March 2015 – Andy Peloquin

Andy Peloquin

I am an artist – words are my palette

Month: March 2015 (Page 1 of 2)

confidence-as-a-writer-16

Writing Has Taught Me Confidence

One of the hardest things about being a writer is having confidence in your skills and abilities!

There are times when I read the passages or chapters that I just wrote and I think, “Damn, that’s awesome!” I feel good about my writing, and I look forward to sharing what I have written with others.

And then there are times when I read what I just wrote and my heart sinks into my shorts. I compare myself negatively with all of my favorite authors and think, “Gods have mercy, no one is going to want to read that!”

But over my years of writing–both blogging/copywriting and being a fiction author–I’ve learned that confidence is the key to being a good writer.

Ray Bradbury said it best:

When you are writing, you HAVE to trust that it is good enough. You have to have the confidence that the words you are putting on the page are interesting enough that people will want to read it.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that those words aren’t going to go through a whole lot of editing, polishing, re-writing, and improving. On the contrary; everything you write should be checked and re-checked to be certain that it is the best version of what you want to say.

But ultimately you have to have confidence in your abilities as a writer, as a story-teller, and as an artist.

Thanks to the time I’ve spent writing, I’ve realized that I really do have a lot to offer to people. The stories that I dream up and the concepts that I create really do interest and intrigue readers. And if something I’ve created in the PAST has held their interest, what’s to stop the things I create in the FUTURE from doing the same? How could the creative or talent “faucet” be suddenly “shut off” from one day to the next?

As a writer, you need to have confidence in your abilities, but thankfully, you also develop a lot of confidence through your writing.

 

Book Launch: Stifled by Rainy Kaye

Stifled Release
Today we’re celebrating the release of STIFLED, book two in the SUMMONED series by USA Today Bestselling author, Rainy Kaye. A dark twist on genie folklore, SUMMONED follows a reluctant criminal as he unravels the mystery of the paranormal bond controlling him. In STIFLED, Dimitri trails an elusive jinn and finds himself in the middle of a community keeping dark secrets. The SUMMONED series is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

Scroll down to pick up your copy of STIFLED, get SUMMONED for free for a limited time, and enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Stifled Final 2 PSDDimitri would like nothing more than to live a low-key life in Naples, Italy. His girlfriend, Syd, has other plans.

After three months of researching, she is positive she has found a jinn on a killing spree in San Diego, California. Since Syd gave Dimitri the one thing he thought was out of reach, he feels obligated to use his ill-gained talents for her cause.

A few hours back in the US proves that Dimitri and Syd didn’t quite make the clean escape they had thought. As they trail the elusive jinn, someone else trails them. What should have been a simple trip to confirm once and for all if the jinn are living among humans, instead reveals a community keeping dark secrets.

Unfortunately for Dim, the only way out is in.

Get your copy here!

Haven’t read book one yet? No problem! It’s currently FREE on Amazon.

 

summoned_cover_final_biggerTwenty-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told—literally.

Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker.

Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well.

When he meets Syd—assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd—he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri can’t tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isn’t the type to tolerate secrets.

Then Karl starts sending him away on back-to-back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karl’s ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw coming—the wish that will destroy him.

summoned free banner

about_rainy_kaye
rainykayeRainy Kaye is an aspiring overlord. In the mean time, she blogs at RainyoftheDark and writes paranormal novels from her lair somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona.

She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA. Someone told her she’s a USA Today Bestselling author. She thought there would be cake.

Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
tour-organized-by

15 Things You Probably Never Knew or Thought About….

Here’s something interesting I found while surfing the interweb. I don’t usually post this kind of thing, but it gave me the emotional “pick me up” I needed so I thought I’d share it:

 

1. At least five people in this world love you so much they would die for you.

2. At least fifteen people in this world love you in some way.

3. The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.

4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don’t like you.

5. Every night, someone thinks about you before they go to sleep.

6. You mean the world to someone.

7. If not for you, someone may not be living.

8. You are special and unique.

9. Someone that you don’t even know exists loves you.

10. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.

11. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look: you most likely turned your back on the world.

12. When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won’t get it, but if you believe in yourself, probably, sooner or later, you will get it.

13. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget the rude remarks.

14. Always tell someone how you feel about them; you will feel much better when they know.

15. If you have a great friend, take the time to let them know that they are great.

 

Posted from: http://boardofwisdom.com/togo/?viewid=1005&listname=Life&start=21#.VRLLaxpA7rs
GoddessFinal-FJM_Mid_Res_1000x1500

Book Review: Goddess by Callista Hunter

It’s Book Review Wednedsay! Today, we’re taking things back to a fantasy version of Ancient Greece, where the powers of the gods are manifested in very real ways…

Goddess

Olivia is a sixteen-year-old Vestal Virgin, a happy devotee of her beloved goddess Vesta in her home nation of Parcae. But when her faith in Vesta is shaken, Olivia illegally experiments with her own divine power, making a discovery that could save her country from war – if she’s brave enough to share it. After an accidental revelation proves Vesta is fake, Olivia and her fellow Virgins are tempted by a charismatic academy boy, Cassius, to invoke the real gods. Although they risk death if they are discovered, Olivia and her friends test their skills in secret experiments. But their games take an unexpected turn when flighty blonde Lucia reveals surprisingly deadly powers. GoddessFinal-FJM_Mid_Res_1000x1500 Gaius, a brilliant military student, must protect the girls and plan for war against an enemy nation while ignoring his growing attachment to Olivia. As a Vestal Virgin she has taken a holy vow of chastity, and the consequences of breaking it are severe…

My Review: 4 Stars

I’m not going to lie: I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected to! At the beginning, the book was a bit too heavy on the religion side of things. It was all about Olivia’s devotion to Vesta, the practices of the temples, and the close-minded beliefs of the Greeks. But once she finds out that Vesta is a fake (a beautiful reveal, I might add, though a bit clumsily done), the story gets interesting. I did not like how the technology relied on divine favor to work, but that’s just my preferences.

The explanations of how the divine favor worked wasn’t very clear. There were a few mistakes in the use of tenses, not to mention the occasional typo. One thing I didn’t like was how inconsistent the personalities of the characters were. They seem fairly bland, but particularly Cassius and Gaius have no real personalities to define them. They changed from chapter to chapter, until the author finally settles on one personality type near the end. Made the characters less interesting.

The author showed EXCELLENT understanding of the Greek Pantheon, which, as a mythology lover, I found awesome. There were a few anachronsisms (like “shopping bags” or “bombs”), but overall it was fine. The ending stuck in my craw a bit. It’s the clichéd “deux ex machina” ending.

There was no personal sacrifice required from the heroine to achieve the final ending, and there was no suffering or character growth. It was a bit “meh” overall. But, all in all, I enjoyed the book, and I’d recommend it to anyone who isn’t as particular or finicky as I am!

Here’s a Taste:

“Lucia, is there anything you did, anything you visualized, that helped you make the ball fly?” Cassius asks her.

“Um, well, I thought about her bow,” Lucia said. “That’s why I held my fist up, like this.” She demonstrates.“I pretended I was holding a bow. I guess we could even try pulling back an imaginary string.”

Encouraged, Marta and I try the bow technique. It helps tremendously. My ball flies more than forty yards, and Marta’s gains a good twenty. We both cheer and dance around each other, thrilled, but Gaius is unimpressed.

“That’s great. If we can get the enemy to come up close for a hug, we can definitely obliterate them.”

“Good job, girls,” Cassius breaks in supportively with a smile. “We’re still making progress. That’s what’s important.”

I’m so grateful to him for being here with us now. Gaius is a serious de-motivator.

“What if I asked Diana to help you?” says Lucia. “I think she would listen to me. I think we’re friends now.”

“Really? Will she let you do her hair?” gasps Marta in mock enthusiasm.

“Shut up,” says Lucia, “or I’ll ask her to turn you into a beaver or something.”

Then she closes her eyes and stands close behind me, her palms upturned. “Dear Diana, please listen closely to my friend Olivia and help her when she prays to you. She’s special.”

“Thank you,” I murmur to her.

Then she moves to Marta. “Dear Diana,” she prays, “Please help my friend Marta, who is a horrible shrew but whom I love, by listening to her prayers. She obviously needs all the help she can get.”

Marta snorts. I think she is simultaneously irritated and moved.

On our next attempt, our cannonballs fly in a high arc across the circus, covering more than a thousand yards and slamming into the far distant tree line, as Lucia’s did. We’re all stunned. No one speaks.

“We did it,” Marta whispers.

“Oh my gods,” Gaius says fervently. “Wait here.” He goes running to his other bag, still hidden in the ditch on the other side of the track. When he returns, he’s holding another iron ball, identical to the first.

“Lucia, this is extremely dangerous,” he says to her carefully. “This is the finished weapon. It is an iron ball packed with explosives. You need to make it fly into the trees, and then detonate it. Please be careful. If this goes wrong, we could all die.”

Duh!” she snaps. “Why does everyone talk to me like I’m an idiot? Don’t answer that,” she says to Marta, cutting off what surely would have been a snotty comment.

Gaius makes everybody stand as far away from Lucia as possible, going so far as to make us hunker in the ditch with the whining mosquitoes buzzing around us. We can only watch by peering over the top.

“Oh my gods, please don’t let her blow herself up,” he whispers, frantic with worry, his face in his hands.

I think he needs to give her a little more credit. At this point, she’s proven she can handle herself.

“Get down, everyone,” Gaius nags us.

Ignoring him, we watch Lucia straighten herself up, square her shoulders, and take a deep breath. She holds her hand out. She counts to three. As before, she propels the ball through the air toward the tree line. I try to watch, but Gaius shoves me down with unnecessary force, sending me rolling into the bottom of the ditch. There is a massive explosion.

As the smoke clears, I scramble back up so I can see the results of the detonation. Where there was formerly a distant grove, there is now a smoking pile of shattered trees. The extent of the devastation fills me with awe.

“Oh,shit,” Gaius says in disbelief. “We are going to destroy them.”    

About the Author:

Callista Hunter is a librarian and first-time author who loves fantasy and YA fiction. She has studied Latin poetry and is fascinated by the mythology of ancient Rome. Find the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Goddess-Callista-Hunter-ebook/dp/B00S6T3E50/ Tweet at Callista: https://twitter.com/AuthorCallista Connect with her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Author.Callista.Hunter Visit her website: http://www.callistahunter.com/

Writing Has Taught Me Self-Motivation

It’s easy to be motivated when you are getting paid to do something. It’s the motivation of, “If I do work, I will receive money that I can spend on the things I want/need.” It’s why most of us get up and go to work every day.

But when you’re not getting paid to do something (such as a hobby or a creative passion), it’s a whole lot harder to force yourself to continue working when your motivation wanes. This is something I have no doubt EVERY writer in the world has experienced.

No one is paying you to complete that novel or short story. You are writing it in the hopes of earning some money from it, but it’s not like you are being held to the same kind of deadline as you would if you were a doctor or an accountant. When you find yourself unmotivated, it’s all that much harder to push yourself to finish that story or work through your writer’s block.

Being a writer has taught me the importance of self-motivation. Even as I am writing this, there is a small part of my mind dreading the time that I will sit down and work on my The Last Bucelarii book this afternoon. With Book 1: Blade of the Destroyer still waiting to be published, there is very little motivation for me to continue working on the rough draft of Book 3 in that series. With no tangible rewards or results to push me to do more, it’s tough to motivate myself.

But that’s why it’s so important for writers (and everyone, really) to learn how to self-motivate. I have set myself a schedule of a certain word count to write this afternoon, and I have a weekly and monthly goal. In order to meet that goal, I have to push myself to work. Those goals were set at a time when I wasn’t discouraged or dreading the writing, and they keep me going when I am in that funk. It’s the self-motivation that makes it possible for me to do what I do.

To be a writer, an artist, or any sort of creative person, you need to learn to kick your own butt. When you are dreading that task you know you should do but really don’t want to, that’s when your self-motivation will come into play.

What do you do to ensure that you keep working when you’re not motivated? Leave a comment below and share your wisdom!

EBOOK COVER white

Book Review: Chance the Darkness by L.A. Wild

On Bonus Book Review Saturday, we’re going to take things a bit deeper and darker. This book is an odd combination of vampires, Celtic mythology, and a whole lot of other things that make it an intriguing book overall…

 

Chance the Darkness

In the depths of half-human, half-unknown, twenty-year-old, Summer Keese’s mind, the walls are beginning to crack…

I must be going mad. When my twin sister dies, my whole life begins to unravel in ways I never could have dreamed. A crazy lady ranting in my head, blood-drinking ghouls, a psychotic cult demanding I channel some powerful objects, dangerous men who want to control me…. Total insanity, right? Except, it’s all real.

EBOOK COVER white

Then I meet him. Black. Tall, handsome, godlike. The man harbors sinister secrets and lives by his own set of rules—rules I can’t begin to comprehend. One minute, he seems to want to save me. The next, I swear he’s going to bury me six-foot under. Why can’t he just tell me what’s really going on?

While searching for my sister’s killer in a seedy part of Glasgow, I discover nothing about my life is what it seems. Family secrets, betrayal. Emotions running hot, I make some seriously bad choices. And with the heart of Scotland becoming a paranormal battlefield, I have to wonder…. When did staying alive get so damn hard?

 

My Review: 3 Stars

That book blurb sort of sums up the entire thrust of the book: it’s all about this woman’s wicked attraction to some tall, dark and handsome guy.

Truth be told, the book came off as a bit odd to me. There were some strange expressions (like “smoke stained fingers”), and there were a lot of words overused. While it does a good job of pulling you into its dark world, once you’re there, you may end up as lost and confused as I.

The main character ends up bouncing around the world without any real explanation of how she gets from Point A (Amsterdam, for example) to Point B (Scotland or wherever the heck the guy Black hangs out). The prose is deep, but perhaps a bit too deep because it comes off as confusing and unclear. Instead of simple narration that’s easy to understand, it’s a book that forces you to read each sentence a few times to understand what is being said. IMO, that’s NOT a good thing for a book like this.

Worse still, the book hops from place to place and character to character without any real defined boundaries. With every teleportation (or whatever the heck it is), there’s nothing to really clarify what is happening. To me, that totally removed any sense of continuity the story may have had. It felt too disjointed and hard to follow.

The characters were also a bit two-dimensional. Black is as atypical as it gets, and even the main character doesn’t really break out of the clichéd molds of fantasy heroines. The book had A LOT of potential–thanks to its pretty solid storyline–but thanks to the confusing writing style, it only earns 3 stars from me.

 

Here’s a Taste:

Sensual throbbing thrums my body. The music in the club pulsates with my heart, making my head heavy and my tongue dense.

An unknown aroma assaults my senses. Hot, intense, and smoldering—like liquid gold, filling my lungs, leaving little room for oxygen. I struggle to inhale. This place is packed with so much sexual tension, I feel like I’m breathing underwater.

Desire creeps over my body until my skin tingles with want. My eyelids droop under the weight of the ambiance.

The nightclub is a vortex of slick, half-naked bodies lit under dark-red light. Skin slides against sweat, people grind against each other, lost in the erotic beat.

My fingers tighten around his unyielding palm as I break my promise to him.

I stare. At everything and everyone.

I gaze long and hard at what those people are doing. The communication signals my retinas are transmitting to my brain are being received—too loud and too clear.

Glistening skin.

Sharp teeth.

People are feeding from each other!

Not in the way you see in the movies, all aggressive with throats being ripped out, splattering gore and death all over the walls. No. These people are enjoying being fed on.

“I told you not to stare.” His gruff voice brings me all the way back to reality. I glance up. Bad choice. This place seems to have the same effect on him as it does me. His eyes flash silver before his irises consume what’s left. “Don’t stare. And don’t let go of my hand. Unless you want to become the next all-you-can-eat buffet.”

My eyes narrow. “You’re such an arse.”

He maneuvers us both through the intoxicated crowd. I try not to stare. But I can’t help myself. I can’t believe this stuff happens, in Glasgow, under my very nose?

I glimpse a perfect set of brilliant white, razor-sharp fangs slide down the side of a young women’s exposed jugular. She laughs, all husky, penetrating over the music. Her tormentor licks along her neck before his incisors embed themselves deep into her throat. She gasps, pleasure exploding across her face as she digs nails into his bare chest. A thin trickle of dark liquid pools in her collarbone. A topless female, with swollen breasts the size of melons, runs over. She dips her tongue into the pool of blood, lapping at the liquid like a dog, following the overspill running between the other woman’s breasts. Raw unadulterated pleasure passes through their faces. I turn my head, embarrassed to be watching what should be a private moment.

I attempt to focus, to redirect all my concentration on the dark jacket in front of me, as he continues to push his way through a wall of half-clothed people, who wear low-hung jeans and little else. Men pack hard abs with stomachs you could iron off, and arms that could bench press three of me and not strain. The women are tanned legs, tiny waists, and long crimson nails. And all of them have one thing in common—their eyes. They are all inhuman.

The music keeps pumping, the beats rock my hips, making them sway of their own accord. Innocently, I follow danger through the crowd. And danger never tasted so seductive.

I understand, deep inside me, this place somehow has an influence on all those who enter—which scares me to think that if I were to speak my deepest, darkest desires, there’s a possibility they will be fulfilled here in this dungeon, until they consumed me, leaving nothing but a shell of who I am. But the worst, whatever this place, I have no doubt they would make me enjoy their kind of brutality. In the simplest form, this place is rape in a can.

I breathe slowly and deeply, channeling my inner ice queen. But the heat in the club intensifies, stealing whatever restraint I have left. The need to rip off my jacket devours me. The material of my jumper itches up over my skin. Any pressure on my body is of the wrong type. I stop short of running to the nearest object and rubbing myself all over it.

Half-drugged and breathing in liquid tease, I tap the top of Black’s arm to stop. I need time to get my head together, but he’s looking forward and not at me. Hell, I don’t even know if he can feel me.

Focus!

I try, but I feel like my head’s swimming underwater. I stumble. The first bead of sweat forces a path between my breasts. The light touch is a caress off the wings of a butterfly. All of a sudden, I don’t know the difference between right and wrong anymore.

All I’m aware of is what my body needs—all six foot four of it.

My hand slips from his.

He spins around. His rough gaze centers on me. I get the impression he’s about to chastise me for breaking two of his rules, but not one word falls from his lips.

His body tenses tighter than a violin string. He grits his teeth.

I open my mouth and laugh, the sound is raw, unrefined. “What’s wrong? No sardonic smile. No scornful frown you’ve saved just for me.” Desire catches in my throat. I need something only he can give. My tongue darts out to lick the bottom of my lip. It’s a thousand mistakes.

He fists the front of my jacket, wrenching me forward by my coat, lifting me onto my toes.

I slam into his body.

Him touching me is a school-boy error. We both know it. This has been building since the first time we met. On the battlefield, on a planet which wasn’t Earth, at the police station, in the alleyway in Amsterdam, in his house. This is not just about sex or the tease—this is something altogether different. And it’s explosive. It’s dangerous.

 

About the Author:

L A Wild grew up in a quiet town forty minutes North West of London – think Harry Potter. Wild lived in many places including Greece, where the locals introduced her to the wonderful world of Greek Mythology, and Glasgow where she fell in love with the Scottish and their amazing accent. Wild studied and became an accountant and finally in 2006, after one too many bottles of wine, and a bad day in the best job ever, she booked a one way ticket to Australia.

Find the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Chance-Darkness-Dark-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00PBOZONS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426459181&sr=8-1&keywords=CHANCE+THE+DARKNESS

Visit her website at :www.lawild.net

Tweet at her: @TheDarkSeries

Connect via Facebook: www.facebook.com/L.A.Wild.TheDarkSeries

 

 

How Reading Fiction Makes You a Better Person

Did you know that reading fiction doesn’t just make you smarter, but it actually makes you a better person?

Emory University conducted research in 2013 that involved the study of fiction readers’ brains. They compared those brains to the brains of people who DID NOT read, and they found that people who read fiction have more activity in certain parts of the brain.

The increased activity was discovered in the left temporal cortex, the part of the brain that handles language comprehension. However, activity in the central sulcus of the brain was also heightened.  The central sulcus is responsible for the visualization of movement (daydreaming, picturing yourself doing activities, etc.). Basically, reading helps you to picture yourself in that book, and you can take on the emotions that the characters within the book are feeling.

Another study–also conducted in 2013–found that people who read fiction tend to empathically connect with the characters in the books more. This then allowed them to connect empathically with the people they interacted with on a regular basis.

Yet another study found that reading literary fiction (not popular fiction) enabled people to understand facial emotions ONLY by looking at the eyes. Those who read literary fiction scored 10% more highly on tests than those who read pop fiction or nothing at all.

Basically, it means that people who read fiction–and literary fiction, in particular–tend to be more empathetic towards other people, can understand them better, and have enhanced brain function compared to people who don’t read.

As if we needed any more reason to read!

EBOOK COVER RGBflat

Book Review: Out of Mischief by Gordon Long

It’s Book Review Wednesday, my favorite day of the week! Today, we’re diving into a Roman-esque fantasy world that I found surprisingly enjoyable…

 

Out of Mischief

How to describe Aleria anDalmyn? Elizabeth Bennet with a slingshot. A leader unsure of her direction. A warrior princess trapped in the landed gentry of a backward realm.

As Mechanical devices like printing presses and rifles creep through the mountain barriers of her landlocked homeland, Aleria deals with her own lack of connection with her world. She finds that being rich, talented, and educated doesn’t prepare her for the realities that the rest of her countrywomen face in their daily lives.

EBOOK COVER RGBflat

And then one of her stunts goes wrong and throws her into an ordeal that destroys her confidence and cripples her emotions. Seeking a solution, Aleria starts down an unusual path for one of her station. Her Battle Arts Master warns her,  “Use violence to solve a problem and you become a different person.  Violence will be one of your options for the rest of your life. There is no going back.”

That suits Aleria. For her, there has always been only one direction: forward.

 

My Review: 4 Stars

Right off the bat, in the opening chapter, this story snagged my attention. I’m a huge fan of anything that has to do with thieves, pranks, and mischief in general, so the flippant, devil-may-care attitude of Aleria (the main character) was right up my alley.

However, within a few pages, the story got a bit bogged down by all the girly stuff–doing hair, talking about boys and losing virginity, dresses for the fancy ball, etc. It was just a bit too much emphasis on the shallow side of teenaged life, without any real depth.

The first half of the book was very slow. It gave a little bit of insight into the world and built up the character of Aleria a little, but not enough to keep me interested.

Then, around the half-way mark, the story got more interesting. Aleria finds herself captured by a group  of bandits, enduring things her pampered life had never prepared her for. Some of her reactions to the situation are to be expected, but I found some of them to be unrealistic. For example, after the situation is explained to her, she still reacts like a spoiled, petulant child, rather than the clever, scheming girl she was set up to be. Somewhat inconsistent character for that part.

There is no real climax in the book, no big ending that makes you think, “Phew, I’m glad that’s over!” It’s a solid book without any highs and lows. The characters are also a bit two-dimensional, with no real depth to them. There’s no digging deep in this book, but it’s a simple, shallow fantasy adventure.

I loved the world, but I wish there was more of it explained. Not even the Academy where she is studying at the beginning of the book is explained, or what she’s studying, or why. Lacking in depth.

Still, great story, and worthy of 4 stars!

 

Here’s a Taste:

Raif reached in, grabbed her arm and dragged her out of the tent. He spoke in an urgent whisper. “Don’t dance.”

“What?”

“Don’t dance. Whatever I do, whatever I say out there, don’t show yourself to them.” He laughed harshly. “Come on, Sweetheart. Dance time.”

He jerked her towards the fire, but his voice hissed in her ear. “Think of something, but don’t dance if you value your life.”

She began to resist, making him drag her. It was a relief to be able to fight.

The ring of outcasts laughed as they approached, throwing catcalls and lewd comments.

“What’s wrong, Raif? Is she modest?”

“I hear she dances nice enough in your tent.”

He tossed her into the firelight, a hateful grin on his face. “All right, Sweetheart. Show us what you can do.” He motioned with his hand, and the musicians struck up a raucous tune.

Aleria stood, her head bowed, shoulders slumped, trying to think how to look unappealing. Watching him through the fringe of her hair, she could see his expression change.

“Come on, girl. Dance!”

Still she refused to move, her pleasure in the defiance drowning her fears as to where this scene might lead.

The crowd waited hopefully, soft jibes and sloshing bottles circulating.

“You heard them, girl. Entertain us.”

Again, she did not move. It seemed easiest. His face changed again, anger pulling at his brow. He strode to her, grabbed both arms and pushed his bristling moustache in her face. “Dance, girl, or you’ll regret it.”

“He’s sure got a way with the women, ain’t he?” The voice came clearly through the murmurs. The soldiers chuckled.

“Dance, you slut!” He shoved her, spinning her around. She stumbled and sank to the ground, cowering before him. As the crowd laughed louder, he hauled her up. She hung limp in his hands, ignoring the way his fingers dug into her arms.

As the jeering increased, his breath came faster, his colour rose. He held her up to his face and shouted curses and insults. Still she refused to respond, only cringing lower. He really doesn’t mean this. It’s part of the act. He’s only trying to save my life.

Finally he calmed, looking around at the crowd.

I think.

She peered up, and realized with a shock that he was grinning.

“Well, I guess she can’t dance!”

 

About the Author:

Brought up in a logging camp with no electricity, Gordon Long learned his storytelling in the traditional way: at his father’s knee. He spends his time editing, publishing, travelling, sailboat racing and writing fantasy and social commentary, although sometimes the boundaries blur.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Gordon lives in Tsawwassen, British Columbia, with his wife, Linda, and their Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Josh.

Find the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LDYUZUC

Watch the Youtube Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb9gCM3G41w

Visit Gordon’s blog: http://airbornpress.ca/writing/blogweb/index.php

 

 

Writing Has Taught Me to Relax

Anyone who has done multiple edits on their manuscript knows how stressful writing can get. There’s nothing more blissful than the creative bubble you enter when writing the rough draft of your book, but after the third or fourth pass, it can be quite annoying to read the same thing over and over.

So many times, I’ve wanted to work like a dog and rush through the editing, just so I could get the work done and move on to the next project. But that is one of the worst mistakes to make, as that’s when you start doing sloppy work.

Thankfully, over the years of writing, I’ve learned the importance of relaxing and NOT working!

When I was editing The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer, I forced myself to do one chapter per day. I did that chapter every day, but no more. It meant that I only needed about an hour to sit at my desk and work, and the rest of the time I could relax, spend time with my kids, hit the beach, and so on.  Looking back, I realize that was the smart way to go about it.

On the days when I tried to cram two or three chapters’ worth of editing in, the editing came out a bit shoddy or slipshod. It wasn’t the tight, concise writing I managed to achieve on the days when I did just ONE chapter.

That was when I realized that I wasn’t going to get through the book in one day, not even in one week. There was no point in stressing out about it, because it wasn’t going to happen. Time and effort, not just effort!

What’s more, I learned that my work isn’t going to be perfect on the first pass. I stopped trying to force the work to be top-shelf, and just focused on putting the words down on paper. I had a second and final draft to make sure that everything was just right, and I didn’t need to get so caught up on perfection that I lost the enjoyment of writing/telling the story.

This isn’t just directed at writers, but it’s aimed at ANYONE and EVERYONE who works hard: take time off! Learn to relax. Your work will never be done all in one day, so stop trying to force it.

You’ll find that giving yourself a break will help you to have renewed energy when you finally sit down to work again, and you’ll get a lot more done! Relax–it’s so worth it.

Acts of Violence

Book Review: Acts of Violence by Ross Harrison

It’s a bonus book review Saturday, and today is another good one!

 

Acts of Violence

‘My name’s Jack Mason. I made a mistake. Took home the wrong girl. Now she’s dead. Cut up. And they’re telling me I did it.

It’s the same cop that tried to take me down ten years ago. Now he’s coming at me hard. And he’s not the only one. Cole Webster, the city’s crime lord, thinks I stole from him. Broke me out of custody just to ask me about it. Then I killed his son. Now he really wants me.

Acts of Violence

Add to this equation a government agent, and I’m a real popular guy right now. Pretty much everyone I meet wants me dead, lawfully or otherwise. There’s nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. I’ve got till morning to uncover Webster’s trafficking operation and take the heat off me. And all I’ve got to go on is a pissed off homeless girl with a thirst for revenge.

Guess it could be worse. Can’t quite figure how.’

 

 My Review: 5 Stars

Written/Reviewed by Samuel Denberg

Welcome to the colony planet Harem, where it never seems to stop raining and everything, including most of the cops, is owned by a mob boss.

Into this gloomy world steps Jack Mason. Jack wanted to be a cop, a clean cop. Failing that he applied for P.I. license. After it was refused too, he stepped out on his own to bring justice to his corner of the universe. Jack hates violence, but he especially hates violence against himself, and against women. With his fake badge, real gun, a pack of cigarettes, and more attitude than is healthy, he’s out to make his world a better place.

But his plans come to a crashing halt, when a girl he’s been trying to pump for information, ends up brutally murdered in his apartment. Things heat up for Jack when he discovers that the detective handling his case is Lawrence, the same detective who failed to put him away for the disappearance of his girlfriend, many years previously. Haunted by what he’s sure was a murder he couldn’t prove, detective Lawrence is determined to put Jack away for this fresh murder. Things go from bad to worse when a couple of masked men break Jack out of jail, and deliver him to Cole Webster, the man who owns the underworld and most of cops in Harem.

Jack must now escape from the mob, evade the cops, and find allies where he can, while trying to find out who killed the girl, and why the mob trying to kill him.

Harem is a low-tech world in high-tech universe. This fact alone adds an original flavor to this novel. Throw in a detective with an attitude reminiscent of Sam Spade, (The Maltese Falcon) and a crime boss more crocked than Al Capone, and you get a novel that takes you from one unexpected twist to another, leaving you wondering which way is up in this twisted world where nobody is what they seem and everyone is owned by someone else.

Acts of Violence is well written and entertaining. The main characters are realistic and the plot flows nicely. The style is rough and wonderfully futuristic, yet it still retains the essence of a classic noir detective novel.

 

 

Here’s a Taste:

‘As his nose cracked under my knuckles, I reflected on how much I hated violence. Not violence stemming from my own unresolved anger issues. That I was fine with. It was violence against women that I hated. I didn’t know why, but the prettier the girl the more I hated it. Maybe I was shallow.

This worthless little shit lost his cool when she put too much ice in his drink. Lost his top altogether when she tried to take one cube back out with those little tongs and it fell back in. Pulled her halfway over the bar to explain to her real close how she was going to pay for the splash on his silk shirt. Maybe if he’d explained who his daddy was, it would have actually rung a bell. Less of a drug store tinkle, more of a gong furiously beaten with a hammer. Cole Webster owned the club. Owned her. Little Dick Webster – though he probably preferred ‘Rich’ or ‘Richie’ – didn’t think to mention that. She gave his left cheek a bright red hue that didn’t match the sprayed on tan. He repaid the favour.

That’s when I stepped in. Wrong foot first.

The bar stool followed Little Dick to the sticky floor. His shiny purple shirt hissed at me as his movements tore a seam. Then hindsight grabbed my shoulder. Hindsight was a six-three, two-fifty-pound bouncer with egg-shaped eyes. His boss’ jumped up boy was lying on the ground and he wasn’t about to risk his job by reacting too slow.

‘Big mistake,’ was all he said. The only words he knew, maybe.

‘I noticed,’ I said. I didn’t know why. A witty one-liner always seemed the way to go at a time like that. Problem was, I was never particularly witty under pressure.

The bouncer wasn’t trained. He made a mistake. I’d like to say choosing me to play the punch bag was the mistake, but that wasn’t it. He threw me into the side of the bar. Little Dick was just clambering to his feet beside me. I banged the back of my head on the shiny steel, but if I’d let the bright white flash in my eyes deter me, I’d have woken up in hospital. Or in my car. Halfway to the bottom of the lake.

I wrapped both hands around the legs of the nearest bar stool. Made out I was dazed and pulling myself up. The bouncer didn’t see it coming. Felt it though, when the stool hit his jaw. With that bulk, there wouldn’t have been much I could have done if he hadn’t thrown me aside like an empty steroid needle. Now he was unconscious. And fired. Maybe for that failure, he’d wake up in his car, halfway to the bottom of the lake. I didn’t feel bad.

‘Do you have any idea what you just did?’ Little Dick was referring to his own humiliation. He didn’t care about the bouncer. ‘You just signed your own death w—’

As his nose cracked under my knuckles a second time, I reflected on how much I hated violence. I hated violence directed towards women. I hated violence directed towards me. I hated the threat of violence directed towards women or me. I decided then that I hated Little Dick Webster.’

 

About the Author:

‘Ross Harrison is the author of three novels and two short stories. Although he doesn’t stray from science fiction, he has ventured into multiple sub-genres, including space opera, thriller, noir, and steampunk. He has been writing since childhood, and occasionally likes to revisit those old stories for a good cringe and nervous laugh.

Ross lives on the UK/Eire border in Ireland, where he moved from England in 2001, hoping the rain will help his hair grow back.’

 

Find it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HXVWKPW

Visit his website: Ross-Harrison.com

Connect on Facebook
Tweet at him: Twitter
Find him on Goodreads

 

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén