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Excerpt: Romance & Revenge by Laina Turner

Title: Romance & Revenge
Author: Laina Turner
Genre: Cozy Mystery / Chick Lit

Book description:

The bookkeeper at Jared’s company has been murdered and if that wasn’t bad enough someone is trying to sabotage the company by leaking company documents to other firms who are then upstaging their presentations. Jared asks for her help to find out who is trying to take Sleeping Bear Designs down and while Presley is always willing to help a friend, she is also hoping it will take her mind off obsessing over Cooper.
Presley and Cooper are on a break or are they broken up? It was never really clarified and she just found out he’s in town and he hasn’t called. Is he avoiding her? What does that mean?
Are they done for good?

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“What is it, Jared? Did you get fired?” Hoping that wasn’t the case, but I couldn’t think of anything else that would bring him home at this time and this upset. “Not even close,” he said, walking to the liquor cabinet, pouring a shot of vodka and downing it before getting some coffee and sitting down.
Katy and I just stared. I didn’t know what to say. He was acting bizarre.“Jared, what is going on?”“Remember Becky I work with? You met her when we went for drinks to celebrate
Sally’s birthday.”“Petite brunette. She does the books.”“Yep, that’s her. Or was her. She’s been murdered.”
“Oh my God,” I said. No wonder he looked the way he did. “What happened?” Jared ran his hands through his hair, clearly distressed.“John had called an emergency meeting because someone is stealing company information.”“What?” I interrupted.
“Oh yeah, it’s been quite the morning. I’ll get to that in a minute. We were all there but Becky. John called Becky’s phone to see where she was and the police answered. They said she had been found murdered and got all our contact information from John saying they would need to talk to all of us.”
“That’s horrible, Jared. How’s everyone taking it?” “Not well. Things have already been a mess these last few weeks.”
“What else is going on?” I asked. “We initially were meeting because we have a leak in our office and John doesn’t know what to do about it.”“What?” I asked. “Can’t he just call a plumber?”“Not that kind of leak.” He looked at me and rolled his eyes. “Sorry, I was trying to lighten the mood.”
What kind of leak?” asked Katy. “We’ve been working on this really big branding campaign. One of the biggest all year. We showed it to the client yesterday and when we did, they had already seen it. Or rather something similar the day before by one of our competitors,” he said. “Needless to say, they weren’t very happy with our pitch and almost seemed accusatory. Like we had stolen the other company’s ideas. John was already pissed over that. I mean it not only loses us the client but makes us look like idiots and tarnishes our reputation.”
“Jared, you always tell me that there are only so many original thoughts. Could it just be a coincidence?” I asked.

Author Bio
As a child Laina thought she would either be a truck driver (thanks to Jerry Reed in Smokey and the Bandit) or work at Taco Bell (her favorite restaurant as a child). As she grew older she realized her talents lay in academics and business and for the last several years has been a business consultant and college professor where she uses the analytical side of her brain and not the side that makes up stories.

Through all her career choices she has continued to have a passion for writing. This stemmed from childhood whereas an only child she developed a vivid imagination spending most of her time making things up and thinking the Incredible Hulk lived in her closet.

Proud of her vast experiences in life from barrel racing to being on the dance team for a semi pro basketball team to being a mom of 2 amazing kids, she tells her family and friends that no one is safe from their escapades slipping in to her books.

Taking the plunge to write books that she actually lets people read in 2010, she has worked her way up to having 5 fans (maybe 6 now). Her blog, The Art Of Living Fabulously, was launched to share the daily fun in the life of a Real Housewife of the Midwest along with the musing of other fabulous ladies.


Christmas Wish list: Non Fiction Books

When you're thinking of what presents to buy this Christmas, remember that a book is a gift that keeps on giving. 

Today's Christmas Wish List is for non fiction books. Take a look below at these books by Writers and Authors community members for some inspiration.


Interview with Medini Summers

What genre do you write in?

My genre is historical fiction.

Tell us about your latest book.
Aloise by Medini Summers. This is a tale about a girl who is born into abject poverty in the Seven Dials – City of London –1850. To get an idea of its atmosphere think 'Les Miserables.' The poverty of the great cities of Britain and Europe was so extreme that people died of starvation in their thousands.
Aloise is not one to accept her fate. She secures a birth on a tall ship – Isabel Hercus bound for NZ. Typhoid stalks the steerage accommodation and a mean-minded clerk of the Canterbury Association threatens to expose her former means as a prostitute of the Rookeries in the Seven Dials, threatening Aloise's pretensions to a gentle lineage.

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 
I am using mostly online tools –
I am also on Writers Beat www.writersbeat.com and Writers and Authors – this website. Apart from this I have done a lot of footslogging and posting fliers about my books into letter boxes. 500 of these so far with a lot more to come.

What format is the book available in?
It is an E book. I have it on Amazon Kindle Books. www.amazon.com/Medini-Summers/e/BOOM5PIPUU
I am happy to send 'Aloise' free to the computer of anyone who would like to read and put a review on Amazon Kindle Books for me. medini.summers@gmail.com

What advice do you have for other writers?
The best piece of advice that I can give to aspiring writers is to hone your skills until your writing is as mature and readable as it possibly can be. Only when it has reached this stage will any publisher be prepared to think of publishing it. Of course that is not all there is to it. There must be something special about your words that speak to the human condition, that touch the soul. Also a tidbit of passion will not go amiss.

What's the best thing about being a writer?
Being my own boss and being free to create stories and characters that have the possibility of becoming memorable. A character, once a book becomes popular, will have a life of its own. People are going to remember him or her for longer than any of us ordinary souls.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
On Facebook, Goodreads, Writers and Authors, Writers Beat. Or speak to me on email medini.summers@gmail.com

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
My favourite character in my book is my protagonist, Aloise, because she is fierce and feisty and will not be overcome by the most extreme challenges. She is not someone who wants to do good. She must needs survive before all else. When that is achieved she can go on to create a better life for herself.

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your books?
Ever since beginning to write, some twenty years since, readers have been telling me that my stories are exciting and unputdownable. I am told, the plot holds their attention from beginning to end. There is excitement and lots of action. Never a dull moment.

How long did it take you to write your book?
Aloise took nearly two years to research and write. It was my biggest project yet.

Who designed the cover?
I did the cover design. But I have an artist friend who drew the images of Aloise and the little pic of the tall ship. The photo is mine. My friend's name is Thomas Pendrigh. Barry Wheaton made up the whole image at slipstream computers.

Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?

Yes, I have learned so much more about human nature. How it is for human beings who come from the worst cess-pits of degradation and violence. I now have more compassion for those poor souls than I ever did before.

Where can a reader purchase your book.

Who inspires you?
Authors such as Phillipa Gregory for historical fiction and D. H. Lawrence for classical literature. Cat Stevens is an inspiring singer and for politicians – Helen Clark who was a former Labour prime minister in New Zealand and is set to become the leader of the United Nations before much longer.

How do you research your books?
Mostly by old fashioned reading and taking handwritten notes as I go.  I create my story after reading through my notes again. For details on ordinary day to day stuff, the internet is very good. I like to visit the site of my story, London – Soho in this case, to feel the ambience of place and to make sure all my details of landcape and buildings are correct.

What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
At present, I am researching for another Egyptian saga, probably about the renowned beauty, Queen Nefertiti, who was Great Wife to Pharaoh Akhenaten. Once Pharaoh is dead, Nefertiti disappears from the world stage. It will be up to my imagination to create the story of Nefertiti from that moment onward. I am really excited to be back in Egypt.

What are your thoughts on Self-Publishing versus Traditional publishing?
It will be clear to most writers that the work of publicity is now down to them. If I have to do the hard graft then I might as well receive the benefits and not be returning profits to a publisher. It makes very good sense. A self-published author can do what she likes creatively, within the parameters of the site that she has adopted to sell her work.

Who or what has inspired you to become a writer?
I like to be at home. I like to be creative. I have a million stories inside my head. There has to be a further aspect to life than family, friends, work and home.
Being a writer fulfills all these needs. It is what I am and how I define myself.

Does your family support you in your writing career? How?
I would say – no, sadly. And I wish they would, but I have many friends who are very encouraging and have helped me a great deal.

What are you currently reading?
'The Infinite Plan' by Isabelle Allende. It is beautiful writing for a literary author. I don't usually like literary choices, finding them hard going, but her style is easy and she displays depth of understanding of the human condition.

What books or authors have most influenced your life?
'Avalon' by Marion Zimmer Bradley. 'Women Who Run With the Wolves.' 'The Book Thief.'

When you are not writing, how do you spend your time?

Reading, of course, music, nature, massage, meditation, animals (mostly feline), sacred sites and power places, travel.


Tips for Gaining Attention in the World of Fiction

If you aspire to be a fiction writer and think all you have to do is sit down to your computer and create, you will be very disappointed. Most writers eventually want to publish their work. They want family, friends and others to read what they've created.
Here are some tips for gaining attention in the fiction world:
1) Enter contests. The first contest I entered was for a nonfiction piece. It was a national contest sponsored by Reader's Digest and McCalls Magazine. I won second place and I received a note from the editor of Reader's Digest. We talked and one year later I published my first written words as an original piece for Reader's Digest, receiving more money than any advance on my later books.
This experience taught me not to be shy in entering contests. My cozy mystery won first place in the Malice Domestic Grants award for new writers. That boost motivated to keep writing fiction. My nonfiction proposal won first place in the Harriet Austin contest for nonfiction and was later to become my first published business book.
Don't worry about winning the contest, just get your name out there. Even the smaller contests are worth entering. Imagine a query letter that begins with, "The Clock Strikes Midnight won honorable mention in the Regional mystery writer's competition." That sentence alone separates you from all the other query letters coming across a publisher's desk.
2) Take classes and re-write. I've leaned so much over the years. I thought I could write before I began composing my novels. Unfortunately I knew little about fiction writing. If you are like me and didn't major in creative writing in college, you might need to invest some time and energy in studying the craft. I've taken classes on everything from dialogue to plot development.  I participated in classes at writer's conferences and online. For me www.writersdigest.com offers the widest array of classes. Don't be too proud to learn!
3) If an agent doesn't snap up your creation, skip the agent and go to a small publishing house. With the current publishing industry in such flux, it is becoming harder and harder for new writers to break into publishing. Agents want a sure bet. They want someone whose works they know they can sell (and make money). After all, they earn a percentage on your royalties. The large publishing houses still rely on agented manuscripts. So, where does that leave the new writer? Forget the agent and go to smaller houses willing to take a risk with your new work. I used a search driven website to help me sort through the small houses. www.duotrope.com There are others out there. Find the best one and go from there. But, most of all do not give up. Write and re-write.
By Joan Curtis

“I write about characters who remind me of myself at times and my sister at times, but never fully so. My stories are told from a woman’s point of view. Characters drive my writing and my reading.”

Having grown up in the South with a mother from Westchester County New York, Joan has a unique take on blending the southern traditions with the eye of a northerner.  She spent most of her childhood in North Carolina and now resides in Georgia.

Links:  website:  http://www.joancurtis.com

Blog: http://www.joancurtis.com/blog

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/joanccurtisauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/joancurtis


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Excerpt: Unborn Essence by Ashlee North

Title: Unborn Essence
Author: Ashlee North

Book Description:

It is Christmas in New York when a baby is born. Named Christina Elizabeth by her parents, the baby's Essence-her life force and caretaker of her soul-feels the glorious ecstasy of belonging, knowing wholeness, and oneness with its human being now home. Meanwhile, in the same hospital precinct, a baby boy is born. Although he is safe and warm, he will sadly not know the same type of security or peaceful existence, for the boy is unwittingly involved in a tug of war-destined to be hurt and cursed by an Unborn Essence who has attached himself to the baby, determined to use his powers on an unsuspecting mind. Unfortunately as Jonathon Daniel grows older, he creates complete havoc around himself, perplexing his parents and his doctors. But what he does not know is that Christina has begun to dream about him, convinced there is something special about him. Now only time will tell if the two humans will fall in love, with help from several Essences-while the Unborn Essence watches with interest and malice. Unborn Essence shares a fantastical journey into the subconscious and spiritual that opens the mind to new possibilities as Essences work to unite souls on Earth and Unborn Essences seek to destroy them.

Purchasing link:

Author Bio

Ashlee North is in her mid thirties and lives on the beautiful Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.

She is a lover of words and music, adores writing and finds the most joy in taking readers on a journey with her stories.

Ashlee’s life has been filled with events, both good and bad, which moulded and changed her and eventually have given her wings to fly.

She has learned from her experiences, found victory over difficulties and discovered lasting love in the process.

Ashlee’s writing always tries to portray the hope that even in the hardest of circumstances there is hope for the future and that love may very well be right around the corner. Coupled with suspense, psychological thrillers, the paranormal, fantasy, murder and intrigue, she writes with a fresh new style which can be enjoyed by all ages.

She has a gorgeous daughter and a supportive husband, both who are the loves of her life.

Ashlee has a career as a writer, but also another; helping disabled young people to live better and more enjoyable lives.

Her own personal journey is inspiring and she pours all of these things into her manuscripts, her care for others, and her love for life.

She lives with passion and gives her all to her endeavours, in the hope that her life, her writing, and her work will make even a small difference to the world.

Ashlee has so far published seven books; ‘Caitlin and the CafĂ© Man’; ‘Because of the Secret’; ‘Wake me up so I can Dream’; ‘Circling Carousels’; ‘The Storm that Brews Within’; ‘The Chronicling of Ilithia’ and ‘Kiss Me, Love Me, Kill Me’. The latest book, ‘Unborn Essence’, is Ashlee’s eighth book and is one of a trilogy called ‘The Essence Legacy’.
You can find all Ashlee North's books at http://ashleenorthauthor.com/


Piercing the void—the nothing, the darkness—a light, glowing soft tones of red—pulsing, insisting—strobed from behind an unobtrusive nothingness, a slit in the fabric of the universe, where more often there was only inky black, millions of miles of it. And in this light, the only brightness there is, is nothing, nothing but impossible-to-tether, uncontainable Essence. It travelled but moved not, it existed but rode the shaft of brilliance without being noticed. Essence in itself looks like the ever-present lack of something, for it cannot be seen, except by its ripple, its almost unseen glow, but it is most certainly there. It is what makes all humans into who they will be. It is the anything which makes them one way or another. It is what we are— We are Essence.
Chapter One
Inside the mind of humanity
Twenty-four people died that I know of, just in our neighborhood, and I can only guess that the others fled with whatever they could carry. I could hear the screams and the shooting, cursing and shouting, all night long, and I dared not venture out from where I hid. I am no coward, I just knew what I was up against.
The townspeople were left wherever they died and one or two prominent leaders were left hanging from their necks in front of the town hall.
Madness seemed to come in waves, taking over the minds and bodies of our very own friends and neighbors. No one could be trusted. Their brains seemed to be controlled—their limbs, an extension of whatever was inside of them—making them behave like crazed, rabid animals on psychological benders.
Fuelled by whatever substance they could get their hands on, the people we once knew became our enemies. Faces we once loved became distorted and evil, and they began their wicked stalking and killing, told what to do by unseen dictators and shockingly violent demands.
We—just a few of us—waited and watched lest they should come for us, but we somehow managed to remain un-found. I still can hear them, although the immediate threat is gone and people are behaving coherently again. I can barely stand the sight of them, for I know what they have only just done, even though they have no memory of it.
The evidence was swept away, but my mind is still defiled by the sights. I will never be able to forget, even though those who performed the dark evil deeds cannot remember.
I am afraid to speak of it, for others do not believe, but there are a small group of us who still do. We know what happened and we know it came from inside their minds. We shall remain diligent, for they shall act again.
We shall wait and worry for inside the subconscious mind of many lies a danger greater than what we have ever seen. It is dormant for now, but we see it rear its ugly head from time to time, all across the city. We are in trouble, all of us, for who knows how many are owned by this lurking thing inside. Who knows when the sleeping giants, inside the minds of thousands, will leap into action and destroy New York, even the whole world?
We must find a way to stop them from taking over each and every one of our thoughts. We must guard our minds, our subconscious and consciousness, our dreams, and our waking moments. It is fair to say “they are out there” but the great fear is that “they are inside.” Beware your mind—there is a demon waiting to awake.


Christmas Wish List: Books for Teens and Tweens

When you're thinking of what presents to buy this Christmas, remember that a book is a gift that keeps on giving. 

Today's Christmas Wish List is books for teens and tweens. Take a look below at these books by Writers and Authors community members for some inspiration.

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