Jack Canon’s Women of the House by @GregSandora #Thriller #Romance

“You’d be like the Pied Piper of sex appeal.” He answered, his eyes glued to Sandy’s milky white thighs.

“Thanks, Tip, I guess that’s a compliment –right?”

Tip was looking like he wanted to ask her a question.

“Tip, is there something on your mind,” Sandy asked, being nice.

“I wanted to ask you…I mean see if you would tell me, why I have so much trouble…”

“With women?” Finishing his question, stating the obvious.

“This should be good,” I said, handing Sandy my card, “Get something nice for you, too.”

“Tip, you watching? – Jack knows how to treat a woman. It’s a wonder you haven’t picked up anything—being around him all this time.”

“I just thought he had some sort of special charisma or something I don’t.” Tip answered.

“Well you’re right about the charisma, but really there’s something else – and I think it would help, but you’ve got to be honest.”

“What,” Tip asked anxiously—genuinely wanting pointers.

“The first time I met Jack, he didn’t mention he was a Senator. I walked into an old mattress store – not knowing what I was going to find—Jack looked into my eyes… like an equal. Sure, since then he’s put me on a pedestal, but let me ask you, Tip. What’s the first thing you see when you look at a woman? Be brutally honest – just this once, I won’t mind. ”

“I don’t know – it’s different every time, I usually focus on something that catches my eye—like boobs, hair, legs –Tip explained like he’d be getting extra credit for being thorough.

Sandy shook her head, “It’s worse than I thought. You know what I felt the first time Jack looked at me?”

“What?” Tip asked, curious.

“Like… he saw me – as a person – a whole person, not just an object.”

“Tip, when I look at a woman as parts it’s intimidating for me, too.” I said, trying to make him feel better.

Sandy crossed her leg and starting rolling her ankle, “Tip, what do you see when you look at me?”

“You want me to be honest?”

“Of course—I can’t help you if you’re not.”

“Well today I noticed your hips, but I always love your soft doe face.”

Sandy looked puzzled, “Soft doe face? What is that?”

“He means you have a very feminine pretty face – there’s no hardness in it.”

Tip added, “The women I see usually have rougher facial features.”

“Where are you meeting these girls, Tip?”

“Strip clubs mostly.”

“That’s nasty Tip! Ewe!”

“Beautiful woman are intimidating – at the clubs the girls are really friendly, easy going.”

“They’re friendly because it’s their job – they’re easy because you’re paying them—would you want to marry a girl from one of your clubs?”

“No, but I feel comfortable. I know it’s a job.”

“Gross, Tip, that’s so sad.”

“A lot of agents have trouble meeting women.”

“You need some serious help!” Sandy sounded like a concerned sister.

I coaxed, “He needs a good woman, – do you think you could introduce him to one of your girlfriends?”

“I’d really appreciate any advice you could give me, Sandy.” Tip was sincere.

“Tip’s not ready for one of my friends – seriously the girls I know are very needy emotionally – he’d be lost.”

Trying to help persuade her, “So, you’re basically resigning him to a life of strip clubs and hookers?”
Sandy looked at me wide-eyed, raising her eyebrows, “Crude, Jack, you’re enjoying this aren’t you.” She turned to Tip, “You’re a good man, – you deserve to be happy. Tell me Tip, what do you think women want?”

“I don’t really know – I guess – to be made happy?”

“So how would you do it then – make a girl happy that is?”

“Agree with her, make her feel important, give her things I guess.”

“That’s a start, but a woman needs so much more. She wants someone who can share in her emotions without being swallowed up by them. A man who will take his time with her and make time for her—She doesn’t want to be rushed, but still likes spontaneity and excitement. She wants to feel like your equal and be respected for what she brings to the relationship. And, I’m just scratching the surface here.”

“Men…do all this?”

“Some do—Jack does this stuff—he’s kind… caring—he listens. Jack enjoys what women are all about—He looks with great passion. Tip,—she wants to know that you’re desirable to other women and she didn’t just get stuck with you.”

“What about…?” Tip stopped himself, embarrassed.

“The bedroom…She’ll forgive you. Don’t worry she’ll follow your lead. Just don’t make her feel bad by talking about it later. That’s the one place you can sort of be yourself…I can’t believe I’m saying this—the poor thing …take it slow.”

“Are there classes?”

“A good woman will teach you.”

“Did Jack know all this?”

“Are you kidding? All he had was a smile when I met him – and a wandering eye. It’s taken me years of subtle clues and hints to train him.”

“Some not so subtle,” I said, poking fun.

“She wants a friend – but not a guy that makes her feel responsible to make the first move or like she’s a locker room pal.”

Tip looked puzzled, “I’m lost.”

“Jack, just for fun – tell Tip what you’re really thinking… right now.”

“You’re serious –now? No holds barred – what I’m really thinking?”

“Yes, something you’d normally never share with me.”

Tip chuckled, “This oughta be good.”

“Before you do… let me guess.” Sandy squinted and looked up to the left then to the right –

“Something about my panties?”

“Close—what was left of those cutoffs you were wearing that day by the lake.”

“I was really close then. Tip, what did you think Jack was thinking?”

“I would have said World peace – you know to make you happy.”

“Coward- okay tell the truth what are you thinking right now?”

“The truth… really? – what it would be like – you know…if you were my girlfriend.” Sandy rolled her eyes, pursing her lips.

“Not going to happen- but I’ll help. We just have to start really slow.”

“Jack gets to say what’s on his mind and you’re okay with it?”

“There’s a lot of trust built up that you and I don’t share. Stop whining – that’s a deal killer for sure.”

“You asked though. I thought you wanted honesty?”

“Sometimes…oh forget it…”

Tip cut her off, “Am I a lost cause then?”

“No, I didn’t say…don’t feel like that – we’ve got something to work with. You’re good looking – dangerous – you might be a girl’s worst mistake, at least for the first few, but you’ll learn as you go.”

“So will you set me up with one of your friends? One who looks most like you—preferably?”

“Sweet, Tip…, but wrong. Not when you don’t understand the first thing about a woman. They’d thank me at first, but you wouldn’t last two weeks with one of my friends – try to imagine flying too close to a super nova. They’d burn you up and drag you into an emotional black hole. You’d never escape!”

“I can keep a woman safe, at least.”

“Of course you can. A woman wants to feel safe, understood, but she also wants a man that isn’t afraid of her -someone who can be honest. Tell her the truth once in a while. Then grab her and make love without asking. A woman wants to live the full range—she wants you to be able to feel her emotions with her – from misery to elation. Can you do that?”

“I can try.”

“That-a-boy, let’s go out sometime and find you someone suitable. A starter girlfriend.”

“That will be great, are you free tonight?”

“Tonight? I guess so – you don’t need for anything, do you, Jack?”

“No I’m good – take him out – it’s on me.” I was happy to make the offer. Sandy would have a project and I wouldn’t feel guilty about leaving her behind.

“We’ll find you a girl with a doe face. You’ll have to show me – but once I know – I’m sure we can find you one. If that’s what you want.”

“Really? This will be great. Sandy, I’ll owe you!”

“You’ll owe me big time!”


Two months have passed since the long awaited inauguration of the New President of the United States – Jack Canon. Now he must live up to his promises. The World is wounded, people are hurting, the new President must keep the country afloat. Jack leads a very full life – The first couple’s relationship is hot with passion, but he can never admit that to Sandy, his best friend who is also head over heels in love with him. The Women of the House provide a welcome distraction while helping with the arduous task of running the country.

As President Jack must make tough decisions: Global Terrorism, Human Trafficking, Korea on the brink of war, all while thwarting International Greed. Women of the House is a story of noble sacrifice at extremely high cost. Who’s going to be the first to be strong enough and willing to pay? It’s not all work in Women of the House – Think the Wedding of the Decade meets the Crime of the Century.

Jack Canon’s Women of the House, is a story filled with Love, Lust, and Loyalty where passions can run wild! In Sandora’s monumental sequel, patriotism and valor mingle with an undying love that refuses to quit. Ride along as Jack Canon fights back against the most evil people on the planet. Readers are sure to embrace this unforgettable tale which will appeal to fans of political adventure, suspense and romance alike. Jack Canon’s Women of the House is a story of kindness, passion and courage that can’t be separated.

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Genre – Romantic Thriller

Rating – PG-13

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J.J. Ward’s Top Ways on Spotting Fake #BookReviews on #Amazon @MI7Ward

Fake Reviews on Amazon: my top five ways of spotting (and not spotting) them

“I really loved this book! It had me turning the pages all the way until the end! I’m certainly going to recommend it to my friends! I can’t wait till the next one. Five stars!”

We’ve all seen this kind of thing. Quite a lot of self-published books come garnished with a million variants of it. I used to think I could tell which they were, those phonies, but now I’m not so sure. Here are my (former) top five ways, and then why I’ve now changed my mind.

  1. Is the review overly general? You loved what? If you can’t even be bothered to tell us what you enjoyed about said book, perhaps you haven’t actually read it.
  2. Is it brief but overly gushing? In my experience, people who gush with excitement tend to go on for a long time. Perhaps someone who gushes for the obligatory 20 words Amazon allows for a review, and no more, isn’t really gushing at all. Maybe she’s just pretending!
  3. Are there ten or twelve 5*s, all written at one time, and then a long, eerie gap? It looks a little like the author might have corralled his or her friends, and then exhausted his stock of them!
  4. Are the one and two star reviews longer and more analytic than the four and five? If so, maybe they felt conned by the latter!
  5. When you click on those five star reviewers, have they ever reviewed another book? Are they habitual reviewers? Or is this the only book they’ve ever reviewed? Hmmm!

Now, I know this sounds harsh. What a dim view of human nature! And that’s partly why I’ve abandoned it. Let’s have a look at what’s wrong with it, point by point.

  1. Not all readers are natural critics. Just because they can’t write at length about a book they loved, it doesn’t mean they’re not sincere. Not all books invite an extensive response. A lot of people actually read the same sort of book over and over again. They loved it means: it was a super romance/ fantasy/ thriller.
  2. Sometimes gushing makes you self-conscious. Especially when you’re immortalising your words in a written review.
  3. Maybe the author wrote to ten or twelve Amazon critics, asking them to honestly review his book – something which happens all the time. Then he stopped.
  4. Just because the one and two star reviews are longer and more analytic, it doesn’t mean they’re right. Different readers like different things, and even the most intelligent reader can miss something crucial, something that makes the whole novel make sense, instead of being an incoherent mess.
  5. The mere fact that these people actually logged on to Amazon and wrote anything at all may be proof that they really did ‘love it’. Maybe it really is the greatest thing since toffee-glazed barbecue popcorn.

Nowadays, I read the reviews for entertainment. I look at a selection of each: five, four, three, two, one. I take into account everything they say, and I still apply the five tests, although alongside the five qualifiers I’ve outlined. Then I do what everyone should. I click on ‘look inside’. There are usually a lot more answers there than any review can possibly provide.

Tales of MI7

When someone starts assassinating paparazzi in three countries, MI7 sits up. Apparently, the killer is none other than Dmitri Vassyli Kramski, retired SVR field-operative and former Kremlin protégé. True, the Cold War is long finished, but everyone knows Vladimir Putin is as unhappy for Russia to play second fiddle on the international stage as even the most strident of his Communist predecessors. In 2010 therefore, East-West relations remain as tortuous as ever.

Kramski’s trail leads deep into London’s émigré community, forcing his pursuers into conflict with an unknown organisation bent on protecting him. Bit by bit, he begins to look less like a professional assassin and more like someone plotting to scupper the foundations of Western democracy itself. To compound matters, the Russians are as baffled by him as anyone.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Espionage Thriller

Rating – PG

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@Massim0Marin0’s #WriteTip : Resist the Urge to Explain #SciFi #BookClub

Resist the Urge to Explain

There’s one rule in writing known as R.U.E.Resist the Urge to Explain. In other words, writing doesn’t follow Math: One plus One = One half.

When you repeat an ‘effect’, the weaker undermines the stronger and the result is the weakest of all. It happens when we try to stress what we want to say, thinking the reader cannot possibly get it with only the things we said in the first attempt.

Silence and hiding is one of the great arts of writing, and you can aim at getting better if you keep in mind to Resist the Urge to Explain.

Allow the repetition because it is important: the more we force a message, the weaker it becomes!

“The Elements of Style” never stops telling writers to kill all unnecessary words, and that goes with the art to be able to say with five words what others only are able to express with ten.

Details have to be important or evocative. If they’re not, they become a distraction. Of course, there are things that need to be explained (a bit) but others should never. For example, things that are well known to the characters, or well known in the world you are creating, especially in fantasy, or science fiction. It is a fine line, difficult to find for the writer, but flashing like a lighthouse in the middle of Texas: readers expect that what you describe is important; if not immediately in the same scene, later on in the story.

Checkov once said something that is equivalent to the R.U.E. rule: “Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.”

Sometimes you say more things with what is hidden than with what is revealed. The R.U.E. rule (that can be broken knowingly, as every other rule, of course) is to keep in mind when we give to the temptation to ‘make the reader see better, understand better’. Readers’ mind and imagination needs to be titillated, not beaten.

During plot evolution, character development, and descriptions, a writer must have a reason for what is put into words. You don’t need to explain to readers, they will discover themselves if there’s one, and this adds to the pleasure of reading your story.

Writing is both masking and unveiling. If lucky, you’ll show what needs to be shown, and hide what needs to grow in readers’ minds.

Don’t be afraid to kill the unnecessary word, phrase, paragraph, and even chapter.


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Genre – Science Fiction

Rating – PG-13

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Website http://massimomarinoauthor.com

@YvesFey Shares Her #Publishing Horror Story #Historical #Mystery

Image of Yves Fey

Do you believe in the paranormal?

Yes.  There are certainly a number of scam artists out there, but I have a number of friends who have some ability.  But no I know one can control it at all.  Common sense work probably does as well or better for finding answers, but it’s not as much fun, and it’s not as thought provoking as using the Tarot or the I Ching.  Aside from thinking the same thing at the same time as my husband, with no obvious clue, I’ve only had a couple of experience s that were striking.  One was throwing the I Ching.  I did it several times, rephrasing the question because I didn’t like the answers.  It finally had a snit fit.  My next fortune told me that if I didn’t stop trying to force the answer I wanted, it would start lying.  The other I blogged about recently, which was visiting the room where Van Gogh died.  Both times I felt a terrible grief enter me, something I since learned is called an imprint.  It was not sadness welling from within, because Van Gogh is a favorite artist and had such an unacknowledged life.  It was definitely a sensation that descended on me, and departed once I left the room.

Your heroine gets a Tarot reading.  Do you give Tarot readings?

I did a few for friends back in my hippie days in the sixties.  After that, I mostly played around with the cards myself, for inspiration.  Or I got readings from other people.  But I’ve used the Tarot in a couple of my books because it’s wonderful for foreshadowing and is so poetic.

You’re a Libra.  Do you think about the astrological signs of your characters?

Always.  I usually do a chart for them, more descriptive than exactly accurate to the time period.  But since Floats the Dark Shadow is so much closer in time to us, I picked actual charts for all my major and many of the secondary characters.  Theo is a Libra like me, and with an Aries moon, too—but in her it’s more recklessness than temper.  She has more fire than I do, and more Earth.  Michel has a lot of intense, driven Scorpio, but also a lot of romantic, justice-loving Libra, and a very grounded Capricorn rising.

Have you started another book yet?

I started the sequel right after I finished Shadow, but I’ve had a lot of breaks in my attention with marketing efforts.  But I do have have a good start.

How did you develop your writing?

To a great extent by osmosis, just reading books and thinking about why I liked or disliked them.  And by studying film, which is a great way to look at structure.

What surprised you most in writing Floats the Dark Shadow?

I didn’t know Theo would fall in love with Averill.  That added a lot of intensity.  I didn’t know how it was going to end—not beyond catching the killer, so I got to be surprised as well as the characters.

If you were going to write about a different historical period, what would you choose?

I liked two of the ones that I used in my romances, Renaissance Italy and Elizabethan England.  Paris in the 20s would be great.  Or Victorian England.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I started writing when I was about twelve and continued intermittently through my teen age years, mostly short stories and poems.  I wanted to be a ballerina, then an actress, and I often thought about being an artist.  I always loved book illustration, even though it was still denigrated when I was in college.  Art for Art Sake was cry. It wasn’t until grad school that I decided that writing was probably my strongest talent.  Art is a more soothing pursuit, but escaping into the fictional worlds I create is more enthralling.  I think I avoided considering it as a career for a long time because it doesn’t flow easily for me, the way painting does.

What contributes to making a writer successful?

Talent, perseverance, being open and willing to continue learning your craft all contribute to success.  And luck is a huge factor.  There are an amazing number of wonderful writers who remain unpublished, and published authors who remain unread.

How often do you write? And when do you write?

I try to write every day, but I’m very inconsistent and easily distracted.  One of the reasons I hate marketing is that it takes over so much.

Who is your publisher?

BearCat Press published Floats the Dark Shadow.  Tess Collins is a writer who had a lot of frustrations with the industry and decided to reprint her books and start her own publishing company.  The books she’s chosen are all good.  My novel won some Indie awards.  One of her books and a short story collection she published were up for ForeWord awards.  BearCat is still very small, but she’s hoping to make a success of it.  She’s a smart business woman, and very ethical, so I’m hoping the second book will be with BearCat too.

Publishing horror story?

Well, mine aren’t horrific compared to some I’ve heard, but certainly horrifically frustrating.  When I wrote romance, my books were bought twice by editors who loved that they were different and wanted to make me a star.  Three months later they’d be gone and I’d have four more editors, bing bam bim, ending up with someone from Harlequin who’d want something light and breezy and would just want me to disappear.

My second romance will be republished with the title I wanted, just Marian, since she’s very much the center of it, caught between Robin and Guy of Guisbourne.  That was rejected at the time.  I thought A Vigilant Heart would be fine, what with “Heart” prominent in the title, but someone didn’t know what vigilant meant and someone else thought it sounded like a mystery.  So that got tossed.  My Marian’s very tough, a warrior, and they kept insisting on titles that focused on Robin, or were too sweet or wimpy.  I was spared Thief of My Heart, but forced to compromise with The Thief’s Mistress.  It’s not a bad romance title, but it doesn’t do anything to conjure my book, it’s very swashbuckling.  In my mind, it has lots of petticoats.  Maybe Gypsies.  Not Robin—he’s so much more than just a “thief.”


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Genre – Historical Mystery

Rating – R

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Elliot C. Mason on Why He Writes @ArthurRay44 #Romance #Politics #AmReading

Why do you write?

To feel alive.

Have you always enjoyed writing?

I’m not even sure I do now. I just know I can’t stop.

What motivates you to write?

The seven billion humans on the planet scrounging around for a reason to exist.

What writing are you most proud of?

The letters I write to woman who never replies. I’m not sure she’s real anymore. http://www.abctales.com/story/arthur-ray/confessions-letter-old-lover

What are you most proud of in your personal life?

I once out-drank my uncle, the heaviest drinker known to man. He’s still applying for a feature in the Guinness Book of World Records.

What books did you love growing up?

Oliver Button is a Sissy and Green Eggs and Ham.

Who is your favorite author?

Probably Kurt Vonnegut.

What book genre of books do you adore?

From dark political novels to unintelligible sci-fi.

What book should everybody read at least once?

The Grapes of Wrath.


A stark dystopian world of insatiable greed and ceaseless distraction is that of young Gustav Klein, a German twenty-three-year-old who has just sold his hotel in Munich. He is looking for nothing more than escape. The modern gadgets which flash their endless advertisements are locking society inside brick houses, allowing them to be dumbed-down further by the money-hungry gremlins in the high towers.

Gustav Klein, meanwhile, begins a journey over the myriad terrains of Europe, through countless bottles on the corner of morbid winter streets, coloured by the peculiar characters he encounters, some who bestow upon him their wisdom, some who fuel his disdain, some who ignite his desires, and some who merely drink with him until they hit the floor in a merry temperament. But the hedonistic, aimless rambling must come to end, for life calls. And Gustav lands on a mountain in Scotland, searching for release, for total nature, untouched by the destructive hand of man.

But, it seems, it is too late… In this harrowing tale of youthful rebellion, dark nihilism on the road, heavy drinking beatniks, political adversity and the capricious desires of the gluttonous modern man, the reader is taken by the hand firmly and hauled into a bleak world where every man lives for himself. Close your eyes if you are scared, but you cannot escape.

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Genre – Travel, Political, Dystopia, Romance

Rating – PG15

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#Author Chat with Deborah Hawkins @DeborahHawk3 #Mystery #Romance

Image of Deborah Hawkins

What writing are you most proud of?

My first published novel, Dance For A Dead Princess.  It was not easy to weave  together a modern mystery-love story with a historical mystery-love story and have both be relevant to each other.  I was excited when I read  Diane Donovan’s review at the Midwest Book Review because she really understood what I was trying to do and made me feel great about my work!

(Link to book review)


(Link to book)

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Dance-For-Dead-Princess-ebook/dp/B00C4HP9I0

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dance-for-a-dead-princess-deborah-hawkins/1114978129?ean=2940016545196

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/301660

Website:   http://deborahlhawkins.com/

What are you most proud of in your personal life?

Creating a family.  I’m sort of an orphan, and I always wanted a family.  So I had to create one.  I’m also very proud of working to change my career at this point in life. It is not easy to practice law all day and write and promote fiction at night.  But I accept the challenge and keep working at it.  I want to be a fiction writer more than a lawyer, and I’m going to work to make that happen.

What books did you love growing up?

I loved Louisa May Alcott when I was in elementary school.  I read all of her books over and over, but  An Old Fashioned Girl was my favorite.  I’ve read it too many times to count.  Then, when I got a little older I discovered Mary Stewart.  Not only does she tell a marvelous story, her prose is beautiful.  I read her books countless times, too; but I particularly love Nine Coaches Waiting.    And of course, I love Jayne Eyre and everything Jane Austin wrote.  I read a lot of poetry in graduate school.  My major figure was W.B. Yeats, and I also read T.S. Eliot to distraction and Emily Dickinson.  I lived in Dublin for six months back in the 1970’s while I was studying Yeats.  I learned a lot.

Who is your favorite author?

In addition to the ones named in the last question, I like Jody Picoult, Karen White, Anita Shreve, Rosamond Pilcher,  Scott Turow,  John Grisham, and Tom Clancy.  (Kind of an eclectic mix.)

What book genre do you adore?

Real romantic suspense – the ones that Mary Stewart wrote, where you have a complete mystery and a complete love story in the same book.  I think a love story should be about the development of the characters as they discover each other.  I’m not a fan of books where it’s just all sex.  That’s too shallow for my taste.  I want to get to know the people in the story, what they feel, and why they wind up together.

Is your family supportive?  Do your friends support you?

My children have been extremely supportive.   My daughter was my earliest reader  though all the versions of the book. My youngest computer genius child created my website and advised me about online marketing.  My second son has encouraged me to keep writing.  And my friends are just the best.  They support my internet marketing efforts and make me feel great when I see their “likes” on Facebook.  I count myself blessed to have such wonderful family and friends.

What else to you do to make money?

In my “day job” I am an appellate attorney.  I work at home in my living room writing briefs for the court of appeal.  When you lose in the trial court, you come see me.  I do a lot of court-appointed work which means I do a lot of criminal appeals.  It’s ironic because criminal law was not my favorite subject in law school.  I never meet these clients.  I just read what happened at their trials and write about it.

I only own one suit and I actually only have to go to court about once every three years to do oral argument.  Since telling people I am  a lawyer sounds really intimidating (and I am anything but intimidating), sometimes I just say I’m a legal writer.   That best describes my job, anyway.

I wanted to be a university professor and teach writing, but there were no jobs when I got out of graduate school.  So I went to law school.  Law is a great education for a woman on her own.  You can really take care of yourself if you have a law degree.  And now it gives me great story ideas.  So it has all worked out well.

What other jobs have you had in your life?

I taught writing at university before I went to law school, and I worked as a technical editor for scientists working on nuclear energy.   The training as an editor turned out to be invaluable.   I’m really good at editing, including my own work, and I enjoy that part of the process.   My scientist authors  used to request me as their editor because I can improve manuscripts without interfering with the authenticity of the author’s own voice.  I don’t think an editor should make the work the editor’s.  I think an editor’s job is to bring out the best in the writer.   I can do that, and I love doing it.  When I get through, the draft is bright and tight and clean but it still belongs to the author, not me.  The best editors get in and out and don’t leave themselves behind.

I also loved teaching writing in a non-critical way that helped my students gain confidence in themselves as writers.  Too much criticism shuts off the creative flow.  First you write.  Then you edit.  The two steps are separate.  I loved seeing my students gain confidence in themselves.

Do you plan to publish more books?

Absolutely, yes, yes, yes.  I have finished a second novel that needs editorial work. The working title is Ride Your Heart ‘Til It Breaks.  I am currently putting chapters of my third novel Dark Moon up on my blog, http://dhawkins.net.   I am thrilled to get new followers every week.  I’ve always been uncomfortable with being a lawyer.  It’s not the real me.  I like to laugh and play too much to fit the legal stereotype.  I’d rather crack jokes in court than argue the law. (Although I stick to the script and do my job, of course.)  I’m really a writer and an artist and a free spirit.   Now that my children are grown up, I have promised myself to devote the rest of my life to writing and publishing. (And becoming a better musician.)

What is hardest, getting published, writing or marketing?

I think marketing is challenging.  There is no one formula that works, and I realize I am often stabbing in the dark, trying to figure it out.    But I promised myself at the beginning to forgive my marketing mistakes because I’m just learning.  I was disappointed initially when people reacted to Dance for A Dead Princess as an exploitation of Princess Diana.  It isn’t.  I respect Diana too much to do that.

The book is actually the story of the fictional Carey family and how it manages to survive because Taylor Collins shows up and figures out Nicholas Carey.  They are people who’ve had horrendous pasts, and together they heal each other.  Diana is a background figure who helps to develop the character of Nicholas, my modern duke and captain of industry.   I loved Diana so much when she was around in the 1980’s.  I took my first bar exam on the day of her wedding, and I got up in the wee hours of the morning to watch her get married before heading off to a full day of writing the exam.  And then her children were just barely older than mine, and I loved her because she loved being a mother the way I did.  And I also was inspired by the way she brought compassion to a job that can be stuffy and remote.  I put a lot of my feelings for Diana into my hero, Nicholas.  I can just imagine the two of them together, talking and comforting each other.


In January 1997, Princess Diana received a phone call telling her she would be assassinated. She recorded the information on a secret video tape, naming her killer and gave it to a trusted friend in America for safekeeping. It has never been found.

Diana’s close friend, Nicholas Carey, the 18th Duke of Burnham and second richest man in England, has vowed to find the tape and expose her killer. After years of searching, he discovers Diana gave the tape to British socialite Mari Cuniff, who died in New York under mysterious circumstances. He believes Wall Street attorney Taylor Collins, the executor of Mari’s estate, has possession of it. He lures Taylor to England by promising to sell his ancestral home in Kent, Burnham Abbey, to one of her clients, a boarding school for American girls. Nicholas has dated actresses and models since the death of his wife, ten years earlier, and has no interest in falling in love again. But he is immediately and unexpectedly overwhelmed with feelings for Taylor at their first meeting.

Taylor, unaware that Diana’s tape is in her long-time friend and client’s estate and nursing her hurt over her broken engagement to a fellow attorney in her firm, brands Nicholas supremely spoiled and selfish. She is in a hurry to finish the sale of the Abbey and return to New York. But while working in the Abbey’s library, Taylor uncovers the diary of Thomas Carey, a knight at the court of Henry VIII and the first Duke of Burnham.

As she reads Thomas’ agonizing struggle to save the love of his life and the mother of his child from being forced to become Henry’s mistress, she begins to see Nicholas in a new light as he battles to save his sixteen-year-old ward Lucy, who is desperately unhappy and addicted to cocaine. But just as Taylor’s feelings for Nicholas become clear and at the moment she realizes she is in possession of Diana’s voice from the grave, she learns that Nicholas may be Lucy’s father and responsible for his wife’s death at the Abbey at the time of Lucy’s birth. When Nicholas is arrested for Lucy’s murder and taken to Wandsworth Prison, Taylor sets out to learn the truth about Nicholas, his late wife, and the death of the Princess of Wales.

Dance for A Dead Princess is a the story of two great loves that created and preserved a family that has lasted for five hundred years.

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Genre – Contemporary Romance,Mystery

Rating – G

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Website http://deborahlhawkins.com/

Things You Didn’t Know About the Order of the Seers #SciFi Trilogy @CereceRMurphy

10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Order of the Seers Trilogy

10. The Order of the Seers Trilogy is about a group of people who can see the future and are enslaved for that ability.  The first book is about how the Seers escape the organization that is trying to exploit their gift, reclaim their power and start fighting back.  Without giving too much away, the second book in the trilogy picks up right where the first one leaves off, has even more action than the first and is a bit darker because you get to know your villains a LOT better. J

9. The biggest influences for the Trilogy are The Star Wars Saga by George Lucas, Dune by Frank Herbert, Wild Seed by Octavia Butler and Chronicles of Riddick for philosophy and mythology, and The Bourne Series by Robert Ludlum for pacing and action.

8. I am a HUGE fan of the FRINGE TV series.  Lilli and Liam Knights last name is a tribute to Peter and Walter Bishop from the series.  I wanted to name Lilli and Liam’s father Walter, but I thought that would have been too much.  In the 2nd book in the trilogy, Liam wears a peacoat in honor of Peter Bishop’s now legendary and beloved peacoat on the series.

7. Order of the Seers and its sequel, The Red Order, take place in San Francisco, Chicago, rural Tanzania, Iowa and Salem, Oregon, London, Prague, Geneva, Berlin and Cuba.  I have been to all of these places except, Iowa and Salem, Oregon.  Having a personal connection to the locations really helped me visualize the mood and feel for each book.

6.My perfect Alessandra Pino is a younger Monica Bellucci.  My perfect Liam Knight is Wes Bentley. And my perfect Marcus Akida, is Lance Reddick from FRINGE.

5. The my playlist for Order of the Seers includes Crawl by Linkin Park, Scratch Your Name by The Noisettes, Closer by Kings of Leon and Breathe Me by Sia.

4. I love languages and accents so I tried to use as many of them as I could cram into both books in the series.  In the first book alone, you will find Chinese, Portuguese, Swahili, Italian and Japanese.  The second book adds some Russian, Spanish and French to the mix. I am hoping to get Farsi and Hindi, and maybe some Hebrew into the 3rd book.

3. The idea for Order of the Seers came to me about 3 years ago, while I was washing the dishes.

2.  If you asked me to describe Order of the Seers in three words, I would say Intense.Action.Suspense

1.  I am working on the final book in the Trilogy now, which I hope to release by Summer 2014.    The working title for the 3rd book is The Last Seer.

Order of the Seers

What would you do if you held infinite power in the palm of your hand? Part One of the thrilling Order of the Seers trilogy poses this question within a story that fuses action, mystery, romance, and adventure in a science fiction novel that keeps you at the edge of your seat. Captured and enslaved for their extraordinary gift, a group of individuals, known as Seers, are forced to serve a ruthless world organization that uses the power of the Seers to exploit the ultimate advantage: knowing the future. While a brother and his Seer sister fight to evade the group that hunts them, an unlikely captured Seer, plots his escape from within the organization and sets off a chain of events that will change the world.

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Genre – Science Fiction

Rating – NC-17

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Website http://www.crmurphybooks.com

@RJ_Blain on Things She Wishes She Knew About Being an #Author (#WriteTip)

No amount of reading will really prepare someone for the realities of being an author, whether traditionally or self-published. In a way, self-published authors have even more things to worry about once a book is released, although there is no shortage of surprises in store for the new author learning the ropes of publication.

If I could do it all over again, these are the top ten things I wish I had known before I had published for the first time!

10: Deadlines Matter

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Just because you’re working for you, you’re not – not really. If you’re with a traditional publisher, they have deadlines to get your book to the market. If you’re working with a freelance editor, they have set aside time in their busy schedules to accommodate you.

Deadlines matter. If anything, these deadlines have become even more important since I’ve published.

9: Competition is Irrelevant

There is no need for a number one when it comes to book and book sales. Don’t worry about the so-called competition. Someone who is reading a book is likely reading many books. There really is enough room for everyone, and there is no need to get competitive with other writers.

When someone is buying books, there is a high chance they’ll buy multiple books. Worry about the quality of your novel, not your competition.

8: The Reality of Reviews

Reviews can be full of compliments and love for your novel. They might be full of nothing but scorn and dislike for your work. No matter what, they can impact an author. No one is immune to it. If you can’t handle what is in the reviews without getting overly giddy or distressed, don’t look at them.

The reviews are for other customers, not for you, although there is a lot you can learn from a review, if you decide to take them seriously.

7: The Work I didn’t Know I’d have to do

When I was first published, I thought the hard work was done. Wrong. It was just the beginning. Coasting around doing nothing to connect to your fans won’t get copies of your book sold. Being an author isn’t just about putting words on a page. It’s about writing books and connecting with your fans. Your readers need to find you, and that takes work.

If you get famous, your books have a good chance of selling themselves. Until then, you’ll need to find readers. That requires effort.

6: One Proofer isn’t Enough

No one is perfect, and the same applies to proofers and authors. A good proofer will catch the vast majority of your mistakes, but don’t be afraid to have someone else go over the novel for you – even if it is a really picky friend who hates errors.

It really makes a big difference.

5: Sales are Fickle

Try not to attach your self-esteem to your sales. Sales can be fickle things. One day, you won’t have hardly any sales. The next, it can skyrocket and catch you by surprise. When you’re starting out, don’t let your sales figures drag you down. Backlists will really help your sales in the future, but you need to release a few books first!

4: Character and Author Associations

Most people read because they love the characters. Don’t be too distressed if a fan refers to you “as that person who created <Character Name>.” It’s okay. Your characters are the people your readers and fans love. You come second to your stories.

So, don’t worry about it. Once they fall in love with your characters, they’ll be looking for your name because they want to meet more characters created by you.

3: Success (usually) doesn’t happen overnight

Get used to the idea. If you win the authorial lottery, rejoice. Otherwise, don’t sweat it. Most of us have to climb the mountain the hard way, and that’s okay!

2: There is no such thing as a perfect novel

There will be errors. There will be things you want to improve. You may even improve your basic writing skills. Fix the things you can, and don’t worry too much about the things you can’t. Always move forward, and focus on making your next novel even better.

1: Your Writing is Not You

It’s really easy to get caught up in the idea that your writing defines you, and that reviews or comments from readers are about you personally. They aren’t. They’re about your writing, and your writing is not you.

Don’t sweat it. It really makes a big difference on stress levels if you accept that not everyone will like your book, and their dislike for your book has absolutely nothing to do with you as a person. After all, these people don’t know you, not on a personal level.

If I had known these things in advance, I think my debut novel would have been released in a much smoother process, and I wouldn’t have stressed quite as much about it. There’s still stress and challenges, but they’re far easier to manage now.


Kalen’s throne is his saddle, his crown is the dirt on his brow, and his right to rule is sealed in the blood that stains his hand. Few know the truth about the one-armed Rift King, and he prefers it that way. When people get too close to him, they either betray him or die. The Rift he rules cares nothing for the weak. More often than not, even the strong fail to survive.

When he’s abducted, his disappearance threatens to destroy his home, his people, and start a hopeless and bloody war. There are many who desire his death, and few who hope for his survival. With peace in the Six Kingdoms quickly crumbling, it falls on him to try to stop the conflict swiftly taking the entire continent by storm.

But something even more terrifying than the machinations of men has returned to the lands: The skreed. They haven’t been seen for a thousand years, and even the true power of the Rift King might not be enough to save his people — and the world — from destruction.

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Genre – Fantasy

Rating – PG – 13

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#Author Chat with Sandy Nathan @SandyONathan #SciFi #GoodReads

Image of Sandy Nathan

Why do you write?

I can’t help it. I’ve always written academically or professionally, but in 1993 I had a personal disaster. After working like crazy to heal myself for two years, I had a gigantic transcendent experience, which left the plot of a book in my mind. A series, actually, which was delivered in an instantaneous inner experience. That happened in 1995. I haven’t been able to stop writing since. I’ve got two series going and a couple of miscellaneous books.

Have you always enjoyed writing?

No. I used to enjoy waterskiing and riding my horse more. I’ve always written; I had to in school and at work. I didn’t start writing as a full time profession until 1995.

What motivates you to write?

Words bang around inside my head until I let them out. That’s my daily experience. What’s behind the words is a desire to save the world, elevate consciousness, and heal everyone. I’m giving it my best shot. Looking at the news, I don’t seem to be having much success.

What writing are you most proud of? 

That’s a hard one. I’ve written a lot. I’m most proud of Mogolllon: A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem. It’s coming out in 2014. It combines raging action, spirituality, love, and (I hope) a vision of the divine.

Of my books in print, I like The Headman & the Assassin, Earth’s End 3. This is the third book in the Earth’s End series. The previous books in the series are rootin’ tootin’ sci-fi. Lots of action and big splashy events. The Headman is a story about a relationship that lasts 34 years, all of it in a gigantic underground bomb shelter. It focuses on two people, Sam Baahuhd, the leader of the village on Veronica Edgarton’s estate, and Valerie Zanner, a killer and torturer for FBI before she had to take refuge in the shelter. It has every permutation a love story can have. This is how I would do romance. It’s a deep book, and a moving one. Best to read the previous two books before this, just to know what’s going on.

What are you most proud of in your personal life?

That I’m alive and thriving. I have a wonderful marriage, three great kids, and two grandkids. Up above, I speak of a personal disaster. It was truly awful, the kind of thing that most people don’t get over. I did. That’s one reason I’m so grateful to be able to write. That’s why I write books that are uplifting and inspiring. (They’re also bloody, violent and sexy. Those do go with spirituality, oddly enough.)

What books did you love growing up?

The Tarzan Series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. You can get the books cheap as Kindle books. I just bought a Kindle package of Burroughs’ work: 24 books for $1.99. They’re still good reads.

Who is your favorite author?

Halldor Laxness, the 1955 Nobel Prize winner from Iceland is my favorite author. He’s simply brilliant. I’m half Icelandic, so I’m interested in things from that country. Laxness was my greatest discovery. His Independent People is a masterpiece. A word of warning: it’s so grim that it makes Angela’s Ashes look like Mary Poppins.

Do you find the time to read?

Unfortunately, I don’t get to read other author’s work very much. I read my own drafts. It’s called polishing or rewriting. I put my books-in-process on my Kindle and pick away at errors.

Last book you purchased? Tell us about it.
I bought a book about how to use the Scrivener word processing program for writers. It was Scrivener for Extreme Dummies Who Can’t Even Figure Out Scrivener for Dummies. Something like that. I can’t make head nor tail of it, though I can see that Scrivener is a very valuable tool for writers.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

Finishing by books and getting them published, for sure. What I’m really proud of is walking away from a PhD program in economics at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. When I was accepted, I wanted that degree and program more than anything. At that time, people with PhDs weren’t like God to me, they were God. I saw a lot in that program that debunked that notion. Mostly, I realized that I couldn’t do the math. I didn’t have the mathematical aptitude and never would have it. The best I could do if I with the PhD degree would be a mediocre economics professor somewhere. So I bailed. I’d never done that before.


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Buy Now @ Amazon


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Metaphysical Science Fiction

Rating – R

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#WriteTip from @Mulligan_writes on Dealing with the Bad #BookReview Blues

Dealing with the Bad Review Blues

As my friends know,  Josh Ritter is my celebrity soul mate. In my humble opinion, he is the best lyricist of my generation. He’s amazing and if you’ve never heard of him, definitely check him out.

A few years ago, when his album The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter was released, I read an interview in which the interviewer asked him if he worried about upsetting his fans by departing so drastically from his previous efforts. His response was something to the effect of this: If you’re an artist, you should be upsetting people.

I think what he meant was that artists aren’t trying to please everyone. They are trying to express their vision. If you try to please everyone, you end up in a Fahrenheit 451 world where everything is sanitized and simplified and boring. But if you stay true to your vision, you might inspire strong emotions in people, which is what art is supposed to do. When some people feel strongly that a work of art is amazing, others will undoubtedly dislike it.

Or at least, this is what I tell myself when Watch Me Disappear gets a bad review.

Novels, like any other art form, are subjective and personal. What one person likes will be off-putting to another. All you have to do to see objective proof of this is to look up your favorite book on GoodReads.

For instance, one of the best books I’ve read in a long time is Barbara Kingsolver’s latest, Flight Behavior. I loved it from page one and have recommended it to all my book-loving friends. It has gotten 491 four- or five-star reviews. Obviously a lot of people agree with me. It has also gotten 52 one- or two-star reviews. 7% of people who read it didn’t like it. It is possible that some of the people I recommended it to will read it and wonder what the heck I liked so much.

In a more dramatic example, consider The Great Gatsby, one of the most beautiful novels of all time. Over 550,000 people gave it four- or five-star reviews, but over 120,000 gave it one- or two-star reviews.

Knowing all of this only makes it a marginally easier for a writer to read a bad review. It’s like overhearing someone bad-mouthing you. You go through life well aware that not everyone is going to like you, but it shakes your confidence when you actually hear someone put you down. Or course, in life, most people have the good grace not to be confrontational about their dislikes, but online, in the world of books, everyone is a critic and manners are nonexistent.

That my first novel has a very respectable average 3.56 rating out of 45 reviews on Goodreads should not be a source of such distress (consider that it got four-stars on much respected IndieReader.com and was a Kindle Book Review Best Indie Book Award finalist in 2013), but in the indie book world, 3.56 doesn’t sell books. If you want to sell books, you need five stars. That’s how you get noticed Amazon’s algorithms, that’s how you become discoverable.

The pressure to get five-star reviews has led some indie authors, among them a number of the best-selling darlings of the self-pub movement, to the odious decision to pay for reviews. I don’t mean paying someone to read and review his or her book. I mean paying a “book promotion” company a certain dollar amount for a certain number of top reviews. The “reviewers” had no obligation to read or actually like the book. As if self-publishing didn’t already raise suspicions about quality.

Some indie authors have also taken the childish approach of scolding and verbally attacking people who gave them bad reviews. Another great way to gain respect for self publishing.

I think the solution is by taking the long view. Are you in it for big sales or are you in it to tell great stories? Do you want to be a rising star in world of self-publishing or do you want to be a writer? If you want to tell great stories and be a writer, be a professional about it. Do your best writing, put it out there, and when you get a bad review, give yourself a few seconds for a pity-party and then get back to your writing.

To my fellow authors, I leave you with a word from Nathaniel Hawthorne (no stranger to the bad review):

“When [the author] casts his leaves forth upon the wind, the author addresses, not the many who will fling aside his volume, or never take it up, but the few who will understand him, better than most of his schoolmates or lifemates.”

To amateur book reviewers, I leave you with a word from Yeats (also no stranger to criticism):

“I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”

The Latecomers Fan Club

What is it about guys with guitars in their hands that makes them so irresistible, even when they are obviously self-centered jerks? If Abby and Maggie could answer that question, maybe they could finally get over Nathaniel. There’s just something about him when he picks up his guitar and gets behind the microphone, something that makes sensible women act like teenyboppers instead of rational, self-respecting adults.

Abby was first sucked in by Nathaniel’s rock ‘n roll swagger four years ago when a drunken fling turned into a series of drunken hook-ups that became something like a relationship. Now, as New Year’s Eve promises a fresh start, she wants to believe he’s finally going to grow up and take their relationship seriously.

What does Nathaniel hope the New Year will bring? An escape from the disappointing realities of his life. He’s thirty-four years old and he’s barely making ends meet as an adjunct philosophy professor, which was always only a backup plan anyway. Nathaniel’s real goal was always to make his living as a musician, but his band, The Latecomers, broke up a couple of years ago, and he hasn’t picked up his guitar in months.

When he decides to spend the holiday with some high school friends instead of hanging out at the bar where Abby works, he gets the happy surprise of reuniting with his long-lost friend Maggie. Newly divorced, Maggie has just moved back to her mother’s house to regroup. Nathaniel and Maggie were supposed to be the ones who left Worcester forever to conquer the world. He was going to be a rock star. She was going to take the world of art by storm. He’s never gotten farther than Boston, and her best efforts only left her broke and heartbroken.

As they ring in the New Year together, Nathaniel decides it’s time to take control of his life and to start making his dreams come true. He thinks the first step will be easy. All he needs to do is break up with Abby and finally admit his feelings for Maggie. But the New Year has more surprises in store, and nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords

Genre – Women’s Literature

Rating – PG-13

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