Wednesday, November 30, 2016

PUYB Virtual Book Club Presents How To Eat Your ABC'S Book Blast!



We're happy to host Theresa A. McKeown's HOW TO EAT YOUR ABC'S Book Blast today! Please leave a comment to let her know you stopped by!


Title: HOW TO EAT YOUR ABC’S
Author: Theresa A. McKeown
Publisher: The ABC’s of Everything, LLC
Pages: 30
Genre: Children’s Picture Book

How to Eat your ABC’s” is a cleverly written and illustrated book, which encourages children to get excited about healthy eating, while also developing a genuine love for reading.  Each letter of the alphabet is represented by a fresh fruit or vegetable and is narrated by BuzzBee, (a friendly honeybee who adores children). Written entirely in rhyme with a melodic tone, it is meant to be read aloud.  Not only will it inspire kids to fall in love with fresh healthy food, but it will also build their vocabulary and phonemic awareness.  “How to Eat Your ABC’s” will instill a healthy, happy, conscious way of looking at life from a young age.

We invite children and parents alike to follow BuzzBee and his friends as they show everyone how to eat their way through the alphabet.

Amazon


Book Excerpt:



About the Author


Theresa McKeown spent over two decades in the entertainment arena before embracing her true passion of writing children’s books. After producing hundreds of hours of television for a host of cable and network outlets, Theresa is now on the path of what she considers her highest calling.
Theresa and her sisters have created “The ABC’s of Everything, LLC”, a family endeavor solely focused on publishing several series of children’s books, digital content, and educational curriculums.  All will be written and produced with an awareness of the true possibilities that children of the 21st century can realize.  

 As an author, Theresa is dedicated to estimating rather than underestimating the wisdom of children. Her philosophy is that kids are fully adept at understanding nuance and meaning and it’s not necessary to talk down to them.  She is dedicated to creating a new paradigm in the children's book world by introducing work that fully embraces the insightfulness, perception and unlimited intellectual potential of today’s youth.

Her books are meant to plant the seeds of education and awareness early in a child’s development, knowing full well that children will ultimately blossom into the best versions of who they are meant to be.

In her role as producer, Theresa traveled worldwide, filming from locations as diverse as the White House, NORAD, the Pentagon, FBI headquarters, maximum-security prisons and from the top of the World Trade Center.  Along the way she "tail-hooked" onto an aircraft carrier in the Pacific, yachted through South America with jet setters and chased bad guys with the LAPD in a helicopter.

Yet, with a background like this, building a community to celebrate children promises to be the most exciting adventure of all

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

 

Friday, November 25, 2016

A Darker Shore by Malia Zaidi



Title: A Darker Shore
Author: Malia Zaidi
Publisher: Bookbaby
Pages: 400
Genre: Historical Mystery

1926: A year has passed since the events of "A Poisonous Journey" and Lady Evelyn has made a home for herself in Greece, living with her cousin, Briony, her husband, Jeffrey and Daniel Harper. Disturbing this island idyll is a letter, which arrives from France with troubling information about the Daniel’s long-believed-dead brother, Henry. A new journey awaits! With the shadows of the Great War reaching out, Lady Evelyn and Daniel voyage to Amiens in Northern France with the aim of discovering the truth behind the ominous letter. Upon their arrival, they are met not with clarity but rather with crime. Murder, to be precise. Is it linked to their presence in France, or even worse, to Henry himself?  Evelyn and Daniel must confront their history as they try to make sense of the present before the killer can strike again, and the secrets of the past are lost forever.

PURCHASE AT:

Amazon


Book Excerpt:
Prologue
Near Pozières, France 1917

            We came here to die.
            My heart beats the rhythm of the shell blast. Boom. Boom. Boom. Ready to burst, ready to break. Boom. Boom. Boom.
            "Get down!"
            An explosion of earth, light, and fire twenty feet beyond our trench.
            "Close one that?" McCragh bellows into my ear.
            I only manage a nod. Too many sounds echoing through my body, the steady pulsing of my heart, the tinny ringing in my ears. But silence can be just as bad I have learned. Silence can be death. My discovery weighs heavy on my mind. What will I do? Do I have a choice?
            "What are the orders?" asks a young man, whose name I cannot remember, standing at my other side, leaning heavily against the dirt wall of our trench, his feet squelching thickly in the mud underfoot.
            "Awaiting orders," says McCragh with a sneer. "Won't do us much good, waiting 'ere much longer, better get out, better to be moving."
            The nameless young man shies away from us, from the bitter words of the burly Scot
            Before I can respond, another man, the Runner, comes catapulting into the ditch. I help him right himself. His face is smeared with dirt and dust, but this mask cannot conceal his tender age. I shudder. We will all die here today.
            "Orders are to stay. Enemy" he gasps for air, "enemy is showing signs of retreat."
            "Retreat?" McCragh frowns. "Bleedin' cowards!"
            "Are you certain?" I ask, feeling the quiver in my voice.
            "Yessir, orders from above. Told us to wait it out."
            "Right, well done, son," I say, though the boy could be my brother. "Go on, then. Best make the rounds." I try to sound calm, reassuring, to keep my voice steady, while I know I fail and only hope my fear is disguised by the screams and blasts from above.
            "Yessir." He takes a breath and sets off at a brisk trot, as fast as the bodies crowded into this tight space will allow.
            "Another day to live in hell, then. Lovely." Lewis, a Cornish fellow with a missing left ear comments wryly as he materializes at our side.
            "Sounds about right." McCragh rolls his eyes, but makes an involuntary sign of the cross nonetheless.
            "Four months they told us," Rawlins, another man with a raspy voice adds, sticking a cigarette between his thin, flaking lips. "'Four months, lads, serve King and Country', eh? Bleedin' liars."
            "Watch what you're saying, or I'll 'ave you for treason!" McCragh winks and rubs his beard.
           
Time passes slowly. The sky goes from gray to purple to black tinged orange, and still the thrumming of the guns, the intermittent blasts, grow only slightly fainter, move only slightly farther away. We crouch together in the black, damp, misery of our trench, our only light is the flicker of orange at the end of a cigarette.
            "What will you do when this is all over?" comes the whispered voice of a young nameless soldier, who has drifted to my side.
            "If I'm not—" I start.
            "If yer not dead," chimes in McCragh. "If we get out of this pile o' shite in one bit, you mean, laddie?"
"Stop pissing about, McCragh," Rawlins says sharply. It is an unspoken rule not to mention the very real likelihood of us never seeing the end of this war.
            "Oh, right," comes McCragh's chastised reply. "I fer one will be gettin' back me ol' missus. Seein' the kids."
            "How many have you got, then?" Lewis asks, keen for any distraction from the agony of numb legs, and the even worse terror raging above us.
            "Two. Two little girls. Bessie and Mary. And I thank the Lord fer that. I'll never be sendin' them off to be blown to bits. I won't let them out of my sight again. Future husbands beware."
            We chuckle, though I do not doubt the sincerity of his statement. Future husbands beware indeed!
            "And you? How about you, son?" Lewis asks.
            "Just go home," I say. "See my mother, father. See my brothers."
            "How many?"
            "Two. One" I swallow, a sudden tightness in my throat, "one is here, somewhere . . ." I let the word float into the night, knowing the others understand. Silence descends upon our group, and soon I hear the faint sound of snoring. Can it be? Is one of them actually sleeping while the sky is falling down on us?

After some moments, I sense a sudden motion to my right. I turn my head, though I cannot see my hand before my eyes.
            "Hello?" I whisper, but before I can hear an answer, a sharp stab of pain swells in my chest. I gasp, my hand flying up, meeting . . . meeting wetness. Wetness? Sticky . . .
            I can't breathe; I grapple around, touching the soft, earthen wall, the rough fabric of a uniform.
            "I-I . . ." I swallow hard, pain explodes inside me, louder, more forceful than the shells above. My mouth feels dry, I try retching, but nothing comes. I am on the ground. "Help." I croak.
            I feel a hand on my shoulder. Hear voices, raised in concern. All I see is blackness and stars.
            We came here to die.

Unawqi, Hunter of the Sun by Kali Kucera


Title: Unawqi, Hunter of the Sun
Author: Kali Kucera
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 218
Genre: Mythical Realism

In a time when supernatural and industrial worlds are staged to collide, an Andean boy finds himself in the center of an epic struggle between the cosmos and the earth. Unawqi is born with both insurmountable power and a fate of certain death, both of which are challenged by his hunt of the emperor, Aakti, the Sun: the very force that desires to abandon the earth unless Unawqi can overcome him.
Premise: How easily we take the Sun for granted. We are conditioned to its rising and setting on time, and assume it enjoys doing so, or more likely is indifferent. Unawqi, Hunter of the Sun reveals a more perilous tale: the Sun, Aakti, is a being who is a reluctant player in providing light and warmth to our world, and even more has always desired to leave us to die if he didn’t have certain personal complications standing in his way. Aakti will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if that involves murder of his own kin or annihilation of an entire living planet. Ironically, what holds him back is the very life he is creating; the family from which he tries to but cannot wrest control, and among them a young intrepid boy emerges, a hunter who sets out on a journey, not to stop the Sun, but to overcome him with a force we also take for granted: our humanity.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Book Excerpt:
THANKSGIVIng


Beware the empty chair. 
It was the only one unclaimed in the room of hungry diners in the basement of St. Rita’s church in Tacoma.  The legs were slightly turned out, as if an invisible waiter had pulled it back to let me slide in. 
Guilt had gotten the best of me to be there in the first place.  It was Thanksgiving morning, and a day earlier, my neighbors, who were never ones to shirk a promise, came to me with panic on their faces.  Their son’s house had burned down, they said, and they needed to leave immediately. 
I gave them my sympathies, but something else was bothering them still.  They had obligated themselves to help prepare free breakfast at St. Rita’s in the morning, an annual tradition for the city’s homeless.  I tried not to wince at the pious sound of it all, but I could sense what they were leading up to and I remembered the many times they'd watered my garden when I was out of town.  I knew my morning would be free before needing to drive to my aunt’s house for our family dinner, so, of course, I told my neighbors I would be glad to fill in for them and they should think no more of it.
Never having even been to St. Rita’s, I was loathe to socialize and threw myself into the work, but after a couple hours of scrambling eggs, I was impressed by my neighbor’s commitment to do this year after year.  My feet felt like two ends of a barbell, and I was just about ready to grab a plate myself and take a break.
If I had not been so tired, my finicky nature would have guided me to pass up the solitary chair and look for a less conspicuous corner of the room where perhaps there were fewer people.  The less forgiving angel on my shoulder bit me with the words: “You hypocritical, insincere, lazy ass.” It was right.  The people were streaming in through the door. Most had no home, no job, and no money.  Their bodies told their stories of broken dreams, crippling work, and damaged minds.  And here I was, fancying an emperor’s throne somewhere, so I could separate myself off to swallow my grits and baked apples?   
The lonely chair in front of me could have been reserved for someone else, so I asked the person sitting on the opposite side of the table if it was taken.  He said no, gestured for me to claim it, and I sat down with my plate and coffee without giving it another thought. 
It wasn’t until I looked back up that I noticed something about him seemed out of place.  I glanced at him across the table as he salted his eggs, observing how his right hand moved gracefully to the shaker.  He had none of the typical displays of mental edginess.  He was not disheveled, or weary on the brow.  His hair was combed, and he wore a leather jacket that didn’t bear a single tear.  His eyes were calm, like having emerged from a prayer, and he was happily occupied with his own thoughts. 
But his left hand remained fixed in place on the table, appearing to be hiding something underneath his palm. 
I must admit, it was also plain to me how strikingly handsome he was.  His jet black hair, and his face with the sheen of a brown eggshell suggested he was Latino, and I wondered what had brought him here, far from where he might have been born.
Normally, it’s prudent in these settings not to ask.  People are scarred enough by their circumstances and they don’t want to be interviewed as the price for their meal.  I wanted to protect his privacy and let him eat in peace, and in my own defense, didn’t want to unleash an emotional outbreak.  But still, his appearance challenged me, and his seeming self-confidence broke through my etiquette, and I asked him that inadvisable question anyway:  “So, what’s your story?”
His face sprung up like a soldier’s salute and he gave me a smile, wide with contentment.
“I am Unawqi.  I am hunting the Sun.”
It was such a terse thing to say, and he was so oddly composed in saying it, that I could only smile and nod back, disguising my disappointment, sure he was just as crazy as the rest, albeit happily crazy. 
I thought some more about the strangeness of his name, sounding out the phonemes in my mind.  Was it Finnish or Japanese?  Apache, perhaps?  A second later I thought again that maybe he was making a clever joke in order to break the ice.  After all, Tacoma has plenty of days of being overcast with gloomy clouds refusing to budge, and talking about the weather is indeed how we all usually start a conversation.  So I returned to him again and said, “Yes, the Sun has a lot of good hiding places in November.”
Unawqi dropped his fork on his plate and his eyes bore into me as if I had just given him the key to paradise.
“So you have seen him?” Unawqi beamed.
Regretting, now, that I had not taken the warning sign of the empty chair, I searched my mind for an excuse to get up and return to the kitchen.  But before I could finish my breakfast, Unawqi had lined out enough of his story that I found myself not only glued to my seat, but devoid of any fatigue or hunger but for the feast of his very next word.
I fell in love with Unawqi instantly, as I imagined everyone did.  In the first thirty minutes he made me laugh more than I had over the course of a year.  It puzzled me how such an energetically positive young man could end up in a basement of broken heartedness, but this only compelled me to listen all the more.
I wouldn’t be telling you this story if Unawqi was, in fact, merely making a joke about the weather.  His opening line was literally and plainly what he'd meant: he was a hunter, the Sun was his prey, and his extraordinary pursuit, which had begun ages ago, had finally brought him here, to Tacoma, of all places.  And it was here, in Tacoma, that he was just as zealous as he had always been to see his hunt come to an end.
Naturally, I had to ask why would one hunt the Sun, and this was when his story grew more complicated, his face showing pain, at many points, as he struggled to justify the emotional struggle of his journey. 
He set his plate aside, for the heaviness in his heart overtook any appetite he had left, and he reached out and took my hand, asking me to listen.
“Think back, if you will, to the first time your father took you for a walk in the night.  The darkness, how it horrified you.  It swallowed you whole, and the only link you had to the light was the touch of your father’s fingers in your palm.  So small and tenuous a wall, you remembered, separating your life from your death. 
"For a brief second he let go of your hand, to, instead, put it on your shoulder, and in that moment you felt what it was like to be forsaken.  You cried out in terror, and even when his hand returned, you realized it could leave again, throwing you into the vastness of space to be on your own.
"Still, he urged you to continue, to go further, deeper into space, farther away from home.  So you trusted him again, and you walked together until you shivered from the cold. 
"But for some reason still a mystery, imagine that he truly chose to let his hand go, and his voice to go silent.  You would pray it wasn't true, that he must soon return, and yet he would not.  No matter how many times you called, he would not answer.  He just left.
"This time you would be all alone, a boy, abandoned to face the boundless night, led to the loveless abyss, rejected by your own genesis, without a compass or line to find your way  back.
"No greater a cruelty can be imagined than this.  But this is just between one father and his son.  How much greater is the cruelty when the father casts a million sons, indeed, the whole world, to the abyss?
"That is the crime.  That is why I'm here. 
"But there is more, for now the father is no less the boy, and the boy no less his father.
"We are all in danger of casting each other out.”
Unawqi told me he was not hunting for sport or pleasure.  He was a bounty hunter of sorts, and the Sun had committed a crime against humanity, a preconceived crime that had not yet come to pass, but still could, if the right conditions were met.  It was a crime that Unawqi said he himself needed to overcome. Indeed, that we all must do the same, at some point or another.
My mind came around again to his left hand, which still had not moved. 
“And what is this you’re keeping?” I asked.
“Oh, this,’’ he answered with a little chagrin and lifting his palm.  “This is a gift.  A little silk worm I hope will bring me good fortune and make things right.”
The tiny insect was crawling around in a nest of straw, making spindles of silk that played with the overhead light.  This smallest of living things, manufacturing the miraculous in the middle of such a somber place, enchanted me to no end. 
Unawqi, of course, wanted to protect it, which is why he kept it covered so securely.  His hand was its shelter, its mighty fortress, and he would be certain to never abandon this creation for as long as he lived.
His story would not have come from Finland or Japan or the mesas of Arizona.  His beginning belonged to a patch of green, high in the Andes, where farmers herded goats, and unearthed potatoes, when they were not dancing to the sounds of their magical flutes.  It was a peaceful place, and he longed to return home, as soon as he was able, but only if he could bring the whole world home with him.

Friday, November 18, 2016

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with Ken McGorry, author of 'Ghost Hampton'



Ken McGorry has been writing since third grade. (He learned in first grade, but waited two years.) He started a school newspaper with friends in seventh grade, but he’s better known for his 23 years as an editor of Post Magazine, a monthly covering television and film production. This century, he took up novel-writing and Ghost Hampton and Smashed are examples. More are in the works, like the promised Ghost Hampton sequel, but he’s kinda slow.

Ken lives on Long Island with his wife and they have two strapping sons. There are dogs. Ken is also a chef (grilled cheese, and only for his sons) and he enjoys boating (if it’s someone else’s boat). He has a band, The Achievements, that plays his songs (try https://soundcloud.com/ken-mcgorry). Back at Manhattan College (English major!), he was a founding member of the venerable Meade Bros. Band. Ken really was an employee of Dan’s Papers in the Hamptons one college summer, and really did mow Dan’s lawn.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS


About the Book:

Lyle Hall is a new man since his car accident and spinal injury. The notoriously insensitive Bridgehampton lawyer is now afflicted with an odd sensitivity to other people's pain. Especially that of a mysterious young girl he encounters outside a long-abandoned Victorian house late one October
night. “Jewel” looks about 12. But Lyle knows she’s been dead a hundred years. Jewel wants his help, but it’s unclear how. As if in return, she shows him an appalling vision—his own daughter's tombstone. If it’s to be believed, Georgie’s last day is four days away. Despite Lyle’s strained relations with his police detective daughter, he’s shocked out of complacent convalescence and back into action in the real world.

But the world now seems surreal to the formerly Scrooge-like real estate lawyer. Lyle’s motion in court enjoining the Town of Southampton from demolishing the old house goes viral because he leaked that it might be haunted. This unleashes a horde of ghost-loving demonstrators and triggers a national media frenzy. Through it all strides Lyle’s new nemesis in high heels: a beautiful, scheming TV reporter known as Silk.

Georgie Hall’s own troubles mount as a campaign of stationhouse pranks takes a disturbing sexual turn. Her very first case is underway and her main suspect is a wannabe drug lord. Meanwhile, Lyle must choose: Repair his relationship with Georgie or succumb to the devious Silk and her exclusive media contract. He tells himself seeing Georgie’s epitaph was just a hallucination. But a few miles away the would-be drug lord is loading his assault rifle. Berto needs to prove himself.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?

My wife and I have a little summer place in Westhampton Beach, but my experiences working over college summers (at menial jobs) in various Hamptons locations gave me an indelible feel for the area. Regarding factual background, I had many conversations with a police detective friend and a Westhampton FD first responder about how various dangerous scenarios would play out (as well as workplace harassment). 

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

Both! Convinced that “Ghost Hampton” is a mass-market novel, I spent over a year trying to persuade traditional publishing people and literary agents that the book’s premise and its central character (a greedy lawyer in a wheelchair with women problems) were right for the reading audience in the age of “The Sopranos” and “Breaking Bad.” They weren’t hearing it. So I went on to self-publish and crossed my fingers. The miracle was that readers, especially women, gave my hero a chance, and so many got back to me with appreciation that I found overwhelming.

If self-published, did you hire someone to format the ebook version for you or did you do it yourself?  Can you tell us what that was like?

Both. The ebook and the print version were formatted professionally. And a professional designer, Phil at Price Digital, created the cover. He went on to help with internal formatting too. Then we started to find oddball typos in the finished, printed product. (“Breaks” instead of “brakes,” that sort of thing.) That could not stand, so I stopped production and launched into my own correction process – to do that, I had to scrap the internal page formatting and work in Word. I worked very long hours for a week or so to return the book – as a “revised edition” – to print. 

If self-published, how did you determine the price?

There’s a formula for a 6x9” trade paperback. A full-length book, say 300pp, would go typically for $15.99. Since “Ghost Hampton” is way more than that at 450pp, I took a guess and bumped it up to $16.99. Also, I understood I’d need a price level from which to drop down for special sales and promotions.

If published by a publisher, are you happy with the price they chose?

Well, there was one indie publisher I worked with who, after months of knowing my word count and page length, came up with a cover price of $29, almost 100 percent more than the norm, at the last minute. A highly respected traditional publisher I know agreed that having a price like that printed on my book was career suicide, so I actually fired that publisher and withdrew my book.

Did you purposefully choose a distinct month to release your book?  Why?

Yes, I wanted a “beach read” approach, starting in April, and also wanted to promote “Ghost Hampton” subsequently during the “spooky season.”

How did you choose your cover?

I worked with four publishing/design professionals! If you count me, who oversaw countless magazine covers for decades, I make five. The cover became very important to “Ghost Hampton’s” acceptance since most people didn’t know me (as a novelist), or my novel, from Adam. It was established early on that my initial “scary” Victorian house cover smacked of “Goosebumps.” One publishing pro urged that the cover image should “take you somewhere” you really wanted to go. We scoured reams of stock photography before finding one we loved, a photo by Andrea Hill.

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?

Both. I’d write and revise a chapter a day. Then, when I was proudly finished with the first draft, I hired an editorial company and they told me what was really wrong with it! The revising/rewriting process took several months.

Did you come up with special swag for your book and how are you using it to help get the word out about your book?  

Yes! First thought was to print a beach bag to hold the beach read. I’m not made of money, but got a good deal at CustomInk on bags with my book title on the pocket. I added a little “.com” under the title so the curious would know where to go. These swag items were handed out at charity fundraisers (for free). In addition, I had my teenage son and his friends hand out the book on the streets of Southampton in a free promo effort. To get them to look like a “team,” I had tasteful beige baseball caps printed with the same “Ghost Hampton” logo. Pictures of the caps made it onto Facebook and people started trying to order them! (The caps were expensive, and there was no way I could charge readers $30 for a cap so I could just break even!) I also had color post cards made with additional “Ghost Hampton” info as a take-away on occasions when I’d run out of books.

Did you consider making or hiring someone to make a book trailer for your book?  If so, what’s the link?

Yes! Visit www.ghosthampton.com and there’s the 2.5-minute video! Phil, the man who created the book cover, is also a video professional and a web guru. We are very happy with our actor friend, Beau Allen, and his portrayal of Lyle Hall.

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

I can’t tell yet for sure how well that works but, of all the copies that are out there, about 50 percent were promotional giveaways. I was committed to getting the book into people’s hands, especially over the summer.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?

Take a step back and try to see what your book would or should mean to a stranger.

Have a plan to promote your book.

Work out. Promo work is exhausting, and you use a different part of your brain.

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out?

Oh, the website, a Facebook page, and my own personal FB page became a “Ghost Hampton” page by osmosis. We also had the video trailer ready before the book itself was ready. As an indie, I arranged to go with a traditional publicist, Smith Publicity, for straight (hoped for) coverage by mostly East Coast press. I signed up my book with Kirkus Reviews which reviews indie books for a reasonable fee. I’m on Twitter and Instagram. I also worked with a West Coast publicist, Jay Hopkins, who set me up with many fine radio and internet radio interviewers.

Do you have a long term plan with your book?

Well, there’s supposed to be a movie! (When? We shall see…) There are two sequels in the planning stages. There’s my earlier book, too. The plan was, if “Ghost Hampton” took off, a rising tide would float all boats.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

Thank you, everyone, for giving “Ghost Hampton” and Lyle Hall a chance! Even though it’s not written by somebody you already know! This has been the experience of a lifetime, and I waited till now to do the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted in my career! I want everyone to know that I firmly believe books are really about readers—I’m just the messenger.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

PUYB Virtual Book Club Welcomes H. Peter Alesso's Captain Hawkins Book Blast



Join us for H. Peter Alesso's CAPTAIN HAWKINS Book Blast today! Please leave a comment to let him know you stopped by!


Title: Captain Hawkins
Author: H. Peter Alesso
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 207
Genre: Science Fiction

Jamie Hawkins was living on an obscure planet in the twenty third-century when on one fateful night—his life changed forever. His heroic effort to save the lives of innocent women and children, caught in the cross-fire of war, placed him squarely in the crosshairs of avenging soldiers.

A former marine, Hawkins was stunned when his rescue effort was seen as treachery. Unfairly convicted of treason by a corrupt judge, he was sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor on an infamous penal colony.
 
Once in prison, his courage and perseverance won him the admiration and trust of his fellow convicts. While he was plotting his escape, an enemy attacked the planet--giving this daring warrior his chance. Together with his fellow prisoners, he launched a bold assault and high-jacked an enemy warship.

From then on, the rebel ship Indefatigable, engaged in multiple ship-to-ship and fleet actions until the exploits of Captain Jamie Hawkins became legendary.

PURCHASE:

Amazon


Book Excerpt:

The black of night had fallen, but Jamie Hawkins couldn’t sleep. Though the surgeons had patched up his many wounds, the remorseless pain persisted, even now, months after his medical discharge from the Marines.

BAM! BAM! BAM!

Despite his desire to ignore the unwelcomed thundering blows, he answered the door to his country home and found his neighbor, tall scrawny seventeen year old Joshua Morgan, gasping for breath.

“Captain Hawkins, come quick! Come quick, or they’ll all be killed!”

“Who? What are you talking about, Joshua?”

“I’ve just come from the city—it’s a war zone. People are dying,” Joshua’s voice broke. “The hospital is taking care of the wounded and sheltering women and children, but its force shield is buckling.” He finished in a breathless rush, “It’s only a matter of minutes before it fails.”

A troubled frown creased Hawkins’s face. Their mothers had been friends and he had known Joshua since he was born.

Has the boy been drawn into the turmoil? He wondered.

Hawkins had listened to the broadcasts throughout the day, absurd in every detail; demonstrators declared that they were only protesting injustice, while the government insisted the violence was a last resort against rebels.

Which is the greater lie?

I told one of the doctors, I knew someone who could help. My flyer’s right outside, sir. You must come,” begged Joshua, his expressive eyes pleading.

A more kindhearted man, who possessed his insight, might have agonized over what was happening in the capital city, but though Hawkins was not unsympathetic, past adversity had left him more hardboiled and cynical than most.

“That’s not my concern anymore,” he said.

Joshua’s desperate voice squealed, “You’re a veteran. You could make a difference, sir.”

Hawkins put his hand on his hips, threw his head back, and barked, “Ha!”

Then, giving vent to a deep inner passion, he demanded, “What difference can one man make?”

As a Marine, Hawkins had been a hot-blooded warrior, always quick to action, so at this moment of great upheaval, while frenzied violence was playing out in the capital, he surprised himself with his reluctance to act. As he ran his hand over the long jagged scar that marred his chest, one thing was certain, the foolish mutinous passions of the people could only lead to ruin.

But the look that spread across the boy’s face was indescribable—it was as if he had just lost his hero.

“Alright, if you won’t come, at least tell me how to maintain the shield,” said Joshua, showing a daring and persistence beyond his years. “I’ll go back alone, but you must tell me what to do.”

“You have no idea what you’d be getting yourself into. All hell has broken loose. Can’t you see, you can’t contribute anything worthwhile, and most likely something terrible will happen?

“I must go back, my mother is a volunteer at the hospital,” said Joshua. Throwing back his shoulders with a determined jerk of his chin, he challenged Hawkins’s jaded gaze, pleading, “Please. Tell me how to fix the shield.”

Hawkins opened his mouth, but the words froze on his lips. The boy’s courage was a splash of cold water in his face, stinging his sense of honor. It wasn’t in his nature to send this boy to certain deathfor Joshua could never accomplish what had to be donenor it was in his makeup to let innocents be condemned to death with the hospital’s destruction.

A gritty resolve washed over Hawkins. He said, “Let’s go.”

***

Wearing a brown pilot jacket, tanned rawhide trousers with knee-high leather boots, calfskin gloves, and goggles, Hawkins skillfully maneuvered the single seat flyer at breakneck speed. Joshua desperately clung to him to stay on the back of the motorcycle-like vehicle--his arms wrapped tightly around Hawkins's waist.

What they saw was a madhouse--Newport was ablaze with savage fires that lit up the horizon--scores of them. Just hours before it had been a vibrant city, the capital of Jaxon, renowned for its culture and history, thriving with business and commerce, home to over a million inhabitants going about their ordinary daily lives, now it was a battlefield.

Though his home was a mere two dozen kilometers outside the city, it was impossible for him to fly directly there. There were several sharp mountain peaks in their way, one tremendous one, flanked by two smaller ones, causing Hawkins to race the engine of single-seat turbojet to gain altitude. The noise and vibration of the straining sputtering engine roared into the dark rainy night until they were able to ascend to three thousand meters.

When they reached the outskirts of the city, they descended to a hundred meters, but skyscrapers rose in their path causing them to fly directly over a paved highway that connected the planet's capital to the suburbs. It was swollen with traffic--pedestrians, motorcycles, trucks and cars--choking the road. There were people of every description; disheveled housewives and construction workers, unskilled laborers and local tradesmen, reeking hobos and sharply dressed businessmen, young and old, men and women alike, all seeking safety. Some carried cherished possessions while others brandished antiquated bullet guns, since the government had already confiscated most laser and plasma weapons. This crowded mass of human unhappiness snaked its way along its ill-chosen path intent on escaping the terrifying violence.

Is Joshua's mom in that mob? Hawkins wondered.

Those remaining in the city suffered under a shower of high explosive aerial bombs intermixed with artillery shells. With sirens wailing, Hawkins saw bombers overhead dropping death from the skies and heard the repeated firing of artillery in the distance. He couldn't tell who was doing the shooting.

After his initial reluctance to come, he agonized over whether he would arrive in time. A nearly impenetrable wall of smoke, flame, debris, and explosions added extra heart wrenching minutes to the journey.

Every two minutes a new wave of jets would be overhead and a new barrage of artillery shells would join in. The roaring fires pulsed, like the blind fury of an agitated buzzing beehive. Little fires grew into big ones, right before his eyes. Big ones died down under the valor of firemen, only to break out again a few moments later.

Hawkins saw the panic in the street. The city's civil-defense included shelters that were now overflowing with refugees. Many had left their homes and defied the flames to run to the bomb shelters distributed throughout the city, only to find there was no room for them. In addition to the death and injury, everywhere there was evidence of psychological trauma--children sat in rubble--their dead parent's bodies nearby. It was impossible to gauge how much more the citizens could take. Panic and raw nerves grew tighter with each passing minute. The people prayed for a respite--but there was little hope for mercy on this night.

Hawkins heard the crackling of the closest flames and the screams of victims and firemen, alike. Smoke blurred his vision and seared his lungs. Nevertheless, he kept going with Joshua clinging to his waist.

"Arf! Arf!" choked Joshua.

"Here cover your mouth with this handkerchief," yelled Hawkins over the uproar around them.

EEEEEEERRRR!!!

The sirens wailed.

Hawkins cursed.

"Oh, no," said Joshua. "Are we too late?"

"We're almost there," said Hawkins.

They heard detonations high in the air. The sky was alive with a deadly dance of destruction.

BOOM!

Then another--

BOOM!

Farther down the street, Hawkins could see soldiers breaking through the defensive ring of some diehard demonstrators, sending them fleeing in every direction. He couldn't quite make out what the people were yelling, but he could see one oversized banner fall to the ground.

It read, "Beware the Wrath to Come!"





About the Author


As a scientist and author specializing in technology innovation, H. Peter Alesso has over twenty years research experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). As Engineering Group Leader at LLNL he led a team of scientists and engineers in innovative applications across a wide range of supercomputers, workstations, and networks. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. and served in the U.S. Navy on nuclear submarines before completing an M.S. and an advanced Engineering Degree at M.I.T. He has published several software titles and numerous scientific journal and conference articles, and he is the author/co-author of ten books.

WEBSITE | GOODREADS

Monday, November 14, 2016

Book Feature: A Vampire's Hunger by Carla Susan Smith

 

Inside the Book:


Title: A Vampire's Hunger
Author: Carla Susan Smith
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format: Ebook/Paperback

A PROMISE BROKEN  

Rowan Harper sacrificed her blood and her soul to keep her friend, Aleksei, alive—and in the process, broke a bond of sacred trust with her lover, Gabriel.But her act of heroism wasn’t enough to stop the evil bent on tearing the world asunder.

Newly turned vampires are slaughtering innocents, and those lurking in the darkness are threatening the people Rowan loves.She may be Gabriel’s Promise, but it’s looking more and more like Rowan will belong to the demon of the Dark Realm instead. Time is of the essence and with her soul already tainted, will Rowan be forced to break the ties she’s forged with Gabriel? Which of the two rivals will stand beside her as she faces the end of the world?...

Meet the Author:

carla-susan-smith
Born and raised in England, I now call South Carolina home where I  live with my wonderfully supportive husband, awesome son, and the most discerning canine critique group ever – if tails aren’t wagging then the story isn’t working! 

I owe my love of literature to my mother, who, after catching me  reading by flashlight beneath the bed covers, calmly replaced the romance book I’d ‘borrowed’ with one that was far less risqué, and much more appropriate for a pre-teen! She encouraged me to include a wide variety of genres in my reading tastes, but romance, and  paranormal romance in particular, has remained my first love. 

I never really thought about writing a romance novel until I read one that was so bad I can only assume it got published by mistake! Making such a comment to my BFF, Sharon, she challenged me to do better. The result was a 250-thousand word epic that I affectionately refer to as my ‘bodice-ripper’ romance – and yes, I still have it! 

When I’m not writing I can be found in my kitchen. I love baking, and my husband will actually admit his love of Christmas fruitcake. (Personally I think all that brandy in the fruit has something to do with it!) If not baking then I’m working on my latest tapestry project or  playing catch-up with my reading list where I always seem to be at least three books behind! 

It’s a crazy-good life, and I wouldn’t change it for anything, although I wouldn‘t object if I came up with the winning lottery numbers! Visit her at http://www.carlasmithauthor.com/index.html