The Songs in Our Hearts
The Kindred Code
The Chemical Attraction Series, Book 2 Christina Thompson
The Duchess’s Descendants
Grave Little Secrets
Stacy R. Collins
Beautiful Something Else
by Sheila Hageman
The Compass from the Red Lands
by Matt Thomas
The Wrong Prince
by C.K. Brooke
The Fourth Piece
Order’s Last Play, Book 1, E. Ardell
The Near Deaths Series, Book 2 Holly M. Campbell
On the Other Side
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A chance encounter at New York Fashion Week turns Denton Hodges’ life upside down–and into the biggest story she’s ever reported…
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THE SONGS IN OUR HEARTS by Chantal Gadoury
When words fail, will the songs in her heart be enough?
High school junior Charlie Blake has never seen anyone quite like Micah Jacobs in her small town of Grand Lakes. With his carefree spirit, rough-around-the-edges personality, and handsome grin, Charlie is transfixed.
But Charlie’s been burned before with her first crush, at the hands of an ex-friend and a cruel joke. Because of those scars, Charlie keeps her guard up when it comes to boys. But a class project – that may or may not involve kissing for the camera! – forces her to not only confront Micah, but her true feelings.
While prepping for the assignment, Charlie finds herself in Micah’s car accompanied by the music of Journey, Elvis, The Cars, and Peter Gabriel. Between slushies, burning rafts, pizza, and great music, Charlie and Micah bond as she learns the importance of letting go… READ MORE!
Enjoy this sneak peek of the The Songs in Our Hearts by Chantal Gadoury.
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THE KINDRED CODE: Did You Know?
Some writers say they put bits of themselves into their stories. I, too, have incorporated parts of my life in my writing. I call it — Therapy. These are a few of my bits and pieces that sparked my series. (You may sense a Back in My Day theme as you read them.) DID YOU KNOW I spoke with an Afghan war veteran about his experiences? He helped bring authenticity to Stuart’s PTSD flashback scene. I’ve known my son’s friend since they were in middle school together. He’s grown into a caring responsible young man. Caleb, thank you for your service. I’m proud of you. DID YOU KNOW I modeled the tiny spunky nun in this story after Sister Maxine Magee from The Sisters of St. Joseph? I knew her through Nazareth College and our church. She sang “Ava Maria” at my wedding. She recently passed away. I’ll miss the little gal with a big voice and heart to match. DID YOU KNOW I named Linda Lou’s bar, after my mom? She’s not fond of her middle name. Now, it’s out there in the book world. (Take that, Mom, for grounding me when I was fourteen.) In another book, I name a Great Lakes cruise ship after my dad. I though the USS Hershall Floyd has a certain ring to it. (I’m hilarious!) Grab your Copy of The Kindred Code on AMAZON ADD The Kindred Code to GOODREADS
Meet Matthew Connor from The Chemical Attraction Series
I’ve had the privilege of getting to know the people in The Chemical Attraction Series. Eva O’Sullivan, Taylor Valentine, and Joe Roberts are siblings by choice. They’ve told me their story, and I wrote about their amazing journey. These interviews take place just after their adventure in Chemical Reaction. [trivial spoilers/no plot spoilers] Ruggedly handsome with a calm demeanor, Officer Matthew Connor had pushed any romantic life aside to focus on raising his eight-year-old son, David. Then, he meets Eva O’Sullivan in Their Rigid Rules. In The Kindred Code, he watches Eva take his hometown by storm. As the police chief, he steps up during Joe’s case in Chemical Attraction and Chemical Reaction. Today, he answers a few questions for the fans of the Series. CHRISTINA: When you first saw Eva with David, what was your first thought? MATT: Mesmerizing came to mind. She definitely spiced up my life. The first time she visited my home, she turned the town upside down. I didn’t think the Allenton gossip circuit could travel faster than the speed of light. Boy, that weekend it had. CHRISTINA: How hard was it to be a single dad for the first eight years of David’s life? MATT: Tough. Like I mentioned before, gossip is big in this town and stereotypes are even bigger. I’ve been the chief for nine years, but I’m still known as the guy who knocked up his high school girlfriend. Beth gave up her rights to David right after he was born while I embraced fatherhood. I wouldn’t have changed a thing though. David makes me a better person, and I strive to be the man he looks up to. CHRISTINA: Uncovering a criminal network in your town, Joe created tension by not informing you about his case from the beginning. How’s your relationship with him now? MATT: Man, I don’t want him to visit us anymore … too much drama when he’s around. Joking aside, I love Joe like a little brother. Years ago in The Kindred Code, Stuart and I helped him out of a sticky situation, which cemented a brothers’ bond among the three of us. Besides, I could do worse than have a federal agent and a college professor as brothers. CHRISTINA: Just a couple more questions before I let you go. Do you want David to pursue a career in law enforcement? MATT: It’s his choice. Eva’s not keen on the idea, but she accepts it. David’s smart and has made responsible choices so far. As a dad, I have to trust he’ll continue to do that. There’s not much else I can do. CHRISTINA: I get the feeling that your responsibilities take over much of your life. What do you do for fun? MATT: Ha. Not having much fun these days. I enjoy spending time with my wife and I crochet to relax. It’s meditative. My mother taught me years ago. I made David’s first baby blanket, and I donate the baby blankets I make now to our local hospital. After seeing the basket of yarn next to our sofa, Joe gave me a hard time until Eva told him what I did with the finished ones. Boy, did he feel bad. His niceness lasted for a month. It really creeped Eva out. CHRISTINA: Thanks for joining me today and giving the fans insight into your life. Read more about the chemistry of Matt and Eva’s first meeting in Their Rigid Rules (Book One). Then follow up with their touching romance in The Kindred Code (Book Two). Their Rigid Rules (Book One) The Kindred Code (Book Two)
Ten Reasons to Read/Reread The Chemical Attraction Series
Here are my TEN REASONS why you should read/reread The Chemical Attraction Series: #10 – The Re-release of the Series One of the reasons for the second edition release is to put the Series in chronological order. The newest novel, The Kindred Code, is the sequel to Their Rigid Rules. (Saying the sequel to the prequel was a mouthful.) With the order change, I was able to add more scenes to Chemical Attraction and Chemical Reaction for a smoother transition. I love the result and think you will, too #9 – A New Addition The Kindred Code is divided into three storylines: Matt & Eva’s budding romance, Peter & Joe’s new working relationship, Taylor & Stuart’s engagement struggles. I love Matt and David’s bond. Matt’s a great dad always putting David first. All of a sudden, he meets Eva, who completely mesmerizes him. They aren’t saving the world, only each other. However, it’s not all wine and roses for Stuart and Taylor. They’re together but miles apart; and it’ll stay that way until they share their pain and fears. Meanwhile, Joe and Peter work on an unofficial assignment before Joe heads to Quantico for his FBI training. Joe simply has to sweet talk the waitress for information, but they soon uncover a sinister plot. This novel picks up two weeks after Their Rigid Rules. #8 – Hot Alpha Men As a history professor and former Marine, STUART MORGAN, a blond, blue-eyed war hero, battles his inner demons. Although he longs for mental peace from an empathetic woman, his rigid rules prevent it. Ruggedly handsome with a calm demeanor, Officer MATT CONNOR recovers from a gunshot wound obtained while on duty. As a single parent, he pushes any romantic life aside and focuses on raising his eight-year-old son, David. Charismatic yet brooding, JOE ROBERTS is a womanizer on the surface. Deep down, he’s searching for an instant chemistry with his soulmate, the one person who will love him for his faults not in spite of them. #7 – Strong Sexy Women TAYLOR VALENTINE, a natural beauty, embraces her vanilla tendencies. Her plan for her life reinforces those traits. Kindhearted, she doesn’t apologize for giving people the benefit of the doubt. EVA O’SULLIVAN, a petite Irish spitfire with auburn spiral curls, has big opinions, and you know them whether you want to or not. Masking her vulnerability, she wears her willfulness like armor. Akin to Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom, MADELINE PIERCE, a dedicated scientist, has pain in her heart from an abusive relationship. With her Ice Queen persona set, she hides within the realm of her research. #6 – More Romance I consider my Series to be equal parts romance and thriller. I think the romance and action feed off each other creating the suspense. Now, there’s more romance as I delve deeper into Eva and Matt’s and Taylor and Stuart’s relationships. The combo of respect and humor in Joe and Peter’s bromance is also fleshed out in both Their Rigid Rules and The Kindred Code. In Chemical Attraction, Joe’s player ways hinder his potential relationship with Madeline during the case. I’ve amped up their sexual tension. While finishing the case in Chemical Reaction, Joe cares deeply for Madeline. His actions reflect his love for her, intensifying the decisions and choices he makes to save her from her abductor… some good, some bad. He’s torn between his personal desire and his professional integrity. #5 – Based on Real Places I love giving a shout out to Michigan where all four seasons can be felt in a single week. In Their Rigid Rules, I describe autumn at Western Michigan University. In The Kindred Code, winter in Michigan is my main focus. I also mention Allegan’s Regent Theater, the Grill House, Minnie’s Diner, and Marr Haven Wool Yarn Farm. In Chemical Attraction, I’ve referenced a hot humid summer in Allegan (aka Allenton), its beautiful boardwalk along the Kalamazoo River, Bubba’s bar, the Griswold Auditorium (aka my fictional Hartford Auditorium), and the Delano Mansion Inn (aka Sylvia’s B & B). Although the external description of the Delano Inn and Sylvia’s B & B is the same, the inside couldn’t be more different. I refer to Sylvia’s as a comfortable farmhouse-style B & B while the Delano has a classy Victorian-style decor. If you get a chance to stay there, do. The owner Marcia Neigebauer goes out of her way to make you feel welcome … much like Sylvia, my fictional owner. Summer carries over into Chemical Reaction. The focus is back on Allegan, Detroit, and the Great Lakes. Although I’ve lived in Michigan most of my life, I still learned so much more about the Great Lakes and the Welland Canal’s locks between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario that bypasses Niagara Falls. #4 – Science & Holistic Aspects What happens when science runs amuck? Who has the courage to stop it? With a degree in Biology and a diploma in Traditional Chinese Acupuncture, I’m passionate about science as well as holistic health. In Chemical Attraction and Chemical Reaction, a nanotechnology drug designed as a medical cure ends up a bio-weapon. Meanwhile, for Joe and Madeline, the healing power of love is incredibly profound. I love exploring the physical science, the emotional workings of our mind and heart, and the spiritual energy that taps into our passions. #3 – New Cover Art Although I like the original cover art, I love the newer versions … simplistic and meaningful to the novels. When Taylor meets Stuart for the first time, her life’s plan goes up in flames in Their Rigid Rules. A single ring in The Kindred Code changes the family dynamic forever. With the recently added scenes to Chemical Attraction, the cell phone in the water fits perfectly within the storyline while the floating beaker in Chemical Reaction represents the chase along the Great Lakes. #2 – More Humor Throughout the Series, Joe, Taylor, and Eva needle each other with playful sibling banter. In The Kindred Code, Joe’s joking nature tests his and Peter’s new working friendship while Taylor’s and Eva’s first impressions with their future mothers-in-law go awry then increasingly worse. With the additional scenes to Chemical Attraction, Joe’s Fun Phone wreaks havoc in his pursuit of Madeline, who isn’t falling for his lame pickup lines. #1 – My Best has gotten Better I had the opportunity to improve the stories with everything I’ve learned over the last few years. These characters have been in my head for over a decade. Now, I’m able to share more of their backstory. A special thanks to my publisher, Juanita Samborski. I’m grateful for her faith in the Series and in me. I’m proud of how far I’ve come and what I’ve accomplished. The Chemical Attraction Series on AMAZON Goodreads Author Page The Chemical Attraction Series Facebook Page
Chemical Attraction: New Cover & New Content
Here’s a sneak peek into some of the new content: With his FBI badge hanging off a chain around his neck, Joe Roberts, in jeans and a t-shirt, set a file and large coffee on the counter in the FBI reception area in the McNamara Federal Building in downtown Detroit. He patiently waited for Jane Whitmore, the young doe-eyed woman behind the counter, to hang up her phone. On the early Saturday morning, he glanced around the empty area. Offices surrounded the perimeter of the floor with the hallways connecting as a square. Eight large rooms in the middle were used for meetings, evidence, and work areas. Joe liked the shared space in the larger work room with his team although they probably didn’t. Known as a hardass, he had vowed that no one would ever get hurt on his watch. His solemn promise rivaled the FBI’s motto of Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity. When Jane hung up her phone, Joe handed her the coffee. “Thanks for coming in on your day off. Is he here yet?” The whole office had the day off. Except for a rare three-day weekend, he hadn’t taken a real vacation in years. “No, but you can wait in his office,” she replied, smelling the coffee’s cinnamon aroma, her favorite. Joe shifted his legs as he leaned on the counter. “I dropped my work phone in the … well … let’s just say it got wet. Can you acquisition me another?” She smiled. “Sure. I’ll have one for you Tuesday.” “No hurry. I’ll be gone for a week or so. I have my private cell until then.” Joe took her picture with his cell then added her number to his contact list. “At the Director’s request, I had the black suit you leave here for court pressed. It should arrive after your meeting,” Jane said. “Moneypenny, you deserve another raise,” he replied. “Sweet talker.” “Hey, hey, you know the rules. If your father caught me flirting with you, he’d assign me to an Alaskan outpost,” Joe said. Jane laughed. “And here I thought you liked living on the edge. I wouldn’t tell.” “Seriously? He’d ship you to a convent.” “Good point. By the way, be thankful you’re leaving. I heard Rita has her sights set on you this week,” Jane said. Joe cringed. “I’m glad you have my back.” After checking the empty area again, Joe leaned over the counter and gave her a peck on the cheek. Inside Division Director Peter Bingaman’s large office, with a sofa, coffee table, and private bathroom, Joe sat in one of the three chairs across from the enormous desk. Propping his feet on the corner of it, he leaned back and stared at the woman’s headshot clipped to the front of the file. With her golden brown hair in a bun, she smiled back at him. He wondered how long her hair was. When the Director walked in, Joe snapped back to his new assignment. Peter shoved Joe’s tennis shoes off the edge of his desk before sitting behind it. “Jane’s out there grinning like the cat that ate the canary. What did you do?” Peter demanded. “What do you mean? She’s waiting for my suit to arrive,” he replied, sitting up in his chair. “You called her Moneypenny again, didn’t you? Never mind. Just give me the specifics on this new case.” Joe passed him the thin file. “Well, I ID’d the anonymous caller as Dr. Madeline Pierce. She’s a scientist working with nanotechnology at BennTech’s Research Facility in Allenton. Her call didn’t give us much information though.” “It warrants attention. You may have to deal with Matt Connor,” Peter said, glancing at Madeline’s picture on the file. “I’m a professional, Pete. I would never let my personal life interfere with my career.” “How many times have we been over this, Agent Roberts? I’m Director Bingaman in this building.” Joe snorted. “Yes, Sir. Eva and my brother-in-law won’t be an issue.” When Joe’s cell vibrated, he checked it. A sexy brunette’s photo identified her as the caller. Cringing, Joe let it go to voicemail then snapped a picture of Peter to add to his contacts. “I gotta use my private cell until Jane orders me another work one.” “Don’t get distracted with your Fun Phone. That’s what Eva calls it, right?” Joe scowled. “Yeah, that’s what she calls it. She’s been bugging me to go to the memorial fundraiser there … so two birds.” Peter chuckled at Madeline’s picture then set aside the file. “A word of warning: Your sister has an agenda. She called me to make sure you had a few days off to attend that party,” he said, leaning back in his chair. “Great. Another setup,” Joe replied, rubbing the back of his head. “Have fun with that. I only want work-related updates, especially since this scientist researches and develops drugs.” With a nod, Joe stood. Out of respect for his mentor, he used his t-shirt to wipe off his shoe smudge from the desk before leaving. Grab your copy of Chemical Attraction on July 19th In the meantime, add CHEMICAL ATTRACTION to Goodreads
10 Reasons to Read The Duchess’s Descendants
The Duchess’s Descendants is officially here on Friday, June 23! Need an excuse to pick up this romantic fantasy full of humor and adventure? We’ve got you covered. Here are 10 reasons to read the latest installment in the Jordinia series: 1. If you loved The Duchess Quest and The Duchess Inheritance, there’s now even more to love! 2. Even if you’ve never read the first two books, this book works as a standalone, too. 3. Because shipwrecks, woman scientists, charming rogues, stuttering violinists, hot soldiers, and native tribes, that’s why! 4. Like brotherly bromance? There’s lots of it here. 5. Love traditional romance? There’s lots of that, too. 6. Twists around every corner – we’ll bet you can’t predict what happens next! 7. You’ll meet a whole new generation of characters… 8. And see the return of some beloved ones, too. 9. You’ll embark with the characters upon their epic misadventure, via a hilariously botched expedition, to a place you have seriously NEVER been to before. 10. Because you can never fall in love with Jordinia too many times! Begin the adventure at: http://amzn.to/2sLzstc
Things that are scary, Part II: Another Character Journal Entry
Did Devon know my intentions before he wrote this? Nope. He wouldn’t have agreed. I told him that even I wouldn’t read this. He thought no one would see it. I’m good at being sneaky, and I’ll deny having anything to do with the leak…if it gets back to him. However, I don’t know how good you are, so you might choose to play it safe and not read this. Though, if you’re like me, you’re nosy. Take a peek, but try not to hint around to him that you know he keeps a journal. It’d ruin his manly image and all. 😉 Devon Ladreth’s Journal September 7, 2022 I hate writing. Makes my hand tired. And who’s gonna read this shit? I’m not showing this crap to anybody. But my girlfriend says I should—get this—keep a journal. Makes me feel like a girl. But when I told her that, she called me a douche bag. Wouldn’t even accept an apology, until I said I’d do it. And you know what I gotta do every time I write an entry? I gotta snap her. That’s right, she needs real time video proof that I’m doing what I said. So yeah, I’m writing with her watching. It’s kinda… hot… weird… intellectual? I’m dating a smart girl. She’s older than me by a couple of years and I don’t think I measure to her. She’s got college guys to talk to, and it’s not like I’m smart as she is or anything. She talks philosophy, I talk sports. But she likes me. Says she sees the good in me and it gives her hope for better things. God, I gotta live up to that. But there’s so much I have to do. I want to hit something. There was a punching bag in the gym downstairs… until I broke it. I just… I was working out to my music and I got really into it, you know? In a way I can’t get into it at school or just out where normal people can see me. Huh, guess I don’t have to say normal people anymore. I should say humans. Out where humans can see me. I read that last part out loud so she could hear it. She smiled at me. I don’t call myself human anymore. Neither does she. I don’t know when she last did. She’s proud of being half. She doesn’t like the word vulatto though. I hate the word and I hate being half. Alien. Remasian. But I can’t fix it, so I gotta deal with it. But there’s too much to deal with. It’s not just being half, not just being un-human, it’s… the other stuff. I don’t want to write down any “sit around the circle and share your feelings bull”, but… It’s like there’s a black hole in my gut, eating me up from the inside. Like those commercials for depression, but it’s not depression. I’m just scared shitless. Makes me want to punch through another bag. I think they’re getting a new one. Hope it’s heavier. Didn’t even break my knuckles on that last one, not that it’d matter much. Broken knuckles and fingers heal fast. Broken wrists suck, those take hours instead of minutes. Swallowing is hard. Eating is harder. The food here’s good, I guess, but I don’t want it most of the time. I just kinda eat to live. Damn. She made me read my last sentence out loud. She laughed. Called me a corny ass punk. I swallow easier when she laughs at me. She doesn’t usually talk much when I’m writing. Just makes me read stuff at random to make sure I’m not just pecking keys. But just now she asked how Lyle is. I can’t just tell her fine cuz she’ll know I’m lying. I never told her everything. God I can’t tell her everything. Can’t even write it here cuz she might ask me to read it. But she knows he’s messed up. And I can’t fix me or him. But if some god let me pick a power I actually wanted, it’d be the ability to take “gifts” away. I’d take away his telepathy and empathy and everything else that hurts him. Wonder what he’d be like without it. Would I… like him better? I hate thinking that. It’s messed up, right? But hell, if he wasn’t my brother, I would want to murder his face. He’s a total asshole. But he’s my twin brother too and when he talks to me…. It’s been a while since he’s talked to me like he is now… but that’s my own fault. Anyway, when he talks to me, I get it. I know why he’s a jerk. I’d be a jerk too. In fact, I think he’s better than what I’d be, if I had to listen to people think all the time. I know I think dumb shit. Multiply that by infinity and that’s what he hears. I should’ve been there to help him. I’m gonna to be there from now on, but if I had that power I was talking about, the one to take powers away… but say I could only use it once. I’d save him over saving myself. Cuz maybe I don’t need saving. I just need to sack up, right? Yeah, I just read that part to her. She said, Damn straight. Who tells their boyfriend to sack up? She does. She tells me to suck it up too, but to take things one at a time. So, I think about being Lyle’s friend again. Not just his brother, but his friend. And I’m working on it. Then, I think about leaving home. And I can’t swallow again. I mean come on, it’s not like I’m moving off to college or joining the Peace Corps. I’m leaving the friggin planet, going to live with some dude I don’t remember that’s probably gonna try to act like he’s my dad, cuz he is, but he’s not. He didn’t raise me. I only know what he looks like cuz I saw a picture. Screw him. Screw this whole thing. I read that to her. She wants to talk for real now. I’m done here. **What’d you think? Don’t be afraid to let me know, and there are more entries to come! If you’re curious about what’s going on around this entry, and want to try out The Fourth Piece, you’re in luck! It’s on sale exclusively on Amazon from 9/22-9/29 for 99 cents: http://amzn.to/2d3xA39 ! Thanks and take care!**
Things that are scary… forcing my characters to write journal entries, lol.
Want a peek inside the heads of some of the characters from The Fourth Piece? Yikes! Why? Lol, just kidding. I have a series of journal entries to share. These entries were written by the characters close to the end of The Fourth Piece. I won’t tell the circumstances, no spoilers here ;D…but, if you’re brave, dive in! From the Journal of Lyle Ladreth September 7, 2022 I’m writing because the doctor says I have to. He didn’t say I have to be profound, though. He said write whatever comes to mind. I’m not a writer. I draw. But I’m not an artist. I don’t think I am. A lot of people sketch stuff they see, doesn’t make them artists. So, maybe they’re like me. We aren’t authors, we’re not good with words, so we make pictures. Are my drawings symbolic? Why would they be? They’re just random crap. Things I see, and sometimes, no, a lot of the time, it’s things other people see. I can’t keep it all out. Gives me a headache to try, so I have to let a little of it in. The doctor says it’s why I’m going crazy. He didn’t say it like that, but that’s what he meant. He thinks he’s really good at shielding his mind from me, blocking his thoughts. But he’s not. Nobody really is. But he’s not so loud. And I don’t have to hear him, if I don’t want to. That’s what makes him better. Makes everyone in this house better. Visitors aren’t like humans. They keep their thoughts to themselves. I have to touch their minds to hear them. Humans, their thoughts run all over the place. Crazy. Insane. Loud. ADHD on pixie stix and cotton candy. But the thoughts, the words, feelings, images, they’re not strange. It’s all normal stuff really. Grocery lists. Annoying spouses. Homework. Heartbreak. Bad neighbors. Just mundane running commentary. But try mashing it all together and then cut chunks out of every random sentence. Pick up laundry at damn dog got bastard went calculus sucks tree in yard milk eggs sugar want to die blouse hole C.S Lewis can potholes again with the music flour butter cheese That’s what I hear. I can make it quieter, but it doesn’t really go away, unless I… But I can’t do that anymore. I want to call her. But she’s gone. What would I even say anyway? Words are useless. I could show her, but I’ll never touch her mind again. Not after how I hurt her. I can’t trust myself. No one should trust me. I don’t know what to do. Devon wants to talk about it. He wants a lot of things from me lately. He’s so… lost. There’s no other way to put it. He doesn’t know what he’s doing and he thinks that reconnecting with me will help. Reconnecting. He wants to be like we were. He was who I depended on, but he broke that bond. I want… I don’t know. I don’t know anything. I guess, maybe, I wish we could go back and just be brothers like when we were kids. I have other brothers, older and younger, but he’s my twin. And no, it’s not like TV where there’s this otherworldly, freaky connection between us, but… our relationship was always different. I love Lawrie, and maybe I love Evan too, but Dev… it’s just different. If he disappeared or died, I think I would too. I really think it’d rip me apart, and I’d bleed to death. Even when he’s an asshat and pretending I’m not there because I’m a brother who won’t even try to make people like him… even then. I’d bleed if he died. I’d want to go first. Wonder if it’s like that for him. I’m reading this now. Hell, maybe I am profound. Or maybe I’m just good at rambling coherently. Wish I felt coherent. I just feel present. I’m here, but that’s all I am. I take up space in this chair. I’m wasting paper with my words. Because words are useless. I should go back to talking about drawing. That’s where I started. But my drawings are stupid. Things I see, things other people see…that I also see, through their eyes. Tire swings. Midnight skies. A brother I don’t know waking up in a foreign place. Sometimes I shade them. If I’m in the mood, I use color pencils. I prefer them in black and white though. Maybe it’s because I wish the world was black and white. Good, bad… no gray matter in between. No brains. No thoughts. Just quiet. But it’s never quiet here. Not in my head. Unless… But I can’t do that anymore. That’s what the drugs are for. The doctor says I have to write every day. He needs to read that I’m not going crazy. Or maybe he needs to read that I am, so he’ll keep giving me medicine. One page a day. This is a page. Happy, Doc? Done. **What’d you think? Don’t be afraid to let me know, and there are more entries to come! If you’re curious about what’s going on around this entry, and want to try out The Fourth Piece, you’re in luck! It’s on sale exclusively on Amazon from 9/22-9/29 for 99 cents: http://amzn.to/2d3xA39 ! Thanks and take care!**
When the Characters Speak, You Listen
So………….y’all! I literally haven’t had a whole lot of time to update the blog here on the ole websitey-witey. Believe me, I’ve been writing like crazy–2 new novels and a hand full of short stories in the past 8 months. To fill you in, On the Brink, the second book of the Orleans Exodus, is now in the editing phase with 48fourteen! I can’t wait for y’all to read this book. It’s been such a labor of love in writing the next part of Hilaria, Anthony, and Job’s journey. They are so much a part of me that letting them go for awhile hurts, and I mean that quite literally. But one of the things I kept having to ask myself in the process of writing the second book was, “Where do I go from here for the third installment?” And the answer I kept giving myself was, “It’s all about Ramsey.” Honestly, the more I dig into the universe of Orleans and the dynamics which move the world forward, the more I realize the story is as much the 3 major players’ as it is Ramsey’s. To me, that is the fascinating! Who knew the bad guy would become the star of the third installment? Believe me: it was never my intention. Providence however shined down upon me when a blogger asked me to do a character interview for her website. I did these way back when I was outlining the novel; they help a writer to get to the know the characters better. Anyway, I sat down one Saturday night to tap out a “small” interview between Ramsey (the bad guy), Job (the bad guy’s beautiful son), and Hope (the bad guy’s loyal ally). Why? Because I wanted to let Ramsey finally speak. Y’all! Once you flip that guy’s switch, he *doesn’t* stop talking, and along with his now strong and resolute voice came the sounds of Hope, a character I knew little about…until now. Below, you will find what I wrote that night, when I only expected Ramsey and Job to speak up. The way I imagine it, this conversation happened only a few weeks before the opening of On the Other Side. If you haven’t read On the Other Side yet, the bonus scene won’t ruin anything for you, but it will fill in a lot of blanks that my other readers have been curious about until now. and maybe, just maybe, it’ll make you hungry for more of Ramsey…so you’ll grab your own copy soon! On that note, happy reading, and may Hope always be on your side. 😉 -Nicole *** “Traitor Among Us” An Orleans Exodus Bonus Scene I twiddle my thumbs as I sit waiting patiently as any good Ward should. Back straight. Facing forward. Pleasant expression upon my face. That, in the end, is what makes us different from the Quarters. We can suffer anything with a smile. My name is Hope Newsome, by the way. I’m the twenty-seven-year-old liaison to the head of the Name Acquisition Program himself, the esteemed Ramsey Farreaux. I have been privileged to work alongside him for eleven years now as his loyal and trustworthy assistant. He names it, I do it, and my obedience has brought me in close proximity to some of the amazing things to come to Orleans in my lifetime: the building of the NAP Tower, the new construction at the Wall, and the highest participant numbers enrolling in our NAP chapter’s history! It’s an exciting time to be a Ward, and I am proud to be tasked to help the masses better understand the heart of our handsome leader. The door behind me opens, and I turn to see Ward Farreaux enter with his son, Job. If I were ten years younger, Job would own my heart, but I know I am not the only Ward woman to notice his beauty. Unlike his father, Job is fair and blonde, but Ramsey is also striking in a white robe that drapes over the muscular build remaining from his days as a Quarter and bronze skin that shines as if it once enjoyed the sun. “Hope,” Ramsey drones with a nod in my direction. “Sir,” I say. My thumbs stop their nervous movement, and I pick up my notebook and pen. “Job.” “Hello, Ward Newsome,” Job says and lowers a lithe frame into a chair beside his father. “As always, it is a pleasure to see you.” He smiles, and I blush. Ramsey clears his throat and gestures to my paper. “This is nonsense, Hope,” he declares, dark eyes serious. “The Wards know who I am. They respect me. More importantly, most fear me. Why all this fuss about a press release then?” “Sir,” I say and add a placating smile, “our latest polls are such that your approval in the Quarter is less than twenty-five percent. With unrest growing in the flooded part of the city, we—your publicity team, I mean—believe that making you more personable to the Quarters could do well to continue the increase in enrollees we’ve seen the last few years. And, too, maybe it will help the rumblings behind the Wall settle down a bit.” “Oh, let us be entirely honest, Hope. You want to make my father more likable to the unwashed masses,” Job says, a smirk brightening his startling blue eyes. I look away to the table. “Yes, exactly, Job,” I agree. “But, sir, with all due respect, you are a powerful man. The position you hold is an intimidating one, and the Quarters don’t relate to you.” My eyes flick up to find Ramsey running a long finger over his chin. Our eyes lock, and he shows me a rare grin. “Fine,” he says. “If you think it will help my so-called ‘bad’ reputation, proceed. But Hope, you are limited to five questions. Do you understand? So choose wisely.” Job snickers beside his father, and Ramsey throws him a look that could make flowers wilt. I flip through the pages and pages of questions I’ve prepared for this interview, and none seem appropriate enough to complete the job I’ve been given. I feel panic dry my mouth, and I cough. The braid over my shoulder feels like a noose, so I grab it and toss it behind me. “Well?” Ramsey prompts. “I don’t have all day.” I feel both his and Job’s gazes on me. It’s now or never. What image do I want the Quarters to have painted for them of the man I serve day in and day out, the Ramsey Farreaux? I have no idea. They’ll never understand what I see when I look at him. So, I ask the first thing that pops into my mind. “What is your favorite color?” Ramsey groans and crosses arms over his wide chest, his immense presence filling the room. “That’s what you drug me in here for? My favorite color, Hope?” Job sighs and turns to his father. “You said five questions, Father. Shouldn’t number one be the easiest of them all, a warm-up, perhaps?” I telepath my thanks to Job for the explanation of my reasoning and ready my pen over the paper. “Sir?” Ramsey rolls eyes to the ceiling then his chin drops to his chest. “Blue,” he mutters, and I almost miss it. “Blue?” I repeat. “Blue,” he barks. “Next question.” I stifle a giggle. I’ve never seen the stoic Ramsey so put out over a single syllable. Job and I share a glance, and he has a hand pressed to his mouth, probably holding back laughter, too. “When you were a little boy, what did you want to be as an adult?” “That is an easy one,” Ramsey says, waving a hand to dismiss me. “I wanted to be a king over a glorious domain full of minions to do my bidding.” I stop writing at his candor. “You do not mean that literally, sir. Do you?” “Why wouldn’t I?” Ramsey says. He spreads his arms wide. “Do you see what I’ve accomplished in my time as General Operating Director, Hope? I’m so very close to making that dream come true.” “At the expense of us all,” Job murmurs. Ramsey glares at him, but I quickly record his response and decide it’s best to move on from the current line of questioning. I’ve seen these two become physical with one another over Ramsey’s desire to strengthen NAP’s grasp on the city, and now isn’t the time or place for that to happen again. “What is your biggest fear?” I ask, my eyes dancing between father and son to measure the tension. Ramsey exhales loudly and runs a hand over his bald head. Job leans away and keeps his eyes to the floor. “If I have to answer this one, I would say my biggest fear is mediocrity. I hope I never have to hear someone say that I could have done something better. I want to be the most gifted person in the room, the best G.O.D. in NAP’s history—I want to be the brightest star burning in the sky.” When he finishes, Ramsey slams a fist against the table and leans back into the chair, as if he wasn’t aware he pushed forward during his speech. I smile because that is the man I know. “And you will have it, sir. I feel it in my bones.” “Thank you, Hope,” Ramsey says, nodding, seeming to have settled from Job’s remark. He flicks his pointer and middle fingers into the air. “Two more questions.” I return his nod. “What is your biggest accomplishment?” “Aside from the obvious?” Ramsey asks, and I’m not sure if he’s speaking rhetorically. “My biggest accomplishment is what I’ve brought to Orleans—a sense of peace and purpose to those who trust me to lead them.” Job’s lashes flutter, and his cheeks flush pink. His shoulders slump, blond waves swarm his shoulders, and he looks, for want of a better word, hurt. “Sir, would you like to include something personal in your list of achievements, such as successfully raising, as a single father no less, a son to be the next G.O.D.?” Without hesitation, Ramsey proclaims, “No.” Something in my stomach pinches, and I’m suddenly very sad for Job. Then following, without my permission, is an incredibly unsettling sense of disloyalty to Ramsey. It originates from the fact I am now thinking he may be something less than the stellar man I believe him to be. I know the lie isn’t true, but I can’t help but feel it—the doubt, the uncertainty. And as a Ward, emotions are both unwelcome and unsettling. As a result, I feel myself begin to shut down. “I think that will be all for today, sir,” I whisper. A chair screeches across the tile, and Ramsey’s boots thud as he makes his way to the door. “I want to see a mock-up of this promotional material on my desk first thing tomorrow morning. And, Hope?” “Yes?” I ask without looking back at him. “Make sure the photo you use has me from in profile. You know how much the light loves my left side.” With that, the door slams, and I am left with Job across the table from me. “I am sorry, Hope,” he says. “You know how he can be at his worst, but today has been a good day.” “You do not need to apologize. I am used to it. Nothing will make me do less than my best at my job, though.” A cool hand covers mine, and I look up to see Job smiling at me. My heart skips a little, and I swallow. “You have one question left, yes? Ask me,” he says. “Are you sure?” I say and pull my hand back to retrieve my pen. “Absolutely,” Job says. “I have a few minutes.” “All right,” I say and pick the first from the many questions I’d prepared for Ramsey. “If you could add anything else to Orleans to make it the ideal city, what would it be?” Job clasps hands in his lap and takes time considering the answer. His eyes float to the door then back to me. “Must it be something in addition to what exists? Could it possibly be something of which we suffer too much?” I twist the pen in my fingers. “I had not thought of it that way, but I suppose.” “Will my answer remain in your confidence?” Job asks, a hint of desperation to his voice. I am a Ward. Most do not have the ability to lie, but I do. I cannot tell you how Ramsey has exempted me from the rule, but he has. The use of my dishonesty is one of the many ways I prove my allegiance to him time and time again. And it’s because of his intervention in my life that I will remain loyal to him, no matter the doubts I might have. “Of course, Ward Farreaux,” I say. “Please, know that you can trust me.” “Then,” Job says quietly, “I would remove my father. That last thing our city needs is more Ramsey Farreaux. He is a curse upon us all.” My jaw hangs open as Job rises from the seat. All six feet, two inches of him tower over me, and his blue eyes burn into mine. “Your loyalty to my father comes with very dangerous consequences, Hope,” Job warns. “Be careful trusting him with your life as you so clearly do.” Job moves around the table, and I hear the door close behind me. If Job himself fears his father’s reign, I have no reason to doubt Ramsey any longer. At once, feeling restored to my former self, I scramble to write down all that Job’s said; then, I rip the paper from the pad. I slip it into my pocket and decide to pay Ramsey a visit earlier than tomorrow morning. We have a traitor among us, and he is none other than Ramsey’s son.
How do you write
I was asked a question today that I had a hard time answering. They wanted to know how I write. My first response was, well, with a pen and paper, but I knew that wasn’t what they meant. How do I write? Well, while I’m writing I kind of let the scenes play out in my mind like a movie. I see my characters actions and imagine their responses. I picture their movements, and their facial expressions and try to include as much as I can without dragging it out. Then they asked, how do you know when to start a new chapter. again, I picture it as a TV movie. Where would my commercial breaks be? That’s where my new chapter starts. This may not make much sense to some, but that’s how I do it.
The Duchess has descendants, and they’re coming…
It’s been officially announced: The Duchess’s Descendants (Jordinia: Book 3) is coming to 48fourteen! This book was a long time in the making. Sort of. After I’d finished writing my original Jordinia duology (The Duchess Quest and The Duchess Inheritance) in early 2014, a name in the epilogue of Book Two stuck with me. Johanna. (Pronounced “Jo-HAW-nah”.) She had a character and a story; I just had to find it. I began writing and came up with a novella told from her perspective. That summer, I submitted the novella to 48fourteen. And despite the fact that the email opened up with: “Dear Caity, (Please note, this is not a rejection letter)…” Well, it was. 😀 By that point, after 30,000 words on the matter, I knew all about Jordinia’s next generation – the one that would be reborn into royalty. I didn’t know how else to use the information. But 48fourteen was right. The novella was off. There wasn’t enough action. Little sense of adventure. The pacing wasn’t the same as my previous books. Although, 48fourteen still thought it had potential, if redone. When they slipped its title into the “Other Books By C.K. Brooke” page while formatting The Duchess Quest, I wrote in: “But we aren’t publishing it?” To which 48fourteen responded, “I can remove the title from the list…but I think it’s a story you’ll want to tell.” I’ve already told it, and it didn’t work. Those were my thoughts. It isn’t worth rewriting. I’m going to write different books now. And I did write different books. But every so often, I returned to the novella, scratching my head. It wasn’t until I finally just deleted it off of my hard drive and changed some details in Book Two’s epilogue a month before it was published when I knew the novella was truly dead. And thank, thank goodness. Anyone who follows me on social media knows I listen to a lot of podcasts, and an episode of Stuff You Should Know about the Lewis & Clark expedition was keeping me up at night. My brainstorm notebooks were full of half-baked doodles and outlines about two brothers – one shy and stammering, the other bumbling but charismatic – on an expedition…but where? In what universe? I’d been sitting on the concept for a year until it finally occurred to me. In Jordinia, that’s where! So, in early 2016, the new concept was born. For three weeks, I worked like a madwoman on the outline, taking my little notebook everywhere with me – to the playground with my son, to scribble in while waiting at doctor’s appointments or red lights – until the notebook was full and I had three love stories rolled into one comedy-of-errors adventure that I was pretty giddy about. Writing The Duchess’s Descendants was probably the easiest writing experience of my life. I think I finished the 67,000-word manuscript in about two months (a record even for me). The characters and adventure came more naturally than my own breath and practically wrote themselves. For the first time in years, writing was no longer methodical for me or a race to the finish, but pure and definite joy. And this time, I’m thrilled to announce that 48fourteen accepted it. The story is very different from that first-attempt novella. So are several of the characters. I’m so glad for it. I suppose this is my testimony in favor of the rejection and rewriting process. I’m super excited about this third “surprise” novel in the Jordinia series, and I hope readers enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it – the second time around! 🙂
Rust City Book Con 2016
The weekend before last, I attended my first-ever author convention. The first annual Rust City Book Con took place in metropolitan Troy, Michigan. I met some fantastic authors (a good blend of indie, traditional, self-published, and hybrid), spoke on a couple of panels, and am already looking forward to 2017. To my fellow authors, bloggers, readers and book lovers in and around Michigan, I hope you’ll join us next year!
The Author Connection Event
A few of your favorite 48fourteen authors will be taking over our Facebook page this week! Stop by www.facebook.com/48fourteen, hang out with our authors and ask them a juicy question for a chance to win a $5.00 Amazon gift card. One winner will be chosen every day, between August 29th and September 6th, by the hosting author! The cherry on top? Their book will be available for only $0.99, on their event day, exclusively on Amazon! ANGELA HARTLEY TAKING OVER: Monday, August 29, 2016 48FOURTEEN BOOKS: Copper Reign FAVORITE NOVEL: Remembrance by Jude Deveraux FAVORITE SERIES: The Dark Tower by Stephen King FAVORITE MOVIE: It’s a tie between Far and Away and ZombieLand FAVORITE TV SHOW Supernatural Angela enjoys studying theology, folklore, psychic abilities, and serial killers. With this unique knowledge she has educated and entertained at many symposiums and conventions. She’s also an amazing cook. If you have a chance, you should try her pie! NICOLE AUBE TAKING OVER: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 48FOURTEEN BOOKS: On the Other Side FAVORITE NOVEL: It’s a weird tie between Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (historical romance) and the Season of Passage by Christopher pike (scifi/horror). FAVORITE SERIES: I love, love, ***love*** The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan, The Shatter Me trilogy by Tareh Mafi, and The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. FAVORITE MOVIE: Hands-down–Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Chicago and The Last Crusades are close seconds. FAVORITE TV SHOW Of all time…? The Golden Girls, but I also love the weird stuff like The Vampire Diaries, The Flash, and Stranger Things. Nicole can’t survive without coffee, and only when she’s super-charged with caffeine can she purse her interests in photography, graphic design, and architecture. If she isn’t reading or writing, you can find her working with the community theatre, traveling to historical graveyards, or antiquing for things no one else will buy. She’s also a pretty decent make-up artist. She’s a firm believer in the old adage, “Eyeliner is life,” because, seriously, y’all, it is! ROXANNE KADE TAKING OVER: Wednesday, August 31st 48FOURTEEN BOOKS: Therian: The Bloody Crescent, Book I FAVORITE NOVEL: How does one choose?? The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa (PNR) and By a Thread by R.L. Griffin (Contemporary Romance Thriller) FAVORITE SERIES: The Merry Gentry Series by Laurell K. Hamilton FAVORITE MOVIE: The Time Traveller’s Wife FAVORITE TV SHOW Game of Thrones Roxy is an avid reader with an adventurous spirit. Her kitchen is her zen zone, with baking being her favorite form of meditation. In a perpetual state of improvement, Roxy believes that there are no limits to learning new and interesting things. CATHERINE L. HENSLEY TAKING OVER: Thursday, September 1st 48FOURTEEN BOOKS: New York Dolls FAVORITE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice FAVORITE SERIES: The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder FAVORITE MOVIE: Titanic FAVORITE TV SHOW The Golden Girls, Saved By The Bell, The West Wing, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Modern Family… Catherine is a freelance editor and writer. She loves to travel and all things Hollywood. She is currently working on her second novel. HOLLY M. CAMPBELL TAKING OVER: Friday, September 2nd 48FOURTEEN BOOKS: Foreshadowed, Forewarned, Without Curtains FAVORITE NOVEL: Harry Potter, Outlander, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, The House at Tyneford, Les Miserables, and The Princess Bride FAVORITE SERIES: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, and The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs FAVORITE MOVIE: Probaby Rocky or Star Wars FAVORITE TV SHOW Parks and Recreation, The Office, New Girl, Sherlock, Community, Arrested Development, and The I.T. Crowd Along with reading and writing, Holly loves dancing, singing, laughing with friends and family, and has recently taken up kickboxing! She loves twist endings that seem out of the blue in the first reading/watching, and totally obvious in the second. She is attracted to many different kinds of genres, but is known to judge a book by its cover. C.K. BROOKE TAKING OVER: Saturday, September 3rd 48FOURTEEN BOOKS: The Duchess Quest (Jordinia: Book 1), The Duchess Inheritance (Jordinia: Book 2), The Red Pearl, and The Wrong Prince. Coming soon: The Duchess’s Descendants (Jordinia: Book 3) FAVORITE NOVEL: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card FAVORITE SERIES: The Near Deaths Series by Holly M. Campbell FAVORITE MOVIE: Fiddler on the Roof FAVORITE TV SHOW Last Week Tonight with John Oliver C.K. Brooke lives with her husband and their vivacious four-year-old in the lower thumb of Michigan (although she’d rather be back in sweet, flat Ohio). When not mommying, she’s writing stories, editing, blogging, or reading what’s hot in YA. She’s the author of nine romantic fantasy novels. In addition to her love for commercial fiction, she enjoys music and singing, political satire, spiritual research, and info-tainment podcsts. Her latest addiction is Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History. E. ARDELL TAKING OVER: Sunday, September 4th 48FOURTEEN BOOKS: The Fourth Piece FAVORITE NOVEL: Oh, not this question. I’m too fickle for it. If I absolutely have to choose, I guess The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart. FAVORITE SERIES: Not another one of these! Um…The Last Herald Mage by Mercedes Lackey. FAVORITE MOVIE: Coming to America and Toy Story FAVORITE TV SHOW Does anime count? I’d say Full Metal Alchemist. E. Ardell doesn’t enjoy long walks on the beach because she hates sand and water–oh, and outside, because outside is yucky. She does appreciate a karaoke bar with a big book of selections full of Britney Spears and Disney songs, dark movie theaters that play Marvel movie marathons, and book stores with huge science fiction/fantasy and comic book collections. Twice labeled the nerd of your dreams, prepare for an evening of RPG’s, Buffy/Angel marathons and come prepared to be quizzed on the names of every Robin in Batman’s book. If you get it right, you get a prize. MATT THOMAS TAKING OVER: Monday, September 5th 48FOURTEEN BOOKS: The Compass from the Red Lands FAVORITE NOVEL: No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy FAVORITE SERIES: The Dragon Lance Series FAVORITE MOVIE: The Shawshank Redemption, The Empire Strikes Back, every movie made by Marvel Studios FAVORITE TV SHOW I don’t watch a whole lot of television. My favorite shows growing up, however, were The X-Files, The Simpsons, and Seinfeld. I also binge-watched season 1 of Daredevil, and I was incredibly impressed with the quality and depth of that show. Matt enjoys spending time with his family, geeking out over superhero and science fiction movies, an occasional hike, and mid-range road trips (too long: anything more than six hours; too short: an hour…that’s not a road trip. For many, it’s a commute!). Matt tries to create character-driven stories with compelling fantasy/sci-fi plots in his shorts and novels. TRACY AUERBACH TAKING OVER: Tuesday, September 6th 48FOURTEEN BOOKS: The Human Cure FAVORITE NOVEL: Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson FAVORITE SERIES: The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper FAVORITE MOVIE: The Princess Bride FAVORITE TV SHOW Supernatural Tracy Auerbach studied English and Education, and some of her college poetry was published in the “Penn Review” (The University of Pennsylvania’s premiere literary magazine). She went on to teach and write S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculum for the New York Department of Education. Tracy’s work is featured in the online literary journal “Micro-horror,” and “The Writing Disorder” fiction anthology. Her first novel, “The Human Cure,” was published by 48fourteen. When she is not teaching or writing, Tracy is usually reading, performing science experiments, or playing with her own children. She lives in New York with her husband and two sons. SHEILA HAGEMAN TAKING OVER: Wednesday, September 7th 48FOURTEEN BOOKS: Beautiful Something Else FAVORITE NOVEL: Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough and The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr FAVORITE SERIES: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems FAVORITE MOVIE: I honestly don’t have one. When I was younger, my favorite was On Golden Pond. FAVORITE TV SHOW An Idiot Abroad (an English show by Ricky Gervais) Sheila can ride a unicycle and juggle thanks to dating a professional clown in high school. She was also sawed in half by an electric chainsaw in a circus. Sheila is a yoga practitioner and teacher, who loves to hate hot yoga.
I love doing readings!
I did another featured author slot at a local author event called Curated Words. The first reading I did there a few months ago set a record of how fast a person can read 10 pages. I didn’t think I was reading that fast, but one of my friends recorded me and when I played it back, wow. I was impressed. It was like listening to an audio book at 2X (which I do, because I’m a fast reader and can’t stand listening to things slower than I’d actually read them, lol.) So, this time around, I practiced before hand, and got some feedback from some writer buddies. Then, on the night of the reading, right before I began, I told the audience to give me a beat, lol. (No, I really did.) I said: If I go too fast, start stomping your feet. I won’t look up, because I’ll lose my place on the page, but I’ll hear you and slow down. It went well. I have a brand new recording to share. If you’re interested, follow this link to my Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/eardell/# and hey, maybe click on “like” while you’re there ;). Take care!
Bubbles and books and reading
“There are always two. One to find the path, and one to find the way back.” About a decade ago, I had a conversation with a friend regarding the sheer volume of books that have been published. Think about it: all the books ever written in the world’s history. So many genres, volumes, and adaptations. It’s a seemingly infinite list. One could spend literally every second of every day reading for the rest of his life and never come close to finishing every book ever published. The aforementioned friend said, “There is simply no need to publish anything else from this point forward. All relevant, worthwhile literature has hit the shelves. What else needs to be said?” At the time, I didn’t know if I agreed with him or not. It’s a question that has stayed with me. With the dawning of the digital age has come even more literature. Most of which will never be read, studied or appreciated, my own work included. It just gets added onto the pile. So what’s the point? Why do so many feel so compelled to write when the likelihood of being read is so incredibly slight? The answer finally came to me a few days ago. I found myself sitting on my porch with my daughter, who is just over a year. Like many her age, she loves bubbles. She looked to her right, spotted the bubble wand, and shouted, “Bubbles!” “OK,” I said, grabbing the wand and prepping it for a bubbles bonanza. I waved the wand left and right and watched in shared awe with my daughter as hundreds of bubbles, large and small, drifted through the air above us, dancing downward upon our hands, eyes, and heads. My daughter squealed and laughed and smiled . . . infectious things. Her happiness became my own. Something so simple, so effortless, filled her with wonder. It’s as if the bubbles were from another world and had the power to provide onlookers with a new lens on the world around them. Watching her, I thought to myself, That’s what a good story should do. Good stories lift us; wrap us with wonder and joy; allow us to see our world from a different perspective. And yes, so much has been written by so many. Most of it will, unfortunately, be forgotten, but that doesn’t really matter. True writers, I believe, don’t do it to be known or remembered or celebrated. The work becomes an echo, a bubble blown into the sky, drifting aimlessly downward, and shouting “Here I am! This is how I see the world. Look at me and know a different version of truth and beauty . . . or don’t.” And the bubble hits the ground, and it pops, and it is no more. But that doesn’t mean it was without value, especially if someone saw it, even just for a second, and smiled. So, why do we write? Every perspective, from the greatest king to the lowliest worker, is incredibly valuable. When that perspective is recorded and shared with the world, it has the potential to enlighten others. And isn’t that important? It’s why individuals will never stop writing and never should. Every book added to the collective is the voice of a different generation, a reflection of different times and experiences, echoes of lives present and departed. Through literature, we come to understand how the world was and is, and it’s why we will always need to keep writing: It’s how we know that our thoughts are still very much our own.
Get a FREE copy of On the Other Side in exchange for a REVIEW!
Hey, y’all! I need YOUR help. I want On the Other Side to go viral, and to make it spread, 48fourteen and I are giving away a FREE copy of my 5-star young adult novel in exchange for a quick REVIEW on Goodreads, Amazon, your blog, or all three! To whet your appetite a bit, here’s what other readers have already said: In a market flooded with dystopian novels aimed at young adults, this world created by Nicole Aube definitely stands out! I am amazed that Aube is able to transform NOLA from the jazzy, beautiful streets I know and love to a dismal, watery graveyard filled with lost memories. I knew from the moment I picked up On The Other Side I would be reading it all weekend, and I wouldn’t stop until I was done. It was absolutely amazing. I honestly felt like I was a character in the book by the way it was described. It was like I was in New Orleans as the characters themselves… Wow!! What a fantastic novel!! It is one of the best reads of the year!! Fantastic read. I’m a sucker for science fiction with a purpose, and this novel is an excellent study of race, adolescence, identity, and sense of place. And, now, YOU get to join them in telling me what you think! If you’re ready to join the movement, click here: FREE eBook Need a little incentive to join my review team? I’m giving away *two* $25.00 gift cards randomly to those who post a verified review within the next 60 days–that’s by September 15, 2016, y’all! EVERYONE who posts a review that I verify will receive some awesome author swag as well as the option to review On the Brink before it releases later this year! Want to *really* guarantee I see your review, email me at email@example.com, and let me know it’s posted! This offer is open to EVERYONE, fellow authors at 48fourteen included. 🙂 Still not convinced you want to read On the Other Side? Check this out! Bound to the Flood waters, sixteen-year-old Hilaria McCleod gathers relics from the days when Orleans wasn’t divided in two by the Wall and long before NAP—the Name Acquisition Program—governed her beloved city. But pieces of a lost past do nothing to satisfy Hilaria’s desire to escape. Beyond the Wall lies the land of the Named. There, those who have earned their Name and Purpose live in prosperity on coveted dry ground. To earn her place among them, Hilaria makes a deal with an unlikely ally to reveal dark secrets about her own heart and NAP’s true intentions for the future of Orleans. The fate of her city depends on listening to those who cannot be trusted while her own destiny lies in embracing the love of a boy who will drown her yet. Now is the time—Hilaria will make a Name for herself. Do you dare to journey to Orleans for yourself? Hope to see you there! Nicole Aube
I just did my first author interview!
You never know just what an author interview is going to entail, until you get the list of questions. Magda put together a fun list and has a great blog! Check out the interview here: https://maginibooks.wordpress.com/2016/07/10/interview-with-e-ardell/
Quick Thought: Some Random Thoughts on Music and Writing
Download the novel by clicking here! A short time ago, in a galaxy not so far away, I used to work Manhattan’s music and nightlife beat for a bunch of small publications. This meant covering concerts, movie premieres, hotel openings, etc., etc. I got started by simply wanting to listen to as much music as possible. I loved talking with artists about their projects, their process, their struggles to create, sell, market, and support their work. Recently, I listened to Blink-182’s new album, California. It’s a somewhat controversial LP since the band’s beloved co-frontman and guitarist, Tom DeLonge, unceremoniously cut certain ties to the group to pursue different endeavors. Mark Hoppus, now the band’s only original member, and drummer Travis Barker, moved on by recruiting Alkaline Trio’s guitarist and co-frontmant, Matt Skiba. The newly formed trio collaborated on the aforementioned album, which, I think, is a resounding success. The group, which has now been around for decades, has found a way to revisit their classic pop-punk sound defined by power chords, fast beats, and catchy lyrics while appropriately aging with their audience. There is angst in the album; there is sophomoric humor, but there is also introspection; there is reflection. In many ways, it could be labeled as some of Blink-182’s best work. So, why am I drifting into a quasi-review of a music album when I’m supposed to be promoting a novel? Music, quite simply, is a fundamental part of my own writing process. Whenever I write a scene, whether it’s for a short story or a novel, I try to accompany it with a song that matches the tone I’m going for. Music, no matter what the genre, is an important aspect of how we come to understand a story or an experience. It is emotion in audio form and therefore universal. There’s a scene in The Compass from the Red Lands in which Tom and Lynette, the story’s heroes, are traveling from New York City to Colorado. During the road trip, the two come to know one another before venturing into a questionable place to save Tom’s half-sister. The image that kept on flashing through my mind was a bird’s eye shot of the ’76 Grand Prix they’re traveling in with a dusking sky in the background; the headlights are on; the heavy relic cuts through the curving highway to the sound of Ra Ra Riot’s “Ghost Under Rocks” from their debut album The Rhumb Line (great track, incredible first album). The tune perfectly captures the transition from the certainty of routine, no matter how mundane it might be, into an adventurous yet potentially very dangerous world. A song helped me make sense of that section. It provided me with a framework. After listening to the track over and over, I knew what I was going for, I just had to find a way to match it. Listening to Blink’s California made me think about specific scenes from The Compass from the Red Lands in new ways. Which songs from that album would match specific chapters? How could they heighten the emotions being conveyed in forms that I hadn’t previously considered? Each track lent a new perspective and fresh take on work I didn’t think I’d ever revisit. Wouldn’t it be nice if every novel were accompanied by a soundtrack? The other side of that coin: wouldn’t it be great if every album tried to tell an extended story? Maybe Blink-182’s next piece will be a pop-punk narrative of epic proportions, and maybe my next post will be the soundtrack for The Compass from the Red Lands!
Hot New Summer Releases!
This summer, indulge in our hot new releases! Something for everyone! ✔ Paranormal ✔ Mystery ✔ Romance ✔Fantasy ✔ Chick Lit ✔ Young Adult THERIAN by Roxanne Kade All Amberlyn Darksky has ever wanted is to be normal. Amber has never been ordinary. She has a gift, the ability to see memories through simple touch, and for her it’s a curse. Especially when she has to relive her mother’s death, on the night she was born, through her father’s eyes. Leading a sheltered life for years under his constant watch has her yearning for freedom and her acceptance into Cyprus Falls University gives her just that. Plunged into a world of true love, heartache, seduction, and horror, with a deepening affection for Tayelon Cree, and the undeniable allure of Lucard Colbaine, can she accept what either of them represent in her life? And what about the steely-eyed vampire who invades her dreams? When the blackouts and nightmares begin, Amber fears the pain that rips into her soul and threatens to destroy her. Before long, she is faced with the truth of her destiny as well as the devastating secrets that surround the people she holds dearest; dark secrets that will truly change the course of her very existence. Amberlyn will have to fight as hard as possible to remain human while the beasts inside her rage to take over. BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING ELSE by Sheila Hageman Beautiful Something Else is a contemporary romance with smarts and humor. Lizbeth, an outwardly-confident but overly self-conscious thirty-year-old, is spurred on by her New Age friend, Janet, to trust the Universe and ask for what she wants in life—to land a starring role, lose five pounds and find herself naked with a man. The stars seem to be aligning for her, but not exactly in the way she meant. A chance encounter with a film director at Grand Central Station may be her lucky break, but the New York City actress is blindsided when she is fired from her bill-paying waitress job, and she must decide where her true values lie. Should she take a position as a “pretend secretary” for a handsome, but holier-than-though chiropractor and healer with questionable morals to pay her rent? While Chip Duncan woos a potential investor for his new healing center, he fights his romantic urges for Lizbeth. She finds herself falling in love with Chip’s caring, healing heart, but she’s equally frustrated by his greed and dishonesty. Can Lizbeth resolve her body image issues and find a clear path to satisfaction in career and relationship? And will Chip realize in time that Lizbeth is the woman for him before he blows off her love? THE COMPASS FROM THE RED LANDS by Matt Thomas For twenty-year-old Tom Gareth, life couldn’t feel more pointless. He’s working as a dishwasher at a greasy-spoon to pay tuition for a college he doesn’t even want to be attending. And Lynette, the love of his life, has relegated him to the dreaded friend zone. All that changes when Tom receives a letter from his father. Pretty standard, right? Not really. His father is supposed to be dead. Half-sister he’s never met? Kidnapped? Taken to the Red Lands? Find her and never stop running? It all sounds like a prank, a crazy lie, until Tom finds a compass in the envelope. It glows and screams and burns, until it eventually reveals a path to Tom’s lost sister – in the Red Lands. A place not on any map. To unlock the compass’s secrets and discover the terrifying realities of his father’s past, Tom embarks on a quest and crosses into a mystical and deadly world. Surviving its jade infernos and bizarre residents will take more than just blind bravery. It will mean letting go of everything he knows, dispelling his fears, and making the ultimate sacrifice. But Tom has to be willing. Is he? THE FOURTH PIECE by E. Ardell Admitting what you are will end everything you know. Embracing who you are will start a war… Life is great when you’re good-looking and popular…so long as no one knows you’re a vulatto. Being half-alien gets you labeled “loser” quicker than being a full vader. So it’s a good thing Devon, Lyle, and Lawrence can easily pass for human—until the night of the party. Nothing kills a good time faster than three brothers sharing a psychic vision of a fourth brother who’s off-world and going to die unless they do something. But when your brother’s emergency happens off-planet, calling 9-1-1 really isn’t an option. In their attempt to save a brother they barely remember, Devon, Lyle and Lawrence expose themselves to mortal danger and inherit a destiny that killed the last four guys cursed with it. In 2022, there are humans and aliens, heroes and monsters, choices and prophecies—and four brothers with the power to choose what’s left when the gods decide they’re through playing games. FOREWARNED by Holly M. Campbell Death is not finished with her… With a little help from her death-seeing boyfriend, Lance Hampton, Hope Murdoch has already defeated fate once. Doing it again—and stopping a serial killer in the making—shouldn’t be too hard…except she hasn’t healed from her last brush with the psychopath, Lance is struggling with his personal demons, and she’s grounded. Tracking down a murderer is not easy when you’re basically under house arrest. Yet, the seventeen-year-old mind reader isn’t about to let those trifling obstacles slow her down. So what if she has to lie to her parents and sneak out of the house to catch him? She is not the only one in danger. Once again, Hope is faced with the burden of choosing between saving her own life and the victims starring in Lance’s visions. Getting past her parents’ house alarm is a walk in the dark compared with trying to get a murderer behind bars…or in the ground. With only a few clues to piece together, every path looks like a dead end—literally. This time, the cost of changing her future may be too much to bear. THE WRONG PRINCE by C.K. Brooke FREE WITH KINDLE UNLIMITED! Two princes. One bride. A dire misunderstanding… Geo and Dmitri are the princes of Tybiria. Though Geo is the obvious athlete, it’s bookish Dmitri that yields the credit – and consequences – for slaying a foreign prince. But whose arrow really struck the boy? Luccia Camerlane is the Baron of Backshore’s enigmatic daughter…as well as Prince Geo’s secret mistress…until she learns of her disastrous betrothal to none other than his brother, Prince Dmitri. When Dmitri is abducted by the deranged King of Llewes, star-crossed lovers Geo and Lucie must set aside their woes and differences to rescue the Crown Prince from the formidable Wintersea fortress. A precocious castle ward, a fascinating love-quadrangle, and a hit-woman harlot complete this action packed rom com in another wickedly fast-paced fantasy adventure from C.K. Brooke, author of The Red Pearl and the Books of Jordinia.
Did You Accidentally Write Yourself Into a Book?
I was genuinely shocked when my best friend texted me that she was simply envisioning me in a black wig for the character of Dainy while reading The Duchess Quest. “How am I anything like Dainy?” I demanded at the phone. My sister, wading into the pool with me, insisted, “You’re exactly like Dainy! Innocent, sweet, and curvy too.” Curvy, I’ll give her. By the time I wrote my debut novel, I was so sick and tired of reading about skinny heroines, I knew I had to break the mold and make my MC on the shapely side. But I’d thought that was where it ended. I don’t have black hair or green eyes. I’m not royalty. I wasn’t raised in a bungalow on the beach and I’ve certainly never had more than one man after me. I turned to my sister. “Why would anyone think I’m as innocent and naive as Dainy? The character I’m most like is…Jon.” I didn’t realize it until I said it aloud. But, by God, I was most like Jon Cosmith. Not that I’m a sexually promiscuous Casanova or a wanted thief, mind you, but my head is often in the gutter and I’m usually looking for the personal advantage in a situation. “Then your mind is like Jon’s,” said my sister, “but the way you act to all of us is like Dainy.” She proceeded to point out that ‘Dainy’ and ‘Caity’ are just 2 letters apart. I tried not to panic. The truth really was that I wanted to spell her name Daney, but was afraid people would pronounce it as “Danny”. Dainey was too many letters, so I took out the ‘e’. I swear, it was an accident that both our names are five letters long, with three of the same letters in the same places. It was unintentional. I had no desire to write myself into any book. But I continue to be amazed at the number of friends who ‘call me out’. “She is SO YOU!” And here I am, insisting that SHE IS SO NOT. I’ve seen some novels on the market where the main character’s name is fairly similar to the author’s. And I’ve wondered why, whether it was intentional. Fellow writers, what about you? Have you ever purposefully – or accidentally – written yourself into a book? How close to home are you willing to let your characters and storylines get? 🙂
The Compass from the Red Lands: Influences
There are always two. One to find the path, and one to find the way back. As a kid, I was a huge comic book fan. It started in third grade when my father brought home the bound collections of all Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics (I loved the cartoon show), and it quickly grew from there. My consistent go-tos were Spider-Man and Batman, but after a while I found myself taking on any superhero title that was available. Some heroes were goofy, others were dark and aloof. Many in the end, just weren’t all that interesting. At least not for an extended period of time, so it made sense to jump around from title to title. Yet, the hero I always returned to was Spider-Man. I, like most other nerdy comic book fans, related to the SUPER nerdy Peter Parker. It wasn’t just because he was a nerd who lived every nerd’s fantasy of gaining a super power and kicking bad guy butt every night. It was more than that. Peter Parker, unlike so many other heroes who rose to prominence in the sixties, was, IS, inherently flawed. If you look back to Spider-Man’s origin story in Amazing Fantasy #15, Peter lets a robber escape in a petty attempt to get back at a man who wronged him earlier. Somewhat ironically, it is later revealed that the same robber murders Peter’s Uncle Ben. Peter could have prevented the act had he just been more responsible. It’s a tough lesson, and one that he has to keep at the forefront of his mind. As the character grew, his temptation to sometimes do the wrong or selfish thing was always present, and it wasn’t uncommon to witness Peter doing the wrong or selfish thing. What set him apart, and what I believe made him truly heroic, was his ability to recognize these transgressions and attempt to make up for them. Peter Parker / Spider-Man is severely flawed, but he knows it! This fascinated me, and it’s something I often try to include in the characters I create. What is the protagonist’s central flaw? Will he recognize it? If he does, will he be able to learn something new about himself in order to improve? In my novel, The Compass from the Red Lands (I know, I know, cheap and shameless plug), Tom Gareth is selfish, manipulative, and cowardly. It takes him a while to truly accept that these negative traits are cornerstones of his personality, but once he does his true growth begins. The reason why Peter Parker / Spider-Man has remained relevant over the last fifty years is because he keeps on growing. He’s willing to change. And so often the only way to progress is to acknowledge the hurt you’ve inflicted on others and seriously try to atone for it. These contrite actions, if genuine, are self-sacrificing and, ultimately, heroic, which most audiences find to be both endearing and captivating. So, is Tom Gareth a hero? Not really, but in The Compass from the Red Lands he desperately tries to be.
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