Author Spotlight, Melanie Nowak, Almost Human Series

New 1st Trilogy promo

This trilogy appears to be a hit with most, with an average review of 4 out of 5 stars. This series is available 2 ways: either as 6 novels or as 22 novellas (novellas are in the kindle unlimited program). Melanie Nowak gives some great advice and tips on being a writer. Check it out!! 


Author Interview:

When did you first discover you wanted to be a writer and why writing?
Honestly, I never dreamed that I would become an author! I have my Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science, with a Bachelor’s in education, and had planned a career as a school librarian, sharing my love of reading with students. Through a series of unfortunate health events I found myself injured, ill, and unable to follow the path I had chosen. Luckily another path had already chosen me!

In 2003 I had begun writing a vampire story because I had an idea and characters in my head that needed to be immortalized rather than forgotten. I wrote my story, enjoyed it, and shared it with a few friends just for fun. When they suggested I try to publish, I did…diligently. For almost 2 years I used all of my resources to research the industry and submit my books to agents and publishers, but got nowhere – no one even wanted to read a sample! Among my 200 rejection postcards, was one that said: “No one wants to read vampires anymore – Anne Rice has done them to death!” This was shortly before Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight came out…

So I decided to just keep writing for my own cathartic enjoyment. I’d never planned to be an author anyway. While at university, a professor mentioned Amazon’s anticipated unveiling of the Kindle. I decided to submit my books…and they were accepted! I was among the first Indie Authors to have their books on Kindle when it was released! It was nice to have closure, feeling like I’d done something with the story and could move on to writing more. I knew nothing about marketing or promotion at the time. I just released my books on Kindle and left them there waiting to be discovered. It was a hobby and I didn’t really expect much to come of it.

A few copies sold that summer and I got wonderful reviews, which was exciting – people from across the country that I’d never met actually loved my books! Then disaster struck…I became very ill with rheumatic fever, (which is bad enough!) but to make matters worse, the illness swelled all my joints and aggravated bad injuries I’d had from a car accident years before and erased all the progress I had made with physical therapy. I was forced to long-term bed rest and had to forfeit the Librarian position I had lined up to begin in a few weeks.

My husband and I were devastated, and unsure what we would do, but they say when one door closes, another opens. Suddenly my books started selling like wildfire! I wasn’t exactly on the Bestseller’s List, but I sold 30+ copies a day for weeks straight! It helped support my family in a time of need and show me a new opportunity. Writing is now my saving passion. Although still plagued by some chronic health issues, I feel blessed that I am able to stay home with my kids and write the stories I love!  


Tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
A few things came together to bring the ALMOST HUMAN series to life. I’ve always been interested in bats. Vampire bats have a anticoagulant in their saliva called “draculin” (named after Count Dracula!) that keeps blood from clotting. I had the idea that such a thing would be useful for vampires as well. It would also be useful if they had something to keep the victim calm, like a drug.

I always wondered about a vampire’s ability to put victims in thrall. In old movies, vampires are always able to hypnotize people, and it’s never really explained. People are just ‘under their power’. I always wondered – why? How does it work? I put those questions together with the anticoagulant/drug idea, and took it further. What if vampires could inject their victims with venom – like a snake? Only the venom would not be deadly poison, but a combination of drugs that kept blood from clotting, kept the victim calm and even willing, and also could mark territory for the vampire – leaving a psychic mark that other vampires could see. The vampire could then use the existence of this ‘drug’ in their victim’s system, to put them in thrall as well. 

The idea of venomous vampires seemed so logical to me, that I assumed for sure that someone else had done it already. I began searching my library for a book like that, so I could read it! This was probably in the early 90’s and there weren’t very many vampire books around at that time. I never found what I was looking for, and I filed the idea away. It never occurred to me to write it myself, LOL.

In the late 80’s, I had discovered Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles and absolutely loved them. That was the first time I read something from the vampire’s point of view. The way that she captured emotions and described surroundings was mesmerizing to me, and I really connected with her story. I’m also a huge fan of the T.V. series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. Joss Whedon is a genius! That said – towards the end of the show, I started disliking some decisions the writers made. I understood their vision, but I also saw missed opportunities. I would have done things differently.

That started me thinking of my own storylines and my own characters, incorporating my venomous vampire idea. None of this was written down, just daydreamed during housework. Then one day I realized that a lot of the ideas I had were really good, and it depressed me to think that it would all just be forgotten. So, I sat down one night at the computer, to write out a few things so I wouldn’t forget, and could look back at them one day. The scenes just came pouring out and before I knew it, I’d been up writing almost the whole night! That’s when I realized that I had a real story to tell, and wanted to write it all out from beginning to end. That is how my ALMOST HUMAN vampires were born.


You mentioned that Fatal Infatuation is the first book in a series. Can you tell us more about the series?
I currently have 2 series in my venomous vampire saga. While both follow the same characters chronologically, you can begin the Second series without having read the First.

ALMOST HUMAN – The First Series, set around a small upstate college town, is a paranormal romantic fantasy of drama, angst and action. An elder vampire struggles with his faith, his crusade to mentor others, and his attraction to a young college woman, who is trying to navigate the hurdles of dealing with her peers, her job, vampires, zombies, and…college.

ALMOST HUMAN – The Second Series has more of a paranormal urban fantasy feel, still filled with drama, action and romance, the viewpoints broaden to include more of an ensemble cast of vampires and humans who have traveled beyond college to navigate adulthood, and discover paranormal abilities previously unknown. They must learn to master the difficult nuances of balancing thirst, power and…marriage. Oh, and they may just have to save the world.

There are two different ways to read my venomous vampire series ALMOST HUMAN. There are 6 full novels (2 trilogies), which are quite long, and they were later broken up to also be published as 21 novellas. You can read the story in a feast of novels or as bite-sized novellas – pick your poison! The first trilogy of novels is available in an Omnibus Edition as well.

I have recently released another novella UNITING VAMPIRES – part 1 of my next upcoming novel, VAMPIRESS REIGNING. There will be two more novellas coming out this year. Then all three of those novellas will be combined for the release of the full novel, due in late October.

What message or lasting thought do you hope your readers will take away from your book?
ALMOST HUMAN is a story of love, hope, and faith, in which we recognize that no one is perfect. We all have choices to make and are doing the best we can – we are only human…or almost human, as the case may be. My story means different things to different people.

Can you offer any advice for beginning writers or those trying to get published
Decide why you are writing. Is your ultimate goal financial success, or to tell an amazing story? If you just want to write but aren’t as emotionally connected to it, that is an entirely different path from someone who wants to truly express & share feelings and ideas; the difference between writing articles or informative observation pieces, and writing a novel. While writing a novel can bring financial success, in my opinion that should never be the focus – a good story needs passion behind it. If you are passionate about your writing and want to share your story with readers, here’s my advice: 

 1st – If you have a story inside of you yearning to be told, then be unafraid to really give in to it and write your true thoughts and feelings. You cannot write while worrying about who might read it or what they will think. First, be true to that inner voice and write the story that you want to write. 

 2nd – Edit – a lot. You’ve poured your heart out onto the page, now you need to look at it with a critical eye for grammar, story structure, and continuity. Understand the story structure of different genres and where your story will fit. It’s alright to blend genres, but labels such as YA and Adult fiction need to be discerned more carefully. Sex and language are not the only determining factors between YA and Adult. Also consider the complexity of plot, reading level of the vocabulary used and the intellectual focus of the story as it relates to age. Do not write “down” to your readers – it is important to be sure they can follow the plot and understand the story, but don’t be afraid to write something that will make people stop and think. Proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation is so important that I have to say it again. If you’re unsure about something – look it up! EDIT!

 3rd – If you want to share your story, you will find a way. Independent publishing isn’t for everyone – neither is Traditional publishing. You have to figure out what is right for you. Large publishing companies will be hard to reach without connections. It’s not impossible (but close). Be aware – larger publishers often want you to edit your work to fit their image. Getting traditionally published is HARD. Even if you have the best book ever, getting the right people to read it will be even harder than writing it – you have been warned. I was rejected over 200 times without anyone even being willing to read my manuscript! There are many small presses that are more open to accepting new work without many changes, you just have to find the right one for you. I did some research and found that the small presses that were open to publishing my work, did not feel like a good fit for me, so I opted for Independent Publishing. Whatever publishing path you feel is right for you, do not give up!

 Independent publishing is also a good option to keep your story true to your own vision – but be prepared to put in the effort. If you do not work hard to help your target audience find your book, and if your book is not of professional quality when it is read, your sales and reputation as an author will suffer. Make sure your book is the best it can be, and then find a way to help others find it!

 4th – Believe in yourself and be strong. Publishing Independently can be frustrating and difficult at times. You need to have patience, a very thick skin and an incorrigible spirit. It takes a long time and a lot of effort to gain an audience who appreciates your work. Your audience deserves a professional quality book, and when you are working independently it is often more difficult to see your work with a discerning and unbiased eye. Almost all books get a negative review at some time or another. It is important to truly analyze the review to see if there is criticism in there that can help you improve. Decide whether your story came across as you intended. If it seems that it did, and the reader just didn’t enjoy or agree with it, then that is their prerogative. If the reader seemed to miss your intent, then perhaps it wasn’t clearly expressed in the writing and you should consider toning it a bit.

 5th – Decide how you will define your success. If to you, success = money, quit now, LOL. To me success is the feeling of accomplishment and the swell of excitement I feel when someone tells me my book really resonated with them. In my experience, take care of the emotional success and the physical success will follow. I concerned myself with telling a good story, putting in tons of work to research certain elements, refine and edit it to the best of my ability, and learned what was needed to publish and promote it. I make myself accessible to readers and view it all as a labor of love. Through that sincere effort, I have earned more loyal readers to my series than I’d ever expected. Now writing is my full time job and I can actually pay my bills with it!


Do you have any strange antics you do while you write?
Most of my writing begins as scribbles in a notebook. I play out the scenes in my head and write down all of the dialogue on paper. I always  speak dialogue aloud. That is one reason I usually try to write when no one else is home, but at this point, when I am sitting in my room or out on my deck talking to myself, my family just shrugs – mom’s writing again. Then as I transfer the dialogue to the computer I add details of scene blocking and inner diatribe while typing. Then I go over it yet again to fill in more description of setting and surroundings.

As far as strange antics go… I do truly enjoy “living” out my scenes as best I can and I especially enjoy acting out fight scenes! I can often be seen on my deck, or in the field behind my house, swinging a samurai sword, using a chain whip, or just tumbling and practicing how certain actions would play out with my husband and teenage sons.

If you could have dinner with a novelist, dead or alive, who would it be?
That is a tough question for me! The answer is probably not who most would think – my first inclination (and I think what readers might expect) would be to choose Anne Rice. Her books were a great inspiration to me! BUT…I have spoken with Anne Rice online a few times, and I got to meet her a few years back!

At this point, I think I would enjoy dinner with fantasy author Piers Anthony. I grew up on his books! He was the first author I ever read who wrote detailed Author’s Notes at the end of his books that made me (and all readers, I suspect) feel as though I knew him. Some of his books skew a bit young for re-reading now, but many of his adult books are still very enjoyable to me. I loved the interesting ideas and characters he created. He has a knack for placing relatable people in fantastic situations.

I could say all of those same things about fantasy author Jack L. Chalker, and he would be my next choice!


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Pages: 343
Published: July 3, 2008

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Series: Almost Human, The First Trilogy

Where to Buy:
Amazon

Synopses:
Felicity views going away to college as an opportunity to mature into a confident young woman, but her new beginning turns out to be more of an adventure than she bargains for when she finds that her school is plagued by vampires!

Cain is an elder vampire who displays quiet confidence even as he struggles to overcome sins of his past. Surprisingly, he found that in losing his life he gained his faith and a purpose.

His mission: find the hostile vampires that inhabit this small college town, and educate them to live in peace with humans. Their leader, Sindy, is a wicked temptress who has set her sights on Felicity’s new friend Ben. She will be difficult to control, but after meeting Felicity, Cain’s most difficult task lies in controlling himself.

Together they join an ensemble cast of characters to navigate the difficulties of addiction and desire; the perils of zombies and vampires; and struggles with abuse, morality and… college.


Excerpt:

She studied the vampire for a moment as he read the inside jacket cover of the book. He looked like an ordinary guy. Okay well, maybe not ordinary. He looked like an extremely attractive guy. Early twenties probably, broad shoulders, very nice build. How could she be expected to fear someone so achingly gorgeous? His hair fell down into his eyes as he looked at the book and he absently swiped it aside, although it fell back again almost immediately. He was a little pale, but he certainly didn’t look supernatural. He looked up from the book to find her staring at him. She quickly searched for something to say. “I suppose you’ll be taking it over to the café?”

“Mr. predictable, that’s me.”

“Right.” She had an odd thought as she swept the change from the counter into her pocket. “Do you actually drink coffee, or is that just for show?”

He seemed to find her inquiry amusing. She supposed such a direct question might be considered rude, but she couldn’t help wondering. “I can drink what I like.”

She came out from behind the register and began walking him over to the café. She noticed Ben staring, but ignored him. The presence of the man beside her commanded her full attention. “So what do you do besides drink coffee and read?”

He looked a little sobered by the question. “Fight.”

“Other vampires?” she asked quietly.

His gaze travelled over her seductively. “Temptation mostly.”

She wasn’t sure whether to melt or shudder.


Melanie NowakAuthor bio
Melanie Nowak is author of the venomous vampire series ALMOST HUMAN, and a happily married mom of two boys. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. Originally a Long Islander, she now lives with her family on a peaceful mountaintop in the forest of upstate New York. She has always had a vivid imagination and a fascination for the paranormal. Acting and singing are loves of hers as well. However, upon conceiving the idea for her ALMOST HUMAN series in 2003, she discovered a previously unknown passion for writing! Now she puts her over-active imagination to good use, creating characters she loves, and she gets to play all of the parts!

Author Page     Amazon Author Page    Facebook Author Page     Twitter: @MelanieNowak

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Let me know if you check out this book. Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Author Spotlight – Kelly D. Smith: Rock Stars are Trouble

Not much is out about this book and since I haven’t read it yet, I can’t add much to the internal debate of should you read this book or pass.. But I was able to talk to the author a little bit and she was able to answer some questions. 


Author Interview

When did you first discover you wanted to be a writer and why writing?
When I was about 10 or 11

Tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
I’m a huge music fan and I really wanted to write a series about the boys in a band. I wanted to take the reader away to a brand new world; one that isn’t always seen in the romance genre (though don’t get me wrong, I know rock star romances are popular!)

Is this book going to be part of a series? If so, can you tell us more about the series
This is actually the first book in a series. I’ve got four other books in the series and each one follows one of the band members. I’m working on book five, which will focus on Kenda and Greyson again!

What message or lasting thought do you hope your readers will take away from your book?
More than anything, I just hope readers remember enjoying the book!

Can you offer any advice for beginning writers or those trying to get published?
It’s scary, but take the risk no matter how scary it is! Trying and failing will be the best way to learn!

Do you have any strange antics you do while you write?
Nope, though I normally end out being a pillow to my cat while I try to get my work done!


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Published: January 14, 2016
Pages: 122

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Where to Buy:
Amazon
Siren Bookstrand

Synopsis:
Kenda Lexan has one shot at this interview with Greyson Brant and she’s gotta make it perfect–otherwise she’ll lose her job. Greyson’s up and coming, and got a major reputation for flirting with anyone who interviews him–too bad for him Kenda already knows that rock stars are trouble. When she has to interview him again she can’t help but realize he’s not that bad of a person. He’s actually nice to his fans, and for some reason he’s nice to her, despite the fact she’s made it clear she’s not interested. So she agrees to hang out–as friends. She remembers what musicians are like, and a run in with her ex just solidifies that she doesn’t need anything to do with the type. But when her sister ends up in the hospital and he shows up to help her out she can’t help but think she might be wrong. Are all rock stars trouble? More importantly is Greyson Brant?

Excerpt:
“Hey,” Kenda forced a smile over her lips as she greeted him. He wore a pair of green camo pants and a muscle shirt. Kenda swallowed dryly as his muscles flexed, holding on to something. She glanced down. The black dog sat there. “Hi, Brut.”

“I hope you really meant he could come.” Greyson grinned. His black hair was tied back today, and again his green eyes were hidden behind glasses. He clearly hadn’t shaved for a few days, either. A little five o’clock shadow looked good on him.

“I did.” Kenda forced herself to speak as she continued to look him up and down. “Come on in.” She stepped out of the doorway and motioned for them to come. “Sorry it’s kinda a mess. I lost track of time.” She didn’t see the point in lying, but she wasn’t going to add the part about her boss taking credit she thought she deserved. I could just be overreacting.

“It’s not a mess. Trust me, my place looks much worse.” Greyson grinned. “Before I take him off his leash, do you mind if he goes on the couch? I know some people are super against it.”

“Oh, I don’t fucking care,” Kenda scoffed.

Greyson grinned as he let the dog off the leash. The dog didn’t seem to have any interest in looking around. All he cared about was following Greyson around. Greyson, on the other hand, he seemed very interested in looking around.

“Were you getting the interview ready to go?” he asked, glancing at her computer.

“Sorta.”

Kenda closed the distance between him and her desk before he could get a good look at what she’d just been reading. “Been doing some research, too. You didn’t tell me that fan who needed you was a little girl.” She turned to face him again.

“Maybe I liked the idea that you might be jealous.”

Kenda felt butterflies pool in her stomach. Oh this was not good.

“You thought I was jealous?” she asked as she raised an eyebrow.

“A man can hope, can’t he?”

“So you were hoping I was jealous?”

Greyson shrugged. “Let’s just say it’s been nice to meet a girl who doesn’t seem to want to jump me.”

“But you still wanted me to be jealous?” Kenda grinned, stepping towards him, interested in his answer.

“Doesn’t everyone want something they can’t have?” His eyes locked on her. A warm shiver ran down her spine and settled in the pit of her stomach. His green eyes sparkled behind his glasses.


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Kelly D. Smith is a 21 year old romance writer from Canada. After being homeschooled all her life she got her GED and has been pursuing her passion- writing- with the hopes of turning it into a full time career.

Facebook    Twitter     GoodReads Author Page

 


Hope you are able to check out this Author and her book. Comment below if you’ve read the book or your thoughts on it. Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Book and Author Spotlight, Hanleigh Bradley: A Bleak December

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Wow, okay this book looks good! I really wish I had time to read it. The reviews have all been positive. This is a book I will be adding to my to-read list.


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A Bleak December EBook Cover
Published: May 1, 2018
Pages: 122

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Synopsis:
Her Christmas list isn’t long. It is the shortest it has ever been. She doesn’t want a pretty new pair of shoes or a new dress to wear to her work’s New Years Eve bash.

All Ella wants is a Christmas Miracle.

With a sick mum in hospital and a little brother at home, she struggles to maintain order in the chaos that is quickly engulfing her. If she doesn’t get her miracle will her entire world fall apart? And if it does, who will help her put it back together again?


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Excerpt:
He’s my boss. That doesn’t stop me though. It doesn’t stop my mind from picturing him naked standing in my shower, water cascading down over his toned, muscular flesh. No. It doesn’t stop my inappropriate thoughts, and it definitely doesn’t stop me having them at the most inopportune of moments. It’s not like I just think about him when I’m lying in bed late at night. No, I fantasise about him during staff meetings, when he’s being a pain in the arse bossing us all around and when he’s reprimanding me yet again for being late.

Do you want to know the worst bit? It’s not the thoughts. I can deal with my dirty mind; it’s always been that way. Dirty thought after dirty thought, wrapped in a world of dirty thoughts. No. The thoughts are fine; it’s the things that come out of my mouth. The actual words that I apparently have an equal lack of control over. Like right now, the whole room has gone silent in shock because of my stupid, big mouth. As if I just said that. I can feel my cheeks redden with embarrassment and my best work friend is laughing under her breath beside me. The bitch.

Tristen had asked me why I was late. It was a reasonable enough question but why, oh, why couldn’t I give him an equally sensible response??? No. Instead, I only went and gave him the most ridiculous cock and bull story known to man.

“Why are you late?” Tristan Riggens, my boss had asked in that deep, authoritative, yet almost disrespectfully uninterested voice of his. It’s a voice that threatens to destroy you while drawing you in, keeping you walking some imaginary tightrope.

“My dog ate a condom.” Why that sentence made it passed whatever filter I have, I will never know. Sometimes my mouth does unexplainable things, embarrassingly unexplainable. It’s a problem I’ve had since childhood and it shows no sign of improving.

The room goes silent, but he doesn’t react at all. His face remains expressionless except I think I can see humour in his eyes, or at least I hope I do. He’s not exactly easy to read and right now I really have no idea what he thinks. “Well, I hope your dog is okay now.”

“He’s absolutely fine.” I’m probably the colour of the Christmas tree in the corner. I think I might throw up my breakfast from the sheer embarrassment that I now feel.

“Someone should call the RSPCA.” A voice says from somewhere behind me.

“You might want to reconsider where you stash your condoms.” Another of my colleagues laughs.

My best friend, the one who’s supposed to be on my side is in fits of hysteria. In fact, she’s laughing so hard she’s close to choking. I hope she chokes.

“Okay.” Tristen tries to divert their focus from me and my condom eating dog, back to the meeting. “New Year – we’ll be having an office party.”

If he thinks talk of a party might divert their attention from my poor imaginary dog, he is wrong and he clearly doesn’t know his team that well. “How on earth did your dog get a hold of a condom?”

“Did it still have the foil wrapper on?”

“Eww, it wasn’t used, was it?”

I’m shrinking into myself. Massively embarrassed. Eyes on the floor. Cheeks burning hot. Head pounding. Heart palpitating. How the hell will I get out of this one? I have an uncanny knack for getting myself into a bit of a pickle and absolutely no skill at getting myself back out again. “That’s enough – I’ve heard more than enough about condoms and dogs for one day. Back to work.” He’s shaking his head as he dismisses us all before leaving the open offices of our floor of the TRW Advertising building. Walking into his office, he closes the door behind himself. Lucky sod. At least he has a door he can hide behind.

“Fuck.” I say under my breath.

“Only you Ella.” Sadie laughs beside me. “I don’t know how you do it.”

“I just open my mouth…” I sigh.

“You don’t even have a dog!”

“I know.” I’m groaning in mortification. “We should get back to work before Tristen gets all shitty.”

“Or worse,” Sadie whispers, “Delos might come out of her office and have at us.”

“As if – Clara’s too nice for that.”

“To you. She hates me.”

“That’s not true.” I laugh gently. The door to Tristen’s office opens once more, and he pops his head out. “Winthrope. Reed. Do I need to find you something to do?”

“No sir.” Sadie nods her head before turning back towards her cubicle.

I move to follow her, but Tristen is still talking. “Winthrope, in here please.”

“Shit.” I grumble before following him into his office. This is the moment when he finally tells me that enough is enough and I need to start being on time, or worse look for a new job. The new job scenario is probably more likely. My tardiness is my biggest failing. I’m lucky I haven’t already lost this job.

He’s sat behind his desk; calm and composed in a way I have never been. He motions a hand towards the leather chair in front of him, and I take it gratefully because my legs are like jelly. My mouth is practically glued shut because I can’t trust myself not to say something completely absurd. His eyebrow is raised. “Your dog ate a condom?”

“Yes.” My sister Tia says when you lie you have to own it.

“Have you taken him to the vets?”

“No. He… he just coughed it up.” I tell him, desperately hoping that he doesn’t see through my lies.

“You do need to make a better effort to be on time for work in the morning.”

“Sorry Sir.” I tell him honestly. It’s not exactly news to me that I need to get my shit together.


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15590447_10154690059957752_9101907343550746163_nAbout The Author:

Hanleigh loves books more than nearly anything in the world; whether its reading them or writing them, Hanleigh just can’t get enough. She relishes in the way authors can create worlds with the words they put in their books. She loves the way your imagination introduces you to a new world when you read a book. It may well be a world completely foreign to the one you live in. That world is brought to life; inspires you to dream, captivates your imagination, entices your senses.

Hanleigh first took to reading as a small child reading Dr Zeus. She then fell in love with romance literature when she first read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; when she first swooned over Mr Darcy. She’s read more books than she can count and owns more books than some libraries.

Although born in Scotland, she sometimes wishes she could live inside the world that she can create inside her mind, but since that isn’t possible she puts pen to paper and shares that world with this world instead. There is something addictive about being able to mould your words into something that causes the reader to fall into your mind. When you put pen to paper and create a world, it’s exhilarating. Every word has meaning. You know every character intimately. You know every secret, every whisper, every smell, every look; as the author you know the world you created and more so than even the most avid of readers you can get lost in your own creation.

Facebook    Facebook Group   Twitter   Instagram   AFWB   Readers Group   Google + 


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Let me know what you think of the book or if you’ve read it. Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Author Spotlight – Kayla Krantz: Dead by Morning (Rituals of the Night, #1)

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So the consensus on this book is you either love it or hate it. The reviews are either 5 or 1 star, with not much in between. 


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Author: Kayla Krantz
Published: May 1, 2014
Pages: 377

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Synopsis:
Obsession is deadly. No one learns that better than Luna Ketz, a pessimistic high school senior. She wishes more than anything to graduate but things don’t always go as planned. Luna quickly finds herself trapped in a web of lies and murders, spun by the least suspected person in her hometown. It’s not long before she realizes she’s being targeted by the person she despises most in the world. When Luna figures out who is behind the killings, things make a turn for the bizarre when she is contacted by a friend she has not heard from in years. It is then Luna realizes she is very much in danger, but although she can avoid the killer in reality, she cannot avoid him in her dreams.


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Excerpt:
Chance stayed where he was, studying the nearby people. At the sight of him alone, a couple girls ran up to him and Luna guessed they were asking him for a dance. She smiled a bit to herself…maybe if he got distracted with the other girls he would forget she was there. As she watched, he shooed the girls away with a simple movement of his arm, and Luna’s hope turned to disappointment. He walked over to her, searching her eyes with his.

“What’s wrong? Don’t like the paparazzi?” He laughed.

“You should dance with those other girls.”

“Why?” he asked, scrunching up his face.

“Because I want to go home.”

He shook his head. “No way, you’re not going home without at least giving me one dance.”

Luna slumped her shoulders. “Do we really have to?”

“Do I have to tell David that you didn’t follow his orders?” he asked, tipping his head to the side.

Luna closed her eyes for a long moment to hold back the building anger. He’d keep his promise. “Fine, you win.”

He smiled and held out his hand to her. “Of course I did.”

Reluctantly, she set her hand in his. His skin felt clammy beneath her fingers, like he had been sweating. Luna wanted to pull her hand back, but she forced herself to keep it there. He closed his fingers around hers and pulled her onto the dance floor. The music turned to a slow, sappy song, forcing them to slow dance. He forced her arms up onto his shoulders and set his hands on her waist.

As he stepped to the music, she searched his expression for any sign of compassion. “Why do you do this to me?”

“Do what?”

“Make me go to things like this. I mean, I know you don’t like me. What could you possibly want from me?”

He looked back at her, and for a minute, he didn’t speak, as if he had been caught off-guard by her question. “I can’t tell you.”

“You can blackmail me into going on dates with you, and you can have your friends kidnap me, but you can’t tell me why you do it?” she asked in disbelief.

“Look, you’ll find out eventually, and you won’t like it, I know. I try hard to get you to feel something toward me so that when you find that out, you won’t fight me,” he whispered in her ear.

“Find what out? What could be so bad? Do Susan and Kate and all of them know what it is?” She pulled back to watch his face carefully.

“No, they don’t. No one does. Just keep quiet, okay?”

“Does this have to do with the thing you hide in your pocket?” Luna asked him a bit louder. “Do you have it on you now?” She reached her hand forward to try to touch the side of his pants.

A couple people around them turned to look as she raised her voice to him. Chance caught her wrist easily in his hand, returned their stares, and smiled nervously before looking back at Luna. He had to resist the urge to shake her into silence as he let go of her arm.

“I don’t hide anything in my pocket okay?” he snarled. “That’s all just your imagination, Luna. Now drop it.”

Part of her was frightened by his sudden anger. He was hiding something from her…and from everyone else as well.

“Okay, we’re setting up to play,” a voice called from the stage. “We need a volunteer singer to help us out.”

“How about Chance does it?” Luna heard a nearby girl suggest.

The anger dissolved from Chance’s face as he turned to the girl who had spoken. Luna realized all of his rage had been solely directed at her, and she felt oddly cold at the thought.

“Yeah, I’ll do it. Why not?” she barely heard him say.

He let go of her and moved through the cheering crowd toward the stage. The band took its place, and Chance stood at the microphone. He looked completely comfortable up there, normal, as if he weren’t the center of attention. The band began to play “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, and Luna studied Chance. He began to sing the words gently, and his voice surprised her.

It sounded beautiful.

As Luna watched him, she knew he looked like any other teenage boy. The girls around Luna cheered him on, but she stayed silent. His eyes flicked to her as he reached the chorus of the song, flashing in the lights. There was something bad about him. Something that separated him from all the other teenage boys and made him a danger to the people who called him ‘friend.’


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Author Picture
Author Bio:

Proud author of Dead by Morning, fascinated by the dark and macabre. Stephen King is her all time inspiration mixed in with a little bit of Eminem. When she began writing, she started in horror but it somehow drifted into thriller. She loves the 1988 movie Heathers. She was born and raised in Michigan but traveled across the country to where she currently resides in Texas.

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Let me know if you’ve read this book or any thoughts you have on it. Would love to hear from you! Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Author Spotlight – Lynn Steigleder: Terminal Core

This book sounded interesting but not something I could read right now. Still, I wanted to help with getting the book some exposure. Let me know your thoughts on the book..


When did you know first discover you wanted to be a writer and why writing?
For years, I had written short stories for my own enjoyment. In 2006, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Two months later I learned my job was being outsourced. On one of our father/son spring surf fishing trips to Cape Hatteras, my son having enjoyed my stories in the past, suggested I try writing as a new career path.


Tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
Rogue officials led by President Gaylen and in turn directed by off-worlder’s set an 80-year plan in motion to seize planet Aon’s core. Being made of pure caladium, the planet’s center is the hardest and most valuable substance in the galaxy. Separate alliances unwittingly come together in the dead city of Baine with Clay gravitating to leader. Their objective; preserve the planet. The core is fashioned from living beings, these indestructible creatures prepare to defend their domain. Disregarding all else, the would be thieves continue to process the pilfered caladium. Once Clay melds the coalition, a battle for life and world begin.   

I’ve always enjoyed science fiction. When it comes to writing fantasy, I find it equally enjoyable; however, there are certain conditions: no kings, queens, elves, etc. and definitely no unicorns. As to why I wrote TERMINAL CORE, when I start a novel, I stare at a blank sheet of virtual paper. An idea will soon pop into my head and I will jump in with all fours and take off from there. Because of my interests, I am usually led down a path of sci-fi or fantasy, sometimes a hybrid of both will be the result. To make a short story long as I have just done, there are no ironclad reasons for writing what I write. I give the story a beginning, let it write itself and hang on knowing I’m headed for a wild ride.


You have also written a series. Can you tell me about the series?
It’s a fantasy series with bits of science fiction and dystopian mingled throughout. It follows a couple (Ben and Eve) through a world where land is at a premium due to the rising seas and is soon to be destroyed. To avoid any spoilers, I can tell you they end up on a new world where they are the beginning. They meet a plethora of characters many evil and some who become allies. Let me give you an example. This is a short synopsis from the third book, DEADLY REIGN:

Ben, Eve and Pete continue to push through this new Earth as the world sinks deeper into corruption. They gain new allies, including an intellectual animal equipped with the gift of speech. They are forced to battle six aberrations (beasts and riders) deemed nearly indestructible. The environment has manifested into a frigid terrain with the sun lost in the ice filled cloud cover. Swords forged especially for the riders by the riders offer another layer of defense to an already superior force. The humans have deduced that water may possibly be a weapon, but a weapon that even now is freezing at an accelerated rate.

I am a Christian. I attempt to work my faith into each novel I pen. In many cases, if you know the Bible you will pick up on the references. If not, it will be a Science Fiction or Fantasy novel. There is no offensive language or sexual situations in any of my writings; however, when it comes to killing demons, that can be a pretty grizzly business.     

 What message or lasting thought do you hope your readers will take away from your book?
I hope readers will remember TERMINAL CORE as a unique Science Fiction novel and it will leave a lasting impression. So much so, they will compare it favorably to other novels of the same genre.

 What author and/or what book has had the greatest impact on your life?
As much as I love the written word, no book or author other than the Bible has an impact on my life. Some of my favorite authors: Stephen King would have to be number one, Robert Heinlein, H. G. Wells and Ernest Hemmingway, for the “Old Man and the Sea.”

Can you offer any advice for beginning writers or those trying to get published?
Alex Hailey said it best. When asked how to become a writer, he said (and I paraphrase) if you want to write, then write. I’ve had people come to me asking the same question and I give them the same answer. As far as being published, look for a small press that accepts unsolicited manuscripts. Before you submit have other people read your manuscript that will give you an honest opinion and make sure it’s well edited. After you’re published then comes the task of marketing.

Beside your book, are there any other books you would recommend reading this spring?
Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower Series”


2
Pages: 358
Published: April 18, 2016

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Synopsis:
Aon, a solid core planet made from the priceless and most dense element in the galaxy, caladium, is under silent attack. Plans are made by off-worlders to dissolve the unbreakable core using crude oil obtained from 19th century earth. Once the oil is refined, the byproduct, gasoline, will soften the caladium, allowing it to be collected. It is soon discovered the core is made from living beings created from caladium itself. The off-worlders employ a band of corrupt inhabitants to carry on this work. They find themselves in a constant struggle with a small coalition of Aonians bent on saving their home world. Both factions clash with the indestructible core creatures. With horrendous beasts one step behind and deadly pitfalls ahead, the coalition struggles to finish its journey, hoping to insure their races’ survival.


Excerpt from Chapter One:

CLAY STEPPED UP onto the raised walkway.

“I hate this place,” he mumbled, patting his sidearm. He grabbed the door handle and prepared to enter.

Clay was a bounty hunter. His latest skip (if you want to call him that since Clay had spent the better part of two years chasing empty leads) was Sal Ricky—a career criminal with a taste for refined women, as he would consume certain body parts of his victims after performing whatever atrocities piqued his fancy.

Clay stood tall, six foot five. He almost always wore black, except for his blue jeans. He felt it more intimidating.

He stepped into the brothel. A dozen pair of eyes turned his way. Clay removed his sidearm from its holster.

“I’m looking for Sal Ricky,” he announced. After a slight pause, he repeated the phrase. “I said, I’m looking for Sal Ricky.”

“If you want me, all you gotta do is ask,” came a smug response. The voice emanated from a dark corner. In it stood a six foot tall figure. Instead of legs, it sported four eight foot long appendages. These members would shoot forward landing on the ground and allow the rest of the body to move over them like treads on a tank. He could move surprisingly fast when necessary.

“So?” Sal Ricky asked. “What can I do for you?”

Clay moved closer toward the corner and cocked his weapon.

“Don’t play stupid, you ball of snot.” He raised his free hand and pointed a finger. “I’ve been looking for you for almost two years now.” Clay cocked the second hammer on his handgun. “This time you’re all mine.”

Sal Ricky was a hydrak. He lived up to his name, constantly oozing fluid and leaving a trail similar to that of a slug when he moved.

“Ya think so.” The creature lit a cigarette with two human-like hands. The hydrak inhaled deeply, burning up half the smoke in one drag.

“Better men have tried,” he said, finishing his cigarette with a second drag and dropping it into a puddle of slime; the butt hissed as the glowing ashes died.

Clay tightened his grip.

“We can do this the easy way or the hard way. I get just as much for you dead as alive.” Clay smiled out of one corner of his mouth. “It makes no difference to me.”

Sal Ricky crossed his arms which were anything but human. They were muscular with a lizard-like texture and a green color to match. His lower half was bulbous and horizontal to the ground, turning vertical at mid-thorax until it formed his head.

“Don’t you tire of the same old clichés?” Sal Ricky snickered. “Easy way, hard way, alive or dead, blah, blah, blah. After two years, you should know I do nothing the easy way.” His head was square with a round circle on each side. Sal Ricky could spin his neck three hundred and sixty degrees if need be. He had a set of eyes at the upper portion of each circle. One side contained an orifice with which he spoke and took in nourishment. One big tuft of green hair sprang from the center of his scalp, climbed vertically, about a foot, and then flopped over on all sides.

“Have it your way,” Clay said.

Just then, two dark humanoid figures appeared on either side of the slug. The first figure made a move and then slipped on his boss’ excretions, landing flat on his back.

Clay rolled to his right behind a steel column and fired one barrel, removing most of the second figure’s head. The first man, still floundering in the goo, was an easy take out.

Sal Ricky moved toward Clay knocking him to the floor as he passed by.

Clay moved to one knee and steadied himself. He would have but one shot.

Sal Ricky could easily burst through the wall, and that’s what he had a mind to do, Clay surmised. He made sure both hammers were cocked. Cocking them was one thing; firing both at the same time was something you didn’t do unless you had to.

Clay took a deep breath and pulled both triggers.


2Lynn Kevin Steigleder was born in Richmond, Virginia. He spent most of his adult life as a supervisor in the field of construction and fabrication. When Lynn’s department was outsourced within two months of his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, he realized the need to transition into a new career path due to his energy and mobility challenges.

His son suggested he consider writing as a career; having enjoyed Lynn’s short stories. He agreed to the challenge and his first novel, “Rising Tide”, was accepted for publication released in 2009 then re-released in 2015 with additional content. Rising Tide has become a series with two follow up novels Eden’s Wake and Deadly Reign with a fourth in the works. Lynn has also published TERMINAL CORE a stand-alone science fiction novel.

Lynn writes mainly: science fiction, fantasy, dystopian and hybrids of all three genres including action adventures all with a Christian premise.

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Let me know if you check out this book. Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂