Friday, January 31, 2014

Real Dogs Don't Whisper a Book of Love and Second Chances for Special Need Dogs

About Real Dogs Don’t Whisper

Real Dogs Don't Whisper
The award winning book, Real Dogs Don't Whisper (, which highlights my life journey caring for four special needs dogs and the life lessons they taught me along the way.  The overall message within Real Dogs Don’t Whisper is about giving those with special needs a second chance.  The book touches on integrity, unconditional love, leadership, trust, stopping abuse and opening your heart to receive and give both unconditional love and friendship.  To lighten the message, I developed a co-author, Mr MaGoo; Mr MaGoo is my Lhasa Apso and he is larger than life.  He adds humor within the book; sharing with the reader how life is so tough for him being the only male in the house and living with a crazy lady, me.
Mr. MaGoo is a nine-year-old Lhasa Apso and the book’s co-creator and co-writer. He is, in his own words, “the alpha and omega of all dogs – in the cutest and sparkiest, most fun-loving package ever.” Ignoring Kelly’s persistent eye-rolling, Mr. MaGoo has forged ahead with this project in an attempt to, as he puts it, “present the facts from a dog’s perspective. In other words, the correct, most accurate, most interesting, only-one-that-matters perspective,” to which he adds, simply, “Woof!”

About Kelly Preston

Kelly Preston is, first and foremost, an animal lover. Raised on a ten-acre property in a small
Author Kelly Preston
town in Pennsylvania, she grew up with horses, rabbits, and – of course – dogs. When she left home after college, she acquired Gizmo, an irresistible Lhasa Apso that started her on a journey full of joys and sorrows, hopes and tribulations, frustrations, endless lessons in patience, and above all else, love. All of this has come at the hands (more precisely the paws) of Gizmo, Betty Boop, Buffy, Carla Mae, and the inimitable Mr. MaGoo.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Interview with T c Tombs, author of Run with the Wolves


It is the fifteenth century, and three kingdoms are caught up in the dire conflicts of their time. As the possibility of a peaceful resolution provides hope that a decade-long war will finally end, no one realizes that dark forces are waiting to invoke chaos as a full moon rises. On a farm nestled beneath the Euralene Mountains along the western border of Medinia, young Willie works for the Smythes as a serf. One moonlit evening when the Smythes are gone to a neighbouring village, Willie hears the terrified cries of animals in the pastures. When he goes to investigate, he discovers that this wolf pack attack is like no other. Badly injured during the raid, he survives—but now he is afflicted by the full-moon madness that will soon transform him into one of the wolf creatures he dreads. With his life seemingly warped forever, Willie must face the prospect of a lifelong descent into horror. In a time of witchcraft, superstitious folk lore, and fearsome creatures roaming the night, Willie struggles with an uncertain destiny and must seek help from the one man he holds most responsible for the dark fate that awaits him during the next full moon cycle. “Beware of the full moon. This one is for all of the werewolf lovers!” —Top Book Reviewers A well-written and addictive first novel. —Blue Ink Review A well-developed, tightly plotted fantasy; readers will want installments two and three. —Kirkus Reviews

Purchase your copy:


Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

The 'Run with the Wolves' series ('The Pack', 'The Oracle', and 'The Beast') is a fantasy adventure set in the turbulent times of 15th century Europe. The saga began with the writing of the lyrics to 3 songs for a Halloween concert. One was about a wolf-man, one was about a vampire-like character, and one was about a group called the Oddities - rejects from society. Those songs had the common element of people who were faced with afflictions beyond their control and the trials and tribulations they were forced to face. I decided to write that story. Ten years, 3 books, and 48 songs later here we are.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

The biggest challenge I think any writer faces is in devoting the amount of time that is needed to take on a major project like this - with no guarantee that his or her work will ever see the light of day - or if it does, that anyone will like it. You just have to dive into the deep end and have faith in your abilities.

Do you plan subsequent books?

I really enjoyed the writing of this series. The nature of the saga and the characters would allow for a prequel or a sequel. I've been considering a jump ahead in time and bringing the story to North America during the time of the Salem Witch trials.

When and why did you begin writing?

 I've been an avid reader since I was a small child. I loved books that I could get lost in the world the author created. They were like grand adventures - full of peril and promise. I love the art of story telling and I began writing my own stories as a child as well. Later on I wrote lyrics for various bands, short stories for school projects and my own amusement, and finally this project many years later.

What is your greatest strength as an author?

I like to think I have a talent for the weaving a number of plot lines that leave the reader in suspense as to the eventual outcome of each. I try to create empathy for every major character - whether they are a protagonist or an antagonist. Every person is flawed in some way and every person has to make hard decisions at times. Which road will they choose? There's the potential for good and evil in us all and the choices we make aren't always black and white. Sometimes the consequences of one's actions can't be known. Elements like these make for a roller-coaster ride of a read - and a story that's hard to put down.

Did writing this book teach you anything?

Yes, I did a great deal of research in the writing of this series. The 15th century in Europe was a time of the renaissance and great advancements; and it was the time of the inquisition and terrible repressions. It made for a fascinating setting for 'Run with the Wolves'.

I hope you'll pick up a copy and enjoy the adventure!


T c TOMBS earned degrees from Trent University and Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada. Like many Canadians, he loves hockey and golf, and he has a passion for medieval history, folk lore, literature, film, and music. Terry and his wife, Sandra, live in the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario, Canada, where they have raised five daughters.

PUYB Blog Tour: How to Stop Reading by James Zerndt

 We have a wonderful guest today!  James Zerndt, author of The Cloud Seeders is here to give us some really good writing advice and it makes darn good sense...


How To Stop Reading
by James Zerndt
            Disclaimer: The following is intended for those who read too much, who care too much about writing to that point that they are too intimidated to try it themselves. If you haven’t already read a ton of books, by all means stop reading this and pick up a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo or something.
            Some of the best advice I ever got about writing came from a musician. She told me, after listening to my whiskey-fueled lament about how I’d never be able to create something truly beautiful, that she stopped listening to music whenever she was working on a song. When I asked why, she said that hearing really good drummers did nothing but fill her with self-doubt. It paralyzed her, to the point where she didn’t even want to pick up her drum sticks. And she would inevitably convince herself that she had no right making music at all. She said that after listening to me talk about the writers I looked up to (Steinbeck, McCullers, Roddy Doyle, Cormac McCarthy), she thought the best thing I could do for myself would be to stop reading books for a while.
            And she was absolutely right.
            At the time, I was painting houses for a living. I hadn’t written anything in at least ten years because, well, I’d decided long ago that I didn’t have what it took. And I was mostly right about that:
I wasn’t very good. I had nothing to say. I was “choked” as one not-so-subtle girlfriend told me at the time. So what did I do all that time I wasn’t writing?
            I read books. A glorious, wonderful f-load of books.
            And now here I was getting drunk with a friend, talking once again about a dream I had long ago murdered, talking about how I wished I could create something as perfect as, say, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe.
            “You ever listen to Rush’s YY2?”
            I lied and said I had.
            “You think after listening to Neil Peart play something as amazing as that that I could sit down to my crappy little kit and play? I’ll never be Neil Peart. Not even close. And I’ll never be Keith effing Moon. But what I can be is the best drummer in whatever crappy bar we happen to be playing in that night. You see what I’m saying? Put War and Peace away. Lower the damn bar. That’s where you start. Someplace where those giants aren’t staring over your shoulders.”
            I don’t remember much else from that night. Other than her telling me that she didn’t know if I was a good writer or not, but that she did know that I wasn’t just a housepainter. Not that there’s anything wrong with being just a housepainter, as long as that’s all you want to be.
But that’s not all I wanted to be.
I wanted to rock out.
And so I put the McCullers and Steinbeck away.
I stopped measuring myself up against the giants.
And now I’m finally playing.
And that’s what matters: figuring out what it is that’s stopping you from attempting your dream.  So what if the soundtrack to your dream features somebody banging away happily on an old suitcase rather than a twenty-piece drum kit.
It’s your dream after all.
About the Author:

James Zerndt lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and son. His poetry has appeared in The Oregonian Newspaper, and his fiction has most recently appeared in Gray's Sporting Journal and SWINK magazine. He rarely refers to himself in the third person.

His latest book is the YA scifi, The Cloud Seeders.

Connect & Socialize!


About the Book: 

Serve Your Country, Conserve Your Water, Observe Your Neighbor

This is the slogan of the Sustainability Unit and of a country gone eco-hysterical. After nearly twelve months without rain and the hinges of the world barely still oiled, Thomas and his younger brother, Dustin, set out across a drought-ridden landscape in search of answers. What they discover along the way will change their lives, and their country, forever.

The Cloud Seeders weaves humor and heartache, as well as poetry and science, into a unique novel that defies categorization.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE.

Friday, January 24, 2014

First Chapter Reveal: Dreamer by Phillip L. Davidson

Dreamer cover
Title: Dreamer
Genre: Faith-based military thriller
Author: Phillip L. Davidson
Publisher: Phillip L. Davidson, 2nd edition
Pages: 383
Language: English
Format: eBook

Purchase at AMAZON

The fiery relationship between Captain David Eliott and beautiful lover and wife Sonny creates a drama that will cross continents. She is the light of his world and suddenly disappears under the worst circumstances, which causes David to again become the man that he swore to forget. This military drama is full of intrigue and redemption.

Phil Davidson's book Dreamer is dedicated to preserving the bond of brotherhood that military members commit to, shows the power of faith in overcoming life's most adverse situations, shows the strength of families working through challenges, and the healing from trauma that occurs by becoming bold enough to face the enemies of your past.

First Chapter:


Alexandria, Virginia - March 1, 1982

In the black void of his mind, David could see them again.

Like hunted animals, they scurried through the knee-deep rice paddy water, slipping and falling, cursing, and gasping for breath. Above, unseen in the darkness of night, fast-moving clouds unleashed a torrent of monsoon rain that fell across them in heavy rippling waves.

Suddenly, they froze. Overhead, sizzling noises broke the dull drone of the rain as the sky became filled with yellow flickering candle flares. He dove into the filthy water and fitfully pawed his way along the muddy bottom of the paddy until he reached an earthen dike. Lying with his face against the muddy slope, he could only sense the desperate gathering of the gray silhouettes of his men as they one by one pressed up against the dike.

He looked down at the luminous dial of his Rolex. They were fast running out of night. Before the sun came up, he had to lead his men across this vast expanse of flat rice plain to an obscure island of jungle where they could hide during the day and then escape as night fell.

One by one, the flares died out and the sky became dark once more. Cautiously, he raised his head. Had they been quick enough? Or had they been seen, caught in the open dark statutes framed against the paddy waters’ sparkle.

He turned to his men. He knew they were exhausted. For the better part of an hour they had been moving at a dead run. In the distance behind them, the fires from the burning village gave of a faint shimmering glow.

But it was not how exhausted they were, or the barrage of the rain, or Keaton's labored breathing that most troubled him. It was Jude's haunting face. Even in the darkness, he could see it, could feel Jude watching his every move, waiting for what he knew was coming, for what he knew David would soon have to do.

"Where am I?" he asked the darkness.

"On course," answered a voice, powerful and alluring. He reached out to touch the voice, but could feel nothing there.

"Dai Uy, why did you have to bring him with us?" Force asked as he crouched next to him in the filthy water.

He grabbed Force's shoulder strap and pulled him close to his face. "Get the hell back, Sergeant. We couldn't just leave him there," he hissed.

"I was afraid we were lost," he said to the darkness.

He lifted the lensatic compass that was securely tied around his neck and flicked open its cover. The rain was coming down so hard it was impossible to read its dial, so he took of his beret, held it against his forehead, and brought the compass up close to his face. He smiled. The two illuminated dots had nestled correctly between them the compass's arrowhead indicating that he was guiding the team in the right direction. He closed the compass, let it fall, and climbed to the top of the dike. In the darkness, he could hardly make out the huddled figures of his men who had spread themselves along the dike in various dark contortions.

"It felt good," he explained to the darkness.

It did feel good. He could feel the ooziness of the rice water inside his jungle boots and the trickling rain water flowing inside his tiger fatigues, uninhibited by useless underwear.

His web gear was hooked securely across his back and chest and carried everything he needed to survive in the jungle: knife, first aid pouch, flashlight, and grenades. His canteen was half full and his Webley was resting securely in its holster. Across his chest was strung his faithful Car-15 still awaiting his command. He had forgotten how good it felt to be on a battlefield.


He quickly turned over. Keaton was too old for his now. Why was he here?


Even above the incessant drone of the rain, he could hear Keaton's heavy breathing. He sloshed his way to the end of the formation where Keaton was guarding their rear. As he squatted down breathlessly beside him, Keaton's rock face turned and he spoke.

"Dai Uy." Keaton's voice was deep and gravelly. After he spoke, he coughed and spit.

"How you holding up, Sergeant?" he asked, getting his wind. "My Ranger tabs keepin' me warm," Keaton said under his breath.

"Yeah. Can you see anything out there?" he asked, squinting into the rain.

"They can't be too far behind. My guess is they're fanning out, hoping to get a scent or to hear something."

"Has Jude been talking to himself," he said, dropping his head.

"Dai Uy, I didn't know," Keaton said as if trying to explain, but he stopped him.

"It's not your fault. It's nobody's fault," he said evenly, trying not to meet Keaton's eyes.

No. It's my fault, he thought. I'm their leader. I'm responsible for everything. Then he returned his attention to the moment. "How far away you guess the jungle is?" he asked.

"Not far . . ." Suddenly, red tracer rounds flew over their heads like a swarm of mad hornets followed the sound of random drum-roll bursts of gun fire. He chuckled, and Keaton coughed again.

"They're recon'n by fire. They don't know where we are," Keaton said with a raspy laugh, hope evident in his voice.

"Let's don't let them get lucky," he quipped. "I'll get us moving."

He made his way back to the head of the formation, and grabbing Force by his arm said, "Help Jake carry him." Force and Jake lifted Jude by the shoulders and with the rest of the men followed him into the gray mist that had begun to rise off the paddy water.

Behind them, not far, fierce warriors pursued. Men with different moralities, different truths, different needs. Men who had forsaken emotion and inhibition. Men who understood the meaning of sacrifice. Men who would stop at nothing until they had killed them all.

Another swirl of brilliant tracer rounds licked across the sky.

Faster, he thought frantically. I must go faster. He quickened the pace. But when he looked back over his shoulder, he couldn't see his men. Their lives depended on his ability to read a compass and their ability to keep up with him. It was easy to become lost, even this close. Where were they? Two flares lit up a patch of rice paddy to his left about a mile away. Got to go faster. No. He stopped. Jake? Force? Then he heard sloshing and breathing. There. Yes, they were there. "Over here," he said plaintively. The sloshing stopped. Two more flares lit up the horizon to his right.

"It's all right," the voice said softly in the darkness.

He hurt. He no longer had any feeling in his feet and legs, and his back throbbed with a deep pain. I've got to get in control of it, the hurt, the pain, the exhaustion. I'm their officer, he thought resolutely. No matter how bad it gets, I'm their officer.

"It's so hard to go on. Help me," he cried in desperation.

Wearily, he rose up from where he lay and reached out again for the voice, but the darkness around him was empty and cold.

"Look, Dai Uy!"

Startled, he turned to see Jake standing next to him. He cupped his hand over his eyes. Not far ahead of them, the horizon became darker than the paddies. He smiled. Jake's eyes were the best at night. The jungle was just ahead of them. They were going to make it. "Let's go, men," he ordered confidently.

He left Pratt, Chip, and Julio at the jungle's entrance as lookouts while the rest of the team moved further inward.

"Put him against that tree," Keaton ordered.

Force and Jake let Jude drop to the ground. He had passed out from the pain of his wounds. "Bring him to, Doc," he ordered, his commanding voice beginning to fade.

Doc bent down and broke open a vial of ammonia under Jude's nose and he began to shake his head from side to side. "Wake up, you motherfucker!" Doc said, slapping Jude's face.

He grabbed Doc's arm. "Don't do that," he ordered. Jude was still his man.

The rain had suddenly stopped, and in its place an eerie pall had spread over the jungle. He and Keaton stood side by side looking down on Jude.

Keaton turned to him with a demanding look on his face. "Dai Uy," was all Keaton said, as he handed David the Walther with a silencer attached to its barrel. The little pistol felt hard and cold as it lay in his open palm, its blue steel frame well oiled and covered with little drops of water. He curled his fingers around the grip and the trigger. It was like holding death itself.

It was still strangely quiet. The rain had left a vacuum and dawn was coming. Each man's different breathing could clearly be heard.

"Why?" he said, feeling sick as the rice he had eaten wanted to come up. He wanted to run, to escape from it. The responsibility. It was never supposed to have come to this.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage," the voice from the darkness said.

He tried to take a step back, but Keaton's huge shape stopped him. "It's got to be done, sir. You know what will happen if they find us out here in the open. Besides, he's not one of us anymore," Keaton said as he took hold of his arm.

"I've got to know why," he said, wrestling his arm free from Keaton's grip. He squatted down in front of Jude. "Why, you bastard? Why?"

"Why? You want to know why? You think knowing will make it easier for you? It won't. Besides, what does it matter? I did what I had to do. What I was led to do."

"Tell me, you damn traitor."

"I'm no traitor, Captain. You're the traitors. All of you," Jude said loudly, waving his arm at them. "But . . . I . . . didn't think any of us would get hurt. Only the scouts. Only the scouts. But you know John. He was always the hero." Jude began laughing to himself.

"Kill him!" Force hissed.

"God, just shoot him and let's get out of here!" Jake said flatly, turning his head.

"No. Let him finish!" he snapped.

Jude looked up impassively at him. "Thanks," he said quietly. Then he turned to the others. "I could see it, even if no one else could. What we were becoming. Don't any of you understand where we were heading? Whom we were serving?"

"The Buddha," Jake chuckled.

"Kill him!" It was Force again.

"Who? Who were we serving?" he screamed, so close to Jude's face he could feel his breath.

"Dai Uy, this is a waste of time. Shoot the bastard so we can get the hell out of here before they find us. Shit," Keaton implored with a worried look on his face.

"He's talking bullshit, Dai Uy. He led those bastards to us and now he's just trying to talk his way out of it, " Force said.

"Everybody just shut up!" he shouted. "Now, what are you talking about? Who were we serving? Fuck. Who were you serving?"

"He was serving me, David," the voice from the darkness said evenly.

"The rest of you get the hell out of here," he ordered. "Keaton, set up an RP at the other side. We'll push out of here at nightfall and try to make Ba Chuc."

Keaton did as he was told. The team quickly gathered themselves and their gear together. Each knew he had to do it. And the sooner they left the better. As they filed past Jude, each man took one last look. Some even shook their heads. He watched anxiously as the last man disappeared into the mist.

"Before I do this, I need to know the reason why," he said flatly.

"I always thought you were smart," Jude said, not looking up.

"Tell me!" he yelled impatiently, but Jude just hung his head and seemed to sway back and forth as if praying.

He pulled the pistol’s hammer back.

Hearing the click, Jude looked up with a jerk. "Phoenix," he said quickly.

"Why Phoenix? Just tell me that. The things we were doing, the people we were killing, women, old people. God, Captain."

"You turned Judas. You got John killed. Why didn't you just get the hell out if things bothered you so bad? Why didn't you just cross the canal and go to Cambot?"

"I didn't mean for John to get killed. What he did was foolish. You know he'd been reckless ever since he got word that his wife had left him."

"You still haven't told me why."

"I've been telling you. You just haven't been listening. I did it for you and the others. If we got hit really badly and we lost our scouts, SOG would have to pull us out."

He raised the gun.

"Do it," Jude said breathlessly.

He stared into Jude's eyes, looking down the sight of the pistol.

"You were losing your soul, Captain. I couldn't let that happen to you. What would I have said to Him when he asked me why I, knowing the truth, did nothing to save you?"

As his finger tightened against the gun's trigger, he began to feel lightheaded and dizzy. Was it the fever again? No. Something else. Something was there, an unseen presence. He could feel its warmth and sense its power. The pistol became suddenly very heavy, so heavy that he struggled to hold it in his hand. "What's happening?" he cried out.

The pistol fell from his hand to the soft jungle floor. For a moment, neither he nor Jude spoke, as if each was pondering the consequences of what had taken place between them.

"Why didn't I have the strength?" he asked out loud. "Because I was with him," the voice answered.

After an eternity, he asked, "Will you go to Cambodia?"

His mind raced for an answer. "I don't know," Jude replied quietly.

"Will I see you again?"

"Yes. You will see me again."

"The others won't understand."

"They will in time."

"I don't understand."

"You will, in time."

"I'm cold."

"I know," she said, holding his head against her warm body. She wiped the sweat from his forehead and kissed him. "I'll close the window, okay?"

David nodded, embarrassed. Sunny got up from the bed and went to the window. A cold breeze was blowing across the city. Far out in the distance were the Capitol and the Washington Monument, both framed in spears of white mist-laden light. The breeze chilled her naked body. She quickly shut the window and returned to David, who was awake and sitting up. "I'm sorry. It happened again," was all he could say.

Morning had come too quickly. Wearily, David wrapped himself in his bathrobe and leaned against the windowsill. Below, traffic was starting to coagulate as the army of government civil servants made their daily pilgrimage over the Wilson Bridge. In the distance he could see the lights around the monuments and government buildings of the city being turned of as the sun broke the earth's surface. It was going to be a bright, clear day.

Sunny had gone back to sleep. She lay on the bed, her slender legs spread invitingly. A sheet was draped casually across her smooth stomach. Asleep, she looked peaceful, David thought, not seemingly inexhaustible like she did when she was awake. A movement. She turned her face toward David and sighed. A trusting face. Bright and ever smiling. A face that never betrayed the awful truth about her past.

A past filled with fear and terror and personal courage. Her large brown eyes were closed. Eyes that had given him solace. Eyes that hungered for truth, eternally hopeful of finding in others substance, not form. Someone she could trust. Someone like her. But he had found him. And with him came the darkness.

Later in the morning, Sunny submerged herself in warm bath water. She was in no hurry. Mass at Georgetown was not until eleven, and David had already left for the War College. The water calmed her, helped diminish the fear she had felt during the night. She felt threatened and, when she felt threatened, her first instinct was to fight. But how could she fight a memory? How could she fight men long since dead? Men who now lived in her husband's mind and haunted him in nightmares. She hurt for him, but could not help. All she could do was be there when he came back; all she could do was hold his head and comfort him. "Why now?" he would ask. But Sunny had no answer.

She wet her washcloth and placed it over her face. The heat cooled her. Slowly she sank down under the water. David was afraid. He knew he had no control over the dreams. Lack of control was devastating to a man like David. And she had seen what lack of control could do to someone you love.

"Why is father crying?" she asked.

Her mother took her away from the study. "Shhh," her mother said. "You must show your father respect."

"Is respect the same thing as love, mother?"

"Yes, my darling."

She had been so young then. The cloth covered her. There had been other crying.

"Sonia!" It was Maria, her blond hair in tangles.

"Maria, why are you crying?"

"They took Paulo!"


"They took him right off the street, shoved him into one of their "green sedans." No one ever came back from a ride in one of those green sedans.

She had to help him. David, I will find a way. I will get help. Just have faith, my darling. But David had no faith. Sunny sat up in the tub.

Still, she could not see, her mind blinded her to the present.

Her father sat impassively at the far end of the room. Her mother stood beside him holding a scarf in her hands. Her mother was crying. Her father's eyes were wet and red. "Sonia, for the sake of our family, you must be careful," her father said.

She felt exposed, naked before them, like she had been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. She had taken chances. She had taken a stand. She had involved them against their will and without their knowledge and consent. She was their daughter. She had become a revolutionary. They were the establishment, the very people who supported the military junta. Now they were guilty by blood, and the junta shot the guilty. They had shot Paulo. And yesterday they had thrown Maria against a wall and shot her through her blue eyes.

"How can any person who believes in God stand by and just watch as their friends are dragged of into the night and shot to death?" she asked.

Her father did not answer, just hung his head and sobbed. "Do you want to die?" her mother asked.

She was unable to answer her mother's question.

The day was bright and brisk, the sky a robin's egg blue. There was a fresh smelling breeze that carried a slight chill along its edge. Sunny strode purposefully across the commons on her way to Dahlgren Chapel and mass. She seemed to blend in with the other students who walked the commons. She wore a gray skirt, an oxford cloth shirt, weeguns, blue knee socks, and a navy blue sweater tied around her neck. As she neared the steps of the chapel, she began to wrap her hair in a maroon scarf.

"Keaton," she thought. Who was Keaton? What was he to David and why did David sometimes call out his name during the nightmares? "Keaton," she said softly, faintly letting the name escape her lips.

As she started up the chapel steps, something jerked the scarf from her head. Startled, she turned, but no one was there. A gust of deathly cold wind whirled around her, enveloping her in a tomblike silence. The sounds of the commons became faint and distant, and everything seemed to slow down like a record player turning of. Suddenly she heard it. At first it seemed far of, outside of the wind. Then it came to her. An anguished cry, a high-pitched scream, shrill and then angry. Something thorny touched her back. She twirled around, but again saw nothing. But something was there. It stood close to her. Pulsating, cold, and hateful. She could have touched it if she had dared, but she was mortified, mute and numb. Then, like dust being sucked into a vacuum, it was gone.

The students milling around the commons went about their business as if they knew nothing of what had just taken place. Birds chirped and the bell for mass began to ring. Sunny felt groggy, as if she had just awakened from a deep sleep. She was cold and sweating. She stood, unsteady for a moment. When she realized where she was, she sat down on the steps. In the welcome quiet of the familiar sounds of Georgetown, she began to understand what she had experienced. Having read the scriptures, she knew. It had been a warning, a premonition of something that was to be. She had felt it before. In Buenos Aires. They had come for her in the darkness of night, for that was their time. But she had been warned of their plan, had received a message of her impending death. Now she understood that she had not truly escaped but had been granted only a respite from the terror. When would it happen, she wondered? How much time did she have?

She stood up, her composure regained. Resolutely, she tied the scarf overhead once again. No, she thought. The drama was not over, and in it she felt she would have a part to play. Only, how soon would it be before the director gave her her cue?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Appeal of the Irishman by p.m. terrell, author of The Tempest Murders

The Tempest Murders

Detective Ryan O’Clery has always had dreams of a beautiful woman he’d loved and lost but when he discovers his ancestor’s journals from his native Ireland, he realizes his dreams are really the other man’s memories. Now he is working a series of murders in North Carolina that are eerily similar to cases Rian Kelly was working when his soul mate was murdered during one of Ireland’s most horrific storms, in which the Atlantic Ocean swept over the island all the way to the Irish Sea. As Hurricane Irene barrels toward the North Carolina coastline, Ryan discovers the serial killer’s real target is a reporter who bears a striking resemblance to the woman of his dreams—a woman with whom Ryan O’Clery is falling deeply in love. Is history destined to repeat itself? Or can Ryan save Cathleen Reilly from a killer intent on destroying everything he ever loved? You can follow her blog at

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I’ve noticed something interesting since I introduced the characters of Dylan Maguire in my Black Swamp Mysteries series and Ryan O’Clery in The Tempest Murders. I can be talking about the books and my audience is listening politely, but as soon as I mention that they’re Irish, their eyes get wide and they don’t need to hear anything else. They want the books.

Just what is it about the Irish that we love so much?

Ancestors on both sides of my family were from Ireland. My father’s family was from what is now Northern Ireland, having arrived on America’s shores long before the Emerald Isle was divided into two countries. They all had jet black hair and vivid green eyes. My mother’s family, however, was filled with red-heads. It turned out that when the Vikings came south and raided Ireland, many of them remained and became more Irish than the Irish. It was the Vikings who brought the red hair to Ireland, so those towns and villages on the east coast were more likely to have red-heads since those were the landing sites of the Vikings. Those on the far west coast were more isolated and were more likely to have black or dark brown hair.

I learned from my mother that the Irish are a happy lot. “The luck of the Irish” is actually tongue-in-cheek because anyone who knows the Irish know they tend to have the worst luck of just about anybody. But they are incredibly resilient. They live in a country where it rains almost constantly and yet they’re the first to point out how green everything is, how fresh the air smells, and what a wonderful day they’re having. When I developed the character of Dylan Maguire, I gave him the personality of the happy Irishman; the one who is always ready for an ale and a laugh and a bit of craic (conversation). Conversation, as it turns out, is another character trait of the Irish. It’s said if you ever kiss the Blarney Stone, you’ll be given the gift of gab. But you won’t find many Irish kissing it, because if they did they might never shut up.

I learned from my father that the Irish can also be fierce defenders of their families and homes. Both Dylan Maguire and Ryan O’Clery are very strong, very capable and as it turns out, able to kill when the situation warrants it. They would both rather be passionately in love and having a romping good time but when CIA operative Dylan Maguire or Detective Ryan O’Clery are at work, they are all work. Physically fit and robust, no one could be more serious about keeping their families safe.

But let’s face it. One reason we love the Irish is because of their awesome accents. In a recent survey, the Scottish have the number 1 most admired accent in the world followed by the Irish and then the Australians. They have a lilt to their voices that make them easy to listen to; it’s sexy, it’s melodious and we just can’t get enough of it.

So tell me, what do you like most about an Irish character?

P.M. Terrell

P.M. Terrell is the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 18 books in 4 genres. A full-time author since 2002, she previously opened and operated two computer companies in the Washington, DC area. Her specialties were in the areas of computer crime and computer intelligence and her clients included the Secret Service, CIA and Department of Defense as well as local law enforcement. Computer and spy technology are two themes that recur throughout her books. She is the co-founder of The Book 'Em Foundation, whose mission is to raise awareness of the link between high illiteracy rates and high crime rates. And she founded the annual Book 'Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair which takes place each February. She is also an animal advocate and helped to start the New Leash on Life program in which dogs destined for euthanasia are rescued and paired with prison inmates in Robeson County, North Carolina, who train them. The dogs are then adopted into loving homes.

Indie Authors Naked Book Blast

Indie authors
Indie Authors Naked 

Indie Authors Naked explores and defines the world of independent publishing. Comprised of a series of essays and interviews by indie authors, booksellers and publishers, readers will get a look at the many aspects of the indie community, where publishing professionals of all types come together with the simple goal of creating something unique; something that speaks directly to the reader, no middleman necessary. Contributors include: James Franco, Hugh Howey, McNally Jackson Books, Sarah Gerard, OHWOW Books, Raine Miller, David Vinjamuri, Toby Neal, Rachel Thompson, Eden Baylee, Christoph Paul, Jessica Redmerski, Dan Holloway, Orna Ross and more.

loren  About the Authors Loren Kleinman is a writer and poet with roots in New Jersey. She has a B.A. in English Literature from Drew University and an M.A. in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Sussex. Kleinman is a columnist for (IR) where she interviews New York Times and USA Today bestselling indie authors. Some of those interviews in IR reappeared in USA Today and The Huffington Post. Her poetry has appeared in literary journals such as Nimrod, Journal of New Jersey Poets, Paterson Literary Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, Writer’s Bloc, Resurgence (UK), HerCircleEzine and Aesthetica Annual. She was the recipient of the Spire Press Poetry Prize (2003), was a 2000 and 2003 Pushcart Prize nominee, and a 2004 Nimrod/Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize finalist. In 2003, Spire Press published her first collection of poetry Flamenco Sketches, which explored the relationship between love and jazz. Her second collection of poetry, The Dark Cave Between My Ribs, is due to release with Winter Goose Publishing in March 2014. She is currently working on a New Adult romance, This Way to Forever.

Loren1Amy Holman Edelman launched IndieReader, the essential consumer guide to self-published books and the people who write them, way back in 2007. Since then, indie authors have stormed the bestseller lists, been courted by trad publishers and (after all that), finally gained a modicum of respect. Amy self-published her first book, The Fashion Resource Directory, back in the 80s, long before POD and Amazon and e-readers roamed the land. Her second and third books (The Little Black Dress and Manless in Montclair), were traditionally published (by Simon & Schuster and Shaye Areheart Books, an imprint of Crown). As an author and a publicist with over 20 years’ experience, Amy’s goal for IndieReader is no less than to make indie a respected and desirable category within the publishing world. This book is just one step in that direction.



 From the Introduction of Indie Authors Naked by Amy Edelman: IndieReader was launched in ‘07, otherwise known as the dark days of self-publishing. Back then, every book was considered a vanity publication, every author a failed writer. Denial ran so high that when the self-pubbed book, Her Last Letter by Nancy C. Johnson hit The New York Times bestseller list, the good folks at the NYT were still saying that they’d never include one! And then there was The Shack, another indie that snuck through the gauntlet to appear on the NYTimes list for an astounding 172 weeks between June 2008 to early 2010 (52 of those weeks at #1). Flash forward to 2012-2013. With the advent of ebooks, the publishing landscape has completely and irrevocably changed. Bowker, the ISBN people, recently reported that the number of self-published books in 2012 rose 59% over 2011, growing to over 391,000 titles in 2012. That’s a lot of indie. But it’s not just availability that has changed the notion of what a self-pubbed book can be. Either the whole “vanity” thing was propaganda on the part of trad publishing—after all, Virginia Woolf famously did it with Hogarth Press—or publishing ebooks makes it easier for talented writers to get their work seen. Either way, over the last couple of years—beginning with the high-profile snagging of Amanda Hocking—at least 50 indie authors (many of them interviewed in this very book) have been courted and won by traditional publishers. Did these authors’ books change from when they were self-pubbed to when they became trads? Or did their appearance on the bonafide bestseller lists (The New York Times, USA Today) just make it easier for the Big 5 to spot them? Not that getting picked up by a traditional publisher is always an indie author’s end-game. In fact, a recent survey conducted by The Bookseller noted that only about one-third of the self-published authors surveyed stated that they would consider a traditional book deal. That’s a lot of authors who aren’t willing to trade the freedom of creation for the chance to have their works packaged by committee. So whether an author decides to sell their work to a trad publisher or not—it is clear that indies are here to stay. Their books resonate with readers who really couldn’t give a damn if they came through the hallowed halls of a traditional publisher or just via their ereaders. The indie writing community is strong and getting stronger, as are the options for placing their books (been to your local bookstore lately? You may be surprised at the titles you find on the shelves). Yes, dear readers, this time—thanks to technology and changing perceptions—self-publishing is clearly here to stay. And via interviews and essays, Indie Authors Naked aims to highlight the best of the best.


BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 2/10/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash.

Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.

Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author.

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First Chapter Reveal: My Death: A Personal Guidebook by Jeremy Kagan

Title: My Death: A Personal Guidebook
Genre: Spiritual/Self-Help
Author: Jeremy Kagan
Publisher: Balboa Press
Pages: 124
Language: English
Format: eBook

Purchase at AMAZON

This is a powerful memoir of a near-death experience. After a Native American sweat lodge, the author loses control of his body and then his life. He begins a passage that leads to a personal hell. He discovers a way to escape and emerges into an amazing exploration of the soul’s journey. In this intense adventure, there are insights into stages of consciousness and encounters of blissful perfection. This spiritual, inspirational book is meant to be an aid to removing the universal fear of the final journey we are all taking.

First Chapter:

I was with a high school buddy who told me that his greatest fear is dying and death. I wanted to comfort him. I thought if I shared my personal experience to that ‘undiscovered country,’ it could relieve some of his anxiety. And that is what I want to do for all those who read this. I’d like to make it easier to navigate where we all are headed.

Death is not the end of being.*****

It was the evening of a cold Sunday on the thirteenth day of December in Los Angeles, California, The United States of America, planet earth, the Milky Way. It was the day before my birthday.

My whole body was sweating. Every pore was oozing. I had never been this hot. I could barely breathe. Would I survive?

I was in a sweat lodge. These ‘sweats’ are purification rituals where you join a group of people, often strangers, and you all enter a dark enclosed space that gets very hot.

I had done sweats before. In the darkness I had shared wishes, confronted issues of life and death, and I had sweat. A lot. In these previous sweats, I had been able to deal with the discomfort. Later I learned about an infamous case where people died in a sweat that was improperly prepared, poorly led and overcrowded. I wonder if I would have gone to this particular sweat had I known people died in that one. But you can die anywhere.

Sweats were always a test for me. A lot of my life has been about passing tests.

The test of a sweat is to be present. In the heat. To be honest. In the heat.

I was in one of those transitional phases in life where I figured I might learn something from this kind of uncomfortable encounter. It seemed like a good way to sort some things out. Join in a circle of other humans in the dark. In the heat.

I had been working in the film world as a director and I had a fairly successful career up to then. But I was troubled about my future. Earlier that afternoon, I had attended a party in Topanga Canyon with a friendly crowd of Hollywood movie co-workers and ‘wannabes’ and a number of ‘has-beens.’ It was Christmas time in Los Angeles and it was all good cheer, jingle bells and twinkling palm trees.

At the party I talked about the film project I was working on and others talked about theirs. As the sun started to cast shadows, I knew it was time to move on. I made a circuit through the rooms, saying my goodbyes and thanking my hostess. She wrote a feature I had directed some years back. We liked each other, even though we rarely stayed in contact. That was the way of things for me in the movie business. I would get close to my crew and cast when working on a film. We would become a family; but after the film was done, the relationships would dissolve. If I ran into someone years later, there might be a hug and a few shared memories, and then we would drift away to our separate lives.

I climbed into my white 1981 Avanti and drove off. I liked this car. It was a classic coupe with a sleek design and red interior upholstery. Now I wasn’t a car person and could barely fix a flat tire, but when I saw my first Studebaker, I became a fan. This handsome vehicle was its last iteration. It got a lot of attention on the street. I liked to tell the story of how it was made.

The great industrial designer Raymond Loewy had his associates conceive the car in two weeks. He isolated them in a desert town where they were denied drink and women. The result was an auto that has feminine curves. It was also a car that had saved my life once. A torrential rain had turned Los Angeles streets slippery. I was driving a curved road in Beverly Hills, and suddenly the Avanti went into a 360 degree spin sliding toward a telephone pole on the driver’s side.

This was going to be bad. But to my surprise, the car stopped inches short of crashing. I breathed easier and was very grateful. Whatever and whoever was watching over me had decided not to kill me then. I had heard that you have a number of close calls before your actual death. This was one of mine. There were others.

So here I was now, in my Avanti, driving fast along the Pacific Coast Highway. I was heading into the Malibu Mountains. The route was lonely, full of curves, and sparsely inhabited. I was already late. It was a bad habit of mine back then.

My mind wandered and worried. The other sweats I had done had been strenuous and unpredictable. I’d seen things in the blackness.

Often the heat had been so heavy, I had wanted to leave before the ceremonies were over. In the past I had stayed to avoid the embarrassment of what I thought would be seen as failure. How would I handle this next sweat? Another test.

Thoughts of what might occur in this sweat pre-occupied me. I suddenly realized I was lost.

I had passed the junction for the turn off and gone way too far up the road. I pulled over and switched directions. I headed back down the mountain more slowly, paying attention to where I was.

Would I find the way in? Around the next corner, a small signpost pointed to a narrow dirt road. It read The Wright Land. This was where I was supposed to go.

The Avanti, somewhat of a low rider, wasn’t meant for rough roads. It bumped over the pits and rocks through a narrow passageway that led up a hill. Enormous red boulders threatened to scrape the doors. I bounced around until reaching a crest, which opened up to a large plateau below. In the distance was a dramatic cliff that dropped off into the ocean.

Vehicles were lined up on the grassy field below. Clearly, the other participants had already arrived. I drove down the hill and parked. I got out and hurriedly grabbed some towels from my back seat. The sun had not completely set, so even though late, I knew there was still some time before the ritual would actually begin.

I decided to walk up a little mound next to an unfinished home on the cliff. The structure was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and belonged to his grandchildren who owned the property, hence The Wright Land. On this knoll, the ground was marked out with white stones in the shape of a prayer wheel with its spokes extending in the cardinal directions. I stepped into the circle and sat on the cool ground. I was trying to center and calm myself.

The sun was creating a golden red sky. I tried to slow my breathing. Get peaceful. It didn’t work. I was still a little anxious. I stood up.

I turned, walked down the hill, and passed a lily pond with croaking frogs. I hiked up an incline through red tan sandstone outcropping. Behind these rocks was the sweat lodge.

The structure looked like a sphere cut in half. Created by bending and interweaving branches, it was about six feet high in the center. It was covered with a variety of faded quilts, so that it looked like a big colorful upside down teacup. The coverings are used to keep in the heat and the dark.

In front of the lodge was an open round fire pit filled with logs and thirty-six football-sized volcanic rocks. A shallow dirt channel led from this fire pit to the lodge. It’s called the ‘spirit pathway.’ You are not supposed to step over this channel which is as a sacred space for the heated rocks to enter the lodge. You avoid crossing the path to keep the energy flowing. That’s how I understood it. No human interference.

Like many lodges, this one had a small entrance flap. In front of it was a collection of various totems including a carved whale bone, eagle and owl feathers, an indigenous medicine pipe, a Yaqui Indian rosario which is a beaded paper flower necklace, and a reindeer horn from Russia.

Many of these symbols resonated with me. Some recalled my Russian ancestors. I had learned the language while in high school. Much of the culture appealed to me including the authors Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gogol, the music of Tchaikovsky, balalaikas, icons, vodka, lacquer boxes, the revolution and the genius film director and writer Sergei Eisenstein.

He was my inspiration to become a filmmaker. Of course, there were the negative Russian associations as well, like the slaughtering Cossacks and the pogroms persecuting the Jews. This was one of the reasons my grandparents left that country.

The owl feathers also resonated. This bird had been a totem animal for me. An image of an owl had appeared during a previous sweat. My eyes had been open in the darkness of that sweat, and though the space was pitch black, I saw this owl clearly. Later I looked up the owl’s significance in other cultures. In one tradition, it is a messenger from unknown worlds, including the world of the dead, whatever that was.

The totem of a whale bone reminded me of the stunning songs of humpback whales I had heard on a vinyl record back in New York when I was a graduate film student. Their otherworldly deep ocean sounds suggested a hidden knowledge. These giants possessed a long distance communication ability way beyond our comprehension.

All these items - the whale bone, the feathers - had been brought to the sweat by my friend Michael. He had introduced me to these Native American traditions.

I met Michael when I was approached to be the director of an ill-fated movie about a clown who was imprisoned with children in a Nazi concentration camp.

As we exchanged histories, it turned out that a month before, unknown to each other, we had been at the same Yaqui Easter Indian ceremony outside of Tucson where participants wore masks and mixed Catholicism with Indian myths. The theme of that ritual was death and resurrection. We were among the few white people in attendance.