A Proper Charlie is a contemporary romance and sums up what the genre is all about: fun, ‘finding yourself’ and relationships. Charlie Wallis is a ditzy redhead but her heart is in the right place. Without a family, she was … Continue reading
sock puppeting until I started reading some of the Amazon Forums and literally
in the title of the board it said “NO SELF-PROMOTION.” I had no intention of
self-promoting; in fact, I find it awkward to self-promote. I know I’m supposed
to, but I’ve never been the kind of person to say, “hey, read my book! It’s
When I went through the boards, I realized how many writers have
absolutely no problem telling the world how amazing they are. Even if they are
using fake names, it’s so obvious that it’s the author or at least one of their
friends. It’s usually when they go into loglines and details that give it away.
The really great puppeteers recommend a bunch of other books first, then later
after they’ve developed a rapport with the board members pitch their book. At
that point, at least they had the courtesy to connect with the other
contributors to the board.
advocates blatantly spams the boards with their book advertisements, that’s
when I understand why someone would add “NO SELF-PROMOTION,” to the title. It
completely took away from the discussion that people were trying to have. It’s
disruptive and forced and actually makes me not want to read their book. Do
people really think that just randomly going on to message boards and
recommending their own book will actually bring in sales? Does it? I can’t
imagine that it does. If anything, it would turn people off.
find hard to stomach is when authors respond to bad reviews. Either they respond as themselves or as “an
angry fan.” It always sounds sad and pathetic. If I had any advice to authors
it’s simply: Never respond to a bad review. Yes, bad reviews are hard to read,
but they are actually a good thing.
I had a bad review that ended up being
great for sales. The reviewer said how much they hated my book Riser because it felt like reading a
cross between Twilight and Percy Jackson. To that particular person
that was a bad thing, to me, it was exactly what I was going for when I wrote
the book so it was a great compliment to me. And it was very helpful to
potential buyers. They would know that if they hated both those books they’d
probably dislike mine, but to the people who loved those books chances are
they’d really enjoy my book.
C Smith received her Film degree from Full Sail University and has worked in
the Film and Television industry for most of her adult life.
co-author of the teen graphic novel Ghost Whisperer: The Haunted and also
wrote and illustrated Little Family Secrets, a graphic novel based on the true
story of her great aunt who was famous for murdering her husband.
But that’s the least of her problems. It’s 2320 and Chelsan Derée has to survive another year of high school, which for her is pure and utter torture, mainly due to the fact that her schoolmate Jill Forester’s favorite activity is making Chelsan’s life a living hell. If that isn’t enough, Chelsan’s impossible crush on Ryan Vaughn makes her brain do somersaults on a regular basis, especially since she is positive he doesn’t know she exists. And being eighteen Chelsan has to deal with the pressure of whether or not she should take a little pill called Age-pro, which cures aging, making the world eighteen forever and highly over-populated.
When Chelsan’s mother, Janet, is brutally killed, along with everyone else in her trailer park, Chelsan finds out that she was the intended target. Chelsan must use her power to raise and control the dead to save herself, protect her friends and take down the man responsible for murdering her mother.
Becca C. Smith
explain. My gift, or curse (I’ll let you decide for yourself) to put it simply
is I can raise the dead. I know, sounds
cheesy, but fortunately, or unfortunately it’s true, and I don’t mean just
people. Basically, anything that had any
kind of life: plants, animals, insects,
plankton, anything, I can bring
back. The only catch is they’re not
really alive anymore, they’re just animated, like zombies I guess, but I
control them. Plants are the
easiest. My mom’s garden is the prize of
the trailer park, and she should take no credit whatsoever.
complicated, maybe because there are so many working parts. I’m really not sure. My ability is still kind of a mystery to me. I have no clue why I have this power. It’s not like I’ve ever heard of anyone else
having this particular skill either, except in books and movies. I appear to be an anomaly in this world.
I knew I saw things differently than everyone else. My pet goldfish, Larry, died and a black
spinning hole appeared in the center of his body. I thought it was just about the coolest thing
I had ever seen. When I told my mother
about it, she gave me a look that I’ll never forget. It was a mixture of confusion and
horror. She simply nodded and made me promise
that I would never under any circumstances tell anyone else about what I
saw. I was instantly ashamed and scared
at her reaction, but something in the way that she said it made me keep my
holes everywhere, from the tiniest dead insects, to the neighbor’s dog when he
was hit by a hover car (don’t ask), to Ms. Thompkins when she died from a heart
attack. The churning black masses had
become second nature to me by then. At
that point, I still didn’t know why I
could see them and I was scared to death to talk to anyone about it. I kept to myself mostly, afraid I would slip
and say something to a neighbor or friend.
stepfather Bruce that I figured out that I could raise the dead. I never wanted to take Bruce’s life: hurt
maybe, kill no. And that’s saying a lot
seeing as he used to use my mom as a punching bag. He’d make me sit in the corner of our beat up
trailer and watch him kick the living crap out of her. He’d laugh when I’d scream, he’d laugh when
she’d scream, he’d laugh when he’d
scream on the few occasions my mom fought back and actually inflicted pain on
a jerk, but he didn’t deserve to die, not like he did, not like how I killed
him. I still can’t believe it had been
eleven years since it all happened. It
felt like yesterday and forever ago all at once.
invisible transgression to piss Bruce off and he took it as a cue for another
beating. Mom was having one of her
comatose days, where I could tell she was just going to take it and hope that
he got bored quickly from her unresponsiveness.
slammed her against the flimsy trailer wall of the kitchen with his beefy
forearm. Tiny bits of ceiling floated
down like snow on his greasy balding scalp.
He sneered at her with glee, but she wouldn’t give him the satisfaction
of eye contact. She just kept her eyes
down, arms dropped harmlessly at her side.
Bruce went on a furious rampage.
He punched her, pulled her hair, kicked her stomach, tried anything to
get a response out of her, but she just lay there like a rag doll on the
peeling linoleum floor.
wheeled around to face me.
reaction from my mother. Bruce was in
ecstasy. He stormed towards me like an
enraged bull. I could almost see steam
coming out of his bulbous nose. Then
literally feel every vertebra in my spine as all forty-five pounds of me
slammed against the wall from the impact of Bruce’s fist to my stomach. My world started to spin; everything was in
blurred double vision. My mother’s
hysterical screams echoed in my head like a horrific nightmare. I couldn’t focus.
feel my nose crunch when he hit me a second time. It felt like it was really runny, but when I
tried to wipe it clean my hands came away covered in blood. The combination of Bruce’s frantic laughter
and my mother’s anguished screeches made it impossible to think clearly. I think I started to whimper at this
point. My ribs were so bruised it hurt
to breathe let alone move my chest to have a good cry like I wanted to.
life where you don’t think rationally.
In fact, you don’t think at all, you just let your survival instinct
take over. It becomes about you or your
blink fast enough to clear my vision.
eye started to swell from Bruce’s backhand making it even more difficult to
focus. At this point my mother, like a
wailing Banshee, propelled herself onto Bruce’s back and started pounding her
fists onto any piece of flesh she could find.
I could hear Bruce’s low chuckle at my mom’s feeble attempt to stop him. From the sound of his amusement I could tell
that today was the most fun he’d had in years.
short controlled breaths I took this moment of solace to re-gain my
bearings. And that’s when I saw it: a blurred swirling black hole in the corner
of the trailer.
thrown my mother clear across the room.
Her body collapsed into unconsciousness as her head punched a hole
through the trailer’s wall.
a horrible, terrible scream: a scream that only a child could make whose world
had just been crushed, whose mommy had just been smashed against a wall,
leaving her daughter alone, defenseless, a scream that would make any human who
possessed an ounce of parenting instincts come running, without thinking,
without rational thought. And I couldn’t
stop. Even Bruce had to cover his ears
from the onslaught of shrieking. But
Bruce’s instincts weren’t to mother, they were to destroy and he started
him, fists raised, plowing forward, I suddenly felt inexplicably tied to that
black swirling chasm across the room. I
was a part of it. It was almost as if
strings connected us together. And I did
the only thing I could.
didn’t know what I was doing, but I suddenly understood that I physically
controlled the black holes. I was
connected to them like they were an extension of my own body, like they were my
bellowed in pain as we both realized at the same time what I had brought back
of venom and ready to attack.
over I made the spider tear its fangs into Bruce’s body: his neck, his arms,
his legs, his chest. Bruce swatted the
spider, squished the spider, tore it in two, but nothing he did could stop it.
now. I could see a small black tornado
forming in Bruce’s chest.
overtook every fiber of my soul as I realized what I had just done, what I was
still doing. I dropped my connection to
the spider instantly. It fell lifeless
to the floor once more, the black void churning madly in its center.
over to Bruce’s body, leaving a trail of blood from my broken nose. He was convulsing on the ground, his body
seizing from the poison coursing through his veins. He was dying and there was nothing I could do
you do?” My mother’s voice cut through
the near silent grunting and gagging of Bruce’s dying moments.
seen the whole thing.
horrified all in one condemning expression.
I wasn’t sure if she was upset about losing Bruce or that her seven-year-old
child had just become a murderer.
Bruce’s eyes rolled back in his head.
His last breath was rattling and eerily hushed. It seemed to last an eternity. As if the oxygen in his lungs didn’t want to
leave his body and clung to whatever life it could hold on to.
into my mother’s eyes. She couldn’t
speak. She couldn’t move. A small line of blood trickled into her eye
from a gash on her forehead, but she didn’t flinch. She just looked into my eyes with a blankness
more terrifying than any emotion could be.
she finally croaked. Her voice was
gravelly from screaming.
all she could say. It was agony to see
her so dead in the eyes, face, body… just staring. I would have given anything I had just to
stop her from looking at me with those empty eyes. Her vacant stare felt like a howl of pain so
excruciating I almost covered my ears from the silence. At least then I would have been able to hear
my own muffled heartbeat. Any noise
would have been better than the oppressive judging stillness.
was when I realized what I had to do. To
break her out of this coma she was encasing herself into. I turned to Bruce. To his raging black abyss spiraling like a
whirlpool deep inside his chest. And I switched him on. Just like the spider. He was a bit clumsy at first. I had to concentrate as hard as my
seven-year-old brain would let me just to get him in a sitting position. But
after a moment or two it became easier and easier and he began to feel like an
extension of me. It was an eerie
sensation as my thoughts mirrored Bruce’s movements. I would think of his arm moving and it would
move. I would think of him speaking and…
made Bruce call to my mother.
snapped her completely out of her stupor.
She watched him in shock and overwhelming relief. “Bruce?”
made him cry. Cry like he never could do
when he was alive. I made him cry until
his face and clothes were drenched with his tears. “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry,” I made him repeat over and
over as he sobbed in the aftermath of the day’s destruction.
crawled over to the two of us, renewed hope in her eyes. Whether she knew what I was doing or not, she
didn’t say. All that mattered was that
she wanted to believe it. She needed to
believe it. I could see it in her
face. I made Bruce embrace the two of us
with a tenderness he was never capable of before. I was doing this for me as much as for my
mother at this point. Feeling his strong
arms around me, holding me close, affectionate, loving. It was the first time
in my life I felt like I had a father: a real dad. I nestled in closer. When my mom saw this she did the same. We both had contented expressions on our
bloody bruised faces. I let Bruce
sputter and jabber about how much he loved the two of us, how he would never
hurt us again, how he was a changed man…
day he became the best father anyone could ever ask for.
disturbing way, that Bruce is a better father dead than he ever was alive. He’s the easiest for me to control now
because he was my first, and I’ve had a lot of practice since. It’s almost as if he’s really alive
sometimes. But every time I watch his
face go slack when he’s watching his holo-tv or he stinks so bad I have to puppeteer
him in the shower, I remember.
dead. Truly dead.
There was that woman again.
sitting on the wooden bench looking up at the church and then occasionally in
my direction. I crouched at the graveside, pushing stems of daisies and carnations
through the wire holes in the top of the vase.
gloves back on before stepping back to admire my handiwork. The flowers looked
pretty. There was a plaque – but only my brother was buried there, my parents’
ashes had been scattered over the top.
wrapped in and mashed it in my hands. I could still feel the curious stare of
the woman, whom I did my best to ignore. The bins were by the bench. I headed
over, keeping my head low.
pulled up the collar on my coat, not only to block out this stranger’s
inquisitive eyes but because the air was stinging my cheeks. I wondered how she
could sit for so long without freezing up.
polite, I thought, as I walked away.
standing and falling into step beside me. ‘Do you think we’ll have snow?’
think it can be safely said that winter has arrived,’ she said. ‘Are you a
winter person, Valerie?’
anal questions too. She didn’t bother to wait for an answer, which was good,
seeing as I wasn’t going to supply one but prattled on with another:
glance. ‘Not any more.’
hoping to be first through the gates. But it didn’t happen like that and we
ended up locked together between black iron.
back and allowing me to exit first. I gave her a no-nonsense smile, and stepped
through the gates towards my car. The car park was almost empty, so I couldn’t
understand why a bright red Mini was parked so close to my Vectra.
horrible feeling the Mini was hers. I bleeped my car open, but there was no way
I could get access unless it was from the passenger side.
keys and bleeped her car. ‘Brilliant things, aren’t they?’ she said.
pointed at her car. ‘You’ve an entire car park at your disposal, and you chose
to park not only next to me, but right on top so I can’t get in!’
smile only got wider. She winked, then circled to the driver’s side of her car
where she slid behind the wheel. ‘Take care of that blood pressure of yours,’
she said and closed the door.
drove towards work.
couldn’t understand because the lights were green. Impatiently, I stabbed at my
horn with the heel of my hand, and a car in front of the car I was behind shot
off just as the lights changed to red. I noticed it was the Mini from the
graveyard. ‘Typical,’ I muttered.
was summer time, and she was on that same bench and I was tending to the grave.
She’d smiled but hadn’t attempted to speak. Come to think of it, I’d seen her
before then too, and I remembered her because she was wearing a bright green
raincoat with a huge sunflower on the back. At first glance I thought it had
been a target board.
she had lost family too, I thought. I’ll change my visits from the middle of
every month to the end. That way I’d not encounter her again.
climbed the stairs. It wasn’t that I wanted the exercise, I just didn’t like
lifts. I didn’t like most things to be honest: animals, people, modern music,
Keith Lemon to name a few. I liked numbers and data. They were my forte; safe
and solid numbers.
first floor was all taken by one firm, and besides saying ‘hello’ we never
spoke at all. I shared the top floor with an accountancy firm. I rented the
largest office, which had a connecting door to a smaller one. The smaller
office was mine, and it overlooked Sallington Park; the other room was for my
between them – all two of them. I ran a financial advisory brokerage for Sunny
Oak. I pushed open the door.
appointment,’ Tim informed me before I was barely over the threshold, ‘and I’ve
chased Tracey Sadark for her previous insurance details. She’s promised to
phone them through later this afternoon. I’ve three new appointments booked for
tonight and it’s only eleven o’clock! Oh, and I’ve ordered new stationery from
HQ, but there’s going to be a delay on stamps for the new logo.’ He jumped up
to give me his list and then proceeded over to the bubbling percolator and
poured me a coffee. He was Tim the Tireless. At five foot nothing and
approaching retirement age Tim would never walk if he could run.
grinned and handed me a cup of steaming coffee that resembled tar – just as I
liked it. ‘I’ve arranged an interview for your new assistant at three tomorrow
afternoon.’ He whipped out his notebook. ‘I’ve her details –’
get into the sanctuary of my office. My eyes fell on a pile of customer files
still sitting on top of the filing cabinet. ‘Paul?’ I said, pointing. ‘Why
hasn’t the filing been done?’
He insisted on calling me by my surname at all times. He’d only recently learned
to stop standing when I entered a room, so small mercies. I noticed that he was
busy sorting coloured paperclips into little piles of blue, red and pink, on
and then at the files. ‘Are they for filing?’
and probably before the weekend, too. Do it immediately, this inefficiently of
yours is getting ridiculous!’
to the light as if admiring a diamond. ‘An orange paperclip,’ he said. ‘Now
these are unusual.’
a purple. Can’t get more unusual than that!’
office. Inside, I placed my coffee on my desk, and unbuttoned my coat but
didn’t take it off. I was still cold from the graveyard visit.
my hands together, I stared out of the window while trying to encourage warmth
from the radiator below. I’d meant to bring in my little heater from home but
forgot – must remember for tomorrow. I didn’t want the cold to put off my
interviewee. I hadn’t much success with staff; Tim and Paul were seemingly the
only ones I could hang on to.
selling, or rather, talking. I think people signed on the dotted line just to
be rid of him. Paul, a general assistant, wanted to work fewer hours and I
thought hiring someone to job-share alongside him would be a good idea, with
the added benefit that he or she could be a sort of PA for me. I wanted to
concentrate on sales and presentations and leave the general running of the
office to someone else.
wouldn’t be easy.
1. Guards! Guards! By Terry Pratchett—God, I love this book. I pretty much love anything that Pratchett writes, but this is one of my favorites. Sam Vimes is the main character and he’s a rough-around-the-edges Watch captain doing his best to be a good man, protect the city he loves and deal with his team of miscreant guardsmen.
2. Moon Called By Patricia Briggs—I love all of her werewolf books, but the Mercy Thompson series is by far my favorite. Mercy is a kick-ass shifter who takes care of herself and those she loves. No wusses there.
|Paranormal romance – Hunter Moon|
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin—Let’s be real; if you’re a woman odds are you love this book too. I’ve read and re-read this book so many times I could almost quote the whole book.
4. A Spell for Chameleon By Piers Anthony—This series really lit the flame of my love for the fantasy genre. In fourth grade my older brother ripped my Goosebumps out of my hand and gave me this book and while I didn’t understand the faintly sexual double entendres I enjoyed the Alice In Wonderland-like story filled with jokes and puns.
5. Shadowfever By Karen Marie Moning—I loved the entire Fever series, but this one was my favorite because we finally got to know what the hell was going on! I love Mac and especially Barrons and I blame Moning for ruining me for all other male main characters like Austin ruined regular men with Darcy.
6. Darkly Dreaming Dexter By Jeff Lindsay—Dexter is the serial killer we all love, because though he’s got deeply seeded issues he only kills bad guys, so he’s alright, right? I have to hand it to Lindsay for creating such a likeable character from a cold, emotionless murderer.
7. Fool by Christopher Moore—Man, I love this book. It’s my go-to if I need a laugh. I mean, what don’t you love about a book that uses the phrase heinous Fu—ery most foul? If you’re sensitive to language I wouldn’t reccommend it, but otherwise it’s a humorous and intelligent take on Shakespeare’s King Lear. A.Maz.Ing.
8. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott—Yup, I love it. What can I say? It’s one of my favorite Robin Hood stories of all time. Romance, chivalry, intrigue, knights; what more could you need?
9. The Heat by Heather Killough-Walden—Walden is one of my favorite Indy authors. Period. This book is her take on werewolves (I’m a sucker for a wolf, what can I say?) and is full of steamy romance, thrilling action and a little bit of magic.
10. Neverwhere by Neil Gaimon—This book is such a wonderful mind-bending take on the classic quest story. I love Gaimon’s dark side and his take on the underworld of London.
There you have it! My list. Enjoy these books and I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Louise asked me to write a
piece, from the perspective of a new writer, on the subject of book
reviews. From a readers’ point
of view, a book review is an interesting and useful tool in helping you decide
to buy a book – or not. From a writer’s
viewpoint (especially a new writer) they are close to being a major breach of
the Geneva Convention on Warfare. Or citeable as a cruel and unusual
punishment. And that’s the good ones!
bit of a sea-change with the growing involvement of the internet. Now, I
write what I assure people is comic fantasy. If you fancied such a book,
you could turn on your computer, search Google, and see what came up.
Alternatively, you might seek out the book review websites and blogs like this
one, and see what they had to say. Either way, you would soon be looking
at a truckload of books and mostly both the titles and the authors would be complete
unknown. Bet you’ve never heard of me before, and (trust me on this) you
aren’t the only one. But I’d like to be known, and not only to the
police! Aside from a major lottery win, it’s unlikely unless my stuff starts
selling. And that means getting reviews.
that? Well, I’ll bet that Louise for one practically has to hide from her
postman as he delivers the begging letters and offers of free books in exchange
for a review. Her email inbox probably overflows in the same way. I
expect she wears the delete key out every six months. And every one of
those letters/emails is from an unknown hoping that someone will look at their
book and say something nice about it. Or something horrid about it.
Anything about it, really.
a bit like sitting in a cinema during a horror movie, waiting for that moment. Remember when you
saw Alien for the first time?
occasional poor review as well as all the good ones. Our egos are crying out
for praise, but customers like balance – and that means getting the occasional
poor review too.
read a book review and shake your head over the shortcomings the reviewer has
found and exposed, remember that somewhere there might just be an author
punching the air in delight, screaming: “Yes! She didn’t like it!”
land with a rich cultural heritage. He
does his best to support this heritage by yelling loud encouragement at the TV
when Wales are playing International Rugby and drinking local beers, although
(of course) never to excess.
now writes in a desperate attempt to avoid terminal atrophy of his brain. A fifty-something lover of blues, rock and
jazz he has now achieved a lifetime ambition by extending his bookcases to fill
an entire wall of his home office.
after defeating the Dark Lord in the lake District, Chris and Linda get a
letter – followed by a knock on the door.
Their friends are back, and they are in trouble – again.
have played another gig. But this time
the feedback has blown apart the Throne of The Mountain King, and The Banned
must replace it, on pain or, well, pain.
But the junior dark Lord wants his revenge, if his Satnav doesn’t
prevent him from following the band.
Grizelda, off-white witch and occasional aunt to the teenagers, is
rather busy with some mad monks who want to conquer the world, starting with
Wales. Will Dai the Drinking Dragon
help? Will the Tuatha stay out of the
pub long enough to render assistance? If
not, Jailhouse Rock looms for the Banned Underground…