March 2014


Message of the Pendant #Excerpt by Thomas Thorpe (#AmReading #Thriller)

Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2014

Suddenly, a loud voice bellowed upstairs. “Bastard!”
Charles raced up to the third floor and found Arthur Hurst sitting at a desk, rummaging through drawers.  He clutched a piece of paper in one hand, shaking with rage as he looked up at Charles.
“Businessman, hah! This man, Black is a British agent! Here's the proof of his duplicity. Where is he? It's time to put an end to the vermin.”
Charles gasped in shock. The entire charade was unraveling! He tentatively leaned toward the desk and reached for the note. “What do you mean? What evidence?”
Hurst glanced down at one of the drawers. He reached inside and picked up a ledger. "Wait a moment. There's something else."
Charles' eyes darted toward the window, knowing Black lay outside, unconscious and defenseless. Quelling an urge to run, he pretended to be curious and slowly edged around behind the man, as if to look over his shoulder. What could he do? Desperately his gaze searched for an answer until he spied a letter opener. In one motion, he grabbed the dagger and plunged it into Arthur's back. The rotund body jerked upwards, dropping the notebook. He tried to turn around, but instead, slumped forward onto the desk.
For a moment, Charles stood shaking in disbelief at what he had just done to his sister's husband.
William Darmon and wife Elizabeth were powerful figures who in 1818 set society's pace from expansive grounds known as Mayfair Hall. When a family member is murdered, a mysterious pendant is found containing a long lost request by Napoleon Bonaparte for an American mission to burn down Parliament buildings. The couple sets out on an action filled pursuit of the killer. 
While interviewing Henry Clay in post-war Maryland about the failed mission, they uncover evidence of a conspiracy to free the Emperor from exile. The Darmons infiltrate the cadre, but a shipwreck off the coast of Scotland, a firestorm at the Darmon's Manor and a harrowing assault on the Island of St. Helena loom before the mystery can be unraveled.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Mystery, Historical, Thriller
Rating – PG
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Flash Bang by @KellenBurden #AmReading #Thriller #Mystery

That night Harkin, Etch and I meet up at a military bar in Littleton called GI Jodie’s. It’s small, crowded, and bristling with sad, angry, hungry men like us. Ceiling caked in nicotine, head-shaped holes in the walls. On the way in we do the preliminary sweep, the three of us fanning into the room like wolves, eyes hunting, reading: non-combative, non-combative, drunk, aggressive, non-com, non-com. When we’re fairly certain that everyone is going to behave, and that everyone who isn’t, isn’t sober enough to be a serious problem, we snag a booth in the back corner. The waitress saunters over, the staccato crack of her gum popping like attraction dying on her bug-zapper face. Etch smiles politely, says, “Pitcher of Coors, please.”
She says, “Whatever.”
Harkin shouts: “Marry me!” as she’s walking away, and if she hears him, she doesn’t show it.
People noises hum through the bar, college basketball on the TV drowning in the country music piping through the speakers. For a few minutes, we sit in that comfortable silence that only people who really know each other can pull off. The Bug Zapper floats back over to the table, slaps the pitcher down in between us, three glasses, and floats away before anybody can, God have mercy on them, ask her for something else. No one can blame her for being hostile. Jodie’s works like this:
Active duty servicemen from Fort Carson and ex-military shitheads like the three of us come here to drink, which makes the place inherently dangerous. There’s been at least one fight every time I’ve walked into the place, and the bouncers generally just let whoever’s fighting work it out, and sweep up the mess when it’s over. Keep in mind that I refer to fights in terms of quantity and not quality. Military training does not make you a good fighter. I once had a Combatives instructor who told us that Military Basic hand-to-hand combat training teaches recruits just enough to get their asses kicked in a bar. What military training does give you, however, is a nasty temper, and a willingness to use violence, suddenly and efficiently, whether or not the occasion calls for it.
We work on our pitcher while the bar dissolves around us. Watch a navy derp get knocked O.U.T. by an Infantry derp. Watch both of them get tossed out by the general public around them. Etch is working on a new lead. Denver Metro’s 50 Most Wanted Sex Offenders was updated yesterday, and one of the asshats popped up on Myspace. He passes Harkin and me a napkin with the guy’s name (Joe Orenthal) and the URL for his Myspace page. Harkin’s gonna pick up the slack on the guy’s record; I agree to put together some leads on his whereabouts, and maybe stake him out for a few days. We pocket our intel napkins, order another pitcher. Over the bar noise I hear “Low Rider” by War, sharp and tinny, and Etch scrambles for his phone, wiggles it out halfway into the chorus and moves away from the table with his finger in his ear.
I ask Harkin how the Stacy situation is going. He says, “Nope.” He’s looking at the table.
I say, “Huh?”
“I’m fucking done.”
“What does that mean, though?”
“I’m breaking up with her.”
“Oh.” This is where you ask why. I don’t ask why. I know why. Because they’re both nuttier than squirrel shit, and fighting fire with fire only works on paper, and not with actual fire. Harkin is a retired Army Ranger, who, when asked why he joined the army will reply, “To shoot people in the face,” and when asked what he misses about the army will look at you like you’re stupid, because the answer is clearly: shooting people in the face. Stacy is… Well, Stacy is dating Harkin. I’m sure she has other reasons for being insane, but I don’t know them and, bottom line, it doesn’t matter. The two of them do nothing but scream at each other until the neighbors call the police and have make-up sex until the neighbors call the police again.
Harkin says, “I’m just sick of all the bullshit. I’m gonna dump her ass tonight. I already changed the combination on the gun safe.”
“Good thinking, man.” As Etch finds his way back over to the table, I add, “Hide the silverware, too.”
Etch is glowing, which isn’t an easy thing for a burly Mexican guy to do. Etch is on the other side of the spectrum as far as relationships go.
“That Jen?” I ask.
“Yeah.” He can’t seem to stop smiling, and Harkin looks like he’s trying to set the surface of the table on fire with his brain.
“How’s the hospital? She gonna have room in the ER for Harkin?”
“Fuck you, Parks,” Harkin spits over his mug.
“The question is: has she ever sewed a penis back on after pumping it out of a stomach?”
Jen was a dispatcher when Etch was a volunteer firefighter, before he joined up with the navy as a combat medic. They’ve been dating for about six years now and, unlike Harkin and Stacy, the two of them are happy with one another 90 percent of the time.
Etch asks Harkin what’s going on with Stacy and gets waved off.
“Don’t worry about it. Same old shit,” Harkin grumbles.  Asks, “What are you so happy about?”
“I’m not totally decided yet, but—”
Suddenly, there’s a Jarhead at our table. He’s swaying slightly, and his eyes are glazed and he wants to know if Etch is looking at his girl. Before anyone can respond, Harkin has stood, turned, and head-butted the fucker O.U.T.
The bar keeps moving. Harkin rolls the Jarhead onto his side, and we settle up the check.
Sebastian Parks is drowning in a flood of his own creation. Dishonorably discharged from the Army, he's wracked with night terrors and an anger that he can't abate. Unemployable and uninterested in anything resembling a normal job, Parks makes his living in fugitive apprehension, finding wanted felons on Facebook and thumping them into custody with his ex-military buddies John Harkin and Eric "Etch" Echevarria. When the body of a teenage Muslim boy is found in front of a downtown Denver nightclub Parks, Harkin and Etch are called on to do what they do best: Find bad men and make them pay. 
First-time author Kellen Burden serves up edgy humor, brutal action and characters you can't get enough of. Flash Bang will keep you turning pages until the end.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller, Mystery
Rating – R
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@AlinkaRutkowska's #WriteTip on Writer Is a State of Mind (#AmWriting #Children)

Posted on Friday, March 21, 2014

What exactly do you need to be able to call yourself a writer? It’s funny when you think about it. To be a lawyer you need to go to university and practice the law for a number of years. To be a doctor you need to spend around a decade studying medicine. But to call yourself a writer all you need to do is... call yourself a writer.
If you’re a number 1 best-selling author, you can obviously call yourself a writer. But you can do that even if you’re the 100th best-selling author, or 1 millionth. Or if you haven’t sold a single copy of your newest release. There’s more! You can call yourself a writer if you haven’t published anything yet. I’d go even further and say that you can call yourself a writer even if you haven’t written anything. All you need is an idea in your head.
Everybody has become who they are because they once had an idea in their head that they wanted to do this or that. So if you have an idea for a book and you feel the calling and you’re going to write - you’re a writer.
And yet many writers have problems with acknowledging what they do. I had this issue at the beginning as well. I am a business woman - by degree and in my mind. I studied five years at university and worked in several multinational companies to be able to call myself that. So when I left my job for a gap year traveling around the world, I didn’t know how to label myself any longer. I was still a business woman in my mind but I was also a writer. It took me several years to get over myself and be able to say with pride: I’m an author.
When somebody asks me what I do, I no longer bore them with my corporate life story. I go straight to the point and say: “I write children’s books”. I also wrote other books but I am most passionate about the work I do for kids. And the reaction (not that it matters) is usually something like “wow! That’s so cool! I’ve never met a writer before!”. And then they ask me how it all started and where I get the inspiration from so I actually do have a chance to tell them about my life story. Only that it’s no longer boring to the listener.
So, yeah, being a writer is not about how many best-sellers you have or about how many awards you received. Although this does help. Being a writer is about seeing the world in a unique way - and writing about it. Being a writer - is a state of mind.
Alinka Rutkowska has created a tale that will appeal to children, which teaches about choices, and encourages communication and sharing. Rating: 5.0 stars from Readers’ Favorite Reviews.
Embark on a one-of-a-kind, unprecedented, breathtaking adventure with Maya and Filippo as they travel around the globe on board the “Fun Princess” — a cruise ship full of surprises. Discover their fascinating ports of call, find out what the local customs and traditions are, join the kids in activities at sea, and explore the remarkable world they create through the power of their positive outlook.
This time the kids spend a day on board the Fun Princess. They become junior chefs at sea and learn how to bake a cake. Maya and Filippo discover how trying out different recipes gets them closer to creating the perfect dessert. They also discover the power of sharing.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Children's Picture Book
Rating – G
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#Excerpt Praying for Men of P.O.W.E.R @TrinityGalBlog #NonFiction #Christian

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray to the Lord, my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray to the Lord my soul to take, if I should live for other days, I pray to the Lord to guide my ways…”. What was this little poem that I recited each night before bed? Was it something to comfort me or something that connected me to the creator?
Maybe it was both. Whichever it was, mothers around the world have made this nighttime prayer a ritual for their sons and daughters. As a child, I don’t know how intelligently I would have articulated the definition of prayer but I knew one thing: I couldn’t go to sleep until I prayed.
You didn't learn these prayers in Sunday school. Put your armor on, and get ready to see God move!
Do you ever get sick of praying? It's okay to admit. We all do. It is emotionally draining to beg God without ceasing. Christians often forget that under Christ's authority, we have the power to command God's promises to be released from heaven to earth and into our lives.
In Praying for Men of P.O.W.E.R., author Nina Elaine Borum challenges readers to stand confidently and command the promises of God for the men in your life. As someone who has struggled with prayer, Nina believes that God does not intend for his children to feel helpless in praying. His Word has instructed us in how to bring the kingdom of heaven to a world where Satan runs freely. We are all in the midst of a vicious spiritual battle, and Nina hopes this book will help you to fight on behalf of Christian men.
Buy Now @ Amazon Tate Publishing
Genre - Christian non-fiction
Rating – G
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The Invisible Sorority by Ty Johnson-Anderson @invisible_soror #Excerpt #NonFiction #SelfHelp

Posted on Monday, March 17, 2014

I stand here for all survivors of sexual assault to make our struggle evident. I am starting a movement—the “I Am Not Invisible” movement. Why? Because it’s needed. Some estimates state that as many as one in four women will be raped or sexually assaulted sometime during their lives. That makes them members of our not-so-exclusive sorority.
We walk among society faceless, mainly because of our own shame. We fake our bright smiles-behind them are our lifeless eyes. We are lost in the crowd. But not for long. It’s our time-our time to step out of the shadows, and finally make the world take notice of this horrid epidemic.
I too am a survivor. Notice I didn’t say “victim.” I was violated by a boyfriend, although initially I didn’t categorize what had happened to me that way. More on that later.
As in all healthy relationships, we had sex-lots of consensual, teenage, lust-filled sex. But we also had a lot of non-consensual sex. While we were living together, I would often wake up to him having sex with me.
In my heart of hearts, I knew this FELT wrong. But I had never been in any other sexual relationship, so I had no reference- no handbook to tell me what was healthy. As with many parents, my mother never shared her sexual exploits with me or talk to me about my role in a sexual relationship, albeit not her fault, but a societal fault. So, being a naïve teenager, I thought maybe this was normal, this is what girlfriends do.
My thoughts as it was happening were; if you had sex with a person once, you had to continue to give it to them, right? I mean, we were in a relationship. So I shut up and I took it. For a year, I took it! In that year, I lost count of how many times I “engaged” in nonconsensual sex-nights with him rolling off me and me rolling over and crying myself to sleep.
Like many survivors, I suffered in silence. I was jaded . . . conflicted. On one hand, I had a boyfriend who took me out, opened doors, showered me with the kind of affection you’d expect from a lover. On the other hand, I had a secret, a deep, dark secret.
It couldn’t be rape. That’s what I kept thinking. In fact, at that time, I wore a smile every day. The only time I cried was when he was on top of me. But . . . it couldn’t be rape. I didn’t say “no.” You have to do that, right? I didn’t fight him off. You should do that too, right? I thought these things were the truth.
As children we are taught by our parents and the media that rape is something that a stranger does to you in a dark alley. I kept a wary eye out for “those” guys, but my antenna was not tuned to the rapist in my bed. My guy, who by day was a dream, became “that guy,” at night. He wasn’t violent, maybe because I didn’t resist his advances or fight back. So again, it couldn’t be rape, could it?
Let me tell you that any sex that is engaged in without consent is rape. Your lack of fighting back is not giving your consent. Your failure to scream, “No, please don’t do this!” is not giving your consent.
I must have a guardian angel because although they weren’t the best people for me to be in a relationship with, they weren’t pure evil either.
I still have trust issues. I still have intimacy issues. I still have communication issues. My journey is still not over. And I’m sure your journey, whether you’re at the beginning or in the midst of it, is ongoing.
Ty Johnson-Anderson is the creator of The Invisible Sorority, a community of intimate partner sexual assault victims ushering one another into healing and thriving post-assault. Ty launched the movement, I Am Not Invisible, in an effort to humanize the victimless statistics. Once a young adult spiraling out of control, she has managed to emotionally liberate herself from her dark past and move forward to manifest her future. She lives in Edgewood, Maryland with her wonderful husband and beautiful little girl. Visit her at
The Invisible Sorority will show you:
Why forgiveness can be your best healing tool
Several techniques you can use to heal your heart through mastering your mind via hypnosis and guided meditations
How to increase your ability to manifest your ideal future
How to embrace your tears to strenthen your emotional stability
Improve your sex life using several intimacy exercises designed to show you to live in the NOW
The invisible sorority is like a phone conversation with your best friend. It will inspire you to make positive changes in your life while helping you to ease the pain of your past assault.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Non-Fiction, Self Help-Abuse
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Ty Johnson-Anderson on Facebook & Twitter


"Shy Feet: #ShortStories Inspired by #Travel" by Frances M Thompson @BushBirdie #Contemporary

Posted on Friday, March 14, 2014

The following is an extract from The Flowers Sleep Tonight, one of the twelve short stories in Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel.
I chose an empty table and waited to find out which of the square’s restaurants was going to look after me. A waistcoated man with a dark frown eventually approached and I ordered quickly. The Rioja was fiery, the patatas bravas left my lips tingling and the chorizo was beautifully blood red.
My plates removed and my belly full, I started to daydream about the ocean and how its cool spray would linger on my face when I walked my mother’s dogs along Curl Curl beach. I imagined my sister up on the CentralCoast, raising chooks and children against the soundtrack of the kookaburra. I could return to either of these places to reclaim a life, or I could set up in a place of my own. Melbourne or Perth, perhaps? On my own. I was starting to think I’d be okay with that.
My thoughts were interrupted by a foreign voice speaking English and I assumed it was the waiter offering me coffee. But when I looked up, there was the shock of a familiar face.
“Can I sit down?”
She blinked and it seemed to shimmer down her body. It was a shudder; she recognised me.
“May I…?”  I asked again.
Her mouth gaped open, but she gestured to the chair next to her.
“Thank you.” I sat and smiled. “How are you?”
“I’m… I’m okay,” she replied in a whisper. “How…” She coughed. “How are you?”
“Good. Thank you.” I kept my backpack on my lap because of what was inside. I knew she’d forgotten my name. Maybe she never knew it.
“Well, this is a… coincidence.” She reached for her glass of wine, her lips twisting into a smile I’d never forget. I ordered a beer.
“No, it is not a coincidence,” I said.
Her forehead gathered in a frown and I noticed new freckles on her nose.
“I knew you were in Barcelona so I came here to find you,” I explained.
“You came to find me?”
“You left Mexico so quickly after we… after we were together. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye.”
She leaned back abruptly, knocking her back against her chair. “But Mexico was… It was just a… Mexico was a long time ago.”
“Five months and three weeks.” I let the time hang in the air.
“It’s Thomas, isn’t it?” Memories started to flood back in uncomfortable, wild waves.
He nodded, pretending to not be hurt.
“So, what are you doing here?”
“I told you. I saw that you were here and so I came to find you.”
“From Germany?”
“No, Italy. I was working there, but my contract finished yesterday.”
“What do you do?” I didn’t have the first clue.
“I’m a cameraman.”
“Yes, and I also do some other things, film producing and editing.”
“Like, for movies?”
“Kind of. Well, no. Not big films. Not Hollywood.” His nose twitched when he smiled. “Some short films for friends. But I’ve actually been trying to do other things too so I can work as I travel.”
“You didn’t go back to Germany after Mexico?”
“No, I’ve not been back to Germany for over two years.” I noticed that his eyes were very dark, almost black. They clashed with his mousey crop of hair.
“You’ve been travelling this whole time? And working as you go?”
“And what are these other things you’ve been doing?”
“Photography, that’s what I want to do. And it’s much easier to do while I keep travelling. I don’t need to look for contracts. I just have to sell my photos.”
I pinched the stem of my glass. My cheeks were warm from the wine, but I was thinking clearly. He scared me, just like he did in Mexico. I ran away from him back then. I could do it again, if I wanted to. This time it would be easier, I knew where I was going next. I was going home.
“And you never go home?”
“Define home…?” He faced me and I felt his stare slice into me. I shivered again despite the warm, sticky air that cloaked us.
“So, are you any good? At photography?” I changed the subject.
“Would you like to see some of my photos?” he asked, his eyebrows raised high over those deep, dark eyes.
Now was the time. Now was when I did what I came to do. Five months, three weeks, two days. I was within breathing, touching, finishing distance of her. It was time to show her.
"This collection of stories is like a blanket woven from 100% wanderlust under which you can hide as Frances M. Thompson tucks you in with her words and keeps you warm with her descriptions of characters you'll love and places you can tell she knows by heart." Gesa Neitzel,
Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel is a collection of twelve quirky, charismatic and touching tales of travel.
The inquisitive Ruth tells the story of The Lost Children of Gatwick Airport and in Max's Holiday we learn what a seven-year-old boy considers a "proper holiday" to be. In The Flowers Sleep Tonight, we meet Thomas and Carly, two solo travellers whose paths keep crossing... because that's exactly what Thomas wants. A spontaneous plan to elope is revealed in The Runaways and Homes from Homes is about the lessons Patricia learns from the hotel bellboy she has a fling with. Oh, Henry is the story of how a dream holiday can mean two different things to two lovers and Katie's Maps is an offbeat love letter to a vast collection of maps. Extracts from a travel journal tell one woman's life story in All the Beaches are Made of Pebbles and find out what Australia and underpants have to do with Claudia wanting to leave her husband of forty years in The Road is Long.
From the unforgiving Australian Outback to the jagged beauty of the Amalfi Coast, along the pebbled beaches of Brighton & Hove and down the busy streets of late night Barcelona, this collection of short stories highlights how travel intersects and enriches all of our lives, often without us realising it...
"Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel transports you to exotic locales without leaving your armchair and leaves you wanting more... Frances M. Thompson has a novel in her and I can't wait to read it." Nathalie Harris,
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Short Stories, Contemporary Fiction
Rating – PG13
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