Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Realmsic Conquest: The Hero of Legend by Demethius Jackson

The Realmsic Conquest:

The Hero of Legend

Demethius Jackson


From its establishment the Realm has remained the only magical kingdom in existence. As a result, it has never known peace. Although the kingdom has never fallen, it must now defend against the Warlord Damian – a brilliantly merciless conqueror who uses history as a weapon. Rallying those resentful of the Realm’s magic, Damian has amassed a Legion of Warriors – the largest military force ever assembled.

The Kingdom’s defeat is imminent!
Maebus, the Realm’s newest King, has only ruled for six days. Yet he must now lead the magical Realmsic Kingdom through its most perilous conflict ever.

Additional info:

The first Realmsic Conquest book was a fully-rhyming epic adventure that was published in July of 2010.  The purpose of using rhyme was to create a rhythmic ambiance that truly captured the mood and magic of the original story.  Shortly after publishing, the rhyming epic developed a following of thousands, and I began receiving emails asking about the backgrounds of the characters and the storyline.  This prompted me to write Hero of Legend, which is a non-rhyming literary novel that delves deeper into the characters and discloses the origin of the Realm – the only magical kingdom in existence.

Please excuse any formatting issues this blog post has caused to the excerpt.

OUT THE CORNER OF HIS EYE, King Maebus thought he saw a flicker of lightning. Thunder

wasn’t uncommon this time of year. But weather had nothing to do with this impending storm. He’d

watched the dark clouds slowly gather over a period of time. Where normally his life was filled with

relative repose, he now observed the rain pour from the sky like a flood of emotion.

Listening to the water droplets splat against his balcony, he stood in silence while taking in the

horizon of the only magical kingdom in existence. The Realm. Such beauty on its surface; such

terror in its heart. Maebus sighed a great breath as he contemplated the duality of both.

Thoughts inundated his mind as rapidly as the falling rain. Yet, within the present moment, the

King felt relaxed. For what it was worth, still moments in time were the closest he’d ever come to

knowing peace. As elusive as they were, he learned to cherish them. The Realmsic Kingdom, with

its history of continuous war, was filled with endless uncertainty. Stillness, he discovered, was all

anyone ever really possessed.

For thousands of years, the natural condition of the Realm had been the unyielding state of war.

According to those who knew history, it was the discovery of magic that initially divided the

Realmsic people. Those who based their lives around the use of magic referred to themselves as

Wizards. Those who shunned energy manipulation preferred to be called Laymen, which to them

meant, Common Man.

Escalating tension between the two communities resulted in brutal skirmishes. Both sides, having

claimed their natural right to the Realm, refused to leave it. Full-scale war ensued over the land, and

also over the Realmsic Crystal—the source of all magic. Years of mutual suffering eventually led

to a compromise. At the historic Conference of Amity, laws were established for the protection of

both communities. Going forward, magic would only be used practically and would be governed

in the form of a monarchy. The Realmsic Kingdom, as it was later named, would be a nonbiased

entity structured for the benefit of all. Wizards would select a Layman King or Queen, who in

return would select a Grand Wizard-Realmsic Advisor. A council comprised of members from both

communities would guide them in creating laws for regulating the fair use of magic.

Because of this arrangement, the Realm experienced a techno-magical revolution, producing a

surge of mechanical inventions that were fueled by magic. Eventually, conflicts within the Realm

diminished significantly. However, insatiable greed and fear of magic continued to flourish, and war

never officially ended. Centuries passed, the Wizard-Laymen conflict continued, and conquerors

seeking the crystal were met and ultimately defeated. But now, Maebus—the new Realmsic King,

found himself facing the volatile headwinds of the Realm’s greatest storm yet.

“Magic … both our blessing and our curse,” a voice said from behind him, disrupting his thoughts.

Maebus turned swiftly to discover a dark-hooded man standing just a few feet away from him.

“Did I interrupt you, brother?” Kelm asked.

“Never. But I didn’t hear you come in.”

The man removed his hood, revealing a tempered smile. They greeted each other with clasped

hands. Grand Wizard Kelm was not only Advisor to the kingdom; he was also Maebus’ life-long

Kelm walked past Maebus and leaned forward against the balcony. He focused as far as his eyes

could see through the rain.

“A storm is coming,” he said.

“Unfortunately, a storm is already here,” Maebus replied.

He joined Kelm and pointed in the direction of the distant Western Nations.

The Grand Wizard chuckled to himself.

“When is it not, Maebus? For two thousand years, our history has been a string of conflicts and

“True. But not like this. Not like him.”

Kelm said nothing in response, for he knew Maebus was right. No matter how much he tried

to trivialize his own anxiety, his own fear, Kelm repeatedly found himself face to face with the

unequivocal truth. Their defeat was inevitable. Never in history had the kingdom ever fallen. Yet,

never had there been an enemy such as Damian.

The Wizard’s eyes intensified as he concentrated upon the well-worn features of his friend.

“Does he worry you?” Kelm asked.

Maebus shook his head no. “It’s not the man who worries me,” he replied. “It’s the fervor in his

voice. It’s the intensity of his influence. Almost overnight, one man spawned a Legion of Warriors.

With them, he now unleashes indiscriminant, disciplined death. Where previous conquerors have

demonstrated haste, this man is poised; his tactics, erratic yet calculated, intricate yet unsympathetic.

Our Realmsic Army is sharpened by centuries of physical combat. But it isn’t men they now fight

against. It’s ideology.”

“Yes,” the Grand Wizard said, “but at the basis of all ideology, there exists one fatal flaw. Man’s

own desire to be more than he is. The Warlord’s tactics are different, I agree. But his motives are the

same as those who came before him. Beyond his pretty words and promises is nothing more than

As Maebus contemplated this, he walked from the balcony back into his chamber. He’d only

recently become King. Therefore, it was no surprise he still found the chamber of a King to be

somewhat uncomfortable. Its royal d├ęcor, passed down from generations, felt like it belonged to

someone else. The shaded skies outside did little to illuminate its interior. Aside from a single candle

flame flickering its resistance against a cold draft, the room was blanketed in shadowy darkness.

Maebus sighed yet again. “To his people,” he said, “this man’s greatness is impervious. It’s with that

passion that they fight.”

Kelm stood centered within the balcony doorway, his form silhouetted by the drab grayness behind

Maebus continued, “We would be wise to acknowledge the unity they’ve created. Think of it, Kelm:

thousands of individually focused minds, all in one harmonious agreement to destroy us.”

Kelm laughed uneasily. “I would consider it a beautiful notion, if it didn’t mean our own demise.”

The King chuckled also, followed by brief silence.

“Maebus …” Kelm’s eyes quickly filled with concern, “an attack upon the kingdom is imminent.

Swords and magic will not be enough to face it. How are we to defend it when this man comes?”

Maebus thought a moment before he answered. “I have a plan, but I need to speak with the

Kelm pointed to the door.

“They’re already waiting.”

Authors Bio:

Demethius Jackson is a fiction writer from Washington, DC. He is the author

of The Realmsic Conquest book series, which chronicles the struggles of the

only magical kingdom in existence.

Jackson is an alumnus of American University’s School of Communications.

Through his ten year career, his written works have spanned numerous forms

of media such as music and television. He has also held positions at global

media and cinema companies.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Rachel's Legacy - Free Exceprt


Available on Amazon here:

Please excuse any formatting issues that this blog has caused to the free excerpt. 

Chapter One

The snow was coming down in blankets covering the ground as quickly as it fell. Rachel Connors in her window sill looking out. The tears rolled down her face, as the thought of going back home haunted her. She hadn't seen her parents in five years, and wasn't completely positive she was making the right decision in going back now. She needed to be near family now more than ever. Rachel made the decision to keep her medical problems to herself as she needed a break from reality. She knew there was no sense in making her parents worry about her. She would tell them nothing.
The sound of the cab's horn jarred her out of her thoughts. She wiped the tears away and grabbed her bags. She would be staying with her parents until after the holidays. The doctors didn't need to see her until the end of December. How am I supposed to forget everything and enjoy a vacation at a time like this? Rachel sat in the back seat of the cab as it headed to the airport. It would be a long plane ride from Colorado to her parents' Ranch in Tennessee. It was always beautiful at her parents’ ranch, which was about an hour and a half outside of Nashville. They always teased her growing up about being a singer, but she never had any interest in singing. She always wanted to be a talent agent. She wanted to be the one who found the talent, which was exactly what she did. She was very successful at it, until she received a job offer from a ski resort in Aspen. She moved there to be the manager of her friends resort. It was a great escape from reality, and in the process she grew to love her new life. Rachel took a long nap on the plane ride to her parent's house. She had been under a lot of stress lately. It seemed like only minutes after her head hit the pillow when the flight attendant was saying they were landing. She looked around and saw that they were coming onto the runway. She rubbed her eyes and stretched her arms before standing up.
Kyle Landers stood there holding a sign for a woman who he had never met before. How do I get myself into situations like this? He thought as he started to pace back and forth. He couldn't tell Sue and Tom that he wouldn't go pick up their daughter for them even though he knew he wouldn't like her. He couldn't understand how she could stay gone as many years as she did knowing her parent's missed her. Kyle would do anything for Sue and Tom. They took him in four years ago when he didn't have anywhere else to go. He had no family and no place to go until he got the job on the ranch. He looked back and forth for Rachel. He  had seen many pictures of her over the years.  Kyle decided he didn't want to give some stuck up, too good to come home to her family, up tight woman a ride. He dropped the sign into the trash can and walked out. He would tell Sue and Tom the flight must have been delayed. He felt a little bad lying to them, but he knew that their daughter could use a good lesson on how you treat people. She hadn't treated her parents very well not even visiting over the years. He turned and walked away.
While walking down the aisle, Rachel saw her name written on a sign lying in the trash can.  That was strange since her plane was right on time. Her parents told her a man named Kyle would be picking her up. Where was he? Why didn't he wait?
 She walked out of the airport and tried to catch a cab, but there weren't any in sight. Rachel walked up and down on the side walk with no luck. All the cabs were busy and she wanted to go home. She grabbed her bag and started to walk. Surely somebody would give her a ride within an hour and a half she thought. She made it down to the end of the parking lot when she saw a man getting ready to get into his truck. “Excuse me sir. My name is Rachel Connors. Can you please give me a ride to my family’s ranch? I'll pay for the gas and if you can't take me all the way there, I would be happy with anywhere close.  My ride didn't show up to pick me up and I can't seem to get a cab.”
Kyle shot her a look that let her know he wasn't in the mood to talk. He couldn't believe his luck. Of all the people wanting a ride it had to be the one person he wanted to leave at the airport. “Let's go. I have a lot of work to get done back at the ranch.”
Rachel didn't know what to think. “Okay” she said, as she glanced down at the ground.
She jumped up into his truck not saying a word. Rachel felt a little uncomfortable being with him. Once she got buckled into his truck she looked over at him. “Excuse me, but you haven't even told me your name.”
“Kyle. My name’s Kyle.” He said as he continued to drive.
“Have I done something to offend you? I don't even know you, but you seem to dislike me for some reason.”  She said, as she played with her hands nervously. “Wait a minute. Are you Kyle Landers? The same Kyle Landers that works for my father? Why were you going to leave me here at the airport? I wasn't late.”
Kyle really didn't want to get into it with her right then, but it was going to be an hour and half ride back to the ranch. He knew he would have to talk to her at some point in time. “Why don't we stop to eat? I haven't had lunch yet.”
Rachel wasn't sure if he was trying to be nice now or if he was just hungry.  “That sounds good to me.” She said even though she was still angry at him for leaving her there.
They drove for another thirty minutes in silence before turning into the parking lot of a small restaurant. Rachel had eaten at that place before and remembered them having good food although she hadn't been eating much of anything lately. She hoped the trip back home would take her mind off her problems, but not bring up bad memories in the process. They walked into the restaurant and found a table in the back away from everyone.
Kyle sat down and picked up a menu without speaking. When the waitress walked by he waved her over to him. “I'll take a cheeseburger, fries and a coke please.”
Rachel saw the waitress look over at her. “I'll take the same. Thanks.” She looked over at Kyle. “How long have you worked for my father?”
“Four years.” He said without adding anything more.
“That's great. My father really needed help after Bobby....... Well never mind. I'm glad my father has you.” She took a sip of her soda trying to hold back the tears as she thought about her brother.
Kyle looked surprised to hear that Tom had somebody else work for him. He hadn't ever heard them talk about anyone else. “Who's Bobby? I've never heard the name before.”
Rachel looked surprised by the question. “Oh, well… Bobby was my brother. You would have really liked him. He died six years ago in a car accident.”
“I'm sorry to hear that.” He felt bad for asking now.
The food came and they ate in silence. When they were finished eating they started on their trip back to the ranch once again. Neither of them spoke. Rachel couldn't help but wonder why Kyle seemed to dislike her so much. How could he make a judgment not to like her that quick? She sat there staring out the window thinking about when she was younger.  She remembered the way her and Bobby would go on long walks exploring the entire ranch or taking the horses out across the range. He would take off across there like he was in a race that he had to win. She could remember staying back watching him go. He feared nothing and embraced life to the fullest. Rachel could feel the tears starting again. She hadn't been home in so long that she had buried the memories deep down. She always thought about Bobby during the holidays, but more so this year. Bobby would have handled the news from the doctors better than she did. Rachel wiped a tear from her eyes.
Kyle glanced over at the saddest person he had ever seen. He was beginning to think maybe he misjudged her. Could she have good reasons for not coming around? Did it have something to do with Bobby? He knew that he didn't know anything about her, but the same time he knew that he wanted to. “Is everything alright?” he asked.
Rachel wiped her eyes and sat up straighter. “I'm fine. Just memories flooding me,” she said with a smile.
Kyle could tell that she didn't really want to talk about it and he wasn't sure that he did either. “It's not much further.” He said as he wished he could take the words back. Of course she knew it wasn't much further. She grew up there. He always got flustered when he got nervous. He stared at the road emotionless as he drove.
Rachel could see her parents’ house coming into view as she got more excited. She couldn't wait to see her mom and dad. It had been a long time since she had seen them. They had visited her two years ago in Colorado, but she just couldn't bear to come back home after Bobby died. She stuck around for about a year after he died and then she had to get out of there. The memories hurt too much. He was not only her brother but also her best friend. She didn't know how to live without him.
The truck stopped and Rachel jumped out as fast as she could. She saw her mother standing on the porch with a smile on her face. Rachel ran to her and threw her arms around her. “I missed you.” she said to her mom.
“I missed you too baby. I'm glad you're home, even if it's only for the holidays.” Sue said to her daughter as she hugged her tighter.
“Where's dad?” Rachel asked as she looked around.
Sue pointed into the house. “He threw his back out again. That's why Kyle had to pick you up.”
“Is he alright now?” she asked as she walked in the house. Looking back at Kyle she said. “Thank you for driving me home.”
Kyle nodded his head. “No problem. I'll talk to you later. I'm sure.”
Rachel walked on into the house to find her father lying on the couch with a heating pad behind his back. “Dad, how are you feeling?”
Tom sat up with a smile. “You made it. I'm glad you're here. How was the trip?”
“It was fine. I don't think Kyle likes me much, but the trip was fine.” she answered.
Tom gave her a smile. “Kyle just takes a little getting used to. He's a good man.”
Rachel visited with her parents for hours sitting in the living room around the fireplace. Her mother had made hot chocolate and apple spiced cake. Her mother always made the best cakes in the world. At least that was what Rachel always thought. She loved the way it felt being home again and almost hated to think about leaving. She decided to go take a nice long hot bubble bath before going to bed. She needed it after the stress that she had been under lately. She planned to get up bright and early to go riding on the ranch. It had been a long time since she had been out on the ranch.
The next day Rachel got up and dressed in jeans and a t-shirt to go riding. She walked up to the stables to pick out her horse. When she walked in she saw Kyle brushing one of the horses.
“Good morning.” she said to him.
Kyle looked up at her. “Hi. Going riding this morning?”
“Yes. It's been awhile. I can't wait. Would you like to go with me?” she asked not knowing where that came from. The words came out of her mouth without thinking.
Kyle didn't know what to say. “Sure. I can go riding with you. Let me saddle up a couple of horses.”
Rachel went over to one of the stalls and started brushing the midnight black horse. Its coat was shiny and smooth. “This is my horse, buttercup. I haven't ridden her in a while. I'll get her ready for me to ride. If you don't mind?”
“No. Go ahead. I'll saddle up Ranger for me to ride.” He walked over to the brown horse in the last stall and started getting the horse ready.
After a few minutes of getting the horses ready, they headed off across the land. Rachel loved the feel of the wind hitting her in the face as she rode quickly across the fields. She hadn't done that in a really long time. Thoughts of her and Bobby racing their horses flooded her mind as she raced her horse to the back part of the land. She wanted to stop at the creek to let her horse have some water. When she stopped and got off, she looked back to see if Kyle was still there. He was coming up behind her slowly.
“You ride great.” he told her as he jumped off his horse.
Rachel smiled. “I love to ride. I never get a chance to anymore. The only thing I ride is a snowmobile now.” 
She walked over and sat down on a big rock and watched her horse drink from the creek. Glancing up at Kyle she said. “It's okay though. I get paid good money to do what I do.”
“Money isn't everything though. You need family too.” He still wasn't sure why she moved away, but he was starting to think she had reasons, and maybe he was wrong to misjudge her the way he did. He could tell that she loved her family. Why did she leave? He wanted to find out, but didn't want to come right out and ask.
Rachel sighed. “I know and I do miss my family. It was really hard on me after Bobby died. I stuck around for about a year afterwards, but then I had to get out of here. Now it's been all this time and I don't know what has been keeping me away. Now I wish more than ever that I lived here near my parents.”  She looked away with a tear in her eye. She didn't want to cry in front of him, and she didn't want this complete stranger to know anything about her medical problems.
“I'm sorry if I upset you. I didn't mean to do that.” Kyle felt horrible.
Rachel wiped a tear away. “You didn't upset me. I always get emotional around the holidays. More so now than before.”
Kyle didn't know what she meant by that, but he could see a sadness in her eyes. He stood there staring at the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She was about five foot five inches tall with long brown hair. She couldn't be more than a size six. He couldn't believe that he was looking at her that way. It was only a day ago that he had decided that he didn't like her. Things were changing for him with time. He looked over at her. “I guess you and your brother, Bobby, were close?”
Rachel smiled as the thoughts of Bobby came back to her. “Yes, we were like best friends. We did everything together. It was really hard for me when he died.  We had spent the whole day together that day at a baseball game in Nashville. That night Bobby wanted me to go to the store for him and get him some ice cream, but I was tired and said I didn't want to. He left to go get it himself, and on his way home he was hit by a drunk driver. I can't help but blame myself. If I had went to the store then maybe he would still be here with us. It's my fault that he is dead.” Rachel couldn't stop the tears from falling. They were coming down like rainfall.
Kyle went over to her and took her into his arms. “It's not your fault, Rachel. You can't blame yourself. Is that why you have stayed away so long? If it is then I think you need to come home to your family.”
Rachel wiped the tears away and walked back to her horse. “You don't understand. I can't leave Aspen right now. I have to be there. I wish I could, but I can't” She walked over and got up on her horse. She rode across the land without looking back.
When they got back to the stables she started brushing her horse. Rachel loved that ranch and missed it every day. She would love to move back, but knew she couldn't until the doctors said she could. The waiting for the test and then the results were going to be the hardest thing she had ever had to do. The doctors couldn't get her in for her test until January. Rachel was snapped out of her thoughts by the sound of Kyle walking in with his horse.
“I'm sorry I upset you. Sometimes I put my whole foot in my mouth.” he said as he walked the horse to the stall.
Rachel laughed. “You’re fine. I just get a little emotional sometimes. It's not your fault.”
“How about you let me take you out tomorrow night for dinner to make up for it?” Kyle had no idea where that came from. He was usually a little on the shy side with women.
She looked at him with a little shock in her eyes. “I would love to go out with you tomorrow night, but I can't. My mom and dad are going out of town to the cattle sales, and I promised that I would get some baking done for thanksgiving for her. You’re welcome to come over and let me cook you something if you would like. We can watch a movie while the cakes are baking.”
“Sounds good to me.” Kyle said. “I'll see you then.
Rachel couldn't believe she had made a date with him. She barely knew him, but she couldn't help but think how great looking he was. He was six foot tall with sandy blond hair and a great complexion. She could tell that he worked long, hard hours out in the sun. She walked in the house and saw her mom over by the stove cooking. She went over to her and gave her a hug. “Something smells good.”
Sue smiled over at her daughter. “It's beef stew. One of your many favorites.”
Rachel laughed because she loved to eat. She told her mom. “Guess what I'm doing tomorrow night.”
“I have no idea, dear.” Sue answered.
“I'm cooking dinner for Kyle while you’re gone. He asked me out and I told him I had to do the baking for you, but that I would cook him dinner. He said yes.” She seemed to be talking a mile a minute.
Sue hadn't seen her daughter look that excited about anything in a very long time. “I'm glad honey, but I would be careful not to lead him on. You’re still leaving at the end of December aren't you?”
“Yes, mother. We won't get serious. It's just one date.” Rachel tried to make herself believe it more than her mother. She went over to the cabinet to get the dishes down to set the table. When she was all done setting them out, she went to get her father for dinner.
They all sat down at the table together to eat. Rachel made small talk with her dad about the ranch and the horses. “How's it going around here lately?”
Tom looked over at his daughter. “Well, I could sure use a good manager to run this ranch. Do you know anyone that can run a whole business, like maybe a huge resort that might be interested in the job?”
Rachel had no idea that her dad wanted her to run the ranch with him. “Dad, I can't believe you are asking me this. I would love to, but I can't right now. I have some stuff that I have to take care of back in Aspen. Hopefully I can get that all taken care of in a few months and then I would love to move back here.
Sue’s face could have lit up the whole room. Happy didn't come close to the way she felt at that very moment. She would do anything to have her daughter back home. “What do you have to take care of?”
Rachel nearly choked on her iced tea. “What? Oh, I just need to give a notice at work. Help train somebody. That could take a few months. Then pack everything that I own and move it here. It might take me some time to get things in order, but I will work on it as quickly as I can.”
After they all finished eating, Rachel went to take a long hot bubble bath. She filled the tub to the top, and then sank down in the steaming hot water. She felt so relaxed for a few minutes. She laid there in the tub, and before she realized what she was doing, her hand reached up and fell on her breast. She couldn't help but touch it, but when she did the tears came flooding from her eyes. The doctors had found the lump in a routine exam. They told her that it may be nothing but they would have to run some blood tests and CT scans. If that didn't give them the results that they wanted then she would have to have a biopsy. Rachel laid there in the bath tub crying until her water went cold on her. She didn't know how long she had been in there but she knew she didn't want to get out.
After what seemed like hours, Rachel got out of the bath tub and dried off. She stood there looking at herself in the mirror for a few minutes before getting dressed. How could somebody as healthy as she had always been be sick now? It didn't make sense, and it didn't seem fair. Was she being punished for something? That was all that she ever thought to herself. She got dressed and crawled into bed. Maybe thinking about spending time with Kyle would help take her mind off things.
Then next morning Rachel woke up to the smell of bacon cooking. She had truly missed being with her family. She usually grabbed something quick and easy for breakfast. It had been a while since she had a nice home cooked meal like the one she smelled downstairs. She threw her robe on and headed down the stairs. When she made it to the bottom she saw Kyle sitting at the table. She turned around and ran back up the stairs as fast as she could. She couldn't let him see her like that. She had to make herself beautiful. She ran over to the dresser and started combing her hair and putting some make up on. She grabbed a red t- shirt and some blue jeans to wear. When she finished getting dressed she walked slowly downstairs. She walked into the kitchen to find only her mother there. Her father and Kyle had already left to get started on the ranch work.
“Didn't I hear voices down here a few minutes ago?” Rachel asked as if she hadn't seen Kyle sitting there.
“Yes, you did. Your father and Kyle already went out to the back field to gather the cattle for tonight’s sale. They will be gone for most of the day. I'm sorry that you missed them.” her mother told her.
“It's no big deal. I was just wondering.” Rachel said as she acted like she wasn't really interested. “I think I'll go into town today and do some sight-seeing. It's been a while since I've been home.”
“That sounds like a great idea, dear.” Sue was glad to see her daughter thinking of it more like home. She had wanted her to move back for many years now.
Rachel spent the whole day in town going from store to store looking around. She went into the music store and spent hours in there. She remembered going there with Bobby many times. It had a new owner now, but everything looked the same. Rachel picked up a couple of CDs to buy. After she left the music store she went into a small general store. The first thing that grabbed her attention was a pink ribbon pin for sale for one dollar to help promote breast cancer awareness. It seemed like she noticed more things like that now then she ever had. Rachel walked past the pin without picking it up. She didn't need any reminders telling her that she could have cancer. It was scary enough thinking about it on her own and knowing that she was going through it alone. Rachel couldn't tell her parents they could lose the only child they had left. She spent the rest of the day in town and then she headed back home. Rachel wanted to say goodbye to her parents before they left for their three day trip. They had asked her if she wanted to go with them, but she didn't want to leave the ranch. It had been too long since she had been back there. Rachel didn't want to think about leaving. She only had six weeks before she had to go back home for her doctor visit. That's when she would get the results to the CT scan and blood work. She didn't understand why the doctors couldn't get the results before the holidays, but they said the lab was overloaded with work and they were way behind. She didn't like it, but she understood.
She pulled into the driveway and saw the cattle trailer hooked up to the back of her father’s truck. She had made it just in time to say goodbye before they left. Rachel walked in and found her mother in the kitchen making notes. “What are you doing mom?”
“I'm making you a list of pies, cakes, and breads that I would like you to make for me while I'm gone. I'll be delivering them to the church when I get back. They are making baskets for needy families.” Sue told her as she handed her the list.
“Wow Mom. You have enough stuff on this list to feed the whole state. I'll be busy all night and tomorrow too.” Rachel pretended to be angry, but the whole time she loved every minute of it. She hadn't done any baking in years. She used to love making things with her mom. It was going to be fun being in the kitchen all weekend. She walked over and gave her mom a hug. “I love you. Have a good trip”
“We will. You have a good weekend too.” Sue hugged her daughter and then turned and walked out to the truck.
Rachel went back into the kitchen to try to figure out what she wanted to fix for dinner that night. She wanted it to be perfect for Kyle. She put some chicken breasts in the oven to cook. Then she peeled some potatoes to make mashed potatoes. She cut one of her mom's fresh loaves of bread and put some butter on the table. Rachel had everything almost finished when she heard Kyle pull in. She ran upstairs quickly to spray her favorite perfume on before he walked in. She double checked her hair in the mirror and then walked back to the kitchen.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Guest Blogger: Cassandra Carr

            On Display
          Cassandra Carr

Hunter wants Olivia, and the feeling is mutual. She decides to take her secret attraction public and show up at the club where he’s bouncing, ready to lay everything on the line to snag him. Hunter can’t believe his luck, and soon makes his own move on the woman he’s lusted after for months. Things heat up between them during an exciting—and exhibitionist—evening that leaves them both anticipating more sexy times to come.
An Exotika® contemporary erotica story from Ellora’s Cave

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An Excerpt From: ON DISPLAY
Copyright © CASSANDRA CARR, 2013
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

                                *****Disclaimer****(Please excuse any formatting issues that this blog post has done to the excerpt. It does not represent in any way how the actual book will look.)

Shit, where did he go?
“Nice dancing.”
Olivia jumped and a large hand shot out to steady her with a solid grip to her waist. She looked up. Hunter. “You scared me.”
“I see that.” He tilted his head. “You look flushed. You okay?”
“Yeah. I just get hot when I dance.”
“You were hot before that.” A shocked expression flitted over his face before he looked down and coughed. Olivia had to fight a laugh.
Well, at least it’s more evidence he’s interested.
He shifted his weight, crossing his arms over his chest, and she had to suppress the urge to drool. The man was beautiful. There was no other way to describe him. Olivia loved his hair. It was thick and wavy and when it was down it hung to his shoulders. His face was angular as if he had some Native American ancestry and his chocolate-brown eyes could be either intense or full of mirth, depending on his mood. She’d spent more than one night with her Hitachi Magic Wand, imagining his full lips skating over her heated skin.
That same skin was definitely warm now. If she’d thought dancing had made her sweat, this was torture. How was a woman expected to just sit there and let hotness like Hunter go unexplored?
“Do you, um,” Hunter gestured toward the back of the club, “want to get some air?” Her eyebrows drew down. There was no exit that way. Clearing his throat and sending her a smile, he continued. “There’s a patio no one uses on a night like tonight when it’s so freaking hot. It was a smoking patio, now Vince uses it for private parties and stuff.” Hunter looked away and then back at her. He was babbling. It was adorable and sexy all at the same time.
“Sure, that sounds good. Can’t be any hotter than it is in here.”
He laughed. Dimples. I’m a dead woman. “Yeah, it’s like an oven, isn’t it? The air-conditioning is no match for all the people.”
She attempted to hop off her barstool without flashing him and realized he’d never let her waist go. His other hand joined in the act and he brought her gracefully to the floor. “Thanks.” He was dangerously close and Olivia hoped like hell she’d have the courage to make it known how much she wanted him. Maybe he’d make it unnecessary.
He placed a hand on her back right above the swell of her ass and guided her through the crowd and toward a dimly lit hallway. As Hunter leaned in, his breath fanned over her ear. Olivia shivered. “We don’t keep the lights on anymore. It discourages people from coming back here now that there’s nowhere for them to go.”
Olivia nodded mutely and Hunter guided her farther into the recesses of the hallway until they came to a door, which he pushed open and held for her.
She took a few seconds to assess her surroundings. “Wow, this is really nice.”
He closed the door behind them. “Yeah, now that the smoke smell is finally getting better and Vince added some crap customers like, it’s not bad.”
Her hand shot up to cover her mouth after a laugh tumbled out. Hunter grinned and those dimples made another appearance. “I’m sorry.”
“About what? Laughing at me?”
“I’m not laughing at you. I’m laughing at your description of this area. ‘Crap customers like’?”
“You know what I mean.” He gestured to the various potted plants scattered throughout the area and the grill in the corner. “Customers love the trees with the little white lights, no matter how boring and common they are now. And the grill? I don’t remember the last time that was used, except at our employee party about eight months ago.”
“Fair enough.”
He caressed her cheek. “You have no idea how gorgeous you look in the moonlight.”
She shook her head with a chuckle. “That’s quite a line.”
“Not a line. The truth.” Before she could comment further, he’d moved his hand to the back of her neck and brought her face to his. “I need to kiss you.”
Their lips met and Olivia moaned. As if that was the sign he was looking for, Hunter snaked his other arm around her waist and pulled her flush against him, sliding a thick thigh between her legs as he deepened the kiss. His tongue demanded entrance to her mouth, and with a sigh, she opened to him. Hunter wasted no time, pushing inside and exploring her depths. Her tongue chased his when he retreated and he groaned.
Even if they went no further she’d have fodder for hundreds of nights of fantasies. Oh, could the man kiss. He put his entire body into it, slowly stoking the fire inside her. Finally they came up for air, both panting.
He leaned back a little more and fixed a heated stare on her. “I’m on break with about twenty minutes left. I need you.”
She couldn’t deny him. Hell, she didn’t want to. “Then take me.”

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Guest Blogger: Nancy Wood

This is my first published book! It’s called Due Date. It’s a thriller about a surrogate mother, Shelby McDougall. Shelby is a reluctant, amateur, and very pregnant sleuth. Here’s the book jacket:
Surrogate mother Shelby McDougall just fell for the biggest con of all—a scam that risks her life and the lives of her unborn twins.

Twenty-three year-old Shelby McDougall is facing a mountain of student debt and a memory she’d just as soon forget. A Rolling Stone ad for a surrogate mother offers her a way to erase the loans and right her karmic place in the cosmos. Within a month, she's signed a contract, relocated to Santa Cruz, California, and started fertility treatments.

But intended parents Jackson and Diane Entwistle have their own agenda—one that has nothing to do with diapers and lullabies. With her due date looming, and the clues piling up, Shelby must save herself and her twins. As she uses her wits to survive, Shelby learns the real meaning of the word “family.”

What can we expect from you in the future?
I am working on the second book in the Shelby McDougall series. In this book, the story picks up where Due Date left off. The working title is Stalking the Stork.

Why did you decide to write a mystery/thriller?
I’ve been writing for a number of years and have a variety of unpublished novels under my belt, including one that explores the relationship between a birth mother and the adoptive family. I took this manuscript to a workshop, where the leader and participants suggested I turn it into a much more marketable genre: a mystery. At first, the suggestion seemed so ludicrous, I almost laughed out loud: how could I possibly piece together a mystery or thriller that made sense? But by the time I left the conference, I had a 200 word pitch for Due Date that I pretty much stuck to the whole time I was writing it.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
In Due Date, there’s not a lot of my personality or life experiences. I did place the book in Santa Cruz County, where I live, which provides an amazing variety of landscapes to use as settings.

Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
It took my five years of stops and starts to write Due Date. I just finished with the first draft of the second book in the series. I am working hard on it, and will get the second draft finished this fall. At this point, I’ll send it out for review to my editor and readers, and will do one more rewrite after that.

What's your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?
Every morning, before breakfast, and before other family members get up, I’m at the keyboard. I try to write for an hour first thing, every day. I sometimes sit on the sofa with my laptop, lately I’ve taken to writing in my office. The window looks out on the huge palm tree in our front yard (yes here in Santa Cruz in Central California, there are palms), and I can watch the day begin. On good writing days, I’m reluctant to switch computers (I have two – one for writing, one for work as a technical writer/editor) and start on whatever technical documentation is at hand. On bad writing days, I’m so thankful I can get
to something that’s structured and known and knowable!

What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
I like to walk and talk with friends, watch baseball (I root for the Giants, my husband roots for the As!), exercise, bike ride, motorcycle ride, hang out with family and friends. Between work and writing, I spend a lot of time at the computer, so when I get a breather, I like to get outside.

What kind of research do you do?
For Due Date, I did a lot of research on surrogacy, adoption, guns (which I knew nothing about), and medical issues around pregnancy.

Please tell us about yourself (family, hobbies, education, etc.)
I’m married—my husband and I just celebrated our 25th anniversary. I have two wonderful children, one of whom is a young adult, the other a high school senior. I graduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, a long time ago. I grew up on the east coast (Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland), and am now proud to call Santa Cruz, California my home.

Do you ever ask your husband for advice?
I do. I ask my husband about plot ideas. He came up with the twist that is the focal point of Stalking the Stork. He had a great idea for Due Date that involved a skeleton and a femur, but I couldn’t figure out how to work it in!

Where do you see yourself in five years?
In terms of writing, my goal in five years is to have the second and third books in the Shelby McDougall series out and in the hands of readers.

Do you have a favorite author?
I have many favorite authors. Laurie King, Tana French, Cornelia Read, Gillian Flynn, Sue Grafton are a few authors I love to read. All of these authors created memorable, compelling protagonists and developed engaging plots. Most importantly, the writing sparkles. By reading these authors, I learned that the thriller or mystery genre can go wherever the author wants to take it.

Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
Keep writing! Just keep plugging away – your writing will improve, your words and sentences will flow. And keep reading in your favorite genre. I truly believe this helps your writing.

How do we find out about you and your books?
Check out the following links:
Website: http://www.nancywood-books.com
Blog: http://www.nancywood-books.com/blog.html
Twitter: @NancyWoodAuthor Facebook: www.facebook.com/NancyWoodAuthor

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Guest Blogger: Kat Mellon

Kat Mellon

Blurb: Who owns what you create?
Creation is a provocative exploration of what it means to be free. Set in a dystopian future where creativity is exclusively harnessed for the greater good, two artistically talented individuals remind us all never to take for granted the product of our own work and imagination.

Creation is inspired by Ayn Rand’s Anthem and Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go.


 Beautiful. Just beautiful, Jess, says Janet. Shes one of the Dancers. Were required to watch other
Talents performances or observe their works for inspiration, so she and I became fast friends. Due to the
organization of our leisure room, I am acquainted with many Creators whose names begin with J. Just what
I needed. Youve taken such a turn from your last work. What a fantastical land you describe. I could dream
up a ballet on the city alone.

Janet is right. A City of Twine is my best work, but only because I did much pleading to be able to use the concept. I was supposed to be Creating on the subject of Churches, but the idea of a Citya thing almost taboo in naturewas just too alluring. I asked the Head of Focus, and he approved on the condition that Wessely was to paint the city I envisioned. Of course Wes said yes, so I got my writing Slab and began the inspiration process. I was allowed to look through all of the old manuscripts with the Old Artists projections of what a city might look like. It was thrilling.

You should, I say. If the HOF approves, you could work with Kelly the Designer and Tim the Setter.
Wouldnt that be lovely?

Oh, of course! she says. That would be utterly Creative. Jess, youre a shining star as always.

I smile.

Stars sound so precious, I say. Its a shame they dont exist. Can you picture what life would be like with the things weve Created?

Like the permanent skin artwork, she giggles. Wessely would do a fine job. Did Turner say if it would hurt, or no?

It would hurt, I say, because it uses sharp objects called needles to put the ink under the skin.

How perfectly horrible, she says. She clutches at her sides and makes a face. Why would he dream up
such an awful thing?

Im not sure, I admit. Janet twists her light blonde hair into a bun and knots it on the top of her head. A
world without pain is a dull one. You know that.

Quite, she says as she pulls off her ballet shoes and points at her bruised and calloused feet. But its
worth it for Creativity. James did a portrait of my feet, did you know that? Just like this. It was wild. It has
never been done before. The HOF was pleased and gave him an extension on the mountain moving piece.

Oh, that mountain moving piece again. Shes gone on for days about it; how striking and innovative the idea is of having one madeup Creation move another madeup Creation.

I often wish mountains were real. A character of an earlier manuscript climbed up a mountain, one that was terribly steep. I hadnt a solution to make the mountain any easier to climb, so the character never reached his destination. The idea of taking those things Steven paintedhe calls them machinesand using them to modify such a huge mound of Creation seems quite absurd, now that Ive been corrected. The HOF subdues the complexity of our Creations if our ideas get too out of the ordinary, such as when I wanted to split the mountain in half with a contraption called a saw. Some sort of sharp tool or whatnot. Apparently, Tylers idea of a saw was much too small to cut something so large down the middle, and by that time I had already devised an alternate solution.

Will you and James have supper with Wessely and me tonight? I ask. I notice the two of you have sat
yourselves off alone lately. Collaborating on something?

Oh, no, she says with a laugh. We just enjoy our alone time with one another. Its hard to have a personal conversation when the rest of the Creators are around, you know? Funnily enough, I plan to coordinate a ballet with segments of silence. Id like that. Silence. Time to just listen and dance and twirl without the voices of hundreds in your head.

She stands up and raises her arms in the air, then spins and smiles at the roof, her slightly crooked teeth
exposed. It makes me think of something Id seen during one of my viewings. Someone came up with the
idea that if small metal squares were glued to ones teeth and were connected by a metal wire, the teeth
could be straightened. It was ingenious, and although we know nothing of the Technical realm, the concept seems like it should be real. Braces, thats what they are.


Kat asks that you post the following HTML in your posts. She has a separate contest running. Thank you.
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P.S. Kat is hosting a contest for Creation! Learn more about it by clicking the image below.

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Author’s Bio:
Kat is a young author living in Fort Collins, CO. She graduated cum laude from the University of New Mexico with a BA in English at age nineteen and is a master of procrastination and pizza eating. She will soon query agents with her biggest and baddest novel, Flowers When You're Dead.