Music Monday and Eight Miles High with the Byrds

The Byrds’ last Top 20 hit was inspired by John Coltrane’s complex jazz pieces and Ravi Shankar’s sitar. ‘Eight Miles High’ came on the radio while I was driving last week.

The song was banned from U.S. radio after its release in 1966, following suspicion the lyrics were about drugs. At the time, the band denied these allegations, but in later years admitted it was at least partly inspired by their own drug use.

The backstory only made me fall in love with the sound all over again. ;)

Hope you enjoy too, and have a great week,

eden 

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Author @FaithMortimer releases A BRUTAL TRADE

a brutal trade launch party

Author Faith Mortimer is having a launch party for her new book, A Brutal Trade.

I’m happy to contribute a couple of FREE BOOKS to her party, as are many other authors, so please drop by Facebook for your chance to win!

You can learn more about A Brutal Trade below. Congratulations Faith, on your latest book!

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a brutal tradeBuy Links

Amazon Kindle | iTunes

Barnes and Noble Nook | Kobo

Even on a small island the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever…

It began like any normal day in Cyprus…except it wasn’t…the body of a woman brutally murdered and discovered in a shallow grave changes all that.

It is only days later when amateur sleuth, Diana Rivers and old flame, Chief Superintendent Adam Lovell discover a second female victim…only this time the discovery is even more chilling and shocks the island inhabitants.

Joining forces with local policeman, Sergeant Yiannis Loukiades, the three embark on a journey which takes them to the fringes of humanity. Disturbing secrets are unearthed. They are on the hunt for killers who will stop at nothing in their hunt for one vital woman.

As the bodies mount up, the detectives ask themselves one question. What is the reason for the women’s deaths and their horrific mutilations?

With the investigation quickly gathering momentum, Diana finds herself exposed to great danger…in the sights of a lethal individual who’ll put a stop to her meddling. Each move could be deadly… vicious in its outcome…can the team bring a halt to this brutal trade?

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Connect with Faith

faith mortimer

Amazon US author page | Amazon UK author page

Website | Facebook Author Page | Twitter @FaithMortimer 

Faith Mortimer is a British author dividing her time between Hampshire, UK & Cyprus. Since 2005 she has been fortunate enough to turn her hobby of writing into a career. During childhood, says she dreamt of writing novels which readers would love, and spent many hours writing short stories which she subsequently read to her younger sisters (probably under pressure, she added!). Faith was born in Manchester, England & educated in Singapore, Malaya & Hampshire, England.

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Author @RBWood has a new story in TALES OF MAGIC AND MISERY

Dark urban fantasy author and good friend, R.B. Wood, (Richard, whom I adore) has a new short story in a book recently published.

He is also the creator and host of The WORD COUNT PODCAST, a show I participate in regularly.

Tales of Magic and Misery is affiliated with Ragnarok Publications, who will publish Richard’s Arcana Chronicles series. Its co-owner and editor-in-chief Tim Marquitz authored this book with numerous other writers, RB included. If you want to learn more, visit Richard’s blog post here.

R.B is also the author of The Prodigal’s Foole, available from Amazon. Many of his fans have been waiting for the sequel, so I know he’s just teasing us with his latest story, but hey … he’s worth waiting for. ;)

In the meantime, pick up your copy of Tales of Magic and Misery and enjoy!

tales of magic and misery

Buy from Amazon

Tales of Magic and Misery features 19 short stories spanning Tim’s career and includes stories in the Demon Squad world plus early works of horror and dark fantasy. Also included are several rare stories as well as one unreleased and a two-chapter sneak preview of the forthcoming Tales of the Prodigy novel and the first chapter of Clandestine Daze, Eyes Deep.

As a bonus, Tales of Magic and Misery will include stories from a number of other authors, giving readers a peek into new worlds. Alongside a never before released story by C.L. Werner ToMM includes: Armand Rosamilia, Nathaniel Connors, Adrian Collins, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, R.B. Wood, N.X. Sharps, Daniel Weaver, Amanda Shore, Glenn Hefley, Chris Garrett, GR Matthews, and J. Cameron McClain.

Connect with R.B. Wood

RB wood white hat

Website | Twitter @rbwood | Facebook

Amazon Author page

R. B. Wood is a technology consultant and a writer of Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction and quite frankly anything else that strikes his fancy. His first novel, The Prodigal’s Foole, was released to critical acclaim in 2012. Mr. Wood is currently working on the second book of his Arcana Chronicles series, multiple short stories, a graphic novel and a science fiction trilogy that he dusts off every few years. Along with his writing passion, R. B. is host of The Word Count Podcast – a show that features talent from all around the globe reading original flash-fiction stories.

R. B. currently lives in Boston with his partner, Tina, two cats and various other critters that visit from time to time.

RB was originally interviewed on my blog Oct 30, 2011.

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Music Monday and My Silver Lining with First Aid Kit

This is the fourth time I’m featuring First Aid Kit, Swedish sisters who sing wonderful harmonies. I love their lyrics and music, plus we all need a silver lining somedays, right?

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“I don’t want to wait anymore I’m tired of looking for answers
Take me some place where there’s music and there’s laughter
I don’t know if I’m scared of dying but I’m scared of living too fast, too slow
Regret, remorse, hold on, oh no I’ve got to go
There’s no starting over, no new beginnings, time races on
And you’ve just gotta keep on keeping on
Gotta keep on going, looking straight out on the road
Can’t worry ’bout what’s behind you or what’s coming for you further up the road
I try not to hold on to what is gone, I try to do right what is wrong
I try to keep on keeping on
Yeah I just keep on keeping on …”

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Have a great week, everyone,

eden 

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DOWN ON LUCK ~ My story for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #48 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The prompt asked that we use THREE words in our stories: 

Train | Blink | Dark

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I walked into the subway station en route to an Economics class. It was the final year of my undergraduate program, and I was barely scraping by in the course. With ticket in hand, I approached the subway booth. It was empty. I looked around, no one directly behind me. Without a further moment’s hesitation, I made a motion of dropping the ticket into the holder but held on to it, pushed through the turnstile, and quickened my pace. I half-expected someone to yell after me but heard only the pounding of my runners down the steps. It was such a silly thing. I got away without paying a measly fare. Things like that never happened to me, but for some reason, my mother’s voice echoed inside my head.

“Today’s your lucky day,” I heard her say.

I knew luck had nothing to do with it. The clerk had probably gone for a coffee or stepped out for a pee break. Despite it, my mother’s words bounced around in my head. Like most Chinese women of her generation, superstition often disguised itself as wise sayings, which then translated to proverbial truths. If my mother had her way, she’d be forcing me to buy a lottery ticket—as if getting away without paying should be rewarded with more money. The logic never made much sense to me.

While waiting for the train, a large, disheveled woman walked by me reeking of urine. She appeared disoriented and unsteady on her feet. I held a finger under my nose and stepped away from her. As she staggered away, I inched to the edge of the platform and peered into the dark tunnel. It was two in the afternoon, and I knew the subway was not running per its rush hour schedule. A tiny light inside hinted at a train about two stops away, but it wasn’t moving. I glanced at my watch and cursed under my breath. If I didn’t board that train soon, I’d be late for class—again.

As I was about to step back, a disturbance arose several feet beside me. I turned and saw a man in his twenties leap onto the track. Bystanders on the platform screamed in horror. I was shocked to think that someone so young might want to die this way, and then I quickly realized my mistake. The man had jumped in to help the smelly woman who had just passed me. She had fallen and appeared unconscious, sprawled face down on the tracks. Indeed, she was dead weight as the man tried to raise her. The commotion attracted more people. A group of teenage girls ran by me, filming the incident on their cell phones. Several people on the platform knelt to help the rescuer below. Others yelled suggestions to him for how to lift the woman, but no one else was jumping in. After several unsuccessful tries, the young man hoisted the woman to her feet until several passengers grabbed her. One man almost fell in trying to help. While the commuters struggled to pull her up, I heard the distant rumble of a train.

With the woman now out of harm’s way, the man in the tracks spun around toward the sound and the light in the tunnel.

The cell phone teenagers screamed the obvious, “The train’s coming!”

Squealing wheels pierced through the mayhem. I met the eyes of the Good Samaritan, dared not blink. In the next second, he flung himself toward the platform like an epileptic high jumper. Despite his ungraceful move, a burly man snatched him by the collar and one of his sleeves. Another grabbed his dangling legs and pulled him in. All three fell backward onto the platform as the train screeched to a halt just a few feet from where the man was seconds ago.

I stayed behind after the incident and stood near the young hero. He looked a bit shaken and scruffy, but overall, seemed fine. He smiled at commuters who patted him on the back or wanted to shake his hand. Two attendants from Emergency Medical Services came with a stretcher and carried the injured woman away. Someone in the crowd said they had seen her before, a homeless person who sometimes came into the subway begging for money. I imagined she had gotten in for free just like me, and she almost died because of it.

Later that evening, I spoke to my mother about the subway incident. We rarely got into intellectual debates, but somehow the experience touched me in a way I could not explain. How did a tiny piece of good luck for me end up being so bad?

“Not bad luck,” my mother said in her heavy Chinese accent. “It is all good luck.”

“How can you say that?” I asked. “It was horrible even though nobody died.”

“This is what I mean,” she said. “Both people are still alive. Both could have been electrocuted or run over by the train, but they were not. You brought them good luck by being there.”

I sighed heavily and let silence seal the conversation.

Feel free to leave a comment or question. Feedback, whether good or bad is always welcome.

My latest novella, A Snake in Paradise is available on Amazon.com only. If you are not in the USA, leave a comment below if you wish to read and review the book.

To make sure you don’t miss any new releases and specials, please sign up for my infrequent non-spammy newsletter.

Thank you so much for reading.

~eden

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Music Monday is Steppin’ Out with Joe Jackson in #NYC

I returned from visiting family and friends in New York City last week. Each time I’m there, I see a celebrity or two, and this time Joe Jackson was at the same restaurant as we were in Chelsea.

Remember this classic song?

It’s a great one and you’ll see wonderful NYC scenes in it too.

Enjoy and have a super week,

eden

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Pre-order TRANSCRIBER by @LarryEnright #NewRelease

Friend and author, Larry Enright releases Transcriber June 1st, but you can pre-order it now! What this means is Amazon will automatically push the book to your device on release date. Simple!

You can learn more about Larry from an interview I did with him August 2011.

As well, here was my review of his previous book, The Blacker Death.

Now let’s find out more about Larry’s latest, sounds like another great one!

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transcriber

Pre-order / buy from Amazon worldwide now

Be sure to ADD it to your Goodreads shelf too!

Soon to be released in paperback and other online retailers

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At the bend in the stream on a bristlecone pine, where sage grows wild in fields of mustard and clover, blooms a rose. On a vine wound round the ancient trunk, it waits for the journey to begin in a place far from the stream where the scent of the rose is but a fragrance on the wind and a promise for tomorrow.

With these words, Transcriber begins. It is the saga of Benton Doud, a talented young man of little aspiration. It is the tale of his encounter with Jonas White, a sightless, bitter old novelist who has hired Doud to transcribe his final work for him. It is the story of Doud’s chance encounter with a mysterious and beautiful woman named Mary, whose parting gift to him of a rose becomes both his vision and his quest.

Doud’s journey takes him to the town of Wenborn, a place out of time where people cling to the old ways and harbor the old superstitions, and where the reclusive Jonas White lives in opulence and solitude. Doud meets many unusual people in the town and at the White Estate, and makes many good friends behind the walls that shelter them from the outside world. But as Doud struggles to please an unpleasable old man, he discovers behind the façade an ancient evil that must be faced if good is to survive.

Transcriber is a story of timeless love and unnatural hate, of all-encompassing good and all-consuming evil, of the things we can see and those we cannot. It is a panoptic vision of a world both natural and supernatural, where life lays out the path and we choose to walk it or not.

Connect with Larry

larry enright

Website | Facebook | Blog | Twitter @LarryEnright

Independent Author Network | YouTube Channel

Amazon author page | Goodreads | Google +

Larry Enright is the son of Irish immigrants, born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He attended Kenyon College and graduated Magna Cum Laude with an A.B. in Philosophy and minors in Art and English Literature.

After college, he moved to the East Coast where he filled his life with many careers including teacher, professional musician, computer programmer, and researcher. He wrote his first novel in 1980, and penned two more “bookend efforts” before “Four Years from Home,” was published in 2010. That book went on to be a top 100 U.S. Kindle best seller for three consecutive weeks and a category best seller for nine months. He has since written “A King in a Court of Fools,” a serial novel read by thousands online weekly for over a year until published in book form, “Buffalo Nickel Christmas,” a Christmas fantasy set in the 1950s, “12|21|12,” a short piece of alternative science fiction, “A Cape May Diamond,” a story of mystery and redemption, “The Adventures of Walter Stickle,” a 3-book series of science fiction about an ordinary man with extraordinary adventures, “The Blacker Death,” a thriller that pits one man against the mob and a deadly disease, and “Transcriber,” a story of timeless love and unnatural hate.

Larry lives on a small farm with his wife, two sons, and a lifetime of ideas.

Find him at larryenright.com.


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Music Monday celebrates Memorial Day in #NYC with #America

This is the third time I’m featuring First Aid Kit, Swedish sisters who sing wonderful harmonies. I’m in New York City enjoying the Memorial Day long weekend, Fleet Week, and time with family and friends.

This classic tune written by Paul Simon is a reminder that the themes of optimism and hope never grow old. I thought its melancholic mood a fitting one as Americans remember those who died serving in the United States armed forces.

Enjoy the sweet sound and lyrics of “America” and have a good week ahead,

eden  

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Author @ChristineNolfi releases HEAVENSCRIBE – Part 1

Author Christine Nolfi has released her latest book! I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with her on the Lei Crime Series launch on Kindle Worlds, where she wrote best-selling novella, The Shell Keeper.

Please help me welcome Christine and learn more about Heavenscribe, Part 1. 

HeavenScribe

Heavenscribe Part One

Do you believe in angels? Wonder if your hunches have a deeper meaning than you imagine?

Bestselling author Christine Nolfi has just released Heavenscribe: Part One, a story celebrating female wisdom:

Zobie Marsh hides the fearsome talent of prophecy. Young, poor and grieving the loss of her beloved Black Gram, she leaves home suddenly to avoid the advances of her mother’s latest boyfriend. Her decision to travel to South Carolina sets in motion Heavenscribe, a spiritual transformation devised by angels to aid a dying world.

Bel Petersen seems to have it all: ample means, a loving marriage and a rewarding family life. But she’s suffered through a year of unexpected deaths, and near-constant nightmares that portend the downfall of civilization. Now she’s visiting Health Presbyterian daily as Milly battles a relentless bone cancer sure to end their decades-long friendship in a matter of weeks.

One evening as Bel unlocks her car in the hospital’s parking lot, four ambulances stream toward the Emergency entrance. There’s been a horrific traffic accident. She’s shocked to discover one of the victims didn’t make it into an ambulance—and he’s bleeding out in the passenger seat of a high school student’s car. Bel sends the student running to the hospital for help, and tends to the grievously injured man.

His dying words will lead her to Zobie, and reveal the spiritual awakening they must undertake together. If they fail, The Dimming will consume every human soul on the planet.

Early reviewers say:

It is almost impossible to put her novels down once you begin reading them. In HeavenScribe: Part One, she has stepped out of her normal genre and taken us successfully into the world of magical reality. The story, the characters, the magical realism grabbed me from the very beginning and I can’t wait to read more. I highly recommend this book.”

“This is a thought provoking book that will grab you from the very beginning and have you wanting more. It will have you believing angels are real and we see them every day.”

“Christine Nolfi is a master storyteller of the highest caliber. This series is much different from her previous books. This book deals with magical realism, Mother Earth and angels. It is well thought out and flows effortlessly throughout. I must admit that this book truly made me feel closer to God and the wonderful complexities of Earth.”

Christine will release Heavenscribe: Part Two on May 26th.

For a limited time, download Heavenscribe: Part One for 99-cents on:

Amazon | iTunes | B&N | Kobo

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 Connect with Christine

christine nolfi

 Website | Twitter @christinenolfi | Goodreads Author Page

Facebook Author Page | Amazon Author Page

Award-winning author Christine Nolfi provides readers with heartwarming and inspiring fiction. Her debut Treasure Me is a Next Generation Indie Awards finalist. The Midwest Book Review lists her books as “highly recommended” and her novels have enjoyed bestseller status. She has also written the manual for writers Reviews Sell Books. Look for her new series, Heavenscribe. Chat with her on Twitter at @christinenolfi and visit her at www.christinenolfi.com.

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The #LeiCrimeKW authors tour in JUNE

I’m happy to announce I’m on a virtual book tour with the seven other authors who launched the Lei Crime Series on Kindle Worlds!

lei crime KW

If you’re not familiar with Lei Crime, read my launch day blog about the best-selling series based on the books by Toby Neal.

Lei Crime was also mentioned in the latest The Fussy Librarian newsletter.

Goddess Fish Promotions is organizing the book tour, and as a commenter to any of the blogs that host us, you are eligible to win a $30 Amazon gift certificate!

As a blog host, you can win a $20 Amazon gift certificate, so sign up if there are any remaining spots!

Below is the tour schedule. We look forward to spending June with you!

flourish

June 1 – 5 ~ YA/Suspense

julie and craig

Never Again by Julie C. Gilbert

Fireweed Trail by Craig Hansen

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June 8 – 12 ~ Mystery/Suspense

mary and janet new

Hidden Poppies by M.L. Doyle

Saddle Road by J.L. Oakley

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June 15 – 19 ~ Magical Realism & Action

Christine and emily

The Shell Keeper by Christine Nolfi

Warrior Dog by Emily Kimelman

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June 22 – 26 ~ Mystery/Suspense

corinne and eden

Half Moon Girls by Corinne O’Flynn

A Snake in Paradise by Eden Baylee

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Music Monday remembers B.B. King

It’s Victoria Day today in Canada, and I had a different song planned for this post. Did you know Canada is the only country in the world to celebrate the former queen’s birthday, and the ‘May Two-Four’ long weekend is as uniquely Canadian as the two-four — a case of 24 bottles of beer — with which the holiday is often celebrated?

I had intended to post “Victoria” by The Kinks, but in light of the passing of B.B. King last week, I found it more fitting to pay tribute to him. After all, his music meant much more to me than Queen Victoria’s birthday ever did.

If we’re friends on Facebook, you will have read the following or something similar  on my wall, so apologies in advance if some of this is repetitive.

“The Thrill is Gone” was a song on my first vinyl album – a compilation that came with the new family stereo. At age seven, I had no clue what a “thrill” was. All I know was how the song seeped into my psyche and stayed there. B.B. King introduced me to the blues, and my love for the music has never left me. I’ve seen him perform live three times, and he was always a showman and a gentleman.

At the end of this video, you will see he throws guitar picks into the audience, but at one of the shows I attended, he threw gold chains! I’m sure they were not real, but people went crazy for them anyway. Honestly, I preferred the guitar picks.

As with all great musicians, his music lives on, and this song will always hold the fondest of memories for me.

For Canadians, Happy Victoria Day and May two-four weekend—enjoy it however you like, and for everyone, have a great week ahead,

eden

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Pre-order THE GAMBLERS by Christoph Fischer #newrelease (@cffbooks)

Author Christoph Fischer has a new book coming out!

I am very proud to announce Christoph’s upcoming book, which is available June 1st. You can PRE-ORDER it now, and it will be automatically sent to you on release date!

Easy to do, and I can’t wait to read this one when it arrives!

the gambler

Buy Links

Amazon e-book worldwide link

Be sure to add it to your Goodreads list too.

Ben is an insecure accountant obsessed with statistics, gambling and beating the odds. When he wins sixty-four million in the lottery he finds himself challenged by the possibilities that his new wealth brings.
He soon falls under the influence of charismatic Russian gambler Mirco, whom he meets on a holiday in New York. He also falls in love with a stewardess, Wendy, but now that Ben’s rich he finds it hard to trust anyone. As both relationships become more dubious, Ben needs to make some difficult decisions and figure out who’s really his friend and who’s just in it for the money.

flourish

Connect to Christoph

christoph w/ dog

Christoph Fischer was born in Germany as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he is still resident today.
He completed a historical “Three Nations Trilogy” in 2013, comprising of “The Luck of the Weissensteiners”, “Sebastian” and “The Black Eagle Inn.”
In May 2014 he published his first contemporary novel “Time To Let Go” in May.
He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.

Christoph was interviewed on my blog February 7, 2014.

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Author @DarciaHelle releases ELI’S COMING

Eli’s Coming is the first book in the Chasing The Night series by author Darcia Helle, released earlier this week. I’ve interviewed Darcia on my blog before, and she’s a terrific suspense writer.

Please help me in congratulating her on her latest book!

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eli's coming

Buy LinksKindle US / Kindle UK / Print / Barnes and Noble

Eli’s dark legacy holds murder as his rite of passage. They say his ability is a gift. He calls it a curse. A life of violence and heartache leaves him with nothing left to fight for.

Or so he thinks.

Amanda steals his heart, but love makes him vulnerable. He must give her up or accept who he is and fight.

Will he risk stepping into the darkness that could consume him?

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Connect with Darcia

WebsiteBlog | Facebook

Twitter @darciahelle | Amazon author page

Darcia Helle lives in a fictional world with a husband who is sometimes real. Their house is ruled by spoiled dogs and cats and the occasional dust bunny.

Suspense, random blood spatter and mismatched socks consume Darcia’s days. She writes because the characters trespassing through her mind leave her no alternative. Only then are the voices free to haunt someone else’s mind.

 Join Darcia in her fictional world via her website. The characters await you.
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Cover reveal for The Winter Creek Hunter by @CPBialois

I’m always happy to promote fantasy author, C.P. Bialois, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing last year on my blog. He has a novel releasing soon and he reveals the cover here!

Please learn more about C.P.’s upcoming work and connect to him on all his social networks.

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When a bounty hunter arrives looking for the Beast armed with silver bullets, Jay faces the proposition that he could be in the crosshairs as another, deadlier creature rises from the curse of the past.

The Winter Creek Hunter

Cover Art By R.J. Keith

About the author: Where do I begin? Well first I guess it’s only fair to say that CP Bialois isn’t my real name. It’s a collaboration I made out of the three greatest pets anyone could ever want. My real name is Ed and I’m just an average person that has found a way to do what he loves.

CP author pic

For as long back as I can remember I loved to pretend. Whether it was with my Transformers, GI Joe, or He-Man toys I loved to create intricate plots and have them fight it out. As a fan of horror, science fiction, action, and comedy I dare say my taste in movies are well rounded. Some of my favorites were Star Wars, Star Trek, martial arts, and anything with Schwarzenegger in them.

I’d write my own stories about the characters I saw in the theaters or TV or I’d just daydream about what I’d see myself as the hero of course. You can’t have a daydream without beating the bad guys, getting the girl, etc. It’s just not right to envision yourself as a flunky or sidekick.

As far as books I loved Sherlock Holmes, Treasure Island, Dracula, and the normal assortment. My early love was the Star Trek novels, I’d read them or the Hardy Boys relentlessly. For a time I could tell you the plot of over a hundred books not to mention comics.

I have to come clean and say that I learned to read because of comic books. I was bored, make that extremely bored when we started to read in school. Reading “the cat fell down” really didn’t interest me. My dad, who continues to astound me with his insight to this day, figured comics would work. With that in mind he went to the newstand in town and bought issues of Donald Duck, Scrooge McDuck, Tales From the Crypt, and Spider-man. He patiently read through them with me until I picked it up. Whether it was him or the comics I learned to read in about two weeks and for a while few were as good as I was. For years after that whenever we’d go out he’d always spring for a couple of comic books for me.

While it wasn’t exactly the perfect beginning everything I’ve ever read or have seen has influenced me in some way and now is the time I’d like to share some of the ideas I’ve had over the years with all of you. I hope you enjoy my stories, they’re always fun to write and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter @CPBialois | Google +

Pinterest | Linkedin | Goodreads | Amazon Author page

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Bad reviews and unprofessional behavior

A friend lent me a book recently called The War of Art – Break Through the Blocks and Win your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield, whose debut novel, The Legend of Bagger Vance, was adapted for screen. A film based on his book was released in 2000, directed by Robert Redford.

The War of Art is for writers, artists, and anyone who hopes to breathe life into their creative works.

I don’t read many “self-help” books, but this was a quick read and contained a few gems. One section that resonated with me referred to how “professionals” behave. I’d like to expound on this in relationship to book reviews.

If you earn a living by writing, or are trying to make a living this way, this post is for you.

star-reviews

A review can be a double-edged sword.

A good review can help sell a book. A bad review can alert potential readers not to buy it.

Authors count on reviews as a means to promote their work to new readers. They are a form of marketing. They don’t need to be scholarly book reports, just honest accounts of what readers like or do not like about a book. Initial reviews are crucial for establishing a pattern for a book. Does it average 4-5 stars? Or is it more like 1-2 stars? Right or wrong, the star system is a how many readers determine the quality of a book before they buy it.

It’s why many authors, myself included, solicit reviews from a healthy cross-section of readers/bloggers once a book is released. The more reviews, the better, because as time passes, the 1 and 2-star reviews appear less important when the overall average for a book is 4/5 stars.

And though more reviews do not guarantee more sales, an absence of reviews may correspond to fewer sales.

What does this have to do with unprofessional behavior?

In his book, Pressfield writes: 

“Evolution has programmed us to feel rejection in our guts. This is how the tribe enforced obedience, by wielding the threat of expulsion. Fear of rejection isn’t just psychological; it’s biological. It’s in our cells.”

Whether you believe what he says or not, we can all agree that rejection and criticism (in the form of bad reviews) hurt.

No one likes negative feedback. If you consider your creation as an extension of yourself, then you probably feel a bad review as a rejection of who you are.

It may explain why some writers behave badly at times. I’ve seen authors attack readers both verbally and via the social networks. Sometimes, there are long threads of comments to discredit a reviewer (usually a faceless, unknown entity).

The degree to which each of us reacts to criticism varies. Though I can understand the public display of anger by some authors, it is not something I consider healthy or helpful for anyone. It certainly is not professional.

bad_review cartoon

Credit Firstsecondbooks.typepad.com – Mark Siegel

3 truths about book reviews:

1) No piece of writing is universally beloved, so as wonderful as it is to receive 4 and 5-star reviews, they are not the ones that will help you become a better writer. The 2 and 3-star reviews are more likely to provide clues to your writing deficiency, especially if it’s a recurring criticism.

2) It’s a waste of time to engage with online trolls, people who post ridiculous comments because … well, because they can. These are reviewers who like to push their own agendas on Amazon, Goodreads, Twitter, etc. Remember, a reader can write a negative review for ANY reason, even just to be mean.

3) Reviews, good or bad, are not a measurement of your abilities as a writer. The actions and opinions of others DO NOT define your work.

reviewersBad reviews sting, but they don’t have to sting for long.  

I’ve had my share of bad reviews, but I choose not to dwell on the negativity or take them personally. I don’t allow negative comments to derail me. After all, external feedback is not the reason I write. I do it because it’s my passion.

And though I don’t look to reviews as validation of my efforts, I do appreciate praise. Who doesn’t? I also appreciate honest reviews, when someone takes the time to tell me what is wrong with my book. I know this is more difficult to do, so most people won’t do it, and that’s okay too.

The truth is, writing reviews is not obligatory for readers. It’s not their job to review a book even if they LOVED it, even if they know it might help the author sell more books. As professionals, it’s important to ask for reviews but not to coerce them from readers. Some people may choose not to write reviews, for whatever reason.

review_1aSo do opinions from readers matter?

Yes, they do. Feedback should be sought. Beta readers, editors, critique partners are not the enemies; book reviewers are not the enemies. Learn from constructive criticism and ignore the troll-like comments.

As a professional, grow a thick skin, not one that will numb you to bad reviews, but one that will allow you to believe in your own strengths while working on what needs to be improved.

You don’t have to crumble at the first sign of a 1 or 2-star review.

Bad reviews are part of being an author and not within your control. How you handle them, though, is entirely within your control.

Whatever you do, don’t let someone else’s negativity stop you from writing.

~eden 

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Music Monday with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

I went to see Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds in concert last week. Noel, along with his brother, Liam formed the band Oasis in 1991. They achieved huge success until they split up in 2009, both going on to form their own bands. I liked Oasis and always considered Noel the more talented of the two brothers. He was the lead guitar player and songwriter of the band, with a voice deeper and richer than Liam’s.

The concert featured a couple of Oasis songs, and music from Noel’s latest album, Chasing Yesterday. I enjoyed the show, though felt it lacked for good sound dynamics. I don’t mind loud music, but not when everything is played at the same volume. I’m a fan of guitar and vocals up front, but too many songs were overpowered by the kick drum. With all the instruments playing at full blast, the subtlety and texture of the music got lost.

Still, it was a good time and there really is no substitute for seeing music live. As usual, Noel Gallagher was pompous and foul-mouthed, but hey, he’s from Manchester and there’s something tongue in cheek about his humour that makes me like him. You’ll see it in his videos too.

“Ballad of the Mighty I” is one of the hits from his new album.

Hope you enjoy and have a super week, :)

eden

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Filed under Musical Mondays

Morning Ritual ~ My story for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #47 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The prompt asked that we use THREE words in our stories: 

Theater | Tourist | Savory

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As a tourist, I love people watching because people represent the pulse of a city for me. Nowhere is this more evident than in a busy New York City coffee house. It’s like watching a play on stage while packed into a tiny theatre. The intimacy helps create stories in my head.

That’s how I feel about my discovery of a Parisian café in the middle of Manhattan, the only restaurant in the city that thrives on its stubborn cash-only policy. Everything from the red brick interior to the wooden counters and furniture harks back to another era. What the small room lacks in modern touches, it makes up for in old world charm.

I’m here to research a one-act play I’m producing as part of my thesis in Theatre History. Everyday, the setting is provided, but the cast is different, the script is different. My role as an unobtrusive onlooker is to capture the nuances.

For the morning hours when I come to write, few things remain the same from one day to the next. The staff must work shifts, as I never see the same servers more than twice. The customers range from harried businessmen to sweaty joggers to women with newborns strapped to their chests. Students en route to early morning classes order coffee and pastry to go. Others sit leisurely with a laptop at one of the small French-style tables. The carousel of patrons and the continuous ring of an old fashioned cash register keep the noise at a high but bearable level.

For almost a week, I record the subtle changes in this micro-environment. Everything changes, that is, except for him—the man at the corner table with a thinning head of silver hair. I observe him as I line up to put in my order. He is always there by the time I arrive at seven, as much a fixture of the café as the rickety wooden chairs and the Parisian pencil sketches on the walls. He sits alone staring out the window, yet he must be waiting for someone. Why else would he have two cups of coffee and two plates in front of him? On each plate rests a croissant. I have watched him tear into one and finish it, but the second cup of coffee and the other croissant always remain untouched during the time that I’m there.

I begin making up stories about him. He probably orders two pastries because he likes them. Maybe he takes one home if he can’t finish it. But why two cups of coffee? I never see anyone join him. And who would want to drink a cold cup of coffee anyway?

With six people in line ahead of me, the place feels busier today than usual. The tension rises behind the counter as one of the baristas yells in French that he needs more whipping cream. I look over my shoulder and count five people behind me. Several more come through the door. It’s not even seven thirty yet. The line moves quickly though, for which I’m thankful.

Today is my last chance to record my final impressions. I leave the city tonight. The first few days I soaked in my surroundings but didn’t pay too much attention to details. It’s always that way when I arrive somewhere new. Funny how time flies.

When I get to the front of the line, I order coffee with a brioche, a cake-like bread that is both savory and sweet. After paying for my order, I thread myself through the crowded room in search of a seat but find none. I stand in place and do a slow 360 to see if anyone is ready to leave; there is no sign of it. After someone jostles my coffee, I know I must step away from the aisle. There is only one empty chair in the café. I walk over to the corner table. The old man is staring out the window with his coffee cup in hand, a half eaten croissant in front of him, and the other cup of coffee cooling beside an untouched crescent-shaped pastry.

I bend forward at the waist, throwing my voice in the direction of the old man. I need to get his attention above the clang of the restaurant noise.

“Excuse me, sir.” I put on my friendliest smile when he turns to me. “May I sit here? This is the only seat available.”

He sets down his cup on the saucer, looks around the crowded room as if searching for someone or confirming that it is indeed full. In that stuttered moment, I expect him to say, “Sorry, the seat is taken.” I’m ready to blurt out that I’ve been observing him all week, that I know that no one is joining him. How dare he hog up two seats! I’m prepared for a confrontation if need be. Before my ire increases, the man moves the plates on the table and gestures to the empty chair.

“Please,” he says, “sit down.”

I breathe a big sigh and set down my coffee on the table, pull off my shoulder bag and drop it to the floor. There is no room for anything else on the table, so I slide into the chair with my brioche on my lap. “So busy here today,” I say, flushed with relief.

“Saturdays are always like this.” The man’s voice is calm despite the chaos and noise around him.

“Thanks for sharing your table. Hopefully someone leaves soon.”

“Not a problem,” he says.

I feel a bit awkward sitting with a stranger in silence. It compels me to make small talk. “I love New York. I wish I didn’t have to leave.”

“Oh?” He cocks his head. “Where are you from?”

I take a sip of my coffee. “Canada. Montreal to be exact.”

“I’ve been there, a very special city for me.” He picks up his croissant and takes a bite.

I nod, expect him to elaborate when he finishes chewing, but he doesn’t. If I have to guess, I would say he is a man in his eighties. A white shirt and tie peek out from under a light brown jacket. The morning sun casts a warm glow on his lined face, but he doesn’t appear bothered by the heat. Though his body language does not convey that he is unapproachable, there is nothing about it that says he welcomes conversation either. He’s old enough to be my grandfather, and I suddenly feel like I’m intruding on a morning ritual. I remain silent and finish my coffee. There is still a crowd inside the café, but two tables over, I see a student packing up his books in his knapsack. I make eye contact with him that I want his seat, and he acknowledges.

Before I get up, I ask the man in front of me, “May I buy you another cup of coffee? I’m sure your second one here is cold by now.”

He is silent for a moment, as if recalling a memory, and then his eyes glisten. “That’s very kind of you,” he says, “but I only drink one cup a day. That one is for my wife, and she doesn’t mind it cold.”

I force a smile. “Of course,” I manage to say, quick enough to cover up that I suspect there is no wife, not one I have seen, anyway. “Thank you for sharing your table with me.”

He nods as I get up to leave and slowly turns back to stare out the window.

* * *

A month after returning home from my trip, I’m reading an online version of the New York Times when a familiar face catches my attention. The headline reads: Property Mogul and Holocaust Survivor Dies at 92. My eyes widen at the picture of the old man from the coffee shop, and then tears blur my vision as I read the story.

Respected property owner, Jacob Klein, passed away peacefully in his home this past weekend. Many knew him as the proprietor of the hugely successful Café de Paris in Midtown Manhattan, opened in 1955.

Mr. Klein was liberated from Dachau, the concentration camp near Munich. He moved to the U.S. after first settling in Paris where he trained as a pastry chef. Upon arriving in New York, he met his wife, Michelle Dumas, a French Canadian from Montreal. They had five children.

Described by employees and friends as a quiet man of extreme humility, Mr. Klein was seen with his wife for years at Café de Paris sharing breakfast until she passed away in 2010.

His three sons and two daughters have taken over their father’s businesses. Says his oldest son, David: “Even after Mom died, Dad continued to have breakfast with her at the coffee shop. At first, we thought he had lost his mind, but he said it was the only thing that made it worth his while to get up in the morning, something he did every day until he died.”

Feel free to leave a comment or question. Feedback, whether good or bad is always welcome.

My latest novella, A Snake in Paradise is available on Amazon.com only. If you are not in the USA, leave a comment below if you wish to read and review the book.

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Thank you so much for reading.

~eden

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Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

Music Monday remembers Ben E. King

Ben E. King passed away last week, but as with all great musicians, his music lives on. For this, I’m extremely grateful.

This song never gets old for me. 

Wishing you a great week ahead,

~ eden

“When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we’ll see
No I won’t be afraid
Oh, I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

So darling, darling
Stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh stand, stand by me
Stand by me

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
All the mountains should crumble to the sea
I won’t cry, I won’t cry
No, I won’t shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me …”

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Music Monday — Wild World

“Wild World” was on a cassette I purchased while in Bangkok, and I traveled with it throughout Asia, including Nepal.

My heart breaks reading the news about the devastating earthquake in Nepal this weekend. It truly is a magical place — rich in culture and with some of the warmest and peaceful people I’ve ever met. The destruction of many of the sacred places I visited is sad, but the loss of lives is sadder.

Major charity organizations are now accepting aid if you wish to make a donation. Please give what you can, if not monetarily, then send some good energy to the people of Nepal and its neighbours to heal.

Red Cross Canada

Unicef Canada

American Red Cross

Worldwide organizations

~ eden

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Feminist Porn Awards 2015 – Photo Slideshow #FPA2015

What a night it was for the 10th Annual Feminist Porn Awards Friday, April 17th. It was a gorgeous, sunny evening outside, and inside the Capitol Theatre, the mood was the same.

I recently wrote about the event here if you want to learn more about my involvement and Good for Her, the creator of the show. As always, sexual diversity, acceptance, and inclusiveness made for a beautiful time—not to mention great, sexy films!

Congratulations to all the winners and hope you enjoy the slideshow.

eden xox

Approx. 20 pictures

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Related slideshows from previous years:

2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011

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