Five Line Friday: Death Comes For Us All

I’ve gotten out of posting these for one reason or another – but I’m back 🙂

Here are the first five lines of a short I’ve written entitled Death Comes For Us All. It will be appearing in Issue #12 of The Sirens Call due out shortly. Hope you enjoy!

I wake to the smell of smoke, claustrophobia washing over my senses. I cough, trying to expel the acridness from my lungs; my body only succeeds in sucking more of it in.

I reach up to cover my mouth, my left hand comes up short against a hard surface. As I slide my palm up the surface, I can feel the roughness of it and smell the subtle scent of pine over the smoke.

As I panic, I wonder where I am.

If you’d like to read the rest of the tale, I’ll be sure to post a link when the issue is released!

Nine Questions with… Jaimie M. Engle

Today I have the pleasure of an interview with Jaimie M. Engle, author of Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light. For those of you unfamiliar with Jaimie, let’s take a few moments to get to know her. Welcome Jaimie, why don’t you take a few moments to introduce yourself to the captive audience you now have before you…

Bio PicI have been writing since I was seven, and still have all the stories I wrote in crayon. I knew at an early age I wanted to be a published author, and finally reached this milestone thirty years later. In the meantime, I became a wife and mother of two ridiculously crazy boys, ran a body shop, modeled bikinis, danced at the Aloha Bowl halftime show, and even managed a hip-hop band.

Tell us about your writing process?

I generally begin with an idea, be it a dream, a snippet of dialogue, a setting. From there, I may have the end in mind, or the climax to build toward, but usually that is all I’ve got when I get started. The story speaks to me and I feel more like I’m dictating than anything else. Most of the time, my cliffhangers surprise the hell out of me, so I’m certain the reader won’t see the plot twist coming either. My goal is 1,000 words a day, Monday through Friday, which should produce a finished novel within 3-4 months. After I make it through the first 2 or 3 chapters, I DO NOT go back and read anything in my story until I get to the “the end” and I wait at least a month after that to let the story simmer.

Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

At this time, I’m gonna say no. I love middle grade and YA speculative fiction. It’s what I read, and it’s what I write.

What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

  • The Bible, because it showed me the influence of the written word.
  • Alice in Wonderland, because it showed me anything can happen inside my imagination.
  • Harry Potter, because it showed me the importance of character development.
  • The Hunger Games, because it showed me the depth and power of voice.
  • The poetry of Shel Silverstein, because it taught me pacing, cadence, and word choice.

If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

My first novel is titled Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light. When I was writing it, I thought the young Logan Lerman was a perfect fit. Of course, by the time my book becomes a movie, he’ll be taking his kids or grandkids to see it!

What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

Remind myself to breathe, than thank God for his favor, because that would be the only way my books would get on that list. I’m just not that good. J

Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

Yes. I avoid cleaning my house and cooking dinner in a timely fashion. I don’t drink, quit smoking in February (yeah me!) and I drink coffee on a regular basis, writing or not.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Besides managing my family and home, I offer a critique service for aspiring authors. I love helping people out, and have been told I’m quite good at it, so I began editing manuscripts about a year ago. I also volunteer at the elementary school’s after school writing program, which I absolutely love! I get to work one-on-one with kids who love to write, teaching them tools I wish I had at their age. Lastly, I teach essay, creative, and SAT prep writing to several homeschooled students, groups, and even college level students. Combined, these jobs give me the opportunity to work at home, makes some extra cash, and still be available for my kids (oh, and have time to work on my own books).

Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.

I’m currently shopping a YA supernatural fantasy novel, so I’ll keep that one hush-hush until I sell it (Lord willing!) But I’m currently 14 chapters into a MG horror story: Stephen King meets Tim Burton. I’ll share the first few lines of that one, since it’s not sitting with agents at this time:

The cab door closes behind me with a hiss, like hydraulics lowering a coffin into the ground. I stare ahead, at the quaint, two-story house bordered by a white picket fence, with flower boxes hanging off the upstairs windows filled with petunias and daffodils and buttercups.

Flowers for my grave, the new house, my coffin.

Slowly, I cross the cobblestone drive to the fence, my meager belongings wedged inside the duffle bag and suitcase I carry. Loose sand crunches between the stones as I grind my teeth. Humid air from the bay slaps me across the face as if to say, “Welcome home, Ashton.”

Home.

Yeah, right.

Thank you Jaimie for sharing that with us! Now let’s take a quick look at Clifton Chase and the Arrow of Light…

cover with correct colorsClifton Chase couldn’t possibly know the mysterious arrow he finds in his closet will lead him to the year 1485. Two princes need his help, but why? Carrying the Arrow of Light, a weapon forged from the Tree of Knowledge itself, Clifton is led on a journey to face fire-breathing dragons, kidnapping by merpeople, and a final battle, which will end the War of the Roses and the reign of a tyrant king. Will Clifton discover his purpose on time and save the day? Or has the arrow chosen the wrong boy?

Sounds great doesn’t it? Don’t forget that clicking on the cover will take you straight to Amazon!

Thank you Jaimie for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’d like to keep up to date with what Jaimie is doing, you can find her on her website, Twitter, or Facebook. You can also read the first six chapters, and download free coloring pictures, crossword puzzles, & word searches at her website.

Oh and as a special treat, here’s the book trailer!

 

SPOTLIGHT: It Started With A Kiss by Lindy Dale

It-Started-With-A-Kiss1Out for a jog one Saturday afternoon, Georgie Bird is greeted by two things she never expected to see ~ a huge lump of dog doings on the sole of her shoe and her old boyfriend Nate. Nate and Georgie had been the only peas in the pod growing up and in the twelve years since they’ve seen each other, neither of them seems to have forgotten. Over a cup of coffee and a series of shared recollections, Georgie and Nate begin to rekindle the embers of the love they lost.

But can they save the relationship or will their one night of passion bring the closure they never had?

Publisher: Secret Creek Press

Word Count: 21,000

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Lindy has lived on an acreage in country Western Australia for the past two years, after moving from the big city of Perth. She shares this laid back lifestyle with her long suffering and handsome husband, Big G, her two dogs and a flock of sheep named after the Brady Bunch characters. She also has two fabulously talented children who are pursuing their own creative careers and will one day be famous!

Lindy began writing at University but never really wanted to be ‘an author’. She wanted to be a Princess or at worst a Kindergarten teacher. Her first novel, Heart of Glass was penned in 2007 and since then she has developed her voice as a Chick Lit and Women’s Fiction author. Her greatest achievement to date is having a Top Five Bestseller on the Short Stories List with Amazon early in 2013. Filled with hilarious and sweet moments the novella, A Cupid Kind of Day, is a good representation of Lindy’s humorous writing style.

On a good day ~ when not at her day job teaching literacy ~ you can find Lindy lurking around Twitter and Facebook generally seeing how much useless information she can impart in 140 characters or less. She’s a hopeless U2 and Bon Jovi fan, a rugby union fanatic, coffee lover, chocoholic, over-exaggerator, trashy TV, music and iPhone addict. If you can’t Google it then it’s not worth knowing!

Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Website

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SPOTLIGHT: When Stars Die by Amber Skye Forbes

The FlipSide is featuring When Stars Die by Amber Skye Forbes on the blog today!

When-Stars-DieAmelia Gareth’s brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims in the snowy city of Malva. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.

Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They’re searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being stalked when she accidentally harms her best friend with fire during the third trial. Fire is a witch’s signature. The shadows are after witches.

Now Amelia must decide what to do: should she continue on her path to profession knowing there is no redemption, or should she give up on her dream and turn away from Cathedral Reims in order to stop the shadows who plan to destroy everything she loves?

Word Count: 83,000

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Content Warning: Contains some minor dark and sexual content

Recommended Age: 12 – 18+

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | GoodReads

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Amber Skye ForbesABOUT THE AUTHOR – Amber Skye Forbes is a dancing writer who prefers pointe shoes over street shoes, leotards over skirts, and ballet buns over hairstyles. She loves striped tights and bows and will edit your face with a Sharpie if she doesn’t like your attitude. She lives in Augusta, Georgia where she writes dark fiction that will one day put her in a psychiatric ward… again. But she doesn’t care because her cat is a super hero who will break her out. You can find her on her Amazon Author Page, Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, her Website, and her Blog.

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And there’s a giveaway!!

Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Nine Questions with… Killion Slade

Today I am very pleased to feature an interview with Killion Slade, author of the new novel Exsanguinate. For those of you unfamiliar with Killion Slade, let’s take a few moments to get everyone acquainted!

KillionSladeKillion Slade is a married writing team who met in the virtual realms of Second Life and virtually enjoy everything. Members of the Horror Writers Association and the Paranormal Romance Guild, they storyboard their characters inside Second Life as their avatars reveal their stories. Tucked away in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Northern Montana, they stay busy chasing kids, corralling horses and cats, and enjoying the harvest from their garden. They spend time working on becoming self-sufficient in the shite ever hits the fan. To learn more about Killion Slade, please visit http://www.killionslade.com, Facebook, or on their Amazon Author Page.

Welcome Killion! Tell us about your writing process?

Together we plan out a full outline on the book and then structure the chapters into screenplay scenes.  Often times the characters will reveal goodies we had not considered, and they’ll take us down an unexpected tangent. We listen when they talk.  When they’re not talking – we ignore them and work with someone else until they are ready to reveal… and that is usually when I’m in the shower or washing dishes!  We like to brainstorm together, talk through the impacts, would that character truly [act or say] in a certain instance.  We always refer back to the book’s bible to keep characteristics, traits, and dossiers straight.

Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

We would love to attempt a sci-fi or high fantasy book sometime.  In our book, Exsanguinate, we get to dabble in many genres.  Horror, romance, sci-fi technology, paranormal, and fantasy.  It is truly a cross genre type of book.

What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

For Mr. Slade, it would be The Wheel of Time series from Robert Jordan and the Myth series from Robert Aspirin.  For Mrs. Slade, it would be from the Rachel Morgan series of The Hollows by Kim Harrison, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and the humorist books from Molly Harper.  Then of course, we cannot discount the myriad of horror writers from the well-established to the amazingly talented indies.  We love them all!

If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

This is such a fun question!  We actually have a Pinterest board for our characters and enjoy thinking about who could be in our cast.  Our heroine would played by Amy Adams or Emma Watson and our hero would be played by David Boreanaz, Joe Manganiello, or Jason Momoa.

Nice choices! What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

Take a screen shot and send it to my mom.  Pour myself a mimosa and start the outline on the next book!

Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

I used to turn to whiskey to allow the creep factor to seep into my words and crawl out onto the page, but I soon realized that the more I drank, the more I had to edit.  Hence, the reason you were given a bottle of Jack Daniels in your challenge 😉

I wondered where that came from! Though I do believe my character made good use of it J What do you do when you’re not writing?

Preparing for the apocalypse.  Raising a daughter to be a lady, and enjoying the second life we have made for ourselves in Montana.  This usually includes brainstorming for the next story lulling around in our heads.

Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.

From Exsanguinate – World of Blood Series – Book One

The pain gave clue it might be time to pray for death – that would be easier than remaining alive. My eyelids, heavy as cast-iron skillets, made it difficult to see through the haze. Prying them open revealed intense, bright light bouncing off shiny surfaces, forcing me to close them once again. When I found the courage to peek, the penetrating, painful light made it difficult to focus. My hand ventured out to help me understand my surroundings. I discovered warm skin at my fingertips.

“Cheyenne? I’m here, baby. It’s ok-kay. You’re in the hospital. Everything is g-gonna be just fine.”

I followed the welcome sound of my father’s voice, managing to focus enough to see his swollen, tear-streaked face. His lips trembled as he bent forward and kissed my forehead. His stutter and affection hinted he had terrible news or I was dead. Considering the amount of pain I was in, I would have preferred the latter.

Oh! Sounds fantastic! Thank you Killion (both of you) for taking the time to answer my questions! Now lets’ take a deeper look into Exsanguinate

Exsanguinate_CoverA Halloween scream night theme park adventure for software gaming developer Cheyenne O’Cuinn reveals a hidden supernatural reality she never dreamed existed. Recovering from a vicious attack and her sisters’ abductions, Cheyenne must rescue her sisters from vampiric kidnappers before they’re used to breed warmongering dhampirs.

Betrayal lurks in every corner. Cheyenne must evade attackers by unconventional means through her online role-play game. She must navigate through virtual, tortuous clues and mailed body parts, which cross over from her virtuality into reality. Can a team of dragons, vampires, and werewolves come together to help her? Who can she trust? Will the help from her virtual lover become compromised when he learns of her new immortal existence and crush the fragile love they share?

Amidst an impending vampire apocalypse, Cheyenne finds herself both in conflict for survival and for her heart. Will her immortal self derail any hope of solving the multiplying puzzles before time runs out to save her sisters, herself and her humanity?

There’s also a trailer for you to watch!!

Dragonfly by Ronnell D. Porter: Guest Post and Giveaway!

When I read the synopsis of Dragonfly by Ronnell D. Porter, I was intrigued. While I have read many true-to-life tales of dark fiction that drew from the less than pleasant experiences that some endure, I haven’t taken on the task of writing one longer than a few thousand words. And never on a topic as stark and depraved as this one was. When I was given the opportunity of hosting a guest post from Ronnell, the only thing I wanted to know (and this was mainly for myself) was how one treats such painful experiences (guaranteed someone has had to live a life similar to what is in the book) and subject matter  in their fiction. Ronnell answered my question, but before we get to that, let’s take a moment to get to know him…

Ronnell PorterRonnell D. Porter was raised in Ogden, Utah, and now resides in Denver, Colorado. During his free time he plays the violin, dabbles in graphic design, and, of course, thoroughly enjoys writing stories. He believes that a novel written simply to entertain does its readers a disservice; instead, a book’s narrative should always change the way we perceive the  world around us, and grant us a little more wisdom than we had when starting the story. You can find Ronnell on his Amazon Author Page, GoodReads, or his Website.

And without further ado…

How do you handle such painful subject matter within the realms of fiction?

I think I’m able to handle absorbing and putting out sensitive or graphic subjects in fiction due to my upbringing. When I was a child my mother (who is an avid horror film fan) would take me to every new horror film that would hit theaters, so from I very young age it was explained to me that films weren’t real, and neither were the monsters in them (though that didn’t keep me from being paranoid in bed at night a time or two). With fiction, there’s the sense of empathy that allows me to live the sensation of the physical or emotional inflicted upon the characters I’m reading about or watching, but it’s through a sort of lens because as horrific as the situations may be, it isn’t real, and it’s not really happening to this particular individual, since they don’t exist. Besides, reality is always far, far worse than what comes from any media we take in.

But sometimes we read about painful subjects that we’ve endured ourselves, sometimes we write about it. No matter how thick you’ve calloused your skin and reinforced your defenses, being caught unaware by a memory trigger can be devastating at times, so I don’t think anyone is immune to every piece of violence or depressing media out there. For me, writing Dragonfly wasn’t for the sake of writing dark material; I wrote it as a way of cathartic release – a way to work through unresolved feelings of some childhood memories wherein events were beyond my control. And I wanted to offer it up to anyone in the same or similar state of mood so that maybe they, too, could find some output, some relief from bottled emotions. Sometimes painful subject matter can therapeutically guide us around the rug we shove our secrets and memories under.

Thank you Ronnell – your insight on the subject is greatly appreciated. Now let’s take a look at Dragonfly

Dragonfly CoverOn the nights when 22-year-old Jessica Parker dreams, she relives one hellish memory—the day she was viciously raped in the woods by a man with a dragonfly tattoo. She wakes up feeling like the helpless child she used to be, and sinks back into her day-to-day life with her jaded mother, her mother’s live-in boyfriend and drug-dealer, Arnie, and her young sister, Rachel. Life seems stable enough for a while, and she almost believes that she can achieve some semblance of normality. That is until she catches word from Detective Sam Hayden that the monster that shattered her life has been released from prison.

Jessica is asked to relive her nightmarish ordeal again in order to help Hayden unravel an underground network of child sex-slave trafficking known as Dragonfly. This network hides the face of a serial killer he’s been hunting for ten years, and Jessica may hold the key to finding his identity. Together they follow every lead and struggle to unveil the dragonflies hidden among them behind the guise of neighbors, friendly strangers—even officers of the law—before another victim vanishes in a web that leaves no trace behind.

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Content Warning: Contains graphic violence, adult sexual material and themes

Recommended Age: 18+

Amazon | GoodReads | Barnes & Noble

And now for an excerpt from Dragonfly by Ronnell D. Porter!

The interior of the car was quite lavish; the lush, soft leather seats were heated and the temperature of the cab was programmed on a large LED screen on the dashboard. Rachel could see it clearly from her seat behind the driver, a man she’d never met nor seen before that morning. But Arnie said that he was a friend and that she could trust him. Besides, he said that Jess wasn’t feeling well, and without her presence in the morning walk to the bus stop the ritual lost its magic. Plus, driving up in a luxurious vehicle that looked as though it could belong to the POTUS himself would make her the envy of the day. Kids in school would look through their classroom windows and see the man open the door for her. She would hold her head high like she was the queen of the freaking playground and sashay all the way down the path to the entrance. Sissy Renner would lose her mind with jealousy, and that alone was worth the extravagant entrance.

“Have you known Arnie long?” Rachel asked. She couldn’t even see the back of his head from where she sat, but she could see his eyes in the rearview mirror. It was difficult to tell if they were blue or gray, and the lack of any sort of mood behind his lashes made those beautiful eyes somewhat depressing.

He reached over and opened the glove compartment. He lifted a small bottle of water over his shoulder, waggling his hand until she took it. He snapped the compartment shut and then set his eyes on the road. “You looked thirsty,” he said. His accent gave his words rhythm, and he pronounced his vowels in the back of his throat, unlike anything she’d heard before. “Oh, I’ve known Arnold about seven years now. My name is Olav.”

Rachel looked down at the bottle. She was a little thirsty, and she would have been more than happy to take a drink, were it not for the fact that the cap had already been opened. The tiny little plastic bridges all the way around the cap had been snapped. She shook the water as modestly as she could. There were little white flecks and particles floating around. Were it tap water, she might have excused them, but she’d never seen anything floating freely in bottled filtered water before. It settled like dust at the bottom, dissolving a little more each time she shook it.

When she looked up, she saw him staring right into her eyes. It startled her, made her chest ache and her hands run cold. But she ran a hand through her hair to pretend as though everything was okay, and untwisted the cap of the water bottle. She held it up to her lips, tipped it up, but kept the water from entering her mouth. When she wiped her lips and smiled, he nodded contently and returned to watching the road. She spun the cap back onto the bottle and stared out the window.

This wasn’t the road to her school. This street would eventually curve in the opposite direction. She ground her teeth and tried not to jump to conclusions, but she couldn’t ignore the facts. She’d been handed tampered water, which had been laced with God only knew what, and this man—this stranger—was taking her somewhere far away from where he was supposed to.

She’d been taken. She wasn’t an idiot, she knew the signs. She’d been stupid enough to trust the word of a man she’d only known a year—a drug addict and dealer—just like the girls in all of the Stranger Danger Awareness videos she’d sat through at school. She couldn’t believe she’d been so naive. But, as much as her teachers had done to educate them in how to avoid being kidnapped, she had no idea what she should do next. No one ever told you what to do when you became one of the unlucky ones. What was the drug that he’d tried to slip her, and what would he be expecting it to do to her within the next few minutes? What would he do if he found out that she hadn’t taken even a sip? Who was he, and why had Arnie sent her away with him? Where had her mother been all morning? Was Jess really sick? Would she make it home? Was this man going to kill her?

And there’s a giveaway!!

Win one of 5 Signed copies of Dragonfly (US) and a secret prize to everyone who enters the giveaway (INT)

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Nine Questions with… Soleil Berlin

Today on the FlipSide, we have author Soleil Berlin answering the burning questions you all want to know. For those of you unfamiliar with Soleil, let’s take a few moments to get everyone acquainted…

Soleil Berlin was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. She attended and graduated from the University of North Carolina Greensboro with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Since she was a teenager, she has been an avid reader of romance novels. She enjoys writing novels that keep readers interested until the very end.

What is your writing process?

I begin by writing my ideas in a notebook, then I create an outline for the book.

Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?

I strictly enjoy writing about interracial romance.

What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?

Five books that influenced me as an interracial romance author are The Color of Trouble by Dyanne Davis, Shades of Desire by Monica White, The Color of Love by Sandra Kitt, The Taming of Jessi Rose by Beverly Jenkins and Milk in My Coffee by Eric Jerome Dickey. These novels influenced me because it was refreshing to read romance novels featuring interracial romance.

If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?

I would cast Thandie Newton at the leading lady and Henry Cavill as the leading man.

What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?

I would call my mom.

Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?

(Editor’s Note: Author chose not to answer this question)

What do you do when you’re not writing?

When I am not writing, I enjoy wine tasting, traveling, visiting friends and spending time with my family.

Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.

(Editor’s Note: Author chose not to answer this question)

Thank you Soleil for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’d like to connect with Soleil, you can find her on her Amazon Author Page, Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, or her Website.

Now let’s take a sneak peek into Enslaved to Love: Return to Me

Enslaved to Love Return to Me CoverThey say forbidden love is the best kind, but it is definitely not the easiest or safest. A chance acquaintance, finds Josephine increasingly attracted to a man that is about to get married. Flashback to the 1800s in England, the time when black people were servants and nothing more, being called slaves had just been made illegal but there was no difference in the treatment. Life as a servant was very hard and cold for Josephine until she met Andrew; the son of her new owner. He made life bearable for her by offering her his kindness. That kindness quickly turned into love and as much as Josephine tried to resist it; her heart was not in agreement with her head. Could their love thrive in a world where black and white should never mix? Would their love withstand the test of time? How will they find their way back to rekindle their love? Return to me…

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