Thursday, January 30, 2014
Volume Four - Riddle Of The Diamond Dove
Where do you hide an ancient relic that has the power to change the course of history? As Cassie Forsythe and her Arkana team discover, you scatter clues to its whereabouts across the entire planet. Five artifacts buried among the rubble of lost civilizations point to the hiding place of a mythical object known as the Sage Stone. Thus far psychic Cassie, bodyguard Erik, and librarian Griffin have succeeded in recovering two of those artifacts.
Cassie and Company find their lives threatened at every turn by agents of a religious cult known as the Blessed Nephilim. The cult's leader, Abraham Metcalf, wants to exploit the power of the Sage Stone to unleash a catastrophic plague on the world. The quest for the next piece of the puzzle has led both sides to Africa. They must comb an entire continent--their only lead a riddle carved onto a mysterious dove sculpture. Even as the Arkana team struggles to decipher the clue, new dangers hover over their colleagues at home.
Metcalf's child-bride Hannah has taken refuge at the home of the Arkana's leader Faye while mercenary Leroy Hunt creeps ever nearer to her hiding place. His search for the girl brings him dangerously close to the secret location of the Arkana's troves--a collection of pre-patriarchal artifacts which confirm an alternative history of the origins of civilization itself. While Hunt closes in on Hannah, Metcalf's son Daniel dogs the footsteps of the Arkana field team in order to claim the next artifact before they do. Daniel recruits a clever ally along the way who might be more than a match for the opposing side.
When the forces of the Arkana and the Nephilim converge on a ruined city in a forgotten corner of the dark continent, the shocking outcome is beyond even Cassie's powers to foresee. The quest for the Sage Stone will veer in an unexpected direction once both sides solve the Riddle Of The Diamond Dove.
* * *
Kem dives to the ground in desperation, covering his head and neck from the rocks raining down. I didn’t see that coming. I thought I was quiet, he thinks.
The announcement of Cadmus’ elimination booms over the intercom. Well, at least I don’t have to worry about a vengeful brother.
The dust and debris settle from the crumbled wall. Find Kesi. Kem trots towards the end of the path. Before he gets there, he sees a shadow along the wall.
Dio turns the corner and spots him. She’s already throwing blue spheres before he knows what happened.
Kem hits the floor hard, dodging the first two. Dio hurls more at him.
His heart beats like a jackhammer in his chest. He is covered in dirt and sand. Kem swerves left, then right, ducking from a shot aimed at his head. He looks back at Dio, who walks with determination, shooting at him. Will she not let up a little? Got to slow her down.
Genre – Science fiction, Fantasy
Rating – PG-13+
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Where do you get support from? Do you have friends in the industry?
I’m from the working class, so I have absolutely no friends in the industry. I have graduated with a few people who are starting to get jobs and positions, but nothing big so far. There’s this one guy, Benoit Lelièvre, who we met because I did an interview on a Scottish blog. He’s got his masters in comparative literature and he’s sort of a social media specialist but that’s as far as it goes in terms of connections.
The only people I’ve met who are doing anything artistic had to work hard to get their jobs or names out there and they still work hard every day and I feel lucky to have met so many of them in Montreal. Just to name a few (and google them if you’re curious about up-and-coming artists) : my spouse, Mary Lee Maynard, Amy Blackmore from Mainline Theatre (Al and Emoli too), Sterling Pache from Romantic Child Studios, Olivier Carpentier and Gauthier Langevin from Front Froid/Studio Lounak etc…)
How much sleep do you need to be your best?
Standard 8 hours. I do write better if I’m rested but I’d what’s more important to “be my best” is to be stress free of all things of life (food, bills, work etc…) I can only write well if all the general details of my daily grind are actually taken care of.
Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
Benoit Lelièvre from DeadEndFollies.com. He’s into the whole noir stuff and we somehow met because of an Interview I did with a blog in Scotland and he commented on it and we got in touch after that. He edited A Teenage Suicide a few months later and I can safely say that the novel is much, much better thanks to him,
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
I’d like to make a living out of this, and I don’t necessarily mean become rich, but just make a decent living. I’d probably still work some other job because I fell I need to do something with my hands as much as I need to do something with my mind, but making a living out of writing would be a success to me.
I guess I’m a bit selfish about writing. I really do it because I have these stories inside of me that need to get out. If I put it out there and it happens to me meaningful to somebody else, then I’d be happy about that, but the original drive behind my writing is all about what I have inside of me and that needs to get out.
That’s why I can’t really write for a newspaper or ghost write anything. If I don’t feel the story in my guts I won’t see it through. So far I’ve been lucky enough to have jobs that pay the bills and allow me to write at the same time. I guess that success would be to only write things that I really care about for the rest of my life.
It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
It is vital and it is hard. Marketing is also one of the things I hate the most. I have a hard time selling myself or selling my stuff. I do enjoy interviews and such because you actually get to talk about this or that and develop an idea. If you talk with someone long enough, there’s almost always a point when you’ll get into more interesting stuff like philosophy or how to write better stories, how to be more compelling visually, etc…
I like blog tours because you get to touch a bit of that but if someone put a camera to my face and say, “Sell us your shit.” I’d probably be terrible at it.
That said, the reality is that if you don’t look for your readers, they most likely will not find you so I have a few things going on. I have a blog tour, do a little bit of social networking (I’m not a fan of social networks, but I upkeep the necessary few like Facebook, Goodreads or WordPress). Also, since A Teenage Suicide is rooted in punk rock, I have the support of a few friends who have spent over a decade in various punk bands. They are starting a new label in Montreal, Sabotage, and they agreed to carry the paperback on their webstore. That’ll help me reach people who usually don’t buy that many books.
Aside from that, I do a few literary/artistic events every year. They add up to a few sales and some press in the local arts/college papers.
Anything helps in the end, so I do as much as possible.
Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?
The novel is titled A Teenage Suicide and it’s the story of a group of friends who are growing up in a one factory town. As the economy collapses and the factory closes, their outlook on life is challenged and the cluster of friends dissolves, leaving them to find their own paths and answer some tough questions.
In that sense, it’s very much a “traditional” coming of age story, very realistic. But since my background is close to punk rock and hardcore music, I wanted that aspect to be well developed as well. I’d like to think that anybody can read the novel and love/hate the characters without knowing anything about punk or skateboarding of hardcore. Maybe readers will get to understand why these kids spend so much time in shows and all.
The end result I was going for, what I was hoping that young readers would gain from the novel, is “the will to ambition.” You have all these characters who are starting to take different paths and they are all making decisions for better or worse. They are making these choices while friends and loved ones make different choices and question everything. Is it worth it to burn bridges? Is it necessary? Some friends are suffering, some are dying, are you going down the same path? Which path will you take as a person after you’ve read this?
If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?
I feel lucky to be surrounded by so many good friends, so I’d say I have that diner party nearly every week…as long as I’m cooking. (Except for Sterling Pache, that guy can cook like a motherfucker!)
Maybe add Tim Barry. I’d like to meet Tim Barry someday.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
Coffee and videogames. I read only when I’m already relaxed (and somehow coffee relaxes me) and like most people my age, there are a few videogames I like to play but I wouldn’t call myself a “gamer”.
There’s also this one park near the St-Lawrence in the east end of town (It’s actually the only park in the city where you can get to the shore of the river). When I’m really at the end of my roll, I can sit there and look at the water for an hour or so. Water is always relaxing.
Do you have any tips on how writers can relax?
Find yourself a river and a good cup of coffee. A flannel shirt helps. It gets cold on the shore.
How often do you write? And when do you write?
I have to write every day. I get angry if I don’t. If I don’t come up with new pages, I’ll write a blog post. If I don’t feel like doing that, I’ll edit some new project or Il translate my old books if I’m really bored. I try to get some work done every day regardless of what it is.
I mostly write in the morning because by 10 AM, life’s unrelenting bullshit keeps dragging me down. The regular (“real”) job is piling up, trucks are waiting, paperwork gets mixed up, people are asking for things I don’t really care about. I try to get some more work done on my lunch hour. We get a full hour for lunch so that’s good. After work I got to pick up the kid from school make supper, clean up the cat shit form the litter, give baths and then I’m too tired to do anything else than watch one episode of Game of Thrones and go to bed.
by AFN Clarke
AFN CLARKE is the author of 8 books, including the best selling memoir CONTACT, that was serialized in a British newspaper and made into an award winning BBCTV film. His latest novel, The Jonas Trust Deception, is a Thomas Gunn thriller and follows the success of The Orange Moon Affair. Readers have called it “classy, complex and cunningly compelling” and a “powerful force in the thriller genre”. In solving the mystery of an ongoing conspiracy involving his old friend Morgan, Thomas Gunn, ex-Special Forces, takes an action so shocking and bold, that even his team fear he’s lost his mind. The question is, has he? To get a taste of things to come, here’s an excerpt from the book. And for more information visit www.afnclarke.com or the Amazon Kindle store.
There is something so totally desolate about sitting in a prison cell staring at the blank grey walls that, unless you’ve experienced it, you’ll never understand. There is a finality and hopelessness that is almost beyond comprehension. A despair that sucks at your soul. My salvation was that I knew that my stay here was going to be short-lived, but what the future held was one big question mark. I had the distinct feeling somebody had put a ring in my nose and was leading on a mystery tour with more questions than answers.
Left alone with just the usual sounds of dissatisfied inmates, clinking keys and slamming doors for company, I thought back to the frantic last few days.
Confusion would be an apt description of my state of mind.
What facts could I scramble together?
Several dead bodies at Morgan’s ranch.
A small but ruthless Mexican Mafia gangbanger, with the unlikely nickname of ‘El Cobra Poco’, who seemed as if he could be a strange ally.
And the mysterious Robert Sutherland.
What other questions remained?
There were many, starting with who would have wanted to kill Morgan? Everything went back to my request for her to investigate the financial dealings of the Griffin Trust and its Chairman Ted Lieberman.
How was the Mexican Mafia involved if what Sutherland said about Morgan working for him was true?
I could just lie here all night long and create imaginary scenarios, but that wouldn’t supply any answers, so I closed my eyes and concentrated on emptying my mind.
Sleep was what I needed.
It must have been two hours after the jail cell lights went out, that the goons came for me. Dragged me off the bed and frog marched me down the corridor to the back of the jail and down narrow stairs to a basement garage without saying a word. There was a nondescript cream coloured painter’s van waiting with the rear doors open, and I was unceremoniously bundled inside.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-13
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Reclaim Your Health, Energy & Vitality!
Monday, January 27, 2014
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was not sure what to expect when we started discussing this book.
From the book description it looked a little sketchy and I was anticipating some kind of “chick-flick”. I was wrong. The story has a lot more substance and really drags you in to the anguish felt by the protagonist. Marriage, parenting, family, love, separation are all key elements of the story. And then of course, there is the need to be who you are. Which one wins?
There’s drama and a real sense of reality that makes you continue reading until you get some resolution. I felt a great deal of empathy with the storyteller and followed the internal struggle she was dealing with.
A genuinely sophisticated read, that is well structured and clearly written with passion. It examines the powerful emotions of a real life dilemma and really puts you, the reader, in a position to fully appreciate what is going on. The only thing that prevents me from giving it a full 5 stars is that I felt the story dragged more than it should have. Other readers may not feel the same.
I really enjoyed the novel and will read more from this author. Highly recommended read.
Disclosure - As a Quality Reads Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book from the author via Orangeberry Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.
View all my reviews
“Please sit down, Emily.” He extended out the flat of his hand, very much in control.
“Ah, thank you.” She perched on the edge of the soft leather seat across from a man who was too damn good to look at—a man obviously comfortable in his own skin.
Hardness set his jaw as he studied her. The tick of the wall clock seemed to echo in the silence, and Emily squirmed in her seat. Why was he looking at her like that? Maybe it was her outrageous entrance and he was wondering what kind of kook she was, whether he could entrust her with his child. Yes, that had to be it.
She swallowed hard. “I’m Emily Nelson; I talked to you yesterday on the phone about the job.”
He blinked before closing those exquisite eyes, as if he’d forgotten the reason she was here. When he opened them again, his hard judgmental expression seemed to have softened a bit.
Again he extended his large hand, taking hers in a firm grip. Just the touch of his solid calloused hand and the secure squeeze was enough to teeter her nerves back to that awkward woman at the door. She wondered what it would be like to have a man like this run his hands over you. She snatched her hand back before her face burned any brighter. Finally, he introduced himself. “The name’s Brad Friessen.” Emily kept quiet. He didn’t run on with his words. He must be a deep thinker, a doer. She could relate to that… but not to him. Her sly eyes glanced down at his left hand: no gold band, no white line, no wife or significant other. Or maybe he was one of those arrogant guys who wouldn’t wear a ring, a lady’s man. He had the looks and the attitude. Now was the time to ask about the woman who answered the phone when she called. Who was she?
“This is a working ranch I run, and I need a woman to look after my son. I’m old fashioned in my values. Children should be at home, not stuck in daycare. I’m looking for someone who’s comfortable in a kitchen and looking after children: a role that should come natural to a woman. I don’t want someone who’s got the phone stuck to their ear half the day. It’s a decent job and good pay; $500 a week, room and board, and includes all your meals.”
Her heart sank about the same time the bottom dropped out of her stomach. It was too good to be true. She wanted to cry. “But I… I have a little girl, I didn’t realize–”
His face hardened and he looked away. For some reason he was angry with her… no, furious. Emily didn’t know what to say when he let out a heavy sigh. He closed his eyes, rubbing his hand over the light brown shadow that appeared over his jaw. Then he faced her again, with those deep brown eyes now turned to steel. Emily saw that he could be a hard man.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Western Romance
Rating – PG
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Washington was now buzzing with as many rumours as had swept London during the height of the scandal, so what happened next was not entirely a surprise. The White House became involved. The most likely explanation for President Kennedy’s sudden interest in the affair is that his brother, Attorney-General Robert Kennedy, told him of the long report from Hoover.
There were then both political and personal reasons for the President’s interest. One was that the scandal could provide Kennedy’s opponents in Congress with ammunition to attack his plans for a multi-nation NATO nuclear force. If Britain was so leaky, why should the US share it’s defence secrets? Another was a call in the Washington News for Kennedy to cancel his scheduled visit to London because it would provide moral support for the foundering Government of Harold Macmillan. ‘We can think of no better time for an American President to stay as far as possible away from England.’
And a third reason, a personal one, was that given Hoover’s animosity for the Kennedy family, the President became concerned that Hoover would somehow use the scandal against him….The only feasible reason for this widespread fascination is that all these people feared that the President of the United States was about to be dragged into the scandal, not on a political level, but on a sexual one…..The reason was that Robert Kennedy was worried that Christine or Mandy, or even both girls, might have slept with the President during their recent visit to the United States and he needed to know for certain so that he could protect the President from the scandal that would follow if the girls blabbed. It would have been simpler for Robert Kennedy to ask his brother if he had slept with either of the girls. But, as we now know, John F. Kennedy’s sexual appetite was so prodigious and so indiscriminate that he would not have been able to remember.
And then she tells me her plan. “Maybe, I’ll stay with you awhile. Nothing back in Brooklyn right now.” I answer, mouthing words that I want to feel and yet cannot feel because I have closed myself off to the emotions of life, “Oh yes, please stay, Marina. I couldn’t bear all this alone.” I’m overwhelmed by her generosity, my loss, and the hidden truths lurking under the surface waiting to be revealed. Then the cordoned off person inside me breaks through all my controls again and unwonted tears erupt in a torrent of suppressed anguish. I am enveloped in her arms and her soothing voice whispers calming words as I try to regain the safety of stoicism.
Marina and I, sisters of a sort, sit together in my huge kitchen, in my huge house, sharing the huge hole in my heart as my tears pour down my face, flowing as if someone has turned on a spigot. Two small souls in a too-big kitchen of a too-big house silently wondering about the business problems of which his lawyer spoke using carefully chosen words somberly executed while his eyes burned with deep meaning. Problems that would have to be sorted out after I finished sitting “Shivah.” How can one cope with all of this? When will I wake up from this nightmare?
Eventually, it is dawn and I must sit on the wooden bench that signifies my mourning as memories cloud the present and I relive a life that is no more.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
The elevator dinged and the doors slid open. In less than a minute, I found myself in physical therapy. Like the rest of the hospital, the room was green-tile sterile, but someone had made an effort to cheer it up. Porcelain clowns lined the windowsill. Stuffed circus animals—lions and elephants and a family of monkeys—surrounded the rack that held the free weights. And a variety of fresh-cut flowers had been set in mugs in the cup holder for each exercise bicycle and treadmill. Later, I’d learn from Ralph that Becky kept them fresh, paying for them out of her own pocket. He said she’d deny it, but he’d seen her sneak in on more than one Monday morning with an armful.
Fresh-cut flowers. Mom used to get them every Monday as well, to brighten up the gingerbread house. But after Dad died, she started leaving them too long, not replacing them until they’d decayed so badly they smelled. After Joey died, she stopped buying them altogether.
The girl I met in the courtyard stood over a rolling aluminum table, organizing things I didn’t much like the look of. She was sufficiently absorbed that she didn’t notice us until Ralph called out.
“Afternoon, Becky. Brought you some fresh meat.”
She turned and grinned. “Always love a new victim.”
“Great. I’ll leave you two alone. Sounds like you need some privacy.”
After he left, she went back to finishing her preparations, making me wait. Finally, she came over and extended a hand.
“We already met, but let’s make it official. You’re Lt. Williams, but I can call you Freddie. I’m your worst nightmare, but you can call me Becky.”
I reached out and shook her hand. She didn’t seem scary.
“Ralph says you’re the best, that if anybody can bring me back, you can.”
“Ralph’s wrong. I’m just the guide. You’re going to do most of the work.”
“But are you the best?”
“Let’s say I haven’t lost one yet.”
“So I’ll be back on the basketball court in no time.”
Her grin vanished. She grabbed a chair, dragged it over and sat next to me.
“We’re going to be spending a lot of time together, Freddie, so we need to be straight with each other, right from the outset. My goal is to get you back to as normal a life as possible. If you work hard, I’ll have you out of that wheelchair and on crutches in a month. A month after that, maybe a cane. Beyond that, we’ll see. I make no promises other than to work as hard as you will.”
She stared at me. I stared back, captivated by my reflection in her gray-green eyes. She blinked first and went back to the rolling table.
. . . . . . .
She sat down again and undid the Velcro from my brace.
I winced. I hadn’t looked at my leg much since my peek the week before. The incision was less angry and the oozing had stopped. But what shocked me were the muscles. Where once I had bulges, now there were hollows. Not the leg of an athlete or soldier. Not the leg of a guy who might someday dunk. The leg of an invalid. Becky’s words rattled around in my brain. Crutches, then a cane. After that, we’ll see.
“It may not be pretty,” she said, as if she’d read my mind, “but it’s yours. Take a good look. Let it motivate you when you start making progress. And trust me, you will make progress.”
She squeezed some ointment from a tube onto her hands and rubbed them together.
“This will feel a little cold.”
She spread the ointment, swirling her fingertips over what had once been my quad. When she started the e-stim treatment, I felt the muscle spasm and contract involuntarily, a strange but not entirely unpleasant feeling. As she slid the wand around, humming along to its buzz, I noticed her touch more than the current.
She spoke out of nowhere. “I read the report. Says you have no family.”
I kept staring at her making figure-eights on my leg.
“Is that right?” she said.
“I was born an orphan.”
She turned off the e-stim and looked up at me.
“Want to talk about it?”
“Ralph said you don’t talk much.”
“I talk when I want to. I don’t want to talk now.”
“Fine with me.” She resumed the treatment, hummed a few more bars, and then spoke without looking up. “Ralph was right about another thing.”
“You are a hard case.”
She was quiet after that, going about her job while I focused on the clowns at the windowsill. Every now and then, I’d sneak a look at her. A beautiful, happy optimist. But she’d never lived my life.
Crutches and a cane. After that, we’ll see. I was different from her—a realist. I knew what “we’ll see” meant. I’d need more than physical therapy to bring me back. I’d need a miracle.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy
Rating – PG
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
- December (3)
- November (3)
- October (4)
- September (11)
- August (13)
- July (19)
- June (14)
- May (8)
- April (12)
- March (21)
- February (16)
- January (49)