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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Meet the author Monday: Eden Baylee

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Get to know your favorite BestSelling Reads authors better. This week features Eden Baylee.

How many books have you written?

I have nineteen titles available for sale. They include anthologies, novels and novellas, and collections with other authors.

You’ve written more than one book for the Lei Crime Kindle World. How have those main characters developed or changed over the course of the series?

I have three novellas in Toby Neal’s Lei Crime Kindle Worlds’ series: A Snake in Paradise; SEAL of a Monk; and Charade at Sea.

For these stories, I developed a brand new character named Lainey Lee and wove her into the settings and back story of the first three books in Toby Neal’s Lei Crime series. Lainey appears in all three of my books, and a Navy SEAL named Max Scott enters the scene in the second book.

Lainey transforms from an inhibited newly-divorced woman to someone who finds a little more of herself in each book.

How has your style changed over that same period?

I don’t think my style of writing has changed. I write in both the literary erotica and mystery/suspense genres, so my books for Kindle Worlds evoke a moody sense of place and vibrant characters.

Add to this a setting in Hawaii and a mystery that needs to be solved, and you’ll find the books are easy to read with interesting and believable characters.

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?

I’m a pantser par excellence. When ideas flow, I’m go-go-go. When they don’t, then it’s difficult. I’ve been going through a particularly rough patch of late, but it’s something I need to push through. There is no other way around it. It’s one day at a time putting words to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

Characters are the backbone of a story, so it’s important to make sure they are carefully developed. Modeling them after real people helps keep them real.

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 standing at my kitchen counter most of the time. The room has natural light and the counter is long with plenty of space for my writing and research material. I’m also using two Apple laptops, so the set-up works well. My husband thinks it’s my very own genius bar!

I’m an early riser but I don’t write immediately upon waking. I usually begin work after a leisurely breakfast and work late into the evening. I write six days a week.

How do you create new characters?

Most characters are modeled after someone I know or have known. I combine different traits of people I’ve met and create one character. In my novel, Stranger at Sunset, you find a lot of characters; many are inspired by someone familiar to me. Even though we have unpleasant dealings with people in real life, they sometimes make for the best characters. No experience is ever wasted.

Where do your ideas for plots originate?

They come from a variety of sources—stories I’ve read or heard, TV shows, movies, music—life in general, really. I definitely listen more than I speak, and that helps.

How do you feel your writing style and process have evolved over the course of writing your books?

I’ve become less hung up on specific words. I’m a logophile who can worry about the use of a particular word or description, even though I know readers won’t necessarily care as much. As an example, whether a dress is green, blue, or red is less important than if it’s made of a sheer, see-through material, but I do tend to sweat the details.

In order to create books, you have to look at the bigger picture. It’s not simply about writing well, it’s about telling a good story. Being a perfectionist can really stall the process of getting the book out there.

It’s a fine balance for me, most days.

More about Eden

Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to write and is now a full-time author of multiple genres. She has written three collections of erotic novellas and flash fiction: Spring Into Summer,  Fall into Winter and Hot Flash.

In 2014, she launched the first novel of her trilogy with Dr. Kate Hampton—a psychological mystery/suspense called Stranger at Sunset. In addition to working on her next novel, Eden created Lainey Lee for the Lei Crime Series, a feisty divorcée who finds adventure and romance in Hawaii. Her novellas are available on Kindle Worlds.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often! Connect to her via all her networks. She loves talking to readers!

Eden can be found on

her Website   |    Bestselling Reads Author page   |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |   LinkedIn   |    Amazon

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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: A year of writing, mothering, traveling, and learning lessons

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Emily Kimelman’s year behind and the year ahead

Twenty sixteen was one heck of a year for me…and a lot of people. I spent January and February in a haze of mommy-hood, barely sleeping but doing lots of cuddling with my newborn daughter and husband—man that was cozy.

Never a family to just chillax, we traveled to Mexico and Texas escaping the freezing temperatures of New York. I also was preparing for the launch of my Sydney Rye Kindle World which went live on March 17, 2016 with the help of seven amazing authors.

It was a ton of work, super fun and totally exhilarating; I’m very proud that the world of Sydney Rye is now available for anyone to pen a story in—I know I have a ton of fun with her and Blue. My readers have really enjoyed the new novellas and so have I!

In April, my family moved onto an airstream (we seriously can not just chillax!). We headed to Cape Cod, and I started working on The Girl With The Gun, the eighth book in my Sydney Rye Series. It was the first book I dictated entirely—a practice I started toward the end of my pregnancy due to my body’s straight-up refusal to be stuck at a desk. Turns out a giant baby bump is bad for your back. Lol.

Since dictation is so much better for my body, I was determined to continue the practice, even though I no longer had the same physical restrictions. My dream of walking on the beach and speaking my stories aloud came true. I used Dragon Dictate to transcribe and it worked out great… except that I didn’t update the rest of my process to accommodate my dictation.

See, I’ve always written my first drafts straight through—don’t look back! is my motto. I fix everything in editing later. But, when I went back to look at my transcription they made no sense—here’s an example of a sentence:

It only the martyr Troy Campbell enter.

So, yeah, I had to listen to all the recording as I edited—which, um, slowed me down … a lot. So, lesson learned! Now, I always go through my transcriptions right after I speak them. I can usually remember what the heck I was trying to say and have it all make sense 🙂

I finished the first draft of The Girl with the Gun at the end of May and in June Toby Neal and I started co-authoring our Scorch Romance Thriller Series. The first book was done in thirteen days! And it sucked! Lol. Seriously though, it was terrible. We almost gave up. But instead we pushed on and now, as I write this, we’ve completed four of the books and are hard at work on the fifth and sixth with a launch schedule that starts at the end of January 2017.
We are both super excited about this series. It’s some of the best work we’ve ever done. Romance Thriller is a new genre for both of us and we’ve found a voice together that we think is pretty much impossible to put down *rubs hands together gleefully*. Seriously, if you’re a fan of the genre I dare you to start this series without finishing it. In fact, I double dog dare you.

I’m ending the year in my airstream with my husband and daughter. We were in Texas in December and reached California as 2017 dawned. I’m looking forward to a year of adventure, romance and writing.

May you all have a happy, healthy, loving holiday season and new year!

Emily Kimelman is the author of the best selling Sydney Rye Series featuring 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!

Find out more about her on Emily’s BestSelling Reads Author page.

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Going Analog to Beat Writer’s Block

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By Toby Neal

Creative Commons

Creative Commons

Last year, for a period of four months, I couldn’t write.

This might not seem like long to you, but I’d been writing close to 2,000 words a day for five years. But after Red Rain, Lei Crime Series #11, I couldn’t seem to get going again.

“Big deal,” you say. “You wrote fourteen mysteries, three romances, two memoirs and a couple of YA novels in five years. It’s okay to be a little burned-out and take a break.”

That’s what my friends told me, too. I told myself that, agreeing. But not writing isn’t “taking a break” to me. I’m happiest when I’m writing, and I couldn’t seem to. Nothing appealed, not even my romances, which are my go-to feel-good projects when I get a little stuck. Even blogging, which I normally love, felt Herculean.

Instinctively, I sought new distractions and input. I bought tons of self-help, lifestyle, writing, performance and life improvement books (along with my usual brimming TBR list of friends’ books and other fiction.) I cleaned my house personally for the first time in six months. I decided to sort my beach glass and shell collection and reorganize them. I gardened. Did a little cooking. (Not too much. I’m not that addled.) I called friends who hadn’t heard from me in ages to go to lunch. I also worked out and dieted, because if I’m not writing, I better be doing something good. I’m no slacker, and this felt like slacking.

And gradually, I began to go analog.

This definition from Vocabulary.com matches the way I mean the term: “Analog is the opposite of digital. Any technology, such as vinyl records or clocks with hands and faces, that doesn’t break everything down into binary code to work, is analog. Analog, you might say, is strictly old school.”

My version of analog meant stopping the noise and distractions in my head and life, most of them somehow digital.

I stopped filling my ears with noise and my eyes with electronics, staying away from my computer except for planned chunks of work using the Pomodoro method.

I stopped listening to music in the car, and let my thoughts wander instead. I stopped listening to audiobooks or calling friends on my walks with my dog in the neighborhood; instead, I practiced just noticing things: the cry of Francolin grouse in the overgrown, empty pineapple field. Distant roosters, barking dogs, doves and chattering mynahs, the sound the wind makes in the coconut trees, the swish of my feet through grass, the feel of air on my skin.

I tried to break my phone habit, and couldn’t… but still, the tiny screen was less sensory input than the big one. The intrusiveness of all the bits of colored data representing relationships and knowledge felt more manageable to my spongy brain.

We had holidays. I usually write during holidays, at least in my journal.

I didn’t, this time.

I just tried to really be with my family, and I had a lot of intense feelings. Joy. Sadness. Excitement. Contentment. Exhaustion. Even boredom. I realized I use technology (and food) to manage my emotions. Not doing so was a real internal rollercoaster.

In the silence of sitting in analog, I got a tiny insight: some of this block is performance anxiety.

WiredIn2I worry I won’t be able to top myself, that I’ve already done the best work I’m capable of.

Once that insight finally bubbled up through the silence I was cultivating, I could examine it. Interact with it. Test its veracity, as we do in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is my primary counseling mode.

As I grappled with it, the tiny insight got louder, clearer and more detailed.

I recognized the voice of the Inner Critic, and the razor-tipped arrow of a lie that pierced me in the heart and froze me in place. “You’ve done your best work already and it’s still no great shakes—you’re nothing but a self-published mid-lister. Quit before you embarrass yourself.”

Well, damn.

That’s some toxic self-talk! No wonder I stayed constantly distracted by internal and external noise for the last five years, trying to run so fast to the page that my self-doubt couldn’t catch up to me.

The usual things I had done in the past to get back to writing didn’t work.

My kitchen timer failed me. Pep talks with my friends didn’t work. Even Grumpy Cat flashing at me on Write or Die couldn’t get me going, nor least the pleas of my readers for the next Lei book, which usually motivates and this time, just felt like pressure. The joy and fun of the Lei Crime Kindle World had morphed into the weight of other writers depending on my ongoing success.

I felt crushed and smothered. Worries about money didn’t even motivate me.

I was a miner, deep in a hot dark shaft, who had reached the end of her vein of gold.

And for once, I decided to just sit there, in the dark uncomfortableness, until something happened.

That’s what “going analog” is. It’s sitting, undistracted, holding the emptiness of departed inspiration and motivation, without trying to produce anything.

Going analog is doing simple things with your hands, like sorting a lifetime of collected shells into Keep and Take Back to the Beach.

Image source: Lorna Sass at Large https://lornasassatlarge.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/molokai-purple-potatoes/

Image source: Lorna Sass at Large https://lornasassatlarge.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/molokai-purple-potatoes/

Going analog is heading to the farmer’s market and browsing the stalls, choosing three Molokai purple sweet potatoes. It’s going home and peeling one, cutting it up, cooking it, and eating it mashed with a little salt—and nothing to read or listen to during any of that.

Going analog is walking the beach without music, phone, or audiobook, feeling everything: wind in my face, sun on the top of my head, sand scouring my feet, ocean a beating heart next to me, people randomly occurring with dogs, and now really seeing them. (Even saying hi to them!)

Going analog makes me wish for a mindless job again: a place to go and punch a clock, performing whatever task that society has decided has value and will pay me for.

This thing I do is amorphous, making up stories and hoping people like them. Drawing metaphoric blood and using it as ink, Hemingway called the process of writing — a dubious endeavor of questionable value… Not like getting out and mowing the knee-deep grass. Now that’s a job that needs doing.

I persevered with my uncomfortable analog state, adrift in dubious oversensitivity, miserable in my idyllic, carefully constructed writer’s life, unable to tell anyone but a few what was going on.

No one takes me seriously, or believes I’ll stay stuck.

Except me.

Being stuck feels absolute and irrefutable and forever. But I refused to anesthetize it.

One day an idea bobbed through my empty, silent mind. A silly idea, for the Kindle World novella I needed to write by a deadline. A novella’s just a tiny jump for a steeplechaser like me, but now, in my humbled state, even a fan fiction novella seemed impossible.

But I hadn’t had an idea at all in ages. I grabbed the string hanging from the balloon of the idea and captured it analog.

Written by hand.

“A Thelma and Louise revenge caper set in the desert in Mexico,” I wrote. “A road trip gone badly wrong.”

This violent, intense action idea felt good, like it had the steam I needed to get me moving. Of course, I’d hoped I was going to have a Great Big Awesome Idea that would take my work to the next level, and top myself, and beat the Inner Critic once and for all.

Instead, there was this idea. No great literary masterpiece. Perhaps that will never come from my pen. But this road trip idea is something. It’s enough. There’s a sense that heads will roll.

I decide a samurai sword will be involved, and heads will, literally, roll. It makes me smile, and I haven’t smiled over an idea in a while.

road-rough-finalI begin writing, sneakily. Quietly. Not calling it writing. Not saying the drought is broken. Just jotting a few things down. And then I’m at ten thousand words, and the story has me by the throat, in the clutches of evil men on a bad stretch of Rough Road. (Look for it in Emily Kimelman’s Sydney Rye Kindle World.)

This time, I didn’t use my usual technology prods.

I just wrote, when I could, when I felt like it, without music on.

Against the black wall of the mine, directly in front of me, there was a tiny shimmer. A new vein of gold might just be there.

Go analog to beat your writer’s block.

Sit in the dark uncomfortable of nothing going on in your head, no distractions or stimulation, for as long as it takes until your idea comes.

Don’t reject the idea when it finally appears, because it’s not pretty, fancy, or solid enough. Grab hold of it “old school” — by the dangling string, with both hands. Nail that idea to a piece of paper with a pen, and be grateful.

You might just strike it rich with your new vein of gold. And if not, at least you’ll be writing again.

About Toby Neal

Toby Neal was raised on Kauai in Hawaii and makes the Islands home after living elsewhere for “stretches of exile” to pursue education. A mental health therapist, Toby credits that career with adding depth to the characters in the LeiCrime Series.

Visit her full bio on her BestSelling Reads Author page.

You can also find Toby and her books at http://www.tobyneal.net/

Follow her on Twitter @tobywneal

She’s also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LeiCrimeSeries/

And on Pinterest at: https://www.pinterest.com/tobyneal/

 

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Thursday teaser: Return of the Ascendant

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Ascendant Series #1
By Raine Thomas

You could WIN a signed copy of Return of the Ascendant. Find out how at the end of the excerpt.

Return of the Ascendant_ebooksm

Looking up, Kyra realized she was walking in shadow. Typically, the quad was well-lit by tall lights designed to look like old-fashioned gas lamps. The posts stood about twenty feet apart and surrounded the square area, offering plenty of luminescence and providing a sense of safety. Now, at least three of the lights along Kyra’s route had gone out.

Her steps faltered. She looked to her right, where the school’s science building stood. Rows of bushes cast deep, uneven shadows along the brick face. A muggy breeze rustled the leaf-covered limbs, generating an eerie scratching sound as they brushed the harsh surface of the wall.

Feeling as though someone was watching her, she cast a furtive look around the quad. On any normal evening, there would be plenty of people walking around the area. Now, however, not another soul was in sight. Kyra supposed they were all either still moving into their dorm rooms or had already left for the big party.

Despite the visual confirmation that she was alone, she had the pressing urge to call out and ask who was there. An image of herself acting like a horror movie cliché kept her lips firmly sealed, however.

Another scraping noise on her right had her starting. She clutched her purse closer to her body and picked up her pace. Surely the shadows were just making her jumpy, she reasoned. That didn’t explain why every hair on her arms and neck now stood on end.

Swallowing her rising fear, she almost broke into a run as she reached the last twenty feet of darkness. Her eyes didn’t move from the gloomy bushes. She couldn’t explain her reaction, as the university was in a small, sleepy town and had a low crime rate. But every instinct in her told her to run.

Just as she neared the halo of light cast by the closest lamppost, it went out. She staggered to a halt.

That was when the darkness moved.

Not possible, she thought.

She watched the shadows take shape, growing ever taller. Five feet, six feet, seven feet tall…like a creature advancing and casting a longer and longer shadow. Her heartbeat accelerated. The voice in her head ordered her to flee.

Run now!

Before she could command her limbs to move, she felt her arm taken in a firm grip. She barely avoided issuing a terrified shriek over the contact. Her fear had escalated to a point where she couldn’t even get a sound past her throat.

Her head whipped to the side. She realized the man who had grabbed her was a good eight or nine inches taller than her, even in her heels. She got a sense of a chiseled profile and broad shoulders as he urged her to move. Her gaze flew to the ground as she tried to avoid breaking an ankle. Only when they emerged from the darkness did her sense of panic begin to ease.

Her unexpected companion’s pace also slowed once they reached the light. She turned her gaze to him once again. Had he been the one who had cast the shadow?

She didn’t think so. Although she couldn’t tell much about him from his profile, she didn’t sense that he would harm her.

“It isn’t me you need to worry about,” he said in a deep voice. “You were right to fear the dark.”

Win a signed copy of Return of the Ascendant by describing your favorite alien-related book or movie in the Comments section. The author will choose a winner.

About Return of the Ascendant

Expecting to enjoy another typical college night at a frat party with friends, Kyra Vaughn’s plans derail when she’s almost killed…twice. Her savior, a tall, sexy stranger who calls himself TaeDane, claims that he’s the personal bodyguard for the Ascendant of Alametria. She’s convinced he’s crazy.

Especially when he insists that she’s the Ascendant.

With dark enemies hunting her down, Kyra has no choice but to trust her supposed bodyguard. Ty vows to help her remember her past and return her safely to Alametria, but someone seems intent on interfering, challenging his abilities at every turn.

As Kyra’s memories emerge, she remembers that Ty is more to her than he’s let on…much more than he’s allowed to be. She’ll also discover that there are many things about her planet and herself that she’d rather forget. In the end, she’ll have to make a choice: cling to the life she knows, or risk it all to become the person she’s destined to be.

Where to get it:

About the author

Raine-Thomas-Headshot-small-233x300Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine recently signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.
Visit her:

And follow her on Twitter @Raine_Thomas.

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Book launch today: Road Blocked

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A Reed Ferguson Mystery by Renée Pawlish

Launching May 10!

Road BlockedReed Ferguson returns in a gripping tale!

A dead body on a beach in Tahiti. A Medicare scam. A doctor who believes hired killers are after him. It’s all part of Denver private investigator Reed Ferguson’s latest case, where he matches wits with a dangerous adversary who will stop at nothing short of murder. Working with his wife Willie, and his quirky friends, Reed must unearth a killer before he becomes the next victim.

Road Blocked is a suspense-filled mystery, with a Bogie-wannabe detective, a dose of humor, and a clever homage to film noir. It’s available today from Amazon.

From the award-wining author of This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies.

 

 

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Focus Friday: Forgive No More

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ForgiveNoMoreCover

The third James Blake thriller

By Seb Kirby

Prologue

Sera Monastery, Lhasa

Everyone knew him here as one of the most devout, one of the few who had risen to the rank of Ajahn. Devout because of the time he spent in meditation and prayer. He was honored they would think of him in this way within the monastery, given he was not Tibetan.

It was the center of his universe, the place he went back to in order to replenish his life, to regenerate his energy and regain what was lost when he went out there, into the wider world.

The last time he’d been out into that world he’d killed fifty men and not a few women without a thought. Because he served a higher goal. And because, when looked at from here, from the center of the universe, the deaths were not important. In the great flow of energy passing through this place and through him as he meditated and chanted, the lives of these people were as nothing. Could be nothing.

Still a slew of naked thoughts ran through his mind and threatened to disrupt the state of truth to which he was all the time aiming in these two hours alone in the monastery cell — why had he been concerned that the little girl would have to die? Why did he have to meet her? Why did she have to speak to him before the killings at Town Lake? He’d checked the lists of those who’d died. The little girl had been spared. But that was not the point. It was the simple fact that her innocence had touched him and he’d been made to care what would happen to her. It would not leave his thoughts. Try as he might to let these ideas go, they hung on, confronting him.

With time and mental effort, his mind focused once more on the flow of energy through him, the flow that gave him the glimpse of the divine.

He turned to face the door as a novice samanera came for instruction.

Strange, he thought, that he was so far away now from the world where they knew him by a different name.

Wolfgang Heller.

About Forgive No More

Dark secrets revealed in a thrilling climax

James Blake and his family can only be safe if the truth about the conspiracy threatening their lives is brought into the full light of day. Follow James in this intriguing thriller as the conspiracy widens and he must return to Italy to confront those seeking to destroy his family. Forces from around the world, from Washington and Tijuana to Munich and London, are ranged against him. As the mystery comes to a resounding climax, he discovers that dark secrets have survived down the centuries and are in the hands of those who threaten all those dear to him.

From international bestselling author Seb Kirby, Forgive No More continues the intriguing story of crime, corruption and conspiracy begun in Take No More and Regret No More. It is a must-read for fans of Harlan Coben, Daniel Silva and all who enjoy a thought provoking and exciting thriller.

Exclusively on Amazon.

About the author

Seb KirbySeb 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’s been an avid reader ever since.

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

Visit his

And follow him on Twitter @Seb_Kirby

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June iPad Mini Giveaway + $$$ + Books !

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June Giveaway Badge

Win an iPad Mini, one of four $25 Amazon gift cards, or one of 20 free e-books by any BestsellingReads member.
That’s right, this month there will be 25 winners!
We’ve got reading covered at BestsellingReads, and who loves avid readers more than we do?
Nobody!
Enter today and win an e-book of your choice.
Happy reading!

ENTER NOW !

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Win an iPad Mini

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June Giveaway Badge

 

Win an iPad Mini, one of four $25 Amazon gift cards, or one of 20 free e-books by any BestsellingReads member.
That’s right, this month there will be 25 winners!
We’ve got reading covered at BestsellingReads, and who loves avid readers more than we do?
Nobody!
Enter today, and win an e-book of your choice.
Happy reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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