Author Showcase – G.E. Stills (Child of the Stars)

For the 18+ reader: Strong language and descriptive sex scenes.

Elvie is not only cautious but she’s a workaholic. Winning an all expenses paid Mexican getaway is just the type of vacation she needs to get away from work and escape reality. She craves whimsical romance and adventure. What she gets is far more than she ever imagined in her wildest fantasies. Once on the island, Elvie meets Thad who is both handsome and exotic. She feels an instant attraction to him not realizing just how much her life changed the second she encountered him. Romance takes on an entirely new meaning for Elvie when she becomes intimate not only with Thad, but his best friend, Giann. This is completely outside her normal existence, but at the end of the week, she learns her adventure is just beginning. Now she is flitting among the stars, living a new life, and destined for a new world. 

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For a time she sat at the table sipping her coffee. Elvie reached up and fingered the diamond settings of her collar and smiled while her thoughts drifted over all that had taken place in such a brief time. Just a few days earlier she had been getting ready for a sad return to the reality of her real estate job and never seeing Thad again. Now she was married to two fantastic men who loved and cherished her. She was onboard a for real spaceship, not the ones from her childhood fantasies, and now she was fliting among the stars. On the way back to their rooms she stopped and activated one of the view screens located in the corridor.

Elvie gazed out at the blackness of space and the millions of pinpoints of light that permeated it. “I’ve really done this,” she whispered to herself. “I’ve consented to leaving Earth to be with these wonderful men. Just as my tattoo says, I’ve truly become a child of the stars. And compared to their age, I really am a child. Leaving Earth to live among the stars isn’t the only thing I’ve consented to. I’ve agreed to be their baby factory.”

Gentle fingertips glided across one of the dimple dermal piercings on her back making her aware she was no longer alone. Moments later Thad’s chin rested on her shoulder. “Good morning, my precious gift,” he said. He embraced her, and his hands moved down along her curves. He laced his fingers together just below her navel and rested them on her lower stomach. “Are you okay?” he asked and brushed his lips to her shoulder.

Her grip around her mug tightened and shivers raced along her spine. “I feel fantastic.”

“Sore?”

“Not anymore. I used some of that miracle paste Giann gave me.”

“No regrets?”

“None. Just feeling a little melancholy about leaving my home forever, but being with the two of you is the only thing that matters to me now.”

“You mean everything to us as well, precious.”

“It’s strange, we’ve only known each other for a few days and yet being separated from either of you has become unthinkable. I’ve come to think of you as my men.”

“That is part of the bonding process we are going through. We are joining in mind just as much as we were physically joined last night. Giann and I, think of you as our woman as well. Speaking of, I see our woman didn’t conceive last night.”

“It will probably take time to get the birth control medicine out of my system.” She laughed. “With the amount of semen you and Giann put in me, I feel certain I’ll get knocked up soon.”

“Good morning,” Giann said in his baritone voice. He pinched her chin between his fingers and turned her head to kiss him. His lips were soft and his face scratchy with a morning growth of beard. Together they were arousing. Everything either of these men do is arousing.

“I’m going to get some coffee,” Giann said. “Do you need some more?” he asked her.

She rested her head back against Thad’s chest while he continued to caress her, stoking the embers inside her again. “Yes please,” she said.

“I’ll bring you a cup as well, Thad,” Giann said and strode away.

When he returned, the trio stood gazing at the display and taking sips. “Where’s Earth now?” she asked.

Giann reached out and twisted a knob located below the screen. The view magnified and narrowed to a smaller section of space. He punched in numbers on a keypad located next to the knob. One of the tiny points of light began to pulse slowly.

“Earth’s sun is hard to see and Earth itself is too small to locate, but that pulsing star is Earth’s sun.”

Elvie gazed at the tiny point of flashing light among the vast number of other points and sighed.

“How about we begin your first flying lesson?” Thad asked to pull her away from her melancholy thoughts.

 

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Normally zany and often naughty talking, G. E. has a serious and compassionate side if you can find it. He cares deeply for his friends and hasn’t met an animal yet he didn’t like. He is terrified of heights so hasn’t braved the tramway ride in his home town. He lives in the southwest while longing to live by the sea. He often says, “We have the sandy beaches but where is the water?”

He heeds the call of the many characters that pop into his mind and demand to have their stories put in print. Their tales are both serious and humorous. A multi-published author his stories cover many genres including contemporary romance, paranormal romance and science fiction. His stories are both erotic and non-erotic in nature. G.E. is the leader of a local writers group and in addition hosts a meeting of his own locally on fiction writing bi-monthly.

G.E. Stills loves to hear from his readers and can be contacted at any of these sites.

Website / Blog
Personal Facebook Page / Facebook Author Page
Twitter / Amazon Author Page  / Goodreads / Google+

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Author Showcase – Lauren Blakely (Unzipped) (Birthday Suit)

Wanted: Dating coach to help hot nerd win back the woman of his dreams…

Picture this –
 I’m ready to win back the love of my life, and I’m going big this time. We’re talking boom box, sing her name in the rain, let the whole damn neighborhood know I’m good and ready this time around. After all, if you’re going to grand gesture the ever-loving hell out of a second chance, you need to pull out all the stops.

There’s only one little problem.

My college girlfriend isn’t the one who shows up when I play my “I’ll do anything to win you back” tune.

The woman who flings open the second-floor window tells me my ex doesn’t live here anymore. But she’ll help me win her back. Anything for romance, anything for a guy so willing to go big for love. And that’s what I want at first. Until I get to know my new “romance coach” and discover she’s funny, clever, and keeps me on my toes. And boy, do I ever need that.

Now I don’t want to win anyone else’s heart. I want the woman who’s been helping me all along.

Trouble is – she thinks I’m in love with someone else, and when we take off on a road trip, everything I think I know about women is about to be unzipped and turned inside out.

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There is no rule in the Man Code as unbreakable as this: no matter how beautiful, smart, clever, and witty she is, do not—under any circumstances—fall in love with your best friend’s woman.

Yeah. So there’s that. Look, it’s not like I didn’t know I screwed up by falling for her.>Also, for the record, unrequited love sucks big time.

And, I might have cut myself some slack by now, given everything that went down in the last few years, but Lulu just walked back into my life in a big way.

*** There are three things I’ve never been able to resist—my friends, my family, and chocolate.

Leo Hennessy? He was nowhere on that list. He’s been a true friend—a friend who walked through hell and back with me.

Now, I’m stepping into my new future. I didn’t expect it to include a riddle-filled, race-against-the-clock scavenger hunt across New York City.

With Leo.

Suddenly, I’m looking at this man with new eyes…

But my life spun out because of a man once before, and I can’t risk my fresh start, no matter what the temptation. And Leo is most definitely a temptation of the sexiest, sweetest, and most dangerous variety.

More irresistibly delicious than chocolate…

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A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 100 times, and she’s sold more than 2.5 million books. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! 

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Author Showcase – Kendall Ryan (Finding Alexei)

He’s bossy, moody, and overprotective.

He’s also a pro athlete who needs to focus on winning games and staying out of the headlines.

I’m fiercely independent and need a man like I need a second period each month.

So when our worlds collide, I never expected him to be the one to jump in and save me. Especially not when my ex-roommate disappears, leaving me with her baby.

I’m clueless about babies—and it shows. Good thing Alexei isn’t. With six nieces and nephews and an apparent hero complex, the dude is both sexy and more than capable. It’s a combination that makes it easy to forget we’re just playing house.

 

Chapter Preview Courtesy of Kendall Ryan’s Website

 

Alexei

She’s petite yet curvy with a nice ass and beautiful tits. But that’s not the first thing I notice about her.

The first thing that strikes me is that her coat isn’t warm enough for a Chicago winter.

It’s dark out, and barely above freezing. She’s standing on a street corner discussing something with a man in hushed tones, waving her hands dramatically as she speaks. It’s nearly midnight, and the street is almost deserted.

She has long dark hair, a trim build, and a full pouty mouth. And she seems to be pissed off. Curious about her, I stalk closer and then slow my pace.

“Fine. Tell me what it’ll take, sweetheart,” the guy says to her.

She stiffens and puts one hand on her hip. “I’m not for sale, asshole. I did my job, but that’s it. When you step outside those doors, the fantasy ends.”

They’re standing outside a dingy club, the kind of place that smells of rancid smoke, cheap beer, and meaningless sex. I should know. I’ve been here once or twice for bachelor parties and those kinds of things. My friends would call it a titty bar. But my friends are mostly pro football players, and their manners leave a lot to be desired.

The place isn’t really a strip club, more like a topless bar where beautiful women serve drinks in their underwear. It all seemed innocent enough, until now . . . until a sinking feeling washes over me as I watch this woman get propositioned in the street as she’s trying to leave work.

The guy laughs, the sound abrasive, like he doesn’t believe her. “Three hundred bucks. Come on, baby. It’ll be fast.”

She chews on one of those pouty lips as she weighs his words, contemplating what looks to be a life-changing decision . . . and not life-changing in a positive way.

Don’t do it, lady . . . just say no to what this asshole is offering you.

Part of me knows I need to mind my own damn business, that this guy just wants a quick fuck. Who am I to judge how this woman chooses to support herself? The other part of me—the fierce protector in me—says this is a situation that I can’t ignore. I won’t allow this asshole to force a woman to do something she’s not comfortable with.

I walk over, my legs moving of their own volition.

“Excuse me,” I say, interrupting them.

Her gaze swings over to mine, and the guy she’s with does a double-take. I tower over him by at least half a foot. Now that I have a better look at him, I see the guy is middle-aged, round in the midsection, his hair graying at his temples. I also know I can take him if it comes to that.

He shoots me a look that’s half pissed off that I interrupted his bargaining session, and half panicked that I may kick his ass. The latter is definitely what he should be more concerned about if he tries any shit. I may just decide to do it anyway, despite the fact I just promised my agent I’ll behave myself and not end up on any more tabloid news sites.

“The lady said to leave her alone. I suggest you get the fuck out of here.” I glare down at the guy.

His eyes narrow, but he takes a step back and holds up his palms. “Fine. Going.”

He takes off down the street and disappears around the corner, leaving me standing across from the woman. She’s probably no more than five foot three, a hundred twenty pounds soaking wet. No way she could have defended herself against someone his size. More importantly, she shouldn’t have to defend herself from that prick.

“Were you really going to go home with that guy?”

She shakes her head. “No. He didn’t want to take me home. Just wanted me to show him my boobs and have me give him a hand job in the back seat of his car. He may or may not have mentioned something about finishing himself off on my breasts too.”

I wait to see if she’s joking, but sadly, I can tell what she’s saying is the truth.

Then she looks at me, with the prettiest shade of blue eyes I’ve ever seen, and my heart almost stops. “For the record—guys are gross.”

I chuckle at her surprising honesty. “Not denying that.”

Men can be real creeps. I’ve seen the evening news. Sadly, there’s just no arguing against her logic. Some of us are still good guys, but I don’t say this to her. I just let her believe what she wants.

“I’m Alexei,” I say, offering her my hand.

For a second, she just looks at my hand, and I don’t think she’s going to take it. But then finally, after deciding that she can trust me, at least for something as simple as a handshake, she places her small palm in mine and shakes my hand. She’s freezing.

“I’m Ryleigh. Thanks for, um . . . saving me.”

I haven’t done anything yet. I wanted to punch that guy in the fucking jaw when I heard him propositioning her. Instead, I let him walk away unscathed. Lucky prick.

“Do you work here?” I lift my gaze to the neon sign blazing above our heads in the darkness. I scrub a hand over my face as I picture the petite woman standing before me scantily clad and serving drinks to a group of horny men with grabby hands and fat wallets.

She nods.

“You a stripper, then?” I ask.

Ryleigh makes an annoyed sound in her throat. “It’s a topless bar. I’m not a stripper.”

I knew as much, but part of me didn’t want to admit I’ve been a customer at the place. It’s not exactly a classy establishment. “But you serve drinks in your underwear.”

“As I said, men are gross. Sadly, they also pay my bills.”

I chuckle, again surprised by her. “I’m not denying it. And not that you asked for it, but in my point of view, men are visual creatures. And women are beautiful. We enjoy seeing them any chance we can get.”

She merely rolls her eyes, clearly not buying my bullshit. “Listen, as nice as it is to freeze my lady balls off and stand out here talking to you, I need to find a way to get home.”

“Where’s your ride? I can wait with you.” The words just stumbling out of my mouth before I can think about it.

“My car’s in the shop, and my friend bailed on giving me a ride.”

I nod, processing everything. Something also tells me she needs that three hundred bucks the guy was offering her. I take a deep breath, weighing my options. It’s either go home alone to my $6 million penthouse and lie awake wondering if she’s okay . . . or drive her home myself and convince her to just take the money I have in my wallet. It’s not like I need it.

As tired as I was walking out of my dinner meeting with Slate, now I’m way too keyed up for sleep. It’s then that I realize going home alone would be pointless.

“Is that what you needed the money for? Your car?”

Her inquisitive blue gaze meets mine, and for a second, I think she’s going to deny that she needs the money. She’ll probably try to save face by telling me I read the situation wrong, and she was never actually entertaining that scumbag’s offer.

Instead, she surprises me for the third time in five minutes.

“No. Well, yes. But not tonight. My immediate concern is getting home and taking care of my roommate’s baby.”

“Baby?” I ask, lifting one eyebrow.

She nods, tucking a long strand of silky brown hair behind her ear. “My ex-roommate, actually. She, um, dropped off her baby a few days ago and left. I have no idea when she’s coming back. I need to pick up diapers, more clothes, and baby formula. All of that stuff costs money.” Ryleigh straightens, her posture stiffening, like she’s revealed too much. “You know what, don’t worry about it. I’ll figure it out. I always do.”

“Where’s the baby now?” It’s after midnight, after all. But no matter how late it is, I’m not letting her walk away just yet.

“My neighbor is babysitting her so I could work.”

Something inside me believes Ryleigh’s telling the truth. Even though the last thing I want to do tonight is deal with a sad woman who has what sounds like more drama than an episode of Law & Order, with an even more unusual twist of playing nanny for someone’s baby, I find myself gesturing toward my car. My black Mercedes is parked right across the street.

“I’ll take you.”

She narrows her eyes. “I don’t even know who you are. Why would I trust you?”

I don’t point out that she was just considering getting into the car of a complete stranger. Or that she was considering doing unsavory activities with said stranger. I could tell her it’s because I grew up with three sisters, and I have a big heart. I could tell her that I have six nieces and nephews, that I’m good with babies. I could even hand her my business card and tell her she could ruin me with one call to the media about how I tried to pick her up outside a nightclub. But I don’t say any of those things. Instead, I find myself wanting her to trust me on instinct alone.

I finally settle on, “Because I’m offering to help you. No strings.”

“No strings, as in I don’t have to show you my boobs?”

I almost choke on the laugh that crawls up my chest. “Only if you want to, but remember . . . we men are visual creatures.” I offer her my best playboy smirk, the one that usually makes women swoon, only to find it has no effect on Ryleigh.

Strange.

Maybe it’s because she doesn’t know who I am, but she treats me differently than the women I usually meet, as if I’m a regular guy and not a famous millionaire sports star who easily melts women with simply a smile.

Ryleigh has no idea that I’m Alex Ivan, pro football player for the Chicago Hawks. She doesn’t swoon and bat her eyelashes or try to impress me. In fact, she doesn’t follow any of the normal protocols. Clearly, she’s not a gold digger, because if she were, she could talk me out of way more than three hundred bucks. An even bigger part of me knows I could add several zeroes behind that figure, and she’d need every damn dime.

“Fine. I’ll take the ride. But it’s going to be a hard pass on the boobs.”

“Whatever you want.”

The truth is, she’s gorgeous, and if she wanted to share her body with me, I’d jump at the fucking chance. But something about her no-nonsense demeanor tells me that’s not going to happen, which is probably for the best. I don’t have time to get tangled up in something right now, anyway. I have to focus on myself and my career now more than ever.

After another moment’s hesitation, Ryleigh looks back at the club one last time, and then to my car. I can see the moment she makes up her mind, letting out a soft sigh.

“Don’t make me regret this,” she mutters under her breath before she follows me to my car.

I hit the button on the key fob to start the engine, then unlock the doors. When we slide inside, I turn up the heat and direct the vents toward her.

“Thank you,” she says, buckling her seat belt. “Nice car.” Her gaze lingers on the sleek wood paneling, supple leather, and chrome fixtures.

“Thanks,” I murmur, suddenly feeling a little sheepish about the opulence of my luxury sedan while she has to consider back-alley propositions just to feed her baby. No, not her baby, her ex-roommate’s baby, which makes this entire situation even crazier. I shift into drive and pull out onto the road. “So, where to?”

“Oh, right.” Ryleigh rattles off her address, and I wince.

I’ve only been to that area of the city once, and it was by accident because I was lost. It’s not a safe or very nice area, and I hate to think about her walking around after dark alone, petite beauty that she is.

“So, your name, Alexei, is that . . .”

“Russian. My parents moved here when I was six.” I also have no fucking clue why I told her my name is Alexei. Everyone calls me Alex. Everyone except for my mothers and sisters.

“Do you remember much of it? Living in Russia? I’ve never been out of the United States. I’ve barely been out of the Midwest.”

“A little. My parents tried to keep up the traditions for us. They were proud of their heritage. We spoke Russian at home, and every Friday, my mother would make a big traditional meal.”

“What kinds of foods are in traditional Russian meals? Like borscht?”

I chuckle. “Borscht is disgusting.” It’s a beet soup that looks like a bowl of blood. “My favorites were the cabbage rolls and herb-and-meat-filled pies she would make.”

“That sounds amazing. I haven’t eaten a real home-cooked meal in a long time.”

All this talk about food makes me wonder if she’s hungry, if I should offer to stop and get something for her to eat. Then I decide against it because I don’t want her to feel that I think she’s a charity case. Plus, dinner together seems too personal, and I can’t do personal right now. She’s a big girl. She can feed herself.

The conversation I just had with my agent at dinner rings through my head. I need to keep my head down and stay focused on winning. Prove that I’m worth the huge contract that was just plopped into my lap. Period.

“What about you?” I ask. “Family in the area?”

She shakes her head, folding her hands in her lap. “I was an only child. Both of my parents have passed on.”

“I’m sorry.” Shit. Now I wish I’d never asked, because her story has gotten even more pitiful.

She shakes her head, still looking out the windshield. “It’s okay.”

We drive in silence for a few minutes, and when we get closer to her neighborhood, I spot a superstore that’s all lit up on the corner, one of those twenty-four-hour places. I pull into the parking lot and park the car.

Ryleigh’s gaze swings to mine, and I can sense the question on her parted lips.

I recall a piece of advice a coach gave me once about how people would come out of the woodwork asking for money once I signed my first big contract. He recommended instead of giving out cash that I should give them what they need—you know, like paying an electric bill versus handing someone a hundred bucks.

“Why are you stopping here? My place is still a few blocks away.” She gives me a curious look.

“Let’s get the stuff you need.” Plus, if she’s lying about the baby, now would be the time to come clean.

She swallows and nods. “Thank you.”

I grab a cart and we wander the store aisles, finally locating the baby section. She grabs a package of diapers, the smallest she can find, and places it in the cart. I know how quickly babies go through diapers. Those will only last her a couple of days, and I open my mouth to object. Then I decide I’m being a controlling asshole, and should let her do this her way. Next, we find baby formula, and Ryleigh selects a yellow tub of the stuff, groaning when she sees how expensive it is. Babies go through formula faster than diapers, and I know she needs a few of those tubs, but I stay focused on what she wants.

“What else do you need?” I ask, turning to face her.

Under the bright lights, I can see how truly beautiful she is for the first time. Her hair is the color of deep honey. It looked brown outside, but here in the light, shades of gold run through the soft waves. Her skin is like porcelain, soft and creamy, and her eyes are the most striking shade of blue, fringed in thick black lashes. Stunning.

As if she can sense me watching her, she chews on her lower lip and shakes her head. “I’m really not sure. I don’t know the first thing about babies. She cries a lot, and I . . .”

“How old is she?”

“Two months.”

I push the cart to the next aisle and find what I’m looking for. “Does she use one of these?” I ask, selecting a pacifier.

“I’m not sure. My ex-roommate left me with almost nothing. It’s worth a shot.”

I toss a couple of them into the cart and then grab a Boppy pillow. “What about one of these?”

Ryleigh’s delicately arched eyebrows lift. “What the hell is it?”

I laugh again, amused by her honesty. “It’s a special pillow. She can do tummy time. Sometimes the crying is due to gas bubbles. This could help.”

“How do you know so much about babies?” Her eyes widen and lock onto mine.

I shrug, pushing the cart toward the checkout. “I have six nieces and nephews. I babysit them sometimes.” Whether I want to or not. I smile, thinking about my sisters shoving one or more babies into my arms anytime we’re at a family gathering.

We work together unloading the contents of the cart onto the conveyor belt. When the cart is empty, I pull out my gold card and hand it to the cashier.

Ryleigh stiffens. “You don’t have to do that.”

“I’ve got this, no worries.”

She looks at me, and I can see the wheels spinning in her head. She wants to trust me, wants to think I’m being chivalrous and gallant, but she’s wary because she’s likely never had a white knight ride in and save her. I see her underlying distrust, and for some reason, I want to prove to her that tonight, her white knight is real.

Besides, I’m not letting her spend whatever tip money she made tonight on this. I’m sure she needs it for other things, like fixing her car or feeding herself, not for taking care of a baby unexpectedly dropped off on her doorstep. I still need to get to the bottom of that story, but I sense that now’s not the time.

The cashier is watching our exchange with narrowed eyes. I smile and whisper to Ryleigh that she can pay me back if she likes, but it’s really not necessary.

The cashier rings up the items we’ve purchased, and I accept the bags after sliding my credit card back into my wallet.

Once I have the bags loaded into the back seat of my car, we set off again. A few minutes later, we’ve arrived, and when I park on the street and step out of the car, I get angry.

 

And my anger only intensifies with every step toward Ryleigh’s apartment.

 

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A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 2 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world.

Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than three dozen times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine.
She lives in Texas with her husband and two sons.
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Review of “Fountain Dead” – Theresa Braun

Mark is uprooted from his home and high school in the Twin Cities and forced to move with his family into a Victorian in Nowhere-ville. Busy with the relocation and fitting in, Mark’s parents don’t see what’s unfolding around them—the way rooms and left behind objects seem alive with a haunted past. 

Of course, Mark keeps his ghostly encounters to himself, all the while sinking deeper into the house’s dark, alluring, and ultimately terrifying history. As romantic entanglements intensify, the paranormal activity escalates. Past and present come together. Everything is connected—from the bricks in the walls to the hearts beating in their chests, all the secrets of Fountain Dead are finally unearthed.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

Fountain Dead is a carefully crafted story that takes place in two time periods, in two POV’s.

Emma, born in the 1800’s, didn’t have a lifetime of love and happiness. There was a brief period of time she thought she’d achieve her HEA but her life took a grisly turn. Family turned against her and she learned the hard way not to trust anyone.

Mark’s story took place in 1988 when his family moved to Winona and into the Durley house, Emma’s family home. From the start, Mark knew something was off about the house. It was messing with his mind, his sister’s and eventually it turned its attention to others. The house was cursed. Anyone who entered it was prey.

Mark didn’t want to live in the house but a child must live where their parents tell them. His parents were oblivious to the danger lurking in the house but Mark wasn’t. He saw the spirits, humanoid creature, and saw the effects of possession firsthand.

As we watch Emma’s life progress, we see every monumental point in her life was somehow tied to what Mark and his family was living through in present time. At first, the time period/POV’s flip-flopping did mildly annoy me. It was occurring way too rapidly. I actually started taking meticulous notes because I wondered how each moment in the past would have an impact on Mark in his time period. It wasn’t until I was about mid checkpoint that I didn’t mind the flip-flopping speed as much because NOW the puzzle pieces were clicking together and the grand picture was almost revealed.

The link between past and present was mapped out very well and the ending was spectacular.

Cliffhanger? Yes, Theresa’s final moments in Fountain Dead let readers know there was more evil to battle.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Theresa Braun was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and has carried some of that hardiness with her to South Florida where she currently resides with her two fur babies, who are her creative sidekicks. She enjoys delving into creative writing, painting, photography and even bouts of ghost hunting. Traveling is one of her passions—in fact, her latest adventure took her to Romania for a horror writers’ workshop where she followed in the steps of Vlad the Impaler. She writes horror fiction and the occasional romance. Oh, and she likes to guest blog about writing, television shows, movies, and books, mostly in the horror genre.

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Author Showcase / Interview – Rexx Deane (Synthesis:Weave)

Welcome, Rexx!

 

  1.  For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?

(Rexx) Nobody is ‘born to write’. I am no exception. I’d never been particularly good with grammar, and had no idea about the more complex rules (I probably still don’t, truth be told). How to write dialogue was beyond me, and I had no idea where to start with plot.

The closest I’d ever come to ‘proper’ writing was when I entered an Interactive Fiction competition in 2004 (IFComp) and wrote a text adventure based on the legend of the origin of Tai Chi. I really enjoyed describing locations and creating puzzles, and I was happy with that, so it never occurred to me to write a novel.

In 2011, I met my partner, Kris. He wasn’t a particular fan of many of the TV programs I enjoyed, but I convinced him to watch a boxset of that 90’s classic, Babylon 5, and he fell in love with it. Around this time, I convinced him to start using a wheelchair because of his disability and, after some strong initial resistance, he took it up and found the wheelchair liberating. In 2012, I started a new job at a software development company that focused on behaviourism, and while working there I realised that I could *learn* to write. It was just a skill other people learn, after all.

By 2013, Prompted by my love of Babylon 5 and games like Mass Effect, I had started making notes. Kris provided the inspiration for several character notes and plot points; I was desperate to write something scifi that involved a wheelchair, but didn’t ‘fix’ disability. Once I’d convinced myself I’d got enough notes to start forming a plot of sorts, I started reading books about the various components of writing and finally put pen to paper / fingers to keyboard. At this point, Kris started training to be a fitness instructor, so I used the time while he did his courses to begin writing.

Come the end of 2013, I’d completed the first draft of Synthesis:Weave. It was another year of editing (and seven more drafts) before I handed it over to my editor and subsequently rushed to publish it. Now, years later, and after having written the sequel, I regretted that decision and went back to tear it down in a rewrite, which has now been published as a second edition in August 2018.

 

 

(Kam) I’ve read many backstories and I find yours to be one of the most intriguing ones I’ve read. As for Babylon 5: I’m more of a “Star Trek: The Next Generation” kind of gal. I love Picard! BTW: Kris, in the photo above, is an inspiration to all who think that something is impossible. There’s no shame in trying. If you fail, that’s ok, at least you tried. 

 

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.

(Rexx) For me, writer’s block seems to come about because of two things that actually have the same cause: lack of information.

I’ll get stuck because I’ve not thought of some way for characters to get out of/into a situation, or not enough backstory. I’ll also find myself paralysed when I don’t know where the plot should go next – usually because it could go in far too many directions. Both of these are down to not having a vital piece of information – be that something I need to think of in backstory, or some way of limiting what can happen next.

I’m a plotter, although I don’t go to such depth as planning chapters and scenes. Instead, I plan ‘waypoints’ – information I want to relay to the reader, significant events I want to happen, problems that can occur, and occasionally fully-written scenes I want to insert. I don’t necessarily know the order of these when I write them, so once I’ve got enough I’ll go through and group them into themes which often end up representing the start, early middle, late middle and ending of the book’s plot.

I start writing and then see where each of these points leads, so getting stuck is a consequence of not having the right piece of the puzzle to put in next to continue the flow. It can sometimes be remedied by writing on paper instead of using a keyboard; the medium forces me to go forwards without being able to stop and edit what I’ve put down. Other times, prompting myself about the problem before driving to work or doing some other menial task will mean I suddenly have an idea when I’m not expecting it.

 

  1. Will you please share with the visitors what genre(s) you write? Also, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(Rexx) I currently write science fiction, although I like to veer slightly off-genre to mix things up a little. Only recently, I discovered that my work falls into ‘solarpunk’. While I will read dystopian, I wouldn’t want to write it and prefer upbeat/optimistic scifi.

When I’m not writing or doing my day job (as a systems developer), I like to play computer games. I don’t spend as much time reading as I probably should, but I do read to my partner before bed, so I guess that counts.

I’ve been in a group of RPG players for just over 10 years now, and we play 3rd edition D&D – although it took them nine years to convince me to have a go at running the game myself. They enjoyed it, and I recently convinced them to give Traveller (scifi rpg) a go. I think playing D&D has fed back into my writing and given me a way to understand the characters I write and get into their heads. Similarly, writing has furnished me with the tools to make up my own adventures and encounters with greater ease.

(Kam) I’ve played D&D once in my life.  My husband introduced me to it because he spent so much time playing it in his youth. He hoped I would love it too but I didn’t. Guess I’ll stick with Yahtzee, Uno, and Scrabble. 

 

 

  1. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?

(Rexx) If I think people might be interested in scifi, I’ll mention my novel(s). I’m actually more proud of the fact that I write than of the work I do every day, simply because it’s easier to talk to people about writing than it is to explain the technicalities of my day job.

My relatives and friends are proud of my writing (or so they say), but at times it’s a delicate balance to keep from getting obsessed with writing and have it getting in the way of my relationship with my partner.

 

  1. Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.

(Rexx) I’ve read mostly ‘classic’ scifi and fantasy authors, and very few contemporaries, hence my skewed favourites.

Ursula Le Guin

Isaac Asimov

Arthur C Clarke

Carl Sagan

Gregory Benford

Julian May

Anne McCaffrey

Andre Norton

Michael Cobley

Alan Dean Foster

(Kam) Some of these names are not familiar to me. For that, I say thank you. I love being introduced to new authors/reading material. 

 

 

  1. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?

(Rexx) I’m going to be self-indulgent. I want to see Synthesis:Weave on screen. I wrote it to feel like a movie.

Bill Nighy (the British actor, not the science guy) as a particular enigmatic figure.

Rachel Weisz as Monica Stephens

Tom Hiddleston or James McAvoy as Sebastian

Bryce Dallas Howard as Sebastian’s sister, Janyce.

Emily Blunt as Karan

Ben Cross as Agent Gladrin (I had him in mind when writing the character)

A genuine amputee (double or otherwise) to play Aryx. Favouring Kurt Yaeger, although there are several paralympians who would suit, if they could act!

 

The laws of physics are about to change …

A tsunami on a space station.
An explosion with no trace of the bomber.

Cyber-security expert Sebastian knows evidence doesn’t magically disappear, yet when he and his colleague Aryx, a disabled ex-marine, travel the galaxy to find the cause, there seems to be no other explanation.

Can they unravel the mystery before his family, home, and an entire race succumbs to an ancient foe?

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Kindle Purchase Link (UK)

Print Purchase Link (UK)

 

 

  1. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

(Rexx) I’ve finished the sequel to Synthesis:Weave, and at this time I’m working on the cover for that, along with plotting the final book in the trilogy. I’ve also got ideas for an unrelated mild scifi set on present-day Earth, which I want to centre on a female character – it’s going to have a completely different feel to anything I’ve written so far.

 

 

  1. Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?

(Rexx) Ebooks are available on Kindle, Kobo, Google play and Nook (all DRM free, so you can read it on any of the devices you own, regardless of which platform you purchase it from). Paperback and hardback formats are also available.

The preferred reading order is the order in which they were written. Synthesis:Weave was written first, followed by the short story prequel, Synthesis:Pioneer, which, when read after S:W, gives the ‘oh, so that’s what they meant!’ factor.

Synthesis:Weave 2, Afterglow is due out in March 2019, and follows immediately on from Synthesis:Weave.

 

When Calendula accepted the post of linguist aboard the Fluorescent Lightingale, she felt as though she’d been accepted as a token crew member. Little did she know what pivotal role she would play in Earth’s future.

Please note, Synthesis:Pioneer is a prequel short story to the Synthesis novel series only, and not a full-length novel.

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  1. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?

(Rexx) By contact form on rexxdeane.com, or on Twitter @RexxDeane – I don’t tend to use Facebook much now and have been distancing myself from that platform, although I do have a page there.

 

  1. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.

(Rexx) I would like readers (and perhaps writers) to remember that just because a book has a character with a disability, it’s important not to make the disability the focus of the book. Disabled people just want to get on with their lives, and quite often get sick of being lectured or constantly presented with books that say they should behave a certain way. To be presented realistically, disabled characters should be the same. Just have them “get on with it,” and readers will love your book for it.

 

 

Your final comments (Q10) are absolutely true. People don’t want to be seen for what they can’t do but praised for the things they’ve accomplished. Disabled or not, we are all capable of truly amazing feats.  

I want to thank Rexx for sitting down with me today. I also want to thank everyone who’s reading this and decides to share, comment, or purchase Synthesis: Weave and/or Synthesis: Pioneer. Remember, reviews are helpful to authors. They love them. I’m sure Rexx especially loved the ones posted to Goodreads. (See below)

 

Chris B. (Synthesis:Weave), 5⭐: A Scifi story that keeps you gripped from beginning to end, with many twists & turns, a must read for all Scifi fans, it’s an excellent read, looking forward to a second book in the future 🙂

 

Alastair (Synthesis: Weave), 5⭐: I read this, and I liked it. Full of inventive ideas, spaceships, aliens and mystery. What’s not to like?

 

Rose E. (Synthesis: Pioneer), 5⭐: This is a very short SciFi story about 30 minutes of reading in which we get an introduction to ‘The Synthesis Series’, and a brief insight into the very varied crew on board the ‘Fluorescent Lightingale’. 

This tale centres around the linguist aboard who goes by the name ofCalendula a talented young woman who uses all her senses. I particularly like how the author describes what she smells and hears upon boarding the ship. 

I really do not wish to say more otherwise the story may be spoiled, but I do know that I will be moving the main story up my reading list.

 

(Kam) Yes, I know the last review had a typing error but I didn’t think it was appropriate to change it. It’s their review, not mine. Plus, I don’t think the error undermines the love Rose had for the story.  😛 

 

 

 

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