Books

Author Spotlight: Lora Lee

Author Spotlight: Lora Lee
New Pic Nov 2014
Bringing in the Thieves

Reflections From My Front Porch

by Lora Lee

Hey there, y’all! Come on up and sit a spell on my front porch. It’s a lovely Fall afternoon, so relax in that rocker over there and let’s visit.

Did you know there’s a Clergy Appreciation Day? You didn’t? Neither did I. I even checked my calendar. Nothing. Zip. Nada. However, I trust the Bell Bridge marketing department when they tell me there is such a day. After all, they’re pretty smart about that sort of thing.

Now, if any of y’all have read Bringing in the Thieves, my cozy mystery in the Joyful Noise Mysteries, you know that the main character is a preacher’s daughter. Yep, Frankie Lou is a PK and her halo is in dire need of polishing. Seems she didn’t appreciate her clergyman father during her rebellious teen years. Hmmm. I wouldn’t know anything about that.

What’s that you ask? Oh, of course, I’m a PK. Always have been, but I’m not at all like Frankie Lou, bless her heart. After all, I’m a lot older and I know better. Life when I was growing up was different for a PK. Frankie Lou’s modern day problems were . . . well, you can read all about her in the book. I’ll give you a brief inside look into my own childhood days and you can draw your own conclusions.

There was one period during WWII when daddy was a Captain and chaplain in the US ARMY that I remember well. That was a worrisome time ‘cause my big brother was in the US NAVY somewhere out in the Pacific during that time, too. Momma shed a lot of tears while both of them were gone.

The time came when Momma and I were able to move where Daddy was stationed. That meant attending a new school where I didn’t know a soul. Can’t say I liked fourth grade that year.

Daddy was so handsome in his uniform. I felt pretty special when we ate in the mess hall with the other officers. But one Thanksgiving, Daddy wanted us to eat dinner with the enlisted men. Momma agreed so that’s what we did. Daddy loved those young men like his own son and did his best to prepare them for what they might be facing if they were sent overseas. I’m pretty sure those men appreciated the clergy because the chapel was always filled every Sunday.

I only had eleven years to appreciate my clergyman father. I didn’t even appreciate God the day Daddy died, but through the years, Momma kept me on the straight and narrow with her unconditional love. My appreciation of the clergy has grown as I’ve matured. And believe it or not, God never gave up on me, either.

Thanks for visiting on the front porch with me today. Y’all come back, ya’ hear.

Lora Lee

 

Pick up Bringing in the Thieves, the first in the Joyful Noise Mysteries, today for only $1.99!

National Psychic Week – Who knew?

It’s National Psychic Week!

That means that we have great books

*with a psychic twist*

on sale!

Don’t miss out! The sale ends August 5th!

*sale is for ebook only*


The Manicurist by Phyllis Schieber – $0.99

A magical novel of secrets revealed and a family in turmoil, searching together for new beginnings.

Tessa and Walter have, by all appearances, the perfect marriage. And they seem to be ideal parents for their somewhat rebellious teenage daughter, Regina. Without warning, however, their comfortable lives are thrown into turmoil when a disturbing customer comes into the salon where Tessa works as a manicurist.

Suddenly, Tessa’s world is turned upside down as revelations come to light about the mother she thought had abandoned her in childhood and the second sight that she so guardedly seeks to keep from others.

     


The Challenge by Susan Kearney – $0.99

Book 1 of The Rystani Warrior Series

Domination. Desire. Destiny.

He rules a future in which women are helpless, obedient, and always willing. She comes from a past in which a woman’s strength, brains, and courage are unquestioned. The challenge between them is timeless.

Secret Service agent Tessa Camen took a bullet meant for the president. She regains consciousness three hundred years in the future on a spaceship, naked in the arms of Kahn, a fierce warlord from the planet Rystan. He’s been expecting her. Tessa was whisked forward in time because her fighting abilities include a psychic talent like none other. Only she can defeat an enemy who threatens Earth. The fate of her home hangs in the balance. Once again, she’s called on to serve and protect her nation.

In Kahn’s world, women are meant to be ruled but also protected. He can seduce Tessa, but can he own her heart and mind? Can he put aside his beliefs about women to help her train for a brutal intergalactic test, The Challenge? If she loses, so does Earth.

Tessa and Kahn are caught in a war of wills set in a future where survival is a skill, power is an aphrodisiac, and love is a challenge that could destroy everything they cherish.

     


 

The Lightning Charmer by Kathryn Magendie – $1.99

He brought down the sky for her.

The spell was cast when they were children. That bond cannot be broken.

In the deep hollows and high ridges of the ancient Appalachian mountains, a legacy of stunning magic will change their lives forever.

Laura is caught between the modern and the mystical, struggling to lead a normal life in New York despite a powerful psychic connection to her childhood home in North Carolina—and to the mysterious stranger who calls her name. She’s a synesthete—someone who mentally “sees” and “tastes” splashes of color connected to people, emotions, and things. She’s struggled against the distracting ability all her life; now the effects have grown stronger. She returns home to the mountains, desperate to resolve the obsessive pull of their mysteries.

But life in her mountain community is far from peaceful. An arsonist has the town on edge, and she discovers Ayron, scarred and tormented, an irresistible recluse who rarely leaves the forest. As her childhood memories of him surface, the facade of her ordinary world begins to fade. The knots she’s tied around her heart and her beliefs start unraveling. Ayron has never forgotten her or the meaning of their astonishing bond. If his kind is to survive in modern times, he and Laura must face the consequences of falling in love.

     


 

Nothing But Trouble by Trish Jensen – $0.99

He’s gorgeous, rich, sexy, super nice, and head-over-heels for her. So what’s the problem?

Her psychic best friend predicts that Laura Tanner is due to meet a prince—the man of her dreams. Not a likely scenario for a hard-working bar owner who’s better at karate-chopping rowdy patrons than hobnobbing with the silver-spoon crowd. When Ivy League lawyer Brandon Prince (a prince!) strolls into her bar, Laura admits he’s hard to resist. Brandon quickly realizes that this lovely, funny, take-no-prisoners woman is the special someone he’s always wanted.

Brandon is an expert at wooing women, and even a tough cookie like Laura can’t help but fall under his spell. Before she knows what’s happening, he’s lured her on a romantic adventure filled with laughter and desire. Dazzled, she begins to believe that she really can have this prince of a man as her own.

One problem: Brandon’s powerful mother is used to women chasing his family fortune, and she’ll do whatever it takes to keep yet another money-grubbing female out of his life. If a man is everything you’ve ever wanted, how can he also be nothing but trouble?

     


 

Raging Spirits by Angel Smits – $0.99

Can she break the spell that haunts him?

Clarissa Elgin’s psychic powers have brought her trouble before. This time, her vision shows her a handsome man dying in her arms after being shot in a robbery. The stranger whispers the name Rachel as his killer. She also envisions an embezzlement scheme at a bank where she soon spots the man in real life. David Lorde, a bank vice president, is skeptical when she visits his office to warn him about the future.

Another vision shows her a lovers’ quarrel between David and Rachel—his wife. He suspected her of marrying him for his money and prestige. A shot rings out. Did he kill Rachel?

Clarissa can’t get David out of her mind. As she falls in love with him, she deduces that somehow his late wife’s spirit has cast a spell over him. But an even more sinister evil is behind Rachel’s power. . .

Clarissa must risk her life to save him.

     


In addition to our amazing sale, we asked our intern, Cody, to write a post for National Psychic Week! He did not disappoint…

Psychic powers have long fascinated me. I am on the fence about whether I think people can actually have psychic abilities. I want to believe they can, but I’ll need a piece of hard proof in front of me before I will completely go out on that limb. That being said, psychics have indisputably had a hand in solving various murders and missing persons cases over the years. They continue to be able to tell us things about people who have passed away that seemingly they should not know if their powers were fake. Cases upon cases of psychic occurrences have been documented, but without being able to actually enter the mind of the psychic, no one has been able to explain or completely validate whether or not psychics are real.

Perhaps the most interesting psychic of all time was Nostradamus. He wrote over a thousand quatrains (a four line block) about events he believed would happen in the future. The poetic nature of his prophesies makes it difficult to pinpoint specific events. However, looking at his writings in hindsight, there are countless events that he might have predicted. One of his most famous predictions was about the coming of Hitler. He wrote:

“From the depths of the West of Europe,
A young child will be born of poor people,
He who by his tongue will seduce a great troop;
His fame will increase towards the realm of the East.

           Beasts ferocious with hunger will cross the rivers,
           The greater part of the battlefield will be against Hister.
           Into a cage of iron will the great one be drawn,
           When the child of Germany observes nothing.”

 

Many people have interpreted, and with good reason, this to be a direct reference to Hitler. He only missed calling out Hitler specifically by one letter. Also, the two quatrains almost perfectly describe Hitler’s upbringing as well as the political landscape during WWII concerning the Allied and Axis forces.

Nostradamus’s predictions don’t stop there. He also predicted the Great Fire of London in 1666 and possibly the terror attacks of 9/11 in New York City. He spoke of the terror attacks by referring to the “great new city” where the “sky will burn at 45 degrees.”  Most scholars believe that Nostradamus’s “45 degrees” is in reference to the city’s location, near the 45 degree line of latitude.            

All of that being said, I think we need to take Nostradamus’s prophecies with a grain of salt. The vast majority of his writings are very imprecise and can seemingly only be understood after an event has happened. However, I still believe there is some validity to the psychic argument. Nostradamus, while vague, clearly had a grasp on something a little bit deeper than a basic understanding of the universe. Whether that means he was a genius at deception or a true psychic, only time and more research will tell, but the possibility of a person having a psychic connection to their surroundings continues to fascinate millions of people. I cannot discount the fact that there are people who can discern information in ways that most cannot explain. This phenomenon will remain capable of captivating us for many generations to come.

 

Check out more of Nostradamus’s predictions:

http://read.bi/2w7z6M2

You can also get your own copy of Nostradamus’s Prophecies here:

 http://amzn.to/2f9zcyC


Happy Reading!

 

 

Author Spotlight: Howard Odentz

Author Spotlight: Howard Odentz

LOOK!!! A Highland Coo!!!


I just came home from a 10-day tour of Scotland. The whole country is beautifully bleak, with rolling hills in the lowlands and towering mountains in the highlands. By a very thin margin, the national asset is arguably the sheep or the highland cow (pronounced coo). The people are friendly. The shops are literally  bursting with tartan, and everywhere you look the ground is covered with heather, which our kilt-clad guide, Ian, described as a ‘disappointing brown’ this time of year.

It’s cold there, which the New Englander in me loves. The history is filled with blood, which the horror writer in me adores.

Still, I have a beef with Scotland, and it’s a big beef, roughly the same size as a shaggy highland coo.

My beef is Nessie.

I’ve literally spent my whole life dreaming of the day that I would stand on the dark shores of Loch Ness and look off in the distance, camera at the ready, to see Nessie rise from the depths in all her prehistoric splendor, just so I could get a selfie with her monstrous, slimy self.

The thing is . . . the locals don’t actually believe that Nessie exists.

Wait, what?

Oh sure, there are little stuffed Nessies at all the gift shops, and salt and pepper shakers shaped like a head and a hump. What’s more, there’s even a place called Nessieland on the outskirts of Inverness, with all the seriousness of the It’s a Small World attraction at Disney. Just the for record, the Disney attraction is far creepier and you all know what I think about creepy kids (See Little Killers A to Z among my recent releases).

Our portly guide on our Loch Ness boat ride giggled when he pointed out the tiny trailer across the loch where the resident crazy has lived for the last twenty-five years, scanning the waters daily for signs of the monster. He practically admitted that most locals cross the street when they spy him because he also believes in Bigfoot, aliens, and the fact that the majority of folks in the US government are really giant lizards intent on taking over the world.

Great. Just great. Go ahead and shatter my entire world view.

I suppose that witches, ghosts, vampires, and intelligent politicians are all fantasies, too?

I’m crushed, Scotland. I guess there’s nothing left for me to do but throw away all my old beliefs and maybe switch to writing romance novels. That, or shore up the walls inside my head and hold fast to the inarguable fact that Nessie is really down there in the depths somewhere waiting for that one person who will get that perfect shot of her.

I can be that person. Why not? I’m booking a trip back to Scotland soon and I’m going to rent a tiny, stucco bungalow near that equally tiny trailer across the Loch. Maybe the man who lives there will give me pointers on where to stalk the waters with my camera ready.

After all, someone has to win the Lottery. Why not me?

 

Pick up Little Killers A-Z today for just $0.99! This deal will only last until the 15th!

Bad things come in small packages . . .

EPIC Award finalist Howard Odentz has penned twenty-six disturbingly fascinating horror stories about the youngest predators among us.

From Andy and Boris to Yuri and Zina, this eclectic anthology is filled, A to Z, with psychopaths, monsters, and murderers!

So turn on the lights and huddle under your blankets because murder isn’t just for grown-ups anymore. Come meet our gallery of little killers.

After all, they’re dying to meet you!

 

 

About Howard Odentz:

Author and playwright Howard Odentz is a lifelong resident of the gray area between Western Massachusetts and North Central Connecticut. His love of the region is evident in his writing as he often incorporates the foothills of the Berkshires and the small towns of the Bay and Nutmeg states into his work.

Author Spotlight: A Note from Anthony Francis

Author Spotlight: A Note from Anthony Francis
Liquid Fire

Keeping it Real


Good news! Dakota Frost, Book 3, LIQUID FIRE, is on sale right now on Kindle—but if that’s not enough to tempt you, I wanted to let you know that there’s more to Dakota Frost than magic tattoos, teenage weretigers, political vampires, battling wizards, and the hatching of dragons!

The Dakota Frost series isn’t just an urban fantasy: it’s also a slice of real life. From the very beginning, I wanted to create the feeling of a real world, not the experience of reading a stage play in prose. That’s why I created the series as a “period piece” set in Atlanta in 2006—the last time I lived in Atlanta for any extended period.

When I create each new book, I dig into the history and locations, trying to set the story in real places I’ve been and to flesh out the story around real events. In FROST MOON, I used Atlanta’s counterculture mecca, Little Five Points, as a backdrop for the action, and the upcoming midterm elections as texture for my political heroine.

In the sequel, BLOOD ROCK, I had to create a wholly unreal place—the backwoods Georgia town of Blood Rock, based on that giant granite boulder, Stone Mountain. I drove out to Stone Mountain, Georgia, hiked through the park, navigated through nearby neighborhoods, and filled it with my experiences of small town life.

But for the third book, LIQUID FIRE, I wanted to do more. I had since moved to the Bay Area, and discovered “restaurants for vampires” like the dark red curtained Asia de Cuba in San Francisco and the quirky Nola restaurant in Palo Alto and all its nearby alleyways. I walked the streets and took extensive pictures for the Battle of Union Square, incorporating real features like the giant heart statue at its corner.

One of my favorite sequences is a diversion with magical alchemist Professor Narayan Devenger and the ensuing battle outside the Stanford Bookstore. A very real and creepy building with a medieval looking tower helped set the direction for the book; a fountain outside the bookstore became a setting for great action.

For the climax, however, I wanted something more, and I already had something special in mind: Maui. I had visited Maui for work and had spent an afternoon climbing through its mountains and forests, which impressed me far more than its beaches, which I hardly visited. And a volcano sparks the imagination. So for the climax of LIQUID FIRE … well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it?

So if you want to catch up with magical tattooist Dakota Frost, her weretiger daughter Cinnamon Frost, or just want to experience the nooks and crannies of Atlanta, the Bay Area and Maui as seen through the eyes of an urban fantasist, check out LIQUID FIRE!

-Anthony

 

Pick up the rest of Anthony Francis’s titles from Bell Bridge Books!

The Skindancer Series: Books One and Two

Jeremiah Willstone: Book One

Author Spotlight: Shereen Vedam

Author Spotlight: Shereen Vedam
A Devilish Slumber
Sleeping Beauty (Devilish Slumber) ad

Sleeping Beauty in Regency London?


A Devilish Slumber is Book 1 of The Rue Alliance series. Each of these three fairytale-inspired Regency romances have a paranormal twist.

What inspired the first book? It is a given that I love fairy tales, but I have always been particularly fascinated by Sleeping Beauty.

What woman isn’t touched by the romantic concept of a kiss from her true love bringing her back to life? And to have it happen in Jane Austen’s Regency London was a story I couldn’t resist telling.

The trick with re-making a classic love story, however, is to instill a fresh perspective on an age-old tale. So, in A Devilish Slumber, I aimed for a unique take on what first startles awake this beauty, and what perils she will face once she is completely present in her sinister new world.

As for the resident villain, Maleficent, she goes by a different name. But then, evil often wears many different faces. And it certainly does in this shape shifter book, in which people can, literally, magically, change how they appear.

The hero in A Devilish Slumber is a spy and so has a fine hand at the art of lying himself. But Sir Phillip Jones’s most difficult task won’t be simply winning the heroine’s heart, which will prove difficult enough. No, he must also uncover who she really is, in this switched identity story that will keep him on his toes to the very last page.

Excerpt from A Devilish Slumber

“You do not trust me.”

The hurt in her eyes struck him like a blow, and he desperately sought his fast-retreating rage. “Have you given me reason to trust you, Rose? You would not confide in me about that note.”

“Oh, that note again!”

“You made an assignation. You could have been killed.”

“Why should I confide in you? It has been two years, eleven months and ten days since you abandoned me.” She clamped her mouth shut as if afraid she had said too much.

Indeed she had. As swiftly as his fury had crowded in, now joy took possession of his soul. She had counted the days he had been away. That knowledge offered so many delicious prizes, but her swollen eyes and flushed cheeks drew his gaze and concern claimed victory.

She had been crying.

He walked closer and caressed her hot cheek. “I have missed you, too.”

She slapped his hands away. “I did not lie about my affections, sir. Not everyone uses people and then discards them. That set of behavior is entirely yours.”

He tipped her face up, wanting to kiss her, to tell her that he loved her, and had never stopped. “Rose . . .”

Her lips thinned, suggesting any well-thought-out words would fall on deaf ears.

She had closed herself off to his explanations and excuses. Yet, that counting of days suggested his betrayal of her trust had not completely destroyed her love. As did her earlier jealousy of Miss Warwick. So, what he had not had the wherewithal to do three years ago on their parting, tonight he showed no hesitation.

He drew her to him. Her startled green eyes grew wide and her mouth opened, no doubt to argue with him. He stole that breath in a kiss. To his shock, at his gentlest persuasion, she invited him closer. Her lips tasted of syrup and parted like a cloud until his impromptu kiss became wildly intimate plunder.

He tugged her tighter, his hands exploring the luscious woman she had become. At their every touch point, his skin electrified while his pulse hammered in delight and sent his emotions spinning.

Her eyes shut tight, Rose moaned in approval and shuddered within his hold.

The soft knock might as well have been the thunder of Thor’s hammer.

Rose whirled away, presenting her exquisite back while she readjusted her gown that looked half undone with ribbons hanging loose. Had he done that?

About Shereen Vedam

Once upon a time, Shereen Vedam read fantasy and romance novels to entertain herself. Now she writes heartwarming tales braided with threads of magic and love and mystery elements woven in for good measure. She’s a fan of resourceful women, intriguing men, and happily-ever-after endings. If her stories whisk you away to a different realm for a few hours, then Shereen will have achieved one of her life goals.

 

Pick up the rest of Shereen Vedam’s titles from ImaJinn Books!

The Rue Alliance – Books Two and Three

A Beastly Scandal

 

Author Spotlight: Diana Pharaoh Francis

Whisper of Shadows is the third book in my Diamond City Magic series. If you haven’t had a chance to look at them, they can be summed as:

In a world of diamonds, drugs, magical mafias, one woman must come out of the shadows, risking her life and even her soul, in order to protect her family and the man she loves.

Riley is the woman in the above description. She’s lived her whole live under the radar. She’s got a magical talent that is highly sought after by the mafia, the government, and anybody who’s every needed to find someone. She lives hand to mouth, taking small jobs and pretending to be a hack, while secretly using her talent to find kidnapped children.

Price is a cop. His brother runs one of the local mafias and Price does jobs for him sometimes. That connection alone makes believe he’s as corrupt as every other cop on the take–which is most of them. Riley’s been anonymously reporting the found children to him as in fact, he’s the least corrupt cop she’s every encountered.

She makes of point of trying not to let him notice her, but finds herself working with him, despite her best judgement. Their relationship is rocky. She’s been taught not to trust anybody, but especially cops and people associated with the magical mob. She frustrates Price because he knows she’s keeping secrets and he’s sure they could get her killed, and he desperately needs her help. He’s put between a rock and a hard place when he promises to protect Riley, and then his mafia king-pin brother demands that Price turn Riley over to him.

What I like about their relationship is that it’s based on a real appreciation and liking for one another. Price is alpha, but he’s not so alpha that he doesn’t realize he has to keep his autocratic tendencies under control if he wants to keep Riley in his life. She’s got a lot issues in her past that are coming back to haunt her–her mother’s murder and her father’s disappearance ten years later. She close to her step-mother and siblings, as well as a few friends, but she’s also a loner with a tendency to hold everybody at arm’s length.

In writing about these two didn’t want a lot of fights about stupid or predictable things. A lot of their difficulties have to do with how each of them work through their own troubled feelings. They both have to watch each other walk into danger (or run, as the case may be). They both have to make sacrifices and compromises to be together. They also have to figure out how to communicate with each other. Both have a habit of secrecy that that’s hard to overcome.

I like writing about Price and Riley. I like seeing their relationship grow and deepen. I like that their problems are natural and that a simple conversation doesn’t solve them. They take work and hard choices.

If you get a chance to pick up the Diamond City books about Riley and Price, I hope you enjoy and feel free to visit my website and drop me a line and tell me what you think: www.dianapfrancis.com  I’d love to hear from you.
 

About the Author:

Diana Pharaoh Francis is the acclaimed author of a dozen novels of fantasy and urban fantasy. Her books have been nominated for the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award and RT’s Best Urban Fantasy.Whisper of Shadows is the third book in her exciting new urban fantasy series–The Diamond City Magic Novels.

Author Spotlight: Lina Gardiner

Author Spotlight: Lina Gardiner
Grave New Day

Writing a series about vampires can be a challenge, especially since the goal of any writer is to be fresh and come up with a new twist on a subject that’s been written about for centuries.  That’s exactly what I was thinking when I came up with the idea that my heroine, Jess Vandermire, would be a vampire cop in New York City and she’d hunt her own kind.  Jess’s baby brother, in his seventies, would be a Catholic priest and he’d partially save her soul, giving her the tiniest advantage over the darker vampires who had no control over their blood thirst.  How’s that for angst? Added to that, Jess can no longer practice her faith. That’s how the Jess Vandermire series started and has evolved over seven books, three of which I wrote last year. (Coming soon to ImaJinn Books!).

I’m pleased to tell Jess’s fans that there is a revelation and twist in each of the next three books that might surprise . . . AND WILL DEFINITELY SHOCK . . .  followers of the series. 🙂 Of course, the love of Jess’s “life”, John Brittain, plays an integral part of what happens in the new books, as well.

All this to say, there will be surprises coming in the series.  Big surprises!  Hope to hear from you.

 

Grave New Day is on sale now through March 15th for just $0.99! Don’t miss this great deal!

Lina Gardiner

www.linagardiner.com

About the Author:

Lina Gardiner, award-winning author of the Jess Vandermire Vampire Hunter Series, has writing in her blood.

 

Lina’s first book was published in 2007.  At every point along the way—before 2007 and since—she enjoys the daily routines of being an author: from conceiving an idea to writing and revising, from networking with other authors to attending workshops and learning sessions and, of course, holding that bright and shiny, newly published book in her hands—always the best experience ever.

Being a writer is a dream come true for Lina, but the friendships she’s forged with fellow authors and readers are the main perks.  Those friendships make that solitary job a richer and more rewarding experience.

Lina belongs to several writers’ groups and has served as a board member and in several chapter positions.

On the home front, Lina Lives in New Brunswick, Canada, a hot spot for legendary ghosts, tall tales and odd happenings, which probably add to her love of a good mystery. The spooky stories her grandfather told his grandchildren in the “parlor” when their grandmother wasn’t paying attention also sparked the wonders of imagination and a love of storytelling.

Author Spotlight: Jake Bible

Author Spotlight: Jake Bible

I write fast.

My career is built on being able to crank out a novel a month. Yes, you read that correctly, a novel a month.

Is this a good thing? Well, it sure helps pay the bills.

Are the novels any good? My fans and readers seem to like them and the reviews tend to back that enthusiasm up.

Can they be better? Ah. There’s the rub. Can they be better…

The quick answer: yes.

The long answer: of course, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the timeframe in which I write those novels.

You see, even if I was given a year to complete a novel, I’d probably still write it in four weeks. That’s my style, that’s my groove.

That’s where the editor comes in.

When I finished Stone Cold Bastards and turned it in, I thought I was done. The other publisher I work with would have put the manuscript through some rigorous proofreading for typos and grammar and all that jazz, but they would have trusted that the story itself was solid and off it would go to the printer and to the ebook formatting elves. Nothing wrong with that. I write tight, so I’m comfortable with a quick turnaround.

Except every manuscript can be improved upon and SCB was certainly one of those manuscripts. I know, I know, how can you improve on a novel about a ragtag team of misfit gargoyles tasked with protecting the last of humanity from the demon-possessed hordes that have taken over the world? I know, right? That’s perfection in a nutshell.

But SCB needed tweaks. The characters needed better motivation. They needed to care. They needed to want to survive and/or help others survive. They had distinct personalities, yes, but so what? That’s where the editor steps in and helps turn a good novel into a great novel.

I fixed those characters. I made them care about others and about themselves. And in doing so, I made the reader care about them too. I wouldn’t have seen that flaw if it wasn’t for that extra editing. I would have moved on to the next novel and forgotten all about SCB. But the skill and experience of Bell Bridge Books, forced me to take another look at the manuscript. And another. And another. Until it was just right. Until it was the novel it was supposed to be, not just the novel I turned in.

In these days of self-publishing and the race to get novels to market, I think many writers forget the value of a good editor. For me, I never knew the value until I experienced it. Now I’m spoiled.

Yes, I’ll still write fast. I won’t deviate from my novel a month pace because that’s the writer I am. But it makes things easier, it takes a little bit of the load off my shoulders, knowing that the novel I produce at the end of that month can still be made better and I don’t have to go about that task alone.

All thanks to the editor.

 

About the Author:

Jake Bible, Bram Stoker Award nominated-novelist and author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, has entertained thousands with his horror and sci/fi tales. He reaches audiences of all ages with his uncanny ability to write a wide range of characters and genres. Other series by Jake Bible: the bestselling Salvage Merc One, the Apex Trilogy, the Mega series, and the Reign of Four series. Jake lives in the wonderfully weird Asheville, North Carolina.  Connect with Jake on Facebook, Twitter, and his website: jakebible.com

 

Author Spotlight: Anthony Francis

Author Spotlight: Anthony Francis
Jeremiah_Willstone_and_TCTM-200x300x72
Author pic for web

When Inspiration Finds You, Pounce on it!

Alright, I’ll admit it: I didn’t start out liking steampunk. When The Difference Engine came out, I just didn’t get it. I mean, Charles Babbage’s Difference Engines actually working, much less changing Victorian society? I didn’t buy it. Looking back, I think I just didn’t like alternate history, as I found other, similar novels off-putting.

But as I grew, I watched the steampunk movement grow too, hand in hand with the burgeoning maker community. At the same time I started attending the Maker Faire and admiring all the amazing contraptions our modern independent inventors were coming up with, I started noticing more and more steampunk costumes expressing the same kind of gutsy do-it-yourself, throw-it-all-together flair.

It all came together for me at Dragon Con 2009, where from the very first day I encountered a cavalcade of steampunks in amazing costumes – men with coffee blasters, women with clockwork wings, a young female soldier with a gearwork gatling gun incongruously grabbing a burrito at Willy’s in the food court.

And every costume was covered with brass, gears, and goggles! Now, I started out writing Larry Niven-style hard science fiction, so I asked myself the question: what would make the technology used by steampunks so different from our own? And as soon as I asked that question, I was hooked.

The brass? Clearly they’d invented some lightweight supermaterial with a brass finish. The gears? Clearly they used clockwork computation (damn it, you win, William Gibson!) And the goggles? Why, of course, to protect their eyes from the ultraviolet rays—nay, the period-appropriate actinic rays—of their rayguns!

And the female soldier? Well, that was a harder nut to crack, given the attitudes of the Victorians, but soon I found the answer. Women’s liberation actually started in the early eighteen hundreds, promoted by Mary Wollstonecraft, the mother of Mary Shelley—but when Wollstonecraft died in childbirth, her movement died with her.

But what if antibiotics had been discovered in the seventeen hundreds?

Then it all fell into place. In my steampunk world, Mary Wollstonecraft survived. Women’s liberation flourished in the early eighteen hundreds, and women flooded the sciences. Many other scientists who died young in our world also survived because of antibiotics. With more than twice as many brains working on hard problems, their world became more advanced in 1908 than our world is today.

And that’s the world Jeremiah Willstone was born into … and the world of the Clockwork Time Machine.

I hope you have fun there!

Pick up Anthony Francis’s newest title – JEREMIAH WILLSTONE AND THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE today! Available at these retailers:

 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lhOxeD

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2ld3m1T

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2lLRS9m

Google: http://bit.ly/2mhT3uK

About the Author:

By day Anthony Francis studies human and other minds to design intelligent machines and emotional robots; by night he writes fiction and draws comic books at the collision point of hard science and pure fantasy. He was inspired to study artificial intelligence by Douglas Hofstadter, to become a writer by Isaac Asimov, and to write urban fantasy by Laurell K. Hamilton and Richard P. Feynman. He got his Ph.D in AI and his brown belt in Taido from Georgia Tech; he currently supports his out-of-control reading and writing habits by working at the Search Engine That Starts With a G. Anthony lives in San Jose with his wife and cats but his heart will always belong in Atlanta.

Author Spotlight: H.W. Buzz Bernard

Author Spotlight: H.W. Buzz Bernard
Cascadia

IT PROBABLY HELPS TO BE A FEW FRIES SHORT OF A HAPPY MEAL

A few days ago, I came across some notes I made while plodding though the literary landscape in search of an agent who would represent my debut novel, EYEWALL.  The notes were compiled in 2009 – a couple of years prior to EYEWALL’s publication.  I had no recollection of making them, but there they were.

What they were was this: a compilation of comments agents had made about the manuscript, both pro and con.  I assume I kept them to remind me to focus on the positive remarks as opposed to the negative ones, since I tend to be a glass-half-empty kind of guy instead of a glass-half-full one.  In other words, I needed an antidote, the “pro” comments, to ward off the poisonous effects of negative reviews.

If you’re a published writer or are looking for an agent, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you aren’t, then what follows will provide a little insight into what authors face as they trek along the winding, unpaved road to publication.  In my case, the road turned out to be ten years long and strewn with four different manuscripts.

If nothing else, a review of the comments I received serves as a vivid reminder of how TOTALLY SUBJECTIVE the endeavor of assessing manuscripts is.  And I know this from both sides of the aisle now, since I occasionally judge writing competitions.

So here we go.

According to my notes, I lacked genuine talent as a writer.  One agent said she was “not that impressed by the writing.”  Another dissed my execution as “a bit dense and overwritten.”

Time for a big swallow of my antidote.  “You have a gift of description which is lushly depicted,” declared one agent.  Another pointed out: “Your language in descriptive passages really impressed me.”  Okay, perhaps there’s a glimmer of hope for me.

I apparently had trouble kick starting the story, however.  One agent pointed out the first two chapters were “not compelling enough.”  But another told me, “Very nice writing, especially the first chapter.”  Hmmm, maybe I sent out two different manuscripts.

Then there was the issue of driving the drama forward.  “More slow-moving than I’d hoped,” one reviewer complained.  Another griped, “The details get in the way of what should be more fast-paced and gripping.”

Happily, there was an opposite assessment: “Starts off fast paced right from the beginning.”

The body blows were relentless, however.  Agents were “not sufficiently engaged; not sufficiently enthusiastic;” or found the tale “a bit predictable.”

Thankfully, there were always the counterpunches to keep me going: “Great and timely concept, one with clear marketability,” and “you write well and deserve an agent with the time to properly represent you.”

It took me another year before I found such an agent.

In the end, I’d have to say the pro comments were more on target than the cons.  EYEWALL went on to become a number-one best seller on Amazon’s Kindle Store.

That’s just the kind of goofy business this is.  It’s a game with only self-defined rules, amorphous boundaries, and no referees.  One that’s both fun and terribly frustrating.  To play it, you have to be tenacious, thick-skinned, and probably a few fries short of a Happy Meal.

 

Pick up EYEWALL by H.W. Buzz Bernard today for just $1.99!

St. Simons Island, Georgia, has never been hit by a Category 5 hurricane. Until now.

No one predicted the storm’s sudden force. A crippled Air Force recon plane, trapped in the eye of a violent hurricane. An outspoken tropical weather forecaster, fired from his network TV job before he can issue a warning: the storm is changing course and intensifying. A desperate family searching for a runaway daughter on Georgia’s posh St. Simons Island, cut off from escape as the hurricane roars toward them. A marriage on the rocks; an unrequited sexual attraction; a May-December romance. All will be swept up by the monster storm.

Get ready for a white-knuckle adventure.

 

 

And don’t forget to grab H.W. Buzz Bernard’s other great Bell Bridge Titles as well!

  

 

About the Author:

H. W. “Buzz” Bernard is a best-selling, award-winning novelist.

His debut novel, EYEWALL, which one reviewer called a “perfect summer beach read,” was released in May 2011 and went on to become a number-one best seller in Amazon’s Kindle Store.

PLAGUE (“One of the best thrillers of 2012″–novelist Al Leverone) came out in September 2012, and won the 2014 EPIC eBook Award in the suspense/thriller category.

SUPERCELL (“Races along with the speed of a twister”–novelist Michael Wallace) was published in late 2013 and became a best seller on Kindle as well as the winner of the 2015 EPIC eBook Award in the suspense thriller/category.

Buzz’s fourth novel and third in his “weather trilogy,” BLIZZARD (“A terrific book”–novelist Deborah Smith) was released in February 2015. It led to his nomination for a 2016 Georgia Author of the Year award.

CASCADIA (“heart pounding”–Reed Farrel Coleman, NYT best-selling author WHERE IT HURTS) hit the market in July 2016.

Before becoming a novelist, Buzz worked at The Weather Channel as a senior meteorologist for 13 years. Prior to that, he served as a weather officer in the U.S. Air Force for over three decades.  He attained the rank of colonel and received, among other awards, the Legion of Merit. His “airborne” experiences include a mission with the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters, air drops over the Arctic Ocean and Turkey, and a stint as a weather officer aboard a Tactical Air Command airborne command post (C-135). In the past, he’s provided field support to forest fire fighting operations in the Pacific Northwest, spent a summer working on Alaska’s arctic slope, and served two tours in Vietnam. Various other jobs, both civilian and military, have taken him to Germany, Saudi Arabia and Panama. He’s a native Oregonian and attended the University of Washington in Seattle where he earned a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric science; he also studied creative writing. Buzz currently is vice president of the Southeastern Writers Association. He’s a member of International Thriller Writers, the Atlanta Writers Club and Willamette Writers. He and his wife, Christina, live in Roswell, Georgia, along with their fuzzy and sometimes over-active Shih-Tzu, Stormy.

Buzz’s Website can be found at www.buzzbernard.com.