Broken Pieces

Jennie Goutet Shares an #Excerpt from Her #Memoir A Lady in France @ALadyInFrance #TBR

For our first night there, we decided to stay in a hotel on Waikiki beach before heading over to the house where we’d be spending the rest of the vacation. As we were walking back to the hotel after a day of sunbathing, we noticed a skit being performed on a portable stage on the beach, so we stopped to watch.
They were really good—funny, moving, talented. And it was only at the end of the show that it became clear that the whole performance was about God.
In general, outward expressions of faith offended me, especially outward expressions of Christian faith. I’m not sure why this was so—perhaps I just found the religion judgmental in spite of my own connection to it. As a sophomore, when I was a Resident Advisor for my dorm, I was furious when some of the freshmen on my floor came back from an off-campus gathering—where the subject matter was “God, Satan, and the Occult”—crying because the professor hinted that they were not going to heaven. I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I went to the next speech he gave, which was actually more reasonable than I expected it to be, and listened to him with a set jaw. When it was over, I followed him and his groupies into the room reserved especially for people who had questions. I barely entered the room before spluttering, “How dare you tell people whether or not they’re going to heaven? Who do you think you are?”
“Come in,” the professor said kindly. But I stayed where I was in the doorway glaring at them all. One of the girls, whom I recognized from class, was standing next to a guy my friends called “BJ” because he had gotten a blowjob on the bus ride home from a campus ski trip. The girl said, “You know, it’s like when you believe in God… it’s like, you know, if everyone thinks the sky is blue, but the sky is not blue, it’s green. And…”
I stared at her, my mouth open.
“Why don’t you come in and talk for a bit?” the professor urged again, gently interrupting the girl who was starting to ramble. But I decided to leave right away. There was no way I was going to stick around to be brainwashed by some evangelical Christians. And I had a feeling I was not going to make a dent in their way of thinking. As I was walking home and remembering BJ and that girl with her green sky, I muttered under my breath, “What a bunch of fools you are.”
But these little skits on the beach in Hawaii were different. The people were talented, the dialogue was clever, and they spoke on the innocuous subject of love. The entire performance was so professionally done it was enjoyable to watch. When I finally realized what it was all about, I was a little impressed that such talented people would talk unashamedly about God.
Just as the applause was dying down, one of the actors jumped off the stage and singled me out in the crowd.
“Would you like to study the Bible?” she asked me with a broad smile.
“Huh?” I blushed, startled. “Um…” I paused as I blinked at her.
“No, thank you,” I finished with the ghost of a smile, and glanced at my friends who were starting to walk away. I quickly ran to catch up with them.
In my year of solitude and hopelessness, this was the first time I was invited to learn about God. This was the first time I was called.

At seventeen, Jennie Goutet has a dream that she will one day marry a French man and sets off to Avignon in search of him. Though her dream eludes her, she lives boldly—teaching in Asia, studying in Paris, working and traveling for an advertising firm in New York.
When God calls her, she answers reluctantly, and must first come to grips with depression, crippling loss, and addiction before being restored. Serendipity takes her by the hand as she marries her French husband, works with him in a humanitarian effort in East Africa, before settling down in France and building a family.
Told with honesty and strength, A Lady in France is a brave, heart- stopping story of love, grief, faith, depression, sunshine piercing the gray clouds—and hope that stays in your heart long after it’s finished.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Jennie Goutet on Facebook & Twitter

S.M. Boyce on Inspiration, Writing & Relaxing @TheSMBoyce #Fantasy #GoodReads #TBR


Location and life experiences can really influence writing, can you tell us where you grew up and where you live now?
I split my young-adulthood between Central Maryland and Tallahassee, Florida. Starkly different places. I now live just outside of Washington D.C.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Life. Earth has so many incredible places, people, and creatures that it keeps me busy. Everywhere I go, I daydream about the people I see and wonder what their lives are like. That alone gets me tons of stories, but I also love to find beautiful and crazy pictures.

Do you plan to publish more books?
Yes! I have so many more stories to tell. I’m finishing up the Grimoire Saga and then I have a spin-off series that will tell the stories of some of the Grimoire Saga characters. After that, I’ve got other fun stuff planned for readers—including urban fantasy fairytales and even paranormal horror.

What else do you do to make money, other than write?
I own an online Marketing Maven and Virtual Assistant company called Montee Marketing. It’s loads of fun, and I help both entrepreneurs and authors establish powerful online presences and websites. I love it!

What other jobs have you had in your life?
Quite a few, actually. Diamond sales, software testing, management, retail (I sold candles!). But writing, marketing, and coaching are my favorite jobs. I love what I do.

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
I like to watch ghost shows. My current favorite is Paranormal Witness. Whenever I watch TV or a movie at home, I also like to wire wrap pendants. Some are even for sale in my store.

How do you feel about social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter? Are they a good thing?
I think they are because I can connect with fans. They allow us authors to truly meet and greet our fanbase on an international level—it’s astounding and I love it. Twitter is my favorite, but I think that both of them are excellent tools for any author to use. As long as they are used wisely, they can be a great asset.

lichgates

“The writing is flawless. The kingdoms and surrounding landscapes breathtaking. The Grimoire is a piece of imaginative genius that bedazzles from the moment Kara falls into the land of Ourea. – Nikki Jefford, author of the Spellbound Trilogy

Spring 2013 Rankings
#6 Kindle Store | #1 Science Fiction & Fantasy | #1 Epic Fantasy | #1 Sword & Sorcery | #1 Teens
Now an international Amazon bestseller. Fans of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and Eragon will enjoy this contemporary remix of the classic epic fantasy genre.

—————-
Kara Magari is about to discover a beautiful world full of terrifying things: Ourea.
Kara, a college student still reeling from her mother’s recent death, has no idea the hidden world of Ourea even exists until a freak storm traps her in a sunken library. With nothing to do, she opens an ancient book of magic called the Grimoire and unwittingly becomes its master, which means Kara now wields the cursed book’s untamed power. 

Discovered by Ourea’s royalty, she becomes an unwilling pawn in a generations-old conflict – a war intensified by her arrival. In this world of chilling creatures and betrayal, Kara shouldn’t trust anyone… but she’s being hunted and can’t survive on her own. She drops her guard when Braeden, a native soldier with a dark secret, vows to keep her safe. And though she doesn’t know it, her growing attraction to him may just be her undoing.

For twelve years, Braeden Drakonin has lived a lie. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. Though he begins to care for this human girl, there is something he wants more. He wants the Grimoire.

Welcome to Ourea, where only the cunning survive.

—————-
Novels in the Grimoire Saga:
Lichgates (#1)
Treason (#2)
Heritage (#3) – Available Fall 2013
Illusion (#4) – Available Fall 2014

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Fantasy
Rating – PG13
More details about the author
 Connect with SM Boyce on Facebook & Twitter & Pinterest

Billi Tiner's #WriteTip for Believable Characters @TinerBooks #AmWriting #PubTip

I believe that strong characters are the critical foundation for a good story. If the reader doesn’t relate to the characters, then they will not become truly invested in what is happening to them. I spend a lot more time describing how a character is feeling and what is motivating their decisions than I do on providing details about what the scenery looks like. I want people reading the story to feel what the character is feeling, and think about how they would react in a similar situation. In addition, I think the supporting cast is just as important as the main protagonist. The supporting characters can bring humor, drama, and suspense to the story. Everyone enjoys a good buddy story, so I try to provide each protagonist with a good supporting character. Likewise, a good villain can add just the right amount of spice to the story. Each character should have their own distinct personality.

In addition to the two-legged characters in my stories, each of my books contains animals as part of the supporting cast. As a veterinarian, I have come across many wonderful animals during my career, each of them having very distinct personalities. I use my experiences with these animals to help develop believable characters that play important roles in my stories.

ToLoveACat

From the author of “Dogs Aren’t Men” comes “To Love a Cat”, a contemporary romance novel.
Catherine “Cat” James’ life is simple and orderly, and she likes it that way. She loves her job as an accountant. Working with numbers is safe and routine, no surprises. Her childhood had been very abusive and unstable. She vowed not to live that way as an adult. She also made a promise to herself to become a foster parent. She wished someone had been there for her as a teenager, to let her know she wasn’t alone.

Cat agrees to foster Ethan Summers, a troubled teenage boy whose childhood closely resembles her own. Suddenly, her nice and orderly life is filled with chaos and uncertainty. Things really start to spin out of control when circumstances bring police detective Mitch Holt into the picture. He’s handsome, charming, and definitely not what Cat needs right now, or so she thinks.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Billi Tiner on Facebook & Twitter

Olga Soaje on Her Main Character, Amelia from Twelve Houses #Women #Contemporary #Fiction


Can you tell us about your main character?
Amelia is an almost sixty year old woman who suddenly becomes a widow and she cannot move beyond her grief, nothing seems to provide solace until a call from her estranged daughter sends her world spinning.

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
Yes, there is only one life to make the most of it, cherishing each moment.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I hope as readers close the book they come to their own opinions, but mostly I would love for them to feel the message lives in them and inspires their life in some way.

Who designed your cover?
I loved that cover it conveys so much of the message from the book. It was brilliantly done by my friend and designer Rebeca Cuesta. The heart you see in the cover is from a painting done by my God-daughter Maria Jose Obregon.

Will you write others in this same genre?
Yes, it’s a genre that feels just right.

How do you promote this book?
I’m mainly doing blog tours and hoping it will get word of mouth by happy readers.

How much of the book is realistic?
The astrological parts in the book are real; I read on the subject and consulted with specialist in this area.

How long have you been writing?
I always loved to read and you could see me carry a book everywhere, but never considered writing until 2011 when the idea first appeared in my mind and it grew a life of itself and I began writing and needing to do it every day in it I found one of the great joys in my life.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
Oh my! This is a difficult question because I feel in love with so many of the characters in their virtues and flaws. But in my heart I guess with Amelia.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I love to read. There are many authors that are my favorite Vanessa Diffenbaugh, Paula McLain, Maria Semple among others.

What is your dream for your writing?
My deepest desire is that my writing touches and inspires the people who read my books.


twelveHouses
Can anything good follow the best thing that ever happened to you?

Amelia Weiss loved her husband of thirty-five years very much, but now he’s left her a widow. Without him, she is unable to work in her sculpture studio without crying. She no longer has a bridge to her estranged daughter. And she can’t seem to keep her mind in the present.

But when her daughter reaches out asking for her help and her agent threatens a lawsuit if Amelia doesn’t deliver for an upcoming exhibit, she’s forced to make a choice. Will she reengage with her life and the people in it—allowing room for things to be different than they were before? Or, will she remain stuck in the past, choosing her memories over real-life relationships?

Thrust fully into the present, Amelia stumbles into a surprising journey of self-discovery.

Buy @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction, Women's Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Olga Soaje on Facebook

A.F. Ebbers on "Life is Not a Rose Garden" #AmReading #Mystery #Suspense

How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
Lap top on a desk.

How much sleep do you need to be your best?
Six to seven hours.

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
My wife, she is a retired college English professor and librarian, my daughter who is a former High school English teacher and now is an attorney and a tennis friend who is a retired editor and helped to edit my hardback novel.

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
Tennis, playing the piano, attending plays and musicals, reading.

How often do you write? And when do you write?
When I’m doing a novel I write every day, sometimes usually into the wee hours of the morning.

What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
That life is not a rose garden. But staying honest and being true to yourself may be hard but it’ usually pays off in the end.

What’s your favorite meal?
Bacon and eggs and Texas toast.

What movie do you love to watch?
“North by Northwest” and “7 Days of the Condor”.

What’s your next project?
Another screenplay.

How do you feel about self-publishing?
It has its’ advantages. Publishers cannot change your title, content, etc. And you keep the all the profits. But promoting the book is hard. And if a hardback book is a failure, you take the loss.
dangerousPast (1)

Airline Captain Frank Braden is being stalked by unknown assailants who must arrange his death to look like a suicide or an accident before a specific deadline. He receives an unsigned message warning him against attending a Senate hearing in Washington. If he agrees, he will receive a million dollars and his wife's life.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Rating - G
More details about the author
Website afebbers.com

Murder Strikes a Pose (A Downward Dog #Mystery) by Tracy Weber #MustRead #Excerpt

In this excerpt, Kate goes to Pete’s Pets planning to sweet-talk Michael into adopting the murder victim’s dog, Bella.  When she arrives, she’s surprised to find that Michael has hired a new employee, Tiffany.

************************ 

The bell on the door announced my arrival as I purposefully strode through the entrance.

“Welcome to Pete’s Pets, can I help you?”

My smile vanished.

Sitting behind the desk was a woman—a child, really. She was no older than twenty. Her thirty-six D chest contrasted nicely with her size six hips, and her too-tight top and hip-hugging jeans left nothing to the imagination. I glanced back at the window. The “Help Wanted” sign was conspicuously missing.

“Um … I’m um … looking for the owner. I mean … I’m looking for … you know … Michael.”

Brilliant, just brilliant. You have such a way with words.

“He’s busy right now, but maybe I can help. I’m Tiffany.”

Seriously? Tiffany? Who in the world named their kid Tiffany? Parents who raised brain-dead sex kittens, that’s who. My esteem for Michael, not all that high to begin with, dropped several notches. My self-confidence rose by twice that amount, and with it, my ability to speak.

“I need to speak with Michael. It’s personal. When will he be back?”

Perhaps I shouldn’t have used the word “personal.” Perhaps I should have continued stammering. Regardless, her attitude toward me changed. Her smile thinned to a smirk, and her eyes shrewdly narrowed. She looked me up and down, mentally sizing up the competition. “I didn’t say he was gone. I said he was busy.”

Game on.

If this licentious Lolita wanted a catfight, I’d show her my claws. I considered spraying her with my newly acquired vial of pepper spray, but decided that would probably be overdoing it. I impaled her with my oh-so-sharp-witted tongue instead. “Well, in that case, do you have any idea when he will get un-busy?”

No reply. I was as inconsequential as a housefly—annoying, but not worth the effort of swatting. She stared at me, clearly asserting her authority. I had two choices: I could either leave, or I could provide more information.

I chose option three.

I planted my feet and did my best impersonation of a statue, staring right back at her. Time ticked on, both of us childishly refusing to give ground. I imagined decades passing while we continued our passive-aggressive struggle for dominance. In my mind’s eye, dust and cobwebs covered us both, as our hair turned white and numerous body parts sagged with the inevitable effects of gravity.

Tiffany finally stood up, sighing. “If you wait here, ma’am, I’ll try to find him.”

Ma’am? Who was she calling ma’am?

She walked, or more accurately sashayed, back to the storage room. In a voice more than loud enough for me to hear, she said, “Michael, there’s some older lady out here who insists on talking to you.”

Michael emerged from the storage room, looking confused. His gaze bounced from Tiffany, to me, then back to Tiffany again. He tried, unsuccessfully, to suppress a grin.

“Hey, Kate. How’s that food working out for Bella?”

“Much better, especially now that I’ve figured out the enzyme routine. But that’s not why I’m here. I need to talk to you for a minute.” I looked pointedly at Tiffany. “Alone.”

Michael nodded for her to return to the cash register. She reluctantly left, but flashed me a look on her way. Don’t celebrate, it said. This battle is far from over.

Guestpost 3_photo2 (1)

When George and Bella—a homeless alcoholic and his intimidating German shepherd—disturb the peace outside her studio, yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s Zen-like calm is stretched to the breaking point. Kate tries to get rid of them before Bella scares the yoga pants off her students. Instead, the three form an unlikely friendship.

One night Kate finds George’s body behind her studio. The police dismiss his murder as a drug-related street crime, but she knows George wasn’t a dealer. So Kate starts digging into George’s past while also looking for someone to adopt Bella before she’s sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer nipping at her heels, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.

Praise:
"Cozy fans will eagerly await the next installment." —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"Murder Strikes a Pose, by Tracy Weber, is a delightful debut novel featuring Kate Davidson, a caring but feist yoga teacher . . . Namaste to Weber and her fresh, new heroine!" PENNY WARNER,AUTHOR OF HOW TO DINE ON KILLER WINE

"[T]his charming debut mystery . . . pieces together a skillful collage of mystery, yoga, and plenty of dog stories against the unique backdrop of Seattle characters and neighborhoods. The delightful start of a promising new series. I couldn't put it down!" WAVERLY FITZGERALD, AUTHOR OF DIAL C FOR CHIHUAHUA

"Three woofs for Tracy Weber's first Downward Dog Mystery, Murder STrikes a Pose. Great characters, keep-you-guessing plot, plenty of laughs, and dogswhat more could we want? Ah, yesthe next book!" SHEILA WEBSTER BONEHAM, AUTHOR OF DROP DEAD ON RECALL

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Cozy Mystery
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Tracy Weber on Facebook & Twitter

Incitement by David Graham @davidangraham #AmReading #GoodReads #Thriller

Larsen watched the three bodyguards get out of the car and scan the immediate vicinity. Once Bajo, the enormous bodyguard, was satisfied he leant back into the rear of the car to give the all-clear to Dobroshi. The four men entered the lobby of the apartment building and left the driver to start circling the district until the appointed time. Larsen was satisfied after two weeks of surveillance that the information had been solid.

The traffickers lived like kings, enjoying the very best Prague had to offer. The judiciary were in their pocket. They flaunted their extravagant lifestyle, secure in the knowledge that no one could threaten them. It hadn’t been difficult to find a disillusioned narcotics officer who had finally had enough. A generous supplement to a modest salary was all it had taken. Detailed reports of the main traffickers’ movements were produced and, based on them, Larsen had chosen Nisret Dobroshi as the target.

Dobroshi kept a beautiful young Czech girl in the upmarket apartment building and got away to visit her as often as work and domestic arrangements permitted. The two subordinate bodyguards always waited in the lobby while Bajo ascended the stairs with his charge. Larsen knew from previous reconnaissance that Bajo waited in the hallway outside the apartment. He took a deep breath and exhaled, finding a calm center. In many ways this was the pivotal operation, more risky than anything that had gone before, but if he succeeded it would tip the scales. He focused, moving himself to a place where he would be able to do what was required.

“We will train you, harder than you ever believed possible, and teach you all there is to know about weaponry and tactics,” the drill sergeant told them.

The sixteen new recruits stood on the tarmac at Flyvestation Aalborg as the driving rain beat down on them and the incessant wind howled. Although the sergeant spoke loudly, they had to strain to hear him as the gusts whipped his words away. “Many of you have had extensive training already. We will add our experience to help mould you,” he continued. “But all of this will count for nothing, if you lack one thing.”

The recruits stood rock-steady, eyes firmly locked straight ahead.

“Can you tell me what this thing is?” he asked one of them.

An uncomfortable pause then the nervous attempt at an answer. “Courage?”

The sergeant snorted dismissively and turned on his heel, pacing away from them. Coming around to face them he delivered the answer. “Willingness.” The sergeant let it sink in before continuing. “Most individuals will split every challenge they are faced with into three categories. Things they’re happy to do, things they do not want to do but are willing to suffer, and finally those things they would never consider,” he explained. “Like a traffic light, green, yellow and red. If a person is willing to attempt something, really attempt it, with every fiber concentrated on success, this is green. But if he perceives it to be too dangerous, too far beyond his capabilities, or if he merely makes a half-assed attempt to save face, he is in the red zone.” He scanned the line, examining individual recruits.

“Many people will say with total conviction they could not kill another human being. Put these same people in a position where someone is threatening their child and watch what happens. What’s changed? Their willingness to act! Circumstances have conspired to push their green zone far beyond its perceived limits.”

A smile broke across his craggy features.

“We will repeatedly put you in situations where you will become accustomed to diminishing that red zone. We will challenge you, again and again. Most of you will not last. Those that do will understand all about willingness.” He nodded, almost to himself. 

“Those that do will be J√¶gere.

This was green.

Using the key he had obtained, Larsen entered the basement’s laundry room via an exterior door. The internal door to the laundry led to the rear stairway, which converged with the main staircase between the lobby and the first floor. To protect Dobroshi properly, one of the bodyguards should have been positioned on this landing while the other watched the elevator. But months of the same routine, in a city that held no surprises, had bred complacency.

Once he got to the second level, he pressed for the elevator to climb the last couple of floors. The elevator door was an old, trellised affair that ran up the center of the staircase, allowing people on the stairs to see in. He assumed a stooped posture and coughed hoarsely. Combined with the threadbare clothing, white wig, and pale make-up, he looked like one of the many callers to the retired jeweler living across from Dobroshi’s mistress: elderly, decrepit, and unthreatening. Bajo stared intently at the elevator’s occupant through the grille while it ascended. Unlike his subordinates downstairs, he was a veteran with years of hard-earned experience and could not be easily circumvented. Everything depended on overcoming him without alerting Dobroshi. The intelligence Larsen had been given did not specify Bajo’s proficiency with arms, although Larsen assumed he was a rated marksman. 

What Larsen was aware of, though, was the man’s ability in unarmed combat, enhanced by his prodigious size and strength. He was perfectly suited to the role of close-quarter protection. Bajo’s gaze never left the old man as he stepped from the elevator, wrestled to close the door and, still struggling to regain his breath from the effort, shuffled down the hall.

Larsen focused totally on his labored progress, and it took him ten seconds just to cover the short distance to the bodyguard. Once Larsen passed him, he sensed the big man relax ever so slightly, letting some of the tension ease from his frame. The surprise was total when the bent-over figure twisted back fluidly and drove the knife up toward his throat. Years of combat drills enabled Bajo to react quickly enough to prevent a fatal strike, and he managed to deflect the knife’s arc with his extended forearm. The blade lodged painfully in his shoulder inches from his neck. Normally, in this kind of confrontation, he would have drawn the assailant close, where he could use his natural advantages to quickly end matters. But now the risk of the attacker worsening the injury was too great. He struck out at his assailant’s chest with the heel of his left hand in an attempt to drive him back and create some distance between them. Larsen managed to turn his torso enough to prevent the blow from landing with full impact and was only knocked back a half step. Even so, the effect of the partial blow was enough to convince him that he could not survive a protracted struggle in such a confined area. Bringing his left knee up to waist height, he struck out and down with his foot, driving it in viciously just above the bodyguard’s right knee. Bajo’s leg collapsed and he crumpled forwards toward the floor. As the bodyguard fell, Larsen grasped the handle of his knife with both hands, and with all the strength he could muster drove the blade through the heavy muscle across the throat. The blade sliced through the larynx, severing his opponent’s air supply abruptly.

incitement

A brutal conflict unleashed.

Who stands to win?

A bloody massacre at a Mexican heroin refinery; a Miami-bound freight ship hijacked for its cargo of illegal narcotics; the ruthless assassination of a Kosovar drug lord - a war has erupted between two drugs superpowers.

As DEA Agent Diane Mesi investigates she becomes convinced that the conflict is being orchestrated by an unknown third party. But she is marginalised by her colleagues and her judgement is challenged at every turn. Only if she can expose the truth will she be able to stop the violence and save her career.

Michael Larsen is an ex-soldier and hired mercenary who has been contracted to fuel the conflict at every opportunity until it destroys both sides. As he battles his own demons, he hopes that by directing the violence he will attain some measure of redemption.
But neither Mesi nor Larsen know the full extent of the forces at play or of what is truly at stake. As they each pursue their own resolution, the violence escalates and they become increasingly vulnerable to the dangers that stalk them.

Incitement won the John Murray Show / RTE Guide / Kazoo Competition from over 500 entries.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with David Graham on Facebook & Twitter