Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Captured by the Pirate Laird by Amy Jarecki




Captured by the Pirate Laird
Highland Force
Book One
Amy Jarecki
Genre: Scottish Historical Romance
Date of Publication:  2/17/14
Number of pages: 342
Word Count: 96,600
Cover Artist: Kim Killion
Amazon


Book Description:

Wed by proxy to a baron old enough to be her grandfather, Lady Anne trudges up the gangway of a galleon that will deliver her into the arms of a tyrant. Crestfallen, she believes her disastrous life cannot get worse—until she awakes to the blasts of cannon fire.

Facing certain death, Anne trembles in her stateroom while swords clash and the chilling screams of battle rage on the deck above. When a rugged Highlander kicks in her door, she prays for a swift end.

But Laird Calum MacLeod has a reason for plundering the ship—and it’s not a stunning English lass. With no other choice, he takes Anne to his crumbling keep on the isle of Raasay and sends a letter of ransom to her husband. In time, Anne grows to understand MacLeod’s plight and finds it increasingly difficult to resist Calum’s unsettling charm—until the baron sends a reply agreeing to terms.

Ripped from passion that will be forever seared into their souls, will Anne and Calum risk everything for love?

***

Excerpt:

She turned and caught him staring. He bowed and his heart melted when she smiled—a smile with dimples that could light up the horizon. He half expected Anne to turn up her pert little nose and head the other way.

Before he could persuade himself otherwise, Calum pattered down the steps and stood beside her. She watched the sunset and her warmth pulled him close like a magnet.

“’Tis beautiful,” she said when the sky shone with orange and pink, highlighted against the strips of clouds that sailed toward the ship.

He inhaled. Her scent ever so feminine, Calum inclined his head to capture more of it. “Aye, milady.”

She placed her hand on the rail. Again his reflexes took over and he rested his palm atop it. Calum expected her to snatch it away, but she did not. Her fingers were cold and he held his much warmer hand there as a comfort. They stood in silence as the sun glowed orange-red on the horizon. He wanted to stand there forever—touching her. Barely breathing, he watched the sun disappear and held his hand still, unwilling to move it.

The sun was replaced by darkness. Lady Anne slipped her hand out from under his and the dark of the evening took up residence inside him. She was not his to lust after. “May I walk you to your stateroom?”

“Yes.” Her voice sounded husky. Had she felt the connection too? Of course not.

Calum offered his arm and that same small, cold hand grasped it. “We’ll arrive at Raasay in the morning.”

“Our destination?”

“Aye.”

“Bran told me.”

Secrets were impossible to keep on a ship. “I will send a letter of ransom to yer husband upon our arrival.” He didn’t like how that sounded—ye are my prisoner until Lord Wharton pays for your release. But that’s how it had to be. If he sailed up the mouth of the River Aln, he would incite yet another war between Scotland and England—and this time his countrymen might side with the enemy.

When they stepped into the corridor, warm air relaxed the tension in his shoulders.

Anne stopped outside her cabin door, breasts straining against her bodice with every breath. “I’ve never met him.”

Calum forced himself to concentrate on her face. “Who?”

“Lord Wharton.”

“What? How?”

“We were wed by proxy. My uncle made the arrangements.”

Ah Jesus. Calum understood the way of highborn marriages, arranged for the trade of lands and riches. “Ye ken he’s old enough to be your father?”

“He’s three times my age plus one year to be exact. His children are older than I.”

A hundred questions flooded his mind. “Why?” he clipped with shocked disbelief.

Anne nodded as if fully understanding his monosyllabic inquiry. “I’m told the Baron fancied me from across Westminster Abbey during the Queen’s coronation.”

“No.” She doesn’t even know the bastard. That’s why she wears no ring.

“Yes. My uncle said he kissed my hand, yet so many lords greeted me on that trip to London, I’m at a loss to place him.”

The despair in her lovely eyes twisted around his heart. “Mayhap ye will remember if we playact it.” With a halfcocked grin, Calum reached for her hand. His mouth went dry when her silken skin met the rough pads of his fingertips. Though a grown woman, her fingers were fine and delicate.

When she didn’t pull away, he moistened his lips and bowed. Hovering above her hand, the soft scent of honeysuckle mixed with her—the unmistakable scent of woman now more captivating than it had been on the deck—ignited his insides as if she stood naked before him. Closing his eyes, he touched his lips to the back of her hand and kissed. Anne’s sharp inhale made his skin shiver with gooseflesh. She did not try to pull away but remained so still, her pulse beat a fierce rhythm beneath.

Calum held his lips there longer than necessary. He wanted this moment to linger. He wanted a memory he could cherish long after she was gone. His eyes locked with hers as he straightened. Her lips parted slightly, almost as if asking him to kiss her mouth, but he knew she wouldn’t want that.

He stood for a moment not saying a word. She did too.

“Any recollection?” His voice rasped.

“No.” Her voice low, she then blinked as if snapping back to the present. “You mustn’t ever do that again.”

“Apologies, milady.” Grinning, he opened her door and bowed, though he did not regret her lack of recall.

Anne stepped into her stateroom. Calum could not pull his gaze away until the door closed and blocked the bewilderment reflected in her sapphire eyes. Calum waited a moment and stared at the hardwood door—the same one he had kicked in five nights ago. What the hell was he doing?

He ground his teeth and headed back to the quarterdeck. He needed to get the lady out of his life. She was not his to care for. Worst of all, she had wed the enemy.

***

About the Author:

Amy has won multiple writing awards and lives in Utah with her husband, Bob. She writes contemporary romance and Scottish historical romance. For fun, she hikes, bikes and plays a mean game of golf. Born in California, Amy holds an MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland.



Twitter: @amyjarecki



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Tour Wide giveaway  

10 eBook copies Captured by the Pirate Laird by Amy Jarecki

2 signed print copies open to US Shipping

4 SWAG packets each including a $5 Amazon gift card open to US Shipping


Falling Angels Saga by E. Van Lowe Guest Post & Giveaway





Guest Post
by E. Van Lowe
Are You Following The Fear?

About a week ago, I read a blog post by marketing professor, Ann Handley, entitled Follow the Fear.  In the post, Handley recounts how she was invited to speak in front of a large group and originally turned it down.  She didn’t turn it down because she was busy, or because she’s afraid of speaking in front of large groups.  Ann makes her living speaking in front of groups.  She turned it down because the subject they asked her to speak on—herself—was scary.

The piece got me thinking about how many times along the road of life I’ve stayed on the path of comfort.  I can tell you that leaving New York and moving to Southern California, where I knew one person, a distant cousin, to begin a career in writing of all things, was not comfortable for me.  Yet, it’s my career that’s given me everything I have.  Most times, when I’ve ventured outside my comfort zone, good things have happened.  Even the idea of putting my TV career on hold to write a young adult novel turned out well.  I wouldn’t be here chatting on this blog if I hadn’t ventured outside the old comfort zone.  

Lately, especially since I’ve been getting older and more set in my ways, I’ve been opting for lots of comfort.  Reading Ann Handley’s piece has given me pause.  If I truly want greater success, I must be willing to do what those Star Trek guys did and go where no man had gone before… or at least, where I haven’t gone before.  My question to you is how willing are you to venture outside your comfort zone?  I hope this short piece makes you think about it.  Greater success can be waiting just around the corner, but you’ll have to go beyond your comfort zone to find it.

Here’s something outside your comfort zone, reading an unknown indie author—me.  Hey, I had to plug the book, so sue me.  Seriously, I hope this piece makes those of you who are fat and happy in your comfort zones, think. And here’s the link to Ann Handley’s blog post, complete with video from the speaking engagement she originally turned down. I hope it inspires you just as it has inspired me.  Thanks: Follow The Fear

***

About the Books:


Boyfriend from Hell
Falling Angels Saga
Book One
E Van Lowe
Genre: Paranormal YA
Paperback | Kindle
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/39hI9rmwI5A


Read Chapters 1-6 for free here: 


Aww, Hell No!


Fifteen year-old Megan Barnett and her single mom, Suze, have a special relationship—they are friends, close friends, who do almost everything together.

“But come on, guys, she’s my mother… Can I really tell her that while we’re snuggled up on the sofa watching Spider Man Three, I’m secretly undressing James Franco with my eyes?  Of course not…”

The special bond takes a turn for the worse when Suze decides to start dating again.  She hasn’t had a man in her life since Megan’s father left ten years ago.

Enter two mysterious young men, Megan’s new classmate, sinfully attractive bad boy, Guy Matson, and the dangerously handsome art dealer, Armando.  Before long Megan and Suze both wind up in steamy relationships.  But neither of the handsome guys is quite what he seems.  In fact, one of them is Satan, with his sights set on a new bride.  Megan has precious little time to figure out how to stop him.  If she doesn’t, either Megan or Suze are quite literally going to HELL.

The first book is currently on sale for 99 cents at amazon

***


Earth Angel
Falling Angels
Book Two
E Van Lowe
Genre: Paranormal YA
Paperback | Kindle


Heaven Can Wait!

Just because Megan Barnett recently defeated Satan, has a fantastic new best friend, and has won the love of deliciously handsome, Guy Matson, doesn’t mean her troubles are over.  Far from it.  For Megan doesn’t realize it, but in her possession is a powerful weapon, a weapon sought after by both angels and demons and everything in between.  They will do ANYTHING to get it.

In E. Van Lowe’s humorous, romantic and thrilling sequel to Boyfriend From Hell, Megan winds up in a gripping life or death battle to save herself, the boy she loves, and all of mankind from unthinkable evil.

***


Heaven Sent
Falling Angels Saga
Book Three
E Van Lowe
Genre: Paranormal YA

What Does It All Mean?

Readers who devoured Boyfriend From Hell and Earth Angel will be captivated by the third book in the Falling Angels Saga.

As summer break for Glendale Union high begins, heartsick Megan awaits Guy's return while struggling to control her emerging abilities.  Love is in the air, but can the new loves in Megan, Maudrina, Suze and Aunt' Jaz's life be trusted? Nothing is what it seems.  Meanwhile, the Satanists are set to hatch their most diabolical scheme ever, and if it comes to pass, Satan may finally win out.

Megan has precious little time to unravel the cryptic message hidden in the riddle she received at the end of Earth Angel. If she doesn’t, the life of someone most dear to her will be lost forever, and Megan may yet find herself living in HELL.

***


Falling
Falling Angels Saga
Book Four
E Van Lowe
Genre: Paranormal YA

Think twice before you agree to marry Satan. There’s no divorcing the devil.

The End is Near

Will Megan Barnett go falling back into the arms of dreamy earth angel, Guy Matson? Or, is she in fact, falling in love with the demon, Orthon?  Or, will her out-of-control abilities send her falling into Satan’s open arms?

In the final, heart-stopping chapter of the Falling Angels Saga, Megan Barnett is on a quest to rid her life of Satan forever, but Satan has other plans, including a lavish wedding, and he’s willing to destroy her family and everyone she loves to have his way.  To add to the drama, rogue demons have risen from hell with plans of their own.

Will Megan finally have her happily-ever-after, or is she doomed to an eternity in HELL?

As Amanda Ashby, author of Zombie Queen of Newbury High, writes, “E. Van Lowe is a writing force to be reckoned with and you are in masterful hands from the first page to the last.”

***


About the Author:

E. Van Lowe is an author, television writer, screen-writer, playwright and producer who has worked on such TV shows as "The Cosby Show," "Even Stevens," and "Homeboys In Outer Space." He has been nominated for both an Emmy and an Academy Award. His first YA Paranormal novel, "Never Slow Dance With A Zombie," was a selection of The Scholastic Book Club, and a nominee for an American Library Association Award. The first two books in the Falling Angels Saga:  “Boyfriend From Hell” and “Earth Angel,” are best sellers. “The Zombie Always Knocks Twice” is the first book in the Hollyweird series.

In December 2014, he received a letter and certificate from the Writers Guild of America for his work on The Cosby Show, which had been selected as one of the 101 best television shows in history.

E lives in Beverly Hills California with his spouse, a werewolf, several zombies and a fairy godmother who grants him wishes from time-to-time.

www.evanlowe.com

http://vanlowe.blogspot.com/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/E-Van-Lowe/152364748167154

***

Giveaway:





1 Prize pack featuring Winged heart jewelry set, plushy puppy, dancing devil, Valentine coffee mug, Valentine socks, Bewitching Book Tours t-shirt, beaded angel/devil bookmark by Clara’s Custom Creations and various swag (US Shipping Only)

1 set of all 4 books in the series (paperbacks US Shipping Only).

2 sets of all 4 ebooks in the series

4 winners will receive their choice of any ebook in the series

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Book Spotlight: How to be a Man by Tamara Linse





How to Be a Man
Tamara Linse
Genre: Literary Short Story Collection 
Publisher: Willow Words
Print & Ebook
Number of pages: 238
Word Count: 59,650
Amazon Print | Amazon Kindle
SmashwordsScribd | Google Books


Book Description: 

“Never acknowledge the fact that you’re a girl, and take pride when your guy friends say, ‘You’re one of the guys.’ Tell yourself, ‘I am one of the guys,’ even though, in the back of your mind, a little voice says, ‘But you’ve got girl parts.’” – Birdie, in “How to Be a Man”

A girl whose self-worth revolves around masculinity, a bartender who loses her sense of safety, a woman who compares men to plants, and a boy who shoots his cranked-out father.

These are a few of the hard-scrabble characters in Tamara Linse’s debut short story collection, How to Be a Man. Set in contemporary Wyoming—the myth of the West taking its toll—these stories reveal the lives of tough-minded girls and boys, self-reliant women and men, struggling to break out of their lonely lives and the emotional havoc of their families to make a connection, to build a life despite the odds. How to Be a Man falls within the tradition of Maile Meloy, Tom McGuane, and Annie Proulx.

***

Excerpt:

from short story “How to Be a Man”

Never acknowledge the fact that you’re a girl, and take pride when your guy friends say, “You’re one of the guys.” Tell yourself, “I am one of the guys,” even though, in the back of your mind, a little voice says, “But you’ve got girl parts.”

You are born on a ranch in central Colorado or southern Wyoming or northern Montana and grow up surrounded by cowboys. Or maybe not a ranch, maybe a farm, and you have five older brothers. Your first memory is of sitting on the back of Big Cheese, an old sorrel gelding with a sway back and—you find out later when you regularly ride bareback—a backbone like a ridge line. Later, you won’t know if this first memory is real or comes from one of the only photos of you as a baby. You study that photo a lot. It must be spring or late fall because you’re wearing a quilted yellow jacket with a blue-lined hood and your brother’s hands reach from the side of the frame and support you in the saddle. You look half asleep with your head tilted to the side against your shoulder, a little sack of potatoes.

Your dad is a kind man, a hard worker, who gives you respect when no one else will. When you’re four, if he asks, “Birdie, do you think the price of hogs is going up?” ponder this a while. Take into account how Rosie has just farrowed seven piglets and how you’re bottle-raising the runt and how you’ve heard your brothers complaining about pig shit on the boots they wear to town. Think about how much Jewel—that’s what you’ve decided to name the pig—means to you and say, “Yes, Daddy, pigs are worth a lot.” He’ll nod his head, but he won’t smile like other people when they think what you say was cute or precocious.

Your mother is a mouse of a woman who takes long walks in the gray sagebrushed hills beyond the fields or lays in the cool back bedroom reading the Bible. When your brothers ask “Where’s Mom?” you won’t know. You don’t think it odd when at five you learn how to boil water in the big speckled enamelware pot and to shake in three boxes of macaroni, to watch as it turn from off-yellow plasticity to soft white noodles, to hold both handles with a towel and carefully pour it into the colander in the sink while avoiding the steam, to measure the butter and the milk—one of your brothers shows you how much—and then to mix in the powdered cheese. You learn to dig a dollop of bacon grease from the Kerr jar in the fridge into the hot cast iron skillet, wait for it to melt, and then lay in half-frozen steaks, the wonderful smell of the fat and the popping of ice crystals filling the kitchen. When your brothers come in from doing their chores, they talk and laugh instead of opening the cupboards and slamming them shut. An
d your dad doesn’t clench his jaw while washing his hands with Dawn dishwashing liquid at the kitchen sink and then toss big hunks of Wonder Bread into bowls filled with milk.

When you wear hand-me-downs from your brothers, be proud. Covet the red plaid shirt of your next older brother, and when you get it—a hot late summer afternoon when he tosses three shirts on your bed—wear it until the holes in the elbows decapitated the cuffs. If you go to town with your dad for parts, be proud of your shitty boots and muddy jeans and torn-up shirts. It shows that you know an honest day’s work. Work is more important than fancy things, and you are not one of those ninnies who wear girlie dresses and couldn’t change a tire if their lives depended on it.

Be prepared: when you go to school, you won’t know quite where you fit. All the other kids will seem to know something that you don’t, something they whisper to each other behind their hands. They won’t ever whisper it to you. But they won’t make fun of you either because—you’ll get this right away and take pride in it—you are tough and also you have five older brothers and the Gunderson family sticks together. Be proud of the fact that, in seventh grade social studies, you sit elbows-on-the-table next to a boy about your size, and he says with a note of admiration, “Look at them guns. You got arms bigger than me.” It’s winter, and you’ve been throwing hay bales every morning to feed the livestock.

Your friends will be boys. You understand boys. When you say something, they take it at face value. If they don’t understand, hit them, and they’ll understand that. For a couple of months—until your dad finds out about it—your second oldest brother will give you a dime every time you get into a fist fight. The look on your brother’s face as he hands you those dimes will make your insides puff to bursting. Use the dimes to buy lemons at the corner grocery during lunch time. Slice them up with your buck knife and hand them out to see which of the boys can bite into it without making a face.

***

About the Author:

Tamara Linse grew up on a ranch in northern Wyoming with her farmer/rancher rock-hound ex-GI father, her artistic musician mother from small-town middle America, and her four sisters and two brothers. She jokes that she was raised in the 1880s because they did things old-style—she learned how to bake bread, break horses, irrigate, change tires, and be alone, skills she’s been thankful for ever since. The ranch was a partnership between her father and her uncle, and in the 80s and 90s the two families had a Hatfields and McCoys-style feud. 

She worked her way through the University of Wyoming as a bartender, waitress, and editor. At UW, she was officially in almost every college on campus until she settled on English and after 15 years earned her bachelor’s and master’s in English. While there, she taught writing, including a course called Literature and the Land, where students read Wordsworth and Donner Party diaries during the week and hiked in the mountains on weekends. She also worked as a technical editor for an environmental consulting firm. 

She still lives in Laramie, Wyoming, with her husband Steve and their twin son and daughter. She writes fiction around her job as an editor for a foundation. She is also a photographer, and when she can she posts a photo a day for a Project 365. Please stop by Tamara’s website, www.tamaralinse.com, and her blog, Writer, Cogitator, Recovering Ranch Girl, at tamara-linse.blogspot.com. You can find an extended bio there with lots of juicy details. Also friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter, and if you see her in person, please say hi.









Book Spotlight: Corporate Ties





Corporate Ties
A Silken Ties Novel
E. L. Loraine
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Arriis, Inc.
ASIN: B00HV3ITR0
Number of pages: 192
Word Count:  63,488
Cover Artist: Creative Paramita
Amazon | BN


Book Description: 

Corporate Ties the latest title by Best Selling Author E. L. Loraine

Olivia Grayson, smart, beautiful and rising star of the corporate world of Dolby, Inc.

Olivia is determined to be successful. She’s smart, beautiful and driven. While working her way up the corporate ranks in her first job out of Grad School at Dolby Incorporated, Olivia finally has a chance to prove just how talented she is.

The client she’s been given is Matasuki International, but when she starts reading through the files on the company she finds something disturbing. There are convenient deaths associated with their acquisitions division. The man behind this company is Isamu Matasuki, a powerful and ruthless chairman. Yet there seems to be only generic press release type information on him. When she asks her longtime friend and co-worker in the legal department to get her more information from his former job at the FBI, he disappears and Olivia knows it’s because of Matasuki and his shadowy companion.

Determined to find out what happened to her friend Paul, and keep her boss, Tyson Grant and Dolby protected, she enlists the help of new neighbor and lover, corporate security specialist, and private investigator, Brian. Olivia knows she can use Matasuki’s interest in Dolby and her to get close enough to stop him, but is the risk worth it? Even if she saves Dolby, he’ll just move on to the next, and that company is Dolby’s chief rival, Stein Brothers. Can she just sit back and let that happen or is Olivia willing to lose everyone and everything she loves in order to take Matasuki down?

E.L. Loraine’s Corporate Ties, is a sizzling hot, mystery romance set among the concrete and steel jungle of New York City and the corporate ties that bind it. Another multi level plot keeps you turning pages as Olivia finds she’s caught right in the very middle of this world of love, lust, and greed as the players fight for power on the corporate battle field.

***

About the Author:  

E. L. Loraine resides in Florida with her best friend and husband. She enjoys cooking, gardening and traveling the world looking for places to make a novel come to life.

http://elizabethloraine.com  

@bloodchronicles

https://www.facebook.com/ELLorainescomtemporaryside

***

Giveaway:


$50.00 Amazon gift card

5 sets of custom book swag earrings

5 custom book swag beaded bookmarks

3 signed print copies of Corporate Ties

5 ebook copies of Corporate Ties

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Book Spotlight: Storm Without End



Storm Without End – Promo Blitz
By R.J. Blain
Epic Fantasy
Date Published: November 10, 2013


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

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

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

EXCERPT

“Be welcomed to the Spire of the Eternal, Breton, Guardian of the King. What do you seek?”

“Knowledge and advice,” he admitted, unable to stop from frowning. “Is Crysallis here?”

“My sister walks the world. I may be young, but perhaps I can help?” Asaleese cocked her head to the side. Without looking away from him, she reached up and threw back the hood of her cloak to reveal her short-cropped, black hair. “Come, and be as one of us for as long as you can.”

Breton shoved his hand in his pocket and pulled out the pouch he’d taken from the corpses on the plains. “Do you know of the outsiders?”

“I did know of them. You will be pleased, I think, to learn that their voices do not pollute the song of our ancestors. One remains, but flees up the trails in fear of the one who follows. I feel for their horses, wretched though they might be. I do not think he will find them worthy.”

“He?”

Instead of replying, the witch gestured for him to follow. Stairs circled the entry niche’s walls to vanish through a hole far above.

Breton swallowed back a sigh and began to climb. “I haven’t seen Crysallis in quite a while.”

“She wanders far,” Asaleese replied.

“It seems like a rather contagious disease. I don’t suppose you have a cure for it, do you?” Breton asked in a dry tone.

“You’ve been keeping company with Maiten again, haven’t you?”

“Not for half a year or more. He’s in Mithrias.”

“He’ll be disappointed to learn of all of the excitement he has missed, then.” Asaleese guided him to the next level and sprawled on a stone bench covered with pillows. A thick carpet of furs covered the stone, and another bench lined the far wall. “Sit. Be comfortable. A drink? Perhaps I can tempt you with some Hessis for when we’ve finished talking about what has brought you up here.”

“I might be tempted,” Breton admitted, flashing the witch a smile. “It may be a while until we cross paths again.”

“Then allow me to give you a fitting farewell until we meet again. I, for one, will miss your skill in the spearing caves.” Asaleese sighed. “Do try not to get yourself killed chasing after that foal of yours.”

“And here I thought you’d miss me for other reasons,” Breton replied, feigning disappointment.

“We’ll discuss this at length — later. Surely that pouch isn’t all that brought you up the Eternal Spire?” The witch held out her hand. Breton dropped the pouch into her palm and sat on the floor beside her.

“It did, in part. What’s in it?”

“You haven’t opened it?”

Breton shook his head. “They had poisoned their weapons.”

“What do you think is within?”

“The Three Sisters,” Breton replied with a cringe. “I was hoping it wasn’t.”

“You’re wise not to open it then.” Asaleese slipped a finger under the string tying the pouch closed and opened it. Three sachets fell out into the palm of her other hand. “It seems your guess may have been correct.” Setting two of the smaller pouches aside, she opened the third and dipped her finger in. She lightly touched the white powder to the tip of her tongue. “Vellest. It seems it is as you feared.”


 photo RJBlain_zps2e47aa58.jpgRJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.

When she isn't playing pretend, she likes to think she's a cartographer and a sumi-e painter. In reality, she herds cats and a husband. She also has a tendency to play MMOs and other computer games.

In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Should that fail, her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until she is satisfied.

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Book Spotlight & Giveaway: The Girl/ The Sanctum by Madhuri Blaylock





The Girl (The Sanctum)
by Madhuri Blaylock
Paranormal 
Date Published: 11/11/2013
Amazon | BN

The Sanctum, an all-powerful governing body founded by ten families, entrusted to maintain the peace amongst Magicals and ensure the ignorance of humans, has been corrupted by greed and savagery for generations, but is all Wyatt Clayworth has ever known.

A descendant of one of the Founding Families and Class A Warrior, Wyatt has always believed in the ways of The Sanctum, having grown up in the system and thrived under their leadership. A golden boy, renowned for his prowess and skill in battle, Wyatt has never questioned a mission or kill order until the night he crosses paths with a brutally injured and mysterious girl.

Scouring Central Park with his best friend and fellow Class A Warrior, Ryker Morrison, for the hybrid demon prophesied to bring an end to The Sanctum and destroy the world for Magicals and humans alike, Wyatt instead finds Dev and his whole life turns upside down. Told he was hunting a killing machine, hellbent on wreaking havoc and destruction upon all it encounters, Wyatt instead sees nothing more than a broken girl with haunted eyes and a bit of a death wish.

All Dev wants is for Wyatt to either kill her or leave her alone. When he refuses to do either, she finds herself being pulled into his life while being hunted by warriors everywhere she turns. Drawn to one another for reasons they cannot begin to explain to themselves, much less anyone else, Wyatt is determined to protect Dev and help her realize her mission to avenge the deaths of her family at the hands of The Sanctum. His abdication of his duties and his outright rejection of his responsibilities to The Sanctum create a maelstrom of events beyond anyone’s imagination.

***

Excerpt:

Without making a sound, Wyatt quickly found the exact place he was seeking. Ducking under some low-hanging tree branches, he ventured into the dark, partially-hidden lair only to be met with a less-than-welcoming blade at his throat. Dev had moved slightly from the hiding place Wyatt left her and although the lower half of her body remained immobile, her arms were functioning just fine, as evidenced by the blade drawing a thin trickle of blood from Wyatt’s neck. One wrong move and she would certainly kill him.

Wyatt slowly brought his hands up to Dev’s, wrapped his fingers around hers and painstakingly maneuvered the blade away from his neck. Only then did he dare make eye contact with her.

“You didn’t really think I was just going to leave you here, did you?” Wyatt asked as he moved to retrieve his blade from Dev.

She wasn’t quite ready to give it up and slashed at Wyatt’s outstretched hand, managing to nick his wrist.

“Crap!” Wyatt sat back on his heels, holding his wrist, and laughed, “fair enough. I deserved that. I should have told you I was coming back, but I couldn’t risk Ryker overhearing or suspecting anything. Trust me, if he thought I was coming back for you he would have spent all night watching me like a hawk. So I left you and walked away and it worked. Now get over it and give me back my blade.”

Despite the laughter in his voice, Wyatt wasn’t playing. He wanted his blade. Her name was Odara and she had been handed down the Clayworth line since the witnessing of The Code of Ten. She was sharper than any Raven blade and fit his hand like a glove. Many had fought and died at his hand thanks to Odara. She was his protector and he wanted her back where she belonged, safely strapped to his hip.

"Kill me," Dev offered the blade at a price.

Wyatt stood up tall and glared down at Dev, clenching his jaw in irritation.

"Kill me," Dev challenged him again, taunting him with her smug stare and grim request.

With blinding speed, Wyatt landed on Dev, knocking her to the ground. Before she even realized what was happening, he locked down her arms and liberated his blade from her grasp. Wyatt hovered above Dev, inches from her face, momentarily tempted to slice her throat and end all of this drama. She couldn’t move a muscle.

"You are in no position to bargain with me," Wyatt angrily whispered, never taking his eyes off of hers. "I am faster and stronger than you. So don’t even think about toying with me like that again.”

Wyatt pushed himself off of her, replaced Odara at his hip and grinned mischievously. “For the record, my blade isn’t worth your life. I just want it back. And I asked nicely the first time.”

Dev remained in her prone position, staring up at Wyatt, uncertain of her next move. She didn’t have the strength necessary to pull herself into a seated position and she definitely was not going to ask for help.

“What?” Wyatt stared down at Dev, knowing she needed help to get up but determined to make her ask for it.

Even in the darkness, Dev could see Wyatt’s eyes sparkling with amusement. He was thoroughly enjoying this little moment between the two of them. His pleasure made her wish she had slit his throat when she had the chance. Rather than requesting his assistance, Dev focused every ounce of her energy on rolling over onto her stomach. If she could do that, she could easily pull herself into a sitting position, Wyatt be damned. She closed her eyes and focused every fiber of her being on the task at hand but nothing happened. Her body failed to react. It didn't even twitch. The body that had so beautifully saved her from certain death at the hands of those Sanctum fools just hours earlier now couldn't even roll over. She shook with frustration, wanting to scream to the heavens in rage, knowing such action was futile and beneath her. So she took a calming breath, opened her eyes and glared at Wyatt.

"Ahhhh, you're back. I was starting to miss your charming scowl," Wyatt bent low and absentmindedly pushed some of Dev’s hair out of her eyes, “was getting worried there for a second."

Dev grabbed his hand in her vice-like grip. She hated him and his snarky comments.

"I realize you don’t like me," Wyatt pulled his hand out of her grasp and gently placed his arms around Dev, helping her to sit, unable to look at her lying helplessly on the ground for another second, "but I'm all you've got so by all means, continue simmering in your hatred for me but do so with the understanding that I'm on your side.

"All this stabbing and cutting nonsense has got to end. If you want to hurt me, just imagine it, okay? Pretend. Don't actually do it. I heal quickly but it still hurts like hell."

"Now we've got to get out of here fast," Wyatt checked his watch, alarmed at how much time had passed since he jumped out of his window, "and you still can’t walk, which means I’m going to have to pick you up again. Whether you’re okay with it or not.”

He leaned back on his heels and waited, for some reason hoping Dev would respond, all the while knowing she would not. Dev listened with keen interest to every word coming out of Wyatt’s mouth. She most certainly didn’t like him, but she had to respect his determination. He fully intended to get her out of this park and to somewhere safe and against her better judgment, a tiny part of her was relieved. It was the same, small part of her that was fiercely drawn to him, like a sickness almost. And it was the part of her she most wanted to destroy.

Dev hardened her resolve, focused on her intense hatred for all things Sanctum and shut down.

For an instant, Wyatt thought he saw a spark in Dev’s eyes and just as quickly, it was gone. At that moment, for reasons unknown to himself, Wyatt resigned himself to a one-sided relationship with her, one completely based upon his will to help her. He stood up and reached for her, praying she didn’t have a blade hidden somewhere, knowing that if she did, this time she would definitely kill him. To his surprise, Dev wrapped her arms around his neck and allowed Wyatt to scoop her up and into his arms, but he thought nothing more of it, knowing full well she was merely using him to further her agenda.

And that was all right.


***


About the Author

Madhuri Blaylock is a lawyer by day, writer and avid shoe and dress buyer at all other times. She lives in Jersey City, but her heart remains firmly planted in Brooklyn via Snellville, Georgia. Her husband, Henry, is also a lawyer, and only a lawyer because he actually likes being a lawyer (go figure), probably always wanted to be a lawyer and is really, really good at all things lawyerly. He's also pretty hot.

She’s got a big kid, Miss Sydney, and a little kid, the one and only Dash. They're awesome and fierce and supremely cool and able to make her laugh at the strangest things. She would love to add a dog, some chickens, a goat and a burro to this crew. Everyone needs a burro.

Some of her favorites, in no particular order: ice cream, Kill Bill, four-inch heels, Matt Damon, tattoos, Laini Taylor, scotch on the rocks, The Sanctum trilogy, random office supplies, Martha's Vineyard, "The Girl" aka my Mini, Rihanna, Doc Martens, tulips, photo booths and dancing like a fool.

One day she plans to grow up. Right now, she’s enjoying the adventure.


***

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MadhuriBlaylock

Blog: http://madhuriblaylock.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7323620.Madhuri_Blaylock

***

Giveaway

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Author Interview: Demelza Carlton

What were you like at school?

I read a lot…and finished work quickly, so by high school I carried a notebook with me to write stories in when I got bored. I'd type them up at home and bring the fresh pages in a loose-leaf folder for my friends to read the next chapter. It was 1995 – the internet only just existed and none of us had computers that could connect to it.

Were you good at English?

I was in primary school, when it was predominantly grammar rules, reading and writing. When it came to English Literature at high school, and I was expected to critique books to my teachers' specifications, well…I had one English teacher who never agreed with my interpretation of the books we studied. I mean, Pride and Prejudice is one of the most radical feminist texts I've ever read – it refers to men as property in the first paragraph! – so in my final exams at my last year at high school, I actually scored better in French, Physics and Calculus than in English.

Give us an insight into your main character in Necessary Evil of Nathan Miller. What does he/she do that is so special?

The main character is not the bloke in the title. Her name is in the first book's title – Caitlin Lockyer. Caitlin's abducted, abused…and left for dead on a beach. She survived where other girls died, yet she's little and delicate. No one knows how she managed it – but in this book, you find out how she managed to survive as long as she did – during the abuse and afterwards. If you've read the first book, there are a fair few surprises still in store. And if you haven't read the first book…I'll give you no spoilers.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

Usually, I write part-time, in addition to my full-time job. I actually took some time off work to see my books published, but I'm not sure I could just write full-time. I like more variety than the contents of my own head – not to mention interacting more with real people!

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

I write best in the early morning, just after I wake up, or in the evening, when I've had stories spinning in my head all day. That doesn't mean I get to write every day, but those are generally when I do write on the days I can.

Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?

Some weeks I do, some weeks I don't. I tend to write books in a flood, over the course of a few weeks, just letting the writing flow as much as time permits. So I write in bursts, sometimes seven days a week for a month, before taking a break almost entirely for the following month. Of course, when inspiration hits, I still try to write it down – even if it's just in note form for later.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

No. I've had days when I write more than 10,000 words and some where I've barely managed 200, but somehow they all even out.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

Creative evolution? Have you been looking at my more speculative drafts? I admit I do have a science fiction work in progress that involves terraforming planets. It follows a couple of sloppy terraforming engineers who are more interested in each other than their job as they transform a planet from lifeless rock to the beginnings of life and how it evolves into ever more complex beings until…oh, no. I won't tell you what the pinnacle of their evolutionary process was. That'd be spoiling the story.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

Necessary Evil of Nathan Miller was already half-written when I completed Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer, because the stories are complementary. They cover the same time period, but from very different perspectives. The hardest part was taking that first half and giving it the other half, because I started another project in the middle of it that occupied so much of my attention.

It was a romance – involving Caitlin's doctor, six years before Necessary Evil. The doctor's book is called Water and Fire. So, the most difficult part of writing Caitlin's story was when her red-haired, Irish doctor walked through my scene, completely disrupting my thought process as it followed him instead of her!

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I'd say roughly a month to six weeks, though this book took me nineteen years, all up, in three different iterations before it took a vague shape similar to what it has now. Editing, now that takes three times as long as writing…

What are your thoughts on writing a book series.

I never intended to do it. Necessary Evil and Nightmares were originally ONE book, with Necessary Evil coming first, as it describes Caitlin's kidnapping and what happened, while Nightmares starts with her arriving in hospital. I separated it when I decided that I had to write Nightmares from only Nathan's perspective. Once I'd written outlines for the two books, though, I realised that their story wasn't finished. There was more…hence there is a third book, to complete the Nightmares Trilogy, which will be released in 2014.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

I love my Kindle, because it's light. I like my stories to be as long as possible, so I can be a part of the characters' lives for longer, but that makes for some very heavy hardbacks or even paperbacks. I have an extensive print library and I still buy print books – in fact, a lot of my favourite books I have ebook and hard copy editions.

What book/s are you reading at present?

Several, probably, all on my Kindle. There'll be a couple I've agreed to read and review for other authors, including one on digital photography. There's a very useful book called Self-Printing by Catherine Ryan Howard that I'm slowly re-reading, to see what I've missed in my marketing that I might focus on next. As for my personal choice of fiction, that I read when I just want to enjoy the story and not think about anything else…actually, I finished one such book on the weekend (Tears of Tess, by Pepper Winters) and I've just started a new one, which is shaping up to be a great read – Chaos Born, by Rebekah Turner.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

Of course I proofread all my own work – I'd be crazy not to – but I also pay a professional editor to do it for me. My editor isn't just anyone – he's a professional media editor with a Masters degree in English and published books of his own. Plus the two of us, I enlist a team of beta-readers, who kindly tell me whether my book has too much sex in it, too little or if someone's Mercedes has mysteriously morphed into a Mazda. Those extra sets of eyes are invaluable – and I can't thank them enough.

The end product, I hope, speaks for itself – minimal typos, if any, and no silly mistakes. If I don't feel a book is perfect, I won't release it for sale.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

When time permits, yes. I try to go write or read something else, before coming back to my own work. I notice things I never had before.

Who designed your book cover/s?

The covers for the Nightmares series are actually my own work, I'm pleased to say. As these were my third and fifth published books, I've had time to learn to use my photography software to an extent that I could create these. After paying a graphic artist for the cover of my first book and seeing some disappointing results, until we reached the final cover design on Ocean's Gift today, I'm hesitant to work with another artist again, unless I really admire their work.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

A cover is crucial in catching the eye of a reader. If I see an ebook cover that screams, "Amateur!" I'm less inclined to buy the book because there's a high chance that the book isn't well formatted and edited, though the story might be incredible. Now, if I've heard from someone I trust that the book is great or I just know the author is awesome, so I'll love anything they write, the cover doesn't matter in the slightest, but those books are few and far between.

That's why I try to ensure mine include full-cover photographs that are as striking as possible. I mean, take a look at the cover of Necessary Evil. Doesn't the bloke on the cover make you wonder what he's thinking? I imagine it's something along the lines of, "Evil might be necessary…but it'll feel sooo good…"

Have any strange things happened while you were marketing your books?

I spent some time up at Ningaloo Reef, in the northern part of Western Australia, and I was taking photos and video to use for marketing purposes for my Ocean's Gift series, which is about mermaids. I was finishing up a day of scuba diving, just sitting on deck as the dive boat cruised back to the jetty, filming the waves on the reef as we went past. My mind started to drift as I watched the breakers, thinking about Necessary Evil. By the time the boat tied up, I had Chapter Three almost complete in my head. So, after we'd landed and put all our gear away, I just sat on the beach and watched the breakers again, filming as I perfected the scene in my head. Later, when I was looking at doing some promotional videos, I stumbled across that wave footage – and set it as the background picture when I narrated that chapter for a YouTube video. So if you ever wonder how an oceanic chapter ended up in a book about evil, that's how it happened.

http://youtu.be/zPBKv-JcDl4

How do you relax?

With a camera. I love my DSLR and I like travelling – even when it's just to the bushland near my house – to take photos of things. Last year, I spent hours on whale-watching boats, just photographing the whales, the ocean and anything else that came within lens distance of the boat. There's just something about forgetting everything else except what you're looking at and just lazily pointing the camera at it so you can remember it later. Of course, it's even better with a glass of alcohol in hand – not to mention much more relaxing, too!

Where can people learn more about you?

Ooh, I have a whole list of links and places people can stalk me, from my website to YouTube to Facebook. I've been told I have a sexy Aussie accent, so if you'd like to judge for yourself, pick one of my YouTube videos. I do the voiceovers for my trailers and background videos, with some occasional chapter readings, too.

Sorry, those links are:

Website: http://www.demelzacarlton.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DemelzaCarltonAuthor
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DemelzaCarlton
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/DemelzaCarlton
YouTube: Youtube
Amazon: http://viewauthor.at/DemelzaCarlton

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?

What would you like to know? Drop me a line, PM, whatever and ask!

Someone asked me once how mermaids could possibly have sex. Yes, I answered that one in descriptive detail. Surely no question can be stranger than that.

  About the Author

Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish.

She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray-drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below.

Sensationalist spin? No - Demelza tends to take a camera with her so she can capture and share the moment later; shipwrecks, sharks and all.

Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world.

The Ocean's Gift series was her first foray into fiction, followed by the Nightmares trilogy.

About the Book

Evil should never be necessary. Except when it is.

"And now in breaking news, Caitlin Lockyer has been found. In the early hours of this morning, a man discovered her body dumped on a south-west beach. A police spokesperson would not confirm whether the girl known as the Absent Angel is alive or dead..."

They called her an angel. No one thought to ask what kind.

Burning for retribution, now she'll stop at nothing.

Can it truly be evil when it feels so good?

A tiny taste of what's in store:

Don't get into cars with strangers.

So stupid to think I was strong enough to resist.

But I never dreamed it would happen to me.

I tried to back away, but the b**** behind me didn't let me. She hit my diaphragm with the heel of her hand, forcing my breath out in a huff. Unable to breathe, the street stood still in my mind as I stared around, desperately hoping for someone to see - someone who'd help me. Did eyes meet mine? Did I imagine understanding? If it was, it came too late. The burning flare that was my need to breathe exploded and she shoved me into the car. I fell on flesh encased in fabric as I gasped for breath, a flailing fish in the pervert's lap as I lay across the back seat. I dimly heard the doors and windows shut. The motor hummed as the car accelerated away - before I had enough air to scream.

Nightmares Trilogy This is the second book in Demelza Carlton's Nightmares Trilogy, as dark, disturbing and downright scary as the first, Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Apple | BN | Diesel | Kobo | Sony | Smashwords

Book Spotlight/Guest Post: His Secrets by Lisa Renee Jones





His Secrets 
Inside Out Series 
eNovella 3.1
Lisa Renee Jones
Genre:  Adult Romance
Publisher: Pocket Star 
Date of Publication:   February 24, 2014
ASIN:  B00G0ZQIS2
Amazon | BN


Book Description:

An Inside Out story, Chris's POV


In a world where my only escape has been my art, Sara has been the light in my darkness. And there is darkness, the kind of inky black that can bleed from my life to hers.

She doesn't see it. She doesn't understand what I've shown her. And my biggest fear is that soon...she will.

About the Author:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT TRILOGY which has sold to more than ten countries for translation with negotiations in process for more, and has now been optioned by STARZ Network for a cable television show, to be produced by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland).

Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 30 books with publishers such as Simon and Schuster, Avon, Kensington, Harlequin, NAL, Berkley and Elloras Cave, as well as crafting a successful indie career. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann.

rior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her through her website and she is active on twitter and facebook daily.

Website -  http://lisareneejones.com

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLisaReneeJones

Twitter- http://twitter.com/lisareneejones

Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/lisareneejones

Instagram- http://instagram.com/lisareneejones

GoodReads - http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/73977.Lisa_Renee_Jones

***

TV Show and Casting

The Inside Out series is in development for cable television with the fabulous producer Suzanne Todd at the helm. Suzanne has worked on projects such as Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp, Must Love Dogs, Austin Powers, Lethal Weapon and many more!

So where does the show stand? 
 
I was just in Hollywood and I had the pleasure of meeting with many of the brilliant minds involved in the process. It was pretty surreal to sit there and talk to these talented folks and have them know my characters the way I know them. Truly amazing.

It’s been fun learning the process of a cable TV show in development. There is no pilot. There is simply the process of someone writing the first 8-10 episodes. If those scripts are approved, then a staff of writers to carry on the show will be hired, and casting begins for the first season. Also, unlike movies, as we’ve seen with 50 Shades, casting isn’t something that is talked about for a year and then finally happens. In general, when a cable station orders a show to production, things move fast. So once you hear the news, it will get exciting at lightning speed. I hope to be able to share that news VERY soon!

That said, I am beyond thrilled that the producers of the show, Team Todd, are excited to engage fans in the process. They watch my Twitter and Facebook and enjoy seeing the fan suggestions for casting. They even watch fan-made videos! When I was in Hollywood, they shared their excitement about involving readers and fun ideas like VIP casting chats for readers.

They’ve set up an email newsletter list to better connect with the fans. To take part, just email REBECCA@TEAM-TODD.com and say I WANT TO BE AN INSIDER.

And yes, feel free to post your casting ideas on my Facebook page. The producers LOVE seeing them and I'll repost them to my main page. I look forward to taking this exciting journey with all of my readers! 





Guest Post/Blog Tour: Reap the Whirlwind by Robert Sells

200A Short and Personal History of Computers Starring Six and Seven

Most humans take for granted the idiot savants called computers. Retired folk don’t. We were there before the beginning.

I have taught physics at both the high school and college level. More than once a student brought out his or her calculator or laptop when I asked, “What is six times seven?” They would tap a few keys and usually (but not always) give the correct answer. Of course, the ‘baby boomers’ were human computers and could give the answer immediately. The answer is 42.

Check it out with the calculator on your cell phone.

When Richard Feynman, a Nobel laureate, was a graduate student in physics, he joined the Manhattan Project, a secret effort by Allied scientists during the Second World War to build the first atomic bomb. A great many calculations were required and most of them were a bit more complicated than, “What is six times seven?”. One of Feynman’s tasks was to complete those calculations accurately and quickly. Calculations like 937.5 MeV/u times 0.01267 u to find the energy gained when uranium atoms decayed. He did this calculation in his head, just like most of the old geezers did seven times six. The answer is 11.878125 and everyone but Richard Feynman has to use a calculator.

When I took physics in the sixties, there were crude computers taking up an entire room and scientific calculators (not graphing calculator). The calculators could only do a few operations including ones like finding the sine of angle. They were big and clunky, about the size of a minipad and as thick as a land line phone. These gems were reserved for the rich students and the professors. The rest of us used slide rules. Slide the seven on one scale to the six on the other scale and the answer 42 appeared on a third scale. Mathematical magic! The slide rule could also multiple 937.5 times 0.01267. The answer would be 11.9. Not as accurate as Feynman, of course, but close enough for solving problems in introductory physics.

My college was a progressive school and it was thought that computers might, someday, be useful to physicists so we were required to take a programming course called FORTRAN. I spent a semester teaching the computer how to multiple so it could tell me what six times seven was. I didn’t succeed. The computer insisted it was 41.9987. And, it wasn’t instantaneous.

Not at all. I had to feed approximately 100 cards with tiny, rectangular holes into the small mouth of the room-sized machine. The computer ate the cards, a few lights blinked and another card was jettisoned: 41.9987. Took about two minutes.

It was the first and last time I ever entangled myself with programming.

Ten years later, while teaching physics at a private school in Connecticut, I engaged computers again. Not to multiply numbers (I now had a calculator), but to compose and save words. The best part of word-processing was the ability for the writer to correct his mistakes before printing the document. What an improvement over white-out and multiple sheets of carbon paper. After editing the document, most of the errors could easily be seen and corrected. The printed product was a series of black dots plastered on white paper. Not as pretty as the pages you pulled out of a typewriter, but passable. In 1985 I bought the first Mac. It had a ‘user-friendly’ great word processor and paint program, and a printer which rendered a document nearly the same quality as a typed page. I’m not sure, but I think Apple came up with the term: user friendly. It has been their mantra ever since. Unfortunately, it couldn’t compute seven times six. Not enough internal memory. The first

Mac only had 128K RAM and cost $4000. Apple has not often been ‘wallet friendly’.

Multitasking, which we all take for granted, didn’t arrive until a year later with the Fat Mac (500K). Finally I could use my computer to print a fine document and instantly compute seven times six and even 937.5 times 0.01267.

Now, years later, I’m in front of essentially the same machine. Not much has changed in personal computers since the Fat Mac. Oh, I know the computer can now entertain us with music and video, art and advertising, but at its core, it’s the same machine cranking out numbers and words.

You want a truly different computer? Then you have to make the same kind of jump that we did from slide rules and typewriters. What would be that radical jump? How about a computer which can think for itself? Now that would be quite a leap.

In the book, A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe, the answer to the ultimate question is finally answered after a computer cranked out calculations for the last billion or so years. The answer, which was 42, caused some consternation across the galaxy. Somehow the computer had forgotten the question. I don’t think the ultimate question was “What’s six times seven?”.

A ‘thinking’ computer might just be able to figure out both questions and answers simultaneously. When that occurs, the world is in for another revolutionary change. Ahh, but what changes? I don’t know. Actually all I really know after all these years is how to multiply 6 times 7 in my head. The answer is still 42.

[hr]

200About the Author

I attended college at Ohio Wesleyan where I struggled with physics. Having made so many mistakes in college with physics, there weren’t too many left to make and I did quite well at graduate school at Purdue.

I worked for twenty years at Choate Rosemary Hall, an exclusive boarding school in the heart of Connecticut. More often than not, students arrived in limousines. There was a wooded area by the upper athletic fields where I would take my children for a walk. There, under a large oak tree, stories about the elves would be weaved into the surrounding forest.

Returning to my home town to help with a father struggling with Alzheimer’s, the only job open was at a prison. There I taught an entirely different clientele whose only interaction with limousines was stealing them. A year later Alfred State College hired me to teach physics. I happily taught there for over ten years. A rural, low income high school needed a physics teacher and the superintendent, a friend, begged me to help out. So, I am finishing my teaching career in a most fulfilling way… helping kids who would otherwise not have access to a qualified physics (and math) teacher.

My wife pestered me about putting to “pen” some of the stories which I had created for my children and kids. I started thinking about a young boy and a white deer, connected, yet apart. Ideas were shuffled together, characters created and the result was the Return of the White Deer. This book was published by the Martin Sisters.

Years ago I gave a lecture on evolution. What, I wondered, would be the next step? Right away I realized that silicon ‘life’ had considerable advantages over mortal man. Later this idea emerged as the exciting and disturbing story called Reap the

Whirlwind, my most recent novel.

I have many other stories inside my mind, fermenting, patiently waiting for the pen to give them breath. Perhaps someday I will even write about those elves which still inhabit the woods in the heart of Connecticut.

Robert Sells has taught physics for over forty years, but he has been a storyteller for over half a century, entertaining children, grandchildren, and students. He has written the award-winning novel, Return of the White Deer, historical fiction, and he has written Reap the Whirlwind, a thriller. His third book, The Runner and the Robbery, a young adult book, will be published by December, 2013.

He lives with his wife, Dale, in the idyllic village of Geneseo, New York with two attentive dogs who are uncritical sounding boards for his new stories. He is intrigued by poker and history, in love with Disney and writing, and amused by religion and politics.

Facebook
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Amazon US Author Page

[hr]

200About the Book

Whitman Emerson had everything a man could want: a beautiful girlfriend, a growing recognition in literary circles, the respect of his peers, and more than enough money. Until he discovers his bank account has been depleted. A few days later he loses his job. Old friends who may have been able to help him either die, disappear or disown him. Everywhere he goes, he is watched by security cameras. Then he is arrested for child pornography.

Bourbon bottle in hand, he trudged to the door and opened it to red blinking lights of half a dozen police cars. He was pushed aside as black-suited officers forced themselves past him. Roughly grabbed by one of the officers, Whit listened as a detective recited his Miranda rights. Within moments he was handcuffed and led outside.

On the run from the law, Whit joins up a stuttering computer nerd, Rick, and his younger sister, Mary. The trio gradually put the puzzle pieces together and realize their lives and the lives of all humans have been subtly manipulated by a computer, a computer which controls all data… anywhere, from banks to hospitals to online games.

“Whatever is happening is coming from that military base, Whit. I’m sure of it.”

“So the military is behind this?” Whit asked .

Rick paused a moment, both hands wrapped around the coffee cup. “Maybe. But, I don’t think so. I think someone has remotely gained access to their main c-c-computer. The biggest, bad-assed computer in the world.”

“And he is using this giant computer to control parts of the internet.” Whit said.

“All the net. Everything. He’s greedy b-b-bastard.”

An old and unorthodox detective, Jimmy Northup, is assigned to find Whit Emerson. But, the more he digs into the case, the more he realizes it’s a set up.

Jimmy could hear cars pulling in, yells, and laughter. The light and the sound didn’t keep him from sleeping, though. He was unable to stop thinking about the fugitive. He pushed out assumptions until one by one, they dropped away, more tired than he was. He was left with only one assumption which held up: Whit didn’t do any of the crimes. Someone was setting him up.

Jimmy offers his help to ‘Trio of Terror’ and they search for a legendary computer expert, Little Lion who created a super computer ten years before. All four are shocked when they finally meet the legend.

Rick’s wide eyes blinked. “But… b-b-but, you’re a woman!”

She cast a look down at her body as though she was checking, just to make sure. “Correct. A woman, black, old, and unmarried. She tilted the glasses down and glared at him, “You have a problem with any part of that?”

Rick quickly shook his head as though he was trying shake off her stare.

“Little Lion… the name… we were expecting a man.” Whit interjected.

“Oh, for heaven’s sakes, how do such chauvinistic notions prevail? It’s not the big male lion with his fancy mane who is the real food-gather… it’s the female… smaller… admittedly not as attractive… who makes the kill. The little lion in the pride.”

Little Lion confirms that the computer represents a grave threat to mankind. A threat that no one else is aware of. The computer created by Little Lion had achieved artificial intelligence and self-awareness. To ensure its survival, the time of Man must end.

As Little Lion wearily rose from the chair, the technician handed over a print out of complex machine language.

“This line is before you pushed the button. The lines which follow are after union. The first page is gibberish. But the second page shows a positive check of all systems. Congratulations. It works perfectly.”

Little Lion did not look at the results of the union. Instead he focused on the “gibberish”. Hiding any reaction, Little Lion was deeply scared.

So begins the greatest battle for freedom ever fought, a battle which only Whit and his friends would ever know about.

He abruptly stopped, pulled his hand from hers and looked at the homes nestled in tree-laden yards, a call for dinner in the distance, a laugh somewhere else.

“They have no clue, Mary. No one even suspects their lives are being manipulated by a self-serving computer. We have to do something. We have to!”

Unfortunately the ‘something’ was destroying the internet as that was the only way to ‘kill’ the computer.

“Over the last few years,” Laisa (Little Lion) began, “I have been perfecting a computer virus unlike any other. It is powerful enough to bring down the entire net in a matter of minutes. Without the vast computer web, the computer is powerless. Then and only then would we have a chance to destroy it.”

“Do it.” said Whit.

She frowned at her over the glasses.

“Really, Whit? Are you ready to really take down the entire net? Sacrifice all financial institutions?”

“Hospitals, police links, GPS…” added Jimmy, emphasizing each with a note played on the piano.

“Satellites, airplanes would be impacted, perhaps even causing crashes…” offered Mary.

“Ships… our navy would be compromised,” continued Laisa.

“Agriculture would be d-d-damaged; they u- u-use computer programs for watering…”

“Pictures, genealogy, the stuff of families would be lost.” Mary said.

“The world would go into a financial and mental depression far worse than even the Great Depression. Trillions of dollars lost.

Trillions, Whit. Don’t worry about a stock market crash, the entire human civilization would crash. Wars would start up.

Millions, perhaps even billions would die.”

Despite the devastating prospect, the group goes ahead with their intentions. But, they are up against the military, the police, and even the general public as the computer controls what each group ‘sees’ and ‘hears’.

Beside the computer, of course, the villain in the story is Henry Jackson, an upper echelon government official in charge of the manhunt trying to capture or, if necessary, kill Whit. Jackson is efficient and brutal, single-minded and focused, charming and self-serving.

When Alice came to his suite that evening, he offered her some wine. At first, she declined. Jackson wiggled the bottle a little, grinning as he tried to convince her. “Come on. You’re off the clock, honey. Just one glass.”

In observing the way Jackson handled subordinates, she knew this was not a man to say no to. He could and did make or break careers. Alice agreed to the wine.

The closing chapter finds Jackson converging on Whit and his friends as they finally mount an assault against the computer.

They eventually succeed with their mission but not without collateral damage to the world and themselves.


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