Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

The Grower’s Gift (Progeny of Time #1) by Vanna Smythe @Vanna_Smythe #YA #Dystopian

Saturday, August 30, 2014

“How is this possible?” her father demanded, pulling Maya back from collecting the wheat, his voice hoarse, almost threatening. “These were no more than shoots this morning.”
Maya looked into his eyes defiantly. “I did this with my gift. I let the life giving warmth water them, and make them grow. I also made sure the shoots survived after the floods.”
Maya cowered when her father grabbed her arms, his strong fingers digging into her flesh painfully. “You will stop this silly talk. You can’t heal with your touch!”
Spittle hit her face, and his blue eyes bulged the way they did every time he got angry. Maya wasn’t about to back down, not with the proof of her powers brushing against her legs in the breeze.
“How can you say that?” she yelled, pulling herself free from his grasp. “This wheat is ready for picking.”
Giles and her mother had followed them outside. Her mother was staring from one to the other, opening and closing her mouth. Giles shook his head slightly behind her mother’s shoulder.
What was he saying? That she should calm down?
He was right, probably. Yet she had to make them understand, had to make them believe.
Her father pushed her aside and started trampling the wheat viciously.
“No!” Maya yelled and threw herself at him. He pushed her back and continued to destroy the crop.
Giles wrapped his arm around her chest and pulled her back.
“Let me go!” Maya yelled, fighting against Giles’ arm. “Dad! Stop it! What’s wrong with you?”
“Be quiet! No one must see this.” Her father started kicking soil over the destroyed crop.
“Why? Imagine all the food we could grow! Why can’t I practice my magic?”
Her father moved to her side so quickly that Giles pulled her back out of his reach. “Magic? I see no magic, just a silly girl with crazy ideas who will get hurt because of them. I will not hear you speak of gifts again. And if you ever do such a thing as this again, we are leaving this town.”
Maya could count on one hand the number of times her father had truly lost his temper. His anger tonight made all those times pale in comparison. Yet, he was being unreasonable.
“Why can’t you accept that I have a special gift?” Maya rounded on her father, Giles’ arm still tight around her chest.
“You do not have a gift!” her father hissed. “This is dangerous talk. You could be kicked out of town for saying it. And how would you survive then? Out in the Badlands all alone with no drinking water and no food, and who knows what prowling around?”
“I could make an oasis,” Maya retorted.
“Let’s go back inside,” her mother pleaded softly. Maya ignored her.
She finally succeeded in prying away Giles’ arm and took a step towards her father.
“I have the ability to feed this whole town and I plan to use it! I am of age now. You can no longer tell me what to do,” she said, keeping her voice low.
The muscles in his face tensed into a grimace, and Maya was sure he would strike her. Her mother stood between them and took hold of his arm.
“She is of age.”
She turned to Maya, such sadness in her eyes that had been so bright not half an hour ago. “I bought the grains from a strange merchant who came here for market day about a month ago. Who knows what kind of mutated gene strand they contained? Maya, please listen to your father. He only wants the best for you. Let’s not argue anymore. Let’s go inside.”
She tried to pull Maya’s father after her, but he stood his ground and looked around nervously. “At least no one else saw this.”
The future is bleak in the year 2102. The planet is in chaos and the weather patterns have completely shifted, turning most of the world into an uninhabited wasteland.
The rich and powerful of North America have pulled back into the six remaining megacities, erasing all trace of a central government and leaving millions displaced by the environmental crisis to fend for themselves in the dying world.
Sixteen-year-old Maya has a gift, a power she thinks can heal the earth and make it habitable again. A gift that she must learn to harness. The school for the gifted in Neo York is the only place where she can learn to control her power and reach her potential.
Yet the school is not what it seems. Ran by the ruthless head of the city of Neo York, the school’s only objective is to extract the powers of the gifted and then discard them. Only Ty, heir to the city, can keep Maya from being destroyed there. But Ty has a secret, and his loyalty to his family has never wavered.
Will his growing love for Maya be strong enough to save them both?
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - YA Dystopian
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Vanna Smythe through Facebook & Twitter

@BooksBySnow's #WriteTip for Believable Characters #SciFi #Erotica

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How to Make Your Characters Believable

There is a reason why people love Jane. There is a reason why she’s so curious, so forthcoming, so hot, so workable and so likeable. She’s a character, and she’s believable. The issue with Jane Butler was not that she wasn’t well-rounded or interesting. It was that often times she was far too interesting, and I was taken with her.

In order to make a character believable, for the reader to fall in love with them (even if they’re not the greatest person around), we have to make them complicated. There is nothing like a complicated person that attracts readers, particularly in genre fiction. They have to have faults, they have to have quirks, they have to have fears and dreams and sometimes those need to shatter in the course of the story.

One aspect of Jane I adore is that she’s ridiculously self-confident when it comes to her sexuality. Which, I might add, is nothing I have ever experienced. To play in the mind of a woman who oozes self-esteem and rarely ever thinks twice about herself in the eyes of another person was uplifting and breathtaking. I’ve been told that’s why many female readers will love her. I’ve also been told that is why many may dislike her.

But what isn’t believable about that? Who is honestly liked by everyone? And who is honestly disliked by everyone? I think it should be a pretty equal balanced of the two, if not more heavily weighted on the liking side, but not all people and not all characters are likable. And that is believable.

You just have to make yourself believe if. You have to write it like you’re talking about your best friend. Get into the characters head and figure out why they do certain things, what makes them tick, what makes then jump when something scary happens, what do they crave with they get the midnight munchies (if they’re even up beyond midnight). As long as you figure out all of these things, then the character will be believable. It’s in the details, in the fine print, in between the lines of stuff the reader hardly ever sees. If the author knows it, if the writer knows it, if the character knows it--it becomes believable.


Jane expected six months undercover to be hard; she expected it to be lonely and bleak. She didn’t expect to find love. 

Jane Butler, a CIA operative, is assigned the task of infiltrating the Xanthians and determining if they’re a threat to humanity. Going undercover as a Xanthian mate, she boards the transport ship and meets Usnavi—her new mate. After spending six days traveling through space, Jane is ecstatic to explore the Xanthian station and soon sets out to complete her mission. The only problem? Usnavi—and the feelings she is quickly developing. 

Fumbling their way through varying sexual expectations, cooking catastrophes, and cultural differences, they soon discover life together is never boring. As Jane and Usnavi careen into a relationship neither of them expected, Jane uncovers dark secrets about the Xanthians and realizes she may no longer be safe. When it becomes clear she’s on her own, Jane is forced to trust and rely on Usnavi. Simultaneously struggling with her mission, her feelings for Usnavi, and homesickness, Jane faces questions she never imagined she would have to answer.

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Blended Science Fiction, Erotica
Rating – NC17
More details about the author
Connect with S. A. Snow on Facebook

The Dunes #Excerpt - Journal Questions - by Erin Sands @TheDunesBook #Positivity #NonFiction

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Dunes
By Erin Sands: Journal Questions

1.What opportunity are you missing out on, or what area in your life are you not getting the most out of, because you have not made the commitment that you need to make? Why haven’t you made the commitment?

2. In regard to your answer to question number one:
List five things you believe you are missing out on because you have not made the commitment.

3. Now list five positive things that could happen if you were to follow through and fully commit

4. For the next five to ten minutes sit and visualize the five positive things from your list. See yourself making the commitment and see each of the five positive outcomes unfolding in your life one by one. Allow yourself to feel the excitement and the relief of attaining these goals. After you complete this visualization exercise write this statement in your journal: Anything is possible when I commit.

5.When in your life did you make a firm commitment and see it all the way through? How did it make you feel? Who was blessed by it and how did your life benefit as a result?

6. Recall a time in your past when you let fear keep you from the blessing of truly committing to something and reaping the benefits of it. If you could go back in time, what advice and encouragement would you give yourself in that circumstance? What would you tell yourself to alleviate your fears?


Born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in the Bay Area of Northern California, Erin grew up with an innate love for dance, theatre and the written word. A graduate of Loyola Marymount University, Erin began her career in the arts as an actress and choreographer. After booking several notable roles in television and film, Erin began to use her gift of writing in blogs featuring political and social commentary, as well as developing content for theatrical use.

Although The Dunes, is a divine departure from Erin’s previous writings it is by far her most cherished work to date. “I wrote The Dunes initially as self therapy because I needed to release some painful experiences and disappointments from my past. I had this thirst to walk in the complete fullness of life with joy as my constant companion. I had no idea what effect it would have on other people. But when I saw people read it and be released from fears that had held them back for years…when I saw people forgive and be able to walk in the freedom forgiveness brings…when I saw people commit and serve and how those things opened up new opportunities in their life, I was just humbled. Humbled by the awesome power of God and humbled that I had been allowed to go along for the ride”.

When asked why she writes, Erin pauses and reflects on the truth of her heart. “I write because although I am only now beginning to truly love the process, I have always loved the outcome. Like a composer, words become my notes. I string them together in song eliciting the response of my reader, grafting a picture of my soul. Where besides the written word can you effect change so utterly and so succinctly? What besides the written word can pierce the universal collective mind? Everything begins with a thought, but it isn’t until that thought is articulated in written word and those words passed down can life changing movement happen. It must be written, it must be expressed on tablet, and when it is, we all become greater, whether the writing be genius or fatuity, it has evoked thought and debate. Why wouldn’t I want to be apart of that phenomenon? Why wouldn’t I want to share my story, give my testimony…add my paradigm to the mix? Whether it is a novel, a poem, an essay or an article, it is humanity visited. An insight into a new or sometimes shared truth. In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God. And with that I live my life”.


If there was a journey that could masterfully change your life in seven revelations...would you take it? 

In life, sometimes the kernels of wisdom and the richness of revelation can be found in the most innocent of stories; and so it is with The Dunes. Join one man and one woman in an exquisitely simple yet remarkably profound journey as you discover with them that the mountain you must climb in order to live the abundant life of your dreams is located squarely within your heart. 

Illuminated in seven revelations; The Dunes carries the reader on a journey to not only examine the obstacles that are holding them back in life but to conquer and over come them as well. With each revelation The Dunes intimately calls on the reader as the journey companion to face a challenge…a dare if you will that requires an uncompromising commitment to change. 

In the family of faith-based self help books, The Dunes stands alone, simultaneously taking the reader from fiction to life and back again, equipped with a tailor made journal for the readers inner most secrets and reflections. The Dunes is part allegory, part testimony and part journal, but the best part is the healing it offers your heart. When you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone and step into the miracle of your life…The Dunes awaits. 

CAUTION: Readers of this book are subject to significant changes for the better. Side effects may include frequent smiling and enjoying life in every season.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Non-fiction
Rating – G
More details about the author
Connect with Erin Sands on Facebook & Twitter

Marilyn Holdsworth's #WriteTip for Getting More #Amazon #BookReviews @M_Holdsworth #PubTip

Friday, August 22, 2014

by Marilyn Holdsworth, quoting Jonathan Gunson 
Reading your book can be a delightful experience and an enjoyable escape, but writing an Amazon review is a mentally taxing task most readers simply don’t want to do, and will almost invariably avoid. Even readers who’ve promised to review your book will usually fail to do so.

 So, How To Get Amazon Reviews If No-one Will Write Them?
Well, let me outline a way for you to get more reviews.  (Even though this is very obvious, it seems to escape most writers.)

The secret is to remove the roadblock.  Think about it:  Over 90% of your readers will be perfectly happy to talk about your book.  So let them do exactly that; let them talk about it while you record or take notes, and then transcribe it for them as a review. Be their 'dictation typist' to save them task. Interview them, record what they say, and type it out.  Of course you must accurately reflect their views so it’s authentic. Once typed, send it back to them with an exact link to your book’s Amazon review page so they can upload it.  Remind them to check the review to be sure it genuinely portrays their opinion, and edit it for ‘personality’ if they’d like to.

With this one action, you’ve removed the roadblock that’s preventing them from reviewing your book on Amazon. The sad truth is that Amazon’s review system has been significantly damaged by fake reviews, but in this case, these are genuine reviews from your readers – precisely the type Amazon wants. It all comes down to how strongly you want more reviews, and whether you’re willing to make it easy for your readers to write them.

Crucial point: The Review Must Maintain A Reader’s Unique Objectivity
This method not only avoids interfering with the normal objective reviews posted by readers, but also gathers the honest opinions of readers who would never write a review at all otherwise.  
 Crucially, interviewed readers must be encouraged to view the text you send as merely a draft, and edit it to make it entirely their own – with their unique objectivity.  This method is essentially to get them moving, rather than make up their ideas for them.

What To Ask A Reader

 Have a Set of these types of review questions ready:

1. What did you think of the story?
2. Was it exciting?
3. Extremely romantic?
4. Did it hold your attention?
5. Did it provoke emotions?
6. Did you care about the main character?
7. Did you like the writing style?
8. Would you recommend it to a friend?

Note:  There’s no point in just sending these question to a reader so they can write a review. That means they’re still having to do 90% of the work.  Instead, you must do all the work by interviewingrecording and transcribing to get them going.  You are the catalyst.

Do this every couple of weeks, and over time it will build up a sizable number of genuine reader reviews.

How To Find And Contact Readers To Interview?

On Amazon you cannot directly promote your book for free in exchange for a review. It would be VERY easy to misinterpret this article as being about swapping free books for reviews.  Absolutely not.  You need to contact your readers and form a connection first.
For example, search for readers who talk about your book on Twitter and Facebook, or by offering an unrelated book for free as a PDF in exchange for an email address – not the book you want reviewed.  Remember – this is not to be directly in exchange for a review. Once you have developed a relationship, and are in touch by email, phone, Skype ,Viber or Whatsapp etc, ask them for honest opinion of your book for a reader review, and point out that that you’ll do the tedious typing part.  They can then check and edit the review to be sure it accurately portrays their opinion. Most readers will feel privileged to be contacted by an author, and pleased to be involved in your writing career.

The Bottom Line: Are These ‘Real’ Reviews?
Truth is, this is not anywhere near a perfect solution, because it’s difficult to genuinely mirror a reader’s thoughts and unique, objective views.  But one thing of which I am absolutely certain is that this approach is far more likely to produce a review that’s close to the genuine views of a reader than the gazillions of fake reviews that litter and corrupt Amazon.  Article written by Jonathan Gunson.

As a novelist, I draw on many real life experiences to provide background for my books. After completing studies in Literature and History at Occidental College, I became a staff writer on a travel magazine, and throughout my career I have traveled extensively all over the world. Because I love horses, I owned and trained them. I support horse rescue and wild mustang preservation. Based on my experience with horses and my research on abuse issues, I wrote Pegasus.

As a descendant of James Monroe, I did extensive research at the James Monroe Museum in Virginia about him and his wife Elizabeth Kortright Monroe. I also visited their home, Ashlawn/Highland in Albemarle County. This resulted in my novel, The Beautiful American. Making Wishes, was based partly on my experiences as creator, owner and operator of a greeting card company.

Elloree Prince is an attractive, creative young woman who marries a wealthy businessman, Tom Randall. After courting his bride with unrelenting determination, Tom moves her into old-moneyed Oak View, where generations of Randalls have lived for years. Outwardly, Elloree appears to settle into raising their two sons within Oak View’s stifling social structure, but inwardly, she yearns for her artistic work. An unexpected phone call from Mark Williams, her former employer, offers her the career opportunity of a lifetime, and she must make a choice. She is torn between her devotion to her sons and her love for her work. Her decision to return to Wishes, Inc. brings dramatic life changes to her and the people she loves.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Women’s fiction
Rating – PG-13
“Abby Long is thrilled when she offers the winning bid for an antique desk at an auction. With its intricately inlaid woods and elegant style, the desk is perfect for Abby; it is the gift she promised herself to finally celebrate her thriving antique business. She has no idea that the antique desk holds a secret that will lead her on a fascinating, life-changing journey back in time.

When Abby discovers a hidden diary stuffed inside a secret compartment in the desk, she can hardly wait to read the spidery, faded script. As she carefully turns the tattered pages, she reads the captivating story of two remarkable women from opposite backgrounds who somehow manage to form an unforgettable bond against the backdrop of a fledgling America struggling to find its place in the world. Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, the wife of James Monroe, and Jasmine, a young slave girl, develop an extraordinary relationship as they are united by pivotal historic events, political intrigues, and personal tragedies.

From a bucolic Virginia plantation to the bloodied, starving streets of post-revolutionary Paris, this powerful tale follows the lives of two courageous women from the past as they quietly influence—and inspire—a woman of today’s world.”
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Historical fiction
Rating – G
Widowed at thirty, Hannah Bradley is a successful journalist focusing on animal abuse issues. An accidental meeting introduces her to lawyer, Winston Caughfield III. Drawn to Hannah’s gentle beauty and fierce commitment to her work, Win joins her in a fight to save wild mustangs from slaughter. Together they rescue a badly injured horse with a mysterious background. 

Hannah’s search to discover the animal’s true identity leads them into a web of black marketeering and international intrigue. Action packed with crisp colorful dialogue the story propels the reader to a race against time conclusion. Marilyn Holdsworth delivers a gripping tale of mystery, adventure and romance guaranteed to hold the interest and capture the heart. She brings true-life characters together with real-life issues to create a fast-paced irresistible story.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Contemporary fiction
Rating – PG
More details about the author
 Connect with Marilyn Holdsworth on Facebook & Twitter

The Blood Dynasty Chronicles #Excerpt by David L. Dawson #AmReading #PNR

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A pretty nurse with blonde hair smiled.  In an instant, her eyes were red and her teeth were pointed.  Her body literally flew across the wooden beams of the corridor floor.  Ashlyn screamed and staggered back but all of a sudden Doctor Green was standing in front of her.  The nurse collided with the doctor and both of them went tumbling to the floor.  Ashlyn didn’t know what was going on, but she wasn’t going to let this stop her from escaping.
“It’s not safe for you!” Doctor Green shouted.
Ashlyn ignored her as she ran for a door that looked like it opened up onto a stairwell.  Not all, but most, of the vampires in the corridor were still staring at her, mouths open and drooling.  She didn’t understand why.  Surely they’d seen a human before?  They weren’t acting like that with Cary.
Another vampire pounced on her.  This one was an elderly man with intelligent eyes that were barely red.  He was still very strong, though.  He bit at her and scrabbled at her with fingers that were like claws.
“I hunger so much!” he cried.

Epic paranormal romance with a dystopian twist!All 6 parts of the epic Blood Dynasty Chronicles in one super-sized boxset!

Ashlyn Fountain has woken from a thousand year sleep.  Her family is dead.  Her friends are dead.  Her whole world is gone, replaced a new terrifying reality; a future ruled by vampires, where humans are viewed as cattle, and kept as slaves.  She is sold into slavery and bought by the powerful Sublimes, a decadent vampire family ruled over by the charming Grey Sublime and his wicked wife, Catherine.  Ashlyn resigns herself to her fate.  What can she do but accept what is her life now?
Then she meets Jensen Sublime and Union Jack.  Both are sexy, intriguing, and inject a little romance and mystery into her life.  Who will ultimately win her heart – the handsome vampire, or the man who could free her from slavery for good?
The Blood Dynasty Chronicles is a bold new paranormal romance series, fusing the passion and romance of vampire fiction with the adventure and intrigue of dystopian adventures.

This boxset contains the following:
1. The Girl From Yesterday
2. The Streets Are Paved With Blood
3. Masks
4. Movie Night
5. New Whitby
6. The First Vampire
That’s over 180,000 words of vampires, romance and dystopia!

OUT NOW – “Shadow of the Snow Queen”, a Blood Dynasty Chronicles Christmas Special, featuring a long tale all about Ashlyn, and several short stories featuring the other characters.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Paranormal romance
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with David L Dawson through Facebook

On Location with Split Symmetry & @KirstenArcadio #AmReading #Thriller #GoodReads

Kirsten Arcadio_ Split Symmetry banner 

On location with Split Symmetry

My new adventure thriller, Split Symmetry, is set in a mountain range in Abruzzo, central Italy.
The area is a magical corner of central Italy I discovered one year whilst on holiday with friends. A ski resort in the winter, the Gran Sasso National Park is home to one of the highest peaks in Italy, certainly the tallest outside of the Alps. At nearly 3,000 metres the Corno Grande is the tallest Italian peak south of the Alps, and can be seen from hundreds of miles away.

The Gran Sasso mountain range also houses the southernmost glacier in Europe. Located next to the summit of the Corno Grande, it is sadly expected to have disappeared by 2020 due to climate change.
On my first visit, I drove there on the back of my husband’s motorbike which he keeps at his family home in Rome for occasions such as these! En route we passed through a 10 km tunnel which cuts through the mountain itself. It was cold and we were running out of petrol (a typical scenario) so I started to look around me, in case we ended up having to stop.

I was surprised to notice reinforced metal doors cut into the sides of the tunnels. They looked like something out of James Bond and indeed afterwards I discovered that behind them lay something of great importance: Italy’s National Laboratories. It was in these labs that scientists received the ‘faster-than-light’ neutrinos which had been fired across from CERN in Switzerland in 2011.

The second time I visited the mountain I had to follow four bikers up to Campo Imperatore, a plain about half way up. Stopping every so often to provide them with roadside drinks and snacks, I had plenty of time to observe how the weather changed from hot and sunny to ominous and brooding to darkly torrential in the space of a couple of hours.

I waited at Campo Imperatore for an hour or so at the end of the bike ride, enough time for its strange atmosphere to soak into my skin: this was the last place Mussolini hid before the Germans picked him up during the second world war. And it feels like a small piece of those events still resides somewhere in the ether there. There’s something about the oddness of the tumble down hotel, little changed in several decades, and the gleaming towers of the Rome Observatory, which sits on the edge of the Campo, to lend the surroundings an other-worldly feel. The area seems to transcend time – quite apt for my novel.

On my third visit I climbed up the wrong side of the Corno Grande slope with ropes…with a guide, I hasten to add. It got me thinking about how perilous it could be to do this kind of climb in the middle of the night, and how resourceful you’d need to be to do it safely.

Each time I went, I passed earthquake-torn Aquila on the way, still looking tumble down and broken. I thought, what if an earthquake hit whilst you were up the mountain. Then I thought about all the times I’d been involved in near miss hiking disasters – a few times, as it happens, because hiking is a risky business, far more so than many people realise.

And that led to my ‘what if’ question which led to the novel.

There’s more to it, of course, including a backstory worthy of LOST and an incredible catastrophe, in which my protagonist, Elena, and her friends, are forced to question the nature of reality itself…Will they survive it?

Set in the near future, Split Symmetry is the story of what happens when a hike in the notorious Gran Sasso mountain range in central Italy descends into chaos on the same night that scientists decide to work on a clandestine experiment in a lab beneath the mountain. Dr Elena Lewis must work around the clock to find members of her group who have become lost on the mountain, but just as she is close to finding them, the region is rocked by one of the worst earthquakes central Italy has ever known.

Author bio:

Kirsten Arcadio has written three novels, each with a different speculative theme. Her first novel, Borderliners, was published in February of this year with the second in the series, Split Symmetry, to be published in July. The third, WorldCult, is due out just before Christmas. She’s also a part-time poet, digital communications nerd and frazzled head of an Anglo-Italian family.

After working for over fifteen years in digital communications, she returned to her twin first loves, literature and philosophy, in 2011. She’s passionate about the big questions in life and how these can be explored using speculative fiction.

When she’s not writing she’s obsessing about Sci Fi or Nordic noir. She loves all things Italian, including her husband, and she once taught English in the Italian senate.


Split Symmetry

Lost meets The Poseidon Adventure with a hint of Sliding Doors!

It's 2015 in the notorious Gran Sasso mountain range of central Italy.
Quantum physicists in a lab beneath the ground begin an illegal experiment. 
A landslide hits and a hiking group is stranded. 

Every decision, every step of the way...changes reality. 

Book #2 of the best-selling Borderliners series, this other-worldly adventure will keep you turning the pages to the very end!
 'A novel about what it is to survive and endure, what defines us, how it is to be ruled by fear, to be a slave to the terror of nature and what it feels like to love.' Five star customer review. 

Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre - Speculative thriller
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with Kirsten Arcadio through Facebook & Twitter