What to do…

It’s a big day in the Wicker household. Actually…it’s very quiet, but there’s a good reason for that. Today my husband went back to work for the first time in about two and a half years. He’s not been very well you see, so this is a triumph for him.

Usually at this time of day Bargain Hunt or such like is on the TV. This is after being subjected to the Jeremy Kyle show, which I cannot stand, but Ricky loves. Right now everything is quiet – you could hear a pin drop in here. The only sound is my fingers as I tap tap on the keyboard and the occasional snort from the dog as he chases dream bunnies.

It’s weird, to the say the least. So as I sit here, tapping away, I’m pondering. Dangerous, I know. What ever am I going to do with myself? Should I try to find a job that I can do during school hours. Employment is pretty hard to find, especially if you can only work school hours during term time. I could redecorate the house (I think I just heard my husband groan all the way from London).

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I have some tins of paint in the utility room and I never did finish that restoration project I started on the porch….or on the stairs. Yep, I think I’ll finish those. They need doing, but I was going to do them anyway, so that still doesn’t solve my problem.

There’s always the pets to play with.

cat

dog

Or I could take up Parkour, I kind of need to if I want to be a good vigilante 😀

parkourNo, okay that probably wouldn’t end well.

I’ve always wanted to learn how to ride a motorbike.

motorcycle

Or, I could learn cross stitch – I used to do that, wasn’t very good.

catsew

I could maybe get a treadmill.

treadmill

Or, join the gym…

weights

I suppose I could work on a new talent.

eat

Or try some cool moves.

slide

Most of those look dangerous. Maybe I should just write. I’ve been having problems on the writing front lately, they’re pretty much solved now, but I did fall waaaay behind. So while I puzzle it out, I’ll write. Sounds pretty darn good to me!!!

Halfskin by Tony Bertauski

Cover - HalfskinBiomites are artificial stem cells that can replace any cell in your body. No more kidney failure, no severed spines or blood disease. No cancer. Pharmaceuticals become obsolete. With each dose of biomites, we become stronger, we become smarter and prettier.

We become better.

At what point are we no longer human?

Nix Richards nearly died in a car accident when he was young. Biomites saved his life. Ten years later, he’s not so lucky. The Halfskin Laws decree a human composed of 50% biomites is no longer human. Halfskins have no legal rights and will have their biomites shutdown. It’s not called murder, merely deactivation.

Cali Richards has been Nix’s legal guardian since their parents died. She has lost far too many people in her life to let the government take Nix. She is a nanobiometric engineer and will discover how to hide him. But even brilliance can succumb to the pressure of suffering. And technology can’t cure insanity.

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Excerpt

THE REAL AVENGER’S BLOG
Shooting Truth-Bullets Since Birth
Subscribers: 3,233

It’s the end of time, peeps.
Mark this date, put a black X on your calendar because it’s all over, starting today. It used to be that if you didn’t like the laws where you lived, you just moved to another state or another country. Freedom existed somewhere in the world. We had a choice. I mean, hell, if you were desperate enough you could live on the South Pole with penguins and shit.
Not anymore.
Today, it’s all over.
Today, M0ther was born.
Who’s M0ther? Our M0ther. Already got a mother? Now you got two, only this one will know everything about you. You can’t hide from her, she’ll know when you’re full of crap, know where you stash your porn, know when you pick your nose and when you eat it.
You’ll hate her, and she’ll know that, too.
Case you’ve been asleep for the last 10 years, the Mitochondria Terraforming Hierarchy of Record is what I’m talking about.
Let’s just call her M0ther.
A mother that doesn’t bake cookies or wash your underwear. She’s not getting up to make you French toast or wipe your nose. Nope. This bitch is going to spy on you until you’re dead. Which may be sooner than you think.
M0ther is somewhere in the frozen plains of Wyoming. No pictures of her exist because no one’s allowed to even flyover. But rumors say she’s this massive dome, a computer the size of a football stadium, like some artificial brain heaved out of the frozen soil that’s wirelessly connected with every biomite in existence.
Did you catch that? EVERY BIOMITE IN EXISTENCE!
Hear that buzzing on your phone? She’s listening.
Feel that tickle on your laptop? She knows you’re tapping.
All that Do Not Covet Your Neighbor’s Wife crap? Yeah, that’s the real deal, now. M0ther might tell your wife what you’re thinking about doing to Joe-Bob’s wife mowing the lawn in a tube top.
George Orwell wasn’t even close, man. I mean, Big Brother was just a pea shooter compared to M0ther. Big Brother was pissing on a forest fire; M0ther’s bringing the goddamn ocean.
Here’s the official statement from Marcus Anderson, Chief of the Biomite Oversight Committee.
(BTW, he looks like a gargoyle. Right?)

It is with great pleasure that, after ten years of global effort, I present to you the greatest feat of humankind. I present to you a regulatory system that will keep all people safer and healthier for centuries to come. Bionanotechnolgy has put us on the brink of greatness, but with that comes uncertainty and danger. The human species has the potential to live forever. Or end tomorrow.
I prefer the former.
Mitochondria Terraforming Hierarchy of Record is linked to every booted cellular-sized biomite living inside our bodies. Its primary function will be to monitor individual levels of biomites and take appropriate action if, or when, they cross a previously determined threshold. This will keep us human.
This will keep us safe.
Forever.

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ATA

During the day, I’m a horticulturist. While I’ve spent much of my career designing landscapes or diagnosing dying plants, I’ve always been a storyteller. My writing career began with magazine columns, landscape design textbooks, and a gardening column at the Post and Courier (Charleston, SC). However, I’ve always fancied fiction.

My grandpa never graduated high school. He retired from a steel mill in the mid-70s. He was uneducated, but he was a voracious reader. I remember going through his bookshelves of paperback sci-fi novels, smelling musty old paper, pulling Piers Anthony and Isaac Asimov off shelf and promising to bring them back. I was fascinated by robots that could think and act like people. What happened when they died?

I’m a cynical reader. I demand the writer sweep me into his/her story and carry me to the end. I’d rather sail a boat than climb a mountain. That’s the sort of stuff I want to write, not the assigned reading we got in school. I want to create stories that kept you up late.

Having a story unfold inside your head is an experience different than reading. You connect with characters in a deeper, more meaningful way. You feel them, empathize with them, cheer for them and even mourn. The challenge is to get the reader to experience the same thing, even if it’s only a fraction of what the writer feels. Not so easy.

In 2008, I won the South Carolina Fiction Open with Four Letter Words, a short story inspired by my grandfather and Alzheimer’s Disease. My first step as a novelist began when I developed a story to encourage my young son to read. This story became The Socket Greeny Saga. Socket tapped into my lifetime fascination with consciousness and identity, but this character does it from a young adult’s struggle with his place in the world.

After Socket, I thought I was done with fiction. But then the ideas kept coming, and I kept writing. Most of my work investigates the human condition and the meaning of life, but not in ordinary fashion. About half of my work is Young Adult (Socket Greeny, Claus, Foreverland) because it speaks to that age of indecision and the struggle with identity. But I like to venture into adult fiction (Halfskin, Drayton) so I can cuss. Either way, I like to be entertaining.

And I’m a big fan of plot twists.

You can find out more on the authors website and blog.

A peek at my WIP ‘Finding Immortal’ and my battle with ‘the pit’

For the last few days I’ve been in a funk. You know that point where you can no longer form a coherent sentence? Where any words you string together are a bit crap, or even a lot crap. And even those times where you seem to be able to kill it when writing dialogue but as soon as you need to add the action, reaction, emotion, you fall on your ass and pick yourself up only to rather unceremoniously face plant the floor? That stage of writing – that’s where I’m at. In that dark little pit trying to claw my way out. Of course, the faster I claw, the further I slip so maybe some quiet contemplation is needed. Hmm.

I keep reading and rereading my earlier chapters and thinking – hey, I wrote that, I like it – so why can’t I do it anymore? I dunno. We all get to this stage though, that’s for sure. Then, at some point, something strikes and we can do it again. I’m waiting for that moment, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share a little bit of my WIP because one of my cp’s tagged me to do so. So here’s the opening of Finding Immortal – it’s still a little rough around the edges and there’s stuff I need to add per my amazing cp’s advice.

Finding Immortal

The text notification from my cellphone cut into my thoughts with the sharpness of a razors edge. Another message from Alex. I knew without casting so much as a glance at the screen. It was always him. Lana preferred email and sent me pictures of whatever country she’d chosen to gallivant through that week. I tipped my head back, staring into the sky above the Mallory estate. Clouds, heavy with the weight of unfallen snow, hung low, threatening to explode at any moment.

Lucas shifted next to me on the cold porch steps. “Aren’t you going to read it?” His breath billowed into the air, mixing with the muted light of the frosty morning.

Shaking my head, I pulled my phone from my jeans pocket and tossed it to Lucas. “No point.” Alex’s messages only ever consisted of one letter, a simple ‘x’, and though I’d replied on several occasions, asking how and where he was, he never responded.

Lucas slipped my cell into the front pocket of his green hoodie.

I tried to take a deep breath, but the familiar stabbing at my chest prevented anything more than a small inhale. For the past three months, the simplest of things hurt, opening my eyes each morning ranking amongst the most painful. My mind began to fog, pulling me back to the night of the ferocious battle with Sol and Selena. The night the colors in my world had paled to barely recognizable blurs of insignificance. Nathaniel’s face flashed and I clawed at the memory, desperate to hold it strong and unwavering, but as always, it faded to obscurity.

I raised my head as the crunch of hurried footsteps sounded across the yard of the Mallory estate. Kyle’s black hair lay flat and damp against his forehead, his maroon t-shirt and gray sweatpants bearing the sweat patches of his run. As he drew closer, he pulled his earphones from his ears and whipped off his top, then used it to scrub the moisture from his face.

Lucas rose from the steps to greet him. “Just in time, breakfast’s ready.”

Kyle slung his t-shirt across one shoulder and used his other hand to rub his taught stomach. “Good, I’m starving.”

Lucas pushed the front door open and stepped inside.

Kyle held his hand out to me. “You coming?”

I dropped my gaze to the ground. “No, I’m not hungry.”

One, two, three. I counted the maroon stripes on Kyle’s sneakers, at the same time, wondering when he’d begun to color co-ordinate his wardrobe.

“Tough shit, babe. You’re eating.” Kyle grasped my wrist and pulled me from my perch. I landed with a thud against his solid chest.


So I’ve kinda killed two birds with one stone(<<< ooo – a cliché, I should know better). I’ve talked about my feelings without talking about my feelings and I’ve shared some words. Now I’m off to stare out of the window. Hope the rest of you are coming along well in your writing endeavors!

Book Blitz: The King’s Sword by C.J. Brightley

Cover - The King's SwordA disillusioned soldier. A spoiled, untried prince. A coup that threatens the country they both love. When retired soldier Kemen finds the young prince Hakan fleeing an attempted assassination, he reluctantly takes the role of mentor and guardian. Keeping the prince alive is challenging enough. Making him a man is harder.

As usurper Vidar tightens his grip on power, Kemen wrestles with questions of duty and honor. What if the prince isn’t the best ruler after all?

Invasion looms, and Kemen’s decisions will shape the fate of a nation. What will he sacrifice for friendship and honor?

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You can also purchase The King’s Sword direct from the author, Barnes and Nobel, Smashwords and Kobo.

ATA

I live in Northern Virginia just outside Washington, DC, with my husband, young children, and our sheltie mix. They keep me pretty busy, but in my free time I write, read, teach karate, make jewelry, and bake. I love the smell of snow but I hate being cold. I once hugged a tiger. I love hearing from readers, so please get in touch!

You can find C.J. Brightley on her website, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

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New Release: Guardians Awakened by Kimiko Alexandre

GA4Raegan Fischer is eye candy for the rich socialites of the world…she also uses that pretty façade to protect them. When she gets dragged into a murder with “supernatural” like trappings, she never believes it’s going to not only test faith she doesn’t realize she has nor ever wanted, but make her enter a world of Angels, spirits and the unknown. Blackmailed into helping, she must find a missing angel and her sister while protecting a gargoyle that holds the soul of mass murder. It’s believe or risk a whole host of costs that are too high to bare.

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I am also pleased to be able to show you the print cover too!

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photoKimiko Alexandre runs the Parsec Nominated Podcast, Talechasing, for writers and readers of urban fantasy. Angels and demons are her first love when it comes to urban fantasy and paranormal romance so it’s no surprise that her debut novel, Guardians: Awakening, features a host of both and puts a twist to the whole mythos of where bad souls go when they die.

Also a voice actress, she has been in many commercial projects as well as audiobook and podiobook titles. She even ran a stint at being a female voice artist for European Hardstyle Dance music for a few years.  Just search for ‘ft. Kimiko’ on Youtube and you’ll find her.She loves her books, her music, and her cats. She sports a pair of brown and blue wings on her back and it doesn’t come as a shock that her favorite show is Supernatural. Team Dean, all the way.

You can find Kimiko on Twitter, Facebook and on her Podcast.

The Life Stages of a Pantsers Manuscript

A friend of mine is faced with having to write her first full-length novel for a few years. It’s not going to be a problem for her – well, she thinks it will be, but her words are so epic that I know it’ll be fantastic once it’s done, even if she hits some rocks along the road. But it got me to thinking about the life stages of our books. I know we are all different, but for your amusement, here’s mine.

0 Words – Stark Beginnings

In the beginning – there was… actually, I don’t know what there was. The beginning of a book is not when you or I put pen to paper, it’s when that first little seed enters the brain. Who knows how it begins? I couldn’t tell you. I do know, that for me, it began with an image while listening to a song, but something must’ve triggered it before that? Maybe…

noidea

 

500 Words…of notes

So now I have the main characters name and a little background. But not much more. But I do know her hair color. Hell yeah!

2000 Words…still notes

Whoop whoop! – I now have names of LIs, Protagonist, and friends and a tiny bit of their background.

whoop-whoop-o
—— Words…I’ve lost count

My notepad doesn’t have a word counter, but it’s full up and I have everyone. Still…I have no plot.

200 Words…of my manuscript

So it begins. Kind of. Or is this complete crap. Should I delete it and start again? What’s going on. Anyone know?

hmm

 

1000 Words in.

I have main character, I have setting, I have action. I have…crap – which character should I introduce next. I should really know this by now.

0 Words in.

That was rubbish. Start again.

2500 words in.

I did it!!! I wrote a chapter. OMG – It’s fabulous. I can totally do this.

ican

10000 words in.

Still rocking it!

rockingit

12000 Words in.

That’s just….that’s just awful. I don’t even know what that is.

what

15000 words in.

I Wonder what everyone’s up to on Twitter.

think

25000 Words in.

And….I’m baaaack. I am the QUEEN of this place. Ooo, yeah. Look what I just wrote. How freakin awesome is that. Honestly…my own genius scares me.

queen

 

 

30000 Words in.

I am a total failure.

paper

 

40000 Words in.

Beginning – check. Middle – check. Ugh – what’s that chapter all about. CUT.

50000 Words in.

There’s a pigeon in that tree. And a squirrel in that one. Ooo – a dragonfly. *Runs off to have a look.

dfly

50005 Words in.

That dragonfly sure was pretty. I wonder what other colors they come in. Google has the answers….

60000 Words in.

I actually just don’t care anymore.

65000 Words in.

Oh yes, now I’m rocking it like the God that I am.

freddie

65002 Words in.

Wait…what? That’s crap!!! *Jams finger on delete key.

what1

30000 Words in.

I can’t believe I just deleted 35k words. *Sobs while jamming cake into mouth.

cry

30000 Words in and several weeks later.

*Peeks out from under pillow fort. Area seems safe. Snatches notepad from beneath junk food rubbish while swigging cola.

30000 Words in.

I guess I turned into a plotter somewhere along the way….

40000 Words in.

Yes. This is much better.

50000 Words in.

Is it really better? Is this too much? Are there too many twists? Consults critique partner.

scratch

60000 Words in.

OMG – I did NOT see that coming. Thank you character who shall not be named for guiding me toward the light.

70000 Words in.

*Stares at screen. Sniffles. Is it really over?

75000 Words in.

Of course not. Layer – you idiot.

80000 Words in. Several months later.

Draft one million and sixty finished.

77000 Words in and several weeks later.

CP’s have ripped it to pieces and I’ve put it back together again. Off to the editor it goes.

OMG – I’m finished. Now I can do all those things I wanted to when I was writing.

happy

A half hour later.

*Fires up laptop… Chapter One….

typing

And there you have it. My writing process. I would love to know yours!

The Vampire of Vancouver by Liz Meldon

tvbg

After reading book one in the Lovers and Liars series: The Manead of Manhattan – I was delighted to be able to read this prior to release and I can honestly say – it’s excellent, I really love it.

tvAphrodite, goddess of love and lust, is not impressed. After giving up her penthouse suite in trendy Manhattan to go monster hunting around the world, she finds herself in a sad hotel room in Vancouver with a decidedly distracted Loki. She hadn’t expected this job to be so serious, and her Norse partner isn’t exactly bowing to her whims these days. What was the point in coming with him if they weren’t beneath the sheets all hours of the day? It seems like such a waste of sexual compatibility. Humph.

Meanwhile, Loki, Norse trickster, is equally unimpressed. He hadn’t thought taking on a beautiful partner would make his work so difficult. Her unfocused energy grates on his nerves, and his lust for her is only surpassed by his desire for more godly power. He will complete this job, whether she likes it or not, and he’ll walk away one step closer to regaining his old abilities. Now, if only he can get his partner to focus on the task at hand, not seduction. Ridiculous woman.

Aphrodite and Loki, an unlikely team if there ever was one, find themselves in the City of Vancouver hunting vampires. The job is pretty straightforward: rescue the damsel, kill the monster. Unfortunately, even the easiest of jobs hardly ever go according to plan.

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If you haven’t read Book 1 The Maenad of Manhattan – you can grab that here:

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aboutLiz is a Canadian author who grew up in the Middle East. She has a degree in Bioarchaeology from Western University, and when she isn’t writing about her own snarky characters, she is ghostwriting romance novellas, loitering on social media, or taking care of animals.

As a freelance ghostwriter, she has written eleven romance novellas, eight of which have been published and are doing well. She loves writing realistic characters in fantastical settings.

Catch up with Liz Meldon on her blog, Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook