• Join us on Facebook!

    Daily writing tips, quotes, articles, opportunties to promote your books, and more. Join the Writers and Authors Facebook community now.

  • Visit the AStore

    Writers and Authors community members can have their books listed in the AStore free of charge. Check out the wide variety of titles available.

  • Be the Featured Book of the Month

    For just €15 you can have your book featured right here for a whole month. Put your title in front of the masses and email now for more details.

  • Want to be featured on this site?

    Check out the guidelines on the Write for us page

Follow by Email

Excerpt: Bet You Didn't Think MS Could Look This Good, Ramblings of a Medicated Mind by Lisa A. Baeringer

Excerpt: Bet You Didn't Think MS Could Look This Good, Ramblings of a Medicated Mind by Lisa A. Baeringer


Title: Bet You Didn't Think MS Could Look This Good, Ramblings of a Medicated Mind

Author: Lisa A. Baeringer

Purchasing link: http://amzn.to/2jfyD6V

About the book:

Lisa had a good life; married to her high school sweetheart, two handsome sons, and a nice home.  Quite literally, in the blink of an eye, her whole world turned upside down.  Sickness began to not only ravage her body, but also her world.  In her own words, taken from her private journal, she takes you through what daily life is like when you have a seriously incurable, chronic illness.  It gets even more complicated when the illness she was told she had turns out to be something else, something rare and possibly even fatal.

Excerpt:

IS THIS WHAT DYING FEELS LIKE?

            I’m taken to my room and am thankful it’s a single unit so I don’t have to share it with another person.  I am utterly exhausted so I quickly fall asleep after changing into the customary hospital apparel.  I believe it is night time but I can’t be sure because there aren’t any windows in my room.  I don’t even bother to find out the time.  Periodically, the nurse comes in to check on my vitals.  She also checks the I.V. drip since they are still pumping fluids into me.  I barely open my eyes while she’s taking my blood pressure.  I fearfully whisper to her, “Why can’t I stay awake.  Am I dying?”
            She responds in a pleasant voice, “No sweetie.  You’re just really weak from all the vomiting.  You get some rest.”
            I close my eyes and wrap myself in the thin scratchy covers.  I begin to wonder to myself is this what dying feels like?  Will I never see my boys again?  Will I never get to feel Chrissy’s arms around me again?  Tears start to trickle down my cheeks even though my eyes are closed.  I picture how upset the boys would be without their mother being there for them.  I whisper to myself, “Please God!  Don’t let me die!  My boys need me.  Chrissy needs me.  Please help me, I beg of you, please!”
            At this moment I feel a gentle and reassuring caress on the top of my head.  You know, the kind your mom use to do when you were a kid and were either sick or sad.  It felt like that, a hand gently running down my hair on the top of my head.  I barely had the strength to turn around but I do because I want to see who is there.  Nobody.  It’s just the regular hospital supplies and equipment.  I’m not even freaked out by this experience because the touch was so comforting.  Could it be an angel telling me it will all turn out fine?  Perhaps my grandparents or Chris’ grandmother who are deceased are letting me know they are with me?  I’m too tired to even think about it anymore.
            I become afraid to close my eyes again because I feel like perhaps I won’t wake up.  I fought the sleep off as long as I could and try to keep my heavy eyelids from closing.  But as reluctant as I am I begin to slowly drift off.  Right before I enter that restful and much needed slumber I come to terms that if this is the end of me I am ok with that.  Honestly, in those few moments one has before death, it feels so peaceful, pleasant, and relieving.  You feel like you just completely understand everything of the world all at once instantaneously.  It’s as if you are granted God’s wisdom during those few moments between life and death.  I only speak of this so personally because I experienced those glorious moments between life and death and lived to speak of them.  I realize everyone is scared of dying because they feel like it’s the ultimate end.  They’ll no longer be around in this world and their family.  They don’t know or either don’t believe that there is actually something after their lives end in this world.  I can tell you from my own experience that there is something more out there than just this life.  Everyone might believe in their own version but no matter what that is I do know that this life is just a temporary stop along the road.  Also, if that’s what those few moments feel like right before you die then I’m actually comforted and it eases my fear of dying a tad.
            I wake up to noise and chatter in the hallways.  I think it must be morning now because everything is lit up more brightly and it seems busier with all the nurses and employees passing by in the halls.  My initial reaction is regret.  I came to terms with death and was prepared for it.  I actually welcomed and invited it.  It was a solace to my torment.  I guess it just wasn’t my time to go.



7 Free Online Editing Tools

7 Free Online Editing Tools #Editing #AmEditing


Editing is important. Whether you're preparing your manuscript for submission to a publisher or agent, or self publishing, it's a step that should never be missed. Hiring an editor can be expensive though and not everyone can afford one.

The good news is that there are other options available. Whilst hiring a professional editor is preferable, the internet offers some great editing tools. Even better news is that most of them are free, or offer a free trail version.

I personally like to run my manuscripts though several as sometimes one will notice something another didn't.


Pro Writing Aid

7 Free Online Editing Tools #Editing #AmEditing




Hemingway Editor

7 Free Online Editing Tools #Editing #AmEditing



Grammarly 

7 Free Online Editing Tools #Editing #AmEditing



PaperRater

7 Free Online Editing Tools #Editing #AmEditing



Slick Write

7 Free Online Editing Tools #Editing #AmEditing



After the Deadline

7 Free Online Editing Tools #Editing #AmEditing



Grammar Check

7 Free Online Editing Tools #Editing #AmEditing



Know of another great free online editing tool? Leave the link in the comments section below.



Interview with Susan Wolfe

Interview with Susan Wolfe


Tell us about your latest book.

Escape Velocity is a thriller set in a Silicon Valley high tech company. Georgia Griffin has just arrived in Silicon Valley from Piney, Arkansas on very bald tires, having firmly rejected her beloved father’s life as a con artist.  Her father is in jail and a certain minister is hugging her mother for Jesus while eyeing Georgia’s little sister, Katie-Ann.  Georgia desperately needs to keep her new job as paralegal for Lumina Software so she can provide a California haven for her sister before it’s too late.

While shes still living in her car, Georgia realizes that incompetence and self-dealing have a death grip on her new company.  She decides to adapt her extensive con artist training - just once - to clean up the company. But success is seductive. Soon Georgia is an avid paralegal by day and a masterful con artist by night, using increasingly bold gambits designed to salvage Lumina Software. Then she steps into the shadow of a real crime and must decide: Will she risk her job, the roof over her sisters head, and perhaps her very soul?

My inspiration for Escape Velocity comes from my own work as a Silicon Valley lawyer.  The author Hank Phillippi Ryan has called the book “wickedly hilarious,” and it has received a “starred” Publishers Weekly review, (meaning highly recommended.)
           
Who are your favorite authors?

My favorite living authors:

Hilary Mantel (the Thomas Cromwell Wolf Hall trilogy, or it will be a trilogy if we ever get that third book!)

Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch is one of my great reads of all time.)

Ian McEwan (best ever author of literary creepy!)

Haruki Murakami  (What’s not to love about Colonel Sanders come to life and talking cats?)

Tana French  (I own every book in hardback because my daughter and I must read them immediately.)


For my favorite authors of all time I would add:

William Faulkner (Thomas Sutpen of Absalom! Absalom! is to me one the great characters in all of literature.)

Herman Melville (Love the whale!)

Jane Austen (Emma particularly)

Gustave Flaubert (I always root for Emma Bovary and hope things will turn out differently.)

Virginia Woolf (She made me determined to be a writer.)

What advice do you have for other writers?

The best advice I have ever received as an author came from Elmore Leonard, and I am delighted to pass it on. Mr. Leonard gave a reading that I attended while I was still writing my first book, The Last Billable Hour, and when it was time for him to autograph my copy of his book I asked him to wish me good luck with mine. He asked me a couple of questions about what I was writing, signed his book and then as I was walking away he called after me. “Susan!” I turned. “Don’t let anybody else tell you how to write your book. You write your own book.” It was heartfelt and fabulous advice.

Let me also mention I have received some harsh criticism over the years in many forms. Somebody told me once that my book was a “small” book, and my audience deserved a bigger book. You have be tough enough to ignore the mean-spirited nonsense and drive on. What is trickier, though, is well-intentioned criticism from writers and editors for whom you have real respect. I’m humble enough to know that my writing has plenty of room for improvement, and I try very hard to listen and be open to suggestions that will improve my work. I know I have improved my writing by listening to that advice. But what’s tricky is distinguishing between advice that will improve your writing and advice that will make your book lose the authenticity of being your own book. That’s what Elmore Leonard was warning me about. So here is my second piece of advice for fellow writers: Listen to and carefully consider all criticism and advice that come from sources you respect, and then . . . write your own book.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

My favorite character in Escape Velocity is the protagonist, Georgia Griffin. I conceived the book as a kind of Dante’s Inferno of high tech Silicon Valley, where I have worked as a lawyer and executive for many years.  I needed a main character to act as the reader’s guide, and along came Georgia. She is young, inexperienced and from a completely alien environment, so she encounters the wonder that is Silicon Valley high tech right along with the reader. She is also highly intuitive and a little bit tougher than people around her might expect. She is blessed with a job that makes people underestimate her. She badly needs the company to succeed in order to realize her personal goal of achieving escape velocity from the life she was born to, and she reluctantly decides to use her con artist training - sparingly - to help the company succeed.

The surprise to me was that Georgias moral and psychological complexities gradually became central to my story. Her predicament arises because she has con artist talents that can solve critical problems for her company, but she has sworn to renounce those talents forever in order to live a more “consequential” and above-board life.

At least thats how the predicament begins. What we realize as the story proceeds is that Georgia also finds it hard to renounce her con artist ways because she gets satisfaction and excitement out of using them successfully. By comparison, her respectable paralegal job can seem a little bit routine. So now her conflict becomes a psychological as well as a practical struggle. She admits this to herself at some point, and I think one of the main reasons the reader keeps reading is to find out how Georgia resolves that dilemma. Does she or does she not achieve escape velocity from the life she was born to? I don’t think it’s easy to shed the undesirable aspects of your upbringing, and her success or failure is to me the ultimate theme of the book.

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?

From the early feedback Ive gotten, people appreciate this book for several different reasons: 1) They like my feisty, determined main character, Georgia Griffin, and want to find out if shell succeed or fail; 2) They love to see some extremely annoying people theyve had to put up with at work get their just deserts; 3) They like to experience what its like to work in a Silicon Valley high tech company, from being a board member to being an accounts payable clerk; and/or 4) they think it is wickedly hilariousas one of my reviewers so kindly said. I do think the book operates on several levels, and hope readers can enjoy all these aspects of the book at once.

What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.

My next novel is set in San Bernardino, California, which couldn’t possibly form a greater contrast to the wealthy Silicon Valley where my first two books are set.  San Bernardino was a reasonably functioning working class town when I grew up there, but is now the second poorest large city in the U.S. (after Detroit, Michigan.)

The story begins when my protagonist is at the vet for a routine visit with his cat. A woman brings in a cat that has been badly mistreated and then races out the door before anybody can ask her about it. The terror in the womans eyes triggers memories from the protagonists childhood, and he is convinced the person who hurt the cat is an imminent danger to people as well. He decides to right an old wrong by finding the wrongdoer before its too late.
He manages to  enlist the (somewhat skeptical) help of an animal control person and a forensics veterinarian in his unorthodox effort, because both of them have strong personal reasons for becoming involved.  My story now has four people, including the wrongdoer, who all badly want to succeed with conflicting goals in a race against the clock.

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

To answer this question, I go back to the first real book I ever read, The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. I was in Mr. Adamssecond grade classroom in San Bernardino, and he gave me permission to find something to read on my own while the rest of the class finished up. So I found The Black Stallion, settled into my chair, and the next thing I knew the class was laughing. Apparently, I had whinnied. I was so shocked to look up and see that I was back in that classroom that I still remember the way the light filtered in through the windows.

I had just discovered that reading created a little room out behind my head where I could go to have adventures and be other people. That little room has been my solace and a major source of learning and pleasure ever since. By the fourth grade I had concluded that creating a story that let other people escape to the little rooms out behind their heads was the highest and best accomplishment a human being could achieve. It turns out I still believe that to this day. Mother Teresa is great, Abraham Lincoln is wonderful, but the people I most want to emulate are Herman Melville and Virginia Woolf and Hillary Mantel.

So if thats what I value most, it seemed like I should try to do it. Which is a misfortune in a way, because I am also a lawyer. In fact, I’ve been a fairly successful lawyer, and every  writer whos honest with herself knows most of what she writes is going to be trash. (Okay, trash is a little harsh. How about rejectamenta: Things or matter rejected as useless or worthless.) The only question is whether a writer can ever write anything worth reading.  So on the one hand you face the likelihood of miserable failure, but on the other hand, if you don’t try you surely dont succeed. I somehow found the courage to try.


What are you currently reading?

I am now and for the foreseeable future reading the 1100-page Infinite Jest , including several hundred footnotes, by David Foster Wallace. (My book group is fearless!) He might get added to my favorite authors, see above, but I wont know until I finish.

While I’ve been reading Infinite Jest I have concurrently read Memento Mori by Muriel Spark, and Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (one of the three or four nonfiction books I read in a year.)

My next books will be:  Tana Frenchs new book The Trespasser; Ian McEwan’s new book Nutshell; Stoner by John Williams; and The Sellout by Paul Beatty. Things have piled up a bit while I read Infinite Jest, but it’s worth it.

Where can a reader purchase your book?

Escape Velocity is available through independent bookstores and Barnes & Noble throughout the U.S. It is available on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk in hardback, paperback and Kindle versions. It is also available online through ingramspark.com. The Kindle version only is available on amazon.com.au and all other Kindle International Markets.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

1.       Theater! I’m heading to NYC in a few days to see four plays and an opera in a week. Favorite plays ever:  Sweeny Todd, Amadeus, Doubt, Book of Mormon, Hamilton, Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 in the same day. London is a favorite vacation spot because there is so much great theater.

2.   Reading, of course. I am in two fiction only book groups that include both men and women (which is slightly unusual, I’m learning) and these groups are a major focus of my social and cultural life. The reason I have two is that some members of my original group declined to read Faulkner, so we started an ad hoc Faulkner committee. The committee added members as it read five Faulkner novels in a row, and then realized it had become its own book group.

3. Travel. Recent destinations have been Sydney and The Great Barrier Reef; Paris; Athens, Mycenae and Delphi; and Rome and Pompeii. In February I’m headed to New Orleans, and hope to go to Tanzania and Kenya in the fall.

4. Cooking for family and friends. I make quite a few good chocolate desserts, if I say so myself.

5. Hanging out with my two beautiful rescue cats, one calico and one Siamese mix.



KarmicReaction going with the flow

KarmicReaction going with the flow, guest post by John Kaniecki

 
Marketing. It's the ten thousand pound dragon in the room that everybody is trying to slay. I saw one of my publishers state that one million books are getting published every year. Though that seems high, with the amount of small publishers, big publishers, vanity presses and self publishers it could be accurate. So the question is how do you make your book stand out? How do you kill the dragon? 
The answer is one sword strike at a time.
 
Blogs abound. They thrive. There are blogs on pretty much every topic one could imagine. Certainly your book has some classification doesn't it? Whatever your genre is cooking, science fiction, computers, romance, or whatever, I am sure that somewhere there is a blog that is representative of your writing. Most likely there are a multitude. So why not join forces and help one another out? I mean that dragon is real big. Why not double team him for a while?
 
I am earnestly promoting my book "Poet To The Poor, Poems Of Hope For The Bottom One Percent" http://amzn.to/2ibutsP It is a book that among other things tries to help the world. In particular uplifting the spirits of the most disenfranchised in our society. So when I came across KarmicReaction it was a natural fit.
 
The goals of KarmicReaction "are unity between social workers/ activists and oppressed populations that lack adequate and proper resources...." It is something created by a stay at home mom who wants to change the world. In her own little way, through her blog, she is pursuing her noble ambitions. Let me invite you to take a look.
 
Of course the blog has a beauty of it's own as you will quickly notice. The creator uses words, photography and other images to convey her message. The creator is a woman who earned a degree from a university in the Detroit area. She draws upon her life experiences and talents to get her point across. The creator has kindly published a poem I wrote for her blog. She asked me to write a poem with the title "Detroit Women".
 
Herein comes the beauty of the whole thing. My wife is from Grenada and they have a saying, "One hand washes the other and together they wash the face." KarmicReaction posted my poem with links to my Amazon page. As a result of that another woman requested I write a poem for her. She too posted my poems and posted links to my page. In turn I am now writing this article. KarmicReaction is getting some free publicity.
 
Do you see how it works? Not only has a slight movement begun but relationships are built. I guess you could call it networking but I prefer to label it friendship. In a small way based on our common concern, in this case empowering the oppressed, we have helped each other.
 
There is no substitute for a product that will please people. As a writer you must believe in your own talent. You have to believe enough to try to get some attention to your work. By going to a blog that coincides with what your writing is about, you have connected with an audience that is already in tune with you.
 
Personally this has been a lesson to me. I believe that in the future I am going to seek out other blogs and offer my writing skills. I am determined that I will one day slay that dragon or at least fight him enough till he turns tail and runs away.

In conclusion let me say that the artist is made in the struggle. It is persevering through tough times and continuing the pursuit of your dream that is essential. KarmicReaction has been a refreshing well of water to me. One that I am sure I will revisit from time to time to post relevant writings on. I hope that you too will check in on them from time to time as well. It really is an excellent blog and one with a purpose. Oh, and if you do drop by, leave them a little note that I sent you their way. 

John Kaniecki is a native of Brooklyn , New York . While he has no memory of New York City but he is proud to call himself a native New Yorker. John spent a few years in Illinois but grew up in Pequannock , New Jersey . After graduating high school John went off to Hoboken to attend Steven's Institute of Technology .
 
Despite being in engineering school, John was clueless to the direction his life should take. After two years John dropped out of Steven's. He became a Christian and hitchhiked across the United States . Several months later he was hospitalized with bipolar disorder.
 
At this time John began to write poetry. A self published book called "A Day's Weather" shows his mind at this time. After years of struggle John eventually returned to college and graduated from Montclair State University . John went to work stocking shelves at Sears and then worked with an engineering firm. John married Sylvia Smith in 2004.
 
Once married John returned to writing. His writing has been published in over seventy outlets. His books are "Murmurings of a Mad Man" a book of poetry by eLectio Publishing, "Poet to the Poor, Poems of Hope for the Bottom One Percent" by Dreaming Big Publications, "Words of the Future" a collection of science fiction stories published by Witty Bard and a horror novella "Scarecrow, Scarecrow" published by Jaded  Books Publishing. Just out is his poetry book called "Sunset Sonnets" published by Local Gem Poetry. Also his memoirs "More Than The Madness" that deals with his successfully coping with mental illness is soon to be published by Dreaming Big Publications.
 
Presently John is a full time caretaker for his wife. Also he volunteers as a missionary for the Church of Christ at Chancellor Avenue ; which is in the inner city of Newark . He stays up light at night and writing in any free time in hopes of becoming a professional writer.
 
Twitter         @JohnKaniecki
Website        http://johnkaniecki.weebly.com/
Blog             http://johnkaniecki.blogspot.com/
Goodreads   John Kaniecki

Book Showcase: Spy for a Dead Empire by Dan McClure

Book Showcase: Spy for a Dead Empire by Dan McClure


Title: Spy for a Dead Empire (Adventures of Grant Scotland, Book One)

Author: Dan McClure

About the book:

Book Showcase: Spy for a Dead Empire by Dan McClure
AELFA, THE GRAND CAPITAL of the once mighty Aelfan Empire, has fallen. Barbarian war parties and nomadic tribes harass the retreating and broken legions that once overawed them. All that stands against them now is the city of Zyren, the last bastion of Aelfan rule.

Acting as a spy for Zyren is Grant Scotland, a man leading a double life because his own had been taken away from him by the very people he serves. An unwilling recruit into the business of clandestine missions and deceit, he searches for anything real to cling to as the world around him devolves into insanity. And when an old friend shows up asking him to help save his family by delivering a mysterious book to a shadowy figure, Grant's two lives collide and he is thrust into an even stranger world than he had known; one where ancient magic is wielded by deadly players who compete against one another for a prize greater than simply the rotting carcass of a dead empire.

Special Offer:

Spy for a Dead Empire (Adventures of Grant Scotland, Book One) is available as part of a Kindle Countdown Deal 14th-18th January for just $1.99. Grab your copy at http://amzn.to/2iqUTtH

About the Author:

Writing stories infused with the smoky charisma of classic film noir mixed with the pulse-pounding excitement of adventure fantasy and the cagey class of suspenseful espionage, Dan McClure brought the best parts of all of our most cherished pulp together and added his own signature brand of wit. He currently lives, writes and works in and around beautiful and historic Arlington, Massachusetts.

Follow on Twitter at

Like Grant Scotland on Facebook at

Visit his Amazon Author page at

GIVEAWAY


Looking for reading inspiration? Check out the Bookstore