Tag Archives: eden baylee

Comfortably Numb ~ My story for @RBwood’s #WordCountPodcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #59 of R.B. Wood’s THE WORD COUNT PODCAST.

The prompt asked that we use 3 words in the story:

NEWSPAPER | CIGARETTE | SCOTCH

Note from Eden: This story is excerpted and rewritten from a longer one, which I wrote earlier this year. It is partly inspired by a friend going through a difficult life change, and of course, by Pink Floyd.

* * * *

I’ve let go of so much. The kids are gone, moved away to University. They don’t need me anymore. My husband, Mike, still works. Someone has to pay the bills. He doesn’t need me either, but he puts up with me. I suppose it’s better than being alone, but my guess is it’s only marginally better for him. We navigate around each other without saying much. It’s not comfortable, but somehow we put up with each other. Complacency settles in after nearly thirty years of marriage, and with it, a dull ache fills my days.

It wasn’t always this way, but I remember exactly when everything changed. Six months ago, I picked up the Sunday New York Times like I did every week and read another study about climate change. I was a concerned citizen most of the time, but that day I thought: Why the hell should I care anymore? I’ll be long gone when the earth blows up. Even my grandchildren’s children won’t be around.

In that same paper, another article praised the benefits of alcohol and how previous studies had been overly cautious. In fact, scientists now encouraged drinking for middle-aged adults. Three to four glasses a day—beer, wine, liquor—it didn’t matter. Good for the heart and an excellent way to relieve stress. Next thing you know, they’ll be touting cigarettes as the new health fad!

I threw the newspaper across the room.

Garbage! All of it, garbage! I couldn’t believe anything anymore.

Something in me must have snapped because nothing was the same after that.

I was not the same.

*   *   *   *

Hunger wakes me up, but I don’t get out of bed immediately. After drifting in and out of sleep for what seems like hours, I make my way downstairs. It’s already close to noon.

Dishes and a frying pan balance precariously atop the counter next to an empty sink—Mike’s bacon and eggs from last night’s dinner, his cereal from this morning.

The kitchen is in need of a thorough cleaning. Why my husband does not load the dishwasher is beyond me. The appliance does not exist for him. It’s the same with the laundry. He must think clean underwear and shirts just magically appear in his closet. I resent picking up after him, but he’s right about one thing—it’s me who has changed, not him.

I have not wanted to do anything in months. Even the thought of a few household chores hollows me. My brain feels pickled. Most days, I walk around sweaty and lethargic.

The light on the home phone blinks red. It’s been blinking for weeks now. I know the messages are for me, but I don’t want to listen to them. I wish people would stop worrying about me. I don’t dare turn on my computer. The thought of unanswered e-mails in my inbox makes my stomach lurch.

Something burbles to life and I spin in its direction. My feet shuffle in a robotic motion to find the source. The buzz continues, and I register it’s coming from my purse. I snatch the bag off the dining room table and empty its contents on the floor. My cell phone vibrates on the ceramic tile like a small, frightened animal. I grab it in a panic.

“Hello, hello.”

“When did you get up?” says the voice on the other end of the line. Mike’s words jolt me to attention.

“Right after you left for work.” I’m on the defensive already.

“Are you sure?”

“Of course I’m sure, why?”

A pause. “I called earlier, that’s why.”

“Well … I must have been in the washroom, didn’t hear the phone.” I wonder if my friendly housewife voice fools him. “Did you want something?”

“Yes,” he barks. “Iron a few shirts for me. I need them for meetings this week.”

Please would be nice, I think to myself.

Mike’s words pinch, but I keep my thoughts to myself and somehow manage a cheerful, “Yeah, sure.” That’s how we talk to each other—no nuanced arguments, no fine points to be made.

I hang up and rage nudges up my stomach. It lodges in my chest like indigestion.

“How dare he talk to me that way?” I mutter to myself. Now I have to clean the house and iron. I loathe ironing.

*   *   *   *

It’s Mike’s night out with the boys, and I manage to throw together a dinner of lasagna (from frozen of course) along with a salad (out a bag). He doesn’t seem to care. His mind is on watching the game and drinking with his friends anyway.

Now that he’s gone, I plod to the kitchen and crack an entire tray of ice cubes into the sink. I scoop up a handful, drop them into a tall glass of white wine, and gulp until the cold freezes my brain.

I’ve become an impressive drunk in that way where no one suspects I’m drinking.

My doctor prescribed antidepressants for me. They must be working, as I’m more productive now. I’m cooking again, and the house is clean. I even managed to respond to a few phone messages, and the other day, I fired up my computer. When I saw more than 300 emails in my inbox, I shut it down. Responding to emails would have to wait.

Playing around with what my doctor recommended has been tricky, but it’s one of the few things I do to empower myself. Instead of one pill with food, I take half a pill with a shot of Scotch. Yeah, the alcohol is a no-no, but … I seem to be okay so far.

I even had sex with my husband last night. Afterward, he flopped off me like a giant walrus, a fat limb-less torso. The only thing missing were the tusks. I didn’t enjoy it, but he must have. He seems nicer to me today than he’s been in a while.

As for me, I don’t feel much anymore. Numbness replaces the dull ache. It’s comforting really, much like a warm, cozy blanket.

Thank you for reading.

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

~eden

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Author @BRChitwood releases CLOUD DANCER #timetravel

Author Billy Ray Chitwood has done it again.

As a writer of multiple genres, including mystery, suspense, and romance, Billy Ray is reaching for something new and exciting with his latest, Cloud Dancer. In a recent blog, he confided it is his wife’s belief that he has Cherokee in his blood.

For this reason, Billy Ray ventured into the writing of Cloud Dancera love story set in modern times and in 1838. It also explores the pain and suffering of the Cherokee along the historic ‘Trail of Tears.”

It’s currently available, so be sure to get your copy!

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cloud dancer

Buy the e-book from Amazon

Paperback: Amazon US

A freeway accident in his modern world changes the life of Blake Fielding as he is transported back in time to the infamous ‘Trail of Tears”. Back in today’s world, he finds murder, mystery, and the woman of his dreams. This is a book that takes the reader to the pinnacle of love, crosses genres, and reveals the soul-rending fate of a people who suffered the inequities of history.

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Connect to Billy Ray

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Music Monday moves with Bookends

Two more August Mondays with Simon and Garfunkel, and today I feature the “Bookends Theme” (Reprise) from their much acclaimed album, Bookends.

I had the opportunity to spend this past weekend with an old friend, and it was a fabulous time. Thank you, Allison, for being an amazing woman.

“Bookends” is the continuation of “Old Friends” and is similarly reflective in style.

Time it was
And what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence
A time of confidences

Long ago it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you.

I hope you get a chance to spend time with old friends soon,

~eden

 

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Music Monday moves with The Sound of Silence

It’s mid-August already! I’m continuing with Simon and Garfunkel for the month.

Paul Simon wrote “The Sound of Silence” when he was only 21 years old. In an interview, he was asked, “How is a 21 year old person thinking about the words in that song?” His reply was, “I have no idea.”

For me, the lyrics are sheer poetry.

In a world where it’s increasingly difficult to “hear” silence, I hope this song puts you in touch with some quiet time, if only for a moment.

Have a wonderful week,

~eden

 

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Author @Maria_Savva interviews Eden Baylee on @Goodreads

London-based author, Maria Savva and I have been friends for some time, and we support each other’s writing endeavours whenever possible. She was kind enough to interview me  on her Goodreads blog again. I’m happy to be a repeat guest!

I’m also offering a giveaway of one of my KindleWorld Lei Crime books to a commenter, so do come by and say hi! Readers outside the USA cannot buy the books, so it’s an opportunity to get a FREE COPY since I can send it as a gift worldwide.

Maria will choose the winner August 12th!

You can read Maria’s interview of me by hitting the graphic below.

3 lei crime books

Don’t forget to connect to Maria. She’s a cool lady to know!

maria savva

Website | Twitter @Maria_Savva | Facebook

Maria’s books on Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

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Music Monday moves with Homeward Bound

Have you ever felt lost?

Like you were in the wrong place at the wrong time?

At different points in my life, and to varying degrees, these feelings have nagged at me.

This song always comes to mind during these uncomfortable times, probably because it’s the first tune I learned to play on guitar, and the lyrics are forever imprinted in my brain.

“Homeward Bound” makes me realize there is no place like home, so long as you are happy to be there.

Hope you are in your happy place, and have a splendid week.

~eden

 

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Poet Fiona McVie interviews Eden Baylee (@insprationforum)

Poet Fiona McVie is a true friend to authors.

On her blog, she has interviewed over 3000 authors and she’s still going strong!

I had the pleasure of answering her questions recently, and one of them really stumped me. It took me a day to think about it before I gave my response.

How would you answer this?

What do you want written on your head stone and why?

To find my answer and to read the entire interview, hit the graphic below.

book love

Get in touch with Fiona. She’s a generous woman who loves to share the work of authors.

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Connect to Fiona McVie

fiona mcvie

Blog | Facebook | Twitter @InsprationForum

Google+

 

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ACTS BEYOND REDEMPTION ~ A new release from S. Burke (@pursoot)

I’m very happy to bring attention to a new book called Acts Beyond Redemption written by S. Burke, the first of a three-book series entitled ‘Unintended Consequences.’

This is author S. Burke’s (Soooz) debut novel in the Crime/Espionage genre. You may recall I featured Soooz on my blog in an interview a few years back. At the time, I highlighted her excellent book, Empty Chairs, written under her pen name, Stacey Danson.

Soooz is an amazing writer, and I’m happy to feature her latest book. Learn more about Acts Beyond Redemption and pick up your copy!

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acts beyond redemption

Buy Links: Amazon ~ US | UK | Canada

Blurb for: Acts Beyond Redemption

In Book 1 of the ‘Unintended Consequences’ series Acts Beyond Redemption takes you on a twisted, deadly ,journey.
Mike Matheson is head of a Special Task Force set up by the F.B.I to track down and apprehend the serial killers responsible for 18 brutal murders.

He and his team are exhausted, frustrated, and ready to burn out after almost five years and no leads.
Nothing in their experience has prepared them for this. Nothing in their imaginations could conceive of the truth hidden in plain sight.
Someone is deflecting their weary eyes away from a truth too incomprehensible to be permitted to exist.
Revealing it and those that set it in motion would bring the most powerful country on earth to its knees. The corridors of power shake.

Who will be buried in the shattered remains of a country where freedom and honor are treasured above all things?

Just how far will those elected to protect and defend go, to keep the American dream alive.

* * * *

Connect to S. Burke

soooz burkeWebsite | Twitter @pursoot | Facebook

Soooz Says…Stuff blog

Amazon Author Page US | Amazon Author Page UK

Firstly may I say “Thank you” for taking an interest in my work. My author name is S Burke. My friends call me Suzanne or Soooz.

My non-Fiction books “Empty Chairs” and “Faint Echoes of Laughter” were written under my pen name of Stacey Danson. They are now available on my Suzanne Burke author page.

I’m lucky enough to reside in the beautiful harbor-side city of, Sydney…Australia.

I am spontaneous and highly combustible; I love being with my family and close friends, I laugh loud … and often.

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Music Monday moves with The Boxer

Last week, I featured Simon and Garfunkel and realized how much I love their music. I’ll continue with them for the month of August.

I’ve always enjoyed the melody of this song and listening closely to the lyrics made me appreciate it even more.

“The Boxer” is written from two points of view. It starts with a first person lament on the struggles of loneliness and poverty in New York City before it switches to third person for the final verse. In that verse, it speaks about a boxer who perseveres.

On June 3, 2016 in California, news of the passing of Muhammad Ali broke during Simon’s concert. Simon paused singing partway through “The Boxer” to make the sad announcement to the audience. He then finished the song with these poignant lyrics.

In the clearing stands a boxer,
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev’ry glove that laid him down
And cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame,
“I am leaving, I am leaving.”
But the fighter still remains

It’s a melancholy song, but I find it ends on an uplifting note.

Wishing you a bright week ahead,

~eden

 

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The Relevance of Sex in Literature – An update for author S. Burke (@pursoot)

In 2011, I wrote an article as part of a series hosted by author S. Burke (Soooz).

The Relevance of Sex in Literature in 2011 was a month-long series, which featured many guest authors.

It’s now five years later, and along with some of the original authors from that series, I was invited back to give an update on the subject. I can’t believe so much time has passed!

Hit the graphic below to hop over to Soooz’s blog and find out if I think anything has changed.

relevance sex 2016

Also, connect to Soooz at all her virtual homes. I’ll be featuring her newest book, Acts Beyond Redemption, on my blog next week.

soooz burkeWebsite | Twitter @pursoot | Facebook

 

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Music Monday moves with Simon and Garfunkel

I’ve visited NYC for years, mainly to see family. After my grandma passed away in December, the city became a sadder place for me.

It was inevitable, but even though I had prepared for it, I could not know how I would feel until I returned to NYC for the first time since my grandma’s funeral.

It was a different kind of trip but a special one in many ways.

I flew in with my husband, and as usual, we visited old haunts, listened to live music, and met with friends and family. And as usual, there was not enough time to see everyone we had hoped to see.

What was different, however, was our return home. We hitched a ride back with my uncle and aunts. They were coming to spend time with the Canadian side of the family, namely my mom and my other aunt and cousins.

As the moon sat high in the sky, we packed up the car and set off at 4 AM for the nine-hour trip to Toronto. With little to no traffic, we took pleasure in the foggy terrain as we drove out of NYC and watched the sun rise. During the drive, we played the music of three artists: Simon and Garfunkel; Jim Croce; and The Doors.

“The Only Living Boy in New York” is one of the songs that will now forever remind me of that road trip.

Enjoy and I hope you have a great week.

~eden

 

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95 Days ~ My story for @RBwood’s Sizzlin’ Summer #WordCountPodcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #58 of R.B. Wood’s THE WORD COUNT PODCAST.

The prompt asked that we use the phrase:

“I was enjoying the summer holiday when…” 

I was in NYC when I wrote the majority of this story, sitting in Bryant Park with the sun in my face. I love the city, and no matter how long I stay, it’s not long enough.

The story is somewhat of a lament for how quickly time passes, especially in the city that never sleeps.

* * * *

I was enjoying the summer holiday when he showed up.

Well, he showed up would not be totally accurate.

He may have been a she, and neither really showed up in the traditional sense. I never saw a face or heard a voice. Like I said—it wasn’t a traditional relationship, and I knew that from the start. That was the allure, I suppose, but now that it’s over, the hard work begins.

I’m rambling, and I’m sorry if this comes off nonsensical. Some days, I feel like what happened was all in my imagination. Maybe I created the whole thing. It’s hard to know anymore. I only know I’m left wanting, though richer for the experience.

Let me take a step back to the beginning of summer when this all started. It was the oddest of meetings, and my heart was open, as it normally is. I’ve always considered that to be a strength, not a weakness. Despite growing more cautious over the years, I was never one to shy away from a mystery.

I’m a sucker for words. That’s why I chose to become a writer. My life is an open book in many ways, but I was stuck. Call it writer’s block or lack of inspiration. Call it a muse on vacation. Whatever it was, I was haunted that I might never write again.

I use words to expose who I am and to entice potential readers to connect to me. Though I’m aware I make myself a target for some odd people, I’ve never had any problems. With the amount of time I spend online, it’s inevitable to run into my share of … shall we say … eccentric people. The thing is, they don’t scare me. I’m good at weaning out the cons from the authentic.

And yet, I didn’t see this one coming.

I received the first poem on June 20th. I remember it well because it was a balmy evening—the beginning of summer. I was sitting at an outdoor café when a young boy approached me.

“Are you Julia?” he said.

I did not know him, thought it was too late for a boy of his age to be out on his own. “Yes, I am, and who are you?” I looked into his bright, blue eyes and immediately felt an odd familiarity. Was he the son of a friend?

“I have a something for you,” he said, handing me an envelope before he turned to walk away.

I searched for an adult near him and saw none. “Wait!” I said, staring at the non-descript paper in my hand. “Who is this from? Who are you?”

Too late.

He weaved his small body between tables of the crowded café and disappeared into the night. I got up to look for him, astonished that I lost sight of him so quickly. I asked patrons nearby at the edge of the restaurant where he went, but no one could give me a definitive answer.

That first poem read:

Summer is officially begun

So this will be my number one

I spread love and hope and grace

No matter the time or place

Do not seek to find the answers

In life we are but mere dancers

We jump, we twirl, we bow

The time to live is now

 

And so it began …

 

Poems showed up mysteriously for me daily after that. The language was never aggressive. The writer wasn’t the best poet but he wasn’t the worst. I say he, but it could’ve been a she. I just don’t know. At times, the poems rhymed, but most of them did not. Many of them were just a few lines. The only thing they had in common was each one was numbered.

Strangers delivered many of the envelopes, and none of these so-called couriers ever disclosed information about the sender. I found some poems left for me at my place of work. Only one was found at my house. It scared me, even though I suspect this person had been tracking my whereabouts from the start.

When I found the letter in my home mailbox, my mind immediately conjured up the negative, but I rationalized if he or she wanted to harm me, they would have done so by now.

The next day, as I sat in the park desperately trying to kick start my manuscript, a stranger delivered an envelope to me. I had grown accustomed to this crazy, strange occurrence. I simply accepted the envelope and said, “Thank you.”

It was a peaceful afternoon, and aside from a few kids running in the distance, the park was quiet. A cool breeze replaced the humidity in the air. I tore open the envelope to read poem number ninety-five.

As a new season begins

An old one must end

Ninety-five days

From Solstice to Equinox

Summer is closing

And so must I

May my last words

Be the start of your next ones

A slow smile of realization crossed my face. I picked up my pen and stared at the blank lines on my notepad, determined to break through.

Thank you for reading.

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

~eden

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Author @DarciaHelle asks me ONE QUESTION #interview

A short time ago, suspense novelist Darcia Helle, asked me to answer one question about my books. She always comes up with the most interesting interview concepts, so I was happy to comply.

Hop over and read my response to her question in:

Author Eden Baylee Talks About Kindle Worlds and Her Lei Crime Series

Be sure to connect with Darcia too. She’s a terrific writer and an extremely supportive woman.

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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: http://www.QuietFuryBooks.com

The characters await you.

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Filed under Eden's Guest Blogs & Interviews, Lei Crime Kindle Worlds

Music Monday moves with John Lennon

I’m still in NYC and the other night, I watched a biography about David Geffen. He is a business magnate, producer, and film studio executive. It was his record company that produced Double Fantasy, John Lennon’s last album.

I have read that Double Fantasy was not well received initially, that it was a step back by an artist who had already retired. Of course, fate intervened.

The record released November 17, 1980, less than a month before John Lennon was killed.

NYC will always connect me with John Lennon, and among the noise and turbulence of the past week, both here and in the rest of the world, I’m slowing it down, as I imagine Lennon would have when he wrote this song.

Enjoy and have a peaceful week,

~eden

 

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Eden’s Exchange talks to Mark Barry (@greenwizard62)

Mark Barry wears many hats. I know him as the author of novels, Carla, Once Upon a Time in the City of Criminals, and other books. He’s the head of  his publishing company, Green Wizard, and now, he’s also the writer by the name of … Luke Rock.

Like my name, Luke Rock is a pseudonym, and here is what he says about it:

“The reason for the pseudonym is easy. Kevin And The Atomic Bomb is like nothing I have written before”.

I’ve featured one of Mark’s books on my blog before, and I’m pleased to interview him to highlight his latest book.

* * * *

Welcome to Eden’s Exchange, Mark. Great to have you here finally! Tell readers how your best friend would describe you in 20 words or less.

Loyal, honest, intelligent, funny and a bit bonkers.

That’s even less than 20 words.:) Are you a full time writer or do you have a day job?

I was a full time writer until imminent starvation propelled me into helping run Empleo, a popular local voluntary and social enterprise, alongside my friend and colleague Phil Pidluznyj. We are based in Nottingham (UK) and help others with employability, reading projects and creative writing and anything else we can think of.

Ha! We’d all be rich if we didn’t have to eat, right? What is your biggest extravagance?

Gambling on horses and going to football matches all over the UK, following a team called Notts County.

Gambling on horses? I made a bet on a horse once—a sure thing (I was told). I lost five bucks and that was the end of gambling for me! If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Lose weight: An eternal struggle.

:) What profession other than your own would you like to try?

Forestry.

Hmm … I’ve never had that answer before. What is one thing you want to do before you die?

Visit all the racetracks in the world, particularly Melbourne Park, Longchamp, Happy Valley, Baden Baden, Santa Anita, Del Mar and (your own) Woodbine.

Wow, you’re serious about horses, aren’t you?  Any favorite curse words? Especially, say, when you lose a bet on a horse?

I have to be careful with the F word. I use it way too much.

Hehe! Do you have a motto you live by?

Win or lose, have a booze.

That’s a new one! What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

Helping my nineteen year old son grow up to become a decent person.

Sweet. What makes you REALLY laugh?

A British TV programme called The IT Crowd. Cracks me up every time #Messyjoes.

Screen shot 2016-07-13 at 5.41.51 PMI love British comedies. As for your writing, I previously featured your book Once Upon a Time in the City of Criminals, and I’m thrilled to learn you have another one under your name, Luke Rock.  Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Real life and real people. I won’t read a book unless it is theoretically possible to meet and shake hands with the characters in the street today.

 

What motivates you to write?

The prospect of making a living at it.

That never hurts, does it? What is the best advice you’ve received as a writer?

Don’t write long books.

Ahh, that would explain your brevity here. Name a few of your favorite authors and books and why you like them.

Martin Amis, Scarlett Thomas, Jim Thompson, Sebastian Faulks, Charles Bukowski, Rimbaud, Liz Jensen, Cormac McCarthy, Sylvia Plath, Tom McCarthy, Alan Moore. Great, clever, ingenious writers. Beautiful sentencesmiths – that is important to me, far more than the story itself.

How do you market yourself?

Badly.

I’m not sure I agree with you. You get around *wink.* How much research do you do for your books?

Virtually none. It’s all in my head.

You must have a lot of information stored in there. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of being a writer?

I like the white space aspects of writing. Exploring the blank page in front of me at the beginning of a piece. The first pages of a novel are exciting, aren’t they!?  Actually, the blank page, meeting other lovely writers like yourself and the quest to construct the perfect sentence, are the only things I like about being a writer. The rest is an utter pain in the arse. Writers must be bonkers to even attempt the caper.

It’s always great connecting with other writers, but I agree that being an author is not an easy way to earn a living. What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? 

The start and the climax. The middle is the actual work. Not a marketing man at all – like pulling teeth. My own.

I hear you, marketing is tough. Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it?

Yes. Absolutely essential. Otherwise, what is the point exactly?

I understand. For me, it’s the journey, but sometimes it’s a long, hard one. Do you outline, plot and structure, or do you just sit down and write?

No. I’m a pantser, in that lovely YA-influenced olden times phrase.

Me too! What is your best advice for new authors?

If you need a kitchen critique group, advice from a 101 blog, a book club, a phalanx of beta readers and slabs of reassurance about your work and abilities, you simply aren’t ready to publish your work, simple as. Sorry if that’s offensive.

Not at all. I think every writer is different. Some may need more support initially to get started. Tell us a bit about your relaunched book, Kevin And The Atomic Bomb. I know it’s a YA/NA novel under your pen name of Luke Rock. Why should people read it?

It’s a black comedy full of different characters and it is based squarely in the ten days following the British people’s disastrous decision to leave the European Union. There is a love story at its core, there are jokes, there is polemic, a really nasty villain of the type many of us have worked with in the past and best of all, there is an atomic bomb in a garage in the suburbs.

Wow, that’s timely! How long did it take for you to write it?

I wrote it in 2012. It took six months and then I have completely rewritten in it in the last ten days, the hardest work I’ve done for a while.

Screen shot 2016-07-13 at 5.41.28 PMWhat inspired you to rewrite the book?

I published it under my own name and a different title in May 2012. The market reacted favourably to other books of mine, notably Carla (my most critically acclaimed book), but this one got a bit lost. I depubbed after three weeks. Then, when the British public decided to commit economic suicide en masse, I saw an opportunity to republish it, completely rebranded, titled, authornamed and covered.

Incidentally, it is quite political, but you can skip those bits and still enjoy it, assuming you don’t hate me for it, in which case bollocks.

Bollocks indeed! Let’s take a look at the book.

Kevin and the Atomic e-cover

Buy link: Amazon US | UK | Canada

Blurb for: Kevin And The Atomic Bomb

What would YOU do if you were the most powerful single human being alive?

Kevin Taylor’s got problems.

His maintenance grant is being cut, the leader of his protest group has designs on Rachel (his far-too-pretty-for-him girlfriend), DC are retconning their universe again and the local bullies make a habit of standing on his specs.

To top it all, his beloved mum is sick and her long term busybody “companion” is constantly in his face.

And all he really wants to do is play Doom.

Despatched to London along with his streetwise best friend, Ricky, his orders are to pick up two secret packages donated by a pan-national group of hardcore Euro-revolutionaries. A massive demonstration is planned and the group need these to raise the stakes.

When Verna -a mysterious and alluring Polish freedom fighter – donates a mysterious third package that no-one expects nor knows anything about, Kevin Taylor quickly comes to realise that his problems are only just beginning.

And his life as he knows it, and the life of everyone around him, is about to change forever.

Other information: The story takes place over ten days in the immediate aftermath of the British public’s decision to leave the European Union and in the context of the consequently collapsing economy.

How are you marketing the book?

Twitter and on FB. I use giveaways a lot.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from writing your book?

Books are of their time. There is a time and a place. In the first instance, when I set up my business, everyone bought Carla, one of my personal favourite novels. It sold well at one point, but is almost forgotten now. This one (Kevin) struggled in its original guise, but early signs are much more promising.

What is the best way for someone to support your book, aside from buying it?

When I publish the paperback, I’ll send it to you free if you review it!! You know, Eden, of all people, how important reviews are to small press and Indie authors. We can’t get reviewed in newspapers and it’s critical that we get the word of mouth. I sell quite a few books every quarter but I don’t get reviewed as often as some of my peers. I’m not sure why this happens. I would like that to change but hey, I’ll join the queue for the answer to that question.

Reviews are always tough to get. I’m happy to buy your book and read it. Let’s finish with a fun lightning round.

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? My ammunition crate full of vintage superhero comics, a photograph of a girlfriend, and this laptop.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? California – would love to meet my sidekick, your friend and mine, top fiction author Brenda Perlin, and I’m also a big fan of Lorraine Devon Wilke who has promised me muffins galore by the shore if I ever make it over again.

I’d travel over with my great friend Georgia Rose, romance author, noted horsewoman and paddock expert and we’d go to Santa Anita and pay for the trip using our combined horse selecting skills. I’ve just written a short story about Billy Idol on Highway One for Brenda’s new punk anthology and I had a great time researching it – would love to mountain bike up the Pacific Crest Trail too.

Name a food you can eat everyday.  KFC. Buckets of it. Unfortunately, it no longer loves me and we’ve been divorced for six weeks now.

Salty or sweet? As most ladies know, there’s nothing like something salty on birthdays and at Christmas.

Coffee or tea or something else? Tea – every time. Built an Empire!

Favorite style of music? Late sixties psychedelia. Beatles. Byrds. Jefferson Airplane. Janis. Floyd. Favourite band: Black Sabbath.

Your most guilty pleasure. Sleeping in when I should be up and about.

Favorite season. Autumn – that’s the original label for Fall to you North Americans, Eden!

Name something you cannot go a day without. Reading. More of a passion to me than writing.

Thanks so much for  your answers, Mark. I wish you success, no matter what name you write under! 

Readers, please find Mark at all his virtual homes below.

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Connect to Mark Barry aka Luke Rock

Mark Barry Author

Blog | Twitter @GreenWizard62

Amazon Page US | Amazon Page UK

Green Wizard Publishing

Mark Barry is a multi-genre writer and novelist. His work includes the minor cult hit Ultra Violence about football hooligans at a small Midlands football club and Carla, a quirky, dark, acclaimed romance with shades of Wuthering Heights.

He is the co-designer of the innovative Brilliant Books project aimed at engaging the many, many reluctant readers amongst young people. He has one son, Matt, on the  brink of University, with whom he shares a passion for Notts County Football Club.

Fast food, comics, music, reading, his friends on the Independent scene, and horse racing keep him interested and he detests selfish, narcissistic people and bullies of all kinds.

He is based in Nottingham and Southwell in the UK, the scene of most of his fiction.
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Music Monday moves with Falguni

I’m in New York City this week connecting with family and friends.

This is a tune played during the end of some of my yoga classes — it’s calming and haunting at the same time, and the message is a good one given the turbulence of the past week.

“Subah” by Falguni is from the album called At Ease.

Lie down, close your eyes, and enjoy.

Here’s wishing everyone a good, safe week.

~eden

 

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Author @TobyWNeal interviews @AuthorGilbert @ScotttheWriter and me for #LeiCrimeKW – Comment to WIN!

Fifteen authors have recently launched another round of books for Toby Neal’s LEI CRIME SERIES on Kindle Worlds. You can read more about the authors in interviews Toby is conducting on her blog.

Today, authors Julie C. Gilbert, Scott Bury, and I are in the hot seat! Come by, comment, and you’ll have multiple chances to win our books.

Hit the graphic below and you’re there. Good luck and look forward to chatting with you!

3 lei crime books


Happy Sunday!

eden **

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Eden’s Exchange talks to @AuthorAmyMetz

It’s a pleasure for me to introduce author, Amy Metz. She and I have crossed paths on several writing sites, and I wanted to learn more about her.

Amy is a lovely woman, so do connect to her and find out more about her books.

* * * *

Amy, welcome to Eden’s Exchange. Thrilled to have you here. How would your best friend describe you in 20 words or less?

I went straight to the source. He said, “A caring and sensitive mother and friend; always available to support others and is passionate about her beliefs and principles.”

How sweet.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would be a billionaire. Seriously, I would be an extrovert instead of introvert.

A billionaire extrovert wouldn’t be bad.😉 What profession other than your own would you like to try?

I’d love to be a travel photographer.

Do you have a motto you live by?

For my personal life: The golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

For my writing life:You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches.

I love that, and peaches are one of my favorite fruits. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

My children. I have two grown sons so I guess they’re actually not children anymore, but they will always be my babies and the best things I ever did.

Screen shot 2016-07-07 at 3.33.03 PM

You sound like an amazing mom, Amy. Let’s learn more about your writing life. How do you market yourself?

I think blog features like this one are effective in getting the word out about a book (thank you!), so I try to do as many as will have me. I also take advantage of any of the free services on the Internet, such as virtual bookshelves, author pages on various sites, or free or reduced book alert services. I have a list on my blog of marketing steps that I use: http://abluemillionbooks.blogspot.com/p/marketing.html

Screen shot 2016-07-07 at 3.33.20 PM

I look forward to connecting with you on your site too. What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?

Favorite: I love getting lost in a story and feeling like I’m in the scene.
Least favorite: editing. Specifically, the 100,000th round of editing.

Screen shot 2016-07-07 at 3.33.56 PM

I know the feeling well, Amy. Tell us about your typical writer’s day.

A typical day starts by answering emails and posting to Facebook and Twitter. Then I pull up whatever it is I’m working on and reread the section I wrote last. Next, I write or edit or rewrite, depending on the need. Somewhere along the way, I’ll need to check something online. I will probably see new emails and read them, and then something in an email will probably lead me to Facebook where I’ll be for I-don’t-know-how-long. Something on FB will probably lead me to another site like Twitter or Pinterest, where I’ll probably get lost again. I’ll eventually wonder what it was I came online to do, and I’ll finally go check out what I came online to do in the first place. Then I’ll go back to writing. Somewhere along the line, I’ll need to check something online. I will probably see new emails and read them, and then something in an email will lead me to Facebook to like or comment . . . you get the picture. That and a short break for lunch is pretty much my day.

Haha, my head was spinning reading your answer! Do you have advice for new authors?

Stay away from Facebook while you’re working.

I agree Facebook can be a huge energy sucker. What are some of your “must-have” tools for writing?  

I don’t need much. My laptop. Electricity. The Internet for thesaurus.com and research or checking facts. That’s about it.

Tell us the name and genre of your latest book.

Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction is a cozy mystery.

Rogues&Rascals

Buy link: Amazon 

Blurb for: Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction

Like any good Southern belle, Caledonia Culpepper was raised by her mama to be gracious, charming, witty, and above all, a devoted mother and loving wife, so she’s baffled when her marriage falls apart.

Wynona Baxter is a master of disguise but is often a ditzy airhead. A hit woman wannabe, when she’s hired for her first job in Goose Pimple Junction and things don’t go as planned, she’s forced to resort to Plan B. She’ll also need Plan C and D.

Crooked lawyers, restless husbands, a teenaged hoodlum – it seems there are rogues and rascals everywhere you look in Goose Pimple Junction.

When Caledonia and Wynona’s paths cross, they prove there isn’t a rogue or a rascal who can keep a good woman down. Mama always said there would be days like this . . .

Amy, why should people read the book?

I think if someone wants to get lost in a mystery that will make them laugh and make them want to move to a quirky small town where the community is fun, loving, and close-knit, they should read my books!

Sounds like a great reason to read it! How did you celebrate when you finished writing Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction?

I don’t think I celebrated when I finished writing the book, because as soon as I’m sure I’m finished, the editing process starts, which means the book isn’t really finished. I consider the book finished on launch day. On launch day, I went out to dinner at my favorite restaurant with my two sons, daughter-in-law, and my friend Tom.

I feel the same way. It’s only finished for me when it’s available for sale. What has the reception been to the book?

It has received great reviews so far, with twelve 5-star reviews and one 4-star review. But sales have been very slow, which is depressing.

I hope it ramps up soon, Amy. What is the best way for someone to support your book, aside from buying it?

Tell your friends. Tell them to tell their friends. Post a comment about it on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest. And post a review online on as many sites as you can.

What is next for you after this book?

I’m writing the fifth book in the series. Wynona and Caledonia will be back!

That’s excellent news! Let’s finish with a fun lightning round.

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? My computer. It pretty much has my life on it.

Salty or sweet? Sweet. A day without something sweet isn’t a day.

Coffee or tea or something else? Tea. Preferably sweet tea—hot or cold. With a lemon!

Cat/dog/other pet? Dog. I love dogs, but I hate the fur that sheds all over everything and everywhere.

Your most guilty pleasure. Donuts. I love them. There’s a store near my house that sells Boston Cream Pie donuts. Oh. My. Gosh.

Favorite season. Fall. I love the colors, the crisp air, and the temps below 80. And I love Halloween.

Name something you cannot go a day without. My iPhone. Not necessarily for the phone feature, but for the email, notes, text message, photo, camera, Google and Google Maps, Audible, Kindle, calculator, clock, and Solitaire apps!

Thank you so much for hosting me!

You are most welcome, Amy. Readers, please find her at all her virtual homes below.

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Connect to Amy

AmyMetz

Website | Blog | Twitter @AuthorAmyMetz

Amazon Author Page | LinkedIn

Facebook | Goodreads | Google +

Amy Metz is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series. She is a former first grade teacher and the mother of two sons. When not actively engaged in writing, enjoying her family, or surfing Facebook or Pinterest, Amy can usually be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in one hand and a glass of sweet tea in the other. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Eden’s Exchange talks to author @MarsDorian #scifi

I first connected with Mars Dorian on Twitter some years ago, not long after I started writing. We’ve been friends ever since.

Each exchange, no matter how brief is always a treat for me. Mars is a delightful human being who deserves every success because he works so hard at it.

And yet, he makes it look effortless. His presence on social media is superb and few people do it as well as he does—we can all learn from him!

It’s a pleasure for me to finally welcome Mars to my blog and highlight his work as a science fiction author.

Be sure to connect to him. He’s definitely worth your time.:)

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Mars, welcome to Eden’s Exchange. Thrilled to have you here. Please tell my readers where you live.

Berlin. And I’m love-hating it. Love, because it’s an open-minded city with affordable rent, grrreat creative events and unique people. Hate, because it’s getting more criminal, dirty and dark. Sounds like hokus-pokus, or maybe I’ve lived here for too long, but the city seems to suck my creative energies, I need change.

I’d love to visit you. Don’t leave yet! If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I was more business-savvy and entrepreneurial-spirited. My parents are both creatives, and their chaotic daydreaming spirit has wandered over to me. It’s fun and fulfilling, but it also leads to many decisions that are dumb from a biz point of view. So less introvert daydreamer, more outgoing business man. But maybe it’s DNA. I’ll tell you in a year.

Please do.😉 What profession other than your own would you like to try?

In my early twenties, I wanted to become a movie director in Hollywood, but then I realized I hated waking up early and working with people. I still would love to see a movie made by me, I just hate all the steps it would take to get there.

Mars, at least you know yourself well! Do you have a motto you live by?

I stole this one from Mark Schaefer this year, a writing mentor and popular marketing blogger over at http://www.businessesgrow.com/.

The wise man said, “Growth and comfort can’t coexist.”

It’s my motto for 2016, to try things that challenge my comfort and hopefully grow my personality, finances and overall life.

Challenging your comfort zone is always a good thing, though I think your personality is already HUGE. Let’s learn more about your writing. What motivates you to do it?

I love telling stories, ever since my mother bought the first comic edition of Ghostbusters when I was seven years old. From that day on, I used comic-drawing, type-writng (remember that?) and conventional painting to tell stories.

As an adult, I find writing to be the purest and most accessible style to heart-reach a human being on the other side of the planet.

What a wonderful way of putting it. How do you market yourself?

I’ve built up an email list with over 1300 peeps that I write to once my new book comes out. I also have regular readers who give me honest reviews for new books, which helps build up social proof for the launch. I use Amazon’s marketing tools such as the Kindle countdown deal or the temporary free option to shoot up the sales ranks, or try to. Recently, I’ve started learning more about book promotion sites but I need more experience and knowledge to properly understand their merit. Other than that, it’s the good old ‘constantly ship quality books for your target audience.’

Quality. Yes. Name a few authors and books, and why you like them.

As a sci-fi writer, I try to avoid reading too much sci-fi to avoid idea incest and samey samey stories. So years ago, when I was looking for different authors to admire, I stumbled upon Don Winslow, a SoCal thriller writer. His book Savages, about two guys setting up a cannabis empire in California and pissing off a major Mexican cartel, inspired me. The man writes in a way that I hadn’t seen before: Don breaks the fourth wall, berates his characters in the middle of a paragraph, writes staccato minimalist prose with the beauty of a lyrical song text. And then you read his witty dialogue, bam. I’ve since read ten books penned by Don and it has deepened my literary love for his unconventional prose and storytelling.

Don sounds amazing. I must add him to my list. How much research do you do for your books?

I watch science videos every single day on Youtube, ranging from how space rockets work to how terraforming Mars could look like. I also use the online tool Evernote to collect and save articles about any technology I want to include in my stories, such as nano-medicine, miniature robots, AI, FTL-traveling and genome engineering. Even though I put characters and stories always first, I want to make sure that the worlds I create are based on (possible) science.

attack planetVery cool way of doing it Mars. How would you define your style of writing?

Minimalist, fast-paced, short-chapter-ish prose with the occasional word play and witty dialogue. Don Winslow, don’t sue me.

Ha! Don Winslow is lucky to have you as a true fan, Mars. Do you outline, plot and structure, or do you just sit down and write?

I write a character sheet for the protagonists and antagonists, where I clarify their wants, their voice and unique traits slash skills. Based on that, I craft a thousand word treatment that shows what must happen in each act of the story (I follow the trusted three act structure). The main parts of every story are: opening scene, premise, mid-point, mirror moment, showdown, and of course resolution. Once I’ve finished all that, I start writing the first draft. This sounds very plott-y, but there’s still a lot of making-things-up-on-the-go. I for example don’t outline my scenes, because that would take away any surprise on my end. So sixty-five percent plotting, thirty-five percent pantsing.:)

Do you have a set schedule for writing? Tell us about your typical writer’s day.

I write during the day while listening to video game soundtracks and/or J-pop. Since I use the writing software Scrivener, I can track my daily writing goal in the form of a status bar that fills up the more you write. My goal is to write at least 2K words a day, 1K being the absolute minimum.

fear the liberator

What are some of your “must-have” tools for writing? 

The writing software is the most important part in my creative arsenal. Back when I wrote in Word, writing was less than half the fun it’s now. Scrivener, available for Mac and Windows, is in my opinion the best writing software for authors who write non/fiction. It’s organization of chapters is a dream, the options for writing and tracking your goals are amazing, and the possibility to formate any digital book file (epub, mobi, PDF, etc.) without coding experience makes it the perfect tool for self-publishing authors. I know I sound like a double-used car salesman, but I simply love products that drastically help my career.

I agree you need good tools. Writing in itself is hard enough. What is the name and genre of your latest book?

Vanguard Galaxy. It’s about an ambitious ex-military captain taking a cybernetic ship crew to the rim of the known galaxy to establish contact with a sentient life form. I guess some people call that genre space opera, but it does sound cheesy, that’s why I call it galactic sci-fi.:)

Here is the cover and blurb.

Vanguard-Galaxy_Flattened

Buy links: Amazon US | UK | Canada | Germany

Vanguard Galaxy

Rising cruiser captain Tellride fails a secret asteroid assault and kills his military career. Fortunately for the captain, one of the solar system’s biggest corps hires him to lead an elite ship crew billions of kilometers across the mysterious space.

The mission: initiate contact with the first advanced alien known to mankind.

Sounds simple, especially when equipped with a biomorphic spaceship, hi-tech arms and elite members with cybernetic skills. But when deceptive aliens and archenemies from past battles collide, the question of success becomes one of survival.

“Vanguard Galaxy is filled with twists and turns, cool new tech, witty dialogue and epic space encounters…” ~ Ioangu

“If you’re into future tech, epic space battles, and a nice twisty plot, then this is the book you were looking for.” ~ Brandon Stewart

 

Why should people read Vanguard Galaxy?

If you’re open to sci-fi and want to read fast-paced, future-packed rides with diverse characters, cool new tech, and witty dialogue, you should check Mars Dorian out. There’s also a sense of wonder I want to instill in readers.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from writing it?

That you have to keep your target market in mind. My first books flopped abysmally because I told stories no one cared about and used weird comic covers trying to (desperately) sell them. Nowadays, I’m very conscious of my audience and how to reach them, e.g. through adequate covers, targeted stories (that still end up unique and weird), and the proper promotion. Self-awareness is by the far most important skill here—knowing yourself, and the market where you want to position yourself.

What makes your books stand out from the crowd?

My unique storytelling style, the diverse set of characters, definitely the dialogue and the world-building. Once you read a Mars Dorian book, you will recognize my style because no one writes the way I do. I want to believe readers who dig that style keep coming back because they can’t get that experience anywhere else.

I read an early book of yours and I agree. Your style is uniquely YOU. What inspired you to write Vanguard Galaxy?

I often dream about the future and wonder how humanity would act as an advanced, spacefaring civilization. If we had the technology to travel and colonize much of the solar system, what would we discover in far away galaxies, which I call the Rim. And who would explore this ‘new’ frontier—governments, the military or even corporations in their future form? How would alien discoveries change our race? So many far-flung questions I wanted to jam-pack into a tight galactic sci-fi thriller.

What is next for you, Mars?

I want to explore the concept of exoplanet colonization, and how it changes us from a mental and genetic point of view. If we on Earth already differentiate between nationalities (German versus Canadian), how would that differ if humans evolved on different planets (Earthling versus Martian?). I believe we would turn into different humanoid species with vastly different cultures, and that’s a fascinating opportunity for stories.

It is indeed. Your science fiction is like nothing I’ve read before, and everyone should try it. Let’s finish with a fun lightning round!

Name a food you can eat everyday. Pho soup. I almost hit my local vietnamese snack bar daily for the necessary fix.

Salty or sweet? How about bitter? Lemon, especially.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? I love the former territories of the Queen—Australia and America. Canada is next on my list, I’m going there for at least 6-12 months beginning in 2017. There’s something fresh about these countries, opposed to ancient Europe which comes with a stale flavor.

Coffee or tea or something else? I love a German ice-tea brand that makes (somewhat) unique combos, such as green tea mixed with cactus pear. They produce two liter packages only, and in my weaker moments, I down them on a single day.

Your most guilty pleasure. Sounds trivial, but my doctors told me to trim down on the sugar intake. I’ve managed that goal somewhat, but I’m still hooked to a Bavarian Hipster-Drink based on the Mate flower from South America called Club Mate. It comes with only one third the sugar of a regular coke, someone told me. Or maybe that’s what I wish to believe.

Favorite style of music? I love Japanese pop and indie electronic music with video game elements, such as Lapfox who’s Canadian by the way.:)

Favorite season. Autumn. I like the melancholic and morbid atmo it often brings when the wind blows the dying leaves from the tree-crowns. Autumn is also an excuse to stay inside, cuddle up and do work in front of the computer while enjoying hot chocolate.

Name something you cannot go a day without. I’m training myself to be emotionally independent from pretty much every object and thing, including the Internet.

Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers? Follow me on Twitter @marsdorian if you have any questions or just want to connect.

Mars, I knew you would be a fascinating subject and you did not disappoint. When you come to Canada, you must visit me, okay? 

Readers, please find Mars on his incredible website and connect to him! You will learn SO much. 

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Connect to Mars

MarsDorian2014

Website | Twitter @marsdorian | Amazon Author Page

Facebook | Goodreads

Mars Dorian is a recovering world traveler, a web-based illustrator and an indie sci-fi author.

He’s created artwork for startups and popular podcasts such as The Unmistakable Creative and written viral articles for renowned marketing blog ‘Grow’ by Mark Schaefer.

He loves telling compelling stories using words and pictures, dealing with future technologies and how they impact human lives…forever. His books tackle futuristic topics such as privatized military, human/alien contacts and cybernetic humanity.

When Mars is not busy getting lost in the worlds he has created, he can be contacted via his website www.marsdorian.com/contact

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Multi-genre author @BRChitwood releases PHOENIX FIRE

Multi-published author, Billy Ray Chitwood, has just released another book, and I’m very pleased to spread the news! He writes in multiple genres, and this book will surely appeal to the romantics in all of us.

Let’s learn more about Phoenix Fire in a short interview, along with a FREE chapter to whet your appetite! 

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Chatting with Billy Ray Chitwood

You’re known for your mystery/suspense books. Many of them are based on real life stories. What is it about Phoenix Fire that makes it unique and romantic?

Phoenix Fire is the result of a reworking and editing of another manuscript. The book was originally published with a different cover, but I was not pleased with it. It failed the ‘first impression’ test as the image did not convey that it was a romance. I consider the book a very good read, so I’m extremely pleased with the new cover.

When you add in the fact that I’m a ‘romantic’, I like love tales, and Phoenix Fire is a great love story.

What is the inspiration for Phoenix Fire?

My twin granddaughters: beautiful of body and soul – both now happily married. They were cheerleaders for the Baltimore Ravens for several years, and the great news is they’re coming to visit me. The book’s dedication belongs to them.

Of all the different books you’ve written so far, which is your personal favorite and why?

Phoenix Fire and my best selling book, Mama’a Madness. Mama’s Madness was inspired by true events, which were awful to imagine and write about. It was gut-wrenching in the penning, and hopefully of some value. There are 52 reviews on Amazon.

Thank you, Billy Ray! Find all book details below, including the buy links for Phoenix Fire.

phoenix fire

Buy Links

Amazon Kindle: US | UK | Worldwide

Paperback: Amazon US |  Amazon UK

 

Phoenix Fire

A Phoenix, Arizona entrepreneur and an ad agency director fall in love in a most unusual way. Their relationship is interrupted by sibling clashes, a gambling addiction, a murder, and a matriarch’s secret that ultimately causes emotional chaos and disorientation. This is a book that will draw the reader into the story and compel them to stay glued until the end. The gripping climax to PHOENIX FIRE is powerful, and tissues are recommended. Treat yourself to a marvelous romance, mixed with some suspense and a desert odyssey to save one’s soul. A truly great read.

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Read the latest review

I received an advance copy of “Phoenix Fire” to review because I have read many of Billy Ray Chitwood’s books. He clearly is an author who loves to write because his genres range from suspense to crime to memoir to political opinion to psychological thrillers to “Phoenix Fire,” a a blend of romance and suspense, heavy into characters’ psychology and psychopathology. I am admittedly a fan—especially enjoying Chitwood’s frequent dips into depraved human psychology and behavior—and “Phoenix Fire” does not disappoint. The sibling rivalry is perverse yet believable, and the protagonist’s inner-demons are understandable, deadly, yet something to be risen above. Bravo, Mr. Chitwood, for another enjoyable two-day read (I read quickly wanting to see what would happen next.).

— Timothy M. Tays

Chapter One

She was lost in the brightness, a magnificent static whiteness, alluring and warm. It was an easy place to be, if it was a place. Perhaps it was a state, a bright and new awareness, a safe and final destination.

She only knew that her essence was etched in the great luminous energy and she did not wish to leave it. The light seemed to be transporting her outward, expanding some awesome truth, recently possessed, and she wanted only to remain and to become whatever the promising ecstasy.

Then, there came a shimmer of interference, vaguely emanating from the mystic fringes, slowly fragmenting the weightless pool of white. There was a rippling which nudged her new awareness, gently precluding her anticipated oneness with the expanding light.

Then came sound, soft and beckoning, like a bird chirping in slow motion, becoming stronger and more strident. She resisted the sound and the fragmenting but she could not pull herself onward into the radiant void. Like a swimmer urgently breast stroking against a strong noiseless tide, she felt herself dipping, sinking, then free-falling from the disintegrating brilliance.

She became conscious of her head shaking in sidelong negation of the interference, her lips silently murmuring, ‘no, no, let me stay! Please let me stay!’

Then she acknowledged the inevitable full immersion back to a solid, contoured reality. The bird chirps became loud concerned voices. The ripples became caring and caressing hands.

The hard ground was cold.  She began to shiver, felt the urge to rise, but was somehow constricted. Her mind made some adjustments and she suddenly knew where she was, how she had gotten there.

Finally, she slowly opened her eyes with a fluttery acceptance of her immediate environment. A man’s face came into focus, hovering two feet above her own. She felt pinned down and quickly discovered that the man was astride her. There was a momentary sense of panic but something about the man’s face made her relax.

A light rain fell, and she was conscious of wet hair matted to her face and forehead. The sky was a dull gray, and skinny treetops came to her peripherally as some surreal apparitions. The man’s concerned face gave her a final focus. She remembered what had happened.

The lightning! She recalled an awful clap of thunder, so jarring and harsh, so totally upon her, instantaneously enveloping her in its loud and splintered brightness. She remembered the searing, exquisite pain that had so consummately wracked her body and mind.

She had been jogging and she must have been struck by lightning. As she blinked from the raindrops and the accounting of the lightning strike, she felt lethargic and without purpose. She had been struck by lightning, yet there was no panic, no real sense of urgency.

The man’s hands left her chest and he studied her with a tender and squinted concern. She felt the weight of his body leaving her, felt a great rush of air fill her chest. The man lifted himself from her but his soft blue eyes remained upon her face.

They were beautiful eyes, shrouded by dark cavernous brows. Wisps of his black hair was pasted about his forehead, and he made odd movements with his lips as though making an adjustment.

Her own lips felt strangely tender to the touch of her tongue, and, in a moment of clarity, she understood: the man had given her mouth to mouth resuscitation.

The man then spoke, softly, his voice conveying a cultured refinement and pleasant resonance. “Can you move your arms and legs?”

She understood the question and lifted her head tentatively, feeling her hands, arms, and legs slowly move to her inner commands. She nodded to the handsome stranger who knelt above and to her side. She managed a small, sad smile of gratitude.

“And can you speak?” He returned her smile.

“Yes, I think so,” came her weak reply.

She noticed for the first time a small group of people standing off to her right, near a park utility shed. She heard a siren off in the distance, its sound increasing in volume. She attempted to rise from the ground.

“Maybe you should stay where you are until you’ve been medically checked. Are you feeling much pain?” The man lightly touched her shoulder.

As her powers of observation became more keen she noticed how the man was dressed. He wore faded red denim shorts, a powder blue sweat shirt which matched his eyes, white athletic socks, and Adidas jogging shoes. Her own ensemble of white shorts, blue top, white socks, and Nike shoes merged nicely with the man’s attire.

She answered the question. “No, I don’t think so, not pain so much. It’s sort of dull aching almost everywhere about my body. I think I’m okay. You’re very kind to help me. Thank you.”

“No ‘thanks’ necessary. It was kind of freaky the way that cloud exploded above us. You just got unlucky, and I suppose we could be faulted for jogging when a storm was brewing …”

The man stopped talking as he saw the flashing lights and heard the diminishing siren whirr of an approaching ambulance.

Uniformed EMTs rushed from the ambulance to the woman’s side, their faces intent and focused. She watched as they quickly set up equipment and prepared for various medical checks. She was beginning to feel confident that her body had not sustained any permanent damage, although some tingling sensations remained in her legs.

After all the medical tests were run, she heard an attendant announce that her vital signs were normal, that she was stable.

The visage of the handsome stranger stayed with her, after the ambulance attendants had displaced him. The image of his dark hair wet against the brow stayed with her, even when he became a blur on the gray fringe of the rainy day crowd. His face stayed with her even beyond the hospital’s emergency room where she was pronounced hale, hearty, and lucky to be alive. His soft smile stayed even when she had returned to her spacious Scottsdale condominium.

*   *   *   *

Connect to Billy Ray

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