Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fred's going to Comicon...in a bar!

Ahoy lovely readers!


November was a crazy month for writers all over the globe. NaNoWriMo ends today, and I'm happy to say that I've another win under my belt!

here's the proof! 

Usually, this is the time to rest on the NaNo laurels and take it easy for the holidays. But that won't be happening for lil ol' Fred. 

I'm honored to be a guest author at Bad Wolf Bar's BarCon 2.0! 

"What's BarCon?" You ask? Well, my dear friends, it's a Comicon...in a bar! 


Look at me as the first speaker of the day! 

The event is in the New Orleans area, so any of you SE LA dreamers should come out! It'll be a day filled with nerdy fun, games, presentations, panels, and awesome performances. 

Oh, and it's in a bar, so drinking will be happening ;) 

I'll also be giving away some great new Lucid bookmarks and posters! 





You know you want one...of each! 


So come on out for the first ever meet and greet with Fred! I'll be doing a reading from Lucid and I'll be answering any questions about the Dream World as well! You can even get your e-books signed by downloading an Authorgraph app on your e-reader! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day? No, just the 8th day of NaNoWriMo!

Ahoy lovely readers.


Been quite a few minutes since I've blogged about anything other than Fiction Features. To say I'm in a rut would be a gross understatement. Lots going on to keep writers down nowadays.


One of the biggest and scariest months is upon us. The face of many worlds rests on the actions of millions.

You think I'm talking about election day? Hell no!

This. Is. NaNoWriMo!



For you non-writers (aka smart people) this is National Novel Writing Month. Foolish people, such as myself, try to write 50,000 words in four short weeks. If you reach the goal, you've "won" NaNo, which unlocks a lot of cool swag and promos for self-publishing your manuscript.

It's one of the most fast-paced, stressful, and downright awesome things I've participated in. My first Nano was in 2012, when I was fresh out of college and hopeful about my budding writing career. Though the term "writing career" still makes me laugh, I did meet a lot of cool writers in my area and started a winning streak that I'm proud to boast about today.

But, alas, I must confess I found myself vastly unmotivated to do ol' NaNo this year. I guess it's kind of like participating in the holidays when your heart's just not in it. Sure, you'll go through the motions, pretend to enjoy some festivities (or stress your brains out over getting 50k written down...such good fun, I promise!) but it won't be the same.

Oh, how wrong I was.

See, this is also the first year where I had no plans of what I'd be writing. Usually, I'll continue my Lucid series (which, the final book is in progress...though on the backburner for the time being) but I was so wrapped up in life's distractions I hadn't mapped out a plan.

Now I have this little short story that's turning into a novella. It's exciting and scary to have an unplanned world spring into your mind, but I'm enjoying every minute of it.

One of the characters is quite charming. 

Here's what I've learned about writing an unplanned story.

Start off small: 

My premise started with a little girl in a creepy house. I didn't know if the house was going to be haunted, deserted, or even a figment of her imagination. All I knew was that I needed to get her to that house. So, I pictured myself as an 8 year-old little girl. A bit of my early childhood sparked the beginning, and that's all I needed to get the ball rolling. Those tiny details in the first chapter of your novel are important, because they're the first things your reader will encounter. Make them intriguing as well as sensible. It's always great to start with a compelling first bit, but you'll have to fill in enough blanks to keep the reader informed of how your characters got into that mess.

Set a word count goal: 

This is mostly important for NaNoWriMo, as we gotta get 50,000 in before November 30th. I treat writing sort of like a workout. Sometimes I feel too tired to do anything, but I remind myself that it's important to me. If I want to be a better writer, I have to actually, you know, write. Same with working out. I won't look like Lara Croft by thinking about her, will I? Gotta put those thoughts into actions --or words in this writing case. The word count goal will be especially helpful for an unplanned story. Going in without an outline, or really any idea at all if you're like me, will lead to some dead ends. Setting a word count will not only ensure you stay on your Nano track, but it'll also help you navigate through the murkier parts of your story.

Make the goal attainable, as well. Don't shoot for 10k a day. That's crazy talk. A good 2,000 goal is just fine and will ensure a Nano victory!

Be open minded: 

Remember, this is an unplanned story. It chose you! Sure, you're thinking up the characters, but something bigger than your consciousness conjured up this idea. Listen to that other part of your brain as your fingers fly through the words. Maybe you didn't want your character to fall in love with an older woman, but here he is mooning over the widow down the street. Have him take her out on a date and see how it goes! GILFs need love too, yo!

Now there's a tagline that'll get you some attention! 

But really, we writers know that our stories already have minds of their own. Be more open-minded with your unplanned novel. You didn't really have expectations for it, because you didn't think it'd exist! The world is its oyster; be sure to explore all avenues! 


And that's my little NaNo rant to distract me from doomsday. For all you writers, keep on writing! And for everyone else, keep readin' and dreamin'! 


-Fred 


**ANYONE IN THE NEW ORLEANS/SE LA AREA!**

I'll be a guest author at Bad Wolf Bar & Grill's Barcon on December 3rd! I'll have bookmarks, posters, and other Lucid goodies to hand out! Be sure to dress as your favorite comic book, sci-fi, fantasy, or anime character and I'll see you there! 

I'll be posting a blog about it soon, but for more info check out the Facebook event: (copy and paste into your browser) 

https://www.facebook.com/events/965943350183177/




Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Not A Book Review

This is a first for my blog. And hopefully a last, as well.

2016 hasn’t dealt me a very nice hand, and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. The icing on this shit cake was ending a year-long relationship via text with someone I truly cared about. Honestly, I saw it coming, and I was going to suggest we split or at least take a lengthy break, but I wasn’t even given the chance to reply to what was a childish and hurtful way to end it. He’s not worth another letter (when will I ever learn my lesson about writing letters to guys?) and I sure as hell don’t want to face him right now.

But I have things to say, and I am a writer, so this is more cathartic than anything else I could do right now. If it brings someone else solace, then I’ll have done my good deed for this hideous year.

To the focus of my year,

You didn’t deserve me. From the minute you thought disappearing without a trace and popping back into my life was ok, I sensed something deeply unsettled within your core. But I also saw the greatness and the sweet person inside. Everyone needs a champion from time to time, especially when we’re in a dark part of our lives. I wanted to be that person for you. I would have gladly been your light in the dark, and I kept reaching out even when I was bluntly pushed aside.

I am an idiot, but this I’ve known since a young age. The depths of my idiocy were maxed out by you. Shortly before meeting you, I’d just returned from the biggest adventure of my life. I lived, thrived, and traveled around another country all while attaining great self-discovery and learning about myself and how I can interact with this great world we live in. I returned a much more confident and self-efficient person.

As I slowly devoted myself to you, I saw myself slipping away. Why I didn’t stop it before I turned into a husk of myself is an easy question to answer. I thought you needed me, because I saw you slipping as well. I thought giving to you would not only help you but create a mutual support system from which we could both benefit.

And for a while, it did. Even in my darkest despair, even after being humiliated and discarded like a used tissue, I remember the good times we had. It had been a long time since someone had treated me so tenderly and opened my heart up like you did. But I guess I didn’t have enough value for you to continue to treat me as such. I wasn’t making you money or advancing you toward your goals, and even though I tried giving to you in other ways, I wasn’t important enough to hang on to.

This was a long time coming, and I knew it would eventually end, but I deserve more closure than you gave me. You said I was the emotional burden, but who was the one reaching for comfort and support for the better half of this year? Who enjoyed playing the emotional hostage situation game to keep me coming back? There was a lot of work put in on my side, and I get little to no closure myself? For all the time I spent worrying over you and trying to reach out when one of your sulky moods struck, I get a text message and a prompt cut off? I wasn’t even worth a phone conversation, much less a face-to-face discussion like sensible adults do. This act of childish cowardice threw me more off course than your disappearing acts throughout our relationship. With all of your relationship experience, you still function on a grade school level. You’d mentioned how crazy your exes were, and it’s not hard to imagine someone reacting very negatively to something like this.

But this also showed me a new, nastier side of you. I didn’t realize how cold you could be for you were always so warm to me. But I guess that warmth was an act of “pity” as you said in your impersonal, final text. I don’t need anyone’s pity, and I won’t apologize for proactively trying to reach out to you while attempting to predict your bouts of closeness and distance.

Nothing was conventional about this relationship, one that was almost forced into long-distance though we don’t live so far apart. I find it hard to believe you entertained nearly a year of someone out of pity. You sure were cozy and comfortable with someone you didn’t really care about. I think back to a month ago when things were good and we were growing closer. If that was an act of pity, then it must be the most grandiose act on record. None of this adds up, but I’m done trying to analyze your dark and unsettling mind.

I hope you remain too self-absorbed in your own world and goals to reach out to another person for a long time. You will be hard pressed to find someone who’d give you as many chances as I did. Someone who gave so much of herself and sacrificed so much time for a guy who can’t even return a phone call. And no one deserves a year of anxiety attacks, self-doubt, and diminishing self-worth just to be tossed aside and completely cut out of your life. May you find whatever it is you’re searching for, but may you also be aware that I want no part in it.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Fiction feature with a serious Intent to please!

Ahoy lovely readers!



Hope last week was a good one for all of you. I’m back with another great fiction feature to get this week started off right!



This one’s for my older readers, as the kiddos had their fun last week with Emily’s book. Today, I’m happy to introduce Intent by Krista Wagner!




Thriller Intent Is a Terrifying Tale of Small Town Life Gone Wrong

“A thrilling ride of desire, doubt, hope, and uncertainty, where faith is tested and the truth isn't what it seems.”

In her debut novel, author Krista Wagner introduces us somewhat introverted, twenty-two year old Raylee Johnson, a girl who is bored with her small town life and feels that it is going nowhere in particular. When her high school crush, Billy, returns to town, she finds a small measure of confidence, but when her parents—the local pastor and his wife—are killed in a car accident, Raylee turns bitter.

Finding comfort in her relationship with Billy, Raylee unexpectedly faces a world shrouded by disconcerting events when her high school nemesis, Crystal, shows up. Soon, Raylee finds herself surrounded by lies and more death and her attempts to uncover the truth all point to one fact…the truth is never what it seems.



Though the novel is new adult, its focus on tragedy, loss, and faith will strike a chord with thriller readers of all ages and places, for Intent shows us that no matter the size of the town or the boring life of its inhabitants, no one is safe from deception, and even murder.

When a bored fast food worker loses her parents she finds comfort in an old high school crush, but when people start to die and her former nemesis shows up, she starts to question who she can trust.



And here are a few great reviews that talk the novel up even more!

"This is a well-written story that captivated my interest from the first paragraph. So much happens throughout the book... each event shaping and transforming Raylee Johnson (the main character) in both expected and unexpected ways. I read this book in less than 24 hours, not wanting to put it down."

"I read this book the day I got it! I was unable to put it down. It's captivating! Raylee, the main character, is somebody who everyone can relate to in one way or another. Just when you think you have the characters figured out you realize that you don't! I recommend this book 100%."

"Intent by Krista Wagner is a great read. The element of surprise and intrigue are utilized throughout this entire book. As the protagonist, Raylee Johnson, pushes through a seemingly monotonous dead end job and begins to reach the conclusion that her life is without meaning, she is catapulted into a maze of events that leave her reeling. The courage and strength that Raylee finds during this tumultuous and precarious period of her life unfold with dramatic flare. The reader is led astray several times as the plot unravels down narrow paths of apprehensive action. Clues are scattered like finely sifted granules of sand across the grand canyon. As with any good mystery novel, the reader is never quite sure who's behind it all until the very end.
Wagner's ability to infuse the reader with hope and encouragement through a relationship with Christ is worked into the story in a clear manner without being intrusively overboard. There is not a "preachy" feel to this read, as the author takes advantage of her talent for subtlety and cohesively delivers sound Christian doctrine through some of the lives of the minor characters. This book is sure to help the reader effortlessly transfer some healthy prospective into their life.
If you enjoy reading a good mystery that has an element of reality without creating nightmares, I highly recommend that you read, Intent by Krista Wagner!"



You can find Intent on the e-shelves today!
https://www.amazon.com/Intent-Krista-Wagner/dp/0692281495/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473718676&sr=8-1&keywords=intent+krista+wagner


Let’s go ahead and meet our author while we’re at it:

Mother of three and Adjunct English Instructor Krista Wagner has been writing short stories of dramatic events like murder and kidnapping since she was in high school, and has been writing in general since she was seven years old. Wagner received her B.A. in English from UMBC, her M.A. in English Composition with a Literature Concentration from CSUSB, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from National University. Outside of her professional life, Wagner enjoys watching suspenseful films, reading the Bible, and spending time with her family. She is currently at work on a children's fantasy screenplay.



You can reach out to Krista at the links below:

http://kristawagnerintent.blogspot.com/2015/02/intent.html

http://kristawagner.wix.com/intent

https://twitter.com/IntentBook04



https://facebook.com/krista.wagner31



pinterest.com/kristawagner31

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8509957.Krista_Wagner

http://www.wattpad.com/story/22792724-rian-field







And that’s it for this feature! Until next time, keep readin’ and dreamin’!



-Fred












Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Back To School Special!

Ahoy lovely readers!


Yes, I know it's been a good while since you've heard from your old pal Fred. August was an...interesting month to say the least. I've fallen, been torn, fixed up and on the mend again. It's a gripping tale, but I choose to reserve it for bonfire story time this Autumn.
Still recovering, but I'm happy to be back at my laptop, with use of both hands, to get back to writing. And showing you lovely new reads, of course!

I'm especially thrilled to bring you a brand new read today that's good for those youngins looking for a literary escape from their schoolwork. It's with great pleasure that I introduce Emily A. Steward's Penelope Gilbert and the Children of Azure!





When 13 year-old Penelope Gilbert accidentally transforms into a stapler during math class, she’s sure she’s going crazy. But she’s not imagining the men in black suits now patrolling the halls at school, nor is she imagining the new substitute teacher who orders the class to take a special new test. A test that requires blood. Hunted for her powers, and torn from the life she knows, Penny is swept up into a world in the clouds where magic meets machine and pirates rule the sky.



Sounds like the perfect read for a post-homework evening! Filled with magic, perils, and schoolyard jokes, this is a gripping tale for people of any age!


You can purchase Penelope Gilbert as an e-book soon!


But to satiate your craving until then, here's a little excerpt!


*****

A six-foot-tall arachnid hovered over them. One of the creature’s razor-sharp metal legs was raised to attack. The scream seemed to confuse it. It wasn’t much of a window, but it was long enough. She rolled to the side just as the beast’s leg smashed into the ground, leaving a deep hole behind. Crane turned to see what was happening. He let out a cry and fell back into Haldor.

“Guard your necks!” Penny shouted. A web shot out from another spider just behind the first, catching Crane around the ankle. It pulled him in faster than he could react. Another web shot toward Penny. She managed to deflect it with her sword. She could hear Chip hooting wildly from somewhere above, as if cheering them on.

“Haldor, these guys are metal, can’t you do something?” she cried.

“I’m trying, but I have to get closer.”

“Help!” Crane yelled from where he hung upside down from the spider’s back. Haldor jumped to his feet and ran at them, swinging his spear around. He let out a gasp as a spindly leg knocked him to the ground. Another rose up to make the kill. Penny leapt forward and chopped the leg in two with her sword before it could connect.

The metal shrapnel scattered onto the ground. Haldor took that moment to drive his spear into the soft underbelly of the animal. It let out a horrible shriek but only seemed to be angered more. It came at him again, foam dripping from his fangs, his glass eyes gleaming red like a hundred tiny traffic lights. Haldor fell back, losing his grip on the spear. The spider lunged just as Penny attacked it from behind, stabbing her blade deep within his thorax. She then swung around, looking for the spider who held Crane. She could see it skittering toward the forest.



“Come on!” she yelled to Haldor who was wriggling out from under the spider corpse. She ran to the spot where she saw the creature enter as Haldor hurried to catch up. She scrambled through the brush until she came to a stream. There she saw the spider. He was across the water under a large tree. Above him were several objects swinging in the breeze. It took her a moment to realize that they were rotting bodies strung up by their necks. Their unseeing eyes stared eerily into the darkness. Upon closer inspection, she saw that there were at least thirty of them. She wretched silently as she tried to think of a way for Crane to not become one of them. The spider was already trying to wrap a strand of webbing around his neck. A thought occurred to her. An outrageous, outlandish thought. I can do this, she assured herself. She tried to picture every last detail of her slain foe—every creepy crawling, hairy, shiny detail. Penny could feel the energy pulsing through her. Her hands were no longer her own. Her teeth had become fangs, and her eyes were the eyes of a killer.

*****


Now here's a little about our author. I don't usually include author photos, as the books should speak for themselves, but this picture is too cool to not share!








Emily Steward spent the better part of her childhood dressed as a ninja and trying to convince others to call her ‘Ace.’ When she wasn’t saving the world from evil samurai, she could usually be found in the branches of a tree reading a good book. She now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three daughters, and dog Bentley. Though she seldom dresses as a ninja now, her adventurous spirit remains as does her love of tree climbing and reading good books.

You can reach out to Emily at the links below:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Emily_Steward14

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emily.steward.37

Website/Blog: https://estewardblog.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/emilyasteward




And that's it for now! Hope you're all enjoying the fall into a new season ;)







Until next time, keep readin' and dreamin'!




-Fred

Monday, August 1, 2016

Summer Reading's Final Countdown!

Ahoy lovely readers!


I hope the month of July did you all well. It's hard to believe that the month of August is upon us. That means back-to-school for most kids, but there are still a few weeks left of the sweet summer.

So, I'm keeping this summer reading party going with another great YA read! This one is a paranormal thriller regarding the strange events of a town. Get to know Lora Palmer's The Mirror Masters with this wonderful excerpt!








Strange things happen in Sea Cliff Heights every single year on this date, June 15th. Mysterious pulses of light flickered in the forest. Not-quite-solid figures appeared in the cemetery one second and disappeared the next. All day, I couldn’t shake the intuition that this year would bring something much worse than the usual weirdness, much worse than the usual gibes about how it began thirteen years ago, the same night my parents found me abandoned on the beach.



"Let’s watch something light — not a horror movie," I said.



"Leah, Leah, Leah." My brother David shook his head and scooted closer to Kara, my best friend, on their loveseat. They shared a conspiratorial grin. "Don’t tell me you want to watch some lame comedy when we can have a slasher fest. It’s tradition.”



A shiver raced down my spine at the mental image the idea conjured, one of chilling music, strangled sobs and hitching breaths, followed by silenced screams. Tonight also marked the town tragedy of the 1870s, when strangers murdered the Stanford twins, the mayor’s daughters. Of course David would insist we do something scary to commemorate the anniversary.



"Come on!" I shot him a pleading look. "I’m sure you breezed through exams, but I took three AP finals this week and fielded a million alien jokes today. Enough already — I deserve a break from crazy.”



"Just go out to the cemetery with us," Kara said, her eyes sparkling. "We won’t do anything risky, I promise.”



Sure. Why wait for trouble to find us when we could seek it out and bring it right here?





Glancing out the sliding glass doors toward the church beyond, I couldn’t help checking for signs of unusual activity. My hands fidgeted, and I fought to still them. I thought I could just make out the sound of otherworldly voices speaking in urgent whispers outside. A gust of wind rustled the palm trees, obscuring any other noise and causing moonlight and shadows to flit across the lawn. Every muscle in my body tensed. Whatever might lurk out there, we’d be safer staying away from it. 







You can find The Mirror Masters at the links below:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/MirrorMasters-Lora-Palmer-ebook/dp/B01EKZKP6E

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/631608

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-mirrormasters






And here's a little bit about our author, who's new to this blog!

Lora Palmer writes science fiction and fantasy for young adults. Bucks County, Pennsylvania is her home, where she resides with her wonderful husband and their mischievous cat. She has earned a graduate degree in Psychology and works at a local residential facility serving autistic children and teens. In her spare time, she also sings in a praise band, Chalice Sounds.

You can reach out to Lora here:

Social Media Links:

Website: http://lorapalmer.weebly.com

Blog http://lorarpfictionblog.blogspot.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Lora-Palmer-YA-Writer-144172288935800/

Twitter @lorareedpalmer

Instagram: lorareedpalmer






That's it for now! Keep the summer spirit strong, and until next time, keep readin' and dreamin'!




-Fred

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Summer Reading Special Guest! NEW RELEASE!

Ahoy lovely readers!

I take it all my American readers had a lovely Fourth of July? I hope my non-Murican readers had a lovely day on the fourth, as well!

You may notice that this YA summer camp special isn't on a Friday. Well, that's because I have a new release to share with y'all today!

Please welcome Laura Wadsworth Carter and her new novel The Elect!





For the past thirteen years, the Foundation has ruled Belstrana with an iron fist and has protected its reign with an army of meticulously programmed child soldiers. As one of those soldiers, seventeen-year- old August has done terrible things to innumerable people, though he wasn’t aware of it at the time. But when one small accident leads to a major awakening for August and three other Young Ones, submission is the last thing on their agenda, and they soon find themselves at the front of a growing rebellion. Embroiled in a fight they have little chance of winning, they soon realize that deception hides behind the most unlikely faces and desperation leads to unthinkable acts. But all they need is a crack, and the Foundation will fall.





Sounds like an amazing read for anyone who's into YA Dystopian fiction. Let's have our lovely author tell us why her riveting read would be a great addition to a summer reading list:

"The Elect is a fast-paced adventure story that won't take long to read and has a lot of tension, a touch of humor, and just a kiss of romance. It's a clean read but provides high stakes and a good storyline."

You can pick up a copy of The Elect to take on your summer vacation by going to Amazon, B&N.com, and other fine e-book retailers!


Summer's still in full swing, so be sure to get some fun in the sun while you still can! Drink lots of water and keep slathering on that sunscreen while you get lost in a good book on the beach :)


Until next time, keep readin' and dreamin'!




-Fred

Monday, June 27, 2016

Read Something Different From E.A. West!

Ahoy, lovely readers!



I can't believe June is almost over. Where's the time going? Hopefully you're not too mixed up in the dog days of summer and are eager for another Summer Camp read!


This one has been on my blog before, and I'm honored to feature it this summer. Growing up is hard enough, but being a teen with autism is even harder. And when you're unique like the protagonist in this book things can get...deadly.


Check out this fast-paced YA read from E.A. West! Different





Jezebel Smith is different. She can’t talk, she doesn’t look like anyone in her family, and no matter what she does it’s always the wrong thing. God accepts her for who she is, but He’s the only one who does. Then she finds an unconscious man in her favorite cave, and her life is turned upside down. New people and new rules collide with the old, leaving Jezebel unsure of which set of rules apply to her life. When the strangers in town attempt to help her out of the nightmare she’s grown up in, it promises to change her life forever.




I just love when YA novels throw a confused teen into a fantasy world! If you do, too, then this should be on your to-read list for sure.




But of course, I got a little excerpt to whet your palate ;)

*****


Fear shivered through her that he was sleeping so much. One of her brothers had fallen out of a tree once and hit his head, and the doctor said they had to keep him from falling asleep for a while. Jezebel didn’t know if falling off a ledge and hitting his head made the man have to stay awake or not.



After worrying for a while longer, she finally decided she’d have to risk a beating from her parents and go get the doctor. She didn’t know if he’d come, but she had to try. Daniel was the only person to ever treat her kindly, and he needed help.



She put a couple more sticks on the fire so it would keep burning while she was gone, and then she lit the lantern and headed out of the cavern. As she neared the cave entrance, the flame went out. She slowed her steps and followed the faint glow of daylight. Hopefully the doctor had a flashlight. When she stepped into the woods, she set the lantern by the cave entrance and ran toward town. She practiced saying Daniel’s name while she ran, praying the doctor would come if she told him the injured man’s name.



As she neared the edge of town, she slowed down to catch her breath. She hesitantly stepped onto the main road, terrified at the thought of trying to convince the doctor to go with her. She’d learned a long time ago that no one believed her about anything, and since she couldn’t talk, people didn’t understand what she tried to tell them anyway.



A lot of strange cars and people clogged the main street through town, and Jezebel wondered who they were. Unless Reverend Brown was holding one of his many revivals, the town rarely had many visitors. As she continued toward the doctor’s office, a woman carrying a stack of papers walked toward her with a smile. Jezebel stopped, her mind whirling with uncertainty, and the woman handed her a paper.



“We’re looking for this man. He went hiking in this area a couple of days ago and didn’t come back.”



Jezebel studied the sheet in her hands, and her heart skipped a beat. A picture of Daniel stared back, and some words had been printed across the bottom in black ink. She pointed to the photo. “D-Dan... Daniel.”



“That’s right, his name is Daniel,” the woman said, her tone changing a little. “Have you seen him?”



Jezebel nodded and looked back the way she’d come. “C-c-cave.”



“You saw him in a cave?”





She nodded again, excitement rushing through her. For the first time in her life, someone understood what she tried to say. She touched the photograph on the paper, indicating where the cut on Daniel’s head was. Before she could see if the woman understood, she heard her older brother spit out her name. She cringed and felt herself shriveling inside.

*****








You can purchase Different at the links below:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Different-E-West-ebook/dp/B00M0E4ZU0

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Different-E-West-ebook/dp/B00M0E4ZU0

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1119984134?ean=2940149685615

iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/different/id902524507?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/different-7



And here's a little bit about our lovely author and why she thinks Different is a great summer read!
"When I was younger, my summers were filled with hiking at state parks, camping, and otherwise enjoying the great outdoors. Some of that experience found its way into Different. The main character, Jezebel, loves to explore the woods and spend time outside. Whether you love to get out in nature or prefer to enjoy it from a distance, Different offers you a chance to explore the world through the eyes of an autistic teen."

Sounds like a great explanation about the book! 


About the Author

E.A. West, award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance, is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.


You can find out more about E. A. West on her social media sites below:

Website: http://eawest.mcphitty.com

Blog: http://thewestcorner.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/EA-West/34280264617

Twitter: http://twitter.com/eawest

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/authoreawest

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/authoreawest

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/eawest



And that's all for this summer installment! Get to readin'! 




-Fred

Monday, June 20, 2016

Week 3 of Summer Reading gets Musical!

Ahoy lovely readers!

Hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Fathers Day over the weekend! It's time for another installment of the YA summer camp!




This week's read is a great one for any musically inclined kids. Get in tune with Jacqueline Seewald's Stacy's Song






Stacy's talent and love for music forces her to make hard choices. Life is risky, but she must learn to make important decisions on her own. Stacy Nelson, warm-hearted with a sense of humor, is a tall, skinny teenager, sometimes called "giraffe" by other kids. She's an average student with a lot of extracurricular interests. Her good friend Karen wants Stacy to practice with her and try out for cheerleading. Liz Norris asks Stacy to join a band that she and her brother Michael are starting, but Stacy has reservations. Her first meeting with Michael Norris is stormy, yet she is drawn in by his outstanding musical ability and joins the band. Stacy always wants to please everyone, but fails to think about who she is and what she really wants. After making the cheerleading squad, Greg Lawson, captain of the football team, becomes interested in Stacy. He is easy-going and charming, just the opposite of Michael. They start dating, and Stacy is suddenly popular in and out of school. As a cheerleader, she is accepted by the in-crowd. She tries to relax and enjoy this new lifestyle. When Stacy has difficulty meeting all of her commitments and her grades fall, her father is displeased and insists she quit the band. Stacy feels torn-wanting to please her father without letting down the other band members. Ultimately, while dealing with family and peer pressure, she must decide what is best for her.




You can find Stacy's Song at these links below:

Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0177E67CQ


B&N
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stacys-song-jacqueline-seewald/1100389252?ean=2940150872493


Kobo
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/stacy-s-song


Smashwords
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/588465




What makes Stacy's Song a good summer read, you ask? Our author, Jacqueline, has a few words on that:

"STACY’S SONG is a perfect YA romance/coming-of-age novel for fun summer reading. The novel has family values and partly occurs in the summer. It also has a nice upbeat, inspiring message: be true to yourself. I hope that family and friends will gift this novel to teens."




Want a little more? Of course you do! Get hooked on this wonderful excerpt:

*****


The foyer oozed darkness; the living room was equally gloomy, even after Liz pulled back the curtains. As my eyes adjusted, I was startled to see a boy sitting in the corner hunched over a piano. Liz saw him too.

“Michael, I didn’t know you were there. Stacy, I’d like to introduce you to my brother. He’s the composer in the family. Michael, like you Stacy is very talented.”

He didn’t respond. In fact, he didn’t even look up or acknowledge my presence in the room. There was something about him that made me feel uneasy. I could see him much better now that my eyes were adjusting to the dusky room. I figured him for around seventeen, with straight, sand-colored hair long on the sides. He looked fairly tall, though I couldn’t tell because he didn’t bother to stand up. He wore dark glasses that I found particularly odd since the room was ill lit.

“What do you play?” he asked in a voice that could have frozen a lake. “I’ll need to hear what you can do. What did you bring with you?”

“I didn’t expect an audition,” I responded with equal frost.

“Yeah, well, Liz thinks you’re all right, but I’d like to decide that for myself.”

Liz seemed to sense the tenseness in the atmosphere and jumped in. “Why don’t you sit down and relax, get to know each other better, and I’ll go fix us a snack.” Coward! She didn’t even bother to wait for a response, instead hurrying off to the kitchen and leaving an uncomfortable silence in the room.

Michael didn’t look at me. He seemed to be busy composing, but I had a feeling that was bogus.

“Do you go to Wilson High?” I asked him.

An odd smile crossed his lips. “No, I’m too special for that.” There was a hint of sarcasm in his tone, as if his words had some personal or private meaning.

Not easily daunted, I tried again. If you can’t discuss anything else, usually the weather’s a safe topic. “It’s turned beautiful, don’t you think? This must be the sunniest day we’ve had in months.”

“I wouldn’t know,” he said in a voice I can only describe as hostile.

“Wouldn’t know or don’t care?” I was sorry I said it even as I spoke; usually I’m polite, but this boy just seemed to bring out the worst in me. I hated the way he wouldn’t even look in my direction. I guess he thought those dark glasses made him look cool. I felt a sudden urge to yank off his glasses and break them. “Look, maybe I just ought to go,” I said.

He rose to his feet with an awkward, unsteady movement. “Wait! I want you to try out some of our music. You can use Liz’s guitar.”

“I don’t know…” I said.

“What have you got to lose?”

I looked around and saw an electric guitar against the opposite wall. “I have to warn you I’m used to an acoustic not an electric.”

“It’s no big deal making the switch for a real musician. If you’re any good I can show you in minutes.” He seemed to be daring me, taunting.

“All right,” I said picking up the guitar.

As he started across the room I pushed the coffee table forward to allow more foot space. Before I could say anything Michael Norris walked into the table losing his balance. I put out my hand to steady him; he almost fell on top of me. My heart started to pound like a runner racing toward the finish line. I withdrew from him striving to regain my composure. I put down the guitar.

“Sorry,” he said, “I’m not usually this clumsy.”



Why had he walked into the table? Anyone could have seen it. Then a thought hit me. Of course! Why was I so naïve, so dense?
*****









And let's learn a little more about our author!


Multiple award-winning author, Jacqueline Seewald, has taught creative, expository and technical writing at Rutgers University as well as high school English. She also worked as both an academic librarian and an educational media specialist. Sixteen of her books of fiction have been published to critical praise including books for adults, teens and children. Her short stories, poems, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in hundreds of diverse publications and numerous anthologies such as: THE WRITER, L.A. TIMES, PEDESTAL, SHERLOCK HOLMES MYSTERY MAGAZINE, OVER MY DEAD BODY!, THE MYSTERY MEGAPACK, LIBRARY JOURNAL, and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY. One of her poems recently took first place in the Reader’s Digest 2015 Poetry Contest. She’s also an amateur landscape artist. Her writer’s blog can be found at: http://jacquelineseewald.blogspot.com


You can also find her on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jacqueline.seewald

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/jacquelineseewald

As well as Twitter and Goodreads






And that's it for this week! Stay tuned for more excellent reads to keep the summer fun!







Until next time, keep readin' and dreamin'




-Fred










Monday, June 13, 2016

Summer Reading Week 2: You'll be Eagar for this YA Paranormal Fiction!

Ahoy lovely readers!



Summer is well upon us. With high humidity and triple digit temps, I'm already growing tired of the sticky weather and impromptu rains. Anyone else longing for the next season already? Fall is great, right? You get dryer weather, pretty leaves...




And let's not forget spooky Halloween!


Which is why my next YA Summer Reading feature has me looking to witchier seasons. If you enjoy historical fiction about the Salem Witch Trials, then this is the next read to have on your list!



Get spooky with me and read Heather Eagar's Devil's Playground!






Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Winters may be a witch, but she doesn’t know the first thing about magic—unless you count accidental bouts of spontaneous combustion. Elizabeth’s father, a wizard himself, has forbidden the use of her powers for her own protection, but when accusations of witchcraft start flying through Salem Village, she wishes she was more prepared. 
Despite her lack of magical knowledge, Elizabeth appoints herself to save innocent women from the demise the village has in store for them. Elizabeth finds, however, that she is not the hero Salem needs her to be. 
She meant to save them. She cursed them instead. 




This seems like an especially good read for a tween or teenager who's wise beyond their years. A story with a strong protagonist who has the weight of her community on her shoulders? Sounds like the perfect book to get lost in during those summer showers!
But, let's have Heather herself tell us why Devil's Playground is the perfect summer reading!


"Devil's Playground is a good summer read because you are taken on a fun and thrilling ride through the Salem Witch Trials, but there are no tests or pop quizzes after. You get to experience a fantastical version of 1682 Salem, and have fun with history...actually live it. The Book Junkie Reads said, 'I could literally feel the magic in the air. The words on the pages gave an aura of realism in each phrase. I felt line I was back in the Salem Witch Trials.'"





I'm sure that's got you wanting to scoop up this great read ASAP! You can find Devil's Playground at these sites below:



Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/devils-playground-heather-eagar/1123287091?ean=2940157678883


Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01AIBVPKE

I-Tunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/devils-playground/id1076224801?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/devil-s-playground-11

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/607834




And let's learn a bit about our author!


Heather Eagar currently resides in Logan, Utah where she strives to balance her love of writing with raising a husband and two kids. Devil's Playground is her debut novel, but it will not be her last. She is currently working on the second book in the series. Heather is also a book reviewer and you can find reviews for Middle-grade fiction through Adult novels on her website, www.heatheraeagar.com.

You can also reach out to Heather on her social media sites:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28412980-devil-s-playground

Facebook: www.facebook.com/haeagar

Twitter: https://twitter.com/haeagar

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wonder_of_words/


There you have your second summer reading YA novel! Get to reading, and tune in next week for another great read!




Keep readin' and dreamin'




-Fred

Monday, June 6, 2016

Summer reading: This week's Kuhl feature!

Ahoy lovely readers!



Summer is upon us, so I'm going to turn my Fiction Features over to the summer reading theme. Though the kids are out of school, let's keep their imaginations and minds running during these lazy days!

And don't worry, I'll make sure to only feature the interesting YA titles ;)


First up, is an riveting YA paranormal romance title by L. K. Kuhl. If you're into dark reads for the beach, this one's right up your alley! Check out Everlasting!





Seventeen-year-old Sophia Bandell is scared of boys, and her biggest fear is dying. Boys make her uncomfortable and itchy and dying is …well …dying. She is ecstatic when her long lost friend calls her, inviting her to spend the summer with her on the beach at Charleston, South Carolina.

When a plastic saucer hits her in the head as she’s sunbathing, Sophia has no idea it will forever change the course of her life. It is there she comes face to face with the impressive Tate Forester.

She is scared and …itchy, but he’s gorgeous and she can’t shake him from her mind. They begin dating and Sophia soon knows he’s the one.

But things turn dark when she learns Tate isn’t the person she thinks he is, and the real reason her friend has brought her to the beach will teach her about life after death.

This everlasting summer on the beach gives Sophia a sweet taste of first love—the happiness as well as the heartbreak.







This read would be perfect for the teen who enjoys both dark and romantic stories. Swap out the favorite TV dramas with Everlasting, and you won't be disappointed!

I've even got a little tidbit from our author about why she thinks Everlasting is a good summer read:

"Everlasting would be a great summer read for everyone ages 15 and up because it is a beach read!! It carries you away to the beach at Charleston, South Carolina. Sophia Bandell gets to spend her entire summer away from her mundane, cool home in Montana for a first time vacation in the hot sands of the beach. I think teens and older people alike will love to curl up in a beach chair themselves listening to the waves crashing while they read this or curled up somewhere in a hammock underneath a shade tree. Either way, it's an enchanting, great summer read!!"



Need I say more? What's that? Do you want an excerpt? You got it!


*****
We stood there and looked around, an awkward silence playing between us. Then he stepped closer and took my hand in his, sending a bolt of staggering electricity zipping through my chest. “Her hand fits perfectly in mine.” He whispered this, as if confirming it with someone. His gaze locked on it, analyzing, then with a shake of his head, he spoke louder. “Sophia, I’m sorry. I …I lied to you.”

I looked at him—bewilderment crinkling my face—and tried to understand. “Lied?” My voice broke. “I don’t get it.”

“I wasn’t sick that day. Well, in a way I was, I guess. The truth is, I was gut-sick. That guy …he was sitting by you the whole day ...and …and he never left your side. I’d check throughout the day, but he was still there. I couldn’t help it. I was insanely jealous.” He looked down, his tone deepening as he flexed his fingers that were still laced through mine.

“What?” His words astounded me. I swiped my brow with my free hand. “You were jealous …of me?”

He released my hand and paced back and forth, the nervousness seeping through as he wrung his hands. “I know it’s stupid, but I couldn’t help myself. I love the way you laugh and …I like you, Sophia …a lot, and it hurt me to see you with someone else.”

He lifted his hair off his forehead, pushing it up. His eyes locked on mine again, captivating me. I couldn’t look away. My self-consciousness took over—heckling me. The way I looked right now—with my hair a matted mess from the mist, and no makeup on—must look ridiculous. I drew away, making myself smaller.

I laughed my nervous laugh and kicked the sand with my shoe. “Who, him? You mean …Brian?” My words wobbled, but I giggled, unable to believe that Brian talking to me could make anyone jealous.

*****




You can pick up Everlasting at these sites below:


Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01BW8WRK4?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/everlasting-lk-kuhl/1123437578?ean=2940157684952

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/everlasting-26

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/everlasting/id1085166596?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

SmashWords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/616567





Thus concludes week 1 of Fred's Summer Features! Stay tuned, as always, for more writing blogs and all things Lucid!


Until next time, keep readin' and dreamin'!


-Fred

Monday, May 16, 2016

Why JK Rowling's letters are important.

Ahoy lovely readers!


Kicking up my writing blog posts again. I actually started this post a month ago, but y'all know how I am with procrastinating.

Anyway, this topic was fairly popular a while back, but I'd still like to express my gratitude for J.K. Rowling posting some of her rejection letters on social media.

If you're not familiar with Rowling releasing some of her rejection letters, you can Google the story. I'll give you the low-down though.

This woman's the reason my generation's literate. 



The tl;dr: is that someone asked Rowling to release some of her rejection letters on Twitter. The Queen of the Pen said her Harry Potter ones were in an attic, but she was happy to release some of the rejections Robert Galbraith (her alias for her adult mystery series) received.

Rowling's never been shy to admit she's received her fair share of rejection letters, but seeing some of them in the flesh (...paper? Ah, you know what I mean) made her a much more tangible comrade to her fellow writers.



Especially those of us who aren't the authors of New York Times Bestsellers (...yet.)


So, here are some of my points about Rowling's letters, and how a struggling author viewed them. 


It was brave as fuck: 

It's not easy for anyone to admit failure, and I'm sure it's even harder for someone as successful as Rowling to show her failures to her 7.3 million followers on Twitter. 

What has she got to lose, you ask? Absolutely nothing. 

We all know Rowling's no stranger to charity and helping those who need a boost, but this was something personal. You can sit atop your mountain of success, but your failures will still haunt you just as much as they haunt someone not as successful. 

This was something completely unnecessary. Aside from the pride of struggling authors, no one was hurt. This wasn't a charity that desperately needed funds to do good in the world. It was a virtual hug that someone as successful as Rowling didn't need to give. 

And the fact she kind of got to give the middle finger to those idiots who rejected her is cool, too. 

Saving mine just in case I get the pleasure of doing the same >D 


It connected writers-- no matter the fame: 

J. K. Rowling is famous y'all. Like, in ways most of us could only ever imagine. You can't go anywhere on this earth, save a very remote island and not hear about Harry Potter or his amazing creator. Hell, most of the people my age didn't even like reading before picking up a good ol' copy of the Sorcerer's Stone ('Murica). 

And she's even more than a famous person to writers. I, and I'm sure many, started writing after reading about the world of wizards and Muggles. She's the equivalent of the hashtag #goalsaf for authors, especially those of us who write YA. 

We all know she exists, but she's in the circle of super-famous authors, the ultimate cool kids table. As a struggling writer, the geeky kid who smells fully, there's no way I'd ever approach that table. How could I possibly have anything in common with them? 

Yeah, I know I can't sit with you! Enjoy your lunch, Rowling, Riordan, and Riggs


But we do have something in common. Something powerful. We love creating stories and sharing them with the world. We take a bit of our soul and craft it into many stories that reflect our hopes, dreams, and personal experiences. That takes a lot more guts than people give writers credit for. 

And Rowling releasing her rejection letters was a little fist bump to us lowly writers still waiting to hit major book store shelves or, hell, to get to 500 followers on Twitter. We're all in this together, and even the popular kids had to start off somewhere. 

Which brings me to my final point of gratitude.


It's humbling: 

This is the most glaringly obvious one, and it was the point that Rowling was trying to make. Even the big leagues started off as struggling actors. We all know Rowling's story of literally going from rags to riches, but there are some less spectacular stories of other famous authors.

Take ol' Uncle Rick for example. He was a middle school teacher who had a few unknown books on the shelf before hitting it big with his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Now, despite those horrid films, you can't go into a school without seeing his books on the AR list or in the hands of excited kids. 

And most of these authors didn't hit it big until they were much older than myself and many other writers. I can't speak for them, but I know I'm just beginning this scary career as an author. It's one of those where you hone your craft while jumping out there. That's beautiful, and it takes a lot of courage to keep it up after being rejected by numerous publishers, agents, that one asshole English professor, what have you. 

Just like any creative field, you gotta start from the bottom, and it's gonna be rough. Seeing things like very famous authors' rejection letters is a reminder of the struggles that even they faced. 



Our time is yet to come, new authors. You keep that chin up and keep writing. The world needs your story! 






Monday, May 9, 2016

Fiction Feature New Release!

Ahoy wonderful readers!


I hope y'all had a wonderful mother's day yesterday. Better have treated ya mamas nice, ya heard? ;)

Time to start this week off with another fiction feature! I have another romance novel for all of you looking for a sweet read.

Please welcome Wendy May Andrews and her novel, The Debutante Bride !



Miss Elizabeth Dunseith, Beth to her friends, grew up in genteel poverty, happy despite her abusive father and weak mother. When her father sells her to the highest bidder in order to pay off his gambling debts, she fears what her future will hold but is relieved to get away from home with her new, handsome husband.

Lord Justin Fulton, Earl of Westfield, is confused by the contradictory behavior of his purchased bride. One moment she is haughty and cool, the next she is warm and endearing. When his sister refuses to help establish his new bride in Society, Justin turns to a friend’s wife to show Beth the best way to navigate the politics of the ton.

Their growing attraction just seems to confuse matters even further. Will these two be able to see past their differences to make it to happily ever after?




Seems like your cup of tea? Keep reading for another taste! 

~*~*~*~*~


As she came to wakefulness, Beth held herself very still, momentarily surprised to find herself in a strange bed, but then it all rushed back into her consciousness. She was a married lady. A countess at that. And she had only met her husband thirty-six hours before.

The thrill of freedom flowed through her as she reminded herself once more that she would never again have to return to the house she grew up in unless she so chose. Of course, she would want to see her mother again, but she allowed herself to bask in the contentment she was experiencing. She wiggled her toes and stretched her arms, reveling in the new sensation.



The unknown factor of her new husband was obviously of concern, but so far he had been remarkably even tempered. She would even go so far as to describe him as kind, at least what she had seen of him in their short acquaintance. Beth could not decide how she felt about how handsome he was. He was deliciously attractive, but she was unsure if that could be trusted. No doubt other women would find it to be a point in his favor.


~*~*~*~*~




You can buy The Debutante Bride at these links below:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1NkyfOO

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1s6qHpu

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1s6qK4A


And here's a little bit about our author:

Wendy May Andrews has been in love with the written word since she learned to read at the age of five. She has been writing for almost as long but hasn’t been sharing those stories with anyone but her mother until recently. This is Wendy’s third book with Clean Reads.

Wendy can be found with her nose in a book in a cozy corner of downtown Toronto. She is happily married to her own real-life hero, who is also her best friend and favorite travel companion.

Being a firm believer that every life experience contributes to the writing process, Wendy is off planning her next trip.

She loves to hear from her readers and can be found at her website, on twitter or Facebook.



You can reach out to Wendy at the links below:

Website: www.wendymayandrews.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/WendyMayAndrews

Twitter: www.twitter.com/WendyMayAndrews

Instagram: @wendymayandrews




And that's your Fiction Feature for today! Stay tuned for some exciting Lucid news, and until next time keep readin' and dreamin'




-Fred

Friday, May 6, 2016

Fiction Feature on a Friday?

Ahoy lovely readers!


Hope you all have a festive and save Cinco de Mayo! It's time to shake off the margarita salt and get back to the grind.


But the weekend's coming up fast, and I've got a wonderful new read for you all to check out.


This feature's all about Adult Suspense, so if you're looking for a book that'll keep you on the edge of your seat, L. K. Kuhl's Chasm






Taylor Vine thinks she can fight off the demons of her past when she moves back home to Estill Springs, Tennessee, but it doesn’t take long to see that things aren’t quite that easy. The bumps she hears in the night soon escalate, keeping her up at nights, and it isn’t long before her most precious possessions, her children, get abducted. She finds herself in a race against time to try to find them before it’s too late. One wrong move and the outcome could be disastrous. 





But of course I'm gonna give y'all a little excerpt as well ;) 

*****



Her heart picked up its pace, and she reached for the phone. She hesitated, unsure whether to even answer it. But she plucked it from its receiver. “Hello?” Her voice slid out rickety and unsure.

The male voice on the other end was dark and deeply plagued with distress. It broke, and she struggled to make out what he was saying.

What she heard next was unimaginable; it didn’t sound human. The grief penetrated through the voice—through the phone—flanking it with wretched wails and sobs. “I’ve killed the children. Heaven…help me…I’ve killed the children.” The phone went silent.

Taylor’s knees buckled. “What?” The hyper pitch in her voice strained out. “Goodness gracious, who is this? What happened? Whose children?” Her knees about took her down again. She caught the edge of the counter, catching herself before she fell. “Answer me, for crying out loud! Don’t hang up on me!”

She listened desperately, plastering the phone to her ear. But the phone was silent. “Hello, hello? Answer me!” Frantically clicking the telephone cradle button, she tried to bring him back, but there was only a dial tone.

She pounded the phone on the counter so forcefully that the plastic mouthpiece broke into a million tiny pieces. She let it fall, left it dangling by its cord. Swiftly making her way to the hall closet, she rummaged through the plastic totes for a flashlight. “There has to be one in here somewhere,” she mumbled to herself. Extension cords and old Christmas lights spilled over onto the floor.

Finally finding a flashlight, she clicked it on. It was dim, but it would do. She ran back to the hall, to the children’s rooms, feeling no pain in her swollen ankle.

Flinging Cody’s door wide, she flashed the light toward the wall where his bed sat. In slow motion, the lonely, empty, disheveled bed yanked a horrifying scream from her gut, reverberating through the house. The earth quit spinning, and she was lost to oblivion. “NO! Not my children! Please, God…not my children.” She needed life support, couldn’t breathe; the air was being sucked from her body in rapid swells. She dropped to the floor, her world going black—closing in—smothering.

Not knowing how long she’d been out, Taylor struggled to her feet, she was sure it wasn’t long; it was still black outside, flashes of lightning still cracking in through the window. She raced to check on Nora. Her room was the same: deserted, hollow, puncturing a bleeding, oozing hole in Taylor’s chest the size of a large, bottomless chasm.



“For crying out loud, no…please, no.” The tears coursed down her face. She staggered numbly to Nora’s empty bed, collapsing on it, her hand reaching, groping—trying to find the warmth of her baby girl. But the only thing the tangled blankets and sheets offered her was a bleak and disgusting coldness. It shocked her through her hand. How long had they been gone? Time couldn’t wait, she needed to find them.



*****



You can buy Chasm on Amazon as an e-book today! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01F6PXFY6





And let's learn a little about our author, shall we?


L.K. Kuhl lives in Nebraska with her husband of twenty-nine years, young son, Nathan, and Greg, their Black Lab dog. She has two older daughters, Morgan and Brittani and son-in-law, Trevor. L.K. has been writing for over twenty years. She first began writing children’s books and poetry, moved on to writing music, and is now writing Young Adult and Adult novels. Her first book, Everlasting, a Young Adult Paranormal Romance, was published in February, 2016. She loves spending time with her family, vacationing, writing, reading, and taking long walks. It’s the characters who write their own stories in her novels, and she is just their messenger, sharing it with the world.


Here's a little about what sparked the story Chasm


I got the idea to write Chasm because my husband used to be an engineer for the railroad. Although my husband never worked with this gentleman directly, one of the engineers on the railroad hit and killed his wife and children with the train he was driving. It was no fault of the engineer. The wife did it deliberately to get back at her husband, the engineer. The engineer said the last thing he saw was his children looking up at him from the windows of the car.

Although this is a work of fiction, and this is just a story between two, make believe people, I felt compelled to tell his story about how utterly and completely devastating this would be. The engineer was never able to return to work after this.



You can reach out to L. K. at the links below!

Author Links:

Website: http://kuhlreads.com/

Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/kuhlreads

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lynettehoff1

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lynettehofferbe/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/l.k.kuhl/

Blogger: http://kuhlreads.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28674602-everlasting



Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01BXDJGIY





That should keep you busy this weekend! Get out and enjoy this lovely weather, too! And take your mama out someplace nice on Sunday!




Until next time, keep readin' and dreamin'!







-Fred

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Welcome to the Internet

Ahoy readers!


It's been a minute since I've stepped away from my Fiction Features and done some actual blogging about the writing world. I was tasked with the job of corralling 5th graders for the past 5 weeks. Top that off with a whirlwind of personal events, throw in a holiday and a few birthdays, and the rest of March and almost all of April slipped right on by.

I had to put my writing world on hold during all of this, but the break wasn't without a little drama.

I'll go ahead and relay the story, first giving a factual account and then putting my 2 cents in.


The short: 

My publisher, Clean Reads, was recently at a writers convention in Las Vegas. For those of you who don't know, Clean Reads is a small house e-publisher who primarily publish non-erotic romance. The con they went to was for Romance, so they go out every year to promote the vast bulk of their books.

One guy, Rick R. Reed, was at the convention and was intrigued my Clean Reads's manifesto. After going home and doing some research, he stumbled upon an ill-worded clause in the submissions guidelines that discriminated against homosexual characters. Being a LGBT ally, Mr. Reed posted a blog scolding Clean Reads for the discriminatory submissions. You can read his original post here (it's very short)  http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/clean-reads-publishing-house-that-deems.html?zx=8cadf4fb7a356b85



The shit: 

Like most authors, I have neither the funds nor time to attend such conventions. So, the way I found out about this blog post was by going on my publisher's Facebook group on a weekday night. Fellow Clean Reads authors were freaking out over the attack on the company, claiming it to be a homophobic and hateful press. There was talk of people asking for their books' rights back and even a hint or two of the publishing company going under because of this.

Needless to say, I did a little freaking out myself. I'd just published a new novel with this company, and I didn't want to see it go under any more than the other people. I called up my friends in the middle of the night, relaying the information and asking for advice on what my next move should be.


The revelation: 

And then I realized that reacting on the defense was not the thing to do. Had I acted on my original impulse, I would not be in good standing favor with many people right now.

Within days, Rick R. Reed posted an apology to Clean Reads, and my publisher removed the submissions clause stating no homosexuals. I knew they would, as (while worded offensively) that's not something that's kept people from publishing with Clean Reads. What they meant was no erotic homosexual content, which makes sense as it's a non-erotic publishing company.

Lying low and waiting for the initial shock to subside yielded one thing: the Internet is fickle. Even now, I had to dig through Google pages to find Mr. Reed's original post.

Even throughout the issue, I checked my books' pages to make sure everything added up. I'm happy to announce that I'm still a mediocre author making less than $1,000 a year on her life's work. Twitter follower counts still only at 400, and none of my friends or family have un-liked my Facebook page.

There are still some authors who are up in arms over this, as they've gotten more backlash than I have (which as to date my current count is: zero,) but it's all for naught, I'm afraid. The Internet is a crazy place where a keyboard removes all inhibition for people to react and lash out at anything that offends them.

But it also drastically shortens our attention span, and these things blow over like showering off the day or changing into a fresh pair of underwear. (What? I swear I'm a good writer, y'all!) What's a hot topic one day will be a distant memory in a week or so.

However, there is one note to take home after all of this: the power of words is still a force with which to be reckoned. One simple blog post started this ripple in my little publisher's world and sparked a greater sense of awareness with regards to the publisher's morals and standards. Clean Reads isn't a homophobic publishing company, and I'm proud to have published a story with them that has many diverse characters that question and challenge conventional sexuality and gender roles.It was just the words in the submissions guidelines that started this massive drama, which in turn, ended up becoming insignificant with more words written in the form of edited submissions guidelines and an apology letter.

And, at the end of the day, I'm happy to be a part of a community that can shake the weird world of the Internet with a few well-written (or poorly intended) words.

Keep writin' and dreamin' y'all