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Author Interview with Linda Nightingale – New Release: Four by Moonlight

Please help me welcome Linda Nightingale with an author interview, a new release, and a giveaway!!

 

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

I was born two days after Christmas on a day long, long ago and named Linda Joyce. My maiden name is Brown. My hometown is Anderson, SC, and after 14 y ears in Texas, I just returned home.  I have two wonderful sons and I couldn’t be prouder of them. Man, I got lucky!

I have always had a passion for horses and bred, trained, and showed the magnificent Andalusian horse for many years.

My writing has won several awards, including the Georgia Romance Writers’ Magnolia Award for Excellence as well as the San Antonia Romance Writers SARA award.

Where did you get the idea for Four by Moonlight?

Each story in the anthology has a different theme and inspiration.  “Gypsy Ribbons,” the ghost story, was inspired by The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes.  “The Night Before Doomsday,” the angel story, was inspired by passages in The Book of Enoch from the Apocrypha. The other two stories were simply flights of my imagination.

What book have you read that you wish you had written?

The Picture of Dorian Gray.  I admire Oscar Wilde, and he is so witty.  Dorian Gray is an exaggeration of that era but there are some truths between the pages.

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and do you like it?

I am a retired Legal Assistant. Most of my career, I liked my job but there at the end, I was more than ready to retire to write full-time.

What do you love that most people don’t like and wouldn’t understand why you do? 

Those little wieners called Vienna Sausages. Lord only knows what they are made of, but I enjoy them with saltine crackers.

What do you dislike that most people wouldn’t understand?

2% milk.  If you’re drinking milk, drink the whole stuff. It’s better tasting and better in coffee.

Do you collect anything?

Painted ponies.  I have thirteen—5 Native American themed, and 8 various ones including the unicorn and the pony named Spring from the Seasons.  My favorite is the musical pony. He is cantering on a keyboard and has violins and other musical motifs all over his black coat.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read Four by Moonlight?

Enchantment. I want them to surface from the spell created by the  story reluctant for it to end and reality rush back in.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

‘She died as she lived—with reckless abandon’.

If you could be a character in any of your books, who would you be?

Morgan D’Arcy from Sinner’s Opera (I’m currently in the process of getting my rights back) and Morgan D’Arcy: A Vampyre Rhapsody.  Morgan is handsome, sophisticated, a charmer and magnetic.  I’d leave off the vampire part!

 

Now to interview my readers—for a prize—an eBook of Four by Moonlight. My evil twin Bianca Swan wants to know:  Do you like erotic romance and why?

There is one erotic romance(?) in Four by Moonlight, but Bianca didn’t write it. I did.

BLURB:

An anthology of love in the moonlight…in the paranormal realms…

Gypsy Ribbons – A moonlight ride on the moors and meeting a notorious highwayman will forever change Lady Virginia Darby’s life.

Star Angel – Lucy was stuck in a rut and in an Idaho potato patch. She’d seen him in the corner of her eye—a fleeting glimpse of beauty—now he stood before her in the flesh.

The Night Before Doomsday – All his brothers had succumbed to lust, but Azazel resisted temptation until the wrong woman came along.

The Gatekeeper’s Cottage – Newlywed Meggie Richelieu’s mysterious, phantom lover may be more than anyone, except the plantation housekeeper, suspects.

 

EXCERPT:

The angel Azazel, a leader of the Grigori, narrates:

After our arrival in Eden, I often prayed for my harp. One day, it appeared in a blaze of light.

A knock at the door froze my hands upon the strings. Had someone heard the music I was forbidden to play? Annoyed at the interruption, I set the harp on its feet. As I glided across the room, I sensed the identity of my caller and relaxed. What could Magdalene want?

Another timid knock sounded. The door creaked open. A slither of sunshine crept across the floor to my feet.

Magdalene called through the crack, “Azazel, I took a chance you were home. May I come in?”

“Hello, Magdalene. Please. Come. I was playing the harp. Would you like to listen?”

“Oh yes.” She clasped her hands to her breast, the gesture innocent yet seductive.

I waved her ahead of me, following her into the late afternoon sunlight glinting on the golden instrument. She sank down at my feet and placed a hand on my knee. As the melody unfurled from the strings, I sang. This time, I did not play the music of heaven.

With the last notes quivering in the air, Magdalene repeated the lyrics. “Stoop angels hither from the skies, there is no holier spot of ground, than where love with beauty lies.” She was trembling. “I expected a hymn.”

“It was a hymn. To Beauty.”

“It sounded like a love song.”

“Perhaps, it is a love song.”

Hope shone in her mesmerizing blue eyes. “To me?”

“To you and every Eve.”

She rose to her knees, brushing back my hair and kissing my ear, her small hand fondling me. My shaft hardened in her caress. My breath caught, my heart hammering.

“Magdalene, don’t.” I caught her fingers.

“Why not?” She breathed warmth on my neck. “I love you.”

I forced images of coupling from my mind. “You’ve mistaken gratitude for love.” I set aside my harp, lifting her to her feet. “Here, I’ll take you flying.”

“I don’t want to fly. Not just yet.” Delicate fingers caressed the sensitive underside of my wing.

Every fiber of my being vibrated to a melody old as the Universe, new as the First Day. She locked her arms around my neck and applied her body to the length of mine.

Face lifted, lips parted, she breathed, “Don’t you want to kiss me?”

The heat in her gaze boiled the blood racing through my veins. My hands shook with the effort to resist. The scent of her perfume, the pure essence of Woman, and the desire that had been smoldering for days overcame me. Helpless, I bent to do what she’d accused me of wanting…something I needed more than the next breath. She stood on tiptoe, opened her mouth, a shy tongue teasing my lips to part. Not like Ruth’s kiss. Subtle, innocent yet…knowing.

I groaned in the exquisite pain of desire. My mouth opened, taking her tongue inside, dominating the kiss. Desire was death, a living rigor mortis. As my feverish hands explored her body, she moaned and whispered. Thought sizzled to fog. Spellbound, I kissed her lips, her eyes, her cheeks. When I pressed my mouth to her velvet throat, she shivered in my embrace, and I was lost.

The walls of my house closed in on me. Folding Magdalene in a wing, I lifted her and took her into the garden. Here darkness and my wings would hide our sin.

AUTHOR LINKS AND BUY LINKS (Be sure to check out the video):

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LNightingale – @Lnightingale

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LindaNightingaleAuthor

Web Site:  http://www.lindanightingale.com

Blog:  https://lindanightingale.wordpress.com/ Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4839311.Linda_Nightingale

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/lbnightingale1/

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Linda-Nightingale/e/B005OSOJ0U

 

YouTube Book Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4T3nsNV1bA&t=6s

 

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Author Interview with Tony-Paul de Vissage ~ New Release: Absinthe Eternal (Absinthe Trilogy Book 3)

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Tony-Paul de Vissage with an author interview and a spooky sounding new release that’s right up my alley! 🙂

 

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

I’m from a little Southern town that has recently received the ignominious nickname of the “most Dangerous Town in Georgia.”  Since I haven’t been back there in 40 years, I can say whether that’s true or not.  It was pretty mild when I lived there!

My “official” bio says I write vampire novels because I was frighten by the movie Dracula’s Daughter as a child.  Partially true. It also says I met a group of vampires playing tourist near Savannah and they offered to may my way through college if I’d write positive things about them.  Not true.

I’m afraid I’m prettyh dull. NO family. No pets. Just li’L ol’  Moi.

Where did you get the idea for Absinthe Forever?

I had already written two Absinthe stories but felt the tale needed to be rounded out and finished off.  Since the previous stories took place in different eras, I decided to bring the final one into the present and have Absinthe’s story be completed in a contemporary setting.

Why did you choose this genre (is it something you’ve written in before)?   

I just like ghost stories.

Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book, the characters, title, process, etc, you’d like to share?

Not really.  I tried not to use many clichés but I found that when you’re writing a ghost story, you have to rely on clichés or it’d be pretty dull, so there are creaking doors opening, bumps in the dark and quite a few ghoulies. It’s the way they’re put together that makes I scary or not.

What is the most difficult thing about writing a book?

Keeping people away so I can write.  Some people think that because I’m not in an office somewhere, I’m not really working, so it’s OK to call and have long telephone conversations, or to drop by unannounced and stay until all hours.

What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular?

Not making it into a satire or an Abbott and Costello in a Haunted House. There were so many places where I wanted to go all slapstick, but I managed to resist the temptation.

What book have you read that you wish you had written?

Dracula. That’s one that almost everyone who’s literate recognizes whether they’ve read it or not.

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and do you like it?

Not any more…and is that ever a relief!

What do you love that most people don’t like and wouldn’t understand why you do?

Fried tripe.  That was before I found out what it is.  Afterward? I still like it though since I no longer live in the South, I don’t get it much now.

What was your first job?

Candy salesman.  They used to have boxes filled with candy near the cashier’s counter. You’d “donate” boney and get a candy bar. I used to go around and fill those boxes, collect the money, and deposit it.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read Absinthe Eternal?

A shiver or two and the statement. “Hey, that’s make a great movie!”

What actors would you like in the main roles if your book were made into a movie?

Cameron Cuffe as David, and  Shaun Sipos as Redd. Both currently star in Krypton.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

“Here lies the World Best Undiscovered Author.”

If you could be a character in any of your books, who would you be?

My characters are so weird, I don’t know that I’d want to be any of them!

Have you written any other books that are not published?

I’m struggling with a sequel to The Last Vampire Standing, called A Single Shade of Red.  I’ve been working on it for two years now and it’s slow going.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

One or two were but not enough that they might recognize themselves.

What do your friends and family think of your writing?

Not much, apparently. None of my family has ever bought one of my books.

What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?

Since most of them are vampires, I’d probably not get along with any of them!

Who is the most famous person you have ever met?

George RR Martin. I was at a party he was at one night.

How did you come up with the title? 

In this story, Absinthe is brought back to life and this time, he finds a way to live forever, so he’s now Absinthe Eternal.

Your favorite…

MoviePhantom of the Paradise, a rock/horror movie.

Music – the allegretto from Beethoven’s Sympony #4

Place you’d like to visit – St. Simon’s Island off the Georgia coast

TV show from childhoodTom Corbett, Space Cadet

TV show from adulthoodLucifer

Food – barbeque and Brunswick stew with a Coca-Cola

 

 

Blurb:

David Varine, star of Ghost Search International, a highly-rated supernaturally-themed reality show, is on assignment. At the request of the New Orléans Historical Society, he’s come to the Big Easy to prove the stately old mansion called Nouvel Espoir is haunted.
It’s said the spirit of Absinthe, accursed son of the original owner, haunts the mansion, with his lover, but David’s a skeptic. He doesn’t believe in ghosts, curses, and any of that ‘supernatural hogwash.’ He’s only in the ghost-hunting business for the money.

Once inside Nouvel Espoir, however, David’s skepticism rapidly disappears. There are too many odd things happening, things he can’t ignore. When his cameraman arrives, the two will be forced to face whatever walks the mansion by night.

Absinthe wants something from them…but what…?

 

EXCERPT:

As I arrived at the top of the stairs, however, I saw that the door to what I’d already begun to think of as my bedroom was ajar.

Hadn’t Kathy pulled it shut as she followed the others out? I remembered…every room they went into, she entered first but was always the last to leave, shutting any doors behind her.

“Maybe it didn’t close properly.” I spoke aloud, one of my defenses against latent creepiness. Some people whistled in the dark; I talked to myself. Loudly.

Crossing to the door, I stopped, then looked back.

“Something’s different. What…?” It took me a moment to realize I’d walked through the cold spot on the landing, only now, it wasn’t cold. Hurrying back, I stood where I’d experienced that frosty breath and icy shiver. I exhaled, blowing out loudly.

Nothing. Not even a wisp of vapor.

An episodic cold spot. Never seen that before. I didn’t like that.

Abruptly, I got that someone’s-watching-me feeling, that little prickle of the skin.  I spun, pushed the door wider and hurried inside…and skidded to a halt, staring at the figure sitting in the chair.

The Absinthe mannequin reclined in the hearthside chair, exactly as it had before.

“Well, now.” To my own ears, my voice sounded forced, too loud. “How did you get back in here?”

I was certain Kathy had been with the group as we went downstairs. Did she linger behind, going back into Étienne’s bedroom and retrieving the figure, replacing it in the chair before she joined the others?

Possibly. I couldn’t say definitely she was with them every minute. All I remembered was watching her guide everyone to the front door.

Maybe she had orders that the mannequins had to stay in their assigned room, and she’d removed it only to placate that one uneasy tourist, and then had to put it back.

“Unh-uh.” I held up a finger, waggling it back and forth as if the mannequin were about to offer some excuse for its return.  “None of that.”

It remained silent, of course, staring at me out of those remarkable green eyes.

I asked myself what I would’ve done if there had been a sound just then, even the creak of a beam…

What the hell’s the matter with me? I never get spooked like this. Anger rose at that.  I’m David Varine, GSI’s chief investigator, and scary stories don’t frighten me. Besides, I don’t believe in this stuff.

Stooping, I wrapped an arm around the figure’s waist and lifted it as Kathy had. It was remarkably light. Carrying it across the hall, I opened the door to the other bedroom, and with the barest hesitation, stamped inside.

I dropped the figure unceremoniously into the chair, Damned if it doesn’t resemble the portrait. The face was framed by black, shoulder-length hair. It had the thickness and texture of real hair. I wondered if it was. Had some human’s flowing locks been purchased for this artificial being?

Thinking back to what Kathy had said about Absinthe, I realized if he’d actually looked like this. If so…oh, the boy must’ve been a beauty…the killer handsome kind.

I rummaged mentally for my college French. “Bon nuit.” With a jerky bow—and why did I do that?—I hurried to the door and went out, slamming it behind me.

I was stepping across the threshold into my own room when I heard the faint creak. I glanced back.

The door to Étienne’s room slowly and gracefully swung open.

Buy Links:

Paperback exclusively from the publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/component/virtuemart/horror/absinthe-eternal-8702018-02-11-21-39-34-detail?Itemid=0

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Absinthe-Eternal-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B079TF2L3W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1524679681&sr=8-1&keywords=Absinthe+Eternal+by+Tony-Paul+de+Vissage

 

About the Author:

A writer of French Huguenot extraction, one of Tony-Paul de Vissage’s first movie memories is of being six years old, viewing the old Universal horror flick, Dracula’s Daughter on television, and being scared sleepless—and he’s now paying back his very permissive parents by writing about the Undead.

TP currently has 22 novels published with Class Act Books.  His novel The Night Man Cometh was voted one of the Top Ten horror novels of 2011 by the Preditors & editors Readers Poll for that year, and in 2013, the first entry in his Second Species series, Shadow Lord, was awarded the same honor. The Last Vampire Standing placed second as Best Paranormal Romance of  2012 by the Paranormal Romance Guild.

 

Learn More about Tony-Paul at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tonypaul.devissage

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tpvissage/?etslf=7278&eq=Tony-Paul%20de%20Vissage

Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.pinterest.com/tpvissage/?etslf=7278&eq=Tony-Paul%20de%20Vissage

Twitter: @tpvissage

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Author Interview with Michael D. Smith ~ New Release: CommWealth

Please help me welcome Michael D. Smith with an interesting interview and a new book!

 

Hello, Michael. Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

I was raised in the Northeast and the Chicago area, then moved to Texas to attend Rice University, where I began developing as a writer and visual artist. I’ve recently been writing science fiction with a mix of literary and space opera aspects; my literary novels in turn have science fiction or absurdist elements. I’m married to Nancy Remp Smith and we have seven cats, two of whom have a time share arrangement for sitting on my lap as I write. My day job is that of Technology Librarian for McKinney Public Library in McKinney, Texas. Over the years I’ve done extensive programming for adults, including book talks and author presentations, and have marketed libraries through presentations and contacts with local media. I’m currently hosting a monthly Writers’ Exchange group at my library, where participants discuss editing, publishing, and marketing.

Where did you get the idea for CommWealth?

CommWealth came from a long and involved three-part dream, and the novel fleshes out of the first part, in which our supercilious antihero Allan demonstrates his easy adaptation to the new property-less society as he requests every object that strikes his fancy and then hauls it all back to the mansion he booted someone out of. The dream’s second part, in which Allan is “requested” to work in Australia and becomes part of a murder mystery, and the third, where he returns to America shattered and in need of spiritual regeneration, weren’t used, but I’ve always considered that their energy is present in the novel, adding depth to the characters’ motivations.

Why did you choose this genre (is it something you’ve written in before)?

The dream demanded a semi-realistic dystopia, no weird science fiction technology or future setting, and I wanted the book to have a literary element; some of my books are more purely literary, and I felt I needed this genre to explore the characters. Though CommWealth was fated to be a black humor dystopia, a “what if there were no property” plot that practically wrote itself, I also wanted to highlight the usual range of human romance, fear, and courage, as well as the shadow aspects of the self. I’ve always thought of the characters in CommWealth as an ensemble cast in a movie, where accomplished actors divide the plot between them and no one actor has the lead role. The ensemble concept is apt for this novel, in which these characters form the core of the Forensic Squad theatrical troupe.

Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book, the characters, title, process, etc, you’d like to share?

The original title was so obviously Property that I was attached to it for a long time–until I saw a novel in a bookstore called Property. That got me to musing about the commonality of titles used for novels, especially bestsellers, and I decided I would make all my novel titles as unique as possible. So CommWealth, the name of the benevolently authoritarian state running the new property-less society, became the final title. Meanwhile I embarked on some quick research about commonly-used novel titles which I put into a blog post; at the time I counted thirty-four published novels titled Flashpoint, for instance. It’s mystifying to me, but also amusing, that big-name authors resort to such commonly used titles.

What is the most difficult thing about writing a book?

The most difficult thing for me is the time constraint, as I often have to subsist on short writing sessions before and after work. However, I’ve noticed in many cases that as I near the time I need to leave for work I often come up with unexpectedly concise chapter endings. I might see that I have ten minutes before I need to wrap things up and I’m confronting three pages of notes that might stretch to ten pages of fiction, yet somehow it now occurs to me that all those notes are superfluous, that naturally Character X would do this and then that in the next few seconds and this is a perfect ending for that chapter. This has happened so often that I wonder if I haven’t unconsciously set this up.

Another difficulty is the uncomfortable sense of confusion and doubt arising when a new novel starts gestating as vague ideas, scattered notes, and a blunt yearning for fiction. But while the process is often painful and sometimes seems hopeless, I can’t really denigrate any of it because the power underneath all that seems destined to lead to some important investigations, no matter how the final manuscript turns out.

What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular?

Possibly because of the force and novelty of the dream, this particular novel flowed fairly easily. It’s seen numerous drafts but there was never a point where the entire plot was in disarray, as I’ve had with several other novels. Every once in a while you’re blessed with a fairly straightforward writing experience, and this was one.

Are there any tricks, habits or superstitions you have when creating a story?

If there’s one thing I’ve discovered about writing, it’s that the methods I used to create the previous novel don’t work for the next one. Various schemes for sorting notes on notecards and rearranging them across a large table have sometimes sparked amazing insight and at other times … have wasted hours on non-starter ideas. Assembling every dream or interesting idea I’ve written on scraps on paper over the past two years into a hundred-page, single spaced Word document of notes … sometimes leads to inspiration, sometimes leads to wasted weeks of “organizing nothing.” The method really doesn’t matter, I guess, as long as you stay with that yearning for fiction and allow “something” to “come together” at “the right time.”

I prefer to work in the morning, especially for rough draft work, as I’m freshest then. A session of two to three hours is ideal. All other writing takes place in the evening after work. I always have ideas cooking and I plan each writing day by what project appeals to me, which one has the most energy resonance. I write just about every day.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read CommWealth?

Even though CommWealth posits a farcical dystopia, there’s much in the way of human friendship and human betrayal, true romance as well as confused lust, to distract these characters as they try to navigate their treacherous property-less society. After all, some theater troupe members see the opposite sex as property to be demanded, whether they’re conscious of that fact or not. The novel can surprise you as it veers between farce and bitter tragedy.

Would you rather have a bad review or no review?

I’d rather have a bad review as long as it wasn’t the only one on Amazon! A ratio of seventy-five positive reviews to one negative review would be fine with me. 🙂

What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?

If it were fiction, I would say a mystery novel. I really haven’t read much in that genre, but I’m fascinated by the intricate structure that must be conceived and executed to get the satisfying final result. And a mystery can also be a literary novel; consider that there’s a murder mystery aspect of The Brothers Karamazov. The genre I don’t work in that truly impresses me isn’t fiction, but well-written biography or nonfiction. I can’t comprehend how some nonfiction authors can so brilliantly integrate long, intense research into fascinating, novel-like books on science or history. I wonder if I would have the diligence for that sort of research and writing. Probably the nearest thing for a novelist would be a historical novel.

Your most prized material possession? Why?

This may not be the most prized possession, as we all have a hundred thousand objects to keep track of, but what immediately leaps to mind is my 1940’s Royal Portable DeLuxe typewriter. I sometimes use it to bang out early novel notes. If any prove useful I’ve found I can scan and OCR the results.

Have you written any other books that are not published?

I’m starting my seventeenth novel now, and I’m proud that eight of the first sixteen have been published, along with a novella and a picture book. Of the remaining eight novels, I’m seeking to publish another two (literary/absurd again), but I’ve accepted that six of my novel experiments should never be published.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

My goal is a measure of respect and fairness to all characters, as if they were all characters in a Shakespeare play with their special moment on the stage. I want to see all aspects of their personalities as objectively as possible. So I hope I’m creating characters that are not based on real people, or people in my life, but that represent universal human forces. It’s too easy, for instance, to base a character on someone you dislike (who becomes a shadow aspect of yourself you can’t deal with), then pour a lot of bile onto him or her and never really get to the core of the character.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The concept of property touches us all in deep psychological ways we often don’t want to think about. Just think about “your toothbrush,” for example. The exaggerated ideas in CommWealth nevertheless encompass real ethical concerns. Beneath the apparent farce of the story is this laundry list of realities: theft, greed, dishonesty, cheating, unconsciousness, cowering, power-lust, political intrigue, sexual manipulations, envy, demands for pity, guilt trips, revolution, and above all, the thwarted need for privacy.

How did your interest in writing originate? 

1950’s Grade B science fiction movies got me started in the second grade. Then fifth grade assignments to write short stories, based on the current week’s list of a dozen new words to master, really sparked an upsurge in creativity. But in high school the movie 2001 floored me and inspired me to take writing much more seriously than I had before.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

My favorite author/book is probably Franz Kafka and The Trial, which I’ve read several times and have also listened to as an audiobook. The fact that Kafka is more and more regarded as a humorist (especially in Europe) resonates deeply. His biographer Max Brod recounts scenes of Kafka laughing as he reads portions of The Trial to a literary group, whose members are also finding the book deliriously funny. To me there’s a psychological dimension of this humor that goes far beyond what we might now call “black comedy.”

About the Author:

Michael D. Smith was raised in the Northeast and the Chicago area, before moving to Texas to attend Rice University, where he began developing as a writer and visual artist.  In addition to exhibiting and selling paintings and drawings, he’s completed fifteen novels.

Smith’s writing in both mainstream and science fiction genres uses humor to investigate psychological themes.  On his blog, he explores art and writing processes, and his web site contains further examples of his writing and art. He is currently Technology Librarian for McKinney Public Library in McKinney, Texas.

CommWealth is his first novel published by Class Act Books.

Find out more about Michael at:

Website: , www.sortmind.com,

Blog: www. http://blog.sortmind.com/wordpress/

Blurb:

The CommWealth system, has created a society in which there is no legal claim to any kind of private property. Any object from your house to the clothes you’re wearing can be demanded by anyone, to be enjoyed for thirty days before someone else can request it. As actors in the Forensic Squad theatrical troupe attempt to adapt to this chaos, their breaking of the Four Rules sustaining the system, as several members navigate betrayals, double agents, and murder to find themselves leading a suicidal revolution.

Excerpt:

Rule One – You are free to enjoy the chosen object for thirty days. During this period no other person may request it.

Rule Two – The requestor is untouchable for thirty days by the person asked. Attempts at retaliation, such as demanding unusually large quantities from the original requestor after the thirty-day period, carry stiff penalties.

Rule Three – Once you ask somebody for something, you can never ask him or her for anything else again.

Rule Four – You can never ask for the same thing back from the person who got it from you, not even after his or her thirty days of enjoyment.

Allan shivered at the reflection of his black overcoat and his striding legs on the wet sidewalk. Up ahead someone with a DreamPiston Electronics bag opened a shiny red

Porsche glistening with thousands of water beads.

“Okay,” Allan said, “I’ll take your car.”

The mustached little twerp looked up. “Ahhh, crap…”

“C’mon, don’t give me any trouble. Gimme the key.”

“Look, it’s raining. And I just got these MP3 players and the new Fappy tablet—”

“Not my problem. Fork the key over.”

“Look, my umbrella’s in the car—can I just get my umbrella so my stuff—”

“Forget it. The umbrella’s part of the car as far as I’m concerned. Anything in the car. Besides, I just lost my umbrella a couple blocks back. I’m soaked.”

“C’mon, I just got this car the other day!”

“Don’t hand me that. The sticker on the plate says you got it a month and a half ago. You’re overdue, buddy. Now hand me the key.”

“Got trouble there?” A bright blue City of Linstar police car idled in the rain. “Got a Hoarder there?” a huge officer grinned.

“Uh, no… not at all…” said the twerp. “I just—I just can’t find the key—”

“Yeah, right—you just unlocked the damn car with it,” Allan said, turning to the policeman. “He is giving me a lot of crap about it.”

“C’mon, sir, you know better than that.” The officer’s name tag read BARCLAY.

The twerp snarled. He separated the Porsche key off his key ring, thrust it at Allan, then spun around and fastened on a man coming down the sidewalk. “Give me that umbrella! Right now!”

The man grunted, surrendering his umbrella to the twerp, who grabbed it and hoisted it above his DreamPiston bag.

“We really got the Christmas spirit here, don’t we?” Barclay said.

“Really,” Allan said. “Some people…” He examined the Porsche key in the rain. “Thanks for your help, officer.”

“Oh, I’m sure it wasn’t really necessary. People are basically good, you know. Give ’em time to adjust and all, that’s what I say.”

The twerp leapt into traffic with his new umbrella and his bag, waving his free arm. A little green car skidded to a halt. The twerp ran to the window and pounded on it. “Give me this car! Right now!”

Barclay was out of his patrol car in a second, hand on his hand on his holster. “Sir, that’s not the right way to go about it. We need to be respectful. That’s the CommWealth way.”

CommWealth is available at:

Publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/index.php/component/virtuemart/dystopian/commwealth-6022015-08-14-23-29-50-detail?Itemid=0

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/CommWealth-Michael-D-Smith-ebook/dp/B013YPU5D4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478983628&sr=8-1&keywords=CommWealth

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/commwealth-michael-d-smith/1122537291?ean=2940152097313

SmashWords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/569160

 

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Author Interview with Icy Snow Blackstone ~ New Release: Runaway Brother

Please help me welcome today’s guest, , with a fun and interesting interview, plus, a new release!

 

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

I’m originally from Georgia and now live in the Midwest.  There was a time when my entire family was into genealogy and we did a lot of research on our ancestors.  I discovered my great-great-great-greatgrandmother’s name was Icy Snow Blackstone and always thought that sounded like it should belong to a romance writer. When I was living in California, I was a member of the South Coast Writers Club and once we had a speaker who said if a writer wrote in more than one genre, he needed a penname for one of those genres, so his readers wouldn’t get confused. (Not very complimentary to the readers!) Since I was already writing science fiction/fantasy under my real name, when I decided to writer romances, I decided tgo use Icy Snow’s name as my pseudonym.

I’m also a grandmother with three grandchildren, one of whom is a budding writer.

Where did you get the idea for Runaway Brother?

I already had the plot in place—a millionaire dumps everything and runs away from his responsibilities and his brothers try to find him—so the book named itself.

Why did you choose this genre (is it something you’ve written in before)?

I’d already written several romances set in the South, so this one simply followed the others in setting and style.

What is the most difficult thing about writing a book?

  1. Getting started.
  2. Sticking with it.
  3. Finishing the book.

In other words, anything to do with writing a book is difficult!  J

What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular?

There’s a show horse in the story. An Arabian named Shazam.  I had to do a great deal of research on Arabian horse clubs in Georgia, and how the horses are shown, as well as what kind of  riding gear and costumes the owners use when showing their horses.  Finding out the names of the various parts of an Arabian rider’s clothing was the most difficult part.

What book have you read that you wish you had written?

Gone with the Wind.  It’s definitely the Southern romance to end all Southern romances.   It’s been copies in movies and literature and parodied by Carol Burnett (will anyone ever forget her walking down the stairs with the curtain rod sticking out of her dress?) I once read that next to the Bible, it’s one of the top five most read books in the world.

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and do you like it?

I used to be a medical transcriptionist before I retired.  Now?  I review books for the New York Journal of Books, so I guess “book reviewer” is my “second occupation.”

What do you love that most people don’t like and wouldn’t understand why you do?

Boiled peanuts.  It’s a Southern thing.

Do you collect anything?

I used to collect unicorn figurines. Unfortunately I got so many I had to stop.

What was your first job?

After I graduated from college, I stayed on as secretary to the Chairman of the English Department, a dream job since I was still associating with the professors who’d taught me while I was in college.

What’s the main thing that you could get rid of in your life that would give you more writing time?

Not a thing!  I have all the time in the world to write now. It’s making myself buckle down and do it that’s now the problem.  I’m getting lazy!

What do you want readers to come away with after they read Runaway Brother?

I’d like them to have a favorite scene from the book that they keep talking about and telling friends about, ending with, “You should really read it. I can’t forget that scene.”

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

75% of my characters are imaginary. That way I can make them as nice, handsome, mean, or ridiculous as I want.

What do your friends and family think of your writing?

For some reason, a good many of them are sarcastic of my writing and always giving me put-downs.  One actually said my writing was “run of the mill.” (She’s no longer a favorite relative, I might add.)  That’s the reason I don’t talk aloud about my writing to people.  (Blogs are different.)

Who is the most famous person you have ever met?

Gene Roddenberry, long enough to say “hello,” and receive the same in answer.  I also hosted a houseparty once for George RR Martin, ‘way back when.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 

If there is one, it’s that people shouldn’t be forced into roles that others think they should have but should be allowed to pursue their own dreams.

How much of the book is realistic? 

All of it could be.  There are plenty of towns in Georgia like Oceano.  I had horses when I was younger, though not Arabians, and I once dated a guy who owned a motorcycle, so all the info about the Harley is true, too.

How did your interest in writing originate? 

I’ve been writing in one form or another since I learned how to make my first words on paper. (They were “cat” and “rat” by the way. I couldn’t figure out how to spell “dog.”) I started out writing comics. I’d watch a movie and come home and draw it out and narrate it.  When I was eight, I got a toy typewriter for Christmas, and after that, I started typing out stories.  Mostly about horses, since that was the beginning of my “horse-crazy” era, too.

Thank you for the interview. I enjoyed getting to know you. I have to agree about Gone with the Wind – I would LOVE to have written that book. 

About the Author:

Icy Snow Blackstone was born in 1802, in northern Georgia where her father, the Reverend John Blackstone, was prominent in local politics.  She married a minister, raised seven children, and lived there all her life.

Two hundred and five years later, her great-great-great-great-granddaughter began using her name as a pseudonym for her romance novels. The present Icy Snow Blackstone lives far from her Southern roots in Lancaster County, Nebraska, where she continues to write romances.

As of 2017, Icy Snow has eleven novels published by Class Act Books. Her contemporary romance, Tuesday’s Child, was given the Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewers Choice award for Best Contemporary Novel of 2014. A SciFi romance, Earthman’s Bride and Vietnam-era romance Jericho Road, have also received awards.

 

Blurb for Runaway Brother:

At the age of twenty-two, newly-graduated Nicolo Liguori is forced by his three brothers to become care-giver for his father, who suffered multiple strokes.  For the next ten years, Nick gives up his own ambitions , working during the day in the family jewelry business in Vanderhoek, New York, and returning to the Liguori mansion every night, to be at his father’s beck-and-call. Then Papa dies and Nick is free…or is he?  Carlo, Marco, and Pietro expect him to continue life as usual, but Nick has other ideas.  Secretly buying a motorcycle, he starts to work one day and… disappears.

Nick gets as far as the southern coast of Georgia before an accident disables his bike.  Stranded, with no idea of the South except what he’s seen on TV, Nick isn’t certain what kind of reception he’s going to get.  Then, a pretty Southern miss and a white tank disguised as a temperamental horse named Shazam change his life as they and the citizens of Oceano teach a runaway Yankee about life and love in a small Georgia town.

EXCERPT: 

The track was getting narrower, barely two ruts now with a width of slender, wiry grass separating them.  He slowed the bike.  Don’t want to get that stuff caught in the spokes and stall the engine.

Nick raised his head, looking around, then gave a loud sigh of exasperation.  Okay.  So I’m lost. He’d just follow the road to wherever it went, probably to some farmer’s front yard.  When he got there, he’d apologize, turn around and get himself back to the main drag.  If he could find it.

A broken branch loomed ahead, and he turned his attention to it, guiding the bike around it.

A second branch and several twigs littered the roadway.  Nick was so concerned with maneuvering around them he didn’t see the horse sail over the fence, wasn’t even aware it was there until he looked up and found the white shape almost directly in front of him.

He jerked the wheel to the right, forgetting to apply the rear brakes first.  The bike skidded, its back wheel rising off the ground as the front one stopped rolling.  He had a brief vision of the animal leaping forward, its rider clinging to its back, wide, frightened blue eyes, flying blonde hair…

The motorcycle went off the road, sliding into the ditch and running up the other side, the front fender striking one of the fence posts.  It bounced and rebounded, and Nick went flying over the handlebars, flipping in mid-air and hitting the same post with his back. The bike wavered a moment, then toppled onto its side.  Nick slid down the post, landing upside down in the ditch, his shoulders crushing coffeeweed into an aromatic mass.

The pounding hooves stopped.  He heard running footsteps, opened his eyes and saw someone running toward him.  He closed them again.

“Are you hurt?”

This time when he opened his eyes, he was staring at the upside-down face of a very pretty girl, at least she’d have been pretty if her face wasn’t screwed up into such a dismayed scowl.

Am I hurt?”  He managed a growl as he slid further into the weeds and rolled over.  “I just hit a fence and got tossed into a ditch!  What do you think?”  Clambering to his knees, while she plucked ineffectually at one arm, he jerked out of her grasp.  “I can get up by my—  Ow!”

He’d gotten upright, took a step, and his leg buckled, turning at the ankle            “Here.”  She slid into the ditch, offering a hand.  Reluctantly he took it, being careful not to put too much weight behind it as he let her pull him to his feet.  He could see she was worried and he really wasn’t hurt all that bad, but he was angry because she’d been so reckless.

“What the Hell’s the matter with you?  Jumping in front of me like that!  If I’d hit that horse—”

“What are you doing riding this road?  This is private property.”

She was too pretty for him to pretend to stay angry at, so he toned it down, answering her question. “I got lost.  I only wanted to find the end of the road and turn around.”

“You have a way to go.  The house is about a quarter of a mile that way.”  She nodded toward a group of pines thrust into the road, hiding the rest of it from sight. Nick looked in that direction, then back at her.  She, in turn, looked at the motorcycle, still on its side in the weeds.  “You seem okay.  Is that hurt?”

Nick got down on one knee, feeling under the bike.  His hand came away wet.  He sniffed at his fingers.

Gasoline. He pulled off one glove, exploring gingerly.  Something had punched a hole in the gas tank and gasoline was pouring into the grass.  He had no idea how, but it didn’t matter.  What did was that he wasn’t going anywhere as long as that hole was there.

“Well?”  She appeared to be awaiting his diagnosis.

He wiped his fingers on the seat of his jeans.  “Gas tank’s got a hole in it, clutch cable’s severed. Is there a motorcycle shop around here anywhere?”

“No, but Marshall’s in town can probably repair it.  He does everything from lawn mowers to farm machinery.”

            Oh Lord, deliver me from small town handymen!  He was about to tell her he didn’t want Marshall touching his bike when he realized, What else am I going to do?  Do you have a better idea, Mr. Runaway?

“So which way is town?”  He straightened, looked around as if expecting to see the city limits a few feet away.

“Too far for you to push that thing,” she answered, gesturing at the front wheel.  “Not with it twisted like that.”

“What do I do then, Miss Not-So-Helpful?  Since this is your fault—”

“My fault?”  Hands went to her hips.  And deliciously slim ones they were, too.  Nick had a moment to think she looked anything but angry, though it was apparent she thought she did.  Cute, maybe.  Hell, he might even say adorable with those blonde wisps floating around her face, but angry?  Nope!  “Who’s the trespasser?  Who had his head down, studying the ground when he should’ve been looking straight ahead?”

“You weren’t ahead of me,” he countered.  “You and that white tank of yours jumped a fence and came in from the side.

“Never mind.  Just let me get the bike upright and point me in the right direction, and—”

“I’ll do no such thing.”  That made him stare at her, wondering if she was going to walk away, mount her white steed, and leave him stranded knee-deep in Kudzu or whatever-the-Hell these weeds were.  “I’ll ride back to the house and get my grandpa’s truck.  We’ll put the motorcycle in it.”

She clambered up the bank, running toward the horse now was grazing on the other side of the road.  Catching the reins and a handful of mane, she swung into the horse’s back—very gracefully, he noted—then turned the animal’s head and trotted it back to him.

“You stay right there,” she told him.  “I’ll be back in a jif.”  She kicked the horse in the ribs and sent it galloping down the road.

Nick turned his attention back to the V-Rod.  It hadn’t moved.  Did he expect it to get up and limp over to him like a dog with a hurt paw, whimpering for sympathy?  Shaking his head, he leaned against the edge of the ditch, back against a fencepost.

Welcome South, Brother!

 

Buy Links:

Paper back from the publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/index.php/component/virtuemart/cat-contemporary/runaway-brother-342013-04-29-03-29-06-detail?Itemid=0

e-Books/Kindle from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Runaway-Brother-Icy-Snow-Blackstone-ebook/dp/B01JO3XGOA/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1473437700&sr=1-2&keywords=runaway+brother

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Want to Establish Yourself as a Romance Novelist? Start Here by Kathleen Jones

Please help me welcome Kathleen Jones with a helpful article about publishing romance…

 

 

Want to Establish Yourself as a Romance Novelist? Start Here

By Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist. Please sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT 

Want to become a published romance novelist, but have no idea of how to start? Feel overwhelmed by the competition in this overcrowded genre? Fear not! There are a few tips you can follow that might help make your dreams come true.

First, write the story you want to write rather than writing “for the market.” While it’s fine to familiarize yourself with the conventions of the romance genre, it’s also smart to ignore them! The market is flooded with so many romance books that your novel needs to stand out in order to catch a publisher’s (and a reader’s) eye. Quirky stories and characters are memorable.

Once you’ve written that novel and rewritten it to the best of your ability, it’s time to enlist the help of a substantive and line editor. Try to hire an editor from a professional association, such as the New York Book Editors in the U.S. (https://nybookeditors.com), Editors Canada (http://www.editors.ca), and the Society for Editors and Proofreaders in the U.K. (https://www.sfep.org.uk/directory/). Look for an editor who specializes in romance novels, and interview (online) a couple of published romance novelists who have worked with her or him. It’s also a smart idea to hire a copy editor and proof reader. It’s not cheap to hire these pros, but they can help you polish your manuscript, and they might increase your chances of selling your book to a publisher.

Start to follow romance novel blogs to find out what’s going on in the genre. Some good ones are Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, (http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com)

Romance Junkies, (http://romancejunkies.com) and All About Romance (https://allaboutromance.com).  There are a number of groups on Facebook, too. Make connections with other writers and with readers on Facebook and Twitter, and participate in online discussions to increase your visibility.

The one thing that sells books is reviews, so long before your novel is published, or even submitted to agents and publishers, start doing review swaps with other romance novelists. You can find free advanced review copies (“ARCs”) on the Some Like It Hot group on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com) under the heading “Reviewers Wanted”. You can also find free ARCs through instafreebie (https://instafreebie.com), which has a large selection of romance novels. Write your review, post it on Amazon and Goodreads, then email the author and ask her or him to review your novel once it becomes available. Try to review one romance novel per month.

Finally, once your novel is ready for submission, look for agents that specialize in romance (https://darlagdenton.com/2014/09/15/54-literary-agents-accepting-romance-erotica-submissions/).  If you can’t get an agent, consider sending your manuscript to romance publishers that accept submissions without an agent (http://www.authorspublish.com/31-romance-publishers-that-accept-submissions-without-an-agent/).

What are your ideas for establishing a career as a romance novelist? Please share them with us.

Photo credit: To the Cuckoo via photopin (license)

 

Kathleen Jones’ first novel, Love Is the Punch Line, a midlife comic romance set in the world of stand-up comedy, will be published in April 2018 by Moonshine Cove Publishing. Visit Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist, online at https://kathleenjones.org/

or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/joneslepidas and sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT 

Contact links:

Email: joneslepidas@bell.net

Author site: https://kathleenjones.org/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/joneslepidas

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kathleen.lepidas

 

 

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Freelance editing special – $160 ANY WORD COUNT – Limited availability

From now until Sunday, April 1st at noon, CT, I am offering an edit for only $160.00, regardless of word count. Spots are limited, so contact me ASAP if you’re interested.

Edit includes a full detailed content edit, along with a ‘light’ proofread. Edits include, but are not limited to, continuity, opening in the right place, awkward or unclear wording, inconsistent characterization, point of view, telling vs showing, grammar, active vs passive voice, etc, and a basic copy edit/proofread. A majority of the errors will be corrected, but there is no guarantee that all will be.

Your book does not have to be complete to take advantage of this offer. If you pay the $160 now, your spot will be held.

I have 12 years experience as an editor with The Wild Rose Press and 6 years as a freelance editor.

To take advantage of this special, email me at Alicia@AliciaDean.com with the subject line: 160 – I will reply and send you a PayPal invoice. Once the invoice is paid, your spot will be secured. When the spots are full, I will reply with that information.

https://aliciadean.com/editing-services/

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Author Interview with James Austin McCormick ~ New Release: Dragon

Please help me welcome today’s guest,  James Austin McCormick…

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

I live in Manchester, UK, one of the rainiest places in a rainy country. I’m married with two daughters, no pets, and I teach at a college. I’ve been writing for over twenty years and prefer writing speculative fiction mainly.

Where did you get the idea for Dragon?

Dragon is science fiction and the title refers to a sentient craft the two protagonists fly around in. The novel began as a fantasy, with an elf, a barbarian and a ‘real’ (well, not real but you know what I mean) dragon. All three survived the change of genre when I re-worked it as science fiction but Dragon transformed into a space craft.

Why did you choose this genre (is it something you’ve written in before)?

I love mixing genres and science fiction with a fantasy flavor worked very well for me.

Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book, the characters, title, process, etc, you’d like to share?

I based the two main characters, Sillow, a neurotic, hyperactive and diminutive elf and Brok, a huge, surly and ill-tempered barbarian on the head, and assistant head, of my English department when I worked at a university in Taiwan.

What is the most difficult thing about writing a book?

The editing. For example, Dragon works as a series of seven- chapter stories, each one a stand-alone tale yet also continuing an overall story arc. I wanted each one to be as exciting and action packed as possible (the book has been both praised and criticized for this). To do this I had to heavily edit the manuscript, eventually taking out twenty thousand words which wasn’t an easy thing to do.

What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular?

Getting the chemistry between the two main characters right. They are like the odd couple in space and constantly quarreling yet as the story continues a friendship begins to develop. It took a lot of time and effort to get this right (I hope).

What do you love that most people don’t like and wouldn’t understand why you do? I love narrow boating, getting on the English canals. Most of my friends think it’s incredibly boring but I love the peace, relaxation and sense of freedom when I do it. I sometimes fantasize about dropping out of society altogether and becoming a roamer of the waterways like an old friend of mine did.

What was your first job?

I was a butcher for seven years. During that time, I did academic courses in the evening. I left the job when I went to university. I’ve been a vegetarian ever since, I’m sure as a result of this first job.

What actors would you like in the main roles if your book were made into a movie? I’ve always seen Dragon as a CGI movie with Michael J. Fox voicing Sillow and Michael Dorn voicing Brok.

Would you rather have a bad review or no review?

No review I think. It all depends though, I’ve had some 3-star reviews that I think are fair and point out both good and bad points. Those are fine.

What is your favorite quote? 

Michel De Montaigne’s “My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened.It is funny but also makes us realize how much time we waste worrying. Eckhart Tolle should have included that quote in his amazing book The Power of Now.  However, my favorite movie line of all time is by the Tall Man from Phantasm 2, “You think that when you die you go to heaven. You come to us.”

Have you written any other books that are not published?

Not books but I have around twenty or so short stories, some of them I’m very proud of, which have yet to be published.

Your favorite Movie

I think I’d have to say the Phantasm series because I’ve watched them so many times, even now. As for why I like them, where to begin? In my opinion The Tall Man (Jebediah Morningside) is one of the most iconic horror villains of all time, the center of a cosmic, predatory web of evil, stealing the minds and bodies of its victims. Reggie Bannister meanwhile has just the right mix of comic fallibility and courage to make him a very likeable hero.

About the Author:

James Austin McCormick is a college lecturer from Manchester, England and his free time enjoy writing speculative fiction, mostly science fiction, horror and a little sword and sorcery fantasy. He is also a particular fan of classic Gothic and Victorian horror tales and is currently in the process of writing updated versions of these with a science fiction spin.

Find out more about James at:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJamesAustinMcCormick/

Twitter https://twitter.com/jimbomcc69

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9860555.James_Austin_McCormick

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/James-McCormick/e/B00F3F9SGY

Class Act Books http://www.classactbooks.com/index.php/our-authors/manufacturers/james-austin-mccormick

Blurb for Dragon:

As worlds conspire against each other, Gax, an insane warlord, stockpiles an arsenal of ancient technology in his attempt to rule known space.

Two ill matched and reluctant heroes stand in his way; Sillow, a neurotic and cowardly Sylvan and Brok, a surly and ill tempered Herkulun warrior. After a chance meeting in a seedy, mobster owned casino the two find their fates interlinked as they are propelled into a series of hair raising adventures that takes them from wanted smugglers to agents of a peace keeping alliance.

Excerpt:

Asmara was a small desert moon orbiting its gas giant parent at a distance just great enough to put it outside the planet’s radioactive reach. It was a cold, dusty little place, barely capable of supporting microbic life. Yet it did have one thing in its favor, its location.Asmara was in the gray zone, an area of space almost central to the six worlds. None dared lay claim to it and consequently it was free of all outside authority. That was why the crime syndicates built their Pleasure Dome there, and in the two decades after the Dark Age Wars it flourished.

It was here, at one of the casino tables, the last three players of a merciless card game studied their hands. Two of them, a human and a reptilian Tuolon, were far from happy, glaring angrily at the third player as he whistled out a tuneless melody. If Sillow had been human, he would have been judged to be no more than fourteen. He wasn’t; he was a Sylvan, and his childlike face and adolescent build were quite normal for his twenty-five years.

As he looked over his cards from beneath a shock of dark green hair, only his large eyes were visible. It was just as well, for his lips moved frantically as he mentally played through the possible scenarios.

Finally he gave a little nod and placed his cards face down. He took his cigar from the ashtray and began puffing heavily on it. The human, a skinny man with pockmarked features, ran a hand over two day’s stubble,

“Make your damn move,” he growled. “If you’ve got the goods, show them.”

Sillow shrugged. “Hey, give me a break Garrick,” he replied in his soft, musical voice. “You can’t rush something like this.”

He looked at his cards again, studying them as he blew smoke rings in the air. His little feet tapped all the while on the hard marble floor.

His fellow players regarded him with extreme irritation, and the human cameto the decision the Sylvan was playing mind games with them. The truth though was far different. Sillow was scared and was trying to decide how best to safely extricate himself and the credits he needed from his present circumstances.

Although he couldn’t say why, he was certain now the Tuolon was a professional assassin here to kill him. His would be killer even blewhis ship up to stop him escaping.

Since then the little Sylvan had been busy at the tables making the money he needed to get a freighter off the Dome. There was a royal summons to answer and he’d delayed too long already. The message was just one word, Suleiman.

“Okay, ready,” he finally announced. “You want to see this hand it’ll cost you…” he paused for effect, “six more credits.”

The human thought hard for a moment, shook his head then threw the chips into the pot in the middle of the table.

 

Buy Links:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/674265

Paperback from the publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/component/virtuemart/science-fiction/dragon-396-detail?Itemid=0

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