Monday musings: Can you ever please a literary agent?

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By Samreen Ahsan

I’m an indie author and I published my first book, A Silent Prayer, in February 2014. Before publishing, I tried to pitch many literary agents, but unfortunately received only rejections because (obviously) no one cares for an unknown author. I was advised that I should self-publish, get some reviews and accolades and then come back again with another query letter.

So, I accepted the criticism as their wisdom words and published through an independent publisher―a lot of cost was also involved. Of course, nothing comes free. Writing and publishing a book is a tedious business, which requires lots of effort, unwavering dedication and money.

Success grabbed my hand and I kept winning awards and recognition one after another, receiving five-star reviews by readers and appreciative feedback from some editorial critics. I kept sending query letters to agents. I received nothing but rejection. I’ve even lost count now.

Then, I read some blogs where authors discussed: you need to work on the query letter. Again, I took this advice and worked on my query letter. I thought maybe my query letter was not good enough. I hired professionals who helped me make query letters. I got a few responses. The positive ones from agents asked me to send the first few chapters and a detailed synopsis.

Again, after three months of waiting, I was still let down by the agents. I don’t care how much money I’d earn after selling my booksall I want my book is to be available in every bookstore, broadening my readership. And this won’t be possible without coming under the umbrella of a large publishing house, which is

not possible without pleasing an agent.

So how do you do that? Honestlyno answer.

They read your first three chapters and decide the book is not good enough for the mass market. I’ve read some crappy books that became NYT bestsellers―whose initial chapters did not gain my attention as a reader, and whose reviews were also not worth discussing.

I don’t know exactly what intrigues the agent. Is it the writing style, the story, the character depth―I don’t know. I’ve seen books with skyrocketing sales that have no plot, no depth in the characters and a very predictable story-line with abundant sex scenes that sound ridiculously impossible in reality. Sex in an elevator, on a kitchen counter, over an office deskreally? I want to meet those couples in real life.

So I thought maybe I have issues with my story. It doesn’t matter if it has more than fifty five-star reviews or seven awardsmaybe the story is not fit for the mass market. For a test, I uploaded my book for free on Wattpad to see how readers would take my story. The response was unbelievable. Within two months, more than hundred thousand subscribers read my book, liked it, voted it and purchased the second book of the series from either Amazon, B&N, Smashwords or Kobo. My sales increased―my readership increased. Still, everyday I receive messages through Wattpad how amazing the book is, people begging me to upload the second book of the series since, in some countries, the ebook is not available and it is not available in their bookstores where they could just go and buy it.

That is why I wanted to publish through a large publishing house: to make it available for readers, bringing my story to the shelves of all bookstores. I know: not everyone carries a tablet or e-reader. There are people on this planet who still like to feel the book and prefer a paperback.

Interestingly, I still receive rejections after tremendous support and positive feedback of my readers. First agents say: you need to get reviews and recognition (which is not possible without publishing a book) and then they say…oh! we see you’ve already published it. Come back later with a new unpublished manuscript. (Huh! What a nice approach to reject!) And it seems like a recursive process.

Apparently, one of the agents told me that despite being good reviews, they want to see if I’ve good sales as well. It made me chuckle when they said they’d only pick my book if the Amazon sales is at least 50K per year. Really? If I were making this much amount of money from my one book, why would I need an agent to take all my book rights and give me only 2% of the sale?

And all they say is: it just needs one agent to like your book. So, I’m waiting for the right agent to like it. If you’re writing a book or planning to query the agents―be prepared for rejections but don’t think your work is bad. Every author has a different voice―you can’t compare apples and oranges―likewise, you can’t compare Nora Roberts and Dan Brown.

So, just be patient, keep querying agents and hope for the best.

After all, you need only to please one!

Samreen Ahsan is the author of the multi-award winning Prayer series.

History, art and literature are my passions. I love digging out information about prophecies, divine miracles and paranormal events that are mentioned in history and holy books, that don’t sound possible in today’s modern world.

Since childhood, I have been into reading and writing–and yes, it can’t happen without imagination, which luckily has no boundaries. Dance and music are also pastimes I enjoy, as well as reading romance fiction. I love to travel and explore historical cities. I live in Toronto, Canada.

The Prayer series, comprising A Silent Prayer and A Prayer Heeded, is my first story about paranormal events based on Islamic concepts. My new series begins with Once Upon a [Stolen] Time.

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Thursday teaser: The Oblivious Girl’s Handbook

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This week’s excerpt is courtesy of bestselling DelSheree Gladden

“Joseph and I are very independent,” I said. Then I remembered Monroe having to hold my hand through the crowd and felt the need to clarify. “What I mean is, because he’s gone so often, we know how to get along without each other when we have to. Clingy would not work for us, not with his job. I wouldn’t want him hanging all over me all the time, either. Maybe it’s not how every relationship goes, but it works for us. See?”

I took my phone from my purse and had Joseph’s Facebook profile up in a few taps. One more tap brought up all his pictures. They were what I’d wanted to show him before. Sliding it across the table, I gestured at the pictures.

Monroe took the phone, scrolling through the pictures, but his frown only deepened. “What am I supposed to be seeing? It just looks like Joseph hangs out in a lot of bars, with a lot of other women…all over the state.”

Frustrated by his negativity, I held back on snapping at him only by reminding myself that he was a cop and it was likely a habit to always think the worst of people. I turned the phone so I could see the pictures and tapped on one of Joseph at dinner with a brunette woman at least a decade his senior. Maybe if you just looked at the pictures his behavior seemed odd, but the comment that went along with the post clearly identified the woman as a client. It was a business dinner.

I pushed the phone back at Monroe. “Joseph is so good at his job because he’s friendly and makes people feel like they’re the center of his attention when he’s with them.”

Still skeptical, Monroe navigated to anther picture. One of him and a group of friends out at a club, drinking, laughing, enjoying each other’s company. I still didn’t see the problem. “He goes out with friends when he’s in town. So? He went to college with the guy on his left. They usually hang out when Joseph is in San Diego. The blonde is his girlfriend.”

“And the other blonde? The one Joseph has his arm around?” Monroe asked.

I rolled my eyes. “Probably one of Caleb’s friends. Like the four other people in the picture with their arms around each other’s shoulders. They’re all just posing for the picture. Besides, if it was anything more than that, why would Joseph post it publicly?”

Monroe shrugged, not backing off but not pushing it either. He went back to his sandwich. I spooned soup into my mouth, annoyed he would judge Joseph when he barely knew him. It was a mystery to me why Joseph was on his bad side. Everyone who met my boyfriend loved him. Except Monroe, apparently.

That bothered me more than I wanted to admit, though I wasn’t sure why. What did his opinion matter? I barely knew the guy. Joseph and I had been together for almost three years. No doubt Monroe’s instincts were fabulous for police work, but my relationship with Joseph wasn’t a case in need of solving.

Did you like that excerpt? Check out The Oblivious Girl’s Handbook 

Being oblivious to all the signs that your life is about to fall apart doesn’t stop it from happening to Sara Taylor.

Alone except for the Siamese cat her boyfriend—ex-boyfriend—Joseph left behind to teach her a lesson, Sara has no clue how to survive on her own. She hasn’t handled her own bills in years, can’t meet a deadline without someone else programming alarms into her phone, and is constantly either losing important things or getting herself hopelessly lost. Sara has no idea how she’s supposed to move out of her university apartment and start her first real job without someone there to hold her hand.

Although she knows her new friend Monroe would step in to help, she’s not about to call him after having thrown him out of her apartment when his suspicions about Joseph prove true and Sara is left angry and mortified. It doesn’t take long before she is desperate to lean on someone else’s strength, even for just a few minutes, as real life begins to overwhelm her. Pride forces her to either sink or swim, even when sinking seems the most likely outcome.

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About the author

DelShereeGladden4DelSheree Gladden was one of those shy, quiet kids who spent more time reading than talking. Literally. She didn’t speak a single word for the first three months of preschool, but she had already taught herself to read. Her fascination with reading led to many hours spent in the library and bookstores, and eventually to writing. She wrote her first novel when she was sixteen years old, but spent ten years rewriting and perfecting it before having it published.Native to New Mexico, DelSheree and her husband spent several years in Colorado for college and work before moving back home to be near family again. Their two children love having their seventeen cousins close by. When not writing, you can find DelSheree reading, painting, sewing and trying not to get bitten by small children in her work as a dental hygienist.
Check out her latest books, get updates and sneak peeks of new projects at
And find her on social media
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Monday musings: The co-authoring experience, part 2

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This week, we continue and conclude last week’s conversation with Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman, co-authors of the bestselling Scorch Romance-Thriller series about what it’s like to be co-authors. This week focuses on characters and the development of the author.

Sometimes the behavior or reaction of a character surprises the author. Which characters in the Scorch series surprised you?

Emily Kimelman: All of the characters surprised me at one point or another, but Luca (the lead brother in Smoke Road) really surprised me. I was having trouble connecting with him, figuring out what made him tick, and then I found out he was a practicing Catholic and after that I understood him a lot better. His faith and its connection to his family history really affected Luca a lot.

The other character who surprised me the most was Avital, from Cinder Road. I wrote a scene that left her and Dolf in a position that, um, how do I put this… left them in a hot situation and I told Toby that they couldn’t get it on, but I had no idea how she was going to keep them apart. But she did. When I read her scene the next day I was like, “Oh crap, that’s good.” Avital is a badass with an iron will—I already knew that about Avital but I didn’t expect her to act the way that Toby wrote it, which was spot-on. 

That’s one of the great joys about co-authoring: your character in the other author’s hands, acting in ways that surprise and delight. 

Toby Neal: Yes, I agree. Our characters often surprise us in our work alone, too, and sometimes we have to sit with it and decide if that was really something that a character would do—and edit if necessary. Most of the time, once Emily and I were past the first fourth or so of a book, we really “knew” each other’s characters and were able to nail it, surprises and all.

But we sometimes had to cut things that didn’t ring true, and usually in they happened in that first third or so of the book when we didn’t yet really know our partner’s concept for their character.

For instance, in the scene with Dolf and Avital that kicks off the second book, we broke all the romance trope rules. We had a forbidden love thing going on with a widow and her husband’s twin (not an unfamiliar trope), but we broke the rules by having them sleep together in the first chapter.

We agreed that that would kick things off—contrary to most romances, which build to a climax (so to speak), but I took it further than our agreed upon love scene and … well. Let’s just say Dolf and Avital ended up all over the house in compromising positions. Damn, it was hot. I’m good at sex scenes! I patted myself on the back and went on with my day.

Emily disagreed, and cut my scene. 

To the bone, so to speak (everything becomes an innuendo as soon as we talk sex.)

I was upset and offended at first, but came to agree with Emily eventually that the ensuing sex around the house was out of character for Avital (though Dolf, being a guy who’d been in love with this woman for years, would have been happy to get whatever he could!) And through the challenge we experienced during that editing process (her having an instinctive NO and cutting, me recoiling in hurt and frustration, us having to hash it out) we added to our Process Document: if either of us has a hard no to something big, we have to highlight and discuss before just chucking in the Recycle bin.

Now, let me pause a moment to talk about sex.

Sex is a huge element in most stories because it’s a basic human drive, and in romance it’s a pillar of the genre. But what “floats your boat” in a love scene is hugely individual to the reader, hence the plethora of genres and heat levels within romance. As we proceeded, we discussed what we wanted our sexy times to be like. Emily told me she was eclectic; she liked a variety of writers and styles, and was not easily offended by certain words and whatnot. 

I however, was super specific. I wanted sex to be lyrically written with exceptional prose, no clichés, no jarring expletives or use of crude words. Those things pinged my brain to fall out of the story as a reader, and I wanted to write what I liked to read. Emily was amenable to this, so I gave her several books by authors whose work in this area I admired (and I have to say, there aren’t many of them. If you like Diana Gabaldon’s style with sex or Laura Florand’s, you will know how I like to read/write sex) and thus we proceeded. 

I wrote many of the first few books’ scenes as Emily was learning my particular bent with this, but by the second book she was going strong and we were able to massage the scenes into a unified style that effectively created romantic, emotional but hot mood we had agreed upon.

So that was probably TMI, but it was also a surprise to discover in setting out, that there are many many ways to “do it” and one or the other partner may be as fussy as I was.

Okay, last question: You have written and published the last of the Scorch Romance Thriller series – at least for now, as you’ve stated. But since Book 6, you’ve both released new titles in your own individual series, and say you’re working on new titles. Toby, you’ve also announced you’re working on your autobiography, and Emily, you’re working on Sydney Rye #10.

What do you think you are each taking from your co-authoring experience into your own series? In terms of process, style, understanding of characters, plotting? In other words, do you think your experience or the stories of the Scorch series themselves have affected your other writing in the future?

Emily Kimelman: I think writing with Toby has affected my writing style for sure. I can’t imagine how you could write six books with another person and walk away without having gleamed a lot of insights. One of the big difference between our styles was that I write a fast and sloppy first draft and enjoy what we started calling the “franken” edit (after Frankenstein). Toby and I had to outline for obvious reasons, but we did get a lot looser with it as we moved toward the end of the series.

 

I have returned to my no outline ways, except I keep “Take off Your Pants” by Libby Hawker close at hand and I make notes about future scenes rather than just running at the thing full bore until it’s over.

I think both of us got really good at delving into our characters motivations—we had to explain them to each other, which was totally surprising at first but came to be a key to the style we developed. I think I spend more time questioning myself than I used to … or more to the point, questioning my characters. Why did you do that? And their answers always open up new paths and interesting plot twists.

Also, mixing up our points of view and changing our tense throughout the series kept it super fresh and was really eye opening to me. I’d never thought to do that in one series and loved it. So, now I use multiple POVs in my other work. And I have plans to change up my tense in future series.

I also think that spending a year kicking skinhead butt and exploring romance has made it possible for me to return to my own work with more excitement. Although, after Charlottesville I did think I want to kill some Nazis in my next book. And then I laughed at myself because I’d spent a year taking down white supremacists. So, I’ll continue destroying ISIS in my Sydney Rye series for now … but fictional Nazis better watch out because I’m not done with them yet!

Toby Neal: Great answer Emily!

I was already doing a lot of the things Emily mentions as far as POV and tense shifts, but now I’ve begun to dictate the majority of my first draft as a result of working with Emily.

Reading our prose to each other was something we came up with about two-thirds of the way into the books to circumvent the tendency to waste our writing energy editing each other’s work. Doing so has opened a whole new area for me. I not only compose verbally now, but plan to read my own books for audiobook distribution.

I have literally discovered my voice as a result of working with Emily!

I also have begun using Scrivener, which Emily uses but I hadn’t liked. Now I dictate and put my rough prose into my nice clean Scrivener outline and I can manipulate scenes in new ways. My newest book has five points of view, and very short chapters of a page or two. I think it’s added to the intensity of the book and will appeal to the modern reader. Experimenting is what keeps us growing!

Many of the ways Emily and I benefited from co-authoring are intangible and still being revealed, but Emily’s innovation with tech also inspired me to try a lot of new things with marketing.
I miss the excitement we generated together and the fun and immediacy of sharing good work. Now, by the time my book gets to readers, I’m “over it” and never got to share the joy of a great scene with a peer. Though I like the freedom of my solo writing, I miss the fun of co-authoring. I highly recommend it as a way to learn, grow, and break out of ruts!

Thanks very much to you both.

Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman are the co-authors of the Scorch Romance Thriller series, six post-apocalyptic stories revolving around six Luciano brothers, a sister and their mother, and the others who come into and change their lives.

About the series

From award-winning, bestselling authors whose writing Kirkus Reviews calls “persistently riveting,” comes the Scorch Series, romantic action adventure for fans of romance thrillers, apocalyptic and family romance sagas.

About the authors

Born in Philadelphia and having lived in many places around the world, Emily Kimelman is the author of nine books in her bestselling Sydney Rye series (with a tenth coming soon) and two Kindle World novellas in addition to the Scorch series.

Find out all about Emily on her BestSelling Reads author page.

Toby Neal grew up on the island of Kaua`i in Hawaii. Her career as a mental health therapist has informed the depth and complexity of the characters in her books.

She is the author of 27 books in addition to the Scorch series: 12 Lei Crime series books, two companion books to the series, two Kindle World novellas, four “Somewhere in” romances, a young adult fantasy novel and five in her new Wired series, with a six soon to come.

Learn more about her on her BestSelling Reads author page.

 

 

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Thursday teaser: 6 Hours 42 Minutes

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Vigilante series, book 5

By Claude Bouchard

Claude Bouchard

Gina Tomasso had remained speechless with fear ever since the little man, the one they called Sparks, had ushered her and Leslie out of the kitchenette at ten that morning. The most communication she had managed since was to shake her head twice, once when asked if she needed to use the bathroom and once when Sara and Leslie had tried to coax her to eat a slice of pizza.

She could not understand how the others could just sit there as the minutes dragged by, one leading to the next, and seem relatively calm. Some, like Simon Chase and Leslie, maybe, because they thrived on conflict, nothing ever seemed to faze them, but even Annette and Erin didn’t seem too concerned, under the circumstances.

In comparison, she was certain that the terror, the panic she felt, was slowly ripping bite after ragged bite within her, an accelerated form of psychological cancer which would actually kill her if this nightmare did not end soon.

She had almost screamed, in fact, she had tried to, when Sara had been selected to be set free a little earlier but had found herself unable to, as if the relentless, evil dread within her had left even her vocal chords paralysed.

She watched with dead eyes as the head robber, Bull, closed the phone and approached the hostages once again.

“Here’s the deal,” he announced. “I’m sure, positive, in fact, that the captain out there is stalling with bringing in the helicopter he promised me but I’ve decided to give him another hostage, just to show him the kind of guy I am.”

Gina felt her heart lurch at those words and prayed, “Me! Please! Please choose me!”

As before, Bull scanned the group, his eyes roaming past the faces, past hers and onwards then back to her.

“How about you?” he asked, his tone almost kind as he gazed at her.

“Oh My God,” thought Gina as she frantically nodded and scrambled to her feet, almost falling back down in her haste.

“Just wait there for a second,” said Bull as he pulled his phone back out and placed a call. “Leblanc, just to show you that I’m a man of my word, I’m sending you another hostage. You tell your guys to stay back.”

He closed the phone, looked at Gina and smiled. “Let’s go.”

Juice took a step forward and Bull stopped him. “I’ll let her out. You keep an eye on our other guests.”

He motioned Gina towards the front door with an almost gallant gesture then followed her. Once there, he looked through a gap in the vertical blinds to ensure that the coast was clear then pulled out a key and unlocked the door.

“Thanks for being so brave,” he said to Gina as he pulled the door open for her. “Don’t run, just walk.”

She smiled with relief and walked quickly down the pathway leading to the street crowded with cops and their cars. Bull watched her go from the partially open door and  when she was ten feet or so down the path, he raised his gun and shot her twice in the back then closed and relocked the door.

About 6 Hours 42 Minutes

Though most of them dabbled in a variety of criminal activities, they weren’t experienced in this particular field and had never been involved in a job like this before. However, with proper planning, careful organization and the inside information available to them, they were certain that this bank heist would be a piece of cake. Ten minutes, in and out, was all it would take and they’d be sharing 2.5 million dollars. Nothing could go wrong as they had thought of everything … how could they possibly know a new member of the board was visiting the bank that morning? And how could they know that new board member was Chris Barry?

Get it on Amazon.

Win a free copy from the author

You could WIN a free copy of 6 Hours 42 Minutes from the author, Claude Bouchard. All you have to do is leave a comment telling us the title of the sixth book in the Vigilante series.

About the author

USA Today bestselling author Claude Bouchard was born in Montreal, Canada, at a very young age, where he still resides with his spouse, Joanne, under the watchful eyes of two black females of the feline persuasion.

He completed his studies at McGill University and worked in various management capacities for a handful of firms over countless years. From there, considering his extensive background in human resources and finance, it was a logical leap in his career path to stay home and write crime thrillers.

His first novel, Vigilante, was published in 2009.  Since then, besides writing Asylum, a stand-alone, the Vigilante Series has grown to thirteen thrilling installments with his latest release, Make It Happen.

Claude has also penned Something’s Cooking, a faux-erotica parody and cookbook under the pseudonyms Réal E. Hotte and Dasha Sugah, as well as Nasty in Nice, his contribution to Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World. His books have topped the chart in the Vigilante Justice category on Amazon and some 600,000 copies have been distributed to date.

Claude’s other interests include reading, playing guitar, painting, cooking, traveling and trying to stay in reasonable shape.

Visit his:

And follow him on Twitter @ceebee308.

 

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Thursday teaser: New books from your favorite BestSelling authors

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Fall always feels like the start of a new year, a good time for new initiatives and launching new books—as well as for pumpkin spiced everything.

Your favorite BestSelling authors have been hard at work, and have a tasty selection of new books for you. Take a look, follow the links and think about which titles belong on your gift list—because the holiday season is approaching faster than you want to think.

Barb Drozdowich

The Author’s On-Line Presence: How to Find Readers

Authors: Stop wasting valuable writing time and let Barb break down dry, complex subjects into easy to learn bites without the technobabble.

Get it on

Emily Kimelman

In Sheep’s Clothing: Sydney Rye #9

Sydney Rye is missing, and the Islamic State has a mysterious new enemy. Join the ruthless Robert Maxim and Sydney’s mother in the hunt!

Get it on

Toby Neal

Wired Dark : Paradise Crime #4

Tech security specialist Sophie Ang returns to Maui to solve a series of bizarre threats against a rock star, where she’s tested by a deadly enemy out to destroy everything she loves.

Get it on

Renée Pawlish

The Damned Don’t Die: A Reed Ferguson Mystery #16

A murdered woman’s shy granddaughter hires Reed to clear her name and find the real killer. To complicate matters, romantic sparks fly between her and Cal, Reed’s computer-geek best friend.

Get it on Amazon.

Caleb Pirtle III

Lovely Night to Die: A Special Forces Operation Alpha Kindle World novella.

A deadly assassin must carry out the assignment to assassinate the President of the United States—a mission sanctioned from inside the United States government. If he doesn’t do it, the woman he loves will die.

Get it on Caleb Pirtle III’s Amazon Author page.

 

Last Deadly Lie

The chilling, fearful tale of a small town that has smoldered in the fires of jealousy and selfish greed, then is finally blown apart by lies, gossip and violent death.

Get it on Caleb Pirtle III’s Amazon Author page.

 

Coming in 2018

Toby Neal

Wired Dawn — Paradise Crime Book 5

Security specialist Sophie Ang goes off the grid on Kaua’I to save a young boy, uncovering dark secrets of the jungle as she does so. FBI Special Agent Marcella Scott straps on her Manolos and wades into help, but will they be in time?

Read more about it on the author’s website.

Emily Kimelman

Flock of Wolves — Sydney Rye Book 10

Continue the adventure with Sydney Rye and Blue.

Read more about it on the author’s website.

 

Raine Thomas

Driving Tempo — House of Archer Book 3

A New Adult contemporary rockin’ romance that follows the pulse-pounding Imperfect Harmony and Unsteady Rhythm.

Read more about this on the author’s website.

 

Alan McDermott

A new thriller that will feature readers’ favorite characters from the Tom Gray series and Trojan.

Read more about it on the author’s website.

BestSelling Reads authors are all hard at work on more books that are sure to join your favorites list. Keep coming back to this blog for new announcements about titles, release dates and free previews.

Better yet, subscribe to get these updates in your email.

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Thursday teaser: In Sheep’s Clothing

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Sydney Rye #9

By Emily Kimelman

The ninth Sydney Rye adventure launched on September 27. And for those of you who have inexplicably resisted the urge to buy it, here is a taste.

Chapter One

Sydney Rye

Exquisite, slippery red pulsed, the color shifting with each wave of pain. Metal dug around in my side. I couldn’t move to stop it. Couldn’t even beg. And I would have.

My mind didn’t form sentences or thoughts, only witnessed the color and experienced the pain.

Then Blue, his whimper close, his tongue on my cheek.

A breeze, the scent of wet stone joining the colors of pain.

Lightning cracked through the color. Voices in the distance…no not voices, bells.

The rocking motion lulled me back to sleep.

I waited in a sea of blue, slipping up and down waves, the sky above me swirling with storm clouds.

Lightning struck, and everything went white.

About In Sheep’s Clothing

Sydney Rye is missing.

All that’s left of her is a depression in the dirt and a pool of blood.

Robert Maxim is ruthless, powerful, and determined to find her.

April Madden is a preacher’s wife, and Sydney’s mother. She’s willing to risk everything…her sobriety, her marriage, even her faith, to hunt for her daughter.

But they can’t find Sydney Rye if she doesn’t want to be found.

ISIS has a new enemy, a ghost haunting their territory, infecting their flock with radical ideals. They will do anything to capture her. Their reign depends on this new prophet’s destruction.

Graffiti of a woman’s silhouette, set in a snarling wolf’s profile, appears in ISIS-controlled territory convincing Robert Maxim that Sydney Rye is alive. When women in the area begin attacking their abusers, he suspects Sydney is responsible. But Robert can’t believe she is involved after rumors claim a prophet, a weapon of God, has risen to free women from oppression.

April Madden hears the devil whispering to her; just one little cocktail to dull the pain. Instead of picking up a glass, she throws herself into a quest; track down her missing daughter, her only surviving child, and make amends. Traveling into the Islamic State is fraught with danger and thick with obstacles. April doesn’t have her daughter’s combat training or Blue, Sydney’s loyal, giant dog. But she does have her instincts, tenacity and the voice that whispers; your daughter is alive, don’t give up.

Get In Sheep’s Clothing today because you love powerful women, gritty mysteries, and heroic dogs. Join the hunt for Sydney Rye!

Get it on

About the author

Emily Kimelman not only writes adventure, she lives it every day. Embodying the true meaning of wanderlust, she’s written her Sydney Rye mysteries from all over the world. From the jungles of Costa Rica to the mountains of Spain, she finds inspiration for her stories in her own life.

While living under communist rule in the former Soviet Union, the KGB sprinkled her with “spy dust,” a radioactive concoction that made her glow and left a trail they could follow. She was two. She was destined for amazing things after that, and she continues to find adventure to inspire characters like the badass Sydney Rye. 

Download the first Sydney Rye Thriller, Unleashed, for FREE on all major ebook platforms and join the adventure!

Emily can be found:

BestSelling Reads Author page   |   Website   |   Facebook    |   Twitter

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Thursday teaser: Forbidden

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By D. G. Torrens

Forbidden: One Love, Two Cultures, by D.G. Torrens

This week’s teaser is from D.G. Torrens’ Forbidden, which has a brand new cover.

Jessie clung on to the craggy ridge with all the vigour she could muster. Beads of sweat fell from her brow and merged with her tears. She began to slip, little by little. Her body’s strength weakening while she fought to hold on. Her foothold was giving way beneath her. She felt the cloak of death wrap around her entirety as another finger loosened its grip. The stony ridge cut into her hands drawing blood; refusing to give in to defeat – she clung on. The force of the wind was palpable as it attacked her body like an invisible enemy…

Ajay sped to a halt and leapt out of his car. He searched his surroundings and learned that Jessie was nowhere to be found. She definitely stated ridge point in her message, he thought perplexed. He felt panic elevate within him when his eyes fell upon her car. Instinct led him to the edge of the ridge. He saw Jessie hanging on, albeit scarcely.

“Hold on Jessie, I’m here now,” he shouted. He ran to the edge and fell to his knees; extending both of his hands endeavouring to grasp hold of Jessie’s arms. The pain etched all over Jessie’s pale face clear and evident. A tear escaped down her reddened cheek, without warning, she lost her grip and fell from his sight.

About Forbidden

Jessica Hamilton is 25-years-old and born into a strict, white, Christian family. One that does not believe in interracial relationships under any circumstances. She meets Ajay Sharma at work, an associate director for Lansdale and Down Communications. There is only one problem – he is a Hindu.

Jessica and Ajay fall irrevocably and irreparably in love with one another. A perfect love they have to conceal from all those around them for fear of reprisal from their unforgiving families, families that are imprisoned by their own cultural constraints. They are both faced with unimaginable and unforeseeable obstacles that leads Jessica to a near fatal accident, one that changes their lives forever. Jessica has no memory of the events that led to her tragic accident or why she was alone at ridge point on that fateful night.

Will Ajay find justice for Jessica? Will Jessica’s memory return and reveal the truth?

Did you like this excerpt? Get the whole book on Amazon.

About the author

D.G. Torrens is the author of 14 books, including the bestselling trilogy, Amelia’s Story #1, Amelia’s Destiny #2 and Amelia The Mother #3. This is an emotion-charged true story that the author wrote for her daughter.

Born in England, passionate about writing, D.G. Torrens is a mother, blogger and prolific writer. In 2013, her works were recognized by BBC Radio WM, where she has given several live interviews in the BBC studios in Birmingham, UK. Thereafter, D.G. became a regular Headline Reviewer for the radio show for the next 12 months.

Get to know Dawn on her:

and follow her on Twitter @torrenstp.

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Book launch day: In Sheep’s Clothing

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Sydney Rye #9

By Emily Kimelman

Sydney Rye is missing. 

All that’s left of her is a depression in the dirt and a pool of blood.

Robert Maxim is ruthless, powerful, and determined to find her.

April Madden is a preacher’s wife, and Sydney’s mother. She’s willing to risk everything…her sobriety, her marriage, even her faith, to hunt for her daughter.

But they can’t find Sydney Rye if she doesn’t want to be found.

ISIS has a new enemy, a ghost haunting their territory, infecting their flock with radical ideals. They will do anything to capture her. Their reign depends on this new prophet’s destruction.

Graffiti of a woman’s silhouette, set in a snarling wolf’s profile, appears in ISIS-controlled territory convincing Robert Maxim that Sydney Rye is alive. When women in the area begin attacking their abusers, he suspects Sydney is responsible. But Robert can’t believe she is involved after rumors claim a prophet, a weapon of God, has risen to free women from oppression.

April Madden hears the devil whispering to her; just one little cocktail to dull the pain. Instead of picking up a glass, she throws herself into a quest; track down her missing daughter, her only surviving child, and make amends. Traveling into the Islamic State is fraught with danger and thick with obstacles. April doesn’t have her daughter’s combat training or Blue, Sydney’s loyal, giant dog. But she does have her instincts, tenacity and the voice that whispers; your daughter is alive, don’t give up. 

Join the hunt for Sydney Rye! Download In Sheep’s Clothing Today.

 
 

A killer sale on the box set of books 1-8 — for a limited time only.  To celebrate Sydney Rye #9, In Sheep’s Clothing, a box set of the first eight books is on sale for a limited tim. You can grab EIGHT books for the price of ONE! Already have them all? Share your love of Sydney Rye and gift a box set to a friend. But don’t wait, because this deal will disappear soon.

🔶 Amazon Kindleemilykimelman.com/18az
🔷 iBooksemilykimelman.com/18ib
🔶 Barnes & Nobleemilykimelman.com/18bn
🔷 Koboemilykimelman.com/18k

About the author

Emily Kimelman not only writes adventure, she lives it every day. Embodying the true meaning of wanderlust, she’s written her Sydney Rye mysteries from all over the world. From the jungles of Costa Rica to the mountains of Spain, she finds inspiration for her stories in her own life.

While living under communist rule in the former Soviet Union, the KGB sprinkled her with “spy dust,” a radioactive concoction that made her glow and left a trail they could follow. She was two. She was destined for amazing things after that, and she continues to find adventure to inspire characters like the badass Sydney Rye. 

Download the first Sydney Rye Thriller, Unleashed, for FREE on all major ebook platforms and join the adventure!

Emily can be found:

BestSelling Reads Author page   |   Website   |   Facebook    |   Twitter

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Monday musings: The easy and the hard parts of being a writer

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Image credit: Denise Krebs, Creative Commons.

I have heard people say “I don’t like writing; I like having written.” I like both. I like being able to look over something I have written and feeling satisfied with the outcome. But I also very much like the practice of writing itself.

Maybe I’m like Porthos from The Three Musketeers, who liked to talk to hear his own voice. I like expressing myself. I like to be able to tell stories or get ideas across to other people.

I even like re-writing my work. When I was younger, I found I had no patience in re-reading my old stuff, especially trade journalism. Somehow, I could not tolerate reading what I had just written. But I quickly learned that I had to re-read, so that I could re-write and avoid the worst criticism from editors.

I also learned the importance of outlining. The hard way.

When I began my journalistic career, I would start an article by writing what I imagined was a good opening sentence, and then tried going from there. Eventually, I learned to delete that opening sentence when the story was done. What I was left with was something half-decent.

But after having to delete successive drafts of a long article with a deadline looming over me, I realized I would be further ahead with an outline. And over the years, I became a great proponent of outlines.

I like to tell myself that my writing has improved over the years. One clue that supports that ideas is that it’s now easier to reread my writing. I can re-read stories that I wrote a few years ago without shuddering. I find I actually enjoy re-writing my work, and I know how important it is for every writer to re-read and re-write their work before sharing it with anyone. I’m sure you’ve found some writing that makes you think “Didn’t this writer edit at all? Did they read it once?”

I find great satisfaction when I can turn a difficult or awkward sentence into something clear. Here’s the trick: don’t try to salvage your work by changing a few words here and there, or moving a clause from the end of the sentence to the beginning. Start over. Ask yourself, “What am I trying to say? What result or reaction do I want from the reader?” By going back to the basic question and discarding everything you tried before, you’ll get a much better result.

The hard part

Wikimedia Commons

The hardest part for me as a writer is the dealing with the dread that I won’t find an audience.

As a journalist, writing articles commissioned by editors, you know you have an audience. When I was writing for Canadian Printer magazine at the beginning of my career, I knew that my audience was 30,000 Canadian graphic arts professionals. When I wrote articles for Macworld magazine, I knew the audience was around 300,000.

But now that I’ve turned to fiction, I know that, in addition to creating a story, I have to create an audience. That’s far harder, or at least a different skill set. While I have learned how to write, I have never been good at selling or at gathering a lot of attention for myself.

That fear is what has held me back from publishing fiction for such a long time. I have had the basic ideas for my novels for, in some cases, decades now. I have chapters and chapters of work in various hard drives, binders and drawers. I have not finished them nor submitted them to the wider world simply because I have been afraid of rejection.

Obviously, I have conquered that fear. I now have three stories on Smashwords and Amazon, and I’m working at getting my stuff listed in iBooks.

I am learning what it takes to build an audience. I’ve heard about the importance of the “platform” for the independent author, and I’m doing what I can to build one. I’ve increased the number of Facebook friends I have, joined Google Plus, created Circles, and, of course, joined Twitter. I’ve been blogging much more than I ever did before.

So far, it has not translated into many sales of my stories. I have seen some sales come immediately after a good review gets posted, though.

Learning how to build an audience would turn the worst part of being a writer to the best thing, for me. I hold onto hope it’s a skill I will learn.

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Thursday teaser: Sugar for Sugar — an excerpt

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Excerpt from Seb Kirby

This week’s excerpt comes from Seb Kirby’s latest novel.

A sound from somewhere far off, getting closer all the time.

I open my eyes. The phone is ringing.

I pick it up and look at the image on the screen.

The bearded man again, the one with the name Colin Tempest next to his photo. Someone I must know. I have to answer.

I take the call.

A male voice. “Issy, I’ve been trying to reach you but you haven’t been answering.”

I can’t concentrate on what he’s saying. I say the only thing that comes to me. “Who are you?”

“Don’t be foolish, Issy. It’s Colin. We need to talk.”

It’s a voice I’ve heard before.

“I can’t talk now.”

He’s insistent. “I can come over. Where are you?”

I look around the room. It doesn’t look familiar. I say the only thing I can. “I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever been in this place before.”

There’s a new note of concern in his voice. “I’ll find a way to help you, to make amends if you just tell me where you are.”

Make amends? So he’s done something to me. He thinks the reason I’m not talking to him is because of that.

“Tell me what you did to me.”

“I’m sorry, Issy. I’m really sorry but he left me no choice. You were the only one I could turn to, the only one who might have convinced him to change his mind.”

“What happened to Mike?”

“You know what happened to him, Issy. He died. A heart attack. You must know that. Why are you trying to pretend that none of this has happened?”

Mike is dead. I must have known that.

Is this the reason for these feelings of guilt I can’t control?

“I’m not pretending.”

He pauses for longer than he should. “The police have been here. What if they start interviewing everyone? It won’t be long before they get round to you and me. Whatever else is said, I need you to promise you won’t reveal our secret. You know it would ruin me and my family.”

I don’t know any secret. Why would he think I did?

“If anyone asks it’s not going to be a problem for me to tell them I don’t know.”

“Thank you, Issy. I knew I could depend on you.”

I stare again at the profile picture of the bearded man.

He wants me to trust him again but I know I can’t.

His voice breaks into my thoughts once more. “Look, Issy. I’ve got to go. Something urgent. Thanks for your help. Thanks for being so understanding. Thanks for everything.”

He closes the line.

I know that what’s been said won’t last long in my mind. I make a note on the phone.

Mike is dead.

Why do I feel so guilty?

Colin behaves like he owes me.

What is Sugar for Sugar?

Did you like this excerpt? Leave a comment.

Issy Cunningham has made a new life for herself but that’s all about to come crashing down. If only she could recall what happened that Valentine’s Eve, she would be able to tell the police what really took place.

But those memories won’t come because there’s too much in the past that troubles her.

How can she set the record straight when her past won’t let her be?

What a great book. It hooked me immediately and I did not want to put it down.—J L Edwards

This book kept me guessing … books are always best when you don’t see things coming!—Dawn

A super read. One of the things I really like about books by Seb Kirby is the obvious attention to detail that he has in his writing, it is quite outstanding.—Susan Hampson, Books From Dusk ‘Til Dawn

If you liked this excerpt, get the whole book from Amazon.

About the author

Seb Kirby was literally raised with books: his grandfather ran a mobile library in Birmingham, UK and his parents inherited a random selection of the books. Once he discovered a trove of well-used titles from Zane Gray’s Riders of the Purple Sage, HG Wells’ The Invisible Man and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to more obscure stuff, he was hooked.

He is author of the James Blake thriller series, Take No More, Regret No More and Forgive No More, and the science-fiction thriller, Double Bind.

Visit his

And follow him on Twitter @Seb_Kirby

 

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