Thursday teasers: New releases from your favorite BestSelling authors

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BestSelling Reads member authors have been a busy bunch this winter, releasing 11 excellent novels. And there are more to come by May.

Here are the latest releases from your favorite writers.

January 12

Trojan

Thriller by Alan McDermott

When MI5 learns that a horrifying new weapon is in enemy hands, agent Andrew Harvey is called in to track it down before it reaches British soil.

Get it on Amazon.

January 23

Conspiracy of Lies

By Caleb Pirtle III

It was the race for the bomb. America was at war a long way from home. Hitler’s war machine was storming across Europe. Russia wanted to become a world power. All three nations knew that whoever split the atom and developed the atomic bomb first would rule the world.

Get it on AmazonKobo or Barnes & Noble.

January 28

Amelia The Mother: A Pocket Full of Innocence

By D.G. Torrens

Amelia Series Book 3—Amelia takes her readers on an emotional journey, of how she used her own past as an example of “How not to parent.”

Get it on Amazon.

January 31

Imperfect Harmony

By Raine Thomas

House of Archer, Book 1—The line between reality and Reality TV begins to blur for rock singer Dane Archer when he starts falling for his best friend, Lily.

Get it on Amazon.

Scorch Road: JT

Romance thriller by Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman

Scorch Series Book 1—A new romantic action adventure series for fans of romance thriller suspense and family romance series!

Get it on Amazon.

February 19

Wired Hard

Mystery by Toby Neal

Paradise Crime Book 3—Security specialist Sophie Ang has a new case: someone is looting artifacts from a royal Hawaiian archaeological site on Maui. Things get deadly fast—while Sophie walks a tightrope between new love and heartbreak.

Get it on AmazonBarnes and NobleKOBO or iBooks.

February 21

Cinder Road: Dolf

Romance thriller By Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman

Scorch Series Romance Thriller Book 2—How can Dolf protect his twin’s brave, stubborn widow, Avital, and hide his feelings from her as they struggle to live long enough to reach the Haven?

Get it on Amazon

February 22

Walking Out of War

Military biography by Scott Bury

Book 3 in the Eastern Front trilogy—A Canadian drafted into the Soviet Red Army fights to survive the death struggle between Nazi Germany and the USSR, then elude Stalin’s NKVD to return home to Canada.

Get it on Amazon.

February 24

Night Side of Dark

Historical mystery by Caleb Pirtle III

Ambrose Lincoln Series Book 3—American operative Ambrose Lincoln must find an ancient religious painting in bomb-ruined Poland before the Gestapo can use it to bring about Nazi Germany’s victory.

Get it on AmazonKobo or Barnes & Noble.

March 5

Cassidy Jones and the Eternal Flame

Middle-grade superhero adventure by Elise Stokes

Cassidy Jones Adventures book 5—The diabolical Metal Woman takes three hostages. Her ransom demand: an unprecedented weapon, rumored to have been a gift to the Third Reich from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. Only Cassidy Jones can stop her.

Get it on Amazon.

March 14

Smoke Road: Luca

Romance thriller by Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman

Scorch Series Romance Thriller Book 3—Ex-Special Forces Luca Luciano joins an elite commando unit tracking down the suspicious origins of the Scorch Flu plague. Sparks fly as he and his commanding officer, Dr. Haunani “Nani” Kagawa race to find the bioterrorists responsible.

Get it on Amazon.

Coming soon

April 4

Burnt Road: Dante

Romance thriller by Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman

Dante, the genius Luciano brother who made millions in the California IT industry, faces twin challenges when the Scorch Flu pandemic hits: his own autism, and getting an actress from Malibu to JT’s safe compound in Idaho.

Pre-order it from Amazon.

April 18

Wedding Dreams: Memory’s Edge

Contemporary romance by DelSheree Gladden, part of the Wedding Dreams boxed set—20 delicious nuptial romances.

Gretchen finds a man injured on the road. After he wakes, “John Doe”  has no memory. As he pieces his life together, he begins falling in love with the woman who rescued him.

Pre-order from Amazon.

May 5

Place of Skulls

Thriller by Caleb Pirtle III

Ambrose Lincoln series, boook 4—Has a DEA agent found unmistakable proof that Christ walked the land of the Aztecs fifteen hundred years after his crucifixion in Palestine? Ambrose Lincoln can’t dig past the charred fragments of his memory, but he must unravel the legend of the white-skinned, blue-eyed god whose sixteenth-century ministry, death, resurrection and promise to return parallels the story of the man called Christ.

Pre-order it from Amazon or Kobo.

May 17

Flame Road: Cash

Romance thriller by Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman

The Scorch Flu pandemic sweeps through Colorado, sending adrenaline junkie Cash, one of the six Luciano brothers, through the wilderness to his family’s survival compound in Idaho. On the way, he finds a traumatized woman with no idea where or who she is.

Find more information on Toby Neal’s website.

Stay tuned

Your favorite BestSelling authors are always hard at work on new books to delight, inspire, thrill and scare you. So keep watching this page for new books!

 

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New BestSelling Read: Cassidy Jones and the Eternal Flame

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Bestselling author Elise Stokes has published the fifth book in her Cassidy Jones Adventures, Cassidy Jones and the Eternal Flame, to an eagerly waiting audience. It’s already climbing the bestseller lists, in the top 10 on Amazon’s Children’s ebooks in Science fiction, fantasy & scary stories, Mysteries and Thrillers.

In the first book in the series, Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula, Cassidy Jones is a typical 13-year-old in Seattle, Washington who accidentally is exposed to a secret formula that gives her animal-like reflexes, super-speed, -strength and unbreakable skin. Also the author’s first book, it became a bestseller soon after its publication in January 2011, when it was selected by a number of schools in the U.S. Her follow-up books, Cassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift, Cassidy Jones and the Seventh Attendant and Cassidy Jones and the Luminous, have also been bestsellers.

“Writing Book 5 was a two-year writing venture, one in which I felt would never come to completion at times,” says the author. “However, when I consider the many new developments in this installment, the extra year that it took to write makes sense.”

Along with inventing unusual ways to further complicate Cassidy’s life, Stokes went deeper with the main characters, showing new facets of their personalities and revealing much about who they are in the face of extraordinary challenges. “They are growing with the story, essentially,” Stokes explains. “When I started writing this series eight years ago, I would have never guessed where it would be today, and I look forward to seeing where it takes Cassidy and me.”

With the new book, the series also gains a new, modern, sleek look, thanks to Twin Art Design, part of 99designs. “Paul created the perfect visual representation of what a reader can expect from my superhero. His exceptional book cover designs scream adventure, danger, and mystery. I couldn’t be more pleased. I highly recommend him.”

The Cassidy Jones series is available on Amazon, and can be read for free on Kindle Unlimited. You can email the author at info[at]cassidyjonesadventures[dot]com for the first six chapters of Cassidy Jones and the Eternal Flame.

“Hope you’ll join me on Cassidy’s journey!” the author concludes.

What’s Cassidy Jones and the Eternal Flame about?

Some boundaries should never be crossed…

The diabolic Metal Woman takes three people hostage. Her ransom demand: the location of a mysterious and unprecedented weapon, rumored to have been a gift to the Third Reich from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.

When a rescue attempt goes sideways, Cassidy Jones seeks justice. Her quest leads her to the Seattle Underground, where she falls into the grip of an inexplicable evil. Cassidy learns too late that her desire for revenge may cost the life of someone she loves.

“I absolutely LOVED reading Eternal Flame…heart-pounding action, tugging at the heartstrings— this book has a LOT of heart. The whole series continues to grow in complexity and the stakes are raised ever higher. It’s a great adventure and a worthwhile read.”—Karie, The Dragon’s Nook

“Stokes gives us another edge of your seat adventure with one of the most amazing super-heroines I’ve ever read about.” — Erik, This Kid Reviews Books

“The twists and turns Stokes takes us on to find the flame left me gasping, crying, and laughing.”—Lindsey Gray, author and host of TMV Café Radio’s Gray Matters

About the author

An elementary school teacher before becoming a full-time mom, Elise Stokes lives with her husband and four children. With a daughter in middle school and two in high school, Elise’s understanding of the challenges facing girls in that age range inspired her to create a series that will motivate girls to value individualism, courage, integrity, and intelligence.

Connect with her on:

And follow her on Twitter @CassidyJonesAdv.

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Monday musings: Paper or electronic books?

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The bus is a great place to observe people, to watch how they spend their time when they’re waiting to get to where they want or need to go. While many just stare at nothing, or try to sleep, most attempt to fill their time.

Most of those who are doing something besides sitting on the bus are using an electronic device. There are people of all ages using their smart phones to talk, check email, text or most often play a game. Others read Kindles, Kobos or iPads. In the mornings, I often see students finishing an assignment on their laptop computers. It’s rare to see someone reading a newspaper, which was the most common pastime when I began my career.

Occasionally as I ride into and home from the city, I see someone reading a book. An honest-to-god paperback or hardcover.

In the environment where we focus on, chat about, read and write e-books, it’s sometimes surprising to remember that people still buy, read and share paper books.

There’s a lady I meet and chat with occasionally, when we’re on the bus together. When I showed her a sample of the paperback edition of my latest book, Walking Out of War, she said “I love a real paperback book. It’s something you can touch, you can hold.”

I had to agree with her. E-books are the sensible choice for commuters: a Kindle or a Kobo is lighter than a big paperback, and the batteries last for days. You can have any number of books on them and they never get heavier. The type never fades and if it’s too small for my aging eyes, I can make it bigger.

But there is something about the tactile experience of holding a book that triggers the emotions in a way an e-book just cannot. As a writer, I love having a print book that I wrote. And I really regret that my contract with Amazon does not allow me to produce print editions of my Kindle World books.

Print has its advantages over e-books. You don’t need to charge up a book to read it. You don’t have to put your paperback away when your plane it taking off or landing. (What is that really about, anyway?)

As a writer, another advantage I find that print has over e-books is that I have greater control over the visual presentation. That means I can choose the type fonts I want, the page layout and so much more. With e-books, you’re limited to the fonts and layouts the publishing platform, whether Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble or whatever, have.

However, it is more challenging and expensive to produce a physical, paper book. Amazon’s CreateSpace and Ingram’s Lightning Source provide web platforms that make it easier, but if you want a professional-looking product, you need to know what you’re doing.

In my case, it helps that I’ve worked in the printing and publishing world for most of my career. I’ve learned about some of the little things that make a big difference between professional and amateurish. And there are plenty of books available that obviously have been produced by people who may be talented writers, but don’t know squat about publishing.

I believe that professional appearance makes a difference to the reader. Many of the little details, like how big to make the margin on a 5 x 8 page, where the page numbers (folios, in publishing language) go, which way quotation marks should slant, how to set up facing pages, how to select typefaces—all evolved because they enhance the reading experience. They make it easier to read the text, to navigate and to follow the story.

While readers may not appreciate every nuance, at least subconsciously they’re affected by them. The difference between a professionally produce page and one done by an amateur is as obvious as the difference between a professional musician and the tone-deaf kid next door.

Creative Commons

These are all from the writer’s perspective, though. I’d like to hear from readers. I know that many people who follow this blog read e-books—some of BSR’s members publish only in electronic format. But which do you like better, electronic or paper? Why? Which do you prefer to take the beach, or read in bed? What do you take when you commute?

Leave your answers in the Comments.

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Thursday teaser: Sugar for Sugar

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By Seb Kirby

Justin Hardman looks at himself in the mirror as he shaves. He likes what he sees. A man approaching forty but with the bright-eyed zeal of a twenty-year-old. A man in control.

He knows where he stands in this troubled world. He despises those who don’t have money and make an issue of being poor. Half of society feeds off their incompetence. Yet he hates even more those who are wealthy and pretend to help those on whose backs their money is made. He admires the charity CEOs who pay themselves six figure salaries. At least they’re honest enough to admit they are running a real, profit making business. He would never support the hypocrites who say they are skimming from the poor. The poor deserve all they get. What matters is being honest about the realities of this life.

When he needs money, he knows where to get it and how to get it. Because he knows what money is and how the wealth that comes with it was created.

He knows about his distant family ancestors who owned slaves working on the sugar plantations of Trinidad, those who were compensated well for the loss of their human property when slavery was abolished. He knows that the work of those slaves, whipped until bleeding as often as not in the treadmills used to process tobacco or sugar, lives on in the money that changes hands today. The indelible mark of his family is still on it. He knows that those who cannot face up to such truths about where their money comes from do not deserve to keep it.

He knows of those other family ancestors who benefited from the rape of Africa, profiting from the shipping companies that transported slaves and returned with tobacco and cotton from the New World. And he knows of the smarter branches of the family who distanced themselves from the brutality of the trade by profiting even further from the import and export duties levied on each shipment that came in or out of London, Liverpool or Bristol, while all the time showing an exemplary face to those around them, priding themselves on the donations they made to the fine buildings that still grace those cities.

Yes, it’s the wealth created by his ancestors and those like them that still flows as a flood tide of ever increasing strength through today’s London.

And he knows of those later family ancestors whose crimes, though vile and treacherous to many, were so long concealed by the passage of time that they were able to pass themselves off as altruistic patrons of the arts without risk of ridicule. The spoils of their dreadful deeds circulate still.

Yes, he knows his true place in this great scheme of things. What does it matter if in this generation he was born with none of the advantages he might have expected had his recent family not contrived to squander these fruits of the past long before he could inherit them? Unlike those around him who took entitlement for granted, he hadn’t been to a good school nor sent on to a place kept waiting for him at Oxbridge.

The only advantage Justin Hardman inherited was an insatiable ambition to succeed by any means possible and an unstoppable desire to recover what is owed from the past. And he knows this matters more than any accident of birth. His is the stronger form of entitlement. The wealth that should be his, the dead labor that has been passed down through the ages, might be now in the hands of others but it is still rightfully his. It is only appropriate that he must do all he can to now take it back.

He washes and dries his face and chooses his clothes for the day from the walk-in dressing room nearby. The choice of over twenty designer Italian suits and over a hundred handmade shirts would overwhelm some. But he knows he has style and can let instinct make the selection. The steel-grey suit. The blue-check shirt.

This is the most important thing he’s learned. The appearance of wealth attracts more wealth. That’s how to stay ahead in this life and get even. Something his father had never understood when he told his son he’d never make anything of himself. If his father could see him now. But he couldn’t. His father had died a loser.

About Sugar for Sugar

How far would you go to uncover the secrets of your past?

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 reviewers are saying

“What a great book.”—J L Edwards

“Fast paced thriller”Dawn

“I simply whizzed through this book.”—Ashrae

“Exciting read”—TerryHeth

“A super read”—Susan Hampson, Books From Dusk ‘Til Dawn

Get it on Amazon.

About the author

sebkirby2Seb 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. Sugar for Sugar is his latest release.

Visit his

And follow him on Twitter @Seb_Kirby.

 

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Meet the author Monday: Claude Bouchard

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A couple of months ago, Bestselling Reads’ fearless leader, Scott Bury, asked the group’s members to answer a few questions. Some did, may didn’t and Scott has recently moved into “veiled threat” mode with the procrastinators. Such a tactic usually would not impress me but Scott does live a mere two hour drive from my home so, here we go!

How many books have you written?

I’ve written fifteen books to date with my sixteenth currently in the works.

Please explain the various series and standalone books.

Twelve, plus my current WIP, make up my Vigilante Series, all crime thrillers. Nasty in Nice, which I wrote in 2015 as part of Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World, could be also be considered an instalment of my series since my Vigilante characters appear side by side with Blake’s JET characters. Asylum, a psychological thriller, is a standalone and Something’s Cooking is a collection of comedic faux-erotica short stories, each accompanied by a corresponding recipe.

Please explain the various series and standalone books.

Twelve, plus my current WIP, make up my Vigilante Series, all crime thrillers. Nasty in Nice, which I wrote in 2015 as part of Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World, could be also be considered part of my series since my Vigilante characters appear side by side with Blake’s JET characters. Asylum, a psychological thriller, is a standalone and Something’s Cooking is a collection of comedic faux-erotica short stories, each accompanied by a corresponding recipe.

How have the main characters developed or changed over the course of the series?

For one, they’ve gotten older. For whatever reason, I’ve always dated my books and kept up with the years over time so my characters have aged along with all of us. Their thinking has also changed along the way as they’ve adapted to various situations. Without going into detail, Vigilante, the series opener, dealt with a serial killer involved in pure vigilantism. However, as of book 2, The Consultant, a clandestine government group was introduced, thus formalizing (or legalizing) unconventional methods of dealing with crime. It’s been interesting and fun to have these government assassins intermingling and developing professional relationships and friendships with homicide cops.

How has your style changed over that same period?

My basic voice and style have remained relatively intact. I’ve always been fairly concise with little use for fluffy fillers to increase word count and that hasn’t changed. My writing flows more nicely and is less choppy today than it was in my first books several years back.

Has the way you write, or your process, evolved? 

I’ve rarely used outlines, at least not in the sense of mapping out an entire storyline before getting into actually writing it. I will sometimes quickly outline the next handful of scenes as ideas come to mind, in order to respect the timeline of events and, more so, to avoid forgetting those ideas. What has certainly helped over time is the Internet, making required research much easier and efficient than when I wrote Vigilante in 1995. As for character creation, if something needs to be done and I have nobody to do it, I create someone. Travel has allowed meeting people from all over and has certainly facilitated building realistic worlds. In fact, some of my books were set in places I’ve visited, including Paris, Vietnam and the Caribbean.

Is there a particular time or place you like for writing?

Afternoons are when I do most of my writing, though that can vary on occasion. Unless I’m traveling, I write in our study with my trusty desktop and dual monitors. The one exception was The First Sixteen, a prequel novella and the ninth in my series, which I initially wrote in Pages on my iPad.

Where do your ideas for plots originate?

The weird place inside my head which is fed by daily events stemming from all over the world.

Connect with Claude Bouchard

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Monday musings: Advice for aspiring and experienced authors

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By Dawn Torrens

I am a full-time author and an occasional headline reviewer for BBC Radio WM 95.6 FM. I have written and published 14 books in various romantic genres over the past six years, including the bestselling Amelia’s Story.

Inspiration

My inspiration comes from many different areas of my life. It could be a dream I had the night before, which sows the seed of a story in my mind. One of my books, Broken Wings, was born from such a dream! I may read a news article, or take a simple walk in the park and something I witness can spark an idea for my next story.

Inspiration can come from anywhere or anything if you walk through life with your eyes wide open. I pay attention to my surroundings and current affairs issues. All of which provide me with inspiration.

Advice for aspiring writers

My first piece of advice would be, NEVER GIVE UP. If you have a dream, then pursue it regardless of what others think. Remember it is your dream, not theirs.

Secondly, no matter how good you think you are at editing your own work, always hire a professional editor and proofreader. Your work will one day be up for public viewing and you want those all-important reviews to be in favour of you, not against you. I cannot stress enough the importance of this. Remember, it is your reputation on the line so you want your work to be as word perfect as it can be.

Thirdly, good writers are also avid readers too. Read and read as often as you can. See how other successful authors form their stories, introduce their characters and back stories. Pay attention to the flow and movement of their story. You will be surprised how much you can learn yourself as an aspiring writer by reading great authors’ work.

Promotion: advice is for new and aspiring authors

Ah… Promotion, promotion, promotion—very important. If people don’t know about your book or books, how will you sell them?

Use your Facebook fan page to offer monthly giveaways to your fans. If you do not have one, create one now, even if your book is not yet published. Get the word out about your debut novel, create interest before it is published and get people excited about it.

People love giveaways, so offer a special new release giveaway to help generate interest. This will encourage word to spread about your book and your author name.

Your author name is your brand. That is what you have to build on. Offer your Kindle book up for free occasionally (you need to be enrolled into Amazon’s KDP programme for this) or reduce the price to 99p or 99c.

There are many book promotional sites out there, which have thousands of avid readers on their mailing lists just waiting to be notified about discounted and free books. This is a great way to get your unheard of book and name out there into the big world. Sites such as BookBub have millions of subscribers. They are very picky and you may have to be patient and submit your book several times over a period of time before they accept you. They are costly though, so you would need to budget for their promotions, but trust me they are so worth it and can get your book into the hands of 20, 30 and 40 thousand readers in one day.

There are other smaller and cheaper sites too, such as Robin Reads, Freebooksy, Bargainbooksy, Booksends, Ereader News Today, Digital Book Today, Kindle Promos, Armadillo Books, Pixel of Ink, Indie Book Today, Adnetwork, Venture Galleries and many more. Look them up and familiarise yourself with them and their submission process and costs. This will help you once you are published and prepare you for your first promotion.

Also, set up your own website—this is your very own promotional platform. Make it interesting and not too cluttered. People want to be able to navigate your site with ease, otherwise they will not visit it again. The main important thing to remember is you have to speculate to accumulate, so budget for promotional costs monthly based on what you can afford, even if it is as little at £10 per month.

Make sure you promote, whether big or small as you need to grow your brand, and get the word out about your brand—YOUR NAME!

Research

Research is so important. You have to know what you are talking about. Because if you don’t, some reader somewhere will pick up on it.

I do tons of research for each and every book I write. If there is a medical condition that my characters get and I do not know much about it, then I research it to death. I also talk to people I know that may suffer from the same condition to get clarity.

I spend a third of my time researching. I love it and gain much knowledge from it too. I am learning about things all the time that I otherwise would not know about such as, places, medical conditions, trauma units, investigations and the process of all these subjects. I also have many methods of research. I try to write about things I have much knowledge about, however, when you write a lot of books you do have to broaden your horizon.

Characters based on real people

Ha,ha… Oh indeed, yes! I know so many interesting characters in my real life that occasionally one or two of them make their way into my books!

Favourite pastimes

My favourite pastimes are jogging, walking, and spending lots of time with my daughter and family. I take part in a lot of charity runs at least four times a year, for Birmingham Children’s Hospital and cancer research, through organisations like, Race for Life and The Great Morrison’s Run. Jogging clears my head and I come up with some great ideas while I am out jogging.

Cover design

I have two cover designers, they are both incredible and each of them has their own special area of expertise: Ares Jun and David C. Cassidy. They are truly amazing cover designers and I would highly recommend them. They are the face of my stories and they convey through their designs perfectly what my stories are about.

My latest book

My latest release is called Amelia the Mother: A Pocket Full of Innocence, the third book in the Amelia series. It tells of Amelia’s emotional journey, showing what motherhood means to her.

Prior to that, I published Forbidden last March. This is a romantic suspense novel, which also touches on real-life happenings. This book was a challenge for me in many ways as I was writing about two characters from two entirely different cultures who fall in love against their families’ wishes. Jessica is white British, and Ajay is Hindu. The obstacles their parents place in their path is incredible. The parents are both strict, traditional Hindus and strict traditional Christians. Both sets of parents do not believe in interracial marriages of relationships of any kind. This makes the protagonists’ relationship very difficult. There are death, near-death and tragic circumstances along the way in this emotionally charged love story against the odds.

Come get to know me

I was born in Yorkshire, England. I currently live in Birmingham. I am married with an eight-year-old daughter, who is my entire world! My very first book, Amelia’s Story has inspired people all over the world and has been downloaded almost 400,000 times worldwide.

I am a prolific writer and in 2013, my works were recognised by BBC Radio WM, where I gave my first live interview on air in the BBC studios in Birmingham, UK. Since that interview, I became a regular on the show, lending my time as a headline reviewer once a week, discussing the day’s headlines with the presenter.

I live by the motto, “The child first and foremost.”

Visit my website, My books & I, and my Facebook author page, and follow me on  Twitter @Torrenstp.

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Thursday teaser: Scorch Road

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An exciting collaboration of two BestSelling authors:
Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman

Elizabeth

“You’re the whole cold transport chain, Elizabeth. Don’t take your eyes off that thing until you get it to the CDC in Washington.” Dr. Fellerman stepped away, returning to his side of the big wooden desk. “There are ten vials of the isolated virus in there. And that case will keep it cold for at least three days.” He flopped into his chair and it rolled back a few inches. Dr. Fellerman closed his eyes. “It’s too late for me, but there are still a lot of people to save.”

Elizabeth stepped forward, wanting to hug him or say something to mark this parting. Dr. Fellerman had offered her guidance without pushing, and he’d been a great teacher—one of the rare people she trusted.

He frowned at her approach. “Don’t get too close. You’re not sick now, but you know how contagious this thing is.”

She nodded. “Thank you for everything.”

Dr. Fellerman gave her a weak smile. “Thank you, Elizabeth. And Godspeed.”

Elizabeth left his office and retraced her steps through the lab. As she waited for the elevator, Elizabeth looked down at the cryocase. Inside the insulated screw top, a smaller metal cylinder held the vials of cells. Liquid nitrogen filled the larger container, keeping the isolated virus at the optimum temperature, well below freezing. It had to stay that way or vaccine production would be set back by months.

What if she failed? The thought chilled her to her bones.

***

JT

Wind drafted up his naked body as JT surveyed the land for the threat he knew was coming, but as usual he saw nothing but waving corn, velvety alfalfa, grazing pigs in their fenced pen, and the wind-ruffled leaves of soybeans and potato fields, picturesque in late summer glory.

JT had a powerful intuition, a sense of coming things. Mama called it the Sight and told him he’d inherited it from his deceased grandmother, rumored to be una strega, a witch.

“You’re a canary in a coal mine,” she had said, pulling him in for a hug after he’d told her to get her car fixed, that there was something wrong with it. The mechanic discovered a broken brake line that might have killed her. “You’ve been given the Sight. Be sure to use it for good, caro Jacobino.”

JT had tried to use that sense, along with an environmental biology degree, for good. But no one ever listened to his warnings, even those backed up by science. He’d got so tired of watching disaster strike again and again, waves on a seashore, that he’d left the EPA for this, his own place, where he could prepare.

Away from other people, JT was able to screen the stress of the Sight out better, but so close to water, he felt it acutely: the tremor of a shadow moving across the land.

A sickness was coming.

His family—five brothers, his mom, and his precious little sister—were all still out there, ignoring his warnings and invitations to the Haven. It hurt like a bruise that would never heal, a bruise that kept him up at night.

JT duckwalked around the metal platform’s edge, pleasure in the day evaporated—he was just hot, tired, and very alone. He arrowed into the pond in a swan dive. At the cool weedy bottom, he paused, his eyes shut. His mysterious sense was buffered, and yet amplified, by the water.

The scorching of the earth was coming here—right to his doorstep—into his fields.

The knowledge chilled JT more than the cold green water at the bottom of the pond. He shot for the sunlight, gasping for breath.

About Scorch Road

A new romantic action adventure series for fans of romance thriller and family romance sagas!

One of six Italian brothers and a sister, JT Luciano is a widowed environmental biologist with a touch of the Sight who is preparing for an apocalyptic event he knows is coming. Holed up at the military survival camp prepared for his family, the Haven, JT is ready for whatever might come… except for one woman.

Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, virologist and Senator’s daughter, is carrying precious cells for a vaccine against the swiftly-evolving, deadly flu that’s sweeping the nation. Her plane crashes in JT’s potato field–and she must convince him to leave the Haven and help her get to Washington, DC.

One by one, the structures of society implode in the face of the flu’s devastation as JT and Elizabeth travel a scorching road cross country.

Can danger bring them together to find one good, true thing in a changing world?

Get it on Amazon.

About the authors

Emily Kimelman is the author of the best selling Sydney Rye Series, which feature a strong female protagonist and her canine best friend, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don’t mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!

Emily can be found:

Website   |   Facebook    |   Twitter

Toby Neal is the author of the bestselling Lei Crime series featuring Maui police detective Lei Texeira, the Paradise Crime series featuring security specialist Sophie Ang, the Michaels Family Romance series, and the new Scorch Series romantic thrillers with Emily Kimelman.

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Monday musings: My literary evolution

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By Elise Stokes

How have I evolved as a writer over the last five years, Scott Bury asked me. It’s a timely question, as I’m about to publish my fifth book YA book, Cassidy Jones & the Eternal Flame. So I’ve decided to answer his questions here.

How many books have you written?

Five—all in Cassidy Jones Adventures. The first installment, Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula, was published in 2010.

Written for a young adult audience, the series follows the life of teenage superhero Cassidy Jones. Each installment introduces a new mystery with plenty of pulse-pounding action, while continuing ongoing storylines.

How have the main characters developed or changed over the course of the series?

Cassidy has become more comfortable in her own skin and a powerful force to be reckoned with, though she has retained her naïve charm. She is fierce and loyal to a fault.

Emery Phillips’s “human-ness” leaks out more. He is still a Junior James Bond, but the reader is allowed glimpses behind his self-possessed veneer. As Cassidy sums Emery up in Eternal Flame: “Standing before me was a kid who didn’t have anything figured out any better than I did.”

How has your style changed over that same period?

As with any creative endeavor, the more you do it, the better you get. I don’t know if my writing style has changed per se. My skill has improved.

Has the way you write, or your process, evolved? For example, do you use outlines more or less now? What about the way you create characters or build worlds?

My writing process is as it has always been: chaotic. I don’t outline, or even think deeply about my stories. I just write and see what happens. Ideas and characters leap into my head as I’m writing, and sometimes I need to hit reverse and back way up, and sometimes something truly awesome develops because I wasn’t set on a particular course. I wouldn’t recommend this “free-spirited” approach. It isn’t efficient or productive, and it’s rather stressful to be frank, but for whatever reason it works for me.

When do you write? Is there a time of day, or a period during the week? A particular place you like to be to write?

I write when I have free time, which there never seems enough of. My brain is rendered to mush in the evenings, so I have to carve out time to write in the early morning or throughout the day between work and household tasks.

How do you create new characters?

I don’t know. They’re just suddenly there, and I learn more about their complexities with time.

Where do your ideas for plots originate?

Usually from an interesting conversation with my husband. In fact, he planted the seed for Cassidy Jones. Around eight years ago, we were brainstorming different story concepts, and he said, “You know what would be cool? A boy with enhanced senses.” I responded, “You know what would be even cooler? A girl with enhanced senses.”

Cassidy Jones’ and Emery Phillips’s latest adventure, Cassidy Jones & the Eternal Flame, will be out this spring. In the meantime, visit my website to find out more about this exciting series.

Elise Stokes lives with her husband and four children. She was an elementary school teacher before becoming a full-time mom. With a daughter in middle school and two in high school, Elise’s understanding of the challenges facing girls in that age range inspired her to create a series that will motivate girls to value individualism, courage, integrity, and intelligence.

The stories in Cassidy Jones Adventures are fun and relatable, and a bit edgy without taking the reader uncomfortably out of bounds. Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula, Cassidy Jones and Vulcan’s Gift, Cassidy Jones and the Seventh Attendant, Cassidy Jones and the Luminous, and Cassidy Jones and the Eternal Flame are the first five books in the series.

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And follow her on Twitter @CassidyJonesAdv.

 

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Thursday teaser: A new book release

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Walking Out of War

by Scott Bury

The third volume of Scott Bury’s trilogy of the World War 2 experiences of a Canadian drafted into the Red Army will be published in February 2017. Here’s a sneak peek.

Most of the new recruits were very young, the last remaining boys from the farms and villages across Ukraine, those unlucky enough to reach their seventeenth birthdays before the war ended.

Not all were young, though. Old Stepan was in his forties, and Maurice wondered sometimes if Stepan’s story wasn’t similar to his own. But Stepan obviously had no experience with weapons or army life, and could not keep up with boys half his age.

One very hot day, the sergeant assigned Maurice, Stepan and eight young boys to pull an obsolete, heavy cannon up a hill. They knew better by this time than to grumble. Four boys put leather straps over their shoulders and pulled; Maurice and another got behind to push, leaving Stepan and the remaining boys to pull a wagon of ammunition. With the sun beating down on them and the humidity making every breath a chore, they hauled the massive gun across a muddy field to the bottom of the hill. The wheels squeaked and stuck, then sank into the mud.

“Get moving, you lazy buggers!” the sergeant yelled. “You think Fritz is going to wait for you to get your lazy asses moving? You’d all be dead a hundred times over by now on the battlefield!”

Maurice wondered if the sergeant had ever been to the battlefield, and decided that, in all likelihood, he had. There was almost no one left in Ukraine or Russia now who hadn’t been scarred in some way.

So they pushed and pulled the gun across the mud, trying as much as possible to stay on grass so the wheels wouldn’t sink so much into the ground. The sergeant had chosen their route to be as difficult as possible.

Halfway up the hill, the wheels stopped turning. The boys paused barely long enough to determine that the cause was too much mud caked around the axles before the sergeant was screaming at them again to keep moving. “The Germans aren’t so polite they’ll let you clean up! Your comrades are dying on top of that hill unless you get that gun up there! Get moving, you little girls!” Pushing the cannon became dragging the cannon.

It was nearly noon by the time they got the gun to the top of the low hill. Their uniforms were soaked and caked with dust. All the boys fell onto the ground, exhausted.

“Get up!” said the sergeant. The heat was getting to him, too: his shirt was wet with sweat and he wasn’t raising his voice anymore. “The Germans have retreated. Take this gun back to the base.”

The boys couldn’t help groaning, but the sergeant let that pass. They all stood up wearily and picked up the straps. Only Stepan stayed on the ground.

“Won’t you join us, comrade?” the sergeant sneered.

“I can’t,” Stepan puffed. “I’m worn out.”

The sergeant pulled his pistol from its holster. “Get up, or I’ll shoot you right now!”

Eyes wide, Stepan got up, picked up a box of ammunition and led the troop down the hill.

What it’s about

Canada-born Maurice Bury fought against the Germans invading Ukraine during Operation Barbarossa in 1941. Captured and starved, he escaped a German POW camp with the 11 men under his command. He fought in the underground resistance against German occupation for three hellish years. And now he’s back in the Red Army, which is soaking the soil of the Eastern Front in German and their own blood all the way to Berlin.

Maurice is determined to get back to Canada. But to do that, he not only has to survive the ferocity of the reluctantly retreating Germans, he also has to get away from the Communists. For if they learn his secret, they’ll kill him, too.

Launches February 22 on Amazon.

About the author

Scott Bury can’t stay in one genre. After a 20-year career in journalism, he turned to writing fiction. “Sam, the Strawb Part,” a children’s story, came out in 2011. Next was a paranormal short story for grown-ups, “Dark Clouds.”

The Bones of the Earth, a historical fantasy, came out in 2012. It was followed in 2013 with One Shade of Red, an erotic romance.

He has written in the Lei Crime (Torn Roots, Palm Trees & Snowflakes, Dead Man Lying), Jet (Jet: Stealth) and Sydney Rye (The Wife Line) Kindle Worlds.

His military memoir trilogy includes Army of Worn Soles and Under the Nazi HeelWalking Out of War will be published in February 2017.

He lives in Ottawa, Canada with two sons, two cats and a loving wife who puts up with a lot.

Visit Scott’s:

And follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.

 

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Monday musings: peering through the fog

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Misty Foggy Road Mystery Fog

As I drove through an extremely foggy morning last week, I thought of all the people who try to make predictions about the future at the beginning of every year. It struck me that it’s like trying to tell which way an unfamiliar road will curve when you can only see 30 metres ahead.

If there’s one thing that 2016 taught me, it’s to keep my predictions to myself. But I have read a number of others’ forecasts for the directions and the curves the writing game will take in the next year.

These predictions may seem pretty safe, but what’s interesting is the way they fit together to have an impact on readers as well as writers.

Amazon’s dominance will grow

Amazon has been the number one retailer of books (and a whole lot of other stuff, too) for years, and this market dominance is only going to increase.

Retail sales are also suffering, and “brick and mortar” retailers are losing market share to online retailers—like Amazon, but also to others, even their own online operations. Barnes & Noble reported its 2016 holiday sales were 9.1 percent lower than in 2015. The company attributed that to lower traffic in its stores. In contrast, online sales rose 2 percent.

Other bookstore chains are struggling, and are devoting more and more floor space to things that are not books: music and movie disks, decorations, novelties, even food.

The only way for independent bookstores to survive is by specializing.

Amazon has opened some brick-and-mortar stores of its own, and while it has enabled authors to publish their own books for years, it has started a number of publishing imprints of its own, such as Thomas & Mercer (the publisher of one of BestSelling Reads’ members, Alan McDermott).

More market share will go to e-books

While paper will never go away, e-books are taking up more market share. As of 2016, the estimates in the U.S. were that print books represent 39% of book units sold, and e-books 61%.

The ease and economy of publishing e-books is one of the factors behind the staggering growth in the numbers of self-publishing authors.

More writers will self-publish

Some writers call this “increased competition,” but that term doesn’t quite capture the reality of writers. Books are not like cars or washing machines—we read them in a matter of days, usually, and move on to the next book.

Restaurant cluster in Paris

The situation is more comparable to restaurants. Restaurant owners are smart to cluster together, because more options bring more customers. Diners love to come to a street crowded with restaurants, and will come back many times to try all the choices available.

Readers are the same. After all, a traditional bookstore brings together thousands of different authors, and readers prefer bigger bookstores with more choice.

Writers will band together

Another prediction I read was that authors will work together to increase their audiences. That’s interesting, because working with other authors is how I began self-publishing fiction. I find my experience with BestSelling Reads, and another group I belong to called Independent Authors International, to be hugely rewarding—in terms finding other great writers, learning how to improve my writing, as well as finding new readers.

The big challenge for writers is not to out-compete other writers, not to sell books (although that’s a nice thing to accomplish), but to learn how to engage with audiences. That’s what a story is: a connection, an experience shared by reader and writer.

For readers

When I was young, I cannot begin to estimate the time I spent hanging around in bookstores, looking at all the titles I had to choose from. Readers today can spend hours just perusing books, trying to decide which one to open next. That’s why sites like Goodreads and Library Thing are so popular—they help readers decide which book to read next, to find good books in the e-mountains of words available.

I promised I would not make any predictions for 2017, but I will tell you about one other trend I noticed over 2016: the increasing number of services and systems for sale to help authors sell more books by learning how to tag their titles on Amazon, set up mailing lists to readers, send enquiries to book reviewers, build platforms and more. “This is the secret that bestselling authors use.”

As I said, no predictions. Just a warning: some of these services and subscriptions are very expensive, and none of them guarantees a writer will sell more books.

No predictions, but a question to the readers out there: how do you want to engage with writers? Answer in the Comments.

 

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