Friday, December 27, 2013

A New Moon for the New Year and Resolutions

In 2014, the new year starts with a new moon, which astrologers say is a sign of new beginnings. Just about all of us will make new year's resolutions, which I think is a great idea because it gives us an incentive to better ourselves and make a new beginning in one way or another.

Resolutions are really about setting goals, and some of us will keep working to achieve or maintain these goals throughout the year while sadly, the good intentions of others will fall by the wayside.

The key is not to make resolutions that you know will be almost impossible to keep. Weight loss is one of the most popular resolutions, but resolving to lose 100 lbs is probably not a realistic goal. Setting small goals that we can accomplish makes so much more sense. Each small success will encourage us and spur us on to keep working at making ourselves better. Perhaps a goal of 5lbs each month or over two months would be easier to fulfill.

My resolution for 2014 is probably the simplest one I've made for a long time. I plan to smile more in 2014. If you smile, you can't really be angry, and that's the whole idea. I like the quote I read in some fortune cookie too: "Your smile comes back to you." It's so true. If you smile at someone they usually smile back.

Every night when I get into bed and turn out the light, I say a little prayer to thank God for keeping my loved ones and all my friends safe, and ask him to keep them safe for at least another day. Then I turn my thoughts to the day that has just passed and congratulate myself for all the small achievements I made. I also look at the mistakes I made during the day and determine not to make the same mistakes again. In this way I hope to better myself a little every day, one small step at a time.

Some of us will be turning to astrologers to get some kind of idea what to expect in the new year. While astronomy is only a guide, it may give us a hint at what is to come.

Here's one astronomer's predictions for 2014:

http://www.gtweekly.com/index.php/santa-cruz-columns-commentary-oped/good-times-astrology-/5283-risa-astrology.html



Saturday, December 7, 2013

Goodbye, Madiba

I was born and raised in Africa, and having lived in South Africa for many years I feel that it would be fitting for me to write something about Nelson Mandela's passing.  He was a great leader revered by many for his humility.

The media loves to report that Nelson Mandela was a saint and he was illegally imprisoned by a racist regime for opposing apartheid, but that's simply not true.  Nelson Mandela was a member of the communist-backed ANC party. Together with Joe Slovo, a Lithuanian  Jew, Mandela formed and headed up the communist party's uMkhonto we Sizwe – the Spear of the Nation. Under his leadership, many innocent men, women and children of all races lost their lives in bombings in public places in South Africa.

In 1962, Mandela was arrested, together with several other communist party members both black and white.  Between them they were tried for 221 acts of sabotage against the South African government.

Apartheid in South Africa was wrong, as was the racial discrimination that took place in the US in the '60's, but any government would do the same to political criminals who conspired against them and murdered their citizens.

Mandela could have been sentenced to death, but instead he received a life sentence.

In 1989, the moderate, F. W. de Klerk became the president of South Africa and soon announced his policy of reform and his plan to end apartheid.  He legalized the South African Communist Party and met with Nelson Mandela at the prison. In time, Mandela was released and subsequently voted in to become president.

In his years as president, Mandela was known by the nickname Madiba, a tribal title of respect. Mandela strove to relieve racial tensions and succeeded in bringing the people of South Africa together, which gained the country the name  'Rainbow Nation'. 

Madiba's humility is probably what made him great. In books and speeches he made a point of admitting his errors and stating that he was flawed just like the rest of us.

Nelson Mandela  made his mark on the world and will be remembered by many with respect and affection.

Rest in Peace, Madiba.

Trish Jackson is the author of several  romantic suspense fiction novels.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Editing and Formatting Services

I always try to support indie writers by buying their books, but more often than not I am disappointed and unable to read to the end. Why? Because they have not been edited. Yes, they've been spell checked. But I just can't read books that clearly need help.

Everyone needs to have their work edited. Even best selling authors have editors, and I am thrilled to have started to offer editing services at my website: www.youselfpublish.com


I recently offered to help my old friend Chris Pocock in Zimbabwe self-publish his book on Amazon's Createspace.

When he sent the manuscript to me he said he had not had a chance to have it edited, and asked if I would also do that for him.

I was glad he recognized the importance of editing, and because he and I have been friends since we rode horses together in our high school days, I agreed.

His book is non-fiction, entitled The Story of Polocrosse in Zimbabwe, and it covers 60 years of history of the sport. I was very impressed with the amount of information it contained, and how much work Chris had done putting it all in order, together with a lot of photographs and line drawings.

He was quite right, it did need editing, and I found that I really enjoyed that part. It also needed to be formatted for publication, which is not too difficult once you have done it a few times.

Chris had an idea of what he wanted for a cover, but he didn't know how to create one that would conform to Createspace's specifications. This is what we came up with when we put our head together:
Next, we had to figure out what we were going to do with the back cover, and here it is. It took some adjustments to get it right for publication, but the book will be available any day now, as soon as it has passed the review process.
I have also been helping a friend in Australia to format and submit his book, "SILF" and its cover to Createspace. He designed the cover himself. The book is now available, which is great.

I enjoyed it so much that I decided to offer my services to others, but it is very time consuming, and I work, so I have to charge something for doing it, but I've made it as inexpensive as I possible can. This is my new website: www.youselfpublish.com

I'm ready and willing to start helping independent authors, so please contact me for pricing info. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Huge Book Giveaway

It's not too late to enter into the Write Room Blog's enormous book giveaway, but you'll have to hurry. The draw is tomorrow -- November 15th 2013.

Here are the details:

Today is the final day to enter into the raffle. The Write Room Blog is giving away more than 80 books, and the draw takes place tomorrow. http://www.thewriteroomblog.com/?page_id=1281

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Rhodesia - the Other Country to Declare UDI from Britain

Veterans Day will forever have two reasons for celebration for a dwindling population of people scattered throughout the world who call themselves Rhodesians. On November 11th, 1995, Rhodesia declared its independence from Britain via a Unilateral Declaration of Independence. (UDI).

Rhodesia, located in southern Africa, is the country in which I was born and raised. I can still clearly remember as a child in primary school being let out of the classroom early that day, because our Prime Minister Ian Smith was going to make an important announcement, and everyone should have the opportunity to listen to it live on the radio. It didn't mean very much to me at the time, but it was to be the start of a string of events which eventually led to me and my husband losing our homeland and being compelled to emigrate.

The United States of America is the only other country to have declared its independence from the British via a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI), which it did on July 4th, 1776.

The Rhodesian Flag

They couldn't be more different. While the USA was a huge country, even then with a large population of white settlers, Rhodesia was a tiny country ruled by the white minority in a predominantly black populace.

The reason we took our independence illegally was that Britain was trying to force majority rule and a vote for every person in the country. What they didn't understand was that the black population were not westernized enough to rule a country in the western democratic fashion. We, the people who lived there, knew that a fair and non-corrupt voting process was impossible.

What followed were 15 years of world sanctions and a guerrilla war--theoretically to free the black population, but in actual fact the so-called "freedom fighters" were communist-backed thugs who raped, tortured and slayed innocent people--men, women and children. They particularly liked to attack missionaries because they knew they would not be armed, and they took pleasure in the torture and massacre of people's beloved pets and farmers' livestock.

Every able-bodied white male was drafted, and many of the Rhodesian blacks fought alongside them on a voluntary basis. But it wasn't the war that eventually brought Rhodesia's downfall. Although the country was one of the richest in the world in farmland and minerals, no oil has ever been discovered there and in today's world a country cannot continue to exist without gasoline. The sanctions and oil embargo was therefore effective, and we were forced to admit defeat.

In 1980, Robert Mugabe was voted in as the first black president and the country changed its name to Zimbabwe. Widespread intimidation was reported, but the results were still upheld. Mugabe is a dictator and as such, is still in power today. He has committed and continues to commit genocide, murder, torture, and has raped the country of its natural resources to such an extent that it is now the poorest country in the world. Even today, Zimbabwean white farmers are being forced to leave their homes at gunpoint, are subjected to public beatings, and are made to watch their animals being mutilated by Mugabe's thugs, while the majority of the population live with fear and starvation.

So it is with mixed emotions that a small group of people who still call themselves Rhodesians gather on November 11th every year all over the world to commemorate the anniversary of UDI, still yearning for their homeland and for Africa.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Huge Enormous Book Giveaway

This is a note about books, actually about FREE books. One of my marketing efforts has been The Write Room Blog. 

It is a cooperative effort of thirty disparate writers who have banded together to work on marketing. The funny thing about cooperation: sometimes it bears remarkable fruit. Having been up for only four months, The Write Room has already had over a hundred thousand hits and In the past week alone, we had over 14, 000 hits on the blog. 

To celebrate we decided to do a book raffle. All of us have contributed print and electronic versions of our work. We want to give them away and are urging visitors to our blog and our friends to enter the raffle. It is free and you may win some great writing. If nothing else, you might find the blog itself worth visiting. 

The most recent post, for instance, is a collection of 9 short pieces about the end of the world. 

Here’s the link. I hope you’ll click on it, be intrigued, and follow the simple directions to join the raffle. Be assured, we aren’t going to put you on some mailing list or insist that you follow the blog. We just want you to enjoy some good reading.
So here’s the link: http://www.thewriteroomblog.com/?p=1366 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Capricorn Cravings Video Trailer

I am getting really excited now for the launch of my first book in the Astronomy Series -- in which each heroine will belong to a different star sign and will display the recognized traits of that sign of the zodiac.

Capricorn Cravings is scheduled for release on October 30th and will be available for download at Amazon for $2.99.

Small town Colorado veterinarian Riley Shaughnessy knows she is falling for hunky Powell Stewart. But is he really an undercover FBI agent or is he the serial murderer the FBI has dubbed the Capricorn Killer?

I will be posting an excerpt soon...


video

Friday, October 11, 2013

First Page - My First Travel Book

This book serves as an educational, fun and entertaining reading for children 3 – 10 years of age. It reflects on travelling to some of the world’s most famous landmarks and popular destinations around the world. The book consists of fun rhymes and important information. The creative and bright illustrations are a great discussion topic for both the children and parents. It makes a lovely gift from parent or grandparent to child.

My First Travel Book

Anna Othitis


Welcome aboard Angelic Airlines. This is Captain Frankie, and I will be flying you to some of the most popular places around the world. Please fasten your seat belts, make yourselves comfortable, and get ready to take off on a wondrous journey.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

First Page - Shadows Along the Zambezi

Author, Diana M. Hawkins has penned an action-packed thriller in which a couple battles poachers, ivory traffickers, and corrupt officials to protect embattled herds of elephants in Zimbabwe’s eastern Zambezi Valley.
Seven years after the brutal murders of his wife and children during a violent, government-sanctioned farm invasion, Pieter van Rooyen focuses his energies on trying to save wildlife in Zimbabwe’s national parks. In 2008, their beleaguered and underfunded staffs are helpless to stop rampant poaching, as depicted in a gut-wrenching scene where a dozen men wielding automatic rifles slaughter a family group of elephants for their ivory tusks. Jessica Brennan, a doctoral candidate studying elephants in the Zambezi Valley, joins forces with Pieter to pursue the poachers, who are working in collusion with a phony Zambian travel agency to supply a Chinese diplomat.
Jessica and Pieter’s pursuit leads to her kidnapping and a suspenseful confrontation in a Zambian warehouse. Interspersed throughout the human drama are realistic accounts of the elephants’ interactions, both in times of joy and tragedy, which will rend readers’ heartstrings. In the end, however, what lingers in readers’ memories is the sorrowful portrait of Zimbabwe, a nation whose leaders have squandered its magnificent natural resources for short-term political and financial gain.

Shadows along the Zambezi
Diana M. Hawkins

Prologue
Tuesday April 3, 2001

            Sandie van Rooyen was angry and upset. Her husband should never have left her and the children alone on their Zimbabwe farm. Robert Mugabe’s brutal land invasions were on the rise.
            Why did he take the Cessna and fly off to Harare, just to collect tractor parts? If he’d waited, they’d have been delivered by the end of the week. Surely a day or two’s delay in the plowing didn’t matter that much. She thumped the dining room table with her fist, hurt by his obvious disregard for his family’s safety.
            Before he left, he’d pulled her into his arms. “You’ll be fine,” he had assured her with his usual air of confidence. His kiss had lingered long, and for a brief moment or two, it seemed to erase all her fears. Then with a spring in his step, he walked away.
          “Don’t worry Sandie,” he called out, as he turned to wave goodbye. “I’ve left a shotgun with Shoriwa and I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon; before you know it. You’ve got the emergency radio, remember.”
          “Don’t worry?” Sandie scoffed under her breath as she watched him disappear. “That’s easy for you to say.”


          Several hours later, she felt somewhat more composed. Nonetheless, the possibility of an impending attack still bothered her. In the sewing room, she found her nine-year-old daughter, Bernice, hunched over the Singer, trying to sew a straight seam. Sandie realized her daughter was frustrated since a wiggly line of stitches was the best she could do.
          “Mummy, I can’t get it to stay straight.” Bernice frowned, tossing back a head of blonde curls. “The silly machine keeps pulling the material crooked.”
          “Sweetheart, the secret is to guide the fabric, using the lightest touch. You aren’t in a tug-of-war with the machine, you know.” Sandie lifted the Singer’s sewing foot. She snipped the...




Tuesday, October 1, 2013

First Page - Dare to Flee by Phil Graham

 The Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert are a threatened species. They are being forced from an area they have occupied for 30,000 years, by the Botswana Government so that diamonds can be mined. 
In an exciting story, Xai, a Busman hunter embarks on a journey to save some of the Bushman and also to hunt down his deadly enemy.

Dare to Flee

Phil Graham


PROLOGUE

The Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert are an ancient tribe dating back 20000 years. They were the original inhabitants of the Cape and the mountainous areas of Kwa Zulu Natal and traces of them have been found over much of South Africa. The mere fact that they exist to this day is in no small way attributable to their ability to survive.

The arrival of the white man in South Africa began in the seventeenth century and shortly after their arrival, they began to decimate the vast herds of wild game, upon which the Bushmen depended. In retaliation for this slaughter, the Bushmen began plundering the white man’s livestock, and so began a war that the Bushman could not win.


In 1802 the African tribes were decimated by a famine that set the tribes to warring amongst themselves. These wars inevitably involved the Bushmen who were driven from their traditional hunting areas and ended up in the Drakensberg Mountains, bordering South Africa and Lesotho. The whites continued to encroach on the Bushmen’s territory and the warring blacks continued to slaughter their people until, in 1869, the last settlement of Bushmen was decimated.

There were, however some survivors and these hardy people fled to a place where neither the black tribes nor the white settlers were willing or indeed able to live. This was the vast thirstland known as the Kalahari. The Kalahari, like many deserts, has no surface water and any water that exists, is to be found underground, where the Bushmen suck it up with hollow reeds. It is in this inhospitable land that most of the current day Bushmen live.

The Bushmen are keen conservationists; they never kill unless the animal is to be used as food and even when they have killed an animal, they offer thanks to the animal’s soul for the food that it has supplied. They are experts at mixing plants to make poisons and medical remedies and are able to identify over three hundred different plant types.

The Bushman’s relationship with the earth has been described as “An inspiring model of the powerful connection possible between nature and the higher self “

Is it surprising then, that the Bushman is one of nature’s hardiest survivors?

Website                      http://sbpra.com/PhilGraham

Youtube Video         http://youtube.com/watch?v=uoSKI3WILfo

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Signs of Fall

Fall or autumn is my most favorite time of the year, and this year it came right on cue on September 22nd.

Fall in north Florida doesn't come with gorgeous leaf colors or an early smattering of snow, but it heralds cooler days and nights, less humidity and a decrease in the number of bugs. Finally we can go outside and enjoy the exceptional weather without melting or ending up with a new crop of bug bites.

My husband and I love to hike the nearby public lands and we are incredibly fortunate to have two State Wildlife Preserves just a couple of miles away from our home. This morning we did a six mile loop. The only other people we saw was a group of horse riders who had trailered their mounts into the area.

We saw plenty of game spoor, including deer, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, feral wild boars, and bears, but we didn't see a single animal. Other times we've been amazingly lucky to have watched a new born fawn gambol around its mother, totally unaware of our presence, and we've had four encounters with black bears.

The Florida black bear is endangered, and it is so uplifting to see them thriving and living in our back yard. We've seen single bears on three occasions and a mother with two cubs one time. They've never been aggressive toward us, but rather they just ambled away and ignored us.


My only regret about fall is that it gives way to winter, and just as we don't have a spectacular leaf changing autumn in Florida, we don't have anything as enchanting as snowfall in winter. It just gets really cold.

On the plus side, there is something very appealing about sitting in front of a crackling fire with a good book sipping a mug of hot chocolate.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

First Page - The Undying Love by Greg McCabe

For Diane and Jackson, life is just about perfect. They’re healthy, happy, and madly in love with one another. Unknown to them, a virus is sweeping across the globe that instantly kills the infected and turns their corpses into mindless, murdering cannibals. In short: zombies have taken over the planet.

Diane and Jackson find out about the epidemic the hard way when their wedding is crashed by friends and family who have succumbed to the virus. Now, fighting for survival, they're faced with unthinkable decisions.


Follow their story across Southeast Texas as they meet unforgettable characters and face challenges that will put their love, and lives to the ultimate test.

The Undying Love

Greg McCabe

Sirens & Screams


Right now, my life is perfect.
She smiled at the thought and looked at herself in the mirror. She had dreamt of this day since being a child, but never imagined she would actually look this beautiful. Her hair and make-up were professionally done and her arms were toned from months of sculpting curls. The all-white dress popped against her subtle tan.
Diane continued to study herself in the mirror as she took a sip of her mimosa. 



She stayed in the Honeymoon Suite with her mother the night before. They had breakfast sent up by room service when they woke. A Denver omelet for Diane and a big Belgium waffle for mom, but they ended up sharing both plates. After a quick shower, they took the elevator down to the ‘Spa/Pool’ level of the high-end hotel and checked in for their 10:30 am massages.
After an amazing sixty minute massage, the pair headed back up to the honeymoon suite where they waited for the bridesmaids to arrive. The ladies were to meet around noon for their 1:00 pm appointments in the hotel salon for hair styling, manicures, pedicures, and make-up.
Emma and Erin drove together and arrived first. Diane’s maid of honor, Cathy, arrived next, followed by Anna, Julie, and Kristen. Last to arrive was Carrie, Diane’s only hometown friend in the wedding. The rest were friends from college—seven wonderful ladies in all.
After a couple hours of pampering in the salon, the ladies headed back up to the suite to change into their dresses. From the neck up, they were immaculate, with pristine make-up and hair, but from the neck down, they were sloppy, wearing t-shirts, cotton shorts, and flip flops.
The ceremony was to be held in the courtyard of the hotel with the reception in the ballroom on the second floor. Diane always thought she would be married in a church, but the convenience of having the ceremony and the reception at the same venue was too much to deny. Besides, the courtyard of the hotel was lovely. Located in the Uptown...

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

First Page - Gape by Aiden Truss

When Rose woke up in her favourite shop doorway, she was resigned to yet another day of hunger, struggle and abuse. This was life on the streets after all.

What she wasn’t prepared for, was a visit from a demon, an invitation back to his temporally insubstantial sanctuary, and forced to take sides in a battle involving most of the denizens of hell. Oh, and a boat trip down the river Thames.


After a disappointing start to the day, things were about to get a bit more interesting…

GAPE

Aiden Truss

Foreword:

Separated by those vast and normally insuperable gulfs of space, time and imagination, two beings sit at the crossroads of their lives - one human, and one something more than human. Both feel the weight of their existence and a solitude born of their introspection and contemplation. Both are equally lost and shackled by their seeming impotence in the face of the storm blowing around them.
Of all the different types of crises we face, it is the internal, personalised ones which hit hardest, cut the deepest and yet teach us the most valuable lessons. In that sense, it makes not one jot of difference that one of our protagonists is a female human and the other a male demon. As we shall find, near omnipotence does not denote omniscience and incapacity need not mean weakness.
Life cuts through complications – it’s just that we seldom step back and allow it to take its course. We always assume that there is a point, that there is something more to it all than a series of contiguous moments, a chain of causes and effects – that there must be a cosmic narrative and a divine plan. Sometimes it’s handy to know what’s around the next bend in the road, but still, we must negotiate that bend and the change of direction that it brings. Whether you’re a milkman or a 7th level demon, you still have to get your head around your day job and the challenges and satisfaction that it may or may not bring. In Paradise Lost, that shrewd observer of the eternal struggle, John Milton, wrote:
The mind is its own place, and in itself,
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.

It was poetic license – Satan never really had to jump to such conclusions, but you get the gist don’t you. It’s where you’re at in your head that defines the world around you. For this reason, our tale is set in recognizable worlds, with familiar terms of reference. The everyday world of humanity is set in the unremarkable London suburb of Bromley. I would have used Croydon for a setting, but this might have placed us nearer to purgatory in terms of imaginative leaps. (Papers recently unearthed during Dan Brown’s search through Vatican records reveal that the medieval Catholic Church considered calling the transitory state between Heaven and Hell ‘Croydon’, but were persuaded differently by its connotations of helplessness and despair; at least in purgatory there’s the hope of something better to come!).
The universe, or cosmos as your author has chosen to describe it (paints a bigger picture than just ‘universe’ don’t you think?), is full of different levels of life and evolution. Creatures living in dimensions unknown to traditional science co-exist in areas of space occupied by more conventional life-forms. Every so often, these planes intersect and cross over. Hence we have unexplained sightings, strange craters in the wilderness, ghosts and silly old women making a fair living at pretending to be psychics. None of which are the least bit extraordinary if you have a tiny inkling of the true nature of the...

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

First Page - North Dark by Lane Kareska

Set in a lonesome and barbarous failed state, North Dark is the story of a lone man traveling by dogsled across a frozen wasteland in pursuit of the fugitive who destroyed his family.


Haunted by predators both physical and spectral, the musher’s journey takes him across a deadened tundra, tortured cities and the remains of civilizations long-lapsed into madness. All the while, his enemy slides in and out of striking distance, always one step ahead, always one act of violence away.

North Dark

Laye Kareska

One

     Treesplitter sees that his sons neither hear nor understand him, so he waves his whipping torch and they all spread out to search the ice caves. His sons are capable, not useless. His gloved hand clenches the stalk of the torch as he enters the ribbed blue socket of a nameless tunnel he played in many times as a child and teenager. The windhowl shuts off as he passes into the low slung shaft. The light of his torch flaps on the icerimed ceiling and walls. Once he is far enough within to no longer feel the sharp scrape of wind on his face, he throws back his foxfur hood, searches the ground for footprints in the frost, and sees none. That does not mean he is in no danger. That does not mean the fugitive is not just ahead of him, hiding in the dark, blade drawn. Treesplitter grips his sharpest knife and advances quietly.

     He has been through this before. Men, desperate men, come through his village several times a year. Some criminals, others victims, but the hard and fast local law is to turn all away. There is no room. No space for unknowns. Once, years ago, on a similar adventure, he had been forced to kill two men in a cave like this. He never did learn from what they were running, but they had carried short, nicked knives and wild looks in their eyes and that was enough.

     The grim weight of resolve settles over him. There is a good chance he will murder soon.

     Murder. Best not to call it that. Protection. Protection of his family, those he loves, those he fathers, the woman he husbands. He touches the ice wall with his fingers. This is the spot where he first made love to Prairie thirty years ago. Neither of them has been with another since.

     He looks down at the icy ground and gives a small laugh for the young and hotheaded boy he once was. It is unthinkable how much time has changed him. Tamed him even.

     He moves down the tunnel until he reaches the first hard bend. He bites his knife and transfers the torch to his left hand. He reaches for the leather sack looped through his belt, sets it on the ground, opens the mouth and lets loose the three gray ridge mice within. The rasping animals, each as long as river trout, circle him. He waves them forward with his torch and they run into the darkness of the tunnel ahead. He stands there listening for long seconds. He scrapes the flat of his knife against his beard. Fugitives. Ruffians. He has better things to do, village work to complete, tasks to administer, supper to eat. The temperature drops a few degrees and he reminds himself that he had better keep his mind on the job at hand. Tougher men than he have been lost to simple scoundrels before.

     The high whine of the ridge mice ahead. A long, panicked squeal. One of the cries cuts off and, a moment later, two of the mice race past his feet, darting away. He holds the torch forward, illuminating another few yards of blue cave and the twisted, enraged face of the snowbear lumbering toward him on enormous paws. The creature’s small eyes flash and its fur glows blue in the strange halflight of the tunnel.

     Treesplitter’s eyes widen in alarm and he throws the torch at the beast. The bear ignores the fire bouncing from his chest and charges the man before him. Treesplitter lowers himself, crouches ...

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

First Page - Kin Ship: Moustache on the Moon

We believe in life on other planets. We believe they visit us from time to time. What if life also evolves in the vast empty space between galaxies, among the very stars themselves? What would it look like? What would you do if it showed up in our skies?

Marnie is your average teenager. She goes to school every day, hangs out with her friends, and tries to stay out of trouble. One morning, while suffering through another boring class, her world is turned upside down when two intergalactic strangers come to collect her.


And it’s not just Marnie’s world, but her whole family’s too. It seems that random kids and their moms and dads have also been scooped up and taken to the hidden mountain valley far from their homes. No one knows why they’ve been selected or what’s really going on…

Kin Ship: Moustache on the Moon (Part One

D. K. Snape


During those hours of the dark of the moon, the new moon, something crawled across her face. No warning sounded from any of the space departments, the satellites or the space station.
For Earth, all unaware, faced that dark moon waiting for her visage to reappear as she had done for time immemorial.

Only as the first slice of the moon’s shining surface reappeared did a creature become visible.
All Earth saw that shape.
Every nation readied their most powerful weapons, anticipating an attack. Militia stood on guard for the expected invasion. Within hours military in many countries began recruiting, promising extraordinary travel and training opportunities as their budgets increased dramatically.
Every telescope on and off Earth tracked the worm-shaped beast. Pictures downloaded, headlines questioned. Governments postured, scientists postulated, and military speculated. Theories expounded. No one on Earth knew what this could be.
By the time the moon waxed gibbous, a distinct worm-like shape of something totally alien emerged, clearly visible, settling above the face of our moon. The familiar childhood nursery rhyme figure, the Man on the Moon, now sported a moustache; a thick sand-colored moustache.
Governments diverted billions into space budgets, some governments working together for the first time in history. Spaceship programs tried in vain to divert scheduled flights. But none of the ships available had the range to fly further than the Space Station.
Around the globe a word-war of hypotheses tattered reputations as scientists formulated and published unproven theories in bids to gain prestige and research funds. Science journals spouting a flurry of discussions about the alien worm-beast presence arriving through a recently reported opening wormhole just outside Jupiter made headlines for a few days. But the ivory tower residents, for all their speculation, concluded nothing.
Interrupted TV shows became the norm as every station interviewed their pet scientist, all hoping to be the first to unveil the truth.
Xenophobia reared its ugly head. Some religions revamped their doomsday prophecies, sure the end of the world was now. New religious cults sprang up. Paranoia blossomed within all cultures. Psychiatrists’ and psychologists’ businesses boomed as people’s anxieties bloomed.
The worm lay quiescent against the moon’s familiar face for months. Telescopes trained on it strained to find some movement. Spacecraft, finally diverted, orbited, discovering nothing to further understanding.
It did nothing.

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Friday, September 6, 2013

First Page - Love 'n Lies by Aspen deLainey

Gaining weight is a human problem. At least that’s what Leticia always thought. But when this vivacious vampire wakes from her year-long slumber and discovers that her formerly svelte frame has retained a few extra pounds, it becomes apparent that something has gone amiss.

A girl just can't wander around the Calgary Stampede in clothes that don't fit! So she sets about the task of shopping and working out a low-cal diet of humans she can live on. When her friends notice how depressed she is, one of them suggests she adopt a tomcat named Justin to keep her company. Little does she know that she would fall madly in love with her new kitty. The moment she does, the spell cast over Justin is broken and he takes his true form – a long, tall, dark haired man with an insatiable sex drive. Letty is more tempted than she ever thought possible and can't keep her hands off him anymore than he can keep his off of her.

After taking him back to her childhood home, Evermore, to consult with the head wizard Silvius, she soon discovers the Warlock who cast the spell over Justin isn't letting him go so easily.


Throw in a nasty twin sister who'll do anything to get her hands on what Letty has, including Justin's more than hot body, and you end up with Love... 'n Lies!


LOVE 'N LIES

Aspen deLainey
Chapter 1 

This whole fiasco happened because I’m lonely. Not friend lonely. Believe me, I have lots of friends.
Heart lonely.
I woke up near the end of June; in, of course, Calgary, Alberta. You know, that cowboy city in the great white north; Canada.
Right in time for The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, the Calgary Stampede. That’s when every citizen and all the tourists in this crazy city dress up in their favorite cowboy ensemble.
Honest!
Men wear plaid western shirts, string ties, and blue jeans. Women wear either blue jeans or blue jean skirts, western plaid shirts or their flooziest bordello-type top—the one they’d wear for Klondike days in Edmonton in a couple of weeks. And everybody wears cowboy hats. Some even wear cowboy boots.
I mingled with all those Stampede cowboys downtown the first evening, wearing my new jeans. My bustier’s only real western claim: the denim strips supporting the lace. This time it really needed the support, as I overflowed magnificently.
It’s a party here! For ten days straight, I kid you not! This city pretty much shuts down corporate headquarters to celebrate. Even the tourists visiting just to see ‘the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,’ namely the Calgary Stampede Rodeo, dress western and party.
I walked downtown Calgary, listening to the echoes of drunken yahoo’s, laughter and the clip-clop of horses being ridden through the streets. The leftover odor of ubiquitous pancakes, sausages, eggs, bacon and champagne-orange juice, served at every street corner, lingered. Stampede breakfasts are tradition, after all.
I drew stares. But I corralled most of my come hither attitude tonight. No time to dally, no time for sensual imbibing. Tonight I would only disappoint.
For tonight, I started my diet.
I needed an out of the way space to just watch the crowds for a moment. To get a good spin on my lasso. I picked the alley just up ahead. I’d duck into that one, hide until I got a good spin on my lasso. Once I had it going really good, I’d exit, stage centre—like an actress; winning applause with my rope trick. Perfect plan, right?
But back in the shadows of my chosen alley, near the dumpster, a little man relieved...