Monthly Archives: May 2015

Convention Basics for Authors



meGoing to a convention for the first time as a vendor can be intimidating for an author. What do you bring? How will you take payment? How many books? What should the table look like? Signage?

After attending about fifteen conventions, some total failures and others great successes, out of state and local, I feel like I’m at a point where I can dole out legitimate advice.

Let’s begin!

The Mindset

First, before I say anything, let me say this: conventions are not about making money. Do not go into one thinking you’ll be walking out with fat stacks of cash. For most of us, while it’s certainly possible you could turn a profit at one of these things, especially if’s a local con, there’s a possibility you won’t. It’s pretty simple: after you add the cost of the table, cost of books, marketing materials, food, parking, transportation, lodging…

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Two new writing/author podcasts for my little collection…


John L. Monk

No, you don’t have to go out and immediately listen to them, haha. Is that what you think I’m suggesting every time I post some new podcast? For my part, I’ll be listening to them on my daily commutes and when the wife and I go driving to various places on the weekends (e.g., the grocery store, and thousands of interesting places you can’t even imagine).


Author Strong: indie-centric podcast with an emphasis on craft and achieving publishing success. By indie-centric I mean they have a lot of top-selling indie guests like Libbie Hawker and Robert Chazz Chute. I love how these guests return repeatedly (of course — because they’re good guests!).


The Taylor Stevens Show: a new (brand new) podcast with Stephen Campbell of “The Author Biz” and “Crime Fiction FM,” where he co-hosts with NY Times Bestselling author Taylor Stevens. Sure, she’s not…

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2004-2014: How the E-book Changed Adult Fiction


Nicholas C. Rossis

This is the first post of two on the subject of changes in publishing. I came across an interesting post by Jane Friedman on the subject, based on a Nielsen presentation by Jonathan Nowell. Studying the last decade, one can reach a number of interesting conclusions.

When looking at the graph below, it’s interesting to remember that the first Kindle was released in late 2007, while 2011 saw the release of Kindle Fire.

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books by Jane Friedman

  • Fiction ebook sales: Romance started off as the strongest genre in ebook format, and has remained dominant since. Today it constitutes 24% of all ebook sales.
  • Fiction print sales were up 20% from 2004–2009, and have decreased 37% since then (as a result of ebooks picking up momentum).
  • In the latest quarter, adult fiction accounts for 65% of ebook sales.
  • Overall U.S. print book sales in 2014: 37% juvenile, 23% adult fiction, and…

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Guest Post: Amos Cassidy


 Hawthorn by Jamie Cassidy
Series: The Darkling Saga book 1
Genre: YA Horror/Fantasy

  A house on a hill. 

A house filled with mirrors. 
A house with eyes that watch your every
“I hate it on sight. It’s dull and large and
clunky, a creepy old house with a creepy house smell.” 
Learmonth Village has a history, a past that it
holds dear, superstitions that it clings fast to. Learmonth House, however, is
governed by its own set of rules, its own past. Gemma and her family are about
to discover just what those rules are. 
Learmonth has a pact with the darkness… 
The darkness is hungry…  

Amos Cassidy is the pen name for Richard Amos and Debbie Cassidy.
Amos is a 31 year old Diva and Cassidy a 38 year old mother of three; well,
four if you include the husband. A common love of all things Joss Whedon, Urban
Fantasy, and a tug of war over Jensen Ackles, brought them together, and one
cold February afternoon, over nibbles and coffee, their partnership was
You can find Cassidy hard at work in her fortress of solitude
which has eaten up the majority of her garden, and Amos…well he’s still
trying to get the invisibility gizmo he got off a friendly alien in exchange
for a pair of earphones to work. Funnily enough he hasn’t been seen around much
Frequent doses of Sugary snacks, coupled with regular injections
of caffeine aid in their production of a unique brand of cross genre tales.
They are always writing, but are happy to take a break to chat to their
wonderful readers, so drop them a line at, or just pop over to
see what they’re working on and they’ll bust out the biscuit tin.

I’m still searching when I spot the
strangest looking tree. It’s larger than the others, but that’s not what makes
it stand out. It’s the trunk that draws me, split in two in the middle and
twisted at the top to make an aperture that looks like the eye of a needle.
It’s wide enough to slip through. At least I think it is. I am overcome by the
strangest feeling of familiarity.  I take a step toward the tree, and
then another, suddenly eager to find out if my theory is correct.
“I wouldn’t do that if I was you?”
I spin around in alarm to find the
owner of the voice.
“Hi.” He is leaning against a tree,
all casual-like. He’s tall, taller than Liam, with dark messy hair and dark
eyes. He is striking to look at, the kind of guy you expect to see in one of
those Cinderella story movies, or a character from a young adult paranormal
novel. I stare at him, expecting him to disappear or grow some pimples or
something, but he remains as gorgeous as ever.
Liam. I love Liam, I remind myself.
He holds out his hand. “Come on,
those things can be dangerous.”
I look glance at the tree then back
at him. “You have to be joking.”
“So you’re saving me from a tree?”
He nods sombre-like.
I feel a stab of irritation. Who
does he think I am, some gullible twat from London or something? I step back
and touch the tree and quirk a brow at him. Hah!
His smiles. “Maybe I just wanted to
hold the pretty girl’s hand.”
I don’t know what to say to that.
“I’m Sam.”
“Nice to meet you, Gemma.” He
flashes that smile again, all white even teeth and a dimple.
“You live up at Learmonth, right?”
“Yeah, what about you?”
“I don’t.”
God, he’s trying to be cute. I hate
that. “Um, anyway, I best get going.”
“Why? You just got here. There’s
some lovely spots to sketch. I can show you if you like.”
I frown. How does he know I sketch?
My pad is in my backpack.
He cocks his head as if listening to
something. “You have artist’s hands and an artist’s eyes. I see the way you
look at things.”
Once again I don’t know what to say
to that apart from, “You been watching me?”
He smiles. “I spotted you a few
minutes ago. So, you coming?”
I hesitate. “I don’t know, you could
be a serial killer or something.”
He nods. “True, but then we’re far
enough from your house and the village for me to just grab you if I want.” He
grins disarmingly.
I laugh. “Okay, you have a point.
Lead the way.” He turns and I follow. This could be good. He looks my age,
maybe a little older. Making a friend could be good, make starting college easier
with a familiar face to look forward to.
I can’t help study his back, tapered
down to his tight butt. Damn, now I’m checking him out. He does have nice arms,
though, wiry and strong-looking even if he’s as pale as the moon. He doesn’t
seem to feel the chill in the air.
I wonder if he’s wearing sun cream.
I bet he burns easy.
I trip and stumble, but don’t hit
the ground because he has me.
I don’t know how, but I have to ask.
“Are you a vampire?”
He stares at me for a long beat and
then bursts out laughing.
After a second I join in.
I realise he is still holding me,
his hands warm on my skin. “Come on then, show me this place.”


He lets go of me and ambles off
again. “Eyes on the trail now, Gemma.”

Reblog: “Anything But Zombies” Anthology Review


Very cool review of the latest anthology I am a part of…

Anything But Zombies! Edited by Gerald Rice

Update – May 2015 – Crunching Numbers, Another New Project, New Blurb


Brandon R. Luffman… keep on writing!

Brandon R. Luffman

So, how about another monthly update?

As I’ve mentioned lots of times, one of my biggest hurdles is just staying motivated and keeping my productivity up. I’ve also mentioned that my goal for this year has been to average 500 words per day. That’s not a lot, really, but it adds up in the end. For someone not writing as a full-time job, I think it’s a passable goal.

I just crunched some numbers… Taking how many days have already passed this year (145), and considering my goal of averaging 500 words per day this year, my current total word count for the year (79,610) puts me only about two weeks ahead of schedule.

Writing a novel really sounds so reasonable when you look at the raw numbers. If you crank out 2,000 words per day (which I do on good days, but usually I’m closer to 1,300 or so)…

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New Release – Anything But Zombies! Edited by Gerald Rice


“Anything But Zombies” anthology now available!

Life With Words

Now Available!

Anything but Zombies!

Edited by Gerald Dean Rice

Anything But Zombies! Edited by Gerald Rice

For decades we’ve had vampires, werewolves, Jason, Freddy, and Michael. And now zombies have gone all Hollywood.

In this tongue-in-cheek take on the zombie sub-genre, author and publisher, and lifelong horror enthusiast Gerald Rice has assembled a fresh and downright disturbing collection of stories.  Inside new breeds of monsters emerge like sentient sex dolls, anti-zombie terrorists, suicidal cultists, the woman who can smell sin, and there’s more.

ANYTHING BUT ZOMBIES features original short stories from some of the most clever and imaginative horror writers of the day including Armand Rosamilia, Jake Bible, Tonia Brown, Rebecca Besser, Jimmy Pudge, Gerald Rice, MontiLee Stormer, Lee Moan, Jeff Strand, Tim Curran, and Faye McCray. This diverse cast of writers lends their extraordinary talents to usher in the next wave of monster.


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Summer of Zombie 2015 #SummerofZombie


#SummerofZombie coming June 1st! 35 #zombie #authors on 1 massive blog tour

Dying Days


It’s coming… June 2015 will see the most fun and the most zombie authors I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with on one of these annual tours. 

Over the next month you’ll meet all of them and I suggest you get familiar with their work if you are a zombie fan, because these are some of my favorites as well as a few new authors I’ve just met who I’m looking forward to reading, hanging out with and hopefully having on future #SummerofZombie tours!

As well, all of the many interviews, guest posts and book teasers will be emanating from this website this year, so make sure you subscribe to it so you don’t miss a post… and feel free to reblog and share any and all posts you like to help out the authors! That’s what this event is all about… to get readers in front of new…

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Armand Rosamilia Interview on “Drinking With Jason” Podcast


I had a rousingly crazy night being interviewed by Jason Brant on his excellent podcast… between his sweet tea and my coffee, it is a wonder we didn’t get arrested!

10 Great Conan Doyle Books That Don’t Feature Sherlock Holmes


Interesting Literature

The best Conan Doyle novels that don’t feature the great sleuth but are still definitely worth reading

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle often resented the fact that Sherlock Holmes overshadowed his other fiction, and to an extent he was right to do so. He was also a talented author of historical novels, science fiction, horror stories, and adventure tales as well as a pioneer of the detective story, as this list of our ‘non-Sherlock’ recommendations makes clear. Here are the best Conan Doyle books – aside from the Sherlock Holmes ones. We’ll begin at number 10 and work our way up to what we consider the very best book.

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How Many Spaces After a Period?


Jen's Pen Den

For this Twitter Treasure Thursday, I cheated–a little. I didn’t find this article on Twitter. I actually went on the hunt for it after I found this picture on Facebook:

DoubleSpacePersonally, I was always taught to use one space after a period, not two. But I know others were taught to use two. In fact, my old college roommate used to go on and on about how much it annoyed her when people used one space, not two…I told her it annoyed me when people used two, not one (follow? 😉 ).

At last, I decided to settle our debate and figure out who’s right: Team One? Or Team Two? Brian A. Klems, online editor for Writer’s Digest had the answer:

The “two spaces after period” rule was established during the days of typesetters, when additional space was needed to show the difference between the spacing between words (which was smaller) and the spacing between…

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Names invented by Writers



Just back from a wonderful and very productive writing residency in Portugal . As I need to catch breath, unpack and get to grips with unanswered emails I thought I would give you a chance to read again (otherwise known as repeat) a list of first names invented by authors that I researched back in 2013 (when I should have been doing something else).
It is not a definitive list. There must be more names to discover. Can you add to it?

The name that most surprised me was Norma.

Norma JeanPhoto:wikipedia

Invented by Edmund Spenser for his poem ‘The Faerie Queen’

The elf princess in Tolkein’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’

Invented by Margaret Mitchell. Carreen was the younger sister of Scarlet in Gone with the Wind.

A prince in two of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books, probably named after the Caspian Sea in Russia.


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Guest Post: Julieanne Lynch


Silently Still
by: Julieanne Lynch


Everyone is entitled to making their own choices in life,
but a decision can make or break you. For Jacinta Kelly, hers came in the form
of running away from everything that reminded her of her roots.
Living in rural Ireland was hard enough, but living with her
mother’s mental illness and her obsession with her garden took its toll. One
winter, the world as she knows it changes. Jacinta becomes aware of her own
mortality, and how fragile her existence truly is.
Alone and frightened; to live or die, the choice is hers.


Julieanne Lynch is an author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Julieanne lives in Northern Ireland, is married to her childhood sweetheart and together they have five children.
Before becoming a writer, she considered a few different career paths, a rock star being one of them. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at The Open University, and considered journalism as a career path. However, she decided writing was the way for her and believes all of her education and reading prepared her for it.
An avid reader, Julieanne has always had an encompassing fascination with folklore. When not writing, she enjoys crime series such as Criminal Minds, CSI, NCIS and Cold Case, and loves anything with Vampires, listening to metal, meeting new people, drinking lots of green tea, and sharing her dreams with her children. She is a self-professed goth wanna-be,and is happy when left to write into the early hours of the morning.
Julieanne’s YA series, the Shadow World novels, so far contains Within the Shadows & Escaping Shadows, the third instalment, Fighting Shadows will be released in 2015. It follows the war between vampires and shadow creatures. Giselle Bergman, an 18-year old human girl, falls victim to a scheme by one of her closest childhood friends, and embarks on a journey that sees her become the centre of a battle between good and evil.



Arm Cast Podcast: Episode 50 – World Horror Convention Part 2


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I had a blast at World Horror Convention in Atlanta, GA

I also got to meet and interview a few cool people, too!

On this episode:

Author Carl Alves

Authors T. Fox Dunham, Brick Marlin and Richard Lee Byers together!

Arm Cast Podcast Episode 50

Best Podcasts for Self-Publishers


John L. Monk

For those of you who don’t memorize my blog and check it each time to see if I’ve added another tab, you’re in for a surprise: I added another tab!

Here’s where I list all the podcasts I listen to on a regular basis, and a little bit of info about each one. Enjoy!


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Arm Cast Podcast: Episode 49 – World Horror Convention Part 1


I had a blast at World Horror Convention in Atlanta, GA

I met a few cool people and interviewed them as well!


On this episode:


Patrick Beltran (Cutting Block Books)

John Palisano (author of “Dust of The Dead”)

Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward (co-editors of “Shadows Over Main Street” anthology)

Arm Cast Podcast Episode 49

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Guest Post: Eva Pohler


The second book in Eva Pohler’s contemporary young adult fantasy, The Vampires of Athens, is here!
Gertie goes to Athens to study abroad and learns that vampires and demigods are real. She unwittingly becomes a catalyst to a war between them after making friends on both sides. The vampires want liberty at all costs, and the demigods want to protect the city. When their parents and the gods undermine their efforts to bring about a positive resolution, the three teens realize they’re on their own, and no one will save them.
Kindle Nook iBooks Kobo Google Play Smashwords
Get the first book for only 99 cents!
Vampire Addiction Ebook FinalKindle Nook iBooks Google Play Amazon Paperback Smashwords Kobo

Watch the trailer here!
Join the Facebook Release Party here!

Arm Cast Podcast: Episode 48 – Gregory And Lund


On this week’s exciting Arm Cast Podcast you’ll hear two authors being interviewed by me. Pretty much like the previous 47 episodes had, more or less…

Samantha Gregory

Samantha Gregory was born in Northern Ireland in 1985. She is the author of several series of books including Daemon Persuasion, which was published by Mockingbird Lane Press.
She loves horror movies, reading and archery. All of her works are available to purchase through Amazon.

David Lund

Dave Lund’s Winchester Undead series combine the zombie apocalypse with practical tactical skills, prepper knowledge, conspiracy theories, intrigue, secret government agencies and characters that quickly pull you into the story. Accuracy in detail defines the background of the Winchester Undead series, with many of the themes, objects, weapons, and tactics used in the Winchester Undead series are based on the author’s experience in survival camping, prepping, law enforcement, and training. Many of the locations visited by the characters in the series are real, although often artistically changed to fit the needs of the characters and plot. There is no cache site in Maypearl that we know of, and the presence of any secret underground government facilities really depends on whom you ask, as it is regarding the presence of Chemtrails.

Now published by Winlock Press (Permuted Press), the Winchester Undead series continues to grow with more releases currently in the works. You can find the first book of the series, Winchester: Over here: (just copy and paste into your browser’s URL bar). Dave Lund’s writing style and attention to detail will pull readers into the story, cheering for the good guys, and worrying about the bad, non-stop reading that puts the human condition at the front of an undead war.

Arm Cast Podcast

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10 Inspiring Facts for Indie Authors


Nicholas C. Rossis

I found this wonderful post on Wise Ink Creative Publishing and am sharing. As always, there’s been some editing to add my thoughts, but you can read the original post on the Wise Ink‘s website.

10 Inspiring Facts for Indie Authors

If I had a dime for each time one of you has told me you’re going through a rough patch with your writing, I’d probably be able to get Michelangelo to illustrate my book covers (yes, I’d also have enough to build a time machine). It’s probably even harder for Indie authors, as we have to do everything ourselves. So, I thought you might appreciate these statistics that should bring a smile back on your face.

  • Self-published books accounted for 31% of all e-book sales in the Kindle Store in 2014.
  • Indie books account for 31% of e-books. However,
  • 40% of all e-book revenue is going to indie…

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Guest Post: Felicia Starr


The Beauty in Deception
by Felicia Starr


A Hawk Creek Novel
Release Day: May 19th, 2015
Cover Artist: Bookfabulous Designs
After years of tangled sheets with a series of one-night-stands and living under a whiskey-induced haze, Detective Dex Preston is constantly trying to cope with the pain and guilt of his past. His perpetual state of denial is interrupted by a disturbing string of horrific murders, thrusting him into a very bizarre case. Dex struggles to bring justice to the murdered women because every lead uncovered is tied to the women in his life. 

As the bodies pile up, Dex realizes his life will never be the same when he has an unexpected run-in with Trina Hayes, a snarky blonde who possesses the potential to break down the walls of his hardened heart. She alone can bring Dex face to face with two things he fears most—love and death. For the first time in years, he finds himself concerned about someone else, but she could be next on his killer’s list.

Dex knows he needs to find the killer even if he isn’t prepared for what unfolds next.
One and a half years earlier.
EACH CORD OF TRINA’S ABDOMINAL muscles flexed with excruciating pain as she struggled to raise herself to a sitting position. Her screams were so loud they numbed her ears. In fact, she wasn’t sure if the sounds that escaped her were real or in her mind. It didn’t matter because the guttural shrieks continued to echo off the dark brick walls surrounding her. The darkness made it impossible to make out any details, and her eyes struggled to focus as she tried to look down at her body
It wasn’t raining, but her clothes were soaked through and clinging to her skin with her every movement. Her hands trembled as she attempted to place them down on the hard pavement beneath her, and Trina rolled over onto all fours in an effort to find enough stability to get to her feet. Fatigued, her legs wobbled with the failed attempt at standing.
She wasn’t sure if she was crying, yet she felt hot, wet beads slithering down her cheeks as she tried crawling down the deserted alley toward the lights of the random passing cars.
One hand in front of the other. Keep moving. Don’t stop!
She forced her nearly broken body to push through the pain to get to the light. Small bits of gravel dug into hands and knees, causing her to flinch so hard that her knee buckled underneath her. Her shoulder crashed agonizingly down onto the ground.
“Ahy!” The bellow came from a place deep within her gut. “Help me!”
Her cries went unanswered. Curling up in the fetal position, she rocked herself back and forth. The pain, confusion, and uncertainty of what had happened to her haunted every corner of her mind.
Trina never left the house without her purse or her phone. The realization that they must be somewhere in reach gave her an inkling of hope—unless she’d been mugged. Without any recollection of the preceding events, she couldn’t know if they were close by.
Trying to push up again, enough to search the ground around her, she dragged her body, scraping the last layer of flesh from her forearms.
The sheath of salty liquid that filled her eyes impaired her sight even more, and while her vision was finally starting to adjust to the darkness, she still couldn’t make out where she was. Sliding her palms out in front of her and to the sides, she searched for something, praying that she would either find her phone, or someone would hear her cries for help.
Her hand made contact with something soft, and thinking she had found her purse, a sigh of relief washed over her. However, when she attempted to pull it closer, it barely budged. Trina yanked again, but instead of it sliding in her direction, the weight of what she held onto pulled her forward.
Her hands still shook as she apprehensively stretched her arms out, feeling and searching to identify what she was touching. The object was rounded, like a log, but with a softness that started to concern her.
Her chest tightened, and she felt her brow cinch. She pulled herself up to a sitting position and wiped the tears from her face with the back of her hand before proceeding.
She held her breath, not wanting her hands to confirm her fear of what it was.
She couldn’t really see, so she slammed her eyes shut and pulled her lips between her teeth, biting down on them as she searched the darkness in front of her. The cylindrical object was attached to something larger, and she felt the wet fabric that coated another body.
Frantically, she felt for the chest. The soft mounds of flesh that her hands skimmed over indicated that it was a female.
“Hello!” She shook the body. “Are you okay? Hello?”
No response.
“You have to wake up!” She continued to shake the body as she screamed out, “Oh God!”
She felt the body again. Slowing her pace, Trina released her hold on the limp arm. Her hands shook so hard that she felt the vibration coursing through them.
She didn’t want to know, yet she had to be sure. Her hand slowly approached the, stopping on her chest. There was no upward movement, and she forced her hand to the face to feel for a breath, but there was nothing.
“Oh. Fuck. Oh God! No!” She couldn’t, but she had to continue. She took the arm into her lap and felt for a pulse, but again, there was nothing. Trina pushed the arm off her and scooted back. “Help!” her throat scratched out. “Please! Help!”
The dark alley brightened ever so slightly, and she looked up and saw lights flicker on in more than one window. She yelled again, hoping that they heard her.
“Help me! Call the police!” Her screams continued, over and over again, until her throat wouldn’t allow it anymore.

It felt like an eternity that she sat there, crying out for help. Her body quivered from shock, fear, and the chill of the night on her wet clothing. Trina was alone, next to the body of a faceless woman who was not lucky enough to still have her life.
The sirens in the distance grow louder as they approached, and Trina tucked her head into her knees and held on for dear life. Sobbing, she rocked herself back and forth.
The vehicles she’d heard screeched to a sudden stop, at what was most likely, the end of the alley. She didn’t want to lift her head to look. It hurt too much. At last, she could see the flashing blue and red lights illuminating the backs of her eyelids. 
Several sets of footsteps pounded the pavement in her direction, and she listened to the familiar sounds of clinking and heavy leather belts rubbing against the legs of the approaching officers. It was a sound she wasn’t sure she welcomed. She discerned the unsnapping of the gun holsters, counting at least three. There may have been more disguised by the sound of slides racking and the rounds being chambered in their standard issue Glock 45s.
The static sound of a radio switched on and off. “We have some kind of two-forty. Possible one-eighty-seven.”
Ckkshsh… “Ten-four. Are you in need of an eleven-forty?”
“Yes, eleven-forty-one. You might want to send over two buses. ASAP!” Ckshhhh.
The static cut in and out as the man’s voice grew louder. Trina knew he was confirming that they needed an ambulance.
“Police! Hands up!”
Trina could sense that the officers were slowly getting closer to her, but their voices sounded as if they were miles away. Their words were muffled by the sounds of her whimpering.
“We are approaching you with our guns drawn. Please show us your hands!” The voice was loud and demanding. “We are here to help you, but we need you to show us your hands.”
“Sir?” a woman’s voice trailed behind him.
“I see it, Clark. Fall back and get some blankets and a first aid kit. I already called in a bus.”
The man’s voice was almost on top of her. Trina heard what he said, but she was about as frozen as a person who couldn’t stop shaking could be.
“Ma’am, I am approaching you. Please, if you can hear me, please show me your hands. Are you injured?”
In Trina’s mind, she could see herself releasing her legs and showing him her hands, but she couldn’t connect the command to the action.
A second set of footsteps and the clambering of a gun belt rattled around behind her, and a sudden shot of pain on her shoulder jolted Trina into motion. She was too disoriented to realize someone had put their hand on her shoulder.
“Take it easy.”
The man was no longer raising his voice, and she could feel him beside her.
“Here you go, sir,” the female officer’s voice sounded.
“I am going to put this blanket around you. My name is Officer O’Neil.”
He draped the blanket over her shoulders, and the pressure from the shroud felt like pins and needles on her flesh. She wasn’t sure if it was from an injury, or if her skin was so cold that it had become numb.
“Can you tell us your name?” he asked.
She slowly lifted her head. The intensity of the flashlights assaulted her eyes, causing her to blink repeatedly. Trying to focus was a struggle.
“Trina, Trina Hayes,” her voice was just a whisper.
“Trina, can you tell me what happened here?” O’Neil questioned.
“Sir, we have a DOA here. The bus should be here any minute.”
“DOA?” Trina’s voice cracked.
With trepidation, her head turned to the officer who had said it. She looked at his face and couldn’t help but think of how young he appeared. He must have been in his early twenties, but he looked like an oversized teenager.
How she wished she had kept her eyes on him instead of investigating her surroundings.
Her eyes fell down hard on a blood soaked body, only inches from where she sat. She scanned the woman’s figure quickly, looking for injuries, and most importantly, her identity. Was it someone she knew?
Trina’s hand escaped the shroud of fabric that was draped over her shoulders to cover her mouth as she gasped for air. She tried to back away, but she collided with Officer O’Neil.
“Do you know her?” he asked.
Trina turned into him and shook her head. He put his arm around her but did not squeeze her into an embrace. There was nothing personal about it, just a reassurance that she was in safe arms.
“The first bus is here, sir.” Clark called over to O’Neil.
“Okay, let’s get the squad over here and see if we can move Miss Hayes. Smith, you call in for the medical examiner to get down here.” He commanded the two other officers that were standing beside the body, “Do a sweep of the area and tape off the scene.”
“Miss Hayes, this is Officer Clark, I am going to have her ask you a few questions while the rescue squad checks you for injuries. I will be right here if you have any questions.”
“No,” she pulled on his arm as she looked up at him for the first time, “stay. You can ask me the questions.”
The pupils of his eyes were so big they looked black. His head was clean-shaven, and he wore a thick mustache over his top lip. She almost laughed to herself. He looked like a cop, one with the shoulders of a linebacker.
“If you insist.” He rearranged his feet, so he could balance in a squatting position off to her side, leaving enough room for the medic to get in and do a quick assessment of her before they took her to the hospital. “Can you tell me what happened here tonight?”
“No. What time is it?”
“It is currently three am. What are you doing out at this hour?”
“I’m not sure. The last thing I recall is laying on the couch to catch up on my DVR list. I don’t even remember leaving the house.”
“So… are you telling me that you were taken from your home?” O’Neil asked.
“I don’t think that is what I am telling you. I am telling you that I don’t remember anything after that. I would assume that I must have dozed off.”
The medic flashed a light in front of her eyes, asking her to follow the beam, and grasped her wrist to check her heart rate.
“Excuse me, officer. Ma’am, I need you to remove the blanket, so I can see your arms and legs. Can you tell me where the pain is coming from?”
“Everywhere.” Trina tossed back the blanket and looked down at her clothes. The last she recalled, she’d had on matching thermals with tiny flowers on them. She now wore jeans and what had once been a white sweater. It was torn through on the sleeves and covered in dirt and blood—a lot of blood.
“Whose…?” Her hand shook as she lifted it to touch her stomach. “Whose blood is this?”
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Romance writer Felicia Starr was born and raised in New Jersey. She has been an avid traveller starting at a young age taking magical adventures exploring scenic and historic sites across America with her grandparents. Lover of almost all things paranormal and science fiction, yes that includes fantasy and no it does not include movies about giant ice spiders.
Her days are spent counting down the minutes until her next cup of coffee, preferably with a caramel swirl, her nights are filled with reading and quiet meditations drawing inspirations for her stories.
Felicia has been writing in one form or another for as long as she can remember and still has her first bound book that she wrote and illustrated in grade school. When not wrapped up in writing or reading she is finding the next best way to create lasting memories with her husband and sons.
Reading for fun, writing for passion… always thinking and dreaming in scenes.


10 Commonly Misused Words in Writing


A Writer's Path


The English language is one of the most complex in existence. With more words than any other language in the world, it is no wonder even native speakers don’t get it quite right all the time. Here’s a quick run down of my top ten most misused words. Some I am guilty of misusing myself, others are absolutely my pet peeve.

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