Monday, 1 December 2014

Meet The Gang - Posse Loco

Reading The Dead: Street Savior, the third book of the series, pits the LAPD Violent Crimes Unit in direct conflict with two deadly street gangs fighting for control of South L.A.

After Vera Mendez and her El Loco Serpientes gang almost caused the two major street gangs in the city to destroy one another, an uneasy alliance was formed between Leon King, leader of the Rollin' 99ers, and Enrique Salazar, cartel boss in charge of East L.A.'s Hispanic Posse Loco. The peace didn't last long. On the pretext of a meet to discuss the terms of their treaty, Salazar ordered a hit on the 99ers in attendance, including King. Several of King's lieutenants died in the slaughter. He escaped, and the gang war started in earnest from that moment on.

Carrying on the fight against the Rollin' 99ers are the two leaders of Posse Loco: A-K, appointed to the top position by Salazar because of his brutality and loyalty to the cartel, and Delmar Rivera (aka. Caballo) who earned his rank despite his former position as Vera Mendez's second-in-command. Their campaign of violence against the 99ers results in major loss of life, not only between the gangs but also among innocents. Not even the police can stem the tide of blood washing over the streets of East and South Los Angeles.

After five years of fighting for control of the illegal activities tearing their neighborhoods apart, the war has reached an impasse. The 99ers and Locos find themselves caught in a vicious cycle of attack and retaliation that is costing both gangs dearly, but ultimately brings neither side no closer to victory. 

Seeking revenge against the former gang leader, Salazar fails to execute Vera Mendez in prison. Years later, her escape threatens to tip the balance of power in favor of the 99ers. For the first time, Leon King has the means at his disposal to strike a significant blow against Posse Loco, forcing his sworn enemy, Enrique Salazar, back into the country for a shot at personal revenge. With Salazar and Mendez plotting to destroy their enemies in order to fulfill their own agendas, the long war between the Locos and 99ers can only end in bloodshed.

Who will survive? Find out as Reading The Dead: Street Savior nears completion for 2016.






Monday, 3 November 2014

Meet The Gang - The Rollin' 99ers

In the upcoming third volume of the series, Reading the Dead: Street Savior, not even the holiday season can prevent the bloody escalation of street violence in Los Angeles. At the forefront of the battle are the Rollin' 99ers, the African/American gang who dominates South Central L.A.

The 99ers consist primarily of young neighborhood recruits willing to do whatever it takes to survive the hardships of poverty. They heed only a single rule: loyalty to gang and family are not only absolute, but one in the same. The 99ers consider themselves a family to their gang brothers, and revere their leader, Leon King, as the father figure who gives their lives purpose. Their unquestioning devotion to the crew makes them a formidable power on the streets and a respected adversary to their enemies.

For years, the 99ers were locked in a deadly stalemate for control of the streets. It was a war with no victors, only casualties. King's hopes of finding a way to end the bitter struggle against the East L.A. gang called Posse Loco may soon be realized, following an unexpected prison break of rival gang leader, Vera Mendez. In an uneasy alliance with the unstable woman, they agree upon a plan to force the LAPD into taking down Posse Loco for them. All King and Mendez need is to kidnap a detective from Violent Crimes... and to not kill each other before their mad scheme bears fruit.

Meet Leon King, gang boss of the Rollin' 99ers. For more on his story and other exciting previews, keep checking back as Reading The Dead: Street Savior nears completion for 2016. 







Sunday, 19 October 2014

Meet The Gang - El Loco Serpientes

As fans of Reading The Dead already know, the third book of the series finds the Violent Crimes Unit team in the middle of an escalating gang war. Since the brutal truth of Los Angeles' street gangs are disturbing enough in their own right, I've made every effort to fictionalize the details of the most infamous groups, while hopefully remaining true to their essence. In this, the first of a number of such previews, I will be introducing readers to the often violent world of the gangs that vie for control of the city streets within the pages of Reading The Dead: Street Savior.

In the book, East Los Angeles is home to Posse Loco, one of the largest Hispanic street gangs on the west coast. Their numbers include Mexicans and Central and South American immigrants. Funded by drug cartels in Mexico and Columbia, the gang is involved in a range of street crime, including gun trafficking, narcotics, extortion, robbery, and homicide.

Five years before, an undercover operation managed to stop a significant threat to public safety. Vera Mendez, the twisted, sadistic, power-hungry leader of a Posse Loco splinter group called El Loco Serpientes, almost succeeded in engineering a war against their South Los Angeles rivals, the Rollin' 99ers. In the end, her own gang rebelled against her, turning her into a wanted woman by the LAPD and both gangs involved in the tension. 

In a major police bust, Mendez was arrested on numerous charges, including consecutive life sentences for murder. Many of the men who followed her orders, including her lieutenant and lover, Delmar Perez Rivera (aka. Caballo) were quickly released. The police let most of these small fish go. They caught the only one who mattered.

Without Mendez in charge, El Loco Serpientes quickly disbanded. Its members were absorbed into Posse Loco. Though war was averted, the fuse she lit continued to burn between the gangs during her exile behind bars. Hostility between the Locos and the 99ers grew. Caballo, whose loyalty once stood in doubt among the leaders of Posse Loco, proved his worth time and again in his service for the Locos. During the incarceration of his former girlfriend, he clawed his way up the hierarchy of the organization to become the second-highest ranking member of the gang. Though he earned the trust of his gang brothers, the cartel bosses continued to harbor doubts about his loyalty. It was never clear whether his heart was with the Locos, or the woman who once shared his bed.

It would take five years before an escape opportunity presented itself to Vera Mendez. Though nothing remained of the gang she once ran, her dreams of power and control persisted. Her return to Delmar's side would spark the powder keg on the already volatile situation heating up the streets. In their final, bloody battle for retribution, nobody was apt to escape unscathed, not even Sarah Milton and her friends.

Meet Vera Mendez and Delmar Rivera, the powers behind El Loco Serpientes. For more on their story and other exciting previews, keep checking back as Reading The Dead: Street Savior nears completion for 2016.




Sunday, 28 September 2014

Thriller of the Month



Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles was selected as e-thriller.com's "Thriller of the Month" for October 2014!

"This is for a crime thriller reader who likes full characters, and contemplation of the psychological dimensions of the dark … certainly it’s powerful."

Check out the other thrillers on their roster at http://www.e-thriller.com

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Waiting For Mr./Mrs. Goodbuy

When we bought our home, there was no question that it was a "fixer-upper." It needed new siding, new windows, new flooring, eavestroughing, a new back deck, a paved driveway, landscaping, and more. The old home was in a bad state, thanks to years of disrepair. We bought it anyway.

That's why I find it so strange that a whole generation of young home buyers, weaned on HGTV shows that preach the joys of home renovating, are so quick to dismiss a deal based on the effort of having to make cosmetic changes to suit their personal tastes. I always assumed that part of the fun in buying a home was to add your style to the mix of past owners, to create something unique and indicative of your personality. If things like an out-of-the-box dream kitchen is a prerequisite to attract buyers these days, perhaps they should be moving into one of the demos at their local Home Depot store.

Has negotiating become such a lost art that buyers will no longer entertain the notion of using the cost of home customization as a sticking point to help lower the selling price of the home? Buyers, just so you know, there isn't a home seller out there who expects to receive their original asking price. We'd rather haggle than miss out on a sale.

Real estate is a buyer's market. They have all the opportunities in the world to keep searching for their dream home with the perfect combination of style, location, size, and price to fit their needs. Having been there myself once, I know how stressful it can be to hunt for needles in haystacks. 

However, on behalf of every home seller trying to get on with their lives, let me just say this: don't be so quick to overlook the rough that you miss the diamond. If everything in life was perfect, what's the point of living?


Thursday, 7 August 2014

Street Savior First Draft Screenplay Finished!

It was a long time in the making, but the screenplay that constitutes the first draft of my upcoming book, Reading The Dead: Street Savior is now officially complete! All of the plot elements leading into the next book, the character development, and the dialogue are ready to go! The next step is to write my second draft, the actual book based on this scripted version. Believe it or not, the hard part's over!

The story that I began in January 2013, briefly sidetracked by life issues and work on a separate novella, can now move forward with my personal stamp of approval. Things are about to change in a big, big way for Sarah Milton and friends, starting here! When I wrote the first screenplay that kickstarted this book series in 2011, it was geared for a 120-minute film. Book two more than doubled that to 283 scripted pages. Now, this latest outing is raising the bar once more, clocking in at 586 pages. I guesstimate that will put the finished book somewhere in the vicinity of 700-800 pages of cover-to-cover fun and explosive entertainment. This is undoubtedly the most exciting outing of the series yet, and starts the countdown for the breathtaking final moments of The Sarah Milton Chronicles.

Reading The Dead: Street Savior introduces a whole cast of new, interesting characters into the "lives" of Sarah Milton and Anna Nigma, as well as bringing back familiar and not-so-familiar faces in a big way.

Among the most colorful character of the bunch is our newest antagonist, Vera Mendez, a former street gang leader whose multiple personalities are a constant source of trouble for those close to her.

For your reading enjoyment, I'm providing the opening minutes of the screenplay. A pair of mysterious twins brutally break Vera out of a prison convoy, releasing chaos onto the streets of an unsuspecting city. Read all about her escape now, well before the book is released, by downloading the script teaser in PDF form here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/379c6l0ie876aow/screenplay_preview.pdf

Be sure to keep checking back for more news and information about this thrilling installment in the Reading The Dead series. 


Thursday, 31 July 2014

Cleaning Out The Family Junkyard

I want you to do something, right now. Stand up and look around you. Take in everything that you see and really ask yourself, "Do I absolutely need all of this crap in my life?" If aliens arrived tomorrow and told you to take a handful of things with you before they evacuate mankind from the planet, would anything you see be among your treasured items?

If you're like me, you'll find yourself amazed at how much stuff you have cluttering up your home. Most things that you thought you couldn't do without when they were sitting on the store shelf, all new, sparkling and luring you in by the wallet, now seem more like expensive dust collectors, once their luster wears off.

For almost two weeks, we've been swamping out our three bedroom homestead in the transition to our new lives as apartment dwellers. We're taking only the bare essentials to fill a few rooms and jettisoning the rest. The experience has proven to be a real eye-opener into our family's habit of junk hoarding.

Thankfully, we have plenty of relatives in possession of a whole fleet of trucks, who are both willing and able to collect our old furnishings for their household junkyards. Additionally, we're probably responsible for choking curbside garbage pickups with the sheer volume of our trash, despite the lessening of their burdens by scavenging passersby. If the city had an inkling of the forest of plastic bags filling my shed at the moment, waiting on the availability of a truck so I can transport them to the dump myself, I'd probably be slapped with enough citations to see me moving into the poorhouse.

Since we started The Great Purge, I've grown accustomed to beginning my mornings with a cup of coffee and a trip to the local charity with carloads of bric-a-brac, clothing, doo-hickeys, and what-not. This was the first morning in days that didn't require an excursion to the donation door of the nearby thrift store. My schedule was so out of whack that I almost forgot to make coffee also.

Between our efforts and the occasional good Samaritan dropping by in response to my online notices of free furniture giveaways, you'd think that not even a shed full of garbage bags and clutter would be enough to block out the light at the end of this tunnel that we've been systematically polishing clean for days. Not so! Despite achieving near-Spartan levels in our remaining decor, our junk detectors are now firmly stuck on on overkill. Sometimes it seems that only a cleansing fire to the gods could provide the means to escape the web of junk in which we find ourselves trapped.

If you're still reading this, you really should stop and begin tossing out those non-essential things within reach, before the garbage begins to multiply exponentially. It creeps up on you before you know it, until one day you're standing in a deep valley, surrounded by mountains of trash bags, and wondering what you were thinking when you dragged all of this useless stuff into your life.

We're looking forward to the day when we can settle into our much smaller apartment, occupied only with those things that made the final cut. I wonder how long it'll be, before the urge to splurge on something new and shiny to help fill this space overwhelms us. After the monumental effort it took to reach this plateau, I'm hopeful that we can at least last a week.

---

Not that you asked for it, but here's some of the highlights of my exploration into our family's twisted treasure trove:

- Seventeen handsaws with varying degrees of rust on the blade. Because one rusty saw just won't suffice!

- Five broken watch straps. I guess we must have been thinking we could somehow connect them and make a belt or something.

- Enough batteries to power three city blocks for a month, if any of them actually worked.

- Nails... NAILS! My God! I'll have nightmares of nails of all sizes chasing me for the rest of my life!

- Power cords and adapter thingies for appliances that were off the market before I was out of diapers.

- A 50-ton kerosene heater, still in the original garbage bag that we wrapped it in when we dragged it over from the last place we lived. I'm gonna miss that!

- Old TV's and old stereos, every one five sizes too big and twenty times heavier than a walrus... and for some strange reason all of them stored downstairs.

- Paint. Cans and cans of it! I'm thinking about painting my car and calling it motion art.


Saturday, 26 July 2014

Goodreads vs. Spammers, Indie Authors and Readers Both Lose

Recently, Goodreads has issued an ultimatum to authors spamming their books in various groups throughout the site. Group moderators are being advised that their approval is required for all self-promotional postings. Any author not playing by the rules will have their thread deleted.

Though this is undoubtedly welcome news to anyone irritated by "author flies" buzzing their book praises in the ears of readers trying to conduct a discussion of an unrelated topic, it could present yet another hurdle to indie authors trying to make legitimate connections with readers, on what was formerly the last (semi) indie author-friendly site on the web.

Personally, I'm torn about the news. Nobody likes spammers, not even other authors. However, I'm worried that the line in the sand that Goodreads has drawn does leave some wiggle room for individual interpretation about what exactly constitutes "self-promotion." I now find myself worried about posting anything on Goodreads. I'm afraid about there being too fine a line between self-promotion and innocently mentioning something about your book during a conversation, or replying to genuine interest about your book from another poster.

Goodreads, should writers not respond to questions about their own books in a public thread? If a reader says they're interested in a book and wants to know where to buy it, should the writer wait and hope that someone else responds to the question, potentially losing a valued reader when that never happens? How much self-promotion is too much? Does the act of mentioning that you wrote something mean instant ostracization on your site now? Perhaps Amazon would be happier if all indie authors only promoted those books on their best sellers list. Is that what you're hoping to achieve?

Spamming should be abolished and penalizing offenders is one way to go about it. On the other hand, as enjoyable as it is to spend hours talking about everyday things with readers, writers do need to manage their time carefully to be successful. Writing and marketing are the two big concerns for every author. 

If Goodreads is worried about authors forcing their titles on people, perhaps they should instead provide an unbiased system to allow readers to find what they want in a book, using a search tailored to their individual interests. One that lists titles based on relevance, rather than popularity. Penalizing authors who lack the financial means to compete with publishing houses only helps the privileged few. 

It would be far more helpful to allow readers to discover the merits of a particular book, giving equal regard to the works of indie authors as well as tradpub best selling authors. In case you're thinking this sounds like science fiction, let me clarify: this is not a new concept. There are numerous music search engines that provide links to "similar artists." Some sites (I'll refrain from mentioning which, since I'm not on them) have already started this kind of service for books, but it's still very grassroots and their databases are far from complete. Most don't have nearly the volume of authors and books as, say, Goodreads and Amazon.

Any indie not on Amazon's best seller list knows the impossibility of ever climbing out of the bottom of the pile to build a meaningful readership. Most every book site out there, including Amazon, only pushes the top sellers and those authors with the expense account to buy some recognition, leaving tons of great books unread and innumerable talented authors unknown.

I've been on Goodreads for over a year, and as much as I would love the opportunity for any of my titles to be considered in any group's Book of the Month, I know better than to ask. I'm not traditionally published and don't have a multi-million dollar marketing machine to push my titles before their release, so competing against books that are already in the public consciousness is somewhat of a lost cause. Unfortunately, there are more unknown authors sharing this same boat than there are familiar names on the typical reader's lips. That connection with readers often never blossoms.

Spamming is an act of desperation by authors trying to be heard in an increasingly controlled market, designed to squash any book that doesn't immediately fly off the digital bookshelf. Given the chance, I'm sure most authors would prefer not to have to resort to such measures. It's not entirely their fault. When you're adrift on the ocean, alone, the natural instinct is always to scream for someone to find you.


Thursday, 17 July 2014

Job loss? No problemo!

It's been an eventful morning! I lost a job and gained a life...

It never dawned on me how much I hated working for Yorkville University until I got canned. Even the sky looks brighter! I have more time to write, to think, and to plan how I really want to spend the rest of my life. I have money in the bank and the computer skills to look into working for myself for the first time in over twenty years.

I know I should be worried or sad or something, but the more I think about being jobless and having to cut all of the dead weight that's holding me down financially, the happier I become. Does that sound weird?

Friday, 4 July 2014

Independence Day Weekend Free Book Deal!

READING THE DEAD - THE SARAH MILTON CHRONICLES


Now available for *FREE* during the Independence Day weekend!

Grab your copy of the first volume of this exciting, fun paranormal detective comedy/thriller series, before time runs out.

Quote coupon code "KP35T" on Smashwords to get yours now:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/386725



Friday, 13 June 2014

DEmotivational Posters

When seeing one more motivational picture makes you want to scream...








Thursday, 5 June 2014

The Songs of War

I would imagine most authors have a story that they wrote at some point in their careers that they don't really know what to do with. Here's mine.


THE SONGS OF WAR
by J.B. Cameron

Like all warriors of House Thonneviir, I hold no fear of death. I just find it irksome that I missed my chance to drag the corpse of the Earther Commander, Derek Sunderland, to the gates of Sturmlok with me. I die a good death. The stormpike in my midgullet and the silent dead surrounding me serve as proof. I know that I have no cause to bleat like a mewling kelwyna over what might have been. Yet as I breathe my last, gazing up at the invader's ships burning in the skies over K'turis, I pray that Gorimirr will pardon my weakness and grant me this final boon before I stand before Him in his crystal halls. Before I close my eyes at last, let my blades cross my enemy's in the life to be. Let us dance in blood for our very souls at the steps of the eternal fortress. I will offer the OldBlood his head as payment for my entry into their clanfast.

Our war with the Earthers is into its fifth glorious suntide, with casualties mounting on both sides. I'll leave it up to the chroniclers to say who drew first blood. All I cared about when it began was that my veshoon was sharpened and hungry to taste enemy flesh once again. Our campaign against the Telasi was so very long ago. As I grew soft in the teeth, I feared that I might never know a warrior's death before my time came.

Thanks be to the Earthers - pale-faced, ugly little clever things. Not our strongest foe, but certainly our most tenacious. Their knack of ripping victory from the jaws of defeat seemed to never end. Our warmasters probably never suspected that the day would come when we would see our skies filled with their primitive vessels, yet here we are.

I have sons still fighting. As I lay here like an old wumpus, my back broken and my lifeblood soaking into the cold ground, I wonder if any of them are piloting the H'kari fighters that are festooning the invading crafts with fire and smoke. Aardril, Pelagis, and Hurkm - good boys all, and proud fighters. They'll make excellent warmasters themselves one day. Assuming they survive this battle.

"Mad'eki Khumas, Oedgai Jorun," a voice sighs in my ear. "You yet live?"

My eyes focus with some effort on the sight of Kedlas Unsung, youngest boy of House Darvonl. He is still unnamed, and will so remain until he tastes first blood many suntides from now and proves himself worthy of his heritage. Like the others his age, he serves the war in other capacities. He's too young to be a scout, yet too old for a nest ward. I spot the symbol of the H'kiri, the patron of health and longevity, on his banditas, and know that he is here to rob me of my chance to share my tales of glory with the OldBlood.

"Mad'eki Khumor, Kedlas," I reply with a dry voice. "Keep your arts from my blade. I'll not have your youngling blood spoiling the treasure I've earned this day."

"You do not wish to be healed?"

I cracked a smile at the boy's foolishness. "I could not wish for a better day to die," I answer him earnestly.

"Very well. Shall I sit and keep watch for you?"

I nod. The pain and coldness running through my body tells me his vigil will be a short one.

"Look there," I croak, nodding towards the heavens.

The boy tilts his head and peers up with eyes still full of youthful wonder. The skies are awash with fire and the sights of Earther crafts dropping like mugslugs from a bandoole tree. Were it not for the metal pole stealing breath from my body, I would sing in celebration.

"That was once me up there. I can still remember the taste of hot metal as my H'kari cannons tore through the hulls of my enemies like a blade through fresh gurvak. I envy you, boy. To be sharpening your teeth fresh. You have so much fight left to look forward to."

"I am unsure..."

I gaze over at his troubled expression. The look does not belong on a face so young.

"Timal and Kedwyn," he moaned. "We have lost them already in this war with the Earthers. They died as warriors, yet I saw the tears shed by my madem, and wonder if that is truly enough."

"They defended the glory of your House."

"Their deaths only weakened our House. Without their blades to protect us, what are we now?"

"They will never die, child. The K'turi will sing of their victories until..."

"I don't want their songs. I want my brudhae. It was wrong of them to die so soon. They were supposed to teach me to be strong like them. Now I'm all that's left. When I die... when I..."

The boy buries his face into his arms and weeps. I avert my gaze to the sky. His tears cheapen the glorious deaths above. Out of respect for his House, I allow the indignity. He is but Unsung, after all. In time, he will learn better.

"Hear me, boy."

I wait patiently as his tears run their course and he presents his full attention.

"The OldBlood have set this course before us. To abandon it is to disgrace all that we are. To accept life in service to the OldBlood is to accept death into your hearts. Your brudhae knew this, and did their duty courageously. They now sit with the OldBlood in Gorimirr's great hall, in expectation of one day seeing us join them. Would you turn your back on your brudhae in favor of a coward's death in the pits of Vor?"

"No..."

"Look around you, boy. See the bodies of the slain seeping into this land. This is who we are. We are the kin of the OldBlood. Death has no sway upon us, as long as we keep a strong hand, sharp teeth, and steady hearts."

I nod to the skies. The child follows my gaze.

"No matter who our enemies are. No matter how crafty or powerful their armies may be. We fight to the last, because to do any less would make us less. It would make us like them. That is why you must remain strong, too."

Kedlas peers at me with moist, questioning eyes. He reminds me of my own sons.

"Your brudhae need you to carry their songs for them, so that you may one day sing them, along with your own, in the crystal halls of our ancestors. Save your tears for that happy moment when you join them again."

"Alhuak, Oedgai Jorun," the child replies solemnly with his head bowed. "My thanks."

"Now leave me, youngling. Go off in search of others whose song you may yet save. Mine comes to an end."

Kedlas rises to his feet, before his eyes land on something that causes his young face to pale in fear. I turn my head, ignoring the agony wracking my tired body. A groan alerts me to the fact that not all around me are as dead as they seem.

The Earther soldier struggles to regain his footing. He's likely tall for his kind, but his bearing is no greater than that of the dumbstruck child gaping next to me. Were I capable of moving, I could dispatch him easily. I despise the notion of simply lying here; waiting to die at my enemy's convenience, but there is nothing I can do about it. If that is Gorimirr's will, then it would seem that the ancestors are not without a sense of humor.

Then I hear another sound, a more familiar ring to my ears. It is the sound of the Ashoki, the ancient battle cry. From the days when the OldBlood laid waste to their enemies on the battlefield, its clarion call has ever roared at the apex of battle, resounding in the throats of the K'turi. It is the timeless cry to unite our spirits and chill the blood of our foes.

I never imagined that I would ever hear it coming from an Unsung.

The Earther jerks in fear, his dazed senses fighting to return. His hand flies to the gun at his hip. Wounded or not, it won't be long before he has his wits about him. When that happens, the field of glory will have a new soul to claim.

I look to Kedlas. The boy fights to summon the battle rage within him, but the Unsung hasn't the teeth for war. If I don't help him, he will surely die without ever finding his song.

"Quickly, boy!" I shout at him. "Pluck the spear from my body and attack! Remember the songs of your brudhae!"

He doesn't think about his actions. That is good. Perhaps this Unsung may yet prove his worth as a warrior. He howls in battle lust as he rushes to my side and yanks the protruding stormpike from my pierced corpse. My world fills with pain as I feel its sharp edge rip me anew.

This is a good death I feel welcoming me. My vision blurs to the sight of my people hammering the Earther ships above into slags of burning metal. The screams of battle and pain lull me to rest. I close my eyes. I will not open them again until they behold the gates of Sturmlok.

I wonder which of them will be following me: the Unsung or the Earther. Perhaps I will bide my time outside Gorimirr's realm to find out. My hopes are that the Unsung wins the day. Yet should he fail, I will be there to vouch for him to the OldBlood.

The boy may be Unsung, but he has teeth as sharp as any warrior I've known.

Friday, 23 May 2014

5 star review for Magpie & Jynx


The first review of Magpie & Jynx is now online! Thank you to Goodreads reader, Marsha, for her kind words, not only for the story but the Twin Cities Series as a whole. My fellow authors and I have endeavored to create a world full of exciting paranormal possibilities, and it's gratifying to know that it is making for an enjoyable read.

You can read the full version of Marsha's review here, on Goodreads:


Be sure to check out the other great books available in the Twin Cities Series! 

Friday, 16 May 2014

Indie Book of the Day


Reading The Dead: Fidelis In Aeternum has won Indie Book of the Day for May 16. That's pretty sweet! Thank you!


Sunday, 4 May 2014

MAGPIE & JYNX

The Twin Cities Series of urban fantasy adventures continues with this exciting action/adventure!

Half-shifter Maggie "Magpie" Bartlett and Jynx, her siren friend, expected trouble during their infiltration into a human/fae trafficking ring run by the yakuza, but they never imagined things would go so awry! Escaping the syndicate's compound in The Realms, a parallel dimension populated by the stuff of nightmares, becomes a life and death struggle against impossible odds. Their plans for a simple rescue mission turns into a fight for survival as they find themselves in the middle of a bloody war between vampires, werewolves, the yakuza, and a Japanese demon of boundless rage. Forced to put their trust in the unlikeliest of allies, the pair embark on a final scheme to escape the horrors closing in around them, culminating in an all-or-nothing dash for freedom.


The Twin Cities Series is a collaborative set of novellas written by a number of different authors including Drew Avera, J.B. Cameron, Kedrick Rue, & Theresa Snyder.  The people of Minnesota believe the twin cities to be Minneapolis and St. Paul, but what they don't realize is the name actually refers to a parallel dimension known as The Realms, where creatures of myth roam freely. Humans stand only a dimensional barrier away from the most terrifying and horrible monsters imaginable, but there are a select few who answer the cries for help, who guard the world of mankind and keep it safe from harm. The Realms can be a place of great danger, as well as great beauty, where love and loss can be sudden and significant, but make no mistake...in this world, humanity is just another word for powerless.

Amazon Kindle: 
US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K4FCU6S/
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00K4FCU6S/
CA: http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00K4FCU6S/

Kobobooks:
https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/magpie-jynx-the-twin-cities-series

Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/434965


Sunday, 27 April 2014

Magpie & Jynx Chapter Excerpt

Magpie & Jynx, the latest action/adventure tale from The Twin Cities Series of urban fantasy novellas, is coming soon! A special two-chapter excerpt is currently available on Wattpad at:

http://www.wattpad.com/47664539-magpie-%26-jynx-chapter-excerpt

Half-shifter Maggie "Magpie" Bartlett and Jynx, her siren friend, expected trouble during their infiltration into a human/fae trafficking ring run by the yakuza, but they never imagined things would go so awry! Escaping the syndicate's compound in The Realms, a parallel dimension populated by the stuff of nightmares, becomes a life and death struggle against impossible odds. Their plans for a simple rescue mission turns into a fight for survival as they find themselves in the middle of a bloody war between vampires, werewolves, the yakuza, and a Japanese demon of boundless rage. Forced to put their trust in the unlikeliest of allies, the pair embark on a final scheme to escape the horrors closing in around them, culminating in an all-or-nothing dash for freedom.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Magpie & Jynx Cover Reveal

With the final chapters of Magpie & Jynx now in development, I thought it was a good time to present this, the cover artwork for the latest addition to the Twin Cities Series. It's 40,000 words of action, adventure, and suspense as our heroines face off against magic, gangsters, Japanese demons, vampires, and werewolves, with hardly an opportunity to catch their breath. The excitement comes fast and furious as their mission to save a group of female captives from the clutches of an international trafficking ring becomes an all-out struggle for survival. 




Thursday, 10 April 2014

Magpie & Jynx Preview # 2

Jynx

Enthralled by the tales of foreign lands, the siren named Jynx left her island home with a passing traveler who promised to show her all the mysteries of The Realms. Once they arrived in the city, however, she quickly discovered that his real intentions for her were far less honorable. Though her human traveling companion was branded the property of a vampire in the outer lands, he sought to improve his standing under the service of a notorious vampire in the city. He offered the beautiful Jynx as tribute to his new lord and master.

The vampire wasn't pleased to discover that the human was already branded by another. He beheaded the mortal on the spot for his insolence. However, he also kept Jynx. Unlike her betraying companion, the fae's blood provided a narcotic effect in vampires, making her a valuable prize. Addicting her to street drugs from the mortal world as a means to keep her sedate and obedient also enhanced the kick he received from drinking her blood. Under his control, Jynx lost track of time as her life blurred by in a drug-induced haze, during which the vampire fed from her repeatedly.

It wasn't until Magpie freed her and the others among the vampire's chattel that she began to claw her way back to herself. Her new friend helped her dry out, during a long, painful process that lasted for months. At the end of her difficult road, with her drug addiction a persistent, but tiny voice in the back of her mind, she realized that rather than returning home, that part of her who once dreamed bigger still remained. She opted to stay with Magpie, and has helped in her quest to free others like her, from the worst that The Realms has to offer.



Magpie & Jynx is an upcoming urban fantasy action/adventure tale, part of the Twin Cities Series collection of novellas. For more information on this and other books in the series, visit the official blog page at http://twincitiesseries.blogspot.ca/.

This concludes our double preview. We hope you enjoyed it. Click here for a preview and bio of Magpie, the shape shifter who completes this amazing duo.


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Magpie & Jynx Preview # 1


Magpie

Maggie Bartlett, otherwise known as Magpie, is the daughter of a shape shifter and his human wife. Born in The Realms, where such unions are frowned upon, the vampire lord of her community sought to make an example of her family. He sent his minions to raze her family home and kill her parents. They chased the couple to the forbidden forests of the Elderwood, where her father sacrificed himself to save his pregnant wife and unborn daughter. When the elves of the forest discovered her, Maggie's mother was grievously wounded and almost dead. They nursed her back to health as best they could, but she never fully recovered. The strain of giving birth ultimately proved too great for her. Maggie was born an orphan, and brought up as one of the elvish in the high trees of their forest kingdom.

Despite the welcoming she received among their kind, her physical differences always set her apart. She discovered from an early age an affinity with the crows in the branches of their woodland home. It was through mimicking them that she discovered her shape shifting abilities. Lacking the powers of a full-blooded shifter, one who is able to transform into a variety of creatures, Maggie practiced constantly to improve her metamorphic abilities into the one and only animal whose shape she could sustain. In time, her mastery over her rook form allowed her to selectively augment her human shape with bird anatomy, providing her with abilities beyond other shifters and humans.

As her strength grew, so too did her thirst for revenge. Eventually, she returned to the land of her family's origins and put an end to the vampire who ordered the deaths of her parents. In the process, she discovered her true calling upon freeing the humans held imprisoned in his dungeon. Magpie knew from that moment that she would devote her life to saving the downtrodden from the clutches of evil. In a world surrounded by monsters, her dangerous quest seems never-ending...



Magpie & Jynx is an upcoming urban fantasy action/adventure tale, part of the Twin Cities Series collection of novellas. For more information on this and other books in the series, visit the official blog page at http://twincitiesseries.blogspot.ca/.

Be sure to check back soon for another preview, and a bio of Jynx, the beautiful siren who completes this amazing duo.



Wednesday, 19 March 2014

4 & 5 star triple review!


Cheryl Duval has kindly provided reviews for both books one and two of the Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles series, as well as the companion novella, Anna's Adventures, as part of the "Lovers of Paranormal" group's Read 2 Review program on Goodreads. Thank you very much for your kind words, Cheryl.

Her five star review of Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles is here:

For her four star review of Reading The Dead: Fidelis In Aeternum, click here:

You'll find her four star review of Anna's Adventures here:



Sunday, 16 March 2014

Twin Cities Series Author Interview

The Twin Cities Series has recently begun hosting a series of interviews featuring the authors responsible for crafting the tales of The Realms. This time around, it's my turn!

Stop by the Twin Cities Series blog for an interview with yours truly. I give up the goods on my latest offering in the series, the urban fantasy adventure, Magpie & Jynx, and even drop some tidbits on my next book...



Friday, 14 March 2014

4 star review for Reading The Dead

Leiah Cooper from So, I Read This Book Today just completed a great new four star review for Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles. It's a wonderfully written piece. Thank you, Leiah! 
 
Be sure to check it out, along with the other reviews on her website at:



Tuesday, 11 March 2014

About The Twin Cities Series


Fans of the paranormal now have a new place to call home. Nestled in a parallel dimension with secret portals spread all over the world, and especially concentrated around the bustling urban area of Minneapolis-St Paul, The Realms is home to every manner of nightmare you ever imagined. Ruled by the vampire lord, Raven, it's a city of contradictions, where remnants of the past coexist with a gothic, modern metropolis. Buried in the heavy shadows of a near-perpetual night, with secret paths that can either be a shortcut to your destination or your downfall, it's not a place to be traveled lightly.

The Realms and its inhabitants are brought to life in this series of low-priced, collaborative novellas, written by a number of different authors, whose backgrounds cross multiple genres, from romance to sci-fi to horror.

Drew Avera Simone Beaudelaire Theresa Snyder Thomas Manning J.B. Cameron

The people of Minnesota believe the twin cities to be Minneapolis and St. Paul, but what they don't realize is the name actually refers to a parallel dimension known as The Realms, where creatures of myth roam freely.

Humans stand only a dimensional barrier away from the most terrifying and horrible monsters imaginable, but there are a select few who answer the cries for help, who guard the world of mankind and keep it safe from harm.

The Realms can be a place of great danger, as well as great beauty, where love and loss can be sudden and significant, but make no mistake...in this world, humanity is just another word for powerless.

For our current and upcoming lineup of books in this series, visit the official Twin Cities Series pages on Facebook and Goodreads at:


 

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Twitter Free And Feeling Fine



In a move that was probably long overdue, I finally exorcised that abysmal time waster known as Twitter from my life. Thanks, Twitter, for your latest horrific revision to your website. Your desperate attempt to make yourself look more like Google+ provided me with the final push I've been needing, for the past several months.

After a year of effort tweeting and retweeting, with over 5,000 followers and 13,000 tweets, I can say with absolute certainty that Twitter provided no benefit whatsoever to the so-called "platform" that all writers are supposed to be cultivating. As far as providing meaningful connections with like-minded interested readers and writers, it served less purpose than Facebook and Goodreads groups. For that reason, my belated New Years resolution will be to spend my time engaging real people there, rather than "hooting" 140 characters at the world, on the off chance that someone might notice.

It's a real pleasure to finally be free of that squawking blue vulture! I'm looking forward to being able to talk to people again, without our voices being lost in a river of noise.


Saturday, 1 March 2014

5 star review for FIDELIS IN AETERNUM


READING THE DEAD: FIDELIS IN AETERNUM received its first review! Sending out my special thanks to Natalie from MadAboutBooks for her words of praise. Her glowing review may be read in its entirety here:

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Reading The Dead... Free For Reviews


If crime thrillers with a comedic and supernatural twist sounds like your thing, send me an email at jc8802@nb.sympatico.ca if you're interested in receiving free copies of the first and second books of READING THE DEAD - THE SARAH MILTON CHRONICLES, as well as a companion novella, in exchange for honest reviews on Goodreads and Amazon (and anywhere else you'd care to post).

Sorry, but I can't gift books from Canada. You must be able to receive Kindle .mobi or Kobo .epub versions by email.


This is on the honor system, so if you're not serious about providing a review for the books, please don't try to take advantage of my good nature, or I won't be providing such offers in the future...



Monday, 17 February 2014

...and now for something Completely Different!

Tips On Surviving The Zombie Apocalypse

by the writers of AMC's The Walking Dead*

*or some random guy who isn't affiliated with the show at all... 

 

1. Whenever possible, be sure to travel through dark, dense forests with the noisiest, most incapable individual on the planet. Give this person a loaded gun, saving only a pocket knife for yourself. This will come in handy for digging your own grave while your companion howls in fright and ineffectually empties their magazine into the air in the face of a zombie horde.

2. Collect as many babies as you can and carry them with you at all times. A crying baby is zombie kryptonite. If babies aren't available, then find a hair stylist who'll give you dreadlocks. This not only makes you invisible, but unlike covering yourself in dead guts, it's waterproof! And a baby with a dreadlock? You're golden!



3. Zombies got you pinned down? Don't have a molotov cocktail to throw at a wrecked car for a distraction? Try spraying some water in their faces. Zombies hate this more than cats do!





4. While foraging for supplies, be sure to stock up on all those little knicknacks that you'll find kicking around abandoned homes. Who needs weapons and ammo, when you can simply distract a zombie by tossing snowglobes at it?




5. Impressed with your ability to trap a live zombie in an enclosed space, without harming it in the slightest? Tag your victories with some butt-kicking, post-apocalyptic graffiti! But whatever you do, don't pick up those scissors and try to finish it off. Fooling those cunning dead people with your razor-sharp wits is half the battle!



6. Never trust anyone brave enough to fight for another's safety. Hanging around with them will only get you killed. Better to simply shoot them in the head first and put them out of their inevitable misery, or if that's too difficult, let a child do it for you. Most young people are refreshingly homicidal, once you take away their video games and cell phones.


7. Always, always, always... run backwards! Everyone knows that zombies can't get you, as long as you're looking them in the eyes.






8. Zombies have notoriously bad eyesight, no sense of smell, and really poor hearing. As long as you don't stick your neck, arm or leg anywhere near their mouths, you should be fine.





9. Always travel in a crowd. That way, the zombie horde that your noisy friends will invariably attract will become completely disoriented at the sight of everyone running off in different directions.




10. Learn how to use a crossbow, or any kind of Japanese weapon. You're pretty much just screwed if you don't. Don't question it.






Watch The Walking Dead on AMC for more invaluable tips on how to stay off the menu during the zombie apocalypse!


Saturday, 8 February 2014

Donate For Your Reading Pleasure!

Now's your chance to read for a good cause!

West Virginian author, Patrick J Russell, a staunch supported of indie artists and their crowdfunding campaigns, needs our support, after he was evicted from his home. 

Visit his fundraising cause now at http://www.gofundme.com/60q254 and among the many great items your donations will earn are one of five copies of the complete published set of Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles, a $9 value.

That's...
Book 1: Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles
Book 2: Reading The Dead: Fidelis In Aeternum
and the book 2 companion novella, Anna's Adventures

If you were planning on buying these books anyway, why not donate your money where it's needed the most?


Saturday, 1 February 2014

ANNA'S ADVENTURES

Companion novella to FIDELIS IN AETERNUM, the second volume of the Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles series, containing two standalone Anna Nigma adventures that's sure to please!

ANNA'S BRUSH WITH LIFE
As LAPD Officer Sarah Milton and her partners close in on the Fancy Dress Killer, none of them realize that a certain invisible hitchhiker is along for the ride. It's a good thing she is, because when the unpredictable Harry Sands gets the upper hand, the surprising intervention of Sarah's ghostly companion turns out to be her only chance for survival.

HAPPILY EVER AFTERLIFE
Sarah's back in Tilford to attend her father's wedding, and guess who's along for the fun? Unknown to the guests, a pair of would-be robbers have picked this moment to rob the house. The hapless bandits planned on everything, except facing off against the poltergeist queen of pranks.

Free preview on Instafreebie:
https://instafreebie.com/free/6c9WM


Amazon Kindle:

Kobobooks:

Smashwords:

READING THE DEAD: FIDELIS IN AETERNUM

The second volume of the Reading The Dead - The Sarah Milton Chronicles series.

A frantic phone call from the wife of her former partner plunges LAPD police detective Sarah Milton and her teenage poltergeist sidekick, Anna Nigma, into a deadly mystery involving one of their most dangerous foes, the convicted "Fancy Dress Killer," Harry Sands. The Violent Crimes Unit is in the hotseat to find the copycat serial killer responsible for a recent string of murders plaguing the city, leaving Sarah scrambling to understand the bizarre, otherworldly aspects to this latest murder spree.

Enemies from her past conspire with a new, even deadlier foe, in a thrilling adventure that threatens not only her life, but also the fate of those she holds dear, culminating in a supernatural showdown against an evil entity that ultimately tests the limits of her faith and courage.

Be sure to also read ANNA'S ADVENTURES, the companion novella to this book, featuring two standalone tales with the teenage poltergeist, Anna Nigma.

Free preview on Instafreebie:
https://instafreebie.com/free/sOQKr


Amazon Kindle:

Trade Paperback (includes "Anna's Adventures"):
Createspace: https://www.createspace.com/5454984
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/151187421X


Smashwords: