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Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Debut Novel by Scott L. Collins


Nysa is an up and coming DNA retrieval expert well known in the scientific community for her advances in the technology used in the field. After being recruited to work on a secret project by an extraordinarily wealthy and mysterious benefactor, Nysa is moved to a hidden lab outside Denver, Colorado. Isolated from the world and forbidden from contact with anyone outside the facility, she is unaware of the strange occurrences that begin to plague the planet. Her fiance Alastair becomes concerned about her welfare and, with the help of his father, begins a frantic search for her. They soon come to realize that their quest is producing more questions than answers, and some very unsettling questions at that.

Only one person, the silent man financing the operation, knows the true nature of the experiment. Although unaware of his true identity, Alastair comes to realize his foe will stop at nothing to see the experiment through to its completion.

Scott Collins was born and raised in Southern California but relocated to the Denver area following the birth of the first of his two sons. Days' End is his debut novel and he is now working on a series of young adult books. In addition to writing, he enjoys spending his free time (with two kids that's not much time) running and cycling. Please feel free to visit his website at www.scottlcollins.com.

Purchase links: Amazon.com and Smashwords.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Get swept away into a world of sex and passion—if you dare!

Desert Heat
Affairs of the Heart 
Book One
Kristie Leigh Maguire

From the scorching sun of the Mojave Desert to the brilliant neon lights of Las Vegas, the sexy steel magnolia Marcie Treyhorne blazes a trail of passion through the desert sands. Her heart is torn in half as her desire for her new boss grows into a raging inferno while her love for her longtime husband remains as steadfast as the 
ancient desert mountains that surround Mojave Junction, California.

Don't expect the typical romance story with this novel. There are no shrinking violets or shy maidens who long to be taken against their will in DESERT HEAT. 

"Romance of the Year" - Affaire de Coeur Magazine

"Maguire singes readers' eyes with the fire of her love scenes." - Romantic Times Book Club Magazine

"Come take a journey to the Mojave Desert where the weather is hot and passion runs high. Ms. Maguire weaves an erotica filled with more than just fun and games." - Just Erotic Romance

Kristie Leigh Maguire’s current titles are Second Chances, Affairs of the Heart: Desert Heat and Cabin Fever (Collector’s Edition), Desert Heat, Cabin Fever, You’ve Got Mail from Japan, and co-author of No Lady and Her Tramp.

She was voted Best Up and Coming Author of the Year and her novel Desert Heat was voted Romance of the Year by the Affaire de Coeur Magazine Reader/Writer Poll. Her novels Cabin Fever and No Lady and Her Tramp placed in the Top Ten in the Preditor and Editor’s Poll. 

Although Kristie Leigh Maguire is originally from the South and will always remain Southern at heart, she and her husband now live in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. During her expatriate years she lived in St. Croix, Aruba, Thailand, Japan and three times in Saudi Arabia and visited many other countries.
"Kristie has a way of opening your mind; you become part of her creation. She writes in such a way that you want to follow her every word – that is the sign of a true storyteller." - Patti Fleishman (Romance Junkies)

"She's smart, she's sassy, she has a pen that drips sizzling ink. If you like steamy stories or the Happily Ever After kind, then this is a name that belongs on your bookshelf." - Emjae Edwards (Ink n Beans)

KLM Website (http://kristieleighmaguire.com/)

You've Got Mail from Japan (memoir) - Kindle/Nook
Second Chances (sweet contemporary western romance) - Paperback/Kindle/Nook
No Lady and Her Tramp (adult romantic satire) - Kindle/Nook
Desert Heat: Affairs of the Heart Book 1 (erotic romance) - Kindle/Nook
Cabin Fever: Affairs of the Heart Book 2 Cabin Fever: Affairs of the Heart(erotic romance) - Kindle/Nook
Affairs of the Heart: Desert Heat and Cabin Fever (Collector's Edition) - Paperback

Saturday, 23 April 2011

The Business Rusch: Royalty Statements

Wise Words is sharing an article by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. I fully recommend you go and read her blog.

The Business Rusch: Royalty Statements

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Imagine this:

Pretend you run a very large business. The business has a lot of built-in problems, things not easily fixed. You’re aware of the problems and are trying to solve them. A decade ago, you actually had hope you could solve them. It will simply take time, you thought, but back then, your business was a leisurely business. Back then, you had no idea that the word “leisure” would leave your vocabulary and never return.

In that decade, your business has changed dramatically. Your corporate masters sold out to large conglomerates, so now you can no longer point to your small but steady profit as normal for your industry. The conglomerate doesn’t care. All the conglomerate cares about is quarterly profits, which should rise steadily.

Your industry doesn’t work that way, but you do your best to make those quarterly balance sheets work for the conglomerate. Unfortunately, that means any long-term outlook you used to have no longer works for your corporate masters. Now you can only look one year ahead, maximum, because that’s all the focus the conglomerate will allow.

One of your business’s largest problem comes out of the nature of the industry itself. The success of each product cannot be replicated. Just because you build one really good widget doesn’t mean that your next widget will sell at all. Your business has a luck aspect to it, an unpredictability that no matter how much you plan, you can’t fix.

The other built-in problems mentioned above cause your prices to verge on too high. If you solve the built-in problems, you might lose even more revenue, because most of those problems benefit the stores that sell your product. Those stores have made it clear they will not order from you if you take those harmful (to you) perks (to them) away. So your prices hover at a point too high for an impulse purchase, even though your business does better when consumers can buy your product on impulse.

Click below for more:

The Business Rusch: Royalty Statements

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Take A Virtual Reality Trip With Johnny Oop

Arthur Levine
fantasy/coming of age novel

Join Johnny Oops as he charges across the country acting as if he were a prophet, sinning like a charlatan, and in his own way attempting to spread the word of God by touching other people. Travel with him as he survives a plane crash in Venezuela, drowning in France, and a stabbing at his home in California. Enjoy yourself with Johnny as he discovers his inner self—a one-foot tall albino with pink eyes dressed in a Boy Scout uniform. Suffer with him as his scandalous affairs are revealed. Have fun trying to predict what Johnny will do and say next in his self appointed role as a guru.  Question with Johnny whether everything that is happening is real.

Johnny Oops, The Rocket Fuel Of Captivating Fiction Available for only $1.14 or 99p on US Kindle and UK Amazon.  Print versions can be found here for $14.95 or at £7.50 on Amazon UK. 

Arthur Levine has a background in finance and publishing. He is the author of the how-to Book The Magic Of Faith.

He is a former Director of New Business for Family Circle Magazine, and was the Publisher of TALK Magazine (Girl Talk).

Mr. Levine graduated from The Wharton School of Business with a BS in Economics. He is a freelance writer living in New York City. He is married and has three married children.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

What makes a middle-aged woman give up all that is dear for a younger man she barely knows?

That question becomes clear in Russell Bittner's new novel:

Thanatos and Eros have been in a death-and-life struggle since the time of the Ancient Greeks—and in our time, they struggle on just as vividly in the minds and hearts of any two lovers.  If we needed a demonstration of that fact set in stone, we’d have only to visit one of any number of Europe’s cemeteries to bear witness with our own eyes:  Père Lachaise in Paris; Monumentale in Milan; Staglieno in Genoa.  The sculpture in each of these final “resting” places is likely to be beautiful young women—many of them semi-nude—conceding ultimate victory to Thanatos, but holding an ever-mournful watch, in marble, over their immediate charge.
(Is it any wonder, by the way, that the French nickname for an orgasm is “the little death?”)

trompe-l’oeil is a technique used in art and architecture to fool the eye.  But in English, it has a further, metaphorical meaning—namely, that which stands in for anything that’s not as it first appears.

Russell Bittner’s new novel, Trompe-l’oeil, is the fictional account of a love affair that springs up serendipitously between a woman on the cusp of middle age and a younger man.  Their ‘life and death’ struggle is necessarily chock-full of erotic episodes.  But sex is not the crux of the story—it’s merely a by-product of a series of head-games that see the couple romantically launched from New York to Paris, France; to the Cabo de São Vicente on the southeast coast of Portugal; to Rome and then Positano, Italy; to the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea; and then back to New York.

The trip is full of European delights, but Daneka Sørensen and Charles (“Kit”) Addison are no Europe-on-$5-a-day backpackers.  She—a Danish ex-pat who reigns over a fashion magazine empire in NYC; he—a fashion photographer with a taste for landscape photography, occasional gardening, and the even less frequent poem … are apparently joined at the hip in more ways than one.  By the end of their European excursion, however, both sets of hips are seriously out of joint—as what had started out as a trip through Elysian fields proves to be a slow descent into Hell.

Thanatos and Eros are doing battle in their two heads, and only one of these two ancient gods can survive.  A single and perplexing question, however, remains to be answered:  WHY?  You’ll have to wait until the concluding chapter of Trompe-l’oeil to get the answer.

Trompe l'Œil, by Russell Bittner, is a tantalizingly brilliant story about the human condition. Be ready for the rollercoaster read of your life!Read the book! It might just change your life.  
--Lucinda Kempe -- fiction writer at large.

Purchase links for Trompe-l’œil 
At Smashwords      

Russell currently lives at Donner Summit, California, U.S.A., but his children (and conseqently his heart) still reside in Brooklyn, New York.

Russell's prose publications have appeared over the years in journals/magazines at: The International Journal of Erotica; The Edgar Literary Magazine; Beyond Centauri; Snow Monkey; Swill Magazine; SEINundWERDEN; Skive Magazine; The Whortleberry Press; ABCTales; The Picayune Literary Magazine; Blue Crow Magazine; and Snow Monkey.

His prose as also appeared on-line at: 3AM; Pindeldyboz; Satin Slippers; DeadMule; Ink-Mag; GirlsWithInsurance; UndergroundVoices; HackWriters; BlueFood; ALongStoryShort; SouthernHum; DeadDrunkDublin; 10,000 Monkeys; Yankeepot-roast; SkiveMagazine; Quintessence; writeThis; SwillMag; SuffolkPunch; MannequinEnvy LauraHird; Per Contra; ThievesJargon; UndergroundVoices; SUSS: Another Literary Journal; Cezanne'sCarrot; Sliptongue; RedPeter; TheSquirrelCage; FarawayJournal; VerbSap; TheRose&Thorn; 3rdActs; CliteratureJournal; TheCerisePress; EclecticFlash; DonovanHall; Dogmatika; DanseMacabre; SuffolkPunch; Writers'BlocMag; and ISMsPress.

Russell's poetry publications have appeared in print journals/magazines at: The American Dissident; The Blind Man's Rainbow; The Lyric; The Barbaric Yawp; The International Journal of Erotica; Wicked Hollow; Æsthetica; The Raintown Review; CRITJournal; Tuesday, an Art Project; Grey Book Press; Inkspill Magazine; The Feline Muse; Sonnetto Poesia; and Trinacria.

Other publications have appeared on-line at: EdificeWrecked; ken*again; SpillwayReview; Quintessence; Erotica-readers; Ink-mag; GirlsWithInsurance; Fireweed; ThievesJargon; MadHatter's Review; ALongStoryShort; LauraHird; SouthernHum; ZygoteInMyCoffee; OpiumMagazine; JustusRoux; PWReview; DifferentVoices; VoidMagazine; MindfireReview; Salome-Magazine; Plum Biscuit (a journal of the NYC Writers Coalition); 3AM; Dogmatika; ALittlePoetry; EvergreenReview; theBreath; Sliptongue; Chanterelle'sNotebook; AscentAspirations; TheLinnet'sWings; 3rdActs; DeadDrunkDublin; The CentrifugalEye; Dogzplot; TheNewFormalist; Per Contra: PartyOfTheFirstPart; DISPATCHLitareview; Litsnack; ClockwiseCat; TheFelineMuse; LucidRhythms; and at theHyperTexts.

Russell conducts monthly interviews of notable Anglo-American poets at ALongStoryShort.net ("Poet's Corner"). He is a former Philosophy major/Russian minor and acquired his A.B. in 1984 from Columbia University in NYC. He acquired, over the course of a decade, additional certificates of study from, among others: L'Université de Fribourg (CH); Die Universität Wien (Vienna, A); and L'Università per Stranieri di Perugia (I).

His photography has also appeared in various journals and on-line at various sites.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Cookie's Book Club: Women's fiction versus other genres of literature

Women's fiction versus other genres of literature

Today I read an interesting article over at Big Al's Books and Pal's on the topic of differentiating romance and chick lit genres. I think that Donna Fasano, the invited expert, explained the differences quite well. At least they made sense to me.

If I understood her correctly, while each genre may and generally does involve a romantic element the focus of each is different. In the romance novel the romance itself is the focus, whereas in the chick lit novel the romantic relationship is at most a factor in the protagonist's growth or journey. Donna says that in chick lit, "Whether the protagonist ends up with a man is not as relevant as the learning process she experiences through various situations that culminate in her resolving her issues..." See the full article for more: BigAl's Books and Pals: Chick Lit and Romance Fiction / A Defining Moment.

A lively discussion follows this article. I was surprised to find a comment attacking the genres for being 'silly' and 'boring'. For one thing, the comment was not on topic. No one asked for a personal opinion of the genres. Secondly, it was rude and arrogant. The attacker tried to impose his distaste for the genre on others. Third, it wasn't smart, since he is now an author with at least one less potential fan. But I digress.

The comment that the genres are silly and boring did start me thinking: Romance and chick lit have been mocked and belittled for ages, yet they are as popular as ever. No amount of eye-rolling or finger-gagging is going to change the fact that women love these books. But despite their popularity, have the genres truly been accepted as legitimate forms of literature? Yes, we read them, but how many of us are proud of it? Are we more likely to boast about reading a well-known piece of historical fiction or the latest chick-lit favourite?

Click below to be taken to the original article:
Cookie's Book Club: Women's fiction versus other genres of literature

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Why are Writing Groups Crap?

by Louise Wise

You get all sorts in writing groups, the Ain’t I Brilliant writers who read aloud from pretentious manuscripts as the other Ain’t I Brilliant writers nod thoughtfully while waiting their turn to be pretentious. These aren't brilliant at all, they just think they are. People like this will belittle anyone who threatens their Ain't I Brilliant group, and are recongisable by their scruffy business suits, complete with sweat-marks.

Then you have the There for the Coffee Only writers who are mainly women (I’m allowed to be sexist because I’m a woman!), and whose children are probably stinking of poo in a pushchair somewhere in the corner of the room. These read aloud their work only to be interrupted by someone saying, "Oh, our Rosie Petal managed to stay dry all night.” Or. “I like your shoes. Where’d you buy them?”

Can’t forget the Retired Gentleman. He’s always in a group and ready to dismiss anyone under 30 as having no life experience and couldn’t possibly have anything worth writing about. He’ll read his work out so sllllooooowly, and insist to the person taking the minutes that he only has “two sentences left” but then takes up another five minutes reading his work. Oh, and it'll always be about the war.

Students: Ugh! The cocky, “I’ve a degree and better than you” twenty-somethings who’re quick to point out the holes in your plot using humongous words. These are Ain't I Brilliant in the making!

They sit thumbing their mobiles, looking petulant and bored until it's their turn to speak. 

The Minute Taker is needed to stop people taking up someone else's reading time, but these are usually so fierce I'm sure their day job is a bouncer outside some vomit-encrusted-nightclub. 

You’ve finally plucked up courage to read and when you do she or he is standing with a stop watch yelling, "five minutes to go, four minutes and 58 seconds, four minutes and 57 seconds," and so on.

They scare the heebie-jeebies out me!

Everyone's had someone in their group like the people described above. Patti Hultstrand, author of Time Conquers All, Rescue in Time and Battle for Time has met all of the above at her writing group, and shares some words of wisdom:

As an author, we learn more with each completed book under our belts. Each book gets easier to write and edit because you learn the lessons from the previous works. Unfortunately, with this gradual learning, we find that we need a writing group that is closer to equal, if not even more knowledgeable than we are, or else we no longer grow or learn from others. I am reminded that one best selling author once mentioned this when talking about her current success with her writing group. She only worked in a writing group that included published authors. They were closer to equals and had already experienced the wounds of severe editing.

There is also this additional problem when dealing with newbie writers and that is, they have not built up a tougher skin in regards to critiquing their work. When I try out a new group, I do not hit them with all the corrections and suggestions I could make, but I find myself toning down their critique. Unfortunately, it is usually the group leader who takes a dislike to me because I dared critique them at all, when all the others in the group held them up on some pedestal.

These experiences have left me without a writing group home. This made me wonder if I should start a new group for mid-list authors who want to deal with like-minded writers who want to boost their skills by working their books, not just catering to each other's egos. This does not allow for growth as a potentially successful author.

Jennifer Thomson author of Bullying: A Parent's Guide and Caring for Your Dog had a mixure of Minute Taker and There for the Coffee writers. She says: The one and only writers group I ever went to, had this man in it. He cycled there and had a pair of shorts on and every time he leant forward we could see everything! Another member of the group had chronic fatigue syndrome and when she missed the next meeting the woman who's house the group was in, accused her of being lazy. I stopped going after that.

Col Bury says: I prefer to use an online writers group. I've not looked back since I joined Writers News Talkback forum.

Ann Swinfen met the Retired Gentleman group: I joined a writers' group at a time when I'd published one academic book and lots of journalism, but no fiction. At my third session we were all asked if we had any news . . . it went round the circle . . . one person had a small item in the (very) local weekly newspaper. Loud applause . . .when it came to me I said I'd just signed a two-book contract with Random House. Total silence. Evil looks. At the coffee break the only published writer (crime, with Hodder) came over and said how pleased he was. He's remained a good friend. I stuck with the group for a year but found it of little use. A few years later I was asked to give them a talk. The attitude was a bit different!

Prue Batten agrees: I have to say, I find writers groups full of puffed up people who frighten me. Rather like those who presume to lecture at Adult Ed. Think I'd rather stick with peer-review groups or pay money to an editorial agency for no-holds barred comments.

Who have you met at your writing group? Some of the above or different ones? Maybe you're lucky and have the perfect group. Please share, we're jealous.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Laikonik Express has been described as 'Sideways with Vodka' - literary fiction

by Nick Sweeney
Nolan Kennedy is a young American teaching English in Istanbul and hanging out with his alcoholic friend Don Darius. Don might also be the greatest living American novelist judging by the script Kennedy finds in Don's trash. But Don has left town and Kennedy had better find him and persuade him to get serious about the book before Don decides to get serious about the vodka. The catalyst Don thinks will help is finding the woman he met on the Laikonik Express. Kennedy and Don embark on a journey to find her in back-of-beyond Central Europe but en route find much more than a mysterious woman.

Cover designed by Ian Nettleton – it hits exactly the right notes.

Laikonik Express has been described as 'Sideways with Vodka'. It's basically a picaresque-type trip through the Poland of the early 1990s, set in Warsaw and in a small town on the coast I've called Abel - 'a place for the daytime, and the summer', as my characters kept getting told. Unfortunately, Don Darius and Nolan Kennedy, two 30-something American slackers, find themselves there on a winter night, after a colourful journey on the Laikonik Express, the train that runs from Krakow in the south of Poland to Gdynia on the Baltic Sea. They are in search of a woman Don has met on that same train, but find a different woman, and a different point-of-view, and some pointers towards redemption from their self-centred preoccupations.

Passage from Laikonik Express pp168-170: