Thursday teaser #excerpt: A Silent Prayer

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This week’s excerpt comes from the first volume of the Prayer Series.

By Samreen Ahsan

As I stare out over the city, a sound catches my attention. It’s music, but not the music from the restaurant. It’s magical-sounding. I try to determine where it’s coming from. I see a door and head toward it. It feels like it has not been opened for years; in fact, like no one has ever opened it at all. I struggle with the rusted knob and finally get it to turn and open the door. I am expecting another set of fire stairs, but instead there is a passage. There is nothing to the right or left and I follow the passage; or rather, I follow the magical music.

…The sound of the music is so warm and comforting that I realize I am not feeling cold anymore. I take a few more steps and what I see freezes me, just like the weather outside. There are no doors, no stairs in this piece of architecture. It’s nothing but a spiral passage leading down to ground level. I look down to the bottom and my heart comes into my throat. A girl is dancing to the music. From here on the sixth level I can’t see her face clearly, but the way she moves takes my breath away. I feel as if the dance and the music are casting a spell on me. The girl is lost in her dance, not caring about anyone watching her. I see the shadows of other people dancing with her, but since the light is on her, I am unable to see more than shadowy figures. For the first time in my life, I feel my soul is pulling me…toward her.

…I start walking down that spiral passage. The music becomes clearer and melts in my ears, in my body, in my soul. I have never heard of anything like this. How can mere humans create such a heartwarming composition?

Why can’t I take my eyes off her? This has never happened to me before. Or perhaps, I have never seen anyone like her.

…The violins behind me accelerate, and so does her body. She moves round and round with the music, unaware of my presence until all of a sudden, she crashes against me. I hold her by her waist tightly to give her support. The music stops, and so does her dance. Our eyes meet. Under the pink mask, her big eyes, darker than ebony, catch my attention. She looks at me as if she is looking directly through my soul. The madness in her eyes rips my existence and peels off my flesh and bone to search my soul. The darkness in them draws me to let her devour my presence, insanely and willingly.

…I want to touch her skin, but its softness and tenderness scares me in a way I have never experienced. Instead of touching her, I raise my hand to take the mask off of her beautiful face, wondering if it is as perfect underneath as it looks. She backs off and releases herself from my grip. The lights grow dimmer. The music fades. It is just me and her, staring at each other in consternation. I watch her stepping back, but cannot follow her; it’s as if my feet are frozen to the ground and I cannot move at all. I see her pick up her bag and look back at me, and then she leaves me in the darkness that she has cast on me with her one last look.

…I stand there numb, not sure for how long.

…I rush out of the spiral structure to catch my breath. Inside my body, my heart is skipping from one place to another. I feel like I have caught a really high fever. My body is trembling, and I can’t even stand properly on my own feet.

…I turn around to look back, and I’m flabbergasted. There is no spiral structure behind me. It twists my mind completely, wondering where I saw that beautiful girl, and where I came out from.

…I had never seen such an alluring woman in my entire life. A refinement that surpasses all levels of beauty and grace. An artistic existence so pure that even the angels would envy it. How could someone make your heart beat so fast, without even touching, without even kissing, without even making love? The urge to see her again is unexplainable.

About A Silent Prayer

A Silent Prayer is the Book One of A Prayer Series

Adam Gibson is a young and powerful Toronto millionaire. Despite his many blessings, he is an atheist, though he has an altruistic soul. He denies there is a God–until he meets a beautiful stranger in a place that does not exist for anyone but him.

Rania Ahmed strongly believes in God, but has lost hope she will ever find her soul mate. Endowed with hypnotic beauty and cursed by a brutal past, Rania has no idea she has cast a spell on Adam, who has never received more from a woman than physical pleasure. As Adam slowly discovers the true meaning of love from Rania, he begins to face his demons and reconsider his beliefs. He learns to love, forgive and repent. But as Adam grows closer to Rania, a series of strange, unexplained events threatens to drive them apart. To keep her from being destroyed by her past, he must persuade her to trust him with her deepest secrets.

In this spiritual romance, an atheist embarks on a path of enlightenment with a tormented soul who may just have the power to change everything he has ever believed to be true.

A Silent Prayer is the multiple award-winning title.

  • Winner  2014 Los Angeles Book Festival
  • Winner  2014 Paris Book Festival
  • Winner  2014 Hollywood Book Festival
  • Honorable Mention 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards
  • Honorable Mention  2014 New York Book Festival
  • “An intense, joltingly modern love story.” Kirkus
  • “This is a love story with a twist – perhaps one of the most unusual love stories I have ever read.”—Raheel Raza, freelance Journalist & documentary filmmaker
  • “I think A Silent Prayer by Samreen Ahsan is destined to become a classic in the romance genre.”—Readers’ Favorite
  • “A powerfully written modern day romance with a strong spiritual element. Highly recommended.”—The Wishing Shelf Awards
  • “Samreen Ahsan gives their love story a series of obstacles, but a love as powerful and inevitable as gravity pulls them together. Five stars!” — Scott Bury, Author of Army of Worn Soles
  • “Once I started reading this book it was very hard to put down.” — Books and Beyond Fifty Shades Blog
  • “Samreen Ahsan’s A Silent Prayer gets 5 stars hands down!” — Julies Book Review

About the author

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.

A Prayer Series” is my first Multi-Award-Winning Series about paranormal events, based on Islamic concepts.

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Bestselling writing goals for 2018: Raine Thomas

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For the beginning of 2018, BestSelling Reads members will reveal member authors’ writing plans for the year ahead—so you know the great reading you can get excited about.

The past three or four years have seen some significant changes in the indie publishing world. With the market becoming increasingly saturated with new authors every day, readers have more choices than ever. This is both exciting as a reader myself and frustrating as an author. With this in mind—as well as the fact that I work full-time—I’ve set what I hope are reasonable writing goals for 2018.

In the sense of the bigger picture, I plan to publish at least two new novels this year. I’m halfway done with Driving Tempo, the third book in my New Adult rocker romance series, House of Archer. Also on my radar is For the Win, a third New Adult baseball romance featuring some of my readers’ favorite characters from my books For Everly and Meant for Her. As long as I stay on target, I don’t foresee having any issues reaching this goal.

Another writing goal I hope to accomplish in 2018 is completing a short story to accompany the publication of my New Adult Sci-Fi romances, the Ascendant series, as a three-book set. I intend to chat with my PR company, Red Coat PR, about some ideas to help promote this release. I’m sure a book sale of some kind will be involved!

One final goal of mine relates to the marketing side of indie publishing. I intend to identify at least one new and innovative way to market my books and then pursue implementing it. There are so many resources on the internet that I have no excuses. It’s time to try and solve the mystery of the best way to reach new readers.

While none of these goals is particularly revolutionary, I’m hoping they help swing the sales pendulum on its upwards arc. The past couple years have seen a disheartening dip, but I can’t allow that to stop me from pursuing my passion and writing the stories in my soul. Here’s to a fun-filled, successful new year!

About the author

Raine-Thomas-Headshot-small-233x300Raine Thomas is the multiple award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine has 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.

Where to find her

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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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Thursday teaser: For Everly

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By Raine Thomas

Thirty minutes later, Everly finally arrived at the restaurant. Between traffic and the unfamiliar area of town, it took her longer than she expected to get there. She thought she had given herself extra time, but she was still five minutes late. When she pulled up, she found herself at a valet stand. Rolling down her window, she flagged the valet who eyed her car as though it had just broken down at his feet. He approached with notable reluctance.

Waving at the twenty-dollar valet fee posted on a nearby folding sign, she asked, “Is there self-parking?”

“No, ma’am,” he replied stiffly.

She swallowed and nodded, getting out of her car so he could park it. She only had twenty dollars in cash, and she had intended to pay for her lunch with it. She knew the bank account was low until she got paid again on Friday, but she’d have to risk debiting her meal. Why hadn’t she thought to set some parameters when Cole suggested the restaurant?

Her headache ballooned as she hurried through the front door of the restaurant and looked around without spotting Cole. Frowning, she approached the maître d.

“Miss Wallace?” he greeted her.

Surprised, she nodded.

“Welcome. Mr. Parker is waiting at your table. It would be my pleasure to escort you there. May I take your coat?”

Damn. She probably couldn’t even afford the free bread at this place.

Giving the maître d a wan smile, she shrugged out of her coat, putting her gloves in the pockets and wrapping her scarf around one of her purse straps. She was sure she was imagining it, but she swore the maître d held her Target-brand garment a few inches away from his body as he turned to hand it off to whoever guarded the coat room.

Shifting uncomfortably when he gave her a quick once-over and lingered disapprovingly on her jeans, she took a deep breath and followed him into the dining room. There wasn’t anything she could do about how she was dressed, was there?

Lord, what a hot mess this was.

As she spotted Cole across the dining room at a table with a beautiful view of the outside terrace, another thought occurred to her. How should she greet him? Should she shake his hand since this was a business meeting? Go in for the awkward hug since she was good friends with his brother?

Bow because he looked like a god in his simple black V-neck sweater and gray pants?

She caught his gaze when she was still about ten feet from the table. A variety of expressions crossed his features, so many that she couldn’t read them all. She definitely caught irritation, though, and was puzzled when he ended up smiling.

OhGodOhGodOhGod…

He stood up. The maître d deposited her with a slight bow, so she ruled out that form of greeting. Then it was just her and Cole.

“Hello, Everly,” he said, his voice as smooth as a buttered biscuit.

“Hi.”

Had that been her voice that came out all breathy? She prayed it hadn’t sounded as ridiculous as she thought.

She started to lift her right hand for a shake, then realized he was tilting in for the awkward hug. To avoid hitting him in the crotch, she adjusted her trajectory. He smoothly used his left hand to continue her forward motion so that her hand ended up encircling his neck.

Then before she knew what was happening, her lips were pressed against his.

About For Everly

Determined to overcome a dark and tragic past, college student Everly Wallace is only months away from earning her degree in physical therapy. She’s consumed with school, caring for her ailing grandfather, and figuring out how to pay the next bill. The last thing she wants is a relationship, but it just might be the one thing she needs.

Major League pitcher Cole Parker hasn’t fought for anything in his life. He went from a privileged upbringing to a multimillion dollar All-Star career. But when his pitching shoulder starts to give him trouble at only twenty-four years old, he faces the possibility of his injury becoming public knowledge and costing him everything.

In a desperate bid to save his career, Cole decides to hire someone to treat his injury, someone who will keep things off the record and out of the media. He finds the perfect solution in Everly. As mysterious as she is beautiful, she provides an enticing distraction from his pain. Soon, physical therapy is the last thing on his mind.

When an act of betrayal brings the truths they both fear to light, Cole will have to fight for the first time in his life…not just for his career, but for Everly’s love.

Where to get it

About the author

Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine has 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.

Find Raine on social media

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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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Thursday teaser: A Second Chance with Death

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A short story

By Eden Baylee

The notion that a person might make a pact with Satan is not unheard of. It’s done in exchange for things such as eternal youth, wealth, or power. And the price? Selling one’s soul, of course.

Is this scary? Not to me. Personally, I’d never bargain with the devil. I go after what I want in this life guided by my own moral compass, not by fear of where my soul will end up in the afterlife.

I’m a pragmatist and an optimist. I’m not afraid to die, nor am I all that concerned with how I die, with one exception, that is, and that’s what brings me to the topic at hand—my conversations with death.

I’ve envisioned my own funeral hundreds of times. My body lying in an open casket—friends and family strolling by to pay their final respects, talking to one another in hushed tones, with  comments that go something like this:

Everything was going her way. What a shame.

I know, what a horrible thing to happen to such a vibrant woman. She was so happy too, actually looks like she still has a smile on her face.

Yeah, but I’d hate to die like that.

Yup, and that’s what brings me to my story about my little chats with Death himself. Yes, Death to me, is male. And as men don’t scare me, death doesn’t scare me either, that is, apart from the exception I alluded to earlier.

I know I have to die sometime, and that with each day, I move closer and closer to my grave, and yet, I fight it. I keep going, I keep being, I keep staving off the inevitable for as long as I can. I know Death will overcome me eventually, but it’s not like I think about him all the time. I’m the optimistic pragmatist, remember?

So why is it then , why is it that when I steal some intimate time, some time to engage in a private act that is so naturally human, why then is Death constantly lurking in the shadows, watching me, snickering, anticipating his nasty turn with me?  If this sounds cryptic, I apologize, perhaps it’s better if I show you what I mean.

Follow me to my bedroom, and you’ll see that he’s already there waiting for me.

I masturbate on a regular basis, so you might say, I have personal chats with Death on a  regular basis too. Unlike what most people think, Death is not cold. He’s hot, very, very hot. I feel his presence in the room as I undress. He lies next to me on the bed, and his heat immediately spreads to my body.

I tell him I’m not afraid of him, and he scoffs. I touch myself in the way that I know turns him on. I feel his face nearby as I shamelessly fondle my breasts, squeezing my nipples till they jut out and practically poke him in the eye.

About “A Second Chance with Death”

This story is included in Eden Baylee’s collection, Hot Flash. 

Flash fiction is defined as short written pieces. Twenty stories and poems with an erotic bent make up this collection.

The themes of love, lust, adultery, and regret are told in different voices, sometimes with an irreverent sense of humor.

Some pieces will touch you, others will seep into your subconscious. Don’t be surprised if you flinch from the heat.

WARNING: Contains two non-erotic entries. Pun intended.

About author Eden Baylee

Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to write and is now a full-time author of multiple genres.

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! She loves talking to readers! Connect to her via all her networks.

her BestSelling Reads author page   |     Amazon Author page    |    website   |    Facebook   |   LinkedIn   |    goodreads

And follow her on Twitter @edenbaylee.

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Monday musings: When characters surprise the writers

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Photo by Helen Haden / Flickr. Creative Commons.

Writing is a surprising art form, often for the writers themselves. Often, characters seem to come up with their own dialog, or make decisions that the writer had not planned on.

For example, Mother Tiana, a character I created late in my first novel, surprised me toward the end of The Bones of the Earth by defying the main villain with a statement about people being under spells or enchantment: “Your mind cannot be dominated unless you consent to it.”

Huh.

Other BestSelling Reads authors have had similar experiences. Here is their virtual conversation.

How have the characters you created surprised you over the years?

Raine Thomas: Even though I create detailed character sketches before I write a book, my characters love to surprise me. My character Skye, in the Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy, for example, revealed that she could teleport in the midst of me writing her book, Foretold. That completely took me by surprise, and it took the book in a wonderful new direction!

Claude Bouchard: Of the various characters in my Vigilante Series, the one who has surprised me the most is Leslie Robb, who first appeared in book five, 6 Hours 42 Minutes. Leslie, a bright, attractive, redhead of the lesbian persuasion, was an accountant employed at a bank where a heist took place. As was the case with other bank employees, hers was supposed to be a passive role, limited to that particular story.

However, Leslie turned out to have much more drive than I originally believed and pushed to the forefront to become a central character.

DelSheree Gladden: I get to know my characters as I write their story, and I’ve had many times were what I originally planned simply did not work, because my beginning idea of who is character is turns out not to be who they are at all. When writing the Date Shark Series, in book one I had a side character that was flirty, arrogant, and bit of a player. As soon as I started the second book in the series, with Guy Saint-Laurent as the main character, my entire concept of him changed. When he meets Charlotte, the connection he feels with her brings up difficult memories, reasons behind his blasé attitude about relationships and self-centered viewpoints. Those surface qualities became just that, a façade rather than his true character. What I intended to be a light and funny story turned into a deeper exploration of the hurt and pain that shapes a person.

Raine Thomas: An example of something not going as planned pertains to the end of my book, Shift (Firstborn Trilogy #2). As I neared the book’s conclusion, I realized that I had to leave a big part of the storyline as a cliffhanger leading into book three. I actually hate cliffhanger endings and couldn’t believe the characters were leading me down that path, but that’s just what they did!

Over a series of books, has the personal growth of a character surprised you in any way?

Raine Thomas: I believe (and have been told by my readers) that my writing has developed over the course of the various series I’ve written. As I’ve grown more confident in my storytelling and gotten to know my audience, my writing has tightened up and developed right along with me. While this may not be surprising to other writers, it has been a surprising, positive outcome that even applies to my life outside of writing fiction.

Claude Bouchard: By the end of 6 Hours 42 Minutes, not only had Leslie firmly made her place, she had also guaranteed herself substantial spots in future works. Since, Leslie has been a solid member of the team in each of books six to thirteen. I never saw it coming.

DelSheree Gladden: Writing Guy’s character in Shark Out Of Water (the second book in the series) taught me how important it is not to force a character into a particular box. Their story will be so much better if they’re allowed to tell it themselves.

Have your characters taught you anything?

Raine Thomas: My characters have taught me that the stories are theirs, not mine. I like to plot my novels, but every time I have, the characters have taken the story in their own direction. They’ve also inspired me, as they’re all strong and remarkable in their own ways.

Scott Bury: Many writers refer to their books as their “babies,” but it seems that the characters are the children—we create them, but then they develop minds of their own and continue to surprise, exasperate and delight us.

Claude Bouchard is based in Montreal, Canada. Two of his Vigilante novels were included in the pair of blockbuster 9 Killer Thriller anthologies, the second of which made the USA Today Bestsellers list in March 2014.

Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling young adult and new adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine has signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen.

DelSheree Gladden lives in New Mexico. The Southwest is a big influence in her writing because of its culture, beauty, and mythology.

Scott Bury can’t stay in one genre—his books include historical fantasy, children’s stories, paranormal romance, thrillers, mysteries and memoir.

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Monday musings: Share your summer reading list

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Summer. Forest fires and wildfires on one side of the continent, floods on the other. World conferences on terrorism and climate change.

It’s no wonder that in summer, readers like to choose lighter fare. Romances, mysteries, thrillers. At the beach or on the dock, in the backyard hammock or on the cottage porch, we’re supposed to be reading books that don’t tax our minds and souls too much. We’re supposed to be on vacation, taking things easy, enjoying the weather and the outdoors.

But is that trope really true? Sure, I remember seeing lots of mysteries held up by people on lounge chairs by the ocean. Clive Cussler, Lee Child, the awful E.L. James, David Baldacci — thrillers and romances and books that do not ask you to think too deeply. But also, I have seen people reading more serious books, like The Girl on the Train or The Couple Next Door.

Various newspapers and blogs also recommend a wider range of books, from The American War by Omar El Akkad (if that one doesn’t make you think about our modern world, I don’t know what will). And of course, The Handmaid’s Tale is playing on TV right now.

How heavy are these books?

The thing about serious books is that many of them could be classified into a genre, which some readers and critics—and writers—describe as not as serious. Not “literary.” But many genre books have also turned out to be serious, to have an impact on the culture. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road can be seen as part of the post-apocalyptic science fiction genre, but it’s a deep, meaningful story about a father and son. Margaret Atwood has written several books, including The Handmaid’s Tale, that definitely fit into the science fiction category.

Independent authors are usually seen as definitely working within genres, and from a marketing point of view, that makes sense. The romance genre, for example, by far outsells, as a whole, every other category of fiction, including “serious” literary fiction. So do mystery and action thrillers.

Blurred lines

The thing is, the high walls between genres are also breaking down. Writers are mixing up mysteries and science-fiction, thrillers and fantasy, and let’s not forget the burgeoning paranormal romance genre.

I myself like to blur the lines between genres. I have been working intermittently on a novel that combines the spy thriller with occult horror, called Dark Clouds. I have published one chapter, the introduction, as a short story. You can find it as Dark Clouds: The Mandrake Ruse.

BestSelling Reads members, independent authors, are not only skilled within their genres, but challenge the genre definitions with books that break the rules, cross genres and keep you from putting their books down before you get to the last page. Eden Baylee’s A Snake in Paradise and Charade At Sea, for example, combine mystery with adult-oriented romance. Renée Pawlish’s Reed Ferguson series moves the noir mystery into the current century, with a heaping helping of humor. Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman have teamed up with the Scorch Road series, combining the post-apocalyptic and serious romance genres. Samreen Ahsan has created a brand new genre, paranormal romances based on Muslim themes, in her Prayer series.

And there’s more.A Silent Prayer cover

Each of these books does more than combine genres: they create something new, something exciting. A new kind of adventure for the reader.

What’s on your summer reading list?

Are you sticking with the easy reads, the reiterations of the same stories, or are you on the lookout for something new, fresh and original? Share what you want to read through the hot and quiet months, and we’ll send you a free e-book.

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Thursday teaser: Unsteady Rhythm

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House of Archer Book 2

By Raine Thomas

It took Lily a moment to register the number of people lining both sides of the walkway from the base of the booth’s stairs to the tunnel leading to the green rooms.

Metal barricades had been set up to keep the people back. A couple of the venue’s security team members stood in the walkway to ensure the more eager fans didn’t attempt to scale the barriers. Lily figured the crowd was waiting for the band.

But that couldn’t be right, she thought. This wasn’t the passage leading backstage.

“Lily!” they cried. “Lily, can I have your autograph?”

“Can I get a photo, Lily?”

She tried to mask her disbelief as the fans spotted her and started shouting, holding phones, Sharpies, and all manner of things over the barricades towards her. The noise escalated the longer she stood there next to Barney without moving. She forced herself to smile.

The walkway looked endless. Anxiety had her rubbing a hand over her stomach. She saw Spence filming her from the far end of the walkway, capturing everything for the show.

“I guess I’ll be signing a few autographs?” Lily said to Barney.

She hadn’t meant for it to come out as much like a question as it did. She handed her notebook and pen to Barney.

“That isn’t a good idea,” he said. “There isn’t enough security. The venue team didn’t plan for this.”

“Neither did I,” she replied. “Just a few, okay? I can’t have people posting that I was too stuck-up to sign a couple of autographs.”

His mouth thinned in disapproval before he nodded. He followed only a foot behind her as she did her best to make her smile look more genuine and approached the first fan.

The next fifteen minutes were a blur of signing, taking photos, and shaking hands. The crowd wasn’t shy about getting right in her face, eager for her attention. Her head pounded from the strain of incessant smiling and worrying that someone might try to stab her in the eye with their pen because they thought she was going to break up The Void. It was a relief to discover that everyone seemed genuinely supportive of her and thrilled to meet her. She wasn’t sure that made this any easier.

When they were about halfway down the path, Barney brought a hand to his earpiece and moved his head to talk into the mic at his cuff. Lily glanced at him as she signed another autograph. She secretly hoped his conversation was a reason to get her out of this. She didn’t know how the band did it night after night.

In the next instant, someone hauled her off her feet.

A man’s mouth pressed against hers.

Knowing it couldn’t be Dane, she tried to struggle. Her arms were pinned to her sides. A tongue ran along the seam of her tightly sealed lips, making her want to gag. It felt like the shocking assault lasted forever.

Then she was abruptly released. She fell hard. Her left ankle twisted under her at an awkward angle that sent pain shooting up her calf. Her teeth clacked together as she hit the ground.

About Unsteady Rhythm

A rock band. A reality show. A recipe for disaster.

Falling in love with your best friend is one thing. Falling in love with a rock star is entirely another. Put those two things together, add in airing your new relationship on reality TV, and you’ve got one volatile mix just waiting to explode.

Lily Montgomery’s life has veered in a direction she never expected. She’s struggling to find her balance after her romance with rock star Dane Archer propelled her into the latest headlines. Her dreams of a successful writing career are fading in the bright lights of unwanted fame. She needs to figure out how to help Dane and his band achieve their goals without losing sight of her own.

Easier said than done…

As The Void’s tour continues, Lily faces family drama, relationship trials, dangerously dedicated fans, and zealous paparazzi. Between that and figuring out how to spin the tabloid-worthy relationship developing between the band’s brooding bassist, Keith Connors, and her conservative roommate, Sydney Ward, Lily has more weight on her shoulders than she ever imagined.

But her choice has been made. For the sake of love and her own reputation, she will have to find her rhythm and rise to each challenge. If she doesn’t, she’ll lose everything…and the whole world will be watching.

Where to get it:

About the author

Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine has 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.

Where to find Raine: 

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