Archive for August, 2013

Good morning everyone!

I’m rather excited this morning! So much so, that I got up two hours early. Today, I have the distinct pleasure of hosting author Mark Iles!

Mark’s novel, ‘A Pride of Lions’, is being released by Solstice on the 30th! That’s this coming Friday! If you’re a sci-fi reader, you’ll love it. Why do I say that? Because I read his novel in my EIC duties and it kept me wondering where it would go next two hours later when I was having dinner with my family.


So, now that I’ve whet your appetite with the cover, here’s Mark!

‘A Pride of Lions’ is released on Amazon on Friday 30th August. An SF novel with a difference ‘Pride’ looks at criminals in the future and how they might be dealt with. Thrown into the pot is a craving for revenge, a love interest, a psychopathic killer and the desperate battle for the very survival of humanity.


Selena Dillon and her cohorts attempted to murder the ruler of their planet. Caught red handed they are now being tried for their crimes.



An opaque dome fell around the jury, hiding them from view. The judge rose to his feet and, beard rattling softly, left the courtroom to relax in his chambers, until he received notice they’d reached a verdict. When an orderly finally came and summoned him, he returned to his seat, sat down heavily and pressed a button that cleared the jury’s screening.

            “Have you come to a decision?” he asked loudly.

            “We have,” their spokesman replied.

“Then show your verdict.” As he nodded for them to carry on, they all reached forward and pressed the relative buttons in front of them.

The judge looked at the results on his console, and hid an inward sigh.

Their spokesman glanced at the results and swallowed, adding, “We find all of the accused guilty of the crimes stated.”

            When the man sat back down again the judge addressed the prisoners. “You’ve been tried by Federation Law, and have even confessed to the sickening crime of attempted murder, of Royalty nonetheless, and also of murder itself. You’ve also been found guilty of the heinous crime of terrorism, and I’m sure that you all know full well that each of these crimes carries the sentence of death.”

            There were angry growls from the crowd and the robosec bellowed, “Silence in court!”

            A slim dark-haired woman stood up and banged her fist loudly on the wooden barrier in front of her, her face working in fury as she shouted, “This is a farce. If they’d succeeded you’d be giving them medals now, instead of punishing them. This sucks! Everyone here knows that those who should be on trial are the Queen and the Royal Family. They’ve murdered thousands of people, and these guys only tried to rid our planet of that tyrant. They’re heroes, not criminals!”

            Selena looked over and grinned broadly, as she recognised her old school chum Linda McKenzie. Catching her eye, Linda added, “Tell them to shove it up their arse, Selena. You guys did the right thing, and we’re all damn proud of you. Others will try the same thing, you’ll see, and sooner or later someone will succeed and we’ll finally be rid of those murderers.”

            “Get that woman out of my court!” the judge roared, watching angrily as guards dragged Linda away, although the audience continued to protest. “The next person who makes any noise will be dragged outside and whipped on the spot!” he bellowed, eyes widening as he glared at them. Gradually silence fell once more.

            “However,” continued the judge more collectedly, turning back to the accused and ignoring the rumpus, “it’s in my power to offer you an alternative. We’re currently upgrading the military, as we do from time to time. This allows me to offer you the option of serving in the Penal Regiments, until you either die in their ranks or are discharged after twenty-five years’ service under their terms of contract. You each have three minutes to decide.”


A Pride of Lions’ is the first in ‘The Darkening Stars’ series. Having written features and fiction for over 30 years I applied to do an MA in Professional Writing. ‘Pride’ had been bouncing around in my head for some time, and I seized the opportunity of the MA to produce this first novel as part of the course. It’s without doubt the best choice I’ve ever made, as it really focused me. Getting this novel accepted is the perfect conclusion to a wonderful experience.

Thanks for stopping by, Mark! 



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Now that my massive Teaser Tour is over (I hope everyone enjoyed it!), it’s time to get back to my normal schedule.

I’d thought of another topic for today over the weekend, but I’m putting that on hold. When I woke up this morning and logged into FaceBook, I learned today was the birthday of my writing big brother, Nick Pollotta.

Nick left us floundering back in April, when his body fought one last good fight and lost. The amazing thing is that the person he was didn’t. His influence is still heavy in my life. And that’s a good thing.

Every day, as new authors ask me questions about their books with Solstice, I’m reminded of different pieces of advice he gave me. The importance of being polite, working with an editor over fighting them, expressing thanks to the cover artist. Not blaming my publisher for low sales, being a public person and the ups and downs of that.

And that it’s far better for everyone if you’re willing to talk to readers over dismissing them.

I’m hopeful that he’d be glad that I’m doing as much as I can to help new authors through the process, put out books worth reading. One of the last comments he ever gave me on Facebook was to congratulate me on my new job with Solstice.

Travel well, my friend. 


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Today, I’m honored to be hosting Solstice romance author, Marie Lavender!



A Writer’s Shortsightedness


Life is full of pressures.  We tally up all these tasks in our heads of all the things we have to do each day.  Our culture is full of conveniences, whether they are food or banking or even communication.  But, everything is still very hectic.  Don’t you feel like you never get a break?  How often do we slow down and take stock of what we have?  And I’m not just talking about being grateful for the little things or your family.  You should do that, of course.

But, how often do you stand back and look at all you’ve accomplished?  And this can, of course, apply to anyone who is not a writer, but for the purpose of this article, I will speak from a writer’s perspective.  So, back to topic. 

Do you ever look around at what you’ve done?  Do you pat yourself on the back for it, for all the hard work you’ve done or all you’ve attained?  Probably not.  I don’t either.  But, maybe we should.  You may think that is silly or even arrogant, but I think it can go a long way in how we view ourselves as writers, or even as human beings.

Do you have published books?  Either traditionally published or self-published, are they on display for the world to see?  Are they sitting on a shelf, or casually thrown here and there?  In lieu of that, do you have works in progress, so many stories or even poems started that you don’t know what to do with them all? 

Well, that’s good.  Because I want you to look at them now.  Make sure they are in a place where you can view them all together.  Stand back and bask in this moment.  What moment?  The moment you acknowledge your own accomplishments.

Forget your list of things to do.  Forget that part-time or full time job you’ve kept to pay the bills.  Forget, just for a moment, the demands of family life.  Take a deep breath and observe the wonderful world of your creation.

You may ask why I suggest this.  Here is the truth.  How often do we acknowledge ourselves?  Every person knows that his own worst critic is himself.  We are so quick to see the accomplishments of others, of friends or family, but never in ourselves.  Think about how easy it is to give a compliment or congratulate someone, but when they do the same for us, it feels strange.  So we should take that moment to be proud of our own work.

Life is so demanding.  If you never notice your own accomplishments, that self-doubt can eat away at your confidence eventually.  It can affect you and if there’s ever a general truth in writing, it’s that we write from our experiences.  Even if you don’t write about your personal life, you know that your impressions will come out on the page somewhere.

So just breathe with me.  Look at your pile of published books, computer files or even notebooks.  Wow, writer.  You’ve accomplished a LOT.  Don’t you feel proud of yourself?  You should.  Enjoy this moment if you can.  Your heart will thank you for it.



Author Bio:

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands.

At the tender age of nine, she began writing stories. Her imagination fueled a lot of her early child’s play. Even growing up, she entered writing contests and received a certificate for achieving the second round in one. She majored in Creative Writing in college because that was all she ever wanted – to be a writer. While there, she published two works in a university publication, and was a copy editor on the staff of an online student journal. After graduating from college, she sought out her dream to publish a book.

Since then, Marie has published sixteen books. Marie Lavender’s real love is writing romances, but she has also written mysteries, literary fiction and dabbled a little in paranormal stories. Most of her works have a romantic element involved in them. Upon Your Return is her first historical romance novel. Feel free to visit her website at http://marielavender.webs.com/ for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

A list of her books and pen names are as follows:

Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return

Erica Sutherhome: Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom

Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life

Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things


Author Links:  http://www.marielavender.webs.com/








Book Blurb:

Fara Bellamont has been back in society for a year after leaving Cluny Abbey, where her uncle sent her long ago. When he chooses a suitor for her for marriage, she fears that she will be forced to marry a stranger and live a miserable life.  But, Fara finds herself thrust into an adventure of a lifetime when unforeseen circumstances cause her to place her trust in a strange man for protection. His intervention not only saves her, but puts her in an even more compromising position.  Grant Hill, a trading captain, is enchanted by the young heiress not only because of her beauty, but because she is hardly conventional. Underneath her ladylike exterior lies a tigress. Grant cannot help but offer his protection as she is in need and he is far from immune from her charms.  Fara just never bargained on the passion that she feels for Grant Hill. As events unfold, she must decide whether her desires and the dictates of her heart should trump the rules of society…


Buy Links:  http://www.amazon.com/Upon-Your-Return-ebook/dp/B00BFX8YLI/





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Well, the final day of my Teaser Tour has arrived. I hope you’ve had as much fun with it as I have!

If you missed a day (or simply want to go read it all again), just check out my posts here and follow the trail.

My final stop is with Solstice author Penny Estelle.


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Today, I took control of Tony Rudzki’s realm!


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We’re coming down to the wire, folks! Only two more posts to go!


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Today, I’m visiting author Nancy Curteman’s blog!


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