Saturday, March 23, 2013

Guest Blogger: Catherine L. Vickers

Welcome My Guest: Catherine L. Vickers

Tell us a little bit about the book before we get started.

Here is the book blurb:
Based on the world of Aarabassa where one half is dark the other is in constant sunlight. A magic barrier divides the darker characters out of the Lightlands.

Only the Guardian Dragons and the Changeling can pass through the Magic Wall. When the dragons over hear vamplins plotting to attack the Darklands, the dragon Queen seeks the Ancient Mage for help.

Three young Princes have grown up alongside the Changeling a female mage. Their world will soon change as they are destined for different adventures.

How long have you been writing - have you always wanted to be a writer?

I remember my English teacher telling me I would make a good journalist and she also put a poem I'd written into a magazine. Unfortunately, life's events did not take me down that path. Then in my late 20s I studied English Language & Literature and had to read some English classics. This is when I became a fan of Charles Dickens and the Bronte sisters. However, I didn't start writing until my 40s when my children were older. I began my book whilst camping on a French holiday and we were stuck indoors all week with rain. I then just added or edited every now and then, taking around 10 years to complete it. Prior to this I had never dreamed of being a writer. 

I think what motivates me to be a writer at this stage in my life, is most certainly influenced by the modern day self publishing. Not that being an indie author is by any means easy, but Amazon has opened up so many opportunities for many writers.

Have you experienced writer's block---> If so, how did you work through it?

Who hasn't?! I must say I don't have these too often but if I do then I throw the plot around my family. One of my son's in particular has come up with a few ideas when I have got myself truly stuck. Coincidentally, I'm just in the first draft of the fourth book of my series and I had a terrible block on an underwater scene. He's away at university so I had to message him with a vague idea of the set scenery. I don't give too much away to him as I just want to brainstorm his head. After a few messages from him asking for more details he finally came back with something I thought would work, and it was brilliant. So now I can move on with my writing. I'm not one who can go on and write a different chapter, I will remain stuck until something takes shape, even if it means weeks of wasted effort. So I will thank my youngest son for all his wonderful ideas. 

Please tell us about your latest book.

Originally I had planned to complete a trilogy as I'm a bit of an epic writer. My plan was to have three large books. When I published the first book I was advised to split it into a series, and this turned out to be very good advice. Now my plan is to produce a nine book series. Part 1 Guardian Dragons is now available on Amazon worldwide as an ebook and a paperback. 

It is based on the world of Aarabassa where one half is dark and the other is in constant sunlight. A magic barrier divides the darker characters out of the Lightlands.

Living in the Darklands are the monshaad wraith creatures who rule with their magic and mind powers. The monshaad Emperor Morte-Bielze summons his neighbour, Lord of the vamplins. There are no loyalties between the races. Only magic keeps the Emperor in his seat.

At the other side of the Wall within the Lightlands, Rikka the hag brews a poison on her Master’s instructions. She and her son journey to the Royal City of Beldroth. Once in the city Fedros cleverly secures a post of guarding one of the Princes, by using the poison to murder the soldier on this duty. Meanwhile, Rikka convinces a local village of her herb and midwifery skills. Here she feeds her Master, the Emperor, with children’s souls through her evil spells.

Living in the Royal Palace is the youngest Prince Raphael, born with terrible weakness to his bones. His two older brothers love him dearly. Prince Amos is heir to the throne. Prince Leon grew up with the Head Mages daughter, Heather. The human King has been struck with grief since the birth of his youngest son, Raphael. when his wife Minah lost her life. Slowly King Alfred has been overcome with his loss and weakens as a leader.

Heather is a Changeling through her bloodline. She ventures into the sea and Changes for the very first time, into a female Huphin, with the guidance of the Huphin Prince. Whilst swimming, the dolphins become frantic and lead their sea Prince to rescue his daughter who is trapped by savaging sharks.
The Guardian Dragons and the Changeling are the only creatures who can pass through the Magic Wall that separates the Darklands from the Lightlands. The Queen Dragon overhears the vamplin Leaders sister discussing a plot by the evil monshaad Emperor to battle with the Lightlands. The dragon Queen then seeks the Ancient Mage.

Rikka is banished from the village and gains access to the palace with the help of her son, Fedros. The King’s mother is impressed with Rikka’s healing skills and hopes she can cure her grandson Prince Raphael, of his ills.

How do we find out about you and your books?

My book is available on Amazon 

I have my own blog  I'm still in the process of building it up but I do put any news here of my books. Occasionally I'll do a 'Character' article or an 'excerpt'. This is just one of many skillsl we indie writers have to learn, how to run a blog. You are welcome to follow me or even give me any suggestions to improve it. 

I'm also a member of goodreads whereby I announce what books I'm reading and do short reviews once completed. I also chit and chat about other booky things on this site. If you want to know more about Part 1 Guardian Dragons I have Book Trailer on youtube.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Guest Blogger: S.D.W.

The Succubus
Available at Amazon

Quick Read -- Short Story

Even my clothes were ghosts compared to my skin. He thought. I looked down at my fingernails. The sting of the freshly cut nails still thumps. They say they had too. They say I’m dangerous. 
I looked at the same spot on the wall every day, the spot with a little crack down the middle. As I continued to look, the crack widened. I was in awe, almost hypnotized by the phenomenon. The crack continued to grow until it was a big gaping hole almost engulfing the wall. Then out came the woman.
It had been years since I saw her last, yet it was definitely the same person. She hadn’t aged a single day. Her smile widened to a sexy grin before she began to talk.
“Have you missed me?” Her voice became that of a naughty schoolgirl. 
I was immediately entranced. 
“I guess you can’t forget the first girl you felt for, and, well, the only one since.” She let out an evil laugh as she walked closer.
My body defied my secrecy. I looked away.
“It’s okay, don’t worry,” She crept a little bit closer, hovering over me, “Everything is going to be fine...”
It took me a few moments to realize that I was screaming, furiously. The orderlies came in and tried to calm me down, and all I could do was point to the woman. 
She straightened up. “I hope you know they don’t see me. But that’s okay, as long as you can see me, I’ll be just peachy.”
Jacob stopped his daydreaming dead on. He knew what happens next; insanity claim, injections, electrocutions, all for the sake of therapy. That woman in black ruined my life, so I’ll ruin whatever her kind have.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Guest Blogger: Dick Moomey

The Reluctant Witness by Dick Moomey

1942. Bullfrog hunting in the river with his friend Bucky, twelve year old Lee Richards witnesses a fight between two men on the caboose of a passing railroad freight train. Promises of ball games, cops and robbers and building a camp in the woods behind his home, soon leave his mind, when one of the men falls into the river, only feet from the two boys. Dead.
Lee’s memory of the second man and how he looked will never leave him but he also realizes the killer will never forget Lee either. Evidence reveals the man is a German espionage agent sent on a mission to sabotage certain areas on the St. Lawrence River. Obsessed with catching up with Lee and eliminating him as a witness to the murder, the Abwehr-trained spy places Lee in the crosshairs…

Available at Solstice Publishing here

Available at Amazon here

Free Excerpt:

(Please disregard any formatting issues that this blog may have caused. These will not show up in the book)

How could you ever forget it? The sound echoed across the cow pastures before bouncing off the buildings clustered around the double railroad track with the mile-long siding. Certain nights brought an almost frightening, haunting sound, which made even the staunchest of the town’s citizen’s fight off goose bumps. Other nights the same sounds were like music, prancing across the rails and down Main Street. Some folks were known to even dance, as the evening milk train went by, tooting some downright sweet melodies. ‘Course, most had been in Brownie’s Bar and Grille.

The year was 1942, and with most of the town’s eligible males off to take up the fight for freedom, the village of Lawrence struggled against a mountain of trials. The one constant was the railroad, which ran east and west with trains sometimes stopped at the station. Others passed through with the prerequisite haunting whistle of the steam engine. Despite the war, things could have been worse. So most folks lived their daily lives waiting for the return of their young men, but still loving, hating and sometimes fighting. However, when push came to shove in their daily lives, they were always family. Family counted.
Only twelve, with my older brother off with the Navy somewhere in the South Pacific, war, for me, meant only that we couldn’t always get in the car and travel the five miles to the nearest movie house. Oh, and some days Mom couldn’t get the meat she liked or had to put off baking until she’d saved enough coupons for sugar and flour. Me, most days, I still played baseball with the five or six of us young guys or worked on building our special hangout in the woods. Cops and robbers occupied the number one spot on our daily, endless hours of games.
When the weather was warm, the sun high, and the water clear and cool, me and Bucky, my closest friend, usually snuck over to the Deer River. We hoped Dad or one of the railroad men didn’t see us, `cause the water under the railroad bridge was said to be especially treacherous and strictly off limits to us town boys. Dad, being the railroad agent and entrusted with a wide assortment of job descriptions, was most kind, but when it came to my safety, he became downright adamant.
“Lee, you know I love you, and want the very best for everything you do in life, but I’m also the guardian of your life and mean to abide by that responsibility. Number one, you are never to go near the water under the railroad bridge. Never, do you understand?”
“Yes sir.” I really didn’t understand everything about being a guardian, but I guessed it meant he was my guardian angel or something like that. “I’ll try to remember what you’ve said.” ‘Course, Dad didn’t know the conductor and engineer of the morning and evening milk trains had, for some time now, paid us 25 cents for a large bouquet of water lilies and an equal amount for each large bull frog we could corral. Naturally, these two items were only abundant in the area of the river which ran beneath the bridge. We knew about the rapids, but also knew the lilies and bull frogs would never be found in the fast stream but only in little inlets which ran along the shore.
Soooo, off we went, hoping the real guardian angel Reverend Stockton told us about would look after us. It helped that we’d done this exact same thing for some time now, and the season on water lilies wasn’t exactly long. Wearing our swim trunks under our pants, my brother’s fishingnet tucked in one of my pants leg we started our round-about trip to the river. Strangely, I never gave it a thought that I must have looked like some peg-legged pirate as we passed across Main Street and behind Brownie’s, the only real bar and grill in town.
During the summer, every day is the same to a youngster in our town. Except Sunday of course, which was strictly observed in every possible way. I wasn’t sure which of the other six days this was, until I read the paper later on. Made no big difference to us, ‘cause we had a large order to fill. Flowers and frogs coming up!
Bucky and I’d often wondered what frog legs tasted like, and I even asked my mom once.
“Back when I was a girl,” she said, “we had them often. Lee, they tasted better than the best fried chicken. I sometimes wish we could have some here one of these days.”
I figured we’d have to believe her, for the conductor and engineer to pay the steep price of 25 cents for each one of the critters they had to be good.
Once we reached the bank of the Deer River, Bucky and I waded through the cat-tails and bulrushes which lined the shore and out into the shallow water. Normally, we’d manage to collect our bounty without having to go in all the way. Maybe up to our bellies, but no further. The frogs had to be first on the list because they would be harder to catch once we roiled up the water. We left our old sneakers out since neither of us relished the idea of bare-footing it through the oozy mud. Bucky pulled a large burlap bag out from under his shirt, and I managed to release the fishnet from my pant leg, although I almost lost the trousers in my efforts.
Creeping through the shallow river water, we looked for the tell-tale bubbles which indicated some creature would be under there, and we were pretty sure it would be a frog, hopefully a real big one. After all, we were experienced frog hunters with two seasons under our belts. Being a real good catching day, it didn’t take long to net six beauties, after throwing back some undersized guys. Get them next season.
Since the cat-tails and bull rushes camouflaged us, we were pretty sure it would be difficult for anyone to spot us. The railroad track and bridge were quite close, but up in the air some ways.
Frog hunting over, Bucky had a bit of a fit with their hopping inside the burlap, which he’d pushed back inside his shirt. I always laughed seeing this freckle-faced, tow-headed friend of mine, with his shirt dancing the heebie-jeebies and his bright blue eyes sparkling with mischief. Late afternoon seemed the best time for our harvest. Still, we had to keep our frogs alive and flowers fresh for the milk train’s evening run about an hour after we’d finish.
“Bucky, pull those critters out of your shirt. We can’t go water lily gathering with them making such a fuss. Tie the bag to that willow over there and let it hang free in the water so our jumping friends will stay nice and fresh. Okay?”
“No need to tell me, Lee. It’s just like we always do, right?” Bucky gave that cocked eyebrow look of his, probably amused as always by how much we looked alike. Some folks swore we were twins. “These buggers are more lively than usual, so it’ll be good to get rid of them.”
While Bucky undertook his chore, I heard the sound of the late afternoon freight train approaching from the Malone area, on its way to all points west on the Rutland Railroad. Most freight trains had over a hundred cars, which meant they traveled quite slow while passing through any residential areas. We were both railroad buffs, and I had even learned Morse code from my dad, which prompted Bucky, on occasion, to drop by my house hoping to learn some code and transmission techniques.
More or less focused on the train rumbling past almost above our heads, maybe thirty or forty feet up, we counted the cars and even the types, which seemed more varied than usual. From our position, not quite under the bridge, we could clearly see each car while the long freighter passed. I pushed aside some of the tall cat-tails, enabling me to have a less obstructed view.
Time passes quickly when you’re interested in what’s going on around you. Before we realized it, the bright red caboose began its trip across the span. Then, I quickly made out the figures of two men, obviously fighting. One of them raised his hand and repeatedly brought it down onto the body of the second man. Half way across the bridge, the one being hit, tumbled from the rear platform of the caboose. Almost in slow motion, the body, with arms flailing and a long wail of a scream, plummeted toward the river and landed not more than a couple feet from where Bucky and I were standing.
The splash and sudden arrival of this man into our hiding place sure did shock me. I couldn’t help but look up toward where the second man stood on the caboose platform, hands holding onto the black railing and staring down directly first at the body, and finally on me. Our eyes connected, and the image of this individual etched itself in my mind forever. The man was wearing a floppy baseball cap, had black scraggly hair, and an equally black and thick moustache, which seemed to partially cover a jagged scar across his face. Believe me, his large blue eyes—people always remarked on my exceptional eyesight, even called me “Hawk” sometimes, so even at that distance, I was quite certain they were blue—never left my face, as the train completed its trip across the river and on the way to the west.
Looking toward the figure in the water, I found the area colored blood-red, spreading in an ever widening circle. The man was on his back, with the handle of a large knife sticking out of his chest. I almost shit my pants. From the smell, it was clear Bucky had actually accomplished that feat. Lying in the water, the man didn’t seem to be breathing or moving. He was a stranger to me. I’d never forget the face of his killer. Ever. Suddenly, I realized he would probably never forget mine, either.