Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Other Side of the Ice by Sprague Theobald @TheobaldSprague #Memoir #Family #Climate

Before grabbing a book and heading below, I took a stroll out on deck to try and gather in the towering strength and beauty of the mountains that surrounded our still and peaceful anchorage, perhaps the most stunning I’d ever seen. Low, shrub-covered flats quickly ran up to rocky foothills that rose straight up into the monstrous snow-covered peaks. It was an area waiting to be hiked and explored but, for me at least, only after a good night’s sleep. Sometime during the past day, we had crossed an invisible line that moved everyday thinking to a seldom-visited level.
We were anchored now in an area much more raw, powerful, and potentially threatening than we had experienced. On our way into this amazing paradise, we encountered, for the first time, charts that simply didn’t have complete soundings, no channel markers, no warning of shoals or hidden rock outcroppings. While we weren’t exactly flying blind, we were navigating in an area of greatly reduced information. Not for the first time in the trip the thought struck, “If we stick here, we are screwed.”
This new level of thinking and awareness was debilitating, a slowly circling feeling of expected isolation and self-reliance. No longer would a potential emergency be met with a simple call on the ship’s radio to the local Coast Guard or towboat. We were becoming increasingly isolated and as such were going to have to rely on our own wits. My hope was that this mounting sense of isolation would stay beyond the limits of the boat and not work its way inside. Time would tell. For the past two years, the talk had been to simply get to this area and then farther north.
I unexpectedly found my senses coming alive. My sense of smell was more acute, my hearing was finer, and my sight was more focused. It was a feeling, a new way of seeing life, that through the rest of the trip would reach far deeper than I could have imagined.
The Northwest Passage is a ship killer, and always has been.
At various stages of the journey, I found myself numb. Exhausted. Terrified.
How had it all started? What were we doing?
I was leading a crossing of the Northwest Passage, an 1,800-mile channel north of the Arctic Circle, connecting, in theory, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Hundreds of sailors had given their lives trying to do the exact same thing. We were a small boat with a small crew. Bagan is a fifty-seven foot long Nordhavn, and she was manned by six of us, three of whom were my children.
One thought and one thought only kept shouting in my mind, a thought that no expedition leader and, especially, no parent should ever have to think; a thought that held me in a cold, mental death grip, a thought that I still think about.
“Have I brought us all together just to lead us to our deaths?”

TO WATCH THE OFFICIAL HD TEASER FOR “The Other Side of The Ice” [book and documentary] PLEASE GO TO: VIMEO.COM/45526226) 
A sailor and his family’s harrowing and inspiring story of their attempt to sail the treacherous Northwest Passage.
Sprague Theobald, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and expert sailor with over 40,000 offshore miles under his belt, always considered the Northwest Passage–the sea route connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific–the ultimate uncharted territory. Since Roald Amundsen completed the first successful crossing of the fabled Northwest Passage in 1906, only twenty-four pleasure craft have followed in his wake. Many more people have gone into space than have traversed the Passage, and a staggering number have died trying. From his home port of Newport, Rhode Island, through the Passage and around Alaska to Seattle, it would be an 8,500-mile trek filled with constant danger from ice, polar bears, and severe weather.

What Theobald couldn’t have known was just how life-changing his journey through the Passage would be. Reuniting his children and stepchildren after a bad divorce more than fifteen years earlier, the family embarks with unanswered questions, untold hurts, and unspoken mistrusts hanging over their heads. Unrelenting cold, hungry polar bears, and a haunting landscape littered with sobering artifacts from the tragic Franklin Expedition of 1845, as well as personality clashes that threaten to tear the crew apart, make The Other Side of the Ice a harrowing story of survival, adventure, and, ultimately, redemption.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Memoir, adventure, family, climate
Rating – PG
More details about the author
 Connect with Sprague Theobald on Facebook & Twitter

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kari Nichols on Writing to Channel Emotions & Personal Development @TheKariNichols #Fantasy #Romance

Why Writing is a Form of Personal Therapy

I use writing as therapy for several reasons. First, it’s the one thing that I can always count on to calm me down no matter what else is going on in my life. When I put all my concentration into the lives of my characters, I don’t have to worry about what’s happening in my own life. I guess it’s my own little escape from reality.

Second, if I’m really upset or excited about something, I can funnel those emotions into my work. I enjoy taking the excitement of good news and using that enthusiasm to connect with a character that is experiencing a similar situation (and the same goes for when I’m feeling sad or angry). Finally, when I’m able to see the fruits of the hard work that I’ve put into my novels and short stories, I have the most incredible sense of accomplishment and relief.

When I write, I feel like I’m developing as a person. Creating worlds and characters stretches my mind and forces me to grow to new heights to attain the next level of mastery I need in order to develop a unique story.


“We stand united, Family of Immortals. Plagued by life. Cursed by the hand of God …”

Rogue was born into an immortal family whose wealth is marked by a trail of blood. But when he meets the unnervingly familiar assistant of his next target, an unexpected rush of emotions begins to unravel his carefully laid plans.

Lissie lives a mundane life filled with work … and little else. She hasn’t taken a risk since she moved to New York City after college—seven years ago. But when the mysterious Matthew McCloud walks through the door of her office, she finds herself diving head-first into a whirlwind romance she never saw coming.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Kari Nichols on Facebook & Twitter

Monday, September 22, 2014

#ReviewShare #Suspense #Thriller - Zero Alternative by Luca Pesaro @biagiotrader

Zero AlternativeZero Alternative by Luca Pesaro
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book that if you introduce it in your book club, be prepared to spend hours on it. The author’s writing technique is better than most but when read collectively as one whole novel, it raises some questions. More than one reader felt as if this novel was written in different sections over different months and then pieced together. The tone and styles don’t quite match.

Then there is that the overpowering sex scene which had many females in my book club freak out. And I truly mean freak out. I have known many of these ladies for decades. None are prudes. But some also don’t read books with graphic sex or fight scenes by choice. This book gave no heads up whatsoever. Nothing in the description, nothing in the intro. It just grabbed you, and slapped you in the face. Like the drunk in the bar who tries to grope every female in sight.

It is necessary for some characters and some stories to have such scenes but in a society that is so diverse, I do think it is necessary for authors to give some warning about how graphic the content will be or at least to get the rating right. This book had a PG16. If I were 16, I’d still be reading these scenes under my bed not in front of my parents.

Overall, this is one of those stories where it’s strong plot pulls you into the story and the plot takes the driver’s seat as the main characters do their best to navigate themselves between the twists. I recommend this book but I would advise you to read the other reviews to get a gist of content warnings.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads UK Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my book review. This book review is based on my thoughts, opinion and understanding of the book. This book review does not reflect the opinion of other book club members.

View all my reviews

#ReviewShare #Mafia #Thriller - Lethal Journey by Kim Cresswell @KimCresswell

Lethal JourneyLethal Journey by Kim Cresswell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Author Kim Cresswell is definitely good at her craft. If you like legal thrillers with a romantic twist, this is a good book for you. Most scenes popped off the page for me and I felt like I was there.

I did take off one star because although I liked her writing, not all of the scenes were realistic. Dialogue in most chapters were witty but sometimes it felt as if the sarcasm wasn’t understood by the other characters. Especially when Eric and Lauren are conversing, there are these waves of emotions associated with most of their sentences but most of the time if ended up looking awkward.

Overall, this was a good read which I recommend. I will read other books by this author.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads UK Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my book review. This book review is based on my thoughts, opinion and understanding of the book. This book review does not reflect the opinion of other book club members.

View all my reviews

#ReviewShare #Yoga #CozyMystery - Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber @TracyWeberTypes

Murder Strikes a Pose (A Downward Dog Mystery #1)Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Murder Strikes A Pose by Tracy Weber is an excellent start to a new series. Kate’s life is turned upside down by a murder of someone she didn’t even like and this is where things take a surprising turn. As with most cozy mysteries and chick lit books, how does the main character deal with a life changing event?

Kate’s is a character that most people will be able relate. As the daily drama comes in bucketfuls, she puts one foot in front of the other and keeps on trying. This murder mystery was definitely different with the use of yoga as a backdrop.

Tracy Weber has the ability to kick off a series with a big bang. Fun, mystery, great characters and plain old good writing oozed from each page. She has an engaging, witty tone for her characters which is both entertaining and sometimes funny.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads UK Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my book review. This book review is based on my thoughts, opinion and understanding of the book. This book review does not reflect the opinion of other book club members.

View all my reviews

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mike Hartner on His Favourite #Authors & Favourite Genres @MHartnerAuthor #AmReading #Historical

Who is your favorite author?
It’s a close battle between Mark Twain, William Shakespeare, Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas, and Victor Hugo

What book genre of books do you adore?
Historical Fiction, and YA Romance

What book should everybody read at least once?
The Count of Monte Cristo. By far the best revenge novel in history.

Are there any books you really don’t enjoy?

Many books are mood items. I don’t deliberately look for Satanic, or Halloween books, but vampires and others are an occasional read.

What do you hope your obituary will say about you?
I hope my obituary will show me surrounded by people who love me, and will say that I made a difference.

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
I was born in Miami, grew up in Montana and Saskatchewan, and now live in Vancouver, BC.

How did you develop your writing?
First, by writing poetry, and then by listening to others tell stories.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
My muse. She brings in the lead characters from my books, and gives me the opportunity to listen, transcribe and elaborate.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

More and more in today’s world, I have to say marketing. Publishing is going through a Renaissance, where nearly everyone can be published. But very few books get exposed because not everyone is a good marketer. And what works for one author or book may not work for another.


James Crofter was ripped from his family at age 11. 
Within a year the prince was a pauper in a foreign land. 
Is nature stronger than nurture? And even if it is, can James find the happiness he so richly desires? 

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Historical Fiction, Romance
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Mike Hartner on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, September 19, 2014

@GeorgiaLeCarre on Not Reading One Star Reviews #AmWriting #BookReviews #WriteTip

One star reviews are baked in the cake if you write even a mildly successful book and if you write a bestseller you can even expect hundreds and in cases of mega bestsellers than thousands of one star reviews!  Looked at this way one star reviews are actually a badge of honor!
Hence the way to wear them is with pride.  Here is a method of how to wear them.
First and foremost do not read them.
Generally they are badly written and go along the lines of worst book ever, could not finish, I returned the book and got my money back, but still feel so mad and vindictive over the time lost that I have taken the time to leave a warning to all other unsuspecting readers, etc.  There will be spelling and grammatical errors in these damning reports, presumably because the reviewers were so incensed they could no longer think properly.
There is also another variety of one star review that is rapier sharp with sarcasm and wit.  This one is dangerous.  We live in a society where nothing cuts more than derision.  Want to kill off a dangerous opponent.  Invite him on a talk show and pour ridicule on his views.  The viewer will immediately get the impression that he is a ridiculous man to be avoided.  The same with books.
These reviews are usually written by your competitors or in some cases bought by them from as little as five dollars from unscrupulous review sellers.  Unfortunately, your potential readers will read them, but if they are few in number you will survive surprisingly well.  All is not lost.  Watch EL James duck and dive around negative reviews, and swim up the best-seller charts time and time again!
Finally, grow a thicker skin.
A book gets its one star rating when it falls into a jealous competitors gaze or the wrong hands.  When the human mind cannot understand something it is almost a defense mechanism that makes it want to denounce the whole thing as rubbish.  So the more one stars you pick the more intelligent you are…pat yourself on the back and flash a big smile.

Beyond the seductive power of immense wealth lies… Dark Secrets
Devastatingly handsome billionaire, Blake Law Barrington was Lana Blooms first and only love. From the moment they touched his power was overwhelming. Their arrangement quickly developed into a passionate romance that captivated her heart and took her on an incredible sexual journey she never wanted to end.
The future together looked bright until Lana made a terrible mistake. So, she did the only thing she could… she ran.
Away from her incredible life, away from the man of her dreams, but she should have known a man such as Blake Law Barrington was impossible to escape. Now, he’s back in her life and determined that she should taste the bitterness of his pain.
Shocked at how rough the sex has become and humiliated that she is actually participating so willingly in her punishment, she despairs if she will ever feel the warmth of his touch–the solidity of his trust again? And even if she can win his trust, loyalties are yet to be decided, and secrets to be revealed–secrets that will test them both to their limits.
Will Lana be able to tear down the walls that surround Blake’s heart, and break him free of the brutal power of immense wealth?
Can Blake hold on to Lana’s heart when she discovers the enormity of the dark secrets that inhabit the Barrington family?
Lana has always believed that love conquers all. She is about to test that belief…
Buy @ Amazon
Genre – Erotic Romance
Rating – PG-18
More details about the author
Connect with Georgia Le Carre on Facebook & Twitter

Friday, September 12, 2014

Kirsten Mortensen on Writing as a Two Stage Process @Kirstenwriter #AmWriting #Romance #Suspense


Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
I grew up in a very rural community in the southeast central part of New York State. People from other parts of the country often think of New York City when they hear the words “New York,” but the fact is there are parts of the state that are sparsely populated and heavily wooded. Quite untamed. The last time I visited my childhood home, for example, a black bear crossed the yard and helped himself to breakfast in my dad’s blueberry patch. I had, in many respects, a quintessential “country mouse” childhood, hiking, camping, and fishing. It remains a big part of my identity. In my late 20s, I settled in a suburb of Rochester, New York, which is in the northwestern part of the state, and I’ve lived there ever since, although when my daughter graduates high school I’ll be starting a new chapter in my life on the west coast.

I’ve drawn on both my childhood and Rochester settings for my novels. Loose Dogs and When Libby Met the Fairies are set in Rochester. Can Job is set in a fictionalized version of Rochester called Borschester, New York. And Dark Chemistry is set in Amesbury, a fictional Central New York community that I modeled after a hamlet near the town where I grew up.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

Marketing—by far! Not because the marketing itself is hard to do. It isn’t. First of all, I have a marketing background. And even if I didn’t, so many people—so many writers!—do marketing, and succeed at it, and share how they’ve succeeded. If you have a connection to the Internet plus any drive at all it’s not hard to do it yourself. What makes it the hardest of the three is that you have so little control over whether it delivers results. When I write, everything’s under my control: I pick the genre, I make the time, I decide when I’m happy with my work. By self-publishing, I bring publishing under my control: click a button and my novel’s published. But succeeding at marketing requires factors over which I have zero control to fall into line. You can do everything “right” and still experience lackluster sales. That’s a tough thing to have to accept.

If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?

I earned my degree in Comparative Literature, and it was a terrific experience. But I semi-regret that I didn’t go into some branch of biology instead. I have always loved animals and nature, and I would have loved to have been a naturalist—gone out into the woods to study plants or animals and report to the world what I’d discovered. But I have a lifelong math phobia (it started with a traumatic experience in second grade, but that’s a story for another day!) So when it was time to pick college majors, I veered away from the sciences. I often wonder if my life would have been different if I weren’t afraid of math.

How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
I have a two-stage process. First, I do a ton of preliminary work writing by hand in a notebook. I use little soft-cover notebooks, one per project, for this work, which is everything from character studies to drafting scenes. And if I run into a snag—say, a plot point doesn’t seem to make sense—I use the notebook almost like a journal. I’ll sit down and write out a question to myself: “why would this character want to do X?” Almost always, an answer will arise to my question. Or if not, I’ll put a sticky note to mark that page and come back to it.

Later, as a novel reaches completion, I use the same notebook to do things like keep track of characters’ names and to keep lists of things I need to do to finalize manuscripts.

I find handwriting in a notebook helps the writing process for me, probably because it gets me away from the computer—computers can introduce too many distractions, which are a huge problem, in particular, when I’ve hit a point in my novel draft where I’m not sure “what comes next.”

The novel draft itself, I create in Word on a computer. I have both a desktop and a laptop, and switch back and forth between them, depending on where I want to work in the house or whether I’m traveling.

How much sleep do you need to be your best?

I’m an eight-hour a day gal, although I can get by on 7 if I need to. It’s funny, though. When I was in my twenties I needed nine or more. Then I had a baby, and ever since, I’ve needed less sleep.

Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?
There are so many ways to answer that question! Dark Chemistry is a romantic suspense novel about a young woman who inherits a company when her father passes away. Unbeknownst to her, however, a couple of people working there have developed a type of synthetic chemical that can influence people emotionally and also sexually. You may have heard of pheromones: chemicals that animals use to pass signals to one another. The bad guys in Dark Chemistry use synthetic pheromones to do all kinds of evil things.

On another level, though, Dark Chemistry is about a woman—the heroine, Haley Dubose—who has to figure out two things. First, does she want to be like her mother or her father? This issue is complicated because she never really knew her father, and now he’s dead. But over the course of the book, she starts to learn what kind of man he was by the effect he had on people that did know him. The second thing she has to figure out is whether the physical attraction she feels toward one of the other characters in the book represents something that is genuine. And I don’t want to give too much away, but as I said, the evil men in the novel are using synthetic pheromones to manipulate people . . . so put two and two together and you can guess what poor Haley’s up against.

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
I love to read. I love to spend time with the people I love and my sweet dog. I work out at least twice a week—I’ve been strength training for a number of years, and I love how it makes me feel. And I’m a golfer. As long as the weather is halfway decent, I try to get out on the course at least once a week. Working out and golfing help keep me balanced, in fact, because as a writer so much of my world happens inside my head—it’s important for me to re-connect with my physical body on a regular basis!

Do you have any tips on how writers can relax?
Yes! “A change of work is rest.” What I mean by that is: if something you’re doing starts to become stale or tiring, do something completely different. From my own experience, as a writer, I spend a lot of time indoors, sitting or standing at my computer, with my mind going at a million miles an hour. So to relax, I do activities that are the exact opposite. Golf is one example. When you golf—especially if you walk the course, like I do—you’re outdoors, you’re moving around, and you’re trying to achieve a state of “quiet mind.” You’re trying to shut off the verbal chatter and just live quietly in the moment so that your body can make smooth, effective golf swings.

If golf doesn’t appeal to you, you could try another sport, or yoga, or go hiking, or go to a museum. Anything that gets you away from your workspace, that involves physically moving your body, and where you can switch off the verbal, wordy parts of your brain for a while.

What color represents your personality the most?
Green—absolutely. My eyes are green, and it’s been my favorite color since I was around six or seven years old. It’s got a lot to do with my love of the natural world. I grew up in a very rural area in the central part of New York State. I spent all my free time, as a kid, wandering in the forest behind my parents’ home, hiking, camping, fishing. Green, to me, represents everything that is most vital and important about being alive on this planet: the experience of being a physical human being on Planet Earth.

How do you think people perceive writers?
It depends on the person. Most of the time, if I tell someone I’m a writer, they act a little awestruck. Sometimes I get the feeling that people would like to “collect” me—they want to hang out with me because they like the idea of “knowing a writer.”


A woman's worst nightmare

Drugged by something...that makes her think she's fallen in love.

All Haley Dubose has ever known is beaches and malls, clubs and cocktail dresses.

But now her father is dead.

And if she wants to inherit her father's fortune, she has to leave sunny Southern California
for a backwater little town near Syracuse, New York. She has to run RMB, the multimillion dollar
chemical company her father founded. And she has to run it well.

Keep RMB on track, and she'll be rich. Grow it, and she'll be even richer. But mess it up, and her inheritance will shrink away before she gets a chance to spend a dime.

Donavon Todde is her true love. But is it too late?

He's RMB's head of sales – and the more Donavon sees of Haley, the more he's smitten.
Sure, she comes across at first as naïve and superficial. But Donavon knew Haley's father. He can see the man's better qualities stirring to life in her eyes. And Donavon senses something else: Haley's father left her a legacy more important than money. He left her the chance to discover her true self.

Donavon has demons of his own.
He's reeling from a heartbreak that's taking far too long to heal. But he's captivated by this blond Californian, and not only because of her beauty. It's chemistry. They're right for each other. But has Donavon waited too long to woo this woman of his dreams? Because to his horror, his beautiful Haley falls under another spell. Gerad's spell.

A web of evil.

Gerad Picket was second-in-command at RMB when Haley's father was alive. And with Haley on the scene, he's in charge of her training. But there are things about RMB that Gerad doesn't want Haley to know.

And he must control her. Any way he can.

Romantic suspense for your Kindle

Will Haley realize that her feelings are not her TRUE feelings?
Does Donavon have the strength left to fight for the woman he loves?
Will the two of them uncover Gerad's plot to use RMB pheromones to enslave the world?
And even if they do – can they stop it?

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Romantic suspense
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Kirsten Mortensen through Facebook Twitter

Friday, September 5, 2014

#Excerpt from WAR KIDS (A Syrian Story) by H J Lawson @hjlawson1 #YA #BookClub #Fiction

Chapter 1 - JADA

“Wake up. Run.”

Jada wake up! I scream in my head.

Bracing myself, I take a deep breath and millions of tiny molecules fly up my nostrils and down my throat. What is this familiar taste? It reminds me of when I was young and played with chalk.

Where am I?

A cold shiver runs over my body as questions flood my mind. What happened? Why do I feel like I’m covered in dust? Father never trained me for this… are they going to kidnap me the same way they did him?

I’m terrified to see what awaits me. But I force myself to open my eyes. In a flash, like a lightning bolt, I see the unthinkable horror in front of me.

A blurred image of a young boy stands trembling at the end of my hospital bed, his bewildered face covered in dust and tears. I can see his dazzling white teeth as he screams... Why can’t I hear him? Oh my God, what has happened to the poor child? Where is his mother?

Where is mine? Why can’t I hear anything… is this real or a crazy nightmare?

I frantically look around for my mother, but I don’t see her anywhere.

Mother where are you?

With a sheet of gray dust over my face, it reminds me of when my mother and I would play dress up and she would add blush to my cheeks. I wish I could go back to those happier times, before the war, to when I could just be a child.

But those times have gone.

The gray walls of the hospital are like a snowy day in the city, yet they crumble in front of my eyes. A blaring light fights against the protective cover of the few blind slats on the window that survived the attack. Where is the light coming from? It’s the middle of the night! Is my mind playing tricks on me?

The smell of death is all around me.

As I shift uneasily on the bed, the plastic material squeaks against my sticky, sweaty skin. No! I have to stay quiet and not draw attention to myself.

I look at the bed next to me. The overhead light has fallen down, and sparks are flying from the ceiling. I see the same dusty gray layer, but it is turning blood-red. An elderly man is slumped over.

As the light continues to flash, I see him more clearly.

He has large, overgrown eyebrows on his small wrinkled face, and there is blood seeping through his clothes. He is dying right in front of me.

We stare at each other, frozen in shock. Not daring to speak, his dark eyes hold my gaze. His thin, straight lips start to slowly part. Fear floods through me. I shake my head and plead at him with my eyes.

Please don’t make a sound!

The old man’s eyebrows rise up, and he silently mouths, “Run.” The hairs on the back my neck prickles to the rhythm of my terrified heart, but I remain still, too afraid to move.

Someone help me, anyone! I cannot do this!

I have to move… get out of here before they get me. I slowly shift myself to the edge of the bed.  My legs are numb, and my toes are tingling. My body is weak, but I have to stay strong.

As I look down on the floor beside me, where my feet are about to land, I see a dust-covered body. It is the caring lady doctor, the one who was looking after me. Faith. I can see glimpses of her golden strands of hair through the soot.

Not Faith!

I remember her soft voice as I faded in and out of consciousness, and the blurred image of her peering over me like a beautiful angel, telling me everything would be okay and that she would protect me. Tears pour down my face as I gaze at her now lifeless body.

Suddenly the silence is broken by the sounds of screaming. I cover my ears to block the unbearable noise. Screaming everywhere, all around me.

This is not a dream; this is a true- life nightmare.

Light beams hit my face, and a door open. As my eyes adjust, I begin see the shadows in the doorway.

I can't stay. I have no choice.

Soldiers are standing in the doorway, a sea of blue helmets with sage and brown camouflage, with black jackets projecting their heartless bodies, their faces covered by gas masks. Their belts bulge with water bottles. I'm so thirsty for just one tiny drop…get the taste of chalk out of my mouth.

Big black boots stand amongst the debris, sturdy, confident. Each soldier holds one hand over the long barrel of a gun, the other over the trigger. Poised, ready.  My heart skips another beat.

There are too many of them. Even if I had my gun, I wouldn’t be able to kill them all. But maybe enough to make a run for it…

My father was teaching me how to use a gun before he was kidnapped over a year ago, when I was thirteen. All I wanted to do was stay in bed and cry, but Mother dragged me out and forced me to continue. I lashed out at her and begged her to leave me to grieve for my father, but she insisted.
I’m a perfect shot now.

“Run, child, run!” the dying man screams to me.

I leap off the bed and land on Faith.

“Ouch!” she grunts.

Oh my God… She’s alive!

As I crouch down beside her, the sounds of footsteps get closer.

“Faith, I'm so sorry… are you okay? What's happening?” I gasp.

“Run!” she yells. “RUN!”

I jump up and grab the bewildered young boy in front of me. The soldiers are coming; they are bloody coming!

“Come on, we have to get out of her,” I say to him.

A soldier reaches out and grabs the child’s arm.

“Ouch!” he cries.

“Get off him!” It feels like a golf ball is in my mouth. I stutter as I squeal, and the boy’s eyes look like they’re going to explode.

“Leave him alone; you are hurting him!”

But the solider is too strong and continues to pull. With one fast swoop, the boy is out of my hand and the solider picks him up in his arms.

The child screams and thrashes his arms and legs in a violent rage.

“Leave him alone!”  I shout again.

“Kid, we’re here to help! I mean you no harm,” the solider informs me as he marches away.

Here to help?! Does he think I’m crazy?

The room begins to spin, my mind cannot handle this. Oh God, they’re moving forward, they soldiers are coming from me now!

I turn away from them and start to run without looking back.  I have no choice. There is nothing else I can do.

I have to keep moving… it’s the only way to get out of here alive. Bodies are strewn everywhere, some small and wrapped in blankets. All covered with the gray dust.

What the hell is going on?!


Hayley Lawson is the author of War Kids. She has written a young adult contemporary novel set in Syria; a story about the Syrian Civil war though the eyes of children.

She was born in Lancaster, England. Growing up in a single parent household with five other siblings; was hard, and also character building.

As a young child she found a passion for drawing, and continued this into adulthood, graduating from the University of Central Lancashire, England with a BA(Hons) in fashion design.

At aged twenty seven, Hayley and her husband packed up their belongings for a lifelong dream to move to California. Her America dream was complete with the birth of her daughter. Her love for traveling, continued after the birth of her daughter traveling around America with the family, and the best travelled dog.
A new job positioned opened up New York, and the family decide to relocate to Long Island, NY, which is where she currently resides.

On August 21 she was moved by the images of the Syrian conflict, and embarked on an unlikely journey of writing her first novel.


All profits from the book will be going to the save the children charity.

When fourteen-year-old Jada wakes up in a hospital, the last thing she thinks is that her life has completely changed forever. But when the very real civil war forces her to flee from every open space, she must use the firearm skills her father taught her to reunite with him and protect herself. Armed with a single gun and a key to an unknown locker, Jada crosses Syria on a journey with a group of children called the Fearless Freedom Fighters. With the leader, Zak, they mount a plan to rescue their fathers while they try to cope with the merciless murders of their families. As Jada and Zak lead the group together, love blossoms, but with soldiers hot on their tail, they need to stay vigilant in the face of war.

Reviews from wattpad

Very interesting story, very powerful. I can really feel the emotion...Peter

This book really touches my heart because there is so much truth is in this book. The detail is so brilliantly displayed, its beautifuly written. There are pretty intense chapters, its good... scrap that its excellent. Loe the work ...although I am upset. I know this is a fictional story, but I just can't help but feel extremely bad for all the lost lives especially the innocent and young ones...Saddy

A REMARKABLE BOOK, DEMANDS TO BE READ Goodreads review from Joe Eliseon

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Genre - Young Adult 
Rating – PG-13
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