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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

A Pictorial Peek into the Novel Leave of Absence




The novel Leave of Absence is a story of loss and a story of strength. Readers join Oliver Graham, Penelope Baker, and William Baker on their tumultuous journey through pain, struggle, and triumph.
Enjoy a little pictorial peek into the story.


First, a video preview:



Oliver meets Penelope and her fiancée William at Airhaven Behavioral Health Hospital. He’s taken there after a suicide attempt, and Penelope is getting help for schizophrenia.



In Leave of Absence, Penelope’s fiancée William is a chef. He makes comfort food for Penelope and Oliver, and he takes it to them in the hospital. One meal is chilled cucumber soup because it’s Penelope’s favorite, and it’s something Oliver can easily eat without gagging or getting sick.


 “Penelope wanted to be better, to be complete, to be attractive again, and if eating the crayons would transform her, then eat them she would. One by one, she cracked them into pieces. Snap! Snap! Snap! She spit the wax, slashed through the wrappers, slid her fingers into the stack, and shoveled smidgens of color into her mouth.”


 Among other things, schizophrenia involves psychotic features like hallucinations and delusions. Penelope’s include a belief in beings called Kerffies and interactions with a very twisted Eleanor Roosevelt. 


 At one point, Oliver’s psychiatrist tells him, “And each hour, ask yourself what small thing you can do to make it through to the next hour.


Tanya J. Peterson’s ability to create vivid imagery with her words, while using strong storytelling to pull readers in, shines in Leave of Absence. The story tackles heavy topics of loss and mental illness through the characters Oliver and Penelope. But it doesn’t weigh you down because there’s a thread of hope running through each page.  —Jeneé Darden, Web Content and PR Specialist, Host of Mental Health and Wellness Radio  P.E.E.R.S.  Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services
Above all, Leave of Absence is about hope.

Tanya J Peterson

Monday, 29 September 2014

Madalyn Morgan’s Author Biography Video – and Book Trailers



Madalyn Morgan Author Biography video:   

I thought about making a video biography for my author page on Amazon when Foxden Acres was published in February 2012, and again this year when Applause was published in April.  But you know how it is?  Good ideas are often put on the back burner when you’re busy.  Then, at the September chapter meeting and lunch of the LRNA in Leicester, Lizzie Lamb introduced Sarah Houldcroft of Authors Uncovered.  Sarah gave me her card and I looked AU up when I got home.  
“Authors Uncovered, the place where authors and booklovers can connect, read, write and share.” http://www.authors-uncovered.com/  

Sarah has been working as a virtual assistant for authors, helping them promote their books online.  She said authors do not want to spend time marketing their books they want to write the next book.  Isn’t that the truth?  Sarah is not an author, she is a prolific reader and booklover and as such, she is uniquely placed to know what readers and authors want. 

From what Sarah says on the website – and the annual fee being reasonable, I decided to go with AU and made my video.   And that’s another story.  Having had a weekend of problems with my computer, I recorded it on my camera.  I had to go with the first rehearsal because I broke the camera.  It’s true.  Lips and words would not synchronize after the first take.  Anyway, now it’s done, I shall link it to my Amazon author page with a written biography. 

Uploading to YouTube I found trailers that I had made.  Foxden Acres, an actress and radio presenter trailers and so I created one for Applause.  They are below.





Foxden Acres on Amazon:   http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BCX59LE/



Trailer for Foxden Acres:






Trailer for Applause:

                                      






Madalyn Morgan

Links: 
Non-fiction writing Blog:  http://madalynmorgan.blogspot.co.uk/


Saturday, 27 September 2014

HUG A BOOK with Fly or Fall by Gilli Allan


Hug A Book is sponsored by








It’s HUG A BOOK and this weekend it’s with
Gilli Allan

And

Fly or Fall





Meet Gilli



I was born in Kent, in the UK. As a child I drew copiously, encouraged by the adults in my life who always told me I was good at art, but from around the age of ten, I also wrote. These two hobbies, particularly the writing, sustained me through my teenage years when the romance in the stories I conjured in my head was the only romance I experienced. Writing was only abandoned when I left home and real life took over from the fiction.

I did not go to Oxford or Cambridge. Instead, after leaving school at sixteen, with only 5 indifferent GCE passes, I went to Croydon Art College. (It may not have been one of the more prestigious schools of art, but Croydon fostered the disparate talents of some notable alumni, including Ray Davies, Malcolm McClaren and Mervyn Peake.)

I did not work on any of the broadsheets, in television or publishing, but did a variety of jobs - shop assistant, beauty-consultant and barmaid. I also had a job which consisted of picking up American tourists and sending them on a free sightseeing tour of London which culminated in lunch at the Hilton. The unsuspecting holidaymakers were then subjected to an intense sales-pitch, selling Florida real estate. I was no good at this ‘commission only’ job and, unsurprisingly, didn’t enjoy it.  I was very relieved when I eventually landed the job of my dreams, working as an illustrator with an advertising design studio. I eventually went free-lance.

I married and resumed writing while my son, Tom, was a toddler. My first ever completed novel, Just Before Dawn, was published less than 2 years after I finished the first draft. My second, Desires & Dreams, followed it onto the book shelves eight months later. But my publisher was new and it was small. It failed to achieve the required marketing push and wide distribution which would have given its authors - and itself - any real prospect of success. Though they were available in libraries, I never saw my novels in a book shop, other than in my own home town. The publisher ceased to trade after about five years.

My husband was head-hunted and I found myself living in Gloucestershire. Not only had I lost my support network of friends and family, I’d also lost my publisher, so I knuckled down and continued to write what I had always written, with the intention of finding a new publisher. But my books, which could be described as women’s contemporary relationship fiction, are unconventional, subversive and surprising. Though there is always a love story at their core, they never followed the current band-wagon (whatever it happened to be at the time), and they failed to spark any interest in publishers, or even literary agents. So, with the dawning of the new digital age, and specifically the birth of the Kindle, I decided to self-publish.

I have been a school governor, a contributor to local newspapers and was one of the initiators of the successful community shop in my village. Still a keen artist I regularly attend a weekly art class, design Christmas cards and have recently been commissioned to illustrate a children’s book - which tells the story of the Viking King, Harald Hardrada - to coincide with the Viking exhibition at the British Museum, in the spring of 2014.



Blurb for Fly or Fall



Eleanor - known as Nell - thinks of herself as a wimp.  Even though her life has not been easy, she clings to the safety of the familiar. Married young and dependent on her teacher husband’s wages, Nell has stayed at home in Battersea with her twin children and her increasingly invalid mother.  Following the death of her mother the family’s fortunes suddenly change.  Trevor, her husband, is wildly enthusiastic about their ‘move up in the world’; he plans to give up teaching and move house away from London.  Nell is gripped by a nebulous fear of some unknown disaster that is waiting to trip them up, but her husband steamrollers her objections.

Now in her early thirties and living in an unfamiliar landscape, away from old friends, Nell feels cast adrift.  She is increasingly aware that Trevor is no longer the man she married and their young teenage twins, Jonathan and Juliet, are grumpy and difficult. The women she meets, Felicity and Katherine, seem shallow, materialistic and promiscuous. The new house is unwelcoming and needs modernisation. She is thrust into a continuing chaos of rubble and renovation.  Although one of the men working for the building firm is infamous as a local Lothario, he doesn’t make a pass at her. At first she’s grateful, but can’t help wondering why he’s not interested.

When Nell takes a bar job at the local sports club, she is exposed to an overheated atmosphere of flirtation and gossip. Influenced by her new friends and the world in which she now moves, she begins to blossom and to take pleasure in the possibilities which seem to be opening up for her. She meets and forms a deeper friendship with the quirky new-age Elizabeth, a very different character to her other friends.  As Nell begins to enjoy herself and to become more enthusiastic about her life, it seems her husband is on the opposite end of a cosmic seesaw on a downward trajectory.  When she is pursued by a beautiful and enigmatic young man, and she is tempted into behaviour she would never have previously imagined herself capable of, the foreshadowed disaster happens.

FLY or FALL follows the dismantling of all of Nell’s certainties, her preconceptions and her moral code. Unwelcome truths about her friends, her husband, her teenage children and herself are revealed.  Relationships are not what they seem. The hostility between brothers is exposed and finally explained. She realises the hair’s breadth between wishful thinking, self-deception and lies.
Ultimately FLY or FALL is a love story, and by its conclusion everything has altered for Nell, the woman who doesn’t like change. But she has rebuilt herself as a different person, a braver person, and she has embarked with optimism on a totally transformed life.


Available for Kindle and paperback



Excerpt

FLY or FALL



Prologue
2006


The cartoon rabbit ran straight off the edge of the cliff. He hung, oblivious to his predicament, feet pedalling the empty air. There was a snigger, halfway between laughter and derision, from the twins.
Perhaps belief is everything, I thought. If you believe you’re still on the same level, that life hasn’t changed, you won’t see the void which has opened beneath your feet. And if you don’t see it, you don’t fall. Inevitably the rabbit did stop running, did look down. I felt with him the nightmare lurch of panic, the sudden plunge downwards as he dropped out of frame. The result was explosive. As the dust cleared a precisely incised, rabbit shaped crater was revealed at the foot of the cliff.

‘I still can’t believe the amount of money....’ I murmured, with a dazed shake of my head.
‘So? What’s your problem? Any normal person would be jumping for joy.’ We were speaking quietly; the twins had yet to be told their father wanted to move, let alone that, without even putting the house on the market, we’d received an eye-watering offer for it.
‘I’m not arguing,’ I defended myself half-heartedly. ‘But I suppose I’ve always thought the amount it might sell for was academic. We have to live somewhere. Your job’s here, our friends are here, the kids go to school here. Why sell?’
‘We’ve been through this. There’s nothing to keep us, not really. Why stay in Battersea when we could live in the country? Clean air, green fields, a house with a proper garden and a driveway ... maybe even a garage ... to park the car off-road?’
I hadn’t reacted the way he’d wanted and expected, and I could hardly explain why to myself let alone to him. Why did I have such a sense of foreboding? If I agreed to sell and move out of London, our lives would change in countless superficial and practical ways but, to use Trevor’s words, they’d be changes which most normal people would regard as improvements to the style and quality of life. To him it was a no-brainer. Why stay in a property worth so much money when we could sell it and move somewhere better but cheaper in the country. Deflated by my reaction to his plans he had to work hard to keep his irritation in check.
‘But it’s such an unremarkable house.’
‘For God’s sake, Nell. Where have you been? You’ve heard about the property boom?’
‘But it’s smaller than the others in the terrace, with a much smaller garden. I never in a million years thought.... Anyway, what about your job?’
He sighed deeply. ‘I’m a teacher, I can get a job anywhere.’
‘Are you sure about that?’
‘I’m not dragging us off to the depths of the country on a wing and a prayer. I’ll make sure I’ve something to go to. I may quit teaching altogether.’
‘But you love teaching?’
‘I used to,’ he retorted darkly. I felt I was being drawn into an Alice in Wonderland world where all my certainties were being turned upside down. ‘Look, the whys and wherefores are not important … the important thing is this.’ He waved the formal offer at me. His taut, flushed face betrayed his excitement, as he contemplated a very different future to the one I’d envisaged.
‘I don’t want … we don’t need so much money. Wealth can be very corrupting.’
He sighed again. ‘Of course it seems a lot to us because we’ve been scraping along for years. It’s only recently things have eased up a bit. But we’ll still need a house to live in.’ His tabby, greying beard received another vigorous raking. ‘We’ll only have the balance to play with.’
‘I know that.’
‘Sure, our lives are going to change. But we are who we are. It is possible to be comfortably off, to have a few hundred thousand in an investment account, without abandoning your ideals. Unless you truly believe our principles are so flaky? The kind you adopt when you’re poor then slough off like a snake’s skin as soon as your circumstances improve?’
‘No one really knows how they’ll respond to temptation until they’re exposed to it. It’s a leap into the dark. Perhaps I am going to develop a taste for furs and diamonds and love-affairs. And you? Fast cars and bimbos?’
‘Do try to keep a sense of proportion. It’s not that kind of dosh.’
‘I am joking.’ But as I said the words I knew I wasn’t joking, not really. I had cloaked my real misgivings in the facile.
‘Anyway, how come you get to have love-affairs and I get the bimbos?’ he added, with a rueful smile. ‘Sounds a bit discriminatory to me.’
‘What is the male equivalent of a bimbo? A gigolo? A toy boy? Chance would be a fine thing.’
Much of the discussion so far had been conducted in this half-joking, half-serious vein. My insides still bubbled with a mixture of shocked surprise and apprehension, bordering on hysteria; I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. For me it was still too soon to properly and calmly evaluate what all this would really mean to us. At length he spoke again.
‘You think I don’t understand, but I do.’ His tone was now conciliatory, bordering on the condescending. I remained silent, repressing the urge to flash back, ‘Good for you.’
‘I know all this has been a shock. I know the last few months since Beryl died, have been hard on you. Losing your surviving parent has got to change your perspective on life and the way you live it. Even when she had long ceased to be the mother you knew. We always knew you’d inherit the house. The probate will soon be sorted and we ... you’ll get the title deeds. What the house is worth is the only new element for you.’
But not for him? Had he been comparing house prices for years? Weighing up what my mother’s death could mean for us? I sensed a ‘But’ coming, possibly an ultimatum. Did he want to secure my compliance here and now? Yet, as he proceeded, I saw apprehension in his eyes.
‘Seriously, Nell, it’s down to you. If you really don’t want to sell the house and realise some of the profits by moving out and down-pricing, then I can’t force you.’
I glanced away from his intent stare, back towards the TV, which now flickered in the corner without its cynical audience of two. Since I’d last looked, Bugs Bunny had not only survived his fall but had triumphed over his pursuers, in the interim mysteriously achieving a lifestyle of wealth and opulence. As the title music swelled the final frame revealed him lying back complacently against a pile of harem cushions, a jewelled turban balanced between his ears, the inevitable carrot held pinched in his fingers like a cigar.
‘Beats me why you can’t just accept it and rejoice?’ Trevor persisted doggedly. ‘Our ship’s come in. It’s our turn.’
He made my misgivings seem increasingly nebulous and perverse. How could I continue to resist? One moment I’d felt like I was at the edge of a precipice, facing a leap into the unknown, yet still clinging to the possibility of retreat. Now I realised the world had shifted on its axis; there could be no going back. The secure ground had vanished from beneath my feet. I had only two options left – to fall or to fly.




Gilli’s Links

FLY or FALL: “Will the allure of the unknown ever overcome the fear of stepping away from solid ground”

E-book:

Paperback: Amazon.co.uk
Paperback: Amazon.com


TORN: She may escape her old life but will she ever escape herself?

E-book:
Paperback:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Torn-Gilli-Allan/dp/1477517014
http://www.amazon.com/Torn-Gilli-Allan/dp/1477517014

LIFE CLASS: A story about art, life, love and learning lessons.

E-book:

Paperback:


Thursday, 25 September 2014

Book of the Day - Firewalls by Eileen Schuh




While working with the Alberta Police force, young Constable Katrina Randal has become a master at breaking through computer security in her pursuit of cybercrime but when the criminals behind the firewalls turn out to be villains from her past, her job takes on a much more dangerous tone.

Obsessed with haunting memories and wracked by emotions she can’t name, her nightmarish ordeal turns uglier as she ignores orders and takes to the street to lure the criminals from the shadows of cyberspace to face justice.

It’s not until her career is in shambles that she realizes that neither her war against crime nor her struggle with Post Traumatic Stress are battles she can win alone. However, the walls she’s built to protect her heart from pain and betrayal, don’t tumble easily. As she slides deeper into the darkness, she fears she’s waited too long to trust and love; her criminal associates from the past are stealing her future and Corporal Chad Leslie, who she’s loved since the beginning of time, is mere steps away from walking out of her life forever.



Available in paperback and popular eBook formats from all fine online book sellers. If it is not on the shelf of your local library or bookstore you can ask to have it ordered in for you.



Excerpt



CHAPTER 1


"Sergeant Kindle wants us in his office," Syd said. The tension inside her coiled tighter. She glued her eyes to her computer monitor and slipped the black Jack onto the red Queen. Syd’s announcement ended her doubt; she was just moments away from losing her job. “Katrina?”
Concentrating intently on the game, she planned every move to the finish, touched her fingers to the mouse and rapidly clicked across the screen. As the fifty-two e-cards fluttered into place she leaned back and sighed. “Just take Sergeant Kindle a message. Tell him I quit.”
“This isn’t about your job. It’s about James’ new book.”
As if that news is any better. She slouched into her steno chair and nervously ran her eyes around the room. A serpentine row of a dozen desks curved toward the wall of windows. It stopped well short of the squares of morning light brightening the floor tiles because, Katrina surmised, computer geeks had evolved in dark basements and preferred not to bask in sunshine.
There were only a few police officers at their work stations, studying their monitors with fake intensity. Katrina was sure that they were all listening. Listening, speculating and inwardly mocking her—the tiny blue-eyed rookie who was mere minutes away from being booted from the force. “James is an idiot,” Katrina muttered. James’ book, her job, yesterday’s ethics session—it was all related and today she was taking a tumble.
A fellow officer folded his hands on his lap and gawked across at her. Katrina returned his stare, not blinking until he dropped his eyes back to his keyboard.
She was feeling as empty as the grey metal filing cabinets squatting between the workstations in the room. The cabinets were empty because computer people don’t store information in non-digital form. She was empty because death had stolen those she loved, and now Sergeant Kindle was set to steal her dreams.
They can’t fire me. They need me. Although she’d been here only a few weeks, she knew everything there was to know about the Computer Crimes Department and about the aging, pre-internet-era bosses who were trying to run it. She was aware of the dozen meetings addressing the lack of paperwork in the cabinets and the two dozen increasingly irate memos regarding the Computer Centre’s rampant and persistent disregard of the uniform dress code. Katrina and her fellow officers took it all in stride, well aware that even in a police detachment their specialized knowledge out-powered seniority. However, she could think of nothing that would give her power over Rusty James, ex-cop-turned-literary-bestseller.
When James had been Syd’s undercover partner on the streets of Calgary and she’d been a wayward juvenile, she’d tangled with him more than once. He was an idiot as well as a moron but today he held a pen. How the hell can I fight that?
“Well?” Syd asked. “Are you coming?”
“Is this book James’ millennium project?”
“The millennium was last year.”
“No it wasn’t! 2000 was the last year of the second millennium. We now start the third. It’s not a difficult concept.”
“Is it a difficult concept that Sergeant Kindle wants you in his office?”
“It’s a difficult concept that Kindle fears the lies James has written.”
“Don’t dismiss James so easily; he has believers this time around.”
“Why would anyone believe him?”
“I guess,” Syd said so quietly Katrina had to strain to hear, “the truth has a way of rising to the top.”
The truth? Is James gutsy enough to put the truth in print? When Rusty James promised the media his first book would reveal the identity of the Crown’s tiny blue-eyed child witness who’d brought down The Traz biker gang, the elite at police headquarters and a pack of high-priced tax-payer-paid lawyers led the fight against him, forced him to revise his book, and then legally changed her name from Katrina Buckhold to Felicity Randal. Although, all paperwork including her driver’s licence and personnel file carried her new legal name, to her friends and co-workers, she insisted on being Katrina. The bikers had stolen so much from her, she just couldn’t let them also take the name her father had given her.
“It’s never going to end, is it?” Katrina said, exiting the solitaire game and staring up at Syd. There was no sympathy on his face, just accusation. “Don’t give me that look! You’re the dirty one here. James’ story is your story, your dirty little story.”
“If nothing else,” Syd replied, “I was hoping you’d learned in yesterday’s session to accept responsibility. Obviously, that didn’t happen.”
“Whoa, buddy!” Katrina slowly rose. At only five feet tall, it was a long way up to meet Syd’s green eyes. “Seems to me, this whole thing is boiling down to what you have never taken responsibility for.”
The young officer gave a quick nod. “Perhaps.”
“More than perhaps.” As Katrina stepped toward him, he backed away and nervously ran his fingers through his straw-coloured crew cut, obviously fighting a blush that was threatening to drown his freckles.
“Maybe it won’t end until we all come clean.”
We all come clean? Excuse me, Syd. We?”
“You’re not an innocent victim.”
“Was it up to you to supply the evidence of that fact? None of this would’ve happened if you hadn’t brought your damned King’s Ace surveillance photos up here to Sergeant Kindle. Where were you when the brains were passed out?” The photos had tarnished her reputation and nearly lost the Crown all two hundred-plus biker convictions. ‘Concealing evidence,’ the defence has said. But the worst part was the pictures had revealed she was a friend of the murder victim.
She jabbed her finger at her temple. “How stupid are you? How the hell did you make it through training depot? It doesn’t take a genius to realize which photos you should’ve deleted!”
“I couldn’t delete those photos! They were evidence in another investigation. Besides, you can’t seriously believe that you’d get away with testifying as an eyewitness at a murder trial and omitting the fact you were the victim’s friend.”
Victim... She shivered, remembering that cold, dark, October night in a metal shed on the Alberta prairie. Although Lukas was the only one lying lifeless when the sun rose over that Quonset, there’d been many victims in other ways...and much blame. When the media, the brass, and the entire nation began laying that blame on Shrug’s shoulders, she’d covertly stepped in.
Shrug may have wrongly recruited her into the gang to assist with the police sting, but he’d also saved her life, several times over. She owed him. Besides, at the time of his disciplinary hearing, she’d needed some good words to support her application to police training. It was then she’d asked Syd to leak some of his surveillance photos showing her trading crack for dollars or tossing back some Ecstasy—just a little something to prove that although Shrug may have involved a minor, it wasn’t an angelic, grief-torn orphan he’d invited onto the backseat of his Harley. Syd was not supposed to have shown Kindle pictures of her cavorting with Lukas, a friendship that could have remained secret to this day. Someone two desks over coughed—a stark reminder of many other dark secrets that must forever remain untold.
Katrina lowered her voice to a whisper. “No one needed to know Lukas was my friend. Besides, I never lied; no one ever asked if I knew him before he was murdered. Not even the defendants’ legal team and they could’ve—their clients knew.”
“Obviously Gator didn’t want the jury to hear that it was your boyfriend and not some random druggie that he’d forced you to watch get sliced to pieces—it would’ve made him look even more evil.”
“That was Gator’s decision, not mine. How can you say it was my fault?” Katrina took another step toward Syd.
This time, he held his ground. “For the sake of justice, it was something the court should’ve heard. Blame whoever you want for your troubles, Katrina. I’m past the point of arguing and past the point of thinking your problems are my fault.”
“But—” She clamped her mouth shut. Considering my job’s at risk, I need allies, not more enemies. Syd would be a strong ally; he was open and honest and respected by both those above him and below him. Plus, he still harboured remnants of guilt because of what had happened between them when she was a child on the street—he’d said as much in yesterday’s session.
“Rusty’s out to get me because I’m the reason he was fired.” She studied Syd’s reaction as she spoke. “He shouldn’t be allowed to do that.
“You weren’t the reason he was fired.”
“He used me to get information about the drug trade down at the King’s Ace.”
“So did I, and I’m not fired.”
“But he refused to admit he’d done anything wrong.”
“Exactly. So it’s his fault he got fired, not yours. It’s not always all about you.”
Katrina’s vision narrowed and her jaw tightened. “You’re right, it’s not about me; it’s about you! James would have had nothing more to write if you hadn’t….” She left it unsaid and locked her eyes on Syd’s. He shifted from one foot to another. A police radio crackled in the distance. A phone rang. “Or, do you believe that secret is somehow my fault, too?” The sun slipped behind a cloud and the room darkened.
Syd looked to his shoes and ran his toe along the grey grout hemming the worn tiles. The fluorescent fixture above them hissed and dimmed. “It’s going to be in James’ book,” Katrina continued. “I guarantee it. Rumour is he’s promoting a conspiracy theory. All the dirt will be there. He has nothing to lose by talking about it.”
Syd looked past her, over the humming monitors and clicking keyboards. Past the people straining to listen. He looked out the window. “Let’s not keep Sergeant Kindle waiting,” he finally said. “It’ll only make things worse.”



Eileen’s Links



T

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Interviewed: Roger Tarling about Brian Cunningham


Today, Paige Prose, interviewer of novel characters, talks with Roger Tarling about Brain Cunningham, his co-worker and friend. Brain tried to talk with Paige himself, he truly did, but he is so anxious he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He did leave his house in an attempt to meet Paige, but he had barely pedaled his bike down his driveway before being gripped by panic. After a severe panic attack, he dashed back into his house and wouldn’t come out. Instead, Paige decided to meet with Roger to learn a few things about Brain.


Hi Roger. Thanks for meeting with me. How do you know Brian?
Brian, he’s my counterpart here at Hayden Elementary. We’ve worked together for almost two decades. Well, not completely “together,” I s’ppose, because I’m the day custodian and Brian’s here at night. Yet we’re a team, and I consider that workin’ together. He’s been with me since he was 19, so I think of him as one a my kids.

What’s it like to work with him?
It’s definitely not loud and obnoxious, that’s for sure! I guess that wasn’t very nice of me t’ say, but I wasn’t tryin’ t’ be mean. Brian’s great. Yeah, he’s not that talkative, but he’s a listener and a doer. If there’s somethin’ that needs t’ be done, no matter what it is, Brian’ll do it. He’s a freakin’ genius if you ask me. He works hard and he does his job so good because his whole heart’s in this. He wants t’ make Hayden a really nice place fer the kids and the teachers, and it shows in what he does.

Would it surprise you to learn that after all these years he thinks he’s bothering you?
I wish that’d surprise me, but it don’t. He feels like he’s imposing on the world just by bein’ in it, and he’s deathly afraid of doin’ somethin’ wrong or being judged or that I’m gonna be disappointed in him. I know he likes me, and I also know that he thinks the best way t’ show it is not t’ bother me. Ya know, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Like I said, he’s like a son, and I think the world of him. I admire him, and I know that’s something surprising ta him.

Do you have a favorite Brian story?
Brian is so shy and reserved and quiet that I don’t have a lot of specific stories. I do have some, though. One of my favorites is about when he got his beagle Oscar. Brian bought Oscar for himself as a twenty-first birthday present. It was a Saturday, and he actually came over t’ my house. That’s huge, because Brain never drops in on people, ever. He typically doesn’t go somewhere even if he’s invited. I’ve gotten him to come over a few times across the years, but it wasn’t easy. But I digress. Anyway, Brian came over t’ show Oscar t’ me and my wife Millie. Ya gotta realize that Brain doesn’t smile much, but that day he was grinnin’ from ear t’ ear. And the way he played with that little puppy, it was like he was a little kid again. That’s the only time I’ve ever seen him relaxed and happy like that. Thank god for Abigail Harris, that new little girl at our school that Brian’s helpin’. I think she might help Brain smile again. Maybe.

If you could have a wish for him, what would it be?
My wish fer Brian is that he will start t’ like himself. He deserves to be treated kindly, not just by the world but by himself, too. I wish he could stop worryin’ so much and bein’ so afraid of everyone and everythin.’ I wish he’d find love and laughter instead of loneliness.


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Autumn my Favourite Season with Eileen Schuh

This is why autumn is my favorite season.


Coincidentally, it is the fave season of Katrina Buckhold, the young protagonist in my BackTracker series.
Katrina Buckhold


Excerpt from FATAL ERROR

Outside, Katrina drank in the astounding beauty of the Alberta September. Across the river, gold leaves glittered behind the red berry bushes lining the bank. Interspersed in the dazzle of fall colours were the spruce trees, stretching their deep green toward the rich, late-afternoon sun. The sky was a cloudless blue dome and the air was thick with the pungent scent of autumn. Fallen leaves, some mottled and others striped, crunched beneath their feet.

This was the time of year when she used to go hunting with Grandpa. Hunting ducks and geese involved autumn skies and sunrises and sunsets. And colourful reflections in ponds. She'd always remember the calls of the birds echoing off cool morning mists and the warmth of a retriever, shivering with excitement.


But those moments were gone.


When they were away from traffic and pedestrians, Cooper motioned her to stop. She took a spot on a park bench and watched the diamond sparkles racing downstream on top of the wavelets. A flock of snow geese came into view, myriad white birds moving across the intense blue sky, their shimmering wings gilded with the glow of the low-lying sun.


Cooper joined her on the bench. "Sergeant Kindle wants to question you about a murder."


She froze and the world became deathly quiet.



 FATAL ERROR


viewBook.at/B009P593YU5-stars! "Courage and insight make for a compelling read"

 “...excellent pacing. It's a worthy sequel to the explosive ‘THE TRAZ’.”

 “Wise, haunting, deeply moving…unforgettable!” 

“The very best in today's motorcycle gang stories just got a little better.”







Eileen Schuh, Author
DISPASSIONATE LIES
FIREWALLS
FATAL ERROR

Schrödinger's Cat
THE TRAZ






Monday, 22 September 2014

Yay! It's Published! Looking for Lucy Jo by Suzy Turner


HUGE congratulations to Suzy Turner on the publication of Looking for Lucy Jo.

I'm delighted to have just published the latest book in my Morgan Sisters series - Looking for Lucy Jo. I had great fun writing this one because part of it takes place in my home region of the Algarve in Portugal. It's always enjoyable to write about places that I know so well - whether it's the local town of Portimao where I do my weekly shop, the majestic Sagres cliff tops (the most south westerly region of Europe) an hour away or our little Monchique mountains (I live in the foothills), because I can go into so much more detail, about the people as well. I'm really looking forward to hearing what readers think about it. I'm keeping my fingers crossed they'll love it as much as the others in the series!


Looking for Lucy Jo
Series: The Morgan Sisters
Release Date: September 20th
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

It's their first Christmas since entering the Praxos Academy and 16-year-old sisters Lana Beth and Emma Jane Morgan are looking forward to some serious R&R. But when their little sister mysteriously disappears from her bed on Christmas Eve, all thoughts of fun disappear with her. Emma and Lana must do everything in their power to locate her and bring her home safely. Easier said than done, they are forced to go on yet another journey, this time taking them out to the murky depths of the North Sea as well as to the far reaches of southern Portugal.


Cover Designer: Ravven.

About the author:



Although Suzy is a Yorkshire lass at heart, she left her home town of Rotherham, UK, to move to Portugal with her family when she was ten. The Algarve continues to be her home, where she lives with her childhood sweetheart, Michael, two neurotic dogs and a cat who thinks she's a princess.
Shortly after completing her studies, Suzy was offered the position of trainee journalist for a local English newspaper. Her love of writing developed and a few years later she moved on to become assistant editor for the region's largest English language publisher. Since then she has also worked as the editor of one of the Algarve's most loved monthly lifestyle magazines. Early in 2010 however, Suzy began working as a full time author. She has since written several books: Raven, December Moon, The Lost Soul (The Raven Saga), Daisy Madigan's Paradise, The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw, The Temporal Stone (The Morgan Sisters) and Forever Fredless.


Previous books in the series:

The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw



Adopted sisters Lana Beth and Emma Jane are polar opposites, but when the same strange 'tattoo' suddenly appears and winds its way up their bodies within days of each other, they soon realize there's more to their relationship than they could ever have imagined.
Sent off to London for two weeks of 'work experience', the Morgan Sisters soon find themselves being initiated into the ancient Praxos Foundation, one that protects the innocent while fighting evil, both human and supernatural.
At the same time, Lana Beth and Emma Jane must also investigate why the sweet but sometimes pesky ghost of Josiah Grimshaw just won't leave them alone.

What people are saying about The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw
"I would go so far as to say that this book could be the beginnings of a series as good as those by J.K. Rowling!"

"This book is a great start to a potentially brilliant series"

"I loved the bad guys, the graveyard antics, the talking dead, the superpowers of the kick-a** ninja chicks, and the rite of initiation the sisters go through"

The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw, FREE on Amazon

Daisy Madigan's Paradise (a novella)



When tragedy falls upon 15 year old Daisy Madigan, she escapes to the only place she feels safe, the cemetery of Abney Park. There, in the company of the dearly departed, she realizes she is changing, growing stronger and faster by the day. But in the darkness lurks a terror even she can't imagine facing.

What people are saying about Daisy Madigan's Paradise

"Wonderful addition to the Morgan Sisters series! I might suggest reading The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw first, but this should stand on its own even if you haven't. Such a lovely, well written story - I highly recommend it and all of her books."

"A fantastically evocative YA novella perfect for both younger and older teens."

Daisy Madigan's Paradise, FREE on Amazon

The Temporal Stone



It's been a couple of months since Emma and Lana entered the Praxos Academy and life has been hectic ever since. What with regular A level classes combined with learning all about the supernatural world, control classes, self defence and fight night, the girls are constantly busy.
But when their world seems to stop right in front of them, they and their fellow Watchers, have a huge mystery to solve. A mystery which will lead them on a long road trip across south west England where they will meet all kinds of strange creatures, some intent on causing harm and others desperate to put a stop to the problem.

What people are saying about The Temporal Stone

"Suzy has done it again! Her books get better and better.... this had me gripped from the start!"

"Another great read, this is the third Morgan Sisters book I have read and I loved them all. Can't wait for more."

The Temporal Stone, Amazon


Suzy Turner
YA & Chick Lit Author
www.suzyturner.com

Blogger at Fiction Dreams, Suzy Turner & YA Trailer Park