Category Archives: Susan’s Book Talk

Featured New Book Spotlight: Son of Cayn by C Jason McDonald, Alan Isom, and Stormy McDonald

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Featured New Book SpotlightWOOT. I have been waiting for a LONG time to be able to tell you guys about this one!

C Jason McDonald, Alan Isom, and Stormy McDonald have collaborated on a fantastic tale that has stuck in my brain for years. YEARS. Do you hear me? I’m so glad Jason was willing to stop in and talk to you guys about this book, Son of Cayn.

Jason, what song makes you think of Son of Cayn?

Crazy Bitch by Buckcherry

This may be a surprise to a lot of people but it was the only song that kept running through my head every time I wrote about the baroness.

I knew this; Jason and I had discussed it at some point in the past, and let me tell you: he’s RUINED the song for me because HE’S RIGHT. This is the anthem of the baroness.

Bad Jason, ruining songs!

Good Jason, for picking such a perfect song.

Seriously, you guys. It fits.

Have I sold it hard enough to you yet? Well, here’s the description:

It was supposed to be a simple assignment—look into a caravan destined for the White River. But when Marcus, the leader of the Kral’s security forces, dug deeper, he knew something was amiss. Not only was it the teamsters’ third trip east of the Wall, a no-man’s land haunted by the dead, but their cargo was one of the least profitable—soap.

All was not as it seemed, so Marcus hired outsiders, a team not tied to his organization of spies, to find out what was really happening. A ranger, a dwarf, a mage, and a half-orc gladiator; they had the tools and experience to infiltrate the caravan and get the answers he needed.

Until the appearance of a strange knight sets in motion a chain of horrible events.

Time grows short as the people of Pazard’zhik begin dying—including Marcus. The healers can’t understand why, just that the deaths are somehow tied to the caravan. Can the investigators solve the mystery of the caravan in time to save the Kral’s kingdom, or will the Blood of Cayn claim the land?

Get your copy now. Unfortunately, it’s Amazon-only and that sucks, but this one’s worth asking your library to get their hands on if you’re not an Amazon shopper.

Connect with Jason, Alan, and Stormy, of course.
Website
Facebook
Goodreads
Amazon Author Central

And remember: leaving a review is always a great way to thank an author for putting in the years, the blood, the sweat, the tears, the harsh editorial letters, the ruined Buckcherry songs, and the vision to bring you a book. If you read it and this isn’t your thing? That’s fine. A constructive, thoughtful review about why is also very helpful.

As always, if you are struggling to get a good review down, drop me a note. I offer a super-cheap service to help you perfect your book reviews. THAT’s how important they are.

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Witching Well by SD Hintz

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Let’s welcome SD Hintz back to West of Mars! SD was last here in January, with Vigilance and Vengeance, and now he’s back with a new one, called Witching Well.

SD’s not long on chatter, so you always have to listen to his song choices to understand how they tie into the book. This time, it’s Somebody’s Watching Me, that classic ’80s song by Rockwell.

I’m curious. Are you?

Here’s the book description:

It’s the end of the world…

…as Murray Macabe knows it. The security of his home life has been ripped out from under him when his mother was brutally murdered. Rejected by his aunt, Murray only has one place left to go, and that’s to live the rest of his life with a woman he barely knows.

To Grandmother’s House He Goes

At first, life with his grandmother doesn’t seem like it’s going to be that bad, but Murray soon learns his grandmother harbors dark secrets.

Double, Double Toil and Trouble; Fire Burn and Caldron Bubble

As bad as Grandma’s secrets might be, they are nothing compared to the secrets held by the neighbors, three elderly women who have set their sights on Murray for their own dastardly purposes. Soon Murray finds himself fighting for his very life, and there’s no one to turn to for help because everyone knows there’s no such thing as witches.

I have to say, this sounds like so much fun, I’m sorry I didn’t get to work on it in my usual guise as a freelance editor. This sounds right up my alley. So you know I’ll be adding it to my wishlist to pick up when I have some spare cash and time.

Here’s the link. It’s Amazon only, unfortunately for those of you who like to support independents or other retailers.
And, hey! Want it in print? Here’s the link for that. If there are other retailers you like to use for print, ask them to order it. Independent bookstores, in particular, love to order books for patrons!

Want to connect with SD? Sure you do! Here’s how:
Twitter
Facebook

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Summer’s On at Smashwords! #SummerSale

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Trevor’s SongTrevor’s Song is part of the Smashwords Summer Sale.

It’s July, so that means one thing: the Smashwords Summer (winter for you Down Under) Sale!

As always, my books are free for you, so help yourself. Pick up one of my past titles, enjoy Trevor and the Trevolution. Let me know if you want to see a third Trevor novel or a fifth Demo Tapes compilation — or even a complete set, with each and every story in chronological order. I can and will do any or all of these for you.

But this year, I’m going to lay down a challenge for you. On August 2, 2019 (so, a year and a month) from now, my daughter is headed to Yellowstone National Park with the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. They picked 13 of their ZooU students for this trip, which is run through Ecology Project International. They’ll be doing a week’s worth of research, conservation work, and more. They’ll be camping in the back country, bear spray at the ready. It’s a nine-day trip, the longest she’ll have been away from me. And she’ll be doing something I’ve dreamed about! Talk about adding insult to injury…

So. What’s the challenge I’m handing down to you?

It’s this: If you decide to pay full price for any of my books at Smashwords during the month of July, when they are on sale and you could have them for free, I’ll put 100% of my royalties to the cost of her trip. It’s not a cheap trip, and she needs some gear before she goes, too. Thankfully, because we are a Scouting family, we have some of it. But she still needs some.

Want to donate directly to her and skip the books, since you’ve already read and loved them? You can do that. She and I would both love that.

Regardless of what you choose to do (if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice!), take some time and wander through the Smashwords Summer Sale. Find some good deals.

And no matter what, remember to leave a review! Nothing helps an author more — except telling your friends about something you’ve read — than leaving a review. Even if it’s as short as “I liked this because…”

Negative reviews may prick an author’s pride, but when written constructively, they are helpful to both the author and future readers. I encourage you to think long and hard, but not to shy away from a negative review.

And, as always, if you need help writing a review, holler. I offer a steep discount on review help. That’s how important they are to me.

Happy Smashwords searching! And if you haven’t joined the Trevolution yet, why not? It’s FREE.

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Chevalier by Bree M Lewandowski

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Let’s welcome Bree M Lewandowski to West of Mars!

Her newest book is called Chevalier, and isn’t that cover intriguing? I really dig it.

Let’s get right to it: What song makes you think of your book, Bree?

How will Fate dictate this adventure between lovers?

Nightcore’s version of Legendary Lovers.

Hmm. That doesn’t tell us a lot about the book, does it? Are you intrigued? I am. I’d like to know more. So here we are:

Linah Morane, a well-known woman of Meridionalis has been scorned and taunted her entire life due to her abnormalities. After the humiliation of being abandoned at the altar, she humbly accepts the unexpected marriage proposal to the King’s Vizier, Kohl. Her heart still fluttered each time she fondly remembered their first and only dance together.

The depth in her eyes was emphasized by the rare hue of cerulean that peered into his soul. Those eyes had stopped the very beating of Kohl’s heart. He had fallen in love with her that very moment. Over the years, her poise and grace to overcome the whisperings were admirable on a royal level. Then fate arrived and Kohl lept at the opportunity to have Linah as his bride.

Seeking safety for his wife after learning of impending war, they journey through the forests and mountain caves until Kohl is mortally wounded. Linah turns to the Nightingale Queen and her gift of healing for help, but is unaware of the damaged past the Nightingale Queen and her husband share.

Secrets are exposed and loyalties shift in this thrilling tale of love and war!

Yeah, this one’s got SERIOUS potential. Pick up a copy!
Amazon
iTunes
Barnes and Noble

And connect with Bree, too. It’s always fun to connect with authors (especially when you like their books and leave them reviews. Not that I’m hinting; I’m coming out and telling you do it!)

Facebook

And what’s this I hear? More coming from Bree? Check out her page, get in touch, read her book, leave reviews. You guys know the drill. Help support authors of all kinds; it’s good for all of us.

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Featured New Book Spotlight: Naval Maneuvers by Dee S Knight

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Let’s welcome Dee S Knight to West of Mars! She and I got to chatting via Twitter one day and the next thing you know, my inbox was full of a Featured New Book Spotlight that I’m thrilled to bring you guys today.

Do you guys like military fiction? I have to confess I like what I’ve read, but I don’t rabidly seek it out. Still, this is one that’ll probably show up on my GoodReads page sooner or later… it really sounds good!

But before we get to what the book’s about, let’s talk about music. Because that’s the fun of the Featured New Book Spotlight: the music. Dee, what song makes you think of your book?

“Blue, Navy Blue” by Diana Renay.

I like it for my book Naval Maneuvers because it’s kind of bittersweet. Men and women who choose the Navy to serve the country leave family and loved ones behind during long tours at sea. Of course, the song also mentions the happy homecoming, which is often filled with lots of kissing and loving behind closed doors (except those doors aren’t closed in my book! ;)) Naval Maneuvers is composed of three novellas: love denied because of childhood memories, love found and then lost because of military regulations, and love found for a second time after years of lies. All have HEAs, humor, and strong men and women.

An oldie! Oh, I love this song. I’d never heard it before, but it makes me think of a more innocent time. And Henry Winkler. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a compliment.

Now I need to read this book! But wait! It’s actually a three-in-one volume — and not novels, either, if you’re worried about time commitment. Nope. These are short stories. Even better.

Here’s what it’s about:

Men and women of the armed forces experience desire and love pretty much like everyone else. Except, well, there is that uniform. And the hard-to-resist attraction of “duty, honor, service” as a man might apply them to a woman’s pleasure. All things considered, romance among the military is a pretty sexy, compelling force for which you’d better be armed, whether weighing anchor and moving forward into desire, dropping anchor and staying put for passion, or setting a course for renewed love with anchor home.

Weighing Anchor (allowing a ship to move forward by retrieving the anchor): A professional woman sworn to avoiding all things military finds herself in love with a lieutenant commander in the Navy. Love won’t conquer all if she allows her childhood memories to eclipse future happiness.

Dropping Anchor (securing movement by dropping the anchor): Two people find (surprisingly) that they are both in the Navy and love their chosen professions—until one turns out to be an officer but not a gentleman and the other is a gentleman but not an officer.

Anchor Home (safe, smooth sailing): When two former lovers find each other after more than a decade, will a long-hidden secret threaten the course of a rekindled romance or be the cause of it?

So. Grab your copy, and be sure to leave a review — they help readers find books!
Amazon
Smashwords (affiliate link)
Book Nook
Kobo

And connect with Dee, too.
Website
Blog
Twitter
Good Reads
Amazon

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Featured New Book: Harmon General by Kimberly Fish

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Woot! Let’s welcome Kimberly Fish to West of Mars!

Kimberly’s got a new book coming out, so let’s take a minute and talk to her about what song makes her think of it.

I’ll Be Seeing You–the scratchy record version sung by Bing Crosby. I’ll Be Seeing You is an iconic song made famous by a rule-breaking woman–Billie Holliday. Rule-breaking women are my favorite characters to read about and write about. These particular lyrics reflect the main character–Lane Mercer– and her feelings of lost love and longing for the men who defined her career. Plus–and this may be my favorite aspect–the song is a little ironic for a spy novel. My two female characters have carried out difficult missions for the U.S. government through the espionage agency, the OSS. As spies, their primary goal is to remain undetected. So, a love song about “seeing” someone in familiar places means the spies are not doing their job. To be clear, Lane Mercer and Emmie Tesco are very good at their jobs–too good.

Ooh, this is good stuff. I definitely want to read this one! It comes out in mid-June, so mark your calendars, add Kimberly’s blog to your reader, and stay informed.

Ready for the official description? Here you go:

In 1943, Lane Mercer and Emmie Tesco had nothing in common. Well, nothing stronger than a town neither of them chose and careers they couldn’t advertise as agents within the Office of Strategic Services. During the days of Longview, Texas’ Friendly Trek Homecoming Parade, Lane was gearing up for the grand opening of a bookshop that also disguised an espionage safe house, and Emmie was chasing a criminal with evil intent through the US Army’s new medical facility treating diseased and amputated soldiers, Harmon General Hospital. Emmie ropes Lane into international threats at Harmon General, making it increasingly hard for the two spies to navigate the Junior Service League, church life, or anything else that might be considered normal for a town sizzling with oil boom wealth. A friend from Lane’s past arrives and pushes against the fiction she’s created to distance her spy history from the wedding bells ringing her future. Emmie flirts with the idea of finding a life outside of the OSS, but justifies the danger as a way to make amends for those she’s betrayed. Connecting the two women, to their surprise, is a rogue agent who targets them for crimes he believes they created. For better, or worse, they have to put aside their differences to share responsibility for stopping “The Grasshopper” before he blows apart the Big Inch Pipeline project, and Harmon General Hospital. The hope of malaria treatments for US soldiers depends on it, and justice of the heart demands it.

Buy links aren’t up yet, but since this is a sequel to Kimberly’s novel, The Big Inch. So be sure to get that one now so you’re all caught up and ready for Harmon General’s release. Y’all see the link in that previous sentence, right?

Of course you do. You guys aren’t dummies.

Which means you’re going to connect with Kimberly, too, right? Of course! She just might have written the best “connect with me” link posts ever. At least of those I’ve seen submitted here at West of Mars, which for me counts as ever. Pooh on you if you don’t agree.

I like to blog about the writing process
I have one social media app on my iPhone and it’s Instagram–so follow here to see my spontaneous photos

I’m also on GoodReads learning about new books in the market and talking to readers

I do keep a Kimberly Fish, author page on Facebook and love to announce bookish news, events, awards, and connect with readers.

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Featured New Story: Visiting Friends by Rebecca House

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Let’s welcome another new writer friend of mine to West of Mars!

The best part of this anthology may not be the stories themselves, but the people and their fascinating lives and the personal tales they tell, beyond their fiction. That said, the fiction’s pretty damn good, too, so don’t miss out on it — and remember to leave your reviews. Reviews help more readers discover a book, and even if you list your favorite story titles and say nothing else, that’s a helpful review.

Okay, off my soapbox and back to the story at hand. Today’s focus is on Rebecca and her story, Visiting Friends. Which means we gotta ask that one famous question: Rebecca, what song makes you think of your book?

As soon as you asked this question the song that came to mind was, People Are Strange by The Doors. It’s an eerie song that I think aligns itself well with my short story, “Visiting Friends” in the Running Wild Press Anthology of Short Stories Volume 2. The main takeaway from the song and I think “Visiting Friends” is that things are not always as they appear. The song also lends itself to the darker components that tend to creep into most of my fiction writing.

Ooh, I love me some dark fiction!

Want to know more about the story? Here you go:

In the short story “Visiting Friends,” Bram Samper is thrust into Tarriton, a small Upper State New York town to attend his best friend’s wedding. While he is trying to navigate his own torments, Bram meets a strange couple, the Bakers and is taken to the bride’s family home, the Van Meertan mansion. A lavish party is being held where he meets his friends and soon-to-be married couple, Jeff and Maryke. As the night before the wedding continues, a brewing storm and strange occurances eventually draw Bram into a precarious situation. This eerie short story with a supernatural twist asks the one simple question, are things always what they appear to be?

Pick up your copy of the anthology today!
Amazon
B&N
Rakuten/Kobo
iTunes

And connect with Rebecca, too.
You can find out where to find Rebecca’s other published short stories at www.smalltowngal.com. You can also find her all over social media at Twitter (@rhhouse), Instagram @rhousewriter) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/smalltowngalwriting/)

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Featured New Short Story: Dawning by Suzanne Grieco Mattaboni

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Featured New Book SpotlightMy friend Suzanne Grieco Mattaboni steps into the spotlight this week!

To be honest, we weren’t even casual acquaintances before the Running Wild Anthology of Stories came out, but now that we’ve been working together for a couple of months, let me tell you what a cool woman Suzanne is. You’ll want to check out her story, Dawning, and then connect with her.

So, Suzanne, what song makes you think of your story?

This sounds fatalistic, but “It’s The End of the World As We Know It” by R.E.M. makes me think of my story, “Dawning,” which appears in the “Running Wild Anthology of Stories” (Volume 2). First off, the song dates to the late ’80s, which zaps me back to when the confusion of navigating an adult world first hit me. Like a frying pan to the head.

Second, the chaos of the song itself reflects the inner turmoil of being on this confounding yet exciting precipice between the world of carefree college parties; and the workaday, gritty reality of starting a career from scratch in an unforgiving city. The lyrics are random and harsh and rambling:

“That’s great, it starts with an earthquake/Birds and snakes, and aeroplanes …
… Slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn …
… Birthday party, cheesecake, jellybean, boom … Right? Right!”

Yet even in the midst of incoherent disaster, the narrator of the song finds a sense of redemption that sews-up the narrative:

“It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel l fine … I feel fine …”

I heard the producers of “Friends” wanted to use this song as the opening theme but couldn’t afford it. They wanted it because it embodies that point when life first spits you onto the pavement of the grown-up world, left to find your way in the midst of what seems like the insurmountable insanity of adulthood. Yet you have to give in to it, realizing you’re destined to become another person soon, someone who might even have a better, more drama-free existence and professional life ahead of her. Eventually. If you can tough it out.

“Dawning” drops us into that moment. Throw in a Manhattan Christmas party, the 7 train to Queens, 15 helium balloons, illegal substances, and a best friend who doesn’t understand the word NO, and you’ve got the picture.

Give the story a read!

Pick up your own copy of this incredible anthology. The more I investigate it, the more I love it and am proud to be one of its contributors.
Amazon
B&N
Rakuten/Kobo
iTunes

And connect with Suzanne!
My website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter
Huff Post blog

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Featured New Book: Her Real Man by Natalina Reis

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Featured New Book SpotlightThere’s a Reis Run Road not too far from West of Mars. Think the person that road was named for is any relation to Natalina Reis?

I know… who cares? But it’s fun to make those small connections, especially now that we’re welcoming Natalina to the West of Mars family. She’s got a new book out, called Her Real Man, Book 0 in the Rescue Me Collection.

How can it be Book 0? Well, think of it as Ground Zero: where it all begins.

The book is called Her Real Man, and the song that makes Natalina think of it is…

Ed Sheeran’s Perfect

An awkward writer and a scarred firefighter. As imperfect as Ana and Gavin were, they were perfect in each other’s eyes.

I know a LOT of writers who would describe themselves that way… but I’m hopeful that for Natalina, this isn’t a case of Write What You Know.

Anyway, I love that very simple description. Don’t you? It’s so pure and trusting… Oh, that gives even the most jaded among us (and you all point to me, I know) hope.

Want more? Here’s the official description:

An imperfect firefighter defined by his past.

A determined author on a mission for the truth.

When Ana Mathews searches for book-boyfriend inspiration, she gets more than she expected from Gavin McLeod. Her quest to find imperfection could be the spark that brings to life their chance at happiness, or the burn that could destroy it all.

I LOVE that. “When Ana Mathews searches for book-boyfriend inspiration…” I have clients who do this! I have friends who do this!

(I do not. See above about being jaded.)

And suddenly, the title makes a LOT more sense. In fact, it’s really darn clever and I appreciate the sly nod here.

Grab a copy. You know I did.

Please provide buy links
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon AU
Amazon CA
Kobo
iTunes

And connect with Natalina!
Instagram
FB
BookBub
Amazon
Newsletter
Twitter:
Goodreads:
Blog

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Susan Sets up Shop in Littsburgh!

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West of Mars logoWhat’s this Littsburgh stuff? You all thought I was West of Mars!

Well, I am BOTH. Littsburgh is the literary hub for us publishing folk in the city of Pittsburgh and maybe you missed it, but West of Mars definitely refers to the only city or town of Mars in the United States. The question I usually won’t answer is how far west of Mars I am, but that’s because I hate it when people show up on my doorstep. Of course, showing up on my back deck is even worse, so don’t do that, either. And before you go, “A-ha! I’ll use the garage,” know that’s where the boy’s bows are stored. Just sayin’.

So because I’m both West of Mars and a proud part of the Littsburgh community, Nick and Rachel and Katie were more than glad to feature me with a quick four-question interview about my story, “Undaunted,” in the Running Wild Anthology of Stories.

I know I’ve done other interviews and stuff about it already, but somehow, seeing myself up on Littsburgh, being an active part of the writerly community… it’s darn cool.

Check it out. If you haven’t picked up a copy for yourself, what are you waiting for?

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Featured New Short Story: Life After Breath by Tori M Eldridge

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Featured New Book SpotlightLet’s welcome Tori M Eldridge to West of Mars!

Tori isn’t just another contributor to the anthology that my short story, Undaunted, is in. Nope. She’s the lead named author, which means that she’s got some serious literary clout. Just that reason alone should be enough for you to pick up a copy of the anthology and start reading, but in case it’s not, let’s ask her what song makes her think of her story.

“Hurt” by Christina Aguilera: The anguish conveyed through this evocative melody, poignant lyrics, and–of course–Ms. Aguilera’s astounding voice resonates with the grief and despair that drives my character into the ocean when a fast-moving fog swallows the coast. “Hurt” strikes that painful chord of longing, guilt, and a struggle to find a reason to live.

Now, you may not know this, but Christina grew up near West of Mars. She’s a graduate of the school my kids go to. So this connection may or may not count for Pittsburgh Geography, that game where it all links back to Da Burgh, but… maybe it does. I vote yes, anyway.

So what’s the story about? In case Tori’s explanation above wasn’t enough for you, here’s more:

“Life After Breath” is a poignant underwater ghost story about grief and redemption, set along the foggy Malibu coast.

Grab your copy! Not all the stories have to deal with death and grief, I promise.
Amazon
B&N
Rakuten/Kobo
iTunes

Remember, too, to leave a review once you’re done. It’s the best way to say thanks to an author for putting in the time to compose a literary gem (or turd, but let’s face it: in this anthology, they’re all gems), and then to have the courage to submit it. That’s some scary stuff, folks, submitting a story!

Be sure, as well, to connect with Tori:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest

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Featured New Story: Justice by Julie Doherty

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Featured New Book Spotlight

Let’s all welcome Julie Doherty to West of Mars!

I met Julie via the Running Wild Anthology of Stories, Volume 2, and she’s pretty awesome. And her story? LOVED it. Voice, detail… this is the kind of fiction I adore and, oddly, have been reading a lot of lately.

So let’s get to it. Julie, what song makes you think of “Justice”

“Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield. Part of the lyrics go “I am unwritten, can’t read my mind,
I’m undefined. I’m just beginning, the pen’s in my hand, Ending unplanned.”

Readers have called my novels “romance with teeth,” so I’m no stranger to dark, edgy writing. However, producing “Justice” for this anthology gave me a chance to skip past the smooches and straight into disturbing. What a rewarding challenge!

I love that! “Skip past the smoochees and straight into disturbing.”

Pick up your copy of the anthology — and be sure to leave a review! Reviews help other readers find great new reads.
Amazon
B&N
Rakuten/Kobo
iTunes

And connect with Julie, too.
SITE
FACEBOOK
GOODREADS
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE
TWITTER
BOOK TRAILER #1
BOOK TRAILER #2

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Lines of Distinction: Playing the Pauses by Michelle Hazen

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WOOT! New Michelle Hazen!

How do you not love her writing? I am such a fan of her lyrical prose, I can’t tell you.

If you haven’t checked out her books yet, what’s keeping you?

 

 

Here’s the latest:

Hot. Hawt. And more than a little yummy.

Pick up a copy!

Amazon: https://goo.gl/zisbeL
Barnes and Noble: https://goo.gl/JToFvr
Kobo: https://goo.gl/qdo3vs
ITunes: https://goo.gl/BSvTLpGoodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37309060

 

 

Connect with Michelle, too!

Website: http://michellehazenbooks.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/michellehazen
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleHazenAuthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michellehazenauthor/
Newsletter sign up: http://michellehazenbooks.com/newsletter/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6559289.Michelle_Hazen
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/michellehazenbo/
Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/michelle-hazen
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Featured New Short Story Spotlight: Idylls of the King by Amelia Kibbie

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Featured New Book SpotlightIt’s time to welcome my anthology-mate Amelia Kibbie to West of Mars!

Her story is directly after mine, so if you sat down to ONLY read mine (bless your heart for being such a dedicated Susan fan), well, just keep turning the pages. I did. I mean, how could I speak with any authority if I didn’t?

So her story is called Idylls of the King, and I’ll let you read it to find out what that means. But first, here’s Amelia with the song that makes her think of her story.

Richard Robbins’ soundtrack to the movie A Room with a View comes to mind. I don’t think about this story in terms of lyrics to a song, which is odd for me because I could usually name you a whole soundtrack. It’s sappy, but probably “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion would fit as well. When you find the right person to love you and support you, it does lift you up to reach the things you couldn’t reach before, and I think my characters realize that by the end of the story.

Sappy is fine! And I like that the story transcends lyrics; I’m so much more literal than that, so it’s neat to meet someone who is my polar opposite. I hope Amelia brings us more of her perspective in the future.

Ready for more about the story? Here you go:

“Idylls of the King” is a short story included in the Running Wild Anthology of Stories Volume 2, and tells the tale of two young teens and their classmates who are evacuated from London to escape the bombings in WWII through Operation Pied Piper. The schoolchildren move into Willowind House, the country estate of the elderly but formidable Baroness, Lady Barlow. The Baroness takes an interest in the class misfits, James and Arthur, and uses the myths and legends of King Arthur and his knights to teach the boys the courage to not only stand up to their bullies, but to dare to find their first love in each other.

Grab your own copy of this fun and incredible (if I may say so) anthology. Lots of great stuff to discover in here.
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Connect with Amelia:
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Today’s the Day! #NewBookRelease

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How can you not love this cover for the Running Wild Anthology of Stories?

Today’s the day!

The Running Wild Anthology of Stories (Volume 2) releases to the world today, and of course I think you ought to pick up a copy. I mean, we all know I like to release new fiction on my birthday and so what if we’re a month early? Your reading my creation is the best gift you can give me.

Here are the buy links:
Amazon
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Rakuten/Kobo
iTunes

And remember: leaving reviews is the best way to show appreciation for an author’s work. And yes, negative reviews, when thoughtful and considered, are beneficial.

I do have digital copies if you PROMISE to leave a review anywhere online, including GoodReads.

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Featured New Short Story: Undaunted by Susan Helene Gottfried

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Featured New Book Spotlight

It’s my turn to step into the spotlight! Do you know stoked I am to do this?

Here’s the story, if you missed it a few weeks ago: One of my son’s friends told me about a prompt on their English final. One word: Puddles.

And after years of not writing a heck of a lot, just like that, I started writing again.

I still don’t know what motivated me, but something did. Maybe I was possessed, maybe I just loved this story and had that much faith in it.

But… I submitted it, it was accepted, and now, today, I’m here to tell you about the song that makes me think of my story, Undaunted.

This is embarrassing as hell, because I’ve come to realize this is actually a horrible song, but here it is anyway: It Can’t Rain All the Time, from the Crow Soundtrack, performed by Jane Siberry. The link will take you to a fan-made tribute video, and I think it does the song and movie justice. But… yeah. It’s not the sort of thing I listen to… ever. But there’s a longing in it, a sense of what true love must be like, and even a promise — and those elements are what I tried to key into when creating Carrie and this story of her loss of her husband, Dante. And, of course, the rain is a theme in both song and story — in Undaunted, though, it’s more an element of the safe harbor of love, and in the end, it’s all about redemption and freedom.

The description isn’t much, as it shouldn’t be in an anthology such as this, but here it is:

Over twenty stories that will make your heart race, make you joyful, fearful, thrilled, inspired, and horrified.
These are stories that will make your imagination run wild featuring Gemma L. Brook, Lorna Walsh, Jasmine Wade,
Laura Nelson Selinsky, Carol Dowd-Forte, Tone Milazzo, Julie Doherty, Tori Eldridge, Ken MacGregor, Nick Mazzuca, Andrew Adams, Susan Helene Gottfried, Amelia Kibbie, Lexis Parker, Rebecca House, Elan Barnehama, Gary Zenker, Suzanne Grieco Mattaboni, Joe Nasta, Cindy Cavett

Need some buy links? It’s still a pre-order for three more days. But go and pre-order. Don’t wait, to make sure you don’t forget!
Amazon
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iTunes

And… you don’t really need my connect links… they’re all over this here site.

Just remember that if you pick up a copy (and you should!), my fellow authors and I would LOVE a review.

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It’s That Time Again!

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Trevor’s Song Trevor’s Song as part of Read an Ebook Week again this year.

Can’t wait for the Running Wild Anthology of Stories to come out with my newest creation, Undaunted, in it?

Me. Either.

But there’s a nice way to tide you over for the next not-quite-ten days. It’s Read an ebook Week over at Smashwords, my favorite of the ebook retailers. (They pay the best royalties out there, if you’re wondering why they are my favorites. And they do NOT play the games that certain big retailers do. Ahem.)

So between now (well, it started on Sunday the 4th but man, have I been busy, between an unusually busy March and the launch of the Running Wild Anthology of Stories) and March 10, ALL of my previous books and stories will be FREE over at Smashwords. If you want to get some short story reading in between now and the release of Undaunted, I recommend Broken or any of the Demo Tapes anthologies.

(If you’re looking for Mannequin, one of my favorite stories, it’s over at Wattpad now, along with a never-before story from the Trevolution.)

So… have at it. Happy reading. Discover something new while you’re at it.

And don’t forget: reviews help sell books, so leave 2c worth of thoughts about what you liked and didn’t like. Yes, even one-star reviews are valuable, so don’t be afraid to say you didn’t like something.)

And pre-order Undaunted and the rest of the anthology, why don’t you?
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Featured New Story Spotlight: All God’s Creatures Got Reasons by Frank Oreto

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Featured New Book SpotlightLet’s welcome Frank Oreto to West of Mars this week!

Frank’s got a few things that make him pretty cool: he’s local to me, part of a writer’s group I belong to and will one day make an in-person appearance to, AND he’s got a short story to tell you about. I know we’ve got some other short stories featured in the spotlight in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned and expand your literary buying habits now!

So Frank’s got a short story called All God’s Creatures Got Reasons, and it’s in the Hinnom Magazine, #5. I’ve never heard of this magazine, so you KNOW it’s time to investigate and learn about it.

But first… Frank, what song makes you think of your story?

“Yummy Yummy Yummy I Got Love in My Tummy” for the most horrible reasons imaginable.

Oh.

My.

I’m… scared now. Which I suppose I ought to be, given that this is a group who’s pretty hard-core Science Fiction, Fantasy, and horror. I mean, this is the source of that way-cool pizza-themed call for submissions I posted a few months back.

(Know what’s worse? When I dug up the song on YouTube, I recognized it! I am NOT that old. I mean, really. I am not. I just know weird shit.)

So. Back to Frank and his story because to be honest, I need to get myself a copy of this. I mean, don’t you? Between the title and the song, how can you resist?

But if you’re still on the fence, here’s how Frank describes the story:

We’re all heroes in our own story. But what happens when what you do, the act that gives you purpose, makes you the worst person in the world? Find out in “All God’s Creatures Got Reasons.” Featured in Hinnom Magazine #5. Available now.

Yeah, it’s hard to summarize a short story, but now I’m even MORE intrigued. Who gets eaten? Who’s the hero? What’s this about God’s creatures and reasons?

Seriously.

Let’s ALL get a copy. It’s an Amazon-only thing, I think, but if you’re more Amazon-averse than I am, let me know if you find other retailers and I’ll update.

And connect with Frank!
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Cover Reveal and Anthology Announcement: Running Wild Anthology Volume 2

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I am beyond proud to introduce you to the Running Wild Anthology of Stories, Volume 2!

Know why?

I have a short story in it.

But not just any short story. Undaunted, it’s called, and it’s one of those pieces of writing that just pours out of you from places unknown, almost entirely whole and coherent, and requires very little revision and a light touch by an editor to tighten up a few phrases.

It’s not just any short story. It’s the first new fiction I’ve been willing to show the world. It’s the first short story I have submitted for publication in years.

So, yeah. I’m batting 1000% on submissions over the past year or five. Time will tell if I can keep it up, but for now, I’m grateful to the team behind the Running Wild Anthology — yes, you guessed it: it’s the cool people at Running Wild Press. This is an emerging publisher worth keeping an eye on, folks!

It’s up for preorder, so get yours now!
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Featured New Book: Blood Bond by Susan Leigh Noble

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Featured New Book Spotlight

Let’s welcome back Susan Leigh Noble to West of Mars! If you’re paying attention around here, you’ll notice that Susan also features authors on her blog, so it’s nice to be able to pay the kindness back. Or forward. Or whatever.

The end result is that she’s here today to tell us about her new book, Blood Bond. Ready? Susan, what song makes you think of your book?

I would like to thank Susan for allowing me to spotlight my new release Blood Bond. I found picking a song that represents my fantasy novel to be a challenge. I finally chose Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash.

I felt this song’s title is exactly the question running through my main character’s mind. Soren is reluctant to help Dex, the dragon, who wants him to help reunite man and dragon for an upcoming battle. The line “If I go, there will be trouble and if I stay it will be double” is particularly true to the story. After Dex’s blood mixes with Soren’s during a battle, the two become linked. If Soren decides to leave it will cause both of them pain but if he decides to stay and help not only will the bond get stronger, but he will be putting himself in harm’s way.

Intrigued? I am. The basic premise of staying or going… that’s one we all face, more often than most of us would like to admit.

Here’s the book’s description:

Man severed the alliance with the dragons fifty years ago. But now an invading army marches north destroying everything in its path. The dragons believe only together can the invaders be defeated. They need an emissary.

Womanizer. Drunk. Failure. Soren is many things. A leader isn’t one of them. But, Dex, the dragon that saves him from a cliff, believes different. Thrust into an adventure he never wanted, Soren’s life changes forever when during a battle Dex’s blood mixes with his blood creating a mystical blood bond – forever linking them.

As the bond strengthens, Soren must decide whether to return to his old life or accept the bond and embrace his role in the battle against the invading army.

Whoa, huh?

Pick up your copy. It’s Amazon-only, but Susan said, “right now,” so maybe there’s hope for those of you who choose to use other book retailers than Amazon?

And connect with Susan! Remember to check out her blog for other authors you may know… and those you may not.
Link to my blog
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