Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Godspeed, Carry My Bullet: Interview with Ian Lewis

Ian Lewis prefers not to be bound by a particular genre. Though the inspiration for his work varies, it often finds roots in something he dreamt. He strives for a gritty realism and maintains an interest in the humanity of his characters. His hope is that readers find themselves haunted by his stories in the sense that the narrative sticks with them long after they've finished reading, leaving them with a subtle restlessness for more. Mr. Lewis is the author of The Camaro Murders, Lady in Flames, and Power in the Hands of One, all novellas. His first full length novel, Godspeed, Carry My Bullet, was released in April of 2016. He has been writing since 2002.

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Title: Godspeed, Carry My Bullet
Author: Ian Lewis
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 325
Genre: Thriller
Bobby Clyne has nothing to lose. Two illegitimate governments have taken the place of the fallen United States: The Directorate in the East and the United States Valiant in the West. And he's just learned that a man who once terrorized his family as a low-ranking member of the Military Police is set to become the Grand Marshall of the Ohio Region. Armed with his father's Dragunov sniper rifle, Bobby embarks on a mission of revenge with consequences far more reaching than his personal vendetta.

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Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

I work full-time for a software company and have two small children who are only fifteen months apart. So in some respects, my life is controlled chaos. I try to keep in shape and I enjoy reading when I can find the time. I also enjoy cooking, but anymore it’s “eat to live” rather than “live to eat.”

When did you start writing?

I started writing in college. I had the creative urge to do so, but didn’t have any good ideas at the time. Most of what I wrote began as meandering slice-of-life type stuff that never really solidified into anything interesting. Then I got busy with a new job and stopped writing for three or four years. Around the time I got the idea for my first novella, The Camaro Murders, a friend invited me to her critique group. I started writing again and have been doing so ever since.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

Joining a critique group stands out because it’s what gave me motivation to write. Because writing is a solitary, introspective task, being surrounded by fellow writers who have an interest in honing his or her craft is encouraging. It had never occurred to me that such groups existed.

Getting a contract offer for my first novella was huge too. Though I haven’t quit my day job yet, being vetted by a publisher was validation for me that I was in fact a published author.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

I would go somewhere familiar where the environment wouldn’t be a distraction. I need to be at an even keel mentally and emotionally in order to write. If I feel out of my element for any reason, my creativity and ability to focus go right down the drain.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

I would either sleep or write, or perhaps both. I don’t have enough time to do either, and often one comes at the expense of the other.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

I can’t say that I have plans for a story in a location other than what I’ve done so far. The Camaro Murders and Lady in Flames, my first two novellas, are part of a loose series that take place in a fictional county in Ohio. Future installments in that series will continue in that location. I’m currently working on the sequel to Godspeed, Carry My Bullet, and so it will obviously take place in the United States. I do have the desire to write a 1950s spy thriller in homage to Ian Fleming’s 007 novels. Perhaps I will be able to work in an exotic locale with that one.

Back to your present book, Godspeed, Carry My Bullet, how did you publish it?

This book was my first foray into self-publishing. Because I wrote it for fun (more on that below), and because I’d gone the independent publisher route with my previous three releases, I didn’t feel obligated to leave it to the subjective whims of a publisher or agent. I felt like it was great storytelling, it had page-turning qualities, and was the most accessible thing I’d written to date. So why not self-publish it? My discovery of put me over the edge. Pronoun is really slick platform that helps authors get their manuscripts converted into .mobi and .epub formats and then uploaded to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Google Play. The best part? It’s all free. Pronoun doesn’t take a cut. And their services don’t stop there. They build professional looking landing pages for the books ( and provide sales analytics and other genre stats as it pertains to your book. The site is modern, responsive, and easy to use. And did I mention it’s free?

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

I travelled virtually courtesy of Google Maps. I’ve never been to many of the locations in the book, and so I relied on Google and Wikipedia to nail down the details of each locale. I found that unless you’re writing something where setting is as important as the characters themselves, you can establish veridical details just by doing a little research.

Why was writing Godspeed, Carry My Bullet so important to you?

In one sense, it was important to see it through to completion because I set out to do it. I won’t start something unless I know I can commit to finishing it, and I was determined to write my first full-length novel. Plus, I promised friends from work that I would write it. The basic concept of the story was rooted in an inside joke amongst my coworkers; it wasn’t something that was spawned from what I call “official Ian Lewis canon.” It was just supposed to be a fun exercise to do something a little different. As I got into it, the story really took off and grew into something bigger.

It’s now a 100,000 word thrill ride that features a would-be assassin, a nomadic survivalist, a preacher turned vigilante, a rookie spy, and a single mother trying to provide for her family. However, at its heart, the book is an allegory of failed partisan politics. That’s really the takeaway—that as long as we’re voting the party line, we enable the same crooks in either camp to remain in power. They’ll continue to sow divisiveness, keeping us all at each other’s throats over issues that they’ll either never do anything about, or issues that aren’t really the government’s business to begin with.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

I get my best ideas from music and dreams, primarily because I’m a very visual person. Music can be very atmospheric and moody, and the tone or vibe of a song creates a picture in my head of a character or a scene. Sometimes lyrics can take on a meaning entirely different than what was intended by the songwriter. Not that I intentionally try to interpret an artist’s lyrics to fit my purpose, but sometimes something grabs me as poignant and my mind runs with it. A great example of this (and a very literal one at that) is the song “Meatplow” by Stone Temple Pilots. The music just sounds like a stinking hot summer day whereas lyrically I picked up on what felt like a little bit of paranoia and hopelessness. Lyrics like “Fine place for a day full of breakdowns,” “Throw a tack on the road, stop the meatplow,” “Got a bullet but in ain’t mine,” and “They’ve got these pictures of everything, to break me down, yeah to break me down” all fueled the opening scene. Bobby, one of the viewpoint characters, is overlooking a stalled supply truck that’s surrounded by a feverish mob in the afternoon heat. He’s wary of the government and contemplates lashing out with his sniper rifle. At the end of the scene, there’s even the arrival of a Military Police infantry vehicle nicknamed “a Meatplow.”

Dreams, if I remember them after waking, are obviously easy fodder for ideas since they are so abstract. There are no rules in dreams, so it’s very easy to come away with a basic concept that can be built on and enhanced. Everything from world-building to ideas for characters can be mined from dreams.

Any final words?

Thank you for letting me participate in the interview. I would encourage readers to pick up a copy of Godspeed, Carry My Bullet since we’re in an election year. Many people are disgusted with politics in general, and so the book might serve as a subtle reminder of what’s wrong with our political system. That being said, one could read the book for pure entertainment value. I don’t beat the reader over the head with the “moral of the story.” If you do choose to read, I always appreciate constructive reviews regardless of whether you liked it.
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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Book Feature: The Summer Guest by Alison Anderson


Inside the Book:

Title: The Summer Guest
Author: Alison Anderson
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Historical
Format: Ebook/Paperback/Hardcover/Audio

What if Anton Chekhov, undisputed master of the short story, actually wrote a novel—and the manuscript  still existed? This tantalizing possibility drives The Summer Guest, a spellbinding narrative that draws together, across two centuries, the lives of three women through the discovery of a diary.
During the long, hot summer of 1888, an extraordinary friendship blossoms between Anton Chekhov and Zinaida Lintvaryova, a young doctor. Recently blinded by illness, Zinaida has retreated to her family’s estate in the lush countryside of Eastern Ukraine, where she is keeping a diary to record her memories of her earlier life. But when the Chekhov family arrives to spend the summer at a dacha on the estate, and she meets the middle son Anton Pavlovich, her quiet existence is transformed by the connection they share. What begins as a journal kept simply to pass the time becomes an intimate, introspective narrative of Zinaida’s singular relationship with this doctor and writer of growing fame.
More than a century later, in 2014, the unexpected discovery of this diary represents Katya Kendall’s last chance to save her struggling London publishing house. Zinaida’s description of a gifted young man still coming to terms with his talent offers profound insight into a literary legend, but it also raises a tantalizing question: Did Chekhov, known only as a short story writer and playwright, write a novel over the course of their friendship that has since disappeared? The answer could change history, and finding it proves an irresistible challenge for Ana Harding, the translator Katya hires. Increasingly drawn into Zinaida and Chekhov’s world, Ana is consumed by her desire to find the “lost” book. As she delves deeper into the moving account of two lives changed by a meeting on a warm May night, she discovers that the manuscript is not the only mystery contained within the diary’s pages.
Inspired by the real friendship between Chekhov and the Lintvaryov family, landowners in the Ukraine, The Summer Guest is a masterful and utterly compelling literary novel that breathes life into a vanished world, while exploring the transformative power of art and the complexity of love and friendship.

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Meet the Author:

About Alison Anderson

Alison Anderson APALISON ANDERSON, a native Californian, works as a literary translator in the Swiss Alps. Her many translations include the Europa edition of Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Ingrid Betancourt’s memoir, and the work of JMG De Clezio. She has also written two previous novels and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literary Translation Fellowship, as well as fellowships at the prestigious MacDowell Colony and the Hawthornden Retreat for Writers.
Find out more about Alison at her website.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Interview with Christiane Banks, author of Amelia's Prayer



Inside the Book:

Amelia's Prayer

Title: Amelia's Prayer 
Author: Christiane Banks 
Publisher: iUniverse 
Genre: Religious Fiction 
Format: Ebook/Hardcover/Paperback

Sebastian Lavalle is just fifteen when he leaves home in 1934 to join the navy. Seven years later, Sebastian unfortunately knows all too well about the horrors of World War II and what it is like to fear the unknown. When repairs force his ship to the rugged shore of Newcastle, the young French naval officer is invited to a tea dance to celebrate Bastille Day. He seizes the opportunity, hoping to find comfort and a small taste of the home he misses so much. Amelia Sullivan, the daughter of Irish immigrant parents is thrilled to be attending the tea dance. When Sebastian's eyes find her in the crowd, he drinks in her exotic beauty. Moments later as he draws her into his arms for a dance, there is no doubt in his mind that he has just met the woman of his dreams. Days later, Sebastian professes his love and marries her, sending them both on an unforgettable journey through betrayal, survival and forgiveness. The saga takes the reader from England's coast, to the French Riviera and also to America. Their soul searching journey explores the many facets and depths of love leading to the realization of what true happiness means.. Amelia's Prayer is a tender and moving saga spanning forty years after two young souls are flung together during World War II.  

Amelia's Prayer is available for order at

The Interview:

How has your upbringing influenced your writing?

My upbringing influenced my writing because of the people I met and talked to and spent time with over the years and of course my own personal experiences. I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the most interesting people - young and old; wise and not so wise. Everyone has a story. The human touch. The simplicity, truths and writing about what I know and understand came from growing up with that amazing diverse background has been one of my greatest influences.

When and why did you begin writing?

I can only tell you that over the years I’ve always felt the need to write short stories and I also have the gift of storytelling. It seemed as it was one of my passions and I came to the stage of my life when I had raised my children and had more energy to dedicate to the things that I wanted to accomplish like writing a novel. it was inside me, waiting to come out. It took several years to produce Amelia’s Prayer and now it is here and published for good. That gives me a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment in achieving that goal. It’s probably one of the greatest rewards and my main reason- no regrets.

What do you consider the hardest thing about writing? 

The execution of the book. I have the ideas for the story but I am a dyslexic, transferring the ideas from my mind and imagination onto paper was very difficult. I made notes recorded those notes and the story on to a cassette, gave the cassette to a friend of mine who typed every word. I read it back several times and eventually turned it into a manuscript after many attempts. Amelia’s Prayer has 17 manuscripts!

Do you intend to make writing in career?

I would certainly like to consider it as a part-time career and I am currently launching Amelia’s Prayer very seriously with the intention of walking it out into the marketplace with passion and determination. Along with the help of my husband, one book at a time!

Do you have a specific writing style?

Yes, I like to think I do. I write as I speak. When I am storytelling I try to keep it simple and honest in order for my readers to identify with both the story and the characters within the book.

Meet the Author:

Christiane Banks lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband. Amelia's Prayer, which took six years to write, is her debut novel.

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Scapegoat Book Trailer Blast!

We're happy to be hosting Emilio Corsetti III's SCAPEGOAT Book Trailer Blast today!  Please leave a comment to let him know you stopped by!

About the Book:

Title: Scapegoat: A Flight Crew’s Journey from Heroes to Villians to Redemption
Author: Emilio Corsetti
Publisher: Odyssey Publishing, LLC
Pages: 472
Genre: Nonfiction Narrative

"This is the kind of case the Board has never had to deal with-a head-on collision between the credibility of a flight crew versus the airworthiness of the aircraft." NTSB Investigator-in-Charge Leslie Dean Kampschror

On April 4, 1979, a Boeing 727 with 82 passengers and a crew of 7 rolled over and plummeted from an altitude of 39,000 feet to within seconds of crashing were it not for the crew's actions to save the plane. The cause of the unexplained dive was the subject of one of the longest NTSB investigations at that time.

While the crew's efforts to save TWA 841 were initially hailed as heroic, that all changed when safety inspectors found twenty-one minutes of the thirty-minute cockpit voice recorder tape blank. The captain of the flight, Harvey "Hoot" Gibson, subsequently came under suspicion for deliberately erasing the tape in an effort to hide incriminating evidence. The voice recorder was never evaluated for any deficiencies.

From that moment on, the investigation was focused on the crew to the exclusion of all other evidence. It was an investigation based on rumors, innuendos, and speculation. Eventually the NTSB, despite sworn testimony to the contrary, blamed the crew for the incident by having improperly manipulated the controls, leading to the dive.

This is the story of an NTSB investigation gone awry and one pilot's decades-long battle to clear his name.

Scapegoat: A Flight Crew’s Journey from Heroes to Villains to Redemption is available at Amazon and B&N.

Book Excerpt:

When TWA 841 departed JFK on April 4, 1979, no one onboard had any idea of the drama that would soon unfold. One passenger, travelling with her husband, wrote in a journal about the smooth takeoff. She had been keeping a personal journal of her travels to share with her children on her return. She documented everything down to the most inconsequential detail such as her ears popping as the aircraft climbed. Days, weeks, and years later, after TWA 841 had become the subject of one of the longest NTSB investigations in the agency’s history, investigators would scrutinize every minute of the flight in a similarly detailed manner. Much like a criminal investigation, the movements, actions, and whereabouts of each crew member were documented. Routine tasks such as when and where the meal trays were exchanged between the cockpit and cabin crew would take on added significance. Unraveling the mystery of TWA 841 was a monumental puzzle that needed to be solved. But unlike any accident investigation before or since, the same evidence investigators would use against the crew would be used by others to challenge the theories put forth by Boeing and the NTSB. Readers can draw their own conclusions as to which version is correct.

About the Author

Emilio Corsetti III is a professional pilot and author. Emilio has written for both regional and national publications including the Chicago Tribune, Multimedia Producer, and Professional Pilot magazine. Emilio is the author of the book 35 Miles From Shore: The Ditching and Rescue of ALM Flight 980. The upcoming book Scapegoat: A Flight Crew's Journey from Heroes to Villains to Redemption tells the true story of an airline crew wrongly blamed for causing a near-fatal accident and the captain's decades-long battle to clear his name. Emilio is a graduate of St. Louis University. He and his wife Lynn reside in Dallas, TX.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Interview with LaVera Edick, author of Four Score and More



Inside the Book:

Four Score and More

Title: Four Score and More 
Author: LaVera Edick 
Publisher: Trafford 
Genre: Biography 
Format: Ebook/Paperback

Statement from Author I was born in 1925. This is my story of growing up on a farm and following the oft-times bumpy road of life. It is the story of my family and ancestors, those pioneers who cut the trails and paved the roads for our journey through life. Several major events helped shape the lives and attitudes of those born before 1940. It was a struggle raising a family in the thirties: not only was the nation in a financial crisis, Mother Nature was in an ugly mood. When people reminisce, they often talk about the “good times” they had during the “bad times.” There was a shortage of money but an abundance of love and family togetherness. A product of hardy pioneer stock, at an early age, I gained satisfaction from a hard day’s work well done. From managing a trucking business and selling brushes, I became first lady of an insurance company and pursued my dreams of becoming an artist. Statement from Jackie Glen, editor: If your grandparents, great-grandparents and their relatives lived in the 1800’s and early 1900’s in the Midwest, you will want to read this book that describes in detail what life was like on the farm. Personal anecdotes about the author and her family will put you in stitches or bring you to tears, but every tale will cause you to wonder how our ancestors survived. Their stories of hard work, sacrifice, and determination not only will remind you of where you came from, but provide a road map of the future.

“Flanked by the colorful stories of several generations before and after her, Edick shares her life journey through the often turbulent, historically and personally, 20th century – a genuine, heartfelt memoir.” –US REVIEW of BOOKS

The Interview:

Has your upbringing influenced your writing?

Yes, my upbringing has influenced my writing. My parents made it possible for me to visit a local library and check out books. I learned to and loved to read at a very early age. My first grade teacher was an inspiration. My Dad loved to read ijnd always had a book in his hands when he sat down in the evening.

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing short stories when I was a college student at age 40.

What do you consider the hardest thing about writing?

The hardest part about writing a memoir is finding the right words to put across an unpleasant happening and not hurt anyone in the process.

Do you intend to make writing a career?

A good question-at age 90 my writing could be called a "late life career"

Do you have a specific writing style?

I prefer non-fiction,a true life story.

Meet the Author:

LaVera and her faithful canine companion, a Westie named Tousie, are snowbirds these days. They spend their summers in Bismarck, North Dakota, and winters in Mesa, Arizona.


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Interview with Jena C. Henry, author of The Golden Age of Charli

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Inside the Book:

The Golden Age of Charli

Title: The Golden Age of Charli 
Author: Jena C. Henry 
Publisher: iUniverse 
Genre: Fiction 
Format: Ebook/Paperback

Charlotte McAntic spent her thirties, forties, and even fifties in peace and harmony aligning her marriage, mortgage, careers, and children. As she stumbles into a new phase of life—also known as the Golden Years—Charli cannot help but wonder where the gold and her husband, Pud, are hiding. Pud is happily cruising down the retirement path that, for him, leads straight to the golf course. While Charli spends her days at home cleaning out closets and the basement, she yearns to gaze deeply into Pud's blue eyes and remember all the reasons why she fell in love with him thirty years ago. Unfortunately, the only thing Pud is eying is the next fairway. Knowing there is more to savor in retirement than silver-hair shampoos, senior discounts, and hernia surgery, Charli embarks on a quest to do whatever it takes to spend retirement in the embrace of the man she loves. But is it too late for happily ever after? In this humorous novel, a high-energy wife and her solid guy must learn to adjust to a new chapter in their lives and find their way back into each other's hearts after their retirement begins with a jolt.  


What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process? 

I have enjoyed learning what to do at each step in the process. And I am blessed that everything went smoothly with my first book. Here’s one thing I tried, that I decided afterwards was a mistake. Right after I received copies of my book, my hubby and I were eating lunch at a bistro and there were a group of gals at a nearby table having a lady’s day out. Hubs and I decided I should walk over and introduce myself and give them a copy of my book. I thought it would be a fun and friendly thing to do. They thought I was weird and pushy. So- no more glomming on to strangers for me! But I would be interested to know if this has worked for other authors. 

How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid? 

I love the social networks!! Twitter is my favorite. I have made so many real friends. Other authors have been encouraging and positive. I have also learned so much about the book biz by reading other pros’ blogs. I spend 4-6 hours a day on Twitter and Facebook, and writing my own blog. 

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about? 

“Come drink wine with me and let’s talk about books!” 

What is something people may be surprised to know about you? 

I tried oysters and caviar for the first time this year, and loved them both.

What are 10 words that best describe you?  

Happy, friendly, positive, pretty, smart, witty, determined, creative, even-tempered, homebody. You asked! Thank you for the interesting questions and for the opportunity to connect with your readers. 

     Meet the Author:

Jena C. Henry holds a juris doctor degree from the University of Akron, presents writing workshops, and loves good times with friends. Now retired, Jena and her husband, Alan, live in tropical Ohio where they enjoy their two adult children and extended family, friends, and darling dog. This is the first book in The Golden Age of Charli series.


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Monday, July 18, 2016

A New Adult Must Read! Fairly Certain by Deborah Ann Davis

About the Book

Title: Fairly Certain
Author: Deborah Ann Davis
Publisher: D&D Universe
Pages: 196
Genre: New Adult

What happens when a Computer Geek challenges a Medieval Outlaw?

PETIR TAKES A ROUGH TUMBLE IN THE CONNECTICUT WOODS, and awakens in the middle of old England. His instinct to freak out is tempered by the arrival of a fair maiden wearing a bow… and arrow. In his college world, fair maiden types don’t ordinarily go for computer geek types, but for some reason, he is no longer in his world. Petir’s fairly certain he can try whatever he wants without consequence… but the fair maiden isn’t playing fair.

WITH THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE ROYALS ESCALATING, MAID RIANNE has joined the outlaws hiding in the woods, outwardly defying the handsome and accomplished knight to whom she is promised. She is fairly certain she is simply flattered by Lord Petir’s uncensored admiration of her skills with the staff and bow, the same unmaidenly pursuits disdained by her knight. But, that doesn’t explain her reaction to Lord Petir’s unguarded gaze.

TO PETIR’S DELIGHT, AND MAID RIANNE’S DISMAY, the outlaws invite him to join their merry band. What better way to get close to her? Throwing caution to the wind, Petir decides he has nothing to lose by pursuing Maid Rianne. It’s fun and games, until Maid Rianne is captured by the enemy. Now, a geek with no ability to defend himself must find a way to rescue a fair maiden who has become much more than fair game.

“Adorably romantic!”   An absolutely fun, adorable, romantic read that will thoroughly entertain you, no ifs, ands, or buts! The plot was extremely unique and I l-o-v-e-d just how unusual it was. It was thoughtfully planned out and written with a smooth glide, seemingly effortless on the author’s part. The ending was surprisingly unexpected and I’m thinking I really, really like this new-to-me-author, Ms. Deborah Ann Davis! I’m already anxiously awaiting her next book. Don’t miss Fairly Certain or I’m completely certain you’ll be upset you did!
-- Review by bookshellz

For More Information

Book Excerpt:

Maid Rianne

Her stance was relaxed, her feet about a shoulder’s width apart. Backlit by the sun peeking through the trees, the loose leggings she wore hinted at the shape of her legs. The shapeless jacket topping them was cinched at a small waist. A bow was draped over her shoulder, and an accompanying quiver of arrows hung across her back, its sling defining curves hidden by the baggy jacket. One hand rested on a sheathed dagger hanging from the belt. In the other, she held what looked like a walking stick. She stood there, a true warrior, her sharp gaze appraising the scene, ignoring the tail-wagging, three legged dog competing for her attention.
Wow! What movie did she just walk out of? As far as Petir knew, girls from Connecticut didn’t walk around armed to the teeth. Unexpectedly, this dream had just developed some serious potential.
As she stepped closer, the sunlight splashed across her face, revealing a scowl. Her black-brown hair was all but hidden under a peaked green cap. Her gaze narrowed at his open-mouthed stare. He snapped his jaw shut and began scrambling to his feet.
He barely registered the boys skirting him to stand by the warrior girl. Most of his attention was hijacked by his thigh. Shocked by the sudden onslaught of pain, he collapsed on the ground, gasping as he grabbed his leg.
Should there be this kind of agony in a dream?
“Take this, John.” The girl shoved her walking stick at one of the larger boys.
“But, mistress,” he protested as she handed the bow to another boy, “if ’tis indeed a trap?”
Mistress? Petir eased himself into a sitting position, trying to decide if he dared massage his injury.
“With you wielding the staff and Dale the bow, I shall be well protected.” She smiled reassuringly at the boy as she unslung the quiver and passed it to the one called Dale.
John followed her back to Petir, slapping the staff against his palm. Dale hastily notched an arrow into the string and aimed it at Petir’s chest.
“Hey, watch where you’re pointing that thing!” cried Petir, extending his arm as if it could ward off an arrow.
“Behave, m’lord, and no harm will befall thee.” John’s grim tone matched his expression.
The girl dropped to her knees by Petir’s side. “Where are you hurt, m’lord?” she asked, her manner brusque, but her fingers gentle as they inspected his battered cheek.
He pulled his face away. “I … I’m not sure. Everything hurts.” Although he still focused on the cocked bow shaking in the boy’s grip, the rest of his attention zeroed in on her and her fresh outdoor fragrance. Nice.
“Were you in a fight?” She ran practiced fingers over his arm, her head lowered as she focused on her task.
This was different. Petir stopped breathing and stared at her blankly. In the last two years, the only females who ever touched him were related to him. Or cleaning his teeth. They certainly weren’t cute British girls dressed up like a female Robin Hood.
A few rebellious curls escaping from her hat outlined the curve of her cheek. Oh yeah. She was cute, but it was her confidence and grace that cranked her up to hot. Even though it hurt when she touched him, the simple act of running her fingers along his arm was reducing him to stupid, leaving him with all the capabilities of a puddle, including a puddle’s ability to hold a conversation. He had nothing to say. Absolutely nothing.
What was there to say anyway? Come here often?
She shifted to his collar bone. Judging by her behavior, she seemed to have no idea how her touch affected him outside of the pain she was evoking. He was fairly certain it was fortunate she was causing him to wince; otherwise, he might be embarrassing himself in front of all these kids.
“M’lord?” This time she spoke louder and slower as if talking to a simpleton. “Were you in a fight?” Her prodding fingers moved to his ribs as he grimaced.
Yeah. You should see what I did to the other guy. “No,” he managed to mutter. He didn’t want to appear to be an actual idiot, but… “I fell out of a tree.”
“Pardon, m’lord? I did not hear you.”
“I fell out of a tree, okay?” Petir’s face heated.
A moment of silence greeted his confession, followed by a burst of laughter from the boys. The girl by his side ducked her head to hide her own grin.
Embarrassed, he snapped, “And who are you supposed to be? Robin Hood and her Merry Men?”
With the boys snickering behind her, she chuckled as she reached across his body to examine the other side. “Not likely! You may address me as Maid Rianne. And your name, sir?”
“Petir. Petir Capota.”
“Ah, as in Saint Peter, one of the patron saints of travelers. He must be responsible for us coming to your aid.”
“Well, I’m P-E-T-I-R, not P-E-T-E-R.” Squirming, Petir grabbed Maid Rianne’s wrist. “Look, I really appreciate the exam and all, but it’s my leg. Okay? My leg needs help.”
Startled, her eyes swung toward his, and whoosh! All the air left his lungs.
Brown eyes.
Very brown eyes.
Very brown eyes with dark rings around them.
Very brown eyes with—
Her very brown eyes narrowed. John and Dale took an anxious step closer.
Uh oh. You think I’m coming on to you. Petir released her like she was a hot potato. As if anyone would ever put a computer geek like me and a hottie like you in the same sentence.
“No, honest.” He cocked his palms back in surrender. “I can’t stand. Watch!” He rolled to his side and began to repeat his previous night’s attempts, but she restrained him.
“That will not be necessary, m’lord.” She pressed him back down and assumed a position closer to his leg. Her skilled fingertips resumed their exploration.
Whoa! This is way worse. Computer jockeys hardly ever got hot babes checking out their ribs, however, they absolutely did not get them feeling up their legs. But here was this babe doing things his leg had only dreamed of.
Wish I had my cell phone so I could take a selfie. Hey there, Mistress Hottie, would you mind posing for a picture so I can prove you groped my leg?
Whoops! Her fingers drifted a little too high. Okay, this could end up being a problem. He needed a distraction, and he needed it fast.
Conversation. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
“Hey, you, uh, really know what you’re doing. Are you some kind of—” His attempt to chat her up ended in a yelp as she probed the site of his injury.
Maid Rianne sat back on her heels, hands at her waist, as Petir gingerly rubbed the back of his leg. She pondered the situation, her teeth tugging at her lower lip.
Females biting their lips is definitely underrated.
Sighing, she looked over her shoulder and addressed the boys. “We cannot leave him here to fend for himself. We shall have to drag him.”
Drag me?
“Fetch at least two large branches. We can lash smaller branches to them with vines.”
“But, m’lady, we canna bring him back to the camp! He might be a spy!” Dale’s brow furrowed as he shook brown hair out of his eyes, still pointing the bow at Petir.
A spy? In Connecticut? Whatever for?
“He could lead them right to us,” said a frizzy-headed blond boy with a scowl.
Lead who?
Maid Rianne faced the boys. “As to his fate, ‘tis not our decision to make. We shall bring him back to the camp blindfolded and let the elders decide. Off with you.” She tilted her head toward the trees.
After a moment’s hesitation, Dale lowered the bow, nodded to John, and turned toward the brush. Immediately the others scampered off in different directions, leaving John smacking the walking stick in his palm. Maid Rianne held out her hand, and John reluctantly returned the staff to her. She nodded as if to reassure him, but instead of following the others, John retreated to a nearby tree and squatted against it. From there, he seemed content to glower at Petir.
Petir cleared his throat. “I guess he kind of has a crush on you, huh?” He nodded toward her protector.
“A crush, m’lord?” Maid Rianne frowned.
“You know, he … you know … he likes you,” Petir floundered as she looked at him. He was fairly certain they didn’t use the word “crush” where she came from.
“Likes me, m’lord?” Maid Rianne furrowed her brow. “We side together for the same cause, our fight against oppression from tyrannical rulers. He merely stays to protect me should you be revealed a clever trickster.”
“Clever trickster? Not me!” Petir raised his palms in a defensive gesture. “I’m not at all clever. I mean, I’m clever, but I’m no trickster.”
She quirked a delicate brow.
Great eyebrows.
“Oh, really, m’lord?”
Heat rose around his neck as she studied him.
“And how is it that you come to be in these woods, with your foreign talk, and your odd clothing?” she asked.
My foreign talk? My odd clothing?” Petir sputtered “What about you and the seven dwarfs?”
“The seven—?” She leaned back on her haunches, hands on her hips. “You would insult those who would come to your aid, sir? Perhaps we should simply be off and let the soldiers help you find your way.”
“Oh, the soldiers, huh?” His voice dripped sarcasm. “You mean the ones who work for the tyrannical rulers and cause all the oppression?” Sarcasm, it turned out, helped keep the rest of him in check. “Look, I’m more than sore, and I appreciate playing bows and arrows as much as the next guy, but—”
“Playing bows and arrows?” the girl parroted, irritation sweeping her face.
“Well, yeah. You know, a girl like you, armed to the teeth-”
“A girl like me?”
She sprang to her feet, twirling the staff faster than he could follow. Her spinning staff traced an arc over her head then slammed into the ground, inches from Petir’s ear. Only the floating leaves landing on his scrunched-closed eyes disturbed the silence. Petir carefully opened his eyes, ignoring the fresh aches created by his manly cringing.
She straightened gracefully after her lunge and rested the staff on her shoulder.
“A girl like me, m’lord?” She spun on her heel and stalked away.
John smirked from his position by the tree.
“Whoa!” breathed Petir. He propped himself on his bruised elbows and surveyed the dent in the ground left by the staff. What the hell? That could have been his head.
Maid Rianne? Ha! More like Mad Rianne. Or Maid Xena, the Warrior Princess.

About the Author

DEBORAH ANN DAVIS has been writing since she was assigned to keep a Journal in her 5th grade English class. She began to look around for writing inspiration. Lo and behold, she found her world was full of funny stories just waiting to be told. As she grew older, occasionally she could manipulate one into some school assignment, but it never occurred to her to pursue writing, not even when she discovered her flare for telling stories at college parties.

After a string of college majors, she realized she could have a captive audience EVERY DAY in the public school system. As it turns out, teenagers love to laugh, and what could be more entertaining than Biology, Earth Science, and Environmental Science? Then there's the added bonus that once kids know you like to laugh, they want to make you laugh.

Go figure.

In addition to Writing, she is also an Educational Speaker and a Certified Personal Trainer. She taught for 25+ years, although somewhere in the middle of all that educating, she stepped out of teaching for 6 years to do the Mommy Thing, and run the office for their family construction company.

Even though they had followed separate paths, Deborah reunited with, and married her childhood sweetheart, twelve years after their first kiss.  Together they coached their daughter’s AAU Basketball Team, which swept States two years in a row. (Yay!) Then, for several years their daughter and their money went to college.

They currently reside on a lovely lake in Connecticut. She enjoys dabbling with living a sustainable life, writing novels for her Love of Fairs series, dancing, playing outside, and laughing really hard every day. She promotes increasing the amount of movement throughout your day via Wiggle Writer posts on Merry Meddling.

Remember, you can do anything if you set your mind to it— including becoming an author at any age— but it’s way more fun if you are grinning back when the Universe smiles down on you.

Deborah’s latest book is the new adult novel, Fairly Certain.
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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Interview with Davila LeBlanc, author of Syndicate's Pawns


Inside the Book:

Title: Syndicate's Pawns 
Author: Davila LeBlanc 
Release Date: July 5, 2016 
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse 
Genre: Action/Adventure 
Format: Ebook

A month has passed since the eclectic crew of the Covenant Patrol vessel Jinxed Thirteenth endured a harrowing mission on the abandoned space station of Moria 3 and rescued its sole surviving crew member. During the mission, Moria 3’s deranged AI all but crippled the Jinxed Thirteenth, and the skeletal crew is now desperately trying to get it repaired. 

Waking from several millennia of cryo-sleep, Jessie Madison’s worst fears are confirmed. She is the last surviving member of the Human race. Surrounded by the descendants of mankind in a world she knows nothing about, not even the basic alphabet, Jessie finds herself only able to communicate with the ship’s medic, Marla Varsin, and its translator, Machina Chord.

When the merchant vessel Althena arrives on the scene, its captain, a shrewd trader named Domiant, offers to sell Captain Morwyn the parts he needs. As guards are lowered on the Jinxed Thirteenth and repairs get underway, it becomes evident that a cunning foe has managed to infiltrate the ship. A deadly game of deception begins to play out, with a sinister foe setting its sights set on capturing Jessie. Captain Morwyn Soltaine, the crew of the Jinxed Thirteenth, and Jessie Madison find their mettle tested as they are dragged into a desperate battle for survival.

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The Interview:

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? 

So far? I’m still riding the pride of being published. It’s a really cool feeling.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? 

I’m from a big family and so you quickly learn to observe the different relationships that grow between the different members of the family. Even during bad times, there will always be a bond. That has seriously influenced how I portray the dynamic of sibling and family in my stories. Very few of my characters have “no-family/friends/ or were orphaned from birth”.

When and why did you begin writing? 

It feels from the moment I was able to read I could write. That being said, when I was twenty I was incredibly critical of everything I watched or read. Nothing was ever good enough for me. I remember complaining about a movie I hadn’t liked saying something to the effect “I could do it better” and suddenly I had the thought: if I could do it better, why wasn’t I just doing it? I started writing and never stopped.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? 

I remember reading the Lord of The Rings when I was ten. I LOVED it and wanted to make something like this one day. Then when I was fourteen I was introduced to both DUNE and THE GUNSLINGER, that’s when I remember truly saying: “Yeah I want to write books like these.”

When did you first know you could be a writer? 

It was when I got my first payment for the outline to the pilot script for League Of Super Evil. I think I almost wept. Up until then I’d been writing and editing people’s work for free or for laughably low sums of money, just to get the training. That day was a great moment and I knew from then on that I would be able to make a living as an author.

What inspires you to write and why?

Watching the real world in front of me. I’m almost always thinking in story/narrative mode. I love crafting new worlds and telling stories. This is where I am at my happiest and most productive. I feel like the more I write the closer to my truer self I become. I have a hard time whenever I’m NOT writing.

What genre are you most comfortable writing? 

Fantasy and Sci-Fi, easily. These two genres have inspired me so MUCH throughout my life that I find it hard to even imagine a time when I wasn’t writing or reading fantasy and science fiction. Because I love these genres so much I have an incredibly fun and easy time writing for them.

What inspired you to write your first book? 

My friend Jocelyn Baxter told me to take the NaNoRemo challenge. I figured I could write a book in month no problem. And I spent a MONTH writing the outline to my first book. Then I got depressed until another fellow creative: Jaymie Dylan, reminded me that I still had a working outline for a book and could probably still write it. It was an important test for me as a writer. I’ve written screenplays before. But a full novel? That was something new and I’m really glad I listened to my friends on this one.

Who or what influenced your writing once you began? 

My wife Jessie Mathieson. I came home after a party evening and professed to her that she was going to be the main character of my first book. She laughed and kissed me and probably even playfully thanked me for the honor. But I don’t think either Syndicate’s Pawns or Dark Transmissions would have been possible without her.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? 

It will sound odd but it’s coming up with a story that will keep ME hooked. I know that if I can be hooked on the story that other people will be turning the pages. Coming up with that crucial initial through-line, which looks so simple, is actually the hardest part of the entire process. Once you figure it out, you just follow that through-line to its conclusion and through in as much surprise along the way.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? 

Do not self-edit until you are done the first draft, resist that urge, because if you give in you will wind in a perpetual editing loop. Resist and instead keep a notepad nearby so you can write down all your extra thoughts/notes. All of which you can chose to incorporate while editing a completed working draft.

Do you intend to make writing a career? 

Yes I do. I plan on making a living as a professional writer and author.

Have you developed a specific writing style? 

I try to keep my pace quick and relentless. I’m a big fan of films like Dredd or the Raid and I think that style of storytelling influences me greatly. I don’t like giving my characters a chance to breathe until the story is done. It makes for great tension.

What is your greatest strength as a writer? 

My knowledge of story-telling technique. I’ve been really lucky to have some really experienced industry professionals in the story-editing world and they’ve shown me a lot. Because of this I’ve developed a good sense of pacing. My general all-around passion for storytelling would be another. I love to write.

What is your favorite quality about yourself? 

My ability to listen and take feedback, not only on my writing and work but in my every day life as well.

What is your least favorite quality about yourself? 

I’m a pretty smart guy and sometimes that causes me to easily get jaded. This shocks people because I’m generally a very upbeat person. But sometimes it is a real struggle to do that. I try my best though to not let that affect either my work, or my day-to-day.

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? 

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow’s a mystery , but today is a gift which is why we call it the Present.” Its from master Oogway in “Kung-Fu Panda”. When I heard that quote I was just starting to read up on Zen teaching. That verse from a children’s movie really marked me as quite beautiful. I’ve tried to live my life with that philosophy in mind since.

Meet the Author:

Davila LeBlanc spent his college years studying print journalism but quickly found himself working as a writer and performer in the comedy circuits of Montreal. During this time his goal became to break into the world of professional writing. He would get his first opportunity when he co-created and sold the hit animated television series The League of Super Evil. This was his first foray into the world of production and an important first step on his road to becoming a writer. After working on various television shows, in 2013 Davila decided to take a year off from children’s animation to focus on writing his first novel, Dark Transmissions. He is an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy and wants to add his own voice to the genre that inspired him. Davila currently resides in Ottawa where he is working on several other writing projects. You can visit his website at

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