Wednesday, July 31, 2013

JD Wylde – How To Avoid The Rejection Blues

How To Avoid The Rejection Blues

by JD Wylde

No one likes to be rejected. Deep down inside I think each one of us has the desire to be accepted. To be liked. Even praised.

It’s the same for our writing.

We start with an idea. We nurture it into a story. We work tirelessly for months, maybe years creating what we think is a great angle, a unique twist, and we perfect it until it’s the very best we can make it. Then we send it off with all our hopes and dreams tied up in a pretty bow on top of it. And we eagerly wait to hear those special words. I love it! It’s exactly what I’m looking for. Why aren’t you already published? Let me be the first to offer you a five-book contract.

Some do hear those words.

Some of us don’t.

We told although our story is good, it’s not great. What we thought was a unique twist, was already done. Or the real heartbreaker, we’re told that they love our story, but there’s no place to fit it into their current lines. Or, another heartbreaker, they don’t have room to take on a new author. Or we get the photocopied rejection letter with our name scribbled across the top. (I’ve gotten one of those.) Or the rejection letter with someone else’s name typed on it. (I’ve gotten one of those, too.)

Or the enthusiastic request for a partial submission with no response back. Ever.

It’s not fun.

So what do we do about it?

Chocolate’s a good idea. I keep an emergency kit in the refrigerator for just that reason. Hershey has never rejected J.D. Wylde. (Although to be perfectly honest, I don’t really need any reason to indulge in chocolate.) Ice cream works, too. A large spoon and a quart of Double Dutch Chocolate is a good elixir for rejection.

I’ve been told alcohol works, too. Personally I have enough other vices, so I haven’t tried this one, but I’m told a little Gentleman Jack goes a long way toward soothing pain. And smoothly, too. Captain Morgan, Jim Bean, Johnny Walker. These men don’t reject!

But seriously, allow yourself the time to feel bad. Come on! This is your dream that’s been trampled on. Your ego is bruised. You really thought you had a winner this time. Allow yourself time to mourn, to rage, to pout, but then set that letter or email aside.

You’re a writer.

One rejection letter, or a hundred, is not going to stop you. I have received enough of them over the years, I think, to possibly paper a wall in my bathroom.

Salve your ego. Dust yourself off, and try again.

Come up with a new idea. Another story line. Take an on-line class. Beef up your characters, your plot, your sagging middle (and not the one from eating too much ice cream). Just don’t give up.

Keep trying.

Keep writing.

Author Bio

J.D. Wylde is the author of four books currently published. (WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVE, THE JOURNEY, KARMA IN CAMO, and BLISS.)  She has been married for thirty-four years to her very own superhero, and together, they have three handsome sons, one beautiful daughter-in-law, and a very crazy Cairn Terrier.  She’s busy at work on two new releases coming soon. (WHEN LAW MET DISORDER and THE DREAM.)

You can visit J.D. at her website,, her fan page on Facebook (J.D. Wylde) and Twitter (@jdwylde).


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Genre – Romance

Rating – R

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Kachina Riley – Getting Started & Finding Your Voice

Getting Started and Finding Your Voice: Writing in First (or Third person)

By Kachina Riley

Actually, getting started with committing my words into written form was the greatest barrier and most difficult part to writing my first manuscript.

Following years of consideration and procrastination of writing my memoir, I finally determined to “set my hand to the pen” so to speak. But all of my years of writing had been in academics, and I realized I had a learning curve to bridge the gulf into personal manuscript writing.

My Son, Daryl was working for Barnes and Nobel at the time and he graciously supplied me with several books for beginning writers. I was very acquainted with research into a topic from my many years in academic pursuit. This seemed a reasonable place to start.

I read these books and devoured many more similar books from the library over the next several months. Six months into my new project I was thoroughly overwhelmed and confused! No two authors on the subject seemed to be on the same page as to the best method to begin writing memoirs.

While one author advocated making an outline of the book I envisioned, another insisted that listing all of the important life events and organizing them chronologically would certainly start me off on the right foot.

Some authors indicated that memoirs should be written in the third person in order to give the writer more latitude in filling in the blanks of forgotten memory details. Others insisted that first person was the only legitimate method of writing a memoir.

For about a year I struggled with starts, and more starts, trying this method then changing to another method. I even consulted with two editors who gave me their input as well. They all gave good reasons why a beginning author should do it their way. But nothing meshed or seemed to fit perfectly for me. In frustration I discarded all of them and was ready to give up my memoir writing project.

In one last ditch effort I asked my son to read some of my beginning efforts. He did and he encouraged me not to throw in the towel before I tried one last idea he had.

He suggested that I begin in the first chapter by sharing the most traumatic event in my childhood. He said that writing in the first person may bring out the passion of the event and jump start my writing efforts. Then follow with the years and months that led up to that event. He pointed out that I had already spent over a year of my time and effort in trying to write my manuscript and that this one last try was a reasonable effort.

My mother’s first psychotic breakdown was the event I set my hand and heart to write about. I began fresh with chapter one and was immediately swept up in this most emotional, heart-rending event in my life! The feelings and emotions captured my mind and heart as the details flooded back to my memory, as if the event were happening to me again in that instant. The words flowed out of my mind and into my manuscript like a rushing brook that couldn’t be halted. I was at that moment the nine-year-old child experiencing that event again.

This chapter set the tone for the remainder of my memoir and it was definitely in the first person. As I wrote from my childhood into adulthood my first person voice matured along with my age advancement in the book.

My experience in getting started leads me to recommend (for first time writers) that you not get bogged down trying to figure out what method is correct. Although reading a variety of viewpoints may be helpful in the end you must follow your gut reactions as to what will work for you.

The trick is to trust your own instincts and begin writing, even if you go through a number of re-writes, each re-write will serve to hone your writing skills to produce a more readable and professional manuscript.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Memoir

Rating – PG13

Connect with Kachina Riley on her website

Brian Cormack Carr – How I Became A Published Author

How I Became A Published Author

by Brian Cormack Carr

I self-published my first book How To Find Your Vital Vocation: A Practical Guide To Discovering Your Career Purpose And Getting A Job You Love last month, after promising myself that I’d have a book written and published by the time I hit 40 in June 2013.

It took me around ten months from start to finish.  The journey has been a lot of hard work – but great fun. If you have a book in you, then I hope my story will help you to get started on your own writing/publishing path.

I’ve Always Been A Writer

Creative writing was my favourite subject at school, and I even won a couple of creative writing competitions when I was a student.  In fact, I ‘wrote’ stories before I could write words.  When I was very little, I created a marvellous super hero called BAM! and I used to tell myself stories by drawing pictures of him in action on my toy blackboard.  I’d draw one picture, then rub it out and draw the next to advance the story – almost like a comic strip.

Unfortunately, because I only had a small blackboard and had to keep rubbing out the pictures, absolutely no evidence of BAM! now exists.  But I’m telling you – he was amazing.  He’d definitely give Superman a run for his money.

Writing (I did eventually graduate from the blackboard to pen and paper) soon took a back seat to more practical considerations like earning a living. But I still wrote sporadically through the years, and was briefly a member of a couple of writing groups.  I always knew that one day I’d come back to it…

Writing To Promote My Work

In 2009, I set up a life and career coaching practice, and started blogging to promote my coaching service.  Pretty soon, I remembered how much I loved writing, and started putting it to work in my coaching work.  I wrote an online coaching programme for my clients, and soon started guest posting on other career coaching blogs.  I even landed a paid gig writing for a blog about healthy eating!  Writing was beginning to take a more prominent role in my life and work.

Writing For Writing’s Sake

The coaching clients on my online coaching program – which I had named Vital Vocation – gave me lots of positive feedback on the material in the program, and several asked if I would consider turning it into a book.  I didn’t need prompting twice.  It was ten months until my 40th birthday, and I had long harboured the ambition to be a published writer by the time I hit 40.

I got to work and repurposed the modules in the coaching programme into chapters for a book.  Some of the material was audiovisual, so that had to be converted into new written material.  It was a madcap, hard-working ten months.  But it was fun, and so worth it.  Four days before my birthday, I self-published How To Find Your Vital Vocation onto Kindle.  In the week after its publication, it charted in the Amazon UK Kindle careers bestsellers list.  Not bad going for a first-timer!

Self-Publishing Or Bust

I chose the self-publishing route not because I don’t want a traditional publishing deal – that’s certainly something I’d be interested in one day – but because I wanted to get my work out into the world, and I was impressed by the many self-publishing options available to authors today.  EBooks, print-on-demand paperbacks, social media platforms – the scope nowadays for authors to write, publish and market their work is just amazing.

I’m making the most of it – what about you?


Brian Cormack Carr is a writer, certified career coach and chief executive of BVSC The Centre for Voluntary Action, one of the UK’s leading local charities.  He trained in personnel management with Marks & Spencer plc and gained an MA (Hons) in English Literature and Language from the University of Aberdeen.  Brian has nearly 20 years of experience in the fields of personal development and leadership, and has helped hundreds of clients, readers and workshop participants to find fulfilling work and a renewed sense of purpose.


Twitter: @cormackcarr


Ready to choose or change your job? Stuck in work you hate? Think the career of your dreams is beyond your reach?

If you don’t love your work, you deserve better – and with this book at your side, you can get it. A lively and potentially life-changing guide,How To Find Your Vital Vocation sets out a simple-to-follow yet profoundly effective process that will take you step-by-step from wherever you are now to a working life based on your most cherished dreams.

  • Hear the inner call that’s telling you what will make you truly happy
  • Rediscover your gifts and use them to build a perfectly-tailored career
  • Identify and overcome the obstacles that stand between you and your ideal work
  • Create powerful networks to help you find great jobs that are never advertised
  • Find out what it takes to become an entrepreneur of the future
  • Maximise the impact of your job applications
  • Ace every interview
  • Attain reward levels that will help you thrive – even in this tough economy!

Put yourself in charge of your career – once and for all. Packed with valuable insights, powerful exercises and illuminating self-coaching questions, How To Find Your Vital Vocation will help you chart a practical path to a fun and fulfilling livelihood. In this comprehensive resource, expert career coach Brian Cormack Carr shows you how to find your passion and purpose and finally start doing the work you were born to do.


“Too many of us have gone about finding our livelihood in a haphazard way. Before long, we become a statistic in a job dissatisfaction survey. Happily, it doesn’t have to be that way and Brian Cormack Carr proves it. If you think that work should be about more – much more – than just a way to pay your bills, this book is the roadmap you’ve been looking for. Work with How To Find Your Vital Vocation for a short time and you’ll be working at your real work for a long time.”

~ BARBARA J. WINTER  Bestselling author of Making a Living Without a Job

“Warm, witty and wise. I highly recommend this book. Brian knows his stuff and How To Find Your Vital Vocation is a breath of fresh air.”

~ GRACE OWEN  Executive coach and author of The Career Itch

“I appreciated the step-by-step nature of Vital Vocation. It made finding a new career that much easier, and I’m still amazed at how well it helped me clarify what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.”

~ DAVID  Member of the Vital Vocation Online Coaching Programme

Vital Vocation helped me focus after I had spent too long panicking and going nowhere. Now my part-time hobby has grown to a full-time occupation and I’ve finally given up the day job that was making me sad!”

~ STEVEN  Member of the Vital Vocation Online Coaching Programme

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre –  NonFiction / Careers

Rating – G

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Heidi Garrett – Becoming a Published Author

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Becoming a Published Author
by Heidi Garrett
It’s more demanding than you think it will be. I knew self-publishing would be hard, but almost a year into to, I’ve found myself declaring in the past few weeks that it’s even harder than I thought it would be. And it is, but it’s also totally worth it.
Creating typo-free books isn’t as easy as it looks. Prior to publication, we have several beta-readers, a professional editor, and myself read the manuscript again and again. We do automated spelling and grammar checks. Invariably, things fall through the cracks. The worst is when you inadvertently create a new error while correcting an existing one.
Book covers can be challenging. Whether you hire a professional artist or go the D-I-Y route, creating an image that expresses your story through image, while visually connecting with readers is no easy task.
Pushing yourself to write will make you a better writer. As someone who wrote privately for many years, I was not a forceful writer, in that I never forced myself to write. I’ve been surprised that sitting down and forcing myself to write, no matter what else is going in my life, has made me a better writer and allowed me to produce some of my best writing.
Writing and finishing more books will make you a better writer. My writing has improved with each completed book. Writing and re-writing the first fifty pages of my manuscript stunted my growth as a writer.
Readers will make you a better writer. Readers respond to a book in a different way than other writers do, even if they are also writers. Readers respond directly to character and plot. Readers will tell you what they love and hate about your book. They will help you learn your strengths and weaknesses as writer.
Setting and committing to deadlines can overcome writer’s block. By setting deadlines—and committing to them—you will be forced to write (see #4). By setting deadlines —and committing to them—you will learn that you are truly a writer.
You will have the opportunity to meet many incredible people, you would, otherwise, not have met. Now, we’re getting to the really good stuff. By publishing, the size of my world has increased exponentially. I have met wonderful, fascinating people from all over the world. This makes me incredibly happy.
Readers who love your books will mean more to you than you can ever imagine. It’s hard to connect with each other beneath our skin. Writing and reading books allows us to do that. It’s part of the magic. Hearing from and connecting with  readers who “get” your story is amazing.
The entire process is a spiritual journey. Writing the book, figuring out how to market it, connecting with readers, it’s all an opportunity to grow as a person, to expand your worldview, and to discover deeper levels of truth. That’s pretty spiritual stuff, if you ask me.
images (3)
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Fantasy
Rating – PG
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Orange Karen: Tribute to a Warrior by Multiple Authors

Change Finds You

by Cara Michaels

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

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

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

How sweet.

“Dr. Savannah Welborn.”

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

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

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

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

At least my feet stayed warm in socks and sneakers.

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

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

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

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

Benjamin clenched his teeth, let out a slow breath.

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

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

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

In short, my efforts to cure disease created superhumans.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I smiled.

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

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

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

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


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Genre - Short Story Anthology

Rating – PG13 (some strong language)

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Darkest Lie by Angela Day



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – New Adult Urban Fantasy

Rating – PG

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Survivors by Daniel Harvell

The Survivors

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

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

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

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Genre - Fantasy

Rating – PG

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Orangeberry Book of the Day – The Blackout by Stephanie Erickson


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How long do you think it’ll be out?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What on Earth…” Molly muttered.

“What’s wrong?” 

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

“What should we do?  Can we go home?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No problem.  Just keep me posted.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Genre – Adult Fiction / Contemporary

Rating – PG13 (some strong language)

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

Death Ain’t But A Word - Zander Marks

Amazon Kindle US

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre - Urban Fantasy

Rating -  PG13

4.4 (29 reviews)

Free until 31 July 2013

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

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Barber’s Conundrum by Other Stories by John Hartnett

Chapter 1: Introduction

Where do I begin?  You’ve never heard of me, I’ve never heard of you and yet here we are.   Could it be fate?   God certainly does move in mysterious ways, particularly if He had anything to do with The Jersey Shore running for 66 episodes.  

I doubt it’s fate.

So who am I to write a book?  Nobody, really.   Never had my own sitcom or starred in a movie.  Never started a chain of sushi bar slash laundromats.  Never ran for political office.  Nothing notable to speak of with the possible exception that I once went without showering for six weeks but that was when we had an exchange student from Belgium who apparently had some sort of aversion to bathing and I didn’t want to make him self conscious.  The only time Jens had a bar of soap in his hands during the entire time he stayed with us was when he helped my mother unload the groceries.   

Truth be told, I’m just a regular guy, someone like you perhaps.  Someone who appreciates the simple things in life.  Someone who still takes great pride in mowing his own lawn.  My wife happened to be standing over my shoulder when I wrote that last line and said, “Why don’t you tell them the truth and that the only reason you mow your own lawn is because you’re cheap?”

I live in New Jersey.   Married, three kids.  You just met my wife.  We have a dog named Hartley.  No, that’s not right.  I have a dog named Hartley.  Hartley was supposed to be my children’s dog (“Please, please?  We’ll walk it, we’ll feed it!  What do we have to do to prove it to you?!!!” ) but make no mistake, it’s my dog — an indisputable fact never less in question than at 2 o’clock in the morning when I am the only one in the house who will acknowledge, let alone investigate the source of a high pitched keening wail and what very well could be to someone who has just been jolted awake from the dead of sleep, the desperate howling of a man who has been buried alive and attempting to scratch his way out of a coffin. 

“Didn’t anyone hear Hartley howling last night and scratching at the back door at two in the morning?”

“What time?  No.  I must have been out like a light.  Do you have $6?  They’re having a bake sale at school”

So what’s in the book?  It’s a collection of essays I wrote for a newspaper syndicate in NJ and various other observational and satirical short pieces that look at raising children, marriage, school, popular culture and entertainment, politics.   Things like that.   I wrote these pieces to share a few laughs — there’s enough bad news out there — nothing too heavy, nothing too confrontational, nothing too racy.  Racy, how often do you get to use that word?  Outdated, I know.  You’re probably picturing me now as one of those 1950’s crewcut guys who take off their suit jacket and put on a cardigan sweater when they get home from work. 

I can live with that.

Thanks for reading!

John Hartnett

December, 2012

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre –  Humor

Rating – PG

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Ernest Dempsey – How to Avoid the Rejection Blues

How to Avoid the Rejection Blues

by Ernest Dempsey

It’s so frustrating.

You’ve worked hard on your book. You’ve spent countless hours writing, re-writing, proofing, editing, and designing.

You know your story is good. Your characters are more than relatable. And from the first page, your readers will be hooked immediately.

Getting an agent and a publisher should be automatic.

Yet all you seem to get are rejections.

Like I said, it’s so frustrating. Actually, it is way beyond that. It’s depressing, infuriating, unfair, numbing, and probably a ton of other things.

I know. I’ve been there. I have fourteen rejections from various agents.

And here’s the good news: there are a lot of other people who have been too. In fact, most authors have been rejected multiple times before finally breaking through.

But how do you keep going? How do you fight through the rejection blues and press on?

There are a couple of ways. Both are going to take a lot of work on your part, but if becoming a published author is what you want in life, you may as well accept it.

Ben Mezrich knows what it’s like to get turned down by the industry. He had amassed over 190 rejection letters from agents and publishers. Mezrich kept them pinned on the wall around his work area in a Boston basement apartment.

Yeah, 190 letters stuck all over the place. They served as a motivator for him.

Most people would look at twenty and think maybe they weren’t good enough. Perhaps writing isn’t their thing after all. Not Mezrich.

He honed his pitches. He kept writing. He researched what worked and what didn’t work when sending materials to agents and publishers.

Remember, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Don’t send out the same pitch a hundred times if that pitch has been rejected by several people. Change it around a little; tweak it.

Maybe you need to change the first line of your story, the first page, or even the first chapter.

Of course, even when you do all that, you are playing to the whims of an industry. Some rejections I’ve seen were as a result of the company not needing my kind of material at that point, which had nothing to do with the quality of my book.

Fortunately, there is another way.

John Grisham self-published his first novel. Despite all the bad press and the stigma that goes with publishing a book independently, he did it anyway.

He drove around with stacks of books in his trunk, selling them to anyone he thought might be interested. And remember, this was back in the days before Amazon or Createspace. It took a lot more work to self-publish back then than it does now.

Grisham knew what he wanted. He wanted to be an author, but been rejected by publishers and agents. So, he took matters into his own hands.

I believe in self-publishing. I think it’s a viable way for many authors to build a readership. And that is really the key to getting things going as a writer.

Many authors have asked me if they should self-publish. I tell them absolutely. One of the big reasons behind that answer is that the book industry is much like the music industry.

I spoke to a record rep from a major record label once and ask him how bands get record deals. He told me that if a band sells 10,000 albums they will get signed on the spot.

Why is that?

Because the band has shown the record company that they can sell albums. You have given them a reason to want you.

Selling books is the same way. I don’t know if there is some magic number where suddenly agents and publishers are banging down your door, but you can imagine there probably would be if you sold 10,000 copies on your own.

Then you have to figure out whether you need them or not…

No matter which way you decide to go, you cannot let a few rejections knock you down. If you have a talent and a love for creating the written word, you are always going to face rejections, bad reviews, naysayers, and trolls.

Just remember why you started writing in the first place. Doing that is probably the most powerful way to avoid the rejection blues.


When you wake up, does it seem like your dreams were real? Maybe they were.

Imagine if Stephanie Meyer and Suzanne Collins sat down together to write an up-tempo, action packed sci-fi thriller featuring terrifying nightmares, an evil emperor, a beautiful princess, and gladtiator games on another planet.

That’s The Dream Rider, the newest release from Ernest Dempsey, the author who brought you The Secret of the Stones and The Cleric’s Vault.

Falling from buildings, being attacked by terrifying strangers, and ghostly hands that strangle in the night are just some of the fears The Dream Rider must overcome.

Finn McClaren is an average college student, mediocre in every possible way, until one day, when strange men try to kill him. Finn wakes up in his dorm room to realize the whole thing was just a dream. Or was it?

The nightmares continue, forcing Finn to face his deepest fears until one night, he stops running and fights back. When he awakens, he is no longer in his dorm room, but on a strange planet on the other side of the galaxy.

After being arrested, Finn is thrust into an underground prison where the inmates are forced to fight to the death in the arena games. While there, he learns he has incredible powers, and of the true reason he has come to the alien world.

The Dream Rider is a fun, fast-paced, science fiction adventure that also asks serious questions about our fears, self-esteem, beliefs, and facing challenges in life.

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Genre –  Science Fiction

Rating – PG13

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Dogs Aren’t Men by Billi Tiner

Dog's Aren't Men

A contemporary romance.

Rebecca Miller is a gifted veterinarian with an extraordinary understanding of animal behavior. She is leading a fulfilling life as the owner and operator of the Animal Friends Veterinary Clinic. Ever since her 30th birthday, her mother has made it her mission to help Rebecca find a man, get married, and give her grandchildren. But Rebecca doesn’t see the need for a man in her life. She has her dog, Captain, and that’s all the companionship she needs. However, her world changes the day she literally runs into Derrick Peterson, a gorgeously handsome ER doctor.

Derrick’s experiences with women have taught him that they are vain, silly, and untrustworthy. He keeps his relationships with them brief and superficial. However, he finds himself being irresistibly drawn to Rebecca. She’s smart, witty, compassionate, and very different from the women he usually encounters. Will Rebecca be the one to break down the wall he’s spent a lifetime building around his heart?

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Genre - Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG13

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A 3rd Time to Die by George A Bernstein


1695 A.D.

They were swiftly upon a huge downed oak, vaulted by both animals with little trouble. Just as they landed, a hound let forth a melodious wail, and charged off to the south, head high, the call ringing from his throat, joined in full harmony by his brethren. A familiar wave of goose bumps skipped down his spine.
"Tallyho! Tallyho!" Wallace yelled, as he urged his dappled mount hard after the quickly disappearing dogs.
"Tallyho!" the two-legged vixen riding beside him howled gleefully, putting her crop to her snow-white steed. The cry echoed behind him again and again, as the others, strung out over a thousand yards, strove to follow. None could match the abandon of their host and his reckless female companion as they surged even farther ahead.
Ten minutes of hard riding, spiced by arduous jumps, had brought them within a few hundred yards of the hounds, their calls saying the fox was not yet bayed. Much of the party had fallen prey to the many obstacles they had crossed in their pellmell charge after the dogs.
The countess' fearless attack of the hunt had kept her slightly to the front. Charles happily hung back, watching her with an ever-escalating appreciation. She was magnificent! Never had he known such a wild and exciting creature, so fully invested in all he held dear. He could barely wait to gather her in his arms.
The hounds were clearly visible ahead, just beyond a low, stone wall. The riders vaulted it, almost as one, and as they landed on the far side, Victoria began slowing her mount, pulling off to the side.
"What's amiss," he asked, slewing to a stop beside her.
"Fa! This foolish beast has come up lame. I’m unable to continue."

"Damn the luck. We were hot on the little bastard's trail." Turning to Count Armand, surging to a skidding halt with several other riders, Charles pointed south.
“Her horse has gone lame. Finish the hunt without us. I’ll see the Countess safely back to the manor house.” The mud-spattered Frenchman nodded, tapping his cap with his crop, and charge off in pursuit of the fast disappearing dogs.
He may be an effete dandy, who can’t shoot and doesn’t fish, but the bugger can ride. Charles watched them vanish into the woods.
Dismounting, he took the lady's reins, starting back from whence they came. After a bit they found themselves in a shaded meadow, a small brook tumbling cheerfully along one side. Cottonwoods lined its banks, their flowers in full bloom, perfuming the air with a heady scent.
"Come, m'lady. We’ll take our ease here for a time before we continue. 'Tis been a hot, thirsty chase."
"Ah, truly said, m’lord. Your every wish is my command."
His lust-filled eyes caressed her every curve, lingering over each erotic swell. He licked parched lips, smiling up at her.
"An interesting proposition. You'll accede to anything I ask of you?"
She gave a throaty laugh, as he plucked her from her sidesaddle mount… and into his arms. Once there, he had not the will to release her. The scent of lilies and musk sent him spinning.
She tilted her face, crimson lips slightly parted, eyes green pools of fire. The sweet smell of her hair laid waste to his senses. His manhood, trapped in the confinement of skin-tight jodhpurs, struggled to attention.
"You are but to ask, m'lord," she whispered, panting softly. "I am willing--nay, eager--to heed your every desire."



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Genre – Romantic Suspense

Rating – PG13

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Deadly Memories by S.D. O’Donnell (Excerpt)


SAUL WAS WORKING THE NEXT MORNING when the teenager who delivered the paper rapped his knuckles against the sliding glass door to the downstairs bedroom. Saul used that space as his office and slept in a loft bedroom cut into the two-story cathedral ceiling.

“Good picture of you,” the kid said, handing the paper over. “Front page, section B.”

MYSTERY WOMAN FOUND was followed by a smaller headline: KENNEDY CASE DETECTIVE RESURFACES. Above the headlines was a picture of Jayne Doe taken at the station and one of Saul in uniform. The article said the ace detective, whose personal involvement with a victim led to his leaving the force, was potentially involved with another victim. The piece continued on page six, where few readers would bother to go. That was where Lorel finally got around to saying the woman was catatonic and no one knew her identity.

So much for the help-ID-this-woman angle.

A week later, he was in his office fielding inquiries about a new vacancy in The Courtyard. He’d just replaced the phone in its cradle when it rang again.

“Is this Mr. Saul Becker?”

“It is. You interested in the townhome?”

“What? No, this is Dr. Frank from the Metro Mental Health Hospital. I have a patient I’d like to talk to you about, if you have a minute.”

He knew of only one patient who might be in such a facility with any connection to him.

“This about the Jayne Doe?”

“It is, the Jayne-with-a-Y Doe. I understand you were there when she was found and that she spoke to you.”

“Only once. Very briefly.”

“She’s been here over a week and is still nonresponsive. You’re the last person she spoke to…”

Saul pictured a slight, elderly man with glasses and a pointed gray beard. A psychiatrist who didn’t relate to the world around him much better than his patients.

“What is it I can do for you, doctor?”

“I’d like to hear any impressions you might have formed about her. For example, what was she like when she spoke?”

“Let’s see… I called her Jane Doe a few seconds before she spoke and it seemed to make her mad. She said don’t call her that and added that she wasn’t a plain Jane. That’s kind of where the Y-thing came from.”

“Hmm. Was anyone else around when she spoke?”

“Just me.”

“I see.” The doctor cleared his throat. “Mr. Becker, she’s catatonic. The condition could be attributed to anything from schizophrenia to a head injury. I can’t confidently treat her without a history and I can’t get that without talking to someone who knows her. And I can’t find anyone who knows her without her help.”

“Sounds like you’re stuck in a catch-22,” Saul said.

“Well, I do have one idea. It’s why I called. I’m hoping you’d be willing to come by the hospital and visit her.”

“Why?” he said, more harshly than he’d intended.

“I admit I’m grasping at straws here, but it seems to me if she responded to you once, it isn’t outside the realm of possibility that she might do it again.”

Saul wanted to say no, didn’t want to get involved. But hey, she was catatonic—how involved could he get? And if he saw her and she came out of it, he’d have done his part. No further involvement required.

Surely it couldn’t hurt to see her just once.

The hospital grounds took up several blocks of a neighborhood east of downtown Denver. The brick buildings had faded and huge old trees slouched toward the ground. There were no barriers across the road but Saul stopped at the gatehouse anyway and got out of the car. As he neared the open door, he saw the young guard on the phone.

“Mom, please.” He glanced over at Saul. “I have to go… No. No. Don’t say that… Mom, I’m hanging up now… I’m not angry, but I have to go.”

After he hung up he turned to Saul.

“I’m really sorry.”

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Murder / Thriller

Rating – PG13 (some foul language, a few short love scenes)

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Summer Kindle Fire Giveaway

Kindle Summer

This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HD 7".

Kindle Fire HD 7" Giveaway

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HD (US Only)

  Or $199 Gift Card (International)

  Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)


Sponsoring Bloggers & Authors

  Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of a Kindle Fire 7" HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire. Sponsor a future Kindle Fire Giveaway by signing up HERE. Ends 8/15/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Orangeberry Book of the Day – I’d Kill For You by Alan Plessinger

Chapter 2: A Detective, pursuing a lead not likely to produce significant results, comes upon a young girl needing to solve a certain mystery of her own, and upon interrogation finds her life to be not quite an open book, if not yet a fully closed one.

After reading and memorizing the case file that’d been faxed to the office, Riley grabbed the key to his residence for the night, the apartment of a lovely blonde secretary named Karen. He also grabbed his overnight bag with a few essentials. He left the office and took a cab out to her place in Tribeca, let himself in, and crept silently to her bedroom. A light was on. He eased open the door, and found that she had fallen asleep with the lamp on and a book in her hand, waiting for him. He took off his clothes as silently as possible, but not silently enough.

She woke up and asked what took him so long, but it was plain to see she had no real interest in the answer. He smiled, crawled across the bed, and kissed her.

When they were finished making love, Riley got up and took a shower, taking a moment to flush the condom down the toilet. After the shower he dried off and took a moment to use his beard-trimmer and then brush his teeth with his toothbrush from the overnight bag, things he liked to take care of at night. When he finished, he returned to the bedroom and sat naked on the bed, finally ready to get some sleep. Karen was lying there, looking at him, smiling, her arms and legs relaxed, her body contented. Before he could lie down, she crawled across the bed and hugged him.

“I’ve got some bad news, Riley,” she said, kissing him on the shoulder. “I’m taking myself out of the harem.”

“Oh. I’m sorry to hear that, Karen. Why?”

“I’m getting married.”

“Really? That’s great! Congratulations!”

“Thanks. I’m really sorry, honey, but you can’t stay. He’ll be here in a few hours for a breakfast date. You’ve got to be gone.”

Riley was a little taken aback by being thrown out unceremoniously, considering they’d just made love. But he didn’t want to be a nuisance.

“Couldn’t I get some sleep on the couch? I can be your cousin from Schenectady.”

“Honey, I’m marrying the guy who gave jealousy lessons to Othello. You can’t be anybody’s cousin.”

Riley sighed a little and said, “OK, Karen, if that’s the way you want it. I’m sure you two will be very happy together.”

“Thanks, honey. Let’s hope so. I’m not starting things out too well, I know. I should’ve stopped you. I should’ve told you about him, but I had to have one last little taste of the Riley.”

Riley had the unpleasant reaction most men would have, hearing the word little used in any context during pillow talk, but he didn’t complain.

“I take it you never told him about us?”

“Us? There is no ‘us,’ Riley. One day a month does not an ’us’ make.”

Riley smiled. She intended to enjoy dumping him, getting some of the power and control back for the first time in a long while. She continued.

“Honey, how long do you think you can go on this way? A lot of the girls in the harem are worried about you. You’re knocking on forty, you know.”

“Please don’t call it a harem. If you call it that, I might start calling it that. I started this arrangement because I was tired of everybody hating me for having a lot of sex with a lot of different women. I’m tired of being the bad guy. I don’t like people acting like I’m a predator. This way at least there’s no lying, and everybody knows where they stand.”

“Plus you don’t have to pay rent.”

“Yeah. That’s nice.”

“And when’s the last time you told any random woman about the arrangement?”

“I’m discreet.”

“Because you know any woman who hears about it is going to hate you.”

“I wish women could be a little more understanding about this. You’ve never had any cause to complain, have you?”

“Honey, I’ve been a part of the arrangement for more than two years now, and I look forward to the twenty-fifth of every month like a high holy day. You never disappoint. But I never kidded myself for a second that this was a real relationship. Don’t you want a real relationship? Don’t you want to get married one day?”

“I’ve never understood the point of marriage, at least for me. You’re getting married; you explain it to me. What is it for?”

“Lots of things. Companionship. Not dying alone.”

“Oh, what’s the big deal about dying alone? If a couple is married for fifty years, unless they die together in a car accident, at least one of them is going to die alone. Right?”

“So you really don’t ever want to get married?”

“I really don’t. I don’t even like dating. Seduction kind of bores me. I really think I don’t have any ability to fall in love. But maybe some day I’ll meet a woman who might change my mind. I don’t want to say it’s totally impossible. It might happen.”

“Not if you never date, it won’t. Honey, I’m not kidding. A lot of the girls are worried about you.”

“Do you all get together and talk about me, or something?”

“There’s a Web site.”

“Of course. Of course there is. Please don’t tell me the name.”

She kissed him on the shoulder again and said, “Your clothes are hanging up in the usual place, Riley.”

“Thanks. Your fiancĂ© didn’t find them?”

“If he’s checking out the clothes in my closet, we’ve got worse problems than you. Forget the dry-cleaning bill, OK? It’s on the house.”

He stood, turned, and leaned down to kiss her good-bye on the lips, but she gave him her cheek.

“Denied!” he said.

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Genre – Murder / Mystery

Rating – R

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