February 2014


Jesse James & the Secret Legend of Captain Coytus by Alex Mueck @alexmueck #excerpt #humor

Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014

Chapter 17 - Present Day
Baxter boasted, “If you Google the slang word for Johnson, you will find it’s synonymous with penis. The source of the reference is murky, and there are lots of theories, but the first recorded reference was in the 1860s. I believe I have now uncovered the origin of this urban legend.”
Professor Gladstone sighed, shrugged, and brought his right hand to his forehead as if he had a migraine. The summarization of the bar scene alone had Gladstone thinking of some good scotch he had back home. He half-wished he were drunk now.
Even if he’d been inebriated, he was not some sorority hussy. He could never fall for Baxter’s bullshit. Silly songs, college bar games, saucy dialogue, and nudity—the paper reminded him of some cheesy porn script covered over by a few historical clichés.
He recalled camping in rural Maine. At the one general store, one could get live bait, along with an assortment of goods, including playing cards, booze, condoms, and the four-pages-only local newspaper. It also had a small selection of rentable movies, half of which were porn.
Then he had been revolted by some of the titles: The perverted Dickens, A Tale of Two Titties; the Huxley bondage epic, Slave New World; the heroine Indian gangbang adventures of, Poch-a-Hotness; the make-love-not-war lesbian drama, Daughterhouse Five; Surecock Holmes in the “whore done it?”—The Mounds of Baskerville.
It was all so vile, but no more so than Baxter’s thesis.
Baxter had more to say. “All those songs were real, Professor Gladstone, except of course the one he made up on the spot. All those people, John Edwards, Little Archie, Frank James, Badger Bob—they existed.”
Professor Gladstone took his hand from his head and pointed at the student. “The first three names I’m well familiar with, but this Badger guy is likely your own creation—along with the rest of the bit characters.”
“What about the main character, Captain Coytus?”
The pounding against his skull intensified. He closed his eyes for several seconds and willed this nightmare to end. Continual harping about this Captain Coytus reminded him of a matter with his only son, Theodore. For almost a year, his son had insisted a monster lived in his closet. No matter how many times the room was inspected and the closet cleared, when the lights dimmed, the monster returned.
How much more must Baxter’s frightful tale continue? The comparison brought something else to mind—the closet. Behind his office closet door lurked another monster, a deposit of Baxter’s mischief.
He spread his hands. “Mr. Baxter, I really have had enough for one day. We don’t need to rehash this sordid story. I’m at the point where I’ll give the paper a D- grade just for your conviction. Will a passing grade and graduation from Harvard be enough to send you on your way?” His furrowed brow etched with hope.
“It certainly will not,” an insulted Baxter replied.
Professor Gladstone massaged his temples. “How about a C?”
Baxter straightened. “For this magnum opus, I will take nothing less than an A+.”
With vigor that bordered on panic, Gladstone shook his head, holding both hands in a stop motion. “An A+ paper will be seen by fellow professors. If this was ever to see the light of day, I would be ruined with ridicule.”
The student grimaced. “I plan on publishing this. Consider yourself lucky that you got a sneak peak.”
“I owe it to the academic world. I came here expecting at minimum, praise, but I never considered that you’d be envious of my work.”
Heat swelled into his cheeks, and he gripped the armrest of his chair until his nails turned white. “Envious?”
Baxter nodded. “Jealousy is the only explanation I can fathom for pretending to ignore the obvious.” He paused, raised an eyebrow, and asked, “You’re not trying to play dumb, only to steal this scoop for yourself, are you?”
To think he, a professor, would ever author something so maniacal! “I would never—”
Baxter cut him off. “It’s unethical.” And tapping his chest, he continued. “Unlike me, you do not possess the evidence to make the case.”
Like an electrical eel that keeps shocking its already dead prey, Baxter kept zapping away. Professor Gladstone’s brain buzzed but felt short-circuited, as though he couldn’t quite bridge the gap between what was happening and what should have been happening.
“Anyway, at least I don’t have to offer you the privilege of penning the foreword. I felt obliged, being your student. There are plenty of other more acclaimed historians who surely will jump at the chance of having their name associated with this surefire seller.”
Baxter paused for just a second and continued. “I could have placed a review from you on the back cover. Naturally, I would have been happy to return the favor for one of your future endeavors, but it’s your loss on mutual prestige.”
This was beyond cocky; the lad suffered from delusions of grandeur.
Yet he wasn’t finished. “I can see the book tours. I suspect you could meet a lot of women on the road. They dig that intellectual, author thing.” He stopped to observe Professor Gladstone and then quipped, “Well, usually.”
After leaning back and with a cocky smirk, he shrugged. “If you ditch that comb-over and your Mr. Rogers’s sweater-thing, you might reel in a few ladies yourself. Try suspenders; they seemed to work for Larry King. Speaking of which, he might come out of retirement just to interview me.”
Professor Gladstone instinctively moved his wedding-ring-less hands below his desk. His marriage lasted six years, gave him a son, and then his wife left him, claiming he was a bore. He took Baxter’s insults like the anesthetized take pain. The absurdity was heaped in such rapid fashion it was mind boggling. Nothing registered. The boy had to be done with this bravado … he hoped.
Baxter preened. “I’ll do what J.D. Salinger should have done—quit after the first book. Sometimes you only have one classic in you.”
“Indeed,” Professor Gladstone offered at last. “What is this proof you speak of? I want evidence that this Captain of yours existed.”
"“A historical fiction comedy that packs
as much heart as humor.”
—Michael Dadich, award-winning author of The Silver Sphere
When a Harvard history professor receives a thesis paper titled Jesse James and the Secret Legend of Captain Coytus, from Ulysses Hercules Baxter—an underwhelming student—he assumes the paper must be a prank. He has never read such maniacal balderdash in his life. But after he calls a meeting with the student, Professor Gladstone is dismayed when Baxter declares the work is his own. As he takes a very unwilling Professor Gladstone back in time via his thesis, Baxter’s grade hangs in the balance as he attempts to prove his theory.
It is 1864 as philanderer and crusader Captain Coytus embarks on a mission to avenge his father’s death and infiltrates the Confederate Bushwacker posse looking for the man responsible, Jesse Woodson James. Accompanied by the woman of his dreams, Coytus soon finds himself temporarily appointed to be the sheriff of Booneville and commissions his less-than-loyal deputy to help him carry out his plan.
But when tragedy strikes, the Captain is forced to change his immature ways and redefine his lofty mission—more or less."
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Humor, Historical Fiction
Rating – R
More details about the author
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Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim

Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014

APRIL 14, 1837

Mattie lay curled around the warm shape of her son when the unwanted messenger knocked. She stayed on her pallet, reluctant to end this precious time, and listened to the sound of quiet snores coming from Poppy, her grandfather. She gazed at her young son, pressed her nose close against his soft neck to take in his sweet baby scent. She gently wiped the glistening sweat away from his damp forehead and gave him a tender kiss upon his temple. Another intrusive knock struck the door. Mattie got up. Cradling Samuel so close that she could feel warm puffs against her breast, Mattie shuffled across the packed dirt floor to the door. Though she expected this visitor, had anticipated a knock for weeks, she had dreaded this moment. Once she opened the door, her life would forever be divided into before and after. Mattie slowly pulled the rough plank door open and saw a lithe silhouette in the moonlight. There stood Emily, a girl with pale, hazel eyes and skin the color of tea with milk. Mattie had seen her before but did not know her well. She appeared to be no more than twelve. In contrast, twenty-year-old Mattie’s skin was dark as roasted coffee beans. Her jet-black hair, twisted into two tight braids that framed each side of her narrow face, was covered by a dingy white cloth wound tightly round her head. Her strong arms were scratched from tobacco. Dark eyes, big and round as caramel candy, took in all the comings and goings of the people around her.

Without introduction the skinny girl at the door mumbled, “You got to come now. The baby gonna be here soon.” With her news delivered, she turned back to the Big House.

Mattie called after her, “I gotta pass Samuel over to my poppy.”

“Be quick about it. They expectin’ you.”

As Mattie crossed to his pallet, Poppy sat up to receive his great-grandson. Tears pushed hard against the back of Mattie’s eyes. She kissed Samuel tenderly on his round cheek. “I love you,” she quietly poured into her son’s tiny ear and pressed her lips for a final time against his bald head. Her lips pulled tight inside her teeth, she carefully passed Samuel into Poppy’s outstretched arms.

“Remember, Rebecca gonna feed him when he get hungry,” she pressed out, though her grandfather was well aware of the plan.

She stared into Poppy’s eyes and hoped he understood all that she did not say. She wanted to be assured that her son would be well cared for, that he would be told she had not chosen to leave him, and that when she returned he would know that she was his mother. But Mattie said nothing. She did not scream in protest or plead for more time for her son to grow older. Instead she turned away in silence, blinking back tears as she left her home and abandoned her son. She had no choice. She had to be strong, get through this separation, and return to Samuel as soon as possible. Whether that would be in months or years, she had no way of knowing.

Yellow Crocus 

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Historical Fiction

Rating – PG-13

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Fool for Love by Merry Farmer @MerryFarmer20

Chapter Four

The Majestic rose up out of the water in its Liverpool dock with all the glory of its name.  Amelia held one hand to her hat and stared at its iron sides, its two dun-colored funnels and three tall masts.  The ship was a strange thing to her, a mixture of old and new, progress with hints of the past.  It had sails that could be unfurled in a pinch, but with its powerful new engines, the ship could cross the ocean in a week.

Seven days to a new world.  It was an exact description of everything her life had become.  It was every bit as daunting.

“What am I doing?” Amelia whispered, staring at the hopeful monstrosity in front of her.  It was one thing to accept an offer for a new life.  It was another thing entirely to go through with it.

She turned away from the ship, swallowing the nausea that had plagued her since she’d left her mother’s house.  This time it wasn’t morning sickness.  That was long past.  At the moment, the baby was the least of her worries.  Her stomach rolled over the idea that she was about to board a ship heading for a new life at the mercy of a stranger, a man, no less.  The last time she had trusted her life and her future to a man had been a disaster.

She paced, purse clutched to her chest, scanning the busy dock in search of her American savior.  Men, women, and children crowded the gangplanks, eager to start their journeys, excited and hopeful.  Many of the third-class passengers carried bundles that indicated theirs was a one-way trip as much as hers was.  Eric had left her there to go buy her ticket, but there was nothing stopping him from running off and leaving her stranded.  Like her father.  Like Nick.  She was a fool to agree to this.  She pivoted and marched away from the ship.

No, she stopped herself after a handful of steps, this was the best decision she could have made.  She may have felt small and lonely standing by herself, waiting, heart and stomach fluttering, but she was as much a part of the intrepid adventurers seeking a new life in America as any of her fellow passengers.  This was right.


“Well, we got a minor problem on our hands.”

The twang of Eric’s accent shocked Amelia from her worries.  She spun to face him as he approached her with wide strides, scratching his head and looking as guilty as a schoolboy.

“A problem?” she asked, voice fluttering.

“Yeah.  I went to buy you a ticket, but they’re plumb sold out.”

Amelia’s chest tightened and her tender stomach lurched.  “Oh.  Oh dear.  Well I suppose….”

She lowered her eyes, heart aquiver.  As quickly as it started, her chance for a new life was over.  All that worrying for nothing.

She squared her shoulders to face her fate.  “I … I thank you for your efforts on my behalf regardless, Mr. Quinlan.”

Eric’s brow crinkled into a curious frown.  “Regardless?”

“I suppose I could find work here in Liverpool,” she explained.  “Surely there must be a shop somewhere that would look the other way from….”  She lowered her hand to the mound of her stomach.

Eric’s lips twitched.  The morning sunlight caught in his eyes.  “I didn’t want to have to put you in third-class, so I told them you were my wife.”

Amelia blinked.  “You what?”

“I told them we’re newlyweds.  I reserved my stateroom in first class last year when I came over.  Good thing I paid for it then too, ‘cuz after this fiasco of a trip I’ll never ride first-class again.  Anyhow, when they said they didn’t have any more rooms, I told them you were my wife and that we would be staying in the same stateroom.  They sold me a ticket for that.”  He handed her a fresh, clean ticket with her name written as ‘Mrs. Amelia Quinlan’.  “Sorry.”

Amelia held perfectly still on the outside, but on the inside her heart pounded and her stomach rolled with guilt for questioning him.  He wasn’t abandoning her.  He had gone out of his way to help her.  Her heart squeezed as it never had before.  She took the ticket from him with a trembling hand, hardly noticing when her fingers brushed his.  She was rescued after all.

“Thank you, Mr. Quinlan.  You have no idea how much this kindness means to me.”  She had to concentrate on breathing, standing straight, and looking up into his handsome eyes with a smile to keep her tears at bay.

“You don’t mind sharing then?” he asked her.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Western Historical Romance

Rating – R

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Website http://merryfarmer.net


Fenella J. Miller's #WriteTip for Becoming a Better Writer @fenellawriter #historical #fiction

Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2014

10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer
1. Write what you like to read – if you don't ever read contemporary romantic fiction, then don't attempt to write it yourself.
2. Develop a thick skin – part of being a writer is showing your work to other people and being ready to accept criticism and be prepared to change what you've written. Getting stinking reviews, as well as being rejected by agents and publishers, are just part of the life of a writer.
3. Do something writing related every day – all writers need a life away from the computer. Even when you have a full-time job/bringing up a family/other major commitments in your life, in order to be a successful writer you must write something every day.
4. Be prepared to jettison an entire manuscript however long you've spent writing it. Only the fortunate few are lucky enough to have their first book published – most of us have written half a dozen novels which never see the light of day before they produce anything publishable.
Writing is a craft – like any apprentice you must expect to spend time learning to be the best you can.
5. Take your time and don't be in too much of a hurry to send your book off to be read by an agent/editor or publisher. Put your manuscript to one side for as long as you can bear to – reading the book after a gap of time will often highlight what needs to be tightened or removed from a manuscript.
6. Be determined and be resilient. Writing is not an easy profession; I think you have to have an obsessive personality to make it work. Don't give up after a few rejected novels, keep reading and writing until you succeed.
7. Always gets your manuscript proofread by someone else. However good you are, however professional, it is impossible for a writer to see all the typos and missing words for themselves. It isn't necessary to pay for this service – any educated, literate friend can read through a book and pick up things that you've missed.
8. When you are successful be ready to offer your assistance and advice to those behind you on the ladder.
9. Be professional. What you don't know about formatting your manuscript/writing a letter to the editor or agent/social media or promotion can be gleaned from other writers, writers’ associations and from the Internet. There is no excuse for being unprofessional.
10. Remember one person's opinion is exactly that – there are millions of potential readers who could disagree with a negative review. Have confidence in yourself and your work and write what you want to write. Don't jump on the latest bandwagon – stay true to your unique voice.
World War II brings divided loyalties and tough decisions in this page turning drama from Fenella Miller.
Hannah Austen-Bagshaw’s privileged background can’t stop her falling in love with working-class pilot, Jack, but Hannah has a secret. Torn between her duty and her humanity, she is sheltering a young German pilot knowing she risks being arrested as a traitor. Hannah’s worst fears are realised when Jack finds out what she has done and their love begins to unravel.
Will her betrayal be too much for Jack to forgive?
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Historical fiction
Rating – PG
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The Soul of the World (Legends of Amun Ra #2) by Joshua Silverman @jg_silverman #excerpt

Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014

*   *   *
Kem dives to the ground in desperation, covering his head and neck from the rocks raining down. I didn’t see that coming. I thought I was quiet, he thinks.

The announcement of Cadmus’ elimination booms over the intercom. Well, at least I don’t have to worry about a vengeful brother.

The dust and debris settle from the crumbled wall. Find Kesi. Kem trots towards the end of the path. Before he gets there, he sees a shadow along the wall.

Dio turns the corner and spots him. She’s already throwing blue spheres before he knows what happened.

Kem hits the floor hard, dodging the first two. Dio hurls more at him.

His heart beats like a jackhammer in his chest. He is covered in dirt and sand. Kem swerves left, then right, ducking from a shot aimed at his head. He looks back at Dio, who walks with determination, shooting at him. Will she not let up a little? Got to slow her down.


Buy Here
Genre – Science fiction, Fantasy
Rating – PG-13+
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Dangerously Hers by A.M. Griffin @AMGriffinbooks #LovingDangerously

Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dangerously Hers

Short Excerpt

A.M. Griffin

She straightened her shoulders. “When aliens look at me, I want them to see someone strong.”

“Well if you ask me, the look you’re projecting is…” He scanned her from top to bottom. “Penis repellant.”

She narrowed her eyes and took a step closer to him so only he could hear her words. “Don’t make me fuck you up right here in the transport bay,” she threatened.

JB feigned surprise by opening his eyes wide and inhaling sharply. Exaggerating his efforts, he placed a hand on his chest. “Really, Jess? You’re going to pick a fight with me and on your first day on Sonis? Tsk, you’ll never keep a job at this rate.”

“Whatever,” she mumbled. “Stop fucking with me.” She scanned the area again. “I want to make a good impression.”

JB quirked a brow. “Let me get this straight. You are worried about a good first impression?”

Jess frowned. “Of course.”

“Since when?” he asked in disbelief.

She cocked her head in thought. She was stealing from Kane when she first met him. She had threatened to kill the guys when she first met them. She tried to strangle Sa’Mya when she met her… Oh yeah, she hadn’t been worried about making a good first impression in a while.

JB laughed. “C’mon, let’s get going.”

She shook her head. “No, Eva said she would meet us here.”

Jess adjusted the knapsack on her back and held the other tight in her hand. All her belongs could fit into two small bags. A far cry from the condo filled with high-end clothes and shoes she had back on Earth.

JB looked around the large docking area again. “I don’t see her here.”

She shifted from one booted foot to the other. “Yeah, but—”

JB swung his medium-sized duffle bag over his shoulder. “I’m going exploring. She’ll find us when she’s ready for us.” Without waiting for her response, he set out.

She had two choices. She could stay in the transport bay by herself or she could leave with JB.

He took two more long strides away from her before she rushed to his side.

She grunted under her breath as she stepped in time with him, just as he expected her to.


She followed as he led the way through the exit. She made certain not to brush against any of the aliens they passed. “What if we get lost?”

He turned, only to give her a wink. His blue eyes were alive with mischief. She figured that was the reason many females swooned around him, human and alien. “Then Eva will send someone to find us.”

She couldn’t help but grunt. JB didn’t give a damn about anything. She would’ve thought being abducted from Earth, sold as a slave to a mining colony and then spending a year on the run would have been enough to sober anyone’s attitude, but not his. If she didn’t know any better, she would think he didn’t have a care in the world. That’s if she didn’t know better. But as with the rest of their small band of misfits, JB had lost family and loved ones as well.

“What’s the plan now?” she asked when they reached a large communal area.

JB scanned the room of females and whistled low. “Trouble. The plan is to get into as much trouble as humanly possible.”

Dangerously Hers

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Genre - Science fiction

Rating – R

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Brian Bloom (Beyond Neanderthal) Shares His Greatest Strength & Weakness

Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What’s your greatest character strength?
Take your pick. Either:
I have a sense of humour that is sufficiently well developed to enable me to mock myself when I start to take myself too seriously. Humour is a gentle pin for pricking the ego bubble.
Persistence. Like a fox terrier, I’m still holding the bone long after everyone else has gone home.
What’s your weakest character trait?
Take your pick. Either:
I too often say what I think without thinking
Too short a fuse and too blunt when I’m tired or frustrated.
How do you work through self doubt and fear?
I wait patiently until they pass. If I’m not going to take my strengths seriously then I’m certainly not going to take my weaknesses seriously either. We are all unique and we all have something unique to offer the world. The trick is to find out what it is and work within your limitations. There isn’t a man or woman alive who hasn’t made mistakes. The bigger you dare to dream, the larger the mistakes you will inevitably make. I’ve trained my ego not to be afraid of making mistakes. It’s more productive to act and then admit if/when one is wrong, than to sit and do nothing because of doubts and fears. But the flip side is this: I try not to let my successes go to my head.
What writing are you most proud of?
When I was writing my newspaper column, I forecast that Communist China would open its doors to trade with the West. This was at a time when China was still generally regarded as implacably communist. When the doors were finally flung open, I understood more clearly what was driving international affairs. That is what enabled me to write my two novels with clarity of purpose. The reality is this: politicians of today are generally not interested in you and me; they are interested in feathering their own nests. So, if you imagine yourself as a crooked politician and you ask yourself: “what would a crooked politician do under these circumstances” you can cut through all the media hype and garbage and get to the truth. What the opening of China’s markets taught me was that, typically, when a politician stands up in public and proclaims loudly that he is against something, you can probably make a safe bet that he’s actually in favour of it. And now ask yourself: “Why am I prepared to accept this abominable behaviour?” The short answer you will probably give is: “Well, what can I do about it?” Aha! And that’s where my two novels come in. They are not intended to be prescriptive. But they are intended to communicate the principle that the individual is certainly not powerless in today’s world. At the end of the day, the power lies with the people. The politicians and the media work to dumb down the people with sound bites that are often out of context. My novels work to enlighten the people. And, if you understand how things work, then you can draw a line in the sand and say: No More! I don’t believe what’s coming out of your silver tongued mouth. You no longer deserve my vote! Get it right or get out! That article on China’s true intentions – and being subsequently proven correct – was a seminal experience for me.
Can you tell us about your main character?
I have written two related novels. The main character in Beyond Neanderthal is Patrick Gallagher and the main character in The Last Finesse is Luke Sinclair. They are both in their 30s and were close friends when they were at university together in their late teens and early 20s. They both have the same hierarchy of values but their personalities differ at the margin. Patrick is a mining engineer by profession. He is a joker in his personal life and is forever telling irreverent stories and risky jokes to make people around him laugh or, at very least, react. The gregariousness is genuine but there’s more depth to him than meets the eye. He’s a one woman kind of man and he prefers the great outdoors to parties.
Luke fed off Patrick’s humour when they were younger; much like the straight man reacts to the funny man. Unlike Patrick, Luke was a bit of a playboy. Now, in his 30s, he also uses humour to manage stressful situations but his humour is still less front foot and more reactive than Patrick’s. The glamour of playing the romantic field is wearing thin for Luke and, when we meet him, he is primed to look for meaning in life.
In the stories, Luke is a professor of mineralogy with an expertise in nuclear energy; whilst Patrick’s “other” interest is in over-unity energy which, in theory, is impossible. He has an open mind on everything. His view is that anything is possible. Luke’s playboy façade quickly starts to disintegrate as his navy reservist responsibilities begin to weigh heavily. He grows up very quickly as challenges emerge from the situations into which he is thrown.
I guess both characters are modelled either on myself as a young man or my close friends. We were all into sport and we were all adventurous and we all liked to kid around a lot – often with irreverent humour. Both of the main characters have an old fashioned view of women, whom they treat with respect commanded of a gentleman by a lady, but with a roguish teasing that invites reaction. Both are attracted to women who respond to their humour and both would walk away from women who did not respond, for whatever reason. Even with Luke’s playing the field, he was never attracted to bimbos. Both are attracted to the female characters in my stories precisely because those female characters give as much as they get – and sometimes more. The relationships between Patrick and Tara; and between Luke and Katarina, are anything but mundane. There is a lot of laughter and mental sparring.
How did you develop your plot and characters?
I approached the writing of my novels in much the same way I approached the writing of a Business Plan. One starts off with a vision of what it is one wants to have as an outcome; and then one looks at where one is today, and then one generates a plan of how to get from where we are to where we want to be.
In this context the characters just pop out as “vehicles” for the storyline. For example, if I want to compare the Jewish religion with the Islamic religion then one of the characters needs to be a knowledgeable Jew and another needs to be a knowledgeable Muslim. Then, because in real life there is a genuine Clash of Civilisations, I saw that the characters needed to be non-threatening – which is the opposite of what one prospective literary agent wanted me to do. She saw the opportunity to create and build massive tension in the storyline and, in her enthusiasm, completely missed the fact that my intention was to show how the two religions might be reconciled.
In The Last Finesse, one of my objectives was to cut through all the media hysteria and disinformation regarding nuclear energy. It followed that one of my characters needed to be an expert in nuclear energy. The female characters in both novels were predicated on what I imagined would be seen as extraordinarily attractive to the male characters; and they also needed to be vehicles for light relief. The “power” of laughter cannot be overstated. Denise and I have been married for 42 years. We still have the capacity to laugh so hard that we are in danger of wetting ourselves. So, the characters in the stories evolved to have personality profiles that I felt would both facilitate communication of the storylines and be highly attractive from the perspective of the readers – not because the characters are black-hearted villains or superheroes, but because they are genuinely attractive human beings. I deviated from this in one respect in one of my novels in that one of the characters was a real prick. I had him killed off, with extreme prejudice.
Why did you choose to write this particular book?
There are two books: Beyond Neanderthal and The Last Finesse. Since I was 16 years old part of my mind has been preoccupied with my perception that the quality of life on earth has been steadily deteriorating – partly because the population of the planet has been rising and partly because the way we have chosen to cope with this is by emphasising “democracy” and “human rights”, and by allowing virtually unfettered “free enterprise”. All three concepts have become corrupted as the ethical fabric of society has become frayed. I finally decided to see if, in a similar way to how I used to draft Business Plans, I could write a novel that would address the main challenges which face society. The first novel got rave reviews, so I tackled the second one with the same attitudinal approach.
Who is your publisher?
That’s really a trick question. I have discovered that many organisations that label themselves “publishers” are really “facilitators” and/or “distributors” who perform an admin function, and the marketing of the books is left to the author. Nominally, Beyond Neanderthal was published by Citrus Press in Australia and the e-books of both books are being published by SBPRA. The reality is that I am self publishing and they are acting as facilitators/distributors/administrators. The mainstream publishers will probably not be interested in my novels because neither has a cookie cutter structure. But I am not ashamed of either book, Frankly, I think they are just as good as many so-called “best sellers” – and maybe even better than many – but my expectation is that unless I can generate a momentum of sales myself, no mainstream publisher will show any interest. By contrast, if they do start selling in numbers I can probably take my pick of publishers. The business risk will have gone out of my novels if sales can reach critical mass.
Who designed the cover?
This is potentially a very important question. Beyond Neanderthal was first published in paperback and my publisher at that time convinced me that it was critically important to have a cover that would stand out in a bookstore. I agreed and she arranged for a prize winning book cover designer to design that cover. When it came to The Last Finesse – which is currently available only in e-book – the cover was less important. I came up with a design concept and the e-book publisher introduced me to a designer who interpreted the brief and presented me with a much less inspiring design, but it serves its purpose.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Given that both my novels were based on fact, and that the facts were not in my field of expertise, I had to go to enormous lengths to find mentors who could guide me in subjects like religion and science in general and energy and climate change in particular. Relative to actually writing the story, the research was probably 85% of the problem.
I spent 10 years of my life as a member of the Board of Directors of a Muslim family owned company and this was of enormous assistance in allowing me to understand the Muslim way of looking at life. It did not happen by accident. I told the elder statesman of the family when we first became business associates that one of my objectives was to learn about Islamic culture even though this particular family was not religious in the formal sense. He was/is a true gentleman and also a sort of elder statesman in his community. We developed a strong relationship of trust and I believe I helped him significantly in his business. Over the years I came to understand that the “traditional” Muslim values and the “traditional” Jewish values are very similar. But it took over a decade. I already had a personal relationship with a highly respected Catholic priest, who kindly gave me invaluable guidance as to the Christian perspective.
Similarly, it took around four years under tutelage of my world-class scientific mentor for me to finally get to grips with the issues surrounding nuclear energy, over-unity electromagnetic energy and climate change.
As I had spent over 30 years in and around the finance industry, the central banking and economic issues were “my meat” so to speak, but it had taken a huge amount of research over a period of 20 years to finally understand what really drives the global economy; and it was quite frightening to discover that the central bankers don’t really understand the implications of what they have been doing. Effectively, their actions have been blocking the arrival of (meaningful) new energy paradigms. By analogy, we are travelling in dangerously shallow economic waters which are hiding exceptionally sharp rocks from view; and largely without either a compass or sonar.
Ultimately, the fact is that “energy” is what drives the world economy and that’s why both my novels focus on alternative energies to fossil fuels. Writing the fictional stories was the fun part. But even that took me a couple of years to master under the tutelage of Beyond Neanderthal’s editor/publisher. The big challenge in writing the books (the other 15% of the work) was how to communicate all the facts without boring the reader to tears. That’s why my stories lean heavily on humour and on the very human interactions and adventures of the attractive characters. I also rely a lot on travelogue type writing, where I take the reader to exotic places. If the books are ever made into movies, those movies will be visually unusually compelling in those scenes.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Abso-defi-lutely-nitely yes! The whole point of writing those novels was to communicate a primary message of hope, flowing from the subsidiary messages which define the seven “core” problems facing 21st century humanity and present some potential solutions to those problems. To find out what those seven core problems are, you will have to read the novels.

Beyond Neanderthal
There is an energy force in the world—known to the Ancients—that has largely escaped the interest of the modern day world. Why? There are allusions to this energy in the Chinese I-Ching, in the Hebrew Torah, in the Christian Bible, in the Hindu Sanskrit Ramayana and in the Muslim Holy Qur'an. Its force is strongest within the Earth's magnetic triangles.
Near one of these--the Bermuda Triangle--circumstances bring together four very different people. Patrick Gallagher is a mining engineer searching for a viable alternative to fossil fuels; Tara Geoffrey, an airline pilot on holidays in the Caribbean; Yehuda Rosenberg, a physicist preoccupied with ancient history; and Mehmet Kuhl, a minerals broker, a Sufi Muslim with an unusual past. Can they unravel the secrets of the Ancients that may also hold the answer to the future of civilization?
About the Author:
In 1987, Brian and his young family migrated from South Africa to Australia where he was employed in Citicorp’s Venture Capital division. He was expecting that Natural Gas would become the world’s next energy paradigm but, surprisingly, it was slow in coming. He then became conscious of the raw power of self-serving vested interests to trump what – from an ethical perspective – should have been society’s greater interests.
Eventually, in 2005, with encouragement from his long suffering wife, Denise, he decided to do something about what he was witnessing: Beyond Neanderthal was the result; The Last Finesse is the prequel.
The Last Finesse is Brian’s second factional novel. Both were written for the simultaneous entertainment and invigoration of the thinking element of society. It is a prequel to Beyond Neanderthal, which takes a visionary view of humanity’s future, provided we can sublimate our Neanderthal drive to entrench pecking orders in society. The Last Finesse is more “now” oriented. Together, these two books reflect a holistic, right brain/left brain view of the challenges faced by humanity; and how we might meet them. All our problems – including the mountain of debt that casts its shadow over the world’s wallowing economy – are soluble.
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Genre – Thriller
Rating – MA (15+)
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The Forgotten Child by Lorhainne Eckhart #Excerpt #Autism #MustRead @LEckhart

Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014

She could daydream about this imaginary family abode all day, but when she faced the classic wooden frame door, Emily’s dry throat threatened to close up. “Well, it’s now or never.” So she did it. She rapped on the door with a couple of confident firm knocks. Her heart pounded, echoing with a thud in her ears when she heard solid, heavy footsteps approach. She swallowed, and felt a bright scarlet flush flame her face.
She wanted to hide in that anxiety-panicked second, but it was too late when the door flew open. Emily stepped back, clutching her purse to her chest like a shield, and fidgeted with her old wool coat, pulling it tight around herself. Suddenly, a tall, broad-shouldered man filled the doorway. She was struck speechless by this man with hazy brown eyes. He didn’t have pretty-boy features. What he had was a solid, strong jaw, a hardness to his square face, and eyes alive with some ancient wisdom, making him in fact the most handsome man she’d ever seen. His flannel plaid shirt didn’t cover any average man. This was a well-formed man who she’d swear could make a burlap sack look good. He pulled off a pair of reading glasses and gazed at her, looking confused, as if she were a door-to-door salesgirl, obviously wondering why she was on his doorstep. She hated that feeling.
“Hi, I’m--” Then the worst thing that could possibly happen, happened. She fumbled her purse upside down. It tipped open, scattering the contents of her bag, as well as coins from the unzipped coin purse inside, all over the doorway floor… along with what remained of her dignity.
 Lorhainne Eckhart
How do you tell a man there is something wrong with his child?
This is by far one of the best books I have read. Lorhainne Eckhart proved herself yet again  by pulling you in with a heartfelt story and keeping your attention with the passion that fills   the pages. ROMANCE JUNKIES
A Real Tear Jerker: Omg, I loved this book. I stayed up all night trying to finish it. I cried,  My heart broke, I have an 18 year old with autism. This would make a fabulous movie...  Tammy
He wasn't looking to love again. But what he got was a woman who shook his lonely bitter world upside down, and touched him in a way no other woman could.
Emily Nelson, a courageous young mother, ends a loveless, bitter marriage and strikes out on her own. She answers an ad as a cook and live-in caregiver to a three-year-old boy on a local ranch. Ranch owner Brad Friessen hires and moves in Emily and her daughter. But Emily soon discovers something's seriously wrong with the boy, and the reclusive, difficult man who hired her can't see the behavior and how delayed his son is. So Emily researches until she stumbles across what she suspects are the soft signs of autism. Now she must tell him, give him hope, and help him come to terms with this neurological disorder--to take the necessary steps to get his child the help he needs.
As their lives become intertwined, their attraction is unavoidable--a connection sparks between them. But just as they're getting close, Brad's estranged wife, Crystal, returns after abandoning the family two years earlier. Among the shock and confusion is one disturbing question Brad can't shake: How does Crystal know so much of his personal business, the inner working of the ranch, and Emily's relationship with his son?
Crystal must've had a plan, as she somehow gains the upper hand, driving a wedge in the emotional bond forged between Brad, Emily, and the children. The primary focus for care and therapy of three-year-old Trevor is diverted. The lengths to which Crystal will go, the lies, the greed, just to keep what's hers, are nothing short of cold and calculating. Emily's forced out of the house. Brad fights to save his boy, to protect what's his, and struggles over his greatest sacrifice--Emily, and the haunting question: Has he lost her forever?
More Praise for THE FORGOTTEN CHILD...
"Brilliant, there is no other word for it, heart grabbing, heart warming, gut wrenching, well written well researched, wanted to read it over & over again." Amazon Reviewer – Maureen
BLACK RAVEN'S REVIEWS - Ms. Eckhart has crafted a delightful story with engaging  characters, enough drama for a Hallmark movie, and enough unconditional love to last a lifetime.  ~Rated 5 Ravens and a Recommended Read by AJ!~ 
READERS FAVORITE *5 Star Review A real page turner ~ fast moving plot ~ a must read!
Reviewed by Brenda C. For Readers Favorite
I didn't expect I'd fall for the four main characters as hard as I did, but The Forgotten Child is an amazing book, not just for a romance fan like myself, but for single parents who may or  may not have a child with autism. ~ Reviewer ~ Adria
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Genre – Contemporary Western Romance
Rating – PG
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