were late, but she wasn’t sure what to do to compensate for her own lateness.  She thought if she could come up with a few options, like having class in the garden one day or letting them pick the next poem to discuss, and let them choose, they’d be happy. 

Her other classes held better prospects.  She was excited because the day brought discussions about Gulliver’s Travels in British Literature, and The Poisonwood Bible in Modern Fiction.  Save for the groaning from Modern Poetry, she expected it to be a pretty good day. 

It happened in the middle of Modern Fiction.  A student had asked what point Kingsolver was trying to make by sacrificing the family’s youngest child. 

“What could possibly be worth killing such an innocent character?” she asked.

“Well, what do you think?  Do you think the father is so taken by his ‘mission’ to ‘save’ the heathens in the Congo that his youngest is a fair sacrifice, as you put it?  What’s one life if it saves a handful of others?”   Molly had just said it to spur the discussion.  She often made extreme statements in class just to stir the pot and get a good discussion going.

She sat cross-legged on top of her desk looking at the rows of students as hands shot into the air.  She smiled and surveyed their faces.  Their expressions ranged from angry to mischievous.  Molly picked one that seemed undecided.  “Mia, what do you think?”

Before she could answer, the lights went out.  It wasn’t really all that dark, because the back wall had several windows on it, and for that she was thankful. 

“Um…OK.  Just a second here, let me poke my head into the hall and see if I can find out what the deal is,” Molly said as she got down off the desk.

The students whispered to each other as she walked to the door.  “Settle down.  I’m sure it’s just a power surge, and it’ll be back on before I can even find out what happened.” 

“My phone doesn’t work.  Does yours?”  A boy in the front row asked his neighbor.

It caught Molly’s attention.  “Is your battery dead?” she asked.

“No.  I left home with a full charge.” 

Other students began retrieving their phones.  The consensus was unanimous.  No one’s phone worked.  Molly took her phone out of her pocket to see, and to her surprise, it displayed nothing but a black screen. 

She frowned and continued on her journey to the door.  “I’ll find out what’s going on.  Just stay calm,” Molly assured them.  They all looked worried.

Teachers were beginning to poke their heads out of their doors, making similar inquiries about the outage.  No one seemed to know what was going on.  Normally, there would be an announcement or some sort of directive about what to do, but they’d never encountered this type of outage before. 

Molly ran to her office to grab her laptop and returned to the classroom.  By then the kids were getting a little panicky, letting their imaginations run away with them. 

“Why would the power and our phones be out?  What could possibly cause something like that?”

“How long do you think it’ll be out?”

“My mom said she thinks the apocalypse is coming.  She said the signs are all there.”

Another student burst out laughing.  “Your mom is crazy.”

Molly interrupted before a fight could break out.  “OK, enough.  The power will probably be back on soon.  The school has an emergency generator that should kick in any minute now.  Just let me get my laptop going, and I’ll see if I can get some information about it.”

“Dr. Bonham, if the power’s out, will you be able to get online?”

By then, Molly had already gotten her computer out and was trying to get it powered up.  “Oh, that’s a good point.  Probably not.” 

Then she noticed nothing was happening with her computer.  She held the power button down, with no response.  She waited a few moments and tried again.  Still nothing. 

“What on Earth…” Molly muttered.

“What’s wrong?” 

“Um…I’m not sure.  I can’t get my computer to come on.” 

“What should we do?  Can we go home?”

“I don’t know about that either.  The stairwells are dark, I don’t want there to be a stampede.  Just give me a minute to think about the options.” 

They weren’t prepared for something like this.  They knew exactly what to do for a tornado, a fire alarm, or an earthquake.  But this was new territory. 

There really was no reason not to continue with class.  The only things they were using were the lights, and it was plenty bright enough to continue the discussion without them.  However, the kids were rattled, and quite frankly so was Molly.  Continuing with the discussion seemed fruitless, but leaving right this second wasn’t a good option either. She didn’t want to put the students in an unsafe situation. 

“Let me run back to the department head’s office and see what he thinks.  You guys wait here until I get back, OK?”  Molly looked at them all, seeing the panic starting to bubble up.  “I mean it,” she said sternly.  She thought giving them a task, even if it was just sitting still, would help occupy their minds.

Molly caught up with Terry Longman in the hallway.  She looked at him and shrugged.  “Now what?” she asked.

His normally disheveled appearance looked a little more unruly in his stress.  His grey hair stood straight out and his tweed coat hung unevenly.  “I have no idea.  I’m telling the kids and teachers to stay put for now.  There are no lights in the stairwells, and I don’t want anyone getting trampled.  Let’s wait twenty minutes or so and see if it comes back.  If it doesn’t, we’ll let the classes go one room at a time to prevent a stampede.  So, since your class is at the far end of the building, they may be here a while.”

“No problem.  Just keep me posted.”

Molly stopped in Cindy’s room, knowing she had a rowdy group this time of day.  They were arguing with her about getting to leave.

“HEY!”  Molly hollered to get their attention.  They were immediately quiet.  “This is a professional environment, not a middle school.  Arguing is not tolerated.  You will stay put until Dr. Longman says you can go.  He’s making his rounds now, and he’s said if power is not restored in another twenty minutes or so, he will let everyone go home.  However, he doesn’t want any misconduct, so he’ll be letting classes go one room at a time.  Just sit tight.”

A unified groan went up.  “Hey, you’re supposed to be in this class right now anyway!  I don’t want to hear your complaints,” Molly said.

“Yeah, well I’m not sitting here any longer than I have to.  Class gets out at three, and I’m out of here at three,” declared an older student, dressed in black jeans and a black t-shirt.  It was obvious that his silver chains, piercings, and long hair were meant to intimidate.  Molly was unfazed.

“You’ll do whatever the head of the department says you’ll do.  No questions about it.  This is considered an emergency situation, and for your own safety and the safety of others, you’ll stay put for now.  We’re not keeping you here forever, so just relax.” 

Cindy had that deer-in-headlights look.  Molly turned and put her hand on Cindy’s upper arm.  “Hey, straighten up.  These kids’ll eat you alive if you let them.  Don’t.  Terry said he’ll be letting classes go one at a time if the power’s not back in twenty minutes.  The process shouldn’t take too long, since there’s about ten rooms downstairs and ten up here, so just hold the fort for maybe an hour tops, OK?”

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Adult Fiction / Contemporary

Rating – PG13 (some strong language)

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Stephanie Erickson on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://stephanieerickson.weebly.com/


Chasing the Lost by Bob Mayer

Posted on Friday, July 26, 2013

NY Times Bestselling Author, former Green Beret and West Point Graduate, Bob Mayer.

“A pulsing technothriller. A nailbiter in the best tradition of adventure fiction.” Publishers Weekly ref Bob Mayer

Horace Chase arrives on Hilton Head Island to pay his last respects at the Intracoastal Waterway where his late mother’s ashes were spread and to inspect the home his mother left him in her will. He’s been recently forced into retirement, his divorce is officially final, and now he’s standing in the middle of the front yard of his ‘new’ house where a tree has crashed right through the center of it.

What could possibly go wrong?

Within six hours of arriving on Hilton Head, Chase is exchanging gunfire with men who’ve kidnapped a young boy and tried to grab the boy’s mother, Sarah Briggs. Soon he’s waist deep in an extortion plot to funnel a hundred million dollars of Superbowl on-line gambling money into an offshore bank account or else the boy dies.

Dave Riley has long retired from the military and living peacefully on sleepy Dafuskie Island off the coast of South Carolina. Sort of. Actually he’s bored, feeling old, and just a bit cranky running his deceased uncle’s small-time bookie operation.

Horace Chase, meet Dave Riley. Riley-Chase.

Chase and Riley assemble a team of misfits and eccentrics as they take on the powerful Russian mob in the lawless tidal lands of the Low Country to get the boy back.

Meet Erin: Chase’s long-ago summer fling, now a veterinarian and not interested in men any more, at least that way. But her suturing skills and her knowledge of the island bring assets the team needs. Especially after Chase’s first visit with the Russian requires a bit of the former.

Meet Gator: an ex-Ranger, iron-pumping, fire-breathing hulk of a redneck, with a soft spot in his heart for Erin, and steroids burning in his muscles to hurt people. As long as Riley and Chase point him in the right direction, the rest of the populace should be all right.

Meet Kono: a Gullah, descendant of the free slaves who fled to the barrier islands in the 19th century and developed their own culture. He nurses his own pain and secrets, but heeds Chase’s call to renew their childhood friendship. Especially when he learns the target is the Russians.

It adds up to a fiery confrontation to rescue the young boy, and settle some old scores.

But Riley and Chase need to remember a basic tenet from their days in covert operations: Nothing is ever as it appears.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Thriller

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with Bob Mayer on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.bobmayer.org/


True Love’s First Kiss, The Queen of the Realm of Faerie Books 1-3 by Heidi Garrett

images (3)

In the Enchanted World, true love’s first kiss is magic.

Nandana’s Mark, Book 1: When two half-faeries–Melia and her younger sister–are cursed under dreadful circumstances, true love’s first kiss is the remedy.

The Flower of Isbelline, Book 2: Nothing but true love’s first kiss can save Melia’s younger sister from blind ambition and ruin.

The Dragon Carnivale, Book 3: Melia must choose the freedom she cherishes or true love’s first kiss–and a relationship that promises to secure her place in the Whole.

The Queen of the Realm of Faerie is a fairy tale fantasy series that bridges the Mortal and Enchanted worlds. The main character, Melia, is an eighteen-year-old half-faerie, half-mortal.

When the story opens in the first book, Melia is troubled by her dark moon visions, gossip she overhears about her parents at the local market, and the trauma of living among full-blooded faeries with wings–she doesn’t have any.

As the series unfolds, the historic and mystical forces that shape Melia’s life are revealed. Each step of her journey–to find the place where she belongs–alters her perceptions about herself, deepens her relationships with others, and enlarges her world view.

True Love’s First Kiss is a compilation of the first three books in this ongoing series.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Fantasy

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with Heidi Garrett on Facebook & Twitter

Blog http://www.heidigwrites.blogspot.com/


Sojourners in Shadow by Steven Beeho





Harbinger of my Doom

* * * *

“Wait here,” Lotus said before leaping into the fray, spinning his weapon; one blade beheading, the other slashing open a throat. He sprang high as the mutants fired their guns and one was shredded by the attacks of two others. Another cried out as a brain-maggot fell onto his shoulder. Lotus landed nimbly away from them. Now they were only three as the mutant crashed to the earth, eyes glazed, with the brain-maggot fixed on his neck. The others fired, machine guns rattling as they followed the harbinger, hopping from place to place as he came at them. He snapped his weapons apart and hurled one, the bayonet striking deep. He swung the semi-circular blade to carve a foe open, then twisted, ducked, kicked and swung again.

“Wow, you don’t take long in a fight, do you?” questioned Simon in amazement, looking over the fallen forms.

“That’s how harbingers fight, quick and sudden, never giving our enemies the chance to regroup,” Lotus explained, cleaning his blades on a corpse.

“Yeah, but most like to play with their prey once they’ve beaten them,” countered Simon. Lotus said nothing. Instead, he cut the straps of a backpack before tossing it over. Simon wrenched it open and his eyes lit up.

“Do you know how to fix this?” Lotus asked, moving to the jeep. Simon shook his head as he stuffed thick biscuits into his mouth. “Shame. I don’t think they did either, that’s why they were standing around. Are they from your city?”

“Doubtful,” Simon managed to say, still eating, death common to his eyes. These mutants were basically human, yet slightly disfigured; no doubt their ancestors had been transformed by living in a polluted area. Either way, they were no longer considered human. They were the hated, hate-filled enemy. Simon looted them of supplies and a gun. He watched as Lotus removed the brain-maggot, now bloated, and stored it for another time. “Is he alive?” he asked of the drained mutant.

“Just about. He won’t wake for hours, I suspect. Shall we spare him?" Despite how well he knew Lotus by now, Simon was still surprised at that question from a harbinger. “Without the jeep he won’t get far.”

“Then why not finish him?” asked Simon coldly, readying his gun.

“Not so keen to share out the mercy I have shown you?”

“Mutants wiped out my people.” Simon growled as he spoke.

“This mutant?” Lotus wondered, then went on as Simon made to respond. “Anyway, humans made mutants, that’s why they hate you. Some were experimented on, others created from nothing to fight and die for humanity, and their descendants still feel their bitterness.”

“We didn’t do that,” countered Simon, pointing to himself, referring to his particular group.

“And we don’t know whether he did anything to you.” Lotus kicked the unconscious fighter with a thin, three-toed foot. “Come, you’re acting like one of my clan. You should try better. If I can then you can.” He didn't seem to care for the mutant, he just simply detested murder.

“Help could come to him, we could face him again,” warned Simon as they began to leave the site.

“We should all try our best in what we seek to achieve,” was all Lotus said.

They walked for some time, watching out for further danger, but the vanquished group seemed to be a lone patrol. Eventually, the pair relaxed and they began to talk. Lotus liked to chat, Simon now knew, and, considering that harbingers enjoyed taunting their victims, it wasn't that surprising.

“Mutants caused a lot of this,” Simon was now saying, gesturing to their barren surroundings. “They let loose nuclear weapons to wipe out humans and make more of their own.”

“I have heard humans used them first,” Lotus answered casually, not wishing to offend but unconcerned if he did, assuming Simon had been raised on tales of the depravity of all non-human races. “Then again, many suspect the machines of letting loose; they don’t want any of us on this planet with them.”

“Yeah, everyone hates machines,” agreed Simon with a grim smile. “Of course, you monsters did more than your share. I’ve heard that dragons devoured cities and then nested on the remains.” Simon paused. “Did they?”

“I wouldn’t know, I’m thirty-two years old. Only dragons are immortal.”

“Thirty-two? You don’t look it.”

“We wear age well,” said Lotus with a grin on his smooth face. “As for dragons, I have heard similar tales. They were awesome beings, incredibly intelligent, supposedly indestructible, but never malicious.” Simon frowned. “I thought that would surprise you. Most of us supernatural beings you know as monsters are indeed wicked and murderous, but not all, and dragons weren’t the most terrible of all nightmares that so many say they were.”

“Then why did they cause such havoc?”

“Ever kicked over an ants’ nest or ruined the hiding place of rats? Dragons are so above the rest of us that we don’t register as friends or foes.”

“Is that why they left this world?” Simon had to wonder.

“No, they returned to the Shadow World because it was easier to exist in. Dragons are purely magical; huge, heavy beasts cannot fly or breathe fire, yet they did because of the unreal existence we came from. They lasted over a century here but had to go back, fortunately for us all.”

“So why don’t the rest of you piss off with them?” asked Simon, and received a glare. “If I can ask that?” he added meekly.

“We can’t,” Lotus stated. “The Shadow World was brought here and us with it, yet some part of it still exists separately, the darkest part, where the dragons went. How they did it no one knows. Only such power as they have could open a way, nothing else has. So we’re stuck with each other.”

Simon looked round at the dead land and dull sky.

“We probably deserve each other,” Simon noted. Lotus had to agree there.

* * * *

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Post- Apocalypse Sci-Fi

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Steven Beeho on Facebook & Twitter