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SPRING reading magazine Executive Editor/Editor-in-Chief - Laurence O’Bryan Associate Editor - Tanja Slijepčević Assistant Editor - Elisabeth Schaffalitzky Graphic Designer - Mirna Gilman

Produced by BooksGoSocial 5 Dame Lane Dublin 2


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Hi, You are very welcome to our Spring magazine ‘18! The winter is finally over and we’re looking forward to more sun and warmth. And books, of course! We have an eclectic mix of book genres – from criminally good reads and mysteries, to fantasy, science fiction and political issues. Something for every taste! If you look around our magazine, you’ll find a few free books you can download straight to your Kindle and several book giveaways with more than 80 books available for free download!


Don’t miss this – the giveaways finish on the 25th of May, so it’s free for limited time only. Do you have too many books you’re not sure what to do with? Frank Daley shares his approach in his article Booked! There are several excerpts and short stories – from sweet romances with strong woman like Love on the Line by Kirsten Fullmer to a paranormal short story which ties in to the the story in our previous magazine – Elaina by R. A. Correa. We also have a special section on our Dublin Writers Conference, running from 22nd to 24th of June. With a few insider tips from our speakers, we hope it will tempt you enough to join us in Dublin. We hope you enjoy the magazine! And if you have any ideas for articles or things you would like to see covered in our magazines, let me know. Laurence O’Bryan Editor in Chief Secret Library Magazine, Spring edition





A figure from Alexandra’s past plans to strike deep into the heart of the American capital. His target is everyone and everything dear to her.

Available on Amazon 7


Midnight Crossing by Diane Shute Quenton takes Alix home to France after years of exile in England, she is torn between the restoration of her fortune and her dream to build her Sterling Wood Stable into a successful racing business. She finds an unlikely friend in her uncle’s companion, Nicholas Griffon. Caught by her surprising fondness for him, Alix does not realize shadows from the past are stalking her—until she’s trapped by their darkness.

Forgiven by Geoff Lawson Rachel is young, charming and troubled, but once she meets Richard things begin to change. Richard is not from the wrong side of the tracks, but he’s not on the right side either. Can he convince her father that he is worthy enough to be her husband?

The Deserving by Efren O’Brien In the New Mexico Territory in 1862, two prolific Civil War Battles took place. A young Union Army Corporal nearly dies in the Battle of Valverde Ford, but is rescued by a local villager, a young lady. The two survive the battle but begin a strange odyssey with an evil Confederate Officer, Aubrey McGrath. The war ends and E’mile and Carmen are married but meet McGrath again years later in Santa Fe. Fate demands one final battle between E’mile and McGrath. The question is, who prevails and who loses?


Thomas' secret teachings and mysterious travels are now brought vividly alive in the apocryphal story: The Book of Thomas the Doubter: Uncovering the Hidden Teachings.



The Haunting Paranormal & Horror Giveaway




Generating Effluence by Martin D. Tabat

Generating Effluence is the passport to an incomparable journey of self-discovery. This book explores the meaning of Everything, Nothing, and our relation to both. In it, Dr. Popache charts a course of knowledge that encompasses the quirks of subatomic particles and the nature of God. When we accept that the concept of free will is a sham, that we cannot buck the Universe’s design for our lives, we become free to pursue our lives. Our eminent guide challenges us to stand up, shake off the negative energy of our egos, and accept a Universe that, on a good day, is pathologically chaotic. „I was a miserable shell of a man, dissatisfied and disillusioned with my so called ‘life.’ Doctors failed to cure my chronic bad breath and body odor. My stink foot gagged my family members and sent my dog into a coma. Then I read Dr. Popache’s book and was transformed, body and soul. I no longer reek. I am no longer a pariah in the gym. Instead of scowling, my face radiates joy. Instead of pounding a galley ship drumbeat, my heart beats with the peristaltic rhythm of Effluence.“ —Ren Kegan, Frog Twanger Second Class

Do You Know Your Mom’s Story? 365 Questions You Need to Ask Her by Glenna Mageau Do You Know Your Mom’s Story? 365 Questions You Need to Ask Her, is a way to honor our moms, who may not realize how much their journey and who they are, matter. This book offers a way to get conversations started between children and their moms, especially elderly mothers. It provides questions to ask, and how and when to ask them. It is a way to grow, heal and/or mend the relationship between mom and child and to document and preserve Mom’s journey. Her story is her legacy to you. “…it reaches far beyond dates of birth, marriage and death and into the heart and soul of a woman and her family… it not only tells the tales of a woman but gives us a glimpse into ourselves...” - Multi-AwardWinning Author P.M. Terrell “…insightful questions with thought provoking examples and explanations… It’s about exploring one’s heritage, strengthening or healing relationships and most importantly; honouring the wonderful person who brought you into this world. I love it!” Christine Jackson


The author relates to the thought processes and deeds of an average person who constantly seeks improvement in the way the human mind and the world works. Moving through philosophy, belief, and relationship phenomena, the book also describes the authors personal experiences of such events as took place in Libya during the six-day war in 1967 between Egypt and Israel, plus a historical incident in Canada involving the American Indian Movement and the FBI in the 1970s.


When Will We Ever Learn by Bob Newbrook

“Compellingly written, ‘When Will We Ever Learn’ takes readers on a journey through the human mind, philosophy, religion and a host of real-world geopolitical events to examine what humanity’s striving for world peace has really accomplished. In reality, the answer has been more discord, death and destruction. But just how has our supposed “progress” achieved this terrible fate? And how can people collectively break this cycle and actually start to move toward a world free of oppression and hate? Newbrook explains all...“

My Stars Are Still Shining by Amina Warsuma Though she came to live a glamorous life interviewing celebrities and walking international runways as a fashion model, Amina Warsuma’s path there was anything but easy. From modest beginnings, she needed grit and a willingness to surrender to fate to make it to the top. “Amina has endured many things, and flourished as a model, writer, actress, producer, and dancer. She reveals herself with both objectivity, insight and emotion. Don’t hesitate to get a copy of My Stars Are Still Shining.“ - Gabriel Constans. “What an incredible, heart-wrenching story. Amina is a true survivor of a horrific childhood. Her writing is vivid and raw, but ultimately inspirational. She is an amazing example of how the human spirit can get through unimaginable horror, yet make a successful life for herself. You won’t forget this book!“ – D Harwood


Walk A(New)Way by Nalini MacNab What is it like to be born awake while most of the world lies fast asleep? To grow up in a world where you know people’s thoughts and true intentions, while what comes out of their mouths is the complete opposite? Maddening? Yes. A bit horrifying? Absolutely. Nailini MacNab knows firsthand what it’s like. In her book, Walk A New Way, she takes us down her path less travelled, shows us first hand what it’s like and how she navigated two very different worlds. What emerged was a new path, a new way to walk. And we’re all invited to come along. Not to walk her path, but to carve out our own distinct way of being in this world, while not being of it. In Walk a New Way, Nalini reveals a roadmap for having your feet on the ground and your heart in the heavens. “I recommend reading the author’s Biography on this page because it will fill you with the flavor of what is written so magically through Nalini MacNab. It sets the stage for the adventures that follow in Walk A(New) Way. For many, though not all, miracles have been forgotten, dismissed as impossible - not so for Nalini. The stories, both fun and daunting, reveal her courage and commitment to following the light within. Mystical dimensions, reverence for Nature, and love for all creatures fill the pages with delight, wonder, and seeing what can unfold when the Divine is fully trusted as we walk through this life.“

Raised in the Shadow of the Bomb: Children of the Manhattan Project by D. Leah Steinberg This story began before I was born, when my father, Ellis P. Steinberg, and uncle Bernard Abraham worked on the secret undertaking that developed the first atomic bombs. These later were dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was not only my extended nuclear family that experienced and was affected by growing up at this time in history, but a whole generation of other children raised in the shadow of the bomb who had stories to tell. The result is this book--part memoir, part discussions with siblings and cousins, and part interviews with a dozen others who had a parent who worked on the Project. “The world we live in is very much the creation of these scientists and engineers. I think this book adds a crucial human element to how we got here, and how we might move forward into a hopefully more mature and secure world.“


Why I love writing novels By Patricia E. Gitt No surprise, I’m not perfect. Nor the most attractive or smartest person in the room. But when I sit down in a totally quiet environment I can pretend to be all the things that elude me in life. Since I bore easily, I spice up my tales featuring women in dynamic careers facing some villain, and in so doing forcing them to own their short comings, while vanquishing their foes. Regardless of everyday logic as reported in the news and instilled in me by my parents, I can eat as much as I want without gaining an ounce, kill the evil-doer and not go to jail, buy anything I want without going into debt, and have as many lovers as my imagination can create. The world is at my fingertips. I can avoid airport crowds with a private plane and pilot. No sea is beyond the range of my yacht. No country beyond my private guide and driver. As a foodie, I can select my restaurants from the Michelin Guide all stars. Entertain family and friends with meals created by a five star chef. Dine on indigenous menus created by a culinary expert flown in for the occasion. And, not count the cost of any wine I favor.


No need for a psychiatrist, well-meaning counselor, or guru guiding me to a serene, healthful and loving lifestyle. The twists and turns in real life provide the irritants that can be soothed, anger that has no socially acceptable outlet, and the depressing setbacks that would normally curtail my life. As for magnetism, beauty, and a body to make men weep, all are available. No diet, gym regimen, or scalpel needed. Money doesn’t have to be earned, saved, horded. It is a self-replenishing entity always available in any amount when needed. Rules don’t exist. Evil and Good are the yin and yang of the tale. People are each unique and created to further the story not fit a gender. And, the world isn’t limited to Earth or the known universe. Where does this freedom come from? It is gift of the imagination borne of a lifetime of career, experimentation and curiosity. All the “buts” that would make me consider safe choices don’t exist. We know life isn’t fair, but in my imagination I can make it come out my way. It is about dreams, people who conquer personal challenges, expanding geographical horizons both real and imagined, and immersion in the creative works of other dreamers with their own unique visions of life. Try it yourself. Close your eyes and let your imagination roam. No one will criticize. No one will stop you. It won’t endanger your life. Nor, will it cost one penny/euro/lira or ruble. ### Patricia E. Gitt is the author of corporate crime novels featuring women balancing dynamic careers with private lives. Click here to find out more.


This book is a plea for peace with Iran -- an ancient country which the U.S. has interfered with time and again, beginning with the overthrow of Iran’s Prime Minister in 1953; the CIA creation of the brutal SAVAK security services; the support of Iraq’s 8-year war against Iran, complete with chemical weapons use; and the present support for the anti-Iranian MEK terrorist group. This book provides a dose of sanity and reason in thinking about U.S.-Iranian relations, and demonstrates how Iran can be a willing partner in the struggle against terrorism in The Middle East.

Non Fiction

The Plot to Attack Iran by Daniel Kovalik

“This review of critical incidents of recent history is a treasure trove of information that Americans should know, but scarcely do, and a very valuable corrective to prevailing mythology about our innocence threatened by the evil enemy. Deeply informed, it could hardly be more timely or urgent.” - Noam Chomsky

Breaking Big Money’s Grip on America: Working Together To Revive Our Democracy by Bruce Berlin A call to action, this book explains how a nationwide, grassroots Democracy Movement can overcome the enormous influence of money in our political system and convert our government into one that truly serves the American people. It demonstrates why breaking Big Money’s grip is critical to solving virtually every issue from affordable healthcare to gun violence to border security. It’s a practical handbook for anyone - conservative, moderate or progressive - who wants to fix our broken political system. “A brilliant analysis of where we are and where we need to go. Read this book!” —Thom Hartmann, talk radio show host “In today’s troubling times, where the election season is dominated by misleading television advertisements funded by the wealthiest one percent, Breaking Big Money’s Grip on America is worthy of the highest recommendation.” James Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review


Love on the Line Excerpt


ravis surveyed the girl from head to foot. Her ears, cheeks, and fingers were still red with cold. Mud was smeared across one of her cheeks, and her limp brown hair sagged out of a scraggly bun and into her eyes. She looked to be spent, he conceded, momentarily forgetting his annoyance with her. When the girl had spotted the loaded cart of the woman ahead, her shoulders had slumped in defeat and fatigue. She was green all right, he snorted in disgust. She’d never last out the week.

Evidently, she heard him, because she turned. As her expression registered recognition, a fire lit in her hazel eyes and her chin rose a notch. The scrap of a thing had spunk, he’d give her that much. The spark in her eye made him almost feel bad that she’d fail miserably. He hated to see a woman in a difficult spot, maybe because he’d watched his mom struggle. But women could be tough when push came to shove, he knew that for sure, it’s just that a girl didn’t belong on a pipeline, pure and simple. Andy shifted the loaf of bread from one hand to the other and attempted to smoother her hair back up into her bun. “Rooster, right?” He didn’t much care what her name was; she wouldn’t be around long enough to bother, but his momma had taught him manners. “That’s right, and you are?” He made sure his expression didn’t show any interest. He didn’t want the girl thinking he slobbered after her like all the other hands on the job. “I’m Andrea,” she said, tucking the bread under her arm to offer her hand. Appalled by the redness of her small fingers as well as the mud caked around her broken fingernails, Travis once again wondered who on earth had told the girl she should try pipelining. Halfheartedly he shook her hand, careful not to crush her sore fingers. 18

After a quick bob of a handshake, Andy jerked her hand back and tugged it up into the sleeve of her coat, making Travis wonder if she was embarrassed by the state of her fingernails. A ding overhead notified Travis that the lane next to them had opened and he motioned with his head for Andrea to take it, if she were inclined. She shook her head and turned away. With a nod of dismissal, he headed for the open checkout, careful to be sure he didn’t look her way again. Now that he’d seen for himself how tired and filthy she was, and after just one day, he hoped the poor thing would give up pipelining and he’d never have to see her again. It hurt on a profound level to see her looking so forlorn. It brought back too many memories. Resolving to forget the girl, he placed his groceries on the belt. Frozen pizzas, bologna, beer, peanut butter, and the other bachelor food he’d selected didn’t look too appetizing after a long, cold day, but all he needed was something quick and edible. As he tucked the receipt in his hip pocket and reached for his grocery bags, he caught sight of Andrea’s back as she disappeared out the front door. *** Andy hurried into the parking lot, startled to find cold rain falling in sheets. As if she weren’t miserable enough, now she had to get soaked too. “Great,” she grumbled, hunching deeper into her coat. Lifting her head just long enough to spot her grandpa’s white company truck, she lowered her head into the deluge and pushed forward. Caked mud melted off her boots with each step as she sloshed through the puddles filling the parking lot. First snow and mud, now rain, was there no end to the misery of this day? Thankful to finally reach the truck, Andy jerked on the door handle, nearly unhinging her shoulder when the door was locked. Surprised, she glared through the dark rain-streaked window. The truck was empty. Where was her grandpa? “What the hell are you doing? This is my truck,” a voice behind her growled, causing Andy to jump. She whirled around and squinted through the pouring rain to see Rooster glaring at her. About the time she opened her mouth to reply, a matching truck pulled up behind him. Andy’s head whipped from the truck handle in her grip, to the tinted windows of her grandpa’s truck behind Rooster. Locks of rain-soaked hair streamed 19

down her face, and she blinked under the torrent, realizing belatedly that both were work trucks for the same company. No wonder she’d confused them. In a snit, she stomped past Rooster to jerk open the door to her grandfather’s truck and climb inside. Her face burned with humiliation, even through the cold. “What was that all about?” Buck asked. Andy glared at her grandfather. “I hate that Rooster.” The old man nodded as he pulled from the parking lot and turned toward home, but he had to grin to himself in speculation. Kirsten Fullmer’s charming romance novels have spent the last three years rising to the top of the Amazon best seller’s list in 12 countries. Find out more about Kirsten here.

I Put A Spell On You Fantasy Giveaway


Life in a Hospice By Ann Richardson Hey you – yes you! I see you rushing off. You see the word ‘hospice’ and you think death, gloomy, morbid – not for me. You search for a good crime novel instead. No death there, of course. But Life in a Hospice is anything but gloomy. It is a book of stories, told from the heart. And from all sorts of viewpoints. Perhaps the most important word is “life”. You want a story with a bit of love? There’s more love in a hospice than anywhere in the world. You have an urge to be moved? Yes, of course, when talking about the end of life, that goes without question. You want to see the complexity of human relationships? For sure, that is there in abundance. Some humour? You won’t be disappointed. You may be surprised. Life in a hospice shows what it is like to work in a hospice and, by extension, what it is like to be a hospice patient or visiting relative. It is told in their own words by nurses, assistants, chaplains, doctors, managers and even a very thoughtful hospice cook. They tell of the withdrawn woman who blossomed under the care of the day centre. There is the man who asked to die under a tree – and they arranged it. There are the two young daughters who asked for their father to be buried with some cigarettes and a can of lager. Throughout, there is the enormous sense of ‘privilege’ to be working in a hospice.


Yes, it is about death and dying, but as you’ve never seen it before. Hospices are teeming with life – with love, laughter, arguments and tears. To quote a cliché, “all life is there”. And if, perchance, you are wondering where you should go when your last days or near – or, indeed, are helping a relative or friend to find such a place – you will be enormously reassured. Reviews? You can bet they were excellent. Now maybe that was worth staying for. Ann Richardson Amazon link: Apple iBooks etc links: my website:

Your FREE book! 22

Private Detective Richard Martinez uses his Sherlock Holmes style investigative experiences to list all the techniques used, that often exceeds 50 Shades of Grey’s antics.


Poetry & Romance

An Odyssey of Love, Nature & Life by Vic Tomlinson This lovely book of 40 poems ranges from love to the beauty of nature and the struggles of everyday life. The topics include Oneness, Being in Love, The Mountains, One Snowy Evening, Christmas Eve, Southern Things, I Hear the Rain, Music, Restless Soul, Persons of Color, People Watching, Being on Time, Divorce, The Homeless Man, The Coming of Spring, The Quest for Peace and others. “Time, time is ever so precious.” Do we really understand what time means to us, as human beings? Apparently the talented author Vic Tomlinson can relate, and does.“Laughter is the medicine that nourishes the body.” Another well-said phrase as Mr. Tomlinson shares his snippets regarding life’s observations, which is what this volume of poetry is all about. How we visualize the light, the darkness, and the levity, and I promise this author brings home what is most important. In short, Mr. Tomlinson has taken poetry to a high-end level. I’ve been reading his prose via Facebook and on Twitter for some time now, so when I dove into reading An Odyssey of Love, Nature, and Life, I was truly elated. Each poem is a short story in itself. This is very difficult to do as a writer. I highly recommend this book, because the writing is eloquent and true to life’s reality.“

Jillian’s Cowboy by Charliann Roberts Sweet, clean & wholesome story of love and suspense. The past haunts her idyllic life. Jillian Parker moved from Florida to northern Minnesota, determined to put behind her all reminders of her mother’s tragic death. Here, she discovers the home she’d always dreamed of - thirty acres of land filled with magnificent meadows and wildlife surrounded by beautiful lakes. Sadly, soon after settling in she’s informed that her father suffered a fatal heart attack. While his death was a grievous blow, the letter he left gives her a tremendous shock as it reveals a past she’d never suspected. She’s consoled by the friendship of handsome Connor, a man with a generous heart, yet her perfect life abruptly turns into complete turmoil when she’s attacked by someone intent on spoiling her new life...


A family rift, a nearly impossible job, & a coworker she can't resist. ~Love on the Line~


Science Fiction & Fantasy

Step into the Extraordinary The Longest Midnight by J.J. Fowler Captain Joshua Drake, a cynical and exhausted veteran, commands a platoon of men on the front lines of a collapsing civilization waging a brutal war against the walking dead. As the fragile human defenses struggle to hold back an enemy that does not sleep or feel pain, Drake and his men are sent on a dangerous mission deep behind enemy lines. The small platoon of soldiers set out into the apocalyptic wasteland where they must battle mass zombie hordes, dissension in the ranks and homicidal nomadic humans. To survive against these impossible odds and change the course of the war they will have to trust an unlikely and potentially dangerous ally.

Girl Divided by Willow Rose They think she’s a monster, but she’s their only hope… Girl Divided is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel infused with magical forces. If you like immersive worlds, strong characters, and a tale that reads like Neil Gaiman and Stephen King combined, then you’ll love Willow Rose’s provocative story.

Idi & the Oracle’s Quest by T N Traynor An orphan with a painful past. A wizard running out of time. Together, they’ll discover the most powerful magic is hidden within. Orphaned at birth and bullied his whole life, Idi never thought he’d grow up to become anything other than the village idiot. When a washed-up wizard tells him he’s destined to become a legendary magician, he’s certain he’s got the wrong urchin. But that doesn’t stop Idi from tagging along on his quest to save the future king.


Monkey’s Luck by Bonnie Milani Monkey’s Luck. That’s what the Commonwealth citizens call the kind of hard luck that turns even the good stuff bad. For a noteven-legally-human woman like Kat, it’s the only kind of luck there is. When a Lupan hunting pack blows out her battle crew’s freighter, Kat figures she can put her bloody past behind her. At least that’s the plan. Until the rescue team delivers Kat to her worst enemy. Trapped on a base where nothing and no one is what they seem, can she stay alive long enough to outrun her monkey’s luck? “A ...cracking good read: ...part space opera (in a very good way), part adventure story (ditto), and part action/thriller. Not easy to put into one volume, but the author has done so with skill and verve. It’s a true page-turner, and I don’t know of a higher compliment than that.“

ALECS by Howard Marsh It looked like a good idea. The war against terror was not going well, and something new was needed. AI and nanotechnology were proven to be able to create the perfect soldier, so they built ALECS and sent it out to do its job. But their creation was more than human in every respect, and it had its own ideas about its role in life and its relationship with its creators. The science and technology are not too far in the future, but what would happen if we did create this new form of life? “Without a doubt, this is the most interesting book I have read for a long time. It incorporates concepts about computer and information technology, military tactics, and human interaction, all woven together in a cohesive story from beginning to a very surprising and unique thought provoking end. I could not put it down once I started to read it.“ “I was reminded of “Colossus: The Forbin Project” updated. However, Mr. Marsh drew me in and I considered the last page worthy, as if written by Asimov.“


When Innovation Comes Calling by Wendy H. Jones When I first started my journey as a Crime Writer, I could never imagine the places it would take me. Let me explain. I’ve always been a ‘grab life by the horns’ type gal. This means I am open to all possibilities and my take on life is always say yes. Within reason of course. However, on the whole I say yes and then work out the aesthetics of execution later. This means my journey as a writer has been thrilling, exciting and so much fun you cannot imagine. However, a publisher recently approached me with an idea so innovative I had no hesitation in saying yes. The publisher, local to Dundee, was Thebes Publishing and Audio Theatre Productions. They were looking for a local author to work with, and I sprang to mind. Over a pot of tea and a slice of cake, a new idea was born. I was asked to write a radio play for my first book, Killer’s Countdown. Now, I appreciate this is not particularly innovative, but stay with me. Once the play is written and edited it will be taken along to a local theatre. There, professional actors will act out the play in front of a live audience. At this live showing the play will be professionally recorded. This will lead to MP3’s and CD’s of the play being sold. The idea is that the entire production will be local to Dundee. The publisher, author, book, actors and all those involved in production will be local, giving it a real Dundonian and Scottish flavour. As Dundee is the Murder Capital of Scotland (in real life it really is), and Tartan Noir is Scotland’s second biggest export, this is a natural progression for the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries. And I’m super excited about the project. However, as always excitement can fast turn to what have I done? Thankful that my policy of always saying yes meant it was too late to back out, I embraced this new challenge. Luckily, I have been to several talks and workshops on writing plays 28

and I’m thinking radio plays are just one more step in that process. This has still been a steep learning curve - one I am greatly enjoying. My view on life is I may not know everything, but there’s always a book for that. So armed with a book voucher I duly purchased a book on writing radio plays. My local library also came up trumps with a book on writing dialogue for scripts. One of the reasons my book was chosen for the first in this new project was because of the strong dialogue. I try to make this realistic and with a liberal splash of humour. This means it translates well to dialogue for radio. However, writing for radio has a whole new set of challenges. The dialogue must carry the essence of everything that is happening. It needs to give a flavour of setting, sights, smell touch etc. Although there can be sounds used, the dialogue has to do the heavy lifting. This is a whole new ballgame in terms of dialogue, involving keeping it natural, and also interesting. Having to think about and include the special effects is another learning curve. Listening to radio plays has helped with this, so Radio 4 is my best friend at the moment. All I can ever remember about special effects in radio plays is recreating the sound of horses’ hooves with coconuts. Unfortunately, there’s not a horse to be seen in any of my books. Cue a dash to the bookshop to buy another book. It also seems strange having to type the characters name before they speak but I soon got into the swing of that one. It quickly became apparent that this is a different type of dialogue tag. This is the one and only time I have ever defaced a print book. I am currently underlining and adding notes all over a copy of Killer’s Countdown. Sacrilege. I’ve discovered it’s the best way to work out how I am going to get an entire book into three 45 minute acts. Forgive me if you can. I am looking forward to the time when we are in the theatre and the actors bring the play to life. When I attended the very same theatre as a child, I never for a minute thought that something I wrote would be on the stage. It’s a thrilling life right enough. To conclude, if you are ever given the opportunity to do something different grab it with both hands and run with it. I can assure you, you won’t regret it. Author Bio Wendy H. Jones is the award winning author of the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries and the Fergus and Flora Mysteries. She is also the President of the Scottish Association of Writers and an International Public Speaker. She lives in Dundee where her books are set. She loves travelling and combines this with writing to live a life full of adventure. 29

30th Century Escape by Mark Kingston Levin Which side will you be on? The side of the Syndos, geneticallyaltered humans, or the side of the Naturals. Captain Jennifer Hero is leading a task force from the thirtieth century on a one-way trip to the Diversion Point. Their goal is to plant a virus that will disrupt the genetic tendency toward sociopathy among the Syndos. After an intense attack on their remote South Pacific island base, Jennifer sends her colleagues back 300 years. But she does not go with them, opting instead to travel alone back to 2015 to grieve the loss of the love of her life, the time machine’s inventor, and to find herself. “Main character experiences unique personal and innovative state of the art scientific situations that challenge her intellectual and emotional response so as a reader I am compelled by the author’s excellent creative style to eagerly learn how she copes with the scientific, educational and personal situations. Great novel that opens our minds on how future scientific and biological innovations could affect us”.

Reconciliation ~ Heaven and Earth ~ by Diane de Simone Soon after her astrophysicist ex-husband is found dead, Martha Mathewson is told he’s been murdered, his files have been targeted, and she’s in danger. Martha’s been very sure of herself; she’s not used to her life being so upended. But then, she meets up with a small metal orb with ET intelligence, and she is definitely forced to abandon old beliefs about the nature of reality while also trying to stay alive. “Verdict: Inventive and well-written, RECONCILIATION: HEAVEN AND EARTH is a fascinating story about theoretical physics, ET phenomena, and New Age beliefs relative to both of the aforementioned.“ “An intelligently plotted, masterfully executed novel with great potential to delight not only those with an interest in quantum physics, but anyone looking for a well-written, engaging story with a strong setting, a fast pace, and twists that will surprise readers. de Simone weaves suspense into her tale in a way only a mistress of the genre could.“


A highly ghly infectiou infectious and incurable virus spreads worldwide. ONE BY ONE EVERYONE SUCCUMBS LEAVING KERRYL ALONE 31

BOOK ENDS or, BOOKED! Frank Daley

How do you dispose of books you’ve had for 50 years without it turning into a book burning or shredding exercise? It ain’t easy, McGee.

my books to go to good homes.

I had 4,000 books and had to reduce. I am a writer and teacher and wanted

It was a complex, time-consuming and disheartening process. It was, as Anthony Quinn said of marriage in Zorba the Greek, a literary version of “the complete catastrophe.” You can’t walk into your library and throw out that shelving unit or that wall of books, or everything in that file cabinet. Or every book in a genre. You must look at each volume and decide whether it stays or goes and if it goes, where does it go? I had the fantasy that many people would want my books. I created bibliographies: history (North American, European, world); social commentary; philosophy psychology; psychiatry; film and television (production, history; criticism, culture, directors,); theatre: acting, directing, production, history, plays from many countries; international litera32

ture; novels; etc. The head of the sociology department at a local university who operates a book sourcing and sales business was enthusiastic. After six months he had sold one book of 300 books: Neurosis in the Light of Rational Psychology by A.A.A. Terruwe. By then, I could have used that book. I tried universities (3) and colleges (8). Not only did they not want to buy any books or give a tax credit, only one bothered to reply to an email. I sent the film list to a national film training school in Toronto that has Norman Jewison on its board. A woman called me, extremely apologetic. She said that they could not, apparently, afford a library or even find the space (a room), to start one. I thought of sending the books to the Inuit in Canada’s north. “Well, to be truthful, they burned down the school. The kids, not the teachers.” I approached my town library. They were delighted to take any books for their annual book sale. “As long as there are no hardcovers.” “No hardcovers?” “No. They’re too heavy and they take up a lot of space.” “But you’re a library.” “Yes, but not so much now with actual books. It’s all digital now.” “How about paperbacks?’” “Oh, yes, we DO like paperbacks. They go fast at the book sale.” “You sell the books?” “Yes. We can price them less than Amazon. They go fast.” 33

“Hmmm.” “But no paperbacks older than five years.” “What?”’ “No.” “The information goes bad, does it? Becomes obsolete? Like Shakespeare and Gogol and…” “No.” “No? Good.” “No, it’s because they fall apart. They’re fragile.” “I see. Wrecked, are they?” “From all the use.” “Yes. Except these won’t be wrecked because I have cared for them. carefully.” “Maybe now. They will be wrecked, sooner or later. They don’t stand up like hardcovers.” “But you don’t want hardcovers.” “No, because of the weight. People don’t like them, you know, reading in bed or...reading.” “In the meantime, they, even the paperbacks, could be giving up solid information.” “They get that with the Internet now. Especially students.” “But all the information on the internet is not trustworthy.” “Yes, but the students don’t know that.” “Ahh.” “Just thinking that, in the meantime, before all the books get wrecked or fall apart, you would have my books. You don’t have them now. I’m sure. And then there’s the money. You wouldn’t have to buy them.” “Well, I’m not the book buyer.” “Shall I bring these over? They’re free.


“Yes, as long as there are no hardcovers and…” “Yes, I know, no paper over five years old. Because, apparently, the information is useless after five years.”

money to buy books.

I took over about 80 boxes, each holding more than 20 books. They practically gave them away at their annual books sale. Ostensibly to raise

A bookstore owner in Stratford said couldn’t store them and could operate his store only because he lived above the place. I thought he could sell books on theater since it is the home of the Stratford Shakespearean Festival and gets thousands of adult visitors who came to see the plays. He said if 15 kids come into the store one or two will look at books—everyone else is on a digital device and pays zero attention. I gave him 40 boxes of books on the arts. I have ten more to take him. Free. I hope he finds buyers. I hope you do too, or at least appreciative recipients when you downsize your library. Don’t count on it. You’ll have a hard time giving them away. I divested myself of more 1,800 books, 37 bookcases, and eight file cabinets It didn’t feel good. (Frank Daley, a writer, now lives in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada with fewer books.) 35



Pretty Waiter Girls by Greg Alldredge Some monsters are still human. In a magical 1899 San Francisco, at the height of the gilded age, a new millennium is quickly approaching. New inventions happen every day, some wondrous, some mundane while the streets produce a new murder every night. A debutante has gone missing, and socialite Helena Brandywine takes it upon herself, to find her. Helena learns truths about the fabricated world in which she lives, peeling away the gold leaf of her life, she begins to understand a horrible reality. Come search with Helena for the Pretty Waiter Girls.


“Pretty Waiter Girls” is full of rich detail and amazing characters. You’ll want to try this new adventure from talented author Greg

The Six and the Crystals of Ialana by Katlynn Brooke The forgotten healing knowledge of an advanced race, now vanished; a deadly Dragon King with ambitions to reclaim the ancient knowledge; and a powerful, lost crystal. Six young people, haunted by a shared dream, must rediscover their connection to the crystal and resume a perilous quest 500 years in the making. Guided by a transcendental shape-shifter they band together toward a common goal, but there is a traitor in their midst. In order to succeed in their mission, the six must remember who they really are, however, their chances of success are remote. Will they fail, once again? “I strongly recommend this series to all my friends and fellow fantasy lovers as it provides a new and interesting take on our favorite genre.” Levi, Online Book Club “The characters are varied, well developed and three dimensional and it is quite hard not to empathize with all the main protagonists. The shifting of the story teller’s point of view is smooth and effortless so that it is coherent and enjoyable.” Maria Beltran, Reader’s Favorite.


For a limited time only! Get the first book Free in this exciting new fantasy series which includes bespoke illustrations throughout by Tolkien artist, Roger Garland.

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While on set, Susan's world came crashing down. She was arrested and convicted for a crime she contended she did not commit.

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Best Book I’ve Read All Year The theme reminds me of the Chronicles of Amber which I loved. This book takes it even further with its clear yet imaginationprovoking writing. I hope we get the next volume soon!

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reviews Faerie Rising by A.E. Lowan I absolutely loved this book and the characters that A.E. Lowan has created and highly recommend it. Winter Mulcahy is an over-worked, overstressed, and way out of her depth wizard in the city of Seahaven, Washington. Seahaven is a town that is filled to the brim with all manner of preternatural beings, including vampires, fae, and all manner of therians - basically every manner of were-type creature that you can imagine, from rabbits to orcas, wolves to ravens. The town is on edge as each group tries to fight for dominance and Winter, being part of the wizard family that helped settle the town, is stuck in the middle trying to keep the peace between groups that would rather tear each other apart. Into this mix a faerie knight and a Sidhe (faerie) Prince come to town, looking for a prince who has been kidnapped, and soon Winter is even more overwhelmed when she must try to save the city from an impending disaster, and the only way to do that is to get everybody to play nice and work together. Winter is a well-crafted character, but she is not your typical heroine, bringing a lot of baggage with her. She is the last in the Mulcahy line, trying to keep a city full of preternatural beings from killing each other. She is an excellent healer, and not a great fighter, but she’s the only wizard still standing who can keep the minor incursions from faerie into Seahaven from getting out of control. She is burning the candle at both ends, and in the middle, and can only function by taking an energy potion daily that is slowly killing her. I love how in depth Winter’s character is, and that as the story moves along she sees what is happening to her, but struggles with asking for help, even knowing the consequences of that decision. The other characters are just as robust and thought out. Jessie, Winter’s apprentice, is feisty and full of spunk, though that means she often leaps 42

before she thinks. Etienne, the faerie knight, has his own baggage and problems spanning back for hundreds of years, though he is a loyal friend and single-minded in completion of his goals. Erik, one of the city’s vampire kings, is overly protective of Winter, even as she struggles to keep her distance so as to not appear to play favorites. Lana, a succubus, has her own agenda and is quick to take action in service to her new friends. (I enjoyed the interplay between Lana and Etienne.) Each character has depth, making them fun to read as you are caught up in their struggles. My one quibble with the story - and it’s a minor one - was the timing and pacing of the climactic ending. I loved the ending, and how it came about, as well as the conclusions and consequences that were revealed. My concern was over the pacing between the events leading up to the final battle in one chapter, then “wham” we are in the middle of the fight. I had to go back and make sure I hadn’t misplaced my bookmark and skipped a chapter. But that is a minor concern, and doesn’t detract from the overall world that A.E. Lowan has created. Real characters with all too human flaws (even among the faerie), and a well-planned, rich, and thought out world make Faerie Rising an excellent book. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next book.

Transient by Zachry Wheeler In Transient we are introduced to Jonas, a human living among vampires (now given the sanitized label of eternals) in the far future. Jonas lives among the eternals as a spy, helping the remaining humans to survive and hopefully find a way to defeat their mortal enemy. It’s not easy for Jonas and the other transients as they must take drugs to hide their presence among the undead and must partake in all the rituals of eternal society - including drinking blood. But the eternals have made it easy, massproducing the process of drinking blood for survival in private feeding rooms. The world-building that Zachary does for Transient is just amazing. Set in a Seattle of the far-future, with a race of people who cannot go out in daylight or they will die, he has created a fun and exciting world to explore with underground “skyscrapers” and a solar-powered economy 43

(a bit ironic for vampires). In fact, the world of the eternals is pretty much a utopia where everybody works (less than 30 hours a week), gets universal health care (not that eternals are prone to disease or illness), get lots of time off, have a great economy, and have ended wars, want, or need. There is no poverty and everybody gets along. It’s a perfect utopia, except that the remaining humans cling to the notion that the eternals are the spawn of the devil, an abomination unto God, and therefore must be destroyed. This leads to the major conflict for Jonas as he has started to disobey the rules laid down for transients - like don’t fall in love. As Jonas struggles with his inner conflict he is given a new assignment by his human handlers - a way that will kill off all of the eternals. Is Jonas up to committing mass genocide to save the human race? I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to others. It provides a fun and unique twist on the vampire story with a compelling character in Jonas. My one quibble (and it’s a minor one) is that Jonas’ story is told in the first person, so the people around Jonas, from his eternal friends, to his human handlers and family, get only a cursory treatment. They are not necessarily backdrop, but they do not come across as fully realized either. Maybe that’s just the hazard of telling the story in the first person, but with such a wonderfully created world I wanted to know more about the people who live in it, and having an eternal POV would have been nice. But don’t let my quibble deter you from picking up this book, it is well worth the read and I hope that Zachary is working on another book featuring Jonas and this world. Geoff Habiger Co-Author of Unremarkable and Wrath of the Fury Blade


criminally good reads! Waypoint by C. F. Waller Stacy’s life is in free-fall, her daughter killed by a drunk driver, her husband taking his own life a month later. She finds herself clutching a handgun searching for a sign that tomorrow will be any better than today. At this auspicious moment her cell phone rings bringing a chance to avert a world crisis, and possibly give her a reason to live.

John Spencer by Brownout - 666 or the real meaning of the swastika Falsely accused of a sexual crime in the Philippines Rick Daly loses the love of his life Marilyn, as well as his business. A clash of cultures as well as his own naïveté sees his life spiralling out of control. A prison escape amounts merely to a change of gaols in a world gone mad.

The Second Korean War by Ted Halstead Two Russian agents discover a missing nuclear weapon was hidden in an American city by North Korea. Another nuclear weapon nears Seoul in a tunnel built by North Koreans. And North Korea’s new military dictator launches an all-out invasion. Will Seoul or Pyongyang be the new capital of a united Korea?

Death by the Jaguar by James Ruby His wife and son are murdered when their boat is crushed by a villains craft. Revenge is violent but final when he lets loose his anger.



The Gangster’s Son by Joseph Mark Brewer A beautiful young woman is dead. Her American G.I. boyfriend is missing and her jilted admirer is nowhere to be found. A dedicated cop swears he’ll find the killer, but will his secret ties to a crime boss derail his search for justice and set her killer free? The Gangster’s Son. A Shig Sato Mystery.

Secret Keepers and Skinny Shadows by Mary A Russell The bone-chilling cold wrapped its icy arms around Bridgetown, New York, an unassuming, bustling railroad town. The inhabitants of this town didn’t live they endured life. The victim Bert Grayson spent his life working for the Conn. A known drinker and fighter from the rough side of town was found in a dark alley with this his throat slit.

Sally and Billy in Babyland and Their Adventures With Kitty the Cat by Mickey Hadick

This fast-paced political satire will thrill you, as two children are abandoned in the woods and fall under the control of Big Baby, a narcissistic despot who rules a dystopian place known as Babyland. The children face grave danger in their struggle, and confront a deadly evil no child should ever know.

Pura Vida by Annette Montez Kolda Move over Miss Marple. Sister Bridget is on the case. Mysterious characters have slipped into the United States, and they aim to make trouble. It’s up to Sister Bridget and fifteen-year-old Miguel Lopez to stop them. “Thrilling storyline, and wonderfully rich descriptions of Austin, Interior Mexico, and in-between. Sister Bridget is a hoot!”






can you solve these mysteries? Killer Cannoli by Carole Fowkes PI Claire DeNardo discovers a romance brewing between her Aunt Lena, owner of Cannoli’s Cafe, and a new customer. Claire’s instincts that the guy is trouble prove dead-on when he’s found murdered at the café. While delving into the dead man’s life, Claire realizes her aunt may unwittingly possess what the killer wants. And it’s not her tiramisu recipe.

What Hides Beneath? By J.L.Canfield First in a new mystery series where a seasoned detective battles being assigned low level crimes with his sidekick and a rookie with no experience. In this book, a museum reports a stolen laptop worth little. When Lt. Samyn arrives, he learns there’s more missing. A rare or worthless, Japanese vase and an insurance investigator are gone also.

Surgical Risk: A Kurtz and Barent Mystery by Robert I. Katz When a former girlfriend is found strangled in a hospital call room, surgeon Richard Kurtz and detective Lew Barent are drawn into a twisted tale of bitter revenge.

The Bone Shroud by Jean Erlene Rabe Irem Madigan’s wedding trip to Rome turns into a desperate search for historical relics, and a struggle to stay ahead of a killer. Irem flies to Italy to be the “best man” in her brother’s wedding. He’s marrying an archaeologist who lures Irem into a centuries-old mystery. Unfortunately, there are other players in the game, and some of them are playing deadly. Can she survive and uncover the ancient secrets?


Three Fifths by John Allen Machado What would you do if death came knocking at your door? And how would you carry on if your life was instantly turned upside down? Johnny Silva, a recovering alcoholic and addict, sets off on a weekend getaway from Pismo Beach to the foothills of Northern California. Upon his arrival in the small town of Pioneer, he’s thrust into an encounter with a worn down homeless man, an encounter that forces him to look back at his rocky past as he listens to a tale of woe about a life suddenly launched in a tragic direction.

Total Life Cleanse: A 28 Day Program to Detoxify and Nourish the Body, Mind and Soul by Jonathan Glass Integrating the ancient wisdom of yoga, Ayurveda, and Traditional Chinese Medicine with naturopathic principles and contemporary nutritional science, Jonathan Glass, M.Ac., presents a practical 28-day program, designed to initiate and maximize detoxification and nourishment of your body, mind, and spirit from the harmful effects of the modern lifestyle. Empowering you with a new way of thinking, seeing, and being, the Total Life Cleanse helps to transform your dietary and lifestyle patterns into ones that naturally detox, heal and nourish...not only ourselves but the environment as well.

HOW TO FIND YOURSELF Self-Knowledge: 4 Steps to Success By Frank Daley Perfectly happy? You don’t need this. No bull. You can’t realize a truly successful life without knowing yourself. Give it a read!! A great introduction to self-fulfillment, awareness and personal growth. Short and profound. Questions: simple and focused, but rarely asked. Ignore & your life won’t be worth living. High stakes. It’s Free. Get it Now!


You Bet Your Life by Evelyn Cullet Marketing Exec, Heather Stanton, never expects to meet up with her independent, free-wheeling, Aunt Julia in a speck on the map called Willows Bend. Nor does she expect the turn her life takes when her aunt is suspected of murder. But will Julia’s innocence be questioned when the odds turn against her in a race to catch the real killer? “Excellent read! The characters have great personalities and their own dynamic involvement in the plot. The book held my interest and I couldn’t put it down. Really a great read!“ “I really enjoyed reading this book. I like a good mystery, and this book did not disappoint! There are twists in this novel that you don’t expect and also some romance which is always fun! I highly recommend “ You Bet Your Life”.“


The Usual Suspects - Thriller & Action Giveaway


The Paloma Crossing by Randall Reneau Sheriff Hardin Steel’s old adversary, the Ochoa Cartel, has acquired a new weapon: Stinger Missiles. Originally supplied to the mujahideen by the CIA, twenty of the surface-to-air missiles are now in the hands of the deadliest drug lord in Mexico. And he wastes no time in putting them to good use… “The Paloma Crossing by Randall Reneau is the second book in the Hardin Steel series. I am not sure if there will be another book in the series, but if there is, I will definitely be reading it. I didn’t feel that reading the other book first was necessary to get this book. I am, however, now about to read the first book as well. In this book, Hardin Steel, an ex DEA agent is the sheriff in Cameron County, Texas. Fighting corruption and drug trafficking become Hardin Steels constant battle. His war on drug lord Frederick Ochoa takes you beyond Texas into Mexico, and even Ireland. Sheriff Steel makes allies of the most unlikely characters to accomplish what he can’t do alone, from an old friend to even an assassin. It has just enough humor to keep it flowing and there is even a bit of romance. Absolute must be read. I read it from cover to cover in one sitting.“

The Pharm House: A Harding Family Story by Bill Powers The Pharm House is a foreboding and darkly suspenseful debut medical thriller by Bill Powers set in the hidden underworld of the global pharmaceutical business. Even though The Pharm House is set in a pharmaceutical company, it is really a story about family. It’s about Nicholas Harding, a young scientist/ executive at Marshall Pharmaceutical.But unknown to Nicholas, there are dark forces inside Marshall Pharmaceutical and he is about to be drawn into their plans and finds himself fighting for his career, his family and perhaps even his life. “What a thrill to enter the world of these characters. First, closely observe the front cover; those towering skyscrapers are hypodermic needles (clever!) to match the oh-so-clever book title. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this pharma thriller. A perfect gift for anyone who has ever worked in the pharma industry, as well as anyone who has ever taken a prescription medication.“


A Silver Medallion by James R. Callan In 2015, Crystal Moore encounters a slave in Texas -- held not by chains, but by threats her two girls held hostage in the jungles of Mexico will be killed if she escapes. It’s clear. The children must be rescued first, or the mother will never escape. Crystal would like to forget it, but her conscience will not let her. She goes to Mexico and secures the help of mysterious Juan Grande. If she succeeds, mother & children will be free -- but Crystal will have two ruthless men who want her dead. “A Silver Medallion is a gripping, action-packed adventure from talented author James Callan. Crystal Moore is a tough and savvy heroine...” New York Times Bestselling Author Bobbi Smith “A Silver Medallion, the second title in the Crystal Moore Suspense series, reads like a gold-medal thriller from page one...” BookLife Prize in Fiction

The Torch is Passed: A Harding Family Story by Bill Powers A suspenseful and plot-twisting story, The Torch is Passed finds Andrea’s world turned upside down when her father, Nicholas, and her uncle, Michael, are shot in a shocking and puzzling attack. With only her paternal grandmother left, it falls to Andrea – a recent college graduate – to not only investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding the attack of her father and uncle, but also to oversee Harding Industries – and navigate an often dangerous fast-track to adulthood. Along with new allies, Andrea urgently seeks answers to why anyone would want to kill her entire family – growing up along the way – and seeking her revenge. “I bought this book at P J Boox in Fort Myers Fla after meeting the Harding family in The Pharm House. I was a little leery because so often the sequel never equals the 1st book. That was definitely not the case here. This book has so many twists, turns and plots that it was hard to put it down. I am so hoping that there is a sequel to the sequel.“


Elaina by R. A. “Doc” Correa

that can’t be, I’m a woman.

Sniff, sniff Pups flashes through her mind. She smiles, as much as a wolf can smile, then looks around at the pack. A thought, I’m a wolf, I’m a woman? dashes into her consciousness. Then Francois called it loup garou, werewolf. leaps into her thoughts. I’m a werwolf, no I’m a vampire,

Her thoughts are confused, jumping from rational thinking to canine instinct and back again. One of the pups nips her hindquarters, she snaps at him and they play fight, chasing each other. She recognizes him, Jacob. More confusion, I’m not a pup, I’m twenty one, how can I be a pup? The she-wolf pup walks to a pond and gazes at her reflection. The bright moonlight let’s her clearly see the European gray wolf face looking back at her. At least ten months appears in her thoughts. The wolf face morphs into a young woman’s, hazel eyes, reddish brown hair and full lips. Cristy. Yes I’m Cristy. The reflection changes again. Mocha colored skin, dark brown eyes, long black curly hair, proud chin. Amahle? I was Amahle? Bewilderment. As she tries to get control of her thoughts the image changes again. Sandy blond hair, blue eyes, voluptuous lips and pale skin. Adriana? Am I Adriana? 55

Adriana continues to stare at the face reflected in the pond. The eyes turn to a burning red light. The upper canines grow longer, sharper. I am a vampire! bursts into her consciousness. She yelps and jumps away from the pond. Her body shivers with fear. Cautiously she approaches the water and guardedly looks in. A young wolf looks back. Before another thought forms Jacob leaps onto her sending them both crashing into the pond. They splash and play fight then chase each other up the knoll. Once among the others they curl up together and lick the water off of them. She looks further up the knoll at the great male gray wolf. Francois. fills her thoughts. The she-wolf pup feels safe and she lays down her head for a short nap. Francois calls them and the pack forms up. He leads them racing down the knoll. Cristy/Amahle/Adriana revels in the power of the running pack. Then she catches a scent on the breeze. She stops as the others rush onwards. That smell, it’s so familiar. It stirs something in her heart. She sniffs deeply, the scent is stronger now, familiar, she knows this. A name bursts into her thoughts, Elaina! A deep feeling of loss overcomes her. A flash of memory, she’s laying her tiny child in a muddy grave. A wolf tear drips from her eye. Elaina! For a moment she looses the scent, No! Elaina! The wolf pup races back and forth sniffing the air. She vaguely hears the sound of the others grow faint in the distance. Then she catches the breeze again, there it is, Elaina! The young she-wolf races away from the pack following the breeze. Speeding on she inhales the heady scent. Elaina! Prey! My baby! Feed! The torrent of conflicting thoughts cascades about her mind. She’s my baby! She’s my food! I’ve missed her so! I’ll feast on her! 56

The breeze stops and the she-wolf pup looses the scent. Pacing back and forth, near panic, loss. Then the wind kicks up again and she catches the tantalizing smell, Elaina! and off she sprints. Bursting into a clearing she comes upon five children, young teens. Ages thirteen, maybe fourteen. Four are males, they’re trying to tear the clothes off of a female. Elaina! dashes through her mind. She growls and bares her teeth. Food! The males cower and back away leaving the young girl lying on the ground, terrified. The she-wolf moves between them. The boys scream words she can’t understand and run off. The frightened girl cries out in a language she does not know. Japanese? flashes through her consciousness. Though her appearance is unfamiliar, even alien the scent is overpoweringly known to her, Elaina. The conflict within consumes her. Child! Missing! My baby! Food! Rend! Destroy! My daughter! Comfort! Protect! Devour! Love! Elaina! The young girl scrambles to her feet and charges off blindly into the forest screaming in terror. Chase! The she-wolf howls with delight then sprints after her. The gray wolf pup quickly overtakes the terrified human. She knocks the child over and pounces on her. The she-wolf glares down upon the frightened teen, saliva dripping from her jaws. Food! Elaina! Rend! My baby! Devour! Protect! The conflict is all consuming, it clouds her mind. As the struggle within her erupts to a conclusion the young girl faints from her fear. The motherly instinct within her prevails, she sniffs at the child, covers it with leaves and lays beside her using her body heat to keep the child warm. As the moon sets she lays her head on the child 57

and a last thought before sleep enters her mind, Elaina. A beam of sunlight burns the skin on her arm jolting Cristy awake. She scrambles into the shade of the trees. Thoughts from the previous night burst into her mind. I’m Cristy. I’m vampire. I’m Amahle. I’m werewolf. I’m Adriana. Elaina! Rapidly moving, trying to avoid the sunbeams that penetrate the tree’s branches, she scrambles to the pile of debris. Cristy brushes of the decaying leaves to reveal a young Japanese school girl. She shakes the child, waking her. The school girl bolts upright, terror filling her eyes. She speaks rapidly in Japanese, her voice filled with fear. As Cristy tries to calm the girl she is filled with a wondrous feeling, this is my child. “Calm down sweetie,” she says in a gentle voice, “I don’t understand you, I don’t speak Japanese.” The girl looks around then stares at Cristy, disbelief covering her face. In a flash intimate knowledge passes between them, knowledge only a mother and daughter can have of each other. The young girl replies fearfully in heavily accented English “I’m Hemiko, the wolf, were is the wolf?” “It’s gone now Hemiko, but we need to get into the shadows, I’m sensitive to the light.” The young girl moves with Cristy deeper into the shade. The destructive wolf nature is gone but Cristy now finds herself battling the vampire hunger. The need to feed is nearly overwhelming, but the unexpected mother - daughter bond is strong and she holds Hemiko close until nightfall. For the next three nights she leads the young girl towards Yokohama. The first night Cristy is cold, and needs clothes to cover her nakedness. The hunger is bad but she controls it. Her and Hemiko move carefully through the woods until they come upon a house. Hanging from a clothes line are some traditional Japanese dresses. Cristy finds one that fits and takes it. They move further towards the city. As the sun starts to 58

rise Cristy finds a culvert and they hide in the darkness within. Hemiko asks, “Cristy, why do we travel in the dark?” “Because sweetie, I have a rare disease, and if I’m not really covered up the sun burns my skin.” They sleep for a few hours then the hunger wakes Cristy. It’s intense, and for a moment she nearly gives in. Then Hemiko wakes and smiles at her. The beauty of her smile helps Cristy get control of the hunger. The second night they find the highway. They move along it until they ar spotted by a motorist. He stops and asks them, in Japanese, why they are walking. Hemiko replies in Japanese so Cristy asks her, “What did you tell him? “Our car broke down, and we need to get to the city.” The man says something else and Hemiko answers him. She tells Cristy, “He has offered to give us a ride to the edge of the city.” “Tell him thank you,” Cristy says with a smile. They get in and drive towards the city. By this time Cristy has to feed. When they get to Yokohama she is on the edge of loosing control. She has Hemiko ask the driver to pull into an ally saying they need to get out there. Using the natural hypnosis ability that Sophie taught her she keeps Hemiko and the driver in a trance as she feeds. It is horribly difficult, actually feeding on the driver is revolting. She is nauseated the whole time but the need is overpowering. It takes every ounce of her will to not completely drain their rescuer, but she succeeds. Before she loses the last of her control Cristy draggs a terrified Hemiko into an abandoned warehouse. She spends the day calming the frightened teen, explaining who and what she is. Cristy uses the mind merge powers Sophie utilized on her to show Hemiko what the feelings that passed between them mean. How in a previous life Hemiko was Elaina, and she was 59

Adriana, her mother. “You are a demon,” cries Hemiko. “No, sweetie, I’m not a demon, but I’m not just human anymore. It’s hard to explain, but I won’t hurt you, not ever. Long ago I was your mother. I know you can feel it, feel

our bond.” “How is this possible?” “I’m not sure Hemiko. Sophie says our souls are special, that they keep coming back because we are looking for each other. We need to reunite our family.” “Who is Sophie?” “She’s part of our family, she’s been searching for us, trying to bring us back together. Think of her like she is also your mother.” “What?” “It’s strange I know, but it will make sense once you get to know her.” It‘s early evening when Cristy detects other vampires nearby. She can feel cold evil of their ill intent. Cristy leads Hemiko deeper into the city trying to escape her pursuers. Occasionally Cristy thinks she feels the presence of loup garou, but it’s fleeting. She tells the frightened teen, “Don’t be afraid, we have friends looking for us. I can feel them nearby.” “How can you feel they are near?” “I don’t know sweetie, I don’t know.” As the night passes Cristy senses they are surrounded by hostile vampires and retreats into an alley, keeping Hemiko behind her to protect her. Soon the girls can hear the assassins move into nearer. Occasionally they catch a glimpse of ninja clad shadows. As the malevolent creatures close in she feels a familiar presence nearby. Cristy looks up and calls out “Sophie.” 60

R. A. “Doc� Correa is the author of the SciFi adventure, Rapier. The story is set in the late twenty fourth century shortly after the genetics war. Currently he is working on Razor, the sequel to Rapier and The Young Kathy Masters Chronicles, a prequel to the series that takes place in Australia.

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interview with colin o’sullivan A Trinity College Dublin graduate Polly Young interviews a Trinity College alumnus Colin O’Sullivan, poet and novelist, author of Killarney Blues (2013), The Starved Lover Sings (2017), and The Dark Manual (May 2018) published by Betimes Books. *** Polly Young: Colin, first of all, congratulations for your French award, the Prix Mystère de la critique, and your nomination for another prestigious award, the Grand Prix de literature policière. Your first novel, Killarney Blues, was released in France by a publisher famous for their Crime & Noir catalogue. Obviously, French critics’ and readers’ reception validated the publisher’s vision of the novel as belonging to the crime fiction genre. Did it come as a surprise to you? How do you feel about the award and the new nomination? Colin O’Sullivan: It came as a complete surprise. I never considered it as “belonging to the crime fiction genre” even though there is crime, even crimes, plural, in it: I suppose I never really think that much about genre in my work at all, I just tell the story as I feel it needs to be told. I let the publishers and marketing people worry about where to shelve it. Of course I’m thrilled to have won this award. The list of previous winners is astounding, having my name on the same page as those guys is an absolute honour. The greatest feeling I get out of all this is the impetus to keep going. I don’t think of the award as “well done, you did it”, more like “you are on the right track, keep going”, and that for any artist, in any field, is of utmost importance.


PY: The Starved Lover Sings can be seen as a big step away from your debut novel Killarney Blues, what made you move towards a more dystopian and politically centred novel? CO’S: Originally, I started to write a followup to Killarney Blues, but it didn’t quite work, for reasons too boring to get into now. I decided to change tack and write something in a completely different place and time. I didn’t set out to make it dystopian or political, it just turned out that way – I found these things creeping into the story as I wrote, so when the notions came to me, I just ran with them. I allowed myself a lot more freedom with this novel and took chances that I hadn’t done with previous prose works. PY: I think the freedom in your writing of this novel definitely comes across. I know you are a great fan of Samuel Beckett and his work, and it feels as though you have played with his notions of existentialism in The Starved Lover Sings. Was this an enjoyable experience? CO’S: I’ve always wanted to write an existential novel and I feel I have accomplished that with The Starved Lover Sings. Some of my favourite novels are those with a moribund hero or anti-hero trudging through awkward or absurd situations in his or her own distinct, and usually comic, way. James Kelman’s A Disaffection (also about a teacher) was a huge influence on me, not only on this particular work, but on all of my writing. Beckett looms very large in my life, and I return to his work constantly. The thing a lot of people don’t pick up on with him though is just how funny he was, this may be the thing that attracts me most to his work. PY: As well as literary influences for this story, there are more direct literary allusions, too. If I am not mistaken, the title of the novel is a quote. Could you tell us more about this and why you chose to use it? CO’S: The quote is from Paradise Lost, which I just happened to be reading at the time. There are terrific lines all through Milton’s great epic 63

of course, and practically every one of them is highlightable! I’m very interested in titles that are mysterious and make the reader wonder. For example, one of my favourite titles is Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians. When I first picked up that novel in a bookstore I thought: Who are the barbarians? Who is waiting for them? And why are they waiting for them? That’s three questions straight away just from the title. I hoped The Starved Lover Sings would work in the same way: Just who is this lover? Why is he starved? And what does he have to sing about? PY: Readers might be surprised to learn that your second novel is also a geographical move away from Killarney Blues. As the starved lover lives in Japan, where you set the novel and where you are currently living. Personally, what is it you like most about living there? CO’S: I’ll steer clear of socio-economic or political reasons and cut to the chase: it’s hard to get beyond the food! I’ve really grown accustomed to it. Perhaps it’s a sign of getting older, and getting more health-conscious, but the food, or at least most of the food, suits me quite well, being both delicious and healthy. I never put on weight here and enjoy the varieties of fresh fish, etc. PY: That is definitely a win-win! And as an author, what about Japan made you want to set this particular story there? CO’S: The image that first came to me was just of a referee. He had no particular nationality. But the more I thought about the story and the more disasters/ordeals I wanted the man to experience and overcome, Japan seemed apt, what with the terrible threat of earthquakes, tsunamis etc. PY: Was it more challenging writing about a place that you were currently living in, as opposed to writing Killarney Blues, which is set in Ireland but you wrote in Japan? CO’S: The difficulty of writing in a named location is that places, the particulars I mean, change. In Killarney Blues the main pub was a venue that has altered greatly over the years. A writer has to be careful about that, and a bit of licence was duly taken. In The Starved Lover Sings the city (and the city in my new novel also set in Japan) is unnamed, and


it means more imagination/creation can be at play, rather than remembering what road leads to what actual place in a real location like Killarney. At this moment in my writing life the pure creation happens to be easier than the recollection, although I can’t say for sure why that is.


PY: The futuristic setting of the novel also allows you to create a wonderful array of technological equipment. For example, you have characters watching 4D images on WaScs or personal hologram shows mounted on the walls of their houses. How did you come up with it all? And what is your relationship with

CO’S: My relationship with technology is embarrassingly negligible. I have very little interest in gadgets of any kind really, and as long as my iPod keeps playing the tunes that I want to hear then I tend to be kept sane. The technology in the novel was fun to come up with, but mostly I felt it was necessary for the landscape, the situations and atmosphere of the novel to work. PY: Despite the differences between your two novels in space and time, both possess a lyricism. However, in contrast to the songs in KB, in The Starved Lover Sings you include beautiful poetic excerpts, such as: “Cursed be thou, thou ancient wolf, that having more victims than all the other beasts of prey, can’t find no bottom to thine endless craving.” What made you want to include poetry? CO’S: I started writing poetry from a very early age, long before I ever wrote any serious prose work. It’s always been a part of my life in some way. In fact, I still write poetry occasionally, and wish I had more time to devote to it. Over the last year or so I’ve delved back into old poetry collections that I haven’t read in ages and have been surprised and delighted all over again. I think if Tombo, the protagonist in The Starved Lover Sings, didn’t have that sense of poetry in his life, then he’d be a very 65

grim gentleman indeed; perhaps I thought the poetry of the lines could elevate his situation in some way. I think that if a line can be written poetically, without taking anything away from the thrust of the story, if it doesn’t appear shoehorned or mawkish but fits in with ease, then why not? PY: How does your process for writing a novel, as opposed to poetry, vary? Which one do you enjoy more? CO’S: With the novel, for me, it is all about commitment. It’s about staying on track with a long piece that might take a year or two to finish. It’s about character and story and persevering with them to the end. Poems on the other hand usually come to me fast, and I scribble them down and tinker a bit; they are a bit more slapdash and I can easily abandon them. I often jokingly call my poems “gimcracks”, meaning flashy, useless, quite worthless things; they don’t weigh heavily on me at all the way the novelprocess does. I don’t mean to disparage poetry, only my own poetry. Like I said, lately I have been reading more volumes of verse than novels, and my poet friends would be very angry with me if I was in any way belittling the noble art, it’s merely a personal preference of one mind-set over another. PY: Not only do you include poetry in The Starved Lover Sings, but some chapters consist solely of talking mountains. This story often challenges the reader’s perception of a ‘normal’ (realist) novel. What would you say to people hesitant about the exceptional style and content of The Starved Lover Sings? CO’S: Firstly, I don’t know why anyone would want to read a “normal” novel, or what that even truly means, surely the delight in the Novel was always that it changed and challenged and provoked, through either form or content. Because Killarney Blues was more or less written in the realist tradition, I thought for The Starved Lover Sings that I would steer as clear as I could from that mode, and instead I experimented, taking risks with the story and the devices within. So yes, talking mountains, and mudslides and other natural things that should not speak, here they are given voice, albeit often a strange or distorted


or disorienting one. There was a great freedom in this composition, in I’m sure the same way the Magic Realist writers freed themselves up with their spin on things. PY: The characters still have realistic struggles, though, akin to Killarney Blues. Both take a sombre tone as the characters grapple with loss, the past, and their lack of purpose, with suicides taking place in both stories. Mental health as a topic seems prevalent in your works, what made you want to write about this issue? CO’S: I don’t think I deliberately set about wanting to write about such issues. They just emerged as I got deeper into the characters. These issues are pretty standard fare for all of us I suppose, mired as we all are in our human circumstance. Who hasn’t had some loss; we all are “borne back ceaselessly into the past”. And we all consider our role in life and whether we have any direction or purpose. There is nothing original in any of these inquiries. The image of the referee just made this manifest for me, a guy in the middle of a pitch weighing it all up, trying to find balance, as chaos roars all around him. The poor old sod. Though you’ll have to read the novel to find out if he got any answers. PY: What made you choose a PE teacher and part-time referee for the protagonist? And did you use your own experience as a teacher to help write the character in any way? CO’S: The genesis of the novel was the image of a referee – I do watch a lot of football – but as I don’t know much about them in the professional sense, and had no notion of researching the occupation, it made much more sense to make him only a part-time referee, and his main job a PE teacher in a Japanese school, which, knowing a little about the role and duties he would have on a daily basis, I felt far more comfortable with. The experience of teaching in a high school for years here in Japan naturally helped, the day-to-day sadly being all too familiar to me. Let me also add that I don’t come across high school girls like those two in the novel very often, and thank goodness for that!


PY: The idea of morality seems intertwined with Tombo’s role as referee, constantly judging right or wrong, do you feel as though the world is experiencing a deteriorating sense of morality, in reference particularly to the turbulent political environment? CO’S: The world, I’m sure, if history is anything to go by, will always have turbulent politics, and barmy bombastic leaders will most probably always rise to power. I have no idea why that should be the case – I’m sure there are endless theses one can look up to enlighten on such enigmas. But I also think that the majority of people are smart and sensible and responsible enough to pull through tempestuous times. When there is a crisis – I don’t want to point to anything current, or from recent times even, I’ll stick to the general and not make this topical – I believe we have enough inside us to withstand, to cope, and eventually to surpass. We are still here, after all, or I should say, despite all. PY: The political situation of Tombo’s world is left quite vague, but the wolves he must withstand on the streets are very real. Why did you choose to have wolves as the beastly animal, what is it that made them feel most appropriate for your story? CO’S: I like wolves. That’s the most honest and simplest answer I can give. I think too though that such an animal is loaded with connotation. They have been a part of folktale and gothic literature for centuries - we only have to think of Dracula and the wolves howling in the Carpathians. They have been extinct in Japan for decades of course, which was all the more reason to cheekily bring them back and throw them in to the fray, as if poor old Tombo didn’t have enough on his plate. My new novel has no wolves in it however…this one has owls. PY: Can you tell us more about your third novel, The Dark Manual ? C’OS: Well, with this one I felt I wasn’t quite done with a Japanese near


and nervy future yet; this new work is also set there, in another unnamed Japanese city. But the themes and focus are different, and the characters and pace differ wildly too. Actually, maybe this new novel is a mix of Irish and Japanese, for although set in Japan the protagonist is an Irish female. There are some “mystery” elements in this novel that I haven’t really dealt with before and I enjoyed teasing all that out. This may be the last novel where I will feature any Japanese or Irish element; after this one who knows…aliens? Space? PY: Space? I look forward to your next novel already! Thank you, Colin, and congratulations again on your French success and the forthcoming Russian translation of The Starved Lover Sings. More to come, I’m sure!


courageous women The Taste of Air by Gail Cleare When Mary Reilly ends up in the hospital, Nell and Bridget find out their mother has been hiding a secret life for forty years. She has a lakeside cottage in Vermont and a set of complex relationships with people her daughters have never met. As the sisters delve deeper into their mother’s past, it leads them to question their own lives and choices, and discover the gateway to change for all three women.

Strings Book 2 Atonement by Andrea Rendon In 1960 Rolf Zeigler sponsors a gifted orphan prodigy. In developing her gift, he seeks forgiveness for the sins he feels responsible for during WW2. Little does he know, she will be a catalyst for change in his life and the lives of generations to come. She will change everything.

Maybe Tomorrow by Kim Golden Eddy and Henrik don’t believe in love. At least, that’s what they keep telling themselves. They’ve both been burnt in the game of love. A steamy Midsummer’s Eve on a beach in Copenhagen leads to what was only meant to be a summer fling. So why does it feel like so much more...?

FYI An Unintended Consequence by Patricia E. Gitt Fake news terrorizes Taryn Cooper Walsh, managing partner of 4G investments. Each mysterious mailing contains increasingly vicious lies suggesting that Taryn is running a highly unethical firm. Supported by her husband, business partners, and friends, Taryn searches for the source of these fallacious clippings before they leak and destroy her reputation along with the trust of investors in her firm.


Your past can cause you to believe that life is unfair and making positive improvements requires a miracle. In Letran’s award-winning book, I would, but my DAMN MIND won’t let me!, you will learn how to use the power of your mind to overcome your obstacles and struggles. Once you understand how your mind works, you will have the knowledge and power to take control of your thoughts and feelings. The power to challenge your old negative patterns and create the exact life you want is in your hands.

Young Adult

I would, but my DAMN MIND won’t let me! By Jacqui Letran

“I Would, but My Damn Mind Won’t Let Me! is recommended for home, school and public libraries and for use in clinical settings.” 2016 Literary Classics’ Lumen Award for Literary Excellence “All teenagers should read this book as it is helpful in guiding them to eliminate the baggage they are carrying inside.“ 2016 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Winner

The Colorado Girl Diary I by Charles Ripp The scene for The Colorado Girl Diary I is the unmatched outdoors of beautiful Summit County, Colorado in 2016. Attractive Alison Simpson (.5 Cheyenne Indian and .5 Hispanic) has moved home after her four-year eastern liberal arts coed existence. Alison became labeled as “The Colorado Girl” since she was from a vastly different part of the country compared to her eastern dormies and eventual sorority sisters.


Painting of Sorrow by Virginia Winters Thousands of pieces of art were stolen or destroyed in the European theatre of war in WWII. Some of these, taken from their Jewish owners in quasi-legal machinations utilizing collaborating or frightened art dealers, were hidden by the Nazis and abandoned at the end the war. Over time, some of have been recovered and returned to their owners or heirs. Some hiding places exist only in legend. During the war, art-loving individuals tried to save some of the paintings. But many pieces of art in Berlin belonged to the state before the Nazi regime and were exhibited in the museums of that city. What was their fate in the chaos of war’s end? I wanted to write about the consequences if one such painting surfaced. Searching for paintings that could have been saved but listed as destroyed, brought me to the Flakturm Friedrichshain in Berlin, a tower used to house a bomb shelter and a hospital as well as the paintings of the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum and anti-aircraft guns on the roof. More than four hundred paintings and three hundred sculptures were burned, stolen, or destroyed by bombs in the waning days of WWII. Did the Soviets loot the building before it burned? Or were some of the paintings stolen when the Soviet guards were inexplicably removed? A mystery hangs over the last days of the Flakturm. One such painting was called variously Portrait of Fillide or Portrait of a Courtesan, a work by Caravaggio. Client Simon Wolf brings a copy of the painting to be conserved by the ďŹ rm where Sarah Downing works.


Is it a copy or an original? Was it saved from the flames in the Flakturm? It’s Sarah job to conserve it but she wants to know the truth about the painting. Sarah is a painter as well as an art conservator. Her mind reacts to situations, landscapes, and people by seeing paintings in her memory that describe them. Throughout the book, images of paintings also reflect her emotional state and her fears. Early in the book, the director of the Art Gallery that is housed in the building where she works, frightens Sarah. Her mind brings up a picture of St. Jerome, an almost cadaveric man pictured in a desert, by Da Vinci. The taut skin of his face reveals the skull beneath. Sarah escapes a killer with her friend Peg. On the way, they stop at a lookout over Mazinaw Lake. Casson painted the iconic Bon Echo Rock there. Later, approaching the security of a remote cabin in rural Ontario, she sees the building as a painting by A. Y. Jackson, Settler’s Home and somehow felt safer, for the moment. Her visions become darker and when she finds her new love Simon, beaten by her ex-husband, The Death of Marat by David, a nightmare of a painting intrudes on her thoughts. At the hospital, the controlled chaos of Emergency Room, by Fiona Rae reflects the roiling state of her emotions. Much later, arriving to Simon’s home, afraid that all chance of a relationship with him has gone, she sees not his house, but Carl Schaefer’s Ontario Farmhouse, dark clouds looming over it, perhaps an omen for her future. I hope interested readers will search out the paintings mentioned in the book to gain a fuller understanding of Sarah and the events that changed her life.


Those who would like to delve into the world of missing art could scroll through the databases maintained by various police and government departments. Virginia Winters was born in Arnprior, Ontario, Canada and raised in the Ottawa Valley. Now retired, Virginia’s interests, besides writing, are genealogy, gardening, photography, and studying Italian. Murderous Roots was her ďŹ rst published novel. Virginia blogs about writing and other interests, including genealogy, current events and gardening at


alternate marketing Nine Buzzing Bees We all want to sell more books and might dream of a campaign that goes viral. I certainly did. As a newbie author I was overwhelmed by the promotional choices available such as running ads, giving books away, being a guest speaker on a podcast, entering a competition or running a virtual book tour. Or perhaps something completely different? It was the something completely different that appealed to me. I can’t remember how I thought up the idea for a treasure hunt, a game where I would hide a voucher for a free book in a rock and then use social media to spread the word generating excitement and sales. Perhaps it was the annual Easter egg hunt as a child or more recently Pokémon Go. Anyway, planning to launch my book in Bangkok before travelling on to Brisbane gave me the ‘B’ idea. I would frame the campaign as a challenge to release the buzzing ‘Bee’. I identified nine locations where I could get a rock hidden including Bangkok, Brisbane, Biot, Bologna, Battersea Park, Boston, Beijing and Bangalore with the pitch: If you can find the rock and release the ‘bee- key’ and tweet me a photo – I will send you a signed copy of my book. The goals for the campaign were: 1. Raise awareness of Engagement Whisperer. Buyers typically need to hear about your book seven times before purchase. 2. Connect with potential customers in many countries. 3. Have fun 4. Sell books. Obviously. I kicked off the treasure hunt at the Bangkok book launch and ran a Facebook campaign generating dozens of ‘likes’, but at the end of the day I only had 75

eight attendees, all of whom I knew. They participated with varyingly levels of enthusiasm in the treasure hunt. Rocks were quickly found and photos taken. I arrived in Brisbane and found what I thought was a perfect spot for my rock beside an historic tree in the centre of the business district. In planting the rock, I was aware that I was on Council’s security cameras and was keen not to be perceived to be planting something untoward. So I pretended to be a tree-lover, snapping photos of roots and surreptitiously dropped the rock during one of my closeups. I started tweeting. While social media contacts were liking my clues, no one appeared to be looking for my rock. Finally, I received a note from a friend who looked without success. I gave more instructions and the rock was found. Every rock planting has a story and I don’t have space to elaborate here. However let me share learning to date. (FYI - I’m currently at rock six with Boston coming up next.) Outcomes Rocks found – two. Sales related to campaign – three. Rocks still awaiting discovery – four. Each time I post on social media I see traffic to my web page. Learning Run the treasure hunt with another event People are busy. They want to win something easily. Avoid kicking off a campaign the day before the city empties for the annual Christmas holidays (Brisbane). * * * Tracy Stanley is the author of Engagement Whisperer. 76

June 22nd - 24th 2018


A Writer’s Life. Mistakes I’ve Made Along the Way My story is the same as so many authors, and yet quite different, since I didn’t complete my first book until the age of 61. It’s ten years later, and I think I’ve learned a thing or two along the way, that might be worth a read. No. 1: KNOW WHO YOU ARE. When you are about to write your first book, or are further along, know precisely how you want to position yourself as a brand to your readers. I spent 30+ years in Advertising Agencies creating communication platforms and developing unique selling propositions for some of the world’s most well-known brands. One of the key lessons learned? Without a clear brand vison, and the passionate comprehension of such, you’ll remain lost in the forest of mediocrity. In my case, I distilled my literary brand vision to 13 words: The World of M.G. Crisci. Stories that entertain. People you’ll remember. Literature that matters. No. 2: KNOW WHY YOU ARE. When you read one of my stories—all based partially or entirely on true events and real people—I want you to feel as though you’ve entered a world unlike any other writer. My have has been enriched by interesting


people, unpredictable experiences, and breathtaking roller coaster rides. My world connects the dots in my journey to an unknown destination. I must admit, as a stand-alone, the “World of M.G. Crisci” sounds egocentric. But, when juxtaposed against the other nine words, it feels right to me. And, in the end, a writer must be true to thyself. No. 3: ALWAYS RESPECT YOUR READER. I want readers to know I respect their investment of time in one of my stories; hence, “Stories that entertain,” regardless of whatever genre they are reading. My tenth book, Project Zebra. Roosevelt and Stalin’s TopSecret Mission to Train 300 Russian Pilots in America, is a good example of how even military history can be entertaining to the general reader. From the outset, I knew there were thousands of books about World War II. But, through an unplanned set of discoveries, I was able to document and describe in human terms, the only instance in history where hundreds of American and Russia flying aces trained side by side in America to complete a top-secret mission to topple Hitler. In the process, these men overcame language barriers and cultural stereotypes, learned to respect and trust each other, and became lifelong friends despite the Cold War. No. 4: CLARITY IS ALWAYS KING. Thirty years of making television commercial taught me one universal communications truth: Clarity is King. My reader may want to think about what I just said, but I never want my reader to wonder what the hell I just said. I was asked what was my voice? So, I began a frantic I search for the perfect literary influences and inspirations. After a period of fruitless introspection, I realized an obvious truth: my writing skills had always been about being approachable, generating vivid world pictures, and shaping persuasive, dialogue. When readers read a Crisci story, I want them to feel like I’m sitting next to them, reading with them. In the final analysis, I question whether voice is anything more than a cliché handle for the literati. I prefer to think of writing as a timeless craft. What about you? 79

No. 5. THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR A MEMORABLE PROTAGONIST. I believe two things about people: • We are flawed human beings; and, to one extent or another, we are products of our individual backgrounds and life experiences. • When it comes to making choices, we live in a world of black, white, and gray; and, there’s a cloud locked inside every judgment. That’s why I believe the most memorable protagonists have a bit of all three worlds in them. The reader may agree or disagree with their choices, but the writer’s goal should be to make his/her primary characters People You’ll Remember. Put another way, an estimated 107 billion homo sapiens have made earth their home during the last 200,000 years. I believe every possible human emotion has been experienced, told, and documented. So, my challenge as a storyteller is to make each protagonists’ journey through their truth unforgettable. No. 6: THINK OF LITERATURE AS YOUR LEGACY. Unlike the end product of many professions, books have the potential for a long shelf-life. When I begin a project, my goal not to complete a book; my goal is to create piece of art that has the potential to endure, long after I’m gone, because of its universally relevant content and timeless, approachable style. Simply put, I believe the best literature is Literature that matters. I recognize creating Literature that matters, is not for everyone; it shamelessly shatters the rules of commerciality. There are no cookiecutters, no super-heroes; just emotional veritas delivered in an unexpected manner. If that’s not enough of a turnoff, literature as Legacy is a lonely place. You are writing for an audience of one. No. 7: ALWAYS BUILD COMPELLING BRIDGES AND UNMISTAKABLE HOOKS. Just when you may think you’re done, I believe it’s now time to employ a disciplined process to go from good-to-great.


When I’ve completed my story (about 330-400 pages), I reread to ensure that the beginning of each chapter has a compelling soundbite (like the headline in a memorable ad) that commands your attention. I also make sure the end of each chapter has an unmistakable hook that drags you to the next chapter. It always amazes how this process creates so many surprising additions and changes. No. 8: THERE IS NO SUBSITUTE FOR GOOD EDITORS. In my case, I employ two for distinctly different reasons. The 30-year veteran Robin, is what I call my big picture editor. She does some grammatical stuff, but her primary role is to make sure my story is literature ready. She brutally cuts and slashes until my baby is bruised and battered. Fixing Robin’s fixes means at least two more weeks in literary hell. Once that painful exercise is complete, enter Holly, another two-decade veteran editor. She is my nuts-and-bolts fixer. It is amazing how many grammatical mistakes, and social faux paus she finds. She demands I review and I understand each change. In the end, attention to detail serves everyone well from the critical reviewer to the savvy reader. No. 9 THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS WRITER’S BLOCK. Opps… I just noticed, my time is up! I’ll have to discuss some of this and other common faux paus at the Dublin Conference.

About the Author M.G. Crisci is the author of ten books, a former Fortune 500 senior executive, a recognized expert in the field of consumer motivation and behavior, and an award-winning social commentator. He’s been elected to Who’s Who in the World 22 times, and awarded several lifetime achievement awards for his business, literary, and cultural contributions.


Your Characters’ EQ by Blythe Ayne, Ph.D. You’re writing your novel or short story, everything is flowing smoothly, when, suddenly, you hit a wall—the story comes to a screeching halt. Or perhaps it’s more subtle—you can’t quite sort out what’s wrong, but it feels like your story is losing its way. It might be the moment to consider your characters’ EQ—Emotional Quotient, also referred to as Emotional Intelligence. Although the early musing of your story and your characters is the ideal time to contemplate character EQ, it’s never too late to flesh out the emotional intelligence of the fascinating people who populate your creations. EQ Traits Self-Awareness Emotional intelligence is based on self-awareness. How aware is your protagonist of his emotions? And how does he handle them? It’s important to differentiate between “response” and “reaction.” A response to an emotion-summoning situation is more tempered, more empowered, than a “reaction.” A character who is not aware of his own emotions is likely to be hoist by them, projecting internal negativity—anger, frustration, suspicion, envy, desire, and so forth—upon others. Those negative traits are not necessarily all in the land of villains. One or more negative emotion may be at the crux of the arc of your protagonist’s story. Self-Regulation In the movie Annihilation the protagonist, Lena, has numerous positive traits. She’s an interesting, complicated, attractive, thoughtful, kind, and intelligent woman. But she has one emotional failure. Lying. A small lie is revealed to be a much bigger lie, and is the heart of the whole amazing story. Without getting into spoiler territory, she goes through hell fires to learn her lessons, to pay penance, and to grow through this weak spot in 82

her character. (Beautifully done, Jeff VanderMeer!) Throughout the film, as Lena met challenge upon ever-mounting challenge, she did so with thoughtful response. She never “reacted,” never struck out before thinking. And that’s what, in the end, made her a heroine. Awareness of Others It’s usual that the more self-aware your character is, the more aware he is of the emotions of others. The inverse holds true, as well. The less selfaware character is also less aware of the emotions of those around him. A character’s awareness of how emotions are created and stimulated, and how heightened emotions are likely to influence others, allows him to not empower anger, criticism, verbal abuse, being ignored, and other emotions, or emotional contexts, directed at him. As Wayne Dyer so famously and succinctly observed, “Your opinion of me is none of my business.” There’s power for your character—whether protagonist or antagonist— in this awareness of recognizing and naming emotions, while not being contaminated or damaged by them. Thus, your character can work with these emotions in others to his advantage, without jumping to conclusions or being judgmental. Empathy Fine-tuning “awareness of others” comes under the wings of empathy. Your character is not only aware of the emotions of others, she can identify with their emotions, their wants, their needs, their viewpoints. She doesn’t stereotype them, or the situations they’re in. She’s able to move into their realities with understanding. The character strong on empathy has social skills that include exceptional communication, excellence in building and maintaining relationships, and—the skill that makes them beloved and retain ever-loyal followers— they inspire in others their development, and encourage them to shine in 83

their best light. She will focus on the success of others, already confident of her ability to be successful. Listening! Active listening is a finely-developed, emotional intelligence skill. The character who listens actively—rather than busily thinking of a response while others are talking—has the advantage of understanding the content of what’s being said, and, more importantly, the emotional context as well. Listening is an excellent skill for any writer to nuance in a character’s development, as the emotions behind or underneath words are frequently more important than the words themselves. Ah—subtlety! Readers love it! When your character has acknowledged the “subterranean” emotions in other characters, those characters appreciate being heard, and are inclined to follow the “Listener” anywhere. Fabulous possibilities for story intrigue and intricacy! Motivation A character with highly-developed emotional intelligence is able to set aside immediate gratification for long-term results. Ever-focused on, and motivated by, the ultimate goal, though there may be set-backs, there’s no total deflection from the goal’s path. This character loves a challenge, even if trepedatious about it, and whatever is at the core of his motivation—love, peace, acquisition—he will see it through to the end, in response to the higher calling of his motivation. Adaptability It’s common for humans to resist change. But the character who engages adaptability probably telegraphs who will win in the end. Adaptability is that important! In novels and movies we see again and again that the character ruled by fear of change is the one who is left behind—emotionally, physically, or both. It’s not that the emotionally intelligent character has no fear or anxiety in regard to change. But she has either been here before, or has learned from observing others dealing with the unknown. She has developed emotional


skills to see the challenge of change through to the end. Creative thinking is the linchpin of turning crisis into opportunity, and your high EQ character sees her way through it all with emotionally stable creativity. As Kristine Kathryn Rusch advocates, don’t be satisfied with lowhanging fruit. In other words, develop your character’s creative adaptability and flexibility, which serves your character and the story, when you add complexity and surprises. Anticipating and Responding to Reactions When a challenge, trauma, or tragedy, occurs, the emotionally intelligent character knows how people will react. He will not wait until “all is lost.” He takes action and responds to the situation. Of course, in fiction, things must escalate, and your character’s best efforts may not be enough. Even so, he continues with equanimity and concern for those who depend upon him. This is a great moment for the story-central heart-to-heart conversation, or the defending-the-underdog monologue, or crisis-event displays of bravery. All are moments that demonstrate emotionally intelligent role-modeling. Not only for the characters in your story, but for your entirely engrossed, mesmerized reader, as well. ### Blythe lives on ten acres of forest in the Pacific Northwest with a few domestic and numerous wild creatures, where she creates an ever-growing inventory of fiction and nonfiction books, short stories, and articles. She received her Doctorate from the University of California at Irvine in the School of Social Sciences, focusing on psychology and ethnography. After twenty years in a rewarding career as a psychotherapist in a small town not much bigger than a village, she decided to concentrate full-time on her writing.

If you’re curious how Blythe employes emotional intelligence with her characters, check out her fourbook Science Fiction series, The Darling Undesirables. Contact:


Know Your Characters: A quick three-step guide to help you create “real” fictional characters By Allie Marie One daunting task we face as fiction writers is developing believable characters that will resonate with readers long after they’ve finished the book. We not only want our readers to feel like they are part of the story, we want them to relate to the characters as if they are old friends, family, or even enemies. 1. Know your characters. Get in their heads! It’s fairly easy to create a dossier for a character with the basic physical descriptions: height, weight, age, birth date, hair and eye color. Identifiable characteristics such as a limp, dental features (gold-cap, braces, overbite, etc.), tattoos, scars, freckles or other skin markings. Marital status or a relationship can be established. Who are the main character’s close family, friends, coworkers, enemies? What is their educational background, occupation, current employer? Some of the above information may never make it into your novel, but you should know the facts anyway. Whether it’s a good guy or bad, you want your readers to have a glimpse into the essence of your main character’s personality. What kind of clothes they wear or car they drive can tell the readers a great deal without you having to spell it out. If your hero wears Armani suits and gold cuff links while driving his Lamborghini, wealth and success are clearly indicated. If the heroine is repairing the tire on her VW or sewing buttons on her clothes, hardship is suggested.


What goes on in that character’s head creates their persona, even if it never makes it into the story. What memory triggers tears for no reason? Does the scent of charcoal remind a character of grilling steaks with his dad? We know Indiana Jones hated snakes from the beginning, but didn’t learn why until a later movie. You need to know why your character might “hate snakes,” even if the reason is never explained. If your writing is strong, your readers will sense some of the back story without it ever being put into words. And getting into your character’s head helps you help them grow. Which brings us to the second point. 2. Your characters must grow. It’s a somewhat easier task to help your appealing protagonists grow. They are usually likeable and so it is easy to create ways to help them grow. The timid person becomes an advocate for a cause, the illiterate orphan becomes a college professor. The ugly duckling becomes a beautiful swan. But—how does an antagonist grow? Evil can certainly strengthen as a character becomes more devious. A multi-dimensional villain can engage the reader as well as highlight the strengths and weaknesses of your hero/heroine. Can you make your unlikable character likeable? Is there something redeemable about your antagonist? The selfish, self-centered social climber can have a sudden epiphany, even if it lasts for only that scene. Maybe you don’t want them to, but even your less-charming character should grow. To develop more realistic characters, avoid stereotyping. Form your characters by observing the everyday people in your life, not from the limited pigeonhole of someone else’s imagination. I roll my eyes at the detectives that shoot a dozen people, wreck a few cars, destroy a few businesses, tell their boss off, then head home, only to be back on duty the next day, without completing the first report or suffering the consequences. Or the simpering, awkward, and somewhat homely wallflower making a play for the dashing duke at the fabulous ball.


3. And a final quick tip. Your characters shouldn’t be characters at all, but “real” people. You can often accomplish this by incorporating everyday events or observances that are happening right around you into your scenes. Movements, facial expressions, speech changes that mirror real life help the reader identify with someone they know. . Has the reader been annoyed by the same obnoxious person who cuts in front of them in line? Have they smiled at the same old man who affectionately pats his wife’s hand as they dine together? Have they narrowed their eyes at the retreating back of an antagonist? Your readers should feel as if they are with people they know or recognize, whether they love them or hate them. Deserving of a brief mention here is dialogue, which in itself is a whole separate topic. One way you can develop credible characters is through their dialogue. Listen (not eavesdrop) to conversations around you and incorporate the essence into your dialogue. Maybe that character who just cut in front of someone in line breathlessly whispers, “Can I please go first? They just changed my flight gate.” Maybe the old man tells his wife, “Let’s don’t worry until the results come in.” And with realistic dialogue, you have yet another way to make your characters more believable to your readers. A Virginia resident, Allie Marie retired from a career in law enforcement and began writing mysteries of her own, inspired by genealogical research. She has just released the fourth book in the True Colors Series, a modern-day mystery haunted by ghosts from the American Revolution.


Army Officer Turns to Life of Crime Wendy H. Jones Q. Catchy title. How did you get started on your life of crime? I’d like to say this is in a literary sense. No real people were harmed in the writing of my books, tempting though it may be at times. I have always been a bookish sort of person and was an early reader from the age of three. I also wrote short stories, fan fiction really, about the characters in my books. I was probably the only five year old in Scotland using a typewriter to type up Noddy stories. My life of crime started with Famous Five, Secret Seven, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. From the first book I was hooked. Q. When did your writing start in earnest? I was in both the Royal Navy and the Army and travelled around the world. I kept journals writing about my travels, so the writing bug was there. I retired with the Rank of Major, a rank I keep to this day. It seriously impresses the kids and teens in schools when I do visits. I then worked in Academia and was published in Academic Journals and textbooks. I took early retirement due to serious lung issues. Deciding that retirement was boring I decided to write a book. As I mainly read crime that was a natural progression for me. Q. Take us through your writing journey? After phoning into a radio interview I was challenged to do NaNoWriMo. Not knowing what it was I went to take a look and found I’d signed up. Being Scottish I always carry through so wrote my 50,000 words. By that time I decided I might as well finish it. Early Beta readers were encouraging so I had it professionally edited.


The rest, as they say, is history. Killer’s Countdown sold extremely well with a huge launch in Waterstones, Dundee. All the books in the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries consistently go to number 1 in Waterstones outselling some large names. Due to the success of the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries, Books to Treasure, a Children’s and Young Adult Publisher approached me. They asked me to pitch a Young Adult series, which led to me signing a threebook deal for The Fergus and Flora Mysteries. Q. What is life like as a crime writer? It’s thrilling and exhilarating and shed loads of fun. As well as being an author, I am also an international Public Speaker. I have spoken at Conferences around the UK, as well as at the Dublin Writers Conference and Bouchercon in New Orleans and Toronto. I speak on both Writing and Marketing and Promotion. I have also recently been elected as President of the Scottish Association of Writers. Q. What is next for you? I am about to release the first book in a new series, Cass Claymore Investigates. I am also working on a series of children’s picture books. I’m nothing if not versatile.



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