Guest Post: Shelly Crane


 

 

 

Ava has watched her parents, Caleb and Maggie, live the perfect
fairy tale, the perfect love story, played out in front of her eyes her entire
life. Her family is love, life, and happiness. The Jacobsons are everything a
family should be and Ava is loved and well taken care of. But the one thing
that’s missing from her life is the one thing she’s waited for every day, the
one thing her kind knows will make them complete, the one thing they thought
was gone and lost forever.
 
Her significant.
 
Seth has lived with the Watsons his entire life. They’re the
only family he knows, but he knows that there are things they keep from him. He
knows that they lie and they do unspeakable evil, things from when he was a
child that he can barely remember that cling to the edges of his memory. He
barely remembers his real mother and all he knows is what he’s told. He doesn’t
know what to trust. He wants to believe that the Watsons love and care for him,
have his best interest at heart, but isn’t so sure of that anymore when he
finally—after a lifetime of waiting for her—meets his soulmate, and the
Watson’s first act is to try to take her away from him.
 
The Virtuoso worlds collide, hearts are exposed, humans are
endangered, and the lives of Seth and Ava are changed forever. They’ll have to
love without judgment or reservation, they’ll have to be wise and accepting
beyond their years, they’ll have to forgive for things before they’ve even
happened, they’ll have to trust without seeing, have faith without knowing, and
they’ll have to light their own way in the dark when everyone else is blind to
show them the way. And more than anything else…
 
… they’ll fight like hell to keep each other.

 

 

 

When I entered the kitchen where the breakfast nook was, everyone
stopped eating and talking, which made me feel so uncomfortable until Seth
stood up so fast that his chair almost tipped over behind him.
He let his out in a slow, low noise before… “Wow.”
Mom chuckled and leaned back with a smile, clapping twice. “And
that, ladies and gentleman, is how it’s done.”
My neck was so pink I could feel it, and Seth—realizing he’d just
practically fallen at my feet in front of everyone—smiled that smile that tore
through me like tissue paper and then turned it on my mother. She sat up
straighter and looked at me with wide eyes.
‘I know’, I mouthed as I moved toward him.
“Eat, Ave,” Dad said, knowing what I was doing.
“I’m going to be late. And it’s the last day of school before
winter break.”
“Gee, I wonder why you’re late—” Rodney began. I punched his arm.
“I’ll just take this.” I grabbed a biscuit, stuck a piece of
sausage in it, and wrapped it in a napkin. “I’ll eat it,” I promised.
“I’ll make sure she eats,” Seth told them. Mom came and hugged
him, telling him something in his ear and he nodded. “Thanks, Mrs. Jacobson. I
will. I promise.”
Dad patted his shoulder and told him to make sure to stop by
anytime, no invitation needed. Dad went to the counter and started making me a
coffee in a to-go cup. I knew he was doing it, because I saw him pull the
Hazelnut creamer from the fridge. But I saw him pull out a second to-go cup…and
he made it black. How did he already know that Seth took his coffee black?!
“What is going on here?” I muttered under my breath.
Seth took both of the cups from my dad and guided me with an arm
around my back. “Thanks for the coffee and breakfast. Bye, guys.”
“Bye, Seth!” Mom called cheerily.
I looked at the snow and the porch as we came outside to make sure
that everything was the same, that I hadn’t entered an episode of a TV show of
some alternate reality or something.
I looked at Seth. “If you tell me your name is The Doctor,
I’m outta here.”
He laughed loudly. “And now you’re a “Doctor Who” fan? Freaking
adorable,” he mumbled under his breath. “Your parents are awesome, Ava.” He was
so sincere.
“I was worried I was going to have to save you.”
“No need.” He used his elbow to swipe the snow off of a spot and
then set the coffees on his hood. The truck was already cranked so he must have
the kind where you do it from the key fob because there were no footprints in
the snow. He opened the door, helped me in, and then got the coffees, handing
mine to me. “They were awesome about not making me feel weird. Even Rodney
wasn’t too bad.”
He laughed before shutting my door.
My dress wasn’t too short, but I did notice how it rose up
mid-thigh when I sat down. But the leggings kept the ensemble decent. And warm.
The truck was so warm, but I still slid over as
soon as he shut my door. When he got in and saw how close I was, his grin was
adorable. He got in and turned the heat on even more, looking at my legs and
shutting his eyes for a few seconds too long. “You’re not too cold with those
on?”
“Leggings?” I laughed.
“Is that what they’re called?” he half-growled as he backed out
and got on the road. “They should be called evil.”
“They’re just like pants, just thinner. Jeans, just not made of
quite the same thing. Jeggings.”
He laughed and shook his head. “As long as you’re warm,
sweetheart, call ‘em whatever you want.” He looked at my legs again and then
away with a little groan. “I’ll just call them evil because I can see every
inch of your legs in those things.”
My heart practically did the Tennessee Waltz behind my ribs. “And
that’s evil?” I squeaked.
“Evil,” he reiterated and smiled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shelly is a NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY
bestselling author from a small town in Georgia and loves everything about the
south. She is wife to a fantastical husband and stay-at-home mom to two
boisterous and mischievous boys who keep her on her toes. She hoards
paperbacks, devours sweet tea, searches year-round for candy corn, and loves to
spend time with her family and friends, go out to eat at new restaurants,
site-see in the new areas they travel to, listen to music, and, of course,
loves to read, but doesn’t have much time to these days with all the characters
filling her head begging to come out. She is author to over twenty books and
counting!
Her own books happen by accident and she revels
in the writing and imagination process. She doesn’t go anywhere without her
notepad for fear of an idea creeping up and not being able to write it down
immediately, even in the middle of the night, where her best ideas are born.

 

 

 

 

 

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Guest Post: Frank Leblanc


From Gutenberg to Rosamilia

 

Books have come a long way. They used to be written and copied by hand which took years working at it full time. That’s why medieval Europe left that work to monks: because you couldn’t possibly earn a living doing such work and someone had to feed you, house you and clothe you while you occupied yourself in such a mad and tedious pursuit. Imagine sitting there in the same room day after day from morning ‘til night for months on end just writing a book. You’d have to be nuts, or getting there.

 

And when you were finished with it all you had was the one book. If you wanted a second copy you had to start all over again or pass it on to other monks who copied and recopied you in the same silent room, year after year, quietly going insane, until some Viking burst in and stuck a sword through your guts, stole your gold crucifix and grabbed your book on his way out—as an afterthought—to wipe his butt with your pages. That was the best use he could find for your life’s work because he couldn’t read but he sure could use some toilet paper.

 

Then Old Joey Gutenberg rigged up a way to write a book just once with some letter blocks like the ones you played with as a child. The idea was to wet those blocks with ink and press some paper over them and voilà, the birth of the printed page. And you could print as many copies as you wanted if you had the materials. The hand-made paper, bought and sold by weight even after being printing upon, was worth more than the content you printed on it.

 

You see, anybody could string some words together but not everyone could pay for the paper. And don’t even get me started on the cost of binding those pages into a book. Most books printed from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries don’t survive today because the printing and binding of books were two separate endeavours, the second of which was extravagantly expensive. Many people could scrape together a few coins to buy a book from their local printer but only the wealthy could afford to have those pages bound.

 

I am a life-long book reader/lover/collector—thirty years of rummaging through dusty used book shops and even dustier thrift stores all over North America, chatting it up with dusty old book dealers who used to be bibliophiles like me before they spent decades up to their eyeballs in the damned things.

 

I’ve spent my life buying and reading them, organising and shelving them, packing and moving them over and over—sometimes clear across the continent. I’ve spent a small fortune just keeping my books housed and shelved and near me, on top of the small fortune I’ve spent acquiring them.

 

At its peak my collection ballooned to twenty thousand volumes before shrinking back to a more reasonable twelve or thirteen thousand books. I achieved my childhood dream of living in a home that looks and smells like a used book shop, similar to the first one I frequented as a kid in my old neighborhood.

 

When that shop closed after fifty years in business I bought up their remaining stock at pennies on the dollar and took home one of their shelving units that had been hand-built by the shop’s original owner, the nice old man from whom I purchased my first books: The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Frank Herbert’s Dune, Asimov’s Foundation, Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, Poul Anderson’s The Broken Sword, Lovecraft, Zelazny, Donaldson, Wolfe, Steve Jackson, Choose Your Own Adventure, Dungeons & Dragons modules and stacks of comic books.

 

My love of books can be traced to that old shop. I fell in love with them for the imaginary worlds they transported me to and I learned to love books as objects, the look and feel of them, the smell of them, and I loved my own lust for them, how I wanted mountains of books so that I could read whatever I wanted whenever I felt the urge and they would all be there at my fingertips. I didn’t understand how any book dealer could stand to part with any of them.

 

Now, decades later, I’ve come to realise that actually owning thousands of books is a total pain in the ass. And no matter how many thousands of them you accumulate you’ll never have every book you want and you’ll never find the time to read them all anyway.

 

Even once you’ve got them all in your apartment they’re not truly at your fingertips. That familiar book you just saw mentioned in an online post, one that you know you’ve got somewhere has to be found in your giant mess that’s attracting paper-eating bugs and trapping humidity to form mold. That one book you remember buying half a lifetime ago and suddenly want to read could be randomly placed in that massive pile of painfully heavy boxes in the corner, the ones you never got around to unpacking after your most recent move.

 

So I’ve been selling off chunks of my collection. It’s simultaneously a relief and heart-breaking. I feel the weight of them off my shoulders but I miss them already, even the ones I haven’t sold yet. I don’t want to see them to go but I can’t wait to be rid of the damned things. I have become the crusty old man sitting in his dusty book room both in love with and burdened by his rows upon rows of wonderful, beautiful, smelly, heavy, endlessly tiresome books.

 

After many jobs and a couple of small businesses of my own I now work full time for a national chain of book sellers. I live in a large apartment surrounded by my vast collection of books that I’ve always wanted to read or reread. In my spare time I’m working on my first novel. More so than at any time in my past my whole life right now is all about books in various aspects: as objects to be treasured, as a commodity to be consumed, as an outlet for creativity and a labor of love.

 

A few weeks ago I bought my first e-reader. Mostly I bought it for my wife, who’ll be spending this summer visiting family overseas. She’s a voracious reader who can devour a six-hundred-page fantasy novel in forty-eight hours or less. She can read clean through a prolific author’s career within a few weeks. The e-reader is a way of providing her with a summer’s worth of reading material without dragging an entire suitcase of books along with her. Also, I’d been itching to read a few novels that I know are only available as e-books (Thraxas books nine and ten, among others).

 

Within a few days we were fighting over this amazing device. I can tweak the font size and light up the screen to read in the dark so my wife’s sleep isn’t disturbed by a bright lamp. It remembers where I stopped (every time!) so I don’t waste precious reading minutes on the bus or subway figuring out where I left off. It’s the same size and weight as a single mass market paperback but it can contain more books than I have in this whole apartment and I can carry them around with me everywhere and read any one of them with a touch of my fingertip to the screen.

 

I was one of those people you hear saying they’re not interested in e-readers because it’s not the same as the feeling of a printed book in your hands. And those people are right, it isn’t the same—it’s better.

 

I went from averse to astounded in less than a week, after a lifetime devoted to the printed book. From now on I want to read everything on this e-reader. I never want to read a big, heavy hardcover book again. I’m ready to sell every one of these bound paper volumes, keeping only my autographed copies and rare editions.

 

I wish every book ever made in the history of civilization were available as an e-book. Many are. In fact, there are millions of books available as safe, legally free downloads online without even touching any illegal file-sharing websites, and millions more available for purchase, all mine to browse without the hassles of obtaining and storing a physical book.

 

The first book I read on my new e-reader was Darlene Bobich: Zombie Killer by Armand Rosamilia. I thought it appropriate since Armand and I met (eleven years ago, Holy Shit!) through a discussion forum about books and writing. Our first encounter was over a transaction in which I handed over some of my hard-earned cash for a stack of his early fantasy novels (keep growing in popularity, my friend, while I sit on these rarities of increasing value) and I’ve followed his burgeoning career with interest ever since.

 

A whole new world of indie authors whose works are only available in e-book form are now open to me thanks to this wonderful device. I can participate in the publishing revolution happening online right now and feel even more immersed in the industry of storytelling than I already was.

 

The future of how those stories are disseminated is literally in the hands of readers and authors rather than being decided upon by a few big corporations and I’m now one of those readers. Lately I’ve been working for the man again after two failed businesses but maybe in time I can change that and in the meantime I can help change the lives of indie authors. The power to do that is in this little device I bought on a whim. It is small but it contains multitudes.

 

I’ve always said we live in a great age. I wouldn’t want to live in any other, except maybe the zombiepocalypse…

Frank Leblanc

Guest Post: A.M. Hargrove


 
 
 
 
Kestrel (A Hart Brothers Novel)
**Though is part of the Hart Brothers Series, This is a Stand Alone Novel
**Not intended for readers under the age of 18 due to its mature content and strong language.
 
Two lives with horrific pasts. One chance meeting that changed them both forever.
 
“One look at her and I want to run. Frizzy hair, thick glasses, mom jeans, and ruffles up to her neck. Who the hell wears shit like that? What decade is she living in? My mother doesn’t even dress like that!”
 
Raised by a monster, Kestrel Hart somehow survived. Now that the monster is dead, he’s trying to move on, to pull himself together. Struggling with issues no one can imagine, he moves away from his family, from the brother who loves him and the sister-in-law who supports and understands him the best.
 
Charleston, South Carolina is his new home. And he has a purpose. He’s opening up a new division of his brother’s corporation. But a surprise awaits him. Her name is Carter Drayton.
 
Carter’s past is also a painful one. She is dealing with the tragic death of her family. She’s healing in the only way she knows how.
 
Carter needs love. Kestrel craves human contact. Neither of them recognizes what’s right before their eyes. Will they see it before it’s too late?
 



 
 
Amazon Canada:  http://bit.ly/CanKindle
Smashwords:  http://bit.ly/1GbSyFG
 
 
 
 
As
we walk back to his place he says something to me that I’m not sure how to
take.
“Carter,
I was so wrong about you.”
“How’s
that?”
“Remember
the day we met and you asked me if you weren’t good enough and I said you
weren’t bad enough?”
“Yeah,
I remember.”
“I
don’t want you to be bad.” He stops and turns me to face him. “I need good in
my life. I need an angel, a human angel, like you. I’m sick of all the bad.”
Then he kisses me. We’re in the middle of King Street and people are
everywhere, having to move around the obstacle we’ve created. But Kestrel
doesn’t give a damn. He ends it as quickly as he started it and I’m walking with
him, stunned by his comment.
“Kestrel?”
“Yeah?”
“Will
you tell me your story someday?”
“Yeah.
But it may be a while.”
“Okay.”
I wrap my arm around his waist as we walk. “Do me a favor though.”
“What
is it?”
“Don’t
hurt me. I’m sort of fragile and I don’t think I can deal with that.”
“Same
here, Carter.”
“Do
me another favor, please.”
“Sure.”
“Whatever
you do, don’t let me fall in love with you.”
He
stops walking. “Why’s that?”
“Because
someone always loses in love.”
 
 


 
 One day, on her way home from work as a sales manager, A. M. Hargrove, realized her life was on fast forward and if she didn’t do something soon, it would quickly be too late to write that work of fiction she had been dreaming of her whole life. So, she rolled down the passenger window of her fabulous (not) company car and tossed out her leather briefcase. Luckily, the pedestrian in the direct line of fire was a dodge ball pro and had über quick reflexes enabling him to avoid getting bashed in the head. Feeling a tad guilty about the near miss, A. M. made a speedy turn down a deserted side street before tossing her crummy, outdated piece-of-you-know-what laptop out the window. She breathed a liberating sigh of relief, picked up her cell phone, called her boss, and quit her job. Grinning, she made another call to her hubs and told him of her new adventure (after making sure his heart was beating properly again).



So began A. M. Hargrove’s career as a Naughty and Nice Romance Author. Her books include the following: Edge of Disaster, Shattered Edge and Kissing Fire (The Edge Series); The Guardians of Vesturon Series (Survival, Resurrection, Determinant, reEmergent, and Beginnings); Dark Waltz, Death Waltz, Tragically Flawed (Tragic 1), Tragic Desires (Tragic 2), Exquisite Betrayal, Dirty Nights; and lastly Freeing Her, Freeing Him, and Kestrel—all part of the Hart Brothers Series.



Other than being in love with writing about love, she loves chocolate, ice cream, and coffee and is positive they should be added as part of the USDA food groups.


 
 

Guest Post: Michele G. Miller


 
 
 
Title: Into The Fire
Series: Wrecked: Book one
Author: Michele G. Miller
 
At fifteen, an
accident turned my world upside down. Scarred in every way possible, I shut
down, finding comfort by self-inflicting pain.
I’ve grown
accustomed to the truths of my life, but I’m tired.
Tired of this
reality…
Tired of the
need…
Of the pain…
I’m weary of being
this person…
Of being alone…
Though, I’m more
afraid of letting someone in.
It’s been five
years.
Can I return home
and face my fears? Overcome the pain?
It’s time to find
out.
For too long, the
story of my life has been one of horror.
I want my fairy
tale.
I want my prince,
my happily ever after.
The question is,
does it want me?
*This is a
standalone novel following a character introduced in the From The Wreckage
series. It is not necessary to read that series to enjoy this story.*


 

 

 

Michele writes novels
with fairytale love for everyday life. Romance is always central to her plots
where the genres range from Coming of Age Fantasy and Drama to New Adult
Romantic Suspense.
Having grown up in both
the cold, quiet town of Topsham, Maine and the steamy, southern hospitality of
Mobile, Alabama, Michele is something of an enigma. She is an avid Yankees fan,
loves New England, being outdoors and misses snow. However she thinks southern
boys are hotter, Alabama football is the only REAL football out there and sweet
tea is the best thing this side of heaven and her children’s laughter!
Her family, an amazing
husband and three awesome kids, have planted their roots in the middle of
Michele’s two childhood homes in Charlotte, North Carolina.
 
 
Into the Fire by Michele G. Miller
Chapter 1
 
Today’s reality… Doing something new
 
January 3, 2018
 
    “Good morning, Danica. How are you today?” asks Dr. Green as he walks into his office, late as usual. 
   

 His glasses sit askew atop his head, his salt and pepper hair sticking out in all directions. This is the man who has been counseling me to get on with my life. The man who scarcely arrives to our appointments on time. But I like him. He’s easy to talk with: jovial, caring, and not nearly as pushy as other therapists I’ve seen through the years. 

    

He seats himself in the chair across from me and I close my eyes, breathing in deeply. “I opened my email this weekend.”



“Oh? Is that unusual for you?” he asks.
 
“My old email. The account from… before.” 
 
Dr. Green remains quiet, waiting for more. When it becomes clear I’m not offering up an explanation he does as he always does – he pokes at the hornets’ nest. “What prompted you to do that?”
 
Tears jab the back of my eyelids, even as a small smile dances upon my lips. “I had a birthday Sunday,” I remind him, knowing full well he’s aware my birthday was New Year’s Eve. “I turned twenty-one, and do you know what I did?”
 
He raises a brow in question, perching his glasses on the tip of his nose, and going to work jotting notes on the pad laying in his lap.
 
“Nothing. I did nothing. I sat in a dark room and watched the teenagers across the street set off fireworks.” I sound so lame, I think to myself, shaking my head. “It’s pathetic honestly. I know it and you know it and that’s why I opened the email. I guess I wanted to know if anyone was thinking of me.”
 
“You guess?” he asks, and I shrug indifferently. “And, what did you find?”
 
What did I find? I found years of accumulated junk mail and well wishes from people I’ve long left behind. I didn’t stop to look at the messages, not all of them anyway. Instead, I clicked the senders into alphabetical order and searched for relevant names. More specifically, I searched for one name. 
 
He’d sent three messages and as I’d read the words on the glowing screen before me, while fireworks popped outside my window, the truth of my life crashed down on me.
 
I’m weary of being this person, of living life alone, of being afraid to live. 
 
I’m more afraid of letting someone in. Again. It’s been five years.
 
Can I face the fear? Overcome the pain?

 

It’s time to find out. Because if I don’t… I’m not sure I’ll survive.
 

Guest Post: MCV Egan


About the Book:

A word, a single word defines a moment for Anne. She needs to find a new one when her spouse leaves her at the age of 47, coming out of the closet literally in a closet. She finds herself back in her hometown amongst her high school friends which she left behind in her past.

An inheritance from a friend leaves her with the means to meddle and spy on the lives of some of their mutual acquaintances. In an attempt to run from her reality Anne gets engrossed in a game of “fun” and “flirtation” with her friend and fellow sufferer Connie at her side. Anne however did not read all the files and what to her is fun games turns into a deadly reality. It is no longer a game.

Life, death and not even a defining word can stop the reality of manipulation.
Buy Links:

Goodreads I Amazon

Character Sketches:

The characters in Defined by Others are predominantly women. They are all flawed and for the most part very superficial. Some of their flaws are surprising and others are logical. 

I chose women born in the year 1965, I did this to work with a play on Chinese Astrology.  I made them 47 years old as the book takes place in 2012, one of the characteristics of female snakes according to Chinese Astrology is that they are all very beautiful.



I wanted characters that were superficial and very worried about their physique and how others see them; thus being defined by the opinions of others.



The women have a connection as teens from growing up in the same affluent town in the American Northeast. The story is fueled by who they are at 47 and who they were at 17.



ANNE is one of the main characters and the story is told from her point of view, in her voice. She is fluent in many languages and loves words. She likes to define every moment with just one word. Her husband recently left her, and he left her broken and confused. Divorce is hard at any age, but divorce because the man you shared almost two decades with realizes he is gay must be brutal

Anne has a nice side, she is forgiving of her husband, she tries to get into his skin and appreciate that his confusion, she is still however so confused and vulnerable that when life presents her with a way to make other’s suffer as she has, she is pretty quick to grab it.

She has adolescent twins, she is however a very detached parent, as the story evolves she identifies that she continued the family pattern with which she was raised.

In the course of the story she has to make numerous life changing decisions. Anne is in a journey of self-discovery and she has likable and dark traits.



CONNIE is also a main character, she is curiously linked to Anne because her respective husbands have fallen for each other and left them. Connie has been carrying the pain and confusion longer than Anne. She is broken and lonely and in Anne she sees the possibility of a friend, ally or at the very least fellow sufferer.

Like Anne she does not blame the man who left her, and respects that as the father of her children, she needs to wish him nothing but the very best.

She loves to nurture and to cook. She goes completely against her nurturing nature as the story evolves, because she is so hurt, confused and unbalanced.

As much as Connie chooses to also manipulate those she sees as her foes, there is a very tender and likable side to Connie. She loves her children very deeply and is very lost when the main focus of her life changes; she was born to be the quintessential mom.



AMANDA is dead, during the entire story-line she manipulates with her legacy from the very grave. She was ravaged by an illness that magnified her negative traits, and if the other characters are to be believed there was nothing positive about Amanda.

As the story progresses I do give Amanda a background a reason to be so dark, I did so because otherwise the character would be too flat or cartoon like as an image of pure evil.

During her illness she devices away to be cruel and most involved with the women in her past and present. Upon her death (not a spoiler this is the opening of the book) she leaves her “game” to Anne, it is a game of manipulation and deceit through social media.



ALLISON is mean, she identified as Amanda’s mean girl side-kick but she too is a victim of the manipulation game. I have had readers contact me, and it is indeed Allison they seem to dislike the most, I did not feel a need to give her as much depth or an excuse for her nastiness, as she is a secondary character. I just wanted to show that although she is vulnerable, she is also a natural leader.

She is clever and assumes she is far cleverer than she really is. As I wrote Defined by Others I did want Allison to be a sort of live walking continuum to Amanda’s nasty side.



PETER is the only male in the story who is very present, the husbands are in the sidelines. Peter is a lawyer, he connects with Anne at the beginning of the book as Amanda’s lawyer. 

He is kind and understanding, he falls for Anne and he falls hard, he is also divorced and as such looking for a new way to fit in. He is not privy to Anne and Connie’s machinations, but he does suspect they are up to no good.

I wanted Peter to be a very easy man to love, intelligent, successful, and vulnerable. I had to make him vulnerable by having his ex drop him in a cruel and hurtful way. I made him Amanda’s reluctant lawyer so that he would be aware that Anne had inherited something odd and questionable from Amanda, I did not want to turn him into a detective, he needed some level of awareness to make him believable. 

I also had him fall in love with Anne, but fall in love with Connie’s cooking and thus forming a strong bond with both women.



MRS. G. (Anne’s mother) is a character that is as much represented by her dialogue and appearances throughout the story as she is by her “secret room”. Mrs. G. was a liberal adventuresome lady who is also defined by others, and as such she pretends to be as conservative as those who surround her world.



She has a special room, full of New Age Books and other secrets, she is as such very present throughout the story.

About the Author:

M.C.V. Egan is the pen name chosen by Maria Catalina Vergara Egan the author of The Bridge of Deaths and Defined by Others. Catalina is originally from Mexico City, Mexico. She has lived in France, Sweden and various parts of the U.S.A.

She has called South Florida her home for the last twenty-five years; she is a writer, a mother a wife and a pretty good cook.

Her first book The Bridge of Deaths is available in two different versions, her book Defined by Others is the first in a series Defining Ways exploring what makes us flawed and human.

Book two Climbing Up The Family Tree; Defined by Pedigree will be released in November 2015.

Contact the Author:
 
 
 
 

Con Panels Gone Good – My Opinion


Yesterday I spoke about the bad things you hear and see on panels during a convention. You can read all about it Here. Take your time. I’ll wait. I need to refill my coffee cup anyway.

Today (after better sleep and much more coffee), I am going to share with you some of the great things I have seen during panels at conventions. I’ve been going to cons on and off for the past dozen years, and have had quite a bit of fun during them. This is what I look for when either on a panel or going to a panel:

 

6. A nice mix of panelists.

As much as I love being on panels with authors I know, I’m sure it gets boring for an audience when we spend the time acting like goofballs and tossing out inside jokes here and there. Ideally, a panel of five (including me) should be two authors I’m comfortable with and two spanking brand new authors I want to meet. The same people saying the same things gets stale. A new voice is fun to add to the mix. I go through the panel list not only for subjects that interest me, but see who the panelists are as well.

 

5. Being on a panel with someone you admire.

And they don’t disappoint. At MidSouth Con my last panel of the weekend was about podcasting and not only were all the panelists cool, but Cory Doctorow was on it. While I was the moderator, I found myself throwing questions his way to start a good line of discussion because he’s been there and done that for years. The audience asked him many questions, and I tried to sit back and take it all in. I wasn’t delusional to think the room was packed because I was there. It was about Cory and he is such a great guy, he helped the panel move along and it wasn’t just about him. I have even more respect for Cory now, too.

 

4. Panelists with personality.

Obviously, I have a unhealthy liking for fellow authors Jay Wilburn, Brent Abell and Jack Wallen. Anytime I’ve been on panels with any of them it has been fun and comfortable, but at MidSouth I got to meet Sean Grigsby. Great guy, and he was enthusiastic on his panels. He also went to other panels, which was nice. And he rocked a Judas Priest shirt, so how bad can he really be? If i see someone on a panel who understands the role he/she plays (i.e. talk to the audience and drop some knowledge instead of talking about their own books on and on) I want to know what other panels they will be on over the weekend. I also remember them for future cons, too.

 

3. Don’t just go to your panels.

I love hanging out in the back row of other panels and learning something. At World Horror Convention in Portland, Oregon I went to the podcasting panel and learned so much I started my own podcast a couple of months later. I enjoy learning from other authors. No one knows everything. The con experience isn’t about pumping up your own ego and making pretend people are there to see you, its about networking and learning as well. Take in the entire experience, meet new people, hear other authors talking shop, and go away refreshed. Also, eat some of the cookies in the con suite. They are always delicious. But please don’t kill any elves this year (inside joke, I swear).

 

2. Cons are for networking.

If you’re on a panel or sit in the audience on a panel with someone who made sense up there and gave you some insight, let them know. Logan L. Masterson was a moderator on a panel I really enjoyed, and I told him that. At last year’s MidSouth Con, after a bizarro panel I was on, fellow panelist John Hornor Jacobs came over and said he had a great time on the panel with me. Those moments will stick. Take away a few new friends from each con. Some of the people I talk to on a regular basis I’ve met at cons. Facebook is great for networking but that one on one actual meet and greet moves you to the next level, especially with publishers. I’ve had several sales over the years thanks to looking someone in the eye at a con and just talking to them.

 

1. People not being dicks. 

We are in this together. No reader will reader just one book this year, so there’s no reason to act like if they don’t read your book you’re screwed. Write a good book and maybe you’ll get lucky. I’ve had a ton of sales thanks to people who’ve read an author I am friends with that respects my work, and they’ve let people know about me. Not because they have to but because they want to. Because I’m not a dick. I spend most of my time pushing other authors, because that’s what sells my books. Not ‘buy my book’ posts on Facebook. Not trying to talk trash about another author because you think it will lead to sales of your own book. Cool people are who I surround myself with. I’ve dropped quite a few negative people over the years who couldn’t see they were being dicks. Or couldn’t help themselves. And I’m a better person for it. I’ve made some mistakes and learned from them. I also learn quite a bit at every con I go to, and so should you…

Armand Rosamilia

Panel Etiquette At A Con – My Opinion


I just got back from another great MidSouth Convention held in Memphis, and as usual I took away a lot of good and some bad from it. Today I’ll talk about the bad, because I still haven’t had enough coffee as I sit down and write this post, and the 13 hour ride home Sunday into Monday is still kicking my ass…

There are a few bad things I saw on panels, and not just this weekend. It seems like every convention I go to, or anytime I talk with another writer who’s done quite a few conventions like I have, these things come up, so I’m here to be a jerk and point out what you really shouldn’t be doing if you’re lucky enough to be invited to speak on a panel with your peers. Luckily, only a couple of these came up this past weekend, and for the most part I enjoyed every panel I was on or sat in the audience for.

6. Don’t be a dick.

You’d think this one would be obvious, but there is sometimes so much attitude on a panel. And all it takes is one jerk trying to run the panel or argue with another panelist. Back in 2005 or so, I attended a con and sat on two panels in a row where guests actually argued about some minor point. It was not fun to be sitting between them. I thought they were both dicks. People in the audience want to be entertained and learn something about writing. Often they are new or wannabe writers and want some guidance, not see an argument or someone who feels they are above answering their petty commoner questions. Trust me, no one has ever heard of you outside your family and the Facebook groups you troll, posting ‘buy my book!’ posts every hour.

 

5. No one came to see you specifically on a panel except your friends and family.

I saw a panel last year where the Guest of Honor of the convention was ignored because one idiot kept talking about themselves. An audience member asked the GoH a question and this idiot began answering, as if he had been asked the question. Again… no one cares about you, and you pissed off a few people. Be respectful of the other panelists and let them have their turn. Please don’t go into a ten minute explanation about how your dragons or elves or serial killer or demon villain is so cool and why they want to eat/kill/have sex with/rap battle with your main character. No one (except your family and your friend who came in support) has read the book, and you’ve turned everyone off about it now.

 

4. If you aren’t on the panel, stay off the panel. 

It drives me nuts when I’m on a panel and some ass-hat in the audience starts talking about their books or answering audience questions. They’re usually the people who only had 2 panels all weekend and felt they didn’t get enough face-time with their potential audience. So they try to jump into my panel, or a panel I am in the audience trying to listen to. If the con team wanted you on this panel they would’ve put you on it. It really isn’t that hard to understand, is it? You’re pissing off the other guests and everyone in the room. Just shut up already.

 

3. Books on the table.

This is bound to piss off a few people, but I don’t care. I have to say it before I take another sip of coffee. I can give you some slack if you bring your latest book with you to the panel and prop it up before you as a reference or just because you’re proud of it. But dropping a shoe box on the table and then rifling through it while other panelists are answering questions so you can find something you wrote in third grade (and this really happened) is boring and rude to everyone else. Having a stack of your nine-volume series in front of you, or having the books spread out across the table and into the person next to you’s area is also rude. I haven’t brought a book to a panel in years. Watch the bigger guests (the guys and girls with their names on the back of the con shirt not lumped in with the rest of us). They don’t usually do it because they’re there to have fun, answer questions, talk about writing and book selling, and not push their books down your throat.

 

2. No one cares about your catalog.

No one wants to hear about all seven stories you have written, especially about the six you haven’t even published yet, and probably never will. Unless you’re lucky enough to be a best seller (and not just one of those insecure ‘Amazon Best Seller’ thanks to a rank in an obscure list where there are only 12 books) talk about YOU. Answer the questions from the moderator and/or the audience to impart knowledge and show off your stellar personality. Every answer doesn’t have to talk about why someone should buy book 4 of your Were Rat series. Chances are, no one in the audience and none of the other panelists have heard about you before this moment. And they definitely haven’t heard of your Were Rat books. Sell yourself and maybe someone will buy a copy. Unless you’re George RR Martin, the audience isn’t there to see you. They just want to be entertained and enlightened about writing books.

 

1. Seriously. Stop being a dick. 

Luckily, the authors who do most (if not all) of the things on this list don’t last too long in the business. They don’t see a spike in their sales over the next few days after the con and don’t pick up too many new fans because they are only remembered as the jerk who talked about themselves. They have no long-term plan in place and that’s a shame. Maybe their Were Rat series is brilliant. I’ll never know, because I would never read a word they wrote after their selfishness all weekend. And I have a feeling neither will anyone who came in contact with them.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll be in a better mood with much more coffee and I’ll write about the good parts of con panels…

Armand Rosamilia