Broken Pieces

LICHGATES: Grimoire Saga Book One by @TheSMBoyce #AmReading #Fantasy #GoodReads

The king returned to his throne and bellowed his next words so that they reverberated off the walls of the cavernous hall.
“Stand and accept what you were born to be, my son.”
“Like I said, it’s not a choice.”
Carden reached toward him and clenched his hand into a fist. Braeden’s stomach tightened, as if his father had reached into his gut and squeezed. He curled over himself, stifling the agonizing yell in his throat.
The king twisted his hand and opened his palm, where sparks snapped and fizzled. Braeden’s muscles tore at the movement. Popping noises surged along his biceps and neck. His veins chilled and slowed. He unconsciously stood at a twitch of Carden’s finger. Braeden’s grip on his form was slipping. Smoke escaped his pores. Organs shifted. He screamed in pain until a heavy weight fell on his chest and closed his throat.
“Screams are for the weak,” Carden said.
The weight eased off Braeden’s lungs, letting him sink back to the floor as the internal tearing and popping stopped. The staggering numbness returned. His cuffs twisted as he moved, and searing fire coursed through his veins. Tremors pulsed through him.
Carden scowled from his chair, and the green lizard from earlier peered from the shadows beside the throne. Its outline blurred for a moment, but returned to normal so quickly that Braeden questioned what he’d seen.
It flickered again, more prominently this time.
Dark lines melted around its face. It grew taller, its skin stretching and pouring into the space around it. In a matter of seconds, the lizard filled the massive hall as it transformed into a dragon.
Braeden’s mouth went dry.
The dragon reared its head above the stunned hall and roared. The creature’s tail landed squarely on Carden’s chest, sending him flying into a support column by the main entry. The pillar crumbled on top of the king, burying him, and the dome it supported shattered. The dragon thrashed its wings against the walls by the thrones. Chunks of black marble pummeled downward, cracking the polished floor. Glass rained down on the cloaked subjects. A stampede began for the door.
A new, shriller roar echoed through the great hall, shooting chills through Braeden’s body. A red dragon with a long black stripe down its spine stood over Kara, baring its thick teeth. One dragon was bad enough, but two would be unstoppable. He tried to stand, to run, to possibly escape and at minimum find cover, but one of the spikes shifted and lodged into his bone. The pain buckled his knees.
Another patch in the ceiling crumbled. Pebbles and thick shards of painted glass showered to the floor. What yakona remained fled. Braeden grit his teeth, forced himself to his feet, and staggered to the edge of the hall.
Two thick claws engulfed him, pulling him into the air and pressing the spikes deeper into his hands with a single, deft motion. He cried out as the throbbing agony pulsed through his arms. Shimmering green scales blotted out the sky. The red dragon appeared in the air beside them, Kara tucked away in its claws.
The familiar weight of his father’s control returned on Braeden’s chest. Hatred coursed through his mind like a fever. He turned to the floor. Carden lay trapped beneath the rubble, a shredded look of fury consuming his gray face, and Braeden lost himself to the final ounces of his father’s remaining energy.
Kill the dragon, he was told. Rip it apart. Return.
He writhed, consumed by his father’s commands, but the green dragon clutched him tighter until the pain of the poisoned cuffs outweighed even his father’s will. He dangled in the dragon’s claws and watched the Stele recede from sight.

“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
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Cheryl Rice Shares a Conversation with Her Inner Critic @RiceonLife #AmWriting #SelfPub #Memoir

How I Tackled My Inner Critic

I had carried the dream of writing a book for at least twenty years. I’m not quite sure where the dream emerged from, but for most of my adult life it lived like a seed inside a tightly sealed packet inside of me. It wasn’t a lack of time that stood in the way of planting that seed (as a life coach I challenge clients who use the lack of time or money as excuses for not pursuing their passions), it was a backpack full of fears and internal negative chatter (who are YOU to think you can write a book?) that held my book writing dream hostage.

Even after my mother died from a swift illness and I felt an urgency to stop my procrastinating and find a way to write my book – the truth of my own mortality more acute than ever – I was still stymied by doubt.

But one day I was walking on my favorite wooded path when it hit me – I was living under a false assumption that I could only write my book if and when my inner critic was conquered and my doubts, fears, and judgments had evaporated. Challenging that erroneous assumption was the first step in moving me forward in my writing journey. I realized I could take my doubts with me and still move forward. Big exhale.

Here are some other things I did to wrestle my inner critic into submission long enough to write and publish my book:
  • I gave myself permission to write a bad book – realizing that I would rather write junk than write nothing at all.
  • I separated out the writing from the publishing aspect of creating a book and made my first goal to write my story. The decision of whether and how to publish could come later.
  • I practiced reframing some of my most virulent self-criticisms:
Inner Critic: Cheryl, it’s all been said before.
Me: Yes, but it’s never been said by me.

Inner Critic: Cheryl, you’re not a writer, you’re a coach. Your father and brother are award-winning writers who make a living writing. You majored in psychology. You don’t know the difference between an adverb and an ad lib.
Me: That may be so, but no one can tell my story but me. Plus, I can certainly hire someone to help with the editing. A writer writes.

Inner Critic: Hasn’t it all been said before?
Me: Well, that’s like asking hasn’t it all been painted before. There are only three primary colors in the world but an infinite variety of colors.
  • I hired someone to take me seriously.
  • I gave myself a deadline.
  • I told my three best friends I was writing a book and asked them to hold my feet to the fire.
  • I gave my inner critic only ten minutes of air time a day and not one minute more.
  • I focused on what I wanted more than what I was afraid of.

I sat myself down at my desk and wrote my book. Page by page. Story by story. Day by day.

I wrote my book.

And you can too.
Where Have I Been All My Life

Where Have I Been All My Life? is a compelling memoir recounting one woman’s journey through grief and a profound feeling of unworthiness to wholeness and healing. It begins with the chillingly sudden death of Rice’s mother, and is followed by her foray into the center of mourning.

With wisdom, grace, and humor, Rice recounts the grief games she plays in an effort to resurrect her mother; her efforts to get her therapist, who she falls desperately in love with, to run away with her; and the transformation of her husband from fantasy man to ordinary guy to superhero. In the process, she experiences aching revelations about her family and her past—and realizes what she must leave behind, and what she can carry forward with her.

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Genre – Memoir
Rating – PG-13
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Kari Nichols on Making Friends Through #Twitter & ROGUE @TheKariNichols #AmReading #HistFic

What else do you do to make money, other than write? It is rare today for writers to be full time…

My husband and I own a wedding photography business—Cottonwood Studios. Please check out our work!

What other jobs have you had in your life?

I started my photography business just five months after my college graduation. So besides photography, I was a camp counselor at two summer camps for kids, and I worked at Qdoba while I was in college.

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

Oh my. I’ll never go back to university. I absolutely hated school, and I already have the degree to show for my labors!

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

This answer is different depending on what time of the day you ask me, but right now I would have to say Paris. Tomorrow morning, I would probably say the Amalfi Coast. And tomorrow at lunch, Marseille. Basically anywhere in Europe!

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

I always write on my laptop—sitting on my couch with my feet propped up and a pillow behind my lower back. I almost always have in headphones with music. Depending on what I’m writing, I switch between classical soundtracks (Dario Marianelli and Michael Giacchino are my favorite) and indie music (Matt Corby, Bon Iver, Daughter, The Middle East, and Gregory Alan Isakov are just a few of my favorites). I’ll often feel inspiration when I’m out and about or when I’m lying in bed, so I make sure I have an app on my phone where I can jot down my ideas right away.

Where do you get support from? Do you have friends in the industry?

I have made so many friends through Twitter. There are so many other indie authors to connect with. They provide encouragement when I need it, and they have a wealth of information to help with everything from blogging to marketing. I’m in awe of the amazing relationships I’ve formed through social media. I also have several friends from college who are published authors that have helped me along the way.

How much sleep do you need to be your best?

Eight or nine hours is the sweet spot, but that rarely happens.

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?

Caleb—my wonderful husband who reads my work and gives me honest feedback without hesitation every single time I ask him.
Melissa—my mind-blowingly generous editor and one of my closest friends. She makes my work SO much better than it is when I first write it.
Julia—the incredibly talented proofreader who transformed Rogue into a finished book. She is the best at what she does.
Carin—an incredible woman who taught me the true meaning of character development.
Hayley—the first person to make me feel like a real author. She interviewed me for her blog, and I finally felt like I was worthy of calling myself an author. She’s also helped me immensely with my marketing strategy
Alexia—one of the most encouraging persons I have ever come into contact with. She is always asking me how things are going, posting about me on her blog, and Tweeting my book to help promote it.
Stacey—my wonderful design friend who gave me invaluable feedback while I was designing Rogue’s cover. Without her input, the cover would have looked very different (and not nearly as beautiful).
I also have a list of about fifty incredible supporters who helped crowdfund my first novel. Without them, Rogue would simply be an unfinished book without a publication date.

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?

A successful career in writing is a career where I can write the books I want to write. If people love what I’m writing enough to fund my future novels, I’ll consider myself a success.

Tell us about your new book. What’s it about and why did you write it?

I wrote Rogue because I felt like there weren’t any other stories like it, and if I wanted to read it, I would have to write it myself.
The Plagued Trilogy is about a family of immortals who hire themselves out as assassins. Rogue follows one of the grandsons of the first immortal. He’s living in New York City, planning his next assassination. But when he meets the eerily familiar executive assistant of his next target, his life is turned upside-down.


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

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

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

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance
Rating – PG-13
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KS Ferguson on Proposing a New Book Category #AmWriting #AmReading #Fantasy

Do you read fantasy? Which kind? Back when I started reading fantasy—just before the invention of the printing press—fantasy was all wizards with staffs and cloaks, kids with magical objects that allowed them to fly to the moon, or crazy professors making trips to the center of the Earth. I don't recall there being separate sub-genres. If there were, the librarian didn't tell me about them.

Now days, sub-genres seem to multiply faster than rabbits. You've got your epic fantasy, your sword-and-sorcery fantasy, steam-punk, dark, superheroes, and urban, just to mention a few.

I just have to ask—why urban? I mean, isn't that a tad discriminatory? Is an urban setting somehow superior to a suburban setting? No witchcraft going on behind those perfectly trimmed hedges? No summoning of demons from the sinkhole that's just opened in the back yard?

Don't get me started on rural settings! No one thinks it would be amusing if the shape-shifter hero morphed into a dairy cow to blend into the herd or gored the baddie to death? No possessed pocket gophers taking over the town? If pocket gophers aren't a creation of the Devil, I don't know what is!

When I wrote Touching Madness and published it, retail sites insisted I classify it according to their prescribed list of genres. Because it involves traveling to alternate realities, it might fit the fantasy alternate histories category. But it's not about a single alternate reality.

Touching Madness isn't epic, sword-and-sorcery, or steampunk. It's sort of urban fantasy. But it isn't strictly confined to an urban environment. While River spends most of the book in Centerville, Kansas, important chapters see him in a Raptor military camp, snowy winter woods, and an underground compound of unknown origins.

So in keeping with current trends, I'm proposing a new category: contemporary, alternate-dimension-hopping-magic-advanced-technology-and-demons fantasy. What do you think? Will it catch on at Amazon?

Touching Madness

Light bulbs talk to River Madden; God doesn't. When the homeless schizophrenic unintentionally fractures a dimensional barrier and accidentally steals a gym bag containing a million dollars, everyone from the multiverse police to the local crime boss—and an eight-foot tall demon—are after him. Can he dodge them long enough to correct his mistakes and prevent the destruction of three separate dimensions? If he succeeds, will the light bulbs stop singing off-key?

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Genre – Contemporary, Urban fantasy
Rating – R
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Madi Brown on Fabulous #Book Covers for Your Book @Madithe1brown #AmWriting #Wwed

Why Book Covers Are So Important

Unless you don't have eyes, people are visual. If there's a handsome guy sitting  across  from me during my daily commute on the train, I'm going to look. If I'm away on vacation, I'm going to appreciate the beautiful sights around me, because I know that I'm there to relax. If my mom bakes one of her yummy peach cobblers, I'm going to feast on it with my eyes first, and then I'm going to devour it. In the world of books, book covers work in the same way. There are probably millions of them out there, but most readers are only looking for one title. Just think, your book cover is going to be the very first thing that a buyer will see. If you're suddenly feeling the pressure of of just  how important a book cover really might be, then continue to read on.

“I've penned a stellar novel. People are going to love me once they read what I've written.” Plenty of authors are probably thinking the exact same thing. But how are you going to let people know about this stellar body of work that you've just created? I'll tell you how.  You're going to  have a fabulous book cover that will make your book stand out from the rest. And don’t worry, I get it. Writers aren't book designers, but here's where you bring in someone to help with bringing your vision to life. Outsourcing can be your new best friend.

How to  Find a Book Cover Designer That Fits Your Needs

I'm pretty infatuated with the book cover for my debut novel, The Truth About Emily, but it wasn't a one step process of knowing what I wanted straight away. It started with me doing research. Think about your storyline or nonfiction topic. Jot down some ideas so that you have a place of reference to pull from. Do you have a title already? Great. If you do, then keep that in mind too, because it's another source. Now go online and begin looking at other people's book covers.  Are they popular authors? Ask yourself what it is, if anything, that's drawing your eyes to it. How do you feel about the colors, the images, the font style, and the font size? Also, check out some of the books that you've previously purchased; specifically on the strength of its book cover. What caused you to click on buying it? Next up, what you want to do, is take all of that information and keep it somewhere safe. We'll come back to it.

Now you'll need to find yourself a competent book cover designer. Fiverr (an online company that will do almost any task for you for $5.00) has loads of  people on there who can assist you for a bargain, but just remember that most of those people specialize in quantity over quality. By this, I mean that you might end up with a book cover identical to someone else or it may have an appearance that looks manufactured. This isn’t to say that there aren’t  some gems on there, but you'll have to diligently seek them out.  As for myself, I chose to go with a freelancer. I was drawn to the element of selection in having access to a host of talented designers with exceptional portfolios  and being able to make a choice based on a price that I’ve set. My final winning pick was Gavin Pledger, Creative Soutions King).

By now ,you’ve found yourself a book cover designer (as far as the work contract is concerned, make sure that you add in how many times they’re willing to revise. Negotiate a flat fee). The first thing that they’ll want to know is what creative direction you’d like them to go in. This is when you whip out the notes that you’ve been compiling for your project. It’s your starting point. Don't be afraid to let them know what works for you, and what doesn’t. A really good book cover designer will be as excited as you are in getting right!


"If you LOVE New York, if you’re a name-dropping, fashion fiend careerist; fed up with serial dating, plagued with a thirst for sex, then you’ll totally stalk me for what I've penned.” - Author, Madi Brown


29-year-old Emily Greene looks the part, but she’s still working on becoming a modern-day woman. Not that she’s one to back down from a challenge, but living as an eternal work-in-progress wasn't exactly the goal that she had in mind. It’s a harsh but true realization---the idea that that time isn't on her side, and the notion that wanting to have it all, doesn't mean getting it. The verdict is in; with zero prospects for a relationship and a stalled blogging career, Emily has every reason to believe that she’s been living a life too humdrum for her own good.

Making the change won’t be easy. She’ll have to do whatever it takes; start dating like a man, become more selective about which RSVP's she accepts, and work even harder at getting her dream job.The payoff’s huge; a modern twist on a storybook ending, but gains don’t often come without risks. In the here and now Emily just may be forced to choose...It’s got to be one or the other----the profession that she’s always wanted, or the love that she’s never had.

˃˃˃ Praise for Madi Brown & 

her debut novel, The Truth About Emily

"The added depth of character promises complexity but wraps everything in the saucy cloak of Emily's evolving personality and newfound beliefs about life, love, and the real nature of happiness. And this is where The Truth About Emily outshines many competitors, making it a recommended read for those seeking more than a standard romance novel." - D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Reviews

"This book has just about anything a girl would love to read about. If there's anything Emily Greene has is ISH and lots of it, oh the ending... This book is a total keeper, just anything about fashion to relationships to friends and family." - Y. Sanchez, Goodreads

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Genre – Contemporary Women's Fiction
Rating – PG18
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The Girl Who Came Back to Life by Craig Staufenberg @YouMakeArtDumb #MG #Fiction

When you die, your spirit wakes in the frozen north, in the City of the Dead, and waits there until someone comes along to Send you to the next world by telling you a simple and heartfelt “Goodbye.”
This single word, spoken by someone who loves you, releases your soul from this world and lets you finish your journey to the next life. The City of the Dead is difficult, dangerous, and expensive to reach. You must join the steady stream of mourners who pour north at all times to Send their loved ones, unwilling to let their dead wander forever through the cold.

When you die, your spirit wakes in the north, in the City of the Dead. There, you wander the cold until one of your living loved ones finds you, says “Goodbye,” and Sends you to the next world. 

After her parents die, 12-year-old Sophie refuses to release their spirits. Instead, she resolves to travel to the City of the Dead to bring her mother and father’s spirits back home with her. 

Taking the long pilgrimage north with her gruff & distant grandmother—by train, by foot, by boat; over ruined mountains and plains and oceans—Sophie struggles to return what death stole from her. Yet the journey offers her many hard, unexpected lessons—what to hold on to, when to let go, and who she must truly bring back to life.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Middle Grade
Rating – PG-13
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@HJLawson1 on Happiness, Writing & Motivation #AmReading #AmWriting #YA


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

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

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

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

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

What scares you the most?
Car washes

What makes you happiest?
My daughter's laughter, and when she plays with her dad. That, and sunshine and a cocktail.

What’s your greatest character strength?
I will never give up.

What’s your weakest character trait?
I will never give up.

Why do you write?
I have always found people and places interesting, now I have found a place in writing to share them.

Have you always enjoyed writing?
No, writing terrified me for a long time. My teacher when I was seven told me if you got a pound for every spelling mistake he would be a millionaire, in front of the whole class. I have very bad dyslexia and from that day I never shared any written work, other than emails.

What motivates you to write?
Mainly to get everything out of my head, and I think people will find the stories interesting. I found them very interesting to research, but also heart-breaking.

What writing are you most proud of?
My first book War Kids, I have a bad memory, when I read it after final edits were completed I was surprised how good it was.


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

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

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

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

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

Buy Now @ Amazon | Smashwords | CreateSpace
Genre - Young Adult 
Rating – PG-13
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